Articles on this Page
- 09/23/17--13:49: _Study suggests when...
- 09/23/17--14:14: _Police have killed ...
- 09/23/17--14:19: _Restoring full powe...
- 09/24/17--06:18: _Trump tweet, NFL re...
- 09/24/17--07:09: _Sen. Collins likely...
- 09/24/17--07:45: _In the Caribbean, c...
- 09/24/17--08:47: _Price to stop priva...
- 09/24/17--08:54: _Author Angie Thomas...
- 09/24/17--09:54: _Scientists closing ...
- 09/24/17--10:54: _White House says ta...
- 09/24/17--11:55: _One dead, seven inj...
- 09/24/17--13:03: _Bestselling book ‘T...
- 09/24/17--13:14: _Merkel claims victo...
- 09/24/17--13:26: _President’s critici...
- 09/24/17--14:15: _In central Mexico, ...
- 09/24/17--15:12: _Kaepernick has ‘etc...
- 09/24/17--17:58: _Trump signs proclam...
- 09/25/17--14:13: _How the irreverent ...
- 09/25/17--14:46: _Column: Forget the ...
- 09/25/17--15:00: _How you can help hu...
- 09/23/17--14:14: Police have killed more than 1,000 people with Tasers since 2000
- 09/23/17--14:19: Restoring full power to Puerto Rico ‘could take a year’
- 09/24/17--06:18: Trump tweet, NFL response escalate drama of Sunday games
- 09/24/17--07:09: Sen. Collins likely against GOP health bill in latest blow
- 09/24/17--08:47: Price to stop private plane use on business during review
- 09/24/17--09:54: Scientists closing in on the dawn of plate tectonics
- 09/24/17--10:54: White House says tax plan to help business, middle class
- 09/24/17--11:55: One dead, seven injured in Tennessee church shooting
- 09/24/17--13:26: President’s criticisms spark more protests at NFL games
- 09/24/17--14:15: In central Mexico, earthquake survivors face extensive damage
- 09/24/17--15:12: Kaepernick has ‘etched a place in history’ with NFL protest
- 09/24/17--17:58: Trump signs proclamation restricting travel from 8 countries
- 09/25/17--14:13: How the irreverent poetry of the ’60s helped spawn punk music
- 09/25/17--15:00: How you can help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico
- United for Puerto Rico (spearheaded by the First Lady of Puerto Rico)
- Center for Popular Democracy
- Hispanic Federation’s “Unidos” page
- Former U.S. presidents have expanded their One America Appeal to include recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
- All Hands Volunteers
- Catholic Relief Services
- Direct Relief
- Save the Children, which focuses specifically on the needs of families and their children.
- Global Giving has a $2 million goal for victims of Hurricane Maria
More people in poor neighborhoods purchased healthy food when mobile food markets used wireless banking machines to accept food stamps, according to a new study released by New York University.
Mobile markets are often used in food deserts to supplant a lack of supermarkets in a particular area, most often in low-income neighborhoods. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food deserts as tracts of land where supermarkets are located more than a mile away from neighborhoods in dense urban areas and more than 10 miles away in rural ones.
In many food deserts, fast food outlets and small convenience stores with unhealthier choices often fill in the gaps, contributing to a scourge of health issues like obesity and diabetes, according to the USDA.
Federal data indicate an elevated percentage of food deserts are in higher-poverty regions and in minority communities. About 10 percent of the 65,000 census tracts outlined by the U.S. Census Bureau are food deserts. An estimated 23 million people living in food deserts have limited access to healthy food, and the majority of that population lives in urban areas, according to the USDA.
The NYU study, published on Thursday in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, focused on the Bronx section of New York City, in part because of an obesity rate of 30 percent, which is among the highest in New York state, researchers said.
In 2008, New York City rolled out its Green Carts program, which utilized street vendors to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables available in certain sections of the city. More than 300 Green Carts now exist in New York, many in the Bronx and Manhattan.
According to the city, food stamps, which are now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are provided to 1.8 million low-income residents of New York. One in five New Yorkers receive SNAP benefits including more than 650,000 children.
Dr. Brian Elbel, an associate professor of Population Health and Health Policy at the NYU School of Medicine and a senior investigator on the study, said his team of researchers looked at four mobile markets in the South Bronx between 2013 and 2014.
The group conducted “bag checks” to look at what customers bought and found that those who had used the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) machines had about 5.4 more cups of fruits and vegetables than those who were paying with cash, indicating a correlation between the availability of machines and the purchases.
“In a lot of these high-needs areas … a lot of people use SNAP and need these EBT machines,” Elbel said. “People who used these EBT machines ended up purchasing more fruits and vegetables.”
Among the nearly 800 people interviewed for the study, 42 percent said they received SNAP benefits. A previous study showed the average purchase of those items rose from nearly $4 to more than $8 with the use of electronic equipment accepting SNAP.
“Most of that is fruit but there were increases in both,” Elbel said.
While some evidence suggests adding supermarkets to food deserts may help bring more fresh produce to a particular community, they don’t always work because of high costs, minimal foot traffic or residents’ shopping and eating habits.
But increasingly mobile markets and fruit and vegetable stands are helping to decrease the disparity in healthy foods, and studies have shown they can increase the amount of fruits and vegetables a community located in a food desert consumes.
Ester Fuchs, a professor at Columbia University, helped produce a 2014 study looking at a fruit and vegetable vendors who took part in the Green Carts program.
“We do know that increased access leads to increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and increased consumption leads to better health outcomes,” she told the NewsHour earlier this year.
Researchers who have studied the issue say adding a financial incentive and partnering with public and private entities can also help sustain these programs.
Elbel said one of the challenges of introducing EBT machines at mobile markets was the high cost of the equipment, with each machine costing about $900 to purchase and a $35 monthly fee. The research team also could not confirm whether those who purchased the produce actually ate it, or what their shopping habits may have been like the rest of the day, week or year.
Elbel said when the NYU study began in 2013, about 27 percent the 500 Green Cart locations in New York were equipped with EBT machines.
A spokesperson for the New York City Department of Health said in an email that as of July 2017, there were 315 Green Carts with active permits and 32 of those vendors were authorized by the USDA to accept EBT.
The city also offers other incentives to encourage SNAP users to purchase fresh produce, including $2 coupons for every $5 spent at farmers markets.
Charles Platkin, executive director of the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center, said there are often more factors at play that affect the diets of residents living in low-income communities, like nutrition education and learning how to cook healthier food.
“If you build it it doesn’t mean it’s going to come,” he said. “Health care is talked about everyday in this country. How about we focus on some prevention.”
He said new efforts like a recently launched federal pilot program that allows SNAP recipients to buy groceries online may also help to improve healthy choices, in addition to mobile food carts.
“Having something like this where Green Carts take SNAP is a no-brainer,” he said. “This study proves that.”
Elbel said while the outcomes of the NYU study were not set in stone, he hopes to take the research a step further, looking at eating habits at home and over a longer period of time.
“We didn’t follow these people and look at the total purchasing over the day or a week or a month,” he said. “Did they actually eat more of that stuff, did they throw it away? Those are all kind of next order questions that we would like to get to.”
The post Study suggests when mobile markets take wireless food stamps, more people buy healthy food appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Almost all 18,000 police departments across the U.S. issue officers tasers, or stun guns, which are meant to be a non-lethal weapon to help police subdue suspects. But tasers have proved controversial partly because, when misused, they can result in death. In a five-part series of original reporting, digging through court documents, police reports and public records, “Reuters” has documented more than 1,000 incidents since the year 2000 when people died after police fired tasers at them.
Peter Eisler is one of the authors of the series and joins me now from Washington.
Peter, I know these are the first five parts. The series isn’t over. You’re still working on this. But for someone who maybe hasn’t seen any of these series, what are you — what are you trying to show?
PETER EISLER, REPORTER, REUTERS: Well, we set out to sort of look at this question of how many people were dying after they were stunned with tasers and what the litigation burden was associated with these deaths. So, it turned out that there were more deaths, considerably more deaths associated with these things than we had expected, and much more litigation around them than we had thought, and a significant financial burden for the public.
SREENIVASAN: Is there something faulty with the devices? Why are people dying? What’s happening in the body when someone gets tased?
EISLER: You can’t really assess their safety without sort of very broad, scientifically controlled studies, and it’s difficult to do these studies on the populations that are considered to be most sensitive to these devices — people with bad hearts, people who are suffering through mental health crises.
SREENIVASAN: And so, what have the scientists found when it comes to how — for example, you have one story — just about how this affects the heart?
EISLER: So, the weapons themselves are not regulated, not as they’re sold to police. You know, they’re not a medical device. They’re not regulated by the FDA. They’re not a consumer product, so they’re not regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
So, taser itself has done a lot of the — did a lot of the early testing on these devices, and one of the things that we found was that those tests were not necessarily as thorough or as solid as taser may have led police to believe. As time went on and more and more research was done on them, more independent study was done, there were connections drawn, in some cases, between taser shots — particularly long-duration or multiple shots with the taser — and the ability of the weapon to what’s called capture the heartbeat, which is to change the rhythm of the heart in a way that could lead to a fatal cardiac arrest.
SREENIVASAN: What do they say in response to your reporting?
EISLER: Well, certainly, tasers are designed in part as an alternative to firearms which are, you know, expected to be lethal. And Taser says that these weapons have been studied, and that they’re overwhelmingly safe. Taser’s position is that the risks to the heart are more theoretical. The company does not concede that there has ever been a death direct — a cardiac-related death directly attributable to a taser. What we did was we looked at as many autopsy reports as we could collect on the 1,000-plus cases we identified, and we ended up getting around 750 autopsies.
And we found that in at least 150-plus of those autopsies, the medical examiner, the coroner, attributed the death either in whole or in part to the taser, or listed the taser as a contributing factor to that death.
SREENIVASAN: And what about the police departments out there that have these tasers? It’s not just one gun. There are several models of these weapons.
EISLER: The weapon has evolved over time. The newer ones Taser says are safer than earlier generations of the weapon. Police departments, as you said, the overwhelming majority of police departments in the country have these things. What we have started to see in recent years is police departments beginning to refine their policies and kind of close the window of when they tell officers that it is acceptable to use one of these things.
SREENIVASAN: All right. Peter Eisler of “Reuters”, thanks so much.
EISLER: Thank you very much.
The post Police have killed more than 1,000 people with Tasers since 2000 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: For more on the dire situation in Puerto Rico, I’m joined via Skype by Jessica Rios Viner, a reporter with the newspaper “El Nuevo Dia.” She’s in Guaynabo, 10 miles south of San Juan.
What’s it been like for the past 24, 48 hours? You’re in a place that has power. Your newspaper offices, but just describe the scene.
JESSICA RIOS VINER, REPORTER, EL NUEVO DIA: OK, well, right now, I’m in the metropolitan area. That’s where most of the communication is flowing. We’re very– it’s very, very hard to reach the people that are around the coast of the island and on the mountains.
We have a generator here, but we’re having trouble with the connections. Some of the communication towers fell, and there’s almost no communication to the island. There have been many areas where the mayors haven’t been able to go to see how they are because the streets are blocked with lamp posts, electric posts, just branches, trees.
SREENIVASAN: So, how significant is the flooding that you’ve been able to see, given that you’re expecting even more rain over the weekend?
VINER: Yes, well, we have areas that had to be completely evacuated. We have a problem with the dam at Guajataca that’s about to break, and all that area is going to be flooded.
SREENIVASAN: The citizens preparing for a long slog through this. I mean, given that we’ve seen report after report saying it could be a very long time before power is restored throughout the island, you’re already in economic straits. You don’t have the infrastructure to be able to clear the trees and mobilize government resources.
VINER: I don’t think anyone was prepared for this. I mean, I — there’s just — there are areas where they’re saying it could take a year because they have to rebuild everything, that it could take a year to get some power. Water, we had no water on the whole island, but now, they just said 20 percent, 25 percent are getting their water back because they put the dams on generators.
SREENIVASAN: You know, I realize this is home for you, this is home for 3.5 million Americans, but at this point, are people trying to figure out how to move their lives somewhere else, perhaps to the mainland?
VINER: There are people that are considering, you know, moving. But there’s also — I mean, you know there’s always the bad thing, people that are robbing stuff, but there’s also a unity in the community where people are helping each other, you know, clear the streets, you know, people lending phones so that other people can communicate with their family members.
SREENIVASAN: All right. Jessica Rios Viner, a difficult job, a reporter with the newspaper “El Nuevo Dia” — thanks so much for joining us.
VINER: Thank you for having me.
The post Restoring full power to Puerto Rico ‘could take a year’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
The owners of the Baltimore Ravens, the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and other teams on Sunday joined a chorus of NFL executives criticizing President Donald Trump’s suggestion that they fire players who kneel for the national anthem.
The statements, including those from Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, contrasted a morning tweet from Trump and further escalated the political drama of the league’s game day, which was expected to be one of the most-watched for non-sporting reasons in years.
Bisciotti said he “100 percent” supports his players’ decision to kneel during the national anthem. At least seven of them did, joined by more than a dozen Jacksonville Jaguars, before the teams played at Wembley Stadium in London.
Other players linked arms — and Jaguars owner Shad Khan joined them, standing between tight end Marcedes Lewis and linebacker Telvin Smith. He called it a privilege to do so.
Kraft, who has been a strong backer of the president, expressed “deep disappointment” with Trump and said politicians could learn much from the unifying spirit of a competitive, team-oriented enterprise like football.
“Our players are intelligent, thoughtful, and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful,” Kraft said in a statement.
Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam wrote that they didn’t want to let “misguided, uninformed and divisive comments from the President or anyone else deter us from our efforts to unify,” and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told CBS his team wouldn’t be on the field when the anthem plays before the Steelers game in Chicago. He doesn’t want his players to be divided between those who kneel and those who stand, he said.
“We’re not going to be divided by anything said by anyone,” Tomlin said. “We’re not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda.”
Haslam’s brother, Bill, is the Republican governor of Tennessee.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the kneeling movement last year when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, refusing to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest the treatment of black people by police. Kaepernick became a free agent and has not been signed by a new team for this season.
Without identifying Kaepernick, Trump aimed a Friday talk at a Huntsville, Alabama, rally at those players who have knelt for the anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,'” he said to loud applause.
Again in a Sunday morning tweet, Trump urged his supporters to take action: “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!”
There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin followed up Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” defending Trump, saying the NFL has many rules governing what players can and cannot do.
“I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem,” Mnuchin said. “They can do free speech on their own time.”
Trump’s remarks provoked team owners and the NFL to stridently defend the sport and its players. Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has taken heat for Kaepernick’s struggle to find a team, quickly condemned Trump’s comments.
“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month,” Goodell said.
“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”
At least seven team owners donated $1 million each to Trump’s inaugural committee. But Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos , Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank , New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, Tennessee Titans’ controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, Detroit Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford and San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York were among the league power brokers who issued condemning statements through their clubs.
“The callous and offensive comments made by the president are contradictory to what this great country stands for,” York said.
“Our players have exercised their rights as United States citizens in order to spark conversation and action to address social injustice. We will continue to support them in their peaceful pursuit of positive change in our country and around the world.”
Added Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy: “We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely.”
This weekend’s games were sure to bring more protests, with Tampa Bay receiver DeSean Jackson promising to make “a statement.”
“I know our players who kneeled for the anthem, and these are smart young men of character who want to make our world a better place for everyone,” Ross said.
“They wanted to start a conversation and are making a difference in our community, including working with law enforcement to bring people together. We all can benefit from learning, listening and respecting each other.”
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo, New York, contributed to this report.
The post Trump tweet, NFL response escalate drama of Sunday games appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Sen. Susan Collins all but closed the door Sunday to supporting the last-ditch Republican health care bill, leaving her party’s drive to uproot President Barack Obama’s health care law dangling by an increasingly slender thread.
Already two GOP senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona, have said they would vote against the legislation. All Democrats oppose the measure, so “no” votes from three of the 52 GOP senators would kill the party’s effort to deliver on its perennial promise to repeal “Obamacare.”
“It’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill,” said Collins, a Maine moderate.
Collins’ all but certain opposition leaves the White House and party leaders desperate to rescue their promise to repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act with one immediate option: trying to change the mind of at least one opponent.
Republicans have said they’re still reshaping the bill in hopes of winning over skeptics. Collins said sponsors were making last-minute adjustments in the measure’s formulas used to distribute federal money to the states, and the measure’s sponsors said they still intended to plow ahead.
“So yes, we’re moving forward and we’ll see what happens next week,” said one of the authors, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Paul criticized the GOP bill anew as “not repeal.” He said he opposed a key pillar of the legislation — transforming much of the federal spending under Obama’s law into block grants of money that states could spend with wide latitude. He said the GOP bill left too much of that spending intact and simply gave states more control over it.
“Block granting Obamacare doesn’t make it go away,” Paul said.[Watch Video]
Collins said she had a lengthy conversation Saturday with Vice President Mike Pence, who she said urged her “to think more thoroughly about some issues.” Graham suggested backing a proposal sought by Paul that would make it easier for people to join or form group insurance plans so they would have lower premiums.
Collins said she was troubled by the bill’s cuts in the Medicaid program for low-income people. She expressed concerns that the measure would result in many people losing health coverage and didn’t like a provision letting states make it easier for insurers to raise premiums on people with pre-existing medical conditions.
As GOP leaders scramble for votes, a chief target is Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, whose state has unusually high health care costs because of its many remote communities. Collins and Murkowski were the only Republicans who voted “no” on four pivotal votes on earlier versions of the GOP legislation this summer.
Murkowski has remained uncommitted on the newest bill, saying she’s studying its impact on Alaska. Her state’s officials released a report Friday citing “unique challenges” and deep cuts the measure would impose on the state.
A showdown vote would have to occur this week to give Republicans any shot at reversing their debacle on the issue in July, when the GOP-run Senate rejected their initial attempt to dismantle Obama’s law. When September ends, Republicans will lose procedural protections that have blocked Democrats from successfully stalling the bill; after that, Republicans would need 60 votes to move ahead.
White House legislative liaison Marc Short said he expected a vote to occur Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he intends to have a vote this coming week but has stopped short of firmly committing to it. If party leaders expected to lose, they would have to choose between conservatives demanding no surrender in the GOP’s attempt to scrap the law and others seeing no point in another demoralizing defeat.
The renewed GOP drive has encountered widespread opposition from health industry groups, which have strongly opposed the effort.
On Saturday, organizations including America’s Health Insurance Plans representing insurers, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association released a statement urging the Senate to reject the legislation. They wrote that the bill would leave the individual health insurance market “drastically weakened,” cause “drastic cuts” in Medicaid and undermine safeguards” for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
This summer’s setback infuriated the party’s core conservative voters and prompted President Donald Trump to unleash a series of tweets blaming McConnell for the failure and goading him to keep trying. In recent days, Trump has tweeted that McCain was sold “a bill of goods” against the bill by Democrats and that any GOP senator voting against the bill would be known as “the Republican who saved ObamaCare.”
The bill would repeal much of the 2010 law, including its tax penalties on people who don’t buy insurance and on larger employers not offering coverage to workers. States could loosen coverage requirements under the law’s mandates, including prohibiting insurers from charging seriously ill people higher premiums and letting them sell policies covering fewer services.
It would eliminate Obama’s expansion of Medicaid and the subsidies it provides millions of people to reduce their premiums and out of pocket costs, substituting block grants to states.
Collins was on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and CNN’s “State of the Union,” Graham appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and Paul was on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and Short was on CBS, NBC and “Fox News Sunday.”
Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey in Somerset, New Jersey, contributed to this report.
The post Sen. Collins likely against GOP health bill in latest blow appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Hurricane Maria, the 15th tropical depression this season, is now battering the Caribbean, just two weeks after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc in the region.
The devastation in Dominica is “mind-boggling,” wrote the country’s prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, on Facebook just after midnight on September 19. The next day, in Puerto Rico, NPR reported via member station WRTU in San Juan that “Most of the island is without power…or water.”
Among the Caribbean islands impacted by both deadly storms are Puerto Rico, St Kitts, Tortola and Barbuda.
In this region, disaster damages are frequently amplified by needlessly protracted and incomplete recoveries. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan rolled roughshod through the Caribbean with wind speeds of 160 mph. The region’s economy took more than three years to recover. Grenada’s surplus of US$17 million became a deficit of $54 million, thanks to decreased revenue and the outlays for rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Nor were the effects of a 7 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010 limited to killing some 150,000 people. United Nations peacekeepers sent in to help left the country grappling, to this day, with a fatal cholera outbreak.
These are not isolated instances of random bad luck. As University of the West Indies geographers who study risk perception and political ecology, we recognize the deep, human-induced roots of climate change, inequality and the underdevelopment of former colonies – all of which increase the Caribbean’s vulnerability to disaster.[Watch Video]
Risk, vulnerability and poverty
Across most Caribbean islands, hazard exposure is about the same, but research shows that poverty and social inequality drastically magnify the severity of disasters.
Haiti, where eight out of every 10 people live on less than $4 a day, offers an example of how capitalism, gender and history converge to compound storm damage.
The country is among the Western Hemisphere’s poorest in large part because of imperialism. After Haitians successfully overthrew their European enslavers in 1804, global powers economically stifled the island. From 1915 to 1934, the U.S. first militarily occupied Haiti, and then followed a policy of intervention that continues to have lasting effects on its governance.
International interference and the resulting weak institutions, in turn, impeded development, poverty reduction and empowerment efforts.
In such a context, disasters aggravate a country’s numerous existing social vulnerabilities. Take gender, for example. Mental health professionals offering support to victims after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake found that an extraordinarily high number of displaced women – up to 75 percent – had experienced sexual violence. This prior trauma exacerbated the women’s post-disaster stress responses.
Geography and gender
Inequality and underdevelopment are perhaps less marked in the rest of the Caribbean, but from Antigua and Barbuda to St. Kitts and Nevis, socioeconomic problems are now complicating both disaster preparedness and response.
Across the region, people spend most of their income on daily essentials like food, clean water, shelter and medicine, with little left over for greeting Irma and Maria with lifesaving hurricane-resilient roofs, storm shutters, solar generators and first aid kits.
For the poor, emergency radios and satellite telephones that could warn of impending disasters are largely unaffordable, as is homeowners’ insurance to hasten recovery.
Poorer Caribbean residents also tend to live in the most disaster-prone areas because housing is cheaper on unstable deforested hillsides and eroding riverbanks. This exponentially increases the danger they face. The low construction quality of these dwellings offers less protection during storms while, post-disaster, emergency vehicles may not be able to access these areas.
Caribbean women will also continue to be at particular risk well after Maria passes. In a region where gender roles remain quite rigid, women are typically tasked with childcare, harvesting, cooking, cleaning, washing and the like.
Even in post-disaster settings, women are expected to perform household labor. So when water supplies are contaminated (with sewage, E. coli, salmonella, cholera, yellow fever, and hepatitis A, among others), women are disproportionately exposed to illness.
No place for politics
Politics, too, play a role in how the Caribbean is faring during this tumultuous hurricane season. Longtime colonial rule isn’t the only reason Caribbean societies and ecosystems are now so vulnerable.
Many contemporary governments in the region are, arguably, also doing their part to make life generally worse for marginalized communities. In Trinidad and Tobago, divestment in public education has hurt working-class university students, youth from low-income communities and older adults who were previously eligible for financial aid.
In oil-rich Guyana, dependency upon fossil fuels has invited an eager ExxonMobil in for a round of drilling, despite its track record for extracting, polluting and taking profits largely elsewhere. And, from Jamaica to Belize, widespread corruption and land rights violations have severed relationships of trust between people and the states that are, in theory, supposed to protect them.
When storms threaten, such policies and practices intensify the Caribbean’s societal and ecological risks.
Irma and Maria are surely not the last extreme disasters that will strike the region. To survive and flourish in this dangerous new normal, Caribbean countries would do well to look to the heart of these issues, rethinking the concept of risk and mindfully engaging with factors like poverty, gender and climate change.
In practice, this means identifying their most vulnerable communities and working to improve their day-to-day well-being – not just their survival in a storm.
The Caribbean’s own Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), from the island of Martinique, recognized these complexities in his book, “The Wretched of the Earth.”
Fanon asserted that democracy and the political education of the masses, across all post-colonial geographies, is a “historical necessity.” Presciently, he also noted that “the soil needs researching, as well as the subsoil, the rivers, and why not the sun.”
As the Caribbean looks for solutions to the damage and suffering brought on by both nature’s revolt and social inequality, Fanon’s words seem like a good place to start.
Levi Gahman is a Lecturer of Radical Geography and Critical Development Studies at the University of the West Indies: St. Augustine Campus. Gabrielle Thongs is an Assistant Lecturer in the Geography Department at the University of the West Indies: St. Augustine Campus. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
The post In the Caribbean, colonialism and inequality mean hurricanes hit harder appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Saturday he will stop flying private planes on official business while an internal review of the flights is being done and that he welcomes the review.
Price defended the practice of using private planes on Fox News. A spokeswoman has said Price tries to fly commercial whenever possible.
The HHS inspector general’s office says the agency is reviewing Price’s charter flights to see if they violated government travel regulations.
Price, a former Republican House member from Georgia, chartered flights to a resort in Maine where he was part of a discussion with a health care industry CEO. That was according to a report in Politico. He also chartered flights to community health centers in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
Price said all the flights were work-related and used for official business, including for trips related to the opioid crisis or the recent hurricanes.
“But we’ve heard the criticism,” Price said. “We’ve heard the concerns. And we take that very seriously and have taken it to heart.”
Congressional Democrats last week chastised Price, saying he wasted taxpayer money by chartering five private flights last week for official business when cheaper travel options were available.
To Democrats, Price’s expensive travel smacked of hypocrisy given President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to “drain the swamp” of money and influence in Washington and Price’s long-standing criticism of government waste.
The post Price to stop private plane use on business during review appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
The founder of the creative writing program that inspired author Angie Thomas to write “The Hate U Give,” a young adult novel that has swept The New York Times’ best-seller list, remembers how the book started.
Founder Dr. Randy Smith at Belhaven University, a Christian school in Mississippi, recalled that Thomas wrote in the prologue to her senior project that she wanted to show that beauty within her community can transcend the damage it faces.
“I thought that was an admirable goal,” Smith told the NewsHour Weekend’s Alison Stewart.
Thomas’ assignment would later become the novel that is now a finalist for a National Book Award and a Kirkus Prize.
The book is about a 16-year-old girl who is the sole witness of a police officer shooting and killing her friend. Thomas decided to expand her story into a novel after the death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was forced to lay on transit platform in Oakland while an officer shot him in the back on New Year’s morning in 2009.
Smith, who now calls Thomas a friend, remembers when he helped Thomas recognize her talent for writing from a more intimate perspective. For more on “The Hate U Give,” watch PBS NewsHour Weekend tonight.
How long have you known Angie Thomas?
I’ve known Angie since 2008. That was when she applied to Belhaven for the creative writing program. And actually before the interview, I went back and found her entrance portfolio and her senior project. And so I got to look through and look at some things that she said in there and then compare those to some of the things that she said in the book.
So it’s interesting to see her development and growth as a writer and I really now count Angela as as a friend and a colleague. In fact, in some ways she’s become my teacher as I read her book. I’ve learned a lot about culture and race in America through her.
What was the assignment that inspired the seed of this book?
Every student in the creative writing program when they’re a senior, they have to complete a senior project. Angela chose to write fiction, a collection of four short stories. And in the prologue to that she said over the years that she had been a college student, she had come to realize that even though her community was damaged in some ways that it had a beauty that deserved to be recognized and she wanted to show the hearts of the people in her community and the ways in which their hearts transcended some of the damage in the neighborhood around them. And I thought that was an admirable goal.
And when I look at her senior project, I’ve realized that many, many of the seeds of what she’s doing now were in that particular project.
How would you describe Angela’s talent?
I think Angela’s book, “The Hate U Give,” transcends a young adult novel category. In fact, I would go as far as to make this prediction: that I think at the end of the 21st century when people look back, it’s going to be listed as one of the best 100 novels of the century. I think it’s one of the best 100 novels for adults and for young adults and everyone.
Her command of popular culture, of television, music, clothing and fashion, she’s able to bring all of those things in and weave it together in a tapestry that’s rich on every single page, every single line, every paragraph.
Probably the best thing that she does in the entire book is the way that she rips the veil off of what had previously been private, hidden conversations about race in black communities, in black families, in white communities and white families. She’s foregrounding the things that people say privately to one another when they’re with people of their own socioeconomic class or ethnic background and she’s brought it out in the open. To me, that’s one of the powerful parts of the book. That’s what’s making a change, I think.
As her professor, what did you need to draw out of her?
Every student also has to apply to the program with a portfolio. They write an essay, “Why do you want to be a creative writer?” And then they have to turn in 15 to 20 pages of writing that they’ve done.
[In 2008], Angela submitted her portfolio for entrants that fall and the short story that she submitted is about a family with a very strong opinionated mother, with a strong father, but who, you know, he and his wife spar with one another, very similar to what happens in “The Hate U Give.” And they have a number of children and they’re all invited home for Christmas and the family is white. It’s a white family, it’s a wealthy family, and they live in California.
When I look back at that and I think about what Angela was doing at the beginning when she came to Belhaven, she needed to be pushed to write about her community, about the people she knew, the characters that were important to her, and the people that she knew at the deepest levels, and that’s what she did with “The Hate U Give.” She wrote about the people that she loves and cares about.
It’s interesting that she started to understand those stories were worthwhile.
I think what happened is she finally realized that she lived in at least two different worlds that were very different from one another. A dominant white culture and an African-American community. And … she started to see that there is a potential for something creative here.
One of the things I now tell students, and it’s largely because of Angela, is that you will do your best writing when you write out of two different worlds that you [live] in.
When I was growing up my mother literally, in Georgia in the 1930s, was a poor white sharecropper. As the first person in my family to go to college — and I have a Ph.D. — there are a lot of times where I feel like there’s a disconnect between the world I grew up in and the people I’m around now. It’s not the same.
I’ve not experienced the oppression that African-Americans have in this country and other minorities, but I certainly understand that there are times, when you inhabit these different worlds, you have to learn to speak different languages to act different ways. But it’s when we write out of those things that I think that we do some of our best work.
This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
The post Author Angie Thomas sheds light on ‘private, hidden conversations’ about race, says former professor appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Geologists think early Earth may have looked much like Iceland—where jet-black lava fields extend as far as the eye can see, inky mountainsides rise steeply above the clouds and stark black-sand beaches outline the land.
But over time the world gradually became less bleak. Today Earth also harbors light-colored rocks, like the granite that composes Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. But scientists remain uncertain as to when the world started to transition from the one that looked like Iceland to that which we know today.
A new study published Thursday in Science suggests the shift transpired more than 3.5 billion years ago. Not only does the finding tell scientists the color of the world’s early beaches, it might help them understand when tectonic plates—the interlocking slabs of crust that fit together like puzzle pieces far beneath our feet—started to wake up and shuffle around. That is because the lighter-colored rocks, known as felsic rocks, are actually dark, or mafic, rocks “reincarnated.” In short, felsic rocks form when mafic ones are pushed deep inside Earth—possibly when one tectonic plate slips under another in a process called subduction. Given that light-colored felsic rocks were abundant billions of years ago, plate tectonics had likely already kicked into action.
In order to reach that conclusion, Nicolas Greber, a geologist at the University of Chicago, and his colleagues analyzed 78 different layers of sediment to pin down the ratio of felsic to mafic rocks. This was not as simple as counting light versus dark stones (both had long ago eroded into tiny particles). Instead, Greber’s team looked at titanium. Although the metallic element is present in both types of rock, the proportion of its isotopes (chemically identical atoms with the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons) shifts as the rock changes from mafic to felsic. Suppose you mix something that turns out both salty and sweet, Greber says. An analysis like this gives you “an idea of how much salt you added and how much sugar you added.” He had expected the earliest sediments in his sample, which date back 3.5 billion years, would be composed mostly of mafic particles. But to his surprise, roughly half of the particles locked within were felsic.
Assuming those rocks formed within subduction zones, that means tectonic plates were already on the go by that time—a conclusion that just might help solve an age-old mystery: the birth date of plate tectonics. Scientists have long argued over the precise date these crustal plates started to rouse from their slumber, with estimates ranging from one billion to 4.2 billion years ago. That range is far too large if scientists want to understand the evolution of early Earth. Shifting plates have the ability to dramatically reshape the planet by sculpting ocean basins and thrusting up mountain ranges. They also alter the composition of the atmosphere and oceans. This would have affected the supply of nutrients available to the fledgling life on our young planet.
With such a vast time range involved, it is easy to see why scientists cannot agree on a firm date. Paul Tackley, a geophysicist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, disagrees with the latest interpretation. He contends felsic rocks can form anytime mafic rocks sink deep within Earth—and not only along subduction zones. In fact, he argues this process can occur on a motionless plate. Should a volcano erupt, for example, the newly released lava will push down on mafic rocks until they become so deeply buried that they melt under the high subterranean pressures and temperatures, transforming into felsic rocks.
Although Greber agrees felsic rocks can certainly form like this, he argues such a high felsic ratio cannot be explained by Tackley’s rock-sinking explanation alone. Take Iceland, for example—because the island is far from any subduction zones high numbers of light-colored rocks simply do not form—hence the island’s endless black lava fields and black-sand beaches. So Greber argues the high ratios of light-colored rocks discovered in his old sediments can only mean plate tectonics began early in our planet’s history. But 3.5 billion years is just a lower limit. In the future he hopes to find even older rocks, allowing him to pinpoint an exact birth date.
This article is reproduced with permission from Scientific American. It was first published on Sept. 22, 2017. Find the original story here.
The post Scientists closing in on the dawn of plate tectonics appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
SOMERSET, N.J. — A proposed tax overhaul set to come out this week from Republicans will offer help for the middle class and businesses, President Donald Trump’s Treasury secretary said.
The developing plan “”creates a middle-income tax cut, it makes businesses competitive and it creates jobs,” Steven Mnuchin said in a television interview Sunday, adding there are changes, too, for the “high end,” including “getting rid of lots of deductions.”
He did not offer specifics.
The White House and tax-writing Republican leaders are expected to begin filling in some of the details on Trump’s bid to simplify the tax system, a legislative priority. Trump plans to promote the overhaul heavily, including during a visit to Indiana on Wednesday.
People familiar with the plan that is being written entirely by Republicans have said the administration is considering lowering the corporate tax rate from its current 35 percent to somewhere in the low 20s. The plan probably would seek tax cuts across the board for individuals and reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three.
Details were not coming from White House legislative director Marc Short when pressed whether the plan would cut the individual rate for the wealthy.
“There are still conversations. The president has to sign off on that, and he’ll make his announcement on Wednesday what the final number is,” Short said.
In the past, Mnuchin has said there would be no “absolute tax cut” for the wealthy.
On Sunday, he said: “It was never a promise. It was never a pledge. What it was and it is still, it was what the president’s objective was.”
He added: “The current plan for many, many people it will not reduce taxes on the high end.”
Lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee planned to meet Sunday and Monday to discuss taxes.
Mnuchin appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” and Short was on “Fox News Sunday.”
The post White House says tax plan to help business, middle class appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
One person was killed and seven were injured after a gunman opened fire Sunday during a church service outside Nashville, Tennessee.
The shooting occurred at 11:40 a.m. local time Sunday at the Burnette Chapel Church in Antioch, about 10 miles outside downtown Nashville.
The suspect is being held by police, who would not release his name “for the short-term,” said Don Aaron, public affairs manager with the Nashville Police Department. One woman was killed in the church’s parking lot. The gunman was among the wounded and is being treated at a hospital.
“I am not aware at this moment of any relationship between this man and the congregation,” Aaron said during a news conference.
Nashville fire officials on Twitter called the incident a “mass casualty situation,” and indicated that most of the victims were over the age of 60.
All of the victims have been taken to the Vanderbilt Medical Center and witnesses in the church are being interviewed by detectives. Aaron said one of the victims encountered the shooter in the church’s parking lot and “was pistol-whipped.”
“It is my understanding he confronted the gunman,” Aaron said. “He gave us this account just before leaving the hospital.”
The post One dead, seven injured in Tennessee church shooting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
ALISON STEWART: At the Mississippi Book Festival last month, people waited patiently in 91 degree heat to have their books signed…
ANGIE THOMAS: Do you want it personalized?
ALISON STEWART: And to spend a moment…
FAN: God bless you. Congratulations on everything.
ANGIE THOMAS: Thank you. Thank you.
ALISON STEWART: With 29-year-old Jackson, Mississippi, native Angie Thomas. The line to meet the first time author stretched the length of the tent.
ALISON STEWART: What were you doing in a year ago?
ANGIE THOMAS: I worked at a church as a secretary to a bishop here in Jackson. I had just quit my job, and I was deciding to write full-time. And I was in the middle of editing “The Hate U Give”. So in a year’s time my life has completely changed.
ALISON STEWART: Thomas’ novel “The Hate U Give” is a coming of age story tackling life and death issues facing black teenagers, including race relations, interacting with the police, and fighting stereotypes.
ANGIE THOMAS: I’m talking about issues that affect so many people. I didn’t wanna just give a surface explanation. I wanted to get into the heart of these things. I wanted to take things that are made political, and I wanted them to feel personal.
ALISON STEWART: Since its debut, in February, at number 1 on the New York Times young adult hardcover bestseller list, “The Hate U Give” has sold more than 300,000 copies in the U.S. Thirteen publishing houses had fought for the rights to the book. It’s now been printed in 27 countries and is being made into a major motion picture.
At the festival, Thomas appeared on a panel called “Rising Stars in Young Adult”.
ANGIE THOMAS: I think that some of the greatest work that is being done right now in our society is through young adult books.
ALISON STEWART: When we sat down with Thomas in Jackson, she read us a section introducing the protagonist, 16-year-old Starr Carter.
ANGIE THOMAS: “When I was twelve my parents had two talks with me. One was the usual birds and bees. The other talk was about what to do if a cop stopped me. Momma fussed and told Daddy I was too young for that. He argued that I wasn’t too young to get arrested or shot.”
ALISON STEWART: Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her childhood friend, Khalil. He’s killed by a white police officer. At first, she’s reluctant to come forward. But ultimately she tells the police and the media what happened. That decision changes her life.
ANGIE THOMAS: What I think has touched so many people is that we’re talking about a 16-year-old girl at the core of this story, and when you’re talking about a 16-year-old girl, she’s still a child. She still has her innocence. So I feel like some people who maybe wouldn’t listen to a 30-year-old are more likely to listen to this innocent 16-year-old girl and see it through her eyes for a second, more so than they would through an adult’s eyes.
ALISON STEWART: Thomas’ love of books grew from childhood library visits with her mother, Julia Williams-Thomas, who’s still never very far away. But Thomas was unsure about pursuing writing as a career, until she discovered a creative writing program at nearby Belhaven University, a Christian college outside Jackson. She would go on to earn her BFA in creative writing.
ANGIE THOMAS: I loved telling stories, but growing up I didn’t see writers who looked like me in the flesh. I’m from Mississippi. We have a very rich literary history, but you’re talkin’ about Faulkner and Welty, and they’re both white and dead and I was neither. So I didn’t think I could do it. But when I found out that there was a school not far from me with a writing program, I said, “Okay. Yeah. Maybe you should pursue this.”
ALISON STEWART: “The Hate U Give” grew out of a short story from Thomas’ senior college project. She was moved to expand the narrative by 2009 fatal shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant by a San Francisco Bay Area transit officer in a train station. It became one of the first police shootings caught on amateur video to go viral.
ANGIE THOMAS: Although it was thousands of miles away it affected conversations here in Mississippi. So I was hearing two different conversations about Oscar. In my neighborhood he was one of us, but at my school people said, “Well, maybe he deserved it. He was an ex-con. And it angered me and it frustrated me because I didn’t understand how they couldn’t see why we were upset. And I wanted to show the value in a young man like Oscar, who despite his bad decisions he may have made at one point in his life, he was still a human being. He still had value. He had still had purpose. And I wanted to show that because every time they said that about Oscar it felt like they were saying it about the young men in my neighborhood.
ALISON STEWART: Then, again and again, the shooting deaths of unarmed young African-Americans made national headlines. 17-year-old Trayvon Martin… killed by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain in Florida. 18-year-old Michael Brown killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. 12-year-old Tamir Rice… shot in Ohio by a white police officer who mistook rice’s pellet gun for a real one.
ALISON STEWART: Why do you think a young adult novel has been able to tackle this very complex subject in a way that many traditional mainstream adult novels haven’t?
ANGIE THOMAS: For one, so many of these cases, we’re talking about young adults. Trayvon Martin’s 17. Tamir Rice was 12. You know? These are young people, so young people are affected by this. And I wanted to write it for them.
ALISON STEWART: The main character, Starr, sees her best friend killed. He’s an unarmed black teenager. And she will only refer to the officer by his badge number, 115. Why did you decide to do that?
ANGIE THOMAS: Starr is raised to believe that names have power. She doesn’t want to give him the power that she feels like he’s taken so much from her as it is. So referring to him by his badge number instead of by his name to her says, “What you did in that moment did not seem human to me, therefore I’m not sure I can humanize you by calling you by your name.”
ALISON STEWART: The title is a modern twist on the biblical lesson “as you sow, so shall you reap,” and the phrase “The Hate U Give” is borrowed from Thomas’ favorite hip hop artist, Tupac Shakur. When you reduce the book title to an acronym, it spells t-h-u-g, “thug”.
ANGIE THOMAS: Tupac had a tattoo across the abdomen that said THUG LIFE. And a lotta people don’t know it was an acronym for “The Hate U Give Little Infants *effs* Everybody.” And he explained that is saying that what society feeds into youth has a way of affecting us all. We saw that in Ferguson. The hate that was fed into Michael Brown affected the entire city of Ferguson. The hate that was fed into Charlottesville with those–those Nazis, that was the hate. It’s affected our entire country right now. We’re having conversations about this all around. That’s thug life.
ALISON STEWART: While writing the book, Thomas researched the deterioration of inner city communities, reviewed police procedures, and even the coroner’s report of Trayvon Martin.
ALISON STEWART: How was it to live with such difficult material day in, day out?
ANGIE THOMAS: It was hard. I had to read the transcripts from the Michael Brown case. I’ve read stuff like that. So emotionally a lotta times I cried. A lot of times I was angry. But I allowed myself to feel those things because in turn it came out in the paper. It came out in my words. I think sometimes people tell writers, “Don’t let yourself go there.” Yeah, you should, because when you do it comes out in your words and it comes out in your writing. And now I have people who told me I made them cry. I’m like, “Oh well, I cried too.”
ALISON STEWART: Join the club.
ANGIE THOMAS: We’re even so…
ANGIE THOMAS: This is gonna go up on my wall, seriously.
ALISON STEWART: Though the book has been praised for its handling of a difficult subject, some have bristled at the book’s central theme — that black lives matter.
ALISON STEWART: Has anyone said to you, “I really like your book, but you know, ‘All lives matter’?”
ANGIE THOMAS: Oh yeah. I’ve had that. And I’ve had those conversations. And, you know, I just have to tell people all the time, because when you say Black Lives Matter, they assume, “Oh, so it’s anti-cop book.” No. It’s anti-police brutality. There’s a big difference.
ALISON STEWART: Have you gotten any pushback from people saying, “You are reinforcing stereotypes about black people who live in marginalized neighborhoods?”
ANGIE THOMAS: You know, I haven’t had that pushback, but I’ve had pushback where people say, “Why would you put them in the ‘hood? Why is it another book about black people in the ‘hood?” But I push back with that by saying, “Not everybody in the book that’s black is in the hood.” You know? Starr’s Uncle Carlos and her Aunt Pam live in a very nice neighborhood, because not all of us live in the ‘hood. I wanted to show both sides.
ALISON STEWART: She also used that character–Uncle Carlos– to show both sides of law enforcement. He is a cop, and like her character, Thomas is related to police officers.
ANGIE THOMAS: I wanted to show a good cop too, who not only does his job and does it well, but he holds his fellow officers accountable. For so many of us, that’s the key issue right there. We don’t see enough accountability. And I wanted to show that with this book, with a cop that does actually do it, and hopes that it would influence and inspire more cops to hold each other accountable.
ALISON STEWART: During our visit to Jackson, Thomas spoke to an assembly of 9th graders from several public schools.
SPEAKER: Please join me in welcoming one of our very own, Angie Thomas.
ALISON STEWART: She’s using her newfound fame as a platform…to encourage kids who grew up like she did….to write and to know their value.
ANGIE THOMAS: I wanted to thrive even when nobody cared. I wanted to be seen and heard.
ANGIE THOMAS: I’ve had kids like that tell me, you know, “We don’t see ourselves on books.” I’ve had young black girls just say, “Thank you for the cover,” ’cause they see themselves on the cover. Then they hear it’s gonna be a movie deal. They’re like, “Wow, people actually wanna hear stories like ours?” Yes, somebody’s listening. Somebody cares. Your stories are just as important as anybody else’s. So to know that my book has shown them that and tells them that, I’m honored and I’m humbled to know that.
The post Bestselling book ‘The Hate U Give’ tackles police violence against black teenagers appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to have secured enough votes to retain the country’s highest office for a fourth term, according to the latest projections.
Exit polls showed that her conservative coalition, made up of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party and the Christian Social Union, combined to take an estimated 33 percent of the vote, the lowest number since the 1940s.
“Of course we had hoped for a slightly better result,” Merkel said. “But we mustn’t forget that we have just completed an extraordinarily challenging legislative period, so I am happy that we reached the strategic goals of our election campaign.”
According to projections, the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party wrangled 13.1 percent of the vote, which would make it the first far-right party to join the German parliament for more than 50 years, Reuters reported.
Merkel’s main challenger, Martin Schulz, of the Social Democratic Party, was trailing in the polls with roughly 20 percent of the vote. He said he would leave Merkel’s “grand coalition” government and join the opposition, the Associated Press reported.
“For us it is very clear that the voters have given us the task of going ahead as the strongest party in opposition,” said Manuela Schwesig, a deputy party leader with the Social Democrats.
A move by the liberal Social Democrats to leave the government would create a challenge for Merkel, who will be tasked with forming a new parliament that may involve piecing together smaller parties that made gains in this year’s election.
“We are the strongest party, we have the mandate to build the next government – and there cannot be a coalition government built against us,” Merkel said.
The post Merkel claims victory in German election as far-right party joins parliament appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
President Donald Trump’s comments about owners firing players who kneel during the national anthem sparked a mass increase in such protests around the National Football League Sunday, as more than 130 players sat, knelt or raised their fists in defiance during early games.
A week ago, just four players didn’t stand and two raised their fists.
Defensive star Von Miller was among the majority of Denver Broncos who took a knee in Buffalo Sunday, where Bills running back LeSean McCoy stretched during the “Star Spangled Banner.” In Chicago, the Pittsburgh Steelers stayed in the tunnel except for one player, Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva, who stood outside the tunnel with a hand over his heart. Tom Brady was among the New England Patriots who locked arms in solidarity in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
The president’s comments turned the anthems — usually sung during commercials — into must-watch television shown live by the networks and Yahoo!, which streamed the game in London. In some NFL stadiums, crowds booed or yelled at players to stand. There was also some applause.
NFL players, coaches, owners and executives used the anthems to show solidarity in their defiance to Trump’s criticism.
In Detroit, anthem singer Rico Lavelle took a knee at the word “brave,” lowering his head and raising his right fist into the air.
Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson, whose brother, Woody, is the ambassador to England and one of Trump’s most ardent supporters, called it “an honor and a privilege to stand arm-in-arm unified with our players during today’s national anthem” in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The issue reverberated across the Atlantic, where about two dozen players, including Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, took a knee during the playing of the U.S. anthem at Wembley Stadium.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan and players on both teams who were not kneeling remained locked arm-in-arm throughout the playing of the anthem and “God Save The Queen.” No players were knelt during the British anthem.
A handful of NFL players have refused to stand during the anthem to protest several issues, including police brutality. But that number ballooned Sunday following Trump’s two-day weekend rant that began with the president calling for NFL protesters to be fired and continued Saturday with the president rescinding a White House invitation for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors over star Stephen Curry’s critical comments of him.
The movement started more than a year ago when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Collin Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem as a protest of police treatment of racial minorities. This season, no team has signed him, and some supporters believe NFL owners are avoiding him because of the controversy.
A handful of Miami Dolphins players wore black T-shirts supporting Kaepernick during pregame warm-ups. The shirts have “#IMWITHKAP” written in bold white lettering on the front.
Trump’s targeting of top professional athletes in football and basketball brought swift condemnation from executives and players in the National Football League and the National Basketball Association.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended Trump’s attacks Sunday, saying on ABC’s “This Week” that the president thinks “owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem.” Mnuchin added that “they can do free speech on their own time.”
The National Hockey League’s reigning champion Pittsburgh Penguins announced Sunday they’ve accepted a White House invitation from Trump. The Penguins said they respect the office of the president and “the long tradition of championship team visiting the White House.”
“Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways,” the Penguins said. “However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit.”
Sports hasn’t been immune from America’s deep political rifts, but the president’s delving into the NFL protests started by Kaepernick a year ago brought new attention to the issues.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,’” Trump said to loud applause Friday night at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama.
“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” Trump said in a Sunday morning tweet.
Trump also mocked the league’s crackdown on illegal hits, suggesting the league had softened because of its safety initiatives, which stem from an increased awareness of the devastating effects of repeated hits to the head.
Kahn, who was among the NFL owners who chipped in $1 million to the Trump inauguration committee, said he met with his team captains before kickoff in London “to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump.”
Trump’s comments drew sharp responses from some of the nation’s top athletes, with LeBron James calling the president a “bum.” Hours later, Major League Baseball saw its first player take a knee during the national anthem.
The NFL its players, often at odds, have been united in condemning the president’s criticisms.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who’s been a strong supporter of the president, expressed “deep disappointment” with Trump.
The NFL, meanwhile, said it would re-air a unity spot called “Inside These Lines” during its Sunday night game between Oakland and Washington on NBC. “Inside These Lines” is a 60-second video that highlights the power of football to bring people together.
The post President’s criticisms spark more protests at NFL games appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM, NEWSHOUR CORRESPONDENT: It’s early Saturday morning in Ocuilan, Mexico and Faustino Jimenez hopes he won’t be delivering more bad news. He’s an volunteer engineer, trained by the Mexican civil defense force.
Hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed in this area. Jimenez’s job is to decide which ones can be saved and which ones must be demolished. The Garcia family lives in this modest two story house. 86-year-old Catalina Hernandez Vargas raised her two children here. They grew up and raised kids of their own. Over the decades, the family and the house expanded three generations under one roof. Today, Jimenez will determine whether they can stay any longer.
Ocuilan is in a rural, mountainous area in Mexico state, about 60-miles southwest of Mexico City. There are no tall structures here, so only two people died in the quake. Dozens more were injured. Mayor Felix Alberto Linares toured the wreckage of an 18th century Catholic church. he balloons remain from a celebratory feast a few weeks before the quake hit. It’s not clear if the church can be saved.
MAYOR FELIX ALBERTO LINARES, MAYOR, OCUILAN, MÉXICO: The issue here is that we can’t let the effects of the earthquake be forgotten after a few weeks or a month. We are going to be following up with those who lost their home so we can help them rebuild.”
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Everywhere we went, we saw similar damage. In a neighboring town, its historic church is cracked and crumbled. In the tiny hillside town of Tlatempa, an estimated 75 percent of the homes are badly damaged or destroyed. Back at the Garcia home, it’s what everyone feared: their home is too dangerous to live in. Twenty-two-year-old noemi was born and raised in this house.
NOEMI GARCIA CEDANO: My parents’ house cracked and they told us we had to evacuate. They say everything is going to collapse. We have to find another place to live because the ground could keep shaking. Nothing is easy. We don’t know what’s going to happen next.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Jimenez’s team immediately begins helping them pack up their belongings. Noemi’s father, Edilberto Garcia Hernandez, is a local policeman,
EDILBERTO GARCIA HERNANDEZ: My parents built the first two rooms of this house. When I earned enough money, I built more onto it, the little I could. But we are poor.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: His mom has slept in the house since she was a teenager, but not anymore.
CATALINA HERNANDEZ VARGAS: I thought of asking god to just let me die. I don’t want to live through any more of this. We have suffered, and I don’t want to suffer anymore.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For Faustino Jiminez, these days are the worst part of his job.
FAUSTINO JIMENEZ, ENGINEER: Emotionally, this work breaks you. It’s very difficult. You can’t just tell someone with a cold heart that they have nowhere to live. But our job is to save lives.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In two hours, all the Garcia’s belongings are stacked outside. They’ll stay with a relative tonight but beyond that they just don’t know.
CATALINA HERNANDEZ VARGAS: I feel destroyed. It feels like these are the last days on earth. We have no idea what’s going to happen.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: One family, like thousands here in central Mexico with a long road ahead to rebuild.
The post In central Mexico, earthquake survivors face extensive damage appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
MEGAN THOMPSON, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: For more about this weekend’s intersection of sports and politics, I’m joined from Washington by NPR contributor, “Washington Post” sports columnist, and University of Maryland professor, Kevin Blackistone.
So, I first wanted to start out by asking you about President Trump’s motivations. I mean, in your view, why do you think he decided to weigh in to this? Weighed into this?
KEVIN BLACKISTONE, SPORTS COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Well, across the cynic in me suggests that he did so to divert our attention from serious things like what’s going on with North Korea, what’s going on with climate change, what’s going on with the health care bill. But on the other side of it, I also think he just interjected himself into this debate simply because it was in front of his base in Alabama and he thought he could get away with it.
THOMPSON: It’s rare to hear from NFL owners, especially when it comes to hot button political topics. But we are hearing from many of them and they are by and large agreeing with the players. How do you think that that’s going to affect this national conversation?
BLACKISTONE: Well, I think it gives it imprimatur to go forward, right? Because when we stared this football season, the conversation was around a few players who are dropping to a knee in support of Colin Kaepernick and I don’t think that the owners, certainly the commissioner did not, the NBA commissioner Adam Silver did not, the Golden State Warriors did not appreciate the language and the intonation from President Trump about the protests that are going on that started over a year ago by Colin Kaepernick.
THOMPSON: Talking about Colin Kaepernick, I mean, as you said, this all started with him. How do you think all of this is going to affect him both short term and long term?
BLACKISTONE: Well, I think, long term, he’s etched a place in history. In the short term, what does it do for his career, if all of the owners are coming out in support of this, the commissioner has come out and supported this, the fact that he just got an award from the NFLPA, the players union, for humanitarian and community work that he’s done, I think makes it much easier for him to get back into the league and makes the argument that he is somehow a pariah, extremely specious.
THOMPSON: Last week, it was revealed that former player Aaron Hernandez, who was only 27 years old when he committed suicide while in prison for —
THOMPSON: — murder. It was revealed that he had severe CTE, the degenerative brain disease. And in commons on Friday, President Trump basically encouraged hard hits, saying that rules preventing them were ruining the game.
I wanted to ask you, I mean, when are the league and football fans on that issue?
BLACKISTONE: Well, I think it’s become much harder for many of us who are football fans to watch football, be it professional, be it semi-professional, which is college football, even high school and Little League Games, simply because we know that what we’re watching could result in some serious brain damage to the participants. So, it’s a difficult situation.
But what President Trump had to say about it was uninformed and need not be said. And the fact of the matter is, this is a huge problem and it’s a medical problem and it really needs to be addressed.
THOMPSON: Kevin Blackistone, thank you very much for joining us.
BLACKISTONE: Thank you.
The post Kaepernick has ‘etched a place in history’ with NFL protest appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Citizens of eight countries will face new restrictions on entry to the U.S. under a proclamation signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday.
The new rules, which will impact the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, will go into effect on October 18.
The restrictions range from full travel bans on nationals from countries like Syria to more targeted restrictions. A suspension of non-immigrant visas to citizens for Venezuela, for instance, applies only to senior government officials and their immediate families.
The announcement comes the same day as Trump’s temporary ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries is set to expire, 90 days after it went into effect. That ban had barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” from entering the U.S.
“As President, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” reads the proclamation.
Officials stressed that valid visas would not be revoked as a result of the proclamation. The order also permits, but does not guarantee, case-by-case waivers .
The restrictions are targeted at countries that Department of Homeland Security officials say refuse to share information with the U.S. or haven’t taken necessary security precautions.
“The acting secretary has recommended actions that are tough and that are tailored, including restrictions and enhanced screening for certain countries,” said Miles Taylor, counselor to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, said Friday.
Unlike Trump’s first travel ban, which sparked chaos at airports across the country and a flurry of legal challenges, officials said they had been working for months on the new rules, in collaboration with various agencies and in conversation with foreign governments.
The restrictions are based on a new baseline developed by DHS that includes factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with biometric information and share information about travelers’ terror-related and criminal histories. The U.S. then shared those benchmarks with every country in the world and gave them 50 days to comply.
READ NEXT: How a shifting definition of ‘white’ helped shape U.S. immigration policy
The eight countries are those that refused or were unable to comply.
Trump last week called for a “tougher” travel ban after a bomb partially exploded on a London subway.
“The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!” he tweeted.
Critics have accused Trump of overstepping his authority and violating the U.S. Constitution’s protections against religious bias. Trump had called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” during his campaign.
The new policy could complicate the Supreme Court’s review of the order, which is scheduled for argument next month.
The post Trump signs proclamation restricting travel from 8 countries appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Where did punk rock come from?
In addition to its musical precursors, a new book makes the case that it was spawned in part by the creative exchange of musicians with the New York School of poets, whose work was often casual and irreverent.
In “Do You Have A Band? Poetry and Punk Rock in New York City,” Daniel Kane, a professor of American literature and culture at the University of Sussex in Brighton, traces how intimately innovators of punk, such as Richard Hell and Patti Smith, interacted with New York School poets such as Ted Berrigan and Anne Waldman, including in places like CBGB, the Poetry Project at St. Marks Church and via written letters.
“Patti Smith, Richard Hell, these people we know as musicians came to New York to be poets,” said Kane. “And they came with relatively old-fashioned notions with what constitutes poetry. These poets gave them alternative ways of thinking about poetry.”
In many ways, Kane shows, these musicians had a love-hate relationship with the New York School poets because of those differences. While these poets were insistent on not taking poetry too seriously (poet Ed Sanders, for example, published a magazine at the time called “F*** You: a magazine of the arts”), these musicians had come to New York with the closely-held ideas that an artist was meant to convey high emotion and speak from a position of authority — ideas taken from earlier poets like the British romantics, and reiterated by beat poets like Allen Ginsberg.
“[New York School poet] Ted Berrigan would say, ‘poetry can be fun, it can be light-hearted,'” said Kane. “He questioned the authority people were investing in figures like Ginsberg. And meanwhile Lou Reed and Patti Smith were enamored of the arguably hyberbolic lyrics of a poem like [Ginsberg’s] ‘Howl.'”
But while musicians like Smith were in some ways resistant to the poets of the day, Kane shows how they were also were influenced by them, including by the air of indifference they projected, and even their silliness.
On Smith’s 1975 album “Horses,” for example, she allowed herself to be funny, something she mostly set aside in her later music. “I think that deep, intelligent, rich humor was inspired partly by the Poetry Project at St. Marks Church,” Kane said. St. Marks is also the place Smith first performed.
Punk musician Richard Hell, meanwhile, was reading Ted Berrigan’s poetry as he made music, and sometimes even on stage. As Kane relates in his book, Hell once began a performance by referencing the Berrigan poem “10 Things I Do Every Day,” an irreverent catalogue of the things a person does every day.
“I drank a Pepsi, and then I took a pill!” Hell told the audience, according to Kane, and then added sarcastically: “Just a moment, restrain yourselves, ladies and gents. This is poetry, don’t get carried away!”
Read Berrigan’s full poem below.
10 THINGS I DO EVERY DAY
by Ted Berrigan
see the cat
love my wife
think of Frank
dig the streets
go home for dinner
read the Post
see my friends
have a Pepsi
From “The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan,” edited by Alice Notley. (c) 2006 by the Regents of the University of California. Published by the University of California Press.
Daniel Kane is a reader in English and American literature at the University of Sussex in Brighton. His books include “We Saw the Light: Conversations Between the New American Cinema and Poetry” and “All Poets Welcome: The Lower East Side Poetry Scene in the 1960s.”
The post How the irreverent poetry of the ’60s helped spawn punk music appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
If President Donald Trump is serious about stopping illegal immigration, he should forget about the border wall and turn his attention to the gaping hole in the enforcement of immigration law at U.S. worksites.
Washington has been unwilling to repair this problem, despite three decades of failure since Congress passed the erroneously named Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). As a result of the law, the U.S. population of undocumented immigrants grew from about 3.5 million in 1990 to its peak of 12.2 million in 2007. The current estimate is 11.3 million people.
Presented as a compassionate but pragmatic compromise, IRCA coupled a one-time amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants with an employer sanctions regime to punish those who knowingly hired persons not authorized to work in the United States.
But the law came into the world with a fatal defect. Because of the clout of strange-bedfellows — a left-right coalition that united immigrant rights activists, Latino politicians, businesses, and libertarians — IRCA was stripped of a mandate for the executive branch to develop a secure means of verifying that workers were authorized. Instead, workers were allowed to present documents from a wide assortment of easily counterfeited identifiers, and employers were required to accept any document that “reasonably appears on its face to be genuine.”
The result was a proliferation of counterfeit documents and fraud on a massive scale. Far from stopping illegal immigration, IRCA had actually stimulated it, according to Philip Martin, an immigration scholar at the University of California at Davis. “Perhaps the most important effect of immigration reform was to spread unauthorized workers from the Southwest to the rest of the country,” said Martin.
IRCA’s fundamental unintended consequence was the creation of a legal framework that enabled — and still enables — illegal immigrants to pretend to be legal while employers pretend to believe them.
The issue is largely ignored today, but it was a focal point of the immigration debate in the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton appointed Barbara Jordan, the civil rights leader and former Texas congresswoman, to lead the federal Commission on Immigration Reform. At the time, Jordan issued a blunt warning that failure to regulate immigration would provoke an anti-immigration backlash. “Unless this country does a better job in curbing illegal immigration, we risk irreparably undermining our commitment to legal immigration,” Jordan said.
Jordan wasn’t alone in expressing concern. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., warned her colleagues at a Senate hearing in 1996, “Ladies and gentlemen, let me say to you what I honest-to-God believe [is] the truth. If we cannot effect sound, just and moderate controls, the people of America will rise to stop all immigration.”
In his 1995 State of the Union address, Clinton himself talked tough on the issue. “All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country,” he said. Clinton pledged “to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace as recommended by the commission headed by former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.”
The Jordan Commission’s report to Congress, titled “U.S. Immigration Policy: Restoring Credibility,” became the basis for legislation sponsored by Republicans Alan Simpson in the Senate and Lamar Smith in the House. But its call for a computer-based verification system was muzzled by the left-right coalition that supported the law. What survived was a pilot project that has led to the current E-Verify system, which most employers are free to ignore.
In 2007, as the Senate neared a vote on comprehensive reform legislation that repeated the IRCA formula of amnesty-plus-worksite enforcement, Doris Meissner, who had served as commissioner of the Clinton-era Immigration and Naturalization Service, endorsed the proposal while acknowledging her agency’s failure to enforce the law.
“We never really did in any serious way the enforcement that was to accompany the legalization of the people who were here illegally,” Meissner said. That was a far cry from her public assurance — shortly before the 1996 election — that under Clinton’s leadership, the INS “means business when it comes to enforcing immigration laws in the workplace.”
In 2013, when comprehensive reform was revived in the Senate, Meissner appeared on C-SPAN to support it again. But while the comprehensive reform bill was passed by the Senate, it stalled in the House, where Republican leaders refused to bring it up for a vote. They faced a populist revolt that drew on resentment at the failure of IRCA and the suspicion that the new legislation would do no better. That revolt, and the distrust in government that fueled it, helped carry Donald Trump to the presidency.
President Trump seems to view his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border as a necessary assertion of national sovereignty. His critics claim that it would be absurdly expensive and ineffective against those who are highly motivated to enter the United States illegally. (Congress seems to agree; so far funding for the wall has been a non-starter). But there is no doubt that much of their motivation is derived from the understanding that employers with jobs are willing to hire them. And the decades since IRCA was passed have demonstrated that defenders of illegal immigrants are poised to condemn any effort to restrict immigration as rooted in nativism, bigotry, and offensive nationalism.
But even before the 2016 election, when it had become clear that Trump had struck a chord with working class Americans, some of his most prominent critics acknowledged that Trump had addressed legitimate grievances of American workers that cosmopolitan elites had ignored. In mid-2016, former Harvard president Lawrence Summers, who had served in the Obama administration, called for a course correction. “Reflexive internationalism needs to give way to responsible nationalism,” Summers wrote in the Washington Post, “or else we will only see more distressing referendums and populist demagogues contending for high office.” Summers said such an approach must be based on the understanding “that the basic responsibility of government is to maximize the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good.”
Congress and the executive branch established worksite enforcement to protect this basic responsibility to American workers, both native born and immigrant. Now Congress and the president should forget about the border wall, and take up the task of building a credible system of worksite enforcement.
The post Column: Forget the border wall, Mr. President. Look to the hole in worksite enforcement rules appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Islands throughout the Caribbean communities are beginning a long road to recovery from several major hurricanes that have ravaged the Atlantic. But Puerto Rico in particular is facing what local officials have described as a full-blown humanitarian crisis, with devastation they call “apocalyptic.”
Less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma made landfall on the island, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, the worst natural disaster the island has seen in nearly a century. Sixteen people have died as a result of the storm, according to the Associated Press, a number local officials expect to rise. The island has virtually no running water or electricity; around 80 percent of the island’s crops have been destroyed. Scores of Puerto Ricans are gathering around what’s left of the country’s cell towers, desperate for contact with loved ones.
Nearly all of the U.S. territory’s 3.4 million residents need assistance recovering from the storm.Here’s how you can help.
Cash. Most organizations are asking for cash, rather than supplies, so they can route help to where it’s needed most more quickly. Here are some of the largest groups with campaigns underway:
GoFundMe has also created a hub that includes all campaigns for Hurricane Maria. You can also find campaigns for individual families seeking help for loved ones.
Supplies. The government of Puerto Rico has also launched a guide that details how individuals or companies can donate emergency and construction supplies (from bottled water, hand sanitizer and formula to extension cords, tarp and safety glasses). The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) is coordinating many of these donations here (and corporate giving here).
Volunteers. Once infrastructure is stable, the country will also need volunteers. VOAD is a good place to start. It can help match you with organizations with efforts already underway.
Spread the word. Part of the problem is that much of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean isn’t able to ask for help, due to loss of power and infrastructure.
Facebook has a safety check page for victims and their families to check in with each other, as does Google Docs’ person finder. If you or loved one has access to any kind of cell or internet service, the American Red Cross also has an Emergency! App for saftey check-ins and updates. Univision launched an interactive page where you can search for updates on individual municipalities. Officials in Puerto Rico are asking people to report U.S. citizens who need emergency assistance to the State Department through its Task Force Alert program. Go to http://tfa.state.gov and select “2017 Storm Maria.”
Finding reliable ways to give, especially during times when multiple disasters intersect like they did this month, can be overwhelming. This list is a good place to start, but as always, do your own research to make sure your aid dollars go as far as they possibly can in the right direction. Visit Charity Navigator if you aren’t sure whether an organization is trustworthy.