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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: China officially installed its new leader today. Xi Jinping took the final step in affirming his status, adding the post of president to his other positions of power.

    The delegates arriving at Beijing's Great Hall of the People had been carefully selected. And once inside, they did just as expected, formally electing Xi Jinping as president.

    He was the only candidate, and won 2,952 votes. A lone delegate voted no, and three abstained.

    QU JIA, National People's Congress: It meets the popular expectations, and it meets the expectations of the Chinese people and the nation. It is a happy ending.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The 59-year-old Xi had already been named military and Communist Party chief in November. Now he will officially lead the most populous country on Earth with more than 1.3 billion people.

    China also boasts the world's second largest economy, after the United States. It is also the second largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, about 7.5 percent of the total. But the two nations' economic relationship has been marred recently by allegations of widespread cyber-attacks on American targets.

    TOM DONILON, U.S. National Security Adviser: Increasingly, U.S. businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber-intrusions emanating from China on a very large scale.

     

    JUDY WOODRUFF: China's foreign minister initially dismissed the allegations, but on Tuesday a spokeswoman took a different tone.

    HUA CHUNYING, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman: What the Internet needs is not war, but rules and cooperation. China is willing, on the basis of the principles of mutual respect and mutual trust, to have constructive dialogue and cooperation on this issue.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: U.S. officials welcomed that statement, and today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said President Obama telephoned Xi to congratulate him on his election.

    As for the cyber-attack issue:

    JAY CARNEY, White House Press Secretary: I can tell you that, at every level, when we engage with our counterparts in the Chinese government, we talk about all the range of issues that are important between us.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Another friction point with the United States is China's growing military reach and its confrontations lately with Japan and other neighbors over territory, disputed islands.

    On the home front, Xi's arrival has raised hopes for reforms, to stop corruption, environmental damage and a growing gap between rich and poor. The people of China and the rest of the world will have the next decade to size up Xi. He's expected to serve two five-year terms.

    For more on China's new president and what it means for the United States, I'm joined by Ken Lieberthal. He was senior director for Asia on the National Security Council in the Clinton administration. He's now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. And Gordon Chang, he was an attorney in Hong Kong for 20 years. Now he's an author and contributor to Forbes.com.

    Welcome to both of you.

    And let me start with you, Ken Lieberthal. What do we need to know about Xi Jinping? Tell us something about him.

    KENNETH LIEBERTHAL, Brookings Institution: The most important thing we need to know is that he's going to govern China for the next decade.

    And the next decade is going to be enormously important for U.S. interests, for China, for Asia and globally. He's worked his way up through every level of the Chinese political system, so he's a very experienced politician and administrator.

    He's come in on a program of saying he's going to clean up corruption, he's going to revitalize the Communist Party and keep it in power and use his capabilities to reform the Chinese economic system while maintaining and building military strength.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Gordon Chang, is there something about his background, though, that we should know?

    GORDON CHANG, Author: Well, his father was a comrade of Mao Zedong, which makes him a princeling.

    He's the first Chinese leader to be born after the Communist Party came to power. But I think we focus too much on Xi Jinping, because we have got to remember that he's in a collective political system and the Politburo Standing Committee, which is the apex of political power in China, at least four, maybe five of those seven-member bodies are so-called conservatives, the hard line anti-reformers.

    Xi Jinping, whatever he thinks, has got to work with those people.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Ken Lieberthal, what do we look for from him that will be different? What will change from China?

    KENNETH LIEBERTHAL: Well, he's already tried to change the style by being much more of a kind of lively politician than his predecessor was.

    But I think Gordon is right. We have to look to see whether he can forge the kind of consensus to make deep structural reforms in China that the country deeply needs if it's going to move forward.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: For example?

    KENNETH LIEBERTHAL: For example, they need to shift from an export-oriented and investment-focused economy to one that's much more focused on domestic consumption as a driver of economic development, which requires expanding the services sector, increasing incomes and so forth.

    That runs against huge vested interests in China. So the question is whether he's going to be able to really rework incentives through this system so that he can build the services sector, build incomes, reduce huge capital-intensive infrastructure projects and reduce dependence on exports.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, looking at him, Gordon Chang, from the United States, what will we see that looks different, do you think?

    GORDON CHANG: I think the one thing we have been concerned about is all that, although he's been in power for only a few months, since last November, when he became general-secretary of the party, China has engaged on some very provocative maneuvers against the Japanese, because the Chinese claim sovereignty over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.

    People say that Xi Jinping is actually leading China's foreign policy on this issue, and if so, we're in trouble, because this is a very troubled area.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And do you believe, Ken Lieberthal, that that's a primary priority of his?

    KENNETH LIEBERTHAL: I think his real priority is domestic.

    What he needs is stability abroad in order to undertake reform domestically. But his big problem is that he -- that the Communist Party has really nurtured very ardent nationalism domestically, and he can't allow himself to get on the wrong side of that or he won't have the political capital to carry out reforms.

    So he's trying to walk a tightrope. He has to be seen as strong in international affairs. But I don't think he's looking for trouble internationally. He'd rather avoid if it if he can.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you see that the same way?

    GORDON CHANG: Well, I think that he would like to avoid trouble.

    But, on the other hand, China is doing things which is causing trouble not only with its neighbors, from the arc of India in the south to South Korea in the north, but also with the United States. It's not just a question of cyber-hacking. It's all these questions of sovereignty, closing off the South China Sea, support of North Korea.

    These are things that deeply trouble the international community and the United States. And if China really wants better relations with us, they know what to do. They can stop doing what they have been doing for the last three or four years.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about the cyber-hacking, cyber-espionage? Is that something that it's believed the Chinese leadership wants to pursue or is it something that has just happened?

    GORDON CHANG: Well, clearly, the People's Liberation Army, the security services, even the Communist Party itself have been involved in hacking.

    This is the most extensive effort in history. They're going not only after secrets in the military establishment of ours, but they're also going after our corporates and trying to get information to use for commercial purposes, but most important, they're attacking the institutions of a free society, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post.

    This really goes the core of what America is, and so this is very serious for us.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And how much does that, Ken Lieberthal, interfere with everything else that Xi Jinping wants to do?

    KENNETH LIEBERTHAL: Well, I think the cyber-security issue is moving to the center of the U.S.-China agenda. And so it's likely to be an issue that's enormously troublesome.

    The Chinese are engaging in a huge amount of cyber-espionage. By the way, so is everyone else. So do we. We don't use it for the same purposes, to support our private sector enterprises, that the Chinese use to support their commercial enterprises. But I think that this is an area that requires a lot of very careful thinking about how best to handle it.

    We can't ask the Chinese to stop doing something that we're doing. We can't ask them to obey rules that we don't ask France and others to obey. So, this is an area that really is going to have be very troublesome. And I think it is going to take a while to figure out even what we want, with rules that we would like everyone to adhere to that we're prepared to adhere to ourselves.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What about the huge role, Gordon Chang, that China plays in the U.S. economy, holding so much debt, a trillion dollars of American debt?

    GORDON CHANG: I don't think that's really a big issue or should be a big issue for us., because China acquires our debt because they have to.

    They have an economy that is geared to selling things to us. Last year, China's merchandise trade surplus against the United States was 136.3 percent of its overall merchandise trade surplus. That means they're running deficits with the rest of the world so they can run a surplus against us. That gives us enormous leverage if we care to use it on issues that Ken's been talking about, like cyber-attacks.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, finally to both of you, Ken Lieberthal, as you look at the next 10 years of leadership under Xi Jinping, what can Americans -- do they look for constant internal struggle in China or what?

    KENNETH LIEBERTHAL: I think, if you really understand the Chinese system, you will see that this is a place that is in serious trouble, where there's going to be a real struggle to try to revamp the economy and revamp the relationship and the system to the population.

    I would, frankly, much rather have Barack Obama's problems looking ahead than I would to have Xi Jinping's problems looking ahead. We will see over the course of 10 years whether China has managed to make the changes necessary to be a dynamic, wealthy economy 10 to 20 years from now and beyond. If not, they are going to be in serious trouble within a decade.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Quick final word?

    GORDON CHANG: Yes, I think the Chinese political system is in disarray. The Communist Party I don't think has got itself consolidated.

    But you have to military breaking free of civilian control, really setting the tone for Chinese foreign policy. This is a real problem for us.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Gordon Chang.

    Ken Lieberthal shaking his head. We will come back and ...

    KENNETH LIEBERTHAL: I will disagree that ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right.

    GORDON CHANG: I disagree with a lot of what you say, too. So ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We will get you back soon to finish this conversation.

    We thank you both, Gordon Chang, Ken Lieberthal.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: President Obama went back to the Capitol for a third day, bidding to build support for a long-term budget deal. He met today with both Senate Republicans and House Democrats. But it was unclear how much headway he will be able to make. Most Republicans are balking at any additional tax hikes to cut the deficit. Many Democrats are opposed to substantial cuts in entitlement spending.

    The Democratic-led Senate Judiciary Committee approved a new ban on assault-style weapons today. The bill would outlaw the sale of 157 kinds of semiautomatic weapons and limit ammunition clip sizes to 10 bullets. It passed on a party-line vote of 10 to eight, with all Republicans opposed. But it faces long odds in the full Senate.

    The head of the Transportation Security Administration is defending a proposal to allow small knives on passenger planes. The idea has provoked a backlash by pilots, flight attendants and others. But John Pistole told a House hearing today that the concerns are misplaced. He said an attacker could use any number of things already on planes.

    JOHN PISTOLE, Transportation Security Administration: A metal knife or fork, whether it's a wine glass or wine bottle that they break and use, there's any number of things that could be used as a deadly instrument. It really gets again to what is the intent of the person on board, as opposed to the object. So, if we simply focus on objects, then we're always behind the eight ball.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Pistole said airport screeners find some 2,000 small knives a day, and each one consumes several minutes of time.

    In Afghanistan, the top U.S. commander is warning American troops to be ready for more attacks by Afghans. That's after Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the U.S. and the Taliban of colluding to destabilize the country. The New York Times reported today that Gen. Joseph Dunford sent the warning to battlefield commanders. He told them in an email -- quote -- "We're at a rough point in the relationship."

    Karzai issued a new statement today sing he wants to help reform relations with the U.S.

    A coordinated attack on the Iraqi Justice Ministry killed at least 25 people today in Baghdad. Car bombers and gunmen launched the raid near the heavily fortified Green Zone. Fighting lasted for an hour, as ambulances attempted to remove scores of wounded. No group immediately claimed responsibility, but the assault bore the markings of al Qaeda in Iraq.

    There's been a surge in the exodus of Syrians escaping the civil war in their country. U.N. officials reported today the number of registered refugees increased 10 percent just in the past week. That brought the overall count to more than 1.1 million. It's believed thousands more Syrians have fled, but have not registered.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached an agreement today to form a new coalition government. It's the first in a decade to exclude ultra-orthodox Jewish parties, and it's expected to try to curb preferential treatment for that minority. The coalition may also push to restart peace talks with the Palestinians after four years of virtually no movement.

    But, Netanyahu warned, none of it will be easy.

    PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Israel: We are engaged in the final details of the coalition agreement, in order to bring Israel a new government next week. The next candidacy will be one of the most challenging in the history of the state. This is not lip service. We are facing great security and diplomatic challenges. There's no exaggeration. There is no exaggeration.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The new government is set to be sworn in on Monday, and two days before President Obama plans to arrive for his first visit since taking office.

    Honda Motors is recalling 250,000 vehicles worldwide due to braking problems. The automaker said today the problem may cause braking even when the driver is not pressing the pedal. The recall affects four models made between 2004 and 2005, the Acura R.L. sedan, the Acura MDX SUV, the Honda Pilot SUV, and Honda Odyssey minivan. No accidents have been reported.

    Wall Street pushed higher again today and the Dow Jones industrials rose for a 10th straight day, the most since 1996. The Dow gained nearly 84 points to close at 14,539. The Nasdaq rose nearly 14 points to close just short of 3,259.

    Those are some of the day's major stories -- now back to Jeff.


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    JEFFREY BROWN: Yesterday, a selection that took many by surprise. Today, the new pope spent his first day as head of the worldwide Catholic Church.

    We begin with a report narrated by Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN, Independent Television News: He's a Vatican outsider who speaks five languages, Pope Francis, or Jorge Bergoglio, celebrating mass in the Sistine Chapel tonight, with the cardinals who elected him decked in gold.  

    He's 76, a little unsteady on his feet here, but the Argentinean spoke in fluent Italian without notes. And last night, Italy's bishops were so convinced that one of their men had won back the papacy that they sent out a message of congratulation by mistake.

    This morning, the pope, who is also bishop of Rome, visited one of its oldest churches, praying for the city's safety. He's the first non-European to become pontiff in 12 centuries, but his parents were Italian and the welcome here could not have been warmer.

    From here, he took an ordinary police car to collect his luggage and pay his bill before the move into a more upscale neighborhood -- so, a no-nonsense debut from what appears to be a back-to-basics, down-to-earth pope, apparently hoping to change the Vatican more than it changes him.

    St. Peter's Square heaving with excitement last night when his church pulled back the red curtain and sprung him on the world. He used to be known as Father Jorge. Now he's Pope Francis, but determined, it seems, that these dizzy heights won't change him, bowing his head and asking the people to pray for him, then sharing the bus back home with his fellow vicars.

    ARCHBISHOP TIMOTHY DOLAN, Archdiocese of New York: We toasted him. The cardinal secretary of state toasted him, and then he toasted us and he simply said, "May God forgive you."

    Which brought the house down. In other words, the -- I hope you -- I hope you don't regret this later.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN: The biggest cheer, of course, from his fellow Latin Americans, for a man with the common touch, yes, but no doctrinal pushover, as tough on abortion or gay marriage or women priests as his bookish predecessor. 


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    JEFFREY BROWN: Outside of Rome, perhaps no group was more excited about the choice for pope than Catholics in Argentina.

    A short time ago, I talked with Hugh Bronstein of Reuters in Buenos Aires.

    Hugh Bronstein, welcome.

    So, 24 hours later, what's been the reaction there in Argentina?

    HUGH BRONSTEIN, Reuters: Well, at first, it was stunned silence. Then it gave way very quickly to jubilation.

    The faithful in Argentina really believe that this is the right pope to do what needs to be done at the Vatican, to improve transparency and get back to the Gospels.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, there's been much attention to the new pope's simple lifestyle, his work with the poor. How has that manifested itself in his life and work in Argentina?

    HUGH BRONSTEIN: Well, this is a soccer-crazy country.

    And when it came out yesterday that he is a card-carrying rank-and-file fan of San Lorenzo, one of the top five teams here in Argentina, people went nuts. Twitter went wild. And it came out as well that he has a very unassuming kind of a lifestyle. His apartment is very close to the neighborhood where the headquarters of San Lorenzo is.

    He takes the bus to work, if not the subway. On the bus and on the subway, if the team did well the night before, he talks with his friends, his fellow commuters, if you will, about the triumphs or the disappointments of the San Lorenzo football team. That puts him in very good stead here in Argentina.

    JEFFREY BROWN: His appointment as pope also re-raised some long, ongoing questions about the role of the church, about his own stance during the years of the military dictatorship, the so-called dirty war of the 1970s.

    What is known and what has been debated and looked at there?

    HUGH BRONSTEIN: Well, that's a very serious concern.

    So far, I can tell you that there is no smoking gun that really stands up when you take away the politics. A book was written called "The Silence" about his performance during the dictatorship. The accusation postulated in the book is that he didn't properly protect two Jesuit priests who were ministering in the poor neighborhoods and basically allowed them to be taken away and imprisoned by the dictatorship.

    His allies contest that -- that version. There will be very deep investigations into that period, but so far no smoking gun.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, Pope Francis is described as theologically conservative. And I gather you have seen this in Argentina in his disputes more recently, for example, with recent governments, including the current president.

    Tell us how that has played out. What kind of issues?

    HUGH BRONSTEIN: Sure.

    This is a progressive country. It's a Catholic country, but it's a progressive country as well. The president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, sent a letter of congratulations to the pope yesterday. It was only two sentences long. This is the first pope to be elected outside of Europe in 1,300 years, the first from Latin America, the first Jesuit, the first from Argentina. One would have thought that maybe three sentences would have been merited under the circumstances.

    But it was two rather frosty sentences, which says a lot about the rather distant relationship that she has had in her six years in power with the pope. He spearheaded the opposition to her bill which became law in 2010 legalizing gay marriage. And there's been -- there's been a distant relationship ever since then.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, briefly, Hugh, if you could, finally, how does that play out? You started to talk a little bit about Argentina. It's a Catholic country, but more liberal socially. How does the -- what is the role of the church there these days? How is it seen?

    HUGH BRONSTEIN: Well, if you ask the average Argentine are you Catholic, the answer is absolutely yes. But not that many people go church here? They don't go to mass on Sundays. You don't see huge crowds at mass.

    Other countries in Latin America, Colombia, Mexico, Central America, are countries where you see a much bigger presence day to day of the Catholic Church. So keep in mind, this is the land of Evita. This is a place, this is a country a little bit of populism goes a long way. And the fact that he's taking the subway to work, the fact that he's a rank-and-file soccer fan is going to bridge the gap.

    And it shows a certain amount of political skill on his part that he knows that he's in a country that is Catholic, but is one of the most progressive countries in Latin America. And so he's doing what he can to bridge the gap, and that's what he's known for.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Hugh Bronstein of Reuters in Buenos Aires, thank you very much.

    HUGH BRONSTEIN: Thank you. 


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, to Detroit, where the governor of Michigan announced an emergency state takeover of the city's finances today.

    Margaret Warner has our report.

    MARGARET WARNER: It was once a bustling Midwestern city alive with people, the humming heart of the auto industry. But Detroit today is just a shell of that, with widespread decay and population loss. The 2010 census showed one person moved away from the city every 22 minutes in the last decade.

    WOMAN: It makes me sick. I want to leave. I wish I had somewhere else to go, because I would leave and never come back.

    MARGARET WARNER: Detroit is also the poorest major city in the U.S., running big annual deficits and $14 billion dollars in debt. All of that led Michigan's Republican governor, Rick Snyder, today to declare a financial emergency and recommend the appointment of an emergency financial manager for the city, Kevyn Orr.

    GOV. RICK SNYDER, R-Mich.: And if you look at the history of the city, this is a problem that's been evolving for 50-plus years. This is a problem that now has reached a true crisis point.

    In many respects, it's a sad day, to say we have this day, but again I like to view it as a day of opportunity. This is an opportunity for us to work together.

    MARGARET WARNER: Orr is a lawyer with the Washington law firm Jones Day. He's best known for his work on restructuring Chrysler in its bankruptcy of 2009.

    As emergency manager, he will have the power to renegotiate or even terminate the city's labor contracts, privatize public services and sell some city assets. Detroit's City Council has vigorously protested the move. But, today, Mayor Dave Bing said he will work with Orr to do what's best for the city.

    MAYOR DAVE BING, D-Detroit: Bottom line here is that we must stop fighting each other. We must start to work together, and so I'm happy that now I have got teammates. I have got partners that can help me do some of the things that need to be done in our city. Our citizens obviously deserve more than they are getting.

    MARGARET WARNER: Orr faces huge challenges in doing that. Even police protection has broken down, and corruption has blighted city hall.

    Just this week, former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted on two dozen federal charges of corruption and bribery.

    For more on the struggles facing Detroit and the way ahead, we're joined now by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the city's soon-to-be emergency financial manager, Kevyn Orr.

    Gentlemen, welcome to both of you.

    Gov. Snyder, the mayor and the City Council last year put forth their own plan to get the city solvent. Why is it necessary to do this now?

    RICK SNYDER: Well, Margaret, I appreciate them coming forward with a plan.

    The issue was, is the plan wasn't being implemented fast enough and wasn't going to be sufficient enough to resolve the financial crisis. So it was helpful. I urge them to continue to work on their efforts on that plan, but what I would say is we need to do more. And that was really the point of adding an emergency financial manager.

    And Kevyn's background is fabulous for this. It's really all hands on deck. We're bringing additional resources. So let's really turn around Detroit, because it's an outstanding opportunity with a very bright future if we can address these financial issues. And we address these financial issues.

    MARGARET WARNER: Mr. Orr, today at your press conference you called this job the Olympics of restructuring. What are your most pressing, immediate priorities? What do you have to do first?

    KEVYN ORR, Detroit Emergency Financial Manager: Well, hello, Margaret. Nice to meet you telephonically.

    The first thing I think we need to do is assure the citizens of Detroit that we are focused on their needs as customers and enhance city services. The reason I said it was the Olympics because we have got to deal with issues regarding employee and retiree benefits, as well as debt service, but we also have to provide services, key services to the citizens.

    So my first order of business is to look into that and see how there are ways we can improve it, some of which are in the pipeline already.

    MARGARET WARNER: But are you also -- in terms of actually cutting costs, which is the huge problem you face, are you going to be looking at things like cutting city workers in a city with high unemployment, or renegotiating labor contracts, privatizing some city services?

    KEVYN ORR: Margaret, everything is on the table.

    I think, under these circumstances, the three things that everybody agrees -- two things everybody agrees on, there's a financial emergency in the city. Something needs to be done about it. The question is what.

    And so we want to do is take a really extended and granular look at what can be done and what needs to be done, but everything is on the table. I want to make no decisions now, because I haven't had an opportunity to look at everything, but we're going to do what makes sense and what's driven by the data.

    MARGARET WARNER: Governor, the members of the City Council, who have opposed this, who appealed the decision, who are talking about going to court, say essentially that it's undemocratic to take the power to run the city out of the hands of elected representatives.

    What do you say to that?

    RICK SNYDER: Well, if you look at it, the city is really a subset of the state of Michigan. We're the sovereign entity here. And I'm an elected official. And I'm responsible to all the citizens of Michigan, Detroiters and non-Detroiters.

    And I'm focused on improving the city of Detroit. So there is an elected official in charge of this process. The other thing is, is, if you go back to the consent agreement I worked out with the city in the past, with the mayor and the City Council, and we all agreed on a series of things that needed to be done.

    And that's one of the starting points for our continuing efforts, is to say here's a list 21 different items that need to get done. A lot of those are still in process or need to get started. So that's one of the things that clearly needs to happen. And we are all part of that process.

    The other thing I would mention that was very exciting -- and I was proud to have him there -- was Mayor Bing was at the press conference ...

    KEVYN ORR: Absolutely.

    RICK SNYDER: ... to say this is about partnership. This is not about someone vs. someone else.

    This is all of us getting focused in on the citizens, the customers in Detroit to say, how do we give them better services and how do we create a long-term environment of success? Let's solve the short-term problems. Let's grow Detroit.

    MARGARET WARNER: Mr. Orr, you spoke today about wanting to have a team approach. But what are you -- are you going to be taking the views of the members of the City Council who really oppose some of these potential steps into account, or can you just override them? Where's the balance there?

    KEVYN ORR: Well, I don't think that members of -- all the members of the City Council necessarily oppose some of these steps.

    In fact, some of them were baked into the consent agreement that they agreed to. So the reality is that I'm just merely a creature of a state statute that allows me to expeditiously bypass some of the impediments to achieving the very goals that many of them have already agreed with.

    What I would like to do, though, is as we have seen with the mayor, as we have seen with the governor, who's taken a very courageous step in terms of declaring the emergency, this has been breeding for a long time. In fact, in 2005, there was a discussion of a restructuring.

    What I would like to do is embrace everybody in that process to achieve some of the goals and measures that have already been identified in a collegial and hopefully expeditious way.

    MARGARET WARNER: What is the time frame you have set for yourself, Mr. Orr? And if it comes to that, is bankruptcy, which is certainly what Chrysler did, is that an option?

    KEVYN ORR: Well, Chapter 9 is a little different than Chapter 11.

    But, yes, everything is on the table, including the possibility of a bankruptcy. The reason I keep emphasizing the need for all stakeholders to come together and try to reach a consensual agreement is because I think that would be more fair. I think it would be quicker. I think bankruptcy, specifically Chapter 9, could put a little finger on the table in terms of the powers that the municipality has vis-a-vis other stakeholders.

    So I would like to get to an agreement fairly quickly. I have 18 months to do it under my appointment. I'm going to enter into discussions with interested parties as soon as I can and as soon as I can inform myself and make an assessment from there going forward.

    It is my hope that we will be able to do this collaboratively, because the reality is New York and Philadelphia were able to do it that way. And other great cities, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, for instance, 10 years ago were considered in crisis, and look at them now. They're thriving. There's no reason Detroit can't have the same outcome.

    MARGARET WARNER: So, gentlemen, I would like to close by asking you both -- and I will begin with you, Governor -- is the underlying message here that when a city is in this much trouble of such long standing that really only an outside manager with, if not autocratic, than tremendous power, can really do what has to be done?

    RICK SNYDER: That's not necessary.

    It's a situation here where we have got at least 50 years of this problem growing. And a lot of people in good faith in the past have tried to solve it and have been unsuccessful. So the way I view it as is this is all hands on deck. This is not to exclude people. This is to say the mayor's been working hard on this. A lot of the City Council have, many people in the community.

    And let's add all the resources we can. And this is another tool in the toolkit to bring the powers of the emergency manager and to add this level of expertise. Kevyn is one of the finest restructuring bankruptcy people in the country.

    And let's get them on board, let's go, and let's do this as a team to turn Detroit around, because it will be a fabulous outcome and an opportunity for Detroiters, for Michiganders and our whole country to see Detroit moving in a positive way.

    MARGARET WARNER: Brief final word from you, Mr. Orr?

    KEVYN ORR: No, Margaret, you know, this is -- this is an issue and an opportunity whose time has come.

    And, frankly, if we get everybody, as the governor said, pulling all oars, if you will excuse the pun, pulling together, we can get this done very quickly. I'm not unmindful, however, that I'm very comfortable in the bankruptcy courts in America, and they're tremendously talented.

    They handle cases concerning horse farms all the way to airlines. They would be able to provide some heft and certainly some impetus, but I'm hoping we don't have to go that route. That sounds sort of odd coming from a bankruptcy practitioner, but that's my goal.

    MARGARET WARNER: Gov. Rick Snyder and Kevyn Orr, good luck and thank you so much.

    RICK SNYDER: Thank you.

    KEVYN ORR: Thank you so much, Margaret.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Our partners at Detroit Public TV and Michigan Public Radio have ongoing coverage of this story. You can find links to their reporting on our home page. 


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    JEFFREY BROWN: And, next, bright lights over the bay.

    NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels reports from San Francisco on a work of public art.

    SPENCER MICHELS: For 75 years, the Bay Bridge has been the workhorse on San Francisco Bay, linking Oakland and San Francisco, and carrying 270,000 cars and trucks a day.

    On the San Francisco side, its towers support suspension cables that keep the bridge deck up. But this gray utilitarian structure that partially collapsed in the 1989 earthquake has never captured the world's attention the way its nearby cousin, the Golden Gate Bridge, has. Built toward the end of the Depression, both were engineering marvels.

    Now the Bay Bridge is making its own splash. On a cold rainy night last week, it was transformed into a giant work of art; 25,000 tiny white undulating LED lights strung from the vertical cables were turned on in a flashy display of public art that can be seen for miles.

    For California politicians like Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, it was a chance to tout the area's uniqueness.

    LT. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM, D-Calif.: Here we are in San Francisco, a wacky and wonderful place, and a city that is probably best described as 49 square miles surrounded by reality.

    SPENCER MICHELS: The high-tech installation, which is called the Bay Lights, is being billed as the world's largest LED light sculpture. It's also a major piece of public art, an increasingly popular and often increasingly controversial art form, like The Gates in New York's Central Park by Christo or the New York City Waterfalls by Olafur Eliasson, or Cloud Gate, a public sculpture in Chicago by Anish Kapoor.

    Bay Lights is the creation of Leo Villareal, a New York City artist who specializes in using LED lights and computer programming in works on display at several major museums and in numerous installations. Villareal operates his laptop using specially designed software to control and program the lights.

    Once set up, it works automatically. The overall effect is meant to be abstract, but to reflect different movements around the bridge, from waves and boats to traffic and clouds.

    So, when you finally pulled the switch on this the other night, and the lights came on, what was your personal reaction?

    LEO VILLAREAL, Artist: It was overwhelming. I mean, it was really very, very exciting, because I worked very hard to integrate this piece into its environment. But it's not specific, and it's meant to be open-ended, highly subjective, so you can just relax, be with the piece, and take from it what you will. You will never see the exact same progression of sequences twice.

    SPENCER MICHELS: The lights, which are on every night from dusk until 2:00 a.m., can be seen only on the side facing north towards Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Drivers on the bridge cannot see or be distracted by the lights, one of many safety precautions dictated by a host of government agencies.

    LEO VILLAREAL: Installing the piece was also incredibly challenging. We had workers 525 feet up over the water at night from 11:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. for months on end.

    SPENCER MICHELS: It's cold up there.

    LEO VILLAREAL: It's cold. You know, you have thousands of cars rushing at you with a couple of cones protecting you, you know, dangling you know over the water at night.

    SPENCER MICHELS: The $8 million dollar project is being financed entirely by private donations. So far, $6 million dollars has been raised, much of it by public relations man Ben Davis, who came up with the idea. The rest of the money is still being raised.

    BEN DAVIS, Illuminate the Arts: This is going to bring, in my estimation, hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy. I think we're going to smash all records for public art.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Is there something a little commercial about all of that?

    BEN DAVIS: Not really, because that money's not going to anything but the communities that are here already. There's nobody catching a profit from this involved in the project.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Public art used to consist mostly of statues of generals or politicians. Today, many cities are requiring developers of large projects to pay 1 percent or more of construction costs for public art.

    J.D. Beltran, who teaches public art at the San Francisco Art Institute and is president of the arts commission, says getting public approval is tough, especially for complicated or abstract works.

    J.D. BELTRAN, San Francisco Art Institute: Many times, the public feels like because they don't understand a piece, it's being shoved down their throat, and they don't like it, and they will be very vocal about it.

    SPENCER MICHELS: But Beltran, who wasn't part of the project, says the Bay Lights works as public art.

    J.D. BELTRAN: It doesn't take much to understand because it's a gorgeous piece. I think it's beautiful, it's delightful. It fulfills all those requirements I think that the public wants in terms of a piece of public art. I think I can safely say it's pretty universally liked.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Unless they malfunction, as they did last weekend, the lights will remain lit every night for at least two years. A few years after that, the bridge will need painting and the lights will have to come down.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Spencer has written more about the Bay Bridge in a blog. You will find that on our website. 


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    JEFFREY BROWN: And finally tonight: Japan two years after the massive earthquake and tsunami struck its northeastern coast.

    Ray Suarez has the story.

    RAY SUAREZ: The 2011 quake was one of the strongest in recorded history. It set off a tsunami that killed at least 16,000 people, left another 2,600 missing, and triggered meltdowns at a nuclear power plant.

    Today, official records show over 300,000 people are still living in temporary housing.

    For more on life in Japan two years after the disaster, I am joined by Yuki Tatsumi. She's a senior associate on U.S.-Japanese relations at the Stimson Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan international research group. And she has just returned from Tokyo.

    Yuki, welcome.

    What are the observable effects of that earthquake in Japan two years later?

    YUKI TATSUMI, Stimson Center: The answer depends on where you live, frankly.

    If you live in the disaster-hit area, if you know anybody who were affected by the disaster, the disaster is still very much with you every day. People worry about radiation not only in their soil and the air, but also in the produce that they buy in grocery stores. But the further you move away from the affected area, you feel much, much less impact.

    RAY SUAREZ: Well, you were just in Tokyo. There, is there a conscious feeling of still trying to cope with this disaster and rebuild the country?

    YUKI TATSUMI: Yes. Yes and no, actually.

    On the day of the earthquake anniversary, there were memorial services everywhere, including Tokyo. There was actually a big memorial service in Tokyo, where prime minister and emperor and empress attended, and gave a prayer to those who lost their lives.

    And, at the same time, people in Tokyo at least live -- go around and live their normal lives, but I wouldn't say as if nothing happened, because parents very much worry about the radiation that still could be carried in the air, worry about their children's health, and then also, like I said, in the food that may be still contaminated.

    RAY SUAREZ: Well, we should talk a little bit about nuclear power. Because Japan has no significant natural resources to create energy, it's relied very heavily on nuclear power. And that nuclear power became a subject of great controversy after the power plant disaster that followed the tsunami.

    What's the state of play now? Is Japan abandoning its stated desire to move away from nuclear energy?

    YUKI TATSUMI: Well, the reaction you just describe it, exactly what happened in Tokyo -- or in Japan, as I should say, in the immediate 12 months that followed.

    The government at that time, partly because they were very much aware that they could not respond to the nuclear meltdown as well as they could have, so they went completely the other way and declared that the Japan will be a nuclear power plant-free country in some 20- to 25-year span.

    However, since then, Japanese experienced two summers. And, as you may know, in Japan -- Japan's summer, wherever you are, it's very humid, hot, much, much worse than the D.C. metropolitan area. People actually feel the power shortages and the implication of trying to reduce their dependence on nuclear power to -- in a too soon, too short time span.

    The current government has a little bit more balanced approach. They still do believe that Japan should reduce its dependence on nuclear power. However, they take a longer perspective of doing so. And they are intending to, I believe, invent -- more resources into accelerating the -- developing alternative energy to -- eventually to replace the demand that is currently met by the nuclear power.

    RAY SUAREZ: You mentioned radiation. You can't see it, you can't smell it, you can't taste it.

    We did a story on this program that showed fruits and vegetables still setting off radiation detectors long after the power plant disaster. It must be a little unnerving to think that everything in your life might be contaminated.

    YUKI TATSUMI: It's very unnerving, and especially if you're a mother with a small child. It's very unnerving.

    There's really no solid scientific data that really can say anything definitively about the impact of the health in terms of how much radiation it can take in a contaminated -- and so on and so forth. So, yes, it's still very unnerving. And in that sense, yes, the aftermath, aftereffect of the disaster is very much with Japanese.

    RAY SUAREZ: There was a great deal of shock right after the tsunami and its aftereffects that more things didn't work better. Has this been a knock, now that we're two years away, to Japan's self-confidence?

    YUKI TATSUMI: Right after the disaster, as you can imagine, everybody was completely shell-shocked. No one had ever imagined in their wildest dream that the disaster of that degree could happen, and to them.

    And immediate -- immediate reaction among the public was that, in some strange way, they rediscovered their inner strength, in terms of the way they were able to -- kept their civility. As you remember, we really hardly heard any news about rioting, racketeering in the stores, none of that.

    So, in a sense, at the public level, they rediscovered the self-confidence in themselves. But, at the same time, I think their confidence in the government very much were shaken by, like you said, the systems not working, the government not being able to respond to a nuclear meltdown as quickly, the government not being able to provide reliable information about the damage very quickly. So ...

    RAY SUAREZ: And in the intervening months, of course, Japan has changed its government, changed its prime minister in -- partially in reaction.

    Yuki Tatsumi, thank you very much.

    YUKI TATSUMI: Thank you. 


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    Pope Francis in 2013, then the Argentine archbishop, during a mass for Ash Wednesday at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo by Juan Mabromata/ AFP/ Getty Images.

    The aging, French cardinal proto-deacon Jean-Louis Tauran stepped in front of the microphone, and in a slightly croaky voice announced in Latin that a new pope had been chosen, and I strained to catch the name, Dominum Georgium Marium...Hold on a minute, Lord George Mario...Which one of the much speculated-upon princes of the church -- Boston, Milan, Ghana, Canada -- was named George? "Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio," Cardinal Tauran continued -- roughly, Cardinal Bergoglio of the Holy Roman Church? Which one of the front-runner was Bergoglio, who is going to call himself Franciscum?

    As it turns out, none of them.

    Instead it was the first pope from the Global South. The first Jesuit. The first Francis, eight centuries after the revered monk of Assisi sought to reform a decadent church. All exciting. Also, the first Latin American, the first pope to take the seat of Peter who is from the home of four of every ten Catholics on the planet. The news of the selection of Papa Francisco has been greeted with spontaneous celebration in genuine excitement in his home archdiocese of Buenos Aires and throughout Latin America. The swath of the earth that runs from roughly Tijuana in the northwest to Puerto Rico in the northeast, then down to the tip of South America, is the most Catholic region on earth, so understandably it is a very big deal for Latino Catholics.

    To go much further than that gets complicated. The church Pope Francis now leads has had a rough 60 years in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking nations of the hemisphere. In many places the church had become allied with the small group of families that controlled too much of the wealth and power of many Latin American countries. As with American presidents, Central and South American leaders had to pass a key test to remain in good graces: be strongly anti-communist. In its European homeland, the Catholic Church saw its bishops and priests jailed and harassed in Eastern Europe, and communist parties making steady progress at the ballot box.

    That staunch anti-communism left the Church highly suspicious of social democrats, of left-wing political movements and eventually of what came to be called Liberation Theology. Priests who worked with the poor of Latin America preached and taught that it was not beyond the duty of the church to criticize social structures that left the majority of Latin American deep in poverty.

    The pope of the last chapters of the Cold War, John Paul II, was outspoken in his disdain for Liberation Theology, and oversaw the release of official reprimands of theologians who saw in the teachings of Jesus a duty to push back against social structures that kept their people poor. In the coming weeks and months we will learn more about where the young priest Jorge Bergoglio stood during the years of authoritarian military rule in his home country of Argentina.

    While it is true that the church still holds the love and devotion of hundreds of millions of rank and file faithful in Latin America, there is also a strong history of anti-clericalism, deep-seated distrust of the hierarchy and a kind of reflexive anti-religiosity. New elites in Mexico and in the Pope's native Argentine have revisited laws regarding abortion, birth control, and same-sex marriage. In those same countries, big, new Protestant churches making are strong inroads in places where most people have been Catholic since the 16th and 17th centuries.

    At the same time, the new middle class from Nuevo Laredo on Mexico's northern border down to the Beagle Strait at the bottom of Argentina and Chile has less use for the church than ever before. In many countries mass attendance is down, and the Roman Catholic Church's teaching no longer holds the same kind of sway in national legislatures.

    In the United States the rapid growth of the Latino Catholic population has made up for the steady loss of other American Catholics from the pews. Among Latinos in the United States, however, there are big changes under way, just as in the Caribbean, Central and South America. More Latinos in the U.S. are becoming Protestants as part of their American assimilation and acculturation. More Latinos are arriving in the United States as immigrants already Protestant, as big U.S. denominations support evangelism in Latin America. Megachurch networks like Templo Calvario in the Southwest offer an exuberant style of worship and fewer of the rules and restrictions young Latinos associate, rightly or wrongly, with the modern Catholic Church.

    Finally, one of the more interesting sets of reactions I've seen among Latinos in social media is to talk about whether Pope Francis is a Latino at all. Born and raised in Argentina, of Italian immigrant parents, the former Cardinal Bergoglio doesn't come from a family with deep roots in the Hemisphere. He speaks Italian, the mother tongue of his parents, as the jubilant crowd in St. Peter's Square heard on Wednesday, but with a charming Spanish accent. Like the United States, Argentina is very heavily a nation of immigrants. It seems like a quibble to question whether a man born, raised, educated in a country is really of that place.

    What's certain is that the new Pope has enormous challenges, in the mini-state of Vatican City, and with the church worldwide. Catholic Liberals waiting for a new approach to some of the long-standing debates in the church have very little reason to believe one is coming. The word catholic means universal. That this global religious body has elevated a leader from Latin America is a source of joy and pride to many, but also an unremarkable affirmation of catholicity. With a small minority of the world's Catholics now in Europe, look for a smaller percentage of its leaders to be European in the coming generations as well.

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    At first I was terribly impressed. While reading this excellent column by my friend Ruth Marcus, I was taken aback by this statistic: Members of Congress report that they work 70 hours a week.

    What's more, the Congressional Management Foundation found lawmakers they surveyed said when they are in Washington they spend the bulk of their time on legislative, policy and administrative work. Only six percent of their time is personal, and 17 percent is spent on political or campaign work.

    Bravo, I thought. The myth of the do-nothing Congress has finally been undercut. According to this study, members spend similar amounts of time hard at work even when they are in their home districts -- when critics often say they should be in Washington.

    But as I scanned the report, something was niggling at me, and my normal skepticism kicked in. Hadn't I read somewhere that members of Congress spend vast amounts of their time raising money? Had I made it up that party officials demand that chunks of every day have to be devoted to dialing for dollars?

    A quick Internet search later, I came across my answer -- a PowerPoint presentation delivered to incoming freshman Democrats that was unearthed by the Huffington Post in January.

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee urged lawmakers to spend four hours out of every 10-hour day on "call time" (the euphemism they use to describe telephone fundraising) and four hours, tops, on committees, floor work and constituent visits. "You might as well be putting bamboo shoots under my fingernails," veteran Congressman John Larson (D-Conn.) said of the process.

    "There's no way to make it enjoyable," Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wisc.) said. Another Democrat said the four-hour target was probably "low-balling" the amount of time spent on fundraising.

    So how could it be true that lawmakers work overtime to serve their constituents and that they work overtime spending money to get reelected?

    As usual, it all comes down to the fine print.

    The Congressional Management Foundation, it turns out, came up with their 70 percent number by relying on questionnaires filled out by a scant 25 members of the House (out of 441 representatives and territorial delegates). They say it is "corroborated by other research and work conducted" by CMF, but you mostly have to take their word for it.

    No wonder, then, that the report concludes that -- according to the lawmakers themselves -- they are "hard-working; focusing the bulk of their time on public policy and constituent services; finding great satisfaction in their work; and accepting the personal sacrifices they make for their jobs."

    How uplifting.

    Meanwhile, the Huffington Post report is also completely anecdotal. It is true that lawmakers who talked for the story said pretty damning things. ("I don't know if you've been on the Senate side," Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla) said. "But they go outside and sit in their cars and make calls.") Still, there is no way to know how many of the elected officials actually do all of what the DCCC asks of them.

    Maybe both versions are a little bit true -- that our elected representatives do come to Washington with the best of intentions and spend more time than they like on keeping their jobs, yet still devote most of their waking hours to doing what they were sent here to do.

    Does this mean that they get anything substantive done? I guess we can only determine which anecdotes to believe when we arrive at the ballot box.

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    The guacamole tasted "a little spicy." At least that's the way Therese Warner described it after taking a bite.

    There was no other sign the stuff had been rotting in the back of the refrigerator for nine months, other than a little brown discoloration around the edges. No mold. No bad smell.

    The elderly woman had mistakenly plucked the guacamole from her daughter's "food museum" -- a collection of processed food that her daughter, former New York Times reporter Melanie Warner, had allowed to sit around her house for months with the simple goal of watching it rot (or not) after their expiration dates.

    The surprisingly resilient piles of frozen dinners, loaves of bread, processed cheese, hot dogs, pudding and Pop Tarts were all part of Warner's research for a new book, "Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American meal." But she never intended for her family to eat any of it ... especially her mother, who was already prone to food-borne illness because of her age.

    Immediately, Warner started worrying something terrible would happen to her mom -- that she would develop a life-threatening illness and need to be rushed to the hospital. "But she was totally fine, nothing happened at all," she said. "Not even an intestinal rumbling."

    The secret was on the side of the container, written clearly near the "fresh" sticker applied by the store's deli workers: In addition to the avocados, tomatoes, yellow onion, jalapeno, cilantro and salt, it also contained a slew of ingredients few would think to add to their homemade guacamole mix -- ascorbic acid, citric acid, xanthan gum, amigum and text-instant.

    The scientific names in the mix didn't surprise Melanie Warner. After all, those kinds of ingredients have become familiar to anyone who has flipped over a package of food in recent memory. What shocked Warner was the way some of them are made -- and "just how tremendously technical our food production had become."

    Warner's research, which started as "an earnest attempt to understand the true meaning of labeling on the packages of the foods so many of us eat became a larger journey that brought me inside the curious, intricate world of food science and technology, a place where food isn't so much cooked as disassembled and reassembled."

    She stopped by the PBS NewsHour recently to talk with Hari Sreenivasan about what she considers to be "processed food," how it affects the human body and steps people can take to eat a little healthier in a nation where they have become so prevalent.

    Watch her full interview with Sreenivasan above. Below are her takes on seven foods she says claim to be healthy but are not.

    Seven Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren't, According to Melanie Warner

    1. Breakfast cereal

    The packages scream nutrition messages at you: "Good source of vitamin D!" "High in fiber." "Antioxidants." And for years, we've been told that breakfast cereal is a healthy, wholesome way to start the day. But if that's the case, why is it nearly impossible to find a box in the cereal aisle without an array of synthetic vitamins and minerals added in? The reason: Without help from added nutrients, many cereals would have very little nutrition and wouldn't be able to make all those salubrious claims.

    Cereal processing is damaging to both vitamins and fiber, so much of what exists naturally in the grains -- which may not be a whole lot to begin with -- often doesn't survive the journey to your breakfast bowl. To compensate, manufacturers add fiber ingredients and sprinkle in the equivalent of a multivitamin.

    2. Subway sandwiches

    Subway has done an outstanding job of promoting itself as the "fresh" and healthy alternative to fast food, and to some extent, these accolades are deserved. Much of the chain's food has fewer calories, fat and sodium than what you get at McDonald's and the like. But unless you're getting a sandwich with nothing but veggies, there's very little about it that's "fresh." Even though Subway bakes its bread inside the stores, it's definitely not Grandma's homemade loaf going into those ovens.

    The dough is produced in one of 10 large, industrial factories around the country, where it's loaded up with additives like DATEM (short for diacetyl tartaric acid ester of mono- and diglycerides), sodium stearoyl lactylate, potassium iodate, ascorbic acid and azodicarbonamide. That last one -- azodicarbonamide -- is known to break down into a carcinogen when heated and is a chemical used in the production of foamed plastics. When a tanker truck carrying this substance overturned on a Chicago highway several years ago, city fire officials had to issue their highest hazmat alert and evacuate everyone up to a half mile downwind. Mmmmm, fresh!

    3. Light yogurt

    It may sound like you're doing yourself a favor by cutting down on the excessive sugar so often found in containers of flavored yogurt, but what's often added in to replace the sugar -- namely artificial sweeteners -- may be even worse. Aspartame and other chemical sweeteners have been linked to strokes and depression, and there's little evidence to suggest that they help anyone lose weight. If anything, fake sweeteners can boost our cravings for the real thing.

    And light yogurt can have other unwholesome, non-yogurt ingredients like modified corn starches, preservatives and artificial colors. You're better off getting plain yogurt and adding in your own sweetener like honey or choosing a vanilla-flavored variety, as these often have less sugar than the fruit flavors.

    4. Protein bars

    When used in their whole form to make things like tempeh, miso and tofu, soybeans are a nutritious legume packed with fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, folate and several B vitamins. But by the time soybeans become soy protein -- the main ingredient in protein bars -- nearly everything nutritious except protein has been lost or discarded. More of a food-like product than a food, soy protein sits at the end of a long, complex soy processing chain that starts with the removal of fat from soybeans using hexane, a neurotoxic product of petroleum refining.

    And although the FDA allows products that contain a certain level of soy protein to carry a health claim stating that soy protein reduces the risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association says there is no scientific basis for such a benefit and has asked the FDA to revoke this claim.

    5. Reduced fat peanut butter

    A strange thing happens when you start trying to remove some of a food's integral components, in this case the fat in peanut butter. Once it's gone, you have to replace it with something, otherwise the whole thing won't taste right. So when manufacturers take out some of the fat to make this supposedly healthier peanut butter, they doctor the product up by adding in more sugar. For instance, simple versions of peanut butter contain two grams of (naturally-occurring) sugar per serving.

    Jars of regular Jif have three grams and reduced fat Jif weighs in with four. This is not a good thing because science now clearly shows that sugar is worse for us than fat. Plus, much of the fat found in peanuts happens to be one of the more beneficial ones -- it's monounsaturated, much like that in olive oil.

    6. Vitaminwater

    These drinks may be better than soda, but that's not saying much. A bottle of regular Vitaminwater delivers a walloping 32 grams of sugar (versus 70 grams in soda). And the origins of all those "reviving" and "immunity" boosting vitamins might surprise you since they're not coming from anything resembling food. Vitamin B1 starts with a coal tar chemical, B3 is made from a waste product in the production of nylon, and vitamin C starts with a corn-based ingredient called sorbitol. Vitamin D, amazingly, comes from sheep grease.

    And although these industrially produced vitamins can be beneficial, most of us are getting plenty of them already, either from vitamin supplements or other fortified foods. What we're not getting enough of, however, is fiber and antioxidants, which are found abundantly in fruits and vegetables. So you're far better off drinking water and then eating an orange than chugging a sugary, orange-flavored vitamin pill.

    7. Gluten-free snacks and baked goods

    The booming trend of gluten-free shows no signs of abating and food companies are riding the wave. And while gluten-free products are eagerly welcomed by those who suffer ill effects from eating wheat, there's often a nutritional tradeoff. Gluten-free products can be little more than concoctions of refined grains and sugar since it's very difficult to make gluten-free products with whole grains and still make them taste good.

    But without whole grains, your gluten-free bread isn't going to have any (naturally occurring) fiber, B vitamins or antioxidant compounds. For healthy gluten-free foods, look for packages of gluten-free products that list a whole grain, such a brown rice flour, as the first ingredient.

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    NewsHour's livestream of CPAC, scheduled to begin at 8:45 a.m. ET, will bring you highlights from some of the key speakers throughout the day.

    Over the next three days, more than 8,000 right-leaning political activists are expected to attend the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and according to sponsor American Conservation Union, they'll receive the "intellectual and training tools they need to combat the liberal agenda."

    CPAC is the premier event for conservative politicians, writers and thinkers. The conference began Thursday and runs through Saturday at the Gaylord National Convention Center at the National Harbor, just outside of Washington, D.C. The Morning Line previewed the conference on Thursday.

    Not surprisingly, the 2012 conference heavily focused on presidential campaign politics, with speakers who were at the time, running to win Republican primaries, including Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.

    The theme of this year's gathering is "America's Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives; New Challenges, Timeless Principles." Our coverage will focus on some of the party's young leaders.

    And watch the NewsHour Friday night. Congressional correspondent Kwame Holman will report from CPAC about the state of the Republican Party, and Mark Shields and David Brooks will discuss the annual confab as part of their their weekly analysis.

    Among those expected to speak Friday include:

    8:45 a.m. -- Donald Trump

    9 a.m. -- Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky

    9:15 a.m. -- Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah

    9:30 a.m. -- Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, Wisconsin

    10:45 a.m. -- NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre

    12 p.m. -- Former Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania

    1 p.m. -- 2012 Republican Presidential nominee former Gov. Mitt Romney

    2:20 p.m. -- Gov. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana

    3:35 p.m. -- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

    Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

    Follow @cbellantoni

    Follow @burlijiFollow @kpolantzFollow @elizsummersFollow @indiefilmfanFollow @tiffanymullonFollow @dePeystahFollow @meenaganesan

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    Political campaign buttons and memorabilia at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference at the National Harbor. Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call.

    The Morning Line

    Republicans and Democrats end a week focused on bipartisanship with signs they are far from united within their own parties.

    At the Conservative Political Action Conference, fissures within the Republican Party were on display as rising stars Marco Rubio and Rand Paul offered competing takes on the future of the GOP.

    And President Barack Obama's meetings on Capitol Hill were perhaps more testy when he addressed fellow Democrats, who pressed him on his administration's priorities and their own views of his actions.

    At a session with House Democrats Thursday, Mr. Obama was peppered with questions from Democrats fretting he would slash entitlement programs under pressure to cut a deal with Republicans, but sought to reassure them he wouldn't budge unless the other party gave in on revenue through tax increases. Democrats told reporters at The Hill that the president asked them to give him some room to negotiate.

    Politico's Jonathan Allen reports that the close of Thursday's meeting grew uncomfortable when Rep. Henry Waxman went past the designated time for questioning and gave a long statement about climate change. The Californian refused to take the question to the president in private, and later told Allen he felt the issue was "not being discussed adequately."

    Some Senate Democrats reportedly were not pleased that the president would not give them more information on his program of drone strikes during their private meeting earlier in the week.

    The White House focused on the president's sessions with Republicans. An administration official told reporters that Mr. Obama and GOP Senators on Thursday "had a constructive, substantive conversation on a number of issues," and stressed that the president "wants to continue to work together with willing members of the Conference on the number of pressing issues facing our nation and looks forward to continuing this dialogue in the weeks ahead."

    Meanwhile, four months after failing in their goal to take back control of the White House from the president, 8,000 conservative activists gathered for CPAC just outside Washington to discuss ways to retool their brand and reshape their message going forward.

    Thursday's opening sessions illustrated they are not all on the same page.

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said it was "a foolish notion" to talk about infighting among conservatives. "People who disagree on all sorts of things in the real world work together all the time on things they do agree on. And there has to be a home, a movement in America for people who believe in limited government, constitutional principles and a free enterprise system, and that should be us," Rubio said.

    The Florida senator targeted his remarks toward bread and butter economic issues like student loan debt and the impact of globalization. In an ever-changing world, Rubio told the crowd one thing has remained constant.

    "Our people have not changed," Rubio said. "The vast majority of the American people are hard-working taxpayers who take responsibility for their families, go to work every day, they pay their mortgage on time, they volunteer in their community. This is where the vast majority of the American people are," he added, drawing sharp contrast with the "47 percent" comments made by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney last year.

    Rubio also sought to preempt critics who would would say his speech didn't offer anything fresh. "We don't need a new idea. The idea is called America, and it still works," Rubio said.

    But change was exactly what Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the Republican party needed to embrace in order to "become the dominant national party again."

    The tea party favorite added: "The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered. I don't think we need to name any names here, do we?" That remark appeared to be a dig at Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who last week referred to Paul and his allies as "wacko birds."

    Paul talked about how "the Facebook generation" could sense "falseness and hypocrisy a mile away," which he said meant if conservatives wanted to connect with younger voters they needed to "jealously guard all of our liberties."

    "Our party is encumbered by an inconsistent approach to freedom. The new GOP, the GOP that will win again, will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and personal sphere," Paul said.

    Paul also demonstrated his organizational strength outside the main ballroom with supporters giving away free "Stand With Rand" t-shirts, signs and stickers to highlight the senator's recent 13-hour filibuster over the Obama administration's drone policy.

    Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, meanwhile, dismissed talk that the conservative movement was on the decline, putting the blame squarely on the Republican Party's past two presidential nominees: McCain and Romney.

    "The popular media narrative is that this country has shifted away from conservative ideals, as evidenced by the last two presidential elections. That's what they say," Perry said. "That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012."

    But Perry, who was pilloried during the GOP presidential primary last year for having a more moderate stance on immigration reform than other candidates, also took some heat from the CPAC crowd when he called for the party to improve its outreach to Latinos.

    NewsHour Congressional correspondent Kwame Holman will report on CPAC Friday night leading into our analysis segment with Mark Shields and David Brooks. Tune in. We'll also be livestreaming Friday. Watch the big speeches here or below:

    LINE ITEMS

    A federal grand jury in Miami is probing whether Sen. Bob Menendez improperly aided a friend's business interests, the Washington Post reports. The New Jersey Democrat already has said he "interceded with federal health-care officials" after they said that Salomon Melgen had overbilled the U.S. government for care at his ophthalmologist clinic. Also at question is whether Menendez "pressured the Dominican government to honor a contract with Melgen's port-security company, documents and interviews show."

    Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, announced Thursday that he had reversed his opposition to same-sex marriage after his son told him he was gay. "It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that's of a Dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have," Portman said in an interview with Ohio reporters.

    The assault weapons ban proposal passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 10-8 after several heated exchanges between Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas. It is unlikely to pass the full Senate. The president urged lawmakers to put all the gun measures to a floor vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would work with Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy to "find out now what has been reported out of the committee and what we need to put together as a base bill to start legislating on the Senate floor. And that's what we'll do."

    Mr. Obama on Friday will release a new plan on clean energy.

    House Speaker Boehner declined an invitation from the White House to join Vice President Joe Biden's delegation to Vatican City for Pope Francis' investiture, saying his schedule for next week's budget debate and other House duties made it impossible.

    National Journal's Beth Reinhard notes that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli tacked to the center during his speech to CPAC Thursday.

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is headlining a fundraising dinner in Iowa this spring.

    Mr. Obama to an Israeli TV station: "Sometimes I have this fantasy that I can put on a disguise and, you know, wear a fake mustache. I could wander through Tel Aviv and go to a bar and have a conversation ... I'd love to sit at a cafe and just hang out." The president travels to Israel and the Palestinian-controlled West Bank next week. NewsHour's Margaret Warner will be along on the trip.

    Politico previews Sarah Palin's anticipated CPAC appearance, asking if she has a "second act" on the national stage.

    For Sunshine Week, the Washington Post examines the Obama administration's record on transparency, finding it mixed.

    Roll Call's Eliza Newlin Carney explores the funding mechanism behind CPAC.

    And Heard on the Hill's Neda Semnani finds Grindr users abound at CPAC.

    A gay conservative is considering a bid to primary Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, Chris Geidner reports for BuzzFeed.

    What a difference eight years makes.

    It's slim pickins for vegetarians on Capitol Hill.

    Biden has launched Being Biden, an audio series in which he describes what's going on behind the scenes of a photograph. In his first post, Biden gives some background on photo of taken while serving meals at a "wild game dinner" in his home state of Delaware earlier this month. The series takes advantage of Sound Cloud, an online service that allows users to share music and audio online.

    Steve Goldbloom gets to the bottom of that whole music festival thing in the final edition of PBS' SXSW Diaries. Don't miss the horse cameo.

    We're disappointed to hear Mr. Obama didn't get to try the delicious-sounding Maine lobster and blueberry pie on the menu at the Senate Republicans' luncheon.

    Today's tidbit from NewsHour partner Face the Facts USA looks at Pentagon spending. Did you know the Department of Defense funds pension plans for private contractors?

    NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

    Margaret Warner interviewed Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit's new financial manager, Kevyn Orr, about the state takeover of the beleaguered city.

    Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill both explored the notion of finding common ground in Washington in their blogs this week.

    The NewsHour celebrated Pi Day with some terrific-looking pies courtesy science reporter-producer Rebecca Jacobson. Get jealous here and also learn about the March 14 holiday.

    Ray Suarez gives his take on Pope Francis.

    TOP TWEETS

    Believe it or not, there is a "coalition of the willing" to compromise in Congress. Here they are cookpolitical.com/story/5499

    — amy walter (@amyewalter) March 15, 2013

    Spotted: Rubio Water! #CPAC2013twitter.com/MeenaGanesan/s...

    — Meena (@MeenaGanesan) March 14, 2013

    Fact: This is the first #CPAC in years in which someone has not shouted a random "Ron Paul!" at least once an hour.

    — Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP) March 14, 2013

    Lines for my @cpacnews address start at 7:00AM outside the Potomac Ballroom. ACU has asked that you get there early. #CPAC2013

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2013

    Wholeheartedly endorsed. cc: @dcbigjohn MT @buzzfeedandrew: "Get the F*ck Out Of Bed" with John Stanton should replace Hayes' morning show.

    — delrayser (@delrayser) March 14, 2013

    Amazing. Jane Goodall sees her new book for first time when @jeffreybrown hands it to her @newshour @janegoodallinsttwitter.com/mike_melia/sta...

    — Mike Melia (@mike_melia) March 14, 2013

    Cassie M. Chew contributed to this report.

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

    Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

    Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

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    Recording the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference During the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, political consultant Whit Ayres said that it's time the Republican Party shifted its message and started focusing on new strategies and ideas to build up popular support for American conservativism. Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call.

    Pollster and consultant Whit Ayres has operated at or near the top of Republican political circles for more than 30 years. He says it's now time for the party to change.

    "You don't lose five of the last six presidential elections in the popular vote if you have got the right message," Ayres told the NewsHour Thursday. "So we need a new message, new messengers, and a new tone."

    Ayres was standing in a wide, sun-drenched concourse at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor with its majestic views through story-high glass of Washington's monuments across the Potomac River.

    A gaggle of political reporters had surrounded him the moment he emerged from a panel discussion during the opening day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

    He continued his theme from the panel and his primary reason for coming to CPAC -- to convince conservatives to embrace comprehensive immigration reform.

    "We need a new message particularly on issues like immigration ... that is very much in line with Reagan's tone where he said we welcome anyone who believes in the values of free markets and individual liberty and stronger national defense into our coalition," he said.

    Inside the main ballroom, Ayres had implored activists to appreciate that a party that lost seven of every 10 Latino voters, the nation's fastest growing group, to President Barack Obama in November needs a complete change in approach.

    He said he's using his skills as a pollster and political hand (he has a Ph.D. in political science) to compile ideas for an over-arching strategy for a re-tooled GOP.

    "It's doing polling. It's doing focus groups. It's thinking with big thinkers in the party and it's putting together a set of ideas that will be consistent with the new America, the new America that I talked about in there, which is not gonna look like the old America - not even close to looking like the old America," he said. "And yet I'm convinced that the same values of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and free markets matter, no matter what a voter looks like."

    And Ayres says it's not a far-away goal for Republicans to win again nationally.

    "We are only one candidate away from winning a presidential election in 2016 and resurrecting the party," he asserted. "We have challenges now but we are very much in the position the Democrats were in 1988, where they had lost five of six presidential elections."

    He cites how former President Bill Clinton reinvigorated the Democratic Party. "[It's] like they [were] wandering in the wilderness and there was no place for them to go and along came Bill Clinton who said, 'I'm for ending welfare as we know it; I am for the death penalty; and by the way, Sister Souljah, that's not how we talk about fellow Americans.' And in one election he turned it around."

    Like many at CPAC, Ayres acknowledged the GOP picked up a reputation for being too conservative during the last election cycle.

    But he sees hope there, too, for a party that honors all its disparate parts.

    "In America, we only have two parties, which means by definition both parties are coalitions of people many of whom don't agree on every issue. But good politicians manage to stitch together winning coalitions. For the Democrats, on the center-left and Republicans on the center-right. We don't all expect to agree ... I am convinced we can still mold those folks who may disagree on some issues into one coalition."

    It was a mantra of many CPAC attendees -- a bigger political tent that takes in Libertarians, the Christian right, pro-immigration reform advocates, and others.

    I asked Ayers what else is in his "manifesto" for a new GOP. His response? "I'll let 'ya know when we finish."

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

    Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

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    Follow @cbellantoni

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    By Paul Solman

    "Senior Momentologist" Tom Friedman (not the guy from the New York Times, but the noted humor writer) " explains what pandemic amnesia is and how "senior moments" may lead to economic growth. Image by CSA Images/Snapstock/Getty Images.

    PBS NewsHour's Making Sen$e page and broadcasts regularly feature the major economics debates of our time. As recently as last week, libertarian video maker John Papola argued that savings and production are the keys to economic growth, a la his idol, Friedrich Hayek. Economic historian James Livingston quickly countered that this was "the nonsense of austerity" and argued on behalf of consumption a la John Maynard Keynes.

    Macro-economists Zachary Karabell and Mike Konczal have debated "structural" versus "cyclical" unemployment.

    Financial economist Terence Burnham has explained our "lizard brains" and the science of "neuroeconomics".

    Psychologist Barry Schwartz has explored "The Paradox of Choice".

    And now for something completely different. I asked old friend, longtime colleague and renowned humorist and "senior momentologist" Tom Friedman to write something about economics for this page. He submitted the silliiness that follows.

    Tom Friedman: Paul, before we both forget why I'm here, let me get straight to the point: Recent experiments by senior momentologists have proven conclusively that the brains of consumers are periodically flooded with neurochemicals called absentamentaclamaroids. These previously unknown chemicals are produced by 11 (or maybe 12 or 13, we're not really sure) genetic mutations that work together to trigger "pandemic amnesia."

    Paul Solman: I think I've heard of this. But I could be thinking of something else.

    Tom Friedman: I'm not surprised. Pandemic amnesia leaves its victims bereft of basic knowledge that they once knew well. For example, take the saying, "What goes up must come down." Victims of the disease simply cannot remember this simple truth when they invest their money, no matter how hard they try.

    Paul Solman: Remember what?

    Tom Friedman: Exactly. So someone like you might buy high and sell low instead of the reverse while you're trying to remember what it is you've just forgotten. Or you might continue to purchase a product that you don't really like. Or a service that has always been a disappointment.

    Paul Solman: You mean my own brain chemistry can lead me astray? It can sabotage the very foundation of the free market system, which is freedom of choice?

    Tom Friedman: Yes. But the irony is, what's bad for the individual -- which is to say, you -- may be good for the economy -- which is to say, the economy. When absentamentaclamaroids flood the ceremedula, you the consumer/investor are no longer "sadder but wiser." You are neither. And so all those companies that might otherwise go out of business can remain profitable. Or, as economists like to say, it's "a lose-win situation."

    Paul Solman: This is terrible.

    Tom Friedman: In extreme cases, even too much debt can look awfully attractive. But I ask you, where would our economy be without over-extended consumers?

    Paul Solman: Wait, I know the answer to this. It's on the tip of my tongue.

    Tom Friedman: Unfortunately, if people came to realize that they're not always in control of their own decision-making, the result could be catastrophic. They might begin to question everything they do, and become paralyzed by indecision, which would have a terrible effect on the economy. So we senior momentologists have decided to lie about our research.

    Paul Solman: Lie? But you just revealed the truth! Isn't that the polar opposite of ...?

    Tom Friedman: Of what?

    Paul Solman: Of ...

    Tom Friedman: You're welcome, Paul. It's been a real pleasure.

    Tom Friedman (no relation to that other guy who writes for The New York Times) is a world-renowned senior momentologist. He's the author of "1,000 Unforgettable Senior Moments (Of Which We Could Remember Only 246)" and "Senior Moments Hall of Fame: Remembering the Titans of Forgetfulness." He expects to receive a Nobel Prize in something or other any day now.

    This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight. Follow @PaulSolman


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  • 03/15/13--09:39: The Daily Frame
  • Click to enlarge.

    Dancers perform a scene from 'Virtues (3rd & 4th sections) ' during a dress rehearsal for Ailey II's New York Season at the The Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York. The company will perform two programs of four new works and three repertory favorites in 14 performances from March 13-24. Photo by Timothy A. Clary/ AFP/ Getty Images.


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    A man gets his picture taken in front of high rise buildings shrouded in haze in Hong Kong on Aug. 3, 2012. Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images.

    HONG KONG -- This little chunk of China offers some of the world's most spectacular views -- when you can see them.

    Increasingly, the former British colony and global financial center, lives most of the year through hazy days. Some of that is seasonal, but most is from air pollution, locally generated or from the industrial zones of neighboring Guangdong province. My hotel room in Kowloon offered marvelous vistas across the harbor to the magnetic array of skyscrapers on Hong Kong, but the haze was as predictable as the morning dawn. In reverse, Kowloon and Hong Kong are now seen more dimly from the city's major tourist attraction, The Peak.

    Hong Kong's air quality has been going down for a decade or more. But only now could a visiting reporter expect to hear a long-time expatriate business executive discuss with equanimity his chances of developing a potentially fatal lung disease.

    Hong Kong's government has promised some measures to curb the problem, responding to the growing mobilization of environmental groups and local residents as well as warnings from international companies that they are having increasing trouble recruiting foreign executives to work here. That push is bolstered with public health statistics about the toll bad air is having on the population in deaths and hospital stays. A Hong Kong University study, reported in the Financial Times, said air pollution accounted for more than 3,000 premature deaths and 7 million doctor visits last year in a city of 7 million residents.

    Environmental activists worry that the government, which under the 1997 handover from Britain to China has some measure of autonomy, will move quickly and strongly enough. But their new and unexpected ally may be China's national government, scared into public promises of action by some of the worst air quality recorded anywhere in the world earlier this winter in Beijing and by worsening health statistics on the mainland.

    Also for years, Hong Kong residents took some comfort in blaming the pollution on air blowing in from coal-fueled factories in the Pearl River Delta and across Guangdong province. But now the local government is acknowledging that half the bad air is produced right at home, from cars, trucks and buses on the city's narrow and crowded streets and from ships traversing or idling in the harbor.

    Both the environmental activists, including Friends of the Earth, and the expatriate business leaders have taken encouragement from the appointment of a prominent activist and former politician Christine Loh as undersecretary for the environment.

    In an interview in her offices in a gleaming new official building in central Hong Kong, Loh said tackling air pollution involves the politics of poverty and prosperity. The government can justify a clean air campaign on public health grounds but has to decide how to spread the higher costs.

    "We have the conundrum of getting the formula in place," she said, noting that the drivers of the most noxious old cars are from the poorer part of the population and the worst trucks are owned by small business operators. The government will be paying over a billion dollars on a cash-for-clunkers program for cars and to bring diesel trucks up to international standards.

    Still pending is legislation to require shipping companies, including cruise liners, to upgrade to a cleaner level of fuel while inside Hong Kong harbor.

    As for the external half of Hong Kong's pollution problem, Loh said, "we go back to the issue of prosperity versus poverty."

    While pollution in southern China does not match that in Beijing and the north, Guangdong and neighboring provinces account for 10 percent of the entire country's GDP, its industries and power generation fueled by coal and oil and intensified by increasing car, truck and airplane traffic.

    Loh said she hopes that within two or three years Hong Kong and Guangdong can pioneer a joint clean-up plan that will be a model for the rest of China.

    "Everything we do has the potential of having a large national impact," she said, expressing hope the entire Pearl River Delta region can become an emissions-controlled zone.

    The test, she said, will be in the public health statistics in five years time and whether the government will be able to assert it has reduced risks.

    Loh said she will have to meet that standard before even contemplating a future of blue skies over Hong Kong.

    Michael D. Mosettig, PBS NewsHour foreign affairs and defense editor emeritus, watches wonks push policy in Washington's multitude of think tanks. From time to time, he writes dispatches on what those scholars and wannabe secretaries of state have in mind for Europe, Asia and Latin America.

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    What is postmodern poetry? That's the question Paul Hoover poses for his introduction to the Norton Anthology's second edition of "Postmodern American Poetry." Hoover, the anthology's editor, sees the answer in two parts: historical and conceptual.

    "Historically, it's the period following World War II, so it represents the rise of the United States as an international nation, a presence and also in some ways a ruling presence and questions of the United States' position come into question in some of the poetry," Hoover said.

    Conceptually, schools of poetry moved away from a focus on nature and traditional lyric narrative. "Poetry holds the mirror up to itself and gains self-consciousness," Hoover said. "We are in that period now."

    Hoover is a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University, co-editor of the journal "New American Writing" and author of nine books of poetry and one novel. The new edition of "Postmodern American Poetry" goes on sale Monday.

    I spoke with Paul Hoover about what the latest edition has to offer and he shared examples of some of the work found inside its pages.

    A transcript will be posted soon.


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    Watch Video

    Andy Reuss, 20, stood in a long line Thursday morning at the Gaylord Hotel in the National Harbor, Md., for the first day of the 40th Conservative Political Action Conference. An an intern in Sen. Mike Lee's office, the college student said he was eager to meet and learn from people who shared his political passions.

    Attending CPAC for the first time, Reuss said he's excited to hear from some of his political role models, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Rep. Ted Cruz R-Tex., and his boss, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. He sees these Republicans as new party leaders who can make the case for core principles of conservativism: personal liberty and responsibility.

    "They have the ability to articulate why they believe what they believe, and get that message out there," said Reuss. "And [they] explain to people that it's not conservative in the sense that this is right because it's the way we've always done it. These are the things we want to go for because they work best."

    He spent Thursday morning going to a foreign policy debate, walking around the political exhibit hall, and seeing Sen. Mike Lee speak. At the panel "Too Many American Wars? Should We Fight Anywhere and Can We Afford It," Ruess said the issue highlighted differences between the older conservative leaders who believe America should be involved in world affairs and new conservative leaders who want to focus their energy at home.

    For Reuss, the conference is about the idea that liberty is tied to individual responsibility.

    "This freedom is something we need to hold out in front of us every single day, and really take responsibility for. I think that is the core of what we're all here talking about," Reuss said.

    Over the last couple of weeks, Reuss has felt new energy in the conservative party. And he's returning to CPAC on Saturday for to see Ted Cruz deliver the keynote address.

    Related Content:

    Republican Cites Clinton as Chance for GOP Comeback

    Democrats, GOP Grapple With Internal Divisions

    Watch Live: Mitt Romney to Speak at CPAC, Day Two

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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    A foam art shamrock atop a Guinness. Photo courtesy of flickr user puamelia.

    With this weekend's St. Patrick's Day celebrations just hours away, bars and pubs are likely stocking up on extra supplies for one of the largest drinking holidays in the U.S. (Our bet is Guinness will be a top commodity.)

    But before you wag your finger at us for being stereotypical in linking the Irish and drinking, consider this: a report by the American Association of Wine Economists found that per person, the Irish outdrink everybody else. On average, each Irish lad and lass drinks about 163 liters of beer a year. That's something like nine bottles of beer a week.

    That puts the Irish just slightly ahead of the Czech Republic in terms of beer consumption per person, and leaps and bounds ahead of Mexico, Italy and France. (Read our original post where we cover much more of the economics. And yes, it turns out beer consumption is all about the benjamins.)

    Americans drink about half the beer the Irish do -- we average 86 liters per year -- but because our population is so much larger, we consume a hefty total of 25.8 billion liters a year, compared to Ireland's 700 million liters. But since 2003, no country has been able to outdrink China, whose total beer consumption has skyrocketed since the mid-1980s. Based on FAOstat data, they put back over 40 billion litters.

    So should you find yourself fancing a pint this weekend and in need of beer-related trivia to impress your green-clad friends, check out our infographics to see how beer consumption has changed over a generation and how much one would need to drink to keep up with their compatriots from other countries.

    And what proper celebration wouldn't be complete without a beer drinking game? In ours, compare the U.S. (and Ireland) against other countries in their thirst for beer via 'International Beer Cup.' Put your friends on their arse, all without drinking a drop.

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