Articles on this Page
- 04/18/13--14:15: _Two Earth-Sized Pla...
- 04/18/13--14:31: _FBI Releases Photos...
- 04/18/13--14:58: _How Do You Build a ...
- 04/18/13--14:58: _World Bank Presiden...
- 04/18/13--15:02: _Fertilizer Plant Ex...
- 04/18/13--15:07: _Search Continues fo...
- 04/18/13--15:13: _News Wrap: Mississi...
- 04/18/13--15:17: _FBI Releases Photos...
- 04/18/13--15:24: _'You Will Run Again...
- 04/18/13--15:26: _Rise of Domestic Dr...
- 04/18/13--15:34: _Sen. Durbin: Despit...
- 04/18/13--15:44: _World Bank Announce...
- 04/19/13--05:00: _Journalism 101: Whe...
- 04/19/13--05:51: _With Manhunt Underw...
- 04/19/13--06:16: _The Daily Frame
- 04/19/13--06:33: _One Boston Marathon...
- 04/19/13--07:20: _Pakistan Elections ...
- 04/19/13--07:23: _Slow-moving Sequest...
- 04/19/13--07:31: _Police Warn Boston:...
- 04/19/13--08:47: _Why Paul Krugman, O...
- 04/18/13--14:31: FBI Releases Photos and Video Of Suspected Boston Marathon Bombers
- 04/18/13--14:58: How Do You Build a Do-it-Yourself Drone?
- 04/18/13--14:58: World Bank President: Climate Change Is Urgent 'Today' Problem
- 04/18/13--15:07: Search Continues for Survivors of Texas Explosion
- 04/18/13--15:26: Rise of Domestic Drones Draws Questions About Privacy, Limiting Use
- 04/18/13--15:44: World Bank Announces Goal to End Extreme Poverty by 2030
- 04/19/13--05:00: Journalism 101: When Getting it First Trumps Getting it Right
- 04/19/13--05:51: With Manhunt Underway in Boston, Politics Pushed Aside
- 04/19/13--06:16: The Daily Frame
- 04/19/13--06:33: One Boston Marathon Suspect Dead, One On the Run; Boston on Lockdown
- 04/19/13--07:20: Pakistan Elections Could Mark Historic Transfer of Power
- 04/19/13--07:23: Slow-moving Sequestration Still Figures in Budget Negotiations
- 04/19/13--07:31: Police Warn Boston: 'Shelter in Place'
The artist's concept depicts Kepler-62e, a super-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star smaller and cooler than the sun, located about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. Photo by NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech.
Two Earth-sized planets with lukewarm temperatures have been discovered by NASA's Kepler space telescope. They are 1,200 light years away, orbiting a star in the constellation Lyra, and their distance from their host star, means that they exist in the zone that could potentially host life. And their temperatures are not unlike an early Spring day on Earth.
"Aristotle himself asked whether our planet Earth is unique and whether there might be other Earths," said Geoff Marcy, a professor of astronomy at the University of California at Berkeley. "And scientists and philosophers have been asking for 2,000 years since whether our Earth has a twin."
"It's exciting," he continued, "to see planets emerging from Kepler that do indeed remind us of Earth in size, orbit and temperature."
What we don't yet know is if they're big balls of rock like Earth or central cores of rock surrounded by helium and hydrogen gases and maybe a thick ocean of water, Marcy said. The planets are 40 percent and 60 percent larger than Earth.
If they are gassy planets, like Saturn or Jupiter, there would be no land on which life could emerge and thrive.
"It's possible that these planets have the right size and temperature but no land on which biology could get a toehold," Marcy said.
Unknown is the mass, density or composition of the planets. Mass divided by size gives you density. And density would give us powerful clues to whether the planet is made of rock like Earth or of gas, like Jupiter or Saturn.
Earth has a density of 5.5 grams per cubic centimeter. Mars, with its dry desolate surface, inhospitable to life, has a density of 3.9 grams per cubic centimeter. The gassy Jupiter is 1.3 grams per cubic centimeter.
But the really humorous planet, Marcy says, is Saturn, a mere 7/10 of a gram per cubic centimeter.
"At 7/10 of a gram per cubic centimeter, Saturn would float in your bathtub," Marcy said. "If, that is, you had a really, really, really large bathtub."
The FBI released this video Thursday of two suspects in Monday's Boston Marathon Bombing that killed three and injured 170.
At a press conference today, FBI special agent in charge, Richard DesLauriers released photos and video of two suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombings.
DesLauriers stressed that the FBI requests that the public use only the images released today to help ascertain the identities of the subjects, and that no one should approach the suspects if they are identified.
Download high resolution versions of all of the images
So what goes into building one of these devices? Christopher Vo, director of education for the D.C. Area Drone User Group, an community organization of amateur and professional drone users, offers a brief tutorial.
Washington, D.C., resident Timothy Reuter's interest in drones started with reading about low cost do-it-yourself kits. He went ahead and ordered one, but quickly learned it wasn't as easy to build as he predicted.
"I realized if I did this in isolation I wasn't going to succeed," he said. "So, I thought if I created a community then I could find people that would be able to teach me and I'd have a lot more success."
Last August, Reuter founded the "D.C. Area Drone User Group." Originally, he wasn't expecting to gain more than a couple dozen members, but their ranks are now approaching 300 operators.
"We have a lot of people who are interested in photography. We have some long-time engineers. Some who even work professionally on drone projects. You have long-time RC flyers. And then you have people like myself who have no engineering background, have never done this before, but are excited by this as a new technology."
The group recently traveled to Leesburg, Va., for an event they call a "fly-in." About 40 members spent a sunny Sunday afternoon flying a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles or UAV in a local park.
For more information about the "D.C. Area Drone User Group" you can visit their Meetup page.
"If we have any hope of keeping climate change below two degrees celsius, the peak year of carbon emission has to be 2016," said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank. "So the challenge is right in front of us."
Thursday on the NewsHour, Kim speaks with Jeffrey Brown about a new initiative to address extreme poverty around the world. In an extended conversation, Kim also addressed the urgency of climate change and how World Bank is working to combat its effects. He says they must increase financial resources for sustainable energy, use innovative agriculture and partner with major cities to reduce their carbon footprint.
But getting different international powers to agree on things like the price of carbon has been one of the challenges in the effort to curb climate change. Kim said once that is decided, the market forces will kick in and regulate emission.
Kim stressed the importance of investing in sustainable energy, especially for developing countries in Africa where access to power and electricity is not a guarantee. The World Bank president also proposes reclaiming degraded land and growing foods that consume more carbon as innovative ways of reducing carbon emissions.
Kim cites the efforts of New York City as an example of a successful urban clean-up. New York is on track to have reduced its carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2017, reaching their target goal ahead of their 2030 deadline.
"Climate change is not an issue for our grandchildren. It's an issue today," said Kim.
RAY SUAREZ: Rescuers worked in wet weather today to find survivors amid the rubble after the fiery explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant last night. Late today, authorities acknowledged there were fatalities, but declined to confirm how many. Earlier estimates ranged from five to 15, though there were reports the toll would go much higher.
The cause of the fire and explosion is still not known. Officials said today there's no evidence of foul play.
A man using his cell phone captured the moment last night when the west fertilizer company plant exploded.
MAN: You OK? You OK?
GIRL: Dad, I can't hear. I can't hear.
MAN: Cover your ears.
GIRL: Get out of here. Please get out of here.
RAY SUAREZ: That flattened buildings within a five-block radius and sent shockwaves out for miles around.
KEVIN SMITH, Texas: I was actually picked up and thrown about 10 feet, because I was standing at the end of my bed, and then where I landed was by the bathroom, about 10 feet closer into the house.
ULIZES CASTANEDA, Texas: I turned around and watched the explosion as it happened, and it threw me down into the bed of the truck. Next thing I know, shrapnel was falling down everywhere, burning all of us. And we just got out and ran.
RAY SUAREZ: The thunderous blast occurred in the town of West, Texas, a small farming community of 2,800 people that lies about 20 miles north of Waco.
Today, rescue workers continued to search the smoldering rubble for survivors.
Waco Police Sergeant William Swanton:
SGT. WILLIAM SWANTON, Waco Police Department: The number one priority is to rescue and save lives in the event we can do that. The number two priority is to make sure there are no further injuries and nobody else gets hurt.
RAY SUAREZ: Swanton added that cold, rainy weather had helped extinguish fires and keep concerns over chemicals in the air at bay.
WILLIAM SWANTON: There is no lingering threat. I think, again, the weather has kind of helped us with that. It has obviously dispersed some of the smoke. At this point, I have been told that that is not a concern.
RAY SUAREZ: The explosion destroyed at least 75 houses, a 50-unit apartment complex, a middle school, and a nursing home from which 133 patients were evacuated. First-responders and local residents described a terrifying scene.
MAN: As soon as I ran up, there was a woman holding two babies. And they -- they were soaked in blood, and one of them was just -- one of the babies looked like it wasn't responding. And it's just horrible to see something like that.
RAY SUAREZ: For Texas Trooper D.L. Wilson, the aftermath was reminiscent of another fertilizer explosion, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, 18 years ago tomorrow.
D.L. WILSON, Texas Department of Public Safety: I can tell you I was there. I walked through the blast area. I searched some houses earlier tonight. Massive, just like Iraq, just like the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. Same kind of anhydrous exploded, so you can imagine what kind of damage we're looking at there.
RAY SUAREZ: What caused the plant to catch fire and explode is still unclear. Officials are treating the area as a crime scene and say they will await reports from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
WILLIAM SWANTON: There is no indication of crime at this point from what I'm made aware of. That is what we will investigate. ATF will investigate. The state fire marshal will investigate to determine if in fact there was some type of crime there.
RAY SUAREZ: What is known is that at around 7:30 yesterday evening, the West Fertilizer Company plant caught fire. Local firefighters, many of them volunteers, responded and immediately began evacuating the area.
About 25 minutes later, the spectacular blast occurred, knocking out windows miles away. First-responders quickly set up a triage station at a football field to treat the injured, while others searched for survivors. Beds were set up at nearby high school for those who couldn't return home.
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-Texas: Last night was truly a nightmare scenario for that community.
RAY SUAREZ: Today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked Texans and all Americans to keep the people of West in their thoughts and prayers.
RICK PERRY: In a small town like West, they know that this tragedy has most likely hit every family. It's touched practically everyone in that town.
RAY SUAREZ: Perry is asking the federal government to declare a state of emergency for McLennan County, the home county for the little town of West.
RAY SUAREZ: For more on the tragedy in Texas, we are joined from the town of West by B.J. Austin of KERA Public Radio.
B.J., is the fire out? Is the scene under control? Are emergency service personnel able to answer the area where the blast occurred?
B.J. AUSTIN, KERA Public Radio: We really don't know if the fire is completely out. There was a briefing about an hour ago and that question was asked, and the official, the sheriff, deputy chief deputy sheriff of McLennan County said that he didn't have knowledge of that, nor did a state trooper, Jason Reyes, who was also conducting the briefing.
So we're not exactly sure. I did have a conversation with a state representative who this morning was able to tour the site and the neighborhood, and he said that it's gone. It's -- the plant is no more.
RAY SUAREZ: Has anyone been recovered in an area close to the blast in the last several hours?
B.J. AUSTIN: Officials are being very, very careful with this whole thing of recovery, of discovery, and whatever, and they're backing off of any earlier numbers of possible fatalities that they were given.
They said they're doing this in respect of the volunteer firefighters and the citizens of West. They want to be extremely diligent and extremely careful before they say anything about the exact number of fatalities and the exact number of injured. We have heard anywhere on injured from 170, and the state representative told me he thought it was closer to 200.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, is everyone working on the presumption that there are going to be a lot more than the five to 15 that was earlier announced by law enforcement?
B.J. AUSTIN: It may seem that way, but we just don't know.
They're not tipping their hands in this at all. The state representative did tell me that when he toured the site, he was amazed at the level of damage done to the neighborhood homes. He said they weren't blown over like a tornado. They were blown up with the walls blowing outward. So, he said it's -- it looks like a war zone, is what he told me.
RAY SUAREZ: You had an enormous fire, then a catastrophic explosion. Is there a chemical smell in the area? When you're downwind from West, does it smell like you're near a chemical plant that has some serious trouble?
B.J. AUSTIN: Well, I have to tell you, where I am right now, the only smell you smell is cows. We're right next to a cattle yard.
I really don't know. The area is so blocked off, not even people who live there within like a two-mile radius can get there to check the damage of their homes or get their prescription medicine or get clothing or anything. They're -- everyone is being totally kept out of the area at the direction of the ATF, the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and folks.
RAY SUAREZ: In the core area, is there still material on site that still poses a danger either from fumes or from burning?
B.J. AUSTIN: We were -- we asked that question at the briefing about an hour ago and frankly got a pretty evasive answer that all state agencies, including the Texas Commission on Environment Quality, are on site. They are monitoring and they are ensuring that the public is safe. And that's all they would say.
RAY SUAREZ: Is this a plant that's had safety problems or regulatory problems in the past?
B.J. AUSTIN: We do know from comments made by the superintendent of education that a couple of months ago, in February possibly, the plant did a controlled burn of some lumber and trees that were on site, and they did a controlled burn, and they asked that the intermediate school nearby be evacuated while they do that controlled burn.
But other than that, that's the only thing or concern issued. One gentleman who cannot return to his home -- the blast knocked his windows and doors off and knocked him to the ground last night -- he tells me that he's had concerns about possible chemical contamination, but he never thought there'd be an explosion, and he said he never really pursued those concerns, but he did have them.
RAY SUAREZ: Ammonium nitrate is a commonly used fertilizer. Is this an agricultural area of Texas? Is West a logical place to have a plant of this kind?
B.J. AUSTIN: Yes, indeed, it is.
And the plant has -- services all of the farmers and ranchers in this Central Texas area around West. And one person told me that it's been there a long time and that a lot of things have just grown up around it. A lot of houses, apartment buildings and the school have just grown up around the plant.
RAY SUAREZ: B.J. Austin of KERA in Dallas, thanks a lot for joining us.
B.J. AUSTIN: You're welcome.
HARI SREENIVASAN: A Mississippi man was charged today with threatening President Obama and a U.S. senator by allegedly sending them tainted letters. Paul Kevin Curtis was arrested yesterday, but maintains he is innocent. Lab tests confirmed a letter sent to Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker contained ricin. And the FBI confirmed the deadly poison was also in a letter mailed to the White House. Both were intercepted at off-site mailing facilities. If convicted -- if convicted, Curtis could face up to 15 years in prison.
Flooding became a problem for people in the Upper Midwest today, as rivers overflowed their banks. At least nine states are experiencing flooding or will soon. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it's closing part of the Mississippi River to commercial navigation starting tomorrow. Heavy rain fell across the region, making the flooding even worse. And in Chicago, a sinkhole opened up on a street on the city's South Side and swallowed three cars.
A former justice of the peace has been charged in the killings of a North Texas district attorney, his wife, and an assistant prosecutor. Eric Williams has been in jail since Saturday for making terror threats related to the case. The murdered officials prosecuted Williams for computer theft last year. He was later convicted and lost his elected position. His wife, Kim Williams, was charged in the murders yesterday. She confessed to taking part, but insisted her husband was the gunman.
Experts gathered by the World Health Organization arrived in China today, ahead of a weeklong investigation into a new strain of bird flu there. So far, they are unsure how it is spreading to humans. The H7N9 virus was identified three weeks ago. Since then, it has killed 17 people and infected 70 others, including many who have never had any contact with birds.
In this country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was working closely with China to figure out the strain.
DR. JOSEPH BRESEE, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The virus is still only found in six provinces or municipalities in China, so there's no cases outside China. Right now, we think the risk to the U.S. is very low. We think that we might see a traveler come to the United States that is infected in China, but gets sick in the United States. And we're preparing for that.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The team of international experts plans to visit the most affected areas of the country, Shanghai and Beijing, as well as Chinese laboratories testing the virus.
The Portuguese government pushed ahead with new spending cuts today to the tune of one billion dollars this year. The new money-saving measures are deeply unpopular, but necessary in order to meet deficit targets Portugal's creditors set out two years ago. The cuts will reduce spending on public sector staff, goods and services that have already been slashed in previous rounds of cuts. Portugal's unemployment rate is already above 17 percent.
On Wall Street today, a slew of disappointing corporate earnings reports sent stocks slipping. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 81 points to close at 14,537. The Nasdaq fell 38 points to close at 3,166.
NASA scientists announced the discovery of two new planets that appear to be capable of supporting life. The distant planets are 1,200 light-years away, orbiting a star in the constellation Lyra. One light-year is almost six trillion miles. The discoveries mark a milestone in the search for life on other planets. The find was made possible by NASA's Kepler telescope.
Those are some of the day's major stories -- now back to Jeff.
JEFFREY BROWN: And to the latest on the Boston bombing.
Just a short time ago, the FBI held a news conference. Agent Richard DesLauriers said they have gathered and analyzed thousands of tips and come up with images of two persons of interest, suspects who may have planted devices near the finish line of the marathon.
Here's an excerpt.
SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE RICHARD DESLAURIERS, FBI: Today, we are enlisting the public's help to identify the two suspects.
After a very detailed analysis of photo, video and other evidence, we are releasing photos of these two suspects. They are identified as suspect one and suspect two. They appear to be associated. Suspect one is wearing a dark hat. Suspect two is wearing a white hat.
Suspect two set down a backpack at the site of the second explosion just in front of the Forum restaurant.
We strongly encourage those who were at the Forum restaurant who have not contacted us yet to do so. As you can see from one of the -- from one of the images, suspects one and two appear to be walking together through the marathon crowd on Boylston Street in the direction of the finish line.
That image was captured as they walked on Boylston in the vicinity of the intersection with Gloucester Street. As you can see, the quality of the photos is quite good, but we will continue to work on developing additional images to improve their identification value.
Further, on FBI.gov, we have photos of the suspects. The photos and videos are posted for the public and media to use, review and publicize.
For clarity, these images should be the only ones -- and I emphasize the only ones -- that the public should view to assist us. Other photos should not be deemed credible and unnecessarily -- and they unnecessarily divert the public's attention in the wrong direction and create undue work for vital law enforcement resources.
For more than 100 years, the FBI has relied upon the public to be its eyes and ears. With the media's help, in an instant, these images will be delivered directly into the hands of millions around the world.
We know the public will play a critical role in identifying and locating these individuals. Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family members of the suspects.
Though it may be difficult, the nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us. No bit of information, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential, is too small for us to see. Each piece moves us forward towards justice.
It is extremely important to contact us with any information regarding the identities of suspect one, suspect two, and their location. We consider them to be armed and extremely dangerous. No one should approach them. No one should attempt to apprehend them, except law enforcement.
Let me iterate that -- reiterate that caution. Do not take any action on your own. If you see these men, contact law enforcement. If you know anything about the bombings or the men pictured here, please call the telephone listed on the photo arrays. That's 1-800-CALL-FBI. Again, that's 1-800-225-5324. All calls will be kept confidential.
We have also established a website for tips that directly relates to the bombing. Please contact -- please contact us at bostonmarathontips.FBI.gov. Again, that website is Bostonmarathontips.FBI.gov.
The photos can be viewed on our website, FBI.gov.
It is important to emphasize the images from Monday are indelible and the horror of that day will remain with us forever.
JEFFREY BROWN: And once again tonight, we're joined from Boston by David Boeri of WBUR Public Radio.
Well, David, that was quite an extraordinary news conference, no description of the suspects, other than the color of the hats they were wearing. They just decided to put it out there for the public.
DAVID BOERI, WBUR Public Radio: That's right.
And this is an example, Jeff, if ever there was one, of narrowcasting. They didn't make the description. They put it out there. They tell people they don't want to know about anybody else, any other photographs or video, except that that pertains to these two.
It is an extraordinary technique, yet they want to know more. They want to know as much as they can find out about these two people. Tellingly, that video showing the two men together walking toward the finish line on Boylston has a time stamp on it of 2:37 in the afternoon. Just eight minutes later, the explosions took place.
JEFFREY BROWN: Now, we're showing our audience the video. You had a chance to look at it earlier. But they said, if I heard it right, they had one suspect early on, yesterday, I think.
DAVID BOERI: Right.
JEFFREY BROWN: And then they took their time and then they found a connection to the second one. Tell us about that.
DAVID BOERI: Yes.
I mean, there is -- you just played the press conference. And Mr. DesLauriers of the FBI took very few questions afterwards. So what he said was, we developed a first suspect. Then, as we were going along, we developed a second one.
Now, I think people will agree that suspect number two is much more identifiable. He has a goatee. He has that hat turned backwards. The logos, interestingly, on both hats are hard to see. And I think that's because that's video that's been time-snapped to make photos of it, so it's a little blurry.
But he is much more identifiable. I would say they're in their mid-20s. Suspect -- or profile number one is in shadows. He's wearing the dark glasses, harder to see. It's not clear whether he has any facial hair.
But that's what they have. And the Forum is the restaurant next to the Starbucks which was just devastated at its front side by that explosion. So he wants -- Mr. DesLauriers is asking anybody with any information from those places if they recognize these people to contact the FBI.
JEFFREY BROWN: And as best we know, the linkage between the two is really from -- just that from that video of them walking together at one point?
DAVID BOERI: They're associated together a couple of times. That's right.
There is -- you know, I do not think they know really who these people -- they don't know who these people are, it would seem. They have very little information about them. By the way, the interesting thing about Boston, though, is this idea of narrowcasting and broadcasting of photos have been very successful.
In 2011, on the 21st of June in 2011, the FBI released photographs of Catherine Greig, who was the associate of the notorious mobster fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger. That was on the 21st. Within, I would say, 36 hours of that broadcast, there was somebody in Santa Monica that said, we recognize her. And on the 23rd, Bulger and Greig were in custody.
So it's an effective technique that's been used by the FBI here before.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. I was wondering how unusual this was for them to go before this route. But you're saying it has happened there before.
And as to the where the -- do we know where these images came from exactly? It sort of goes to what you and I talked about the other night about the number of videos and photos that were coming in.
DAVID BOERI: Right.
They were looking for surveillance cameras. There was one surveillance camera high on a roof that was thought to be very critical here. It turns out that they didn't come from there. So it's not clear where they came from, very little information here.
What's interesting to me, though, is yesterday was a day of complete confusion. The FBI made no statement. Nobody made any statement. I believe they had a photograph or some of this yesterday. They chose today to release them, after the president of course had been to Boston and left the city.
JEFFREY BROWN: David Boeri of WBUR, thank you once again.
DAVID BOERI: You're welcome.
JEFFREY BROWN: And as the investigation continues, so too the mourning.
As we heard, President Obama came to Boston today to attend a memorial service for victims of the bombing.
Hundreds lined up before dawn this morning, hoping to secure one of the 2,000 seats in Boston's Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Tight security blanketed the area and many were turned away.
SHELLY SMITH, Boston: We have to live. We have to go on with our lives. We don't know why things happen. And it could have been any one of us. I know we just pray and we stay strong with each other.
MICHAEL GOOLKASIAN, Boston: It's different. When I see stories, I really -- I get really sad, really sad. And it bothers me on so many different levels. But Boston will -- Boston is tough. Man, this city is the rocks. We will get through it.
JEFFREY BROWN: Inside, prominent politicians, including Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Mo Cowan, and former Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, joined in honoring the bombing victims.
Mayor Thomas Menino, who missed attending the marathon because of a broken leg, praised his city for its strength in the face of the tragedy.
MAYOR THOMAS MENINO, D-Boston: Nothing can defeat the heart of this city, nothing. Nothing will take us down, because we take care of one another. Even with the smell of the smoke in air and blood on the streets, tears in our eyes, we triumphed over that hateful act on Monday afternoon, because this is Boston, a city with courage, compassion, the strength that knows no bounds.
JEFFREY BROWN: Six religious leaders spoke.
Rev. Nancy Taylor of Boston's Old South Church, located near the race's finish line, recounted the sacrifice she witnessed Monday.
REV. NANCY TAYLOR, Old South Church: And from the church's tower, this is what I saw that day. I saw people run toward, not away, toward the explosions, toward the chaos, the mayhem, toward the danger, making of their own bodies sacraments of mercy.
JEFFREY BROWN: Cellist Yo-Yo Ma accompanied the Boston Children's Chorus.
And Gov. Deval Patrick linked the state holiday on Monday to American values.
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK, D-Mass.: How very strange that the cowardice unleashed on us should come on marathon day, on Patriots' Day. An attack on our civil ritual, like the marathon, especially on Patriots' Day, is an attack on those values.
And just as we cannot permit darkness and hate to triumph over our spiritual faith, so we must not permit darkness and hate to triumph over our civic faith. That cannot happen, and it will not.
JEFFREY BROWN: Before the service, President Obama met with the family of Krystle Campbell, one of three killed. And in addressing the gathering, he sought to comfort the unnerved city.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Because, after all, it's our beloved city, too. Boston may be your hometown, but we claim it, too.
Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act. If they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us, to shake us from those values that make us who we are as Americans, well, it should be pretty clear by now that they picked the wrong city to do it.
Not here in Boston. Not here in Boston.
And that's what you have taught us Boston. That's what you have reminded us, to push on, to persevere, to not grow weary, to not get faint. Even when it hurts, even when our heart aches, we summon the strength that maybe we didn't even know we had, and we carry on, we finish the race.
JEFFREY BROWN: Later, President Obama spoke with members of the Boston Athletic Association at a nearby high school and visited with victims and staff at Massachusetts General Hospital.
RAY SUAREZ: And we turn now to the subject of drones. Small unmanned aerial devices outfitted with surveillance equipment can be bought by virtually anyone and flown legally throughout the country.
As Hari Sreenivasan reports, the tiny aircraft are triggering a large debate over acceptable uses of domestic drones and privacy.
WOMAN: Oh, my God.
HARI SREENIVASAN: On a Sunday afternoon, an hour's drive outside the nation's capital, the skies were filled with drones, not the lethal military killing machines we have heard about overseas, but unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, of all shapes and sizes that are legal and flown in the U.S. today.
It was a fly-in by 40 members of the D.C. Area Drone User Group. Washington resident Timothy Reuter is the group's founder. It has nearly 300 members.
TIMOTHY REUTER, D.C. Area Drone User Group: We have a lot of people who are interested in photography. We have some longtime engineers, some who even work professionally on drone projects. You have longtime R.C. flyers.
And then you have people like myself who have no engineering background, have never done this before, but are excited by this as a new technology and just want to get started and find a community of people to work with.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Communities like this have popped up all over the country. These aircraft are not supposed to fly higher than 400 feet and must stay within the operator's line of sight, and, like all UAVs, are not allowed to fly around major airports.
Most of the users here are strictly hobbyists, but Reuter says many of them have business plans. There's only one problem.
TIMOTHY REUTER: The big restriction is you can't charge money for what you're doing. So, the FAA has deemed it safe enough for us to fly, but for some reason it's not safe enough to charge money for that exact same flying.
And we're doing some community service projects in the area, working with the local park to make promotional videos from the air of some of their trails. And that's where we're fitting in.
HARI SREENIVASAN: But the expanded use of UAVs to include commercial applications may be on the way in the United States.
In 2012, Congress passed a law requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to come up with a plan so that commercial and privately owned drones could be authorized to share the national airspace by 2015. Last fall, a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office said the majority of these drones would weigh less than 55 pounds and fly below 400 feet.
And the FAA's latest aerospace forecast predicts that once the rules are in place, 7,500 small unmanned aerial systems will be in commercial use in five years. In fact, the agency is already permitting some to operate in U.S. skies. As of February, there were 327 active certificates that authorize drone flights by public entities. They have been used to monitor natural disasters such as flooding, or even hot spots in forest fires.
Universities are experimenting with drones to monitor crops or vineyards. And law enforcement agencies are using unmanned aerial vehicles in Border Patrol operations.
MICHAEL TOSCANO, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International: Unmanned systems bring a tremendous potential to help human beings do those dirty, dangerous, difficult, and dull jobs.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Michael Toscano is president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a leading industry group for the unmanned systems and robotics community.
MICHAEL TOSCANO: These are commodities. They are an extension of the eyes, ears, hands of a human being. Well, that human being, that man or that woman, knows how to do their job better than anyone else. What you're giving them is a tool that allows them to have better information to make smarter decisions.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In March, Toscano's organization released a study looking at the potential economic impact of the unmanned aircraft industry. If the FAA integrates unmanned aerial systems into the airspace by 2015, the report projects 70,000 new jobs in the U.S. by 2018. By 2025, that number could grow to more than 100,000 jobs.
The industry group says other nations are already moving ahead with domestic unmanned aerial vehicles. In Spain, engineers equipped UAVs with 3-D imaging systems to create detailed maps of buildings and monuments. Costa Rican scientists have used drones to monitor one of the country's volcanoes. In Nepal, small unmanned aircraft with video cameras are flown above national parks to combat animal poaching.
Protesters in Eastern Europe used a drone to get a bird's-eye view of the situation on the ground. But here in the U.S., the storm clouds of legislative battles tied to privacy concerns are looming on the horizon. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, so far in 2013, 39 states that introduced 83 bills related to unmanned aerial systems. Most would limit their activity.
Just last week, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed a bill restricting the use of drone aircraft by police and other public agencies. The potential widespread use of drones isn't just spurring conversations at the state and local level. Just last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee convened a hearing titled "The Future of Drones in America."
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy wasn't just carrying paperwork when he walked into the hearing. The committee chair was holding a small drone aircraft, showing off the device that weighs a mere two pounds to ranking member Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-Vt.: Just in the last decade, technological advancements have revolutionized aviation to make this technology cheaper and more readily available.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Similar to state and local governments, chief among the committee's concerns, privacy.
Amie Stepanovich was one of the witnesses who testified before the committee.
AMIE STEPANOVICH, Electronic Privacy Information Center: The privacy laws that do exist are very targeted to the approach that the United States has taken to privacy, and they don't encompass the type of surveillance that drones are able to conduct.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Stepanovich works at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, a nonprofit research center in Washington, D.C.
AMIE STEPANOVICH: We want to see legislation that addresses aerial surveillance as a whole, that doesn't necessarily look at what technology is available on the market now, but what could be available, what has been available, and addresses that in a way that's not going to be out-of-date in a couple of years.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Last month, EPIC petitioned the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to suspend its domestic drone surveillance program, citing a lack of privacy regulations. The group has also urged the FAA to address privacy and transparency concerns as the agency works toward opening the national airspace to UAVs.
AMIE STEPANOVICH: Transparency is incredibly important, because it's something that can be done relatively easily. And actually right now, you have all manned pilots -- manned aircraft are registered. And that registry is publicly accessible.
With drone aircraft, you don't have the same repository. It's very difficult to determine what's out there, what surveillance equipment they carry. And we want to make sure that people are aware of what they're subject to.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Neither privacy advocates nor UAV enthusiasts are confident that the FAA will meet its required deadlines, leaving the future of domestic drones up in the air.
RAY SUAREZ: How close are we to having drones peer in our windows? Get some perspective on our World page.
JEFFREY BROWN: Next: a big move on a long-controversial area, immigration.
Margaret Warner has our look.
MARGARET WARNER: After months of negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators formally rolled out a sweeping immigration overhaul today. The gang of eight's bill would establish a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented people currently in the country. The process would take 13 years, and applicants would have to pay a fine and back taxes, learn English, and pass a criminal background check, among other hurdles.
But before that system can even be set up, certain security goals must be met, including improvements to the border fence.
One member of the group, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said failing to change the nation's immigration system would be economic suicide.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: The only way America loses is to do nothing. And to those people who believe that we don't need legal immigration in the future, you're not -- you're in denial about the demographics. And to those who say this costs more to take people out of the shadows and put them in a legal status where they pay taxes, you have certainly lost me. That makes no sense.
MARGARET WARNER: For more now on the push to pass comprehensive immigration reform, we turn to Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin. He's the majority whip in the Senate and a member of the so-called gang of eight.
Welcome, Sen. Durbin.
You all have been working on this nonstop since the start of this Congress. How hard was it to forge this compromise?
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN, D-Ill.: This wasn't easy.
You know, you have eight willful members of the U.S. Senate, four from each party, each with a point of view. And we came together determined to put together a comprehensive immigration bill, a task which has eluded other senators in the recent past.
We got it done. It's an 848-page bill. I think it's a good offering, a way to improve this immigration system in a lot of different facets.
MARGARET WARNER: Well, give us a flavor of what was it was like in that room. I gather you had something like 24 meetings.
RICHARD DURBIN: Well, there were nice, kind and quiet meetings and more eruptive meetings.
As I said today to John, I said, Mount McCain erupted a few times, but fortunately no one was injured and we got back on path in a hurry.
So despite the strong feelings that we each brought to this issue, because it is so important to each of us and to our country, I think at the end we struck a good balance.
MARGARET WARNER: As you referenced, back in 2007, there was also a bipartisan push for immigration reform. Just this week, we saw proposals on gun legislation which had bipartisan backing and wide public support go down to defeat.
What gives you reason to believe or hope that this one may be different?
RICHARD DURBIN: Well, I have never been on a stage at a press conference announcing a bill which Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, and Grover Norquist.
It's the most unusual coalition of business and labor, conservatives and liberals, religious leaders, leaders from all walks of life who have come together to back this bill. I think we have got a chance because it is so bipartisan and has such a broad base of support.
MARGARET WARNER: So you think it's more than the fact that 70 percent of Hispanic voters chose President Obama in the fall elections?
RICHARD DURBIN: Make no mistake, that was the catalyst. If the Nov. 6th election hadn't been so decisive when it came to voting blocs like Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans favoring President Obama, I'm not sure my Republican colleagues would have had the appetite.
John McCain has been very open about this. And he said if the Republicans want to be competitive with Hispanic voters in America, we have got to step forward and find a solution to our immigration challenge.
MARGARET WARNER: Now, have the eight of you discussed not only the substance of the bill, but how each team of you is going to deal with challenges from your own caucus?
RICHARD DURBIN: Well, we haven't gotten into particulars.
We can certainly do that. And, obviously, my work as Senate whip, I do it every day, where we break out members of each caucus and each approach them trying to make sure that they understand the bill. But, in fairness, the Republican senator took this measure to their own caucus. We took it to ours and went through it in detail, opened it to questions.
On the Democratic side, as you might expect, there was a more positive response. But I still feel very hopeful that we will have a substantial number of Republican senators.
MARGARET WARNER: Well, you -- several of you at today's press conference talked about how you would welcome amendments, but not amendments you felt were designed to kill the bill.
How is that actually going to work? In other words, are you committed to working together as a group, to actually meeting and saying, this looks like a bill-killer to us, and always voting as a bloc?
RICHARD DURBIN: Well, we haven't spelled that out because we haven't seen the amendments. Once we see them, we will be able to measure them as to whether they're friendly amendments to improve the bill or designed otherwise.
Now, there are four of us, Chuck Schumer, myself, Lindsey Graham, and Jeff Flake, on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where this bill is going to be considered. We will have our hearing tomorrow, the first hearing, and then another one on Monday. Come after the May recess, we will be coming back here in the first week of May with an opportunity to go through markup.
MARGARET WARNER: But you have worked now with these seven other senators very closely for the last, what, three, four months. Do you think each one is committed and ready to vote against amendments offered by members on the maybe more ideological end of their caucus, the people they consider friends and colleagues and who represent constituencies that a member of the gang of eight also has to worry about?
RICHARD DURBIN: You put your finger on the biggest challenge.
When you have a brokered compromise that really tries to strike a balance, and then you open it to amendments, I know they're going to be some heartbreaking votes there. There will be things which, if I were an independent on this issue and not vested in this process, I would gladly vote for them. I'm sure the same is true on the Republican side.
But we have got to measure which amendments go too far, destroy the balance. It's going to be a tough balancing act.
MARGARET WARNER: One element -- there's been a lot of focusing on what the bill does for and to people who have been here illegally, but it also represents quite a shift, wouldn't it, in who's admitted here legally in the future?
RICHARD DURBIN: Yes, there are several aspects to this.
First, we're talking about people who come in for specific jobs or specific purposes, the H-1Bs and so-called specialized people who are brought into the United States. We think of them in the high-tech industry, but it really is across a broad spectrum of possibilities in employment.
Then we have other jobs related to seasonal workers, agricultural workers and the like. So each of those has a different program, but there's one common theme: In every one of these instances, the job has to be offered to an American first, and it has to be offered at a wage that's fair. And if the American fills the job, so be it. Or if the unemployment rate in this country is too high, you can't bring in the foreign workers.
So we're really trying to set up a system that gives the American workers the first opportunity, the highest preference.
MARGARET WARNER: Quick final question. President Obama came out this week and said he supports this bill. Do you want his active involvement in this? Do you need his active involvement? Or is it better to have him stand back and let you all handle this?
RICHARD DURBIN: It was interesting. A few months back, when the president was headed to Nevada to talk about immigration, the Sunday before he left, he was on the phone with Chuck Schumer and me, and we talked for a few minutes.
And he basically said, all right, I won't put a bill out on the table. I will give you this chance to move forward. But I have learned a lesson watching Congress. I'm not going to wait forever. So get onto it and get it done.
And we have. The president has been encouraging us. He supports comprehensive immigration reform. I know he will do whatever it takes to help us pass this bill, but he's committed to it personally.
MARGARET WARNER: Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, thank you so much.
RICHARD DURBIN: Thank you.
RAY SUAREZ: In the fourth in our five-part online series, we catch up with Jesus Garcia, an activist we first interviewed about immigration reform in 2006. What has and hasn't changed in the last seven years? You can also read a primer on the legislation.
JEFFREY BROWN: Finally tonight: ending extreme poverty around the world by 2030. That's the ambitious goal announced by World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, as his organization and the International Monetary Fund begin their annual spring meetings with delegates from around the globe.
The World Bank has come under strong criticism at various times since its founding in 1944, including, as it happens, by Kim himself. An American born in South Korea, Kim is a doctor, a leading global health advocate and winner of a so-called MacArthur genius grant. In the late 1980s, he demonstrated against World Bank policies, even calling for its end.
Last year, picked by President Obama, he became the bank's chief, after serving as president of Dartmouth College since 2009.
I talked with Dr. Kim at World Bank headquarters in Washington this morning and began by asking what's new in his goal of attacking poverty.
JIM YONG KIM, World Bank Group: We feel the fact that there's still 1.2 billion people living in absolute poverty, which is less than $1.25 a day, is a stain on our collective conscience.
JEFFREY BROWN: A stain?
JIM YONG KIM: A stain.
And, you know, over the past 25 years, we have made a lot of progress. We have gone from 43 percent of the people living in absolute poverty to 21 percent today. But most of that was because China grew so rapidly. They lifted 600 million people out of poverty. It's never been done before in human history.
But now the tough work remains. What we're seeing is a one-percent-a-year drop in global poverty, but what's going to happen is that that curve is going to flatten out, and flatten out pretty dramatically. And what we're saying is, we now need to bend that arc downwards and really end poverty. And it's going to take a lot of effort to reach this target.
JEFFREY BROWN: What kind of effort? I mean, give me a concrete example in a specific place even of what you would now do differently.
JIM YONG KIM: So what would you do in India differently if you're committed to ending poverty?
Well, India, I visited a state called Uttar Pradesh. And this is a state in India that has over 200 million people.
JEFFREY BROWN: Huge population.
JIM YONG KIM: Eight percent of the people living in absolute poverty in the world live in Uttar Pradesh.
And so in our plan for India, we're going to focus much more of our effort in those poorest states where the poor people live.
JEFFREY BROWN: Is there an implied or even explicit critique of practices of the World Bank and other institutions of the past? I mean, you yourself were once one of those who demonstrated against or protested against the World Bank.
JIM YONG KIM: Absolutely.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right?
JIM YONG KIM: Absolutely.
JEFFREY BROWN: Now here you are heading it.
JIM YONG KIM: Here I am heading it.
Well, and I think it's an indication of how much things have changed.
Back then, I was part of a mutual called 50 Years Is Enough, where we thought, on the 50th anniversary, you should just shut down the World Bank.
JEFFREY BROWN: Who needs it anymore?
JIM YONG KIM: But things have changed.
Fifteen years ago, we were not at the forefront of tackling climate change. We were not at the forefront of insisting on gender equality in development programs. We are through there now. It's a different organization. And we are united around this goal of ending poverty.
JEFFREY BROWN: Could you have ever imagined yourself 15 years ago heading this organization?
JIM YONG KIM: Certainly not 15 years ago.
JEFFREY BROWN: One of the critiques I have seen from some in the development country after you announced this plan is that you're still focusing on growth as a way to bring everybody up, and not enough on the inequalities that exist within many societies, including many of the more developed societies.
JIM YONG KIM: Well, the second part of the target, which is boosting shared prosperity, this is actually completely new for the World Bank Group.
What we're saying is every year we are going to let countries know the extent to which the bottom 40 percent of income earners are participating in economic growth. In other words, we are going to measure inequality. We are going to measure the extent to which growth is inclusive. That's new and that's very powerful.
JEFFREY BROWN: You're going to tell how much they're behind -- the bottom is behind the top?
JIM YONG KIM: How much ...
JEFFREY BROWN: And then what? What do you want them to do?
JIM YONG KIM: Well, we're going to be very specific about it. And we have been specific about it for years.
We believe that the evidence shows us -- and certainly the Arab spring countries have shown us this -- that if you have GDP growth without inclusion, you're building instability into your societies. And we feel that the evidence is overwhelming that putting women at the center of the development process, for example, is smart economics. That's what you should be doing.
So it's not -- we're going to measure growth. We're going to measure participation in growth. We're going to measure poverty. But the things that you need to do to get there are varied. And what we know is that if you don't invest in health, education, social protection, you're not really being very visionary about what it's going to take to grow your economy in the future.
That message is very strong, and I think people are hearing it from us.
JEFFREY BROWN: Does this require new money? Because you're making this call at a time of slow growth in much of the world, negative growth in Europe, for example.
What do you need from other countries, and how would you get it at a time like this?
JIM YONG KIM: Well, if you look at the needs in the world, official development assistance, which is the money that donor countries give, is about $125 billion dollars a year.
But let's look at just one country, India. I was just back from India. They have a one trillion dollar infrastructure deficit over the next five years. So there's no way that official development assistance is going to be enough to tackle this problem. This is one of the great strengths of the World Bank Group.
We not only work in the public sector with development assistance, but we work in the private sector. We make direct investments. We make loans.
It's going to take a major effort of bringing public and private together if we're to have any chance of meeting these targets.
JEFFREY BROWN: Are you afraid that the world might fall backwards? There's been a lot of strides in the last couple of decades through China and other countries with poverty. We have had a number of years of very slow growth. Are you afraid now that we might be moving backwards?
JIM YONG KIM: We remain cautiously optimistic about what could happen in the future.
We know that the developed economies have to grow in order for us to be able to meet our targets in the developing economies. But the growth in the developing economies has been one of the good news stories over the last five years. More than 50 percent of the growth globally has come from the developing economies. And this year, they are going to grow at 5.5 percent.
Part of it is because many of those countries have made tough decisions over the past 15, 20 years around fiscal consolidation, around investing in health and education, so they could lay the foundations for future growth.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, you know, one of the questions as you gather here is whether the World Bank is even relevant anymore, right? You had a number of countries that have grown and made great strides.
There are other areas where they can seek investment now than the bank. What's the case for the continued relevance of the bank, World Bank?
JIM YONG KIM: You know, the BRICS countries, being Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, the most high-profile, if you will, middle-income countries, the experience that I have had in going to each of those countries is that they don't want less of the World Bank; they want more of the World Bank.
And it's not so much that they need our money, but what they need is our expertise and it's our very specific ability to work in the public sector, in the private sector. And we also provide political guarantees. So if you make an investment in a country, and that company's nationalized, we actually provide insurance, which is helping people to feel comfortable making the kinds of investments in developing countries that are needed.
We have had 66 years of experience. We have gone through so many different conflicts in order to get to a place where the 188-member countries agree on where we should go and agree about the fundamental relevance of the World Bank Group.
There will always be a need for our knowledge. There will always be a need for our ability to work across public and private sectors. There will always be a need for us as a neutral agent in a very contentious environment.
JEFFREY BROWN: Let me just ask you finally about you personally, because World Bank presidents to this point have traditionally been from political backgrounds, from economic backgrounds, financial backgrounds.
You're a doctor. You have spent your life in public health. What do you bring to this that is different?
JIM YONG KIM: Well, for almost all of my adult life, I have been working in the area of development.
I have worked in Haiti. I have worked in the slums of Lima, Peru. I have worked in the Soviet -- the former Soviet Union countries. I have worked in Tomsk in Siberia. So I have been doing development my entire life.
And the World Bank is a development bank. Our focus is on trying to help lift people out of poverty and to boost prosperity, a prosperity that's shared. And that's essentially what I have been doing all my life as an anthropologist and a physician. So I have been trying to fight poverty my whole life.
And what I have found is that inside the World Bank, we are just full of passion, that people in the World Bank want to end poverty. That's why they came to work at the World Bank. And because we share such fundamental values, we hope that we can be ever more effective in the years ahead.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, World Bank President Dr. Kim, thanks for talking to us.
JIM YONG KIM: Thanks, Jeff.
JEFFREY BROWN: Dr. Kim has also promised a strong new effort to combat climate change, especially in the developing world. You can find that part of our conversation online.
It had already been a hectic, headlong week when a reporter I like, respect and admire made a big mistake. In the rush to get the news fast and first, he got it wrong.
I'm not interested in beating up on him, because it could have easily been me. We all want instant solace. When the president declared to the mourners gathered at Boston's Cathedral of The Holy Cross: "Yes, we will find you. And, yes, you will face justice." We got that. That's how the story ends, right? The bad guys get caught.
But the imperative to get to the neat "Law and Order" ending sometimes conflicts with the imperatives of the news business. So this week, when reporters tripped over each other to figure things out, many overreached.
Wednesday was the worst of it. A suspect was arrested, we were told. He was in custody, we were assured. And the only description of the suspect was that he was male and "dark-skinned."
I tweeted this: "Disturbing that it's OK for TV to ID a Boston bombing suspect only as 'a dark-skinned individual.'"
And the hounds of Twitter hell were unleashed.
Conspiracy theorists on the left applauded me for what they saw as right-minded commentary on race in America. Conspiracy theorists on the right denounced me for what they saw as wrongheaded commentary on race in America. Both were wrong.
I was talking about journalism. This reporter, and several others who disseminated bad information throughout the day, broke clear rules by repeating information from a single source that lacked a second confirmation. They eventually came up with other sources, but only eventually.
My friend's error was compounded when he added useless detail. Having dark skin is not a useful descriptor in a multiracial society. It only stirs fear and free-floating suspicion unless yoked to something more specific -- like hair color or clothing or other more telling detail.
As it happens, the night before, I'd watched the PBS broadcast of Ken and Sarah Burns' excellent film "The Central Park Five," which reconstructed the troubling events surrounding the arrest of five black and Latino teenagers who were charged with the 1989 rape and savage beating of a young, white woman jogger.
The young men were innocent, but were railroaded into confessions and wrongfully convicted. They spent years behind bars before being exonerated when the real perpetrator confessed. They were victims, in the end, of a rush to justice forced on them by the police, the prosecutors, the mayor and even by Donald Trump, who paid for a newspaper ad calling for the death penalty. The shocked city was demanding that someone pay a price.
But the news media, too, played a role in what turned out to be a sad miscarriage of justice. The city's tabloids and television stations play a prominent role in the documentary, gobbling up the story invented for them by the authorities and questioning the outcome only years later.
(Sadly, it was a New York tabloid that compounded this week's rush to judgment by publishing photos of two supposed suspects on its cover with the headline "Bag Men." Neither was the suspect.)
I'm not saying reporters should have seen through the smokescreen instantly. It's harder than it looks to challenge official information when it comes from investigators who by definition ought to know more than you do.
But getting more than one source (and taking a deep breath before reporting the information) is designed to reduce the potential for error. And it minimizes the possibility that, say, the city police may want information circulated that the FBI does not.
Eventually someone will be arrested and charged. Maybe that person will even be a dark-skinned male. But getting it right eventually should not ever be an option.
Police in Watertown, Mass., search for one of the suspects in Monday's bombing at the Boston Marathon. Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images.
With a massive manhunt in Boston underway, any semblance of politics is likely to go by the wayside Friday.
Boston-area residents are being asked to stay in their homes, as one of the suspects in the marathon bombing was killed in an overnight shootout with law enforcement and as cable news reporters breathlessly follow every twist and turn.
President Barack Obama was briefed overnight by homeland-security and counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco about developments in the investigation as well as the events in Boston and Watertown, Mass., a White House official told reporters.
With so little solid information about the brothers suspected of planting bombs at the marathon Monday, it's difficult to know how the conversation will shift. The Associated Press is reporting the men are from a Russian region near Chechnya and that at least one of them was in the United States legally.
Chances are what we learn about the men and their motives will become a part of the political conversation in Washington. And we'll keep bringing you up to speed as the situation develops.
But for now, we've rounded up good reporting from on the ground and posted a live video feed from our public media partners.
You can follow the evolving situation and watch live-streamed news conferences on our homepage.
THE PUSH FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM
"This wasn't easy," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told the NewsHour Thursday night, hours after he and the seven other members of the Gang of Eight formally rolled out their comprehensive immigration reform proposal at a Capitol Hill news conference.
Margaret Warner asked Durbin to give a flavor of what the group's two dozen meetings were like.
"Well, there were nice, kind and quiet meetings and more eruptive meetings," Durbin said. "As I said today to John, I said, Mount McCain erupted a few times, but fortunately no one was injured and we got back on path in a hurry. So despite the strong feelings that we each brought to this issue, because it is so important to each of us and to our country, I think at the end we struck a good balance."
Warner also pressed Durbin if he was confident the others in the Gang of Eight were committed to vote against amendments to the bill that they might favor, but that could derail the overall legislation.
"You put your finger on the biggest challenge," Durbin said. "When you have a brokered compromise that really tries to strike a balance, and then you open it to amendments, I know they're going to be some heartbreaking votes there. There will be things which, if I were an independent on this issue and not vested in this process, I would gladly vote for them. I'm sure the same is true on the Republican side. But we have got to measure which amendments go too far, destroy the balance. It's going to be a tough balancing act."
Watch here or below:Watch Video
Thursday's news conference was abound with gracious remarks about the bipartisan process that led to the compromise, and even a few moments of levity, such as when Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., approached the lectern and declared, "I've changed my mind."
As Rubio turned to walk away, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., exclaimed, "Not again!"
But the Florida Republican put his colleagues quickly at ease, saying, "Just joking."
Rubio then delivered a full-throated defense of the group's proposal.
"It's tragic that a nation of immigrants remains divided on the issue of immigration. This must once again become our strength, and I believe that through this effort we can make that happen," Rubio said. "We all wish we didn't have this problem, but we do and we have to fix it. Because leaving things the way they are, that's the real amnesty."
Here is Cassie M. Chew's primer on the 844-page bill.
Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown looks at how Democrats have received the bill.
The Washington Post's Paul Kane, meanwhile, examines how senators are seeking to balance which hot-button issues to support. And the Post's David Nakamura notes Rubio's support for the measure puts him at odds with some conservatives.
A Senate Democratic leadership aide told reporters Thursday that Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has made a procedural move to "freeze" the gun bill where it is. The tactic allows him to bring it back again when he chooses. "Make no mistake, this debate is not over. In fact, this fight is just beginning," Reid said Thursday. He added that he's talked with Mr. Obama and that they agree "the best way to keep working towards passing a background check bill is to hit a pause and freeze the background check bill where it is."
States United To Prevent Gun Violence created this gun control ad to suggest gun laws are antiquated. Watch here or below.
Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad has a good piece on how the Massachusetts Senate special election was put on hold after the bombings, and what's next ahead of the late-April primary.
The House on Thursday passed cybersecurity legislation. The Hill has a good primer on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.
The Center for Public Integrity has a detailed story noting that the Chemical Safety Board responsible for regulating the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, "has been criticized for failing to complete investigations in a timely manner."
Turns out Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., hired the man who allegedly sent him a suspicious letter as an Elvis impersonator years ago. The man was charged Thursday and faces up to 15 years in prison.
Jon Ward delivers an update on the complicated friendship between Mr. Obama and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is reserving South Carolina air time in the 1st Congressional District matchup between Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch and former GOP Gov. Mark Sanford. South Carolina Republicans wouldn't talk about the race when a Washington Post reporter made the attempt.
The Concerned Women Political Action Committee has floated the idea of backing Sanford's ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, as a potential write-in candidate in the race. "The people of South Carolina have no good options right now," CWPAC President Peggy Nance said in a statment. "We are only considering it ... but I have to say, 'Congresswoman Jenny Sanford' has a nice ring to it."
Roll Call's Shira Toeplitz spells out the tea leaves from Senate fundraising figures.
A graduate student seems to have discovered errors in two Harvard economists' calculations that had served as the foundation for political arguments to slash the national debt.
Chris Cillizza wants you to caption this.
Are political news sites lucky enough to get a Christine O'Donnell comeback?
Don't miss Hari Sreenivasan's report on domestic drones.
Here's our examination of the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas.
Jeff Brown interviews World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
In her weekly column, Gwen Ifill writes about the importance of "getting it right" when it comes to reporting.
Looooong backup headed toward Logan, looks like they're checking cars going in.— Cyra Master (@cyram) April 19, 2013
[fact about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that everybody just googled]— daveweigel (@daveweigel) April 19, 2013
Reuters published an obituary of George Soros in error. Reuters withdrew the article as soon as it appeared.— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) April 18, 2013
Yeah, pretty much: onion.com/17JrDRC— Christina Bellantoni (@cbellantoni) April 18, 2013
Rep. Steve King (R-IA): "The Gang of Eight's bill is aggressive and outrageous amnesty.." from statement.— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) April 18, 2013
Katelyn Polantz and politics desk assistant Simone Pathe contributed to this report.
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A skater performs a trick at the South Bank skatepark in London. Plans are underway to refurbish the complex, which would be replaced with new arts venues and retail outlets. The skatepark, hailed as the birthplace of British skateboarding, is to be moved to a nearby area, which has angered the skateboarding community. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.
Updated 10:07 p.m. ET: President Obama speaks on tonight's arrest: "Tonight our nation is in debt to the people of Boston and the people of Massachusetts." Watch Video
"We've closed an important chapter in this tragedy."-President Obama to.pbs.org/ZxeNm9— NewsHour (@NewsHour) April 20, 2013
Updated 10:00 p.m. ET: In a press conference, Massachusetts State Police Colonel Timothy P. Alben says "We're exhausted ... but we have a victory."Watch Video
Updated 9:10 p.m. ET: Confirmation of capture was followed by applause in the neighborhood of Watertown and a tweet sent out from the Boston Police Department: "In our time of rejoicing, let us not forget the families of Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, Krystle Campbell and Officer Sean Collier." Richard, Lu and Campbell were the three killed in the marathon bombings and Collier was the MIT officer shot late Thursday.
Updated 8:50 p.m. ET: From Mayor Thomas Menino.
Updated 8:39 p.m. ET: From The Boston Globe
Suspect in custody. Officers sweeping the area. Stand by for further info.— Boston Police Dept. (@Boston_Police) April 20, 2013
Updated 6:20 p.m. ET: State police say they believe the second bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is on foot and still in Massachusetts because of his ties. Updated 6:10 p.m. ET: At an evening briefing, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says the stay-indoors-request has been lifted and that the state's metro service will resume immediately. Updated 5:40 p.m. ET: Outside of Watertown, Massachusetts State Police recovered "homemade explosives, including pipe bombs and another pressure cooker, as well as more than 200 spent rounds," reports WBUR -- Boston's NPR station. Police also say Norfolk Street in Cambridge has been cleared out and that the planned controlled explosion did not happen. Updated 4:37 p.m. ET: Earlier this afternoon, we spoke to Bob Russo, Portland Boxing Club owner, who coached Tamerlan at the Golden Gloves amateur nationals in 2009. Russo said he didn't know the young boxer very well, but said he was very quite and "a very good athlete." Updated 4:25 p.m. ET: While police initially said the brothers robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store in Cambridge near the MIT campus Thursday night, they say now the robbery there was committed by someone else, according to the latest AP report. A surveillance photo they released came from a gas station where the suspects stopped. Updated 4:10 p.m. ET: "Convince me," implored Maret Tsarnaeva, aunt of the Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in a press conference shot by ABC. Watch Video
Police operations in the Franklin Street Watertown area. Residents shelter in place.— Boston Police Dept. (@Boston_Police) April 19, 2013
"Why doesn't the FBI give me more?" she asked, saying she doesn't have enough information to convince her that her nephews are responsible for Monday's attack that killed three and wounded 170.
Tsarnaeva, who lives in Toronto, called the FBI's tip line, saying she believes her nephews are innocent. "They are just normal young men ... athletic and smart."
Updated 3:45 p.m. ET:With Beantown in effect paralyzed as authorities continue their search for a suspect, the Boston Red Sox and Bruins postpone their games Friday night.
Updated 3:35 p.m. ET: Tsarnaev, the deceased suspect pictured below, had studied accounting as a part-time student at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston for three semesters from 2006 to 2008, the school told the AP.
Updated 3:21 p.m. ET: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was registered as a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and lived in a dormitory there, according to the AP. Students at UMass Dartmouth said he was on campus this week after the bombings. The university closed down earlier today along with other Boston colleges as the search unfolded. Updated 3:15 p.m. ET: Police say they had conflicting reports on whether the brothers robbed a 7-Eleven in Cambridge, near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on Thursday night, according to the Associated Press. Updated 2:43 p.m. ET: Compiled from NPR, what it looked like from inside the lockdown in Boston. Updated 2:31 p.m. ET: State police now saying they have that car.
Photo of deceased suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev accepting trophy for winning the 2010 New England Golden Gloves ow.ly/i/1VIvR— NewsHour (@NewsHour) April 19, 2013
Updated 2:30 p.m. ET: @j_tsar appears to be the Twitter account of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, according to reports from The Boston Globe, NPR and The Washington Post.
Media reporting we are looking for a Honda Civic reg 116GC7, please note that we have that car. We are not looking for it. BOLO recalled— MASS STATE POLICE (@MassStatePolice) April 19, 2013
Updated 2:20 p.m. ET: President Barack Obama meets with members of his national security team to discuss developments in the Boston bombings investigation. (Photo by Pete Souza/White House) Updated 2:14 p.m. ET: Officials in Boston are looking for a 1999 green Honda Civic Watch Video
Ain't no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people— Jahar (@J_tsar) April 16, 2013
Updated 12:38 p.m. ET: Teen Suspect in Boston Bombings a 'Regular American Kid'
Updated, 12:06 p.m. ET: The uncle of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect still at large, has urged his nephew to turn himself in. Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., spoke to reporters from his driveway Friday.
"Dzhokhar, if you are alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness," Tsarni said.
Tsarni said that Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed overnight, were born in Kyrgyzstan. NPR's Pam Fessler reported that the two suspects are ethnic Chechens from Kyrgyzstan, and the suspect's aunt told @nprnews that their family was deported to Kyrgyzstan in the early 1990s from Chechnya.
Tsarni said he hasn't seen them since December 2005 and did not know of any possible involvement in terrorist groups or whether either had any paramilitary training. He added that his family is ashamed and that he loves and respects the United States.Watch Video
Updated 11:43 a.m. ET: The name and a photo of the MIT police officer killed Thursday night have been released. Authorities say 26-year-old Sean Collier was shot and killed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. MIT says Collier was a Wilmington native and Somerville resident who had worked at MIT since January 2012. Before that, he was a civilian employee of the Somerville Police Department. Collier was found shot several times in his vehicle at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday.
MIT officer Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville, was identified as the victim in last night's shooting. twitter.com/cambridgechron...— Cambridge Chronicle (@cambridgechron) April 19, 2013
Updated 11:02 a.m. ET: Connecticut State Police say a vehicle believed to be linked to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been recovered in Boston, the Associated Press reports. Elsewhere, the University Of Massachusetts Dartmouth has closed its campus and ordered an evacuation after confirming that Tsarnaev is registered there. The school says it closed the campus "out of an abundance of caution" as the search continues.
Updated 10:40 a.m. ET: Here's a detailed timeline of events over the last 17 hours, via the Associated Press, based on reports from the Middlesex County district attorney, Massachusetts State Police and Boston police:
At 5:10 p.m. Thursday, investigators of the bombings release photographs and video of two suspects. They ask for the public's help in identifying the men. Around 10:20 p.m., robbery takes place at a 7/11 convenience store in Cambridge, near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, just outside Boston. Shots are fired on the campus. At 10:30 p.m., an MIT campus police officer who was responding to a disturbance is found shot multiple times in his vehicle, apparently in a confrontation with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. He is later pronounced dead. Shortly afterward, two armed men reportedly carjack a Mercedes SUV in Cambridge. A man who was in the vehicle is held for about a half hour and then released unharmed at a gas station on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. Police soon pursue the carjacked vehicle in Watertown, just west of Cambridge. Some kind of explosive devices are thrown from the vehicle in an apparent attempt to stop police. The carjackers and police exchange gunfire. A transit police officer is seriously injured. One suspect, later identified as Suspect No. 1 in the marathon bombings, is critically injured and later pronounced dead. Authorities launch a manhunt for the other suspect. Around 1 a.m. Friday, gunshots and explosions are heard in Watertown. Dozens of police officers and FBI agents converge on a Watertown neighborhood. A helicopter circles overhead. Around 4:30 a.m., Massachusetts state and Boston police hold a short outdoor news briefing. They tell people living in that section of eastern Watertown to stay in their homes. They identify the carjackers as the same men suspected in the marathon bombings. Overnight, police also release a photograph of a man believed to be Suspect No. 2, apparently taken from store video earlier in the evening at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Cambridge. He is wearing a gray hoodie-style sweatshirt. Around 5:50 a.m. authorities urge residents in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge, Arlington and the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods of Boston to stay indoors. All mass transit is shut down. Around 6:35 a.m., The Associated Press reports that the bomb suspects are from a Russian region near Chechnya and lived in the United States for at least a year. Around 6:45 a.m., The Associated Press identifies the surviving Boston bomb suspect as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, who has been living in Cambridge. Around 8 a.m. Boston's police commissioner says all of Boston must stay in their homes as the search for the surviving suspect in the bombings continues. Around 8:40 a.m., a U.S. law enforcement official and the uncle of the suspects confirm that the name of the slain suspect is Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's older brother.
Updated 10 a.m. ET: The greater Boston area remained on lockdown Friday morning as police hunted for a second suspect connected to the dual bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Late Thursday night, the suspects led Boston police on a wild car chase through suburban neighborhoods before one of them, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout. The other suspect, identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, according to the Associated Press, remained at large and was considered "extremely dangerous."
The men's uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., told the AP that they are from a Russian region near Chechnya and that they lived together near Boston and had been in the United States for about 10 years.
Authorities have asked residents of Newtown, Watertown, Waltham and Cambridge to remain at home, stay inside and report any suspicious activities.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, left, remains at large. FBI photo.Watch Video
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis urged all residents to stay at home as the police conduct a door-to-door search for the remaining suspect and any other possible accomplices. Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police Timothy Alben said Watertown was the priority neighborhood for the search.
The suspected bombers robbed a 7-11 store in Cambridge Thursday evening. Shortly afterward, they shot and killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology security officer, before carjacking a Mercedes SUV and then leading police on a chase through Boston suburbs.
Incredible photo of swat teams, taken by the Globe's Aram Boghosian. twitter.com/billy_baker/st...— Billy Baker (@billy_baker) April 19, 2013
We'll continue to update this post throughout the day and will pick up the coverage on Friday's NewsHour broadcast.
Election sign for Imran Khan who heads the party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. The former cricket champion-turned-politician casts himself as an anti-corruption crusader. Photo by Daniel Sagalyn.
If everything goes according to plan, Pakistan’s election on May 11 will be the first time in the country’s history that there will be a peaceful transfer of power from one civilian government to the next.
The election is critical in the democratic transition of Pakistan, according to Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, president of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency, a non-profit organization that focuses on elections, democracy and parliament. Mehboob said in the past “either a government was sacked with overt or covert support of the military and the elections took place. Or it was a military government which conducted the election.” In this case, he stressed, there will be a handover of power from one group of civilians to another.
A successful election will “give Pakistanis confidence they can pick their leaders, it will give them a tremendous amount of respect,” Mehboob said. “They will focus more on governance and less on politics.”
The democracy scholar said this was happening at a time when democratic institutions were the strongest they have ever been in Pakistan’s 66-year history.
“We think that it is the finest period for democracy in Pakistan in a relative sense,” Mehboob said. “Pakistan never had such an independent and assertive judiciary as we have today.” In addition, there is a vibrant and diverse media which is independent of any government influence, he said.
Finally, political parties are able to operate freely, without government influence, according to Mehboob. “There used to be times when people who opted to be in [the] opposition were put under a lot of pressure, one way or the other, through police, through coercion, and they were made to switch sides, but today there is no such thing,” he said. “The opposition is free.”
“I think we’ll see little military interference in these elections,” according to Andrew Wilder, the director of Afghanistan and Pakistan Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. However, if the elections result in a hung parliament, then the Pakistani military “may play some role in facilitating coalition-building efforts in order to protect some of their institutional interests,” said Wilder in an email to the NewsHour. “They genuinely don’t want a completely dysfunctional government as they recognize there’s now an urgent need for a government that can address the economic crisis.”
Wilder noted that sometimes in the past the Pakistani military has “wanted a relatively weak and dysfunctional government so that the politicians would get discredited and the military” would look good. In times like this, the Pakistani military “could continue to retain real power behind the facade of democratically elected politicians,” he said.
While democratic institutions have been gaining strength over the past five years, nevertheless “governance has been quite poor,” stressed Mehboob. “Service delivery has been poor, management of state institutions have been quite poor. Inflation, unemployment, state enterprises management, corruption” at the federal and provincial level all “get very low marks in governance.”
“It has been a kind of mixed bag,” Hasan Askari Rizvi of Punjab University said, referring to the last five years of democratic rule in Pakistan. He notes there have been several procedural successes, such as the transferring of power from the presidency to the parliament. During previous dictatorial regimes, the presidency amassed great power and now that has been undone, says Rizvi. Power and autonomy, according to Rizvi, has been shifted to the provinces, giving them more ability for self-rule.
Another positive development, according to Rizvi, is that Pakistani military leaders now consult with their civilian counterparts more often than they used to in the past. “As far as civil-military relations are concerned, the military has definitely yielded some space to the civilian government,” Rizvi said. “But when it comes to their [the military’s] primary interests, or what they view as their primary interests, whether it’s anything related to terrorism, anything relating to their professional interests, anything relating to their corporate interests, they put their foot down.”
But Rizvi says the Pakistani military is still the most powerful institution in the country and that “the whole notion of civilian [leaders] controlling the military is still an alien concept in Pakistan.”
In addition, Rizvi noted, “Afghanistan is still the baby of the Army” and the intelligence service, meaning the security services, determine Pakistan’s foreign policy toward its neighbor.
But on many domestic issues — as well as on negotiating with India and managing U.S.-Pakistani relations — the Pakistani military wants “a civilian face” because it wants societal support for their activities, according to Rizvi.
Furthermore, “the Army has realized that instead of direct management of everything, they can pursue their agenda from the sidelines,” Rizvi notes. “In the past there is a tradition of the ISI [intelligence service] manipulating the election process,” but they don’t have to do that anymore,” Rizvi said. “Because they know whoever comes to power will lean toward the military. They will need military support and military will need a civilian face, a civilian cover.”
“During my time in Pakistan, the military leadership repeated time after time that it was up to the civilians to address such issues as economic policy, energy, education, etc.,” said former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, in an email to the NewsHour. “That’s not to say that the military isn’t intensely interested in the result of the elections, because it clearly wants to see a competent government with popular support,” said the ambassador who served in Pakistan from 2010 to 2012. “That in turn would help the military in its efforts to concentrate on security issues.”
Some analysts in Pakistan believe the parliamentary and provincial assemblies elections will help reduce the power of the Pakistani Taliban, which has been waging an insurgency against the state over the past half-decade.
The election “will be a huge setback to outfits like the Taliban who do not believe in democracy,” said Mehboob. “No matter who wins, [it] will be good for Pakistan’s peace vis-a-vis the Taliban.”
Over the past five years, Pakistan has been wracked by sectarian violence, kidnappings, targeting killings and an insurgency that has left an estimated 40,000 dead, according to the Pak Institute of Peace, which tracks violent incidents.
Polls indicate that the Pakistan Muslim League (N) or PML-N is the frontrunner, led by Nawaz Sharif, who served as prime minister twice during the 1990s and was overthrown by the military in 1999. The party’s manifesto says it is “convinced that militancy and terrorism have no place in Pakistan” and “declares unequivocally that it rejects militancy, and extremism, while condemning terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations.”
“We believe that it is not enough to go after the terrorists per se, but also to go after the causes, the underlying causes, the underlying factors that have given birth to extremism and militancy,” according to Tariq Fatemi, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States and now a senior official with the PML-N.
Fatemi points out that his party has a range of initiatives to combat the Taliban insurgency, such as “crash programs to establish small and medium size industrial enterprises in the Tribal Areas” that can provide employment and produce “stakeholders in peace and security of the areas,” and education reform that stresses peace and condemns violence and extremism.
Read More:Opposition Politician Imran Khan: How to Fix Pakistan’s Corruption, Terrorism
Daniel Sagalyn traveled to Pakistan as part of a journalists’ exchange sponsored by the Honolulu-based East-West Center.
According to a new Wall Street Journal-NBC poll, fewer than 20 percent of Americans report feeling any impact of sequestration -- the $85 billion dollars in across-the-board federal spending cuts that got underway March 1. But Democrats maintain the forced cuts will rob the economy of 750 thousand jobs and a few tenths of a percent of growth if left in place for the rest of this year.
"It was never going to be where the sky was falling all at once. So that has created the impression -- the false impression -- that the sequester is not causing damage," Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, told the NewsHour. "That perception will change over time as you see the constant grinding-down effect of the sequester."
The Defense Department is one of the few agencies recently granted some leeway by Congress against the mandatory sequestration cuts.
But, Secretary Chuck Hagel told the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday, the flexibility "still left in place the deep and abrupt cuts associated with sequester, as much as $41 billion in spending reductions over the next six months."
"In response," Hagel said, "the department has reduced official travel, cut back sharply on facilities' maintenance, imposed hiring freezes, and [put on hold] many other important, but lower-priority, activities."
Van Hollen, who represents a Maryland district just outside Washington, D.C. that relies heavily on federal spending, has his own tale about job loss.
"A major employer in my district in the biotech industry has said they imposed a hiring freeze because of the sequester with respect to the National Institutes of Health and investments in biotechnology," said Van Hollen.
"This is not going to be a case where all of a sudden people are thrown out of their jobs but it is every day the case of fewer people being hired for new jobs. So in that way it has this sort of silent job-killing effect."
Sequestration hit because President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans could not reach a budget agreement.
The president wants future spending cuts to be mixed with new taxes on wealthier Americans. Republicans say the round of new taxes that took effect in January is enough.
At the same hearing where Hagel complained about sequestration, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee said, "the president is saying he wants to eliminate the sequester, or he apparently indicates he does, but he wants to do it raising taxes. And that's a nonstarter."
But Van Hollen sees hope for changing the sequestration math.
"The next big issue on the horizon is the question of the debt ceiling and it's my sense that the Republicans -- at least the cooler heads within the Republican party -- want to avoid a repeat of the meltdown we saw in ... Summer 2011 around the debt ceiling that had a negative impact on the economy," he said.
That summer, Congress's flirtation with refusing to increase the nation's statutory borrowing limit caused a downgrade of the government's credit rating and a slow-down in the economy.
Van Hollen says Congress likely learned its lesson.
"If you work backward and assume we're going to find a way to avoid defaulting on our obligations, you've got to figure there has to be some kind of bipartisan agreement. So right now it's not as much the sequester as the issue of dealing with the debt ceiling that will be driving (the two parties) to try to reach an agreement."
That agreement could eliminate sequestration cuts. The groundwork for it could be laid by a budget conference committee, now that the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House each have passed a budget for the first time in years.
But that may not happen before more sequestration-related pain arrives.
On Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced its plan to furlough air traffic controllers at some of the nation's busiest airports, which would slow thousands of flights a day.
Police on School and Arsenel streets on Friday in Watertown, Mass. Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images.
Updated 6:04 p.m.
In a news conference in Watertown, Mass., Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick told Boston area residents that they may leave their homes, but to remain vigilant, in light of the manhunt for the at-large suspect in the Boston Marathon Bombings. A State police spokesperson also said that there will be additional state troops on patrol in Watertown, Mass., where the suspect is believed to be.
Nearly a million residents in the city of Boston and many surrounding communities were asked to "shelter in place" Friday as police continued a massive manhunt for the second of two suspects of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick requested that everyone in the area stay inside and only open their door to police officers showing proper identification. Commuter bus, rail, taxi and subway services were suspended. Businesses were asked to stay closed until further notice.
"This is a serious situation," Patrick said at a media briefing in Watertown early Friday. "We're taking it seriously."
Among those sheltering in place were the Boston Red Sox players and employees, who were slated to play the Kansas City Royals Friday evening at Fenway Park. Officials announced mid-afternoon that the game, along with the Bruins vs.Pittsburgh Penguins game and the Big Apple Circus, officially would be canceled for the day.
PBS NewsHour reporter-producer Rebecca Jacobson was on Boylston Street in Boston on Friday afternoon, just a block from the spot where two bombs killed three and wounded more than 180 others Monday. The scene remains eerily quiet as the manhunt unfolds, she said.
"I'm standing here in the middle of downtown Boston and I've never heard a city so quiet. No traffic. No buses. No trains. Very few people," she said. "It's almost silent."
Police are searching for Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19. The other suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout after leading Boston police on a wild car chase through suburban neighborhoods late Thursday night.
Earlier Friday, Jacobson spoke with some of those on lockdown at the Park Plaza Hotel downtown, where reaction continues to range from shock to unease.
One of the hotel guests, Shaina Malkin, has been unable to return to her home since Monday because her neighborhood near the marathon finish line is still considered a crime scene.
"I've been in shock since Monday," she said. "Maybe next week it will sink in." Malkin had lived in New York for years and her family always worried about her safety there. When she moved to Boston, her family was relieved, she said, feeling that the city would be much safer.
Another guest, Jeffrey Fontana, from Long Island, N.Y., traveled to Boston for a business trip and now is debating whether or not he can or should drive home today.
"I feel like we're trapped," he said. "We can't leave."
By Paul Solman
Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Instead of answering any questions Friday, I should probably address the hot topic in the world of economics this week and the subject of Paul Krugman's column in The New York Times this morning, the Reinhart-Rogoff 90 percent controversy.
Very briefly, Carmen Reinhart is a big deal economist at Harvard University and Ken Rogoff, former International Monetary Fund economist, currently at Harvard, is an even bigger deal. They are honorable and exhaustive researchers who deserve their prominence. Their leap to internationally public prominence came after the crash of 2008, when they published an improbably best-selling book on the history of financial crises, "This Time is Different," whose ironic title delivered the punchline: if a country borrows too much, it's cruisin' for a bruisin'.
As Rogoff told me in a profile of their book on PBS NewsHour, history suggested that the dire debt situation in the U.S. prior to the crash was unsustainable: "When you have a big inflow of foreign funds -- and we had a massive one -- you're at risk. When you deregulate your markets rapidly, which we did in the States, that also very often happens that you have a deep crisis. The real killer is short-term debt, debt that has to be refinanced all the time. Well, that's what the subprime [boom] was."
From a policy point of view, the Reinhart-Rogoff prescription came a year later, with the publication of a hugely influential academic paper that found a threshold level of government debt as a percentage of the economy -- 90 percent -- above which economic growth falls significantly. The 90 percent threshold became a cliche in policy circles: a malign tipping point that dooms the debtor. And with U.S. government debt now around 100 percent (by the broadest measure), the sky must be primed to plummet. Better stop borrowing!
Thus, the 90 percent threshold demanded a prescription of austerity: cut back spending instead of borrowing more.
Unfortunately for austerity enthusiasts, the Reinhart-Rogoff findings turn out to be wildly overstated, if not just plain wrong. A new paper, using the original Reinhart-Rogoff data sets, asserts that it "contradicts Reinhart and Rogoff's claim ... that public debt loads greater than 90 percent of GDP consistently reduce GDP growth."
Reinhart and Rogoff have responded, admitting their analytic errors, but insisting that their overall result is unsullied: government debt past a certain point is almost surely bad news.
So, finally, what lessons can one reliably learn? I'd highlight four:
Economists these days -- and especially economic historians -- live for conclusions they can draw from data. If you can't draw conclusions, you don't have anything to publish -- not a PhD thesis, or a paper that you need to get a job, or a promotion or a contribution to the field. And obviously, the more dramatic and policy-relevant the conclusion, the better. But the first thing I learned in graduate school remains as true as it was 47 years ago: beware the plasticity of data to "reveal" something apparently significant and satisfy your urge to find something that matters.
The second thing I learned in graduate school, quite literally, is also true: Correlation does not mean causation. That is, in this case, that high government debt may be a result of slow economic growth, not its cause.A post by University of Massachusetts economist Arindrajit Dube makes this point brilliantly but all you have to do is look at Japan, a country with a government debt: GDP ratio of more than 200:1 -- debt taken on almost wholly to stimulate the economy in the wake of a major recession. (A side note: that hasn't worked either.)
History teaches us plenty. As the saying goes, you can't tell where you are unless you know where you've been. As Reinhart and Rogoff observe, there's a great danger to saying "This time is different." But, to use another well-worn truism, past performance is no guarantee of future results. To contradict Mark Twain, not only doesn't history repeat itself, it often doesn't even rhyme. History is people interacting with one another -- millions and millions of people. You never know what they're going to do.
It follows from lessons one, two and three that we should all be careful not to take any finding in the social so-called sciences too seriously. Government debt at any given level of GDP may be ominously high. But then again, it may not be. On that statement, I'd bet the ranch.