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

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    GWEN IFILL: Snowden's revelations have some wondering that if a 29-year-old got access to classified documents, who else outside government does?

    To help us find answers, I'm joined by Washington Post investigative reporter Dana Priest, author of "Top Secret America The Rise of the New American Security State," and Irving Lachow, director of the Program on Technology and U.S. National Security at the Center for a New American Security.

    Dana Priest, you worked on an investigation of this kind of top secret activity for two years. How extensive would you say it is?

    DANA PRIEST, The Washington Post: Well, after 9/11, the government decided to vastly increase what it could do and the size of its intelligence agencies without hiring more federal employees. And the only way that it could do that was to hire more contractors.

    And we reported and then the government followed up and reported that there were nearly 400,000 contractors with top secret clearance, three times that many with secret clearance. So we're talking about an increased pool of people who do swear an oath, who understand that they are not allowed to share classified information, who go through at the top secret level pretty intrusive background checks.

    But, nonetheless, you open up yourself to more risk when you bring on people, especially in a quick manner that happened after 9/11, when people wanted to increase the capabilities that the government had, and they hired people quickly. And then they got a bottleneck of those -- in those reviews of their background, and the GAO, the government agency that looks at how the government works, did find that there were some shortcuts in the way that security clearances were documented and given out.

    So I think that, you know, this is an increased risk when you hire contractors. On the other hand, I think really what it shows is that the government still is coming to grips with its own computer systems. One of the largest number of contractors are in the field that Mr. Snowden says that he was in, which is the I.T. field.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, let me ask Irving Lachow about people like Edward Snowden and even Bradley Manning, the -- how do they get access to these documents? How do you get a secret security clearance so high that you can do this much damage?

    IRVING LACHOW, Director, Program on Technology and U.S. National Security, Center for a New American Security: Well, so, they go through a process, a background investigation.

    And if they are vetted successfully, then they are granted access to a given level of information. And once you have access to that information, there are computer networks that are available that have a lot of information at that level of classification, where you can just go and do a search and find much of that information.

    And so if you are Bradley Manning, you can do a search and find all this kind of information, in his case, download it to a disk and potentially walk out the door with it.

    GWEN IFILL: Are protections sufficient?

    For instance, we heard early on in this that even before Edward Snowden's story had come out, the leaks had actually been published, that the government was onto him. Is that always what happens? Or do we know that there are moles working in the government who we never find?

    IRVING LACHOW: Well, so the government is aware that there are people who are going to be trying to do this kind of thing.

    And so there are a lot of controls in place, and there's a lot of activity in place to try to catch these kind of activities, but it can be very difficult. As Dana pointed out, there are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people who have access to the highest, the most sensitive information that our country has.

    And it can be very difficult to control who should have access to what information at what time, because everyone is working on different projects, different programs. They might be doing research, and so it can become very difficult to try to understand who is doing something legitimate and who is doing something they shouldn't be doing.

    GWEN IFILL: So, Dana Priest, how do they manage this? How do they -- what kind of controls can they impose?

    DANA PRIEST: Well, there are two things right off the bat.

    One is that people are regularly polygraphed, maybe once a year, to make sure that they still pass, that nothing has changed in their background that would indicate a risk. The other thing really is that they do rely on other employees to notice differences and to report them. And they do have counterintelligence people who are employed to do just that, to follow people into the watering holes that they frequent, and into the social settings that they frequent, especially if there is a suspicion about somebody, because they are trying to catch something like this before it happens.

    But, in the Manning case, for example, even though he technically had access to what he downloaded, in the after-action review that they did, he shouldn't have. The State Department's computer system shouldn't have allowed, they determined later, someone who was studying one particular type of terrorist to have access to State Department cables from around the world. So they're still really trying to adjust their computer systems to give access to people who have a need to know about particular programs.

    GWEN IFILL: Last night, we had the former Director of Intelligence Dennis Blair on this program. And he actually in an interesting interview with Dana for her series said, you know, sure we have expanded. Sure, we're doing more. But it's worth overdoing.

    Is it worth overdoing, in your opinion?

    DANA PRIEST: I think that is what this ...

    GWEN IFILL: I was going to ask Irving that, and then I will come back to you, Dana.


    IRVING LACHOW: Well, I think it depends.

    So, there are always trade-offs. There are trade-offs between security and liberty. There are trade-offs with relying on contractors. So the benefit of using contractors is, they're easy to hire and fire, or at least much easier than government personnel. So it gives you a lot more flexibility to bring people in with special expertise, people that are hard to bring into the government on a regular basis.

    But there are risks. You are relying on people. There needs to be oversight. And oftentimes, the government personnel who are overseeing the contractors may not understand, especially on some technical issues. They may not have the knowledge that the contractors do. And so maybe they don't have a detailed understanding of what is going on underneath them.

    And so there are some risks that you potentially introduce into the system.

    GWEN IFILL: Dana, you were going to say?

    DANA PRIEST: Well, you can see from the reactions that have followed this that some people think it's worth overdoing and some people don't. And other people would just like more information.

    The Senate Intelligence Committee, for example, today got briefed by government officials on the program again, and immediately came out and said they would like some of it declassified. The same sort of information that's now being touted as treasonous, they would like to declassify so that we could learn more about it.

    And so obviously there are people that think some of that information doesn't damage national security. It probably belies some of the myths that are growing up now as we speak around these programs. So the debate is what Mr. Snowden says he was all about, and obviously has some concerns about the program. I don't see how anybody can really make a decision on whether it's too much without knowing what it is.

    GWEN IFILL: Irving Lachow, are we -- is it possible that we as citizens are giving away as much information as they are getting from us when we talk about especially these social media sites?

    IRVING LACHOW: Absolutely.

    So I think, without -- without knowing it, we all, as we do our daily business, use social media, go on the Internet, we are giving away so much information. I think most Americans don't have any idea how much -- what companies do just by tracking our behavior. They don't need to see the content of what we do, but just by being able to track where we go, what we do, our geolocation, they can put together a picture of who we are, how old we are, how much money we make, who our friends are.

    It's remarkable what you can do with that kind of metadata, which is exactly the kind of information that was being collected from these phone records. And so I think, without knowing it, many of us are giving away a tremendous amount of information.

    GWEN IFILL: Is there a difference, Dana, between giving it away to the government and giving it away to private industry?

    DANA PRIEST: Oh, absolutely, because what privacy advocates are most worried about is the storage of this data. So I may not be under suspicion right now; 10 years from now, you know, they're looking at three parts -- three different sets of my digital exhaust, and they may decide something is suspicious.

    And so they can go back and mine the data that they have from 10 years ago. And that's what causes privacy advocates most concern, is that you are going to have this giant database of information about Americans in the Verizon phone records instance.

    GWEN IFILL: Dana Priest of The Washington Post, Irving Lachow of the Center for a New American Security, thank you both very much.

    DANA PRIEST: Thanks, Gwen.

    IRVING LACHOW: Thank you. 

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    KWAME HOLMAN: The immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate cleared a key hurdle today. It garnered well more than the 60 votes needed to begin formal debate. But possible final passage still is many days off.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-Ky.: At the risk of stating the obvious, the bill has serious flaws.

    SEN. HARRY REID, D-Nev.: There are 11 million reasons to have commonsense immigration reform.

    KWAME HOLMAN: That is how things in the Senate began, an indicator of the bumpy road the bill still has to travel, despite taking its first steps today.

    The Senate measure would boost border security, create a 13-year path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants currently in the country illegally, and allow tens of thousands of new workers into the country.

    New York Democrat Chuck Schumer is part of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” who crafted the bill. He said today the status quo is unacceptable.

    SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: Our bill is based on one simple principle, that the American people will accept and embrace commonsense solutions to future legal immigration and to the 11 million now living here in the shadows, if and only if they are convinced that there will not be future waves of illegal immigration.

    KWAME HOLMAN: Another Gang of Eight member, Republican Marco Rubio of Florida, said helping improve the work force is key.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-Fla.: But issue number one, the fundamental reason why we have to do immigration reform, is because we do not have a 21st century immigration system. Our immigration system today is largely built on the idea that if you have a relative living here, it is easier for you to come than if you have a special skill or talent that you are offering to the country to contribute.

    KWAME HOLMAN: At the White House, President Obama urged lawmakers to get the job done soon.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Now's the time to get it done. There's no good reason to play procedural games or engage in obstruction just to block the best chance we have had in years to address this problem in a way that is fair to middle-class families, to business owners, to legal immigrants.

    KWAME HOLMAN: The president gave Congress a timeline of the end of summer, but the House speaker, Republican John Boehner, told ABC News a later date is more likely.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio: I think, by the end of the year, we could have a bill.

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC News: that passes the House, passes the Senate, signed by the president?

    JOHN BOEHNER: No question.

    KWAME HOLMAN: It's unclear when a House version of the immigration bill will come to a vote, but the Senate's majority leader, Democrat Harry Reid, said he aims to have his chamber's bill passed by July 4.

    The Lower House of Parliament in Russia voted overwhelmingly today for a bill that targets gays. The vote was 436-0 for regulations against what the bill calls “the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” It directly bans discussing homosexuality with children. Police detained more than two dozen gay rights demonstrators outside the State Duma in Moscow after they were attacked by hundreds in an anti-gay crowd. The measure still requires approval of the Upper House of Parliament.

    In Turkey, authorities demanded an end to 10 days of anti-government protests, and riot police targeted crowds in central Istanbul with water cannon and tear gas. The trouble came in spasms throughout the day, and flared again after nightfall.

    We have a report from Inigo Gilmore of Independent Television News.

    INIGO GILMORE, Independent Television News: Police move in to Taksim Square en masse. The gloves have well and truly come off. A group of protesters try to block their path. They raise their hands, imploring the police to go no further, all to no avail.

    Suddenly, the tear gas comes pouring in, and it keeps on coming. We watched as the police water cannons relentlessly went to work, clearly intent on cleansing the square of protesters. To many, it was a severe provocation. While there were calls for restraint, some fought with the police. Rocks were hurled, Molotov cocktails too.

    Some protesters later claimed that those throwing petrol bombs were police provocateurs, insisting they believe in peaceful protests. Many had encouraged Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to engage in dialogue with these protesters, but to them he's now shown his true colors. The patience of Turkey's top man has snapped.

    As the operation in Taksim Square was in full swing, the Turkish prime minister, bullish and defiant, received a rapturous welcome from his loyal supporters in Parliament.

    PRIME MINISTER RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkey: To those who want to continue with these incidents, I say, it's over. Be warned, we will not tolerate it anymore.

    INIGO GILMORE: Defiance, too, from the protesters in Gezi Park, determined to stand their ground. As they marched around, they chanted, "This is just the beginning of the struggle." I came across Selen Gulen, a music teacher.

    SELEN GULEN, Teacher: He has been always tough. You know, that is role. That is what he has been playing. He's role-playing, definitely. That is a big role in this whole game, I guess. But this was pretty ugly.

    INIGO GILMORE: As clashes continue this evening, this is the battle which could decide not only the fate of a park, but the future direction of this country. With secular middle-class protesters lining up against a conservative Islamist prime minister and his followers, both sides feel they represent the true soul of Turkey.

    KWAME HOLMAN: The clashes continued well after dark, as tens of thousands of protesters returned to the park, and police attacked with more tear gas. The governor of Istanbul announced the police operations will continue around the clock.

    At least 17 people died in Afghanistan today, when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the supreme court in Kabul. It was the second attack in as many days in the Afghan capital, and wounded nearly 40 people. Taliban militants said they carried out the bombing to eliminate judges who work for the Western-backed government.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing that all chimpanzees be listed endangers. That would include the roughly 2,000 chimps now in captivity in the U.S. Unlike those in the wild, they now are listed only as threatened. Changing their status would make it harder to use captive chimps in medical research or to sell them across state lines. A final decision is expected next year.

    In economic news, Wall Street could not hold its ground today in the face of worries that central banks around the world aren't doing more to boost growth. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 116 points to close at 15,122. The Nasdaq fell nearly 37 points to close under 3,437.

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

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we return to the surveillance programs and the questions surrounding them. Beyond the government itself, there are many concerns about the role of companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo!

    Today, Google sent a letter to the Department of Justice and the FBI, saying it wants to be allowed to be more transparent about the government's requests for data -- quote -- "in terms of both the number we receive and their scope."

    Within hours, Facebook and Microsoft issued similar statements and requests of the government as well.

    Jeffrey Brown spoke with Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, from Amsterdam this afternoon. It was Google's first U.S. broadcast interview since the news broke.

    JEFFREY BROWN: David Drummond, welcome.

    In your letter to the attorney general, you appear to acknowledge that Google does comply with government requests for user data, so that is in fact the case?

    DAVID DRUMMOND, Chief Legal Officer, Google: Yes, yes, that's the case.

    We sent that letter because there's been a serious misimpression that's been created in the wake of the stories that came out in the last few days, stories that we were as shocked by as everyone else. And the misimpression is that we're doing some kind of large-scale -- or participating in a program that does large-scale surveillance on our users.

    And that's just not the case. And we want to be able to be more transparent about what we do do, which is occasionally comply with national security orders, as we're required to do. What we would like the government to do is to allow us to say more.

    JEFFREY BROWN: There seems to be a distinction between direct and indirect access to data. What exactly is the government allowed to look at?

    DAVID DRUMMOND: Let me be very clear about this. We do not participate in any kind of a program that gives the government any access to access to our servers, direct or otherwise, nor do we allow the government to place any kind of equipment on our systems.

    What we do do and what we have been transparent about as much as we can is that we comply from time to time with these government orders. We take them very seriously. We review them very carefully. We push back if they are overbroad.

    And here's the important thing. We serve hundreds of millions of users. The -- only a tiny, very tiny fraction of our users have ever been subject to one of these requests, national security requests. So this idea that we are sort of participating in a broad program here is simply false. And we want to make that clear and we want to make that categorically clear.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, how exactly do these requests work? Do you get a court order? Do you have to have one? Who sees it on your end, and who approves it?

    DAVID DRUMMOND: Yes, these are the FISA court orders that you have heard about. And we have a team that handle these directly.

    And we have experience with those. As I said, we review them very, very carefully. And when we determine that we need to comply, then we deliver the information to the government. And it's very clear. We deliver it to them. We push it out to them. They don't come access it through any machines at Google.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Are there specific cases where Google has said no to a request for access?

    DAVID DRUMMOND: Well, we're on record in other contacts of having pushed back. And so we are willing to push back if something is overly broad.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So people who are wondering where are the limits when you do comply, is that a broad brush for data or very targeted and specific with what the government is looking for?

    DAVID DRUMMOND: Look, one of the things we're asking here, what we wrote in the letter is that we would like to be able to say more about the number of these requests that we get, what they cover, and be more transparent about it.

    We have pioneered this concept of being transparent about the government requests that we get. We think it's really important as a check on our behavior, as a check on the government's behavior. And we would like -- we are asking the attorney general and the FBI director to allow us to provide more of that information.

    But what I can tell you is that these are targeted requests, as I said, of the hundreds and hundreds of millions of users. We're talking about a tiny fraction that's affected. And we would like to say more about that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And what about sharing with other governments? We're talking about the U.S. government here. Do you get these kinds of requests from other governments, the U.K. or others?

    DAVID DRUMMOND: Well, we have received requests from other governments from time to time. I think it's important to understand that Google is a U.S. company. The data is based here in the U.S. We typically ask those countries to go through the treaty-based process, law enforcement, to get access to that material.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You sound very frustrated, just listening to you talk about what you can and cannot say and about what you see as misperceptions about how this works.

    DAVID DRUMMOND: Well, yes, it's a little bit frustrating. But that's why we want to say more, because we want it to be clear that what the actual facts are. And there have been a lot of things being said about our participation in the program that just aren't true.

    And so we really would like to set the record straight. As I said, we were surprised, one, by the Verizon national security order involving phone records. We have never received anything so broad. We were surprised by the allegations made about this so-called PRISM program. And I said we don't participate in anything that's described there.

    So we really wanted to get the record straight and we wanted to make the request of the government to help us make -- set the record straight by allowing us to provide more detail in our transparency report about these kinds of national security orders.

    JEFFREY BROWN: David Drummond of Google, thanks for joining us.

    DAVID DRUMMOND: Thank you for having me.

    GWEN IFILL: You can read Google's full letter to the Department of Justice on our website. 

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, what's behind the decision to make the morning-after pill more widely available?

    The battle over access dates back years, but has been fought in court most recently by the Obama administration. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration decided the most popular form of the drug, Plan B One-Step, should be available to all girls and women without prescription. But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the agency, keeping the age limit at 17 and above.

    This spring, a federal judge ordered that that restriction be lifted. After the Justice Department indicated that it would continue to battle in court, the administration said for the first time Monday that it will not fight that decision.

    Julie Rovner of NPR joins us again.

    Welcome back to the NewsHour.

    JULIE ROVNER, National Public Radio: Nice to be here.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, why is the Obama administration changing its position on this?

    JULIE ROVNER: Well, basically, it ran out of legal options. There was an appeals court ruling last week that said that the administration could not have a stay of that judge's order from April on all forms of this medication.

    So basically while this appeal was being heard, which was in the last several months, at least one form of this medication, the two-pill version, which is the original version of Plan B, as it's called, would have to be available immediately on the shelves with no age limit. And the administration found that sort of untenable. So they have basically gone back and said to the judge, the original judge, that if it's OK with him, that Plan B One-Step, the original pill, they would make that available without age restrictions, but they will not make the two-pill version available without age restrictions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But the pill that will be, as you say, One-Step, one pill, and that's it -- that's all a person would need to do.

    So what does that mean? What's going to be available and how soon is it going to be available?

    JULIE ROVNER: Well, that's not entirely clear.

    That is of course the question everybody is asking today. There's a couple of things that have to happen first. First of all, the judge will have to say that that is OK with him. Remember, this was not his original order. Originally, he wanted all versions of this medication be made available without restriction on the pharmacy counter -- on the pharmacy shelves -- excuse me.

    So the judge will have to say that that is all right with him. If it is, then the company that makes that drug will have to apply to the FDA for a new label to say that it's available to women regardless of age. The FDA will have to approve that, which they have said they will do almost immediately. That's what they have said. Without delay were their exact words, and then it would have to be approved.

    And then it would become available. The speculation is that that might take perhaps a month, but no one knows for sure exactly how long that would be.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, over the counter, Julie, and how much is it expected to cost?

    JULIE ROVNER: Well, and this is the rub. Plan B One-Step is the one brand-name drug of this class of drugs. It costs between $40 and $50 dollars, which is ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: For one dose.

    JULIE ROVNER: For one dose.

    Now, it's important if you have had unprotected sex, you're worried about getting pregnant, that's perhaps not so much to spend to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. The generic version to this drug, though, costs considerably less, usually $10, $20, perhaps as much as $30 dollars less.

    According what the administration is proposing, those will not be available on the pharmacy shelves without age restrictions. So women's health groups are not very happy about that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So what reaction are you hearing? You have talked to women's health groups. You have talked to folks on the other side. What are they saying?

    JULIE ROVNER: Well, of course, Women's health groups, as I mentioned, are not that happy that the generics will not be included in this, or at least it seems they will not be.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Because that means they would be less expensive and thus more ...

    JULIE ROVNER: Exactly. There would be more competition.

    Some of the conservative groups who didn't want it available without prescription at all obviously are not happy. They are not happy the administration gave up the fight. So, basically, it's not clear who is happy with this. I think the Justice Department isn't very happy because they wanted to appeal, but they, as I mentioned, kind of ran out of legal rope there.

    It looked like, from what the appeals court did, that they were going to lose. So I think they basically had to go back and kind of sue for peace.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Who is believed will -- which women is it believed will take advantage of this, age group? I mean, have there been studies done? Is there informed speculation about what the reaction to this is going to be?

    JULIE ROVNER: There has been all this talk about teenagers, and particularly young teenagers.

    One of the reason there is so little data on young teenagers is that it is not really thought that it is going to be used that much by young teenagers. The real issue with how this has been split, where it has been available by prescription for teenagers and without prescription for older women, is that by having it behind the counter, so everyone has had to ask for it, it has been difficult for women to get it.

    They have had to go only when pharmacies are open. They have had to show I.D., and a lot of women, low-income women, immigrant women, people don't -- some women don't have I.D. So even if they are obviously not teenagers, they have had difficulty getting it. And that is one of the issues about having it available it on the shelves, not having to show I.D. is for women who need it, not necessarily teenagers, to be able to get the product.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Women older -- meaning women of age.

    JULIE ROVNER: Yes, women of age.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Child-bearing age.

    JULIE ROVNER: Yes, child-bearing age, not necessarily these young teenagers that everyone has been so concerned about.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But it is interesting you bring that up, because we happen to know that teen birth rates have been dropping dramatically over the last couple of decades, but you're saying that that really isn't the focus here so much.

    JULIE ROVNER: That isn't, although I will say that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have all said that from everything they know from all the studies they have seen, teenagers and young -- some young teenagers, to the extent we have data, do understand how to use it and understand that it is not to be used in place of regular birth control.

    So it is not a matter that they can't use it. It is just they are not expected to be the focus of who will use it with these lifted restrictions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And just finally, Julie, you were just showing me this has been an issue for well over a decade. Scientists have been saying, you said from the beginning, almost, that this is a safe medication.


    In 2003, two advisory committees for the FDA voted overwhelmingly that it is -- this was when there was only the two-pill product -- that it was safe to be used and that it was safe enough for women of all ages, for this to be sold over the counter without age restrictions. So it's really been a political fight through two administrations now.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Politics, hmm, isn't that a surprise?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Julie Rovner of NPR, thank you very much.

    JULIE ROVNER: Thank you. 

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    GWEN IFILL: Next, we continue our weeklong look at food security and how climate change is affecting what we produce and how we eat.

    Tonight, special correspondent Jon Miller reports from the tiny Middle Eastern nation of Qatar on inventive ways to get the most out of water in the desert.

    It's part of our series “Food for 9 Billion,” in partnership with Public Radio International's "The World," Homeland Productions, American Public Media's “Marketplace,” and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

    JON MILLER: Every day, hundreds of tanker trucks line up at the Mazrouah pumping station outside Doha, in the tiny Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. They start rolling in at 6:30 in the morning and keep filling up until 10:00 at night.

    Their cargo is not oil or gas, the resources that have given Qatar the highest per capita income in the world, but water from an underground aquifer that's quickly drying up.

    JONATHAN E. SMITH, Qatar National Food Security Program: We have got about two years left of an adequate supply, a usable supply of high-quality freshwater in this particular aquifer.

    JON MILLER: Jonathan Smith has been thinking about water since he was a kid. He grew up on a farm in Oklahoma, where his grandparents lived through the Dust Bowl. He came to Qatar in 2012 after making documentaries about water problems in the American Southwest. Now he's a spokesman for Qatar's national food security program.

    JONATHAN E. SMITH: It's a very exciting time to be in a place that is struggling with food security and water security and really trying to rethink what it means to have a long-term and durable prosperity.

    JON MILLER: Qatar is growing incredibly fast. But the growth masks some troubling numbers. The population, just under two million, has more than doubled in the last 10 years. The country imports 93 percent of its food. It gets less than three inches of rain a year. Temperatures top 120 degrees in the summer. Climate change is just going to make things harder.

    JONATHAN E. SMITH: Qatar is in many ways ground zero for a lot of the challenges we're going to see in the century ahead.

    JON MILLER: Already, 99 percent of the water people use for farming, drinking, or swimming comes from the sea. It takes a huge amount of energy to remove the salt and a huge amount of money.

    For now, Qatar has both. But the country's leaders know the oil and gas won't last forever. So they're taking a radical step, planning ahead, and not just for themselves. Worldwide, more than two billion people live in dry areas, where climate change poses an urgent threat to food, water, and energy supplies. Qatar's leaders say they want their country to be a laboratory for solving those problems before it's too late.

    JOAKIM HAUGE, CEO, Sahara Forest Project: It's not unheard of that areas that has deserts in them are brought back to vegetation.

    JON MILLER: Joakim Hauge is happy to take up the challenge. Hauge was a biologist working for a Norwegian environmental group when he heard about a plan to green up the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East. Now he's the CEO of a company called The Sahara Forest Project.

    JOAKIM HAUGE: It is these saltwater-based greenhouses.

    JON MILLER: He says it was founded not on a specific product or technology, but on an idea.

    JOAKIM HAUGE: And that was, well, let's take what we have enough of, like seawater, like sunlight, like sand, like CO2, to produce what we need more of, food, water, energy, in an environmentally friendly way.

    JON MILLER: In 2012, with backing from two big fertilizer companies, the group built a $7.5 million dollar pilot site next to a giant ammonia plant in an industrial zone outside Doha.

    The design is meant to mimic a natural ecosystem, where the waste product from one component provides the food or fuel for another. The raw materials are sunlight and saltwater. These curved mirrors intensify the sun's heat to power a thermal desalination unit. Soon, algae will be growing in these ponds to be harvested for biofuel and possibly to feed fish or shrimp.

    Seawater runs through cardboard panels, cooling the air in this greenhouse, where cucumbers grow in coconut fiber. And CO2 is pumped in from the factory next door, making the plants grow dramatically faster.

    VIRGINIA CORLESS, Scientist, Sahara Forest Project: Three weeks ago, they were about this big. And they have grown to here.

    JON MILLER: Virginia Corless had gotten her Ph.D in astrophysics, and was working at the U.S. Senate when she first heard about the Sahara Forest Project.

    VIRGINIA CORLESS: I gave the first brochure to all of my science friends in D.C. and said, tell me what's wrong with this, because it sounds great. Is there anything I'm missing? And our consensus was, no, it actually -- it all holds together.

    JON MILLER: Today, Corless is the project's research director.

    VIRGINIA CORLESS: The core innovation in the Sahara Forest Project is the integration of technologies. So while many of the individual technologies have been developed elsewhere in the world, they have never been brought together in this way.

    JON MILLER: Corless says she's most excited by an experiment to cool and moisten the air outside the greenhouses ever so slightly, so shrubs and trees and even food crops can take root and grow.

    VIRGINIA CORLESS: And as they grow, they're adding organic material to the soil, to the sand.

    JON MILLER: If it works -- and results have been good so far -- she can imagine vegetation spreading out into the surrounding desert, creating an ecosystem of its own.

    The goal? A system to produce food and water and energy that actually reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Corless is quick to point out that this pilot site is for testing ideas, not for making money. Once the kinks are worked out, the goal is to build much bigger commercial facilities around the world.

    VIRGINIA CORLESS: The technologies that we're being developed here can be applied anywhere that is a desert with a hot and relatively dry climate and where you have access to salty water. That’s a lot of regions in the world.

    JON MILLER: But it's a risky business. In a complex and expensive system like this one, if one thing goes wrong, it can sink the whole enterprise. Qatar's Jonathan Smith says it's great to think big, but you need to spread your bets.

    JONATHAN E. SMITH: The question of whether, is it a responsible technology to bring up to scale and does it provide a resilient enough solution to call it the silver bullet for food security for a country, I think we're kidding ourselves if we think any single technology is going to do that. It's going to take a mix of things.

    JON MILLER: And a lot of those things can happen with existing technology right now. To illustrate the point, Smith takes us to see Nassir Al-Kuwari on his family's farm about an hour from Doha. He's covered his crops with mesh to shade them from the blistering heat. And he's built hundreds of low-cost plastic greenhouses.

    Plans are to build hundreds more. In the meantime, he's cut down on water and waste. With temperatures rising and groundwater falling, Al-Kuwari knows he's in a race against time. But he thinks he's winning.

    NASSIR AL-KIWARI, Farmer: People think that Qatar is nothing but desert. But when they come here, they see that we have fertile soil. If we protect our crops, I think agriculture will only get bigger in the coming years.

    JON MILLER: That's good.

    The next few years will bring enormous challenges for the world's driest areas in energy, food, and water. There's no telling where the search for solutions will lead. But it will likely be fueled by renewable resources, like ingenuity, imagination, and perseverance.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You can find links to stories by our partners in the “Food for 9 Billion” series on our website. And, tomorrow, we will look vertical farm fields that rise high into the skies over Singapore. 

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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: Finally tonight: The pleas of two desperate families shift the ethical debate about organ transplant policies for children.

    Ray Suarez has the story.

    RAY SUAREZ: The cases of 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan and 11-year-old Javier Acosta have put a national spotlight on the issue. Both have end-stage cystic fibrosis. But they are at the bottom of a waiting list for a adult lungs because they're under 12.

    U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Sarah Murnaghan's home state, says that has to change.

    SEN. PAT TOOMEY, R-Penn.: Sarah is being treated by some of the best doctors in the world, and they are convinced that she's an excellent candidate to have a successful transplant surgery. It seems to me a policy that systemically excludes her and other children in her circumstances is a flawed policy.

    RAY SUAREZ: Last week, federal district Judge Michael Baylson in Philadelphia ordered a change in transplant policy for both cases, and said the children must be placed higher on the waiting list. That prompted some doctors to say courts have no business deciding on medical matters.

    DR. SCOTT HALPERN, University of Pennsylvania Hospital: I don't think we want judges making medical decisions any more than we want doctors deciding Supreme Court cases.

    RAY SUAREZ: Now the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network is setting up an appeal process for children under 12.

    For more on the case, yesterday's decision and the issues involved, we turn to Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University's Langone Medical Center.

    Doctor, the new rules proposed in the vote last night, what would they do? How would they change things?

    DR. ARTHUR CAPLAN, New York University’s Langone Medical Center: Well, they don't really change the, if you will, under-12 rule, that is, saying that children can't get organs from adults. What they do do is make a path for an exception, make a path for a compassionate examination of a particular case.

    So, if you will, they create an appeals process. It will be in the hands of doctors to make an assessment case by case of whether a younger child could accept or whether organs would fit into a kid under 12 when they come from an adult. We haven't had that appeals process before. So that is a significant change.

    RAY SUAREZ: Why were the rules written the way they were in the first place? It wasn't an outright prohibition, but it was a formula that discouraged the use of adult donor lungs in the chests of children.

    ARTHUR CAPLAN: The main reason is because adult donor lungs are large and kids under 12 are small, and the lungs don't fit. So you wind up having to use a piece of the lung, if you will, taking out a lobe and putting it in.

    Now, unlike other organs, like the liver, the lung doesn't grow back. So a lot of surgeons have felt if you are going to transplant a lobe of lung, that is riskier, more prone to trouble. Others disagree. But the basis of the rule was partly due to the size problem, and then some of the challenges that younger kids pose in terms of immunosuppression, the drugs you have to take after you get a transplant.

    Both of those factors were seen as, if you will, diminishing the chance of success by many in the transplant field.

    RAY SUAREZ: Now, understandably, in the case of the Murnaghan and Acosta families, you had families going public, heading into the court of public opinion to plead their case. Is that a good place to make medical decisions about transplantation?

    ARTHUR CAPLAN: I don't think so.

    It is perfectly understandable that a family would say, I'm going to do everything I can for my child, hire a P.R. firm, get my congressman or senator to pay attention. But it's not the best way to allocate the scarce supply of organs that we have.

    We have a situation where if you really leave it up to who can mount the biggest publicity campaign, you're not necessarily going to see lungs or any other organs going to those who might benefit the most. So, to me, it's partly -- it's fully understandable that a parent would want to try and save their child.

    But you don't want to have a kind of bidding war where people who can spend the most money, who are the most P.R.-savvy, who can wield the most influence with a congressperson are going to win the shot at getting an organ. I think it's better left more or less inside the medical community with the transplant experts to decide who is the best candidate.

    RAY SUAREZ: In this area, do medical decisions run on a kind of different track from ethical ones? Are there things that are ethically dodgy that would work medically or medically dodgy that are defensible ethically?

    ARTHUR CAPLAN: That's a great question and would take more time than we have got. But the answer is yes.

    For example, a lot of programs don't admit people who smoke marijuana. It is seen as substance abuse. On the other hand, we have got two states where it's been legalized, a lot of states where medical marijuana use is accepted. Should marijuana use be an exclusion is partly a medical question, but now it's becoming partly an ethical and legal question in terms of seeing it accepted as part of, you know, ordinary behavior in many parts of the country.

    You have fights that break out all time about whether prisoners should have access to organs, whether someone with a severe mental disability should be considered along with others when they need a heart transplant, let's say. So the area is fraught about tough ethical choices.

    But I don't mean to say that, you know, it's just up to doctors and just up to transplant surgeons. But, primarily, what you want to know is, what is going to work? What's going to succeed? And then let's argue about other behavioral, psychological, other factors that might impact who goes first.

    RAY SUAREZ: Well, give us a thumbnail sketch of how the system routinely works. There are people who need various body parts. There are donors that become available. How does it normally work?

    ARTHUR CAPLAN: So it's a two-step process.

    One step is, how do you get into a particular transplant center? Each center makes decisions about the kind of patient that they think they could handle. Sometimes, it's money. If you don't have insurance, you may not be up -- accepted into a program that does a lung transplant or a liver transplant. They're costly and people do get turned away because they can't pay.

    Citizenship might count. Are you an illegal alien? That might matter to different hospitals. And, as I said, issues around drug abuse, or do you have a criminal record, are you psychologically or psychiatrically very disturbed make it unlikely you could comply. That's the first cut.

    Once you get in, all the names of the people who get into a transplant center are on a national list. And distribution from that national list is handled by the United Network for Organ Sharing, a federally chartered group that operates with these rules we keep hearing about.

    So think of it as two steps. One, each individual transplant center makes the call. Are we going to take you or we're not? And they may be different place to place. Once on the list, the distribution of organs is handled by a national program with very clear-cut rules about who goes first.

    RAY SUAREZ: We're just about at the end of our time. But I'm guessing all these problems are just made more difficult by a shortage of donors.

    ARTHUR CAPLAN: They really are. And when you hear about a terrible plight of these families looking for lungs, you have to keep in mind that people are dying every day for want of a heart, lung or liver.

    So it's crucial to sign your donor card. It's crucial to talk about that decision with your family so they know that's what you want. Your friends and partners, they should know that's your wishes. And we might give a long hard look in this country against moving to a presumed consent system, meaning, instead of having a policy that says jump into the system, sign a card if you want to do this, let's go with what most people say they want to do, which is to be an organ donor and ask those who don't want to, to opt out.

    That would get us more organs, help resolve some of these tensions about who should live and who should die.

    RAY SUAREZ: Dr. Caplan, thanks for joining us.

    ARTHUR CAPLAN: My pleasure. 

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    An employee walks past servers in one of four server rooms at the Facebook Data Center in Forest City, N.C. Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images.

    The Morning Line

    Technology companies can be a powerful force in Washington.

    As domestic spying remains in the headlines, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Twitter are urging the government to lift the veil of secrecy from its surveillance programs. The tech giants want to convince anxious consumers that they're concerned about their users' privacy.

    Craig Timberg and Cecilia Kang write on the Washington Post front page that the tech giants "have struggled to stanch the damage to their reputations."

    The requests for transparency came in waves Tuesday, as Google went public with a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking for the ability to detail the numbers and scope of the national security data the courts mandate they hand over. Yahoo issued a statement saying it recognizes the "importance of privacy and security" but also believes "that transparency . . . will help build public trust."

    Politico's Alex Byers & Michelle Quinn write that the calls for transparency help save face, but also "kicks things up a notch in the public relations game, where consumer confidence will be crucial for Internet companies going forward."

    From their story:

    "The Valley is absolutely absorbed by this story," said Paul Saffo, a longtime Silicon Valley technology forecaster. "It's the perfect confluence of tech geeks, privacy hawks and Libertarians. The discussion is to put it bluntly, 'Is Google evil?' The consensus so far is that no they aren't, and Google and Facebook and the others will not get swept up in this."

    Politico also reported that Mozilla and civil liberties groups launched StopWatching.us, "which they describe as a campaign to call on citizens to demand a 'full accounting of the extent to which our online data, communications and interactions are monitored.'"

    On the NewsHour Tuesday, Jeff Brown talked with Google's chief legal officer David Drummond about the move. Watch here or below:

    Watch Video

    The NewsHour also looked at the latest on the Edward Snowden probe, and examined how government contractors can end up with so much access.

    The issue will be front and center on Capitol Hill Wednesday as NSA Chief Gen. Keith Alexander testifies at a Senate Appropriations hearing on cybersecurity. Watch that here.


    The Senate cleared its first hurdle on a sweeping immigration reform measure Tuesday, paving the way for a few weeks of debate and the possibility of sending a bill to the House.

    The Washington Post broke down the vote and Erica Werner sums up the stakes nicely for the Associated Press:

    Supporters expressed confidence they could muster the 60 votes needed for the bill to pass the Senate by July Fourth. Democrats control 54 Senate votes, and Republicans 46. But a number of opponents said success was far from assured. And supporters are hoping for closer to 70 votes on final passage to show resounding momentum for the bill and pressure the Republican-led House to act.

    There's not a clear indication Speaker John Boehner will allow a broad measure that includes a pathway to citizenship to reach a vote. As we noted Tuesday, the Ohio Republican says he wants to do something. But advocates for a comprehensive approach are starting to worry.

    In a new development, the Club for Growth sent a letter to Republican members of Congress pointedly backing the so-called "Hastert Rule" to only allow floor votes on legislation that has support from the majority of the party. The move goes right at the issue plaguing Boehner ahead of the immigration debate.

    "Recently House Republicans have passed bills that are inconsistent with its mandate from the American people," a group of conservatives wrote in the letter. "Now you face issues such as gun control, immigration reform, tax increases, and a debt ceiling that threaten to divide Republicans and in so doing empower the liberal minority in the House."

    Meanwhile, the Senate forged ahead with debate.

    Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., gave his floor speech entirely in Spanish Tuesday. The Senate Librarian told NewsHour Coordinating Producer Linda J. Scott that Senators have used other languages to utter a few words or phrases, but never a complete speech. Kaine learned Spanish as a young missionary in Honduras.

    The NewsHour outlined the opening debate Monday night. Watch Kwame Holman's report here or below:

    Watch Video

    And here are some other stories tracking the debate. David Brody looked at Sen. Marco Rubio's efforts to keep evangelicals on board. Politico has the details of an amendment to protect same-sex couples, a measure most Republicans won't support.


    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is urging top New York Democratic donors not to give money to the four Democrats who voted against background check legislation.

    In a low turnout primary, state Sen. Ralph Northam edged out Mr. Obama's former chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra to grab the Democrats' lieutenant governor nomination in Virginia. He will challenge the Rev. E.W. Jackson. And state Sen. Mark Herring won the nod for attorney general. He will run against state Sen. Mark Obenshain.

    Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a fundraiser Tuesday in Washington for Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., facing a special election for now-Secretary of State John Kerry's former Senate seat. Close polling numbers between Markey and his Republican opponent, Gabriel Gomez -- as well as fear of a similar outcome to former Sen. Scott Brown's upset win in 2010 -- has drawn major national Democrats, including Mr. Obama, into stumping for their candidate, Alexandra Jaffe of The Hill writes. The president visits Massachusetts for a rally Wednesday.

    Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald breaks down the costs to taxpayers of Mr. Obama's visit to Miami Beach Wednesday for a fundraiser.

    Ahead of a likely Supreme Court decision this month, two polls show eroding support for affirmative action. An NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll reports, "45 percent of respondents said they believe affirmative action programs are still needed to counteract the effects of discrimination against minorities, while an equal 45 percent feel the programs have gone too far and should be ended because they unfairly discriminate against whites." A new Washington Post poll shows widespread agreement among Americans that colleges shouldn't use race when admitting students. That poll finds 76 percent oppose the key part of affirmative action admissions practices.

    White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is meeting with Senate Republicans as lawmakers grapple with government spending. They sparred behind closed doors.

    Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Michael Douglass and Robert DeNiro are among the stars who star in this video pressuring Mr. Obama to keep his pledge on nuclear weapons.

    The Associated Press catches that the ritual June White House congressional picnic is "Not going to happen" this year. It's a scheduling thing, not due to the sequester. "June is packed, July is hot, August they're not here," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told the AP.

    The president did, however hold an off-the-record schmoozefest with the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Time, McClatchy, Politico, Tribune, NPR, Bloomberg, USA Today, AFP, Yahoo, "and other outlets," reports BuzzFeed's Evan McMorris-Santoro.

    In light of the National Security Agency data-gathering scoops last week, ProPublica breaks down the various data the government can get from you and their legal rationales.

    South Dakota Republicans breathed a sigh of relief Monday -- Rep. Kristi Noem will seek re-election instead of challenge the state's former governor in a Senate primary.

    House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor will meet Thursday with families who lost loved ones in the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. six months ago. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the speaker "wants to hear stories and talk about ways to reduce the culture of violence in our country." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters last week he is looking for a way to revive the legislation on a set of gun proposals that stalled in the Senate in April. But House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer told the NewsHour's Coordinating Producer Linda J. Scott he is "very doubtful" House leadership will bring anything to the floor.

    Roll Call examined what it means when Congressional spouses are on the payroll.

    The North Carolina Democratic Party is in chaos after a top official resigned.

    Charlotte, N.C. police spent $450 on manure removal and $1,680 to clean up graffiti last summer ahead of the Democratic National Convention. Here is a look at how they racked up $50 million in convention expenses.

    Nathan Gonzales examines how the purchase of a barn jacket could be the best investment a campaign can make.

    Nieman Story Board looks at why Eli Saslow's story on the anniversary of Newtown was so good.

    If you notice some new Twitter background images, that means we've stepped up promotion ahead of the Congressional Women's Softball Game on June 26. You can buy your swag here. And this blog reminds us of one of the reasons why we play.

    Thursday night is that other game in town, the one where members of Congress play each other at Nationals Stadium. Roll Call has a handy guide for Hill staffers attending the game.

    Ferris Bueller was released this week in 1986. So, where do you think the mischief maker is now?


    What if government paid for the information it collected on its citizens? Catch Jaron Lanier, the father of virtual reality, explaining how free technology is making society more unequal -- and what we should do about it.

    NewsHour Art Beat covers the massive One Million Bones public art installation at the National Mall. It protests genocide.

    Where to go to learn history in Detroit? To the graveyard, one professor says.

    Kwame Holman writes about one senator's "lonely fight" to end sequestration.


    Anthony Weiner's campaign announced he plans to live for one week on a budget of $1.50/meal.

    — Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) June 12, 2013

    George H W Bush Library celebrates his 89th birthday by encouraging people to mimic his "exuberant socks" & post pics on line.

    — PETER MAER (@petermaercbs) June 12, 2013

    Show off. MT @timkaine: Abt to deliver remarks in Spanish on the Sen floor to call for passage of immigration reform. Watch live on CSPAN 2

    — Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) June 11, 2013

    POTUS greets Bo. The follow up photo, by popular demand. twitter.com/petesouza/stat...

    — petesouza (@petesouza) June 12, 2013

    Rubio on Senate floor during immigration debate: "By the way, the Miami Heat won Game 2 in resounding fashion."

    — Christina Bellantoni (@cbellantoni) June 11, 2013

    Green got a flame thrower

    — Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) June 12, 2013

    3 extraordinary journalists honored by SPJ tonite Terry Smith, Tom Boswell & Andrea @mitchellreportstwitpic.com/cwr8aa

    — Judy Woodruff (@JudyWoodruff) June 12, 2013

    That's a wrap for today, #DC, but we'll be back tomorrow with more #OMGFreeBenJerrys... see you then!

    — Ben & Jerry's Truck (@BenJerrysTruck) June 12, 2013

    Coordinating Producer Linda J. Scott and Simone Pathe contributed to this report.

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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

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

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

    Follow @cbellantoni

    Follow @burlijFollow @kpolantzFollow @elizsummersFollow @tiffanymullonFollow @meenaganesanFollow @ljspbs

    Support Your Local PBS Station


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  • 06/12/13--08:20: Singapore's Vegetable Towers
  • In order to grow fresh produce on limited land, Singapore has constructed towers where seedlings grow into eatable plants.

    Singapore Skyline

    With more than 5 million people crammed into 274 square miles, commercial land values in Singapore are among the highest in the world. Therefore, the island nation needs to get creative when it comes to growing food in a limited space. Photo: Sam Eaton/Homelands Productions

    Made in Thailand

    Because of the lack of agriculture, Singapore gets most of its food from other countries. An estimated 90 percent of the ingredients of most meals come from foreign lands. Photo: Sam Eaton/Homelands Productions

    Pasir Panjang

    Import brokers at Singapore's Pasir Panjang wholesale center work through the early morning rush as produce is delivered from Malaysia and elsewhere. Photo: Sam Eaton/Homelands Productions

    Plant Towers

    The company SkyGreens has created a vertical farming system using modular aluminum and steel structures to grow vegetables. Photo: Sam Eaton/Homelands Productions

    Rows of Produce

    SkyGreens towers are 30 feet tall and cost around $12,000 each. Photo: Sam Eaton/Homelands Productions


    Vegetables, such as lettuce, cabbage and bok choy, are grown from seeds. Photo: Sam Eaton/Homelands Productions

    Water Wheels

    These black plastic water wheels are the hydraulic engine of SkyGreens' vertical towers. They use gravity and water to rotate the towers' trays of greens while consuming the equivalent electricity of a 60 watt lightbulb. Photo: Sam Eaton/Homelands Productions

    SkyGreens Tower

    With a footprint of about 65 square feet, each SkyGreens tower is 10 times more productive per unit of land than a traditional farm. SkyGreens farm now has around 400 operational towers. Photo: Sam Eaton/Homelands Productions

    Flowering Plant

    SkyGreens owner Jack Ng envisions his technology being used on apartment tower rooftops so urban retirees can grow their own food. Photo: Sam Eaton/Homelands Productions

    Grocery Sales

    SkyGreens delivers two tons of produce to Singapore supermarkets every day, according to the company. Its produce costs 10 percent more than conventionally farmed imports, so the company can recoup the costs of building the towers. Photo: Sam Eaton/Homelands Productions

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    View Slide Show

    Sam Eaton of Homelands Productions visits Singapore's farm towers in the next "Food for 9 Billion" report airing Wednesday on the PBS NewsHour.

    Singapore's skyline is composed mostly of skyscrapers, so it's no wonder residents are looking up when they're considering places to grow fruits and vegetables in this high-density Asian island.

    Entrepreneur Jack Ng has taken it a step further by developing a series of rotating vertical farms encased in aluminum towers, where produce, such as lettuce, cabbage and bok choy, grow. Gravity-aided water wheels, which take little electricity, rotate the plant trays up and down, so workers can tend to the seedlings.

    Ng sells his produce under the name SkyGreens in grocery stores, providing consumers an alternative to imported products. But SkyGreens produce costs about 10 percent more than the shipped vegetables, so Ng can recoup the cost of building the towers.

    The Singapore government wants the island to become more self-sufficient as a food source, so it is helping fund projects such as Ng's geared toward increasing domestic food production.

    It also wants the prices of locally grown food to be competitive.

    "Whatever we produce in Singapore must compete with the prices of vegetables coming in Singapore," said Lee Sing Kong, director of Singapore's National Institute of Education, in Eaton's report. "That's why the government in Singapore is now encouraging models of urban farming that can really not just increase productivity, but also lowering cost of production."

    More in the Food for 9 Billion Series:

    Could Agriculture Bloom in the Desert? Qatar Works to Invent an Innovative Oasis

    Using 'Nature as an Asset' to Balance Costa Rica's Farming With Preservation

    "Food for 9 Billion" is a PBS NewsHour collaboration with the Center for Investigative Reporting, Public Radio International's The World, American Public Media's Marketplace and Homelands Productions.

    Follow @NewsHourWorld

    Support Your Local PBS Station

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    By Paul Solman

    Watch Video

    Paul Solman's piece exploring the contributions of older workers airs on The PBS NewsHour Wednesday.

    We've been reporting on America's aging workforce on the NewsHour over the past several months, covering the factory where the average age is 74,the graying of academia,the senior entrepreneurship boom and long-term unemployment and age discrimination.

    Wednesday we're launching a companion online project called "New Adventures for Older Workers." We look at the long-of-tooth labor force, of which I'm a member, using data visualizations, videos and more. We'd appreciate your feedback.

    Our last broadcast story on the subject, which you can watch above, airs on Wednesday's NewsHour. It demonstrates the benefits to the American economy when we work past the traditional age of throwing in the towel.

    One of our key interviewees is Marc Freedman, author of "Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life" and "The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife."

    As usual, there was too little time to hear anyone at much length. But Freedman deserves the space. Here, then, is a bit more of what he had to say.

    Marc Freedman: We're trying to build a movement of people in the second half of life who want to use their time, talent and experience to be productive. We've given out Purpose Prizes for the past seven years, focused on people over the age of 60 who are doing their best work, their most creative work, at a time that used to be the leftover years . They're tackling some of the biggest challenges in the world today and drawing on their previous experience to do that.

    Paul Solman: How good, or maybe necessary, is it for the economy as a whole that people continue to work well into the years that used to be consigned to retirement?

    Marc Freedman: I think we're in the middle of restructuring what a life looks like in the context of much longer lives. You can't just fold, spindle, stretch and mutilate a life course that was set up for 20th century life spans for 21st century spans that ultimately will last 100 years. You've got to rethink the whole process of education, of productivity, and balance the working lives over much longer periods of time as well as human capital development.

    I think a lot of the projections for the future, a lot of the hand wringing could be characterized as scenario planning through the rear view mirror. Essentially we're taking much longer lives, and this vast increase in people in their 60s, 70s and beyond, and assuming they're going to live out a lifestyle that went with their parents' generation. And I don't think that's going to be true. I think there's resilience there: at an individual level people need to work longer; as a society we need to take the full productive potential of this population and use it in ways that will help everybody benefit.

    Paul Solman: So then we'll get economic growth out of it and receipts, continued receipts into Social Security and Medicare?

    Marc Freedman: Yeah, the assumption's been that we've got a small group of people in the middle who are going to be forced to support a much larger group of people in their 60s, 70s and beyond, but what if those people became an enormous engine of productivity and innovation? We could turn the dependency ratio into an abundancy ratio.

    Paul Solman: And those people will be paying income taxes.

    Marc Freedman: And they'd be setting a pattern for longer working lives that young people would soon come to inhabit. So this would be a benefit not just in the boomer retirement years, but for generations to come. These people who are having enormously, significant, meaningful, productive chapters in their 60s and 70s ultimately are gonna signal to young people that there's more than one bite of the apple, that you don't have to push all of your success into the early part of life, work like a maniac until you're 50 and then have this endless balloon payment of leisure at the end. That there's an opportunity to have two or three or even more chapters in your working lives, and they can build on each other or enable you to move in an entirely different direction. So I think it's ultimately a comforting message to young people -- realizing that they have a chance to sustain themselves economically at a period when they used to think they'd have to live off of their savings.

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

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  • 06/12/13--10:09: Around the Nation
  • Here are five arts and culture videos from PBS and public media partners around the nation.

    This song is my song, this song is your song, so why don't you record your own cover? American Masters has paired with PBS and Woody 100 for an interactive documentary about folk singer Woody Guthrie called the This Is Your Land Project. Download sheet music and record yourself singing the iconic But hurry: June 15 is the deadline. For now, enjoy this submission from Zeke Leonard:

    The late children's book author Maurice Sendak -- the nation's foremost expert on the charming beastliness of children -- was interviewed in 2009 about his own childhood, and what impressed him about the resiliency of kids. PBS Digital Studios, together with Newsweek and Blank on Blank, offers an animated version of that interview.

    "Homegoings," an upcoming documentary on POV that explores the tradition and grace of funerals in an African-American community, inspired a work of contemporary dance by performers from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. The documentary debuts on PBS on June 24.

    Watch Homegoings: A Dance on PBS. See more from POV.

    From Austin, Texas, KLRU's Arts In Context offers short documentaries about artistic creation and process. In a recent episode, they follow young composers competing to have their original works performed by the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

    Watch Young Composers on PBS. See more from KLRU.

    Some really like the hot fashions made famous by Marilyn Monroe. On a stop in Palm Springs, Calif., Antiques Roadshow appraises the original little black dress worn by the screen siren in one of her most famous roles.

    Watch Appraisal: Marilyn Monroe Dress from "Some Like it Hot" on PBS. See more from Antiques Roadshow.

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    This image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is an example "linear gullies" formed by dry ice thawing across the planet's sand dunes. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona.

    Mars' surface is streaked with furrows and ditches across its rusty red soil, mimicking our planet's river plains. But unlike Earth, Mars has no surface rivers or streams that would leave such marks.

    Serina Diniega, a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and lead author of a report published online in the journal Icarus, determined these signature gullies on its red sand dunes are a result of cascades of dry ice running across the planet's surface every spring.

    "I have always dreamed of going to Mars," Diniega said in a post on NASA's website. "Now I dream of snowboarding down a Martian sand dune on a block of dry ice."

    "To find out if frozen carbon dioxide left tracks on Mars, scientists grabbed a bag of dry ice and took a road trip. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

    At first glance, the channels look like riverbeds on Earth. But when rivers on Earth reach their end, they leave a plain of silt and debris. Images from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera show linear gullies on Mars' surface end abruptly.

    The HiRISE images also showed the red dunes covered by carbon-dioxide frost during the Martian winter. By comparing photos from different seasons, researchers determined that the grooves must have formed during early spring. Some images revealed bright objects in the gullies, which researchers determined was dry ice.

    Dry ice is carbon dioxide in its solid form, something that doesn't naturally form on Earth's surface, Diniega said. But it's abundant on Mars, where a CO2-rich atmosphere produces snowbanks of frozen carbon dioxide, not water. Candice Hansen posited that as the dry ice thaws into a gas each the spring, it cuts the linear gullies as it slides down the hillsides before dissipating into the atmosphere.

    To test this theory, Hansen and Diniega took blocks of dry ice -- only a few inches thick -- from a supermarket, along with water ice and wooden blocks, out to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Utah. Carbon dioxide gas from the thawing dry ice maintained a lubricating layer under the slab, turning the blocks into miniature hovercraft. As the slabs of dry ice glided down the slopes, the gaseous bottom layer pushed sand into little valleys. Their water ice blocks simply melted into a puddle, leaving only wet sand behind, and the wooden blocks didn't move at all.

    Diniega and her JPL colleagues tested their theory again on the Kelso Dunes in southern California. Their experiments drew a crowd of local teens camping in the park, she said. Soon, scientists and campers were cheering as the carbon dioxide blocks schussed down the sand.

    The dry ice blocks spotted in the Martian gullies are four to seven feet across, Diniega said. With a big enough block, and proper insulation to protect the skin from burns, a person could snowboard down the dunes on Mars -- a sport she would love to see, she joked.

    Ultimately, this shows that while Mars and Earth have a lot in common, we have a lot left to learn about our neighboring planet, she said.

    "We see things on Mars that look very Earth-like and that's very exciting. We want to travel to Mars and it's our closest planet," Diniega said. "It's a nice reminder that Mars is a very different planet and it has its own mysteries."

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    The marble halls of Parliament in Ottawa, Canada. Photo by Christina Bellantoni.

    OTTAWA, Canada | It's not every day you hear politicians bicker about which party is being "mollycoddled."

    Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to get a tour of Parliament Hill in Canada's capital, and sit in on a contentious daily Question Period session.

    You may have heard about this phenomenon, also part of regular order in Great Britain. Basically lawmakers berate their opposition and trade insults, and the party out of power can challenge the government, all in the spirit of a grand political debate.

    In Canada, it lasts roughly an hour. There's a lot of shouting, and political observers I spoke with before the visit apologized in advance for the rancor and told me they aren't huge fans.

    But after witnessing the practice in person, I think it's sort of awesome.

    The Toronto Star's senior political reporter Susan Delacourt generously let me shadow her Monday as she made her way through the ornate hallways and esteemed archways.

    Right: Canadian political journalists crowd around televisions to watch the end of "Question Period" before lawmakers come out for a scrum.

    As we settled into our spots in the gallery above members, and as I marveled at the paired seatings at ornate desks with green velvet chairs, Delacourt tweeted:

    Here at #QP with a U.S. visitor -@cbellantoni from @newshour. Feel free to impress her, MPs. #cdnpoli

    — Susan Delacourt (@SusanDelacourt) June 10, 2013

    She whispered to me, "Watch, I'll tweet this and they will start looking up."

    Sure enough, members, or "MPs," as she calls them, shifted their gazes from their iPads, multiple BlackBerries and even a stack of thank you cards to peer at us in the gallery above.

    This was a big day for Parliament. The previous week, a member of the Conservative party bolted with complaints Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office was treating MPs like "trained seals." The newly minted independent from Alberta had already been moved on the seating chart, squished between the Liberals and the NDP.

    But that wasn't what had MPs hot under the collar. It wasn't even the financial scandal involving Sen. Mike Duffy, a major story in Ottawa for weeks, though NDP leaders did poke at their rivals about the latest developments.

    The topic of the day for the minority parties? "Domestic snooping."

    As our own headlines in the United States were dominated by the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, the NDP and Liberal MPs were in an uproar.

    One demanded: "Are conservatives monitoring the phone and email messages of Canadians? Yes or no!"

    National Defense Minister Peter Mackay defended the government, saying there is "rigorous oversight" and told critics that the program is both legal and regularly scrutinized.

    There was grumbling, there was laughing, there was hissing. There was shouting:


    "They can't get their story straight!"

    "How many more scandals are conservatives going to inflict on Canadians," roared MP Peter Julian of the NDP.

    Yes, it was a little uncivilized. Unlike our Congressional debates, no one was calling anyone his or her "dear friend."

    But it was honest. Politics can be bloodsport, and the MPs definitely don't feel the need to pretty it up with niceties.

    Also refreshing? These lawmakers acknowledge their politics, rather than pretend they aren't the driving force behind everything.

    MP James Moore bellowed that heading into the 2015 campaign, his Conservative party is proud to say it's created 1 million new jobs and has fostered the lowest taxes in 50 years. While the opposition, he charged, was all rhetoric, no action.

    You can watch video highlights from Monday's Question Period.

    Maybe I enjoyed the session because some barbs just sound better in French. But I can't help thinking how much better our politics might be here, if people would just talk face to face.

    Think about it. The day's activities on Capitol Hill involve typically lawmaker after lawmaker giving a soliloquy. They might get peppered with questions from the press on occasion, but they aren't talking with each other. They frequently are speaking to the C-SPAN cameras on a floor that might boast a handful of lawmakers on a busy day.

    The closest thing the United States Senate gets to a true debate materialized Wednesday on the floor ahead of votes on amendments to the comprehensive immigration bill. In most cases, lawmakers often deliver a rebuttal speech, one that was pre-written and doesn't take much of what was said previously into account.

    During the daylong session, Sens. John Cornyn and John McCain, both Republicans, traded questions, calling each other "gentlemen" all the while.

    There was no shouting, no accusations of corruption. It was all quite reserved.

    "Will my colleague yield for a question," piped in Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

    They proceeded to politely but pointedly query each other about costs of border security, and Schumer admitted, "No one says that the Gang of Eight bill is exactly right," while defending the bipartisan plan he and seven others crafted for months.

    Sen. Orrin Hatch delivered an impassioned plea to keep politics out of the bill's shaping.

    "There are a lot of people on this side who would like to vote for a final bill," Hatch said.

    But he warned both sides need to clearly avoid any sort of amnesty in the bill, and implored that amendments be carefully considered. "I want immigration reform to succeed. If this is going to be a political exercise, count me out."

    If someone was there to answer him, they kept their mouth shut.

    Before long, Sen. Rob Portman took to the floor. To speak to an empty chamber. When he paused to turn the page of his pre-printed speech, you could almost hear a pin drop.

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    PBS NewsHour senior correspondents Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff anchored 50 hours of live coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions in 2012.

    TV critic David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun used recent news of layoffs at the PBS NewsHour as an opportunity to review the current state of the longstanding nightly news broadcast. In a column Tuesday headlined "Is it time to quit being nice about what 'NewsHour' has become?" Zurawik questions the value of the program and asks if the show is "worth trying to save" amid the cutbacks.

    He goes on to critique the show's format:

    I'm sorry, Jeffrey Brown interviewing a New York Times reporter about a story she or he broke is not a nightly newscast -- not in any sense of what they do on CBS with Scott Pelley or ABC with Diane Sawyer every night. It's more like a cable talk show -- or a radio talk show with a camera showing the interviewer and interviewee siting across from each other.

    In a response to the column, NewsHour senior correspondent Gwen Ifill wrote Zurawik:

    Is it what NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and CNN produce on a nightly basis? No. And it never has been. That's pretty much why I work here. We skip the stories on the pole-dancing girlfriends and the Arias-type trials. We know there are other places to go for that. But we still stick by our core mission -- to provide news and information for people who choose to know more than what their home browser page can show them.

    NewsHour deputy executive producer Kathleen McCleery and CEO Bo Jones also defended the organization's commitment to telling the stories that matter. They point out recent broadcast segments as well as the online operation. You can read their response below:

    Dear Mr. Zurawik,

    We take issue with your characterization of the PBS NewsHour as "some analysis and lots of high-sounding talk -- blue smoke and mirrors instead of original reporting." Our program features original reporting on a broad range of topics, on-air and online.

    Over the last 10 days on the PBS NewsHour: Margaret Warner wrapped up a week's worth of substantive, on-the-ground reporting from Lebanon and Syria; Google's Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, sat with Jeffrey Brown for the first U.S. broadcast interview since news of the PRISM surveillance program broke; economics correspondent Paul Solman spoke with Paul Krugman as a part of his continuing coverage of the government's role in the economy; Judy Woodruff moderated a vital debate on proposed cuts to food assistance programs in the U.S. farm bill; Gwen Ifill asked two military legal experts about ways to end sexual assault in the military; and Ray Suarez explored the ethics of organ transplant policies with a medical ethicist. Tonight, we will air the last of Paul Solman's stories in a series about older workers' contributions to the economy.

    On-air, we give stories time and depth that other news organizations don't, if they choose to cover them at all. Those include science journalism ... high school dropout rates ... arts stories (even poetry) ... civil political discussion and analysis ... and much more. Online, we hear viewers' stories, offer new data and analysis, provide exclusive online reports, discuss solutions to problems and, when necessary, link to insightful stories by other trusted journalists.

    The PBS NewsHour gets high marks for trust. In February of this year, Public Policy Polling found "that there's only one [TV News] source more Americans trust than distrust: PBS." That means a lot to us and to our viewers. Our reporting has earned acclaim, too. Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism has called our international coverage, "The PBS Difference," noting in 2012 that we provided "one-third more coverage of international events over the last year than the media overall." Media Matters took note of our climate change coverage, which included Hari Sreenivasan's "Coping with Climate Change" reporting from around the country, observing that "PBS NewsHour devoted almost twice as many segments to climate change as the other networks combined."

    We believe our efforts to reorganize and streamline our operations will allow us to continue doing what we've done well for more than three decades: supply a steady, objective voice in reporting the news on a daily basis. The changes you detailed will not affect our commitment to original reporting. Our mission is to provide intelligent, balanced and in-depth reporting and analysis of the most important issues and news events of the day. That mission continues. We believe the answer to your question, "As a culture, do we want a nightly news program on public television?" is a resounding "yes."


    Kathleen McCleery Deputy Executive Producer PBS NewsHour

    Bo Jones CEO MacNeil/Lehrer Productions

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: For the first time, the man running the National Security Agency spoke publicly today about extensive surveillance of phone calls and online communications. He defended the efforts and said, "We're trying to protect Americans."

    Ray Suarez begins our coverage.

    RAY SUAREZ: Army Gen. Keith Alexander came to a Senate hearing to discuss cyber-security in general. But the questions quickly turned to surveillance.

    Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy pressed him to tell what the NSA has to show for its efforts.

    SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-Vt.: Has the intelligence community kept track of how many times phone records obtained through Section 215 of the Patriot Act were critical to the discovery and disruption of terrorist threats?

    GEN. KEITH ALEXANDER, Director, National Security Agency: If I gave an approximate number to them in a classified ...


    KEITH ALEXANDER: ... classified, but it's dozens of terrorist events that these have helped prevent.

    RAY SUAREZ: Others, including Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley, wanted to

    know more.

    SEN. JEFF MERKLEY, D-Ore.: So, here, I have my Verizon phone. My cell phone. What authorized investigation gave you the grounds for acquiring my cell phone data?

    KEITH ALEXANDER: You know, I think on the legal standards and stuff, on this part here, I think we need to get Department of Justice and others, because it is a complex area. I think what we're doing to protect American citizens here is the right thing. Our agency takes great pride in protecting this nation and our civil liberties and privacy.

    RAY SUAREZ: Alexander said he's bothered by how Edward Snowden, an intelligence contractor at NSA, could learn of the surveillance programs, and then leak them. Snowden's last known whereabouts were Hong Kong.

    Today, he was heard from again. In an interview with The South China Morning Post, he declared: "I am neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American." He insisted he wouldn't flee. Instead, he said, "My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate."

    Many in Congress have condemned Snowden and defended the NSA's activities, which key committees monitored all along. Others voiced new concern yesterday as they emerged from closed-door meetings with intelligence officials.

    Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman of California said he was surprised by the scope of the monitoring under the secret FISA court.

    REP. BRAD SHERMAN, D-Calif.: I didn't know a billion records a day were coming under the control of the federal executive branch.

    RAY SUAREZ: Maryland Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger said it's high time for a full-scale airing of the privacy-vs.-security issue.

    REP. DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER, D-Md.: Congress needs to debate this issue and determine what tools we give to our intelligence community to protect us from terrorist attacks.

    RAY SUAREZ: Lawmakers will get to ask more questions tomorrow, behind closed doors, when the House and Senate receive separate briefings on the NSA's surveillance. 

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    KWAME HOLMAN: A Colorado wildfire forced evacuations of more than 7,000 people today, as it burned out of control in record heat and high wind. Officials said the big blaze may have destroyed 100 homes so far, with hundreds more in jeopardy near Colorado Springs. As the flames spread, more than 900 prisoners had to be moved from a state prison. The fire is burning in an area near last year's Waldo Canyon fire that wiped out nearly 350 homes.

    Forecasters are keeping an anxious watch on a huge storm system that could affect 75 million Americans in 19 states over the next two days. The National Weather Service issued its highest alert today for Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. The system could bring heavy thunderstorms, tornadoes and even a rare straight-line wind storm known as a derecho.

    The U.S. Senate wrangled today over how secure the Mexican border has to be before immigration reform kicks in. Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa called for full border control for six months before anyone in the country illegally moves toward citizenship. Democrats, including Patrick Leahy of Vermont, objected. It was part of the debate on an immigration bill authored by the so-called “Gang of Eight” senators.

    SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY, R-Iowa: The “Group of Eight” say that they're open to improving the bill. Well, my amendment, now before the Senate, does just that. My amendment improves the trigger that jump-starts the legalization program. It ensures that the border is secure before one person gets legal status under this act.

    SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-Vt.: I will oppose efforts that impose unrealistic, excessively costly, overly rigid, inhumane, or ineffective border security measures. And I will oppose efforts to modify the triggers in ways that would -- could unduly delay or prevent the earned legalization path. We have waited too long already.

    KWAME HOLMAN: Currently, the bill calls for improvements to the border fence and other triggers before immigrants are granted new status.

    In Moscow, as many as 15,000 protesters marched today to denounce Russian President Putin. The demonstrators, including opposition leaders, criticized Putin for authoritarian rule and demanded freedom for dissidents arrested at Putin's inauguration. The turnout was far below the 100,000 who protested against Putin before he won his third term as president last year.

    Former South African President Nelson Mandela reportedly is responding better to medical treatment today. The 94-year-old Mandela has been hospitalized five days with a recurring lung infection.

    South Africa's current president, Jacob Zuma, shared news of the improvement in a parliamentary address.

    PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA, South Africa: We are very happy with the progress that he is now making following a difficult few days. We appreciate the messages of support from all over the world.

    KWAME HOLMAN: Mandela spent 27 years in prison under South Africa's apartheid regime. In 1994, he became the country's first black president.

    A 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl with cystic fibrosis received a lung transplant today from an adult donor. Sarah Murnaghan's case drew national attention when a federal judge last week ordered her placed on the adult transplant list, overruling hospital procedures. The judge also added an 11-year-old boy to the list.

    On Wall Street, stocks tumbled again over renewed worries over whether the Federal Reserve will rein in its stimulus efforts. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped back under 15,000, losing 126 points to close at 14,995. The Nasdaq fell 36 points to close at 3,400.

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

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We return now to Turkey and the protests against Prime Minister Erdogan that have gripped the country.

    An uneasy calm held in Taksim Square at mid-morning in Istanbul. Riot police rested around a monument to modern Turkey's founding father, Kemal Ataturk, and armored vehicles idled, their water cannons silent. But protesters insisted their resolve was unbroken.

    KENAN OTLU, Protester: We do not want to withdraw or to go back one step. There were civil demands, and we were all united without any political help from any party. Here, there is a civil resistance and we will not get back until our demands are fulfilled.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The daytime quiet was perhaps a product more of exhaustion than of any resolution to the near-two-week standoff. And it followed a violent night that left the square littered with debris.

    Clashes between police and protesters raged through the night hours, with water cannon, tear gas fusillades. Protesters threw rocks and chunks of sidewalk and launched fireworks at police. It was the most serious confrontation in the square since the sit-in began, with environmentalists trying to preserve Gezi Park, one thin slice of green space in sprawling central Istanbul.

    When police assaulted that initial gathering, other groups with a more pronounced political agenda joined in. Since then, protests have spread to other cities. Today, lawyers in the capital, Ankara, gathered to decry heavy-handed treatment.

    EGE INAL, Attorney: Oppression has been going on for months. They are doing it to their own people and in doing so, the government is exactly like the ones that they have been criticizing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: That's a veiled reference to the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad on Turkey's southern border. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become a staunch supporter of Syrian rebels seeking to bring down Assad.

    But now the protests here have morphed into the most-serious challenge to Erdogan's rule since he first won office 10 years ago. The trouble has also laid bare long-simmering class and religious tensions between secular liberal groups on one side and Erdogan and his ruling Islamist Justice Party on the other.

    Erdogan has bristled at the challenge, seeking to crush the protests and dismissing the throngs as outside agitators. He's also calling for his supporters to turn out in large numbers later this week. But Turkey's other senior leader, President Abdullah Gul, struck a more conciliatory tone again today, near the Black Sea in Turkey's north, after meeting with schoolchildren.

    ABDULLAH GUL, Turkish President: I have said since the beginning peaceful, nonviolent demonstrations, displays of opinion, sharing of ideas, these are all democratic rights. And we're proud of that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in Ankara, Erdogan met with a delegation of 11 activists today, but others in the streets said that group wasn't representative of the larger movement.

    And after that meeting came the announcement from Erdogan's Justice Party that a referendum on the park's fate would be considered if the protesters finally leave. 

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Joining me now to discuss the protests, the government's response and what it all means, is Scott Peterson of The Christian Science Monitor in Istanbul, and Soner Cagaptay. He's director of the Washington Institute's Turkish Research Program.

    We thank you both for being here.

    Let me start with you, Scott Peterson. The government came down really hard on these demonstrators last night. Where do these things stand now?

    SCOTT PETERSON, The Christian Science Monitor: Well, at the moment, and in fact, for most of the day today, the police have been very, very relaxed. They have certainly been in control of this square.

    In fact, they opened it up this morning. And this is after a night full of violence. There was a lot of back-and-forth fighting with protesters, lots of things exploding, things moving through the air, and, ultimately, of course, the police won that battle. And by dawn this morning, there was traffic already moving around the square.

    And we saw a very different sense from the police today. They looked very relaxed, had their helmets off, riot shields kind of piled up, although we're not sure what may be happening tonight. Some people are expecting that there might be a push to try and clear the -- that Gezi Park.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Soner Cagaptay, who are these protesters, and what is driving them?

    SONER CAGAPTAY, Director, Turkish Research Program, Washington Institute for Near East Policy: They are basically secular middle-class liberal Turks, though what is driving the protest is not the typical game of Turkish politics, where you would have the divide of Islam vs. secularism or Islamists vs. secularists.

    That's not it. This is not an ideological protest movement. It's about quality of democracy in Turkey. This is about people making some very middle-class demands about the government's need to respect freedom of assembly and freedom of association, urban space, hence the demonstrations over the park.

    In fact, it's a sign of a new Turkey. Turkey is rising. It has become a wealthy society. The AKP and its leader, Erdogan, thanks to their success, this has become a majority middle-class society. And now the AKP is a victim of its success. This middle class is making some very middle-class demands. They are saying, we have a right to assembly and if the government is going to build a shopping mall instead of a park, they should ask for our opinion.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Scott Peterson, the government is saying there are terrorists among the demonstrators. Have you seen the makeup of these protests change in the last few days?

    SCOTT PETERSON: Well, they definitely have made a lot of claims about who these protesters are, but, in fact, really, it's a broader group of Turks than you would expect.

    I mean, certainly, those who are manning the front lines during some of the most violent protests during these last two weeks have been mostly young people. Some of them have been football hooligans or others who are truly looking for trouble.

    But I would say the vast majority of the people we have seen here cut across a much broader swathe of Turkish society. And so you have got -- you have got young people, certainly university students, but at the same time you have also got their parents who often are there. I have seen -- last night, for example, during some of the very heated exchanges when there was tear gas all over the place, I saw one mother and quite older mother hand in hand with her daughter, and they both had their gas masks on and were trying to make a point.

    And we see this in a lot of different places here. So I think it's correct to recognize that, really, you know, there are a lot of people who are here and trying to make their point unified really in kind of their anger at how Prime Minister Erdogan has handled his own leadership, feeling that they're very, very much excluded and trying to use this event as a way of getting their voices out there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Soner Cagaptay, what about Erdogan's response? How would you characterize it? And how do you explain it?

    SONER CAGAPTAY: The response has been heavy-handed. Obviously, he didn't reach out for a compromise.

    The demonstrators are saying the following. They're saying, you may have won the election, but listen to us. Take our views into account. And Erdogan's response has been heavy-handed. He sent in the police to crack down. But then he also reached out. Today, there was a suggestion that there will be a referendum held to determine whether this park will be converted into a shopping mall.

    But I think, overall, he's trying to build his constituency, which is political right of the Turkish spectrum, but he will have a challenge, which is that the Turkish political left and liberals have now found a voice that they can demonstrate, do so publicly.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Scott Peterson, again, do you sense more broadly among the Turkish population the support for Erdogan, Prime Minister Erdogan says he has?

    SCOTT PETERSON: Well, there seems -- there's no question that he's got a lot of support that really and probably, as he says, is 50 percent of the country.

    Now, we also know, however, that there's some people who are within his own ruling AKP party. There have been also Islamists who have been out on the streets here who have been protesting not necessarily at his policies, but at the way that the prime minister actually conducts himself and behaves himself and really is sometimes much more confrontational than they themselves would like to see.

    So there are a lot of things that are mixed up in this dynamic and in people's reaction. Of course, no one here expected -- and, in fact, just yesterday, the prime minister mentioned in parliament, he said, what do they expect? Do they expect that we will kneel down before them? That's the question that he's asking.

    And he's really couched this in -- often in quite divisional and divisive terms. But at the same time, we have also gotten a sense in the last two days, especially when he's been speaking -- making many speeches in a day, several speeches in a day, that he almost has kind of started his presidential campaign for next year already, and that if this dragged on for a few more days and he was able to point to the other -- as people who were connected to terrorists or otherwise vandals or marauders, then that really would only help to solidify his own base and that could only work to his favor.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Soner Cagaptay, just quickly, what do you expect next?

    SONER CAGAPTAY: What's going on is not a shifting of political landscape in Turkey.

    Half of the country supports the AKP. That's a constant. It's the other half that doesn't support this party that's now taking issue with its style of governance and telling Erdogan to not legislate on issues that infringes on people's liberties and rights, such as recent legislation that bans or limits sale of alcohol, goes into issues of women's rights.

    And I think people are upset. So we're going to see a new Turkey in which the secular middle classes which have found a voice on the street are going to continue to demonstrate whatever that next issue is, and Turkey is going to be, unfortunately, polarized for the next year between the supporters and the opponents of the government, as a country that's almost split in the middle between two large political factions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Watching Turkey closely.

    Soner Cagaptay, Scott Peterson, we thank you both.

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    GWEN IFILL: Now, the long-awaited trial of an alleged mob boss who once topped the FBI's most-wanted list. It gets under way in Boston.

    James "Whitey" Bulger's day in court finally arrived, with federal prosecutors declaring he was at the center of murder and mayhem in Boston for nearly 30 years. He's accused of extortion, racketeering and 19 murders. At the age of 83, he's now pleaded not guilty to all counts.

    Bulger allegedly ran the violent Winter Hill Gang in South Boston, and at the same time, prosecutors say, he provided the FBI with information on a rival gang. In 1994, he fled as he was about to be indicted, and managed to evade capture for 16 years.

    While he was being hunted, his former FBI handler was convicted of tipping him off.

    NARRATOR: This is an announcement by the FBI. Have you seen this woman?

    GWEN IFILL: In 2011, agents finally tracked Bulger down through his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, and he was arrested at this rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, Calif. His trial is expected to last three to four months.

    For more, we turn to Kevin Cullen, reporter and columnist for The Boston Globe, and co-author of the book "Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice." He was in the courtroom today.

    This corruption trial that we are following now, Kevin, are we talking about something that was individual, his alleged crimes, or institutional?

    KEVIN CULLEN, The Boston Globe: Well, I think the corruption that's at the heart of this, Gwen, is absolutely institutional. It's not just one rogue agent and one corrupt supervisor. It goes much deeper than that.

    And when -- there was a 15-month period in 1981 to 1983 -- or 1982 into 1983 -- in which Whitey Bulger and his criminal partner, Steve Flemmi, were implicated in four murders. And there were discussions at the highest level at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington. And at that level, there wasn't a decision to turn Bulger and Flemmi over to appropriate authorities. It was a decision to protect them.

    And it wasn't just a question of the FBI looking the other way. In one very specific case involving the murder of a legitimate businessman, Roger Wheeler in Oklahoma, the FBI in Boston lied to their colleagues at the FBI office in Oklahoma about the whereabouts and the alibis of Steve Flemmi and Whitey Bulger.

    So the corruption at the heart of this goes to the highest levels of the FBI.

    GWEN IFILL: So he was on the run for 16 years. He was found two years ago, and the trial begins today.

    You were in the courtroom. Give us a sense of the scene.

    KEVIN CULLEN: Well, I mean, it -- obviously, it's a pretty subdued setting. And, you know, you had three sets of spectators. They were people that were the victims of the family that were directly in back of the -- what you call it, the prosecution table.

    Then you had Bulger's side, which, frankly, the only people that I saw that were close to Whitey Bulger was his brother Jackie. His politician brother, Bill Bulger, wasn't there. And then you had the media on the other side. So there was kind of three different groups in there.

    And Brian Kelly, the federal prosecutor, gave a very understated sort of, these are the facts, ma'am, Joe Friday approach to the indictment against Whitey Bulger and just spelled it out in detail. But there was one very poignant moment during Brian Kelly's opening. Toward the end of it, he just showed -- he read the names of the 19 murder victims one by one, pausing between each name while their photograph was shown on an overhead projector shown to the courtroom.

    And at the end of it, Brian Kelly said, "That, ladies and gentlemen, is what this case is all about."

    GWEN IFILL: So what is the defense?

    KEVIN CULLEN: The defense is actually novel, because Jay Carney, who is the lead attorney for Whitey Bulger, went in there and admitted in open court that his client was a criminal.

    He said his client was an extortionist, a bookmaker. And a very big surprise to us, he admitted that his client was involved in drug dealing.

    GWEN IFILL: Which he had never admitted before, right?

    KEVIN CULLEN: He had never -- no, no, no, no, he would never admit particularly that. That was a sore spot.

    And particularly his apologists in South Boston and other places would always say that Whitey would never touch drugs, whereas the evidence was overwhelming that he made millions by shaking down drug dealers. But the evidence now is even more specific that he was involved in actual movement of cocaine.

    So -- but Jay Carney, his lawyer admitted to all that. So in some respects, they went in there in their opening statement and admitted to a number of predicate acts that would find him guilty of racketeering, which he is charged.

    But what's clear by the defense, what Jay Carney outlined, is Whitey Bulger is not interested in getting acquitted of everything. He's interested in being acquitted of two very specific charges. One is that he was an informant for the FBI. Carney said he never was. But the other thing that Bulger really wants to change -- he doesn't like this part of the narrative -- is the killing of the women.

    Of the 19 murders, he's charged with killing two women. And he cannot abide by that because he spent his entire criminal life creating a narrative of him and, that narrative is that he's a good bad guy. He's a criminal with scruples. And criminals with scruples do not murder defenseless young women.

    GWEN IFILL: Four to five months you're saying this is going to take. Why so long?

    KEVIN CULLEN: Well, part of it is, they're only going half-days. He's 83 years old. Judge Casper, Denise Casper, who is the presiding justice at this, agreed with the defense that it would be asking an awful lot of a man that's going to turn 84 in September to do long days.

    So right now, it's going to be four days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. And then Thursdays, there's going to be a long day that goes to 3:30. So that alone, Gwen, would make this trial -- that really pushes it past -- this might have been able to be done in two-and-a-half months, but because of the accommodations they're making for Mr. Bulger, it's just going go a lot -- you know, I think that's actually conservative.

    GWEN IFILL: Yes.

    KEVIN CULLEN: I think it depends on the cross-examining. We could be doing this come the fall.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, it sounds to me ...

    KEVIN CULLEN: This might be going on during the Harvard-Yale game.

    GWEN IFILL: It sounds to me like you will be watching it fairly closely.

    Kevin Cullen, thank you so much.

    KEVIN CULLEN: I will be there. Thanks, Gwen. 


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