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

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    Watch Video Watch the full report on children who work in the gold mines of Burkina Faso on Wednesday's PBS NewsHour. Video footage by Larry C. Price. Edited by Noreen Nasir.

    Karim Sawadogo thinks he is nine years old, but isn't sure. He was once a goat herder near his home in the northwest Burkina Faso, but left that life to come work with his uncle in a gold mine in the Kouékowéra camp, in the southwestern part of the African nation.

    Now he spends his days cooking meals, fetching water and chipping away inside the mine, filling buckets with ore. He spoke with photojournalist Larry C. Price, who visited the gold mines throughout the southwest. Karim described his daily activities to Price through a translator. "My dream is to get money," he said. He wants to get out of the gold mines.

    On Wednesday, PBS NewsHour senior correspondent Hari Sreenivasan explores life in the hazardous gold mines of Burkina Faso and the status of child labor in the camps. View more of our international coverage on our World page.

    Larry C. Price received funding for this story from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. View more of his work on its project page, The Cost of Gold: Child Labor in Burkina Faso.

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    Get ready for the candidates to debate!

    Yes, you read that right. It's 2013, not a year in which we elect a president, or even members of Congress (aside from a handful of special elections). But two states hold gubernatorial elections this November -- New Jersey and Virginia. Virginia's candidates, Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, meet in their first debate on Saturday, July 20. It'll be sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association and I have the honor of moderating.

    As I write this, I'm sitting in front of a fat three-ring binder full of articles about the candidates and their positions on the issues. From transportation to taxes, from energy to the economy, and on an array of social issues, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli have spelled out their views, with more or less detail. They've made countless speeches, answered reporters' questions, and posted position papers on their websites. But this will be the first time they've faced each other in a debate.

    My goal is straightforward: to draw them out, to have them expand as fully as possible on their ideas, and to give the voters of Virginia the best possible understanding of where they're coming from and what sort of governor each would be. But in order to do that, I need to know as much as I can about what Cuccinelli and McAuliffe have said in the past. Hence, the three-ring binder, which grows larger by the day, thanks to the NewsHour's ace lead researcher, Sandi Fox.

    They've made countless speeches, answered reporters' questions, and posted position papers on their websites. But this will be the first time they've faced each other in a debate."

    The Virginia Bar Association has begun to solicit suggestions for questions from its membership, and now, I want to ask you to do the same. If you're following the race for governor in this state of more than 8 million people, steeped in history -- with a state assembly that's the oldest continuous law-making body in the Western Hemisphere -- I'd like to hear from you! Follow the link here or submit your question below. And we will live stream the debate on our website beginning at 11 a.m. EDT July 20.


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  • 07/10/13--12:57: Weekly Poem: 'Massacre'
  • By Liao Yiwu, Translated by Wenguang Huang (Composed on the morning of June 4, 1989) Dedicated to those who were killed on June 4, 1989 Dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution Leap! Howl! Fly! Run! Freedom feels so good! Snuffing out freedom feels so good! Power will be triumphant forever. Will be passed down from generation to generation forever. Freedom will also come back from the dead. It will come back to life in generation after generation. Like that dim light just before the dawn. No. There's no light. At Utopia's core there can never be light. Our hearts are pitch black. Black and scalding. Like a corpse incinerator. A trace of the phantoms of the burned dead. We will exist. The government that dominates us will exist. Daylight comes quickly. It feels so good. The butchers are still ranting! Children. Children, your bodies all cold. Children, your hands grasping stones. Let's go home. Brothers and sisters, your shattered bodies littering the earth. Let's go home. We walk noiselessly. Walk three feet above the ground. All the time forward, there must be a place to rest. There must be a place where sounds of gunfire and explosions cannot be heard. We so wish to hide within a stalk of grass. A leaf. Uncle. Auntie. Grandpa. Granny. Daddy. Mummy. How much farther till we're home? We have no home. Everyone knows. Chinese people have no home. Home is a comforting desire. Let us die in this desire. OPEN FIRE, BLAST AWAY, FIRE! Let us die in freedom. Righteousness. Equality. Universal love. Peace, in these vague desires. Stand on the horizon. Attract more of the living to death! It rains. Don't know if it is rain or transparent ashes. Run quickly, Mummy! Run quickly, son! Run quickly, elder brother! Run quickly, little brother! The butchers will not let up. An even more terrifying day is approaching. OPEN FIRE! BLAST AWAY! FIRE! IT FEELS GOOD! FEELS SO GOOD! . . . Cry cry cry crycrycrycrycrycrycry We stand in the midst of brilliance but all people are blind. We stand on a great road but no one is able to walk. We stand in the midst of a cacophony but all are mute. We stand in the midst of heat and thirst but all refuse to drink. In this historically unprecedented massacre only the spawn of dogs can survive.

    Liao Yiwu. Photo by Elisabeth Bernstein Liao Yiwu is a writer, musician and poet from Sichuan, China. He is a critic of the Chinese regime, for which he has been imprisoned, and the majority of his writings are banned in China. In addition to his new memoir, "For a Song and a Hundred Songs: A Poet's Journey Through a Chinese Prison," Liao is the author of "The Corpse Walker" and "God Is Red."

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    Liao Yiwu was in his early 30s when he was arrested for writing and performing a poem about the brutality of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. His poem -- simply called "Massacre" -- was an angry, howling rant against the government and a plea for support for the fledgling pro-democracy movement. For his words, Liao served four years in jail, where he was repeatedly beaten and tortured. Twice he tried to commit suicide. But his life turned around when he met a fellow political prisoner: an 84-year-old monk who showed him that music could be his salvation.

    "He told me that you will never have freedom, if you don't have freedom in your mind. And so he taught me to play the flute," Liao Yiwu told the PBS NewsHour. A new memoir about his time in prison has just been published by Houghton Mifflin called "For a Song and a Hundred Songs." Liao said he felt he had to write the book to make sure the stories were not covered up. "I needed to write it down so I wouldn't be forgotten like a stray dog," he said. Growing up in the Sichuan province during the Cultural Revolution, Liao received little formal education. But he learned traditional Chinese poetry from his father, and found his own way to the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg. He said he was never a political writer or activist, until he saw the events in Tiananmen Square unfold. "It changed my life," he said. "I felt helpless." After writing "Massacre" and surviving prison, Liao continued to write, often about the people from the lowest rungs on the social ladder.

    "I was with people who lived in the bottom of the society. And when I came out of prison, I was also living at the bottom of society. I know these people, the people of really low social status. And in these people, I see my own shadow. The so-called elite don't care for us, but we are the mainstream of society." He said even after he was released from prison, government officials continued to watch, harass and deny him visas to travel abroad.

    His friend, Tienchi Martin-Liao, is the editor of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. He says the government felt threatened because of the negative portrayal of Chinese society. "If someone writes fiction or a novel, it's okay. But he writes in a reportage style. And if people read it, they know it's the truth. It's not imagination. So the local authorities don't like that." Two years ago, Liao escaped China and now lives in Germany. But he continues to write and tell his country's story. "Young people don't even know what happened in 1989. They first find out when they go abroad to Western countries. But sometimes even then they don't believe it. The Communist Party has tried to eliminate parts of history. That is bad for the younger generation. If they don't have this historical consciousness, they will just focus on getting material goods. We have to work on that so everybody knows what happened."

    Wednesday on the PBS NewsHour, Jeffrey Brown profiles Liao Yiwu and his new memoir, "For a Song and a Hundred Songs." You can read his poem 'Massacre,' for which he was imprisoned, on Art Beat now.

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    By Simone Pathe

    Traders are increasingly relying on the purchase of early financial data. Photo courtesy of Mario Tama/Getty Images.

    High-frequency trading represents more than half of all transactions of American stocks these days, but just how fast is high-frequency? So fast, it turns out, that data companies now provide financial data to their most premium subscribers early -- as little as two milliseconds early in the case of a $20,000-per-month service the Nasdaq and Chicago Mercantile Exchange debuted in May using microwave networks. That time difference is enough to gain quite the financial advantage.

    One key data provider, Thomson Reuters, announced this week it was suspending its 9:54:58 a.m. release of the University of Michigan's consumer confidence data to about a dozen premium subscribers (not to be confused with those regular money management customers who pay to receive the data at 9:55 a.m., a measly five minutes before the University of Michigan posts the consumer confidence index online) while New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman investigates the practice.

    Thomson Reuters maintains that their 9:54:58 a.m. release, for which some clients pay more than $6,000 a month, does not violate federal insider trading laws since they disclose the tiered pricing to all customers.

    So how and why do traders capitalize on those all-important two seconds?

    Paul Solman dove deeper into the futuristic world of high-frequency trading in a 2012 interview with Robert Harris, whose fictional account of Wall Street depicts traders doing, well, exactly what they already do:

    Robert Harris: I thought I was making this all up, but, of course, I then discover that this is yesterday's news. They've been doing this for years. There's nothing you can invent that these guys, very clever, haven't thought of before you. Bloomberg News feeds are digitalized and go straight into the machine and buzzwords are picked out: "panic, rumor, fear, slump." And, you know, you just get a few milliseconds', maybe, advantage if the machine can work out what this news story is going to do to the markets in the next few minutes.

    Paul Solman: And that's what your novel gets at, the ability of an algorithm to exploit that anxiety.

    Robert Harris: That we are the victims of some sort of gigantic H.G. Wells-like science fiction creation, which is the market, so huge in the numbers of shares and the vast values of transactions every day, so fast with the speed, that it has somehow slipped the control of human beings and almost is itself a kind of Frankenstein's monster run amok in the world.

    And if speed is of the essence, proximity to the computer networks that guarantee that speed is paramount. (Check out this video to see what half a second of high-frequency trading looks like). The increased interest in New Jersey's wetland warehouses to host fiber optic cables, as this New York Times story captures, proves the point: the closer you are to the data networks of the big financial exchanges, the shorter the cables and the faster data will travel to you on the trading floor.

    In his 2012 Making Sen$e report, Paul Solman also quoted from technology consultant Kevin Slavin's TED talk on cutting-edge technology:

    Kevin Slavin: And this is really where the wires come right up into the city. And the further away you are from that, you're a few microseconds behind every time. These guys down on Wall Street, they're eight microseconds behind all these guys going into the empty buildings being hollowed out up around (New York's point of entry for the Internet at a so-called carrier hotel in Tribeca).

    Just to give you a sense of what microseconds are, it takes you 500,000 microseconds just to click a mouse. But if you're a Wall Street algorithm and you're five microseconds behind, you're a loser.

    So for whom is this so important? Who's buying up real estate in beautiful downtown Secaucus, New Jersey?

    Robert Harris: They don't hire anyone to work who has less than a Ph.D. in the natural sciences or mathematics and that (wasn't) peer-reviewed in the top 15 percent. They don't even want someone to come and work for them who's got a degree in economics. It's too soft.

    Paul Solman: The algorithms are actually the brainchildren of top-flight physicists, forced to migrate to Wall Street in the early '90s when Congress killed the 54-mile-in-circumference supercollider, for which land outside Dallas was already excavated.

    Watch Video

    Paul Solman explained the intricacies of high-frequency trading in his 2012 interview with novelist Robert Harris.

    P.S.: Thursday morning, "Tyler Durden" at zerohedge.com acidly summarizes his latest feelings about high-frequency trading. He's been a sour skeptic for ages.

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

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    A new report finds that more than one in four people in the world have payed a bribe in the last year. Image from the report "Global Corruption Barometer" by Transparency International.

    One out of four people have paid a bribe in the last twelve months. This is according to Transparency International's 2013 Corruption Barometer, a worldwide survey of 114,000 people cataloging their direct experiences with corruption. The report's findings are bleak if you're in the pro civil society camp. Almost a third of all world citizens interviewed reported experiencing corruption when they dealt with their local police -- 24 percent reported bribery going on at their local judiciary. Political parties are seen as the most corrupt institutions in just about every country. Perhaps not the best news for democracy.

    Click to enlarge this graphic by Transparency International.

    This report led to an interesting discussion here at NewsHour HQ. Have any of us ever paid a bribe? Perhaps we slipped money to an officer to get out of a traffic ticket in Mexico? Is it bribery if you drop a $20 bill to get into a night club? Have you ever paid a bribe? Fill out our questionnaire below (all answers in the poll are anonymous) and tell us the stories of your personal experiences with bribery in the comments.

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    Responses to thoughts on bribery are grouped by whether they first responded Yes, No or Maybe to having paid a bribe.

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    New Jersey state Sen. Barbara Buono, clockwise from top left, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe. Photos by Flickr user Barbara Buono, Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images, Mark Wilson/Getty Images and Flickr user Terry McAuliffe This fall, two states will hold major elections -- New Jersey and Virginia. Each has statehouses controlled by a large majority with the opposing party trying to tip the balance in November.

    New Jersey

    This year in New Jersey the full legislature and governorship are up for election. With 121 seats up for grabs (40 in the Senate, 80 in the Assembly), fundraising has exponentially increased with $52 million raised so far, nearly double the amount in 2009. The report released by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission attributes the jump in early spending to independent special interests groups. Even though New Jersey is a traditionally Democratic state with the party holding roughly two-thirds of the legislature, they are playing serious business. Democrats have more than double the amount of cash on hand than Republicans, $9.1 million to $4.2 million.

    At the top of the ticket is outspoken Republican Gov. Chris Christie, favored to win a second term. Christie outmatches his Democratic opponent state Sen. Barbara Buono in fundraising and public opinion. He's raised $6.8 million compared to Buono's $2.9 million and has received unprecedented financial support from outside groups.

    In 2009 outside advocacy groups spent an estimated $14 million total, so far this year they've spent $13.5 million and ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle estimates that number could reach $25 million. The figure includes Committee for Our Children's Future, which has spent $7.8 million, and the Republican Governors Association, which has spent $1.7 million.

    Christie's popularity soared after Superstorm Sandy, and he continues to be favored among constituents, leading by 30 points in recent polls. With numbers that high, Christie has repeatedly been asked if he believes he'll break Tom Kean's record 40-point margin of victory. "I don't think you'll ever see another Republican coming near that," has been his response.

    In the General Assembly the Democrats outnumber the Republicans 48 to 32. Six assembly members are not seeking re-election (four Democrats, two Republicans) and in the June primaries all incumbents breezed their way onto November's ballot. While Christie will rally for Republican control of the legislature, it's highly unlikely to come to pass. Incumbents are well-financed and entrenched in their communities - not a single Democratic incumbent has been unseated since 2007.

    Christie will instead bring the fight to the state Senate in the hopes of finally getting his judicial nominees through, including two for the state Supreme Court. Democrats hold the majority of seats 24 to 16, and only in one district is an incumbent not on the ballot. That's Buono's seat. Republicans will focus on the competitive seats, including districts 1 and 2 in South Jersey, district 14 in central Jersey, and district 38 in North Jersey. Operatives also are keeping an eye on district 3 in South Jersey, currently held by state Senate President Steven Sweeney, and district 27 in Essex and Morris County.

    New Jersey also will hold a special election to fill the late Frank Lautenberg's U.S. Senate seat. Christie's controversial decision to hold the election on Wed., October 16, just 20 days before the New Jersey state elections, had critics accusing him of political maneuvering. Democrats argue it could lead to voter suppression and prevents the possibility of Newark mayor and Democratic Senate candidate Cory Booker from appearing on the same ballot as Christie in November. Also, Democrats have said they believe the high-profile Senate race will increase voter turnout amongst Democrats, but are worried fewer Democrats will show up three weeks later to vote against Christie.

    Christie said he chose the October date to give New Jersey residents a "choice and a voice" sooner, rather than waiting for the November 2013 or the following November 2014 election. The special election will cost New Jersey taxpayers an estimated $25 million.

    The state Senate has since passed a bill that moves both state and federal elections to the same day in October. However, there's little chance of the legislation being signed into law with Christie saying the proposed bills will end up on the "ash heap."


    At the top of the ticket this November are Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe battling to become Virginia's next governor in what has been called the "ugliest campaign in the country this year." Both candidates have done their fair share of mudslinging, taking aim at each other's ties to businesses. Democrats are hoping President Barack Obama's recent re-election victory in the battleground state will translate to a win for McAuliffe, but with a 30 percent lower voter turnout in non-presidential elections, Republicans believe the red-turned-purple state will stick to its conservative roots. They also are hoping it stays true to its modern-day tradition of backing the gubernatorial nominee of the party that does not hold the White House.

    Also on the ballot are candidates for attorney general and lieutenant governor. Running on Cuccinelli's Republican ticket are state Sen. Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg for attorney general and Rev. E.W. Jackson for lieutenant governor. Democrats accuse the candidates of being too extreme and out of touch with Virginians. Jackson has made controversial comments about homosexuality and abortion, comparing Planned Parenthood to the Klu Klux Klan, among other things. The statewide candidates run separately, and Virginia has a history of splitting tickets.

    Running alongside McAuliffe are state Senators Ralph Northam and Mark Herring. Northam, of Norfolk, is running for lieutenant governor, and Herring of Loudoun, will square off against Obenshain in the attorney general race. Virginia voters have not selected a Democratic attorney general since 1989.

    As for funding, McAuliffe outpaces Cuccinelli, raising more than $3.7 million in the time between April 1 and May 29, compared with Cuccinelli's $2.1 million. The same backers who gave to Republican Governor Bob McDonnell's campaign in 2009 are not contributing to Cuccinelli's bid. McAuliffe on the other hand has a history of bringing in large sums for the Democratic National Committee and the Bill and Hillary Clinton's campaigns. Rasmussen Reports released a poll in early June showing McAuliffe leads by 3 points with 44% of voters pledging their support and 41% in support of Cuccinelli. The governor's race is in a dead heat where outspending your opponent becomes that much more important.

    Outside those races, Virginia voters will be tasked with filling all 100 House of Delegates seats. And with an equally divided 20-20 state Senate, one group is gearing up for a legislative battle in the GOP-controlled House, which currently holds the majority of seats 67-31.

    In an effort to continue Democratic gains in Virginia following the 2012 election, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and his liberal group Democracy for America, announced the launch of a "Purple to Blue Next Wave" program in Virginia. As an extension of DFA's Purple to Blue Project to change the power structure in state legislatures, the next wave will focus on Virginia races in the 12th, 31st, 60th, and 93rd legislative districts in the southwest, northern, and southeast regions.

    Dean may be optimistic, but it is unlikely the party will unseat the vast majority of Republicans. Freelance Star reporter Chelyen Davis has been closely covering Virginia state politics for more than a decade and doesn't believe there will be much of a power change this year, if any at all. "I hate to burst Democracy for America's bubble on the House races, but I don't know that any of them will really change things up in Richmond," she said.

    Davis said nearly half of the races are uncontested, and attributed the lack of competitive races to redistricting.

    Republicans say they aren't threatened by DFA's efforts. State party spokesman Garren Shipley scoffed at the group as taking "counterproductive" actions in an interview with the NewsHour.

    He said Virginia's electorate for the general election is largely different than the electorate that shows up for a presidential election. (Mr. Obama won the state twice, the first Democrat to do so in four decades.)

    "We are thankful that they have tagged these candidates with a seal of approval because all we have to do is identify the Democrat candidates and say, oh yes, they are the candidates endorsed by Howard Dean," Shipley said. "[Voters] are looking for a Richmond mold, not a D.C. mold."

    Update, July 11, 7 p.m.:

    DFA's Neil Sroka writes in to push back on the GOP criticism of the group. He stressed the effort is a long-term one aimed at strengthening numbers and ending veto-proof Republican majorities, not attempting to quickly flip control of state legislatures. "We know that's not going to happen overnight and that's why we're committed to both investing over $750,000 to win premier races this cycle and building the grassroots infrastructure and crop of strong, progressive Democratic candidates in Virginia (and other states in 2014) that we know it will take to turn the state house blue in cycles to come," he said.

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    Futurist Nikola Tesla, seen here at age 34 in 1890, is the inventor of the Tesla coil and alternating current machinery. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

    In honor of inventor Nikola Tesla's 157th birthday, we've turned to two Tesla experts and historians to help us compile a list of interesting facts you probably never knew about the guy. The information below comes from interviews with W. Bernard Carlson, author of "Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age," and Marc Seifer, author of "Wizard: Life and Times of Nicola Tesla."


    Nikola Tesla was born around midnight, between July 9 and July 10, 1856 during a fierce lightning storm. According to family legend, midway through the birth, the midwife wrung her hands and declared the lightning a bad omen. This child will be a child of darkness, she said, to which his mother replied: "No. He will be a child of light."


    Most people don't know that Tesla had a terrific sense of humor, Seifer said. For example, after dining with writer and poet Rudyard Kipling, he wrote this in a correspondence to a close friend:

    April 1, 1901

    My dear Mrs. Johnson,

    What is the matter with inkspiller Kipling? He actually dared to invite me to dine in an obscure hotel where I would be sure to get hair and cockroaches in the soup.

    Yours truly,

    N. Tesla


    Many have characterized Tesla and inventor Thomas Edison as enemies (see this and this,) but Carlson says this relationship has been misrepresented. Early in his career, Tesla worked for Edison, designing direct current generators, but famously quit to pursue his own project: the alternating current induction motor. Sure, they were on different sides of the so-called "Current Wars," with Edison pushing for direct current and Tesla for alternating current. But Carlson considers them the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of their time: one the brilliant marketer and businessman and the other a visionary and "tech guy."

    On a rare occasion, Edison attended a conference where Tesla was speaking. Edison, hard of hearing and not wanting to be spotted, slipped into the back of the auditorium to listen to the lecture. But Tesla spotted Edison in the crowd, called attention to him and led the audience in giving him a standing ovation.

    Seifer qualifies it more, saying the two had a love/hate relationship. At first Edison dismissed Tesla, but came to eventually respect him, he said.

    "When there were fires at Tesla's laboratory, Edison provided him a lab, so clearly there was some mutual respect," Seifer said


    Tesla may have had a brilliant mind, but he was not as good at reducing his ideas to practice, Carlson said. In the race to develop transatlantic radio, Tesla described to his funder and business partner, J.P. Morgan, a new means of instant communication that involved gathering stock quotes and telegram messages, funneling them to his laboratory, where he would encode them and assign them each a new frequency. That frequency would be broadcast to a device that would fit in your hand, he explained. In other words, Tesla had envisioned the smart phone and wireless internet, Carlson said, adding that of all of his ideas, that was the one that stopped him in his tracks.

    This tesla coil snuffed out the power in Colorado Springs when this photo was taken. Photo by Dickenson V. Alley, photographer at the Century Magazines via Wikimedia Commons.

    "He was the first to be thinking about the information revolution in the sense of delivering information for each individual user," Carlson said.

    He also conceived of, but never developed technology for radar, X-rays, a particle beam "death ray" and radio astronomy.


    One famous legend surrounding the eccentric Tesla was that he had an earthquake machine in his Manhattan laboratory that shook his building and nearly brought down the neighborhood during experiments.

    Tesla's device wasn't actually an earthquake machine, Carlson said, but a high frequency oscillator. A piston set underneath a platform in the laboratory shook violently as it moved, another experiment in more efficient electricity.

    It didn't bring the block to ruins, Carlson said, but it did "shake the poop out of Mark Twain." Twain was known for having digestive problems, so Tesla, who knew Twain through their gentlemen's club, invited him over. He instructed Twain to stand on the platform while he flipped on the oscillator. After about 90 seconds, Twain jumped off the platform and ran for the facilities.


    People aren't aware that he was close friends with conservationist John Muir, Seifer said. Muir, one of the founders of the Sierra Club, loved that Tesla's hydroelectric power system was a clean energy system. It runs on waterfalls, which Tesla referred to as "running on the wheelwork of nature." Also among his friends: financiers Henry Clay Frick and Thomas Fortune Ryan. "He lived in the Waldorf Astoria, at the height of the gilded age," Seifer said, adding that his fame later in life lessened.


    Tesla could not stand the sight of pearls, to the extent that he refused to speak to women wearing them. When his secretary wore pearl jewelry, he sent her home for the day. No one knows why he had such an aversion, but Tesla had a very particular sense of style and aesthetics, Carlson said, and believed that in order to be successful, one needed to look successful. He wore white gloves to dinner every night and prided himself on being a "dapper dresser."

    Every photograph of Tesla, he said, is very carefully constructed to capture his "good side."


    Tesla had what's known as a photographic memory. He was known to memorize books and images and stockpile visions for inventions in his head. He also had a powerful imagination and the ability to visualize in three dimensions, which he used to control the terrifying vivid nightmares he suffered from as a child. It's in part what makes him such a mystical and eccentric character in popular culture, Carlson said. He was also known for having excessive hygiene habits, born out of a near-fatal bout of cholera as a teenager.

    Jenny Marder contributed to this report.

    We invite you to participate in our ongoing science content assessment. Help us continue to improve our program by taking this survey.

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    GWEN IFILL: The proceeding lasted just seven minutes today in Boston. That was all the time needed for a federal judge to receive a series of not-guilty pleas from the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.

    Heavily armed police stood guard outside the federal courthouse in Boston, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arraigned, his first time in public since being captured nearly three months ago.

    The 19-year-old arrived at midday in a four-vehicle convoy, as a handful of supporters cheered. He pleaded not guilty to 30 counts, ranging from carjacking to use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in the deaths of three people near the Boston Marathon's finish line.

    The charges also include the murder of an MIT police officer three days after the bombing. No cameras were allowed in the courtroom, but reporters and relatives of the victims lined up early to get a glimpse of the suspect. Afterward, the uncle of two spectators badly wounded in the attack spoke to reporters.

    PETER BROWN, uncle of victims: The only opinion I could have when I first saw him was that he -- it appeared that he gave what I would describe as a smirk. And he never looked at us. He never turned in our direction. We were sitting directly behind him. So, we really didn't have a good view of him, you know, facial-wise. His attorneys were there to comfort him.

    I thought that maybe he would come in with a different attitude or maybe look a little different, maybe look like he cared a little bit, but he didn't show me that.

    GWEN IFILL: Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, came to the United States as boys from Russia. The family was ethnic Chechen and Muslim from the Caucasus region. An indictment released last month says the brothers came under the influence of Islamic extremist material.

    Then, on April 15, they allegedly used explosives packed in pressure cookers to carry out the bombings. Three days later, Tamerlan Tsarnaev died during a gun battle with police. Authorities say Dzhokhar escaped in a stolen SUV, running over his brother's body.

    The next evening, he was found wounded, hiding in a boat in a backyard in Watertown, Mass., just outside Boston.

    The indictment says he had written a message inside the boat that read:

    "The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians. I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished. We Muslims are one body. You hurt one, you hurt us all. Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop."

    Now Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces a possible death sentence on 17 of the counts against him. No trial date has been set.

    We turn now to David Abel of The Boston Globe, who has been covering the bombings and investigation from the start. On April 15, he was reporting on the Boston Marathon from the finish line and witnessed the attacks. Today, he was in the courtroom.

    Dave, thanks for joining us.

    Seven minutes altogether in that courtroom. Tell us what happened.

    DAVID ABEL, The Boston Globe: Well, I just want to start off by saying it was an incredibly emotional day for a lot of people. A lot of us have been waiting for a long time to see Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and when we saw him walk in the room, we saw him smirk.

    He appears to be healthy, aside from having an arm in a cast and a bit swelling on the left side of his face.

    GWEN IFILL: Where has he been held since the bombings? Obviously, he was no longer in the hospital.

    DAVID ABEL: So, initially, he was treated at a hospital in Boston and then he was transferred to a prison, a federal medical prison facility just west of Boston called Fort Devens.

    GWEN IFILL: So, you were inside the courtroom. And as you point out, a lot of people inside the courtroom had also been at the Boston Marathon, at the finish line. What was the reaction? Who were the people who were in the room?

    DAVID ABEL: There were a range of people in the room.

    There were people who had suffered some very significant injuries, whether it was major burns, whether it was serious wounds to their legs.

    There were police officers, including the chief of the MIT Police Department, where Sean Collier, a police officer, was allegedly killed by the Tsarnaev brothers.

    And there were also quite a number of supporters of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, people who believe that he was framed or that he's innocent.

    GWEN IFILL: These supporters, were they -- they were inside and outside, I gather. Were they family members? Were they people who he knew? Were they classmates? Who were the supporters?

    DAVID ABEL: Well, there were a number of people.

    There were people who perhaps just read about him on the Internet and for some reason saw all kinds of videos that have been suggesting for one reason or another that he might be framed.

    Then there were two of his sisters that were sitting in the front row, which was perhaps the most dramatic moment of the short appearance that he had today. And that involved one of his sisters crying as she listened to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev say repeatedly that he wasn't guilty. He also had another sister with a baby there.

    GWEN IFILL: Thirty charges against him, he repeatedly, as you pointed out, said not guilty. In a strong voice, in a loud voice, defiantly? Any way that you can characterize that?

    DAVID ABEL: You know, I think it was a sign of -- that answered a question that a lot of us had, which was, what condition is he in after he had been pulled out of a boat in the backyard of a suburb of Boston called Watertown where we last saw his body bloodied? He apparently had been shot near the throat and suffered other wounds.

    He appeared remarkably healthy. When he said he wasn't guilty, he said it emphatically.

    GWEN IFILL: What are the most serious charges of the ones he's facing?

    DAVID ABEL: Well, he faces -- of the 30 charges, I believe 17 carry the possibility of the death penalty.

    The others carry life in prison without the possibility of parole. And there are a range of -- a range of -- there are a range of charges that involve using weapons of mass destruction, essentially.

    GWEN IFILL: Is Massachusetts a death penalty state? Would that be an option?

    DAVID ABEL: Well, this is a federal case, so federal law would apply.

    And in 1988, the federal death penalty was reinstated. Massachusetts hasn't had a death sentence carried out in 66 years. And it would probably have to be carried out outside of Massachusetts, as there are no death chamber facilities in this state.

    GWEN IFILL: With victims in the courtroom, was there any opportunity given to them to speak or to participate in this proceeding at all?

    DAVID ABEL: So, this was a short proceeding. It was an arraignment.

    As you said at the outset, it lasted only seven minutes. So, the victims didn't have an opportunity to speak, but I'm sure over the course of this case, which may last for several years, I imagine they will have an opportunity to confront the defendant.

    GWEN IFILL: Now, there were lines to get inside, supporters and opponents, the media, as well as the public. And after all of the buildup, after all the anticipation, after it was over, was there a letdown?

    DAVID ABEL: You know, I think, as I said at the outset, it was very emotional, for me as well.

    As you said, I was standing on the finish line. I had taken a lot of the footage for a film that I was making that got broadcast all over the place. And I witnessed a horror that, as a reporter, I never hope to see again.

    And I think, for a lot of us, we wanted to see what this young man looked like and to get a sense of him. And I think the takeaway for a lot of us is that he's healthy. He believes that he's innocent, or however that may well be characterized in the trial. And we will see how the justice process unfolds from this point.

    GWEN IFILL: David Abel of The Boston Globe, thanks for being there for us.

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: The defense rested in two major trials today.

    Lawyers for George Zimmerman wound up their case in Sanford, Florida. The neighborhood watch volunteer is charged with fatally shooting Trayvon Martin last year. The 17-year-old was unarmed, and the case drew national attention. Zimmerman told Judge Debra Nelson this afternoon that he wouldn't take the stand.

    JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, 18th Circuit Court of Florida: What is your decision, sir?

    GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, defendant: After consulting with counsel, not to testify, Your Honor.

    DEBRA NELSON: OK. You understand that no matter what counsel says to you, it's still your decision? Do you understand that?

    GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Yes, Your Honor.

    DEBRA NELSON: OK. And I need to know, is it your decision to not testify in this case?

    GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Yes, Your Honor.

    DEBRA NELSON: And are you making that decision freely and voluntarily?

    GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Yes, Your Honor.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Zimmerman has said he acted in self-defense. And much of the testimony has turned on who was heard yelling for help on a 911 recording. Today, his father, Robert Zimmerman, recalled investigators playing the tape for him.

    ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, father of George Zimmerman: So, I listened to it. And then they asked me, did I recognize the voice?

    MARK O'MARA, attorney for George Zimmerman: And what did you tell them?

    ROBERT ZIMMERMAN: I told them, absolutely. It's my son, George.

    MARK O'MARA: Is that an opinion that you still have through today?

    ROBERT ZIMMERMAN: Certainly.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Other witnesses, including Trayvon Martin's mother, have testified the cries for help came from the teenager.

    Defense lawyers also rested in the court-martial of the soldier who gave thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Army Private 1st Class Bradley Manning didn't testify. But he has said he acted to expose what he calls the U.S. military's bloodlust in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manning faces 21 charges, including aiding the enemy.

    The head of a Chicago-based railroad accused an engineer today in Saturday's fiery train wreck in Canada. Edward Burkhardt said he believes the man failed to set the brakes properly on a train loaded with crude oil. Burkhardt made the accusation as he visited the Quebec town where 20 people were killed and 30 buildings were burned to the ground. Officials also said the number of missing or feared dead.

    The crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood is intensifying in Egypt. Prosecutors ordered the arrest today of the group's leader, Mohammed Badie, and accused him of inciting Monday's violence in Cairo that killed more than 50 people. Supporters of the Brotherhood and deposed President Mohammed Morsi defied the crackdown and continued their protests.

    FATHI ABDEL WAHHAB, Morsi supporter (through translator): Even if they arrested all the group's members, we will sacrifice ourselves and we will continue because we have a clear case, and we will defend it peacefully, because we do have the legitimacy. We will never accept the military council's coup.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Also today, the newly-named prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, worked on forming his new cabinet. But the Muslim Brotherhood signaled it will reject any offer to play a role in the transitional government.

    The abortion fight in Texas has moved into a new round. Today, Republicans in the Statehouse pushed through a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks, among other things. The bill now heads to the state Senate, where it died two weeks ago in the face of a Democratic filibuster and heated protests. After that, Governor Rick Perry called a second special session. A final vote could come Friday.

    The U.S. Senate failed again today to lower interest rates on student loans. The rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans doubled to 6.8 percent on July 1. Democrats wanted to return to 3.4 percent for one more year. But they fell well short of the 60 votes needed to force action.

    New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall said there is no excuse for inaction.

    REP. TOM UDALL, D-N.M.: We saw this coming. This bus has been approaching a cliff for a year. That ought to be time enough to turn it around, and turn it around without throwing students underneath it. I know that many of my colleagues here are trying, trying to find a long-term solution. But, today, we failed. And our nation's students pay the cost of that failure. 

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Republicans want to link the cost of student loans to rates in financial markets. Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire argued it's more important to work out a long-term arrangement, and not a temporary patch to the problem.

    SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, R-N.H.: This is such a complete, typical Washington deal. Here, we just voted on a proposal on the floor and that proposal is a one-year fix, only applies to 40 percent of student loans, so we'd be back again next year, like Groundhog Day, trying to fix this problem again.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: After the vote, lawmakers from both sides said they will go back to the negotiating table to try to work out a deal. 

    A federal judge in New York ruled today that Apple conspired with five major publishers to raise the price of electronic books. She ordered a trial on damages in the antitrust case. Apple had refused to settle the civil case, and said it will appeal the judge's finding. The publishers have settled the charges against them for more than $166 million. 

    On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost eight points to close at 15291. The Nasdaq rose 16 points to close at 3520.

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

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we turn to politics, with another in our series examining immigration reform, this week's focus, what the House of Representatives will do. Late today, GOP leaders said their members decided the chamber will not take up a Senate-passed measure.

    Ray Suarez has been covering the story.

    RAY SUAREZ: All 234 House Republicans were invited to the meeting with House Speaker John Boehner this afternoon, the topic, how to handle immigration reform.

    REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, R-Texas: I think the leadership wants judge the temperature of the members in terms of, are they comfortable with this or not? And I do think again it's going to come back to the centerpiece of security.

    REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-Minn.: There is no conversation until we actually secure the border. The border isn't secure. And the last thing we're going to do is vote for a bill that's going to hurt the middle class and steal jobs away from the middle class, depress wages.

    RAY SUAREZ: The meeting came amid calls by reform advocates to take up the Senate bill that passed last month by a bipartisan majority.

    VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The yeas are 68, the nays are 32. The bill, as amended, is passed.

    RAY SUAREZ: That bill creates a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million people now in the country illegally, something Democrats insist is non-negotiable. The measure also calls for doubling the number of Border Patrol agents and adding 700 miles of new fencing along the southern border.

    On the House side, Boehner has so far refused to take up the Senate bill. Instead, his Republicans are working on four separate bills, with a heavy focus on border security. None offers citizenship.

    WOMAN: I am the future of this nation.

    RAY SUAREZ: But the pressure to act is growing. A group of so-called DREAMers, undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, held a mock citizenship ceremony today at the U.S. Capitol.

    And, in Dallas, former President George W. Bush addressed a naturalization ceremony at his presidential library, urging a positive resolution.

    GEORGE W. BUSH, former U.S. president: We can uphold our traditions of assimilating immigrants and honoring our heritage of a nation built on the rule of law, but we have a problem. The laws governing the immigration system aren't working. The system is broken.

    RAY SUAREZ: Back in Washington, the Obama White House released a lengthy report touting the economic benefits of immigration reform. It claimed the Senate bill would boost economic growth another 3.3 percent by 2023 and would reduce the deficit by almost $850 billion over 20 years.

    President Obama also called in members of the Hispanic Caucus.

    Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas voiced hope for a compromise.

    REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, D-Texas: Like us, he realizes that that effort must be both a Republican and a Democratic effort. It requires the work and cooperation of both parties. This president is committed to working with not only House Democrats, but also House Republicans on getting it done.

    RAY SUAREZ: But after today's GOP meeting, Speaker Boehner and other party leaders issued a statement reaffirming they will not take up the Senate bill, which leaves the focus squarely on the next three weeks. House Republicans have said they mean to bring immigration to a vote between now and the month-long recess that begins in early August.

    For more on the options being considered in the House, we are joined by Illinois Democrat Luis Gutierrez, a member of the Judiciary Committee and chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force.

    Congressman, welcome back to the program.

    REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, D-Ill.: Thank you, Ray. Good to be with you this evening.

    RAY SUAREZ: Earlier today, the president of the United States met with the Hispanic Caucus. What did he have to tell you about the future of immigration reform?

    LUIS GUTIERREZ: It's alive. It's well. It's broad. It's expansive, and that he's going -- the support for immigration reform, and that he's committed to getting it done and to working in collaboration with wide, broad sectors of American society to get it done. It was a really fruitful meeting.

    We talked about that, about appointments, the Voting Rights Act. There were a series of issues we got to talk to him, first and foremost immigration, but obviously other issues that came forward. I thought it was a very fruitful meeting.

    RAY SUAREZ: It's interesting that you say alive and well, given that the versions coming out of the House majority are very different from what the Senate passed recently. Is there even enough commonality for the two versions to go to reconciliation? Is there anything to talk about?

    LUIS GUTIERREZ: Sure. I think there's a lot to talk about.

    First of all, Ray, here's what I understand and what is common knowledge in the House of Representatives. The fact is that a majority of members of the House of Representatives, unprecedented in my 20 years in Congress, a majority of members, Republicans and Democrats, are ready to vote for comprehensive immigration reform.

    And all Speaker Boehner has to do is to allow democracy to reign in the House of Representatives, allow a vote. Take 10 minutes out of the schedule and allow a vote. Put the different options. And I assure you we will go to reconciliation and we will fix our broken immigration.

    Dozens -- Paul Ryan, member, significant member, prestigious member, a Republican, of the House of Representatives, he's working. Many Republicans -- there are many Republicans, men and women, that want comprehensive immigration reform. If the speaker would simply allow them to join Democrats, we could do the will of the people.

    RAY SUAREZ: But the Republican-sponsored House bills do not include a path to citizenship. If you go to reconciliation, are the Democrats going to have to concede that point, or are the Republicans going to have to do what the speaker has already said they won't: not vote for a bill that the majority of their caucus supports?

    LUIS GUTIERREZ: And that's what -- that's the kind of decision I think that Speaker Boehner is going to have to make.

    Is he going to be a speaker that responds and allows the House of Representatives and the will of the American people to be dictated by a minority group of the House of Representatives?

    Or is he going to allow the expression of the majority of members of the House, which is an expression and a reflection of the electorate?

    Look, he's going to have to make that decision, whether he is going to be the statesman and the one that is going to resolve our broken immigration system or whether -- because what they're saying, Ray, is, it's our way or no way. Now, just think about it. The Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Baptists and evangelicals, Catholics, Lutherans, I mean, look at the expansiveness and the depth of the movement.

    And everybody is making compromises and reaching middle ground, Republicans and Democrats. They did it in the Senate. Why is it the only body of people that can't find a version that they can resolve around is in the House of Representatives? Why must the House of Representatives say no, no and no? Look, you're either going to have compromise. You're either going to have bipartisanship or we aren't going to get anything done.

    And I think the Republican Party really has to begin to understand they can be a party of provinces and regions and states, maybe some cities, but they will never be a party, a national party for the next generation in the United States of America, because, if they do not do this, they simply will never have the ability to be a party at a national scale.

    RAY SUAREZ: Very quickly, sir, the clock is ticking. You have got three weeks to do this. Is that really plausible?

    LUIS GUTIERREZ: Look, we have got time. It's on our side.

    We can get this done. The fact is, I'm going to continue to work with Raul Labrador. I'm going to continue to work with Paul Ryan. I'm going to continue. And they will continue. Luckily for me and for the immigration community, they're going to continue to work with me. We're going to get this done. And time is on our side.

    RAY SUAREZ: Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois, thanks for joining us.

    LUIS GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Ray.

    RAY SUAREZ: And now to Republican Raul Labrador of Idaho, who also serves on the House Judiciary Committee.

    Congressman, earlier today, your conference had a meeting, all the House Republicans getting together. What did the speaker have to say about the future of immigration reform?

    REP. RAUL LABRADOR, R-Idaho: You know, the speaker just wanted to us have an honest conversation about what we needed to do, to hear what our concerns were about immigration reform and whether we had any ideas on a path forward.

    We also had the chairman of the Judiciary and the chairman of Homeland Security present what we have already done in those committees and kind of give a presentation to the conference on what the bills that have been heard already are doing for the future of immigration.

    RAY SUAREZ: Do the various bills coming out of the House majority, your party, provide enough in common with the bipartisan bill coming out of the Senate to go to conference? Is there enough for you to start conferring on?

    RAUL LABRADOR: I don't think there's enough to start conferring yet. But I think line by line, we're going -- what we're doing is a step-by-step approach that eventually will deal with the issue comprehensively.

    So I think you're going to see maybe two or three additional bills coming out of the House Judiciary Committee, and those six or seven bills will together deal with the issue of immigration reform comprehensively.

    RAY SUAREZ: None of the Republican bills include a path to citizenship. And many Democrats are saying that's their bottom line, that it's got to be in there. Does one side or another really have to give on that major point in order to move forward?

    RAUL LABRADOR: I think the Democrats are going to have to give. If we can meet them 60 percent of the way, 70 percent of the way, 80 percent of the way, and they actually reject a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, then they're saying that they don't really want to get immigration reform done.

    There are so many other things that we should be talking about. We have a porous border. We have border security issues. We have people that are coming into the United States that we don't know who they are and whether they're leaving the United States. We have a guest-worker program that is not working. We have farm labor that it needs actually to have legal status.

    There are so many things that we need to do. And if we get boggled down -- bogged down on actually the pathway to citizenship, that means that the Democrats are not really serious about solving this problem.

    RAY SUAREZ: Just a short time ago, Luis Gutierrez, your colleague, on this program said that if the speaker would allow the bill to come to the floor, it would pass and that both a majority of Republicans and Democrats would vote for it.

    RAUL LABRADOR: Does he mean the Senate bill?

    RAY SUAREZ: The Senate bill.

    RAUL LABRADOR: That's -- you know, Luis is a great friend of mine. We have a great relationship. But he's absolutely wrong.

    There's not a majority of Republicans, not even close to enough Republicans to get something off the House floor with the Senate bill. The Senate bill has been universally panned by the Republicans. We're getting -- the phone calls that we're getting in our offices are actually 10-1 against the Senate bill.

    I just saw on my way over here to the interview there's a new poll that the American people support the Senate bill by 38 percent. I just don't think that the American people or the House has enough support for the Senate bill. But, you know, I don't want to knock what they did. They tried to do a comprehensive approach to immigration reform. They did what could get passed out of the Senate. And now it's our turn as Republicans in the House to do what can get passed out of the House of Representatives.

    RAY SUAREZ: Earlier on the program, we heard former President George W. Bush urging you forward in your work. Does he have much influence in the Republican Caucus in the House today?

    RAUL LABRADOR: Well, I think you have to respect whatever an ex-president has said.

    I think that I heard the same words that he said. And he wasn't saying that he supported any specific approach to immigration reform. But I think he believes, like I do, that immigration reform is important, that it's necessary, that it's good for America, and that we should do something about it. And I think we -- you know, we can move forward with something positive here in the House. 

    RAY SUAREZ: Raul Labrador is a Republican from Idaho. 

    Congressman, thanks for joining us.

    RAUL LABRADOR: Thank you.

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    GWEN IFILL: Next, the high cost of mining for precious metals.

    A gold rush has brought new opportunities to the desperately poor nation of Burkina Faso in West Africa.But along with riches have come perils, especially for the young children who work in the dangerous mines.

    Photojournalist Larry C. Price, in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, recently visited several mining communities to document the conditions.

    Our report is narrated by Hari Sreenivasan.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: This is Theophile. He's tossing shards of ore into a bucket 150 feet below ground. His eyes are glassy and his movements are rote, trained by repetition and circumstance. Down in this cramped, humid space, Theophile's small body moves about more freely than an adult's would.

    LARRY C. PRICE, Photojournalist: I thought I was near the bottom, and then I realized there's another 40 or 50 feet to go.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: A fact photojournalist Larry Price found out for himself as he descended the shaft to meet the boy.

    LARRY C. PRICE: This shaft is about four to five feet in diameter, and at its narrowest, it's probably less than 28 inches.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Above ground is the small mining village of Kollo, one of the many boomtowns that's sprung up over the last few years in Burkina Faso.

    Slightly larger than Colorado in acreage and among the poorest countries in the world, this landlocked nation of 18 million people is a relative newcomer to the gold trade.But the precious metal used in everything from jewelry to electronics to the basis of currencies the world over has in short order overtaken cotton to become the country's top export commodity.

    A sizable chunk of that gold comes from small-scale, or artisanal, mines, like these. And much of that work is done by children. The U.N.'s international labor organization estimates that children account for 30 percent to 50 percent of the small-scale miners working in the African Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso and Niger.But the issue is not restricted to the continent.

    ERIC BIEL, U.S. Labor Department: It's a significant problem around the world.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Eric Biel is acting associate deputy undersecretary for international affairs of the U.S. Labor Department, which tracks child labor violations across the globe.Its latest report lists Burkina Faso among 19 countries engaged in the worst forms of child labor, and Biel says the mines there present considerable challenges.

    ERIC BIEL: It's a multifaceted situation. You have got these boom-towns that are being set up where both children from Burkina Faso are leaving school and being employed there, but also children are being trafficked across borders.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It's illegal to employ children under the age of 16 in Burkina Faso, and Biel says the government has shown it wants to stop the practice.But with an estimated 200,000 mining sites, many in remote areas like these, and a strong economic pull, enforcement has been difficult.

    The average worker in Burkina Faso earns less than $2 a day. Meanwhile, a family employed in artisanal gold mining can earn between $5 and $40 a day, depending on the mine.That's led to many parents pulling their own children from school to help in the mines.

    GANNO DAOUDA, General Secretary to Mayor's Cffice, Tiebele (through translator): They say, if gold is found somewhere, it's hard to calm the ardor of the gold diggers.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Ganno Daouda is the general secretary to the mayor's office in the nearby town of Tiebele. Since 2011, he says he's watched the Kollo mine steadily grow to employ around 1,000 people. But with this new economic opportunity, he says there have come many problems.

    GANNO DAOUDA (through translator): The kids prefer quick cash, putting aside their future. It is a serious problem for us because children are always on the site.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Karim Sawadogo was once a goat herder at his home in the north and came to this mine in the southwest with his uncle.Barefoot, he cooks, fetches water and climbs down in the mines.He thinks he's 9 years old, but isn't sure.

    In general, young children like Karim carry out the more menial tasks at the sites, transporting water and heavy loads of ore, digging pits and breaking up rocks with primitive hammers.The jobs down in the pits are typically reserved for teenagers, with only tree limbs to brace the mine walls.The risk to them is real.

    GANNO DAOUDA (through translator):The site doesn't respect any rule.Oftentimes, there are deadly collapses.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The unregulated nature of this work makes reliable statistics hard to come by.But, as uncertain as the pits are, the jobs in the processing areas, where the ore is pulverized, are possibly more dangerous.

    Sputtering diesel engines power makeshift pulleys, grinding plates and belts used to crush the ore into a fine powder that's bagged to be treated later.Along with the hazards of breathing this fine dust comes the potential for losing a finger or limb.

    Children also help pan the powder with liquid mercury, which binds to gold.This amalgam in turn is burned to separate the gold, releasing dangerous vapors.

    JOE AMON, Human Rights Watch: It's a gamble. People are trading off the money that they can make now selling gold with potentially their health and their lives.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Joe Amon directs the Health and Human Rights program at Human Rights Watch, which recently studied this same issue in neighboring Mali.

    JOE AMON: Children sometimes have exposure to both directly, to touching the mercury, and then also to the vapors.And that can be if they're working on the gold itself or if they're simply around the family compound where the gold is being isolated with mercury.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Amon says the effects of mercury poisoning are both difficult to diagnose and very serious. They include neurological damage, impaired vision, respiratory conditions, kidney failure, long-term mental disabilities and even death.

    Meanwhile, the constant dust around the mines can settle inside the lungs of these children, causing permanent damage.

    GANNO DAOUDA (through translator): There are a lot of health-related problems. Our nurses here are overwhelmed by cases of lung disease caused by dust, as these people do not have good protection.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Water is scarce in this drought-stricken country, especially in rural areas, so children use the contaminated cooling water from the machinery to wash their faces and brush their teeth.

    After 12- to 14-hour shifts, they try to sleep near the deafening roar of nearby machines or over an open mine pit. It's a rare occasion, perhaps a game of foosball, when they act like the children they are. Artisanal mining wasn't always so popular in Burkina Faso. In 1985, the country suffered a prolonged drought and the resulting famine pushed many families off their small farms and down into the mines for work.

    Gold fetched $300 an ounce in 1985. Today, it is more than $1,200 an ounce, fueling such rudimentary forms of mining in Burkina Faso and elsewhere.

    While it's clear there's gold leaving these boomtowns, it is much harder to say where that gold may ultimately end up.Burkina Faso's porous borders and large network of middlemen mean a nugget from these mines can be easily combined with other sources.

    The U.S. Labor Department says this makes tracing and stopping the trade of child-mined gold extremely difficult.

    ERIC BIEL: It's not something where it's as easy to say, well, if we stop the demand for gold, we can trace that back to what's happening on the ground in Burkina Faso. So this is one where we really have to start with the supply, with the circumstance on the ground, and try to get at the root causes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: To that end, in December, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a $5 million grant over four years to combat child labor in Burkina Faso.

    ERIC BIEL: We can't, as the U.S. government, solve the problem.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Biel admits that relatively minor sum won't end the practice, but he says it's part of a broader effort.

    ERIC BIEL: There's no ability through one grant, whether it's $5 million or something else, to address the whole problem.But you can begin to get at some of the root causes and through awareness-raising and so forth hopefully begin to make a difference.

    JOE AMON: It's not going to disappear overnight.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Joe Amon of Human Rights Watch agrees, and says education can go a long way towards limiting children's exposure to the worst risks.

    JOE AMON: Many of the families that we talked to had never heard that mercury was the problem, that it had any impact at all. And so at the very fundamental level, there needs to be some education that's done.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Back at this mining camp in the southwest, an interpreter asks Karim Sawadogo what he wants to do with his life. Karim says he came here to make money, and that his dream is to make enough so that he never has to go down into the narrow mines again.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: There was mounting scrutiny today of Virginia's governor, after the latest in a series of revelations about undisclosed gifts from a wealthy businessman.

    GOV. BOB MCDONNELL, R-Va.: Good afternoon.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Hailing from a battleground state, Bob McDonnell was a prominent figure in the 2012 election season. The Republican governor appeared in Virginia alongside presidential nominee Mitt Romney on several occasions, and was touted as a possible national figure of the future.

    Now, as McDonnell wraps up his final year in office, he's confronted with mounting questions about gifts from businessman Jonnie Williams Sr., chief executive of Star Scientific, Inc., a dietary supplement manufacturer. The latest disclosure in The Washington Post, says Williams gave $145,000 in cash and gifts to the McDonnell family and a corporation owned by the governor in 2011 and 2012.

    According to the account, "Payments to the corporation offer the first public example of money provided by Williams that would directly benefit the governor and not just his family."

    The trail of allegations began with a chef at the governor's mansion who was charged with taking food for his own business last year. Since then, he's been talking to federal officials about McDonnell's relationship with Williams. That, in turn, has triggered state and federal investigations.

    Well, for more on the brewing controversy, we are joined by Julian Walker. He is a staff writer for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper.

    Julian Walker, thank you for being with us.

    First of all, tell us more about Jonnie Williams. Who is he? What's his connection to the governor?

    JULIAN WALKER, The Virginian-Pilot: Jonnie Williams is a businessman. He has -- he's the head and chief executive of Star Scientific, which is a nutritional supplement maker. They used to be a tobacco company, but they phased out a lot of their tobacco business. And now they're making dietary supplements.

    He has been involved at a donor in Virginia politics for a number of years. He has given to Republicans over the years, including the former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, who ran for governor in 2005 unsuccessfully. He's given significant funds to Governor McDonnell and, as you pointed out, also to members of his family, as has been disclosed in a number of press accounts here in recent months.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But has he given these kinds of gifts for clothes for the governor's wife, a watch through the governor's wife for the governor, has he given those kinds of gifts previously to other politicians?

    JULIAN WALKER: Most of what we know so far are the gifts that he's given to -- the non-monetary gifts that he's given to Governor McDonnell and his family. Much of the other giving that has occurred in the past, some of it has been in traditional campaign contributions. Some of it has come in the forms of other kinds of in-kind contributions.

    But much of the focus here recently is on the gifts that he has given to Gov. McDonnell and his family, as you mentioned, an expensive watch that was reportedly given to the governor's wife and then turned over to the governor, money to cover catering costs at the governor -- at the wedding of the governor's daughter in 2011, this recent disclosure of loans to the governor to support some real estate, corporate holdings that he has.

    We reported about money that Jonnie Williams provided to fly the governor and his family to the Final Four for the NCAA basketball tournament in 2011, when a local college here in Virginia made a Cinderella run to the ultimate basketball tourney there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is there an understanding, Julian Walker, of why the governor and his family have accepted these gifts? I mean, is there -- are they in financial difficulty?

    JULIAN WALKER: Well, the governor has a large family. He has got five children. And the governor has never been a man of significant financial means.

    The -- Virginia's system of disclosures is such that, while you are required to report your assets, your holdings, your liabilities, things of that sort, public officials, because of the way that they are required to disclose their financial holdings, there's not a great deal known about their assets. They report in a range of investments and liabilities and things of that sort.

    So I think it's fair to say that the governor is not a wealthy man. Whether they are in significant financial straits, I think, is somewhat difficult to say.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what is the governor, what is the governor's office saying about all this?

    JULIAN WALKER: Well, they are insisting that they have done nothing wrong. They have been critical of some of the news reports. They have not called them inaccurate, but they have questioned the validity of them.

    And they have insisted throughout that the governor has at least held to the letter of the law as far as his disclosures are concerned, that everything he has done has met requirements under state law. Virginia law is pretty permissive when it comes to accepting gifts, and really there is not much of a limit, essentially unlimited gifts, so long as you provide an annual accounting of what you receive.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So what about the discussion of the ethics of it? Even if it's not illegal, is there a conversation on the part of the governor or the governor's staff about that?

    JULIAN WALKER: Well, the governor has retained a prominent Washington, D.C., white-collar attorney who has represented a number of noteworthy and recognizable names in politics when they have had their own difficulties and their own public crises.

    So he is certainly taking this seriously. There is a -- both a federal investigation and a state investigation. There's also the parallel embezzlement investigation into the former chef at the governor's mansion.

    There is, on top of that, another probe being conducted by the local prosecutor in Richmond into the governor's disclosure forms and whether or not he properly completed and reported all of the gifts that he received.

    So there are a number of layers to this. Meanwhile, you have folks in both parties, Republicans and Democrats here in Virginia, questioning the gifts that the governor has received and questioning whether this passes the smell test from an ethical perspective, but, again, ethics and legality are two different things.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you're saying even members of the governor's own party, the Republican Party, are also raising questions about this?

    JULIAN WALKER: Some Republicans, yes.

    The only -- only two Democrats so far have come out and directly called for the governor to resign, two Democrats who are in the Virginia General Assembly.

    No Republican has come out and said that he should resign, but a number of Republicans, both privately and publicly, are at least kind of furrowing their brows about this and acknowledging, sometimes in hushed tones, that this is problematic for the governor, at least from a public perspective.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Julian Walker, is there a sense that more may come out or this is the end of it?

    JULIAN WALKER: Oh, I think there's much more still to be revealed.

    I think all of the folks who cover the Virginia capital are hearing probably on just about a daily basis, if not an hour-by-hour basis, the latest rumor du jour about this gift that has been unreported, this gift that has not been disclosed. So, there's a lot of rumors swirling around.

    And I think there probably is more to come. And, certainly, as we know, there is an active federal investigation. So it remains to be seen what cards the federal law enforcement officials are holding.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Julian Walker with the Virginian-pilot newspaper, thank you very much.

    And the two candidates looking to succeed McDonnell as Virginia's governor will debate on July 20. I will be the moderator. And if you have a question for them to answer, you can leave it on our website. The NewsHour will live stream the event. You can find the details on our home page. 

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    JEFFREY BROWN: Liao Yiwu was in his early 30s when he learned to play the flute, a prisoner who'd been beaten and tortured after his arrest in 1990.. It was a fellow inmate, an 84-year-old monk, who showed him that music could be a kind of salvation.

    LIAO YIWU, author of "For a Song and a Hundred Songs" (through translator): I was transferred to another prison, and there I met a man who would become my mentor. He told me, you will never have freedom if you don't have freedom in your mind. So he taught me how to play the flute.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Liao, today one of China's leading dissident writers, recounts his prison life in a new English-language memoir called "For a Song and a Hundred Songs."

    When did you decide that you wanted to write about this experience?

    LIAO YIWU (through translator): If I didn't write down the story, then it would be as if it never happened. I needed to write it down, so that I wouldn't be forgotten like a stray dog.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Growing up in Sichuan province during the Cultural Revolution, Liao received little formal education. He learned traditional Chinese poetry from his father and found his own way to the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg, whose work was passed around secretly.

    LIAO YIWU (through translator): I just admired him and his generation. I wanted to imitate the writing of this so-called lost generation. But I wasn't interested in politics at all.

    JEFFREY BROWN: That changed on June 4, 1989, when the Chinese government ordered soldiers into Tiananmen Square to put an end to pro-democracy protests. Hundreds of students were killed in the gunfire.

    LIAO YIWU (through translator): The Tiananmen massacre changed my life and my thinking. I heard about it through the radio and I was despaired. I was afraid. I felt helpless, so I just shouted out these lines.

    Leap! Howl! Fly! Run! Freedom feels so good. Snuffing out freedom feels so good. Power will be triumphant forever, will be passed down from generation to generation forever.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Liao's response, a poem titled "Massacre," was a long, angry howl against the government.

    LIAO YIWU (through translator): Freedom will also come back from the dead. It will come back to life in generation after generation.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Liao recently performed "Massacre" as the featured guest at a forum hosted by the City of Asylum Pittsburgh, an organization that supports politically persecuted writers.

    In the year after Tiananmen, the poem became popular among Chinese activists, and Liao was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. It was there he began listening to and then telling the stories of people at the bottom rungs of the social ladder: petty thieves and others he met in jail, and, later, sweepers, scavengers, public restroom attendants, and many others in a China we rarely hear about.

    He published some of those conversations in a book called "The Corpse Walker."

    LIAO YIWU (through translator): I was with people who live in the bottom of the society. And when I came out of prison, I was also living at the bottom of society. I know these people, the people of really low social status. And in these people, I see my own shadow. I identify myself with them.

    We are a deserted group of people, but we are the majority. The so-called elite don't care about us, but we are the mainstream of society.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Even after Liao was released from prison, Chinese officials continued to watch, harass and deny him visas to travel and speak abroad.

    Tienchi Martin-Liao, a close friend, is the editor of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, which helps publish writers in and out of the country. She says the Chinese government feels threatened by Liao's portrayal of life in China.

    TIENCHI MARTIN-LIAO, Independent Chinese PEN Center: If it's just a novel or it's a fictive short story, it's OK. But he writes in a reportage style. And if people read it, they know it's the truth. It's not imagination.

    So it's just the first time that someone has described the real situation inside a Sichuan prison. And no other writer has ever described the situation so close to the reality. And the local authority doesn't like that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Liao eventually fled China, sneaking out through Vietnam and settling in Germany, where he lives today. But he continues to write and tell his country's story.

    LIAO YIWU (through translator): The young people don't even know what happened in 1989. They first find out when they go abroad to Western countries. But, sometimes, then they don't even believe it. The Communist Party has tried to eliminate parts of history. That is bad for the younger generation.

    If they don't have this historical consciousness, they will just focus on getting material goods. We have to work on that, so everybody knows what happened.

    TIENCHI MARTIN-LIAO: People find ways to express themselves, and it can be read. There is no way to block everything. The government, they try to control -- control the whole situation. But I think it is a fight that they are going to lose.

    JEFFREY BROWN: For his part, Liao told us his own experience makes him more pessimistic about the potential for change, and he doubts he will ever return to his homeland. 

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    Former president George W. Bush poses with a candidate for U.S. citizenship during an immigration naturalization ceremony in Dallas Wednesday. He urged Congress to reach "a positive resolution to the debate" on immigration reform. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    The Morning Line

    "It is a non-starter. It will go nowhere in the House."

    "The bills will both deal with the topic of immigration. ... That may be the only common ground they have."

    Those statements, and the dozens of others like them from Republican lawmakers leaving a private meeting on immigration reform Wednesday, should come as no shock to anyone following the debate.

    The close of the two-and-a-half hour huddle made clear there is no chance the Senate-passed bipartisan immigration reform legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the United States would get consideration on the House floor.

    And the splash of ice cold water served as a wake-up call for advocates who had hoped to see legislation reach President Barack Obama's desk this summer.

    The New York Times' Ashley Parker and Jonathan Weisman drove home the point in a story Thursday:

    Though they may pass one or two modest bills before the August recess, many members said they felt no urgency to deal with an immigration overhaul, with the fall likely to be dominated by fights over the budget and the federal debt ceiling.

    Behind closed doors at the Capitol, House Speaker John Boehner told the 234 Republicans that the party must come up with an alternative to the bill approved by the Senate last month or suffer political consequences for inaction.

    The New York Times reported that "[e]motions ran high, with members lining up 10 deep at each of two microphones waiting to speak their piece." And Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., even read aloud: "Confirm thy soul in self control, thy liberty in law," a line from "America the Beautiful." The Times said the lawmakers had mixed feelings about citizenship: "Some said they were open to a path to citizenship, or at least legal status; others said they worried about even going to negotiations with the Senate, where, they fear, any bill to emerge would constitute amnesty."

    Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz told NPR the meeting was more like a "family get together" with lawmakers able to outline their perspectives, though lawmakers told reporters that members of the bipartisan group working to draft a bill like the Senate plan did not present their ideas.

    Politico adds that after the meeting "[t]here was no real sense about whether the GOP will try to reform the high-skilled and low-skilled visa process, providing a new pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants or how they will tackle the plethora of other issues included in the Senate bill."

    Also speaking up in favor of action was former GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the chair of the House Budget Committee. The Hill reported that Ryan "made the case that the House GOP should take action on immigration in a way that reflected the party's principles, Republicans in the room said."

    "I think our members are ready to tackle this issue. It needs to be fixed," Ryan told reporters following the session. "There is an emerging consensus that our immigration system is broken, that we need to fix it, and we need to do it in a very thorough way."

    The Washington Post explores further Ryan's role in the immigration debate.

    He's among many Republicans who are urging a final measure that resembles the Senate bill.

    At an naturalization ceremony Wednesday at his library in Dallas, former President George W. Bush asked lawmakers to proceed with a "benevolent spirit." He didn't mention that he considers the failed 2006 and 2007 efforts to pass a broad immigration bill as one of his major career disappointments, but his message was clear.

    "The laws governing the immigration system aren't working. The system is broken," Bush said. "I don't intend to get involved in the politics or the specifics of policy but I do hope there is a positive resolution to the debate."

    Bush's words did not convince most of Boehner's Republicans. Consider this comment from Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, to the Associated Press: "We care what people back home say, not what some former president says."

    After all, as the Washington Post points out, more than half of the Conference came to Washington after Bush had long left the White House.

    As part of the NewsHour's ongoing look at immigration reform, Ray Suarez spoke Wednesday with Reps. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. and Raul Labrador, R-Idaho about the meeting and what sort of legislation might ultimately pass the House.

    Labrador said the Republican meeting was productive, and predicted that "six or seven bills will together deal with the issue of immigration reform comprehensively" and likely get votes on the House floor. But it is the Democrats, he said, who will have to compromise.

    "The phone calls that we're getting in our offices are actually 10-1 against the Senate bill," said Labrador, who dropped out of bipartisan negotiations earlier this year.

    Gutierrez sounded a more optimistic note than advocates who are fretting their hopes for a comprehensive bill that includes a pathway to citizenship will be dashed: "Look, we have got time. It's on our side."

    Watch the segment here or below:

    Watch Video

    Ray will speak with Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., on the show Thursday. See our other interviews with lawmakers and track every piece of the debate on our immigration page.

    The meeting of House Republicans came as Mr. Obama issued a veto threat in opposition to a new farm bill that does not include food stamps. The legislation also does not include enough money for crop insurance reform or renewable energy programs, the White House said.

    "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a cornerstone of our Nation's food assistance safety net, and should not be left behind as the rest of the Farm Bill advances," the administration's statement of policy against the measure read, noting that "[b]ecause the 608 page bill was made available only this evening, the administration has had inadequate time to fully review the text of the bill."

    Politico has more here on the new measure.

    It's another element of drama to already frayed relationships between the White House and Boehner's GOP Conference as they attempt to tackle big issues this summer.


    The latest in a series of revelations about undisclosed gifts to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his family came Wednesday, raising fresh questions about the Republican's connections to a wealthy donor. The Washington Post's Rosalind Helderman detailed Wednesday that Jonnie Williams Sr., the CEO of Star Scientific, a company that produces nutritional supplements, had given $145,000 in gifts to the McDonnell family and a company owned by the governor in 2011 and 2012.

    Judy Woodruff spoke with the Virginian-Pilot's Julian Walker, who noted the gifts have included a Rolex watch "reportedly given to the governor's wife and then turned over to the governor," money to cover catering costs at the wedding of one of McDonnell's daughters, and airfare to fly the governor and his family to the 2011 Final Four in Houston.

    Walker added that there was likely more to come. "I think there's much more still to be revealed," he said. "I think all of the folks who cover the Virginia capital are hearing probably on just about a daily basis, if not an hour-by-hour basis, the latest rumor du jour about this gift that has been unreported, this gift that has not been disclosed. So, there's a lot of rumors swirling around."

    Watch here or below:

    Watch Video

    While guest-hosting for Kojo Nnamdi on WAMU Wednesday, Christina interviewed Helderman about the story.

    And in other Virginia news, Judy will moderate a gubernatorial debate between Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli on July 20. Send her your questions!

    Desk Assistant Mallory Sofastaii broke down all of the races on the ballot in Virginia and New Jersey this fall.


    The Senate failed to pass a measure to restore the 3.4 percent student loan interest rate, reversing the increase that began July 1. The Los Angeles Times has more.

    The Texas House approved a measure Wednesday that would ban abortions at 20 weeks and implement tough new regulations on abortion providers and facilities in the state. The bill now moves to the state Senate, which could act on the legislation as early as Friday.

    North Carolina's Republican Gov. Pat McCrory threatened to veto legislation that would restrict access to abortion his legislature pushed through outside of the normal process.

    Ro Khanna raised more than $1 million in his effort to unseat fellow Democratic Rep. Mike Honda of California, including a donation from Facebook's Sheryl Sanberg.

    Greg Walden, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told Roll Call his aim is to improve his party's digital donor base in 2014.

    The Associated Press reported that 25 couples who filed a lawsuit challenging Illinois' ban on gay marriage asked a judge "to rule quickly in their favor, saying a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down part of a law denying federal benefits to married gay couples creates a new urgency in the state."

    After saying that "Obamacare" is "barreling down on us like a jet landing in San Francisco" on the radio, New Hampshire GOP state Sen. Andy Sanborn apologized, but said he didn't remember comparing the Affordable Care Act to the recent plane crash.

    Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Boston to be by his wife's side. Teresa Heinz Kerry is "improving" but remains hospitalized after what was believed to be a seizure over the weekend.

    Gun-rights activist and "professional rabble-rouser" Adam Kokesh was charged with "possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms while possessing a firearm," according to court papers, while his rommates claim a U.S. Park Police SWAT Team used excessive force conducting a raid on their house.

    Politico's Manu Raju details the difficult relationship between former Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Montana Democrats.

    A $3.5 billion midterm election? Reid Wilson explains.

    Roll Call's KyleTrygstad noticed that a Colorado Senate hopeful made the rounds in Washington, but didn't meet with the group that he'd need to boost his candidacy, the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

    The National Journal speculates that perhaps Sarah Palin is floating a possible Senate bid to sell her new book.

    What do Republican Rep. Mark Sanford and Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan have in common? Deep breathing. Salon introduces you to the "Buddhist Caucus," sort of.

    The Wal-Mart ultimatum to cancel three planned stores in D.C. if the 'living wage' bill is passed didn't sway D.C. Council members. Once the bill is signed by the mayor, certain large retailers will be required to pay employees no less than $12.50 an hour.

    On Thursday, Christina will talk with WAMU's Patrick Madden at noon about the Wal-Mart vote as she continues guest-hosting for Kojo Nnamdi on WAMU 88.5 in Washington D.C. She'll also discuss a new report on bullying among siblings. Tune in. Listen to Wednesday's segments on reservation etiquette, airline safety and the interview about McDonnell's troubles.

    NEWSHOUR: #notjustaTVshow

    Gwen Ifill spoke with Dave Abel of the Boston Globe about Wednesday's arraignment of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect in the April attacks near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

    In collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, photojournalist Larry C. Price and our own Frank Carlson produced this look at the child miners digging for gold in Burkina Faso.

    Have you ever paid a bribe? Let us know.

    Elizabeth Bennet's courtship with Mr. Darcy, the author of "Jane Austen, Game Theorist" argues, shows that strategic thinking has just as much to do with marriage as it does economics.

    Did you know that Nikola Tesla developed the idea for the smartphone (in 1901)? Science Wednesday rounds up seven other things you probably don't know about the futurist.

    Just how high is high-frequency trading? Simone Pathe revisits a 2012 Paul Solman interview to explain why the sale of early financial data -- which Thomson Reuters partially suspended this week -- provides such an advantage.

    Jeffrey Brown spoke with Chinese poet Liao Yiwu about the poem that landed him in prison after Tiananmen Square, and his new memoir.


    Note: Harry Reid has followed the Hastert Rule more than John Boehner.

    — Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) July 11, 2013

    Click--> RT @johnhawkinsrwn: @razshafer The 20 Hottest Conservative Men in The New Media For 2013 | Right Wing News http://t.co/7e7j3rQyHI

    — Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) July 11, 2013

    14 month-old toddler buys car on eBay with dad's smartphone -- http://t.co/ggiMniUgxL

    — Reid Wilson (@HotlineReid) July 11, 2013

    The new House GOP plan for the Farm Bill: No amendments and no reform! Bad idea. http://t.co/087OO3H6oCpic.twitter.com/AQs9IiOydW

    — Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) July 10, 2013

    The BEST interns on the Hill! Check out this amazing crew! https://t.co/JiSjma1G3J

    — Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) July 10, 2013

    I would've read at least three of these: http://t.co/FO8sePIxh3

    — Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) July 10, 2013

    Reporter: "Can you tell us what you guys talked about?" Republican: "immigration." Helpful!

    — Elise Foley (@elisefoley) July 10, 2013

    Taking care of business at our weekly online meeting #insidenewshourpic.twitter.com/gPGhxtgKgC

    — NewsHour (@NewsHour) July 10, 2013

    Simone Pathe and desk assistant Mallory Sofastaii contributed to this report.

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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

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    By Paul Solman

    Virtual reality research suggests that seeing your face morphed with that of a political candidate may make you more likely to vote for that candidate. Would a virtual resemblance to Mitt Romney, left, or President Barack Obama, right, influence Paul's political choices?

    In his Making Sen$e report on virtual reality, slated to air on PBS NewsHour Thursday, Paul Solman speaks with Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, about virtual reality's psychological effects on individuals and society. In his lab, Bailenson has experimented with using virtual reality to help younger people imagine their future, older selves, inspiring in them concern for their future economic well-being, and hopefully, convincing them to save more for that future. But Bailenson is just as attuned to the ways in which advertisers will be able to exploit virtual reality's psychological effects, even to the point of influencing voting behavior. A transcript of Paul's extended conversation with Bailenson appears below.

    Jeremy Bailenson: There is a growing portion of our population that views face-to-face interaction as the exception. They would rather be viewing Facebook than talking to people like you or me. They could be sitting in the same room, side by side, not looking at one another, preferring to talk to people who are 1,000 miles away. This is the norm for them. And we need to start understanding both the positive aspects and the negative aspects of a world in which you can have any experience virtually, and at any given time, be surrounded by a thousand of your virtual friends. It's a different model of thinking, and it's not one that I advocate, but it's one, unfortunately, that we must confront.

    MORE ON VIRTUAL REALITY Widening the Experiential: Jaron Lanier Explains Virtual Reality

    I don't have a Facebook account; I don't play video games; I don't endorse virtual reality as a hobby in any way or form. What we need to know as a society is that this is coming.

    Paul Solman: But, you're developing the technology; you're on the cutting edge of it, so you're part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

    Jeremy Bailenson: My job is to create virtual experiences that can help, and also to inoculate the world to understand that when you have these virtual experiences, they're not free. They change the way you think about yourself; they change the way you think about others. We've run experiments with elementary school children; we've brought them in, given them a very intense virtual experience where they see their own doppelgangers swimming with whales. A week later, we bring those same kids in and 50 percent of them have formed false memories, meaning that they believe that they have been physically to Seaworld and have swum with whales. That's 50 percent -- one in two of our children form false memories. Virtual experiences can change the cognitive structure of your brain.

    Paul Solman: Yikes!

    Jeremy Bailenson: Yikes -- and we should really limit the time we spend in virtual worlds, and we should think about the amount of our personal data we give away.

    If there's two pieces of advice I can give to the audience, one is take down all those high-resolution photos of you. Replace them with low-resolution photos so that we can't build these virtual versions of you -- your head on avatar bodies -- that are doing violent or sexual things. There's all sorts of strange scenarios that emerge once we have built your virtual self.

    The second is that all of these devices that capture your movements -- video game consoles like the Microsoft Kinect or the Nintendo Wii -- when you leave these things plugged into the Internet, you're sharing your gestures and your movements with the world. And we can learn a lot about your physical self from what we call your digital footprint, the way you move around in video game world. We've run a lot of experiments, for example, showing that just from the movements we get from you while you play a video game, we can determine if you're going to buy a product or if you're going to perform well in an exam.

    Paul Solman: How would, say, advertisers exploit this information?

    Jeremy Bailenson: In our experiments, we've demonstrated that when you see yourself, or your virtual self, using a product you've never used before, later on you prefer that product. You look on a billboard and you see your doppelganger using a product, say, drinking a soft drink. That's in the third person. But what if it was first person? A lot of video games now already have product placement. What if you looked down in a video game and your arm had a logo on it? Do you then later on prefer this product?

    We ran an experiment a week before the 2004 election, where we sent voters pictures where their own face had been morphed into the face of either George W. Bush or John Kerry. When you excluded card-carrying Republicans and Democrats, subjects preferred the candidate with whom their face had been morphed. Those in the middle were more likely to vote for George W. Bush when he had been subliminally morphed to look like them. And they were more likely to vote for John Kerry when Kerry's face had been morphed to look like them.

    Paul Solman: So do you think that in the next election cycle, or maybe the one after that, campaigns will be delivering individual messages to voters with these subliminally morphed photos?

    Jeremy Bailenson: From a technological standpoint, it's trivial. When we did our study, we had to do all the morphing by hand. Now, it can be done automatically. It's my hope that from an ethical standpoint we don't see this. But even beyond ethics, from a functional standpoint, what we demonstrated is that if a voter consciously detects his own face has been manipulated, there's a huge backlash. So the only way a politician could pull this off is if nobody knows consciously. And so another job that we have is to pay attention to political advertisements when they come out and to look for this stuff.

    Morphed photos of Paul Solman with Mitt Romney and President Obama are courtesy of Cody Karutz at the Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab.

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

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    This week's Time magazine cover landed on my desk just as I was puzzling through another week of split-screen politics in the nation's capital.

    The divided image was of a crowded Tahrir Square in Cairo. With the word Egypt in the middle of the page, the headline "World's Best Protesters" was superimposed on the left side -- "World's Worst Democrats" on the right.

    Both things are arguably true, and therein lies the dilemma for the Obama administration, which finds itself stuck in its usual rock and hard place deciding whether the protesters are right, or whether Egypt's leaders -- often more dictatorial than democratic -- are.

    As I've written in this space before, we live in a world of split screens. We watch sporting events with our Twitter feeds scrolling on our laptops. We watch live concerts while recording them on our phones. I've seen people forget to shake the president's hand because they were so busy snapping his picture.

    This is ever true in the news business. If you had the luxury of watching daytime television this week, you were likely to come away believing that the most important, if not the only, story of the week was happening in a courtroom in Sanford, Florida.

    It was, indeed, often riveting stuff -- full of compelling characters and genuinely confusing testimony. (Who was the aggressor? Whose voice was screaming on the tape? How many lives were forever altered by that night's tragic encounter between two men who had never previously met?)

    But the scenes in Tahrir Square were compelling, too. The spectacular explosion that killed a presumed 50 people and all but leveled a remote Canadian town deserved attention as well.

    And for my money, the most enlightening story of the week aired on the PBS NewsHour Wednesday. In a report prepared in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, photojournalist Larry C. Price told the heartbreaking story of the children of Burkina Faso, who labor underground mining for gold by hand, earning as little as $2 a day.

    The West African nation is among the poorest in the world. Its children exist at the bottom of the totem pole, yanked out of school for the dusty, dangerous work because their small bodies can more easily fit into the cramped and narrow mine shafts.

    We watch sporting events with our Twitter feeds scrolling on our laptops. We watch live concerts while recording them on our phones. I've seen people forget to shake the president's hand because they were so busy snapping his picture.

    A story like this does not come close to airing on cable networks obsessed, O.J. Simpson-like, with a single one-on-one calamity. It does not even come close to competing with the arresting sight of a burned-out airline resting on its belly at San Francisco International airport. Tens of thousands of people rioting in Tahrir Square? Come on.

    This is just scratching the surface of our split-screen existence. One of the measures we use at the NewsHour and at Washington Week to determine what stories we will tell on a given day is: How many people does it affect? We don't always make the correct choice, but it is always part of the conversation.

    That is, of course, not the only gauge. We want to air stories people will watch. And any time a debate breaks out about a topic at our morning meetings, it's a good sign that it's a story worth telling on the air. We're pretty sure viewers will have the same questions we do. (Except hockey. I draw the line at hockey.)

    So I have become resigned to the split-screen, which imposes immense responsibility on those who distribute information, but also on those who consume it.

    Thanks for listening. I'm going to check my Twitter feed now.

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    By Terence Burnham

    STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images The Dow may have risen nearly 170 points Thursday, but don't expect it to stay that way, argues Terry Burnham. Photo courtesy of Stan Honda/AFP via Getty Images.

    Paul Solman: Despite today's 170 point rise in the Dow, Terry Burnham remains a battle-scarred stock market skeptic. Burnham, whose microeconomics course I took at Harvard's Kennedy School years ago, is a former Goldman Sachs trader, biotech entrepreneur, professional money manager and faculty member at the Harvard Business School. Now an economics professor at Chapman College, Terry is best known for his books "Mean Genes" and "Mean Markets and Lizard Brains."

    But as I wrote here recently, he may be better known to PBS NewsHour viewers from his appearances in stories on the dot.com crash,evolution and economics and the neuroscience of economics. Or to NewsHour readers for his grim much-read post here on "The Stockholm Syndrome and Printing Money" a few weeks ago in which he foresaw a market crash.

    Recently on the Making Sen$e Business Desk, the estimable business writer Charles Morris predicted a new economic boom due to cheap energy. Now, as Ben Bernanke again reassures investors that he won't stop pumping money into the economy, and the stock market soars seemingly in response, Terence Burnham counters with his dark vision of a spectacular economic bust. He says our lizard brains are again getting the best of us and argues that Fed intervention makes another crash even more likely -- a prediction I've been asking him to elaborate here for quite some time.

    Terence Burnham: I believe the stock market is about to have a devastating decline. To make a concrete prediction, we will see Dow 5,000 before we see Dow 20,000.

    This prediction is exactly the opposite of conventional wisdom. Jeremy Siegel, author of "Stocks for the Long Run," is predicting new all-time highs for stocks, while Warren Buffett, the best investor of the previous century, is 100 percent behind stocks.

    The signs of collapse are right in front of us. We cannot see the signs now, however, because our brains aren't built to seem them. As I have written in "Mean Markets and Lizard Brains" and explained to NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman on the program, we are more often than not at the mercy of "lizard brains," which evolved in, yes, lizards, to drive them to eat, survive and reproduce.

    These lizard brains lead us to buy stocks after they have gone up and blind us to the obvious realities.

    MORE FROM TERRY BURNHAM: The Stockholm Syndrome and Printing Money

    As I put it on the NewsHour, your lizard brain is built to find and act on patterns. So the lizard brain, by its very nature, seeks to replicate things that have worked before. If you threw a spear a certain way and you got food, guess how you're going to try to throw it the next time? The same way.

    The same algorithm applies to stocks. The stock that you fall in love with has four up days in a row. It must be a good stock, right? There must be some reason it's gone up four days in a row. People are excited about it. They buy it. You buy it. The buying drives it higher -- a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    And the same thing happens in reverse. A stock plummets; There must be something wrong with it. The lower it goes, the more you hate it and the faster you get rid of it. As a result, you sell it at the low. This process pushes us to buy high and sell low, exactly the opposite of what any investor knows is the right thing to do: buy low and sell high.

    And what applies to individual stocks applies to the stock market as a whole. Here is a chart that makes the point graphically.

    Twenty-year survey conducted by Dalbar Market Research. Another of their more recent studies can be found here.

    Over the two decades that ended in 2010, stocks returned 9.1 percent; bonds, 6.9 percent. Yet the average investor in stocks earned a measly 3.8 percent annual return, barely beating inflation (2.6 percent a year). The average "fixed income" investors, or those who invest in bonds, earned one percent less than inflation. The obvious explanation: investors consistently got in and out of both the stock and bond markets at the wrong time.

    In other words, the recent stock market boom -- and the bond market boom as well -- prompts rationalists like me to think, "the lizard brains have been buying high again."

    But I'm not predicting a Dow of 5,000 just because it hit 15,000 so rapidly. I've been saying since well before the Crash of '08 that the U.S. economy was headed for disaster. Here, then, are three rational economic reasons I think we should all be terrified.

    Americans should be saving close to 50 percent of our income. Instead, we are saving zero percent.

    As we inevitably move back toward higher savings rates, we will enter into a negative feedback loop. More saving means less spending, by definition, and lower spending will lead to less income, which will in turn lead to more layoffs, even less income, and so it goes.

    Why should we be saving so much more than we are? First, we have saved too little for too long. The median person approaching retirement has approximately $100,000 saved. As Paul has pointed out repeatedly, and most recently in the NewsHour online retirement page "New Adventures for Older Workers," that is far too little, especially given the rates of return the stock and bond markets both suggest given their high valuations. In fact, the Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (U.S. TIPS) that Boston University economist Zvi Bodie and Paul Solman have so long written about on the Making Sen$e Business Desk are actually suggesting negative returns in the future.

    My personal suggestion is that people assume zero return on investments. That's right: zero percent. While this could be too pessimistic, it could also be too optimistic if markets tumble, as I expect them to, following the pattern of a few weeks ago. (I'm not predicting that this is the beginning of the end however -- though I suppose it could be -- just that we'll see Dow 5,000 sooner than we'll see Dow 20,000 -- a lot sooner.)

    If you use a zero percent return, it's easy to figure out how much you need to save. If you want to work for 30 years, and live in retirement for 30 years, then you should save 50 percent. If you want to work for 40 years, and live in retirement for 10 years, you should save 25 percent. And so on.

    Over the last two decades or so, savings rates have ranged from single digits to slightly negative. In rough terms, zero percent. So as a nation, we have essentially no savings and face very low future returns. The inference is simple: We will need to increase savings drastically. See my point about a negative feedback loop above.

    Government policies have been making the problems worse, not better.

    The next time someone tells you that the Fed is going to save the economy, ask that person if the Easter Bunny will also play a role.

    The Fed has been keeping interest rates at rock bottom lows to supposedly stimulate the economy. But unemployment remains extremely high. As David Stockman pointed out on this page recently, the low rates have fueled speculative markets, not real economic growth.

    The idea that the Fed can save the economy is simply ridiculous. Yogi Berra's diet famously included pizzas cut into fewer slices. Instead of eating two slices out of an eight-slice pizza, he would trim down by eating one slice of a pizza sliced into fourths.

    Believing that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is going to save us is pure fantasy. Wrapping it up with New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's Nobel Prize does not make it real.

    Over the past few weeks, markets have seemed to react -- violently -- to Bernanke's pronouncement that the Fed's long experiment with wanton money creation may be coming to an end. It suggests that many investors may have bought into the delusion. But ask yourself this: How real can economic growth be if it depends solely on faith in the printing of money?

    What about fiscal policy? Can we deficit spend our way to prosperity? This is also ridiculous. Our problem is that we have overspent. If you had a problem of drinking 50 cups of coffee a day, would the solution be to drink 80 cups a day for a while? Not only have Americans saved far too little, we all now have a much bigger portion of the government debt to pay in the form of higher taxes and lower Social Security and Medicare benefits somewhere down the line.

    Remember, the Easter Bunny cannot save you, nor can Ben Bernanke's printing press.

    Stocks right now are terrible investments.

    As noted above, the vast majority of individuals are absolutely horrible at market timing. Investors tend to get scared in declines and excited in rallies. They buy high and sell low. In early 2009, for example, when stocks were the best buy in decades, individuals were selling stocks in record amounts. Only after stocks had doubled did individuals begin buying stocks again. Just in time, I predict, for investors to get slaughtered again.

    Conventional wisdom is to buy and hold stocks. In this case it is wisdom because people have almost always been -- and will be -- rewarded for hanging tight. However, lizard brain wisdom says individuals should only own stocks when the expected returns are extraordinarily high. In normal or negative times, individuals will not be able to capture equity market returns.

    Most people should not own stocks today -- none. Yet individuals have been getting back into the stock market with a vengeance, and they have far more of their meager savings in stocks than they should.

    Here is my prediction.

    Stocks will decline -- and may have already begun to. This will frighten investors and cause them to sell and to spend less. This in turn will cause further stock market declines. At some point, a full panic will ensue with enormous moves in the stock market. Look for a 1,000-point down day in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, though June 20's 353-point loss was not unimpressive. I repeat, however: I'm not predicting what will happen today, or in the next week or month. I don't pretend to know the timing. I only think that I see the inevitable.

    Am I taking a risk in making such a dire forecast? Yes. I could be stuck with the label "Mr. Dow 5,000" just as James Glassman and Kevin Hassett, the authors of the 1999 book "Dow 36,000," have had to live with their egregious mistake.

    In another sense, I embrace the title "Mr. Dow 5,000." If the decline does not happen, everything I have learned in my life as an economist and investor is not true. I will be devastated, regardless of whether I make my views public or cower in private.

    Paul Solman: Over the weekend at zerohedge.com, the gloomiest of all gloomsters, "Tyler Durden," published a post comparing the current stock market to the rally of 1928. The post bears a striking similarity to the one you've just read. It ends: "The risks that I've flagged in this article (and others) are the potential side effects to [Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's] depression-fighting remedies. And the 1920s experience suggests that these side effects could include, well, another depression."

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

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: The endgame began today in a racially charged, nationally watched trial in Sanford, Fla., at issue, whether George Zimmerman committed murder when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. The prosecution made its closing arguments after the judge issued a key ruling on what the jury's options will be.

    BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, Florida assistant state attorney: A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own. He is dead because another man made assumptions.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The final phase of the trial began this afternoon, as prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda addressed the jury a last time.

    BERNIE DE LA RIONDA: Unfortunately, this is one of the last photos that will ever be taken of Trayvon Martin. And that is true because of the actions of one individual, the man before you, the defendant, George Zimmerman.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Zimmerman had been on patrol as a neighborhood watch volunteer when he spotted 17-year-old teenager Trayvon Martin in a gated community the night of February 26 last year.

    Zimmerman called 911.

    911 OPERATOR: Are you following him?

    GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, defendant: Yes.

    911 OPERATOR: OK. We don't need you do that.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But he did continue trailing Martin, and a confrontation erupted. He says he shot Martin in self-defense after the teenager attacked him. De la Rionda insisted today that Zimmerman went looking for trouble.

    BERNIE DE LA RIONDA: Why does the defendant get out of car if he thinks that Trayvon Martin is a threat to him. Why? Why? Because he has a gun. He has got the equalizer. He's going to take care of it. He's a wannabe cop. He's going to take care of it. He's got a gun. And, my God, it is his community. And he's not going to put up with it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: From the start, racial overtones catapulted the case to national attention and triggered protests. And in its closing, the prosecution claimed again that Zimmerman profiled Martin.

    BERNIE DE LA RIONDA: But, in this particular case, it led to death of an innocent 17-year-old boy, because this defendant made the wrong assumption. He profiled him as a criminal. He assumed certain things, that Trayvon was up to no good, and that's what led to his death.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: During the trial, Judge Debra Nelson forbade use of the term racial profiling or any arguments about it. Instead, the major conflicts in testimony centered on such issues as who had the upper hand in the fight.

    Yesterday, lawyers on both sides used a foam dummy to demonstrate their version of what happened. A forensic pathologist testified the evidence suggests Trayvon Martin was on top during the struggle.

    DR. VINCENT DI MAIO, forensic pathologist: So, the wound itself, by the gap, by the powder tattooing, in the face of a -- contact with the clothing, indicate -- indicates that this is consistent with Mr. Zimmerman's account that he -- that Mr. Martin was over him, leaning forward at the time he was shot.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But eyewitness accounts varied. Some neighbors recall seeing Martin on top, others, Zimmerman. There were also arguments over who made the cry for help on a 911 recording during the fight.

    911 OPERATOR: Do you think he's yelling help?

    WOMAN: Yes.

    911 OPERATOR: What is your...

    WOMAN: There's gunshots.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Martin's mother testified it was her son's voice.

    MAN: Ma'am, that screaming or yelling, do you recognize that?

    SYBRINA FULTON, mother of Trayvon Martin: Yes.

    MAN: And who do you recognize that to be, ma'am?

    SYBRINA FULTON: Trayvon Benjamin Martin.

    MARK O'MARA, attorney for George Zimmerman: If it was your son in fact screaming, as you have testified, that would suggest that it was Mr. Zimmerman's fault that led to his death, correct?

    SYBRINA FULTON: Correct.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But Zimmerman's mother claimed the opposite, saying the scream came from her son.

    GLADYS ZIMMERMAN, George Zimmerman's mother: What I'm sure is that that's George's voice. The scream is -- is -- I haven't heard him like that before. But the anguish that scream that he's -- the way that he's screaming, it describes to me anguish, fear. I would say terror.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In the end, Zimmerman chose not to testify on his own behalf. Along the way, the judge granted defense requests to allow test results showing that Martin had trace amounts of marijuana in his system on the night of the shooting. But she barred testimony about Martin's past text message records, some of which discussed fighting and guns.

    And, today, she ruled that in addition to the original charge of second-degree murder, the jury will be allowed to consider a lesser charge of manslaughter.

    Defense closing arguments are set for tomorrow, and then the case will go to the six-person, all-female jury.

    RAY SUAREZ: We turn to Yamiche Alcindor, who has been following the trial for USA Today and was in the courtroom today.

    And, Yamiche, that's where you heard the prosecution's closing argument. Summarize the summation. What evidence did Bernie de la Rionda ask the jury to consider in his final shot?

    YAMICHE ALCINDOR, USA Today: His overall statements were that Trayvon Martin was an innocent kid, that he was walking home and that he was doing nothing wrong. So the evidence he used were really the things that Trayvon Martin was carrying.

    He talked about the Skittles. He talked about the iced tea that the country's been talking about for over a year, and he said, these are not weapons, that this was just someone walking home from the store.

    He also -- he used Trayvon Martin's body, saying that Trayvon didn't have blood on his hands. He also pointed to DNA evidence that said there was no prints and no DNA found on the gun.

    So that was find of how he used the evidence, but his main argument was that this was a kid who was walking home and that this could have all been avoided if George Zimmerman hadn't stopped and gotten out of his car.

    RAY SUAREZ: With a charge of second-degree murder, the state carries a heavy burden. It has to demonstrate ill will, malicious intent. What could prosecutor de la Rionda point to before the jury today that showed that kind of malicious intent?

    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, it was really interesting.

    Prosecutor de la Rionda really used George Zimmerman's own statements as an outline for his closing argument. He used statements from Zimmerman to police in this police walk-through, as well as on the night of the shooting. And he also used Zimmerman's call to police when he spotted Trayvon Martin.

    He listened to -- he had the jury listen to George Zimmerman say several times, use the word A-holes and F'ing punks and say that the people he was talking about, those A-holes later, after he had already shot Trayvon Martin, he said that there were people victimizing his neighborhood. This was, of course, after the shooting.

    So the prosecutor really tried to use Zimmerman's own words against him and spent a lot of time letting the jury listen to him and letting him almost say the case for himself and almost convict himself in his own words.

    RAY SUAREZ: Tomorrow, we will hear the defense's final argument. Tell us about the thrust of their case, the same two principals, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. What have they been telling the jury over the past weeks?

    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The defense's case is that George Zimmerman was a good neighbor, that he was involved in his neighborhood, that he started this neighborhood watch because there were real burglaries going on, that he was being a good person, was being a good citizen, and that in the middle of him being a good citizen, he came upon Trayvon Martin, who overreacted and who punched him, sucker-punched him, and who then attacked him to the point where he had to use deadly force.

    So their case is simple: that George Zimmerman was doing nothing wrong and that Trayvon Martin -- almost that Trayvon Martin really beat him and that, because of that, he had no other choice, no other option than to shoot the teen.

    RAY SUAREZ: Earlier in the day, the public saw, but the jury didn't, some very tense exchanges between the attorneys and the judge about what would be allowed in the closing arguments and about what ultimately the jury would be able to consider as far as charges of guilt or innocence.

    Tell us about some of those deliberations.

    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: So, the judge and Don West, which is one of Zimmerman's attorneys, those tensions were really, really high.

    During several hearings, Don West would be arguing with the judge after she made her ruling. At one point, when we were actually in court for 13 hours one day, Debra Nelson, Judge Debra Nelson walked out as Don West was still talking. He was still trying to make an argument, and she recessed the court and Don West kept on talking.

    Today, I think I have seen probably the most tense exchange ever, when she said, "I have told you several times and provided you the guidelines to professional behavior in my courtroom, and you continue to not follow them."

    But I don't really see her making the -- using that in any way against the defense. She's still said that they couldn't, that the prosecutors couldn't use third-degree murder today.

    She made several different rulings in the defense's favor in terms of the jury instructions. So, though she's tense with Don West, she's still making rulings in the defense of -- in the favor of the defense.

    RAY SUAREZ: During the trial, were there particular witnesses or particular examinations where the jury, which you were able to observe at close quarters, was engaged, paying more attention, that seemed to be catching their interest?

    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: I think any time you had the lawyers or people or other witnesses actually acting out what could have happened, that was when the jury was most interested. There were times when the jury stood up.

    Even today, when prosecutor de la Rionda was on a mannequin straddling, asking how could Trayvon Martin have gotten the gun, I think the jury was very visual. They really liked being able to see things and seeing all the different possibilities. They also were very attentive whenever video was played for them.

    But when there was scientific testimony, I could see some juries kind of looking around, scanning the room. And that was when I think that things started getting into the weeds and jurors weren't following along as closely.

    RAY SUAREZ: Well, tomorrow, as I mentioned, we will hear the defense summation, but also instructions to the jury. And there were a lot of -- there was a lot of contention during the trial about what the jury will be told to consider. What can you tell us about that?

    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: I know that there was definitely a lot of back-and-forth.

    I can tell you that the jury will not be hearing that it's not illegal to follow someone. Zimmerman's attorneys had really fought to put that in there, and the judge decided that she wasn't going to tell the jury that it's not illegal to follow someone.

    She also said she wouldn't put any language in there about George Zimmerman provoking Trayvon Martin, even though obviously it's still their decision whether or not that's true. She's not going to mention that issue at all. Those are the things that I picked up on, yes.

    RAY SUAREZ: Yamiche Alcindor from USA Today, thanks for joining us. 

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: The U.S. House narrowly passed a scaled-down farm bill today after dropping food stamps from the measure. The vote was 216-208. An earlier version failed last month when more than 60 Republicans opposed it. They argued for deeper cuts in food stamps, which cost $80 billion a year out of total farm spending of $100 billion a year.

    Texas Republican Pete Sessions and others said today food stamps can wait, but farm programs cannot.

    REP. PETE SESSIONS, R-Texas: In no way is the Republican Party trying to do anything more in this bill that's on here today other than to bifurcate and to pass pieces of legislation that then can go to conference, but we have to find a way to pass the bill. The Senate has done their work and finished their work. We are trying to do the same.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Democrats strongly opposed the stripped-down bill, as did farm groups and even some conservative groups. Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts condemned Republicans for putting off action on food stamps. 

    REP. JIM MCGOVERN, D-Mass.: It's all about going after Americans who are struggling in poverty. It's all about denying the working poor the right to food. So when we're asked to trust Republican leaders, to give them the benefit of the doubt, I can't. Trust is something that is earned, and the behavior of this Republican House towards programs that help the working poor, the needy, and the vulnerable has been appalling.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The House bill will now have to be reconciled with the Senate version, which does include food stamp funds.

    In Iraq, bloodshed marked the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. At least 31 people were killed in a series of attacks. On Wednesday evening, gunmen stormed an army checkpoint and a police outpost in Anbar province, killing three soldiers and 11 policemen. Today, bombings and shootings hit several major cities, adding to the casualties.

    A Moscow court has convicted Sergei Magnitsky of tax evasion, more than three years after the anti-corruption lawyer died in prison. A cage for defendants sat empty as the judge read the verdict. The case sparked U.S. sanctions against Russia, and, in turn, a Kremlin ban on adoptions of Russian children by Americans. Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 after he accused Russian officials of stealing state funds. His death prompted allegations that he was beaten and denied medical treatment in prison.

    Wall Street surged today after remarks by the chairman of the Federal Reserve. In a speech last night, Ben Bernanke said the Central Bank will continue its stimulus efforts for the foreseeable future. The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 169 points to close near 15,461, a new all-time high. And the Nasdaq rose 57 points to close at 3,578.

    Those are some of the day's major stories.


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