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

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    Caption: Creative common photo via flickr user greekadman.

    If your kids watch TV or go online, they've probably seen something about the ongoing conflict in Syria. However, the escalating civil war that has claimed the lives of over 100,000 people in brutal violence can be a tough topic to broach with children.

    NewsHour Extra, the NewsHour's educational resource site, has put together a list of resources to help teachers and parents start constructive and informed conversations about Syria, the Middle East and foreign policy.

    Be sure to check out Extra's list of visual resources and lesson plans, and the NewsHour's Syria cheat sheet.

    H/T Allison McCartney.

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    Follow BuzzFeedNews for a live stream of coverage from New York's 9/11 memorial.

    Honoring a lost loved one at the 9/11 memorial #neverforgethttp://t.co/KJLZAFNNOi

    — BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) September 11, 2013

    H/T Bree Shirvell.

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    Photo coutesy of NASA/JPL/CalTech.

    NASA's NuSTAR X-Ray telescope found 10 supermassive black holes last week, almost by accident.

    "We found the black holes serendipitously. We were looking at known targets and spotted the black holes in the background of the images," lead researcher David Alexander said in a statement.

    These black holes hide in the center of galaxies, pulling in matter around them. As matter falls in, the supermassive black hole ejects a huge burst of X-ray radiation. That's what the NuSTAR telescope detected.

    Read more at NASA's website.

    And if you should find yourself in need of a little musical accompaniment to your reading, we have a recommendation.

    .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; padding-top: 30px; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; height: auto; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

    H/T Rebecca Jacobson.

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    Photo by Tami A. Heilemann, via the National Park Service.

    The names of the deceased from Flight 93 were read at the Flight 93 National Memorial Wednesday at 10:03 a.m., the moment the plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, rather than the hijacker's intended target of the U.S. Capitol.

    "Because of the quick and determined actions of the passengers and crew, Flight 93 was the only one of the four hijacked aircraft that failed to reach the terrorists' intended target that day. The passengers and crew showed unity, courage, and defiance in the face of adversity," the National Park Service, which administers the memorial, wrote on its website.

    On the day before the ceremony, workers in Shanksville, Penn., broke ground on the Flight 93 National Memorial and organizers announced they had raised $40 million, which gave them the green light on the memorial for the 40 passengers and crew members killed. That evening, lanterns were placed at the Memorial's Wall of Names.

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    This week's #NewsHourChats is about the changing news industry. What do these changes say about the future of journalism? What do you look for in news coverage? How do you decide who to trust? Weigh in on those and other questions 1 p.m. EDT Thursday. Follow @NewsHour and use #newshourchats to participate.

    This was the summer of change for the news industry. There was the sale of The Washington Post and the Boston Globe, and the launch of Al Jazeera America. PBS NewsHour had its own big changes with the launch of PBS NewsHour Weekend and the debut of Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff as co-anchors of the weekday broadcast.

    There have never been more choices on where to get news, but that can be good and bad. (The overwhelming number of tweets surrounding the Boston bombings comes to mind.)

    Watch the conversation below at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday.

    PBS NewsHour holds live Twitter chats each Thursday from 1 to 2 p.m. EDT. Join us on Twitter @NewsHour using #NewsHourChats.

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    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Wednesday praised President Barack Obama's Syria address for appealing to the emotions of the American people, but said the speech fell short in other respects.

    "I think he was very eloquent in talking about the tragedies that have been caused by this war," McCain told Gwen Ifill in an interview to air on the NewsHour Wednesday evening.

    "I don't think he made a strong case because I think he was trying to sell the idea of attacks, but at the same time saying that we have to pause," McCain added, "I think that perhaps it might have been more effective if he had waited a couple days to see how this whole Russia option plays out."

    McCain also said he was "saddened" the president did not talk about providing support to the Free Syrian Army. "It was a real blow to their morale," the Republican Senator said.

    On the fresh diplomatic opening offered by Russia, McCain expressed skepticism, given the country's past support for Syria.

    "One has to question whether the Russians are really sincere in this effort. And, it doesn't give you confidence when (Russian President Vladimir) Putin says, 'Well, the United States has to renounce all use of violence.' That is obviously unacceptable."

    McCain added: "This has to be played out, Gwen. It has to be at least for a period of time. I hope a short period of time. But we cannot ignore it."

    For more, tune in to the NewsHour tonight to watch Gwen's full interview with McCain.

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    A plan to reintroduce the red-legged frog in Los Angeles County's Santa Monica Mountains has been complicated by an unforseen factor - illegal marijuana farms. Photo by USGS and Adam Backlin

    It was the red-legged frog -- a fist-sized, ridge-backed, mud-colored amphibian -- that is believed to have inspired Mark Twain's 1865 classic story,"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." The story featured an athletic frog named Dan'l Webster and an opportunistic gambler who filled the frog's mouth with a handful of buckshot to win a bet, handicapping its jumping abilities and making off stealthily with $40.

    Known as Mark Twain's first major success, the story harkened back to a time when the red-legged frog's range covered large swaths of California, stretching from Baja California north to the Bay Area.

    But in the 1800's, the species' numbers were slashed due to a taste for frog's legs among miners in the Sierra Nevada and San Francisco. And then further devastated by habitat loss, pollution, sport fishing and predators like the larger non-native bullfrog. Since Twain's time, its range has shrunk 70 percent, and it has completely disappeared from 24 of the original 46 California counties it called home, according to Collette Adkins Giese, the amphibian and reptile staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. It was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1996.

    Now, a new plan to reintroduce the frog in Los Angeles County's Santa Monica Mountains has been complicated by another factor -- illegal marijuana farms.

    The frog and the pot farmer, it turns out, share an affinity for certain things -- among them, land undisturbed by humans and deep streamwater.

    Katy Delaney, a wildlife ecologist with the National Park Service, has plans to relocate eggs from a rare population of red-legged frogs in the Simi Hills -- home to as many as 100 frogs -- to a site in the Santa Monica Mountains, the range that cuts through Los Angeles and runs along the Pacific Ocean. Her agency is partnering with California State Parks, USGS, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission on the project.

    Delaney and her team will carefully, using their fingers, tease out hundreds of frog eggs from an egg mass in the Simi Hills and transfer them to a stream in the Santa Monica Mountains. The eggs will be enclosed in mesh containers suspended along the surface of the water. The containers are designed to allow in light, oxygen and nutrients from the stream, but to protect the eggs from predators until they hatch into tadpoles and grow large enough to be released.

    Delaney has been searching for the perfect site, one that lacks invasive species like crayfish and contains undercut banks, good vegetation and deep pools of year-round water.

    "We're also looking for places where there's not a lot of access," Delaney said. "We don't want people going in and getting curious about our pens." After the first few months, even Delaney herself and her team will only visit occasionally to avoid disrupting the animals.

    But marijuana farms have limited her choices, making otherwise appealing spots hostile to the frogs.

    Bonnie Clarfield, a supervisory park ranger for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, has patrolled the area since 1989. Small-scale marijuana groves have always been a problem, she said, but it wasn't until 2003 that the first "drug trafficking organization cultivation", as she calls it, was discovered.

    These are large-scale, lived-in farms that are usually guarded by weapons, she said, including SKS rifles, high-power BB guns and knives. As many as 30,000 plants were pulled from one cultivation in Topanga. Due to these operations, she now routinely wears full tactical gear for safety, including a ballistic vest, and carries a rifle in the park.

    "I never thought I'd be using military tactics to do my job as ranger," she said.

    Since 2003, more than 100,000 plants have been eradicated from the Santa Monica Mountains. And seven national parks are also dealing with the problem, Clarfield said, including Death Valley, Yosemite, Redwood and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

    Clarfield describes the scene at an average site: bright green marijuana plants alongside brownish stems and leaves drying out in the sun. The odor from septic pits mixes with the skunk-like smell of the plant. Camouflage materials like netting, batteries and trash clutter the ground. Propane and radios. And powerful chemicals to ward animals from the crop.

    Christy Brigham, chief of planning, science and resource management for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, has also been tracking the problem. Her team too has found various herbicides and rodenticides - poisons used to kill off rodents and weeds. That poison, she said, gets consumed by deer mice, wood rats and rabbits and then travels up the food chain to infect the larger animals that roam the area, such as bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions.

    Plus, native vegetation like California lilac, California sagebrush and purple sage are routinely yanked from the ground to clear large areas for planting.

    "They're just in piles. Little dead slush piles there, adjacent to the marijuana farm," Brigham said.

    Fire pits are also common -- a particular concern, given the arid climate and the area's history of dangerous wildfires.

    "Everything our mission stands for in the National Park Service, this undoes," Clarfield added. "I don't care if they're growing tomatoes. What they're doing and the way they're doing it is hurting the park. We're supposed to be conserving the scenery, the national historic objects and the wildlife they're in. This activity of theirs is just counter to our mission."

    Another sure sign of a marijuana farm is water getting illegally diverted from a nearby stream or from water fixtures along roads and highways, Brigham said.

    "They make a little dam in a creek and they run irrigation tubing from there," Brigham said. "In one case, they tapped into a fire hydrant on a road and ran tubing from it. But the typical pattern is to use an existing creek."

    One stream site that would have otherwise topped Delaney's list for red-legged frog habitat was rejected due to black PVC tubing pumping water from the stream.

    Delaney's hope in the next few years is to establish a successful breeding population of red-legged frogs in the Santa Monica Mountains, like the one in the Simi Hills.

    "We could literally be one major drought away from losing that population," Delaney said. "And the range is going to be restricted more and more."

    The frogs, which have permeable skin that easily absorb contaminants in the water, are considered an important indicator species of the health of aquatic areas.

    At about 5 inches long, the red-legged frog is the largest native frog in the state. It's muscular hind legs make it a fantastic jumper, and it gets its name from a reddish coloring on its hind legs and abdomen.The area's last known frog was seen in the early seventies in Cold Creek, a year-round stream that flows through the Santa Monica Mountains and empties into Malibu Creek.

    "Because it requires clean water and intact waterways, by protecting the frog and making sure we have clean waterways, we're protecting ourselves and our water," Giese said. "In many ways, it's a canary in the coalmine situation...If the frog's habitat is so polluted that it can't survive, that's a real sign that we're treating our waterways in a way that's not sustainable."

    Photo credit: At about 5 inches long, the red legged frog is the largest native frog in the state, but its numbers have been decimated by habitat loss, pollution and predators. Photo by Katy Delaney.

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  • 09/11/13--15:00: The NewsHour is LIVE!
  • Photo by Joshua Barajas

    It's 6 p.m. EDT -- the PBS NewsHour is live! Join co-anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff as they talk to former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinksi, Senator John McCain, and other guests during tonight's show. Watch us live on our UStream channel.

    Photo by Joshua Barajas

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    GWEN IFILL: Our lead story tonight: The furious pace of developments surrounding Syria gave way today to the more deliberate tempo of diplomacy. President Obama's call for military action was on hold, as the wait began to see if Syria's patron, Russia, can deliver on putting Syria's poison gas beyond use.

    JAY CARNEY, White House press secretary: I don't have a timeline to give to you. What I can say is that it will obviously take some time. There are technical aspects involved in developing a plan for securing Syria's chemical weapons and verifying their location.

    GWEN IFILL: The White House message today: Shifting Syria's chemical arsenal to international control won't be easy, but the U.S. won't tolerate delaying tactics either.

    JAY CARNEY: By making this proposal, Russia has, I think, to its credit, put its prestige on the line when it comes to its close ally and the activities of its close ally.

    GWEN IFILL: Negotiating began in earnest at the United Nations, where the permanent members of the Security Council, the U.S., Russia, France, Britain, and China, met to discuss what comes next.

    The French government wants any U.N. resolution enforced by military action, but Russia says that's a nonstarter. In Moscow today, lawmakers in the Lower House of Parliament declared the United States shouldn't resort to force.

    ALEXEI PUSHKOV, Russian State Duma (through interpreter): The military strike on Syria can lead to the most negative consequences. It will lead to more deaths among civilian population, but this time caused by American missiles. It will lead to extremist radical forces seizing power, so it is no accident that even in the United States people say that in case of a strike, the United States will act as al-Qaida's air force.

    GWEN IFILL: In his televised address last night, President Obama called once again for a limited strike. But he said he plans to pursue the Russian proposal to take control of Syria's weapons cache.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad's strongest allies.

    GWEN IFILL: The president also asked Congress to delay voting on military action for now. Lawmakers today were both relieved and skeptical.

    REP. STEVE ISRAEL, D-N.Y.: I hope that diplomacy is operative. But we have got to dot the I's and cross the T's, vet it out and make sure that it is a viable solution.

    REP. XAVIER BECERRA,D-Calif.: After years of trying diplomacy, after years of using sanctions and economic tools to try to get the Syrian government to change and trying to get the Russians from blocking progress, to all of a sudden see this last-moment diplomatic effort by the Russians, there's reason to have pause, to be skeptical.

    GWEN IFILL: Left unmentioned in the president's address: support for the rebels challenging the Syrian government. And a spokesman for the Syrian coalition that represents a number of opposition factions suggested it was a lost opportunity.

    KHALID SALEH, The Syrian Coalition: There's lots of ideas that people have thinking that the opposition is filled with al-Qaida affiliate organizations, and this is not the reality. And we were hoping to see Mr. Obama answer some of those questions.

    GWEN IFILL: The spokesman also questioned whether the Russian plan is serious, or just a ploy.

    KHALID SALEH: We're supposed to trust the Russians to actually force Bashar al-Assad to implement this agreement, and we all remember what Mr. Putin called Secretary Kerry, calling him a liar just also less than a week ago. It seems that the Russians are doing all they can to buy Assad more time, and more time means killing more Syrians.

    GWEN IFILL: Tomorrow, Secretary of State John Kerry gets to size up Russian intentions for himself, when he meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Americans today marked the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and honored the nearly 3,000 victims. At Ground Zero in New York, reflecting pools now occupy the space where the Twin Towers once stood.

    Today, family members and friends again read out the names of all who perished there. Elsewhere, separate ceremonies remembered those killed when another hijacked jetliner smashed into the Pentagon.

    President Obama emphasized it takes more than military measures to fight terror.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Let us have the wisdom to know that while force is at times necessary, force alone cannot build the world we seek. So we recommit to the partnerships and progress that builds mutual respect and deepens trust and allows more people to live in dignity, prosperity and freedom.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There were also remembrances at the United Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. Officials broke ground on a new visitor center yesterday.

    In Benghazi, Libya, a car bombing marked the first anniversary of the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. It tore through a wall of a Libyan Foreign Ministry building, scattering desks and filing cabinets amid the debris. There was no word of any serious casualties.

    Meanwhile, the investigation of last year's attack continues. The Washington Post reported this week that key suspects have been identified, but none are in custody.

    A double bombing hit a Shiite mosque in Baghdad today, killing at least 35 Iraqis. Police said more than 50 people were wounded. They said a suicide bomber blew himself up, and then a car exploded nearby. Iraq has suffered mounting bloodshed since April, with 800 people killed in August alone.

    North Korea may be restarting a nuclear reactor and fueling a new round of nuclear tensions. The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies reported the finding today, based on a new satellite image. Researchers said that a building at the Yongbyon nuclear site is putting out steam that suggests the reactor itself is ready to resume operations after six years. The reactor produces plutonium, used in nuclear bombs.

    There's major news out of East Africa today, where scientists have discovered enormous underground water reservoirs in Northern Kenya. The government says the aquifers could supply the country's needs for 70 years.

    We have a report from Martin Geissler of Independent Television News.

    MARTIN GEISSLER: A thousand feet below this parched African plain, there is water, a lot of water, enough potentially to solve Kenya's water problems forever.

    Scientists have suspected it has been there for some time, but now using a new mapping system they have found it, they have measured it, and they are bringing it out of the ground.

    MAN: We already changed the economy of this area, but we can change the economy progressively of all Kenya. And if we can do it in Kenya, we can do it everywhere.

    MARTIN GEISSLER: This is the man who made the discovery, but the science he used is not new. He simply collected existing radar, satellite and geological charts and combined them to give one complete picture. He has used the technique to find oil in Africa in the past.

    MAN: This is really one of the major discoveries in Africa from these last years.

    MARTIN GEISSLER: The Kenyan government share that enthusiasm. They announced today they will use this system to map the country in search of more hidden reserves.

    The United Nations' scientific wing are backing the plan, but there is a note of caution: Don't expect miracles overnight.

    ABOU AMANI, UNESCO: We need to have investment. We need to put in place infrastructure and so and so on.

    MARTIN GEISSLER: This whole region knows only too well the pain that drought can bring. UNESCO are now planning to roll this system out, not just across Kenya, but in Ethiopia and Somalia, too.

    It's a huge stretch to suggest this is a panacea for Africa, but in time they hope the system could help to seriously reduce the numbers on this continent who rely on these mountains of food aid to stay alive.

    "I want to thank God and the people who brought us this water," she says.

    In time, millions more like her could be doing the same.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Currently, nearly half of the 41 million people living in Kenya lack access to clean drinking water.

    Gun rights advocates claimed victory Tuesday in Colorado in a pair of recall elections. They ousted state Senate President John Morse and another Democrat who has backed tougher gun laws. Morse said he had -- quote -- "absolutely no regrets" about his stance.

    In the New York City mayor's race, it appeared that Democrat Bill de Blasio avoided a runoff by a whisker, pending a count of absentee ballots. Republicans nominated Joe Lhota.

    On Wall Street, blue chip stocks shot up again, as jitters over Syria eased. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 135 points to close at 15,326. The Nasdaq slid four points to close at 3,725, after Apple dropped 5 percent. The tech giant's loss came as investors registered disappointment with the new iPhone lineup announced yesterday.


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    GWEN IFILL: The president's speech has delayed, but not diminished the Syria debate on the international stage and on Capitol Hill. Even some who support pursuing both military action and diplomacy still have more questions than answers.

    One of those is Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona.

    Senator McCain, thank you for joining us.

    So, assuming that the president last night tried to do two things, sell diplomacy and sell military action, did he accomplish either?

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-Ariz.: I think he was able to appeal to the emotions of the American people, and I think he was very eloquent in talking about the tragedies that have been caused by this war and by Bashar Assad.

    I don't think he made a strong case, because I think he was trying to sell the idea of attacks, but at the same time saying that we have to pause. I think that perhaps it might have been more effective if he had waited a couple of days to see how this whole Russia option plays out.

    And, finally, I was saddened that he didn't mention of our need to support the Free Syrian Army, because he himself two years ago said that Bashar Assad had to leave office. And we know the only way that he's going to leave is if he believes that he's not going to win in the battlefield.

    GWEN IFILL: I want to get back to you on the Free Syrian Army question, but first I want to ask you about what you just said about the Russia option.

    Do you believe that the Russia option can succeed, that the meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterpart, his Russian counterpart, is going to yield something?

    JOHN MCCAIN: Well, I don't quite understand why John Kerry has to go to Geneva to meet with Lavrov. Why shouldn't Lavrov come to New York, where the U.N. Security Council is meeting, so we can expedite this process?

    Remember, the Russians have been supplying Syria for many, many years. And, recently, as of as least a year ago, the Russian support stepped up dramatically as far as weapons are concerned. And so one has to question whether the Russians are really sincere in this effort.

    And it doesn't give you confidence when President Putin says, well, the United States has to renounce all use of violence. That is, obviously, unacceptable. But this has to be played out, Gwen. It has to be, at least for a period of time -- I hope a short period of time -- but you cannot ignore it.

    GWEN IFILL: You are in frequent contact with people in the Free Syrian resistance. Do you know how they reacted to last night's speech?

    JOHN MCCAIN: Oh, they're -- they're terribly dispirited.

    They're still courageous, and they will still fight on, but they -- it was a real blow to their morale. They were hoping that the president would at least make reference to increased assistance to them. He assured people, Americans, that no boots on the ground, but he said to Senator Graham and to me that he would be very favorable to -- in fact, wanted to increase assistance to the Free Syrian Army.

    GWEN IFILL: He also assured people last night that America wouldn't be the world's cop. Is what you're -- you have been arguing consistently that there be very muscular action taken to basically engage the U.S. in the Syrian civil war. Isn't that making the U.S. the world's cop?

    JOHN MCCAIN: Well, first of all, I understand and the president understands that Americans are weary, and they really are not going to allow this country to get into another conflict that leads to the risk of American lives.

    So I don't think I or anyone else rational that I know believes that we should in any way put a single American into harm's way. What activities we do advocate have to do with standoff weaponry that would cripple his air force, take out some of their capabilities.

    But, having said that, this has turned into a regional conflict. We have seen the terrible deterioration of events in Iraq. We have seen Lebanon destabilized, and we have seen the king of Jordan basically jeopardize his position of remaining in power.

    So this has become a regional conflict, and one which is of the priority that has grown rather dramatically from what was initially just a fight against Bashar Assad.

    GWEN IFILL: If Russia does come to the table and says, sure, we will take over the control of the Syrian chemical weapons stash, and we will be able to control it and we will make Syria sign a chemical weapons agreement, but we don't want any threat of military action, is that acceptable to you?

    JOHN MCCAIN: No.

    First of all, I think it would have to be a whole lot more people than just the Russians. It's got to be an international, U.N.-sponsored effort. It can't be just Russians. That's just not credible, given the fact that the Russians have given them so many weapons for so many years.

    But the United States still cannot renounce the use of force, because suppose that Bashar Assad, even though he is getting rid of his chemical weapons, uses other weapons, commits other atrocities. I mean, you just can't do that.

    So that would still be not viable for the United States to renounce action, when we know that if this -- if it was progressing in a satisfactory fashion, the removal of those chemical weapons, the United States wouldn't have a reason to use violence.

    GWEN IFILL: So, if this comes back to Congress, if for some reason the diplomatic track peters how, how do you change minds in the Senate, even among your own party, and how do you change Americans' minds about the wisdom of getting involved?

    JOHN MCCAIN: I think it's a tough slog. I think you would have to identify more with American national security interests. You should -- particularly the threat to Israel of us doing nothing and the encouragement of Iran of us doing nothing.

    I think we have to make the case, which I think the president could, if the Russian initiative turns out to be a false one, that he's tried every possible other option. I think he could also argue that perhaps one of the reasons why the Russians sought this, at least this path to go on, was the fear of American military action.

    So it will be hard. It will be very difficult to achieve, but then the president's going to be faced with a very difficult decision. Should he act on his own?

    GWEN IFILL: Senator John McCain of Arizona, thanks again for joining us.

    JOHN MCCAIN: Thank you, Gwen.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now for a different perspective.

    And for that, we turn to Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter and the author of "Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power."

    Dr. Brzezinski, welcome to the program.

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI, former U.S. national security adviser: It's nice to be with you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, do you share Senator McCain's skepticism that the Russians are sincere in this whole effort?

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: I wouldn't say skepticism.

    I do have some uncertainties, because, after all, what the Russians have proposed is merely a generalized outline of an approach how to deal with the weapons, chemical weapons, that the Syrians are expected to yield. But that, of course, raises a lot of additional questions. And I don't know how far the Russians are prepared to go with us.

    But it opens the door to something that Senator McCain mentioned and with which I actually agree, even though, on some other issues, we do not namely, that what is needed is really a U.N.-sponsored effort, U.N.-sponsored effort.

    What does that mean? It means, first of all, the principal powers with veto rights in the U.N. That means not only the Russians or us, also the Chinese, for example, who can be a very important player here, given their stake in a stable Middle East.

    And I think the senator was correct in saying this will take time, and we have to be patient and persistent.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But isn't the administration's position that they have tried the United Nations, that Russia has vetoed, the Chinese have not been cooperative, and that's why this new opportunity, this opening that just came up in the last few days is the one hope right now of avoiding a military action?

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: That is correct, and this is why we have to pursue it.

    And if we pursue it seriously and systematically, we will eventually establish whether the Russians are serious or not. My own personal guess is that they are serious, up to a point, in that the Russians are beginning to realize that we are on the brink of a region-wide explosion, and if that occurs, not only will we be adversely affected, but eventually they will be adversely affected.

    The Caucasus is just on the point of explosion.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This is the western part of Russia.

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: Yes -- well, southwestern.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: And the Russians have made a very major investment, and Putin personally, in the Olympics, and that could go up in smoke.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you're saying that if the Russians are now looking at a situation that they think it could blow up. So do you think this is a way to avert that happening? Do you think that this effort to work with the Russians could produce a result that could lead to success?

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: I think there is the potential for it. And, in any case, we shouldn't discount it in advance without trying to see if there is some reality to it.

    I happen to believe -- and I have said this many times on this issue -- and the senator and I have disagreed publicly -- that an expansion of the conflict to include the United States would be very disadvantageous to the United States. And I think the senator now agrees with that, because he says we don't want any boots on the ground. If we use force, we will only use airpower.

    Well, airpower is not going to win this conflict. If we are going to be decisive in asserting an outcome, we would have to step in.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is the signal the administration -- isn't the signal the administration is sending, though, Dr. Brzezinski, that is if this effort with the Russians doesn't work out, the president is prepared to go in with a limited military strike to punish the Syrians?

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: That's right. It is a limited military strike, which means it really doesn't have an impact on the outcome of the conflict, but if the conflict in the meantime escalates, we can be sucked into it.

    And, in any case, the region becomes so volatile that even the global economy begins to be affected.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, my question to you is, if this effort Secretary Kerry is making with the Russians doesn't bear fruit, what should happen next?

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: I think, first of all, we shouldn't really publicly commit ourselves to something different on the assumption it will not bear fruit. It is worth exploring.

    And I think we ought to approach it somewhat differently. For example, we have taken the stand that we and our friends are engaged in a [inaudible] point of view. Who are these friends who are so visible? Britain and France.

    Can we overlook their role in the region and their standing in the region? They're hated in the region. They're the former colonial powers, imperialist powers. We want to engage. We should be engaging the European Union as a whole, which has a slant and a point of view, which is not for military action, incidentally.

    We should also seek to engage some major Asian powers, who are very dependent on continued flow of oil from the Middle East, and particularly China, which has a veto in the U.N. Security Council. China is not linked at the hip to Russia. China has its own interests, and I think it could be a constructive player.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you're saying the United States has not been doing this?

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: That's exactly right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And are you confident that that's what the administration will be prepared to do?

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: I can't speak for the administration. I have talked to some members of it, but I really can't even speculate publicly on that.

    I think it's a reasonable course of action, and I think it should be explored and pursued. And if we become engaged with the Russians, I think the dynamic of that process will have that effect.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you think that right now the administration has the right larger strategy in the region?

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: I think it's moving in that direction.

    I have been a critic of our position so far, because I have felt all along that we have been articulating either demands or red lines, but we haven't been pursuing a strategy. I think circumstances now are beginning to force us to really think strategically.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And do you -- and you believe the president is doing that? He's been -- he's received some praise for his address last night, but he's certainly also been criticized.

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: Well, the address was to some extent triggered by the commitment to use force.

    And I think it's quite evident that the kind of force that he is willing to use is not going to resolve the issue, and to resolve the issue, we will have to use much more force, including eventually boots on the ground. And even Senator McCain says he doesn't want that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, we thank you very much.

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It's good to have you with us.

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: Nice to be with you.

     


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    PBS NewsHour kicks off a special poetry series with Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. "Where Poetry Lives" features Trethewey and NewsHour's Jeffrey Brown. The pair will be on-location, reporting on issues that matter to Americans through the framework of poetry.

    In the first segment, scheduled to air Thursday, Trethewey visits the "New York Memory Center," a community-based nonprofit designed to help people experiencing memory disorders.

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    In an interview with the NewsHour's Margaret Warner in Cairo on Wednesday, Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi described President Obama's approach to Syria as "wise," and professed hope that any military efforts to intervene in Syria would be supported by the international community.

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    GWEN IFILL: Yesterday marked the beginning of the end of a political era in the nation's largest city. Democrats delivered a rebuke to outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, choosing one of his chief critics, Bill de Blasio, as their nominee. The city's public advocate finished first, but he may not have achieved the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

    Former City Comptroller William Thompson placed second. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, meanwhile, finished a distant fifth. On the Republican side, former Transit Authority head Joe Lhota won with more than 52 percent of the vote.

    Hari Sreenivasan examines what's next for a post-Bloomberg Big Apple.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The next mayor of New York will inherit a city that in many ways has been transformed during Michael Bloomberg's 12-year tenure. By several measures, New York City is thriving. Its economy is growing, crime is at historic lows, and the city's eight million residents are healthier and living longer than a decade ago.

    Michael Powell has reported on the city for more than 20 years. He's now a columnist at The New York Times. He says, when Bloomberg took office, right after 9/11, the city's future was far from secure.

    MICHAEL POWELL, The New York Times: He really took control of a city that was a wounded animal, and, at his best, both nursed it back to health and in many ways transformed the city.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The city's financial health is one area where the mayor generally gets credit. New York City's budget, which is $70 billion this year, has been in the black throughout Bloomberg's tenure.

    Mitchell Moss teaches urban planning at New York University and was an adviser to Bloomberg during his first run for mayor. Moss argues that Bloomberg's tax policies have not only stabilized the city's economy, but helped it survive the great recession.

    MITCHELL MOSS, New York University: When Mike Bloomberg came in, we had become very dependent upon the income and sales tax. But they're very much tied to economic activity, more income, more taxes, more spending, more taxes.

    Bloomberg came in and a year after taking over, he raised the property tax. Now, this is a very important issue because the property tax is largely a tax on office buildings and homeowners, and most mayors don't want to do this because the real estate industry is too strong and homeowners are very active voters. And that created a new stable set sort of revenue. So, when 2008 occurred, we weren't like the state of California, which was in dire straits.

    Yes, income taxes weren't growing, but our property taxes were.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Even so, like many cities, New York faces huge and growing costs for the pensions and health benefits of city employees, which will run into the billions of dollars.

    Additionally, according to economist and professor at the New School Richard McGahey, the next mayor will have to negotiate long overdue contracts with the city's unionized workers.

    RICHARD MCGAHEY, The New School for Social Research: They have been working without a contract, most of them for over three years. And there are pent-up demand to get more wages, up to $8 billion to $10 billion. And there is no provision in the budget to pay for those. So the next mayor is going to be right at the start having to negotiate with a fairly angry coalition of unions across the board.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, what about the fiscal health of the city's residents? Unemployment is 8.4 percent, a point higher than the rest of the country. New York's real estate boom continues.

    The median value of a home across the industry's five boroughs is half-a-million dollars, nearly triple the national average. That's great for landlords and homeowners, but two-third of New Yorkers rent, and sky-high rents eat up a larger percentage of wages here than elsewhere.

    MICHAEL POWELL: So what does this mean? If you're a secretary married to somebody who is working in a restaurant, the day-to-day struggle to find an apartment that you can afford is enormous. For instance, in the Bronx, I believe the average family spends upward of 40 percent of their income on rent. That's very troubling, because it means that they have very little money left over for food. It's one of the reasons you have seen a very sharp increase in food stamp usage in New York.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: While New York is home to more billionaires than nearly any place in the world, according to the city's own data, over 20 percent of residents here live below the poverty line and another quarter live just above it.

    The homeless population in New York has also grown in recent years to more than 50,000 people.

    RICHARD MCGAHEY: New York inequality is really quite staggering. If you compare the incomes of the top 20 percent to the bottom 20 percent, our income ratios are worse than many developing African countries. Now, that's because we have rich people here. It's not bad to have rich people in New York. We want them here.

    But what we need is a smarter economic development strategy that will use the city's economic strength to create good jobs for low-income people.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Perhaps the most enduring legacy the next mayor will inherit is how safe New York City is today. For those who lived here in the '70s, '80s, and '90s, the drop in crime is nothing short of remarkable.

    While crime had fallen sharply during Rudy Giuliani's administration, it has continued to do so under Bloomberg. Since 2001, car thefts are down 73 percent, burglaries 41 percent, assaults 17 percent, rapes 27 percent, and murders are down 35 percent.

    NYU's Mitchell Moss argues that the city's drop in crime goes hand in hand with economic development.

    MITCHELL MOSS: If you want to make a good housing program, make an area safe, people want to live there. If you want to have people come to visit, make the city safe, people will come there. So, safety has been the underpinning of almost all of New York's renaissance.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Critics argue, however, that the police have trampled on the rights of tens of thousands of young minority men because of the department's reliance on a tactic known as stop and frisk, a program recently ruled unconstitutional by a district court judge.

    David Ourlicht was one of the plaintiffs in that case.

    DAVID OURLICHT, Stop and Frisk plaintiff: I think that that creates distrust within the community, because I think these communities, like, yes, we all want safe things, but I also don't want my son or my child or my uncle or my niece or my nephew or anybody in my -- or family and friends to have to be abused.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The mayor's stop and frisk policy, his missed record on education, and his cuts to some poverty programs have fueled the perception that Bloomberg hasn't paid enough attention to the needs of poorer New Yorkers.

    MICHAEL POWELL: It's the great challenge for New York is kind of how do you make room for and have this great vibrant metropolis that it's been for so many years, while well over half your population is running very hard just to keep up, and, frankly, they aren't keeping up.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Another long-term legacy of the Bloomberg era will be the reimagined landscape, everything from the High Line that I'm standing on here, to the redevelopment of the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, or the creation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, both of which are part of that borough's renaissance and will be with the city for decades to come.

    Under Bloomberg, New York has also added 400 miles of new bike lanes across the city and two new subway lines are being dug.

    MITCHELL MOSS: Before, zoning was done a block or a parcel at a time. Now it was done 20 blocks at a time. So, almost 20 percent of the whole city has been rezoned under Mike Bloomberg.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Bill de Blasio, who received the most votes in yesterday's mayoral primary, campaigned on a platform to address the inequality between rich and poor in New York. What role any mayor can play in bridging that divide is unclear, but many believe it remains one of the great challenges for the city going forward.

    GWEN IFILL: You know, Judy, we shouldn't be surprised that New York had a crazy election, that it went from someone being way ahead to Bill de Blasio coming out of nowhere, and incredible bad blood between de Blasio and Mike Bloomberg.

    You saw his family there. He raised a question about whether he was using his family, because he is married to a black woman and has black kids.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: That's right.

    The issue of the stop and frisk issue, which Hari just explained, became an issue that really had not been discussed to one that was on everyone's minds and, one could argue, helped determine the outcome.

    GWEN IFILL: Only in New York.


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    Vatican's new Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, told a Venezuelan newspaper that priestly celibacy "is not a church dogma," but rather "a church tradition." These comments have raised eyebrows in the Catholic community.

    But the National Catholic Reporter writes that Parolin's statements are in line with standard moderate catholic views. The independent newspaper claims that these points have been made at different times by different people and are not indicative of any policy change in the Vatican.

    Parolin explains the church's stance on celibacy further in the interview.

    The work the church did to institute ecclesiastical celibacy must be considered. We cannot simply say that it is part of the past. It is a great challenge for the pope, because he is the one with the ministry of unity and all of those decisions must be made thinking of the unity of the church and not to divide it. Therefore we can talk, reflect, and deepen on these subjects that are not definite, and we can think of some modifications, but always with consideration of unity, and all according to the will of God. It is not about what I would like but what God wants for His church.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to another look at Egypt.

    The Obama administration has voiced concern over violent crackdowns and arrests in that country following the military ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi in July. The armed forces, headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, declared that they were handing over power to civilian leadership and appointed an interim president, who, in turn, picked a prime minister and cabinet members.

    Many suspect, however, that the military is still calling the shots.

    So, who is in charge of Egypt?

    PBS NewsHour chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner put that question to the country's interim prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, earlier today in Cairo.

    MARGARET WARNER: Prime Minister Beblawi, thank you for having us.

    Now, an issue what Washington and Cairo seem at odds on right now is the way your government came to power, essentially as the result of the military deposing the elected president of this country, Mohammed Morsi. By any known definition, is that not a coup?

    INTERIM PRIME MINISTER HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI, Egypt: If you take a single element, picture, and not seeing the whole picture, you are failing to get the reality.

     As a matter of fact, it started with an uprising of millions in the streets. And then the army just responded to an appeal of the people. And it's exactly, almost exactly the same as happened with the previous regime, Mubarak. So I don't see a great difference technically speaking.

    And I would see that it would have been very bad if we had let down those people.

    MARGARET WARNER: And you don't think the army helped engineer these protests in any way?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: I don't think so. I don't think so.

    If the army can move and mobilize millions, it must have magic to be able to convince young people, old people, women to take street for such a phenomena, I would imagine.

    MARGARET WARNER: I would like to ask you now about the crackdown that has occurred since Morsi was deposed, starting with the fact that an estimated 1,000 people have been killed, most of them protesters at the hands of the security forces.

    The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for an independent investigation into what really happened. Is there going to be such an investigation?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: We are. The government, we are asking to form an independent investigation, and this is to our benefit.

    Of course, we look to the authorities to take their calls. But we would like, for the benefit of history, to form an independent investigation to give a recommended description of what exactly happened. This is -- we are doing it because we need it.

    MARGARET WARNER: Now, also, some 2,000 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, mid-level members, have been detained without charges. You were quoted last month as actually calling for banning the Muslim Brotherhood. Really?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: No.

    I always said that the Muslim Brotherhood must respect the rule. This movement is acting as either a party, political party, and political parties shouldn't mix -- use their religion for political objectives. If they are promoting ideas for welfare and this kind, they should abide by the law to make clear their financial resources, to be subject to observation and control, like any social society. We will go by the law.

    MARGARET WARNER: Now, yesterday, your religious affairs minister announced that more than 50,000 clerics, "unlicensed" -- quote, unquote -- would be silenced, would be banned from preaching.

    Is there a danger that, if more Islamist thought and activity is driven underground, that it will simply generate terrorism?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: Absolutely.

    I am very aware that the way to deal with political Islam is not to repress them and to push them underground, but to make sure that they abide by the law, and to make sure that you -- we know exactly what they are saying in public, not under the ground. So this is exactly what we think. MARGARET WARNER: And so now you're under this state of emergency. The police have sweeping powers. There are reports that the public prosecutor is now looking into charges against many liberal -- liberals who were active in the 2011 uprising that toppled Mubarak.

    Is there an effort now to go after liberal critics of this military -- at least military-appointed government, of which you're a part?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: Not at all.

    As a matter of fact, we were looking forward to end the emergency by the end of the month, but then we were surprised -- actually, not surprised by the action, but by the magnitude of the explosion.

    MARGARET WARNER: And by explosion, you mean the assassination attempt on the interior minister?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: Yes, exactly, which showed us that the situation is -- still needs to be under control, and most probably we will extend the emergency for a month or two.

    But we are forbidden by law to extend it more than three months, unless we have a referendum.

    MARGARET WARNER: Can you guarantee that liberal critics of the military and of the military-appointed government are not going to be harassed or prosecuted?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: I can't say I guarantee, but I will do anything to fight any liberal who is taken because of what he is thinking, of his opinion. This is definitely something I will think that this is not accepted, and I will fight it.

    MARGARET WARNER: How much control does the civilian government that you head actually have over the security service?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: A great deal of power, and at least we have the power to say, sorry, we will not continue.

    MARGARET WARNER: So you have the power to say no?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: Of course.

    MARGARET WARNER: And does the president, Mansour, have any control at all over General al-Sisi and the armed forces?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: I assure you that we are going by the law.

    And the president is assuming his role as head of the country. The cabinet has all of the authority to dealing. Al-Sisi, General al-Sisi, is a member of the cabinet, and I can tell that you he is a very disciplined member of the cabinet.

    MARGARET WARNER: Now, in the United States, the president has the power to fire, replace the army chief of staff, the head of the armed forces. Does the president here, this current president, have that power?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: The president of the republic has all the prerogative of a president, of a head of a state.

    MARGARET WARNER: Even though that general is the one who appointed him?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: It is not yet put to the test, but, definitely, there is no evidence of the contrary.

    Legally, this -- the power of the head of the state is secured. We haven't seen that he was denied by this, and I'm sure that, if the need comes, he will use his power.

    MARGARET WARNER: So, can you assure the world that in the next seven months, which is when your road map, your self-imposed deadline is up, that Egypt will once again have a fully elected, freely elected civilian democracy and the army will return to the barracks for good?

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: Definitely, we owe this not only to the world. We owe it to our people.

    We said, when we came, we came for a transitional period. We know a transitional period is by definition temporary. But we are fully aware that it's very important. And we would like to be up to our promise to our people.

    MARGARET WARNER: Prime Minister Beblawi, thank you so much.

    HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI: You're most welcome. Thank you for coming.


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    GWEN IFILL: Now: adoption in America in the age of the Web.

    A new series of investigative reports published this week is raising serious questions about how some adoptive parents who seek help online are encountering unintended consequences.

    Jeffrey Brown has our look.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The stories focus on how some parents are using the Internet to turn over their adopted children to new families after finding they're having problems raising the children, in a practice called private re-homing.

    The investigation by Reuters titled "The Child Exchange" documents cases in which the transfer began on online bulletin boards and led to instances of neglect and abuse and were carried out in a largely unregulated environment.

    Megan Twohey spent 18 months working on the investigation for Reuters. Also joining us now is Adam Pertman, executive director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute, a national nonprofit that focuses on adoption research and policy. He's also the author of the book "Adoption Nation."

    Well, Megan, Megan Twohey, some background first so we understand this. Why are parents giving up their adopted children? And how are they doing it?

    MEGAN TWOHEY, Reuters: Well, that's a good question.

    I spoke to many adoptive parents for this 18-month project who had gone on the Internet and solicited new families for their unwanted adopted children. And the reasons that they turned to this largely underground network were three-fold. One, they said that they didn't feel like they had received proper training going into their adoptions.

    Two, they didn't feel like they -- the issues that the children that they adopted came to them with, emotional and behavioral problems that hadn't been disclosed, and when the adoption went south, the adoption agency wouldn't help them.

    And in some -- in other instances, they would go -- when they turned to the states, the government child welfare system, for help, they didn't get -- they didn't get any assistance. In fact, they were often told that if they wanted to relinquish their child to the state foster care system, they could face charges of abuse and neglect and put other children in their home in jeopardy.

    So, they often -- it was a very common theme that these parents felt desperate and they felt like this underground online network was their only option.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And so in this private system, you show how this can be done we a simple power of attorney and you show that, in some cases, it led to some serious neglect and abuse.

    MEGAN TWOHEY: That's right.

    So, it's important to realize that when parents go into this sort of online re-homing network -- and we found these are Yahoo! -- these have been Yahoo! groups and Facebook groups where people go to solicit new families for their unwanted adopted children, and oftentimes they transfer these children over to strangers with nothing more than a power of attorney, a simple slip of paper that you can download from the Internet and get notarized that says you're placing this child in the hands of another adult, and they're now in their custody.

    There's no child welfare officials involved. There is no court system monitoring that and vetting the person who is taking the child. And so we found multiple cases where people who had criminal backgrounds, histories of abuse and neglect, obtained children in this manner. And bad things happened to those kids.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, so, Adam Pertman, help us place the context here.

    You read these articles. Are these worst-case scenarios, a handful of cases? What kinds of questions do they raise for people in your -- in -- where you sit?

    ADAM PERTMAN, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute: Well, from where I sit, it's so appalling that it's hard to even look straight at anybody and say anything that is vaguely positive, except that maybe these parents, who certainly are feeling they're in dire straits, certainly are feeling as though it's their last resort, at least they are looking for a home for the kid.

    But, that said, this is really over every ethical line, every good practice line, over every line we could possibly draw. Parents have to be vetted. Children have to be cared for. The answer to your question, no, this doesn't appear to be a big, prevalent problem. These are the worst-case scenarios, but it's not just a handful.

    And what it really does is shine a very bright light on two much more pervasive and bigger problems. We have to deal with this one, no question, but the Internet is opening up so many possibilities in the world of adoption. We published a report last year called "Untangling the Web" in which we talk about a whole slew of these. And this certainly is one.

    We didn't talk about this one, by the way. We didn't know about this one. But there are many, many untoward practices that are occurring because no one is paying attention, just like in this case. And it really shines another bright light on the need for adoption -- post-adoption services for families.

    If there are families that are so distraught, that they would think to do something like this, then what about all the other families who wouldn't think to do it, but need help, too? We are not providing those services to help families succeed. And if we looked at those two big issues, the Internet and post-adoption services, I think we would go a long way to solving problems like this, but we also have to address this very, very singularly and specifically.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, Megan, just to pick up on this, because you were looking at these cases existing, as you said, in -- I think you used the word a largely lawless marketplace, what kind of oversight is there in cases like this?

    MEGAN TWOHEY: Well, that's a good question.

    And I would like to point out, going back to your last question about how frequently is this happening, I mean, that is a great question. And the answer is that nobody in the United States government can tell you the answer to that question. There's nobody here in the United States who is trying to track what happens to these children. There's no law that recognizes that re-homing is taking place, let alone tries to regulate it.

    And so you're left with basically kind of a patchwork of state laws. You know, in certain states, it's illegal to go online and offer your child up for adoption. You have to be a licensed child placement agency to do that kind of advertising. In other states, you don't. There's different laws that govern adoptions and granting of guardianship.

    But, for the most part, this has been largely a lawless world, and where there is no government oversight and nobody here in the United States trying to track that. And so you can't say -- nobody in the government can tell you how often this is happening. But, at Reuters, we have spent a lot of time, 18 months looking at the online forums in which people were going to advertise their unwanted adoptive kids.

    We did a deep dive on a single Yahoo! group where this re-homing was popular. And we found that -- we tracked the activity over five years. We have built a database, and we found that a child was being offered up on a single Yahoo! group on average once a week.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so, Adam Pertman, we just have a minute left, but given that scenario for these kinds of cases, but even the more general instances, what should be done in terms of oversight and regulation?

    ADAM PERTMAN: Well, that's not to be decided.

    I mean, as Megan said, we don't have the laws. We don't have the practices. We don't have the monitoring. What we need to do is immediately understand that something has to be done, and we need to convene law enforcement officials, legislators, because it is a patchwork.

    And unless it's done in a coordinated fashion, we're not going to nail this one.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And just real briefly, is there resistance to that? Is there -- why doesn't that happen?

    ADAM PERTMAN: I cannot -- it didn't happen -- it hasn't happened because we didn't know.

    I mean, this is a big -- a big kudo for journalism. I mean, we learned something from this series, and now we have to do something about it.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, shining a light on these cases.

    Megan Twohey, thanks so much.

    And, Adam Pertman, thank you.

    MEGAN TWOHEY: My pleasure.

    ADAM PERTMAN: My pleasure.


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    In China, internet users who post "false information that is defamatory or harms the national interest" can face prison time up to 3 years, if their post is viewed 5,000 times or retweeted 500 times, according to new guidelines from China's Supreme People's Court.

    The judicial interpretation defines a defamatory post as edited or made-up information that would damage the reputation of an individual or organization. Any "falsified" information spread through social media a set number of times would constitute libel, which is illegal in China.

    Sun Jungong, spokesman for the court, said that this was not meant to punish whistleblowers, however.

    "Even if some details of the allegations or what has been exposed are not true, as long as they are not intentionally fabricating information to slander others ... they will not be prosecuted on charges of defamation."

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  • 09/11/13--17:34: Why I Carry a Gun
  • After countless gun violence tragedies, the national debate over gun rights has taken center stage, and at PBS NewsHour, we've attempted to capture the conversation from many angles. Here we reach out to a cross section of people who rely on guns in their jobs to better understand their relationships with their firearms.

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