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

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    Lloyd Bore knows a dance that's been proven to fight HIV. It's a difficult performance -- one filled with flailing, gyrations and acrobatics. But if it's done right, those who witness it walk away partially immune from the virus that causes AIDS. Here's how it works.

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    Material from Comet ISON appeared on the other side of the sun on Thursday evening, despite not having been seen in observations during its closest approach to the sun. Courtesy NASA

    Several solar observatories watched in anticipation Thursday as Comet ISON neared its first journey around the sun. When the comet grew faint through the view of international telescopes, NASA concluded it was likely ISON did not survive the trip. However, new hope that Comet ISON may be showing signs of life surfaced late Thursday night. A streak of bright material streaming away from the sun appeared in observatories suggesting there is at least a small nucleus of the comet still intact.

    #Comet#ISON: Is it or isn't it? New data indicates it may have survived. Learn more: http://t.co/eCQ5fCMmQJpic.twitter.com/pas3TymIK8

    — NASA (@NASA) November 29, 2013

    For now, it looks like at least some of Comet ISON may have survived. Carey Lisse, senior research scientist at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory:

    "The comet went through a major heating event," she said. "We may be seeing just emission from rubble and debris in the comet's trail, along its orbit, or we may be seeing the resumption of cometary activity from a sizable nucleus-sized chunk of ISON. Recovery of the comet by radio telescopes and the NASA/IRTF next week will tell us more about what has happened."

    UPDATED FROM: November 28, 2013 at 4:35 p.m. ET

    Comet ISON moves ever closer to the sun in this movie from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, captured in the early hours of Nov. 27, 2013. Courtesy: ESA/NASA/SOHO

    NASA has some disappointing news to share with those looking forward to seeing comet ISON light up the sky come December. As ISON made its first trip around the sun Thursday, passing just 684,00 miles above the surface, the delicate "dirty snowball" made of ice and dust appears to have been destroyed in its own sort of Thanksgiving roasting, BBC reports. Telescopes tracking Comet ISON saw it disappear behind the sun, but then failed to see it emerge as expected.

    Breaking up is hard to do. Like Icarus, #comet#ISON may have flown too close to the sun. We will continue to learn. http://t.co/caP9J4lqmy

    — NASA (@NASA) November 28, 2013
    Stargazers can start looking for remains of Comet ISON -- if any survived -- around Dec. 7. The scattered dust from the comet could still create a show in the sky over the North Pole through December.

    Whatever ISON is now, it's coming back into view in the SOHO wide field C3 camera. pic.twitter.com/exmUMW3XtS

    — Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) November 28, 2013

    Follow along as NASA continues to learn more.

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    Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Online Black Friday sales couldn't make up for declines in phone and industrial shares on a half day of trading.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard and Poor's 500 Index closed slightly down. The Nasdaq Composite Index, however, climbed .37 percent on higher technology stocks.

    The S&P made gains of .4 percent for most of the morning, but closed down .1 percent at 1,805.65 at 1 p.m. in New York. Friday's earlier gains from Amazon and EBay were putting the index on course to hit its eighth straight week of gains, which would have been the longest period of weekly gains since 2004.

    For the month of November, however, the S&P rose 2.8 percent, the Dow 3.5 percent and the Nasdaq 3.6 percent.

    The market's recent performance -- the Dow is still above 16,000 -- is inspiring tampered confidence about the holiday shopping season. "The general mood is that we're going to have growth this year in terms of holiday season shopping, though probably less than before the crisis," Aaron Izenstark, co-founder and chief investment officer of Iron Financial LLC's Iron Strategic Income Fund in Northbrook, Illinois, told Bloomberg.

    But as we've explored on the Business Desk, some market-watchers see a bubble in the market's recent highs. The Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus program is artificially inflating the market, money managers like First Principles Capital Management's Doug Dachille fear.


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    US Park Service personnel position the White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room this afternoon pic.twitter.com/CUNHhXBkO7

    — petesouza (@petesouza) November 29, 2013

    The White House wasted no time moving from one holiday to the next. An 18.5 foot Christmas tree was delivered to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Friday morning. The tree will be decorated and on display in the Blue Room through the holiday season. The 2013 Capitol Christmas tree made it's debut on Nov. 25.

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: A shopping frenzy descended across the country today, as post-Thanksgiving shoppers lined up for holiday savings. In some places, the mad dash for deals turned violent, with several shootings and fights breaking out. We will have more on Black Friday right after this news summary.

    Investors on Wall Street kept a close eye on Black Friday shopping. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 11 points to close at 16,086. The Nasdaq rose 15 points to close above 4,059. For the week, the Dow gained more than 0.5 percent; the Nasdaq rose 2 percent.

    President Obama and the first lady visited people who are fasting to protest congressional inaction on immigration legislation. They stopped by the tent on the National Mall where the activists have been on a hunger strike for the past 18 days. The president told them he appreciated their efforts. House Speaker John Boehner has so far refused to schedule votes on an immigration measure the Senate passed this summer.

    China moved for the first time today to enforce its newly declared air defense zone. It scrambled two of its fighter jets to investigate flights by a dozen American and Japanese surveillance planes. The new defense zone includes airspace above a group of uninhabited islands claimed by Japan in the East China Sea. China has demanded that all aircraft flying into the area notify the Chinese they are coming or face military action.

    Thousands of people took to the streets of the Ukrainian capital today. They massed in Kiev after President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned a landmark trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. Demonstrators waved Ukrainian and E.U. flags while calling for the president's resignation. Some also formed a human chain in support of European integration.

    OREST PODDOLYAK, protester (through interpreter): We want to tell the whole world that Ukrainians are a European nation, because we proclaim, and I think a lot of people here support me, that European values, a European standard of living, education, medicine, and corresponding European standards are suitable for us.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: E.U. leaders flatly blamed Russia for the deal's disintegration. Russia had worked to derail it by threatening Ukraine with giant gas bills and trade sanctions.

    Protests also raged for a sixth day in Thailand. Some 1,200 anti-government demonstrators swarmed Thai army headquarters in Bangkok, appealing for help in overthrowing their prime minister. A separate group also marched on the U.S. Embassy. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has proposed a dialogue with members of the opposition. But they have rejected the offer.

    NATO officials in Afghanistan have launched an investigation into a drone strike that killed a child and wounded two women. They say yesterday's airstrike targeted an insurgent in Helmand Province. The commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan called President Hamid Karzai to apologize for the civilian deaths. But Karzai warned, if such attacks continue, he will not sign a security deal with the U.S. to allow troops to stay in the country beyond 2014.

    A new report from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees found Syrian refugee children are often the breadwinners for their families. Since the civil war began more than three years ago, at least half the refugees who have fled Syria are children, 1.1 million. Many work long hours of manual labor in Lebanon and Jordan, where they are cheap labor. The 65-page U.N. report called for quick action to get refugee children back into school.

     


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: In recent years, tablets and e-readers have topped many holiday shopping lists. Jeffrey Brown looks at one program aimed at using that technology to get people to read.

    JEFFREY BROWN: More than 770 million people around the world are illiterate, according to UNESCO. The nonprofit organization Worldreader wants to decrease those numbers and eventually eradicate illiteracy for the next generation.

    WOMAN: I will go on Friday after work and come back on Sunday.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The group distributes e-readers to individuals, classrooms and libraries throughout sub-Saharan Africa, where 50 percent of schools have few or no books.

    Three years old, the program now reaches over 13,000 children in nine different countries, including Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and Ghana, where 15-year-old Rita Duke Stevens (ph) wants to be a lawyer when she grows up.

    She spoke in this Worldreader-produced YouTube video.

    GIRL: I have to read a lot to know about things and people, so that in the future, I will be able to judge people's cases in a good way, so that people won't suffer.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Once the e-readers are distributed, the organization curates a wireless library of local and international books.

    And joining me now is David Risher, the co-founder and president of Worldreader. He's a former executive with Microsoft and Amazon.

    And welcome to you.

    DAVID RISHER, Worldreader: Thank you, Jeff. It's great to be here.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You have described -- I have seen you describe your aha moment that led to this. Tell us.

    DAVID RISHER: We were traveling around the world and actually had spent some time in an orphanage in Ecuador.

    And, at the end of the way -- this was a girls orphanage -- I looked across the wing at the woman who ran it and asked why there was a building with a big padlock on it. And the woman said to me, well, that's our library. And I said, well, what's going on? And she said, the books take forever to get here. By the time they get here, they're often not even the books that our kids want to read anymore, and the girls really have sort of finished with what's in there.

    I asked, can I take a look inside? And she said, you know, David, I think I have lost the key. And it really was at that moment where I thought to myself, OK, hold on. I can either step back and think, OK, I'm going to just sort of watch the world not have the books they need to improve their lives or I can sort of step into it and say, let's solve this problem.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, you were coming from this world yourself, right, of technology and e-books. How did you translate that knowledge -- how does it work actually on the ground?

    DAVID RISHER: So, we get e-readers -- and we also use cell phones as well, but let's focus on e-readers for a second -- from companies like Amazon.

    We load them up with international books and local books. One of the things we realized early, early on is, it is very important to bring books to the kids that are going to inspire them and that the children are going to connect to.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And that means books from Africa, African writers.

    (CROSSTALK)

    DAVID RISHER: That's right. That's right, African writers, African textbooks, African storybooks.

    One of the first times I went to Ghana, which was the first country we operated in, I went to the back of the classroom and saw one of the paper books they had. I picked it off the shelf. And it was the history of Utah. I don't even know...

    (LAUGHTER)

    JEFFREY BROWN: But that just shows the haphazard nature of what reaches them, right?

    DAVID RISHER: That's exactly it.

    It's almost -- it's almost landfill that sort of gets redistributed into Africa.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.

    DAVID RISHER: And so we said, well, hold on. The world is favoring the digital distribution of books. And so if we can take electronic readers, put local books on there, and then have the kids read, they will read more, they will read better, and they will improve their lives as a result.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, here's an example.

    DAVID RISHER: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: This is just your basic e-reader?

    DAVID RISHER: That's right. That's exactly it.

    I mean, we decided to use some off-the-shelf hardware, an e-reader. We put a case on it. We put a light on it. We put a skin around it. One of the earliest things that our kids asked us is, can we have a light so that we can read after dark?

    And it was that sort of observation that made us realize, this really can work and it really can change the world.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The obvious issue -- one obvious issue is cost. Right? It requires -- I mean, to make this work, I assume you have to do it at lowest cost possible.

    DAVID RISHER: You do. You do.

    But that's the nice thing about technology. Technology gets cheaper every day. These, which cost $400 a couple of years ago, these now cost $50. And then the other cost is the books themselves. But we're lucky there. And we have worked very hard. We have worked with international publishers. We have gone to Random House and said, look, can you contribute the use of the "Magic Tree House" series to our program for free? And they have said yes.

    We have gone to Simon & Schuster and done the same thing with "Hardy Boys." And then we go to African publishers and we would say, we would like to pay you a small amount, but we will pay you for every book we use in our program. And for them, it's a quite new way to sort of -- frankly, as a revenue stream, and it's a way to get kids reading more, which, of course, is their goal, too.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And what kind of barriers, if any, have you hit along the way?

    DAVID RISHER: You know, it's interesting.

    The biggest barrier -- and this will sound funny -- is that the demand is so great that we have to struggle, frankly to keep up with it. We started three years ago with 50 kids in a classroom. We now, as you mentioned, have 12,000 reading on e-readers.

    And so, as a result, we have expanded our program to include cell phones, which is a device that so many people in the developing world have. Cell phones really have leapfrogged over the physical land mine. And it's sort of what we're trying to do with books.

    So, we have another 150,000 kids reading on cell phones every month as well. And this is our biggest challenge, is how do we keep up with that demand and how do we keep the funding going to sort of keep the whole program moving forward.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, of course, scaling up to have a real big impact, right? That's got to be the big issue for you.

    DAVID RISHER: So, that's right.

    I mean, our goal -- and we know this is ambitious and sort of crazy -- but is to eradicate illiteracy.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JEFFREY BROWN: You laugh as you say that, because it's so big, such a big goal?

    DAVID RISHER: That's it. But, at the same time, it's a goal that not necessarily in our lifetime, but in our children's lifetime, we can achieve.

    This is the sort of thing where you look back 100 years ago at what the Carnegies and the Rockefellers did, putting in infrastructure for books in the education system, that was the analog world. That the world paper-based. Now we can do the same thing digitally. It will take some time, but we will get it done.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But you're speaking, again, coming from the tech world. You're seeing the potential for technology as a -- well, this is real big social change. Right?

     DAVID RISHER: Right. That's right. Yes.

    And I think that this social change -- change happens in waves. Right? And this technology, it's actually not the technology that's the most important part. It's the whole scale move towards digital, the whole scale move towards cell phone coverage, the whole scale move towards understanding how much knowledge matters to a society to help lift it up.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JEFFREY BROWN: That's big. Go back to the ground level or the school level.

    DAVID RISHER: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: When was -- you told me about the aha moment for you with the idea.

    DAVID RISHER: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: When was the aha moment where you saw that this could work?

    DAVID RISHER: I would say, at first, it was watching the kids in our first classroom in Ghana who were reading "Curious George," and they were literally reading it word by word, and at the end they looked up and they said, can we have another book?

    And we said yes. And we downloaded another book, another e-reader right then. And they started reading again. Now, you have to remember these are kids that live in a world where there are no books, where it could take six months or a year to get their hands on a single book. And now all of a sudden they're walking around with a library that can hold an infinite number of books.

    That moment changed the world for me. Fast-forward and maybe a year, and I'm talking to Okanta Kate, who is one of the girls in our program in Ghana, who says, because I read "The Shark" by Peggy Oppong, an African writer, I now want to be the most famous writer in the world. Right?

    Or Mary in Tanzania, who says -- who is 10 years old, and she says, I want to be a pilot when I grow up. She loves to read her atlas. I want to be a pilot when I grow up, so that I can fly to Bangladesh, to the United States, and send money back to my mother, so she can learn how to speak English. It's those sort of moments that really make you think, OK, this can work.

    JEFFREY BROWN: OK.

    David Risher of Worldreader, thanks so much.

    DAVID RISHER: Thank you, Jeff. It's great to be here.

     


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: We look now at some out-of-this-world images.

    For 10 years, the Cassini spacecraft has captured arresting snapshots from Saturn, and this month took a picture of Earth from the backside of the ringed planet.

    Judy recently talked to Carolyn Porco, the leader of the Cassini imaging team at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Carolyn Porco, welcome.

    First of all, refresh us on what the Cassini mission launched back in 1997 was supposed to accomplish? What was it all about?

    CAROLYN PORCO, Space Science Institute: The Cassini mission was all about a comprehensive investigation of Saturn and everything in the Saturn system, and it's been a mission that's been done jointly with the Europeans.

    As you said, we launched in 1997. It took us seven years to cross the solar system and get into orbit around Saturn, the summer of 2004. And we are now in our 10th year of investigating this very complex, very phenomenologically rich planetary system.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Why was Saturn so interesting, and why the imaging piece of it so important?

    CAROLYN PORCO: Saturn, first of all, it's the jewel of the solar system. It's a beautiful planet.

    It is, as I said, the most phenomenologically rich. It's got the solar system's largest set of rings, planetary rings. Saturn itself is a giant planet, and there's much to be gained by investigating its meteorology and studying its magnetic field. And then it has a collection of moons.

    Right now, I think we're in the low 60s for moons. And Cassini was going to investigate the system of moons that were close in to the planet. And they also are like a miniature solar system. So there was a great deal to be learned in going to a system like Saturn about -- it had enormous cosmic reach, the scientific objectives, could tell us something about the early Earth, about the evolution of the planets.

    So it just was going to be a mission, just an enormously fruitful, productive, scientific mission. And that's exactly what's happened.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Some of these stunning images that we have been able to see, how did you decide what you were going to take a picture of and what's the importance of those?

    CAROLYN PORCO: Well, first, we are guided by what, scientifically, we need to learn about the objects in the Saturn system.

    The images have the benefit of being two-dimensional. You can immediately relate to them, and so you get by a lot of interpretation that you might have to do with other data. So -- and of course they have been beautiful. It's been my objective since day one to make them as beautiful as possible, at least the ones that we release to the public, because I wanted to give people a sense of going along for the ride.

    This is an enormous expedition. It's a scientific expedition around Saturn, and I wanted to give people a feel for what it's like to be there. And I think -- judging from the response the public has had to our images, I think we have succeeded at that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The most remarkable image to me is, of course, the one where you see Saturn in the corner and you see the rings, and then you see in the distance this tiny blue dot, which is Earth. Tell us about that image and the meaning of it.

    CAROLYN PORCO: Well, that image has a long and beautiful history.

    And it goes back all the way to the Voyager mission, when Carl Sagan and I and others planned and executed an image taken from beyond the orbit of Neptune, looking back at the Earth, and it's become known since then as the "Pale Blue Dot" image, as describe by Carl Sagan so eloquently.

    And that image, even though it's not much to look at, in the hands of Carl Sagan became a kind of romantic allegory of the human condition, showing the Earth alone in the vastness of space and small and fragile, and with the immediate recognition that everybody we have ever known, everyone who has ever been alive in the history of our planet lived on that dot.

    Ever since I began my tenure as the leader on the imaging team for the Cassini mission, I have wanted to do that picture over again, only make it better. The idea of the Voyager "Pale Blue Dot" was to take a picture of the Earth awash in a sea of stars.

    Well, if you look at Voyager's "Pale Blue Dot," there are no stars. Well, our new Cassini "Pale Blue Dot" image does have stars in it, and it shows the Earth against the beauty of Saturn's rings.

    My idea was, when thinking of doing this image over again, wouldn't it be great if we could get the people of the world to know ahead of time that their picture was going to be taken from a billion miles away, and let them know at this moment, go out, look up, contemplate your existence, contemplate the beauty and the lushness of our own planet, marvel at your own existence, and appreciate the magnitude of the accomplishment that has made this interplanetary photo session possible?

    And that's exactly what it's done.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally, questions, new questions raised by what you see from these images, what are they?

    CAROLYN PORCO: Well, this particular image that you're seeing and the mosaic that that particular image comes from was, in fact, expressly taken just to make a beautiful image.

    But it went along with a collection of other images that are used for scientific purposes. In this case, it's to understand the structure in Saturn's rings and -- and to investigate that beautiful blue ring that you see, which comes from probably our most profound discovery with Cassini, and that is 100 geysers erupting from the south pole of the small moon Enceladus which very likely come directly from the most accessible habitable zone in our solar system.

    So, there could be biological processes stirring in the Saturn system. And that's -- that has made it all worthwhile.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Carolyn Porco, thank you very much.

    CAROLYN PORCO: Thank you.

     

     


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now to one of the United States' most complicated partnerships on the world stage: its rocky alliance with Pakistan.

    Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner sat down with Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's former ambassador to Washington, to discuss that relationship.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The Pakistani people and the American people have suffered terribly from terrorism in the past.

    MARGARET WARNER: It's a critical relationship for the United States these days, key to Washington's fight against terrorism and its plans to leave Afghanistan next year.

    But relations with Pakistan have been rocky ever since that country's birth in 1947. They united against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, but fell out over Pakistan's secret development of a nuclear weapon in the 90s.

    Since 9/11, while nominally cooperating against terrorists, they have been at odds over Taliban and al-Qaida-linked fighters sheltering in Pakistani territory, and over U.S. drone strikes against those militants.

    The low point? The 2011 U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden hiding out in a city near Pakistan's capital.

    Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. from 2008 to 2011, examines the roots of this fractious partnership in a new book, "Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding."

    Husain Haqqani, thank you for joining us.

    HUSAIN HAQQANI, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States: A pleasure being here, Margaret.

    MARGARET WARNER: Let's go a little into the history, because your book is really a history book.

    And you begin with a line from Aesop's Fables: "A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy.Let a man be one thing or the other and then we know how to meet him."

    So, who is the doubtful friend here?

    HUSAIN HAQQANI: The United States is the doubtful friend for Pakistan, and Pakistan is the doubtful friend for the United States.

    MARGARET WARNER: And are the doubts well-rooted?

    HUSAIN HAQQANI: I think the doubts are very well-rooted.

    The reason is that Pakistan's expectations from the relationship with the United States are very different from what the United States wanted. What has gone wrong over the years is that the Americans have assumed that they can buy over Pakistan's leaders with promises or delivery of aid.

    Pakistan's leaders have always lived under the delusion that, at one point or another, the Americans will come around to Pakistan's way of thinking. And that simply hasn't happened in 66 years.

    MARGARET WARNER: The title talks about this relationship being the product of delusions and misunderstandings. But the narrative seems to paint a picture of deliberate deception, on Pakistan's part, at least.

    HUSAIN HAQQANI: Well, I think that delusions lead to deception. And, sometimes, you deceive yourself.

    You also have in the narrative many occasions where there are senior American officials recognizing a problem, and yet deciding not to face the problem.

    MARGARET WARNER: You say at the root of this is that Pakistan and the U.S. don't share essentially the same goals or interests. Can't there be alliances anyway between countries that may not share the same interests, but still find one another useful and have each other's back when the going gets tough?

    HUSAIN HAQQANI: I think that a shared interest or a common enemy is absolutely essential for an alliance.

    Now, you can be useful to each other. You don't have to have 100 percent symmetry in your interests. But the usual range of asymmetry and interest is 30-70. For example, Britain may have 30 percent interests that are not those of the Americans.

    In the case of Pakistan and the United States, Pakistan's primary interest, as defined by its elite, which I question, is to become India's military equal and to wrest control of Kashmir. Those two interests are not America's interests. And yet America has built up Pakistan's military potential over the years and continues to arm Pakistan, assuming that Pakistan will eventually use those arms for agendas the Americans set for them.

    That is not going to happen. That has not happened in the last 66 years.

    MARGARET WARNER: Now, you also say that you think Americans and Pakistanis have certain stereotypes of each other that are -- go way, way back, 60 years. What are those stereotypes?

    HUSAIN HAQQANI: Well, the American stereotype of Pakistani is well-spoken individuals who have a Western education, coming from the British background, always eager and ready to do what they're told, or repeatedly learning that that is not the case, but always assuming that.

    In recent years, the stereotype has changed to be -- to the deceptive Pakistani, or the terrorist-harboring Pakistani. The Pakistani stereotype of America -- Americans is the arrogant American, the ignorant American, and the American who has no understanding of other people's culture or history.

    MARGARET WARNER: Do you think this dysfunction that you describe is also rooted in the national characters of each people, of each country?

    HUSAIN HAQQANI: Well, Americans have a tendency to not take other people's history very seriously.

    In America, when you say, that's history, it actually means that's irrelevant. Pakistan, on the other hand, has spent a lot of time and energy trying to create a narrative of history that justifies its existence, because its existence is often questioned by other nations.

    MARGARET WARNER: Do you think that Pakistanis are suspicious of the rest of the world?

    HUSAIN HAQQANI: I think Pakistanis are suspicious of the rest of the world.

    In fact, in recent years, I have complained that my compatriots are becoming rather xenophobic. Conspiracy theories are rampant in Pakistan. And that comes from a sense of insecurity.

    MARGARET WARNER: President Obama now, with Secretary Kerry, appear to be trying to revive this relationship under the new president, Nawaz Sharif. What advice would give to them?

    HUSAIN HAQQANI: I think that President Obama and Secretary Kerry should continue their efforts to try and engage with Pakistan, but this engagement should be based on reality and not illusions.

    I would suggest that they shouldn't focus purely on reviving the military-to-military and intelligence-to-intelligence relationship, but actually take an interest in understanding what the discourse or debate is within Pakistan about Pakistan's own interests.

    MARGARET WARNER: And do you think they should look on Pakistan as an ally or something else?

    HUSAIN HAQQANI: I think that neither Pakistan nor the United States should look upon each other as allies. That would be the first step towards a reality-based relationship.

    Both should understand that we do not have a shared enemy and we do not have a shared interest. Pakistan needs to educate its children who don't go to school. Pakistan needs to get away from a religion-based nationalism to a nationalism of shared interests of the population.

    The United States can't see the world as divided between allies and enemies. Actually, there are many countries that are neither, and Pakistan is one of them.

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, Husain Haqqani, author of "Magnificent Delusions," thank you.

    HUSAIN HAQQANI: A pleasure to be here.

     


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: And to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    So, while you were out last weekend, there was some news. The Iran deal happened. We did cover it on the NewsHour Weekend, but you didn't have a chance to weigh in.

    So, let's get to it. Is this a good deal?

    MARK SHIELDS: It's a better deal than where we were, in the sense that six months, and there's a -- I think it's confidence-building on both sides, in a place where there was little to no confidence on either side. And I think the inspections are positive, and the alternate is unspeakable.

    DAVID BROOKS: I have got ambivalence of mountain -- mountain-size proportion about this thing.

    I think, on balance, it's probably worth an attempt, because I really think thought they were heading towards nuclear weapons. And I think still think that is probably the likely outcome. Nonetheless, this is a shot. But it all depends on how tough we are in following up.

    This is a six-month thing that is up to lead up to a bigger thing. But do we actually -- and the administration has begun to do this, in part through a column that David Ignatius wrote, laying out exactly what they consider criteria for a good final deal. And if they stick to that criteria, rather than folding, then -- then you really could get there somewhere.

    And the second thing we really have to be tough on, the Iranians are counting on us, or the entire world, that the sanction regimes will begin to dissolve, that once companies get the chance to make some money in Iran, it will all fall apart. Somehow, if the Western alliance can really hold the sanctions together, then this is a worth -- a risk worth taking.

    Both those are big ifs, though.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What do you -- what -- do you think the alliance can hold it together there?

    MARK SHIELDS: I think it can.

    I think that the president is obviously all in on this. And I think one of the problems he does face is that the Congress is going to try and push harder for sanctions. He's got to stop those in the short-term, and at least get his six months. And I think they have been doing a good job so far in trying to tamp down the understandable criticism and opposition.

    But I just think that we -- we -- there's been an overreaction on the opposition's side. The idea of comparing this to Munich 1938 is beyond overblown. Iran in 2013, whatever it is, and it's not a very pleasant place, is not Nazi Germany in 1938. And I -- so I think this is -- I think it's worth it, and I'm just hoping.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes.

    The Saudis -- though, to be fair, the Saudis are really upset. The Gulf states are really upset. The Israelis are really upset. The people who are most vulnerable to an Iranian nuclear weapon are really upset. And that, to me, is to be trusted. It seems unlikely that a regime that went so far to get a nuclear weapon is suddenly going to pull back and give it up.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What about the congressional variable here? What if Congress decides to slap on new sanctions that really makes this...

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, I think this is a real test of the president's political leadership in the country, as well as with the Congress.

    And it obviously is tougher now that his numbers are down. But I think only the president can lay out the stakes, and that is a six-month period. What -- and it comes down to what the alternative is. I mean, if we think that, in isolation, they weren't developing, if the people who were convinced of that, and I don't understand their skepticism -- I can understand their skepticism. I don't understand their opposition to an attempt now to freeze it and with total inspection every day.

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, sanctions are working. And if sanctions are working, maybe more sanctions are good.

    I happen to think the confluence of events of sort of the deal, the offer from the Obama administration, which is the carrot, and the stick from the Congress, is a pretty good balance. So, if they want to be tough while Obama is being open, that sends the right signal to the Iranians.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK. Let's shift gears.

    The pope came out with -- I want to get this correct -- his first apostolic exhortation. It was his first major work, big report. In there, he takes quite a few very specific jabs at capitalism, calling it a new tyranny. I mean, popes in the past have had these concerns before, but really he's laying this out. And some of the sort of pope watchers, experts are saying that this is the agenda for how to reform the Christian church.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, well, I -- I actually have a lot of sympathy.

    I'm a fan of capitalism, but I have a lot of sympathy for it. And it should be remembered that Benedict and John Paul II issued some extremely critical statements on capitalism. That is the job of the Catholic Church, to be a balance to the materialistic drives of our culture and of economy.

    I guess I would wish he would emphasize two things, first, that capitalism over the last 25 years has been an incredible moral good. It has reduced poverty more in the last 25 years than ever before in human history, mostly in Asia. But that's been a phenomenal good. That's relieved suffering. And that has been a product of capitalism.

    The second thing I would say is sometimes I think the analysis and some of the language used this time was too narrowly economic. One of the things capitalism does is, it does enhance and exacerbate the sin of pride, making yourself, the material world the center of your universe, instead of God's will.

    But the doesn't only happen in capitalism. That can happen in faculty clubs. It can happen at NGOs. And so that is a spiritual sin. And to talk about some of the spiritual sins that capitalism encourages in a broader scale seems to me the right way to do it. To focus on a certain sort of economic theory, that seems to me a little out of the pope's lane.

    MARK SHIELDS: I think it's very much in the pope's lane.

    And I think that survival of the fittest has never been a tenet of either Judeo-Christian values or Christian -- our culture. And I think the pope has confronted us with a fundamental question: What are we first? Are we a free market system, that we have confidence that, untrammeled and unfettered, it will eventually provide good for more people?

    Or are we a community, a community of human beings of equal dignity, and that a capitalist system, a free enterprise system, under regulation and required regulation -- and that's what he -- that's the difference he makes more than any to me in the economic sphere, which is not private charity and private generosity, which have always been important, but that we have a collective responsibility to make that sure all of us, the least among us, through our collective instrument of government, have education, have health care, have shelter, have food, that that's not just a matter of individual kindness or compassion.

    And I -- to me, that was it. And David's right. It's not a deviation from John Paul II or Benedict or past popes, but the emphasis that he brings to it, the passion he brings to it, that Pope Francis does, as well as the sense of engaging the world, I mean, it's an optimistic, upbeat, and passionate pope that we are seeing right now who drives a Ford Focus.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MARK SHIELDS: I mean, he doesn't -- he doesn't drive around in an armored limo. That's a big difference.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, if I could just say one thing, capitalism tells you, be ambitious, be self-interested.

    All of us from all political persuasions understand that is not enough and that there should be countercultures telling you that that is not enough. And there used to be a ton. Religion was a counterculture, but our intellects -- there were a lot of countercultures that said, being self-interested, being interested in your own achievement, that is not a happy life.

    And -- but I'm afraid that sometimes when the pope does it in the way he did this time, he is introducing a political divide where there doesn't need to be one, where he makes it into an argument about economic philosophy, when it could be the core message of Catholicism, that self-interest shouldn't really be the center of your life.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Does it punctuate a conversation about inequality that has been happening...

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, that to me is what the fundamental premise of what the pope's -- and that is not simply the inequality, economic inequality, which David has talked about in the past, and income inequality, and wealth inequality, but that that leads to an inequality of opportunity.

    And we have seen it in this country with a widening divide, where people who are born poor, whether they're white or black, in the South, in the Midwest, they have a better chance -- I mean a worse chance, actually, of growing up to be poor adults, whether white or black, and that this has been a problem, and that income inequality and economic inequality are -- quite frankly, have a social cost.

    DAVID BROOKS: So, I literally am being more Catholic than the pope.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: So, what Catholicism, what Christianity tells us -- and Judaism as well -- tells us that we're all equal shows. What do the Beatitudes say?

    It's about -- it's about how we are all fundamentally equal souls, and if you make a zillion dollars, you're not any better than anybody else spiritually. You're still an equal soul. In fact, it's probably going to be a little tougher for you because of the sins that go along with that.

    I would love to see the pope emphasize the equality of souls and the fact that your success is problematic to your salvation, and instead of a much more narrowly political -- I'm all in favor of talking about inequality. We do it all the time. I just want the pope to be the pope.

    MARK SHIELDS: The pope said, David, if you did read it...

    DAVID BROOKS: I have.

    MARK SHIELDS: OK.

    He said, I love the -- I love the rich. As well, I love the poor, that that is -- but that the responsibility we have -- I mean, the rich are getting by pretty damn well. And, as we have cut taxes, the inequality has grown wider. And so, you know, I think the pope deserves a listen-to.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: A listen-to.

    MARK SHIELDS: A shout-out.

    DAVID BROOKS: Very controversial.

    (CROSSTALK)

    (LAUGHTER)

    MARK SHIELDS: No, I do. I do.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK.

    So there was -- in sort of domestic political news, we almost started to look at campaign finance reform through the Treasury. We are looking at these -- quote, unquote -- "social welfare organizations" that have been very, very active in the entire political process now, 501(c)(4)s.

    So, first of all, for someone who might not have paid attention, what are the structural changes and why are they so important?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, some of them, it's like the David Koch organizations, some of the Tea Party organizations, as well as some environmental groups.

    And their giving has been ramping up from -- if you took total giving from these groups, it was in the single millions a few generations -- or a few elections ago, very recently.

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes.

    DAVID BROOKS: And now it's something like $300 million. It's just become an explosion.

    And so there's -- and this has all become fuzzy. Remember, the Tea Party thought they were being targeted. And it has just become fuzzy regulation. So, the administration's position is, we just wanted to tighten up the regulation and make it harder so they -- for these supposedly nonpartisan groups to give, put some limits on what they can say.

    The groups themselves says, we're mostly Republican-leaning. You're clamping down on us. You're not clamping down on unions. This is unfair. That's the essential argument.

    MARK SHIELDS: We had 32 years, from 1976 to 2008, in which we had elections.

    As somebody who spent his early year in politics, before I turned to journalism, by default, I can tell you, they were clean. Ronald Reagan three times ran for president. He accepted the limits on contributions, the limits on what you could spend, and he ran on public financing in the fall elections, when he won 49 states one time and 44 the next, George H.W. Bush twice, Bill Clinton twice, George W. Bush.

    And it changed in 2008. President Obama was the first president not to abide by the limits in the general election. And then along comes the Citizens United case decision at the Supreme Court, which took off all limits on spending.

    We had in the last election $470 million contributed by 100 individuals. And we don't know through these 501(c)(4)s, which are -- list themselves as social welfare organizations, charitable organizations, we don't know who is contributing. They can hide behind that.

    So, we have gone from total disclosure and limitations to no disclosure and no limits. And anybody who thinks that is good for politics in the long run, you know, I just wish anybody on the Supreme Court who voted that way had ever run for sheriff, because they would know, people who give money in large amount in politics are basically not altruistic.

    They have some issue. They have some interest. And it's -- you know, it may be world peace. It may be preserving carried interest. But it's not altruistic.

    DAVID BROOKS: Right.

    MARK SHIELDS: And that has changed our democracy.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes.

    And I would say this is -- may be one of those issues where moderation is not the answer; the middle way is the worst possible way. So, I think there are two basic approaches you can use for campaign finance. One is complete openness, everybody knows absolutely everything, but no limits. But you let people decide.

    The other is just have a national public system. What we have is a hybrid, which is the worst of both worlds. And so to that -- to this -- to the extent that it's going to crack down on some of these charitable giving groups, which, let's face it, they're very polarizing -- they tend to drive candidates to extremes.

    MARK SHIELDS: That's right.

    DAVID BROOKS: It's probably a good thing.

    It's tough to do it from Treasury, which looks -- it looks a little political.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK.

    MARK SHIELDS: David's point about their giving and the limitations as to what people can give, the reality is this, Hari, that when there are no limits, candidates then just seek a wealthy individual.

    I mean, and that's all you are pleasing. And that -- there was a time when political support was reflected in financial support, if you won New Hampshire or you did well in the Iowa caucuses. Now all you have to do is court two or three major benefactors, and they will keep you alive, and keep you alive even on a single issue that they care about.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Last pressing question -- about a minute left -- what are you thankful for?

    MARK SHIELDS: I'm thankful -- and Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal reminded me of this today in her piece -- that certain employers like Nordstrom and Costco and others to let their employees have Thanksgiving...

    HARI SREENIVASAN: That's great.

    MARK SHIELDS: ... and didn't open their stores on Thursday.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes.

    I'm thankful that we live in a crassly commercial, polarized culture, so media...

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: ... jackals like me have a lot of work to do.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: No.

    I have actually made more personal friends this year than I have maybe since I was in high school, so that's...

    (CROSSTALK)

    MARK SHIELDS: Really?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. All right, including Mark Shields. All right.

    DAVID BROOKS: I knew him before.

    (LAUGHTER)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, you can hear Mark Shields and David Brooks weigh in on their opinion on college football's biggest day, rivalry Saturday. That will be on The Doubleheader that will be posted online.

     


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  • 11/30/13--06:43: #BANGKOK
  • MORE: Protests in Thai capital turn violent, with at least 1 man killed and 5 others wounded by gunshots: http://t.co/cyB3MkGWWh -KM

    — The Associated Press (@AP) November 30, 2013

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    Thousands -- including political party members, members of the civil society -- stage a march against racism on Nov. 30, 2013 in Paris, France. Credit: Omur Melih Uzelce/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Thousands marched through central Paris on Saturday to celebrate the thirty-year anniversary of France's national anti-racist movement.

    The first "March for Equality and Against Racism" was held in Paris on Dec. 3, 1983.

    The demonstrators marched to Place de la Bastille -- the famed site of the "storming of the Bastille" that now serves as a galvanizing landmark for protests and other political events.

    According to Radio France Internationale, union members as well as the leader of the far-Left Front de Gauche party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, attended the event.

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  • 11/30/13--09:47: #PHOTO
  • PHOTOS: Awe-inspiring moments on an African safari. http://t.co/Jx1fri6baVpic.twitter.com/jWvLRY4HHV

    — The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) November 30, 2013

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    Late Thursday, a prominent Egyptian political activist, Alaa Abd El Fattah, was arrested in his home in Cairo.

    Alaa Abd El Fattah Alaa Abd El Fattah at his home in Cairo, 2007. Credit: NOW on PBS

    Abd El Fattah's wife, Manal Hassan, told the Egyptian independent news site Mada Masr on Thursday that armed men broke into their house in the middle of the night, and "began confiscating the family's computers and mobile phones."

    According to Hassan, when Abd El Fattah asked to see the arrest warrant, the men "beat him and slapped [her] across the face."

    Last Tuesday, Abd El Fattah was accused of organizing a protest against military trials for civilians. Authorities said his actions were in violation of a new law that restricts any street protests without the government's permission.

    Egypt's prime minister said the law is necessary so the right to protest can be met with "a sense of responsibility so it won't damage security or terrorize or assault establishments."

    The new law prompted thousands to take to the streets Tuesday -- and dozens were reportedly arrested.

    Abd El Fattah denied calling for the protest but announced his opposition to the law. He was also charged with "thuggery and incitement of violence" according to Al Ahram online.

    I first met Abd El Fattah in 2007 while reporting on the state of political activism under President Hosni Mubarak.

    Abd El Fattah had been imprisoned under the regime and spoke to me about his experience.

    Abd El Fattah spoke with Mona Iskander for NOW on PBS in 2007.

    Much of our conversation focused on the risks he had taken in the name of freedom of speech.

    "You always know in theory the kind of price you might have to pay" he said. "But now I know more about it, especially after seeing what others went through."

    At the time, Abd El Fattah and his wife were on the front line of a small group of activists who harnessed the power of social media in Egypt to push democracy.

    "It just takes a small number of people who are willing to challenge these limitations and an even smaller number who are willing to pay the price and these are enough to win this freedom for everyone else," he said.

    Today, six years later, that world of activists has grown exponentially.

    But through each political transition, activists like Abd El Fattah have continued to face the ire of those in power.

    Abd El Fattah was arrested in 2011 by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and remained detained for two months. And earlier this year, he faced charges under President Mohamed Morsi.

    According to Mada Masr, Abd El Fattah is currently being held at the Central Security Forces barracks outside of Cairo pending investigations.

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    It's 5 p.m. EDT -- where are you getting your news? PBS NewsHour Weekend is streaming live on our UStream channel.

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    HARI SREENIVASAN:   Starting tomorrow the administration hopes the website can sign up as many of 50,000 people at once. Their goal is to have seven million people by the end of March.  For more on this we are joined by Sharon Pettypiece, she’s a healthcare report for Bloomberg News who has worked the beat for the past decade.

    It’s odd for me to be almost asking for a website update – but how is it doing? Is it

    SHANNON PETTYPIECE:  Well, it’s better than October 1st, that’s for sure but that doesn’t mean too much because if you remember October 1st, people were logging on and not getting past the homepage. They have been making progress. But as of last week, myself and my colleagues were out talking to people – talking to consumers; talking to insurance brokers; talking to non-profits that were trying to sign people up – they were saying that this site is still in pretty rough shape. A couple people gave it four out of ten as far as its functioning, obviously ten being the best.

    One of the problems we’re hearing about most from people is that though the site has improved and now you can get to the last step – you can create an account, shop around for plans, find out if you are eligible for subsidies – but you get to the point where you say ‘OK, I’m ready to buy insurance,’ which if you recall is the whole point of this website, that’s where it locks up. That’s where it breaks down. So only a trickle of people is actually being able to buy an insurance plan.

    And then there’s another issue on the back end that we’re hearing from insurers who are telling us the data from this website is still not being transmitted to them well. They are still not getting accurate information about who is signing up. People are signing up for insurance and not sure if the insurers are getting that information. So there are still a lot of very fundamental issues going on with this site. The administration says that they are working over the weekend. They’re still working. They’re still trying to work these out. Those on the front line of signing people up, they’re still quite skeptical at this point.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  One of the reasons is that this is almost a proxy for the entire efficacy of the law that people are looking at this so closely. So let’s say best case scenario – let’s say that tomorrow it launches and everything works as expected – does they math add up? Even at 50,000 people a day can they get to seven million by March?

    SHANNON PETTYPIECE:  And there is the question of how many people are going to flood on at any one time. So theoretically, yes, by March 31st, that’s the when you have to sign up in order to comply with this mandate and not have to pay a penalty – theoretically they should be able to get enough people to sign up. But the concern is, that your show and other shows are going to be talking about how the administration plans to have this website functioning much better by December 1st, so a million people are going to show up and it’s going to crash the site again, So, right now they’ve gotten it to the point that about 50,000 people can be on it at any one time and it can handle about 80,000 people a day. Now if a million people or two million people show up on one day or close to the deadline that could bring the whole site down again. That’s the concern.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  So we should remind people that this is just for 36 states and that online is only one way of to do it.

    SHANNON PETTYPIECE:  And again, the 36 states is important too because if you’re in one of those 14 states – New York, California – that built their own exchanges you could be watching this right now and saying what are you saying about problems signing up on the website, I signed up just fine.  Those states, tens of thousands of people have been able to get on there are enroll. It’s this federal site, healthcare.gov, that’s having all these issues.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  And you can still call and go to a center, etc.

    SHANNON PETTYPIECE:  Yes, and a lot of people are filling out and have been filling out these paper applications that they non-profit groups are giving them. But those could take a couple months to process so there’s a concern about that as well.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  Shannon Pettypiece, thank you.   


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: You might not have been paying especially close attention to the news the past couple of days. So you might have missed what many believe is a serious escalation of tensions in the Pacific between some of the great powers of the world -- China on one side and Japan and the United States on the other. It's all about a dispute between Japan and China over control of five very small islands in the East China Sea.

    The story is especially relevant for American viewers because the islands are administered by Japan. And under a treaty, the United States is obligated to defend Japan against any attack on territory it administers.

    For more about all of this, we are joined now by John Bussey. He is the assistant managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. Earlier in his career, he was the newspaper's foreign editor and before that, he was its Tokyo correspondent.

    So why do these five island matter so much to China and Japan?

    JOHN BUSSEY: They are in the East China Sea. They have unknown oil and gas deposits beneath them. They are the government trade routes for whoever has authority over them. They are kind of significant from a geographical standpoint, and an energy standpoint and an emotional standpoint for both of these countries. China says they are way too far from Japan to be part of Japan. Japan says look we’ve administered them for years, they’re ours.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What’s the latest in this round of escalation that’s been happening. China sent fighter jets, scrambled them, to make sure the Japanese jets and U.S. jets that are in that airspace aren’t going there?

    JOHN BUSSEY: So Japan has been administering the islands and China claims their as their own. So China has declared a defense identification zone that incorporate the islands essentially into the security of China. Anyone who flies there must submit a flight path agreement to China. They must also identify themselves far in advance and must hue to whatever China says they must do in the air.  So if you’re flying in and they say “take a left” you have to take a left. The U.S. says “no way” and they flew some B52s through there, Japan did the same and South Korea has done the same thing.

    The commercial carriers are being more cautious. Some in Asia have already started submitting their flight plans to China even though that is seen by the national governments as kowtowing to the Chinese demands.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So if there’s a U.S. aircraft that you’re on and they are flying overseas are they giving the flight plans to China as if its already their territory?

    JOHN BUSSEY: Just yesterday the United States advised the carriers to provide those flight plans. I think what the U.S. wants to avoid is any escalation that leads to a mistake. If China is scrambling jets, as it now is, to tag along with some of the military planes that are wandering through the zone. Now, this is a very heavily trafficked area – if you are going to fly from Hong Kong to Japan you are going to fly through it. International flights and all the regional flights have to go through it. What the U.S. doesn’t want to have happen is there to be a mistake. And there have been mistakes in the past. A Chinese fighter jet in 2001 hit a U.S. surveillance craft, supposedly in international air space the U.S. claimed; the Chinese said you’re just too close to our coast.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So Vice President Biden heading to the region this coming week. What does the Obama administration say about all of this?

    JOHN BUSSEY: The U.S. has said ‘this is unacceptable. You are being way too provocative. It’s escalating tensions in the region.’ For China they is playing into Japan’s hands because Japan wants to strengthen its military; wants to change its constitution; is now seeking domestic support for that. This is going to create more domestic support for that. It’s also going to alienate China from its regional role and the strength that it wanted to project to its  neighbors and the friendliness that it wanted to project. It’s going to enhance the U.S. position in the region as an alternative to China. I think a lot of these countries are going to be very happy that the U.S. has a presence in Asia.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So what are the real risks here of all this sabre rattling?

    JOHN BUSSEY: I think it is an escalation that you don’t expect. If you are looking at the blogs in China there is a great deal inherent nationalism that China’s feeling because of its substantial economic success of the last 30 years reflected in its relations as well. So they bloggers are saying ‘get those flights out of the – get those B52s out of there.’ So Chinese are playing to a nationalistic domestic audience. They are trying to play with the international audience and seem flexible. But if there are fight jets in the air and they are dogging each other there could be a mistake and that’s what the U.S. and Japan are particularly concerned about.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: John Bussey from The Wall Street Journal, thanks so much.

    JOHN BUSSEY:  My pleasure.


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    Editor's note: This piece was first broadcast on The NewsHour on September 19, 2013.

    APRIL BROWN: It's a day of fishing out in the Arctic Ocean for brothers Brower and Jack Frantz. They are checking on nets they have recently set near the shoreline of Point Barrow, the northernmost tip of America that sits more than 300 miles above the Arctic Circle. Today's catch is seen as a moderate success.

    The brothers were born and raised in nearby Barrow, Alaska, one of eight villages in the North Slope borough, an area that sprawls across more than 90,000 square miles and that for most of the year can only be reached by plane, or, depending on the sea ice, ship.

    Nearly 5,000 people call Barrow home. Roughly half are native Inupiat Eskimos. For Brower and Jack, today is simply another day at the office. They are often in search of walrus, seals and, when the season is right twice a year, they go for the biggest prize of them all, bowhead whales.

    The marine mammal that has been at the center of Inupiat culture for generations. All of their catch will later be shared with their family and friends.

    BROWER FRANTZ, fisherman: I guess that you could say it's a certain standing within your community. You provide for your community. You assist others with providing for your community. It's like a job. You have a job and you need workers while you catch a walrus or a whale or a seal. And they -- they don't get paid with money. They get paid with the shares from these animals. It's a great bounty.

    APRIL BROWN: It's part of a subsistence tradition that has been handed down over centuries and includes hunting land animals and birds as well.

    MICHAEL DONOVAN, Barrow, Alaska: This is our garden, our grocery store. You know, you can pretty much off the land.

    APRIL BROWN: This lifestyle can be traced back to 400 A.D., when the first humans settled around present-day Barrow, but Michael Donovan worries that, because of rising temperatures and melting sea ice, future generations may not be able to live the same way.

    MICHAEL DONOVAN: Yes, it's definitely changing a lot, and it's kind of hard to say if our younger generations will be able to do what we do.

    APRIL BROWN: Donovan grew up in Barrow. He uses his local knowledge to help with logistics and acts as a polar bear guard for a company that provides field support for scientists working in the area, among them, Ignatius Rigor, a climatologist at the University of Washington's Polar Ice Center.

    He is in Barrow to check on buoys deployed across the Arctic Ocean that measure surface air temperature and air pressure. Like many scientists studying changes in the region, Rigor has been coming to the Arctic for years.

    IGNATIUS RIGOR, University of Washington's Polar Ice Center: This is the front line of global climate change. You know, basically before the planet can heat up, you have to -- just like your glass of water, before it can get warm, you have to get rid of the ice. And so we are seeing the ice disappear and we are seeing the Arctic Ocean start to warm up.

    APRIL BROWN: Average winter temperatures have risen sharply in the Arctic over the past few decades. And Rigor, an expert on sea ice, says the result has had major consequences.

    IGNATIUS RIGOR: This ice is melting away dramatically. Each summer, we have lost more than half of the ice cover that we typically have. And we have lost a lot of the thickness of sea ice.

    And so, taken together, the total volume of sea ice is down to less than 40 percent of what it used to be.

    APRIL BROWN: For centuries, what's known as multi-year ice, or the accumulation of sea ice from one year to the next, has been crucial to life here.

    It provides whaling captains like Harry Brower the peace of mind to know that his crew can stand on thick ice while hunting whales, something Inupiats still have special permission to do. But in the past few years, Brower says he's seen mostly stretches of small, shallow ice that are extremely dangerous for hunters, and because of the conditions, the community has struggled to reach its annual quota.

    HARRY BROWER, whaling captain: Last spring was very poor. We didn't even harvest one for Barrow throughout the whole migratory season.

    APRIL BROWN: Poor whaling seasons have also hurt other communities along the North Slope, where the cost of living is roughly 275 percent higher than it is for Americans in the Lower 48. Residents routinely pay more than $10 for a gallon of milk.

    HARRY BROWER: That becomes a food shortage in a sense, if you think about, you know, one whale providing for a whole community.

    APRIL BROWN: Arctic archaeologist Anne Jensen also points to another consequence of sea ice melting: coastal erosion. Sea ice offers Barrow shores protection. And now that it's starting to disappear, waves have begun washing away Inupiat artifacts that are thousands of years old, taking with them a past that Jensen says could provide clues for the future.

    ANNE JENSEN, Arctic archaeologist: When we lose archaeological sites, we not only lose information about people's heritage and the past, but if you have a site that's what they called stratified, so you have layers, you can actually see how things changed through time, how people's subsistence changed.

    But if the sites fall in the water before you excavate them, then it's like burning libraries.

    APRIL BROWN: Even though the melting sea ice is changing the way a lot of residents here on the North Slope of Alaska go about their traditions, it's also bringing economic opportunities.

    Sea routes once blocked by layers of impenetrable ice have recently begun opening, and many corporations are eying ways to push further into the resource-rich Arctic. Oil and gas companies already operating in the region pay taxes that finance the North Slope boroughs' $350 million annual budget.

    ANTHONY EDWARDSEN, Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation: Without that support of the industry, we won't have anything. It's -- our people got to have jobs.

    APRIL BROWN: Anthony Edwardsen is the president of the Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation that promotes economic growth in the North Slope.

    Oil was discovered in nearby Prudhoe Bay in the 1960s and has transformed an area that at the time was largely without electricity, running water and modern schools.

    ANTHONY EDWARDSEN: I strongly believe when it comes to the industry, we benefit, as long as it's divided among us in an equal way.

    APRIL BROWN: Today, the North Slope produces as much as one-fifth of the nation's oil. But despite the economic upside of melting sea ice in the Arctic, Ignatius Rigor says Inupiats remain divided on further offshore development that could threaten their traditional lifestyle.

    IGNATIUS RIGOR: The local populations are torn because they realize that there is a bounty off their coast that could really improve their lifestyle, but those bounties also could be catastrophic for their way of life. And if an accident happens, you know, there goes subsistence hunting and whaling.

    APRIL BROWN: Michael Donovan says that if the choice were left up to him, it would be an easy one.

    MICHAEL DONOVAN: Even if they paid me a million dollars or $100 million, I wouldn't trade this lifestyle for anything in the world.

    APRIL BROWN: The people of Alaska's North Slope are likely to face a range of climate decisions soon, as scientists predict that the Arctic is warming nearly twice as fast as any place on the planet.


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    A passenger train derailed Sunday morning in the Bronx, killing at least four people. The train, headed to Grand Central Station from Poughkeepsie, left the tracks around 7:20 a.m.

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  • 12/01/13--09:40: #KIEV
  • PHOTO: A protester with a chain clashes with police during a mass rally of the opposition in Kiev, Ukraine pic.twitter.com/HOpGoHbAR3

    — Agence France-Presse (@AFP) December 1, 2013

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