Articles on this Page
- 07/08/14--11:33: _With knives and ham...
- 07/08/14--11:38: _Twitter Chat: Trust...
- 07/08/14--12:12: _Messaging app Yo al...
- 07/08/14--12:47: _Get in line if you ...
- 07/08/14--13:22: _Scientific journal ...
- 07/08/14--14:05: _How Obama would use...
- 07/08/14--14:51: _The top tweets from...
- 07/08/14--15:02: _News Wrap: Kerry wa...
- 07/08/14--15:07: _White House proposa...
- 07/08/14--15:14: _Sen. Flake: Obama’s...
- 07/08/14--15:20: _Israeli forces laun...
- 07/08/14--15:23: _With no sign of cea...
- 07/08/14--15:30: _Chicago grapples wi...
- 07/08/14--15:38: _Grassroots reformer...
- 07/08/14--15:47: _Why ‘Doctor Zhivago...
- 07/09/14--11:33: _Former mayor of New...
- 07/09/14--13:29: _Don’t pet the new S...
- 07/09/14--13:54: _PHOTO: Immigrants t...
- 07/09/14--14:31: _Lawsuit accuses Ant...
- 07/09/14--15:02: _News Wrap: Former N...
- 07/08/14--11:38: Twitter Chat: Trust and the Sharing Economy
- 07/08/14--12:12: Messaging app Yo alerts Israelis to rocket attacks
- 07/08/14--12:47: Get in line if you dare — world’s tallest water slide opens Thursday
- 07/08/14--13:22: Scientific journal Nature retracts controversial stem cell papers
- 07/08/14--14:05: How Obama would use $3.7 billion on border crisis
- $879 million for detention and removal
- $480 million for border agent overtime and temporary duties, as well as detention facility costs, medical costs and transportation
- $109 million for expanded investigations in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
- $39 million for increased border air surveillance
- 07/08/14--14:51: The top tweets from Brazil vs. Germany World Cup match
- 07/08/14--15:30: Chicago grapples with how to curb gun violence after deadly weekend
- 07/08/14--15:47: Why ‘Doctor Zhivago’ was dangerous
- 07/09/14--13:29: Don’t pet the new Secret Service dogs at the White House
- 07/09/14--14:31: Lawsuit accuses Anthem Blue Cross of misleading ‘millions’
Video produced by Laila Kazmi, edited by Aileen Imperial and shot by Aileen Imperial and Greg Davis, KCTS 9.
Humaira Abid is chiseling a carefully selected piece of wood. She stops and examines the object thoughtfully, resting her hand next to an assortment of carving knives, chisels and hammers, placed neatly on her low worktable. The piece she is carving is for an upcoming exhibit.
Abid is a sculptor and painter. Based in the Seattle area, she spends several months out of each year in Lahore, Pakistan, where she grew up and still maintains her main studio. Her work is a reflection of her experiences in both countries. The walls of her Seattle studio are lined with bins full of everyday objects carved masterfully in wood. Pacifiers — hundreds of them — stained red, black, cherry; wooden chains, painstakingly carved and assembled one link at a time; baby bottles molded with curves soft enough for a baby’s hands — all pieces from her last series called “Red.”
“That series, I have done after I had multiple miscarriages,” she explains. After going through the traumatic experience more than once, she learned how difficult it was for women to speak about.
“In (Pakistani) society, if you have a miscarriage, people think there is something wrong with you,” she says. “So women stopped talking about it.”
Abid wanted to talk about her experience. So she did in the way she knew best — through art. It is a theme that resonates through most of her work, making her viewer come face-to-face with the unspoken yet daily pressures of womanhood — pressures that, Abid believes, exist regardless of cultural boundaries.
She is very much inspired by the social issues that exist in Pakistan and she believes that living in the U.S. part-time gives her a different perspective. Abid grew up with a very open-minded family and traveled a lot. Through that experience, Abid often faced people’s misconceptions of her home country.
“I remember a couple of times when I went to workshops in other countries and once in Malaysia, I was the only woman in the whole camp of wood-sculpting,” she says.
“I got this comment from somebody there, ‘Oh, we’re surprised to see you. We thought in Pakistan men are with guns on their shoulders and women are locked in their houses … But our big cities are like any other big cities. It also depends on your location and as well as on the family.”
When it comes to her art, the sculptor doesn’t reflect the explicit violence that so many outsiders associate with Pakistan. In her opinion, violence is not only on the streets, but it is often inside the home as well.
“For women when they don’t get freedom, when they don’t get to make their choices, domestic violence. I’m interested in those areas more.”
Abid works in two very different mediums: miniature painting, which is “small and two-dimensional,” and sculpture, “generally larger in scale and three-dimensional.” She studied both art forms in Lahore at the National College of Arts, Pakistan’s oldest and best-known art school.While her family didn’t at first understand her choice to study art — they didn’t consider being an artist a viable profession — they have since become very supportive and accepting of her work. This attitude shift is something that Abid is noticing in her country more and more. She believes that artists finding success abroad, including herself and those who paved the way for her, has helped open doors for a new generation of Pakistani artists.
As she assembles the piece for her upcoming series, she smiles. “I enjoy doing things that people think are not possible or are very difficult.” It’s that challenge that made her select sculpture as her primary art form in the first place and it’s what still drives her to keep pushing the boundaries in her art.
Local Beat is a weekly series on Art Beat that features arts and culture stories from PBS member stations around the nation.
The post With knives and hammers, Pakistani sculptor chisels away at taboos for women appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
On your next vacation you could sleep in a stranger’s house, ride in a different stranger’s car, and do it all while a person you’ve never met watches your dog.
Critics of the social web often condemn the Internet as a poor substitute for genuine social interaction, but a slew of businesses, such as AirBnB, the ride-sharing website Lyft and the pet-sitting network Dogvacay, allow individuals to exchange goods and services directly, without the federally regulated corporate middlemen that have been in place since the Industrial Revolution. The “peer-to-peer,” or “sharing economy” has led to a new, more intimate form of commerce. Participants place trust in their neighbors, as the economic downturn has shaken trust in traditional companies.
The sharing economy has the potential to put an end to over consumption and usher in a return to the faith-based system of commerce that prevailed prior to the Industrial Era. It also poses a possible threat to the recovery of the traditional economy, and presents participants with a variety of inherent risks.
We want to hear from you. Have you ever participated in the sharing economy? Would you? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Join us this Thursday, July 10, from 1-2pm EDT, for a Twitter chat on trust and the sharing economy. Follow along or chime-in using #NewsHourChats.
Yo, the messaging app whose initial purpose was to send “yo” alerts to your phone in advance of someone’s arrival — a feat that earned it a whopping $1.2 million in funding — has a newfound use.
According to Fast Company, the app will now send push notifications to Israelis living abroad, informing them of Palestinian rocket attacks in their home country. Yo has teamed up with the IsraeliColor Red app, “an unofficial, self-described ‘propaganda tool’.”
The app isn’t meant to offer real-time safety warnings, but rather, is designed purely as an informational tool.
The post Messaging app Yo alerts Israelis to rocket attacks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
It’s named the Verrückt, which in German means “insane”.
At 168 feet tall, or 17 stories high, it has the seal of approval from Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest water slide. To be among the first to ride it, get in line on Thursday at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas, but be forewarned: its opening has already been delayed twice for additional testing.
The first humans to take the test plunge were the slide’s engineer and the designer of the water park, seen in the video above. Those brave enough to try the slide will ride in four-person rafts at speeds of 60 to 70 per hour.
The post Get in line if you dare — world’s tallest water slide opens Thursday appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Last week, the scientific journal Nature retracted two papers which claimed that skin cells could be turned into stem cells. PBS NewsHour interviewed lead author Dr. Charles Vacanti of Brigham and Women’s Hospital about the studies in January.
Vacanti and scientists from the RIKEN Institute in Japan claimed that bathing adult mouse cells in a mild acid made the cells behave like embryonic stem cells. It appeared to be an inexpensive way to create stem cells without destroying an embryo.
Controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells has slowed research progress. While it is possible to make stem cells from other sources, doing so is costly and takes time. If true, the finding would have opened new avenues for stem cell-related research and therapies.
But other scientists could not recreate stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells. An investigation in April found that RIKEN Institute junior scientist Haruko Obokata had falsely identified some of the images in the study, and plagiarized some of the descriptions in the paper. The studies’ authors pointed to five more errors when the journal printed its retraction last week, including images that claimed to show two different things, but actually showed the same thing.
“We apologize for the mistakes included in the Article and Letter,” the authors wrote in a statement. “These multiple errors impair the credibility of the study as a whole and we are unable to say without doubt whether the STAP-SC phenomenon is real.”
The post Scientific journal Nature retracts controversial stem cell papers appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
President Barack Obama asked Congress Tuesday for $3.7 billion to deal with the influx of unaccompanied minors at the Southern U.S. border.
The request was made in what’s known as a supplemental funding request sent to congressional leaders in a letter. The administration wants the money to be available for use through the end of this year and next year.
The request has to be brought to the floor and voted on. Through a spokesman, House Speaker John Boehner has already said he does not like the fact that using the National Guard wasn’t part of the request. The White House says they do not intend to use the National Guard because the minors are turning themselves in at the border, and the National Guard can be used elsewhere.
So what does the administration want to do with that money?
The White House plans to use funds for:
1. Deterrence: Increased detainment and removal of adults with children and increased court capacity. That means being able to put more people through the system more quickly. That, though, would mean more judges. It’s not clear, however, where those judges would come from. The White House points to the Justice Department and says it would have to decide how that happens.
2. Enforcement: Enhanced interdiction and prosecution of criminal networks. That would include increased surveillance and an expansion of law enforcement cooperation across borders, as well as within the U.S. to root out drug gang violence.
3. Foreign cooperation: Get the children to safe environments in their home countries, or improved repatriation. That means foreign aid to help the countries — where the children are coming from — improve their systems. It also means that the Obama administration wants Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, where the children are mostly coming from, to run public-information campaigns that tell people not to come to the U.S. or send their kids.
4. Capacity: More detainment facilities and increased capacity to provide care for the children. This includes identifying appropriate locations and providing resources for the particular care needed for children. Will this mean more money for local municipalities where children will be off loaded? Individual agencies will, when appropriate, partner with state and local agencies, said White House Deputy Press Secretary Shawn Turner.
What they are not asking for, however, is a change to a 2008 child-trafficking law, signed by former President George W. Bush, that makes it necessary for children to appear in court and provide care for them.
By the numbers: How would the Obama administration allocate the money?
$1.8 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services to care for the children, provide housing and address medical needs.
$1.5 billion to the Department of Homeland Security, including:
$300 million to the State Department for foreign aid, and to reintegrate children in their home countries. It also includes a $5 million State Department ad campaign in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, to deter parents and children from making the trip to the U.S.
$64 million to the Department of Justice for more judges, including $45 million for the addition of 40 more judges teams. The White House believes this could mean processing 55,000 to 75,000 cases more per year; $15 million for lawyers for the children.
Before half time, Brazil fans started leaving the stadium.
Six: Number of minutes for Germany to get four more goals, to speed past Brazil 5-0 by halftime in the World Cup semifinal match on Tuesday. (The final score was 7-1.)
Five: Number of minutes before first Internet memes starting appearing. Here’s a roundup:
If only the Germans had a word for taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others.
— delrayser (@delrayser) July 8, 2014
The World Cup goes until July 13. See all of the PBS NewsHour’s World Cup coverage.
The post The top tweets from Brazil vs. Germany World Cup match appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The political turmoil in Afghanistan deepened today. Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah declared he won last month’s runoff election. He claimed it was widespread fraud that gave former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani 56 percent of the vote.
At a Kabul rally, thousands of Abdullah’s supporters tore down a banner of current President Hamid Karzai and demanded Abdullah form his own parliament. The candidate vowed he will not give in.
ABDULLAH ABDULLAH, Presidential Candidate, Afghanistan (through interpreter): The people of Afghanistan, you honored us. You voted for us. Some of you lost your beloved families during the election campaign. We owe you. I assure you all that I’m ready to sacrifice myself and will not accept the fraudulent government.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Abdullah spoke by phone last night with President Obama. The White House says the president urged calm. Secretary of State John Kerry warned any attempt by anyone to seize power could jeopardize U.S. aid to Afghanistan.
GWEN IFILL: Iraq’s new parliament, under pressure to choose new national leaders, has moved up the date of its next session to July 13. Officials initially said the session wouldn’t begin until August, but they were heavily criticized for taking an extended break in the face of a Sunni insurgency.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The government in Ukraine took a harder line today with pro-Russian rebels. The defense minister said cease-fire talks can begin only if the rebels lay down their arms. Over the weekend, Ukraine’s military drove separatists from their stronghold in Slavyansk. They retreated to Donetsk, amidst signs of divisions among the rebels.
One rebel leader said today that his fighters are ready to strike back, even as he questioned how much support they still have from Moscow.
GWEN IFILL: Russia is saying the U.S. kidnapped a Russian man accused of hacking store computers to steal credit card data. The Secret Service says he’s now in Guam, awaiting a hearing on charges of bank fraud, possessing stolen credit cards and identity theft. Moscow says his arrest in the Maldives was in violation of a bilateral treaty.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A powerful typhoon hit Southern Japan today, and nearly 600,000 people were urged to get out of its path. The storm passed the island of Okinawa this evening with sustained winds of 100 miles per hour. It knocked out power to thousands and shut down airports and other transport. About 25,000 U.S. troops are based at Okinawa. They were ordered to stay indoors during the storm.
GWEN IFILL: Republicans will hold their 2016 national convention in Cleveland. The party’s site selection panel picked Cleveland over Dallas today. The full Republican National Committee is expected to ratify the choice next month. There’s no firm date yet for the convention. Democrats have not yet picked their site.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Legal sales of marijuana began in Washington State today. As reporters looked on, would-be buyers lined up at a handful of stores around the state. Under a voter-approved law, they no longer need a medical excuse to purchase pot. Washington joins Colorado as the only two states allowing sales of marijuana for recreational use.
GWEN IFILL: Ford has added 100,000 vehicles to the long list of recalls this year. Today’s announcement involves cars and SUVs that may have problems with the front axle. They include the 2013 and 2014 Taurus, Flex and Police Interceptor and Ford Edge and Lincoln MKS, MKT, and MKX vehicles made since 2012.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A sell-off hit Wall Street today, as investors waited for corporate earnings report. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 117 points to close at 16,906. The Nasdaq was down 60 points to close at 4,391. And the S&P 500 dropped nearly 14 to 1,963.
GWEN IFILL: And in the World Cup, Germany stunned host country Brazil in a semifinal rout 7-1. The Germans broke it open with four goals in a six-minute span of the first half. Brazil played without its two best players, one hurt, the other suspended. Tomorrow, the Netherlands plays Argentina for the right to meet Germany in the championship.
The post News Wrap: Kerry warns attempts to seize power amid disputed Afghan election could jeopardize aid appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: President Obama is requesting $3.7 billion in emergency funds from Congress to deal with the influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border. About half the money would be used on care for the more than 50,000 children who have arrived in the U.S. since October, mostly from Central America. The rest would be spent on Border Patrol agents, additional immigration judges, surveillance and new detention facilities.
We are joined now by Cecilia Munoz, director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council.
Thank you so much for joining us.
Could you tell us what in the president’s proposal would slow the flow of immigrants?
CECILIA MUNOZ, White House Domestic Policy Council: Well, there are several things.
First of all, there are number of provisions and resources for our partner countries in Central America to make sure that we’re dealing with the root causes of the migration, that we’re disrupting the smuggling networks, which is an incredibly important factor in this migration, and that we’re actually helping them create centers for the process of repatriation and reintegration of those folks who are going to be returned.
So, that is a really critical element of what we’re seeing here. And then we’re also, as you mentioned, surging things like immigration judges, asylum officers to make sure we can honor any humanitarian claims from children or others that come forward and might qualify for some form of relief.
But then for others who are not going to qualify for relief, we want to make sure that we can get them answers to their cases expeditiously and then they will be removed to their home countries in cooperation with their home countries. But the most important thing here is making sure that we’re focusing on the smuggling networks, that we’re dealing with the root causes and that we’re effectively able to manage the migration that has already reached our border.
GWEN IFILL: What would you say are the root causes?
CECILIA MUNOZ: Well, it’s a combination of violence and poverty in Central America, but especially smuggling networks that are actively marketing to people the falsehood that if they spend money to get their children — to put their children in the hands of traffickers and make this incredibly dangerous journey that when then get to the United States, they will be allowed — they will be given permission to stay permanently.
This is incorrect. And it is obviously influencing a decision that parents are making which puts their children in really very grave danger. So we’re working very hard to disrupt those networks, but also to get accurate information to people who might be making this decision to put their kids in this kind of danger.
GWEN IFILL: You must be aware that immigration reform advocates, because you have met with them, think this may be a little too tough, that in fact you’re punishing the children who are trying to escape and should be treated as refugees instead.
CECILIA MUNOZ: Well, we’re making it as clear as possible that those who have humanitarian claims, we’re going to do the best possible job of hearing those claims, making sure that we provide relief when it’s available under the law to those who meet the standard.
But it should also be clear that the standard for asylum or other kinds of humanitarian claims is very high. And we think, just given the history of these kinds of claims, that a majority of the folks who are coming forward who are arriving in the U.S. are unlikely to qualify for relief, and so with our responsibility under the law to make sure that we return folks, but understanding especially in the case of children that we will need to be doing this in a way which doesn’t put them in any further danger, that we collaborate with their home countries to make sure that this is done properly.
So, we’re approaching this as an urgent humanitarian situation. But it’s also true that we have to make it clear to any parent who might be making the decision put their child in the hands of traffickers and smugglers that this is an incredibly dangerous thing to do and they shouldn’t do it based on the false premise that they’re guaranteed status in the United States, because that’s simply not true.
GWEN IFILL: Speaking of collaboration, the president when he travels to Texas tomorrow will be meeting with Governor Rick Perry. What is it he is hoping to share with him or too — what kind of support is he hoping to get from him for this proposal?
CECILIA MUNOZ: Well, he’s invited the governor to join him in meeting with advocates and faith leaders that are working to do something about the problem, that are working to help open facilities for some of these children in Texas.
So he’s hoping for a bipartisan collaboration, not only with the governor, but with the Congress. The president, as you mentioned, sent up a request for emergency funds to make sure that we have the resources to deal with this situation effectively and expeditiously. We have people on both sides of the aisle talking about how serious this problem is. We’re hoping for cooperation on both sides of the aisle in addressing it.
GWEN IFILL: Should the president be going to the border to see the conditions for himself?
CECILIA MUNOZ: Well, the president is focused, as he has been throughout this situation, on making sure that the government all across the federal government is doing everything that we can to deal with the situation effectively.
So that includes making sure that the various agencies of the federal government, from DHS to DOJ to HHS and the Defense Department, are working collaboratively to provide shelter for these kids, to surge our resources, to make sure we can handle these cases expeditiously, to make sure we’re doing what we ought to be doing to disrupt these smuggling networks.
The president is focused on what’s going to be most effective in dealing with a problem and he’s urging others to do the same.
GWEN IFILL: Speaker Boehner has suggested that the president should be empowering the National Guard to go to the border to help with border security. What do you say to that?
CECILIA MUNOZ: Well, it’s not clear what kind of role the National Guard would play.
The issue is not that we are not apprehending people. We are in fact apprehending large numbers of people. The issue is having the facilities to manage those cases properly, to make sure that children are receiving the appropriate kinds of care, and to make sure that we have the capacity to surge judicial resources, asylum officers to make sure we’re hearing humanitarian claims where they’re being made.
Those are not things that the National Guard can do. And we have already got the Defense Department engaged. They have provided so far three facilities where we’re housing children.
GWEN IFILL: How do you know that these children who you are now basically saying will have to go home once they have gone through this judicial process, how do you know they’re — how will you be able to tell that they’re not being trafficked, in fact, that they’re not refugees?
CECILIA MUNOZ: So this is a process which already exists.
You have to make sure that there are — that there’s representation for the kids, which has been a challenge. We in fact announced a new justice corps where we’re trying to recruit volunteer lawyers to help provide representation for these kids.
We have trained asylum officers, trained officers that are part of the DHS system whose job it is to make sure that they can have these kinds of conversations in a way which elicits the information which might highlight this kind of humanitarian claim. We need more of those officers. That’s part of what was — part of the immigration reform that the president has been pushing forward.
We have a backlogged immigration court system. The immigration reform included more resources, so that we can bring more judges to these kinds of cases. So, we’re going to surge the resources that we have got to make sure that we’re dealing with these new entrants at the border, but we need some cooperation in Congress to make sure that we can bring additional resources to bear to do this more effectively.
GWEN IFILL: Cecilia Munoz, director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council, thank you very much.
CECILIA MUNOZ: Thank you.
The post White House proposal to stem flow of migrant children aims to tackle root causes appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: For another point of view, we turn now to Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senator Flake, thank you for joining us.
You signed a letter recently, late last month, in which you urged the government not to give special treatment to these children coming across the borders. Does the president’s proposal, his request today, does it satisfy your concerns?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE, R, Ariz.: Well, no, it doesn’t.
But let me first say I wrote a letter with Senator McCain and then Senator Feinstein, and I wrote a letter encouraging the president and the administration to make clear that those who are coming now, these unaccompanied minors, would be unlikely to qualify for deferred action or any legislation proposed by Congress.
And I applaud the president for making that statement and his administration. The problem I see with this — with this proposal before Congress is, the bulk of the money, $1.8 billion of it, will go to the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s not money that goes to deport anyone or to provide border enforcement.
That’s money to actually settle these children with families or a guardian somewhere in the country. And so at best it’s a very, very mixed message, and at worst, it’s telling the cartels and the human smugglers that the same situation we have now is going to continue and to keep the kids coming.
GWEN IFILL: Let me get this correct. You believe that that money is going to keep the children in the country, rather than to care for them while they’re here before they are returned?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: Well, if you look at what HHS, their role when these kids are handed off from the Border Patrol, their role is to actually place those children in the care of a guardian or a family member.
And then what the records shows is that they’re told to appear later in court, where their case will be adjudicated. But 90 percent of them, 90 percent, do not then show up in court later. And so what you’re really saying to the cartels and the smugglers is that the same situation is going to continue.
Now, the administration makes the point that that’s a requirement of the current law. That’s why we need to change the current law. The anti-smuggling law passed in 2008 says that children from Central America, if you’re in a noncontiguous country, then we — have to be treated differently. And you have to have a day in court with a judge, rather than be handled administratively, like we do with kids from Mexico or from Canada.
GWEN IFILL: And if I recall correctly, in 2007, when were you in the House, you actually opposed the original law.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: I did. I should say I opposed it on budget reasons. I didn’t foresee this happening.
But, certainly, we ought to change it now, and I think the president initially said that it did need to be changed, and now perhaps has backed off a little. But we have got to change that, because, until we do, as long as these kids are placed with HHS, HHS does no due diligence.
It’s not their job, they will tell you, to determine who they’re placing these kids with. Once they’re placed somewhere in the country, 90 percent of them don’t show up for a court date. And so the message is clear, very clear, to the cartels and human smugglers and the families to go ahead and continue to send your kids here, because, although we can say until we’re blue in the face most of them won’t qualify for programs here in the U.S. to have some kind of treatment, they will get treatment or they will simply disappear into the population.
GWEN IFILL: So you don’t believe that — in any way that children should be treated differently?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: Well, what I believe is that children, whether they’re from Mexico or whether they’re from Honduras or El Salvador, should be treated the same. The problem is, it’s a loophole in the law. We didn’t foresee what would happen when this anti-smuggling law was passed in 2008.
And people very wise to this have taken advantage of this law to get kids into the country and then, knowing that they have to appear in court, and the court system is so backed up — and that I should point out that the money here for judges to expedite the court process is very minimal.
It’s just I think about $50 million, compared to $1.8 billion to HHS to actually place these kids in homes. So it’s — the message is actually quite bad here.
GWEN IFILL: You are among the members of the Senate who has suggested there should be some sort of broader immigration reform, yet you have also said that there will be no appetite for that in the House, that it will be next to zero chance of that happening this year. Given that, do you think there’s a chance at all for the House and the Senate to agree on even the legislative fix that you’re suggesting here?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: Well, I hope so. And I’m glad you made that point.
I am a member of the gang of eight. I believe in immigration reform. I agree with the president that we need it. And part of the problem here is we will never get there as long as this crisis persists. I do think there’s appetite in the House and in the Senate on a bipartisan basis to actually fix this problem.
And I should mention, in 2005, we had a big problem with the so-called OTMs, or other than Mexicans, coming, and largely from Brazil. They found — Brazilians, it’s a tight-knit community. They found that they could exploit our law, and we had a large number coming. And so there was a program called Texas Hold ‘Em actually where they caught them all, didn’t release them, and within 30 days, the number of Brazilians coming actually dropped by 50 percent.
And, within 60 days, it dropped by 90 percent. And so we need to treat this the same way.
GWEN IFILL: I guess my — pardon me. My question was whether Congress has the will to do anything like that right now.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: I do think so. This is such a crisis.
And keep in mind, this is a horrible humanitarian crisis. These kids are being put in the hands of smugglers that don’t have their best interests at heart. But I can tell you that we won’t stem the tide until people in Honduras and El Salvador and Guatemala actually see a plane coming back with children on it, and those parents say, I spent $5,000 to send that child to the States, and now they’re coming back.
That’s when you will stem the tide. That’s when you will do something that is good on a humanitarian basis. And so we have got to change that law that is allowing the loophole that allows these cartels to exploit these children.
GWEN IFILL: Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, thank you for joining us.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE: Thank you.
The post Sen. Flake: Obama’s proposal would allow migrant children to ‘disappear into the population’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the Middle East, tensions are running even higher, as fighting between Israel and Hamas intensified again today. Militant rockets reached Israel’s two largest cities, while Israeli airstrikes killed at least 25 people inside Gaza.There was chaos in the streets of Gaza, as Palestinians ran for shelter, while Israeli forces blasted the coastal enclave. Airstrikes and naval gunfire sent plumes of smoke billowing into the skies, reducing homes and buildings to piles of rubble. The Israeli military called It Operation Protective Edge and released aerial video showing the results. It said the targets included homes of Hamas militants who fire rockets into Southern Israel, plus concealed launch sites.
President Shimon Peres said his nation was left with no choice.
PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES, Israel: They are shooting at our children, at our mothers, at our civilians. What for? We cannot compromise with death. We cannot compromise with rockets. We cannot compromise with this sort of behavior. And we shall stop them.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The Israelis said more than 130 rockets were fired from Gaza in the last 24 hours. Some were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, including two rockets that targeted Tel Aviv, the deepest strike so far.
Later, air raid sirens also sounded in Jerusalem, but the military said there were no casualties. The government urged citizens living near Gaza to stay close to bomb shelters.
President Obama appealed for peace in a guest column for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. He wrote: “All parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution.”
But Hamas warned there would be no letup.
SAMI ABU ZUHRI, Spokesman, Hamas (through interpreter): The resistance is defending the Palestinian people. The occupation threats and crimes will not break our will. We will continue to defend our people against these crimes. We warn the occupation not to continue its crime against our people.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In turn, Israeli officials warned their offensive will go on until the rockets stop. They also left open the possibility of a ground invasion. Tanks and artillery have already massed along the Gaza border, and the Israeli government has authorized calling up 40,000 reservists.
The post Israeli forces launch airstrikes at Gaza to counter Hamas rocket attacks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A short time ago, I spoke with Josef Federman, who is reporting from Jerusalem for the Associated Press.
Josef, thank you for talking with us again.
How much has the situation escalated since I talked to you at this time yesterday?
JOSEF FEDERMAN, The Associated Press: Well, clearly, it’s a lot worse.
Israel carried out, I think, over 150 airstrikes overnight and throughout the day. Hamas responded with about the same number of rockets. So the number of attacks are much higher than what we have seen in the past few days. Also, the rockets are flying further than we have seen before. We had airstrikes here in Jerusalem tonight, also in Tel Aviv. And there were even air raid sirens north of Tel Aviv. This is deeper than anything has ever flown before, so Israel’s sort of dealing with uncharted waters right now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, describe the scene where you are in Israel. How are people dealing with it there?
JOSEF FEDERMAN: Yes, it’s a difficult situation, I think, for everyone. The sound of air raid sirens, it’s a very chilling experience to go through. You never really get used to it, and people have learned to stay store indoors or close to shelter. And you see these sirens going off and people in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem running for cover.
The situation in Gaza, of course, is even worse with airstrikes. There were buildings that were flattened today. We have seen some chilling scenes of people running away from the ruins of crushed buildings, women holding screaming children, people with bloody faces. So it’s really terrifying, I think, on both sides.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Josef, what can you tell us about the targets on each side? Can you tell what each side is trying to hit or who?
JOSEF FEDERMAN: Yes, the Hamas strategy has always been the rockets that they use are not guided missiles. They’re very inaccurate and they just fire them and wherever they land, they land.
So the idea, I think, is more to just strike fear into people’s hearts. You don’t know where they’re going to land, and hundreds of thousands of people are just forced to stay indoors or to stay very close to shelter. So it’s just scary because of the random nature of this.
In Gaza, the amount of force, the weapons that Israel has are just so much stronger and the amount of damage it can do is so much stronger. So I was talking to a colleague in Gaza this evening. He tells me the streets are just empty there. People are terrified to go outdoors, and lots of people are leaving areas close to the border. They’re fearing that there may be an Israeli ground incursion.
And they’re seeking shelter with relatives and friends sort of deeper inland, hoping that they’re going to be safer.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You mentioned that the Israeli firepower is so much stronger than that of the Palestinians. Quantify that. What is the capability of the Palestinians? And what’s the capability of the Israelis?
JOSEF FEDERMAN: Well, the Palestinians have thousands of rockets, and you shouldn’t dismiss the threat of a rocket. Obviously, they’re deadly weapons.
But the amount of explosives that they carry are relatively small by international standards. Most of the rockets they possess do not fly long distances, maybe 10 to 20 miles inside of Israel. But Hamas has developed very sophisticated or increasingly sophisticated weapons that now cover a good chunk of Israel, including Israel’s two largest cities.
So you have probably half of the country’s population now are subject to the threats of these rockets. As for the Israeli side, Israel has everything from warplanes to attack helicopters to tanks to artillery batteries and very sophisticated guided missiles, GPS systems, drones that are believed to be able to deliver weapons.
So just the amount of firepower is just a lot stronger, and the number of directions that Israel can fire from, including naval forces as well. So they have many more options than just the payload that they can deliver is a lot larger.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Are there any voices at this point urging restraint on each side?
JOSEF FEDERMAN: So far, I have not heard anything along those lines. In fact, one of the Israel’s senior cabinet ministers, the cabinet minister in charge of internal security, he was on TV this morning.
And he told the public, he said, first of all, you have to be ready for a long campaign. This isn’t going to take a day or two. It’s going to be longer. He also said that the idea of a cease-fire is out of the question right now. It’s not even on the table.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And why is that? Do you — does your reporting — what can you say from your reporting about why that’s the thinking now?
JOSEF FEDERMAN: The thinking is that just the rocket fire is so heavy, there’s no sign of it stopping. And they believe they have to continue once and for all to stop this threat.
You have to realize, Israel has been down this road several times in the past five or six years. There was a large offensive in 2009, another one in 2012. And it just seems that, when they do these things, it brings them a year or two or maybe three of quiet, and then it’s back to the same old pattern. So I think there’s just a sense of exhaustion on the Israeli side. And this time, they want to kind of stamp it out once and for all.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But perhaps some division among the Palestinians?
JOSEF FEDERMAN: You hear it from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank. He is not in Gaza. He’s calling for restraint. He has always been an outspoken critic of violence. He’s anti-violence.
But, in Gaza, you don’t hear anything, at least publicly. The Hamas militants are still speaking with the same strong language, where they are committed to resistance, and they say they’re going to keep up the rocket fire. Where I think maybe you will hear some of the opposition is just private voices.
Like I say, when I speak to colleagues and friends in Gaza, and people are terrified indoors, I think everybody wants to see an end to this pretty quickly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Josef Federman with the AP reporting from Jerusalem, thank you.
JOSEF FEDERMAN: Thank you.
The post With no sign of cease-fire, current Mideast conflict could become long campaign appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: Chicago is once again in the national spotlight for a level of gun-related violence that has pushed its homicide rate beyond New York and Los Angeles. The city has made some progress in cutting down the number of murders, but dozens of shootings during the long Fourth of July weekend have raised fresh questions about the city’s efforts to stem the bloodshed.It was the most violent weekend the nation’s third largest city has seen all year. Police say at least 11 people died and 58 people were injured in 50 shootings over roughly three days. News organizations, using different times for the start of the weekend, say the number is significantly higher, at least 14 dead, more than 80 wounded.
ANNETTE HOLT: Supposed to be Independence Day, but it’s not independence for parents who lost their children to gun violence or any other citizen in the city of Chicago who lost their life to gun violence this weekend.
GWEN IFILL: Yesterday, community leaders and residents joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at an anti-violence vigil.
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL, Chicago: A lot of people will say, where were the police, what are the police doing? And that’s a fair question, but not the only question. Where are the parents? Where is the community? Where are the gun laws? Where are the national leaders?
GWEN IFILL: The shooting deaths occurred mostly on the city’s South and West sides, many in minority neighborhoods that rank among the poorest and the most violent in Chicago. Two of those killed were shot by police.
Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy said hundreds of officers were on the streets, but there are just too many illegal guns.
GARRY MCCARTHY, Superintendent of Police, Chicago: There’s a greater sanction for the gang member to lose that firearm from their gang than there is to go to jail for possession of that gun.
GWEN IFILL: Just last week, Chicago police reported that, compared to the same period last year, gun killings actually dropped by 5 percent. But non-fatal shootings rose.
Paris Schutz of WTTW’s news program “Chicago Tonight” has been covering the response to these shootings. And he joins me now.
Paris, Garry McCarthy, the police superintendent, said today there’s got to — there’s a tipping point has got to come, something like that. Is this it?
PARIS SCHUTZ, WTTW Chicago Tonight: Well, this is pretty typical, unfortunately, of summer in Chicago. As the weather gets warmer, more people are outside. Even in a down homicide year like this year, homicides tend to go up.
And the Fourth of July is typically one of the worst weekends of the year. It was about the same last year. It was about the same the year before, which Superintendent — Superintendent McCarthy says is unacceptable, because they had actually put hundreds of more police officers, most of them on overtime, on the street.
Clearly, it didn’t work. But the tipping point will come, according to Superintendent McCarthy, when state leaders pass tougher gun laws, specifically tougher sentences on those caught with illegal possession of guns. So far, those calls have gone unanswered.
GWEN IFILL: I want to come back to the legislative options in a moment.
PARIS SCHUTZ: Sure.
GWEN IFILL: But, first, I want to ask you about this part about the gangs, the point that he made about gangs, as Superintendent McCarthy said, in which he said the option for retaliation from gangs is a bigger penalty in the minds of many of these shooters than the idea of giving up their guns or the penalty of dealing with law enforcement.
PARIS SCHUTZ: Right.
GWEN IFILL: Is that where the focus is now, on gangs?
PARIS SCHUTZ: Well, that goes back to the gun legislation piece, because he says that a lot of these offenders are convicted felons. They go to jail, but they don’t serve a lot of time, so they might be back out on streets, in many cases, in six months, and they commit more crimes.
And so he’s saying they get more grief from their fellow gang members about giving up a gun than they do from the city because of those state laws.
GWEN IFILL: We also know that a lot of — there were a lot of police on streets over Fourth of July weekend. Some of this was anticipated.
PARIS SCHUTZ: Right.
GWEN IFILL: And yet these numbers still went up.
PARIS SCHUTZ: Right.
GWEN IFILL: Is this because there’s not enough police on the streets, because they’re just increasing overtime pay instead of putting more boots on the ground, as it were?
PARIS SCHUTZ: Right.
Well, obviously, the police union has argued for a long time that there aren’t enough police in the force. There are several aldermen in Chicago’s City Council that have called for 500, 1,000 more cops on the street. But because of the fiscal situation in Chicago, the mayor says he just can’t afford a larger police force.
And McCarthy has admitted that they have to make do with what they have. So what’s happened is overtime has skyrocketed. So in 2013, they budgeted for about $25 million in police overtime. It came in at the end of the year at more than four times that. They have continued that strategy into this year.
They acknowledge that that is not a long-term strategy. They say they’re waiting for some of these other policies, like intelligence, like social media efforts, like CompStat, to sort of take hold, so they can sort of wean the police department off of overtime, because, as you know, that leads to questions of morale and fatigue.
GWEN IFILL: If the mayor is right and the superintendent is right, and the problem here is the proliferation of firearms on the streets, where are they coming from?
PARIS SCHUTZ: Well, they come from outside of Chicago, because up until very recently, you couldn’t sell guns and set up shop in Chicago. That has changed.
They come from the south suburbs of Chicago in Cook County. They come from across the border in Indiana, where Chicago leaders and Superintendent McCarthy have said that background checks there don’t tend to be as strict as leaders here want them to be. So — and they will say they have recovered thousands and thousands and thousands of illegal guns.
So conceal-carry used to be illegal in Illinois. You couldn’t have guns in Chicago. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t guns proliferated all around the city. Now the city has to contend with a court ruling that mandates them to allow gun sales in the city, so that’s the next debate the city will have. They actually just passed an ordinance to allow gun shops to operate in a very tiny portion of the city. The constitutionality of that will likely be challenged as well.
GWEN IFILL: How do you keep track of these numbers? We know that there are some discussions about a couple of police-involved shootings. We know there are some questions about what counts as a domestic shooting, what counts as an accidental shooting, what counts as a gang shooting.
PARIS SCHUTZ: Right. Sure.
Well, over the long term, over decades, homicides are down in Chicago, as they are in New York or L.A. They’re less than half of what they were in the ’90s. But year to year, they may be down 10, they may be down 20 from the year before. And by law, the police department and the coroner’s office has to report every homicide, but there are ways that some say they fudge those numbers.
For instance, if there’s a murder that happens or a homicide that happens on an expressway in Chicago, that doesn’t not count towards the city’s homicide rate, because the city says, well, that occurred on state property, so we’re not going to count that. Or if it’s a police officer that shot and killed somebody in self-defense, they don’t count that toward the homicide rate.
Also, they used to say there were X-number of people shot in the city. They have reclassified that. Now they say there are X-number of shooting incidents. So there might be one shooting incident where 10 people were shot. They don’t say 10 people were shot. They say there was one shooting incident.
GWEN IFILL: The mayor, what kind of pressure is on him now to come up with a solution to this?
PARIS SCHUTZ: There’s enormous pressure on the mayor. The mayor faces reelection in about a year.
He has trouble in the African-American community, where a lot of this violence is happening. In his first year in office, homicides spiked to above 500. They sort of went into emergency mode after the murder of Hadiya Pendleton, who was that high school student who had marched in the president’s inaugural just the week prior.
GWEN IFILL: Right.
PARIS SCHUTZ: And that’s when this sort of overtime police strategy went into effect.
You did see homicides dip right away. But they acknowledge that is not a long-term strategy. The pressure is on the mayor every time a weekend like this happens. Now, the mayor has a significant war chest. He has a lot of money. He is very unpopular in the African-American community, but most observers say that wouldn’t be enough to prevent his reelection.
GWEN IFILL: Paris Schutz of our partner WTTW in Chicago, thank you very much.
PARIS SCHUTZ: Thank you, Gwen.
The post Chicago grapples with how to curb gun violence after deadly weekend appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Across the international dateline, voting has just started in Indonesia’s presidential elections. This rising power in East Asia and ally of the United States is seeing a very hotly contested race that will help determine the future path of the world’s largest Muslim country.Special correspondent Kira Kay recently joined the campaign trail and has this report about a new breed of Indonesian politician. It was produced in partnership with the Bureau for International Reporting.
KIRA KAY: It’s a full day of whistle-stop campaigning for the presidential candidate.
Morning begins with a visit to a green market, with the area farmers eager to showcase their wares. The candidate then stops to admire the craftsmanship of local textile workers, a natural photo-op. Across town, it’s an audience with the all-important teachers association, with a promise to invest in both primary and secondary education nationwide.
Such grassroots politicking may be familiar on the streets of Iowa or New Hampshire, but this is Palembang, Indonesia. And the candidate, Joko Widodo, nicknamed Jokowi, is running to lead this Southeast Asian country of 250 million people, the world’s largest Muslim nation.
At a time when Islam, the military and democracy are at loggerheads in countries like Egypt and Turkey, Indonesia’s transition from past military dictatorship to vibrant political openness stands out.
And Jokowi has become a one-man symbol of this dynamic process.
DOUGLAS RAMAGE, Bower Group Asia: The rise of Jokowi is extraordinary, because it represents the new Indonesia.
KIRA KAY: Douglas Ramage is an analyst with Bower Group Asia.
DOUGLAS RAMAGE: And if he becomes president, he’d be the first president in Asia’s history who is not from an elite background of money, bureaucracy, political parties, or the military.
He doesn’t look presidential. He doesn’t speak with a bureaucratic or authoritarian kind of voice. He has what we would think of as authenticity. Kind of like the question we ask in the United States: Who would you rather have — go to a barbecue with? Jokowi is the kind of person someone wants to have a bowl of noodles with on the side of the street.
KIRA KAY: At times, Jokowi displays the awkwardness of an unseasoned national candidate. But everywhere he goes, he enjoys a rock star response from the crowds, sometimes startling even the candidate himself.
Supporter Joko Supriyatin showed off his prized campaign T-shirt:
JOKO SUPRIYATIN (through interpreter): We love Jokowi, and we are proud to have a leader like him. That’s why we are willing to buy the T-shirt, to donate our money so that he can become president. He symbolizes hope for people like us.
KIRA KAY: Indonesian democracy didn’t always look so certain. For three decades, the country was ruled by anti-communist strongman Suharto, supported by billions of dollars of aid from the United States.
But frustration with his corrupt leadership finally boiled over on the streets, with student-led protests turning bloody, but ultimately chasing Suharto from power in 1998. Even then, Indonesia faced turmoil. The Asian financial crisis was in full swing. There were separatist movements and religious conflicts dotting the archipelago, and a string of Islamic terrorist attacks, including the 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali.
But one early reform helped stabilize the region, says Douglas Ramage.
DOUGLAS RAMAGE: Indonesia used to be one of the most centrally organized countries in the world. It was run from Jakarta, this vast archipelago, highly authoritarian system, run from the center. Local communities, local groups didn’t have any responsibility or authority over their own communities and their lives.
So one of the strongest demands of the democracy movement was also to decentralize, put power in the hands of local governments and people all over the country.
KIRA KAY: People like Jokowi, a furniture maker from the central Indonesian town of Solo, who got tired of the red tape and bribes entrepreneurs like him faced, so he ran for mayor.
DOUGLAS RAMAGE: He decided he could do a better job than the old corrupt elite running his city. He ran. The people loved him. And he was elected once, and then again with over 90 percent of the vote in a popular election.
KIRA KAY: His success in Solo brought him national attention, and, in 2012, he ran for the powerful position of governor of Jakarta, beating the favored incumbent to lead the capital city of 10 million people.
There, Jokowi perfected the so-called blusukan, his signature habit of dropping in unannounced to inspect the work of city officials, or strolling in rubber boots to signal his attention to Jakarta’s notorious flooding problems.
Today, it is easy to find supporters of Jokowi among the urban poor of Jakarta. At a health clinic, we met Siti Rokayah and her 11-year-old son, Faisal, who’d been up all night sick. Last year, all of Jakarta’s poor were issued health cards that provide them with free and fast medical care.
SITI ROKAYAH (through interpreter): It is such a contrast from the old program. Back then, I needed to get different letters from my neighborhood chief and district chief just to state that I’m poor. Jokowi also helped poor students like my son get uniforms and books. He really changed my life, especially since I’m a widow and have no income.
KIRA KAY: And not far from the clinic, residents of the Petogogan neighborhood are moving into new homes, built uphill from their original slum dwellings that were regularly ravaged by flooding and sewage. Siti Khadijah and her four children are part of the pilot program.
SITI KHADIJAH (through interpreter): Jokowi came here and he felt that the neighborhood was too cramped, too filthy. He also saw how the neighborhood below got flooded all the time. So he made a plan to refurbish the neighborhood so it’s more livable. It wasn’t a very long process. In less than a year, the houses got built.
KIRA KAY: But even such a stellar record may not be enough to launch a relative newcomer to national office. Jokowi entered the presidential race with a 30-point lead over other contenders. But his numbers have slid as some voters begin to question his experience, says Douglas Ramage.
DOUGLAS RAMAGE: Running a country of 250 million people is very different from running a city of a half-a-million, or even the capital city of 10 million.
And the opposition, I think, has quite effectively negatively defined him as a man — a nice man, but who’s devoid of policy substance and not ready for the national stage.
KIRA KAY: Jokowi’s rival for the presidency is his polar opposite. Prabowo Subianto, a former general with a militaristic style that includes uniforms and highly choreographed stadium rallies.
Prabowo evokes Indonesia’s strongman past, and his poll numbers have been rising as Jokowi’s have plummeted.
Andreas Harsono is with human rights watch.
ANDREAS HARSONO, Human Rights Watch: Prabowo is doing a very rigorous campaign. His organization is solid. His volunteers are all very well- organized. They have a lot of money. A lot of his former military colleagues are helping him in organizing his campaign, to be compared with Jokowi, who only built his campaign over the last three months.
KIRA KAY: But Prabowo’s military history is also stained with abuses, including the kidnapping and torture of democracy activists, for which he was never held accountable.
ANDREAS HARSONO: Back in 1998, Prabowo was — actually was to be court-martialed. But when he was called by the national commission on human rights, he moved to Jordan for three years. And then, because of political considerations, long delay and, of course, he came from a very prominent family, it didn’t materialize.
KIRA KAY: Prabowo was denied a visa to the United States following his involvement in the 1998 upheaval. But, for some Indonesian voters, his leadership skills outweigh any unease.
MAN: We need Indonesia to be more known. We have power. We have something to be shown. And Prabowo can give all that Indonesian people need. Everyone has mistakes. Everyone has a past. But everyone has a future. Prabowo has — that’s something he’s done in the past, but I’m sure he can fix that.
KIRA KAY: On the eve of the presidential elections, the race is a dead heat. But whether or not Jokowi wins, it is clear that his impact on Indonesian politics will be a lasting one, as he has forged a path to the national stage for a new generation of local leaders.
The post Grassroots reformer and former military general vie for presidency in Indonesia appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: Finally tonight: the story behind the story of a world-famous work of literature.
Jeffrey Brown has that.
JEFFREY BROWN: When Boris Pasternak finished his novel “Dr. Zhivago” in 1956, Soviet authorities read the tale of an individual struggle amid the Russian revolution and refused to publish it. Western intelligence agencies, though, quickly realized its potential as a tool of propaganda.
The story of how the novel became came to be published and smuggled back into the Soviet Union with help from the CIA is told in the new book “The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book.”
It’s co-authored by Petra Couvee.
And joining me now, Peter Finn, national security editor and former Moscow correspondent for The Washington Post.
And welcome to you.
PETER FINN, Co-Author, “The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book”: Great to be here.
JEFFREY BROWN: It’s almost hard to remember now how — a time when a book could have this kind of power, right, a propaganda tool.
PETER FINN: Yes.
Both the CIA and the Soviet authorities and were big believers in the power of literature to effect change, to — the Soviets believed in literature as a means to mold Soviet man, to help create this new society. And they expected their writers to pick these muscular characters in the factories and the fields celebrating the communist state.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so set the scene for us.
Boris Pasternak himself, he was already very famous in the Soviet Union, not a dissident in the way we think of it, right, but with a kind of fraught relationship with the…
PETER FINN: Not at all.
He was regarded as one of the great poets of the 20th century, one of the great Russian poets. He became increasingly disillusioned with the Soviet state after the purges, after the Great Terror.
He started writing “Dr. Zhivago” in 1945. It took him 10 years. It wasn’t an overtly political book, but he realized that he wasn’t celebrating the revolution, and when the Soviet literary bureaucrats came to read it, that was their biggest criticism.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, that’s what I want to ask you. What was so dangerous about “Dr. Zhivago,” the book? A lot of people remember the movie.
But the whole idea that it was exploring of this individual in his time, what bothered them so?
PETER FINN: Nothing had been written like this before in Soviet society. It was completely original.
It failed to celebrate the revolution. It had religious overtones. It was teeming with life in ways that were alien to the Soviet authorities. And they just couldn’t abide it. Everything that they couldn’t abide made it seem so interesting to people in the West who had never read this kind of literature coming out of Russia.
JEFFREY BROWN: But British and CIA intelligence offices, they were reading novels coming out of the Soviet Union. And they saw something right away.
PETER FINN: Yes.
And within the CIA at the Soviet Russia Division, there were many first- and second-generation Russians. The head of the division spoke Russian, read Russian. When they read this, they were hugely enthusiastic, and you can see it in their internal memos, where they’re talking to one another and saying, essentially, wow, this is an incredible book. We haven’t seen anything like it. We must get it back in.
JEFFREY BROWN: The memos are truly stunning to read, because it’s in — you sort of see at that moment, right?
PETER FINN: Yes, it’s all contemporaneous.
It’s all them reacting to this raw manuscript in Russian that they had gotten from British intelligence.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so once they realized this — and this is what you document throughout most of the book — is the kind of — and somebody even later refers to as a kind of a stunt. It’s just how they were able to get it published and then sent back into the Soviet Union, because that’s the audience they wanted to reach.
PETER FINN: Yes.
Their primary goal was to get this into the hands of Soviet citizens and hope that each Soviet citizen who got the book would pass it to a friend, and that person would pass it to another, so that the book would circulate widely. And it did ultimately circulate quite widely among the intelligentsia at least.
And the larger context here was that, over the course of the Cold War, the CIA published, or translated, printed and sent in millions of books and journals across a whole range of subjects, not just literature, but also art history, psychology, biography, economics.
JEFFREY BROWN: Again, a struggle of ideas.
PETER FINN: It was a struggle of ideas.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.
PETER FINN: And it was a huge, huge, multidecade effort that cost tens of millions of dollars.
JEFFREY BROWN: The CIA link, I gather from your writing, was seen early and written about a little bit.
PETER FINN: Yes, because the first printing — and the CIA did two printings, one a hardback, one a miniature paperback.
The first printing, the operation didn’t go smoothly, and that immediately led to rumors and speculation about who was behind this. And there was suggestions from the very beginning that the CIA was involved, particularly because people associated this printing with Russian emigres and saw the hand of the American government anywhere they saw Russian emigres in Russian Europe.
JEFFREY BROWN: But you were able to tell the larger story because of all these unclassified — previously classified documents.
PETER FINN: Yes.
We were able to tell the CIA part of the story, which is part of the larger story. I mean, our main character is Boris Pasternak and his book. But, yes, that was our — that was our goal. It took several years for those records to be declassified, but they were in the end.
JEFFREY BROWN: I know you spent years in Moscow yourself, and that’s where this all began for you?
PETER FINN: Yes.
In Moscow, I came across the story. I started reading about Pasternak. I became completely absorbed by it. I thought it was just a fascinating tale. And it deserved a single narrative in English. I thought other people would love it as well.
JEFFREY BROWN: And what — from your years in Russia and also covering national security, what about the story surprised you most or stuck with you that made you wanted to tell?
PETER FINN: Well, I guess it was the use of soft power by the CIA.
JEFFREY BROWN: Soft power?
PETER FINN: Yes. I was fascinated by and that part of the CIA’s history.
And they had massive programs throughout the Cold War that were cultural programs, not only books, but magazines, subsidizing the tours of orchestras, art exhibitions, academic conferences. They were involved in a whole range of activities.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Peter Finn is co-author with Petra Couvee of “The Zhivago Affair.”
Thank you so much.
PETER FINN: Thank you.
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday.
In February, Nagin was found guilty of 21 counts of corruption for accepting thousand of dollars in bribes and kickbacks, and for conspiring to withhold money. He initially faced 20 years of prison for those charges.
Nagin was mayor of New Orleans for two terms between 2002 and 2010. During that time, he became the face of the Big Easy when Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005.
The post Former mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin sentenced to 10 years in prison appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Planning a visit to the White House? Bring your kids and camera. But please, don’t feed the animals.
The Secret Service has started deploying specialized canine units to help protect the area around the White House grounds, where tourists flock day and night to catch a glimpse of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Although the Secret Service has used police dogs since 1976 to screen areas for presidential visits, this is the first time they’re being broadly deployed among the general public.
The stepped-up pooch presence started last month as part of the Secret Service’s ongoing efforts to innovate and address changing threats, said Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan. “This is just one of the proactive, visible security methods being utilized,” he said.
In the past, the Secret Service has exclusively used Belgian Malinois dogs, known for being agile, good workers and effective at detecting explosives. But the new program uses a variety of non-Malinois breeds. That’s because these dogs must have a particular temperament suitable for use in public crowds, officials said.
On steamy summer mornings, the new class of canines can be seen patrolling just outside the White House gates, sniffing their way through the throngs of visitors, protesters and joggers passing by. “Please do not attempt to touch or pet these animals while they are working,” reads a banner posted nearby.
The Secret Service isn’t saying how many canines are being deployed, but dogs are on hand around the clock. The Secret Service said the program isn’t a response to a specific threat, but a general security enhancement long in the works.
Other public safety agencies like the Transportation Security Administration and the Amtrak Police have long deployed canines in public places. Those dogs undergo extensive training to recognize and pinpoint odors associated with explosives. Amtrak says it uses Labradors and German shepherds.
The post Don’t pet the new Secret Service dogs at the White House appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Seventy-five immigrants took the oath of allegiance and became United States citizens during a naturalization ceremony in New York City Wednesday. The event was held by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during the League of United Latin American Citizens convention.
Around 680,000 citizens are naturalized each year by the USCIS in the U.S. and around the world.
The oath of allegiance to the United States can be read below:
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
The post PHOTO: Immigrants take oath of allegiance in U.S. naturalization ceremony appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
California insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross misled “millions of enrollees” about whether their doctors and hospitals were participating in its new plans, and failed to disclose that many policies wouldn’t cover care outside its approved network, according to a class action lawsuit filed Tuesday.
As a result, many consumers have been left on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills, and have been unable to see their longtime doctors, alleges the suit by Consumer Watchdog based in Santa Monica.
Anthem spokesman Darrel Ng declined to comment directly on the lawsuit. He said Anthem has agreed to pay the claims of those who received treatment from inaccurately listed doctors during the first three months of the year.
However, that policy would not be extended for enrollees who discovered after March 31 that their doctors had been incorrectly listed, he said.
The suit says that Anthem, the state’s largest individual health insurer, delayed providing full information to consumers until it was too late for them to change coverage. Anthem also failed to disclose it had stopped offering any plans with out-of-network coverage in four of the state’s biggest counties — Los Angeles, Orange, San Francisco and San Diego, the suit says.
Anthem “intentionally misrepresented and concealed the limitations of their plans because it wanted a big market share,” said Jerry Flanagan of the consumer advocacy group. Co-counsel on the case is the Claremont law firm Shernoff Bidart Echeverria Bentley, which specializes in suing health insurers.
The suit comes as Consumer Watchdog helped put a measure on the November ballot that would give the state’s insurance commissioner greater authority to veto rate increases.
Brought on behalf of Anthem enrollees who purchased individual coverage between Oct. 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014, the lawsuit reflects growing consumer pushback against so-called “narrow network” health plans, which are increasingly common, especially in the new online state and federal marketplaces. Anthem was a major player on California’s insurance exchange and the suit includes those who bought coverage online, as well as directly from the insurer.
Insurers have defended plans with limited provider networks as a way of holding down premiums. Many expected younger and healthier customers might be willing to give up broad access to providers for these lower costs.
But consumers are retaliating with lawsuits and complaints to state regulators. As a result of the rising complaints, state managed care regulators are investigating whether Anthem and, separately, Blue Shield of California, provided accurate information about the doctors and hospitals in their plans.
Six Enrollees’ Stories
The Consumer Watchdog lawsuit names six Californians who purchased Anthem plans. Among them is Betsy Felser of Pasadena, who had coverage with Anthem for 20 years. Like hundreds of thousands of Anthem customers, she received a letter late last year stating that her preferred provider organization (PPO), which allows for in- and out-of-network care, was being cancelled, according to the lawsuit. The letter suggested a replacement Anthem plan “with the benefits you have come to count on.”
Before agreeing to switch, Felser, a physician, said she checked with five Anthem telephone representatives, making it clear she wanted to be in a PPO.
“I would never have gotten anything that wasn’t a PPO plan,” said Felser, 47, whose insurance also covers her young son. “They said they would give me the same coverage.”
She also checked Anthem’s website and the doctors she sees, including her son’s pediatrician, to make sure they were participating in the plans she was considering and was assured that they were, she said.
During those calls, none of Anthem’s representatives told Felser that the insurer was no longer offering PPOs in Los Angeles County, the lawsuit alleges. Nor did they tell her that the Anthem plans offered in her area would not cover care provided by out-of-network doctors or hospitals, according to the lawsuit.
When she received her identification cards, they were stamped with a PPO symbol. But when she tried to use the coverage, she found out her doctors – and her son’s pediatrician – were not in the network and that the plan was an exclusive provider organization (EPO), an extremely limited type of plan which pays nothing for out-of-network care.
“It pays zero, so I essentially have no coverage,” said Felser.
Anthem, while declining to comment on the Consumer Watchdog suit, had answered questions last week about an earlier lawsuit that raised similar issues.
Spokesman Ng said then that consumers were informed about what kind of plan they purchased, along with details about out-of-network benefits, in packets they received soon after enrolling. “All those materials clearly spelled out type of plan they were receiving,” he said.
But consumers would have to dig deep in a brochure on the Anthem website to find a footnote to a page 9 chart indicating that EPO plans have no out-of-network benefits.
Ng noted that Anthem’s EPO and PPO networks have the same doctors and hospitals for people with individual policies, although only the PPOs have out-of-network benefits. In recent weeks, Anthem said it has added 3,800 doctors to its networks.
‘A Giant Mess’
As for the PPO symbol on identification cards, Ng said last week that it had been intended to protect consumers who sought emergency care out-of-state, in keeping with Blue Cross Blue Shield Association rules. Ng said Anthem recently got association approval to reissue the cards without the symbol.
But consumers say the damage was done. Josh Worth of Los Angeles said he was unable to get accurate information after receiving notice that his Anthem plan would be cancelled at the end of 2013. He said he called Anthem, as well as all the doctors he used — including his child’s pediatrician and his wife’s obstetrician — to be sure they were participating in the network.
“They all said, ‘yes, we’re going to be continuing to accept all Blue Cross PPOs,’ and that’s what I was told I was going to be getting,” said Worth, a 43-year-old graphic artist. In January, he said he enrolled his family in an Anthem plan with an $800 a month premium.
Worth received an ID card in late February that called his plan a “Pathway Tiered PPO,” according to the lawsuit. His son was born on March 31. Not long after, he said he began receiving bills from his wife’s obstetrician, who was not in the network. Nor was the baby’s pediatrician, he said.
As a result, he said he owes about $1,100 out of pocket for both. And although an Anthem telephone representative told him afterward that the hospital where his son was born was not in network, it actually is – and his bills there are being covered, he said.
“It’s a giant mess,” said Worth, who can’t switch plans until open enrollment resumes in the fall. “I was sold something I thought was one product, but when I used it, I found out it wasn’t. I’m not going to be going through Anthem again.”
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
The post Lawsuit accuses Anthem Blue Cross of misleading ‘millions’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: Thousands of people in the Northeast assessed damage and waited for the lights to come back on today, after severe storms rolled through last night. Five people were confirmed dead.
The worst was in Upstate New York, where a rarely seen tornado tore throughout the town of Smithfield. Winds of at least 100 miles an hour destroyed four homes, including one that was blown off its foundation and carried 150 yards.
Governor Andrew Cuomo visited today.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO , D, N.Y.: We don’t get tornadoes in New York. I have seen tornado damage in other parts of the country. I haven’t seen it in New York. We haven’t seen a house just gone, literally like a bomb exploded within the house, neighboring homes with 2x4s shot into the side of the home.
GWEN IFILL: The storm system struck from Virginia to Vermont; 200,000 customers were still without power today.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The mayor of New Orleans during the Hurricane Katrina period, Ray Nagin, is going to federal prison for 10 years for corrupt dealings. Nagin was sentenced today for bribery, money laundering and wire fraud, among other crimes. He accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, much of it involving rebuilding projects after the hurricane.
GWEN IFILL: In Iraq, security forces found the bodies of 53 men blindfolded and handcuffed. The corpses were near a mainly Shiite village about 60 miles southeast of Baghdad. Most of the victims had been shot. The motive for the attack remains unclear, but the discovery comes amid a Sunni insurgency in Northern and Western Iraq.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Civilian deaths from the violence in Afghanistan have spiked in the first half of this year to well over 1,500. The United Nations reported today the figure is up 17 percent over the same period last year. Taliban attacks were blamed for three-quarters of the deaths.
GWEN IFILL: From Germany today, more allegations of spying leveled at the U.S. The New York Times reports a worker in the Defense Ministry is now suspected of handing over secrets to American spies. That follows last week’s arrest of a German intelligence employee on similar charges.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Voters in Indonesia went to the polls today to pick their next president. Both candidates claimed victory, setting the stage for a possible legal battle to decide the winner. The three most reliable early surveys of the votes showed former Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo winning 52 percent. He celebrated with supporters in the capital city, Jakarta.
JOKO WIDODO, Presidential Candidate, Indonesia (through interpreter): The winning result published by some quick count agency is not a victory for me. It’s not a victory for the party. It’s not a victory for the campaign team. This is a victory for the people of Indonesia.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The surveys showed his opponent, former General Prabowo Subianto, with about 48 percent of the votes. But he refused to concede. Instead, he said other preliminary data showed he was in the lead. Final results are expected in about two weeks.
GWEN IFILL: Cyber-security and maritime disputes topped the agenda, as China and the U.S. opened annual talks in Beijing today. The U.S. has accused China of widespread computer hacking and has criticized its tougher stance on territorial claims. China charges the U.S. has encouraged Japan and other states to be too aggressive in the territorial disputes. The talks run for two days.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On Wall Street, stocks managed to regain some ground after sliding for two days. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 79 points to close at 16,985. The Nasdaq rose 27 points to close at 4,419. And the S&P 500 added nine to finish well over 1,972.
The post News Wrap: Former New Orleans mayor gets 10-year prison sentence for corruption appeared first on PBS NewsHour.