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

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    Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: California officials are putting mandatory restrictions on water use in place as a result of that state’s ongoing drought. Several Western states, including Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, have large regions suffering a severe to extreme drought.

    But California’s problem has lasted longer than most, and now the state says it’s time to ramp up conservation.

    Dried-up lakebeds and water shortages have become depressingly familiar sights across California, and state water regulators moved Tuesday to impose new conservation rules.

    State Water Board chair Felicia Marcus:

    FELICIA MARCUS, Chairwoman, State Water Resources Control Board: focusing on outdoor irrigation because that’s a place where people tend to, even without realizing it, they overwater. It really behooves all of us to figure out how to use the water that we do have as wisely as we can.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Starting August 1, the new rules could mean daily fines of up to $500 for people who waste water on lawns and car washing. California is now in the third year of its worst drought since the 1970s.

    Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency in January, and temporarily rolled back protections for endangered fish to allow pumping from the San Joaquin-Sacramento river delta. Brown also called for a voluntary 20 percent reduction in water use, but a state survey shows consumption actually rose by 1 percent in May.

    Jay Lund at the University of California at Davis, has studied the drought. He says the state’s residents have to adjust.

    JAY LUND, Director, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences: From all the climate change studies that we have done, we don’t see catastrophe if you manage it well, but we do see inconvenience and we do see costs.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: A large part of those costs come in the state’s agriculture sector that provides food for much of the United States. Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley already faced reduced water flows, and they are worried.

    JOHN GLESS, Vice President, Gless Ranch: We’re drilling these wells, but we’re watching the production. Most of the wells that we have are down 30 percent from a year ago and we’re watching them drop by the week.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.C. Davis report warns the drought will cost California $2.2 billion this year, and the loss of more than 17,000 jobs.

    For more on the rationale for these rules and their likely impact, I’m joined by Timothy Quinn. He’s the director of the Association of California Water Agencies. His members will have to enforce the changes. And Craig Miller, the science editor at San Francisco’s KQED Public Media.

    And we welcome you both.

    To you first, Timothy Quinn.

    Why were these regulations necessary right now, and if the situation is so serious, why give discretion to individual agencies on how and whether to enforce them?

    TIMOTHY QUINN, Association of California Water Agencies: Well, the action was necessary because we’re going through an extraordinary drought experience in California.

    Last year was the driest year on record. This year is the third driest year on record. Demands are up, our storage is down, so our member agencies believe that action was necessary right now. And, frankly, it’s happening too late. The seriousness of this drought just became apparent in the last few months.

    I mean, in January, February, March, they were dry as a bone. And we started to realize we had to take this seriously. And it takes time, of course, for the public and others to move up the learning curve. I think the actions that were taken by the State Water Resources Control Board, our water cop in California, they’re basically grabbing us by the lapel and say, take this serious for the emergency that it is. And that’s what we’re going to be doing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And briefly remind us what people are asked to do. It’s no water runoff when you’re watering your lawn, don’t water driveways, don’t use excess water on your cars. It’s all outdoor use; is that right?

    TIMOTHY QUINN: The focus here is on outdoor, use but the State Board is ordering — and this is historically unprecedented — they’re ordering every urban water supply agency that serves more than 3,000 connections in California to go to the mandatory portions of their local drought contingency plans.

    That — it’s focused on the outdoors, but I think you will find California is realizing that this is an emergency situation and they will start saving water outdoors and indoors. Maybe showers are going to be the order of the day. They have been in my house since January. You’re not going to be flushing as often, and your lawn is going to go brown and it’s just going to be kind of tough until this is over.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Craig Miller, you have been reporting on this water situation for a long time for KQED. How seriously do Californians take this problem?

    CRAIG MILLER, KQED: It’s kind of hard to tell right now, Judy.

    Actually, some polling was done in May on that very point, and most Californians at that time, about 60 percent, I believe, said they thought the drought was pretty serious where they were. And most of them also said that they were already taking actions to save water.

    But, as we have heard, the governor has asked for 20 percent water reduction across the board, and he’s not getting it. He’s not getting anywhere close to it. In fact, in some parts of the state, water use is actually up this year. And I think that’s probably one of the reasons why at the state level they started to think it was time to take the bull by the horns.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, you were telling us earlier today, Craig Miller, that, in your — in observing what people are doing around the state, you think people are, though, taking precautions that they didn’t used to or using water in a somewhat different way.

    CRAIG MILLER: Well, everything’s relative.

    You know, if you look at the per capita water consumption around California, it’s all over the map, literally and figuratively, anywhere from 50 gallons a day to three, four times that, depending in large part on the size of lawns people have and what they’re doing with them.

    But you also have an increased number of high-density — an increased amount of high-density housing in the urban areas. A lot of people don’t have lawns anymore and things are generally more efficient than they were. If you go back to the last really serious drought in the mid-’70s, people were told to put a brick or a gallon water jug in their toilet tank to displace the water and reduce the amount per flush.

    Well, today, most toilets today are already using that lower amount of water per flush. So a lot of things have already become more efficient. And of course the less water people are using, the harder it is to squeeze more savings out of them.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Timothy Quinn, how do you expect these local water agencies will enforce this regulations? What will they do? Will they go around neighborhoods and see what people are doing?

    TIMOTHY QUINN: That will happen.

    Virtually all of the public agencies that deliver California’s water have drought contingency plans in place, so they don’t have to dream them up. They’re there. They go from voluntary measures to stronger measures to mandatory measures.

    So, those plans are in place. And the public agencies in California, there have been through droughts before, as has been pointed out, and so they will go out and do those things. And it’s not easy. There’s a lot of arguments. You get complaints from your customers. But what they will do is implement plans that they already have in place, by and large.

    If you don’t have a plan in place, you will be required to get one and to take specific actions. And, typically, you find a homeowner whose grass is too green or the driveway is wet, they give them a warning. That may be followed by another warning, a small fine. And, eventually, the fines get pretty big.

    The action taken by the State Board yesterday authorizes fines up to $500 a day, which will certainly get a water user’s attention, although I predict you won’t see very many of those fines. Our experience is, Californians will respond.

    What this is going to do is convince that we do have a true emergency, and they need to change behavior, do some extraordinary things that go beyond efficiency. They have always responded in the past, and I think they will respond this year.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Craig Miller, how do you see that? In your reporting, what’s your sense of how people are going to respond to this? Are they going to go ahead and comply?

    CRAIG MILLER: I think the enforcement part of this is a little bit murky, Judy.

    Even in the release that came out from the State Water Board, it said something about how local districts would be allowed to ask courts to impose fines. The actual linkage between the regulation they have put out and the fines themselves is pretty loose.

    I agree with Tim. I don’t think we will actually see much of that happening. And districts are reacting differently. There’s — as Tim will tell you, there’s more than 400 water districts and agencies around California, and they’re all taking this with different levels of seriousness.

    Some have said they are going to respond to this very aggressively, like San Francisco, for example, but others are saying they’re not going to — it’s going to be pretty much what they have been doing right along.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, just quickly, Timothy Quinn, a mixed picture in terms of enforcement and compliance around the state, is that what you’re looking at?

    TIMOTHY QUINN: Well, with hundreds of water agencies, there’s always going to be a mix.

    But let me tell you, they’re going to start looking more like, as a result of what the State Water Resources Control Board has done — the State Board has got a lot of power. The governor has declared emergency powers, which are extraordinary, in all states, including California.

    You will start seeing water agencies around the state starting to behave more like each other. You will see water consumers around the state all responding to a crisis condition. They just haven’t quite got this drought before now. This is going to help them get this drought.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Tim Quinn with the Association of California Water Agencies, Craig Miller with KQED, we thank you both.

    TIMOTHY QUINN: Thank you.

    The post California’s ‘water cop’ urges residents to take drought seriously with mandatory restrictions appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Illustration of Changyuraptor yangi. Image from S. Abramowicz/ Dinosaur Institute, NHM

    Illustration of Changyuraptor yangi. Image from S. Abramowicz/ Dinosaur Institute, NHM

    Scientists discovered a fossil in northeast China that reveals a new species of dinosaur. The four-winged, four-foot Changyuraptor is the largest of its kind to date, and joins a handful of other microraptorines that lived 125 million years ago.

    The study, published Wednesday in the journal of nature communications, was led by Luis Chiappe — a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

    Changyuraptor with (right) details of  plumage. Photo by Luis Chiappe/NHM

    Changyuraptor with (right) details of
    plumage. Photo by Luis Chiappe/NHM

    The species’ tail feathers have been the subject of great interest. At one foot long, the feathers make up 30 percent of the dinosaur’s length, an unprecedented ratio. The findings suggest that birds evolved from dinosaurs and inherited flight from them, which supports the theory that flight pre-dates birds.

    “I’ve worked for over 20 years in China, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Chiappe.

    With two sets of wings and an estimated weight of four kilograms, the Changyuraptor is twice as heavy as other microraptorines. The fossil leads the scientists to believe its lengthy feathered tail helped sustain aerial stability, a more difficult achievement for larger body sizes.

    Alan Turner of Stony Brook University, a researcher on the project, claims the dinosaur’s flight was not like typical birds today.

    “Animals like Changyuraptor were probably not engaged in powered flight like modern birds,” said Turner. “This does raise the possibility they could glide or ‘fly’ in a primitive sort of way. The way I like to think of it is: if you pushed them out of a tree, they’d fall pretty slowly.”

    The post Scientists unearth largest ever four-winged dinosaur appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-GAZA-CONFLICT

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    GWEN IFILL: Now to our series of conversations about the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East.

    Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner has spoken this week with the former U.S. envoy for Israeli-Palestinian peace, an analyst with close — and an analyst with close connections to Hamas.

    Earlier today, she sat down with Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer. The interview took place before the Israeli military agreed to a U.N.-brokered pause in the fighting.

    MARGARET WARNER: Ambassador Dermer, thank you for joining us.

    RON DERMER, Ambassador, Israel: Thank you.

    MARGARET WARNER: Today, the Israeli cabinet called up another 8,000 reservists, bringing that number close to 50,000.

    After what happened yesterday, is a ground invasion of Gaza imminent?

    RON DERMER: Well, the security cabinet met earlier that morning, obviously accepted that cease-fire proposal from Egypt, a cease-fire proposal that was accepted by the international community and the Arab League.

    Unfortunately, Hamas didn’t agree to that. It forced Israel into continued operations. And now last night, the security cabinet met and has given now the authority to the prime minister to take the action that he needs to take in order to protect the Israeli people. And that includes any action he needs, whether it’s military or diplomatic.

    And I think the 8,000 reservists that were called up makes sure that the prime minister has all the tools at his disposal to protect the Israeli people.

    MARGARET WARNER: Now, your foreign minister seems to have already reached a conclusion. He said today that the security of the citizens of Israel just cannot be insured without a ground invasion.

    You have known the prime minister a very, very long time. Does he share that view?

    RON DERMER: Well, I know that the prime minister will do what’s necessary to protect the Israeli people.

    There were debates and disputes within Israeli’s security cabinet. The majority of the Israeli people were against the cease-fire. About 2-1 one were against the cease-fire, not because they don’t want to end the attacks — because they want to be sure that these attacks will not end just for a day or for a month or for six months, that we have some sort of permanent resolution to this problem.

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, how intense is the political pressure on the prime minister to do something more than just get back to the status quo here, to actually — quote — “clean out Hamas” from Gaza?

    RON DERMER: I think it’s pretty strong.

    And the best way to understand it is, imagine you had 200 million Americans who were in bomb shelters, you had 1,000 rockets fired at you by a terror organization in contiguous territory, and there would be a cease-fire proposal. Do you think the American people would support it, or you think the American people would want their government and their military to take very strong action, even stronger action to bring it to an end?

    It’s important to appreciate how much restraint the prime minister of Israel has shown in dealing with this and in prosecuting this war against Hamas in a very calibrated and very measured way. It doesn’t mean that we’re perfect. Unfortunately, in any time you have a war like this, even if you take the most legitimate actions to defend yourself, innocents can be put into harm’s way.

    MARGARET WARNER: Human Rights Watch, quoting U.N. figures, says that, as of Monday, even though Israel says it’s targeting Hamas leaders in Gaza with these bombing raids, that three-quarters of the people killed are civilians.

    RON DERMER: I think that’s not true. And I have seen other reports. And I think we should wait, hopefully, when this operation will come to an end, and we will get a good understanding of what happened.

    It’s important to realize Hamas uses the Palestinian population as human shields. They put missile batteries next to schools, mosques, hospitals. They are doing everything they can to put the Palestinian population in Gaza into harm’s way.

    Israel is doing everything it can, whether it’s dropping flyers, calling people, sending text messages, taking all sorts of actions to get the Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way.

    MARGARET WARNER: So, if there’s international criticism that the use of force is disproportionate, Israel rejects that?

    RON DERMER: Absolutely.

    It’s completely — I completely reject it, and I will tell you why. I think part of that criticism is not understanding the rules of war. People say it’s disproportionate because they do essentially a body bag count on each side, and they say, look, 200 people have been killed on the Palestinian side, and only one Israeli at this point has been killed, as if, if more Israelis were to die, then the action would all of a sudden become proportionate.

    Proportionality has nothing to do with that; 20 times as many Germans died in World War II as Americans. It didn’t mean that America was disproportionate in the use of force against Germany, and it didn’t mean that the Nazis were right.

    Proportionality has to do with something else entirely. One is distinction. Always make a distinction between combatants and noncombatants. Israel does that all the time. We do not deliberately target Palestinian civilians. They’re targeting our civilians, trying to kill as many as possible. We don’t target theirs.

    MARGARET WARNER: Let’s talk about the possibility of a ground invasion.

    If there were to be one, what would be the objectives?  In other words, are we talking about targeted raids aimed at command-and-control bunkers of militants or thinking about really taking over in Gaza?

    RON DERMER: Well, Israel doesn’t have a strategic objective to reconquer Gaza.

    We didn’t have that objective a year-and-a-half ago, the last time we were in a confrontation, that that went on for eight days, and a cease-fire was achieved before there was a ground operation. We don’t have that objective now.

    The prime minister has been very clear about what Israel’s objective is, a sustained period of quiet. We’re doing that by degrading the capabilities of Hamas in Gaza. And the prime minister made clear he would achieve that, whether it’s militarily or diplomatically. Obviously, you always prefer diplomatic outcomes. But we have to achieve the objective of sustained quite for the people of Israel.

    MARGARET WARNER: But can that be achieved with a very limited ground operation?

    RON DERMER: I don’t know. It remains to be seen. The question is what kind of pressure will be brought to bear on Hamas.

    MARGARET WARNER: Meanwhile, there is still a flurry of diplomatic activity around this Egyptian cease-fire proposal.

    Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, is in Cairo today speaking with President Sisi. There is talk that a Hamas security chief is there as well. Secretary Kerry’s asked for a little more time to let this proposal play out.

    How much time is Israel prepared to give this process time to possibly work?

    RON DERMER: Well, Israel already agreed to the cease-fire yesterday morning.

    MARGARET WARNER: Yes, but that’s over.

    RON DERMER: I know. So now we have rockets, and we have to defend ourselves.

    But, obviously, if all of a sudden Hamas changes its mind, I’m sure that the Israeli government would take that very seriously, because we agreed to the proposal. I saw no reason why you won’t agree to that proposal again. But we have to have a sustained period of quiet for the people of Israel.

    So, we appreciate very much efforts of everybody. We appreciate the very strong statements that were made by President Obama, by Secretary Kerry. All those diplomatic pressures that are being brought to bear on Hamas hopefully will lead to Hamas to reconsider its position and agree to a cease-fire.

    MARGARET WARNER: Now, a person familiar with Hamas thinking and others have told us that all Hamas wants to accept the cease-fire are two things, a re-release of these prisoners that they won back in a prisoner exchange and then were recaptured, and, two, an opening of some of the crossings between Egypt and Gaza.

    Could Israel accept those?

    RON DERMER: Well, look, we’re not going to negotiate for a cease-fire even on your very prestigious show.

    The Egyptians put a proposal to the table. It had a couple of points, I believe four points to its proposals. Israel’s security cabinet agreed to it, as I said. It wasn’t as simple for the prime minister to make that decision. It was an act of tremendous leadership on his part. He had to actually fire a deputy defense minister in the Israeli government for the criticism that he faced from one of his own members of his government for his decision to agree to the cease-fire.

    MARGARET WARNER: Are you saying that the Israeli cabinet actually agreed to that proposal to re-release those prisoners?

    RON DERMER: No. That wasn’t included in the Egyptian proposal.

    The Egyptian cease-fire proposal was on the table.  It was on the table and I assume it still remains on the table. And hopefully Hamas will reconsider for the sake of Palestinian population in Gaza. Right now, we have a situation where from the northern part of Gaza thousands of Palestinians are now having to leave their homes because Israel is going to have to intensify its military operations in order to bring this rocket fire to an end.

    So hopefully we can reach a good conclusion as quickly as possible with limited casualties on both sides.

    MARGARET WARNER: Ambassador Dermer, thank you.

    RON DERMER: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: As we said, that interview was recorded today before the Israeli government announced that it had agreed to a five-hour humanitarian pause in the bombing tomorrow.

    But an Israeli official told Margaret late today that, if Hamas continues firing rockets during the pause — quote — “We will have to react and defend ourselves.” On the other hand he said, if Hamas does observe the pause, it could become the basis for a true cease-fire.

    Tomorrow Margaret will interview the Palestine Liberation Organization’s ambassador to the U.S., Maen Rashid Areikat. You can see all of her interviews in this series on our World page.

    The post Can Israel achieve goal of ‘sustained quiet’ without a ground invasion? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    immigration3

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    GWEN IFILL: Now the immigration divide.

    A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows a majority of Americans agree on at least one aspect of the debate: They don’t like how politicians are handling the situation; 58 percent disapprove of what President Obama has been doing and 66 percent disapprove of how House Republicans have handled it.

    We took a look — we take a look now at a small Southwestern city on the front lines of the crisis. Since June 27, it’s become a temporary home for some of the thousands of families who have entered the U.S. illegally.

    Special correspondent Kathleen McCleery reports.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: The hot, dry, dusty town of Artesia sits about 70 miles north of the Mexico border in southeastern New Mexico. It’s rich in oil and gas and home to ranches and farmland. Most people in this red part of a blue state are conservative.

    Phillip Burch has been mayor for seven years.

    MAYOR PHILLIP BURCH, Artesia, New Mexico: By and large, the community would prefer this installation not be here, because we view the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center as a place to train law enforcement people, and we just don’t feel that it’s appropriate to have it changed to a detention center.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center is run by the Department of Homeland Security. In no small irony, it trains Border Patrol agents, as the mayor said.

    Now the federal government has converted three former barracks to house 672 mothers and children under age 17. Eight-foot fences keep them hidden from the people of Artesia. The women and children come from Central America’s northern triangle, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. They crossed from Mexico into Texas, were captured by the Border Patrol and bussed here. Officials say most of them will be sent home.

    Last week, Homeland Security officials took reporters on a supervised tour of some unoccupied rooms. This facility is spanking clean, air-conditioned and comfortably equipped, and will help relieve the overcrowding at the border. Four bunk beds with new linens line the walls of bedrooms. There are flat-screen televisions, playrooms stocked with toys, and clinics with medical equipment.

    Residents get housekeeping, laundry services, new clothing and three meals a day. Federal authorities won’t say how much money has been spent, or how many staff they have hired here.

    Outside a local brew pub in town, longtime resident Joann Griggs questioned the federal spending.

    JOANN GRIGGS: We’re giving it away to people that are not even citizens of the U.S. mainly. We are supporting them. We are feeding them. We’re boarding them. We’re probably going to doctor them and probably educate them. And it’s our tax dollars that’s doing it, and it really upsets me.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: At a veterans memorial, we found Vietnam vet Ken Boles.

    KEN BOLES: We have got people in this country that are needed housing. We have got homeless vets running around, and kids that are starving and things like that. They need to clean their own yard before they go to somebody else’s place.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: And at a car wash for a high school fast pitch softball team, nurse Becky Perez had similar thoughts.

    BECKY PEREZ: I’m like, take care of our own before we go and help the illegal immigrants.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Not everyone in town held that view. The immigrants are fleeing gang violence, drug lords and poverty, creating a human rights issue that Americans should pay for, said Pamela Nordstrom at the Jahva House coffee shop.

    PAMELA NORDSTROM: I don’t think we can afford not to. You have them here. You can’t not just take care of them. That’s inhumane. We provide for lost animals. We have to at least provide the basic care.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Some in Artesia think the comfortable living quarters may actually encourage those deported to venture back. But Mayor Burch believes the amenities won’t mask the government’s message: Don’t come back.

    MAYOR PHILLIP BURCH: They are probably sleeping in the best bed they have ever slept in, and these are just plain bunk beds. They’re probably eating the best or the most nutritious food they have ever eaten. So, from that standpoint, you could say, yes, they will go home and they will come back to be in the Artesia Hilton.

    Well, they’re going to be sent home. And the message they’re going to be sent home with is, don’t go, because you’re going to be deported.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Unlike Murrieta, California, where jeering crowds of protesters turned back buses of undocumented immigrants headed for a processing center, here, the reaction has been more muted; 400 people showed up at a town hall earlier this month. Many voiced concerns about health problems and other issues.

    The mayor believes the immigrants will get the message: Don’t return. But in downtown Artesia, we heard worries about problems that may arise, no matter how long the immigrants are detained here.

    Lori Dudek used to work at the training center.

    LORI DUDEK: I know they have a problem with them bringing in diseases and lice and all kinds of other things. And the workers there are getting sick.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: But a doctor at the center said the children only have illnesses common to U.S. day care centers. At the local Wal-Mart, Tita Harris said her worry is the safety of her community.

    TITA HARRIS: This is the thing. They keep saying that they can keep them in that compound. But they escaped their country. A fence is not going to keep them in if they want to get out. To me, that is common sense.

    DON RALEY, Chief, Artesia Police Department: For the first quarter of the year here in Artesia, over 70 percent of our crime was graffiti.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Violent crime isn’t common in this small town, says police Chief Don Raley, and he’s not worried about escapees from the detention center.

    DON RALEY: Mommas don’t leave babies, and babies don’t want to be left without mommas, so because of the nature of the population, our escape concern is significantly less than it might be if we had a mixed population.

    We kind of joked about the escape flier resembling a family of ducks or quails crossing the road with momma in the front, and three or four little babies behind them. And because they are so focused as family units, and if you go into the facility, and you see the people who are inside there, they’re very focused as family units.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Here and elsewhere, there is compassion, especially for the children. Artesia’s population is half Hispanic. Many are immigrants themselves.

    Tony Estrada thinks the center is a good thing.

    TONY ESTRADA: I think it’s OK because I think that everybody deserves a chance. And it’s like everybody says, we are doing it for the children. They are the ones who are getting hurt, you know?

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Vicki and Ramon Calderon have lived in Mexico, and understand poverty.

    VICKI CALDERON: I feel for these ladies and these children. I think they deserve help, as much as we can give. We help everybody in the world. Why can’t we help the people that come here seeking refuge?

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Many in the town of 11,000 have tried to help. Hayley Klein is executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.

    HAYLEY KLEIN: In a way, I have been surprised. We tend to take care of our own in this community, but they have — there’s been a very strong outpouring of concern for the innocent victims.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Donations have poured in and piled up at the Chamber’s office.

    HAYLEY KLEIN: Folks have tried to donate all kinds of things, from formula, to diapers. But really what they are accepting are clothes, shoes for women and children, toys, art supplies, coloring books, crayons, and books, reading books, preferably in Spanish. Those are the things that they will take.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Still, for many who live and work here, the issue is far larger than the detention center. It’s about immigration policy determined 1,800 miles away in Washington, says oil industry worker Randy Ray.

    RANDY RAY: There has to be a point where you have to say, this is enough, we have to stop, and we have to secure our borders. Then we deal with it at the border itself.

    KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Meanwhile, the flood of immigrants continues. About 40 people from Artesia were flown back to Honduras on Monday. Officials expect more to be deported in the coming days and weeks and new busloads of immigrants to arrive here.

    The post New Mexico city divided over sheltering immigrants awaiting deportation appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    cdc

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to a series of alarming safety lapses at the federal Centers for Disease Control. No one’s been hurt, but they have raised serious questions. And, today, the head of the CDC traveled to Capitol Hill to address them.

    Hari Sreenivasan has the story.

    REP. TIM MURPHY, R, Penn.: What we have here is a pattern of reoccurring issues of complacency and a lax culture of safety. This is not sound science, and this will not be tolerated.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Revelations of safety and security problems put Dr. Thomas Frieden under the microscope at a House hearing. The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was called to account after more than 80 CDC lab workers were exposed to live strains of anthrax last month in Atlanta.

    The agency has also acknowledged that it mistakenly shipped the avian flu virus to outside labs. Separately, several 60-year-old vials of smallpox, some with still viable strains, were found at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

    No one was sickened in the incidents, but Frieden conceded:

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The fact that it appears that no one was harmed and that there were no releases does not excuse what happened. What happened was completely unacceptable. It should never have happened.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Lawmakers pointed to a pattern of disturbing incidents, and to CDC’s failure to report them before now. The House panel found that federal investigators have documented dozens of other safety violations at CDC facilities in Atlanta, among them, storing anthrax in unlocked refrigerators, allowing unauthorized access to labs, failing to document that staff were properly trained, and even transferring germ materials in Ziploc plastic bags.

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: I think that while we have scientists who are the best in the world at what they do, they have not always applied that same rigor that they do to their scientific experiments to improving safety. And that’s why we’re taking a number of steps to strengthen the culture of safety at CDC.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But Frieden’s admission failed to satisfy committee members from either party, including Pennsylvania Republican Tim Murphy.

    REP. TIM MURPHY: And I have to think, what in heaven’s name would go through the minds of some scientist thinking a Ziploc bag is enough to protect someone from anthrax?

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: Once the laboratory had said, here is killed anthrax, it was handled by the staff in those lower-containment laboratories as if it were not infectious.

    REP. TIM MURPHY: But, Dr. Frieden, this is like saying, I didn’t know the gun was loaded, but somebody got shot. But you should always assume it is. For someone to say, well, I didn’t think the anthrax was live isn’t acceptable.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Colorado Democrat Diana DeGette suggested there’s a more overarching problem, lack of oversight.

    REP. DIANA DEGETTE, D, Colo.: Dr. Frieden has indicated that he was as surprised as anybody by the scope of the problems.

    And the fact, Dr. Frieden, you were so surprised is a problem in and of itself, because what it shows is that there is a fundamental problem with the culture of identifying and reporting safety problems up the chain of the command.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The CDC has now closed two labs tied to the anthrax episode until safety protocols are reviewed. Frieden said he’s naming an outside advisory group to revamp those rules.

    Alex Wayne of Bloomberg news was at the hearings today and joins us now.

    So let’s talk a little bit about some of these incidents that the members of Congress were so heated about, first the anthrax one that we learned about in full just last week.

    ALEX WAYNE, Bloomberg News: Right.

    So, in early June, some scientists at a very high-level lab at the CDC called the Bioterror Rapid Response and Advanced Technology Lab were preparing an experiment using anthrax. They thought they had sterilized the anthrax before sending it to a lower-security lab, but it turned out they hadn’t.

    And they only discovered this about eight or nine days after they had sent the anthrax to this laboratory. So that raised the prospect that some workers were exposed to it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, Frieden said that he was almost more concerned about the incident with the avian flu. Why?

    ALEX WAYNE: I think there are two problems there.

    One, they didn’t find out until months after the incident happened. And, two, this strain of avian flu is very dangerous. I believe it was — it’s lethal in about 50 percent of the people who contract it, as opposed to anthrax, which is also dangerous if you’re infected, but it can be treated with antibiotics, and you also can’t transmit it to anybody else.

    I think that’s really one of the overriding concerns here with this anthrax incident. It’s not so much that anthrax got loose in the CDC labs. It’s, what else might get loose that’s even more dangerous?  What could a CDC worker become infected with, then leave, go home, transmit to his family, transmit to his neighbors?  All of a sudden, you have a public health emergency, not just a problem within the walls of the CDC.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So you witnessed something today that’s becoming increasingly rare in Washington, which is bipartisan agreement, at least on a level of frustration toward the CDC.

    ALEX WAYNE: Yes.

    I think what really concerned lawmakers today was that Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC, seemed to have been surprised by these incidents. He said it was a wakeup call for his agency, even though there have been numerous investigative reports over the last — really over the last three or four years pointing out safety violations and poor procedures in CDC labs.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, what does the CDC say that it will do and how will it be different than the times before?

    ALEX WAYNE: Yes.

    Well, this time, they have — they have taken some concrete steps to sort of control this research, at least in the short-term. They have closed this bioterror lab that mishandled the anthrax. And it’s going to be closed indefinitely until they put in what they say will be better procedures to handle this material.

    They have also, for now, imposed a moratorium on transferring these very dangerous pathogens between labs within CDC or shipping them to labs around the country.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, this might be a rudimentary question, but what does the CDC say is the need to have multiple locations around the country dealing with such incredibly powerful live agents?

    ALEX WAYNE: Well, there are really a couple of different agencies within the government that study these things, not just the CDC, but the Department of Agriculture and the Defense Department.

    They don’t all have the facilities concentrated in Atlanta. The USDA has facilities elsewhere in the country, as does the Defense Department. Also, universities often operate fairly high-security labs, not to the level of the CDC’s, but certainly secure, and they like to have their own material on hand to perform their research.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And so now that they have closed off these specific labs, are there different protocols that the CDC says it can put into place to prevent this from ever happening again?

    ALEX WAYNE: Really, what’s an issue here is ensuring that scientists follow the protocols that were already in place.

    The reports that the — that Congress has made public this week reveal that the CDC workers were simply ignoring procedures that make a lot of common sense. For example, they were transferring anthrax between labs in Ziploc bags. They were storing anthrax in unlocked refrigerators and unrestricted hallways.

    If they lock those refrigerators, if they handle the anthrax a little more carefully, I think the CDC believes they can stop this type of thing from happening in the future.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: I mean, it seems like much more of a culture problem. One of the things in the report said that people would piggyback in through secure door areas, where one person uses the pass and two people walk through. How do you change that kind of behavior?

    ALEX WAYNE: I’m sure it’s tough.

    You could start by changing leadership at the CDC, I suppose. Nobody at this — at these hearings called for Dr. Frieden to resign. But, apparently, there — he said there seems — he has to impose some sort of a culture change.

    I think what happens is sort of like, in any workplace, you get comfortable with your job, you think you know what you’re doing, and so you cut corners. You start piggybacking on security cards. You maybe use a torn glove when you know that what you’re handling perhaps isn’t all that dangerous to you personally.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Alex Wayne of Bloomberg News, thanks so much.

    ALEX WAYNE: Sure. Thank you.

    The post CDC under scrutiny for safety lapses appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    GWEN IFILL: Finally tonight: enticing a new generation to join the Peace Corps.

    Fifty-three years ago, President Kennedy created the all-volunteer corps, which has since sent more than 200,000 U.S. citizens to 139 countries. Today, there are about 7,000 volunteers serving in 65 countries, teaching, working in agriculture and economic development, and promoting nutrition and public health.

    But the Peace Corps has been on the decline, as fewer people apply, and wait times for acceptance increase.

    Yesterday, the Corps announced plans to reverse that trend.

    Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet joins me now.

    Welcome.

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET, Director, Peace Corps: Thank you. It’s a privilege to be here.

    GWEN IFILL: So, tell me, 53 years — what are these changes you have announced designed to fix?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Well, you know, we actually started this four years ago as part of a planned reform to upgrade all aspects of our operations and really modernize the Peace Corps.

    And so we focused our first four years on improving the support we provide to volunteers, so health, safety, and technical and program support, so they can do their jobs effectively. So we strengthen our base first, and now we’re ready to ramp up our application numbers.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, let’s talk about your application numbers. I read today that there were 30,000 incomplete applications made in nine months. Why were those applications not being completed?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Well, our former process was very cumbersome and long. It used to take eight hours to apply for the Peace Corps. And now with our…

    GWEN IFILL: Eight hours.

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Eight hours. And if you printed them all out, it would be 60 pages.

    And so now we have a process that takes less than one hour to complete. It’s much more user-friendly, it’s faster, it’s easier, and it’s much more personalized.

    GWEN IFILL: So the desire to be an international volunteer still exists?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Absolutely. Absolutely.

    GWEN IFILL: Just the process needed to be fixed?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Well, I think the process needed to be fixed, yes, absolutely.

    GWEN IFILL: So, does it change where people get to go, does this process?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: So, the three changes that we have announced today are, first, the possibility of choice. Our volunteers have the opportunity to apply for a particular country and a particular program, and that’s a big change for us.

    Previous to this, the volunteers…

    GWEN IFILL: It was kind of a blind application before?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Yes, you applied to the Peace Corps, and we would send you where we need you. And you still have the option to choose. I will serve wherever I’m needed.

    And, frankly, we’re finding that almost half of our all applicants, even since we have announced these changes, are still pushing that button, are still selecting that they are willing to go wherever they’re needed.

    GWEN IFILL: Do you have a backup plan in case you don’t get — everybody wants to go to France?

    (LAUGHTER)

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: We don’t serve in France.

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: But there are countries that are going to be more competitive, absolutely.

    It’s a competitive process. It’s going to be like applying to university. — quote — that’s the first choice — the first difference. Now, the second is that we’re having the shorter application that we just talked about, much more streamlined.

    And then the third is, now we have increased the transparency. So if you apply for a particular program, you will know when you will find out whether or not you have been accepted. And you will know what date you will depart. So it’s just like applying for a job or university. You are going to be able to have clarity around your dates and you will be able to plan around your Peace Corps service.

    GWEN IFILL: You have said that the Peace Corps is a great brand. What is the brand? And who is still applying to go abroad?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: You know, our — our volunteers are of all ages. Our youngest volunteer is 21. Our oldest volunteer is 80.

    And we represent the diversity of our country. And having a volunteer force that reflects the rich diversity of our country is a very important priority for the Peace Corps.

    GWEN IFILL: Does it truly reflect the diversity of the country?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Well, it doesn’t completely reflect the diversity. About 24 percent of our volunteers self-report as minority. But it is a very high priority for us that we have a volunteer force that reflects the rich diversity of the American people.

    GWEN IFILL: How do you go about doing that?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Well, we have partnerships with historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-servings institutions, travel colleges and universities, AARP, because we also want diversity in age as well.

    And then we have partnerships with organizations that really reach out to underserved populations.

    GWEN IFILL: You have also had a change to respond to affect — to respond to the times. The Peace Corps came under some scrutiny for sexual assault in some locations. And you have also had to take into account the rise of same-sex couples who want to serve together.

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Exactly. Exactly. No, that’s right.

    The whole issue of safety and security is a very high priority for me personally, as a mother, as a return Peace Corps volunteer myself, as a public health professional, and as a sexual assault survivor. It is an area that I feel very strongly about. And we have done so much over the last few years to improve the quality of our support to volunteers and the response that we provide. So…

    GWEN IFILL: So, as a former volunteer yourself, when you look at the people who come and say they want to apply, and even when they were filling out 80 pages’ worth of applications to do it, how has the volunteer force changed?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: You know, I actually think that the volunteers themselves are not that different.

    They are still people who are incredibly motivated by service. They are curious about the rest of the world. They want to make a difference. And that has not changed. What has changed is their level of comfort with technology. All of our volunteers now are fully savvy in the use of all technology. And they’re putting that to use in their development work, and it’s very exciting about what they’re doing.

    GWEN IFILL: Have the demands made on the Peace Corps by the nations which are — have the greatest need, has that changed as well?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Yes. It’s changed with the times, absolutely.

    For example, climate change is an area of great concern now to many nations, food security, HIV/AIDS. We’re working on some of the most important development challenges of our times. And our volunteer requests from our host countries reflect that.

    GWEN IFILL: And, finally, as you have begun to broadcast information about making it easier to get in, or at least know that you’re in, have you seen any kind of uptick in interest?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Absolutely.

    We have had the — yesterday was our busiest day ever in the history of Peace Corps on our Web site. And we have had many new applications submitted since we announced our changes. We’re very excited.

    GWEN IFILL: Is it because people had forgotten about the Peace Corps?

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Well, I think people are excited about the new possibilities. There’s always been a great demand for service. But I think that the new process, a more user-friendly process, is certainly generating interest.

    GWEN IFILL: Carrie Hessler-Radelet of the Peace Corps, thank you so much.

    CARRIE HESSLER-RADELET: Thank you so much.

    The post Facing declining applications, Peace Corps rethinks how to reach a new generation appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Tourists walk past a group of “beach boys” in Malindi, Kenya. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Tourists walk past a group of “beach boys” in Malindi, Kenya. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Malindi, Kenya: A vacation destination with something for everyone. Sitting on the crystal coast of east Africa, the resort town offers glass-bottomed boat cruises, authentic Italian pasta, sex-for-hire and dirt-cheap heroin.

    When the sun’s hot and vacation packages from Europe to Kenya run cheap, Italian tourists pour into town. Both women and men come for “sex holidays,” seeking out local “beach boys” for a night or an entire weekend’s worth of activity.

    But during the low season — the four months of the year when rain is more frequent and the hotels empty out — things turn darker here. When the crowds die down, it’s hard to ignore that this is a town struggling with drugs and disease.

    Withdrawal

    Buska Ismail waits for the clinical officer at the Watamu Drop-In Center. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Buska Ismail waits for the clinical officer at the Watamu Drop-In Center. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Like many “beach boys,” Buska Ismail works exclusively to get high. He’s learned Italian, French, German and English to grow a customer base for his personal safari tours. When times are good, the business gives him enough cash to shoot heroin five or six times per day.

    When they aren’t — when tourism dollars dry up between mid-April and mid-July each year — so does his drug habit. The effect: Unintentional detoxification.

    Buska Ismail fights the pain as a clinical officer applies antiseptic to a severe wound on his back. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Buska Ismail fights the pain as a clinical officer applies antiseptic to a severe wound on his back. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Sometimes, Buska can only afford to shoot once per day, triggering withdrawal symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea and dizziness. The combined effect caused him to fall hard on the pavement recently, ripping the top two layers of skin off most of his back.

    Buska is 32 years old — about the same age as the booming hard drug business in Malindi. Back when it first started, dealers sold a form of heroin known as “brown sugar,” mostly to European tourists and businessmen. But they soon realized that hooking the locals would be much more profitable in the long-run.

    Shooting for a High

    Shee Omar shoots up while Ahmed Mohamed smokes a joint filled with heroin and marijuana in a back alley of Malindi. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Shee Omar shoots up while Ahmed Mohamed smokes a joint filled with heroin and marijuana in a back alley of Malindi. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    For reasons that remain a mystery to most long-time drug users in Malindi, the “brown sugar” began disappearing from the market in the 1990s, replaced with a crystalline powder they call “white crest.”

    The shift marked a turning point for the HIV epidemic in Malindi. Brown sugar was most easily consumed by placing it in a piece of foil, heating from underneath and inhaling the vapors — a technique called “chasing the dragon.” But “white crest” burned too quickly for that. So the addicts began rolling it with marijuana and smoking it as a “cocktail.” Or, for a faster, cheaper and longer-lasting fix, injecting it straight into their veins.

    Shee Omar attempts to make the veins in his arms more visible for the injection as his friend, Ahmed Mohamed, prepares the dose of heroin. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Shee Omar attempts to make the veins in his arms more visible for the injection as his friend, Ahmed Mohamed, prepares the dose of heroin. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Shee Omar, 29, decided to make the switch from smoking to injection about six months ago, because “the quality of heroin in Malindi is very low,” he said. “You have to spend too much to smoke and get high. So this is better.”

    In the back alley of a neighborhood called Sea Breeze — with the Islamic call to prayer echoing over the tin-roof houses — Omar sat on a heap of dried coral and listened to his friend, Ahmed Mohamed, explain the best way to shoot.

    Ahmed Mohamed, right, known as 'the doctor' in this neighborhood, teaches Shee Omar how to shoot heroin safely. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Ahmed Mohamed, right, known as ‘the doctor’ in this neighborhood, teaches Shee Omar how to shoot heroin safely. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Ahmed describes himself as a “fisher, carpenter and thief” — he’ll do just about anything for the next fix. But he’s developed a set of habits that have earned him the nickname, “doctor.” For one thing, he’s among the best people in town to help find difficult veins. So he’ll often lend a hand to people like Omar who are still learning to inject. But at the same time he’s helping them get high, he’ll often talk with them about the health risks of shooting heroin.

    Sharing used needles — and the blood that comes with it — is one of the fastest ways to spread HIV. The Kenyan government estimates that along the coast, people who inject drugs account for 17 percent of new infections. And while the HIV prevalence rate in the general population stands at 5.6 percent, roughly a quarter of injection drug users are infected with the virus.

    Public health officials warn that ignoring such startling figures will come at a price. After shooting up, many of these drug users return home for unprotected sex with their spouses — or they sell sex for drug money. The higher HIV rates then spill into the general population.

    Ahmed knows the cycle all too well. He’s been injecting since he was 14, uses a condom only when he’s sober enough remember it, and recently tested positive for HIV. But one thing he does without fail these days is use clean needles for every new injection.

    “I make myself a role model,” he said. “I don’t want anybody else to get in this trap. If my brothers and sisters are going to inject,” he said, “I want to teach them how to do it safely.”

    Harm Reduction

    The recently opened Watamu Drop-In Center helps addicts in Watamu and Malindi with basic health care, as well as services to make their drug habits safer. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    The recently opened Watamu Drop-In Center helps addicts in Watamu and Malindi with basic health care, as well as services to make their drug habits safer. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    At the Watamu Drop-In Center, one female addict, a regular, cuts straight to the point: “Welcome to Junky House — the big house for drug addicts,” she says. The Kenya Red Cross started funding the Watamu drop-in center in 2012 to reduce HIV rates among one of the country’s “most-at-risk” groups.

    Before it opened, most of the 1,065 people who come here had nowhere to go for even basic medical care. “Because wherever they go, they will be turned away and labeled as thieves,” said Salim Mwakidzuga, the staff clinical officer. “If they are not turned away, they will never be given the first priority to be attended to. And these people are very impatient.”

    Here, addicts receive fast and friendly treatment for just about any illness, as well as counseling for their addiction and evidence-based education on how to make their drug use safer.

    Lessons Learned

    Hajji Fadhil Mohammed, right, listens to Ludovick Tengia, describe the steps of safe injection. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Hajji Fadhil Mohammed, right, listens to Ludovick Tengia, describe the steps of safe injection. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Addictions counselor Ludovick “Lion” Tengia makes a point of sitting down with all of the users who come into the center for treatment. Though he rarely shares his own history with clients, Tengia speaks to them from a place of experience.

    He spent more than a decade shooting and smoking heroin. His family watched as his circle of friends dwindled — many to drug overdoses, some to HIV. They were convinced he would follow them to the grave.

    “I remember my mom telling me, ‘I have your coffin ready, you just tell me when it is. I can’t even grieve. I’ve grieved already.’ And that was so painful for me. So I just decided that me and the needles, that’s it,” he said.

    In 2003, he made his way to a rehabilitation center in Malindi. But when administrators there met him at the gate, they discovered he was carrying some leftover drugs and they refused to let him in.

    So Tengia waited outside the facility long enough to convince them that he was serious — that they should change their minds. Three days later, they finally did.

    As a former addict himself, Ludovick Tengia, the addictions counselor at Watamu Drop-In Center, tries to mitigate some of the harm the drug users cause themselves. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    As a former addict himself, Ludovick Tengia, the addictions counselor at Watamu Drop-In Center, tries to mitigate some of the harm the drug users cause themselves. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    That’s why, as a counselor, Tengia has resolved to meet patients where they are. He knows they won’t listen unless they’ve made up their minds to change.

    “If you are trying to quit, I’ll work with you on that. If you want to switch from injection to smoking, I’ll work with you on that. If you come to me and say, ‘I think I need to start injecting,’ I’ll tell you the facts about injecting, the risks which you are exposing yourself to. And then I’ll tell you how to do it safely.”

    Injection drug user Hajji Fadhil Mohammed listens carefully to addictions counselor Ludovick Tengia at the Watamu Drop-In Center. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Injection drug user Hajji Fadhil Mohammed listens carefully to addictions counselor Ludovick Tengia at the Watamu Drop-In Center. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    In a recent counseling session, Tengia asked Hajji Fadhil Mohammed to take him through the steps of “a typical injecting session.” Whenever Mohammed forgot one, Tengia interjected, explaining why it’s necessary to have a clean surface area and sufficient light. He reminded him how to shoot most effectively so as not to damage the vein.

    But the No. 1 rule Tengia drills into his patients: Use a clean needle with each injection. Don’t share. No excuses.

    Evidence-Based and Forbidden

    Clinical officer Sailm Mwakidzuga inspects a needle and syringe kit at the Watamu Drop-In Center. Photo by Mia Collis.

    Clinical officer Sailm Mwakidzuga inspects a needle and syringe kit at the Watamu Drop-In Center. Photo by Mia Collis.

    Before they leave, drug users like Mohammed pick up free needles and syringes directly from the Watamu Drop-In Center. The packets come by the boxful from the Kenya Red Cross, which fully endorses the idea of “harm reduction.”

    The theory goes that drug users will find a way to shoot regardless, so they should at least do it safely and without spreading HIV in the process — either to each other or to their sexual partners.

    Lenora Lippmann, program development officer for the Kenya Red Cross - Coast Region, delivers the syringe kits given to injecting drug users at the Watamu Drop In Center. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Lenora Lippmann, program development officer for the Kenya Red Cross – Coast Region, delivers the syringe kits given to injecting drug users at the Watamu Drop In Center. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    The world’s largest public health groups support the concept of “harm reduction” — from the World Health Organization to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has funneled nearly $600 million toward “harm reduction” programming and other services for people who inject drugs in the past 11 years.

    But many conservatives cringe at the idea of handing drug users a tool for getting high. The U.S. government bans the use of federal dollars on needle and syringe programs — including any flowing through the massive President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR. President George W. Bush, who created PEPFAR in 2003, said he didn’t believe in “so-called harm reduction strategies to combat drug use,” and that needle exchange programs signal “nothing but abdication, that these dangers are here to stay. Children deserve a clear, unmixed message that there are right choices in life and wrong choices in life, that we are responsible for our actions, and that using drugs will destroy your life.” Rather, he supported a mix of prevention, education, treatment and law enforcement activities to help drug users recover from addiction and to discourage others from trying in the first place. President Obama signed a bill ending the ‘Needle Exchange Ban’ in 2009, but a group of conservatives in Congress reinstated it as part of a spending bill passed two years later.

    Similarly, when the government of Kenya launched a series of pilot needle and syringe programs along its coast in 2012, Muslim clerics demanded they end immediately. “The Quran strongly forbids such harm,” said Sheikh Yusuf Omar on behalf of the clerics at a community meeting in the coastal city of Mombasa. “This program seeks to use harm to stop another harm. This goes against the Islamic teachings. It is forbidden.”

    Scattered Needles

    Mohamed Ali Issa, a recovering heroin addict, says Needle and Syringe Programs don't work. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Mohammed Ali Issa, a recovering heroin addict, says Needle and Syringe Programs don’t work. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Among the Malindi area’s most outspoken critics is Mohamed Ali Issa, a once-powerful international businessman who lost everything — his Swiss wife, his children, his job — when he got hooked on heroin. “It was like a poison to me,” he said. “It took everything I had.”

    So nine years ago, Issa checked himself into a rehabilitation program, where he quit cold-turkey. He’s been working to repair his relationships and shattered career ever since, and he now calls himself a model for the recovery approach.

    “That’s why it’s much better to give them treatment or to bring them to a rehabilitation center rather than handing them needles for free. Because if they do that, they will just use more. More and more,” he said.

    Used needles are collected  from the ground by The Omari Project’s outreach workers at a heroin den in Malindi. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Used needles are collected from the ground by The Omari Project’s outreach workers at a heroin den in Malindi. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Issa says the drug addicts don’t remember to return their used needles to the drop-in centers for proper disposal — they simply throw them on the ground, where children can play with them. Recently, one of his friends stepped on one while walking through town and was rushed to the hospital for tests and treatment.

    He says that if volunteers and clinic staff are picking up the discarded needles — as they promised they would — they’re not doing it fast enough.

    “Before this, we didn’t have many drug users who were using an injection,” he said. “But now, after this center started giving these things for free, many young boys are now trying it.”

    Gateway

    Shosi Mohamed,  the Omari Project drug rehabilitation and outreach program coordinator, was among leaders responsible for bringing the needle and syringe programs to the coast. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Shosi Mohamed, the Omari Project drug rehabilitation and outreach program coordinator, was among leaders responsible for bringing the needle and syringe programs to the coast. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Shosi Mohamed, program coordinator for the nonprofit “Omari Project” in Malindi, says that’s blatantly not true — that there’s no proof beyond anecdotal stories that the new needle and syringe programs are causing new harm. In fact, a recent study by the Omari Project and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine “proves that the NSP program has not contributed to an increase of drug use in Malindi or the coast, in general,” he said. Elsewhere in the world — in cities from Amsterdam to New York — long-term studies show that implementation of needle and syringe programming has led to dramatically lower HIV rates without any uptick in drug use.

    It’s why the Omari Project — a group named after the first injection drug user in Malindi to die after using a contaminated needle — now sends dozens of volunteers directly into the back alleys and drug dens of this city daily to hand-deliver the syringe packets. Rather than encouraging drug use, Mohamed said it can often be the first step to helping them connect with Omari Project’s other programming, including life-saving treatment and counseling services.

    The Omari Project Drop-In Center in Malindi takes its name from the first injection drug user in Malindi to die after sharing a contaminated needle. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    The Omari Project Drop In-Center in Malindi takes its name from the first injection drug user in Malindi to die of AIDS after sharing a contaminated needle. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    “Handing them that needle is sometimes the only way we can engage them and talk seriously about their drug use,” Shosi Mohamed said. “Do they really want to keep on using drugs? Do they really need to keep on injecting? Are they injecting properly? Because we can give you new needles and syringes, but who’s going to give you new veins? It makes people think more about their best options. And the best options for most people is not sharing needles, or stopping injection altogether.”

    Recovery

    Hassan Abdul receives medical care for an infected hand at the Omari Project Drop-In Center in Malindi. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Hassan Abdul receives medical care for an infected hand at the Omari Project Drop-In Center in Malindi. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Hasan Abdul's hand became severely inflamed after he missed the vein and shot heroin directly into the tissue. Photos by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Hasan Abdul’s hand became severely inflamed after he missed the vein and shot heroin directly into the tissue. Photos by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Take, for example, Hassan Abdul, who knows about the Omari Project through its needle and syringe services. When he missed a vein the other day and shot heroin directly into the tissue of his hand, he knew to come here for emergency treatment. Later, he’ll receive follow-up counseling to help him change his lifestyle, if he wishes to do so — or learn how to inject more safely in the future.

    Similar to roughly 40 percent of injection drug users in Malindi, Mbarak Salim has developed a large "abscess" from using dull needles. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Similar to roughly 40 percent of injection drug users in Malindi, Mbarak Salim has developed a large “abscess” from using dull needles. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Before the Omari Project launched the needle and syringe program in 2012, 32-year-old Mbarak Salim used the same dirty needles so often they became dull. A bloody wound opened at his regular injection site, eventually spreading and becoming infected.

    He uses clean needles now, which reduces the risk that the abscess will grow. And while doctors at the local hospital once told him that his leg would probably need to be amputated, consistent treatment at the Omari Project means he’s now headed for recovery instead.

    Mbarak Salim receives counseling from Monica Wanja at the Omari Project Drop-In Center in Malindi. Photo by Mia Collis

    Mbarak Salim, receives counseling from Monica Wanja at the Omari Project Drop-In Center in Malindi. Photo by Mia Collis

    Omari paralegal Monica Wanja also meets with clients like Salim when they stop in for treatment. She tells them about their civil rights and advises that they can find legal support at the center should they get into trouble.

    Now sober for seven years, Wanja wants them to understand that full recovery is possible.

    She tells them that she was once so overcome by addiction that she resorted to injecting in her breasts and genitals because the veins everywhere else were too damaged. When she gave birth to a daughter, she breast fed with one-hand and injected with the other. She rummaged through hospital trash cans for used needles. She had sex with Italian tourists at night for drug money. And eventually, she contracted HIV.

    Monica Wanja, a recovering addict and a paralegal at the Omari Project, wipes away tears while describing her former life of drug abuse. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Monica Wanja, a recovering addict and a paralegal at the Omari Project, wipes away tears while describing her former life of drug abuse. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Like most of Malindi’s addicts, Wanja remembers vaguely talking about wanting to quit. She even checked herself into the Omari Project’s rehabilitation center nine times without ever taking it very seriously.

    But before Wanja’s tenth stint at the facility, her grandmother — her only real source of support — sat her down to announce she was dying and had some tough words to leave behind: “This is your last chance. When I am gone, you will have no one. It is you now that has to make the decision.’”

    Seven years have passed and temptation visits her daily, but Wanja says she hasn’t touched heroin since.

    Relapse and Rehabilitation

    The Omari Project Drug Rehabilitation Center sits several miles outside of the town of Malindi, far removed from many of the temptations the recovering addicts face in normal life. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    The Omari Project Drug Rehabilitation Center sits several miles outside of the town of Malindi, far removed from many of the temptations the recovering addicts face in normal life. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    The gate is always open at the Omari Project Drug Rehabilitation Center, several miles outside of town. Those who check themselves in can leave at any time.

    But most find this a peaceful spot to heal — or at least try. They cook meals together and garden between counseling sessions and meditation. They care for baby goats and chickens. Mostly, they sit and think about where they’ve been and where they want to go.

    Fatima Lali Athman was once employed by the Omari Project as an outreach worker. She is now, once again, a patient. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Fatima Lali Athman was once employed by the Omari Project as an outreach worker. She is now, once again, a patient. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Fatima Lali Athman knows this piece of land well. She checked in here for treatment in 2010, sobered up and became such a success story for the Omari Project that the rehabilitation center hired her as staff.

    But her husband — a recovering drug user himself — started into heroin again shortly after Fatima returned home. She tried to resist the urge but said the easy access and constant temptation became too much. When she started smoking again, she quickly lost control.

    She checked herself back in as a patient several months ago — a deep embarrassment for her and testament to the fragility of the recovery process. But it’s what needed to happen, she says.

    “I didn’t look after my children. I didn’t do anything for myself. I stopped caring about everything. I knew it wasn’t healthy for anyone,” she said. “So I’m taking this chance again and hoping for the best.”

    Traditional Swahili dhows sail in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Malindi. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Traditional Swahili dhows sail in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Malindi. Photo by Mia Collis/PBS NewsHour

    Even the most desperate drug users in Malindi haven’t lost that feeling of hope — that a brighter future is somehow possible for themselves and their city.

    Drug use continues to thrive here. But disease rates seem to have leveled off, health officials say. And that in itself, most agree, is a reason to keep hoping for more.

    This segment was produced with the support of the International Center for Journalists.

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    Elaine Stritch performs “I’m Still Here” from 2010′s “A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House,” a PBS music special that was held in the East Room of the White House.

    Cabaret legend and Broadway mainstay Elaine Stritch died in her Michigan home Thursday from natural causes, her publicist confirmed. The brassy performer was 89.

    Suffering from diabetes-related fatigue and a series of falls that left her wheelchair bound, Stritch’s health had been failing the last few years. Stritch moved back to her home state in Birmingham, Michigan in 2013 after living in Room 309 of New York’s Carlyle Hotel for 15 years, a decision that did not leave the show business legend in high spirits.

    Elaine Stritch in her dressing room at the Savoy Theatre, London in 1973. Photo by Allan Warren via Wikimedia Commons

    Elaine Stritch in her dressing room at the Savoy Theatre, London in 1973. Photo by Allan Warren via Wikimedia Commons

    Losing none of her trademark candidness into her golden years, Stritch told Vanity Fair in June 2013, “I’m as unhappy as anybody can be.”

    But as open as Stritch was, there was always room for humor. Whether it was her impeccable comic timing, salty words or her insistence on calling talk show host David Letterman a “pool boy,” Stritch — donning an oversize white button-down shirt and black stockings, a career uniform — knew how to draw the biggest laughs from an audience.

    “Off stage, she was known for giving any man a run for his money, whether at drinking, swearing or speaking her mind,” Playbill wrote.

    Known for a legacy that spanned seven decades, including stints on several television shows and films, the husky-voiced actress was meant for the stage. She made her New York stage debut in 1944, starring in the children’s play “Bobino,” and was Ethel Merman’s understudy in the 1950′s “Call Me Madam.”

    Her breakout role was in William Inge’s 1955 play “Bus Stop,” for which she earned the first of her five Tony nominations. Other highlights include roles in Noel Coward’s 1961 musical “Sail Away” and Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical “Company,” which is known for her immortal “The Ladies Who Lunch” — a biting anthem of wealthy socialites that became Stritch’s signature tune.

    Elaine Stritch performs “The Ladies Who Lunch,” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.”

    Stritch also won three Emmys, including one in 2008 for her role on NBC’s “30 Rock” as Jack Donaghy’s overbearing mother.

    In 2002 at age 70, she won her only Tony for her one-woman show “Elaine Stritch: At Liberty,” a tour through Stritch’s life on and off the stage, including anecdotes about her struggles with alcoholism, which began, Stritch said, when her father offered her a swig of a whiskey sour.

    Although she was able to quit drinking in her 60s, Stritch returned to alcohol late in life. She told The New York Times Magazine earlier this year, “I’m almost 89, I’m gonna have a drink a day or two. I know how to handle it, so there. I’m proud of the fact that I can handle a couple of drinks.”

    We’ll drink to that.

    The post Broadway and cabaret actress Elaine Stritch dead at 89 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Members of the Ugandan gay community at the funeral of a murdered activist, David Kato, in 2011. Photo by MARC HOFER/AFP/Getty Images

    Members of the Ugandan gay community at the funeral of a murdered activist, David Kato, in 2011. Photo by MARC HOFER/AFP/Getty Images

    According to a recent United Nations report, it may be possible to control the AIDS epidemic by as early as 2030, and ultimately eradicate the disease altogether. But this goal will be impossible to reach without increasing treatment and prevention measures for the most at-risk populations.

    Global health organizations have agreed that these groups include men who have sex with men, sex workers and intravenous drug users. In some nations, these populations face persecution, making them afraid to be tested or seek treatment. HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths have been on the rise in those countries, while the same rates have been falling elsewhere around the world.

    In Uganda, a law passed in February makes gays and lesbians subject to harsh penalties. Individuals convicted of homosexual acts could face up to life in prison. Many HIV positive homosexuals do not seek treatment because they fear being outed by their doctors.

    The United States requires nonprofits to sign a pledge opposing prostitution before they can receive federal AIDS relief funds. This policy, in place since 2003, has been criticized by many nonprofits seeking to help sex workers, who claim that publicly opposing prostitution diminishes trust among that population.

    As the International AIDS Conference prepares to convene in Australia, NewsHour reports on the persecution of these at-risk groups, and explores what steps must be taken to make an AIDS-free generation a reality. 

    We will be taking your questions for four activists and human rights workers who deal specifically with at-risk populations in Uganda:

    • Isaac Mugisha is the communications officer at Spectrum Uganda, an LGBT advocacy group based in Kampala.
    • Asia Russell is the director of international policy at Health GAP, a nonprofit dedicated to improving access to care for people living with HIV/AIDS.
    • Daisy Nakato is a Ugandan sex worker and founder of WONETHA, an organization that seeks to educate and empower sex workers in urban Uganda.
    • Megan Schmidt-Sane is a former WONETHA volunteer who now works for the sexual health and rights team at American Jewish World Service.

    Share your questions in the comments section, on Facebook or on Twitter using the hashtag #NewsHourAsks. We will post answers from Isaac, Asia, Daisy and Megan here in the coming days.

    This segment was produced with the support of the International Center for Journalists.

    The post Uganda’s LGBT and HIV/AIDS activists answer your questions appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Mitch Tyner, attorney for the Chris McDaniel campaign, said there was enough evidence of voting irregularities to support a legal challenge against the McDaniel's runoff election loss to six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. Tyner said to expect a challenge within the next 10 days. Photo by Paul Boger/MPB

    Mitch Tyner, attorney for the Chris McDaniel campaign, said there was enough evidence of voting irregularities to support a legal challenge against the McDaniel’s runoff election loss to six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. Tyner said to expect a challenge within the next 10 days. Photo by Paul Boger/MPB

    Editor’s note: Although it’s been three weeks since the Republican primary runoff election for the U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi, tea party challenger Chris McDaniel is not ready to concede to six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. Cochran won that election by nearly 7,700 votes, but the McDaniel’s campaign has suggested there were voting irregularities, including Democratic voters who were not eligible to vote in the runoff. McDaniel has been trying to raise money to mount a legal challenge. Paul Boger of Mississippi Public Broadcasting reports.
    JACKSON, Miss. — Lawyers for state Senator Chris McDaniel’s campaign say they need more time to look for potential voter fraud in last month’s runoff election against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. At a press conference in Jackson yesterday, State Sen. Michael Watson of Pascagoula, Miss. spoke to reporters on behalf of McDaniel.

    “What it is is a look under the hood of the election process in Mississippi,” Watson said. “Not only does a candidate have the right to review the materials, but he also has a duty to act as a check to the integrity of the system.”

    While the state senator’s legal team say they have found an alarming number of illegal votes cast, they were not ready to share the details. Previously, the McDaniel campaign said they found more than 8,300 voting irregularities. McDaniel lawyer Mitch Tyner says the evidence is mounting, and the campaign will likely file a challenge soon.

    “There is already enough evidence to file the challenge.” Tyner said. “I’m not going to go into the specifics of everything, but crossover votes is a big part of our challenge. We expect to file a challenge within the next 10 days.”

    During the press conference, Tyner also made serious accusations of vote buying as well as race-baiting against the Cochran Campaign. He says their tactics were shameful.

    “The Cochran campaign– through race-baiting– took us back 50 years.” Tyner said. “It is wrong. To motivate black democrats through hatred to come out and vote for Thad Cochran, that’s wrong. That is absolutely wrong.”

    Cochran’s campaign quickly responded to the accusations calling them baseless. Austin Barbour is a senior advisor to the Cochran Campaign. He says his camp is ready to concentrate on the November elections.

    “People in Mississippi are ready to move on,” says Barbour. “For three weeks, we’ve heard allegations that always turn out to be false or are never backed up with facts. I want to say this on behalf of this campaign and on behalf of our candidate, as of today we’re focused on winning the general election in November. We’re moving away from this circus as best as we can.”

    McDaniel will first have to file a complaint with the state GOP, before he can take his challenge to court.

    This post originally appeared on MPB’s website on July 16.

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    malaysia1

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    GWEN IFILL: The fighting in Eastern Ukraine took a deadly new turn today. A Malaysia Airlines plane flying over the region was shot down with all 295 passengers and crew board feared dead.

    Malaysia Airlines said at least 154 were Dutch citizens, along with 27 Australians, 23 Malaysians and 11 Indonesians. The nationalities of most of the rest were not yet confirmed.

    The circumstances remained murky, but smoke rising into the Eastern Ukrainian sky left little doubt of the extent of the tragedy. The burning remains of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 lay scattered over a wide area. It appeared the Boeing 777 had broken up before impact. The plane, seen here in recent years, had been flying at 33,000 feet, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, when it disappeared.

    The crash site lay just 25 miles from the Russian border, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, now held by the rebels. It didn’t take long for the accusations to begin.

    In a Facebook post, a Ukrainian interior ministry official declared the airliner was shot down by rebels using a Russian-made SA-17 system. Its missiles can reach altitudes of 72,000 feet.

    Just as quickly, the self-proclaimed rebel prime minister of the People’s Republic of Donetsk denied involvement.

    ALEXANDER BORODAI, Donetsk People’s Republic (through interpreter): A passenger aircraft has been shot down, indeed, shot down by Ukrainian air forces. To tell the truth, this is a provocation on purpose. In principle, this is not the first time for Ukraine to shoot down passenger aircrafts, as you know.

    GWEN IFILL: But Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said his military has not fired on any airborne targets, and he called for an international investigation.

    PRESIDENT PETRO POROSHENKO, Ukraine (through interpreter): I just finished a conversation with the prime minister of the Netherlands. I offered our condolences on behalf of the Ukrainian people and invited Dutch experts to open an investigation of this act of terrorism.

    GWEN IFILL: In Washington, White House officials said President Obama learned of the crash from Russian President Vladimir Putin during a phone call on U.S. sanctions against Moscow.

    Later, in Delaware, the president called the event a terrible tragedy.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why. And, as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers, wherever they call home.

    GWEN IFILL: For Malaysia Airlines, it’s the second major catastrophe in six months. Last March, Flight 370 disappeared while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A search of the Indian Ocean off Australia has yet to yield any sign of that plane.

    The post Malaysia Airlines plane shot down near Russian border of Ukraine appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Air Malaysia Passenger Jet Crashes In Eastern Ukraine

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    GWEN IFILL: Later today, Russian President Putin laid the blame on the Ukrainian government for renewing military operations against the rebels.

    We look at some of the many questions surrounding this with Charles Duelfer, who spent more than 25 years working for government national security agencies. In 1983, he was the State Department’s top analyst investigating the shootdown of a South Korean airliner by the Soviets. And Jim Hall, the former chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. The board investigated the crashes of TWA Flight 800 and Egypt Air 990 while he was chairman.

    Gentlemen, thank you both for joining us.

    Charles Duelfer, what would it take to shoot down a commercial airline flying at 33,000 feet?

    CHARLES DUELFER, Former CIA Official: Well, unfortunately, there is a lot of capacity in the region to do that.

    The Russians have missile systems to do just this. And apparently these missile systems have now come into the hands of both Ukraine and Ukrainian separatists. So, it’s not a difficult task for a sophisticated army.

    GWEN IFILL: Is it possible to confuse a commercial airliner with a military transport plane?

    CHARLES DUELFER: Well, in fact, this is probably what happened in 1983, when the Russians shot down a 747. They were suspicious that it was an American surveillance aircraft. My guess…

    GWEN IFILL: This was the Korean airline…

    CHARLES DUELFER: That’s the Korean airliner from — in 1983.

    If you take one of these military systems and you take it out of an overall air defense system, where you have just got a small unit, and they’re looking at aircraft outside of any other data, they could look up and misidentify an aircraft.

    I think that’s possibly what happened in this case, where they may have thought they were aiming at an Antonov, a transport aircraft which would be associated with the Ukrainian military, and in fact have been aiming at this 777.

    GWEN IFILL: Jim Hall, we look at the airspace. We know about the conflict in Ukraine. How safe was it for that airliner to be flying through that airspace at that altitude?

    JIM HALL, Former Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board: Well, we don’t know for sure.

    The integrity of this investigation, which I agree should be an international investigation, is critical, in my opinion, to all of the nations in that region. And so the airspace, as I understand it, was cleared for commercial flight.

    So either we’re looking at a criminal act and the dastardly act that took 295 lives, or a horrible mistake. And the world needs to know that, or it’s going to have, as I said, a chilling affect on international aviation.

    GWEN IFILL: Jim Hall, you have investigated unexpected — and I guess they are all unexpected — crashes and accidents before. What is the first thing you look for to determine whether in fact it was a terrible failure of the aircraft itself or someone’s decision to take it down?

    JIM HALL: Well, of course, most of that information is going to be contained in the black boxes. Hopefully, they are in the process of being recovered, the flight data recorder, the cockpit voice recorder.

    You are going to be looking obviously at the air traffic control tapes and any other type of information that you might have that involved communications between the ground and this aircraft.

    GWEN IFILL: Charles Duelfer, President Putin apparently informed President Obama about this in a phone call earlier in the day, which would lead one to believe that he was trying to say this was not — we had nothing to do with this, or I guess he wouldn’t have brought it up.

    In the past, especially in the Korean airliner incident, is this something that anybody would readily admit to, or did this have to be unearthed in the investigation?

    CHARLES DUELFER: I think the Russians learned from their experience in 1983, where they handled it very badly by denying it for a long period of time. And then they were caught out because the United States intelligence had collected the communications, which was very blatant. And they were played in the Security Council.

    I would add to what Jim has said about the crash investigation. There’s going to be a lot of intelligence information. This is one of the most heavily surveilled places on the planet, where they have satellites which are looking for just missile launches because we’re concerned about attacks from Russia.

    So there will be a lot of supplementary data. I think the case — this will be an answerable thing. People will know why this airplane went down. The open question will be who has responsibility for it. And that’s where I think we’re going to see Russia maneuvering to try to shift responsibility and Ukrainians trying to place responsibility on Russia, if not the separatists.

    GWEN IFILL: Jim Hall, let me ask you a little bit about this idea of being able to trace the cause for the plane going down.

    This is — even though it’s Malaysia Airlines and we spent a lot of time talking about the Malaysia Airlines jet that went missing within the last six months, what is different here in terms of the number of ways to monitor this flight path and what happened when impact presumably occurred?

    JIM HALL: Well, of course, the most significant difference is that we have the wreckage, regrettably.

    We know where it’s located, which does set up a certain international protocols in terms of an investigation, which I’m pleased to hear — and I hope both sides in the Ukrainian dispute will agree to an international investigation of this matter.

    But having the evidence and hopefully having the information on the black boxes and having the recovery of those black boxes and the cooperation of the various countries that this aircraft flew through in providing this information will have a more transparent and a more detailed investigation into this Malaysian accident than we have seen today in the previous one.

    GWEN IFILL: And let me ask you one more question about that.

    The airspace wasn’t closed where this flight was maneuvering through. At least it was flying above the closed portion of the airspace, but it has been closed now. Is it your understanding now or would it be your advice if you were in a similar position to keep that closed for the length of this investigation?

    JIM HALL: Well, I think that’s just common sense at this point.

    There are obviously individuals on the ground that have weapons capable of reaching the altitude of the most sophisticated aircraft flying now. So, until that dispute can be managed, we certainly need to embargo that airspace.

    GWEN IFILL: Charles Duelfer, put your diplomat’s hat on for a moment.

    You know that — we — Jim Hall just talked about the potential international reverberations here. What do you see, especially given that this was a touchy war zone in the first place, reverberating from this kind of accident/intentional attack?

    CHARLES DUELFER: There’s going to be some serious arguments about whether the Russians are behaving responsibly with respect to their clients, particularly with respect to having them have access to these types of weapons, which outside of the command-and-control of an organized state, you get an airliner passing through airspace, and they have no way of checking, is this a civilian aircraft or is it a friend or a foe?

    That normal structure doesn’t exist. So, I think a lot of the diplomatic argument will take place on that point. And, again, I think the intelligence surrounding this, both from the United States, from the Ukrainians, is going to be very interesting. And I think if they do have tapes of communications, those are going to be very damning in a lot of ways.

    GWEN IFILL: Charles Duelfer, Jim Hall, thank you both very much.

    CHARLES DUELFER: Thank you.

    The post What kind of missile could have downed the Malaysian plane? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    newswrap

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama used his phone call with Russian President Putin today to warn of even more economic sanctions. Yesterday, the U.S. imposed new measures as punishment for Moscow’s support of Ukrainian rebels. The sanctions target major Russian banks, energy and defense companies.

    Putin lashed out at the U.S. earlier in the day during a trip to Brazil.

    VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): Sanctions have a boomerang effect, and without any doubt they will push U.S.-Russian relations to a dead end, and cause very serious damage. I am sure that this also damages national long-term strategic interests of the U.S. government and the U.S. people.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Last night, for the first time, European leaders signaled they are now willing to target Russian companies with their own sanctions.

    But the new tensions unsettled Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 161 points to close at 16,976; the Nasdaq fell 62 points to close at 4,363; and the S&P 500 dropped 23 to 1,958.

    GWEN IFILL: Microsoft announced plans today for its biggest layoffs ever. The company will trim 18,000 jobs, 14 percent of its staff, over the next year. The move is part of Microsoft’s streamlining since it acquired Nokia’s cell phone business in April. The software giant is also shifting from traditional personal computer software to mobile and cloud-based products.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It turns out a search at the National Institutes of Health found more than 300 unrecorded vials of highly contagious viruses and bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration says they were in a building it’s used for decades at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. It was already known that six vials of decades-old smallpox virus turned up at the same site.

    GWEN IFILL: Congress now appears increasingly unlikely to act soon on the surge of migrant children crossing the U.S. border from Central America. Republicans say they won’t approve the president’s request for emergency funding without also changing a 2008 law in order to speed up deportations.

    House Speaker John Boehner said today he’s not optimistic.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, Speaker of the House: I don’t know how you can address the problem down there without looking at the ’08 law. I don’t know how Congress can send more money to the border to begin to mitigate the problem if you don’t do something about the ’08 law that’s being abused. And it is being abused.

    GWEN IFILL: Democrats oppose speeding up the deportation process. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had suggested last week that changing the law might be possible. But, today, she ruled it out, and warned Republicans they will be blamed if Congress does nothing.

    REP. NANCY PELOSI, Minority Leader: What they have said in their public statements is, they don’t want to do all that much money, and they want to have legislation in there that is harmful to some of the children that we’re dealing with at the border. That sounds like an all-Republican bill to me.

    GWEN IFILL: Time is getting short to get anything done this summer. Congress leaves in two weeks for its month-long August recess.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Australia has become the first country to repeal a carbon tax on greenhouse gas polluters. The Australian Senate today voted to axe the 2012 law that roused heavy public opposition. The ruling conservative coalition government took power last year, promising to end the tax and lower electricity bills as a result.

    GWEN IFILL: Famed Broadway performer Elaine Stritch died today at her home in Birmingham, Michigan. She had a long list of stage, movie and TV credits, and won a Tony and three Emmys over more than 60 years in the business. But she may be best known for her show-stopping signature number, “The Ladies Who Lunch,” from the 1970 musical “Company.”

    She performed it more recently in her one woman show, “At Liberty.”

    ELAINE STRITCH, Actress/Musician (singing): Here’s to the ladies who lunch. Everybody, laugh. Lounging in their caftans and planning a brunch on their own behalf.

    GWEN IFILL: Elaine Stritch was 89 years old.

    The post News Wrap: Obama warns Putin of further sanctions appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Former Panamanian dictator and convicted drug-trafficker Manuel Noriega is suing the makers of “Call of Duty” for harming his reputation.

    Noriega, 80, is seeking damages from the California video game publisher Activision for portraying him as, “a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state.”

    Noriega’s attorneys filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court Tuesday. The suit claims that the “plaintiff was portrayed as an antagonist and portrayed as the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes, creating the false impression that defendants are authorized to use plaintiff’s image and likeness.”

    Manuel Noriega is featured as a villain who betrays the player in the popular game, “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.” Activision, which pulled in more than $4 billion in revenue last year, owns several big game series. But “Call of Duty” is among the highest grossing.

    Asking for more than $25,000, Noriega’s paperwork calls the game publisher’s actions “malicious, fraudulent, oppressive and intended to injure plaintiff.”

    The ex-general’s lawsuits states that Activision’s use of his likeness increases the “realism” of the game and therefore has increased its sales. “Black Ops” earned over $1 billion within a month after launching in November 2012.

    The U.S. ended Manuel Noriega’s military dictatorship of Panama in 1989 in an invasion that put Noriega in American prison for nearly two decades.

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    israel1

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated today after efforts to broker a cease-fire failed and Israeli troops rolled into Gaza.

    The ground assault began after nightfall, with Gaza residents reporting heavy shelling along the border. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the operation would target what it called terrorist tunnels from Gaza into Israel.

    It was a stark change from earlier in the day. For just a while, quiet returned to the streets of Gaza and southern Israel, after 10 days of airstrikes and rocket fire. It was a U.N.-requested truce, agreed to by Hamas and the Israeli government on humanitarian grounds.

    Gazans used the truce to emerge from their homes and hunt for supplies. They also lined up in droves outside banks in order to withdraw money for the first time since the conflict began. In Israel, as air raid sirens fell silent, people in the southern town of Ashkelon also shopped for clothes and food.

    But then, at 3:00 p.m. local time, the truce ended with a new barrage of Hamas rockets fired into Israel. No one was hurt. The Israelis struck back with new airstrikes in Gaza, including one that killed three children, according to the Gazan Health Ministry.

    Meanwhile, a Jerusalem court indicted three Israelis in the death of 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir. The Palestinian boy was burned alive after three Israeli teens were killed last month, incidents that sparked the current fighting.

    The post Israel launches ground assault in Gaza as efforts to broker cease-fire fail appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    israel2_plo_ambassador

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Israeli ground assault on Gaza late today surprised officials of foreign governments who have been furiously working in Cairo to negotiate a permanent cease-fire.

    A case in point, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s ambassador to the U.S., Maen Rashid Areikat.

    He spoke this afternoon with the NewsHour’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, Margaret Warner, just an hour before the incursion was announced.

    MARGARET WARNER: Ambassador Areikat, thank you for having us.

    MAEN RASHID AREIKAT, Ambassador, PLO Delegation to the U.S: Thank you.

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, well after this lull, in fact, fierce fighting has resumed, more rockets, more killings in Gaza. What is it going to take to end this thing?

    MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: I think it will take the efforts of many parties. It’s not only Israel and the Palestinian factions who are now engaged in intense efforts to reach a cease-fire.

    The Palestinian president yesterday arrived in Cairo, held talks with Hamas officials, with Egyptian officials. He’s planning to go to Turkey tomorrow, to Qatar. There are very, very intensified efforts right now to somehow bridge the gaps between the two sides.

    I personally believe that it is a matter of time before they reach a cease-fire.

    MARGARET WARNER: So, you mean, even though we see all this violence going on, that this separate track, the diplomatic track, you think still holds promise? As you said, your president is involved.

    MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: Yes, I think both sides have no interest in expanding this confrontation.

    The Palestinian leadership position is very clear. We don’t believe that this is in the interests of any party, definitely not the Palestinians, who have really suffered a heavy toll of civilian casualties. More than 240 have been killed so far, 1,600 wounded, very, very extensive damage in the Gaza Strip.

    So it is in the interest of the Palestinian people to see a cease-fire as soon as possible.

    MARGARET WARNER: If there is no permanent cease-fire reached, there are many voices in Israel calling for some sort of ground invasion. What would be the consequences of that?

    MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: I think that would be a major mistake, because Israel tried a ground invasion in 2008, 2009, and 2012. None of that is going to solve the problem in Gaza.

    Our problem with Israel is a political problem. It’s a problem about a continued Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, of the Gaza Strip. Even though they withdrew their soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip, technically, Gaza is still under Israeli military occupation.

    MARGARET WARNER: You mean because it’s controlled and exits are controlled.

    MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: Absolutely, their airspace, their territorial waters, their land crossing points, they are all under Israeli control.

    The situation in the West Bank is a little bit — is better than Gaza Strip, but, still, there is a political problem that needs to be resolved, ending this occupation, creating a Palestinian state that can live side by side in peace and security with Israel.

    MARGARET WARNER: Now, of course, President Abbas called on Hamas to accept this first Egyptian proposal back on Tuesday, which they rejected. Is Hamas asking for too much here?

    MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: Hamas wants to see the situation in the Gaza Strip change. And I think this is something that all Palestinians want to see.

    The situation in the Gaza Strip, the blockade that the Israelis have imposed on the Gaza Strip for the last five, six years, has exacted a heavy toll on the population there. Economically, the conditions are very, very dire in the Gaza Strip.

    MARGARET WARNER: But does raining rockets down on Israel accomplish that?

    MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: Our position is very clear on that, too.

    The Palestinian leadership, the PLO, believes that only political engagement can produce the needed results. But we have keep in mind that Israel actually undertook the campaign of arresting Hamas activists in the West Bank, attacked their institutions and organizations following the abduction and the disappearance — disappearance of the three teenage settlers.

    MARGARET WARNER: And the killing.

    MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: And then — and then the murder and then the following murder of the Palestinian, the burning him alive.

    Listen, this is not an issue of who started first, who fired first, and who retaliated. I think now the most important task is to reach a formula that will be acceptable to both sides for a cease-fire.

    If this is a reminder, it reminds all of us that the status quo cannot be continued. And Israel’s false feeling that everything is quiet in the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank is a very deluding feeling. And they are not going to be able to obtain security and stability unless they end their conflict with the Palestinian people.

    MARGARET WARNER: Ambassador Areikat, thank you.

    MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: Thank you very much.

    The post PLO ambassador on seeking a political formula to end Mideast conflict appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Tensions Remain High At Israeli Gaza Border

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, again, as we stated, an hour after Margaret’s interview, it was announced that Israel was launching a ground invasion.

    More now on the escalation of the conflict.

    Khalil Jahshan is the executive director of the Arab Center of Washington. It’s a nonprofit organization that seeks to foster deeper understanding of Arab culture. And Natan Sachs is a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He focuses on Israeli foreign and domestic politics and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    And welcome you both.

    Natan Sachs, what can Israel accomplish with a ground invasion that it couldn’t accomplish by sending hundreds of missiles into Gaza.

    NATAN SACHS, Brookings Institution: Well, the main objective right now is to go after these tunnels, the tunnels between Gaza Strip and Israel.

    Egypt has acted very forcefully against the tunnels between Sinai and Gaza. But there are tunnels that go underneath the border to Israel and several attacks have come out of there, especially, most famously, an attack that abducted Gilad Shalit, a prisoner, an Israeli soldier. And then there was five years of his imprisonment, of trauma for Israel in the sense. They’re trying to go after these tunnels on the Gazan side.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But what is it — have they not been able to — help us understand, what is it about these tunnels, what is going on inside them or around them, that Israel can’t accomplish with missiles?

    NATAN SACHS: Well, there is a lot that you can’t do from the air.

    They know a bit about where they are. In fact, this operation a week-and-a-half ago began really with targeting of a specific tunnel. But then just today, they found another one. And they suspect, they expect that there are many more on the Gaza sound.

    But going in with the ground troops, they hope that they’re able to uncover this and to stop them from the Gazan side.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Khalil Jahshan, what does Hamas use the tunnels for?

    KHALIL JAHSHAN, Arab Center of Washington: Basically, the tunnels are part and parcel of the military strategy of Hamas. They haven’t been really using them, like, daily.

    I think there is a big exaggeration on the part of the Israelis, as we just heard Natan mention the incident that took place about six years ago. That was six years ago. We have had three wars in Gaza since then.

    The Israelis know where these tunnels are. They can do like Egypt did. They can come in and block them from their side, if they need — they have that intelligence. They have that spatial intelligence. From outer space, they can tell where these tunnels are and how deep they are and where do they lead.

    I think the Israelis basically decided to expand their strategy in Gaza by doing this incursion. I don’t think it’s an invasion of Gaza yet. I think the Israelis are using this gradual, if you will, escalation strategy. And they are using the tunnels as an excuse. And they’re not going to achieve their political objectives.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you to back up. When you say you don’t think it’s an invasion yet, what are you saying is going on here?

    KHALIL JAHSHAN: What is going on basically is a limited incursion, I think, into the border area between Gaza and Israel to destroy these tunnels.

    These tunnels are only a few meters inside Gaza and a few meters inside Israel. I don’t think are you going to see Israeli troops yet, unless their defense of Gaza collapses or unless there is additional escalation.

    But, right now, it seems to me that this incursion — incursion has a limited, if you will, geographic or spatial aspect to it. It’s not — you are not going to see Israeli troops going all the way to Rafah or all the way to Khan Yunis or all the way to Gaza City.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is that what you see going on, Natan Sachs?

    NATAN SACHS: I worry that it can be more extensive than that.

    There is a chance that the Israelis are going to try to go after some of the launch sites of these rockets in particular in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and they also may try to sever the Gaza Strip to prevent Gaza or the Hamas from movement.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And this is in heavily occupied — an urban area; is that right?

    NATAN SACHS: It is a tragedy of this war — and, really, we should all have a lot of sympathy for the people of Gaza and of Israel — but the tragedy of this war is that it is in a very populated area and it’s completely avoidable.

    We should not be in this stage at all. The cease-fire three days ago that the Egyptians suggested should have taken hold. Hamas could have just held its fire, and we wouldn’t be fighting today at all.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you answer that?

    KHALIL JAHSHAN: Well, basically, you are correct in indicating, first of all, the limited space involved in this conflict.

    I mean, Gaza, for all practical purposes, the whole Strip is, what, twice the area of Washington, D.C. And when you think of the strongest air force in the region, you are talking about fifth or sixth strongest country in the world militarily, when you think of the Israeli navy bombing from the other side. So you are talking about a very, very small piece of real estate, the bulk of which is desert, by the way.

    The inhabited part is even smaller than D.C. So it doesn’t make sense to kind of seek a military solution to what essentially is a political problem. And that’s what Israel needs to focus on.

    NATAN SACHS: In the longer-term, absolutely. There’s only a political solution to this, and the sides should get back to the table.

    The problem is that Hamas is not involved in this. They’re not involved in a political solution. We should have sympathy for the people of Gaza — and I say this completely genuinely — and of Israel and the West Bank. But Hamas is not the people of Gaza. Hamas is the one that is bringing this war upon them.

    KHALIL JAHSHAN: But, Natan, Hamas is not involved because you’re not allowing it to get involved. I mean, Hamas is being excluded from the process. Hamas is being excluded from any type of negotiations.

    It’s being described as a terrorist organization. And it is laid under siege in Gaza. And this is the reason why the cease-fire, unfortunately, collapsed, because Hamas was excluded from the process.

    This is the biggest sin committed by our secretary of state and by Mr. Netanyahu, by simply channeling this whole process to Egypt, which is not ready to proceed because of lack of relationship with the Palestinians. And Hamas is out of the picture. When the process started in Qatar, there was an earlier version of this…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, you are describing a division on the Arab side here, which has made finding a solution much more difficult.

    NATAN SACHS: Much harder.

    In the past, you had Egypt to negotiate between the sides. And today the Egyptians and the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, have very bad relations.

    And even — even Egypt today came out with a very unusual declaration blaming Hamas for this round of fight.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Where do you see this headed, Khalil Jahshan ,because people are going to continue to ask, why isn’t Hamas prepared to accept a long — a truce?

    KHALIL JAHSHAN: In the long future, long-term, I can see this basically staying this way.

    Every couple of years, we’re going to have another, you know, conflict between some Palestinians, whether Hamas or somebody else, in the future, and the state of Israel, unless there is peace. So, in the future, long-term, I would say peace is the answer. Without solving the Palestinian problem, Israel will continue to have these wars. Some in Israel feel that this is affordable. I don’t think so.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, in the meantime, right now, we have a hot war that has resumed?

    NATAN SACHS: The immediate need is simply for a cease-fire.

    And that’s why the Egyptian attempt was so important. That is why I do see so much blame in Hamas. In the longer-term, I agree completely with Khalil. The only option is a peace process, a genuine peace process that tries to reach a two-state solution, despite all the difficulties that we have seen.

    But in the immediate sense, what we’re seeing right now, the tragedy that we’re seeing right now is preventable and needs to stop.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Natan Sachs, Khalil Jahshan, we thank you both.

    NATAN SACHS: Thank you very much.

    KHALIL JAHSHAN: Thank you.

    The post Divisions between Egypt and Hamas complicate prospects for Mideast cease-fire appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    gm

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    GWEN IFILL: General Motors faced new questions from Congress today over ignition switch defects that went uncorrected for years. They have been linked to at least 13 deaths. And, today, GM’s lawyers were called to account.

    Hari Sreenivasan has our report.

    SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D, Mo.: I do not understand how the general counsel for a litigation department that had this massive failure of responsibility, how he would be allowed to continue in that important leadership role in this company.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The top lawyer at General Motors became the top target for senators at the hearing. Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill led the charge against GM’s general counsel, Michael Millikin. She cited GM’s own internal reports that the legal staff failed to share details of settlements in crashes linked to the ignition problem.

    But CEO Mary Barra defended Millikin and insisted she’s keeping him.

    MARY BARRA, CEO, General Motors: He’s the person I need on this team. He had a system in place. Unfortunately, in this instance, it wasn’t brought to his attention, frankly, by people who brought many other issues forward. He is a man of high integrity and he…

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Barra said the blame lies with other GM lawyers who’ve since been fired. McCaskill rejected that defense, and instead evoked the scandal at the Veterans Administration.

    SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL: I think the failure of this legal department is stunning. And the notion — I mean, you look around government, when something like this happens, you know what? Secretary Shinseki didn’t know about those problems with scheduling. Nobody told him. He’s gone.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Adding to the fire, a New York Times report that GM kept quiet for years as federal regulators asked about the potential causes of fatal crashes.

    GM has admitted knowing about the ignition switch problem for more than a decade before starting mass recalls this year. Millikin said he only learned about the ignition switch problems in February.

    MICHAEL MILLIKIN, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, General Motors: I wish I had known about it earlier, because I know I would have taken action earlier if I did. We had lawyers at General Motors who didn’t do their jobs, didn’t do what was expected of them.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal warned there may yet be criminal prosecution.

    SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D, Conn.: In this instance, the lawyers enabled purposeful concealment and cover-up, possible criminal action that is the subject right now of an investigation.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Still, Millikin said GM will not make public the details of previous crash settlements. And he said the company will not waive the bankruptcy shield that bars lawsuits over crashes from before July 2009.

    The post CEO Mary Barra defends GM’s top lawyer, blames fired employees for deadly defect failures appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    uganda_hiv

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: New HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths have fallen so dramatically in recent years that it may be possible to control the epidemic by 2030 and eventually end it altogether.

    That’s the projection in a new U.N. report released in advance of a major international AIDS conference next week. Officials say those goals can’t be met, however, without more prevention or treatment and less discrimination for high-risk groups. Of particular concern, they say, are countries like Uganda, where stigma and HIV rates have both been rising recently.

    Jeffrey Brown has our report.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It’s an increasingly rare sight in Uganda these days, an openly gay teenage boy sitting in a waiting room, nervous because he may have contracted a sexually transmitted infection, even more so because he is gay and seeking help in public.

    The MARPI clinic, short for the Most At Risk Populations Initiative, is one of the few public places in the country where gay Ugandans can still come for routine checkups and treatment. Most clinics discontinued these services after the government passed a law in February targeting gays and lesbians with some of the harshest penalties in the world, including up to life in prison.

    Stoked by religious leaders and passed by parliament, the law tightened existing restrictions against same-sex activities and banned anything viewed as the promotion of homosexuality.

    President Yoweri Museveni signed it after a team of Uganda scientists told him that there is no gene for homosexuality.

    PRESIDENT YOWERI MUSEVENI, Uganda: These people are not born like that. They just learn. And they can unlearn what they learned.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The move instantly sent some of the nation’s most vocal gay activists deep underground. Two of them, Akram and Robert, who asked that their faces be obscured and last names not be used, recently traveled to this safe house in Kampala, the capital.

    MAN: I think this bill also wanted to make the activists to become voiceless.

    BRANT LUSWATA, Icebreakers Uganda: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: They came to talk strategy with Brant Luswata, a health activist with the group Icebreakers Uganda. He runs a clinic that remains open twice a week, but he says most patients became wary about coming when the law took hold.

    BRANT LUSWATA: My clients who are living with HIV, I always call them to remember them their appointments. But they don’t — the first question they ask, is it safe for me to go there?

    JEFFREY BROWN: When a local tabloid published Akram’s name and photo recently, marking him of one of what it called Uganda’s top homosexuals, he lost his job before the day was over. And his family also made clear their position.

    MAN: They throw all my things outside, and they show me the newspaper. “This is — this the proof why we are chasing you away. You should start — you should go and look for your life, start a new life. You no longer belong to us. We are regretting why we gave a birth — we gave a birth to such a child. You are a shame. You are a disgrace to our family.”

    JEFFREY BROWN: But he says many of his friends are in even worse shape because, unlike him, they’re HIV-positive and afraid they will be outed by their doctors if they seek help or treatment.

    MAN: Some of them, they day within their houses. They just perish away like that, most of them, because they fear going to the hospital. Some of them, they use local herbs. Some may get lucky and they heal. Some, they die.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Even before the law passed, HIV rates among gay men in Uganda’s capital city were already three times higher than other men. Now that divide is expected to grow.

    But those who voted for the law, like member of Parliament Dr. Michael Lulume Bayigga, say that gays and lesbians can still receive treatment like anyone else, because patients aren’t required to disclose their sexuality.

    DR. MICHAEL LULUME BAYIGGA, Ugandan Parliament Member: As a doctor, you may not really recognize somebody on the basis of their sexuality. So that is why they can also access facilities the way they do.

    However, I think, when we are now talking about stigma, we are not talking about stigma in terms of other people, external stigma. We are talking about internal stigma, whereby somebody ostracizes themselves.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Gay rights activists are incensed by such talk, and point to a large increase in recorded attacks on gays and lesbians in Uganda, from less than 10 for most of 2013 to more than 150 in the months after passage of the law.

    And health officials warn the longer-term damages will be more subtle, but very real, resulting from the palpable fear that is driving people away from services they need. It’s already happened with Uganda’s female sex workers, whose illegal activities make them more vulnerable to attack, bribery and harassment. The infection rate among sex workers is 33 percent, more than four times the general populations.

    Asia Russell, director of international policy at the nonprofit Health GAP, says that ostracizing these groups eventually backfires.

    ASIA RUSSELL, Director of International Policy, Health Global Access Project: Uganda’s rates of new infections are rising. And what evidence has shown is that among the key populations, when you look at sex workers or men who have sex with men, you actually see drastically increased prevalence and increased vulnerability to infection.

    That’s not because of some abnormality that is akin to those populations. It’s because of the impact of homophobia, bigotry, discrimination, and also the marginalization that comes with criminalizing a population. It means people get driven underground.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But sex workers in Kampala go still further, saying that some of the responsibility for the stigma they face falls on the United States.

    FMR. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: This is a historic year for America.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In 2003, the Bush administration began requiring nonprofits seeking a share of its massive global AIDS budget to sign a pledge opposing prostitution, saying it is — quote — “inherently harmful and dehumanizing and can lead to trafficking.”

    The Obama administration continues to defend the law, though its global AIDS coordinator, Deborah Birx, told the “NewsHour” that: “Comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care services for sex workers remain top priorities for the U.S., critical to achieving an AIDS-free generation.”

    But many public health groups said being forced to publicly oppose the practice would make their job much more difficult in places where distrust already runs high, places such as Daido Wonders Inn, a brothel in one of Kampala’s slums.

    Diana Natakunda comes here regularly, usually to work. But, on this day, she’s here passing out condoms as a peer educator with WONETHA, an advocacy group for sex workers.

    The group’s founder and executive director, Daisy Nakato  herself a sex worker, has refused to sign the U.S. pledge, saying it further marginalizes these women and makes them skeptical of the motives of those offering crucial health information.

    DAISY NAKATO, WONETHA: If one day, WONETHA woke up and signed the pledge, we may not be able to offer services to sex workers. We may not be able to see a big number of sex workers going for HIV screening. We would never be able to see them going for HIV treatment. They will lose trust in us.

    JEFFREY BROWN: With the resources it does have, WONETHA focuses on projects that help sex workers gain confidence and stay healthy.

    They’re taught to read, write and speak English using situations relevant to their own lives.

    WOMAN: So, you can warn your friend the police will manhandle you. The police is manhandling me, and the police manhandled you or the police manhandled them.

    JEFFREY BROWN: When night falls on Daido Wonders Inn, the sex workers say those skills lead to more dialogue with customers, more use of condoms and less violence.

    Daisy Nakato believes that not signing the pledge has caused WONETHA millions of dollars over the years.

    DAISY NAKATO: Whether all donors put pledges on their funding, I will remain with my value. I will remain fighting the police. I will remain fighting the bad laws. I will remain fighting to make sure that sex workers have access to services, no matter what it takes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Meanwhile on the other side of town, Akram, the once vocal gay activist, says he’s just about given up his fight.

    MAN: Living in Uganda is living in a hell. This is the worst gay place to be in — in this Uganda.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now Akram and many of his friends are simply looking for a way out. He says that for those who are gay, his country offers few other options.

    GWEN IFILL: If you have questions about life in Uganda for the country’s gay activists or female sex workers, submit them on our Web site. Our sources from this segment will answer those questions in the days ahead.

    You can also see our photo essay on efforts to bring down HIV rates among one of the world’s other high-risk populations, drug users along the Kenyan coast. That’s all on our Health page.

    This segment was produced with the support of the International Center for Journalists.

    The post Few HIV health resources remain for gay Ugandans under new law appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    US. presidential candidate Walter Mondale and vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro campaigning in 1984. Ferraro was the first woman to be placed on a major party's national ticket. Photo via the Library of Congress

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: This Saturday marks the 30-year anniversary of the nomination of the first woman ever to run for vice president on a major party ticket. She was New York Democratic Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro.

    A documentary by her daughter titled “Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way” tells the story of her mother’s trailblazing career and the effect she had on American politics and culture.

    We begin with an excerpt from that film, inside the Democratic National Convention hall in San Francisco where Ferraro was formally nominated by her running mate, Walter Mondale, on July 19, 1984.

    WALTER MONDALE, Former Presidential Candidate: I have had many people tell me it’s the best national convention we have ever had. People were thrilled. The crowds were building up outside the hall to be close to what was going on.

    WOMAN: I nominate Geraldine A. Ferraro of New York to be the next vice president of the United States of America.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    GERALDINE FERRARO, Former Vice Presidential Candidate: It was as emotional as I had ever seen at a convention, thunderous, the response and emotion. To talk about it, it was so spectacular.

    WOMAN: The floor of the convention was virtually all women, and women who had fought so hard for women’s rights. And, oh, my God, it was such a wonderful moment.

    COKIE ROBERTS, Journalist: Standing up there all in white, looking like this tiny little figure, but looking beautiful and looking female.

    GERALDINE FERRARO: I was stunned by the reception.

    And, all of a sudden, I looked down. They were all women and children. And so many of them were crying. I remember thinking, I just don’t want to make a mistake. I have to talk slowly. I tried — I had never used prompters before then.

    I also took my speech, because I wanted to be sure, if the prompters went out, so that I could look down and read it, and tell my daughters, whatever you do, don’t cry, because we can’t. Women can’t cry over the things. It’s too emotional, and it’s a tough job. And you have to be tough to be vice president of the United States.

    And so I looked out and I said, my name is Geraldine Ferraro.

    My name is Geraldine Ferraro

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    GERALDINE FERRARO: And the place went crazy.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    GERALDINE FERRARO: Ladies and gentlemen of the convention…

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    GERALDINE FERRARO: I got two words out of my mouth, and they would applaud and yell, “Gerry, Gerry.”  And it was very, very slow.

    And it was almost like a dance between me and these people.

    I stand before you to proclaim tonight, America is a land where dreams can come true for all of us.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And Ferraro’s daughter, filmmaker Donna Zaccaro, joins us now.

    Welcome to the NewsHour.

    DONNA ZACCARO, Filmmaker, “GERALDINE FERRARO: Paving the Way”: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: You were 21 years old when your mother accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president. You were there. What was that night like?

    DONNA ZACCARO: Well, obviously, it was a night that none of us had experienced before, but I think people who were there — and you heard Leader Pelosi talking about how — and Cokie Roberts talking about how people who were there knew that it was something special, that there was just this, like, electricity. And it wasn’t like anything that had ever been experienced before.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I actually was there too. And I remember. It was a special moment for women in — no matter who you were, what party you were in.

    So it was 30 years ago, Donna Zaccaro. Your mother passed away three years ago.

    DONNA ZACCARO: Yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What — why did you want to make this film?

    DONNA ZACCARO: You know, I wanted to both clarify and preserve her legacy, but I also wanted to introduce her and this part of women’s history to younger generations today, because people — we know what happened then.

    We might not understand what her impact was or the impact of a candidacy that, frankly, didn’t win had. But I think younger people today don’t have any idea what it was like before. And so I really do want it to be used as an educational tool, so generations to come can know.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you think people don’t remember? Is that part of this?

    DONNA ZACCARO: Well, I think anyone who is over 35 certainly has no awareness of it. Anyone who is — sorry, the reverse of that. Anyone who is under 35 doesn’t know.

    People who over 35 do remember, but again they might not remember much, other than the fact that she was nominated. They might not remember what it was like before there was a woman who had run and shown that you could be a credible candidate.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You — in telling the story of that campaign, you tell the highlights, but you also tell about the tough moments, the time when your family’s finances were under enormous scrutiny.

    Your father for a time didn’t want to reveal his tax returns. That had to be a really difficult time for your mother and for your whole family.

    DONNA ZACCARO: Yes, I thought was really important.

    I have been a journalist my career as well. And I also thought it was very important to show all the scrutiny and the attacks that they were subjected to, because, first of all, the silver lining was that, in how she handled those difficult situations and the attacks and the controversies, it showed that she had the grit and the leadership to be a leader.

    But, also, I thought that people had to see what the first, what the pioneer went through, and what that was like.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And yet it took another, what, 24 years before another woman was nominated on a major-party ticket. That was 2008, when Sarah Palin was nominated to be vice presidential running mate with John McCain.

    What does that say about the legacy of what your mother’s candidacy meant, do you think?

    DONNA ZACCARO: I don’t know that it says anything about the legacy of her candidacy, because I think it was a very different choice.

    I think, in McCain’s case, it was more of a sort of Hail Mary pass and it was political expediency. He did not have — he wasn’t considering any women or actually any minorities or anything else on his — when he was looking for a vice president selection.

    And it was very different. With Mondale, he had actually opened the whole process very publicly and deliberately, because he wanted to include groups that had been excluded before into consideration for the vice presidential spot.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, in terms of women in politics, there certainly are more women serving in the Congress, 20 percent of the Congress. It’s not parity, but women have come a long way. And yet there’s still so much focus when women do run.

    DONNA ZACCARO: Yes.

    Well, you know, it’s unfortunate that we haven’t had a woman vice president or president. And, hopefully, we will in the next election cycle. But, you know, I think, traditionally, as you know, where the vice presidential nominee and the presidential nominee come from are either the governor’s mansion or the Senate.

    And, fortunately, we are having more people now, more women in those roles. We have got 20 in the Senate now, 20 women in the Senate, and we have got, what, six governors who are women. Maybe it’s five.

    But, anyway, so those are the traditional places. Until there are even more than that, that is where people are chosen from. So we are getting people in the pipeline. And we have got more Supreme Court justices that are women.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.

    DONNA ZACCARO: We have got three secretaries of state that were women.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you think should be the — one of the main takeaways for younger women thinking about going into politics?  Your mother went through an incredible scrutiny as a candidate.

    It may have gotten a little bit better since then, but it’s still different, isn’t it, for women?

    DONNA ZACCARO: Well, I think it’s still tough, and for women, particularly women who are managing households and have families.

    You know, I think one of the lessons in the film as well is just how important my father’s support of my mother was during that campaign and actually throughout her career. You know, my mother always said, you can be whatever you want to be, you can do whatever you want to do with education, with hard work, but you also need to have help in order to achieve your goals.

    And so you do need either a supportive partner or some means of getting help in order to do what you want to do.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Donna Zaccaro, the daughter of Geraldine Ferraro, remembering her mother, a historic campaign in 1984, thank you very much.

    DONNA ZACCARO: Thank you so much.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: “GERALDINE FERRARO: Paving the Way” is available on Showtime through the end of August.

    The post How Geraldine Ferraro changed the political outlook for women appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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