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

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    NEXT MOVE Ukraine russia flags with ukraine map monitor

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    GWEN IFILL: German Chancellor Angela Merkel went to the White House today to rally support for her plan to stop the fighting in Eastern Ukraine.

    Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports.

    MARGARET WARNER: The visit came amid signs of a U.S.-European rift over arming Ukraine’s military against pro-Russian rebels. Today, publicly, the two leaders maintained a display of unity.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As diplomatic efforts continue this week, we are in absolute agreement that the 21st century cannot stand idle and simply allow the borders of Europe to be redrawn at the barrel of a gun.

    CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, Germany (through interpreter): No matter what we decide, the alliance between the United States and Europe will continue to stand, will continue to be solid.

    MARGARET WARNER: Still, Mr. Obama said it’s clear Russia is arming the rebels, despite Kremlin denials, so U.S. options must remain open if diplomacy and sanctions fail to move President Vladimir Putin.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that’s being examined, but I have not made a decision about that yet. It’s not based on the idea that Ukraine could defeat a Russian army that was determined. It is rather to see whether or not there are additional things we can do to help Ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of separatist aggression.

    MARGARET WARNER: Chancellor Merkel warned at a weekend European security conference in Munich that adding more guns to the equation could dramatically escalate the war without causing Putin to change course.

    Today, she put it in other terms:

    ANGELA MERKEL (through interpreter): I have always said I don’t see a military solution to this conflict, but we have to put all our efforts in bringing out a diplomatic solution.

    So if, at a certain point in time, one has to say that a success is not possible, then the United States and Europe have to sit together and try and explore further possibilities of what one can do.

    MARGARET WARNER: Last week, Merkel and French President Francois Hollande met with Ukraine’s leaders and Russian President Putin to try to end the fighting. They have scheduled another in Minsk on Wednesday.

    With an eye on those talks, European Union foreign ministers delayed imposing new sanctions today on Russian officials.

    FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, Foreign Minister, Germany (through interpreter): We hope that the outstanding issues can be resolved to a point that a Minsk meeting would hold some promise and can produce the first steps towards defusing the situation and a cease-fire.

    MARGARET WARNER: The Ukraine crisis dominated the Munich conference.

    Republican Senator John McCain, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, argued that arming Ukrainian troops will aid diplomacy.

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) Arizona: If we help Ukrainians increase the military cost to the Russian forces that have invaded their country, how long can Putin sustain a war that he tells his people is not happening? That’s why we must provide defensive arms to Ukraine.

    MARGARET WARNER: In Eastern Ukraine today, fighting raged again, as the two sides fired rocket barrages at each other. The United Nations estimates more than 5,300 people have been killed since April. And more than a million others have fled their homes.

    The post Obama leaves open the option of arming Ukraine if diplomacy and sanctions fail appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 6.24.28 PM

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The snow kept piling higher and higher in New England today, as another wallop from winter struck. Boston was expecting up to two new feet of snow, breaking a record, with more than 60 inches already in the past 30 days. Almost all public schools in Massachusetts were closed and arrivals and departures at Logan Airport were limited.

    Governor Charlie Baker said it’s a challenge, figuring out where to put the accumulated effects of three big storms in two weeks.

    GOV. CHARLIE BAKER, Massachusetts: Many places will now have had between 70 and 80 inches of snow having fallen in the past 14 days. On the statewide roads, that’s probably manageable, because they can push it off onto the shoulders. I said yesterday that over the course of the first two storms, state plows had moved enough snow to fill Gillette Stadium 90 times.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This evening, the Boston area’s transit service announced that it is shutting down all service. And winter storm warnings are in effect for Central New York, the Western Catskills and much of New England through tomorrow morning.

    Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest, another big storm dropped heavy rain on Northern California, Oregon and Washington. Flash flood warnings were in effect today for much of that region.

    GWEN IFILL: There has been another deadly incident involving migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy. At least 29 people died of hypothermia today after the Italian Coast Guard found a life raft, with 105 people on board, off the coast of Libya. They were set adrift by smugglers in 30-foot waves and freezing temperatures.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama called today for Iran to decide, once and for all, if it will agree to curtail its nuclear operations. A deadline for getting a deal has twice been pushed back.

    At a White House news conference, the president said there’s no reason for further delay.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My view — and I have presented this to members of Congress — is that we now know enough that the issues are no longer technical. The issues now are, does Iran have the political will and the desire to get a deal done?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The president acknowledged a very real difference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over negotiating with Iran at all. He also said again he will not meet with the Israeli leader next month, when Netanyahu addresses Congress. Mr. Obama repeated that it is administration policy not to meet with foreign leaders within two weeks before they face an election.

    GWEN IFILL: In Yemen, a United Nations envoy tried today to resume talks between Shiite rebels and other parties, but two of the factions walked out. They said they’d been threatened by the rebels. Last week, the Shiites formally dissolved parliament and took over what had been a pro-American government.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: British banking giant HSBC admitted today to major misdeeds by its Swiss unit, amid new disclosures of how it helped launder drug money and dodge taxes. The claims came from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on leaked documents.

    Siobhan Kennedy of Independent Television News has our report.

    SIOBHAN KENNEDY, ITN: It’s one of the world’s biggest banks, but what secretive business was carried out in the snowy mountains of the Swiss Alps?  Did HSBC knowingly allow its private Swiss arm to help wealthy clients conceal billions of dollars worth of income from the tax man?

    Data released today appears to show just that. These latest allegations cast a further shadow on HSBC, which is already facing multiple prosecutions because of its alleged tax activities around the world. Now new revelations that it deliberately colluded with clients to help them avoid tax, set up bank accounts for known criminals, and aggressively marketed tax avoidance schemes raise yet more questions.

    The man in charge while all this was going on was Stephen Green. A Church of England minister, he’s spent the majority of his working life at the bank. Today’s HSBC revelation covered the period 2005 to 2007, exactly when Stephen Green was in charge.

    The Conservatives insist that all this happened on Labor’s watch in a period of little or no regulation of the big banks. In a statement, HSBC said: “We acknowledge and are accountable for past compliance and control failures. It added that the Swiss bank had not been “fully integrated into HSBC, allowing different cultures and standards to persist. With hindsight, it is clear that too many small and high risk accounts were maintained.”

    JUDY WOODRUFF: U.S. regulators fined HSBC in 2012 for letting criminals use its branches for money laundering.

    GWEN IFILL: Stocks sank again across Europe today after the new leader of Greece vowed to stick by his anti-austerity plans. Alexis Tsipras insisted last night his government will not accept an extension of current bailout terms. German Chancellor Merkel said Greece must have a sustainable plan to pay its debt if it wants to stay in the Eurozone.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Worries about Greece helped weigh down Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 95 points to close near 17700. The Nasdaq fell 18 points on the day and the S&P slid eight points.

    GWEN IFILL: The number two official at the Secret Service has been forced out. The agency announced today that Deputy Director Alvin “A.T.” Smith will resign and take another job in the Homeland Security Department. It’s the latest shakeup at the Secret Service after a series of breaches in presidential security.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And the Grammy’s drew just over 25 million people last night, the music awards show’s smallest audience since 2009. Still, it was the most watched awards show of the year. British newcomer Sam Smith won four awards, including for record and song of the year for “Stay With Me.”  Best album went to rock musician Beck for “Morning Phase.”

    The post News Wrap: Northeast digs out of a third storm in two weeks, breaking records appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    File photo of the National Museum next to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo by John S. Lander/LightRocket via Getty Images

    File photo of the National Museum next to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo by John S. Lander/LightRocket via Getty Images

    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — In recent weeks, from Israel to Europe to the United States, civic and religious leaders and a cluster of survivors, have commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day and this year the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps. Thousands of miles away, in the Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia, every day can be a holocaust remembrance day.

    It’s now nearly 40 years from the April 17, 1975 morning when the Khmer Rouge Maoist guerrillas marched into Phnom Penh and embarked on a three-year, eight-month and 20-day reign of murder that killed at least 1.7 million Cambodians in a population then numbering 8 million. The country is still struggling to find its feet, to join in the economic dynamism of its region, to get a bigger share of foreign investment rather than be a ward of the United Nations and scores of international nongovernmental aid agencies.

    Modernity struggles against memory. In the capital, high rise towers sprout among the French colonial era buildings. In Siem Reap, modern hotels await the millions of international tourists, many of them Chinese and South Korean, coming to see the ancient temples of Angkor Wat. No longer do they have to worry about land mines, the detritus of Cambodia’s catastrophic side show role during and after the Vietnam War.

    Cambodia’s population is among the youngest in the world, more than 60 percent under 30 years old. That guarantees a potentially vibrant work force for at least three decades in contrast to ageing Asian societies from China, Japan and South Korea to Singapore. Every analyst says a key to the country’s future is a skilled and educated work force, but corruption is so deeply entrenched throughout society that until recently massive cheating was condoned on high school completion exams.

    One key factor in Cambodia’s struggles, cited by local and western analysts alike is a lack of trust, the absence of any kind of collaborative instincts so necessary for modern economies and societies. As one European educated Cambodian remarked, the absence is hardly surprising when to survive the killing, people had to rely on wits and guile and luck, not trust in others.

    Another analyst said the lack of trust exists between those Cambodians who sided however briefly with the Khmer Rouge, including the 30-years premier Hun Sen, and those who did not, distrust between generations and between and within a diaspora of Cambodian escapees and refugees in the United States, Australia and Europe.

    Even for the young, those born after January 1979, when Vietnamese forces ousted the Khmer Rouge from power, the killings are not just history. A 12-mile drive down a dusty highway to the outskirts of Phnom Penh brings Cambodian and foreign visitors to the complex of buildings officially known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the closest this country has come to judgment against those who directed the killings. The collaboration between the United Nations and Cambodian government has resulted in five indictments and three brought to trial. Duch, the commander of the infamous interrogation, is serving a life sentence. A top Khmer Rouge leader, Ieng Sary, died before his trial, escaping justice by death in the same manner as Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. Sary’s wife, Ieng Thirth, was excused on medical grounds.

    At the court building, ordinary Cambodians wait patiently for the sessions to begin and take their seats in an auditorium behind a glass wall to observe the proceedings. The day I was there, the two defendants Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, now in their 80s, were not present as lawyers questioned witnesses.

    As we left the court, my 31-year-old driver said, “This will only end when they have died.”

    And probably not then. The handiwork of the Khmer Rouge is on vivid display in two of Phnom Penh’s most visited sites. All my years editing Cambodia pieces from several correspondents back at NewsHour headquarters in suburban Washington are barely preparation for seeing firsthand the Killing Fields memorial, where at least 20,000 died and whose bones still surface, and the Tuol Sleng complex, the former high school that was turned into an interrogation center, many for party cadres caught in the wave of paranoia and suspicion that engulfed the revolution in its waning months.

    At the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, one of an estimated 300 killing fields around the entire country, the central memorial is a 17-tier tower. On the first 10 tiers are 9,000 skulls, many carefully marked to indicate how they were killed, by blunt instrument or bullet. Even more vivid is a tree with scraps of cloth and ribbon, where Khmer Rouge soldiers bashed babies and infants to their deaths.

    At the interrogation center, where 12,273 were questioned before being sent to killing fields for execution, are grim reminders of how murderous dictatorships can be addicted to record keeping. The walls are lined with pictures of those under interrogation, many of them seemingly teenagers, almost as many women as men, mostly charged with collaboration with either the CIA or Soviet KGB.

    But for the Khmer Rouge leadership, the real crime of those being interrogated and tortured often was their failure to meet rice production quotas, in a vicious circle of starvation and murder among the millions driven from the cities to countryside.

    From Cambodians over 40, it is common to hear of parents or other relatives vanished, no trace of their fate. While the photos remained from the interrogation center, many other records were destroyed as the Khmer Rouge leadership fled to the countryside from the 1979 Vietnamese offensive. That was one of a sequence of disasters, beginning with the massive U.S. bombing of the early 1970s through the Khmer Rouge era of murder and then a decade of Cold War era western isolation to protest Vietnam’s invasion.

    Clearly one of the more bizarre twists of history dictated by the politics of the moment, the Jimmy Carter administration, which proclaimed itself to be the most pro-human rights government in U.S. history, extended diplomatic recognition to Pol Pot’s remnants rather than to the Vietnamese-imposed government in Phnom Penh. Western economic sanctions only ended after the country became a U.N. protectorate in the early 1990s.

    Coming to grips with the past is difficult in any post-conflict society. Here it is exacerbated by the reality that Cambodians killed Cambodians, raising the question among scholars whether this mass killing qualifies as genocide or a crime against humanity.

    Australian historian David Chandler says the Hun Sen government emphasizes the term genocide to give a fascist coloration to Leninist and Maoist excesses. More practically, for average Cambodians, the country has a desperate shortage of psychiatric professionals and cultural and religious traditions against talking outside the family of painful matters.

    Now, Cambodia is part of an ever deepening network of Southeast Asian nations and hoping to share in their growing prosperity. Like its neighbors Thailand and Myanmar and Laos, it increasingly relies on China’s growing wealth and politically is tilting to its camp. It is reaching the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty from 40 to 20 percent of the population: it is nearing 20 years of more than six percent annual GDP growth.

    It has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 2003 and is meeting the benchmarks to becoming part of the 10-nation ASEAN Economic Community, a budding economic union that is supposed to open the region to free movement of goods and people.

    But how far it will advance beyond being a provider of low-cost clothing and shoes remains to be seen, according to analysts. And much of that depends on its political evolution. Only recently has a government emerged from a deeply contested, and many allege, fraudulent national election. Western skeptics wonder if Hun Sen will ever willingly hand over power, even as the younger electorate grows more impatient with corruption and slow growth.

    One test soon to come, say analysts, is whether Hun Sen is ready to grant real authority to a newer generation of ministers. Among those is Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol, who went to high school in the Maryland suburbs and received advanced degrees from Wharton and the Kennedy School, where one of his mentors was former NewsHour political analyst David Gergen. He’s been back in Cambodia since 1993, serving in a variety of government posts.

    Speaking with the enthusiasm of a GE executive, which he was for 16 years, he insists the government is pushing hard for reform in administration, the civil service, trade and foreign investment. In his ministry, he cites efforts to put more business applications on line, reducing the interface between business and civil servants and reducing the opportunities for pay offs and corruption. Advancing beyond Cambodia’s imminent arrival to the lower ranks of middle income countries from the world’s poor, he insists, depends on developing a skilled work force and developing its food processing, light manufacturing and tourism industries as well as building infrastructure.

    The minister is especially bullish about the country’s young work force, assuming it can be properly trained. But even here a wistful note emerges. One reason for the statistical youth bulge is that so much of the previous generation was lost. In this country, even encouraging notes about the future bear the heavy weight of the past.

    The post Past and present collide in Cambodia appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo courtesy of Flickr user Peter Miller

    Photo courtesy of Flickr user Peter Miller

    The Monarch butterflies population declined by approximately 90 percent or 970 million in recent years due to numerous threats, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report. Those threats include the loss of habitat as a product of agricultural practices, cropland and development conversion. This loss comes from farmers and gardeners spraying herbicides on milkweed plants, a food source, nursery and home for butterflies.

    In an attempt to save the declining population, the agency partnered with the National Wildlife Federation to create a campaign and funding initiative that will focus on planting mass amounts of milkweed plants to reestablish the monarch’s natural habitats. USFWS pledged $2 million for “on-the-ground” conservation projects that will begin immediately. The NWF will take that money and begin raising awareness about milkweed plants, providing seeds to any citizens wanting to help plant milkweed both on their private properties and public spaces like roadsides, parks and forests.

    The agency plans to enhance more than 200,000 acres of habitats, focusing on land that stretches Minnesota to Texas, as monarchs fly over that area on their thousand mile journey from Mexico to Canada every spring.

    These are not the first butterflies to risk extinction, the Washington Post reports. The Xerces blue has been missing from San Francisco for years. Most recently, USFWS announced two more types of butterfly, the Rockland skipper and Zestos in Southern Florida, which haven’t been spotted since 2004.

    The post Nearly a billion Monarch butterflies have vanished since 1990 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A general view of the U.S. embassy compound in SanaaToday, US officials said that America will close its embassy in Yemen, amid continuing unrest. According to Reuters, remaining embassy staff are evacuating and the ambassador will leave by Wednesday.

    It is not the first time that the State Department has shuttered the Sana’a embassy’s doors – the heavily fortified building is often closed to the public. This most recent closure comes on the heels of the Houthi rebel group effectively taking control of the country in recent months, and remains indefinite.

    The Houthis are rooted in a Shiite offshoot of Islam and, at least rhetorically, take a staunchly anti-American stance. Their slogan reads “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam!” and they have also long been suspected up receiving support from Iran.

    The Associated Press reports that U.S. counter terrorism operations in Yemen will continue. Under President Hadi, and his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the US was able to conduct extensive counter operations in Yemen. Most notably, they have launched dozens of sometimes controversial drone attacks against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – the Yemen based branch of the global terrorist network – operatives and other suspected militants.

    State department spokesperson Jen Psaki declined to comment specifically about the situation in Yemen, but, at a regular briefing, said, “We take steps in order to make sure we do everything we can to protect [our staff].”

    The closure does highlight the collapse of an internationally-backed effort to mediate a political solution in the conflict torn country following the 2011 onset of the Arab Spring.

    Since then, the Houthis have made significant political and territorial gains in the Yemen. This fall armed Houthi fighters swept into Sana’a, and rapidly took a firm grip on the capital, where the embassy is located. Completely the effective coup, they pressured President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to resign last month and dissolved parliament earlier this week.

    The post United States closes embassy in Yemen appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    still alice book cover

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    GWEN IFILL: A new film, and the book that inspired it, are getting high praise this awards season for the spotlight they cast on the toll of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

    Jeffrey Brown looks at the film and its subject, part of our occasional feature, NewsHour Goes to the Movies.

    JULIANNE MOORE, Actress: Man has an instinctive tendency to speak, as we see in the babble of young children.

    JEFFREY BROWN: When we first meet Alice Howland, she’s 50 years old, an accomplished professor of linguistics, but something is beginning to happen.

    JULIANNE MOORE: I hope we convince you that by observing these baby steps into the — into — I — I knew I shouldn’t have had that champagne.

    JEFFREY BROWN: We watch as Alice loses words, gets lost in familiar places, forgets appointments. Eventually, she’s diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

    JULIANNE MOORE: Why won’t you take me seriously?

    JEFFREY BROWN: It’s an up-close and sometimes raw portrait shown from the perspective of someone with a disease that today affects more than five million Americans, including 200,000 who experience early onset.

    JULIANNE MOORE: Sometimes, I can see the words hanging in front of me and I can’t reach them. And I don’t know who I am. And I don’t know what I’m going to lose next.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Julianne Moore, who plays Alice, earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance.

    The movie is based on a novel by the same name. It’s written by Lisa Genova, who trained and worked as a neuroscientist before turning to fiction.

    And Lisa Genova joins me now. Welcome to you.

    And maybe we could start there. Why fiction?  Why was that the way to tell the story?

    LISA GENOVA, Author, “Still Alice”: Well, it’s a strange thing for a neuroscientist to turn to, right?

    My grandmother had Alzheimer’s. And as the neuroscientist in my family, I read everything I could find about Alzheimer’s to better understand what she was going through and to be better caregivers to her.

    And it helped, but yet everything I read was written by the perspective of the outsider looking in, so they were written by clinicians, scientists, caregivers, social workers. And the piece of information that was missing was an answer to the question: What does it feel like to have this?

    JEFFREY BROWN: From the person, from the victim’s point of view.

    LISA GENOVA: Yes.

    And I understood that knowing that answer was what I really need to stay connected to my grandmother. And somehow I had this intuitive understanding that fiction and literature are places where we can explore empathy and have the chance the walk in someone else’s shoes. And so that was really the seed for the book.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And your decision to focus it on a relatively young woman and an extremely intelligent woman, in fact, a woman who works with words and language, why that route?

    LISA GENOVA: So focusing on somebody who 50, rather than someone who was in their 80s, like my grandmother was, was a very conscious choice.

    I think that I am like a lot of people, in that my initial sort of picture of Alzheimer’s, if you would ask me what does it look like, I pictured as sort of, this is the disease of the dying elderly.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Right.

    LISA GENOVA: Alzheimer’s is someone who is in their 80s, who is in a nursing home in end stage. You picture end stage Alzheimer’s. What does living with Alzheimer’s look like?

    And for writing this book, I wanted to understand the perspective of Alzheimer’s from the very first symptoms. And so the people that I came to know when I was doing research for the book were people living with early-onset Alzheimer’s who could describe what it feels like from the very first, like, oh, where did I put my keys, and they were in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

    And they’re not included in what gets talked about when people talk about Alzheimer’s. And so I was hoping to give living with Alzheimer’s a face and a voice.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, of course, the drama of that is just…

    LISA GENOVA: And it raises the stakes, sure.

    And so we all sort of place so much worth and identity in what we do for a living. And if that gets stripped away, if you’re someone like Alice and you have put all of your worth in thinking, and you can’t do that because of Alzheimer’s, because it robs you of memory and cognition and language, then who are you and how do you matter?

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, I want to show a short clip. This is Alice with her children. And they all know about her Alzheimer’s at this point. But they’re — it kind of shows how they’re still trying to go on in a sort of normal way. Let’s look at that.

    LISA GENOVA: OK.

    JULIANNE MOORE: Olivia, what time is your play?

    KRISTEN STEWART, Actress: Eight o’clock.

    SHANE MCCRAE, Actor: Olivia, you nervous about tomorrow night?

    KRISTEN STEWART: Yes. I will be fine once I’m up there, but I will definitely have to blot all of you out.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JULIANNE MOORE: I’m sorry what time did you say it was again?

    KRISTEN STEWART: Eight o’clock.

    KATE BOSWORTH, Actress: Mom, you don’t have to schedule it. It’s OK.

    JULIANNE MOORE: No, no. I want to put it in. And where is it?

    KRISTEN STEWART: The Saugatuck Theater.

    JULIANNE MOORE: Can you spell that?

    KRISTEN STEWART: Yes, it’s S-A-U…

    KATE BOSWORTH: Mom, it’s not like we’re going to forget to bring you.

    KRISTEN STEWART: Just let her do it. It’s S-A-U-G-A-T-U-C-K.

    HUNTER PARRISH, Actor: You’re not helping.

    KATE BOSWORTH: No, you’re not helping. Why should she worry about remembering something that she even doesn’t have to remember?

    KRISTEN STEWART: If you just let her do it, she won’t worry. What’s the problem?  You don’t have to talk about her like she’s not sitting right here.

    KATE BOSWORTH: I’m not. I’m talking to her.

    Aren’t I, mom?

    JULIANNE MOORE: Yes. Yes, you are.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It goes to the question of how the person and the families cope together. Do you find that people withdraw or do they want to stay connected?  How does that dynamic work?

    LISA GENOVA: You see both.

    I think that everyone who is touched by this disease goes through the stages of grief. You’re sort of losing the relationship that you had with the person with Alzheimer’s, and so you go through denial and anger and bargaining, and hopefully ultimately acceptance.

    But not everyone goes through those stages at the same rate, at the same time, so you get a whole family in the room and you have got dad, who is in denial, and a sister who is bargaining, and a brother who is angry. And you’re all trying to have a conversation about someone you love, but you tend to kind of miss each other.

    Some people stay in denial and retreat. It’s really terrifying and heartbreaking. And a lot of people have hard time showing up in the sort of new reality, whereas others, you know, surprisingly — even surprisingly, come, step forward, and someone like Lydia in the movie who no one would expect.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And you see — it’s still Alice, right?  Alice knows that she’s Alice, but in many ways she’s not. So, you see the confusion. You also see some of the shame. Right?  Is there still a stigma, you think, attached?

    LISA GENOVA: Oh, absolutely.

    And this is fortunately one of the things that the book and now the movie are helping to eliminate in kind of in a big way. So, yes, there’s a lot of shame and stigma and alienation associated with Alzheimer’s. People tend to retreat and not talk about this. It’s a lot like cancer was, like HIV was.

    It’s an easy population to ignore in some ways, and yet if we’re going to ultimately have Alzheimer’s survivors in the hopefully in the near future, we need to begin to talk about this and get rid of that shame and stigma.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So you do think of the book and now the movie as almost teaching tools, even while telling an entertaining story at the same time?

    LISA GENOVA: Oh, yes. Well, you know, fiction and film, they’re accessible.

    If I as a neuroscientist had written a nonfiction book about Alzheimer’s, or if I stayed in the lab and continued to do brain research and I publish in “The Journal of Neuroscience,” you’re not going to read that article.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Probably not.

    LISA GENOVA: So — no. So this is a way to make this sort of scary, upsetting topic accessible to people, where people can gather in living rooms over wine and cheese and book clubs, or go to the movie theater, and now see a very vivid example of what living with Alzheimer’s looks like, and can realize that you’re in the alone in this.

    Five — over five million Americans are going through this right now, and historically we have not been talking about this.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And I assume you’re hearing that from people, that kind of reaction you’re getting?

    LISA GENOVA: Yes, absolutely. And it’s worldwide. I’m hearing from people living with Alzheimer’s in Australia, Canada, the U.K., all over the U.S. It’s really rewarding.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, the book and movie, “Still Alice.”

    Lisa Genova, thank you very much.

    LISA GENOVA: You’re welcome. Thank you.

    GWEN IFILL: There’s more with Lisa Genova. She talked to Jeff on how to spot the early signs of Alzheimer’s. Watch that on our home page, PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post In ‘Still Alice,’ a neuroscientist-novelist explores what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    measles

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg today called the recent measles outbreak in the U.S. alarming and said the vaccine should be used by everyone who has not been vaccinated.

    More than 120 cases have been reported in 17 states and the District of Columbia since December. Hamburg’s comments came after other warnings from public health officials in California, where a report by KQED Public Media told the story from Marin County of unvaccinated children being invited to a so-called measles party for intentional exposure. The mother didn’t let her children take part.

    But the story underscored anew some of the many questions that have surfaced.

    To help get some clarity, I spoke earlier today with Dr. Anne Schuchat. She’s the director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease.

    Dr. Schuchat, welcome to the NewsHour.

    There’s at least one media report out of California, Marin County, about a mother inviting other parents to bring their children over because the mother’s child had the measles. Are you hearing reports like this? What does the CDC know, and what is your recommendation?

    DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: That really scares me. I haven’t heard other reports of that.

    Parents really need to know that measles can be serious. Many children just have a mild illness, but it can result in pneumonia, dehydration and even encephalitis or death. I would hate for you to expose your child to the virus and end up with one of those outcomes.

    So, we really strongly want parents to know that the measles vaccine is safe and effective, and it’s the best way to protect your child against this disease.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What are you telling parents in terms of when they should get their children vaccinated?

    DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT: We recommend children are vaccinated with two shots in their young years,the first shot at 12 to 15 months, and the second one between the ages of 4 and 6, really before they start kindergarten.

    It’s OK to get the second dose earlier, as long as it’s 28 days after the first dose. If your kids are traveling overseas or you will be taking them to another country or the middle of an outbreak, we recommend starting the series as young as six months of age because the disease is so dangerous in young children.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about for parents whose children were not vaccinated when they should have been vaccinated?

    DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT: If you haven’t got your kids vaccinated yet, it’s OK. We want you to get them now.

    And we recommend is two doses at least one month apart. As long as they’re over 12 months, that’s the recommended schedule. Some parents might not know if they ever got vaccinated. If they’re going to be traveling abroad, they will need to make sure that they have had at least two doses.

    If they’re working in health care settings, they also need to make sure that they have two doses, unless they were born before 1957, in which case they don’t need to be vaccinated because chances are they already had measles.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And for adults who aren’t sure if they were vaccinated or don’t have access to their own vaccination records, what guidance should they follow?

    DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT: The most important thing to know is if you’re traveling abroad, measles is still around, and it’s important to get vaccinated.

    If you don’t have records, there’s in harm in getting another MMR vaccine. People don’t think of traveling to Europe as risky, but there’s measles in Europe. So we want people to know that the MMR vaccine is safe and effective and it’s the best way to protect yourself and your family from this disease.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is it accurate to say that adults who are around children more may be more vulnerable?

    DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT: Well, we don’t want adults who are around children spreading the measles to the young kids.

    Most adults are protected from measles. And it’s really the health care workers and the international travelers that we make a special effort to make sure have that documented immunity. If you’re going to be around young children and you’re not sure if you have been vaccinated, it’s fine to get another vaccine, but we’d really like the emphasis to be on parents keeping their kids up to date with all the recommended vaccines.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Dr. Schuchat, just finally, for Americans who may not realize the severity of measles, who may just classify it as, oh, it’s just another childhood illness, it’s not really a big deal, what is the CDC’s message to them?

    DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT: Before we had the measles vaccine, 400 to 500 children died from measles here in the United States every year.

    Around the world, 150,000 children died from measles last year. This virus can be serious. And we don’t know which are the kids that are going to have a severe complication. The measles vaccine is safe and effective. I strongly recommend it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Anne Schuchat, director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease at the Centers for Disease Control, we thank you.

    DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT: Thank you.

     

    The post Why you shouldn’t RSVP to a ‘measles party’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    india_slum

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Next: bringing dignity to people who live in the poorest housing in India and across the world.

    Fred de Sam Lazaro has a report from Mumbai on a man who founded the movement Slum Dwellers International.  It’s part of our agents for change series.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Few cities display a wider gap between haves and have-nots than Mumbai or Bombay.  Real estate here is costlier than Manhattan, yet two-thirds of this city of 16 million people live in slums, crammed spaces that are technically illegal and by most measures unfit or unsafe for human habitation.

    It’s here that Jockin Arputham is a towering figure, even though he’s barely 5 feet tall.  His efforts have helped nearly 40,000 families get out of dangerous and unsanitary improvised shelters to complexes like this one, which is now providing new homes for squatters who are living under electric towers.

    So you have 600 families here?

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM, Slum Dwellers International: Yes.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Six hundred.  And how — OK.  how much of a dent does that make?  Are there are many more families who still need to be rehabilitated?

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: There are about 3,000 families to be rehabilitated in this kind of scheme.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: And this is just people who are squatting in electric towers?

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: Yes.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The apartments may not look like much, one 225-square-foot room, but of brick and mortar, instead of plywood or tarp.  They have running water and something the majority of Bombay’s residents don’t, a private toilet.

    Of all the indignities suffered by slum dwellers, Arputham says none is more humiliating than not having a toilet, private or public.

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: It is the dignity.  If you don’t have a toilet, what does that mean?

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: You don’t have dignity.

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: Exactly!

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: He knows it firsthand, he says, having migrated to the city 50 years ago from South India with almost no formal education and no money.  He began to organize neighbors in the 1970s, and the group Slum Dwellers International went global in the ’90s, fighting to gain recognition for slum residents as citizens in legitimate communities.

    Too often, he says, the urban poor have been stereotyped as lazy and criminal.

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: Everybody, every house has one person meaningfully earning.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Meaningfully employed?

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: Meaningfully employed.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: And they come from all over the country?

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: All over, all over the country.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The key to the group’s progress has been organization, by rallying and banding together diverse slum populations.  Their large numbers have forced often-indifferent government bureaucrats to take notice.

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: I create a critical mass.  This is my critical mass!

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: They have used guerrilla tactics, nonviolent, they insist, to push for their rights or for basic amenities like water hookups.  If the city ignores or takes too long to respond to their requests, Arputham takes on the task himself.

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: I’m going to break open water tap, giving the connection to them.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: You’re going to tap into the pipes?

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: I’ve done it 1,000 times.  When the police come, I put children in the first, then women.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Today, he says there’s no trouble getting the electric utility to fund relocation for squatters who have lived under their towers or getting campaigning politicians to support the group’s push for upgraded housing and especially public toilets.

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: This is for a little more than around 600 families.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Six hundred families.

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: Six hundred families.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Who don’t have a toilet now.

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: Who don’t have a toilet.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: When he began building community-run public toilets like this one 25 years ago, the funds mostly came from foreign aid agencies, he says.

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: Now the city government, municipal corporation totally pays for the capital investment of this construction.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: So far, they have completed or have contracts to build toilets serving some 600,000 people.  They are run by the community with user fees, about 2 U.S. cents per day for a family.

    A family, in this case Mamta and Dalsher Bidlan, is hired to maintain the facility in exchange for a small apartment above the structure.

    Mamta Bidlan says having toilets so close to home means a lot for women, to whom this has long been a safety issue.

    MAMTA BIDLAN, Toilet Manager (through interpreter): The women had to go a long distance before, and there were bad men hovering from outside that would create problems.  Now it’s very easy for women to come here.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Arputham credits much of the organization’s success to its mostly female volunteers.  Women have the right priorities for their families, he says, and they are keenly tuned in to goings-on in the community.

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: If you want a qualitative change in life, you have to take it from women.  If you don’t recognize that, you are lost.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: What kinds of things, specifically?

    JOCKIN ARPUTHAM: Everything, starting from how to manage your money, how to earn your money, how to live.  Women have all this quality which men doesn’t have.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The women volunteers were mostly stay-at-home spouse, by tradition, not choice.  They say their lives have been transformed.

    MALATI AMRE (through interpreter): Women have gotten ahead now.  In years past, women used to be afraid of leaving the home.  We’ve been able to get them out of the home by forming an organization.

    POOJA RAO (through interpreter): I used to be afraid of leaving the house, afraid of living in the neighborhood.  Now I’m ready to do much more.  He’s given us the courage.  He’s taught us how to organize ourselves, how to deal with the police.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Police, who were once indifferent or even hostile, are now much more receptive and in fact partners with the Slum Dwellers group, providing space for a new system of arbitration, so disputes over property or domestic issues don’t escalate to require arrests or court intervention.

    WOMAN (through interpreter): OK, we have heard your story.  Now we’ll invite him in and see what he has to say.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Slum Dwellers International now has chapters in 34 countries in Asia, Africa and South America.  The success, though is dwarfed by the tasks they face in a world where a majority now lives in cities.

    In Mumbai alone, perhaps nine million people still occupy unimproved slums or the sidewalk.

    This is Fred de Sam Lazaro in Mumbai, India, for the PBS NewsHour.

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    nypd

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    GWEN IFILL: A rookie New York City police officer was indicted today in the shooting death of an unarmed man in a Brooklyn housing project stairwell. The victim, Akai Gurley, was described as a total innocent in the case.

    New York is obviously not the only community grappling with the fallout from cases such as this. Last night, we brought you a story about efforts to curb the use of similar lethal force in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    So what are communities doing about it?

    For more on that, we turn to Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, and Richard Beary, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

    Thank you both for joining me tonight.

    Months later, after all the discussions of Ferguson and Staten Island, what progress are we making, Mr. — Reverend Brooks, in this and trying to get to policing reform?

    CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, President, NAACP: I’m hopeful that there is an emerging consensus as to both our ability to bring about policing reform and a concrete set of policy proposals.

    So whether it be at the federal level in terms of passing the End Racial Profiling Act, which would tie federal funding to the training of police officers, so that they don’t engage in racial profiling, to the NAACP-supported and passage of the Death in Custody Act — up until a little while ago, you would ask the commonsense kind of question, how many police-involved homicides are there in the country, there’s no way to answer that question.

    I believe we’re on our way to answering that question. To more flexibility in terms of promoting — or appointing special prosecutors. So there are a number of concrete proposals, reforms that we can pursue. And all across the country, you’re seeing a young — a generation of practitioners of democracy, of protesting, are engaging in sit-ins and die-ins and who believe something could be done.

    GWEN IFILL: Richard Beary, what — do we agree on what the problem is that needs to be fixed?

    RICHARD BEARY, President, International Association of Chiefs of Police: Well, law enforcement is constantly emerging, just like the crimes that we investigate. There’s been a lot of changes since I started in this business in 1977.

    The International Association of Chiefs of Police, we conducted a summit back in October, and we brought leaders from the NAACP and the ACLU and lawyers for civil rights and those different groups to look at the status of police-community relations and where do we go from here.

    So, we recognize that the number-one thing that law enforcement needs to be effective is community support. So we have got some great recommendations, and I have shared those. And hopefully we will continue to move forward on that.

    You know, one of the things that needs to be said too is, this is an enormous task. And when you consider that there’s 12.5 million arrests in this country a year, that’s about 34,000 a day. And those people are under arrest for a myriad of things. These are people under the influence of alcohol, drugs. Some of them have mental illness issues, and some are combative.

    So the opportunity for bad things to happen across this country is huge. That number is really relatively low, not great, but I do agree that there needs to be better data. And Cornell and I are absolutely in agreement on that.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, it’s funny, because some people think that the beginning of the problem, the root of the problem is police behavior. And a lot of people believe that the root of the problem is community behavior.

    How do you even begin to get to what the solution is if you don’t agree with — about what the root is?

    CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS: Well, I think the chief would agree with me that because of the broken windows theory of policing, where we had a maximum number of arrests and people being arrested and detained because of often underwhelmingly minor offenses, and sometimes meeting and facing overwhelmingly major lethal uses of force, I think we would both agree that that’s a broken theory, broken…

    GWEN IFILL: Do you both agree on that?

    RICHARD BEARY: Well, again, it depends on how you define it being broken.

    Do I agree that — no law enforcement executive that I know supports mass incarceration. Lees put it that way. I absolutely — we have never been ones to support that. But broken windows certainly had its share of issues.

    But on the flip side of that, if you’re a resident in that area or you’re a business owner, some people think it’s been very effective, so I think that’s one of the challenges we have as we move forward is coming up with good metrics on how we measure success and effectiveness.

    GWEN IFILL: OK. So, here’s one measure. People — a lot of people said at the beginning that police cameras, dashboard cameras, uniform cameras would make the big difference, because then we could see it. We would have the evidence.

    Is that something we’re making progress on?

    CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS: I think it’s something we’re making progress on, but it’s not a panacea.

    In other words, where we — we saw in the Eric Garner case where we had a man choked to death who said he could not breathe 11 times, and he died between police officers on one side and first-responders on the other. So video alone is not a substitute for fundamentally changing policing in this country, making our police model community-oriented, because here’s what we know:

    We know, based on the criminological research, that where a community — where a police force first gets the community to trust them, they’re best able to protect them. We know that.

    GWEN IFILL: So then it’s training, or is it?

    RICHARD BEARY: It is.

    And we agree absolutely on this. What’s funny is, if you go back to Sir Robert Peel, in 1829, one of the things that he said is, for police to be effective, you have to have community support. And this is a long time ago. So, I absolutely agree.

    I also agrees that cameras are not the panacea. Will it give us an accurate recording of what happened? Yes. But that’s too late in the ball games sometimes. And we need to be proactive.

    GWEN IFILL: But community support is different from police training.

    RICHARD BEARY: Yes and no.

    To get that good police training, you need that public support, because where does the money come for police training?

    GWEN IFILL: Oh, OK. When you say support…

    RICHARD BEARY: So, you have to have those good public relations and support from the community.

    The drawback that I’m concerned about in cameras — and the IACP has done — has published some papers and model policies. What — the big pushback that we’re getting is not from the officers. It’s from victims and citizens groups that are worried about privacy, so that we’re trying to figure out that balancing act. And I look forward to working with the NAACP and other groups, because I think it’s an important tool, but we have to make sure that it’s used properly.

    GWEN IFILL: How to use it, OK.

    So we have the president’s task force under way at the White House. And we have task forces and communities around the country having this conversation. What is it that has to happen and what period of time for those kinds of governmental or pseudo-governmental solution factories to really take effect?

    CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS: We need to have a sense of urgency here. We’re in the midst of an era of mass incarceration.

    We can’t ignore that. We have young people who have lost their lives at the hands of police all across the country, thousands and thousands of young people protesting, engaging in sit-ins and die-ins. And so in terms of the recommendations of this task force, we expect them to emerge.

    I believe they will reflect what the research demonstrates and what we know all across the country. We have to have civilian review boards with teeth, in other words, the ability to issue subpoenas with investigatory powers and the ability to punish and sanction officers.

    We need training. We need to have — to take the position that racial profiling is, in fact, not only wrong, but ineffective.

    GWEN IFILL: Richard Beary.

    RICHARD BEARY: Absolutely agree. Racial profiling doesn’t belong in law enforcement. It just doesn’t — it should not…

    GWEN IFILL: What do you want to come out of these task forces?

    RICHARD BEARY: Well, what I hope to see out of the task forces, again, we have been asking for many years — and we hope that they will continue to look at the bigger criminal justice system.

    Right now, it’s all focused on police, but the system itself has not been looked at since 1967. So the system needs some adjustment. We expect training to be a part of it. I will never argue that — the best cops are the best-trained cops.

    But, again, I think you also have to factor that the — the men and women in this country wearing the uniform are in great danger. There ere more cops killed between gunshot wounds last year and being hit by vehicles, run over purposely, than were combat troops killed in Afghanistan last year.

    So we have to do a better job as a nation addressing violence and making the place, and making this country safe.

    GWEN IFILL: Richard Beary of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Cornell William Brooks of the NAACP, thank you both very much.

    CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS: Thank you. Thank you.

    RICHARD BEARY: Great.

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    nigeria bring back our girls

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    GWEN IFILL: We turn now to Nigeria and the hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped last year by Boko Haram.

    Despite the global outcry over their disappearance, there are few signs they are ever coming back.

    And as Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News reports from Abuja, many in the country have lost interest in their fate.

    JONATHAN MILLER: In a nation where jaw-dropping scandals make front-page headlines day after day, there is one that does not. But day after day, every day, the Bring Back Our Girls campaign meets in Abuja. Their protest at times has the feel of a wake, but no one has told them whether, after more than 300 days, those whom they mourn are dead or alive.

    The government of President Goodluck Jonathan has promised again and again to bring the girls back, but the Nigerian army has failed to bring back even one. Nigeria and Nigerians have moved on. This video was posted last May by Boko Haram, one month after they’d kidnapped more than 200 teenaged girls from a school in the small town of Chibok.

    The insurgent leader said they’d be sold into slavery. Nothing has been heard of them since. Even the star-studded global #BringBackOurGirls campaign has pretty much fizzled and died.

    It’s actually very moving to be here. In this country of 200 million people, only this handful gathers every single day to remember the missing Chibok girls. They have been physically attacked. Not a single government minister supports them. When they have tried to march on the president’s villa, he sends out troops to block their way. The education minister doesn’t even reply to their letters. And yet they say if they didn’t come here like this every day, the Chibok girls would be completely forgotten.

    OBY EZEKWESILI, Leader, Bring Back Our Girls: We need to know where these girls are. We need to — we really need to. You know, for me, the greatest pain is that I don’t feel my government did the best that it could do for these girls. The regret that I have in my spirit concerning that failure is so profound.

    Just the thought that this is — this is because they are poor makes me even angrier, because education is what enables you to conquer poverty.

    JONATHAN MILLER: Boko Haram’s relentless rampage has forced 1.5 million Northern Nigerians to run for their lives. Thousands have been massacred and the virulent jihadi insurgency’s spreading. The armies of neighboring states have joined this African war against terror.

    As each new atrocity eclipses the last, the plight of the girls from Chibok feels like history. The threat posed by Boko Haram has even been blamed for the postponement of this week’s presidential election. But a source close to the president told Channel 4 News that the Bring Back Our Girls campaign was a hostile force too, that the group had been hijacked by Nigeria’s political opposition.

    The campaigners scoff at this, and vow that the girls will not be forgotten.

    PROTESTER: Where are we from?

    PROTESTERS: Chibok.

    PROTESTER: Where are we from?

    PROTESTERS: Nigeria.

    PROTESTER: God bless you all. And never grow weary. We will stand with these girls. We will stand with them. And we will stand with them.

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    WAR POWERS monitor white house capitol dome ISIS

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Today’s announcement of another American killed while in the hands of the Islamic State group puts focus again on what’s being done to contain and stop the extremist organization.

    To that end, the White House is pushing for congressional authorization to use military force. Multiple sources on Capitol Hill tell the NewsHour they expect the formal request to arrive tomorrow.

    For more on what the White House wants and why, and how lawmakers are responding to its efforts to win support, I’m joined by chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner and NewsHour political editor Lisa Desjardins.

    Welcome back to you both.

    So, Margaret, why, first of all, is the administration doing this? They have been conducting a campaign against the Islamic State for months.

    MARGARET WARNER: Absolutely, Judy.

    And they have been doing it, though, under these AUMFs, one in ’01 to justify the war against al-Qaida, and number two to justify the invasion of Iraq. But the president has been thinking about this for a long time. He gave a speech in May of 2013 at National Defense University in which he basically warned this was too open-ended, too outmoded, and could be used by any future president to justify enhanced powers that he felt were inappropriate.

    So, one, it’s sort of deeply felt by him, but, two, there are practical reasons. He wants now bipartisan congressional buy-in for both domestic reasons, when he comes in for funding requests and so on, but also for international reason, to send a message to allies and enemies alike that the American public is really behind this, this isn’t just a president going off and doing what he wants here, and that they’re in for a long fight.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what have you been able to learn about the language? What’s in this request?

    MARGARET WARNER: Now, I first have to say, we keep both being warned that this could still change before it’s introduced.

    But it’s designed, as one Democratic staffer to me, to thread the needle. Because he wants a bipartisan bill, he has to come up with ways to get Republican buy-in, as well as Democratic, even he has to lose extremes on either end. So, what we’re told today is, one, there are restrictions on the use of ground forces, that it barred enduring offensive ground operations.

    That was the language as of the middle of the day. There are a lot of exemptions, special forces, advisers and trainers, the 3,000 that are already on the ground in Iraq. Two, it would sunset in three years, so any future president would have to return for new authorization.

    And, three, it repeals one of the old AUMFs, the one used to justify going into Iraq, but not the original 2001 against Iraq. And that’s one in which the Democrats wanted to repeal both and the Republicans didn’t want to repeal either.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you have been talking — there’s a lot to with here, Lisa. You have been talking to people on Capitol Hill. What kind of reception is this going to get?

    LISA DESJARDINS: Margaret said the president has been thinking about this a long time. Members of Congress have been thinking about this a lot for a long time.

    There’s positive reception, in that the president has sent this authorization request up, even though he technically doesn’t have to, or at least logistically doesn’t have to. It’s sort of an acknowledgement of the power of Congress. That’s appreciated obviously in the split power that we have right now.

    However, Judy, there’s a lot of caution. People want to see the exact wording, because while you can say that the president has signaled, we have both been hearing from our sources, that he’s going to restrict ground troops in this authorization, the wording matters so much. And that’s what members of Congress, especially Republicans, are waiting to see.

    But what’s interesting overall here is, this is a bipartisan plan. It splits both parties. That’s risky, or it could be brilliant. We will see what happens with the votes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So what it is coming down to? Is the ground troop — boots on the ground language the most important piece of this? Is it the duration of the agreement? What is it that members are arguing?

    LISA DESJARDINS: There are many working parts. The ground troop component is crucial, especially for Democrats. That might bring a lot of Democrats on if they believe it is a truly firm restriction.

    If it doesn’t, he may lose the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party. But there’s something else that people are talking about. They’re talking about, what are the geographic parameters? What exactly does this limit in terms of geography? The old Iraq war powers resolution was specific to Iraq for the most part.

    Well, the Islamic State is something that goes beyond borders. How will the president deal with that in this resolution? So we’re talking about completely changing our approach to not just Iraq, but to a much broader territory. That’s why language matters.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, tell us about that.

    MARGARET WARNER: Yes.

    So, Senator Kerry last December — there was an earlier version of this, which I won’t get into. But he made an impassioned statement in front of a Senate committee saying, no geographic limits. And there are no geographic limits in this specifically set. Now, it doesn’t mean it will survive, because, Senator Corker’s people are saying and Senator Corker said, as far as we’re concerned, this is just the starting point. We are going to have hearings and we want the president to stay engaged.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Right.

    MARGARET WARNER: We want him to explain the strategy on Syria, which both a leading Democrat, Tim Kaine, and Senator Corker think has not been laid out.

    And the administration knows if they put this forward, which they are going to, they can’t risk the fiasco that happened back a year-and-a-half ago, where he said, remember, I’m going to go to Congress for authorization to strike Syria over chemical weapons. And then everyone — he kind of wimped out. And that really damaged perception of American leadership in the world, the administration knows.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Lisa, it sounds like they’re still sorting this out on the Hill. It’s not clear where the lines are going to be drawn.

    LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right.

    And I think the White House knows that. So, they have been — it’s not the slowest of rolls, but it’s a bit of a slow roll. That’s — tomorrow, we know that House — that Senate Republicans are going to meet at 5:00 as a group.

    And that indicates the seriousness of this. There are heavy politics involved here, but there is also a sense on Capitol Hill that this is a very important national matter. They meet tomorrow. Everyone in Congress goes home next week. Then we will see in the following weeks.

    In general, I’m being told by my sources, expect this to take months of debate, more than weeks.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Margaret, is the White House sounding confident, not sure? What’s your read?

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, they’re sounding confident that their outreach has been successful.

    And you heard Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, no fan of the White House, actually say today that he thought — he appreciated the outreach. So I think that the Congress knows that the president is taking them seriously and the White House is putting a lot of stock in that.

    But, from talking to people on the Hill, I think they are going to have a lot to explain and a lot to answer for when they actually go up there and testify.

    LISA DESJARDINS: He needs 60 votes. Tough.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s not 51. Sixty is a matter…

    LISA DESJARDINS: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, assuming it does come out tomorrow, and we do, we will certainly be looking at it in greater length tomorrow.

    Lisa Desjardins, Margaret Warner, thank you both.

    LISA DESJARDINS: My pleasure. Thank you.

    The post Why Obama is seeking congressional OK for the fight against Islamic State, and what it will take to win it appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 6.21.01 PM

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. air campaign against Islamic State forces got a boost today, when an Arab ally rejoined the fight. The United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes against the militants inside Syria for the first time in more than a month.

    Meanwhile, on the BBC, Syrian President Bashar Assad said the U.S. is keeping him informed about the anti-Islamic State air campaign indirectly.

    PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, Syria: That through — through third party, more than one party, Iraq and other countries, sometimes, they convey message, general message, but there is nothing tactical.

    QUESTION: And is that a continuing dialogue that you have through third parties?

    BASHAR AL-ASSAD: There is no dialogue. There is, let’s say, information, but not dialogue.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama has called for Assad’s removal, and at the White House today, a spokesman said: “The United States is not coordinating our actions with the Syrian government. And we’re not going to.”

    GWEN IFILL: There’s word the U.S. Embassy in Yemen is closing, amid growing chaos since Shiite rebels ousted the pro-American government. It was widely reported today that U.S. diplomats are being evacuated, although the State Department wouldn’t confirm it. Some U.S. military forces remain in Yemen, conducting counterterror strikes against al-Qaida forces.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Across Eastern Ukraine today, battles raged on the eve of new peace negotiations. Pro-Russian rebels fired rockets into Kramatorsk, deep inside government-held territory, killing at least 10 people. Elsewhere, pro-government fighters said they captured villages near Mariupol, where rebels had been massing.

    Meanwhile, President Obama spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A White House statement said he warned Putin — quote — “The costs for Russia will rise if it continues aggressive actions in Ukraine.”

    GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, New Englanders used a lull between storms to dig out from yet another two feet of snow. Schoolchildren and state workers in the Boston area had the day off once again, with many roads impassable and most public transit shut down.

    Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker warned people there’s a new danger on top of their homes.

    GOV. CHARLIE BAKER, (R) Massachusetts: I really can’t believe I’m saying this, but also people need to think about shoveling off their roofs. We have had a number of roof collapses over the course of the past several days. And as the snowfall continues, this will continue to be an issue.

    GWEN IFILL: State authorities have also allowed snow to be dumped into Boston Harbor, since there’s nowhere else to put it. and there’s more coming. A new storm on Thursday could drop another three to six inches.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The International Energy Agency forecast today that the price of crude oil is headed for a rebound, but it won’t get back to where it had been. The agency represents 29 oil-importing nations. Crude has risen back above $50 dollars a barrel in recent days, but that’s less than half of last summer’s peak price.

    GWEN IFILL: And on Wall Street, stocks moved higher on hopes that Greece might be willing to broker a deal with European creditors. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 139 points to close near 17900. The Nasdaq rose 61 points on the day. And the S&P 500 added 22.

    The post News Wrap: Assad says he gets indirect info on U.S. airstrikes appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Kayla Mueller

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL:  An American family mourned today the loss of a daughter in Syria. Kayla Mueller was the latest American to die at the hands of the Islamic State group, and news of her death hit hard.

    LORI LYON, Kayla Mueller’s Aunt:  Kayla’s calling was to help those who were suffering, whether in her hometown of Prescott or on the other side of the world. She has done more in her incredible 26 years than many people could ever imagine doing in their lifetime.

    GWEN IFILL:  Kayla Mueller’s parents remained secluded today at their home in Prescott, Arizona, dispatching friends and family instead to give voice to their grief.

    Over the weekend, Islamic State militants sent them unspecified information confirming their daughter’s death. The 26-year-old aid worker had been a hostage since August of 2013, when she was kidnapped leaving a hospital in Aleppo, Syria. On Friday, her captors claimed a Jordanian airstrike killed Mueller when it destroyed this building in Raqqa, Syria.

    Jordan disputed the claim, and, today, White House spokesman Josh Earnest did as well.

    JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:  And the information that we have is that there is no evidence of civilians in the target area prior to the coalition strike taking place. And that certainly would call into question the claims that are made by ISIL.

    GWEN IFILL:  Earnest said U.S. intelligence has not been able to determine when or how Mueller died, but he made clear, regardless of the cause, there’s no doubt who bears the blame.

    JOSH EARNEST:  Is that ISIL, regardless of her cause of death, is responsible for it. This, after all, is the organization that was holding her against her will. That means they are responsible for her safety and her well-being. And they are, therefore, responsible for her death.

    GWEN IFILL:  And, in a statement, the president promised action, writing, “No matter how long it takes, the United States will find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death.”

    Officials said President Obama phoned Mueller’s family to convey his condolences. Details of what happened to Mueller during her long months of captivity remain murky. But her parents today released a letter they received from her last spring.

    In it, she wrote that she was in a safe location and unharmed, and said she was remaining strong. “I am also fighting from my side in the ways I am able,” she said. “I have a lot of fight left inside of me. I will not give in, no matter how long it takes.”

    Mueller was the fourth American hostage killed while in Islamic State captivity. Three others, journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid worker Peter Kassig, were beheaded by the terrorist group last year. Journalist Austin Tice is still being held in the region, but it’s unclear who his captors are.

    In an interview with the Web site BuzzFeed, President Obama said telling families the U.S. won’t pay ransom is — quote — “as tough as anything I do.”

    Kayla Mueller’s death underscores the dilemma the U.S. is grappling with as it seeks to dismantle the Islamic State. We will turn to President Obama’s call for new authority to meet that challenge right after the news summary.

    The post Jordan, U.S. dispute Islamic State claim of how Kayla Mueller died appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for New York Comedy Festival

    Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for New York Comedy Festival

    NEW YORK (AP) — NBC says it is suspending Brian Williams as Nightly News anchor and managing editor for six months without pay for misleading the public about his experiences covering the Iraq War.

    NBC chief executive Steve Burke said Tuesday that Williams’ actions were inexcusable and jeopardized the trust he has built up with viewers during his decade as the network’s lead anchor. But he said Williams deserved a second chance.

    Williams apologized last week for saying he was in a helicopter that was hit by a grenade while covering the Iraq War in 2003. Instead, he was in a group of helicopters and another was hit, and some veterans involved in the mission called him out on it.

    NBC News President Deborah Turness said its probe into Williams’ statements is continuing.

    The post NBC suspends anchor Brian Williams for six months appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    People await treatment in the outpatient lounge of Redemption Hospital, formerly an Ebola holding center, in Monrovia, Liberia, on Feb. 2. Most hospitals and clinics have reopened as the Ebola epidemic wanes. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

    People await treatment in the outpatient lounge of Redemption Hospital, formerly an Ebola holding center, in Monrovia, Liberia, on Feb. 2. Most hospitals and clinics have reopened as the Ebola epidemic wanes. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — With the Ebola outbreak sharply reduced, the United States is preparing to withdraw nearly all of its troops fighting the disease in West Africa and President Barack Obama is planning for the next steps planned by the administration.

    At an event Wednesday, Obama was to give details of the withdrawal and future plans after private morning meetings to discuss the successful Ebola response.

    Of the 2,800 troops the U.S. deployed, just 100 will remain in West Africa after April 30, officials said. About 1,500 of those troops have already returned home. Those staying in West Africa will work with Liberia’s military, regional partners and U.S. civilians to continue fighting Ebola.

    “Just 10 months since the first U.S. government personnel deployed, we have delivered extraordinary results,” said U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, adding that Ebola cases were down 80 percent and that in hard-hit Liberia, new cases have dwindled to just one or two per day.

    The withdrawal comes as Ron Klain, who led Obama’s Ebola response and was informally dubbed the “Ebola czar,” wraps up his work. The White House said Klain debriefed Obama as the Ebola response enters a new phase.

    The Pentagon said all returning troops will undergo “established controlled monitoring procedures” to ensure they have not contracted Ebola.

    While careful not to declare the crisis over, the White House touted declining Ebola cases as a sign that U.S. and global efforts had paid off. Officials said the U.S. helped build 15 Ebola treatment units, trained more than 1,500 health workers and coaxed the world community into contributing more than $2 billion to Ebola efforts.

    The worst Ebola outbreak in world history has killed almost 9,000 people, and the World Health Organization has warned it will be challenging to bring cases to zero. The outbreak is expected to cost the three most-affected countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea — at least $1.6 billion in lost economic growth.

    Obama faced intense initial criticism over his administration’s Ebola response, particularly after health workers contracted the virus at a Texas hospital while treating a patient that had been infected in Africa. The U.S. tightened policies at home and dedicated a surge in resources to West Africa to address the epidemic.

    The post U.S. withdrawing most troops fighting Ebola in West Africa appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is asking Congress to formally authorize war against Islamic State militants and says the group could threaten the U.S. homeland if left unchecked.

    The president is sending Congress a proposed three-page resolution on Wednesday to authorize military force. In a letter to lawmakers accompanying the request, Obama urges them to “show the world we are united in our resolve to counter the threat.”

    Obama’s resolution and letter were provided to The Associated Press. He plans to speak on his request from the White House Wednesday afternoon.

    Obama would limit authorization to three years, with no restriction where U.S. forces could pursue the threat. Obama’s proposal bans “enduring offensive combat operations,” an ambiguous term intended as compromise between lawmakers who want authority for ground troops and those who don’t.

    The post Obama proposes war authorization against Islamic State appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President Barack Obama delivered an address to the nation in September on his plans for military action against the Islamic State. Today the president Photo by Saul Loeb/Pool

    U.S. President Barack Obama delivered an address to the nation in September on his plans for military action against the Islamic State. Today the president sought military authorization to fight the terrorist group. Photo by Saul Loeb/Pool

    The Morning Line

    Today in the Morning Line:

    • Details emerge of Obama’s request to Congress for military authorization to fight the Islamic State group
    • A brief history of war power tension
    • The U.S. hasn’t declared war since WWII, plus all 11 times it has
    • Jeb Bush’s $100,000 a person fundraiser, and his tech officer is out

    President Obama is expected to make a statement on his AUMF at 3:30 p.m. EST today. Watch that in the player above.

    AUMF to ask for no geographic limitations, restrict ground troops, set timeline: The long-awaited “Authorization for Use of Military Force” from the White House came Wednesday. The key question is going to be just how broad the president goes in his request. (He is expected to make a statement at 3:30 p.m. EST today. PBS NewsHour will live stream that in the player above.) It shouldn’t be surprising that a president would want as much latitude as possible, and President Obama is expected to ask for no geographic limitations. But it’s also expected to “restrict” the use of ground troops by [banning “enduring offensive ground operations”], sources on Capitol Hill tell PBS NewsHour’s Margaret Warner and Lisa Desjardins. The White House had previously claimed that the 2002 authorization to fight in Iraq gave them license to wage a battle against IS. But that changed after the midterm elections and in the run up to the State of the Union.

    What the Constitution says about war power: The tension between Congress and the president over war power is of course part of the basic balance of power in the U.S., written into the Constitution. Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power “to declare war … make rules concerning captures on land and water; To raise and support armies … To provide and maintain a navy;” and “To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.” But Article II, Section 2 says, “The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.”

    The U.S. hasn’t declared war in more than 70 years: No Congress has declared war since the June 4, 1942, declaration against Bulgaria, Hungary, and “Rumania” during World War II. But since WWII — despite conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and other hot spots — presidents have taken action without declarations of war. Congress tried to rectify some of the ambiguity with the War Powers Act of 1973, which requires the president to “consult” with Congress and gives the president the ability to use force in emergencies, but it sets a timeline of 60 to 90 days without congressional authorization. Since the president announced action against IS — Sept. 10, 2014 — it has been 154 days.

    Which war powers the president wants to change There are currently two war powers resolutions, or authorizations to use military force, in operation. One, passed in 2001, relates directly to the Sept. 11 attacks and gives the president the power to use force against any person, group or nation that aided in those attacks. It has generally been used to authorize the fight against al-Qaida and its affiliates. The White House does not want that resolution to change. What the White House is requesting is a new resolution to replace the other authorization — the authorization passed in 2002 allowing use of force in Iraq. Again, multiple Congressional sources tell us President Obama wants a new authorization to allow force against the Islamic State militants and that he is requesting a three-year timeline for that authorization. Thus, it would sunset at the beginning of the next presidency.

    Here’s all 11 times the U.S. has declared war: In all, America has declared war 11 times between 1812 and 1942. Here’s the list:

    war-declarations

    1. June 17, 1812 — Great Britain

    2. May 12, 1846 — Mexico
    3. April 25, 1898 — Spain
    4. April 6, 1917 — Germany
    5. Dec. 7, 1917 — Austria-Hungary
    6. Dec. 8, 1941 — Japan
    7-8. Dec. 11, 1941 (2) — Germany and Italy

    9-11. June 4, 1942 (3) — Hungary, Bulgaria, “Rumania”

    Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1993, President Clinton nominated Janet Reno to be the first female Attorney General of the United States. Who was the first woman to hold a cabinet-level position? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to for guessing Tuesday’s trivia: How many presidents died in office before the 25th Amendment was created? The answer: 8 — William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy.

    2016:

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    Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

    Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Rachel Wellford at rwellford-at-newshour-dot-org.

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    The post As Obama requests militry force, a brief history of war power appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Clouds hang over the U.S. Capitol dome on Feb. 6. Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

    Clouds hang over the U.S. Capitol dome on Feb. 6. Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

    President Obama on Wednesday sent Congress a request for new authorization for use of military force against the Islamic State militants. In a letter to Congress, he emphasized that this is not a “long-term, large-scale ground combat operations” as in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Instead, he said the ground combat operations the Joint Resolution would allow include rescue missions and special forces pursuing Islamic State leaders. You can read both documents below.


    To the Congress of the United States:

    The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses a threat to the people and stability of Iraq, Syria, and the broader Middle East, and to U.S. national security. It threatens American personnel and facilities located in the region and is responsible for the deaths of U.S. citizens James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller. If left unchecked, ISIL will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland.

    I have directed a comprehensive and sustained strategy to degrade and defeat ISIL. As part of this strategy, U.S. military forces are conducting a systematic campaign of airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Although existing statutes provide me with the authority I need to take these actions, I have repeatedly expressed my commitment to working with the Congress to pass a bipartisan authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL. Consistent with this commitment, I am submitting a draft AUMF that would authorize the continued use of military force to degrade and defeat ISIL.

    My Administration’s draft AUMF would not authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our Nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan. Local forces, rather than U.S. military forces, should be deployed to conduct such operations. The authorization I propose would provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in other, more limited circumstances, such as rescue operations involving U.S. or coalition personnel or the use of special operations forces to take military action against ISIL leadership. It would also authorize the use of U.S. forces in situations where ground combat operations are not expected or intended, such as intelligence collection and sharing, missions to enable kinetic strikes, or the provision of operational planning and other forms of advice and assistance to partner forces.

    Although my proposed AUMF does not address the 2001 AUMF, I remain committed to working with the Congress and the American people to refine, and ultimately repeal, the 2001 AUMF. Enacting an AUMF that is specific to the threat posed by ISIL could serve as a model for how we can work together to tailor the authorities granted by the 2001 AUMF.

    I can think of no better way for the Congress to join me in supporting our Nation’s security than by enacting this legislation, which would show the world we are united in our resolve to counter the threat posed by ISIL.


    Joint Resolution:

    To authorize the limited use of the United States Armed Forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

    ***

    Whereas the terrorist organization that has referred to itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and various other names (in this resolution referred to as ‘‘ISIL’’) poses a grave threat to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, regional stability, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners;

    Whereas ISIL holds significant territory in Iraq and Syria and has stated its intention to seize more territory and demonstrated the capability to do so;

    Whereas ISIL leaders have stated that they intend to conduct terrorist attacks internationally, including against the United States, its citizens, and interests;

    Whereas ISIL has committed despicable acts of violence and mass executions against Muslims, regardless of sect, who do not subscribe to ISIL’s depraved, violent, and oppressive ideology;

    Whereas ISIL has threatened genocide and committed vicious acts of violence against religious and ethnic minority groups, including Iraqi Christian, Yezidi, and Turkmen populations;

    Whereas ISIL has targeted innocent women and girls with horrific acts of violence, including abduction, enslavement, torture, rape, and forced marriage;

    Whereas ISIL is responsible for the deaths of innocent United States citizens, including James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller;

    Whereas the United States is working with regional and global allies and partners to degrade and defeat ISIL, to cut off its funding, to stop the flow of foreign fighters to its ranks, and to support local communities as they reject ISIL;

    Whereas the announcement of the anti-ISIL Coalition on September 5, 2014, during the NATO Summit in Wales, stated that ISIL poses a serious threat and should be countered by a broad international coalition;

    Whereas the United States calls on its allies and partners, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa that have not already done so to join and participate in the anti-ISIL Coalition;

    Whereas the United States has taken military action against ISIL in accordance with its inherent right of individual and collective self-defense;

    Whereas President Obama has repeatedly expressed his commitment to working with Congress to pass a bipartisan authorization for the use of military force for the anti-ISIL military campaign; and

    Whereas President Obama has made clear that in this campaign it is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of partners on the ground instead of large-scale deployments of U.S. ground forces: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That

    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This joint resolution may be cited as the “Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”

    SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

    (a) AUTHORIZATION.—The President is authorized, subject to the limitations in subsection

    (c), to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines to be necessary and appropriate against ISIL or associated persons or forces as defined in section 5.

    (b) WAR POWERS RESOLUTION REQUIREMENTS.—

    (1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION.—Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1547(a)(1)), Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(b)).

    (2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS.—Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.).

    (c) LIMITATIONS.—

    The authority granted in subsection (a) does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.

    SEC. 3. DURATION OF THIS AUTHORIZATION.

    This authorization for the use of military force shall terminate three years after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution, unless reauthorized.

    SEC. 4. REPORTS.

    The President shall report to Congress at least once every six months on specific actions taken pursuant to this authorization.

    SEC. 5. ASSOCIATED PERSONS OR FORCES DEFINED.

    In this joint resolution, the term ‘‘associated persons or forces’’ means individuals and organizations fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside ISIL or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.

    SEC. 6. REPEAL OF AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE AGAINST IRAQ.

    The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107– 243; 116 Stat. 1498; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) is hereby repealed.

    The post Read Obama’s letter to Congress and his war request appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Cartoonist Scott McCloud, best known for the “Understanding Comics” series, talks about “The Sculptor,” his first graphic novel and his first work of fiction in over 30 years. Video shot and edited by Josh Barajas.

    You’re chugging up a roller coaster, but the slow climb to the top seems to take forever.

    That’s how writing and illustrating “The Sculptor,” a 488-page graphic novel, felt for artist Scott McCloud, best known for the “Understanding Comics” series.

    Comics artist Scott McCloud released "The Sculptor," his first work of fiction in over 30 years.

    Comics artist Scott McCloud released “The Sculptor,” in February.

    The project took him five years to complete. And for McCloud, the achievement was monumental. While his non-fiction work on understanding and making comics is widely regarded as the textbook authority on comics art, “The Sculptor” is his first graphic novel and his first work of fiction in over 30 years.

    “For somebody that likes to theorize and come up with ideas on how comics work, it’s not the same as sitting down and actually applying, test driving all these ideas and techniques.”

    The result is the emotionally wrought story of David Smith, a young sculptor who shares the name of the real-life sculpting legend. Overcome with his inability to make a name for himself in the art world, David enters a Faustian bargain with Death, who takes the form of his deceased Uncle Harry. The terms? David will be able to sculpt anything with his bare hands, but he’ll pay with his life. At the end of 200 days, he will die.

    Courtesy of Scott McCloud

    Courtesy of Scott McCloud

    David revels and despairs in his powers until he meets Meg, an actress struggling with depression. As the late-entry love of his life, she complicates his plan to quickly sculpt an immortal body of work and die a legend. The fleeting passage of time, along with the pressure to be great, weighs on David during the book’s difficult middle.

    David’s journey is dark, and all too familiar for creators of all kinds. But McCloud insists that the book is a “love letter” to all artists, not just the “ones in the sunlight,” but also the vast majority who never gain a wide audience or experience mainstream success.

    Courtesy of Scott McCloud

    Courtesy of Scott McCloud

    “That’s most people who pick up a pen or a paintbrush or try to sculpt or make movies,” McCloud said. “Most of those people struggle in obscurity for most of all of their lives. But I see their struggle as just as noble as the ones who find themselves celebrated or immortalized. And (David’s story) is their story too.”

    While David strives to distinguish himself from others, his story is powerful because his struggle is so common. Will our hero live forever through his art? If we are taught the right skills, honored with the right circumstances, will we? Looking back, McCloud can offer only one certainty:

    “One way or another, everyone gets forgotten. But there’s something glorious about struggling against it. About not allowing the sun to go down too quickly.”

    The post In ‘The Sculptor,’ cartoonist Scott McCloud tackles mortality, love, art appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    David Peppard of Eddington, Maine, is engulfed in the fine chips of ice thrown by the ice saw while working at Cobb's Pierce Pond Camps in Pierce Pond Township.  Peppard is one of the several guides who works at the camps during the fishing season and is a regular participant in the annual ice harvest. Photo by Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

    David Peppard of Eddington, Maine, is engulfed in fine chips of ice thrown by his ice saw while working at Cobb’s Pierce Pond Camps in Pierce Pond Township. Peppard is one of the several guides who works at the camps during the fishing season and is a regular participant in the annual ice harvest. Photo by Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

    While residents in New York and New England scramble to shovel themselves out of the latest snowstorm before the next one hits, a photo essay in the Bangor Daily News, curated by visual editor Brian Feulner, brings out the artistic side of snow-covered streets and parka-bundled Northerners.

    People use pick poles to guide ice blocks to the galamander they use to lift the ice blocks from the water.  With the exception of a few munites use of a chainsaw the ice harvesting tools used by  the crew are the same as they would have been in the 1930's. Photo by Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

    People use pick poles to guide ice blocks to the galamander they use to lift them from the water. With the exception of a few minutes’ use of a chainsaw, the ice harvesting tools used by the crew are the same as they would have been in the 1930′s. Photo by Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

    For the past five months, Feulner and fellow photogs ventured out to capture the sights of a sub-zero Bangor, Maine, because, as he explained, readers love a weather story.

    “Instead we have shivering photographers trying to be artful in a New England ‘tundra’ who love nothing more than having their photos on a news site or in print delivered straight to you and your warm and comfortable office desk, living room or kitchen table.”

    Horses in the light snow at a Newburgh farm.  Snow was falling for a good portion of the day Monday and acording to the National Weather Service the mild weather will continue with snow and rain on some of the next few days. Photo by Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

    Horses in the light snow at a farm in Newburgh, Maine. Photo by Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

    Feulner, a Maine photographer accustomed to shooting in the cold, also said that not only do photographers have to go out in the cold weather for the photos, but freezing temperatures often wreak havoc on expensive camera equipment. That is, if photographers can successfully keep their equipment from falling into a bottomless snow pit.

    View more photos from the newspaper on tonight’s NewsHour Shares segment on the PBS NewsHour and see the full essay on Bangor Daily News’ photo blog Collage.

    A man tries his luck catching smelts through a crack in the ice of the Penobscot River about 25-30 yards from the Brewer shore Saturday afternoon.  The man didn't want to be identified, but he said he didn't catch anything. He measured the ice where he was fishing and it was 16 inches thick. Photo by Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

    A man tries his luck catching smelts through a crack in the ice of the Penobscot River that flows through Bangor, Maine. Photo by Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

    A leaf lays on the snow in Bangor during a fall storm in central Maine. The storm hit just a few days before Election Day. Photo by Brian Feulner/Bangor Daily News

    A leaf lays on the snow in Bangor during a fall storm in central Maine. The storm hit just a few days before Election Day. Photo by Brian Feulner/Bangor Daily News

    Downed lines on Sanford Street in Bangor left the road closed and area residents unable to leave their homes after a November storm brought several inches of wet snow to central Maine. Photo by Brian Feulner/Bangor Daily News

    Downed lines on Sanford Street in Bangor left the road closed and area residents unable to leave their homes after a November storm brought several inches of wet snow to central Maine. Photo by Brian Feulner/Bangor Daily News

    A pigeon eats berries in a snow covered tree on a November morning in Bangor. A storm brought several inches of snow to the central Maine on Thanksgiving Day. Photo by Brian Feulner/Bangor Daily News

    A pigeon eats berries in a snow covered tree on a November morning in Bangor. A storm brought several inches of snow to the central Maine on Thanksgiving Day. Photo by Brian Feulner/Bangor Daily News

    Ice covers branches in Holden, Maine, on Christams day. Photo by Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

    Ice covers branches in Holden, Maine, on Christams day. Photo by Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

    The post Photo essay: Below freezing in Bangor, Maine appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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