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

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    A scientific researcher extracts the RNA from embryonic stem cells in a laboratory. Photo by Getty Images

    A scientific researcher extracts the RNA from embryonic stem cells in a laboratory. Photo by Getty Images

    Group projects may hold the key to getting more girls and women to enter science, technology, engineering and math or fields that men otherwise dominate.

    When women make up the majority of a group, they are more likely to worry less, feel confident and also to speak up and actively contribute to solve the problem at hand, said Nilanjana Dasgupta, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who led the study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Paying more attention to the gender make-up of groups allows teachers, professors and industry leaders may help create an environment where women may feel more at ease as well as counteract the idea that women don’t belong in certain professions, according this new research. Essentially, they are administering what Dasgupta calls a “social vaccine.”

    This is especially important for first-year college students, she said, when attrition among those majoring in science and technology fields is high.

    “A negative stereotype is like a virus that gets in your mind,” she said. When a young female engineering student encounters female figures who defy gender stereotypes, “female peers and scientists and engineers are social vaccines,” Dasgupta said.

    She has seen the importance of female role models and peers in her own classroom. In 1997, Dasgupta encountered a female student who had been recruited to study engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. The more classes that student took, she said that she saw fewer fellow female students, Dasgupta explained.

    “At some point in time, she felt completely isolated,” Dasgupta said.

    Eventually, that student switched her college major altogether.

    In her study, Dasgupta gathered female undergraduate students at a large public university who also majored in engineering, making up only 15 percent of that school’s program. Then, Dasgupta placed these female students in problem-solving groups where there was only one female student present, where the number of male and female students was the same or where most students were female.

    “In some ways, having gender parity is beneficial, but in other ways it’s not enough,” Dasgupta said.

    Female students who worked on teams with an equal number of male and female students reported greater confidence and less social anxiety than teams with a single female student, but more was needed for these women to contribute, Dasgupta explained.

    In groups where male students were outnumbered, female students “were much more likely to speak up, come up with solutions and engage verbally,” she said.

    While debate continues to stir not only about female participation in science and technology but also the executive leadership, Dasgupta said that “these data offer a very clear concrete intervention that can make a difference.”

    “Changing society takes a long time, and it’s an endeavor we can all engage in,” she said. “We shouldn’t be sitting on our hands any time we are in a position to design teams or manage teams to lead.”

    The post Want more women in science and math? Pay attention to group projects, study suggests appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Illustration of improved Large Hadron Collider in preparation for its second season. Illustration by Daniel Dominguez, Maximilien Brice and Cinzia De Melis/CERN

    Illustration of improved Large Hadron Collider in preparation for its second season. Illustration by Daniel Dominguez, Maximilien Brice and Cinzia De Melis/CERN

    The world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, which has granted scientists a look at the beginnings of our universe, was just granted a new beginning.

    The Large Hadron Collider was reactivated this weekend in Switzerland, capping two years of inactivity while the complex machine was under maintenance. Now, after buzzing back to life for the first time since 2013, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) hopes to open the door for new discoveries while they operate the LHC at “unprecedented energy.”

    “After two years of effort, the LHC is in great shape,” CERN Director for Accelerators and Technology, Frédérick Bordry, said in a statement. “But the most important step is still to come when we increase the energy of the beams to new record levels.”

    The LHC’s second run began with the introduction of a proton beam into the 17-mile ring. A short while afterward, a second beam, traveling opposite the first, was introduced. These two beams will continue to circulate; by summer CERN staff hope to double the beams’ energy being to the output of its first run. By summer, scientists hope to start colliding beams.

    “The Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism, dark matter, antimatter and quark-gluon plasma are all on the menu for LHC season 2,” CERN said in a statement. Scientists are looking to put “the Standard Model of particle physics to its most stringent test yet, searching for new physics beyond this well-established theory describing particles and their interactions.”

    During the Large Hadron Collider’s first run, physicists discovered the elusive Higgs boson, a subatomic particle thought to endow all other particles, and all matter in the universe, with mass.

    The post A reactivated Large Hadron Collider set to explore ‘uncharted territory’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The Red Fort is covered by haze mainly caused by air pollution in Delhi, India on January 20, 2014. Photo by Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg

    The Red Fort is covered by haze mainly caused by air pollution in Delhi, India on January 20, 2014. Photo by Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg

    India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced today that his country will take new steps to address their growing air pollution problem. Speaking from Delhi, Modi said the Indian government will begin monitoring air quality in 10 cities, including the capital, which has become the most polluted city in the world.

    The new index will track the amount of pollutants in the cities using global standards and make that information publicly available. Modi called the move a first step in signaling to the world that India is not ignoring the issue of climate change.

    “The world thinks India doesn’t care about the environment,” he said. “We must change that… India has always respected the environment.”

    India has become one of the world’s most polluted countries. According to the World Health Organization , 13 of the 20 most polluted cities are in India, and nearly 620,000 people die annually due to pollution-related diseases. In Delhi alone, the amount of dangerous particulates in the air was nearly six times the WHO’s recommended maximum.

    Modi blamed much of the problem on changing lifestyles, and India’s pollution can be attributed to the rapid increase of automobiles as well as industrial activity. Though Modi did not offer specific actions his government would take to limit emissions, he said his country could look to India’s “age-old traditions.”

    Among them, he said was relying more on bicycles for transportation as well as turning off street lights during full moons.

    Anumita Roychowdhury, the head of the air pollution program at New Delhi’s Center for Science and Environment, called the moves promising. He told Voice of America that while getting people to change their habits may be difficult, the new indexing system could raise awareness.

    “If people understand what air pollution is doing to their health, then all these hard decisions now we need to take, we can build public support on that,” he said.

    Others, however, were less than impressed. Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva told Agence France Presse that the new monitoring system would do little to stop pollution.

    “It’s like finding a very sick person and instead of treating him, you hand him a thermometer. You have to take strict policy action, not launch symbolic measures,” she said.

    The post India takes steps to address climate change, as country suffers from record-setting air pollution appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Fresh produce is viewed at the Central Park United Methodist Church weekly food pantry on October 19, 2011 in Reading, Penn. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the national poverty rate dropped by 14.5 in 2013, down from 15 percent in 2012. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    Fresh produce is viewed at the Central Park United Methodist Church weekly food pantry on October 19, 2011 in Reading, Penn. In a new report that came out on Monday, the National Center for Children in Poverty found that 44 percent of U.S. children live in low-income families, a number that is still higher than pre-recession levels. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    The Great Recession may be over, but the number of children living in poverty or low-income families is still higher than pre-recession levels.

    A new report by the National Center for Children in Poverty found that 44 percent of the nation’s children live in low-income households, according to 2013 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey. Of those living in low-income households, half, or 22 percent, are living in poor households. Low-income is considered 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and poor is defined as 100 percent of the poverty level. For 2013, a family of four making less than $23,624 is considered at the federal poverty level, and $47,248 is considered low income.

    In 2007, the number of children living in low-income families increased by 13 percent, and the number of children living in poor families by 23 percent. NCCP researchers also found white children make up the largest proportion of low-income children, and Hispanics the largest share of poor children,.

    “Black, American Indian, and Hispanic children are disproportionately low income and poor,” the report reads.

    Unsurprisingly, education also plays a major role in the likelihood of a low-income or poor family. The report found that 86 percent of children of parents with less than a high school degree are likely to live in low-income families, and 67 percent of children from parents with just a high school degree and no college live in low-income families. But, as the report noted, a large chunk — 31 percent — of children with one parent with at least some college education also live in a low-income household.

    Yang Jiang, a senior research associate at the NCCP, explained to the Boston Globe that the combination of raising children while working may hurt education attempts.

    “Without adequate support, trying to get training can end up draining a family’s resources,” Jiang said.

    The post Report finds 44 percent of U.S. children live in low-income families appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

    Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Sharpening a medical debate about the costs and benefits of cancer screening, a new report estimates that the U.S. spends $4 billion a year on unnecessary medical costs due to mammograms that generate false alarms, and on treatment of certain breast tumors unlikely to cause problems.

    The study published Monday in the journal Health Affairs breaks the cost down as follows: $2.8 billion resulting from false-positive mammograms and another $1.2 billion attributed to breast cancer overdiagnosis. That’s the treatment of tumors that grow slowly or not at all, and are unlikely to develop into life-threatening disease during a woman’s lifetime.

    The cost estimates cover women ages 40-59.

    Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer among American women, claiming nearly 41,000 lives a year. Annual mammograms starting at age 40 have long been considered standard for preventive care, because cancer is easier to treat if detected early. But recently there’s been disagreement about regular screening for women in their 40s. It parallels the medical debate about the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening for men.

    Study authors Mei-Sing Ong and Kenneth Mandl say their findings indicate that the cost of breast cancer overtreatment appears to be much higher than previously estimated. Their $4 billion figure is the midpoint of a range that depends upon assumptions about the rates of false-positive mammograms and breast cancer overdiagnosis.

    Ong is a research fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital and Mandl is a professor at Harvard Medical School.

    Apart from the financial cost of screening tests and treatment, false positives and overdiagnosis expose women to risks from additional medical procedures, not to mention psychological distress. It’s not uncommon for mammograms to turn up some apparent abnormality that has to be resolved with more imaging tests or a biopsy.

    “We’re hoping that the financial cost of this problem will help cast into greater relief the human cost,” said co-author Mandl. “The two messages together are powerful. The fact that this is not only a problem, but a very costly problem, we hope will accelerate the attempts to try to fix the screening practices.”

    But another expert defended those practices, and called the study one-sided.

    “There was no attempt to balance the costs with the benefits,” said Richard Wender, who heads prevention, detection and patient-support efforts at the American Cancer Society. “I strongly feel that every study that looks at the downsides of any screening test has to be balanced with the benefits.”

    The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms for women starting at age 40, while a government advisory group — the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force— recommends that regular screen begin later, at age 50. The study found that women ages 40-49 were more likely to have a false-positive mammogram, compared to women in their 50s.

    Wender questioned the assumptions behind the new study, saying that the authors made a “very selective choice of estimates” for the rates of false positives and overdiagnosis.

    “There is no debate about the benefits of mammography,” he said.

    Mandl responded that the assumptions in his study are supported by other research, and that by definition there is no medical benefit to mammograms that produce false-positive results.

    The study was based on billing data from a major U.S. insurer, encompassing more than 700,000 women ages 40-59 in all 50 states, from 2011 through 2013.

    The U.S. spends much more on health care than any other country, but lags behind other economically advanced societies on life expectancy and certain other health indicators. That has prompted strong interest among insurers, employers, and government officials in comparing the effectiveness of competing treatments, tests and medications.

    Cancer treatment may end up being one of the most closely followed issues in the broader debate over health care costs and benefits. A different study also published in Monday’s Health Affairs found that cancer death rates were lower in countries that spent more on cancer care, and that countries that increased spending the most made more progress in reducing death rates.

    The post Breast cancer overtreatment costs U.S. $4 billion a year appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Getty Images

    By and large, women over 50 will have different financial challenges than their male counterparts, so keeping financially fit is important. Photo by Getty Images

    Keeping physically fit is always important, but as we age, it becomes even more imperative to maintaining quality of life. According to personal finance expert and Next Avenue contributor Kerry Hannon, the same is true for financial fitness.

    Hannon stresses the importance of “financial fitness” for women, and especially for female members of the baby boomer generation, who are now entering their fifties and beyond. “Women have been part of the workforce more in this generation than before,” Hannon says, they are also likely to stay in the workforce longer. The full retirement age for Social Security has risen from 65 to 67, and, according to Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies’ “Fifteen Facts About Women’s Retirement Outlook,” 57 percent of women plan to retire after age 65 or not at all.

    “If you have a choice between your kid’s college fund and your retirement fund, do your retirement fund.”
    Women face some unique challenges in planning for their financial future. Women famously earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. In a recent article for Next Avenue, Hannon points out that women are more likely to deviate from their career paths by taking time off to raise children or care for aging parents. They also tend to work for smaller firms and nonprofits that may not offer to match employees’ contributions to their retirement savings plans, if they offer a plan at all. On top of that, Hannon says, “most American women will find themselves single at some point from the age of 65 to the end of life.” This means women should be prepared to navigate the financial world on their own in their golden years.

    Research suggests the average American woman does not believe she is up to the challenge. A Fidelity study released in February found that 82 percent of women were confident in their ability to budget and manage their daily finances, but only 37 percent of women felt confident planning for their retirement. Hannon offers the following financial fitness regimen for women in their 50s who are seeking to increase their financial know-how.

    Start with the basics.

    On the first day of a new fitness plan, it is inadvisable to bench press 100 lbs or run 10 miles. A better path is to start small, lifting 10 lbs or running 1 mile, and build up to bigger things. Likewise, Hannon recommends wading slowly into the retirement planning waters.

    “Pencil out a budget,” she advises. Having a solid understanding of how much you are spending now will help you estimate how much you will need later in life. If you are working, Hannon suggests not only taking advantage of your employer’s 401(k) or equivalent plan, but investing enough to receive a full company match if possible. “Consider that free money,” she says.

    Hannon also recommends setting up an emergency fund outside of work if you have the resources, preferably an index fund or similar account where you can withdraw money in a pinch without paying a penalty.

    For women seeking to further their financial education, Hannon points to a wealth of resources in print and online, including “The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances After 50” by Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, “Women’s Worth: Finding Your Financial Confidence” by certified financial planner Eleanor Blayney, as well as smartaboutmoney.org, a program of the National Endowment for Financial Education and wiserwomen.org, the website of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement. Women over 50 can also find retirement and financial planning advice on Next Avenue’s website. Those who have the time and funds could also enroll in a personal finance course at their local community college or consider hiring a financial adviser.

    Do not fear the financial adviser.

    Less than half of the women surveyed in the above mentioned Fidelity study felt confident talking to a professional financial adviser about money and investments. “It’s not like you need gobs of money to get someone to work with you,” says Hannon, who thinks a financial adviser or certified financial planner can be a valuable resource, especially for older women, who may not be as comfortable navigating financial planning resources online. Hannon recommends connecting with a professional through the databases of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, the Financial Planning Association or the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

    Take care of yourself first.
    “Women often do put other people’s needs in front of their own,” argues Hannon, who observes that many women play the role of caregiver either to children or aging parents. But she emphasizes that taking care of your own needs is an integral part of financial fitness.

    “If you have a choice between your kid’s college fund and your retirement fund, do your retirement fund,” she says. While many feel obligated to pay for their children’s education, Hannon stresses that this is not a requirement. There are many options out there for children to pay their own way through school, and they will have many more years to pay off their debt than you will to rebuild your nest egg. Also, if you do not have adequate funds saved for your retirement, the burden is ultimately shifted to your children, when they must care for you later in life. Along those lines, Hannon views estate planning as part of retirement planning, and recommends investing in long-term care insurance. (But not all experts agree on the benefits of long-term care insurance.)

    Talk it out.

    “Women are more comfortable talking about sex than salary,” according to Hannon, who believes failing to talk about your finances with your spouse or significant other “shows a lack of trust in the underpinnings of a relationship.”

    “Build your (investment) portfolios as a team,” she advises, “it is kind of fun when you have a partner to do stuff with,” and that way both parties share in the weight of major financial decisions.

    Hannon also encourages women not to keep the discussion of financial matters between themselves and their romantic partners. She suggests starting a book club with friends to read and discuss books about investing and managing money.

    Lastly, Hannon urges mothers to talk to their daughters about financial planning. “Sit down with your daughters and do this together,” she says. “Women in their 20s tend to spend, men tend to save, as we age this seems to reverse.” Books like, “Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money” by Barbara Stanny and “Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties” by Beth Kobliner can help give your daughter a head start.

    Advice for divorcées:

    “Rarely should you choose the house over retirement assets,” Hannon tells recent divorcées, “The best scenario, according to the experts I have talked to, is to sell the house and split the proceeds … I would negotiate hard for retirement assets over alimony if possible because alimony is taxable and that is just a short-term plan.”

    Wondering if you have a claim to your ex’s Social Security benefit? You do if you are age 62 or older, were married for more than 10 years and have not remarried. Collecting this benefit will not impact what your ex-spouse receives, Hannon says. For more information on maximizing your social security benefits after divorce or otherwise, check out our weekly “Ask Larry,” columns.

    Advice for getting back into the workforce:

    “Get over yourself and don’t expect that the doors are going to swing wide open for you,” Hannon warns women seeking to re-enter the workforce. “You’re not necessarily going to pick up where you left off.” Hannon recommends attending alumni events and becoming active on social media to “pump up your network,” and let those around you know you are looking to re-enter the workforce.

    “You may need to add skills to get back to the salary you were making,” advises Hannon, who cautions that “age discrimination is alive and well in the workplace.” In spite of this, she tells women not give up. If you are unable to find a full-time position right away, consider freelancing, contract work or even volunteering. These opportunities will allow you to learn new skills and grow your network, and may turn into something full-time or permanent. Our “Ask the Headhunter” column is a valuable resource for job seekers.

    Along side a 401(k), independent savings and Social Security benefit, a part-time job is part of many women’s retirement plans — 49 percent of women plan to work after retirement, a recent survey found. Hannon views these four factors as “the four pillars of retirement.” These pillars provide the basis for women’s financial fitness in their 50s and beyond.

    Have more questions about financial planning for women in their 50s? Check out Next Avenue’s full series on this topic. And join us on Twitter this Thursday, April 9, from 1-2 p.m. EDT for a chat with Hannon (@KerryHannon), assistant managing editor for Next Avenue Richard Eisenberg (@richeis315) and president of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) Cindy Hounsell (@WISERwomen). Follow along and chime in using #NewsHourChats.

    The post 6 ways women over 50 can achieve financial fitness before retirement appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Children on the south lawn of the White House after the 1953 Easter Egg Roll. (Photo credit: Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, Kansas)

    Children sit on the south lawn of the White House after the 1953 Easter Egg Roll. Photo courtesy Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, Kansas

    Each Easter Monday, thousands of children and their families flock to the White House for an annual day of spring festivities. Originally, it was held in from of the Capitol, but in 1876, the celebration took a toll on the Capitol grounds and Congress subsequently passed a law banning the lawn to be used as a playground for children.

    The “Easter Egg Roll” as it is known today dates back to 1878, when President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the South Lawn to the neighborhood children recently forbidden from playing with colorful Easter eggs on the yards of the Capitol.

    The First Family has hosted a day of games, music and food nearly every year since.

    Children and adults on grounds of the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll, 1889 (Photo credit: Library of Congress)

    Children and adults on grounds of the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll, 1889. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

    Boys at the White House Easter egg roll, 1911 (Photo credit: Library of Congress)

    Boys at the White House Easter egg roll, 1911. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

    Children at the 1923 White House Easter Egg Roll (Photo credit: Library of Congress)

    Children at the 1923 White House Easter Egg Roll. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

    Easter at the White House, 1926 (Photo credit: National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)

    Easter at the White House, 1926. Photo courtesy National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress

    First Lady Grace Coolidge brings pet Raccoon Rebecca to the 1927 Easter Egg Roll (Photo Credit: White House Historical Association)

    First Lady Grace Coolidge brings pet Raccoon Rebecca to the 1927 Easter Egg Roll. Photo courtesy White House Historical Association

    Boys chase after eggs at the 1929 Easter Egg Roll (Photo credit: Library of Congress)

    Boys chase after eggs at the 1929 Easter Egg Roll. Photo courtesy Library of Congress)

    Children dance around a maypole at the White House Easter Egg Roll, ca. 1930 (Photo credit: White House Historical Association)

    Children dance around a maypole at the White House Easter Egg Roll, circa 1930. Photo courtesy White House Historical Association

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt greet visitors at the 1939 Easter Egg Roll (Photo credit: Library of Congress)

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt greet visitors at the 1939 Easter Egg Roll. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

    First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wecomes first of Easter Egg Rollers, 1940.  (Photo credit: Harris & Ewing Collection, Library of Congress)

    First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wecomes first of Easter Egg Rollers, 1940. Photo courtesy Harris & Ewing Collection, Library of Congress

    Easter Egg Roll at the White House, 1961. (Photo credit: Robert Knudsen, White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.)

    Easter Egg Roll at the White House, 1961. Photo courtesy Robert Knudsen, White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

    Tricia Nixon signs autographs at the 1971 Easter Egg Roll (Photo Credit: National Archives)

    Tricia Nixon signs autographs at the 1971 Easter Egg Roll. Photo courtesy National Archives

    Jimmy Carter with grandson Jason Carter at the White House Easter Egg Roll, 1977 (Photo Credit: National Archives)

    Jimmy Carter with grandson Jason Carter at the White House Easter Egg Roll, 1977. Photo courtesy National Archives

    Basket of wooden eggs for the Easter Egg Roll in 1982 (Photo credit: White House Historical Association)

    Basket of wooden eggs for the Easter Egg Roll in 1982. Photo courtesy White House Historical Association

    Children participate in the Easter Egg Roll at the White House, 1989. (Photo Credit:  George Bush Presidential Library and Museum)

    Children participate in the Easter Egg Roll at the White House, 1989. Photo courtesy George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

    President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush at the Start of an Easter Egg Roll Race, 2006 (Photo Credit: National Archives/George W. Bush Presidential Library)

    President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush at the Start of an Easter Egg Roll Race, 2006. Photo courtesy National Archives/George W. Bush Presidential Library

    President Barack Obama is joined by his daughters Sasha and Malia at the 2009 White House Easter Egg Roll (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    President Barack Obama is joined by his daughters Sasha and Malia at the 2009 White House Easter Egg Roll. Photo by Chuck Kennedy, courtesy the White House

    People attending the annual Easter Egg Roll walk along the South Lawn of the White House, April 5, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    People attending the annual Easter Egg Roll walk along the South Lawn of the White House, April 5, 2010. Photo by Lawrence Jackson, courtesy the White House

    The post Photos: the White House Easter Egg Roll throughout history appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Wisconsin v Kentucky

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    GWEN IFILL: Tonight, as the men’s college basketball tournament comes to a close, we take a look at the role of the student-athlete, in the game, in the classroom, and at the negotiating table.

    Jeffrey Brown is back with that.

    MAN: He’s got an open three, and it rattles home!

    JEFFREY BROWN: It’s March Madness, when basketball rules and the NCAA revels in the attention. Indeed, Wisconsin’s win on Saturday over unbeaten Kentucky was the most-watched semifinal in 22 years.

    MAN: Look at this right, back with it!

    JEFFREY BROWN: Duke dominated Michigan State in the other semifinal and will face Wisconsin tonight.

    On the women’s side, the University of Connecticut is aiming to continue its dynasty, going for a third straight championship tomorrow against Notre Dame.

    But behind the backdrop of tournament time, there is serious pressure on a number of fronts, including whether and how schools should compensate student-athletes.

    Last year, former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon won a lawsuit that calls for paying players at least $5,000 a year for rights to their names and images. The NCAA is appealing.

    ED O’BANNON, Former UCLA Basketball Player: Everything has changed about the game. The rules have changed. Everything has changed, except for how a player is compensated.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Then there’s academic fraud. A former football player and a one-time women’s basketball player have sued the University of North Carolina and the NCAA over bogus classes. At a pre-Final Four press conference last week, NCAA president Mark Emmert spoke of rebalancing the student-athlete equation.

    MARK EMMERT, President, NCAA: To be — especially within Division I, to be a successful Division I and a successful student is a very demanding task. And in some cases, it’s too demanding and we need to find ways to not just provide, but insist that they have more time to be students as well as student-athletes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yet another question involves who pays when athletes get hurt, a subject highlighted recently on HBO’s “Real Sports.”

    BERNIE GOLDBERG, HBO: You got hurt playing football at the University of Washington.

    DARIN HARRIS, Former University of Washington Football Player: Yes.

    BERNIE GOLDBERG: And then you went back after you left the school, to the team doctor, because of the problems you were having as a result of that injury.

    DARIN HARRIS: Right. And now I had to pay.

    BERNIE GOLDBERG: Harris learned a hard lesson that day a lesson many NCAA student-athletes have been surprised to learn. Once you’re done with college, college is typically done with you. You’re not only stuck with the injuries you sustained. You’re also stuck with the medical bills.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Looming ethical and legal questions.

    Still, for these next two nights, at least, the focus of sports fans will be on and not in the courts.

    So, what is expected of the collegiate athlete today, and what should he or she ask in return?

    We’re joined by Len Elmore, a sportscaster and former collegiate and professional basketball player, and Emmett Gill, professor of public policy at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and founder of the Student-Athletes Human Rights Project, an advocacy group.

    And, Emmett Gill, let me start with you.

    Does the student-athlete equation need rebalancing or a complete overhaul?  How would you define the role today?

    EMMETT GILL, Student-Athletes Human Rights Project: Jeffrey, absolutely.

    I think that it definitely needs rebalancing. I wouldn’t say a complete overhaul, because I think that we are moving in the right direct when we talk about cost of living stipends and four-year scholarships.

    Nonetheless, I think the two issues that are on the table that definitely need reform is the issue of use in name and likeness and the issue of who takes care of the health bills once a student-athlete’s eligibility has expired.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Len Elmore, let me ask you the same general question first. How do you see the balancing act now?

    LEN ELMORE, Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletes: Well, I think — and I agree with Emmett Gill that it requires rebalancing.

    I mean, the definition of amateurism certainly has changed and we need to balance the equity, so to speak, to be able to reflect that. You know, we talk about revenues derived from basketball championships, television market being, et cetera. And certainly some of that needs to go to the benefit of the student-athlete.

    I wouldn’t advocate paying them directly as though they were employees, because that opens up a new Pandora’s box, but, nevertheless, things such as medical benefits, things such as the true cost of an education, certainly those differences have to be made up.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Len Elmore, staying with you, why does that open a new Pandora’s box to actually pay the student something out of all of this money that is flowing, especially in something like the Final Four?

    LEN ELMORE: Well, when I say pay the students, again, I want to make sure everybody understands I’m not eliminating the idea of the benefits I just spoke of and making up the true cost of an education, being able to pay medical benefits, et cetera, you know, provide value for the services that the student-athlete provides.

    But, remember, student-athletes are also deriving a benefit as welcome. The monies that go — if you take a look at the NCAA, most of the revenue derived from the championships, et cetera, go to the benefit of student-athletes, whether it’s the grant in aids, whether it’s medical benefits, whether it’s the whole host of things going to the conferences which should ultimately go to the student-athlete.

    But, nevertheless, I think that paying them, the Pandora’s box would be, is this taxable income?  And what is the difference, what is the bright line difference between the collegiate model, as well as the professional model?  You pay them directly, what is the difference?  There is no difference.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Emmett Gill, what is your response on that, thinking about the money and how much a student-athlete deserves and how it should be paid?

    EMMETT GILL: I agree with Len, Jeffrey, in the sense that Len mentions the value of an education and what student-athletes receive.

    And I believe in a model where male and female student-athletes are able to use their name and likeness to build their brand name recognition, and then they’re able to go into a marketing class or an accounting class and apply, you know, the skills that they have learned from balancing a checkbook because they are receiving some type of income from their name and likeness.

    I don’t believe in paying student-athletes because I do agree with Len. It would open up an additional Pandora’s box. But, additionally, it wouldn’t provide student-athletes with an opportunity to learn about managing money, about managing their brand, about looking for opportunities to expand their brand. And I’m not just talking about the male student-athletes.

    I’m talking about the female student-athletes as well. So I think we need a model that allows student-athletes to integrate their educational opportunities with the financial opportunities that come with them being a big-time college athlete.

    JEFFREY BROWN: What about, Len Elmore, the educational side of this equation?  How could or should the NCAA ensure that athletes really do get to be students, that they get an education?  Is there any way to do that?

    LEN ELMORE: Well, certainly there is.

    But, first of all, let me talk about something that Emmett just brought up. With regard to name and likeness, I agree that there should be some kind of sharing in that model, but I don’t agree that it should be a direct payment. I would use it as a carrot, put it in trust and allow these young people to be able to access it after graduation.

    And I mean after graduation. You do it during the season, then you would have a problem of, OK, who deserves what?  If I’m the star quarterback, do I deserve all of this accolade, but my right tackle and my left tackle doesn’t?  That becomes a problem that suddenly destroys some of the teaching benefits of playing team sports and participating in individual sports.

    Now, you know, as far as the other question is concerned, it is up to the individual institutions. I don’t think it’s the NCAA, which, by the way, is not a monolith — it’s almost like a managing agent, if you will, for the member school. It’s up to each individual institution, with all of the information that is available out there, to make sure that that information is conveyed to the student-athlete.

    And then — and here is the biggest problem I have, particularly with the lawsuits — we’re having a situation where we have absolved the student-athlete of any responsibility of getting an education, at least when you look at the mechanics of the lawsuits, et cetera. They’re saying that it’s up to the school.

    But these kids when they make choices as to which school to go to, they are the age of majority. They have the ability to make decisions. They have to be advocates for their education. If they weren’t getting playing time, I guarantee you they would be advocates for their playing time, so why couldn’t they be advocates for their own education?

    Why are some student-athletes doing extremely well, on the honor roll, all academic honor rolls, et cetera, and others aren’t doing well?  Much of it is because of the choices the student-athlete makes. And I wouldn’t absolve them from the responsibility. Certainly, institutions have responsibility, but so do the student-athletes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Go ahead, Emmett Gill.

    Do you think though that there should be rules from the institutions to ensure these kind of educational standards?

    EMMETT GILL: No, you know, I agree with Len to a certain degree, in the sense, Jeffrey, we can’t legislate higher education and how student-athletes feel about higher education.

    But I do agree with Len in the sense that student-athletes are responsible for advocating for their own education. And that’s what we preach at the Student-Athletes Human Rights Project. I don’t think that it’s the NCAA’s responsibility.

    And you notice that, in their dismissal — in their request for the UNC lawsuit to be dismissed, they’re saying that they’re not responsible. UNC, the coaches, you know, they say that they’re not responsible for student-athletes’ education. And so it does fall on the student-athlete.

    On the other hand, you know, Mr. Elmore, being an all-American at the University of Maryland, certainly understands that, you know, if a coach says that you need to be at practice at 1:00 p.m., and there are certain classes that you can’t take after 1:00 p.m., if you want to be in that lineup, if you want to be in that starting lineup, then you’re going to be in practice.

    And so, Jeffrey, it’s not just individual student-athletes who need to begin to advocate for their education. Collectively, student-athletes need to begin to advocate for their education, like the kids did at Northwestern University. And then they will understand better what they have to do.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right.

    LEN ELMORE: And let me add more layer to that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, very briefly.

    LEN ELMORE: That is, the coaches are responsible, as surrogate parents, as educators. That’s all part and parcel of the leadership development that intercollegiate sports presents.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Len Elmore and Emmett Gill, thanks so much.

     

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    politicsmonday

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    GWEN IFILL: Tomorrow, we expect Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to officially jump into the ever-expanding race for the Republican presidential nomination. He is not the first. Senator Ted Cruz announced last week. And he won’t be anywhere close to the last.

    What better time to talk about that, and other political things, than politics Monday?

    Joining me are Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Susan Page of USA Today.

    Was Rand Paul only last week? It feels like it was two weeks ago.

    AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: I know. It’s all just dragging.

    GWEN IFILL: It may have been two weeks ago.

    Let’s start by talking about Rand Paul. Today — we’re always looking for tea leaves. And, today, there were two. There was the video that he put up, of which we can show a bit.

    In fact, let’s just show that now, very interesting, the tail end of it.

    SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) Kentucky: It’s time for a new way, a new set of ideas, a new leader, one you can trust, one who works for you. And above all, it’s time for a new president.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    GWEN IFILL: It should be said, that is not his announcement, even though it sounded like it, but it was something that his folks put up on YouTube today.

    And then if you looked at his Web site, his senatorial Web site, they changed it. They completely overhauled it. And if you look at it now — the old one is on your left. On April 2, it looked like the regular senator’s Web site. The one on the right talks about revitalizing America and he is looking upward and with the big American flag. Looks very much like a campaign.

    AMY WALTER: The American flag is always the getaway, the giveaway.

    GWEN IFILL: That’s always the giveaway, yes.

    AMY WALTER: Yes, definitely.

    GWEN IFILL: Who is Rand Paul and what is he up to here?

    AMY WALTER: Well, that is an excellent question.

    It should be less of a complicated question, Gwen, than it is, which is, who was Rand Paul? When he was elected in 2010, he was the Tea Party darling. He upset the front-runner in a Kentucky Republican primary in 2010 who was the handpicked candidate of Mitch McConnell, who is now, of course, the Senate majority leader.

    He came in as sort of a rebel. He was a — he worked for his father, libertarian Ron Paul, on his campaign. We thought he was going to be a guy that was going to sort of take Congress to task. He has had a very conservative voting record. That’s for sure. But he has backed away from that initial Rand Paul.

    He came in saying, let’s cut the military budget, let’s cut foreign aid, let’s make sure that we are challenging on, you know, a lot of the orthodoxy, Republican orthodoxy. Instead, he has now backtracked on a lot of those things, especially on foreign aid, now that he is thinking about running for president.

    GWEN IFILL: Susan?

    SUSAN PAGE, USA Today: So he is not his father’s son.

    But think about this. His father ran for president three times, was never taken seriously, even though he scored some victories. He took over some state parties. He had a real identifiable base of support.

    Rand Paul has done more legislation than his father ever did and is a more credible Republican nominee than his father ever was. And part of that is not hewing to the kind of straight libertarian line that his father did. Now, maybe that cost him some of the credentials he had of being a really authentic person. Certainly, that was one of the characteristics he came in originally.

    But if you’re thinking about being a serious nominee, serious contender for the nomination, that’s what he has done.

    GWEN IFILL: Is there a base, is there a money base among libertarians for Rand Paul?

    AMY WALTER: So, that’s the really good question, because Ron Paul did very well in these so-called money bonds, right, where he had the grassroots libertarians. They would go, you know, run through hot coals for him and gave him a lot of money online. He raised a ton of money in the 2012 campaign.

    Rand Paul may not be doing as well among that group, but theoretically he can expand his reach into some more of the Tea Party groups and more of the establishment. Where I have a problem seeing his ability to run as sort of a consensus candidate is that hawkish wing of the party in the establishment I don’t think are ever going to forgive or take him as seriously as he wants to be taken, given what his past has been.

    GWEN IFILL: We expect his announcement to come tomorrow.

    So, let’s go on. And Marco Rubio apparently is dropping big hints all over social media…

    SUSAN PAGE: Next week.

    GWEN IFILL: … that he is going to announce next week.

    And the other person everybody is waiting for of course is Hillary Clinton. And we have heard, Susan, that she is going to make an announcement by way of social media? Is that the latest version of this?

    SUSAN PAGE: Well, think about what candidates need to do when they announce.

    Ted Cruz, when he announced, needed to get people to notice him. He needed to get some attention. He needed to gather some names and e-mail addresses to use for fund-raising and other purposes. Hillary Clinton, she has got nothing but attention, and she’s got millions of names.

    What she needs is to, in a way, reintroduce herself to Americans in a slightly different way. So I would expect her to do something that is a little less traditional than what we are seeing from Rand Paul tomorrow. I think it will be smaller, more intimate, very much use of social media to try to say, I’m an authentic person. I understand your lives. I am worried about you. I’m approachable.

    GWEN IFILL: And who is her audience, Amy? Is it Iowa? Is it New Hampshire? Is it people who are worried that she is not getting out there?

    AMY WALTER: Well, a lot of it is to us, right?

    GWEN IFILL: Right.

    AMY WALTER: We’re paying a lot of attention to this.

    And I think that Susan is exactly right. It has to be less about her and more about the audience, which is: I know everybody has been focused on who I am. What I need — and what she needs to tell them is, I need to tell you why I’m going to be working for you. And this is not an entitlement that I get the nomination or that I get the presidency. I can’t wait to work every single day to get your vote.

    That would be the message, I think, that she needs to give and I think that will hear.

    GWEN IFILL: OK.

    Let’s talk about an issue — an issue question. I know, horse race, we love that, but let’s talk about an issue question. Our friend Dan Balz wrote a column this weekend which caught my eye. It was about the invisible tie that binds among Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, she a former secretary of state, he the current secretary of state, and the current president, President Obama, over Iran.

    No matter what happens with this nuclear deal, you can see that the president is trying to sell it. He has put his metal on the pedal, as it were. But the three of them are all bound. It has got to work for them, or it affects everybody, doesn’t it? It’s like dominoes?

    SUSAN PAGE: Kind of a brilliant column, I thought. It really was smart, in that Obama’s biggest foreign policy is an Iran deal, if he can get it, the same for Kerry.

    And one of Hillary’s biggest problems is going to be if this doesn’t work, if this collapses in some ways, if this becomes kind of a global mess. And one thing that struck me when I was reading Dan’s column was, think about the presidents who have really engaged on Iran. It has never ended well. The Iranian hostage crisis helped unravel Jimmy Carter’s presidency.

    The worst scandal Ronald Reagan had as president was the Iran-Contra scandal. This is very tricky stuff.

    GWEN IFILL: It’s the challenge as well. It’s the temptation to fix it, as well as the challenge in fixing it.

    AMY WALTER: Well, and this is going to be the very interesting thing for Hillary Clinton going forward.

    We talk a lot about the problem on her liberal left on some of the Wall Street issues. I think the bigger issue is going to be on foreign policy. Remember, she’s a lot more hawkish than a lot of Democrats are, certainly than even the president is, on some of these issues. She was a lot more skeptical on Iran — she said so in her memoir — than this president is.

    What is she going to talk about on all of those issues going forward in a primary, where, as we know, the last time around, it was Iraq that really tripped her up?

    GWEN IFILL: We’re ready for this to get started.

    AMY WALTER: Yes, we are.

    GWEN IFILL: Amy Walter, Susan Page, thank you very much.

    SUSAN PAGE: Thank you.

     

    The post Why Hillary Clinton’s campaign announcement won’t look like Ted Cruz’s appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    GWEN IFILL: Last week, 148 people were killed in a terrorist attack at a university in Garissa, Kenya. Today, the government struck back, launching attacks on Al-Shabaab bases in neighboring Somalia.

    Al-Shabaab and other Islamic extremist groups have expanded their ranks, recruiting abroad by using the Internet to mount appeals to young Somali men.

    Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on one man’s attempt to keep those potential fighters home.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: A kind of cartoon war has been declared in Minneapolis, one aimed mainly at young Muslim men.

    It is a world away from Syria, Iraq or the Horn of Africa, but Minnesota is home to at least 30,000 Somalis, the largest such community in the U.S. Most are refugees from a war-torn nation that’s long been a haven for Islamist extremist groups.

    Groups like the al-Qaida linked Al-Shabaab and Islamic State, or ISIS, have recruited from this community, mainly through videos on the Internet. The FBI says up to 40 young men from Minnesota have traveled to Somalia and Syria since 2007.

    In response, 39-year-old Mohamed Amin Ahmed, convenience store manager who’s lived here since 1998, developed his own media campaign.

    MOHAMED AMIN AHMED: My goal is to compete, to take the values of the majority of the Muslims and go after the kids between the age of 8 and 16 and compete for their mind-space.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: What offended you the most?

    MOHAMED AMIN AHMED: The fact that they claim my faith. It is the greatest inheritance we have is our faith.

    AVERAGE MOHAMED: Average Mohamed here.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Enter AverageMohamed.com, a Web site Ahmed started last year.

    MOHAMED AMIN AHMED: ISIS, Islamic State, made a video which is action-packed, showing American soldiers being killed and hurt, called “Flames of War.”  And I spoofed it. I said, well, what you’re actually doing is “Flames of Hell,” because what you’re doing is not war. It is genocide.

    AVERAGE MOHAMED: Behead unarmed, innocent people you round up. Destroy.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Ahmed screens his videos — he’s made eight so far — before young men, this night, members of the local soccer club. He was aided by their coach, Ahmed Ismail.

    AHMED ISMAIL, Soccer Coach: You guys have to understand these people are playing a game. It’s not part of religion; it’s not part of Islam. Islam means peace and submission to the will of God.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The lessons from Ahmed’s video contrast with stereotypes the young men say they endure in daily life.

    HUSSEIN ROBLE, High School Student: I have been actually called a terrorist. It was a Friday. So, I had the kameez on, like we just wear…

    MAN: Islamic wear.

    HUSSEIN ROBLE: Like he’s wearing right now. And this guy just said, “Are you going to blow up this?  Are you going to blow up something?”

    NURADIN HUSSEIN, High School Student: So this — some kid came up to me. “Oh, Somali people are terrorists now.”  People judge too quick.

    AHMED ISMAIL: When they say you are terrorist, tell them no. You are wrong. I have nothing to do with it. I disagree with those people who’s doing those the bad things. You don’t want to kill innocent people who haven’t done anything to you, whether he’s Jewish, or he’s a Christian or he’s a Buddha.

    AVERAGE MOHAMED: What do you think your job description is when you join Islamic State?

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Such mentoring relationships are critical to influence the choices of young men, who may not be fully grounded in their native culture and may not feel accepted in the adopted one.

    Abdi Samatar, a professor at the University of Minnesota and one of the state’s earliest Somali residents, applauds the effort.

    ABDI SAMATAR, University of Minnesota: The mind-set is one that has not a good grasp of its own faith, disconnected from the larger Minnesota community, maybe doing well or not so well in school; sees themselves as black people in a white sea.

    So the attempt to try to figure out cartoons and images that will sort of counter the images that the terrorists put on the Web, for instance, is, I think, an important and insightful agenda on his part.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: But Samatar says it will take a much more to truly impact recruitment, not just offsetting extremist propaganda, but also policy changes.

    For example, he wants U.S. to pressure the transitional government now in place in Somalia.

    ABDI SAMATAR: We have supported quite a dysfunctional government that is by all standards the most corrupt regime that is in the world, as transparency international tells us. And so that plays in very strange ways to the recruitment of Al-Shabaab and all kinds of terrorists saying that the United States is not serious about our interests.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: For his part, Ahmed says he has gotten some negative reaction to his efforts, calling him anti-Islamic and an apostate. But he says the public response has been global and overwhelmingly positive.

    MOHAMED AMIN AHMED: I’m getting literally hundreds of e-mails from people wishing me well.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: How do you know that this is something that’s going to resonate with an 18-year-old living in Minneapolis?

    MOHAMED AMIN AHMED: I focus-group it.

    So, basically, I walked up to a bunch of kids, over 250 of them, and I asked them, what do you think about suicide bombing?  Is it an Islamic principle?  Most of them said, I think it is. Now, I went back to some of these kids and I showed them a video, and they come back and they say, oh, now we know better.

    So it does work. But I haven’t been able to quantify in terms of impact. The impact is — it’s really hard to gauge.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: He’s hoping to scale up this mostly U.S.-targeted effort with more cartoons and more languages, Arabic and Urdu, for example, to be used in other parts of the Muslim world.

    AVERAGE MOHAMED: Remember, peace up. Extremist thinking, especially Islamic State, out.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: This is Fred de Sam Lazaro for the PBS NewsHour in Minneapolis.

    GWEN IFILL: A version of this story aired on the PBS program “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly.”

    Fred’s reporting is a partnership with the Under-Told Stories Project at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

    The post Countering Islamic extremist recruitment videos with a cartoon spoof appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    bostonbombing

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    GWEN IFILL: There were closing arguments from both sides in the Boston bombing trial today, and the jury will start deliberations tomorrow morning.

    For an update on the proceedings, I am joined by Adam Reilly of public television station WGBH in Boston. He has been reporting on the trial throughout and was in the courtroom today.

    Adam, thank you for joining us.

    ADAM REILLY, WGBH-TV: Hi, Gwen. My pleasure.

    GWEN IFILL: Thirty counts, we’re talking about, 17 of them eligible for the death penalty. What are the closing arguments for the prosecution?

    ADAM REILLY: Essentially, both the prosecution and the defense tried to do the same thing today they have done throughout the trial.

    The defense conceded early on that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev did it, that he was involved in the Boston Marathon bombing. So, the whole trial has been about arguing over whether he was essentially an equal conspirator or kind of a junior partner.

    So the government again today, as they have throughout this case, tried to drove home the equal conspirator argument. The defense came back, arguing that he was pushed into this by his deceased older brother, Tamerlan, who of course is no longer around to offer his version of events.

    And, as the defense put it today, they said that if Tamerlan had — if it were not for Tamerlan, this would never have happened, that Dzhokhar essentially was secondary.

    GWEN IFILL: I was surprised or at least interested by the number  of the witnesses that the prosecution brought, 92 witnesses, the defense only four witnesses. Why that difference?

    ADAM REILLY: Oh, I’m sorry to interrupt you.

    I think, in part, that’s because the prosecution really wanted to drive home the horror of what happened that day. And there were a lot of people who were traumatically affected by the bombings. So, for example, we heard from the father of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who lost his life when a bomb that Dzhokhar had placed directly behind him went off.

    We saw video, very chilling video, of Dzhokhar standing right behind the Richard family planting his bomb. But the discrepancy is also because the judge early on said that the defense could not focus on its contention that effectively Dzhokhar was coerced into this or pushed or led into this by Tamerlan until the sentencing phase of the trial.

    So they called a few people who were able to indirectly bolster the case they wanted to make. They called a fingerprint expert who works for the FBI in Virginia who said that a number of Tamerlan’s fingerprints were found on bomb-making materials obtained by the government, but very few fingerprints belonging to Dzhokhar.

    But we’re going to hear a lot more from the kind of witnesses they want to call in the next stage, after the verdict comes in, just because that’s the parameters that the judge established.

    GWEN IFILL: So explain to us what the process is now. We’re talking about — we’re talking right now just about guilt or innocence. He has already admitted guilt, and it moves immediately to a death penalty phase?

    ADAM REILLY: Yes.

    We will wait for a verdict now. And I have to say, a lot of people, myself included, thought a verdict could come in very quickly. I think it will come in relatively quickly. But the judge’s instructions alone to the jury alone today took about an hour-and-a-quarter.

    Even if you are inclined to think he did this, even with the assistance of the defense saying that he did this, the counts are complex, and there’s a lot of legal minutiae to wade through.

    In addition, the jurors haven’t been able to talk to anyone about all this horrific testimony they have seen. So I think it’s reasonable to expect some amount of simple venting in the jury room once they start deliberating.

    When the verdict finally comes in, my understanding is that we will move almost immediately to the sentencing phase. If we get a verdict, say, at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, maybe we won’t start the sentencing phase until the following day, but we’re planning at this point to move right on.

    GWEN IFILL: It must have been pretty emotional in that courtroom over these few weeks, especially with so many of the victims and the victims’ relatives present.

    ADAM REILLY: Oh, I’m sorry.

    It has been intensely emotional. And I haven’t been there for all of it. I have been splitting coverage duties with a couple of my colleagues at WGBH. But I was there for the government’s closing arguments, in which they had the medical examiners who examined the three victims killed during the marathon bombings themselves, Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lingzi Lu.

    They had them talk about the magnitude of injuries they sustained. The autopsy photos were not shown in open court, but they were shown to the jurors. We did see in open court the garments that Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was killed, was wearing when he died.

    And that — I’m a parent. And I think, whether you’re a parent or not, that kind of thing is extremely difficult to see. You know, his either pants or shorts which were shred horrifically were held up. And the expert testifying then said that because the blast was so intense, they couldn’t tell if they were short pants or long pants.

    And all of this was happening as Martin Richard’s father and mother were sitting just a few feet away, so a lot of intense emotion. And, as I indicated earlier, it has got to be really, really hard for the jurors to take all this stuff in and then go home and not be able to share it with known.

    GWEN IFILL: A terrible time recounting a terrible day.

    Adam Reilly, thank you very much.

    ADAM REILLY: Thank you, Gwen.

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    U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the framework agreement on Iran's nuclear program announced by negotiators in Switzerland during a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington April 2, 2015. The president now faces the challenge of selling the nuclear deal plan to Congress. Photo by Mike Theiler/Reuters.

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    GWEN IFILL: After last week’s announcement of a framework agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, the White House is working overtime to sell the deal to the American public, Congress and skeptical allies.

    As chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports, the blitz comes as some of the criticism centers on issues that still haven’t been resolved.

    MARGARET WARNER: The president’s top nuclear expert came to the White House podium today to make the case for the framework deal.

    ERNEST MONIZ, Secretary of Energy: And the access and transparency is unprecedented.

    MARGARET WARNER: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz called it a forever agreement, with the impact on Iran’s program extending beyond the first 10 most restrictive years.

    He also played down criticism by Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, that a U.S. fact sheet misstates what the agreement actually says.

    ERNEST MONIZ: We all recognize that — and we emphasize very strongly we have to talk about the same agreement. We understand emphases may be different. So it’s not so much inconsistent, as it, I would say, is emphasizing only certain parts of the agreement.

    MARGARET WARNER: According to the U.S. fact sheet, Iran’s uranium enrichment will be severely curtailed for 15 years, and the Iranian program would be subjected to intensive inspections.

    In exchange, and only after Iran’s verified compliance, would crippling economic sanctions be lifted. Moniz acknowledged the details on phasing out sanctions remain to be worked out.

    For his part, President Obama called the deal a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a weekend interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

    PRESDIENT BARACK OBAMA: There is no formula, there is no option to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward. And that’s demonstrable.

    MARGARET WARNER: Whether that sways congressional critics is unclear. But, on Sunday, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Congress means to have a say, regardless.

    SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) Tennessee: I know that a lot of water has to go under the bridge over the next 90 days. And it’s very important that Congress is in the middle of this, understanding, teasing out, asking those important questions.

    MARGARET WARNER: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also made the rounds of Sunday news shows and once again argued the deal is deeply flawed.

    BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Prime Minister, Israel: I’m not trying to kill any deal. I’m trying to kill a bad deal. And you say it’s a historic decision, a historic deal. It could be a historically bad deal, because it leaves the preeminent terrorist state of our time with a vast nuclear infrastructure. Remember, not one centrifuge is destroyed.

    MARGARET WARNER: But, today, in a slight shift of emphasis, Israel’s minister of intelligence and strategic affairs presented a list of modifications Israel would like to see in the final agreement.

    In Iran, meanwhile, the reaction has been mixed. The Iranian people welcomed the news, and Iran’s military chief voiced support. But hard-liners insist Tehran gave up too much. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said nothing publicly, though President Obama noted negotiators wouldn’t have made the concessions they did without his OK.

    Perhaps most significantly today, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman voiced cautious support, saying the deal could bolster stability and security in the region.

    Negotiators aim to work out details of a final agreement by June 30.

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    FAILING REPORTING rolling stone uva

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    GWEN IFILL: A new report commissioned by Rolling Stone and conducted by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism describes in detail the life and death of a now discredited account of a brutal gang rape at the University of Virginia.

    The article drew nationwide attention, but almost immediately collapsed under the weight of scrutiny after police, university officials and other journalists discovered inconsistencies in the story told by its protagonist, a student identified only as Jackie.

    The new report concludes: “Reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely and her editors failed to verify her story with other sources. The magazine used pseudonyms rather than confront the alleged attackers. And they ignored fact-checkers’ warnings that the alleged victim was the article’s only source for key details.”

    Steve Coll is dean of the Columbia Journalism School, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist himself, and he headed up the outside investigation.

    Steve Coll, thanks for joining us.

    For six months, this story was reported, four months in your investigation. How did this happen?

    STEVE COLL, Dean, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism: Well, it was a collective failure and an avoidable failure.

    You had a reporter who got caught up in subject matter, had worked very hard, but didn’t do some of the basic checking of derogatory information with subjects, didn’t do some of the basic provision of details to subjects that would have generated information that probably would have led her to turn in another direction.

    Then her editor failed to insist that she close these reporting gaps. The editor allowed into the story misleading attributions that withheld from readers important information about what was and what wasn’t known to Rolling Stone.

    And, then, finally the editor’s editor, the supervising editor of the magazine, though he read the drafts, though he had some conversations about the holes in the story, didn’t intervene. And while, as you point out, the fact-checker did raise a couple of important questions, the checking department as a whole was either overridden or didn’t forcefully intervene to insist that some of these holes be addressed.

    GWEN IFILL: Steve, last November, we interviewed Sabrina Rubin Erdely here on the NewsHour right after this article came out and just before the holes began to appear in it.

    And I want to play a couple of things she had to say which are now supported by some of your findings. The first is a discussion of confirmation bias. And that’s that she entered into the story with a story to tell and found someone to tell it.

    Let’s listen to the way she described it in her own words.

    SABRINA RUBIN ERDELY, Rolling Stone: Part of the reason why I chose University of Virginia is because I felt that it was really representative of what was going on at campuses across the country.

    When I spoke to experts, they told me that this — that, really, the scary truth is that, if you dig deep enough really in any campus, this is probably what you will find, that what happened at the University of Virginia is probably not the exception. It’s probably, this is the norm.

    GWEN IFILL: Taken together with the fact that she relied so heavily on a single source, that is to say, Jackie, this — the woman who was allegedly attacked, who told her story about her friends and what her friend said the night of the attack, let’s still to Sabrina Rubin Erdely, again, her description of how that unfolded.

    SABRINA RUBIN ERDELY: That was an incredibly common and very disturbing thing that emerged from this article, was that when Jackie confided in her friends, they dismissed it, they laughed it off, they told her to brush it off and get over it. Some of them called her a baby for wallowing in it. They had asked her why she was still crying about it.

    And that was incredibly common among rape survivors at the University of Virginia and elsewhere, that these women are sort of shamed and blamed and they’re told to just shake it off and get back to the party culture.

    GWEN IFILL: As far as we know, none of this happened, at least this last part about what her friends did and how they reacted.

    And in addition to that, you could see that the reporter was making the larger case, that she was trying to make with other universities. This, combined, was this a firing offense?

    STEVE COLL: Well, look, we didn’t find the kind of dishonesty, inventing facts, lying to colleagues about who you called and what reporting you did, plagiarism, that I’m sure you know are common automatic firing offenses in newsrooms or certainly offenses that generate severe sanctions.

    This was a pattern, a failure that involved the writer for sure, but also her editors, and the policies at Rolling Stone which were inadequate for the complexity of the story she was working on.

    GWEN IFILL: And yet nobody was fired, I should just say.

    STEVE COLL: Nobody was fired, so far as I’m aware of. Rolling Stone announced that everyone would keep their jobs.

    I think that, you know, that the wider subject that you highlighted with those clips is important. It is this habit in journalism of reporters assuming they know what the story is and then looking for a case to illustrate their assumptions. That can be a very dangerous endeavor. It can sometimes be the basis for successful narrative journalism, if the reporter goes in with an open mind and really discovers on the reporting trail what the truth of the matter is.

    But, in other cases, here is certainly a cautionary tale of someone coming in with assumptions that are very deeply embedded. You can hear them in the statements that she made to you when the story came out, and then really closes her ears to facts that contradict the assumptions she already holds.

    GWEN IFILL: Isn’t…

    STEVE COLL: That’s a — I was just going to say, that’s — as you have referred to this phenomenon of confirmation bias, it’s a well-established part of social science that this is our human condition. We like to filter out facts that aren’t aligned with our preexisting assumptions.

    GWEN IFILL: But isn’t that what editors and fact-checkers are for, to save you from those kinds of biases?

    STEVE COLL: Absolutely right. And it’s hard.

    Anyone who has been around investigative reporters know that strong investigative reporters sometimes get off track. They get tangled up in their subjects. They get emotive about the wrongdoing that they think that they’re exposing.

    And that’s exactly why you have partnerships between reporters and editors, because it’s the editor who is supposed to provide the break, the perspective, to provide the empirical sense that, oh, we’re not done yet. We need you to go back down. We need you to talk to more people. It’s not acceptable for us to go to print without having contacted the three friends that you’re quoting on Jackie’s account, but without knowing whether they would sign up for the version of this terribly unflattering speech that you have attributed to them.

    These are the basic things that reporters and editors do together. We found that there was plenty of failure on both sides of that partnership in this case. But you’re certainly right that an editor is an essential part of an equation like this.

    GWEN IFILL: One final question. Does the victim, the source herself hold any responsibility for this?

    STEVE COLL: Not in my judgment, when you consider it as a matter of journalism, which was our charge. She was 17 years old when she enrolled at a freshman.

    She didn’t enlist Rolling Stone to be written about. Whatever her motivations, which are not really known to us — she didn’t speak to us — she is not at fault for a failure of journalism. That is about the methodology and the practice that Rolling Stone undertook in this case.

    And, by the way, Rolling Stone and the writer sometimes sheltered under the defense that they had only been too sensitive to Jackie’s position. And it was an important part of our report to say, no, we don’t think so. We think that there were many reporting trails they could have followed without any effect on Jackie, and certainly without any request by Jackie that they refrain, that would have changed the outcome.

    GWEN IFILL: Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia Journalism School, thank you very much.

    STEVE COLL: Thank you, Gwen.

    GWEN IFILL: Advocates for sexual assault victims are also worried that the Rolling Stone story will damage their cause.

    Alison Kiss, executive director of the Clery Center for Security on Campus, joins me now.

    Alison Kiss, how much damage did this story do?

    ALISON KISS, Executive Director, Clery Center for Security on Campus: I think it may set us backwards a little bit.

    It’s been — there’s been quite a bit of attention on campus sexual assault over the past two years, and people have been coming at this from multiple directions, student activists, administrators on campus, really putting time and effort into creating collaborative responses.

    And I think that this story took — made us take a few steps back.

    GWEN IFILL: And, actually, a lot of the people said right at the time this proves that people like you were trying to reach too far to create a drama that doesn’t really exist, a problem that is not as widespread as advocates say.

    ALISON KISS: You know, that’s one of our fears in this.

    I think that, when you take a single narrative and, as Steve mentioned, there were multiple layers of errors here, and the idea was the folks at Rolling Stone said they cared too much about Jackie, when, in fact, I think their process showed that there was very little care for Jackie and other victims and survivors.

    So here you have a situation where they’re almost adding to the perception that this doesn’t happen, because that perception is very real. There are people out there who think sexual assault doesn’t happen on college and university campuses. And so when they see a story like that, it just feel them with an anecdotal.

    It’s certainly not based in statistics, but when they hear something like this — and it’s getting quite a bit of attention — then they might grab on to that and say, this is not happening on our campus. And we know it is.

    GWEN IFILL: The fraternity involved is suing. They’re saying this was reckless and that they were damaged.

    The governor of Virginia has said that this was a travesty. That’s not his word, my word. And now we wonder whether the University of Virginia or other universities are going to take shelter as well under this and back away from their efforts. What is your sense of that?

    ALISON KISS: My sense is, this story caused quite a bit of harm. I think the journalistic efforts failed. They were irresponsible.

    It basically, as I said, put — caused harm not only to Jackie and other survivors, but other people who were potentially defamed in the story. So I think it shows that we need to approach this. We train colleges and universities daily on approaching sexual assault with a balanced approach, and I would encourage folks within the media who are reporting on this as well to also take that balanced approach.

    So, if you’re hearing multiple sides, you have to do the background. It’s really what you owe to the subject of your story.

    GWEN IFILL: Will victims be less likely to report assault?  Reporting assault is often part of the problem here at the root of this, as much as the assault themselves.

    ALISON KISS: I think, whenever you have a story that circles around false reporting in some capacity, that it may minimize the crime of sexual violence and sexual assault, and people may be less likely to come forward and report an assault.

    We’re talking about the most under-reported crime on college and university campuses and across the board. We know that there are only about 2 to 10 percent of reports are false reports. But we do know they’re scrutinized. So, certainly, when there’s attention on a potential false report — now, I think that there was — the chief of place in Virginia said that they do believe something happened to Jackie.

    I think that what trauma tells us, something most likely did happen to Jackie. But, again, when the narrative is swirling — you know, dangerously swirling around false reporting, I think it may minimize people coming forward. I hope that’s not the case, but it’s certainly an option.

    GWEN IFILL: Alison, to what extent does the trauma itself sometimes make it difficult to get the story straight, either for the journalists or even for the victim?

    ALISON KISS: When you talk about trauma and how it affects the victim, it’s going to be different with every person.

    So it’s really important to understand that certain facts or certain details may not come across correctly. It could be an incorrect date or time. But, then again, there could be certain facts that the victim has right down to every little — I mean, could almost tell you cracks in the ceiling and what type of shape they’re making.

    So, it’s important, when reporting on these stories, that you don’t take an advocacy role. I think a journalist has to take a balanced approach. But I think it’s important to know the way that trauma can affect someone when they’re recounting a violent attack.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, and as Steve Coll just mentioned, she is no longer cooperating — she herself is not pressing her case anymore, either with the police or with the Columbia journalism folks.

    So what good, if any, can come of this, from your point of view, from your perspective?

    ALISON KISS: I think it’s an opportunity for journalists to really learn how to work with survivors of sexual violence.

    I think there are many who do this really well. So they’re very up front when working with a survivor and explaining to them the process, and letting them know what the process is going to be throughout the story, not shielding them.

    And it sounds like, in this case, there was a — quote, unquote — “care for Jackie,” but there actually wasn’t care for Jackie. There wasn’t really open and — honesty about what Jackie needed and what they needed to do to strengthen the story, quite frankly.

    So, again, I think it’s an opportunity for journalists to really understand kind of how to take a trauma-informed approach to understanding what a survivor goes through, and then also taking a balanced approach to reporting the story.

    GWEN IFILL: Alison Kiss of the Clery Center for Security on Campus, thank you very much.

    ALISON KISS: Thank you.

    The post How Rolling Stone got the UVA sexual assault story so wrong appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    [Watch Video]Charya Burt trained in and taught classical Cambodian dance in Phnom Penh, where her family suffered oppression by the Khmer Rouge. Now in the Bay Area, she’s passing on her art — and pushing it in new directions. Video produced and edited by Cynthia Stone, KQED

    When I asked Cambodian dancer Charya Burt to bring two classical outfits to our video shoot at the studio last month, I was baffled when she hesitated. My first hint that I had not only been naive but culturally insensitive was the sight of Burt and her sister walking toward the studio, laboring under the weight of numerous stuffed satchels and rolling a suitcase. When the bags were opened, they overflowed with embroidered silk, massive gold jewelry and a couple of five-pound headdresses.

    There were sewing materials too. For repairs, I thought, until Burt’s sister, Sotheary Au, took up needle and thread and began sewing the dancer into her costume.

    Burt’s sister worked as a dresser for Khmer Arts Ensemble in Takhmao, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, and she has continued in the profession since relocating to the U.S. 10 years ago. Classical Cambodian dancers are sewn into their costumes for each performance. The process can take two to three hours to complete, depending on how many dancers will be dressed at a time. Most of the costume pieces are made by hand. When I joked that zippers and Velcro might do the trick, Burt gently insisted that such modern conveniences couldn’t possibly provide a tight enough fit for classical Cambodian costuming.

    Cambodian dancers communicate meaning through hand gestures. Burt says there are 4500 movements a student must learn to master classical Cambodian dance.

    Cambodian dancers communicate meaning through hand gestures. Burt says there are 4500 movements a student must learn to master classical Cambodian dance.

    Classical Cambodian dance dramas are often based on mythology, Burt says, and talk about gods and goddesses and human themes like good and evil. One can trace Cambodian dance back 1,000 years to the courts of the Khmer empire, she says, where the art form served as a bridge between the king and his gods.

    The traditional Cambodian musical ensemble, or pinpeat orchestra, is made up of wind and percussion instruments, including varying pitched xylophones, circular gongs, reeds, cymbals and barrel drums. The distinctive music accompanies classical Cambodian dance, shadow theater, temple ceremonies and male dance-dramas.

    Burt lost her father and two brothers to the violent misrule instituted by the Khmer Rouge, who took control of Cambodia in the mid-1970s. Under their radical policies, artists of all kinds were targets of oppression, and Burt’s uncle, a teacher and director of the School of Fine Art, in Phnom Penh, was in danger. But he hid his identity and survived. After the expulsion of the Khmer Rouge, her uncle served as minister of culture and helped to reopen the school, now the Royal University of Fine Art.

    Burt studied and then taught at the university, which remains the most important school of classical dance in the country. Just as her uncle helped to revive Cambodian arts, Burt says she feels “a responsibility to pass on classical Cambodian dance to future generations.” She conducts workshops for schools and universities in the Bay Area and is a dance instructor to Cambodian communities around California.

    Burt incorporates video imagery into her more contemporary work. Here she rehearses “Silenced,” which honors Cambodian pop icon Ros Sereysothea. Burt will perform the piece in San Francisco at CounterPULSE in March.

    Burt incorporates video imagery into her more contemporary work. Here she rehearses “Silenced,” which honors Cambodian pop icon Ros Sereysothea. Burt will perform the piece in San Francisco at CounterPULSE in March.

    In addition to embracing tradition, Burt is determined that her art must evolve. She recently collaborated with puppet master Larry Reed and his ShadowLight Productions. Reed’s projected shadow puppetry provided haunting visuals for Burt’s script, based on her family’s tragic experience with the Khmer Rouge.

    With a Center for Cultural Innovation grant, Burt created the piece “Silenced,” which honors the life of Cambodian pop icon Ros Sereysothea. It mixes 1960s Cambodian pop music with original compositions for guitar, and is danced in front of floor-to-ceiling video projections. The project was performed at CounterPULSE, in San Francisco last March.

    More recently, Burt also developed a piece called “Blossoming Antiquities,” based on sculptor Auguste Rodin’s enchantment with the classical Cambodian dancers who performed in France when he was at the height of his fame, and who became the subject of over 100 Rodin drawings and watercolors. The dance is accompanied by a live pinpeat orchestra.

    A version of this article originally appeared on KQED Arts.

    Local Beat is a weekly series on Art Beat that features arts and culture stories from PBS member stations around the nation.

    The post Watch the 1000-year-old dance tradition nearly killed by the Khmer Rouge appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy (L) on the impacts of climate change on public health at Howard University in Washington April 7, 2015. Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters

    U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy (L) on the impacts of climate change on public health at Howard University in Washington April 7, 2015. Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Global warming isn’t just affecting the weather, it’s harming Americans’ health, President Barack Obama said Tuesday as he announced steps government and businesses will take to better understand and deal with the problem.

    Obama said hazards of the changing climate include wildfires sending more pollution into the air, allergy seasons growing longer and rising cases of insect-borne diseases.

    “We’ve got to do better in protecting our vulnerable families,” Obama said, adding that, ultimately, all families are affected.

    “You can’t cordon yourself off from air,” Obama said. Speaking at Howard University Medical School, he announced commitments from Google, Microsoft and others to help the nation’s health system prepare for a warmer, more erratic climate.

    Warning of the perils to the planet has gotten the president only so far; polls consistently show the public is skeptical that the steps Obama has taken to curb pollution are worth the cost to the economy. So Obama is aiming to put a spotlight on ways that climate change will have real impacts on the body, like more asthma attacks, allergic reactions, heat-related deaths and injuries from extreme weather.

    Obama said spending on health — such as preventing asthma — can save more money than it costs, as well as alleviate pain and suffering.

    Surgeon General Vivek Murthy noted that people suffering from an increase in asthma-attack triggers lose time at work and school. Murthy, a doctor, said the problem was especially personal for him because he’s seen so many patients struggle to breathe and his own uncle died of a severe asthma attack.

    Microsoft’s research arm will develop a prototype for drones that can collect large quantities of mosquitoes, then digitally analyze their genes and pathogens. The goal is to create a system that could provide early warnings about infectious diseases that could break out if climate change worsens.

    Google has promised to donate 10 million hours of advanced computing time on new tools, including risk maps and early warnings for things like wildfires and oil flares using the Google Earth Engine platform, the White House said. Google’s camera cars that gather photos for its “Street View” function will start measuring methane emissions and natural gas leaks in some cities this year.

    The Obama administration also announced a series of modest steps it will take to boost preparedness, such as expanding access to data to predict and minimize the health effects from climate change.

    Obama’s effort to link climate change to health comes as he works to build support for steps he’s taken to curb U.S. emissions, including strict limits on vehicles and power plants. The president is relying on those emissions cuts to make up the U.S. contribution to a global climate treaty that he and other world leaders expect to finalize in December.

    The post Obama says climate change is harming Americans’ health appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo of Adnan Syed.

    Photo of Adnan Syed

    For some die-hard fans of Serial, the hit podcast by Sarah Koenig which told the story of Adnan Syed, the story never ended. The true crime narrative of a boy convicted of killing Hae Min Lee, his high school girlfriend, had plenty of real world evidence to pour over, including blogs by Rabia Chaudry, a lawyer and advocate for Syed.

    But for others, when the podcast ended, the story ended. “They’re still intrigued, they still want to know more,” Chaudry told the NewsHour. “They want Serial to do updates, and Serial isn’t. So we will.”

    “Undisclosed: The State v. Adnan Syed” is a new podcast produced by Chaudry in conjunction with two other lawyers, Susan Simpson and Colin Miller. The first episode will premiere on April 13.

    Chaudry said the new podcast will be an investigation of the case rather than a narrative, as Serial was. She described it as partly new information about the case and partly new analysis of things we already know from Serial.

    “Susan and Colin have been taking a closer look, and with their own private investigator, continuing the investigation,” Chaudry said.

    With “Undisclosed,” the lawyers hope to address some things Serial didn’t, and in some cases, correct some of the things it got wrong. That includes evidence relating to Syed’s whereabouts during the murder as determined by cell towers, something Koenig poured over extensively in several episodes.

    This evidence was used to place Syed at the park where Lee’s body was found. “We’ve gotten so much feedback from cell experts saying, ‘That’s wrong,’ that it’s just impossible to pinpoint,” Chaudry said. “It makes for great storytelling, but we have to get to the truth.”

    Besides addressing the specifics of Syed’s case, the podcast will also provide listeners with a larger perspective, like what was going on in the community at the time, what Adnan was going through and what the lawyers own perspective was at the time. “There are serious questions about the process, about the criminal justice system, about how prosecutors conduct themselves, and all of these things should be looked at,” Chaudry said.

    The podcast will be co-hosted by Simpson, Miller and Chaudry, and each episode will run about thirty minutes. At this point, they’re unsure of how many episodes the series will span.

    For Chaudry, the new podcast is a chance to bring those who have fallen away from the case since Serial’s end back into the story. “They know there’s an appeal, but they’re not reading these blogs because it takes a bit of an investment,” she said.

    She views this as a more accessible way to get the information — things she really wants the public to hear, because in her view, it’s good for Syed’s case. “The more public support we have in terms of skepticism toward the case, I think it has an impact on the case itself. That’s my goal,” she said.

    In February, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals agreed to hear arguments to determine whether Syed should get a new trial, but a decision is not expected anytime soon. In the meantime, listeners can again immerse themselves in Syed’s case, while Chaudry, Miller and Simpson ask some broader questions about the criminal justice system.

    “We are in an era now, every few days I hear of a new exoneration,” Chaudry said. “At this point it’s something bigger.”

    The post Adnan Syed’s story continues in new podcast appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Today is National Beer Day in the U.S. Although this photo is from the opening ceremony for the 180th Munich Oktoberfest in 2013, we thought it captured the spirit of America's love of the hoppy brew. Photo by Michael Dalder/Reuters

    Today is National Beer Day in the U.S. Although this photo is from the opening ceremony for Munich’s Oktoberfest in 2013, we thought it captured the spirit of America’s love of the bitter brew. Photo by Michael Dalder/Reuters

    Today is National Beer Day, and beer is doing rather well these days. Sales in all types of American beer increased last year, resulting in a total value of $101.5 billion for the industry. On top of that, a craft beer renaissance is rapidly expanding the choices of beer available to Americans, although Bud Light is still the nationally preferred drink.

    That cold brew you may be drinking today has been places — from the testing site of nuclear bomb to different states of matter. Here are 8 things to keep in mind the next time you enjoy a glass:

    1. Beer could survive a nuclear apocalypse.

    During the Cold War, scientists dropped nuclear bombs on beer cans to see whether they would be safe to drink. They found that as long as the beer was “1,270 feet from Ground Zero” and not hit by debris or anything else, they were still drinkable.

    2. The greatest variety of beer exists in Belgium.

    Beer snobs can find hundreds of ways to one-up each other in Belgium, which boasts 800 different kinds of beer unique to the country. One man even embarked on a mission to try each and every one of them.

    Iranian Nasser Eftekhari, owner of the biggest beer shop specializing in Belgian beers named "Beer Mania," holds a so-called "Meter of Beers" in his shop in Brussels in 2005. The store sells more than 400 Belgian beers. Photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

    Iranian Nasser Eftekhari, owner of the biggest beer shop specializing in Belgian beers named “Beer Mania,” holds a so-called “Meter of Beers” in his shop in Brussels in 2005. The store sells more than 400 Belgian beers. Photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

    3. The White House is a craft brewery.

    The White House has its own brand of homemade beer known as White House Honey Brown Ale. It’s an endeavour of firsts, using honey from the first ever beehive on the South Lawn for the first ever beer made on White House grounds. They have a video showing how it’s done.

    4. At the current rate, we may have as many breweries as Americans did in the 19th century.

    Breweries have seen their ups and downs over the last century and a half, but a recent spike in the number of U.S. breweries could make Gilded Age beer lovers rejoice. According to the Brewers Association, the United States had more than 4,000 breweries in 1873. This was followed by a steady decline over the turn of the century and then a drop to zero (legal breweries) in the Prohibition Era. Breweries returned in the 30s, but declined again during the 20th century as only a few major breweries dominated beer production. With the explosion of craft beer in the 21st century, there were 3,464 breweries in the U.S. as of 2014. Take a look at this map to see where today’s largest craft breweries are.

    The U.S.'s Brewers Association says craft brewers caught $14.3 billion of a total U.S. beer market of $100 billion in 2013. Photo by Brendan McDermid

    The U.S.’s Brewers Association says craft brewers caught $14.3 billion of a total U.S. beer market of $100 billion in 2013. Photo by Brendan McDermid

    5. The number of pumpkin beers increased by 500 percent from 1984 to 2013.

    Modern pumpkin beer got its start in the early 1980s after a brewer drew inspiration from a story of George Washington’s squash-brewed beer. More than 30 years later, that one brand has been joined by 500 different varieties that combine different spices to produce unique pumpkin flavors.

    6. Americans tweet more about beer than church.

    A study of geotagged tweets with the words “church” and “beer” in them found that Americans post more about beer on Twitter than they do about church. But the results aren’t spread evenly, with much higher concentrations of church-related tweets in the American southwest than the rest of the country.

    7. The science of why tapping a beer on the top will trigger a foam explosion.

    Banging the bottom of a beer bottle on the top of another will cause an explosion of foam and a lot of wasted beer. The phenomenon is explained by the shape of the bottle, whose skinny neck and wide handle causes changing pressure waves to rapidly expand and contract small bubbles upon impact. This sets off a cycle of bubbles bursting and absorbing carbon dioxide as they rise to the top of the bottle.

    8. Cold beer is a recent invention.

    Very few people drink warm beer today, but hot ales were common in pre-industrial times as both a source of comfort and their perceived nutritional value. In fact, these ales often served as meals and could be combined with milk or cream to produce a soupy, hearty drink.

    The post 8 things you didn’t know about beer appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    andy davidhazy

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: Finally to our “NewsHour” Shares of the day, something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too.

    Andy Davidhazy hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail. That’s 2,660 miles, beginning in Mexico and ending in Canada. Along the way, he took a selfie snapshot at every mile, and lost 50 pounds. Afterward, he created a time-lapse video of the selfies that captured the five-month journey in just four minutes. We spoke with him last week about completing his life goal.

    ANDY DAVIDHAZY: I was looking for a challenge. And I was attracted to the Pacific Crest Trail and hiking from Mexico to Canada because it was a fairly unambiguous challenge. It was very clear, you know?

    And I was looking to do something that I could derive confidence and meaning in and apply to other aspects of my life. The taking of the photographs were a way for me to fully commit to the hike. If I were to skip ahead or to cut my trip short at any point, most importantly, myself would know it and everybody else would know it.

    Things on the trail, life on the trail happens very quickly. And things can go from bad to worse to amazingly beautiful in the span of just hours or within a day.  It’s very easy to see the impact of your hard work and your perseverance, and that really helps me build trust in myself to keep moving forward, even when I didn’t want to.

    GWEN IFILL: Wow.

    You can watch the full time-lapse video from the walk on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post Snapping selfies helped motivate this Pacific Crest Trail hiker appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    motorcyclist

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: In Cambodia, motorcycles outnumber cars 10-1. There were 43,000 motorcycles on the road in 1990. Now it’s up to more than two million. But there’s a downside. Motorcycle crashes represent 67 percent of all road deaths.

    Our report is part of a collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

    It comes from video journalist Steve Sapienza and is narrated by Hari Sreenivasan.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In Phnom Penh, 19-year-old Chhieng Sreylea is shopping for a motorcycle with her dad and older brother.

    CHHIENG SREYLEA (through interpreter): Today, I’m buying this motorcycle and I will drive it to school.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: They’re a family of five and this will be their third motorcycle. They don’t own a car, but, like many Cambodians, thanks in part to more available small loans, cheap motorcycles and rising incomes, they can afford the equivalent of $1,100 that this motorcycle costs.

    It’s the case across all of Asia, where most of the world’s two-wheelers are sold.

    MAN (through interpreter): Today, we have sold more than ten.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And that’s before noon; 85 percent of all the vehicles on Cambodia’s roads are motorcycles, and according to the government, they cause the majority of all accidents.

    Nearly 200 people die on these roads every month, up almost 20 percent from the year before.

    PEOU MALY, National Road Safety Committee (through interpreter): We also notice that most of them are young adults aging from 16 to 29.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Motorcyclists are also more likely to die of a head injury, because while motorcycle sales are booming, helmet sales are not.

    All countries in Southeast Asia have mandatory helmet laws, but the laws are lightly enforced and largely ignored.

    PAGNA KIM, Asia Injury Prevention Foundation: In 2004, just around 8 percent of motorcycle riders that they wear helmets. But now it increased up to 65 percent for the driver and 9 percent for the passenger.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In Cambodia, historically, helmet compliance has been very low. One survey on a treacherous stretch of road north of Phnom Penh showed that only 24 percent of drivers wore helmets during the daytime, with that figure dipping to 5 percent after dark.

    That sort of weak compliance means YouTube videos like this, featuring Cambodian youth performing daredevil stunts, all without helmets.

    Advocates of better helmet laws say targeted education is need.

    PAGNA KIM: People may know well about the benefit from helmet wearing. However, there were some misperceptions about them, that helmet wearing wasn’t needed for short distance travel or maybe when they travel in low speed.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The growing numbers of child passengers prompted the Asia Injury Foundation to find ways to get affordable helmets onto small heads.

    PAGNA KIM: Since we start our helmets for kids program in 2006, we have donated around 20,000 helmets to Cambodian students, teachers, and also road user in Cambodia.

    We were able to build the first ever nonprofit helmet factory in Vietnam. It’s a factory that produces helmet at lower costs. And all the profit from helmet selling will be returned to invest in road safety. We are hoping that we will be about to build a nonprofit helmet factory in Cambodia as well in the near future.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The government plans to roll out new helmet laws later this year, requiring both passengers and children to wear helmets, while riders like our new 19-year-old owner, lunge headlong into traffic without one.

    HENG SOKHA, Motorcycle salesman (through interpreter): Sometimes, when they buy a motorcycle, they have a helmet, and sometimes they don’t. It depends on the client.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Hari Sreenivasan.

     

    The post Cambodia promotes motorcycle helmets to halt rise of traffic deaths appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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