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

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    John Kerry and Judy Woodruff

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Secretary Kerry, welcome. Thank you for talking with us.

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: It’s my pleasure.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So you’ve put a lot of effort into negotiating this framework agreement, spent months, if not years on this. People look at this and they see all that effort and I think one question is, is it going to take even more work to get the remaining unresolved issues figured out, or is the hardest part behind you?

    JOHN KERRY: It’s going to take more work, but it may also be that the hardest part is behind us. Because the framework has really crossed a barrier, if you will, but the details are going to be tough. And coming down to the last comma, the last crossed T, I’m confident will be, probably, as difficult as the last couple of days were in the framework.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, before we talk about the details, I want to ask you something. I think I just ought to clarify, for the American people, what this is. Is it correct to say that this is really about, not about denying Iran a nuclear weapon, but delaying the day when they can have one? And delaying it really by only a matter of months?

    JOHN KERRY: Absolutely not. Not in the least. No, it is not just about that. It’s about denying them a nuclear weapon. And the reason I can say that with confidence is that we will have a sufficient level of transparency of inspection, so accountability of tracing of uranium and following the production of their centrifuges, of knowing what is happening in their program, that if they began to increase their enrichment in order to be able to move to create a nuclear weapon, we would know immediately and be able to take actions. So I don’t agree with that assessment. This is a guarantee that for the next 15 to 20 years they won’t possibly be able to advance that program and then, when they become a more legitimate member of the non-proliferation community and subject to lifetime inspections and investigation, we will have accountability.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But it is said that right now they have a breakout capacity, three to four months, and at the end of this agreement it would be a year. Meanwhile, they have enrichment capacity, they have the ability to do research and development on these so-called advanced centrifuges, enriching uranium where they could even potentially, and the president himself has acknowledged this, create a weapon within, almost instantly.

    JOHN KERRY: Well, let me describe where we are today, Judy, because it’s important for people to think about where is the starting point here. When I became secretary of state, they had 20,000 centrifuges, a very large stockpile of enriched uranium at 20 percent and they were moving in the direction of really threatening perhaps go down and get bomb. Now, they no longer have that 20 percent enriched uranium. It’s been reduced to zero. It’s gone. They no longer enrich above a small percentage, 3.5 percent. They no longer have the ability to break out in the same period of time as when we started this.

    When President Obama became president, they already had enrichment; they already had mastered the fuel cycle. So in the years preceding that, they were edging up and up and up constantly. Now we’re going the other way. We’re rolling the program back and putting in place a very strict set of transparency and accountability measures that will allow us to know what is happening. And it is not accurate to say it is only 10 years. Some measures that are in this deal go for 15 years, some go for 20 years, some go for 25 years, like the tracking of uranium. That’s a 25-year tracking of uranium. From mining, to milling, to the yellow cake, to the gas, to the centrifuge, the waste. We’ll follow every part of that. And there are lifetime provisions here, “forever provisions,” that they have to adhere to.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you about some of the details which you mentioned: Inspections.

    The president has said these will be the most intrusive inspections, robust inspections ever. Others have said it’ll be anywhere, anytime. The Iranians are saying no, it won’t be on military bases and there are going to be limits. Which is it?

    JOHN KERRY: We’re going to have a very robust inspection system. We have a means-of-dispute resolution that will permit us to be able to resolve questions if there are any unresolved issues of access.

    They have agreed to abide by what is called the additional protocol of the nonproliferation treaty. That protocol requires participating states to adhere to a higher standard and if they don’t, Judy, then the sanctions can, and will, come back. For a certain number of years that will happen automatically, but I can assure you that if Iran were then to suddenly move to try to advance this program beyond what would be normal for a peaceful nuclear power, the whole world will respond just as we have now and sanctions would be re-imposed.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But aren’t there real questions about that? The administration is calling them “snap-back sanctions,” but in effect, you have to go back…

    JOHN KERRY: Well, that’s for a period of time. No, we don’t have to go back. There’s no veto power capable. It’s an automatic process under a specific procedure which will be spelled out in the course of the final deal. I’m not going to go into it all now, except to say to you that we’re not going to sit there and carve out a pretense here. We have told people, and we’re serious about it, that there will be an ability to have accountability in this inspection regimen, and there will be.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Still, another issue; the International Atomic Energy Agency has said for a long time that it wants Iran to disclose past military-related nuclear activities. Iran is increasingly looking like it’s not going to do this. Is the U.S. prepared to accept that?

    JOHN KERRY: No. They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal; it will be done.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Because it’s not there now.

    JOHN KERRY: It will be done.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So that information will be released before June 30th, will be available.

    JOHN KERRY: It will be part of a final agreement. It has to be.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Congress, President Obama is now saying that there may be a role for Congress in signing off on the deal as long as Congress doesn’t materially change anything. My question to you is, if you were Sen. Kerry, you were chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and it were a different president, wouldn’t you be insisting that Congress have an up or down say on this?

    JOHN KERRY: Judy, one of the things I learned a long time ago, and I particularly know now, is don’t answer hypothetical questions. So I’m not going where I don’t have to be. And I left the Senate. I’m not there now, I’m secretary of state. And the president is absolutely correct in making sure that what Congress does not assault presidential authority and the Constitution, and doesn’t destroy his ability to be able to negotiate this final deal. That’s critical. And the president has said, if the bill is what it is today, written the same way it is today, then he’d veto it. But if it’s changed, and adjusted and reflects the respect for the Constitution, then the president’s prerogatives, while at the same time embracing congressional oversight and review, fine.

    One other thing I’d say to you is, Congress is going to vote. Congress can vote any day it wants to. You know the majority leader has the right to bring something to the floor and have a vote. So this is really, I think, a little bit excessive. I mean, the truth is also, Congress will have to vote to lift ultimately some of the sanctions which are congressionally mandated. So we all understand the process here, and I think we just need to be serious in a way that does not interfere with the president’s ability to pursue the foreign policy interests of our nation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Some of the other concerns that are now being raised, but assuming this deal is finalized at the end of June and, and the U.S. embarks on this new way forward, doesn’t this raise expectations, and there’s already a lot of talk about this. The U.S. is going to have to increasingly show its support for those in the region who fear Iran. Not just Israel, but the Arab nations, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the others, Egypt. In other words, that the U.S. is increasingly obligated to have the back of more nations than it already is supporting and backing militarily.

    JOHN KERRY: Judy, let me make it clear: It doesn’t take this negotiation to prompt this administration to be there for our friends and our allies. We are there. We have been there. No administration, this is not an exaggeration, no administration has ever done as much as President Obama has done in order to help provide equipment and munitions and defensive mechanisms, other things to Israel. The president has said that’s a lead pipe, total guarantee. At the same time, all of our other Gulf-State allies and friends in the region, we have already, long before the discussions with Iran, been talking with them about pushing back against Iran’s behavior in Yemen, in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon and other places, and that will continue.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Quick questions off today’s news: Yemen. Iran has announced it is sending two war ships to the Gulf of Aden, just off the coast of Yemen. Iran says it is not providing military assistance to the Houthi rebels who helped depose the president. Is that something the administration accepts? And what is, and how concerned is the administration about what’s going on there?

    JOHN KERRY: Well, we’re very concerned about what’s going on there, and it’s just not a fact. … There are obviously supplies that have been coming from Iran. There are a number of flights every single week that have been flying in and we trace those flights and we know those. We’re well aware of the support that Iran has been giving to Yemen. And Iran needs to recognize that the United States is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized, or while people engage, you know, in overt warfare across the lines, international boundaries and other countries. So, we’re very concerned about it and we will, well what we’ve made clear to our friends and allies is, we can do two things at the same time.

    We have an ability to understand that an Iran with a nuclear weapon is a greater threat than an Iran without one, and at the same time, we have an ability to be able to stand up to interference that is inappropriate or against international law, or contrary to the region’s stability and interest, and those of our friends. And we’re not looking for confrontation, obviously, but we’re not going to step away from our alliances, and our friendships, and the need to stand with those who feel threatened as the consequence of the choices that Iran might be making.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Secretary John Kerry, we thank you very much for talking with us.

    JOHN KERRY: Thank you. Appreciate it.

    The post Full Interview: Iran must disclose past nuclear military activities for a final deal, says Kerry appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    newswrap

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news this day, an Afghan soldier turned his gun on American troops today, killing one and wounding at least two before he was killed. It happened at a military compound in the eastern city of Jalalabad. There was no word on a motive. This was the latest in a series of insider attacks in Afghanistan recent years.

    GWEN IFILL: Tensions climbed higher in the Persian Gulf region today, over the fighting in Yemen. Iran announced it’s deploying two warships near Yemen to patrol against pirates. The Iranians deny arming Yemen’s Shiite rebels, but the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates today said Iran is fomenting the trouble.

    SHEIK ABDULLAH BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN, UAE Foreign Minister (through interpreter): Every time we try to get closer to Iran or work with Iran, we see that Iran is trying to wreak havoc in the region. And I hope we don’t fall for the idea that this issue is sectarian. This is an issue that our brothers in Iran believe in exporting a revolution. It’s part of their constitution, a part of their system.

    GWEN IFILL: Meanwhile, fighting raged in Yemen’s port city of Aden, where the rebels are battling supporters of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. And Saudi Arabia carried out new airstrikes in support of Hadi. We will hear from Secretary of State John Kerry on Yemen, Iran and other issues after the news summary.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Northern Iraq, Islamic State militants have released more than 200 minority Yazidis who’d been held captive more than eight months. The group included 40 children, but most were elderly and in poor health. Iraqi officials said today that many showed signs of abuse and neglect. They were taken away by ambulances and buses. The militants gave no reason why they released the prisoners.

    GWEN IFILL: Air traffic controllers in France walked off the job today in a two-day work stoppage. About 40 percent of flights across France were canceled. The French civil aviation agency said staff shortages mean about 50 percent of flights will be canceled tomorrow. The controllers want better working conditions, and they’re protesting plans to raise the mandatory retirement age from 57 to 59.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Police in Britain have launched a manhunt in a jewelry heist of epic proportions. Over Easter weekend, a gang of thieves stole up to $300 million in cash and gems from a central repository.

    Jane Deith of Independent Television News reports.

    JANE DEITH: All day, people slipped through the black doors, looking for gold and diamonds, watches and rings. Hatton Garden Safe Deposit is where London puts its bling for safekeeping. Now millions of it is gone, thieves in and out before security guards twigged.

    MAN: They should have extra security, especially over the Easter holiday.

    JANE DEITH: But how did the robbers get in? A lot of attention and speculation has focused on the roof. Its thought they abseiled down the lift shaft to the vault in the basement. Police say they used heavy cutting equipment to get inside. It is possible they spent the whole Easter weekend in there. The police weren’t called until Tuesday morning.

    Apparently, the alarm did go off on Friday. It’s been suggested a security guard checked the front door, but no one checked inside. This vault’s been hit before, in 1975 by armed robbers. They got away with loot worth a million pounds. This time, it will be a lot, lot more.

    JAMES RILEY, Gemmological Association of Great Britain: If the diamond merchants’ boxes have been broken into and goods were stolen, then we will be talking about individual boxes containing millions of pounds’ worth of stock.

    JANE DEITH: Here, they believe the valuables were stolen to order and that the gang and their bounty are long gone.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The robbery could turn out to be the largest in British history.

    GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, Ferguson, Missouri will now have a city council that’s evenly divided along racial lines. Two new black members were elected Tuesday in the city’s first election since the killing of black teenager Michael Brown by a white policeman. The city’s population is majority black.

    And in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel easily won reelection in a runoff with Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a Cook County commissioner.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In economic news, energy giant Royal Dutch/Shell announced it’s buying British rival BG Group for nearly $70 billion, while on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 27 points to close back above 17900. The Nasdaq rose 40 points, and the S&P 500 added five.

    GWEN IFILL: And for the first time, the National Football League has hired a woman as a full-time game official. Sarah Thomas will be a line judge for the 2015 season. In 2007, she became the first woman to officiate college football games.

    The post News Wrap: Afghan soldier targets U.S. troops in insider attack appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this handout photo presented as evidence by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston

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    GWEN IFILL: After a day-and-a-half of deliberations, a federal jury convicted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on all 30 counts he was facing for the Boston Marathon bombing.

    A jury of seven women and five men convicted him on multiple charges that could be punishable by death, including deadly use of a weapon of mass destruction. The next phase of the trial will decide whether Tsarnaev should be sentenced to death. The bombs that Dzhokhar, then 19, set off with his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan, killed three people and wounded more than 260 others almost exactly two years ago.

    After the verdict, Karen Brassard, who was hurt in the attacks along with her family, spoke for a group of survivors and family members.

    KAREN BRASSARD, Boston Bombing Survivor: It is not something that you will ever be over. You will feel it forever. There will always be something that brings it back to the forefront.

    But we are all going to move on with our lives and we’re all going to get back to some sense of normalcy, hopefully, when this is all done. So closure, I guess I don’t think so, only because it is forever a part of our life.

    GWEN IFILL: We turn once again to Adam Reilly, who has been covering the trial for public television station WGBH. He was in the court today when the verdict came in.

    Welcome back, Adam.

    ADAM REILLY, WGBH-TV: Hi. Thanks.

    GWEN IFILL: Looking at the 30 counts that were handed in today, were there any surprises? Were there any of these counts that anyone had expected perhaps he might be found not guilty on?

    ADAM REILLY: I don’t know if there were any counts where we expected a not guilty finding, but what the defense had really pushed on was, first off, the idea that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev played a key role in the murder of Sean Collier, the MIT police officer who was fatally shot three days after the bombings.

    And then there was also implicit pushback against the idea that Dzhokhar was instrumental in the creation of the pipe bomb that his brother — pardon me — the pressure cooker bomb placed by his brother Tamerlan that killed a young woman named Krystle Campbell.

    The defense throughout has said that Tamerlan was really the bomb-maker in chief and that Dzhokhar followed his lead. So, those were two areas where, even if we didn’t expect a not guilty finding, I think the defense was hoping for one. But, as you said, they got absolutely nothing.

    GWEN IFILL: And still there was no daylight at all in this. In the end, it was a unanimous, clear verdict, which then perhaps speaks to what happens next.

    ADAM REILLY: You really have to wonder if it doesn’t speak to what comes next.

    It wasn’t just the guilty findings on all 30 counts, but for a number of these, there were what in court they call aggravating factors. For example, if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, did that conspiracy then result in the deaths of Martin Richard and Lingzi Lu and Krystle Campbell and Sean Collier?

    Some of those aggravating factors were duplicative. The deaths of those four individuals came up on a few occasions. But there were more than 60 of these aggravating factors and, again, in every single case the jury said, yes, these crimes did result in these outcomes, all of which I think are going to bolster the government’s case for the death penalty when we move into the next phase of the trial.

    But what we’re going to hear, which we haven’t heard yet in sort of a full and focused way as they wanted, is the defense making their case that again Dzhokhar was pushed into this by Tamerlan. Judge George O’Toole said early in this trial that they could not focus on that argument, which is really all they have, until the sentencing phase. They would have liked to be talking about this every day up until this point. Now they will get their chance.

    GWEN IFILL: We saw — you saw Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the courtroom today. What was his demeanor? How did he take it?

    ADAM REILLY: His demeanor has been fascinating to all of us covering the trial through this. He has been laconic from the beginning. A lot of people have said he looks cocky when he enters court. He moves in sort of a lope. He is frequently rubbing his goatee, checking his hair to make sure it’s OK.

    What struck me today about his demeanor as these guilty findings were read was that, on two occasions, he crossed his arms tightly around himself and sort of stood there hunched. That is not body language that I have seen before from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. I’m not an expert in body language, but to me it had almost a defensive connotation, a feeling of feeling threatened or vulnerable.

    So again that was something new. No outbursts. No weeping that we saw. I was looking at the back of his head. But those gestures or those stances were striking.

    GWEN IFILL: And how about for the family members and survivors who were in the courtroom?

    ADAM REILLY: They were very quiet, very stoic. The ones who I looked at, and you almost feel uneasy watching them because they have been through so much and then they have had to relive it publicly — but I was looking at the parents of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was standing right in front of the bomb that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev placed and who was killed.

    His body was just ravaged by the bomb. We heard about it in horrific detail a few days ago. I was watching them as these findings were coming in. His father, Martin Richard’s father was just staring straight ahead. His lips were sort of pursed. His mother was watching the findings being read.

    They looked as composed as they possibly could be, having gone through everything they have gone through. But there wasn’t — there were no loud noises in the courtroom as the findings came in. There were no shouts of exaltation. There have been sympathizers, friends, family, people who think that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is getting a raw deal from the legal system.

    They have been in court on occasion and we didn’t hear from them either. It was very, very quiet.

    GWEN IFILL: What is the challenge now for Judy Clarke, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyer, moving forward on the death penalty phase? And does that start right away?

    ADAM REILLY: That will not start right away.

    I had actually and a number of other people had expected it to begin as soon as we had a verdict. In fact, the judge said today it’s not going to begin tomorrow, it’s not going to begin Friday. It may begin Monday. He says it’s going to move — he will move expeditiously, but he didn’t commit to a Monday start.

    I think that the huge challenge for Judy Clarke — and it may be an insurmountable one — is to try in some way to make the jury feel even a shred of sympathy or empathy for her client. She actually made a reference in her closing arguments to all the people whose lives were indelibly changed by the marathon bombings, and said including Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s.

    That is — it’s asking a lot, I think, of people to feel that kind of empathy toward him, but she’s going to give it a try. It will be very, very difficult.

    GWEN IFILL: And it only takes one of those jurors to decide that they don’t want to give him the death penalty.

    ADAM REILLY: You’re exactly right. Yes. Yes. Just one. Just one. And we will see.

    We don’t know what evidence they can come up with. I think it remains to be seen whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will take the stand in his own defense. A lot of people have assumed that there is no chance of that happening, but I think this emphatic set of guilty findings today by the jury might lead Tsarnaev’s team to think if he wants to plead for mercy in some way and express contrition, that may be their only shot at sparing his life.

    GWEN IFILL: All right.

    Adam Reilly of WGBH in Boston, thank you.

    ADAM REILLY: Thank you.

    The post Guilty verdict in Boston bombing trial may bolster chance of death sentence appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Every day, millions of Americans use products or eat foods that are produced by slave labor. Rare metals from Africa are embedded in our cell phones. Harvested fish or fruit or fabric are thawing in our fridge or hanging in our closets.

    More than 20 million people are victims of slavery, generating $150 billion in illegal profits per year, according to the United Nations.

    Last month, Associated Press reporters Martha Mendoza, Robin McDowel and Margie Mason, produced this investigative story about a fishing business on a tiny island in Indonesia. The operation relied on slaves to net frozen seafood that ended up in American kitchens. After the story ran, the Indonesian government freed 300 men on the island from cages.

    For the debut of PBS NewsHour’s podcast, Shortwave, we spoke with Mason to find out how these men worked and lived — and in some cases died — while in brutal captivity.

    Slave made goods, now in your freezer section

    We also spoke with Maurice Middleberg, executive director of Free the Slaves, an NGO in Washington. He describes how slaves labor in captivity and how products we use every day, like cell phone components and cocoa powder, are often produced by such labor, citing a study from the International Labor Organization.

    This powerful cartoon from the International Labor Organization illustrates the women and men who find themselves far from home, without passports, money or a way out.

    The post You probably benefitted from slave labor today appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Debate over how or if the United States should be apply sanctions if Iran violates  its promise to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes.   REUTERS/Mike Theiler

    Debate over how or if the United States should be apply sanctions if Iran violates its promise to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

    WASHINGTON — Snap back? Not so fast.

    The biggest enforcement provision in the preliminary nuclear agreement with Iran is turning into one of the mostly hotly contested elements. And the debate barely involves Iran.

    Instead, it concerns the Obama administration’s promise to quickly re-impose sanctions on Iran if the Islamic Republic cheats on any part of the agreement to limit its nuclear program to peaceful pursuits.

    This would be relatively straightforward for the sanctions imposed by the U.S., as Congress is eager to keep the pressure on. But it is far from clear whether President Barack Obama can guarantee such action at the United Nations, which has imposed wide-ranging penalties that all U.N. members must enforce.

    At present, there’s no firm agreement to how or when to lift the sanctions in the first place. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, and President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday they want all sanctions lifted on the first day of implementation. That’s not the position of U.S. and other negotiators, a major issue that still must be worked out.

    Assuming it can be, that still would leave the big question of possible re-imposition.

    The disagreement on this issue is between the U.S. and its European allies on one side, and Russia and China on the other — all countries involved in the nuclear negotiations. And even though all six world powers and Iran agreed last week to the framework agreement that is supposed to be finalized by June 30, the “snapback” mechanism for U.N. sanctions remains poorly defined and may prove unworkable.

    “If Iran violates the deal, sanctions can be snapped back into place,” Obama declared last week.

    He went further this week, saying that restoring the international sanctions would not require consensus among U.N. Security Council members. And Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who helped seal last week’s pact, insisted “no one country could block the snapback.”

    That assertion rests on an informal compromise reached at the talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, to bypass the typical U.N. Security Council process if Iran breaks the agreement. Normally in that body, any one of the five permanent members — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China, which are all party to the Iran negotiations — can veto resolutions.

    But many questions remain, including what would happen if two or more countries object. Russia and China have traditionally opposed almost all U.N. sanctions measures, and, perhaps tellingly, neither country’s foreign minister was present when the April 2 framework was unveiled.

    Washington and its negotiating partners plan to suspend or lift many sanctions after the U.N. nuclear agency confirms Iran has scaled back its activity in accordance with a final deal. But the U.S. and its European partners want the capacity to quickly reinstate the restrictions if Iran reneges.

    The U.N. sanctions ban the transfer of nuclear and ballistic missile technology to Iran, freeze assets of companies and individuals involved in the country’s uranium enrichment program, impose an arms embargo on Iran and sharply limit the international activities of Iranian banks. All are penalties the U.S. wants fully enforced if Iran doesn’t comply with a final deal.

    The Obama administration is tossing around different ideas to ensure it can snap back the U.N. sanctions, though there are problems with all of them.

    One idea would put the burden on the U.N. Security Council. Rather than voting to re-impose sanctions, it would have to vote to stop the automatic re-imposition, officials said. Or, an extraordinary procedure could be created with the permanent, veto-holding members voting by majority.

    Russia and China are unlikely to accept any process that sees them sacrifice their veto power. And they could block any plan with Iran that would leave them powerless to stop majority votes by the U.S. and its European allies.

    In each scenario and others, the final agreement will include “automaticity,” the sense of sanctions returning automatically, a senior U.S. official said. That official and the others weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the deliberations and demanded anonymity.

    In an interview with NPR Monday, Obama said the sanctions would be “triggered” when the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency identified a “very real problem” and a majority of countries involved agreed. But that process also is undefined — and slow.

    The IAEA’s 35-nation board includes countries sympathetic to Iran. Also members are Russia and China, powers that are concerned about the country’s nuclear ambitions yet seek closer commercial, economic, military and even nuclear ties. The organization’s rulings can take weeks, months and even years.

    Further complicating matters, a U.S. fact sheet released after the diplomatic breakthrough in Switzerland mentions a “dispute resolution process” that would enable Iran or anyone else to raise disagreements and seek compromises through mediation — yet another element officials say hasn’t been agreed to in detail.

    “I don’t want to give the false impression that we have all this resolved,” Obama said this week.

    Questions are everywhere. In the buildup to the framework, French officials questioned if the U.N. sanctions could be snapped back into place at all. They suggested the U.N. penalties be kept in place for years.

    In Congress, lawmakers threatening to get involved in Obama’s diplomacy are concerned as well. Sen. Ben Cardin, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat, is among those asking about snapback sanctions.

    “Undertaking the ‘snapback’ of sanctions is unlikely to be as clear or as automatic as the phrase implies,” former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz said in a joint opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal.

    “Restoring the most effective sanctions will require coordinated international action,” they wrote. With commercial interests and popular opinion swaying some countries against a prompt snapback, any U.S. attempt at forcing such a move “risks primarily isolating America, not Iran.”

    The post Debate over sanctions brews after Iran’s preliminary nuclear agreement appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    An analysis by the Associated Press of Republican presidential candidate and Senator Rand Paul explores his positions on balancing the federal budget and more. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

    An analysis by the Associated Press of Republican presidential candidate and Senator Rand Paul explores his positions on balancing the federal budget and more. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Rand Paul is campaigning for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination as a man who wants to upend the ways of Washington. In one way, though, he’s a creature of the nation’s capital: He carries on a long tradition of promising the implausible, if not the impossible, on the budget.

    The Kentucky senator opened his campaign this week with the “extraordinary” thought that the federal government should be forced to spend no more than it takes in. This, while cutting taxes, increasing military spending and asking people to imagine “what a billion-dollar stimulus could do for Detroit or for Appalachia” from his plan to establish “economic freedom zones.”

    He is neither the first, nor certainly the last, to hold out the hope for a balanced budget — while at the same time glossing over what happens if the government is truly made to live within its means.

    Some combination of Social Security, Medicare, the armed forces, domestic security, roads, medical research and much more wouldn’t look the same if that happened.

    Paul told his campaign kickoff crowd Tuesday: “Currently, some $3 trillion comes into the U.S. Treasury. Couldn’t the country just survive on $3 trillion? I propose we do something extraordinary. Let’s just spend what comes in.”

    What comes in: The government is projected to collect $3.5 trillion in revenue next year.

    Where it goes: Of that money, nearly $2.5 trillion will go to Social Security, Medicare and other automatically paid benefit programs, and $277 billion will pay interest on the debt. That’s according to projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

    What’s left: If spending no more than that $3.5 trillion, the government would have $800 billion left over to pay for the Defense Department, Homeland Security and the budgets of every other federal agency. That’s one-third less than the $1.2 trillion those agencies are currently projected to spend.

    Lawmakers could make deeper cuts in some programs while sparing others. But on average, every agency would get just $2 for every $3 it would have been expected to have next year. That would be a massive reduction by any standard, and one for which most budget-conscious Republicans have not had the stomach.

    Perhaps the main question about Paul’s pledge, said Michael Strain at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, is, “How literally do you take it?”

    “It’s quite reasonable, as a general rule, under normal circumstances, to align spending and revenue,” Strain said. But the economy could run into a meltdown, a terrorist attack or other calamity, requiring the government to spend on things it did not expect.

    Lawmakers do have the option of cutting the automatically paid benefits, because even entitlements like Medicare are not cast in stone. Yet those programs are quite popular among voters, and doing so would risk a political firestorm.

    Paul drafted a 2013 plan meant to achieve a balanced budget in five years, and one of his proposed steps would be the partial privatization of Social Security. That’s something he did not mention in his campaign kickoff speech.

    Instead of taking on the prime drivers of debt in his speech, Paul followed the familiar Washington path of criticizing a few spending items that are unpopular with some people but would not save much money if eliminated, such as foreign aid.

    “Let’s quit building bridges in foreign countries and use that money to build some bridges here at home,” he said to applause.

    As for big-ticket items, Paul’s earlier balanced-budget plan was predicated on a cut in military spending and in the number of troops, a position that distinguished him from others likely to seek the GOP nomination.

    But as his campaign launch drew near, he proposed a more than $48 billion increase in the Pentagon budget as a member of the Senate, paying for that increase primarily by cutting refundable child-tax credits, supplemental security income and welfare.

    “We need a national defense robust enough to defend against all attack, modern enough to deter all enemies, and nimble enough to defend our vital interests,” he told supporters at his campaign launch.

    Paul also proposes to roll back President Barack Obama’s health care law, a step that actually would cost money. Repeal would reduce tax revenues by $1 trillion over a decade, the nonpartisan budget office said in 2012.

    One way to balance the budget without making such dramatic cuts is to increase the amount of money that comes in.

    But tax increases are a non-starter for Paul. He goes the other way, proposing a 17 percent flat tax and elimination of what his website calls double taxation, “including capital gains, dividend, estate, gift and interest tax.”

    Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.

    The post What analysis reveals about Sen. Rand Paul’s ideas for a balanced budgets appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Jupiterimages

    Photo by Jupiterimages

    Earlier this week, we shared personal finance expert Kerry Hannon’s six tips for women over 50 to achieve financial fitness before retirement. Hannon addressed many of the unique challenges women face when saving for retirement. She also sharing general advice that applies to everyone from Baby Boomers preparing to retire to young professionals just starting out.

    We decided to continue the conversation in a Twitter chat, where Hannon (@KerryHannon) shared further insights along with assistant managing editor for Next Avenue Richard Eisenberg (@richeis315) and president of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) Cindy Hounsell (@WISERwomen). Check out the full conversation below.

    The post Twitter chat: What should women over 50 do to plan for retirement? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Cuba's President Raul Castro attends to an ALBA alliance summit in Caracas March 17, 2015. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    Cuba’s President Raul Castro attends to an ALBA alliance summit in Caracas March 17, 2015. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    PANAMA CITY — Turning the page on a half-century of hostility, President Barack Obama signaled Thursday he will soon remove Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, boosting hopes for improved ties as he prepared for a historic encounter with Cuban President Raul Castro.

    Hours before his arrival in Panama for a regional summit, Obama announced that the U.S. State Department had finished its review of Cuba’s presence on the list, a stain on the island nation’s pride and a major stumbling block for efforts to mend U.S.-Cuba ties. Obama said he would decide quickly after receiving the formal recommendation, all but ensuring action within days.

    “We don’t want to be imprisoned by the past,” Obama said during a visit to Kingston, Jamaica. “When something doesn’t work for 50 years, you don’t just keep on doing it. You try something new.”

    Earlier, in Panama City, he called the list “a powerful tool to isolate countries that genuinely do support terrorism,” but he added that “as circumstance change that list will change as well.”

    With his optimistic assessment, Obama sought to set the tone for the U.S. and Cuba to come closer to closing the book on more than a half-century of estrangement, when he and Castro come face to face at the Summit of the Americas. Obama was arriving Thursday evening in Panama City.

    The highly anticipated interaction with Castro will test the power of personal diplomacy as the two leaders attempt to move past the sticking points that have interfered with their attempt to relaunch diplomatic relations.

    The U.S. has long since stopped actively accusing Cuba of supporting terrorism, and Obama has hinted at his willingness to take Cuba off the list ever since he and Castro announced a thaw in relations in December. Yet Obama has stopped short of the formal decision amid indications that the White House was reluctant to grant Cuba’s request until other thorny issues — such as restrictions on U.S. diplomats in Havana — were resolved.

    Cuba is one of just four countries still on the U.S. list of countries accused of repeatedly supporting global terrorism; Iran, Sudan and Syria are the others. The designation not only offends Cuba’s pride but also restricts Havana’s access to credit and financial systems.

    Yet while recent polling has shown broad support for the thaw in both Cuba and the U.S., the change has attracted fierce opposition from some members of Congress — especially those who represent the large Cuban-American population in Florida. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Thursday there were “serious questions” about the wisdom of taking Cuba off the list “while this dictatorship, which practices repression at home and supports violence throughout the region, continues to hold power.”

    This year’s summit is the first to include Cuba, and for Castro it’s a powerful opportunity to prove his country can be a responsible player on the world stage. Obama arrives having amassed some goodwill in Latin America by upending the U.S. policy of isolating Cuba, a policy that had irritated others in the region, and by loosening immigration policies at home.

    How much face time Obama and Castro will have at the summit was unclear. Although no formal meetings were scheduled, the White House said the two would surely cross paths.

    Obama and Castro shared a handshake in 2013 at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, a jarring image for those who still recall the levels of U.S.-Cuban antipathy during the Cold War.

    While in Panama, Obama was to meet Friday with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and other Central American leaders. He planned to speak at a forum of CEOs before joining other leaders for dinner at Panama Viejo, home to archaeological ruins dating back to the 1500s. A visit to the Panama Canal was also likely.

    In a nod to lingering U.S. concerns about human rights and political freedoms, Obama is making a point to attend a forum bringing together both dissidents and members of the Cuban political establishment. On Wednesday Castro supporters aggressively heckled a group of Cuban dissidents at a civil society forum in Panama City, drawing criticism from the U.S.

    Although taking Cuba off the terror list would remove one major obstacle to warming relations, Obama acknowledged that progress hasn’t been as swift as some had hoped.

    Both nations called in December for quickly reopening embassies in each other’s capitals — hopefully in time for the summit. That hasn’t materialized, in part due to disagreements about U.S. diplomats’ freedom of movement in Havana. The U.S. sees those restrictions as an attempt to stifle dissent by limiting Americans’ interactions with Castro’s political opponents.

    “They are proceeding as I expected,” Obama said of the talks between Havana and Washington. “I never foresaw that immediately, overnight, everything would transform itself.”

    The wild card at the summit: Venezuela’s leftist President Nicolas Maduro. Obama’s recent move to slap sanctions on seven leading Venezuelan figures seemed to backfire when other Latin leaders denounced it as overkill and rallied to Maduro’s side. Maduro had said he plans to hand Obama documents with millions of signatures denouncing U.S. aggression.

    The post Obama prepares for historic encounter with Castro appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Immigrants who were recruited to join the U.S. Navy take the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony in the United States. A new report from the Pew Research Center found that the black immigrant community has grown dramatically since 1980 and will continue to rise for years to come. Photo by  Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr.

    Immigrants who were recruited to join the U.S. Navy take the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony in the United States. A new report from the Pew Research Center found that the black immigrant community has grown dramatically since 1980 and will continue to rise for years to come. Photo by Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr.

    The number of black immigrants living in the United States has nearly quadrupled since 1980 and is expected to continue to grow, according to a new report that the Pew Research Center released today.

    An estimated 3.8 million black immigrants live in the United States, making up nearly 9 percent of the nation’s overall black population, Pew’s analysis of the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey data revealed.

    By 2060, the black immigrant population is projected to triple from what it is today, amounting to about 12 million people, said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at the Pew Research Center.

    “When we talk about the nation’s black population, it’s one that is becoming increasingly foreign born,” Lopez said, drawing a distinction between the black population and the Hispanic and Asian populations in the U.S., which generally are perceived as being foreign born.

    About half of all black immigrants in the U.S. are from the Caribbean, with most originally from Jamaica and Haiti. However, an increasing share of these immigrants are arriving from Africa, primarily Nigeria and Ethiopia.

    “What I found really striking was the growth in black immigration from African countries,” said Monica Anderson, research analyst at the Pew Research Center who authored the report. “Since 2000, the number of black immigrants that have come to the U.S. from Africa has more than doubled.”

    Nearly one-third of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa enter this country as refugees, according to the report, while 13 percent of immigrants from all countries are considered refugees when they arrive in the United States.

    Ultimately, these immigrants tend to live in urban areas either in the Northeast or in the South, the report said.

    Compared to blacks born in the United States, black immigrants tend to be older, are more likely to hold a college degree and be married and are less likely to live in poverty, according to the report. These immigrants also are more likely to speak English proficiently when compared to the overall immigrant population in the United States.

    The share of black immigrants within the overall U.S. black population is expected to grow from nearly 9 percent to almost 17 percent by 2060, the report says.

    The post Black immigrant population in U.S. expected to triple by 2060, study finds appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, a segment from our partners at The New York Times.

    Last month, students from some of the nation’s most selective colleges gathered at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Known as first gens, or generation, these students, who are in the first in their family to attend college, face unique challenges amid the privilege and opportunity of elite educations.

    STANLEY STEWART: For me, a first generation college student is…

    ANAMARIA MENESES-LEON: Everything is a little bit harder.

    JENNIFER TELSCHOW: A great privilege, but also a higher responsibility.

    TRAVIS REGINAL: There is not a lot of room for error.

    DESTIN SISEMORE: I’m the second person ever from my high school to go to an Ivy League school.

    MANDEEP SINGH: My dad works as a taxi driver.

    KIMBERLY ROSA: It means that I’m still able to do just as well as my peers who have maybe had better resources.

    STANLEY STEWART: Sort of like a blessing and a curse.

    For me personally, making friends at Brown was a little bit difficult just because I had never been surrounded by people who were this rich in my entire life, because you’re sort of wondering, OK, like, what do I have in common with these people? Like, do I sort of truly belong?

    I do feel like first generation college students do need support that is different from the support that is typically offered for students. There’s often times a lot of assumptions about what we know, that we know how to go and talk to professors, that we know how to network, that we know how to use office hours, that our parents know everything that’s going on.

    So much of my life here is like focusing on classes and these esoteric authors that my family isn’t used to talking about. Oftentimes, I will call home and the only thing that we have to talk about is, how’s the weather?

    On the other hand, I think there are times where I feel really proud. Like, I will call my mom back home, and I will be like, you will not believe — this kid doesn’t know how to do their own laundry. How do you go so long without knowing how to do your own laundry? And I just feel really proud because I know how to take care of myself, right, and that’s something that my family has taught me to do.

    DESTIN SISEMORE: In some ways, I’m privileged as a first gen student because I’m white. But class privilege is a different issue.

    I didn’t want to paint myself as being different from other students. That’s a hard thing to admit. Being first gen and being gay means that I’m coming from a background that a lot of students aren’t. I had to get a job on campus pretty quickly. The university bought me a suit junior year because I did have to do these interviews and I didn’t have access to the money to buy that suit.

    Literally, whether or not you get the job could depend on how well your clothes fit you. And it’s really a hard ordeal to approach that, to be confident, and to be able to speak on the same degree that everything else is speaking. And you need to be comfortable with how you look.

    ANAMARIA MENESES-LEON: When I compare myself with students with Brown, sometimes, I get angry at them if they complain about being really busy. And I know that everyone is really busy here.

    I think, like, well, they don’t work. They’re busy like improving their resume, you know? My first job was actually working as a food server in the student dining services. While I was making salads, my dorm mates were in the sciences library finishing out their problem sets for chemistry.

    I’m originally from Columbia. My family moved here when I was 6. If I’m like to trying to conceal my first gen identity, I don’t mention work. I don’t mention my family life, really. If they ask me where I’m from, I say New Jersey, because New Jersey — like, anyone can be from New Jersey.

    Sometimes, I avoid telling professors about my background, because I just don’t want to seem like a burden and I don’t want them to pity me, because I think I’m really capable. So I often just act as if I’m just like any other student that goes here.

    STANLEY STEWART: 1vyG started a project between friends who wanted to explore what it meant to be first generation college students. It actually is pretty surprising to see how much 1vyG has grown now to this conference that’s spanning all across the Ivy League.

    The one thing I really hope that people get out of the conference is the feeling that they’re not alone, because they aren’t.

    JENNIFER TELSCHOW: I remember the first time I told my mom about the job that I got on campus. I was making around 14, $15 an hour. And she was just so shocked that I was already making what she took years to be able to make.

    LILIANA SAMPEDRO: For the most part, I am proud that I’m a first generation student. My grandma, I learned, is illiterate. So knowing just like how far my family has come from that is very, very humbling.

    STANLEY STEWART: Ever since I was a freshman, I have been saving up to be able to afford my mom’s plane ticket here. None of my family has ever been able to afford to visit Brown. And so probably the only time that they will be on the campus is when I graduate. I don’t know if everyone has to think about their life in college that way.

    MANDEEP SINGH: It’s a reality that these institutions were created by white people and created for white people at the time. And so white privilege, yes, it does exist. But now, when you have a lot of people of color, a lot of first gen folk coming into these schools in large numbers, that privilege is being challenged.

    TRAVIS REGINAL: What makes me most proud of being a first generation college student definitely has to be the empathy I have, which is one of the big issues in America, is that there is an empathy gap. And I think puts me in a position unique to kind of push for a lot of change that needs to happen.

     

    The post First-generation students face unique struggles at elite colleges appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now we travel to the island of Maui in Hawaii, where multi-building schools are designed to withstand natural forces, but protecting against intruders is still a challenge.

    Student Television Network correspondent Sydney Dempsey looks at how one architect is reimagining spaces that balance security with a healthy learning environment.

    It’s part of our ongoing Student Reporting Labs series called The New Safe, in which student journalists investigate how school communities are adjusting to new concepts of safety in the classroom.

    MIKAYLEE CHALMERS, Maui High School student: Well, when I first came here, I thought it was really big. And, like, I even had to use a map to try and find my way around. And I think I’m still using it today, like, just to check and make sure I know where I’m going.

    SYDNEY DEMPSEY: Mikaylee Chalmers, a Maui High sophomore, has had her fair share of campuses, but after seven schools and five states, something about Hawaii still stands out.

    MIKAYLEE CHALMERS: It’s nice to be outdoors and get some fresh air.

    CHARLES KANESHIRO, President, Group 70 International Inc.: Yes, Hawaii is a unique environment, in that, I think as all of us here who live here know, we have a climate that is pretty much comfortable year-round.

    SYDNEY DEMPSEY: But over the years, Charles Kaneshiro, the president of an international architecture firm based in Honolulu, sees a storm brewing in his industry.

    CHARLES KANESHIRO: The majority of our schools in Hawaii are older, so they’re designed to standards that existed 50 years ago. The more current schools are being designed with school safety in mind. And obviously that’s because of, you know, Columbine, and, more recently, Sandy Hook.

    I don’t think anybody 20 years ago would have even imagined, you know, something like that happening in a public school. I mean, we send our kids to go to school to learn, not to be killed.

    SYDNEY DEMPSEY: Alconcel has worked as a school resource officer for three years. He says he has noticed that with the rising risk of school violence, there are inherent challenges with protecting schools with multiple buildings.

    TRINIDAD ALCONCEL, School Resource Officer, Maui High School: Trespassers can gain access to our campus 360 degrees, making it nearly impossible for us to maintain a secure campus, unless we had the manpower to hold hand by hand and surround the school. It’s pretty much impossible to keep somebody out.

    CHARLES KANESHIRO: There’s all this fear now that I may send my son or daughter to school and they may not come home. And so there is a tendency to want the schools to become a prison. And that’s the tradeoff. You know, if we design our schools as prisons, then can you imagine the type of education that’s going to occur in them?

    TOBY NEAL: If there was bars displayed, metal detectors that they have to go through, there’s this constant unsettled feeling. All of that creates a culture of anxiety and hypervigilance, which, when you’re in a hypervigilant state, which is watching out for danger, you can’t — it’s really hard to learn.

    SYDNEY DEMPSEY: Toby Neal, a licensed clinical social worker at Maui center for child development and a previous counselor at multiple Hawaii schools, suspects that fear-driven architecture may detach children from their roots.

    TOBY NEAL: We didn’t evolve inside of buildings. And I think the optimal learning environment includes nature.

    CHARLES KANESHIRO: In order to balance the two, a good learning environment and a safe area, is by having what we call zones of supervision. So, instead of less glass, there’s actually more glass.

    SYDNEY DEMPSEY: Pu’u Kukui Elementary School features large hurricane windows, which can hold form even when cracked at impact, open areas within immediate distance of protected spaces, unobtrusive chain-link gates, which subtly control axis points, a campus-wide alert system, and staff distributed so that every corner of campus is under adult supervision at all times.

    CHARLES KANESHIRO: It’s not about designing a completely tragic-proof school. We can’t do that. And that would be a prison.

    SYDNEY DEMPSEY: Ultimately, it’s about balancing security with nurturing learning environments, so students like Mikaylee can enjoy what makes school school. She believes children should be able to:

    MIKAYLEE CHALMERS: Come to school and just focus on their work and seeing their friends and not have to worry about, like, their well-being or anything.

    The post Designing Hawaii schools that keep out danger and let in nature appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, a segment from our partners at The New York Times.

    Last month, students from some of the nation’s most selective colleges gathered at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Known as first gens, or generation, these students, who are in the first in their family to attend college, face unique challenges amid the privilege and opportunity of elite educations.

    STANLEY STEWART: For me, a first generation college student is…

    ANAMARIA MENESES-LEON: Everything is a little bit harder.

    JENNIFER TELSCHOW: A great privilege, but also a higher responsibility.

    TRAVIS REGINAL: There is not a lot of room for error.

    DESTIN SISEMORE: I’m the second person ever from my high school to go to an Ivy League school.

    MANDEEP SINGH: My dad works as a taxi driver.

    KIMBERLY ROSA: It means that I’m still able to do just as well as my peers who have maybe had better resources.

    STANLEY STEWART: Sort of like a blessing and a curse.

    For me personally, making friends at Brown was a little bit difficult just because I had never been surrounded by people who were this rich in my entire life, because you’re sort of wondering, OK, like, what do I have in common with these people? Like, do I sort of truly belong?

    I do feel like first generation college students do need support that is different from the support that is typically offered for students. There’s often times a lot of assumptions about what we know, that we know how to go and talk to professors, that we know how to network, that we know how to use office hours, that our parents know everything that’s going on.

    So much of my life here is like focusing on classes and these esoteric authors that my family isn’t used to talking about. Oftentimes, I will call home and the only thing that we have to talk about is, how’s the weather?

    On the other hand, I think there are times where I feel really proud. Like, I will call my mom back home, and I will be like, you will not believe — this kid doesn’t know how to do their own laundry. How do you go so long without knowing how to do your own laundry? And I just feel really proud because I know how to take care of myself, right, and that’s something that my family has taught me to do.

    DESTIN SISEMORE: In some ways, I’m privileged as a first gen student because I’m white. But class privilege is a different issue.

    I didn’t want to paint myself as being different from other students. That’s a hard thing to admit. Being first gen and being gay means that I’m coming from a background that a lot of students aren’t. I had to get a job on campus pretty quickly. The university bought me a suit junior year because I did have to do these interviews and I didn’t have access to the money to buy that suit.

    Literally, whether or not you get the job could depend on how well your clothes fit you. And it’s really a hard ordeal to approach that, to be confident, and to be able to speak on the same degree that everything else is speaking. And you need to be comfortable with how you look.

    ANAMARIA MENESES-LEON: When I compare myself with students with Brown, sometimes, I get angry at them if they complain about being really busy. And I know that everyone is really busy here.

    I think, like, well, they don’t work. They’re busy like improving their resume, you know? My first job was actually working as a food server in the student dining services. While I was making salads, my dorm mates were in the sciences library finishing out their problem sets for chemistry.

    I’m originally from Columbia. My family moved here when I was 6. If I’m like to trying to conceal my first gen identity, I don’t mention work. I don’t mention my family life, really. If they ask me where I’m from, I say New Jersey, because New Jersey — like, anyone can be from New Jersey.

    Sometimes, I avoid telling professors about my background, because I just don’t want to seem like a burden and I don’t want them to pity me, because I think I’m really capable. So I often just act as if I’m just like any other student that goes here.

    STANLEY STEWART: 1vyG started a project between friends who wanted to explore what it meant to be first generation college students. It actually is pretty surprising to see how much 1vyG has grown now to this conference that’s spanning all across the Ivy League.

    The one thing I really hope that people get out of the conference is the feeling that they’re not alone, because they aren’t.

    JENNIFER TELSCHOW: I remember the first time I told my mom about the job that I got on campus. I was making around 14, $15 an hour. And she was just so shocked that I was already making what she took years to be able to make.

    LILIANA SAMPEDRO: For the most part, I am proud that I’m a first generation student. My grandma, I learned, is illiterate. So knowing just like how far my family has come from that is very, very humbling.

    STANLEY STEWART: Ever since I was a freshman, I have been saving up to be able to afford my mom’s plane ticket here. None of my family has ever been able to afford to visit Brown. And so probably the only time that they will be on the campus is when I graduate. I don’t know if everyone has to think about their life in college that way.

    MANDEEP SINGH: It’s a reality that these institutions were created by white people and created for white people at the time. And so white privilege, yes, it does exist. But now, when you have a lot of people of color, a lot of first gen folk coming into these schools in large numbers, that privilege is being challenged.

    TRAVIS REGINAL: What makes me most proud of being a first generation college student definitely has to be the empathy I have, which is one of the big issues in America, is that there is an empathy gap. And I think puts me in a position unique to kind of push for a lot of change that needs to happen.

    The post Will conflict with Venezuela hurt U.S. goals for Americas summit? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And Margaret joins me now.

    Margaret, welcome.

    So, what should we expect tomorrow, when the summit gets under way in Panama?

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, originally, the White House hoped this would be a victory lap for President Obama, given the openings to Cuba. And they were frank, in fact, when the opening was announced last December that, yes, it was done on its own merits, by the timing was driven by this summit.

    The last summit was hijacked once again by all these other countries objecting to the fact the U.S. kept Cuba out. And they said, we have got  a big agenda to work with these countries and we want to get that out of the way, clear out that underbrush.

    And so they really thought that he would wave a — he would ride in on a wave of good feeling, also because of his order about protecting a lot of undocumented aliens, which was — immigrants — which was very controversial here, is wildly popular in Latin America.

    But then they kind of stepped in it the way they handled this slapping sanctions on the seven Venezuelan officials.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Why was that considered a blunder, and could it do real harm to what they’re trying to do?

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, Judy, originally, it was done under pressure from the Hill. And, in fact, the actual sanctions were first announced the day after the Cuba announcement with not a peep.

    But then there was terrible repression going on in Venezuela of dissidents and opposition. And as the new year rolled on, the mayor of Caracas was arrested on sedition charges. A 14-year-old boy was killed by a police officer. And people like Robert Menendez, who of course is no longer chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, but had been, Marco Rubio, who are very opposed to the Cuban opening, said, you are just abandoning human rights. Where is the implementation order?

    It’s in that order with that language about a grave security threat to the United States that made all these Latin America countries — it smacked of the old justification for U.S. sort of imperialist meddling in Latin America, whether it’s supporting coups against communist governments, supporting the Contras against leftist governments.

    And so a lot of the countries of Latin America, they may not agree on everything, from how to run your economy to human rights, but one thing they agree on, they don’t like to being treated by the United States as being in their backyard.

    And so far from having the presidents of all these countries come down hard on Maduro for what’s going on, they all rallied around him. They are counting — they expect a stunt, they expect a stunt, maybe the presenting of petitions. But they are counting on these other countries who do need the United States now more than ever and the president of Panama, who wants a successful summit, to kind of keep Maduro in a box and not let him hijack the whole summit.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you about Cuba.

    MARGARET WARNER: Yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s, what, been four months since Presidents Obama and Castro announced that they wanted to normalize relations, but since then, not much tangible has happened. Why is that?

    MARGARET WARNER: Yes.

    Well, the two presidents may have agreed in terms of national interest that this is a good idea. And negotiations — they have had three big sessions, all conducted at a very high level, an assistant secretary of state here and a foreign minister in Cuba, and apparently gone very well, with not a lot of overheated rhetoric and all of that.

    But that doesn’t mean the bureaucracies are on board, particularly the Cuban bureaucracy. And so Cuba also insisted that before they’re ready to let the U.S. take the sign down that says U.S. intersection or put up a U.S. Embassy, that they want off this list, which only has Sudan, Syria and Iran on it. It’s an old hangover from the ’80s, when…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Countries that sponsor terrorism.

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, and Cuba had supported a lot of leftist guerrilla movements. But it’s really inappropriate.

    So, but the U.S. has some demands too. And one of them is that its diplomats be able to operate, not have to get clearance to leave Havana, be able to meet with dissidents, the dissidents are free to come in the embassy. So, it’s just taking a little bit longer.

    And I think that’s one reason why if Presidents Obama and Castro meet at this meeting sort of separately on the sidelines, a bilat, it will be to try to move this along.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, finally, Margaret and very quickly, with all the things going on in the world, with people worried about ISIS, we have been talking about Iran, Americans watching this, watch the summit, some are saying, why should we care so much about what happens in the Americas?

    MARGARET WARNER: Yes. Well, and it’s a good question, Judy, because it’s not a pressing and urgent problem.

    But the fact is, if you took Latin America as a whole — and, of course, it’s not like the E.U. — it’s not unified — it is the fastest growing U.S. trading partner actually out there in the world. Now, it starts from a very low base.

    Secondly, the fact that it doesn’t have nuclear weapons, it isn’t a hotbed of terrorism, it is a huge potential asset to have a very friendly and cooperative region right to the south, just as we have with Canada to the north.

    And there have been — they also want — the U.S. would like to have more cooperation on combating organized crime and smuggling networks. And there has been — U.S. intel has picked up some interests from Middle Eastern terrorists, saying, gee, isn’t it interesting there are all these tunnels that go from Latin America into the U.S.?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.

    MARGARET WARNER: So there are a lot of reasons to treat this as an asset.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we’re going to be watching. I know you are going to be watching it in the coming days.

    MARGARET WARNER: Yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Margaret Warner, thank you.

    MARGARET WARNER: My pleasure.

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    samedaydelivery

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s turn to a story that shows how apps and the tech economy are delivering a jolt to the traditional world of retail, with the growth of same-day delivery. It’s on the rise in a number of metro areas. And just today, Amazon announced a plan to expand these services into Austin, Texas.

    Our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, looks at this changing business model and the questions around it.

    It’s part of our ongoing reporting Making Sense, which airs every Thursday on the NewsHour.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The much ballyhooed courier of the future and, according to the Amazon, the near future, the home delivery drone.

    Now, package transport technology has been speeding up for quite some time, from the mule to the railroad to the Pony Express to Federal Express. But suddenly there’s an explosion of same-day or sooner delivery ventures. In December, Amazon premiered Prime Now, a new perk of the $99-a-year prime subscription. In four cities and counting, one-hour delivery costs $8. Wait two hours, and you pay nothing. Next to launch? Drone delivery. Get your package within minutes.

    And where Amazon rushes in, Google fears not to tread.

    MAN: Hi, Mr. Brandon, Google Express.

    MAN: Hi.

    MAN: There you go.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Google Express same-day delivers items from dozens of retailers like Toys ‘R’ Us, Costco, and Walgreens in six cities. What’s the hurry?

    To Google’s Brian Elliott, it’s just the pace of modern living.

    BRIAN ELLIOTT, Google: It used to be that waiting seven or 10 days was fine. Increasingly, people’s expectations are that they will get faster and freer delivery.

    MAN: Great. Thanks.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, maybe I should pick up the pace. Freer doesn’t mean free. You can pay Google as you go $5 an order or a $95 annual subscription fee, and also at your speedy service, startups like Instacart, which delivers groceries. Postmates provides food and coffee in an instant, or, if you need a stiffer drink, Ultra will bring booze in an hour.

    PRAV SARAFF, Owner, 1 West Dupont Circle Wines & Spirits: These are customers that we may or may not otherwise see. So, we look at it as all additional business.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Owner of 1 West Dupont Circle Wines & Spirits in Washington, D.C., says his business has grown each month since he started fulfilling orders for Ultra last summer. He pays Ultra a 7.5 percent commission on each order, passes some of the cost to the customer.

    PRAV SARAFF: It’s a $50 minimum for an order and a $5 delivery charge. The reason for that is, let’s say you want two six-packs of Miller Lite. Even if you’re willing to pay me $5 to deliver that to you, I will end up losing money because, A, opportunity costs. My driver could be making other deliveries that are more profitable. And, B, it costs money to have him go over there, to have him park. And I’m paying him for his salary. So at that point, I’m losing money on the transaction.

    DAPHNE CARMELI, Founder, Deliv: Every retailer today has to respond to the threat of Amazon.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Three years ago, Daphne Carmeli founded Deliv, a crowdsource service which uses a network of average Joe and Jane drivers in eight cities to deliver for 250 retailers and six mall operators whose very existence is now threatened by the same-day giants.

    DAPHNE CARMELI: It’s providing a way for all the Macy’s, the Bloomingdale’s, the Foot Lockers, the Nordstrom’s an ability to really what I call out-Amazon Amazon. You can buy something and rather than have that item shipped to you in California from a distribution center in Atlanta, Macy’s can identify that that item is available in a store two miles away from your house. Our driver comes picks it up and delivers it to you.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Deliv’s business model? To be the UberX of same-day delivery.

    DAPHNE CARMELI: I don’t own warehouses. I don’t own trucks. I don’t pay for drivers I don’t use. I don’t buy inventory.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So Leslie Gibbons, for instance, drives only when a delivery is needed, earns up to $20 an hour, according to the company. She considered driving for Lyft or Uber, but:

    LESLIE GIBBON, Deliv Driver: It’s nice to have packages vs. people in my car. I love people, but it’s much more relaxing to be driving on my own.

    KIM HOLLAND: Hello.

    LESLIE GIBBONS: Hello.

    PAUL SOLMAN: As for customers like Kim Holland, well, she paid $5 to have Deliv bring the present she ordered for a friend on Macy’s.com to her door.

    KIM HOLLAND: A lot of times, I don’t have time to go to the store or I don’t have time to wait for Fed Ex. And so this is much more convenient and it’s much more reliable.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, yes, it appears there are customers for instant delivery.

    BRENDAN WITCHER, Forrester Research: If you ask consumers if they want same-day delivery, 29 percent of them say that they do.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But few people can or will pay for it, says e-commerce analyst Brendan Witcher.

    BRENDAN WITCHER: End of the day, same-day delivery only works if enough customers are willing to pay for that service. And we just don’t see that happening. The fact of the matter is, it’s not needed most of the time.

    I mean, sure, if I’m a parent and I need some diapers — we can call imagine that situation — or maybe some medicine for my child, but do I really a salad spinner, do I really need a toaster that fast? Do I need that shirt right now? No, probably not.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Witcher notes that reports of the death of brick and mortar are greatly exaggerated; 90 percent of shopping, he says, is still done in person.

    BRENDAN WITCHER: Customers like to go to the store. If it’s close enough for you to be delivered same day, it’s close enough for you to go get it.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Indeed, eBay put the brakes on its service last year. Its customers just weren’t that interested. The U.S. Postal Service’s Metro Post pilot program in San Francisco failed due to low participation.

    But the USPS hasn’t given up. After all, its traditional business, first-class mail, is dying. Package delivery may be its last great hope.

    New York City Postmaster Elvin Mercado:

    ELVIN MERCADO: We need the assistance of the package services to continue to grow to help us be sustainable.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Sure, same-day delivery is not exactly new to New York City. But the Postal Service they already have the trucks and the carriers in place to help even more stores and Web sites provide quick delivery.

    Jesse Garrett runs the pilot program.

    JESSE GARRETT, U.S. Postal Service: We were able to deliver about 97 percent of the packages that people ordered today this evening.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, what are you delivering same day here in New York City?

    JESSE GARRETT: Children’s clothes, medicines, electronics as well, and, sometimes, of course, we don’t know what’s inside the package at all.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The Postal Service says they have signed up 20 to 30 local retailers in New York, among them beauty and hair care store Ricky’s. Order something here by 2:00, and for $6, a Metro Post courier will deliver it to your door by the end of the day.

    What are the most popular same-day items here?

    MAN: I would say nail polish.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Well, I actually don’t wear nail polish, but why would anybody need nail polish on the same day?

    MAN: I couldn’t give you the reason. All I can tell you is that I can get it there the same day if they need it. Whether it’s nail polish or mascara, we have to get it to them.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, will same-day delivery rescue the post office? Will Amazon’s investments and ever-faster delivery pay off? The company even holds a patent for anticipatory delivery, which would predict future orders and prepare them for delivery before a purchases is even made.

    The answer will depend on how many customers feel the need for speed and are willing to pay for it.

    This is economics correspondent Paul Solman for the PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, discussed these issues today in Washington, and sat down with me this afternoon.

    Christine Lagarde, thank you for talking with us.

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund: Great pleasure.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: One of your main messages today is that global economic growth is — yes, it’s growing, but it’s not enough, it’s not as fast as you would like to see it.

    And you went so far as to say growth in the near term is going to be pared down. What did you mean by that, and why is that happening?

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Today’s growth indicates that recovery is under way, and, unfortunately, it is too moderate and uneven. That’s for the short-term.

    But what we are also seeing is that the growth potential, that is growth for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, has been seriously affected by the scars of the financial crisis, by something that we can’t do anything about, which is the aging of population, and by a very low productivity.

    So what we risk is the new mediocre to become reality. And it can be avoided. It can be avoided if the right measures are taken on the macroeconomy front, on the financial stability front and in terms of structural reforms to the economy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I also want to ask you about the aging population. You said…

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE: That, we can’t do much about.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: That you can’t do much about — is that right? Is that really one where you just hope it gets better?

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE: You know, the overall global population will grow.

    The point I was trying to make is that, in the advanced economies and in some of the largest emerging market economies, like China, for instance, population is aging, and it is those countries that can unleash the most growth. A country like Japan, population is not growing. It’s aging. Yet there is a huge working force potential that is untapped at the moment, the women.

    So what I’m saying is that you and I will age. We can’t stop that. But measures can be taken by policy-makers to bring more people to the job markets, where it will unleash value.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we can’t talk about Europe, which we have been talking about, in part, without talking about Greece. You got a much watched-for payment, the IMF did today, from Greece.

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Were you relieved?

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE: I was told by the finance minister, whom I saw on Sunday Easter, that payment will be made. And payment has been made. So that is good.

    What I’m most concerned about is that the rest of our conversation be also implemented, that is, we activate and accelerate the dialogue, the discussions of the reforms that the Greek authorities proposed to do in order to reach the objectives of the contract that they have with the European partners.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, that’s what I want to ask you about, because we know Greece, even as it makes this payment, is in the throes of some enormous economic and social and political turmoil still, high unemployment, 25 percent. These austerity measures have been imposed. Capital is leaving the country. I saw the number $25 billion worth.

    Is the — what is the IMF doing, if anything, to ease up on some of the austerity that’s been imposed on Greece?

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE: You know, for the Greek economy, most of the difficult fiscal measures have been taken, so much so that the country, in 2014, most likely, and we hope in 2015, will deliver a fiscal surplus.

    But what is badly needed and has not been implemented over the last few years is in-depth structural reforms to unleash the potential of the Greek economy, to unclog the product and service market, and to give access to jobs to the young people.

    I will give you an example. Baby milk is only sold in pharmacies. There isn’t a particular reason for that. It was tried. Retail market could sell it for a little while, prices went down. It reverted quickly back to the pharmacies. This is not a good idea.

    Transportation is highly, highly regulated and prevents access to new players and newcomers. The pension system is doomed to weigh so heavily on the Greek economy that it will not be sustainable. It has to be reformed.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And just very quickly, for those Americans who are watching and saying, wait a minute, this is an ocean away, it doesn’t really affect us, what’s the answer?

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE: I think the world is so interconnected, that instability in any corner of the world is going to affect all the other corners. And we all have an interest in stability, in predictability, in confidence-building, rather than risk of instability.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Another issue that I want to ask you about is one I know is going to be discussed next week, and that is the move by China to create a new bank to fund infrastructure projects in developing countries, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

    I know you were diplomatic in your remarks about it today, but there are those who are looking at this and saying, this represents potentially something that could undercut the IMF, the World Bank. Do you share those worries?

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE: I actually don’t, because the IMF is not in the business of financing infrastructure. This is not what we were set up for 70 years ago.

    Our mission is financial stability. So we don’t compete at all with the activity intended by the AIIB. But, you know, it’s an initiative that will fund infrastructure. And if it is done efficiently, projects well-selected, countries’ growth lifted, it’s good for the global economy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And for those who say that this may be — should be a wakeup call to the United States that the days of American economic preeminence may be coming to an end because of this kind of thing that the Chinese can pull off, and dozens of other countries that even American allies are now joining, signing on to this bank?

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Well, this is a new economic landscape. We’re no longer in a situation where China was a low-income country, developing economy, and the same goes for many other emerging markets.

    So with the new landscape, the United States remains the largest economic power in the world. And the United States has to play its role and has to exercise its leadership. For instance, it is my main shareholder, yet it doesn’t ratify the reform that it itself engineered in order to reduce the representation of the Europeans and increase the representation of the emerging market economies, to strengthen the IMF, which is a tool of stability.

    So I very much hope that the United States will actually deliver on its leadership commitment.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And that was a decision by the United States Congress. And it helped to lead to China’s decision to create this bank.

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE: It may have been in the back of the mind of Chinese authorities. I don’t know what the process was, but it’s certainly in the hands of the U.S. authorities, Congress and the executive, to actually implement the leadership that is so much needed.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, thank you.

    CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Thank you.

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    lagarde

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The global economy may be stuck in a long period of low growth and high unemployment, a period you might even call the new mediocre.

    That was the message delivered today by one of the world’s key players in finance and development, the head of the International Monetary Fund. It was a call to action, and a warning for countries to act, especially in one region of particular concern, the Eurozone.

    Europe is now a continent climbing its way out of recession. For some, especially Britain and Germany, it’s happening faster. But, in France, growth at the end of last year was stagnant, and tensions have spilled into the street. Thousands of people marched today against public spending cuts and austerity measures.

    FRANCOIS LAPORTE (through interpreter): I think the people who are protesting in Greece, in Spain, and here in France, they are right. We’re right to not agree with austerity and with everything we have been made to go through only to make the bosses and the bankers rich.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Greece, that sentiment is felt even more deeply, with unemployment still at 25 percent, despite deep cuts in public spending. The country has had to rely on $280 billion in bailouts from the European Union and the IMF.

    Today, the new anti-austerity government in Athens eased concerns that it might default and paid back close to $500 million. Still, Greece will be the focus of high-level meetings at the IMF in Washington next week.

    Another major topic up for discussion, the Chinese-led creation of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. So far, 35 countries have signed on, but the U.S. is not one of them. That’s led to questions about the United States’ status in the global economy and the role of the International Monetary Fund.

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    Meeting in Tehran

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: For more on the statements from the supreme leader and how they should be interpreted, I’m joined now by Ray Takeyh. He was a senior adviser on Iran at the State Department until 2009. And Alireza Nader, he’s a senior international policy analyst at the RAND Corporation.

    Welcome back to the NewsHour, both of you.

    ALIREZA NADER, RAND Corporation: Good to be here.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Ali Nader, let me start with you. What do you make of these comments from the supreme leader? We have waited now a week to hear from him. What do you think?

    ALIREZA NADER: Well, he’s broken his silence, for sure, and made some very aggressive remarks.

    But I think, when you look at Khamenei, he’s been reluctant to own these negotiations. He has said along…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean all along?

    ALIREZA NADER: Yes, all along, he said, I will support the negotiators, but I’m very doubtful the United States is going to come through, and we can’t trust the United States.

    And so I think he’s hedging his bets. You know, during his speech, he said, I don’t agree or disagree with what we have because nothing has happened yet, we’re not at the final agreement.

    And so I think he’s just playing a political game and trying to keep everybody in Iran happy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Playing a game, hedging his bets? Ray Takeyh, what do you say?

    RAY TAKEYH, Former State Department Official: It may be true, but it’s an unsettling speech in a number of ways.

    For one thing, he suggests that despite what people say, that the office of the supreme leader has been overseeing the details of these negotiations, that is not true, which raises questions, on whose behalf is Foreign Minister Zarif negotiating, if the boss doesn’t know the details and doesn’t seem to approve or disapprove of them at this point?

    And then he outlines terms for an agreement which are essentially contradicted by his own negotiators, namely the notion of comprehensive sanctions relief immediately and also an inspection regime that falls very much short of anticipations that have been raised regarding verification of this agreement.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, what contradiction are you referring to?

    RAY TAKEYH: Well, in a sense that he wants all sanctions lifted immediately in a comprehensive, categorical matter, and the day the agreement is signed, while everybody recognizes that at least there’s going to be some stages in terms of sanctions relief.

    And in terms of negotiation, in terms of verification, obviously, he excluded military and security institutions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And I want to ask you about that.

    Alireza, how do you — Nader — how do you read that, though, that he’s saying something that’s clearly the opposite or very different from what the U.S. has said about when the sanctions would be lifted? The U.S. is saying they would be gradually phased out.

    ALIREZA NADER: Well, I have a hard time believing that he doesn’t follow the details of the negotiations.

    He knows the foreign minister well. He’s worked with the president before, President Rouhani. These guys are working together. Just because he says something in public doesn’t mean that’s what’s really going on. He’s taking a political position.

    In terms of sanctions relief, yes, he wants the best deal for Iran, he wants sanctions relief up front. And the fact sheet released by the United States said, as long as Iran doesn’t comply with the agreement, it’s not going to meet sanctions relief.

    And Khamenei is trying to play good — bad cop, actually, to Rouhani’s good cop and see what he can get, if he can get more out of the deal.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Ray Takeyh, could that be it, bad cop/good cop on the part of him and President Rouhani?

    RAY TAKEYH: Well, I think this particular speech in some ways is not reinforcing, but undermining the negotiations, because it raises questions in everybody’s mind, does the final and most consequential decision-maker in Iran accept the terms of the agreements that are being negotiated?

    When previous negotiator Saeed Jalili spoke, you knew on whose behalf he was speaking. It’s unclear in this particular case if the gang in Geneva or wherever they may meet actually have the endorsement, support of the boss back home.

    So if this is good cop/bad cop — it may be, but I’m not sure how actually it reinforces the position of the negotiating team.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But you really do believe that the ayatollah could have been sitting and letting these negotiations go on for months, as long as they have gone on, without being aware?

    RAY TAKEYH: I find it hard to believe, particularly once Mr. Salehi joined the negotiating team, the head of Atomic Energy Organization, who is close to him.

    But in the past, he has taken positions that are contrary to the negotiating teams, like the 190,000 SWU speech that he gave that surprised his own negotiators. So, in the past, he has injected point of views in the diplomatic process which ran in contradiction to what being displayed by his own team.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Ali Nader, another point he made is that the — that Iran is going to — or, rather, that Iran — let me get this straight. I want to make sure I’m getting to the point that I wanted to get to — oh, that he ruled out what he called extraordinary supervision measures over Iran’s nuclear activities going forward.

    ALIREZA NADER: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How does that square with what President Obama has said, robust, intrusive inspections?

    ALIREZA NADER: Sure.

    Well, there is an issue of military bases. He doesn’t want Iran’s military bases inspected. He has said Iran has conventional military bases. It’s an issue of sovereignty. The United Nations inspected Iraq, and went into Saddam Hussein’s palaces. He doesn’t want that for Iran, because he thinks it’s an invasion of Iran’s sovereignty.

    The P5-plus-one wants Iran to answer a list of questions. It wants access to scientists, military bases. Again, can that be resolved? I think so. You know, if we look at the past year-and-a-half of negotiations, we have come very far. And I tend to see the situation as glass-half-full, rather than empty.

    From the very beginning, we had doubts whether Khamenei was going to go along. Over time, he has said that he supports the negotiations. And during this speech, he said, I wholeheartedly support them, but I just want to see what comes out of these negotiations.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But on the — and on the inspection point, Ray Takeyh, you see the ability to get that worked out?

    RAY TAKEYH: Well, that has been the problem ongoing between IAEA and Iran.

    For instance, IAEA wants access to the Parchin military base and is not given that. It wants completion of the work plan that was originally negotiated in 2006 and remains unfulfilled. The intrusive sanctions do have precedent. South Africa, for instance, when it essentially gave up its bomb, made its facilities available for inspection. Military bases are inspected in Brazil as part of additional protocols.

    So if he’s excluding an entire spectrum of institution, that’s very problematic for a verification regime, a verification regime that doesn’t have benefit of historical memory. Namely, there will be no disclosure of previous military activities as a prelude to constructing a verification system.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This is unfair to ask this as a very quick last question, but, in terms of Yemen, I talked to Secretary Kerry yesterday. He made it clear the U.S. is not going to tolerate Iran’s activities in — is aware and won’t tolerate Iran’s activities in Yemen.

    But, Ali Nader, so how much a priority is Yemen for Iran?

    ALIREZA NADER: It’s not a vital Iranian interest. Iran is busy in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon.

    Iran supports the Houthis who are fighting the Saudis as a way to really provoke the Saudis, to counter the Saudis. But I don’t think Iran is willing to go all out for the Houthis. You know, it sees them as a convenient tool, rather than a proxy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Quick last word.

    RAY TAKEYH: I think that’s largely correct, but this could get out of hand.

    As Saudis become more involved, Iranians become more involved, and you have a game of incremental escalation, before long, both parties can be involved in a region, in a country that’s not a national security priority for either one of them.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Ray Takeyh and Ali Nader, we thank you both.

    ALIREZA NADER: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, broke his silence today on last week’s nuclear framework agreement, revealing more splits in how Washington and Tehran are publicly describing the deal.

    All this comes as tensions over Yemen are escalating. The supreme leader finally weighed in on the nuclear deal one week after it was announced.

    AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, Supreme Leader, Iran (through interpreter): If you ask me if I support or oppose the nuclear agreement, I neither support it nor oppose it, because nothing has happened yet. Nothing has been done yet. The whole issue lies in the details that they are meant to discuss one by one.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: According to American officials, the framework agreement between Iran and six world powers calls for curbing the Islamic republic’s nuclear technology. In exchange, Tehran will get sanctions relief. Ali Khamenei insisted today that must happen when the deal is signed.

    Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, used different words on the timing.

    PRESIDENT HASSAN ROUHANI, Iran (through interpreter): We will not sign any agreement unless all economic sanctions are lifted at once, on the very first day of the implementation of the agreement.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: That could put Iran at odds with its negotiating partners, who have indicated sanctions would be lifted in phases.

    State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke repeated the point today.

    JEFF RATHKE, State Department Spokesman: The process of sanctions suspension or relief will only begin after Iran has completed its major nuclear steps. So that’s consistent with what we have said over the last week or so. And that was agreed upon by all the parties.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The talk surrounding Iran’s nuclear program comes amid questions about its role in the Yemen conflict. Shiite Houthis captured another provincial capital in Yemen today, even as Tehran again denied arming the rebels.

    But, in a NewsHour interview yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed the denials.

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: We’re well aware of the support that Iran has been giving to Yemen. And Iran needs to recognize that the United States is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized or while people engage in overt warfare across lines.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies have also intervened in Yemen with airstrikes against the rebels. Today, Iran’s Khamenei condemned the Saudi campaign as genocide.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: There were new demands for change today after the videotaped killing of a black man by a white policeman in South Carolina. North Charleston officer Michael Slager fired eight times at Walter Scott as he ran away.

    Slager is now charged with murder, and the NAACP called today for a federal investigation of the entire police force.

    DOT SCOTT, President, Charleston NAACP:
    When an officer at 9:30 in the morning on a Saturday feels comfortable enough in open space to fire and execute another citizen, and then boldly tamper with the evidence, that tells you there’s a culture here that it’s all right; nobody prior to me has ever been charged, so I probably won’t be either.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Later, authorities released Slager’s dashboard camera video. It showed Walter Scott getting out of his car after a traffic stop, and running away. Slager was cleared of excessive use of force in a 2013 incident. A police spokesman now says that case will be reviewed again.

    Thousands of U.S. veterans are still on long waiting lists for medical care a year after a scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Associated Press reported today the number of veterans waiting more than 30 to 60 days for an appointment has remained virtually unchanged. But cases delayed more than 90 days have nearly doubled.

    President Obama is calling for an end to so-called conversion therapy for gay, lesbian and transgender youth. It’s aimed at changing their orientation to heterosexual. In a White House statement last night, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said — quote — “Overwhelming scicybentific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm.”

    The French public broadcaster TV5Monde struggled to recover today from a major cyber-attack. Hackers who said they’re Islamic State supporters claimed responsibility. They blacked out 11 of the French network’s TV channels overnight. They also took control of its Web site and social media feeds, posting material protesting French military action in Iraq.

    YVES BIGOT, Director, TV5Monde: It’s been a very powerful cyber-attack, because we have very strong firewalls, and that have been checked very recently, and were said to be very safe. So, obviously, it’s a very knowledgeable and powerful cyber-attack.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Paris prosecutor’s office has now opened a terror investigation into the hacking.

    Back in this country, Wall Street managed to make up a little ground. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 56 points to close above 17950. The Nasdaq rose nearly 24 points, and the S&P 500 added nine.

    And this was the 150th anniversary of the key event in ending the Civil War. On April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Commander Ulysses S. Grant. It took place at Appomattox, Virginia, where Civil War reenactors staged mock battles today. The area is now part of a national historical park.

    The post News Wrap: NAACP calls for federal investigation of police force after shooting in South Carolina appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    It never fails. Whenever I venture onto a college campus — as I did last week at the College of William and Mary in Virginia — I am confronted with various versions of the same question.

    Photo by Sydney Mahan/William and Mary

    Photo by Sydney Mahan/William and Mary

    How, the students want to know, do I keep my opinions out of my journalism?

    I think they expect me to say it’s hard, that I wrestle with my conscience day and night. And I detect surprise in their expressions when I tell them it is actually quite simple. How can you learn what actually happened if your mind is not open enough to hear the answer?

    I am reminded of this every day. Journalists like to give themselves credit for being on the hunt for “the truth.” But if we embrace this undoubtedly noble but somewhat haughty interpretation of a calling, we inevitably become susceptible to slam dunk answers.

    I am not speaking here of opinion journalists, who should feel free to press their points of view. But I do admit, even with punditry, I am partial to those who back up their opinions with facts.

    There are many reasons for this. When a reporter spends six months investigating a story to prove something she has decided in advance is true — like say, that campus rape is a problem — we are inclined to believe her.

    The Rolling Stone article about campus rape that ignited a controversy over the magazine's editorial choices and credibility. The Columbia Journalism Review released the university's report on the Rolling Stone article Sunday evening.

    The Rolling Stone article about an alleged campus rape ignited a controversy over the magazine’s editorial choices and credibility.

    That is what happened with the Rolling Stone campus rape story that finally completely fell apart this week. The reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, freely admitted that she believed campus rape to be an epidemic, and set out to prove it in the most compelling way she could find.

    She found an alleged victim on an elite campus who told a lurid story of a gang rape at a fraternity party. Rolling Stone put the headline on its cover. Never mind that she could not prove it and didn’t appear in the end to try very hard.

    By closing her mind, by undertaking a campaign and ignoring all of the norms of sourcing and fact checking, she stumbled into a pit from which she may never emerge. I certainly would look askance at her future investigations.

    Why? Because she made up her conclusion first and crossed the line into non-journalistic advocacy. She decided what the truth was and figured the rest of us would climb on board. For awhile, we did.

    But sometimes, even apparent facts can be misleading too. The first official reports out of North Charleston, S.C., on Easter weekend appeared factual. A black man scuffled with a white police officer, threatened him, and was shot and killed in the ensuing altercation. The victim had a criminal history. The cop did not.

    No matter how suspicious the situation may seem to a nation still dealing with the after effects of similar confrontations in Ferguson, Cleveland and a half dozen other cities, there initially appeared no reason to question the official version of events.

    That’s until a videotape surfaced that made it essential to rethink the facts. The police chief said it made him sick to see the video, which, contrary to the first version of events, showed the officer shoot a fleeing suspect, handcuff his motionless body and apparently attempt to plant a Taser nearby. The policeman was charged with murder and kicked off the force.

    It should be said, we still don’t know the whole truth here. A forensic investigation must still be conducted, and that’s why courts of law exist.

    But the video, shot by a bystander on a smartphone, reminded us of the danger of snap decisions.

    Truth, is in fact, an elusive concept. It depends almost entirely on where you are standing at the time. It is a human instinct to confuse belief with truth.

    The best journalists can do is try to scrub our inbred biases (we all have them) by asking more questions. All the time. Every time. This is nearly impossible to do if you have already decided you know the answer.

    So, I tell the students, I do not find it hard to keep myself out of a story — no matter how shocking or upsetting — because I train myself to never stop asking questions. What’s the worst thing that can happen if we keep asking?

    That we finally, eventually, get past belief to truth?

    The post Gwen’s Take: Truth, justice and the American way appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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