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- 05/05/15--15:40: _Was the Islamic Sta...
- 05/05/15--15:45: _Investigators quest...
- 05/05/15--15:50: _News Wrap: Attorney...
- 05/05/15--17:57: _Computer scientists...
- 05/06/15--09:16: _Kerry hopes to win ...
- 05/06/15--09:26: _Germanwings co-pilo...
- 05/06/15--10:45: _Production Assistan...
- 05/06/15--11:18: _Oxford English Dict...
- 05/06/15--13:03: _Tom Brady ‘generall...
- 05/06/15--14:20: _How smugglers move ...
- 05/06/15--15:15: _Why U.S. rules aren...
- 05/06/15--15:20: _Does vaping save sm...
- 05/06/15--15:25: _Why Starbucks is of...
- 05/06/15--15:30: _What Deflategate me...
- 05/06/15--15:35: _Why the UK election...
- 05/06/15--15:40: _Cameron and Miliban...
- 05/06/15--15:45: _Will water-wasting ...
- 05/06/15--15:50: _News Wrap: Baltimor...
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- 05/07/15--11:43: _Whole Foods to woo ...
- 05/05/15--15:40: Was the Islamic State group really behind the attack in Texas?
- 05/05/15--15:50: News Wrap: Attorney General Lynch pledges help to Baltimore
- 05/05/15--17:57: Computer scientists prove 80s music is boring
- 05/06/15--09:16: Kerry hopes to win pause in Yemen war as he heads to talks
- 05/06/15--09:26: Germanwings co-pilot tested descent settings on previous flight
- 05/06/15--10:45: Production Assistant – Editorial or Segment Unit
- 05/06/15--13:03: Tom Brady ‘generally aware’ of deflated footballs, NFL report finds
- 05/06/15--14:20: How smugglers move black market ivory on Craigslist
- 05/06/15--15:15: Why U.S. rules aren’t stopping illegal ivory trade at home
- 05/06/15--15:20: Does vaping save smokers or create new nicotine addicts?
- 05/06/15--15:25: Why Starbucks is offering workers a college education, hold the debt
- 05/06/15--15:30: What Deflategate means for Tom Brady’s legacy
- 05/06/15--15:35: Why the UK elections matter to the United States
- 05/06/15--15:45: Will water-wasting penalties help California conserve?
- 05/06/15--15:50: News Wrap: Baltimore mayor asks for federal review of police
JUDY WOODRUFF: Separately, there is heightened security in New York City tonight, as the French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” receives an award from a writers group for courage and freedom of expression. Twelve people were killed in January when gunmen attacked the magazine for printing cartoons with the image of Mohammed.
To take a close look at threats here at home, we turn to Juan Zarate, former deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism under President George W. Bush.
Juan Zarate, welcome back to the program.
JUAN ZARATE, Former Deputy National Security Advisor: Thank you, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Islamic State claiming responsibility. Do you believe they are responsible?
JUAN ZARATE: Well, it depends on how you define responsibility, because it’s clear that the Islamic State is inspiring actors around the world to fly their banner and to attack, including in Western capitals.
The real question for counterterrorism authorities though is, are they actually directing these kinds of attacks, and is there evidence that they actually deployed these two individuals to attack? I think the working theory now is that this is more about inspiration than direction, but I think we will have to see how the facts play out and what the investigation brings.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Why is that the working theory?
JUAN ZARATE: Well, I think the sense is that these are two individuals who had been in the United States for some time, of course, hadn’t perhaps traveled to train in Syria and Iraq.
No evidence that these are foreign fighters of the type that we worry about being trained and then deployed back, but there is a concern, Judy, and we have seen this with the use of social media by the Islamic State, that there could be peer-to-peer direction. We have seen this in the context of recruitment, the recent case of the Somali-Americans traveling to Syria, being pulled by one of their compatriots.
You could have the reverse work as well. You could have the Islamic State using social media to actually direct attacks in a strategic way. And it’s the pervasiveness of both the information environment we’re in and the strategic calculus that these individuals are engaged in. They could pick a target like this they know is ripe for attack, with Geert Wilders, this prime target for assassination by extremists. They know that this is a target that could have strategic impact.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what does this mean for counterterrorism, the folks who work in counterterrorism in the U.S. for authorities? How do they know where to direct their resources and what to focus on?
JUAN ZARATE: Well, Judy, it’s a huge challenge.
And Director Comey, director of the FBI, has said they have investigations in all 50 states around suspect individuals who may be inspired by groups like the Islamic State to attack in place. You have the problem that the Islamic State and al-Qaida still is trying to inspire actors and individuals to attack where they are, perhaps not even to travel to Syria or Afghanistan.
And the reality is that you’re never quite sure when someone like these two actors may be animated by a particular event, a particular activity. And so, for law enforcement authorities, it’s about prevention and prediction, and that’s incredibly hard when you don’t have clear markers of activity.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, how much do events like this one — I mean, we talked about how authorities in Texas spent months getting ready for this event over the weekend in — near Dallas, and, then, as we mentioned, there is an event tonight in New York honoring the work of “Charlie Hebdo.”
Do authorities just naturally then have to worry about every — every event like this?
JUAN ZARATE: I think they do now, Judy. I think the reality is, we’re in an ideological battle, as well as a terrorism threat environment, where these kinds of events, where freedom of speech is being advocated, rightfully, also present a ripe target for extremists who know that they have particular types of targets they want to hit, particular messages that they want to send with the types of attacks they engage in.
And so the environment is very much ripe for these kinds of events and attacks, where individuals just by the environment itself understand where they need to attack. They don’t need to be deployed by Baghdadi or Ayman al-Zawahri. They know what kinds of attacks are appropriate and the kinds of attacks that they want to engage in.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, does this mean folks in counterterrorism have to be literally rewriting the playbook every day?
JUAN ZARATE: I think that’s right.
I think the threat is more diverse geographically, more diverse in terms of nationalities. You have Somali-Americans going to Syria. You have North African Frenchmen going to Yemen. And you have all of these threats emerging in very different ways with these groups trying to inspire individuals in small cells to attack in place.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Juan Zarate, we thank you once again.
JUAN ZARATE: Thank you, Judy.
The post Was the Islamic State group really behind the attack in Texas? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now the latest on the weekend shootings in Garland, Texas.
Two attackers were killed there Sunday outside an exhibit and contest of cartoons considered offensive by many Muslims. Today, a major militant group weighed in.
The post on their radio Web site was the first time the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack on U.S. soil.
MAN (through interpreter): Two soldiers of the Islamic caliphate carried out an attack on a drawing exhibition in Garland, Texas, in America showing insulting drawings of the prophet. And we tell America that what is coming will be even more bitter and harder.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But investigators questioned any direct connection between the militant group and the shooters in Texas. The White House echoed that caution today.
JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary: This is still under investigation by the FBI and other members of the intelligence community to determine any ties or affiliations that these two individuals may have had with ISIL or other terror organizations around the world, so it’s too early to say at this point.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What is known is that the two gunmen were American Muslims living in Arizona. They wounded a security guard outside the Garland, Texas, event center before a policeman shot and killed both of them. One of the attackers, Elton Simpson, had been convicted of lying to the FBI in a terror investigation in 2011.
Kristina Sitton was his defense lawyer.
KRISTINA SITTON, Simpson’s lawyer: I never saw any indications that he was violent. I always saw the peaceful side of him. We would be meeting for hours at a time, and he would ask if he could — if there was an office where he could go and pray.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The second gunman, Nadir Soofi, lived at the same apartment complex as Simpson in Phoenix. His mother spoke today in Houston.
SHARON SOOFI, Gunman’s mother: He’s an intelligent kid. I mean, but to be convinced to do something like this is beyond — it’s just beyond me.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, a group of Islamists in Pakistan held a memorial service for Simpson and Soofi today. A cleric said the two men should be praised as martyrs.
The post Investigators question connection between Texas shooters and Islamic State appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: President Obama nominated U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford Jr. to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today. Dunford commanded U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan in 2013 and 2014. And he’s had a meteoric rise through the ranks.
In the Rose Garden, the president said he’s been extraordinarily impressed.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I know Joe. I trust him. He’s already proven his ability to give me his unvarnished military advice based on his experience on the ground. Under his steady hand, we have achieved key milestones, including transition to Afghan responsibility for security, historic Afghan elections, and the drawdown of U.S. forces.
GWEN IFILL: If confirmed by the Senate, Dunford will be the second Marine to chair the Joint Chiefs.
JUDY WOODRUFF: U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch promised federal help today to Baltimore, as it considers the training of its police force. Lynch visited the city to meet with students and religious and political leaders. She also met with police officials and with the family of Freddie Gray. His death sparked riots in the city last week. Six police officers have now been charged in the case.
GWEN IFILL: Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has entered the Republican presidential race for 2016. He made the announcement today in his hometown of Hope, Arkansas, and played up his economic populism.
FORMER GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) Arkansas: Ninety-three million Americans don’t have jobs, and many of them who do have seen their full-time job with benefits they once had become two part-time jobs with no benefits at all.
We were promised hope, but it was just talk, and now we need the kind of change that really could get America from hope to higher ground.
GWEN IFILL: Huckabee has run for the Republican nomination before, in 2008, with a strong appeal to social conservatives. He’s the sixth candidate to join the GOP field for 2016.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In Nepal, search teams kept digging in a mudslide that buried an entire village in last month’s earthquake. The site is on a popular trekking route. This video, from an American mountain biker, captured the instant the quake struck. A moment later, a torrent of earth crashed down on the trail and the bike. The rider survived, but the quake’s overall death toll has now surpassed 7,500.
GWEN IFILL: The Mediterranean Sea is the site of yet another disaster involving European-bound migrants. The humanitarian group Save the Children reports dozens of people drowned Sunday as their dinghy deflated. That’s based on survivor accounts. The Associated Press obtained video of the rescue. It shows people frantically climbing ropes to a cargo ship. Others grasped for lifesavers.
JUDY WOODRUFF: For the first time, a U.S. secretary of state has set foot in Somalia. John Kerry today sought to bolster efforts against Al-Shabaab militants who are allied with al-Qaida. Kerry met with Somalia’s president at the heavily guarded Mogadishu Airport, and he invoked Black Hawk Down, when dead American soldiers were dragged through the streets in 1993.
JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: As everybody knows, more than 20 years ago, the United States was forced to pull back from this country, and now we’re returning in collaboration with our international community and with high hopes, mixed obviously with ongoing concerns.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Kerry also talked of taking steps toward reopening a U.S. mission in Somalia.
GWEN IFILL: Lawmakers in France today moved toward legalizing broad surveillance of terror suspects. The Lower House of Parliament approved the bill and sent it to the French Senate, over the opposition of civil liberty groups. The bill gained momentum after Islamist militants killed 17 people in Paris in January.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, the State Department announced new rewards to track down four top leaders of the Islamic State group. The government will pay, collectively, up to $20 million for information on their whereabouts.
GWEN IFILL: The city of Los Angeles is accusing Wells Fargo Bank of pressing its workers to open unauthorized accounts, and charge customers bogus fees. The Los Angeles Times reports the city has filed a civil suit to stop the practices and impose financial penalties. Wells Fargo blames rogue employees and says they have been disciplined or fired.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And on Wall Street, stocks sank after word that the trade deficit hit a six-year high in March. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 140 points to close back near 17900. The Nasdaq fell 77 points, and the S&P 500 slid 25. Also today, oil closed above $60 a barrel in New York, for the first time since December.
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“Pop music is dead.” You’ve heard the refrain dropped by nostalgic music lovers at backyard barbecues. And it’s no surprise. Everyone thinks the tunes of their generation marked a sort of cultural pinnacle and that music has since become bland.
But they’re wrong, according to a new computer program that has systematically charted the evolution of popular music. By treating each hit song like a fossil, the London-based research team found that America’s mainstream music has remained stylistically diverse over the last 50 years, with one decade as an exception: the 1980s. The research was published on Tuesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
The algorithm also spots the three years that inspired the most creativity in musical composition and shows that certain musical characteristics often attributed to the Beatles and the Rolling Stone actually predated these bands. (More on that below.)
“The work is far and away the most comprehensive and sophisticated analysis yet of popular music,” said University of Reading evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel, who studies trends in human culture and wasn’t involved in the research. “Many commentators attempt to link eras of pop music to social and political changes, but this program does not rely on preconceptions. Rather it allows patterns to emerge from [musical] data.”
The researchers relied on Billboard’s Hot-100 list, the music industry’s tome that ranks the most popular singles by radio plays, online streaming and record sales. (They define pop music as any song that makes that list, regardless of genre.) The team downloaded nearly every song on this chart dating back to 1960 –- close to 17,000 total tracks.
The computer program scanned each tune for two features: harmony and timbre. Harmonies are the musical chords that define a song’s melody. Timbre (pronounced tamber) describes the character of music, the quality of tone. For instance, a piano and a guitar can play the same chord, but they sound different to the ear. Timbre is the word for that audio difference.
Next, after deciphering the harmonic and timbre qualities, the team built a “fossil record” of pop music, defined by when certain chords and timbre styles became fashionable or disappeared from our cultural consciousness.
For instance, they spotted the death of dominant 7th chords, which were a staple of jazz in the 1960s. The use of these chords gave a shade of gritty tension to Blues music and were featured in tracks by Elvis Presley, such as “I Feel So Bad.”
“We see in the ‘60s that the charts were filled with dominant 7th chords, but then they decline and never come back to life,” said lead author and computer scientist Matthias Mauch of Queen Mary University of London. “Other features rose into the charts, such as minor chords in funk, soul and eventually disco.”
On the timbre side of evolution, energetic, loud guitar peaked in 1966, and again in 1985 as hair bands like Motley Crue topped the charts and then once more in recent years. Another example: music laden with pianos and orchestras dipped in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but resurged at the turn of the millenium. Thanks Vanessa Carlton!
Next, the songs were sorted into subgenres via tags created by the 50 million users of Last.fm, a UK-based music discovery website. (Mauch was working at Last.fm in 2010 when he began to study the evolution of pop music with biologist Armand Leroi).
The team then tracked how diversity – the number of styles within pop music – changed over time. They found that pop music mimicked how life evolved on Earth.
“Original formulations by Charles Darwin assumed a constant rate of evolution, where everything changes in small steps. That turned out to be slightly false, as 20th century biologists recognized that life on Earth is punctuated by bursts of very fast rates of evolution,” Mauch said.
Pop music follows the same pattern. The team highlights three years that represent musical revolutions — that is, years that sparked a boon of innovative styles and variety: 1964, 1983 and 1993.
Of the three revolutions, 1964 was the most complex, enriching the styles of soul and rock, before ultimately spawning the dance crazes of funk and disco. The trends seems to come at the expense of Doo Wop, which dropped off the charts.
Music historians attribute this wholesale change to the British Invasion of the early 1960s, when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones arrived in America and were followed by dozens of other Brit bands. Computer analysis paints a different picture. The signature features of this era — such as loud guitar, major chords with no changes and bright, energetic melodies — predated the arrival of Brit bands.
This theme makes sense, said Ohio State University music professor David Huron, who wasn’t involved in the study: “When we think of styles, the prototypes are often not the earliest examples.”
Based on the Billboard charts, other domestic acts like Bobby Vinton were already capitalizing on these musical traits and rising in the charts during the early 1960s. But even though the Beatles and the Rolling Stones didn’t initiate the revolution, the study argues that they “fanned the flames” by exploiting the genre — both bands had 66 hits on the Hot-100 before 1968.
The second landmark movement in 1983 came with the adoption of aggressive, synthesized percussion — think Phil Collins and his pulsating drum machine — and loud, guitar-heavy Arena rock with lots of chord changes, such as with Mötley Crüe, Van Halen, REO Speedwagon, Queen, Kiss and Alice Cooper. These rock bands were joined by new wave acts — like the Police and Cyndi Lauper — plus a surge of metronomic dance-pop heroes like Madonna and the Pet Shop Boys. (Michael Jackson’s Thriller dropped in late-1982) Meantime, classic country and folk lost popularity and wouldn’t return until the early aughts.
But these sounds and styles of the Reagan era flooded the music scene, pushing out genres like country and folk to the point that mid-to-late 1980s became most homogenous period in music over the last 50 years, based on the team’s computer analysis.
This theme doesn’t mean music from this era was bad, but rather it suggests “a small number of styles were very catchy and therefore dominated,” Pagel said. This catchiness may linger to this day and explain why themes from the 1980s have bounced back over the last decade.
Ironically, rap and its abolishment of chords kicked off the most recent surge in musical diversity in 1991.
“Rap and hip-hop saved the charts from being too bland” when these genres the mainstream via the television program Yo! MTV Raps, Mauch said. That show introduced the nation to rap, which had been popular in New York City since the late 1970s. At the same time, grunge and alternative bands diversified the rock n’ roll landscape.
Huron hopes in the future to examine other musical features, like lyrics, or cross-examine other forms of cultural expression, such as literature, movies, fashion or political events. “Using this software, one could theoretically trace broad aspects of cultural evolution and test for the underlying network of relationships amongst historical events or movements,” he said.
The computer program narrows the search for tipping points, giving precise moments when music shifted as a whole. Mauch thinks music nerds or web-based audio platforms like Spotify could use this program to identify the next big band. His team is also launching a project with a historical database of 100,000 songs from around the world to see if language or genetic heritage influence the musical characteristics that become most popular.
Overall, the study shows that musical diversity since the 1960s hasn’t dropped precipitously, even despite the lull in the 1980s.
“These findings will disappoint social critics who blame pop music for a generalised decline of culture,” Pagel said. “These results suggest there is no danger that musical styles have exhausted all of the possibilities or that we are in any danger of running out of new music.”
DJIBOUTI — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he hopes to secure a pause in Yemen’s war as he prepared for talks in Saudi Arabia Wednesday, citing increased shortages of food, fuel and medicine that are adding to a crisis that already has neighboring countries bracing for a mass exodus of refugees.
At a news conference in Djibouti, a nearby African nation that already has taken in several thousand people, Kerry said the United States was deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian conditions in Yemen. He was speaking just a boat trip away from the scene of the fighting, where Iran-backed Houthi rebels were pressing on with ground offensives and Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries were continuing a month-and-a-half long bombing campaign.
Trapped in the middle are Yemeni civilians. Aid groups say they’re struggling to reach millions of people in need in what was already the Arabian Peninsula’s most impoverished state. With no end to the violence in sight, agencies are doing contingency planning for a prolonged conflict that prompts well over 100,000 Yemenis fleeing for abroad.
“The situation is getting more dire by the day,” Kerry told reporters.
Kerry credited the Saudis with trying to ease access for aid organizations and blamed the Houthis for the continued violence.
Nevertheless, he said he believed a break in the fighting could be arranged in the coming days, alluding to telephone conversations he had this week with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and “another country,” presumably Iran, who indicated the Houthis might be on board.
Even a temporary halt to the fight “would be welcome news to the world,” Kerry said.
But he stressed that any arrangement must entail conditions so that no party to the conflict tries to use the moratorium to seize territory or otherwise gain an advantage, which would threaten to set back the humanitarian cause even further.
Yemen has long suffered from desperate poverty, political dysfunction and al-Qaida’s most lethal branch. It has become more unstable in recent months as the Houthis, who are Shiite, seized much of the country and chased Yemen’s internationally recognized president into exile.
That prompted a Saudi-led military intervention of Sunni Arab governments. The Saudis also are backing pro-government forces on the ground in Yemen trying to fight back against the Houthis.
The war shows little sign of abating. Rebels fired rockets and mortars into Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, killing at least two civilians, and reportedly captured five soldiers. Meanwhile, hundreds of families fled the southern Yemeni city of Aden after the Houthis advanced into their neighborhoods, firing indiscriminately as they took over surrounding, towering mountains. Saudi officials said “all options are open” as they weigh a response.
To help ease the growing need for food, water and shelter, Kerry announced $68 million in new U.S. aid to Yemen. An additional $2 million will be provided to help Djibouti deal with an influx of Yemeni refugees.
A sleepy coastal nation in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti has become a critical part of U.S. policy in the region.
With U.S. ground forces out of Yemen, Djibouti is a launching pad for drone attacks on al-Qaida and other extremist groups there and is serving as a key transit point for Americans trying to get home.
Kerry thanked Djibouti for its support after meeting with President Ismail Omar Guelleh and Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf. And at a ceremony, Kerry presented passports and travel visas to Americans and their family members planning to fly on to the United States.
A day after becoming the first secretary of state to visit Somalia, Kerry likewise became the first to make an appearance in tiny Djibouti, which encompasses an area the size of New Jersey and has less than 1 million people.
The country has regularly hosted defense secretaries, given that it is the site of America’s only base in Africa, Camp Lemmonier, where thousands of U.S. troops, contractors and civilian workers are based as well as aerial drones that fly over Yemen and Somalia.
At the base, Kerry told troops the U.S. would do more to combat the region’s bad actors, including Iran, and prevent the proliferation of weapons.
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Cockpit data revealed that the Germanwings co-pilot who crashed Flight 9525 into the French Alps on March 24 may have rehearsed a controlled descent on a previous flight the same day, French investigators said in an interim report Wednesday.
According to the recovered flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, the 28-year-old Andres Lubitz fiddled with the plane’s descent settings several times when the pilot was out of the cockpit for a four-and-a-half-minute period.“Several altitude selections towards 100 feet were recorded during descent on the flight that preceded the accident flight, while the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit,” France’s BEA investigation agency said.
Lubitz tested the settings when air traffic controllers asked to bring the plane down from an altitude of 35,000 feet to 21,000 feet on its way to Barcelona, Spain, from Dusseldorf, Germany.
“[T]he selected altitude decreased to 100 feet for three seconds and then increased to the maximum value of 49,000 feet and stabilized again at 35,000 feet,” the report said.
The crew may not have noticed any changes,the Associated Press reported, because the plane didn’t rapidly descend when Lubitz tried the different altitude settings.
Two hours later, authorities believe Lubitz purposely flew Germanwings Flight 9525, flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, into the French Alps. All 150 people on board were killed. Lubitz, who had a history of depression, had locked the pilot out of the cockpit that time.
“The intention was to destroy this place,” French prosecutor Brice Robin said in March.
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The Oxford English Dictionary is considering adding “Mx.” to its next edition as a gender-neutral alternative to “Mr.,” “Ms.” and “Mrs.”
According to The Advocate, “Mx.,” which is pronounced “mux” or “mix,” would provide an option for people who do not identify with its gendered equivalents. The term has gradually won inclusion in the UK, having been adopted as an option by official government documents along with some banks and universities.
There is currently no widely-used gender-neutral replacement for “Mr.” or “Mrs./Ms,” and this addition would mark the first time that such an option appeared in the dictionary.
One of the earliest known uses of “Mx.” is in a 1977 magazine article that suggested it as a replacement for “Mr.” or “Mrs./Ms.,” according to Practical Androgyny, a blog and resource website for people of nonbinary genders.
The OED began considering adding the term after its use became more widespread, OED assistant editor Jonathan Dent told the Sunday Times. The organization judges whether to add a word to the dictionary based on whether it is widely used, “significant or important” and likely to stay relevant over time.
The possible inclusion is a mark of the English language’s ability to accommodate society’s changing attitudes on gender and identity, Dent said.
“This an example of how the English language adapts to people’s needs, with people using language in ways that suit them rather than letting language dictate identity to them.”
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An NFL-commissioned report released today on the notorious Deflategate of this year’s AFC Championship says that “it is more probable than not” that Patriots’ personnel did in fact deflate the team’s footballs during the playoff game against the Colts. The report also claims that Tom Brady — who was later named Super Bowl MVP — was “generally aware” of such inappropriate activities.
The report points to ongoing text message conversations between locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski about plans to deflate the team’s balls that dates back to October 2014. It also alleges that prior to the championship game, Jastremski had taken the game balls into a bathroom for one minute and 40 seconds.
“Based on a series of simulations,” the report says, “[Consultant] Exponent determined that the air pressure in thirteen footballs could be readily released using a needle in well under one minute and forty seconds.”
After the Colts complained that several of the game footballs were underinflated, the NFL confirmed that 11 out of 12 were under the required 12.5 and 13.5 psi measurement.
The report states that a “contrary conclusion requires the acceptance of an implausible number of communications and events as benign coincidences.”
Patriots CEO and Chairman Robert Kraft responded to the report:
“To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship game, would be a gross understatement.”
Tom Brady has not commented.
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Experts say the African elephant could be extinct within a decade. Between 2010 and 2012 alone, 100,000 African elephants were poached — killed for their tusks. That’s a dead elephant every 15 minutes, much faster than the animals can reproduce.
Much of the blame is usually pointed at China, the world’s largest consumer of elephant tusks. But the U.S. also has a major ivory market. And much of the activity resides in a marketplace you wouldn’t expect: Craigslist.
That’s right, Americans can buy ivory in the same place they sell their futons and gently-used blenders.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare released a study last month that surveyed Craigslist sites for 28 cities. They found hundreds of suspected ivory products for sale, in addition to rhino horns and African warthog tusks. The ads offered more than 600 products that totaled more than $1.4 million combined, said IFAW’s Peter LaFontaine.
The survey forced Craigslist to change its policy regarding ivory sales, but complex laws governing its import and sale in the U.S. mean ivory products are still easy to find.
In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service released this video of the destruction of six tons of ivory products they’d captured at customs stations and enforcement raids to illustrate the problem in the U.S.:
This week on Shortwave with P.J. Tobia, we delve into the massive ivory smuggling operations on U.S. soil.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s a global crisis years in the making, poachers killing African elephants, a species on the verge of extinction, faster than they can reproduce.
Much of the money from the ivory trade goes on to fund global terrorism and criminal networks. It’s long been known that China is the top ivory buyer. But the U.S. is also among the world’s biggest markets.
Joining me now to talk about ivory sales in this country is the NewsHour’s P.J. Tobia. He hosts our newest podcast, “Shortwave.” It’s all about the intersection of foreign affairs and American life.
So, P.J., this is a fascinating piece you put together.
P.J. TOBIA: Thanks, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Big black market. I mean, just how much money are we talking about worldwide?
P.J. TOBIA: It’s always hard to get a handle on any black market, but, worldwide, the ivory trade is thought to be worth about $19 billion.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, and, as we said, most of it is in China, but more than we — people realize here in the United States. What are people using it for? Why has it become of interest to these criminal and terrorist networks?
P.J. TOBIA: Well, the criminal and terrorist networks in Africa, groups like Al-Shabaab and the janjaweed, are interested in anything they can smuggle for cash. They need money to carry out their operations.
They already have access to cross borders to smuggle people, drugs and guns. So, ivory is just another elicit substance that they can get cash from.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And how do they do this? How do some of these transactions work?
P.J. TOBIA: Well, as I said, they know how to get people across borders, meaning they know what officials to bribe.
They have transportation networks set up. So they know the logistics of illegal smuggling.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, here in the U.S., there are some rules and regulations, laws around this, but they don’t seem to be doing the job. And I — and we should say people who are in the business of collecting antiques argue there should be a distinction made between ivory that was collected a long time ago that’s in a piece of furniture and ivory that’s been freshly harvested.
P.J. TOBIA: Part of the problem is, it’s nearly impossible to tell with the naked eye what a piece of ivory — when a piece of ivory was harvested, whether it was harvested in 1992 or 1892.
You need sophisticated technology. And also some ivory that’s newer is OK to bring into the U.S. to import. For instance, if you shoot an elephant yourself on a game reserve that you have paid for, it’s a legal kill. You can some bring tusks into the U.S. Now, if those tusks are then made into an ivory figurine or something and sold, that’s a grayer area.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So there are rules and regulations, but your point is that they’re just not — that they’re able to get through these?
P.J. TOBIA: That’s right, because while the rules are in black and white, international trade is not. And so if you — if a seller says that a piece of ivory is from one date, but it’s actually from another, it’s hard to prove different.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, P.J., what’s the significance of this Craigslist report, and how much work is being done right now on this issue?
P.J. TOBIA: Right.
Last month, the International Fund for Animal Welfare came out with a report where they spent a week on Craigslist in 28 cities, surveying — trying to find ivory products to buy. And they found a lot of them, hundreds of them.
And it just shows how easy it is to get this stuff and also how hard it is to regulate, because if you’re a seller — I should say that Craigslist changed their policy because of this investigation. But if you’re a seller of ivory products, if you just take the word ivory out of your product’s description, no one is ever going to know.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, this report has certainly shone a light on it.
P.J. Tobia, we thank you.
P.J. TOBIA: Thank you, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can join P.J. tomorrow to talk about another issue that he’s covered on “Shortwave”: modern-day slavery. It’s part of the NewsHour’s weekly Twitter chats. That’s 1:00 p.m. Eastern every Thursday. The details are on our home page, PBS.org/NewsHour.
The post Why U.S. rules aren’t stopping illegal ivory trade at home appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
This report is part of a special collaboration with PBS NewsHour Weekend and WNET.
GWEN IFILL: Depending on who you talk to, e-cigarettes are either an answer for millions trying to stop smoking or the dawn of a new era of nicotine addiction. They are either a big threat to big tobacco or they may save it.
As special correspondent John Larson reports, for good or ill, e-cigarettes remain completely unregulated by the federal government. That is about to change.
CRAIG MAJORS, Liquid Vapor Lounge: How long have you guys been vaping?
JOHN LARSON: When Craig Majors was thinking about opening the Liquid Vapor Lounge a few years back, the e-cigarette industry had not yet caught fire.
You cashed out your 401(k), took a loan out on your car, took all your savings.
CRAIG MAJORS: Went all in.
JOHN LARSON: All in, selling a selection of products for vaporizing liquid nicotine. There was only a handful of so-called vape shops in Oklahoma City at the time, but that changed almost overnight.
CRAIG MAJORS: Three years ago, 10 shops, two years ago, 15, now 200.
JOHN LARSON: In less than five years, vapor products and e-cigarettes have become the fastest growing sector of the $100 billion American tobacco industry, with Hollywood pitch women.
JENNY MCCARTHY: I’m Jenny McCarthy and I finally found a smarter alternative to cigarettes.
JOHN LARSON: Appearing in local Super Bowl ads.
MAN: Friends don’t let friends smoke.
JOHN LARSON: And even in HBO’s “Veep.”
ACTRESS: Catherine, you are smoking?
ACTRESS: I am vaping.
JOHN LARSON: In fact, an estimated 20 million Americans have taken up e-cigarettes and vaporizers, many motivated by the same thing.
MAN: It helped me not want to go back to cigarettes.
MAN: It worked. Three years, no cigarettes.
MITCH ZELLER, Director, FDA Center for Tobacco Products: It looks like we may have a product that could deliver nicotine to the lungs without combustion. So, for some currently addicted adult smokers, if they could completely switch to e-cigarettes, this could conceivably help.
JOHN LARSON: And it’s that message that the FDA and big tobacco agree on, that e-cigs may be a safer alternative for cigarette smokers.
NARRATOR: We know what smokers want.
JOHN LARSON: And why Robert Dunham of Reynolds American calls e-cigs the industry’s Holy Grail.
ROBERT DUNHAM, Executive Vice President, Reynolds American: If you can deliver satisfaction to adult tobacco consumers in a way that poses far less risk, let’s go. I mean, this has got to be the billion-dollar idea, right?
JOHN LARSON: But, despite the industry’s runaway success, there has been little research and no federal regulation. Two years ago, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, discovered some vaporizing systems exposed users to heavy metals.
Another study revealed vaporizing liquids at high temperatures, while uncommon, could expose users to high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
THOMAS SUSSAN, Researcher, Johns Hopkins University: If you think that you’re picking these up because they’re glamorous and that you’re not going to have any downstream or long-term effects as a result of this, I think you kidding yourself.
JOHN LARSON: Dr. Thomas Sussan at Johns Hopkins university found in a recent study of mice that while healthy lung tissue looked like this, the lungs of mice exposed to e-cig vapor looked like this, showing evidence they were less capable of fighting infection. He also discovered free radicals, the same dangerous chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
THOMAS SUSSAN: It wasn’t to the level that — what we see in conventional cigarettes, but the number of free radicals that we detected was seven-times-10-to-the-11th, which is a huge number. So, it’s very likely that those free radicals are going to inflict some level of damage in the lungs.
MATTHEWS MYERS, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: The FDA has failed to recognize the impact of the advertising of this product towards young people.
JOHN LARSON: Matt Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says, according to the Centers for Disease Control, e-cigarette use has tripled in middle and high school students in just one year, an estimated two million kids exposed to nicotine.
MATTHEWS MYERS: It’s the way to be cool, it’s the way to be sexy, it’s the way to be independent, it’s the way to be rebellious, and it’s the way to be just like everybody else. And it’s no surprise it is appealing to millions of kids.
JOHN LARSON: Nicotine has been proven addictive harmful to teenagers, threatening normal brain development.
I imagine a parent of a teenager, saying, what’s it going to take to shut down this marketing?
MITCH ZELLER: Well, we share the concern. E-cigarettes shouldn’t be used by kids. And we were on the record last year as saying to get the proposed rule out took us longer than it should have.
JOHN LARSON: Longer because the courts overruled the FDA’s first effort. The FDA now is trying again, proposing new regulations, which surprisingly do not address targeting teenagers with sweet flavors or advertising.
MITCH ZELLER: I understand the frustration that it’s taking FDA so long. There needs to be a little patience. We need answers to the questions that have been fielded in the many studies that we have put out there to have the full regulatory framework in place for e-cigarettes.
CRAIG MAJORS: Have you ever had Suicide Bunny’s Mother’s Milk?
JOHN LARSON: Visit any vape shop and you will find hundreds of flavors, called e-liquids, or e-juice. Some do appear to target the young, with sweet flavors like Strawberry Shortcake, or Captain Crunch, or Gummy Bears.
SEAN GORE, Chairman, Oklahoma Vapor Advocacy League: The industry is not targeting children. Just because you’re adult doesn’t mean that you don’t like Gummy Bears.
JOHN LARSON: A former rodeo rider and recovering addict, Sean Gore is an advocate for Oklahoma’s vaping industry.
SEAN GORE: You know, I see adults buying, you know, packs of Gummy Bears all the time. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean that you don’t like good flavors.
JOHN LARSON: And it is the growing abundance of flavors, variable nicotine strengths, and customizable equipment that Gore says is so popular. Vape shops offer what’s called open systems, so customers can pour e-liquids into open vaporizers.
Big tobacco, on the other hand, offers what’s called closed systems. The nicotine liquid is already enclosed within the e-cig, which turns out to be a huge point, because even as the FDA is writing its proposed regulations, big tobacco is lobbying to outlaw the increasingly successful open systems offered by its competitors.
ROBERT DUNHAM: We do have and we have heard legitimate concerns from others, about the dangers of exposed nicotine. And that’s one that we believe ought to be addressed.
JOHN LARSON: Liquid nicotine is highly toxic. Too much can be lethal. Many of the new vapor entrepreneurs are small business. The owners of The Vapor Hut in Oklahoma City, for example, used to sell snow cones out of this truck. They now have six vape shops and a multimillion-dollar online business selling 140 flavors, which, even in absence of regulation, they are mixing in what they describe as clean rooms.
And they’re just one of thousands of new small businesses now competing with big tobacco.
It feels like a million small businesses are crawling in over the walls into a business that you guys traditionally have relatively owned. I mean, are they a threat? Or, should I say, how much of a threat are they to you?
ROBERT DUNHAM: If we get our act together, the these guys are going to be our — our future customers. There’s no reason that those things don’t want to come together.
SEAN GORE: And we’re just going to hand the industry straight back to them, while driving small business owners out? It makes no sense.
JOHN LARSON: Gore fears the pending federal regulations may force every small flavor manufacturer to spend tens of thousand of dollars proving the safety of every flavor at every strength.
SEAN GORE: If that happens, you will end up seeing probably five flavors. And, really, the only individuals that will be able to afford the testing and getting the approval for those flavors would be big tobacco.
MATTHEWS MYERS: The notion that people who have no chemical training, no safety training are mixing concoctions in the back room or their bathtub and giving it to the consumer means we’re doing a human guinea pig experiment on literally millions of Americans without any knowledge of what the consequences are.
If you’re too small a manufacturer in order to be able to assure the public about what’s in your product, then you shouldn’t be selling it to the public.
JOHN LARSON: Which brings us back to the public and these folks back in Oklahoma who volunteered for some closing portraits. All told us, vaping saved them from cigarettes.
The government promises it will try to balance this with the still unknown risks of e-cigs. Big tobacco hopes regulators will keep the health benefits in mind. Small business fears that big tobacco may be trying to put them out of business.
And as for the vapors themselves? They do love the abundance of flavors, but want to know, what’s really in this stuff? And how safe is it?
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m John Larson in Oklahoma City.
The post Does vaping save smokers or create new nicotine addicts? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Correction: This video includes narration reporting that U.S. student debt totals $1.3 billion. The correct figure is 1.3 trillion. This has been corrected in the transcript. The PBS NewsHour regrets the error.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now from coffee to college.
In our latest story in partnership with The Atlantic magazine, we look at unusual push by Starbucks to give their employees access to higher education.
It’s 6:00 a.m., and 23 year-old Markelle Colum-Herbison is already at the computer, getting in a little studying before she’s off to her full-time job.
WOMAN: I’m so proud of her.
MARKELLE COLUM-HERBISON: I knew that the only way out was to have an education.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The plan had always been that mom and dad would help Markelle pay for some of that education.
MARKELLE COLUM-HERBISON: They lived in a five-bedroom home, three bathrooms, two-story. It was beautiful.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That all changed overnight in 2008, when the economic crash hit Markelle’s family brutally.
MARKELLE COLUM-HERBISON: I remember signing up for food stamps. It was that bad.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Today, Markelle is still living at home to help make ends meet. She is one of 21 million people enrolled in U.S. colleges this year. Now, more than ever, the challenge for low-income students and others is not getting into college, but finishing.
AMANDA RIPLEY, “The Atlantic”: American colleges are not really historically designed to make sure students finish. They are designed to enroll students.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Writer and author Amanda Ripley has specialized in higher education.
AMANDA RIPLEY: We have one of the highest college dropout rates in the developed world. We have 35 million people now who have started college and not gotten a degree.
JUDY WOODRUFF: For Markelle, a scholarship to community college got her through two years, but she had no idea how to afford the two more years it would take to earn a degree while working 40-hour weeks at Starbucks.
She is one of the first Starbucks employees to benefit from a unique financial aid program started last year by an unusual duo, the man who introduced Americans to the grande latte. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and the president of Arizona State University, Michael Crow, announced the expansion of a program that will have the company pay for the college education of its employees.
Now, if they work at least 20 hours a week, all 140,000 Starbucks employees are eligible for a four-year tuition-free online education at Arizona State University.
HOWARD SCHULTZ, CEO, Starbucks: The role and responsibility of a for-profit public company can’t be just about making money. It has to be about giving back, and it has to be about achieving the balance between profit and social impact.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The very existence of the college achievement plan suggests few want to make a career of being a barista. Schultz says he wants employees to get the education that will equip them to move up to higher-level jobs at Starbucks.
MICHAEL CROW, President, Arizona State University: Our republic is built around the notion that the key to our democracy will ultimately be the education of our people and the advancement of our democracy will depend upon their education. Well, it’s not working now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The average college grad now leaves school with $30,000 of debt. At four-year private colleges, it goes as high as $100,000; 40 million Americans have at least one student loan, with most juggling as many as four.
HOWARD SCHULTZ: What I noticed early on is people had a lot of shame about their personal debt. And you have to peel the onion back, and finally someone has enough courage to say, I’m so embarrassed, but I have $5,000 in debt and I haven’t been able to pay it off.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Since the 2008 recession, student debt has jumped 84 percent to a record $1.3 trillion, surpassing even credit card debt in America. The personal consequences of not succeeding to finish or to pay it off can put a student in debt for decades. There is also a hidden emotional cost.
HOWARD SCHULTZ: People, I think, their self-esteem was crushed as a result of failing the first time and then being saddled with that debt.
JUDY WOODRUFF: If Schultz and Crow understand so well the stigma that failure can be for a student, how easy it is to lose hope, it’s because it goes back to their own roots.
HOWARD SCHULTZ: I think when I sat in a room with these young kids and felt hopelessness from them, it took me back to a different time in my life, living in the projects of Brooklyn, New York. I can remember as if it was right now. And I still have the scars and the shame of what it meant to be a poor kid.
MICHAEL CROW: What they need was a warm, welcoming, safe place where they could advance their personal development, and so we created that.
AMANDA RIPLEY: Every Starbucks student gets an enrollment counselor, a financial aid adviser, an academic adviser to help pick out classes, and then and ongoing success coach, as they call it, to help them deal with the inevitable problems that come up.
MARKELLE COLUM-HERBISON: There was a lot of pressure on me, and it was scary to have to make those adult decisions and those grown-up decisions without having all of that life experience.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s a real challenge. Too many colleges are good at everything, it seems, but customer service.
AMANDA RIPLEY: I think American colleges are confused places. They are trying to enroll students, and they are very good at that. They are trying to garner research funds, and they are good at that. Many are trying to gain status, and they are good at that.
But those things often are at odds actually with helping students finish efficiently and thrive in the modern economy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Mario Matus is Markelle’s personal adviser. And that has been the key to success so far.
MARIO MATUS, Arizona State University Student Adviser: There’s that fear of I’m falling behind, or this isn’t what I expected, or maybe this isn’t the right major for me. We want them to know that that’s OK. That’s part of the process. It’s not just you on a computer on an island. You are part of a community.
MARKELLE COLUM-HERBISON: And it’s really nice to have someone there through those hard times and there to celebrate all of your accomplishments.
AMANDA RIPLEY: Having someone in your court like that who texts you and calls you and checks in and is there to give you a little advice or a little support turns out to be hugely important.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Nationally, students who enroll in online courses are more likely to fail or withdraw. Low-performing students or those who have previously struggled in college tend to fall further behind in online work. This is another reason Starbucks and ASU provide the advisers, although most are unable to meet face-to-face like Markelle, who lives near the ASU campus.
The goal here, though, Howard Schultz, is to move the baristas, the people who work for you, on and up out of the company.
HOWARD SCHULTZ: The goal of the company is not move them out of the company. The goal of the company is to give them new tools, new resources and obviously a broader comprehensive education to do many other things within Starbucks.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Even though tuition comes at a discount, if students don’t finish a course, they will be even deeper in debt. Perhaps that’s why sign-ups for the program started slow. In addition, initially, only students who already had two years of college credit were eligible to participate. Now any employee working 20 hours a week is eligible.
And you wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t think it would help your bottom line.
HOWARD SCHULTZ: That’s exactly right. But I also — I’m doing it because I recognize that, more than ever, that not only do we have to exceed the expectations of our customers, but we have to exceed the expectations of our people to succeed.
JUDY WOODRUFF: This can benefit ASU at a time when universities face decreasing enrollment.
AMANDA RIPLEY: I do think that, in this case, their business interest and their social justice interests are aligned.
MARKELLE COLUM-HERBISON: The American dream is opportunity. That is what we stand for here. We are a culture where anything is possible. We are setting new standards. It truly is the American dream, and we are bringing that back.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Hundreds of other workers like Markelle will determine if that dream is achievable online while working part-time.
The post Why Starbucks is offering workers a college education, hold the debt appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: Deflategate is back.
It’s been three months since the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl. But the NFL today released a report on the use of underinflated footballs during the playoffs, and whether the Patriots had an unfair advantage.
The investigation found Patriots employees likely did deflate footballs used in the team’s conference championship win. And the report said Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who denied knowing how the footballs got deflated, was probably aware of the rules violation.
Jeffrey Brown has more.
JEFFREY BROWN: The report cites Brady’s connection with two Patriots employees and implies he requested footballs below the standard level. And it includes numerous text messages between those employees suggesting that Brady complained about the air pressure in the balls during regular season games.
This exchange came after a game against the New York Jets in October 2014. We have deleted profanities. A team employee in charge of delivering the footballs texted: “Tom sucks. I’m going make that next ball a balloon.”
An assistant texted back: “Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done.”
With us for more is Mike Pesca, host of the Slate podcast called The Gist — The Gist — excuse me, Mike — and a contributor to NPR.
So more probable than not, right, that balls were tampered with, Mike, that’s the key phrase used here?
MIKE PESCA, Slate’s “The Gist” podcast: Oh, yes.
And so some people may be dissatisfied with that because it doesn’t comport with anything in our legal system, except what was the standard of proof for a report like this? I think any reasonable person would read this and say, yes, seems like Tom Brady did it. The report is showing us that the Patriots pretty much did it. And it really is hard to imagine a way that Tom Brady didn’t know about it.
So I think it’s trying to be careful. The language is trying to be as careful and precise as you can. But you can’t come away from reading this report with really making any other reasonable conclusion than this was going on and probably, most probably, with Brady’s knowledge.
JEFFREY BROWN: And the team — just a reminder, the team has said all along that there was — that they did scientific investigations and said the weather had probably caused the changes in the footballs.
MIKE PESCA: Yes. I mean, there are a couple of explanations, I don’t know, or implausible deniability.
And so this gets to, there’s the tittering aspect of it. There’s the fact that people love to hate the Patriots. But if you want to be very hard and fast about this, you would say the Patriots cheated and then the Patriots lied. Does that mean that they should get some sort of excessive sanction or excessive punishment?
They will be punished somehow. They did cheat. They did lie.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, before we get to the punishment, we refer to the Patriots, but this report goes out of its way to say that the coach, Bill Belichick, who is a polarizing figure in himself, he did not seem to know about it, according to this.
MIKE PESCA: Yes, they couldn’t find that he did.
However, I would point out that there are other situations, not really analogous situations, where the Saints had a bounty program, and even if the head coach didn’t know about it, Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, came in and said, you know, the head coach should have known about it. He suspended Sean Payton, coach of the Saints, for half-a-year over that.
And I don’t think that is going to happen with Belichick, but the point is, the NFL sometimes holds these coaches to account for everything that goes on under their watch or during their tenure.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, with the focus on Tom Brady then and these other employees and the team as a whole, what kind of discipline may come? We hear it could come within days. What’s possible?
MIKE PESCA: Those employees will have a tough time with their key card swipes and works tomorrow. I think they’re just embarrassed. They really criticized the quarterback.
It seems like Tom Brady wasn’t exactly a model citizen or a fellow employee, if you want to look at it that way. I think that there’s a chance that Tom Brady will get suspended. Arguing against that, there is less than absolute definitive proof. And also he’s a marquee player and it hurts the NFL not to have Tom Brady, Super Bowl-winning quarterback, on the field.
You could maybe make the case that Belichick could face sanctions. I doubt it. They will pay a fine. There’s a minimum $25,000 fine. Maybe they will pay a fine in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. They might lose draft picks.
JEFFREY BROWN: We did not hear from Tom Brady today. We did hear from Patriots owner Robert Kraft. He’s a prominent owner within the league. He is still not buying this at all.
MIKE PESCA: I don’t know what that is. I don’t know if that’s blindness. I don’t know if that’s him thinking he has to stick by his employees.
But, you know, he’s doing the — he’s doing the thing that sometimes the head of a corporation does, who, you know, disavows any knowledge of it and disputes even what seems to be 243 pages. This was a thorough, thorough report. They have got full records. We’re talking about deflated footballs.
The ratio of scrutiny to actual misdeed probably is off the charts for this. I can’t think of anything that was as heavily scrutinized for — we’re talking about a couple PSI of pressure. So, I really don’t know what leg Robert Kraft has to stand on.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right, hundreds of pages in this report.
So, Mike, the inevitable question, of course, and the debate for sports fan is to what extent this tarnishes the reputation of the team, Super Bowl champion and of course the great career of Tom Brady.
MIKE PESCA: I think that is like saying, to what extent does shooting people tarnish the legacy of Billy the Kid?
This is their legacy, right? It’s greatness, but it’s also going right up to that line, especially Bill Belichick. He is a guy who goes right up to the line. In a couple of cases, he’s been shown to cross the line. Maybe he gets criticized more than others, but there are a raft of NFL coaches who do not do what he does. We could bring up past misdeeds, what is called the Spygate story, a lot — the way he handles the injured list.
He’s an opaque character. He’s also the best coach in the NFL, the most accomplished current coach in the NFL. Add it together, it’s absolutely his legacy.
JEFFREY BROWN: And, briefly, Mike, Roger Goodell, the commissioner, will be making this decision, another mark in a sense, or black mark, for the league, which has had a lot of problems.
MIKE PESCA: Yes, and I think he will welcome the chance to be a hanging judge and a tough fist of justice in a case which, you know, doesn’t include things like beating women and doesn’t include child abuse.
This is a funny kind of thing. It was cheating, it was lying, but no one actually physically got hurt. And so Roger Goodell is probably saying, thank God I get to show I’m tough, I get to be the iron fist, and we’re really not talking about a transgression that has ramifications for the rest of society, doesn’t make us feel bad about ourselves.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Mike Pesca, thanks so much.
MIKE PESCA: You’re welcome.
DAN BALZ, The Washington Post: Well, it’s likely to be some strange bedfellows. And it’s also likely to take a long time.
Five years ago, it took five days to form a new government. And this time, it could take — it could take a matter of weeks, because the uncertainty is whether to the Conservatives, who are expected to win more seats — they will fall short of majority — may have a greater problem putting together enough for a majority government.
And that might leave it in the hands of the Labor Party, which is expected to run second, but may have more potential allies to form the government.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So, what were some of the factors leading some of these smaller parties to gain in popularity and take away the mandate that either of the two major parties would have had traditionally?
DAN BALZ: Well, there’s a couple of things.
The biggest single factor is the earthquake that’s happened in Scotland, where the Scottish National Party, which just last year lost the referendum battle to declare independence from the United Kingdom, has been rejuvenated in this campaign. And they’re now in a position to win almost every seat in Scotland tomorrow.
Scotland has been a stronghold of the Labor Party. And so that’s the biggest single piece. But there are others as well. One is that the Liberal Democrats, which used to be the dominant third party in this country, have seen their support erode as they have been part of the coalition government with the Conservatives.
And then you have the rise of the UKIP, the U.K. Independence Party, which is an anti-immigration, anti-Europe party, which is polling quite strongly. It will end up with very few seats, but it has drained off popular support from the Conservatives in some areas and from Labor in some other areas. And some of the support on the left that Labor might have counted on in the past has gone to the Green Party.
And so you have a real fracturing of a system that over a century or more basically produced stable single-party governments and a strong, stable two-party system, and that has all broken apart in the last few years.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So, from an American viewpoint, are there likely to be any changes in policy or our alliance, regardless of who’s in power, and the deals that they have to make to form a coalition?
DAN BALZ: Well, I think that there is worry on your side of the Atlantic over a couple of things.
If this is a Conservative-led government, David Cameron, who’s the prime minister, has pledged that he will put forward a referendum on whether the United Kingdom should stay in the European Union. That will create a considerable amount of disruption. There is worry back in the United States about what that means, both in terms of the kind of inward-looking Britain that we will see as they debate their own future, as opposed to being somewhat more robust in the world, and what kind of standing they will have in Europe whether that passes or not.
I think the concern on the other side is that, if there is a Labor-led government, that Great Britain would be less robust of an ally in terms of projecting power with the United States in places around the world, which they have certainly been over many years, although there has been, as you know, a backlash against what happened during the Blair government and during the Iraq War.
So there’s concern about the direction of the United Kingdom and Great Britain, no matter which way it comes out. There’s a feeling that this is a country that has got more to think about in terms of its own future, where is its place in Europe, is it going to be a United Kingdom, or is it going to break up in the future, with Scotland perhaps leaving? There’s a lot of issues of nationalism that have come to the fore in this election.
So, Britain is now looking inward at itself much more than it has in the past.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And so what are some of the implications on a global or foreign policy front of how the U.K. chooses to behave in light of what happens?
DAN BALZ: Well, I think one element will be the degree to which they are prepared to commit military forces in the fight, say, against ISIS or other things like that. Ed Miliband has pledged to continue to keep the fight against ISIS.
But he was very much against taking action in Syria, and used that — used his opposition to the president of the United States as an example of how tough he is prepared to be as prime minister. There have been questions about, is he strong enough to stand up to Putin?
And in one of the interviews that he did earlier this — in the campaign, he said, well, I’m plenty tough. I stood up to the president of the United States on Syria.
So I think there has to be concern about that.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Dan Balz, chief correspondent for The Washington Post, joining us from London, thanks so much.
DAN BALZ: Thank you, Hari.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And we have an online guide to Thursday’s election in the U.K. That’s on our home page, PBS.org/NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Across the pond in the United Kingdom, Election Day is just hours away.
Hari Sreenivasan reports on a race that’s too close to call and one that could determine the U.K.’s future as a member of the European Union.
HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s the coveted front door British political leaders are vying for, 10 Downing Street, home of the prime minister.
Whether conservative David Cameron will go on living there after tomorrow’s election, and which party will control the House of Commons, is anyone’s guess. But in the final flurry of campaigning on this election eve, it was clear there’s deep discontent and deep division among voters.
MAN: The Conservatives are making a reasonable job of sorting out the mess that Labor got us in, but they could do a bit more to help the ordinary working people.
MAN: I’m afraid, like most people, I have decided Westminster needs a complete cleanup. It’s not working for the people. It’s working for the bankers, the very rich.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The short campaign season kicked off in April, with all 650 seats in the Commons up for grabs, and predictions of a deadlock, or hung Parliament, come Friday.
In order to govern by itself, a party needs an outright majority of 326 seats. But opinion polls suggest neither of the two largest parties, Conservative and Labor, will get there on their own. David Cameron’s Tories have blamed Britain’s troubles on the Labor government that preceded them.
DAVID CAMERON, Prime Minister, United Kingdom: I feel like the fireman. I feel like the firefighter hosing down the burning building. And there’s Ed Miliband, the arsonist, the guy that lit the building on fire and saying — saying, you ought to go a bit faster, you ought to do a bit more.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And Labor Leader Miliband has answered in kind.
ED MILIBAND, Leader, Labour Party: I am going to fight every step of the way for a Britain that can do so much better than it can under David Cameron. Now, my opponents might want to start talking about the outcome of an election that hasn’t happened; I am going to focus on getting the right outcome of that election for the working people of our country.
HARI SREENIVASAN: But it’s almost a given that the outcome will mean forming a coalition that includes smaller parties. The Liberal Democrats, led by Deputy Minister Nick Clegg, are one of those parties. In the last government, they joined a coalition with the Conservatives, but this time around, they’re not tipping their hand.
NICK CLEGG, Deputy Prime Minister, United Kingdom: We now need to await the judgment of the British people about what they prefer. Do they prefer the stability that the Liberal Democrats offer or the shambles and chaos of a lurch to the right or the left?
HARI SREENIVASAN: The lurch to the right refers to growing support for UKIP, or the United Kingdom Independence Party. Led by Nigel Farage, its main objective is to leave the European Union.
NIGEL FARAGE, Leader, United Kingdom Independence Party: We want to be good neighbors with our European friends, but we desperately seek a referendum so that we can set this country free from political union.
HARI SREENIVASAN: On the left, the Scottish Nationalist Party under 44-year-old Nicola Sturgeon. The SNP is riding a wave of progressive enthusiasm after last year’s failed independence vote.
NICOLA STURGEON, Leader, Scottish National Party: A vote for this SNP manifesto on May the 7th will make Scotland’s voice heard at Westminster more strongly than it has ever been before.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The SNP surge has Ed Miliband struggling to hold Labor’s 41 seats in Scotland and ruling out any kind of deal with them, all of which left the candidates and the British people waiting today to see if a post-election shambles lies around the corner.
Dan Balz, chief correspondent for The Washington Post, is in London covering the elections and joins me now.
So, what happens tomorrow when there’s not a clear majority, they have to form a coalition and maybe some strange bedfellows?
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GWEN IFILL: Drought-stricken California has been working to reduce water use by getting residents and businesses to agree to voluntary restrictions.
So far, it’s not working. And now the state water board has passed emergency rules to slash usage by 25 percent in urban areas, the first time such limits have been made mandatory with penalties attached. The new rules can require cities and towns to cut water use by as little as 8 percent to as much as 36 percent.
Felicia Marcus is the chair of the California State Water Board and she joins me now from Sacramento.
So, what has been achieved so far, since Governor Brown came out with these voluntary restrictions?
FELICIA MARCUS, Chair, California State Water Control Board: Well, we had voluntary restrictions. And then we had some mild mandatory orders to our local water agencies.
And on average Californians, did step up and did save around 9 percent, which is not nothing. It’s significant. It’s just not enough in the face of another dry year, which we now know we’re in.
GWEN IFILL: What areas of the state have been hardest hit?
FELICIA MARCUS: Well, agriculture in rural California have been hit the hardest through the course of this drought. We have got hundreds of thousands of acres of fallowed fields, thousands of people out of work. We have communities that are running out of water and we’re delivering water in bottles and tankers and drilling wells and running pipe.
And so we’re taking this action to give our large urban communities some extra resilience in the face of what we now know is an unprecedented drought in our lifetime, in our grandparents’ lifetime, but certainly not in history and certainly not in other countries. We know from the Australian experience in the 2000s, where they thought they were in a usual three-year drought cycle, just like we have been, theirs lasted for 10, 12, or 15 years, depending on where you are.
And so their advice was, conserve early. Don’t wait as long as we did.
GWEN IFILL: Is there a way to say what the biggest cause of this is? Is it agriculture’s demands, is it businesses’ demands or individuals? We think of car washing and lawn watering.
FELICIA MARCUS: Well, I think it’s more complex than that.
I think we’re in a drought of unprecedented proportions. So, I wouldn’t want to cast blame. We’re in uncharted territory and we’re having to adapt as we go. But, fortunately, we have a lot of opportunities to adapt, with conservation of course being the cheapest, smartest and fastest way to extend our water resources.
But we also have great plans, particularly in our large — in cities, for all kinds of water recycling and storm water capture and, in appropriate cases, desalination, but those take time to get up off the ground. So this is going to buy us some time, so that we don’t have to go to very harsh measures or even more expensive measures, like our friends in Australia did or our friends in Sao Paulo are doing right now, where they have to just turn the water off for hours at a time because they have gotten so low in their reserves.
GWEN IFILL: Well, assuming that you’re well short of having to turn the water off, what is — with these new rules, what is the penalty for not complying? Say people just say I will water my lawn at night or I will do something else.
FELICIA MARCUS: Well, I think there are penalties. And I want to avoid that.
But, generally, folks do step up when things become mandatory regulations. And we know voluntary gets you so much, regulations get you so much. There are a number of tools local agencies can use. Just public education and community spirit actually does a lot and regulations help with that, because then everybody knows that everybody is playing in the same ball field and everybody is expected to come up to the same norms.
And, frankly, a lot of the best communication and best programs with the greatest results are where communities have stepped up and engaged the public, explained why they need to do it, and also given people some sense of what their neighbors are doing, even going so far as to do — threaten fines, but allow people to go to water conservation school, like Santa Cruz has. And they have had tremendous response from that.
And they’re the lowest gallons per capita per day residential we have in the state, and they still have a vibrant community, including their landscapes.
GWEN IFILL: Well, assuming that every community isn’t as forward-thinking as that, what — doesn’t a hammer about to fall on you make you act more — with more alacrity, which is to say, if there are fines, if there are penalties, if there are whistle-blowers, wouldn’t that make people step up to the bat, to use the baseball metaphor?
FELICIA MARCUS: Yes, no, absolutely, absolutely.
It is a piece in a continuum. It’s just not the only piece. I think there are fines in the background. We early on in our early regulation gave authority to locals, up to $500 to implement the prohibitions that we enacted over the course of the last nine months, not watering, hosing down your driveway when a broom would do, not having ornamental fountains without a recirculating pump if they use potable water.
We enacted hospitality regs that were — had hotels having to offer their customers a chance to not have their sheets and towels washed every night and restaurants need to ask if someone wants water, a number of those things that are somewhat commonsense, but actually help build the community awareness and community spirit.
The governor met with a group of mayors last week. He will be proposing legislation to give local agencies more enforcement authority and local enforcement tools. Not all of them have the like. So, it’s a very important piece of it, but it’s part of a continuum that starts with and can’t substitute for good communication on the part of our local water agencies with their customers.
GWEN IFILL: Felicia Marcus, chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, thank you.
FELICIA MARCUS: Thank you so much for taking the time.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The mayor of Baltimore asked the justice department today to investigate the city’s police department. That follows the death in custody of a young black man, Freddie Gray.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said a federal review would show if the Gray case is part of a larger pattern of police bias and excessive force.
MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, (D) Baltimore: I have systematically put in place reforms for this department and it’s clear that more needs to be done. I will make sure that whatever they find we need to do to repair the relationship with the community and have a department that our citizens deserve. I’m determined to get that done.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Also today Maryland Governor Larry Hogan formally lifted the state of emergency imposed in Baltimore after riots broke out.
Thousands of National Guard troops and state police have already left the city.
GWEN IFILL: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached a last-minute deal today to form a new coalition government.
It came less than an hour before the deadline.
The agreement with a Nationalist Party gives Netanyahu a bare majority in parliament — 61 of 120 seats.
His coalition will be dominated by hard-line and religious factions.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In Yemen Shiite rebels seized more of Aden, sending hundreds of people fleeing the port city.
At least 40 died when a shell hit their boat.
Civilians have left in droves in recent days as the combat escalates. Aid workers report growing shortages of food, fuel and medicine.
Many of the refugees have fled to Djibouti, where Secretary of State John Kerry visited today.
JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: We have urged all sides, anybody involved to comply with humanitarian law and to take every precaution to keep civilians out of the line of fire, out of harm’s way, as well as to provide the opportunity for humanitarian assistance to be able to delivered.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Later, Kerry arrived in Saudi Arabia to urge a pause in the fighting.
A Saudi coalition has been bombing the rebels in Yemen for a month and a half.
GWEN IFILL: About 10-thousand families have fled their homes in northeastern Afghanistan, to escape a Taliban offensive.
A major battle is brewing in Kunduz city, where militants and government forces have been in a
Stand-off for the past week.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Also in Afghanistan, Four men were sentenced today to be hanged, in the mob killing of a young woman in Kabul.
She was falsely accused of burning a Quran and was beaten and thrown off a roof. Her body was ultimately set on fire.
A total of 49 suspects went on trial. Eight were sentenced to 16 years in prison. But the judge dropped charges against 18 others, citing lack of evidence.
GWEN IFILL: A chilling new disclosure today in that march airline disaster in France.
Investigators now say the German pilot had practiced flying into a mountainside.
Tom Clarke of independent television news, reports.
TOM CLARKE, ITN: We will never know exactly when Andreas Lubitz decided to crash Germanwings Flight 9525 but today compelling evidence emerged that he rehearsed the decent that later killed 150 people, including himself. Using details from the flight’s charred and mangled flight and voice data recordings, investigators have reconstructed Lubitz‘s actions on the earlier, outbound flight from Dusseldorf to Barcelona. Just before 20 past seven, the captain left the cockpit. Lubiz, now in control, put the plane into a planned descent. But seconds later, he set the aircraft to dive to 100 feet, before swiftly correcting the settings. During the next few minutes, he constructed the plane to plunge four more times, then, less than five minutes after he left, the captain knocked to reenter. Lubitz reset the controls to the correct altitude.
REMI JOUTY, Director, French Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (through interpreter): The captain didn’t know because the copilots test during the outgoing flight happened during a normal preprogramed descent. And it didn’t have any effect on the plane’s trajectory.
TOM CLARKE: The report also reveals that Lubitz ignored 11 radio calls from air traffic controllers, and three from French air defense forces. The investigation will now focus on how a mentally unstable man came to control a passenger plane, and how the line between passenger safety and medical confidentiality can be redrawn.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country another oil train derailed and burned today, this time in
It happened near the tiny community of Heimdal forcing the 20 people who live there to leave.
10 tanker cars on the BNSF train caught fire, blanketing the scene in thick smoke. No one was hurt, and there was no immediate word on the cause.
For the record, BNSF railway is an underwriter of the Newshour.
GWEN IFILL: Global concentrations of carbon dioxide have reached levels not seen for 2 million years.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said today the monthly average crossed that line in March.
It also said concentrations of the heat-trapping gas are rising at a record pace.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The federal government says reports of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses nearly doubled between 2009 and 2013 — to almost 6,100.
The Department of Education released the numbers, but clarified it’s not that assaults are increasing, but that more people are willing to report them.
Officials credit enforcement efforts and improved public awareness.
GWEN IFILL: A bipartisan group of senators called today for an independent review of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
They said the number of backlogged claims for pensions and disability has decreased, but not by enough.
Republican Dean Heller of Nevada said they’re concerned that mismanagement discovered at the
VA’s regional office in Philadelphia might be systemic.
SEN. DEAN HELLER (R), Nevada: We have reason to believe that and I think it’s been reported in the past that some numbers have been manipulated as far as these claims are concerned, changing the dates and some of the hours and we want to get to the bottom of those issues.
GWEN IFILL: The senators want the government accountability office to investigate all 56 of the VA’s regional offices
JUDY WOODRUFF: A former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Jim Wright, has died.
The Texas Democrat passed away early today at a nursing home in Fort Worth.
Wright represented that area for 34 years, beginning in 1954. But in 1989, he became the first speaker to be forced to resign, after violating rules on reporting and accepting gifts.
Jim Wright was 92 years old.
GWEN IFILL: On Wall Street today stocks fell on news that hiring dropped sharply last month and on a comment by Federal Reserve Chair Janet yelled that stock valuations are “quite high”.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 90 points to close below 17,850.The Nasdaq fell nearly 20 points and the S&P 500 slipped 9.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And in a finding sure to trigger endless debate a British study concludes hip-hop has had the most profound effect on pop music in the last half century.
Researchers analyzed roughly 17,000 songs from 1960 through 2010.
They say hip-hop’s influence on chord patterns and instrumentation was even greater than the Beatles and the rest of the “British invasion” in the 1960’s.
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Floyd Mayweather, the winner of last Saturday’s professional boxing fight against Manny Pacquiao, has been involved in seven domestic abuse cases in the past 12 years. Perhaps due to the publicity around the event, domestic abuse prevention organizations reported an uptick in donations leading up to the fight.
According to Sports Illustrated, before the fight began, the hashtags #MoneyWhereMyMouthIs, #BoycottMayweather and #nomaypac prompted social media users to donate the $99.99 cost of the pay-per-view fight to an anti-domestic violence organization instead.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline said it saw an 80 percent increase in the number of donations during the week leading up to the fight, compared to a week earlier.
“What will happen is that someone may not even realize that they are experiencing violence in a relationship, but then they see thing play out in the media and hear these conversations and reach out because they realize something isn’t right,” Cameka Crawford, NDVH’s chief communications officer told Vocativ. “What we think is important is the awareness that is created because you give people a vocabulary to talk about domestic violence.”
Kim Gandy, the president and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, said the organization saw a “modest increase” in donations the day of the fight.
“We had seven donations on Saturday, and four on Sunday,” she said, compared to one or two during most weekends.
“We often think social media won’t get people to donate, but they do,” Gandy said.
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Whole Foods, a grocery store chain known for its organic and natural foods selection, is opening a separate chain of stores that promise lower prices targeting younger shoppers, the latest in a series of attempts to shed its reputation as an expensive grocery store.
Executives announced plans Wednesday for the new, still unnamed chain, which will open in 2016. Walter Robb, co-CEO for the Austin, Texas-based chain, said the stores will have a “modern, streamlined design, innovative technology and a curated selection.”
Whole Foods hopes to attract millennials, but also “anyone looking for high-quality fresh food at great prices,” Robb said in a statement.
The announcement came during a conference call about the chain’s second quarterly earnings. During the same call, it was revealed that Whole Foods’ same-store sales fell short of expectations, The Wall Street Journal reported.
As mass retailers, such as Wal-Mart, started taking a stab at the organic foods market, Whole Foods earned the nickname “Whole Paycheck” for its high-priced selection. In 2012, the Journal reported that core customers spent “on average, nearly three times more than new customers.”
Recently, Whole Foods started cutting prices to win back customers that were turned off by the chain’s high price tag.
“Analysts worried that the new store concept seemed to further signal that Whole Foods’ high-end grocery model is faltering, raising questions about how it affects the company’s long-term growth plans,” the Journal reported.
Whole Foods said the company is securing leases for the new stores. In all, Whole Foods has 417 stores across the country and said it sees demand for as many as 1,200 stores in the future.
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