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

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    Illustration by Getty Images

    Illustration by Getty Images

    Last month, we devised a company-wide social experiment. In pursuit of work-life balance, we would each choose one thing we love but can’t seem fit into our lives, and for one week, we would fit it into our lives. We’d just find a way to do it. How hard could it be?

    It all came about after a flurry of late-night emails made our phones buzz on our nightstands. Our partners, pets and children woke up, cranky. We determined, it was time to address the “life” part of our work-life balance. So that became the subject of our newest theme week.

    It wasn’t easy. We are journalists. To be tethered to the news is to be knocked around by it. We cancel plans. We check our Twitter feeds when we’re with our kids. And don’t even bother inviting us to happy hour. We always wish we could, but we always can’t make it. And we aren’t special. The U.S. ranks abysmally low on work-life balance.

    So about that experiment. We chose running, swimming and biking. We vowed to write letters to old friends. Dance for an hour every day. Do creative things with our kids. Play music. For a week, we tried it. There was a spreadsheet of activities. We held a meeting. And we reported back.

    We gave ourselves a break. We drank two glasses of wine. We played “LEGO Lord of the Rings” on Xbox. We slept.It was, at first, a sobering meeting. Many of us had failed. Our bike tires were flat. Our guitar strings were broken. Our kids didn’t care that we had embraced our inner preschool teacher, and rejected our crafty activities.

    But we learned a few things. We set boundaries. When we worked late, we came in late.

    We procrastinated by doing things that were slightly more productive than things we normally do. Instead of reading books, we did two hours of “sweaty rain-soaked yardwork.” Instead of riding our bike, we took our bike to the shop, and that was a step in the right direction. Instead of writing letters, we went to softball practice. Instead of doing Martha Stewart-quality crafts, we filmed our kids shooting hoops.

    And we gave ourselves a break. We drank two glasses of wine. We played “LEGO Lord of the Rings” on Xbox. We slept.

    Work-life balance isn’t static, we learned. The things we think we should do don’t always improve our days. Read: sometimes exercise isn’t the answer. Sometimes it upsets the balance. When we let go of judgment and paid closer attention to our families and ourselves, we were happier than when we tried to force another piece into an already overstuffed pie.

    We learned that work-life balance isn’t defined by goals, expectations or Pinterest, but by needs. Our bodies needed rest. Our minds needed distraction. Our yards needed trimming. And you know what? The rest could wait until tomorrow. Achieving balance was about accepting that.

    Every day this week, we’ll have stories on work-life balance. Among them, how to add an extra hour to your day, the importance of doing things alone and how the time manager manages his time. Find them all here. We hope you’ll find the time.

    The post The great PBS NewsHour work-life balance experiment appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    BBC headquarters in London. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

    On Thursday, the BBC began listing links to stories that Google had removed from their search engines, a year after an EU court ruling on privacy. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

    Just over a year ago, the EU ruled that people had the “right to be forgotten,” meaning that EU citizens could request Google delete search results concerning them. From the start, the ruling was controversial, especially with media outlets which saw stories from their archives disappear from search results. Now, the BBC has found a way to protest, and is publishing a continually updating list of stories that have been removed from Google search results.

    The BBC announced their decision in a blog post last week, saying they would maintain the list “primarily as a contribution to public policy.” The post added: “we also think the integrity of the BBC’s online archive is important and, although the pages concerned remain published on BBC Online, removal from Google searches makes parts of that archive harder to find.”

    The order that search engines be required to remove certain information on citizens’ request came after a Spanish man sued a Spanish newspaper asking them to take down an auction notice of his repossessed home. He argued that the publication of the notice was detrimental to him and infringed on his privacy rights. The court agreed, but they also felt that the information itself was relevant and shouldn’t be removed entirely from the public domain.

    This was the tightrope the court was trying to walk: The European Union guarantees a right to privacy in its constitution, but they also guarantee freedom of expression. In their ruling the EU said, “neither the right to the protection of personal data nor the right to freedom of expression are absolute rights. A fair balance should be sought between the legitimate interest of internet users and the person’s fundamental rights … The case itself provides an example of this balancing exercise.”

    The BBC isn’t the first news outlet to protest the right to be forgotten ruling. The Telegraph also keeps a list of stories Google has blocked, and both the Guardian and the Daily Mail have written op-eds and stories that reflect negatively on the ruling. The EU court thought it was striking an adequate balance between privacy and public information when making the right to be forgotten judgement. Many European news organizations, however, disagree.

    The post BBC responds to privacy law by publishing list of stories removed from Google search appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Pensioners waiting outside a closed National Bank branch and hoping to get their pensions, argue with a bank employee (L) in Iraklio on the island of Crete, Greece June 29, 2015. Greeks struggled to adjust to shuttered banks, closed cash machines and a climate of rumours and conspiracy theories on Monday as a breakdown in talks between Athens and its creditors plunged the country deep into crisis.    REUTERS/Stefanos Rapanis      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1I943

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Shock and anxiety spread across Greece today, as banks and the Athens stock market began a week-long closure.

    “NewsHour” special correspondent Malcolm Brabant is in Athens, where many are uncertain about what will happen to them, and to their country, as tomorrow’s default deadline will almost certainly pass without a solution.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Across Athens this morning, people lined up at ATMs, hoping to get at their money. Instead, they were limited to withdrawals of just 60 euros, or $67.

    BARBA SOTIRIS, Greece (through translator): The banks are closed. Everything’s closed. There’s nothing there. I have just got one euro 60 in my pocket. I went to the bank to get some money and there was nothing but fresh air.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: The bank closure came after weekend talks between Greece and its international creditors collapsed in acrimony. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rejected new austerity measures as the price for additional bailout funds. Instead, he called a national referendum for this coming Sunday.

    PRESIDENT ALEXIS TSIPRAS, Greek Prime Minister (through interpreter): Greek men and women, the blackmail ultimatum is for us to accept degrading austerity without end, and without the prospect of ever recovering socially and economically. I invite you to decide in a sovereign and proud manner, as the history of the Greeks commands.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: With that, the European Central Bank cut off emergency funding to Greek banks. So, the Tsipras government imposed currency curbs to head off a full-scale run on the banks. Many Greeks responded by rushing to gas stations, some of which put up signs saying they wouldn’t accept credit cards. The cash crunch also hit pensioners, who’d been due to receive payments today.

    WOMAN (through interpreter): We are waiting for our pensions, the labors that we have been paying for our whole life. And they are fooling us, and we are waiting here like beggars to withdraw our own money. The TV channels are now saying one thing, and in an hour they say something else. They are driving us crazy, everyone.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: That complaint was echoed at places like this coffee shop in the middle-class Athenian suburb of Pallini.

    PANOS MILTIADOU, Greece: I think it’s just uncertainty. People are just uncertain. We don’t know what’s going to happen next week. So, if we knew, if we had an example, if somebody would tell us what the week after would be like, then everybody would be a bit more relaxed. So, it’s that uncertainty, and uncertainty, I suppose, fuels fears. So people are scared. You know, will I have a job next week? Will the banks open next week? I don’t know.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: And it wasn’t only Greeks themselves affected by the crisis. One of the only bright spots in the nation’s economy is its tourism industry, but foreign visitors today expressed mixed feelings.

    ALEXANDER CARDENIAS, Tourist: Right now, a lot of people in Europe, they are afraid to come here to get — let’s say to spend some vacation. My advice to the tourists from Europe is to come here with their own money in their pocket already, so they don’t have any problems.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: In the meantime, the Greek government is headed for default tomorrow on a major debt repayment, and, possibly, for an exit from the Eurozone.

    Today in Brussels, the head of the E.U. Commission appealed for clear thinking ahead of Sunday’s referendum.

    JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, President, European Commission (through interpreter): I very much like the Greeks, and I would say to them you shouldn’t commit suicide because you are afraid of death. You should say yes, because the Greek people who are responsible, honorable citizens and proud of themselves and their country should say yes to Europe. Greece is Europe. Europe is Greece.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: But back in Athens, as night fell, thousands of protesters gathered outside Greece’s Parliament to demand the government stand firm against any new austerity measures.

    Greece is in uncharted waters, but it could be sinking more rapidly than people realize. A limited number of banks had been due to open tomorrow to allow the country’s old-age pensioners to cash their monthly checks. But the strain on the banking system is so great that that has now been put back to either Wednesday or Thursday. And there will be considerable anger if the country’s most vulnerable people can’t access their money.

    As the situation stands right now, there are less than 24 hours to go before the end of the international bailout fund which is keeping Greece afloat. Athens doesn’t have the $1.8 billion it needs to repay the International Monetary Fund. So, at this time tomorrow tonight, Greece will be in default. And after that, life will be much more uncertain — Judy.

     

    The post On brink of default, Greece imposes cash crunch appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    puertoricodebt

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The financial turmoil in Greece sent Wall Street to its biggest losses of the year today. It was part of a worldwide sell-off after Greek bailout talks failed and the Greek government shut down banks.

    The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 350 points to close below 17600. The Nasdaq fell 120 points, and the S&P 500 slid 44. We will have a full report from Greece right after the news summary.

    Puerto Rico is also drowning in debt, and now, its governor warns the island can’t pay. Alejandro Garcia Padilla says he hopes to defer payments while renegotiating $72 billions in red ink. The White House said today it is not considering a federal bailout.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has closed out its term with a slap at the Environmental Protection Agency. The justices ruled 5-4 today against EPA’s limits on mercury emissions from power plants. It said officials should have accounted for the cost of compliance right from the start. A full examination of the decision follows later in the program.

    Two of the last holdout states gave way today to the high court’s decision legalizing gay marriage. Louisiana began issuing licenses to same-sex couples, and Mississippi authorized clerks of court to do the same.

    But Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says clerks may refuse to issue licenses on religious grounds. That brought complaints today in Austin.

    CHAD GRIFFIN, President, Human Rights Campaign: What’s clear is that our work is far from over. The theatrics of Texas Attorney General Paxton, who has blatantly encouraged state officials to defy the highest court in the land, is evidence of that very fact. The attorney general is irresponsibly empowering and encouraging obstruction and delay.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, several clerks of court in Kentucky have responded by refusing to issue licenses to any couple, gay or straight.

    President Obama has signed two hard-won trade bills that could clear the way to finish an Asian free trade deal. The signing today, in the White House East Room, was a rare bipartisan occasion. It followed an all-out fight that pitted the president against many of his fellow Democrats. As he signed today, he quipped, “This is so much fun, we should do it again.”

    Negotiators in the Iran nuclear talks kept at it today, amid signs they will continue past tomorrow’s deadline. Iran’s foreign minister returned home from Vienna for consultations. Secretary of State John Kerry stayed and met with other officials, but he stopped short of signaling progress.

    His spokesman in Washington defended taking extra time.

    MARK TONER, State Department Spokesman: We’re still focused on getting the best agreement possible, the most comprehensive agreement possible. And if we have to work a little bit longer to do that, the team in Vienna, then they will do so, obviously, but nobody is talking about a long-term extension.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Iran reached a framework agreement with the U.S. and other world powers in April. Now some Western officials accuse Tehran of backtracking on that deal.

    In Egypt, the top public prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, was assassinated in a car bomb attack in Cairo. He had led the cases against ousted President Mohammed Morsi and other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Islamic State group had urged attacks on Egypt’s judges.

    The people of Burundi voted today in a parliamentary election marked by violent protests against the president’s bid for a third term. Voters trickled to polling places in the African nation amid reports of gunshots and explosions. The violence has sent some 140,000 people fleeing the country. The opposition boycotted today’s vote.

    Hundreds more migrants were brought ashore at Italian ports today, after being rescued at sea. The new arrivals were among nearly 3,000 people picked up Sunday. They were in 21 small boats that smugglers launched from Libya. So far this year, more than 60,000 from Africa and the Middle East have made it to Italy.

    More than 400 people remain hospitalized in Taiwan after a fireball engulfed partygoers at a water park on Saturday. The injured, many in their early 20s, were treated and rushed to ambulances, some of them with critical burns. One woman died later, and the head of the water park offered an emotional apology today.

    CHEN HUI-YING, CEO, Formosa Fun Coast Water Park (through interpreter): We rented it out like you rent a house. You don’t expect something like this to happen. How can one know that so many people would get hurt? It really makes me feel sorrow, so I am really sorry.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Investigators believe the fire started when a cigarette butt or spark ignited the flammable powder that was sprayed over the crowd from a stage. Back in this country, a rain squall in
    Wenatchee, Washington, gave brief relief to crews battling a fire that’s forced more than 1,000 people to flee.

    And hundreds of firefighters are trying to corral the so-called Sleepy Hollow Fire that ignited yesterday 120 miles east of Seattle. It’s destroyed some two dozen homes, fanned by high heat and strong winds.

    MIKE BURNETT, Fire Chief, Chelan County Fire District 1: It was what we classify as a firestorm coming through. Multiple structures were involved when the resources were allocated over there, and it was an all-night-long firefight, trying to catch the spot fires as they were — embers were going from one house to another, catching the roofs on fire and then spreading that way.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Later, the fire burned a fruit warehouse, and ammonia used for cold storage began to leak. Emergency managers urged people in the immediate area to stay indoors.

    A convicted killer who made a daring prison break in northern New York had his condition upgraded to serious today. David Sweat is now hospitalized in Albany. He was shot and recaptured yesterday less than two miles from the Canadian border. Fellow escapee Richard Matt was killed by police on Friday.

    And there’s word the world’s Jewish population has returned to where it was before the Holocaust. An Israeli think tank estimates the number is now 16.5 million, about equal to the total in the 1930s. The Nazis and their conspirators murdered some 6 million Jews.

    The post News Wrap: Puerto Rico struggles with $72 billion in debt appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    President Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama announced a plan that would raise the overtime availability to salaried employees earning less than $50,440 a year, up from the current $23,660 a year. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Salaried workers who earn nearly $1,000 per week would become eligible for overtime pay under a proposal President Barack Obama unveiled Monday, lamenting that too many Americans are working too many hours for less pay than they deserve.

    The long-awaited overtime rule from the Labor Department would more than double the threshold at which employers can avoid paying overtime, from the current $455 a week to $970 a week by next year. That would mean salaried employees earning less than $50,440 a year would be assured overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week, up from the current $23,660 a year.

    “We’ve got to keep making sure hard work is rewarded,” Obama wrote in an op-ed in The Huffington Post. “That’s how America should do business. In this country, a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

    To keep up with future inflation and wage growth, the proposal will peg the salary threshold at the 40th percentile of income, individuals familiar with the plan said. They requested anonymity to discuss the proposal ahead of the official announcement.

    The president was to promote the proposal during a visit Thursday to La Crosse, Wisconsin.

    Obama’s proposal aims to narrow a loophole that the president has long said some employers exploit to avoid paying overtime.

    Employees who make above the salary threshold can be denied overtime if they are deemed managers. Some work grueling schedules at fast food chains and retail stores, but with no overtime eligibility, their pay may be lower per hour than many workers they supervise.

    The existing salary cap, established in 2004 under President George W. Bush, has been eroded by inflation and now relegates a family of four making just above the cap into poverty territory. Obama has long charged that the level is too low and undercuts the intent of the overtime law.

    The proposed changes will be open for public comment and could take months to finalize. They can be enacted through regulation, without approval by the Republican-led Congress.

    Although the Labor Department’s estimates suggest the proposal would raise wages for 5 million people, other estimates are far higher. The Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, recently estimated that a threshold of $984 a week would cover 15 million people.

    “This is by definition middle-class people. This reverses decades of neglect,” said EPI President Larry Mishel, adding that the proposal would also likely create jobs for hourly workers.

    Under the current threshold, only about 8 percent of salaried workers are eligible for 1½ times their regular pay when they work overtime. The EPI estimates that doubling the salary level would make up to 40 percent of salaried workers eligible.

    Yet many Republicans have opposed Obama’s plans to increase the threshold, arguing that doing so would discourage companies from creating jobs and dampen economic growth. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who chairs the Senate’s labor panel, has derided the idea as designed “to make it as unappealing as possible” for companies to create jobs.

    Obama, in his op-ed, argued the exemption was intended for highly paid, white-collar employees but now punished lower-income workers because the government has failed to update the regulations. He said the proposal would be good not only for workers but also for employers that pay their employees what they deserve, because they will no longer be undercut by competitors who pay their workers less.

    “Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do exceptionally well? Or will we push for an economy where every American who works hard can contribute to and benefit from our success?” Obama said, setting up a populist argument that Democrats are likely to embrace in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

    The beneficiaries would be people like Brittany Swa, 30, a former manager of a Chipotle restaurant in Denver. As a management trainee, she started as an entry-level crew member in March 2010. After several months she began working as an “apprentice,” which required a minimum 50-hour work week.

    Yet her duties changed little. She had a key to the shop and could make bank deposits, but otherwise spent nearly all her time preparing orders and working the cash register. She frequently worked 60 hours a week but didn’t get overtime because she earned $36,000.

    The grueling hours continued after she was promoted to store manager in October 2010. She left two years later and has joined a class-action lawsuit against Chipotle, charging that apprentices shouldn’t be classified as managers exempt from overtime. A spokesman for Chipotle declined to comment on the case.

    Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

    The post Obama proposal would make 5 million more eligible for overtime appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York March 10, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

    Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York March 10, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

    WASHINGTON — The State Department said it would release about 3,000 pages of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s correspondence from 2009, her first year as the nation’s top diplomat, on Tuesday night.

    State Department spokesman John Kirby said the emails, covering March through December 2009, would be posted online.

    “There’s been nothing but nearly nonstop work on this” since the last group of emails was released, Kirby told reporters at a State Department briefing in which he acknowledged the inconvenient timing. “You have to understand the enormity of the task here. It is a lot of stuff to go through.”

    The release comes as part of a court mandate that the agency release batches of Clinton’s email correspondence from her time as secretary of state every 30 days starting June 30. The goal is for the department to publicly unveil 55,000 pages of her emails by Jan. 29, 2016. They were sent from the personal email address Clinton used when she was secretary.

    Clinton has said she wants the department to release the emails as soon as possible. The disclosure that she conducted State Department business on a private email account has been a controversy for her campaign.

    The State Department’s planned release of the emails came amid word that the GOP-led House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, will hold a public business meeting next week to vote on whether to release the transcript of longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal’s deposition.

    Blumenthal testified behind closed doors for more than eight hours earlier this month, and Democrats have been pressing the panel to release the full transcript.

    The committee, led by Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, had released Blumenthal’s emails with Clinton.

    The post State Department will release 3,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails tonight appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    This artist's rendering illustrates the spacecraft OSIRIS-REx, which will extend its robotic arm, TAGSAM, to vacuum up a sample from the asteroid Bennu. Photo by National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    This artist’s rendering illustrates the spacecraft OSIRIS-REx, which will extend its robotic arm, TAGSAM, to vacuum up a sample from the asteroid Bennu.
    Photo by National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    Today is National Asteroid Day, and to celebrate, we’re going to fast forward to 2018, when the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is slated to vacuum up the first asteroid sample ever collected and return the rock dust to Earth. And if all goes as planned, the spacecraft will return that sample in 2023. Why the seven-year journey?

    Searching for the perfect asteroid to visit is no easy task. And Bennu, the chosen asteroid, had to satisfy a lot of requirements, including what scientists at NASA call low eccentricity and inclination.

    If a planet or asteroid like Bennu moves in a circular orbit, remaining an equal distance from the sun at all times, it has zero eccentricity. But if an asteroid’s orbit is more of an ellipse – meaning its distance from the sun varies during a single orbit – that’s known as high eccentricity.


    Video courtesy of NASA

    And high eccentricity can be a tricky thing. Since the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft relies in part on solar power, it can never stray too far from the sun. But too close to the sun, and it can’t stand the heat. Just like Earth, Bennu has very low eccentricity which makes it a perfect ‘not too hot, not too cold’ destination.

    Our solar system exists on a flat plane. The spacecraft’s trajectory must bend toward Bennu when it jets off the Earth, angling it’s path slightly off the Earth’s plane. Because bending the trajectory requires a lot of energy, “we will do what is called an Earth-gravity assist,” said University of Arizona planetary scientist Dante Lauretta, NASA’s lead scientist on the mission. The spacecraft will first fly under Antarctica and use Earth’s gravity to make a six-degree change before pushing off toward Bennu. “It would take a lot more energy to bend farther away,” Lauretta said.

    Bennu orbits the sun at 63,000 mph. To intercept the rock, OSIRIS-REx will race toward it at a pace of 12,000 mph, but then slow down to a crawl, approaching Bennu at less than half a mile per hour. After its 2016 launch, it will take two years to reach the asteroid.

    Once OSIRIS-REx is within three miles of Bennu, it will collect a detailed map of the asteroid’s surface, which extends roughly the size of four football fields. NASA’s scientist will then determine where it is safe for OSIRIS-REx to extend its 10 foot robotic arm and vacuum up a two ounce sample, without landing and risking damage to the spacecraft.

    When dreaming up a way to collect a sample from Bennu, scientists brainstormed the use of many tools – shovels, drills, claws and scoops. But each had its downside. “In the microgravity environment, it is really hard for those tools to work. We thought wouldn’t it be great if we just had a vacuum cleaner?” Lauretta said.

    But Bennu already exists in a vacuum – there is no gravity or atmosphere. So the team designed a space vacuum called TAGSAM or “touch and go acquisition mechanism.” TAGSAM works by generating a brief and tiny atmosphere on Bennu. First, It puffs nitrogen outward, causing particles to fly off the asteroid. Then a screen inside TAGSAM acts as a vacuum bag, catching the dust particles as they leave the asteroid’s surface.


    Scientists test the robotic vacuum arm called TAGSAM or “touch and go acquisition mechanism” from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Video courtesy of NASA

    After collecting a sample, OSIRIS-REx must wait years before it can depart for Earth. Because Bennu’s trajectory is an ellipse, the distance between Bennu and Earth varies from about 62,000 to 1.8 million miles. Once the Earth gets close to Bennu again, OSIRIS-REx will use its engines to kick off the asteroid’s orbit and head home.

    What is on Bennu?

    Scientists don’t expect to find life on Bennu. But Bennu’s sample could tell us more about what resources are available in space and help us understand the origins of our solar system.

    Astronomers believe that Bennu originated from a cloud of hydrogen, helium and dust – the same components that led to the creation of our solar system.

    “The way the asteroid’s surface absorbs sunlight and re-emits energy as heat plays a substantial role in its orbital evolution,” Lauretta said. In other words, analyzing how much heat Bennu’s sample gives off can shed light on the birth of our solar system.

    Since all meteorite samples become contaminated the moment they encounter the Earth, Bennu’s sample will be kept pristine in a
    capsule. We know what asteroids are generally made of, thanks to meteorites – small fragments of asteroids that fall to Earth. Bennu is believed to contain large amounts of platinum.

    “If you were able to actually mine an asteroid the size of Bennu, you would become the first trillionaire on Earth,” Lauretta said.

    The post How do you vacuum an asteroid traveling 63,000 mph? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Tension Rise On Mexican Border After Border Patrol Agent Slain Last Week
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Customs and Border Protection should more than double its ranks of internal affairs investigators, an advisory panel has recommended in a report sent to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

    The panel recommended in a draft report that CBP add 350 criminal investigators to scrutinize its own agents and officers.

    Johnson assigned the Integrity Advisory Panel, led by the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Karen Tandy, and New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, to look at the agency’s policies and procedures last year.

    The panel recommended that CBP, the parent agency of U.S. Border Patrol, improve its use-of-force policies in part by emphasizing the responsibility to preserve life and “implement specific restrictions on the use of firearms involving a moving vehicle.”

    A Police Executive Research Forum-commissioned report on the agency’s use-of-force practices that was released last year said some agents were suspected of intentionally placing themselves in front of fleeing cars before firing their service weapons.

    The group also made several recommendations about how the agency can improve transparency, including reducing delays in releasing information publicly about incidents involving the agency or individual agents.

    The advisory panel report has not been released publicly and was obtained by The Associated Press. The group’s recommendations were first reported by The Los Angeles Times and The Arizona Republic.

    CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske said in a statement that many of the issues highlighted by the panel centered on efforts “already implemented or underway.”

    “I am committed to continuing the progress made in the last year and to continue our work to earn the trust and respect of the American public and of the communities we work within,” Kerlikowske said.

    CBP has been plagued with criticism from human rights activists and others who have alleged abuses by agents and officers against border crossers. Last year Johnson gave the agency authority to investigate criminal allegations, including corruption, against its own personnel.

    The post Border Patrol should add 350 internal investigators, report says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Watch Cardinal Donald Wuerl describe Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Washington, D.C.

    In his first trip to the United States in September, Pope Francis will make stops in Washington, D.C., and New York before celebrating the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

    The Vatican released his schedule for Sept. 22-28, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington and one of his hosts, expanded upon it a little more for reporters on Tuesday.

    The pope is coming as a “pastor of souls, whose focus is not political,” said Wuerl. “For our country today, with the concerns that we have and the tensions we sometimes face, to have someone of his stature say, ‘remember folks, you are brothers and sisters; remember folks, you are all part of the same family of God,’ I think that’s a message we’re all eager to hear.”

    Yes, he will ride the “popemobile” during his visit to Washington, offering the public one of several chances to see him, Wuerl confirmed.

    We will continue to update this blog with more details.

    Tuesday, Sept. 22

    Following a two-day visit to Cuba, where he will celebrate Mass in Havana and meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, Pope Francis will arrive at Andrews Air Force Base at about 4 p.m. EDT. He has no events scheduled.

    Wednesday, Sept. 23

    Pope Francis goes to the White House for a 9:15 a.m. EDT meeting with President Barack Obama, who visited him in Rome in March 2014.

    At 11:30 a.m. EDT, the pontiff meets with U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C.

    At 4:15 p.m. EDT, he celebrates Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The pope will canonize Junipero Serra, Spanish-born Franciscan friar who started nine Spanish missions in California in the 1700s. Those invited include religious leaders, Catholic charities, and representatives of California with ties to Serra. He will say the Mass in Spanish.

    How will the general public get tickets? The Mass on the grounds of the Basilica and adjacent Catholic University will accommodate about 25,000 seats and another 20,000 standing room tickets. Once the archdiocese determines how many tickets are available, after security measures are considered, people will be able to get tickets through their parishes, Wuerl said.

    Those without tickets can watch the Mass on large television screens placed around the city, he added.

    Thursday, Sept. 24

    Pope Francis speaks at a joint meeting of Congress — the first time a pope has ever addressed the House and Senate — at 9:20 a.m. EDT.

    At 11:15 a.m. EDT, Pope Francis visits St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, which is the headquarters of the service organization Catholic Charities of Washington.

    While there, he will visit with the homeless and get a chance to see one of the programs, St. Maria’s meal van, in action, said Wuerl.

    In the afternoon, the pope flies to New York and participate in Evening Vespers or prayers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

    Friday, Sept. 25

    On Friday, Pope Francis addresses the United Nations General Assembly about environmental sustainability at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

    At 11:30 a.m. EDT, he holds a multi-religious service at the 9/11 memorial site in New York City.

    The pontiff then pays a visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels school in the East Harlem community at 4 p.m. EDT.

    At 6 p.m. EDT, he celebrates Mass in Madison Square Garden.

    Saturday, Sept. 26

    Pope Francis travels to Philadelphia at 8:40 a.m. EDT to close the World Meeting of Families, a gathering that takes place every three years in a different international city.

    He celebrates Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

    The pope discusses religious freedom with Hispanics and other immigrants at Independence Mall.

    He visits the Festival of Families along Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

    Sunday, Sept. 27

    Pope Francis meets with bishops at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in suburban Philadelphia.

    He plans to visit inmates at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.

    The pope later goes back to Benjamin Franklin Parkway to celebrate Mass, and then greets organizers of the World Meeting of Families before heading to the airport to return to Rome.

    The post Everything we know about Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A new database from the investigative non-profit news organization, ProPublica, tracks the quality of nursing homes nationwide based on government inspection reports.  Photo by Getty Images

    A new database from the investigative non-profit news organization, ProPublica, tracks the quality of nursing homes nationwide based on government inspection reports. Photo by Getty Images

    Not all nursing homes are created equally. One database uses inspection reports to explore the quality of these facilities nationwide.

    ProPublica recently compiled a database that contains three years’ worth of nursing home inspection reports from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The investigative news outlet then organized its data by state, grading nursing home facilities and even flagging ones that have a history of serious deficiencies that may jeopardize resident safety.

    Take our quiz that draws on the database’s findings and see if you can guess where America’s nursing homes provide the best care and where others need to improve.

    The post QUIZ: What do inspection reports reveal about America’s nursing homes? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    baseballgame

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Tonight, we return to what has been a longstanding PBS NewsHour tradition: essays on television.

    We kick off again with author and father Daniel Pink.

    Tonight, he speaks to families and their child athletes.

    DANIEL PINK, Author: America has a problem with youth sports. And this problem has a name, two names, actually, mom and dad.

    But the real issue isn’t what you might think. Now, we already know that some sports parents are completely nuts, like mothers who sue the league when their precious progeny don’t get enough playing time, or hyper-competitive fathers who got cut from their high school team and are now taking revenge by threatening volunteer referees or barking at preteen girls.

    No, the deeper concern might be with all the other parents, the good ones, the nice ones, parents like me, who come to games and cheer for the players and shout “It’s OK” when our sons and daughters strike out. We’re part of the problem, too. And it’s time for us to get out of the way.

    For the sake of our children, let’s ban parents, all parents, not just the wackos, from attending most of their kids’ games. Let’s step off the sideline and climb down from the bleachers and make youth sports a parent-free zone.

    Now, hear me out on this. In many places, attending your kids’ sporting events has somehow become a leading indicator of parental awesomeness. Can’t stay late today. Got to go to Maria’s soccer match. I haven’t missed one of Billy’s basketball games for three years.

    Good for you. But is it really good for your kids? If we feel like we’re investing our time and attention, don’t we then expect some kind of return, from a 10-year-old, who is hitting a ball with a stick?

    What few of us well-meaning parents realize, but that any professional athlete will tell you, is that when kids look to us on the sidelines for approval or consolation or even orange slices, part of them is distracted from what really counts, the mastery of something difficult, the obligations to teammates, the game itself.

    Sitting there in our folding chairs can prevent children from standing on their own two feet. If they succeed on the field, they, not us, deserve the joy. If they fail — and they will a lot — they, not us, have to figure out how to respond.

    Maybe that’s why research has shown organized sports inhibit kids’ creativity, but pickup games actually enhance it. Besides, at their heart, sports are about stories. If we’re not in the stands, the kid’s on the story. They get to tell us what went well and what didn’t, instead of us telling them from the front seat on the car ride home.

    Think about it. Compared to other parts of our children’s lives, sports are bizarrely parent-centric. We don’t gather in the back of algebra class and watch students solve quadratic equations. In music and dance and theater, we don’t attend every single practice, lesson and rehearsal. We just show up for an occasional performance, keep our mouths shut and applaud like crazy when it’s over.

    So, here’s a better idea, especially for the legions of paunchy, stressed-out, middle-aged souls out there. Let’s banish parents from youth fields, courts, and diamonds, and let’s arrange for moms and dads to play soccer, softball, basketball, whatever, themselves when their children have a game.

    Our kids would get more freedom, we parents would get more exercise, and all of us would remember why we love sports.

    The post Why you should always skip your kids’ baseball games appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    jamestaylor

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: “Before This World,” it’s the name of a new album from one of the all-time great singer-songwriters, James Taylor.

    Jeffrey Brown spent a day with Taylor in New York recently, and he has our report.

    JEFFREY BROWN: “Today, today, today,” sings James Taylor, but his voice seems barely changed from many yesterdays, ingrained in several generations of music lovers since the 1970s.

    JEFFREY BROWN: These are new songs from his first album of all new material in 13 years. And the writing of them, he told me when we met recently in New York as he rehearsed with his band for a summer tour, has only gotten harder.

    JAMES TAYLOR, Musician: In the beginning, there was a kind of energy that — like an urgency to express myself, and the songs just couldn’t be held in.

    But I think it changes, the nature of how that — what that energy is. And I need to court the muse in a much more serious way.

    JEFFREY BROWN: That early urgency expressed itself in deeply personal songs like “Sweet Baby James.” Some of them were based on his bouts with depression and drug abuse.

    He had his first number one hit in 1971 with “You have Got a Friend,” written by his friend Carole King.

    I asked Taylor how well he remembers those early years.

    JAMES TAYLOR: I remember them really well. And that’s another surprising hing about being 67, is that, when I was 17, I couldn’t imagine that — first of all, that I would be alive now, but it just never occurred to me that I would have anything in common with someone who was 67 years old. It seemed to me like that was a different animal entirely.

    And the surprise is that you’re — you’re the same person. Not only do I remember those days well. I’m just — that’s basically just yesterday, you know?

    JEFFREY BROWN: Really?

    JAMES TAYLOR: Oh, yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, you see a pretty direct line, not a lot of different lives; this is one life?

    JAMES TAYLOR: Yes, that’s right, absolutely, well put. It’s the same life. And, you know, I really did land on my feet.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Land on his feet and over the years sell more than 100 million records.

    Taylor has continued to perform around the world, and he’s released albums in recent years of live or older material. When not on the road, Taylor lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife, Kim, and their twin 14-year-old boys.

    He has two grown children, both musicians, from his earlier marriage to Carly Simon. On the new album, with help from friends including Sting and Yo-Yo Ma, Taylor returns to many abiding themes.

    JAMES TAYLOR: The tug between the highway and home, and what a father and son is, because that’s somehow central to me, too, that thought, the idea of a simple life, as opposed to a complex and exciting life, the idea of getting the balance right in all of these things, certain kinds of love song, farewell songs to people that I have lost.

    JEFFREY BROWN: One song is about Taylor’s grandmother, a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, experiencing her team winning the World Series in 2004, after waiting 86 years.

    That’s great for me, as a Red Sox fan. Are you afraid of antagonizing the rest of the country?

    JAMES TAYLOR: I’m a little worried about that, yes.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JEFFREY BROWN: But this brings up something I have often thought about you. You’re not afraid to be, I don’t know if corny is the right word. I mean, some people would call it a — a little corny.

    JAMES TAYLOR: I am very uncool. I am very uncool.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JAMES TAYLOR: That’s — you know, it drives my wife crazy sometimes. But I am. I’m corny and I am not at all cool.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But do you think it is that willingness to wear your heart on your sleeve, in a sense, that’s the key to some of those songs?

    JAMES TAYLOR: I think that’s the whole point.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You do?

    JAMES TAYLOR: That’s the whole point, is to be available. A lot of these songs just come right out and say it, but — yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: To be available means what?

    JAMES TAYLOR: To sort of risk yourself, in a way, to venture yourself.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Do you do this for yourself at this point, or for fans?

    JAMES TAYLOR: That’s a good question.

    I mean, I — life at this point, to me, is pretty realized. The blanks are filled in. I know who I love. I know who my family is. I know who my musical community is that I work with. I have friends who do this also who basically say, you know what, I don’t think, I’m that — I’m not that motivated by it anymore. I’m not that interested in having people’s attention or, you know, having them focus on me.

    But I seem to be endlessly interested in it. And I like my audience, too. I — what I seem to feel more and more, as time goes by, is grateful, you know?

    JEFFREY BROWN: Grateful to the audience?

    JAMES TAYLOR: Grateful for all I have been given.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The newly-released “Before This World” quickly hit number one on the Billboard 200, giving James Taylor, remarkably enough, his first-ever chart-topping album.

    From New York, I’m Jeffrey Brown for the PBS NewsHour.

    The post Why James Taylor is still ‘endlessly interested’ in making music appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, and 130,000 die from one, making it the fifth leading cause of death in this country.

    Most strokes are caused by a blood clot in the brain. The recommended treatment is a drug called TPA, designed to dissolve it. But it must be given within 4.5 hours after the stroke. And fewer than 5 percent of people are diagnosed in time.

    Now the American Heart Association has recommended another treatment to help. In many cases, doctors should use a special stent to remove the clot.

    Dr. William Powers is the head of the panel that made the recommendation. He’s the chief of neurology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Dr. Powers, thank you for being with us.

    First of all, explain what this procedure is. How does it work?

    DR. WILLIAM J. POWERS, University of North Carolina School of Medicine: So, the procedure involves making a puncture in a large artery in the groin and threading a small tube called a catheter up through the chest and up through the neck and into the head, and then pushing that catheter into the blood clot.

    And inside that catheter is a stent, which looks like a piece of rolled-up chicken wire. You pull the catheter back. The stent expands. It grabs the clot, and then you pull the stent and the clot back out of the brain, and relieve the blockage in the blood vessel and restore blood flow to the brain.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So this is different from the stent that I think many people may have heard of that may be used in a blood vessel in the neck or in the heart that goes in and expands the blood vessel?

    DR. WILLIAM J. POWERS: Well, it’s the same type of stent. They do expand. But, in this case, you don’t leave it there.

    You actually just use it as a way — as a snare to pull the blood clot out.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Who benefits from this?

    DR. WILLIAM J. POWERS: So, there have been now five very, very nice studies that have looked at people who have had this procedure and compared them to people who don’t.

    And, by and large, it’s people who have a large clot in one of the large vessels that supplies a large part of the brain, and who have also already received I.V. TPA, but the I.V. TPA doesn’t resolve the large clot, and they have to be treated with this stent within six hours of the onset of their stroke.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it would be used with this medicine; is that right?

    DR. WILLIAM J. POWERS: Right. In fact, it’s used after I.V. TPA is given primarily.

    It might also work with people who haven’t gotten I.V. TPA, but we just don’t have enough evidence to know that as of yet.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what are the potential complications here?

    DR. WILLIAM J. POWERS: Yes, it’s very interesting.

    The complications in all of these studies were essentially no more than the people who received I.V. TPA alone, which is a 2 percent to 3 percent risk of hemorrhage from the I.V. TPA.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right now, are most people treated with this medicine, the TPA?

    DR. WILLIAM J. POWERS: Well, unfortunately, most people don’t get to the hospital in time to get the I.V. TPA. And probably 5 percent to 10 percent of people get it. Many, many, many more could if they got to the hospital in time.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what do you think this recommendation coming from the American Heart Association is going to make?

    DR. WILLIAM J. POWERS: Well, you know, I hope it does several things.

    I hope it, more than anything, gets people to understand that there are treatments for acute stroke. We now have a new one that helps even more people. But you have to get to the hospital quickly, which means call 911.

    The other thing that I hope it does is, it will allow us to set up systems of care around the country. Not every hospital can do this new stent retriever treatment. So we need ways to get people to local hospitals to get their I.V. TPA and then, if they benefit, to centers who do this treatment.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, is the Heart Association in the process of making sure doctors get this, physicians get this training?

    DR. WILLIAM J. POWERS: So, there are physicians who are trained to do this. And there are training programs set up.

    It’s really, I think, a question more of organization than of the Heart Association worrying about the training.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And — but, in any event, what you’re saying is that the word will — is already out, but it’s going to be out even more so now and you’re looking to hospitals to implement this?

    DR. WILLIAM J. POWERS: Yes, I think so.

    Since these studies were published, I mean, our practice at our hospital has changed drastically. And we have set up a whole new system of care to efficiently take these people in from outside by helicopter, because we can offer the treatment and get them the treatment they need.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Bill Powers at the University of North Carolina, thank you for sharing all this with us.

    DR. WILLIAM J. POWERS: Thank you very much for having me.

    The post Brain stent offers new treatment option for stroke victims appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    angola

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The city of Luanda, the capital of Angola, was recently named the most expensive city in the world to live in for expatriates, beating out Tokyo, Hong Kong and Moscow.

    But Angola also bears the distinction of being the country with the highest child mortality rate in the world.

    The ties that bind the two? Corruption.

    Gwen Ifill picks up the story from there.

    GWEN IFILL: The West African nation of Angola is a land of contrasts, where the gap between the very rich and the desperately poor is so great, that its most vulnerable population, children, are dying every day.

    Nicholas Kristof, the op-ed columnist for The New York Times, spent five years trying to get a visa into Angola to see for himself, and he recently returned with stunning video. He traveled there with video journalist Adam Ellick.

    NICHOLAS KRISTOF, Columnist, The New York Times: This is the deadliest country in the world for kids, and yet the government has just cut the health budget by 30 percent.

    At a sunset dance party in the capital, Luanda, you would never know there’s a health crisis here. That’s the crazy part. This country is actually filthy rich, flush with oil and diamonds. There’s so much money here that a one-bedroom apartment downtown can cost $12,000 a month.

    The real problem is it’s just spectacularly corrupt. Officials here spend $50 million a year on luxury cars alone. Judges here get Jaguars to drive, as kids perish at the highest rate in the world.

    President Jose dos Santos has ruled for 36 years through a brutal civil war that ended in 2002. He’s used the country’s oil wealth to enrich his cronies, as kids die. But I know the president cares about at least one child. After all, he turned his daughter, Isabel, into Africa’s youngest billionaire. Both of them ignored my interview requests.

    But if you want the government’s perspective on how things are going here, look at this poster. It’s a warning about junk food on the walls of many public hospitals. And it’s hanging above kids dying of malnutrition.

    Angola, rich oil country, diamonds. How can this be?

    STEPHEN FOSTER, Missionary Surgeon: Because government won’t spend the money to make it change.

    NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Stephen Foster is an American missionary surgeon who has worked for 37 years in Angola. He runs a hospital for the poor overlooking the city of Luongo in Southwest Angola.

    STEPHEN FOSTER: No need to make any discoveries to prevent Typhoid fever. No need to make any discoveries to provide better nutrition to children.

    NICHOLAS KRISTOF: The reality is that these kids in the hospitals are the lucky ones. Fifty percent of Angolans don’t have access to health care at all.

    So, what I have been seeing in the last few days, kids dying of malaria, of severe malnutrition, that’s the better half of Angolan health care?

    STEPHEN FOSTER: You have seen the best. That’s what is happening as the best, yes, exactly.

    GWEN IFILL: And Nicholas Kristof joins me now.

    Those pictures are so tough to look at, and there’s so much more online.

    Nick, of all the places you traveled, why Angola?

    NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Well, I think it’s important to look at child mortality worldwide. There are six million kids a year who are dying unnecessarily before the age of 5, and Angola is a great place to look at that, because this is the highest child mortality rate in the world.

    And it’s a reminder that what we need is not just new bed nets and not just more money, but frankly improving governance and preventing corruption in some of the countries that are already out there.

    GWEN IFILL: What are these children dying of? And what are they suffering from?

    NICHOLAS KRISTOF: You know, it’s a whole range of things, Gwen.

    You have… malaria is enormous. It’s diarrhea. It’s measles. It’s things as simple as worms. You can de-worm a child for about 5 cents a year. One pill of albendazole will do it. And yet we saw kids who were — had so many intestinal parasites, that they had blockages in their intestines and they were anemic as a result.

    GWEN IFILL: So, these are preventable disease, everything you’re describing here, or at least curable diseases. Why is it that the government is not spending money on its health care?

    NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Because they’re not a priority.

    It’s — the president’s priority is his daughter, and so she does very well. It’s his cronies. And so they do very well. And to some degree, it’s the stability of the country. And so he pays people off to make sure that they work. And unfortunately for the rest of the world, including the U.S., and our priority is to keep oil flowing out of Angola — it’s our oil companies and making sure that they do well.

    And nobody has really been concerned about the half of Angolans who don’t get any health care at all. And, in that context, they die at extraordinary rates. One in six Angolan children will die by the age of 5.

    GWEN IFILL: So, Nick, is this about poverty or is this about corruption or a little bit of both?

    NICHOLAS KRISTOF: In essence, it’s really about corruption. Angola has the wealth as a country. It’s got oil. It’s got diamonds. And it deploys those natural resources to make sure that the president’s daughter can be a billionaire, to make sure that judges get their Jaguars.

    What it doesn’t do is make sure that every child gets a bed net, that every child gets de-wormed. And so you have these children dying of completely preventable diseases. One woman in 35 will end up dying in childbirth, completely unnecessarily.

    Kids are not going to school. And so, sure, poverty is a problem, but as a consequence of the pie being — going completely to the elite under President dos Santos, and the rest of the world, frankly, kind of accepting that situation, because we in the U.S., we are caring about our oil companies.

    Europe is caring about its oil companies. Nobody is really caring about the disenfranchised people of Angola.

    GWEN IFILL: So, does the U.S. have a formal bilateral relationship with Angola?

    NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Yes. We actually have a reasonably friendly relationship with Angola because we have substantial oil interests there.

    And, also, in fairness, Angola has been reasonably helpful in trying to reach more of a peace in Congo. Secretary Kerry has visited Angola. Angolan leaders have come to the U.S. But nobody really talks about these basic issues of governance.

    And, you know, I have often empathized that wealthy countries should be more generous in trying to alleviate poverty and donating to alleviate poverty around the world, but Angola is a reminder that it’s not just about wealthy countries writing checks. It’s also about them holding the feet to the fire of leaders in countries like Angola to make sure that money isn’t just stolen by the billions, but actually is deployed in ways that will save lives.

    GWEN IFILL: How does Angola rank with other nations of its type which are rich in natural riches, but poor otherwise?

    NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Angola is one of the least transparent countries in the world, one of the most corrupt countries in the world by various indexes, from Transparency International, these kinds of things.

    And it also is, according to UNICEF, the single country with the very highest child mortality rate in the world. And the idea that Angola, you know, with all of its wealth, has a worse child mortality rate than Niger, that Burkina Faso, than Sierra Leone is kind of incomprehensible.

    And that’s simply because the leadership doesn’t deploy its wealth to make a difference and, in fact, is this year cutting its health budget even further.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, Nick Kristof of The New York Times, thank you for going where we always can’t and bringing us the story.

    NICHOLAS KRISTOF: My pleasure, Gwen.

    The post In Angola, corruption has deadly consequences for children appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Labor Secretary Thomas Perez spoke to PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff Tuesday on the Supreme Court’s decision to take up a case on union fees.

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will consider limiting the power of government employee unions to collect fees from non-members in a case that labor officials say could threaten membership and further weaken union clout.

    The justices said Tuesday they will hear an appeal from a group of California teachers who say it violates their First Amendment rights to have to pay any fees if they disagree with a union’s positions and don’t want to join it.

    The teachers want the court to overturn a 38-year-old legal precedent that said unions can require non-members to pay for bargaining costs as long as the fees don’t go toward political purposes. Public workers in half the states currently are required to pay “fair share” fees if they are represented by a union, even if they are not members.

    Speaking today on the PBS NewsHour, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said that collective bargaining has been a key to these employees’s success and that people who don’t sign up to pay dues to the union are still benefitting from that bargaining.

    “They want to be free-riders. They want to pay nothing, but get all their benefits,” he told Judy Woodruff. “States have appropriately said that you can require people to pay their fair share.”

    But the high court has raised doubts about the viability of “fair share” fees in two cases over the past four years. The court has stopped short of overturning the 1977 case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education case, but in a 5-4 opinion last year, Justice Samuel Alito called Abood “questionable on several grounds.”

    Alito said a “bedrock principle” of the First Amendment is that “no person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support.”

    The lead plaintiff in the case is Rebecca Friedrichs, a public school teacher in Orange County, California, who says she resigned from the California Teachers Association because it takes positions that “are not in the best interests of me or my community.” She says she is still required to pay the union about $650 a year to cover bargaining costs.

    The union says the fees are necessary because it has a legal duty to represent all teachers at the bargaining table, even those who are not part of the union.

    A federal district court ruled against her and the other challengers, saying the outcome was clear under Abood. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

    Leaders of some of the nation’s largest public sector unions issued a joint statement calling the lawsuit an effort to weaken labor rights.

    “The Supreme Court is revisiting decisions that have made it possible for people to stick together for a voice at work and in their communities — decisions that have stood for more than 35 years,” said the statement from the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, California Teachers Association, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and Service Employees International Union.

    The Center for Individual Rights, a conservative group working with the plaintiffs, argues that even basic union goals such as negotiating pay raises and boosting school budgets can clash with the political and educational beliefs of many teachers.

    “We are seeking the end of compulsory union dues across the nation on the basis of the free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment,” said Terry Pell, the group’s president.

    The Supreme Court’s rationale in 1977 for allowing the fees was to help promote labor peace and prevent non-members from “free riding,” since the union has a legal duty to represent all workers.

    A ruling in favor of the teachers challenging the fees could sap finances at all unions representing teachers, firefighters and other government workers, labor leaders and other experts say.

    “When unions are required to provide representation, if people don’t have to pay for that, a lot of them are going to opt for that free option and that’s going to cause enormous problems for the viability of unions,” said Benjamin Sachs, a professor at Harvard Law School specializing in labor law.

    As private sector union membership has steadily declined over the past four decades, unions representing government workers have emerged as a powerful force in organized labor. But they have come under increasing attack as officials in Wisconsin and other states blame them for generous pension and benefit packages that cash-strapped governments no longer can afford.

    Public-sector workers have a union membership rate of 35.7 percent, more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers at 6.6 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, 14-915, will be argued when the Supreme Court begins its new term this fall.

    The post Labor Secretary Perez: government unions have the right to require members to pay their ‘fair share’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L)  meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at a hotel in Vienna, Austria June 30, 2015.  Kerry and  Zarif held a "productive" meeting in Vienna on Tuesday, the State Department said, as negotiations on curbing Iran's nuclear program were extended. REUTERS/State Department/Handout  FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTX1IHEE

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now to another missed deadline, this one between Iran and world powers over that country’s nuclear program.

    Representatives from Iran and the so-called P5-plus-one countries, which includes the U.S., have given themselves another full week to negotiate a final deal. The original deadline was midnight tonight.

    In Washington, President Obama said that any final deal must block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I have said from the start I will walk away from the negotiations if in fact it is a bad deal. If we can’t provide assurances that the pathways for Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are closed, and if we can’t verify that, if the inspections regime, the verification regime is inadequate, then we are not going to get a deal. And we have been very clear to the Iranian government about that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Jeffrey Brown picks up the story from here.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The announcement of an extension, coming with just a few hours to spare, came in Vienna, where Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with his Iranian and other international counterparts.

    Indira Lakshmanan is in Vienna covering the talks for Bloomberg News and joins me now.

    So, Indira, this extension means obviously means they couldn’t reach the deadline tonight, but what more does it mean? Where do things stand?

    INDIRA LAKSHMANAN, Bloomberg News: Right.

    Well, in the hotel right behind me, the Palais Coburg, we have all the different delegations who are meeting late into the night. Even though the principals, Secretary Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, and the others, may have taken their break for the day, you’re talking about nuclear experts, sanctions experts and other chief negotiators who are working until almost 1:00 a.m. every night.

    What we saw happen today was this official extension of the interim accord, which basically gave Iran partial, but not very much sanctions relief, in exchange for them limiting the most sensitive aspects of their nuclear program. As you know, that deal has been in place since January of last year.

    And so this has now been extended until July 7, which essentially gives the two sides another week to try to hammer out the remaining differences and to try to get it to Congress before that July 9 trigger date, which would give Congress an extra 30 days, or two months, to argue about the deal.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so where are the key sticking points at this point? What do you expect them to be discussing and negotiating over these coming days?

    INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Yes.

    The main problems that remain are really over access. And that means what kind of access are the International Atomic Energy inspectors, the U.N. atomic inspectors, going to have to Iran’s most sensitive sites? This of course is key, because it’s not only about verifying the deal going forward. It’s also about answering this 12-year-old file full of questions that the IAEA has about the potential military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear work.

    Now, we know that, in the past, according to U.S. intelligence and other intelligence agencies, Iran was conducting military-related nuclear research towards a nuclear weapon. The question is, Iran has never fessed up to that. I don’t think this deal expects that Iran is going to come out with a full confession, but what the negotiators do want is access to the sites, so that they can look at documents, talk to scientists and have an understanding of what Iran’s nuclear program was doing in the past to make sure that it keeps limits in the future and is not able to get a nuclear weapon going forward.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so, today, we heard President Obama talking about the U.S. would walk away if it’s not a good deal. How is that being interpreted there? Is that seen as any sort of hardening of the U.S. position?

    INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Look, at this point, I don’t think we can talk about hardening of positions. I think what that is, is almost mirroring what the Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, said a week ago.

    You will remember he gave a really tough speech in which he said Iran has a number of red lines and we’re not going to cross any of them. But, interestingly enough, all of the red lines that he laid out were things that Iran had already agreed to, according to the United States and its negotiating partners, back on April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    And so it came as a big shock. And everybody was worried, does this mean Iran is going to be backsliding? I’m told by U.S. negotiators that, in fact, in the negotiating room, Iran has not been backsliding, but the Ayatollah Khamenei had to come out with a strong statement for public consumption.

    I think what Obama’s doing is, in a way, the same thing. He has to come out with a very strong statement, particularly for Capitol Hill, but for all of those people in the United States who may be suspicious of a deal, not to mention Israel, and say, look, we’re not going to take a bad deal, we’re only to take a very good deal, and we’re not going to accept any backtracking.

    So, that’s really what was at play. But I think it’s really important to notice that there have been some positive signs, too. Just today, Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted out a picture of his negotiating team all dressed up in these sort of spotless, perfect white scientist jackets just as Foreign Minister Zarif was coming back here from consultations in Tehran, and said something about how he had total trust in his brave negotiators.

    So that definitely seems to be preparing the ground in Iran for a deal coming, I would say, within the next week.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Just very briefly, Indira, I gather on the sidelines there are continuing talks about Americans who are in prison still in Iran. Do we know whether that’s playing into these nuclear talks at all?

    INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Well, there are those three Americans, a pastor, a journalist and an ex-Marine, who you mentioned who are imprisoned in Iran.

    And the United States says that in every single meeting that they have with the Iranians, they always bring up those three men and a fourth former FBI agent who has been missing for more than seven years. The issue is that they don’t want to tie those men’s fate to the talks. The Americans have always said those men need to be released whether or not there is a nuclear deal.

    You can be sure that, of course, at this moment of maximum leverage, that the United States is pushing them very hard on this, but I think the main point is, even if there is a nuclear deal, the whole world is not going to change. The U.S. and Iran are not suddenly going to become friends. There is not going to be a detente or rapprochement.

    The United States just last week called them state sponsors of terror and human rights abusers, so the whole world is not going to change. This is really about a nuclear deal and not much more at this point.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right.

    Indira Lakshmanan in Vienna, thanks so much.

    INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Thank you.

    The post Access is sticking point as Iran nuclear talks are extended appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A Greek national flag flutters atop a building as dark clouds fill the sky in Athens, Greece, June 30, 2015. Greece's conservative opposition warned on Tuesday that Sunday's vote over international bailout terms would be a referendum over the country's future in Europe, and that wages and pensions would be threatened if people were to reject the package.    REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis  - RTX1IH7S

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: A late attempt by the prime minister of Greece failed to stop the country from being the first ever developed nation to miss a payment it owes to the International Monetary Fund.

    PBS NewsHour special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports from Athens, where anxiety ruled the day.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Tempers were running high on the front lines in Athens, the bank machines where pensioners and others waited again for hours to get the equivalent of $67.

    TITOS ALIKAMPIOTIS (through interpreter): We cannot go on with our daily business. These 60 euros are not enough to feed the family. The situation is very bad.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: And it may well get worse. The finance minister confirmed that Greece is defaulting on a nearly $1.9 billion repayment to the International Monetary Fund that was due today. Instead, he emphasized Sunday’s referendum on whether to accept more austerity measures as the price of a new bailout.

    YANIS VAROUFAKIS, Finance Minister, Greece (through interpreter): The most important thing at this time is to secure with sobriety and harmony the right of the Greek people to express themselves on Sunday in the referendum.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: This evening, thousands rallied outside Parliament, urging a yes-vote, in favor of working out a deal and staying in the Eurozone.

    KONSTANTINOS ASIMAKOPOULOUS: What we need now, as Greeks, is a determined government to negotiate, agree with the creditors and promote prosperity, growth and hope. Hope is what the Greeks need, and I think that staying in the euro is the only way of empowering hope.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Even now, at the 11th hour, the government of Alexis Tsipras is putting forth new proposals to try to satisfy its international creditors. It wants to extend the bailout under new conditions.

    It’s the latest curve ball from a government which has irritated the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. But the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has made it clear that there will be no more negotiations with Greece until its referendum on Sunday.

    It was widely reported that Prime Minister Tsipras wants a two-year extension of bailout funding, but that he offered no new economic reforms to satisfy creditors. Opposition lawmakers in the Greek Parliament said the onus is on Tsipras to find a way out.

    VASSILIS ECONOMOU, New Democracy Party (through interpreter): I think today is the last chance for the government and Prime Minister Tsipras specifically to ensure a smooth and normal way forward. Starting tomorrow, things will get very difficult. And the responsibility can only be attributed to MR. Tsipras and his party.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: But, outwardly at least, government supporters voiced confidence that all will be well.

    NIKOS NIKOLOPOULOS, Independent Greeks Party (through interpreter): I am certain that every day that dawns brings us closer, rather than further with Europe, because our home is the same. It is common and our home is Europe. I am therefore certain that the creditors realize, minute by minute, the importance of staying together and not divorcing.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: As the politicians debate, the fear among average Greeks is palpable. In the home of Byron Riginos, a retiree, the television is always on, with its never-ending diet of bad news.

    BYRON RIGINOS: Today, I would describe as D-Day for Greece. D-Day could take on the notion of destruction, demolition, depletion of cash into the ATMs and to the banks. D-Day can have many meanings. But the gist of it is that we are about to lose our country and to exit the Eurozone and the European Union. And this is something unbelievable.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Others, like Dimitris Papazimouris, face a potential future with no job. He’s already lost 70 percent of his salary at an advertising firm since the crisis began.

    DIMITRIS PAPAZIMOURIS: I’m terrified. I’m actually terrified. I think we’re taking a very dangerous turn, which I couldn’t imagine that we would end up where we are today. It’s a European country and it’s heading towards the fourth world.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: All of this is being watched closely in Washington, where President Obama sought today to play down the potential effects on the U.S.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: For the American people, this is not something that we believe will have a major shock to the system. But, obviously, it’s very painful for the Greek people. And it can have a significant effect on growth rates in Europe.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Tonight, a conference call of European finance ministers ended with officials saying only that they will have another call tomorrow morning.

    For the PBS NewsHour, this is Malcolm Brabant in Athens.

    The post Greece misses debt payment and Greek anxiety grows appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Weighing in on the Supreme Court's decision to hear a dispute over union fees in the public sector, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez told the NewsHour's Judy Woodruff that states have appropriately said that you can require people to pay their "fair share." Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The president called for major changes today that could substantially expand the number of people earning overtime.

    Under current labor law, workers are supposed to earn overtime pay at the rate of time-and-a-half if they put in more than 40 hours a week. But those who earn more than $455 a week, or about $23,000 a year, and are classified as executives are exempt. That usually includes many managers. President Obama would like to lift that salary cap higher in 2016, so that all workers earning up to $50,000 a year would be eligible for overtime.

    Many businesses are opposed and have said this idea would backfire.

    We recently sat down with David French, who is a senior vice president at the National Retail Federation. Even before all the details were released, he said the plan wouldn’t help employees.

    DAVID FRENCH, National Retail Federation: Our analysis says that instead of providing overtime for millions more workers, employers are going to make rational choices and they’re going to spread the same amount of money across a slightly larger pool of hourly and part-time workers.

    Every employer is going to have to look at their jobs and decide whether or not the job functions that they have match up with the obligation to pay overtime, and they’re probably going to redesign a lot of jobs.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We look at these proposed changes and the concerns surrounding them with secretary of labor, Thomas Perez.

    And he joins me tonight from Charlotte, North Carolina.

    Secretary Perez, thank you for being with us.

    Why is it the responsibility of the federal government to tell private employers what to do on overtime?

    THOMAS PEREZ, Secretary of Labor: Well, this was part of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1937, a piece of legislation that FDR called one of the most important pieces of legislation other than Social Security to protect workers.

    And under the Fair Labor Standards Act, if you work extra, you should be paid extra. And during — in 1975, if you took the amount of money that a so-called exempt employee would make and simply indexed it to inflation today, they should be making over $1,000.

    And what happened is that managers, when I was a kid, used to be middle-class jobs. And they would be paid decently. They would be paid fairly. They would work over 40 hours, but they were compensated for it. And what happened was, in 2004, the Bush administration put in place a regulation that changed the calculation.

    And it was a regulation designed to help employers and hurt workers. And it hurt workers by making far more workers who should be eligible for overtime not eligible for overtime. And so you have situations where people work 30 — they’re working 60, 70 hours a week and making $25,000.

    That’s a poverty wage when you’re talking about all those hours. And so the president said, we need to fix this. We need to make it fairer to everybody.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, how did the administration pick the number? I gather the ceiling is up from in the 20s to $50,000 a year. Why pick that number?

    THOMAS PEREZ: We looked at the 40th — at the 40th percent percentile of salaried workers, when you look at the research at the 40th percentile, in our judgment, that was a good demarcation line. People who are above that 40th percentile, or about $50,000, they are performing functions that were intended by the Fair Labor Standards Act to enable them to be exempt employees.

    People below that should be overtime-eligible. And so we’re fixing the imbalance that was created from the 2004 regulation. And by doing that, we’re — again, we’re taking these folks who are working 60, 70 hours a week and making $35,000 at the most and saying, that’s not fair. You should be compensated fairly, because they’re effectively working 10, 20 hours for free in some cases.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Excuse me.

    So, which workers are mainly going to be benefited by this, assuming it takes place?

    THOMAS PEREZ: These are managers. These are the folks who open the store. They close the store. They hire workers. They mentor workers. They sweep the floors some days when that’s necessary. They are the most valuable employees in the workplace in many cases.

    And what’s happening right now is, they’re working 60 hours. They’re not able to have dinner with their family. They’re missing out on the PTA meetings. They’re missing out on the ball games for their kids, and they’re doing so while they can barely make ends meet. And that’s not fair.

    This is a rule about what it means to be middle class in America. Managers used to be middle-class jobs. And the president said, we want them to be middle-class jobs again.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I understand that you’re saying that this is mainly retail workers.

    I want to ask you about some of the pushback coming from business, this argument that this is going to lead many employers simply to cut hours, to start hiring more part-time workers to get around this.

    THOMAS PEREZ: Well, that’s not — that’s certainly not been our experience and that’s not what the research demonstrates.

    And, you know, we have talked to many, many people during the course of our outreach on this. And, you know, one person I spoke to just this morning was the CEO of HEB grocery store. It’s a $12 billion, 80,000-employee operation based in Texas. They compete with Wal-Mart. And their CEO understands that their most precious resource is their worker.

    And there they are, 80,000 employees’ strong. And what he said to me was, this is the right thing to do and it’s the smart thing to do. And these first-line supervisors are some of our most valuable employees. And of course we should be paying them $50,000. And this compliance for us will be very easily obtained. And this is a large retailer, you know, 80,000 employees’ strong.

    And I talk to retailer after retailer. They understand, when you invest in your workers, when you treat them fairly, you create a virtuous cycle, and you do well for your worker and you do well for your business.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, just quickly, quoting from that Retail Federation executive we heard from a moment ago, he said this is going to spread the same amount of money over a larger pool of hourly and part-time workers, and he said it means employers are going to be redesigning jobs.

    THOMAS PEREZ: I don’t believe that.

    And, actually, their own report belies that, when you read the entirety of that report. And what we will see — and we talked to a lot of retailers who said, well, we’re paying our employees roughly $45,000. We heard that a lot from retailers.

    So what this means is, your most valuable employee or some of your most valuable employees, what you would have to do here is you raise their salary to $50,000, and what you get for that is, you continue to have this loyal employee and you buy the certainty of knowing that they are an exempt employee.

    Right now,there’s been a lot of litigation in the aftermath of the Bush rule because there are way too many people who are being called exempt employees who are not exempt employees. And so part of what we’re doing here is making the rule simpler, because there are way too many people who are being misclassified at the moment. And so that will make it help — that will be helpful for everybody.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me just finally ask you very quickly, Secretary Perez, about the Supreme Court announcing that it is going to take up a case involving the power of government employee unions to impose fees on non-union members. What’s your reaction?

    THOMAS PEREZ: Well, I think public sector workers, our teachers, our firefighters, our home health workers who work for states, they do God’s work. They are some of our most important employees.

    And I think the ability to have collective bargaining for them is critical. They’re not getting rich. They’re doing some of the most important work. And I think collective bargaining has been key to their success. And the people who don’t want to sign up for those to pay dues, they actually benefit from those, the work that these unions are doing to get higher wages and fair treatment in the workplace.

    And so they want to be able to be free-riders, you know, pay nothing, but get all the benefits. And states have appropriately said, you can require people to pay their fair share. And I think that’s the right thing to do. And I think the collective bargaining process for public sector workers is critically important.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we wanted to get your reaction.

    And we thank you for joining us. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, thank you.

    THOMAS PEREZ: Always a pleasure.

    The post ‘Managers used to be middle-class jobs’: Labor Secretary Perez on expanding overtime pay appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    In a single 1,150-page swoop, Presidential candidate Jeb Bush released 33 years of his tax returns on Tuesday. The figures and facts show that he and his wife paid an overall average tax rate of 36% and that the last years in particular have been booming. Bush earned nearly $29 million dollars from 2007-2013, the eight years following his tenure as Florida governor. But in previous years, the middle Bush son saw some big ups and downs in income. (Note: this is his earned income, separate from any inheritance already in the bank.) Starting with the $43,498 he earned in 1981, here is a rare single-graph look at three decades in a well-known politician’s income.

    jebmoney3

    The post Here’s how much money Jeb Bush made in the last 30 years appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 6.19.38 PM

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    JUDY WOODRUFF:  The nation of Greece ran out of bailout money today and defaulted on a major debt repayment. The Athens government submitted a last-minute proposal to keep the bailout alive, but it made little headway.  Despite the uncertainty, U.S. markets avoided new losses.  The Dow Jones industrial average gained just over 20 points to close back above 17600.  The Nasdaq rose 28 points, and the S&P 500 added five.  We will have an update from Greece later in the program.  

    The U.S. Supreme Court is going to decide whether government employee unions may force non-members to pay fees.  The court today accepted the case of 10 California teachers. They say having to pay union dues, when they’re not in the union, violates their First Amendment rights.  Public employees in half the states contribute to so-called fair share fees to support collective bargaining.  

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie opened his Republican presidential bid today, declaring he’s — quote — “out to change the world.”  Christie formally launched his campaign in Livingston, New Jersey, where he grew up.  He said the country is tired of hand-wringing in the White House.  

    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, Republican Presidential Candidate:  It’s led us to weak leadership around the world, where our friends can no longer trust us and our adversaries no longer fear us. This weakness and indecisiveness in the Oval Office has sent a wave of anxiety through our country, but I’m here today to tell you that anxiety can be swept away by strong leadership and decisiveness to lead America again.  

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Christie has twice been elected governor in heavily Democratic New Jersey, but he was hurt by the Bridgegate scandal.  Three former aides were accused of deliberately creating traffic jams to do political harm to a Democratic mayor.

    Another Republican hopeful, Jeb Bush, released his tax returns today going back to 1981. They show that he’s made $29 million since 2007, when he finished two terms as governor of Florida. It was largely from consulting and speaking.  Over the last 30-plus years, Bush paid an average tax rate of 36 percent.  

    In Indonesia, more than 70 people died today when an air force transport plane crashed in a residential area.  The C-130 aircraft went down in Medan, the country’s third largest city, just after takeoff.  The plane slammed into two houses and a hotel, leaving rescue crews to comb the wreckage for survivors.  More than 100, mostly troops and their families, were believed to be on board.  

    There’s word that Islamic State militants in Syria have beheaded women for the first time. Syrian activists report two women were executed in the past week in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour.  They were accused of practicing sorcery.  In the last year, the Islamic State has beheaded dozens of men in Syria for violating its extreme interpretation of Islamic law.  

    Brazil announced a new effort today to stop deforestation, and replant an area the size of Pennsylvania.  President Dilma Rousseff met with President Obama in the Oval Office, and later, she laid out her plan.  

    PRESIDENT DILMA ROUSSEFF, Brazil (through interpreter):  In Brazil, we have the commitment to come to a zero deforestation or a zero illegal deforestation rate between now and 2030. And we also wish to turn the page and engage in a clear-cut reforestation-oriented policy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  The majority of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions come from destruction in the Amazon rain forest.  Many environmentalists want that destruction stopped entirely.  

    And the U.S. and Cuba are set to open embassies in Washington and Havana.  It is the latest step in reestablishing diplomatic ties. The announcement is set for tomorrow.

    The post News Wrap: Supreme Court accepts case on union dues for non-members appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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