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- 08/08/15--14:32: _NRA-backed bill aim...
- 08/08/15--14:45: _ISIS reportedly hol...
- 08/09/15--08:53: _Trump defends debat...
- 08/09/15--10:14: _Sanders gives rally...
- 08/09/15--11:02: _‘There still is a l...
- 08/09/15--11:19: _Photos: Singapore t...
- 08/09/15--12:15: _Gridlock on needed ...
- 08/09/15--12:36: _Idaho mountains dec...
- 08/09/15--12:36: _Ferguson commemorat...
- 08/09/15--12:39: _One year after Mich...
- 08/09/15--12:41: _Obama says improved...
- 08/09/15--12:51: _GOP rivals target T...
- 08/09/15--13:06: _U.S. soldier killed...
- 08/09/15--13:35: _Football hall-of-fa...
- 08/09/15--14:14: _In Ferguson and bey...
- 08/09/15--15:24: _Questions abound in...
- 08/10/15--05:45: _Shots fired after F...
- 08/10/15--05:50: _Clinton to propose ...
- 08/10/15--07:56: _Assailant detained ...
- 08/10/15--08:10: _Donald Trump’s poli...
- 08/08/15--14:32: NRA-backed bill aims to keep guns from the mentally ill
- 08/08/15--14:45: ISIS reportedly holding Christian civilians captive
- 08/09/15--08:53: Trump defends debate statements, says ‘women are tremendous’
- 08/09/15--10:14: Sanders gives rally after demonstrators disrupt earlier speech
- 08/09/15--11:19: Photos: Singapore turns 50, celebrates evolution since independence
- 08/09/15--12:15: Gridlock on needed reforms as Social Security turns 80
- 08/09/15--12:36: Idaho mountains declared federal wilderness after decades-long bid
- 08/09/15--12:36: Ferguson commemorates one year since Michael Brown’s death
- 08/09/15--12:39: One year after Michael Brown’s death, what has changed in Ferguson?
- 08/09/15--12:41: Obama says improved relations with Iran are possible
- 08/09/15--12:51: GOP rivals target Trump for his comments on women
- 08/09/15--13:06: U.S. soldier killed as wave of attacks hit Kabul
- 08/09/15--13:35: Football hall-of-famer Frank Gifford dies at 84
- 08/09/15--14:14: In Ferguson and beyond, police militarization may be declining
- 08/09/15--15:24: Questions abound in fatal police shooting of unarmed Texas teen
- 08/10/15--05:45: Shots fired after Ferguson protests mark one-year anniversary
- 08/10/15--05:50: Clinton to propose $350 billion college affordability plan
- 08/10/15--07:56: Assailant detained in attack on U.S. consulate in Turkey
- 08/10/15--08:10: Donald Trump’s policy approach a mystery amid lack of detail
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WASHINGTON — Donald Trump on Sunday professed his love for women and said he would be their best advocate if elected president, dismissing the firestorm of his own making that has consumed the Republican presidential campaign.
Even as he asserted that one of his main challengers is the one in trouble with female voters, the only woman in the GOP contest said she believes women are “horrified” by Trump’s comments and that the billionaire businessman may be unprepared for the pressure that comes with being president.
“I apologize when I’m wrong, but I haven’t been wrong. I said nothing wrong,” said Trump, who called in to four Sunday news shows, skipping only Fox News, the network with which he is feuding. “I’m leading by double digits, so maybe I shouldn’t change,” he boasted to NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Trump’s unconventional, insurgent campaign has excited many anti-establishment conservatives while confounding party leaders already facing the prospects of a bruising fight among 17 candidates.
The latest controversy started Thursday night when Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly recounted Trump’s history of incendiary comments toward women.
Angry over what he considered unfair treatment at the debate, Trump told CNN on Friday night that Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
That remark cost Trump a prime-time speaking slot at the RedState Gathering, the Atlanta conference where several other presidential candidates spoke to about 1,000 conservative activists.
RedState host Erick Erickson said in a statement that Trump had violated basic standards of decency, even if his bluntness “resonates with a lot of people.” The Trump campaign retorted by calling Erickson a “total loser” who backs other “establishment losers.”
On Sunday, Trump stuck to his assertion that only “a deviant” would interpret his comment beyond a harmless barb.
Jeb Bush, the presidential favorite for many top Republican donors, said at RedState that Trump’s bombast would hurt the GOP’s chances with women, who already tilt toward Democrats in presidential elections. “Do we want to win? Do we want to insult 53 percent of our voters?” the former Florida governor asked.
Trump contended on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that it’s Bush who has the problem with women, thanks to a comment the former Florida governor made last week when discussing cutting off federal money for Planned Parenthood.
“I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues,” Bush said. He later issued a statement saying he had misspoken and was referring only to the “hard-to-fathom $500 million in federal funding” for Planned Parenthood.
“I think he’s got a huge problem,” Trump said of Bush. He argued Bush’s comment was worse than a video recording of 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney in which Romney said that 47 percent of voters were dependent on the government and would vote for President Barack Obama, no matter what, alienating voters.
Trump also professed his love for women, pointing to the many he’s hired over the years to work for him.
“I cherish women. I want to help women. I’m going to do things for women that no other candidate will be able to do,” he said on CNN’s `State of the Union,’ promising to do more for women’s health care than anyone.
Other candidates criticized Trump; some sought to avoid giving him more of their time.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, the only woman running for the GOP nomination, was among the first to speak out.
“I think women of all kinds are really sort of horrified by this,” she told CBS, suggesting that Trump’s reaction was a sign that he is too thin-skinned. “If you think a question is tough, imagine the pressure of actually being in the Oval Office,” she said.
She also told CNN that as she moved up in the male-dominated business world, she too met men who implied that she was unfit for decision-making because of her cycle. “The point is women understood that comment and yes it is offensive,” she said.
Trump scoffed. “She’s having a lot of fun,” while running away from her troubled HP tenure and losing Senate race in California, he said. “I wish her well. She’s a very nice person.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, said he will let Trump answer for his own words.
“If I comment on everything he says, my whole campaign will be consumed by it,” Rubio told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“He says something every day,” Rubio said.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich took a similar tone, describing himself as a strong proponent of women, but avoiding criticizing Trump at length.
“I just don’t want to be negative” he said on CNN.
Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, seemed exasperated by it all, at one point snapping at reporters after being asked several Trump-related questions. He told ABC’s “This Week” it was sometimes hard for other candidates to get their message out, “because all the air in the balloon is going to Donald Trump right now.”
Trump has a history of sexist and insulting comments against women, which he maintains have been taken out of context.
“Women are tremendous. … I’ve had such an amazing relationship with women in business,” he told ABC. “They are amazing executives. They are killers.”
This report was written by Jill Colvin and Bill Barrow of the Associated Press.
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SEATTLE — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke to a packed crowd Saturday night at the University of Washington campus about his commitment to criminal justice reform as well as addressing income equality.
Sanders gave his talk to a cheering audience of about 12,000 inside a university pavilion a few hours after he was shoved aside by several Black Lives Matter activists who are calling for changes to the criminal justice system. Sanders eventually left the Saturday afternoon event at Westlake Park in Seattle without giving his speech.
At the University of Washington rally, Sanders addressed the issues raised by the protesters.
“No president will fight harder to end institutional racism and reform criminal justice system,” he told the cheering crowd at Hec Edmundson pavilion, according to the King5-TV station. “Too many lives have been destroyed by war on drugs, by incarceration; we need to educate people. We need to put people to work.”
Earlier in the day, Sanders was just starting to address several thousand people gathered shoulder to shoulder at Westlake Park when two women took over the microphone. Organizers couldn’t persuade the two to wait and agreed to give them a few minutes. As Sanders stepped back, the women spoke about Ferguson and the killing of Michael Brown and held a four minute moment of silence.
When the crowd asked the activists to allow Sanders to speak, one activist called the crowd “white supremacist liberals,” according to event participants.
After waiting about 20 minutes, Sanders himself was pushed away when he tried to take the microphone back. Instead, he waved goodbye, left the stage with a raised fist salute and waded into the crowd. He shook hands and posed for photos with supporters for about 15 minutes, and then left.
The rally at Westlake Park was organized as a birthday celebration for Social security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Sanders later issued a statement on his website expressing his disappointment about the interruption.
“I am disappointed that two people disrupted a rally attended by thousands at which I was invited to speak about fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare. I was especially disappointed because on criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism there is no other candidate for president who will fight harder than me,” he said.
It’s not the first time that Black Lives Matter activists disrupt the Vermont senator’s event.
At a town hall for Democratic presidential candidates in Phoenix last month, protesters affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement took over the stage and disrupted an interview with Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
In his campaign, Sanders has chiefly focused on issues like the middle class, climate change and criminal justice reform. In addition to advocating a $15-an-hour minimum wage and raising taxes on the rich, Sanders also supports a massive government-led jobs program to fix roads and bridges, a single-payer health care system, an expansion of Social Security benefits and debt-free college.
Sanders will be driving to Portland on Sunday and is scheduled to hold a Sunday night rally at Portland’s Moda Center, which has a capacity of about 19,000 and is home of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. The event had originally been scheduled at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which can handle about 12,000.
Sanders heads to an event in Los Angeles on Monday.
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In the year since 28-year-old white police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot black 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the details of the confrontation, including whether Brown had his hands up when he was shot, continue to be debated.
Brown’s death on Aug. 9 and a grand jury’s subsequent decision not to indict Wilson spurred nationwide protests. But it also inspired creative responses from artistic communities both within St. Louis County and across the country.
On the night of Brown’s death, 26-year-old Danez Smith, a poet from Minnesota, said he wrote “Not an Elegy for Mike Brown” in about 20 minutes.
Smith said he wrote the poem “out of fury” because he was “tired and emotionally drained from all that black people were already going through nationally.”
“It just felt like another one, another one, another one,” he told PBS NewsHour.
was kidnapped & that’s the Trojan war.
later, up the block, Troy got shot
& that was Tuesday. are we not worthy
– excerpt from “Not an Elegy for Mike Brown” by Danez Smith
Smith, who won a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, said when we look back on history, we can look to art to find out more about the emotions surrounding a particular event or tragedy.
“We can think about how something like slavery might have felt, but until we read slave narrative, we don’t actually know what it felt like to be in that situation,” he said.
After Smith posted the poem to Facebook, it has since been used in school curricula to teach young people about the events in Ferguson.
Video from the Button Poetry YouTube channel, used with permission.
In St. Louis, visual artist Dail Chambers sought to document what happened in Ferguson through quilting. Chambers, who founded the Yeyo Arts Collective, solicited fabric pieces from around the country.
About a hundred hands made out of fabric came in — too many to fit on one quilt — so she worked on several.
She also traveled to Ferguson, where her grandmother lives, to work on a quilt with young people at Greater St. Mark’s Family Church through the organization Bread & Roses.
“Even though Mike Brown is the reason why we’ve been working out there,” she said, “their [young people’s] eyes are on the bigger issues, like ours, like why are these disconnections happening in the schools, with food, with housing?”
A member of the Alliance of Black Art Galleries in St. Louis, Chambers participated in a 14-gallery visual art exhibition titled “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Artists Respond,” curated by the alliance’s founder, Freida L Wheaton.
Wheaton learned of the shooting on Aug. 10, while returning home from a road trip. The artist, gallerist and retired attorney contributed a mixed media assemblage to the show titled “Mourning in America” to “acknowledge the loss of mothers in these situations, Michael Brown’s mother in particular,” she said.
10th Street Gallery owner and artist Solomon Thurman, Jr. created a 16 x 20 acrylic painting for the exhibition that featured Atlanta-based artist Kevin Cole and Thurman Jr.’s son, Solomon III.
“The unrest in Ferguson happen during this period and Kevin decided to wear the HANDS UP shirt during his artist reception [at 10th Street Gallery],” Thurman, Jr. told PBS NewsHour in an email.
“My son, Officer Solomon Thurman III, and Kevin developed a close friendship as a result of much Q & A from Kevin. I wanted a picture of them in front of the gallery and they spontaneously embraced, which I thought was very profound,” he said.
Works from “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Artists Respond,” provided by Freida L Wheaton
Outside of Missouri, North Carolina hip-hop artist J. Cole, née Jermaine Lamarr Cole, posted the song “Be Free” on SoundCloud Aug. 15.
Word of the song, which features witness testimony, quickly spread on social media, the New York Times reported.
In New York, Brooklyn’s The New Black Fest commissioned monologues about Ferguson from emerging black playwrights. The 10 to 15-minute long readings were performed at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center under the title, “Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments” in November 2014.
“All of the work is in response to Ferguson or the state of the black male in this country,” Keith Josef Adkins, The New Black Fest’s artistic director told the New York Times.
In the city’s borough of Queens, two artists created a multimedia installation that simulated an encounter with police. As part of the artists’ interpretation of a high-emotion, high-stress encounter with police, visitors to the Flux Factory in Long Island City were asked to step into a space with flashing lights and police sirens and put their hands up. The sound of gunshots followed.
“The goal wasn’t to recreate the events in Ferguson, but rather to create a situation that would generate empathy in those who may not have experienced charged encounters with law enforcement or authority figures,” Vasudevan told PBS NewsHour by email.
She added: “Seeing people step up and respond to these incidents, both vocally and artistically, encouraged us to want to contribute our voices using the media we both knew best.”
Some of the artwork inspired by Ferguson, including the “HANDS UP” installation, have proven to be controversial.
The head of the union representing NYPD officers spoke out against the Queens exhibit in May, the New York Daily News reported.
“This so-called ‘art project’ is based upon a lie and perpetuates a falsehood about police officers and their use of force,” Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, told the Daily News then.
New Orleans artist Ti-Rock Moore was also criticized for her installation, pictured above, that recreated the crime scene with a face-down life-size replica of Michael Brown’s body, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., spoke out against the work in a local news interview, although his mother, Lesley McSpadden, attended the show’s opening, the Tribune reported.
A year after Brown was killed, both Smith and Wheaton say they have seen examples of improvements in race relations and policing. Smith said he is particularly encouraged by the fact that the events in Ferguson continue to inspire a national dialogue on these issues.
“The road toward making a difference is a little straighter,” Wheaton said, adding that “there certainly have been changes in the judicial environment in Ferguson in particular.”
Though Smith also said he sees significant challenges ahead. “I’m hopeful, because I have to be hopeful,” he said, “but I do think there still is a lot stacked against us.”
Currently in St. Louis, the Yeyo Arts Collective has a month-long series entitled “Black August”, while the 10th Street Gallery’s show “Ferguson Remembered” features several works shown during last year’s “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Artists Respond”.
The post ‘There still is a lot stacked against us': Ferguson inspires year of art appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
The people of Singapore celebrated 50 years of independence on Sunday, haling its growth from a poor colonial port to a wealthy metropolis.
As fighter jets roared through the sky, tens of thousands took advantage of the day’s free train and bus rides to gather at the Padang in Central Singapore for Golden Jubilee festivities, where national songs blared and prominent leaders made speeches extolling the country’s achievements.
On Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry praised the United States’s relationship with Singapore.
“We value and look forward to expanding our partnership and strengthening our bonds of friendship with Singapore for the next 50 years and beyond,” Kerry said in a statement. “Having just returned from Singapore, I once again had the privilege to witness your country’s remarkable evolution.”
The island city-state of 5.5 million people, which was expelled from Malaysia on August 9, 1965, is now a global business hub, despite grappling with the region’s political instability, and is among the top five most expensive cities in the world, according to the Associated Press.
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WASHINGTON — As Social Security approaches its 80th birthday Friday, the federal government’s largest benefit program stands at a pivotal point in its history.
Relatively modest changes to taxes and benefits could still save it for generations of Americans to come, but Congress must act quickly, and even limited changes are politically difficult.
The longer lawmakers wait, the harder it will become to maintain Social Security as a program that pays for itself, a key feature since President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on Aug. 14, 1935.
“The more time that they take, the less acceptable the changes will be because there needs to be adequate time for the public to prepare and to adjust to whatever changes Congress will make,” Carolyn Colvin, acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration, said in an interview.
Social Security’s long-term financial problems are largely a result of demographic changes. As baby boomers swell the ranks of retirees, relatively fewer workers are left to pay taxes.
In 1960, there were more than five workers for every person receiving Social Security. Today there are fewer than three. In 20 years, there will be about two workers for every person getting benefits.
“Remember, these are our most vulnerable population,” Colvin said. “These are the elderly who helped to build this country. These are the disabled who certainly did not wish to become disabled.”
The options fall into broad categories: benefit cuts, tax increases or a combination of both.
None is popular.
Nearly 60 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children get monthly Social Security payments, a number that is projected to grow to 90 million over the next two decades.
About 168 million workers pay Social Security taxes.
Adding to the gridlock, policymakers are moving in opposite directions. Republicans are pushing to cut benefits while a growing number of Democrats is pulling to expand them. The debate is playing out in Congress and the presidential campaign, increasing the likelihood that Washington will deal with Social Security the same way it has so many other issues – not until it becomes a crisis.
Some 72 members of Congress signed a letter to President Barack Obama in July, calling for Social Security benefits to be enhanced.
“In my view, given the fact that poverty among seniors is going up, that seniors are struggling, that people with disabilities are struggling, we have got to expand benefits, not cut them,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who is running for the Democratic nomination for president.
The poverty rate among those 65 and older has inched up in recent years. But it still is significantly lower than the poverty rate for younger age groups, in large part because of Social Security.
Sanders has proposed increasing Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, and increasing minimum benefits for low-wage workers.
The average monthly payment is $1,221. That comes to about $14,700 a year.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, scoffs at the idea of expanding benefits.
“Where are they going to get the money?” asked Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Social Security. “They don’t ever seem to give any consideration to how deeply in debt our country is and how difficult it’s going to be to get out of it.”
For much of the past three decades, Social Security produced big surpluses, collecting more in taxes than it paid in benefits. Social Security’s combined trust funds are now valued at $2.8 trillion.
The retirement trust fund has enough money to pay full benefits until 2035. At that point, the program would collect enough payroll taxes to pay about 79 percent of benefits, triggering an automatic 21 percent cut.
The disability trust fund is projected to run out of reserves much sooner, in late 2016. If that happens, it would trigger an automatic 19 percent cut in benefits.
Obama and other Democrats want to redirect tax revenue from the much bigger retirement fund to the disability fund, as Congress has done in the past. But Republicans say that would be like robbing seniors to pay the disabled.
If the two funds were combined, they would have enough money to pay full benefits for both programs until 2034, according to the trustees.
But long before then, Social Security’s long-term financial problems could become too big to solve without painful remedies or excessive borrowing.
Once the surplus is gone, the gap between scheduled benefits and projected tax revenues starts off big and quickly becomes huge. In the first year, the gap would be $571 billion, according agency data. Over the first decade, the deficit would total more than $7 trillion.
Social Security uses a 75-year window to forecast its finances, so the projections cover the life expectancy of every worker paying into the system.
Options to address Social Security’s finances, along with the share of the 75-year shortfall that each one would eliminate:
Social Security is financed by a 12.4 percent tax on wages. Workers pay half and their employers pay the other half. The tax is applied to the first $118,500 of a worker’s wages, a level that increases each year with inflation.
-apply the payroll tax to all wages, including those above $118,500. This option would wipe out 66 percent of the shortfall.
-increase the combined payroll tax rate by 0.1 percentage point a year, until it reaches 14.4 percent in 20 years. This option would eliminate 49 percent of the shortfall.
Workers qualify for full retirement benefits at age 66, a threshold that gradually rises to 67 for people born in 1960 or later. Workers are eligible for early retirement at 62, though monthly benefits are reduced.
-gradually increase the full retirement age until it reaches 68 in 2033. This option would eliminate 15 percent of the shortfall.
-raise the early retirement age to 64 in 2023, and the full retirement age to 69 in 2027. This option would wipe out 29 percent of the shortfall.
Each year, if consumer prices increase, Social Security benefits go up as well. By law, the increases are pegged to an inflation index. This year, benefits went up by 1.7 percent.
-adopt a new inflation index called the Chained CPI, which assumes that people change their buying habits when prices increase to reduce the impact on their pocketbooks. The Chained CPI would reduce the annual COLA by 0.3 percentage point, on average.
This option would eliminate 19 percent of the shortfall.
-adopt a new measure of inflation that takes into account the higher costs that older people have to pay for health care. This measure, called the CPI for the Elderly, would increase the annual COLA by about 0.2 percentage point, on average.
This option would increase the shortfall by 13 percent.
The post Gridlock on needed reforms as Social Security turns 80 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
ROCKY BARKER: The Boulder-White Clouds Mountains in Central Idaho are a scenic landscape of soaring mountain peaks, lush forests and pristine lakes and rivers. 275,000 acres of this public land is now a federally protected wilderness area, which means it will remain open to recreation and closed to development.
When President Obama signed the wilderness bill into law, it was a personal victory for Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, who backed the idea for 15 years. Simpson’s efforts accelerated earlier after meeting Obama Advisser John Podesta last year.
IDAHO REP. MIKE SIMPSON: I went up and introduced myself to John and said, ‘listen, I’d like 6 months to see if we could get a bill moving in Congress,’ and by then we would know whether we could get one done or not. And he said, ‘Go for it.’ So the administration gave us the 6-months to work on it before they were going to do a national monument.
ROCKY BARKER: Declaring these mountains a national monument would have protected them but would have left many details unresolved. As a wildnerness area, the uses of the land are more strictly defined.
The Boulder-White Clouds Mountains have had some federal protection since 1972, when then-Governor Cecil Andrus stopped a molybendum mine from being built at the base of Castle Peak Mountain.
Andrus, who also served as Interior Secretary under President Carter, initially urged President Obama to use his executive authority to protect the Boulder-White Clouds by declaring them a national monument.
Craig Gehrke is the Idaho Director of the Wilderness Society.
CRAIG GEHRKE, THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY: There was still a big question in our mind whether or not a Congress could really do anything anymore. So we continued with our monument effort, figuring that that was…up until a few weeks ago was the more sure thing.
ROCKY BARKER: But Congressman Simpson decided to make another run at declaring the mountains a wilderness area and got his bill through the House in July.
Idaho Senator James Risch, who previously opposed the bill, agreed to sponsor the Senate version.
IDAHO SEN. JAMES RISCH: What Congressman Simpson was able to do is to get everybody to the table in a very collaborative fashion to where he go the wilderness preservationists, the hikers, the backpackers, the horse people, the motorized users, including both snowmobiles and ATV and motorcycle people to all agree as to a management plan for everything that’s included in this bill.
ROCKY BARKER: Idaho Conservation League Director Rick Johnson told a Senate committee hearing why the landscape needed protecting.
RICK JOHNSON, IDAHO CONSERVATION LEAGUE: These mountain ranges contain the headwaters of four major rivers and are home to some of the highest elevation salmon habitat on Earth. This is a landscape of summer and winter range for big game and critical habitat for endangered and elusive species like wolverine. It is also an unparalleled resource for many different recreational pursuits.
ROCKY BARKER: Sandra Mitchell, who represents snowmobilers and motorcyclists, favored the creation of a wilderness area because the designation clearly spells out how the mountain trails around it can be used.
SANDRA MITCHELL, IDAHO RECREATION COUNCIL: So that part of it was tough for us – BUT the choice was the national monument or the wilderness and we came down on it – it was a long difficult decision but we came down on the wilderness bill is the best, and then we put 100% of our support behind it and did everything we could to pass it.
ROCKY BARKER: The creation of this new wilderness area is a big law for a small western state that also shows even in these politically charged times, Congress can sometimes work quickly to get something done.
The post Idaho mountains declared federal wilderness after decades-long bid appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
One year ago, the police shooting of black teen Michael Brown brought Ferguson, Missouri to international attention, prompted a national conversation about race and justice and electrified the Black Lives Matter movement.
On Sunday, which marked one year since Brown’s death, the town was the site of quiet commemoration.
Events included a moment of silence that lasted 4 1/2 minutes, a reference to the 4 1/2 hours that Brown’s body lay on the street after he was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. At the end of the observance, two doves were released.
A march beginning at the spot where Brown was shot was also planned, as was a service at a Ferguson church to commemorate the anniversary.
On Saturday, Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., led several hundred people in a march through town, and there were peaceful demonstrations outside the police station, the site of frequent confrontations between protesters and heavily armed police last year.
In an interview with the BBC, Brown Sr. expressed ongoing sorrow at the loss of his son, tempered by satisfaction with what he saw as progress stemming from the shooting.
“Now ‘Mike Brown’ means to change the world and help other people, with the body cameras, with the police,” he said. “At the end of the day I still lost my boy. I love that some people are getting justice, but the way I feel is I’m still hurting. The family’s still hurting.”
The post Ferguson commemorates one year since Michael Brown’s death appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Coucilman Bell, what’s changed in the past year?
WESLEY BELL, FERGUSON, MO. CITY COUNCILMAN: You know, a lot of things. One, I think there’s an awareness of these issues, a lot of these social issues that predated Ferguson that are regional, that are national. We’re having more conversations about privilege and tensions between law enforcement and some of our communities, particularly our young people. There’s a lot of things to be encouraged about, as well.
HARI SREENIVASAN: You’ve been on the job for a little more than a hundred days or so now. Twice, more than twice the average number of voters showed up to help get you into office in this election cycle. What have you learned?
WESLEY BELL: I’ve learned that you’ve got to – you have to engage the residents. You have to get involved because you need to get the residents involved. A community that’s engaged can accomplish anything. And keep in mind, with the world watching in Ferguson, if we get it right here, we can set a – a broad example nationally and even internationally of what change can look like.
HARI SREENIVASAN: What has been done over the past year to prevent another Michael Brown-type situation from happening in this community?
WESLEY BELL: I think what we’re – I think what we’re doing is having those hard conversations. We’ve had town-hall meetings. We’ve had – we’re implementing community policing, which I’ve been preaching and screaming from the hills for a while now. We started implementing out. We’ve even brought experts in to help us with that for our – you know, help us create a model that is appropriate for our city.
We’ve also hired our new chief. He’s the first African-American chief in Ferguson’s history. But more importantly, he has a background in community policing as well as with other training – federal – on federal level and things of that nature.
Also with our courts, we have one of the best judges in the state in Judge Donald McCullen, who is heading our courts right now and making sure that everyone is treated fairly. We’ve repealed a lot of the ordinances, particularly the failure to appear ordinances that were causing a lot of excess fines – excessive fines.
So I think there’s a lot going on. And let me be clear: there’s no denying the change. There’s no denying the progress, I should say. Now having said that, we’ve still got a lot of work to do.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So you know, the Department of Justice in that report, which I’m sure you’ve read, pointed to some really deep and systemic problems. They said between 2012 and 2014, every time someone was arrested for resisting arrest, they were black. And now, even with the changes you’ve made so far, only five of the 50 officers that are on your force are African-American. How do you deal with what might be a much deeper problem in the police department?
WESLEY BELL: Well, as far as the number of police, we can’t just fire officers, especially the overwhelming majority of officers who are honest and hard-working. But I think the goal is to recruit and look outside of the traditional ways of recruiting so that we do give everyone an opportunity, which we have. And the council since I’ve been on has approved funding for scholarships to sponsor officers, preferably minority officers through our department. Because again, it is important that the department better represent the community.
Having said that, we’re not looking to bring in officers just for the sake of diversity. It’s important – we’re not going to – it’s important that we don’t compromise bringing in quality individuals who have the community’s best interest at heart.
HARI SREENIVASAN: You said you still have some work left to do. So what would your constituents say still needs to be done.
WESLEY BELL: I think that trust is to be earned. And so as a result, no matter what changes we do in a couple of months since I’ve been on the council, you know – I would – even if I was just a – if I wasn’t an elected official, I would still want to see a longer sample size, if you will. So I think a lot of residents do see the change and see the progress. But for those who don’t, hey, we’re going to keep – we’re going to keep trying to bring you over to our side and show you what we’re doing.
You know, with everything that’s happened just a year ago, it would be naive of us to think that oh, in a few months, all will be well and the slate will be clean. No. We got a lot of work to do. And that’s why I ran: because I wanted to be a part of that healing process and be a part of the solution.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. Wesley Bell, city councilman of Ferguson, Missouri. Thanks so much for joining us.
WESLEY BELL: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
The post One year after Michael Brown’s death, what has changed in Ferguson? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
OAK BLUFFS, Mass. — President Barack Obama says a constructive relationship with Iran could be a byproduct of the deal to limit its nuclear program, but it won’t happen immediately. If at all.
Obama told CNN in an interview airing Sunday that Iran’s “nuclear problem” must be dealt with first. He said the agreement reached last month by the U.S. and five other world powers to remove crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program achieves that goal “better than any alternative.”
Republican lawmakers largely disagree with the president’s assessment that the deal blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon, as do some of Obama’s own Democrats.
Obama says resolving the Iranian nuclear issue makes it possible to open broader talks with Iran on other issues. He named Syria as an example.
“Is there the possibility that having begun conversations around this narrow issue that you start getting some broader discussions about Syria, for example, and the ability of all the parties involved to try to arrive at a political transition that keeps the country intact and does not further fuel the growth of ISIL and other terrorist organizations. I think that’s possible,” Obama said, referring to the Islamic State group by one of its acronyms. “But I don’t think it happens immediately.”
Obama was interviewed by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria last Thursday, hours before Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s leading Jewish Democrat, announced he would oppose the agreement. Congress is expected to vote in September on a measure disapproving the deal, which Obama has promised a swift veto. Lawmakers would then have to find enough votes to override the president.
The interview is set to air as Obama vacations on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard.
He was not expected to spend much, if any, time reaching out to lawmakers on the Iran nuclear deal while he is away from Washington. “I think most of the president’s time on Martha’s Vineyard will be spent with his family or on the golf course or a bit of both,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
In the interview, Obama did not answer directly when asked whether he would have to use military force to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon if the deal falls through.
“I have a general policy on big issues like this not to anticipate failure,” Obama said. “And I’m not going to anticipate failure now because I think we have the better argument.”
The post Obama says improved relations with Iran are possible appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, so his rivals are scrambling to figure out how best to handle the blowback from every new bout of bluster drowning out their campaigns.
Lead the charge, if you’re the sole woman in the Republicans’ White House race and trying to crack the top tier for the next debate, by questioning Trump’s ability to withstand the pressure of the presidency.
Belittle Trump’s claim to be a truth-teller by arguing that self-promotion is the billionaire’s guiding philosophy.
Warn that Trump’s provocative comments about women endanger the party’s standing with a group that makes up the majority of voters.
Or simply plead for the incessant Trump questioning to cease so that other candidates can get on with the business of why they’re running.
These are the varied approaches of the other 16 Republican candidates fighting for attention and breathing room in a primary field eclipsed by Trump.
On Sunday, he was back, splashed across the weekend news shows, dismissing the latest firestorm to consume his campaign and explaining how he cherishes women and would be their strongest advocate if elected. “I’m leading by double digits, so maybe I shouldn’t change,” he boasted.
The latest controversy started Thursday night when Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly recounted Trump’s history of incendiary comments toward women. Angry over what he considered unfair treatment at the debate, Trump told CNN on Friday night that Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
The remark cost Trump a prime-time speaking slot at the RedState Gathering, the Atlanta conference where several other presidential candidates spoke to about 1,000 conservative activists.
But Trump refused to back down, insisting Sunday that only “a deviant” would interpret his comment beyond a harmless barb.
“I apologize when I’m wrong, but I haven’t been wrong. I said nothing wrong,” said Trump, who spoke to four Sunday news shows, skipping only Fox News, the network with which he is feuding.
The flap is just the latest from Trump’s unconventional, insurgent campaign, which has excited many anti-establishment conservatives while confounding party leaders already facing the prospects of a bruising fight among 17 candidates.
Some have responded by sharpening their critiques, questioning Trump’s electability, his conservative credentials, policy ideas and personality.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, the only woman running for the GOP nomination, appeared most adept at seizing on the comments as she strives to break into the top 10.
“I think women of all kinds are really sort of horrified by this,” she said, arguing that there was a difference between being politically incorrect and insulting.
She also questioned Trump’s suitability for office, suggesting the businessman may be unprepared for the pressure that comes with being president.
“I think you cannot have a president who is thin-skinned. If you think a question is tough, imagine the pressure of actually being in the Oval Office,” she said.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a frequent Trump critic, went after Trump’s temperament and a muddled record filled with contradictory statements.
“I don’t think we should reward vulgarity. And I don’t think vulgarity equates with insight,” he said.
Paul also continued a line of attack he began in the debate. “I have no idea whether he’s conservative,” the senator said. “He really could be a liberal, for all I’m concerned. I have no idea what his real philosophy is, other than that he is for promoting himself.”
Jeb Bush, the presidential favorite for many top Republican donors, said at RedState that Trump’s bombast would hurt the GOP’s chances with women, who already tilt toward Democrats in presidential elections. “Do we want to win? Do we want to insult 53 percent of our voters?” the former Florida governor asked.
Other candidates bemoaned the challenge of preaching their message when all their precious free TV time is spent being asked about Trump.
“At this point, I mean, we’ve got to focus on our message. Otherwise, my whole campaign will be, `How do you feel about what Donald Trump said about something?'” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said. “He says something every day.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, took a similar tone, describing himself as a strong proponent of women, but avoiding criticizing Trump at length.
“I think it’s more important for me to tell you who I am and what I think than spend my time on the negative side of the street,” he said.
Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor seemed exasperated at RedState, at one point snapping at reporters after being asked several Trump-related questions. On Sunday, he took a more measured approach.
“I think the rest of us are doing what we’re supposed to do and that’s focus on getting a message out, which is sometimes hard to do because all the air in the balloon is going to Donald Trump right now,” he said.
Trump, who has refused to rule out a third party run if he falls short of the GOP nomination, was asked about those Republicans wondering what it will take to get him out of their party. “I don’t think anything. I really want to stay.”
Trump appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” CBS’ “Face the Nation,” ABC’s “This Week” and CNN’s ” State of the Union.” Fiorina was on CNN, CBS and “Fox News Sunday. Kasich appeared on CNN and ABC, while Huckabee was on ABC, Rubio on NBC and Paul on Fox.
WASHINGTON — Officials say that an American soldier has been killed and several others have been wounded in a series of attacks Friday in Afghanistan’s capital.
A wave of attacks rocked Kabul, leaving more than 40 people dead and more than 300 injured. That’s the worst toll on civilians Kabul in one day in several years.
American and Afghan officials on Saturday identified U.S. soldiers as among the casualties.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for at least two of the bombings.
In a telephone call Saturday with national security adviser Susan Rice, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani extended their condolences for the loss of the U.S. soldier and the wounding of several others.
American military officials have offered no details about the U.S. casualties.
Pro football hall-of-famer and sports broadcaster Frank Gifford has died of natural causes at his home in Connecticut, his family said on Sunday. He was 84.
His family released the following statement:
It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved husband, father and friend, Frank Gifford. Frank died suddenly this beautiful Sunday morning of natural causes at his Connecticut home. We rejoice in the extraordinary life he was privileged to live, and we feel grateful and blessed to have been loved by such an amazing human being. We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time and we thank you for your prayers.
Gifford played 12 seasons for the New York Giants and led them to a league championship in 1956.
“Frank was always the star to me. My respect for what he had been through and what he brought with him to New York City and how he performed. Hey, he’s a legend,” former football quarterback and actor Joe Namath told ESPN Classic’s SportsCentury series.
Gifford later had a long career as a sports broadcaster covering “Monday Night Football” and the Olympics.
HARI SREENIVASAN: During the protests that followed the extrajudicial shooting of Michael Brown, the spectacle of Ferguson police patrolling the streets in combat gear with machine guns and armored vehicles sparked another conversation.
Like a lot of police departments, Ferguson’s had been equipped with military surplus provided by the Pentagon and gear purchased with Department of Homeland Security grants. But, this year, the Obama administration has curtailed those military supplies.
New York Times reporter Matt Apuzzo has covered this issue, joins me now from Washington.
So, first of all, how prevalent is it that police departments get this military surplus equipment?
MATT APUZZO, The New York Times: Oh, I mean, it’s very, very prevalent.
I mean, this program, this idea of military surplus, goes back to really the height of the drug war, when the idea was that local police were basically outgunned by drug gangs. And, so, the thinking in Washington was, well, we can take this extra military equipment and provide it to local police departments to help fight the drug war.
And, obviously, like a lot of programs, it kind of ramped up even more after 9/11, and the focus became, you know, a lot of counterterrorism stuff. So, you tend to see, you know, Humvees, lately MRAPs, these giant mine-resistant vehicles, body armor, night-vision goggles and the like.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So, what is the change now? What is the administration proposing?
MATT APUZZO: Well, so, under executive order that went through in January, basically, what the president said was, there is now a restricted group of equipment.
That would include, like, bayonets, high-caliber rifles, tracked — tracked trucks. So, you know, these are these big troop transporters that look like tanks, but they don’t have obviously the cannon mount to them. But they run on tracks. Those are now prohibited items.
And then there’s a much longer list of items, like mine-resistant vehicles or whatnot, that you can get, but you have to go through all these hoops and you have to prove that you have trained on it and you have policies on how to use it, and you have to explain why you have a need to have it.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In addition to some sort of oversight that takes a look at what you’re doing on your police force, right?
MATT APUZZO: That’s exactly right. And what we saw just a few months ago, the Justice Department did a review of Ferguson’s response and the sort of St. Louis region’s response to the protests and riots after the Brown shooting.
And what they said was that, you know, while some of the equipment was used appropriately, a lot of it was just really used inappropriately and unnecessarily, and that police officers didn’t know who was in charge.
And you had these — you had this armored — you had this armored car going — armored truck going around with snipers on — just sitting — like, poised on the roof of the car, pointing their weapons at civilians, and that it only — it only served to really heighten tensions and actually just made things worse.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And, interestingly, there has been pushback about this show of force, this militarization or this posture, but, really, it took the death of Michael Brown, the reaction in Ferguson to do things that legislators and activists could not do.
MATT APUZZO: Sure. I mean, forget could not do, but there was almost no interest in doing it. This is what is really remarkable, is, think about it for a second. This idea of beefing up local police departments to fight terrorism is kind of the cornerstone of our domestic post-9/11 response.
So, the fact that it took a death of a young African-American man in St. Louis County to force upon the country a huge reconsideration of the thinking of — that we need to heavily arm police departments to fight terrorism, I mean, it’s just sort of a remarkable, because, until recently, the only discussions about these types of programs were, is my police department getting enough? How come — how come that city got more than my city?
Those were the debates that were going on in Washington. Nobody was saying, hey, do we really need to have armored troop transporters in local police departments?
Nobody was saying that until Ferguson. And that’s just a really remarkable moment from a Washington policy standpoint.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Matt Apuzzo of The New York Times joining us from Washington, thanks so much.
MATT APUZZO: Hey, great to be here.
The post In Ferguson and beyond, police militarization may be declining appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) August 9, 2015
The death of Christian Taylor, an unarmed black 19-year-old shot to death by a Texas police officer in the small hours of Friday morning, has raised questions about the circumstances of the shooting, which some see as fitting a pattern of police officers’ use of deadly force against young black men.
According to a police press release, two officers in the Dallas suburb of Arlington responded around 1 a.m. to a suspected burglary at a local car dealership. Upon arriving at the scene, the pair confronted Taylor, who police say had driven his car through the side of the dealership, resulting in an altercation in which one of the officers shot Taylor four times. Taylor died at the scene.
Taylor was a student at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, where he was a defensive back for the school’s football team.
At a news conference Saturday night, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson promised “a transparent, thorough and fair investigation,” but cautioned that the process might be “lengthy and at times frustratingly slow,” The New York Times reported. Johnson also said he reached out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to enlist the agency’s help in investigating Taylor’s death.
As of Saturday, the officers involved had not yet been interviewed about the shooting, according to The Times. Johnson said such a delay was normal procedure, and said the department would release the 911 call and police radio traffic from the incident once the officers had submitted their statements.
Surveillance video from Classic Buick GMC, published by a Dallas NBC television affiliate, shows Taylor wandering around the dealership’s empty parking lot and jumping repeatedly on the front of a parked car before breaking a section of its windshield and entering the vehicle.
Later, the video shows Taylor using his car to break through the dealership’s gate before driving through the glass wall of the dealership. The footage also shows police arriving at the scene and an ambulance and fire truck showing up, but it does not show the confrontation between Taylor and the officers. Officials said the officers were not wearing body cameras.
The video has been edited, so the chronology of the events it shows is not certain.
Taylor’s brother Joshua, 23, said his family is looking for answers about what happened during the altercation in which Taylor was shot. “Until we get concrete facts, we won’t know what happened,” he told Reuters.
The police department identified the officer who shot Taylor as 49-year-old Brad Miller. Miller, who is white, is a trainee officer who has been working under the supervision of a training officer since graduating from the police academy in March.
Miller has been placed on administrative leave, an action the department said is routine in deadly force incidents.
Taylor’s death quickly became the subject of controversy on social media, and the hashtag #ChristianTaylor has been widely used on Twitter as users push for transparency and accountability in the case.
The post Questions abound in fatal police shooting of unarmed Texas teen appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
St. Louis police officers shot and critically wounded a man who fired at them in Ferguson, Missouri on Sunday night, following day-long peaceful protests marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb.
Sunday night’s shooting occurred after a gun battle between rival groups in the center of the Ferguson protests.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the man was shot after he opened fire on an unmarked police SUV. He said plainclothes officers were watching the man in the crowd of protesters.
The man exchanged fire with someone else, fled the scene on foot, and the plainclothes police officers drove the SUV toward the man, who then began shooting at their vehicle.
The man was in critical and unstable condition, and no officers were injured.
The St. Louis Dispatch said Tyrone Harris Sr. identified the man as his 18-year-old son, Tyrone Harris Jr. of St. Louis. The elder Harris said witnesses told him his son did not have a gun and was running away.
Belmar said the man was armed with a stolen 9mm Sig Sauer.
Following the night’s violence, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger issued a state of emergency Monday, which allows Belmar to take over police emergency management around Ferguson.
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WASHINGTON — Calling for a “new college compact,” Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday will unveil a $350 billion plan aimed at making college more affordable and reducing the crushing burden of student debt.
At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, the state with the highest average student debt in the country, Clinton will propose steps to reduce the cost of four-year public schools, make two-year community colleges tuition-free and cut student loan interest rates, according to campaign aides.
The college affordability plan, a main plank of her policy platform, is an effort to address a major financial stress for many American families and satisfy a central demand of the Democratic party’s liberal wing.
The proposal centers on a $200 billion federal incentive system aimed at encouraging states to expand their investments in higher education and cut student costs. States that guarantee “no-loan” tuition at four-year public schools and free tuition at community colleges would be eligible to receive federal funds.
But Clinton doesn’t go quite as far as some more liberal politicians and party activists, who’ve made “debt- free college” an early litmus test for the presidential primary field. In May, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders released his own plan that would eliminate tuition and fees for public universities. The $70 billion annual proposal would be funded by imposing a tax on transactions by hedge funds, investment houses and other Wall Street firms.
While military veterans, lower-income students and those who complete a national service program, like AmeriCorps, would go to school for free in the Clinton plan, others would incur costs for their schooling and living expenses at four-year public universities. “For many students, it would translate into debt-free tuition,” said Carmel Martin, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, who advised Clinton on the plan. “It will depend on the student circumstances and the institution they are going to.”
For most students, their families will still be expected to make a “realistic” contribution, say Clinton’s aides, and students will contribute wages from 10 hours of work per week.
Those currently repaying loans would be able to refinance their outstanding debt at lower rates, a change Clinton’s aides say will save an average of $2,000 for 25 million borrowers over the life of the loan — an amount that’s equal to just about $17 month over a 10-year repayment period. She would also expand income-based repayment programs, allowing every student borrower to enroll in a plan that would cap their payments at 10 percent of their income with remaining debt forgiven after 20 years.
Private universities with “modest endowments” that serve a higher percentage of low-income students, including historically black colleges, would also receive federal funds to help lower the costs of attendance and improve graduation rates.
The cost of Clinton’s plan would be offset by capping itemized tax deductions for wealthy families at 28 percent, like those taken by high-income taxpayers for charitable contributions and mortgage interest. That proposal, which has long been included in President Barack Obama’s annual budget, would raise more than $600 billion in the next decade, according to the Treasury Department.
Clinton’s plan would likely face a steep climb in Congress: A $60 billion Obama administration initiative for free community college has gotten little traction.
Even so, college affordability has emerged as a major issue on the presidential campaign trail, as families face the highest debt burden in generations. National student debt is near $1.3 trillion and the average price for in-state students at public four-year universities is 42 percent higher than it was a decade ago, according to the College Board.
In almost every campaign stop, Clinton hears from students and families worried about paying for school. Her team conducted weeks of meetings with experts on the issue to develop the proposal, including policy staffers for liberal leader Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
“There’s something wrong when students and their families have to go deeply into debt to be able to get the education and skills they need in order to make the best of their own lives,” she told students and teachers at Kirkland Community College in Monticello, Iowa, in April, shortly after announcing her campaign.
Clinton aides believe their plan will help build enthusiasm for her candidacy with younger voters — whose support twice helped catapult Obama into the White House. The policy rollout is timed for when students return to college campuses. Clinton organizers plan to promote the plan at registration events and other gatherings kicking off the school year, according to a campaign aide, in an effort to galvanize college students.
The post Clinton to propose $350 billion college affordability plan appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Two women shot at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul on Monday, and one was later captured after both fled the scene.
The women were from the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front, an anti-American organization which claimed responsibility for the attack.
Also in Istanbul, a car bombing at a police station injured three police officers and seven civilians. One assailant was killed during the bombing, and two others died, along with a police officer, in the subsequent firefight.
In the southeastern Sirnak province, a roadside bomb killed four police officers. A soldier was killed in the same province when Kurdish militants fired on a military helicopter.
The attacks come at a time when the Turkish government has stepped up operations against Islamic State fighters and Kurdistan Workers Party militants in northern Iraq.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military has deployed six F-16 jet fighters to Turkey’s southern Incirlik air base to assist in the battle against the Islamic State group.
The post Assailant detained in attack on U.S. consulate in Turkey appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
NEWARK, N.J. — Donald Trump’s position on health care? Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act “with something terrific.”
What to do with an estimated 11 million immigrants currently living in the country illegally? “We’re going to have plenty of time to talk about it,” he told reporters during a recent trip to the U.S. border with Mexico.
As Trump pushes ahead with an establishment-bucking campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, the real estate developer and former reality TV star’s decidedly unconventional approach to politics includes forgoing — so far — any substantive discussion of public policy.
Identifying problems and presenting preferred solutions is usually standard operating procedure for candidates for office at any level, perhaps none more so than president. Developing policy is a key role of campaign staff, and the resulting work is touted in speeches and rollouts designed to win headlines and voters alike.
Most of the other candidates for president in 2016 have records of public service, having cast votes as lawmakers or executed policy as governors. Those who lack such time in office, such as retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, have still staked out clear positions on issues that include health care and managing the economy.
Trump’s campaign website provides a detailed account of his many real estate holdings and successful television show, but has no mention what he would seek to accomplish if elected president.
“We’re going to release some policy positions here in the near future,” campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told The Associated Press. “Mr. Trump has looked at them and has decided that he’s ready to release some of them.”
But Lewandowski won’t say when that might happen, other than “in the very near future.” He declined to discuss the policy areas Trump would address, adding, “You’ll have to wait and see.”
That leaves only Trump’s comments as a candidate and his many books as a preview of what’s to come. They suggest his approach will largely be about setting broad-based goals, with little to no roadmap for reaching them, and he may lack consistency in both approach and ideology.
On his early calling-card issue of immigration, for example, Trump has advocated for the building of an impenetrable wall across the length of the border with Mexico. He insists he will force the Mexican government to pay for its construction, but won’t say how he’ll accomplish such a feat of diplomacy.
“I’ve said that they’re going to pay for the wall, and they will pay for the wall,” he recently told Fox News when pressed for details.
After refusing to answer questions about what he would do with the millions of people already in the country illegally, Trump recently said during an interview he would deport them all, sort them into groups of “good ones” and “bad ones,” and then allow those deemed good to re-enter the country via an “expedited” process.
He and his campaign staff, however, have not yet outlined details such as how a Trump administration would locate those individuals, the criteria for determining good and bad, and how much the plan would cost.
“The idea of large-scale deportations followed by selective re-admissions doesn’t seem like a well-developed approach,” said Marc Rosenblum, deputy director of the Immigration Policy Program at the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute. “Are you going to go knocking on doors and checking IDs? What is that going to look like?”
The lack of specificity, and Trump’s shifting positions over time, also make it hard to predict what his approach might be to an issue of passionate importance to many Republican voters: the fate of the Affordable Care Act.
In his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” Trump said the U.S. needed universal health care and pointed to Canada’s single-payer system as a shining example. “I’m a conservative on most issues, but a liberal on this one,” he wrote. A decade later, in 2011’s “Time to Get Tough,” Trump eviscerated what he now termed “socialized health care” as a jobs and business killer.
None of this concerns Trump’s most faithful supporters, who dismiss concerns about his lack of policy specifics or the changes in his ideology over time.
Michael Dunbar, who launched a “Draft Trump” campaign in 1987, said in an interview that he had no idea at that time what platform Trump would run on — or even what party he was registered with.
“It wasn’t so much policy positions,” he said. “I believe my sense was that he could just make it happen.”
Associated Press writers Jeff Horwitz in Washington and Thomas Beaumont in Iowa contributed to this report.
The post Donald Trump’s policy approach a mystery amid lack of detail appeared first on PBS NewsHour.