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

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    GWEN IFILL: Now to Kentucky, where a county clerk opposed to gay marriage has run afoul of the law.

    William Brangham has our story.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The news that county clerk Kim Davis was going to jail caused celebration for gay rights supporters outside the federal courthouse in Ashland, Kentucky, this afternoon.

    MAN: The judge did his job and followed the laws and held her in contempt of court, and she should have to follow those laws as well.

    PROTESTERS: Do your job! Do your job!

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The controversy came to a head earlier this week when Davis — that’s her behind the desk — refused again to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing her Christian beliefs against the practice.

    KIM DAVIS, Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk: We’re not issuing a marriage license today.

    MAN: Based on what?

    KIM DAVIS: I would ask you all to…

    MAN: Why are you not issuing marriage licenses today?

    KIM DAVIS: Because I’m not.

    MAN: Under whose authority are you not issuing…

    KIM DAVIS: Under God’s authority.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Back in June, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal nationwide, Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses for anyone in Rowan County, Kentucky.

    When Governor Steve Beshear ordered all court clerks to license same-sex couples, Davis sued the governor for religious discrimination. She took her case all the way to the Supreme Court, but, on Monday, the justices rejected her appeal without comment.

    Davis remained defiant. In a statement issued earlier this week, she said she wouldn’t change course — quote — “It is not a light issue for me. It is a heaven or hell decision. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.”

    Davis told a federal court judge much the same today, but he ruled her in contempt of court and sent her to jail.

    Marcia Coyle is with “The National Law Journal,” and a frequent contributor to the NewsHour.

    MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal: She and others who work for the government have a right to their beliefs, religious or otherwise, to agree or disagree with a law or Supreme Court decision.

    However, they don’t have an unlimited right. She takes an oath of office, as many of these clerks do. And she is required to fulfill that oath of office. And if she cannot, then she has to resign.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In Kentucky, Davis’ stance has incited outrage in some quarters.

    WOMAN: Enough is enough. It’s called respect, respect for the law. And we are spending taxpayers’ money on this, what is the law. So, we’re all supposed to respect the law. That’s the way it is. If you can’t do your job, resign.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But the embattled county clerk also has her supporters, many of whom also showed up outside her federal court hearing today.

    WOMAN: My hopes would be that governor and state of Kentucky would uphold the law and would uphold religious freedom, to where our county clerks wouldn’t have to do things against their convictions, wouldn’t have to write down their name on a certificate that they feel is against God’s word.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Davis’ stance and the protests it’s sparked have also drawn Republican presidential candidates into the fray. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was asked about Davis Tuesday during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

    HUGH HEWITT, Radio Talk Show Host: What’s your opinion on what she ought to do here, Senator?

    SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM Republican Presidential Candidate: As a public official, comply with the law or resign.

    HUGH HEWITT: And no — no middle ground right? The rule of law is the rule of law?

    SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: The rule of law is the rule of law. That’s what we are, a rule of law nation. And I appreciate her conviction. I support traditional marriage. But she’s accepted a job where she has to apply the law to everyone.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Other candidates disagree, including Davis’ home state Senator Rand Paul. He told The Boston Herald — quote — “I think people who do stand up and are making a stand to say that they believe in something is an important part of the American way.”

    Davis’ own beliefs will now be tested by a stay behind bars, and there’s no indication how long it might last.

    Again, Marcia Coyle:

    MARCIA COYLE: I have no doubt that there’s going to be much more legal action surrounding her. Her lawyers may well appeal the contempt order to the federal appellate court, but, right now, I would think she has to give some serious consideration to how long she wants to sit in county jail.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Several of Davis’ deputies said they will start issuing marriage licenses to all couples starting Friday.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m William Brangham.

    The post Defying the Supreme Court, jailed Kentucky clerk draws outrage and support appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The front pages of some of Britain's daily newspapers showing an image of the body of Syrian three-year-old boy Aylan are pictured in London, on September 3, 2015. The image spread like lightning through social media and dominated front pages from Spain to Sweden, with commentators unanimous it had rammed home the horrors faced by those fleeing war and conflict in the Middle East and Africa. AFP PHOTO/JUSTIN TALLIS        (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meantime, the photograph of a 3-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach has galvanized a worldwide debate about the plight of refugees. Aylan Kurdi was one of 12 Syrians who died trying to reach the Greek island of Kos. A Turkish police officer carried his lifeless body ashore, not far from the resort town of Bodrum. Aylan, his 5-year-old brother and their mother all died when a trafficker abandoned them in high seas.

    Their father survived and today prepared to take their bodies back home to Kobani, Syria.

    ABDULLAH KURDI, Father (through interpreter): The man steering the boat saw that the sea was high, the wave was high. We were hit by the first wave, but he escaped. He jumped into the water and escaped away. I tried to take over the steering, but we were hit by another wave. The boat capsized. I grabbed my children and my wife. They died.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We take a closer look at how their story is being seen in Europe with Steve Erlanger — he’s the London bureau chief for The New York Times — and our own PBS NewsHour special correspondent Malcolm Brabant, who has been reporting extensively on the refugee crisis for us in a number of European countries.

    And we welcome you both.

    Malcolm, you are in Copenhagen. What is the reaction there and in Denmark to this picture, to what people are seeing unfold?

    MALCOLM BRABANT: I think people are distressed very much by this throughout Europe.

    I think you have to be extremely hard-hearted not to be moved by this. But one of the more interesting comments has come from a man called Martin Henriksen, who is the spokesman for integration for the Danish People’s Party, which is a party that kind of cracks the whip here.

    He says that it is very distressing, but that the blame for this lies with the traffickers and also with ISIS and with President Assad in Syria. And he says that the problem is, it is these people, it’s these people who are causing the deaths of people like Aylan, and not Europe, because there are others out there who are saying that Europe is to blame for this.

    For example, Turkey’s president is saying that Europe really is turning the Mediterranean into a graveyard as a result of its policies. But this is something that is being rejected by the right, which controls Denmark.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Steve Erlanger, in from where you are, in London, what do you see? How do you see the reaction, not only in Britain, but as you look across the continent?

    STEVEN ERLANGER, The New York Times: Sometimes, pictures move events and are not just moments of events.

    And this seems to be one of those pictures. It’s had an enormous impact. Many American papers didn’t run it on their front pages. But nearly all the British papers did and many of the papers in France too. And it has put enormous moral and political pressure on government leaders, much as the truck on the Austrian highway with 71 decomposing bodies did.

    It gives a sense of human tragedy and it gives a political push. It’s particularly pushed David Cameron, who has come back from vacation and yesterday had a rather callous remark about how taking more refugees won’t solve the problem. And while that’s true, he’s trying to balance his own domestic political problems, which are very much anti-immigration.

    And the French and Germans are together trying to push a unified E.U. plan against an E.U. that is not unified, that works by consensus. So it is possible that this picture and the outrage among publics that it has caused will push these politicians to come up with a solution that is less chaotic and less callous than what we have seen so far.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Malcolm Brabant, is that what you are seeing, that maybe this one picture and the events that have led up to it really could bring these European leaders to come together to do something?

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Well, it does appear as though the European Union is planning to do something in the coming weeks, that they’re coming up with a plan whereby about 160,000 refugees will possibly be distributed around Europe.

    Now, there are countries which have got an opt-out from this. And those include Denmark and also the United Kingdom. But it appears that the pressure is really mounting on David Cameron, especially as a result of a campaign fromThe Independent newspaper, where they have had this Twitter campaign saying that refugees are welcome, that there is a sense that maybe David Cameron is going to come up with a new plan to take some refugees directly from the front-line states which are acting as hosts for them at the moment, maybe from Jordan or from Turkey or from Lebanon.

    But certainly it looks as though Britain will have to open its borders to some degree. But I don’t think that is necessarily going to be the case in Denmark, where the governing coalition — well, the governing party, backed up by the Danish People’s Party, is fairly resolute.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Steven Erlanger, is there one or more — who are the European leaders who are going to be making a difference in the coming days and weeks on this?

    STEVEN ERLANGER: Well, usually, in the E.U., it’s Germany and France together. If they can get together, particularly with Italy, that is really what tends to push the matter forward.

    And they have come out with a joint statement, Merkel and Hollande, today which called for the setting up of reception centers, which is far too late, but centers to house migrants and asylum-seekers and feed them and, most importantly, screen them and decide whether they’re real refugees or whether they’re economic migrants, and then can be sent home.

    But, secondly, they also want to set up a mandatory system whereby refugees and asylum-seekers are shared out to the rest of the European Union, because, at the moment, as the French say, only five countries have taken 75 percent of all the asylum-seekers.

    The problem is, as I say, E.U. works by consensus. The polls are against it. The Hungarians are against it. A lot of the new members from Central Europe are against mandatory quotas. So it’s going to be difficult. But the E.U. commission is working on ideas that perhaps some countries won’t take refugees, but provide money instead for these centers.

    But, as Malcolm says, there’s a meeting of interior justice ministers, not until the 14th of September. And then that might be followed by a summit meeting of actual leaders. So this — this tragedy still has weeks to go, it seems to me.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Malcolm Brabant, as we said, you have been reporting on this for weeks and weeks now. If these kind of steps are taken, is that going to make a difference?

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Well, I have been talking to my contacts on the Greek island of Lesbos to see what is happening now.

    And it seems as though there is this enormous rush to get into Europe. I was talking to somebody who regularly goes down to the beaches every morning to welcome these refugees. And she says you look out of your window now and there are sometimes 20 or 30 boats; 3,000 people a day are now arriving on Kos. There are supposed to be maybe as many as 70,000 people waiting just across the water in Turkey to come across.

    The traffickers are sending them across in waves. There are now 15,000 people who are in the town of Mytilene, which is the capital town of the island of Lesbos, 15,000 refugees in an island with 25,000 Greeks. The rush is just enormous to try to get into Europe. And remember that the weather is just about to change in September.

    It’s been rough all week across the Aegean, but the traffickers are sending these people across. The boats are really struggling to get across. They’re very poorly constructed. They have very weak outboard motors. And people are getting into the water. And it’s been a miracle this week that there haven’t been more drownings.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All of which raises the question whether the kinds of things we’re hearing could happen will make any difference.

    Well, I know you’re going to continue to report on this, you and Steven Erlanger. We thank you both.

    Malcolm Brabant, Steven Erlanger, we thank you.

    The post Will a photo of a drowned boy give Europe a political push? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Police guard a train full of refugees stuck in a stalemate as they refuse to obey police and get off at the station, fearing they would be put up in a nearby refugee camp in Bicske, Hungary, September 3, 2015. France and Germany said European countries must be required to accept their shares of refugees, proposing what would potentially be the biggest change to the continent's asylum rules since World War Two. Europe's worst refugee crisis since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s has strained the European Union's asylum system to breaking point, dividing its 28 nations and feeding the rise of right-wing populists. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh - RTX1QZD1

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We turn again to the migrant and refugee crisis in Europe. Another day brought more anger, desperation, and sorrow.

    We begin our coverage in Hungary, where James Mates of Independent Television News spent the day with refugees desperate to leave, but with no way out.

    And a warning: Some images tonight may be disturbing.

    JAMES MATES: For 48 hours, they have been kept out of Budapest central station, denied boarding on all trains. So when, inexplicably, this morning, the Hungarians reopened the platforms, chaos was entirely predictable.

    They rushed for the first train that came in, believing wrongly it was headed to Germany. Children were passed overhead, visibly distressed in the crush. They believed this was to be the first train out of Budapest and maybe even the last. Waiting did not seem to be an option.

    MAN: Germany, yes.

    JAMES MATES: There are constant announcements on the P.A. system that this train is not going anywhere, and please get off it. But after two days stuck in the station, they aren’t listening. If anything, more people are getting on than getting off.

    The sign on the door clearly named a destination in Hungary, but in a foreign land, they had seen what they thought was a German name on the side of the carriage.

    “We have seen the German writing,” this man said. “We think this train is going to Germany.”

    A volunteer aid worker couldn’t convince them otherwise.

    WOMAN: Maybe the train stays here. Maybe they go to a camp. I don’t know, but no Germany, no. This is what the police say.

    JAMES MATES: Even as the train pulled out, there was an announcement there would be no international departures. But seeing the Danube pass below was enough to convince them all was going well. The heat in the crowded carriages was almost unbearable, our camera lens fogging up in moments.

    And within less than an hour, the news got worse. In the town of Bicske, there was a reception party. This was the end of the line. The passengers from one carriage were encouraged to leave, but as they were being corralled by policemen keeping themselves out in riot gear, they began to suspect the truth. They were being led away to a nearby refugee camp.

    “No camp,” they chanted, and then the cry that is coming to define this crisis.

    CROWD: Germany! Germany! Germany!

    JAMES MATES: Sitting alone with a tiny baby, a mother pleaded not to go.

    WOMAN: Please.

    JAMES MATES: But then her husband grabbed her and the child and threw all three of them onto the tracks. He seemed to indicate his wife was pregnant.

    Acutely embarrassed of what was happening in front of the world cameras, the police none too gently arrested and handcuffed him. But worse was to come. Hearing the commotion from behind police lines, the rest began to revolt. First, a group broke through and away down the tracks. Then, faced with fighting a pitched battle, the police line gave way and allowed them back onto the train.

    Well, faced with a P.R. disaster, the Hungarian police have taken the line of least resistance and are now letting these people back on the train. What happens now, well, who knows. And finding out is going to be hard.

    Realizing this wasn’t looking at all good…

    The world needs to see what happens to these people.

    … the cameras were swiftly and firmly pushed away. It seems the strategy now is to sit it out. There is no indication at all the train is going to move again, nor that those aboard are going to be given any choice but to go to a formal transit center and register as refugees here. The dream of a new life in Germany may not be happening for a while yet.

    The post Train taking stranded migrants to Hungarian camp prompts clashes appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Summer Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Craig Lassig - RTX1Q3FQ

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    GWEN IFILL: The desperation only deepened today for thousands of people trying to make the journey from the Middle East across Eastern Europe to Germany. Crowds fought with police in Hungary as charges and countercharges flew between European leaders in Brussels. We will have a full report after the news summary.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Donald Trump today ruled out a third-party or independent bid for the White House if he doesn’t win the Republican presidential nomination. The billionaire businessman had refused to make that promise during the opening debate of the 2016 campaign.

    But he met today with the Republican Party’s national chairman, then emerged at his Manhattan skyscraper to show his signed loyalty oath.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Candidate: I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stand, and we will go out and we will fight hard and we will win. We will win. And, most importantly, we will make our country great again.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The pledge is not legally binding, but Trump said he sees — quote — “no circumstances” under which he’d tear it up.

    GWEN IFILL: A former State Department staffer who helped set up Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server is refusing to testify before a House committee. Instead, attorneys now say Bryan Pagliano will cite his right against self-incrimination. The committee is investigating the 2012 attack on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, when Clinton was secretary of state.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Prosecutors in Charleston, South Carolina, served notice today they will seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof, the man accused of shooting nine black churchgoers to death in June. Roof allegedly opened fire during Bible study at the historic Emanuel AME Church.

    Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson says she’s met with all of the victims’ families since then.

    SCARLETT WILSON, Solicitor, Ninth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina: All understand my responsibility and have shown great respect, even deference, for my decision to seek the death penalty for the killings at Mother Emanuel Church. For that, I am truly, truly grateful. This was the ultimate crime, and justice from our state calls for the ultimate punishment.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Some of the relatives have publicly forgiven Roof, and the prosecutor acknowledged some of them oppose the death penalty.

    GWEN IFILL: The Justice Department is out with its final report on how police handled the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and it warns other towns to take heed.

    The trouble in Ferguson erupted after a white officer killed Michael Brown, a black teenager, in August last year. The report says, in part: “The absence of trust between the police and many in the community negatively impacted the response of all agencies involved.” It also blames military-style tactics that antagonized demonstrators.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: New federal regulations will ban health care discrimination against transgender people. The Department of Health and Human Services issued the proposal today under the Affordable Care Act. For the first time, it bars bias based on gender identity. The result will likely be expanded insurance coverage for gender transition.

    GWEN IFILL: China staged a show of military power today to mark 70 years since Japan’s defeat in World War II. At the same time, President Xi Jinping is cutting its force, and pledged his country will never seek to dominate others.

    Lucy Watson of Independent Television News reports from Beijing.

    LUCY WATSON: It started with a flourish, China’s biggest ever display of power, a dizzying spectacle showing the intimidating advancement of its weapons.

    This parade was to commemorate victory over Japan and the end of World War II. But it was also a vehicle for China’s leader to rally his troops and his nation. This is a spectacular display of military force. It’s very much President Xi Jinping’s show, his way of stoking patriotism and trying to command respect from the rest of the world.

    And he chose this global platform to announce that he was cutting troop numbers by 300,000, but they will still be more than two million strong, though it’s a gesture that will do little to reduce regional worries of those wary of China’s real ambitions, when the country’s made huge strides in the past decade to build a world-class army.

    President Xi wants to be one of China’s strongest leaders who steers it away from economic turmoil. And this is a man who can grind a city to a halt, change the weather if he wants to. The infamous Beijing smog was cleared for this occasion. So little stands in his way.

    GWEN IFILL: Also today, The Financial Times reported the U.S. plans to sanction Chinese companies for using hackers to steal intellectual property.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: French investigators have confirmed that debris found in the Western Indian Ocean belongs to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The jetliner disappeared more than a year ago with 239 people on board. The debris, part of a wing, washed up on Reunion Island 2,600 miles west of where a search for the plane is continuing.

    GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, scores on the SAT college entrance exams have dropped to the lowest in nearly a decade. The College Board administers the test. A report today finds that only 42 percent of students who took the test in the class of 2015 are prepared for college-level work or career training. Overall, average SAT scores have been falling steadily since 2006.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s also word today of a spike in the number of students asking the federal government to forgive their college loan debt. Nearly 12,000 people have filed claims, saying their school shut down before they graduated or lied to them about their job prospects. The surge follows the collapse of Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit chain.

    GWEN IFILL: And Wall Street calmed considerably after the swings of recent days. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 23 points to close above 16370. The Nasdaq fell 16 points, and the S&P 500 rose two.

    The post News Wrap: Former Clinton staffer to plead the 5th before House appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Manager of the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area Justin Haug keeps an eye on the Okanogan Complex fire as it burns through the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area near Loomis, Washington, August 25, 2015. Photo by David Ryder/Reuters

    Manager of the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area Justin Haug keeps an eye on the Okanogan Complex fire as it burns through the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area near Loomis, Washington, August 25, 2015. Photo by David Ryder/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Forest Service spent a record $243 million last week battling forest fires around the country, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday.

    The agency has spent all the money Congress provided for fighting wildfires in the 12-month budget period, forcing it to borrow money from forest restoration work designed to reduce the risk of fires. That’s happened in six of the past 10 years, Vilsack said.

    Vilsack said further transfers are likely and the agency expects to continue spending about $200 million per week on fire suppression during the coming weeks.

    The administration is pushing Congress to change how the government pays for fighting wildfires. It wants to treat some fires as federal disasters. The new disaster account would cover the cost of fighting the most damaging fires, which would reduce the pressure on other parts of the Forest Service budget.

    Republicans are working on proposals that would end the transfers, but they also want to make changes in federal law designed to speed up the pace of thinning projects on federal lands.

    Video by EarthFixMedia

    Vilsack said the Forest Service and its partner agencies have deployed record numbers of firefighters and aviation assets to deal with more than 70 large fires burning in five states.

    “The current fire situation is an important reminder that every day, thousands of brave Americans step up to protect people and property,” he said in a statement to The Associated Press. “We do everything in our power to ensure that every firefighter comes home safely, but our firefighting personnel have been particularly hard hit this year.”

    The post Forest Service spends a record $243 million last week on wildfires appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Kentucky county deputy clerks began issuing licenses to same-sex couples on Friday after their boss was held in contempt for her refusal to do so.

    Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, a 49-year-old Democrat, remained jailed Friday as her deputies issued a license for James Yates and William Smith Jr., whose applications were denied five times previously, the Washington Post reported.

    There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

    U.S. District Judge David Bunning jailed Davis for contempt of court Thursday, ending her months-long standoff against the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize gay marriage in June.

    Davis has said that she was acting under “God’s authority” in her refusal to issue licenses. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, joins two other county clerks out of Kentucky’s 120, that have said they do not recognize gay marriages because of their Christian beliefs, The New York Times reported.

    Rowan County clerk Kim Davis is shown in this booking photo provided by the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Kentucky September 3, 2015.  Davis was jailed on Thursday for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and a full day of court hearings failed to put an end to her two-month-old legal fight over a U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding same-sex marriage.  Photo courtesy of Carter County Detention Center/Handout via Reuters

    Rowan County clerk Kim Davis is shown in this booking photo provided by the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Kentucky September 3, 2015. Davis was jailed on Thursday for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and a full day of court hearings failed to put an end to her two-month-old legal fight over a U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding same-sex marriage. Photo courtesy of Carter County Detention Center/Handout via Reuters

    Five of the six deputy clerks in Kentucky county agreed under oath on Thursday to begin issuing licenses. Davis’ son, Nathan, refused to comply.

    The couples who had sued Davis said they preferred that the county clerk be fined, not jailed. The plaintiff’s attorneys offered a proposal Thursday to Bunning to release Davis if she allowed her deputies to grant licenses to gay couples. Davis rejected the offer.

    Davis was taken away Thursday to the Carter County Detention Center. Davis’s husband, Joe, was at the courthouse Friday and said his wife would remain in jail for “as long as it takes.”

    The post First gay Kentucky couple granted marriage license, as county clerk Kim Davis remains jailed appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Refugees raise their documents and railways tickets outside the Keleti station in Budapest, Hungary.  REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

    Refugees raise their documents and railways tickets outside the Keleti station in Budapest, Hungary. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo –

    WASHINGTON — The State Department has set up a working group to help coordinate the U.S. response to Europe’s migrant crisis.

    Spokesman John Kirby says the group was set up following a request by Secretary of State John Kerry. It will also seek to ensure the U.S. is prepared for future crises elsewhere in the world.

    Kirby says the U.S. is providing $26.6 million to the U.N. refugee agency to help it provide food, water and legal assistance to refugees traveling through Greece, Macedonia and Serbia.

    He says the U.S. has provided more than $4 billion in humanitarian assistance to those affected by Syria’s four-year civil war.

    Europe is grappling with a daily influx of thousands of people, many fleeing Syria’s war, putting strains on much of the continent.

    The post U.S. coordinating response to migrant crisis appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Answering tough foreign policy questions are a regular test for candidates on the presidential campaign trail. Remember Sarah Palin’s infamous run-in with Katie Couric? On Thursday it was Donald Trump’s turn.

    The leading Republican candidate made his sixth appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show and this time the host peppered him with questions about foreign players.

    “Do you know the players without a scorecard yet, Donald Trump?” Hewitt asked.

    “No, you know, I’ll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they’ll all be changed. They’ll be all gone. … But if they’re still there, I will know them better than I know you,” Trump answered.

    How would you fare in the campaign spotlight? See if you can answer a dozen fastballs on foreign policy.

    Laura Santhanam built the quiz.

    The post Quiz: Think you know more than Donald Trump on foreign policy? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Republican 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 18. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Republican 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 18. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is scheduled to visit a Kentucky jail next week to meet with a county clerk imprisoned because she ignored repeated court orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

    Huckabee, a Baptist pastor and Republican presidential candidate, plans to host a rally in county clerk Kim Davis’ honor after the private meeting outside the Carter County Detention Center.

    “Having Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country,” Huckabee said in a statement issued Friday. “What a world, where Hillary Clinton isn’t in jail but Kim Davis is.”

    Davis’ jailing offers the many Republican presidential candidates an opportunity to appeal to the GOP’s evangelical Christian wing, which opposes same-sex marriage and casts Davis’ imprisonment as an issue of religious freedom. Not all the Republican White House hopefuls see it Huckabee’s way.

    Asked about Davis’ imprisonment Friday morning, Republican Donald Trump noted that the Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage.

    “You have to go with it,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” ”The decision has been made, and that’s the law of the land.”

    The former reality television star suggested that Davis allow a deputy clerk to issue the marriage licenses. During a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge David Bunning offered to release Davis if she promised not to interfere with her employees issuing licenses, but she refused, citing her Christian beliefs.

    “I hate to see her being put in jail,” Trump said, later adding, “We’re a nation of laws.”

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has struggled for attention in the crowded 2016 contest, lashed out at Trump on Twitter. “You can’t make America great again by throwing Christians in jail,” Jindal tweeted in a message referencing Trump by name. “Even really rich New Yorkers should oppose jailing Christians for their religious beliefs.”

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday authorities should have found a compromise to keep Davis out of jail.

    “I didn’t think I’d ever see the day when a Christian in America could go to jail because they decided to live by the precepts of their faith,” Rubio said.

    The judge indicated Davis would remain in jail for at least a week, saying he would revisit his decision after the deputy clerks have had time to comply with his order. Davis’ deputies did just that Friday morning, issuing Rowan County’s first same-sex marriage licenses with a sheriff’s deputy standing guard in front of Davis’ darkened office.

    Speaking to reporters Friday morning, Davis’ husband, Joe, held a sign that read, “Welcome to Sodom and Gomorrah” and said his wife was in good spirits after her first night in jail.

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    Photo by Arthur Middleton/University of Wyoming/Via U.S. Geological Survey

    Photo by Arthur Middleton/University of Wyoming/Via U.S. Geological Survey

    Twenty years on from their reintroduction into Yellowstone National Park, wolves are still howling. But does their presence spell good or bad tidings for other wildlife?

    “Since about 2008 our wolf numbers have been fairly flat,” said Doug Smith, who heads the National Park Service’s Wolf Project at Yellowstone. His group reintroduced 31 wolves into the park in 1995 and 1996, and he says there are now roughly 100 wolves – down from a peak of 174 in 2004.

    Studies continue to reveal how the wolves are impacting the populations of large, high profile prey, such as elk and bison. Yet ecologists are taking a broader, more comprehensive view of the wolves’ impact on the larger ecosystem.

    In the case of trees, that turns out to be a tall order. Park rangers monitor aspen stands throughout Yellowstone – including one in the Crystal Creek area of the park. Two decades ago, it was just a fraction of its current size.

    Utah State University wildlife ecologist Dan MacNulty recently walked through the Crystal Creek aspens, on his way to inspect the carcass of an elk that had been just been killed by wolves on a ridge just above.

    “When I started in the late ’90s, none of these aspen were here,” MacNulty said, who heads a long-term study to assess the impact of wolves on animal communities in the park. “If they were here, they were very, very small and since then, there’s been a lot of growth.”

    The Gibbon wolf pack standing on snow. Photo by Doug Smith/Via National Park Service

    The Gibbon wolf pack standing on snow. Photo by Doug Smith/Via National Park Service

    When wolves were reintroduced in 1995, about 18,000 elk grazed Yellowstone’s northern range, and many aspen stands were struggling. Harsh winter conditions often drove elk to nibble on aspen branches – what ecologists call “browsing.”

    “When you have a lot of snow on the ground, you don’t have access to the grass,” MacNulty said. “And so what those elk would do, they’ll come into here and because these aspen shoots are above the snowpack, they’ll browse on them, they’ll eat them.”

    Aspen and other trees that grow near them – like willow – had traditionally served as nesting areas for birds and had provided wood for beaver dams. When the number of trees declined, bird and beaver populations did too.

    Now, twenty years later, the Yellowstone elk herd population stands at about 4,500 animals – and the aspen trees at Crystal Creek have shot up in height.

    There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

    National Science Foundation’s Science Nation on Yellowstone wolves feat. PBS NewsHour correspondent Miles O’ Brien

    “The question is: Do these changes have anything to do with the wolf reintroduction?” MacNulty said. “Is it due to wolves scaring elk out of areas that are risky? Is it due to wolves driving elk numbers down, so there are few elk around to feed on these aspen trees?”

    But that’s a tough link to prove, because there are so many environmental variables at play. Most significantly, a multi-year drought was in full swing right around the same time as the wolf reintroduction. Aspen and willow trees need a lot of moisture to grow. In fact, MacNulty says there has been a long-term drying trend in Yellowstone since records started to be kept in the late 1800’s.

    It’s a source of active debate and there is no consensus on whether the aspen decline was caused by long-term drought, over-browsing by elk, or a combination of the two, MacNulty said.

    Dan MacNulty and colleague tracking and observing elk just outside Yellowstone’s Roosevelt Arch, near Gardiner, Montana. Photo by National Science Foundation

    Dan MacNulty and colleague tracking and observing elk just outside Yellowstone’s Roosevelt Arch, near Gardiner, Montana. Photo by National Science Foundation

    Whatever the cause, the re-emergence of the tree stands has park officials closely monitoring the animals that depend on them – like the birds and especially beaver. Beaver dams on streams and creeks raise the water table in the vicinity, increasing moisture levels and fostering the growth of even more trees.

    “What’s going to happen with the beaver?” said National Park Service biologist Dan Stahler. “Are they going to proliferate or are they going to maintain their low numbers? If they proliferate then you could expect to see some pretty major changes in Yellowstone.”

    The return of the wolf has even helped other carnivores to thrive.

    “Grizzly bears, black bears, coyotes, wolverines even, foxes, even birds will scavenge off carcasses…eagles, ravens all those meat eaters benefit by the protein that the wolves leave on the landscape that would otherwise be bound up into live animal,” MacNulty said.

    There is general agreement that a wide diversity of species is a healthy thing for the larger community of animals. For now, the wolf population is holding its own.

    “I think where we’re at now is pretty much what we expected 20 years ago,” Smith said. “Unless there’s some kind of a major change – of course, climate change is a huge wrench in everything – we think this could be some kind of long-term equilibrium.”

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    Workers sort eggs after pasteurization at the National Pasteurized Eggs plant in Lansing, Illinois August 24, 2010. Photo by Frank Polich/Reuters

    Workers sort eggs after pasteurization at the National Pasteurized Eggs plant in Lansing, Illinois August 24, 2010. Photo by Frank Polich/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The slogans are familiar: “The Incredible Edible Egg,” ”Pork: The Other White Meat,” and “Got Milk?”

    They’ve all been part of promotional campaigns overseen by the Agriculture Department and paid for by the industries that vote to organize them. While the idea is simple — an industry-wide promotional campaign at no cost to the government — they’ve often generated controversy, been misunderstood and at times have operated with little oversight.

    The egg industry is the latest to draw scrutiny for its promotional board after it appears to have waged a campaign to hurt sales of an eggless imitation mayonnaise. According to email documents provided to The Associated Press, the American Egg Board tried to prevent Whole Foods grocery stores from selling Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo spread and engaged in other efforts to counter the brand.

    According to the documents, American Egg Board CEO Joanne Ivy emailed a consultant in 2013 saying she would accept his offer “to make that phone call to keep Just Mayo off Whole Foods shelves.” The effort was apparently unsuccessful as Whole Foods still sells the product.

    In a statement Thursday, USDA spokesman Sam Jones-Ellard said the department is looking into the documents and “does not condone any efforts to limit competing products in commerce.” But he didn’t say if USDA would take any action, and it’s unclear if the egg board’s communications would violate legal requirements for research and promotion programs.

    According to the law, USDA is tasked with making sure that the quasi-government boards stay away from disparaging other commodities and from campaigning for legislation or regulation. The idea is that the campaigns stay promotional, not negative.

    In addition to the egg board, there are about 20 other programs — also known as “checkoffs” — from the Mushroom Council to the National Honey Board to the National Christmas Tree Promotion Board. USDA is responsible for overseeing all of them, including ensuring fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment for all sectors of the industries that decide to form boards.

    In 2012, USDA’s inspector general issued a report saying the Agricultural Marketing Service, the department agency that oversees the boards, needed to improve its oversight. Specifically, the audit said the agency should be able to better detect the misuse of board checkoff funds and gather more information from the boards to assess their activities. The report cited examples of employee bonuses and travel expenses that did not fall under department guidelines. The agency said it would make improvements.

    Some of the programs have been challenged in court. In 2008, a judge barred the egg board from spending money to campaign on a proposition in California. And the USDA is currently defending itself in a federal lawsuit that alleges the National Pork Board cut a deal to help fund a non-governmental pork association that lobbies lawmakers.

    In addition, the groups’ association with the government has made them vulnerable to political attacks. In 2011, the White House delayed a decision to approve a Christmas tree promotion program after conservatives accused the Agriculture Department of spoiling Christmas with a new tree tax — even though the program would have been paid for by industry and the National Christmas Tree Association said it wouldn’t have an impact on the price consumers pay for their trees. The program eventually went into effect after congressional action in 2014.

    The organic industry has also faced political criticism as it is in the process of setting up its own promotion program with USDA. Some farm-state members of Congress have opposed organics getting their own program, arguing that you can’t promote organic agriculture without somehow disparaging conventional agriculture.

    Laura Batcha, head of the Organic Trade Association, says the group has been mindful of previous problems in the program as it worked over the last several years to create a checkoff program. “We set out with the objective of learning from folks,” Batcha says.

    The organic industry has said it wants to form a board to help consumers understand what organics are. The industry has been concerned about confusion in the marketplace. Other industries have hoped to boost consumer perception of their products. The National Pork Board says its goals are to build consumer demand and trust in modern pork production. The United States Potato Board says it is “dedicated to positioning potatoes as a nutrition powerhouse.”

    Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick, meanwhile, has called for a congressional investigation into USDA oversight of the promotional programs. In the emails, one egg board executive appeared to joke about having Tetrick killed.

    Tetrick’s company, which markets itself as promoting healthier eating, provided the documents to the AP after they were obtained on a public records request by Ryan Noah Shapiro, a Freedom of Information Act expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    “There needs to be a lot more oversight in how these programs are run, because they have a real impact on how people eat,” Tetrick said.

    Associated Press writer Candice Choi contributed to this report from New York.

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    The Turkish military guards border fences as Syrian refugees cross into southeastern Turkey near Akcakale in Sanliurfa province earlier this summer. Icelanders are pressurng their government to allow more Syrian refugees into their country. Photo by Osman Orsal/Reuters

    The Turkish military guards border fences as Syrian refugees cross into southeastern Turkey near Akcakale in Sanliurfa province earlier this summer. Photo by Osman Orsal/Reuters

    Egypt’s third richest man wants Greece and Italy to sell him an island for refugees who have been fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

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    Naguib Onsi Sawiris, a prominent Telecoms billionaire, said buying an island for refugees was a feasible option in an interview with Agence France Press.

    “You have dozens of islands which are deserted and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees,” Sawiris said, according to Forbes.

    Forbes estimates that buying an island off Greece or Italy could cost anywhere between $10-$100 million.

    The billionaire acknowledged the absurdity of his tweet but insisted he was serious, tweeting “there is nothing to joke about. I don’t joke on the misery of people.”

    Just this week, images of a drowned Syrian boy showed the tragic plight of refugees. According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, the boy’s death added to the estimated death toll; some 2,500 people have died this summer attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe The influx of refugees and migrants to Europe has opened up a larger political debate on how European countries should act.

    This isn’t the billionaire’s first time entering a larger political debate. In the wake of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011, he was one of the founding members of the Free Egyptians’ Party, according to International Business Times.

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    Europe has been struggling to deal with an influx of migrants fleeing war-torn countries. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

    Europe has been struggling to deal with an influx of migrants fleeing war-torn countries. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis.

    Hungary gave in to pressure today, and agreed to bus migrants to Austria. Two days ago, Hungary had blocked the migrants from travelling on trains to Austria, stranding thousands of them in Budapest. After hundreds of refugees began walking the 150 miles to Austria, Hungary agreed to buses. The buses will apparently pick up the migrants stranded at Budapest’s main train station, as well as those that had already begun walking.

    The decision comes as Europe still tries to figure out what to do with the biggest migrant crisis since the end of World War II.

    It also comes on the same day the Hungarian parliament passed emergency anti-immigration laws to halt the surge of refugees crossing into the EU, reports the AFP.

    The new laws call for a three-year jail term for anyone caught climbing the newly built razor wire fence on the border with Serbia, and new transit zones, where asylum-seekers must stay while their application is being processed.

    While some countries are tightening their laws, Ireland announced today it would take in an additional 1,800 refugees, after accepting 600.

    So far, Germany has accepted 35,000 refugees, Canada more than 10,000, Australia 5,600, and Switzerland 3,500, according to the BBC.

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    newshour bookshelf

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now another new addition to the NewsHour Bookshelf.

    Tonight’s focus is the brave new world of artificial intelligence.

    Jeffrey Brown has that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Is it man against or with machine? Do machines, robots help us, replace us, hurt us?

    Robots are being built and seeping into more and more of our lives, but how much are their value and impact understood and accounted for?

    Such questions are part of a new book that looks at the last decades and the advance of artificial intelligence and robotics. It’s titled “Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots.”

    Author John Markoff is a longtime science and technology reporter for The New York Times.

    And welcome to you.

    JOHN MARKOFF, Author, “Machines of Loving Grace “: Thank you.

    JEFFREY BROWN: “Machines of Loving Grace,” it sounds great, wonderful, right? A little bit of religion, a little bit of human love, but it’s more complicated.

    JOHN MARKOFF: Yes. Well, yes, and I might have put a question mark after it.


    JOHN MARKOFF: Because I think we can go down both paths. And we probably will go down both paths.

    My point is, it’s a human choice at this point. These machines are not evolving by themselves. There are human designers.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You’re making a distinction. You’re coming at this as a reporter and you’re making a distinction between machines that are replacing humans and those that are sort of helping us.


    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, why is that? Give me an example. Why is that important?

    JOHN MARKOFF: Well, go all the way back to the dawn of interactive computing, and the thing I noticed is there were two labs on either side of Stanford.

    One was started by a guy by the name of John McCarthy. He thought in 1962 it would take a decade to build a thinking machine, to replace humans. On the other side of campus, there was a man by the name of Doug Engelbart. He invented the mouse. He invented hypertext that led to the World Wide web.

    And he wanted to use computers to augment humans. And so you have these two different philosophies. And I realized there are two different communities. And they basically don’t talk to each other. And the idea is to square the circle, to bring them together.

    JEFFREY BROWN: To square the circle, bring them together and, you’re arguing, think more about the ethics. There’s a lot of thinking that goes into the making of the products or the machines, not enough into what they’re for.

    JOHN MARKOFF: Yes, we’re at this interesting juncture where machines are starting to do autonomous things.

    Cars are starting to drive. We’re replacing humans in certain places with systems that are robotic and artificially intelligent. And the designers need to make ethical decisions about what they imbue the software and the robots with. It’s becoming a big deal for society.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Are there good examples that you see out there where there is interesting thinking going on about this, even at the level of the lab or the product-making?

    JOHN MARKOFF: There is a lively debate, for example, around something as seemingly as simple as an autonomous vehicle.

    When you imbue the cars with the ability to make decisions about where to go, they’re going to run into situations where they have ethical decisions to make. And you’re going to have to build…

    JEFFREY BROWN: You mean what to hit or not hit?

    JOHN MARKOFF: It’s called the trolley problem.


    JOHN MARKOFF: And philosophers have been debating it for years.


    JOHN MARKOFF: You go this way and you run over five people. You go this way, and you run over one person.

    And I actually think it’s kind of a false dichotomy. As we become more distracted, the problem for the robots is an easier one, because they always are on, they never get distracted. So — and the robots will talk to each other, so you might not really have a trolley problem because the robot will know there’s another robot or even a pedestrian or a bicyclist there.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Thinking about what robots do or don’t do, or can or cannot do means to think about what it is to be human. Right?


    JEFFREY BROWN: What is it that only humans can do?

    JOHN MARKOFF: Well, I have been asked that question. What is it to be human?

    And I think the nature of humanity is found between the interaction that you and I have. And it’s actually something that makes me slightly hopeful, because even though we’re being surrounded with all this automation technology, there is the possibility that that interaction between you and I might actually become more valuable. And, you know, it might work out that way. That would be great.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so what would be a better approach for designers today? What kind of questions should be asked as they’re designing new products?

    JOHN MARKOFF: So, increasingly, it is possible to take the human out of the equation.

    And if you’re in a purely capitalist system, and it’s just a question of cost, then why not? Here’s an example. There is a wonderful small startup in San Francisco called Momentum Machines that is going to make hamburgers. And a lot of people worry about this, because not only are they on the verge of automating the people who take your order, but they’re talking about taking the fry cook out in the back, too.

    But he’s not planning on doing it that way. He’s going to have a human concierge who will sort of be there to oversee the whole process, even though you will order your hamburger with a smartphone, and apparently get the perfect hamburger.

    He realizes that that’s not a great job, being a concierge in that situation. So he sort of made a deal in his planning where he will offer the people who work in his hamburger stands the ability to get an education to do something different after two years.

    And that’s an example of sort of rethinking the equation, because, like, you and I, we have had the same job for our entire career. In the future, people are going to go through many jobs, and we have to retrain them.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Are you arguing that this is a fundamentally new situation?

    JOHN MARKOFF: Well, we are in a new situation because A.I. technologies that didn’t work in the past — they overpromised and underdelivered — are working now. Machines are listening. Machines are seeing.

    But, at the same time, what’s really interesting about the anxiety we feel right now, you can’t just take a snapshot. You have to realize that the human population is changing very dramatically.

    For example, in China, they have a one-child policy. And the Chinese population is aging. It might be the case in China that the robots come just in time, which is a very counterintuitive idea.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Why would they be just in time?

    JOHN MARKOFF: Because the work force will shrink, and you will actually need robots.

    And at the same time, you will get this aging effect of the population. And maybe, just maybe, elder care robots will come in time to take care of us.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, John Markoff is author of the new book “Machines of Loving Grace.”

    Thanks so much.

    JOHN MARKOFF: Thanks for having me.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And a postscript: You can spend some quality time with Jeff tomorrow, when he hosts a daylong live-stream report from the Library of Congress National Book Festival; 170 authors will be in Washington. Tune in from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. Find that on our home page, PBS.org/NewsHour.

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    shields and gerson

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And that’s the cue to turn to the analysis of Shields and Gerson. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson. David Brooks is away.

    Welcome, gentlemen.

    So we have just been listening to a little bit of the politics of the week, Mark. Hillary Clinton, important interview she had today, a lot of questions about the e-mail server. She said that she wished she had done it differently. She said it wasn’t the best decision.

    What do you make of that? I mean, does she — has she put this behind her in any significant way, this issue?

    MARK SHIELDS: No. I mean, she was apologetic. She was contrite, I think it’s fair to say. And it was an interview with Andrea Mitchell, who is not only a respected journalist, but who has covered Mrs. Clinton and Washington very well for a quarter-century. So there weren’t going to be any curveballs thrown the interviewer’s way.

    I think this, Judy. First of all, it’s in the FBI’s hands now. And we’re going to continue to have the e-mails released a month at a time. This story is still with us, and it will remain with us. It will be part of the run-up to Iowa.

    The one question that strikes me, as I listened to her today, is every president needs — and very few have — that one person who can say, no, stop, you’re making a fool of yourself, you’re doing the wrong thing.

    Bryce Harlow, who was the wisest — one of the wisest men I ever knew in Washington, counselor to President Eisenhower, President Ford, President Nixon, said, everybody, I don’t care how powerful they are, a CEO, chairman of a committee, president of a university, when they walk into the Oval Office, they’re ready to tell the president what to do, and they say, Mr. President, you’re doing a wonderful job. Our prayers are with you.

    And she is not the only person, but she needed someone to say, no, you can’t do this. And the question is, does she have someone now?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, in fact, Michael Gerson, I heard Andrea Mitchell ask her. She said, was there somebody on your staff who said this is a bad idea? And she talked about how they — she didn’t think, she said, when she did this.

    MICHAEL GERSON: Yes. As far as I could tell, the main answer she gave was, oops. She didn’t really think of it at the time. That’s really her argument here.

    It strains plausibility for people who have been in government that know how much emphasis is put on record-keeping and secure communications when you’re at high levels in the executive branch. It’s just a big deal, you know, the federal acts that relate to records.

    So it doesn’t have the ring of truth in that case. She’s also well behind this story. We found this week that the FBI was — is now investigating possible security breaches with like the Russians and Chinese with her account.

    We learned that we — that her — she has an aide taking the Fifth Amendment. And we learned there are at least six e-mails that she sent that have classified information in them. I mean, these are serious things, cumulative things that she has not provided a very good answer on.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Mark, at the same time, Hillary Clinton, the people around her have been saying, you’re making a mountain out of a molehill, there was nothing nefarious going on here, anything that was classified was made classified later.

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes. No, that is their defense and their position. And it’s tough to argue with. And the example cited of her trying to get a speech given by Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, publicly that could not be sent because it was classified gave you somewhat of an indication of how overly-classifying the intelligence area — agency is.

    I will say this about Secretary Clinton today. Her answer to Andrea on Joe Biden was pitch-perfect. I mean, it was human, it was natural, it was very personal in the best sense. And it didn’t have any political angle to it that I could detect.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, she asked her, do you have a comment about the fact that he’s considering running?

    MARK SHIELDS: Right. Oh, I’m sorry. Yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And she said, it’s not for me to say. And then she went on to say, he needs the space to think about it, right?

    MARK SHIELDS: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Michael, we ran a clip of what the vice president said last night at that speech at the synagogue in Atlanta.

    Do you think get the sense that he’s leaning away? He clearly didn’t sound like he is there yet.

    MICHAEL GERSON: I get the sense that you’re seeing that process in public, exactly what he’s thinking about this. It’s one of his appeals, is this transparency.

    And this is a family that underwent a terrible trauma three months ago, that, you know, a trauma like that can strengthen a family, but it also can be a difficult time. And a presidential campaign brings minute and massive scrutiny.

    And so I think that is a real issue. But he could come in here. He doesn’t fit an ideological gap. He’s very much like Clinton in a lot of his views. There is no ideological gap he would fill. But there is a kind of ethical gap that he might fill.

    The worst thing that’s come out of the e-mail situation for Hillary Clinton is one of these polls recently about what are the top three words you think of when you think of a candidate, and it was liar, dishonest, untrustworthy. Those are serious issues that come out of the e-mail situation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And she was asked about that today, again, Mark, by Andrea Mitchell. And she said, our campaign goes on and I don’t worry about that and we feel good.

    MARK SHIELDS: No. Yes, it hasn’t been a great six months since Hillary Clinton entered the race. She still is the front-runner, still is the favorite and is still obviously quite formidable.

    On Joe Biden, his greatest virtue may be also his occasional vice. And that is that total lack of artifice to him. I mean, he was just being — I think he was being totally frank with that audience last night in Atlanta. I think he’s saying — Judy, with the possible exception of asking someone to be your life partner, the most personal decision anybody makes is the decision to run for president.

    It is a difficult, painful — and he knows from personal experience it can be heartbreaking.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you’re asking your family to be part of the journey with you.

    MARK SHIELDS: And you’re asking your family. Do I want to do this? And I have got a wonderful reputation at this point. And after eight years as vice president, do I want to risk it all and — all of that. I mean, it’s really difficult.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s turn quickly to the other party.

    Michael, Donald Trump yesterday did what he said earlier he wasn’t going to do. He met with the head of the Republican Party and he said he signed the pledge. He held it up for everybody to see and said he pledges he will not run as an independent or third-party candidate if he doesn’t get the Republican nomination.

    MICHAEL GERSON: Well, I think the image of the head of the RNC making the pilgrimage to the Trump Tower in order to get some assurances is exactly what he wants.

    He looks in control. This is the man who wrote “The Art of the Deal.” He has really taken the RNC to the cleaners on this and has done a very good deal, because he now has gotten what he wanted. And his — the pledge he has made is less than useless. He can just come and say, the Republicans violated their part of the deal, I was treated unfairly. He builds his case.

    There is nothing to prevent this. This is a man who has changed some of his most fundamental political views over the last few years in order to shift. This is not going to be an obstacle for his ambitions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you see going on with…

    MARK SHIELDS: I couldn’t say it — I couldn’t say it better. I think the idea that the chairman of the Republican Party and the states requested that he to this in order to run in those states, they’re changing their own rules, but comes to him, Reince Priebus did, and became almost a prop for Donald Trump to do his declamation and take shots at the other candidates.

    And the chairman had to stand there and do it, take it in all the time. I just think this fuels the fire of Mr. Trump’s lack of humility.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I gather Priebus met with him and then left before the news conference.

    But I guess my question, Mark, is, does this change the race in some way? Does this change the Republican equation? What do we think, Michael, Mark?

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, I think, Judy, the question is — obviously, Jeb Bush and others are taking him on.

    And the question becomes, what happens on the 16th of September when they have their next debate? And you will recall, just four years ago — I’m sure Michael does — Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota, was a very formidable candidate, and he went on television on a Sunday and talked about Obama-Romneycare, Obamneycare.

    The Affordable Care Act had been based on Mitt Romney’s. And 24 hours later in the debate, when asked about it, he wouldn’t say it. And his campaign just evaporated.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: He wouldn’t criticize — wouldn’t criticize…

    MARK SHIELDS: Wouldn’t repeat what he had said 24 hours earlier.

    So this is the test. It’s one thing to say when he’s 1,000 miles away. Will they say it to him on the stage?

    MICHAEL GERSON: And then also an interesting test for Jeb Bush, too. Will he repeat the criticisms he’s making to Trump’s face?

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes. Yes.

    MICHAEL GERSON: And they have been stuff. They have been that he’s not a consistent conservative, but also that he’s using racial dog whistles.

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes. That’s right.

    MICHAEL GERSON: Jeb Bush has made this case. Will he press that case in the debate? That will be fascinating.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to turn you all back to this terrible humanitarian crisis we’re seeing over the refugees in Europe.

    We have seen the pictures which just tear at your heart, the one we showed, and again on the program tonight, the little 3-year-old boy, Mark, a Syrian child whose parents were trying to get him out of there and into Europe.

    How are we think about where responsibility lies in all this? I mean, is it — where should we be looking? I mean, there is some disagreement. We heard tonight Hungary is providing buses now, but a lot of these refugees want to go to Germany, they want to go to France. Who should be stepping up right now?

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, you know, I think Angela Merkel is probably the exemplar at this point.

    I mean, Germany is the size of Montana, slightly smaller than Montana. They have pledged to take 800,000. If they take 800,000, that’s the equivalent of the United States taking 3.2 million refugees. Now, you could say, yes, Europe is aging. It needs young, vibrant, hardworking people. These refugees are obviously overwhelmingly that.

    They’re young and dedicated and energetic and ambitious. But, you know, Judy, I don’t — I am surprised it has not become an issue in this campaign. Now, given the Republicans’ position…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you mean, that — about whether they should come to the United…

    MARK SHIELDS: I mean, what if the United States — I mean, these are refugees from Afghanistan, from Syria, from Libya, not totally divorced from the United States policy and presence and invasion and military actions in the Middle East.

    What do we have? We have taken 1,800 Syrian refugees over the last four years in this country.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. I heard Trump asked about it this morning, and he said it was something that the U.S. would — might have to consider doing.

    But, Michael, where should — where do we look at a time like this?

    MICHAEL GERSON: Well, when you look for responsibility, you have to look for — to President Assad, who destroyed his own country…

    MARK SHIELDS: I agree.

    MICHAEL GERSON: … through his own arrogance and brutality, and then ISIS, which has, you know, taken root in the ruins.

    But we have also had four years of American policy that’s not been very active when it comes to Syria. We had a number of American officials, including Hillary Clinton, David Petraeus, Leon Panetta, John Kerry, who proposed more strenuous action to strengthen proxies that would — to try to push for a peace agreement, and to try to undermine the capacities of the regime to perform mass atrocities.

    And those — the advice from those people wasn’t taken again and again. And we’re seeing some of the results of relative inaction, I think.

    MARK SHIELDS: I would just say, without getting into an argument with Michael, it’s 15 years now of United States policy there. We did, in fact, topple the most formidable adversary that Iran had, and we left in our wake…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Saddam Hussein.

    MARK SHIELDS: In Saddam Hussein.

    We left in our wake a nonfunctioning government, a Shia government which showed no respect for rights of the Sunnis. And out of that grew ISIS. And ISIS is not just a — didn’t come from the bow of any Greek god. This is a direct consequence.

    I think that there was no — there is no will in this country right now for military intervention. I think that has been killed. I can listen to Dick Cheney and read his books from now until the cows come home, but there is no — there is no — not even a third of the Congress who would vote to send in military action, and you would only do limited accomplishments with airstrikes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, the debate goes on. And I think we can guarantee we’re going to hear more about it as this campaign continues.

    Mark Shields, Michael Gerson, we thank you both. And have a good Labor Day weekend.

    MARK SHIELDS: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you.

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    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton smiles before holding a roundtable on healthcare in San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 4, 2015. Clinton is campaigning in Puerto Rico the same day that Republican contender Marco Rubio is visiting. While Puerto Rico's residents will not be eligible to cast presidential votes in November 2016, they have a voice in the primaries and, as the island's economy has suffered, an increasing number have moved to U.S. states where they can vote, particularly Florida.  REUTERS/Alvin Baez    - RTX1R6G4

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We will get analysis of the European migrant crisis from Mark Shields and Michael Gerson in a moment, but, first, a look at the latest political divides here at home.

    It’s the issue that’s loomed over Hillary Clinton’s campaign: her use of a private e-mail system as secretary of state. And, today, it dominated her interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

    HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, Democratic Presidential Candidate: My personal e-mail use was fully above-board. It was allowed by the State Department, as they have confirmed. But, in retrospect, it certainly would have been better — I take responsibility — I should have had two accounts, one for personal and one for work-related.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Still, Clinton said she doesn’t believe the controversy will cost her the nomination. She declined to comment on whether Vice President Joe Biden will enter the Democratic race, saying people should give him the space he needs to make what she calls a difficult choice.

    He was asked about the possibility last night, after a speech at a synagogue in Atlanta.

    JOSEPH BIDEN, Vice President of the United States: The most relevant factor in my decision is whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run. The factor is, can I do it? Can my family undertake what is an arduous commitment that we would be proud to undertake under ordinary circumstances? But the honest-to-God answer is I just don’t know.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And on the Republican side, Donald Trump struggled Thursday with questions from radio host Hugh Hewitt about the leaders of terror groups.

    HUGH HEWITT, Radio Talk Show Host: I don’t believe in gotcha questions. I’m not trying to quiz you on who the worst guy in the world is.

    DONALD TRUMP, Republican Presidential Candidate: Well, that is a gotcha question, though. I mean, you know, when you’re asking me about who’s running this, this, this, that’s not — that is not — I will be so good at the military, your head will spin. But, obviously, I’m not meeting these people. I’m not seeing these people.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On a different subject, Trump repeated today he will seek to renegotiate, but not repudiate the Iran nuclear deal.

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    Denmark refugees

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: A week away from an emergency summit to discuss the refugee crisis, the countries of the European Union remain deeply divided over how to handle it.

    Sweden, the nation which has taken in the most refugees in relation to its population size, is calling for every E.U. nation to take its fair share and to be more civilized. But its neighbor Denmark has just introduced new welfare benefit restrictions aimed at discouraging asylum-seekers from heading there.

    Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports on the north-south divide in Scandinavia. He begins in Southern Sweden.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Journey’s end. Syrians Khaled al-Habash, in the blue shirt, and Nouri Shkais are relishing their new sanctuary. But Habash is missing his children. He didn’t dare entrust them to the Mediterranean. He hopes Sweden will reunite them safely.

    The reception center in a country that regards itself as the world’s conscience is shared by people from Eritrea, sometimes called Africa’s North Korea. Habash can’t comprehend how some Europeans are hostile towards refugees.

    KHALED AL-HABASH, Refugee: We are not come here to as tourism. We are coming from wars. And I think who do like that, he must — they must go to Syria and see what happened in Syria. We are — our — my children now under the bombs. I am very — my — they don’t have water for one week, one week without water.

    I want — throw us out, throw us out — you must go to Syria and see what happens. We are not tourism here.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Nouri Shkais left Latakia, the hometown of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, to avoid being conscripted into the army. The destination was an easy choice.

    NORI SHKAIS, Refugee: In Sweden, you can get a residence permit for a long time and you can get citizenship after four years, unlike — not like Danish.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: It wasn’t just war that compelled saxophonist Mohammed Diab to seek refugee in Sweden. In Syria, his homosexuality could mean torture and a brutal death. He’s rehearsing in Copenhagen with his old Damascus band mate, Nour Moura, who was granted asylum in Denmark.

    They want to relaunch their careers in Europe. And while they wait, they have the cushion of welfare benefits. But from this week, Moura, the guitarist, will be the poorer of the pair. His benefits will be cut by 45 percent.

    NOUR MOURA, Refugee: I’m sad about this decision. I don’t know why. Sweden not make this — and Germany not make this, the government. They want me to work and just I need to work. And this — I make this concert to know the people, to know the artist or musician, to make something with them to work. I don’t know — to sleep.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: The center-right minority government introduced the law to dissuade refugees and economic migrants from heading to Denmark. It has the full support of the Danish People’s Party, which came in second in June’s general election.

    Martin Henriksen is their integration spokesman and sets the tone for the country’s immigration policy.

    MARTIN HENRIKSEN, Danish People’s Party: In the past, we have taken a lot of refugees in Denmark. And we have come to a point where we have to say, enough is enough. We can’t take anymore. We can’t handle this type of immigration crisis. Simply, it’s too heavy a burden on a small country like Denmark. So let’s just step on the brake.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: As the new law was being passed in Parliament, 2,000 people protested in a Copenhagen square. Opponents warn the cuts will inflict poverty on newcomers to one of the world’s most expensive societies.

    MAN: I’m actually rather ashamed about it, because we didn’t used to be like that. There are lots of people who don’t agree with the government approach to the global problems.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: At the Refugee Council, Secretary-General Andreas Kamm despairs at the lack of European solidarity and fears the Danish government’s strategy will be copied by other countries.

    SECRETARY-GENERAL ANDREAS KAMM, Danish Refugee Council: It will maybe lead to discrimination, to marginalization, to ghettos, whatever. And I’m afraid it will not lead to a positive integration, where people will get work, et cetera, et cetera.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: But the new government is considering tightening citizenship qualifications and making it more difficult for refugees to bring their families to Denmark.

    Three Syrians are on hunger strike in protest against the family reunification process, among them, 13-year-old Osama Bilal, who left the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus with his uncle after his parents were killed by bombs that also injured three of his eight siblings. Osama says he has been trying for a year to get asylum for the other orphans in his family.

    The immigration service won’t comment on individual cases, but acknowledges that there have been some delays over the past year because applications have increased.

    OSAMA BILAL, Refugee (through interpreter): If I can’t bring my brothers and sisters here, then I will go back to Syria. I will not stay here without them. A life here without my brothers and sisters is not a life worth living.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: If anywhere symbolizes the deep divisions within Europe over the refugee/migrant crisis, it’s this bridge which links Denmark to Sweden. The two countries are diametrically opposed.

    Denmark believes that Sweden’s open-door policy is hopelessly naive. The Swedish government declines to publicly criticize Denmark. But it’s quite clear that, in Stockholm, they believe that their southern neighbor is being distinctly uncharitable.

    Sweden’s center-left justice minister, Morgan Johansson, is prepared to accept 100,000 Syrian refugees this year, which equates to a 1 percent increase in the population.

    MORGAN JOHANSSON, Swedish Minister for Justice and Migration: We can do this, but only if we share the responsibility within Sweden, of course, but also within Europe. And that’s one of the problems, I would say, that in the long run, we cannot have a situation where Sweden and Germany takes half of the responsibility. All countries have to do their share.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: But such talk infuriates country and western-loving supporters of the right-wing Sweden Democrat Party. They feel excluded from the immigration debate, look to Denmark for political inspiration, and, according to one opinion poll, are now the most popular single party in Sweden.

    WOMAN: I’m very angry. Yes, I am.

    QUESTION: Because?

    WOMAN: Yes, because you feel powerless, frustration. And I think it’s time people wake up.

    MAN: It’s too many people who come to Sweden. And they have no place to live. They have no place to work. And that’s the big problem in Sweden right now.

    MAN: Society will break up. We will not have cohesion between the different groups in this society. So there will be a split in the society, which can — it can turn out in terrible, terrible political consequences.

    MAN: In this country, you only need to say I support the Sweden Democrats. Everybody says, oh, you’re a racist, you support Hitler and everything. You like the Holocaust, just because you support the Sweden Democrats. And that’s wrong. It’s a very big difference between Nazis and patriotism.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Party leader Jimmie Akesson is a divisive figure in Swedish politics and requires strict security because of his outspoken views on immigration.

    JIMMIE AKESSON, Leader, Sweden Democrats (through interpreter): The government is raising taxes by $7 billion, $7 billion. Denmark, which is just a few hours from here in that direction, has far more reality-based politics. In Denmark they have a completely different level of immigration. And in Denmark, they are now choosing to lower benefits for non-citizens. In Denmark, they are succeeding with what it is claimed is impossible to do in Sweden.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: There are more extreme forces at work across Scandinavia. These Swedish right-wingers marched on a refugee center after a rejected Eritrean asylum-seeker was accused of stabbing two Swedes to death in an Ikea furniture store.

    And in western Denmark late last month, an asylum-seeker took this video in the car park of his hostel as it was vandalized and attacked. Growing reluctance of refugees to head to Denmark means this reception center will close soon.

    But new arrival Moheddin Hajazieh is relieved to be here. He left Syria to escape being conscripted into President Assad’s army and dreams of opening a barber’s shop.

    MOHEDDIN HAJAZIEH, Refugee: I will try to trust them what this country gives me. Like, if they give me I.D., or nationality or anything, I don’t know, I will try to make good with this country. It’s my new country. Maybe I will be a Denmarki.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: At the protest rally, other Syrian asylum-seekers demonstrated their gratitude. Like Sweden and other European countries, they want Denmark to be more hospitable, but it’s doubtful there will be any compromise in this corner of Scandinavia.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Malcolm Brabant in Copenhagen.

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    Former President Otto Perez leaves after a hearing at the Supreme Court of Justice in Guatemala City, Guatemala September 4, 2015. Fighting graft accusations, Perez said on Friday he could have made "10 or 15 times" the money he is accused of stealing if he had taken bribes offered by powerful Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas - RTX1R6FM

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We turn now to a major shakeup in the Central American nation of Guatemala.

    On Thursday morning, President Otto Perez Molina was forced to resign. By Thursday afternoon, he was in court to face charges, and he spent the night in jail. He’s accused of taking part in a multimillion-dollar bribery operation. As the allegations were revealed over the summer, tens of thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets, demanding accountability.

    For more on these allegations and what it means for that country, I’m joined now by Adriana Beltran. She’s a Guatemala expert at the Washington Office on Latin America. It’s a research group that advocates for human rights.

    Welcome to the NewsHour.

    ADRIANA BELTRAN, Washington Office on Latin America: Thank you, Judy, for inviting me.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, tell us, what are all these corruption charges about? What do they actually involve?

    ADRIANA BELTRAN: Well, back in April, the Guatemalan public prosecutor’s office and the U.N.-led International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or CICIG, unearthed a massive corruption scandal within the tax authority office.

    It implicated a number of high-level officials that had essentially set up a scheme where they were accepting massive bribes for importers to be able to pay lower taxes, thereby defrauding the state of millions and millions of revenue.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And this has been unfolding over the year. Earlier this year, the vice president had to step down.


    So, due to these charges, the vice president was forced to resign in May. In August, following more investigations that were carried out by the prosecutor’s office and by the CICIG, they announced they had sufficient evidence to allege that both former Vice President Baldetti and now former President Otto Perez Molina were involved in this case.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And so what led to his actually leaving office?

    ADRIANA BELTRAN: Since the April scandal came out, thousands and thousands of Guatemalans had been protesting weekly on the streets, demanding an end to corruption, and end to impunity and a complete transformation of the political system.

    It has been unprecedented in Guatemala to just see the number of people that have taken to the streets in a very peaceful way, but also because it has brought together Guatemalans from different walks of life. You have had sectors that have historically just had many differences come together for one common cause.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And the government wasn’t pushing back on these demonstrations?

    ADRIANA BELTRAN: Not at all. And they have been very peaceful. They have been happening for 19 weeks, since April.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Guatemala has a history of corruption, of repression. What is different this time? What caused the people to rise up?

    ADRIANA BELTRAN: I think there are three takeaways.

    One, I think the courageous efforts of the public prosecutors, of a number of prosecutors and judges that have shown that the justice system can be made to work in a country where, before, you know, they have always faced often repercussions and were at severe risk for taking a stand.

    The work of the International Commission Against Impunity, the CICIG, has always been instrumental in trying to build up the capabilities of the institutions. And that, you know, allowed or provoked the people to take to the streets in massive numbers.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, now the former president, he is in jail. Does this feel like a real turning point, like things are going to change after this?


    To me, this is a historic moment for Guatemala, but also for anti-corruption efforts in the region. The Guatemala today is not the Guatemala that we saw and that we knew before April. Guatemalans now know that, together, they can make a difference and that they have started or created new openings for their country.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, the vice president who’s taken Perez Molina’s place, is he different?

    ADRIANA BELTRAN: Well, now you have an interim government. And these different sectors are continuing to work together. They’re right now trying to define a common anti-corruption agenda that they can push forward in the next several months.

    Guatemalan politicians and policy-makers know that the population is watching and that they are — they will be holding them accountable.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what’s your sense about the future?

    ADRIANA BELTRAN: I’m hopeful. I think this is a tremendous triumph for hope and a demonstration that change can happen, that justice and the rule of law can prevail through peaceful means.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you said, quickly, just a minute ago a regional change. Do you see this having an effect anywhere else in Central America?

    ADRIANA BELTRAN: I’m hoping that what we can learn and what we can take away from Guatemala and from these events is that we can combat corruption through peaceful demonstrations, through the leadership of courageous people and through the support of the international community.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Adriana Beltran with the Washington Office on Latin America, we thank you.

    ADRIANA BELTRAN: Thank you.

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    Unemployed Americans line up as they wai

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: As the Federal Reserve gets set to make a decision in a few weeks about whether to raise interest rates, today’s monthly U.S. jobs report added yet more mixed signals.

    The number of new jobs was quite modest and below expectations. And yet it comes amid some better data, and job growth over the summer was steady overall.

    Hari Sreenivasan in our New York studio gets some analysis.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Between the latest jobs numbers, the volatility of the markets and worries over sluggish wage growth, there are questions over just how strong, or not, the economy is performing, and what it means for most households.

    Diane Swonk studies the jobs data and joins me now. She’s with Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

    So, this is only one piece of data heading into next week’s Fed meeting, but it’s the last piece of data. And, frankly, looking at it, it would have been maybe different three weeks ago, before all of this churn in the market.

    DIANE SWONK, Mesirow Financial: Well, you know, and the Fed is data-dependent, they say, so every piece gets sort of minced to the ninth degree.

    And we know that August data is notoriously bad. It tends to be, the first time they announce it, they don’t get the full count and they tend to underestimate it by quite a bit. So, we knew it was going to come in low and it looks like we have got that bias again this time, so it came in lower.

    But, for many on the Fed, it’s enough. They sort of think the labor market is doing as good as it can do. I think that’s unfortunate, in general, statement about the U.S. economy, because it’s better than it was, but this is not good enough for a lot of people in the U.S. economy.

    But the uncertainty is — this piece of data — it’s not just this data. It’s, what are we doing going forward? So all this market volatility, concerns about growth abroad, how that will affect us, there is no such thing as Las Vegas in the world anymore, the global economy. Nothing that happens there stays there. It goes everywhere. And so we worry about it when things abroad goes wrong because it can hit us on our shores.

    And so all that uncertainty, it’s not just today’s data. It’s also the Fed has to consider, what are the risks going forward? And they’re clearly more to the downside than they were just a month ago. How much? And that’s why we’re still splitting hairs over deciding, is the Fed going to go or not go, just a few weeks away, and an historic liftoff, the first rate hike in nearly a decade?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Right. So, this is a balancing act between shaking the confidence out of some of the — stock market, other markets, and then on the other hand maybe overheating the economy.

    DIANE SWONK: Right.

    I think there is a lot of heated debate about a pretty tepid economy. And the Fed’s goal is not to take the punchbowl away from the economy, but maybe put a three-drink limit on it.


    DIANE SWONK: They still want to keep it going a bit. They’d still like to get us dancing on the dance floor, more people out there a little bit.

    And so this is — I think that’s also important for people to remember. When the history books are written on this period in time, it will not be when the Fed made the first rate hike and how big it was, because we know it’s going to be small. That could be in September. It could be December. It could even be in March.

    In the history books, that six-month window will not make a difference. What’s going to make the difference is how fast does the Fed raise rates thereafter? And we’re talking about a glacial pace. And that’s really important, because glaciers sort of sneak up on you, but they are not going to do anything to cool the economy real quickly.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And 5.1 percent, that is very close to what economists call full employment.

    DIANE SWONK: Yes, I have my — I say that 5.1 percent doesn’t feel like it did in the past, does it?


    DIANE SWONK: We don’t have these wages accelerating. Wages are still very stagnant out there.

    And we should be seeing more wage growth, not that you need to have wage growth before — it is an aftereffect of a tight labor market, but I look around and, gosh, I remember much better labor markets than this. This just doesn’t have the same feel and taste of a labor market that really is overheating.

    So I think there is a lot — there’s going to be — there’s a lot of data and there’s a lot of data points. And what’s interesting is, we’re caught in the weeds. Stepping back, looking at the overall picture, the Fed is having this heated debate about a still tepid economy, but it may be as good as they can do for it and it may be appropriate for them to raise rates.

    The timing, we’re splitting hairs, but it’s still not a great economy. This economy still needs some catchup to it. And I think the Fed understands that very well. There’s only so much they can do. They’re not — if they were a magician, they would have already waved their magic wand and lifted us all out of this.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial, thanks so much for joining us.

    DIANE SWONK: Thank you.

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    Migrants march along the highway towards the border with Austria, out of Budapest, Hungary, September 4, 2015. Hundreds of migrants broke out of a Hungarian border camp on Friday and others set off on foot from Budapest as authorities scrambled to contain a migrant crisis that has brought Europe's asylum system to breaking point. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh   - RTX1R54R

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The newest numbers out on the U.S. economy today pointed in opposite directions.

    On the one hand, job creation in August was the slowest it’s been in five months. The Labor Department reported employers added a net of 173,000 workers. At the same time, the unemployment rate, based on a separate survey, fell to its best place since early 2008, 5.1 percent. We will get some reaction and analysis later in the program.

    The reaction on Wall Street was decidedly negative. Investors worried that the lackluster job growth won’t stop the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 270 points to close near 16100. The Nasdaq fell nearly 50 points, and the S&P 500 dropped 30. For the week, all three indexes were down 3 percent or more.

    To Europe’s refugee and migrant crisis. Crowds of Syrians and others began streaming out of Budapest, Hungary, today with all their belongings, determined to make it to Germany. Hundreds more struggled to get past authorities in other parts of the country.

    James Mates of Independent Television News reports from Budapest.

    JAMES MATES: It is not quite on a biblical scale, but an exodus, it certainly is, at least 2000, maybe more, of the refugees and migrants who’ve been trapped at a railway station in Budapest now deciding to walk the hundreds of miles to Germany and what they see as the promised land.

    Children too were set on the road, the blazing sun and traffic on the major motorway out of the city no deterrent. It is hard to imagine this refugee could have gotten yet sadder and still more pathetic. They have clearly set out on a hopeless quest. The Austrian border is much too far to walk. Yet the fact they have done this at all reflects their desperation being stuck in Budapest.

    Infirmity was no barrier. There is clearly no chance of many of these people making it more than a few more miles. But they know that what they are doing will get attention, and anything must be better than sitting in squalor waiting for a train that may never come.

    Is this your way of forcing, shaming Europe into helping you?

    MAN: Yes, that is what we want. That is what we want.

    JAMES MATES: It’s hundreds of miles to the border. You’re not going to be able to walk that far.

    MAN: OK. We make — we make our way to Germany. This is history. Our children will know everything.

    JAMES MATES: A few miles away, the 36-hour saga of the refugee train is finally coming to an end. A freight train has been moved in to block the view of cameras. Many of those on board have now given up and are being taken out to waiting buses, though others are believed to have fled down the tracks.

    But it’s not clear there is any point even in taking people to camps or reception centers. We watched a busload being brought into the center at Bicske, where they were fingerprinted, but barely 10 minutes later were simply jumping over the fence and walking away. No one appeared to be trying to stop them.

    There was a different attitude on display at a camp in the far south of Hungary on the Serbian border. News from Budapest is inflaming opinion everywhere, and here at Roszke, there was an attempt to break down the fence. Police moved in, using liberal amounts of tear gas to try and restore order.

    The situation, though, is degenerating by the day. There are simply too many people on the move for the Hungarians to keep them under control.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Later, the Hungarian government announced that it will send some 100 buses to take the crowds to the Austrian border.

    Back in Syria, two small boys and their mother were buried after they drowned trying to get to Greece. An image of one of the children washed up on a beach, 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, has galvanized a global wave of sympathy. The burial was in the family’s home town of Kobani, near the border with Turkey. The father said he wants to stay near them and won’t try to get back to Europe.

    In Yemen, 45 soldiers from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were killed today fighting Shiite rebels. Officials said a missile struck a weapons depot near their post, about 75 miles east of Sanaa, the capital city. The attack was the deadliest yet on the Gulf Arab coalition. It’s being led by Saudi Arabia, in a kind of proxy war with Iran.

    President Obama welcomed Saudi King Salman for his first visit to the White House today. The president reaffirmed U.S. support for stabilizing Yemen, while acknowledging the costs in human lives and suffering.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We share concern about Yemen and the need to restore a functioning government that is inclusive and that can relieve the humanitarian situation there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Mr. Obama also offered assurances about the nuclear deal with Iran. And the Saudi minister said that his government is satisfied with those assurances.

    Meanwhile, the president secured a senator’s support, this from Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet; 38 U.S. senators now favor the agreement. That’s just three short of what’s needed to block a Republican resolution disapproving the deal.

    Same-sex couples in Rowan County, Kentucky began receiving marriage licenses today. Deputy county clerks issued those documents, while their boss, Kim Davis, remained in jail for refusing to do so. The first couple at the courthouse got their license in a crush of news cameras.

    Then, they celebrated outside, as supporters cheered and protesters booed.

    QUESTION: What does this mean for same-sex rights in this country?

    MAN: This means, at least for this area, civil rights are civil rights, and they’re not subject to belief.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Later, Kim Davis’ lawyer said the licenses issued today are worthless. And he said he will appeal a federal judge’s order that put her behind bars for contempt of court.

    And Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said he plans to visit the jail next week to meet with Davis. But GOP front-runner Donald Trump, citing the Supreme Court, said same-sex marriage is now the law of the land and, in his words, you have to go with it.

    And a teacher from New York City was arrested early today for allegedly crashing a drone at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. The drone buzzed over the players in Louis Armstrong Stadium last night, before landing in an empty section of seats. The police and fire departments investigated and the match was allowed to continue. The 26-year-old teacher faces a charge of reckless endangerment, among others.

    The post News Wrap: Desperate migrants start to march toward Germany appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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