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

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    The ebay Inc. logo and website are arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Ebay Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures after the close of U.S. financial markets on Jan. 21. Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Three economists examined 10.5 million items listed on eBay and found that sellers who listed items at round numbers were more likely to sell their items quickly. Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    For 29 years now, Paul Solman’s reports on the NewsHour have been trying to make sense of economic news and research for a general audience. Since 2007, our Making Sen$e page has vowed to do the same, turning to leading academics and thinkers in the fields of business and economics to help explain what’s interesting and relevant about their work. That includes reports and interviews with economists affiliated with the esteemed National Bureau of Economic Research.

    Making Sense/NBER logo

    Founded in 1920, NBER is a private nonprofit research organization devoted to objective study of the American economy in all its dazzling diversity, combining data with rigorous analysis to describe and explain the material world in which we live long before data analytics became fashionable. “Why Some Women Try to Have It All: New Research on Like Mother Like Daughter” and “Why Does the First Child Get the Gold? An Economics Answer” have been among our most popular posts on Making Sen$e, both of them largely based on NBER research. We thought our readership might benefit from a closer relationship.

    Each month, the NBER Digest summarizes several recent NBER working papers. These papers have not been peer-reviewed, but are circulated by their authors for comment and discussion. With the NBER’s blessing, Making Sen$e is pleased to begin featuring these summaries regularly on our page.

    The following summary was written by the NBER and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Making Sen$e. We will tell you, however, what the takeaway is: By listing round numbers — say, $100 instead of $99 — sellers are signaling their impatience to buyers. As a result, the seller will often manage to sell the good quickly, albeit at a lower price.


    In the marketplace for ordinary goods, buyers and sellers have many characteristics that are hidden from each other. From the seller’s perspective, it may be beneficial to reveal some of these characteristics. For example, a patient seller may want to signal unending willingness to wait in order to secure a good deal. At the same time, an impatient seller may want to signal a desire to sell a good quickly, albeit at a lower price.

    This insight is at the heart of “Cheap Talk, Round Numbers, and the Economics of Negotiation” (NBER Working Paper No. 21285) by Matthew Backus, Thomas Blake and Steven Tadelis. The authors show that sellers on eBay behave in a fashion that is consistent with using round numbers as signals of impatience.

    The authors analyze data from eBay’s bargaining platform using its collectibles category — coins, antiques, toys, memorabilia and the like. The process is one of sequential offers not unlike haggling in an open-air market. A seller lists an initial price, to which buyers may make counteroffers, to which sellers may make counteroffers and so on. If a price is agreed upon, the good sells. The authors analyze 10.5 million listed items, out of which 2.8 million received offers and 2.1 million ultimately sold. Their key finding is that items listed at multiples of $100 receive lower offers on average than items listed at nearby prices, ultimately selling for 5 to 8 percent less.

    It is tempting to label such behavior a mistake. However, items listed at these round numbers receive offers 6 to 11 days sooner and are 3 to 5 percent more likely to sell than items listed at “precise” numbers. Furthermore, even experienced sellers frequently list items at round numbers, suggesting it is an equilibrium behavior best modeled by rationality rather than seller error. It appears that impatient sellers are able to signal their impatience and are happy to do it, even though it nets them a lower price.

    Items listed at multiples of $100 ultimately sold for 5 to 8 percent less than items with non-rounded prices, but received offers faster and were more likely to sell.

    One concern with the analysis is that round-number pricing might provide a signal about the good being sold, rather than the person or firm selling it. To address this issue, the authors use data on goods originally posted with prices in British pounds. These prices are automatically translated to U.S. dollars for the American market. Hence, the authors can test what happens when goods intended to be sold at round numbers are, in fact, sold at non-round numbers. This removes the round-number signal while holding the good’s features constant. In this setting, they find that buyers of goods priced in non-round dollar amounts systematically realize higher prices, though the effect is not as strong as that in their primary sample. This evidence indicates the round numbers themselves have a significant effect on bargaining outcomes.

    The authors find additional evidence on the round-number phenomenon in the real estate market in Illinois from 1992 to 2002. This is a wholly different market than that for eBay collectibles, with much higher prices and with sellers typically receiving advice from professional listing agents. But here, too, there is evidence that round-number listings lead to lower sales prices. On average, homes listed at multiples of $50,000 sold for $600 less.

    — Andrew Whitten, National Bureau of Economic Research

    The post What economists learned from your eBay haggling appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Europe is grappling with the challenge of absorbing tens of thousands of migrants and refugees crossing its borders from the Middle East and Africa. The European Union has called an emergency meeting on Monday to address the crisis. Take our five-minute quiz — a new feature on our World page — to learn more about the tidal wave of migrants entering Europe.

    Syrians escaping an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad make up the largest refugee population. The fighting between government and rebel forces, which began in March 2011, has killed an estimated 250,000, forced about 4 million to leave the country, and left another 6 million homeless inside Syria.

    A proposal for European Union nations to take in about 160,000 additional asylum-seekers (not just Syrians) and distribute them — through a quota system — among the 28 EU member nations gained traction this week.

    The influx of newcomers is worrying to some, including people in Hungary who are concerned about its impact on their national identity. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama directed his administration to up its refugee intake this year.

    The post Quiz: 5 things to know about Europe’s migrant crisis appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Donald Trump spokesman Michael Cohen confirmed the Republican presidential hopeful has purchased NBC’s half of the Miss Universe Organization and settled all lawsuits against the media company.

    The move, which Trump announced via Twitter on Friday morning, gives him full ownership of the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants and completes a divorce begun in June when NBC announced it was ending its business relationship with Trump, who had starred on the network as host of “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

    The announcement came hours before Trump was scheduled to tape a guest appearance on “The Tonight Show,” which will air at 11:35 p.m. Friday on NBC.

    NBC would not comment on the purchase.

    The network had said it was severing ties with Trump because of comments he made about Mexican immigrants during the announcement of his presidential campaign.

    At the time, NBC said it would no longer air the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, and Trump sued. The network later said Trump would never be on “The Celebrity Apprentice” again.

    The post Donald Trump buys Miss Universe organization appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    invention-logo

    Innovators rarely travel a straight path to arrive at a new idea. Failure — lots of failure — often paves the way.

    At least eight out of every 10 new consumer products that enter the market will fail, according to one estimate. That can be frustrating. But for some inventors, the challenge posed by failure can be a driving force.

    And when their idea finally does come together, their innovation can drive higher wages, help people live longer and make technology more affordable.

    The PBS NewsHour spoke with several innovators who shared their thoughts on failure. Meet the first in our series, the most prolific female inventor in IBM’s history, Lisa Deluca.

    Then, put your own innovative instincts to the test with our new interactive.


    LISA DELUCA | IBM Master Inventor
    For IBM Master Inventor Lisa DeLuca, failure is one of her favorite aspects of innovation.

    “It’s just so common to be an inventor and to experience failure,” DeLuca said. “The more I’ve invented, the more I’ve gotten excited about failure. You can tweak the idea and make it even better.”

    She was voted a master inventor at IBM and is the most prolific female inventor in the company’s history.

    Photo courtesy of Lisa DeLuca

    Photo courtesy of Lisa DeLuca

    Over the last decade, DeLuca has submitted nearly 400 patent applications, almost half of which were granted. Her first invention helped web developers read code more easily, using stylesheets that offered different colors, fonts and even images to highlight commands in thousands of lines of code. She came up with the invention because “it was a problem that I had,” she said.

    When she has an idea for an invention, DeLuca said the first thing she does is check to see if it already exists.

    Typically, her search yields several results.

    “If an idea is a direct hit, a lot of newbie inventors give up at that point,” she said.

    But DeLuca just takes that as a challenge. How could this initial idea be expanded or improved? What untapped potential is left to explore?

    Sometimes, the idea can be applied to a new area, such as the cloud or mobile, or spun off into a new product.

    “I don’t want to give up,” she said.

    The post Can failure actually improve innovation? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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

    The last known living search and rescue dog deployed to ground zero on Sept. 11, 2001 was given the Sweet 16 of a lifetime this week. Bretagne, the golden retriever of Texas Task Force 1, along with her owner Denise Corliss, flew to New York City for a day of birthday treats and presents.

    Bretagne and Corliss went on their first deployment together on Sept. 11, 2001. Along with about 100 other search and rescue dogs, Bretagne sniffed through the rubble to save people after the tragic attack on the World Trade Center.

    Fourteen years later, Bretagne and Corliss visited Ground Zero for the first time since 2001 to see the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum. In addition to honoring the memorial, Bretagne got to celebrate her sixteenth birthday in true New York City style.

    Bretagne 1

    When the folks at Barkpost, a blog dedicated to dogs and dog lovers, found out that her sixteenth birthday was approaching, they decided that “there was no question” that Bretagne should have a “Dog’s Best Day for the ages.”

    The Barkpost team had plenty of people in New York willing to help create the best Sweet 16 ever for Bretagne. Her day started out with a warm welcoming at the luxurious 1 Hotel Central Park, where she and Corliss were shown to a penthouse suite complete with a fluffy dog bed, toys and treats provided by online subscription retailer Barkbox, and room service.

    They were then picked up by a vintage yellow taxicab, which drove them to Times Square to see a billboard honoring Bretagne and her owner. After seeing her name in lights, Bretagne got to splash around in the fountain at Hudson River Park. Finally, they were taken back to the hotel to a surprise party complete with dozens of puppy gifts and a custom made dog-friendly cake. The hotel even donated $1,000 to Texas Task Force 1 so that they can continue with their work in rescue dog-training.

    Bretagne 9

    In addition to her first mission to New York City, Bretagne has also worked notably at disaster sites such as the Olympic Winter Games of 2001 and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. In 2014, she was one of eight finalists for the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog of the Year award.

    The post Ground zero search and rescue dog given super sweet 16 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Migrants walk along in the sunset after crossing into Hungary from the border with Serbia near Roszke, Hungary, August 30, 2015. Photo by Bernadett Szabo/Reuters.

    Migrants walk along in the sunset after crossing into Hungary from the border with Serbia near Roszke, Hungary. Photo by Bernadett Szabo/Reuters.

    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that beginning next week, immigrants found crossing into the country illegally will be arrested.

    Starting Sept. 15, Orban said Hungary will impose tougher laws for immigrants. He told reporters that immigrants have rebelliously seized train stations and failed to cooperate in their registration process.

    Hungary has been hit hard with refugees trying to make their way to wealthier European Union countries with more liberal immigration laws like Germany, Austria and Sweden.

    So far this year, over 150,000 migrants and refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East have made their way into Hungary.

    Hungary, now overwhelmed, announced yesterday that it would begin using its army to guard the southern border. Soldiers are working to complete the fence on the Serbian border.

    The crisis has drawn attention to the plight and treatment of refugees and migrants who are being held in camps without any word of what will happen next. The Human Rights Watch put out a statement today saying the camps are abysmal, filthy and overcrowded.

    Earlier this week, the European Commission presented a plan to distribute refugees and migrants across Europe and add an additional 120,000 asylum seekers to the quota. Finland has agreed to take in 2,400.

    The post Hungary enacts tougher laws on illegal immigrants appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A Danish policeman plays a game with a migrant girl in Padborg, southern Denmark near the German border, on Sept. 9. Many migrants, mainly from Syria and Iraq, have arrived in Denmark over the last few days on their journey to Sweden to seek asylum. Photo by Claus Fisker/Scanpix via Reuters

    A Danish policeman plays a game with a migrant girl in Padborg, southern Denmark near the German border, on Sept. 9. Many migrants, mainly from Syria and Iraq, have arrived in Denmark over the last few days on their journey to Sweden to seek asylum. Photo by Claus Fisker/Scanpix via Reuters

    Heeding international cries for the United States to do its part to help migrants, President Barack Obama has ordered the administration to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. over the next year.

    It usually takes about 18-24 months to process a case from referral or application to arrival in the U.S., so can the 10,000 target be hit?

    Yes, said a State Department official speaking on background to reporters on Friday, because the department already has more than 10,000 applications in hand through its $1.1 billion resettlement program.

    What process do the applicants go through?

    • Refugees apply for resettlement, mostly through the U.N. refugee agency known as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. UNHCR has stepped up its referrals to the United States since 2014 for the most vulnerable candidates, including female-headed households, victims of torture, LGBT refugees, religious minorities and those who need medical care. The vast majority of Syrian referrals come from five countries: Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq.
    • UNHCR sets aside the majority of cases it believes would run into problems with security in the U.S. under the Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility Grounds guidelines, and it instead tries resettling the refugees in other countries, the official said.
    • There are other “direct application” programs for special cases including U.S.-affiliated Iraqis, Iranian religious minorities, former Soviet Union religious minorities, Cubans and Central American minors with a legal parent in the U.S.
    • The refugees undergo an in-person interview by Department of Homeland officials for security purposes and a medical exam by the Department of Health and Human Services to see if they have tuberculosis. If they do, their application is suspended until they undergo treatment.
    • Once accepted, the refugees travel to the U.S. is arranged by the International Organization for Migration. The refugees sign a form saying they will repay the travel loan.
    • The refugees are sent to about 180 communities in the United States that have resettlement programs, including Atlanta, San Diego, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Boston. The department doesn’t send refugees to cities such as San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., because the rent is generally too expensive, said the official. The newcomers can choose to move to other cities if they don’t like where they’ve been placed.

    Resettlement is not the first solution in a conflict, and UNHCR typically doesn’t refer refugees for resettlement for the first five years of a crisis, said the State Department official. The hope is they’ll return home or shelter in the region until they can return. Most refugees who have resettled in the U.S. come from long-standing conflicts, such as those in Somalia and Myanmar, also known as Burma.

    But UNHCR recognized many Syrians wouldn’t be able to return home any time soon, so it started referring them sooner, the official added.

    We’ll have more on the push to admit additional Syrians on Friday’s PBS NewsHour.

    The post U.S. to welcome 10,000 more Syrians. How are they picked? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Former Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks at the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, May 16, 2015. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

    Former Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks at the Republican Party of Iowa’s Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, May 16, 2015. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

    ST. LOUIS — Two people familiar with his plans tell The Associated Press that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is dropping out of the 2016 campaign for president.

    The longest-serving governor in Texas history will announce his plans during a speech Friday night in St. Louis before conservative activists.

    The people familiar with Perry’s plans spoke on condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to announce his plans before the speech.

    The post Perry to exit 2016 Republican presidential race appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Serena Williams of the U.S. serves to Roberta Vinci of Italy during their women's singles semi-final match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 11, 2015.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri  - RTSP1A

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: When Serena Williams took to the court this afternoon, her match was expected by many to be one more victory on the road to a spectacular Grand Slam triumph.

    Williams had won all three prior major titles this year, the French Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon. She defeated her sister, Venus, in a tough match earlier this week. But her opponent, unseated Roberta Vinci of Italy, dashed the hopes of the 21-time major champion in a stunning upset.

    Serena was going for history and trying to become the first woman to win a Grand Slam, all four majors in the same season, since Steffi Graf last did that in 1988.

    Christine Brennan of USA Today and a commentator for ABC News joins us now.

    We were all watching. What happened?

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN, USA Today: Yes, exactly. What happened?

    Well, Vinci happened. And one of the biggest upsets, Hari, we have ever seen in sports, men or women’s, any sport around the world happened, one of the biggest. I’m not saying it’s the biggest. But Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson in 1990. You have had upsets in golf. Of course, people remember the U.S. beating the Soviets in hockey at the Olympics in 1980.

    I don’t know where that ranks That, to me, is always going to be the biggest. But in terms of a story that had been building not just for the last week-and-a-half, almost two weeks of the U.S. Open, but all summer, as we have been looking at the stories of American Pharoah and Jordan Spieth, and we have been talking Grand Slams and Triple Crowns, and here comes Serena just blazing the trail with the Australian, the French, Wimbledon.

    And she is at her home tournament. Wow. No one ever saw this coming.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Why did it happen? Did she play poorly? Did Vinci play better?

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Well, she ran into someone who, in the third set, was able to play better and stand up to Serena, and not let Serena do what she always does, which is come back at the end.

    Serena has had an emotional run through the U.S. Open. By that, I mean fantastic player hitting 100 miles, 200 — 120-mile-per-hour serves. But in terms of having her emotions get — she’s a smart woman. She gets it. We saw it with Venus, trying to beat her sister. That’s tough anyway.

    But this week especially, this moment, the idea of winning a Grand Slam, first man or woman to do it since ’88, it was weighing on her. And I think we finally saw in that third set with the double faults. Just those things she needed to muster, those things she needed, to pull out that energy and be able to do it one last time, and she couldn’t.

    All credit to her opponent, but this also was Serena’s loss. There’s no doubt about that.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And we’re taking a long look at this specific loss, but where is she in the pantheon of tennis players, even besides this loss?

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Well, I think she’s the greatest female tennis player of all time. And, frankly, I think she’s the greatest female athlete of all time, Serena Williams.

    And that doesn’t change with what happened today. I just — with the power and the strength and the durability — she will be 34 in two weeks. Steffi Graf, we thought, was old. Steffi retired at 30.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Wow.

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Here’s Serena playing her best tennis almost 34 years old. That is remarkable.

    The toughest day in women’s sports is today, until tomorrow. The competition is so strong. And that’s why I think Serena is the best of all time.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And this is one of the reasons, I guess, that we like sport, because there is this possibility that the upset could happen.

    And even in the press conference — or I guess in the on-court interview after, Vinci was — you had to love her.

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Yes. Oh, yes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Because she didn’t wake up thinking she was going to win this morning.

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: No. I didn’t — she had no chance either. She said “Sorry,” like apologizing to a whole nation for ending this storyline.

    The old adage is, this is why they play the game. And this is absolutely it. And it’s — sports is the best realty TV showing going. It is the best thing about — the greatest escape we can have. And a day like today proved it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. Christine Brennan, thanks so much.

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Hari, thank you.

    The post Why Serena’s loss is one of the biggest upsets in sports history appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WUERZBURG, BAVARIA, GERMANY - 2014/12/16: A hand in a blue medical glove is holding a sphygomanometer, blood pressure meter, for medical use, indicating normal blood pressure, displayed on a black table. (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: There’s news out from the National Institutes of Health today that could change the way we deal with blood pressure. Researchers found that, for many patients over 50, blood pressure far below the commonly recommended targets can drastically reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and deaths.

    Doctors said the top line of a blood pressure reading should be below 120 for many. Prior recommendations put the number at 140. In fact, the NIH announced the end of a major blood pressure study a year early, saying it was potentially lifesaving information.

    Dr. Gary Gibbons is director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at NIH, which sponsored the trial. He joins us now.

    Dr. Gibbons, first of all, break this down for us. Why is this significant?

    DR. GARY GIBBONS, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Well, as you know, Hari, 70 million Americans have high blood pressure.

    It predisposes to the leading causes of death, such as heart disease and stroke. And we knew for a long time that treating high blood pressure was important to prevent these complications. But there was a lot of uncertainty as to how low doctors should go and bringing that pressure down.

    The SPRINT study, Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, was designed to ask and answer that question. And now we have those interim results that make it very clear that being aggressive and intensive treatment regimen that goes to that lower target below 120 millimeters of mercury shows great benefit in reducing the complications such as heart attacks, heart failure and stroke and saves lives.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: When you start to say low blood pressure, people are going to start becoming concerned about the elderly, for whom low blood pressure can lead to dizziness or fainting. How do you figure out if 120 is right for you?

    DR. GARY GIBBONS: Well, as in all things, that we must balance the benefits against potential harms. And that’s why it’s important for each patient to consult their care provider to see what’s the right target for them.

    But it’s important to note that this study included individuals 50 and over, and indeed included — one-fourth of the study sample with age 75 or older. So it was inclusive of the elderly. Indeed, our preliminary analyses suggest that the benefit, we’re seeing across the diverse group of people in the study sample, including those over 75.

    So, we think that this may be broadly applicable to those 50 and older who are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Just a couple of years ago, it seemed that the guidelines went in the opposite direction, taking the number from 140 up to 150, and now we’re bringing it back down again. What is to say in a couple of years this number or this target doesn’t change?

    DR. GARY GIBBONS: Well, as you point out, there was some element of debate about what the right target should be.

    And, indeed, it’s because of that uncertainty that trials like SPRINT were so important to conduct. And, indeed, now that we have the data, now we have more definitive evidence, this brings clarity to — within that fog of uncertainty.

    We look forward to the publication of the full results. And we anticipate it will inform those organizations that develop clinical practice guidelines that should provide patients and their care providers with much clearer guidance about what the right target is. And we’re confident that the definitiveness of this study will provide that clarity.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally, a lot of this in your studies was brought down by medications. But if you add more drugs to the mix, don’t they have perhaps side effects that counter what you’re doing?

    DR. GARY GIBBONS: Well, as you point out, it’s very important, as clinicians routinely do, to again recognize the benefits and potential side effects.

    It’s important to recognize that what this study showed is that there was a combination of therapies to get to the target goal of 120 that was well-tolerated by individuals, again, across a spectrum of ages and degrees of renal dysfunction, kidney dysfunction, suggesting that indeed these regimens can be done in a way that’s both safe and effective at reaching targets in a way that saves lives and indeed, again, prevents heart attacks and strokes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Dr. Gary Gibbons from the National Institutes of Health, thanks so much for joining us.

    DR. GARY GIBBONS: Thank you.

    The post Study: Lower targets for blood pressure can prevent heart attacks and strokes appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: A view of the exterior of The Disney Concert Hall on Grand Avenue on August 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by FG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now for an iconic architect with an inventive style, whose buildings almost seem to move, and are known for sweeping curves and unusual materials.

    Jeffrey Brown catches up with Frank Gehry, now in his ninth decade, but still breaking new ground. An exhibition all about his work is opening in Los Angeles this weekend.

    FRANK GEHRY, Architect: This is City Hall, New York.

    JEFFREY BROWN: A visit to the studio of Frank Gehry is a bit like a whirlwind tour of the globe, with a tour guide who has helped create what we see around us.

    You got cities all over the world here.

    FRANK GEHRY: That’s Toronto, where I was born.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Part of his motivation, says Gehry, is that so many buildings are just plain boring.

    FRANK GEHRY: Anybody I talk to agrees that maybe 2 percent of the building environment since the war, we could call architecture.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And the rest you call nothing, junk?

    FRANK GEHRY: It’s built.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And so Gehry, now 86, builds, but adds in more than a bit of flair, dash, you could call it art, as with his 2014 Louis Vuitton Foundation Building in Paris, wrapped in sails of swirling glass.

    Are you better at this than you were as a young man?

    FRANK GEHRY: Probably a little bit more secure about it, although there is a sort of healthy insecurity that I think is necessary. If you think you got everything, forget it.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Gehry has been the world’s most famous architect since he graded the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, in 1997.

    And there have been plenty other eye-catching buildings, the Dancing House in Prague, the Olympic Fish in Barcelona and many more.

    FRANK GEHRY: It was working with very inexpensive material.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It actually started, though, at home, his own home in Santa Monica, where Gehry still lives, a 1920s bungalow that he reimagined using corrugated metal and chain-link fence, unusual building materials, but elements of his future work all there.

    FRANK GEHRY: I found the material that people hated the most and used the most. So, I was going and try and see if I could play with it sculpturally.

    STEPHANIE BARRON, Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art: I see an amazing thinker. I see a humanist, a thinker, somebody who is really sensitive to what buildings do and how people interact in them.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now Gehry is being honored in his longtime home town with a retrospective exhibition curated by Stephanie Barron at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. We visited during the installation.

    Here are the drawings, photographs and, most of all, models of myriad projects.

    STEPHANIE BARRON: This is one of the models for the Lewis Residence.

    JEFFREY BROWN: One of the most important, Barron says, started out as a small addition to the home of Peter Lewis. It was never built, but turned into a fantastical playground of ideas that Gehry would later develop.

    STEPHANIE BARRON: Look at the roof, for instance. It drapes the building, and it’s like fabric that has been moistened and then carefully kind of connects it. It becomes the connector.

    On the far side, you see very kind of constructivist, very rectilinear, kind of simple geometric forms, and it brings together styles and ideas. And I think this is the project where he began to see what the computer technology could do.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The computer system, called CATIA, was based on an aerospace program. It became key to Gehry’s practice, allowing his team to work out its elaborate designs and giving contractors a map for fabricating them.

    TENSHO TAKEMORI, Designer: As a designer, we can clearly understand where we need to focus.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Tensho Takemori and Sameer Kashyap showed us the program used to develop the bumpy facade, or curtain, of a recent 76-story New York apartment building.

    Having the computer work out the technical specs reduced the time and cost for the contractors to build it.

    TENSHO TAKEMORI: If you were to do this by hand, you might get two or three tries within the allowable design period. We had thousands of iterations. And because of that, we were actually able to hone the thing down to such great efficiency that we could essentially reduce the cost to almost the same as a flat curtain wall.

    The proof in this is there were no change orders, and that’s a pretty unheard-of result for a 76-story tower.

    FRANK GEHRY: It’s like an old friend.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The computer program helped Gehry build what is certainly one of his most iconic works.

    FRANK GEHRY: I was trying to express movement with the shape of these walls, and juxtaposing two walls that are both moving.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles opened in 2003 and quickly became a landmark where tourists and even models come to take photos amid the sweeping stainless steel walls. The outside gets most of the attention, but Gehry wanted to take us inside to explain that his first concern, as always, was a practical one, the acoustics.

    FRANK GEHRY: In the concert hall, the orchestra has to hear each other. They play better when they hear each other. That’s A. B is then you have to communicate with the audience. If you connect with the orchestra and they love it and people like coming here, bingo, I’m happy. Everything else is, you know, extra.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Gehry was so into the audience experience, he insisted on narrower arm rests to increase the seat sizes.

    FRANK GEHRY: The arms usually are thick all the way down, which takes one inch off of the width of the seat, so people of larger weight, so to speak, are happier here.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JEFFREY BROWN: Frank Gehry has at times been knocked for creating showy buildings that overwhelm their surroundings, for being a starchitect more than an architect.

    At Disney Hall, he insisted that function always comes first, then the artful expression.

    FRANK GEHRY: They’re not ego trips in the negative sense of an ego trip. I mean, you see a lot of so-called architecture that part of the ego trip overpowers the functionality and the budget and all that stuff.

    So, it’s the essence. It’s finding an essence. Why be expressive on the outside? Because everything around isn’t.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It’s as simple as that?

    FRANK GEHRY: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In addition to the retrospective, Gehry is the subject of a new biography by architecture critic Paul Goldberger.

    FRANK GEHRY: The blue one is one we did for Brad Pitt in New Orleans.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Later this month, he will receive a lifetime achievement award from the L.A.-based Getty Trust, and he’s now developing a master plan to revitalize the 51-mile Los Angeles River, sure to be controversial.

    Why are you still doing this? You’re 86.

    FRANK GEHRY: At my age?

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.

    FRANK GEHRY: I don’t know what else to do.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JEFFREY BROWN: Is that true?

    FRANK GEHRY: I love doing it. I love working. I don’t know what the word vacation means.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All in all, it’s a major moment for Frank Gehry in Los Angeles.

    FRANK GEHRY: And that’s Australia.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And well beyond.

    From L.A., I’m Jeffrey Brown for the PBS NewsHour.

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: But first to the analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    We just had a segment where we laid out in painful detail how difficult it is for a refugee to gain asylum in the United States. And there are several people who say, you know what? If it wasn’t for the United States’ foreign policy of perhaps disbanding the Iraqi army, creating a tremendous amount of regional instability that perhaps in — fueled ISIS, destabilized Syria further, and has caused this migrant crises — is the United States responsible or should they be more responsible in taking more asylum seekers?

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I would be one of those people.

    I think all the things you mentioned. And then a couple years ago, we had a big debate about Syria and whether we should be helping the moderates, the moderates, such as they are, in Syria and whether we should arm those moderates. And people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham said yes.

    Eventually, the current administration did arm them, but with very little, much too late. And so you have this war between Assad’s forces and ISIS. And so I do think it was partially our — the vacuum created by the U.S. and the West, when there was still some sort of moderate solution possible, that helped create this crisis. And, therefore, we have a responsibility to take in more refugees.

    It’s still, though, bizarre to me that most of the debate is on this side of the pipeline, the flow of people on the receiving end. There are hundreds of millions — not hundreds, but there are a lot of — millions of people in Syria. Are they all going to come? What about dealing with that Syria there and creating safe havens, creating places where people can go to be safe, when you can have islands of stability inside these two evil forces?

    MARK SHIELDS: I agree 100 percent with 50 percent of what David said.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MARK SHIELDS: I think that it didn’t begin with the United States’ withdrawal from Iraq. It began with the United States’ invasion of Iraq and the entire destabilization of the region.

    And there’s no question that Iran was strengthened by the United States’ invasion of Iraq, that sectarian violence was encouraged and that — destabilization. As far as our — the United States’ commitment to Syria, it’s certainly been halting. But that part of that halting has been lack of any domestic political support, as a consequence of what happened in Iraq.

    And it was just an unmitigated disaster. But the reality is that the moral leadership of the planet, or at least of the Western world right now, has become in Berlin and Stockholm. Germany and Sweden have stepped up. And people say, oh, well, that is in the self-interest of Germany.

    It is in the self-interest of Germany to take talented, energetic, able, committed people who have the resources, the initiative and the strength to get out. It’s a tragedy. David makes the point that a nation the size of Syria, four million people have left the country.

    I mean, that’s a stain on us and it’s a stain on all of the civilized world that we have allowed that to continue.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, let’s take a look at the Iran deal.

    There were kind of machinations in both sides of Congress this week, one side saying, hey, there’s this opportunity for you to pass this up or down, the other one saying, how about you block, that it not pass this forward?

    It was just one of those moments where you realize what are you really voting for and how often is this going to come up? Is this going to become like the Affordable Care Act, where Republicans will continue to try to figure out ways to stop any progress on it?

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes.

    It’s, first of all, bizarre that you pass something with a minority, especially what is effectively a treaty with a minority. Treaties are supposed to be ratified by two-thirds, but now we have got like 42 or whatever it was. But that’s the way the situation was set up.

    And once the Republicans agreed that they only — the Obama — the administration only needed a third of the votes in the Senate to pass the thing, then it was going to be a done deal. He was going to get a third.

    And so they got that and a little more. And so the Republicans are going to hang whatever happens in the Middle East on this treaty, and not only whether Iran gets a nuclear option or whether they begin to cheat or fudge with the inspectors, but the most immediate effect and whether it postpones an Iran nuclear program, yes, it probably does.

    But there’s an immediate negative effect and that is you’re enriching a power that funds Hezbollah. And so as, for example, Syria deteriorates and if Hezbollah gets stronger, then the Iranian regime will probably be funding it more and more and that will be a knock-off of this deal. And so the Republicans will be able to use that.

    I think there’s a legitimate argument against something the administration did that, at least in the short term, destabilized the Middle East.

    MARK SHIELDS: Iran was two to three months away from nuclear capability.

    That’s the best estimate of people that I pay attention to who are in a position of leadership. And the reality is now that they are now at least 10 years away. Their own capacity at Arak will in fact be decommissioned.

    But the politics here are entirely different. David’s right, in the legislative office area, you can never get in trouble by voting against something that passes. You can say, well, I was going to make it better. Or voting for something that doesn’t pass, the same thing, because there’s no responsibility.

    This was a mirror vote of the Iraqi war vote. Ever since that vote, people who voted against it said we were right, and the people who voted for it and supported that war have been on the defensive. And Lindsey Graham was very blunt. He said, it’s all the Democrats’ now. It’s theirs. And it’s everything that happens, the whole deal.

    I happen to think it’s a good step. It’s a positive step. I agree with Prime Minister Cameron. I agree with Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande that this is the best step. These are nations that know war from their own people’s experience on their own home fronts.

    So I do think the reality politically here is that what had been bipartisan overwhelming support for Israel has been politicized, and I think basically by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012, and who, as a campaign event and stunt for himself, wrangled an invitation from the Republican Congress to come and speak to the Congress and use it as a campaign post basically to criticize the policy of the president of the United States.

    And I think that there’s been a wedge now between what had been overwhelming bipartisan support for Israel, and I think quite frankly the responsibility lies with Mr. Netanyahu.

    DAVID BROOKS: I agree with that last point.

    But on the Iran deal, if we conceded that Iran was going to get a nuclear weapon, that there was no way we could stop them, then maybe this was a good treaty to sign. I don’t think it was important necessarily to concede that. I don’t think it was inevitable. I think we sort of conceded a defeat basically too early, when the sanctions could have avoided that defeat.

    But the larger issue here with both the Syrian and the Iranian thing is sometimes when you lean in and do something, you get blamed for it, the Iraq war. Sometimes, when you lean out and don’t do anything, you get blamed for it, Syria.

    And so you got to have a foreign policy that is very tied to the circumstance at hand. Is this a smart move in this particular space? My problem, in retrospect, with the Bush administration, they were like leaning in all the time. My problem with the Obama administration is they’re leaning out all the time.

    And so neither are that context-specific. And I think that’s just a lesson we have learned from the last two administrations.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, shifting gears now to Vice President Biden.

    On Monday, he seemed to make, on Labor Day, almost a campaign rally-like speech. And then he had an appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” last night. Let’s play a clip.

    JOSEPH BIDEN, Vice President of the United States: I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president, and, two, they can look at the folks out there and say, I promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my passion to do this.

    And I would be lying if I said that I knew I was there.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The cynical side of folks says, you know what? This is a politician. He’s got a great opportunity here. And there’s the other side that he’s in the midst of incalculable grief.

    MARK SHIELDS: In this campaign in 2016, Joe Biden’s greatest weakness — that is, he talks, he says what he thinks off the cuff, he is unfiltered — is his greatest strength.

    I urge, which I have never done before on this broadcast, everybody to watch that exchange, that interview with Stephen Colbert. Stephen Colbert in my judgment proved himself to be a national resource last night. I was, like, eavesdropping on a very intimate personal conversation between two people on subjects of great and intense importance to them emotionally.

    I just thought it was phenomenal, in the sense that he was just as open, as emotionally accessible, however you want to put it. I mean, it was a great strength of his, what has been sort of Joe tells you and Joe tells too much. Joe spoke last night from the heart. And in this campaign, with positioning and focus groups and readjusting and all the rest of it, I got to tell you, it was refreshing.

    DAVID BROOKS: It was a really beautiful thing and beautiful moment. And it reveals what a beautiful man he was.

    But to me, surprisingly, it reveals that maybe he does have an opening this year. The newspaper earlier in the week had a story that Hillary Clinton has a plan to become more spontaneous.

    And so…

    MARK SHIELDS: Organized spontaneity.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes.

    But Joe Biden is sincere down to the bones. He’s always sincere, sometimes to a fault. But that sincerity comes through. And that may actually play this year. It’s a little counterpolitical, in a weird way, to be that sincere. But that’s who he is. And so that may actually work.

    Also, he’s become more disciplined. He used to — when you would go out and would cover a Joe Biden rally, he would give a great speech, and then he would follow with a second speech, and a third speech and a forth speech, and they would get decliningly good, or bad, or whatever, decline.

    So, he’s more disciplined by the vice presidency. He’s had to be. And so I’m beginning to think there’s an opening. And it’s just a testament to two men who had severe losses in their lives in conversation.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, finally, the debates, the platforms are set for next week. Carly Fiorina moves up to the — kind of the marquee event, and not the warm-up show.

    But somebody’s dropping out. We talked about Rick Perry today. I want to just pull a quote out of his concession speech — or his departure speech. “Demeaning people of Hispanic heritage is not just ignorant. It betrays the example of Christ.”

    And I think he’s referring specifically to Donald Trump here. And he goes on: “It’s time to elevate our debate from divisive name-calling, from sound bites without solutions.”

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes.

    There’s no question he’s talking about Donald Trump there. We have had harsh words back and forth between the two men. But Rick Perry spent the last two years preparing for this race. But it comes down to, sadly, you don’t — very rarely get a second chance to make a first impression. And oops one of the three departments he was going to abolish dogged him. And that’s the reason.

    But on the way out, he certainly gave Mr. Trump a salute.

    DAVID BROOKS: He ran a much better campaign this time, a good speech on African-Americans, a good speech on Hispanics, much better campaign, worse outcome. It’s too bad.

    On the debates, I think Jeb Bush, this is a debate where he’s got to — he’s leaking air. And so I think the pressure’s on him more than anybody else in this debate.

    MARK SHIELDS: I agree. I would say this.

    Everybody knew Donald Trump in the fourth grade, I mean, the bully. And if you correct him or criticize him in any way, you’re stupid or you’re dumb, or you’re ugly. That is what he accused Carly Fiorina of being this week.

    And I think he may have stepped one step beyond. If Carly Fiorina is disqualified because of her looks, what does that mean Donald Trump would say about Golda Meir or Angela Merkel or Mother Teresa? It just tells you something about the depth of the man.

    And I think that it’s really going to be determined. Rubio and Kasich have hidden from him. Cruz has tried to be his best buddy, his closest friend. Scott Walker tried to emulate him and fell flat on his face. Jeb Bush has decided he is going to take on the bully. And I think Chris Christie will throw a haymaker on the way out.

    It’s going to be — it’s not going to be ballroom dancing. It’s going to be a slugfest.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Mark Shields, David Brooks, thanks so much.

    The post Shields and Brooks on U.S. reaching out to refugees, Iran deal assurance appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Migrants wait for trains in the transit zone at Keleti station in Budapest, Hungary, September 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo  - RTSMA5

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: For some refugees, the United States will be the final stop on that exhausting journey. Yesterday, the White House announced that 10,000 Syrians will be resettled in the U.S. over the next year.

    For more on how those 10,000 will be screened and selected, I’m joined by Daryl Grisgraber, senior advocate for the Middle East at Refugees International, and Juan Zarate, former deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism.

    So, Daryl, let me start with you.

    How does a refugee get from some of those scenes that we have seen in this program and so many others to a country like the U.S.?

    DARYL GRISGRABER, Refugees International: Yes, it’s a fairly complicated process with quite a lot of steps.

    When a person first — for example, if we use Syrians as an example — flee Syria, goes to say, Jordan, in Jordan, they register with the United Nations, specifically the United Nations Refugee Agency. The United Nations will then do an interview, get a lot of biographical information, history, family members, that sort of thing, and try to decide if that person’s eligible for resettlement and if that’s the appropriate tool to protect that person.

    Not everybody gets resettled. It’s quite a small number. And then from there, the U.N. will make referrals to various countries that accept refugees, for example, the United States. And the United States then goes another huge process of vetting those people to make sure it’s OK to let them into the U.S.

    It takes about two years on average, sometimes longer. So it’s quite a slow process, yes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And how do you do that for 10,000, 100,000 or whatever the final number is, whichever the countries are that are accepting them?

    JUAN ZARATE Former Deputy National Security Advisor: Well, keep in mind, last year, we settled only 1,500. And now we’re talking about 10,000. It’s an exponential increase in the numbers.

    And in terms of screening for security purposes, as Daryl indicated, you have an entire additional process in the U.S. context, where refugees receive the highest level of security check of anyone traveling to the U.S., and in that context, the Syrian refugees, the highest level of scrutiny.

    And so that is biometric data that’s checked, biographic data that’s checked, interviews from the Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence community looking at whatever information they have around that individual, their family, their networks, to determine whether or not there’s a security risk in that person resettling to the U.S.

    So that is time-intensive. And in the context of Syria, where the U.S. hasn’t had the benefit of being on the ground, like it was in Iraq or Afghanistan, you don’t have a lot of information. And so we’re grasping in the dark to determine what the risk is of bringing some of these people to the U.S.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So what are the agencies involved? Who pays for all this?

    DARYL GRISGRABER: Well, within the government, the State Department is involved.

    U.S. CIS, Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is within the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is within Health and Human Services, and there are a number of voluntary agencies involved as well. So there’s some private-public partnership once people actually reach the United States.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK.

    I think the concern also, Juan, is these security checks, especially considering ISIS and how dominant it is in Syria, what is the likelihood of a bad actor getting through the system?

    JUAN ZARATE: Well, you have already heard the director of national intelligence, Director Clapper, talk about the intelligence community’s concerns about precisely that, the fact that the Islamic State, for example, could use refugee flows to implant individuals, operatives, sleeper cells into the United States.

    And the challenge, of course, for the counterterrorism community, not unlike other challenges that they have to face, is that we’re not talking about huge numbers. You can talk about just a handful or a dozen among that population that you’re letting in that could be problematic, hitting soft targets and presenting other problems.

    And so the intelligence community is incredibly conservative. As part of its vetting process, you have the National Counterterrorism Center and others looking at as much data as possible. And, frankly, at the end of the day, it’s about risk management. How much risk are we willing to take, given what is likely to be a lack of clear information about who is actually coming in?

    And we know terrorists in the past have tried to use this process. We have got a few cases in the U.S. of populations within refugees supporting terrorist groups. Not a lot, but the risk of just one or two is considered high for the intelligence community.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So considering that there’s going to be this many layers of checks and it could take this long, how do we deal with this kind of volume?

    DARYL GRISGRABER: Well, we get it going as quickly as possible.

    I would say first, the 1,500 refugees that Juan mentioned is a very small number for the U.S. addressing an emergency situation like this. We’re talking about four million Syrians who potentially need protection. Not all of them will be resettled, only a small number. But it’s important to get the flow of the process going as quickly as possible, because the security checks in particular take quite a long time, as you know.

    And sometimes it has to be done more than once. Sometimes, medical checks or security clearance have expired while another process is going on. So, there’s a lot of stopping and restarting in many cases. And so all of this needs to be addressed as quickly as possible, so really dedicating the financial resources and machine power to it will make a lot of difference.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And during this time, these people are not in the United States. They’re in that sort of first country where they registered.

    DARYL GRISGRABER: Yes. Yes. No, they stay in that country.

    And, remember, resettlement is a protection tool. They’re — people are chosen for settlement because they’re vulnerable and need to be relocated for their own safety. But with how slow the process is, sometimes, they will stay in that vulnerable situation for a couple of years at a time until the resettlement process is done.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And so what about the increased threat level when — I guess it depends on how they’re received in these different communities, even in the place where they’re waiting or in the country where they finally get to.

    JUAN ZARATE: It’s a great point, because this in some ways is the perfect storm of both a humanitarian crises, but also security crisis short and long term.

    The short term is what we talked about, which is the Islamic State taking advantage, putting sleeper cells in, et cetera, maybe not a high likelihood, but perhaps high consequence.

    But you also do have the challenge of displaced communities and populations being radicalized, falling prey to the lure of the ideology that has brought others to the forces of the Islamic State, and a real challenge, I think, for all of the receiving countries to make sure that there’s welcoming environment, resources and an ability to integrate as well as possible these populations, because one of the things we have seen in counterterrorism is one factor, not the only, but one factor that leads to radicalization, that leads to individuals going to fight abroad is not being integrated, not finding a way into the society in which they have moved.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Juan Zarate, Daryl Grisgraber, thanks so much.

    DARYL GRISGRABER: Thank you.

    JUAN ZARATE: Thank you.

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    Police officers stand guard as migrants wait to board a bus at a collection point in Roszke, Hungary September 11, 2015. Hungary said on Thursday it expected to finish building a fence along its border with Serbia by early October, and indicated it would call a "state of crisis" next week as the right-wing government readies a clampdown on migrants and refugees streaming through the Balkans.  REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh - RTSNGG

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: The numbers of people on the move into Western Europe by foot, by road, by rail are staggering, and still growing.

    On that new and exhausting journey, our William Brangham met several families from all over Syria. Tonight, he reports from Austria.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It’s midday in Budapest’s Keleti train station. Hundreds of refugees and migrants have been waiting here for hours, waiting for trains to Austria and then on to one of the other European nations who have laid out the welcome mat.

    The kids here, despite standing for hours, barely able to move a foot in any direction, seem to be taking it all in stride. Of course, they have been on the road too for weeks and months, so today is nothing new. While she’s waiting, 2-year-old Maral Diab tries to get some shut-eye on her dad’s head. Maral and her family have traveled over 3,000 miles so far, by car, by boat, on foot and now by train.

    Maral’s parents, Majdoleen and Ahmad, are Palestinians. They lived in Syria their entire lives. But after four years of brutal civil war, Majdoleen says staying in Syria became impossible.

    MAJDOLEEN DIAB, Syrian refugee (through interpreter): We planned this trip about two months ago. We decided to leave the country as the situation got worse and there was no works or schools. And the area we were staying in was not safe anymore, so we decided to leave and then started preparing for our trip.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Majdoleen’s husband, Ahmad, designed metal fabrication tools back in Syria. She worked as a hairstylist and also went to school. When they left Syria, they traveled into Turkey and then crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece in a boat. From there, they went to Macedonia, Serbia and up into Hungary, where we met them.

    As mom and dad tried to sleep, their first sleep in a couple days, little Maral seems anything but tired. While the rest of the train is passed out, she is a bundle of energy, playing in the crowded aisles and chucking her little purple dinosaur at me so often, I had to play along.

    It’s hard to know what this 2-year-old makes of all the upheaval in her life.

    Do you think she understands what’s going on?

    MAJDOLEEN DIAB: No.

    (LAUGHTER)

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: What do you think she thinks is happening with all of this travel and trips and boats and…

    MAJDOLEEN DIAB: She think the journey is bye-bye-bye. But she doesn’t know anything.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Do you think it’s better that way, that she doesn’t know?

    MAJDOLEEN DIAB: I don’t know.

    MAN: They play. They don’t know. Always be happy, because we not let them to feel scared. Ever we scared, but we not let them to feel scared.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Thirty-five miles north, Hamid Yakti is also a Syrian refugee who has been traveling for weeks with his kids. His wife is Hosun and their children are Adam, who is 3, and Fatin, who is 4. Hamid says they have tried to shelter the kids from the violence back home, but it hasn’t worked.

    MAN: I travel for my kids, because when the bombs coming near our house, only this — my daughter, she’s too much afraid. She don’t want me even I go outside, because she afraid I will not come back. But she know everything about the gun, about the bombing, land — she know everything.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Back on the train to Austria, we met another refugee who has plenty of reason to fear for his family’s well-being.

    Sifan Ibrahim is a Syrian Kurd. He proudly showed me photos of himself in one of the Kurdish militias who fought ISIS, or Da’esh, as many call that group. Even though we could barely communicate with each other he, Sifan, demonstrated why he says he fought ISIS, because they killed his mother.

    Your mother was killed by Da’esh?

    MAN: My mother, Da’esh…

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Yes. A suicide bomber blow up a bomb?.

    MAN: My mother.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I’m sorry.

    Several hours and another train ride later, the Diab family is told they have got a two-mile walk to the Austrian border to a bus station, where they can transfer to Vienna. Maral quickly retakes her position on her dad’s shoulders.

    Majdoleen says they hope to end up in Germany. They have heard from friends that it’s the best place, somewhere they can recreate the life they had before all hell broke loose in Syria.

    Before the war, was life good?

    MAJDOLEEN DIAB: Yes, beautiful, and just good. It was beautiful.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And your husband was working and you were raising your daughter.

    MAJDOLEEN DIAB: I’m working and my husband’s working. And I said, everything — and we — we can’t live this. We won’t live in our house.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The Yakti family also wants to go to Germany. They have already got children’s books written in German so their kids can learn the language.

    Hamid says he knows this isn’t the right way to move to another country, but he says they had no choice.

    MAN: I understand the situation, but we are sorry. Our situation, like, we come, we run from the death. This is a dead journey. This is what I call it, and everybody knows. The children is — too much hard for the children, this journey.

    MAJDOLEEN DIAB: Future, our future.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Her future.

    MAJDOLEEN DIAB: Yes.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As we’re talking, a horn sounds for the buses. Everybody scrambles to pick up their belongings and get out the door and into the lines.

    The crowds build up fast. People start pressing in. And then everything seems to stop. The buses are very slow-coming. As the sun goes down, people get impatient and mad. Hundreds are pushing and shoving from behind.

    With Maral hanging on his shoulders, Ahmad lashes out. Over an hour, it’s gotten to be too much for them. Even though they were so close to the front, they decide to give up and go back inside. They will sleep tonight on the concrete floor of this huge warehouse, their trip north held up for another night at least. They will try to make it to Vienna again tomorrow.

    MAJDOLEEN DIAB: I want to sleep now. And we wait. We wait. What happened now? I haven’t an idea. But we wait. We haven’t another choice now.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For the PBS NewsHour, I’m William Brangham in Nickelsdorf, Austria.

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    Migrants board buses to be transported to a Berlin refugee camp after they arrived by train from Austria to Schoenefeld railway station, south of Berlin, Germany, September 11, 2015.   REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch - RTSP8Z

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: The flow of refugees and migrants across Austria turned into a mass march today. Hundreds of people gave up waiting at the Hungarian border, after Austrian officials stopped running special trains. Instead, they started the 40-mile walk to Vienna. More than 10,000 arrived at the border in the last 24 hours alone, bound for Germany.

    And United Nations officials appealed today for humane treatment.

    WILLIAM SPINDLER, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Refugees who are coming to Europe looking for protection who have already suffered so much and risked their lives to come here to find safety should be treated in a humane way. They shouldn’t be received with police batons and with tear gas and with barbed wire and with fences and walls.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Meanwhile, video from Human Rights Watch showed Hungarian police throwing food at crowds in a border camp. The group said the refugees are being treated like animals. In turn, Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, praised police, and said they face an open rebellion.

    And in Brussels, European Union diplomats worked toward a critical Monday meeting on resettling 160,000 people. We will take a closer look at families making the journey to Europe after the news summary.

    Disaster struck in Saudi Arabia today when a construction crane collapsed in Mecca. At least 87 people were killed, and more than 180 hurt. The crane plunged into the east side of the Grand Mosque complex, the world’s largest. The site had been buffeted by high winds and rain as crews prepared for the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

    President Obama is warning Russia that its military buildup in Syria is bound to fail. Moscow has been sending more troops and weapons to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. And the Kremlin called today for military talks with the U.S. to avoid — quote — “unintended incidents.”

    But at Fort Meade, Virginia, the president said any talks should have a different goal.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We are going to be engaging Russia to let them know that you can’t continue to double down on a strategy that’s doomed to failure, and that if they’re willing to work with us and the 60-nation coalition that we have put together, then there’s the possibility of a political settlement in which Assad would be transitioned out.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Russia says its buildup is designed to battle Islamic State forces in Syria. The U.S. has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS targets there for a year.

    House Republicans staged symbolic votes against the nuclear deal with Iran today. They first rejected the agreement, then voted to delay lifting sanctions on Iran. But there’s little chance the House actions will matter. That’s because Democrats have blocked the Senate from rejecting the nuclear deal, meaning no such bill will ever reach the president’s desk.

    Republican Rick Perry has become the first major candidate to drop out of the 2016 presidential race. The former Texas governor announced his decision this afternoon in Saint Louis. It was his second bid for the White House, but he’d struggled to raise funds and was polling near zero.

    In India, a judge has convicted 12 Islamist militants for the 2006 bombings in Mumbai, after a trial that lasted seven years; 188 people were killed and more than 800 wounded in the evening rush hour attack. Seven bombs exploded in a span of 10 minutes. The trial concluded a year ago, but it took the judge a year to write the verdict. The defendants could be sentenced to death by hanging.

    The flood disaster in Japan intensified today as more rivers overflowed their banks. Three people have died and 23 others are still missing since a tropical storm touched off the deluge. Many of the homes destroyed in the hardest-hit areas northeast of Tokyo are still being inundated by muddy water. Disaster experts assessed the devastation today.

    MAN (through interpretor): It is worse than I had expected. The buildings near the river are completely destroyed by the power of the water current. I have been to many disaster sites, but, once again, I was reminded of the energy of water disasters.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Some parts of Japan got more than twice the normal amount of rainfall for all of September in the span of just 48 hours.

    The government of Indonesia promised action today to disperse a thick, smoky haze. Officials said they’re sending more than 10,000 troops to fight fires in Southern Sumatra. The smoke has made thousands of people sick, and delayed flights across the region, including in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia. The fires in Sumatra are set in part to clear land for pulp companies and palm oil plantations.

    Cuba says it is releasing more than 3,500 prisoners, ahead of next week’s visit by Pope Francis. They include a mix of women, young people and the sick, but apparently no political prisoners. This is the third time that Cuba’s communist government has freed inmates ahead of a papal visit.

    And Wall Street closed out the week on a positive note. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 100 points to close above 16430. The Nasdaq rose 26 points, and the S&P 500 added eight. For the week, the Dow and the S&P gained 2 percent. The Nasdaq rose 3 percent.

    The post News Wrap: More than 10,000 migrants reach Austrian border in 24 hours appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Souvenirs for 9/11 victims are seen in a memorial across from New York's Lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center in Exchange Place, New Jersey September 11, 2015. An overcast Friday greeted relatives who gathered to commemorate nearly 3,000 people killed in the September 11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and outside Washington 14 years ago, when airliners hijacked by al Qaeda militants brought death, mayhem and destruction. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz - RTSNF1

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Americans looked back today on a day that changed the world, 9/11.

    Crowds were somewhat smaller for the latest anniversary of the attacks, but many brought renewed determination to never forget. It’s become a tradition on this day of remembrance. Bells tolled in New York, Washington, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the sites where nearly 3,000 people died at the hands of al-Qaida skyjackers 14 years ago.

    The day began with a moment of silence at the White House, 8:46 a.m., when the first of two airliners hurtled into the Twin Towers in New York. And hundreds of families and survivors marked the moment there, at Ground Zero, near the new One World Trade Center.

    The pain and emotions from 2001 were again visible on their faces.

    WOMAN: Anthony Luparello. Gary Frederick Lutnick.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And in the voices of relatives who read out the names of lost loved ones, along with personal messages.

    MAN: I know you’re looking down smiling and shaking your head, saying that I’m nervous, but I am. So, God bless, son. Love you. Keep smiling.

    WOMAN: Dad, thank you so much for your memories. And I really wish you could meet your granddaughter, because she reminds me of you so much.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Somber ceremonies played out at the Pentagon as well, where the Navy Brass Quintet played and a giant American flag marked the site where a third plane struck.

    Defense Secretary Ashton Carter took aim at attackers then and now.

    ASHTON CARTER, U.S. Defense Secretary: Terrorists who hope to intimidate us will find no satisfaction and no success in threatening the United States.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: A short time later, in Shanksville, crowds turned out for a second day at the new memorial to the United flight that went down in an open field.

    It was also a day for honoring the sacrifice by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. President Obama met this afternoon with soldiers at Fort Meade, Maryland. In turn, American troops in Kabul marked the first anniversary of the attacks since U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan formally ended.

    The post Americans remember loved ones lost on 9/11 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. The federal government's portal logged over 2.8 million visitors by afternoon October 2, largely in an attempt to sign up for Obamacare.  REUTERS/Mike Segar  (UNITED STATES - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY POLITICS) - RTR3FIUH

    A man looks over the Affordable Care Act signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. Due to a change in government procedures, many people are losing their coverage under the Obama health care law because of issues surrounding immigration and citizenship. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — A change in government procedures has led to a big jump in people losing coverage under the Obama health care law because of immigration and citizenship issues.

    More than 400,000 had their insurance canceled, nearly four times as many as last year.

    The Obama administration says it is following the letter of the law, and this year that means a shorter time frame for resolving immigration and citizenship issues. But advocates say the administration’s system for verifying eligibility is seriously flawed, and consumers who are legally entitled to benefits are paying the price.

    “Same dog, different collar,” said Jane Delgado, president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, evoking an old Spanish saying about situations that do not seem to change. “The bottom line is people got taken off health insurance when they applied in good faith.”

    The National Immigration Law Center says it believes the overwhelming majority of the 423,000 people whose coverage was terminated are legal U.S. residents and citizens snared in a complicated, inefficient system for checking documents.

    Angel Padilla, the center’s health policy analyst, said it defies common sense that that many immigrants without legal authorization to be in the country would risk alerting a federal agency by applying for taxpayer-subsidized benefits.

    “Somebody who is trying to submit documents over and over … is someone who believes they have an eligible immigration status,” Padilla said. By comparison, a total of 109,000 people lost coverage because of citizenship and immigration issues during all of 2014.

    President Barack Obama’s health care law specifies that only citizens and legal U.S. residents are entitled to coverage through the new insurance markets that offer subsidized policies. The administration says this year the law provides just a 95-day window for resolving documentation issues that involve citizenship and immigration. There was no such clock in 2014 because it was the first year of HealthCare.gov’s coverage expansion.

    Last year, “we had the authority to provide consumers more flexibility – we were not taking action on the strict timeline,” said Ben Wakana, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services. “In 2015, we moved to the timeline of about three months, so consumers need to act quickly to submit supporting documentation.”

    Padilla said a shorter time window might not be so much of a problem if the administration would clearly communicate which documents are needed. “If it was clearer what the consumer needed to do, we wouldn’t have the numbers that we have,” he said.

    The administration says it is continually making improvements to help consumers.

    Hispanics, the nation’s most numerous ethnic group, have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act. The uninsured rate for Latino adults ages 18-64 dropped from nearly 41 percent in 2013 to about 28 percent in the first three months of this year, according to a government survey. But Hispanics are still more likely to be uninsured than people of other ethnic and racial backgrounds. Signing up more Latinos is a priority for the administration and the law’s supporters.

    The administration is highly sensitive to Republican accusations that it is dispensing health benefits to people who are not legally entitled to them, including those who cannot prove their citizenship or legal status. Investigators for the congressional Government Accountability Office successfully enrolled fictitious characters through HealthCare.gov in 2014, and at least initially, renewed their coverage for this year.

    But the nonpartisan probe also found evidence of problems with HealthCare.gov’s consumer communications about problem applications.

    For example, the federal insurance marketplace asked eight of the GAO’s bogus beneficiaries to submit additional documentation to prove citizenship and identity. But GAO said the list of suitable documents that could be sent in consisted of paperwork for verifying income. After documents were sent in, HealthCare.gov failed in some cases to say whether they were acceptable.

    HealthCare.gov “did not always provide clear and complete communications,” said the GAO’s report this summer. “We did not always know the current status of our applications or specific documents required in support of them.”

    The number of coverage terminations could actually be higher. The 423,000 figure only represents states served by the federal health insurance market. That does not include immigrant-rich California and New York, which run their own insurance exchanges.

    The post Spike in number of immigrants losing health law coverage appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass marking World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican September 1, 2015. REUTERS/Tony Gentile - RTX1QMCW

    Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass marking World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican September 1, 2015. In their bid for the nomination, several GOP hopefuls have found it better to be on the same side as Pope Francis. Photo by Tony Gentile

    WASHINGTON — To some Republican presidential candidates, it’s better to be with the popular pope than against him.

    Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have deep policy differences with Pope Francis, but the senators will break off campaign travel to attend his address to Congress later this month, a centerpiece of his eagerly anticipated visit to the United States.

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a devout Catholic, will attend Mass with Francis in Washington. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another Catholic candidate, plans to attend one of the pope’s East Coast events.

    “Regardless of what the pope says or emphasizes, the simple fact of being associated with his visit is still significant for a candidate,” said David Campbell, a professor at the University of Notre Dame who studies religion and politics. “The images are very powerful.”

    Francis has become one of the world’s most popular figures since his 2013 election to the papacy, drawing praise for his humility and efforts to refocus the church on the poor and needy. He also has become involved in numerous hot-button political issues, often staking out positions that put him at odds with Republicans.

    The pope supports the Iran nuclear deal, which many GOP candidates pledge to tear up if they are elected president. As Republicans debate the place of immigrants in the U.S., the pope has urged countries to welcome those seeking refuge and has decried the “inhuman” conditions facing people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Francis was also instrumental in secret talks to restore diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, a rapprochement the GOP views as a premature reward for the island’s repressive government.

    In a heated primary where any break from party orthodoxy is a political risk, Republican candidates have stepped gingerly around their differences with Francis.

    When Francis issued an encyclical this year calling for aggressive international action to combat climate change, most Republicans made clear they had no problem with pope taking a position on the matter. But they suggested his stance would have little influence on their own views.

    “He is a moral authority and as a moral authority is reminding us of our obligation to be good caretakers of the planet,” Rubio, a practicing Catholic, said at the time. “I’m a political leader and my job as a policymaker is to act in the common good.”

    Bush, who was raised Episcopalian and converted to Catholicism as an adult, said it was best to leave climate change in the realm of politics, not religion.

    During a campaign stop Thursday in New Hampshire, Bush called the pope an “amazing man” and welcomed his emphasis on mercy and compassion.

    “I think he’s going to lift people’s spirits up,” Bush said about the pope’s visit to the U.S. “We’re in a time where there’s a lot of vulgarity and a lot of insults and a lot of just coarseness in our discourse. I’m not talking about politics, either. I’m talking about everyday life.

    “And here’s a man who comes with a gentle soul and I think it might be really healthy for our country to hear someone speak the way he does.”

    Not all GOP candidates plan to attend events with the pope. Among them are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose spokeswoman said he didn’t expect to be in Washington during Francis’ visit, and Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and devout Catholic, who was scheduled to be on a campaign trip to Iowa.

    American politicians have long struggled with how to balance their policy positions with the views of the Vatican.

    For Democrats, the focus has often been on the gulf between the party’s support for abortion rights and the church’s stern and contrary view. After John Kerry, a Catholic who backs abortion rights, captured the Democratic nomination in 2004, a top Vatican official issued a statement saying priests must deny Communion to politicians who hold that position.

    Francis has taken a more conciliatory tone on abortion, as well as homosexuality, but hasn’t changed church doctrine.

    President George W. Bush found himself at odds with the Vatican over the Iraq war. Both Pope John Paul II and his successor Benedict XVI vehemently opposed the war, yet each met Bush during their tenure.

    Charles Camosy, a theology professor at Fordham University, said that in interactions between politicians and popes, “politics is put aside and there’s respect shown.”

    Still, the timing of the pope’s visit – in the heart of fall primary campaigning – and his own schedule will make politics difficult to avoid.

    Francis will hold an Oval Office meeting Sept. 23 with President Barack Obama, who has highlighted areas where his agenda overlaps with the pope’s priorities, including income inequality. The pope will speak the following day on Capitol Hill, where at least some of the focus will be on the reaction to his remarks from the presidential candidates sitting in the audience.

    The pope’s message in Washington is expected to touch on some of the issues that are sources of disagreement with Republicans, though it’s unlikely he will insert himself directly into presidential politics.

    Still, as Campbell, the Notre Dame professor, noted, “One thing we’ve learned about Pope Francis is that he’s very unpredictable.”

    The post For some GOP candidates, better to be with the pope than against him appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The exterior of Camp Delta is seen at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, March 6, 2013. The facility is operated by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo and holds prisoners who have been captured in the war in Afghanistan and elsewhere since the September 11, 2001 attacks. Photo by Bob Strong/Reuters

    The exterior of Camp Delta is seen at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, March 6, 2013. The facility is operated by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo and holds prisoners who have been captured in the war in Afghanistan and elsewhere since the September 11, 2001 attacks. A bid by the Obama administration to close the detention center has stalled due to federal and state politics. Photo by Bob Strong/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s struggling quest to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is mired in state and federal politics. Frustrated White House and Pentagon officials are blaming each other for the slow progress releasing approved detainees and finding a new prison to house those still held.

    Defense Secretary Ash Carter is facing criticism from some administration officials who complain that he has not approved enough transfers, even though 52 Guantanamo detainees are eligible. Carter’s predecessor, Chuck Hagel, was forced from the Pentagon job in part because the White House felt he was not moving quickly enough to send detainees to other countries.

    Two officials said the White House is frustrated because President Barack Obama discussed the issue with Carter when he was hired this year to lead the Defense Department, and they believed Carter was on board with the White House’s plans to act faster.

    Other U.S. officials note that Carter has approved some transfers and is pushing his staff to move quickly to get more to his desk. But many other proposed transfers are slogging through the bureaucracy, under review by a long list of defense, military, intelligence and other administration offices. The transfers cannot be approved unless officials believe the detainees will not return to terrorism or the battlefield upon release and that there is a host country willing to take them.

    During his two years as Pentagon chief, Hagel approved 44 detainee transfers. Carter, in his first seven months, has transferred six.

    Obama has promised to close the facility since he was a presidential candidate in 2008. He said it ran counter to American values to keep people in prison, many without criminal charges or due process.

    Opponents have argued the detainees are essentially prisoners of war.

    From a peak of 680 prisoners, 116 remain. Finding acceptable places for them has been an intractable problem.

    “Finding a solution for these individuals involves complicated negotiations with international partners, extensive consultations with the leaders of the national security and legal organizations and final approval by me,” Carter told reporters.

    A key player in the process is Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dempsey, who spent more than three years as a commander in Iraq, continues to be very cautious in his recommendations for transfers. His opinions carry a lot of weight.

    According to U.S. officials familiar with the process, Carter recently notified Congress of two transfers, and has four whose files are ready to go to Capitol Hill, likely later this month. Congress has 30 days to review the transfers before they are made public.

    A number of U.S. officials familiar with the ongoing discussions spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the subject publicly.

    The movement of detainees is only part of the challenge. A greater hurdle will be finding a U.S.-based prison to house the 64 detainees considered too dangerous to be sent to another country. Congress has opposed any effort to bring detainees to America, so Obama’s long-stated goal of closing Guantanamo before he leaves office in January 2017 is more likely to die on the steps of Capitol Hill.

    Aware of those objections, the White House last month stalled Pentagon efforts to send a plan to Congress outlining several U.S. prisons that could be upgraded and used for the detainees. Early drafts of the plan included some rough estimates of the costs and the time needed for renovations.

    U.S. officials said the administration was worried that sending the plan to Congress could affect the crucial vote on the Iran nuclear deal by infuriating lawmakers who do not want the detainees moved to the U.S. or who adamantly oppose having them in a prison in their state or district. The resolution of disapproval of the Iran deal failed in the Senate, handing Obama a victory on that issue.

    Three to five civilian facilities are being eyed as potential sites, officials said. A Pentagon team has gone to military facilities in South Carolina and Kansas to develop better estimates of construction and other changes that would be needed to house the detainees as well as conduct military commission trials for those accused of war crimes.

    The visits to the Navy Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina, and the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas triggered immediate outrage from lawmakers and governors there.

    Republican Govs. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Sam Brownback of Kansas have threatened to sue the administration if detainees are brought to either state.

    Both the House and Senate have pending legislation that would maintain prohibitions on transferring detainees to U.S. facilities. The Senate legislation allows the restrictions to be lifted if the White House submits a plan to close the facility and it’s approved by Congress.

    GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has made it known he would consider a comprehensive plan to close Guantanamo, but said it must include answers to a number of tough legal and policy questions, including whether detainees held in the U.S. would have additional rights.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has opposed using the Charleston brig because it is in a populated area.

    Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has said flatly that, “Not on my watch will any terrorist be placed in Kansas.”

    Carter has acknowledged the challenge of getting a U.S. facility approved by Congress, but has insisted that some lawmakers have indicated a willingness to consider a plan.

    “This would be a good thing to do if – if we can all come together behind a plan to do it,” Carter told reporters. “Our responsibility is to provide them with a plan that they can consider that is a responsible one.”

    The post Pentagon, White House, Congress roiled by bid to shut Guantanamo appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    California lawmakers approved a bill on Friday allowing physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, in a vote of 23 to 14.

    The bill, modeled after Oregon’s, would allow mentally competent patients to request a prescription to end their lives, following confirmation by two doctors that the patients only had six months to live, Reuters reported.

    “We are here today on the precipice of granting a wish that I was not able to give my mother,” Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson said about her mother, who she described as dying in agony from leukemia.

    Also present at the capitol in Sacramento on Friday were Debbie Ziegler and Gary Holmes, the parents of Brittany Maynard.

    Maynard, a 29-year-old brain cancer patient, sparked a renewed conversation in the nation over assisted suicide, when she left her home in California last year to take advantage of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.

    In November 2014, PBS NewsHour Weekend explored Oregon’s law and the state of assisted suicide in the country.

    Physician-assisted suicide is currently legal through so-called death with dignity laws in Washington, Montana and Vermont. In Montana, a court may rule in favor of a physician-assisted suicide, according to the Death with Dignity National Center.

    The California bill will next land on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, where he has the ability to veto it.

    The post California lawmakers approve physician-assisted suicide appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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