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

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    A worker moves a tire through a workshop in the Willets Point area of Queens in New York October 29, 2015. Willets Point, also known as the Iron Triangle, is an industrial precinct that sits in the shadow of Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team. Many businesses within Willets Point employ a largely immigrant workforce. The area features a large number of corrugated iron structures and, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, floods easily due to geography and limited storm water infrastructure. Willets Point tenants have been fighting the City of New York, who wish to carry out further relocations of businesses in the precinct and redevelop the area, local media sources reported. Picture taken October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly - RTX1UA9Y

    The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in November, beating out economists’ forecasts of 200,000, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5 percent. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

    November’s jobs report appears to have sealed the deal for an interest rate hike in 2015, the economy apparently growing so quickly that the Federal Reserve will feel the need to slow it down some. The Dow gained 370 points today, presumably because the U.S. economy was reported to have added 211,000 jobs in November, beating out economists’ forecasts of 200,000, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5 percent. Moreover, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised October’s and September’s jobs numbers upwards some 27,000 and 8,000 respectively. That’s 35,000 jobs added to the economy that were not previously reported.

    On Thursday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested that the economy was on the right track for a small interest rate hike, cautioning against waiting too long to increase rates. Increasing rates gradually now, she said, lowers the risk of having to raise interest rates quickly in the future, which might disrupt financial markets. With November’s strong jobs report, when Federal Open Market Committee meets in two weeks, it seems almost certain that the Fed will raise rates for the first time since 2006. Economist Justin Wolfers of the centrist Peterson Institute certainly thinks so:

    Yet, fiscal doves continue to argue that it’s too soon to raise rates. On Twitter, Elise Gould of the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute cautioned against scratching the itch — that is, moving on interest rates — too soon:

    “I don’t think the matter of time should determine it, the data should determine it,” Gould told the PBS NewsHour. She points to wages as one place that still needs improving. Average hourly earnings rose a mere 4 cents to $25.25 in November, following a 9 cent gain in October, and have risen by only 2.3 percent over the year. Moreover, over at the ever-provocative Zero Hedge website, proprietor and chief contributor “Tyler Durden” wrote that “an even worse picture emerges when looking at the average weekly earnings, which actually declined to $871.13 from $872.27 last month.” That, Durden points out, “represents just a 2% increase from a year ago… This is the result of weekly hours worked declining.”

    And later today Durden posted this startling statistic: “since January, the US has added 293,900 waiter & bartender positions and zero manufacturing workers.” The data bear him out.

    There’s something else in November’s jobs report that’s a cause for concern.

    The U6 — which measures the total unemployed, those employed for part time reasons, as well as the marginally attached to the labor force — actually went up .1 percent for the first time since January. Why? The number of people working part-time for economic reasons increased by 319,000.

    So why did this number increase when all the other numbers seem to be heading in the right direction? When the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of jobs created, they don’t say what kinds of jobs have been created. As Paul Solman reported in October, the U.S. is increasingly moving towards a freelance economy. In fact, contingent workers — freelancers, part-time workers, self-employed workers and the like — make up more than 40 percent of the workforce, in the sense that they get the majority of their income from 1099 forms. Hopefully, most of the part-time jobs created in November were a symptom of the holiday season, or a one-month statistical anomaly, and not an omen of future job growth.

    PNC senior economist Gus Faucher has a longer and more optimistic view take on the part-time numbers. He notes that while the number of people working part-time for economic reasons rose by 319,000 in November, the number of people working part-time for economic reasons is still down 765,000 from a year ago. Additionally, voluntary part-time jobs are up by 161,000 from a year ago. Faucher notes that between November 2014 and November 2015, fully 2 million new jobs were created. Thus, he concludes, with 2 million net new jobs and 600,000 workers who went from part-time jobs to full-time jobs, there are 2.6 million more full-time jobs than there were a year ago.

    So yes, the part-time explosion in November could be ominous, but it would be a reversal of the trend so far this year.

    There’s one last thing to note in November’s jobs report that doesn’t seem to be getting much attention.

    Zero Hedge has been harping on the fact that all the new jobs have been taken by older Americans. In theme he wrote about in a post from April and has pursued since, “Tyler Durden” states: “America continues to be a country where there are only jobs for old men, those 55 and older… Every other age group saw job losses!”

    Now, if you are like us here at Making Sen$e, this line would give you pause. With older workers facing discrimination in the workplace, this is not what you would expect.

    But then we looked at the numbers that came out today:

    Numbers in thousands

    Older Americans, those 55 and over, have gained over 1 million jobs. Numbers in thousands

    Note that jobs for 16-19 year-olds are down, although only slightly; there’s almost no change at all for 20-24 year-olds; and one million jobs were added for everyone between the ages of 25 and 54 — that’s most of the workforce. So what age group got the other million new jobs in the past year? Fifty-five and above!

    Why then are employers hiring older workers? It could be that they’re seen as more reliable, harder workers, less entitled than, say, a millennial applying for the same job.

    But Zero Hedge points to another possibility — that older workers have less leverage to demand higher wages, making them more pliant employees. They suggest that this lack of leverage — some might call it desperation — may be the reason why there’s little to no wage growth.

    The post The one fact you probably didn’t pick up on in November’s jobs report appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in the U.S., it has been a full week of news. The San Bernardino shooting once again sparked a political debate on guns and terror, while Paul Ryan ended his first month as speaker of the House of Representatives with a major policy speech.

    That brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    Welcome, gentlemen.

    So, another week, another shooting. Now we are learning from the FBI that they are considering this a terrorist incident. They’re going to focus on it that way.

    And we’re already hearing, Mark and David, comments for different kinds of solutions from different sides of the political aisle, David.

    Republicans are saying too much focus on guns, the administration isn’t doing enough to fight terrorism. Do you see any kind of consensus coming together?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, I don’t see why it’s an either/or thing. It’s additive, not alternative.

    The guns, you know, I don’t see why people need to be carrying these kinds of guns, the guns that were used in this kind of attack. And so it seems to me some sensible legislation, I don’t know if it will help prevent this. As I have said all along, there are 250 million guns in this country. It’s hard to control gun usage. Nonetheless, it couldn’t hurt.

    But what’s unique about this is that it was sort of ISIS-inspired, not ISIS-run, but sort of ISIS-inspired. And that leads to two conclusions. First, ISIS has charisma. If you are a certain sort of person with some sort of mentality, suddenly, you want to latch on and swear allegiance to ISIS, apparently, and then go out and kill people.

    And so giving — taking away some of ISIS’ charisma by handing them some defeat on the battlefield, the way we did to al-Qaida in Iraq, seems to me an important task.

    The second thing is, this is religious. We are going to have many more religious attacks than we have had in the past, because there are going to be more religious people in the world and attacks. And that doesn’t mean they are motivated by religion. They are motivated by a politicized form of religion.

    It’s not a real faith, but it’s a politicized form. You say, you go to my group, and then there are all those evil people in another group. And I’m going to go shoot up some of those evil people in the other group.

    And so to me, when you have that kind of religious, political fanaticism, it’s going to take religious voices to combat it and say, we love our people in our group, but we have to treat other people outside our group with the theology of the other, with justice. And so we have to win the battle of ideas. And that has been true since 9/11 and it’s still true today.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you see a consensus coming around, either one of these ideas, Mark?

    MARK SHIELDS: I don’t. I endorse David’s assessment, especially on religion.

    Judy, after Newtown, the last deadliest mass killing in this country since — of the dimensions that we had in San Bernardino this week, there was a sense of personal tragedy in the United States, the loss of — the slaughter of the innocence, the murder children and educators, but there wasn’t a sense of terror, there wasn’t a sense of widespread fear.

    Since Paris, I think it’s fair to say, politically, the Democrats have been tone-deaf. They have not responded, in a sense. And it’s interesting, because Hillary Clinton, perhaps the most credentialed of the national candidates in this whole area, she did respond by calling this an act of terrorism even before the FBI did.

    But the response — and I agree totally on guns. It’s an outrage. It’s indefensible, the vote in the Senate yesterday, to tell how far we have come from Newtown, there was not a single vote that changed. Now, Democrats who voted for it in 2013, exactly the same, by Pat Toomey, Republican from Pennsylvania…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: For gun control.

    MARK SHIELDS: For background check, a background check for people buying guns, favored by nine out of 10 Americans — and by Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia — got a grand total of four Republicans who voted for it, John McCain, who is facing a primary next year, Pat Toomey himself from Pennsylvania, who is up next year, Susan Collins of Maine, and the fourth one is Mark Kirk of Illinois.

    Other than that, every Republican voted against it. Democrats who had voted for it two years ago, Mark Udall lost, Kay Hagan from North Carolina lost. You basically are further away. You have seven fewer votes for it this time than you had two years ago.

    And — but I think what the Democrats are missing — and it’s not either/or, but this is — there is a sense of fear in the country that was not present after Newtown. After Newtown, there as a sense of widespread sympathy and national tragedy, but there wasn’t that sense of fear.

    And there is a sense of fear. Since Paris, you have Great Britain going in against ISIS. You have got Germany going in against ISIS. This was really a seminal event, Paris was, and I think San Bernardino is just another chapter in that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But I guess my question is, David, does that mean nothing changes, that we just continue with the status quo?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, we learn, and then we adapt.

    What’s unusual about this is, all our stereotypes were sort of smashed. If you have the stereotype of the terrorist attacker, it’s the lone guy, maybe an engineering degree and something like this. Here’s a couple, they drop their kid off with grandma. The guy has a very successful job as an inspector. How do you profile that?

    MARK SHIELDS: Accepted in the community.

    DAVID BROOKS: Accepted in the community.


    DAVID BROOKS: And so it feels more — it’s what’s going on internally with people, not some demographic factor.

    And so that’s what makes it scary. And that’s why it’s a battle of ideas. And the only thing we can do is look at who’s swearing allegiance to ISIS over Facebook, whatever. But that takes some pretty massive data sweeps.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Mark, if the Democrats aren’t finding their voice on this, is anybody finding his voice on this, Republicans or anyone?

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, David’s favorite candidate obviously is, Donald Trump.

    I mean, Donald Trump, whatever everyone else one says about him — and lord knows very little good has been said on this broadcast about him, beginning with me — but he is not hesitant about describing what is happening politically.

    And he tweeted, which Donald Trump does on a regular basis, that his — every time there’s a national tragedy, his numbers go up. And it’s absolutely true. I mean, since Paris, he’s risen.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s a new poll out today.


    MARK SHIELDS: And he’s up further.

    And, Judy, you can be sure that, in the last 72 hours since San Bernardino, there have been more guns have been sold in this country than there were in the two weeks prior. That’s what I’m talking about, that sense of fear.

    So, yes, I would say that Trump, who — conventional wisdom, beginning here, as a Middle Atlantic distributor of conventional wisdom, said, after Paris, people would get serious about picking a president. They want a president with national security credentials, with foreign policy ability, none of which he has. And yet, somehow, he seems to be stronger and more popular.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, do we have then, David, a sharper picture of this Republican race as a result of these terrorist incidents?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, as the Northeast distributor of the conventional wisdom…


    DAVID BROOKS: That’s my region up there — I’m doubling down on the idea that it will not be Donald Trump.

    He’s up, he’s up, he’s up, but, as I have said, when you look at where — when people make up their mind, not people like us, but normal Americans, when they pay attention, it’s the last three weeks.

    And that’s in Iowa. It’s the last two weeks in New Hampshire, and then it’s later and later. They’re just not paying attention. There’s sort of two different decision-making processes that goes on. Now, you’re buying — you go looking for a car. Well, what car makes me feel good? Well, maybe it’s the hot red Ferrari.

    But what car am I actually going to buy? I have got six kids. I probably can’t all fit them in the Ferrari. So, for a couple of month, yes, I want the Ferrari. But when you actually make the purchase, I’m getting the damn minivan.


    DAVID BROOKS: So I think we’re in the Ferrari stage. And we will get to the minivan stage when people start paying attention.

    And I — it’s literally true that, in most of America, people are not paying attention in any real way. They just want something that will make them feel good. And Trump says — oh, there’s a guy who kicks some tail. He makes me feel good.

    But when it comes to the guy with the nuclear — his finger on the nuclear trigger, I still believe — and I’m doubling down on this — that there will be a big shift in mentality like three weeks out.

    MARK SHIELDS: I think Donald Trump is enormously vulnerable on one major issue. And that is one of temperament. He does not presidentially have the temperament to be president.

    And I’m amazed that nobody else has taken him on, on that issue, just by his own video clips of those outbursts, that intemperance of — in remarks and abusive talk that one doesn’t expect in a president.

    And — but the fact that they haven’t says something. It says something about Donald Trump. A couple of money people have criticized him. And he admittedly has called them out in public. They don’t want to be in the papers. They don’t want to be on the receiving end of Donald Trump’s punches.

    And I think about this race, and I think about 1976, when George Wallace was dominant. He was feared by the Democrats. The Democrats were terrified of George Wallace, especially in the South. And one candidate had the nerve and the guts to take him on.

    Jimmy Carter went into Florida. Nobody else wanted to go near George Wallace in Florida. Jimmy Carter went in and beat him and banished him, saved the Democratic Party from George Wallace’s nomination, or at least a serious candidacy, and emerged himself.

    I don’t know who the Jimmy Carter is in this Republican field who is going to — I mean, Kasich has tried to do it, but he doesn’t seem to be getting traction doing it.


    MARK SHIELDS: That is going to come in and say, I’m going to take on Donald Trump, because everybody in the Republican Party says, we don’t want him. We’re going to lose the Senate with him.

    The Democrats want to run against him. Now, maybe everybody again is wrong. And they could be, but…

    DAVID BROOKS: The scary thing — there are a couple of scary scenarios here, from my point of view anyway.

    The first is — well, first, it’s worth pointing out that, at this stage, Gingrich was up in one year. Giuliani and Fred Thompson were up at this one stage in one year. So it’s still early days.

    The thing that could happen is that Ted Cruz takes him on. And then — Cruz is rising right now. Cruz has had a good couple of weeks.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But he hasn’t taken Trump on in a big way.


    DAVID BROOKS: He hasn’t taken Trump on. But if Trump begins to falter, maybe Ted Cruz would take him on.

    The other scary — the other weird thing that could happen is that you get a war between the non-Trumps. And Jeb Bush has just a ton of money. He goes after Kasich, he goes after Rubio. And the non-Trumps all destroy each other. And then suddenly Cruz and Trump are sitting out there looking a little less bad than the others.

    And so those are two scenarios.

    MARK SHIELDS: Cruz and Trump?

    DAVID BROOKS: I’m saying that Jeb takes out Rubio, runs a bunch of — you know, he has got all this money, runs ads against Rubio, runs ads against Kasich, wherever he needs to…

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes, Christie.

    DAVID BROOKS: … to become the mainstream candidate.

    And so you got nobody on that — they have sort of built rubble on that side of the party. And then Cruz and Trump are sitting there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, because he has got the money, because he has got the resources to stay.

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes, but he doesn’t have it. His PAC has it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Bush, right.

    MARK SHIELDS: We know that’s separate from his campaign.

    DAVID BROOKS: Of course. Of course.

    MARK SHIELDS: And that’s the law.


    MARK SHIELDS: But Chris Christie, I mean, has apparently benefited, Judy, in New Hampshire by personal campaigning. He’s a good personal campaigner, as we know.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Endorsed by the…

    MARK SHIELDS: By The Union Leader, which endorsed President Pierre du Pont, President Newt Gingrich, President Steve Forbes.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: You have a good memory, Mark.

    MARK SHIELDS: But they did have — they endorsed Pat Buchanan, and he won it.


    MARK SHIELDS: And they did. They endorsed — so, they have picked winners. They endorsed McCain in 2008, and he won it, too. But it’s not necessarily guaranteed a victory.

    But I think the reason of his rise is not only his personal campaigning in New Hampshire, where he’s essentially living, but is that, again, the national security. He’s the former U.S. attorney: I have prosecuted these guys.

    And I think, post-Paris, I think…

    DAVID BROOKS: When you talk to the candidates, they say there has been a sharp uptick in the questions and the concerns. It’s turning into a national security election.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right.

    We heard it from both of you tonight. I was taking notes.

    David Brooks, Mark Shields, thank you both.

    The post Shields and Brooks on the San Bernardino shooting, Trump’s poll appeal appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A school girl holds a Nigerian flag as she joins a parade marking Nigeria's 54th Independence Day in Lagos October 1, 2014. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (NIGERIA - Tags: POLITICS ANNIVERSARY) - RTR48JM4

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: All this week, NewsHour special correspondent Nick Schifrin brought us stories from Nigeria, a series we have called “Pain and Promise.”

    He reported on the country’s fight against Boko Haram, tracked its economic boom, detailed the depths of Nigeria’s corruption, and the abuse of gays.

    We end the series with a conversation, and to William Brangham.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I’m joined by the series’ correspondent, Nick Schifrin, and Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose acclaimed book “Americanah” tells the story of a young Nigerian woman who comes to the U.S. for her education.

    Welcome to you both.

    Chimamanda, I would love to start with you.

    You have seen this week we have been reporting on your home nation of Nigeria, and trying to give viewers a better understanding of that country. You obviously know much more about the country than we could. What is it you think Americans still need to learn about Nigeria?

    CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE, Author, “Americanah”: I think the series tries to do that, which is that Nigeria is a place that is very complex.

    And there’s a lot of complexity in Nigeria, that it’s — it’s Africa’s most populous nation. And it really is incredibly diverse, and that the north and the south, for example, can sometimes feel like two different countries.

    And the story about Nigeria that’s often told now in the news is Boko Haram. And it’s — there is a lot — it’s mostly in the north that that is happening. And there is a lot in the north that people like me who are from the south don’t necessarily understand. And so the idea that somehow every Nigerian is one thing is something that I think needs to be…

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Corrected?

    CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE: Yes. I suppose to. I hate to sound like a head mistress. It must be corrected.


    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Well, this has been, I think, a problem for the United States and many Western countries, that we often only pay attention when the bomb are going off, when there is a disease, when there is a conflict.

    Given that you have spent some time in the U.S. and obviously a good deal of time in Nigeria, do you think we’re coming to a better understanding? Are we looking at nations now not just through this lens of crisis?

    CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE: I think some progress has been made, but I think more could be done.

    So, an example I was just thinking about is women and gender. Nigeria was in the news recently because of the Chibok girls who…

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: These were the girls abducted last year by Boko Haram.

    CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE: By Boko Haram, yes, which is a horrible thing.

    And many, many other girls also were abducted, not just the Chibok girls. And boys were abducted. I think the story then become this very narrow story about a few girls being abducted, but even more interesting, it became a Nigeria-wide story. So, people would ask me about the Chibok girls and people would ask me about the education of girls.

    But what is interesting is that the south is where I come from. It’s actually boys who are not being educated. The rate of education of girls is higher than that of boys in the southeastern Nigeria. Now, that is not the case in the north.

    But just to say that there is texture and this complexity in the country that — that often is not even — not even so much misunderstood, is not even known about in the U.S.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Nick, you obviously helped drive this reporting in a big way. Why is that you chose to go to Nigeria in the first place?

    NICK SCHIFRIN: I think that it’s important that Americans understand how important Nigeria is.

    Not only is it Africa’s most populous nation. It’s the fast-growing nation. It’s the fast-growing economy. And it’s the U.S.’ number one trading partner. There will be more Nigerians by 2050 than there will be Americans.

    And the U.S. has a huge stake in Nigeria, and vice versa. There’s a lot of cooperation right now happening between the U.S. and Nigerian governments. That’s new. And there is a real need, I think, for — this applies to the whole world, but certainly for West Africa and certainly for Nigeria, for Americans to have a little more understanding, a little more empathy with a country that is often depicted in a singular lens.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Your reporting touches on the issue of corruption in particular. And you present some very harrowing stories, from cops shaking down citizens on the street to all the way to the very top, to high-level government corruption.

    Did you really find it — was it that pervasive? And what does that do to a society?

    NICK SCHIFRIN: It helps create Boko Haram. That’s really what happens.

    Yes. The answer to your first question is yes. Now, you know, I’m not Nigerian. I don’t experience this on a daily basis. Many people do. But I think it’s important to point out that it’s different in different areas. There are places where the cops are worse and there are places where the cops are better.

    And there has been an improvement in the last few months. There’s what is called the Buhari effect people are talking about, with a real, almost single focus by the president, a new president.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: … president, his campaign to rid corruption.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: A very high-profile, singular focus on corruption.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Chimamanda, I know you have written and spoken about how deeply religious your country is, fundamentalist Islam mostly in the north, equally fundamentalist perhaps Christian in the south.

    What — how pervasive is that? What does that do? How is that felt in the daily lives of Nigerians?

    CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE: First of all, I think I should say that the different kinds — there’s — really, I call it a religiosity that started in Nigeria, really, I would say, in the early 1980s, mid-1980s.

    And I think a lot of it started when our economy went down. So life got more difficult, people got more religious. And it became for the Christians — and I can talk about Christianity more, because that’s what I know — people started going to Pentecostal churches.

    So, sort of the more orthodox denominations of Christianity were abandoned, Catholicism, and Wiccans. And people started going to Pentecostal churches. And then it became a kind of prosperity preaching, religiosity.

    What it does to people really — and, I suppose, for me personally, I feel very strongly about it — it closes our minds. Of course, there is fundamentalism on both sides. There is Islamic fundamentalism, which results in just horror and Boko Haram.

    There is this Christian fundamentalism, which results in such things as what we call the anti-gay law in Nigeria.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: There is a unification between Christian and Muslim leaders, which is generally south and north, but even Christian leaders in the north, against homosexuality.

    And, combined, those — those powers really push the politicians, who already believe that perhaps, but definitely pushed them to pass this bill last January, same-sex marriage prohibition act.

    Nobody’s been sentenced under the bill. I mean, this is — not only can you get 14 years for being gay. You can get 10 years as a parent if you don’t knowingly — if you don’t turn in your gay son or daughter if he or she is out. And they came together and pushed.

    And I just want to make one quick point. The fundamentalism is separate. I mean, Northern Nigeria is Islamic, and — but there is a lot of people who aren’t fundamentalists.


    NICK SCHIFRIN: And I think that’s just important to say, that Boko Haram’s victims, more than three-quarters of them are Muslim.

    Boko Haram sends people into mosques a lot more than they send people into churches.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: With bombs.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: With bombs, yes.

    So, I think it’s important to say that most of the people who are victimized by Boko Haram and most of the people who are having to fight Boko Haram are Muslim. And they are fighting that fundamentalism.


    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nick Schifrin, thank you very much for being here.


    The post Understanding Nigeria, a country of pain, promise and complexity appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 03:  United States Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) Samantha Power holds a press conference on September 3, 2014 in New York City. Power answered questions on foreign extremist Islamist fighters joining ISIS in Syria and Iraq and the most recent Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, amongst other topics.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The civil war in Syria entered a new phase in recent months. Millions of refugees have been displaced, as more countries like Russia, France and the United Kingdom enter the fight against ISIS.

    And, as we saw this week, the threat of radicalization became real here at home.

    So, how does all this look to America’s top diplomat to the United Nations?

    I spoke with Samantha Power just a short time ago.

    Ambassador Power, welcome.

    I want to ask you first about, in the wake of this confirmation by the FBI today that it’s looking into the San Bernardino shooting as an act of terrorism, is their concern on the part of the administration that it was late to recognize the threat here on U.S. soil?

    SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: Well, look, DHS, FBI, Department of Justice professionals have been working 24/7.

    There have been a huge number of plots around the world and a number here that have been disrupted. These are the most professional people around in terms of looking out for American security. I think the investigation is still progressing, so it’s a little premature to go beyond what has been said, and once we have come to some conclusions, I know people will be looking back, and the president will insist we do an after-action to make sure that everything we can do is being done.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I’m sure you know that observers, critics, even including some even Democrats, are saying that the administration needs to have a more defeat ISIS strategy rather than a contain ISIS strategy, which was the language the president was using until just a few days ago.

    SAMANTHA POWER: Well, from the beginning of the campaign, our slogan, as it were, has been degrade and destroy, degrade and defeat.

    The challenge, of course, internationally, is that ISIL has rooted itself in populations that need to be contested on the ground. Their financing has to be cut off, which we have made, I think, significant progress on even in recent days, and hope to make more progress on actually later in the month here at the Security Council, when Jack Lew chairs a session of the Security Council and brings the world together around tightening the screws on ISIL financing.

    We have got to deal with the messaging. And then in communities where people are alienated, it’s going to be not only a whole of government effort. It’s got to be a whole of nation effort, where citizens and family members are also much more attuned to what might be going on in their own households, never mind in their own communities or cities.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, from a diplomatic point of view, can an anti-ISIS coalition succeed if the countries in the region around Syria, around Iraq are themselves not committed? I’m speaking about Russia and Turkey.

    SAMANTHA POWER: Well, certainly, we need everybody committed.

    And I think, in Turkey, you have seen more of a stepped-up effort, an accelerated effort in recent weeks as the ISIL threat has come home with the killing of hundreds of Turkish citizens, tragically. You have seen a stepped-up effort that we’re doing together in terms of closing off that last stretch of the Turkish border.

    That’s a really important operation and needs to be completed. You have seen more arrests. And in Russia, of course, you have the fact that ISIL claimed responsibility for planting a bomb that killed so many Russian innocent civilians, but you still have Russian airpower being deployed mainly against moderate opposition groups and mainly, it seems, with an intention of propping up the Assad regime.

    So, a lot more progress needs to be made there. I will say that the fact that the Vienna process to bring about a political solution for Syria has made the progress it has, I think, suggests that Russia is beginning to realize also that it’s bitten off more than it can chew on the ground and that the effect of hitting — not really hitting ISIL and hitting these other groups isn’t really working.

    They have taken very little territory, even though they’re bombing like crazy. And so we’re hopeful that their engagement in the Vienna process around a political transition and the constant dialogue about who is ISIL, who is the real threat to Russian citizens, to American citizens and to citizens around the world, that we will be able to narrow those gaps that have not been helpful, as you say.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, in connection with that, we noted that Secretary Kerry said yesterday about Syria and about the Russians, he said, with respect to question of President Assad and the timing, he said, “I think the answer is, it is not clear that he would have to go if there was clarity with respect to what his future might or might not be.”

    Can you expand on that?

    Well, I think all the secretary was saying was actually just repeating our position, which is, fundamentally, the political transition needs to come about by mutual consent.

    We need Russia and Iran to help bring consent on one side, and we need the moderate opposition to engage and believe in a political transition. It has always been incumbent, ultimately, on the parties, with us prodding them and nudging them, you know, to come to an agreement about the precise timeline.

    I think all Secretary Kerry was saying is that we need to know that timeline. There is no scenario where we can really durably end the flow of foreign fighters to Syria, stabilize the country, really get the international community united around the anti-ISIL fight for as long as there is ambiguity about what Assad’s time horizon is.

    So, he has to go. People have to know when he goes, and we have got to work the specifics on the timeline.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you about the refugees.

    We know their plight is as dire as it ever has been, refugees fleeing Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries. But since the Paris attacks, how worried are you that the willingness of the European countries to take them in is now seriously diminished?

    SAMANTHA POWER: Well, I think it’s not just the Paris attacks.

    It’s, of course, absorbing nearly one million refugees. I think 865,000 refugees have come just in the last calendar year. That’s a lot. And it’s a lot for any social services, for any politics. It’s a lot of people to absorb.

    You’re still seeing, you know, people like Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande, and even in the wake of Paris, sticking to their commitments, recognizing that we have a responsibility to people, to these families who are just desperate, parents who are looking at their kids not having access to school, not having access to food, and feeling they have no choice but to get on these boats and trust these smugglers and leave their fate to the stars and to God to try to put them in a better place.

    So, we have to be part of sharing that burden here in the United States. We are in a different position than the European countries are, in the sense that we have ample time to screen refugee files, to interview refugees. The burden of proof is on refugees to show that they’re not a threat.

    We have the FBI, the NCTC, DOD, everybody, having to vouch on those — files on those families as they come forward. And the vast majority of those who come to the United States, too few from Syria, a number that we would like to increase, as you know, have been families, very few single, unattached men, unattached to families and so forth.

    So, we’re looking at the most vulnerable, but we’re definitely looking at trying to do our share and to remind the American people also just how central refugees and immigrants of all kinds have been, of course, to the building of this great country.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But I know you know, on the campaign trail, many of the Republican candidates for president are saying there must be tighter limits, restrictions on the ability of these refugees to get into the U.S.

    What would the consequences of that be? And you, meantime, separately have action in Congress, bipartisan, to tighten temporary visa waiver language.

    SAMANTHA POWER: Well, let me stress what I hope everyone knows, which is, President Obama’s chief priority is keeping the American people safe.

    And we wouldn’t be coming forward with a proposal to increase the number of slots for refugees to come to this country if we didn’t think we could do so in a manner to keep the American people safe, and where the security vetting, where we had confidence that the security vetting was sufficient.

    The refugee population is screened more carefully than any other population that comes into this country. So, it’s incumbent on us to describe that vetting, to give people confidence.

    But it’s also, I think, incumbent on folks in all political corridors to reflect, again, on how we feel as a country about the times where we have shut our doors and where we have let the specter of a threat that wasn’t moored in fact deter us from bringing in, for instance, Jews who were trying to flee the Holocaust.

    And this needs to be one of those times where we step up, we make sure we do it compatible with the safety of the American people. But I think we can get there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Ambassador Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, we thank you.

    Thank you, Judy.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news, the government’s latest jobs report shows the U.S. economy turned in another solid performance in November. According to Labor Department numbers, employers added a net of 211,000 jobs that month. In addition, the unemployment rate remained steady at 5 percent, the lowest it’s been in 7.5 years.

    The jobs news sent Wall Street roaring to its best day since September and made up for yesterday’s losses. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 370 points to close near 17850. The Nasdaq rose more than 100 points, and the S&P 500 added more than 40. For the week, all three indexes were up a fraction of a percent.

    The oil cartel OPEC announced today that it will keep pumping record amounts of oil, despite sharply lower prices. Saudi Arabia has pushed to maintain output in a bid to drive U.S. oil shale producers out of the market. The price of oil has dropped by more than half in the last year-and-a-half.

    On the Syria conflict, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested today it might be acceptable for President Bashar al-Assad to stay in power in the short-term. In Greece, Kerry said Assad still needs to go eventually, if there’s to be peace and an end to the refugee crisis.

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: It’s a human catastrophe on a gigantic scale, and it’s one of the reasons why so many people feel so strongly that Assad couldn’t find legitimacy in the future to govern, when three-quarters of his country has already voted with their feet and has had to go somewhere else to avoid barrel bombing, to avoid gassing, to avoid starvation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Kerry suggested that the Western-backed rebels might even cooperate with Syria’s military against Islamic State militants, provided Assad’s future is made clear.

    Germany will join the international coalition fighting Islamic State forces in Syria. The German Parliament overwhelmingly approved a plan today to provide reconnaissance planes, a naval frigate and up to 1,200 troops. They will support airstrikes, but will not take part in actual combat.

    And in Southern Afghanistan, government troops freed 60 prisoners from the Taliban overnight, supported by U.S. intelligence and surveillance. The operation took place in Helmand Province. Most of those freed were Afghan police and army officers.

    And back in this country, President Obama is signed a five-year transportation bill worth $305 billion. It won final approval last night in the Senate, the first such long-term highway funding to pass Congress in six years. The bulk of the money, more than $200 billion, goes toward maintaining aging roads and building new ones, especially in major freight corridors. The bill also funds mass transit systems, plus Amtrak and other rail programs. Lawmakers opted not to raise the federal gas tax.

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    A Sheriff's Office Crime Scene Iinvestigator unloads equipment at the scene of the investigation around an SUV where two suspects were shot by police following a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California December 3, 2015.  Authorities on Thursday were working to determine why Syed Rizwan Farook 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, opened fire at a holiday party of his co-workers in Southern California, killing 14 people and wounding 17 in an attack that appeared to have been planned. REUTERS/Mike Blake - RTX1X2P8

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Evidence is mounting that the killers in San Bernardino, California, had become homegrown Islamist radicals. But it is not clear they had links to anyone else.

    Those major points emerged today in what is now a full-blown federal case.

    DAVID BOWDICH, FBI Assistant Director: We are now investigating these horrific acts as an act of terrorism.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: After days of questions, a partial answer, but few details. The FBI’s David Bowdich says there’s still much they don’t know about the carnage at a social services center. The killers, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, tried to cover their tracks.

    DAVID BOWDICH: They attempted to destroy their digital fingerprints. For example, we found two cell phones in a nearby trash can. Those cell phones were actually crushed. We have retained those cell phones and we do continue to exploit the data from those cell phones. We do hope that the digital fingerprints that were left by these two individuals will take us towards their motivation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It also turns out that Malik took to Facebook as the attacks began, and under an alias she pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State group.

    Moreover, a news agency linked to ISIS claimed the couple as supporters.

    But, in Washington, FBI Director James Comey disputed that notion.

    JAMES COMEY, FBI Director: So far, we have no indication that these killers are part of an organized larger group or form part of a cell. There is no indication that they are part of a network.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, more information has emerged about Malik’s background. Pakistani intelligence officials said she moved from Pakistan as a child with her family to Saudi Arabia. She met Farook there in 2014, and they were married later. Farook and Malik died after the attack in a shoot-out with police.

    Today, a media frenzy engulfed their apartment, after the landlord let reporters inside. Some networks aired the footage on live TV.

    Investigators had already finished their work there. Overnight, police released the identities of all 14 people killed in the attack, overnight. They ranged in age from 26 to 60, among them, Nicholas Thalasinos, who passionately defended Israel and reportedly argued with Farook two weeks ago at work about the nature of Islam.

    Memorials for the victims continued to grow in San Bernardino. And last night, thousands attended a vigil at a local baseball stadium. Lights were dimmed and participants held candles, as the names of the victims were read.

    For now, officials say it’s still not clear if Farook and Malik planned other attacks. But there’s no indication of any further threats in the U.S.

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    The Eiffel Tower is seen at sunset in Paris, France on November 22, 2015. The capital is hosting the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) from November 30 to December 11. Photo by REUTERS/Charles Platiau

    The Eiffel Tower is seen at sunset in Paris, France on November 22. The capital is hosting the World Climate Change Conference from November 30 to December 11. Photo by Reuters and Charles Platiau

    Editor’s note: We’ve asked several climate experts to answer the question, “What would constitute success at the Paris climate talks?” This column is part of a series that will run over the next few days.

    The international climate summit in Paris — and the process that led to it — marks a fundamental paradigm shift in international climate policy. There has been considerable political progress this year, enshrined in the set of pledges by more than 180 countries, but it will not be enough to achieve the previously set climate policy target of limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.

    Today, the focus is no longer primarily on the problem itself — dangerous human interference with the climate system — but on the key actors in the political process. To prevent the repeated failures of previous climate summits from discrediting the process itself, diplomats have essentially stopped trying to work toward an overarching approach to mitigating climate change. What we are observing here is the rise of a genuinely political mode of climate diplomacy, in which concepts of strict emissions limits and remaining carbon budgets are being pushed into the background. This new, actor-centered paradigm is not focused on long-term goals for climate stabilization, but on the possibilities and limits of the negotiation process. The focus is no longer on the environmentally desirable, but on the politically feasible.

    This new, actor-centered paradigm is not focused on long-term goals for climate stabilization, but on the possibilities and limits of the negotiation process.

    In light of the slow negotiation progress since the first United Nations climate summit in Berlin in 1995, known as COP1, even reaching an agreement that involves all UN member states will have to be seen as a historic success. Yet contrary to what was decided on at COP17 in Durban in 2011, COP21 will only try to “keep the 2 degree Celsius target within reach.” But to bring the world onto a 2 degree Celsius path, a review or ratcheting-up mechanism would have to be adopted to allow for a gradual increase in ambitions over subsequent years. Such mechanisms have been part of many climate agreements, but they are almost never actually put into practice. Their main function is to conceal disappointing negotiation outcomes and to keep hopes of more ambitious policies alive.

    But Paris can be the beginning of a success story if it achieves to engage a growing number of political and economic actors and if it can catalyze a global perception that decarbonization is no longer a matter of talk and decisions, but of concrete action.

    This means that although the precise language of the “Paris Agreement” is far from irrelevant, the real game will start right after Paris. That is: will the national pledges be honored by respective governments? This will not so much be decided by the UN Convention on Climate Change’s formal follow-up process but by mutual trust and concrete climate policy action on the ground. In that sense, the Paris talks will be a failure if governments and businesses perceive it as just another climate deal, and one that will not bind anybody until its entry into force — which might materialize only long after 2020. But Paris can be the beginning of a success story if it achieves to engage a growing number of political and economic actors and if it can catalyze a global perception that decarbonization is no longer a matter of talk and decisions, but of concrete action.

    The post Column: In Paris, too much focus on the ‘politically feasible,’ too little on the environment appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump held a live Twitter chat on Monday.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

    U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump held a live Twitter chat on Monday. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

    STERLING, Va. — Donald Trump’s Republican campaign for president is built on the same win-at-all-costs, no-second-guessing confidence that made him billions in real estate and a star of reality television.

    Yet in a recent interview with The Associated Press, the GOP front-runner displayed rare, if fleeting, moments of humility and introspection.

    “I think I could lose a state, sure,” Trump said of the first three states to vote in next year’s presidential primaries. “If I came in second or third I think that would be, you know, I wouldn’t be happy, ’cause I want to win.”

    In retrospect, Trump also said he might not have used the phrase “truthful hyperbole” in his 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal.” The phrase has trailed Trump in the 2016 campaign, as have questions about whether his penchant for exaggeration and tenuous relationship with some facts would be appropriate for a president.

    “I think maybe if I had that phrase to do over again, I’d use the word ‘optimistic,’ perhaps. I would want to be very optimistic,” Trump said.

    Trump displayed his signature bravado throughout much of the 30-minute interview with AP at his golf course in northern Virginia. He declined to name a single thing he’s said over the course of the campaign that he wished he could take back. He repeatedly referenced his dominant standing in preference polls and the enthusiasm of his crowds.

    But the glimmers of self-reflection and self-awareness stood out. They offered a look at a side rarely seen at Trump’s rallies and television appearances.

    Trump unexpectedly leapt to the top of the GOP field this summer and has yet to be knocked from that perch. With less than two months until the Iowa caucuses, his hold shows no signs of slipping. But people in early states often make final decisions close to voting day.

    “I’d like to win,” Trump said, and “clean the table.”

    History suggests that’s unlikely, even if Trump does win the nomination.

    In modern history, a nonincumbent has never won all the first three early-voting states: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

    Trump said that while he’s doing “very, very well” in them, he was aware of the precedent. Even if he were to lose one, he said, “I won’t lose badly.”

    His political rise has set the party’s establishment on edge. Trump draws large and enthusiastic crowds to rallies and repeatedly says things viewed by some women, racial and religious minorities, and disabled people as offensive.

    He also has developed a pattern of repeating falsehoods in speeches and interviews. Among them: There are 100 million unemployed workers in the United States, and President Barack Obama plans to allow 250,000 Syrian refugees to resettle in the country.

    Trump outlined the concept of “truthful hyperbole” in “The Art of the Deal,” calling it “an innocent form of exaggeration – and very effective for of promotion.”

    “People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular,” he wrote.

    Asked whether he would take the same approach as president, Trump suggested he would, but would recast it as less about stretching the truth and more about putting a positive spin on the circumstances.

    “I want to be truthful, but I want to be optimistic,” he said.

    Trump said that as president, he would aim to tell the truth in speeches such as the State of the Union, he believes that being optimistic is just as an important a goal.

    “I think the best word would be, I would want to be optimistic, and I am very optimistic about our country,” Trump said. “I think if we get the right leadership, which will be me – it’s the way I feel, I’ll do the best job – but I think if we get the right leadership I think we have tremendous potential and I would be very, very optimistic about the country and I would be that way in the State of the Union address.”

    Both polls and interviews with Trump supporters suggest that many of his backers have not voted in previous presidential elections.

    That gives Trump an opportunity to expand the electorate. It also poses significant challenges in terms of registering those new voters and ensuring they show up.

    Trump said his campaign has built an aggressive operation to take on those tasks, though he provided no details. Instead, he cited the record viewership for the GOP debates as evidence of his support.

    “I think my election will be much different,” Trump said. “I think you’ll have many more people going to the ballot box, just like they went to the television to watch, you know, to watch the debates. But you’ll have many more people going to the ballot box.”

    He said he expects nearly everyone who attends his rallies to vote or caucus for him in 2016.

    “I believe every single one of those people’s going to go out and vote and every single one of ’em’s going to vote for Trump,” he said.

    The post In AP interview, Trump displays moments of humility appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in San Francisco June 20, 2015. Photo by Stephen Lam/Reuters

    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in San Francisco June 20, 2015. Photo by Stephen Lam/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — As a young girl growing up in suburban Chicago, Hillary Rodham decided she’d never change her last name. Three decades later, an entire state debated her childhood choice.

    Arkansans grumbled about invitations to public events from Gov. Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham. Businessman Frank White, the Republican challenging Clinton’s bid for re-election in 1980, made a point of referring to his wife as “Mrs. Frank White.”

    Bill Clinton lost that race. But it was his wife who ended up making the most lasting recalibration.

    “I’ll be Mrs. Bill Clinton,” she told reporters in February 1982, on the day her husband announced his intention to run again for the office he’d lost. “I suspect people will be getting tired of hearing from Mrs. Bill Clinton.”

    Today, they hear from Hillary Clinton. That’s the name aides to the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination say she now prefers. You might not know that from looking at her campaign website, on which she’s simply referred to as Hillary.

    She was Hillary Rodham Clinton throughout her time as first lady and secretary of state. That was also the name she used as an author of two best-selling memoirs and how she signed legal documents – “H R Clinton” – as recently as this past summer.

    Citing Clinton’s preference, The Associated Press this past week changed its style and refers to her as Hillary Clinton. Several other news organizations have done the same.

    The shifting monikers fit into an attack line Republicans have pushed for years – that Clinton is an unprincipled creature of Washington whose positions move with the political winds.

    Longtime Clinton observers have a slightly different take. They say the changes reflect necessary political calculations in a country that remains conservative about family names, even as family structures have become less traditional.

    “Given the pattern that evolved, she clearly had strong feelings about her name,” said Max Brantley, an editor at the Arkansas Times who has known the Clintons since 1974. “She kept trying in various ways to hang on to it.”

    Roughly 8 percent of married women in the U.S. use their maiden names alone, while 17 percent use their maiden names in connection with their husband’s last name, said Pennsylvania State University sociologist Laurie Scheuble, who’s studied the choice of last names by married women and based her research on census data.

    “When Clinton drops her first surname, she’s just following the norms in society,” Scheuble said. “She wants to be president and middle America doesn’t want her to be Rodham. It’s a good political position to take.”

    That was certainly the opinion of Arkansas voters all those decades ago. Statewide polls later found that her use of her maiden name had cost Bill Clinton as much as 6 percentage points in that unsuccessful race for governor.

    Longtime friend Ann Henry urged Clinton to make the change after the loss. “I’m sure it was a hard choice for her to make, because she had been steeped in what women could do up East and she’d given that up to come down here,” Henry said.

    Bill Clinton later said he tried to talk his wife out of changing her name, saying he did not want her to resent the choice – and him – for the rest of her life. But she countered that it wasn’t worth it to keep both names.

    He recalled in a 1994 interview with The New Yorker that she said, “‘We shouldn’t run this risk. What if it’s 1 percent of the vote? What if it’s 2 percent? You might win or lose the election by 2 percent.'”

    Nearly a decade later, when she arrived in Washington after Bill Clinton’s election as president and took on a role at the White House focused on health care policy, the then-first lady began using the name Hillary Rodham Clinton. Polling at the time showed that 9 percent of Americans thought the change was a good idea, 21 percent a bad idea – and 69 percent said it didn’t much matter.

    “Hillary Rodham Clinton has been the first lady’s name all along,” an exasperated Lisa Caputo, then Clinton’s press secretary, explained to reporters at the time. “We’re at all a loss as to why people think this is something that we’re just trying to change now.”

    She ran for the Senate in New York as “Hillary,” then went back to Hillary Clinton for her 2008 presidential campaign. She returned to using Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, and did so until the launch of her second White House bid this year.

    Former aides and supporters predict that, unlike in Bill Clinton’s race in 1980, the choice won’t matter much at all when voters start casting ballots next year.

    “She’s been in the public consciousness for such a long time,” Caputo said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Hillary Rodham Clinton or Hillary Clinton. Everyone knows who she is.”

    The post What’s in a name? Hillary Clinton knows more than most appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    People stand by a pop-up memorial in San Bernardino, California on Friday, following Wednesday's attack. Authorities are investigating the San Bernardino, California, shooting as an "act of terrorism", Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director David Bowdich said at a news conference on Friday. Photo By Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    People stand by a pop-up memorial in San Bernardino, California on Friday, following Wednesday’s attack. Authorities are investigating the San Bernardino, California, shooting as an “act of terrorism”, Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director David Bowdich said at a news conference on Friday. Photo By Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    During his weekly White House address on Saturday, President Barack Obama said Wednesday’s shooting at a San Bernardino social services facility was an “act of terrorism” and called on Congress to close a loophole that allows people on the No-Fly list to purchase guns.

    “If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun.”

    “If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun,” he said.

    Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, killed 14 and injured 21, before being killed in a shootout with police.

    Obama also acknowledged that it was “entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror.”

    On Friday, the Federal Bureau of Investigations said Malik pledged support for ISIS using an alias on Facebook on the day of the attacks.

    “We’re … learning more about the killers. And we’re working to get a full picture of their motives — why they committed these revolting acts,” the president said Friday. “It’s important to let the investigators do their job. We need to know all the facts.”

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

    As the FBI continued its investigation into the shooting, the New York Times ran a front-page editorial Saturday calling for gun control in light of a string of mass shootings, including the San Bernardino attack this week.

    The editorial is the first published on the front page of the Times since 1920.

    The editorial board criticized Congress for what it called a lack of leadership, and said elected leaders “place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.”

    News reports this week indicated Obama may try to use executive action to reign in the sale of military-style assault weapons, like those used in the San Bernardino shooting.

    “We may not be able to prevent every tragedy, but — at a bare minimum — we shouldn’t be making it so easy for potential terrorists or criminals to get their hands on a gun that they could use against Americans,” he said in Saturday’s address. “It’s another tragic reminder that here in America it’s way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.”

    In an October interview with PBS NewsHour, Todd Clear, of the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, said over the years there have been attempts at new federal legislation to bolster screenings of people seeking to buy guns, but movement on the issue remains challenging.

    “It’s hard to get this movement on this politically because the people who are opposed to gun regulation, to any gun regulation, are so strong and organized, that the political movement on questions like this are difficult,” he said.

    Months after a gunman stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2013, killing 20 children and six adults, Connecticut enacted some of the strictest gun control measures in the country.

    In this report from 2014 (above), PBS NewsHour Weekend looks at how Connecticut adopted some of the most restrictive gun policies in the country, which includes a law enacted in 2013 to keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill.

    The new law bolstered legislation already in place, requiring universal background checks for all gun and ammunition purchases, and placing limits on the ability of mentally ill people to purchase guns. More than 100 assault weapons were also banned along with ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds.

    Guns right’s advocates criticized the Connecticut law then as whittling down Second Amendment rights and unduly penalizing gun owners at large.

    “Punishing me, and those like me, solely because we lawfully and responsibly possess the same type of property that he– that a criminal had, makes about as much logical sense as punishing you for owning the same type of car that a drunk driver had,” Dom Basile, a Connecticut firearm instructor, told the NewsHour last year.

    According data from shootingtracker.com, which is maintained by a Reddit group, the San Bernardino attack is one of more than 350 shootings this year.

    You can see a 2015 map of all of the mass shootings in the U.S. — defined by shootingtracker.com as incidents in which at least four people are killed or wounded, including the gunman — here

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    Graphic by Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    Tashfeen Malik (L) and Syed Rizwan Farook (R) are pictured in this undated handout photo provided by the FBI. Graphic by Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. government’s ability to review and analyze five years’ worth of telephone records for the married couple blamed in the deadly shootings in California lapsed just four days earlier when the National Security Agency’s controversial mass surveillance program was formally shut down.

    Under a court order, those historical calling records at the NSA are now off-limits to agents running the FBI terrorism investigation even with a warrant.

    Instead, under the new USA Freedom Act, authorities were able to obtain roughly two years’ worth of calling records directly from the phone companies of the married couple blamed in the attack. The period covered the entire time that the wife, Tashfeen Malik, lived in the United States, although her husband, Syed Farook, had been here much longer. She moved from Pakistan to the U.S. in July 2014 and married Farook the following month. He was born in Chicago in 1987 and raised in southern California.

    FBI Director James Comey declined to say Friday whether the NSA program’s shutdown affected the government’s terrorism investigation in California.

    “I won’t answer, because we don’t talk about the investigative techniques we use,” Comey said. “I’m not going to characterize it.”

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the FBI was poring through records for the married couple: “This includes things like their foreign travel, their contacts with other individuals, their use of social media,” he said. “There are some details of that investigation starting to dribble out, sometimes in garbled form.”

    Amid questions about whether it was constitutional and under pressure from lawsuits and recommendations by two federal panels, the Obama administration agreed to end the NSA phone program. It had secretly collected the daily calling records – but not contents of conversations – for most Americans, including those never suspected of any crime, since at least 2006. Investigators could see who suspected terrorists might be dialing, who else those people might be calling and so on. The government kept five years’ worth of each person’s phone records, deleting older ones on a rolling basis. NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the program’s existence in summer 2013.

    Under a shutdown order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the government was prohibited from collecting phone records in wholesale ways starting Nov. 29.

    “After November 28, 2015, no access to the BR (business record) metadata (phone records) will be permitted for intelligence analysis purposes,” U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman of Portland ruled. “Hence, queries of the BR metadata for the purpose of obtaining foreign intelligence information will no longer be permitted. ”

    The California shootings happened four days later. The court revealed the order publicly just hours before the shootings.

    Under the new law, passed in June, investigators still can look for links in phone records but they must obtain a targeted warrant to get them directly from phone companies, which generally keep customer records for 18 months to two years, although some keep them longer. The U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which studied the program at Obama’s direction, had recommended that the White House reduce the NSA-held phone records from five years to three years even before the program could be shut down.

    The FBI was investigating whether the couple in California plotted the attacks with anyone – or each other – in ways that U.S. or allied intelligence surveillance programs might have detected. The FBI director cited “indications of radicalization by the killers, and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations,” but he said there was no evidence the killers were part of a larger group or terrorist cell. The FBI said it found discarded, crushed cellphones that belonged to the couple near the site of the shootings, and agents were examining the phones’ contents.

    An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer, Alex Abdo, noted the California shootings were another case where the NSA’s inspection of Americans’ phone records failed to stop the plot before it happened.

    “This could only be an example of the failure of that program,” Abdo said. “If this were a planned attack and the program did what they claimed it did at the time, they would have detected this attack. It’s not surprising the bulk-collection program didn’t detect it.”

    Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

    The post Authorities unable to access NSA phone data in San Bernardino case appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses journalists during a joint news conference with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias (not pictured) at the ministry in Athens, Greece, December 4, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis - RTX1X6E9

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses journalists at the ministry in Athens, Greece, December 4, 2015. On Saturday, Kerry said at the Brookings Institution that Palestinian leadership must do more to prevent and combat anti-Israel violence. Photo by Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry is warning Israel about the dangers of the possible collapse of the Palestinian Authority. He says such an event would lead to situation that would threaten both the security of Israel and the Palestinian people.

    Kerry tells a conference at the Brookings Institution on Saturday that the Palestinian leadership must do more to prevent and combat anti-Israel violence. But he also says that Israeli leaders cannot advocate or allow the Palestinian Authority to disintegrate.

    If that happens, Kerry says Israel would be forced to assume all governance in the West Bank and potentially accept a one-state solution that would compromise Israel’s future as a democratic Jewish state.

    Kerry urges both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to recommit to the concept of a negotiated two-state solution.

    This report was written by Matthew Lee of the Associated Press.

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    Blocks of Pluto's water-ice crust appear jammed together in the informally named al-Idrisi mountains in this high-resolution image from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft released December 4, 2015.  REUTERS/NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Handout via Reuters  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RTX1XCC6

    Blocks of Pluto’s water-ice crust appear jammed together in the informally named al-Idrisi mountains in this high-resolution image from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft released December 4, 2015. Photo courtesy of NASA Handout via Reuters

    NASA released two black and white images of Pluto on Friday, billing them as the dwarf planet’s “best close-ups that humans may see for decades.”

    The snapshots, which were taken in July, are among the most recent set of photos sent back to Earth by NASA’s nuclear-powered spacecraft New Horizons, during it’s closest flyby of Pluto, some 3 billion miles away from Earth.

    The images form a 50-mile-wide strip of the planet, showing a mix of cratered, mountainous and glacial terrain.

    “These close-up images, showing the diversity of terrain on Pluto, demonstrate the power of our robotic planetary explorers to return intriguing data to scientists back here on planet Earth,” John Grunsfeld, former astronaut and associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement.

    Pluto's icy cratered plains, including layering in the interior walls of many craters, are seen in this high-resolution image from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft released December 4, 2015.  Photo courtesy of NASA Handout via Reuters.

    Pluto’s icy cratered plains, including layering in the interior walls of many craters, are seen in this high-resolution image from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft released December 4, 2015. Photo courtesy of NASA Handout via Reuters

    “These new images give us a breathtaking, super-high resolution window into Pluto’s geology,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern added.

    It will reportedly take about one year to transfer all of the photo and data collected by New Horizons to reach the earth, but researchers expect more detailed and clear images to come in over the next week — a much faster feat compared to earlier space missions.

    “Nothing of this quality was available for Venus or Mars until decades after their first flybys; yet at Pluto we’re there already — down among the craters, mountains and ice fields – less than five months after flyby!” Stern said.

    The post NASA releases clearest photos of Pluto we may see for decades appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Momentos adorn a shrine following Wednesday's attack in San Bernardino, California December 5, 2015. Authorities are investigating the shooting as an "act of terrorism", Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director David Bowdich said at a news conference on Friday. REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker - RTX1XBIQ

    Momentos adorn a shrine following Wednesday’s attack in San Bernardino, California December 5, 2015. Authorities are investigating the shooting as an “act of terrorism”, Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director David Bowdich said at a news conference on Friday. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Reuters

    The Islamic State said Saturday the two shooters who stormed a holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday, killing 14 people and wounding 21, were followers of the militant group.

    The official online radio station of the Islamic State said the massacre was carried out by two “supporters” of the extremist group — but did not claim responsibility for the attack.

    Graphic by Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    Tashfeen Malik (L) and Syed Rizwan Farook (R) are pictured in this undated handout photo provided by the FBI. Graphic by Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, were killed in a shootout with police two hours after the assault.

    Relatives in Pakistan told the Associated Press that Malik had become a more devout Muslim in recent years, switching from Western clothing to more traditional garb. She had arrived in the U.S. last year on a fiancée visa.

    A Facebook spokesman told the New York Times that Malik pledged her allegiance to ISIS using an alias in a post on the social media network made around the time of the attack.

    Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation believe the pair were inspired by extremists abroad, but the agency has not uncovered evidence to suggest either of the suspects had a direct connection to ISIS.

    On Friday, FBI Director James Comey said was no indication that the couple had acted in concert with any foreign terror group.

    “The investigation so far has developed indications of radicalization by the killers and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations,” Comey said.

    In his weekly radio address, President Barack Obama said it was “entirely possible” that the attackers were radicalized to “commit this act of terror.”

    “If so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years, the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies,” he said.

    The post ISIS claims California shooters as followers of militant group appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Weapons confiscated from last Wednesday's attack in San Bernardino, California are shown in this San Bernardino County Sheriff Department handout photo from their Twitter account released to Reuters December 3, 2015.  REUTERS/San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department/Handout  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.  FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RTX1X439

    Watch Video

    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Among the concerns following the mass shooting in San Bernardino is how those living in the United States might become radicalized, and the challenges law enforcement faces in trying to track such individuals and prevent them from acting violently.

    For some insight, I’m joined by David Schanzer, who is the director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University.

    So, David, one of the things that people have been struggling with is that there isn’t any one single profile of who is going to do something like this.

    DAVID SCHANZER, TRIANGLE CENTER ON TERRORISM AND HOMELAND SECURITY AT DUKE UNIVERSITY: No, there is not. You know, when we look at this group of perpetrators and we can look backwards, we do realize that they share some common traits. They are often disassociated with family members and friends, are loners, not deeply embedded in their community. Many of them have exhibited some forms of depression or forms of mental illness. A lot of them have had familiarity or experience with firearms.

    But then — so those behaviors are so generalizable and they apply to so many millions and millions of people in the United States, if you’re trying to look forward and be able to point out and say, “Well, you, that’s somebody we should really pay attention to,” it’s just very, very difficult, if not impossible

    HARI SREENIVASAN: How does an intelligence agency prevent something like this? It’s almost like trying to prevent a school shooting or shooting up a Planned Parenthood clinic.

    DAVID SCHANZER: Well, it really is. So, to my mind the best way to try to deal with these things is really to have deep connections between our law enforcement agencies and communities, because it’s going to be friends, relatives, coworkers that might pick up on signals of individuals that they have changed, they may say things that suggest that they might want to engage in violence. So, having those kinds of relationships of trust and connectivity in communities is what can possibly give the police some sort of early warning that an individual is headed down a road to towards violence.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Well, in this day and age, when you start to talk about connections and communities, I automatically think of social media. And it seems those are now open-source indicators of what someone’s thinking. They’re opting into sharing this with people.

    DAVID SCHANZER: Well, absolutely. Not all these individuals are well-trained, hardened criminal terrorist. A lot of them are, you know, confused individuals, and they make mistakes. They don’t know how to conceal their intentions.

    And, indeed, they want to brag to others, to talk about, and so, they’ll leave clues on social media. They’ll say things and I think that’s a very fruitful way for law enforcement to try to deal with this by looking at open-source materials, but also because they can’t be everywhere on the Internet, again, friends, colleagues, people that are on the Internet and see these things, you know, the types of statements that suggest somebody is really interested in violence should bring it to the attention of authorities

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. David Schanzer of Duke University joining us from California today — thanks so much.

    DAVID SCHANZER: Well, happy to be with you.

    The post After San Bernardino, how can law enforcement prevent self-radicalization? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    PBS NewsHour will offer a special broadcast report on PBS at 8 p.m. EST Sunday of President Barack Obama’s prime-time address. The address will be live streamed in the player above and at pbs.org/newshour.

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office Sunday in prime time about steps the government is taking to keep people safe after the attack last week in San Bernardino, California.

    The White House says that during the 8 p.m. address Obama will provide an update on the attack that killed 14 and wounded 21, and will also discuss the broader threat of terrorism. He will talk about the nature of the threat, how it has evolved and how he plans to defeat it.

    Obama will talk more about his determination that the Islamic State group must be destroyed. And he will make the case that the United States must draw on the nation’s values — its commitment to justice, equality and freedom — to prevail.

    The post WATCH LIVE: Obama to give prime-time address Sunday after shootings appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    [Watch Video]PBS NewsHour will offer a special broadcast report on PBS at 8 p.m. EST Sunday of President Barack Obama’s prime-time address. The address will be live streamed in the player above and at pbs.org/newshour.

    WASHINGTON — In a rare Oval Office address, President Barack Obama on Sunday night will urge Americans to not give into fear following attacks in Paris and California, while trying to assure the public that he takes the threat of terrorism seriously.

    Obama was not expected to announce major policy changes for targeting the Islamic State group. Administration officials said the president’s remarks would focus on how the terrorist threat has evolved and what steps the government is taking to keep Americans safe.

    “I think what you’re going to hear from him is a discussion about what government is doing to ensure all of our highest priority — the protection of the American people,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    “This horrific attack has people on edge and frightened. We’ve lost so many victims and people were wounded. People are concerned and we understand that,” Lynch said.

    She said Obama may ask Congress to “to review measures and take action” to safeguard national security, though she did not offer specifics. She suggested he might reiterate his call for stricter gun laws. “Dealing with guns is one way to handle the violent crime issues that we have in this country,” Lynch said.

    U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the shootings in San Bernardino, California during a meeting with his national security team in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington December 3, 2015. Behind Obama is a bust of President Abraham Lincoln.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  - RTX1X1HB

    U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the shootings in San Bernardino, California, during a meeting with his national security team in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Friday. Obama will use his Sunday night address on terrorism to urge the American people not to “give in to fear,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Obama has an opportunity “tell the American people how he is willing to adapt to the threat and how he can better prepare our nation for a fight that will inevitably be passed on to his successor.” McConnell called on Obama to outline plans for a ground force to dismantle the Islamic State group and detail what legal authorities are needed to defeat encrypted online communication that law enforcement says can be used to evade authorities.

    With the prime-time address, Obama was turning to a tool of the presidency that he has used infrequently. He’s made televised statements from the Oval Office just twice, the last in 2010.

    His speech comes amid criticism that he has underestimated the threat from an extremist group that claimed responsibility for last month’s deadly attacks in Paris.

    A woman held responsible for last week’s shooting in San Bernardino, California, had, under a Facebook alias, pledged allegiance to IS and its leader, according to U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. A Facebook official said the post came about the time the couple stormed the San Bernardino social service center.

    Authorities said the woman — a 29-year-old originally from Pakistan — carried out the attack with her 28-year-old American-born husband, killing 14 people and wounding 21. The two were killed in a shootout with police hours after the attack.

    Authorities say they believe the guns used by the attackers were legally obtained.

    The FBI is investigating the massacre as a terrorist attack that, if proved, would be the deadliest by Islamic extremists on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

    FBI Director James Comey has said there was no indication yet that the plot was directed by any other foreign terrorist group, though he would not rule out that future possibility.

    Obama initially said the shootings could have been terrorist-related or an incident of workplace violence. Two days later, in his weekend radio and Internet address, the president said called the attacks an “act of terror” and said it was “entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror. And if so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years — the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies.”

    Lynch said the kind of threats against the United States has evolved because the government has been able to foil plots. “We have come from a time of the large-scale planned al-Qaida-style attacks to the encouragement of lone wolves.’

    Some of the Republican presidential candidates had quickly labeled the shootings an act of terrorism and faulted Obama for not saying so immediately. GOP candidates have sought to equate the president’s cautious language on terrorism with what they see as his tepid approach to national security.

    “I don’t know why the president hesitates for so long to call it exactly what it is,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called on Obama to outline a more robust strategy for defeating IS, which has strongholds in Iraq and Syria. Rubio advocated a “ground force made up primarily of Sunni Arabs from the region, including Iraqis and Syrians, but also a contribution of troops from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt.”

    Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said the U.S. is “not winning” the fight against IS and it’s “too soon to say that we are doing everything we need to do.” While Clinton has been supportive of Obama’s foreign policy, given that she served as his secretary of state, she also has called for a more robust approach to defeating IS, including setting up a no-fly zone.

    The president’s approach has relied largely on airstrikes by the U.S., as well as European and Arab partners. He has struggled to identify and train effective forces on the ground to supplement those efforts and has ruled out a large scale deployment of American troops.

    Christie spoke on CBS’ “Face The Nation,” Rubio was on CNN’s “State of the Union” and Clinton appeared on ABC’s “This Week.”

    The post Obama will address nation Sunday, urge U.S. not to ‘give in to fear’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    WASHINGTON — Here’s the latest news on the U.S. presidential candidates’ remarks on how to respond and prevent attacks like the one that occurred last week in San Bernardino, California.

    The massacre left 14 dead and 21 wounded and is under investigation by the FBI as a terrorist attack. If proved, it would be the deadliest incident on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001. All times are local.

    9:45 a.m.

    Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is panning GOP rival Ted Cruz’s plan to carpet bomb Islamic militants “into oblivion.” And he says leading Democrats are reflexively calling for gun control rather than ramping up the response to attacks in the U.S.

    The former Florida governor tells ABC’s “This Week” that, “Carpet bombing is not a strategy.” He’s calling for gaining the support of Sunni tribal leaders, arming the Kurds and establishing a no-fly zone in Syria, a plan that is similar to Clinton’s.

    But he disagrees with her assertion that people on a no-fly list should be barred from getting guns.

    Bush says the list isn’t accurate enough to use for restricting gun rights for law-abiding citizens. But he adds that if the FBI is tracking someone who is suspected of terrorism, that person should not be able to buy guns, “for sure.”


    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton says she expects President Barack Obama to announce “an intensification” of the U.S. strategy against Islamic State militants following last week’s attack in California.

    Clinton tells ABC’s “This Week:” ”We have to have a much more robust air campaign against ISIS targets, against oil infrastructure, against leadership. And I think that’s what you’ll hear from the president.

    The former secretary of state says she also would require the online community to keep militants from communicating on social network sites. She says sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube “cannot permit the recruitment and the actual direction of attacks or the celebration of violence” by Islamic militants. Authorities say a married couple were responsible for the attack in California, and the woman had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group on Facebook as they went on their rampage

    The White House says Obama will provide an update on Wednesday’s shootings in San Bernardino and discuss the broader threat of terrorism, including how it has evolved and how he plans to defeat it.

    8:45 a.m.

    Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says he’d be open to racial profiling and investigating the families of people who carry out jihadi attacks.

    The former reality star tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he’d be, “very tough on families” of attackers, adding he’d “go after the wives” of attackers.

    He also said people near the attackers sometimes know there’s something wrong but refuse to report them for fear of “racial profiling.” Trump says he’ thinks that’s “pretty bad,” and that people have died as a result.

    Trump says he’s not playing on people’s fears, “I’m playing on common sense.” He tells CBS that he has Muslim friends who “are great people” and are concerned about extremism, too.

    The post 2016 candidates clash on how to respond to California attacks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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