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

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    Latino leaders and immigration reform supporters gather at Farrand Field on the campus of the University of Colorado to launch "My Country, My Vote," a 12-month voter registration campaign to mobilize Colorado's Latino, immigrant and allied voters October 28, 2015. The rally was held ahead of a forum held by CNBC before the U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate in Boulder. REUTERS/Evan Semon    - RTX1TQD8

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: It’s Politics Monday, and we have two takes this week on an increasingly competitive presidential race.

    As Republicans prepare to debate tomorrow night in Las Vegas, religion and immigration have emerged as running themes. But are GOP candidates, led by front-runner Donald Trump, doing more harm than good when it comes to expanding the party’s base among a growing subset of Hispanic voters?

    William Brangham traveled to Washington State recently to explore one effort, bankrolled by the billionaire Koch brothers, to recruit Hispanics into the GOP’s tent.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It’s election night, and Avina Gutierrez just made history. For the first time ever, voters in Yakima, Washington, elected a Hispanic candidate to their city council, not just one, in fact. Three Latinos won seats tonight, this in a city where 40 percent of residents are Hispanic.

    The 35-year-old Democrat says tonight’s victory is just another sign of the growing presence of Latinos in politics.

    AVINA GUTIERREZ, Yakima City Council Member: Tonight means that I will be able to provide an example for other Latinas to see that they do have a seat at that table.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Her election is part of a national trend. The Latino population of the U.S. has been steadily rising, while the white population has been declining.

    By 2065, the U.S. is projected to be a majority-minority nation, with whites making up less than half the population. Politically, this trajectory has been great news for Democrats like Gutierrez. In national polls, Latinos lean Democratic more than 2-1 over Republicans. And, in 2012, Latinos overwhelmingly picked President Obama over Mitt Romney, whose remarks about Latinos needing to self-deport didn’t sit well with many.

    In its own political autopsy of that election, the Republican National Committee openly acknowledged that if the party couldn’t figure out a better way to communicate with Latino voters, it would spell electoral doom for the GOP — quote — “It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy. If Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.”

    And that’s where Daniel Garza comes in. He’s the head of the LIBRE Initiative. It’s the largest conservative Hispanic political group in the country. And he’s just been given $16 million from the conservative billionaire Koch brothers to try and convince Latinos that conservative ideals and Latino ideals are one and the same.

    DANIEL GARZA, The LIBRE Initiative: We are driving a conversation within the Latino community about the virtues of the free market, whether it’s engaging them on policy issues or on cultural issues. So, for example, we believe strongly in self-reliance, in personal responsibility, in that hard work ethic, the American rugged individualism.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Garza served in George W. Bush’s White House, and now regularly hosts forums with today’s GOP candidates.

    But his story begins much more humbly, here, in the agriculturally-rich Yakima Valley in Central Washington. The Hispanic population has exploded here in recent decades, as migrant families like Garza’s, who once just came through to pick apples and cherries during the harvest, decided to stay and put down roots.

    Garza showed us the hops fields — they’re now out of season — where he and his family used to work.

    DANIEL GARZA: Backbreaking work, working in the elements. Didn’t pay hardly anything, and you were powerless. And I don’t know of any mother who says, I can’t wait for my child to grow up to be a farm worker. It just doesn’t happen. But it’s noble work.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: They lived in nearby Toppenish, Washington, population 9,000, in this little house with no running water.

    DANIEL GARZA: The idea, as farm workers, is that you rent the cheapest home you can.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It was, admittedly, a tough life. But Garza’s dad was able to save up his money and eventually buy this small motel in town.

    It was this step up the economic ladder where young Daniel began finding his political beliefs. He became a cop. He took a job working for the hard-charging Republican Congressman Doc Hastings. He was a huge fan of William F. Buckley on “Firing Line.” It all made sense to him, and he became a card-carrying member of the Republican Party.

    DANIEL GARZA: You know, I sort of was taken by Ronald Reagan’s approach to governance and sort of embraced it.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Reagan famously said that Hispanics are conservatives; they just don’t know it yet.

    I mean, do you believe that?

    DANIEL GARZA: I do. I do believe that. And I have always believed that they embrace the ideals of the free market.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And that’s the message The LIBRE Initiative is pushing today, with slickly produced videos starring Garza using his rags-to-riches story as a symbol of conservative Latino empowerment.

    DANIEL GARZA: My father never took welfare because he didn’t want to depend on anyone or lose his dignity.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: They’re also spreading their message in more subtle ways. This is actually a driver’s education class run by Garza’s group. This one’s in Las Vegas, but they do these in swing states all over the U.S. The idea is, you draw Latinos in for useful classes like these — they also teach English-language classes and help prepare tax returns.

    And while they’re there, those voters get a little dose of conservative politics on the side.

    DANIEL GARZA: I would say, we use that opportunity as a platform for ourselves to drive our ideas, to talk to folks and connect with them. And then, you know, if it resonates with them, then they join our effort and they stay connected with us.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Garza’s group collects contact information at these events for themselves, which it then shares with a group called i360, a massive voter database operation funded by the Koch brothers’ network.

    For LIBRE, the hope is that these events, with their focus on economic liberty and family values, will resonate with Latino voters.

    DANIEL GARZA: When you’re going out directly to them and tailoring your message to them, then you’re earning their trust and their respect, because you’re connecting with them. And they matter. And that’s what voters need to feel, that my life is going to be better if I vote for that person or that person.

    NINFA GUTIERREZ, KDNA: I don’t think that’s going to — they’re going to buy that.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Ninfa Gutierrez hosts a popular call-in radio show on KDNA, Yakima valley’s Spanish-language public radio station. She says that, with the presidential election nearly a year off, right now, there’s only one thing her listeners associate with conservatives or Republicans.

    DONALD TRUMP, Republican Presidential Candidate: They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.

    NINFA GUTIERREZ: The first call that we got on one of those programs said, because that clown that is saying all these things about the Spanish people.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Donald Trump, they’re talking about.

    NINFA GUTIERREZ: Yes, Donald Trump, that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t know us, who we are, because he’s saying that we’re all, what, drug dealers, we’re killers, we’re this and that.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And the leading GOP front-runner isn’t showing any signs of backing down from his tough stance on illegal immigration.

    DONALD TRUMP: The wall works, believe me, properly done. Believe me.

    (APPLAUSE)

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: While none of the Republican candidates support President Obama’s executive actions allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the country, some argue massive deportation isn’t feasible. Others argue that the GOP’s harsh words about immigrants will be a boon to the Democrats.

    JEB BUSH, Republican Presidential Candidate: Even having this conversation sends a powerful symbol. They’re doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign right now, when they hear this.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Indeed, super PACs supporting Democrats are already out with ads with Latino voters quoting the GOP candidates.

    MAN: They’re rapists.

    WOMAN: Criminals.

    MAN: Anchor babies.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Garza, who spoke to an auditorium of seniors at his old high school, acknowledges that the GOP’s current stance on immigration is driving Latinos away from his party.

    And he’s been vocal about the need for them to knock it off and to embrace comprehensive immigration reform. But, as he told these students at a school that is 86 percent Latino, he hopes voters focus on more than just the one issue of immigration.

    DANIEL GARZA: Republicans are calling that we should now empower the individual, that we should focus on growing the private sector, much more than growing the government.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Afterwards, Garza got the rock star treatment, with students swarming around, jockeying for selfies and autographs. But did his message resonate?

    We sat down with a smaller group of students from the school to find out.

    If there was a candidate that stood for all the things you cared about, whatever those issues are — and they were — it seems like this is my ideal president, but they didn’t agree with you on immigration reform, could that person still get your vote?

    STUDENT: No.

    STUDENT: I wouldn’t vote for him. My pride is where my family comes from, so I don’t — he could be — I can agree with him with everything else, but if he doesn’t benefit my people in the immigration reform, I would not vote for him.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Do you see it as a challenge to your mission, though, that many leaders of the GOP come out and say things that drive the Latino population into the arms of the Democrats?

    DANIEL GARZA: So, our objective is to get Latinos behind free market ideas, the principles of limited government. That’s our objective. Whatever happens politically, we can’t control that. We can just help to drive a conservation within the Latino community.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Every 30 seconds, another Latino turns 18 in this country. Most of them are American citizens and eligible to vote. If these students are any reflection of the broader population, Daniel Garza has got his work cut out for him.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m William Brangham in Toppenish, Washington.

    The post Can a GOP that’s tough on immigration win over Latino voters? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A participant is pictured in front of a screen projecting a world map showing climate anomalies during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe  - RTX1XPN4

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, how meaningful are this weekend’s pledges? And does it signal a fundamental change in how we will get our energy?

    Fred Krupp is the president of the Environmental Defense Fund. He’s back from Paris. And Robert Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of several books about this. His latest is titled “Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper.”

    And we welcome you both to the program.

    Fred Krupp, to you first. How much of a difference is this agreement going to make?

    FRED KRUPP, Environmental Defense Fund: It’s going to make a big difference. It’s really the first COP that exceeded the expectations that I had going into it, the first conference of the parties that really set us on a path toward solving this problem.

    Now, Judy, it doesn’t solve the climate problem. No one meeting could do that, not by a long shot, but it does get us a long way there. The reductions that have been pledged by nearly every country on Earth get us perhaps halfway there. And then there is a mechanism built into the agreement that allows the ambitions to be ratcheted up.

    And, perhaps most important, there is transparency, which means countries will have to be reporting their emissions, and there will be a technical review of those reports to make sure they’re accurate. And that is critical, so that there is not only ambition here, but also accountability.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Robert Bryce, do you see this as an agreement that goes a long way toward doing something about climate change?

    ROBERT BRYCE, Manhattan Institute: I do not.

    I think there are three key problems with it, Judy. First is, none of these targets that have been set by the individual countries are legally binding. Second, Ban Ki-Moon, the U.N. secretary-general, made this clear before the meeting started in Paris when he said that all of these targets that have been made by the individual countries are not sufficient, and that they’re going to have to come back in just a few years and provide new lower targets for emissions.

    And, finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is nothing in any of these agreements that moves the ball forward on nuclear energy, and this is the key issue. When you listen to what the climate scientists have been saying on this, on December 3, in The Guardian, James Hansen, one of the most high-profile climate scientists in the world, along with three other climate scientists, said that nuclear energy will make the difference — I’m quoting — “make the difference between the world missing crucial climate targets or achieving them.”

    And the hard reality is that, unless we have an energy form that can replace substantial quantities of coal-fired generation — and that means natural gas and nuclear — then I think that we’re not going to come near any kind of significant reductions in CO2 emissions to meet the CO2 emissions targets that have been laid out.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Fred Krupp, let me take his — Mr. Bryce’s last point first, that the agreement doesn’t make meaningful progress on moving toward nuclear or another real alternative to carbon.

    FRED KRUPP: Well, I would strongly disagree with that.

    Countries are free to meet their obligations any way they want to, but they have to report and be accountable, as I said before. China plans to build 30 nuclear power plants and is constructing about half that number now. So, if nuclear technology comes along that’s safe and affordable, nuclear very much is on the table and could be part of the agreement.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Fred Krupp, there is no requirement that countries do that. Is that correct?

    FRED KRUPP: Well, there is no requirement that countries use nuclear, no. They’re free to use whatever technology they choose.

    But some countries are pursuing nuclear, and that’s allowed. It turns out, Judy, that the cost of solar panels in the last five years has dropped 80 percent. So, if solar panels are cheaper than nuclear, why should the — an agreement require countries to use nuclear? Nuclear may end up cheaper. That remains to be seen. Right now, the plants that are being built in the United States will substantially raise the rates of rate payers in the jurisdictions where those are being built, because, right now, it is an expensive technology, at least here in the U.S.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Robert Bryce, why isn’t it sufficient, if not — even the advocates of this agreement are saying it’s not perfect, but why isn’t it sufficient that countries are now saying they’re going to move in the direction, not all necessarily nuclear, but these other technologies, alternative fuel technologies?

    ROBERT BRYCE: Sure. And we hear about solar and wind. And we have heard about solar and wind.

    And, look, I’m pro-solar. I have solar panels on the roof of my house. I’m not bullish on wind, because it takes up too much land. The problem, fundamentally, for the developing world is that they’re not turning to solar and wind in a big way. They’re turning to coal-fired capacity.

    Let’s look at the numbers that have been published by Sierra Club and CoalSwarm, two adamant coal critics. They point out that, today, there is 276 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity under construction now. That’s roughly equal to the entire coal-fired capacity of the United States.

    Mr. Krupp says we have to make nuclear safer and cheaper. There’s no question. But to make that happen, we have to have strong governmental leadership. I have written many times about this. I had a piece in The L.A. Times just a few days ago. The United States could be taking a leadership position in making nuclear energy safer, cheaper, developing reactors that are passively safe.

    But we don’t have the support — this is key — of the main environmental groups, including the Environmental Defense Fund. Sierra Club and Green Peace are adamantly opposed to nuclear energy.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right. Excuse me.

    ROBERT BRYCE: Sure.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I’m sorry for interrupting, but let me let Mr. Krupp respond.

    FRED KRUPP: First of all, we’re not opposed to nuclear energy.

    Second of all, the statistics about 276 plants, those were statistics from a few years ago. And that was planned, not under construction. But we had a lot of plants planned in the United States just a few short years ago, and they have almost all, to a one, been scrapped.

    So, India’s plans to build coal-fired plants — change will come to India, because it’s in their own national interest. Sure, they have to lift people out of poverty. They need electricity. They need economic development, but they also need clean air. Right now, they have more opportunities than ever before to create jobs with renewable energy and to have clean air. The air pollution is killing hundreds of thousands of people a year in India.

    So all I would say, Mr. Bryce, to you is that no one predicted how fast natural gas came online in the United States. It was a big change. And the change we’re seeing now that I think will surprise a lot of people is how fast the cost of these clean energy technologies are coming down.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, gentlemen, big subject. We are clearly going to be coming back to it a lot in the future.

    I want to thank both of you, Fred Krupp, Robert Bryce. Thank you.

    ROBERT BRYCE:
    Thank you.

    FRED KRUPP: Thank you.

    The post Will the Paris accord change our climate outlook? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    From L-R, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, President-designate of COP21 and French President Francois Hollande react during the final plenary session at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 12, 2015.     REUTERS/Stephane Mahe  TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY  - RTX1YERL

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon invited world leaders today to come to New York this April to put their signatures on a historic climate accord.

    But there are numerous questions about its practical realities. Six years after a summit in Copenhagen failed to find common ground, the Paris meeting ended with a major blueprint for governments and a message to business.

    Delegates from 195 countries were on their feet after they struck a landmark climate deal in Paris.

    LAURENT FABIUS, French Foreign Minister (through interperter): It’s a small hammer, but I think it will do great things.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, president of the conference, gaveled the deal to extensive applause.

    For the U.N.’s climate chief, it was a moment of success after six years of failure.

    CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: I have been saying for a long time, we must, we can. And I used to say, we will. Today, we can say, we did.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: As delegates left the conference, they cheered the news and looked for the man of the hour, Laurent Fabius, for autographs and pictures.

    The agreement lays out a number of goals and timelines, including keeping the global temperature rise well below 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit. After 2050, manmade emissions should be reduced to a level that forests and oceans can absorb. Wealthy countries are encouraged, but not required to help poorer ones cut emissions, to the tune of pledging at least $100 billion a year. And nations have to report on their emissions and efforts to reduce them.

    Hours after the Paris pact, President Obama chimed in his praise from Washington.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The Paris agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis. It creates the mechanism, the architecture for us to continually tackle this problem in an effective way.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Even so, critics of the deal still abound. In Paris, some protesters said this agreement doesn’t go far enough, citing no penalties for countries that don’t meet their targets.

    And back in the U.S., Republicans in Congress warned the deal will be shredded in 13 months if a Republican is elected president. Utilities and some Republican politicians are also challenging emissions regulations in court.

    The post Paris summit ends with major climate blueprint appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A military investigator from Russia stands near the debris of a Russian airliner at its crash site at the Hassana area in Arish city, north Egypt, November 1, 2015. Egyptian authorities have detained two employees of Sharm al-Sheikh airport in connection with the downing of a Russian jet on October 31, killing all 224 people on board, two security officials said on November 17, 2015. Picture taken November 1, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RTS7I1S

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama today insisted coalition forces are hitting back at Islamic State militants harder than ever. As a result, he said, the group also known as ISIL has lost key leaders and control of large swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territories. The president outlined the progress after meeting at the Pentagon with his national security advisers.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Every day, we destroy as well more of ISIL’s forces, their fighting positions, bunkers, and staging areas, their heavy weapons, bomb-making factories, compounds and training camps.

    In many places, ISIL has lost its freedom of maneuver, because they know, if they mass their forces, we will wipe them out.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The president also called on allies in the Middle East to step up their contributions to the fight.

    Late today, Saudi Arabia announced that it is forming a 34-state Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism. It includes Arab countries like Egypt and Qatar and Islamic countries like Turkey and Pakistan.

    GWEN IFILL: Investigators in Egypt say October’s crash of a Russian passenger jet can’t be called terrorism yet. That’s in direct conflict with Russian, American and British statements that a bomb was probably to blame. A group linked to the Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the Sinai crash that killed all 224 people on board. Egypt’s assessment is a preliminary finding. Their investigation is ongoing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Argentina, at least 43 police officers died today when their bus careened off a bridge, plunging 65 feet into a ravine. The crash occurred near Salta, roughly 1,000 miles north of Buenos Aires. Rescue crews pulled victims from the overturned bus, which was carrying around 60 people. Investigators believe the accident was caused by a ruptured tire.

    GWEN IFILL: Up to 750,000 people have evacuated the Central Philippines as a powerful typhoon made landfall. The storm slammed into a tiny village on the northern tip of Samar Island today, packing wind gusts up to 115 miles per hour. Authorities warned the heavy rain could trigger storm surges, landslides, and coastal flooding of up to 13 feet. There were no — there was no immediate word of casualties.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Official results out today showed France’s Conservative Party held off a challenge by the far-right National Front in the second round of regional elections. The Conservatives, led by former President Nicolas Sarkozy, captured 40 percent of Sunday’s votes. Current President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party won nearly 29 percent, and the National Front took 27 percent.

    Sarkozy warned the far-right’s strong showing in the first round of votes should have everyone on guard.

    PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, France (through interpreter): This mobilization for our candidates in the second round should under no circumstances allow us to forget the warnings which were sent to all political leaders, us included, during the first round of those regional elections.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: While the National front garnered its largest number of votes in any election, it still failed to win a single region in the polls. Last night, its leader, Marine Le Pen, downplayed the loss.

    MARINE LE PEN, National Front Leader (through interpreter): The National Front will be the main force of opposition in the regional councils in France, an opposition which will be constructive, but demanding, because we are free of any associations, an imaginative opposition, because we are free of any interest groups.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The anti-immigration National Front Party had recently seen a rise in popularity in the wake of last month’s deadly Paris attacks.

    GWEN IFILL: In Saudi Arabia, at least 20 women won seats on local councils following the ultra-conservative kingdom’s first election open to female candidates and voters; 2,100 seats were up for grabs in Saturday’s vote, but Saudi women are still banned from driving or making important decisions without the approval of a male relative.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl will face charges of desertion and endangering his fellow troops in a court-martial. Bergdahl walked off his post in Eastern Afghanistan in 2009. He was held captive by the Taliban for five years before being traded for five of the group’s leaders in Guantanamo Bay. He now faces the possibility of life in prison.

    GWEN IFILL: A Baltimore jury today began deliberating the fate of the first police officer to stand trial in the death of Freddie Gray. Officer William Porter was in the police van where Gray sustained his fatal neck injury.

    In closing arguments, prosecutors argued Porter should have properly secured Gray in the vehicle. But his defense said there is no evidence Porter’s actions caused Gray’s death.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Shrimp peeled by enslaved migrant workers and children in Thailand have made their way to all 50 states. An Associated Press investigation found the seafood for sale at major retailers like Wal-Mart and Whole Foods, and on the menu at Red Lobster and Olive Garden. The laborers were often held against their will in unsanitary conditions and paid little to no wages. Many of the American businesses are now condemning the labor abuse and vowing to investigate.

    GWEN IFILL: Most recreational drones will soon be required to register with the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency announced that today, just in time for the holiday gift-giving season. Remote-controlled aircraft weighing between half-a-pound and 55 pounds can be registered on the FAA’s Web site beginning December 21st. That will help authorities track down an owner if a drone collides with another aircraft or ventures too close to an airport.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Stocks closed higher on Wall Street today, boosted in part by strong gains in the oil industry. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 103 points to close at 17368. The Nasdaq rose nearly 19 points,

    The post News Wrap: Egyptian assessment doesn’t call Russian jet crash terror attack appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    businesswoman raising hand, asking question in business conference

    If a company wants the skills and talents it needs to be unique, it had better take responsibility for creating them.

    Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community over the past decade.

    In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards, or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.


    Question: I am responding to your question asking whether or not we, your readers, agree with employers that there is a “skills gap.” I am not sure I can really answer your question, though I will tell you that I have my doubts that there is a skills gap.

    I think what there may be is a training gap. Back in 1986 I was hired by an insurance company as a computer programmer after having completed four years of college (linguistics major), followed by a six-month program in data processing. While I did have training going into the job, the company provided me and my co-workers with a lot of on-the-job training. They had an education department, and we all went through hours, and hours, and hours of paid on-the-job training in computer programming. My understanding about the reason the company did this was because they wanted to train us to do things the way they wanted them done.

    Do you find that kind of thing to be true anymore? Are companies willing to invest in training their employees after they have been hired? Or are companies no longer willing to do that?

    Nick Corcodilos: You’re raising an important question about the so-called “talent and skills shortage.” Who is actually responsible for brewing talent and skills? Job seekers? Schools? Employers themselves?

    It seems clear that most employers believe they should be able to acquire skills ready-made. Despite the fact that the nature of a job depends a lot on a particular company’s business — after all, jobs are not one-size-fits-all-companies — businesses expect that the exact combination of skills they want is going to walk in the door just because they advertised for it.

    The training gap is real
    Consider the embarrassing contradiction: Any company will tell you that it is the most competitive one in its industry, that its products are uniquely the best, that what they deliver isn’t available anywhere else.

    So, why is it they expect the unique talent they want to hire already exists, as if it comes in a can to be purchased on a job board — or that it already exists at a competing company? They might as well admit that their products are the same as everyone else’s.

    If you admit you can get your new hires wholly made from another employer — your competitor — then you might as well tell your customers to shop there, too. If a company wants the skills and talents it needs to be unique, it had better take responsibility for creating them.

    I don’t believe there’s any talent or skills gap. At least in the United States, talent abounds. There’s arguably more talent on the street, looking for work, than ever in history. But to make a worker an element of its unique, competitive edge, the company must make that worker in its own image. It must cast the worker as unique as its products or services. It takes the same kind of investment to brew talent as to brew a competitive product.

    We know for a fact that employers have cut back enormously on training. Wharton researchers have shown that, adjusting for time, technology and other factors, American workers are no less skilled or educated than they’ve ever been. However, employers have all but stopped training employees. Employers own the problem – they created it. (See “Employment in America: WTF is going on?“)

    Wharton’s Peter Cappelli writes in The Wall Street Journal:

    “Unfortunately, American companies don’t seem to do training anymore. Data are hard to come by, but we know that apprenticeship programs have largely disappeared, along with management-training programs. And the amount of training that the average new hire gets in the first year or so could be measured in hours and counted on the fingers of one hand.”

    Goodbye, competitive edge!
    Your 1986 story confirms findings that, not very long ago, employers considered training important. Today, it’s pathetic. It’s embarrassing. It’s shameful. HR departments think they can buy off-the-shelf workers who don’t need or deserve training or skills development, while their marketing departments claim the company’s products are unique, state-of-the-art and without equal. This training gap is the pinnacle of corporate hypocrisy.

    Then there’s the industry that aids and abets it. LinkedIn and other job boards successfully market the astonishing idea that “we have the perfect candidate in our database – just keep looking!” (See “Reductionist Recruiting: A short history of why you can’t get hired — Or, Why LinkedIn gets paid even when jobs don’t get filled.”) Employers buy that bunk sandwich in bulk, and stuff it into their recruiting strategies and hiring policies. They behave as if they can hire “just in time” the “perfect candidate” who has been doing the same job for five years already — at a lower salary.

    What job seeker wants either of those two “qualities” in a new job?

    When employers fail to educate, train and develop their new hires and existing employees, I think they kill their competitive edge. Their customers get cookie-cutter products and services. What this state of affairs tells us is that there’s a talent shortage in corporate leadership. (See “Talent Shortage, Or Poor Management?“)

    As long as employers treat people — that “human resource,” that “human asset” — as a fungible commodity or interchangeable parts to be bought and sold as-is, their products and services will be no better than interchangeable parts sold at the lowest possible price.

    A scrap-heap of “me-too” companies
    Take a look at another article by Peter Cappelli, where he slaps management hard upside the head with this apt analogy:

    “Imagine a car manufacturer that decided to buy a key engine component for its cars rather than make them. The requirements for that component change every year, and if you can’t get one that fits, the car won’t run. What would we say about that manufacturer if it just assumed the market would deliver the new component with the specifications it needed when it needed it and at the price it needed? It would certainly flunk risk management. Yet that’s what these…companies are doing.”

    I think Cappelli answers your question, and I don’t think there’s any debate: Most companies no longer invest in shaping and developing their employees. Their talent-challenged finance executives preach that cost reduction is a better path to profitability than investment. This exacts an enormous price on our economy because it’s relegating those companies to the scrap heap of “me-too” enterprises, and it’s failing our workforce as a whole.

    I also think you highlight the solution: “…the reason the company [provided extensive education and development]… was because they wanted to train us to do things the way they wanted them done.” That’s what gave your employer an edge. No investment in training means no edge.

    Drive on by and keep your edge
    My advice: Keep on truckin’ right past employers that provide no education, training or development to new hires and employees. These are companies that don’t invest in their future success — or yours.

    Go find their able competitors. There are some good ones out there. They’re not easy to find, just like talent isn’t easy to develop. (That’s why you should pursue the best companies — not jobs.) The mark of a truly competitive product is the unique skills and talents a company developed to produce it.

    The next time you interview a company, ask to see their employee training and development plan. If they don’t have a good one, tell them your career plan is to avoid working in a stagnant environment. Flip them a quarter and tell them to call their next candidate, because they probably still have a pay phone in the lunch room.

    Dear Readers: Does your employer provide training and development to give you (and itself) a competitive advantage? When you’re job hunting, do you ask about employee education? If you’re an employer, what kind of training to you do?


    Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “How Can I Change Careers?”, “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

    Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

    Copyright © 2015 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

    The post Ask the Headhunter: America’s training gap is killing our competitive edge appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    People celebrate the passage of the minimum wage for fast-food workers by the New York State Fast Food Wage Board during a rally in New York July 22, 2015.  New York state moved on Wednesday to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 an hour in New York City by the end of 2018 and in the rest of the state by mid-2021. The New York Wage Board, a panel formed by New York governor Cuomo to review the minimum wage for the state's 180,000 fast-food workers, voted unanimously on the pay increase, which would affect some 180,000 workers statewide.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid  - RTX1LEYV

    In July, New York state moved to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 an hour in New York City by the end of 2018 and in the rest of the state by mid-2021. Economist John Komlos explains why we need to raise the minimum wage. Photo by REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
    – RTX1LEYV

    Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and frontrunner-by-far in the Republican presidential primary, asserted callously at the Milwaukee debate that “wages are too high” in this country. Was he fantasizing or was he talking about his own wages? Lucky enough to be born into a millionaire family, how could he know what it feels like to keep one’s head above water as the 1.3 million people working at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour do? Even if one can work full-time, after state and federal taxes and Social Security and Medicare deductions, one is lucky to retain $225 a week or $12,000 a year, which is precisely the threshold of poverty for a single person. Welcome to the world of the working poor. No chance of paying rent and taking care of dependent children on that kind of salary. As a matter of fact, you’d be barely surviving. That’s not any more than the Russian serfs were able to do.

    The billionaire fails to realize that the real minimum wage (that is, the minimum wage adjusted for inflation) has been declining steadily and precipitously. If adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage of 1968 would be $10.90 today. That is a whopping reduction of the federal minimum wage by a third. It’s worth noting that the unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in 1968 with a higher real minimum wage. So the unemployment rate is higher today — at 5 percent — than it was in 1968, while the real minimum wage is lower today than it was in 1968.

    Moreover, the minimum wage in the U.S. is well below that of other advanced countries. The Economist estimates that the minimum wage should be about $12 an hour in the U.S based on our GDP. That makes a lot of sense, especially because $10.90 would put it just where it was in 1968. If we add a little extra to the minimum wage for the growth in productivity, $12 seems to be a conservative estimate of where the lower bound of workers’ wages should be. In addition to the 1.3 million people working at minimum wage, there are another 1.7 million  working below minimum wage (tipped employees) and an additional 21 million employees who are working just above the minimum, but below $10 an hour. They would also be affected, because their pay is pegged to the minimum wage. So an increase in the minimum wage would affect a third of the labor force being paid an hourly basis.

    Those against raising the minimum wage often argue that it will hurt young people the most and that they “need the experience” of working at the minimum wage. But notice that the youth unemployment rate in Germany is 7.8 percent, and in Switzerland, it is 8.5 percent. In contrast, youth unemployment is 15.5 percent in the U.S., even though the U.S.’s minimum wage (using Purchasing Power Parities exchange rates) is below that of these Germany’s and Switzerland’s $10 and $9.20 an hour respectively. In other words, both have higher minimum wages, but much lower youth unemployment rates. Their overall unemployment rate  is also lower: 4.5 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively. The minimum wage makes no difference on unemployment.

    Sadly, the mogul and TV celebrity continued to reveal his ignorance by adding, “we cannot do this [raise the minimum] if we are going to compete with the rest of the world.” That, too, is nonsense, because minimum wage workers are not engaged in the export sector. Do you have a Chinese McDonald’s in your neighborhood? I don’t think so. In fact, most of the people who work for under $10 an hour are working as cashiers at grocery and department stores (1.4 million), retail salespeople (1.1 million), cooks (1 million) and janitors, cleaners, waiters or waitresses (1.5 million) — none of whom work in the export sector. Raising their minimum wage would not hurt our exports at all. Their wages have nothing to do with competing with the rest of the world.

    Trump’s advice to low-wage workers was just as ignorant. “People have to go out; they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum.” He should tell that to the woman who was working so hard to make ends meet that she died from fumes in her car while napping in between shifts. Hard work used to be a means of social mobility, but not anymore. Not on $7.25 hour.

    The brilliant neurosurgeon who is fourth in national polls in a field of 14 candidates weighed in on the discussion, saying, “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.Myths dye hard. But the matter of fact is that there is no evidence to back that assertion, as Alan Krueger of Princeton University told the PBS NewsHour.

    MORE FROM JOHN KOMLOS

    Why trade deals hurt Americans

    One of the reasons that increases in the minimum wage would not have an impact on unemployment is that in today’s economy an increase in minimum wage would come mostly out of profits. And there is plenty of that to go around.

    Think of it this way: You’re running a McDonald’s selling 1,000 hamburgers a day. You make, say, 75 cents on each Big Mac costing $3.99. Will you raise its price by a nickel to $4.04 in order to make up for an increase in the minimum wage? That would be silly, because $4.04 is not an attractive number, and you’d lose too many sales as a consequence. Rather, you’d be satisfied with a lower profit margin on a Big Mac of 70 cents. But you notice that the Big Mac Meal is selling for $5.69; that gives you the opportunity to raise its price to the next attractive number of $5.75 in order to make up for the increased cost of labor. Will the demand for Big Mac Meals decline? It is doubtful that customers will even notice that tiny increase in price. Hence, Krueger concludes, “The net effect is basically no change in overall employment.” Profits might decline slightly, but not on every item. There are offsetting benefits as well: “decently paid workers tend to do a better job.”

    So profits would not be in great jeopardy. Anyhow, the one thing this economy is good at is generating profits with most of it, of course, going to the top 1 percent. Corporate (after-tax) profits are currently ringing the cash register at $1.8 trillion. This equals about all wages and salaries earned by those employed in the manufacturing sector and in all government employment (state, local, federal) combined. That’s quite a lot. Adjusted for inflation, profits increased by a factor of 4.7 since 1968 while minimum wage decreased by a third. That is the best the free market could deliver for the men and women on Main Street.

    Another luminary contending for the spotlight, the Florida whippersnapper Marco Rubio, currently the third runner up, had the brilliant hypothesis that, “If you raise the minimum wage, you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine.” Cashiers are already being replaced by self-checkout machines, but people still need a living wage, Marco!  (Not to mention that a few occupations won’t be displaced any time soon.) All you need to do is to channel some of the exorbitant CEO salaries toward the common worker.

    CEO compensation these days is roughly $7,000 an hour (that is, assuming a 40-hour workweek). In fact, CEO-to-average worker pay has increased by a factor of 15 from the 1960s ratio of 20 to 1 to the present whopping 300 to 1. But in some companies it is astronomical. At Chipotle the ratio is 1,522 to 1. Yes, you read it right. That is not a typo. In some firms, the CEO makes nearly 2,000 times as much as the average worker. At Walmart the ratio is 1,133. Do these CEOs deserve their millions? Not by a long shot. Take the CEO of Coca Cola company. He still pockets $25 million. His rival, the CEO of Pepsico writes a check to himself for $22 million. Yet, I have not heard any of the Republican presidential hopefuls suggest that these millions are hurting our exports. A pittance to the coolies hurts the economy, but the millions to their bosses are quite all right.

    Lest I forget to mention, three-quarters of the population support raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. Even among Republicans there is a majority support for it. Yet, not one of the eight contenders on the podium expressed the slightest empathy for the downtrodden multitude, the American serfs of the 21st century. Not a single one.


    Correction: This article previously stated that the CEO-to-worker pay ratio at Chipotle was 1,951 to 1. It’s since been update to reflect the correct ratio of 1,522 to 1.

    The post Column: Why raising the minimum wage is good economics appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Gerald Ford, pictured here tossing out an opening day pitch in 1976, is widely considered to be one of the healthiest and most athletic presidents in U.S. history.

    Gerald Ford, pictured here tossing out an opening day pitch in 1976, is widely considered to be one of the healthiest and most athletic presidents in U.S. history.

    Donald Trump is in “astonishingly excellent” shape, according to a doctor’s note his campaign released yesterday.

    The 69-year-old Republican presidential front-runner’s “physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,” Dr. Jacob Bornstein, Trump’s longtime personal physician, said in the four-paragraph superlative-packed report.

    Trump doesn’t drink or smoke, has only had one surgery in his life (an appendectomy as a child), and even lost 15 pounds in the last year. (The report didn’t list his height or weight.) In short, Bornstein wrote, Trump would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

    That statement is a claim that deserves closer scrutiny.

    Trump’s doctor offers the candidate’s healthy blood pressure of 110/65, as one piece of evidence. But the real estate tycoon, who will be 70 on Election Day, would be the oldest president in United States history.

    President Barack Obama took time to go for a bike ride with his family during a vacation on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts last August. Obama has been an active exerciser-in-chief during his White House tenure. Photo by Kevin Lamarque

    President Barack Obama, who took time for a family bike ride during his vacation last August, is known for adhering to a daily workout routine. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Age does not define health, but there have been numerous, younger occupants of the White House who were notably more active immediately before or during their tenures in office.

    John Quincy Adams swam naked in the Potomac River every day and lived to be 80 in an era when average life expectancy was well under 50. Teddy Roosevelt was an active outdoorsman and literal Cowboy.

    Gerald Ford was perhaps the most athletic president in the 20th century, and was known for working at a fevered (if occasionally clumsy) pace in the White House. And George W. Bush and Barack Obama have both been avid exercisers-in-chief.

    Trump might have to start training to absolutely prove his doctor’s claim.

    The post Who was the healthiest president ever? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Baltimore Police officer William Porter approaches the court House in Baltimore on Nov. 30. Porter is one of six Baltimore City police officer charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray. Photo by Patrick Samansky/Pool via Reuters

    Baltimore Police officer William Porter approaches the court House in Baltimore on Nov. 30. Porter is one of six Baltimore City police officer charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray. Photo by Patrick Samansky/Pool via Reuters

    Baltimore jurors were deadlocked Tuesday in the trial of one of six police officers charged with the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who sustained a fatal spinal injury in April while in police custody.

    After nine hours of deliberation over the past two days, the jurors were dismissed until Wednesday by Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams.

    Officer William G. Porter, 26, faces charges of manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct. He is the first of six police officers to go to court after Maryland’s state attorney Marilyn Mosby filed criminal charges against the officers in May. She accused them of failing, multiple times, to get the handcuffed Gray medical attention after he suffered a spinal injury in the back of a police van during the 45-minute ride to the station. Gray died a week later from the injury. All six officers have pleaded not guilty.

    Prosecutors said Porter should have buckled Gray into his seat and radioed in a need for a medic, similar assessments Mosby made when she announced, after reviewing an independent autopsy report and eyewitness accounts, that the state ruled Gray’s death a homicide. Prosecutors said these decisions turned the van into a “casket on wheels.”

    Porter’s defense attorneys said it was the van’s driver — and not Porter — who was supposed to buckle Gray into a seat belt.

    When Porter took the stand in his own defense last week, he said Gray “was unable to give me any reason for any kind of medical emergency” before he arrived at the station critically injured.

    Gray’s death sparked weeks of unrest in the city, despite repeated calls for calm by his mother and community leaders.

    Bracing for further unrest following a verdict in this case, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she activated the city’s emergency operations center on Monday “out of an abundance of caution.”

    Last week, she said the city needed to “respect the process,” no matter what the jury decided.

    “If some choose to demonstrate to express their opinion, that is their right, and we respect that right, and we will fight to protect it,” the mayor said. “But all of us today agree that the unrest from last spring is not acceptable.”

    The post Baltimore jury deadlocked in first Freddie Gray case appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    MARRAKECH, MOROCCO - DECEMBER 04:  Bill Murray attends the Tribute To Bill Murray during the 15th Marrakech International Film Festival on December 4, 2015 in Marrakech, Morocco.  (Photo by Dominique Charriau/Wireimage)

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    GWEN IFILL: Actor Bill Murray is enjoying a renaissance. He has a new Netflix comedy special, and The New York Times recently declared him a pop culture icon.

    It turns out Murray is also a poet.

    And, as special correspondent Francesca Maxime reports, he’s found a home at New York City’s Poets House.

    DAN AYKROYD, Actor: I think we better split up.

    HAROLD RAMIS, Actor: Good idea.

    BILL MURRAY, Actor: Yes. We can do more damage that way.

    FRANCESCA MAXIME:
    This is the Bill Murray we know, the actor, the comedian, the one who makes us laugh.

    BILL MURRAY: He slimed me.

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: But there’s also the Bill Murray we aren’t as familiar with, one who trades comedic lines for lines of poetry at a yearly benefit for Poets House.

    BILL MURRAY: “What the Mirror Said” by Lucille Clifton.

    “Listen, you a wonder. You a city of a woman. You got a geography of your own. Listen, somebody need a map to understand you. Somebody need directions to move around you.”

    I used to be able to look in the mirror and see who’s there. You know, who’s there? And, sometimes, it’s a reminder that there’s no one there at all. There’s not very much there. And, sometimes, there’s someone that gives me confidence.

    And I feel that that poem is about someone who has an inner — you know, a self-confidence that’s bigger than — that can’t be contained in the frame of a mirror.

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: Murray loves poetry so much, he wants to share some of that confidence with poets, writers, and readers. His support of Poets House, a nonprofit library and cultural center in New York City, has helped make classes and writing workshops like this one possible.

    MAN: What we should be doing in the poem is, like, thinking about the way information is released at every step of the way throughout the poem. Now, how do we do that?

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: One way to do that, according to Poets House executive director Lee Briccetti, is having all kinds of poetry available to read, for free, under one roof.

    LEE BRICCETTI, Executive Director, Poets House: It is really the national poetry collection. We have collected, for the last 25 years, absolutely comprehensively. You can walk in and have an experience that almost doesn’t exist anymore, especially doesn’t exist for poetry.

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: Poets House sits along the waterfront in Lower Manhattan, boasting a 60,000-volume public library, exhibition space, reading room, and children’s room. Every year, it collects and displays hundreds of books from publishers in its annual showcase, which assembles all American poetry published in one year in one place.

    Still, some critics argue that the location isn’t gritty enough.

    LEE BRICCETTI: I have to say, we were worried ourselves. And it’s more diverse. Our audiences have tripled. This is an affluent community. And so we really worked hard at making sure that our doors are open to everyone, that we really make sure that there are free class trips, and that we program in an incredibly diverse way that invites everyone in.

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: While Poets House offers many in-house programs, others take place out in the community. We went to their Poetry Walk across Brooklyn Bridge this summer, which is how Bill Murray first encountered Poets House years ago.

    While the Poetry Walk has been going on for 20 years, it keeps getting bigger and bigger every single year. This year, hundreds of people came out in order to hear Richard Blanco recite Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”

    RICHARD BLANCO, Poet: “We love you. There is perfection in you also. You furnish your parts toward eternity. Great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul.”

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: At Poets House, Oscar-nominated and Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriters and poets rub elbows with everyday visitors and fresh creative writers like Aziza Barnes, who learned about Poets House from a friend.

    AZIZA BARNES, Poet: I would start coming here, and I would always run into somebody I loved here, like, no matter what. And I was like, OK, I think this is a rich place.

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: Barnes became a Poets House emerging fellow in 2015. The fellowship included a stipend and writing workshops, with some of the country’s leading poets serving as mentors. There, she wrote the poem entitled “Self-Portrait.”

    AZIZA BARNES: “Only the turn of cement can arc black. I am blue damage, mother-gut and tower. Truth, we are all for rent, red, lined systems. The door out is green and full.”

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: What was it like being an emerging fellow with a bunch of other young poets here at Poets House?

    AZIZA BARNES: I think — I think that, especially in the class I was in, there’s, like, not really that much of an interest in ego, in like I’m a good poet because I wrote the thing that was published in the thing.

    It was more like, I’m here to be a student of this for the rest of my life.

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: Cultivating that lifelong learning is just what the Poets House co-founders sought.

    Stanley Kunitz, who was twice poet laureate of the United States, and arts administrator Elizabeth Kray, had a vision.

    LEE BRICCETTI:
    They felt that poets were lonely in this culture and needed a place to gather, to meet, to be nurtured.

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: Like other nonprofits, Poets House requires public and private financial support to keep its doors open.

    AZIZA BARNES: A lot of the world would like to make you believe that the work you’re doing is not important, will not change anything, particularly the arts. But I think it’s like the only thing that survives about culture for real. And, like, people do need it.

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: Including Cornelius Eady, a poet, professor, and co-founder of Cave Canem, a national organization for African-American poets which rented space from Poets House years ago to provide those writers with a safe place to create art and build community.

    CORNELIUS EADY, Co-Founder, Cave Canem: Validation is really one of things that’s so incredibly important and that Poets House continuously sends out into the world as a message, a great big yes.

    FRANCESCA MAXIME: What is poetry to you, in a word?

    BILL MURRAY: I think it just gives me an opportunity to, you know, hear some sort of voice of the soul. Sort of the soul of a poet, it’s all of our soul.

    This one’s by Billy Collins. It’s called “The Moon.”

    And if you wanted to follow this example, tonight would be the night to carry some tiny creature outside and introduce him to the moon.

    FRANCESCA MAXIME:
    In New York, I’m Francesca Maxime for the PBS NewsHour.

    The post Why Bill Murray gets up to recite poetry every year appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A section of the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm is pictured in Tehachapi, California June 19, 2013.    REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni  (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENERGY) - RTX10UQR

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    GWEN IFILL: The historic climate change accord in Paris is expected to give a further boost to wind, solar and other forms of energy that are less dependent on fossil fuels that cause greenhouse gases.

    Some observers think it will change the business model for energy in the decades to come.

    But when it comes to renewable energy, there’s a crucial technological gap that is no small hurdle.

    Science correspondent Miles O’Brien has our report.

    MILES O’BRIEN: A hundred miles north of Los Angeles, in Tehachapi, California, the wind can be a bountiful resource, but, unfortunately, not at the right time. It blows hardest at night, spooling up these wind turbines to their peak output, when the demand for electricity is at it lowest.

    DOUG KIM, Southern California Edison: So, matching the output of wind to when customers really need it, that’s certainly one of the things that we’re looking at with this system that you see here, because you can store energy.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Doug Kim is the director of advanced technology for Southern California Edison. The utility built this eight megawatt lithium-ion battery facility, designed to store electricity generated by the turbines.

    DOUG KIM: We can certainly use this for an example, when the wind blows during the nighttime, capture that energy during the nighttime and then use it during the daytime, when the demand is high.

    MILES O’BRIEN: The batteries, stacked in racks here, are equivalent to about 2,000 electric cars. It is the start of Edison’s effort to meet a state-mandated requirement to add 580 megawatts of energy storage into the grid by 2020.

    It’s part of a big push to invent ways to practically store huge amounts of electricity, so that renewables so can become a more than fringe players on the grid.

    DONALD SADOWAY, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: If we don’t treat the intermittency of renewables, they’re — they’re not really a solution.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Electrochemist Donald Sadoway is a professor at MIT. He says lithium-ion batteries are not the answer; they pose a serious fire risk, and, as any laptop and cell phone user knows, their performance degrades fast as a speeding Tesla. In short, they are way too expensive and impractical for widespread usage on the grid.

    But what are the alternatives?

    DONALD SADOWAY: The issue is that we don’t have a battery technology that can meet the rigorous performance requirements of the grid, namely, super low-cost and super long service lifetime.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Dr. Sadoway has spent 30 years working in electrometallurgy. So, no surprise that is where he found his inspiration, specifically in the aluminum smelting process.

    DONALD SADOWAY: So, an aluminum smelter makes metal from dirt for less than 50 cents a pound and consumes huge quantities of electricity. And I looked at that and thought, man, if I could take that thing and teach it not to consume electricity, but to store electricity and then to give it back on demand, I know, at the end of the day, it’s going to be cheap.

    MILES O’BRIEN: That was 10 years ago. Today, Dr. Sadoway is on the cusp of bringing a novel liquid battery to market through a startup he founded called Ambri.

    DONALD SADOWAY: OK. So, let’s draw the battery.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Dr. Sadoway gave me a chalk talk on how his battery works. It is layered like a parfait, with a low-density liquid metal at the top, a high-density liquid metal at the bottom, and molten salt in between.

    DONALD SADOWAY: And the way the battery works is the metal on the top wants to form a solution with the metal on the bottom. We call it alloy.

    MILES O’BRIEN: That interaction creates a flow of ions, electrical current. As it discharges, the top layer gets thinner and thinner. When the sun is shining on solar photovoltaic panels or the wind is spinning turbines, the process is reversed.

    DONALD SADOWAY: It reconstitutes itself every time that it recharges, which means that, unlike other batteries, which will reduce their run time with use, our battery just keeps on running. Show me another battery that can do that.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Actually, it might be just few miles down Massachusetts Avenue in a lab at Harvard.

    MICHAEL AZIZ, Harvard University: We took one of these and we charged and discharged it 700 times — and if you think about doing that once a day, that’s two years — without any real sign of degradation of the molecules.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Engineering professor Michael Aziz is developing a so-called flow battery. Flow batteries consist of two separate tanks filled with chemicals, one negative, one positive. The chemicals are pumped past each other into the battery.

    When wind turbines or solar panels are generating power, they charge the battery, pulling electrons from the positive, and pushing them into the negative. When the battery is turned on, the flow of electrons reverses, generating electricity.

    MICHAEL AZIZ: The advantage of a flow battery is, if you want more energy, you just have bigger tanks of chemicals. And that’s possibly a much cheaper way of getting the high amounts of energy than stacking up banks and banks of batteries.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Flow batteries powered by a rare, expensive metal called vanadium have been around for a while. But Aziz is building his battery with benign chemicals that are cheap and plentiful.

    MICHAEL AZIZ: They’re organic molecules. They’re made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, earth-abundant elements like that, and they’re really very inexpensive.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Rhubarb.

    MICHAEL AZIZ: So, we noted in our publication that the molecule we’re using is very, very, very close to one that’s in rhubarb.

    MILES O’BRIEN: So what on earth could be cheaper than a rhubarb battery? Maybe one that runs on air.

    DANIELLE FONG, Founder, LightSail: This is version one. Version — this is it. This is version one. We — the technology, we’re calling it, regenerative air energy storage.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Danielle Fong was all of 20 when she is co-founded a Berkeley, California, startup called LightSail. Eight years, and $70 million later, the company has developed a half-megawatt prototype system that pumps air into a tank when an intermittent power source is in operation.

    DANIELLE FONG: By the time it gets to the end, it’s at 200 atmospheres. So that’s, in units of pressure, 3,000 pounds per square inch. It’s really a lot. When you want to get the energy back, you have a valve open. As the piston is drawing back, the valve closes, and then the air expands, and it drives the piston, which drives the crankshaft, which drives a generator, which produces AC power.

    MILES O’BRIEN: LightSail is developing lighter, cheaper tanks made of composites to hold the highly compressed air. Up until now, the stumbling block for this idea has been managing the heat. Air at high pressure gets extremely hot.

    LightSail’s breakthrough idea? Inject water droplets at the perfect size into the compression cylinder to cool the air. LightSail says it’s possible to store all the power required to run an average American home for a day, 30 kilowatt hours, in a tank of compressed air the size of a refrigerator.

    DANIELLE FONG: There’s more than enough wind and more than enough solar to handle everything that we need. That’s for sure.

    But the important question is, how do we, in parallel, build wind and solar resources along with energy storage, so that there is the right amount at every time? Right now, I would argue there is sort of like too much wind and solar, and not enough storage.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Not even close. And the task is large. Bill Gates estimates all the batteries that currently exist in the world could power global electrical consumption for 10 minutes.

    DONALD SADOWAY: People know that the battery is the missing piece. Without a battery, renewables are incomplete.

    MILES O’BRIEN: But rising global demand for electricity, along with rising concern about climate change, may soon lead researchers to the missing puzzle piece, giving electricity some shelf life.

    Miles O’Brien, the PBS NewsHour, Tehachapi, California.

    The post How building a better battery would change the game for renewable energy appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Businessman reading newspaper in hotel lobby

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    GWEN IFILL: Newsrooms across the country have long been accused of failing to represent the communities they cover. And as racial concerns continue to rise to the surface across the country, who is telling those stories?

    That’s the question being raised by one group of journalists, and the topic of the latest installment of special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s solutions-based series “Race Matters.”

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Race nowadays is all over the news media, not at least coverage of protests in places like Ferguson, Baltimore and New York.

    But the media are also taking hits from critics, especially those who complain of a lack of fairness or consistency, again, when it comes to issues involving race.

    Richard Prince is a journalist focusing on race and diversity in his thrice-weekly online column “Journalism.” It runs on the Web site of the Maynard Institute, the sponsoring organization started in the wake of the mid-’60s riots and aimed at trying to correct the lack of stories relating to race and diversity.

    We met Prince at the Newseum, a Washington, D.C.-based institution that’s home to examples of media committed to fairness and balance in their coverage of race and diversity.

    Richard Prince, thank you for joining us.

    RICHARD PRINCE, The Maynard Institute: So glad to be here.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Your column carries a lot of articles about journalists who are themselves complaining about fairness in media. What’s your take on the criticisms of media and their issues?

    RICHARD PRINCE: I don’t think there is any more criticism of the media than there has ever been. It’s just that we get to hear it now and see it instantaneously.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Well, you’re a little younger than I am, but I remember the presidential commission that reported on the riots in the mid-’60s. And it blamed the media for not having enough people or any people at all in the neighborhoods where people were simmering over few — lack of jobs, poor education, no opportunities.

    And it said that you have got to get more African-Americans or people from those neighborhoods in the media.

    What happened?

    RICHARD PRINCE: Well, since that time, there was a great push, as you say, after the Kerner Commission report of 1968.

    All through the ’70s, diversity was a great buzzword. And then in the ’80s, you started getting a backlash to affirmative action and that kind of thing. Then you had the recession, which meant that newsrooms had to sort of tighten up and not hire as many people, start laying people off, and the Internet, which made things worse, because it took away a lot of the revenue base of newspapers particularly.

    And so diversity sort of went off the table. And so now we are sort of in a stagnant situation, where the — I think of newspapers, for example, and online outlets. We have 13 percent of the newsrooms now are people of color, whereas the population has a third people of color.

    So there’s a big gap there.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT:
    So there continues to be this black-white divide in racial discourse. How much of that is the fault of the media?

    RICHARD PRINCE: Well, of course, one of the purposes of the news media, and particularly of newspapers and local television stations, is to have different parts of the community talking with each other.

    I think there are a lot of news organizations that do take that role very seriously, less so with others. It also depends on the staff you have and how aggressive they are in demanding of their editors that certain things be covered.

    And, logically, the more people you have of color there, or good-thinking people who are not of color, the better the coverage will be.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But are we losing people of color as the — as you have the consolidation of media?

    RICHARD PRINCE: Yes.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: And what’s going to be the result of that?

    RICHARD PRINCE: Well, because of all the layoffs and buyouts and everything, that African-American journalists particularly have been harder-hit than others.

    But, you know, covering people of color and communities of color is not just the responsibility of the journalists of color on the staff. It’s everyone’s responsibility. So, if you have people, white people, white journalists who care about this issue, then it will get done.

    And we have — saw a good example of that, and when a crisis happens such as in Charleston, South Carolina, with the church shooting, where that newspaper there had actually decreased in diversity, but they still did a good job, according to most estimates, because they cared and they put their nose to the grindstone.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But do you think there should be a specific race beat? And, if so, who should — who should have it?

    (LAUGHTER)

    RICHARD PRINCE: You can have a specific race beat, but you can also make it everyone’s responsibility.

    And at another conference, Paul Cheung, who is the head of the Asian American Journalists Association, he recommended that, when you do these race projects, you have — you make them integrated, so that the white journalists learn a lot about what’s going on in the communities of color, and they can learn also from their colleagues of color.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, when you look at the landscape of media today, how hopeful are you that the media are going to live up to your hopes and the hopes of those journalists of color and others who are writing to you and complaining that the media are not doing their job?

    RICHARD PRINCE: Right.

    Well, I think that there is just too much indifference to the whole idea of diversity. Yes, we will do it if we get to it. I mean, the number of newsrooms in this country that have no people of color at all in them is appalling. And the fact that it’s allowed to remain, I think is scandalous.

    But we’re fighting apathy, indifference and competing interests. And people are saying, look, I have to worry about the bottom line. And they don’t realize that the bottom line is tied to the changing — our changing country that’s becoming browner and browner. And that’s where your potential customers are.

    And so you better learn how to relate to them if you want to stay in business.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But after the Kerner Commission report…

    RICHARD PRINCE: Yes.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: … newspapers, and then there were only three networks, invested in educating African-Americans to live up to what the Kerner Commission said. You need more people from those communities.

    RICHARD PRINCE: Yes. Yes.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Anybody doing that today?

    RICHARD PRINCE:
    There are internship programs at a lot of the networks. Even FOX News has an apprenticeship program for people of color, something that might surprise folks who think of FOX News in a different way.

    (LAUGHTER)

    RICHARD PRINCE: And FOX News also has a separate Web site, FOX News Latino, to reach Hispanics, English-speaking Hispanics. And that was just praised and got an award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

    So, when — when people see that — the business imperative, as well as everything else, I mean, I think that’s when you get action.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Well, you’re not as pessimistic as some of the people you report on, but, still, you say there are things that need to be done.

    So what are the solutions?

    RICHARD PRINCE: There are a lot of other answers, too.

    Like, the American Society of News Editors has a program where they go out into communities and they interact with community folks and they give them a chance to talk to the media. And there’s a lot of exchanges of ideas there.

    The University of Missouri, Mizzou, just said they were going to have diversity — a diversity initiative required for all students, faculty members and staff members. This creates a climate so that, when people actually do enter the work force, they will be more aware of the need for inclusiveness and the need for covering what needs to be covered.

    There are a lot of solutions that people are trying. And, as people say, if one thing doesn’t work, then you just try something else.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Well, Richard Prince, thank you.

    RICHARD PRINCE: Thank you.

    The post What stagnant diversity means for America’s newsrooms appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Couple signing contract

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    GWEN IFILL: But, first, a battle is brewing over proposed rules about the advice that financial advisers can give their customers.

    The fight is one of several big dividing lines this week on Capitol Hill, and it’s spilled into the spending standoff as well. The deadline to pass a new spending bill is tomorrow.

    William Brangham has been speaking with several of the key players as we get closer to the deadline, and he joins me now.

    So, this has finally percolated its way to Congress, but what is at the root of this dispute, William?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM:
    The root of this dispute is that the Department of Labor wants to change the rules governing retirement advisers.

    And these are people you go to if you need help with your 401(k) or rolling over your IRA, things like that. And the Department of Labor wants to change it so that all these advisers have to have what is called the best interests of their client at heart.

    Now, many of us might think, well, doesn’t my adviser already have my best interest at heart? And most of them do, but not all of them, and not all of them are legally required to do so.

    So, that can sometimes mean that you might get sold a plan that has a lot of higher fees that is maybe not the best plan for your retirement future. And so the Department of Labor wants to say, OK, put your clients’ interests ahead of you, ahead of your own across the board.

    And, yesterday, I talked to the labor secretary, Thomas Perez, and here’s what he had to say about this.

    THOMAS PEREZ, Secretary of Labor: This is not a case of people with malice in their heart who are trying to screw people. This is a case about a system that’s structurally flawed.

    The incentives are misaligned. Under the current standard, which is a so-called suitability standard, I can have four or five different products that are so-called suitable for you. And what happens? Well, the product that generates the most commission for the salesperson is the product that invariably gets sold.

    And so the consumer loses, and the salesperson wins.

    GWEN IFILL: So, William, the consumer loses and the salesperson wins, as Secretary Perez says. How much money are we talking about here?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The White House estimates that $17 billion is lost every single year by advisers who are getting what they call this conflicted advice, where you’re sold something where the fees are higher than they should be or that is just not the optimal plan for you.

    And the complicated issue here is that there is a dizzying array of retirement options out there. And it’s very difficult for people to know where to turn, so naturally they seek advice.

    One of the advocates that I spoke with likened this to when you’re driving down the road in your car, and, all of a sudden, you hear a big bang coming out of your engine. You take it to one mechanic and he says, that’s $1,500 because you have got to replace your transmission.

    Take it to another mechanic, he says, oh, it’s $1.99 for a spark plug.

    Unless you’re an auto mechanic, you just don’t know, well, who’s right and who’s wrong. And some of the advocates argue that financial advice is the same way.

    Dennis Kelleher, the CEO of an advocacy group called Better Markets, put this way.

    DENNIS KELLEHER, President, Better Markets: So, it’s perfectly reasonable to get advice for such complex matters. The problem is that it’s not transparent.

    You — the person doesn’t know, what are the 20 or 30 different types of products available? What are the fees? How do they perform over time? And am I getting a high-cost product that’s going to perform poorly or a low-cost product that will perform better? And you are never going to know because you never see the alternative.

    GWEN IFILL: The industry obviously is not taking this lying down. They are going to continue to fight this, and they’re spending a lot of money on it.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The industry has spent already millions of dollars trying to torpedo these rules.

    They put a rider in the current omnibus spending bill that is going to try to eliminate the ability of the Department of Labor to introduce this, and they are arguing that these rules are unnecessary, that they’re going to overly burden the industry, people will not get the advice that they need, and that this is just an unnecessary set of rules.

    GWEN IFILL: You talked to Kevin Mayeux, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers spokesmen. Let’s hear what he said.

    KEVIN MAYEUX, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers: Financial advisers that are successful are constantly acting in the best interests of their clients, because, if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be in business anymore.

    There is already ample opportunity to discipline bad actors. And the cost of the complying with a complex federal regulation that is 1,000 pages in length is just going to make it prohibitive for companies to put their advisers on the street to help clients and for advisers to be able to access clients to give them an array of options from which they can choose.

    GWEN IFILL: When the industry talks about the cost of compliance, how burdensome are they saying these regulations would be?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: They say that they are very burdensome. They say this is 1,000 pages of regulations, and maybe big firms can handle the compliance costs of that, but smaller advisers can’t, and that some of those advisers might look at this and say, I’m getting out of this business.

    GWEN IFILL: So, what do you if you’re something who is just depending on your financial adviser to handle your nest egg? What do you do now?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Well, if you really want to know whether or not they’re looking out for you, you can ask.

    It’s an awkward conversation, but you can literally say to your adviser, do you have the legal obligation to look out for my best interests? Now, if they say, I don’t have the legal obligation, it doesn’t mean they are going to try swindle you necessarily.

    But if they say they do have that obligation, then chances are you can be more comfortable with that. But if you already have a plan, and you’re wondering, was this a good plan, did I get sold a bill of goods, you can take it to someone like a certified financial planner or a registered financial adviser, people who do have that legal obligation, and say, review this for me. Tell me, is this a good plan for me or not?

    GWEN IFILL: William Brangham, thank you very much.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Thank you.

    The post Can you trust your financial adviser? Labor Department wants new rules appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Lone activist Jonathan Brown, of Baltimore, stands outside of the courthouse in Baltimore, December 15, 2015.  Protestors and media gathered awaiting the verdict in the trial of Officer William Porter, one of six officer charged connection with the death of Freddie Gray.  REUTERS/Bryan Woolston - RTX1YSKX

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    GWEN IFILL: In Baltimore, residents and officials are anxiously awaiting a verdict in the first trial in the death of Freddie Gray. It has exposed deep cracks in the city’s criminal justice system, race relations and economic divide. The case has its roots in the April arrest of 25-year-old Freddie Gray and his death a week later.

    After police detained him on a North Baltimore street, Gray was handcuffed and loaded into a police van. Either then, or during the subsequent multiple-stop 45-minute ride, he suffered what would become a fatal spinal injury.

    PROTESTER: Every day, every day!

    PROTESTERS: We will fight for Freddie Gray!

    GWEN IFILL: Gray’s death galvanized large protests and neighborhood unrest, despite appeals for calm by his mother and community leaders.

    GLORIA DARDEN, Freddie Gray’s mother: I want you all to get justice for my son, but don’t do it like this here. Don’t tear up the whole city, man. Just for him? It’s wrong.

    GWEN IFILL: Eventually, thousands of National Guard troops were called in to stabilize the city and enforce a week-long curfew. State’s attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six police officers in May, accusing them of failing to do anything to prevent Gray’s death.

    MARILYN MOSBY, State’s Attorney, Baltimore: At no point was he secured by a seat belt while in the wagon, contrary to a BPD general order. Despite Mr. Gray’s seriously deteriorating medical condition, no medical assistance was rendered or summoned for Mr. Gray at that time by any officer.

    GWEN IFILL: Officer William Porter, the first of the six to go to court, stands accused of manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct.

    During his two-week trial, prosecutors blamed him for failing to buckle Gray into a seat belt, and for not calling for an ambulance. They told the jury of seven women and five men that Porter’s inaction effectively turned the police van into a casket on wheels.

    In his own defense, Porter said, when he checked, Gray didn’t seem injured, and his lawyers argued the vehicle’s driver, not Porter, was supposed to ensure Gray was belted in. Now police are braced for potential trouble after a verdict, and the head of the city’s public schools has issued a letter to the community warning students that, “Walkouts, vandalism, civil disorder and any form of violence are not acceptable.”

    Right now, the larger issue is the potential for a mistrial. This afternoon, jurors sent out a note saying they are deadlocked. Judge Barry Williams ordered them to continue deliberating.

    That jury has gone home now after a second day of deliberations without reaching a verdict.

    Juliet Linderman covers Baltimore for the Associated Press. She has been at the trial, and she joins me now.

    Of course, we have to talk first about this deadlock. What do we know about it, Juliet?

    JULIET LINDERMAN, Associated Press: So, the jury went home for the day around 5:30, and they had been deliberating for two days. This was the second day. They had been deliberating for about nine hours when they sent the judge a note saying that they were deadlocked.

    It’s unclear on what charges they are deadlocked or how many jurors are disagreeing, but the judge did send them back into the jury room and said they should continue deliberations. So, they will continue tomorrow morning.

    GWEN IFILL: Has the jury signaled in any other way, sent out any other queries about what it is that they’re curious about, what — that they could reach a deadlock kind of quickly after only two days of deliberation?

    JULIET LINDERMAN: Sure. Sure.

    Well, they did request transcripts of William Porter’s testimony that he gave to investigators on April 17. They also wanted the police transmission tapes. The judge denied their request for transcripts, but the jurors will be able to view those tapes.

    The jurors have also asked for clarification on certain terms, particularly in regards to the misconduct in office charge. They wanted clarification on, you know, what an evil motive might mean, so there’s a chance that they are mulling over that charge, but beyond that would be speculative. We really don’t know what they’re doing so far.

    GWEN IFILL: What does an evil motive mean in this legal case?

    JULIET LINDERMAN: Sure.

    Well, there are four charges that William Porter faces. And that’s reckless endangerment, which is basically a wanton disregard for human life, that William Porter’s inaction caused the risk of injury and death. So the manslaughter charge stems from Freddie Gray’s death and the assault charge stems from his injuries.

    Misconduct in office is a little bit more complicated, because jurors are going to have to determine whether William Porter acted in a corrupt manner and whether he, you know, failed in his duty as an officer, knowingly failed in that duty. So it’s a bit more complicated, and jurors are probably really considering that charge very carefully.

    GWEN IFILL: And I gather there has been no lack of drama in the courtroom, including the putting down of a seat belt on the table to demonstrate to the jurors.

    JULIET LINDERMAN: Sure.

    GWEN IFILL: Tell me about that.

    JULIET LINDERMAN: Absolutely.

    Prosecutors — the prosecutor, Jan Bledsoe, she did dangle the bloody seat belt in front of jurors. They say that William Porter was criminally negligent when he failed to seat belt Freddie Gray in the back of the van, and they wanted to convey to jurors that that was an intentional decision that he made, and that he ignored Freddie Gray when he was asking for medical attention.

    Of course, William Porter told jurors that he didn’t think that Freddie Gray was injured, that he was showing no signs of distress at all, and that he told his supervisor that he needed to go to the hospital.

    So that’s basically how it’s playing out right now. And jurors are going to have to decide what to believe. William Porter did take the stand in his own defense for more than four hours. And during closing arguments, prosecutors portrayed William Porter as perhaps not telling the truth. And so jurors are going to have to decide whether they believed his testimony.

    GWEN IFILL: Whether he was credible or not.

    But remind us. Since there are six people charged, what exact role was William Porter? He wasn’t the driver of the van.

    JULIET LINDERMAN: He wasn’t the driver of the van.

    So, William Porter basically responded to a call for help. He was present at five of the six stops that the transport vehicle carrying Freddie Gray made on its almost 45-minute trip from the site of the arrest at the Gilmor Homes in West Baltimore to the Western District police station, where Freddie Gray arrived unresponsive.

    Basically, the stop that is really at the center of this trial is the van’s fourth stop at Druid Hill and Dolphin, when William Porter checked on Gray, and he picked Gray up from the floor of the transport van, where he was lying on his stomach with his legs shackled and his wrists restrained in flexi-cuffs, and he put him on a bench, upright onto a bench.

    And in Porter’s words, he told the van driver, Caesar Goodson, whose trial is coming up early next year, that Mr. Gray needed to go to a hospital. But prosecutors say that Porter should have called for a medic immediately after Gray indicated that he was in any sort of distress.

    GWEN IFILL: So, OK, let’s talk about what effect this has had on the city of Baltimore. We know what the immediate impact was right after — just before the charges were brought, right after the charges were brought. But what kind of — where is the city tonight, I guess?

    JULIET LINDERMAN: Sure.

    Well, the city is absolutely bracing for a verdict. Police — there is a police presence in Baltimore. There was a presence in Baltimore today. Police officers from Baltimore and from surrounding jurisdictions were seen staging around the city.

    There is a crowd of protesters that had gathered outside of the courthouse this evening. There are demonstrations planned for whenever the verdict does come down and also for the following day.

    So I think the city can absolutely expect demonstrations. And the police department is preparing for any sort of civil unrest that we might see in the coming days.

    GWEN IFILL: Are any of the people who are organizing these protests are counseling peaceful protests over violent protests?

    JULIET LINDERMAN: Absolutely.

    As we — you discussed before, the public school CEO sent a letter to all families, public school families, basically saying that civil disobedience was not going to be tolerated, that there would be consequences. And that included student walkouts.

    There have been peaceful protests. And students have played a large role in those protests. In October, students — students staged a sit-in, in city hall that went late into the night. Some were arrested. Several students were arrested, but it was a peaceful demonstration.

    And so the students are urging for that kind of peaceful civil disobedience, I think, in the coming days. And the mayor has also been outspoken, urging residents to remain peaceful as we come into the verdict whenever it comes down.

    GWEN IFILL: OK.

    Well, I know that you will be in the courtroom watching for that.

    Juliet Linderman of the Associated Press, thank you.

    JULIET LINDERMAN: Thank you.

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    Republican U.S. presidential candidates Marco Rubio (L), Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz greet the crowd at the Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines, Iowa November 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich - RTX1V439

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    GWEN IFILL: Tonight marks the fifth time Republican candidates will face off on the debate stage, but it will be the first time they have met since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

    Political director Lisa Desjardins reports.

    LISA DESJARDINS: National security, it’s now the dominant theme for 2016 in speech after speech.

    DONALD TRUMP, Republican Presidential Candidate: We don’t feel safe anymore.

    LISA DESJARDINS: From one news conference to the next.

    SEN. TED CRUZ, Republican Presidential Candidate: We are, today, in a time of war.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Again and again in TV appearances.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO, Republican Presidential Candidate: They’re afraid of what they’re reading in the press.

    LISA DESJARDINS: The attacks on Paris and San Bernardino have fueled the new urgency. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll lists national security as the clear number one priority of all voters; 40 percent chose it. But the number was even greater for Republican voters; 58 percent said fighting terror should be government’s top priority.

    The candidates have been quick to react, and a campaign that was focused on outsiders is now highlighting the experience of some establishment candidates, putting those with less foreign policy background on their heels.

    Former front-runner Ben Carson starting losing support after one of his advisers told The New York Times that the neurosurgeon has a weak grasp on foreign policy. Then today, Carson, trying to regain momentum, released a plan to protect America. But look at point number seven: a call to investigate the Council on American-Islamic Relations, known as CAIR, as a — quote — “supporter of terrorism.”

    The group, a leading advocate for American Muslims, fired back in a statement, calling Carson’s remarks Islamophobia.

    With Carson struggling, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, more steeped in security policy, are gaining with conservatives. One sits on the Senate’s Judiciary and Armed Services Committees, the other on the Foreign Relations and Intelligence panels. Now the two are turning their fire on each other.

    Cruz, who’s surging in the polls, has tried to cast Rubio as authoritarian.

    SEN. TED CRUZ: When it comes to foreign policy, he wants as much power in Washington as possible. And he has agreed with John McCain, and Lindsey Graham, and, for that matter, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, that we should keep sticking our nose in foreign entanglements where the results of their policies has made America less safe.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Rubio, in turn, has cast Cruz as bad for the military.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Given the choice between neo-isolationism or the defense of our country, he’s chosen neo-isolationism, whether it’s weakening our intelligence-gathering capabilities, or voting against the defense bills, or voting against for a budget that substantially reduces our defense spending. Now, these are facts.

    LISA DESJARDINS: While they duke it out, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is also on the rise, stressing his time as a federal prosecutor.

    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, Republican Presidential Candidate: I was, you know, in charge of having to make many of those decisions in my office for seven years as U.S. attorney.

    LISA DESJARDINS: The new security focus, of course, also sparked Donald Trump’s call to block Muslims from entering the country, and that prompted new criticism from some of his opponents, like Ohio Governor John Kasich.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH, Republican Presidential Candidate: Look, people don’t buy this.

    LISA DESJARDINS: And former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

    JEB BUSH, Republican Presidential Candidate: There’s no evidence that he’s serious about any policy proposal he’s laid out.

    LISA DESJARDINS: So far, though, the national security debate has seemed to boost, not bruise, the Republican front-runner.

    DONALD TRUMP: We have to get smart. We have to get tough. We have to be vigilant. We have to be vigilant. We have no choice.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Meanwhile, Democrats are trying not to let Republicans take ownership of the issue. In Minneapolis today, Hillary Clinton outlined her plan for fighting terrorism in the U.S.

    HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, Democratic Presidential Candidate: The threat we face is daunting, but America has overcome big challenges many times before. Throughout our history, we have stared into the face of evil and refused to blink.

    LISA DESJARDINS: And, tellingly, all of the candidates running for president now stress they’re running to be commander in chief as well.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Lisa Desjardins.

    The post Priority shift to national security puts GOP establishment in the spotlight appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano addresses a news conference after a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, December 15, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader - RTX1YT58

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    GWEN IFILL: In the day’s other news, the United Nations’ nuclear agency formally ended a decade-long probe into Iran’s nuclear program. But, in Vienna, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said there’s no sign the work has continued.

    YUKIYA AMANO, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency: The agency has no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of nuclear explosive devices after 2009, nor has the agency found any credible indications of the diversion of nuclear material in connection with the possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.

    GWEN IFILL: The end of the investigation clears the way for implementing a July deal that the U.S. and other powers reached with Iran. It calls for curbing the nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

    Human rights activists in Nigeria are accusing the country’s military of carrying out a massacre of hundreds of Shiite Muslims. They say it happened over the weekend in the city of Zaria. The army says the Shiites attacked a military convoy. Protests over the incident broke out today in another city. A Shiite spokesman says police fired on the crowd and killed at least three people.

    Defense Secretary Ash Carter called for the rest of the world today to ramp up military efforts against the Islamic State group. Carter spoke to U.S. and other troops stationed in Southern Turkey. They’re taking part in the air campaign against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria.

    ASH CARTER, Secretary of Defense: We really are looking for the rest of the world to step up. America is stepping up. We need our allies and partners around the world to step up and do more. And that’s true in Europe. It’s true in the Gulf. It’s true — by Europe, I mean, all of NATO, including Turkey.

    GWEN IFILL: Carter also called for Turkey to seal off the rest of its border against ISIS smuggling. And Turkey today joined a new 34-nation Islamic military alliance battling terrorism. It’s led by Saudi Arabia, but doesn’t include Iran, Iraq or Syria.

    In Yemen, a week-long cease-fire took effect today between Shiite rebels and government forces backed by the Saudis and other Arab states. Even so, security officials said shelling and ground clashes continued in places. The truce was timed to coincide with U.N.-brokered peace talks in Geneva. A special U.N. envoy urged both sides to end the war.

    ISMAIL OULD CHEIKH AHMED, U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen (through interpreter): Today, you are the decision makers, and before you lies a historic responsibility. Are you going to abandon Yemen and its people and lead the country into further violence and slaughter? Or are you going to put Yemen first and ensure the people of Yemen can live the dignified life they deserve? You are writing the history of modern Yemen, and you alone have the power to overturn the situation.

    GWEN IFILL: The World Health Organization says the warring factions have promised to allow unconditional movement of supplies and medical teams during the cease-fire.

    Secretary of State John Kerry reports progress on plans for Syrian peace talks this week. Kerry met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow today and said they found common ground on which Syrian opposition groups to include in the talks. Russia backs the Syrian government, while the U.S. supports moderate rebels.

    Back in this country, congressional negotiators worked to finish sweeping tax and spending bills to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. If they agree, the trillion-dollar package would also lift a 40-year-old ban on U.S. oil exports, as Republicans want. And it would renew tax credits for producers of renewable energy, something Democrats have asked for.

    The Republican governor of Texas has ordered National Guard troops to remain at the state’s border with Mexico. Their mission was supposed to end this month, but Governor Greg Abbott says more than 10,000 children crossed into the U.S. in October and November without parents. That’s double the number from a year ago.

    And Wall Street gained ground for a second day. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 156 points to close near 17525. The Nasdaq rose 43 points, and the S&P 500 added 21.

    The post News Wrap: IAEA ends probe of Iran’s nuclear program appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A sign announcing no school is pictured at Aldama Elementary School in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California December 15, 2015. All schools in Los Angeles, the second largest school district in the United States, were closed on Tuesday after officials reported receiving an unspecified threat to the district and ordered a search of all schools in the city. REUTERS/Jason Redmond - RTX1YUE7

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: Public schools across Los Angeles went dark today, shuttered by the fear of a terror strike. It came in the form of an e-mail that warned of mass violence.

    The threat brought the Los Angeles Unified School District, covering 600 square miles, to a halt. All 1,200 schools were shut down before classes started for the day. Many of the 640,000 students were forced to turn around and head home.

    And Superintendent Ramon Cortines hastily convened a news conference.

    RAMON CORTINES, Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District: I think it is important that I take the precaution based on what has happened recently and what has happened in the past.

    GWEN IFILL: Cortines was referring to the rampage two weeks ago in nearby San Bernardino, where a married couple, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people at a holiday party.

    As L.A. police fanned out and began checking schools today, officials said the e-mailed threat came from Germany and mentioned everything from guns to bombs to nerve gas.

    For many parents, it was unnerving.

    MAN: Well, if it’s real, watching from what happened in San Bernardino, that’s pretty close to home. And now this one here, even closer, that’s kind of scary.

    WOMAN: Confusion, chaos, nervousness. You’re not certain of what’s going on, what’s entailed behind it. So, there’s a lot of different emotions behind that.

    GWEN IFILL: Meanwhile, officials in New York City said they received a similar, if not the same, message. They discounted it as a hoax, possibly based on a television show.

    WILLIAM BRATTON, New York City Police Commissioner: The language in the e-mail would lead us to believe that this is not a jihadist initiative, for example, that Allah wasn’t spelled with a capital A. That would be incredible to think that any jihadist wouldn’t spell Allah with a capital A.

    I think the initiator, the instigator of the threat may be a “Homeland” fan, basically watching “Homeland” episodes, that it mirrors a lot of recent episodes on “Homeland.”

    GWEN IFILL: Moreover, Mayor Bill de Blasio argued it’s vital to keep schools open and not overreact.

    MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, New York: It’s very important to realize there are people who want us to fundamentally change our lifestyle and our values, and we will never give in to that.

    GWEN IFILL: As the hours ticked by, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti pushed back at criticism it was wrong to close L.A. schools.

    MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI, Los Angeles: We will continue to hope that this is nothing and that our children can be back at school tomorrow. But, as a parent and as a mayor, certainly, I am here to support this school district as it seeks our help to ensure that we can look at each one of these campuses and make sure that they are safe for all of our children.

    GWEN IFILL: The search and the investigation continued into the evening, assisted by the FBI.

    The White House said it wouldn’t second guess the decision in Los Angeles, but a congressman from the area, Adam Schiff, said it now appears the threat was indeed a hoax.

    The post Terror threat shuts down schools across Los Angeles appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidates (L-R) Governor John Kasich, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, Senator Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, businessman Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, former Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Chris Christie and Senator Rand Paul pose before the start of the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada December 15, 2015. Photo by David Becker/Reuters

    Republican U.S. presidential candidates pose before the start of the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas. Photo by David Becker/Reuters

    LAS VEGAS — The 2016 Republican presidential candidates are debating for the last time in 2015, this time in Las Vegas, as they race for advantage seven weeks before the first votes are cast in Iowa.

    Here are the latest developments (all times local):

    8 p.m.

    Donald Trump says he’s now “totally committed to the Republican party” and won’t run as an independent if he’s not the GOP nominee.

    Trump is responding to concerns that he would stay in the race as an independent if another Republican wins the nomination, and send Hillary Clinton to the White House by splitting the conservative vote.

    The business mogul says he’s gained great respect for the people he’s met during his candidacy and is honored to be the front-runner.

    He says he’d “do everything in my power to beat Hillary Clinton.”


    7:58 p.m.

    Noticed a growing rivalry between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz? They say there’s nothing to see here.

    Asked about recent statements they’ve made on the 2016 campaign trail, Trump and Cruz both played nice on the Republican debate stage Tuesday night.

    Trump says Cruz has a “wonderful temperament” and “he’s just fine.”

    Cruz says the public will decide if Trump is capable to serve, adding that any of the GOP candidates are better options than Democrat Hillary Clinton.


    7:54 p.m.

    Donald Trump isn’t able to list which aspects of the country’s nuclear arsenal he’d put a priority on modernizing, only saying he’d employ someone “totally responsible who really knows what he or she is doing” to handle it.

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is jumping in to help him, explaining that the country’s nuclear triad, which includes silos, submarines and bombers, needs a “serious modernization” program.

    Trump says the country must be “extremely vigilant and extremely careful” when it comes to nuclear power.

    7:50 p.m.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says America’s security should be the top priority in setting refugee policies, even if the Bible says to embrace those in need.

    Christie is responding to a Texas Facebook user’s question about how to reconcile the Bible with his position that America should not admit any Syrian refugees.

    He says he’s not backing away at all from that position, and says “the end of the conversation” for him was when the FBI director told Congress refugees can’t be vetted effectively.

    Christie also references the Bible’s guidance on caring for widows and orphans, and says the San Bernardino attacks show “women can commit heinous, heinous acts against humanity, just the same as men.”


    7:45 p.m.

    Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz continue to clash over immigration during the Republican presidential debate.

    In a heated exchange, the senators repeated attacks they have been making on the campaign trail. Texas Sen. Cruz criticized Florida Sen. Rubio for his work on a 2013 Senate bill that provided a path to citizenship to immigrants in the country illegally. Rubio argued that Cruz has also supported a legal status for some of those in the country illegally.

    Pushed by Rubio on whether he would rule out ever legalizing people who are in the country illegally, Cruz said, “I have never supported legalization and I do not intend to support legalization.”

    Cruz and Rubio are both sons of Cuban immigrants.


    7:40 p.m.

    Marco Rubio says he’d be open to allowing immigrants who entered the country illegally to obtain a green card after they have a work permit for at least 10 years, a position he says may not be in line with the majority of Republicans.

    But Rubio says the process for giving people work permits can’t even begin until the United States adequately secures the border and eases Americans’ concerns about illegal immigration.

    Immigration is a difficult issue for Rubio in the GOP primary. He co-sponsored a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013 that included a path to citizenship and has been widely panned by his Republican rivals.

    He says securing the border requires 20,000 new border agents, 700 miles of additional fencing and a mandatory e-verify system for employers.


    7:35 p.m.

    It’s Jeb vs. Donald: Round 3.

    At the Republican debate in Las Vegas, Jeb Bush again is slamming Donald Trump as unfit for the Oval Office. And this time Trump is blaming CNN for setting him up. The former reality show star says it’s “sad that CNN leads Gov. Bush down a road by starting all of the questions, ‘Mr. Trump this.’… I think it’s very sad.”

    The two candidates ended up in a terse exchange far from the foreign policy questions at issue.

    Bush retorted to Trump, “If you think this is tough and you’re not being treated fairly, imagine dealing with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.”

    Trump fired back, “Oh, you’re a tough guy, Jeb.”

    Trump is reminding Bush of the wide gulf that separates them in presidential preference polls. He notes that at earlier debates, Bush stood near Trump at center stage because both were leading in the polls.

    “You’re started off here,” Trump says, referring to the center. “You’re moving further and further. Pretty soon you’re going to be off the end.”


    7:27 p.m.

    Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says, “if you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate.”

    Paul directed the barb at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after he said he would shoot down Russian planes if they violated a no-fly zone over Syria.

    Paul says that is a “recipe for disaster” and shows poor judgment. He also jabbed Christie over the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal, saying that also showed bad judgment. Christie hasn’t been charged in the bridge scandal, but others close to him have.

    Christie ignored the bridge reference. He says he would shoot down Russian planes if “they were stupid enough to think that this president was the same feckless weakling that the president we have in the Oval Office is right now.”


    7:22 p.m.

    Carly Fiorina says now is not the time to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    The former Hewlett-Packard CEO says during the GOP debate that Putin respects strength, and she wouldn’t engage him until she set up a no-fly zone in Syria, brokered a new deal with Iran and rebuilt the missile defense system in Poland “right under his nose,” among other things.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he would be talking with Vladimir Putin plenty. Christie says he wouldn’t hesitate to shoot down a Russian plane if one entered a Syria no-fly zone. Christie is also taking the opportunity to call President Barack Obama a “feckless weakling.”


    7:20 p.m.

    Donald Trump says the U.S. needs to focus on one thing at a time, and should take out Islamic State militants before fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    The business mogul is responding to a question at the GOP debate about how he could support leaving Assad in power and still say he likes winning. The debate moderator says leaving Assad in place means Iran and Hezbollah are winning.

    Trump says Assad is a “very bad guy” but also says the U.S. has no idea about the identity of the anti-Assad rebels it’s arming. He says the Islamic State must be dealt with first.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie counters that America should focus its attention on Iran, and says the Islamic State came about because of Assad and his Iranian sponsors.


    7:15 p.m.

    Jeb Bush says he still believes getting rid of Saddam Hussein in Iraq was a good deal. Rand Paul’s not so sure.

    Bush says the lesson from the Iraq war is that the United States must have a “strategy to get in and get out.” But Paul is questioning whether the United States should be toppling regimes in the first place.

    Paul says, “out of regime change you get chaos,” creating a place for radical Islam to thrive. Paul calls the discussion of whether the United States should pursue regime changes one of the “fundamental questions of our time.”


    7:12 p.m.

    Ben Carson is offering an air travel analogy to explain why he thinks the United States should focus on domestic needs.

    Asked if the Middle East is better with dictators in charge, Carson says no one is better off with dictators, but the United States should “start thinking about the needs of the American people.”

    Carson likened the situation to putting on an oxygen mask on in a plane during an emergency, before helping a neighbor.

    “The fact of the matter is the Middle East has been in turmoil for thousands of years,” said the former pediatric neurosurgeon. “For us to think that we’re going to go in there and fix that with a couple of little bombs and a few little decorations is relatively foolish.”


    7:10 p.m.

    Bashar al-Assad is a popular subject in the Republican presidential debate.

    Ted Cruz repeated his position that he’d prefer Assad remain president of war-torn Syria. John Kasich is mocking that the answer, saying Assad “must go.”

    Donald Trump is jumping in in with his argument that the U.S. spends too much blood and treasure in the Middle East.

    Trump also says the Syrian civil war is a complicated distraction from the effort to combat the Islamic State.

    “I think Assad is a bad guy,” Trump says. “I think we’re backing guys who we have no idea who they are.”

    Trump says, “We have to get rid of ISIS first.”


    7:05 p.m.

    Ted Cruz is defending his position that the U.S. is more secure with Syrian President Bashar Assad in power.

    The Texas senator says in Tuesday’s Republican debate that President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and “far too many Republicans want to topple Assad.”

    He says if Assad is removed, the Islamic State will “take over Syria.”

    Cruz says the U.S. should “hunt down our enemies and kill ISIS” rather than create opportunities for them to grow.

    His position puts him at odds with other Republicans, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has clashed with Cruz on numerous issues raised in the debate.

    Rubio says he “will not shed a tear” if Middle Eastern dictators are removed.


    7 p.m.

    Carly Fiorina says the country needs “someone who’s made tough calls in tough times” as a commander-in-chief instead of first-term senators “who never made executive decisions in their life.”

    The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard says talking tough is not the same as being strong.

    She also says she wants to bring back a “warrior class” of generals, including David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, who she says retired early because they told President Barack Obama things he didn’t want to hear.


    6:55 p.m.

    Boos from the crowd inside the presidential debate hall are befuddling Donald Trump, who has said he wants to kill the families of terrorists and close parts of the Internet in places such as Iraq and Syria where the Islamic State exists. He say he doesn’t understand why the crowd would object to infiltrating terrorists’ conversations.

    He tells the crowd “these are people that want to kill us folks.”

    Trump’s reaction comes after Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul reminded debate watchers that closing the Internet would require getting rid of the First Amendment and killing the families of terrorists would defy the Geneva Conventions.

    Trump replies with a rhetorical question: “So they can kill us, but we can’t kill them?”


    6:50 p.m.

    Ben Carson says his experience as a pediatric neurosurgeon prepared him to make tough choices as a leader.

    Asked if he could be “ruthless” as a commander in chief and order airstrikes that could kill children, Carson says that when he told children he’d have to take out a brain tumor “they don’t like me very much, at that point. But later on they love me.”

    Pressed on whether he could order airstrikes that would kill children and civilians, Carson said he was prepared to be “tough, resolute, understanding what the problems are and understanding that the job of the president of the United States is to protect the people of this country.”


    6:44 p.m.

    Jeb Bush and Donald Trump are at it again in the Republican debate.

    With Trump defending his proposal to target the families of terrorists, Bush is dismissing him as not a “serious” candidate.

    Trump retorts that “Jeb is a very nice person.” He says, “We need toughness” or else the U.S. will get “weaker, weaker and just disintegrate.”

    Bush answers: “You’re not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency. That’s not going to happen.”

    Bush says: “Leadership is not about attacking people and disparaging people. Leadership is about creating a serious strategy to deal with the threat of our time.”


    cruz1

    6:38 p.m.

    Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are clashing over how best to combat the Islamic State.

    Rubio says in Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate that Cruz’s plan “is not to lead at all.”

    But Cruz says the Islamic State and radical Islamic terrorism “will face no more determined foe than I will be.”

    Cruz says he wants to use “overwhelming air power to utterly and completely destroy ISIS,” but that would not involve leveling cities where innocent civilians could be killed. Cruz says the goal “isn’t to level a city,” it’s to “kill the ISIS terrorists.”

    But Rubio says terrorists can’t be defeated only through air strikes. He says a ground force against the Islamic State should be made up “primarily” of “Sunni Arabs that reject them ideologicaly and confront them militarily.”


    Donald Trump quote

    6:35 p.m.

    Donald Trump says he wants to keep members of the Islamic State from using the Internet to recruit American fighters.

    He says the government must work with “brilliant people” in Silicon Valley to keep IS fighters offline, even if it means shutting down parts of the Internet.

    Trump is also calling out members of the media to stop calling IS fighters “masterminds” because, in reality, they are thugs and terrible people.

    He says, “we should be able to penetrate the Internet and find out exactly where ISIS is.”


    6:29 p.m.

    Ben Carson is ducking a question about whether Congress was right to end the National Security Agency’s bulk phone-records collection program.

    Carson declined to answer when asked Tuesday whether Sen. Ted Cruz was right to vote to end the program or whether Sen. Marco Rubio was correct in supporting its continuation.

    Carson says: “I don’t want to get in between them. Let them fight.”

    Carson says he is in favor of monitoring anyplace where people who may be engaging in radical activities are gathered, including mosques, schools, supermarkets and theaters.

    Carson says we are at war and “We have to get rid of all this PC stuff.” He says America’s enemies will “take advantage of our PC attitude and get us.”


    6:26 p.m.

    Chris Christie is continuing to use the Republican debate to emphasize his experience as a governor and federal prosecutor, this time slamming several senators on the stage.

    Marco Rubio and Rand Paul are jousting over Senate votes on the government’s authority to gather intelligence from Americans’ communication. Christie is mocking them, and the Senate in general, for “endless debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.”

    He says he’s had to make decisions about “whether to use actionable intelligence,” and he says New Jersey was constantly under threat after the attacks Sept. 11, 2001. He doesn’t detail just what kind of intelligence he is privy to as governor, but says it’s way more important than what the senators argued about.


    6:24 p.m.

    Rand Paul says Marco Rubio is opening the country to more terrorist attacks with attempts to allow more legal immigration.

    The Kentucky senator says Rubio tries to portray himself as strong on national security, but is actually the weakest because he promoted a broad immigration reform bill in 2013 and has opposed border security.

    Paul says more restrictions on legal immigration might have prevented attacks such as the one in San Bernardino and on Sept. 11, 2011, and says Rubio has more of an allegiance to Democrats on immigration than he does to conservative policies.

    The exchange comes as Rubio advocated the collection of phone metadata, which Paul opposes.


    6:23 p.m.

    Ted Cruz is defending his bill that eliminated the bulk collection of phone data, saying it allows law enforcement to do more to search cellphones and Internet-based calls versus simply landlines. He says the focus is now on targeting the “bad guys,” not the general populace and covers all phones, versus 20 percent to 30 percent of phones before.

    But Marco Rubio isn’t buying the Texas senator’s explanation, saying the situation demands more tools, not less, including the ability to collect metadata. The Florida senator also says a debate being broadcast nationwide in front of millions of people isn’t the place to talk about classified information.


    6:22 p.m.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says fear is the “new normal” in the United States.

    During the Republican debate, Christie is stressing his background as a former federal prosecutor and criticizing President Barack Obama. Noting the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Christie says if a “center for the developmentally disabled in San Bernardino is now a target for terrorists, that means everywhere is a target for terrorists.”

    Christie says the country needs a president who will “understand what actionable intelligence is going to look like and act on it.”


    6:20 p.m.

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich says it would have been a better use of time for world leaders to discuss destroying the Islamic State rather than climate change at a recent gathering in Paris.

    Kasich says it’s imperative that the United States “get moving” in working with European and Arab allies to take on the Islamic State.

    At home, he says the country must give law enforcement, including the FBI and local officials, the tools they need to stop attacks before happen. He says it’s essential to encourage Americans to talk to law enforcement when they see “red flags.”


    6:18 p.m.

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says President Barack Obama made the fight against the Islamic State worse with his address from the Oval Office last week following the San Bernardino attacks.

    Rubio says the president’s approach to combating the Islamic State is continuing the current approach “and that’s not working.”

    Rubio is focusing his criticism on Obama, not any of his Republican rivals sharing the stage with him in Las Vegas in Tuesday’s presidential debate.


    6:17 p.m.

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says, “everyone understands” Donald Trump’s proposal to stop Muslims from entering the U.S., temporarily and with exceptions. But he says legislation he introduced suspending refugees from countries with large Islamic State footprints for three years “is more narrowly focused at the actual threat, which is radical Islamic terrorism.”

    He quoted Franklin D. Roosevelt’s grandfather, saying, “All horse thieves are Democrats, but not all Democrats are horse thieves.” He says there are millions of peaceful Muslims living across the world in peaceful countries like India. He says, “It’s not a war on a faith, it’s a war on a political and theocratic ideology that seeks to murder us.”


    6:15 p.m.

    Jeb Bush and Donald Trump are engaging in the first head-to-head battle of the night. Trump is defending his immigration policy — including his proposal to indefinitely ban all Muslims from entering the country. And he’s repeating his plan for a wall at the Mexican border.

    He suggests President Barack Obama has welcomed Islamic terrorists into the nation. “They’re gone” under a Trump administration, he says.

    Bush retorts that Trump’s proposal is “not serious” and would make the U.S. less safe. “Donald is great at the one-liners, but he’s a chaos candidate, and he’d be a chaos president,” Bush says, noting that Kurds, potential allies in a battle against the Islamic State, “are Muslims.”

    Trump’s response: Bush is coming after me only because I’m leading and his campaign has been a “total disaster” and “nobody cares.”

    Bush also calls Trump “unhinged.” Trump responds that he’s “the most solid person up here.”


    6:12 p.m.

    Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump says in his opening remarks at the GOP debate that he has sparked a “very big discussion that needed to be opened up” on “radical Islamic terrorism.”

    The former reality show star did not directly note his proposal to block Muslims from coming into the United States — temporarily, and with exceptions — that has taken a central role in the race. But he says: “People like what I say. People respect what I say.”

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says that if he’s elected president, the country will have a commander in chief who believes the U.S. is the greatest country in the world.

    Rubio says the current president wants the country to be “more like the rest of the world.”

    He says that, as a result, “you have millions of Americans that feel left out and out of place in their own country. ”

    Ben Carson is applying his experience as a neurosurgeon to foreign policy challenges. He compares his complex patient cases to the battle against Islamic State militants. He says he frequently faced life-and-death situations. Carson is also asking Congress to declare war on the Islamic State.


    6:02 p.m.

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is pitching himself as a serious leader who has what it takes to keep the country safe and rebuild the economy. He says “serious times require strong leadership,” including restoring funding cut from national defense and destroying the Islamic State.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is pointing to the closure of public schools in Los Angeles Tuesday. He says that’s evidence that President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have not done enough to keep people safe. More than 1,500 school buildings in Los Angeles were shut for a day and searched after an emailed threat of violence. They will reopen Wednesday.

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is using his opening statement in the Republican presidential debate not to attack his GOP opponents, but to say any of them would be better than Obama or Clinton, the Democratic front-runner. Cruz says America needs a president who understands the threat of the Islamic State. He promises to “utterly destroy” the militant group and stop terrorist attacks before they occur.


    5:55 p.m.

    Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is opening the Republican presidential debate by going after Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Paul says Trump is wrong in calling for censoring the Internet and Rubio should not advocate taking bulk phone data from Americans. Paul says the way to defeat terrorism is “by showing that we do not fear them.”

    John Kasich is playing the role of unifier-in-chief. Before the Ohio governor mentions anything about national security — which his rivals are giving top billing — he says the nation’s priorities are “creating jobs, making sure people can keep their jobs, the need for rising wages.” And he says there’s “too much yelling” in politics to solve those problems. “We’ll never get there if we are divided” along party lines, he says. “Before all of that,” he says, “we’re Americans.”

    Carly Fiorina says all of the country’s problems and wounds can be healed by a tested leader such as herself, citing her experiences beating breast cancer, burying a child and climbing the corporate ranks to eventually become CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Fiorina says she’s been called “every B-word in the book” and has refused to take no for an answer.


    5:48 p.m.

    The prime time Republican presidential debate is underway and the nine candidates are giving opening statements.


    5:39 p.m.

    Some Republican Party leaders are increasingly nervous about the prospects of Donald Trump as the party’s standard-bearer. But national GOP Chairman Reince Priebus is sticking with the role of party cheerleader tonight in Las Vegas.

    “This is a unifying message,” he tells the audience at The Venetian. He adds, “I think you can agree with me, that every single one of the candidates on this stage would be world better than Hillary Clinton.”

    The crowd applauded.

    The Associated Press wrote this report.

    The post Live blog: GOP presidential candidates meet for 5th debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidates businessman Donald Trump (L) and  former Governor Jeb Bush (R) are seen debating on video monitors in the debate press room during the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada December 15, 2015. Photo by David Becker/Reuters

    Republican U.S. presidential candidates businessman Donald Trump, left, and former Governor Jeb Bush. Photo by David Becker/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The vast complexities of a dangerous world were cast in too-simple terms in the latest Republican presidential debate.

    Here’s a look at some of the claims Tuesday night and how they compare with the facts:

    TED CRUZ: “You would carpet bomb where ISIS is, not a city.”

    THE FACTS: The Texas senator’s conviction that the Islamic State group can be routed with an air campaign of overwhelming force is hard to square with the reality on the ground. ISIS fighters are holed up in a variety of cities, amid civilians, raising questions about how he could direct a carpet bombing that only singles out the enemy.

    He was asked in the debate if he’d be willing to cause civilian casualties in Raqqa, a major Syrian city that has become de facto capital of the Islamic State group’s so-called caliphate. ISIS is also in control of the Iraqi city of Mosul.


    DONALD TRUMP: “Our country is out of control. People are pouring through the southern border.”

    THE FACTS: Arrest statistics are widely regarded as the best measure, if an imperfect one, of the flow of people crossing illegally into the U.S. And Trump’s suggestion that illegal immigration is increasing at the border is not supported by arrest statistics discussed in recent months by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

    Johnson has said that during the 2015 budget year that ended in September, about 330,000 people were caught crossing the Mexican border illegally, a near 40-year low in border arrests. During the 2014 budget year, roughly 486,000 people were arrested.

    In recent months there has been a spike in the arrests at the border, but primarily of children traveling alone and families, mostly from Central America.


    JEB BUSH: “We need to embed our forces, our troops, inside the Iraqi military.”

    THE FACTS: The U.S. is already doing that.

    U.S. special forces are working side by side with Iraqi forces in the fight against Islamic State militants and American military advisers and trainers are working with Iraqi troops in various locations. To be sure, Bush has called for an intensification of the military effort in a variety of ways, but debate viewers would not know from his comment that U.S. troops are already operating with Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

    His comment fits a pattern in the Republican race as a number of candidates criticize President Barack Obama’s course against ISIS while proposing largely the same steps that are already underway.


    CRUZ: “And even worse, President Obama and Hillary Clinton are proposing bringing tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to this country when the head of the FBI has told Congress they cannot vet those refugees.”

    THE FACTS: Cruz repeated inflated estimates of how many Syrian refugees the Obama administration plans to admit to the United States. Obama has announced plans to resettle about 10,000 refugees in the next year.

    The vetting process for refugees takes, on average, about two years and is routinely longer for refugees from Syria and Iraq. The administration has said refugees being considered for resettlement in the United States are subject to additional scrutiny. The administration has declined to describe what the scrutiny involves, saying it is classified.


    CARLY FIORINA, speaking of security threats to the U.S.: “We need the private sector’s help because the government is not innovating, technology is running ahead by leaps and bounds…They must be engaged and they must be asked. I will ask them.”

    THE FACTS: They’ve been asked.

    The Obama administration has been in discussions with technology companies, especially in Silicon Valley, over the last year about the use of encrypted communications and how the government can penetrate them for national security purposes. After the attack in San Bernardino, California, Obama again said he would urge high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape justice.

    That’s not to say the effort has been effective. But as in the case of candidates talking about the campaign against ISIS, Fiorina pitches something that is in motion.


    CRUZ: “We didn’t monitor the Facebook page of the San Bernardino terrorist because DHS thought it would be inappropriate.”

    THE FACTS: The Department of Homeland Security has authority to look at social media such as Facebook when evaluating visa applications, and the agency says it does so in some cases. But some experts say that scrutinizing social media accounts of every visa applicant would dramatically slow the approval process, including for tourist visas.

    It’s also unclear whether looking at the Facebook pages of the shooters in the California attacks would have prevented the attacks.

    The male attacker, Syed Farook, was a U.S. citizen, born in Illinois, and never needed a visa. His wife, attacker Tashfeen Malik, 29, did enter the country on a fiancee visa and had used social media to speak of martyrdom and jihad. But Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has said such posts weren’t public. After the attacks, Facebook did find a profile under an alias linked to Malik with a post pledging her allegiance to the Islamic State.


    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada December 15, 2015. Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz during the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas Tuesday. Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    CRUZ: “Moderate rebels end up being jihadists.”

    THE FACTS: Cruz did not acknowledge in his blanket warning that moderate rebel groups in Syria have been fighting against the Islamic State group, the al-Qaida-aligned Nusra Front and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad since the start of that country’s civil war.

    While there has been concern over U.S.-trained Syrian rebels handing over some of their equipment to the Nusra Front in exchange for safe passage, they are considered key in the fight against both radical groups and Assad — a leader who a number of GOP candidates said in the debate should be removed because of his close alliance with Iraq.


    MARCO RUBIO on facing terrorist threats: “We need more tools, not less tools. And that tool we lost, the metadata program, was a valuable tool that we no longer have at our disposal.”

    CRUZ: The USA Freedom Act passed by Congress ended the federal government’s bulk collection of telephone metadata for all Americans, and “strengthened the tools of national security and law enforcement to go after terrorists.”

    THE FACTS: Both are right, but are emphasizing different aspects of the new law. While the government has lost speed and ability to reach back in time, it has gained volume of coverage.

    The controversial NSA surveillance program revealed by leaker Edward Snowden had allowed the intelligence community to quickly analyze five years of calling records in search of connections among Americans and foreign terror suspects.

    Under the new law, the government can no longer collect and store calling data. Instead, it has to request a search of data held by the phone companies, which typically hold the records for two years. It’s unclear how quickly those searches can take place, but it’s probably longer than in the previous system. Rubio is correct in this regard.

    Cruz is correct that under the prior program, a large segment of mobile phone records went uncollected. Under the new regime, a larger universe of phone records can be searched.

    What neither acknowledged is that the phone records program was not regarded inside NSA as an important tool in ferreting out terrorism plots. The only case the government has said was cracked because of the program over a decade was a relatively minor terrorist financing scheme.

    Associated Press writers Tami Abdollah and Vivian Salama wrote this report.

    AP writers Alicia A. Caldwell and Ken Dilanian contributed to this report.

    The post Fact checking the 5th Republican debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Speaker Paul Ryan announced late Tuesday an agreement between congressional leaders and the White House on a year-end tax and spending package that would fund the government through the 2016 budget year, raise domestic and defense spending, and increase the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars by extending numerous popular tax credits without paying for them. Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters

    Speaker Paul Ryan announced late Tuesday an agreement on a tax and spending deal that would fund the government through the 2016 budget year. Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional leaders and the White House have reached agreement on a massive year-end tax and spending package, House Speaker Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers late Tuesday, urging support for the legislation that delivers GOP wins but also includes many Democratic priorities.

    The package would fund the government through the 2016 budget year, raise domestic and defense spending, and increase the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars by extending numerous popular tax credits without paying for them. It lifts the 40-year-old ban on exporting U.S. crude, a long-sought GOP goal that Republicans pointed to as their top win, and delays or suspends several taxes meant to pay for President Barack Obama’s health care law.

    Democrats won five-year extensions of wind and solar credits and a permanent extension of the child care tax credit, and beat back many GOP attempts to add favored policy provisions to the bill, including several aimed at rolling back Obama environmental regulations.

    “This is divided government,” Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., said coming out of the meeting. “If you’re going to move forward and follow Speaker Ryan’s notion that we move onto offense next year … Let’s put 2015 behind us and move onto 2016.”

    Ryan “said that in a divided government you’re going to have some concessions, that’s what compromise is about,” added Rep. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin.

    Democratic aides cautioned final language was still being reviewed.

    Republican leaders predicted the package would come to a vote in the House and Senate on Thursday, allowing lawmakers to head home for the holidays having completed their needed tasks. First they will have to pass yet another short-term government funding extension, since the current one runs out Wednesday at midnight.

    “In negotiations like this you win some, you lose some,” Ryan, R-Wis., said earlier in the day at an event hosted by Politico. “Democrats won some, they lost some. We won some, we lost some.”

    Eleventh-hour negotiations twisted and turned on the mammoth deal pairing the $1.1 trillion government-wide spending legislation with a giant tax bill catering to any number of special interests. The deal, Congress’ last major piece of unfinished business for the year, became the vehicle for countless long-sought priorities and odds and ends, including reform of visa-free travel to the U.S. and extensions of health benefits and compensation for 9/11 first responders.

    Ryan himself has described the process around the sprawling spending bill as a “crap sandwich,” and his announcement of a deal happened simultaneously with a GOP presidential debate that drew far more attention.

    Democrats, despite their minority party status in Congress, exacted a steep price in the negotiations, thanks to Obama’s veto pen and Republicans’ need for their votes on the spending bill.

    “We may not be in the majority but we’re feeling that these goals are on track,” boasted Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

    The final package ignored conservative demands for language clamping down on Syrian refugees entering the U.S. Instead it contains bipartisan changes tightening up the “visa waiver” program that allows visa-free travel to the U.S. for citizens of 38 countries, including France and Belgium, where many of last month’s Paris attackers were from.

    Republicans and some Democrats were behind the push for a two-year delay on taxes on high-cost health insurance policies, which don’t take effect until 2018 but would be delayed until 2020, and a two-year suspension of the current 2.3 percent tax on some medical devices.

    From the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest sounded resigned to Obama signing a bill lifting the crude oil export ban despite previous threats to veto the measure as stand-alone legislation. The export ban was imposed during energy shortages of the 1970s but has been declared outdated by industry allies. Environmentalists say lifting it would amount to a giant windfall for the oil industry.

    “I’m confident that there will be things that will be included in the omnibus bill that we don’t support,” Earnest said. “I don’t know if the lifting of the export ban will be among them, but our position on this is pretty clear.”

    Also in play were about 50 lapsed and expiring business and individual tax breaks that the two sides were looking to extend, in some cases permanently. The price tag was expected to be several hundred billion dollars or more over a decade, which would further add to federal deficits. The two sides agreed to make some expiring business tax credits permanent in exchange for doing the same to tax breaks for children, college students and lower-earning families.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said such a deal would make a larger tax reform package easier to achieve next year, while satisfying business goals, including extending a research and development tax credit and a popular deduction for equipment purchases.

    Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Andrew Taylor, Mary Clare Jalonick and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

    The post Ryan tells GOP there’s agreement on tax and spending bill appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the shooting attacks in Paris, from the White House in Washington November 13, 2015.    REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RTS6WB2

    U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the shooting attacks in Paris, from the White House in Washington, D.C., Nov. 13, 2015. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is opening his Christmas vacation on a somber note: meeting with families of the 14 people who were killed in the San Bernardino shooting.

    Obama was to stop in California en route to Hawaii on Friday for his annual holiday getaway.

    “Obviously, those families are going through a difficult time, not just because they’ve lost loved ones, but obviously at the holiday season I think that loss is even more acute,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “The president felt before he could begin his holiday that it was important for him to spend some time with these Americans who are mourning.”

    Obama’s wife, Michelle, was joining him for the meetings.

    Authorities identified the shooters as American-born Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, of Pakistan. Both were killed in a shootout with police.

    The FBI is investigating the case as an act of terrorism. The couple pledged allegiance to a leader of the Islamic State group on Facebook, moments before the shooting, authorities said. But they have found no evidence that the Farook and Malik were carrying out instructions from an overseas terrorist group or that they were part of a U.S.-based conspiracy.

    The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 attack in Paris that killed 130 people.

    Both attacks, coming days apart and just before the start of the holiday season, heightened public fears about future attacks on U.S. soil.

    Obama has tried to allay those concerns with a rare Oval Office address, days after the San Bernardino attack, on the administration’s strategy to counter the threat from IS, as well as through public appearances this week with members of his national security team following separate briefings he received on the Islamic State and potential threats to the homeland.

    Most of the 14 people killed at the holiday banquet Dec. 2 worked with Farook in the San Bernardino County public health department. Nine men and five women, ranging in age from 26 to 60, were killed.

    Obama was flying to California after holding an end-of-year news conference at the White House. After meeting with the families, he planned to continue to Hawaii to begin two weeks of vacation with his wife and daughters in the island state where he was born.

    He is scheduled to return to the White House in early January to begin his final year in office.

    The post Obama to meet with families of San Bernardino attack victims appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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