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

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    More women are waiting longer to have kids, according to new analysis of a decades-long trend that could signal a slowdown in the U.S. population growth.

    A mother’s average age at the time she gives birth to her first child climbed from 24.9 years to 26.3 years during the period of 2000 to 2014, according to a report released today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, there was a steeper climb between 2009 and 2014.

    Average age of all mothers at childbirth
      Total
      First Birth

    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    One big reason is that fewer women under the age of 20 are becoming moms.

    One out of seven first births are to teen mothers, a 42 percent drop from 2000, when a quarter of all first-time births were to young mothers, explained T.J. Mathews, a demographer with the CDC who has studied trends like this for two decades.

    “It’s not just more women delaying, it’s fewer younger women having that first birth,” Mathews said, resulting in the average age going up. “They’re just not a part of the math anymore.”

    By comparison, in 1970 a mother’s average age when she gave birth to her first child was 21.4 years.

    This latest trend is reflected in women from all race and ethnic groups and in every state, Mathews said.

    “There’s nowhere it’s not happening,” he said. “It’s just happening more in some places.”

    “There’s nowhere it’s not happening.” T.J. Mathews, demographer

    Waiting to have kids later in life also narrows the window of time when a woman can give birth overall, he said. That means fewer babies likely will be born, and the population growth rate could slide.

    Today, the U.S. breaks even, said Mathews, roughly replacing each person who dies with the birth of a new baby or an immigrant’s arrival in this country.

    When those numbers skew dramatically one way or another, problems often arise. For example, Japan’s fertility rate sank to a record low in 2014. Ultimately, that meant Japan’s economy had fewer workers and more aging people who needed care.

    Social science suggests a few reasons for why more women wait to have kids. One reason, according to a 2010 study from the Pew Research Center, could include the fact that more women are choosing to pursue college degrees.

    For this study, researchers analyzed birth data from the National Vital Statistics Survey from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Data included the age of mothers at the time of their first, second, third, fourth and fifth births.

    The post Fewer teen moms could help slow U.S. population growth appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Director Tom McCarthy had two movies come out in 2015: “Spotlight,” one of the best-reviewed movies of the year and up for multiple Oscars — and a movie that critics hated.

    Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers said McCarthy’s a Adam Sandler-led film, “The Cobbler” was “beyond awful and beyond repair.” “Spotlight,” then, was a complete 180 for the director.

    From award-winning journalism to a bear mauling, critics covered a wide range from the world of film this year. Take our quiz to find out which Oscar-nominated films these critics thought earned a place in Valhalla or were simply mediocre.

    The winners of the 88th Academy Awards will be announced at a ceremony hosted by Chris Rock on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, at 7 p.m. EST on ABC. Check out the full list of nominations.

    The post Quiz: What are critics saying about this year’s Oscar nominees? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Linda Chatman, 40, talks about her son Cedrick at her apartment on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Chicago. Cedrick Chatman, 17, was killed by the Chicago police.  (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

    Linda Chatman, 40, talks about her son Cedrick at her apartment on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Chicago. Cedrick Chatman, 17, was killed by the Chicago police. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

    A federal judge in Chicago ordered on Thursday to release footage from 2013 that shows Cedrick Chatman, an unarmed black 17-year-old, being shot to death by police.

    Chatman was killed while running from the police on foot after they spotted him in a car that had been reported stolen.

    Chicago city officials had originally filed a protective order to keep the video out of the public eye, saying that its release would sway a potential juror pool. But Wednesday night, they retracted that stance, saying that they would release the video in an attempt to be more transparent with the public.

    Judge Robert W. Gettleman said Thursday in court that he was “disturbed” by how the city handled the case and the lawyer’s last-minute decision to show the video. “I went to a lot of trouble to decide this issue,” said Judge Gettleman, later adding, “This should not have happened the way it did.”

    The video’s release comes at a time when Chicago city officials are facing increased public pressure and questions for how they handle police shootings. Another video, which was released in November, shows the death of 16-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by Chicago police.

    Stephen R. Patton, head of Chicago’s Law Department, said after the announcement on Wednesday night that the city is working to find balance between public transparency and protecting the confidentiality of investigations. Patton said that Chicago city officials realize that the protective order process is outdated.

    The Chatman family said they support the decision to release the video, but question the timing, the family’s attorney, Brian Coffman, said.

    “The city of Chicago has had not only the last month and a half, they’ve had over two and a half years to be transparent in this case,” Coffman said. The family has filed a wrongful death suit against the city of Chicago.

    Officer Kevin Fry has said he felt that his life, and that of Officer Lou Toth, were in danger after he saw Chatman holding a dark object. At the time, Chatman was holding a box for a smartphone.

    The video showing the shooting was captured by cameras mounted on traffic signals on the south side of Chicago. Gettlement said that in the video, it is hard to distinguish “exactly what Mr. Chatman’s position was or what he had in his hand” in the moments before the shooting, The New York Times reported.

    Andy Hale, attorney for Fry and Toth, said the video backs up the officers’ story. Both officers remain on-duty and have not been charged with any wrongdoing.

    The post Chicago releases video footage from 2013 of police killing unarmed teen appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Shortwave is a podcast. That you listen to. With your ears.

    Shortwave is a podcast. That you listen to. With your ears.

    Nearly two million names populate U.S. government terrorism watchlists. That’s a big number, and there are a lot of lists. There’s the “Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment” (TIDE), run by the National Counterterrorism Center, which by itself has more than a million names. The FBI also has a list, the “Terrorist Screening Database” and there are many others. Who are the people on these lists? Are they all potential terrorists?

    This week on Shortwave, we bring you Part Two in our series on tracking terrorists on U.S. soil. We speak with former Department of Homeland Security Expert Juliette Kayyem, who hosts “The Security Mom” podcast and will soon publish a book by the same name.

    You can listen to Part One of our series, “Who Watches the Watchlist?” here.

    The post The government’s making a watchlist and checking it twice appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Navy Admiral John Richardson (L), the U.S. chief of naval operations, waits for Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before their talks at Abe's official residence in Tokyo October 15, 2015. U.S. naval vessels sailing through international waters in the South China Sea, including areas claimed by China, cannot be considered provocative, the U.S. Navy's most senior uniformed officer said on Thursday, while a Chinese newspaper called for a firm response to any "unscrupulous" U.S. behavior. REUTERS/Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool - RTS4JHV

    U.S. Navy Admiral John Richardson, the U.S. chief of naval operations, waits for Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before their talks at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo October 15, 2015. Richardson announced Thursday that he would begin several initiative aimed at supporting survivors of sexual assault. Photo by Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Navy’s new top officer is launching several initiatives targeting the problem of sexual assault in the ranks.

    Adm. John Richardson, who took over as chief of naval operations in September, said Thursday he wants to make clear that he is as committed as any of his predecessors to trying to eliminate sexual assault. He called it one of several forms of “destructive behavior” that must be attacked.

    Richardson said the Navy will work out ways to enable victims of sexual assault to leave the service early if they choose — so-called “expedited discharge.”

    He also is expanding a program that puts civilian counselors aboard ships to make their services available to sexual assault victims. Eventually this would be expanded to Navy installations ashore, Richardson told reporters in an interview.

    The post Navy leader seeks new ways to support survivors of sexual assault appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    brief but spectacular

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now another in our Brief But Spectacular series, where we ask interesting people about their passions.

    For six decades, Ken Van Sickle has been quietly producing photographs in his darkroom, located in the center of Manhattan. His photos range from documenting the bohemian life of New York and Paris in the 1950s and ’60s to pushing the limits of the medium itself.

    KEN VAN SICKLE, Photographer: If you walk out of the front of the Flatiron Building and you walk straight across the street, you walk right through my door. Then you have to go 91 steps up the stairs, which is really good for me, because it keeps me healthy.

    I’m 83 years old now. I moved into this building in 1963. And it’s rent-controlled. And it’s a landmark building, and I’m a senior citizen. So, I don’t pay much rent. That’s the only reason I can live here at all.

    I don’t have a favorite place to take photographs or even a favorite subject. I carry a camera. If I go out into the hallway, I carry a camera with me.

    When I was in Paris, I was 23, I think, and I wanted to shoot everything I saw, but I didn’t have enough money to buy, like, more than like a roll of film every two weeks. And somebody said that Chet Baker was playing over at the American club. And I went over and I took two pictures, and one of them is out of focus, and the other one is a great photo.

    I’m not a concerned photographer. I’m not trying to prove anything in any way politically or otherwise. I’m interested in beauty and sort of the subtle moments of everyday life.

    This picture was called “The Regular.” The chairs in the foreground are overlapping, overlapping planes in parallel recession. This picture, I just call it “Washington Square.” Laboratories tend to print it light, but it should be dark like this.

    Grand Central Station, I don’t know why there was only one person walking in there. I had just gotten off the train. I call this “Firemen.” The arch had caved in on five firemen. The Metropolitan Museum chose this to be in the permanent collection.

    There are a lot of things that make a good photograph. You have to think about texture and gesture and composition, and all the things that painting has in it. Technology doesn’t change the way photography is. It just — it makes it available to more people, which means there’s going to be much, much more really terrible pictures taken or pictures that are totally dependent on subject, which is all, all right.

    If you were there when the Hindenburg caught on fire, and you took a picture of it, that’s a great photograph. But you’re not a great photographer, because you can’t repeat that in everyday things.

    What a great photographer does is, they are consistently able to make something in a style that’s personal to themselves. My pictures don’t depend on extreme sharpness. They depend on the composition and on the subject and on the way I see it.

    My name is Ken Van Sickle. This is my Brief But Spectacular take on sharing what I see.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can see more of our Brief But Spectacular series on our Facebook page. Check it out.

    The post What makes a photographer when everyone is taking pictures appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    job interview

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: It turns out that women face a much tougher time in the job market then men do as they age.

    Our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, recently looked into the challenge of getting hired as a woman over 50. It’s part of our weekly segment Making Sense, which airs every Thursday on the “NewsHour.”

    PAUL SOLMAN: On Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer,” the aging actress’ lament:

    TINA FEY, Actress: You know how Sally Field was Tom Hanks’ love interest in “Punchline,” and then, like, 20 minutes later, she was his mom in “Forrest Gump”?

    PAUL SOLMAN: Tina Fey is 45, Patricia Arquette 47.

    PATRICIA ARQUETTE, Actress: I didn’t get this commercial last week for AARP because the director said I was too old to play Larry King’s wife.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Schumer’s gag, these stars were celebrating 55-year-old Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ last day playing a love interest, though Schumer used a raunchier term.

    AMY SCHUMER, Actress: But what about men? Like, who tells men when it’s their last (EXPLETIVE DELETED) day?

    (LAUGHTER)

    JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS, Actress: Honey, men don’t have that day.

    PATRICIA ARQUETTE: Never.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Turns out it’s not just the case in Hollywood. Jewish Vocational Services in San Francisco is a nonprofit that helps older people find jobs. We first visited in 2009, at the height of the great recession, when complaints of age discrimination abounded.

    PATRICIA WILSON, Legal Assistant: I was told during the interview, “As you can see, we’re a very young group. And our main concern is that you are overly qualified for this job, and we would be concerned that you wouldn’t stay.”

    PAUL SOLMAN: Did you believe them?

    PATRICIA WILSON: No. I just felt that they didn’t think that I would fit in with the younger group.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But did Patricia Wilson have it worse as a woman? We went back to JVS last week to focus on females, assembling a cast of so-called older women.

    LAURA MILVY: I am almost 55.

    LISA TROGDON: I am 58 years old.

    WOMAN: Fifty-seven.

    DENISE CARRILLO, Former Fashion Industry Executive: Sixty-four.

    CYNTHIA JOSAYMA, Former International Development Consultant: I count myself as 8 plus 50.

    (LAUGHTER)

    PAUL SOLMAN: All of these women have had trouble finding work since 2008.

    Cynthia Josayma used to work in international development.

    CYNTHIA JOSAYMA: When the recession went into place, my age community all lost their jobs. And they have found that, in general, the middle-age American woman is marginalized.

    DANA MICHAELS, Former Sales Representative: High-tech firms especially don’t want you.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Former sales rep Dana Michaels has been looking for a job for two years.

    DANA MICHAELS: They have a culture of ping-pong at the beer Fridays. I applied for a place that had nap Thursdays.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Nap Thursdays?

    DANA MICHAELS: Yes. And I could just see myself putting the blankets over them.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Now, wait a second. These young people were taking naps?

    DANA MICHAELS: On Thursdays. I was at least double their age. And I’m sure they looked at me like, oh, this old lady’s not going to fit in.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Though this was high-tech San Francisco, the problem extends nationwide.

    Denise Carrillo has been unemployed since losing her fashion industry job in New York in 2007.

    Did you feel you were being discriminated against because you were a somewhat older woman?

    DENISE CARRILLO: Yes. Yes, I did. The experience was there, my confidence was there. The compliments just rolled. But I was older. And that’s when I decided, relocate.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But when you came here from New York two-and-a-half years ago, did you get responses to the resumes that you sent out?

    DENISE CARRILLO: No. None. No responses.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The plight of older women looking for work was the buzz at last week’s annual meeting of the American Economic Association, thanks in part to a Federal Reserve study making headlines: Women over 50 now account for half of the long-term unemployed.

    But does that mean they’re being discriminated against, more than, say, men over 50?

    DAVID NEUMARK, University of California, Irvine: This is, of course, one of the reasons economists step in, you know, because we’re always a little — a little skeptical of those interpretations.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Economist David Neumark.

    DAVID NEUMARK: Because we have all not gotten jobs we have applied for, and it doesn’t mean we were discriminated against because of whatever feature we have, age, race, sex, whatever it might be.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But economists can test these interpretations with field experiments, the most famous of which may be the audit study summarized in this video, where thousands of made-up resumes were mailed to employers, identical, except for the names, half black-sounding, half-white.

    The results? Black-sounding names were 50 percent less likely to get follow-up calls. David Neumark used the audit study approach to study ageism and sexism. He sent out resumes in 12 cities, using women’s names for thousands of administrative assistant and retail sales jobs, men’s names for custodian and security guard.

    He also varied the age: A third of the fictional job hunters were around 30, a third around 50, a final third in their mid-60s. The results were dramatically different by age, but just among the women.

    DAVID NEUMARK: The youngest group, 30-year-old or so, get about 15 percent callback rates, even higher in sales, the middle-age group lower, and the oldest group by far the lowest.

    There’s a hint that older male workers have lower callback rates than younger male workers, but there’s much stronger evidence, in terms of magnitudes and how robust the finding is, of age discrimination against older women.

    JOANNA LAHEY, Economist: Those dark red dots are fixations. That’s where the eye is pausing.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Economist Joanna Lahey did a similar study, sending out 8,000 made-up resumes and an eye-scanning lab experiment studying how long H.R. managers looked at resumes. The red dots tell you where and for how long.

    JOANNA LAHEY: And we see the years on the employment history, and we see the education and the year that they got their education.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The managers looked longer at younger resumes, looked longer at the items indicating age.

    JOANNA LAHEY: This one, for example, says, “I’m willing to embrace change,” which is something that the AARP used to recommend that you put on your resume and then it stopped recommending.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Because it didn’t work?

    JOANNA LAHEY: Well, my first study found that it actually hurt older people.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Because it identified them as card-carrying members of AARP, Lahey suspects, and therefore at least 50.

    So, you had people starting in their mid-30s all the way to the mid-70s.

    JOANNA LAHEY: Yes.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And when does age discrimination start?

    JOANNA LAHEY: Immediately. It starts at age 35.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Really?

    JOANNA LAHEY: Yes. It’s a pretty steady process. As you get older, your amount of callbacks decrease.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And it’s women more than men?

    JOANNA LAHEY: It’s definitely women more than men.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So the evidence is clear, but what’s the explanation?

    DAVID NEUMARK: The evolutionary biologists bring everything back to you know, reproduction, right? Older men can reproduce. Older women can’t.

    TINA FEY: And then we put her in the boat and we push her out into the water and we drink champagne to salute how (EXPLETIVE DELETED) she was for so many years. Cheers. Cheers.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, it could be that it’s really something inherent that’s passed on from our evolutionary heritage that just says, older women, not so much, older men, doesn’t make a difference?

    DAVID NEUMARK: It could be. I mean, I think the notion that age signals something, and it’s — for some people at least, it’s a negative, is not — is not crazy.

    PAUL SOLMAN: No, not crazy, as even our older women acknowledged.

    LISA TROGDON: I’m trying to think back to

    PAUL SOLMAN: Lisa Trogdon is 58.

    LISA TROGDON: … what I thought was, when I was younger. And 50, when I was 20, 25, seemed old. And as a young person, I didn’t have the perspective, like I do now to realize, oh, they have valuable experience.

    LAURA MILVY: Maybe it’s all a fear, a fear of older, more experienced people.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But what’s crazy is that age signals something so much more negative for women than men.

    And says economist Teresa Ghilarducci:

    TERESA GHILARDUCCI, The New School: It’s going to be a bigger problem, this age discrimination problem, for women as more and more women are having to work longer, because of divorce, or because they have eroded pensions, or lower pensions, because even if they worked their whole life, they were paid less, and so they accumulated less pensions.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And as Laura Milvy asked at the vocational center:

    LAURA MILVY: If we’re all going to live to 100 years, and you’re trying to make women in their 50s stop working, what are we going to do for the next 50 years?.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Good question.

    This is “PBS NewsHour” economics correspondent Paul Solman, reporting from San Francisco.

    The post Women over 50? Help not wanted appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Black tarp covers damaged gym floor at Spain Elementary-Middle School in Detroit. Photo by Janet Bass, AFT.

    Black tarp covers damaged gym floor at Spain Elementary-Middle School in Detroit. Photo by Janet Bass, AFT.

    Editor’s Note: More than 60 schools in Detroit closed earlier this week after teachers called in sick in protest of rodent and mold problems. While some city and state officials were sympathetic to the teachers’ pleas, they also criticized teachers for leaving students with no place to go and taking away instruction time.

    Lakia Wilson, a school counselor at Spain Elementary-Middle School in Detroit, defended the teachers’ actions and explains why the conditions make it difficult to teach and for students to learn.


    The odious smell of mold and mildew hits you like a brick wall when you step through the front doors at Spain Elementary-Middle School in Detroit.

    I have been at Spain for 19 years, first as a first-grade teacher, then, after earning a master’s degree in counseling, as a school counselor. When I first started, it was a school any city would be proud to have in its district. Today, it’s the poster child for neglect and indifference to a quality teaching and learning environment for our 500 students.teacherslounge

    The gym is closed because half of the floor is buckled and the other half suffered so much rainwater damage from the dripping ceiling that it became covered with toxic black mold. Instead of professionally addressing the problem, a black tarp simply was placed over the entire area like a Band-Aid. That area of the school has been condemned.

    The once beautiful pool sits empty because no one has come to fix it. The playground is off-limits because a geyser of searing hot steam explodes out of the ground. What do our kids do for exercise with no gym, playground or pool? They walk or run in the halls. Seriously. Our pre-K through eighth graders move like mall walkers.

    Exposed wires hang from missing ceiling tiles. Watermarks from leaks abound. Kids either sit in freezing classrooms with their coats on or strip off layers because of stifling heat.

    How can you teach or learn in conditions like these?

    What can I say when a child or parent asks me why their school smells, or why can’t they have regular recess with a gym teacher like kids in nicer communities? What can I say to a preschool parent whose child is in a classroom located, believe it or not, in the condemned area where the mold-infested gym is located?

    Our complaints have fallen on deaf ears, which makes me feel abandoned. I feel a huge void because I recognize the deficits that are created when my students, parents and colleagues are not afforded the basic necessities to perform our best. Who doesn’t want to provide a world-class, 21st century education to our future generations?

    Every child and school employee in Detroit — for that matter, anywhere in America — deserves to be treated with respect. It is disrespectful when we bring these environmental and learning conditions to the attention of state officials (our school district is run by a governor-appointed emergency manager) and are ignored.

    The amazing thing is that the educators in Detroit public schools come to school every day despite these disgusting conditions and do the best job we can to give our students a great education. We want to give our students the chance to “make it.” For that, we get denounced for exposing the conditions that the district and the governor want to keep quiet. That’s just wrong.

    I know I have a lot of support from the community in my fight for my kids and their education. And hopefully soon, I will be able to walk into my school to an environment that’s welcoming, safe, healthy and conducive to teaching and learning. That’s my dream, and I’ll do everything I possibly can to make it come true.

     

    The post Detroit teacher: ‘How can you teach or learn in conditions like these?’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    An Oscar statue is seen during the nominations announcements for the 88th Academy Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 14, 2016. The Oscars will be presented in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016.  REUTERS/Phil McCarten - RTX22E87

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Next, the Motion Picture Academy today named its top picks for the best performances and films of 2015.

    Jeffrey Brown has our look at who’s in this year’s field, and getting just as much attention, who’s not.

    When it comes to Oscar nominations this year, it is a very cruel world, indeed. “The Revenant,” a revenge tale set in the American wilderness in the 1800s, gained the most nominations, 12 in all, including for best picture, best director Alejandro Inarritu, who won last year for “Birdman,” and in the leading actor category for Leonardo DiCaprio, a megastar who famously has never won an Oscar.

    The second most honored film with 10 nominations portrayed a different kind of struggle for survival. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is set in a not-so-distant future that we can all only hope to avoid. It’s a sequel to the popular trilogy that began in 1979. Director George Miller, who also created and directed the earlier series, gained a nomination for the new film, this time using a female lead.

    CHARLIZE THERON, Actress: This is the best shot I will ever have.

    Mike Sargent is a film critic for Pacifica Radio.

    MIKE SARGENT, Film Critic, Pacifica Radio: And they’re both definitely about survival, but they both are taking, in many ways, simple stories and just telling them really well. “Mad Max” is essentially one long chase film, but it’s shot and staged and mounted in a way no one’s ever seen.

    KATE MARA, Actress: That’s tracking right towards us.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Unlike many other years, though, the races in this and other key categories are considered up for grabs. Six other films join “The Revenant” and “Mad Max” on the best picture list, “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies, “Brooklyn,” “The Martian,” “Room,” and “Spotlight.”

    There were some familiar names in the acting categories. Among the men, in addition to DiCaprio, Matt Damon in “The Martian,” Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo,” and last year’s winner, Eddie Redmayne, among women, former winner Cate Blanchett for “Carol,” and Jennifer Lawrence for “Joy.”

    But a relative newcomer, Brie Larson, seems to be the odds-on favorite for her performance in “Room” as a woman held captive for years with her young son now adjusting to the outside world.

    BRIE LARSON, Actress: I just want him to connect with something.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Slate film critic Dana Steven.

    DANA STEVENS, Film Critic, Slate: Brie Larson is absolutely wonderful in “Room” and a genuine breakthrough kind of performance. And she is not a name that is widely known outside of cinephilic circles in the last few years. And, suddenly, she’s burst into stardom and greater visibility with this role.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Most notably missing again for the second straight year, actors of color, an issue that’s put its own spotlight on Hollywood for its lack of diversity at every level.

    MIKE SARGENT: And though I think Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is the head of the Academy now, has made great strides in the last couple years to include more people of color, more women, more people under a certain age in the academy, it still is dominated primarily by men, primarily by white men over 60, 65, and the choices of films and actors often reflect a sensibility, and maybe let’s just say a sensibility that’s time perhaps has come and gone.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Among those left off the best actor list was Idris Elba for “Beasts of no Nation,” and Benicio Del Toro for “Sicario.”

    The film “Straight Outta Compton” about the rap group NWA had been wildly praised, but was shut out of major nominations.

    DANA STEVENS: I always sort of think, well, it’s earlier up the pipeline that things should have been fixed. Right? The problem is that there aren’t people of color and women out there making movies and getting the directing jobs and acting jobs. And if they were there, we would have more choices to pick from.

    However, there are exceptions to that even this year, for example, Ryan Coogler, the director of “Creed,” African-American director, and a great performance by Michael B. Jordan in that role. But neither of them was recognized. Instead, it’s the white supporting actor, Sylvester Stallone, who got recognized for “Creed.”

    JEFFREY BROWN: “Star Wars,” the top grossing film of 2015, won nominations in several technical categories.

    Just how important are these nominations for these films?

    MIKE SARGENT: All films benefit from getting nominated, especially the Oscars. There’s something they call the Oscar bump. And I think we’re going to see these films make at least 20 percent more than they would have if they didn’t get nominated.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The Academy Awards ceremony itself remains a very big deal, one of the most watched programs of the year.

    But after last year’s 15 percent drop in viewership, from 43 million to 37 million, producers are aiming for a bit of a reboot. Chris Rock will host the Oscar broadcast on February 28.

    There was also sad news in the film world today with the passing of Alan Rickman, a classically trained British actor who performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and earned two Tony Award nominations, and who often showcased that pedigree in film roles, such as Colonel Brandon in “Sense and Sensibility.”

    READ MORE: Alan Rickman, the villain you loved to love, dies at 69

    ALAN RICKMAN, Actor: I have described Mr. Willoughby as the worst of libertines, but I have since learned from Lady Allen that he did mean to propose that day.

    DANA STEVENS: It was hard for me to pay attention to those breaking Oscar nominations this morning after hearing the news that Alan Rickman had died, because, to me, that’s just such a blow for the world of cinema. He was such a great performer with incredible range.

    ALAN RICKMAN: Get them back.

    JEFFREY BROWN: On screen, Rickman became best known for his roles as the villain, playing German psychopath Hans Gruber in “Die Hard.”

    ALAN RICKMAN: Yippee ki yay, mother-.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And he was the dastardly sheriff of Nottingham in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”

    ALAN RICKMAN: And call off Christmas.

    JEFFREY BROWN: For which he won a British Academy and Film Award.

    And, of course, for a new generation, he was master of the dark arts of magic, Severus Snape, in the “Harry Potter” franchise.

    ALAN RICKMAN: Should anyone, student or staff, attempt to aid Mr. Potter, they will be punished.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In another vein, in the Christmas favorite “Love Actually” Rickman was a husband to Emma Thompson, pathetically flirting with adultery.

    ALAN RICKMAN: I’m so in love with you, a classic fool.

    JEFFREY BROWN: During his 30-year career, Rickman never won an Oscar, but once said, “Parts win prizes, not actors.”

    Alan Rickman’s family announced today that he died from a battle with cancer. He was 69 years old.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Jeffrey Brown.

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    Vice President Joe Biden (L) points to U.S. President Barack Obama while Obama delivered his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/Pool  - RTX224W9

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first, what the White House is calling the moon shot to cure cancer. One unexpected announcement in President Obama’s State of the Union address came when he tapped Vice President Joe Biden to lead an effort to boost and streamline cancer research across the country.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past 40 years, I’m putting Joe in charge of mission control.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the families that we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.

    What do you say, Joe?

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: For a look at what an initiative might look like, and who would be involved, and how it might go forward, we turn to three people with long ties to cancer research.

    Dr. Otis Brawley is chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society. Dr. Francis Collins is the director of the National Institutes of Health. And Katie Couric, in addition to being the well-known journalist and author, she is also one of the co-founders of Stand Up to Cancer. It’s a charitable group that supports collaborative research.

    And we welcome all three of you to the program.

    Dr. Brawley, let me start with you.

    Is it realistic for the president to say, let’s cure cancer once and for all?

    DR. OTIS BRAWLEY, American Cancer Society: Well, I think the cure analogy is fine.

    What’s really going to happen is some cancers, if we intensify our efforts, will be cured. Many cancers are going to be stalled out to where they become very chronic diseases, like diabetes. But the end result is, people are going to be better for it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Francis Collins, Dr. Collins, do you agree? I mean, we know there are, what, over 100 — maybe hundreds of types of cancer? What are people to think about this?

    DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, National Institutes of Health: Well, I hope they will be inspired and excited about this.

    Yes, there are hundreds of types of cancer, but we are at an inflection point in terms of things we are learning about what causes this disease, where good cells go bad, and what could we do about it? And by bring together immunotherapy, the new way of activating the immune system to tackle cancel, genomics, and making sure that everybody is sharing the data they’re developing in those kinds of studies, the vice president, a man of great passion and principle, is determined that this is not going to be a tweak on the system.

    This is going to be a major acceleration of the effort to discover how to treat and cure, in many instances, cancer. And goodness knows, we can all get excited about that outcome.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Katie Couric, as somebody who has been on the advocacy side of this for years, having lost your first husband and your sister to cancer, how do you see the challenge?

    KATIE COURIC, Stand Up To Cancer: Well, I think it’s so exciting, Judy, when I heard this announcement at the State of the Union. And it’s — I think we are, as Dr. Collins said, at a really inflection point, and things are happening so much when it comes to immunotherapy, as he said, genomics, the basic science.

    And, you know, as somebody who has lost people near and dear to my heart, I — when Vice President Biden lost Beau, I literally felt his pain and frustration. And that’s the way I felt when Jay and Emily died. Why couldn’t there be better treatments?

    I remember, Judy, the first-line treatment for metastatic colon cancer for Jay in 1999 — 1997, rather, had been around since the 1950s. And it just made me furious. And that was really the impetus for Stand Up to Cancer.

    We said, you know, these researchers, these scientists, they have to collaborate, instead of compete. And we started it in 2008, and now, eight years later, we have — we have 1,000 scientists. We have 130 researcher institutions involved. They’re working on 18 different dream teams, where they’re collaborating on things like pancreatic cancer, lung cancer with the American Cancer Society, childhood cancers.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.

    KATIE COURIC: And it’s — so, and, already, two FDA-approved treatments have stemmed from that kind of research for pancreatic cancer and lung cancer. So, I think collaboration really is the key.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What about that, Dr. Brawley? What would constitute a breakthrough here?

    DR. OTIS BRAWLEY: Well, I agree that we need sustained funding and sustained support for the scientists, especially the folks at the National Cancer Institute, who have been wonderful at this.

    I do believe that we are at an inflection point. We have learned a lot about what goes on in the cancer cell. A lot of targets that are druggable are being developed. We actually need some command-and-control of the oncology research network in order to advance it further and faster.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you mean command-and-control?

    DR. OTIS BRAWLEY: Well, we do need people to say, this is a project that needs funding and needs funding urgently. This is a project that’s repetitive and need not be funded. We need people to say, you, as an investigator, need to start talking and collaborating with other investigators. We need to bring industry into this.

    We need to bring far more than just government and academics. I would also say the advocacy community needs to be involved. So, there needs to be some collaboration amongst numerous individuals and numerous organizations.

    But I actually am very optimistic that we can do some very positive work here.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Dr. Collins, how much of this is money? We know something like 265 million more dollars went to the National Cancer Institute over the last few years. You were responsible for a lot of that. Is money the whole story here?

    DR. FRANCIS COLLINS: It’s not the whole story, but it sure is helpful.

    Investigators who are pursuing really creative ideas in cancer research still have only about one chance in five that their ideas are going to get funded, because although we have now turned the corner — and much credit to the Congress for making that happen a month ago — we still have a long way to go to catch up on the resources that we have lost.

    And if we’re really going to jump-start this kind of opportunity for moving cancer research forward at an accelerated pace, resources are going to be critical. We are not lacking for ideas. We’re not lacking for talent. There are all kinds of things happening in this field.

    Resources are really critical to make it possible to move forward at the rate that I know we could. Take immunotherapy. We have seen how the immune system, probably in all of us, is searching out and taking care of small numbers of cancer cells every day, and we never even know we had them.

    But, sometimes, the cancer cells are clever enough to elude that. We have seen dramatic results in melanoma, President Carter with his metastatic melanoma. Now, apparently, those brain…

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Stunning.

    DR. FRANCIS COLLINS: … melted away.

    But we need to move that into other areas, like pancreatic cancer, like lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, where the immune system is having an even harder time finding what is there.

    But those cancers have abnormal proteins. They should be approachable. We need to teach the immune system, take it to college, take it to graduate school, figure out how we can activate what our own mechanisms might be able to do for us.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Katie Couric, from where you stand, that money, do you look to Congress? I mean, what are we talking about here?

    KATIE COURIC: Well, of course we need a bigger — I think we need more sustained and funding for government and from Congress and for the NIH, for the NCI.

    But I think, to Dr. Brawley’s point, we also need the private sector involved. We have raised — I think close to $360 million has been pledged to Stand Up to Cancer through corporate and private and individual donors. So, we need to come together as a country and say, you know, this has got to be where the end of cancer begins. That’s our motto at Stand Up to Cancer, and really get everyone involved.

    And I think, under Vice President Biden’s leadership, he will be able to galvanize the community that can be as political at times, Judy, as TV news, if you can imagine that…

    (LAUGHTER)

    KATIE COURIC: … with a lot of overlapping and competing interests.

    So, we really do need to come together as a country, and I think we will able to accomplish incredible things, and especially if we have a more coordinated, sustained effort.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, just quickly from all three of you, Dr. Brawley first, what’s the message that people out there right now who either have cancer or have a loved one with cancer — how much hope should they have right now?

    DR. OTIS BRAWLEY: Well, I do want to give everyone who has cancer some hope.

    I do think that we need to be much more organized. I do think that command-and-control, where there’s actually a strategic plan, by someone who’s in government — the vice president is ideal because he understands politics. There’s great scientists already to advise him. But we need actually someone to do organization and leadership. So I want to give everyone some hope. I’m very excited about this plan.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Collins?

    DR. FRANCIS COLLINS: I’m excited, too, and I think we are getting the real understanding of cancer that we have needed all along, and that’s translating into ideas about prevention and treatment.

    So, anybody listening to this, I think, should feel a sense of hope, a sense of inspiration, a sense we’re on the right track, and we have got the right people and the right smarts, and now maybe some more resources. This is a problem we can eventually solve.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, Katie Couric, write a check?

    KATIE COURIC: Yes, write a check.

    You know, think — if only one in five promising research proposals is funded, that’s four great ideas that are left literally, Judy, on the cutting-room floor.

    So, we need to support our scientists. They’re the real heroes and heroines, I think, of our society. We need to give them the money they need to do the work that will help us all.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Katie Couric, Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Otis Brawley, we thank you, all three.

    DR. FRANCIS COLLINS: Thank you.

    DR. OTIS BRAWLEY: Thank you.

    KATIE COURIC: Thanks, Judy.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: You have seen the heartbreaking picture of Alan Kurdi. He’s the Syrian refugee boy who drowned off the coast of Turkey this summer, but what became of the rest of his family? Their story runs as wide and far as the millions of Syrians who have now fled the war.

    William Brangham reports.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It was one image that devastated onlookers across the world, a 3 year-old Syrian refugee, drowned and lifeless, lying face down on the beach.

    Alan Kurdi was just one of hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled the Middle East last year, and one of many children who’ve drowned on the perilous sea voyage, but his death seemed to cut deeper. From front pages the world over, the picture hammered a global conscience. International actions were staged in response. And artists around the world responded with their own touching imagery.

    ANNE BARNARD, The New York Times: I remember seeing it and thinking that this is a really heartbreaking one. It’s hard to say exactly why that one is the one that went so viral. But it did.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: New York Times Beirut bureau chief Anne Barnard set out to tell the deeper story behind this image. What she found was an ocean of stories of a boy and his extended family, stories that spanned multiple continents, and told of horrible violence and struggles.

    ANNE BARNARD: The Kurdis, like many, many Syrians, had essentially, as a family, accepted the deal that existed under Syria’s police state. You have a relatively decent modest living in exchange for staying out of politics.

    And like many other millions, that’s what they were doing. They raised six children in Damascus. They — barbering was the family business. And they were just living their life there, when the war and conflict began.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: After protests against President Bashar al-Assad led to civil war within the country, the Kurdis found themselves caught in harm’s way.

    ANNE BARNARD: Their neighborhood was so close to the government artillery bases, that the outgoing blasts put cracks in some of the walls of the family houses. At the same time, police were increasingly stopping people on the streets. One child in the family witnessed the death of the schoolmate who was killed by security forces while at a protest outside of school.

    There was a suicide bomb that went off near the same kid randomly, a very frightening experience. And there were people that they knew who were arrested just for no reason and disappeared. So, conflict was getting closer.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Aware of the dangers they faced, Alan’s family members were determined to find a new home and a new life, even if it meant leaving Syria. One of Alan’s aunts tried three times to cross the sea from Turkey.

    ANNE BARNARD: Each attempt was scarier than the last, and they all failed. And the last one ended with them getting scooped up out of the water by the Turkish coast guard. And Hivrun said: “I’m not doing it again. I’m not risking my kids.”

    And she had a big fight with her husband, because he insisted on going on to Germany, and she stayed in Istanbul with the kids, who were angry and wanted to actually keep trying. Well, a week later or so, Abdullah’s family died, and they said, OK, we did the right thing. Thank God we didn’t go.

    They felt really horrible for Abdullah. But guess what? Within a few weeks, they tried again.

    FATIMA KURDI, Alan’s Aunt: You own your house. You live your life, happy, peaceful.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Alan’s aunt Fatima, Tima for short, has lived in Canada for more than 20 years, where she continued the family business, opening a hair salon near Vancouver. She maintained contact with her brother, Alan’s father, as they undertook their fateful voyage.

    She said that, like most Syrian families, the Kurdis were aware of the grave dangers of the journey, but they ultimately decided they had no choice.

    FATIMA KURDI: All of a sudden, whatever you have in your life, for your own family, in one day, you have to leave everything behind and flee. There is nobody who would like to do this just by choice.

    ANNE BARNARD: The thing is, a million people have gone to Europe, 800,000 of them this year on boats. And in a strange way, it can be a rational choice when you consider what people are running from.

    MOHAMMAD KURDI, Alan’s Uncle (through interpreter): Can you imagine, as a father, seeing your child die before your eyes?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Mohammad Kurdi is an uncle of Alan’s, and he saw his share of horrors in Syria. After fleeing Damascus for the northern city of Kobani, he and his son were trapped and threatened by ISIS fighters. Mohammad was beaten. His son Shergo, 15 years old, was given a gun and instructed to shoot his father. Luckily, they both escaped, but Mohammad decided it was time for his family to leave Syria.

    MOHAMMAD KURDI (through interpreter): Imagine the buildings being blown up, the corpses of children and women. They are all innocent.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Abdullah Kurdi, Mohammad’s brother and the father of 3-year-old Alan, lost his entire family at sea. He became a symbol of the plight of refugees across the Middle East. He returned to his homeland, Kobani, where he laid his wife and children to rest.

    ABDULLAH KURDI, Alan’s Father (through interpreter): My entire family passed away. They are martyrs now, but I hope they can help those who are still in need. Enough with this war. I don’t know what more to say. I am so tired. Just leave me alone, for the Koran’s sake.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Today, he lives alone in Iraqi Kurdistan, his extended family now spread throughout the world. But, fortunately,

    the Kurdis’ story doesn’t end there. Alan’s uncle Mohammad finally arrived in Canada with his wife and five children as some of the 10,000 refugees welcomed by the Canadian government last year. It was a bittersweet arrival.

    HEVEEN KURDI, Alan’s Cousin (through interpreter): I am very happy and excited, but, at the same time, I’m very sad about my cousins.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: During their trip, the family had been separated from their father, Mohammad. They met in Germany in December, just before flying west. It was the first time he met his 5-month-old son, Sherwan.

    MOHAMMAD KURDI (through interpreter): There were days I thought I would never see my family again, but thank God the nightmare is over.

    FATIMA KURDI: It was a beautiful moment that those kids, they are going to begin a new life and going to school, rebuild their life.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Now Mohammad and his family are staying with his sister Tima. He is working in her hair salon, the family business, and his children are quickly learning English.

    CHILD: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

    MOHAMMAD KURDI (through interpreter): Thank God that I have arrived here with my family, after this long journey and great tragedy. My children and I are just starting to feel safe. There is a life here for us.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For Anne Barnard, who spent months reporting on the Kurdi family, this family saga is a reminder that the Syrian civil war is about more than just Assad, the Islamic State, and American interests in the region. It’s about millions of real families left with nowhere to turn who are looking for a better future.

    ANNE BARNARD: This story reminds us that each one of these stories is an individual tale and each — even this one family. That incredibly tragic picture of Alan on the beach was only a tiny piece of what they had been through.

    What happened to Alan was just a fraction of what happened to them. And what happened to them is just one story out of many millions of stories. Half of the Syrian population has been displaced in this conflict. So I think we just have to remember that each one of these stories is a real person with a real family, with family dynamics like those we have in our own families.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And for Tima Kurdi, the story is far from over.

    FATIMA KURDI: Of course, the sad part, you always think about the rest of the family, about a million of those refugees. They are still — have a little bit of hope one day they will be somewhere safe.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: After her nephew’s tragic death, Tima has become an outspoken activist and advocate for the plight of refugees around the world.

    FATIMA KURDI: People have to open their heart and their door and help them. And that’s why I said, if I have a chance to bring my voice to the world, I’m willing to do it. It’s not something I choose. I just — it happened. And it’s not an easy thing to do, really.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: A dire challenge now faced by the U.S., European and Middle Eastern nations alike.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m William Brangham.

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    Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced Thursday that Army Gen. Joseph Votel will be nominated as the next commander for U.S. Central Command. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — Defense Secretary Ash Carter is announcing that the general who heads his special operations forces will be nominated as the next commander for the Middle East.

    Army Gen. Joseph Votel would take over leadership of U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State Group. He would succeed Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, who is retiring.

    Carter announced the decision at Central Command headquarters in Tampa, standing alongside Votel. He was in town to meet with his commanders about how the fight against IS will take shape this year.

    Votel, 57, is a former commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment and a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He headed the secretive Joint Special Operations Command before taking over Special Operations Command in 2014.

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    An Indonesian policeman carries a dog while patrolling at Thamrin business district in Jakarta, January 14, 2016. Militants launched a gun and bomb assault in the centre of the Indonesian capital on Thursday, killing at least six people, police said, in an attack on a country that Islamic State had threatened to put in its "spotlight".  REUTERS/Beawiharta  - RTX22CJW

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to today’s attacks in Jakarta, Indonesia, claimed by the Islamic State group in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

    Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner begins our coverage.

    And a warning: Some of the images may be disturbing.

    MARGARET WARNER: It is a moment of cold-blooded calculation, as gunfire cracks, two suicide bombers crouch, make ready, and then — in all, five attackers and two civilians died when multiple gunmen and suicide bombers struck the center of Jakarta this morning.

    REZA, Witness (through interpreter): At first, I thought it was the explosion of car tire, but then I realized that it was bomb explosion. Then I saw the motorcyclers, all wearing black clothes. And they pulled out long guns.

    MARGARET WARNER: The attackers hit a police booth at a busy intersection with guns and grenades. Another target was a nearby Starbucks. Police say one bomber blew himself up inside, and waiting gunmen tried to shoot the survivors as they fled.

    After hours of gunfire, investigators found more undetonated bombs in a neighboring building. They took four militants into custody. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility.

    Its statement read: “A group of soldiers of the caliphate in Indonesia targeted a gathering from the crusader alliance that fights the Islamic State in Jakarta.”

    Jakarta’s police chief offered a slightly different account. He pointed to an extremist group based in Southeast Asia with ties to ISIS.

    MAJ. GEN. TITO KARNAVIAN, Police Chief, Jakarta (through interpreter): There’s a militant named Bahrun Naim who wants to be the leader of the region. All leaders of ISIS in Southeast Asia are competing to be the chief. That’s why he plotted this attack.

    MARGARET WARNER: Naim is believed to be in the Islamic State’s de facto capital, Raqqa, Syria, according to police. But they warned today that his group has also expanded its efforts across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

    Just last month, police arrested more than a dozen people on the Indonesian island of Java on charges of planning attacks on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. They said some received funding from Naim. Still, there were questions today about the level of sophistication in the Jakarta attacks.

    JOE COCHRANE, International New York Times: According to terrorism analysts who I spoke to today, they didn’t think much of the actual tactics of this group or the attackers who were involved today, based on the fact they didn’t really kill anybody.

    MARGARET WARNER: Joe Cochrane is the Indonesia correspondent for The International New York Times, based in Jakarta. He spoke via Skype.

    JOE COCHRANE: A number of these people’s colleagues had been arrested over the last three or four weeks in various parts of Indonesia, so the feeling was these guys were about to be picked up, and they were just trying some sort of last gasp effort at glory or revenge against the police.

    MARGARET WARNER: The largest Muslim country in the world, Indonesia has long been a target of violent Islamist extremism. The most notorious incident came in 2002, when the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah attacked nightclubs on the island of Bali, killing 202 people.

    And in 2009, the same group struck two hotels in Jakarta, leaving eight dead. Since then, the government has led a massive effort to dismantle Jemaah Islamiyah, but there are concerns of a resurgence.

    Meanwhile, Jakarta and its 10 million people are now on high alert, as the investigation begins.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Margaret Warner.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And for more on how ISIS inspires and influences militant Islamist groups around the world, I’m joined by Joby Warrick. He is a national security reporter at The Washington Post and he’s author of the book “Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS.”

    Joby Warrick, welcome back to the program.

    JOBY WARRICK, The Washington Post: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Help us first, though, understand who is this group that is claiming responsibility? It sounds like there are different groups operating around that part of Asia.

    JOBY WARRICK: Yes, but there are a number of these Southeast Asians in ISIS proper and working out of Syria.

    There’s a battalion there that’s called Katiba. And they have actually been successful in attacking Kurdish targets. They have gone on the Internet claiming credit, claiming that they’re strong and trying to drive other recruits to them.

    And so you see this. Once again, this is almost like the model we have seen in other places, Belgians and French and Germans and others kind of calling out in a nationalistic way the people to come from the region and help and join the ISIS cause.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, is there a firm connection between Jakarta and what’s going on in Syria and Iraq?

    JOBY WARRICK: I think there is, in the sense that there is this common effort by ISIS to try to create these cells all over the world. We have sign it in all kinds of places, and certainly North Africa, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan.

    But they really, really want to start a cell in Southeast Asia. They have been looking for over a year at trying to start something in Indonesia particularly. And there are groups who are there. There are groups who are allied with them, or at least ideologically allied with them, who like to participate. And some of them claim credit and do things on their own to try to get the ball rolling.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And how do we distinguish between groups that are truly allied and taking orders from ISIS central, wherever that is, and groups that are just wanting to do — wanting to carry out attacks because they admire what ISIS stands for?

    JOBY WARRICK: Sometimes, it’s very hard to tell.

    I think, in this case, there’s been enough messaging from ISIS’ headquarters in Raqqa, saying, we want to do this. We want to start something in that part of the world. And it’s easy to see at least the outlines of a plan, some kind of reaching out to a region and trying to get people to do something locally, just to establish a presence, just to show that they’re there.

    And so this might be what we’re looking at in this case.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, just how well-organized are they in Southeast Asia? What does it look like?

    JOBY WARRICK: This is new, because ISIS hasn’t really done anything there before. But they do have at least 600 Southeast Asians in Syria that we know of. Lots of people have come to that region to train. Lots of them have come back to the region to start things.

    There are lots of other alliances they could make with local groups, ones that have done the attacks in the 2000s, some really horrific ones, as we have seen. So, this is potentially the start of something new and dangerous.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, they go to Syria and train, and most of them don’t stay. They stay long enough to learn whatever tactics they need, and then they’re going back? I mean, has that been documented?

    JOBY WARRICK: It has been documented.

    It’s kind of one leverage point that local governments have, that they can try to stop these people as they come back. It’s not always possible. These borders are sometimes more porous than we like to think. And, sometimes, international travel can be porous with fake passports and visas and that sort of thing.

    But this is really something that people in the region are very concerned about, and they’re starting to see evidence that it is happening.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We have pointed out that Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world in any single country. Should we be surprised that there haven’t been more ISIS recruits from there?

    JOBY WARRICK: Yes, you would think so. There are 210 million Muslim Muslims in Indonesia. Only about 500, experts say, have gone to Syria to join the fight. That’s perhaps partly a reflection of the fact that it’s far, it’s distant.

    But it’s also the fact that the brand of Islam in Indonesia tends to be more moderate, so you don’t see as many radicals, but there are some, and the ones that are there are willing to do very brutal things.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you were telling us that ISIS has had a pretty sophisticated effort to recruit, that they’re using social media and so forth, which we’re seeing them use around the world.

    JOBY WARRICK: Yes, but the wrinkle on it is, they use local people to appeal to people in their homelands, using local tongue, using Malay, using sort of the common language, and also appealing to sort of national pride or — and to Islamic pride. Come, represent the cause in Syria or fight for us in other parts of the world.

    So this is really the ISIS model these days.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And authorities are on top of this? I mean, if the media is aware of it, we have to assume authorities are?

    JOBY WARRICK: Absolutely worried about it. They’re tracking it very closely.

    It looks like the Indonesian police or the government there has been very aggressive in trying to find these people and root them out. It’s not always possible to get all of them, because they’re pretty good at keeping a low profile.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Joby Warrick of The Washington Post, we thank you.

    JOBY WARRICK: Enjoyed it. Thank you.

    The post How well-organized is ISIS in Southeast Asia? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Traders work in the Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York May 10, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS) - RTR2DPPT

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. Gwen Ifill is away.

    On the “NewsHour” tonight: Gunfire and explosions hit the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, leaving at least two civilians and five attackers dead. The Islamic State claims responsibility.

    Then: a family’s journey from Syria to Canada, the story beyond the image that went viral, sparked outrage and tore apart a family.

    FATIMA KURDI, Alan’s Aunt: All of a sudden, whatever you have in your life, for your own family, in one day, you have to leave everything behind and flee.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And it’s Oscar time. We review this year’s nominations, looking at what’s in and what’s out.

    All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”

    (BREAK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Wall Street mounted a comeback today, one day after its worst losses since September. A rebound in crude oil prices sent energy shares higher, and the broader market followed suit. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 227 points to close near 16380. The Nasdaq rose almost 89 points. And the S&P 500 added 31.

    The investment bank Goldman Sachs agreed today to settle long-running federal and state investigations for $5.1 billion. It stems from the company’s mortgage practices leading up to the market meltdown in 2008. About $1.8 billion of the total will go toward consumer relief. Most other big banks have already reached similar settlements.

    Ten more detainees have been released from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The prisoners were all from Yemen. They were transferred Tuesday night to Oman, reducing the population at Guantanamo to 93 inmates.

    In Miami today, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said some of the rest might end up on the U.S. mainland.

    ASH CARTER, Secretary of Defense: Not everyone in Gitmo can be safely transferred to another country. So, we need an alternative. I, therefore, framed for the president a proposal to establish an alternative location. That plan will propose bringing those detainees to an appropriate secure location in the United States.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Up until now, Congress has blocked any such move, and even passed a law to that effect.

    Secretary Carter also said today it does appear that U.S. Navy sailors made a navigational mistake, causing their boats to stray into Iranian waters this week. The 10 sailors on board the two boats were detained Tuesday in the Persian Gulf by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. They were let go yesterday after a flurry of diplomatic contacts.

    Iran, meanwhile, announced a key step today toward complying with its nuclear deal with world powers. State TV reported that technicians finished removing the core of the Arak nuclear reactor. The agreement calls for ensuring that the site can produce only tiny amounts of plutonium, potential fuel for a nuclear weapon. The work must be verified by outside experts.

    Turkey is claiming that its military killed nearly 200 Islamic State fighters Iraq and Syria just in the last 48 hours. The prime minister said that tanks and artillery blasted targets after Tuesday’s suicide bombing in Istanbul. Meanwhile, people continued to gather at the site of the bombing that killed 10 tourists. Authorities said they have detained seven people in the investigation.

    The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is officially over, that word today from the World Health Organization. The outbreak killed 11,315 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, over nearly two years.

    In Geneva, the head of the WHO’s Ebola response effort hailed the news, but also sounded a note of caution.

    RICK BRENNAN, WHO Ebola Response Team: This is a very important milestone and a very important step forward. We have to say that the job is still not done. That’s because there is still ongoing risk of reemergence of the disease because of the persistence of the virus in a proportion of survivors.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The epidemic is believed to have begun in rural Guinea in December of 2013.

    For the second time this week, relief has reached starving civilians in Syria, caught up in that country’s civil war. The World Food Program and the Red Cross and Red Crescent delivered more food, medicine and other supplies to the town of Madaya today. The area has been cut off by government troops for months. Two villages surrounded by rebel forces in the north also received aid.

    Back in this country, the Republican presidential candidates are squaring off this evening in their latest debate and their first of the new year. The event in North Charleston, South Carolina, features the top seven contenders according to national polls, and the stakes are high, with the Iowa caucuses just two-and-a-half weeks away.

    And the great Powerball craze is over, at least for now. There were three winning tickets last night for the jackpot that ballooned to a record $1.6 billion. One was sold at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, California, outside Los Angeles, and hundreds crowded there, cheering. The other winning tickets were sold in Tennessee and Florida.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: ISIS claims today’s attack in Indonesia; hope and loss in a family’s journey from Syria to Canada; is President Obama’s pledge to cure cancer realistic?; and much more.

    The post News Wrap: Goldman Sachs to pay $5.1 billion over mortgage practices appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A woman shouts slogans during celebrations marking the fifth anniversary of Tunisia's 2011 revolution in Habib Bourguiba Avenue in the capital Tunis on Jan. 14. Photo by Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters

    A woman shouts slogans during celebrations marking the fifth anniversary of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution in Habib Bourguiba Avenue in the capital Tunis on Jan. 14. Photo by Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters

    Thousands of Tunisians gathered in the capital Tunis on Thursday to celebrate Revolution Day, the five-year anniversary of the overthrow of the 23-year dictator President Ben Ali.

    But as they celebrated, the North African nation was in the throes of more political upheaval, economic problems and criticism from human rights groups.

    Tunis was the epicenter of the Arab Spring of 2011, a move to establish democracy that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, and is considered one of its few success stories. After the Arab Spring, Tunisia established a new constitution and held free elections.

    Last October, the negotiating team known as the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet won the Nobel Peace Prize for its widespread democratic political reforms.

    Despite praise of the democratic transition, Tunisian youth, the population that started the revolution, reported feeling excluded from the nation’s prosperity. According to a 2015 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development survey cited by Middle East Eye, 40 percent of Tunisians under the age of 35 are unemployed and actively seeking work. The figure does not include those in education or training.

    During the elections held in November 2014, only 10 percent of youth turned out to vote, according to Al Monitor. At the time, the youth blamed it on the political parties that hijacked the revolution. There’s trouble in those political ranks as well. On Wednesday, 10 senior leaders resigned from Tunisia’s ruling party over a dispute about the party’s leadership.

    Since the revolution, not only is job growth weak, but there also are growing security concerns over incidents such as a shooting rampage last summer on a popular tourist beach. Tunisians make up one of the largest group of foreign fighters for the Islamic State in Syria and Libya, and security forces have increased raids and arrests in their efforts to thwart attacks, according to the New York Times.

    Amnesty International released a report in December on human rights in Tunisia. The human rights group said that its research showed that six people died in police custody since 2011. The individuals claimed they were accused of terrorist activities and tortured in prison, the group said.

    “Torture and repression were hallmarks of former President Ben Ali’s regime,” Said Boumedouha, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement to The New York Times. “They must not be allowed to become defining features of post-uprising Tunisia.”

    When asked about the allegations by telephone, Faycal Gouia, Tunisian Ambassador to the U.S., said, “We cannot say that the same practices and methods are still being used in Tunisia. … People are subject to all law protections, and Tunisian institutions are asked to protect those Tunisian laws.”

    As for people’s security concerns, he said, “We have had a lot of success with security. Unfortunately we are subject to terrorist attacks. We need the cooperation with the U.S. and its allies to secure our borders and the population.”

    Gouia praised Tunisia’s civil society, saying it is “playing a major role in controlling government action. They are the watchdog for the government and the party. This is due to having the most progressive constitution in the Arab World and the result of three years of hard work.”

    He acknowledged that economic prosperity for all, including youth, plays an important role in social change. “In spring 2016, organizations in Tunisia will begin conferences on youth concerns and participation in civil society and other economic opportunities,” he said.

    The post Tunisia marks five years since revolution, but challenges remain appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump (L) listens as rival candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston, South Carolina January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane  - RTX22GQG

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump, left, listens as rival candidate Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston, South Carolina on Jan. 14, 2016. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Did Ted Cruz mean to suggest he would have gone to war with Iran over its brief and smoothly resolved detention of U.S. sailors? Did Chris Christie realize that the Common Core education standards he took credit for ending in New Jersey are still very much alive?

    In their rush to slam the Obama administration, play up their records and play down inconvenient realities, Republican presidential candidates served up some misshapen rhetoric in their latest presidential debate.

    A look at some claims and how they compare with the facts:

    CRUZ: Any country that makes U.S. service members get on their knees like the 10 sailors whose boats were boarded and seized by the Iranian military this week “will feel the full force and fury of the United States of America.”

    CHRISTIE: “Tin pot dictators … are taking our Navy ships.”

    THE FACTS: Neither candidate addressed the fact that the short-lived crisis was created by the U.S. sailors who steered their boats into sovereign Iranian waters, where they were boarded and seized by Iranian naval forces. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday that the U.S. sailors had made a navigation error.

    Under such circumstances it would not be unusual to disarm members of a foreign military force — even a small one like the two Navy boats — and hold them temporarily for questioning. What was exceptional about this episode — and perhaps a provocation — is that the Iranians videotaped the Americans during the encounter and posted the images on the Internet.

    The suggestion by Cruz that he would have launched a military attack on Iran in response to such an incident is hard to square with accepted international tests for the use of force.

    Iran returned the sailors unharmed and their boats undamaged.


    JEB BUSH: “Every weapons system has been gutted.”

    DONALD TRUMP: “Our military is a disaster.”

    BEN CARSON: “We have the world’s best military, even though he (President Barack Obama) has done everything he can to diminish it.”

    MARCO RUBIO: “This president is undermining our military.” ”This president is more interested in funding Planned Parenthood than in funding the military.”

    THE FACTS: These broadsides were stated in sweeping terms that reflect defense budget cuts approved by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed into law by Obama.

    It’s true that the defense budget has shrunk and that this has forced the military services to reduce their ranks and attempt to trim benefits paid to troops. But far from being “gutted,” some key elements of the military have expanded, including the special operations forces.

    Under the Obama administration the military services are undertaking a wide range of modernization efforts, including nuclear forces, combat fighter jets and missile defense systems.

    The defense budget problem has been worsened by repeated partisan conflicts over “sequestration,” or automatic budget cuts that resulted from the 2011 budget control agreement between the White House and the Congress.


    CHRISTIE, countering Rubio’s criticisms for his past positions: “Common Core has been eliminated in New Jersey.” ”I never wrote a check to Planned Parenthood.”

    THE FACTS: Common Core has not been eliminated in his state — far from it.

    A panel Christie put together recommended a series of changes to state standards this week, but only recommended changes to 232 out of 1,427 standards in math and English. The panel also proposed renaming the standards the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. A separate Christie panel recommended the state continue using a Common Core-aligned test — and require it for graduation by 2021.

    On Planned Parenthood, Christie’s denial is at odds with a Sept. 30, 1994, Newark Star-Ledger story that quotes Christie as saying, “I support Planned Parenthood privately with my personal contribution, and that should be the goal of any such agency, to find private donations.”

    Christie was running for local office in Morris County, New Jersey, at the time. The same quote appeared again in a book, “Chris Christie: The Inside Story of his Rise to Power,” a book with which Christie cooperated.

    The original story was written by Star-Ledger reporter Brian Murray, who now works as a spokesman for Christie in the governor’s office. On Tuesday, Christie said he was misquoted in the 1994 story.


    CARSON on pursuing Islamic State militants wherever they can be found: “Why should we be letting people smoke their cigars in their comfortable chairs in Raqqa?”

    THE FACTS: Carson is not likely to find IS fighters lounging with cigars in Raqqa, their de facto capital in Syria. The group has imposed a strict smoking ban throughout its territory in Syria and Iraq. In fact, the militant group implements stiff fines for anyone caught smoking, and even more brutal punishments for those caught selling cigarettes, water pipes or anything that can be smoked, cigars included.

    Also in the debate, Carson suggested Syrian refugees be allowed to settle in “al-Saqqa province, where they’ll be in their own country.”

    But there is no such place. He probably meant al-Raqqa, or Raqqa. As an IS stronghold, it would not be much of a safe haven for people trying to flee the group.

    Associated Press writers Josh Cornfield in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, Jill Colvin in Des Moines, Iowa, and Vivian Salama in Washington contributed to this report.

    The post Fact checking the 6th Republican debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Hillary Clinton supporters rallied ahead of the Democratic debate last month at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders are locked in a tight race in the state. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    nhpr

    With three weeks to go before voting begins, recent polls show Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has a substantial lead over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.

    But Clinton has an important edge: Her experience in an earlier hard-fought Granite State campaign, when she beat Barack Obama by 2 percent in New Hampshire’s 2008 Democratic primary. And the way Clinton won that race yields insight into how this year’s primary between her, Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is running a distant third in the polls, will turn out.

    New Hampshire is a small state, but it’s packed with distinct political regions. And presidential primaries are fought across that landscape, town by town, city by city, as candidates plaster local TV screens with ads and mobilize small armies of volunteers in sophisticated get-out-the-vote efforts.

    The state’s peculiar political geography reveals patterns that explain why a race turned out the way it did. Here’s how the final vote tally in the ’08 primary race ended up, with the towns Clinton won in blue, and Obama’s towns in yellow:

    The 2008 map tells a very clear political story. Clinton dominated in the vote-rich, traditionally Republican-leaning towns of southeastern New Hampshire and along the Massachusetts border, as well as chunks of far-north Coos County.

    Obama, on the other hand, swept the more rural, Democratic-leaning central and western regions, as well as liberal centers like Durham, home of the University of New Hampshire, and Hanover, where Dartmouth College is located.

    That same pattern has held in previous Democratic presidential primaries, including the 2004 race in which John Kerry and Howard Dean finished first and second.

    Clinton had large margins of victory in several key towns in the 2008 Democratic primary (NHPR)

    In the 2008 Democratic primary, Clinton won by large margins in several key towns and cities. (Maps and data courtesy of New Hampshire Public Radio)

    While Dean won fewer towns (and votes) than Obama did in 2008, the electoral maps were strikingly similar. In both races, the winner took most of the heavily-populated and right-leaning southeastern part of the state and pieces of the North Country, while the liberal “outsider” held the more rural and liberal western slice of New Hampshire, according to a new elections database developed by NHPR that compiled voting results in the state stretching back to the 1970s.

    That’s one piece of the story. But knowing the margins by which a candidate won or lost each town is key, too. (Click the “vote margins by town” tab on the map above to see those results).

    While Obama carried more individual towns in 2008, Clinton rolled up bigger margins in the places she won. Looking just at those cities and towns where candidates won by a 15 percent margin or more, Clinton’s “safe” towns far outnumbered Obama’s, both in overall number and in the vote total.

    There’s a pattern there, too. Clinton racked up her biggest margins in the state’s former mill cities – places like Manchester, Berlin, Somersworth and Rochester, all bastions of blue-collar Democratic voters. She also enjoyed big wins in some of the large, more conservative towns of the Southern Tier, like Salem and Pelham.

    Those blowouts in the state’s major population centers erased whatever geographic advantage Obama had in rural areas and the college towns of Keene, Hanover and Durham. (Obama only won two communities by 500 or more votes, while Clinton had a 500-plus margin of victory in nine cities and towns).

    So what does this tell us about how the 2016 Democratic primary might turn out?

    If past patterns hold, Sanders’ vote base will be in western New Hampshire, particularly the towns bordering his home state of Vermont. But he’ll have to chip into Clinton’s margin in densely populated, less liberal southeastern New Hampshire if he wants to remain competitive. Sanders probably also need to scoop up more votes than Obama did in Manchester, which accounted for 40 percent of Clinton’s victory margin in 2008.

    Keep an eye on the vote returns in post-industrial cities like Berlin and Rochester on Feb. 9, the day voters head to the polls. If Sanders is running close to Clinton there, she’ll likely have a hard time scraping out a statewide victory.

    A look at the candidates’ campaign schedules in New Hampshire over the past year also provides some insight into how the candidates are competing geographically.

    Sanders (represented by orange dots in the above map) has made a handful of visits to Greater Manchester, Clinton’s base eight years ago. But his stops in southern New Hampshire are far outnumbered by Clinton’s.

    Instead, Sanders has spent the bulk of his time in the more liberal, pro-Obama towns of the Concord area, the Seacoast and the northwestern New Hampshire. But he likely won’t be able to count on those areas alone to push him past Clinton on Primary Day.

    The post Can New Hampshire’s Obama towns alone win Sanders the vote? Probably not appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks after being endorsed by Senator Lindsey Graham in North Charleston, South Carolina on Jan. 15, 2016. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks after being endorsed by Senator Lindsey Graham in North Charleston, South Carolina on Jan. 15, 2016. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    CORALVILLE, Iowa — Jeb Bush believes he’s got the best prescription for American foreign policy, from his strategies for deterring North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, to destroying the Islamic State.

    However, unlike his rivals in the crowded 2016 Republican race for the White House, Bush’s foreign policy pitch comes with a caveat: he’s as much his own man, as he is a member of the Bush family.

    In an extended interview with The Associated Press, the former Florida governor praised the approach of his father, former President George H.W. Bush, who built a broad coalition to wage the Persian Gulf War, and mobilized U.S. military might to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.

    Jeb Bush says the aggressive military policy he would pursue as President Barack Obama’s successor would signal to the world “we’re back in the game.”

    While he said he would seek the advice of his brother, George W. Bush, in foreign affairs, especially on the Middle East, a Jeb Bush doctrine would more closely resemble that of Bush the father.

    “It was a very successful foreign policy and one that I think one could envision a bipartisan consensus emerging around,” Jeb Bush said of his father’s approach, “and one the American people could support.”

    He speaks of using military intervention “sparingly” but with “awesome force,” taking a page out of the playbook of Colin Powell, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under his father and as his brother’s first secretary of state.

    Powell laid out a doctrine of “overwhelming force” which he applied in the 1990 Gulf War. But Jeb Bush stresses the need for a military and political strategy to play out hand-in-hand.

    “The one ingredient that I think is so essential is to not just have a military exit strategy, but have a political strategy not create another void that has to be filled again…where we have to respond again to that void being filled,” he said. “Syria is a good example of that.”

    When Obama leaves office in a year, he’ll hand his successor military conflicts in the two countries in which he vowed to end prolonged wars: Afghanistan and Iraq. There will be far fewer troops in each, and the American forces there do not have a direct combat role.

    Jeb Bush has said in interviews that he holds different policy opinions from George W. Bush, but he has never criticized his older brother, who left office in 2009. But for Obama, a quest to end the two wars he inherited from George W. Bush’s administration will go unfulfilled. While the war in Afghanistan was widely viewed as retaliation for the September 11th attacks, the 2003 U.S.-led war in Iraq received widespread condemnation as it aimed to destroy weapons of mass destruction that were never found.

    U.S. troops were withdrawn from Iraq in late 2011, despite failed last-minute negotiations between the Obama administration and the Iraqi government to leave some behind. Some viewed the withdrawal as an end to a dark legacy in U.S. foreign policy, while others say it created the security vacuum which ultimately gave rise of the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

    Still, while Jeb Bush urges a forceful stance against Islamic extremism, his rhetoric has been far more subdued to that of some of his rivals — among them, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who vowed to carpet bomb areas in which the Islamic State operates, suggesting civilians would be caught in that campaign; and billionaire Donald Trump, who vowed to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States to prevent attacks — comments that sparked widespread international condemnation.

    At Thursday’s debate, for example, he cautioned that America shouldn’t be “the world’s policeman” but that it should take measures to protect its own national interest and its allies.

    He was the only Republican candidate to denounce Trump’s proposal at Thursday’s Republican debate, noting that the United States needs support from Muslim nations such as Egypt and Jordan to move on the Islamic State.

    “All Muslims? Seriously? What kind of signal does that send to the rest of the world?” Jeb Bush said to Trump on stage in South Carolina.

    While he continues to lag behind some of his more outspoken rivals in the polls, his comments may have earned him the coveted endorsement of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who said Friday that Jeb Bush “has stayed true to who he is (and) hasn’t tried to get ahead in a contested primary by embracing demagoguery.”

    Jeb Bush has said in interviews that he holds different policy opinions from George W. Bush, but he has never criticized his older brother, who left office in 2009 with a foreign policy legacy that many warned could haunt his younger brother’s presidential ambitions.

    “Having gone through what he did, most of his tenure as president was defined in a lot of ways by what was going on in the Middle East,” Jeb Bush told the AP. “His knowledge and insights would be invaluable.”

    He said he would seek the advice of his father, his brother and all the former presidents, if elected, but admitted that with Obama: “I don’t know if I would agree with his advice.”

    Jeb Bush commended his brother’s approach to other major foreign policy issues, particularly engagement with China, his efforts to fight AIDS in Africa and his ability to maintain close ties to Israel, a relationship he said the Obama administration has left to sour.

    The former governor says Obama leaves behind a legacy of “leading from behind,” one he claims the current Democratic front-runner and President Obama’s former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, will inevitably continue.

    His criticism of Obama echoes that of his Republican rivals. All of them have expressed their disdain for the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, vowing to reverse it if they win the White House. And they say countries like North Korea would never step out of line if America asserted itself more forcefully.

    Jeb Bush pointed to reports last week of an alleged hydrogen bomb test in North Korea. Bush said he would keep all options open for dealing with North Korea, but stopped short of calling for a pre-emptive strike against it.

    However, he said he would consider reinstating sanctions on North Korea that were lifted under his brother’s presidency.

    “With North Korea, we should make sure they understand this rogue status that they seek won’t yield a good result. It will be an ugly result for the regime,” he said.

    “If people believe we’re serious about engagement, and they know we’ll use that kind of force, it will deter the kind of aggression that requires it.”

    SUBSCRIBE: Get the analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks delivered to your inbox every week.

    The post Jeb Bush lays out plans for foreign policy appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A security fence with a deadly force warning sign, surrounds the main part of the Dugway Proving Ground on May 28, 2015 in Dugway, Utah. According to Pentagon report released Friday, the inadvertent shipment of live anthrax from a Dunway lab in Utah over several years was “a serious breach of regulations,” but said it did not pose a risk to public health. Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

    A security fence with a deadly force warning sign, surrounds the main part of the Dugway Proving Ground on May 28, 2015 in Dugway, Utah. According to Pentagon report released Friday, the inadvertent shipment of live anthrax from a Dunway lab in Utah over several years was “a serious breach of regulations,” but said it did not pose a risk to public health. Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — A one-star general and 11 other people associated with an Army biodefense laboratory face potential punishment for leadership, management and technical failures that an Army report says contributed to the mistaken shipment of live anthrax to other labs over a period of years.

    The report released Friday named Brig. Gen. William E. King, who commanded the lab at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah as a colonel between 2009 and 2011, faulting him for actions that “perpetuated a complacent atmosphere” among lab workers.

    It also said King “repeatedly deflected blame” for a series of failures and “minimized the severity of incidents” that should have prompted stronger efforts to improve lab operations during his tenure and prevent future incidents.

    The report’s findings were first reported by USA Today.

    The report sought to identify the root cause for conditions at the lab that came under public scrutiny when it was disclosed in May 2015 that live anthrax from the Dugway lab had been shipped to 194 other labs, including facilities in all 50 U.S. states and nine countries. The anthrax was supposed to have been killed before leaving Dugway. The problem came to light when a commercial lab in Maryland tested a shipment from Dugway and found live bacteria.

    The report called the inadvertent shipment of live anthrax “a serious breach of regulations,” but said it did not pose a risk to public health. “Over the years, significant safeguards effectively ensured that the inadvertent shipments were not a threat.”

    Dugway works with biological and chemical agents, and is the military facility that produces the largest amount of anthrax shipped to other labs for research.

    At a Pentagon news conference Friday, Maj. Gen. Paul A. Ostrowski, who led the Army probe, said a combination of factors led to the mistaken shipments of live anthrax. These include “gaps in science,” such as a lack of research on the effectiveness of using gamma irradiation to kill anthrax spores, which was the method used at Dugway.

    “With respect to the gaps in science, we have a lot to do,” Ostrowski said. “We must investigate the irradiation process, which is the preferred method of inactivating anthrax. We are lacking in terms of the amount of information” on various aspects of the spore-killing process.


    Ostrowski’s report said investigators could not pin blame for the latest Dugway anthrax lapses on any individual, but it said the Army should consider holding King and the 11 others accountable for their failures. The Army has not yet taken disciplinary action against any of them.

    The names of the 11 other individuals were blacked out in the publicly released report. It described them as a combination of military officers and others, including laboratory technicians who “failed to exercise due care.” Together, King and the 11 others “created conditions allowing a culture of complacency to flourish,” it concluded.

    After leaving Dugway, King was promoted to brigadier general and is now commander of the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives Command. A phone message left with his public affairs office requesting comment on the report’s findings was not returned.

    The report said that during his time as Dugway commander King had a duty to “think strategically” about how a series of flaws and mistakes at the lab during his tenure were related, to notice that they had widespread implications throughout Dugway Proving Ground, and to investigate and remedy problems.

    “Colonel King failed in these duties,” the report said.

    The post Safety flaws at Army lab led to mistaken shipments of live anthrax appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Uninsured patient Yulisa Mateo, 9, has an eye test at Venice Family Clinic in Venice, California, June 25, 2009. The number of uninsured Hispanic children dropped to 1.7 million, researchers said. Their uninsured rate also fell to 9.7 percent, almost 2 percentage points below the year before. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Uninsured patient Yulisa Mateo, 9, has an eye test at Venice Family Clinic in Venice, California, June 25, 2009. The number of uninsured Hispanic children dropped to 1.7 million, researchers said. Their uninsured rate also fell to 9.7 percent, almost 2 percentage points below the year before. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    The rate of Hispanic children without health insurance fell to a historic low in 2014, the first year that key parts of Obamacare took effect, but they still represent a disproportionate share of the nation’s uninsured youth, according to a new study.

    About 300,000 Hispanic children gained insurance in 2014 from 2013, dropping the number of uninsured to 1.7 million, researchers said. Their uninsured rate fell to 9.7 percent, almost 2 percentage points below the year before. The rate for all U.S. children fell to 6.0 percent from 7.1 percent.

    The report released Friday was co-authored by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families and the National Council of La Raza, a civil rights and advocacy group for Hispanic Americans.

    The Affordable Care Act produced opportunities for Hispanic adults to get health coverage, and when parents enrolled, they generally signed up their children too. One reason for the improvement, researchers said, is that the Affordable Care Act produced opportunities for Hispanic adults to get health coverage, such as providing premium subsidies for buying health insurance in federal and state marketplaces and expanding Medicaid programs in many states. When parents enrolled, they generally signed up their children, too.

    States that extended Medicaid to low-income adults had an average 7 percent uninsured rate for Hispanic children, about half the average 13.7 percent uninsured rate of states that did not expand Medicaid.

    Twenty states had rates of uninsured Hispanic children that were lower than the national average in 2014, the Georgetown-La Raza report said.

    Still, Hispanic children made up 39.5 percent of the nation’s uninsured children in 2014, but only 24.4 percent of the overall child population under 18, according to the report.

    Other findings:

    • Of 10 states with the largest populations of Hispanic children, California, New York, Illinois and New Jersey were the only ones with uninsured rates below the 9.7 percent national average for 2014. New York’s was 3.8 percent; Illinois, 4.5 percent; California, 6.8 percent; and New Jersey, 7.0 percent.
    • Four other states in that top 10 group had the highest rates of uninsured Hispanic children. Georgia and Texas were at 15.3 percent; Arizona, 12.7 percent; and Florida, 12.1 percent.
    • Colorado and North Carolina, the other two states in the top 10, posted uninsured rates of 9.6 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively. Those were not statistically different from the national average, the report said.
    • Two-thirds of the nation’s uninsured Hispanic children lived in Texas, California, Florida, Arizona and Georgia in 2014.
    • In Texas, 15.3 percent of Hispanic children were uninsured in 2014, representing 30.6 percent of all uninsured Hispanic children in the U.S.

    Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. You can view the original report on its website.

    The post Uninsured rate of Hispanic children hits record low, study finds appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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