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

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    A pro-government protester chants slogans as they gather in Al-Qaed Ibrahim area in Alexandria, the city's equivalent of Cairo's Tahrir Square, during the fifth anniversary of the uprising that ended the 30-year reign of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt, January 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih   - RTX23Y6I

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Five years ago today, Egypt stood at the edge of tectonic changes. The protests that began January 25, 2011, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square would soon cause the military-led ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

    It was the culmination of the so-called 18 days, and a high point of what became known as the Arab Spring. In 2012, Egyptians elected Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood president. The next year, he was deposed by the military and its top general, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Sisi was then elected president in 2014.

    It has been five years of upheaval and tumult. And, today, the picture from Cairo is much changed from those days of protest.

    Special correspondent Nick Schifrin begins tonight our series of three reports, 5 Years On.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Take me back five years ago.

    WOMAN: We kept crying from happiness. I couldn’t believe it, we were saying. We did it. We made it. It was a dream that came true.

    MAN: All Egyptians are happy.

    MAN (through interpreter): I cried. I cried. I was ecstatic. We laughed, jumped, hugged my colleagues, shouted. We did everything.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: How exciting was that time?

    MAN (through interpreter): After the revolution, we felt the highest stage of freedom and expression in our lives.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Five years later, the revolution’s protagonists still revel in 18 days they call utopia. But, today, the square that toppled a dictator is empty. There are no celebrations and no protesters, because protests are illegal.

    AMAL SHARAF, April 6 Movement: During Mubarak, at least we had the chance to speak. Now we are ruled by weapons. We can’t open our mouths. If you go into the street, you can get shot.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Today, Egypt is tense. Above Cairo’s streets, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and his government keep a close watch. They have forcibly muted almost all opposition.

    When a state TV anchor criticized him, she was suspended. When a comedian spoofed police by blowing up condoms like balloons, a politician called for him to be assaulted, forcing him to go into hiding.

    Adding to the fear, an Italian student was found dead just last week, his body tortured. In total, 40,000 political prisoners fill Egypt’s jails. Hundreds, perhaps thousands more have disappeared into secret prisons.

    The government crackdown peaked last month in downtown Cairo. This has long been the epicenter for people who oppose the government. And this used to be full of cafes. You can see they have all been closed now, clearly designed to send the message that nobody was allowed the space to meet or organize.

    In today’s Egypt, is there freedom of speech?

    MUSTAFA MAHER, Egypt (through interpreter): It’s completely disappeared. Either you’re a Sisi supporter and you can freely talk, or you oppose him even in a limited way, like a Facebook profile picture or on Twitter, and you will be brought to justice.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Mustafa Maher is the brother of Ahmed Maher, one of Egypt’s best-known activists. Ahmed Maher helped lead the revolution. On the streets, he became an icon, mobbed wherever he went.

    AMAL SHARAF: “Dear Ahmed Maher, we call for your immediate and unconditional release.”

    NICK SCHIFRIN: But, today, Maher’s admirers can only write him letters. Two years ago, he and many of the revolution’s leaders were arrested for protesting a new law that banned protesting. He has spent every day since in solitary confinement.

    Amal Sharaf worked hand-in-hand with Maher. Will Ahmed see any of these?

    Reham Ibrahim is Maher’s wife.

    REHAM IBRAHIM, Wife of Ahmed Maher (through interpreter): They don’t allow anything written, not even personal messages. Anything that will provide any hope, they block.

    AMAL SHARAF: They know he’s a symbol for the revolution. And he’s paying the price now. For what? For saying the truth, for opposing the oppression.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Maher’s daughter, Meral (ph), is 8. Each time she visits her dad in prison, she draws him a portrait. Last month, the portrait was of her crying.

    REHAM IBRAHIM (through interpreter): I never imagined years would pass this way, and I don’t know when they will end.

    So what’s her name?

    Tariq El Khouly was also a member of the April 6 Movement. He painted the group’s flag and demonstrated in Tahrir Square. He protested with Maher, but Khouly gets to celebrate his daughter’s birthday in person, because he chose a different path.

    So, we’re in your office. And this is a photo of you and the president. What is the significance for you of this photo?

    TARIQ EL KHOULY, Egyptian Parliament Member (through interpreter): Egypt needs a president that can unite Egyptians in a dangerous time, when the society is vulnerable and could become another Syria.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: El Khouly might still call himself a revolutionary, but he’s not protesting anymore. He’s a member of parliament.

    TARIQ EL KHOULY (through interpreter): We left the political zone empty. We should now be filling this space.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: The opposition complains that space has been co-opted, because even President Sisi praises the revolution. El Khouly defends the president by arguing lawmaking is the revolution’s next step.

    TARIQ EL KHOULY (through interpreter): It’s time to protect the revolution through politics and to build strong parties in parliament and government.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: But what kind of government? And what are those parties’ priorities?

    ABDEL RAHIM ALI, Egyptian Parliament Member (through interpreter): When the matter has to do with national security and Egypt’s place in the world, we will act as one man, called Abdel Fattah El-Sissi.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Abdel Rahim Ali is a member of Parliament in the same coalition as Tariq El Khouly. They are supposed to check presidential power. But he and hundreds of colleagues hastily approved Sisi’s campaign.

    Rahim Ali broadcasts that support. He is a popular TV anchor who indicts the government’s opponents on national television. That’s a recording of Ahmed Maher’s private phone conversation. Ali airs tapped phone calls, in order to paint revolutionaries like Maher as disloyal Western spies.

    ABDEL RAHIM ALI (through interpreter): The devil Ahmed Maher is plotting to get loads of money from abroad and destroy Egypt.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Your critics accuse you of McCarthyism.

    ABDEL RAHIM ALI (through interpreter): McCarthyism is something else. We referred to a group of parties that want to kidnap the whole country on behalf of foreigners.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Ali supports the kind of nationwide surveillance he performs in his own office. His main target? The most organized opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Three-and-a-half years ago, the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically elected president. When the military overthrew him, and when Sisi took power, the Brotherhood was labeled a terrorist group.

    They’re the government’s primary culprit, even for natural disasters. When heavy flooding killed seven people in Alexandria, the government released this video of alleged Muslim Brotherhood members and accused them of clogging the sewers.

    ABDEL RAHIM ALI (through interpreter): The conspiracy is still there. They are trying to achieve tomorrow what wasn’t achieved yesterday using the counter-revolution powers from the Muslim Brotherhood.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: But right now, thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members are in prison. And the leaders who aren’t jailed are in exile.

    AMR DARRAG, Muslim Brotherhood: The media and the black campaigning has managed to cultivate some sort of fear inside many Egyptians.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Amr Darrag is the most senior Muslim Brotherhood leader not in prison. He Skyped with us from Istanbul.

    AMR DARRAG: Sisi right now, what he’s doing, he’s trying to close all room for work, not just for the Brotherhood, but all of the political and social players in Egypt.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: And that means Muslim Brotherhood supporters still in Egypt need to hide; 22-year-old Mahmoud, not his real name, comes from a Brotherhood family. In 2013, he joined protests against the military takeover, demonstrations that ended with a massacre of Brotherhood supporters. Today, he stays quiet. He would only speak to us if we hid his face.

    MAHMOUD, Egypt (through interpreter): You can never feel comfortable about your security. The leaders are either imprisoned or killed. Many supporters have been disappeared. There is no Muslim brother still free.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: And the secular activists aren’t free either. They stay inside, knowing they lack public support.

    AMAL SHARAF: No public protests, not because we are afraid, because we have been through a lot of demonstrators, and a lot of people got killed because it will do nothing. People are not with us.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Perhaps the only activists keeping the faith are the very ones the Egyptian government has silenced.

    In 2013, “PBS NewsHour” interviewed Ahmed Maher.

    AHMED MAHER, Activist (through interpreter): I am convinced that January 25 was the beginning of the revolution, not the whole revolution.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: We played the clip for Maher’s family.

    AHMED MAHER (through interpreter): That’s why the results of the revolution are not known yet.

    REHAM IBRAHIM (through interpreter): My reaction to the video was not to what he said, but to Ahmed himself. For most people, he is just a figure, but, for me, he is my life.

    MUSTAFA MAHER: That instead of longing to move — is already our home, where I as a citizen have dignity and freedom in my country.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: But, today, Maher has no freedom. And his dream of the revolution is a dream deferred.

    Nick Schifrin, “PBS NewsHour,” Cairo.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Tomorrow night, Nick Schifrin will look at the central role of Egypt’s courts in the revolution.

    The post Egypt’s opposition forcibly muted five years since revolution appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate John Kasich speaks with members of his staff as he arrives for a campaign event in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane - RTX26DRW

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: We look ahead now to Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate, and the next phase of the campaign for both parties coming out of New Hampshire.

    Joining us are Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for USA Today, and Reid Wilson, chief political correspondent for the politics and polling Web site Morning Consult.

    All right, let’s start with the Republicans first. How meaningful was Trump’s win?

    SUSAN PAGE, USA Today: Pretty meaningful.

    That was — he not only won among traditional Republican voters in New Hampshire. He won among nontraditional Republican voters, among independents who voted in the Republican primary, among people who were voting in a Republican primary for the first time. So he is clearly drawing new people into the Republican coalition.

    And that raises a possibility that he will change what it means to be a Republican.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What about Kasich coming in second?

    REID WILSON, Morning Consult: Kasich essentially saved off the end of his campaign. The problem for him going forward, though, is that he’s likely to be living essentially hand to mouth for the rest of the campaign.

    He spent most of his war chest in New Hampshire because it was either do or die there. Now, as he raises money in the wake of a surprisingly good showing, the first time I think we can ever say 16 percent is a surprisingly good showing, he will be essentially spending every dollar he possibly can on television ads to introduce himself to voters in South Carolina, and then if he makes it out of there alive, to voters in Nevada and then on to the Super Tuesday states.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Rubio even admitted yesterday kind of his — or day before — in his concession speech, saying, this is my fault, this is my debate performance, it won’t happen again.

    Was it that singular event that just…

    SUSAN PAGE: I think we know from the exit polls of voters that the debate loomed very large in the last-minute decisions made by a lot of Republican voters. Clearly, it really hurt Rubio. We thought he was on a path to be second or, at worst, third.

    That didn’t happen. So, I think that the next debate, he’s going to have a lot to prove. It’s not that he’s damaged beyond the possibility of recovery, but he’s definitely damaged. He needs to prove that he can be more self-assured, be more self-confident and especially be more spontaneous in the next debate.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, speaking of self-assured, confident, spontaneous, Jeb Bush.

    REID WILSON: Jeb Bush is — this result in New Hampshire was just about the worst thing that could have happened for sort of the business lane Republicans who are all trying to find one candidate to coalesce around.

    It looked like Rubio coming out of Iowa. Rubio finishes fifth in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush only barely ahead of him. And now they have got a new contender for the crown in John Kasich, who will at least stick around and try to win those voters going forward. So, this means a divided business lane of the Republican Party.

    Ted Cruz has his avenue, especially among evangelical voters, who play a huge role in South Carolina. And Donald Trump has his fans, as Susan says, largely new folks coming into the process. It’s hard to see how the business end coalesces before we get to the really big Super Tuesday states on March 1.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Speaking of the business end, how much does the war chest matter at this point? If you’re Jeb Bush, you have got a fair amount of support. Perhaps if you’re Ted Cruz, you have picked up some.

    SUSAN PAGE: So, tell me how much good has that done Jeb Bush so far. Not much. He spent more than anybody else on ads, on organization.

    Now, of course, we do enter a phase of the campaign where it matters a little more in these big states. You do less retail campaigning. TV ads can mean more. But so far this has not rescued Jeb Bush. This has been a campaign of momentum, enthusiasm, and anger, not one where money talks.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK. And Ted Cruz seemed to spend the least amount of money and had a pretty respectable showing in New Hampshire, not where his demographic, his base is.

    REID WILSON: He spent about $18 per vote, which is a bargain in this day and age, when Jeb Bush was spending somewhere around $1,200 per vote, including the super PAC.

    Cruz’s opportunities lie ahead, no only in South Carolina, where, as I say, evangelical voters play a huge role, but also in those March 1 Super Tuesday primaries. A lot of Southern state are voting that day, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Cruz’s home state, Oklahoma, all places where conservatives play a huge role and especially evangelical conservatives.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK. Today, we heard basically Fiorina and Christie deciding to leave. Surprised?

    SUSAN PAGE: No, not a surprise.

    And, in fact, if they hadn’t left, they were already irrelevant I think to the conversation going forward. That is the situation that Ben Carson now finds himself in. He may or may not drop out of this race. It doesn’t really matter. He’s been discounted. We’re down to about five candidates who matter. And we will see what happens going forward as we head into these bigger states at a faster pace.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: That’s still a crowded field. It’s not a two-person or three-person field.

    REID WILSON: It is.

    And as we’re talking about the early states, Susan brings up a very important point here about the pacing of all this. The early states are less about collecting the delegates you need to win the nomination once you get to Cleveland for the Republicans or Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, for the Democrats.

    The early states are about building momentum into those later voting states where voters are just now starting to tune in, just starting to pay attention. And those voters who haven’t been paying attention before have seen now Bernie Sanders win big in New Hampshire and Donald Trump win big and Ted Cruz’s surprise in Iowa. Those are the names that are getting the most attention nationally.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Let’s talk a little bit about the Democrats.

    Bernie Sanders’ win, does it translate into a win in Nevada or South Carolina?

    SUSAN PAGE: We will find out. It was a big win. This was stunning for a candidate who has not actually been a Democrat before to win the Democratic primary in New Hampshire over the person we thought was once the likely the front-runner, the likely nominee by such a huge margin. That’s really historic.

    He also has money. It’s not that he starts out with a big base of support in a state like South Carolina, but he’s raising a ton of dough. And that means that he may not have the fate that some New Hampshire winners have had, which is where they can’t exploit and capitalize on that victory.

    He’s in a position where his finances mean that this race on the Democratic side, I think, is guaranteed to go into the spring.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: One of the weaknesses point to is, how does he translate his support in New Hampshire and Iowa into a far more racially diverse population in the rest of the country?

    REID WILSON: It’s going to be a huge challenge for him, and it’s an opportunity for Hillary Clinton, who has a far deeper bench base and history with African-American voters who dominate in South Carolina, with Hispanic voters who dominate in Nevada.

    Sanders, however, is getting the opportunity to introduce himself. In just the — what was it, about 20 hours after the polls closed in New Hampshire, his campaign said they had raised something like $5 million, which is — that’s a good month for some candidates.

    Sanders is going to have the resources necessary to keep his message on the air in South Carolina, which hasn’t seen a lot of advertising spending yet, in Nevada and beyond.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And, finally, what’s the Clinton camp thinking today?

    SUSAN PAGE: Well, I think they are distressed. I think they are distressed by her showing.

    They had hoped maybe they would keep it to single digits. That didn’t happen in New Hampshire. Also, you look at what voters told us in the exit polls. They don’t find her honest. They don’t find her trustworthy. She has a huge deficit when it comes to younger voters, voters under 30.

    These are issues that she’s going to have to address in the next couple of weeks if she’s going to prevail.

    REID WILSON: The exit polls were a disaster for the Clinton campaign.

    Among voters who said they wanted an honest and trustworthy candidate, Sanders won more than 90 percent of the vote. Even among voters who said that Clinton said shared their views, 40 percent of those voters voted for Bernie Sanders.

    It’s really hard to see, at this moment, any sort of silver lining for the Clinton campaign coming out of New Hampshire, a state that effectively launched Bill Clinton into the White House.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Reid Wilson from Morning Consult, Susan Page from USA Today, thanks so much.

    SUSAN PAGE: Thank you.

    REID WILSON: Thank you.

    The post How the New Hampshire primary reshuffled the 2016 race appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Police line up to block the street as protesters gathered after a shooting incident in St. Louis, Missouri August 19, 2015. Police fatally shot a black man they say pointed a gun at them, drawing angry crowds and recalling the racial tensions sparked by the killing of an unarmed African-American teen in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, just over a year ago.  REUTERS/Kenny Bahr - RTX1OVB4

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Good evening. I’m Hari Sreenivasan. Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff are in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, preparing for tomorrow night’s Democratic debate.

    On the “NewsHour” tonight: Two clear winners emerge from New Hampshire, but what does this mean for the rest of the presidential race?

    Also ahead, we kick off a three-part series from Egypt — tonight, silenced by fear five years after the revolution.

    AMAL SHARAF, April 6 Movement: They know that he’s a symbol for the revolution. And he’s paying the price now. For what? For saying the truth, for opposing the oppression.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Plus, a play that tackles the economic downfall of union workers in the once prosperous Reading, Pennsylvania.

    LYNN NOTTAGE, Playwright, “Sweat”: I decided that I want to go about finding sort of the source of this trauma and figuring out how we, as Americans, had come to that point where we could be living so close to poverty without recognizing it on a daily basis.

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

    (BREAK)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news, the U.S. Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit against Ferguson, Missouri. That’s after the city council vetoed to revise parts of a consent decree on police and court reform. The decree grew out of the killing of Michael Brown by a white officer in 2014. Local officials cited the cost of compliance, but U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch rejected that argument.

    LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. Attorney General: The agreement that was being reviewed and was discussed was painstakingly negotiated by both the department and the city’s own team. That was the agreement that was to be decided upon. The city was well aware that by deciding not to accept it that they were choosing litigation. This is their choice.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said earlier that the city was prepared to fight it out in court, if need be.

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sent new signals today that the Central Bank means to go slow on additional interest rate hikes. At a House hearing, she said the Fed’s Open Market Committee is keeping a close eye on global economic weakness and turmoil in world markets.

    JANET YELLEN, Chair, Federal Reserve: The FOMC anticipates that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate. In addition, the committee expects that the federal funds rate is likely to remain for some time below the levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The Central Bank raised interest rates in December for the first time in nearly a decade. Its next decision on rates comes next month.

    In Nigeria, officials are blaming the Islamist Boko Haram group for deadly new bombings. Two women blew themselves up in a refugee camp today, killing at least 58 people and wounding nearly 80. The attackers struck northeast of Maiduguri, the largest city in the northeastern portion of Nigeria, and the militants’ home base.

    NATO is moving to beef up its presence in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deter possible Russian aggression. Alliance defense ministers met in Brussels today and agreed to set up new outposts in the region and bolster troop numbers. The measure also calls for regular war games and a rapid-reaction force. Russia has warned any such move will threaten European stability.

    U.S. policy in Syria came under fire on multiple fronts today. Syrian rebels and the governments of France and Turkey all complained of weakness in Washington’s actions.

    Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News is on the ground in Turkey.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN: Russian airstrikes like these in the town of Tell Rifaat yesterday have sent rebels fighting President Assad to new levels of despair.

    The Iranians are certainly supporting the Assad regime, sending Shia militiamen and Hezbollah fighters. And the Russians are not talking about a cease-fire until March the 1st, clearly hoping these men will take much more territory before attempts at peace talks begin again.

    Showing me a map of Aleppo under siege is Zakaria Malahifji, political chief of one of the largest Syrian rebel groups armed and funded by the CIA. But he says the Americans have deprived his men of anti-aircraft missiles to defend themselves.

    ZAKARIA MALAHIFJI, ‘Be Upright As Ordered’ Rebel Group (through interpreter): The Americans are doing nothing. We tried to raise our voice, but it was no use. They know what’s going on, but, until now, they’re not using their pressure for a political solution. And how are we going to achieve this political solution while the Russians are destroying it?

    JONATHAN RUGMAN: France’s foreign minister has also had enough. Today, Laurent Fabius announced that he’s stepping down. President Assad is gaining strength, he said, complaining of a lack of commitment from the American side.

    The Turks feel the same way. President Erdogan has accused Washington of causing a regional bloodbath by supporting Kurdish groups in Syria, which he regards as terrorists. With injured Syrians now filling Turkish hospitals, the Turks may be tempted to intervene themselves, to defend both civilians and rebels and push back the Kurds.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Turkey also rebuked the United Nations today for insisting that it take in thousands of Syrian refugees from Aleppo. The Turkish prime minister said that would amount to aiding in ethnic cleansing.

    Back in this country, the U.S. Senate moved to impose new sanctions on North Korea, after its recent nuclear test and satellite launch. The legislation targets the communist state’s ability to access money for nuclear warheads and long-range missiles. A similar version already passed the House.

    And Wall Street struggled to a mixed finish after oil prices sank again. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 100 points to close at 15914. The Nasdaq rose almost 15 points, but the S&P 500 slipped a fraction of a point.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: how candidates hope to sway the South’s more diverse electorate; where leaders of the Arab spring are five years later; the CIA deputy director on imminent terror threats; and much more.

    The post News Wrap: Justice Department files suit against Ferguson appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Flint residents Gladyes Williamson (C) holds a bottle full of contaminated water, and a clump of her hair, alongside Jessica Owens (R), holding a baby bottle full of contaminated water, during a news conference after attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Flint, Michigan water crisis on Capitol Hill February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. Williamson, and Owens traveled to Washington by bus with other flint familes to attend the House hearing on the crisis, and demand that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder be brought before Congress to testify under oath.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    Flint residents Gladyes Williamson,center, holds a bottle full of contaminated water, and a clump of her hair, alongside Jessica Owens, holding a baby bottle full of contaminated water, during a news conference after attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Flint, Michigan, water crisis on Capitol Hill Feb. 3. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday approved legislation to clarify the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to notify the public about danger from lead in their drinking water — the first action by Congress to respond to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

    The bill, approved 416-2, would direct the EPA to notify residents and health departments if the amount of lead found in a public water system requires action, in the absence of notification by the state.

    Flint stopped using treated water from Detroit and switched to the Flint River in 2014 to save money. Regulators failed to ensure the water was treated properly and lead from aging pipes leached into the water supply, contributing to a spike in child lead exposure.

    The EPA did not notify the public for months after learning that state officials were not treating Flint’s water.

    Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., said the notification bill would not have prevented the crisis in his hometown, but he called it a necessary first step to prevent a similar crisis in other cities.

    Kildee urged lawmakers to consider separate legislation he has introduced that would spend $765 million to help solve the water crisis in Flint. The bill would help Flint fix and replace lead-contaminated pipes and provide health and educational support for children poisoned by lead-contaminated water. Federal spending would be matched dollar-for-dollar by the state of Michigan under Kildee’s bill and a similar, less costly measure being considered in the Senate.

    Kildee and other House Democrats said White House budget director Shaun Donovan signaled support for the emergency request at a closed-door meeting Wednesday. Donovan “likes the direction” of the bill “but has some suggestions” on how it could be improved, Kildee said.

    Money for Flint may be included in a $1.8 billion spending request Obama has made to combat the Zika virus, but no decisions have been made, Kildee and other lawmakers said.

    Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said government at all levels let down the people of Flint.

    “Government officials knew there was serious cause for concern and failed to inform the people,” Upton said.

    State officials in Michigan did not tell the EPA’s Midwest regional everything they knew about Flint, and the regional office did not share everything it knew with EPA headquarters in Washington, Upton said. “That must be fixed and it must be fixed now,” he said.

    The EPA has acknowledged that state officials notified the agency last April that Flint was not treating the river water with additives to prevent corrosion from pipes.

    Susan Hedman, the EPA’s former regional chief, voiced concern to state and city officials over the next few months. But it wasn’t until Oct. 16 that EPA established a task force to provide technical help — the day Flint switched back to the Detroit water system.

    Hedman resigned Feb. 1. The state’s top environmental regulator and other high-ranking officials also have resigned in response to the crisis.

    Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., called the Flint crisis an example of environmental injustice. Flint is majority African-American and more than 40 percent of its residents live in poverty.

    Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said she was “mad as hell” about the events in Flint and linked it to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

    Waters said at an informal hearing led by Democratic lawmakers that she was tired of people being “nice” in seeking help for Flint. Democrats said the session was needed after Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and other officials were not invited to a GOP-led oversight hearing last week.

    Waters said she and other lawmakers plan to visit Flint next month “and I don’t intend to be nice.”

    Weaver said the planned visit and the hearing would help “keep Flint in the spotlight” and maintain pressure on state and federal officials to do more.

    “This is an issue that can’t go unaddressed,” she said. “If we don’t use this as a lesson for the entire country then we have failed in Flint.”

    The post House backs bill to require EPA notification in lead cases appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, speaks at a rally at Ground Zero in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, February 10, 2016.  REUTERS/Randall Hill - RTX26E0U

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: The first two presidential contests of the year are in the books, and on both sides, it still looks wide open. Tuesday’s stunning results shook up the field again, and left a couple of names by the wayside. The rest moved on, hoping clarity will come soon.

    A day after New Hampshire, the Republican field hit the ground running in South Carolina, battleground for their next primary, February 20.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Republican Presidential Candidate: Come out and help us. I need your support.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Oh, wow.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Fresh off last night’s big win, Donald Trump planned a rally in the Palmetto State tonight.

    And on NBC’s “Today Show,” he announced he will release his tax returns over the next few months.

    DONALD TRUMP: They’re going to be surprised at how little I pay. I fight like hell not to pay a lot of tax. And you know what? Every politician probably does. I watched others where they say, oh, I want to pay taxes. I fight like hell not to pay taxes. I hate the way the government spends my money.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Meanwhile, John Kasich sought to build on his surge to second place in New Hampshire. The Ohio governor has mostly avoided attacking his rivals, but said he will answer if they start attacking him.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: I’m not going to be a pincushion or a marshmallow, but I’m also not going to spend my time trying to trash other people. I will tell you why, because if this message works, it’s fantastic.

    In New Hampshire, I had millions and millions of dollars spent against me. And you know what I told them last night? The light overcame the darkness of negative campaigning, and I feel great about it.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Texas Senator Ted Cruz stumped in Myrtle Beach today, after officially being awarded third place in New Hampshire. He’d won in Iowa just a week earlier.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: Everyone said a conservative couldn’t compete in a more moderate New England state like New Hampshire. Those predictions proved wrong. This is a national campaign. And one of the most important conclusions coming out of these first two states is that the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump is me.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Jeb Bush finished fourth in New Hampshire, but now hopes to score his first win of the year, in South Carolina. The Bush campaign released a new radio ad today that features his brother former President George W. Bush.

    FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We need a strong leader with experience, ideas, and resolve. There’s no doubt in my mind that Jeb Bush will be a great commander in chief for our military.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The other Floridian in the race, Senator Marco Rubio, stumbled to fifth in New Hampshire. He said today he still expects to win the Republican nomination.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Every nominee of both parties has a test, or more than one, and it’s a ride that you have got to fight through. I’m the only one that can quickly unite the Republican Party and take our message to new voters. And that’s been consistent in the polling and you have seen it all over the country. I feel strongly about that.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The New Hampshire results also winnowed the GOP field today. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina dropped out of the race after poor showings.

    As for the Democrats, they’re looking ahead to their next contest, the Nevada caucuses, 10 days away. Fresh off his landslide win last night, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders moved today to broaden his appeal beyond his mostly white base. He met with Reverend Al Sharpton in New York to discuss issues affecting the African-American community.

    And, later, he took his message to ABC’s talk show “The View.”

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: We have a lot of support within the African-American community. But I think, most importantly, I think the reason we will do well is our views on criminal justice in this country. And that is, we have a broken criminal justice system. Why should we in America have more people in jail, largely African-American and Latinos, than another other country on Earth?

    (APPLAUSE)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: For her part, Hillary Clinton was mostly out of public view, after acknowledging last night she needs to do better appealing to younger voters in particular.

    The two Democrats are now preparing to share the stage tomorrow night, as PBS hosts their next presidential debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Gwen and Judy have already arrived to prepare for the debate. They join us now from the Helen Bader Concert Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

    Gwen, Judy, I can you see there. You all ready, excited?

    GWEN IFILL: We are excited, Hari.

    We are excited especially to be doing this on the weekend of the big, iconic New Hampshire primary. The results there were so interesting. And we’re going to be talking to two of the candidates who made the most news, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, of course.

    And we have many, many questions for them, but, of course, if we told you that, we would then have to kill you.

    (LAUGHTER)

    GWEN IFILL: So we’re just going to keep them to ourselves until tomorrow night.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You know, Hari, every one of these debates has been different — I guess that goes without saying — but because they have taken place at a different moment in the campaign.

    And, you know, you have to say, this is a pretty important turning point, because Bernie Sanders managed to come off with a commanding win from New Hampshire, as Gwen just said. So we expect this to be an enlightening encounter.

    GWEN IFILL: Do you have any questions for us to ask, Hari?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Sure. I think there’s a Facebook group that have we been working on. They have sent you a lot. So, hopefully, that give you some ideas. People are very interested and they’re following you closely.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, what we have seen, Hari, is that I noticed in the exit polls yesterday in New Hampshire, people were asked how many of them were affected by the debates, and a large percentage of voters say they paid attention to the debates. In one way or another, it affected their vote.

    GWEN IFILL: You know, this is going to be the first commercial-free debate we have had this season. And public broadcasting has a special responsibility to bring kind of a deeper view to this.

    And that’s what we’re hoping we can do. We’re hoping that people come away learning more about what their choices are. That’s really what these debates are all about. That’s what they have been so successful at so far this year. And we just want to do our part.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, on the eve of the PBS debate, thanks for joining us tonight.

    GWEN IFILL: Thanks, Hari.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you, Hari.

    The post GOP candidates try to build on N.H. results for next vote appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally, another installment of Brief But Spectacular, our series where we ask interesting people to describe their passions.

    Tonight, we hear from comedian Billy Eichner, star of “Billy on the Street” on truTV and the Hulu original series “Difficult People.” He opens up about his comedic style and process.

    BILLY EICHNER, Comedian: We were filming recently, and someone yelled out from across the street, “Billy, please harass me,” which is a really strange request.

    “Billy on the Street” is a game show in New York City where I ambush people on the street with pop culture trivia. It also features celebrity guests helping me ambush people.

    My favorite segments are the Super Bowl, where I asked the New York giants what they thought of the Madonna halftime show.

    Sir, are you excited about Madonna?

    MAN: Madonna?

    BILLY EICHNER: Yes.

    MAN: No, absolutely not.

    BILLY EICHNER: Why? She’s the halftime show.

    MAN: She’s an old hag.

    BILLY EICHNER: You’re an old hag!

    Hey, did you see Madonna?

    MAN: No.

    BILL EICHNER: She was amazing.

    MAN: I was in the locker room.

    BILLY EICHNER: OK.

    We did a segment with the first lady this year, Michelle Obama, and I had her push me around in a shopping cart while I read Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar acceptance speech for “Shakespeare in Love,” which is what you do when you have the first lady on your show.

    And away we go.

    “I would like to thank the Academy from the bottom of my heart. I would like to thank our miraculous cast and crew.”

    For $1, be honest. Who is hotter, Abraham Lincoln or Barack Obama?

    FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: Oh, Barack Obama.

    BILLY EICHNER: Oh, sorry, it’s Abraham Lincoln.

    “Billy on the Street” is — it’s a persona. It’s a performance. It’s pretty much my id as a 12-year-old kid, like, blown up.

    “Difficult People,” which is a scripted half-hour show on Hulu created by my friend Julie Klausner, a great writer, performer.

    ACTRESS: I am starving.

    BILLY EICHNER: I know. I’m trying to order food. There is no Wi-Fi.

    ACTRESS: What are we supposed to do, wander around the neighborhood and try to find something?

    BILLY EICHNER: No. And you know what kind of food they are going to have in this neighborhood? It’s going to be Turkish food and Tapas. Just kill him.

    ACTOR: A moment of silence for the deceased, please.

    BILLY EICHNER: It’s “Will & Grace,” but more unattractive and more unlikable, which is what America wants.

    I am gay. And I’m in comedy. I don’t know what to say about it. I was so blind to homophobia as kid. I grew in New York. I went to Stuyvesant, a really nerdy math-science school, where no one had sex.

    When everyone asks me, was it a conscious choice to be out of the closet as a comedian, I was like, I don’t know. Was it a conscious choice to be white? I don’t know. This is just like what I bring to the table. It’s just not that big of a deal.

    And we all have the same issues. My gay married friends with kids are just as boring and annoying as my straight married friends with kids now. And I don’t want to hang out with any of them, to be honest.

    Hi, I’m Bill Eichner, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on the most difficult person I know, me.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You can find more Brief But Spectacular videos on our Facebook page. That’s Facebook.com/NewsHour.

    The post ‘Billy On The Street’ on the art of the ambush appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: The newest addition to the “NewsHour” Bookshelf takes a most intimate look at one of the world’s oldest refugee camps administered by the United Nations, originally established in 1991 as a temporary haven for Somalis fleeing their civil war.

    Author Ben Rawlence recently talked to Judy Woodruff about his book “City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp.”

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Ben Rawlence, welcome.

    BEN RAWLENCE, Author, “City of Thorns”: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we’re hearing a lot about refugees these days, but you are writing about a group of refugees we hear almost nothing about.

    What drew you to Kenya? What drew to you this camp?

    BEN RAWLENCE: Well, for nearly 10 years, I worked for Human Rights Watch.

    And I first came to Dadaab, this refugee camp, in 2010. And the place just blew my mind. It was a complete shock to me that I hadn’t heard about it before, and, in fact, that this place should still exist. At that time, it was 20 years old. And now it’s 25 years old.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It started out as something much smaller, refugees — one group of refugees. It’s grown into something much bigger and, frankly, much worse.

    BEN RAWLENCE: Yes.

    I mean, Dadaab is the world’s biggest. The Somali refugees came in 1991. Since then, Somalia has descended into different phases of a civil war, and there have been waves of refugees, more and more coming, until it peaked in 2011, with around half-a-million refugees living in this one place.

    It’s a bit like New Orleans. It’s that many people, but spread over 30 square miles. The tents are made of — or the houses are made of tents or sticks and mud. And it’s — there’s no permanent structures. So, there’s no plumbing. There’s no concrete. There’s no running water.

    It’s a humanitarian disaster still, even after 25 years. It’s constructed on temporary lines, and yet it’s become permanent.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s people living in conditions it’s almost impossible to imagine. And yet you write about how there’s organization there. There’s structure there.

    BEN RAWLENCE: Well, you can deny a city permanent structures, but you can’t deny people the right to associate and to make societies.

    And, of course, that’s what’s happened. People have made their own soccer leagues. They have fallen in love. There are many love stories in this book.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There are.

    BEN RAWLENCE: The people have had children. And then, sometimes, those children have had children. So we’re now on to three generations.

    And, of course, they’re going to school. There are hospitals. There’s a market, a black market, lots of smuggling and so on. So, people have nonetheless made a life for themselves.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You picked just a few individuals to write about. And you tell their stories in a very powerful way. Why did you choose these individuals, these people?

    BEN RAWLENCE: Well, firstly, I was trying very consciously to sort of break open the media ennui, if you like, kind of — you see the eyes glaze when you talk about refugees and famine, because we think we have seen it all before.

    We think we know what a refugee camp look likes, with these lines of tents and so on. We see Angelina Jolie and the celebrities doing their thing. But, actually, what was interesting to me is, what happens when she goes? What’s daily life like for all of these people?

    So, I wanted to really give you a ground-eye view of what goes on. And I chose those nine through a long process, really. I started with about 50 people, and then nine made the cut.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The world is — has virtually forgotten about this place, if it ever knew about it. What do you want people to take away from this?

    BEN RAWLENCE: Well, the first thing I wanted to do was to make you feel, to make you care about the people stuck in this place, because, certainly, they feel forgotten. In large part, they have been ignored by the international media.

    So, to get beyond the headlines, to actually see — make you see these people as humans, with all the normal struggles you would imagine, of trying to find a job, make a living, things like that, to try and bridge the gap, to make people feel connected, that these are not just numbers, but these are faces. These are real people with hopes and dreams.

    And if we start thinking of refugees more in those — in those ways, hopefully, then we can start seeing a bit more intelligent policy, a bit more humanity at the political level as well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we’re looking at the faces of a few of the people.

    BEN RAWLENCE: Yes, these are the some of the people in the camp. This is my friend Nisho, the taller guy. And Mahat is his young sidekick.

    And they work as porters in the market. They load and off-load the trucks that come in smuggling goods from Somalia and also a lot of the food rations, because they’re not allowed to work. Refugees can’t leave. They can’t work. So they have to find these informal jobs, scrabbling a living as best they can.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What is it in these young boys and everyone else that gives them the strength to keep going? What is it inside them?

    BEN RAWLENCE: Well, that’s one of the questions that drew me to write about the place in the first instance.

    I couldn’t understand, how do you put up with this? You know, why are there not some kind of mass riots and protests and burning down the U.N. office and so on? But people do put up with it because they have no option. They can’t go back to Somalia. Kenya doesn’t want them. The resettlement system, where countries share the burden of refugees through the quota system, is completely broken, because the birth rate in the camp, for example, is 1,000 a month.

    The international community takes around 2,000 a year of people from Dadaab. So that’s why people are choosing the illegal route to come to Europe or elsewhere, instead of waiting for the formal legal process.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What is the future for them? What’s the hope for them?

    BEN RAWLENCE: I’m afraid the reality is, it’s pretty bleak.

    I see no real solution for Dadaab. And as long as there’s no international solution or political solution, the camp will continue. These people will be stuck in limbo.

    As I said, we’re now on to our third generation of people living in this situation. And this is one city. There are many other temporary cities like this in Ethiopia, in Sudan, in Yemen, these cities that are going on and on, which is why I think we need to hear about this place. We need to understand it. And then we need a Marshall Plan for refugees that people have been talking about.

    We need to fix this broken system, but the world has gotten a bit harder, I think, a little less generous.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Ben Rawlence, you certainly shine a light on to what’s happening there. And more people will know about it as a result of the book.

    It’s “City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp.”

    Thank you very much.

    BEN RAWLENCE: Thank you.

    The post What it’s like to call the world’s largest refugee camp home appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Leading up to Valentine’s Day, Paul Solman takes an encore look at the economics of dating, how some people are using market principles to overcome the traditional impediments to finding the perfect match.

    It’s an updated presentation of our Making Sense series, which airs every Thursday.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Facebook software engineer Mike O’Beirne, 23, AKA cirrussly online, had been looking for a date since moving to New York four months ago.

    MIKE O’BEIRNE, Online Dater: It was really at my brother’s urgings. He told me I need to start going out and dating people.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Ad agency art director Priyanka Pulijal, also new to New York, her love handle, brbeatingcupcake. The BRB is Webspeak for be right back.

    PRIYANKA PULIJAL, Online Dater: I think you have to meet a lot of different people to first understand what you want. And I think, once you understand what you want, you have a lot of different options.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So what did they want? Each other?

    PRIYANKA PULIJAL: Hi. Nice to meet you.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Last February, they agreed to let us record their very first date.

    MIKE O’BEIRNE: Do you guys mind leaving now?

    PAUL SOLMAN: OK, we would BRB.

    But while we give our daters some alone time, we checked in with their online matchmaker, OkCupid. Founded a decade ago by four Harvard math majors, the site was owned by IAC, the same media conglomerate that ran Match.com, which charges a monthly fee, and the mobile app Tinder.

    CHRISTIAN RUDDER, Co-Founder, OkCupid: Between OkCupid, Tinder or Match, we will sign up easily over 30 million people this year alone.

    PAUL SOLMAN: That was OkCupid co-founder and president Christian Rudder nine months before AIC spun off the dating Web sites, selling stock in them to the public via an IPO.

    There was already plenty of competition, though; eHarmony was big. And niche sites were trending, for Jews, Christians, farmers, sea captains, mimes, the gluten-free, the incarcerated, the unhappily married, and of course, accompanied by Mozart.

    WOMAN: Welcome to Purrsonals.com. As a fellow cat owner, I know how finicky we are.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But no matter how finicky, you’re better off with more than less.

    CHRISTIAN RUDDER: Imagine a mixer with three people. That would be a pretty rough, pretty rough hour if you lasted even that long there. But OkCupid, metaphorically speaking, is a mixer with four million people.

    PAUL SOLMAN: In the language of economics, the study of maximizing human welfare, this is what’s known as a thick market.

    PAUL OYER, Author: Where would you rather buy a pair of pants, at the Mall of America or on the streets of a small town in Oklahoma?

    PAUL SOLMAN: Economist Paul Oyer has actually written a book, Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating, based on his own adventures looking for love.

    PAUL OYER: So, I found myself back in the dating market in the fall of 2010, and, immediately, as an economist, I saw that this was a market like so many others.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Well, not any old market, like the one for pants. This is a market for what economists call differentiated goods.

    PAUL OYER: No two potential life partners are the same. Every single one of them is different. From an economics perspective, searching for a partner is just cost-benefit analysis.

    (LAUGHTER)

    PAUL OYER: This isn’t funny.

    (LAUGHTER)

    PAUL OYER: This is economics.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And that analysis includes, in the lingo of economics, search costs.

    PAUL OYER: It takes time and effort to find your mate. You have to set up your dating profile. You have to go on a lot of dates that don’t go anywhere. These frictions, the time spent looking for a mate, lead to loneliness or, as I like to say, romantic unemployment.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Oyer found himself romantically unemployed when he first took the online dating plunge, as it happens, on OkCupid, and had written separated on his profile. But at least he didn’t say he was actually unemployed or drug-happy or a glutton, even bigger turnoffs.

    Those are among the tidbits gleaned from the millions of responses in OkCupid’s database, shared by Christian Rudder in his book Dataclysm, not that all are exactly shockers.

    CHRISTIAN RUDDER: When people come to a dating site, all they look at is the pictures, for the most part.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Rudder has since left OkCupid, but beneath the sidewalks of New York, Erika Christensen is still hawking what is arguably a more discriminating approach.

    ERIKA CHRISTENSEN, Trainspottings.com: You are very handsome. Are you single, by any chance? If you find yourself single, I’m a matchmaker.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Yes, a real live matchmaker whose turf happens to be the subway.

    ERIKA CHRISTENSEN: You are very handsome.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The days leading up to Valentine’s Day are the busiest of the year for this Hello Dolly of the L Train, at the moment, looking for lasting love on behalf of two 30-something female professionals.

    ERIKA CHRISTENSEN: What we’re dealing with is the biological clock, and these women want the 35-to-45-year old man quick. They want him yesterday.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So you mean that you’re sizing up these guys as…

    ERIKA CHRISTENSEN: Potential baby daddies, that’s right.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Since time is money, clients are willing to pay a couple of grand or more, sometimes much more. OkCupid, by contrast, is free. But, to Christensen, you get what you pay for.

    ERIKA CHRISTENSEN: I think online dating is great, but it’s basically humans as commodities.

    PAUL SOLMAN: There’s another objection to online dating as well.

    R.D. ROSEN, Author: OkCupid, by making a huge universe of people available to you at any minute, doesn’t that work against a rational decision about whether to invest in the relationship you have?

    PAUL SOLMAN: Writer R.D. Rosen, who’s used online dating, is working on a book about how courtship is evolving.

    R.D. ROSEN: There’s an enormously addictive quality to online dating that has never existed before in the culture. You want to keep going back, because you think you’re going to hit the jackpot eventually.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Rudder doesn’t deny it.

    CHRISTIAN RUDDER: Whether you’re gay or straight, we’re constantly showing you people. There might be someone better looking or who has a cooler profile or whatever it is just right around the corner always.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And not just gay or straight.

    JIMENA ALMENDARES, Chief Product Officer, OkCupid: At OkCupid, we have 22 genders and 13 orientations.

    PAUL SOLMAN: That’s right, 22 genders and 13 orientations, including our favorite, sapiosexual, attracted to intelligence. And to further complicate, chief product officer Jimena Almendares has just added another option.

    JIMENA ALMENDARES: Earlier this year, we launched a feature that if people are searching for someone else in their relationship, they can actually publicly state that and people that are interested can respond.

    PAUL SOLMAN: To Paul Oyer, though, a surfeit of choice is just another search cost, for which economists have a fairly simple solution:

    PAUL OYER: What you need to do is you need to settle, to say, I have somebody who’s good enough. People hate it when we say that. But it’s the way — it’s the way a rational economist would think about it.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But wait a minute. After my first date with my now wife, I knew she was the perfect mate. And last year was our 30th anniversary.

    PAUL OYER: The perfect one for you doesn’t exist. But there’s a very important idea in labor economics called firm-specific human capital. And that is, as you work at a company for a longer time, you have certain skills that are valuable at that company and not elsewhere.

    Well, you have built up something we will call marriage-specific human capital. You have developed your life around your wife, such that she probably is the best match for you at this point.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Meanwhile, our daters had to get back to their jobs.

    So, how had it gone?

    MIKE O’BEIRNE: So, we both found out that we had like way more in common than we expected.

    PRIYANKA PULIJAL: I felt we really connected about a lot of different things.

    MIKE O’BEIRNE: I will probably e-mail her later.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Actually, he didn’t. That same week, he met a new flame.

    Meanwhile, Priyanka began dating an old friend. A year later, they’re still going strong.

    As for me, Paul Solman, economics correspondent for the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m still ever-so-happily married, and wishing all of you, online and off, another welfare-maximizing Valentine’s Day.

    The post In the market for love? Here’s how economics can help appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: But first, now to another scientific breakthrough.

    The planet is currently in the midst of an extinction crisis. As global climate changes and habitats disappear, species all over the world are at risk of being lost. Breeding these endangered animals is one of the tools researchers can use to combat this decline, but that can be difficult to accomplish.

    A recent innovation here in the U.S. has given new hope for some wolf species.

    NewsHour science producer Nsikan Akpan has the story of the young puppies that may help save the rest of the pack.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: It may be hard to believe, but these adorable puppies and how they came into the world might be the key to saving a whole host of endangered species.

    At the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, scientists are developing state-of-the-art reproduction techniques to try and save endangered species. At the institute, you will find everything from cheetahs to black-footed ferrets.

    The scientists here are perfecting tools like artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization to help the breeding of those endangered animals. A marquee case is the maned wolf. They’re an endangered member of canid the family, which includes wolves, foxes, and dogs. They’re from South America.

    Smithsonian conservation biologist Nucharin Songsasen says most of the wolves’ forest habitat has been lost to farming and human development.

    NUCHARIN SONGSASEN, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute: Right now, we estimate about 15,000 of them in the wild. But the problem with this species is that their habitat is gone, that 85 percent is lost. And only 2 percent of their natural habitat is protected.

    So, the population in the future is not looking very bright, because that’s no home for them.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: To save the species, she and her colleagues are trying to breed the wolves in captivity for future reintroduction to the wild, but she says that’s tricky.

    NUCHARIN SONGSASEN: We hope they will breed naturally, but sometimes that’s not always the case. Sometimes, they have these incompatibilities, and they may not like each other, and they will not want to have anything to do with each other.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: Maned wolves are monogamous, and females tend to be very particular when it comes to choosing a boyfriend or partner.

    That’s why scientists need breeding tools like in vitro fertilization, or IVF. IVF is commonly used in humans. It first involves harvesting an egg from the female and putting it into a dish. You then insert the male sperm into the egg, creating an embryo, which is then implanted into the mother.

    But reproductive biologist Jennifer Nagashima says that, for decades, scientists have struggled to make IVF work with dogs and wolves.

    JENNIFER NAGASHIMA, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute: So, I like to say that dogs are a little bit weird. They have a unique reproductive physiology and that’s part of why IVF has really been a challenge to develop over the past 40 years.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: Nagashima says that’s in part because canid reproductive systems have some particular quirks, like the fact that females just don’t produce that many eggs.

    JENNIFER NAGASHIMA: Female dogs only cycle once or twice a year, and this is even more dramatic in wild canids who are seasonal. So you only have a population event once a year.

    And even when that egg is ovulated, it requires another two to three days in the reproductive tract, or the oviduct, to mature and become fertilizable. So, the result of these two things means that aren’t that many mature eggs available to develop technologies such as IVF.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: So, what Nagashima and her colleagues did was to troubleshoot the entire reproductive process. They started with basic dog breeds like beagles and cocker spaniel, and then they figured out the best way and time to harvest the eggs.

    They even found a way to give male sperm a little boost by adding magnesium.

    JENNIFER NAGASHIMA: So, when we added magnesium back in, it actually promoted the motility of the sperm, so the ability of it to swim.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: So, you just sprinkle a little bit of magnesium, makes it a better swimmer.

    JENNIFER NAGASHIMA: Yes. Yes. Exactly.

    (LAUGHTER)

    NSIKAN AKPAN: The resulting embryos were then frozen. From there, the team had to determine the best time to implant the embryos into a surrogate mom.

    Here’s why. The would-be moms had to be exactly in synch with the development of the embryos. Yet, even after implantation, the team had to constantly monitor the health of the surrogates to make sure nothing went wrong with their pregnancies.

    And two months later, success. Seven healthy puppies were born.

    JENNIFER NAGASHIMA: The puppies were born July 10 of 2015, and so they’re just over five months old right now, and they are adorable, healthy bundles of terror and joy.

    (LAUGHTER)

    NSIKAN AKPAN: The final technique was published in the journal “PLOS ONE.” And the story of the puppies received worldwide attention.

    Nagashima says these young dogs are proof the technique can work. And so now the hope is to use it on threatened species.

    JENNIFER NAGASHIMA: The hope for the maned wolves and other endangered canid species is that we will be able to use this technology to help their reproduction, so to produce pups where otherwise we may not be able to.

    So, for example, a lot of times in these very small populations, if you have a female that passes away before she’s been able to breed, we would really like to be able to take her ovaries, collect the eggs, mature them, and then use IVF to produce embryos that would represent her as a mother.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: Most of the litter were adopted by the researchers themselves, because, A, who wouldn’t want one of these scientific marvels? And, B, just look at them.

    JENNIFER NAGASHIMA: This is Cannon. He is a cocker beagle spaniel — cocker spaniel-beagle mix.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JENNIFER NAGASHIMA: This is Buddy. He is a little bunch of joy.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JENNIFER NAGASHIMA: OK.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: Do you tell your beagle what he might mean for the survival of future relatives?

    NUCHARIN SONGSASEN: Actually, I do. I tell him every day that he is very important, he is a superstar. And — but, you know, he’s still a puppy. I’m not really sure that he understands what that means yet. But, hopefully, one day he will understand.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Nsikan Akpan, in Front Royal, Virginia.

    The post How a litter of puppies could help save endangered animals appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Former Auschwitz guard Reinhold Hanning (2R) sits between his lawyers Andreas Scharmer (2L) and Johannes Salmen (R) as he waits for the start of his trial at court in Detmold, western Germany, on February 11, 2016.  The 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard went on trial for complicity in the murders of tens of thousands of people at the Nazi concentration camp.  / AFP / POOL / Bernd Thissen        (Photo credit should read BERND THISSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

    Former Auschwitz guard Reinhold Hanning sits between his lawyers Andreas Scharmer, left, and Johannes Salmen, right, as he waits for the start of his trial at court in Detmold, Germany, on Feb. 11, 2016. The 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard went on trial for complicity in the murders of tens of thousands of people at the Nazi concentration camp. Photo by Bernd Thissen/AFP/Getty Images

    A trial began in Germany Thursday for a 94-year-old man who worked as a guard at Auschwitz during World War II.

    Prosecutors in the city of Detmold said Reinhold Hanning was an accessory to the murder of 170,000 people while stationed at the camp.

    Reading the indictment in the courtroom, prosecutor Andreas Brendel said that Hanning and others who worked at Auschwitz knew of the killings that went on at the camp.

    The selection process, during which people were either directed to gas chambers or forced labor, “was placed entirely in the hands of the SS soldiers and doctors working on the ramps,” Brendel said.

    Hanning told investigators that he had served in what was known as the Auschwitz I section of the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. He denied working in the Auschwitz II-Birkenau section, where the majority of the camp’s victims died.

    “I want to know why millions of Jews were killed and here we both are,” said Leon Schwarzbaum, a 94-year-old Auschwitz survivor who testified in court Thursday.

    According to prosecutors, Hanning was serving in the SS Death Head Unit, which was responsible for overseeing the Nazi death camps, when he was transferred to Auschwitz in January 1942. He was at Auschwitz until at least June 1944, according to Germany’s Nazi war crimes office.

    Three other trials are expected to move forward this year for other Nazi guards who worked at concentration camps.

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    Portrait of Albert Einstein

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now some truly cosmic news.

    The sound of two black holes colliding more than a billion years ago, it was recorded by a team of scientists at the LIGO Observatory, proof of gravitational waves, or ripples in time and space, first theorized by Albert Einstein.

    We explore this monumental moment in physics with Dave Reitze of Caltech, executive director of the LIGO Laboratory.

    Now, that was a rudimentary attempt at explaining what a gravitational wave is. But what are they, and why is it such a big deal to find one?

    DAVID REITZE, California Institute of Technology: Actually, you did a pretty good job.

    So, gravitational waves are fluctuations in space-time. And any time you have a mass, something that has matter in it, accelerating, all right, it produces a gravitational wave. All right? And that’s a consequence of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

    Now, these particular gravitational waves, in order to be able to detect them, you need really, truly massive objects. So, in this case, these were black holes that had about 30 times the mass of the sun in them.

    So, why gravitational waves are so interesting is that they tell us something about the universe that you can’t get from any other kind of astronomy. So, if you think about optical astronomy, that looks at certain classes of light. If you look at radio astronomy — so gravitational waves are completely different.

    They come from a different sector of the universe, and that’s why they’re so exciting.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK. So Einstein is sitting at his patent clerk’s office thinking about this big thought, and what is the connection to space-time?

    DAVE REITZE: Yes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Does time and space bend? And if you heard or saw, so to speak, this moment, does that mean that time and space bent just a little bit at those points?

    DAVE REITZE: Oh, in fact, this particular event was, as my colleague Kip Thorne calls it, a storm in space-time.

    All right? As these two black holes came together and collided, they really disrupted space-time and produced this burst of gravitational radiation. It’s interesting that you mention Einstein. Gravitational waves were first predicted actually 100 years ago. And Einstein himself, all right, thought it was an interesting consequence of the theory of relativity, but didn’t think that it had any practical value, because he said that the effect is so tiny that we will never be able to measure them.

    And it took 100 years from the time that he predicted them to the time we have been able to measure them.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And, also, to measure them, you have very giant antennae that most people probably haven’t heard about until today, one in Louisiana and Washington. Describe those.

    DAVE REITZE: So, these are two interferometers.

    Interferometer is a — basically a type of laser measuring device. A laser goes out. It goes — it gets split. It goes along the arms of the interferometers. And they’re very long. The arms are very long. They’re two-and-a-half-miles long. Comes back. We do a lot of tricks to make the interferometer very sensitive.

    And as a gravitational wave passes, what it does is, it stretches and squeezes the light between the arms of the interferometer. And because light is made up of waves, we use the fact that that stretching and squeezing changes the relative relationship, the phase, if you will, between the waves.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, do we — how is it that we got this sound? I mean, these are lasers, and you’re seeing the disruption or change in light.

    DAVE REITZE: Yes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What does that mean to say, we heard two black holes?

    DAVE REITZE: Right.

    So the interferometers are very nice. They basically — the light goes on in the detector, and the frequency that these gravitational waves were generated by these two block holes is in the audio band. So, you could literally — it’s like a C.D. player. You could literally put a plug into the detector and put headphones on, after a little bit of data processing and filtering.

    It’s not perfect, but after a little bit of data processing and filtering, you can actually hear the signal. And it’s a very interesting signal. It goes whoop like that. Actually, it goes a little bit lower, but that gives you the idea.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK. All right.

    But what does this mean for science? Does this mean that there’s new branches of study that have opened up? What are things that people are going to think about now because you have this moment?

    DAVE REITZE: Yes.

    I think there are two things that are important here. First of all, it’s really a big confirmation that gravitational waves exist. Now, we knew they existed. There was a nice experiment done by Hulse, Taylor, and Weisberg early on using radio waves. But this is the first direct measurement of them, and so that’s exciting.

    But I think the thing that’s more exciting about it is, this opens up a completely new way of looking at the universe. So, everything we know about the universe, we know from light, electromagnetic radiation.

    This is the first time that the universe is communicating to us using gravitational waves. So, it’s like the cosmos is talking to us.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK. This makes me think of all the sci-fi movies that are going to spin off from this. Right?

    DAVE REITZE: Yes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: If we can measure that space and time are bending and it’s happening all around us, we just happen have to have these two little antennas on this tiny little planet, it’s probably happening all over the universe.

    DAVE REITZE: Right.

    Oh, yes, sure, sure, sure, sure. And we hope that we will be able to hear more of more of these things as they go along. And I should point out that this is only the beginning, that we’re actually — there are projects that are undergoing in Japan. There’s one in Italy right now that is undergoing. We’re hoping to put a gravitational wave detector in India, because the more you have of these things, the more ears you have, then actually that gives you a huge advantage.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Dave Reitze from Caltech, thanks so much for joining us.

    DAVE REITZE: Thank you. Been my pleasure.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: We have more on Einstein’s theory and why it was so revolutionary when he posed it more than 100 years ago.

    Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll wrote about the twists and turns of space-time in the universe, and you can read that essay on our home page, PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post What’s the sound of two black holes colliding? Proof that Einstein was right appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A view of the High Court of Justice in Cairo, Egypt, January 21, 2016. Egypt's highest appeals court adjourned the retrial of former president Hosni Mubarak until April on charges over the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended his 30-year rule. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RTX23D41

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Five years ago today, Egypt’s longtime ruler, Hosni Mubarak, was removed from power. And he was soon jailed by Egypt’s judicial system.

    Today, he is held in a military hospital, charged with ordering the killings of protesters and awaiting retrial. The court system in Egypt has played an essential role in the turbulent times that followed Mubarak’s ouster. The elected president after Mubarak, Mohammed Morsi, who was deposed by the army, sits in prison today, sentenced to death.

    Under current President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the courts have jailed tens of thousands of opposition figures. He claims the decisions are out of his hands.

    Tonight, special correspondent Nick Schifrin examines the role of the justice system in Egyptian society for our series 5 Years On.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: No Egyptian family has fought for justice more tirelessly than the Seifs.

    Alaa Abdel Fattah is a symbol of the revolution, imprisoned by the current government. His sister Mona Seif leads campaigns against military trials of civilians. And last month, Sanaa Seif, the youngest daughter, was the only left-wing demonstrator to commemorate the Arab Spring’s fifth revolution. Her jackets reads, “The January 25 revolution continues.”

    The siblings have learned their lessons from their parents.

    LAILA SOUEIF, Justice Reform Activist: The justice apparatus is completely failed at the moment.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Their mother is Laila Soueif, one of Egypt’s most prominent activists. That’s her on the right yelling at plainclothes police. She has protested against six governments over 42 years.

    LAILA SOUEIF: It’s my duty to do this, so that at least everyone remembers that they do not have the right to push people around.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Their father, Ahmed Seif, was Egypt’s leading human rights lawyer. Today, Laila believes the judiciary is out of control.

    LAILA SOUEIF: That they have this crazy idea that you can teach a whole population manners by putting them in jail.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: A judge sentenced Alaa to five years in prison for protesting against what he saw as the military taking over the courts. Sanaa was sentenced to three years for protesting against a law that bans protests.

    Mona has been detained, and is currently awaiting a suspended sentence.

    MONA SEIF, Justice Reform Activist: The judges have become self-motivated to squash opposition movement and to imprison any rebelling youth that they don’t think are accommodating to the conservative ideas.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Those conservative, to the point of iron-fist ideas are embodied by the man they call the executioner judge, Nagy Shehata. Last January he ratified a mass death sentence of 183 suspects, despite evidence they’d been tortured.

    He sentenced 230 people at once to life in prison, even though police killed many of the demonstrators.

    JUDGE NAGY SHEHATA (through interpreter): I confirm, execution for the crimes they are accused of. And the accused are obliged to pay the trial fees. The session is adjourned.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: And when activist Ahmed Douma asked Shehata about his personal Facebook page, the judge added three years to his sentence.

    LAILA SOUEIF: This is just sloppy work. And when you’re a judge, sloppy work is a crime.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: It wasn’t always like this.

    Before the revolution, Egyptians took pride in their judiciary as fiercely independent. Today, judges and their defenders say the judiciary is still independent, but focused on one specific thing: maintaining peace and security.

    DAVID RISLEY, Former Legal Adviser, U.S. Embassy, Cairo: And the judiciary value order and public safety almost above everything else.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: For four years David Risley was the U.S. legal adviser and diplomatic attache to Egypt’s judiciary. He believes Egyptian judges see violence on the streets and believe their job is to restore stability.

    DAVID RISLEY: Some judges simply felt that they are doing what needed to be done for the good of the country, judicious or not.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: “PBS NewsHour” called dozens of Egyptian judges. Each declined to be interviewed. Western diplomats say the judges, in private, argue that Egyptians are willing to give up some rights to keep order. But the Seifs argue, even if that’s true, today’s judges fail to deliver.

    MONA SEIF: They have had their 100 percent freedom to do whatever they want to do for the past two years. And order has not returned. Justice has not prevailed.

    LAILA SOUEIF: You do not bring security or stability by being unprofessional. You bring security and stability by behaving like the judge who sentenced my husband. That — that is bringing security and stability.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: When Ahmed Seif was arrested in 1983, his judge investigated whether he had been tortured.

    LAILA SOUEIF: And he threw out the evidence that was obtained by torture. There was a certain amount of adherence to the law.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: And now?

    LAILA SOUEIF: Now? Now you have judges who are not just unprofessional. They’re ignorant. They don’t know the — they don’t know the statues of the law.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: But just like in the U.S., Egypt’s higher courts can overrule lower courts’ harsh sentences. And that is exactly what has happened.

    DAVID RISLEY: On appeal, these sorts of injudicious mass convictions, mass death penalties are being consistently reversed, that it makes one wonder whether the real purpose in these mass convictions is not so much to — an expectation that the defendants who are convicted will ultimately be punished, but rather that they are tied up and detained for an extended period of time.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Mona fights those lengthy detentions. She and other activists attempt to document Egypt’s 40,000 political prisoners. They’re trying to shine a light on a system they call a black box.

    MONA SEIF: You can have a first-degree relative who is now detained, faces prosecution, and gets sentences, and you can’t — and you don’t even know. And you don’t even check on him or get a lawyer to attend with him.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Because no one has access to…

    (CROSSTALK)

    MONA SEIF: Because no one has access to it.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: The Seifs have been willing to put everything into the cause, their children their health, their freedom. The two parents and three children have been to jail a combined 10 times. It hasn’t been easy.

    Ahmed died when Alaa and Sanaa were both in prison. The campaign to release them was titled Injustice Has Taken Them Away From Us.

    What is it like to have two of your children in prison? Then how can you even handle that?

    LAILA SOUEIF: You just turn it into practicalities. You get through a day at a time.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Because if you didn’t?

    LAILA SOUEIF: And I don’t know how you would live.

    The bright spot? Laila’s first grandson, Alaa’s son, 4-year-old Khalid (ph). His toys fill her living room.

    LAILA SOUEIF: That’s about the only thing that consistently — that makes me consistently happy at the moment.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Is your grandson.

    Laila shows me her favorite family photos. In one, Khalid is laughing with his mother. His father, above them, is actually just a poster. Khalid was born when Alaa was in prison. Mona was born when her father was in prison.

    Despite all of the sacrifices your family has made, it’s been worth it?

    She says it will be worth it if their sacrifices today mean her grandson doesn’t have to fight the same battles or go to the same jails tomorrow.

    Nick Schifrin, PBS NewsHour, Cairo.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Tune in tomorrow night for Nick’s final piece on the role of women in the tumultuous five years since the revolution.

    The post Has justice taken a backseat to civil order in Egypt’s courts? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference in New York, March 10, 2015. GOP congresswoman Susan Brooks called Saturday for Clinton to turn over the private email server she used to store her State Department correspondence. Clinton's controversy has highlighted inconsistent email regulations across government agencies.  Photo by Lucas Jackson /Reuters

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Good evening. I’m Hari Sreenivasan. Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff are in Milwaukee for tonight’s Democratic debate.

    On the “NewsHour” tonight: In a pivotal moment, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton face off, the first encounter since New Hampshire’s results.

    Also ahead: in part two of our Egypt series, a look at their heavy handed judiciary system.

    LAILA SOUEIF, Justice Reform Activist: They have this crazy idea that you can teach a whole population manners by putting them in jail.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Plus, Einstein was right again. After 50 years of research, scientists detect the sound of two black holes colliding, proof gravitational waves do exist.

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

    (BREAK)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: A federal judge ordered that all of Hillary Clinton’s remaining e-mails as secretary of state be released this month. They were to have been released by the end of January, but the State Department asked for an extension. Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her time at State has dogged her presidential campaign and triggered an FBI investigation.

    The last four occupiers of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon surrendered today, after a six-week standoff. With that, law enforcement pulled back after tense hours of negotiations, and local people welcomed the outcome.

    WOMAN: I just posted “Hallelujah” on my Facebook post, and I think that says it all. I am so glad this is over. I have lived in Eastern Oregon or Northern Nevada my entire life. And I have never, ever in 70 years locked the doors to my house until this happened.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Authorities also arrested Cliven Bundy yesterday on charges from a confrontation in Nevada. His son Ammon led the Oregon standoff before being arrested himself.

    A battle erupted at a prison in Northern Mexico overnight, and when it was over, 52 inmates were dead. Officials in Monterrey said the fighting pitted factions linked to rival drug cartels. TV broadcasts showed part of the facility burning as crowds of inmates’ relatives gathered outside. They demanded information from police.

    Pope Francis arrives in Mexico tomorrow, and will visit a prison in a nearby state next week.

    NATO defense chiefs ordered three warships to the Aegean Sea today to crack down on gangs smuggling refugees. After a meeting in Brussels, the alliance’s secretary-general said the ships will assist the Turkish and Greek coast guards.

    JENS STOLTENBERG, Secretary General, NATO: This is not about stopping or pushing back refugee boats. NATO will contribute critical information and surveillance to help counter human trafficking and criminal networks.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: An estimated 76,000 migrants have reached Europe by sea since January 1, 10 times more than the same period last year.

    Major powers opened their latest talks today on Syria, where a government offensive and Russian airstrikes are creating thousands of new refugees. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. But there was little sign that the Russians will agree to an immediate halt in their bombing campaign.

    Back in this country, more than 40 Georgia prison guards have been indicted on federal charges of drug trafficking and taking bribes. The charges, spelled out today, are the latest in a series of indictments since September.

    And a former Los Angeles sheriff now admits he lied to federal investigators in a probe of jail corruption and prisoner abuse. Lee Baca pleaded guilty late Wednesday to knowing about efforts to obstruct the investigation. To date, 17 members of the sheriff’s department have been convicted.

    The mayor of Cleveland apologized today, after the city billed the estate of Tamir Rice for ambulance services. The 12-year-old boy had been playing with a pellet gun when he was killed by police in 2014.

    Mayor Frank Jackson says it was a mistake to send the ambulance invoice, even though the estate’s executor asked for it.

    MAYOR FRANK JACKSON, Cleveland: Should it have happened? No, because a red flag should have been risen. But that didn’t happen. Did — was there — did anybody do anything wrong in this? No, because it’s the normal process. It’s the way in which we do things internally. But it’s also what the law requires you to do.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: A Rice family attorney called the claim filing deeply disturbing.

    There’s word that utility crews have finally plugged a natural gas leak near Los Angeles. The leak started nearly four months ago, and drove thousands of people from their homes. They will be allowed back once state inspectors declare the well permanently sealed.

    President Obama has made his choice for secretary of education. He’s Dr. John B. King Jr., and he’s been acting secretary since Arne Duncan stepped down in December. He’s also served as state commissioner of education in New York.

    Wall Street took another beating over worries about global growth. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 250 points to close at 15660. The Nasdaq fell 16 points, and the S&P 500 dropped 22.

    And the Senate gave final approval today to blocking state and local governments from taxing Internet access permanently. Seven states now collect such taxes, but under this measure, they will have to stop by 2020.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the fight for freedom of speech five years after Egypt’s revolution; proof of Einstein’s universe-changing theory on gravitational waves; the first puppies created using in vitro fertilization; and much more.

    The post News Wrap: Judge orders release of Clinton emails appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters at her final 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary night rally in Hooksett, New Hampshire February 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Adrees Latif - RTX269D4

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Milwaukee is the center of the Democratic political universe tonight. The candidates meet for a PBS NewsHour presidential debate, and how they perform on stage could influence the next key contests.

    Our political director, Lisa Desjardins, is in Milwaukee.

    LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right.

    “NewsHour” staff is finishing up the rehearsals on our debate stage for what is expected to be a powerful and maybe even pivotal debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, but the Democrats do not have a monopoly on intensity. And, today, Republicans were also fighting for votes in their next primary state, South Carolina.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Republican Presidential Candidate: This is our youngest, Dominick.

    Say hello, Dominick.

    DOMINICK RUBIO: Hello.

    LISA DESJARDINS: All across the Palmetto State, the hopefuls are making tracks, and taking their best shots.

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush marked his 63rd birthday by stumping with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and going after front-runner Donald Trump.

    FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH, Republican Presidential Candidate: Do you want an entertainer-in-chief, someone who will say whatever he wants to make it all about him, insult people, divide people, basically just talk trash on his way to the Republican nomination? Or do you want someone who has been tested? Because, if you do, I’m your man.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Bush’s fellow Floridian, Senator Marco Rubio, took a different line of attack today, near Hilton Head.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Donald Trump has zero foreign policy experience. Negotiating a hotel deal in another country is not foreign policy experience.

    (LAUGHTER)

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Jeb Bush has no foreign experience, period.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Rubio said he’s ready for a long slog to the party’s nomination and even a brokered Republican Convention this summer, likewise Ohio Governor John Kasich, who placed second in New Hampshire. He told CNN last night he doesn’t expect to win in South Carolina. But he said today he means to keep campaigning.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: We are going to do our best here. I’m a scrappy guy. And we are going to move all across the country.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Meanwhile, Trump talked of sweeping away his opponents at a campaign stop in Clemson last night.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: We win here, we’re going to run the table. If we win here, after winning so big in New Hampshire, all of these characters are going to give it up.

    LISA DESJARDINS: On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders sized up the state of the race on CBS’ “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” last night.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I think a lot of Donald Trump supporters are angry. People have a right to be angry. But what we need to be is rational in figuring out how we address the problems, and not just simply scapegoating minorities.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Rival Hillary Clinton hopes to draw on her strength with minorities. She picked up a key endorsement today from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC.

    REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D), Louisiana: Our brains and our intelligence tells us what our conscience confirms, that the best person to be the next president of the United States is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Georgia Congressman and civil rights veteran John Lewis went further, questioning Sanders’ claim that he worked for racial justice in the 1960s.

    REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), Georgia: I never saw him. I never met him.

    I was involved in the sit-ins, the Freedom Ride, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed the Voter Education Project for six years.

    But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Both Clinton and Sanders largely stayed out of sight today, as they prepped for tonight’s debate here in Milwaukee.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Lisa joins us now, along with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR, from the site of tonight’s debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

    Lisa, I want to start with you. How close is this race heading into tonight’s debate?

    LISA DESJARDINS: It is a real horse race. It is not the race we thought it was three or four months ago.

    Bernie Sanders has momentum, so I don’t want to say that there’s really a front-runner at this point. Hillary Clinton has more of what are called superdelegates. I know you like to talk about that, Amy. But Bernie’s got momentum. So, we have a real race. I don’t think — I don’t want to say there is a front-runner right now.

    AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: We have had a obviously very contested contest in Iowa that Hillary narrowly won. Bernie came out of New Hampshire, big, big win.

    The real question now, we head to Nevada and South Carolina, which are demographically very different, stylistically very different. This is what Hillary Clinton has always thought was going to be her so-called firewall, because it’s a much more diverse state, not quite as liberal as those other two.

    That’s why she needs to have a strong debate tonight going into what we will soon see in Nevada and South Carolina.

    TAMARA KEITH, NPR: Absolutely.

    And, today, you can tell how important these voters are, because — and how the landscape has shifted, because Bernie Sanders was announcing an endorsement from Harry Belafonte. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has a number of members of the Congressional Black Caucus holding a press conference singing her praises. This has definitely shifted to the next states, where the electorate…

    LISA DESJARDINS: The non-white vote is more important.

    TAMARA KEITH: Yes, where the electorate reflects the Democratic Party as a whole.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, let me get to that question.

    Tamara, I want to start with you. So, who do they need to appeal to through this debate and beyond?

    TAMARA KEITH: It’s not — it’s all of the Democratic electorate, and I think Hillary Clinton especially has work to do, at least based on the exit polls that we saw from New Hampshire.

    She lost — she lost women. She lost young people.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Almost every age group.

    AMY WALTER: Basically, everybody.

    TAMARA KEITH: Everybody, except people earning more than $200,000 a year.

    And so she really needs to come out on this debate stage, and, as she said Tuesday night, she has work to do. She needs to do that work and needs to present herself as more than a resume and a pile of white papers.

    AMY WALTER: You know, young people are something that she is definitely going to need to do much better with.

    She was losing not just by the margins she lost to Obama, which were big, but by 70 — 70, 80 points. That is really unprecedented. Her challenge, I think, is a little bit like a parent at Christmas, when you have to admit that there is no Santa Claus, but still keep the magic of the holiday.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Wait. There is no Santa Claus?

    AMY WALTER: I’m sorry that I ruined it for you.

    (LAUGHTER)

    LISA DESJARDINS: I will talk to you afterwards.

    AMY WALTER: But that’s what she’s confronting right now with younger people, who are — who do want to be inspired, who see Bernie Sanders as aspirational.

    She’s trying to say, yes, but let’s try to figure out how we get things done. How do you do that in a way that doesn’t undermine the real energy that the younger voters have?

    LISA DESJARDINS: The pragmatic vision that she has, Hari, is not something that young people are looking for. They’re looking for big vision.

    But one small grain of hope, I think, that I saw out of New Hampshire — I don’t know if you guys saw this — in the exit polls, she did win with people who decided that day at the polls, just by a little bit. So that might give her the idea that standing on this stage tonight, Hari, maybe she can turn around some people who are on the fence who are still deciding. That’s what she’s counting on.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Amy, I want to ask — start with you. What are you looking for from each of the candidates tonight?

    AMY WALTER: From Hillary Clinton’s perspective, it is this balance of Santa Claus and spirit of the holiday that I was discussing. But it’s also pressing Bernie Sanders on specifics.

    He has been able to talk about this big, inspirational, aspirational message, without getting nailed down on how that’s actually going to work. How can she get him to specify those things? And also looking for her to really hone in on her message.

    I went back and I looked at all the Hillary Clinton ads that have been run since the summer, and it’s kind of a mishmash. There’s a little bit of everything here. You have some guns. You have some pay equity. You have talk about work she did with children and women.

    What is her message? We know what Bernie Sanders’ message is. It’s all about the economy being rigged and Wall Street is not on your side. Where is Hillary Clinton going to find that message?

    TAMARA KEITH: And I think, for Bernie Sanders, it’s really about, can he get beyond the talking points, beyond the slogans, and can he, you know, dig in on foreign policy, beyond saying, I voted against the Iraq War, I have got the judgment?

    On the — on health care, on some of these other things, can he really get into the weeds with it? And I think Hillary Clinton is going to try to press him to do that.

    LISA DESJARDINS: And, Hari, I think our viewers should know that, in organizing this debate, I know the thing that Gwen and Judy really care about the most is, they want to try and show the differences between these two candidates.

    They’re similar in a lot of ways, but they are really hoping to focus on issues and substance tonight and drill down on, what kind of a different president would each of them make? So, we will see.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Lisa Desjardins, our political director, Amy Walter from the Cook Political Report, and Tamara Keith from NPR, thanks so much.

    The post What the Democrats need to do in the PBS debate in Milwaukee appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov go for a handshake before their bilateral talks in Munich, Germany, on Feb. 11, ahead of the International Syria Support Group meeting. Photo by Michael Dalder/Reuters

    Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov go for a handshake before their bilateral talks in Munich, Germany, on Feb. 11, ahead of the International Syria Support Group meeting. Photo by Michael Dalder/Reuters

    MUNICH — Diplomats trying to secure a ceasefire for the civil war in Syria fell short in organizing an immediate truce but agreed to try to work out details and implement a temporary “cessation of hostilities” in the coming week.

    Foreign ministers from the International Syria Support Group also sealed an agreement early Friday to “accelerate and expand” deliveries of humanitarian assistance to seven besieged Syrian communities. Those deliveries are to begin immediately after a working group meets on the matter Friday in Geneva.

    Speaking for the group, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the results but noted they were “commitments on paper.”

    “The real test is whether or not all the parties honor those commitments and implement them,” he said.

    Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who had been pressing for a ceasefire to begin March 1, said the U.S. and Russia would co-chair both the working group on humanitarian aid as well as the group that will try to deal with the “modalities” of the temporary truce. However, it was not clear if deep and festering differences between the U.S. and Russia on these issues could be overcome.

    While humanitarian access is critical to relieving the suffering of millions of Syrians in the short term, a durable and lasting ceasefire will be required if stalled negotiations between Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and the opposition are to resume on or before the U.N.-set target date of Feb. 25. The talks broke down last month before they really started, due largely to gains by Assad’s military with the heavy backing of Russian airstrikes.

    Russia had proposed the March 1 ceasefire, but the U.S. and others saw that as a ploy to give Moscow and the Syrian army three more weeks to try to crush Western- and Arab-backed rebels. The U.S. countered with demands for an immediate stop to the fighting. Both countries appeared to have made concessions on that front.

    Despite the concession on potential timing of the truce and the agreement to set up the task force, the U.S., Russia and others remain far apart on which groups should be eligible for it. The new task force, which will include military officials, will take up a job that was supposed to have been settled months ago. At the moment, only two groups — the Islamic State group and the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front — are ineligible for the truce because they are identified as terrorist organizations by the United Nations.

    Russia, Syria and Iran argue that other groups, notably some supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states, should not be eligible for the ceasefire, and there was no sign Friday that those differences had been resolved.

    Lavrov said the Russian air campaign in support of Assad’s military would continue against terrorist groups.

    Five years of conflict have killed more than a quarter-million people, created Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II and allowed the Islamic State to carve out its own territory across parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq.

    As Kerry met with the Syria group in Munich, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter was in Brussels to rally fresh support for the fight against the Islamic State group in largely the same territory.

    Carter said defense ministers from more than two dozen countries gave a “broad endorsement” of a refined U.S. plan for defeating the Islamic State. After a meeting at NATO headquarters, Carter told reporters that nearly all participants either promised new military commitments or said their governments would consider new contributions. He predicted “tangible gains” in Iraq and Syria by March.

    “We will all look back after victory and remember who participated in the fight,” he said, appealing to coalition partners to expand and deepen their military contributions.

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance agreed Thursday to deploy NATO airborne command and control aircraft in order to free up similar U.S. aircraft for the air campaign in Syria and Iraq.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow, Jamey Keaten in Geneva, Bassem Mroue in Beirut, Lolita C. Baldor and Bradley Klapper in Washington, Robert Burns in Brussels and Geir Moulson in Munich contributed to this report.

    The post Updated: Diplomats aim for temporary Syria truce in a week appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Watch the PBS NewsHour Democratic debate at 9 p.m. EST on Feb. 11 in the player above and follow the action in our live blog below. Watch a live stream with closed captions here.



    Once a formidable front-runner, Hillary Clinton narrowly won Iowa’s caucuses and has watched her national lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders begin to erode. In New Hampshire, a big Sanders victory could help him make headway among women and minority voters, important parts of the coalition that twice elected Barack Obama as president.

    It’s with this backdrop that the two will meet for the sixth time on the debate stage, this time in Milwaukee. Watch Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff moderate the PBS NewsHour Democratic debate in partnership with Facebook. NewsHour will be live streaming the event, from the Helen Bader Concert Hall on the main campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in the player above. You also can watch it on your local PBS station.

    Follow along with the Democratic National Committee-sanctioned debate on NewsHour’s Facebook page and on Twitter, @NewsHour.

    The post WATCH LIVE: PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    MILWAUKEE — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled for the crucial support of black and Hispanic voters in Thursday night’s Democratic debate, a polite but pointed contest that marked a shift in the primary toward states with more minority voters.

    After splitting the first two states with Sanders, Clinton also deepened her assertion that her unexpectedly strong rival was energizing voters with promises “that cannot be kept.” And she continued to closely align herself with President Barack Obama, who remains popular particularly with black Democrats.

    Seeking to boost his own support with minorities, Sanders peppered his typically economic-focused rhetoric with calls to reform a “broken criminal justice system.”

    “At the end of my first term, we will not have more people in jail than any other country,” he said.

    In one of many moments of agreement between the candidates, Clinton concurred on a need to address a criminal justice system that incarcerates a disproportionate number of minorities. But she cast her proposals for fighting racial inequality as broader than his.

    “We’re going to emphasize education, jobs and housing,” said Clinton, who was endorsed earlier in the day by the political action committee of the Congressional Black Caucus.

    The candidates both vowed to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, using the emotional issue to draw a contrast with Republicans who oppose allowing many of the millions of people in the United States illegally to stay. Both disagreed with a new series of raids authorized by Obama to arrest and deport some people from Central America who recently came to the country illegally.

    “We should be deporting criminals, not hardworking immigrant families who do the very best they can,” Clinton said.

    Both candidates were largely restrained in their head-to-head contest — a contrast to their campaign’s increasingly heated rhetoric on the campaign trail. While Clinton played the aggressor in the previous Democratic debate, she is mindful of a need to not turn off Sanders’ voters, particularly the young people that are supporting him in overwhelming numbers.

    Clinton is hoping to offset Sanders’ backing from those young Americans by drawing support from the black and Hispanic voters who make up a big share of the electorate in Nevada, South Carolina and other states that come next on the primary calendar.

    The former secretary of state sought to discredit some of the proposals that have drawn young people to Sanders, including his call for free tuition at public colleges and universities and a plan for a government-run, single-payer health care system. Clinton said those proposals come with unrealistic price tags. And she accused Sanders of trying to shade the truth about what she said would be a 40 percent increase in the size of the federal government in order to implement his policies.

    Sanders didn’t put a price on his policies, but neither did he shy away from the notion that he wants to expand the size of government.

    “In my view, the government of a democratic society has a moral responsibility to play a vital role in making sure all our people have a decent standard of living,” Sanders said.

    Sanders has focused his campaign almost exclusively on a call to break up big Wall Street banks and overhaul the current campaign finance system that he says gives wealthy Americans undue influence. His campaign contends that his message will be well-received by minority voters, arguing that blacks and Hispanics have been hurt even more by what he calls a “rigged” economy.

    Sanders’ strength has startled Clinton’s campaign. He defeated her by more than 20 points in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, drawing the majority of men, women, independents and young people.

    Associated Press reporters Julie Pace and Catherine Lucey wrote this report.

    The post Clinton says Sanders making promises that ‘cannot be kept’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Editor’s note: The Associated Press will look at political claims that take shortcuts with the facts or don’t tell the full story in tonight’s PBS NewsHour Democratic Debate from Milwaukee.

    WASHINGTON — In their latest debate, Hillary Clinton glossed over the big-money donors juicing her White House ambitions while Bernie Sanders offered disputed numbers behind his plan for a government-financed health system.

    A look at some of the claims in the Democratic presidential debate and how they compare with the facts:

    CLINTON: “We have more than 750,000 donors and the vast majority are giving small contributions. … We both have a lot of small donors.”

    THE FACTS: Her presidential run is being supported by wealthy donors in ways that Sanders’ is not.

    Last year’s fundraising reports show that Sanders raised fully 72 percent of his campaign money from people who gave $200 or less, while for Clinton those donors accounted for just 16 percent of her funds.

    Clinton stretched when putting herself in Sanders’ league when it comes to grassroots financing. She said they are both getting small donors and that “sets us apart” from Republican candidates. But her rate of small-dollar contributions isn’t that much different than that of some of the GOP contenders.

    She also minimized the impact of the super political action committee supporting her effort, saying the group was founded to help President Barack Obama and she has no say over its operations. But no candidate can control the super PACS that are devoted to helping their candidacies, yet they can be vital in White House efforts because they can raise unlimited money and spend heavily on advertising and other help.

    Although Priorities USA may have formed to help Obama, it’s now steered by her trusted advisers. In fact, Guy Cecil, a former Clinton staffer, was brought in to lead the group last year as a signal to her supporters that they could trust Priorities USA to serve her well.


    Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sparred at the PBS NewsHour Democratic Debate in Milwaukee. Jim Young/Reuters

    Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sparred at the PBS NewsHour Democratic Debate in Milwaukee. Jim Young/Reuters

    BERNIE SANDERS: “Our Medicare-for-all, single-payer proposal will save the average middle-class family $5,000 a year.”

    HILLARY CLINTON: “The numbers don’t add up.”

    THE FACTS: More detail and analysis are needed on Sanders’ plan for cradle-to-grave government-financed health care for all. But two early assessments suggest that the accounting comes up short.

    The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the tax increases in Sanders’ plan would only cover about 75 percent of what Sanders says it will cost, creating a $3 trillion hole in the federal budget over 10 years.

    Emory University economist Kenneth Thorpe says the proposal also underestimates the cost of having the government provide doctors’ services, hospitalization, long-term care, and vision and dental care — all without premiums, copays or deductibles.

    According to Thorpe, the Sanders plan falls short by about $11 trillion over 10 years. He says the income and payroll tax increases required to pay fully for the proposal would mean 71 percent of those who now have private insurance would pay more.

    Thorpe served in the administration of Bill Clinton, handling economic estimates of the former president’s failed health care overhaul plan. He says he has no involvement with the Hillary Clinton campaign.


    SANDERS: “A male African-American baby born today stands a one-in-four chance of ending up in jail. That is beyond unspeakable.”

    THE FACTS: Sanders, like Clinton in an earlier debate, exaggerated the rate of incarceration for black males.

    A 2003 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics said, “About 1 in 3 black males, 1 in 6 Hispanic males, and 1 in 17 white males are expected to go to prison during their lifetime, if current incarceration rates remain unchanged.” But that was only a projection. The report went on to say that at the time, 16.6 percent of adult black males had actually ever gone to prison, or 1 in 6.

    Since then, the incarceration rate for black men has actually gone down instead of up, according to the Sentencing Project.

    The post Fact-checking the debate: Clinton, Sanders on health care, donors appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Mike Segar/ REUTERS

    Photo by Mike Segar/ REUTERS

    Editor’s note: PBS NewsHour is a partner with STAT, a new national publication reporting from the frontiers of health and medicine.

    There’s more evidence that Zika may be transmissible through sex — and maybe for quite a while after infection.

    British researchers have reported the case of a man whose semen tested positive for Zika virus 62 days after the onset of his illness. It is the second report of the virus being found in semen. In addition, there have been two cases where sexual transmission of Zika virus is thought to have occurred.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned that men who return from places where Zika virus is spreading should use condoms or abstain from sex with pregnant partners. But it is thought that sexual transmission is rare. In general Zika is a virus that people acquire through the bite of an infected mosquito.

    The British scientists reported finding traces of Zika in the man’s semen sample but said they did not grow live virus from it. The difference is important: Seeing traces of virus does not indicate whether the semen could have infected a sexual partner. Live virus, on the other hand, would have been stronger evidence that the man might have been able to infect a sex partner even that long into his recovery.

    The report, in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, was written by scientists from Public Health England, that country’s equivalent of the CDC. It is posted on the journal’s ahead-of-print page; it will be printed in the May issue.

    This case may have informed the agency’s advice on avoiding sexual transmission of Zika virus. Last month Public Health England said that male travelers returning from places where Zika is spreading should use condoms during sex if their female partner was pregnant or might become pregnant.

    It advised condom use for men for six months if they had laboratory-confirmed Zika or symptoms compatible with Zika infection. Returning men with no symptoms should use condoms for 28 days, the agency said.

    This case involves a man, 68 years old at the time, who returned to Britain from the Cook Islands in the South Pacific in 2014. A week after his return he had symptoms of Zika and tested positive for the virus.

    Blood, urine, and semen samples were requested at intervals after he recovered; only the semen tested positive for Zika virus at 27 and 62 days. The letter to the journal does not state if later tests were conducted, so it is not clear whether 62 days represents the end of testing or the point after which no positive tests were recorded.

    There are two suspected cases of sexual transmission of Zika virus. An American researcher reported having infected his wife after he contracted the virus in Senegal in 2008; his wife had remained in the United States. Earlier this month Dallas public health authorities reported an infection in a person who had not left the country but had had sex with a person who returned sick from a Zika-affected country.

    An earlier report from French Polynesia, published last year in Emerging Infectious Diseases, revealed that traces of virus were found in the semen of a man infected there during an outbreak in 2013.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Feb. 12, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post Zika virus may persist in semen for months, scientists say appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Happy, a Labrador mix, jumps into the swimming pool at a pet hotel in Taipei October 29, 2009. Happy's owners are in China and left him at the pet hotel which is one of the few places in Taiwan that uses swimming as part of a weight loss program and physical therapy for post-surgery dogs. Nicky Loh/REUTERS

    Happy, a Labrador mix, jumps into the swimming pool at a pet hotel in Taipei October 29, 2009. Happy’s owners are in China and left him at the pet hotel which is one of the few places in Taiwan that uses swimming as part of a weight loss program and physical therapy for post-surgery dogs. Nicky Loh/REUTERS

    Editor’s note: PBS NewsHour is a partner with STAT, a new national publication reporting from the frontiers of health and medicine.

    Oh, what we wouldn’t do for our animal companions! Dogs and cats, in particular, can develop many of the same illnesses, injuries, and disorders that people do. And increasingly, they can get also the same kind of care.

    Not without expense or controversy, more professionals are offering our animals health and medical treatment options normally reserved for their human companions. Here are some notable examples:

    1. Medical marijuana

    Fluffy and Fido getting on in years? Losing their appetite? Aching and whining? Dog treats containing cannabidiol and even the psychoactive chemical THC have grown in popularity in recent years. The Food and Drug Administration has expressed concern over these products, saying research is lacking. Still, some states are going ahead: Nevada has considered a billto allow people to obtain medical marijuana for their pets.

    2. Costly cancer treatment

    Cancer treatment for humans has been advancing by leaps and bounds, and some of those advanced techniques are now being offered to pets, as well. At the cancer institute in Manhattan’s Animal Medical Center, pets get chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and even immunotherapy, a recent approach of activating the body’s own immune system. Treatments can run into the five figures, the AP reported.

    3. Telemedicine

    Getting your companion a checkup does not have to involve making an appointment with the v-e-t and hoping your p-e-t doesn’t know how to spell. Instead, fire up the laptop or smart phone for a virtual vet visit. New apps allow live texting and video-chatting with licensed vets, allowing convenient access to pet medical care.

    4. Acupuncture

    A dog undergoes acupuncture therapy for a facial spasm at a vet clinic in north China's Tianjin municipality. The treatment is administered daily for six days and cost about 50 yuan ($6.50) for the whole course. Vincent Du (CHINA)/REUTERS

    A dog undergoes acupuncture therapy for a facial spasm at a vet clinic in north China’s Tianjin municipality. The treatment is administered daily for six days and cost about 50 yuan ($6.50) for the whole course. Vincent Du (CHINA)/REUTERS

    The ancient Chinese therapy of acupuncture is gaining more acceptance to treat everything from pain to behavioral disorders in pets. Several veterinary schools and organizations certify vets in the practice of acupuncture. Dogs are the main acupuncture patients but cats, horses, and even birds have gotten the procedure.

    5. Fitness trackers

    Corpulent calicos and pudgy poodles run the risk of developing hypertension, diabetes, and kidney disease. And the solution is the same one many out-of-shape humans are using. Exercise trackers, like Fitbark, track dogs’ rest, activity, and playtime. A similar device allows remote medical monitoring of the vital signs of sick pets.

    6. Physical therapy

    Sometimes it takes more than exercise to get an animal back in top form. Sprains, arthritis, and other problems can sideline even the most active, playful pet. Physical therapy uses equipment like balance boards and heated swimming pools to rehabilitate hurt dogs, and a wheeled walker lets a dog or cat keep moving while she’s healing.

    7. Antidepressants

    Dogs have different sources of anxiety than humans, but they respond to a common treatment: Prozac. A recent study found that dogs with separation anxiety were less distressed when given the antidepressant along with behavioral therapy.

    8. Health spas

    Some pampering might also help de-stress a cranky pet. Pet spas are cropping up in luxury condo buildings, offering pet treadmills, bone-shaped pools, and cots for nap time. After that, a nice bath, a good brushing, and a cute haircut can make all the difference in a pet’s attitude.

    9. Raw food diet

    The raw food trend for animals, like its equivalent for humans, claims to be based on the way their ancestors ate in the wild. Brands such as BARF Dog Food push these diets as the best for pets. However scientists have cautionedthat sometimes homemade raw diets don’t include all the nutrients animals need.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Feb. 12, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post 9 human health trends that have gone to the dogs (and cats) appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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