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

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    From "Storeys" by Tammam Azzam, 200 x 250 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From “Storeys” by Tammam Azzam, 200 x 250 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    Artist Tammam Azzam is through with looking at destruction.

    After completing “Storeys,” a large-scale abstract painting project based on photographs from Syrian cities, he has seen enough: buildings gutted by bombs, empty streets, a sense of stillness. “The emptiness made me feel so much fear,” he said. “I want to talk about that.”

    Azzam left Damascus for Dubai in 2011, just after the beginning of a revolution that would grow into the massive, multi-sided armed conflict it is today, driving millions of people from the country. Already a prolific artist — his work has appeared at exhibitions in Budapest, New York and Houston, as well as Banky’s Dismaland exhibition in the UK — but suddenly lacking studio space and materials, Azzam began to create digital art. In 2013, his digitally-constructed image of Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” on a bombed-out building caught the world’s attention.

    But he couldn’t look away from the images he saw coming out of Syria, online or in newspapers and magazines. So he began to paint. The result is an arresting visual chronicle of what remains when an entire people’s way of life is upended, possibly for generations to come.

    From "Storeys" by Tammam Azzam, 180 x 235 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From “Storeys” by Tammam Azzam, 180 x 235 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    “I believe that art can’t save the country. … But I believe at the same time that all kinds of culture, art or writing, cinema or photographs, can rebuild something in the future.” — Tammam Azzam
    Azzam said he studied photographs from several Syrian cities on which to base the paintings. Some of the cities he portrayed include Douma — an important point of protest against the government in the early life of the revolution — and Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and an embattled opposition stronghold.

    Azzam said he wanted to “take this challenge, to create or rebuild destruction.” He does so in sweeping expressionist brushwork that is also packed with details from the images he studied. Like the photographs, the paintings are empty of people or any other sign of life.

    From "Storeys" by Tammam Azzam, 250 x 200 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From “Storeys” by Tammam Azzam, 250 x 200 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    The process of creating these paintings was a physical and emotional struggle, he said — each painting took him about two months of working six to 10 hours every day. “I’m just in a prison in my studio, just seeing news and Internet and photos from everywhere, and talking, drawing, painting about something I can’t see in person, even in the close future,” he said.

    The paintings, which he called the “Storeys” series, are now on display at Dubai’s Ayyam Gallery in an exhibition he titled “The Road.” The idea of a road, of setting out on a long journey, is one that has suddenly become a link between millions of Syrians as they flee war, Azzam said.

    “I’m telling stories about Syrian people, about myself, about people everywhere. About the stories of going ahead on these roads, and we don’t know where,” he said.

    The exhibition invokes “the journey of people, from their homeland to the new homeland,” Azzam said. “There is no end to that. Because all people are still thinking about going back to their original home.”

    Now, Azzam is completing a five-month artist’s fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Delmonhost, Germany. He said he has left the “Storeys” behind to become an entry in the history of the Syrian people.

    “I believe that art can’t save the country. Bullets are more powerful than art, now,” he said. “But I believe at the same time that all kinds of culture, art or writing, cinema or photographs, can rebuild something in the future.”

    See below for more images of the “Storeys” series, now on display at Ayyam Gallery.

    From "Storeys" by Tammam Azzam, 200 x 250 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From “Storeys” by Tammam Azzam, 200 x 250 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From "Storeys" by Tammam Azzam, 120 X 120 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2014. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From “Storeys” by Tammam Azzam, 120 X 120 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2014. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From "Storeys" by Tammam Azzam, 152 X 203 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2014. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From “Storeys” by Tammam Azzam, 152 X 203 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2014. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From "Storeys" by Tammam Azzam, 121 X 121 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2014. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From “Storeys” by Tammam Azzam, 121 X 121 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2014. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From "Storeys" by Tammam Azzam, 200 x 250 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    From “Storeys” by Tammam Azzam, 200 x 250 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015. Image courtesy of Tammam Azzam

    Explore more of our Syrian Voices series which highlights Syrian artists producing work around the world.

    The post Exiled Syrian artist Tammam Azzam paints haunting images of his destroyed homeland appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Briannie Kraft, 22, of Coralville, Iowa, listens as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during the "Fighting for Us" town hall event in Coralville, Iowa, November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Scott Morgan - RTX1UN0I Related words: millennial, women, millennials, young, Hillary Clinton supporters, feminist

    Why do the vast majority of Americans believe in equality for women in the workplace and the home, yet refuse to call themselves “feminists”? asks Denise Cummins. Photo by REUTERS/Scott Morgan

    How dare they?

    Much to everyone’s surprise, recent polls show that a significant majority of millennial women plan to vote for Bernie Sanders rather than Hillary Clinton. In response, feminist heavy-hitters such as Gloria Steinem and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright lost no time in scolding young women for their perceived treachery.

    “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” warned Albright at a Clinton rally. On the “Real Time with Bill Maher” show, Steinem suggested younger women were backing Sanders just so they could meet young men. She quipped, “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.'” (Steinem later apologized.)

    Sanders draws strong support from millennials, because he represents to them someone who will solve the problems that most directly impact their lives — student loan debt, free college tuition, better job market. Ironically, they seem to be unaware that Clinton plans to tackle those very same issues, albeit in different ways. They’ve bought the message that a vote for Clinton is a vote for “the establishment.”

    And could it be that some women shun Clinton because of competitiveness? This phenomenon, in which women simultaneously hold other women to higher standards, and then penalize them for reaching those standards, often plagues highly successful women. We see this kind of thing all the time in academia, where female professors routinely get lower teaching ratings than their male colleagues, particularly from female students.

    I think their distrust actually represents an indictment of modern day feminism.

    But my reading of this phenomenon is more forgiving of millennials. I think their distrust actually represents an indictment of modern day feminism.

    Riddle me this: Why do the vast majority of Americans believe in equality for women in the workplace and the home, yet refuse to call themselves “feminists”?

    A 2013 Huffington Post/YouGov poll showed that only 23 percent of women and 16 percent of men consider themselves feminists — even though 82 percent of both genders believe “men and women should be social, political, and economic equals.”

    If this state of affairs does not seem like a contradiction to you, then consider the dictionary definition of feminism: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities; the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”

    Should we chalk up this apparent contradiction as yet another example of human irrationality? I don’t think so, for three reasons:

    1. The current generation has rarely experienced institutionally and legally sanctioned sexism.

    First-wave feminists were the suffragettes who fought to give women the vote.  The majority of second-wave feminists (like me) were women of the 1960s and 1970s who believed that the rights and privileges of citizenship should not be curtailed on the basis of gender. We acted on these beliefs by fighting to improve women’s socioeconomic and educational opportunities, and to improve women’s access to reproductive health care (such as birth control and abortion). We wanted life to be fairer and better for ourselves and for future generations of women. Philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers refers to these feminists as “equity feminists.”

    Ironically, it is the very triumphs of second-wave equity feminism that lead young women to believe feminism has nothing to do with them.

    But, ironically, it is the very triumphs of second-wave equity feminism that lead young women to believe feminism has nothing to do with them. They have never faced a world in which employment ads were neatly divided into high-paying “Help Wanted: Male” and low-paying “Help Wanted: Female” categories, where women were forbidden entry into top-tier colleges like Harvard and Yale, where birth control was difficult to get and abortion was illegal. These scenarios sound like science fiction to today’s young women rather than descriptions of recent history.

    2. The term “feminism” has been hijacked by a minority of vocal extremists who have redefined it as “gender feminism,” claiming that gender is a patriarchal social construct created in order to oppress women.

    Gender feminism is based on the discredited belief that humans are born as blank slates and all sex differences are artifacts of socialization. They believe the only way to achieve true political and economic equality is to erase all differences between men and women by rigidly socializing boys and girls to be the same.

    Gender feminism is very much alive and well in American colleges and universities, housed within many Women and Gender studies programs. And it is there that some young women decide to distance themselves from the term. Barnard College student Toni Airaksinen recently blogged about her experiences in such a program:

    In one year, I took three Women’s Studies classes. My professors taught me that, because I was a woman, I was victimized and oppressed. Prior to enrolling, I did not see myself that way…Mentioning anything that didn’t support the notion that females were unilaterally oppressed would be akin to blasphemy.

    As gender feminists try to inculcate a psychology of victimhood in their students, the progress second-wave equity feminists accomplished is slowly eroding. Planned Parenthood is under attack and was nearly defunded, putting the lives of millions of poor women and their children at risk. Abortion clinics are bombed, and abortions rights are so greatly curtailed that doctors must perform invasive and unnecessary ultrasounds. And women continue to earn less than men in the broader workplace.

    3. “Feminist” has come to mean “careerist” — competing with men in the workplace on men’s terms.

    This implies that stay-at-home mothers cannot be feminists and that women must put career ahead of family in order to compete.

    This phenomenon can be traced to a shameful chapter in second-wave feminism. Shulamith Firestone declared “Pregnancy is barbaric.” Ellen Willis admitted that “I saw having children as the great trap that completely took away your freedom.” Gloria Steinem described her mother as spiritually broken by giving up her career as a journalist to raise her children.

    Within the confines of the traditional workplace, where men were the breadwinners and women’s place was in the home, careers are meant to be unbroken, rising trajectories. We are expected to claim our turf and prove ourselves in our 20s and 30s and move into positions of greater prestige, power and authority in our 40s and beyond.

    This, of course, leaves no room for forming and caring for young families. Hitting the “pause” button in mid-career to raise a family makes it difficult if not impossible to resume one’s career later. The time spent raising the next generation of taxpayers and entrepreneurs will be seen as time wasted, and your resume will be deep-sixed for “lack of initiative.” Too often, this is true even if “hitting pause” simply means going part-time or requesting fewer travel demands.

    The new challenge for third- and fourth-wave feminism is to take back the term from radical gender feminists and to take back our personal lives from an unyielding workplace.

    To bring this point home, consider the results of the Harvard and Beyond Project conducted by economists Claudia Goldin, Lawrence Katz, Naomi Hausman and Bryce Ward, a project that tracked three cohorts of female Harvard graduates (1970, 1980 and 1990) 15 years after they received their degrees. The striking impact of children on women’s careers was apparent. Among those who had no children and a law degree, 83 percent were employed full time. For those who had one child, only 64 percent were employed full time, and for those who had two or more, fewer than half (49 percent) were employed full time. These values were the same for MBAs, PhDs, physicians, dentists and veterinarians.

    Goldin explains the wage and career-ladder gap this way: “Quite simply the gap exists because hours of work in many occupations are worth more when given at particular moments and when the hours are more continuous.” As Goldin points out, what is needed is a system that rewards the amount of work accomplished rather than when the work is accomplished. The current system rewards work done early in one’s career far more heavily than work done subsequently.

    Our double-income marriages had another unforeseen impact on the entire country and economy: a red-hot housing market. According to Elizabeth Warren and co-author Amelia Warren Tyagi, today’s two-income family earns 75 percent more money than its single-income counterpart of a generation ago, but actually has less discretionary income once their fixed monthly bills are paid. This is because higher family incomes triggered a ferocious bidding war for housing and education among the middle class.

    Housing and tuition prices skyrocketed, which now means that there must be two wage earners in the family because it is virtually impossible for families to live a middle-class existence on only one middle-class paycheck.

    So this is how we live today, aptly described by William Falk, the editor in chief of The Week:

    As I write this, my wife, Karla, is on a business trip to Chicago, and I am in the 15th hour of a day that began at 6 am … On days like this, I think back to seeing my successful dad walking home from work nearly every day at 5:30 pm. My stay-at-home mom had dinner in the oven; my brother and I ate with our parents, and we all spent a leisurely evening together. How 20th century. Today, the world is globalized, profit-driven, hyper-competitive; our employers run lean, demanding more and more hours from those of us who haven’t been pruned (yet). We must carefully ration any time spent on our kids, our spouses, ourselves. In return for our relentless productivity, our “standard of living” has risen: We get to buy cooler devices, nicer cars, more stuff. We are so much richer and more fulfilled. Aren’t we?

    Second-wave equity feminists smashed the barriers to greater political, educational and economic opportunities for women. The new challenge for third- and fourth- wave feminism is to take back the term from radical gender feminists and to take back our personal lives from an unyielding workplace.

    The post Column: Why millennial women don’t want to call themselves feminists appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Tuesday it was joining a criminal investigation of lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, exploring whether laws were broken in a crisis that has captured international attention. Photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, has captured international attention. Photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said Friday he has agreed to testify to Congress about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, bowing to demands by Democrats that the Republican governor explain his role in a cost-cutting move that resulted in a public health emergency caused by lead-contaminated water.

    Snyder said he wants to explain how “the local, state and federal governments combined to fail the people of Flint” and actions he is recommending in Michigan and at the federal level to ensure a similar crisis does not happen again.

    “The people of Flint have suffered because they were failed by all levels of government, and so it is understandable that there are questions at all levels of government,” he said in a statement. “In Michigan we are learning a great deal from this crisis and I am hopeful the federal government also will use this as an opportunity to examine health and safety protections in place, assess infrastructure needs and avoid this type of crisis in the future.”

    Flint’s water became tainted when the city switched from the Detroit system and began drawing from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money. The impoverished city was under state management at the time.

    State regulators failed to ensure that water was properly treated, and lead from aging pipes leached into the water supply. Some children’s blood has tested positive for lead, a potent neurotoxin linked to learning disabilities, lower IQ and behavioral problems.

    The Flint crisis has become a partisan flashpoint nationally as Democrats cite Flint’s problems as an example of Republican cost-cutting run amok and the logical outgrowth of GOP efforts to weaken government regulation. Democrats also call Flint an example of environmental injustice. Flint is majority African-American and more than 40 percent of its residents live in poverty.

    Republicans dispute the notion that race or poverty played a role in the crisis and point to a lack of action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which did not warn the public for months after learning about elevated lead levels in Flint.

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Friday he invited Snyder and EPA chief Gina McCarthy to testify on the Flint crisis. No date for the hearing has been set, but a committee spokeswoman said the session is likely next month.

    Chaffetz said in a statement that he appreciates Snyder’s willingness to appear before the committee and looks forward to McCarthy’s testimony. Snyder and McCarthy both offer important perspectives “as we seek to ensure a crisis of this magnitude never occurs in another American city,” Chaffetz said.

    An EPA spokeswoman declined immediate comment on whether McCarthy would accept the invitation.

    Democrats have complained that GOP leaders in Congress were reluctant to call Snyder to testify, despite multiple requests by Democrats to invite him. Snyder rejected a request to appear at an informational hearing held by House Democrats earlier this week.

    Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., said he was glad Snyder had finally agreed to discuss the matter under oath.

    “The governor’s administration and his state-appointed emergency financial managers created this crisis and he must answer questions so the whole truth can be found,” Kildee said. “Flint families deserve answers.”

    Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., said she expects Snyder to “provide a complete account of how the poisoning of an entire city was allowed to occur,” adding that questions about what happened in Flint “have gone unanswered for far too long.”

    Chaffetz said he also has called Susan Hedman, the EPA’s former Midwest region chief, and Darnell Earley, who was the emergency manager for Flint when the water source was changed. Former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling also has been invited, as well as Miguel Del Toral, an EPA water expert who wrote a June 2015 memo about lead problems in Flint that was not made public for months.

    The post House panel calls governor, EPA chief to testify on Flint appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Inspector_1

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Mark Chmielewski is the Executive Chef at Latinicity, a hip new eatery in downtown Chicago. At this sit-down restaurant, bar, and at 10 food counters customers can watch their sushi being rolled, burgers flipped, and burritos wrapped.

    But what they don’t see are the steps behind the scenes that ensure the safety of their food.

    MARK CHMIELEWSKI: All stations have hand sinks. Probably the most biggest thing is washing your hands. All the fish gets iced down.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Chmielewski oversees systems and procedures to ensure that all the food served here is fresh.

    MARK CHMIELEWSKI: Everything up off the ground. Up off the floor.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Temperature is key. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends hot food is served at at least 140 degrees. Cold food must be refrigerated 40 degrees and below. And dirty dishes must be washed in hot water close to boiling.

    MARK CHMIELEWSKI: It’s paramount, to have, you know, great food safety with a lot of different systems in place to prevent the public and your staff from becoming sick from foodborne illness. That can be devastating. It can shut you down. Fast.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year about 48 million people in the U.S. get sick from foodborne illness…from all sources of contaminated food. 128-Thousand are hospitalized – and 3-thousand die.

    JULIE MORITA: I think food safety is one of the core public health issues that we face.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Julie Morita is a doctor and Chicago’s Commissioner of Public Health. Her department is in charge of inspecting all 16,500 establishments that serve food in Chicago. Close to 7-thousand are classified as “high risk” – those where chefs handle raw ingredients and are thus more at risk of foodborne illness outbreaks.

    JULIE MORITA: If we don’t address and make sure that our food is safe, we will be constantly be dealing with outbreaks and challenges related to that, and so it’s really in our best interest to insure the safety of food so that we can do and focus on other areas that are important to public health as well.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: I followed one food inspector — Annette Grimes – as she made an unannounced visit to a restaurant on Chicago’s South Side.

    ANNETTE GRIMES: Did you vacuum pack this, and where’s the machine?  Because you’re not allowed to vacuum pack.  

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Records for all shellfish must be kept.

    ANNETTE GRIMES: How about tags for the oysters?

    MEGAN THOMPSON: She even probes for clutter in the basement.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: The state requires Chicago to inspect high-risk venues like this restaurant at least once a year. But Chicago has had a difficult time keeping up. A 2012 review by the state found the city to be out of compliance with state inspection requirements. According to Morita, they’re working to get back on track.

    JULIE MORITA: The city has taken this very seriously, and so we’ve done some very creative and innovative things recently.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: The Public Health Department hired more inspectors. Today there are 35. But that’s still only one inspector for nearly every 200 high-risk restaurants. So the city turned to data analytics. Tom Schenk leads a team of coders and data scientists who created an algorithm to predict which restaurants are more likely to have the most serious types of violations.

    TOM SCHENK: This is an opportunity for analytics to come in and say, can we do this a little bit better?

    MEGAN THOMPSON: This is how it works. The program crunches 12 variables based on publicly-available information. Things that seem obvious, like a restaurant’s previous violations, the length of time since the last inspection, how long it’s been operating, or nearby garbage complaints. And, the not-so-obvious, like the 3-day average high temperature, nearby burglaries, and whether the place is licensed to sell tobacco. Smoking is not allowed in restaurants.

    TOM SCHENCK: What we found is places with tobacco license were less likely to have these sanitation violations, which essentially probably means that they’re maintaining those high levels to make sure that they protect these licenses that are also very valuable to them.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: The number of burglaries in an area, what does that have to do with food safety?

    TOM SCHENK: What we found was areas that have property crime around it, were more likely to have sanitation violations.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Explain to me how the weather has anything to do with whether or not a restaurant might violate a food safety regulation?

    TOM SCHENCK: One of things that matters the most around having food violations is whether or not you’re able to maintain the temperature of your food.  And so when the temperature goes up, sometimes it’s harder to keep those things chilled or cooled.  And what this algorithm essentially does, is it takes this data, these different observations that we have, and essentially weights them in terms of important and how much weight and importance each one of these variables have to predict whether or not there’s a critical violation at a restaurant.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Schenk’s team tested their program in 2014 and discovered the rate of finding violations increased by 25 percent. That meant, inspectors found violations about seven days earlier than before – a week less of potential exposure for customers based on the algorithm, Chicago’s Director of Food Protection Gerrin Cheek Butler assigns the inspectors – also called Sanitarians – to restaurants they must visit.

    GERRIN CHEEK BUTLER: The higher the coefficient the more likely there are to be critical and serious violations found at the inspection. So these are the ones that we would assign for inspection first. It updates continuously, so it’s always updating.

    GERRIN CHEEK BUTLER: So this has definitely helped us prioritize our inspections, put our sanitarians where they need to be. And so what we have found is that in the beginning of the year, we are finding that we have more critical and serious violations in the first quarter.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: That allows restaurants to correct problems early in the year.

    ANNETTE GRIMES: This is your inspection report.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Places like the restaurant on the South Side, which failed its random inspection. Inspector Annette Grimes found violations with the dishwasher ….

    ANNETTE GRIMES: We need to go to the three compartment sink to wash, rinse and sanitize. You can’t use this until we get it fixed.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: And temperatures of some foods.

    ANNETTE GRIMES: It’s only 118.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: The owners were fined.

    ANNETTE GRIMES: It has to be 140 or above.  So all of that has been discarded and you’re being issued a critical citation for having those products.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: The managers have one week to make necessary changes or face the possibility of more fines and inspections.

    RESTAURANT OWNER: We’ll make sure everything is taken care of as soon as possible.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Chicago restaurants are required to post their inspection report somewhere publicly, but it’s not like New York and Los Angeles, where restaurants get letter grades that are posted right in the front window.  

    Chicago does make the inspection results public online…posting them on the web in a database searchable by restaurant name.  In addition, the city has launched the app Open Grid where residents can find public information including restaurant inspection results.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Chicago is sharing the code behind its algorithm so other municipalities can use it. Montgomery County, Maryland, was the first to try it out. In a test, it found violations three days earlier than before.  

    Besides the algorithm, the Department of Health also responds to complaints about restaurants. Most come through the city’s 3-1-1 system….Or Twitter. A program called Foodborne Chicago mines Twitter for messages about food poisoning…and often responds.

    GERRIN CHEEK BUTLER: So she’s saying, “Food poisoning is not my favorite.”  And then we responded from Foodborne Chicago and we say– “Sorry to hear that you were ill. The Chicago Health Department can help.”  And then we give them the link.   

    MEGAN THOMPSON: The link is to an online form asks users for more information about what happened.  If the tweet checks out, the Department of Health sends an inspector. Of the nearly 4-thousand tweets reviewed in the last few years, about 600 generated an inspection.  

    At Latinicity – which passed its last inspection with only a few minor things to fix like a leaky sink – Executive Chef Mark Chmielewski welcomes Chicago’s use of the new algorithm. But he hopes restaurant goers check the city’s inspection reports rather than believing unverified complaints on social media.

    MARK CHMIELEWSKI: That’s a slippery slope.  Twitter and social media, they– wield a very mighty sword– and if someone, they just– “I had bad sushi at, you know, ABC place.”  Is it really from there, or was it– from something that they had the– for breakfast. They could do a lot of damage to somebody if it’s incorrect.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: As for the restaurant on the South Side – during the follow-up inspection this past week, inspector Annette Grimes found all violations corrected, and the restaurant passed.

    The post Up to code? An algorithm is helping Chicago health officials predict restaurant safety violations appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    violins of hope

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: A collection of violins largely silent for seven decades is giving voice to the horrors of the Holocaust.

    David C. Barnett from Cleveland’s Public Television Station WVIZ’s Ideastream tells the story behind the instruments that were once owned by the inmates of Nazi concentration camps.

    DAVID C. BARNETT: Stanley Bernath has a vivid memory of his arrival at the Mauthausen concentration camp in 1944. Bernath and his fellow Jewish prisoners were shipped to the camp in a cattle car, and marched to the front gate.

    STANLEY BERNATH, Holocaust Survivor: The huge gate with a name on top in German, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” meaning work will make you free. As we entered, there is an orchestra playing Beethoven. It was an unbelievable sight. People were being killed and beaten, and there’s an orchestra playing.

    DAVID C. BARNETT: That’s a story that Israeli violin maker Amnon Weinstein has heard before. The first time was 50 years ago, when a man brought a battered, old instrument into his shop that had once been played in a death camp.

    AMNON WEINSTEIN, Founder, Violins of Hope: I was very afraid of it, because that’s the point. When I opened this violin, there was a black powder inside, which, for me, was from the ashes. And I know it from the man who played on it. He played on the way to the gas chamber.

    DAVID C. BARNETT: For Weinstein, that instrument was a chilling reminder of the hundreds of relatives he had lost in those prison camps. And for the last 20 years, he’s been on a quest to collect and repair violins of the Holocaust.

    Amnon Weinstein’s Tel Aviv shop is filled with violins, violas and cellos in various states of repair, and he reckons he and his son Avshalom have restored about 60 instruments, so far, as part of a project he calls the Violins of Hope.

    This past fall, they packed up about a third of the collection for a series of concerts and exhibits in Cleveland.

    AMNON WEINSTEIN: Bring me please the Five Star of David violin.

    This is a violin that it took me 1.5 years to restore from scratches, beautiful violin, this Five Star of David, one, two, three, four, and the beautiful one on the back. Now it’s going to Cleveland to the concert.

    And the last one, Auschwitz violin. This violin, what we know, the man who played on it played in the Auschwitz orchestra, main orchestra, the big orchestra that was every day in the morning and in the evening playing not far away from the sign “Arbeit Macht Frei.”

    DAVID C. BARNETT: Holocaust historian Jay Geller says the ability to play an instrument saved numerous prisoners from the gas chambers.

    JAY GELLER, Case Western Reserve University: The musicians who played in the camp orchestras were still prisoners, and they were still mistreated by the camp authorities, but they did have a special skill that made them particularly useful. So, in a sense, they were the prize cattle.

    DAVID C. BARNETT: Geller says these musicians were sometimes used to entertain the commandants running the camps. In other instances, the orchestras served to lull the inmates into a false sense of security.

    That’s what happened to Hedy Milgrom’s family members.

    HEDY MILGROM, Senior VP, Jewish Federation of Cleveland: When my mom and her twin sister and her father and other siblings and nieces arrived at Auschwitz, and they tumbled off of this horrible cattle car that had been on for, I think eight days, whatever length of time it was, the first thing that they heard and saw was this orchestra.

    And my mother turned to her twin sister and said — you know, took her by the arm: “See? It can’t be all that bad. Right? There’s music here.”

    DAVID C. BARNETT: The story of these prison camp orchestras was told in display cases at Cleveland’s Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, the personal history of each instrument carefully documented, many of them intricately ornamented.

    Historian Jay Geller says that, in Jewish households, a decorated violin was often a way to get around certain biblical restrictions on art.

    JAY GELLER: In the Jewish tradition, the Second Commandment of the Ten Commandments is thou shall not make graven images. Historically, this had the effect that Jews didn’t do representational art. Jewish artistic endeavors focused on practical objects, especially objects for ritual use, but also to decorate and embellish objects that one might use on a regular basis, including the violins.

    So, while these violins and other instruments were meant to be played as ordinary objects, they were also works of art. They could be embellished, decorated with inlay.

    DAVID C. BARNETT: Amnon Weinstein is proud whenever people get to see the violins and learn about their history, but he’s especially happy when these instruments are played for live audiences.

    AMNON WEINSTEIN: The violins are to play on, not to be like a furniture. That is very good for violin. You can keep them for 500 years.

    But violins have to speak. And the most important part of the life of a violin is to be played in concert. And then they can tell stories.

    DAVID C. BARNETT: The largest violins of Hope Concert took place in an historic Northeast Ohio temple, and featured 22 instruments from the Holocaust era played by members of the Cleveland Orchestra.

    HEDY MILGROM: There is a power in music that is — that breeds resilience, that gives people hope.

    DAVID C. BARNETT: The Violins of Hope are Holocaust survivors. Scarred by the war years, they were silent for decades. But now they have music to play. And Amnon Weinstein says each one has a story to tell.

    AMNON WEINSTEIN: This violin is alive, is existing, and is going to talk to all the world. Each violin like that that you are going to play, it’s for millions of people that are dead. That is victory. And each concert is a victory.

    DAVID C. BARNETT: And Weinstein says that’s why he continues to look for more violins to bring back to life.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m David C. Barnett in Cleveland.

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    shields and brooks

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

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Democrats faced off on the debate stage last night, and now the focus of the race for the White House turns to South Carolina and Nevada.

    With that, we turn to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    And welcome, gentlemen. Some of us are back from Milwaukee, and glad to be back.

    Mark, Tuesday — it was only three nights ago — Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary big time. How did that change the race, how did it change the dynamics, do you think, in last night’s debate?

    MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist: Well, it changed the race, Judy, by guaranteeing that we will probably have a race in June, that there will be a Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton competition in California.

    It guaranteed Bernie Sanders $6.5 million in the first 19 hours after the polls closed. He’s got a national following. He’s got a national treasury. It puts her at a disadvantage. It gave him credibility.

    So, going in last night, Hillary Clinton, on the heels of a thrashing 48 hours earlier, was in a position of trying to bring him back down to earth as they head South. And I thought she arrived, surprisingly, with her poise and confidence intact.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How did you see the dynamics going into the debate last night?

    DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times: Well, going into the debate, it was a question of how aggressive she would get, and would she get overly aggressive or not?

    I thought her demeanor, especially in the first half-hour, 45 minutes, was quite good. She can be sometimes lecturing. But she was more explaining, because — you were there, Judy, so you might know this.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I know this.

    DAVID BROOKS: That they were — it was a debate over pragmatism vs. vision.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.

    DAVID BROOKS: And she was saying, well, you know, that’s not reality. You can’t start the health care system as if we don’t have a health care system; 100 million people have their employer health care. You just can’t do that.

    And so she was trying to explain reality to them. And I thought she was quite effective. I think, toward the end, one of have the central facts in the structure of the race, the first is pragmatism vs. his radical vision, but the second is, on what ground is this debate being fought?

    And because he has such a strong narrative and his campaign is built around that narrative, his life is built around that narrative, it’s always fought on his ground. And she has no narrative. And she’s trying to create one with Obama, but that’s Obama’s narrative.

    And so I think, as the domestic part went on, he sort of gained strength just by the structure of the way the argument is.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Mark, she does keep hammering — and she did it last night — it’s just not practical to say you’re going to completely have the government take over health care. It’s not practical to have all college paid for by the government.

    MARK SHIELDS: She did. She did. And I agree with David on her tone. Her tone was far better than it had been previously. It was well-modulated. It wasn’t adversarial or confrontational.

    Judy, this is the 13th presidential campaign I have either worked in or covered. And there’s a first question that every potential White House aspirant has to address. Some of them don’t. It’s revealed.

    And that is, why do you want to be president and what real difference is it going to make if you’re president, rather than anybody else who is running?

    Bernie Sanders, as David said, has a compelling reason, that the deck is stacked against people by the rich, by the powerful. They do it through the campaign finance system. The top 1 percent, it tilts in their favor, and working Americans have gotten the short end of the stick.

    Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a theme. Her campaign lacks a theme. So, it became last night, and it seems today, that the argument is not why Hillary Clinton should be president. It’s why Bernie Sanders shouldn’t be president.

    And that seems to be now the — but it’s still a campaign that doesn’t have an overarching theme. There’s nothing there to say, let’s march.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, when she says, “I’m not a one-issue candidate,” David, is that half-a-theme for her or…

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, that’s half-a-theme, but sometimes when someone gives you nine explanations for why they did something, they have got no real explanation.

    And when you’re writing a book, for example, weirdly, a book is about one thing, and a campaign is the same thing. It’s about one thing. And she doesn’t have that one thing. What she is trying to do now is make Obama her one thing. But she’s trying to borrow Obama’s narrative.

    And it’s sort of popular. There was a YouGov poll of Democratic primary voters as if Obama was running against these two. And the results were Obama 56, Clinton 20, Sanders 17. So, he’s popular. So, that is a good thing. But it’s a substitute for her own explanation.

    And so I think the Obama moment, to me, was one of the crucial moments of the night, but it’s still not a justification for herself.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, the Clinton campaign, Mark, is saying, well, we’re going into these states, South Carolina, Nevada, that are much more diverse. This is going to be much more friendly territory for us.

    Is that something that could work in her favor?

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, it certainly should be. And it is an explanation for her. She’s the only candidate in history who has been the wife of one president, and yet she is surgically joined at the hip with the incumbent president.

    And President Obama is enormously popular among democrats everywhere, especially among minority Democrats, particularly African-American Democrats. And she’s not only got his back. She’s got his side. She’s got his foot. She’s got — she really is running as not simply Barack Obama’s — his defender, his apologist, his protector against Bernie Sanders’ occasional criticism of him.

    So, no, I think these are — no, these are — demographically, these are territories which should be more welcoming and more friendly to her. But we don’t have any measurements of the states prior to sort of the earthquake of New Hampshire and the standoff of Iowa.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you’re basically saying that this theme problem that she has may override any advantage she could have, David, the fact there are more African-Americans in South Carolina, they’re more disposed to vote for Clinton than for Sanders.

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, it’s obviously getting harder for Sanders. There’s no question about that.

    As many people have said on this program, Iowa and New Hampshire were his best states. Nonetheless, does he stop? I don’t think he does. You know, if there’s an African-American — the first African-American president is running for president, obviously, there’s going to be a surge of pride and affiliation in the African-American community.

    But most people, whether they’re Latino, African-American, white or anybody else, pocketbook issues matter. And so if Bernie Sanders comes in and is compelling on pocketbook issues — I personally don’t think he’s compelling at all — I think he’s completely unrealistic — but if he is compelling to them, then I think there will be some spanning of he will win Latino votes, he will win African-American votes.

    And he doesn’t have to win all of them, but he will win a chunk.

    MARK SHIELDS: That is Tad Devine, his principal strategist’s point, just as David said.

    Bernie doesn’t have to win a majority of African-American votes. He just has to win enough to join the coalition of whites. Judy, his strength among young voters, everybody in the political world just marvels at, this 74-year-old grandfather, kind of crotchety and all the rest of it, but it’s remarkable.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Eighty-some percent.

    MARK SHIELDS: Eighty percent. And he’s leading in one national — established national survey 35 points among voters under the age of 35.

    That is impressive. And these are people who, if you talk to people who have surveyed them, who really do feel that it’s stacked against them, so his message is resonating across the generational divide.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, let’s talk for a minute about the Republicans, David.

    Donald Trump came — talking about New Hampshire, came roaring back in New Hampshire, disappointed in Iowa. Is he now the man to beat? It looks like we’re just looking at one candidate shooting at another, shooting at another, shooting at another right now on the Republican side.

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, you would have to say he’s the man to beat because he did well in every group.

    And so he did well among moderates, among conservatives, among people who are pro-immigration, people who are anti-immigration. So if you’re looking for a lane to get at him, he did well in all the groups. So you can’t find a lane.

    Having said that, South Carolina has a couple of things that New Hampshire doesn’t have, tons of evangelical Christians and tons of people who call themselves extremely conservative. So, Ted Cruz is looking — he’s looking much more promising, not only in South Carolina, but in the SEC primary states a little while later.

    And so, for the next little while, it wouldn’t be surprising if we’re talking about Cruz and Trump, Cruz and Trump, Cruz and Trump.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you see?

    MARK SHIELDS: I think Trump’s victory in New Hampshire was enormously impressive.

    It was disappointing in Iowa. He was knocked off-stride. He really didn’t have his game going for the first few days, and yet then he started building the rallies. The rallies translated into enthusiasm, translated into votes. He carried men. He carried women. He carried — he carried every age group.

    He has got 35 percent. We have always said he had a lower ceiling. The ceiling is getting higher. He got 35 percent basically across the board. I think — and it couldn’t have turned out better for them. John Kasich, who did the traditional New Hampshire thing, 106 town meetings, won one out of six votes, and emerged to fight another day, but not with any great strength in the South.

    So there’s no establishment figure around whom they coalesce. The candidate whom the establishment most favored and Democrats most feared, Marco Rubio, got caught in the debate, where Chris Christie, looking like an 18-wheeler coming down the highway with his high beams, Marco Rubio looked like Bambi caught in those headlights.

    And I just think whether he can recover from that, I’m not sure, because everybody knew it was going to happen. It happened, and he didn’t handle it well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you Rubio right now? And let’s talk just quickly about Jeb Bush.

    He’s bringing in his brother, the former President George W. Bush, on Monday. Could that make a difference for him? And how do you see Rubio?

    DAVID BROOKS: I think Rubio can recover. I don’t think this is a recurring moment, because Rick Perry was genuinely not a great communicator.

    But Marco Rubio genuinely is a good communicator. So, as he performs well in future debates, I think he can cover over that very bad moment he had. Not saying he will, but it’s possible, just because that’s his natural strength.

    As for George Bush, people like George Bush, but he’s not of the moment. The moment is an angry moment. And so I don’t think he will help Jeb. If Jeb wants to run, as he seems to be doing, as the anti-Trump — and maybe — let’s hope there is an emotional recoil — then George W. Bush can help him, because he is sort of a genial, good guy.

    But I’m not sure it will — I just don’t feel a lot of excitement building around George W. Bush.

    MARK SHIELDS: I want to say something good about Jeb Bush.

    In that debate last Saturday night, the Republican debate, Donald Trump made one of the more reckless statements of all he’s made about, I’m not going to bring back water-boarding, I’m going to do worse than that.

    And Ted Cruz was slippery. He wouldn’t take him on. Marco Rubio went mute. Jeb Bush was the one person who stood up and said, that’s against the law of the United States and that is — it’s a dishonor to our troops, it’s a dishonor to our values, and I would uphold it. And for that, I give him credit.

    But I agree. This is not a surrogates year, I don’t think.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, one other candidate I want to ask you about on the Republican side is John Kasich.

    Here’s somebody who didn’t do well, didn’t even compete, really, David, in Iowa, but he came in decently, what, third or fourth, in New Hampshire. And now he’s really trying to carve out a lane for himself.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, he faces the Southern problem, that we go South, where he’s naturally going to be the weakest. But if he can hang around to the Midwest maybe, he can do well.

    But, again, the Trump thing is so much about manners. And if you can have somebody with the opposite manners, I have to feel there is a group of Republicans there who want that, who want civility, who want decency, someone who won’t be wearing on a dinner party.

    We used to say this about Chris Christie. For the first 30 minutes of the dinner party, you’re like thrilled he’s there, and then the last 45, really like time to go, Chris. And so I think — I still think that may happen with Trump. People will just get wary of the act. I have been wrong about this for eight months. I realize that.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: But if there’s going to be an alternative, it would be somebody with Kasich’s manner, which is genial, and then also, substantively, pragmatic. It’s not been a great year on either party for pragmatism and for actually getting stuff done. But maybe that will kick in. It normally does.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But is it — quickly, how do you read Kasich? And, Mark, how do these guy knows who they need to destroy in all this? Should they all be shooting at Trump or should they go after one…

    (CROSSTALK)

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, I do think that the debate in South Carolina will be different, because…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The debate tomorrow night, thing Republican debate.

    MARK SHIELDS: Tomorrow night.

    In New Hampshire, Trump sat at the head of the table eating his prime rib while the others were having food fights among themselves. Now, in South Carolina, Cruz understands, Rubio understands they have got to take on Trump. Jeb Bush has taken on Trump.

    I think that will be — the problem is that everybody who has taken on Trump has paid dearly for it up to now. But I — Ted Cruz’s problem is very simple. He won 8 percent of nonevangelical voters in New Hampshire. That’s all. And he’s got to do better.

    David’s right. There are more conservative voters in South Carolina, but he’s got to engage Trump and be willing to go toe-to-toe with him. And Rubio seems a little bit liberated since on election night he did take full responsibility for what happened, which in itself is refreshing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There is so much to look at, look for. And we can’t wait to see it all and we can’t to have you back next Friday.

    MARK SHIELDS: Thank you so much.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark Shields, David Brooks, thank you.

    The post Shields and Brooks on Democratic debate strategy, Trump’s N.H. win appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Pope Francis (L) embraces Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill after signing a joint declaration on religious unity at the Jose Marti International airport in Havana, Cuba, Friday, February 12, 2016.  REUTERS/Gregorio Borgia/Pool - RTX26PUO

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: This afternoon in Havana, at Jose Marti Airport, a meeting 1,000 years in the making. Pope Francis met with Patriarch Kirill of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the first meeting between the leaders of Christianity’s two largest churches since 1054, when a schism split the ancient church.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The meeting on neutral ground was decades in the planning. The leaders met for two hours behind closed doors, and later signed a joint declaration decrying persecution of Christians around the world.

    We explore this historic moment, and its impact going forward, with His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon. He is the Orthodox archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the primate of the Orthodox Church in America, its senior-most leader in the U.S. and Canada. And His Eminence Theodore Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Roman Catholic archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C.

    First, for someone who hasn’t been following the 1,000-year-long rift between these two branches, why is this so important, and why did it happen now?

    THE MOST BLESSED TIKHON, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America: There’s been attempts to bridge that gap over the years, none of which have really been successful.

    But, in the last, you know, number of years, the last few decades, the groundwork for such a possible discussion has been taking place. So, while this meeting may seem like a somewhat new or surprising event, it has been discussed with both Pope Francis’ predecessors and patriarchals, but somehow the particular meeting that is happening today in Cuba didn’t take place.

    But it’s — there have certainly been relations between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches during the past 1,000 years, but there has been a lot of both theological and ecclesiastical differences that need to be worked out, as well as just the simple physical separation that has sort of contributed to sort of a great divide.

    So, a great opportunity now in this time of strife in the world to see two great world leaders come together and begin more — perhaps more formally, a dialogue.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Your Eminence, why now?

    CARDINAL THEODORE MCCARRICK, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C.: Well, I think it’s special for many reasons, as the beatitude mentioned many of them.

    But many of us think of the Russian Orthodox Church as the church of the martyrs, because during the communist age, it was very, very difficult. It’s a great blessing, actually, that the Russian people kept faithful to the church. There were — it wasn’t easy to be a fervent Orthodox Christian in the days of communism.

    And so, that’s all passed now, and the church has come into its own. And we see so many of the people who suffered over those years coming back and very fervently and very wonderfully saying, we are Orthodox Christians, we know who we are.

    So what a great time to do it. It’s a good moment because there are a lot of good things happening, and it’s a good moment because there are a lot of bad things happening, and we all have to stay together more than we ever have before.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And what are some of the bad things? What are the concerns that your two churches agree on?

    THE MOST BLESSED TIKHON: Well, certainly, I think what you will see from the joint declaration from today’s meeting, the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

    And, really, the persecution of all religious minorities in every context, I think, has been certainly a concern for the pope, and, you know, for Orthodox Christians as well. The care for our brothers, whether they are Christians or not, should be something that’s foremost in our hearts.

    And, you know, the Orthodox, not only during communist times, but in previous, you know, decades and centuries, have often lived in various contexts of persecution and strife, but also living together with Muslims, for example, in various countries, where — the very places where strife sometimes erupts have also been places where people have genuinely tried to live together and be together, regardless of their religious or ethnic background.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Your Eminence, 1,000 years ago, when this split happened, the Roman Empire was torn in two, there were cultural differences that were allowed to harden, linguistic differences. The world is in many ways a much smaller place now.

    What’s the likelihood of potentially a reunion between these two churches? How long be will that take? Another 1,000 years?

    CARDINAL THEODORE MCCARRICK: I don’t have my crystal ball with me on that one.

    But I do have a — we do have the Gospels with us, and we hear the lord Jesus saying that all may be one. So, our Orthodox brethren and sisters and Catholic people, the Christians, the whole world that accepts Jesus Christ as lord listens to him saying that all the time: I want you to be one.

    And so, as we look around now, with all the troubles, with all the difficulties, with all the persecutions in so many parts of the world, this is the time to be together. This is the time to say, we are together. If there’s any time when we want to get together and embrace each other in our faith, that time is now.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Your Beatitude, it seems that, back then, there were political concerns. Now there are also political concerns, especially in regions like Russia and the Ukraine.

    How do churches put this behind them and say, for the greater good, we need to make these compromises and we need to — you have a 100-, a 1,000-year horizon, not just who’s elected next?

    THE MOST BLESSED TIKHON: I think what we see today with the meeting with the pope and the patriarch is, it’s a personal meeting.

    You know, regardless of all the preparation and the churches that sort of are behind them that they lead, this is a meeting of two Christians in a neutral location, but coming — taking the time to meet together and to just be with one another.

    Regardless of what plans might be set in motion for the future, whether it’s another 50 years or 100 years, we hope that, you know, the dialogue will continue. But the personal relations, I think, are so crucial, especially, as you say, when the world we live in is so small. So, really, those personal contexts are really crucial.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Same question to you.

    CARDINAL THEODORE MCCARRICK: It’s a world whose horrors call for harmony among those who really believe in what we believe in.

    We believe in the beatitudes. We believe in the position of the lord Jesus in the world. We believe the Holy Spirit is inspiring us all to come and work together and to be together and to have this one family.

    Holy Father is always talking about family these days, and maybe the greatest family of all is the family of the Christians. This is the time now for us to say, OK, we are — we know who we are. We are the children of the lord’s. And we know who our brothers and sisters are. We could have a wonderful world here, and that’s the world God wants us to have.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Your Eminence, Your Beatitude, thanks so much for joining us.

    CARDINAL THEODORE MCCARRICK: Thank you.

    THE MOST BLESSED TIKHON: Thank you.

    CARDINAL THEODORE MCCARRICK: Thank you.

    THE MOST BLESSED TIKHON: Thank you.

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    Women chant slogans as they gather to protest against sexual harassment in front of the opera house in Cairo June 14, 2014, after a woman was sexually assaulted by a mob during the June 8 celebrations marking the new president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's inauguration in Tahrir square. Egypt has asked YouTube to remove a video showing the naked woman with injuries being dragged through the square after being sexually assaulted during the celebrations. Authorities have arrested seven men aged between 15 and 49 for sexually harassing women on the square after the posting of the video, which caused an uproar in local and international media. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW) - RTR3TS3T

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Egyptian women were on the front lines of the revolution that began in Tahrir Square. The five years since have seen the collective and individual struggles of women in Egypt become a revolution in itself.

    Tonight, special correspondent Nick Schifrin presents the final story in our series 5 Years On.

    YASMINE EL-BARAMAWY, Egyptian Activist: I never joined any demonstrations before. Once I went to the square, I was really happy. A revolution is about hope, is about change. It’s about being better.

    MONA AL MASRY, Wife of Imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood Member (through interpreter): It was a great victory. We managed to change the way men think, because they understand that we are now on the front line with them.

    SALMA SAID, Egyptian Activist: People were trying to create a different society.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Five years ago, Egyptians did create a different society. Throughout the revolution, women were at the center of the movement.

    SALMA SAID: Women went to Tahrir Square and imposed this situation. We’re going to sleep in the street like everyone else and we are going to organize and we are part of the protests. And we’re going to lead protests sometimes and lead organizations.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: In Tahrir Square, female protesters found a freedom they hoped the culture would echo. Salma Said has been protesting for 15 years.

    SALMA SAID: I have never been surrounded with so many Egyptian and non-Egyptian men without being harassed before. And, of course, that changed right after, even in the protests, because this utopia doesn’t last for even the length of a full revolution. It ends.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: No one knows that more than Yasmine El-Baramawy. She joined hundreds of thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square. And then, one night in late 2012, horror.

    YASMINE EL-BARAMAWY: They attacked me, and they stripped me and they raped me. And I was beaten. It was really violent. It lasted for 70 minutes. If it was 15 minutes, if it was 20 minutes, it was 30 minutes, I was learning all that time. And it felt like I had the experience of 30 years or 40 years in this hour.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: From late 2012 through the middle of 2013, human rights groups say hundreds, perhaps thousands of female protesters were sexually assaulted. In at least some cases, activists believe the government used violence as a political weapon.

    YASMINE EL-BARAMAWY: I didn’t doubt for a moment that this is a coincidence. I believe it is organized and it happened to many other women that day and later.

    SALMA SAID: The government was on the television saying, women who go to the square deserve this to happen.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has tried to strike a different tone. He visited a sexual assault victim in hospital. But his government defends a controversial procedure called virginity tests.

    NAGLAA EL ADLY, National Council for Women: It is some type of protection for women themselves. Yes.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Naglaa El-Adly is on the government-sponsored National Council for Women. In 2012, virginity tests administered by security officials sparked massive protests. Human rights defenders call them an example of sexual assault.

    These tests are being forced upon these women. And they don’t have a choice. And they are physically invasive and emotionally very difficult.

    NAGLAA EL ADLY: Yes. It’s a rule. I have to obey the rule and the law.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Female activists knew, if they wanted to continue protesting, they couldn’t rely on police for protection. So, they started organizations that protected one another. You can see one of the group’s bodyguards in bright yellow vests trying to defend female protesters.

    SALMA SAID: We saw horrible things that I never thought I would experience. The third anniversary of the revolution, which is 25th of Jan., 2013, there were 19 cases of rape in the square. I personally went to the hospital with a girl who has been raped with knives in the square. And I never forgot that.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: But violence against women is not limited to protests. A U.N. study found 99 percent of Egyptian women suffered sexual harassment or assault.

    REEM WAEL, Executive Director, HarassMap: All women face sexual harassment. It is an endemic problem.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: The women’s rights group HarassMap is trying to fight the violence. Its Web site features locations where people have been harassed.

    Reem Wael is the executive director.

    REEM WAEL: It helps us monitor the trends of sexual harassment and use this information to debunk all the stereotypes.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: At Cairo University, the group helped create the first sexual misconduct policy in the Middle East.

    On the streets, HarassMap teamed up with Uber to educate drivers how to avoid harassing customers. Drivers now stick these harassment-free zone stickers onto their cars. And the group launched a TV campaign after Egypt passed its first sexual harassment law last summer. The ads empower women to report harassment. They deliver the message the fault is never the victims.

    SONDOS SHABAYEK, Theater Group Leader: We try to remove the stigma of the stories.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Sondos Shabayek tries to turn harassment victims into storytellers. She leads a theater troupe that recrates moments of harassment on stage.

    SONDOS SHABAYEK: Something that was a source of shame becomes a source of empowerment.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Mona al-Masry had found empowerment in her own home. Her husband is a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He is in jail, sentenced to death. Before the revolution, Muslim Brotherhood men led protests. But with the men silenced, women are leading, and getting arrested.

    MONA AL MASRY: The women of the Muslim Brotherhood once knew an easier life. Now we know of a harder, more powerful life. The future is beautiful and better, and we raise our daughters to understand this.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Do you want to introduce me to your children?

    Her two daughters, 7-year-old Aisha and 12-year-old Tasbeeh, are learning her lessons.

    TASBEEH AL MASRY, Daughter of Imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood Member (through intrepreter): I learned that, when difficult things happen, I should be strong.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: But, in this family, mom’s students are not her daughters. Youssef is 15.

    YOUSSEF AL MASRY, Son of Imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood Member (through interpreter): I have been learning from her since I was born. She taught me how to be a man.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: How do you feel when you hear him say that? I can see you getting emotional.

    YASMINE EL-BARAMAWY: Women are supposed to be weaker, but I don’t see it this way at all.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: There may be no woman, no person who’s changing society’s expectations than Yasmine El-Baramawy. During her attack, outnumbered by more than a hundred, she found strength she didn’t know she had.

    YASMINE EL-BARAMAWY: I changed from defending to attacking. I had this feeling that the people must know and we can’t be silent.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: But before going public, she had to teach that lesson to her own family.

    YASMINE EL-BARAMAWY: When I told my father, he said, no, don’t go on TV. And he threatened me that he will deny I’m his daughter.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: But she was stronger than he was. She went on TV to become the first Egyptian woman to publicly describe her rape. Later, she became the first Egyptian woman to prosecute her attackers. Her father learned the lesson when her entire family supported her.

    YASMINE EL-BARAMAWY: They said, your girl is a hero. And he became proud of me.

    (LAUGHTER)

    NICK SCHIFRIN: She became the face of a global rally against sexual assault. Hundreds of thousands celebrated her courage.

    YASMINE EL-BARAMAWY: Everybody avoids talking about this, but when I did it, it became sort of a power to change the culture.

    I felt the need to say, I’m someone. I have a job and I have a life and I do many things, and I have a brain I use, I have opinions, I have many things. I’m not just a victim of that.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Nick Schifrin, “PBS NewsHour,” Cairo.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can watch all three of Nick’s reports from Egypt in our series 5 Years On. You can find them on our World page at PBS.org/NewsHour.

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    A woman makes her way through the rubble of damaged buildings after airstrikes by pro-Syrian government forces in the rebel held town of Dael, in Deraa Governorate, Syria February 12, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Faqir - RTX26N2E

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now hopes for the first steps in the road to peace in Syria.

    The U.S. and Russia agreed on a cease-fire plan and a rush of humanitarian aid to areas of the country ravaged by years of war. But there are doubts the pledges will hold.

    Our chief foreign affairs correspondent, Margaret Warner, reports.

    MARGARET WARNER: There was no letup in the intensity of Russian airstrikes across Syria today hours after major powers made their announcement in Munich.

    Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov unveiled an agreement by the — quote — “International Syria Support Group” of 17 nations.

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: This progress has the potential, fully implemented, fully followed through on, to be able to change the daily lives of the Syrian people.

    MARGARET WARNER: Specifically, the agreement calls for implementing a nationwide cessation of hostilities a week from today, immediate acceleration and expansion of humanitarian aid deliveries into Syria, and increased coordination between the U.S. and Russia air campaigns against the Islamic State and other terror groups.

    The U.S. had sought an immediate full-scale cease-fire in Syria, for the first time since fighting began in 2011. Kerry acknowledged this agreement falls well short.

    JOHN KERRY: A cease-fire, in the minds of many of the participants in this particular moment, connotes something far more permanent and far more reflective of sort of an end of conflict, if you will. And it is distinctly not that.

    MARGARET WARNER: Moreover, the agreement allows continued airstrikes against ISIS and similar terror groups. That provision could let Russia continuing attacking any rebel groups fighting against its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    It’s a point not lost on rebels on the ground today.

    MAN (through interpreter): I do not like the idea of cease-fire, because it might be for our benefit only for a short period of time. But the things we’re watching right now, including airstrikes in the northern and southern rural areas or in the liberated areas that we are in, this is not called cease-fire.

    MARGARET WARNER: As if to confirm it, Assad told Agence France-Presse in an interview yesterday, before the deal was announced, that he means to retake the whole of Syria. He said: “This is a goal we are seeking to achieve without any hesitation. It makes no sense for us to say that we will give up any part.”

    Indeed, the Syrian military and its allies, backed by Iran and by the Russian airstrikes, are now on the verge of cutting off Aleppo, the country’s largest city. They have severed all but one of the rebels’ vital supply lines to the north from Turkey, and continue gaining ground. That would leave Assad stronger than he has been in years.

    All this leaves the various rebel factions in a precarious position. They were not part of the Munich agreement and must now decide whether to abide by what was approved there. Today, the main opposition umbrella group, which supports the cease-fire generally, called this one a weak agreement.

    An adviser for the group predicted the Russians will intensify their bombing in the coming days, telling the “NewsHour”: “The Russians are setting the pace on the ground and they still will. The agreement weakens us and moderate allies, while allowing Assad to set the terms.”

    Meanwhile, the unrelenting human toll mounts. In Geneva today, officials today convened the first meeting of a humanitarian task force created under yesterday’s agreement.

    JAN EGELAND, Chairman, Task Force on Humanitarian Access in Syria: Convoys can go very soon, if and when we have the permission and the green light from the parties. And that is what we expect to get now, because we hope to see really the action taken by the members of the ISSG, who have influence on both the government and the armed opposition groups.

    MARGARET WARNER: It cannot come too soon for the sea of refugees. Turkey says up to 40,000 have arrived in camps north of Aleppo, just inside the Syrian border. And more are flooding in.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Margaret Warner.

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    Security officials escort arrested terror suspect Farooq Bhatti, also known as Musanna, in front of the media in Karachi, Pakistan February 12, 2016. Pakistan has arrested 97 al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants, including three commanders, in the southern city of Karachi and foiled a planned attack to break U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl's killer out of jail, the army said on Friday. REUTERS/Sahib Zaman/APP/Handout via Reuters    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. PAKISTAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN PAKISTAN - RTX26N4F

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.

    On the “NewsHour” tonight: After hosting last night’s Democratic debate, we review the candidates’ answers and talk with Mark Shields and David Brooks about the state of the race for president.

    Then: Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church meet, an historic moment 1,000 years in the making, since the two churches split.

    Plus: repairing the violins played by Jewish musicians in the Holocaust.

    AMNON WEINSTEIN, Founder, Violins of Hope: Today, this violin is alive, is existing, and is going to talk to all the world. Each violin like that that you are going to play, it’s for millions of people that are dead. That is victory. And each concert is a victory.

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

    (BREAK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news, Wall Street finally broke a five-day losing streak, as oil prices surged 12 percent, and bank prices bounced back as well. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 313 points to close near 15974. The Nasdaq rose 70, and the S&P 500 added 35. But, for the week, the Dow lost about 1.5 percent, the S&P was down nearly 1 percent, and the Nasdaq dropped half of a percent.

    In Pakistan, the military announced almost a hundred hard-core terrorists have been arrested in raids nationwide. A spokesman said they include al-Qaida militants and other extremists linked to major terror attacks. The men were taken into custody over the last several months. Some had allegedly plotted to break Daniel Pearl’s killer out of prison. The Wall Street Journal correspondent was murdered in 2002.

    The migrant crisis in Europe seemed to move closer to a breaking point today. Austria said that it is about to reach the maximum number it plans to accept this year. The Austrian foreign minister spoke during a visit to Macedonia, saying his government will help countries in the Balkans, where the migrants arrive first.

    SEBASTIAN KURZ, Foreign Minister, Austria (through interpreter): Macedonia must be ready to completely stop the entry of migrants on its borders, since it is the first country that migrants reach after Greece. We know it is a very difficult task, so we have agreed that Austria will give its support, not only in personnel, like police and army, but also in equipment as well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the European Union warned that it will suspend its open borders system for two years, unless Greece can stem the flow of migrants within the next three months.

    Back in this country, President Obama is granting national monument status to nearly 1.8 million acres of desert in the United States. Today, he designated three areas in Southern California, including the Castle Mountains, the Mojave trails, and Sand to Snow in the Sonoran Desert. The White House says the move will maintain the area’s ecosystem and natural resources.

    And on this Valentine’s Day weekend, police in Iran have declared a crackdown. They say retailers who run Valentine’s promotions will be charged with promoting decadent Western culture. In particular, that means no special events at coffee or ice cream shops where young lovers might exchange gifts.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: a fragile agreement to pause the Syrian civil war; how Egypt’s revolution has affected women’s rights; a historic meeting 1,000 years after the church’s great schism; Mark Shields and David Brooks analyze a packed week of news; plus, violins from the Holocaust become instruments of hope.

    The post News Wrap: Pakistan rounds up militants in anti-terror raids appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidates debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 11, 2016.   REUTERS/Jim Young - RTX26KTK

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Democratic presidential rivals moved on from Milwaukee today, fresh off their “PBS NewsHour” debate.

    But the arguments they had on stage continued at long distance.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: As I pointed out last night, he has called the president weak, a disappointment.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Hillary Clinton returned to South Carolina this afternoon and to a line of attack she used in last night’s debate, that Bernie Sanders has distanced himself from President Obama.

    HILLARY CLINTON: The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans. I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: That is…

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Madam Secretary, that is a low blow.

    But you know what? Last I heard, we lived in a democratic society. Last I heard, a United States senator had the right to disagree with the president, including a president who has done such an extraordinary job.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Vermont senator also defended his plans for enlarging government’s role to allow for free college tuition and a single-payer health care system.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: When today you have massive levels of income and wealth inequality, when the middle class is disappearing, you have the highest rate of child poverty of almost any major country on Earth, yes, in my view, the government of a democratic society has a moral responsibility to play a vital role in making sure all of our people have a decent standard of living.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But Clinton was quick to charge that Sanders’ proposals are, in effect, grandiose and unworkable.

    HILLARY CLINTON: The best analysis that I have seen, based on Senator Sanders’ plans, is that it would probably increase the size of the federal government by about 40 percent.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the former secretary of state said the price tag of going to government-run health care would simply be too high.

    HILLARY CLINTON: Every progressive economist who has analyzed that says that the numbers don’t add up, and that’s a promise that cannot be kept. This is not about math. This is about people’s lives, and we should level with the American people about what we can do to make sure they get quality, affordable health care.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Sanders countered that Clinton’s claims are inaccurate, and he talked up his idea of higher taxes on Wall Street and having the wealthy to pay for his plans. It was part of his stepped-up pitch to minority voters.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Instead of giving tax breaks to billionaires, we are going to create millions of jobs for low-income kids, so they’re not hanging out on street corners.

    And I think when you give low-income kids — African-American, white, Latino kids — the opportunities to get their lives together, they are not going to end up in jail. They’re going to end up in the productive economy, which is where we want them.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Sanders moved on to campaign in Minnesota today.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: OK. We’re spinning around. Hi. Hi.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the Republican contenders made stops all across South Carolina. And Jeb Bush’s campaign called in his brother and former President George W. Bush to join him in the state on Monday.

    But front-runner Donald Trump dismissed that move during a rally in Louisiana last night.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: And I see he is bringing his brother in now. He’s bringing — he tried the mother, who is a very nice lady, I’m sure, but he tried the mother. That didn’t work out so good. Now he is bringing in his brother. I won’t say anything.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On the opposite end of public opinion polls, Ben Carson sought to rally his flagging support today at a Faith and Family Forum in Greenville, South Carolina.

    BEN CARSON (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will come along and say, it’s those evil rich people and that’s what’s causing you your problem. No, it’s not the evil rich people. It’s the evil government, and we need to get them under the control.

    (APPLAUSE)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Republican voters in South Carolina will have their say on February 20. The Democratic caucuses in Nevada are that same day.

    And late today, word came that former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore is dropping out of the Republican race. He had been a nonfactor in the voting thus far.

    We will turn to Shields and Brooks for full analysis of the race on both sides and the Democratic debate later in the program.

    The post Democrats tangle over Obama legacy, Sanders’ plan price tag at PBS NewsHour debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    screengrabHepc1

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    BY MORI ROTHMAN

    In Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation has waged war against hepatitis C.

    With infection rates among Cherokee Indians nearly five times higher than other racial or ethnic groups in the U.S., the group has become the first community in the country and one of only a few in the world to set a goal of completely eliminating the virus from its population.

    The virus, which is most commonly transmitted through the sharing of needles, can lead to liver damage, cancer and even death.

    That’s why Cherokee Nation officials began working with the University of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State Health department and federal health officials to launch an initiative to tackle hep C by boosting screening efforts and using the latest pharmaceutical research. 

    Because the federal government is responsible for providing health care to all American Indians, more members of the Cherokee Nation and other native groups pass through tribal hospitals and outreach clinics. 

    Dr. Jorge Mera, Director of Infectious Diseases for the Cherokee Nation, says that makes it easier to screen nearly everyone for hepatitis C, a cornerstone of the project.

    “Most of our patients will come in through the system at some point,” Mera said. “We will be able to screen them, and once we screen them and detect that they’re positive, engage them in care and hopefully treat them and cure them.”

    One distinction being made is testing of all patients over age 20, a departure from the former strategy of singling out patients who had a history of intravenous drug use.

    “We’re not doing screening based on risk factors, first because we know it doesn’t work well,” Mera said. “Many providers will not ask risk factors with patients. They don’t have the time to do it or it is a sensitive issue.”

    Mera said he hopes the partnership will lead to discoveries that will be useful nationwide. 

    “We won’t be able to extrapolate what we do or find to every medical scenario in the United States, but I think everybody will learn a little bit from some of the things we did.”


    Read the full transcript of this segment below:

    STEPHEN FEE: Gaye Wheeler is sixty-one years old and lives on this quiet street in the town of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. She’s a member of the Cherokee nation, a federally-recognized Indian tribe with 320 thousand members.

    Wheeler works as a substance abuse counselor, helping men and women who struggle with addictions to drugs and alcohol. It’s a struggle she knows well; she started drinking at age 14.

    GAYE WHEELER: “Then I graduated from high school and moved to Tulsa. And that’s when I started the intravenous drug use at the age of 18. I started off with crystal meth. That was the big thing then. And then I did cocaine. And mainly I did speedballs, heroin and cocaine.”

    STEPHEN FEE: In the 1990s, Wheeler went to prison twice for drug-related offenses.

    GAYE WHEELER: “When I came out the last time, I decided, you know, I had to do something different.”

    STEPHEN FEE: She stopped using drugs, went to recovery meetings, regularly attended church, and stayed sober. Then last year, after a routine physical, she found out she had Hepatitis C. And so did a lot of her friends.

    GAYE WHEELER: “Everybody I knew, everybody I ran with, everybody I used with.”

    STEPHEN FEE: Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver and can lead to liver failure, cancer, and even death.  But half of Americans who have hep c don’t even know it, in part because they’re not screened or diagnosed.

    JORGE MERA: “It’s a silent epidemic in many ways.”

    STEPHEN FEE: Doctor Jorge Mera is the director of infectious diseases for the Cherokee nation.

    JORGE MERA: “Hepatitis C is a virus that the main form of transmission is intravenous drug use. That’s number one in the United States. It doesn’t produce symptoms for many years and even when it does, unless the providers are very familiar with hepatitis C, they tend to blame the symptoms on something else.”

    STEPHEN FEE: Hepatitis C is a growing health crisis in the United States, now affecting three-and-a-half million Americans.

    The problem is particularly acute for Native Americans and the Cherokee nation, where hep c infection rates are nearly five times the national average.

    Native Americans are twice as likely to die from Hepatitis C than other Americans. That’s part of the reason the Cherokee Nation has made eliminating hep c one of its top public health priorities.

    Alarmed by the disease, Cherokee officials in 2012 began working with the University of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma state health department, and eventually federal health officials to design a hep c elimination program that launched late last year.

    Bill John Baker is principal chief of the Cherokee nation.

    BILL JOHN BAKER: “Hep c has been– almost like the big C word of when you found out you had it, it was a death sentence.”

    STEPHEN FEE: In addition to the health impact, Baker says the disease takes an economic toll.

    BILL JOHN BAKER: “Most folks can’t work. They can’t function as the disease progresses. It’s a tremendous financial burden.”

    STEPHEN FEE: The Cherokee health system serves 130-thousand Native Americans in Northeastern Oklahoma at its Main hospital and at eight outreach clinics. Like many Indian health systems, care is free for tribal members.

    Doctor Mera says that makes it easier to screen nearly everyone, a cornerstone of the hep c elimination project.

    JORGE MERA: “Most of our patients will come in through the system at some point. We will be able to screen them, and once we screen them and detect that they’re positive, engage them in care and hopefully treat them and cure them.”

    STEPHEN FEE: Just imagine a skeptic watching this story, maybe thinks, you know, why should the Cherokee Nation be spending its resources on trying to fight the disease when they should really be going after drug use?

    JORGE MERA: “Part of our hepatitis C program is to evaluate the need and visibility of starting opiate substitution clinics which is — it tackles the — it diminishes I.V. drug use. Definitely prevention is the answer, the long-term answer.

    Right now we have to put the fire out because there’s a lot of people who are infected. And those people will develop liver — end-stage liver disease if we don’t treat ’em today.”

    STEPHEN FEE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helped design the Cherokee hep c program, which includes screening and treatment, as well as public information campaigns and a program to train healthcare providers to treat the disease.

    Doctor John Ward directs the CDC’s viral hepatitis division. He says it’s not entirely clear why Native Americans are more likely to die from hep C.

    JOHN WARD: Some of it could be under-recognition which is a problem throughout the country. They also have other co-factors that when brought together with hepatitis C accelerate the progression of their liver disease, and those other conditions include alcohol use and obesity.

    STEPHEN FEE: The CDC recommends hep c screenings for all baby boomers — everyone born between 1945 and 1965…now aged 50 to 70.

    But Doctor Mera discovered half of his Hepatitis C patients are younger than 50.

    So now, under the tribe’s hep c elimination program, anyone over age 20 who comes through the Cherokee health system — for any reason — is screened for hep c, regardless of other risk factors.

    JORGE MERA: We’re doing age targeted screening. We’re not doing screening based on risk factors, first because we know it doesn’t work well. Many providers will not ask risk factors with patients. They don’t have the time to do it or it is a sensitive issue.

    STEPHEN FEE: When Gaye Wheeler was diagnosed as part of the hep c elimination program, she told a nurse she was worried about the treatment. Friends — and a close male relative — had experienced debilitating side effects like fatigue and depression.

    GAYE WHEELER: I said, well, am I, what medication am I going to have to take? And she said well there’s new medications. And I was like, okay. But you know in my own mind after I hung up, I thought, wow, is this going to be like what he had to go through?

    STEPHEN FEE: In addition to those side effects, the main drugs used to treat hep c until a few years ago — Interferon and Ribavirin — cured hep c only about half the time…and many patients had other medical conditions that prevented them from taking those drugs.

    JORGE MERA: When I was treating patients in the interferon era, I could treat 10 percent of the patients, roughly ten percent of the patients that came to my office with hepatitis C. Best case scenario I could cure 50 percent. Best case scenario.

    STEPHEN FEE: In 2014, the food and drug administration approved a new class of medications to treat hep c. These drugs are taken orally, once a day, have few side effects — and a 90-percent cure rate.

    JOHN WARD: We have this powerful intervention now in our hands and our challenge as a nation is to bring together the populations who can benefit from these treatments together with those treatments and really have an excellent opportunity of wiping out this disease.

    STEPHEN FEE: But the drugs are very expensive. Gaye Wheeler took a medication called Harvoni – its’ manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, charges 63-thousand to 94-thousand dollars for an 8 to 12 week treatment course.

    Wheeler’s medication came at no cost to her. Pharmaceutical companies offer substantial discounts to Cherokee patients, and the tribe uses Medicare and Medicaid dollars to cover remaining costs.

    But even with discounts, a bipartisan senate finance committee report last year said Gilead’s drug prices were putting “a large burden” on Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs.

    In a statement to the NewsHour, Gilead said the price of Harvoni reflects the cost of “innovation,” and that Harvoni and other therapies “offer a cure at a price that significantly reduces hepatitis c treatment costs.”  The company also said it offers “deep government discounts to eligible health programs.”

    Gilead has donated one-and-a-half million dollars to the University of Oklahoma for its part in assisting the Cherokee hep c elimination program.

    Doctor Mera says with competing hep c drugs in the pipeline from other pharmaceutical companies, he expects medication costs to come down.

    Do you worry at all that some of the conclusions you’ll reach here, aren’t gonna be applicable outside of Cherokee Nation because most people don’t have the kind of medical coverage that people here in Cherokee Nation do?

    JORGE MERA: “We won’t be able to extrapolate what we do or find to every medical scenario in the United States. But I think everybody will learn a little bit from some of the things we did. Like, for example, we expanded age targeted screening to– from 20 to 69. The recommendations right now are only baby boomers in the U.S.

    STEPHEN FEE: John Ward from the CDC says the Cherokee program could become a national model for eliminating hep c.

    JOHN WARD: Well the number one lesson we can learn from the Cherokee nation is the power of political commitment to tackling this problem.

    STEPHEN FEE: So far, the Cherokee program has treated almost 300 hep c patients — and of those who’ve completed treatment and finished evaluation, 96 percent are disease-free, including Gaye Wheeler.

    The post How the Cherokee Nation plans to reverse the ‘silent epidemic’ of hepatitis C appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A man walks into an army recruiting center in Los Angeles, California on September 20, 2011.  Army recruiters will soon begin giving gymnastic tests to potential recruits, a move that comes as the Pentagon is opening all combat posts to women. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    A man walks into an army recruiting center in Los Angeles, California on September 20, 2011. Army recruiters will soon begin giving gymnastic tests to potential recruits, a move that comes as the Pentagon is opening all combat posts to women. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Beginning this summer, a visit to a local Army recruiting office will include a new set of gymnastic tests to help determine what military jobs a recruit is physically capable of performing.

    Prospective soldiers will be asked to run, jump, lift a weight and throw a heavy ball – all to help the Army figure out if the recruit can handle a job with high physical demands or should be directed to a more sedentary assignment.

    The new tests come as the Pentagon is opening all combat posts to women, a process that involves setting physical standards for every job that both men and women will have to meet.

    As part of the effort, the Army will increase the number of female recruiters to better target women. The goal will be to add 1 percent each year for the next three years in order to get at least one woman at each of the Army’s more than 780 larger recruiting centers across the country.

    Right now, only about 750 of the 8,800 Army and Army Reserve recruiters are women.

    The head of U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Maj. Gen. Jeff Snow, told The Associated Press that adding more women as recruiters will give female recruits someone more credible to talk to about options for women in the military and how an Army career could affect married or family life.

    But he said that getting that increase will be tough because other commands across the Army are also competing to get more women in their units.

    As women move into combat roles, Army commanders want to have women in leadership positions across the force to serve as mentors and role models. In particular, Army leaders want more women as drill sergeants and platoon sergeants as recruits go through basic and advanced training.

    Defense Secretary Ash Carter in December ordered the military services to allow women to compete for all combat jobs. But he and other military leaders have been adamant that the physical standards for the jobs will not be lowered in order to allow more women to qualify.

    Brig. Gen. Donna Martin, deputy commander of Army Recruiting Command, said that despite the added recruiting efforts, there may not be a flood of women rushing to compete for combat jobs. But she said the Army may see an eventual increase in women enlistments as they see the array of options.

    “I think it’s all about awareness – about a choice,” Martin said. “It’s not forcing any women to go into combat arms. It’s about making them aware that this is a choice.

    “It’s the whole question of can you have it all,” said Martin, who has been in the Army for 29 years, has been married for 21 years, and has a 19-year-old son. “You can have as much as you want.”

    The new physical tests, according to Army leaders, will evaluate all recruits – men and women – and will judge their core strength and endurance. Recruits still will have to take the routine aptitude tests and physical evaluations.

    “By doing predictive tests we can marry people up with those specialties that physically they should be able to do, which should reduce attrition and be a better fit for the Army,” Snow said. “It is truly about the right person at the right time with the right skill sets to perform, and we think that we’re setting them up for success in that particular specialty.”

    He added, however, that Army leaders are trying to finalize what scores will be needed to qualify for a highly physical job and what would limit recruits to less physical occupations.

    While the tests coincide with the campaign to bring women into combat fields, military officials note that setting specific physical standards for all jobs may prevent some men from getting into certain infantry or armor posts if they don’t qualify.

    The tests stem from the three years of study the Army did as it considered whether all combat jobs, including grueling infantry, Army and special operations careers, should be opened to women, and what abilities recruits needed to succeed at the more difficult battlefront posts.

    The questions also reflect concerns that women are injured at a higher rate than men, even during the early days of enlistment. Injuries or difficulties doing physical requirements often lead many women and men to fail or decide to leave the military.

    The physical assessment test is made up of four tasks: a standing long jump; an interval, aerobic run; a dead lift of weights; and a seated power throw of a weighted ball. Snow said the tasks test upper and lower body strength, body core strength, endurance and power.

    He said it will cost about $3 million to get all the testing equipment to the Army’s 1,300 recruiting locations.

    The post Army recruiting will adapt physical testing, seek to hire more women appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Technicians prepare the stage for a Republican presidential candidates debate moderated by CBS News in Greenville, South Carolina February 13, 2016. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.

    Technicians prepare the stage for a Republican presidential candidates debate moderated by CBS News in Greenville, South Carolina February 13, 2016. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.

    WASHINGTON — Serious issues are facing the Republican presidential candidate in their debate Saturday night in South Carolina. The state has a deep-rooted military culture and is still reeling from the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at a Charleston church in June.

    But style is going to beg for attention alongside pressing matters of policy.

    Foremost, how will Marco Rubio do after his disastrous turn on the stage in New Hampshire?

    And will Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, after carping at each other bitterly from a distance, do it face to face?

    Can Ben Carson finally make a mark?

    The Greenville, South Carolina, debate is hosted by CBS News.

    Rubio

    We get it: Rubio says he believes that President Barack Obama “knows exactly what he’s doing” by making policy designed to change the country, a point the Florida senator robotically made over and over in New Hampshire even as rival Chris Christie – now gone from the race – tormented him about it. Rubio eventually acknowledged he blew it.

    His fall from third place in Iowa to fifth place in New Hampshire confirmed that. Now, he has said, he doesn’t have the luxury of abstaining from the swipe fest between candidates. Look for him to engage.

    But it’s tricky situation for him, not to mention one with huge pressure. How does he prepare for the debate when the big knock against him last time was that he was over-rehearsed?

    Kasich, Comeback Kid? 

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s second-place finish in New Hampshire vaulted him into contention after months of standing at the edge of crowded debate stages and participating whenever he could get a word in over the cacophony of Trump vs. everyone else. His challenge now is to use the exposure of the debate to build a campaign in South Carolina virtually from scratch and to emphasize a theme he previewed Friday: Building a political legacy should be based on implementing change, not “stopping stuff.” He’s hoping to stay viable until the race heads to friendlier territory for him.

    Kasich didn’t single out rivals with the remark. But Cruz has become known for fighting against many things in Congress, chief among them the president’s health care law.

    Bush

    Rubio’s poor performance has created a potential opening for Jeb Bush, who has declared that South Carolina is where it all begins for him. He’ll need a solid showing in South Carolina given his prominent family’s political ties to the state.

    Carson

    At this point, Carson has little to lose by speaking up, and that’s what he plans to do.

    “I’m going to be much more boisterous,” he said on Fox TV.

    Trump vs. Cruz

    The two candidates with early-state victories under their belts may have the most to lose in Saturday night’s debate.

    Their increasingly bitter duel has killed the one-time bromance between the two. Cruz released a television advertisement before the debate accusing the real estate mogul of a “pattern of sleaze,” spurring Trump to fire back on Twitter with another round of questions about his Canadian-born rival’s eligibility to be president. Although their rivalry was well underway before the New Hampshire debate, they largely stood aside from it, other than a few jabs here and there, as Christie took a rhetorical buzz saw to Rubio.

    Oh, those issues

    There’s not a lot of daylight among the GOP rivals on gun rights, but the moderators might try to tease out some differences on the subject.

    As well, expect questions relevant to the military-minded voters of South Carolina, home to The Citadel military college, Shaw Air Force Base and other important defense installations. The Republicans have tripped over themselves promising an expensive expansion or modernization of the armed forces.

    And Rubio, for one, has expressed support for allowing women to serve in combat while saying he opposes forcing them to do so by making them eligible for any future military draft.

    The post What to watch: GOP hopefuls set to spar in South Carolina debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The coffin of Italian student Giulio Regeni is carried during his funeral in Fiumicello, northern Italy, Feb. 12, 2016. The death has sparked international uproar and strained relations between Egypt and Italy. Photo by Reuters

    The coffin of Italian student Giulio Regeni is carried during his funeral in Fiumicello, northern Italy, Feb. 12, 2016. The death has sparked international uproar and strained relations between Egypt and Italy. Photo by Reuters

    An Italian student killed in Egypt was given a funeral in his hometown on Friday as diplomatic tension over his death continued between Rome and Cairo.

    Flags flew at half staff in the Italian town of Fiumicello, where hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral of Giulio Regeni, whose body, half-naked and bearing signs of torture, was found in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of Cairo early this month.

    Regeni, a 28-year-old PH.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge, had been in Cairo researching labor unions. Unions are a delicate topic in Egypt, where autocratic regimes have historically viewed such organizations with suspicion, seeing them as incubators of political opposition and threats to state control over the economy.

    Regeni’s death caused an uproar in Italy, where news reports have stated that Italian officials suspect that Egyptian security forces tortured and killed Regeni. On Monday, one of the country’s biggest newspapers, la Repubblica, featured a headline that read “Giulio Regeni tortured because they thought he was a spy.”

    There is no clear proof that Egyptian security forces were involved in Regeni’s death. But the inconsistency of Egyptian authorities’ accounts of the killing — officials initially attributed it to a roadside accident before an autopsy conducted in Italy determined that Regeni had been tortured — have contributed to such suspicions, as has the date of Regeni’s disappearance.

    Regeni was last seen on Jan. 25, the fifth anniversary of the start of the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. The days preceding the anniversary saw heavy police presence and a severe crackdown on opposition in Egypt.

    Egyptian authorities vehemently deny their government’s involvement in Regeni’s death, however.

    In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry called such allegations “judgments, accusations and unwarranted insinuations” and said that relations between Italy and Egypt, which share strong commercial ties and cooperate in countering Islamist militants in Libya, remained solid.

    Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has not accused Egypt of any wrongdoing, but on Friday he repeated earlier demands that those responsible be identified and punished. Renzi, whose government has called for Italian involvement in the investigation of Regeni’s death, also warned that the state of diplomatic relations between the two countries depended on a reliable inquiry.

    “For the moment, all our requests have been met and above all we have demanded that every element should be put on the table in order that the truth can be established and those really responsible can be detained. We have told the Egyptians: friendship is a precious asset but it is only possible on the basis of truth,” Renzi told Italian media.

    The post Student tortured, killed in Egypt given funeral in Italy appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the popemobile in Zocalo Square in Mexico City, February 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Edgard Garrido  - RTX26SK1

    Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the popemobile in Zocalo Square in Mexico City, February 13, 2016. Photo by Edgard Garrido/Reuters.

    Pope Francis urged Mexican officials on Saturday to end a system of corruption and violence that has been exasperated by a unceasing drug trade, and to provide the country’s citizens with a semblance of justice that works for the “public good.”

    The pope arrived Saturday morning to the veneration of tens of thousands of cheering onlookers in the predominantly Catholic country, as he weaved his way for miles through Mexico City atop the pope-mobile before a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

    Pope Francis (L) and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto participate in a ceremony at the National Palace in Mexico City, February 13, 2016.   Tomas Bravo/Reuters

    Pope Francis (L) and Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto participate in a ceremony at the National Palace in Mexico City, February 13, 2016. Tomas Bravo/Reuters

    “Experience teaches us that each time we seek the path of privileges or benefits for a few to the detriment of the good of all, sooner or later the life of society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, drug trade, exclusion of different cultures, violence and also human trafficking, kidnapping and death, bringing suffering and slowing down development,” he said, in a statement made after a private visit Pena Nieto at the National Palace.

    Pope Francis’ arrival kicked off a five-day visit to Mexico, his first since becoming pontiff, with plans to visit several areas likely to highlight a country rampant with poverty and political corruption. Roughly 80 percent of the Mexico’s 122 million people identify as Catholic.

    Francis encouraged many of Mexico’s top Catholic leaders to increase efforts to assist migrants before celebrating mass at the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which hundreds of thousands devotees watched on screens set up outside.

    The visit follows Pope Francis’ historic meeting Friday with Patriarch Kirill of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the first time leaders from both churches have met in nearly 1,000 years.

    The post In visit to Mexico, Pope Francis urges end to corruption, violence appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia addresses the The Legal Services Corporation's 40th anniversary conference luncheon September 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

    U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia addresses the The Legal Services Corporation’s 40th anniversary conference luncheon September 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

    WASHINGTON — Antonin Scalia, the influential conservative and most provocative member of the Supreme Court, has died, leaving the high court without its conservative majority and setting up an ideological confrontation over his successor in the maelstrom of a presidential election year. Scalia was 79.

    Scalia was found dead Saturday morning at private residence in the Big Bend area of West Texas, after he’d gone to his room the night before and did not appear for breakfast, said Donna Sellers, speaking for the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington. The cause of death was not immediately known. A gray hearse was seen at the entrance to the Cibolo Creek Ranch, near Shafter, on Saturday accompanied by an SUV.

    President Barack Obama made clear Saturday night he would nominate a successor to Scalia, despite calls from Republicans to leave that choice – and the certain political struggle over it – to the next president. He promised to do so “in due time” while paying tribute to Scalia as “one of the towering legal figures of our time.”

    Scalia’s death most immediately means that that the justices could be split 4-4 in cases going to the heart of the some of the most divisive issues in the nation – over abortion, affirmative action, immigration policy and more.

    Scalia was part of a 5-4 conservative majority – with one of the five, Anthony Kennedy, sometimes voting with liberals on the court. In a tie vote, the lower court opinion prevails.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, said the nomination should fall to the next president.

    Democrats were outraged at that idea, with Sen. Harry Reid, the chamber’s top Democrat, saying it would be “unprecedented in recent history” for the court to have a vacancy for a year.

    Leaders in both parties were likely to use the high court vacancy to implore voters to nominate candidates with the best chance of winning in the November general election.

    Scalia used his keen intellect and missionary zeal in an unyielding attempt to move the court farther to the right after his 1986 selection by President Ronald Reagan. He also advocated tirelessly in favor of originalism, the method of constitutional interpretation that looks to the meaning of words and concepts as they were understood by the Founding Fathers.

    Scalia’s impact on the court was muted by his seeming disregard for moderating his views to help build consensus, although he was held in deep affection by his ideological opposites Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. Scalia and Ginsburg shared a love of opera. He persuaded Kagan to join him on hunting trips.

    Quick-witted and loquacious, Scalia was among the most persistent, frequent and quotable interrogators of the lawyers who appeared before the court.

    His 2008 opinion for the court in favor of gun rights drew heavily on the history of the Second Amendment and was his crowning moment on the bench.

    He could be a strong supporter of privacy in cases involving police searches and defendants’ rights. Indeed, Scalia often said he should be the “poster child” for the criminal defense bar.

    But he also voted consistently to let states outlaw abortions, to allow a closer relationship between government and religion, to permit executions and to limit lawsuits.

    He was in the court’s majority in the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, which effectively decided the presidential election for Republican George W. Bush. “Get over it,” Scalia would famously say at speaking engagements in the ensuing years whenever the topic arose.

    Bush later named one of Scalia’s sons, Eugene, to an administration job, but the Senate refused to confirm him. Eugene Scalia served as the Labor Department solicitor temporarily in a recess appointment.

    A smoker of cigarettes and pipes, Scalia enjoyed baseball, poker, hunting and the piano. He was an enthusiastic singer at court Christmas parties and other musical gatherings, and once appeared on stage with Ginsburg as a Washington Opera extra.

    Ginsburg once said that Scalia was “an absolutely charming man, and he can make even the most sober judge laugh.” She said that she urged her friend to tone down his dissenting opinions “because he’ll be more effective if he is not so polemical. I’m not always successful.”

    He could be unsparing even with his allies. In 2007, Scalia sided with Chief Justice John Roberts in a decision that gave corporations and labor unions wide latitude to air political ads close to elections. Yet Scalia was upset that the new chief justice’s opinion did not explicitly overturn an earlier decision. “This faux judicial restraint is judicial obfuscation,” Scalia said.

    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia testifies before a House Judiciary Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee hearing on ?The Administrative Conference of the United States?  on Capitol Hill in Washington May 20, 2010.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT) - RTR2E5RR

    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia testifies before a House Judiciary Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 20, 2010.  Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Quick-witted and loquacious, Scalia was among the most persistent, frequent and quotable interrogators of the lawyers who appeared before the court.

    During Scalia’s first argument session as a court member, Justice Lewis F. Powell leaned over and asked a colleague, “Do you think he knows that the rest of us are here?”

    Scalia’s writing seemed irrepressible and entertaining much of the time. But it also could be confrontational. It was a mocking Scalia who in 1993 criticized a decades-old test used by the court to decide whether laws or government policies violated the constitutionally required separation of church and state.

    “Like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, (the test) stalks our … jurisprudence once again, frightening the little children and school attorneys,” he wrote.

    Scalia showed a deep commitment to originalism, which he later began calling textualism. Judges had a duty to give the same meaning to the Constitution and laws as they had when they were written. Otherwise, he said disparagingly, judges could decide that “the Constitution means exactly what I think it ought to mean.”

    A challenge to a Washington, D.C., gun ban gave Scalia the opportunity to display his devotion to textualism. In a 5-4 decision that split the court’s conservatives and liberals, Scalia wrote that an examination of English and colonial history made it exceedingly clear that the Second Amendment protected Americans’ right to have guns, at the very least in their homes and for self-defense. The dissenters, also claiming fidelity to history, said the amendment was meant to ensure that states could raise militias to confront a too-powerful federal government if necessary.

    But Scalia rejected that view. “Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct,” Scalia wrote.

    His dissents in cases involving gay rights could be as biting as they were prescient. “By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition,” Scalia wrote in dissent in 2013 when the court struck down part of a federal anti-gay marriage law. Six months later, a federal judge in Utah cited Scalia’s dissent in his opinion striking down that state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

    Scalia was passionate about the death penalty. He wrote for the court when in 1989 it allowed states to use capital punishment for killers who were 16 or 17 when they committed their crimes. He was on the losing side in 2005 when the court changed course and declared it unconstitutional for states to execute killers that young.

    “The Court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our Nation’s moral standards – and in the course of discharging that awesome responsibility purports to take guidance from the views of foreign courts and legislatures,” Scalia wrote in a scathing dissent.

    In 2002, he dissented from the court’s decision to outlaw executing the mentally disabled. That same year, Scalia surprised some people with a public declaration of independence from his Roman Catholic church on the death penalty. He said judges who follow the philosophy that capital punishment is morally wrong should resign.

    Scalia also supported free speech rights, but complained too. “I do not like scruffy people who burn the American flag,” he said in 2002, but “regrettably, the First Amendment gives them the right to do that.”

    A longtime law professor before becoming a judge, Scalia frequently spoke at law schools and to other groups. Later in his tenure, he also spoke at length in on-the-record interviews, often to promote a book.

    He betrayed no uncertainty about some of the most contentious legal issues of the day. The framers of the Constitution didn’t think capital punishment was unconstitutional and neither did he.

    “The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state,” Scalia said during a talk that preceded a book signing at the American Enterprise Institute in 2012.

    The only child of an Italian immigrant father who was a professor of Romance languages and a mother who taught elementary school, Scalia graduated first in his class at Georgetown University and won high honors at the Harvard University Law School.

    He worked at a large Cleveland law firm for six years before joining the faculty of the University of Virginia’s law school. He left that job to work in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

    From 1977 to 1982, Scalia taught law at the University of Chicago.

    He then was appointed by Reagan to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Scalia and his wife, Maureen, had nine children.

    The post U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies at 79 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 4: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, center, laughs with Sharon Taskey and her son, Todd Taskey, after a short conversation about baseball loyalties after graduation at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart where Scalia gave the commencement address June 04, 2015 in Bethesda, MD.   (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, center, laughs with Sharon Taskey and her son, Todd Taskey, after a short conversation about baseball loyalties after graduation at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart where Scalia gave the commencement address June 04, 2015 in Bethesda, MD. Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

    WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia kept your attention, whether you liked him or not.

    He was a big personality who rather enjoyed the spotlight, and he did not often shy from controversy.

    Scalia deeply influenced a generation of conservative legal thinkers and was a lightning rod for criticism from the left almost from the moment President Ronald Reagan put him on the court in 1986.

    A gifted writer who produced gems and barbs in equal measure, Scalia even occasionally took aim at his usual allies if they disagreed with his view of a case.

    Scalia died overnight Friday. The justice, 79, would have been 80 next month.

    Like all justices, he liked to be in the majority. But Scalia himself said he also liked writing dissents because that justice did not have to pull punches, as the author of the court’s majority opinion must sometimes do to ensure his opinion keeps its five votes.

    In dissent, Scalia said, he was able to write opinions the way they should be written. He wrote dissents that were entertaining, clear-headed, furious, sarcastic and sometimes just plain mean.

    His close friend, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, once said that Scalia was “an absolutely charming man, and he can make even the most sober judge laugh.” She said that she urged her friend to tone down his dissenting opinions “because he’ll be more effective if he is not so polemical. I’m not always successful.”

    His dissents in cases involving gay rights could be as biting as they were prescient.

    “By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition,” Scalia wrote in dissent in 2013 when the court struck down part of a federal anti-gay marriage law. Less than a year later, federal judges in Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia cited Scalia’s dissent in their opinions striking down all or parts of state bans on same-sex marriage.

    It was a mocking Scalia who in 1993 criticized a decades-old test used by the court to decide whether laws or government policies violated the constitutionally required separation of church and state.

    “Like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, (the test) stalks our … jurisprudence once again, frightening the little children and school attorneys,” he wrote.

    Dissenting from an opinion forbidding states from executing killers who were 16 or 17 when they committed their crimes, Scalia wrote, “The Court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our Nation’s moral standards – and in the course of discharging that awesome responsibility purports to take guidance from the views of foreign courts and legislatures.”

    He could be unsparing even with his allies. In 2007, Scalia sided with Chief Justice John Roberts in a decision that gave corporations and labor unions wide latitude to air political ads close to elections. Yet Scalia was upset that the new chief justice’s opinion did not explicitly overturn an earlier decision. “This faux judicial restraint is judicial obfuscation,” Scalia said.

    Quick-witted and loquacious, Scalia was among the most persistent, frequent and quotable interrogators of the lawyers who appeared before the court.

    During Scalia’s first argument session as a court member, Justice Lewis F. Powell leaned over and asked a colleague, “Do you think he knows that the rest of us are here?”

    He showed a deep commitment to originalism, which he later began calling textualism. In other words, judges had a duty to give the same meaning to the Constitution and laws as they had when they were written. Otherwise, he said disparagingly, judges could decide that “‘the Constitution means exactly what I think it ought to mean.”

    A challenge to a Washington, D.C., gun ban gave Scalia the opportunity to display his devotion to concept. In a 5-4 decision that split the court’s conservatives and liberals, he wrote that an examination of English and colonial history made it exceedingly clear that the Second Amendment protected Americans’ right to have guns, at the very least in their homes and for self-defense. The dissenters, also claiming fidelity to history, said the amendment was meant to ensure that states could raise militias to confront a too-powerful federal government if necessary.

    But Scalia rejected that view. “Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct,” Scalia wrote.

    He could be a strong supporter of privacy in cases involving police searches and defendants’ rights. Indeed, Scalia often said he should be the “poster child” for the criminal defense bar.

    But he also voted consistently to let states outlaw abortions, to allow a closer relationship between government and religion, to permit executions and to limit lawsuits.

    Scalia was in the court’s majority in the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, which effectively decided the presidential election for Republican George W. Bush. “Get over it,” Scalia would famously say at speaking engagements in the ensuing years whenever the topic arose.

    Bush later named one of Scalia’s sons, Eugene, to an administration job, but the Senate refused to confirm him. Eugene Scalia served as the Labor Department solicitor temporarily in a recess appointment.

    The justice relished a good fight. In 2004, when an environmental group asked him to step aside from a case involving Vice President Dick Cheney after reports that Scalia and Cheney hunted ducks together, the justice responded with a 21-page memorandum explaining his intention to hear the case. He said “the nation is in deeper trouble than I had imagined,” if people thought a duck-hunting trip could sway his vote.

    Two years later, The Boston Herald reported that Scalia employed an obscene hand gesture while leaving a church in response to another question about his impartiality. Scalia penned a scathing letter to the newspaper, taking issue with the characterization. He explained that the gesture -the extended fingers of one hand moving slowly back and forth under the raised chin – was dismissive, not obscene.

    “From watching too many episodes of ‘The Sopranos,’ your staff seems to have acquired the belief that any Sicilian gesture is obscene,” he said.

    Scalia did not think much of the media, which he generally found to be shallow and more than a little biased against him and his fellow conservatives. He told a visitor to his office at the court that he wished supermarket checkout stands carried the University of Chicago Law Review instead of tabloids. Reporters cared too much whether the “little old lady won or lost” before the Supreme Court. Scalia said, “I couldn’t care less, as long as we get the law right.”

    A smoker of cigarettes and pipes, Scalia enjoyed baseball, poker, hunting and playing the piano. He was an enthusiastic singer at court Christmas parties and other musical gatherings, and once appeared on stage with Ginsburg as a Washington Opera extra.

    The only child of an Italian immigrant father who was a professor of Romance languages and a mother who taught elementary school, Scalia attended public schools in his native New Jersey, graduated first in his class at Georgetown University and won high honors at the Harvard University Law School. He taught law and served in Republican administrations before Reagan made him an appeals court judge in Washington in 1982. Scalia and his wife, Maureen, had nine children.

    Scalia’s impact on the court was muted by his seeming disregard for moderating his views to help build consensus, but he was held in deep affection by his ideological opposites Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. He persuaded Kagan to join him on hunting trips. While on his high school drill team, Scalia carried his rifle in a case on the New York City subways. Decades later, he taught the Upper West Sider Kagan how to shoot a gun.

    Scalia and Ginsburg shared a love of opera, and their contrasting views inspired the opera Scalia/Ginsburg by composer Derrick Wang, who said he got the idea while a law student at the University of Maryland.

    In one aria, the Scalia character rages about justices who see the Constitution evolving with society.

    The operatic Scalia fumes: “The justices are blind. How can they spout this? The Constitution says absolutely nothing about this.”

    The real-life Scalia certainly agreed.

    The post In victory or dissent, Scalia was a man of strong opinions appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 08:  U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (L) and Chief Justice John Roberts talk while posing for photographs in the East Conference Room at the Supreme Court building October 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. Scalia, a fiery conservative who helped shape American legal thought, died on February 13, 2016. He was 79. Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the high court, died in his sleep while on a hunting trip in Texas, local media reported. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice John Roberts talk while posing for photographs in the East Conference Room at the Supreme Court building October 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. Scalia, a fiery conservative who helped shape American legal thought, died on February 13, 2016. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    Influential conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in West Texas, the U.S. Marshals Service said on Saturday. He was 79.

    Reaction to his death follows:

    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts:

    “He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his family.”

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott:

    “Justice Antonin Scalia was a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution. His fierce loyalty to the Constitution set an unmatched example, not just for judges and lawyers, but for all Americans.”

    Former President George W. Bush

    “Laura and I mourn the death of a brilliant jurist and important American, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He was a towering figure and important judge on our Nation’s highest court. He brought intellect, good judgment, and wit to the bench, and he will be missed by his colleagues and our country.”

    Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid:

    “There is no doubt Justice Antonin Scalia was a brilliant man. We had our differences and I disagreed with many of his opinions, but he was a dedicated jurist and public servant. I offer my condolences to his family.

    “The President can and should send the Senate a nominee right away. With so many important issues pending before the Supreme Court, the Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible. It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat. Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”

    U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

    “Today our country lost an unwavering champion of a timeless document that unites each of us as Americans. Justice Scalia’s fidelity to the Constitution was rivaled only by the love of his family: his wife Maureen his nine children, and his many grandchildren. Through the sheer force of his intellect and his legendary wit, this giant of American jurisprudence almost singlehandedly revived an approach to constitutional interpretation that prioritized the text and original meaning of the Constitution. Elaine and I send our deepest condolences to the entire Scalia family.

    “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

    House Speaker Paul Ryan:

    “Justice Scalia did more to advance originalism and judicial restraint than anyone in our time, and it all started with just two words: ‘I dissent.’ The passing of this brilliant jurist is a great loss, but his writings—with their plain language and constitutional moorings—will guide generations to come. A devout Catholic, he was fond of quoting St. Paul, who commanded us to ‘think soberly.’ That Justice Scalia did, always, and our republic is better for it.
    “I learned so much from this man. I knew him. I respected him. I looked up to him. We all did. Tonight, Janna and I offer our sympathy and prayers to Justice Scalia’s family.”:

    “This afternoon the president was informed of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The President and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to Justice Scalia’s family.”

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    The post ‘A brilliant jurist and important American:’ Reactions pour in remembering Justice Scalia appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 8.46.45 PM

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Before releasing his third and final studio album, “Electric Ladyland,” Jimi Hendrix was living in London, playing at Royal Albert Hall.

    In the summer of 1968, Hendrix rented this top floor apartment at this building in London.

    Girlfriend Kathy Etchingham moved in with him.

    KATHY ETCHINGHAM: Well, it’s quite strange as you can imagine 45 years on to be sitting in the same room you were sitting in when you were 22 years old.

    PHIL HIRSCHKORN: The apartment is now restored as it looked then: colorful cushions, Persian rugs, a Victorian shawl hanging over the bed, Hendrix’s turntable and vinyl record collection. He wrote songs on his epiphone acoustic guitar.

    Etchingham says, Hendrix told her: This was the first real home of his own.

    KATHY ETCHINGHAM: It’s a job well done, and it’s something that people wouldn’t normally have got to see, they can now see it.

    PHIL HIRSCHKORN: The building, in London’s Mayfair neighborhood, had good musical karma.

    Classical composer George Frderic Handel lived next door, in the 1700s.

    Magazine photographer Barrie Wentzell visited Hendrix in the apartment.

    BARRY WENTZELL, PHOTOGRAPHER: He said that Handel lived in the flat next door of the whole house, and I said, “Oh wow, yeah, really.’ And he said. “Yeah, I went out and got Handel’s Messiah the other day, and it was really interesting. I wonder what it would be like to jam with him.

    PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Hendrix moved back to New York in 1969 and returned to England for concerts. He died in London in 1970 at age 27. 

    The Handel House Trust spent $3.5 billion dollars renovating Hendrix’s home and is making “Handel & Hendrix in London” open to the public permanently.

     

    The post New museum takes visitors inside Jimi Hendrix’s 1960s London pad appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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