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

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally, another installment in our Brief But Spectacular series.

    Today, we hear from poet Mahogany L. Browne, who is coordinating a Women of the World Poetry Slam running March 9 through the 12th in Brooklyn, New York.

    This piece is entitled “Black Girl Magic.”

    MAHOGANY L. BROWNE, Poet: They say you ain’t supposed to be here.

    You ain’t supposed to wear red lipstick. You ain’t supposed to wear high heels. You ain’t supposed to smile in public. You ain’t supposed to smile nowhere, black girl. You ain’t supposed to be no more than a girlfriend. You ain’t supposed to get married. You ain’t supposed to want no dreams that big. You ain’t supposed to dream at all.

    You ain’t supposed to do nothing but carry babies and carry felons and carry weaves and carry silence and carry families and carry confusion and carry a nation, but never an opinion, because you ain’t supposed to have nothing to say, black girl, not unless it’s a joke, because you ain’t supposed to love yourself, black girl.

    You ain’t supposed to find nothing worth saving in all that brown. You ain’t supposed to know that Tina, Beyonce, Cecily, Shonda Rhimes shine, shine, shine. Black girl, you ain’t supposed to love your mind. You ain’t supposed to love. You ain’t supposed to be loved up on. You only supposed to pose voodoo child vixen style.

    You supposed to pop out babies and hide the stretch marks. You supposed to be still, so still they think you statue, so still they think you a chalked outline, so still they keep thinking you stone, until you look more Medusa than Viola Davis, until you sound more Shanaynay than Kerry Washington, until you more side eye than Michelle Obama on a Tuesday
    But you tell them you are more than a hot comb and a wash and set. You are Kunta Kinte’s kin. You are a black girl worth remembering and you are a threat knowing yourself. You are a threat loving yourself. You are a threat loving your kin. You are a threat loving your children, you black girl magic, you black girl fly, you black girl brilliance, you black girl wonder, you black girl shine, you black girl bloom, you black girl, black girl.

    And you turning into a beautiful black woman right before our eyes.

    My name is Mahogany L. Browne, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on black girl magic.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You can watch other episodes of our Brief But Spectacular series on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/”NewsHour.”

    The post Poet Mahogany L. Browne on ‘black girl magic’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Next, we turn to our year-long series Race Matters.

    Tonight, special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault sits down with Bethann Hardison, a former model and current owner of a New York modeling agency.

    As Hollywood comes under fire for the lack of diversity, Hardison shares her solution for making the fashion industry more inclusive.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: For generations, this was the face of the fashion industry, beautiful models in stunning designer outfits, but that face came to be almost always white, with a few notable exceptions, like Naomi Campbell and Iman.

    Enter Bethann Hardison, herself a former model, who decided that just wasn’t good enough. I caught up with her at her home base in New York City.

    Bethann Hardison, thank you for joining us.

    BETHANN HARDISON, Model Agency Owner: Thank you for having me.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: You know, we have seen all the beautiful models like Beverly Johnson, Iman, even yourself in magazines for many years, but there weren’t many of you.

    Why was that? What was that like?

    BETHANN HARDISON: Well, there were many back in the day.

    I mean, back in the ’70s and ’80s, there was a great deal between runway and print. And then, by, say, 2000 — well, ’80s and the ’90s, it was pretty good. And then by ’90, mid-’90s, it just began to disappear.

    It was a change of the industry because of the Eastern European models start to come in. Things just changed. The business changed.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, this influx of non-black people, non-women of color really decimated the ranks of black models on the runway?

    BETHANN HARDISON: It definitely did. It changed everything. And when they began to bring in more girls from outside, what changed greatly was the body alignment of the Eastern European girls, because the hips are very narrow, the bodies are very long. And that discovery was something else.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: What was wrong with that, and what did you do about it?

    BETHANN HARDISON: So, what I did is, I got encouraged to, please, do something. And I thought it, and had the first press conference, which was in 2007, and pulled together editors, models, people who basically represented models, everyone, writers, in a room of 86 seats, and sat down and discussed the whole situation.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: And so you moved from being a model to a muse to a revolutionary.


    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: You called out some of the most famous designers in the world of fashion. Did you tell them they were perpetuating racism?

    BETHANN HARDISON: No, I didn’t say that exactly.

    What I said is that the — no matter what your intention is, the result is racism, so that if they felt like, well, I mean, I don’t — I’m not a racist. Well, I didn’t say you were a racist. I said the act of eliminating one race, or not being inclusive, the result is racism. If you consistently demonstrate you not being inclusive, then the result is racism.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, what was their reaction, and what happened as a result?

    BETHANN HARDISON: What I had done is written this letter specifically to the councils of fashion in each fashion city, so the councils of fashion got the letter.

    And all the names were written on each one, so that’s London, Paris, Milan, and New York. And so I, before — as they got the letter, I had already spoken to the press, at the same time they were getting the letter, so the press, which was Women’s Wear Daily, which is our trade paper, contacted each one of them.

    British was very good. She said, we have issues with this ourselves. We would like you to be able to have you come in and speak to us. The Italians said, we never had this as an issue because no one ever brought this to our attention before.

    The Parisians laughed it off. And New York said, she knows us. Why couldn’t she have spoken to us directly? She knows us.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, why did you think you had to go the way you went, as opposed to knowing them and speaking to them like they said?

    BETHANN HARDISON: When you have an issue that big, you have to come, you know, in a sense that it is that serious. It’s not a personal conversation.

    Once it went — one publication picked it up, then it became important, that other news medias picked it up, and it became a very important issue because it was done in such a strong way.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But why was it important? People would say, oh, they’re just talking about fashion. That’s just something people play with.

    BETHANN HARDISON: Because of the fact that fashion is no longer just in our tiny island that no one knows anything about.

    Now it’s part of popular culture. Now it’s influencing young people. Anyone now is involved with fashion. It’s beginning to show people what things should look like. It’s giving you the idea of what we see, how we act, how we be when it comes down to race.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: All right, when you look beyond the fashion industry and you look at the fact that so many — so much in the corporate world is still dominated by white males, how much of the solution that you came up with can be adapted to other — to the corporate world and to other areas, where — that it’s like even Hollywood, where you have got major problems with diversity?

    What about what you did is applicable in those situations?

    BETHANN HARDISON: Because now, slowly, my industry is beginning to become more inclusive.

    And when you begin to see in magazines that they are now becoming more inclusive, when you start to see runway shows, you start to see blacks, girls, guys, it begins to remind people that it’s OK, it doesn’t hurt, it’s not going to make you sick. It’s not a disease to be inclusive.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But I guess my question is, in terms of the tactics that you used, what would you offer as a solution to parts of our society that are not inclusive and not as diverse as they should be?

    BETHANN HARDISON: That’s a very good question.

    I think the only thing I can answer is, everyone has to be responsible. Everyone has to think twice about it. And I have to remind people that people who are privileged are the first ones who say: Why do we always have to talk about race? What is the problem? I don’t see what is the problem. Race, we’re always bringing up race. I mean, I really don’t see a problem with it.

    That’s a privileged attitude. And when you think — if you don’t think that you’re privileged, you say that, that makes you privileged, because there is a problem.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So you have to stay on the case.

    BETHANN HARDISON: Yes. You never can take your foot off the gas.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: And this would apply to the corporate world, as well as to the world of fashion?

    BETHANN HARDISON: Everything. Can we all stop thinking so consciously about race, or should we consciously think about race? Yes, I think we should consciously think about race.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: And you need people like yourself in the corporate world taking the kinds of positions you took?

    BETHANN HARDISON: I think also not only people like myself. I think I need more white people like myself, who think like I do, and not be afraid to speak up and say, I’m sorry. We need to have some. Let’s change some of this, because it happens in my industry.

    Do I want it to be all black? No, I want diversity, because I think, once you diversify, it reminds people gently how the world looks, not — don’t book a model because she’s black. Book a model because she’s undeniably beautiful. That’s for him and for her. Then we can compete with our white counterpart.

    And it’s not just the black model I’m fighting for. I’m fighting for any fashion model that is non-Caucasian, because the Caucasian kid is good. She’s got it. She can run. I’m looking for everyone else who makes up — I want the world to look like when I walk out on the street. This is not a Woody Allen movie.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Well, Bethann Hardison, thank you for joining us.

    BETHANN HARDISON: And thank you for having me.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And speaking of movies, tomorrow on the “NewsHour,” Jeffrey Brown examines the cause and implications of the lack of diversity in the entertainment industry ahead of the Academy Awards this weekend.

    The post How a former model plans to diversify the fashion industry appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Among the homeless population in Tijuana, Mexico, are migrants on the way to the U.S. And because of police raids, they’re living in a rival canal, hiding in the canal’s branching tunnels.

    KPBS Fronteras reporter Jean Guerrero went inside the tunnels to learn about the struggles these migrants face.

    A warning: Some of the images in this story may be disturbing.

    JEAN GUERRERO: Jose Alberto Zavala is one of hundreds of migrants living inside the Tijuana River Canal’s tunnels. He says he doesn’t feel safe anywhere else.

    JOSE ALBERTO ZAVALA, Tijuana Migrant (through interpreter): They see us outside and the police pick us up.

    JEAN GUERRERO: Zavala is known as Chapo, like the Mexican drug lord, because of his short stature. But the similarities pretty much end there. He recently rescued this cat from the side of the road.

    JOSE ALBERTO ZAVALA (through interpreter): She’s a girl. The other day, I banged myself up because the police were trying to put me in one of the rehab centers. But that’s a kidnapping. What they do is a violation of human rights.

    JEAN GUERRERO: For years, Tijuana’s homeless were living out in the open, in makeshift tents in a Tijuana River Canal encampment known as El Bordo.

    But, last spring, the municipal government evacuated the encampment, placing hundreds of people into rehab centers, many against their will. Officials say the migrants were hurting tourism and committing crimes. Many were using heroin or methamphetamine after being deported from the U.S., where they had families and jobs.

    Some, like Chapo, say they don’t do drugs at all, but were sent to rehab anyway. Since then, hundreds have escaped or were released from these facilities. They’re now hiding in the storm drains. Police sometimes track them down and place them back in rehab. Others are taken to jail or put on buses out of town.

    Police raids of the canal are sometimes proving fatal. The canal is flanked by Tijuana’s busiest highways, and when the migrants run from the police, some are killed by cars speeding past. Just last month, at least two were killed trying to escape police.

    Chapo has erected memorial wooden crosses for several friends he says he lost during police raids.

    JOSE ALBERTO ZAVALA (through interpreter): The 18th, also Chapitas, and the guy from Oaxaca. But I don’t know why.

    JEAN GUERRERO: Chapo says the police sometimes arrest migrants when they’re just standing on the street, trying to find work in construction, or washing car windshields with dirty rags.

    A migrant who called himself Carlos Francisco says he was run over by a car while running across the highway during a police raid two days prior. He was injured so badly, he couldn’t walk.

    He says the police came while he and his friends were sleeping in the canal.

    MAN (through interpreter): They come and grab us. They — they beat us.

    JEAN GUERRERO: Another man had a large gash on his head from where he says police threw him against the asphalt during the same raid.

    Tijuana’s police chief, Alejandro Lares, defends his policy of flushing everybody out of the canal. He says he is planning a full-scale clearing operation in the coming weeks.

    ALEJANDRO LARES VALLADARES, Tijuana Police Chief: We’re going to take over the whole ravine on Tijuana.

    JEAN GUERRERO: The federal government has jurisdiction over the canal, but the Tijuana Police Department has permission to patrol the area.

    ALEJANDRO LARES VALLADARES: It’s a no-man’s land. So, for that, it’s easier for them to buy drugs, sell drugs, and obviously to consume drugs.

    JEAN GUERRERO: Lares says he has ordered 14 all-terrain vehicles to patrol the canal. He expects them to arrive any day now. When asked about alleged police beatings, he says migrants should file complaints so that he can investigate.

    ALEJANDRO LARES VALLADARES: I’m not going to tolerate any abuse from an officer to a citizen.

    JEAN GUERRERO: Migrants say they think filing complaints would do them more harm than good. They fear being arrested if they confront police.

    Back in the tunnels, Chapo says the current strategy of removing migrants from the canal makes life so hard for them, they have no choice but to turn to petty crimes, which can get them arrested. It’s a vicious cycle.

    JOSE ALBERTO ZAVALA (through interpreter): They kick you and say, you have to come with them. Why? Because you don’t have an I.D. You shouldn’t be sleeping here. Where do you want me to sleep if you don’t let me work? If I go collect cans, you pick me up. If I go to the dumpster, you pick me up.

    JEAN GUERRERO: He doesn’t think Tijuana officials will ever succeed in ridding the city of homeless migrants.

    JOSE ALBERTO ZAVALA (through interpreter): This is the border. There will always be migrants, always, always.

    JEAN GUERRERO: But as police raids of the canal become more sophisticated and frequent, the tunnel dwellers face a growing challenge.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jean Guerrero in Tijuana.

    The post Police step up effort to evict homeless from Tijuana canals appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Family members and relatives visit the graves of their loved ones, most of them YPG members who were killed during fightings against Islamic State in north Syria, at a cemetery in Diyarbakir Turkey February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar  - RTX28M9M

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: The president met this afternoon at the State Department with members of his national security team to discuss the fight against ISIS and the state of the larger war in Syria, as a key deadline approaches tomorrow for a cessation of hostilities.

    He spoke to reporters moments ago.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: And none of us are under any illusions. We’re all aware of the many potential pitfalls. And there are plenty of reasons for skepticism.

    But history would judge us harshly if we didn’t do our part in at least trying to end this terrible conflict with diplomacy. If implemented — and that’s a significant if — the cessation could reduce the violence and get more food and aid to Syrians who are suffering and desperately need it.

    It could save lives. Potentially, it could also lead to negotiations on a political settlement to end the civil war, so that everybody can focus their attention on destroying ISIL. And that’s why the United States will do everything we can to maximize the chances of success in this cessation of hostilities.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, what are the realities for a potential halt to some of the violence and delivery of much-needed aid in Syria?

    Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports.

    MARGARET WARNER: There were definitely mixed signals of progress before tomorrow’s midnight cease-fire deadline in Syria. Aid trucks rolled into the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Ghouta yesterday, long besieged by the Assad regime.

    But in Syria’s east, a U.N. airdrop of food went awry. Earlier in the week, Russia claimed it’s pared back bombing against U.S.-backed rebels.

    MAJ. GEN. IGOR KONASHENKOV, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman (through interpreter): Russian aviation performs no strikes in these regions where we have received or are continuing to receive claims to cease the fire and start negotiations.

    MARGARET WARNER: But, today, there were reports of Russian bombing of rebel-held areas in Syria’s northwest and regime bombing in a suburb of Damascus.

    The last-ditch agreement, brokered Monday by the U.S. and Russia, called for a — quote — “cessation of hostilities.” It exempts operations against ISIS, the al-Qaida linked Jabhat al-Nusra, and terror groups on a U.N. list.

    The Syrian government of President Bashar Assad has signed on, as have some rebel groups. But the major Saudi-backed opposition group said it would commit to just two weeks.

    SALEM AL MESLET, High Negotiations Committee Spokesman: To be frank with you, we do not trust Russia, we do not trust this regime.

    MARGARET WARNER: And U.S. ally Turkey said it wants to continue hitting Syrian Kurds linked to Turkey’s Kurdish terrorists.

    The day after it was announced, in Washington, senators pressed Secretary of State John Kerry.

    WOMAN: I just hope it’s not a rope-a-dope deal.


    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: Well, it may be. I’m not going to vouch for this. I’m not going to say this process is sure to work, because I don’t know. But I know that this is the best way to try to end the war, and it’s the only alternative before us, if indeed we’re going to have a political settlement.

    MARGARET WARNER: Many Syria experts are skeptical too. Robert Ford, former ambassador to Syria, resigned in 2014 over the president’s refusal to arm the Syrian rebels. Now a fellow with the Middle East Institute in Washington, he also teaches at Yale.

    ROBERT FORD, Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria: Secretary Kerry has made huge, huge, huge efforts, but it’s too early to say if it represents any progress. The cease-fire is going to be a huge uphill. The Russians and the Syrian regime have incentives to keep fighting. I don’t think the war is over by any means.

    MARGARET WARNER: But Prem Kumar, who worked on Syria on the National Security Council until last year, says it’s an important first step.

    PREM KUMAR, Albright Stonebridge Group: It is an important process that will hopefully lead to increased humanitarian assistance, and then, longer term, if the process holds, to discussions about the longer-term political issues that have bedeviled Syria for several years now.

    MARGARET WARNER: He thinks it marks a welcome evolution in U.S. thinking, away from regime change.

    PREM KUMAR: What is really important about this recent initiative is that I think it begins to shift from one in which the U.S. and its partners were trying to increase pressure on Assad to negotiate his own departure to trying to freeze the conflict, provide humanitarian assistance, and set up a process to address the longer-term political issues.

    MARGARET WARNER: What has caused that shift? The sudden insertion of Russian bombers and advisers late last September.

    PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): The only right way to fight international terrorism in Syria and on the territory of the states neighboring it is to act preemptively.

    MARGARET WARNER: For months, as Secretary Kerry negotiated for a Syria peace process with Russia’s foreign minister, Russian bombers were dramatically tilting the battlefield. Five months ago, the rebels were gaining ground.

    Now Assad’s forces have retaken key areas in the west and surrounded Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. And the Islamic State has expanded in the east. Ford sees Russia, along with Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, all backing different fighting elements, as exerting far more leverage now than the U.S.

    ROBERT FORD: Russia absolutely is in the driver’s seat, and the Americans are watching the car drive by. The Americans are becoming basically irrelevant.

    MARGARET WARNER: Former French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the U.S. lost credibility when it didn’t follow through on the President Obama’s threat to strike Syria for using chemical weapons in 2013. He added, “One doesn’t get the sense that there is a very strong commitment. And obviously the Iranians and Russians feel that.”

    Indeed, Mr. Obama repeatedly resisted calls to arm moderate rebel groups, as he explained to The New York Times in 2014.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It has always been a fantasy, this idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth.

    MARGARET WARNER: Mr. Obama’s aides say he feared arming inexperienced rebels would draw the U.S. down a slippery slope of deeper military involvement. But Ford says the president’s unwillingness did just that.

    ROBERT FORD: I think that their inaction put us on a slippery slope. Frankly, we now have American military personnel operating in Syria, Margaret. None of us wanted that in 2011, in 2012, in 2013. But now we’re flying combat operations against the Islamic State, not Syrians taking care of it, Americans having to help Syrians take care of it.

    MARGARET WARNER: And, in fact, the administration is now asking Congress for additional funds for those operations. So, what happens if this cease-fire fails? On Tuesday, Kerry hinted that deeper military aid could be forthcoming.

    JOHN KERRY: There is a significant discussion taking place now about plan B in the event that we don’t succeed at the table.

    MARGARET WARNER: Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker was dubious.

    SEN. BOB CORKER (R), Tennessee: There is no plan B. Russia knows there will be no plan B.

    ROBERT FORD: I saw Secretary Kerry talk about plan B. That’s nice. We will see if there’s anything there.

    MARGARET WARNER: Kumar said there is the possibility of giving the rebels more powerful weaponry or creating safe-zones inside Syria. But even he doubts how much more the president will do in his remaining 11 months.

    PREM KUMAR: I think it is unlikely that the administration is going to do a 180-degree turn in its policy on Syria, but I think if the president begins to believe that there is progress in sight, and that the U.S. needs to do more in order to achieve an end to the conflict, then I think he would be willing to consider it.

    MARGARET WARNER: A long road ahead that depends heavily on what happens this weekend.

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

    The post As Syrian ceasefire looms, doubts swirl about effectiveness appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Woman frustrated with bills

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: But, first, the economic recovery may be well into its sixth year, and the jobless rate is at its lowest point since 2008. Even so, it’s clear many Americans still feel plenty of anxiety, either about their job, their income, their finances or what may be happening to their quality of life.

    Economics correspondent Paul Solman dives deeper into what’s behind that with the first of two conversations he has on this subject. This one features a liberal perspective, part of our weekly series Making Sense, which airs every Thursday on the “NewsHour.”

    AUDIENCE: We love Trump! We love Trump!

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Oh, we love you, we love you!


    PAUL SOLMAN: Not again, you may be thinking.

    DONALD TRUMP: We’re going to build a big, beautiful wall.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: There is nothing we cannot accomplish.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Another story on Trump and Sanders as political outliers defining this year’s presidential campaign?

    DONALD TRUMP: We’re in first place everywhere.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But why have they taken America by storm? We put that question to longtime liberal thinker Robert Reich, friend of Hillary Clinton since college, secretary of labor under her husband, Bill, but now a Bernie Sanders supporter.

    Are you surprised by the turn America has taken politically in the last half-year?

    ROBERT REICH, University of California, Berkeley: I’m surprised at how fast it happened. I predicted in my book “Saving Capitalism” that the biggest political contest in the future would be between, not Democrats and Republicans, but between the anti-establishment populists and the establishment, because I saw the increase in this degree of anxious class, I call it, anger and frustration that the economy and society are no longer working for them.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Covering economic developments in America since the 1970s, I too have been chronicling this growing anxiety my entire career.

    I met security guard Bobby Hicks five years ago.

    BOBBY HICKS, Security Guard: I am the most insecure security officer you will meet, because I’m worried. Right now, I live paycheck to paycheck.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Cookie Sheers is an administrative assistant at a Boston nonprofit.

    COOKIE SHEERS, Administrative Assistant: We all feel stuck, like you’re just at that edge of water where you can come up for air every few minutes, but never long enough to feel that you have accomplished something. You always have to go back down.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But anxiety isn’t limited to the unskilled these days. Mike Najjar is a lawyer in Lowell, Massachusetts.

    MIKE NAJJAR, Attorney: I feel like I’m in quicksand, not getting ahead, not having any growth.

    MAN: I don’t feel like I’m getting ahead at all. As a matter of fact, I was laid off.

    PAUL SOLMAN: After 40 years in the book business, does Brian McCormick (ph) have a job now?

    MAN: I do. I do. I’m punching a cash register like I did when I was 22 years old.

    PAUL SOLMAN: As recent college graduate Biola Jeje puts it:

    BIOLA JEJE, Recent Graduate: Take all this debt, get an education, and have it lead nowhere, to like no sustainable employment, no job with health benefits or pensions or any of that, just be out on their own.

    ROBERT REICH: I’m in an Uber, part of the explosion in the so-called sharing economy. This very group includes independent contractors, free agents, temporary workers, the self-employed.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Work without employee benefits, one of the topics Reich tackles in a series of videos made with the so-called progressive group MoveOn.org.

    ROBERT REICH: It’s estimated that, in five years, over 40 percent of the American labor force will be in such uncertain work, in a decade, most of us. This shifts all the risks onto workers.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Workers like Uber driver Kim Miller, who has to pay for her own car and all related expenses.

    KIM MILLER, Uber Driver: Sometimes, I have days where I do only maybe around $12, $15 an hour, and I come home feeling like I wasted my time.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Or retail clerks like Melody Pabon, who don’t know when they will work, or for how many hours, from one week to the next.

    MELODY PABON, Retail Worker: Am I going to be playing juggling with my money, and work two days a week, three days a week, four days a week not knowing?

    ROBERT REICH: No wonder, according to polls, almost a quarter of American workers worry they won’t have enough to live on in the future. That’s up from 15 percent a decade ago.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And you see it playing out politically in both parties, right?

    ROBERT REICH: In both parties. You have got a large number of people in America, in the middle class, who are working harder than ever, but they’re angry and frustrated because they’re not getting ahead. Their wages are either stagnating or actually dropping. Their jobs are less secure. Two-thirds are living paycheck to paycheck.

    PAUL SOLMAN: When you say paycheck to paycheck, the latest data as of this week were that 63 percent of Americans didn’t have more than $500 socked away for a sudden expense.

    ROBERT REICH: Almost nothing socked away. Black and minority Americans on average have literally nothing socked away for an emergency. And some people in the middle class, particularly in the lower middle class, look to poor people and say, well, they’re getting all these benefits. I’m the one who’s stuck.

    ACTOR: Happy holidays, uncle Bob.

    ROBERT REICH: What’s good about them?

    PAUL SOLMAN: People like conservative uncle Bob, portrayed by Reich himself in this video.

    ROBERT REICH: I’m paying too much in taxes to support poor people who are sitting on their duffs.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Meanwhile, in the left-wing camp:

    ROBERT REICH: People are caught in a vise, and they feel like the game is rigged.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Are they overstating it? Are they picking up on something that’s real?

    ROBERT REICH: Unfortunately, the game is rigged.

    Just over a year ago, two political scientists, one from Princeton, one from Northwestern, Gilens and Page, did a study looking very carefully at about over 2,000 policy issues. And their conclusion was that the wealthy and big corporations and Wall Street were the only ones that had any influence.

    The average American had literally no influence at all.

    According to an investigation by The New York Times, half of all the money contributed so far to Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, $176 million, has come from just 158 families, along with the companies they own or control.

    I used to think — and I used to write about it — inequality as being the result of globalization, technological change. But what has happened, particularly over the last 20 years, is that there is a third factor, political power. It is this vicious cycle of the wealthy and big corporations and Wall Street getting rule changes, legal changes that advantage them and really disadvantage most other people.

    PAUL SOLMAN: When you talk to a rich person who doesn’t agree with you politically, what do you say to them?

    ROBERT REICH: I say, you have a stake in raising wages, in expanding the middle class, and more Americans doing better, because then you will do better. Who are your customers, after all?

    DENISE BARRANT: The top 1 percent is living well, and they don’t get it.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Denise Barrant, a self-described conservative Republican, was unemployed and in foreclosure in 2011.

    DENISE BARRANT: There’s tons of people like myself out there who are well-educated, who have had good jobs, who are sort of the middle management people, but they have outsourced our jobs, and the top people are still making a lot of money and then congratulating themselves at how efficient they have been.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The term that gets turned around over and over again is the American dream. And it doesn’t seem as if that’s anywhere near as true now as in the past.

    ROBERT REICH: No. This is a country that prided itself on upward mobility, on rags to riches, on Horatio Alger stories.

    It’s only over the last two years that you see polls saying most Americans believe that their children are not going to live as well as they lived. This is new, Paul. This is counter to our tradition and our history.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Which may help explain why this has been, thus far, such an untraditional election year.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” this is economics correspondent Paul Solman.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In the coming weeks, Paul will return with a second conversation, from a well-known conservative thinker and writer, Charles Murray.

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    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders greets audience members at a campaign rally in Kansas City, Missouri February 24, 2016.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTX28FJB

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: This day was a quiet one on the Republican campaign trail: five candidates left, but no scheduled events.

    Tonight, though, they’re facing off in Houston for debate number 10. Donald Trump, winner of three straight contests, will once again be center stage. The big question, how the other four candidates try to slow him down.

    As for the two Democrats, they were out stumping today, but hundreds of miles apart. Hillary Clinton spent the day in South Carolina, where Democrats vote this Saturday. In Kingstree, she stressed one of the central themes of her Palmetto State campaign: equality.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I want to break down all the barriers that stand in the way of people everywhere in our country pursuing and achieving their God-given potential, because America can’t live up to its potential unless we remove the barriers to let every American have the chance to live up to his or her potential.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Her rival, Bernie Sanders, turned his focus away from South Carolina today. He started things off in Ohio, one of the many states that vote in March. From there, he moved on to Flint, Michigan, the city still reeling from the discovery that its drinking water had been tainted with lead.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: If there’s any anything positive, if there’s any silver lining out of this tragedy, is, it is my hope that the American people will look at Flint and say never again can we allow a community to undergo this.


    HARI SREENIVASAN: On the ground in South Carolina today is our own Judy Woodruff, who joins us from Columbia.

    So, Judy, how important is South Carolina for Hillary Clinton’s campaign?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Hi there, Hari, from across the street from the state capitol here in Columbia.

    It’s important for Hillary Clinton. I have to say, though, that the expectation is that she clearly is going to win. The polls all have her ahead by more than double — by double digits. So it’s really a matter of expectations. Can she beat that?

    In fact, I had a professor, a political science professor, at the University of South Carolina say to me today, if she wins by less than 20 points, it’s a moral victory for Bernie Sanders. That’s how far ahead she is.

    Some of that is clearly on the strength of the African-American community. They make up more than half of the Democratic primary vote. And that’s going to be in that report I’m working on for the “NewsHour” tomorrow.

    But her people are working the state, Hari. They’re not taking it for granted, but it’s all about the margins now for her.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And the Sanders campaign looks to be doing kind of a different tactic, not there nearly as much.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s right.

    Senator Sanders was here yesterday, but he had a morning news conference. Then he took off for other states, had big rallies yesterday out in the Midwest and the Southwestern U.S. He has a strong effort here, Hari. He was here in January, but losing Nevada, coming in five points behind Hillary Clinton in Nevada really made a difference.

    And now the Sanders camp say they are focused on the Super Tuesday states, the 11 states where Democrats will come out and vote next Tuesday. So, they have been very open about that. It’s not that they’re giving up on South Carolina by any means. They have got something like 200 people working the state for them right now, but their focus is on the future.

    It’s on Missouri. It’s on states like Oklahoma, where Senator Sanders had that big turnout last night — or yesterday — in Tulsa. And they, too, talk about the margin. They say they don’t expect to win here; they just don’t want to hold down Secretary Clinton’s margin.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Do you see and hear the evidence on the airwaves, the political ads, I’m assuming, on TV and radio as you travel through from interview to interview?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You do.

    You see it — certainly see it in your hotel room. People talk about the ads. Hillary — Bernie Sanders was on the air here early, but Hillary Clinton has stepped up her advertising in the last week. You see this new ad they put on a few days ago featuring the actor Morgan Freeman with his very distinctive voice reminding anybody who’s watching that Hillary Clinton had been coming to South Carolina since she was a law student, recapping her connection to this state.

    That clearly helps her. Sanders is running a lot of ads on radio. He spent over a million dollars, but, at this point, as we get down to the vote on Saturday, it’s more of Hillary Clinton on the air.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What are the issues that are most important to South Carolinians now that you’re hearing from?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Hari, it’s probably what you’re hearing in other parts of the country from Democrats. They talk about the economy. They want to see jobs.

    A lot of discussion about equality, about how they feel that part of the country, part of America has been left out of the prosperity we have seen in the recovery since the financial collapse. And they — when you talk to voters, they talk about which candidate is going to be better able to deliver relief from what they feel is a growing inequality.

    And they also bring up who can beat the Republican in the fall. They’re already talking about Donald Trump. They have noticed how well he’s doing. They want a candidate who can beat him. And among the candidates — or among the voters I have spoken to, some of them think Hillary Clinton would be the stronger candidate against Donald Trump. Others say that — Bernie Sanders.

    So, I have seen a split in that way, but these voters are very practical in their thinking, and I think that may tell you something about Super Tuesday as well.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Judy Woodruff on the road in Columbia, South Carolina, looking forward to your report tomorrow night. Thanks so much.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you.

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    Four people are dead Thursday, including the suspect, after local authorities responded to several attacks nearby the Excel Industries plant in Hesston, Kansas, a county sheriff said.

    In three separate shooting scenes, an unidentified gunman wounded 14 people, 10 of them in critical condition, said Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton at a news conference Thursday evening. The attacks were not an act of terrorism, he said, adding they appeared to be random.

    Walton said police shot and killed the suspect 26 minutes after initially responding to reports of an active shooter nearby the Excel Industries plant, including a shooting that took place in the facility’s parking lot and two nearby streets.

    Shortly after 5 p.m. CST, there were then multiple reports of the shooter opening fire inside the plant, where an estimated 150 employees were present. Witnesses reported that the shooter was armed with a long gun, Walton said.

    Authorities have a sense of motive, but are withholding that information at this time, Walton said. The suspect was an employee at Excel Industries, a mowing equipment manufacturer.

    Kansas officials responded to news of the shooting on Twitter.

    Hesston is a rural Kansas community of more than 3,700 people, located about 35 miles north of Wichita.

    Thursday’s shooting follows a series of attacks last week by a lone gunman in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that left six people dead and another two wounded.

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    Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrive on stage ahead of the start of the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidates debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 11, 2016. Photo by Darren Hauck/Reuters

    Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidates debate on Feb. 11 in Milwaukee. Photo by Darren Hauck/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton could be the nation’s first female president. Bernie Sanders warns of the role of super PACs in politics. While the two themes have become a big part of their primary contest, Americans view the issues very differently.

    Nineteen percent of Americans say they would be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate if the person is a woman, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, while 64 percent say a candidate’s gender has no bearing on their vote.

    In a sign of Sanders’ potent message on political money, the poll finds that 46 percent say they’re more likely to vote for a candidate who doesn’t want outside groups supporting his or her campaign. Only 13 percent are less likely to vote for a candidate like that and 38 percent says it makes no difference.

    Sanders notes his opposition to super PACs at every event and rails against the influence of “millionaires and billionaires” in the political system. His robust online fundraising operation has drawn more than 4 million contributions since last spring and his average donation of $27 is so well-known among his supporters they often shout out the number when he talks about it during rallies.

    Clinton is more overt about her attempt to break the glass ceiling compared to her 2008 presidential campaign, when she emphasized her experience and toughness. She often tells audiences that she’s not asking for their vote “simply because I’m a woman” but because she would bring the views and perspective of a woman to the White House, pointing to the deal-making bipartisan work by female senators as an example of what it might offer to the country.

    “Hillary Clinton certainly doesn’t expect any woman to vote for her because she’s a woman. She wants people to vote for her because she’s going to make a difference in their lives,” said Clinton’s chief strategist, Joel Benenson, during an appearance Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute.

    The poll suggested that as Clinton navigates the primary against Sanders, she cannot rely heavily on her potential to become the first woman to win the White House. In the first three contests, Sanders has won an overwhelming support among young voters, including women, while Clinton has generated enthusiasm among older voters, including women from the Baby Boomer generation.

    Among Democrats, the poll showed that 28 percent said they’re more likely to vote for a female president, including 12 percent who said they’re much more likely to do so. But about 64 percent of Democrats said it made no difference. The poll also found that women were not significantly more likely than men to say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who is a woman.

    “There are other issues — qualifications, experience. That’s my point of view at this point,” said Maria Valdez-Fisher, 70, a poll respondent from Brownsville, Texas, who said she is volunteering for Clinton’s campaign ahead of the state’s March 1 primary. Citing the importance of electability, Valdez-Fisher said, “I believe she’s the only one who can beat a Republican as opposed to Bernie.”

    For Sanders, his anti-establishment message has touched a nerve at a time when many voters are wary of special interests and the influence of Wall Street. Among Democrats, 42 percent said that refusing outside groups’ support is a positive and 17 percent considered it to be a negative.

    The poll also showed businessman Donald Trump’s staying power, as 56 percent of Republicans surveyed said a candidate’s decision to refuse the support of outside groups would make them more likely to vote for that candidate. Trump has repeatedly argued that his vast wealth allows him to self-fund his campaign and not be beholden to outside interests. The poll found just 8 percent said it would make them less likely to vote for a candidate.

    Joe Barreiro, 61, a Democrat from Joliet, Illinois, said he was leaning toward Sanders in his state’s primary next month in part because the Vermont senator has shunned outside money.

    “It’s out of hand because the amount of the money being spent on elections is unbelievable,” he said. “It’s not a quid pro quo but there are obvious influences when you supply that kind of money to a candidate.”

    The AP-GfK Poll of 1,033 adults was conducted online Feb. 11-15, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

    Respondents were first selected randomly using telephone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn’t otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.

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

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    Chile en nogada photo by Getty ImagesAccording to chef Salvador Fernández, every Mexican dish comes with a story.

    The story behind chiles en nogada, or peppers in a nut sauce, is one of pride and patriotism. The dish was created by the Augustinian nuns of Puebla to celebrate General Augustin Iturbide, who led the country’s fight for independence from Spain. Its vibrant colors — green, white and red — also give a nod to Mexico’s tri-color flag. It is traditionally eaten during the month of September, when Mexico celebrates its Independence Day.

    For Fernandez, a Puebla native, this dish recalls memories of his grandmother and mother and a gaggle of grandkids gathered in the kitchen preparing each step of the labor intensive stuffed peppers.

    READ MORE: This travel site finds you an authentic home-cooked meal abroad

    I spent time making this dish with Fernández, who hosted me through Traveling Spoon, a site that connects home chefs with travelers. Read more about how it works here. Fernández is also a teacher at The Little Mexican Cooking School in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, about a half hour’s drive from the Cancun airport.

    This dish traditionally is made with a particular type of Mexican pecans, which would have been in season when this dish was first created, and not almonds. But it’s been adapted here using almonds that are easily accessible.

    Chiles en Nogada de Almendra
    From chef Salvador Fernández


    8 poblano peppers, or chiles
    About 1 1/3 pounds ground beef
    2 peach
    1 apple
    1 pear
    1 cup diced roman Tomato
    1 white onion
    2 garlic cloves
    3/4 raisins
    1 cinnamon stick
    3 cloves
    1 bay leaf
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 ounce butter
    18 ounces almonds
    1 cup milk
    1/3 cup sour cream
    3.5 ounces goat cheese.
    1 pomegranate
    sea salt and allspice
    orange and lime zest
    olive oil


    1. Toast all the poblano peppers direct to fire; try to “burn” or char all sides of the skin. When this is done, put them in a plastic bag and let it rest for 15 minutes. Doing this we can remove the burned skin faster.

    Toast the chiles on an open flame so they become blackened. Photo by Margaret Myers

    Toast the chiles on an open flame so they become blackened. Photo by Margaret Myers

    2. Using olive oil and butter, start cooking diced white onion and minced garlic cloves for three minutes; continue with ground meat until you get a golden nice color.

    3. Add all the fruits and tomatoes in dices and cook for three more minutes. Add zest of orange and lime to this and keep cooking on medium high heat.

    4. Season this with, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, raisins, cumin, 1/3 cup almonds without the brown skin, sea salt and allspice. Keep cooking 10 more minutes on medium low heat or until the mixture is cooked and looks dry. Reserve.

    5. Open the plastic bag and take out the toasted poblano peppers, remove the skin using a knife. Be careful! You can put holes the pepper’; we want to keep them whole.

    6. With the skin off, make a slice in one side of the pepper and use a spoon to remove seeds. Be careful again, they are very fragile.

    7. Stuff all the peppers with the ground beef and fruits that now is ready. Reserve.

    8. Boil water and then add almonds for 3 minutes to soft the skin. Then using your fingers remove the brown skin of all the almonds, and reserve.

    9. Blend almonds milk, goat cheese, sea salt and allspice and one tablespoon of olive oil, then combine with sour cream. Texture in this sauce must to be tick enough to cover the stuffed peppers. Keep this mixture cold.

    Chef Salvador Fernández puts the finishing touches on his Chiles en Nogada con Almendras. Photo by Margaret Myers

    Chef Salvador Fernández puts the finishing touches on his Chiles en Nogada de Almendra. Photo by Margaret Myers

    10. Place a warm stuffed poblano pepper in the center of a platter, then cover all with the almond and cheese sauce, nogada.

    11. Garnish with pomegranate grains and parsley leafs.

    12. Serve immediately.

    The post Recipe: A chef’s take on Mexico’s most patriotic dish appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    To visit Mexico is to eat your way through Mexico. Pictured here are chiles en nogada, guacamole, homemade salsas and ensalada de nopales. Photo by Margaret Myers

    To visit Mexico is to eat your way through Mexico. Pictured here are chiles en nogada, guacamole, homemade salsas and ensalada de nopales. Photo by Margaret Myers

    Wouldn’t it be cool to travel the world like a TV chef? Like Anthony Bourdain, or that guy on the Travel Channel who eats weird food? OK maybe not him. But Bourdain, he has it all — not only does he get to dine at the world’s most exquisite and exclusive restaurants, he gets to experience the food and the culture from the very people who carry on their country’s culinary traditions.

    Now, thanks to the sharing economy, and sites like Traveling Spoon, you, too, can travel like an irreverent chef.

    Much like Airbnb, Traveling Spoon connects users with hosts abroad — but instead of a bed, you get a home-cooked meal.

    The concept is the brainchild of two passionate travelers and food lovers. And the origin story: co-founder Steph Lawrence’s 2007 family vacation to China. She yearned to break through the tourist trap offerings — the big, gleaming hotels and restaurants catering to Western travelers. Instead, she felt disconnected from the culture she had traveled so far to experience.

    Two years later, determined to immerse herself in that culture, she moved to Beijing.

    “I wanted to explore the culture through food. I wanted to find a Chinese grandmother … I wanted to learn her recipes,” she said.

    But even as a resident, she struggled to make those connections.

    “If it’s so hard for me, just think of someone planning their one-week vacation. In my mind it seemed like such an incredible opportunity.”

    So she mapped out a business plan, registered the URL and moved back to the states.

    Aashi Vel and Steph Lawrence, co-founders of Traveling Spoon. Photo courtesy of Traveling Spoon

    Aashi Vel and Steph Lawrence, co-founders of Traveling Spoon. Photo courtesy of Traveling Spoon

    It wasn’t until 2011 when she was in her first week of business school that she met fellow food lover Aashi Vel, and the two put the plan into action, launching Traveling Spoon in 2013 in just a few cities in India, Thailand and Vietnam. Today, more than 150 host chefs participate in 17 countries. Just last week the site launched in Mexico, adding hosts in Puebla, Puerto Morelos and the capital Mexico City. So now you can experience abuela’s mole and arroz con leche.

    Or a chef’s family recipe for chiles en nogada, which is one of Salvador Fernández’s specialty, especially if you visit him in the fall, around the time of Mexico’s Independence, as I did. I joined Fernández, who is one of Traveling Spoon’s newest hosts, for a meal of this special dish, accompanied by a traditional cactus salad and an array of salsas about as colorful and rich as Mexico itself.

    “I’m one of these guys who thinks you can eat culture,” Fernández told me. “We are eating something that the Aztecs created.”

    Photo by Margaret Myers

    Chef Salvador Fernández prepares salsa in a traditional molcajete, as his wife Maria and their 18-month-old Lionel prepare to set the table for dinner. Photo by Margaret Myers

    Each of the dishes Fernández prepares comes with a story. Chiles en nogada comes with the legacy of Mexican history and pride: the dish was created by the Augustinian nuns of Puebla to celebrate General Augustin Iturbide, who led the country’s fight for independence from Spain.

    For Fernández, a Puebla native who is also a trained chef, this dish recalls memories of his grandmother and mother and a gaggle of grandkids gathered in the kitchen preparing each step of the labor intensive stuffed Poblano peppers. (See his recipe for it here.)

    Photo by Margaret Myers

    Cooking lesson: You have to char the skins of the peppers to make it easy to remove. Photo by Margaret Myers

    “My personal food is about all the memories I have,” he said, as he showed me how to prepare three types of salsa in his home in Puerto Morelos. “Mexican food is in my veins.”

    READ MORE: A chef’s take on Mexico’s most patriotic dish

    Lawrence said these are the best travel experiences, when visitors can engage and interact with locals in their own homes. Her goal is to facilitate these encounters.

    The cost per person is more than a typical meal in a local upscale restaurant — I paid $120 for a meal and a cooking class with Fernández. But remember, you’re also paying for the experience.

    Each host gets vetted through an application process, video interviews, and in-home visits. At first co-founders Lawrence and Vel personally vetted cooks. Now they utilize a team of “ambassadors,” like expats, travelers, food bloggers, who make in-home visits in exchange for a free meal.

    What they’re looking for? A love of their food and love of sharing culture with others.

    Photo by Margaret Myers

    Dinner with Chef Fernández’s family, including his wife Maria and 18-month-old son Lionel. Photo by Margaret Myers

    “That was another thing that was wonderful,” Lawrence said. “We found that so many reasons for hosting were much more than money.” One of her hosts, a mother in Tokyo, told her: “When I grew up I had never met a foreigner. … That’s not what I want from my children. I want them to know about all the different cultures that are out there.”

    Other hosts want to practice English, she said, or are empty nesters and want to share their hospitality with others.

    For chef Fernández, it was clear from the feast he prepared for me.

    “We want to serve all of this like a family,” Fernández said. “Cooking is love.”

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    Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 5.19.41 PM

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    MEGAN THOMPSON: In the opening scenes of “Lamb,” a young boy wanders through breathtaking, green landscapes. It’s not a place most people would recognize as Ethiopia.

    YARED ZELEKE: It’s an unknown and unfortunately misunderstood part of the world.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: “Lamb” is 37-year-old writer and director Yared Zeleke’s first feature film. It’s a tale of leaving home and innocence lost. And an ode to the beauty and cultural richness of Zeleke’s native land, Ethiopia, a nation of 100 million people in East Africa.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: The film landed Zeleke on the Red Carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, the first time an Ethiopian film was selected to be screened at the prestigious event. It also put Zeleke on Variety Magazine’s “10 Screenwriters to Watch” list.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: The film is about this 9-year-old boy, Ephraim, who leaves home to live with his uncle, after his mother has died during a drought. His father needs to find work in Addis Ababa, the country’s capital.

    FATHER (SUBTITLES): I’ll return when it rains.

    EPHRAIM (SUBTITLES): What if it won’t?

    MEGAN THOMPSON: His uncle threatens to slaughter Ephraim’s beloved pet lamb for food. The boy is miserable and alone.  

    EPHRAIM (SUBTITLES): I hate this place.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Zeleke says Ephraim’s story is like his own. He left Ethiopia at age 10, escaping the famine and civil war of the mid-1980’s, for Washington, D.C. to live with his father whom he barely knew.

    YARED ZELEKE: Everybody thought I was the luckiest kid. They called me the “Lucky One.” And America was a golden key. It was a dream. But for me, it was a nightmare because I left behind everyone I knew and loved.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Zeleke wanted the film not only to tell his story, but to reveal Ethiopia’s landscape, rich traditions, and religious diversity.

    YARED ZELEKE: And it’s something you don’t hear from, about Ethiopia or Africa in general, this beautiful way of being.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Zeleke’s 50-person crew, mostly Ethiopian, filmed for 36 days in remote, mountainous areas that lacked electricity.  

    YARED ZELEKE: The local farmers didn’t really know what we were doing. We were, like aliens with strange objects coming to do some unknown experiment. So it took a while to gain their trust.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: All the actors are Ethiopian, but few had ever acted professionally before.  Zeleke auditioned 7,000 people, half of them kids. Some scenes are partly unscripted, like a traditional coffee ceremony.

    VOICE (SUBTITLES): And Hanna’s pregnant with her second already.

    YARED ZELEKE: And I had to just tell them, “You know, forget the camera and have your normal conversation about, you know, your animals or the upcoming holiday and things like that.”

    MEGAN THOMPSON: The film also touches on Ethiopia’s persistent challenges, like drought and famine.

    UNCLE (SUBTITLES): It hasn’t rained for us, either.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Which threaten the country even today. “Lamb” also criticizes aspects of the culture, like traditional gender roles. The uncle mocks Ephraim for liking to cook.

    UNCLE (SUBTITLES): A boy becoming a lady. How did my cousin raise you?

    MEGAN THOMPSON: In other scenes, Ephraim’s teenage cousin Tsion is pressured to marry and have children.

    AUNT (SUBTITLES): It will soon be too late.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Instead, she spends her time reading the newspaper and dreaming of going to college. Tsion eventually runs away, which Zeleke says is the true story of many young Ethiopians who flee home in search of a better life.

    YARED ZELEKE: They defy the gender roles. And, of course, that was intentional on my part because these young kids, for me, are what I hope for the future of Ethiopia, an Ethiopia that’s more educated, that’s more equal among the different genders and that’s more free.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: “Lamb” will screen at film festivals throughout the U.S. this spring and be available in on iTunes, Amazon and on DVD later this year. Zeleke says he hopes his tale about growing up and finding your way will resonate with audiences here, as it has abroad.

    YARED ZELEKE: That’s really part of what I wanna do is to connect us all as an Ethiopian, as an American saying, “You know, there are all these differences. But fundamentally, we’re pretty much the same.”

    The post In ‘Lamb,’ a universal tale in a rarely seen country appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    An aedes aegypti mosquito, a Zika virus carrier, is pictured on a leaf in San Jose, Costa Rica February 1, 2016. Costa Rica has stepped up preventative measures against the Zika virus at ports of entry into the country after the Central American nation registered its first case this week. Juan Carlos Ulate/REUTERS

    An Aedes Aegypti mosquito, a Zika virus carrier, is pictured on a leaf in San Jose, Costa Rica Feb. 1, 2016. Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters

    Of the nine pregnant women in the U.S. with confirmed Zika virus cases, only three of the pregnancies have ended in live births, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention said today. Many of the cases have involved infections during the first trimester, and their outcomes highlight the tough choices that pregnant mothers are facing when dealing with this mosquito-borne virus. Experts from the public health agency also voiced their surprise over the number sexually transmitted cases of Zika virus being reported in the U.S.

    “We didn’t anticipate that we would see this many sexually transmitted cases of Zika,” CDC director Tom Frieden said during a telebriefing.

    In a report issued today, the CDC provided details for 14 possible instances of sexually transmitted Zika that have been investigated since an initial case was spotted in Dallas in early February. So far, Zika virus has only been transmitted sexually from infected males to female partners.

    For the six most advanced investigations, CDC has confirmed viral infection in two women, while another four cases have been deemed “probable.”

    “In all [of these] cases, contact involved vaginal intercourse without a condom and occurred when the male partner was symptomatic or shortly after symptoms resolved,” said CDC epidemiologist Paul Mead. In two of the 14 investigations, Zika virus was ruled out, while the remaining six are ongoing.

    Symptoms of the virus typically last for a few days to one week, but Mead said that it would take months before the CDC had an answer to the question of how long the virus survives in human semen.

    Mead encouraged clinicians and the public to be aware of and follow the CDC’s advice for preventing sexual transmission of the Zika virus. The CDC recommends correct condom usage or abstinence for men returning from Zika-affected areas who have pregnant partners. According to the latest update from the World Health Organization, 31 countries and territories in the Americas are experiencing sustained outbreaks of the mosquito-borne virus.

    The second part of the briefing outlined the outcomes for nine pregnant women in the U.S. who have caught Zika virus during journeys abroad. They picked up these infections while traveling to nine places with local outbreaks of the virus: American Samoa, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Samoa.

    Of the six women who had symptoms during the first trimester, two experienced spontaneous pregnancy losses.

    A flyer that reads, "Questions and answers: Ziza virus infection during pregnancy" is seen posted outside a doctor's office, at a public hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has reported 117 cases of the virus. Alvin Baez/REUTERS

    A flyer that reads, “Questions and answers: Ziza virus infection during pregnancy” is seen posted outside a doctor’s office, at a public hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has reported 117 cases of the virus. Alvin Baez/Reuters

    “There are now a series of miscarriages among women who have been infected with Zika, and as we did report earlier with patients in Brazil, our lab identified Zika in the placental tissues there,” Frieden said.

    However, Frieden emphasized that it’s too early to tell if the virus actually caused the miscarriages and that more research is needed. “It’s important to note that 10 to 20 percent of all pregnancies might end in a spontaneous miscarriage. The fact that [the virus] is present doesn’t mean that it caused them,” Frieden said.

    In the cases of miscarriage, Zika virus appears to have also infiltrated the embryo itself, according to Denise Jamieson, co-leader on the CDC team investigating pregnancy and birth defects related to Zika virus.

    “In the early spontaneous abortions, the products of the conceptions were positive for Zika,” Jamieson said.

    She continued that in the other instances of Zika infection during the first trimester, two women elected to undergo elective pregnancy termination, while one woman delivered an infant with microcephaly and one pregnancy is continuing without complications. So far the only case of Zika-related microcephaly reported by the media occurred in Hawaii, but the CDC said today that they will not release identifiable information for any cases. Two additional women were exposed to Zika virus during their second trimester. One delivered a healthy infant, while the other pregnancy is ongoing. The final U.S. case of Zika infection during pregnancy happened in the third trimester and resulted in the delivery of a healthy infant.

    The CDC continues to beef up surveillance for the virus. Frieden said 20 labs across the U.S. are now equipped to test for “active infections,” or people are carrying the virus. These tests involve detecting the virus’s genetic material.

    The CDC is also expanding the reach of its testing for Zika-specific IgM antibodies, which could extend the time window for spotting the disease.

    “IgM antibodies appear in the blood of a person infected with Zika virus as early as four days after the start of illness and can last for several weeks,” said Julie Villanueva, who is leading the laboratory team for the CDC Zika virus response team. In other words, these IgM antibodies can reveal if a person was infected Zika weeks after the symptoms have disappeared.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted an “emergency use authorization” — an expedited approval — so the IgM antibody test can be immediately used in hospitals throughout the U.S. and its territories. The CDC anticipates that there could be hundreds or thousands of American travelers returning from Zika-affected areas, so such a test could be crucial to monitoring the spread of the disease.

    Studies into whether or not Zika virus is a definitive cause of the birth condition microcephaly and the adult autoimmune disorder Guillain-Barre remain ongoing, Frieden said, though the connection to the latter seems a foregone conclusion.

    “Guillain-Barre is something that we see after many different infections, including West Nile virus,” Frieden said. “We would not be the least bit surprised if Guillain-Barre is definitely associated with Zika.”

    Microcephaly is much more complicated, he continued, given that it is extraordinarily unusual for a pathogen, especially a mosquito-borne one, to cause this birth defect. Yet Frieden understands the need for urgency in finding answers.

    “We understand that the occurrence of a fetal malformation, a fetal loss, a miscarriage or a child with a birth defect can be something that can be devastating to a family,” Frieden said. “That’s why we’re working so hard to understand more about what’s happening and how it can be prevented.”

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    Mass shootings are happening at a faster pace in 2016 than last year, data show.

    So far in 2016, 49 mass shootings in the United States have left 73 people dead and 178 wounded, according to data collected from a Reddit thread that chronicles gun violence through crowdsourcing news reports. The subreddit’s criteria counts a shooting if a minimum of four people are wounded by gunfire. The combined total is up by one-third compared to the same time last year.

    Hesston, Kansas, witnessed the latest shooting after alleged gunman Cedric Ford shot and killed three people before entering an Excel Industries plant. There, he opened fire and wounded 14 more before law enforcement shot and killed him. According to the data, this shooting was the year’s deadliest.

    While this shooting erupted in a workplace, data shows that homes, birthday parties, restaurants and strip clubs elsewhere nationwide weren’t immune to gunfire this year.

    For years, debate has raged around what counts as a mass shooting. For example, some experts may argue that data such as the subreddit thread and the Mass Shooting Tracker dataset adhere to an overly broad definition of mass shooting. But even a 2014 study from the Federal Bureau of Investigations signaled an uptick in U.S. mass shootings in recent years.

    One reason why there’s no clear answer is that the federal government provides no single official tally, the Washington Post reported, adding that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not researched gun violence as an epidemic since 1996 when Congress threatened to strip the agency of funding if it did so.

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    LANSING, Mich. -- Two former Michigan lawmakers were charged Friday with felony misconduct in office, the state attorney general announced, after their extramarital affair snowballed into a political scandal when one of them concocted a bizarre cover story about being caught with a male prostitute. Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Former Republican state Rep. Todd Courser faces three counts of misconduct and perjury for lying to lawmakers under oath. Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    LANSING, Mich. — Two former Michigan lawmakers were charged Friday with felony misconduct in office, the state attorney general announced, after their extramarital affair snowballed into a political scandal when one of them concocted a bizarre cover story about being caught with a male prostitute.

    Attorney General Bill Schuette said former Republican state Rep. Todd Courser faces three counts of misconduct in office, felonies that are each punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Schuette said Courser also was charged with perjury for lying to lawmakers under oath, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Former Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat faces two charges of misconduct.

    “When you’re elected to serve in any public office, you receive a special responsibility from the people. It’s called trust. It’s called judgment. It’s called honesty,” Schuette, also a Republican, said at a news conference. “But Representatives Courser and Gamrat, sadly, failed to serve their constituents in an honorable fashion. And worse yet, we allege … that they broke the law.”

    The charges were filed Friday in Ingham County District Court.

    “I’m looking forward to reviewing the charge,” Gamrat’s attorney Michael Nichols said in a text message. “I think they should get ready to prove their case.” Courser or his attorney did not respond to messages seeking comment.

    According to Schuette’s office, the two freshman lawmakers and self-proclaimed social conservatives engaged “in a pattern of corrupt misconduct while holding office.”

    One of the misconduct charges against Courser stems from ordering a staffer to send an email to GOP activists falsely stating that Courser had been caught with a male prostitute “behind a prominent Lansing nightclub.” The email was intended to make his affair with Gamrat appear less believable and allow Courser to claim he had been blackmailed. A second misconduct charge alleges that Courser lied to Michigan House of Representatives investigators as the scandal unfolded.

    The third misconduct charge related to Courser authorizing a staffer to forge the lawmaker’s signature on proposed House bills, while the most serious charge of perjury is also unrelated to the sex scandal. It alleges that Courser lied under oath about authorizing staff to forge his signature.

    Gamrat is charged with lying to investigators as they probed for potential misconduct, and also for authorizing a staffer to forge her signature on proposed legislation.

    “I’m looking forward to reviewing the charge. I think Bill Schuette expects that she doesn’t have any fight left,” Gamrat’s attorney, Michael Nichols, said in a text message. “I think they should get ready to prove their case.”

    The affair emerged last summer and quickly developed into a political scandal. After an aide to Courser and Gamrat was fired in July, he gave The Detroit News a secret audio recording of Courser demanding that he send the email about a male prostitute to “inoculate the herd,” an apparent reference to Courser’s conservative supporters. The aide said the plot was unethical and showed a “callous lack of respect” for the public, according to the investigation. It also said Gamrat was aware of the email, contrary to her assertions.

    Courser resigned on Sept. 11, hours before he was likely to be kicked out of the GOP-led House. Gamrat was formally expelled from the House the same day. Both tried to make a political comeback by running in special Republican primaries for their seats, but lost last November.

    Michigan House Minority Leader Tim Greimel said House Speaker Kevin Cotter and other Republicans had wanted to sweep the misconduct under the rug by expelling them, but Democrats had demanded a criminal investigation.

    “The results of their investigation prove that was the right move,” Greimel said.

    Schuette’s office said the two lawmakers must surrender by Wednesday or they will be arrested.

    “No one, no one is beyond the reach of the law. Not even those who make laws,” Schuette said.

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    The IRS said 390,000 more taxpayer accounts may have compromised than the 334,000 it warned about a year and a half ago. Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    The IRS said 390,000 more taxpayer accounts may have compromised than the 334,000 it warned about a year and a half ago. Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — The IRS said Friday that the number of taxpayers whose tax information may have been stolen by computer hackers now exceeds 700,000 — more than double the agency’s previous estimate.

    The tax collecting agency said 390,000 more taxpayer accounts may have compromised than the 334,000 it warned about a year and a half ago. The breach was first discovered in May 2015, and the increase first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

    The sensitive information can be used for identity theft or to claim fraudulent tax refunds.

    The thieves accessed a system called “Get Transcript,” where taxpayers can get tax returns and other filings from previous years. In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer.

    The IRS says it is immediately moving to notify taxpayers, offering identity theft protection services and giving them access to a program that assigns them special ID numbers that they must use to file their tax returns.

    “The IRS is committed to protecting taxpayers on multiple fronts against tax-related identity theft,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We are moving quickly to help these taxpayers.”

    In addition, hackers have tried to access almost 600,000 additional IRS accounts in an attempt to gain private information on taxpayers.

    The IRS has earlier said that agency investigators believe the identity thieves are part of a sophisticated criminal operation based in Russia.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The White House was rocking last night with a tribute to the music of Ray Charles. President Obama even took the microphone.

    Here’s a peek at the evening.


    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hope you had a great time. Thank you!


    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can tune in tonight for the entire show, “In Performance at the White House.” That’s on most PBS stations.

    An update to a story that aired last night.

    Tijuana, Mexico’s police chief, Alejandro Lares, resigned today after he was asked to leave by city officials. This comes one day after an investigation aired here on the “NewsHour” by public TV station KPBS looking at the city’s strategy, arrests and police raids of homeless migrants.

    On the “NewsHour” online: For food and travel lovers, the ultimate experience is being able to eat like a local. Now, thanks to the sharing economy, you can. Much like Airbnb, the site Traveling Spoon connects travelers with hosts, but, instead of a bed, you get a home-cooked meal. We visited a home chef in Mexico recently to try it out. You can read about that and find a recipe for his famous stuffed peppers.

    And see how the presidential candidates stack up when it comes to the fastest growing expense in the nation’s health care budget. That’s prescription drug costs. We have a report from Kaiser Health News on our home page.

    All that and more is on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.

    And a reminder about some upcoming programs from our PBS colleagues.

    Gwen Ifill is preparing for “Washington Week,” which airs later. Here’s a preview:

    GWEN IFILL: It’s fair to say nobody saw this week coming. The Republican Senate threw down the gauntlet at the Democratic White House on Guantanamo and the Supreme Court. And the gloves came off, dramatically and noisily, in the Republican race for the presidential nomination. Who will blink? Not sure I have an answer, but we will try to explain how it’s come to this tonight on “Washington Week” — Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On “PBS NewsHour Weekend” Saturday: why some Iranian-Americans fear they could be in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

    JAMAL ABDI, National Iranian American Council: An average Iranian-American who has family in Iran, unless they’re willing to spend all the time to do due diligence, there’s nothing they can do that doesn’t potentially violate the sanctions.

    RICHARD NEPHEW, Brookings Institution: Sanctions are only as good as the psychological fear they create in people engaged in illicit conduct. You want them to be afraid of breaking the rules.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s tomorrow night on “PBS NewsHour Weekend.”

    And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff.

    Have a great weekend. Thank you, and good night.

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    An Oscar statue overlooks a Chris Rock poster at the entrance to the Dolby Theatre as preparations continue for the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California February 25, 2016. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Academy Awards will be given out this Sunday. But instead of the nominees, much of the focus this year is on, as the hashtag on Twitter has it, Oscars so white, and Hollywood’s lack of diversity.

    Jeffrey Brown has more.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Richard Pryor at the Academy Awards in 1977:

    RICHARD PRYOR, Comedian: I’m here to explain why no black people will ever be nominated for anything.


    JEFFREY BROWN: Chris Rock 28 years later.

    CHRIS ROCK, Comedian: We have four black nominees tonight. So, great. It’s kind of like the Def Oscar Jam tonight.


    JEFFREY BROWN: In some ways, Hollywood’s lack of diversity is an old story, but as Rock prepares to host his second Oscar ceremony, and for a second straight year, no actors of color were nominated, the stakes and anger have risen, including calls for a boycott of the event.

    JADA PINKETT SMITH, Actress: I will not be at the Academy Awards, and I won’t be watching.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The Academy of Motion Pictures, the group that oversees and votes on nominations, announced new rules to develop a younger, more diverse Oscar voting pool, the aim, double the number of female and minority members by 2020.

    But many see the problem as much deeper.

    SPIKE LEE, Director: It goes further than the Academy Awards. It has to go back to the gatekeepers.


    SPIKE LEE: Yes, the people who have the green-light vote.

    IDRIS ELBA, Actor: Talent is everywhere, but opportunity isn’t. Talent can’t reach opportunity unaided.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Idris Elba, whose performance in “Beasts of No Nation” was widely praised, recently spoke of roadblocks he faced early in his career.

    IDRIS ELBA: I realized I could only play so many best friends or gang leaders. Right? I knew that I wasn’t going to land a leading role. I knew there wasn’t enough imagination, not yet, for the industry to be seeing me as a lead.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In recent years, television has presented more diverse programming, hit shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “Jane the Virgin.”

    And just last week, ABC made Channing Dungey, who helped develop shows like “Black-ish,” the first African-American to head a network. But it was only last year that Viola Davis became the first black woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama series.

    She spoke of the obstacles.

    VIOLA DAVIS, Actress: You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.

    JEFFREY BROWN: How host Chris Rock will address all of this is now part of the fun and seriousness of Sunday night’s ceremony.

    CHRIS ROCK: Let’s do this.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And we look at the situation and the potential way forward now with Darnell Hunt, professor of sociology at UCLA and co-author of an annual report on Hollywood diversity, Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, which advocates for more inclusive representation of Latinos in film and TV, and Sharon Waxman, founder of The Wrap, a news site covering the entertainment and media industries.

    And welcome to all three of you.

    I want to start with you, Darnell Hunt.

    And help us first briefly define the problem and what you see as its source.

    DARNELL HUNT, University of California, Los Angeles: Well, what we’re dealing with is a disconnect between, on the one hand, the increasing diversity of American society — we’re almost 40 percent minority — on the other hand, the fact that, stubbornly, the industry just can’t seem to make diverse projects.

    In our study, we find that, on every front, people of color and women are underrepresented, behind the camera, in front of the camera. And yet we also see, from audience consumption patterns, that people of color, diverse audiences, crave diverse content.

    So we have a situation where the people who are running the industry, and largely white males, aren’t in a position to make the types of projects that people want. And that’s the fundamental issue. It’s trying to figure out how to bring more people in the room, how to get more voices and perspective into the process.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so Alex Nogales, tell us how it plays out. You work sometimes with the experiences of Latinos and others, what kind of roles they get or don’t get, what kind — what they run up against as writers or Directors.

    ALEX NOGALES, National Hispanic Media Coalition: Well, they can’t even get in.

    The opportunities are not there. As Darnell just said, the problem is that you have 95 percent whites in leadership positions at all of the studios, the six studios here in town. And you have a majority of them being males. So, they rose up in the ranks of this whole thing called film, and they have made their alliances, they have made their friendships, they have made their relationships.

    And so when it’s time to call for a new product, that’s who they call in, other people that are like them, that are white, that are male, and so forth. And the reflection then doesn’t include us. The jobs are not there because the people at the very top are not making the decisions that are ones of inclusion.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, Sharon Waxman, is that the industry you see, that you cover every day? Is it about who you know? Is it about overt racism or sexism? Is it all about money? What?

    SHARON WAXMAN, The Wrap: Well, I think it’s worse than that because you have a culturally very liberal entertainment industry, famously so, in which people are politically very much to the left. You see that in some of the programming choices and the messages, whether it’s Norman Lear for so many years and the television that he wrote that heavily influenced American society in the ’70s, or whether you see that with “Will & Grace” or shows like — shows like that that push the needle forward on social issues all the time.

    But it is true that the issue of decision-makers being primarily white and male, with some notable exceptions, has been the case. I do think that this is essentially a small community of people who come up together, who call on their friends. If you are in a studio job and you leave a studio job, you become a producer, and your buddy then calls you up and asks you for your latest pitches.

    So it has to be more thoughtful, significant and proactive effort to change that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so, Darnell Hunt, as a sociologist, you are studying individuals within institutions. Right? And this is a primary example. Do you see successes? Do you see places where there has been progress made, potential models?

    DARNELL HUNT: Yes, I think there are lots of models.

    The successes, though, unfortunately, are the exceptions to the rule. Business as usual in the industry, as our report shows, our 2016 report shows, is more of the same. It’s under-representation for people of color and women.

    ABC’s move, I think, was a very bold move, but it made business sense. This woman had been the executive vice president for drama development. And she was the person who’s responsible for a lot of those Shonda Rhimes shows that are doing really well on ABC, as well as some of their other prime-time dramas.

    So, it just made sense for her to become head of that network because of the network she has and the connections she has with the creative community. And it’s forward-thinking. It’s looking at where America is going. And I think a lot of ABC’s programming kind of gestures toward that present and that future.

    So, I think that other networks and studios need to get into this game as well.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Alex Nogales, continue that forward thinking for us, if you would. When you go to the studio, what are you saying? What are you asking for? What’s the pitch?

    ALEX NOGALES: In the year 2000-2001, the Multi-Ethnic Media Coalition signed memorandums of understanding with ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. And for us, that’s a model that we’re going to utilize with the six studios.

    And the reason for that is because it’s working. It is working slowly, but it’s working.

    JEFFREY BROWN: What does it say? Tell us specifically, what does that mean?

    ALEX NOGALES: That they’re going to diversify their work force both in front and in back of camera. They’re going to give you — they’re going to give us the actual numbers of who is working in front and in back of camera, and that we are going to be partners in this enterprise of diversifying the work force.

    It’s working on television slowly, but it’s working. Now we have to make it work as well in film.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, Sharon Waxman, to the extent that this is an old issue, is it possible to tell yet how much of an impact all the most recent kind of anger and uproar has had or might have?


    So, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which governs the Oscars, has adopted very significant changes in the wake of this latest protest. They are going to try to double the number of minorities and women in the Academy voting membership by the year 2020, and they’re phasing out people who haven’t been active in the Academy — or in the industry — sorry — for the past 10 years.

    I don’t know if that’s going to really make the change that they need. This really means they need to admit a lot of people of color and a lot of women over the next five years. You need to find those qualified people. People do want to see change, but there is no stakeholder with power within the industry that has the wherewithal to drive that change.

    So, they always end up being kind of window dressing. So, I would be curious to see. I would be — hope, for Alex Nogales’ sake and for all of our sakes, that those agreements that he signed really do lead to substantive change.

    Now, I do think that public shaming is not a bad way to do that, which is what has happened this year. But, ultimately, these are media companies that answer to their shareholders, so we can’t — we have to make an economic argument for that. And I think there is a strong economic argument for that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Darnell Hunt, just a brief last word. Are you hopeful as this point as we prepare to watch the Oscars?

    DARNELL HUNT: Well, you know, I’m a cautious optimist. I think we have to keep applying the pressure.

    There is no magic bullet. We have to approach this from every front. The economic argument is a strong one. Our study shows inconclusive — I mean, shows conclusively that, you know, diversity sells.

    Audiences of color are craving that content, and shows that are diverse, on average, do better on ratings and movies do better at the box office. So, we just have to keep amassing the data. It’s there, and it’s only going to become more profound as time goes on, as the population becomes more diverse.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Darnell Hunt, Alex Nogales, and Sharon Waxman, thank you, all three, very much.

    DARNELL HUNT: Thank you.

    ALEX NOGALES: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can find more of our coverage of this year’s films on our Art Beat page. That’s at PBS.org/NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: An election was also center stage in Iran today. Voters streamed to the polls in a high-stakes contest with far-reaching consequences.

    Turnout was so heavy that voting was extended more than five hours past the original closing time.

    Hari Sreenivasan has the story.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s an election that could shape Iran for years to come. Millions of people crowded into some 53,000 polling stations.

    WOMAN (through interpreter): One shouldn’t be indifferent. I vote for the future of our country and for a higher level of our welfare.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: They’re deciding who wins the 290 seats in Parliament, plus the 88 positions in the Assembly of Experts, a group of clerics that chooses the country’s supreme leader.

    There were multiple appeals today to get out the vote. The current supreme leader, 76-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been in power since 1989, and represents conservative hard-liners.

    AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, Supreme Leader, Iran (through interpreter): We have enemies who are eying us greedily. Turnout in the elections should be as such that our enemy will be disappointed and will lose hope. People should be observant and vote with open eyes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: A vetting panel, appointed partly by Khamenei, had blocked thousands of reformist candidates from running for Parliament, and about 80 percent of those running for the Assembly of Experts.

    But the more-moderate forces, led by President Hassan Rouhani, hoped to chip away at hard-line dominance.

    PRESIDENT HASSAN ROUHANI, Iran (through interpreter): Today, our friends and enemies from around the world are gazing at Islamic Iran. I have no doubt that the Iranian nation, like always, will create another epic turnout at this very sensitive juncture in time.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The vote is, to some degree, a referendum on Rouhani’s promises of greater freedoms and economic reform.

    It’s also the first election since the nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers signed last summer. Under the agreement, Iran is curbing its nuclear program, in exchange for international sanctions relief.

    Just today, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog found Tehran is mostly complying with the deal so far. The election outcome is also being closely watched in Washington. Full election returns are not expected until early next week.

    Joining me now for more on the Iranian elections and what may come next is Thomas Erdbrink. He’s the Tehran bureau chief for The New York Times.

    Thomas, we have heard several headlines today that the polls have been full of people, the lines have been long and that they’re extending voting. What have you seen on the ground?

    THOMAS ERDBRINK, The New York Times: That’s definitely what I have seen as well, especially in the more middle-class areas of Tehran.

    You should know that Tehran is a city of 12 million people, has a lot of different areas, but up in the north and the west of the city, you could see long lines at each polling station almost throughout the day, from the morning all the way up to the evening. There were four extensions in some areas, so people over there really wanted to go out and vote.

    But when you would go down to the south of Tehran, where more poorer people live, you would see a different picture, half-empty polling stations, maybe half-a-dozen people around casting their ballots. So, there was a big divide in Tehran.

    And, of course, I have no idea what it, nationwide, looked like, but at least one thing is for sure. There was a very high turnout among Tehran’s middle classes, the same people who have supported President Rouhani in the past and are clearly, by voting in this parliamentary elections, also trying to support him now.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: We have also heard that this is not — this is certainly not like an American election, and that there has already been a pre-selection of who is allowed to run for many of the open seats.

    THOMAS ERDBRINK: Well, of course, it’s always hard to compare elections worldwide, but, yes, it is definitely true.

    There is a clerical council that is half elected by the people indirectly and half appointed by Supreme Leader Khamenei. And they have disqualified around 6,000 out of 12,000 candidates for these two elections that the Iranians have been voting for today on Friday.

    These people are the gatekeepers of Iran’s electoral process. And what they look at is if someone is loyal to the principles of the ideology of the Islamic Republic, if you will, and also if he or she is a good Muslim.

    But, of course, this also gives space for certain political groups not to have the presence that they would like to have in the political process. And this is what happens to the country’s reformists, who saw thousands of their candidates actually being disqualified, but, at the same time, their candidates that were allowed to run today called upon people to massively go out and vote, which their supporters actually did.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Even with these constraints that the clerical council puts on this process, what are the moderates or the reformists hoping to accomplish?

    THOMAS ERDBRINK: This election is just a stop in the long road of fighting, if you will, political fighting between people we could refer to as reformists vs., let’s say, hard-liners.

    Now, this fight has been going on for decades, and the reformers in the last 10 years, in all honesty, have almost lost every time. Now, what they have been trying to achieve is to make sure that as many of their supporters, of the reformer supporters came out and voted today in order to prevent these hard-liners from keeping their grip on the Parliament.

    So, what reformist leaders have been telling me is actually, any seat we can win from the hard-liners is a victory for us.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Thomas Erdbrink, Tehran bureau chief of The New York Times, thanks so much for joining us.

    THOMAS ERDBRINK: Thanks for having me.

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    Members of the FBI's evidence response team search the perimeter of Excel Industries on Feb. 26, 2016 in Hesston, Kan. Cedric Ford, an Excel employee, allegedly entered the factory and killed three people and wounded over a dozen others a day before. (Travis Heying/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)

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

    On the “NewsHour” tonight: a wild ride on the road to the White House. Governor Chris Christie endorses Donald Trump, after a rough night for the Republican front-runner on the debate stage.

    Plus, my report from South Carolina, as Democrats ready to vote tomorrow.

    Then, in Iran, voters turn out in droves for the first major election since the controversial nuclear deal.

    Also ahead, it’s going to be a very white Oscars this weekend. What will it take to bring more diversity to the silver screen?

    IDRIS ELBA, Actor: I realized I could only play so many best friends or gang leaders. Right? I knew that I wasn’t going to land a leading role. I knew there wasn’t enough imagination, not yet, for the industry to be seeing me as a lead.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And it’s Friday. Mark Shields and “The National Review”‘s Ramesh Ponnuru are here to analyze the week’s news.

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


    JUDY WOODRUFF: The small town of Hesston, Kansas, is now the latest left to cope with a shooting rampage. Authorities today identified Cedric Ford as the gunman who yesterday shot three people to death and wounded 15. They said he’d just been ordered to stay away from someone who sought legal protection against him.

    Within 90 minutes of that order, Ford opened fire on random vehicles, stormed into a lawn mower parts factory, where he was employed, and gunned down co-workers. It ended when he was killed by police.

    T. WALTON, Harvey County Sheriff: That particular officer is a hero out of all this. Understand, there’s probably 200 or 300 more people in that building while this is going on. This man wasn’t going to stop shooting. The only reason he stopped shooting was because that officer stopped the shooter.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Kansas incident came less than a week after an Uber driver killed six people in a mass shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

    Heavy new airstrikes blasted rebel targets in Syria today in the run-up to a scheduled cease-fire. Activists said Russian planes carried out the attacks. A barrage of explosions cracked the skies over suburbs of Damascus. Monitoring groups said the area was hit 40 times and dozens more struck north of Aleppo.

    Despite the onslaught, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Moscow that his government is committed to enforcing the truce deal.

    PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): From midnight Damascus time on February 27, Syrian forces, Russian forces and the American-led coalition will halt all military actions against the groups that have declared their readiness to cease fire. Military actions against them will not be conducted.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Islamic State group and the Nusra Front, linked to al-Qaida, are not parties to the cease-fire. But a special U.N. envoy said today that if the truce largely holds, peace talks will resume on March 7.

    This was Election Day in Ireland, and anti-austerity parties hoped to gain ground. Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his center-right party are seeking a second five-year term. But there are signs that his coalition may lose its majority, leaving a hung Parliament. Ballot-counting will begin Saturday.

    Dow Chemical will pay $835 million to settle a long-running lawsuit, now that the Supreme Court has lost its conservative majority. The company said today the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia makes it less certain of winning class-action cases. A lower court convicted Dow of fixing prices for polyurethane, a widely used industrial chemical.

    World soccer’s governing body, FIFA, has elected a new leader to lead it out of scandal. A Swiss candidate, Gianni Infantino, was tapped by a majority today in a vote in Zurich. The delegates also adopted reforms to make FIFA more accountable.

    Infantino said he wants to start anew.

    GIANNI INFANTINO, President, FIFA: We will restore the image of FIFA, and the respect of FIFA, and everyone in the world will applaud us and will applaud all of you for what we will do in FIFA in the future. We have to be proud of FIFA, and everyone has to be proud of FIFA and they have to be proud of what we will do together.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The new president replaces Sepp Blatter, also Swiss, who resigned amid charges of massive corruption. Dozens of soccer officials around the world have been indicted, and FIFA is reviewing how Russia and Qatar won the right to host the next two World Cups.

    The United Nations is out with a warning that two-fifths of bees, butterflies, and related pollinating species are heading toward extinction. The warning follows more than two years of research around the globe. It cites a range of factors, ranging from pesticide use to climate change to habitat loss.

    Wall Street finished this Friday without much momentum. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 57 points to close just below 16640. The Nasdaq rose eight points, and the S&P 500 slipped three. But for the week, all three indexes were about 1.5 percent higher.

    And a 23-year-old Hawaiian man is $75,000 richer after winning a rare giant wave surfing contest in Hawaii. John John Florence was one of 29 brave souls tackling the massive waves Thursday off Oahu. The contest is held only rarely, when waves reach 40 feet in height. Yesterday, some of them topped 60 feet.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the crucial African-American vote in the Democratic election; Mark Shields and Ramesh Ponnuru give their take on today’s surprise endorsement of Donald Trump; Iran’s elections, a key test for the moderates in the wake of the nuclear deal; solutions for the Oscars’ diversity problem; plus, a presidential serenade.

    The post News Wrap: Three dead in Kansas lawn-mower factory shooting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with his former rival for the Republican presidential nomination, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), after Christie endorsed Trump's candidacy for president at a campaign rally in Fort Worth, Texas February 26, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Stone    TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX28RLN

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Republican presidential race took another unexpected plot twist today, with Donald Trump collecting a major endorsement from a former rival. It came just a few days before the all-important Super Tuesday contests.

    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), New Jersey: I am proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump for president of the United States.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In a single stroke, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie put Donald Trump back on the offensive after his rivals scored points in last night’s debate.

    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: We don’t need another Washington politician in the White House, do we?


    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: Do we need a first-term United States senator in the White House?


    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: We need a first-class president, and we’re going to have it in Donald Trump.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Republican front-runner then took his turn, blasting both of the senators still in the race, first Marco Rubio.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Let’s talk about our lightweight senator from Florida who’s losing big in the polls.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: And then Ted Cruz of Texas.

    DONALD TRUMP: You know, I have had a lot of difficulties with Ted, because he does lies. You know, I have dealt with much tougher. A guy like Rubio is a baby, but a guy like Ted is tougher.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Rubio had spent much of his morning rally in Dallas arguing that billionaire Trump is deceiving working-class voters.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Republican Presidential Candidate: You all have friends who are thinking about voting for Donald Trump. Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.


    SEN. MARCO RUBIO: He’s going to Americans that are struggling, Americans that are hurting, and he’s implying, “I’m fighting for you because I’m a tough guy.” A tough guy? This guy inherited $200 million. He’s never faced any struggle.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And in Nashville, Tennessee, Cruz questioned Trump’s conservative credentials.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: Donald Trump said: I can be a totally different person after I’m elected. I can be — this is Donald speaking — the most politically correct person on earth.

    Let me tell you something, Sean. The day after I’m elected president, I’m the exact same person that I am today.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: Those were extensions of the charges and countercharges that lit up last night’s Houston debate, with Rubio and Cruz trying to slow Trump’s momentum, first on immigration.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO: You’re the only person on this stage that has ever been fined for hiring people to work on your projects illegally. You hired some workers from Poland

    DONALD TRUMP: No, no, I’m the only one on the stage that’s hired people. You haven’t hired anybody.


    SEN. MARCO RUBIO: In fact, some of the people…


    DONALD TRUMP: And by the way, I have hired — and by the way, I have hired tens of thousands of people over at my job. You’ve hired nobody.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Yes, you’ve hired a thousand from another country…

    DONALD TRUMP: You’ve had nothing but problems with your credit cards, et cetera. So don’t tell me about that.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Let me just say — let me finish the statement. This is important.

    DONALD TRUMP: You haven’t hired one person, you liar.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO: He hired workers from Poland. And he had to pay a million dollars or so in a judgment from…

    DONALD TRUMP: That’s wrong. That’s wrong. Totally wrong.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Cruz also jumped in, criticizing Trump for donating to senators known as the Gang of Eight, who led an immigration reform effort.

    SEN. TED CRUZ: Donald funded the Gang of Eight. If you look at the eight members of the Gang of Eight, Donald gave over $50,000 to three Democrats and two Republicans. And when you’re funding open border politicians, you shouldn’t be surprised when they fight for open borders.

    DONALD TRUMP: I have had an amazing relationship with politicians — with politicians both Democrat, Republican, because I was a businessman.

    You don’t have one Republican senator, not one. You don’t have the endorsement of one Republican senator, and you work with these people. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the end, Trump waved away both rivals, calling Rubio a choke artist and Cruz a liar.

    But despite the strident words from all sides, the front-runner insisted he can expand and unify the party.

    DONALD TRUMP: I will do very well with Hispanics. But I’m telling you also, I’m bringing people, Democrats over, and I’m bringing independents over, and we’re building a much bigger, much stronger Republican Party.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: He gets another chance to prove that Super Tuesday night, with more than 600 delegates up for grabs.

    But, first, Democrats in South Carolina will have their say in a primary tomorrow. We will take a close look at a vital voting bloc there after the news summary.

    The post Christie endorses Trump after contentious debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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