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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: From a tough Democratic debate in Flint, and strong showing by Ted Cruz in weekend voting, it’s a perfect time for Politics Monday, with Tamara Keith of NPR and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report.

    So, I happened to do a little program on the weekend. There was some politics. There was some news.

    Let’s start with the debate last night. This was probably the first time I have really seen Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton go at each other as directly.

    TAMARA KEITH, NPR: Yes, it was an intense debate. They came armed and ready.

    Bernie Sanders is — he has a lot at stake. There is a primary in Michigan on Tuesday, and if he can’t win and win big, he’s going to have a tough time. And so he came ready to hit Hillary Clinton hard on trade. He believes that that’s a really strong area for him, because she supported trade deals when her husband was president. And those trade deals, he says, led to the loss of jobs.

    Well, she was ready, too, and she came ready to hit him on the auto bailout. She had sort of a narrow argument, but basically said he voted against the bailout bills that included a bailout for the auto industry. Bernie Sanders takes issue with it. But it led to some fireworks, and it led to Sanders — during the debate, Clinton interrupted him, and he said, wait, no, I have got to finish.

    And that happened a couple of times, and Twitter blew up over it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right.

    Also, Amy, besides trying to score points on social media and correct each other on what actually happened on social media, they’re trying to court blue-collar workers in places in the Rust Belt. They’re also trying to go after African-American votes. Are they effective about this?

    AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Well, it’s funny.

    Compared to the Republican debates, which you have no idea what’s going to happen any time you tune in, the Democratic debates have become somewhat predictable. We know which lines each candidate is going to use. Hillary Clinton is going to go after Bernie Sanders on guns. Yes, it was a little different that she went after him on the auto bailout.

    Bernie Sanders is going to talk about Wall Street and attack her from the left on those issues. And the results in state after state are somewhat predictable, too, Bernie Sanders doing well among white voters, doing well among independent voters, not as well as among African-Americans, not as well as among Democrats.

    And we’re seeing that. The latest poll out of Michigan shows the same lines being drawn. So, I would be very surprised if Bernie Sanders was able to do well in Michigan, and if he does lose, it will be for the same reasons that he’s been unsuccessful in states going — well, pretty much every state, except for New Hampshire.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Let’s talk a little bit about this notion that Ted Cruz has made a surge over this last weekend.

    He picked up two states. Donald Trump had two states. Not all states are created equal. Not all voting processes are the same, right? But is this the Republican establishment pushing back against Donald Trump in any sort of concerted manner? And there is also some question on, is Ted Cruz the counterweight for those Republicans who are on the sideline right now?

    TAMARA KEITH: You would be hard-pressed to say that the Republican establishment is rooting for Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz is not a friend of the Republican establishment.

    But what does appear to have maybe happened, and we will know more after more voting has happened, is that Donald Trump’s momentum, Donald Trump’s, like, there is no way anybody is ever going to be able to stop him kind of momentum has possibly slowed.

    But, really, we need some more data points, and especially with Donald Trump, the landscape is littered with people who have made predictions about Donald Trump slowing down.

    AMY WALTER: Including some people sitting here.


    AMY WALTER: So, I will take that.

    We have had a lot of the theories about this race. We have had a lot of the theories. There was the Marco Rubio theory, that he was the one who are going to be able to stop Donald Trump, and he had a terrible weekend.

    Actually, it started as the Ted Cruz theory from — in the beginning because of the way the calendar was situated. Those Southern states were supposed to help Ted Cruz. South Carolina was going to be his launching pad. That didn’t work. We have had a lot of theories. They haven’t really come true. Michigan is going to be important, not just for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, but also to see if somebody can stop Trump in a state like that.

    The warning, though, is, the establishment candidate in 2012, Mitt Romney, barely won Michigan. Rick Santorum came up very close, Rick Santorum running as a populist that year. So I think we’re going to see a very being challenge going forward.

    Look, Donald Trump has momentum right now. He doesn’t have all the delegates that he needs, but the stronger he looks, the harder it is to beat him.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: There is also this tension that is playing out of the parties vs. the people. And it’s on both sides and it’s kind of inverted. Right?

    On the Democratic side, you see supporters of Bernie Sanders saying, what’s all this business with superdelegates? We have this popular candidate and really he should be the one that is in the lead right now, not Hillary. On the other side, you have got talk of the possibility of the Republican Party maybe adjusting the rules a bit that could increase the chances for a rival of Donald Trump. Right?

    So there is this idea from both sides that maybe the parties don’t represent us in the process.

    TAMARA KEITH: And let’s just say that if the Republican Party were to step in and somehow magically make an establishment candidate come out, or if superdelegates decided the race on the Democratic side, people would go nuts.

    This election is all about the anti-establishment. It’s all about telling party elites that they haven’t been listening. And so it wouldn’t be pretty for either party if that happened. On the superdelegates with Bernie Sanders, we have to note that he is also trailing in pledged delegates. The superdelegates, he’s way behind, but if you throw out the superdelegates and just look at the pledged delegates, he’s down by almost 200 delegates.

    Delegates are awarded proportionally on the Democrat side, which means you get roughly a percentage based on the percentage you get in the polls. And as a result of that, it will be very hard for him to make that up.

    AMY WALTER: Yes.

    No, he’s done very well in caucus states and in states that are more homogeneous. Again, breaking out of that mold is going to be very important for him, and thus far we haven’t seen it.

    On the Republican side, this is frustrating to many in the Republican Party, the idea that Donald Trump could be their nominee. But to thwart the process by changing rules and trying to come at the last minute during the convention with literally a change in the rules that says you don’t need to get X-number of states in order to get the nomination, I think, would cause way too much havoc.

    Look, there is enough stress right now among Republicans that if they do disassociate or distance themselves from Trump, that his supporters, his voters are going to go away, they are going to lose that energy and enthusiasm. Balancing those things, people who dislike Trump immensely with the ones who are turning out in rallies for him has been something that the Republicans have struggled with, they will continue to struggle witness.

    As I have said before, I think this is a tipping point for the Republican Party, who they’re going to be, what their standard-bearer is going to look like, who is going to line up behind Donald Trump, who is going to be opposed to him. It is going to be messy for a very long time, and I don’t think that the nomination fight is going to make it any easier.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report, Tamara Keith of NPR, thanks so much.

    AMY WALTER: Thank you.

    TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.

    The post Can GOP and Democratic competitors continue to gain traction? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Florida Senator Marco Rubio addresses the crowd while campaigning in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, March 5, 2016. REUTERS/Alvin Baez - RTS9HKL

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: The presidential hopefuls are pointing to a new round of voting tomorrow, with the leaders hoping to pad their leads, and rivals hoping to close the gap.

    With that in mind, all of the candidates were on the road today.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Who is going to win North Carolina?

    AUDIENCE: Trump!

    DONALD TRUMP: Right?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Donald Trump spent his day down South, where he’s won eight states and the bulk of his 384 delegates so far.

    DONALD TRUMP: Uh-oh. We have another one. Get him out of here.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Along with big crowds, the Republican front-runner again faced protesters.

    DONALD TRUMP: Go home to mommy. Tell her to tuck you in bed.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And he still has to contend with Ted Cruz as well. The Texas senator is now within 100 delegates of Trump, after scoring weekend wins in Kansas and in Maine.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: In this race, it is clear. A vote for any other candidate, a vote for Marco Rubio or a vote for John Kasich is a vote for Donald Trump, because there is only one who has repeatedly beaten Donald Trump.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Marco Rubio managed to win Puerto Rico yesterday, but his real hopes now rest on his home state of Florida next week.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Republican Presidential Candidate: We knew this would be the roughest period in the campaign, given the makeup of the electoral map.

    FORMER GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), California: Welcome my very good friend Governor John Kasich!

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Ditto John Kasich, the Ohio governor who hopes to fare better in neighboring Michigan, one of four states holding Republican contests tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders held their testiest debate yet last night. They faced off in Flint, Michigan, the town where lead poisoned the drinking water, and both of them laid into Republican Governor Rick Snyder.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: He should resign.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I agree. The governor should resign or be recalled.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: After that, the pair agreed on little else. Sanders hit Clinton on trade.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Secretary Clinton supported virtually every one of these disastrous trade agreements written by corporate America.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In turn, Clinton played up her support for President Obama’s auto rescue plan.

    HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I will tell you something else that Senator Sanders was against. He was against the auto bailout. I voted to save the auto industry.


    HILLARY CLINTON: He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry. I think that is a pretty big difference.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Whoa. Well, I — if you are talking about the Wall Street bailout, where some of your friends destroyed this economy…

    HILLARY CLINTON: You know…

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: … through — excuse me, I’m talking.

    ANDERSON COOPER, CNN Anchor: Let him respond.

    HILLARY CLINTON: If you’re going to talk, tell the whole story, Senator Sanders.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Let me tell my story. You tell yours.


    HARI SREENIVASAN: The two also sparred on gun control and Wall Street. Today, Sanders charged Clinton misstated his position on the auto bailout.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I voted for that bailout and support of the workers in the automobile industry.


    HARI SREENIVASAN: Clinton also stayed in Michigan, appearing to strike a conciliatory stance in Grand Rapids.

    HILLARY CLINTON: I would hope to be able to enlist Bernie in helping me to reach out to his supporters if I am so fortunate enough to be the nominee.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Clinton won one state to Sanders’ three over the weekend, but she’s still well ahead in delegates, with 1,130, nearly half of what’s needed. Democrats hold contests tomorrow in Michigan and Mississippi.

    And late today, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he will not run for president after all. He told The New York Times that he fears a three-way race would guarantee Donald Trump’s election.

    The post For both parties, weekend results slow frontrunner momentum appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Flowers are placed on a sign at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in honor of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who died at the age of 94, in Simi Valley, California March 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTS9KZH

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Good evening. I’m Hari Sreenivasan. Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff are away.

    On the “NewsHour” tonight: Democrats sparred in the troubled town of Flint, Michigan, while Ted Cruz plays catchup, winning the same amount of states as front-runner Donald Trump over the weekend.

    Also ahead, we remember Nancy Reagan. Judy Woodruff sat down with the former first lady in one of her last interviews.

    NANCY REAGAN, Former First Lady: I think I was a little bit more realistic about people than — than he was. And that was my contribution.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And how security agencies are screening the thousands of refugees pouring into Europe after the Paris attacks.

    BERNDT KORNER, Frontex: We are just trying to investigate whoever is apprehended, whoever is brought to the offices, check them through the databases, perform the necessary security checks in order to prevent that anything slips through.

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


    HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news, tributes poured in today for former first lady Nancy Reagan, after her death Sunday in Los Angeles. President Obama ordered flags flown at half-staff, and, at a meeting, he took a moment to offer praise.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As somebody who has been lucky enough to have an extraordinary partner in my life as well, I know how much she meant, not just to President Reagan, but to the country as a whole. He was lucky to have her. And I’m sure he’d be the first to acknowledge that. So, she will be missed.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Mrs. Reagan will lie in repose on Wednesday at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The funeral will be Friday. We will have more on Nancy Reagan, in her own words, later in the program.

    The news of Mrs. Reagan’s death came as former President Jimmy Carter announced he no longer needs treatment for cancer. He said his latest MRI showed no signs of melanoma that had spread to his brain at one point. The former president is 91. He’s been on a newly approved drug that helps the body target cancer cells.

    The Pentagon now says a U.S. drone strike killed more than 150 Islamist militants in Somalia. Saturday’s attack hit a training camp for Al-Shabaab fighters, about 120 miles north of Mogadishu. A U.S. military spokesman says they were getting ready to launch a large-scale operation.

    Heavy fighting broke out today along Tunisia’s frontier with Libya, when dozens of gunmen stormed a border town. Authorities reported 53 dead in Ben Gardane near beach towns popular with tourists. Battles raged into the night before the army regained control. Tunisia’s president said it was the work of Islamic State extremists out of Libya.

    PRESIDENT BEJI CAID ESSEBSI, Tunisia (through interpreter): This is an unprecedented attack, planned and organized, and whose goal was probably to take control of this area and to announce a new emirate.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Extremist attacks in Tunisia killed dozens of tourists last year.

    And, in Pakistan, a suicide bomber killed 11 people and wounded 15 in the northwest town of Shabqadar. The bomber blew himself up after guards stopped him from entering a court. A Pakistani Taliban group said it was revenge for the execution of a man who killed a provincial governor.

    European leaders convened in Brussels today, searching for a way to shut off the flow of migrants. As they did, hundreds more kept arriving in Greece, but they’re now blocked from advancing any farther.

    James Mates of independent news reports from Brussels

    JAMES MATES: They came to Europe in search of safety and a better life. What they found is a tent city on a bleak hillside, with hostility and razor-wire fences now springing up across a continent that they believed was the promised land.

    And as they shiver on Greece’s northern border, the continent’s leaders are meeting 1,500 miles away, in turn threatening and haggling over how to stop anymore from coming.

    CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, Germany (through interpreter): I just want to respond to how we can reduce migrants for not only a few countries, but for all countries, including Greece. It can’t just be about closing something. We need to find a sustainable solution together with Turkey, as well as putting an end to illegal immigration and improving the living conditions of the refugees.

    JAMES MATES: It is this man who appears to now hold the keys to Europe, the prime minister of Turkey, who can stop migrants coming or can agree to take them back, but at a price, six billion euros and a promise his country can soon join the E.U.

    AHMET DAVUTOGLU, Prime Minister, Turkey: And Turkey is ready to work with the E.U. Turkey is ready to be a member of the E.U. as well. And, today, I hope this summit, which we will not focus on the irregular migration, but also Turkey’s accession process to E.U.

    JAMES MATES: But these were the scenes just this weekend in Istanbul after an opposition newspaper was shut down by an increasingly authoritarian government. Without the bargaining chip of refugees, Turkey would be nowhere near E.U. membership.

    But here they are today seated around the E.U.’s top table, the Turkish flag on the wall, an ever-growing list of demands being presented, knowing that, for as long as the refugees keep coming, they hold the whip hand.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Late today, Hungary said it will veto any plan to resettle asylum-seekers directly from Turkey.

    Back in this country, the average bonus on Wall Street fell 9 percent last year, to just over $146,000. The New York Comptroller’s Office says it’s because profits in the securities industry were down sharply, and bonuses are tied to those profits. Overall compensation for Wall Street workers, including salary, actually rose 14 percent. It’s now nearly $405,000, a record.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 67 points to close at 17074. The Nasdaq fell eight points, and the S&P 500 added a little less than two points.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: our Politics Monday duo on the increasingly controversial race for the White House; remembrances of a first lady, the legacy of the late Nancy Reagan; European leaders seeking a new solution to the migrant crisis; and much more.

    The post News Wrap: Former first lady Nancy Reagan dies at age 94 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Tonight: an innovative solution to bridging the digital divide for students.

    Too frequently, kids and their parents in rural low-income communities don’t have access to the Internet and high-quality learning technologies. But, in California, a unique project is providing free home access to the Web in one of the nation’s poorest districts.

    Much of the footage for this story was shot by teenagers who are part of our Student Reporting Labs network, in collaboration with PBS SoCal in Southern California.

    The correspondent is David Nazar.

    DAVID NAZAR: Thirty minutes west of the wealthy suburbs of Palm Springs is a desert oasis best known its annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

    But behind the parties and concerts stretches a vast and isolated landscape, home to the second poorest school district in the country, where most families live below the poverty line and struggle just to pay the rent.

    DARRYL ADAMS, Superintendent, Coachella Valley Unified School District: We have some of the poorest of the poor in our country, very economically challenged, and 100 percent of our students are on free and reduced lunch. Some of them living at trailer home parks that some have been condemned recently, or some in railroad, abandoned railroad cars. It’s just unbelievable, some of the challenges they face.

    DAVID NAZAR: Coachella Valley Unified School District Superintendent Darryl Adams believes the right use of technology is critical for the families in this area, like Norma Olivas and her daughter, Anisa Perez.

    NORMA OLIVAS, Anisa’s Mother: I do see students sometimes struggling, and, right now, sometimes, some of the kids struggling to get school, to do certain things. And I wouldn’t want my daughter to go through any that. I wouldn’t want her to be a dropout.

    DAVID NAZAR: When Adams took the job in 2011, the graduation rate was 70 percent, according to the district. One of his key initiatives was to get every student an iPad and Wi-Fi service, but he knew it would be challenge.

    DARRYL ADAMS: We have 1,250 square miles to cover, larger than the state of Rhode Island. So, when we out there were spots in every which way, students weren’t connected, we said, well, how can we get them connected?

    And so one of the ways, we said, look, we got 100 buses. Let’s put Wi-Fi routers on those buses. And let’s park them where the need is.

    DAVID NAZAR: Finding the funding for this fleet of buses was no easy tasks. Nevertheless, in 2012, the community voted for and passed Measure X, a nearly $45 million school bond to fund the Mobile Learning Initiative over 10 years. They called the program Wi-Fi on Wheels.

    ANISA PEREZ, Student, Desert Mirage High School: In the bus, it’s kind of cool that we have Internet, because when the project is due the next day, we can actually spend time to do it.

    DAVID NAZAR: Completing assignments was difficult for Anisa before getting her iPad and Wi-Fi service at home.

    NORMA OLIVAS: We would have to travel actually to go in, go to the library, get the books she needed to look up the information and go home. I don’t make a lot of money, but I will do whatever it takes to make sure she does get a better education.

    DAVID NAZAR: Adams is doing whatever he can to make sure that the 20,000 students in his schools, 98 percent Hispanic and about 10 percent undocumented, develop the skills they need to graduate.

    DARRYL ADAMS: So we realized that we had to provide this to our students in order for them to compete in the 21st century.

    DAVID NAZAR: Installing solar panels on rooftops of the school buses to power the state-of-the-art Wi-Fi routers was a solution proposed by Adams.

    DARRYL ADAMS: Being a musician by trade — I was a music teacher from L.A. Unified when I started out 30 years ago — and, as a musician, you’re always creating and thinking of different ways to do things or to play things or to hear things.

    And so I brought that to my career in education. And I have had some difficulty in the past, because some people weren’t really kind of ready for Adams’ crazy ideas. But this district was. And just about anything we do that’s maybe different and is good for kids, we go with it.

    DAVID NAZAR: CVUSD’s director of technical services, Israel Oliveros, provides the technical support for the entire district.

    ISRAEL OLIVEROS, Director, Technology Services CVUSD: We run power through a conduit that is already existing on the bus. It goes through the front of the bus. That’s where the router is located. Then we do have the antennas pointed in different directions. For the students, that will cover a 150-foot radius.

    DAVID NAZAR: The school districts allows a few of these buses to be parked throughout the East Valley overnight. For students, it’s a lifeline to the outside world.

    DARRYL ADAMS: We wanted to ensure that students have 24/7 access to the Internet, because learning doesn’t stop at the end of the school day.

    DAVID NAZAR: Megan Smith is the chief technology officer of the United States. It’s her job to advise the president on technology and innovation that will improve the future.

    MEGAN SMITH, Chief Technology Officer, Office of Science and Technology Policy: Coachella is an incredibly creative idea. Being able to flip the classroom and be involved in — have video at home, instead of the classroom has a lecture. So, a lot of work to do in the rural areas.

    DAVID NAZAR: There are federal programs in place to help provide Wi-Fi to rural school districts, like the FCC’s E-rate program, which provides about $1.5 billion each year to schools. However, census data shows that there are still five million households with school-age children who are not effectively connected to the Internet.

    Smith says that has to change.

    MEGAN SMITH: There is a lot of creativity that American people have.

    And so whether it’s going to come from a school district, a municipal leader, or one of our national players, we need everybody in on this game working on it. It’s a very, very important, fundamental resource for all of our people. And it drives our economy. And it drives our community and our interconnections.

    DAVID NAZAR: With Adams at the wheel, the graduation rate jumped from 70 percent to 80 percent. Now the superintendent has aspirations beyond students getting their homework done. He wants to connect everyone in the East Valley.

    DARRYL ADAMS: Because we found that we had a problem with some of the third-party Internet service provider companies not willing to go into some of the areas where we serve. So, in the long run, we would like to become our own Time Warner or our own Cox Communication and provide this for our students. It’s too crucial for them to have this access for us not to go down this path.

    DAVID NAZAR: Anisa recognizes that technology and the Wi-Fi on Wheels program is playing a vital role in her education.

    ANISA PEREZ: I want to do this for my mom, because my mom didn’t really get to finish school. So that’s what motivates me to actually do — to finish school and complete my work and get the job I want.

    NORMA OLIVAS: I would want her to have a better life than what I have right now. I would want her to do really, really good in school, so she can get all these ideas that she wants, nice restaurants, different things like that. That’s one thing she always wants to do, travel. And that’s what she’s hoping to go for.

    DAVID NAZAR: For the PBS NewsHour, I’m David Nazar in Coachella Valley, California.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Two of our Student Reporting Labs, Etiwanda High School and West Ranch High School, traveled to the Coachella Valley to shoot the video for this story.

    The post Wi-Fi on wheels leaves no child offline appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Cody, Nebraska, has a population of 156 people, normally not enough to sustain a grocery store. But thanks to a unique educational opportunity, residents of the town don’t have to drive 30 minutes to the next town to buy food.

    Mike Tobias from our PBS partners at NET News and Harvest Public Media has the story.

    MIKE TOBIAS: Sitting atop a sparsely populated county the size of Connecticut, Cody is not a prime location for any retail business. So how’s the Circle C Market been able to survive and thrive here for almost three years? Because it’s mostly run by the students of Cody-Kilgore School.

    TODD CHESSMORE, Superintendent, Cody-Kilgore Unified Schools: We have adults that are involved, but, essentially, we try and get the kids to do pretty much everything, yes.

    MAN: Tell me what you’re doing.

    STUDENT: I’m just ordering for next week.

    STUDENT: I’m entering all the daily work in QuickBooks.

    STUDENT: I’m doing the produce order. I’m the produce coordinator.

    MIKE TOBIAS: Here’s how it works. A community board oversees the nonprofit operation. During the school day, students take on tasks here, as part of different classes, with a paid adult employee on hand to help train and supervise.

    The rest of the time, students are paid to work at Circle C. Almost all of Cody-Kilgore’s 165 K-12 students are involved, from elementary school students creating decorations, to high schoolers deciding to stock a new cereal.

    STUDENT: A Cocoa Krisp rice bag, so we could do that one.

    MIKE TOBIAS: The store does enough business to run in the black, but not by much, Chessmore says, and primarily because of how it’s run.

    TODD CHESSMORE: Without the school being this as intimately involved as it is, I don’t think it could be done. It cannot generate enough funds and still be competitive to stay open.

    MIKE TOBIAS: What doesn’t show up on the Circle C ledger is how the village and its people benefit from not having a one-hour round-trip to get to the next closest grocery store, but also how students benefit from having a place to market products they have created, a place to earn a little money, and maybe most importantly, a place to gain real-world experience.

    LIZZY HOOPER, 8th Grade Student: If I ever want to run a business, I know what to put on the shelves, how to put it on the shelves, how to finance, how to get grants, marketing and advertising.

    MIKE TOBIAS: An effort that benefits students and others who live in a town that calls itself too tough to die.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Mike Tobias in Cody, Nebraska.

    The post Students running small-town market know business appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally tonight, love and tragedy in Afghanistan.

    Jeffrey Brown has the latest edition to the “NewsHour” Bookshelf.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Zakia and Ali first came to the world’s attention in the pages of The New York Times in 2014. Later, the paper would capture their story on video.

    They had grown up on adjacent potato farms in Afghanistan’s remote mountain province of Bamiyan, playing together as children, and, as teenagers, falling in love.

    ZAKIA (through interpreter): At first, I wasn’t aware of my feelings, because I didn’t know him. I was very young and didn’t understand these things. When I was out in the farm fields, he wrote his cell phone number and gave it to me. Then we talked on the phone and he said, “I love you,” and we got to know each other and started to love each other.

    ALI (through interpreter): It looked to me that it wasn’t possible for us to get together.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Indeed, it was prohibited because of the Afghan custom of arranged marriages and by Islamic law. The two were separated by religion and ethnicity, she a Sunni and Tajik, he a Shiite and Hazara.

    When their love became known, the couple, especially Zakia, faced condemnation, beatings and later the threat of death from her family.

    ROD NORDLAND, Author, “The Lovers”: Her family were not wealthy, but they were big and they were numerous. And they — on their side, in their quest to kill her, they had a very powerful weapon, and that was the knowledge that nobody has ever been successfully prosecuted for an honor killing in Afghanistan.

    JEFFREY BROWN: A new book tells the story.

    It’s called “The Lovers: Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet,” by New York Times Kabul bureau chief Rod Nordland. Nordland wrote the original article and a number of follow-ups.

    We met recently at the Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., as a new exhibition on Afghanistan art, Turquoise Mountain, was being installed.

    Nordland told me he’d been looking for a way to report on so-called honor killings, the murder of young women by their own families for causing them shame.

    ROD NORDLAND: We would hear about honor killings from time to time, but there’d be a real paucity of information about them, because nobody would talk about them. And we knew probably there were many more honor killings than anybody ever hears of.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In Zakia and Ali, you found two young people who in some ways seem very normal to their time and place, but clearly in other ways were not, right? They were willing to do something that went well beyond the bounds of their culture. Did you ever figure out what it was in them that made them that way?

    ROD NORDLAND: It’s hard to say, but I think, if I had to identify one thing, it would be that Zakia has a real spark of independence and a real strength of character. And she decided that she wanted to do this and she was going to do it.

    Falling in love is not an unusual thing in Afghanistan, like it isn’t in any country, any place. It’s just forbidden, and it’s frowned upon by mullahs. It’s actually preached against.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Zakia first went to a women’s shelter. Then, upping the stakes dramatically, the two eloped. Sought by police and her family, they went into hiding in rural caves and in Kabul.

    ROD NORDLAND: It didn’t occur to me even that she would have the courage to run on her own, 18-year-old girl, never been outside her own village. I was the first man she had ever sat in the same room with that wasn’t a brother or father or Ali.

    And many times, even the first interview I had with them, they said that they would — they would be happy if they were just together for a day. And if the other person were killed, they would gladly kill themselves.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Nordland, working with a video crew, was able to follow Zakia and Ali periodically over the next year, as they had a daughter named Ruqia.

    But his stories, picked up by Afghan media, also made it harder for them to hide. And Nordland himself became part of the story, at one point providing the couple a getaway car and some money.

    ROD NORDLAND: I stepped over the line between being a journalist and being a participant.

    And I admit I did that, and probably by the precepts of my profession, that was the wrong thing to do. But rules sometimes need to be broken in the interest of doing what’s right. There are times, as a journalist, I mean, you know, if you come across a car crash, do you take the picture first or help the victim inside the car?

    And you obviously help the victim inside the car. I mean, most of us would. And it was a little bit like that in a way.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The largest context here, of course, is the status of women in Afghanistan. And after 2001 — you write about this — so much hope there was. But, according to this story, the story you tell, not much has changed.

    ROD NORDLAND: Yes. When it comes to a lot of these abusive customary practices, that’s right. They’re still as prevalent as they once were.

    Honor killing, child brides, the practice of baad, when a little girl is sold to pay a family debt, often a debt for some moral crime that a male relative has carried out. It would be unfair to say there hasn’t been improvement, because there are millions of girls in schools that didn’t exist during the Taliban time.

    Still, when you look at the metrics, Afghanistan still remains the worst place in the world to be born a woman, in life expectancy, maternal mortality, anything. And you look at it, and that’s pretty shocking, considering the investment that we have tried to make in bettering women’s lives.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Nordland remains in touch with Zakia and Ali, who are still in hiding. In a video he and his team made of the couple’s life today with their daughter, they said this:

    ZAKIA (through interpreter): If I were killed and not here with her, I hope that our daughter will grow up to learn where to go and where not to go, and will be educated.

    ALI (through interpreter): My advice to someone who falls in love is that he should do something to win her heart and have a happy life.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The couple decided against fleeing for Europe, at least for now, but hope to find asylum somewhere.

    I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”

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    The hydra, a small freshwater creature, tears itself apart every time it gets hungry. Rather than have lips, the hydra’s mouth is a sealed piece of intact skin that it tears open to gobble each meal. In a new study, biophysicists have filmed hydras as they create these temporary rips, showing for the first time how its cells manage the maneuver. The findings, reported today in Biophysical Journal, may offer clues into tissue regeneration.

    Lacking bones and measuring less than half an inch long, hyrdra live underwater, with one end of their tubular bodies usually attached to a plant stem. Their free end is marked by tentacles with stingers, which are used to spear prey like microscopic crustaceans and copepods.

    “When we started looking at the animals feeding, we were really struck by the fact that it can open its mouth wider than its body,” said Eva-Maria Collins, a physicist and cell biologist at the University of California San Diego who led the study. “And while it is very well-understood what can trigger the opening of the hydra mouth, nobody actually knows how it achieves this feat.”

    Collins’ team tweaked the genetics of a species called Hydra vulgaris, so its skin would fluoresce under a microscope. Hydra skin has two layers, the outer ectoderm and the inner endoderm, which the team labeled with the colors green and magenta, respectively.

    The inner (magenta) and outer (green) skin layers of a genetically modified hydra.  Photo courtesy of Carter et al.,Biophysical Journal (2016)

    The inner (magenta) and outer (green) skin layers of a genetically modified hydra. Photo courtesy of Carter et al.,Biophysical Journal (2016)

    “What was really astounding is that the cells are not moving relative to each other. Each cell keeps its neighbor as the hydra is opening its mouth,” Collins said. Instead, these cells stretch.

    The cells in the hydra’s mouth start round, and then deform dramatically, pulling on each other to make this mouth as wide as possible. When most animals create an opening like this one, cells typically move out of the way. But hydra cells prefer stretching like they’re in yoga class.

    It’s musclelike cells in the mouth’s outer layer that cause this stretching to happen, the scientists found. These musclelike fibers are arranged in circle, and when the fibers contract, they tug on the skin cells and cause stretching. The process is similar to how muscles in the iris of a human eye contract to widen a pupil. When the researchers added a muscle relaxant — magnesium chloride — the hydras couldn’t open their mouths at all.

    Collins’ team observed that hydras, even with a relatively simple nervous system, could open their mouths to different degrees — sometimes narrower, sometimes wider. Her team plans to dig into this connection with the nervous in future studies.

    “We still have a lot of work to do to really understand how signals from the nervous system trigger mouth opening,” she said. “And then we also would like to understand how the mouth closes and what the consequences are for the individual cells to accommodate this amazing stretching, which can be more than 100 percent strain.”

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    Iraq War veteran and Democratic Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth (R) debates her opponent Peter Roskam at WBBM radio in Chicago September 22, 2006. Duckworth was co-piloting a Black Hawk helicopter north of Baghdad on November 12, 2004, when a rocket-propelled grenade struck the cockpit of her aircraft and exploded. Ten days later, when she woke up at Walter Reed Memorial Hospital in Maryland, she learned that the explosion would cost her both legs and had shattered her right arm. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES) - RTR1HMMO

    Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, right, debates her opponent Peter Roskam at WBBM radio in Chicago on Sept. 22, 2006. Duckworth was co-piloting a Black Hawk helicopter north of Baghdad on Nov. 12, 2004, when a rocket-propelled grenade struck the cockpit of her aircraft and exploded. Ten days later, when she woke up at Walter Reed Memorial Hospital in Maryland, she learned that the explosion would cost her both legs and had shattered her right arm. Photo by John Gress/Reuters

    CHICAGO — The National Republican Senatorial Committee briefly posted a tweet Tuesday that said a Democratic candidate from Illinois who lost both legs as an Army helicopter pilot “has a sad record of not standing up” for veterans.

    NRSC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek acknowledged the tweet about U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth was a mistake that was deleted “within minutes.”

    “It would be great if reporters would pay as much attention to a deleted tweet as they should” to other issues in the race, she added in an emailed statement.

    The tweet was recirculated on social media and appeared on political blogs. Duckworth’s campaign noted it as a “disgraceful attack” in an afternoon email soliciting campaign donations.

    Duckworth is seeking the Democratic nomination in next week’s Illinois primary for a chance to challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican seeking a second term.

    “Tammy has made fighting for veterans her life’s work, and will continue to do so in the Senate,” said Duckworth campaign spokesman Matt McGrath, who called the tweet “tasteless and dishonest.”

    Duckworth, who held state and federal veterans affairs positions, lost her legs and part of an arm after a Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting in 2004 was shot down in Iraq.

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    Sen. Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Miami Tuesday. Sanders won the Michigan primary by a narrow margin against rival Hillary Clinton. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    Sen. Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Miami Tuesday. Sanders won the Michigan primary by a narrow margin against rival Hillary Clinton. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    LANSING, Mich. — Bernie Sanders breathed new life into his longshot White House bid with a crucial win in Michigan’s primary Tuesday night, chipping away at Hillary Clinton’s dominance in the Democratic presidential race. Republican Donald Trump swept to victory in Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii, overcoming fierce efforts to blunt his momentum.

    Even with Sanders’ win, Clinton and Trump moved closer to a general election face-off. Clinton breezed to an easy victory in Mississippi, propelled by overwhelming support from black voters, and she now has more than half the delegates she needs to clinch the Democratic nomination. Trump, too, padded his lead over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who carried the Idaho primary.

    The front-runners turned their sights on November as they reveled in their wins.

    “We are better than what we are being offered by the Republicans,” Clinton declared.

    In a nod toward the kind of traditional politics he’s shunned, Trump emphasized the importance of helping Republican senators and House members get elected in the fall. Having entered Tuesday’s contests facing a barrage of criticism from rival candidates and outside groups, he also delighted in overcoming the attacks.

    “Every single person who has attacked me has gone down,” Trump said at one of his Florida resorts. He was flanked by tables packed with his retail products, including steaks, bottled water and wine, and defended his business record more thoroughly than he outlined his policy proposals for the country.

    Sanders, meanwhile, said Michigan signaled “that we are a national campaign.”

    “We already have won in the Midwest, New England and the Great Plains and as more people get to know more about who we are and what our views are we’re going to do very well,” the Vermont senator said in a statement.

    While a handful of recent losses to Cruz have raised questions about Trump’s durability, Tuesday’s contests marked another lost opportunity for rivals desperate to stop his march to the nomination. Next week’s winner-take-all contests in Ohio and Florida loom large as perhaps the last chance to block him short of a contested convention fight.

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich finished third in Michigan, behind Trump and Cruz. It wasn’t the boost he was looking for heading into next week’s crucial contest in his home state.

    For Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Tuesday marked the latest in a series of disappointing nights. He emerged from Michigan and Mississippi with no new delegates, a grim outcome for a candidate who has the overwhelming support from Republican senators, governors and other elected officials.

    Rubio insisted he would press on to his home state’s primary in Florida next Tuesday.

    “It has to happen here, and it has to happen now,” Rubio told supporters during a rally in Sarasota.

    If Rubio and Kasich can’t win at home, the GOP primary appears set to become a two-person race between Trump and Cruz. The Texas senator is sticking close in the delegate count, and with seven states in his win column he’s argued he’s the only candidate standing between the brash billionaire and the GOP nomination.

    During a campaign stop at a North Carolina church, Cruz took on Trump for asking rally attendees to pledge their allegiance to him. He said the move struck him as “profoundly wrong” and was something “kings and queens demand” of their subjects.

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the Kansas Republican Caucus at the Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center in Wichita, Kansas on March 5. Photo by Reuters/Dave Kaup

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the Kansas Republican Caucus at the Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center in Wichita, Kansas, on March 5. Photo by Dave Kaup/Reuters

    Some mainstream Republicans have cast both Trump and Cruz as unelectable in a November face-off with the Democratic nominee. But they’re quickly running out of options — and candidates — to prevent one of the men from becoming the GOP standard-bearer.

    The economy ranked high on the list of concerns for voters in Michigan and Mississippi. At least 8 in 10 in each party’s primary said they were worried about where the American economy is heading, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

    Among Democrats, 8 in 10 voters in both states said the country’s economic system benefits the wealthy, not all Americans.

    Sanders has sought to tap into that concern, energizing young people and white, blue-collar voters with his calls for breaking up Wall Street banks and making tuition free at public colleges and universities. Michigan, with big college towns and a sizeable population of working-class voters, was a good fit for him, though something of a surprise victory given that Clinton had led in polls heading into Tuesday’s voting.

    MORE: PBS NewsHour’s delegate tracker

    Still, Sanders has struggled mightily with black voters who are crucial to Democrats in the general election. In Mississippi, black voters comprised about two-thirds of the Democratic electorate and nearly 9 in 10 backed Clinton.

    After Tuesday’s results, Clinton has accumulated 1,214 delegates and Sanders 566, including superdelegates. Democrats need 2,383 delegates to win the nomination.

    With Tuesday’s wins, Trump leads the Republican field with 428 delegates, followed by Cruz with 315, Rubio with 151 and Kasich with 52. Winning the GOP nomination requires 1,237 delegates.

    Associated Press reporters Julie Pace and David Eggert wrote this report. Pace reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Steve Peoples, Catherine Lucey, Sergio Bustos, Kathleen Ronayne and Hope Yen contributed to this report.

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

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now the newest addition to the “NewsHour” Bookshelf, a look at Americans inspired by radical jihadism.

    Margaret Warner has that.

    MARGARET WARNER: Terrorism expert Peter Bergen has spent two years studying hundreds of radicalized Americans, seeking to understand what drives a minority of U.S. Muslims to wage terror attacks against their fellow citizens.

    He also takes a hard look at how law enforcement has done in identifying and averting this danger. The result is his new book, “The United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists.”

    It’s being released, along with an HBO documentary based on it, “Homegrown: The Counter-Terror Dilemma.”

    Peter Bergen, welcome.

    So, how big a threat is this, this homegrown terrorism?

    PETER BERGEN, Author, “United States of Jihad”: Well, I think it’s a persistent low-level threat.

    We have been in the United States quite lucky; 45 Americans have been killed by jihadi terrorists in the United States, all by homegrown militants, since 9/11. Each one of those deaths, of course, is a tragedy, but it’s not a national catastrophe anything on the scale of 9/11.

    So, to some degree, the threat has been managed, but it will persist at a low level for a long time.

    MARGARET WARNER: Was there one thing you found in your reporting that united all these cases, where you have an American Muslim who decides that he wants to kill other Americans?

    PETER BERGEN: One of the things that’s striking is they’re overwhelmingly Americans. They’re not foreigners coming into this country to do terrorist attacks.

    They tend to be middle class, average income, similar to the average American. They tend to be as well-educated as the average American. A third are married. A third are kids, average age 29. These are not the young hotheads of popular imagination.

    And, in fact, if you look at the San Bernardino case, which, of course, the most lethal terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11, they were married. They had a child. The guy was earning $70,000 a year. They were basically living the American dream.

    So, it’s a big puzzle. Why would you then kill your fellow Americans? And I can’t say, even after two-and-a-half years’ study, that I can answer that question. I try, but each case is individual.


    So, let’s take a couple of the more obscure cases.


    MARGARET WARNER: There was a young man named Carlos Bledsoe, African-American, from a conservative Christian upbringing, shoots and kills a U.S. soldier at a military recruiting base in Little Rock. It seems so unlikely.

    PETER BERGEN: He was typical in the sense that he comes from a relatively prosperous family in Memphis.

    He went to college. He dropped out. He adopted a very fundamentalist form of Islam. He decided to go to Yemen, which is a hotbed of jihadism. He seems to have got radicalized there in prison, came back, and killed an American soldier.

    He said in court to the judge that, you know, he was guilty, he was sort of objecting to American foreign policy.

    Now, is that an adequate excuse? Of course not, because lots of people don’t like American foreign policy. They don’t kill people as a result.

    MARGARET WARNER: Zachary Chesser.


    MARGARET WARNER: I had never heard of him. He starts out — as a kid, he wants to be a U.S. soldier. He ends up finally being arrested and convicted of trying to threaten the creators of “South Park.” But he seemed to follow a similar pattern, especially on the isolation.

    PETER BERGEN: There is a sort of pattern where people adopt these fundamentalist views, and they kind of increasingly seek out like-minded people. They kind of withdraw from society. They often marry somebody who shares exactly their views outside their previous social circle.

    They — you know, they basically are part a self-reinforcing echo chamber of people who share their own views, and then some may turn to violence.

    Now, Zachary Chesser, he was inciting violence in a very real way against the creators of “South Park.” He could have been something very different. He could have been a Silicon Valley kid. He was one of the first people to really use the Internet for jihadist purposes.

    MARGARET WARNER: That’s right. He became a big English-language jihadist blogger. And…

    PETER BERGEN: Right. Yes.

    If he hadn’t had a Somali girlfriend and got interested in Islam, he could have had a very trajectory.

    MARGARET WARNER: This book focuses a lot on homegrown and self-radicalized terrorists. But there are Americans who are actively recruited.

    PETER BERGEN: Well, luckily, it’s not very big now, but we have had lots of Americans who have gone and become important members of al-Qaida.

    Think about Anwar al-Awlaki, who was a well-known community leader and mosque leader in Northern Virginia, who went on to become a leader of al-Qaida in Yemen.


    PETER BERGEN: There are several examples of people who have taken senior leadership positions in these groups who happen to be American.

    There was an American at the first meeting of al-Qaida in 1988 who was a person taking notes. He was a guy from Kansas city. So, there have been Americans in al-Qaida or these groups from the beginning.

    MARGARET WARNER: How effective has U.S. intelligence and law enforcement been in containing, of thwarting this threat?

    PETER BERGEN: We have not had any kind of major terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11.

    But people get through. Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood, who was sort of on the radar at the FBI, the FBI sort of dropped the ball. Carlos Bledsoe, the guy who killed a soldier in Arkansas, he was also on the FBI’s radar.

    But the FBI, they can’t keep cases against people open indefinitely.

    MARGARET WARNER: Just for what they say.

    PETER BERGEN: Just for what they say.

    And unless we have a machine that can read people’s souls, we’re not going to know when somebody who is an ultra-fundamentalist becomes a militant who is going to take the law into their own hands.

    MARGARET WARNER: One of the little-known facts is that FBI and law enforcement and intelligence have concocted more terrorist plots in this country than all the outside organizations like al-Qaida combined.


    The FBI has done 30. Al-Qaida and other associated groups have done 10. And depending on your perspective, you can say that’s law enforcement overkill.

    MARGARET WARNER: What’s the evidence on whether these alleged perpetrators were really committed terrorists or on a path to go there?

    PETER BERGEN: Some of these cases look a little like entrapment to, I think, the outside observers.

    But the FBI is pretty careful to always say, are you really sure you want to go through with this? And the perpetrator usually says yes.

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, Peter Bergen, author of “The United States of Jihad,” thank you.

    PETER BERGEN: Thank you, Margaret.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can find more of our book conversations on our Arts page at PBS.org/NewsHour.

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    Suzane Nazir uses a Princeton Review SAT Preparation book to study for the test on March 6, 2014 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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    Thousands of high school students piled into test centers early March as the first group to take the new, revamped SAT. The College Board, which administers the test, promises a more comprehensive, modern evaluation of potential college success. However, as April Brown reports, this new initiative isn’t without controversy and push back. That’s to be expected of a national college-readiness assessment with a unique evolution.

    The SAT has a mysterious past:

    According to PBS’s Frontline, the early days of the SAT had little to do with college prep at all. In fact, it was more about staffing the U.S. military with intellectually sound personnel. The origins of the SAT date back to World War I when Robert Yerkes, an I.Q. test professional, convinced the U.S. Army to test new recruits. Originally called Army Alpha, it was the first I.Q. test to be administered to the masses. Yerkes’ assistant, Carl Brigham, further developed Army Alpha to make it harder and eventually worked with colleges to adapt the test for all would-be college students and scholarship seekers.

    So why is it mysterious? The College Board will neither confirm nor deny this version of the SAT’s origins. Here’s what their senior vice president did say:

    “Well, the early days of psychometrics was certainly driven by this concept of aptitude and recognizing individuals who had the aptitude to do well. This worked very well, particularly for those students attending secondary schools that were not well-known to colleges and universities in being able to identify students that have the potential to be successful at college.”

    – James Montoya, senior vice president at College Board

    Here’s where the SAT stands now:

    There are many changes in the new version of the SAT, including a focus on content students are more likely to find in college and adult life. That includes streamlined sections, a more contemporary vocabulary test and no more penalties for guessing.

    Many test-prep experts say the new SAT now looks more like its competitor, the ACT, which more students have opted to take in recent years. And it’s no coincidence. The SAT is losing market share to the ACT and has come under fire not only for its expense, but access. One of the many criticisms of the SAT is that the test creates a disadvantage for women, minorities and the poor who are less likely to afford the costly prep courses. The College Board aimed to tackle this by partnering with the Khan Academy, a online educational service, to offer free test-prep.

    But just days before the new test was administered, several would-be test-takers were uninvited. The College Board sent a letter to some who signed up saying they’ve been bumped until May. The board cited a “new security measure,” but most of those uninvited guests are actually test-prep professionals. Patrick Bock, a professional tutor who’s taken older versions of the SAT more than a dozen times, believes it was tactical. “They don’t want really bad press from experts who understand testing,” he said. “[Test-prep experts] skewer the tests for questions that aren’t quite where they need to be.”

    Does the SAT have a viable future?

    Some colleges are completely opting out of the SAT and ACT as a requirement for admission altogether. The premise isn’t entirely new. According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, more than 850 colleges and universities nationwide are now test-optional. Bates College first became test-optional in 1984 and Wake Forest University was the first major school to ditch test requirements in 2008.

    Research has shown that standardized tests like the ACT and SAT aren’t viable indicators of college readiness or success, and that going test-optional boosts student diversity. So now more schools are following suit. The University of Delaware announced in February that their admissions will become test-optional for in-state students beginning in the fall and George Washington University became the largest institution to jump on board last year. Vice provost Laurie Koehler said they made the decision in order to improve diversity. And so far it’s worked:

    Applications to George Washington University Since Going Test-Optional

    Overall applications up 28%

    Minority applicants up 30%

    First-generation applicants up 35%

    Male applicants up 23%

    Female applicants up 32%


    “We did see more than 28 percent increase in our applications,” she said. “But what was striking was the numbers of first generation students, or underrepresented, multicultural students who submitted applications – nearly 1,100 more in each of those populations.”

    The numbers are still preliminary and don’t indicate how many of those new applicants were actually accepted. Still, even with the College Board’s push to improve formatting, access and affordability, a spike in diverse applicants to test-optional schools could spell trouble for the SAT and its competitor the ACT in the future.


    Read the full transcript below:

    GWEN IFILL: This past Saturday, high school students preparing for college took a brand-new SAT test, with the first major changes in more than a decade. The scores will be part of many college applications, but not all.

    April Brown reports for our latest Tuesday evening Making the Grade series. It’s part of Public Media’s American Graduate Project.

    PATRICK BOCK, CEO, Specifix Prep: So, we’re going to do quadratics today. We’re going to start quadratics anyway.

    APRIL BROWN: For decades, many students like junior Carson Goettlicher of Annandale, Virginia, have set aside extra time preparing for a pre-college ritual, taking the ACT or the SAT test, or both. Carson has been studying with tutor Patrick Bock for the new SAT, the first major changes to the test since 2005.

    CARSON GOETTLICHER, SAT Test Taker: We took a pretest in the SAT class which was based off the old one. And I did pretty well on that, so I — then I thought about how I’m taking the new one, and I’m like, I’m going to do terrible now.

    APRIL BROWN: There are many changes to the new version, including a focus on materials students are likely to find in college and careers. Some test prep professionals believe it now looks more like the ACT, which more students have taken in recent years, than the SAT.

    Anyone who has taken the old SAT might remember the arcane vocabulary that even the test creators admit engendered prodigious vexation. Those words are now gone, as is the penalty for guessing. The top score on the test is again 1,600. The essay is now optional.

    The test designers say the overhaul is meant to keep the SAT relevant.

    JAMES MONTOYA, Senior Vice President, College Board: The old test was working, but this is a better test.

    APRIL BROWN: James Montoya is a senior vice president at the College Board, which oversees the SATs.

    JAMES MONTOYA: We focus on those skills that are most important, and evidence-based reading and writing is a great example. If we look at mathematics, one of the things that we look at, the importance of algebraic equations.

    APRIL BROWN: Montoya says the test is also more closely aligned to what students are learning in school.

    Carson Goettlicher is take the SAT because the colleges she’s applying to require it, but since the 1970s, a growing number of colleges and universities have made their admissions test optional.

    Bates College, a liberal arts school in Maine, went test-optional in 1984. And North Carolina’s Wake Forest became one of the first major universities to do so in 2008. Last year, George Washington University in Washington, D.C., became one of the largest institutions in the country not requiring SAT or ACT scores during the application process.

    George Washington vice provost Laurie Coaler says test-optional was part of a plan to help improve diversity because studies have revealed first-generation college-goers, as well as minority and female students, are more likely to apply if they don’t have to provide standardized test scores.

    LAURIE KOEHLER, Vice Provost, George Washington University: We did see a more than 28 percent increase in our applications, but what was striking was the numbers of first-generation students, of under-represented multicultural students who submitted applications, nearly 1,100 more in each of those populations.

    APRIL BROWN: But before the decision was made, Koehler says, G.W. looked at research from Bates and consulted officials at Wake Forest about why standardized test results may not be the best predictor of college success.

    They found looking at high school work holistically and a student’s grade point average are better indicators.

    LAURIE KOEHLER: If you have earned C’s in high school, and even if you test really well, you’re probably going to have the work habits that are going to earn you C’s in college.

    ROBERT SCHAEFFER, National Center for Fair and Open Testing: The changes to the SAT are largely cosmetic. They make it a little bit more consumer-friendly, but they don’t deal with any of the fundamentally flawed characteristics of the test.

    APRIL BROWN: Robert Schaeffer of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing says there are now more than 850 colleges and universities nationwide on the test-optional bandwagon.

    ROBERT SCHAEFFER: It remains a weak predictor of how well a student will do in college. It’s biased in many ways, and it’s susceptible to high-priced coaching.

    APRIL BROWN: The coaching he refers to can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars an hour. Carson Goettlicher found her SAT tutor Patrick Bock through her school. It’s something Carson’s mother, Debbie, is thankful for.

    DEBBIE GOETTLICHER, Carson’s Mother: I’m trying to prepare my kids for their future. And, unfortunately, they have to take this test in order for them to be successful. So, yes, I’m going to give them every tool I can. We were fortunate that the school actually offered the program and made it affordable for us, because it can get quite expensive.

    MAN: The SAT is changing in March 2016. Which SAT do you want to practice for?

    APRIL BROWN: In anticipation of the new SAT, the College Board partnered with Khan Academy, a nonprofit online educational service, to provide free test prep.

    Founder Sal Khan says it’s a way to level the playing field for those who may not be able to afford extra help.

    SAL KHAN, Founder, Khan Academy: The software in Khan Academy will immediately know where you are strong and where you are weak, so it can really do weak-point training. So, that’s one option. But the number one thing is not to pull an all-nighter the night before the exam.

    APRIL BROWN: Tutor Patrick Bock and others have pointed out the new SAT comes at a time when the test has been losing market share to competitor ACT.

    PATRICK BOCK: They can say that test changes are motivated by sort of closer alignment with state standards or sort of more rigorous analytics into the test, but it’s purely a money thing, right? Like, if you’re losing students every single year, you want to make that up.

    APRIL BROWN: Nevertheless, on Saturday, tens of thousands of high school students around the country woke up early to take the new SAT.

    JACQUEZ LYKES, SAT Test Taker: Honestly, I came in not knowing that it was a different test.

    APRIL BROWN: Jacquez Lykes is a senior and took the test in Fairfax County, Virginia.

    Have you taken the SAT before?

    JACQUEZ LYKES: Yes. I took it like three weeks ago.

    APRIL BROWN: What was different on this new SAT vs. the old one you took?

    JACQUEZ LYKES: The other version had 10 sections, and it felt like you were in the class for, like, hours or whatnot, and this one only had four, which was, like, a major relief.

    APRIL BROWN: Junior Kayla Ramsay also took it.

    Do you feel like you were prepared for this?

    KAYLA RAMSAY, SAT Test Taker: I do. Like, I did a lot of studying and just recalling stuff from freshman year, sophomore year.

    APRIL BROWN: And we caught up with Carson Goettlicher after she finished.

    CARSON GOETTLICHER: I’m relieved. I guess it felt like pretty much like any other standardized test, other than the fact that there’s — this is basically our future.

    APRIL BROWN: Carson is also taking the ACT next month and is planning to take the new SAT again in May.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m April Brown in Fairfax County, Virginia.

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    Israeli security forces search the area where, according to Israeli police spokesperson, at least 10 Israelis were stabbed, in the popular Jaffa port area of Tel Aviv, Israel March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen  - RTS9V4S

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

    GWEN IFILL: And I’m Gwen Ifill.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On the “NewsHour” tonight: the biggest test yet in the Midwest for both Republican and Democratic candidates, as voters in Michigan, along with three other states, decide.

    GWEN IFILL: Also ahead this Tuesday: Vice President Joe Biden tries to mend relations with Israel, one day after Prime Minister Netanyahu canceled his trip to the U.S.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Plus, a look at what Washington politicians could learn from smaller cities, and why communities in the so-called flyover states shouldn’t be so easily dismissed.

    DEBORAH FALLOWS, The Atlantic: When we touched down in some of these small communities, you would think, how can all this be going on here, and we never knew about any of it?

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


    JUDY WOODRUFF: Four more states are having their say today in the presidential race of 2016. Front-runners in both parties, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are working to pad their delegate leads, while rivals try to gain a little ground or at least hang on.

    Michigan is the day’s main attraction, and we will hear from a reporter on the scene after the news summary.

    GWEN IFILL: In the day’s other news: An American tourist was killed and a dozen Israelis wounded in a fresh wave of Palestinian attacks. The tourist, identified as a Vanderbilt University student, died in Jaffa, where an assailant stabbed seven people, before being killed by police.

    Another Palestinian shot and wounded several people in Jerusalem. He, too, was killed, along with two others involved in stabbing incidents. We will take a closer look at the Israeli-Palestinian divide later in the program.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Iran’s hard-line Revolutionary Guard has test-fired another round of ballistic missiles, challenging the United Nations and the United States.

    Iranian state TV today showed a medium-range missile being launched overnight. It said several others were fired in recent days. U.S. officials said that could violate a U.N. prohibition.

    JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary: There’s at least one specific United Nations Security Council resolution that could apply here, and the truth is, we’re still reviewing the Iranian launch to assess whether it is necessary for this matter to be raised before the United Nations Security Council.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.N. resolution warns against launching anything that can carry a nuclear warhead. In addition, the U.S. announced sanctions earlier this year after Iran launched a long-range missile last fall.

    GWEN IFILL: South Korea today imposed new penalties on North Korea for recent nuclear and missile tests. The sanctions ban financial dealings with 40 individuals and 30 organizations with suspected links to the North’s weapons program.

    In Seoul, a top official also announced new rules designed to cut off traffic by sea.

    LEE SUK-JOON, Office for Government Policy Coordination, South Korea (through interpreter): We will strengthen sanctions on shipping related to North Korea. We will entirely ban foreign vessels that are stopped in a North Korean port within 180 days and we will also continue the measures prohibiting the vessels of third countries from sailing the sea route between South and North Korea.

    GWEN IFILL: In a related development, South Korea’s spy agency accused North Korea of hacking the cell phones of dozens of top South Korean officials.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Somalia, the Islamist group Al-Shabaab confirms the U.S. bombed one of its camps on Saturday, but it disputes claims that the strike killed 150 fighters. American officials say the coordinated drone and manned aircraft attacks hit a training site 120 miles north of Mogadishu. The Pentagon says it was aimed at preventing a large-scale attack by the militants.

    GWEN IFILL: The European Union moved closer today to a deal to reverse the exodus of migrants from Turkey. In return, the Turks would get well over $6.5 billion in aid, among other things.

    Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News reports from Greece, where growing numbers of migrants are stranded.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN: There are now around 14,000 people living like this in Idomeni, and yet the Greek authorities are predicting even more will now rush to join them before any deal sealed with Turkey at the end of next week seals them out of Europe as well.

    Over 700 migrants came ashore on Greek islands this morning alone. These arrived on Lesbos, with many more on the way, adding to the 37,000 already in Greece. So it’s no wonder Turkey’s offer to take them all back comes with strings attached, chiefly, that one Syrian should be granted asylum in Europe for every Syrian returned across this water.

    AHMET DAVUTOGLU, Prime Minister, Turkey: I want to make it clear, we are demanding fair burden-sharing for Syrian refugees.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN: Then there are the unwritten demands. At least one person was killed today by rockets fired into Turkey from Syria, possibly by so-called Islamic State.

    Turkey expects not just sympathy, but support, above all in battling Kurdish militancy along this border. Human rights groups will bridle at that.

    Where are you from?

    TRAVELERS: Afghanistan.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN: And they’re already bridling at the prospect of people like these Afghans we encountered in Lesbos yesterday being forcibly returned, because their legal rights to shelter are so few on the Turkish side.

    VINCENT COCHETEL, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees: An agreement that would be tantamount to a blanket return of any foreigners to a certain country is not consistent with European law, is not consistent with international law. Now, we need to see what would be the safeguards.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN: These migrants apparently set to become part of the biggest expulsion of people since Greece and Turkey were at war.

    GWEN IFILL: More than one million people have flooded into the E.U. since early last year, mainly by way of Turkey.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Several major corporate sponsors cut or suspended ties today with tennis star Maria Sharapova. The five-time Grand Slam winner admitted Monday that she tested positive for a newly banned drug at the Australian Open. The drug, meldonium, can improve endurance. Sharapova says she’s used it periodically over the past 10 years for various medical problems.

    GWEN IFILL: And Wall Street gave ground after China announced its exports fell in February by the most in more than six years. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 110 points to close at 16964. The Nasdaq fell 59 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 22.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: how Michigan’s election affects the future of the presidential race; a renewed effort for peace in Israel; the launch of the new SAT test; a journalist’s take on what motivates Americans to jihad; and much more.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: With all the noise on the campaign trail this year about what’s wrong with America, it caught our eye when journalist James and Deborah Fallows filed a report on places that seem to be getting things right, even across partisan divides.

    To find out more, I caught up with the Fallows in Greenville, South Carolina. This story is part of our collaboration with “The Atlantic” magazine.

    For the past three years, husband and wife journalists James and Deborah Fallows have been exploring parts of America sometimes referred to as flyover country, places often ignored by the East and West Coast news media.

    But instead of just flying over, the Fallows have been landing over and over again.

    DEBORAH FALLOWS, The Atlantic: When we touched down in some of these small communities, you would think, how can all this be going on here, and we never knew about any of it?

    JAMES FALLOWS, The Atlantic: The country is full of people doing things, which you wouldn’t necessarily assume from the tone of political discourse or news coverage.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In a search for places that have grappled with challenges, economic or political, the Fallows have made extended visits to about 25 cities for the project, including Greenville, South Carolina; Burlington, Vermont; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Duluth, Minnesota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Redlands, California, and so many more.

    You found that there were a number of things that these cities have in common that make things work.

    JAMES FALLOWS: You see across the country, there’s a surprising amount of the good bones of downtown that are still left that people are trying to use.

    You see, very crucially, the fact that national politics, which are so divisive and so poisonous now, just don’t come into the local discourse.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Why is having a downtown important?

    JAMES FALLOWS: To a surprising degree, just the identity of this is a place where there’s a there there depends on having a downtown with restaurants and with not just a shopping mall. It was amazing to go see how many parts of the country are attracting really ambitious, really well-educated, really first-rate people who think that the best arena for their ambitions and their whole life prospect is someplace where they can do work of the very first tier, but also have some effect on the local community.

    The falls are a really nice way to link the past and the present.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: A prime example, Greenville, South Carolina. Once known for the textile industry, its mills lined the Reedy River in the heart of the city. Now the mills are long gone or repurposed, but the river remains at the center of the community, lined by hotels and restaurants, as it flows through a stunning urban park that’s a magnet for tourists and locals alike.

    The evolution was no accident.

    MAYOR KNOX WHITE, Greenville, South Carolina: We reinvented the downtown, just as we reinvented the local economy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Knox White, mayor of Greenville for more than 20 years, and a chief architect of the city’s redevelopment, says city fathers set out decades ago to plan for the future.

    KNOX WHITE: In the 1970s, when textiles were still very viable, the leadership in Greenville very intentionally decided that we needed to diversify. They brought in and recruited companies like General Electric, and today GE is a major presence here. And that put us in a really good stead, because, later, the textile industry would collapse.

    DEBORAH FALLOWS: I think they’re very self-conscious about what they’re doing in Greenville and also aware that these things aren’t going to be decreed from on high.

    NANCY WHITWORTH, City of Greenville: It’s just in part of our DNA of how we operate.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Remaking Greenville took government and business working together, says Nancy Whitworth, Greenville’s director of economic development.

    NANCY WHITWORTH: The public-private partnership of working together, the city and the county, you see that every day in sort of how we approach dealing with companies that we try to bring into Greenville.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: An active local government pushing incentives like tax breaks and favorable zoning have made so-called public-private partnerships possible, both in developing the downtown, and in luring major manufacturers to the area, like BMW and Michelin.

    These companies provide tens of thousands of jobs, and bring an international influence to this small Southern city.

    DANIELLE VINSON, Furman University: It is definitely conservative, by and large.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Danielle Vinson teaches political science at nearby Furman University.

    DANIELLE VINSON: We have pockets of Democrats in the city limits particularly. But everywhere else is very Republican. And so our senators are Republican. Our — all of our congressional delegation up here is Republican.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Vinson says the government’s partnership with business may seem inconsistent with Republican philosophy, but it’s a way to make things work.

    DANIELLE VINSON: When you start talking about ideology, it’s good in theory, and you can argue about it at the national level. But when you get to the local city and county level, you have got tangible issues that have to be addressed.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s no question Greenville’s economy is booming. Half-a-dozen cranes dot the skyline, as new hotels, condos and office buildings multiply.

    But some are asking if the benefits have reached all of Greenville’s residents, about 15 percent of whom are poor.

    How fast is gentrification happening here?

    CHANDRA DILLARD (D), South Carolina State Representative: It’s happening very rapidly, even in my neighborhood.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Chandra Dillard is a Democratic state representative from Greenville.

    CHANDRA DILLARD: I have received letters at my home saying, do you want to sell? There is pressure against the neighborhood.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So how is the community dealing with that?

    CHANDRA DILLARD: Well, I think you must be intentional, Judy. We must be intentional about making sure that people are trained, that they’re ready, that there is policy to protect people who currently live in these neighborhoods, so that they will be able to stay there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How would you describe today the racial relationships in this community, in the context of the history of this part of the state?

    CHANDRA DILLARD: I think there is racial harmony in our city. Again, I believe the challenge now is economic disparity that separates us, and not the races.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The congregation at Greenville’s Redemption Church would seem to confirm that. Sixty percent of its 20,000 members are African-American, the rest mainly white. Most of the whites are Republicans, most of the blacks Democrats. On politics, they disagree fiercely. But each Sunday, they worship as one.

    The reverend Ron Carpenter is their pastor.

    REV. RON CARPENTER, Redemption Church: In our world, we call it a culture of honor. There is such a culture of disrespect that prevails in society, I think, through media, through government, through politics, that I tell people that, no matter if you disagree with this person’s politics, whether or not you agree with their position, honor the person.

    JAMES FALLOWS: It’s easier to treat that person as somebody who has good parts and bad parts, and you disagree on some things, and you will try to contain those, where you can come to kind of practical solutions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: One such solution addresses the education gap that keeps many African-Americans from sharing in the wealth of high-tech jobs in and around Greenville.

    At the Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering — you heard that right, elementary school — these kids get a head start on math and science.

    DEBORAH FALLOWS: These were the tiniest little engineers from pre-K through grade five. And they were starting off in technology and engineering infused into their baby curriculum.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, a public boarding school, gives high school students from across the state an opportunity to pursue excellence.

    Still, much work remains to spread the new opportunities and benefits among all of Greenville’s residents. And much of that work falls to the church.

    REV. RON CARPENTER: What I do is, I usually try to bring businesses and bring our government officials to the table and say, I can’t take care of all of them, but I can help with this child care issue if we can get the Greenville transit system operating in this community, too.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Greenville and in so many other cities the Fallows visited, they found pockets of genuine optimism in a nation that often seems filled with fear and loathing.

    JAMES FALLOWS: They have a shared story about the way that the city government works to bring in some international corporations, works with local start-ups, works with the diversity of the community there, works with religious organizations, and having some collective sense that it matters to us to make this city attractive, make it inclusive, make it growing, make it strong.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And did you see anything that could be transplanted to Washington?

    JAMES FALLOWS: In contrast to the apparent hopelessness of the national perspective, there is some attempt to grapple with these things locally.

    I guess we came across almost nothing you could directly say, OK, the Greenville City Council works this way. Why doesn’t the U.S. Senate work this way too? But, in the meantime, people in Greenville and Fresno and Dayton and Duluth and Allentown and Central Oregon and all the rest can learn from what each other are doing, and get greater strength from that sense of network.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And so James and Deborah Fallows continue their journey, in the belief that these places and others like them are the real story of America today, even more than what’s going on in Washington.

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    U.S Vice President Joe Biden (L) stands next to former Israeli President Shimon Peres during their meeting at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, Israel March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen  - RTS9USR

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We return to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and tonight begin a series of occasional conversations we’re calling The Long Divide.

    Vice President Joe Biden was in Israel today, not far from the scene of one stabbing attack, where he began two days of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders mired in a deep and violent impasse.

    Biden is also the latest top American official trying to repair relations between the Obama White House and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    We launch this series now with New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman.

    Tom Friedman, welcome back to the program.

    THOMAS FRIEDMAN, The New York Times: Great to be with you, Judy. Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you wrote a column saying flatly that the peace process is dead. Why do you believe that?

    THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Because it’s dead.

    It’s actually been dead for a while. I just called it by its real name. It’s clear to me, Judy, that both sides have conspired. This was like “Murder on the Orient Express.” There were so many stab wounds in this body, hard to tell exactly which one was the fatal blow.

    But you now have near approaching 500,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and depending on where you define the border. Remember, it took 50,000 Israeli soldiers and police to remove peacefully 8,000 settlers from Gaza.

    So, imagine if you’re talking about, you know, 400,000 to 500,000. And on the Palestinian side, you have had some really bad developments. In the last Israeli-Palestinian war, Hamas fired a rocket that landed basically on the outskirts of Israel’s only international airport, basically, or major international airport, Lod.

    And the U.S. FAA ordered for one day all American flights canceled. That was a message to all Israelis. Imagine if the Palestinians had the West Bank and could close their only airport.

    And, also, Salam Fayyad or the — sorry — the — Abu Mazen, the Palestinian president, he released — he fired, basically, Salam Fayyad, the one Palestinian prime minister who said, we need to build our institutions, and if we do what the Zionists did and we build our state institutionally, getting a state will just be a formality.

    He got fired.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you’re saying there are a few people trying to do the right thing, but they’re not being listened to? What’s the problem?

    THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Yes. There are a lot of people trying to do the right — wrong thing, and they have been really empowered lately.

    My criticism of Netanyahu is not that Israel should get out of the West Bank tomorrow. I get it. It’s a dangerous neighborhood. You know, I have always felt, to understand Israel, to write about Israel, you have to keep three thoughts in your head at the same time and their intention.

    One is that Israel is an amazing place. It’s really built an amazing society in its short history. Second, Israel does some bad stuff in the West Bank. And, third, Israel lives in a really dangerous neighborhood. And you have got to keep all three of those in your head at the same time.

    My critique of Netanyahu is this. Why would you make a bad situation worse by putting Jews in the middle of Palestinian areas in the West Bank, highly densely populated Palestinian areas, that if there were to be a deal, that would have to be ceded to a Palestinian state?

    And where is the Israeli creativity? We see Israeli creativity in cyber, in technology, all of these things.


    THOMAS FRIEDMAN: When was the last time you read a story about Netanyahu where you said, wow, now, that’s really interesting, there’s a really creative idea?

    And on the Palestinian side, you have got a fractured Palestinian society, one in Gaza, one in the West Bank. So nobody can actually say yes for the Palestinians anymore in a unified way.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the meantime, you have American politicians, many Republican prominent politicians running for president who are praising Benjamin Netanyahu, saying Barack — President Obama has been — has made all the wrong moves when it comes to Israel.

    Is the U.S. a player or not? There’s a story today in The Wall Street Journal saying that the White House is trying to come up with a U.N. resolution maybe or some other gesture to get the peace process moving again.

    THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Well, that story is a bit of an evergreen. Maybe it’s true now. But it’s always, we’re going to tell them. We’re just — we’re going to tell them we’re tired of this. We’re going to — and then it never happens, because a Democrat comes along, like Hillary Clinton, and says, geez, I wish you wouldn’t do that. Now that’s going to affect Jewish voters.

    What’s going on in the campaign, that’s a gravity-free zone. It has nothing to do with the reality of the Middle East whatsoever. That is people looking for votes and funding. It has nothing to do with the region.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How much of the problem here, Tom, is due to the fact that the rest Middle East is virtually on fire, overshadowing the Palestinians and the Israelis?

    THOMAS FRIEDMAN: There’s no question.

    If you’re sitting in Israel today, Israel has a real strategic dilemma. It has nonstate actors dressed as civilians, armed with rockets, nested among civilians on four out of five borders, Sinai, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.

    I think we’re at a stage today where a lot of artificial states, states whose borders are primarily straight lines, they’re actually blowing up all over the world under the pressure of globalization, technology, climate. It’s different things in different places.

    These states, Judy, they’re like caravan homes in a trailer park. They’re built on slabs of cement with no basement and no foundation. And these big global forces today, they’re like a tornado going through a trailer park. And a lot of them happen to be around Israel.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: If solutions are out there, and the people who have tried to float them just get knocked down, where is an answer going to come from? You’re saying it waits for the next president. Does it wait even longer? And where does it?

    THOMAS FRIEDMAN: You know, Netanyahu and Abbas can almost see each other from their offices.

    The idea that they need John Kerry or any American secretary of state to come over, if they had the will, they would have the way. It’s got to start with them. I think the most constructive thing President Obama could do would — say, we tried. It’s over. There’s going to be a one-state solution.

    That’s what would shock the system, not, here’s our plan. But then they just start making it about us. They start picking apart our plan. They say, it’s about you. It’s over. We really wish you well. Sorry it didn’t work out, because what happens otherwise is Netanyahu will always say, Kerry’s coming. Kerry — there’s a plan.

    Or Abbas will say, don’t worry. The Americans are — no, no, nobody’s coming. It’s over. It’s yours. You own it. Now you live with it. And that’s the beginning of wisdom.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But can any American president really do that, given the political pressure in this country?

    THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Obama has sort of been doing it for the last year.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But he hasn’t made that declaration.

    THOMAS FRIEDMAN: He hasn’t said that. But he’s basically — he’s basically told Kerry, you know, I don’t want you messing around there anymore.

    So, it’s very hard, but, actually, it would be — you know, friends don’t let friends drive drunk, and we have been letting a lot of people drive drunk.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Tom Friedman, on that note, we thank you.

    THOMAS FRIEDMAN: A pleasure, Judy. Thank you.

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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ohio Governor John Kasich talks to supporters during a campaign stop in Livonia, Michigan. Photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

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    GWEN IFILL: And now to politics.

    Four states are holding contests today, both parties in Mississippi and Michigan, plus Republican races in Idaho and Hawaii.

    On the campaign trail, Republican John Kasich was in Michigan, drumming up support for today’s primaries, while others, like Ted Cruz, turned their attention to states voting next week.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: You know the whole country is watching Michigan now. The whole country is.


    GOV. JOHN KASICH: And what they’re wondering, what they’re wondering, is a guy who has labored in obscurity rising in this state? And can a positive message of hope, of opportunity, of confidence, of innovation, of youthfulness, can somebody with that message finally overcome the bad mood that we seem to have been in?

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: To all of you who are voting today in states across the country, who will be voting in a week, to all of the men and women here in North Carolina who may be thinking of supporting other candidates, I ask you, come join us. We welcome you with open arms. If you don’t want to see Donald Trump as the nominee, and if you don’t want to see Hillary Clinton as the president, which is the inevitable result of Donald Trump being the nominee, come join us. Let us stand together.

    GWEN IFILL: The top prize for both parties tonight, Michigan. For some GOP candidates there, the fight for first is almost as meaningful as the fight for second place.

    And for more on that, we’re joined by Kathy Gray, political reporter for The Detroit Free Press.

    Kathy, thank you for joining us.

    In a nutshell, why is Michigan so important to these candidates?

    KATHY GRAY, Detroit Free Press: Well, it propels them into the next states, Ohio, Florida, the big states on October (sic) 15.

    And all of them are hoping that they get some big numbers here so they have some momentum going into those states.

    GWEN IFILL: We have seen the Trump steamroller going through a lot of the early primary states. How is it going? How is it rolling through Michigan?

    KATHY GRAY: Well, he has been here twice. He had big, big rallies in Michigan, and all the polls show him in the lead.

    But some of the polls in more recent days have had the race tightening up a little bit. John Kasich seems to be rising a little bit. Ted Cruz is in second place. Marco Rubio seems to be kind of dropping off the — dropping off the slate.

    GWEN IFILL: Some of the early exit polls which are coming out tonight suggest that voters in Michigan are just as — are less angry than voters in, say, Mississippi, and that they are more mainstream perhaps. How does that translate? Or does that translate? Does that match up with what you have been seeing?

    KATHY GRAY: Well, there is some anger out there, too. There are a lot of people who are either unemployed or underemployed. There’s a lot of wage stagnation there, so the message that Donald Trump is sending has kind of resonated with people here in Michigan.

    But there are wide swathes of moderate voters, moderate Republican voters and independents in the state as well, and those are the folks who John Kasich is hoping to attract, and he’s been here almost nonstop for the past week.

    GWEN IFILL: Let’s talk about Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is trying to make a dent in the Rust Belt somewhere.

    Did he benefit at all from that really raucous debate last week where everybody was throwing mud and he was kind of trying to rise above?

    KATHY GRAY: I think he did.

    A lot of people that I have talked to, I have been at several of Kasich’s event here’s in Michigan, have said that they appreciated a person who is a little less blustery, a little less fiery. And he seemed to be kind of the grownup on the stage, and people in Michigan who were tuning in very much so to the debate in Detroit I think appreciated that.

    GWEN IFILL: One of the things we have seen in other states as well is that a lot of early voters, people who cast their vote some time in the past, came out for Trump, but, in the end, the turn was toward other candidates, even though not enough to overtake the front-runner.

    How has early voting been in Michigan?

    KATHY GRAY: It’s been huge.

    I just talked with the secretary of state’s office late this afternoon, and the absentee ballots are up by — it’s going close to 200,000 more than in 2012. Early voting, we had a poll last week, shows that the early voting is benefiting both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to a very large degree.

    So the voter turnout on today is going to be key for the rest of the candidates.

    GWEN IFILL: You mentioned Hillary Clinton. It allows me to move to the Democrats. There’s been a lot of discussion about the situation in Flint, the poisoned, lead-taunted water in Flint, Michigan. And of course, there was a Democratic debate there recently.

    How has that issue resonated, either on the Democratic side or on the Republican side?

    KATHY GRAY: It’s really resonated on the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton was the first one in to call — talk about it. She talked about it first at a debate way back in January.

    She came to — she came to Flint in early February. She’s been pounding on it relentlessly for the past couple of months. Bernie Sanders has also been to Flint. He came and did a town hall meeting in Flint. And it is really resonating.

    It’s kind of a narrative of how inner cities, inner urban cities have been kind of left behind by Republican policies, and so they’re definitely playing big on that.

    Flint also has a very large African-American population, so both of the candidates have been trying to attract those voters as well.

    GWEN IFILL: Let me try two numbers on you. This is on the Republican side, delegate — adding up the delegates at stake. Fifteen percent is one number. Fifty percent is the other.

    Explain how that’s going to play out.

    KATHY GRAY: Well, on the Republican side, we have 59 delegates at stake. You have to get at least 15 percent of the vote to get that. So there’s a very real possibility that one of the Republicans won’t meet that threshold.

    On the Democratic side, you have to get — it’s a winner — it’s a not a winner-take-all. It’s proportional. There’s 130 delegates at stake, another 17 superdelegates. Those 130 are divided up proportionately. And we expect that both Clinton and Sanders will get some delegates out of Michigan.

    GWEN IFILL: OK. Kathy Gray of The Detroit Free Press, thank you. Long night ahead.

    KATHY GRAY: Thank you.

    GWEN IFILL: Get the latest on the election online. Check in with our results page all night. That’s at PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post Another important Tuesday arrives for primary contests appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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     Sen. Marco Rubio needs a big night tonight to keep his chances of winning the Republican nomination alive. Photo by Alvin Baez/Reuters

    Sen. Marco Rubio needs a big night tonight to keep his chances of winning the Republican nomination alive. Photo by Alvin Baez/Reuters

    Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are hoping to cement their front-runner status today as voters head to the ballot box in four states: Idaho, Hawaii, Mississippi and Michigan, which has the most delegates up for grabs on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Ted Cruz is seeking to build on his delegate count in a bid to stop Trump, while Sen. Bernie Sanders is looking for an upset in Michigan. Here are five things we’ll be watching for in the primaries tonight:

    Can Trump regain momentum?

    Donald Trump could use a big night. He only won two of the five GOP contests on Saturday and finished the day with fewer overall delegates than Sen. Ted Cruz, who is emerging as the party’s best hope of defeating Trump. Despite his uneven results over the weekend, Trump is still in the best position to win the party’s nomination — especially if Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio keep splitting delegates in the primaries today and next week.

    READ MORE: Can GOP and Democratic competitors continue to gain traction?

    It won’t be enough for Trump just to win: he’ll need to win by big margins tonight to prove that he’s truly unstoppable.

    But Trump has built his candidacy around the notion that he’s a winner. Losing more states would bolster Cruz’s argument that Trump can be defeated. Meanwhile, as the Stop-Trump movement grows in Republican circles, the real estate developer is confronting his toughest challenge of the election cycle to date. Victories today in Michigan and Mississippi would help Trump re-establish momentum, following his disastrous performance in the last GOP debate and losses to Cruz in Kansas and Maine. But it won’t be enough for Trump just to win: he’ll need to win by big margins tonight to prove that he’s truly unstoppable.

    Meeting the threshold

    In Michigan and Mississippi, the Republican candidates need to win at least 15 percent of the vote to pick up their share of the delegates today. Trump and Cruz have consistently exceeded this threshold in the previous primaries, but Rubio could see his already slim chances of winning the nomination slip away if he can’t even qualify to add to his delegate total.

    READ MORE: The secret to Trump’s stump speech success

    On Saturday, Rubio received just 8 percent of the vote in Maine’s GOP primary, falling short of the state’s 10 percent threshold to qualify for delegates. Unless he gets a late boost, Rubio could fall below the threshold in Michigan, which has 59 delegates up for grabs. (The other states holding GOP contests today — Mississippi, Idaho, and Hawaii — are awarding a combined 91 delegates). In a poll released yesterday Rubio finished fourth in Michigan with just 8 percent of support from likely voters, trailing Trump, Cruz, and Kasich.

    Is it too late for a Rubio comeback?

    When Rubio entered the presidential race last April, he was hailed by supporters as the only Republican contender capable of uniting the party and winning the general election. But 11 months later, his chances of capturing the nomination are fading fast. Rubio has only won two GOP contests so far (Minnesota and Puerto Rico) and was far behind in the polls in the key state of Michigan heading into today’s primary.

    Things don’t look any better for Rubio in national polls or in Florida, where he’s trailing Trump by an average of 16 points in polls taken in the past two weeks. Rubio’s campaign insists that he’s closing the gap in the Sunshine State. But if Rubio loses in his own state, he’ll face overwhelming pressure to end his presidential bid and let Cruz and Trump fight it out in a one-one-one contest. Rubio will need momentum heading into the Florida primary on March 15, making today’s races even more important.

    Can Clinton win Michigan by a wide margin?

    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at her Super Tuesday primary night party in Miami, Florida March 1, 2016.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  - RTS8UW4

    Hillary Clinton is seeking a decisive victory against Bernie Sanders tonight in Michigan and Mississippi. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton enters today’s primaries with a sizeable delegate lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, making the delegate-rich state of Michigan another crucial test in their fight for the Democratic nomination. Clinton is widely expected to win the state; she has a double-digit lead in the polls, and delivered a solid performance during Sunday’s debate with Sanders in Flint. But if Clinton does win, the real question will be by how much.

    A decisive victory by Clinton would put more pressure on Sanders to prove that he still has a path to secure the nomination. It would also prove that Clinton is competitive in Rust Belt states with large numbers of white working class voters — a key voting bloc to which Clinton has struggled to appeal so far. On the other hand, if Clinton wins Michigan in a tight race or loses to Sanders in an upset, it would give the Sanders’ campaign a big boost as the primaries shift to more liberal states in the Northeast and Midwest.

    Sanders digging in for the long haul

    The delegate math may look bleak for Sanders, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to drop out anytime soon. Right now, all signs point to Sanders going the distance — regardless of how the primaries play out. His campaign raised more than $40 million in February alone (roughly $10 million more than Clinton’s total for the month), almost doubling the $21 million Sanders raised in January. With that much cash on hand, Sanders can afford to remain in the race for the foreseeable future. He also won three states on Saturday, proving his durability with left-leaning primary voters.

    Yet despite beating Clinton in three of four states on Saturday, Sanders still ended up with fewer delegates: Sanders won 52, compared to Clinton’s 57. If the rivals continue splitting delegates in the weeks ahead, it will become increasingly difficult for Sanders to argue that he can stop Clinton from eventually clinching the nomination. That’s why Michigan, which has 147 delegates up for grabs in the Democratic primary, is so important. (Sanders and Clinton are also vying for 40 delegates in Mississippi today).

    The post 5 things to watch for in tonight’s primaries appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A supporter smiles after talking to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump following a campaign event in Concord, North Carolina March 7, 2016. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    A supporter smiles after talking to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump following a campaign event in Concord, North Carolina Monday. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    Donald Trump has won the Republican presidential primary in Michigan, edging out rivals to post his 14th state victory of the 2016 White House race.

    It’s the second victory for Trump in Tuesday’s nomination contests. The billionaire businessman also won Mississippi’s Republican primary earlier Tuesday.

    READ MORE: Sanders upsets Clinton Michigan; Trump keeps winning

    Trump says that his wins in Tuesday’s primary elections are proof that advertising is less important than competence.

    Trump’s wins come despite an onslaught of negative advertising from a late-coming “stop Trump” effort.

    In a speech to supporters in Jupiter, Florida, Tuesday after winning the two primaries, he said there’s never been more money spent than what is being spent to take him down.

    And yet, he told his supporters, “only one person did well tonight: Donald Trump.”

    MORE: PBS NewsHour’s delegate tracker

    Trump will win at least 21 delegates in Michigan and at least 20 in Mississippi. In Michigan, John Kasich will win at least 15 delegates and Ted Cruz will win at least 12.

    There are a total of 150 Republican delegates at stake in four states Tuesday. Voters are also going to the polls in Idaho and Hawaii.

    In the overall race for delegates, Trump has 428 and Cruz has 315. Rubio has 151 delegates and Kasich has 52.

    It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.

    The post Donald Trump wins Michigan Republican primary appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters at a campaign rally in Miami Tuesday. Sanders won the Michigan primary by a narrow margin against rival Hillary Clinton. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters at a campaign rally in Miami Tuesday. Sanders won the Michigan primary by a narrow margin against rival Hillary Clinton. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders has won the Democratic presidential primary in Michigan, claiming victory over Hillary Clinton in an industrial Midwest state where voters expressed concerns about trade and jobs.

    MORE: PBS NewsHour’s delegate tracker

    But despite his close win, he won’t see any real gains in delegates for the night. And Clinton has now earned more than half of the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.

    With 130 Michigan delegates at stake, Sanders will win at least 63 and Clinton at least 52. His gains will be canceled out by Clinton’s earlier win in Mississippi. She already entered the night with a 196-delegate lead over Sanders based on primaries and caucuses alone.

    READ MORE: Sanders upsets Clinton Michigan; Trump keeps winning

    Sanders said he’s “grateful to the people of Michigan for defying the pundits and pollsters” and delivering him a win in the state’s Democratic presidential primary.

    In a statement issued after Sanders’ win over Clinton, he said, “We came from 30 points down in Michigan and we’re seeing the same kind of come-from-behind momentum all across America.”

    Sanders adds that the results “show that we are a national campaign. We already have won in the Midwest, New England and the Great Plains and as more people get to know more about who we are and what our views are, we’re going to do very well.”

    Democrats award delegates in proportion to the vote, so Clinton was able to add on a good chunk of delegates even after losing Michigan.

    Including superdelegates, her lead becomes even bigger — at least 1,214 to Sanders’ 566.

    Still, Sanders can claim a small streak of wins going into a pivotal batch of delegate-rich contests next week.

    Since Super Tuesday, Sanders has now won four of the last six states holding contests. Next week, Democratic voters head to the polls in Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Florida. In all, 691 delegates will be at stake.

    The post Bernie Sanders wins Michigan Democratic primary appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to supporters in Orono, Maine, March 4, 2016. Cruz won the Republican presidential primary in Idaho Tuesday. Photo by Joel Page/Reuters

    Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to supporters in Orono, Maine, March 4, 2016. Cruz won the Republican presidential primary in Idaho Tuesday. Photo by Joel Page/Reuters

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has won the Republican presidential primary in Idaho, adding a seventh state win to his tally in the 2016 White House race.

    He finished ahead of GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who earlier Tuesday won the day’s two biggest prizes — the primary elections in Mississippi and Michigan.

    Still to come are the results from the GOP’s caucuses in Hawaii. They’ll wrap up at 1 a.m. Eastern time, with results to follow a few hours later.

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

    The post Ted Cruz wins Republican primary in Idaho appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Legendary producer George Martin poses with poster of the Beatles in 1984. Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns via Getty Images

    Legendary producer George Martin poses with poster of the Beatles in 1984. Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns via Getty Images

    George Martin, longtime producer for English rock band the Beatles, died peacefully at his home Tuesday, his manager confirmed in a statement.

    Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was among the first to pay tribute on Twitter. “Thank you for all your love and kindness George peace and love,” he wrote. British Prime Minister David Cameron called Martin a “giant of music.”

    There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

    The classically trained producer is responsible for 23 U.S. and 30 UK No. 1 singles — a Billboard record — but is best known for his work with the Fab Four. Affectionally known as the “fifth Beatle,” Martin produced all but one of the English quartet’s albums. (Phil Spector handled producer duties on 1970’s “Let It Be.”)

    “A producer’s role is still a mystery to most music-listeners, isn’t it?” Martin told The Wall Street Journal in 2012. “Put simply, my job was to make sure recordings were artistically exceptional and commercially appealing, maximizing the qualities of artists and songs.”

    That even meant telling the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein that he “wasn’t impressed” when he first heard the band’s demo. Many other labels had already turned the band down.

    The Beatles hold their silver disc in 1963. Left to right are: Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, producer George Martin of EMI and John Lennon. Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone/Getty Images

    The Beatles hold their silver disc in 1963. Left to right are: Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, producer George Martin of EMI and John Lennon. Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone/Getty Images

    “But there was an unusual quality of sound, a certain roughness that I hadn’t encountered before. There was also the fact that more than one person was singing, which in itself was unusual,” Martin wrote in his 1979 memoir, “All You Need Is Ears.”

    Martin admitted there was still “something tangible” that compelled him to hear more. After granting the band a studio test, “[i]t was love at first sight,” Martin said in his memoir.

    Soon after, Martin offered the Beatles their first record contract in 1962. The band’s debut album, “Please Please Me,” was released the following year. Out of the 23 Beatles chart-toppers in the U.S., Martin produced 19 of them.

    Video by YouTube user DrSotosOctopus

    Born in London in 1926, Martin taught himself piano at a young age. He enlisted in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy for four years until he left in 1947 to study the piano and oboe at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

    In the 1950s, Martin ushered jazz and comedy albums for Parlophone, an arm of EMI Records. Martin became the label’s new director years before his first encounter with the Beatles in the early 1960s.

    Martin also produced hit songs for artists outside the Beatles, lending his touch on songs for Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, America, Stevie Wonder, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Elton John’s 1997 reworking of “Candle in the Wind” as a tribute to the late Princess Diana.

    Martin also received an Oscar nomination for his film score to “A Hard Day’s Night and is a six-time Grammy winner, two for the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” On that seminal Beatles album, Martin was the one that organized the orchestral build-up that bridged the two halves of “A Day in the Life.”

    Video by BeatlesVEVO

    “On ‘A Day in the Life,’ we needed to bridge John [Lennon’s] first half with the second half written by Paul [McCartney],” he told the Journal. “Paul suggested an orchestral orgasm, so I scored 24 measures, from the lowest note to the highest. I told the orchestra, ‘Make your own way up there. if you’re playing the same note as the chap next to you, you’re wrong.'”

    Martin’s influence on the Beatles can be pinpointed to the forceful strings in “Eleanor Rigby,” the addition of a string quartet to “Yesterday,” and the tape loops in “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

    In his memoir, Martin said the Beatles was a “team effort.”

    “Without my instruments and scoring, very many of the records would not have sounded as they do. Whether they would have been any better, I cannot say. They might have been. That is not modesty on my part; it is an attempt to give a factual picture of the relationship,” he said.

    The post George Martin, the ‘Fifth Beatle,’ dies at 90 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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