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

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    Employees of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, take part in a moment of silence at 2:46 p.m. local time (0546 GMT) at TEPCO's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, March 11, 2016, to mark the five-year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands. Japan on Friday mourned the thousands who lost their lives in the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 that turned towns to matchwood and triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. REUTERS/Yuya Shino - RTSAAKA

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now: How do you rebuild from a cascade of disasters?

    Five years ago today, Japan was rocked by a massive earthquake and a catastrophic tsunami. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was crippled by the tremors and waves, triggering a meltdown that forced roughly 100 thousand people from their homes, spewing radioactive material into the ocean and nearby countryside.

    Science correspondent Miles O’Brien has a rare look inside Fukushima to see how the massive cleanup project is pressing forward.

    His report is a partnership with PBS program “NOVA.”

    MILES O’BRIEN: Fukushima Daiichi was one of the largest nuclear power plants in the world. Today, it is a busy, crowded, dangerous deconstruction site.

    My invitation to see it up close was unique.

    What next? Does three have a lot to…

    But even with special permission, getting inside is not easy by design. Radioactive contamination levels have gone down, but not nearly enough to dispense with the Tyvek suits, three layers of socks and gloves and full face respirators.

    It’s like being an astronaut on a space walk. Here, 7,000 workers are doing a job for which there is no playbook.

    NAOHIRO MASUDA, TEPCO (through interpreter): What makes this so difficult is the lack of experience. Nobody in the world has done this before.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Naohiro Masuda is the chief decommissioning officer for the Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO.

    NAOHIRO MASUDA (through interpreter): We still need to decide what we’re even going to do. For that, we need to rely on the knowledge of people all around the world.

    MILES O’BRIEN: He relies heavily on this man.

    LAKE BARRETT, TEPCO Advisor: For them to come out and to publicly say “We need help” is different for them.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Lake Barrett is one of a very select group who has some experience with a job like this. He was the Nuclear Regulatory Commission manager in charge of the decommissioning of Three Mile Island Unit 2 near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It melted down in 1979.

    LAKE BARRETT: Fukushima is much more complex. The damage is much greater. There’s three melted cores. But the fundamentals of how you address this and how you recover are similar.

    MILES O’BRIEN: The daily details of this 40-year job are managed here in a radiation-shielded, earthquake-proof emergency operations center.

    The superintendent is another TEPCO veteran, Akira Ono, on duty here since June of 2013.

    AKIRA ONO, TEPCO (through interpreter): Ever since the disaster, we have been working here 24 hours a day 365 days a year. We’re ready to respond to anything that happens.

    MILES O’BRIEN: His biggest problem is water, a steady torrent of radioactive water. When rain falls, it seeps into the soil, and flows toward the ocean.

    The earthquake on March 11, 2011, created numerous breaches in the basements of the reactor buildings. The groundwater is contaminated after it mixes with water that is continuously pumped onto the damaged reactor cores; 100,000 gallons of newly tainted water is created here each and every day.

    They capture and pump most of it into holding tanks, lots of tanks. They build one about every other day. A plateau above the destroyed reactors is now a tank farm, brimming with more than 1,000 of them.

    But have they managed to stop all the radioactive water from leaking into the ocean?

    KEN BUESSELER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: What we’re hoping to find is a container full of water.

    MILES O’BRIEN: In this lab at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, they have been tracking radioactive water from Fukushima since the accident.

    KEN BUESSELER: The level is still measurable and quite elevated, but it’s not anywhere near what it was at the peak of the accident.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Oceanographer Ken Buesseler says readings in April of 2011 showed cesium levels 50 million times higher than normal at the plant.

    KEN BUESSELER: The numbers dropped very quickly, but they also didn’t go down to zero. They didn’t go to the background as quick as you would expect if they had stopped the leaks.

    MILES O’BRIEN: They hope to stop the toxic leaks by building a barrier. They have encircled the damaged reactors with 1,500 pipes that go 100-feet deep. They will be filled with coolant. The goal? Deep-freeze the soil, creating a mile-long water barrier.

    The technique has long been used in construction to build tunnels. But can it work at this scale for years and years?

    Dale Klein is a former U.S. nuclear regulatory commission chairman and now an adviser to TEPCO.

    DALE KLEIN, TEPCO Advisor: If you have water flowing through the site and you build a barricade, water’s going to go somewhere. Do they really understand? Is it going to go over the wall? Is it going to go under the wall? Is it going to go around the wall? So, my concern is, there is probably a better way to do it.

    MILES O’BRIEN: The long-term solution is to find and remove the uranium fuel from the four reactors affected. They have started the process by removing fuel that was in underwater storage.

    At unit four, which was powered down when the tsunami hit, they built a structure over the damaged reactor, using it as a platform to carefully pluck out more than 1,500 fuel assemblies.

    But in units one, two and three, where the reactor cores all melted down, radiation levels are much higher, making the task much more daunting.

    LAKE BARRETT: People are probably not going to have access to those buildings for more than maybe minutes or two, so not enough to do defueling.

    MILES O’BRIEN: And what about the melted fuel in the reactor cores? They aren’t even sure where it all is.

    LAKE BARRETT: Is it in one big vertical lump on the floor underneath it, or did it come down and flow like lava in a volcano and move out to the sides? We don’t know yet.

    MILES O’BRIEN: TEPCO has turned to a team of scientists and engineers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory for some assistance. They are helping build a device designed to see through the walls of the reactor buildings and hopefully make what looks like three-dimensional X-rays of the reactor cores.

    These long cylinders are able to detect muons, subatomic particles created in space by quasars and supernovas that rain down on Earth. Muons are stopped, slowed or deflected depending on the density of the matter they are passing through. And uranium is very dense.

    Physicist Chris Morris leads the team.

    CHRIS MORRIS, Los Alamos National Laboratory: You can reconstruct the amount of material at the core in the reactor. And we can actually measure if there’s any uranium there, if there’s a lot of uranium there, how much is left.

    MILES O’BRIEN: The detectors will be run for months to give engineers the sharpest possible picture inside a very hazardous place.

    CHRIS MORRIS: Human beings aren’t going in there anytime soon. The radiation levels are very high. It kills robots.

    MILES O’BRIEN: The robots they have tried here so far have offered up glimpses inside the melted nuclear cores, before failing in the face of a bombardment of radiation.

    Japanese robotics engineers have their work cut out for them.

    LAKE BARRETT: I believe it can be done. It can be done safely and it can be done successfully. But nothing of this magnitude has ever been done by mankind.

    NAOHIRO MASUDA (through interpreter): I feel very reassured that, in the next 30 or 40 years, people from all over the world will gather in Fukushima to work and research the decommissioning. I’m hoping it will become a very lively place.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Fukushima five years later, they have made progress here, but it is just the beginning of a marathon. This cleanup will rely on technology not yet invented, and the determination of people not yet born.

    Miles O’Brien, the “PBS NewsHour,” Futaba, Japan.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Stay tuned this fall. Miles will have a new documentary on Fukushima for “NOVA.” And, right now, you can read his blog on the real heroes behind the nuclear disaster. That’s on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post An exclusive look at the world’s largest-ever nuclear cleanup appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A car lies submerged in the Tall Timbers subdivision after flooding near Shreveport, Louisiana March 9, 2016, in a photo provided by the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office. Picture taken March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Deputy Josh Cagle/Bossier Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters   FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTSA71P

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Good evening. I’m Hari Sreenivasan.

    On the “NewsHour” tonight: Republicans hold a civil debate before next week’s crucial primaries, while Ben Carson becomes the second former rival to endorse front-runner Donald Trump.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I’m Judy Woodruff here at the site of Nancy Reagan’s funeral in California, where a nation said farewell to an influential first lady.

    JAMES BAKER, Former U.S. Secretary of State: She had an instinct for reading people that the president knew he lacked. “Nancy,” he wrote, “sees the goodness in people, but she also has an extra instinct that allows her to see the flaws.”

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s Friday. Mark Shields and David Brooks are here to analyze the week’s news.

    Also ahead, Miles O’Brien’s rare look inside Fukushima. Five years after the meltdown, the historic cleanup continues.

    LAKE BARRETT, TEPCO Advisor: I believe it can be done. It can be done safely and it can be done successfully. But nothing of this magnitude has ever been done by mankind.

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

    (BREAK)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news, there was little relief for the residents in flood-stricken South, as overnight downpours brought total rainfall to two feet in some places. In Monroe, Louisiana one of the hardest-hit communities, floodwaters caused major damage, uprooting trees and collapsing roads.

    Meanwhile, the National Weather Service warned more rain is on the way this weekend. Some places along the Alabama coast could see six additional inches.

    The U.N. warned today, South Sudan has become one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world. The new report detailed atrocities by government forces, including cases of children and disabled people being burned alive and parents forced to watch as their children were raped.

    The country has been mired in a civil war since 2013, leaving tens of thousands dead and millions more displaced.

    I spoke with David Marshall, coordinator of a U.N. human rights mission to South Sudan, via Skype earlier today.

    DAVID MARSHALL, UN Coordinator for South Sudan: Our findings were quite stark, that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been perpetrated in 2015 by the government. The government has instilled or undertaken a campaign of terror in the country to displace, kill, rape, loot and destroy civilian property.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: To see our full interview with David Marshall on the atrocities in South Sudan, visit our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The number of North Korean cyber-attacks on the South have doubled over the past month. South Korean intelligence officials sounded that warning today to parliamentary lawmakers. They said the North tried, but failed to hack into their railway control system and computer networks of financial institutions. The hackers also stole information from the smartphones of dozens of South Korean officials.

    President Obama nominated U.S. Army General Curtis Scaparrotti to be NATO’s new top military commander. Scaparrotti, currently commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, will succeed U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove as NATO’s supreme allied commander of Europe. The nomination, pending Senate approval, comes amid ongoing tensions with Russia and a refugee crisis plaguing Europe.

    A South African man says his son may have found a piece of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in Mozambique. The teenager found the part on December 30 in the town of Xai-Xai, thousands of miles from the flight’s last known coordinates. The piece has a five-digit number on it, which authorities said indicates it may belong to a Boeing 777. Officials are sending it to Australia to be examined.

    In Japan today, mourners marked the fifth anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people. The country’s northeast coastline was devastated, and still hasn’t been fully rebuilt.

    Japanese officials, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, held a moment of silence in Tokyo. He struck a positive tone in a speech at the altar for victims.

    SHINZO ABE, Prime Minister, Japan (through interpreter): In the past, our nation suffered countless disasters that could be described as national crises, but overcame them each time with determination and hope. I vow once again that we will follow hand in hand in the footsteps of our forefathers and continue to move forward.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The anniversary also sparked protests against nuclear power, after the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. We will have more on the cleanup efforts there later in the program tonight.

    The Department of Health and Human Services pledged $94 million to help fight against heroin and opioid drug abuse. The money will go to 271 centers across the country and be used to treat roughly 124,000 new patients. It comes a day after the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to help state and local programs, but that measure didn’t include any new funds.

    The world anti-doping agency announced there have been 99 positive tests for meldonium this year. That includes Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova’s sample. The blood-flow-boosting drug was banned on January 1 for its performance-enhancing benefits. Sharapova admitted she’s been taking it for a decade for health issues, but didn’t know it had been banned.

    At least seven of the confirmed cases come from Russian athletes. Those who test positive face up to a four-year ban.

    Stocks closed higher on Wall Street today to round out a four-week rally. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 218 points to close at 17213. The Nasdaq rose 86 points, and the S&P 500 gained 32. For the week, the Dow and the S&P gained more than a percent. The Nasdaq rose just under a percent.

    And after his year in space, astronaut Scott Kelly has announced his retirement. NASA said he will retire on April 1. Kelly worked for NASA for nearly 20 years. Kelly also holds the American record for the most cumulative time in space at 520 days.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: first lady Nancy Reagan laid to rest; Mark Shields and David Brooks analyze the week in news; the cleanup continues five years after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster; and much more.

    The post News Wrap: Devastating southern floods continue; UN warns of crisis in South Sudan appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    syrianvoices

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Fighting in Syria continues into its fifth year. As the death toll grows and cities are destroyed, Syrian artists, many of them forced to flee their country, have sought ways to respond.

    In recent months, we have profiled a number of these artists in our online Art Beat series Syrian Voices.

    Jeffrey Brown has our look.

    JEFFREY BROWN: A horror story told in one minute, that’s the idea behind “Fade to Black,” a short film by Amer Albarzawi, who shows us what’s happened in Syria through the changing image of Farah Brisly, an actress from Damascus who now lives in Istanbul.

    It’s just one of the ways Syrian artists have responded to the destruction in their country. In a refugee camp in Lebanon, Farah’s sister, Diala, has found another, working with Syrian children to design and painting murals with them to bring some color and joy to their lives.

    Diala spoke to us by Skype from her home in Beirut.

    DIALA BRISLY, Lebanon: Most of them, they skip school for two or three years. And they had to work in the farms to help their families. So, they have really very, very serious life that doesn’t belong to a childhood, you know?

    JEFFREY BROWN: The work on the murals, she says, begins with a brainstorming session as she asks them to imagine what seems impossible, like flying.

    DIALA BRISLY: I tell them, like, you can use your imagination. It isn’t supposed to be realistic. You can imagine anything.

    Some of them, they think of butterflies, of birds, of air balloons, things like this. So, after that, I take this illustration and I get inspired by it, and I start designing the mural. And the day after, they come to help me in filling the colors in these murals.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Another artist, a very different kind of imagery.

    Waseem Al-Marzouki documents the history of the Syrian conflict through intricate, large-scale paintings and films that depict military and industrial images and symbols. He grew up near Raqqa, now the stronghold of the Islamic State, and now lives and works in Los Angeles. He told us the war had left him unable to work for a two-year period.

    WASEEM AL-MARZOUKI, Artist: I was very shocked from what I see and what we have experienced, killing, displacement, torture, all these things happening to us. And, yes, so, after two years, I start working again, but I realize that what I’m doing is totally different than what I have done before. It’s more related to what we are facing.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Another voice, that of poetry, which has always had an honored place in Arabic culture.

    Ghada Alatrash is a Syrian writer and translator now earning a doctorate at the University of Calgary in Canada.

    GHADA ALATRASH, Writer/Translator: Syrian poetry today is an outcry. It is a plea to humanity. It embodies that human tragedy, the raw pain, the loss and the defeat.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Alatrash is from Sweida, in the south of Syria, and has translated the work of Najat Abdul Samad, a friend who remains in their shared hometown. She read us the beginning of the poem “When I Am Overcome With Weakness.”

    GHADA ALATRASH: “When I am overcome with weakness, I bandage my heart with a Syrian woman’s patience in adversity. I bandage it with December’s frozen tree roots, trees that have sworn to blossom in March or April.”

    JEFFREY BROWN: And then there is this, a documentary titled “The Cow Farm,” about a farmer on the outskirts of Salamiyah.

    Filmmaker Ali Sheikh Khudr told us that, when the revolution began, many rushed to capture protests and the political upheaval. He decided to tell a different kind of story, one about Hassan, his own cousin, who supported the regime.

    Khoo’-dur, a strong opponent, said he was after complexities, seeking to understand why people like Hassan sided with the government.

    ALI SHEIKH KHUDR, Filmmaker: There’s a lot of people just — they just didn’t want to lose the things that they have. They didn’t want to lose their future, they didn’t want to lose their lives, they didn’t want to lose in the country itself. They were very afraid. And they stood on one side against the other. So, you have — on both sides, you have people who are afraid, you know?

    JEFFREY BROWN: Khudr’s cousin Hassan died in 2013 fighting for the government. Khudr himself moved to Berlin.

    He says that, above all, he feels a responsibility to share the stories of Syrians whose lives have changed forever.

    ALI SHEIKH KHUDR: The first responsibility was for me that there should be a film, a documentary film from Syria telling something different, a new perspective, you know?

    And there was also this second level of responsibility that I should take out this story. People who are dying in Syria are not numbers. They are human beings and they have lives, they have memories, they have dreams, and that was lost.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Khudr and other artists we talked to are determined not to let these people’s stories fade to black.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jeffrey Brown.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You can find much more on these and other artists in our Syrian Voices series on Art Beat at PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post Surrounded by violence, Syrians seek solace in art appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (2nd from L) looks up as rival candidates Marco Rubio (L), Ted Cruz and John Kasich (R) bow their heads for a moment of silence for former first lady Nancy Reagan at the start of  the Republican U.S. presidential candidates debate sponsored by CNN at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTSAA1J

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Republican candidates past and present were out on the stump today, all eyes are on key states, like Florida and Ohio, set to vote in the primary on Tuesday.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: I just want to introduce Dr. Ben Carson, a special, special person, a special man.

    Thank you very much.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Republican front-runner Donald Trump proudly presented his latest big-name endorsement in Palm Beach this morning, former rival Ben Carson.

    BEN CARSON (R), Former Republican Presidential Candidate: There are two different Donald Trumps. There’s the one you see on the stage, and there’s the one who is very cerebral, sits there and considers things very carefully. You can have a very good conversation with him. And that’s the Donald Trump that you’re going to start seeing more and more of.

    DONALD TRUMP: Ben, thank you.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Trump embraced the endorsement and said it was a sign Republicans are getting behind his campaign.

    DONALD TRUMP: I have been hearing from virtually everybody in the Republican Party, and they are congratulating me. And they are saying, we’re going to get together.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: He was coming off yet another Republican debate, where the tone shifted to near civility, dialing back on the bravado.

    DONALD TRUMP: And so far, I cannot believe how civil it’s been up here.

    (LAUGHTER)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But his rivals weren’t willing to concede anything. Ohio Governor John Kasich leads in the polls in the Buckeye State, one of five holding their primaries next Tuesday.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: Well, first of all, let’s not — you know, math doesn’t tell the whole story in politics. You have to earn the delegates in order to be picked. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We don’t know what’s going to happen, because we still have about half the delegates to be selected. And that’s what’s going to be a very interesting thing to see how it all turns out as we move forward over the next couple of weeks.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Texas Senator Ted Cruz argued only he has the chance to beat Trump.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: There are only two of us that have a path to winning the nomination, Donald and myself. At this point, I have roughly 360 delegates. He has about 100 more than I have. We have at this point beaten Donald in eight separate states all over the country

    DONALD TRUMP: I watch Ted on television and when he speaks, and he’s always saying, “I’m the only one that beat Donald in six contests, and I beat him.”

    But I beat him in 13 contests. He never mentions that.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Trump also responded to violence against protesters at his rallies, including one assault caught on videotape Wednesday.

    JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Some of your critics point to quotes that you have made at these debates — at these rallies, including February 23, “I would like to punch him in the face,” referring to a protester, February 27, “In the good old days, they’d have ripped him out of that seat so fast,” February 1, “Knock the crap out of him, would, you? Seriously, OK, just knock the hell — I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Trump didn’t condone the violence, but said:

    DONALD TRUMP: We had a couple big, strong, powerful guys doing damage to people, not only the loudness — the loudness, I don’t mind — but doing serious damage. And if they have got to be taken out, I — to be honest, I mean, we have to run something.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And today at Trump’s rally in Saint Louis, protesters employed a new tactic, staggering their interruptions one at a time throughout Trump’s remarks.

    DONALD TRUMP: We better get our country going, folks, because that’s the kind of stuff — it’s taking us down. It’s taking us down fast.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Florida Senator Marco Rubio urged voters to consider the impact of their choices on Tuesday and how to vote in both his home state and in Ohio.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Republican Presidential Candidate: If a voter in Ohio is motivated by stopping Donald Trump and comes to the conclusion that John Kasich is the only one who can beat him there, then I expect that is the decision they will make. I can tell you that, in Florida, I’m the only one that can stop Donald Trump, and whether someone supports Ted Cruz or John Kasich,, if you vote for them in Florida, you’re in essence voting for Donald Trump.

    And if a voter reaches the same conclusion in Ohio, then I think that’s what they’re going to do as well.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Without wins in their home states, Rubio and Kasich face the end of the road for their runs.

    Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders courted voters in North Carolina, Ohio and Illinois.

    But former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put aside campaigning today to attend the funeral of fellow first lady Nancy Reagan in California.

    We will get Mark Shields and David Brooks’ take on the state of the presidential race later in the program.

    The post GOP contenders choose substance over squabbling in latest debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The announcement that the billionaire businessman would postpone the rally until another day led a large portion of the crowd inside the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion to break out into raucous cheers. Meanwhile, supporters of the candidate started chanting “We want Trump! We want Trump!”

    There were isolated physical confrontations between some members of the crowd after the event was canceled.

    There was no sign of Trump inside the arena on the college campus, where dozens of UIC faculty and staff had petitioned university administrators to cancel the rally. They cited concerns it would create a “hostile and physically dangerous environment” for students.

    Before the announcement the event wouldn’t take place, a handful of intense verbal clashes took place between Trump supporters and protesters as the crowd waited for his arrival. For the first time during his White House bid, the crowd appeared to be an equal mix of those eager to cheer on the real estate mogul and those overtly opposed to his candidacy.

    When one African-American protester was escorted out before the event started, the crowd erupted into chants of “Let them stay!”

    Veronica Kowalkowsky, an 18-year-old Trump supporter, said before the event started that she had no ill will toward the protesters — but didn’t think they felt the same way.

    “I feel a lot of hate,” she said. “I haven’t said anything bad to anyone.”

    Hours before the event was scheduled to start, hundreds of people lined up outside the arena at the University of Illinois at Chicago — a civil and immigrant rights organizing hub with large minority student populations. Trump backers were separated from an equally large crowd of anti-Trump protesters by a heavy police presence and barricades.

    Some Trump supporters walking into the area chanted, “USA! USA!” and “Illegal is illegal.” One demonstrator shouted back, “Racist!”

    One protester, 64-year-old Dede Rottman of Chicago, carried a placard that read: “Build a Wall Around Trump. I’ll Pay for it.”

    However, 19-year-old Rusty Shackleford of Lombard, in line to attend the Trump rally, said he was there to “support the man who wants to make America great again.”

    Chicago community activist Quo Vadis said hundreds of protesters had positioned themselves in groups around the arena, and that they intend to demonstrate right after Trump takes the stage. Their goal, he said, is “for Donald to take the stage and to completely interrupt him. The plan is to shut Donald Trump all the way down.”

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

    The post Trump calls off Chicago rally as protesters clash with supporters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Overseas products processed by child or slave labor, in some cases shrimp, now face tougher restrictions for coming into the U.S. Photo taken on August 28, 2015. Photo by Reuters

    Overseas products processed by child or slave labor, in some cases shrimp, now face tougher restrictions for coming into the U.S. Photo taken on August 28, 2015. Photo by Reuters

    Last month, activists working to end child and forced labor got a big win. Congress passed a regulation banning the import of goods made by slave labor. Soon after, President Obama signed the bill into law.

    The companies that make these products now face tougher regulations for getting into the U.S. marketplace. But there are still big hurdles to screening goods for fair labor practices.

    This week on Shortwave, we talk about what comes next with Melysa Sperber of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking.

    The post U.S. cracks down on products made by slave labor, but hurdles remain appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    d182f02a-a8bc-4855-8722-d2917b32929c

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    Chasing the Dream CtD-Logo21

    Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

    The post Disparity in the life spans of the rich and poor is growing appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with supporters following a campaign event in Radford, Virginia. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with supporters following a campaign event in Radford, Virginia. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    PALM BEACH, Fla. — Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and John Kasich suggested Saturday they may not support Donald Trump if he becomes the GOP nominee, as violence at the front-runner’s rallies deepened the party’s chaotic chasm.

    Rubio told supporters that while he was currently sticking with his pledge to back the nominee if he wasn’t the party’s choice, “it’s getting harder every day.”

    Kasich said the “toxic environment” Trump is creating “makes it very, extremely difficult” to support him.

    “To see Americans slugging themselves at a political rally deeply disturbed me,” Kasich said while campaigning in Cincinnati. “We’re better than that.”

    Rubio and Kasich have previously committed to backing Trump should he win the Republican nomination, despite reservations about his qualifications. Their extraordinary shift came hours after clashes between Trump supporters and protesters Friday night in Chicago, and just a few days before Tuesday’s elections in five delegate-rich states.

    Trump insisted he’d done nothing to exacerbate tensions, despite having previously encouraged his supporters to aggressively – and sometimes physically – stop protesters from interrupting his raucous rallies.

    “I don’t take responsibility. Nobody’s been hurt at our rallies,” Trump told CNN late Friday, one of several interviews he did as cable networks broadcast footage of the skirmishes both inside and outside the Chicago arena where he had planned to speak.

    Trump had stops scheduled Saturday in Dayton and Cleveland in Ohio, as well as an evening event in Kansas City, Missouri.

    The brash billionaire’s unexpected political success has roiled the Republican Party. Most leaders expected his populist appeal would fade as voting contests began and largely avoided criticizing even his most extreme comments out of fear of alienating his supporters.

    But after 24 primary contests, Trump has only grown stronger and leads his rivals in the all-important delegate count.

    GOP leaders are grasping for a last-ditch idea stop Trump from claiming the nomination, from talking about a contested convention to discussing whether to rally around a yet-to-be-determined third-party candidate. All are long shots at best and would likely have the effect of ripping the Republican Party apart in irreparable ways.

    Rubio and Kasich must win their home state contests Tuesday in order to stay in the race. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, closest to Trump in the delegate count, has urged both to drop out so he can take on the front-runner in a head-to-head contest.

    Cruz said late Friday that Trump has created “an environment that encourages this sort of nasty discourse.”

    “When the candidate urges supporters to engage in physical violence, to punch people in the face, the predictable consequence of that is that is escalates,” he said.

    The chaos in Chicago was sparked in part by Trump’s decision to cancel his rally after skirmishes broke out in the crowd that, unlike past Trump events, was packed with protesters.

    Some isolated confrontations took place afterward. Police reported arresting five people. Many anti-Trump attendees had rushed onto the floor of the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion, jumping up and down with their arms up in the air.

    “Trump represents everything America is not and everything Chicago is not,” said Kamran Siddiqui, 20, a student at the school who was among those celebrating. “We came in here and we wanted to shut this down. Because this is a great city and we don’t want to let that person in here.”

    Some supporters of the Republican front-runner started chanting “We want Trump! We want Trump!” in response to the celebrations.

    “It’s a shame,” said Trump supporter Bill Tail, 43, of the Chicago suburb of Oaklawn. “They scream about tolerance, but are being intolerant themselves. That doesn’t make sense.”

    As Trump attempts to unify a fractured Republican Party ahead of Tuesday’s slate of winner-take-all primary elections, the confrontations between his legion of loyal supporters and protesters who accuse him of stoking racial hatred have become increasingly contentious, underscoring concerns about the divisive nature of his candidacy.

    A North Carolina man was arrested after video footage showed him punching an African-American protester being led out of a Trump rally in that state on Wednesday. At that event, Trump recalled a past protester as “a real bad dude.”

    “He was a rough guy, and he was punching. And we had some people – some rough guys like we have right in here – and they started punching back,” Trump said. “It was a beautiful thing.”

    At Trump’s rally earlier Friday in St. Louis, he was repeatedly interrupted by protesters. Police there charged nearly three dozen people with general peace disturbance and one person with assault.

    In a telephone interview after postponing his event in Chicago, Trump said he didn’t “want to see people hurt or worse” at the rally, telling MSNBC, “I think we did the right thing.”

    But Chicago police said they had sufficient manpower on scene to handle the situation and did not recommended Trump cancel the rally. That decision was made “independently” by the campaign, said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

    Associated Press writers Kathleen Ronayne in Sharonville, Ohio, and Tamara Lush in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report.

    The post GOP rivals suggest they may not support Trump as nominee appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Demonstrators celebrate after Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump cancelled his rally at the University of Illinois in Chicago March 11, 2016.   REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski - RTX28SQG

    Demonstrators celebrate after Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump cancelled his rally at the University of Illinois in Chicago March 11, 2016. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters

    CHICAGO — Hundreds of jubilant protesters chanted victory cries and jeered at glum Donald Trump supporters as they filed out of an auditorium where the Republican presidential candidate abruptly canceled a campaign rally Friday night.

    The crowd roared in delight and began chanting: “We stopped Trump! We stopped Trump!”

    Outside, the tenor of hourslong protests shifted when one protester passed on word of the cancellation through a megaphone on the campus of the ethnically diverse University of Illinois at Chicago.

    The crowd roared in delight and began chanting: “We stopped Trump! We stopped Trump!”

    The protesters closed in on the building, obstructing most of the exits just as Trump supporters began filing out. The Trump supporters had little choice but to push through the anti-Trump crowds that parted only slightly, yelling, “Racists go home!”

    “I think it’s a great thing that happened,” Sierria Coleman, a 28-year-old graduate student, said about the cancellation. “To have (the Trump rally) at this school, for what this school stands for, is disrespectful.”

    A Trump supporter (R) yells at demonstrators after Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump cancelled his rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski - RTX28SPI

    A Trump supporter (R) yells at demonstrators after Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump canceled his rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago March 11, 2016. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters

    Trump supporter Bill Vail said he walked through a gauntlet of protesters who cursed at him as he pushed through holding his 9-year-old daughter’s hand. She cried, he said.

    “They scream about tolerance, but are being intolerant themselves,” Vail, 43, of the Chicago suburb of Oaklawn, said. “That doesn’t make sense.”

    Hours earlier, Trump supporters and opponents stood calmly in a line together waiting to get inside. Police horses and barricades kept the bulk of the demonstrators across the street. Trump opponents were protesting what they called his divisive comments, particularly about Muslims and Mexicans. Dozens of UIC faculty and staff had petitioned university administrators to cancel the rally, citing concerns it would create a “hostile and physically dangerous environment.”

    Tensions outside rose only after news of the cancellation spread

    At one point, nearly 20 officers who had been manning barricades suddenly bolted for an intersection across a street bridge over a freeway – where protesters shouted at and jostled with police already there. An officer was seen walking from that intersection with blood on his head. A police spokesman said later that he couldn’t provide details.

    There were some other isolated physical confrontations among members of the crowd. Five people were arrested overall, Chicago police said.

    Trump supporters Stu and Roberta Aschauer from suburban Warrenville criticized the protesters’ behavior.

    “I hear all this free speech crap, but they want to shut down free speech for us,” Stu Aschauer said.

    “This is unfair, the protesters, the way they are treating us,” added Roberta Aschauer.

    One demonstrator, Karie Otteburn, 28, of Chicago, said she had little sympathy that Trump supporters felt uncomfortable as they left.

    “If you are going to support a divisive candidate, you’re opening yourself up to that kind of thing,” she said.

    This report was written by Michael Tarm and Don Babwin of the Associated Press.

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    NAS_babies_1

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    ALISON STEWART: To the trained ear, the high-pitched cry of this three-week-old baby girl is a sign that something isn’t right.

    Nurse Heather Mishlick at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital is taking care of her.

    HEATHER MISHLICK, NURSE: If you just kind of walked by a baby and you didn’t know what was going on, those would be the things that popped out to you the most, like, you know, why is that baby crying so loud? You know, why is that baby shaking?  And you know, why can’t we console that baby?

    ALISON STEWART: The answer is the infant is going through withdrawal from prescription opioids that her mother took while pregnant leading to a condition called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or N-A-S.

    HEATHER MISHLICK, NURSE: Their temperatures are high. Their extremities are really stiff. There may have been feeding problems initially.

    ALISON STEWART: This baby’s mother, who we will refer to as Katie (which is not her real name, she asked to remain anonymous) says her daughter had all those symptoms when she was first born.

    KATIE: When I first had her, she was really bad.  Like, she had tremors real bad. It was the worst thing I could ever, ever see for an infant to be withdrawing.

    ALISON STEWART: The number of American babies born withdrawing from opioids, either prescription painkillers or heroin, increased fivefold from 1.2 per thousand births to 5.8 per thousand births between 2000 and 2012.In Tennessee, N-A-S babies are so prevalent this hospital has a special unit to treat them.

    Katie says she was first prescribed opioids for back pain four years ago and then became addicted.

    A treatment center put her on methadone, an opioid medication used to wean addicts off the drug. Then she unintentionally become pregnant.

    KATIE: I wished I wouldn’t have been on it when I got pregnant. I wished I could go back and change it. But I can’t. And I wished I could take her pain away.

    ALISON STEWART: Katie was told to continue her methadone treatment, because if an addicted mother to be tries to quit opioids cold turkey that can jeopardize the pregnancy.

    Vanderbilt University Medical Center neonatologist and N-A-S researcher Dr. Stephen Patrick says a premature birth can be more harmful to a baby than going through withdrawal.

    DR. STEPHEN PATRICK: Women who are in medication assisted treatment, for example, they’re more likely to have an infant with drug withdrawal, but less likely to have a preterm infant, that’s a better thing. The tradeoffs between pre-term birth and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, I would rather have an infant with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

    ALISON STEWART: That’s because premature babies often have long term medical complications whereas N-A-S is a treatable condition.

    N-A-S babies need a lot of skin to skin contact to be soothed and are kept in dimly lit rooms to prevent overstimulation. When that isn’t enough, which was the case for Katie’s daughter, the babies are actually given a low dosage of an opioid like morphine to wean them off the dependence they developed in utero from their mothers.

    HEATHER MISHLICK, NURSE: The purpose of treatment is to give them the right dose of opiate that’ going to alleviate their symptoms and make them more comfortable and safe during the

    withdrawal period.

    ALLISON STEWART: Diagnosing N-A-S is challenging.

    There are a range of symptoms which can take a couple days after birth to appear. Nurses use a checklist to “score” symptoms and their severity including: shaking arms and legs, excessive sneezing, and stiffness to the neck.

    Few hospitals regularly test expecting mothers for illicit drug use when they arrive at a maternity ward. If pregnant women don’t disclose their opioid use, doctors and nurses may not be on alert for N-A-S symptoms in the newborns and could be missing many cases.

    Dr. Patrick recommends universal drug screening as long as it is used to provide medical care and not to criminally charge addicted mothers.

    DR. STEPHEN PATRICK: Sometimes universal drug screen can be seen as punitive and in some communities that can lead to a punitive response.  And so, you know, that’s where things become a bit more complicated when we talk about universal drug screening. I would say that probably the way that we’re doing it now, where we’re just doing it kind of ad hoc, also is biased, right?

    We tend to drug test those that may not look like us or may come from other places, and l may miss many cases. So I think moving toward a universal approach is important, but it has to be in the context of a more global response to how we treat this problem.

    ALLISON STEWART: Every baby exposed to opioids is not born withdrawing from opioids. Doctors don’t know why some do, and some don’t.

    University of North Carolina pediatrician Carl Seashore says that the type of opioid a mother is using — whether it’s an illicit drug like heroin or an opioid medication like buprenorphine to treat her addiction —- doesn’t necessarily predict N-A-S.

    DR. CARL SEASHORE: You can have a mother who was perfectly compliant with methadone or buprenorphine replacement therapy during pregnancy on a relatively low dose, no other substances, comes out, has a normal delivery without any other stressors. And for whatever reason, that baby might withdraw.  

    And on the contrary, we might have a woman who’s using illicitly and erratically, and the baby never develops symptoms of withdrawal. So you really have to manage these babies on a case by case basis.

    ALISON STEWART: Take, for example, Dr. Seashore’s patient, Brittany who was addicted to opioids and took heroin up until her third trimester of pregnancy when she sought treatment.  Her two-day-old son had few signs of N-A-S.

    BRITTANY: I was really, really, really scared.  Cause I didn’t actually know if he would make it or not. I was just so overwhelmed when he came out, and they were, like, he was healthy. I was so surprised

    DR. CARL SEASHORE: There have been just a few mild and scattered symptoms of potential withdrawal, but nothing that has led to the need for pharmacologic treatment.  And so we’re going to continue to monitor them for at least another day and see how things are going.  Continue to encourage her to do what she’s been doing

    ALISON STEWART: Brittany and her baby boy were discharged after a few days in the hospital. She’s continued to get treatment and support through horizons, a drug treatment program for pregnant women and mothers at UNC.

    BRITTANY: Right now my goals are just to move forward and do the right thing and be a good mom to my kids.

    ALISON STEWART: Doctor Patrick, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says there has not been enough research about the long-term effects of N-A-S on a child.

    DR. STEPHEN PATRICK: Studies that we know that have looked at methadone and heroin suggest that there may be some subtle problems with attention, some visual problems that are subtle, and some with language. And we know these are not overwhelming effects looking at

    the literature. And you know, I think one of the issues that we have is that there hasn’t been a single study that has followed infants that have been exposed to prescription opioids long-term, so we really need some big, prospective studies to look at that.

    KATIE: She’s doing a lot better. She don’t have the tremors like she did or nothing.  She’s not nearly as fussy.

    ALISON STEWART: After several weeks of treatment at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Katie was excited to take her baby girl home.

    KATIE: And I know I’m not gonna go back to the pain pills. And I’ve got her now.  So she’ll help me.

    The post Detoxing after delivery: When babies are born withdrawing from opioids appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters about the primary voting results in Michigan and other states at her campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio, March 8, 2016.   REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk - RTS9XE6

    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters about the primary voting results in Michigan and other states at her campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio, March 8, 2016. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters

    CLEVELAND — When it comes to Hillary Clinton, some Ohio voters admit to feeling more lukewarm than fired up.

    Coming off of a surprise loss in Michigan, Clinton is looking ahead to primaries Tuesday in this Rust Belt state and others rich in delegates: Florida, Missouri, Illinois and North Carolina.

    The Michigan setback has exposed her struggles to energize voters against Bernie Sanders, who’s riding a wave of populist zeal, even as Clinton remains the favorite to win the nomination.

    Those challenges are evident in Ohio, a pivotal general election state where Democratic voters offered mixed feelings about Clinton and her ability to defeat the Republican candidate should she become the nominee.

    “The fear I have is that people are confusing reality TV with reality,” said Bob Lanning, 62, of Bay Village, a Clinton supporter who worries about Republican Donald Trump’s appeal. “I hope Democrats get out and vote.”

    Lee Apple, 68, of Shaker Heights, who has cast a ballot for Clinton in early voting, expressed disappointment she had no choices to get more excited about, though she described Clinton as “the best option” and said she will volunteer for her.

    “She’s kind of old news,” Apple said. “She’s been around for years. She’s not fresh, she’s not young.”

    Clinton is favored in Ohio in polling, has offices around the state and has racked up endorsements. Strong support from older voters and African-Americans may help her in Ohio as it has in earlier contests. Her experience counts to many Democrats.

    “Probably in my lifetime there has been no other candidate who has the skill set she has,” said Anna Schmidt, 62, of Waterville, another early Clinton voter.

    But in Michigan, where polling also pointed to a Clinton victory, Sanders managed to energize younger people and liberals and woo working-class white voters with his argument that U.S. trade deals have cost manufacturing jobs.

    That pitch may prove effective in Ohio with voters such as Jan Jones, 68, a retiree from Cleveland Heights deciding between Clinton and Sanders, who said: “A year or so ago she seemed like a shoo-in and all this other stuff came up. I like what he says about the poor versus the rich.”

    Pushing back, Clinton is stressing job creation and manufacturing at events in Ohio and the other states voting Tuesday.

    Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who is backing Clinton, said he does see excitement, though he acknowledged Clinton cannot match Sanders’ massive and raucous rallies.

    “It’s certainly not as super high pitched as Bernie’s is, but I think it’s deeper and I think it’s solid,” Ryan said, assessing Clinton’s support. “She’s like an old friend people are quietly working to support.”

    Delegate math remains on Clinton’s side.

    She has 762 pledged delegates compared with 549 for Sanders, according to a count by The Associated Press, with 10 delegates from recent primaries to be allocated.

    If as expected, she wins Florida and North Carolina and does well in the other three states – even if Sanders takes some of them – she will maintain her lead, which is even larger when her lopsided support from party insiders known as superdelegates are added.

    Barack Obama lost Ohio to Clinton in the 2008 primary race, then won the state comfortably in the November election that made him president. In 2012, Obama managed just to eke out a victory in the general election, campaigning as a savior of Ohio’s auto industry. This year, Republicans badly want to capture the state and will come to Cleveland over the summer for their nominating convention.

    David Niven, a political science professor at Cincinnati University, said Democrats should be considered “modest favorites” given the makeup of the state. But he said there was an “eat your peas sensibility” to many Clinton voters.

    “They see this as something they should do and they’re going to do but they’re not necessarily excited about it,” Niven said.

    In the early contests thus far, Republicans have seen higher turnout in many states than they did in their 2012 primary race, while Democrats are not hitting their record high 2008 turnout numbers. That could be a warning about lack of enthusiasm in November. But former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who is supporting Clinton, argued that primary turnout is not a good gauge of fall excitement.

    “The Republican thing has been a freak show,” Rendell said. Whoever emerges on the GOP side, he said, naming Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, “that will be enough to motivate our voters.”

    Some Ohio voters aren’t so sure.

    Mona Stovsky, 73, of Mayfield Heights, said she had chosen Clinton in early voting, but “I don’t know when it comes to the main one, where I’m going to go.”

    “Our friends, some are Democrats, some are Republicans, it’s so confusing,” she said. “I’m still very conflicted.”

    But Robin Zoss, 62, of Solon, who attended a Clinton rally in Cleveland, said Clinton had the best chance of beating the Republicans. Considering the fall matchup, she said: “I hope the Republicans are so scary that people will rally in the end.”

    John Dugan, a 41-year-old bartender from Lakewood, who is voting for Sanders in the primary, said he thinks Clinton can win in November.

    “With Donald Trump, I feel he is so divisive, I think she can win with name recognition alone,” he said.

     

    The post Clinton seeks to reenergize campaign after Michigan loss appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Secret Service agents surround U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a disturbance as he speaks at Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio, March 12, 2016.  REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RTX28V5K

    U.S. Secret Service agents surround U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a disturbance as he speaks at Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio, March 12, 2016. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    VANDALIA, Ohio — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump was briefly surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents on stage at a campaign rally in Ohio on Saturday, after someone tried to rush the stage as he delivered a speech in which he blasted protesters for forcing him to cancel an event the previous evening in Chicago.

    Late into his speech at an airport hangar outside of Dayton, Trump appeared to jolt after hearing something in the audience standing behind his right shoulder.

    A group of Secret Service agents quickly rushed on stage and briefly formed a protective ring around the billionaire businessman. Almost as quickly, they left the stage and allowed him to continue his speech.

    Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said a man had attempted attempted “to breach the secure buffer.” He was removed “rapidly and professionally,” she said in a statement.

    Matt Miller, a Trump supporter who owns a body shop in Dayton, said he was standing near the podium when the agents took to the stage to protect Trump.

    “We just saw a kid that tried to rush the stage. The Secret Service tackled him right away,” Miller said.

    Trump, who was able to finish this speech without incident after the brief interruption, said from the stage: “Thank you for the warning. I was ready for ’em, but it’s much better if the cops do it, don’t we agree?”

    The incident outside Dayton came less than 24 hours after Trump called off a rally in Chicago, after protesters he called “professionally staged wise guys” filled the arena where he was scheduled to speak. He said he was worried his backers would have gotten hurt.

    “We would’ve had a problem like you wouldn’t have believed,” he said.

    The announcement that Trump would postpone the Friday night rally led a large portion of the crowd inside the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion to break out into raucous cheers. Many rushed onto the floor, jumping up and down with their arms up in the air to celebrate.

    Several said afterward they had organized in advance with the intent of keeping Trump from speaking.

    This report was written by Dan Sewell and Jill Colvin of the Associated Press.

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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference following a ministerial meeting of the so-called "anti-Islamic State coalition" in Rome, Italy, February 2, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi - RTX253TY

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference following a ministerial meeting of the so-called “anti-Islamic State coalition” in Rome, Italy, February 2, 2016. Photo by Max Rossi/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is nearing a decision on whether to formally declare that Islamic State group atrocities against religious minorities, including Christians, constitute “genocide.”

    As impatient lawmakers and religious groups step up calls for action, Secretary of State John Kerry is leaning toward making the determination and could do so as early as next week, when a congressional deadline for action has been set, according to several administration officials.

    However, the officials cautioned that a legal review is still under way and said it is likely Kerry will not meet the March 17 deadline. The House will vote on Monday on a bill that would identify the Islamic State’s actions against Christians, Yezidis and other groups, including the Kurds, as “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

    An executive branch determination of genocide, however, would be different and be fraught with moral and potential legal consequences. It would also mark only the second time a U.S. administration has reached that conclusion while a conflict is ongoing. The first was in 2004 when Secretary of State Colin Powell determined that atrocities being committed in Sudan’s Darfur region constituted genocide.

    Powell reached that determination amid much lobbying from human rights groups but only after State Department lawyers advised him that it would not, contrary to legal advice offered to previous administrations, obligate the United States to take action to stop it. In that case, the lawyers decided that the 1948 U.N. Convention against genocide did not impose a legal obligation on states to prevent genocide from taking place outside of their territory. Powell instead called for the U.N. Security Council to appoint a commission to investigate and take appropriate legal action if it agreed with the genocide determination.

    Kerry faces similar issues. Although the United States is already involved in military strikes against the Islamic State and has helped prevent some incidents of ethnic cleansing, notably of Yezidis, some argue that a genocide determination could require additional U.S. action. At the least, a determination would probably be accompanied by a referral to the Security Council for possible prosecution by either the International Criminal Court or other tribunal that might be set up specifically for Syria and Iraq.

    Kerry must also weigh whether the Islamic State group’s targeting of Christians and other minorities meets the legal definition of “genocide,” which is “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group,” according to the U.N. Convention.

    “This has to be done on the basis of the legal standard with respect to genocide and the legal standard with respect to crimes against humanity,” Kerry said in congressional testimony late last month. “I have asked for further evaluation based on what I’ve heard in order to test against the law some of my own perceptions and evaluations and see where we come out.”

    Kerry denied reports that his legal advisers were reluctant to support a determination of genocide but suggested he was not satisfied with their initial opinions.

    “I have asked our legal department to evaluate, to re-evaluate actually, several observations that were circulating as part of the vetting process of this issue,” he said, adding that he would act “very, very soon.”

    In a bid to push the process, several groups including the Catholic organization Knights of Columbus released reports documenting what they said is clear evidence that the legal standard has been met.

    “There is only one word that adequately, and legally, describes what is happening to Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. That word is genocide,” Knights of Columbus chief Carl Anderson said Thursday while presenting a 280-page report. The report identifies by name more than 1,100 Christians that have been killed by Islamic State militants. It also details numerous instances of people kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and driven from their homes, along with the destruction of churches.

    The post Kerry to decide whether Islamic State atrocities constitute genocide appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Volunteers distribute bottled water to help combat the effects of the crisis when the city's drinking water became contaminated with dangerously high levels of lead in Flint, Michigan, March 5, 2016. the latest lawsuit against over the crisis was launched on Thursday. Jim Young/Reuters RTS9GRU

    Volunteers distribute bottled water to help combat the effects of the crisis when the city’s drinking water became contaminated with dangerously high levels of lead in Flint, Michigan, March 5, 2016. the latest lawsuit against over the crisis was launched on Thursday. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

    Multiple families in Flint, Michigan filed a lawsuit this week seeking financial recompense from the government and several private companies after they had discovered drinking water supplied by the city had been contaminated by lead.

    The lawsuit, the tenth filed since the crisis was discovered last year in the city of 100,000, was launched Thursday. The suit names at least 50 children who were allegedly poisoned by lead.

    Michigan in 2014 made the decision to move Flint’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River as a cost-cutting measure but soon after residents soon began complain about the appearance of dirty water.

    High levels of lead were also found in children in October, eventually leading authorities to declare a state of emergency when widespread lead contamination was found in the city’s water supply.

    The lawsuit charges negligence against three companies involved in the decision to move the water supply, along with two state workers and a city employee. Many of the other lawsuits already filed also target malfeasance as well as payments already made for lead-laden water that affected their families health.

    “You’re paying for poison,” said a resident involved in one of the suits to CNN this week. “I’m paying for water that’s a toxic waste.”

    A federal-level lawsuit filed on Monday is seeking damages for thousands of Flint residents.

    Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who was the target of another class action lawsuit last week, continues to resist calls for his resignation.

    The post More families file suit against Flint over lead poisoning appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, one of the first U.S. defendants to face trial for supporting IS, is shown in this government exhibit image provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.  REUTERS/U.S. Attorney's Office/Handout via Reuters  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. - RTS9UPR

    Tairod Pugh, the first U.S. defendant convicted at trial for supporting ISIS, seen in a frame of footage from a security camera at Ataturk Airport, in Istanbul Turkey, on the day he was stopped, according to the U.S. government, from traveling onward into Syria. Photo by U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York

    NEW YORK – On Jan. 10 of last year, Tairod Pugh, a U.S. Air Force veteran who spent two decades as an airplane mechanic, boarded EgyptAir Flight 737 with a one-way ticket from Cairo to Istanbul, Turkey.

    Among the possessions he carried with him were two compasses, a solar-powered flashlight and a black face mask.

    But Pugh never made it out of Ataturk Airport. Turkish security officials stopped Pugh and sent him back to Egypt, where he was deported to the United States. FBI agents apprehended him in New Jersey, making Pugh one of 61 people arrested in the U.S. last year for allegedly supporting the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

    On Wednesday at the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, Pugh became the first accused ISIS supporter to be convicted by a jury trial in the U.S.  The federal jury agreed with the prosecutors’ contention that Pugh tried to cross from Turkey to Syria to join ISIS. He faces up to 35 years in prison when he’s sentenced in September.

    No typical profile of an ISIS recruit”

    Prior to his arrest, Pugh had no criminal record. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force from 1986 to 1990, rising to Airman First Class. A devout Muslim convert, he moved to the Middle East in 2013, where worked in Dubai and Kuwait. He was fired in December 2014 and used his last payment to purchase his plane ticket to Turkey.

    The jury found Pugh guilty of attempting to provide material support to the terrorist organization, as well as obstructing an official proceeding for destroying evidence. “Material support,” the most common charge in several hundred terrorism cases since Sept. 11, has become the most common charge in more than 80 cases on the ISIS docket since 2014.

    At 48, Pugh is the oldest of the ISIS defendants, whose average age is 26. Most have not been accused of plotting attacks on the homeland, but roughly half attempted to travel overseas to link up with ISIS, according to an analysis by the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School and by the Program on Extremism Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University.

    “It clearly showed there is no typical profile of an ISIS recruit,” said GWU program deputy director Seamus Hughes, who sees Pugh as a self-directed loner. “You have a guy who was clearly frustrated where he was in his life and looking for something else. He wanted to be part of something bigger.”

    The case against Pugh

    Investigators found most of the incriminating evidence against Pugh on his laptop. He had downloaded more than 70 ISIS-related videos, some of which were played in court, including ISIS propaganda films like “Flames of War” that showed beheadings of Western prisoners. There were numerous photos of heavily-armed men and a 68-page book on the obligation to perform jihad.

    FBI analysts found Pugh had conducted web searches for Mosul, Iraq, when the city was controlled by ISIS, and had perused a New York Times map showing areas of Syria under ISIS control. He searched for places to cross the Turkey-Syria border, such as the bustling border province of Gaziantep, which Assistant United States Attorney Tiana Demas called “a well-worn foreign fighter route” into Syria.

    “The defendant searched for these cities, because he was looking to go there,” Demas told the jury in closing arguments. Taken together, the videos and the web searches, she said, “show his intent; they show what was going on in his mind.”

    Defense attorney Eric Creizman agreed Pugh’s state of mind was the key to the case. But he argued the “revolting” material on the laptop revealed only that Pugh was “fascinated with” ISIS and it was a group “which he admired,” not that he wanted to take up arms. “This is a fantasy,” Creizman said.

    “This case is about looking at the surface,” he said, “and making a rash conclusion.” Creizman said the evidence presented by the prosecution in the case was circumstantial.

    The defendant’s story – that he was looking for a job in Turkey – was challenged by prosecutors, who said Pugh was not carrying a resume on the trip.

    In addition, the prosecution said none of the 20,000 web searches Pugh conducted on his laptop between October 2014 and January 2015 were for a job in Turkey, and he did not send a single email to a prospective employer during that time.

    A former co-worker testified Pugh had told him ISIS was looking for pilots and mechanics, and said, “They’re paying big dollars.”

    Prosecutors said Pugh’s Facebook messages also implied his desire to join the group. “He was a guy talking to anybody and not getting much traction.”, Seamus said of the evidence. “It didn’t look like he had any like-minded friends in the U.S.”

    A letter to his wife Pugh drafted five days before his departure but never sent was presented as key evidence against Pugh. “I am a Mujahid,” he wrote, using the Arabic word for “holy warrior.”

    “I am a sword against the oppressor and a shield for the oppressed. I will use the talents and skills given to me by Allah to establish and defend the Islamic State. There is only 2 possible outcomes for me. Victory or Martyr,” Pugh wrote.

    “The defendant intended to submit himself to ISIS direction and control,” prosecutor Demas said in her closing argument. “He knew his skills as an airport mechanic would be welcomed by ISIS.”

    Pugh did not testify at trial. After five days of testimony and evidence, the jury took one full day of deliberations to reach its unanimous verdict — only 14 months after Pugh’s arrest.

    “This is yet another demonstration that terrorism cases are best handled in the federal courts as opposed to military commissions,” said Karen Greenberg, the executive director of Fordham’s Center on National Security.

    Returning foreign fighters part of ISIS threat to US & allies, report says

    The nation’s second ISIS material support trial began jury deliberations on Friday, in the case against Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, a Muslim convert who prosecutors called the “motivator” and the “bankroller” of two men who sought to shoot attendees at a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, last year.

    Of 84 individuals charged for supporting ISIS, 24 defendants have pleaded guilty in pretrial proceedings.

    Returning foreign fighters from Syria – as Pugh could have become in the government’s depiction — are an increasing part of the ISIS-directed threat against the U.S. and its allies, according to a report last week from the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, #Terror Gone Viral.

    “This includes the Paris attackers, the assailants responsible for killing Western tourists at a Tunisian museum and beach resort, the suspect behind the shooting at a Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014,” the report said.

    The Soufan Group, founded by a former FBI counterterrorism agent and stacked with ex-national security officials, estimated in December that 31,000 “foreign fighters” traveled to Syria.  Most are thought to be from North Africa and Central Asia, though an estimated 7,000 are citizens or residents of Western countries, including 250 from the U.S.

    “The numbers of foreign fighters from North America and Europe have plateaued since late 2014,” said Soufan Group special projects director Patrick Sinner, a former CIA case officer.

    “U.S. law enforcement has done an amazing job of detecting and then disrupting ISIS plots and travel,” Sinner said. “The upside of social media is these people radicalize in plain sight, and often brag about it before travel.”

    The post Conviction in first ISIS trial in the U.S. underscores foreign fighter threat appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    An entrance sign to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital is seen in Dallas, Texas, October 4, 2014.  U.S. health officials have fielded inquiries about as many as 100 potential cases of Ebola since the first patient with the deadly virus was detected in the country, but no new infections have been identified, a senior health official said on Saturday. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: HEALTH DISASTER) - RTR48XMB

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    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: One out of three American adults who have private health insurance coverage nevertheless receive what “Time Magazine” calls a “surprise” medical bill, according to a survey conducted by “Consumer Reports”. The unwelcome surprise is for procedures they think are covered by insurance but are not, ranging from a few hundred dollars for an emergency room visit to tens of thousands of dollars for an operation.

    Reporter Haley Sweetland Edwards wrote the story “You Only Think You’re Covered” for this week’s issue of “Time Magazine” and she joins me now from Miami to discuss it.

    So, what is the trap that people are getting caught into? You basically break it down to this in-network versus out-of-network chasm.

    HALEY SWEETLAND EDWARDS, TIME MAGAZINE REPORTER: Right. So, people will go to an in-network hospital, see an in-network provider, and over the course of that medical visit, interact with other medical providers who are out of network. So, an in-network hospital will contract with out-of-network providers — radiologists, anesthesiologists, lab technicians. All of those people, even though they’re working at an in-network hospital, can be out of network and often are.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: There’s no way for a consumer to know when you walk in who is in network. It’s not like they’re wearing different colored uniforms?

    HALEY SWEETLAND EDWARDS: Right, right. And even when patients ask ahead of time, they say, you know, “I’m going in for this procedure, is my doctor in network, is my anesthesiologist in network?” They don’t know to ask other questions like, is the consulting surgeon on duty that day who may or may not be in the operating theater, is he also in network?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, the Affordable Care Act is supposed to make it, that as you say in the story, if I break my arm and I go the ER, I’m supposed to basically get in-network rates. But that’s not the whole story.

    HALEY SWEETLAND EDWARDS: That’s not the whole story. Obamacare does takes us a step in the right direction where they say, you know, if you break your arm and are whisked off to the hospital, the other end of that ambulance ride, no matter where you show up, they have to charge — your insurance company has to charge you as if that facility is in network, which is great. It’s better than it was before.

    But it doesn’t protect you from everyone else working at that facility, whether or not they’re in network. So, you can still get hit later with these surprise bills from the providers themselves, from the drug makers, from the device makers.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, you just rattled off different interests all trying to figure out who gets the bill. So what are states doing to try to fix this or if there’s any federal legislation? What’s happening?

    HALEY SWEETLAND EDWARDS: It’s been halting. There are about 10 states that have passed different legislation, attempting to address this problem. California and Florida have transparency measures in place, that patients theoretically are suppose to be told ahead of time whether there will be an out-of-network provider. They are also supposed to protect patients in emergency situations. But it’s really — it’s really stop-and-go.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Reporter Haley Sweetland Edwards joining us from Miami from “Time Magazine” — thanks so much.

    HALEY SWEETLAND EDWARDS: Thanks so much for having me.

    The post Surprise medical bills are stacking up for many adults appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks to supporters during a campaign stop in Largo, Florida, March 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX28U9L

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    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton campaigned in Missouri and Ohio today, while Bernie Sanders campaigned in Missouri and Illinois.

    The biggest prize among the five states holding presidential primaries Tuesday is Florida. For Democrats, the Sunshine State offers 246 of the delegates needed to win the party’s nomination, and, as always, the Democratic Party will award them in proportion to the candidate’s share of the popular vote.

    For Republicans, all 99 of the Republican Party’s delegates will go to the winner, no matter his margin of victory.

    Joining me now to discuss the Florida primary is Anthony Man, a political reporter from the “South Florida Sun Sentinel.”

    So, the candidates are not right where are you today, but how hectic has this campaign traffic been?

    ANTHONY MAN, SUN SENTINEL: It has been incredible. It has just been very, very campaign-centric, candidate-centric.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What are the top issues facing Floridians?

    ANTHONY MAN: The top issues facing Floridians really are similar to the things that we’re hearing about elsewhere in the country. There’s this general kind of anger and agitation at government. I hear that a lot on the Republican side. And there is some general concern about the economy.

    We’ve had a comeback in Florida from the depths of the Great Recession, but not the greatest jobs in the world. They aren’t paying tremendously well. Housing is rebounding, but that makes it more expensive here. That really is probably one of the top things on people’s mind.

    A lot of people are concerned about Cuba and President Obama’s opening to Cuba. That’s a concern, particularly in Miami-Dade County, which has a lot of Cuban-American voters.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: On the Republican side, it seems that this is the do-or-die state and moment for Marco Rubio and his attempts at trying to slow the momentum of Donald Trump.

    ANTHONY MAN: Absolutely. He would look very bad if he didn’t win his home state. And he’s been insisting and his top advisers have been insisting now for weeks that he absolutely was going to win it. The polls pretty consistently show him behind Donald Trump, but some are within the margin of error, and he insists he can pull it off.

    But he made the pitch at an event yesterday, where I saw him, that people in Florida should abandon Cruz and Kasich if they want to stop Donald Trump, and he actually conceded that voters in Ohio should do the same thing and not vote for him and not vote for Cruz if they want to stop Donald Trump. He’s really put everything on — riding on Florida.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: On the Democrats’ side, how much does the diversity of the population play into the calculus here? Many of the Democrats that voted for President Obama were African-American, and right now, Hillary Clinton seems to be doing better with minority voters.

    ANTHONY MAN: Right. That makes a huge difference here in Florida. We have a large African American population, a large Hispanic population — although, there are more Hispanic Republicans here in Florida than a lot of other parts of the state. But those seem to be big strongholds for her.

    The campaign is working to shore up that area. They’ve had rallies with Bill Clinton in the African American community recently, and they’re on Spanish language TV to shore up support among Hispanic voters, and they’ve been targeting ads to African-American voters. And we also have an older-than-average Democratic voting population here in Florida. And older voters who really tend to turn out to vote here, they are another strong area for Hillary Clinton.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. Anthony Man, a political reporter from the “South Florida Sun Sentinel” — thanks so much for joining us.

    ANTHONY MAN: Thanks for having me.

    The post Candidates set sights on Florida’s big primary prize appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    “We were fighting an invisible enemy -- out-of-control reactors.” -- TEPCO engineer Takeyuki Inagaki. Photo by Cameron Hickey

    Tokyo Electric Power Company engineer Takeyuki Inagaki was one of the individuals who stayed inside Fukushima Daiichi during the disaster. “We were fighting an invisible enemy — out-of-control reactors.” Photo by Cameron Hickey

    “Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story …” That’s an expression that we say every now and then in newsrooms — with tongue firmly in cheek. But on my last few reporting trips to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, I realized the converse was true: “Don’t let the story get in the way of some good facts.”

    [Watch Video]

    You see, I went to Japan with the intent to do a film for PBS NOVA on the unprecedented cleanup of the triple nuclear meltdown disaster. While we were shooting workers and the various techniques and technology being employed there to try to stop the radioactive leaking and ultimately clean up the mess, we happened upon some extraordinary individuals.

    I’m talking about the heroes who stayed at the stricken plant in those dark days five years ago, fighting an invisible enemy, fairly certain they would not survive. They are collectively called “the Fukushima 50.” (There are actually more than 60 of them, but that is neither here nor there.)

    I met one of them in the damaged control room for units one and two. He is there now helping manage the complicated cleanup. And he was there five years ago when everything hit the fan.

    An aerial view of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, taken on March 24, 2011. Mandatory Credit Photo by Air Photo Service

    An aerial view of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, taken on March 24, 2011. Mandatory Credit Photo by Air Photo Service

    “We had only small fluorescent lights and flashlights,” he said. “We had given up on our own survival.”

    But when I asked him whether he viewed himself in heroic terms, he didn’t just demur. He took exception.

    “It doesn’t exactly fit Japanese sensibilities,” he said. “The word ‘hero’ isn’t quite — you know — It doesn’t fit.”

    “We had only small fluorescent lights and flashlights. We had given up on our own survival.”

    He prefers to remain anonymous, and you’ll understand why in a moment. He was a shift supervisor on duty on March 11, 2011 and by all accounts performed heroically inside a pitch dark control room at a nuclear power plant that was melting down.

    He was born and raised near the plant, and his town was and is evacuated as a result of the meltdowns. His former neighbors blame him for what happened, and he and his family have been the target of this lingering anger.

    It was difficult for me to understand this initially. In Japan, people go to work for one company and almost always spend their careers without leaving. The corporation is just another extension of their family, and so when it fails, as Tokyo Electric Power Company did in so many ways on so many levels, each employee — from the C-level suites on down the chain — feels individual responsibility for the collective action or inaction of the company.

    Each of the Fukushima 50 who I had the honor to interview had an identical reaction to my query about the “H-word. None of them would have anything of it.

    In short, they take on culpability and guilt in ways most Americans don’t really understand.

    In our culture, we would be much more likely to blame management, government regulations, unions, the weather, illegal immigrants, sunspots, Mercury in retrograde, and last but not least, Obama.

    But each of the Fukushima 50 who I had the honor to interview had an identical reaction to my query about the “H-word.” None of them would have anything of it.

    The main hero in my PBS NOVA film “Nuclear Meltdown Disasters” is TEPCO engineer Takeyuki Inagaki.

    “We were fighting an invisible enemy — out of control reactors,” he told me. “It was like fighting a war.”

    He told me he and his coworkers assumed they were not going to make it out alive, and yet they stayed and did everything they could to beat back the invisible enemy. When I asked him the question, he told me, “There’s nothing to be proud of.”

    Drone footoage flying over the Fukushima Daiichi plant on June 21, 2015. Photo by Cameron Hickey

    Drone footage shows the Fukushima Daiichi plant on June 21, 2015. Photo by Cameron Hickey

    He said they did it all for their families, for their hometowns, for their neighbors. And “the reality is tens of thousands of people are still under evacuation, and we’re the ones that caused that. By no means are we heroes.”

    Yesterday, I got a beautiful email from Tak. He was forwarding an email he received from a Californian who had just watched my film and was sufficiently motivated to track down Tak’s email to tell him this: “You stated that you did not consider yourself a hero in this tragic event. I beg to differ. You and your associates were very brave. You put your lives in constant danger to protect and save the citizens of your country. This is my definition of HERO.”

    “This type of message really encourages me,” Tak told me. And he thanked me for making the film.

    The truth is, as bad as Fukushima was, it surely would have been worse if people like Tak had not performed in such a heroic manner. The word does apply by any objective measure outside the often inscrutable Japanese culture.

    And so on this fifth anniversary of the Great Tohoku earthquake, I would like to thank those workers at Fukushima Daiichi who struggled mightily in the tense, pitch darkness hoping to find a way to save the day — knowing full well it could have been their last.


    In July, Miles O’Brien reported for NOVA the the minute-by-minute story of the Fukushima nuclear crisis — the one you know about, and the one you likely don’t: the perilously close call at the other Fukushima nuclear power plant a few miles away from the meltdowns.

    Watch more of Miles O’Brien’s PBS NewsHour coverage of the disaster at Fukushima here:

    The post The heroes of Fukushima Daiichi, but don’t call them that appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Rakeem Jones lies on the ground while being removed by deputies from a Donald Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina March 9, 2016, in a still image from video provided by Ronnie Rouse March 10, 2016.  Jones was assaulted during his eviction from the rally, and a man faces criminal charges in the altercation. Photo by Ronnie C/Reuters

    Rakeem Jones lies on the ground while being removed by deputies from a Donald Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina March 9, 2016, in a still image from video provided by Ronnie Rouse March 10, 2016. Jones was assaulted during his eviction from the rally, and a man faces criminal charges in the altercation. Photo by Ronnie C/Reuters

    CLEVELAND — Donald Trump says he’s “instructed my people” to explore the possibility of helping pay the legal bills for a 78-year-old man charged with assault at a Trump rally.

    John Franklin McGraw of Linden, North Carolina, is shown in this booking photo provided by the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office in Fayetteville, North Carolina, March 10, 2016. Photo via Cumberland County Sheriff's Office/Reuters

    McGraw is shown in this booking photo provided by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office in Fayetteville, North Carolina, March 10, 2016. Photo by Reuters

    Authorities have said John Franklin McGraw of Linden, North Carolina, was charged after he was caught on video hitting a man deputies were escorting at a Trump rally last Wednesday in Fayetteville.

    Trump tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that McGraw “got carried away” and “maybe he doesn’t like seeing what’s happening to the country.”

    Trump was asked if it’s possible he could help McGraw with legal fees, if McGraw needed it.

    Trump says: “I’ve actually instructed my people to look into it, yes.”

    The man who was punched has told The Associated Press that he and others went to the event as observers, not protesters. He says someone swore at one in their group, and by the time they tried to object, the police were escorting him out.

    The post Trump considers paying legal fees of man charged with assault at rally appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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