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- 03/23/16--15:15: _Hear what’s in the ...
- 03/23/16--15:19: _Has health care hac...
- 03/23/16--15:20: _Finding friendship ...
- 03/23/16--15:25: _In the Philippines,...
- 03/23/16--15:30: _Supreme Court hears...
- 03/23/16--15:35: _Bernie Sanders’ pla...
- 03/23/16--15:40: _Why Europe has a pr...
- 03/23/16--15:45: _News Wrap: Obama de...
- 03/23/16--15:50: _As Brussels mourns,...
- 03/24/16--05:52: _Obama to mourn Arge...
- 03/24/16--05:58: _Kerry in Moscow urg...
- 03/24/16--07:29: _WATCH LIVE: Biden t...
- 03/24/16--08:05: _Iraq launches offen...
- 03/24/16--14:35: _Cruz calls Trump ‘a...
- 03/24/16--15:20: _Inventor Ray Kurzwe...
- 03/24/16--15:25: _Barney Frank takes ...
- 03/24/16--15:30: _Why economic anxiet...
- 03/24/16--15:35: _How North Carolina ...
- 03/24/16--15:40: _Why the war crimes ...
- 03/24/16--15:45: _News Wrap: U.S. ind...
- 03/23/16--15:19: Has health care hacking become an epidemic?
- 03/23/16--15:20: Finding friendship in the wreckage of war and revolution
- 03/23/16--15:25: In the Philippines, sex trafficking of young girls moves online
- 03/23/16--15:35: Bernie Sanders’ plan to destroy ISIS
- 03/23/16--15:40: Why Europe has a problem of Islamic State terrorism
- 03/23/16--15:45: News Wrap: Obama defends strategy against terrorism
- 03/23/16--15:50: As Brussels mourns, authorities hunt for attackers
- 03/24/16--05:52: Obama to mourn Argentina coup victims as U.S. ponders its role
- 03/24/16--05:58: Kerry in Moscow urges unity in face of Brussels attacks
- 03/24/16--07:29: WATCH LIVE: Biden to point to record in Supreme Court fight
- 03/24/16--08:05: Iraq launches offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State fighters
- 03/24/16--14:35: Cruz calls Trump ‘a sniveling coward’
- 03/24/16--15:20: Inventor Ray Kurzweil sees immortality in our future
- 03/24/16--15:30: Why economic anxiety is driving working class voters to ‘Trumpism’
- 03/24/16--15:40: Why the war crimes conviction of Radovan Karadzic matters
- 03/24/16--15:45: News Wrap: U.S. indicts 7 hackers for attacks on banks
In our NewsHour Shares series, we show you things that caught our eye recently on the web. What about you? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet to @NewsHour using #NewsHourShares. We might share it on air.
GWEN IFILL: And finally, our NewsHour shares of the night, something that caught our eye — actually, in this case, caught our ear.
Each year, the Library of Congress designates 25 sound recordings for posterity and preservation. See if your picks match theirs.
Jeffrey Brown has a sample.
JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a trip through the 20th century, with something for everyone, including plenty of romance, from a 1911 recording by the Columbia Quartet of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” to Julie London’s version of “Cry Me a River” in 1955.
A year later came the jazz standard “Mack the Knife” with this performance by Louis Armstrong. And nearly a decade later, the Motown hit “Where Did Our Love” go by the Supremes, a song the trio initially thought was too simplistic, but helped gained them great fame.
Also among the 25 recordings are important speeches. Here is George Marshall in 1947 outlining the plan to restore Europe after World War II.
GEORGE MARSHALL, U.S. Army Chief of Staff: It is logical that the United States should do whatever is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace.
JEFFREY BROWN: And then a bit of basketball history: the only surviving recording of Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in 1962. It was taped off the radio by a fan.
MAN: They stopped the game. People are running out onto the court, 100 points for Wilt Chamberlain!
JEFFREY BROWN: Back to music, and you knew it had to be there, Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 anthem “I Will Survive.”
And last, but — well, you decide — some heavy metal from 1986, Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”
From the audio time capsule, I’m Jeffrey Brown.
JUDY WOODRUFF: OK, Gloria Gaynor and the Supremes.
GWEN IFILL: She was singing it, I swear. She was singing along.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I was trying.
GWEN IFILL: I’m all for “Cry Me a River” and Wilt.
That’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Gwen Ifill.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And I’m Judy Woodruff.
Join us online and again right here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank you, and good night.
The post Hear what’s in the newest sonic time capsule from the Library of Congress appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
In February 2015, Anthem made history when 78.8 million of its customers were hacked. It was the largest health care breach ever, and it opened the floodgates on a landmark year. More than 113 million medical records were compromised last year, according to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) under Health and Human Services. Consider it this way: if each case represented a single individual, one in three Americans would have been a victim.
This year looks tame by comparison, but it’s only March, and 3.5 million medical records have already been compromised. Based on this this list from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the health care industry has averaged close to four data breaches per week in 2016 so far.
“If you think about it, that’s pretty bad, because we all interact with the health care system,” computer scientist and information security expert Avi Rubin said while discussing the state of hospital cybersecurity at the USENIX Enigma Conference in January.
Before becoming director of the Johns Hopkins University Health and Medical Security Lab, Rubin provided cybersecurity for companies across many industries. Banks. Car-rental companies. Retail stores. You name it. But the health care sector was the “absolute worst” in terms of cybersecurity problems, he said.
“Their data security practices were so far below every other industry,” Rubin said.
What does this look like on the frontlines? Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess gets hacked every seven seconds, the hospital’s CIO John Halamka reportedly said at South by Southwest two weeks ago. In 2011, cybercriminals in China stole 2,000 patient X-rays from Beth Israel Deaconess. Halamka said the scans are often sold to Chinese nationals who can’t pass health exams for travel visas.
Still, medical cybersecurity gets little attention in mainstream conversations, such as on the campaign trail. The words “hack,” “cyber attack” and “cyber warfare” have only been mentioned 16 times during the major Republican presidential debates. The record is even worse for Democratic candidates, with only a single utterance of “cyber warfare” by Senator Jim Webb during the October 13 debate. Neither party has used any of these terms in the context of health care cybersecurity during the primary debates.
But here are three reasons why everyone should care.
1. Your health records have become currency
“Electronic health records are 100 times more valuable than stolen credit cards,” said James Scott, co-founder and senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT) in Washington D.C. Members of Scott’s institute hold regular meetings between lawmakers and tech experts to foster cybersecurity policy. While numerous safeguards exist for financial information, fewer protections exist for health data, which is much more valuable, Scott said.
“With credit cards, the money is insured. If the bank is FDIC-backed, most people who have their credit card numbers stolen won’t actually lose the money. The bank makes up the difference,” Scott said. “But with electronic health records, the reason that hospitals and insurance companies are such a big target, first, is because of the payoff.”
A single Medicare or Medicaid electronic health record can fetch a $500 price tag on darkweb forums, Scott said. Experian, the global information service, estimates that health records are worth up to 10 times more than credit card numbers on the black market.
“If you purchase 100 electronic health records, you have everything for each of those people — social security number, all the addresses, their kids, their jobs,” Scott said. “Malicious actors want as much intelligence as they can get, and health care is the easiest attack surface for seasoned and non-seasoned hackers.”
Data breaches cost the healthcare industry an estimated $5.6 billion per year.
2. Your hospital cybersecurity might be leaky
Health care occupies a vulnerable cybersecurity space. With the rise of health frackers, self-care and personalized medicine, people, doctors and regulators want easier modes of access to patient data. The dangers come from opening huge highways for sharing and storing data without the proper digital protections, Rubin said.
As an experiment designed to identify vulnerabilities, Independent Security Evaluators spent the last two years trying to penetrate the cybersecurity of 12 health care facilities and two health care data centers in the United States. Don’t worry; they were hired for this purpose.
At one hospital, the team hacked a computerized medicine dispensary by littering several floors with 18 malware-containing USB sticks. Each USB had the hospital’s logo, which may have been enough to convince an unwitting employee to use one. If the hack had been malicious, then the attacker could have altered the drug dosages, a potentially life-threatening scenario for a patient. At another hospital, they utilized an unguarded lobby kiosk to access the bloodwork records of patients, which in theory, could have been switched to yield improper treatment.
Websites are another avenue for cybercriminals, according to Independent Security Evaluators. The team pretended to be a patient logging on to an electronic health record website, but they filled the patient information fields with malicious code. When an unsuspecting administrator — a doctor or a nurse — viewed this new patient information the malicious code was installed, inadvertently granting a hacker “the full ability to modify the health records of all patients in the database,” Independent Security Evaluators wrote in a report published February 23.
Patients also carry these vulnerabilities with them, in the form of smartphone health apps. A survey of 211 diabetes apps in the Google Play store found that 81 percent lacked privacy policies. Of the remaining 41 apps with privacy policies, 25 apps (61 percent) would share user data if required by law; 20 apps (48.8 percent) shared user data with third parties; and 16 apps (39 percent) permitted user data to used for advertising purposes.
Rubin recommended policies like encrypting all patient data, limiting who has permission to view medical charts to prevent breaches at hospitals and multifactor authentication. The number of searches placed into hospital databases should also be monitored, he said, to catch instances when hackers might be downloading large batches of health records at once.
3. You might be missing the biggest flaw in your cybersecurity.
That’s because the biggest flaw in your cybersecurity is probably you.
The ongoing plague of ransomware is a great example. Ransomware holds hostage a victim’s computer or digital files by encrypting them, and it has existed in various forms since 1989. However, the latest incarnation — crypto ransomware — has spread like wildfire since its emergence three years ago. More than 128,000 desktops were hit by ransomware during the final quarter of 2014. By the middle of 2015, this number had mushroomed — doubling to 337,000 cases.
In February, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center became one of the latest high-profile victims of ransomware. Hospital president and CEO Allen Stefanek described the attack as “clearly not a malicious” and “just a random attack,” which is indicative of the primary route for this ransomware: a tainted email. The ICIT claims the medical center was struck by Locky crypto-ransomware, which arrives in an inbox as a Word document in an email attachment.
This brand of attack is known as phishing — wherein hackers mask malicious code within a legitimate-looking email or webpage. This fake correspondence is laced with features designed to convince a victim to click — that’s known as social engineering.
There are two common versions of these hacks, known as spear phishing and whale phishing, and they’re engineered to capitalize on human nature and trust. The celebrity nude photo hack: spear phishing over email. A teen cracked into CIA Director John Brennan’s email by phishing a Verizon employee over the phone.
“Spear phishing is when an adversary will email you, and it looks like a message from a legitimate source. But then when you look closer, @newshour.org is @newshour.uk or .co or something,” Scott said. “Whale phishing is when you’re maybe sending three emails that are highly targeted. [The hackers] design a couple emails tailored through social engineering research that they gather from social media and whatever you put about yourself out there online.”
Cyberthieves often gain intelligence via semi-public social media platforms like LinkedIn, Scott says.
“They can see where you went to college, where you worked. And then they can dig deeper and find your Facebook and find out when you were married. A lot of times, it just comes down to doing your homework,” Scott said.
He adds that education is the key to preventing phishing attacks at hospitals.
“Hospitals and insurance companies need to educate their employees:‘This is what a spear phishing attack looks like.’ ‘Here’s what a spoofed browser looks like.’ ‘Look at the email, what’s different from this email and that email.’” Scott said. “When you get these weird things, you should forward the email to your information security guy at the company.”
He can open the suspicious email in a virtual private network, so the malicious code never gains access to his computer or the company’s network.
President Obama’s recently announced the Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which commits $62 million to educating the next generation of cybersecurity personnel, but it doesn’t mention training for regular folks on social engineering employed by hackers. If people keep opening the door to malicious code, no high-tech encryption, security software or legion of IT employees will be able to stop them.
“It’s training people not to click. That’s the thing. It’s crazy, but teaching people not to click is so hard. Just don’t click,” Scott said.
GWEN IFILL: Now to a NewsHour essay.
Earlier in the week, we heard what it was like to live through the wave of terrorism in Turkey from Elliot Ackerman, a decorated Marine veteran in Iraq and Afghanistan, and author of the new novel “Green on Blue.”
Tonight, Ackerman examines the legacy of a revolution and the deep wounds, but often strong bonds forged by war.
ELLIOT ACKERMAN, Author, “Green on Blue”: Five years ago this past December, the Arab Spring started when a Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, poured a can of gasoline over his head and lit himself on fire.
He was protesting a corrupt government official’s seizure of his fruit cart and scales. In the months that followed across Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and, most disastrously, Syria, revolution spread.
Today, there is no revolution left in the Arab world, only war. Yet, the revolutionaries remain. They are particularly prevalent among Syria’s growing diaspora. When the Arab Spring began, I was in Afghanistan on my last deployment, ending combat service that had started in Iraq seven years before.
And instead of returning home, I returned to the Middle East, writing about the conflict in Syria from Turkey’s southern border. Working as a journalist, I believed at first that my experience as a Marine in America’s unpopular wars would prove a liability when speaking to former revolutionaries.
Slowly, thanks to close Syrian friends, what I found was quite the opposite. A bond existed between us. And this surprised me. One of these friends was Abed, an activist from Damascus now living in Southern Turkey.
Proud as Abed was of his role as an organizer in the 2011 protests, he felt deeply conflicted about his participation. Abed believed in the revolution’s ideals. He still did, yet he couldn’t deny that the very forces of change he helped unleash created a power vacuum exploited by extremists like the Islamic State.
Sipping tea or having dinner on any given night, Abed would begin by asserting that the revolution wasn’t over, that, despite setbacks, hope still existed for democracy inside Syria. But by the time each evening drew to a close, he would often despair: “I wish we had never taken to the streets. I have destroyed my home.”
Abed’s inability to reconcile what his revolution hoped to achieve with its outcome felt familiar to me. When it comes to America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I feel almost exactly the same conflict.
In addition to rooting out al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and searching for WMD in Iraq, our nation sent me and countless others who volunteered to bring freedoms and democracy to those who had lived under violent, autocratic regimes for decades.
Yes, it seems naive to say now, but that was one of the goals then. Just as the Syrian revolution resulted in a power vacuum filled by international jihadists, so, too, did the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As my friendship with Abed grew, we began to speak about the parallel trajectories of our disillusionment, how high-minded ideals bogged down in the quagmire of Islamist dogma and sectarian bloodshed.
After I had known Abed for about a year, he invited me to his wedding. The summer before the revolution, he had met a Swiss woman, a university student studying in Damascus. They would be married just outside Geneva at the Abbey Debeve along the banks of Lake Neuchatel.
A few days before the ceremony, Abed called and asked if I would serve as his witness. We had become close, but his request was a surprise. Yet, when I arrived at the chapel, it made sense. The bride’s family and friends filled the pews, but with Abed’s family trapped in Damascus, I represented the entirety of the groom’s party.
As the wedding started, there were four of us, the maid of honor, the bride, Abed, and me, on a single pew. The civil ceremony was in French, which Abed does not speak, and his bride leaned toward him, quietly whispering a translation.
As Abed struggled to understand his vows, he glanced over to me now and again, plaintively, as if apologizing that I cannot understand either.
That a former American Marine should serve as the sole witness to a new life embarked upon by a former Syrian activist felt appropriate. My wars and his revolution had left a wake of destruction, forcing both of us to craft new lives from the wreckage.
Sitting next to my friend, it didn’t seem to matter that he couldn’t understand the particulars of his vows. What mattered was the choice he had made, to start again.
The post Finding friendship in the wreckage of war and revolution appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Next: a disturbing new trend in the trafficking of mostly young women and children into the sex trade.
Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports from the Philippines on what police call cyber-trafficking.
It’s part of his ongoing series Agents for Change.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Sex tourism has long been a scourge in the Philippines, an industry that thrives on trafficked human beings and deep poverty in this nation of 100 million.
Recent studies have shown that anywhere from 100 to more than 300 thousand Filipinos are trafficked each year; 80 percent, four out of five, are under the age of 18.
The government, under international pressure, has stepped up enforcement. Stings like this one to rescue young women are more common, as are arrests and convictions. But the sex trafficking industry, as always, seems a step ahead in the game.
It has expanded online.
IVY CASTILLO, Officer, Manila Police Cybercrime Center: That’s only one but there are a lot.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: At the police cyber-crime center, officer Ivy Castillo explained one of the many ways that vulnerable young women are tricked into the trade.
IVY CASTILLO: This is a fake account.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Modeling is a common lure.
So, they’re pretending that this is a real modeling agency to entrap the young girls?
It has all the trappings of a glamorous fashion model agency, especially to a young rural Filipina girl.
IVY CASTILLO: At first, they are requested to send this image.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: They’re asked to submit pictures that seem innocuous, facial shots, ostensibly part of the selection process.
IVY CASTILLO: The next requirement is with a two-piece.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The next steps call for more revealing images, just the torso, not the face, they’re assured, giving the false impression that it’s unidentifiable. The young woman won’t make the connection that computer software will, until it’s too late.
They have got her face from her previous, more innocent images, and have Photoshopped them with the nude ones.
IVY CASTILLO: Yes.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: In no time, they are shamed and blackmailed into working for the opaque criminal networks behind the trade.
Lila Shahani is on a government task force on human trafficking.
LILA SHAHANI, Human Trafficking Task Force: Cyber-pornography is easily one of our biggest problems. It’s proliferated very quickly. and it’s an expensive thing to police, and we’re a Third World country.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: But it’s an industry fueled by First World demand, from pedophiles mostly in Europe, North America, and Australia, says officer Castillo.
IVY CASTILLO: These foreign perpetrators, they have contacts here in the Philippines, wherein these contacts are looking for children.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: And perhaps the most frustrating challenge with this cyber-sex industry is a social one. Cecilia Oebanda, who founded the Philippines’ largest anti-trafficking group, says many people don’t believe or don’t want to believe it’s that harmful.
CECILIA FLORES-OEBANDA, Director, Visayan Forum Foundation: Because they think that they’re — the girls are just actually performing in the computer, and there’s no contact, there is no touch. For them, it’s OK. There’s no harm actually put to the child.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: At a shelter her agency runs is living proof that it’s not just emotionally abusive, but also frequently escalates. The children are invariably inducted into traditional prostitution and its daily physical abuse.
These two 15-year-olds were rescued in a police sting from a cyber-porn racket. Their alleged pimp, a man named Jerrie Arraz began as a good samaritan neighbor.
GIRL (through interpreter): There was a time when my mother need money because my stepfather was in jail. So she asked Jerrie for help.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Her mother:
WOMAN (through interpreter): He was really kind. When we didn’t have food, he gave us food. Jerrie offered to send Gina to school.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: This young woman is the 11th of 12 children in a family from one of the many rural Philippine islands beset by poverty and often natural disasters.
Opportunities are scarce, so, at 12, the offer of a scholarship from a kindly stranger, a man visiting to her village, was hard to resist.
GIRL (through interpreter): He said that he’s from Manila. So, I would say my dream is to study in Manila and to know the people, to — like, to wear nice clothes.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: She accompanied the man to Manila, and was placed with Arraz, with whom he was apparently associated. She was in fact placed in school, but, gradually, there were demands, and they escalated, to display herself before strangers online, then to perform sexually and with Arraz in front of the camera.
GIRL (through interpreter): He would wake me up to say there was a customer online and he wanted us to perform while the customer was watching. Each time, it happened, I just cried.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: In time, the cyber-sex had escalated to plain old prostitution.
GIRL (through interpreter): In a month, about four to five times, we met with foreign customers in a hotel, plus daily online.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: It was when both girls were in a hotel one day that Arraz was nabbed as he negotiated with two undercover detectives posing as customers.
JONATHAN LLEDO, Prosecutor: There were Caucasian — Caucasian undercover agents.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Prosecutor Jonathan Lledo was on the sting team, one of whose members hid in waiting.
JONATHAN LLEDO: He was inside the closet for four hours.
And the phone call rung that signaled that money exchanged hands. And we opened the door and announced. There was bewilderment. There was: What is happening here?
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The young women, in terror, ran to their trafficker and to his defense.
GIRL (through interpreter): We always felt like Jerrie was our father, so that’s what we told rescuers. He is our father. We were really scared.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: It’s been called the Stockholm syndrome, Lledo says, one more complication in rescuing hostages who become sympathetic to their captor, and any change to what has become normal in their lives is unsettling.
JONATHAN LLEDO: The trafficker is providing them with food, clothing, shelter and a place to stay, and law enforcement will disrupt all this.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: As it turns out, six children were removed from the home of Jerrie Arraz and placed with Oebanda’s agency, including a 1-year-old infant abandoned by its mother.
The more immediate task is to try to restore childhoods through counseling and eventually adoption into homes, education and skills training for those older.
IVY CASTILLO: Most of our cases are referred from our foreign counterparts.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Philippine police officials say most of the enforcement comes from the consumer end. Tracking down providers is fraught with difficulty. They can be anywhere, evidence against them, if it exists, hidden in the cloud instead of a hard drive.
A lot of bad guys are not being caught, right?
IVY CASTILLO: Yes.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Another big challenge is that police must rely on tips from the public, says task force member Shahani.
LILA SHAHANI: There is a real fear of — among informants of retaliation from big syndicates.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: But Oebanda, who has long campaigned against trafficking, sees progress.
CECILIA FLORES OEBANDA: Our conviction rate has more than double. So, for me, that progress is indications of the political will.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Attention is now on Jerrie Arraz’s trial, now under way in Manila. These images are from his Facebook page. It’s the first so-called cyber-trafficking case to be brought, in hopes that it will mark a turning point.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” this is Fred de Sam Lazaro in Manila.
The post In the Philippines, sex trafficking of young girls moves online appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: But, first, we turn to the Supreme Court, where the clash between religious freedom and women’s access to birth control played out once again today.
PROTESTERS: Hands off my birth control!
GWEN IFILL: Today marked the fourth time the high court has heard a challenge to the president’s signature health care law.
At the center of today’s case, the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. Just two years ago, arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby challenged that mandate, and won. Justices ruled that family-owned companies run on religious principles could refuse to pay for their employees’ birth control.
Today’s case shifted the focus from private companies to the potential burden for religious nonprofits. The challenge comes in part from an order of nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor. Along with six other plaintiffs, they argue the law forces them to either violate their beliefs or pay a substantial fine.
MOTHER LORAINE MAGUIRE, Little Sisters of the Poor: We find ourselves in a situation where the government is requiring us to make changes in our health care, our religious health care plan to include services that really violate our deepest-held religious beliefs as Little Sisters.
GWEN IFILL: The National Women’s Law Center sided with the Obama administration, saying coverage alternatives for these groups already exist.
GRETCHEN BORCHELT, National Women’s Law Center: Women deserve insurance coverage for birth control no matter where they work. These employers want to take that benefit away from their employees. The alternatives that they proposed in court today are unworkable and, frankly, insulting.
GWEN IFILL: A ruling is expected by June.
For more on today’s arguments, we turn to our “NewsHour” regular Marcia Coyle of “The National Law Journal.” She was, as always, in the court today.
It seems like we had a discussion about morality at the Supreme Court, Marcia.
MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal: Yes, because the religious nonprofits that have brought these cases — and there are seven cases — to the Supreme Court feel that the government’s attempt to accommodate their objections is making them complicit in immoral, sinful conduct.
GWEN IFILL: So, how did this end up back at the court? Because we have — the court has ruled on this, on Obamacare before, a couple times now.
MARCIA COYLE: Oh, yes.
In fact, this is the fourth time the court’s looked at the law. But this is — it really involves health regulations under the Affordable Care Act, and there are — there have been dozens and dozens of lawsuits by religious nonprofits almost from the beginning of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act.
GWEN IFILL: Including universities and schools.
MARCIA COYLE: That’s right.
It is not just Little Sisters of the Poor even before the Supreme Court. There are religious-affiliated colleges. There are Roman Catholic diocese and some clergy who are also party to these cases.
GWEN IFILL: So what are the other options? What is the compromise that the administration was offering?
MARCIA COYLE: The administration has told the religious nonprofits to simply write a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services notifying the department of their objections, and also to give the department the name of their health insurer or their third-party administrator.
The religious nonprofits say they are not objecting to objecting, but they claim that by providing the name of their insurer or third-party administrator, they’re allowing the government to hijack their insurance plan and provide the coverage to their employees that they object to. And this makes them complicit in that coverage.
GWEN IFILL: And, in fact, Justice — Chief Justice Roberts used that word hijacked today. Tell us about how this played out in front of the court.
MARCIA COYLE: Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito in particular were the most aggressive questioners of the solicitor general of the United States defending the accommodation in this case.
And Chief Justice Roberts said he thought that hijacking was an accurate description of what’s happening here. But the solicitor general told the justices that it’s not accurate. He said that these insurance plans do not belong to the employers. They belong to the insurers.
And the government has always had the ability to make arrangements with third parties. And, in this case, the government would arrange with the insurer to provide the contraceptive coverage in a separate agreement, separate communications, and segregated funds. The employer is entirely out of it.
GWEN IFILL: Now, we know, of course, that last time there was a challenge to the Affordable Care Act involving the Hobby Lobby case, Justice Scalia was still alive, still a nine-member court.
MARCIA COYLE: That’s correct.
GWEN IFILL: With the 4-4 split, what did you discern from the arguments today about how that’s going to turn out?
MARCIA COYLE: Well, my sense is — as I left the courtroom, is that the court is evenly divided.
If the government wants to win a ruling for the entire nation, it’s going to need somebody from the conservative side to move over to the liberal side, so that there would be a 5-3 majority. The most likely person often is Justice Kennedy. But he gave conflicting signals during the argument, but he also did pick up the hijacking language.
So it’s not clear to me how this is going to come out. I would say, Gwen, that this court doesn’t like 4-4 decisions. It’s a waste of everybody’s time. It doesn’t create a precedent. And it leaves uneven law throughout the country.
GWEN IFILL: But if it were to happen in this case, what stands?
MARCIA COYLE: Yes.
OK, the lower court’s opinion stands. Now, in these seven cases, four federal appellate courts have ruled for the government. An additional three appellate courts ruled for the government. One has not. So, in the states where the government won, the employers have to comply.
GWEN IFILL: OK. It’s complicated.
GWEN IFILL: I’m sorry to throw that at you at the last minute.
Marcia Coyle of “The National Law Journal,” thank you.
MARCIA COYLE: My pleasure, Gwen.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Hillary Clinton today said the U.S. stands with Belgium and other European allies. But, at the same time, she called for more European countries to invest in security.
In a speech at Stanford University, she also slammed the Republicans’ response to the terror attacks in Brussels.
HILLARY CLINTON, Democratic Presidential Candidate: In our fight against radical jihadism, we have to do what actually works.
One thing we know that doesn’t work is offensive, inflammatory rhetoric that demonizes all Muslims. There are millions of peace-loving Muslims living, working, raising families and paying taxes in this country. These Americans are a crucial line of defense against terrorism. They are the most likely to recognize the warning signs of radicalization before it’s too late, and the best positioned to block it.
So, when Republican candidates like Ted Cruz call for treating American Muslims like criminals and for racially profiling predominantly Muslim neighborhoods, it’s wrong, it’s counterproductive, it’s dangerous.
JUDY WOODRUFF: For more now on the terrorist attacks in Belgium, U.S. foreign policy and the race for the White House, we turn to the other Democratic presidential candidate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Senator Sanders, welcome. And, first of all, congratulations on your wins yesterday in Utah and Idaho.
I know you know, as the voters were going to the polls in those states, though, on the other side of the Atlantic, the city of Brussels was reeling from this terrible set of terrorist attacks.
Secretary Clinton said just a short time ago that ISIS cannot be contained; it has to be defeated.
Do you agree? And, if so, how?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Well, I think it has to be destroyed.
This is a barbaric organization that is a threat not only to the people in the Middle East, to the people in Europe, but obviously to the people in the United States as well. It has to be destroyed.
And here is how we destroy it. We do not destroy it by doing what we did in Iraq and getting into perpetual warfare. I voted against the war in Iraq. In fact, Secretary Clinton, when she was in the Senate, voted for that war.
What we do, as King Abdullah of Jordan has told us, is we work to put together a very effective coalition of Muslim nations who lead the effort on the ground, supported by the United States, the U.K., France, and other major powers in the air and through training.
Now, in the last year, we have had some success. Ramadi has been recaptured. ISIS has lost about 20 percent of the ground that it controlled. But we have a lot more to do. So, I think what we need is strong coalition.
And, by the way, Judy — and very few people talk about this — we have got to bring in some of the Gulf region countries who have kind of sat it out, countries like Qatar, one of the wealthiest countries on earth, who are spending $200 billion in preparation for the World Cups in 2022.
They’re spending $200 billion for the World Cup. Well, they may want to spend some money helping us destroy ISIS. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait are going to have to play a greater role.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Senator, as the United States waits for these other countries to get on board to form this coalition, ISIS is not only strong in its base in Iraq and Syria. It’s now sending, we know, hundreds of fighters into Europe, the AP reporting today 400 trained fighters planing attacks in Europe.
That’s going on right now.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Right, and that raises the other issue.
First of all, we have got to destroy ISIS. Second of all, we have got to protect the United States from attacks and protect our allies throughout the world. And that means we need to do a much greater job in sharing intelligence. We need to do a much better job in monitoring those young people who are being drawn into terrorism.
We have got to monitor how they communicate with each other to plan attacks. So, there is a lot of work to be done to protect our country, as well as to protect our allies in Europe and elsewhere, by the way.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But how do you do that, when there are people right now in Europe, in Belgium, and other countries and presumably here in the United States who are prepared to die for this cause?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, Judy, no one ever said that this is going to be simple.
What we have got to do is work with increased intelligence capabilities, shared intelligence capabilities. We have to work with increased law enforcement, with increased monitoring, with increased tracking of people who come into this country. This is not easy. Your point is right.
If somebody is willing to blow themselves up and walk into an airport, or walk into a movie theater, you know what? It is tough to defend ourselves against that. But, obviously, we must do everything that we can.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But I don’t understand how you destroy ISIS, to use your word, when you’re talking about intelligence operations and cooperation and coalitions.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: You don’t understand how we destroy ISIS?
We destroy ISIS because there are millions of soldiers in the Middle East who are under arms right now. ISIS has perhaps 30,000 or 40,000 fighters. Our goal is to bring those countries together, to put troops on the ground to destroy ISIS, not to get the United States involved in perpetual warfare.
Can ISIS be destroyed? Of course they can. It’s a question of a coalition. It’s a question, as King Abdullah has said, Muslim troops on the ground, not American troops. And, by the way, it is not a question of going to war against a religion, as some of my Republican colleagues would have us do. We’re taking on terrorism and ISIS, not Islam as a religion.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But to play devil’s advocate, just one more question here, Senator. The approach you describe is one that is going to take many months, maybe even many years.
Does the United States…
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, you know, Judy, I don’t know — let me tell you this, also, Judy. I don’t know how we can stop somebody who has an assault weapon from shooting up some people today.
These are not easy answers. You’re right. This is difficult. And anyone who tells you they have a magical solution to this problem is not telling you the truth. But the two-pronged attack — two-pronged approach has got to be, number one, we do destroy ISIS on the ground in Iraq and in that region.
Number two, we do everything possible to defend the United States.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Senator Sanders, a question about the path to the nomination.
You do have right now over 900 delegates. But even the most optimistic, realistic scenario shows that it’s very difficult for you, going to be very difficult for you to overcome, to overtake Secretary Clinton.
Do you still believe that it is possible for you to accumulate the number of delegates you need to capture the Democratic nomination?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, Judy, let’s start off by remembering maybe a discussion you and I might have had 10 months ago when I began.
At that point, I was 3 percent in the polls, 70 points behind Hillary Clinton. CBS had a poll this week had me five points behind. And what Democrats all over this country are taking notice of is that, in virtually every national poll, I defeat Donald Trump by significantly greater numbers than does Secretary Clinton.
So, what Democrats are understanding and what superdelegates are understanding that, really, the most important thing right now is to make sure we don’t have some Republican in the White House. And I think people are taking a second look at Bernie Sanders, because, clearly, he is the stronger candidate to defeat Donald Trump.
Now, in terms of how the electoral process has gone on, Secretary Clinton did very, very well in the Deep South. We didn’t do well. She got a whole lot of delegates. Well, you know, what? We’re moving out of the Deep South now.
Just yesterday, as you know, we got almost 80 percent of the vote in Idaho and Utah. We won Democrats aboard with 67 percent. This weekend, we’re heading to Washington, Hawaii, Alaska. I can’t predict the outcomes. I hope we do very well.
You have major states like New York state, New Jersey, California, Oregon coming up. We think we have a chance to do very, very well there. So, we have come from way, way, way back. And I think very few people would have thought that a Bernie Sanders and our campaign and what we’re talking about would have won 12 contests already.
But we do believe we have a path to the White House, and it is through the West.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Still very much in the fight.
Senator Bernie Sanders, we thank you.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Thank you very much.
GWEN IFILL: We return to the attacks in Brussels, and what they said about the growing Islamic State threat in Europe and elsewhere.
Daniel Benjamin was coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department during the first term of the Obama administration. He’s now a professor at Dartmouth College. And Joby Warrick is a national security correspondent at The Washington Post. He’s also the author of the book “Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS.”
Daniel Benjamin, was this a nightmare scenario that could have been foreseen? Yesterday, we heard people saying, this is what we feared.
DANIEL BENJAMIN, Former State Department Official: I think that people who have been watching terrorism have been fearing this for many years, actually.
The recognition that Europe had a problem with extremism in its midst and the recognition that Europe hadn’t taken security arrangements as seriously as it should have, I think, has been common. That observation has been common in the security community for many years now.
GWEN IFILL: Joby Warrick, the Associated Press, among others, have been reporting today that there were as many as 400 people being trained by ISIS to carry out these attacks in Europe. So did they not leave any footprints or any signs?
JOBY WARRICK, The Washington Post: Well, the number’s a little bit soft, I think, but it’s not unrealistic to think that if you have 5,000 Europeans that went to Iraq and Syria to fight, if only 10 percent of them came back home, you know, that’s a pretty good base for future attacks.
You know, Abaaoud, the guy who carried out the November attacks in Paris, claimed that there were 90 people that he knew of involved in cells getting ready to carry out attacks. So it’s not something that can be easily dismissed.
GWEN IFILL: From what you know about from writing your book on ISIS, is this the sort of thing that the United States should be wary of? Are there footprints as well leading here?
JOBY WARRICK: Well, it’s a different situation for us. Fortunately, we don’t have the kind of radical communities that you see in Europe. We have radicalized individuals, but not so much a community problem.
And we also have, fortunately, oceans separating us from some of these jihadists. I think Europeans have a much more acute problem. They’re really waking up to it now. It’s almost too late for some of the action they’re taking, because the threat is really at hand.
GWEN IFILL: So, Daniel Benjamin, you agree that this idea of alienation makes it different with Muslim communities or the radical Muslim communities in Europe and here?
DANIEL BENJAMIN: There’s no question that there’s a higher level of alienation and of radicalization.
European Muslims are several times more likely to go to fight in Iraq and Syria, perhaps as much as 10 times as much. And if you look at the — just the casualties that we have seen since 9/11, you know, there’s been vastly more violence in Europe, 10 times as much at least, compared to the United States, where, despite all the concern, we have only had about 45 casualties, 45 deaths, due to jihadist violence.
GWEN IFILL: So, is it law enforcement that is dropping the ball in Europe?
DANIEL BENJAMIN: It’s a much larger problem than law enforcement.
You have a very different kind of set of Muslim communities. They tend to be much poorer, much less educated. They have much less social mobility, much less access to education and even less political representation. So, it’s really a societal problem.
It’s important to note that the large majority of European Muslims are very, very peaceful and love their countries. In fact, when polls are taken, they tend to be more patriotic than the non-Muslim populations. But, because of these conditions, it is easier for a smaller number of extremists, still much larger than we have in the U.S., to swim in the same seas, if you will.
GWEN IFILL: Well, Joby Warrick, Daniel Benjamin mentions that there are only 45 casualties since 2004, including Madrid and Paris and…
DANIEL BENJAMIN: No, no, I’m sorry. In Europe, you have had closer to 500.
GWEN IFILL: In Europe, oh, 500.
DANIEL BENJAMIN: In the United States, you have had about 45.
GWEN IFILL: The other way around, that’s right.
So, making the point — thank you — that there are that many people and that many signs, is this something that is operating so far under the radar that Belgian authorities or Europol or French authorities couldn’t have had a heads-up about it, especially — I just want to add, especially since President Erdogan of Turkey today is saying that he made a warning?
JOBY WARRICK: Well, yes, I think the Belgians, in particular, have a problem. And they’re very aware of it. And we’re often saying these days that you’re only as strong as your weakest link.
In the case of Belgium, you have got a country that — it’s got a fairly small police force. If they have 100 — by conservative estimates, about 100 ISIS veterans have returned to that country alone, just so the manpower involved in conducting surveillance and watching all these people, watching their phone calls, conversations, it sort of taxes their police forces beyond their capability, not — let alone the problem of dealing with counterradicalization, and just all the tracking and surveillance they need to be doing.
So, yes, they have a problem there. They have a problem with coordinating with other agencies and other governments. And so, yes, that sets a huge problem for them. And I think they really are aware of this now, but it’s kind of late to the party.
GWEN IFILL: Has the migrant crisis that we have seen, we have spent a lot of time talking about on this program, has that exacerbated the problem?
DANIEL BENJAMIN: It absolutely has.
We know, for example, in the case of the Paris attacks, that at least one of the perpetrators came in with the flow of migrants. And, you know, it’s had a pretty destabilizing effect. And it’s quite possible — you spoke earlier of a report of 400, which I find to be really high number of potential infiltrators.
But, certainly, Europe has had very weak external borders. Its internal borders in the Schengen area are nonexistent, so it’s very easy for bad actors to move around, and the migrant crisis has really exacerbated things.
GWEN IFILL: Joby Warrick, what do you think about that?
JOBY WARRICK: Yes.
And it’s obviously something that people talk about politically in this country, but it’s a very different situation for us here. There’s really much more vetting of refugees, potential refugees that come into this country. It hasn’t really existed in Europe. And now we have got a huge problem that already exists, and it’s in they’re having to retroactively go back and try to figure out who some of these people are, and it is clear that some bad people came in with the rest.
GWEN IFILL: So, would you both say that maybe the root of this is more likely to be the civil war in Syria than because of this, or the civil war in Syria, which is exacerbating, which is causing the migrant crisis and also causing this kind of radicalization?
DANIEL BENJAMIN: So, there is multiple causality.
Certainly, the Syrian civil war has made a huge difference and had a profound effect on radicalizing people who have wanted to go to Syria and fight to defend Sunni Muslims who they found were being treated appallingly, as we have seen.
At the same time, you know, security services in Europe for the most part — and their bureaucracies in general — never had that catalytic moment that we had after 9/11, and they have never removed their stovepipes. They have never really forced themselves to cooperate as well.
There are times in the U.S. government when you would find that part of a particular foreign European government had one set of information, but didn’t want another part to know, but we knew. And, you know, it’s a remarkable situation, but, really, until you have one of these horrific attacks, there isn’t a sufficient prod to reorganize.
GWEN IFILL: Daniel Benjamin of Dartmouth College, and Joby Warrick, author of the book “Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS,” thank you both very much.
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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, we are on the ground in Brussels. The city grapples with the deadly attacks and the most effective way to fight terror.
MALCOLM BRABANT: There is a mix of fear and resilience on the streets here tonight, as Belgians shift focus to confronting extremism in their midst.
GWEN IFILL: Then: foreign policy and the next president, today, the Democrats. Hillary Clinton delivers a major address. And we talk with Bernie Sanders.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Can ISIS be destroyed? Of course they can. It’s a question of the coalition. It’s a question, as King Abdullah has said, Muslim troops on the ground, not American troops. And, by the way, it is not a question of going to war against a religion.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And we travel to the Philippines, where young girls are lured into the sex trade online.
All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
GWEN IFILL: In the day’s other news: President Obama defended his administration’s strategy against terror, and dismissed Republican calls for more aggressive action.
The president spoke in Buenos Aires, where he met with President Mauricio Macri. At a news conference, he said fighting the Islamic State group is his number one priority.
But he rejected Donald Trump’s calls for water-boarding and Ted Cruz’s talk of major military strikes.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: So, when I hear we somebody saying we should carpet-bomb Iraq or Syria, not only is that inhumane, not only is that contrary to our values, but that would likely be an extraordinary mechanism for ISIL to recruit more people willing to die and explode bombs in an airport.
GWEN IFILL: Mr. Obama also condemned Cruz’s call for surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods. He said it would be wrong and — quote — “un-American to make Muslims feel ghettoized.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: Donald Trump was off the campaign trail today, but Ted Cruz was in New York City, where he fired back at the president. After a rally in Manhattan, Cruz branded the Obama policy a failure, and said Americans are fed up with being — quote — “lectured on Islamophobia.”
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: We have seen President Obama’s weakness and appeasement give rise to radical Islamic terrorism. ISIS, which President Obama wrongfully dismissed as the junior varsity, is the face of evil. They have declared jihad on America and President Obama refuses to acknowledge that. He is so captured by political correctness, he’s unwilling to confront it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Also today, Cruz picked up the endorsement of former rival Jeb Bush, after winning Tuesday’s Republican caucuses in Utah. But Donald Trump won the Arizona primary, to pad his delegate lead. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won Arizona, and Bernie Sanders won caucuses in Utah and Idaho.
We will hear some of Clinton’s speech on foreign policy today, and have an interview with Senator Sanders later in the program.
GWEN IFILL: House Speaker Paul Ryan decried the state of politics and the presidential campaign today in a Washington speech. The Wisconsin Republican named no names, but his remarks appeared pointed directly at front-runner Donald Trump.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), Speaker of the House: This has always been a tough business. And when passions flare, ugliness is sometimes inevitable. But we shouldn’t accept ugliness as the norm. We should demand better from ourselves. We should demand better from one another. We are slipping into being a divisive country.
We are speaking to each other in echo chambers, where we only talk to those who agree with us, and we think that there is something wrong with the people who don’t agree with us.
GWEN IFILL: Ryan has said he will back the eventual Republican presidential nominee.
JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s word that most of the warring parties in Yemen have agreed to a cease-fire as of April 10. A special U.N. envoy says it involves the government and its Sunni backers, including Saudi Arabia, plus Shiite rebels. Meanwhile, local officials confirm that a U.S. airstrike killed some 50 militants at an al-Qaida training camp west of the port city of Mukalla on Tuesday.
GWEN IFILL: An independent task force in Michigan blasted state officials today for mishandling the water contamination crisis in Flint. The group was appointed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder last year. It found the state is — quote — “fundamentally accountable” for letting lead taint the city’s water and then ignoring pleas from the public.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A son of billionaire Warren Buffett has unveiled a $90 million fund to help young girls of color in the U.S. The foundation, run by Peter and Jennifer Buffett, says it’s the largest single investment of its kind. The first step will be to survey minority girls and their advocates to determine how best to use the money.
GWEN IFILL: On Wall Street, a new drop in oil and other commodities pulled stocks down. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 80 points to close just above 17500. The Nasdaq fell more than 50 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 13.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And former mayor — Major League Baseball catcher and Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Garagiola has died in Scottsdale, Arizona. He played eight seasons in the majors, and then for decades, he called games on radio and TV, and even co-hosted NBC’s “Today Show.” He finally retired in 2013. Joe Garagiola was 90 years old.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: Europe’s struggle to combat terror; Bernie Sanders on his view of America’s role in the fight against ISIS; arguments over covering contraception before the Supreme Court; and much more.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The city of Brussels began three days of mourning today; 31 people were killed and 270 others wounded in Tuesday’s suicide attacks.
Today, investigators kept up a manhunt, as the city tried to get back to something like normal.
Malcolm Brabant reports from Brussels.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Hundreds gathered in Brussels’ Place de la Bourse this morning to remember the victims of yesterday’s twin bombings with a moment of silence.
WOMAN: Well, I think everyone can agree that this is a horrible, horrible, horrible thing. I think that’s all there is left to say about it.
CAROLINE LEDENT, Brussels Resident (through interpreter): I think we had to be here. I don’t have the words to express what I feel, but it’s true that we have been used to see these attacks for a long time, but when it happens at home, you feel it in a stronger way.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Elsewhere in the city, flags at European Union buildings were lowered to half-staff. European leaders laid a wreath at the metro station where one of the bombers struck, and Belgium’s king and queen visited with staff and emergency responders at the Brussels Airport, which announced it will remain closed at least another day.
Many others in the Belgian capital took pride in returning to work and routine as a sign of strength in the face of terror.
WOMAN: We all have to, because, otherwise, I think they will win. That’s what they want, to paralyze our lives in Europe, and we have to go on with it.
WOMAN: We shouldn’t be afraid. I think the most straight answer is to be there, to continue our lives, to go to the terraces, to drink our coffee, to go to the cinema and so on.
MALCOLM BRABANT: But, as life went on, so did the search for answers. Investigators now believe at least four individuals were involved in the attacks.
They say Ibrahim El Bakraoui and another man seen were the suicide bombers who struck the departures concourse. That second man, Najim Laachraoui, allegedly also made the suicide vests for the Paris bombings.
And it was El Bakraoui’s brother, Khalid, who blew himself up on a subway car near the European Union complex about an hour later. The third man, not yet identified from the airport photo, is still being sought.
FREDERIC VAN LEEUW, Belgian Federal Prosecutor (through interpreter): The third suspect wearing a light jacket and a hat is on the run. He put down a large bag, then left before the explosion. It contained the largest explosive charge. Shortly after the arrival of the bomb disposal unit, this bag blew up because of the highly unstable nature of the explosives. Fortunately, nobody was injured.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Officials say the two brothers did have criminal records tied to robbery and carjacking, but it wasn’t until a March 15 raid on a Belgium apartment rented by Khalid El Bakraoui that they became suspects in the ongoing terror probe.
That search also turned up fingerprints belonging to Salah Abdeslam, the top suspect in November’s terror attacks in Paris. He was captured last week. One of several raids since yesterday’s attacks turned up explosives and chemicals used to make bombs, as well as Ibrahim El Bakraoui’s computer on which he said he was unsure what to do, hunted everywhere, and no longer safe.
Today, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said one of the attackers was deported from Turkey in June.
PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkey (through interpreter): We informed the Belgium Embassy with a diplomatic note about the deportation on July 14, 2015. Despite our warnings that this person is a foreign fighter, Belgium could not establish any links with terrorism.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Likewise, French officials have complained that Belgium failed to conduct security crackdowns in Muslim areas after the Paris attacks. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for greater coordination today, before traveling to Brussels.
MANUEL VALLS, Prime Minister, France (through interpreter): We closed our eyes everywhere in Europe, including France, to the progression of extremist ideas, neighborhoods which through a combination of drug trafficking and radical Islamism perverted youth. And I’m not here to lecture the Belgians, because I’m sure they’re more than aware of this.
MALCOLM BRABANT: There was also word that Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Brussels on Friday to meet with top Belgian and European officials.
And, tonight, European and Iraqi intelligence officials told the Associated Press that ISIS has dispatched at least 400 fighters to Europe, and they have been specifically trained to attack the West — Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Malcolm, given the threat of these fighters, give us a sense of the security across Europe. You traveled into Belgium today.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Yes, I have come from Lesbos in Greece, and have traveled through Athens and Paris.
And all the way along that route, you can see just how sensitive people are in the wake of these attacks at transport hubs. At Athens Airport, for example, today, there was an alarm going off, and you could see the tension in people’s faces because they just didn’t know what was going on.
In Paris, the plane was met by policemen checking very assiduously everybody’s passports. And this is something that shouldn’t normally happen within the Schengen free travel zone. This is supposed to be paper-free. But they were checking everybody’s identities very closely.
Indeed, there were sniffer dogs there. And then driving into Belgium wasn’t a problem. The border was wide open, but on the other side of the motorway, it was very difficult getting out. There were hordes of policemen on the border with France trying to see if they could get hold of those people that might be involved in those attacks yesterday.
And when I finally got into the center of Belgium, into Brussels this morning — this afternoon, rather, at the Eurostar station, it looked very much like this was a city at war. There were army trucks everywhere, police guards, and people checking — being checked as they went into the Eurostar station, because this is something that people really are concerned about, that, in order to get into these places now, you perhaps need to be checked.
And then there was a queue outside. And these are the sort of things that can become soft targets in the future. So, there’s a real difficulty about the balance of security in places like Eurostar, train station and at airports.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, Malcolm, you reported on Turkey having deported back to Belgium one of the attackers from what happened yesterday. How do Belgians explain this?
MALCOLM BRABANT: Well, this is really embarrassing for the Belgians, because the Turkish president said that the Belgian authorities were warned that this man did have terrorist links, and he said that the Belgians had not been able to find any.
And yet this man was able to wander around in Belgium for months before carrying out this terrible suicide attack. And it really does beg the question about what the European authorities are going to do about people who return from Syria, especially as this is where they’re getting the military expertise to be able to carry out the sort of attacks that we saw in Brussels yesterday.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Malcolm Brabant reporting for us tonight from Brussels, we thank you.
And we will take a closer look at Europe’s struggle to prevent this sort of attack after the news summary.
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Confronting a dark chapter in Latin America’s history, President Barack Obama will pay tribute to victims of Argentina’s “Dirty War,” as he works to bring closure to questions about the U.S. role in one of the region’s most repressive dictatorships.
This week marks the 40th anniversary of the 1976 coup that opened a period of military rule still haunting Argentina, where millions are spent each year prosecuting perpetrators and searching for remains of the thousands who died or disappeared. Closing out his South America trip, Obama planned to use his visit to Remembrance Park in Buenos Aires Thursday to lay the groundwork for the U.S. to come clean about any involvement.
President Barack Obama, speaking alongside Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, paid tribute to victims of Argentina’s “Dirty War” on Thursday and promised the declassification of U.S. files related to it.
Though much remains unknown, rights groups believe U.S. backing for authoritarian regimes in Latin America extended to Argentina during the 1976 to 1983 period known as the “Dirty War.” As controversy mounted ahead of Obama’s visit, he announced the U.S. would declassify military and intelligence records shedding light on what happened, granting a request from new President Mauricio Macri’s government.
Yet that step, while welcomed by Macri, hasn’t quelled concerns. Even as Obama met with Macri on Wednesday, protesters gathered in Buenos Aires to protest his visit, while some prominent rights groups threatened to boycott Obama’s visit to Remembrance Park.
“We are absolutely determined to do our part as Argentina continues to heal and move forward as one nation,” Obama said. Of his pledge to release documents, Obama said: “I hope this gesture also helps to rebuild trust that may have been lost between our two countries.”
For his part, Macri has been criticized for de-emphasizing the need for U.S. accountability as he pursues closer ties with Washington. Macri declined to say what he expects the records will reveal.
“Let’s wait, study the documentation, and then we can do some comments on it,” he said.
Some 13,000 people were killed or disappeared during the “Dirty War,” Argentina’s government estimates, though rights groups put it closer to 30,000.
At the sprawling park honoring victims, Obama was to lay a wreath and speak about the painful period. Then Obama and his family planned to fly to Bariloche, a picturesque city in southern Argentina, for a few hours of leisure before departing late Thursday for Washington.
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MOSCOW — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Thursday for countries to boost efforts to fight the Islamic State group in Syria, Iraq and beyond in the wake of this week’s deadly attacks in Brussels.
In Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Syria and Ukraine, Kerry said the Brussels attacks should put nations on notice that the terror threat emanating from the Middle East must be stopped.
Kerry, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, said the “events in Brussels underscore to us all the urgency of every country that has the ability to make a difference to end this evil scourge that comes from Daesh and violent extremism.”
Kerry will be seeking clarity from Putin and Lavrov as to where Russia stands on a political transition for Syria, particularly on the future of President Bashar Assad, now that a fragile truce is holding and U.N. brokered peace talks are underway.
He said more progress was needed in reducing violence and delivering humanitarian aid but expressed hope that his discussions in Moscow would “further define and chart the road ahead so that we can bring this conflict in Syria to a close as fast as possible.”
The U.S. and Russia have been at odds over Syria since the conflict began more than five years ago, with Washington demanding Assad’s ouster and Moscow saying it is up to the Syrian people to determine their leadership.
Kerry’s meetings were arranged after Putin made a surprise announcement last week that Russian troops would partially withdraw from Syria after five months of military operations in support of Assad’s government.
Kerry said that he was optimistic his talks could “prove that two powerful nations that have been able to find cooperation in the past few years despite differences have the ability in the face of those differences to do what is necessary to meet the challenge.”
The other current significant difference between the U.S. and Russia is the situation in Ukraine where Washington accuses Moscow of not doing enough to push pro-Russian separatists in the east to comply with a ceasefire.
Russia, meanwhile, has complained that the Ukrainian government is dragging its feet on implementing the ceasefire.
Fighting in Ukraine’s industrial heartland, which has close ties to Russia, has killed more than 9,100 people and left large swaths of land under rebel control. Germany, France and Russia mediated talks between the Ukrainian government and the Russian-backed separatists in Minsk, Belarus, which resulted in the truce agreement.
That has largely held, but none of the political elements, including calling a local election, has been implemented.
Kiev insists it can’t hold the vote because it cannot guarantee security for election officials. For their part, the rebels have said they won’t allow Ukrainian right-wing parties to run, which the Ukrainian government says also makes the election impossible.
Kerry was to raise concerns about a recent sharp increase in cease-fire violations and press Russia to do more to get the separatists in line. Unless there is “true quiet” and full access for cease-fire monitors, U.S. officials say it will be difficult to get progress on other parts of the Minsk deal.
Kerry will also raise the case of Nadezhda Savchenko, a Ukrainian pilot who was sentenced to 22 years in prison in Russia on Tuesday on charges the U.S. says are false. Savchenko was convicted of complicity to murder in the 2014 deaths of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine, opening a door to a possible prisoner swap between the two countries.
The U.S. has repeatedly called for Savchenko, who is also a member of parliament, to be released and did so again on Tuesday. Ukraine has suggested trading two Russian prisoners for Savchenko and U.S. officials say Kerry would encourage Russia to accept the proposal.
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[Watch Video]PBS NewsHour will live stream Vice President Biden, who is scheduled to speak at 12:30 p.m. EDT.
WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday will point to his years as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman to cast Republicans’ election-year Supreme Court blockade as a dangerous new escalation of partisanship — hoping to put the focus on his record on high-court nominations and not his much-discussed remarks.
In a speech at Georgetown Law School, Biden will note that as chairman and ranking Democrat on the committee he helped usher eight Supreme Court nominees through the committee. All of those nominees got a hearing and a vote on the Senate floor, Biden says, according to excerpts of the speech released in advance.
“Not much of the time. Not most of the time. Every single time,” he says.
The high-profile speech is Biden’s latest attempt to explain and move past the 1992 remarks that have recently come back to haunt him and his boss, President Barack Obama.
In the Senate floor speech, then-committee Chairman Biden seemed to endorse the notion of blocking any Supreme Court nominee put forward in the throes of the election season, a version of the strategy now thwarting Obama nominee Merrick Garland.
Republicans have branded their election-year blockade the “Biden rule” and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has used Biden’s comments to suggest the strategy is a standard Senate practice. Biden, meanwhile, has defended the remarks by saying Republicans are distorting his meaning.
The White House said Biden’s Thursday speech to law professors and students is an attempt to go on offense. Biden plans to warn of the danger of allowing the diminished court to deadlock on major issues, kicking cases back to regional lower court and threatening to “fragment our national unity.”
“The longer this high court vacancy remains unfilled, the more serious a problem we will face — a problem compounded by turbulence, confusion, and uncertainty about our safety and security, our liberty and privacy, the future of our children and grandchildren,” Biden will say, according to excerpts.
It is not surprising that Biden is eager to weigh in. After more than 15 years on the Judiciary Committee, eight as chairman, few in Washington can match the vice president’s experience with judicial nominations. Facing perhaps the last big political fight of his career, it’s unlikely he’d let his past remarks keep him from a debate he has spent his career preparing for.
Biden, who has acted as a stealthy liaison to the Senate in past negotiations, has begun some of that work. He has reached out to some Republican senators since Obama nominated Garland, chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, for the high court. And he’s pressed the issue as he’s campaigned for Democrats in Seattle and Ohio. His role is likely to increase as the process moves forward.
But Republicans won’t make it easy.
As Democrats pound GOP senators to “do their jobs,” the argument that their blockade is part of a long history of partisan maneuvering on confirmations has particular resonance with the base — the voters most adamantly behind the GOP plan.
Biden’s June 1992 speech lends needed ammunition.
Amid talk that a sitting justice might retire, then-Sen. Biden warned President George H.W. Bush to hold off on a nomination. Supreme Court confirmations had become “dominated by the right” and hearings the summer before a presidential election would only lead to a “conflagration,” he said.
“Senate consideration of a nominee under these circumstances is not fair to the president, to the nominee, or to the Senate itself,” Biden argued.
If Bush went ahead with a nomination, “the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over,” he said.
The vice president has focused on another part of his 1992 remarks. Biden went on to say he hoped to usher in changes to the confirmation process in the next administration and would consider a moderate nominee.
“If the president consults and cooperates with the Senate or moderates his selections absent consultation, then his nominees may enjoy my support,” he said.
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Iraqi armed forces have started an operation to retake the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants, who have held the beleaguered city for nearly two years.
“The first phase of the Fatah (Conquest) Operation has been launched at dawn to liberate Nineveh, raising the Iraqi flag in several villages,” state TV reported in a military statement on Thursday.
The Iraqi military has recaptured the villages of al-Nasr, Garmandi, Kudila and Khurburdan in its quest to retake Mosul this year, according to the statement.
About 2 million people lived in Iraq’s second largest city before the Islamic State, or ISIL, siege in June 2014. Since then, some residents, including Yazidis, Turkmen and other ethnic and religious minorities have fled to other parts of the country.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said earlier this year that U.S. special operations forces were in place to help Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces “begin going after ISIL’s fighters and commanders, killing or capturing them wherever we find them, along with other key targets.”
The commander of the U.S.-led operation against the Islamic State group, Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, has said the operation will be a long one and that Iraqi generals acknowledge they probably won’t be able to recapture Mosul until the end of 2016 or early 2017.
The post Iraq launches offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State fighters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
DANE, Wis. — Ted Cruz branded Donald Trump a “sniveling coward” Thursday as the feud between the Republican presidential contenders over their wives took a nastier turn.
After an earlier and vague threat to “spill the beans” about Heidi Cruz, Trump stoked the spat on Twitter when he retweeted side-by-side images of Cruz’s wife, with an unflattering grimace, and his wife, Melania, in a gauzy, glamorous pose.
“No need to spill the beans,” said the caption. “The images are worth a thousand words.”
Ted Cruz, campaigning in Wisconsin, was livid.
“Leave Heidi the hell alone,” Cruz said, speaking through reporters to Trump.
“Donald does seem to have an issue with women,” he said. “Donald doesn’t like strong women. Strong women scare Donald.”
Trump was set off this week when a group that opposes him released an ad before the Utah presidential contest raising questions about the propriety of Melania Trump becoming first lady. The ad showed a provocative, decade-old magazine photo of her when she was a model and before she married Trump.
Trump wrongly attributed the ad to the Cruz campaign and warned on Twitter: “Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!”
The lurch into personal territory normally off limits in campaigns came as an anti-Trump super PAC ran an ad in primary states that features women reciting derogatory comments made by the billionaire about women. The ad was produced by Our Principles, a group founded by a former Mitt Romney campaign adviser who is trying to help the Republican Party appeal to more women.
Trump has a substantial lead in the delegate chase for the GOP nomination. Cruz has a stiff challenge trying to catch him in remaining races and may only have a shot at the nomination if the contest spills into the summer convention.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And now to another in our Brief But Spectacular series.
Tonight, we hear from inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil about immortality and the exponential growth of technology. Since 2012, Kurzweil has been a director of engineering at Google.
RAY KURZWEIL, Director of Engineering, Google: Our immediate reaction to death is that it’s a tragedy. And that’s really the correct reaction.
We have rationalized it, saying, oh, that tragic thing that’s looming, that’s actually a good thing. But now we can actually seriously talk about a scenario where we will be able to extend our longevity indefinitely.
I decided to become an inventor when I was 5. I would bring back broken bicycles, radios. This was an era where you would allow a 5-year-old to roam the neighborhood and do this. And I had this idea, if I could just figure out how to put all these things together, I could solve any problem.
I wrote a program that could recognize the patterns in melodies from famous composers and write original music. So I went on this show “I’ve Got a Secret” hosted by Steve Allen.
My name is Raymond Kurzweil, and I’m from Queens, New York.
STEVE ALLEN, Host: Queens, New.
RAY KURZWEIL: And my secret was, I had built and programmed a computer that composed music.
I created a program that could recognize printed letters in any type and created a reading machine for the blind.
Probably, the most important theme I have talked about is the exponential growth of information technology. Price, performance, and capacity of information technology progresses predictably and exponentially. It doubles every period of time.
So, this little computer is actually billions of times more powerful per dollar than the computer I used when I was an undergraduate. We will do that again in the next 25 years. And we will have computers the size of blood cells, little robotic devices that can go through our bloodstream, its capability thousands or millions-fold by connecting to the cloud. That’s a 2030s scenario.
We have been expanding our life expectancy for thousands of years. It was 19 1,000 years ago, 37 in 1800. We’re going to get to a point 10, 15 years from now where we’re adding more time than is going by to our remaining life expectancy.
People say, oh, I don’t want to live past 90, but, you know, I talk to 90-year-olds, and they definitely want to live to 91 and to 100. People sometimes say that death gives meaning to life because it makes time short, but, actually, death is a great robber of meaning, of relationships, of knowledge.
We’re going to be able to overcome disease and aging. Most of our thinking will be nonbiological. That will be backed up, so part of it gets wipes away, you can recreate it. And we will be able to extend our lives indefinitely. I would rather use that word than forever.
My name is Ray Kurzweil, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on our exponential future.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can watch more Brief But Spectacular episodes on our Facebook page. That’s Facebook.com/”NewsHour.”
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now our conversation series on another economic issue that’s been a major theme on the campaign trail this year: Are some banks still too big to fail, and do they pose a risk to the country?
Jeffrey Brown has our latest interview.
JEFFREY BROWN: In our first conversation, we talked with Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis. As a Treasury official during the financial crisis, he helped oversee the bailout of the banks. He now argues that the system remains in danger and that giant financial firms should be broken up.
That’s a view being heard on the campaign trail from Senator Bernie Sanders.
In his interview with Judy yesterday, here’s how he described the problem and his plan for it.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: It will be important to point out that three out of the four largest banks in this country today are bigger than they were when we bailed them out because they were too big to fail, that you have the six largest banks in this country that have assets of 58 percent of our GDP.
I happen the believe that when you have a few financial institutions with unbelievable economic power, with unbelievable financial power, that what we should do is reestablish a modern Glass-Steagall legislation, and what we should do, in fact, is break them up, not only from a risk perspective of not seeing their greed and illegal behavior destroy our economy, as happened eight years ago, but also from creating a competitive financial system, where we don’t have so few financial institutions with so much power.
JEFFREY BROWN: And we get a response now from one of the leading players in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Barney Frank served as a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts from 1981 until his retirement in 2013. As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, he played a lead role in crafting the Dodd-Frank law, which enacted the most sweeping changes to U.S. financial regulation since the Great Depression.
Welcome back to you.
The starting point of the critique we have heard is that the banks are bigger than ever, the potential for another bailout remains strong. Dodd-Frank was a start, but didn’t go nearly far enough.
Do you see a different picture?
FORMER REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), Massachusetts: Oh, very much so.
In the first place, both Senator Sanders and Mr. Kashkari continue to evade the biggest question. That is, how big is too big? The crisis which touched off when Lehman Brothers couldn’t make its payment, Lehman Brothers was about $650 billion in assets. We have banks four and five times that size
And the question is, does everybody have to be smaller than Lehman Brothers is today? But that would have consequences. Getting there would be a problem. By the way, it should be very clear, Glass-Steagall doesn’t do it. There is a disconnect between Senator Sanders insisting that the banks be broken down to the point where they won’t by their own size threaten, if they have too much debt, to undermine it.
And Glass-Steagall — Glass-Steagall would reduce — it wouldn’t do anything to Goldman Sachs and to Morgan Stanley, which are almost Glass-Steagall-ized themselves. But looked at Citicorp, or J.P. Morgan Chase, or Bank of America, Wells Fargo, even if they were subject to Glass-Steagall, they would still be well beyond the size that Lehman Brothers was.
There is just a disconnect between saying we’re going to do Glass-Steagall and getting the banks down to a size where, if there was a complete failure, you would get damaged by it.
JEFFREY BROWN: But let me ask you about the too big — the size question, because when I talked to Neel Kashkari, for example, he cited the example of the S&L crisis, where you had maybe 1,000 institutions go under, but the system wasn’t at risk.
So, why not — are you saying that size…
FORMER REP. BARNEY FRANK: Excuse me. Did you…
JEFFREY BROWN: Go ahead.
FORMER REP. BARNEY FRANK: I’m saying size is a factor, but did you ask Mr. Kashkari how big was too big? That’s a major factor.
By the way, it cost us more — the S&L crisis cost the taxpayers more than the TARP did in 2008. So, I don’t know why he would cite that. In fact, the failure of a very large number of smaller institutions turned out to be much more expensive to the taxpayers. In fact, as far as the bailout of 2008 was concerned, we made money on that in the money that was extended to financial institutions.
And, by the way, it wasn’t just to big ones then. It was to small ones as well. The only institutions that weren’t able to pay us back were the auto companies. And I don’t think — I thought it was a good idea to pay them.
As to size, the question is not just to the size, but what would happen if they couldn’t pay their debts. And that’s what people ignore. We did two things in the legislation to deal with that. First of all, we made it much, much less likely that they would get so indebted that they couldn’t pay them back.
It’s not their overall size. It’s the indebtedness that’s the threat. You could not now have an AIG, which got itself $170 billion beyond what it could pay off in derivatives, because we do not allow institutions under the law now to get so indebted without the capital to back it up.
Secondly and most importantly, what we said is this: If a large institution can’t pay its debts, it fails. It is not too big to fail. It is put out of business, by law. No federal official can advance any money to pay its debts under the law until it is dissolved.
What then happens is this: It may be that we would have to borrow from the taxpayers to pay some of the debts, not all, as the previous law required, but if we have to pay some of the debts to prevent the failure of a large institution from having serious economic consequences, the treasury secretary is mandated by law to recover every penny from large — other large financial institutions.
And, again, it’s not the size of the institution, but the size of the unpaid indebtedness. Well, we have dealt with that by reducing the indebtedness and requiring that the institution will be dissolved if it fails.
JEFFREY BROWN: What about the argument from Senator Sanders, we just heard it — and I think we should say you’re a supporter of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race — but what about the argument from Senator Sanders on the political issue, the political power of banks who have, as he said — he said six of them have assets totaling 50 percent of the U.S. GDP.
Is that a problem for our democracy?
FORMER REP. BARNEY FRANK: No, I don’t think — the problem for our democracy is the one that both Senator Sanders and Hillary Clinton would fix, unlike the Republicans.
That would be to appoint a Supreme Court justice who would overturn the Citizens United decision, which allows money to go in uninhibited. I will tell you this. In the legislation in 2008 — and people who study this understand it — it was the community banks that had more power than the big banks. We did several things in that bill that favored the small banks other over the bigger banks.
There is a threat, if they are so indebted, that their debts don’t get paid and they solve — they cause an economic crisis. That’s the one I believe we have addressed. By the way, once again, with Glass-Steagall — and I would ask you, did you ask either Senator Sanders or Mr. Kashkari how big was too big?
How can someone claim to be responsibly advocating reducing the size of the institution without ever telling you what size they have to be reduced? That’s a fundamental question.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, I can just tell you that…
FORMER REP. BARNEY FRANK: I think — yes.
JEFFREY BROWN: I will just tell you that Mr. Kashkari said he was going the study it this year. So that’s — I did ask.
FORMER REP. BARNEY FRANK: Oh. In other words, he came out — that’s pretty irresponsible. I think, frankly, Mr. Kashkari is acting still more like the candidate for governor he was in California than a Federal Reserve official.
And I think the answer is that it might be too small for them to want to stand behind that. But I want to get back to the political point.
Glass-Steagall, which is Senator Sanders’ only remedy, doesn’t resolve that problem. People should understand Glass-Steagall doesn’t break them into three and four and five pieces. Glass-Steagall says to Citicorp and Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase, you cannot have a securities division, as well as a commercial bank decision.
Now, the Volcker rule already reduces their securities decision. But if you applied Glass-Steagall to those institutions, you wouldn’t significantly diminish their size, certainly not below the level that Lehman Brothers was in 2008.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right.
Barney Frank, thank you so much.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s no question that one of the key issues in this election year has been the frustration of workers over wages, debt and a sense of economic stagnation in too many households.
Our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, recently sat down with Robert Reich to hear a more progressive take on these issues.
Tonight, Paul gets a more conservative view on how it helps explain the Trump phenomenon.
It’s part of his weekly reporting on financial news, Making Sense, which airs every Thursday.
MAN: The poor are getting everything for free, and the rich are getting all the tax breaks.
PAUL SOLMAN: Marginalized for so long, economically anxious voters are now center stage in the daily drama of the presidential campaign.
MAN: I am currently unemployed. I think the middle class, they really don’t really care about as much as they should.
WOMAN: I lost my job, so my one full-time job is now three part-time jobs.
WOMAN: That’s what America needs. That’s what the people need. They need their jobs back.
PAUL SOLMAN: To which Donald Trump responds loud and clear.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: I will be the greatest jobs-producing president that God ever created.
PAUL SOLMAN: Economics is a key driver of the voter anger Charles Murray calls Trumpism, conservative Charles Murray, who’s been a lightning rod of controversy since “The Bell Curve,” his co-authored book of the 1990s on genetics and economic success.
What is “Trumpism?”
CHARLES MURRAY, American Enterprise Institute: “Trumpism” is the expression by the white working class of a lot of legitimate grievances that it has with the ruling class.
Everything from the cultural disdain that the ruling class holds the working class in, to the loss of all kinds of manufacturing jobs, the importation of low-skilled labor, all the ways in which, if you’re a member of the working class, you have over the last 30 or 40 years been screwed.
PAUL SOLMAN: Murray says he would never vote for Donald Trump, but he’s been forced to acknowledge the appeal of, say, Trump’s diatribes against outsourcing jobs.
MAN: The best way to stay competitive is to move production from our facility in Indianapolis to Monterrey, Mexico.
PAUL SOLMAN: This cell phone video gone viral from February showed workers, at an Indianapolis Carrier plant, getting prospective pink slips.
Although it’s been widely reported that Donald Trump’s own products are made overseas, on the campaign trail, he denounced Carrier, and issued a threat.
DONALD TRUMP: I’m going to call up Carrier, and I’m going to tell the head of Carrier, I hope you enjoy your stay in Mexico, folks, but every single unit that you make and send across our border, which now will be real, you’re going to pay a 35 percent tax.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
DONALD TRUMP: No more Oreos.
PAUL SOLMAN: And there’s the campaign chant Trump initiated after Oreo maker Nabisco said it was moving jobs from Chicago to Mexico.
DONALD TRUMP: No more Oreos. Oh, it’s going to be tough getting off Oreos.
PAUL SOLMAN: Another familiar, yet grave grievance of Trump supporters, insourcing of cheap labor via immigration. The recent furor over it has forced Charles Murray to change his mind.
CHARLES MURRAY: I have always believed in enforcing the border, and doing that before you do amnesty. I have always considered myself to be, you know, very stern on those issues.
But I also have not written about saying, maybe we shouldn’t have so many low-skilled people coming in anymore, and because my libertarian principles are in favor of immigration and all that. And until the last few months, it didn’t hit home to me the degree to which the immigration policy that I, as one of the elites, find good is good only because I don’t pay any of the price for it.
PAUL SOLMAN: And that’s the great revelation of Trumpism.
CHARLES MURRAY: That the ruling class in this country is governing in its own self-interest, and ignoring the legitimate complaints of the working class and, for that matter, of the middle class.
PAUL SOLMAN: I spent a day with Murray in 2012, exploring his book on inequality, “Coming Apart.” It featured a “Do you live in a bubble?” quiz.
CHARLES MURRAY: And I got a really high score, because, after all, I made up the quiz. So, I’m supposedly not in the bubble at all.
PAUL SOLMAN: Right.
CHARLES MURRAY: But I have been shocked by the degree of self-recognition of the ways that I, too, am in the bubble, except it’s been an unpleasant shock, and it’s because of the presidential campaign.
PAUL SOLMAN: Though he lives in a small town in rural Maryland, by education, income and social class, Murray now realizes he is also in an elitist bubble.
CHARLES MURRAY: You now have the option of going to live in communities which are filled with interesting people, people who do share your tastes and preferences, who get your jokes, who know about the allusions, who, for that mater, share your politics. That’s happening all the time.
PAUL SOLMAN: While so many average Americans pine for the good old days.
MAN: Make America great again $5 rally flag right here. I got one left. Who wants it?
PAUL SOLMAN: But popular TV, a product of those in the upper echelons, makes fun of those below.
ACTRESS: The plant called and said, if you don’t come in tomorrow, don’t bother coming in Monday.
ACTOR: Woo-hoo! Four-day weekend.
CHARLES MURRAY: There is one group that is more consistently portrayed as ineffectual, as unvirtuous, as incompetent, as objects of fun, and that is white working class guys.
ACTOR: Evel Knievel gloves. I bet I could do a wheelie with these. How much for the gloves?
ACTOR: Peter, those are yours.
ACTOR: Ten bucks, two, seven, four, 5.50, 10. Sold. Sucker, I would have gone to 15 easy. I am so stupid.
PAUL SOLMAN: How much of the anxiety and resentment of the working middle class is due, do you think, to the attitude of the elites in this country with respect to those working middle-class people?
CHARLES MURRAY: A big chunk. You don’t think that they don’t notice when we talk about flyover country? Try to think of any kind of ethnic slur that you can get away with at a dinner party you attend without getting immediate pushback.
PAUL SOLMAN: Oh, you would get kicked out of the room.
CHARLES MURRAY: I will give you one. I will give you an ethnic slur where you won’t. Try it out at your next dinner party. Refer to rednecks.
Talk to a friend of mine who bought a weekend place in West Virginia, and have him tell you what his Georgetown neighbors said without the slightest sense of shame about their expectations of what his neighbors would be like, that they would be dumb, illiterate, have missing teeth.
PAUL SOLMAN: It’s not as if Trump supporters like John Lehanka haven’t noticed the condescension.
JOHN LEHANKA, Greensboro, NC: We’re not stupid. We’re not clowns. We’re not zombies. We know what we want. We want America to be great again.
PAUL SOLMAN: As any number of recent plays illustrate, many artists have deep sympathy for the economically subordinated.
ACTOR: They squeeze us like a sponge. They drain out every last drop of blood, and then they throw us away.
PAUL SOLMAN: Though, arguably, the artists are members of the elite themselves, not to mention their audiences.
ACTOR: I thought I would be settled by my age, but, man, it never ends. Mortgage, car payments, Internet. Our dishwasher just gave out.
ACTOR: Oh, man.
ACTOR: Yes. Yes. Don’t you think it should cost less to be alive?
PAUL SOLMAN: And yet, says Murray, even the most aware among the socially elite have done little to cut the widening distance between them and more typical Americans.
CHARLES MURRAY: There is a sense that the people who run the country are a separate group of people who don’t like them, who don’t understand them, and who have been punishing them.
PAUL SOLMAN: Donald Trump’s sales pitch, of course, is that he does understand them, and will protect them.
DONALD TRUMP: We’re going to build a wall, folks. Don’t worry about it.
PAUL SOLMAN: For the “PBS NewsHour,” this is economics correspondent Paul Solman.
DONALD TRUMP: Who is going to pay for the wall?
DONALD TRUMP: Who?
JUDY WOODRUFF: And on our Web site, you can take Charles Murray’s bubble quiz to see if you live in a social and cultural bubble. That’s at PBS.org/NewsHour.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: We turn now to North Carolina, where a new measure restricting protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people is being called the toughest law of its kind in the nation.
We begin our story with Wednesday’s dramatic emergency session of state lawmakers.
John Yang reports.
JOHN YANG: Senate Democrats walked out in protest, leaving their empty chairs.
MAN: Thirty-two having voted in the affirmative and zero in the negative, House Bill 2 passes.
JOHN YANG: The vote repealed a new ordinance in Charlotte, North Carolina, that expanded protections for LGBTQ people, including letting transgender people choose which bathroom to use. The new state law goes even further, barring any city from passing anti-discrimination laws in the future.
Lawmakers heard testimony on both sides.
SARAH PRESTON, ACLU of North Carolina: Half of the transgender individuals surveyed in North Carolina recently reported being harassed in public accommodations.
CHLOE JEFFERSON, Student: What about my rights to privacy and wishes not to be exposed to young males changing and showering beside me?
JOHN YANG: Late Wednesday night, Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed it into law, saying in a statement that Charlotte violated “the basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room.”
He accused the leaders of the state’s largest city of government overreach and intrusion.
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, a Democrat, fired back.
MAYOR JENNIFER ROBERTS (D), Charlotte, NC: This legislation is literally the most anti-LGBT legislation in the country. And it does this not just in Charlotte, but all across our state.
JOHN YANG: Activists and legal rights groups, like the ACLU, say they’re already exploring a court challenge to the law.
We explore this issue at the local and national level with Loretta Boniti, senior political reporter for Time Warner Cable News in North Carolina, and Dominic Holden, national LGBT reporter for BuzzFeed News.
Dominic and Loretta, thanks for joining us.
Loretta, let me start with you.
You covered this legislative action yesterday. As I understand it, the Charlotte ordinance that this is targeting hasn’t even gone into effect yet. Did the legislative leaders say why they felt the need for a special session here?
LORETTA BONITI, Time Warner Cable News: Well, the legislative leaders said that they could have waited until after the ordinance went into effect on April 1, but they thought it was smart not to let it go into effect and then to go back and say, by the way, no, you can’t do that once they go into their special session on April — or their regular session on April 25.
So, they said, we should come back beforehand and never let this go into effect. And they felt like this was necessary, even though the governor had said he thought that they could wait until the end of April to take care of this.
JOHN YANG: A lot of the discussion that I heard, Loretta, on the floor debate focused on the provision about allowing transgender people to choose which bathroom the use.
Do you think, if that — if it hadn’t been for that, they might not have acted so quickly?
LORETTA BONITI: I think that’s the issue that really prompted folks to say that they needed to come back. That’s what they were getting the phone calls from, from their constituents, saying that, to them, this seems like something that was a concern. They say it was a safety concern. They wanted to make sure that someone who is biologically a male cannot go into a female restroom legally in North Carolina.
And they said they wanted to stop that from happening before it became law.
JOHN YANG: Dominic, help us put this in perspective. How does both what Charlotte did in their ordinance and what the North Carolina state legislature did fit into the spectrum, as it were, of what’s going on around the country in city councils and in state legislatures?
DOMINIC HOLDEN, Buzzfeed News: What the city council did in Charlotte was very common in the United States. There are about 200 cities with ordinances like these that ban discrimination against LGBT people.
What the lawmakers did in the North Carolina capitol in response is increasingly common this year. There were more than 100 bills filed that target LGBT people in some way, an unprecedented number, and that is seen as a backlash to the decision last year by the U.S. Supreme Court, which allowed marriage in all 50 states between same-sex couples.
These bills have a number of forms. Some of them are religious protection bills, such as one in Missouri, and another one in Georgia right now, although the one in North Carolina was somewhat unique, in that it combined two other types of bills we have seen.
One is a preemption bill that overrides local jurisdictions, and the other would ban transgender students from school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. And so North Carolina put these two together.
And the second one about banning students from school restrooms is the first of its kind in the entire country. And there are questions then raised about what this means legally for the state. The Obama administration has said that civil rights laws ban that sort of discrimination against transgender people in schools, and so this seems like it’s ripe for a legal challenge.
JOHN YANG: And, Dominic, have local communities been establishing rights for transgender people in terms of restrooms? Is that something that we’re seeing a lot of, or is it just because of Caitlyn Jenner we’re paying more attention to it?
DOMINIC HOLDEN: This is very standard.
So, the way that many of these laws are written is that they ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in places of employment, in housing, and in public accommodation. And this is widely been interpreted to say that transgender people can use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
There are 17 states with such laws, more than 200 cities, but, in recent times, the last few years in particular, conservative activists have latched onto this to suggest that there is some sort of safety threat presented.
JOHN YANG: Loretta, what’s been the reaction around North Carolina, particularly the business community, which has been important in these cases in other states?
LORETTA BONITI: We have heard a lot from the business community come out and say that they really don’t like the sounds of this law. I think they’re still trying to figure out exactly what it will do here in North Carolina.
We haven’t heard anybody come outright and say, well, I’m leaving North Carolina because of this law, but we have several big businesses, like Red Hat, American Airlines that are based here who have said they don’t like the way that this law works. And, obviously, when you start seeing big businesses like that speak out against something, that will lead to probably a ripple effect of more and more businesses coming out against it.
JOHN YANG: Dominic, you mentioned the same-sex marriage decision by the Supreme Court last year. We have also seen gays in the military issue being resolved. Is this now the new battleground for LGBTQ rights in state legislatures over issues like this?
DOMINIC HOLDEN: After marriage equality, there’s no question that the primary interests of the LGBT movement is to pass nondiscrimination protections federally.
Where they’re running into problems is on the local level with this issue about bathrooms. But it’s important to note that in the 200 cities and 17 states with laws like this already on the books, there are no examples documented of someone using it for nefarious purposes, of a transgender person who is this sex predator in the bathroom.
It’s got no factual foothold. If anything, the irony in this is that it actually would require — and North Carolina now requires transgender men who have beards, who are muscular, to use the women’s restroom. So it actually creates the very problem that it claims to solve.
Nonetheless, it’s really put LGBT advocates in a difficult place because they haven’t figured out how to respond to this. And for the most part, they have not taken it on directly.
JOHN YANG: Dominic Holden, Loretta Boniti, thanks very much.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Today was a day of reckoning for the former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who faced verdict in The Hague for his actions during the war in Bosnia in the 1990s.
We begin with this report from James Mates of Independent Television News.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia is now in session.
JAMES MATES: The wheels of international justice may turn painfully slowly, but they do still turn, and at least some of those leaders who commit crimes against humanity one day pay a price.
It’s 24 years since this man, Radovan Karadzic, embarked on a brutal war in Bosnia. He was the leader of the Bosnian Serbs who ordered the siege of Sarajevo; 21 years ago, men under his command murdered 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, the worst act of genocide since World War II.
MAN: Mr. Karadzic, could you please stand?
JAMES MATES: Today, he was cleared of one charge of genocide, but that did nothing to mitigate the list of crimes he was convicted of.
MAN: Count two, genocide. Count three, persecution of crimes against humanity. Count four, extermination, a crime against humanity. Count five, murder, the crime against humanity.
JAMES MATES: The sentence for these and six more counts means this 65-year-old should die in jail.
MAN: To a single sentence of 40, 4-0, years of imprisonment.
JAMES MATES: Survivors, relatives and victims of Karadzic filed out of the courtroom having watched the verdict, among them a man who had been imprisoned in one of the camps first revealed to the world by ITV News back in 1992. He was happy, but the acquittal on one of the two charges of genocide hurt badly.
SATKO MUJUGIC, Survivor: But the 11~th one was about genocide in (INAUDIBLE) where I come and other municipalities back in 1992, in the time when actually whole process of genocide started and ended with Srebrenica.
JAMES MATES: Karadzic’s lawyer emerged to say his client continued to maintain his innocence and would appeal.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We take a closer look at the significance of today’s conviction of the Serbian leader with Nicholas Burns. He was a State Department spokesman during the conflict in Bosnia. He went on to become undersecretary of state for political affairs. He is now at Harvard university. And David Rohde covered the war in Bosnia for The Christian Science Monitor. He’s the author of the book “Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica: Europe’s Worst Massacre Since World War II.” He’s now and editor at Reuters.
And we welcome both of you.
First of all, Nicholas Burns, remind us. This was a period almost a quarter-century ago. This is a small corner of Europe. Remind us who Radovan Karadzic was and what happened.
NICHOLAS BURNS, Former State Department Official: Well, Judy, he was the leader of the Bosnian Serbs. He led that community and its parliament.
This was a war by the Bosnian Serbs to conquer the Bosnian Muslims, to combat the Croat community, the Slovenian community as Yugoslavia broke up. The Serbs wanted to create a greater Serbia. And Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, the general, the leading general of the Bosnian Serbs, led a vicious campaign.
That war took 100,000 lives at least, 2.5 million refugees, and it culminated in this great, great tragedy at Srebrenica in July 1995, when the Bosnian Serbs, under Karadzic’s orders, murdered 8,000 Muslim men and boys in two-and-a-half days in a soccer stadium. And that was the worst massacre in Europe since the Nazis.
It galvanized the United States and Europe to act, because we had not acted sufficiently between ’91 and ’95. And it led to the U.S. air campaign in September and October of that year, and it led to the Dayton peace talks. And that’s where the peace was made. So this was a significant event in the history of Europe.
JUDY WOODRUFF: David Rohde, as a reporter, who covered that war, what would you add?
DAVID ROHDE, Author, Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica: I would just say, in a sense, this is the largest verdict, the largest war crimes verdict in Europe since the Nuremberg trials.
Karadzic is the highest-level civilian official who will face justice, who has faced justice. Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Serbia, would have been, but he died in captivity. So, it’s an enormous verdict. I was here in New York today, and by chance, the hostess at a restaurant I was at was a Bosnian American, a Bosnian Muslim, and she burst into tears talking about, you know, the fact that this verdict had come down and he had been convicted of genocide.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, David Rohde, staying with you — again, you covered that war. What does it mean to you, as somebody who saw much of this on the ground?
DAVID ROHDE: Well, it’s accountability.
There was a sense for years as the war dragged on, as Nic said, 100,000 people were killed, and NATO and the U.N. kept — and the international community said they were going to act, but they didn’t act. And there was a sense that that emboldened the Bosnian Serbs to do this.
And the real tragedy of Srebrenica, the town itself, it wasn’t simply that the world didn’t act. Srebrenica was declared a United Nations protected safe area. U.N. peacekeepers went in and they actually took away the heavier weapons that Bosnian Muslims in the surrounding town of Srebrenica had. And they promised that the U.N. and NATO would protect them.
The Bosnian Muslims, with less weaponry then, weren’t protected, the town was overrun, and, again, 8,000 men and boys systematically executed.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Nicholas Burns, why does it matter that 20 — again, almost a quarter-of-a-century later, someone like Radovan Karadzic is held accountable?
NICHOLAS BURNS: Well, Judy, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. That’s what Martin Luther King said. And he obviously was right. Justice has been done here.
This was genocide against an entire people, against a Muslim population, and it took 21 very painful, very frustrating, long years for justice to work. But it has. And so this war crimes tribunal is very important, as has been the war crimes tribunal in Rwanda, where there was a genocide as well the year before.
And we in positions of power, the United States and other countries, have to see justice as a very important priority for us and have to see peace as an important priority. So I think it’s very important that these efforts continue and that the United States continues to support them.
JUDY WOODRUFF: David Rohde, how, looking back, does one explain what happened here? This was, what, 50 years after World War II, the Holocaust in Germany. How do you explain something like this, this ethnic cleansing, genocide that took place?
DAVID ROHDE: Well, it was disturbing. My time speaking to Bosnian Serb soldiers about this, they saw themselves as the victim of some sort of giant Muslim conspiracy to take over Europe, and that they had to act this way to save Europe.
And they were deluded, but, again, they were abetted by a failure to act. We see the consequences of that in Syria today. It’s not that the West has to necessarily act, but it can’t promise to act. It can’t, you know, call for President Assad to step down in Syria, and then not follow up on those promises.
So, the real lesson of all this is to not promise to bring justice, to not promise to sort of remove a brutal leader and then to not act. That’s the mistake. If we’re going to do nothing, say nothing. But it’s the raising the expectations and doing nothing that then emboldens the perpetrators of these crimes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Nicholas Burns, why did the U.S. and other nations wait so long to get involved here?
NICHOLAS BURNS: I think, on the part of the United States and the part of President George H.W. Bush and then Bill Clinton, this was a job that they thought the Europeans would handle.
The Europeans took this opportunity to say, we will be the ones that will lead here. They were incapable of doing that, unfortunately. The United Nations and the Europeans did not have a significant enough mission.
What really turned this whole war was that massacre at Srebrenica. I think, Judy, it shamed the United States, it shamed Europe into acting. And we had two things that ended this war. It was the decision by President Clinton — and he was right — to use military force, an air campaign against the Bosnian Serbs in September and October of 1995, and then the brilliant diplomacy of the late Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke.
It was his will, his determination to see a peace made at Dayton that I think was the singular factor that that war ended. And we should pay tribute to Ambassador Holbrooke, to Dick Holbrooke, and remember him today.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, David Rohde, what does this verdict mean, if anything, for the people of Bosnia today?
DAVID ROHDE: To be frank, it’s not a great situation in Bosnia today.
There’s a sense that the international community has shifted away from there. There’s a need to sort of reform the constitution that was created after the Dayton accords. And there’s concern that if not — if there isn’t more engagement there, there could be more division.
The current leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Milorad Dodik, just recently as last week dedicated a new dormitory for university students. That dormitory is named after Radovan Karadzic, the man convicted of genocide today. So we have to keep our eye on Bosnia and follow through, huge step forward today, but more work to do.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we thank both of you very much for reminding us of the significance of all of this.
David Rohde, Nicholas Burns, we thank you both.
NICHOLAS BURNS: Thank you.
DAVID ROHDE: Thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. Gwen Ifill is away.
On the “NewsHour” tonight: the latest from Brussels, as the manhunt expands to a new suspect, and Europe’s emergency meeting to thwart future attacks.
Then: a day of reckoning for Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader convicted of genocide for orchestrating atrocities during the war.
And Making Sense of our economic anxiety — a conservative economist’s take on what’s fueling the anger on display this election.
CHARLES MURRAY, American Enterprise Institute: Trumpism is the expression by the white working class of a lot of legitimate grievances that it has with the ruling class.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: The United States has indicted seven computer hackers for large-scale attacks on American banks. They worked for companies tied to Iran’s government and its hard-line Revolutionary Guard. Between 2011 and 2013, they allegedly used malware to attack 46 financial institutions.
In Washington today, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the assault cost the targets tens of millions of dollars.
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. Attorney General: The attacks were relentless, they were systematic, and they were widespread. They threatened our economic well-being and our ability to compete fairly in the global marketplace, both of which are directly linked to our national security.
JUDY WOODRUFF: One of the hackers also allegedly accessed the controls of a small dam outside New York City, but did no damage. All of the suspects remain at large.
In Iraq, government troops opened a military offensive today to retake Mosul, the country’s second largest city.
Special correspondent Jane Ferguson is in Iraq, and reports from Irbil.
JANE FERGUSON: Iraqi forces spent weeks chipping away at Islamic State positions in the north. And then, this morning, came the announcement on state television.
MAN (through interpreter): The Iraqi security troops have begun the conquest operation of liberating the Mosul region. Our troops have been waging pitched battles, and they are heading toward the drawn-up and planned targets.
JANE FERGUSON: Officials said Kurdish militia and U.S. airstrikes are supporting the assault. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi tweeted, the first stage was swift and decisive. It began by capturing several villages near Makhmour, about 40 miles south of Mosul. The ultimate goal is to reclaim Mosul itself.
ISIS forces captured the city in June of 2014, routing government troops, who left behind troves of weapons and ammunition, even American-supplied vehicles and artillery pieces.
Since then, Iraq’s army, supported on the ground by Shiite militias and Iranian advisers, has retaken Tikrit, oil-rich Baiji and most recently Ramadi. But Mosul, which once had a population of two million, is by far its biggest challenge.
In Washington today, a State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said the U.S. is standing by its ally.
MARK TONER, State Department Spokesman: We certainly support and share with the Iraqi government its goal of liberating Mosul as quickly as possible, but this has to be an Iraqi led effort.
JANE FERGUSON: Already, there’s been an American casualty linked to the battle for Mosul. A U.S. Marine was killed Saturday by a rocket attack near there. His newly deployed unit is helping defend an Iraqi military base.
By all accounts, a decisive victory in Mosul is not going to be quick. Instead, say Iraqi military officials, the battle will be a lengthy, street-by-street, hard-fought campaign. Today’s offensive is the very early stage of that battle, drawing the noose a little tighter around the biggest city under Islamic State’s control.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jane Ferguson in Irbil.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the Syrian government announced its troops have fought their way into Palmyra, with support from Russian airstrikes. The Roman-era city is held by Islamic State fighters and lies at a key crossroads in Central Syria. State TV today showed military units entering the outskirts of Palmyra. But they’re too late to save ancient temples, tombs and other artifacts already destroyed by the militants.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian President Vladimir Putin talked up prospects for peace in Syria today. The two men met in Moscow. Kerry welcomed Russia’s withdrawal of most of its military forces from Syria. Putin said that U.S./Russian cooperation has helped bring progress. Meanwhile, the latest round of Syrian peace talks ended in Geneva. They’re to resume on April 9.
President Obama spent a final day in Argentina, paying tribute to victims of brutal military rule. And he acknowledged the United States was slow to condemn it. He visited a memorial to thousands killed in the so-called Dirty War from 1976 to 1983. It began with the overthrow of Argentina’s government 40 years ago today, and Mr. Obama discussed it later at a briefing.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The United States, when it reflects on what happened here, has to examine its own policies as well and its own past. Democracies have to have the courage to acknowledge when we don’t live up to the ideals that we stand for. And we have been slow to speak out for human rights, and that was the case here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The president pledged to declassify more military and intelligence documents on the issue. There’ve been protests against his visit, accusing the U.S. of backing the former military dictatorship.
Back in this country, a spring blizzard that blasted Denver is moving on, into the Northern Plains and the Midwest. High winds and heavy snow were reported today from Wyoming to Michigan. Up to a foot of snow blanketed Minnesota’s Twin Cities, and parts of Colorado got 30 inches. Denver International Airport was fully operational after canceling almost all its flights yesterday.
Vice President Joe Biden charged today that Senate Republicans have distorted his past remarks to justify blocking the President Obama’s latest Supreme Court nominee. In 1992, then-Senator Biden warned that the first President Bush not name a court nominee until after that year’s election. Today, he said he was simply urging consultation to get a — quote — “moderate nominee.”
Wall Street finished a shortened workweek in quiet trading. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 13 points to close at 17515. The Nasdaq rose four points, and the S&P 500 slipped a fraction. The markets are closed tomorrow for Good Friday.
Actor and comedian Garry Shandling died today in Los Angeles of an undisclosed cause. He’s perhaps best known for his Emmy-winning “Larry Sanders Show,” which debuted in 1992. Shandling later won an American Comedy Award in 1999. He also hosted the Emmy Awards show in 2004. Garry Shandling was 66 years old.
And, finally, after years of rumor, archaeologists have concluded that yes, William Shakespeare’s skull seems to be missing. They used ground-penetrating radar to scan the playwright’s tomb at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England. Until now, scholars dismissed claims that grave robbers stole the skull in the 18th century.
It’s good to have all that cleared up.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: The U.N. finds a former Bosnian leader guilty of genocide; how North Carolina signed a bill called the most anti-LGBT law in the country; why anger over economics fuels front-runner Donald Trump’s campaign; and much more.
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