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

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    Video by BNO News

    WASHINGTON — Florida police have charged Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with simple battery in connection with an incident earlier in the month involving a reporter.

    Police in Jupiter, Florida, issued Lewandowski a notice Tuesday to appear before a judge on May 4 for the misdemeanor charge. A surveillance video released by the police appears to show Lewandowski grabbing a reporter for Breitbart News as she tried to ask Trump a question during a March 8 campaign event.

    The Trump campaign said Lewandowski “is absolutely innocent of this charge” in a statement released late Tuesday morning.

    “He will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court,” said the statement. “He is completely confident that he will be exonerated.”

    A police report obtained by The Associated Press includes an interview with the report, Michelle Fields, who worked for Breitbart News at the time.

    “Lewandowski grabbed Fields’ left arm with his right hand causing her to turn and step back,” reads the report. Fields showed police her left forearm which “appeared to show a grabbing-type injury,” according to the investigating officer.

    Read the full police report below:

    Trump campaign manager charged by Gary Detman

    The post Police charge Trump campaign manager with assault appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The Puerto Rican and US flags are seen in the Old Town  district  February 9, 2015  in San Juan, Puerto Rico.      AFP PHOTO/PAUL  J. RICHARDS        (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

    The Puerto Rican and U.S. flags are seen in the Old Town district on Feb. 9, 2015, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says a Republican plan to create an oversight board for Puerto Rico would exert “undue and undemocratic control” over the U.S. territory, echoing complaints from the island’s leaders as they struggle with $70 billion in debt.

    House Republicans released draft legislation Tuesday that would create a five-person board designed to audit the territory’s government and create new fiscal plans and budget measures — steps they say are necessary for Puerto Rico to get its economy back on track.

    Officials in Puerto Rico have also criticized the draft legislation. Puerto Rico’s Senate approved a resolution late Monday that rejected it.

    House Natural Resources Committee chairman Rob Bishop said his panel will listen to concerns before the committee introduces a final version in April.

    The post Democrats reject GOP plan for Puerto Rico control board appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, a NewsHour essay.

    As we reported earlier, President Obama today announced plans to expand drug treatment centers and increase the use of drugs that reverse the effect of opioids like heroin, OxyContin and Percocet.

    Communities across the country are developing new approaches to this epidemic in an attempt to support addicts, helping them into treatment, instead of arrests.

    New York’s Cardozo Law School Professor Ekow Yankah compares today’s approach to heroin users to the tough-on-crime response a few decades ago to those using crack cocaine.

    EKOW YANKAH, Law Professor, Yeshiva University: That Kroger, the Midwestern grocery chain, has decided to make the heroin overdose drug naloxone available without a prescription is a sign of how ominous the current epidemic has grown.

    Faced with a rising wave of addiction, misery, crime and death, our nation has linked arms to save souls. Senators and CEOs, Midwestern pharmacies and even tough-on-crime Republican presidential candidates now speak with moving compassion about the real people crippled by addiction.

    It wasn’t always this way. Thirty years ago, America was facing a similar wave of addiction, death and crime, and the response could not have been more different. Television brought us endless images of thin, black, ravaged bodies, always with desperate, dried lips. We learned the words crack baby.

    Back then, when addiction was a black problem, there was no wave of national compassion. Instead, we were warned of super predators, young, faceless black men wearing bandannas and sagging jeans.

    No matter how far from our lives crack was, we’re guilty by association. By the time I was in college in the early 1990s, my short dreadlocks meant older women would cross the street to avoid me.

    African-Americans were cast as pathological. Their plight was evidence of collective moral failure, of welfare mothers and rock-slinging thugs and a reason to cut off all help. Blacks would just have to pull themselves out of the crack epidemic. Until then, the only answer lay in cordoning off the wreckage with militarized policing.

    Today, police chiefs facing heroin addiction are responding not by invoking war, but by trying to save lives and get people into rehab. Suddenly, crime is understood as a sign of underlying addiction, rather than a scourge to be eradicated.

    One former narcotics officers said: “These are people. They have a purpose in life, and we can’t look at it any other way.”

    But he couldn’t quite put his finger on just what had changed. His words reflect our collective self-denial. It is hard to describe how bittersweet many African-Americans feel witnessing this. Glad to be rid of a failed war on drugs? Yes, but also weary and embittered. When the faces of addiction had dark skin, the police didn’t see sons and daughters, sister and brothers. They saw brothas, young thugs to be locked up, not people with a purpose in life.

    No one laments the violence the crack bomb set off more than African-Americans. But how we respond to the crimes accompanying addiction depends on how much we care about those affected. White heroin addicts get overdose treatment, rehabilitation and reincorporation. Black drug users got jail cells and just say no.

    It would be perverse to want to go back, and this is not just about racial guilt. The hope is that we really can learn from our meanest moments. This stark moment gives us the opportunity to quit our dedication to ignoring racism.

    Next time we or even you are faced with an indictment of institutionalized racism, maybe we can swallow the knee-jerk dismissal or the condescending finger-wagging, and imagine if you would accept such treatment of your own. We don’t have to wait until a problem has a white face to answer with humanity.

    The post There was no wave of compassion when addicts were hooked on crack appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    James Turner, a freshman at Florida State University and a foster youth, sits on the bleachers at his former high school in Orlando, Fla.  Photo by Mike Fritz

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    James Turner had a chance at a “forever family” when he was 8. Placed in foster care at 18 months, Turner was nearly adopted by a Jamaican family he’d been living with, after bouncing between 17 other foster families in the Orlando, Florida, area before the age of 5.

    But then he learned it would mean moving with the family to Jamaica.

    “I would be leaving not only my school and the neighborhood that I grew up in, but also now my country, and I was old enough to know the different countries. So I was like, there is no way, you know, there is no way I could do that,” said Turner, now 19.

    Turner didn’t realize right away that decision would mean he’d be separated from the only family he’d ever felt part of. But it soon became clear.

    “As soon as I saw the mother with saddened eyes as she was packing my bags I [knew] I made a wrong decision.”

    After moving between still more foster homes — some violent, according to Turner — he was living exclusively in group homes by the time he was 12. After the frequent moves, many adults with varying degrees of caring and compassion coming in and out of his life, and some cruel treatment, Turner is now on a mission to change the foster care system for the better.

    But first he must get through one of his greatest challenges thus far: college.

    Turner has already achieved what few foster children have: going straight from graduation to a four-year college, in his case Florida State University in Tallahassee. He is studying both business and film; business to learn learn how to improve the child welfare system, and film so he can tell his own story on the big screen.

    He is no longer looking for a forever family in the traditional sense, though he does plan to marry and have children one day. Right now he feels he has created his own.

    “To me, what a forever family is, is whatever you make it,” Turner said. “Every kid that was in foster care, every kid that I could relate with, they are my family now, they are adopted into me and I’m adopted into them.”

    Read the full transcript of this segment below:

    GWEN IFILL: Only 2 percent of children living in foster care will earn a college degree by the time they turn 25.

    We have the story tonight of a student in Florida working to defy those odds and to change them for others as well.

    The NewsHour’s April Brown has our profile, the second in a series of stories on foster care.

    It’s part of our weekly series on education, Making the Grade.

    APRIL BROWN: Last year at his high school in Orlando, Florida, James Turner was known by many for his blazing speed in the 400-meter dash. He was dedicated and driven, and several college track coaches had taken notice. But what many didn’t know was that James was running a far more difficult race off the track.

    JAMES TURNER, Former Foster Youth: You know, before 5, they said I had 17 — I lived in 17 different foster homes.

    APRIL BROWN: James Turner has never really had what most people take for granted: what they call in foster care a forever family. Placed in care at just 18 months old, James was separated from all three of his siblings by the time he was 5, and has had little contact with any of his family ever since.

    At 8, he almost was adopted by a family he loved that was moving to Jamaica, but, at the last minute, he decided he couldn’t leave his school, his neighborhood and his country. It’s a decision he still regrets. James says the next foster home was a violent place.

    JAMES TURNER: The dad of the home, he beat me a lot and his kids also and other kids that he took into the system. And he said — his excuse was — and I remember he was always telling us, “Well, my foster mom did it, so I’m going to do it to you.”

    APRIL BROWN: In another foster home, James says the father set mousetraps in front of the refrigerator after he caught the children sneaking extra food.

    JAMES TURNER: And I remember, the guy, he showed us with a carrot. He said, if you come out here at night and take food from the refrigerator again, this is what will happen to your finger. And we watched the carrot get broken in half.

    APRIL BROWN: By the age of 12, James was mainly living in group homes, something that often happens, according to Betsey Bell, who runs Orlando’s Foundation for Foster Children, an organization that has helped James since high school.

    BETSEY BELL, Executive Director, Foundation for Foster Children: As kids grow older, if they are not adopted out by age 9, then their chance of being adopted and being part of a forever family are much smaller. And so what we see, though, is, at that same time, when kids are getting older, they are in group homes, because there is just not enough foster homes.

    APRIL BROWN: As he grew up, James changed group homes and schools several times. But he learned how to advocate for himself and for other kids in care.

    BETSEY BELL: He was the big brother. He was the one that kids would go to, that they knew James would help them.

    APRIL BROWN: However, James found few adults he could really trust.

    JAMES TURNER: I find myself always examining people and observing things. I think it scarred me for the rest of my life, because I cannot — I cannot go throughout a day without having to — trying to figure somebody out who is directly involved in my life.

    APRIL BROWN: That slowly began to change when James arrived at Orlando’s Boone High School. He wanted to go out for track, but didn’t have track shoes. The staff at the Foundation for Foster Children got him a pair.

    And then he met the school’s college counselor, Weeze Cullen. He told her he wanted to go straight to Florida State University after graduation and earn a business degree.

    WEEZE CULLEN, College Counselor, Boone High School: I think it’s much more common for students in the foster system to be working on just graduating high school.

    APRIL BROWN: In fact, national studies show only about half of students in foster care in the U.S. graduate from high school. Fewer than one in 10 enroll in college at all, fewer still in four-year schools.

    But James drove himself to beat those odds, and he and Cullen began outlining a plan to get him to FSU. However, some unexpected hurdles emerged, because it seemed few case workers were familiar with how to apply for college and financial aid.

    WEEZE CULLEN: I think they were unfamiliar because they don’t send students to four-year schools. And so I’m not sure that that’s something they spend a lot of time doing because it just doesn’t happen.

    APRIL BROWN: But, for James, it did happen.

    JOHN THRASHER, President, Florida State University: I wanted to take this opportunity to offer my congratulations to James.

    APRIL BROWN: And even university president John Thrasher wanted to congratulate him.

    MAN: Your sense of self really is shaped by powerful forces you may or may not think about.

    APRIL BROWN: Today, the 19-year-old recently began his second semester and says he wouldn’t have made it if not for Cullen.

    JAMES TURNER: FSU, I thought, was out of reach. And she made it more reasonable, and she made it seem a lot more possible.

    APRIL BROWN: James’ tuition and fees are paid for by the state because he went through Florida’s foster care system. He also was admitted into a program specifically designed to ease the transition to college for first-generation students.

    FSU’s Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement, known as CARE, helps with financial aid and has dedicated advisers and other resources available for the student’s entire college career.

    SALLY MCRORIE, Provost, Florida State University: There are so many needs that they have that the typical college student doesn’t have.

    APRIL BROWN: Sally McRorie is FSU’s provost.

    SALLY MCRORIE: We have students in this group who are food-insecure, so we have had a food bank, a food pantry. We have students who have nowhere to go on break when the resident halls are closed down.

    APRIL BROWN: That’s frequently a problem for foster youth like James. When he decided to return to Orlando for winter break, he didn’t know at first where he’d stay. But then two families he met last spring at a fund-raiser for the Foundation for Foster Children opened their doors to him. James spent his holidays visiting both.

    JAMES TURNER: It’s so weird to be in a family setting again after being in group homes for so long. So, these families that are opening up their home to me, they don’t know that they’re serving a great — they are doing something so great.

    APRIL BROWN: On our way back to Tallahassee and FSU, James shared his most ambitious plan yet. He wants to use his business degree to reform the state’s foster care system and hopes to develop an app and a Web site specifically for the kids.

    JAMES TURNER: That they can relate and share their experiences at different group homes. They can even rate group homes. They can rate caseworkers. They can rate staff. They can rate all this stuff. They can rate their judges. They can rate their experiences that they had in different foster homes and foster parents, and talk about how different caseworkers are doing different things, making other people aware.

    APRIL BROWN: But he says, above all, he wants to help make sure kids in the system get one thing they all need.

    JAMES TURNER: Just someone to care. It’s as simple as that, someone who cares, at least one person who cares.

    APRIL BROWN: Today, James has given up on running competitively, focusing his free time instead on speaking to both large groups…

    JAMES TURNER: At age 1-and-a-half, I was entered into foster care, but didn’t know until the age of 6.

    APRIL BROWN: … and smaller ones.

    JAMES TURNER: We’re already ahead of the game. We just got to get there.

    APRIL BROWN: Like here at the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home outside Orlando. James never lived in this group home, but he offered their foster youth guidance on life in college.

    JAMES TURNER: You get into college, and people have to live with each other. You hear these little people, these little girls and these guys complaining about their roommate. And I was like, dude, I lived in group homes my all my life. I had roommates worse than this. Like, this is nothing. You know what I mean?

    APRIL BROWN: His story has also inspired many at Florida State.

    SALLY MCRORIE: These students deserve our help. They will be great, just like James. They will be great spokespeople. They will be movers and shakers in their future communities. And all they need is the chance and a little bit of help to do that.

    APRIL BROWN: That’s a sentiment James couldn’t agree with more.

    JAMES TURNER: These kids will be driven because they want to make a name for themselves. You know, foster care and the group homes and foster homes are gold mines for our nation.

    APRIL BROWN: And, at this point in his life, James has found a different kind of forever family.

    JAMES TURNER: Every kid, you know, that was in foster care, every kid that can relate with what I can relate to, you know, they are my family now, and they are adopted into me, and I’m adopted into them.

    APRIL BROWN: For the PBS NewsHour, I’m April Brown in Florida.

    PBS NewsHour education coverage is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

    The post Former foster youth defies odds, determined to change the system appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Latino leaders and immigration reform supporters gather at Farrand Field on the campus of the University of Colorado to launch "My Country, My Vote," a 12-month voter registration campaign to mobilize Colorado's Latino, immigrant and allied voters October 28, 2015. The rally was held ahead of a forum held by CNBC before the U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate in Boulder. REUTERS/Evan Semon    - RTX1TQD8

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Back to this country and the 2016 presidential race.

    We want to take a closer look at significant issues shaping the campaigns, tonight, immigration. The plans for reform range from a tall border wall funded by Mexico to a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living here now.

    We dig into the issue and to the role of Latino voters with Mark Krikorian. He’s executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, and the author of the book “The New Case Against Immigration, Both Legal and Illegal.” Frank Sharry, he’s founder of the immigration reform group America’s Voice. And Brittney Parker, she’s a senior officer at the Commonwealth Foundation. It’s a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank that promotes free market ideas.

    And we welcome all three of you to the NewsHour.

    Mark Krikorian, let me start with you first.

    Let’s talk about the Republican candidates for president. What are they saying? How are they differing? At this point, it’s — you have got Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and John Kasich. How do they differ on the subject of immigration?

    MARK KRIKORIAN, Center for Immigration Studies: There’s actually a pretty wide range between them.

    Kasich is actually probably much closer to the Democratic candidates, wants to amnesty illegal immigrants and increase immigration. Ted Cruz is actually, in a sense, kind of in between, because Trump has said in his published platform he wants to reduce immigration, among other things.

    I’m not sure he’s read his own platform, but at least that’s what it says in print. Cruz is kind of in the middle. He’s called for no increases in immigration, reforms in certain programs, toughening of enforcement. So, there is actually a pretty entered range, whereas, on the Democratic side, the two candidates pretty much agree on everything.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Brittney Parker, how do you see the Republican candidates on immigration?

    BRITTNEY PARKER, Commonwealth Foundation: Well, the thing is that, unfortunately for Kasich, who is probably most in line with the majority of Republican primary voters, despite what Trump would say, is not many people know what Kasich’s immigration platform is. He just doesn’t capture the headlines the way that Cruz or Trump does.

    Cruz, much more in between the two candidates — I agree with Mark on that — but increasingly moving to more hard-line immigration stance, especially compared to where he used to be just a few years ago.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Frank Sharry, as somebody who is coming at this from the other side of the political spectrum, how do you see voters so far in these Republican primaries responding to these candidates?

    FRANK SHARRY, America’s Voice: Look, the animating issue in the immigration debate right now is what to do about 11 million undocumented immigrants who live and work in America.

    Trump has gone far beyond anything we have seen, and by saying that he’s going to round up and deport people within 18 to 24 months, a remarkable thing. The wall gets a lot of attention, but the idea that we would have that kind of mass roundup of people who are settled in America, it would be one of the most outrageous human rights violations in the modern world.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But he’s still doing well in the primaries. He’s ahead in delegates.

    FRANK SHARRY: He’s still doing well.

    So, let’s remember Mitt Romney had a hard-line policy in 2012. It cost him big-time with Latino voters, arguably cost him the election. And that’s why the RNC said, we need a kinder, gentler approach.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark Krikorian, let me ask you to put the shoe on the other foot. Looking at the Democratic primaries, how do you see the differences between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and how do you see that breaking…



    The interesting thing is, there really isn’t any daylight between them. Hillary was — seems to be moving farther and farther to the left on a variety of issues, obviously, not just immigration, to compete with Sanders. And they both have said in a recent debate explicitly, they said that there is no one they would deport who wasn’t convicted of a violent crime.

    In other words, they have said that every illegal immigrant here and every new illegal immigrant would be allowed to stay as long as they’re not convicted of a violent crime. That’s really an extreme, very extreme position. And it’s essentially the same between the two of them.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Brittney Parker, as a Puerto Rican woman who follows these issues very closely, how do you see the Democratic divide, and how concerned are you for the Republican Party that it is not representing the views of those who believe the country needs to be more forgiving and more understanding when it comes to immigration?

    BRITTNEY PARKER: Being part of the Latino community, immigration is a top issue. Almost everyone in the Hispanic community knows someone affected by immigration.

    And part of the problem that you’re seeing on the right isn’t even the hard-line stances, which, let’s be honest, we’re not going to deport 12 million people. It’s the rhetoric. It’s the selling of outrage in regards to these issues.

    It’s a complete turnoff. It just pushes away — people away before they can even start to have the conversation about how to fix the broken immigration system.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Frank Sharry, respond to that, and also to what one often hears about Democrats, that they may be taking the Latino, the Hispanic vote for granted.

    FRANK SHARRY: Yes, I’m actually pleased.

    I think Mark is right that both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are really leaning in, and they’re trying to show the Latino community that they’re on their side, in hopes of a big turnout. And I do think that, you know, they’re exploiting a Republican lurch to the right.

    We have never seen the difference between the two parties so wide. And the Latino vote is going to be of consequence in a number of key swing states, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, New Mexico, Virginia. Honestly, this could be — the fact that the Republicans have gone so far towards the extreme on immigration could really hurt them with a critical population that’s going to help decide the election.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Does that worry you, Mark Krikorian?

    MARK KRIKORIAN: Well, first of all, I mean, I’m personally Republican. My organization isn’t. So, I mean, I’m looking at this from the outside.

    And what Frank is talking about could actually happen. I mean, there’s no question that Donald Trump’s rhetoric, at the very least, raises hackles on the parts of a lot of people.

    But, you know, all the political predictions about this election have been wrong up until now. I think there’s a real possibility that the Democratic candidates, in their attempt to pander to Hispanic voters, or at least to Hispanic activist organizations, are actually turning away a lot of their own voters who were otherwise predisposed to vote for a Democrat.

    And that’s what you’re seeing, a lot of Trump support coming from people who are otherwise Democrats. So, I think — I really — I don’t think it’s obvious what effect immigration is going to have. We’re all speculating on this. And you’re obviously always speculating until there is an election.

    This is much more fluid and much less predictable than at any time in the past.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Brittney Parker, do you agree with that?

    BRITTNEY PARKER: I agree that we’re not sure what is going to happen, what exactly the role immigration is going to play in this election.

    But I would say that almost every major poll that’s come out does show that the majority of Americans support — do not support deportation of the 12 million, and support some type of immigration reform.

    And, yes, about 40 percent of Republican primary voters are supporting Donald Trump and his espoused rhetoric on deportation and lessening legal immigration, but that still leaves 60 percent of Republican primary voters who are not in agreement with his stance and the general electorate. That leaves moderates, libertarians, independents, Democrats, who tend to disagree with Donald Trump on this issue of immigration.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You just made the point, Mark Krikorian, that you are a Republican personally. That’s not representative of your organization.

    But what does it mean for the Republican Party if Donald Trump were elected and carried out what he says he’s going to do?

    MARK KRIKORIAN: I don’t know. We will see.

    First of all, he’s not going to be deporting everybody. This is — the interesting thing is, you know, when they take these exit polls about people supporting a path to citizenship, a lot of the people who are answering yes to that are also Trump’s voters.

    In other words, I think people are misunderstanding what this poll question about do you support a path to citizenship means. I support a path to citizenship for some portion of illegal immigrants, so I could be answering yes.

    The question is, what do we do before that? How do we make sure that, if we do have an amnesty, it’s the last amnesty? And that — no one trusts regular politicians to legalize illegal immigrants without creating a new problem in the future. And that is what a lot of Trump’s appeal is.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Frank Sharry, what’s the main question for you going into this election when it comes to immigration?

    FRANK SHARRY: Are Latinos going to turn out? Are Democrats and progressives going to invest in Latino turnout?

    I think it could be a real game-changer for Democrats and progressives in this election. Will Donald Trump get the nomination, and what will he represent to Latinos who are deeply offended when he calls hardworking Mexicans criminals and drug dealers and rapists, when he says — he threatens to take citizenship away from their kids who were born here?

    I think we’re going to see a referendum on immigration, on race and inclusion, where Hispanic voters going to be decisive in elections.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we have months to go and much more to unfold about this issue.

    We thank you, all three, Frank Sharry, Mark Krikorian and Brittney Parker. Thank you.

    BRITTNEY PARKER: Thank you.

    The post What the immigration debate means for the White House race appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: Iraq’s Christians have fled the country in startling numbers since the U.S. invasion in 2003. That exodus has been accelerated by the ISIS onslaught over the last two years. Now some are standing their ground to fight back.

    Special correspondent Jane Ferguson reports from Irbil and the Nineveh Plain in Northern Iraq.

    JANE FERGUSON: Iraqi Christians celebrate Easter’s Holy Week, a time of rebirth, hope, salvation. But many here see little hope in their ancestral lands. They have fled ISIS’ grip for the nearby safety of Irbil city, and they have no idea if they can ever go home.

    Father Douglas Bazi has worked to raise awareness around the world of the plight of Iraq’s Christians. Yet even he understands why most choose to leave a nation they struggle to feel a part of.

    FATHER DOUGLAS BAZI, Mar Elias Church, Erbil: The bigger problem here is when the Christians feeling that we are not belong to this land again — anymore. Without — with this feeling, I am not feeling that I belong to Iraq. So, why I am here? Why should I be target every time?

    And don’t — please, don’t blame my people when they, because always they say, oh, it’s a shame, the Middle East without — without Christians. It’s really a shame. The Christians, they are leaving.

    So, why you put shame on my people? Why not put shame to those actually force people to leave?

    JANE FERGUSON: The number of Christians in the Middle East has fallen from 14 percent of the population in 1910 to 4 percent in 2010. Before 2003, there were around 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Now it is believed less than 200,000 remain.

    And many of those have been displaced from their villages by the Islamic State. These Christians fled their town as ISIS fighters approached, losing everything they have ever known in just a few terrifying hours.

    Now they live in Father Douglas’ church yard. They cannot go home, but they have nowhere else to go. Compared to many refugees in this war, they are lucky. The global Christian community is supporting them, and some have been offered new lives in Europe.

    But Hekmat Peter doesn’t just want to go home. He wants to go back in time, to when neighbors lived in harmony.

    HEKMAT PETER, Christian Refugee (through interpreter): We don’t want a place for Christian people only, but like we used to live. Our town was surrounded by 30 villages of Muslims. So we want to live together in peace, like we did for many years.

    JANE FERGUSON: Fighting back will not solve the problem either, says Father Douglas. He believes resolutely that Christians should never take up arms against their attackers.

    FATHER DOUGLAS BAZI: We don’t believe in war at all. We don’t believe that the rights should be taken by weapon. And, actually, as a Christian, we don’t have militia belong to the Christian. So, as a Christian, we don’t have a militia.

    Those people, if they want to go to the military and to serve there and be paid, this is their choice. We are never giving a blessing to war.

    JANE FERGUSON: These men disagree. They are Christians who have come together into a small band of soldiers, coached by Americans and local Kurdish fighters called the Peshmerga.

    They named themselves the Nineveh Plains Forces, after this area north of Mosul where many Christian villages were attacked. With less than 300 men fighting, their presence here is almost entirely symbolic. But their commander believes they can help their people.

    SAFAA KHAMRO, Commander, Nineveh Plains Forces (through interpreter): Now we have only one unit. We need the help of the Kurds. We have to increase our numbers. If we have enough forces, we can protect the Christians in this Nineveh area.

    JANE FERGUSON: Commanders here say these soldiers don’t have enough heavy weaponry to be stationed at the front line permanently. Instead, they wait here about a mile from the front line. And when there is an attack by ISIS, they move there quickly to back up Peshmerga forces.

    For these soldiers, the fight is very personal. This 23-year-old volunteer calls himself George. His whole family fled their village, and he says ISIS fighters are now living in his home.

    And how does it feel to have ISIS living in your house?

    GEORGE, Nineveh Plains Forces: It’s a bad feeling, so aggravated, so angry, so mad. So, since they started here and created this force, I hear about it, and I came and volunteered to defend, to do everything. I really want to kill some of them. So, it’s like an angry inside of me, angry what they did to us.

    JANE FERGUSON: He thinks there is too much bad blood here for things to be the same again.

    If Da’esh, or ISIS, are defeated and they are pushed out of Mosul, is it going to be difficult for Christian communities here to live side by side with their neighbors?

    GEORGE: Yes, I think it’s going to be hard and difficult.

    JANE FERGUSON: George blames his Muslim neighbors for not standing up to ISIS.

    GEORGE: They saw a lot of, like, bad things, and killing, kidnapping. So, I don’t think so. I don’t think they can communicate with them again.

    JANE FERGUSON: The men practice house searches amongst the remnants of the very communities they hope to protect.

    This Christian town emptied out in August 2014 when ISIS rushed in here and took over. Soon after, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces pushed them out. But the 1,000 or so Christian families who lived here never came back. The town now lies abandoned.

    Some houses are being used to house Peshmerga and Christian forces. And the front line is about one mile in that direction. That’s where ISIS positions are. It’s now eerily silent here, except for some warplanes that fly overhead.

    A couple of miles away, where the Nineveh Plains meet mountains, the Saint Hormuzd Monastery retains the defensive position it has kept for over 1,500 years. From its peaceful courtyard, the front line of fighting can be seen in the distance.

    But it’s a crumbling relic of Christianity, empty of the vibrant people it once was built to serve, looking out over a land many in its community feel is slipping away from them.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Jane Ferguson in Northern Iraq.

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    People gather at a small rally in support of Apple's refusal to help the FBI access the cell phone of a gunman involved in the killings of 14 people in San Bernardino, in Santa Monica, California, United States, February 23, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTX28AJM

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    GWEN IFILL: A pitched battle between the Obama Justice Department and one of the world’s biggest tech companies appeared to end abruptly this week, when the government decided to drop its insistence that Apple crack the code for an iPhone used in the San Bernardino shootings.

    Apple had refused, insisting such cooperation would constitute a major breach of privacy. The impending standoff ended yesterday when the government announced it had been able to crack the phone after all, without Apple’s help.

    But questions remain.

    For that, we turn to Devlin Barrett, who covers the Justice Department for The Wall Street Journal, and Fred Kaplan, a columnist with Slate. He’s the author of “The Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War.”

    Devlin, starting with you, did one or the other of the parties in this case back away, just back up?

    DEVLIN BARRETT, The Wall Street Journal: The government backed away. The government said — but it also got what it wanted, in a sense, because it got into the phone it had been trying to get into for months.

    I think what you saw happen was that the government spent two months saying it can’t get into this phone without Apple, and then at the last minute, essentially, it said, actually, someone has just come to us and told us that we can get into it without Apple, and that’s what happened.

    GWEN IFILL: So, Fred Kaplan, the obvious question for so many of us is, who broke into the phone for them, and how did they find them, and had they — would they have been able to find them before without all of this legal mishmash?

    FRED KAPLAN, Slate: Well, it seems to be an Israeli cyber-security firm called Cellebrite, which consists mainly of retired professionals from the — an outfit called Unit 822, which is a — the cyber-warfare branch of the Israeli intelligence agency, sort of the Israeli NSA.

    You can imagine. Here’s the FBI saying, we can’t break into this phone. Here’s Apple saying, we don’t want anybody to break into this phone. This is the most secure phone out there. You have got hundreds, maybe thousands of hackers around the world who look at this and say, hmm, let me give this a try.

    And, you know, the law that the FBI was invoking to get Apple to open it themselves, which is a 1789 law called the All Writs Act, states that if somebody else can do it, if you can find some way to do it without demanding that a company like Apple do it, then you have to drop your suit.

    And that’s why the FBI withdrew. They had to. They really didn’t want to. They thought that they had a good case here and were ultimately trying to test a new legal principle to accommodate for this new stronger era of encryption.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, Devlin, let’s pick up on that, because if indeed there is another way the hack into phones like this, Apple’s argument had been there’s a slippery slope here, and if we agree to do this, then everybody — then we will have to do it in the future. Is the slippery slope still in place?

    DEVLIN BARRETT: The legal argument is still unresolved, and the battle will go on. The war will go on even if the battle ends on this phone has ended.

    So, there is in — from a technologist’s point of view, a real issue of, if you do what the government wants, there will always be more vulnerabilities to systems than technologists would like to see.

    The government’s argument is, you shouldn’t have devices that are warrant-proof, that even with a judge’s order, we can’t — meaning the government, can’t get into and can’t look at and can’t see if there is evidence of a crime in those devices.

    GWEN IFILL: But they didn’t have the — they didn’t — they weren’t able to set that legal precedent that they were seeking, if that’s true.

    DEVLIN BARRETT: No, but there’s ever reason to expect that there will be another phone with a similar issue very soon.

    There’s already a bunch of other phones on lesser cases that are in dispute right now. Everyone expects that this fight will only continue.

    GWEN IFILL: So, let’s talk about other cases, Fred Kaplan.

    There is also — there is a drug case in Brooklyn where we’re expecting in a couple weeks, if not sooner, to hear about whether the government can get access to that phone.

    FRED KAPLAN: Yes. There are several drug cases like that.

    You know, local law enforcement agencies, they don’t know how to hack into these phones. The FBI alone doesn’t know how. If this phone had — if there were some reason to believe that this phone had truly urgent material on it that the government had to get hold of for national security purpose, the FBI could have put in a request for technical assistance to the National Security Agency, which would have been able to open up this phone.

    Things like that have happened before. The fact that the FBI didn’t do this suggests to me that the issue wasn’t the phone, but they were trying to create a new legal precedent.

    GWEN IFILL: What do you think about that, Devlin Barrett?

    DEVLIN BARRETT: The FBI has denied that. The FBI has denied that the government had any answers on this.

    Now, I think Fred and a lot of other people are incredibly skeptical of that explanation. I think one of the big tests of this case has been the FBI’s credibility, because some of what they said has been contradicted by other things that they have said. So it will be interesting to see going forward.

    You know, Washington and Silicon Valley have a very tense relationship right now.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, what about…

    DEVLIN BARRETT: It will be interesting to see how this affects that relationship. It worsens it, probably.

    GWEN IFILL: What about Apple’s credibility? This is one of these questions where it seems — so, there was a real argument to be made that Apple was being difficult.

    DEVLIN BARRETT: Well, right.

    And there’s plenty of folks in government who believe that what Apple is arguing is ultimately a bad thing for society. You know, there are — as Fred said, there are outstanding cases all over the country where prosecutors and detectives can’t get into phones.

    There are plenty of people who say, that’s not a good outcome. There should be a better solution to this. Do you really want a situation where, if someone you love is murdered and the evidence of that crime may be on the victim’s phone, that you can’t even get into the victim’s phone? That’s the argument against what Apple has been saying.

    GWEN IFILL: Fred Kaplan, what — if this were a smaller company, not the all-powerful Apple, a smaller tech company with a similar request being made, do you think that it’s possible that it would have had the same outcome?

    FRED KAPLAN: Well, look, you know, in previous cases, Apple has agreed to unlock phones about 70 times, usually under FISA court orders.

    In this instance, I’m told that it could have quietly done something to give the FBI the information that wouldn’t have opened up all of their phones to vulnerabilities, that wouldn’t have required them to write a whole new operating system. I’m not sure of that.

    But the thing is, there has been an almost-century-long history of telecoms cooperating with intelligence agencies, going back to Western Union, AT&T and continuing into the Internet age today. Apple is a bit more libertarian in its attitudes than some of the other companies.

    The FBI was trying to sustain this arrangement where companies do cooperate. Apple is trying to create a new road to go out on. I think you’re right that this conflict is not over. There will be another case.

    At some point, the courts are going to have to decide about this. All of these cases are based on laws that were written long before the age of cell phones and digital technology.

    GWEN IFILL: Right.

    FRED KAPLAN: It will be very interesting to see how the law ends up on this. There’s no — everything is ambiguous.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, and perhaps Congress is going to end up weighing in as well.

    Fred Kaplan, Devlin Barrett, thank you both very much.

    DEVLIN BARRETT: Thank you.

    FRED KAPLAN: Thank you.

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    People line up to visit the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington March 29, 2016. The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday split 4-4 for the first time in a major case since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia on a conservative legal challenge to a vital source of funds for organized labor, affirming a lower-court ruling that allowed California to force non-union workers to pay fees to public-employee unions.   REUTERS/Gary Cameron - RTSCOTR

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We turn now to the Supreme Court, where today’s 4-4 split was an unlikely win for labor unions, and a stark example of the impact of Justice Scalia’s death.

    For more on today’s highly anticipated decision, and the new dynamics of the divided court, we are joined by Marcia Coyle, chief Washington correspondent for “The National Law Journal.”

    So, welcome back, Marcia.

    MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal: Thanks, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Actually, two interesting developments at the court today, but let’s start with that labor union case first.

    Remind us of the — what the arguments were on each side. And this took place when Justice Scalia was still alive.

    MARCIA COYLE: That’s correct.

    The arguments were heard earlier this year. The case was brought by a group of California public schoolteachers who were not members of the public employee union in California. They claimed that having to pay what are called agency fees or fair share fees to the union that actually is required by law to represent all of the public school teachers violated the teachers’ First Amendment speech and association rights.

    During the oral argument, Judy, it appeared that the court was going to rule for the teachers. It looked like the decision might well have been 5-4, with the five conservative justices in the majority and needing Justice Scalia to make that majority.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, today, we learned that the court is divided. The eight justices on the court are divided, one-line statement.

    MARCIA COYLE: A very common way they handle 4-4 ties or splits. It’s called a per curiam decision, an unsigned decision in which the court simply states that the decision below is affirmed by an equally divided court. We don’t know who voted how.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, this means what?

    MARCIA COYLE: It means that agency shop fees are constitutional in this country under a 40-year-old Supreme Court decision.

    It doesn’t mean the end of the issue. There are other challenges pending in the lower courts, so it may be a temporary victory for the union.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Marcia, can we presume, as long as there is not a ninth justice who is confirmed and sitting on the court, that there could very well be more 4-4, evenly split decisions?

    MARCIA COYLE: I think so, Judy.

    We never know for sure, but I think the second thing that happened today is an example of how the court is struggling to resolve some of these very difficult high-profile issues it has before it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And this is — we learned that the court is asking for another briefing on this Affordable Care Act contraceptive case that it had heard recently.

    MARCIA COYLE: That’s right.

    This was a challenge brought by a number of religious nonprofits that claim that notifying the government that they object to contraceptive health insurance for their employees, because it requires them to notify the government of who their insurer is, makes them complicit in providing the insurance, a violation of their religious beliefs.

    The court’s order today really is — kind of reflects the arguments we heard last week, in which you had several justices, the chief justice, Justices Kennedy and Alito, sort of accepting the charge that the government is hijacking the religious nonprofit’s insurance plans, and the more liberal justices accepting the government’s argument, there is no hijacking, there’s probably no accommodation that would be acceptable to these nonprofits.

    So, the court has asked both sides to suggest alternatives that wouldn’t involve the religious nonprofits in making any kind of notification to the government, but still providing the insurance through the insurance plan.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, quickly, it looks like they’re looking for some middle ground.

    MARCIA COYLE: It does.

    The court does in the like to divide 4-4, because it doesn’t resolve the question. And in this case, it would leave the law uneven throughout the country.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The eight-member court working its way through these cases.

    MARCIA COYLE: Definitely.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Marcia Coyle, thank you.

    MARCIA COYLE: My pleasure, Judy.

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    A forensic officer looks for evidence at the site of a blast that happened outside a public park on Sunday, in Lahore, Pakistan, March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza - RTSCGI2

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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: Presidential candidates set their sights on Wisconsin. Ted Cruz gets a critical endorsement, while Bernie Sanders aims to continue his winning streak.

    GWEN IFILL: Also ahead this Tuesday: Iraqi Christians flee in staggering numbers, as ISIS’ grip tightens, but a small militia group is planning to fight back.

    SAFAA KHAMRO, Commander, Nineveh Plains Forces (through interpreter): Now we have only one unit. We need the help of the Kurds. We have to increase our numbers. If we have enough forces, we can protect the Christians in this Nineveh area.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And from group homes to dorm rooms: how one foster care student beats the odds and wants to help others do the same.

    JAMES TURNER, Former Foster Youth: These kids will be driven because they want to make a name for themselves. You know, foster care and the group homes and foster homes are gold mines for our nation.

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


    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: U.S. officials ordered families of American diplomats and military personnel to leave parts of Turkey. The order covers the U.S. Consulate in Adana, plus Incirlik Air Base, and two military sites in Western cities.

    In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook cited ongoing security concerns, without giving details.

    PETER COOK, Pentagon Spokesman: This was a decision made out of an abundance of caution, given the overall picture, the security threats that — that we looked at in the region. There’s no specific threat that triggered this, but a broader decision based on what we have seen in the region.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Officials also restricted official travel in Turkey, and updated an existing warning on travel in general.

    GWEN IFILL: In Pakistan, authorities report they’re holding more than 200 suspects in the wake of Sunday’s suicide bombing in Lahore. They say they rounded up, and then released, 5,000 others. A Taliban faction claimed responsibility for the attack aimed at Christians celebrating Easter.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: An Egyptian man hijacked a jetliner on a domestic flight today and forced it to fly to Cyprus. Over the next hours, he let most of the passengers go, and then finally gave himself up.

    Diana Magnay of Independent Television News has our report.

    DIANA MAGNAY: EgyptAir Flight 181, eight hostages left on board eight hours into this crisis. Three men raced down the steps, and Cypriot security forces run toward the plane.

    Then this remarkable image: One man scrambles from the cockpit window and swings down the side of the aircraft in what looks like a practiced move. Then, moments later, it’s over. The man thought to be the hijacker stumbles almost as he leaves the plane, then walks very casually towards waiting security forces.

    He’s been named as Egyptian national Seif Eldin Mustafa, pictured here in a bizarre selfie with a British passenger thought to be from Aberdeen. In this photo, the belt he claimed was packed with explosives is on clear display. It was later found to be fake, just a collection of mobile phone covers.

    And Cyprus’ president didn’t seem too worried either, making light of earlier media reports that the hijacker had asked to see his Cypriot ex-wife. “Isn’t everything always about a woman?” he replied.

    But that this man could make it through security and divert a major airliner without even a weapon is clearly no laughing matter, particularly not for Egypt five months after the downing of the Russian flight in Sinai, with major concerns over airport security still overshadowing its tourism industry.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Egyptian authorities said eight Americans were among the foreigners on board the flight.

    GWEN IFILL: The United Nations Children’s Agency warned today that more than 300,000 children in Yemen face malnutrition and famine. UNICEF also said all sides in the year-old war have forced children to fight as soldiers. And it said millions of Yemenis lack access to water and health care.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, the White House announced a new effort to stop the epidemic of addiction to opioid painkillers and heroin. President Obama attended a summit on the problem in Atlanta. He said he wants to double the number of addicts who get medication for their problem.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The most important thing we can do is to reduce demand for drugs. And the only way that we reduce demand is if we’re providing treatment and thinking about this as a public health problem, and not just a criminal problem.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: Also today, 60 medical schools announced greater focus on limiting the use of opioid painkillers.

    GWEN IFILL: There’s a new twist in the battle over a transgender law in North Carolina which bars local governments from allowing transgender bathrooms and other accommodations.

    State Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, announced today he won’t defend the statute in court. He called it a national embarrassment. Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed the law last week.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Illinois Republican Mark Kirk met today with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, the first GOP senator to do so. He praised the judge and criticized colleagues who’ve refused to meet with him or to hold confirmation hearings.

    SEN. MARK KIRK (R), Illinois: I think when you just say I’m not going to meet him at all, that’s too closed-minded. We need for rational, adult, open-minded consideration of the constitutional process, which Judge Garland is a part of.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Kirk is facing a tough Senate reelection fight in a Democratic-leaning state.

    GWEN IFILL: On Wall Street, stocks rallied after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reaffirmed a go-slow approach on interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 97 points to close at 17633. The Nasdaq rose nearly 80 points, and the S&P 500 added 18.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And actress Patty Duke died today of an intestinal infection. As a teenager, Duke won an Oscar as Helen Keller in the 1962 film “The Miracle Worker.” And in the mid-1960s, she played identical twins in “The Patty Duke Show” on TV. Later, she became an advocate for mental health. Patty Duke was 69 years old.

    GWEN IFILL: Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the Supreme Court’s first major split decision since Justice Scalia’s death; the DOJ cracks an iPhone and reignites privacy concerns; facing ISIS, Iraqi Christians must decide to flee or fight; and much more.

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    Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tx., speaks to the crowd at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield, Wisconsin March 29, 2016. Cruz's rally came minutes after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) announced his support of the Cruz campaign. REUTERS/Ben Brewer - RTSCP15

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    GWEN IFILL: A crucial endorsement, a criminal charge, a critical contest, it was all the stuff of another long and sometimes strange day in the presidential campaign of 2016.

    All five major presidential candidates descended on Wisconsin today, the site of the primary season’s next big contest. Governor Scott Walker, who briefly sought the Republican nomination himself last year, delivered his in-demand endorsement to one of the men attempting to knock off front-runner Donald Trump.

    GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), Wisconsin: I just really decided, after all these years of the Obama-Clinton failures, that it’s time that we elect a strong new leader. And I have chosen to endorse Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz is the best-positioned by far to both win the nomination of the Republican Party and to then go on and defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall this year.

    GWEN IFILL: Cruz, in turn, launched another round of criticism at Trump, this time pegged to news that Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was charged today with assaulting a reporter after a press conference earlier this month.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: When you have a campaign that is built on personal insults, on attacks, and now physical violence, that has no place in a political campaign and has no place in our democracy. And I think it is a really unfortunate development, but I do think it helps clarify for the voters what the Trump campaign is all about.

    GWEN IFILL: Trump’s campaign maintained that Lewandowski is absolutely innocent of this charge and denied that a tape released by the Jupiter, Florida, Police Department showed him grabbing reporter Michelle Fields.

    Later in the day, on the way to a town hall in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Trump responded to questions about the charges.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: If you look at her, my look and according to a lot of people, she’s grabbing at me, and he’s acting as an intermediary and trying to block her from doing that.

    The news conference was over. It was done. It was finished, and she was running up and grabbing and asking questions. And she wasn’t supposed to be doing that.

    GWEN IFILL: Recent Wisconsin polling shows Trump, Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich in a statistical tie. Kasich, who held a town hall in Waukesha this afternoon, says he is the strongest candidate for the fall.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: I’m the only one that consistently beats Hillary Clinton. Nobody else consistently beats her. I beat her by 11 points in the last poll. So, that’s probably going to matter: Who is it that can win? I think that’s why we’re having a primaries.

    GWEN IFILL: Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are also in a tight race. Clinton focused today on gun violence prevention in Milwaukee, a city that has seen increasing rates of gun deaths.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: This needs to be a voting issue, not number 20 on the list, but number one the list, especially in zip codes like this one.


    HILLARY CLINTON: Every child deserves to have a healthy, happy life, regardless of the zip code he or she lives in. And so let’s be committed to doing everything we can, in our own ways, to end this epidemic.

    GWEN IFILL: In Appleton, Wisconsin, Sanders’ increasingly sharp criticism of Clinton escalated again today, as he seeks to paint her as out of touch.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I’m not wasting my time going to rich people’s homes begging them for their campaign contributions.


    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I would rather be here with you in Appleton than begging billionaires for their money.


    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: And this is one of the real differences of opinion that Secretary Clinton and I have. It’s how we have chosen to raise the money we need to run our campaigns.

    GWEN IFILL: With 42 Republican and 86 Democratic delegates up for grabs, the candidates plan to blanket the state between now and next Tuesday.

    We will begin a series of discussions on key issues in the presidential race later in the program.

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    Corey Lewandowski, 42, (R) campaign manager for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (C) was arrested in Florida on Tuesday and charged with battery for his interaction with Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields (L) after a news conference held at Trump's National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, March 8, 2016. Photo by Joe Skipper/Files/Reuters

    Corey Lewandowski, 42, (R) campaign manager for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (C) was arrested in Florida on Tuesday and charged with battery for his interaction with Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields (L) after a news conference held at Trump’s National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, March 8, 2016. Photo by Joe Skipper/Files/Reuters

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The 2016 presidential race may have descended on Wisconsin — but most of the campaign buzz surrounds an incident that happened nearly a month ago in Florida.

    Police there charged Donald Trump’s campaign manager with simple battery Tuesday as a videotaped altercation with a reporter transformed what was another messy campaign sideshow into a criminal court summons. Trump decried the charges.

    Jupiter, Florida, police determined that probable cause existed to file a criminal complaint against the Republican front-runner’s most trusted political adviser, Corey Lewandowski, for an altercation that took place after a campaign appearance earlier in the month. Police on Tuesday morning issued Lewandowski a notice to appear before a judge on May 4 for the misdemeanor charge, which carries up to a year in jail.

    The unexpected development injects a court battle into an already contentious Republican primary season just a week before a high-stakes election in Wisconsin. It came on a day that all five presidential contenders campaigned in the state, overshadowing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s endorsement of Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders’ push to narrow Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead.

    Speaking to reporters on his airplane in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Trump vowed to stand by his campaign manager and lashed out at the young female reporter who conveyed the incident to police.

    “How do you know those bruises weren’t there before?” the New York businessman charged.

    “I’m not going to let a person’s life be destroyed,” Trump said of Lewandowski. “No jury, in my opinion, would convict a man and destroy a man’s life over what you witnessed.” He repeated that stance Tuesday night during an interview on a CNN-sponsored town hall event in Milwaukee.

    Trump took his argument to the Wednesday morning network news shows as well, making reference to video surveillance film of the incident and telling NBC’s “Today” show, “What’s clear is that she was touching me and she broke through the Secret Service and was asking me questions.”

    “She wasn’t yanked down,” Trump said of reporter Michelle Fields, who was working at the time for Breitbart News. “She was hardly even touched. You look at her face … I mean, her face isn’t that of a woman screaming in pain.”

    Police in Jupiter, Florida, released surveillance footage Tuesday that appears to show Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbing Brietbart News reporter Michelle Fields as she tried to ask Trump a question during a March 8 campaign event.

    Brad Cohen, Lewandowski’s lawyer, said “the police report doesn’t match the video” of the incident. Interviewed on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Wednesday, he acknowledged the video “shows contact” between Lewandowski and Field, but said, “I certainly see that she didn’t lose her balance. When you watch it in real time, it’s literally a half a second.”

    He noted Lewandowski’s background as a former New Hampshire state trooper and said, “If he sees a threat … or something that’s irregular, he thinks he can take action. It’s not just a job of the Secret Service.”

    Police charged Lewandowski after reviewing the video, obtained from security at the Trump-owned property. Police determined the video shows Lewandowski grabbing Fields as she tried to ask Trump a question after a March 8 appearance.

    It’s unclear what impact, if any, the news will have on Trump’s march toward his party’s presidential nomination. Critics cast it as another example of why the brash billionaire would struggle to attract women in a prospective race against Clinton, the Democratic front-runner.

    “What Donald Trump has been doing over these last months is inciting violent behavior, aggressive behavior that I think is very dangerous and has resulted in attacks on people at his events including this charge that has now been brought against his campaign manager,” Clinton said in La Crosse, Wisconsin. “I think ultimately the responsibility is Mr. Trump’s.”

    The New York businessman’s Republican rivals also seized on the news.

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the incident is “the consequence of the culture of the Trump campaign — the abusive culture when you have a campaign that is built on personal insults, on attacks and now physical violence.”

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he “probably would suspend somebody” depending on the evidence available.

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

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    The Pentagon

    The latest Pentagon moves are seen as an effort to deter Russia from taking any further aggressive action against any other European nations.

    WASHINGTON — U.S. officials say the Pentagon will be deploying an armored brigade combat team to Eastern Europe next February as part of the ongoing effort to rotate troops in and out of the region to reassure allies worried about threats from an increasingly aggressive Russia.

    The officials said the Army will announce Wednesday that it will be sending a full set of equipment with the brigade to Europe. Earlier plans had called for the Pentagon to rotate troops into Europe, where they would have used a set of training equipment pre-positioned there.

    The new proposal would remove the pre-positioned equipment, send it to be refurbished, and allow the U.S. forces to bring more robust, modern equipment in with them when they deploy. There are about 4,500 soldiers in an armored brigade, along with dozens of heavy vehicles, tanks and other equipment.

    Wednesday’s announcement is also aimed at easing worries in Europe, where allies had heard rumblings about the pre-positioned equipment being removed and feared the U.S. was scaling back support.

    Officials also said the Army would send additional communications equipment to Europe so that headquarters units could have the radios, computers and other equipment needed to work with the brigades.

    The officials were not authorized to discuss the announcement publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

    The changes underscore promises made by defense leaders to protect Europe and send a message to Moscow that any aggression against allies would be unacceptable. And they provide more details to budget proposals rolled out earlier this year that quadrupled military aid to Europe and called for a more constant rotational presence.

    The changes underscore promises made by defense leaders to protect Europe and send a message to Moscow that any aggression against allies would be unacceptable. Over the past nine months, during trips to Eastern Europe and in NATO meetings, Defense Secretary Ash Carter has pledged additional military support for the region.

    Last June, while visiting Estonia, Carter announced the U.S. would spread about 250 tanks, armored vehicles and other military equipment across six former Soviet bloc nations to help reassure NATO allies facing threats from Russia and terrorist groups. Each set of equipment would be enough to outfit a military unit, and would go on at least a temporary basis to Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.

    The equipment could also be moved around the region for training and military exercises, and would include Bradley fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzer artillery guns.

    In February, the Pentagon announced it would seek $3.4 billion in the 2017 budget to increase troop rotations and military exercises in Europe. The plan essentially calls for the constant presence of a third brigade in Europe. Two are already permanently stationed in Europe — a Stryker brigade and an airborne brigade. And now a brigade will rotate in and out, likely every nine months or so, on a continual basis.

    The 2016 budget included about $780 million for the so-called European reassurance initiative, which covered the costs of sending hundreds of U.S. troops in and out of Europe for short deployments, military exercises and other training missions.

    Carter’s proposal to quadruple that amount would allow the U.S. to send more troops to Europe for short-term deployments and also provide additional equipment and improve facilities so that more forces could be accommodated.

    The increased U.S. military support comes a year after the Defense Department unveiled sweeping plans to consolidate its forces in Europe, taking thousands of U.S. military and civilian personnel out of bases mostly in the United Kingdom and Portugal, in an effort that was expected to save about $500 million each year.

    But, Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine over the past year and its annexation of the Crimea region has worried Eastern European nations, which fear they may be next.

    The latest Pentagon moves are seen as an effort to deter Russia from taking any further aggressive action against any other European nations.

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    Early in the campaign, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich signed a pledge of loyalty to the eventual GOP nominee. All three rescinded that promise during a town-hall forum with CNN on Tuesday. Photo by Ben Brewer/Reuters

    Early in the campaign, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich signed a pledge of loyalty to the eventual GOP nominee. All three rescinded that promise during a town-hall forum with CNN on Tuesday. Photo by Ben Brewer/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Will they or won’t they? Mostly, they won’t.

    The three Republican presidential candidates aren’t committing to supporting whomever the party chooses as its standard-bearer in the fall campaign. That could make for a messy and fractured GOP nominating convention in July.

    Early in the campaign Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich indicated they would support the eventual nominee. The three were asked about that again Tuesday night in town hall appearances in Milwaukee hosted by CNN.

    Trump said he was rescinding his promise because “I have been treated very unfairly.” He listed the Republican National Committee, the Republican Party and party establishment among those he believes have wronged him. On ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, Trump said, “I only want the people to support me. …I will take my chances with the people.”

    “I’m not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and children,” Cruz said, referring to Trump’s jabs at his wife, Heidi. Cruz said if Trump were the nominee that would hand the election to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    Kasich said that “if the nominee is somebody that I think is really hurting the country and dividing the country, I can’t stand behind them.” But he said he would wait and see how events unfold.

    The candidates were in Wisconsin ahead of the state’s primary next week.

    The Associated Press wrote this report.

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    Patty Duke spent the last years of her life talking about what it was like living with bipolar disorder. In this clip from the upcoming PBS documentary “Ride The Tiger: A Guide Through the Bipolar Brain,” the Oscar-winning actress speaks openly about her crippling manic depression.

    Patty Duke, the lovable girl(s) next door in “The Patty Duke Show”, was remembered this week as a woman who overcame bipolar disorder to become a renowned actress and mental health advocate.

    She died Tuesday at a hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, due to complications of a ruptured intestine, her husband Michael Pearce said. She was 69.

    At age 12, she starred as Helen Keller in the original Broadway production of “The Miracle Worker.” She won the Academy Award for best supporting actress when she took on the same role in the 1962 movie adaptation.

    The following year, the ABC sitcom “The Patty Duke Show” debuted, in which she played rambunctious Brooklyn teen Patty Lane and her more demure Scottish cousin Cathy Lane.

    Patty Duke and Eddie Applegate appeared in an episode of "The Patty Duke Show" called "The Actress" on Nov. 27, 1963. Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

    Patty Duke and Eddie Applegate appeared in an episode of “The Patty Duke Show” called “The Actress” on Nov. 27, 1963. Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

    Duke endured personal struggles during her rise to fame. She was born Anna Marie Duke in New York City on Dec. 14, 1946, to a chronically depressed mother and alcoholic father, who left the family when she was a young girl.

    Duke was removed from her home by her managers, who groomed her for screen and stage but took her earnings as well, in addition to changing her name to Patty, she wrote in her memoir “Call Me Anna.”

    She had a succession of TV and film roles, including the 1970 TV movie “My Sweet Charlie,” in which she portrayed a pregnant runaway and earned her first of three Emmy Awards. Duke also played a woman addicted to sex, drugs and alcohol in the 1967 movie adaptation of “Valley of the Dolls.”

    American actress Patty Duke, circa 1965. Photo by Henry Gris/FPG/Getty Images

    American actress Patty Duke, circa 1965. Photo by Henry Gris/FPG/Getty Images

    Duke struggled with an undiagnosed illness and attempted suicide several times. In 1982, she was diagnosed with bipolar disease and received treatment. She went on to publicly advocate for mental health causes – one of the first celebrities to do so — along with AIDS awareness and nuclear disarmament.

    Duke was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985 to 1988. She had several short-lived marriages, but her fourth — to Army drill sergeant Pearce — lasted for the rest of her life. She is survived by a brother Raymond; two sons Sean Astin and Mackenzie Astin; a stepdaughter Charlene Gibson from her marriage to Pearce; a son with Pearce, Kevin; and six grandchildren.

    “We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life,” her family said in a statement posted by her son Sean Astin.

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    JANESVILLE, Wis. — Police are looking for a man who pepper-sprayed a 15-year-old girl as opponents and supporters of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump clashed outside a Wisconsin rally.

    The altercation is the latest in a series of confrontations that have marred recent Trump events.

    Investigators have photos taken by participants at Tuesday’s demonstration outside of the Holiday Inn Express that could help to identify the man with the pepper spray, Janesville Police Sgt. Aaron Ellis said Wednesday.

    Ellis said the girl told police she punched a man who groped her, and another man then pepper-sprayed her. The girl and a 19-year-old woman standing next to her were treated and released from a hospital, police said.

    Ellis said the girl could face charges for punching the man, identified by the Wisconsin State Journal as Dan Crandall, of Milton.

    “I didn’t touch her,” Crandall, a Trump supporter, told the newspaper. “She started to challenge why I was at the Trump rally since I was a grown man. I told her I was at the Trump rally because I was a grown man and I cared about my country.”

    Crandall said someone standing behind him used the pepper spray. That person could be charged with illegal discharge of pepper spray since he was not using it in self-defense, Ellis said.

    “It doesn’t appear that he was directly involved,” he said.

    Video posted on social media shows the girl arguing with someone in the crowd before punching or pushing a person who was not shown on camera. The teen was then pepper-sprayed and walked away.

    About 1,000 people attended the rally at the adjacent Janesville Conference Center, while another 1,000 demonstrated outside the hotel in the hometown of U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, police said. About 350 law enforcement officers were there in case the demonstration or rally became unruly, said Janesville Police Chief David Moore.

    The confrontation Tuesday follows the arrest of six protesters Monday night who refused to leave the hotel’s lobby. Police said the six were part of a group of several dozen protesting Trump’s appearance.

    All five presidential contenders campaigned in Wisconsin on Tuesday, one week before the state’s high-stakes primary election. Also Tuesday, police in Jupiter, Florida filed a criminal complaint against Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, for a videotaped altercation with a reporter.

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    President Barack Obama speaks during his visit to the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside Oklahoma City. Photo by Kevin Lamarque /Reuters

    President Barack Obama speaks during his visit to the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside Oklahoma City. Photo by Kevin Lamarque /Reuters

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 61 drug offenders on Wednesday including more than a third serving life sentences, working to give new energy to calls for overhauling the U.S. criminal justice system.

    All of the inmates are serving time for drug possession, intent to sell or related crimes. Most are nonviolent offenders, although a few were also charged with firearms violations. Obama’s commutation shortens their sentences, with most of the inmates set to be released on July 28.

    Obama, in a letter to the inmates receiving commutations, said the presidential power to grand commutations and pardons “embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws.”

    In a bid to call further attention to the issue, Obama planned to meet Wednesday with people whose sentences were previously commuted under Obama or Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The White House said the former inmates would share their experiences about the challenges of re-entering society after incarceration.

    One of the inmates, Jesse Webster of Chicago, is serving a life term for intent to sell cocaine and filing false tax returns. Another, Byron McDade of Bowie, Md., got 27 years for cocaine-related charges as well. In both cases, judges in the cases later said publicly it was too harsh, though sentencing guidelines often prevent judges from being more lenient. Webster and McDade will both be released later this year.

    Most are nonviolent offenders, although a few also faced firearms charges. Nabar Criam of Brooklyn, N.Y., was sentenced to 15 years for possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, but received an additional charge for having a gun on hand during a drug trafficking crime.

    The latest tranche of commutations brings to 248 the total number of inmates whose sentences Obama has commuted — more than the past six presidents combined, the White House said. The pace of commutations and the rarer use of pardons are expected to increase as the end of Obama’s presidency nears.

    “Throughout the remainder of his time in office, the president is committed to continuing to issue more grants of clemency as well as to strengthening rehabilitation programs,” said Neil Eggleston, the White House counsel, in a blog post.

    He added that clemency is a tool of last resort that can help specific people, but doesn’t address the broader need for a “more fair and just” system and “fix decades of overly punitive sentencing policies.”

    Though there’s wide bipartisan support for a criminal justice overhaul, what had looked like a promising legislative opportunity in Obama’s final year has recently lost steam. As with Obama’s other priorities, the din of the chaotic presidential campaign has increasingly made cooperation among Republicans and Democrats in Congress this year a non-starter.

    Last month, a group of Senate Republicans declared their opposition to the legislation Obama and some conservatives had been pushing, dealing a major blow to prospects of getting it done this year. A key Senate committee had already approved the bipartisan bill, which would let judges hand out lesser sentences more lenient than the federal mandatory minimums and eliminate mandatory life sentences for drug offenders caught three times. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has said the overhaul is doable but doesn’t have to get done in 2016.

    Obama has long called for getting rid of strict sentences for drug offenses, arguing they lead to excessive punishment and sky-high incarceration rates. With Obama’s support, the Justice Department in recent years has directed prosecutors to rein in the use of harsh mandatory minimums.

    The Obama administration has also expanded criteria for inmates applying for clemency, targeting nonviolent offenders who have behaved well in prison and would have received shorter sentences if convicted of the same crime a few years later. Civil liberties groups hailed that move but have since raised concerns that too few are actually receiving clemency under the policy.

    READ MORE: Stopping the revolving prison door

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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in De Pere, Wisconsin, on March 30. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in De Pere, Wisconsin, on March 30. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

    Updated at 5:20 p.m. EDT | Donald Trump is walking back his statement earlier Wednesday that women should be punished for seeking abortions if they’re ever banned.

    Trump says in a later statement that abortion providers — not women — should be the ones punished if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

    “If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman,” he said, adding, “The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb.”

    Trump had said during a town hall taping earlier Wednesday that women who get abortions should receive “some form of punishment” if abortion is banned.

    Original story:

    GREEN BAY, Wis. — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Wednesday that women who get abortions should receive “some form of punishment” if abortion is banned, once again sparking controversy with days to go before Wisconsin’s primary.

    In a heated exchange with MSNBC host Chris Matthews at the taping of a town hall in Green Bay, Wisconsin that will air on Wednesday night, Trump was asked whether he believes that abortion should be outlawed in the country.

    After an extended back-and-forth, the billionaire businessman said “you have to ban” them and that, “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who violate that restriction.

    Pressed by Matthews on the nature of that punishment, Trump responded, “I haven’t determined what the punishment should be.”

    Trump also suggested that women could continue to receive abortions, but at “illegal places.”

    “You know you’ll go back to a position like where they had where people perhaps will go to illegal places,” he said.

    Asked to clarify his position, Trump’s campaign issued a statement after the taping saying that he believes the issue should rest with the states.

    “This issue is unclear and should be put back into the states for determination,” Trump said. “Like Ronald Reagan, I am pro- life with exceptions, which I have outlined numerous times.”

    Trump has often said that he’s opposed to abortions except in the case of three exceptions: rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk.

    Trump has been criticized by some conservatives for his flip-flop on the issue of abortion. Trump used to describe himself as in favor of abortion rights, but says his stance has evolved over the years.


    Jill Colvin in Jersey City, New Jersey contributed to this report.

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    group of graduates Photo by baona via Getty Images

    The payoff for a college degree is much less for those who grew up poor than for those who did not. Photo by baona via Getty Images

    The results of a recent Gallup poll clearly show how much Americans believe in the value of a college education:

    • Nearly all — 96 percent — say it is somewhat or very important for adults in this country to have a degree or professional certificate beyond high school.
    • Most — 93 percent — say that it will be just as important or more important in the future to have a degree or professional certificate beyond high school in order to get a good job.
    • Fewer than one in five — 19 percent — are confident that having only a high school diploma can lead to a good job.

    Data from the U.S. Department of Labor seem to validate these beliefs: Workers with college diplomas earn on average $459 more a week than those who hold only high school diplomas.

    Graph via the Bureau of Labor Statistics

    Graph courtesy the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The ticket out of poverty, therefore, seems to be earning a college diploma.

    Or is it?

    Economist Brad Hershbein, a nonresident fellow of the Brookings Institute, provided a more sobering look at the relationship between one’s achieved education level and lifetime earnings. Pulling data from Panel Study of Income Dynamics, Hersbein and his colleagues found that the payoff for a college degree is much less for those who grew up poor than for those who did not.

    READ MORE: Column: These facts about inequality can’t be whitewashed

    College graduates from poor families were found to earn 91 percent more over their careers than high school graduates from the same income group. But college graduates from upper-middle-class families earned 162 percent more over their careers than those with just a high school diploma.

    Graph courtesy the Brookings Institute

    Graph courtesy the Brookings Institute. FPL is short for federal poverty level. You can read more about the smaller “bachelor’s bump” here.

    Why the difference? Researchers point to disparities in family resources during childhood and the colleges that low-income students attend. Children born to highly educated women receive more of their parents’ time and money than those born to the less well-educated women. They also point out that poor students are more likely to attend lower ranked colleges than rich students. The researchers explicitly assume that this means poor students are receiving lower quality education than their richer peers.

    During the course of my academic career, I have had the opportunity to teach at colleges and universities from different tiers, including the Ivy League, private liberal arts colleges and large state universities. I discovered that there were students at the lower ranked programs who were easily as bright, motivated and hard-working as those in the Ivy League, and students at all levels who were so bored and disenfranchised from their educations that one could only assume they were there because their parents insisted.

    Working-class students are more likely to spend too much time studying instead of socializing and making connections.

    My interpretation of the disparities I saw in student achievement — in school and beyond — jibes most closely with that offered by Lauren Rivera, an associate professor of management at Northwestern University, in her recent book, “Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs.” Rivera points out that working-class students are more likely to spend too much time studying instead of socializing and making connections. The message they hear while in high school and college is “be smart, work hard and get good grades.” But students from high-income households know that isn’t enough.

    Elite colleges weigh extracurricular activities heavily in admissions decisions. These activities generally fall into three categories: creative (playing in the school orchestra), athletic (soccer, basketball) and volunteering activities (civic outreach, Youth Leadership). Other boosts include business intern positions and research assistant experience in science labs. Because working-class students typically don’t spend time cultivating these additions to their application dossiers, they hurt their chances of getting into elite schools.

    READ MORE: We’re talking about inequality all wrong

    Since elite firms tend to recruit almost exclusively from elite schools, working-class students who avoided participating in structured extracurricular activities in high school significantly reduce their chances of landing a high-paying job upon graduation. If they also avoid participating in such activities in college, they miss numerous opportunities to form social connections with peers, connections that often prove useful later for advancing one’s career. The Harvard Career Center website puts it this way:

    If you’ve ever had to pick people for your group or team, chances are you asked your friends to recommend people they know. In much the same way, nearly 80% of the positions available are usually filled through personal referrals.

    Rivera reports that recruiters repeatedly told her they looked for people who could be their friends as well as their colleagues. One compared hiring to “picking a team on the playground growing up”; another described his firm as “a fraternity of smart people.” To put it more baldly, humans tend to be tribal and egocentric; we feel more comfortable with others who look like us, and the more time we are going to spend with others, the more we want them to look, dress and act like us.

    One recruiter compared hiring to “picking a team on the playground growing up”; another described his firm as “a fraternity of smart people.”

    I discovered this at the first psychological science conference I attended as a graduate student. I had taken care to look “professional”: I wore a grey suit with a white blouse and black pumps, French braided my hair and made sure my makeup and manicure were just so. I felt like Moses parting the Red Sea as I made my way through the crowd. A senior colleague kindly took me aside to tell me, “You don’t look like an academic. You look like a banker” — which is what I had been for many years before deciding to pursue a PhD in psychology. I looked around and noticed that few of the women wore suits (and mine was far more formal than the ones they wore), none of them wore makeup or nail polish, and most wore black, heavy-framed glasses.

    I never made that mistake again.

    In the workplace, features like these that have nothing to do with productivity and everything to do with “looking the part” are called “fit.”

    READ MORE: Does business have an incentive to address inequality? Absolutely

    In their review of Rivera’s book, the Economist described it this way:

    The most important quality recruiters are looking for is “fit”: for all their supposedly rigorous testing of candidates, they would sooner choose an easy-going person with a second-class mind than a Mark Zuckerberg-type genius who rubs people up the wrong way.

    I would add that this emphasis on “fit” applies to all facets of education and the workplace. Local communities often recruit from local colleges and universities, and recruiters are just as likely to prefer to hire graduates with strong connections to peer groups and alumni. The difficulty is that participation in structured extracurricular activities is a luxury that working-class students often cannot afford. Many of the working-class students I taught worked during the school year to help defray the costs of their college education. This puts them at a disadvantage in securing jobs after graduation. And that disadvantage too often leads to reduced lifetime earnings.

    The post If you grew up poor, your college degree may be worth less appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Margot Lee, left, and Claude Cesard, right, volunteers with the Get Covered America campaign, canvas the neighborhood informing prospective health insurance consumers about new insurance possibilities available through the affordable care act, in Englewood, N.J., on July 27, 2013.  Photographer:  Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

    Do I have to switch to Medicare if I don’t want to? asks one reader. Photo by Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

    Editor’s Note: Journalist Philip Moeller, who writes widely on health and retirement, is here to provide the Medicare answers you need in “Ask Phil, the Medicare Maven.” Send your questions to Phil.

    Clary – N.C.: Is there any reason to continue paying high premiums for regular health insurance after one is enrolled in Medicare? I was on the phone with a health insurance representation who told me that many people choose to continue their regular health insurance after getting Medicare. But they could not give me even one specific reason. Also, I have seen advice that we do not need insurance to supplement Medicare. What do you think of that?

    Phil Moeller: Other than generating a sales commission, I can think of no compelling reason why an insurance company representative would suggest you buy regular health insurance after signing up for Medicare. Because Medicare is the first, or primary, payer of health claims, your private insurance would at best be used to cover any coverage gaps in your Medicare coverage. But there already are Medicare products that do this. People with Parts A and B of Medicare — often called original or basic Medicare — can plug many if not all of their coverage holes with a Medicare supplement policy (also known as Medigap). Or they can buy a Medicare Advantage plan, which offers out-of-pocket spending ceilings. It’s possible your private plan has better drug coverage than the Part D plan you would get from Medicare. But I can’t see a reason to pay for a comprehensive private insurance plan just to get an enhanced drug benefit. As for getting a Medicare supplement policy, I think it makes sense for those with Original Medicare in order to avoid potentially catastrophic claims. As noted, Medicare Advantage plans offer this protection as well, and for that reason, Medigap plans may not be sold to Medicare Advantages users.

    Mary – Okla.: I am turning 65 this year, but I do not want to switch to Medicare. I have excellent coverage for only about $50 per month that covers everything 100 percent — no out-of-pocket costs, prescriptions are zero, co-pay is zero, deductible is zero and everything is covered though HealthCare.gov. Everything is now free, except for my low monthly premium, because I am a member of a Native American tribe, and my income qualifies for this plan. Why should I switch to Medicare, which a lot of doctors do not like? Do I have to switch if I don’t want to?

    Phil Moeller: Mary has a great health plan, but most likely will have to give it up. That’s because most people covered under an Affordable Care Act marketplace plan will have to switch to Medicare when they turn 65. There is a major exception here that involves whether a person’s work history has qualified them to receive free Part A Medicare coverage. Please bear with me here as this exception involves a trip into Social Security rules.

    Part A is the part of Medicare that covers hospital expenses, and it’s funded by a portion of the Social Security payroll taxes that people have deducted from their paystubs. Each $1,260 in such wage income earned in 2016 will entitle a person to one quarter of so-called “covered” earnings. (This wage requirement changes each year.) People who are not disabled will qualify for Social Security retirement benefits after they have accumulated at least 40 quarters of covered earnings.

    If Mary has not accumulated 40 quarters of covered earnings by the time she turns 65, she will not be eligible for free Part A insurance premiums. Nothing involving Medicare or Social Security is so straightforward of course, as it turns out that Mary would qualify for free Part A — even if she’d never worked a day in her life — if her spouse’s work history qualified for Social Security.

    If a person has not qualified for free Part A, they will have to pay a hefty premium of up to $411 a month. Anyone in this situation will not have to sign up for Medicare, but can keep their exchange plan. Here’s HealthCare.gov’s explanation of the rules. If Mary does qualify for Social Security, she probably will have to sign up for Medicare during her seven-month initial enrollment period. This period includes three months before her 65th birthday, her birth month and the following three months.

    Terry – N.Y.: I turn 65 in July. I am now receiving Supplemental Security Income. I get private health insurance under a Medicaid plan and pay nothing for medical coverage. Do I need to apply for Medicare when I turn 65? Do I get to keep Medicaid? I have a lot of medical problems, am afraid to change anything and worry about losing access to my current doctors and surgeons.

    Phil Moeller: You do need to apply for Medicare and most likely will be able to continue your Medicaid coverage as what’s called a “dual eligible” beneficiary who qualifies for both programs. I suggest you call a Medicare counselor in your state who works with the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Review your situation, and determine the best steps for you to take. Best of luck!

    Pamela – Mo.: I have enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. I’m not sure if there’s anything else I’m supposed to be signing up for or required to get. I take two medications. Do I have to sign up for Medicare Part D? My funds are low right now, because I need to keep working and have just started a new business with friends. I have no other insurance right now except Parts A and B. Eventually, I probably will need a secondary insurance. I am so confused with it all!! HELP!!!

    Phil Moeller: I know that moving to Medicare can involve an overwhelming series of decisions about very unfamiliar topics. Because money is tight, I suggest you look for a basic Medicare Advantage plan that has Part D coverage bundled into it. You’ll still have to pay your monthly Part B premium, but many Medicare Advantage plans charge a zero premium, so this will let you get your drug coverage at little if any cost. You need Part D to avoid lifetime late-enrollment penalties if you sign up for it at a later time.

    Once you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you and your friends should explore participating in an affinity plan for group employer health coverage. This might be through a local chamber of commerce or industry trade group. If you qualify, you could then leave Medicare and get a private policy. I’m not saying the private policy will save you money, but it might. If your financial condition improves, you could use Medicare’s annual open enrollment period to see if there’s a better Medicare solution for you. Open enrollment runs each year from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. I also suggest you discuss your situation with a SHIP counselor to make sure you’re making the right choices at the right times. And as I told Terry in the previous answer, best of luck!

    Ken: I’m turning 65 in two weeks and already have Medicare Parts A, B and D. I am torn between buying Medigap Plan N or G. As I understand it, by checking with a doctor to confirm they accept Medicare assignments, you do not have to insure yourself against excess costs by buying Plan G. Insurance agents keep pushing plan F and G at me with scary scenarios of thousands of dollars of excess cost if I don’t buy their high-premium and high-insurance commission Plan F or G. Are there actually other examples where excess costs can come into play even if you only go to a doctor that accepts assignments?

    Phil Moeller: Ken’s grasp of what basic Medicare (Parts A and B) and Medigap cover is not quite right, and his assumption could cost him enormous amounts of money should he have a serious health problem. Just because his doctor accepts Medicare and agrees to its billing rules, hardly means Ken is off the hook for uncovered medical expenses. Part B of Medicare will only cover 80 percent of insured expenses. So if Medicare’s allowed rates for a doctor’s services are, say, $1,000, Ken will be required to pay $200 of this amount out of his own pocket. If he required surgery or other major Part B expenses, he could face a bill that is 20 percent of a very big number. Part B covers not only doctor’s bills but other outpatient expenses plus durable medical equipment, which can be very expensive. Basic Part B covers only 80 percent of these changes. The Medigap plans Ken cites can plug this 20 percent gap. That is why they may seem expensive. The various Medigap letter plans must by law cover the same things. All Plan Cs thus must cover the same items. Ditto for Plan Fs or Gs or Ns. The only difference is price, and there may be large differences in what different insurers charge for the same letter plan. Ken should do some online comparison shopping at Medicare’s Medigap site and see if he can find a better Medigap deal. But he should either protect himself with a Medigap policy or explore whether a Medicare Advantage plan is a better choice for him. There is a separate Medicare Advantage Plan Finder that may help.

    The post Should I keep regular health insurance if I’m enrolling in Medicare? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    X-ray scans of a 305-million-year-old arachnid fossil have unlocked a new chapter in the origin story of spiders. Long before dinosaurs reigned supreme, this ancient eight-legged creature cruised along the Earth. Modern humans would have mistaken it for a spider, but it lacked a crucial talent: the ability to spin webs.

    “Arachnids are the second most successful living group in terms of species diversity after insects. Despite that we have a limited picture of their early evolution and evolutionary relationships,” said paleontologist Russell Garwood of the University of Manchester, England. “By doing work like this we hope we can fill in a few of the blanks.”

    Garwood led the investigation that finally revealed the body structure of this new spiderlike species, Idmonarachne brasieri.

    In the mid-1970s, an amateur fossil hunter discovered what ultimately turned out to be the closest  known relative of modern-day spiders. Photo courtesy of Garwood RJ et al., Proc. R. Soc. B, (2016)

    In the mid-1970s, an amateur fossil hunter discovered what ultimately turned out to be the closest known relative of modern-day spiders. Photo courtesy of Garwood RJ et al., Proc. R. Soc. B, (2016)

    That’s been an open mystery since the mid-1970, when amateur fossil finder Daniel Sotty discovered a trove well-preserved spiders, scorpions and other invertebrates in Montceau-les-Mines, a city in central France. Half of this specimen is embedded in siderite — a iron-based mineral known to complicate fossil identification.

    “These rocks are very iron-rich, which makes them difficult to CT scan, as iron absorbs so many X-rays,” Garwood said. So he and his colleagues employed a synchrotron — a high energy form of X-rays — to reveal the microscopic spaces concealed within the rock. By doing so, the team could build a 3D model of the fossil and compare it to other arachnids from this era.

    Less than half an inch in length, I. brasieri arachnids lack the defining feature of modern spiders: silk-slinging spinnerets.

    This ancient creeper could still likely produce silk, but without spinnerets, it couldn’t spin complex webs. Instead, this ancient cousin of spiders may have used silk just to wrap its eggs or line its burrow, Garwood said.

    Suggested appearance of the spiderlike arachnid Idmonarachne brasieri. Illustration courtesy of Garwood RJ et al., Proc. R. Soc. B, (2016)

    Suggested appearance of the spiderlike arachnid Idmonarachne brasieri. Illustration courtesy of Garwood RJ et al., Proc. R. Soc. B, (2016)

    Concurrently, I. brasieri arachnids didn’t possess a tail-like body part — a flagelliform telson — seen among the previously recognised closest-relatives to spiders, uraraneids. Hence, the flagellum was lost by the time this lineage split off the main spider line, but spinnerets had yet to arrive.

    “The evolution of spinnerets is a key innovation in the spiders, which could have been the key to their enormous success as an animal group,” said Garwood, whose new findings were published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    The post This ancient arachnid ushered in the spider uprising appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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