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

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    A delegate supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks over documents at the Colorado Republican state convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado April 9, 2016.  Party delegates can have a lot of influence, but it's not easy to become one -- the positions are mostly held by party insiders. Photo by Rick Wilking/Reuters

    A delegate supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks over documents at the Colorado Republican state convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado April 9, 2016. Party delegates can have a lot of influence, but it’s not easy to become one — the positions are mostly held by party insiders. Photo by Rick Wilking/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — So, you want to be a delegate to the Republican National Convention?

    You could have a rare opportunity to help make history, if none of the Republican presidential candidates reaches the target 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination on the first ballot. And maybe — just maybe- – billionaire businessman Donald Trump will take you for a spin on Trump Force One.

    Now, if you’re looking to jump on the bandwagon today, the bad news is it’s probably too late. Most state parties haven’t picked their delegates yet, but in general, they’re looking for people who have demonstrated loyalty by investing time and money helping to elect Republican candidates.

    “It’s always helpful to show that you care about the party and its work if you want the party to make you a delegate,” said Ben Ginsberg, a longtime Republican lawyer and an expert on the nominating process.

    “Suppose that your passion in life is helping out on the local level with political campaigns or with party work,” he said. “This is the reward at the end of a four-year rainbow.”

    It’s definitely an insider’s game, which is one reason that Trump appears to be struggling to get his supporters selected as delegates, even though he’s won the most primaries.

    Look at North Dakota, for example. The state didn’t hold a primary this year. Instead, the state GOP selected 25 delegates at its state convention last weekend. The state’s three Republican National Committee members will also be delegates in the July convention.

    Because North Dakota didn’t hold a primary, its delegates are free to support the candidate of their choice, regardless of who wins the popular vote. The GOP calls them “unbound.”

    There will be between 150 and 200 unbound delegates at the convention. If Texas Sen. Ted Cruz can block Trump from clinching the nomination on the first ballot, these unbound delegates are going to be the most popular people in Cleveland.

    But in North Dakota, you’ve got to pay your dues if you want to be a delegate.

    Among the questions on the delegate application: How much time have you volunteered working for the North Dakota GOP, and how much money have you donated?

    As a result, most of the delegates are past or present elected officials or party workers.

    Ten of the delegates told The Associated Press that they support Cruz. None of them has publicly endorsed Trump.

    “It really reeks of inside politics and that is upsetting a lot of people,” said Gary Emineth, a Bismarck businessman and former chairman of the state GOP party.

    Despite his own lengthy history with the party, Emineth said the process should be more open to outsiders, grassroots enthusiasts who bring energy to the party.

    In about a dozen states, the candidates pick their delegates. Among them is California, which has 172 delegates, plus alternates.

    If you want to be a delegate in California, it would be smart to profess your loyalty to one of the campaigns because they are aggressively vetting potential delegates — a total of more than 300 people for each candidate, including alternates.

    In most states, however, the campaigns have no official role in selecting delegates. That could be a problem for Trump, who could end up with delegates who are required to vote for him on the first ballot, but can switch to someone else on subsequent ballots should they desire.

    Most of these delegates are selected at state and congressional district conventions, where Cruz and his supporters have done a good job rounding up supporters.

    The process, however, can be complicated, with rules and requirements varying from state to state.

    In South Carolina, you can’t be a national delegate unless you served as one at the state or congressional district convention.

    In Michigan, most of the delegates at the state convention — the people who will select the national delegates — had to be elected as precinct delegates in the 2014 primary.

    In states like Pennsylvania and Illinois, voters elect delegates on the primary ballot. In Illinois’ March 15 primary, the ballot listed each delegate along with the presidential candidate they support.

    Voters won’t get that kind of help in Pennsylvania’s primary April 26. The ballot will simply list delegate candidates, with no information about whom they support for president. There isn’t much campaigning so a lot of elected officials win simply on name recognition.

    If you want to be a delegate in Kentucky, it might help to make friends with people who are on the nominating committees that put together slates of national delegates. These slates are voted on at state and congressional district conventions.

    If the convention rejects the slate, the committee puts together a new slate.

    “This process shall continue indefinitely until a slate is approved by the state convention,” according to GOP rules in Kentucky.

    In states where party insiders pick the delegates, smart presidential campaigns make friends with local officials who can help round up supporters.

    “You can tap into the political networks of people who are endorsing you. They know the state and they can help,” said Mark Stephenson, a Republican strategist who ran analytics and delegate strategy for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign.

    “Endorsements matter at that level. I think that’s why you see Cruz’s team having that local success, which builds momentum statewide.”

    The post So, you want to be a delegate to the Republican National Convention? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Bruce Springsteen (C), Stevie Van Zandt (R) and Roy Bittan perform during The River Tour at the LA Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni - RTSB0L2

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    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR:  Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band have cancelled their concert scheduled for tomorrow in Greensboro, North Carolina, to protest the state’s new law blocking anti-discrimination measures for gay, lesbian and transgender people.  Springsteen said the law overturns progress in recognizing the human rights of all people.  His boycott is one of growing number of economic hits to North Carolina and other states adopting similar laws.

    Joining me now to discuss that is “Politico” reporter Kevin Robillard.  He joins us from Washington.

    So, how significant has this been for North Carolina?  I mean, it’s been bad press for them all week.  But does this make an economic impact?

    KEVIN ROBILLARD, “POLITICO” REPORTER:  Clearly, it’s starting to have one.  Last night, there were some reports from the North Carolina media that, you know, significant numbers of conventions were either cancelling or reconsidering going to North Carolina, which is something that translated to, you know, the thousands, potentially the tens of thousands in hotel room stays.

    And, you know, chances are when you’re staying in it a hotel, you’re also going out to eat and, you know, purchasing things at nearby stores for your family or whatever.  So, yes, this is something that has a ripple effect when, you know, these boycotts or decisions not to go to North Carolina are start stacking up.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  I heard the NBA all-star game is supposed to be in Charlotte last year and even Charles Barkley is asking for it to be moved, a former player and commentator.

    And there was also, PayPal pulled the opening of a 400-person facility in the state.

    KEVIN ROBILLARD:  Yes, that was a really significant one because, also, one thing that every state is trying to do is trying to woo tech companies like PayPal to their state.

    So, if these tech companies in particular make a big stand on this, that’s something that could really discourage governors like Pat McCrory in North Carolina from passing these similar laws.  You have seen a lot of Democrats who were sort of trying to maybe sticking in the eye of North Carolina sort of put out their hands and say, “Hey, PayPal, come here”.  The Democratic governor of Montana, for instance, said, you know, hey, PayPal, we’ll come up with a tax package for to you move here instead of moving to North Carolina.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  What is also interesting is it seems to pit the two different sides of the Republican Party, the pro-business side against the social conservative side.

    KEVIN ROBILLARD:  Yes, and this is, you know, an ongoing fight between the Republican Party.  They have these wings, and these two wings are always going to continue to clash just on the base level of what the Republican Party should prioritize.

    But this is an instance where these things are coming into direct conflict, and that’s really a problem for a lot of Republicans because the social conservatives tend to provide sort of grassroots of the Republican Party.  They’re the Republican Party’s most reliable voters.

    But the business community is, quite frankly, where most of the money funding the Republican Party comes from.  And that’s their biggest source of money so they can air TV ads and whatnot.

    So, it really is a situation, if you’re a Republican politician, you don’t want to anger either one of these groups.  So far, however, in this fight, the business community is winning just because they seem to have the economic leverage and you have seen it used in North Carolina and you also saw it used very well in Indiana, which had a similar controversy last year.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  Does this trickle up, at least on a national scale, either in the presidential election or in other, let’s say, gubernatorial elections around the country?

    KEVIN ROBILLARD:  So, in the presidential election, so far, it hasn’t really impacted the GOP primary all that much.  That said, at this point, a majority of Americans do support gay rights, and it hurts the image of the Republican Party in general.  So, that’s something that, you know, don’t be surprised if you see Hillary Clinton really going out of her way to speak out against laws like this if she becomes the general election nominee.

    As for gubernatorial races, yes, there’s really going to be two on the ballot in the fall where there is really going to be the central issue.  You know, Pat McCrory from North Carolina is up for reelection in November.  He is facing the attorney general of North Carolina, Roy Cooper.

    And then, in Indiana, which, again, had a very similar controversy last year, Mike Pence is facing a Democrat named John Gregg.  Both of those are expected to be very, very contested elections and two of the closest governors’ races in the country, and this might turn out to be the decisive issue in both of them.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  All right.  Politico reporter Kevin Robillard joining us from Washington — thanks so much.

    KEVIN ROBILLARD:  Great to be on.

     END

    The post Springsteen cancels North Carolina concert over law limiting LGBT rights appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Teenage girl (13-14) asleep on sofa

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    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this weekend finds that sleep deprivation among teenagers can increase their risk of sports injuries and car crashes.

    Dr. Anne Wheaton is one of the study’s authors. She joins me now from Atlanta to discuss this.

    So, what does the data reveal?

    DR. ANNE WHEATON, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: So, we know that unintentional injury mostly from motor vehicle crashes is the major cause of death in adolescents and we have been studying sleep at CDC since 2007, and we have a lot of data from high school students asking about lots of different risks behaviors. But we have yet to look at injury-related risks behavior.

    So, we look at whether they wore their bicycle helmets when they were riding bikes. Whether they wore their seatbelt, whether they got into a car with a driver that had been drinking, whether they themselves had been drinking and driving, and whether they texted and drove.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Uh-huh.

    DR. ANNE WHEATON: And so, we found that all of these risk behaviors were significantly higher in teens that got seven or fewer hours of sleep per night, compare to nine hours, which is kind of the median recommended sleep for adolescents.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Is this because they’re drowsy and being kind of sleepy behind the wheels? It’s actually almost as bad as being drunk.

    DR. ANNE WHEATON: Well, that’s part of it. What was kind of concerning about our results was the strength of the association between not getting enough sleep and drinking and driving, because if we look at the data for teens that got nine hours of sleep, almost 5 percent reported that they had driven drunk in the previous month, and if you went down to, they only got six hours of sleep, that doubled to 10 percent. And then if they reported four or fewer hours of sleep, it went all the way up to 17 percent.
    So, they’re more likely to be drowsy on top of having been driving.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Is there such a thing as too much sleep?

    DR. ANNE WHEATON: Previous studies by us and other groups have found that having longer than average sleep is sometimes associated with certain risk behaviors and health outcomes. And actually, we did find that in our study. We found, there were an increase risks for driving without their seatbelt. Drunk driving, riding with someone that had been drinking.

    But why this might be the case, we can’t really piece out with this data. It could be because teens that sleep too much may be depressed and that’s been associated with engaging in risky behaviors. But from this data, we can’t really make any assumptions.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally, there’s always been this conundrum of schedules, that, you know, early, early, early morning is when high school students end up going to classes. And ironically, the tinier the kids are in their households, it seems the earlier they wake up. But then pre-school and kindergarten and first grade, they usually start later.

    DR. ANNE WHEATON: Right. So, for one of the earliest signs of puberty is this delay in sleep cycle, so that adolescents are — have a harder time falling asleep earlier in the evening, and in the morning, they really should be sleeping in later.

    They’re also more likely to have bad sleep habits, having electronics in the bedroom, having irregular sleep schedule, so that, you know, they get up early all week, but then on the weekend, they try to make up for that sleep, which doesn’t work, by the way. But then, Monday comes around and they have to struggle to get back into a good schedule.

    But then, on top of that, we do have early school start times, and we published a report last year that showed that for a middle school and high school students, only one out of six started at 8:30 or later, which the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. Dr. Anne Wheaton from CDC, joining us from Atlanta today — thanks so much.

    DR. ANNE WHEATON: Thank you.

    The post Sleep-deprived teens at greater risk for injuries, accidents appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a Latino organizing event on April 9, 2016 while campaigning in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. The New York Democratic primary is scheduled for April 19th. Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a Latino organizing event on April 9, 2016 while campaigning in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. The New York Democratic primary is scheduled for April 19th. Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders is pointing to his growing string of statewide wins and Hillary Clinton to her still-commanding lead in the delegate hunt as the Democratic rivals jostle for momentum heading into New York’s big primary later this month. The Republicans, too, are trying to scoop up delegates out West while bidding for some New York love.

    With his win Saturday in Wyoming, Sanders has now won seven of the last eight state contests. But his latest victory did nothing to help him in the delegate chase: He and Clinton each got seven delegates.

    “Now that we are in the second half of this campaign, we are going to state after state which I think have a more progressive outlook,” Sanders said. “We are in this race to win.”

    Clinton, looking right past the Wyoming results, told a crowd in Brooklyn that she needs a big win in New York on April 19 to help her quickly lock up the Democratic nomination. She added that the sooner the nomination fight ends, “the sooner we can go after the Republicans full time.”

    Trying to claim a cloak of inevitability for his candidate, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement that she “has a nearly insurmountable lead in pledged delegates that will become harder and harder to overcome after each contest.”

    On the Republicans side, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz completed his sweep of Colorado’s 34 delegates by locking up the remaining 13 at the party’s state convention in Colorado Springs. He already had collected 21 delegates and visited the state to try to pad his numbers there.

    Trump organized late in Colorado and left the state convention up to his organizers, and spent about a half-hour on Saturday touring the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan.

    He and Clinton found a rare point of agreement in poking back at Cruz for his earlier criticism of “New York values.”

    Trump’s campaign said in a statement after his museum visit that the site was “symbolic of the strength of our country, and in particular New Yorkers, who have done such an incredible job rebuilding that devastated section of our city. This is what ‘New York values’ are really all about.”

    Clinton, for her part, told a Latino crowd in Brooklyn, that “I actually think New York values are really good for America.”

    Her agreement with Trump ended right there, as she launched into an argument for electing Democrats to protect the U.S. economy.

    “It’s a fact that our economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House,” she said.

    Clinton has 1,287 delegates based on primaries and caucuses to Sanders’ 1,037. When including superdelegates, or party officials who can back any candidate, Clinton has 1,756, or 74 percent of the number needed to clinch the nomination. Sanders has 1,068.

    Trump still has a narrow path to clinching the Republican nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7, but he has little room for error. He would need to win nearly 60 percent of all the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination before the convention. So far, he’s winning about 45 percent.

    Following Cruz’s sweep of Colorado’s remaining delegates on Saturday, the Associated Press count stands at Trump 743, Cruz 545, and John Kasich 143. Marco Rubio, who suspended his campaign, has 171 delegates. To clinch the nomination by the end of the primaries, a candidate needs 1,237 delegates.

    The post After delegate battles in the West, 2016 candidates turn to NY appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz wears a yamaka as he speaks to Jewish community leaders at a campaign event in the Brooklyn borough of New York April 7, 2016 REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTSE341

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz wears a yamaka as he speaks to Jewish community leaders at a campaign event in the Brooklyn borough of New York April 7, 2016. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    LAS VEGAS — His presidential rivals thousands of miles away, Ted Cruz warned Jewish donors on Saturday that Donald Trump could trigger a general election “bloodbath” for the Republican Party.

    “If Donald Trump is the nominee, it is an absolute disaster for Republicans, for conservatives and for the country,” the Texas senator declared, charging that Trump would jeopardize control of the House and the Senate and tilt the balance of power at the Supreme Court away from conservatives.

    Cruz earned a warm reception, yet his appearance came amid an overall sense of dissatisfaction from many Jewish Republicans, gathered for their annual spring meeting at an upscale hotel along the Las Vegas strip. Many prefer Cruz over Trump, but few were excited about either candidate.

    “It’s not a natural constituency for Ted Cruz, but over time, he’s won the war of attrition for some of these folks,” said Kellyanne Conway, a Republican operative leading a pro-Cruz super PAC. “He’s seen as the alternative to Donald Trump for many of these people.”

    Indeed, there were some vocal Trump supporters among the roughly 500 who attended the weekend gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition, but they were in the minority.

    Trump irked Jewish leaders earlier in the year by promising to remain neutral on prospective peace negotiations with the Israelis and Palestinians. And while his speech to a pro-Israel group in Washington last month was well-received, Trump’s nativist rhetoric alienates some Jewish leaders who “are scared by the concept of Donald Trump and the presidency,” said Republican Jewish attorney Charlie Spies.

    “No American politician should be compared to Hitler because of the unique, horrific nature of the Nazi genocide,” said Spies, a former Jeb Bush supporter. “Having said that, there is an issue of tone and being able to whip up crowds, often directed at segments of society that get scapegoated. Anybody who has studied history would be concerned watching that.”

    Trump is the least popular Republican presidential candidate among America’s registered Jewish voters, according to a poll commissioned by the Republican Jewish Coalition and shared privately with board members over the weekend. The poll found that Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the overwhelming favorite Republican, while Cruz fell in the middle.

    Jewish voters represent roughly 3 percent of the American electorate, but have larger populations in swing states like Florida and Ohio.

    Both Trump and Kasich declined invitations to attend the annual event, considered a can’t-miss for GOP candidates in recent years. Part of the reason: billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a key member who hosts the event at his Venetian hotel resort, was the top political spender in the last presidential race, pouring $90 million of family money into that campaign.

    Trump and Kasich spent the day instead in New York ahead of the state’s April 19 primary election. There was little sign of Trump or Kasich representatives, but Cruz sent most of his senior team to the Las Vegas hotel. The list included campaign manager Jeff Roe, pollster Chris Wilson and its chief Jewish liaison, Nick Muzin. Pro-Cruz outside groups that can take unlimited contributions hosted simultaneous events in the same hotel to land donations.

    At least two former presidential candidates – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry – were on hand as well, in addition to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.

    Adelson hasn’t been willing to place a bet in this year’s unpredictable Republican presidential contest, sending mixed signals about his candidate preference. Yet Cruz’s status as the only candidate to make the trip to Las Vegas on Saturday was noticed.

    “All three candidates were invited to attend our group today, but Sen. Cruz was the only one to accept our invitation,” said RJC board member Michael Epstein as the crowd applauded.

    The post How Trump and Cruz are courting Jewish GOP voters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH    A volunteer shows the face of a victim, who died in a fire at the Puttingal Devi temple, to a relative to identify, outside a mortuary of a hospital in Kollam in the southern state of Kerala, India, April 10, 2016. REUTERS/Sivaram VTEMPLATE OUT - RTX29AXW

    A volunteer shows the face of a victim, who died in a fire at the temple, to a relative to identify, outside a mortuary of a hospital in Kollam in the southern state of Kerala, India, April 10, 2016. Photo by Sivaram/Reuters

    More than 100 people were killed and hundreds more injured in Kerala, India on Sunday morning from a blaze that swept through a Hindu temple during an unauthorized fireworks show for a local new year festival.

    Around 3:30 a.m., while thousands of people were celebrating at Puttingal Devi temple in Paravoor, stray sparks landed on an overstuffed fireworks storehouse which exploded, according to the Associated Press.

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

    Large plumes of smoke rose into the sky in the heavily wooded area, where lush green palm trees and other foliage surrounded the temple. Then a fire spread, trapping hundreds of people inside the temple as it crumbled.

    “It was complete chaos,” Krishna Das, who attended the event, told the AP. “People were screaming in the dark. Ambulance sirens went off, and in the darkness no one knew how to find their way out of the complex.”

    By 7 a.m., the fire was out but rescuers had to use backhoes to clear through the debris and find people. At least 102 people died in the fire and explosions and 380 were injured.

    People stand next to debris after a broke out at a temple in Kollam in the southern state of Kerala, India, April 10, 2016. A huge fire swept through a temple in India's southern Kerala state early on Sunday (April 10), killing nearly 80 people and injuring over 200 gathered for a fireworks display to mark the start of the local Hindu new year. REUTERS/Sivaram V - RTX299XX

    People stand next to debris after a broke out at a temple in Kollam in the southern state of Kerala, India, April 10, 2016. Photo by Sivaram/Reuters

    The temple holds a massive fireworks display every year for the end of the seven-day festival, but this year it was denied a permit for the show for fear that the fireworks would get out of hand, according to the AP.

    “We will be investigating how the orders were flouted and who was responsible for the decision to go ahead with the firework display,” said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, the top elected official in Kerala state.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew to the site to visit people who were injured. Modi announced he would provide monetary compensation for next of kin. He tweeted that the, “Fire at temple in Kollam is heart-rending & shocking beyond words. My thoughts are with families of the deceased & prayers with the injured.”

    Mass deaths are reoccurring in India, where thousands gather for many celebrations throughout the year, but there is minimal crowd control. In October of 2013, more than 100 people died in a stampede during another Hindu festival in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

    The post Fireworks explosion in India kills more than 100 attending religious festival appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    25728664603_4f5c4cc5ee_k

    Photo via SpaceX/Flickr

    Four failed attempts and years of effort paid off Friday, as the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and lowered itself vertically onto a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean — the company’s first successful landing at sea.

    The aerospace and space transport company landed the rocket on terra firma once before, but its size — 12 stories tall and a diameter about the length of Volkswagen Beetle —  made bringing it to a platform bobbing in the open ocean challenging.

    The reusable main-stage booster from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket makes a successful landing on a platform in the Atlantic Ocean about 185 miles (300 km) off the coast of Florida April 8, 2016.  SpaceX/Reuters

    The reusable main-stage booster from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket makes a successful landing on a platform in the Atlantic Ocean about 185 miles (300 km) off the coast of Florida April 8, 2016. SpaceX/Reuters

    According to an AFP report, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the ability to safely land a rocket so it can be used again — as opposed to the traditional method of deploying a new rocket for each launch and allowing used rockets to crash-land in the ocean — will make it cheaper to get to space, and more Eco-friendly.

    Several of the company’s earlier attempts at rocket landings ended in spectacular near-misses

    Musk said it costs roughly $300,000 to fuel the rocket with combination of kerosene and liquid oxygen and $60 million to build a new one.

    “If you have got a rocket that can be fully and rapidly reused, it is somewhere on the order of a 100-fold cost reduction, in marginal costs,” Musk said.

    President Barack Obama was quick to congratulate SpaceX Friday after the rocket gracefully alighted on the oceanic landing platform, a drone ship that SpaceX christened “Of Course I Still Love You.”

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

    Since it was founded in 2002, SpaceX, whose name is short for Space Exploration Technologies Corp., has rapidly become a major player in the American aerospace industry and an important part of NASA’s future plans.

    The agency has already awarded contracts worth over $4 billion to the California-based company as part of its effort to reduce its reliance on Russian space shuttles. And before it landed Friday, the rocket launched into orbit a cargo craft laden with supplies for astronauts at the International Space Station.

    Video of the successful Falcon 9 rocket landing on a drone ship.

    The post SpaceX pulls off first successful mid-ocean rocket landing appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Donald Trump’s inflammatory statements about Mexican immigrants, Muslim refugees and women who get abortions may eventually be his campaign’s undoing, some analysts say. But don’t tell that to the many supporters such as Titus Kottke, attracted to the Republican front-runner specifically because he shoots from the lip.

    “No more political correctness,” said Kottke, 22, a cattle trucker and construction worker from Athens, Wisconsin, who waited hours last weekend to see the candidate in a line stretching the length of a shopping mall.

    Trump is “not scared to offend people,” Kottke said. He agrees with some of the views Trump expresses but likes the fact that the candidate shows the confidence to reject the dogma of political correctness. That “takes away your freedom of speech, pretty much. You can’t say anything.”

    For years, conservatives have decried political correctness as a scourge of orthodox beliefs and language, imposed by liberals, that keeps people from voicing uncomfortable truths.

    Now, some Trump supporters – many white, working-class voters frustrated with the country’s shifting economics and demographics – applaud him for not being afraid to make noise about the things that anger them but that they feel discouraged from saying out loud.

    “It’s a cultural backlash,” said Steve Schmidt, a Republican political strategist who ran Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. “Millions and millions of people in this country, blue-collar people, feel that their values are under assault, that they’re looked down upon, condescended to by the elites.”

    Trump rival Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has quit the 2016 race, are among the candidates who also have outspoken in decrying political correctness.

    But Trump has made defiance of the manners usually governing politics a signature of his campaign.

    “The big problem this country has is being politically correct,” he said in a debate in August, when pressed on his comments about women that brought criticism. “I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.”

    In doing so, Trump tapped into a frustration shared even by many voters who disagree with him on other issues. In an October poll of Americans by Fairleigh Dickinson University, more than two-thirds agreed that political correctness is a “big problem” for the country. Among Republicans, it was 81 percent.

    That sentiment is clear in conversations with Trump supporters.

    “Let him be a man with the guts to say what he wants,” said Polly Day, 74, a retired nurse from Wausau, Wisconsin, who came to a Trump rally last Saturday in nearby Rothschild. “Should he tone down? He’ll figure that out on his own. I like him the way he is.”

    At the same rally, Kottke said Trump’s rejection of political correctness is one of the main reasons he supports him, along with the candidate’s determination to improve security, protect jobs and keep Muslims out of the country.

    Plenty of others agreed with him.

    “Finally somebody’s coming in that has the cojones to say something and to do something,” said Ray Henry, another supporter. “I think he’s saying what a lot of what America’s feeling right now … enough’s enough.”

    Trump’s flouting of political correctness has turned out to be a potent rhetorical weapon, political analysts say, but could prove troublesome.

    “At its best, not being politically correct comes across as direct, unfiltered and honest. At its worst, not being politically correct comes across as crude, rude and insulting,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who previously worked for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. Trump’s supporters “may find it refreshing. That doesn’t mean they would find it presidential.”

    Ayres and other analysts say Trump’s rejection of political correctness appeals to voters frustrated by the setbacks of the Great Recession and the global economy; immigration that has made the country more heterogeneous; and cultural trends such as gay marriage and measures to fight discrimination against African-Americans, which make them feel marginalized.

    “This doesn’t fall out of left field,” said Marc Hetherington, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University who studies polarization and voter trust. “But what these political actors have done, Trump and Cruz in particular, is give that … worry and frustration a voice.”

    That frustration was made clear in a poll by Quinnipiac University, released Tuesday, that found a deep vein of dissatisfaction among Trump supporters.

    Nine in 10 questioned said their values and beliefs are under attack. Eight in 10 said the government has gone too far in assisting minorities, a view shared by 76 percent of Cruz supporters. But Trump was unrivaled in claiming the largest number of supporters – 84 percent – who agreed that the U.S. needs a leader “willing to say or do anything” to tackle the country’s problems.

    Political correctness entered the American vocabulary in the 1960s and 1970s. New Left activists advocating for civil rights and feminism and against the Vietnam War used it to describe the gap between their high-minded ideals and everyday actions.

    “It was a kind of understanding that you can’t be perfect all the time,” said Ruth Perry, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who wrote a 1992 article on the early history of political correctness. “It was an awareness of the ways in which all of us are inconsistent.”

    As it gained broader usage, political correctness came to mean a careful avoidance of words or actions that could offend minorities, women or others, often to the point of excess. Conservative critics have, for decades, pointed to it as an enforced ideology run amok.

    “I think that the American people … are sick to death of the choking conformity, the intellectual tyranny that is produced by political correctness,” said Nick Adams, an Australian-born commentator who wrote “Retaking America: Crushing Political Correctness.”

    Adams, who has lived in the U.S. since 2009, said he believes many voters are drawn to Trump’s rejection of that correctness, and his emphasis on reclaiming individualism, identity and self-confidence stripped away by it.

    At the Wisconsin rally, a number of Trump supporters offered a similar appraisal.

    “We have gone overboard with political correctness, everyone backtracking on their statements,” said Chris Sharkey, 39, of Wausau, who says he chafes at behavioral strictures in his workplace, where human resource officers tell employees to avoid discussing politics.

    The U.S., Sharkey said, needs to step up screening of Muslims trying to enter the country and bring back jobs employers have moved overseas – and Trump shouldn’t have to apologize for saying so.

    But some observers say Trump’s appeal is less about speaking a particular truth than it is giving frustrated voters a means to vent.

    “There’s this sense of angry, white working-class discontent,” said Patricia Aufderheide, a professor of communication at American University who edited a book of essays on political correctness.

    “Trump has given people permission to say things out loud that are usually tucked in until after the third drink at Thanksgiving dinner,” she said. “But I think they’ve always been there.”

    This report was written by Adam Geller and Bryna Godar of the Associated Press.

    The post ‘No more political correctness’ for Trump supporters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: For these college students homework includes watching a TV show.

    FRAN BARTKOWSKI: ‘The Wire’ just begged for all kinds of social, political, cultural analysis.

    SHERRI-ANN BUTTERFIELD: When we were watching the show together, we both kept thinking, “this would be great as a class.”

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Sociology professor Sherri-Ann Butterfield and literature and gender studies professor Fran Bartkowski .are co-teaching this 15-week course based on “The Wire” at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.

    The crime drama set in Baltimore, tackled a different aspect of the city’s problems each season; from how gangs function to how the political class, and the press enable the problems to grow.

    Student: Even though it’s a fictional show, you can’t help but to not feel sad for how these things end when you realize if there was some change in the system, things might be different.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The fourth season of ‘the wire’ focused on middle school students who are recruited to sell drugs.

    MARLO STANFIELD (character on ‘The Wire’) First we’re gonna give you the corner up on Payson. It used to be Bodie’s old corner.

    STUDENT: Some school systems say that kids don’t want to come to school and learn. I like how they look at their backgrounds and show why they come to school and act the way that they do.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: This is the second time Butterfield and Bartowski have taught this class. But it’s not just this college, New York University, Johns Hopkins, and Harvard have used “The Wire” as teaching material. The professors shared their experiences teaching “The Wire” at a conference this weekend at Columbia University. English literature professor Eileen Gillooly organized it.

    EILEEN GILLOOLY: It shows up in evidence classes in law schools. It shows up in African American classes on masculinity, sociology classes, anthropology classes. It’s just – you name it, it shows up there.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Gillooly drew comparisons between “The Wire” — created by David Simon — and nineteenth century novels.

    EILEEN GILLOOLY: It really is like a text. It’s so carefully put together. It repays reviewing, the way a good text replays rereading, so every time I read ‘The Iliad’ or ‘Bleak House’ or ‘David Copperfield,’ or whatever i see more and more.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You’re putting David Simon with some pretty high company?

    EILEEN GILLOOLY: (laughing) Well, i suppose if… if TV is coming into its own as genre, he’d be one of those people that’s making it come into its own.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: This semester the Rutgers class is using the show’s portrayal of racial inequality as a springboard to analyze the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

    SHERRI-ANN BUTTERFIELD: Black Lives Matter came as a movement because some people believed they’d hit a ceiling– like we are done with this.

    STUDENT: It’s not just about people getting shot and killed. It’s the injustice that happens after their civil rights have been violated.

    SHERRI-ANN BUTTERFIELD: Whether you agree with how it gets portrayed or not, that lends itself to great levels of debate and engagement. The students find themselves caught between, “Well, I thought I knew what I would’ve done before seeing this show, and now that I see the interconnectedness of systems, i’m not sure how I would’ve handled this.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You don’t walk away saying, ‘I see what the fix is.’

    EILEEN GILLOOLY: Right. There is no fix.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Bartowski says it’s possible she will teach “The Wire” again.

    Fran Bartowski: have certainly asked myself, and people have asked the question of would you, you know, are there other shows that you would teach? And there might be a couple. But none of them are quite as complex and rich, i think, as this is and remains.

    The post How ‘The Wire’ is inspiring new classroom curricula appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    CAPTIO NTK.

    Several cast members from “The Wire” speak on a panel on Saturday at Columbia University about their community activism and how the critically acclaimed show changed their lives. Shown here are actors Jamie Hector (Marlo Stanfield), Felicia Pearson (Snoop), Wendell Pierce (Bunk Moreland), and Sonja Sohn (Kima Greggs). Photo by Shawn Paik/PBS NewsHour

    The iconic television series “The Wire” on HBO broke onto the scene in 2002. Over the next five seasons, the award-winning series would captivate viewers attracted to its raw realism and connection to the shadowy inner-workings of Baltimore’s gangs, media and government.

    The show, created by former long-time Baltimore Sun police reporter David Simon, has since become a popular learning tool in colleges classes around the country, cutting across academic disciplines.

    This week the series was the focus of a two-day conference at Columbia University in New York, where a host of panels from a cross-section of society and academia, and some of the show’s actors, analyzed the critically acclaimed series.

    “I don’t feel like I can overstate the kind of collective communal collaborative nature of the conference,” said Eileen Gillooly, executive director of Columbia University’s Human Center for Humanities who organized the event.

    Gillooly said the idea for the conference formed several years ago among members from a consortium of academic disciplines in media, philosophy, sociology, literature and anthropology, among others.

    “It’s like a great novel when you see it you want other people to see it too,” she said, in an interview with the PBS NewsHour. “[The show] moves you to want to do something.”

    A group of professors from several colleges discuss the "seriality" of HBO's "The Wire" a critically-acclaimed TV drama based in Baltimore. Michael D. Regan/PBS NewsHour

    A group of professors from several colleges discuss the “seriality” of HBO’s “The Wire” a critically-acclaimed TV drama based in Baltimore. Photo by Michael D. Regan/PBS NewsHour

    On Friday, one panel focused on what “The Wire” can teach us about immersion journalism, a form of reporting that requires a journalist to spend long periods of time with a subject, often under deeply personal circumstances.

    Among the panelists was Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times’ reporter Andrea Elliott, whose five-part series about a family living in a New York housing shelter cast the difficulties of connecting to subjects outside of comfort zones and cultural familiarities.

    “As journalists we’re very curious creatures and we like to go into other worlds,” she said. “People who I guess in some way want to get into the heads or our subjects and the only way to do that is to be around them.

    “I think I’ve always been drawn to otherness,” she said.

    On Saturday, four cast members from the series met for a panel on how the series changed their own lives.

    Wendell Pierce, who played Detective Bunk Moreland on the show, said during the panel he will invest $20 million into a Baltimore apartment complex, a portion of which will be offered to local artists at lower rates. Much of the construction work for the building would also serve as a template for a job program he’d like to expand in the city, he said.

    Felicia Pearson was raised in Baltimore, where as a teenager she dealt drugs and was convicted of second-degree murder before joining the cast of “The Wire” as the character “Snoop.”

    She said the show gave her tools to give back to her city – a common theme among many of the show’s actors, some of whom have started non-profits and conducted advocacy work to combat poverty and address social issues.

    “Now that I’m traveling the world, that I’m an actress, I wanna be more involved in my community,” she said, noting a recent plan to hold a back-to-school cookout for Baltimore students. “I will give what I can and I’m gonna make everything right.”

    Shawn Paik contributed reporting.

    The post What ‘The Wire’ can teach us about storytelling appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    ZACHARY GREEN: On a typical morning on Iraq’s Mount Sinjar, Mata Mahmoud and his companions are hard at work…looking for truffles. Mahmoud and his friends are ethnic Yazidis, a religious minority in Iraq who have been persecuted by Islamic State militants, who overran this region in 2014. Like many in his community, Mahmoud was displaced from his home.

    MATA MAHMOUD: My house is in the hands of the Islamic State. They didn’t leave anything for us. They destroyed and blew up our houses and now this is our only source of income. We have no salary, and we feed our families with this.

    ZACHARY GREEN: Finding and digging up the truffles is difficult and dangerous work.

    MATA MAHMOUD: There are lots of IEDs, the Islamic State has planted a lot. My friend was blown up by one over there in the west. The Islamic State is also shooting mortars and they land very close by.

    ZACHARY GREEN: With his harvest in hand, every morning, Mahmoud and other Yazidis go to this local vegetable market to sell truffles to traders like this man, who will then ship them as far as Baghdad.

    MESHO MUSSA: Today I have bought 700 kilos so far, and I hope to reach a ton. And by sunset I’ll be done.

    ZACHARY GREEN: On an average day, Mahmoud sells about three kilograms–or about six-and-a-half pounds of truffles, earning around 10,000 dinars–or roughly 8 US dollars. Despite the hardship and the danger, many Yazidis are still thankful for the work.

    MESHO MUSSA: It’s a blessing from God. These poor people don¹t have a dinar in their pocket and when they work from sunrise to sunset they make 50,000, 60,000, even 100,000. It’s a gift from God.

    The post Yazidis of Iraq turn to truffles to make ends meet appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The top of a water tower is seen at the Flint Water Plant in Flint, Michigan January 13, 2016.  Michigan National Guard members were set to arrive in Flint as soon as Wednesday to join door-to-door efforts to distribute bottled water and other supplies to residents coping with the city's crisis over lead-contaminated drinking water.     REUTERS/Rebecca Cook - RTX22AL4

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    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS ANCHOR: Looking beyond the lead-tainted drinking water crisis in the city of Flint, Michigan, an Associated Press investigation of Environmental Protection Agency records has found nearly 1,400 water systems providing tap water to nearly 4 million Americans exceeded the acceptable lead level at least once between 2013 and 2015.

    AP reporter Megan Hoyer co-wrote the story “Tainted at the Tap” and joins me now from Washington, D.C. How wide-ranging is this? Is this every part of the country geographically? Is it size of cities, big and small?

    MEGAN HOYER, AP REPORTER: It is. What we found were – we looked at roughly 77,000 water systems across the U.S. And what we found was, you know, the ones that had lead limit levels that were higher than the federal standard ranged in – they were in almost every state, and they ranged from very small systems with 20 or 25 customers to very large systems. We saw cities and counties that served hundreds of thousands of people that had repeatedly been over the limit.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And you also point to the fact that the notifications were different from town to town and how people felt like whether they really knew that there was a danger or not differed.

    MEGAN HOYER: So when a system is over the federal lead limit, it has 60 days to put out a notification to its customers telling them that there’s been lead found in the water. And what we’ve found were those notifications were often written in a way that was confusing to customers. Where customers didn’t understand the severity of the problem. They were told to simply run their water for 30 seconds to two minutes, and that would flush a lot of the lead out of the water. They were told that the systems were aware of the problem and were working toward it, but a lot of these systems had had problems for years and years.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Your recent story focused in on Galesburg, Illinois. And one of the things that you end up highlighting is that there seems to be a gap between when the EPA comes up with the results of these tests and the county leadership and what they can do about it.

    MEGAN HOYER: There is a real disconnect from what we’ve found in the water systems versus what health departments were looking at. Basically, they’re focusing on things like lead in – lead paint in homes and lead in toys. But they’re not even looking at the water system oftentimes as a source of some of these problems. And there’s been more of a push now nationally to get water systems and health officials working more in cohort on these kinds of issues.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Given that the absolute solution is to go ahead and rip out all the pipes and put in new ones, that is a multibillion – trillion dollar type of problem. So where do the cities stop with their responsibility, and where does the private owner of the water or the recipient of the water – where does their responsibility start?

    MEGAN HOYER: The problem with most of these water systems is not the water main itself or the water supply. It’s those pipes that lead from your water main to your house or to your business. And that’s mostly on the homeowner or the business owner to replace. A lot of cities and counties are doing some work to try to fund some of this replacement. They’re offering interest-free loans or grants to homeowners. They’re doing some of the work themselves.

    But this is an extremely expensive problem that’s going to take years and years to fix.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. Megan Hoyer of the Associated Press. Thanks so much for joining us.

    MEGAN HOYER: Thank you.

    The post Water systems across country repeatedly exceed federal lead standards appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Secretary of State John Kerry, center, puts his arm around Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida after they and fellow G7 foreign ministers laid wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum in Hiroshima. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Secretary of State John Kerry, center, puts his arm around Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida after they and fellow G7 foreign ministers laid wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum in Hiroshima. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    HIROSHIMA, Japan — An emotional John Kerry said Hiroshima’s horrible history should teach humanity to avoid conflict and strive to eradicate nuclear weapons as he became the first U.S. secretary of state to tread upon the ground of the world’s first atomic bombing.

    Kerry’s visit Monday to the Japanese city included him touring its peace museum with other foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and laying a wreath at the adjoining park’s stone-arched monument, with the exposed steel beams of Hiroshima’s iconic A-Bomb Dome in the distance.

    The U.S. attack on Hiroshima in the final days of World War II killed 140,000 people and scarred a generation of Japanese, while thrusting the world into the dangerous Atomic Age. But Kerry hoped his trip would underscore how Washington and Tokyo have forged a deep alliance over the last 71 years and how everyone must ensure that nuclear arms are never used again.

    “While we will revisit the past and honor those who perished, this trip is not about the past,” he told Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, a Hiroshima native. “It’s about the present and the future particularly, and the strength of the relationship that we have built, the friendship that we share, the strength of our alliance and the strong reminder of the imperative we all have to work for peace for peoples everywhere.”

    Kerry’s appearance, just footsteps away from Ground Zero, completed an evolution for the United States, whose leaders avoided the city for many years because of political sensitivities.

    No serving U.S. president has visited the site, and it took 65 years for a U.S. ambassador to attend Hiroshima’s annual memorial service. Many Americans believe the dropping of atomic bombs here on Aug. 6, 1945, and on the Japanese city of Nagasaki three days later were justified and hastened the end of the war.

    Kerry didn’t speak publicly at the ceremony, though he could be seen with his arm around Kishida and whispering in his ear.

    The otherwise somber occasion was lifted by the presence of about 800 Japanese schoolchildren waving flags of the G7 nations, including that of the United States. They cheered as the ministers departed with origami cranes in their national colors around their necks. Kerry was draped in red, white and blue.

    Hours afterward, the top American diplomat still seemed to be absorbing all that he saw.

    “It is a stunning display, it is a gut-wrenching display,” he told reporters of the museum tour, recounting exhibits that showed the bomb, the explosion, the “incredible inferno” and mushroom cloud that enveloped Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. “It tugs at all of your sensibilities as a human being. It reminds everybody of the extraordinary complexity of choices of war and what war does to people, to communities, countries, the world.”

    Kerry urged all world leaders to visit, saying: “I don’t see how anyone could forget the images, the evidence, the recreations of what happened.”

    Japanese survivors’ groups have campaigned for decades to bring leaders from the U.S. and other nuclear powers to see Hiroshima’s scars as part of a grassroots movement to abolish nuclear weapons.

    As Kerry expressed interest, neither Japanese government officials nor survivor groups pressed for the U.S. to apologize. And Kerry didn’t say sorry.

    “I don’t think it is something absolutely necessary when we think of the future of the world and peace for our next generation,” Masahiro Arimai, a 71-year-old Hiroshima restaurant owner, said of an apology.

    Yoshifumi Sasaki, a 68-year-old, longtime resident, agreed: “We all want understanding.”

    Both wished for Obama to follow in Kerry’s footsteps next month.

    The president still hasn’t made a decision about visiting Hiroshima and its memorial when he attends a Group of Seven meeting of leaders in central Japan in late May, and Kerry made no promises. During his first year in office, Obama said he would be “honored” to make such a trip.

    “Everyone in the world should see and feel the power of this memorial,” Kerry wrote in the museum’s guest book. “It is a stark, harsh, compelling reminder not only of our obligation to end the threat of nuclear weapons, but to rededicate all our effort to avoid war itself.”

    “War must be the last resort — never the first choice,” he added.

    Wading into U.S. politics, both Kerry and his Japanese counterpart rejected Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that Japan consider developing its own nuclear weapons to defend itself against nuclear-armed North Korea.

    Kishida said, “For us to attain nuclear weapons is completely inconceivable.”

    Kerry called such notions “absurd on their face,” contradicting the efforts of every Democratic and Republican president since World War II to prevent wider nuclear proliferation.

    Kerry acknowledged that some governments want all nuclear weapons, including those in the U.S. arsenal, destroyed immediately. He described such calls as unrealistic, potentially making the world more dangerous in the short-term by ridding nations of their deterrence against bad actors such as North Korea. Instead, he urged an ordered, methodical process toward the final goal of denuclearization.

    “We all know it’s not going to happen overnight,” Kerry said.

    But he said, “We have to get there.”

    Associated Press reporter Bradley Klapper wrote this report.

    Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.

    The post Kerry makes gut-wrenching visit to Hiroshima site of atomic bomb appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A Goldman Sachs sign is seen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in the Manhattan borough of New York January 24, 2014. Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    Goldman Sachs sign seen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 24, 2014. Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Monday announced a $5 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs over the sale of mortgage-backed securities leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

    The deal resolves state and federal probes into the sale of shoddy mortgages before the housing bubble and subsequent economic meltdown.

    It requires the bank to pay a $2.4 billion civil penalty and an additional $1.8 billion in relief to underwater homeowners and distressed borrowers, along with $875 million in other claims.

    “This resolution holds Goldman Sachs accountable for its serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages, when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail,” Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery said in a statement.

    The agreement is the latest multi-billion-dollar civil settlement reached with a major bank over the economic meltdown in which millions of Americans lost their homes to foreclosure. Other banks that settled in the last two years include Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

    But the deal, which includes no criminal sanctions or penalties, is likely to stir additional criticism about the department’s inability to hold bank executives personally responsible for the financial crisis. Attempting to address those concerns, Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates issued department-wide guidance last year aimed at encouraging more criminal prosecutions of individuals for white-collar wrongdoing.

    Goldman previously disclosed the settlement in January, but federal officials laid out additional allegations in a statement of facts as they accused the bank of making serious misrepresentations about the quality of mortgage-backed securities it issued. The securities contained residential mortgages from borrowers who were unlikely to be able to repay their loans.

    The poor quality of the loans led to huge losses for investors and a slew of foreclosures, kicking off the recession that began in late 2007.

    The bank, for instance, admitted that it did not share with investors troubling information that it had received about the business practices of some loan originators, and that it falsely told investors that the loans had been checked to ensure that they met quality standards.

    The post U.S., Goldman Sachs, reach $5B settlement over risky mortgages appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A First Nation community in a remote part of Ontario has declared a state of emergency after 11 of its residents attempted to commit suicide Saturday.

    CBC reports the Attawapiskat First Nation, which is home to about 2,000 people near James Bay, recorded 28 suicide attempts in March and has seen more than 100 suicide attempts since September.

    Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the most recent suicide attempts “heartbreaking.”

    The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett and Ontario’s Minister of Health Dr. Eric Hoskins also pledged to do whatever they could to support the Attawapiskat people. In the short term, the local emergency declaration allows for increased assistance to the area.

    On his Twitter account, Attawapiskat Chief Bruce Shisheesh said Monday morning that a regional health organization was flying in a crisis team, mental health nurses and social workers.

    The high suicide rates have been linked to a variety of factors, including sexual abuse, drugs, bullying at school and overcrowded housing, according to CBC.

    Suicide among native populations has long been a problem, both in Canada and the U.S.

    Canada’s health ministry estimates that First Nations youth commit suicide five to six times more often than “non-Aboriginal youth.”

    In the U.S., a recent study revealed the suicide rate among American Indians is nearly double the general population.

    The post First Nation community declares state of emergency after spate of suicide attempts appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Thirteen people could hold clues to treating severe conditions like cystic fibrosis, but due to a technicality, they can’t be studied. Photo by Mitchell Funk/via Getty Images

    Thirteen people could hold clues to treating severe conditions like cystic fibrosis, but due to a technicality, they can’t be studied. Photo by Mitchell Funk/via Getty Images

    Scientists have identified 13 so-called “superheroes” — adults with disease-causing mutations who are mysteriously healthy — from a genetic survey of half a million people. Their resilience could hold clues to treating severe conditions like cystic fibrosis, but due to a technicality, they can’t be fully studied. The findings were published today in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

    “Millions of years of evolution have produced far more protective mechanisms than we currently understand,” genomicist and study co-author Eric Schadt of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City said in a statement. “Characterizing the intricacies of our genomes will ultimately reveal elements that could promote health in ways we haven’t even imagined.”

    READ MORE: Brief, face-to-face canvassing reduces transgender prejudice, study says

    Schadt is the co-founder of The Resilience Project, an international investigation into the hidden factors that prevent illness — the investigation that identified this panel of 13. Genetic resilience isn’t a new idea. Mutations in the CCR5 gene can ward off HIV, forming the basis of the therapy made famous by “the Berlin patient.” Other genetic alterations can boost hemogloblin levels to delay the onset or prevent sickle cell disease. However, healthy people aren’t typically surveyed for resilience mutations.

    To reverse this trend, Schadt and his colleagues acquired 12 large genomic datasets that had been previously collected by other research projects. These data hives contained the sequenced genomes of 589,000 healthy people.

    The researchers focused on Mendelian disorders — a broad-sweeping class of conditions caused by a mutation at a single point in a person’s genetic code. These disorders are rare, but often devastating during childhood, and include heavy-hitters like cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia and Tay Sachs disease.

    “If we could contact these 13 people, we might be even closer to finding natural protections against disease.”

    The team developed a method to sweep these genomic databases in order to spot mutations in 874 genes linked to 584 distinct genetic diseases. The screen identified 15,500 candidates with resilience. However, the team had to exclude swaths of this initial group for various reasons. For example, some mutations weren’t rare enough, meaning they occurred in more than 0.5 percent of the general population.

    The scientists whittled this hoard of thousands down to 303 strong candidates. Following a review of available medical histories, the team felt confident that 13 people had survived to adulthood despite carrying what should have been debilitating mutations. The mutations among these superheroes have been linked to eight severe Mendelian diseases: cystic fibrosis, Smith–Lemli–Opitz syndrome, familial dysautonomia, epidermolysis bullosa simplex, Pfeiffer syndrome, autoimmune polyendocrinopathy syndrome, acampomelic campomelic dysplasia and atelosteogenesis.

    However, none of these final 13 candidates can be contacted for future analysis, due to the informed consent policies mandated by the original studies.

    “There’s an important lesson here for genome scientists around the world,” study co-author and genomicist Stephen Friend of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City said in a statement. “The value of any project becomes exponentially greater when informed consent policies allow other scientists to reach out to the original study participants. If we could contact these 13 people, we might be even closer to finding natural protections against disease.”

    Despite the study’s broad scope, the inability to directly follow up with these subjects significantly limits what can be concluded.

    READ MORE: This supernova blast was so close, it littered the ocean floor with radioactive dust

    “Reconnecting with these individuals would be important to verify that none had symptoms that could be linked to their genetic background. As such, some of the patients may have had the disease that went unreported,” geneticist Scott Hebbring of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who wasn’t involved in the research, told GENeS. “In reality, most diseases can be expressed very differently between individuals, even in those who have the same genetic variant.”

    Plus, genetic sequencing isn’t always accurate. It’s possible that the recorded genomes in the 12 datasets had typos, which could only be confirmed by direct analysis of the subjects’ DNA. At the moment, The Resilience Project only has access to the physical DNA from five of the lucky 13.

    Without this DNA and direct follow-ups to rule out alternative explanations, ”the resilience of these individuals cannot be conclusively confirmed,” Emory University geneticist Patricia Page told GENeS.

    In an editorial, Massachusetts General Hospital geneticist Daniel MacArthur points out that even with complete medical access, 13 people isn’t enough to conduct a comprehensive study on resilience.

    “This suggests that even with a million properly consented and deeply sequenced samples, it is extremely unlikely that enough genetic superheroes will be detected to enable a statistically well-powered genome-wide search for the genetic variants that modify disease genes. Achieving this goal will require incredibly large sample sizes,” MacArthur writes. “Finding genetic superheroes will require other kinds of heroism—a willingness of participants to donate their genomic and clinical data, and a commitment by researchers and regulators to overcome the daunting obstacles to data sharing on a global scale.”

    The post These 13 adults escaped deadly genetic childhood disorders, but why? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Left: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to a question from the audience at one of the New England Council's "Politics and Eggs" breakfasts in Manchester, New Hampshire November 11, 2015. Brian Snyder/Reuters Right: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waits to speak during a Clinton campaign rally in Baltimore, Maryland April 10, 2016. Jim Bourg/Reuters

    Hillary Clinton is trusted more on the economy by 38 percent of Americans, while 35 percent side with Donald Trump. Photos by Brian Snyder and Jim Bourg/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — In a stark warning for Donald Trump as he eyes a possible general election showdown with Hillary Clinton, Americans trust the Democratic front-runner more than the Republican businessman to handle a wide range of issues — from immigration to health care to nominating Supreme Court justices.

    Even when asked which of the two candidates would be best at “making American great” — the central promise of Trump’s campaign — Americans are slightly more likely to side with Clinton, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

    The survey does reveal some potential trouble spots for Clinton. Trump is nearly even with her on whom Americans trust to handle the economy, which voters consistently rank as one of the top issues facing the country. Clinton is trusted more on the economy by 38 percent of Americans, while 35 percent side with Trump.

    And despite Americans’ overall preference for Clinton on a host of issues, just 20 percent say she represents their own views very well on matters they care about, while 23 percent say somewhat well.

    But as with most issues addressed in the AP-GfK poll, the numbers for Trump are even worse: Just 15 percent of Americans say he represents their views very well and 14 percent say somewhat well.

    Trump’s support with registered Republican voters is also soft on some issues, with less than 50 percent saying they trust him over Clinton on working with Congress or handling the U.S. image abroad. About a quarter of Republicans say they trust neither candidate on either of those issues.

    Those figures underscore the work the real estate mogul must do to shore up support within his own party if he’s the nominee.

    Greg Freeman, an independent who leans Republican, said he would “absolutely not” trust Trump to handle major issues facing the United States.

    “I think he would have the U.S. in wars at the drop of a hat. He would make the international community angry at the United States,” said Freeman, a 41-year-old from Walhalla, South Carolina. “He has a lot of comments on issues, but he has no solutions.”

    While Clinton and Trump are the favorites to face off in the fall campaign, obstacles remain, particularly for the Republican billionaire. He’s leading in the delegate count, but needs to perform better in the upcoming final primaries in order to reach the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. If he fails to hit that number, the GOP contest will be decided at the party’s convention in July — and it’s unclear whether Trump’s slim campaign operation is prepared for that complex challenge.

    Clinton has yet to shake Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator who has energized young voters with his calls for breaking up Wall Street banks and making tuition free at public colleges and universities.

    While Sanders faces tough odds of overtaking Clinton, who has a commanding lead in delegates, his continued presence in the race has rankled the former secretary of state and prevented her from fully turning her attention toward the general election.

    Still, Clinton has been starting to draw a contrast with her potential Republican opponents, namely Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, his closest rival.

    “I’m really looking forward to debating either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz,” Clinton said Friday. “Mr. Trump, tell me again about how you’re going to build this wall and make the Mexicans pay for it. Tell me again why you think it’s a good idea for Japan and South Korea to develop nuclear weapons.”

    Trump’s campaign appears well-aware of the need to bolster the businessman’s policy credentials. He’s recently expanded on his foreign policy views, including questioning U.S. participation in the NATO military alliance and suggesting some Asian nations may need nuclear weapons. Campaign officials have also said Trump plans to give a series of policy speeches in the coming weeks.

    Clinton’s edge over Trump on the issues spans foreign and domestic policy.

    She holds a significant advantage on handling immigration, health care, the U.S. image abroad, filling Supreme Court vacancies, international trade and working with Congress. Her biggest advantage is on handling gender equality issues, with 55 percent of Americans trusting her and just 12 percent backing Trump.

    Clinton has a slimmer lead over Trump on which candidate is trusted to protect the country, with 37 percent backing the Democrat and 31 percent backing the Republican. The margin is similar when Americans were asked who they trusted to handle the threat posed by the Islamic State group.

    Much of Trump’s appeal with voters has rested on his broad pledge to “make America great again.” But when asked which candidate they trusted more to make the country great, 33 percent of Americans picked Clinton and 28 percent backed Trump.

    Thirty percent said they didn’t trust either candidate to make that happen.

    The AP-GfK Poll of 1,076 adults was conducted online March 31-April 4, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

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

    The post AP-GfK Poll: Clinton has edge over Trump on range of issues appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Poet Ocean Vuong. Photo by Peter Bienkowski

    Poet Ocean Vuong. Photo by Peter Bienkowski

    Ocean Vuong’s first poems were born of uncertainty.

    In 2008, grieving for his grandmother in the Hartford, Connecticut, apartment where she helped raise him, Vuong turned to the page. He began to write, preserving the folk songs that she had sung to her neighbors from the Vietnamese rice farm of her youth — communicating news of marriages, sharing love songs and other facts of life.

    He found himself guessing where she would have put line breaks and other elements of form. Already experimenting with her words, he thought, “Why don’t I give my own hand a try next to hers?” The result was a collaboration across time, his grandmother’s voice beside his own.

    Growing up, she had taught him how to look at the blank walls in their home as a blank canvas for the imagination. And as Vuong began writing poetry, he learned to leave part of that canvas for the reader. In this way, he subverts the historical erasure of stories like his: of immigration, of queerness, of the aftermath of war.

    The poems in “Night Sky With Exit Wounds,” which came out this month, navigate the in-between of those realities. His piece “Notebook Fragments” states: “In Vietnamese, the word for grenade is ‘bom,’ from the French ‘pomme,’ / meaning ‘apple.'”

    Then, a line break. Silence. The next stanza: “Or was it American for ‘bomb’?”

    “I often think that, particularly in this country and in the West in general, we often look at empty space, we look at silence, as a sort of death, a sort of weakness,” he said. “But I think the practice of poetry teaches us that silence and emptiness and space in general is actually quite potent.”

    In “Telemachus,” Vuong builds a mythology from the absence of a father figure, one that disappears even on the page as we read it. The speaker pulls his father “through white sand, his knuckles carving a trail / the waves rush in to erase. Because the city / beyond the shore is no longer / where we left it.”

    Vuong’s book is an experiment in form, which moves as restlessly between different modes of storytelling as it does between the violent and the erotic. “Anaphora as Coping Mechanism” lays out such a scene: “He dies as your heart beats faster, / as another war coppers the sky.”

    The reader is a part of this ambiguity. And the act of navigating that space holds political importance, he said.

    “The reading of poetry is in itself an act of political resistance to the mainstream,” he said. “Particularly in this election cycle, where there is this great anxiety for certainty. What is your position? What is your stance? Why are you flip-flopping? There’s an anxiety of certainty and power and boldness … But poetry acknowledges the true complexity of what it means to be human, which is that nothing is ever that certain.”

    The book “holds a lot of questions,” he said. “Some of the questions are, how does one live in the intersectional spaces of trauma, now, in our American time? What does it mean to be a product of an American war in America?”

    You can read “Telemachus,” or hear Vuong read it, below.

    Telemachus

    Like any good son, I pull my father out
    of the water, drag him by his hair

    through sand, his knuckles carving a trail
    the waves rush in to erase. Because the city

    beyond the shore is no longer
    where he left it. Because the bombed

    cathedral is now a cathedral
    of trees. I kneel beside him to see how far

    I might sink. Do you know who I am,
    ba? But the answer never comes. The answer

    is the bullet hole in his back, brimming
    with seawater. He is so still I think

    he could be anyone’s father, found
    the way a green bottle might appear

    at a boy’s feet containing a year
    he has never touched. I touch

    his ears. No use. The neck’s
    bruising. I turn him over. To face

    it. The cathedral in his sea-black eyes.
    The face not mine but one I will wear

    to kiss all my lovers goodnight:
    the way I seal my father’s lips

    with my own and begin
    the faithful work of drowning.

    Ocean Vuong is the author of “Night Sky with Exit Wounds” (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). A 2016 Whiting Award winner and Ruth Lilly fellow, he has received honors from The Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, Narrative magazine, and a Pushcart Prize. His writings have been featured in the Kenyon Review, GRANTA, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Poetry and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in New York City.

    The post Ocean Vuong on why reading poetry is political appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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