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

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    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Prebus introduces Florida Gov. Rick Scott during a luncheon at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida, April 21, 2016. Photo by Joe Skipper/Reuters

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Prebus introduces Florida Gov. Rick Scott during a luncheon at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida, Thursday. Photo by Joe Skipper/Reuters

    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Republican Party leaders turned aside an effort Thursday to change the rules at their national convention to make it harder for the GOP to choose a fresh presidential candidate, a prelude to what may be sharper battles ahead.

    The showdown, which pitted the top echelons of the Republican National Committee against a renegade party committeeman from Oregon, came at a time when many in the GOP believe that top presidential contenders Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are likely losers in this November’s general election. Some have been hoping a new candidate will emerge at the party’s gathering in Cleveland, a scenario that has drawn the wrath of Trump and Cruz backers and many of the party’s grassroots conservatives.

    Though the party’s 56-member rules committee rejected the proposal by voice vote, Thursday’s showdown was likely a mere skirmish compared to the battles that may occur in Cleveland over the bylaws the party will to choose its standard-bearer in this fall’s elections.

    The RNC and its rules committee can recommend changes in the processes the 2,472 convention delegates will use to crown a nominee. But only the delegates themselves can approve which rules they will use — a decision they won’t make till they gather in July.

    Solomon Yue, the RNC committeeman from Oregon, said the House of Representatives rules that the party has long used at its presidential conventions give the presiding officer too much power. Yue proposed instead using Roberts Rules of Order, which he said would enable a majority of the delegates to block an effort by the presiding officer to open the proceedings to fresh nominations.

    Yue said that 2016 has been “a politically supercharged year” and warned that efforts by party leaders to dictate events in Cleveland “would blow up the convention and cause us to lose in November the White House fight.”

    Party leaders worked to defeat the plan, saying that by making any rules changes, they would be accused of trying to unfairly help a presidential hopeful. Trump has repeatedly clashed with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, saying his party’s rules for collecting delegates are “rigged.”

    “Our making a change of this magnitude at this point is the worst possible thing that we could do to inspire the confidence of the delegates in our home states that we are not putting our finger on the scale for any candidate,” said Enid Mickelsen, an RNC committeewoman from Utah.

    The post GOP leaders reject change in presidential nominating rules appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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     Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 20. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/ Reuters

    Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 20. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/ Reuters

    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Donald Trump has campaigned as the ultimate outsider. But now, with the Republican nomination in sight, his top advisers are reassuring party leaders that Trump would embrace the GOP establishment if he moves on to the general election.

    In private conversations on Thursday at the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting in Florida, Paul Manafort and Rick Wiley promised party leaders that Trump was prepared to tone down his rhetoric, several members involved in the discussions said.


    PBS NewsHour Digital Politics Editor Daniel Bush spoke with Hari Sreenivasan earlier today about the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting via a Google hangout.

    Trump’s campaign “wants to take steps going forward to try and bring the party together,” said Lee Ann Sennick, the RNC’s national committeewoman from Rhode Island.

    “We’re keeping an open mind,” Sennick added. “The proof is in the pudding.”

    READ MORE: Cruz says he can’t win GOP nod before convention, but neither can Trump

    Trump’s advisers also laid out other steps he would take in the coming months to help build up the Republican Party, including holding fundraising events for state GOP parties, sources said.

    “This is a positive signal, despite a general lack of outreach in the past year,” said Matt Moore, South Carolina’s GOP chairman.

    Manafort and Wiley — veteran GOP strategists who recently joined Trump’s campaign — were slated to make a formal address to the RNC behind closed doors on Thursday evening, followed by a reception with Ben Carson.

    “We’re just praying that somebody gets to 1,237 so we don’t go to the convention and tear the party’s heart out.”

    Carson endorsed Trump after dropping out of the presidential race last month and has become one of Trump’s leading surrogates on the campaign trail.

    In making their pitch to RNC members, Manafort and Wiley also insisted that Trump could still reach the 1,237 delegates needed by the end of the primaries to clinch the nomination on the first ballot at the national convention this summer.

    “They both say there’s not going to be a second ballot,” said Louis Pope, the RNC’s national committeeman from Maryland.

    Trump’s victory in New York on Tuesday increased his delegate total to 845, roughly 300 more than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. To have a shot at reaching a majority of delegates, Trump must win big in the 15 remaining primary contests on the calendar.

    Cruz, who appeared at the RNC spring meeting on Wednesday, has argued that Trump will fall short, though he conceded that he can’t get to 1,237 delegates either.

    “I don’t believe Donald has any path to winning the majority,” Cruz told reporters here yesterday.

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich also appeared at the RNC spring meeting on Wednesday, where he argued that he was the party’s best general election candidate against Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.

    Kasich vowed to remain in the race, despite his massive delegate deficit. Kasich has only won his home state of Ohio, and has amassed just 147 delegates.

    Some RNC members at the spring meeting said they thought Trump had a chance to reach a majority. Trump has a sizeable lead in polls in several states that hold primaries next week, including Maryland and Pennsylvania.

    But Trump would need to win by large margins on Tuesday, and then continue that momentum once the race shifts back to the Midwest and California, which holds its primary in June.

    The Trump team’s claims that it can wrap up the nomination by June “are a little ambitious,” said one RNC member, who requested anonymity for fear of criticizing Trump.

    Other Republican leaders said they were eager for the primaries to be over, so the party could focus on the general election.

    “It is essential that we not lose sight of the goal, and that is winning back the White House in November,” said Paul Reynolds, the RNC’s national committeeman from Arkansas.

    At this point, said Cindy Costa, the national committeewoman from South Carolina, “we’re just praying that somebody gets to 1,237 so we don’t go to the convention and tear the party’s heart out.” Costa added, “I just want to have a candidate so we can rally around them.”

    The post Trump will work with GOP leaders, advisers say appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    carbon tax photo

    In Washington state, a grassroots group known as Carbon Washington is trying to pass the nation’s first-ever carbon tax. By taxing carbon emissions and making polluting more expensive, Yoram Bauman, environmental economist and founder of the group, hopes to combat climate change and “get market forces working to promote conservation, innovation [and the] development of new technologies.”

    Initiative 732 will be on the state’s November ballot. At issue: should the state tax carbon emissions? Under the plan, revenue would go toward reducing other taxes in the state — the state sales tax and state business tax. Low-income families, who would be particularly affected by the carbon tax, would also receive a tax rebate.

    Bauman is the co-author of two books with Grady Klein, “The Cartoon Introduction to Economics” and “The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change.” Oh, and he’s the world’s first and only stand-up economist.

    Below, we have Chapter 14 from “The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change,” courtesy of Island Press. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. For more on the carbon-tax campaign in Washington state, tune in tonight’s Making Sen$e report, which airs every Thursday on the PBS NewsHour.

    Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor

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    This is an excerpt from “The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change” by Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein, courtesy of Island Press.

    The post Washington state’s carbon-tax plan, cartoonified appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    3D printed Apple logo are seen in front of a displayed cyber code in this photo illustration. Photo illustration by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

    Photo illustration by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey hinted at an event in London on Thursday that the FBI paid more than $1 million to break into the locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers.

    Comey was asked during a question-and-answer session at an Aspen Security Forum event how much the FBI paid for the method from an unidentified third-party to access the phone.

    He did not give a precise number but said it was “more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months, for sure.” He added that he thought the payment was “worth it.”

    The Justice Department last month revealed that an entity outside the government had approached it with a method that could be used to open the phone used by Syed Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people in the December attacks before dying in a police shootout.

    The revelation came after a federal magistrate had directed Apple Inc. to help the FBI hack into the phone. The FBI had said that it wanted access to the phone as part of its investigation into the attacks.

    Federal officials have said that the method from the third party was successful, though they haven’t publicly revealed what it entailed.

    The post FBI head suggests agency paid more than $1M to access iPhone appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Image by Imagezoo/Getty Images.

    Image by Imagezoo/Getty Images.

    Each week, Ask the Headhunter columnist Nick Corcodilos shares his insider advice and contrarian methods on how to win and keep the right job. In his weekly column, he’s answered hundreds of questions on interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards and salary negotiations.

    On Friday, we’re offering a special opportunity to talk to Nick yourself. At 4 p.m. EDT on our Facebook page, Nick will be sitting down with NewsHour’s P.J. Tobia for a Facebook Live to offer a few pieces of headhunting advice and take your questions.

    If you’re on the job hunt, Nick is the headhunter you want to talk to. In the past year Nick has covered:

    Want to know how to begin that salary negotiation with your boss? How to hit an interview out of the ballpark? How to network without being a jerk? Just ask. We’ll be there to take your questions.

    The post Ask jobs guru Nick Corcodilos advice during a Facebook Live event Friday appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Students in North Carolina have mixed reaction to North Carolina’s law that requires people to use the public bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate.  Photo by Getty Images

    Students in North Carolina have mixed reaction to North Carolina’s law that requires people to use the public bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate. Photo by Getty Images

    Editor’s Note: Last month, North Carolina’s lawmakers passed House Bill 2 which requires people to use the public bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate. On Tuesday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a separate Virginia case that public school students have the right to use the facilities of their self-identified gender.

    Eric Grant, a Secondary English Language Arts and Social Studies Curriculum Specialist, shares his thoughts on how HB2 has affected students in his district and the wider school community.


    teacherslounge

    She’s a beautiful girl. Not so different, really, from so many of her classmates. Not so different from students I encounter every day in my work with schools across our district. Of course, it would be a huge mistake for her to walk into a middle school boy’s bathroom. However, according to North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2) that is where she belongs.

    Her school record identifies her as female and by her female name; her birth certificate identifies her as a male. Her teachers see her for who she is, but legislators in the North Carolina State House who have never and will never meet her have labeled her as something different.

    HB2, the “Bathroom Bill,” mandates that a person may only use facilities that match their biological sex. According to HB2, “The physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person’s birth certificate.” The justification for this is safety — keeping men from women’s restrooms. In reality, though, this marginalizes a minority population, again. Like North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which banned same-sex marriage, and like the era of Jim Crow, it fits in with a long history of discriminatory public policy.

    Of course an obvious solution is to allow her to use gender-neutral faculty restrooms. But what kind of signal is that sending to the student?

    The signal our state legislature is sending to that student and to all students runs exactly contrary to the message I have been sending to students every day of my career. It runs contrary to the very reason I, like so many of my colleagues, chose to become an educator in the first place. That message is simple: My goal is your success, no matter who you are.

    “Youth and adolescence can be so difficult, especially if you feel you do not fit the mold.” — teacher Eric Grant
    Pressure from peers, from parents, from community can be particularly hard at this age. I can tell you this because I have read student journals and counseled those who are trying to come to terms with their sexuality and their identity. I can also tell you this because many of those students have become successful young adults and come back to thank me for my acceptance and love.

    As you can imagine, in recent conversations with students about the “bathroom bill,” I have heard a variety of perspectives. Some buy in to the rhetoric around safety, some simply do not understand why someone would want to change genders, but other students view it as a “hate law” aimed at hurting people because they are different. The most passionate, though, are those students who know a person directly affected. They see it as state sanctioned bullying.

    And these students know bullying. They have been taught since elementary school to identify this behavior and to speak out against it. To stand up against a person or group that preys on someone they perceive to be different.

    North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the bill into law on March 23, 2016, is backpedaling. He issued an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and he will seek legislation that will “reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination.” While I see this as a positive response to a national outcry and may help prevent the loss of thousands of jobs, in many ways, significant damage has already been done to our schools and youngest citizens.

    Eric Grant taught high school English and World Studies for 15 years and was the 2011 North Carolina District 8 Teacher of the Year. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

    The post Many of my students see NC’s bathroom bill as ‘state-sanctioned bullying’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A Mexican federal police officer (C) and other team rescue members search for victims at a collapsed store at the village of Manta, after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero - RTX2B31X

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

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

    On the “NewsHour” tonight: remembering the legendary artist known as Prince, dead at 57.

    Also ahead: The campaign moves into new battleground states, and we examine the role of trade in the 2016 election.

    A ballot initiative in Washington state to create a carbon pollution tax, but some environmentalists oppose it.

    IAN TOLLESON, Northwest Food Processors Association: I would not disagree with you that climate is changing, but this is a global phenomenon, and it needs a global solution. Is it fair to put on the back of Washington employers and families?

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

    (BREAK)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: Aftershocks rocked Ecuador again, five days after the country’s worst earthquake in decades. And the official death toll ticked steadily higher, reaching 577. More than 160 people are still missing and more than 23,000 are homeless.

    Meanwhile, President Rafael Correa announced he’s raising the national sales tax and putting a one-time levy on millionaires to pay for reconstruction.

    Volkswagen formally submitted a plan today to settle with U.S. customers over its emissions cheating scandal. Under the terms, the German automaker says it will buy back the affected models or fix them, whichever the owner wants. In all, some 482,000 customers of Volkswagen’s diesel-engine cars will be affected. Details, including the total amount that V.W. will pay, are still being worked out.

    Queen Elizabeth celebrated a milestone birthday today and thousands paid tribute to her across Britain.

    Tim Ewart of Independent Television News wraps up the day’s celebrations.

    TIM EWART: The band played, the sun shone, well-wishers lined the streets to offer flowers and cards. In a town heavy with royal history, Britain’s 90-year-old monarch set forth to meet her people.

    Some, the real die-hards, had slept on this pavement for two nights to be in prime position. She knows these faces well, and she wasn’t going to disappoint them.

    MAN: Three cheers for Her Majesty!

    (CHEERING)

    TIM EWART: A statue of Victoria, the queen’s great-great-grandmother, stands outside Windsor Castle. Victoria was once Britain’s oldest and longest-serving monarch. But she died at 81, and Elizabeth passed the milestone of longest reign last year.

    A group of other 90-year-olds was assembled to meet the monarch. Such an age was once rare, but no longer. There are around half-a-million nonagenarians in England and Wales. The queen, though, never fails to impress.

    WOMAN: I thought she looked wonderful, and I was interested in her makeup, because she looked so lovely and smooth. I was wanting to ask her what she used.

    (LAUGHTER)

    TIM EWART: The queen is 90, her husband nearly 95, but, for all the advancing years, the show goes on.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1952, after the death of her father, King George VI.

    The man who flew a mini-helicopter onto the U.S. Capitol lawn a year ago this month was sentenced today. Douglas Hughes got four months in prison for piloting a gyrocopter without a license. Hughes and his craft penetrated some of the nation’s most restricted airspace before landing at the Capitol. He said he was protesting big money in politics.

    Wall Street came back to earth after a three-day rally. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 113 points to close at 17982. The Nasdaq fell two points, and the S&P 500 slipped nearly 11.

    And the Olympic Flame was lit today, starting the countdown to the 2017 summer games in Rio de Janeiro. The ceremony took place at the Ancient Stadium in Olympia, Greece, where the games originated. An actress playing a high priestess lit the torch, starting it on a journey to Brazil. The Games are set to open on August 5, but they have been plagued by delays and political turmoil in Brazil.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: mourning a music icon — Prince dies at 57; a look ahead to the next primaries and the fight over trade along the campaign trail; Obama in Saudi Arabia amid tensions in the relationship between two longtime allies; and much more.

    The post News Wrap: Death toll in Ecuador climbs higher appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives for a town hall meeting on NBC's "Today" show in New York, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTX2B0XW

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: From rules governing delegates to rules governing bathrooms, it was all part of this campaign day in the presidential race.

    John Yang begins our coverage.

    JOHN YANG: At a “Today Show” town hall this morning, Donald Trump promised a kinder, gentler Republican front-runner.

    DONALD TRUMP, Republican Presidential Candidate: It’s easier for me to be presidential than for me to be doing what I have been doing for the last, really, nine months. But, at the right time, I will be so presidential, you will be so bored.

    JOHN YANG: He also stepped into a contentious issue, defending the right of transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

    DONALD TRUMP: You leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go. They use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: This morning, Donald Trump went on “The Today Show.”

    That drew a swift rebuke from Texas Senator Ted Cruz, as he stumped in Maryland, one of the new primary battlegrounds.

    SEN. TED CRUZ: Donald agreed with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, in attacking the state of North Carolina for passing their bathroom ordinance. Have we gone stark raving nuts? This is the political correctness. This is basic common sense.

    JOHN YANG: Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee met in Hollywood, Florida, amid Trump’s complaints about party rules. In a Google Hangout, the “NewsHour”‘s Daniel Bush reports the group made no changes.

    DANIEL BUSH: What Sean Spicer, the RNC’s chief strategist, told me yesterday was that the chairman, Reince Priebus, directed members here this week not to set new rules ahead of the conventions, because the RNC wants to avoid a perception that it’s paving the way for one candidate or another to get the nomination.

    JOHN YANG: Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is close to wrapping up the Democratic nomination. She campaigned in Connecticut, focusing on gun control.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I’m raising it everywhere I go because we need a national movement. The gun lobby is the most powerful lobby in Washington.

    JOHN YANG: Bernie Sanders returned to campaigning in Pennsylvania, after taking a beating in the New York primary.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I don’t mind losing, but three million people in New York state, three million people who registered as independents didn’t have the right to participate in the Democratic or Republican primary.

    (BOOING)

    JOHN YANG: Today, Sanders muted his criticism of Clinton today, whose delegate lead is now all but insurmountable.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You can hear more online from Daniel Bush, covering the Republican National Committee meeting. And we will take a closer look at the primaries in five states next Tuesday later in the program.

    The post Talk of rules, for restrooms and the RNC, dominates the campaign trail appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new report saying that the U.S. suicide rate rose between 1999 and 2014. That followed a steady decline between 1986 and 1999. Photo by Arilieu/Flickr

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new report saying that the U.S. suicide rate rose between 1999 and 2014. That followed a steady decline between 1986 and 1999. Photo by Arilieu/Flickr

    Nationwide, the suicide rate is on the rise, and the Great Recession may be partially to blame.

    After more than a decade of decline, the suicide rate in the United States climbed 24 percent to 13 out of 100,000 people between 1999 and 2014 with men far outpacing women, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Starting in 2006, that rate climbed even faster.

    Suicide rates increased from 1999 through 2014
    Deaths per 100,000 by gender

     Male
     Female

    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    “It’s a broad-based increase in suicide,” said Sally Curtin, a statistician with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one of the report’s main authors.

    All age groups younger than 75 saw a rise in suicide since 1999, the report says.

    While the numbers remain small, the suicide rate among girls age 10-14 tripled from 1999 to 2014 and experienced the largest percent increase. That finding surprised Curtin, who explained that deaths are just one element to consider when studying suicide.

    “For that group, the deaths are just the tip of the iceberg,” Curtin said. “There are so many more attempts and hospitalizations.”

    According to CDC’s data, suicide attempts among 10- to 14-year-olds rose 135 percent between 2001 and 2014, said Deb Stone, a behavioral scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    When examining suicide rate by race, researchers found the steepest rise among American Indian and Alaskan Natives, according to a newly released supplemental brief.

    Risk factors included mental health problems, substance abuse, availability of lethal means, and exposure to another’s suicide, or contagion effect, Stone said.

    Despite rising rates, Stone said, “We know that suicide is a preventable public health problem.”

    She stressed that schools, workplaces and healthcare settings all can play a role in suicide prevention. These strategies might include: Educating people about suicide risk factors, decreasing stigma and reducing the availability of lethal means to people who are at-risk.​

    She also recommended that if someone needs help, they should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 where around-the-clock counselors are available.

    Graphic by Megan Hickey

    The post Suicide rate in U.S. on the rise, with spike for girls age 10-14 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    In this week’s quiz, see how much you know about what’s going on in the world, including Ecuador’s earthquake, efforts to oust Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and what led to a passenger getting booted from a flight.

    The post How well do you know the world: Unseating a president and a passenger appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip after landing by helicopter at Windsor Castle for a private lunch in Windsor, Britain, on April 22. Photo by Alastair Grant/Pool - via Reuters

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip after landing by helicopter at Windsor Castle for a private lunch in Windsor, Britain, on April 22. Photo by Alastair Grant/Pool – via Reuters

    LONDON — Most people send a card, call, or post on Facebook for someone’s birthday, but President Barack Obama went the extra mile on Friday — thousands of miles, actually — to deliver 90th birthday greetings to Queen Elizabeth II over lunch at Windsor Castle.

    Britain’s oldest and longest-serving monarch celebrated her birthday a day earlier, the same day Obama arrived in the evening for what likely is the final visit here of his presidency. So the two heads of state sat down for an only slightly belated birthday lunch at the castle, west of London.

    Obama’s wife, Michelle, flew in from Washington to attend the royal engagements. The queen’s husband, Prince Philip, was on hand as well.

    The queen put a scarf over her head and came out in a light, drizzling rain to greet the president and first lady as their helicopter landed on the lush green lawn outside the castle. The couples shook hands warmly before hopping into a black Range Rover, driven by Philip, to head back to the castle. Obama sat in front with Philip, the queen and the first lady in the back seat.

    A few minutes later, the queen led the four into a sitting room with a roaring fire, and asked the president where he’d like to sit. The four posed for pictures before the private lunch. The queen was dressed in a light blue suit; the first lady wore an Oscar de la Renta print dress and a black Narciso Rodriguez coat.

    Later, Obama planned to have dinner with Prince William, his wife Kate and brother Prince Harry at the younger royals’ Kensington Palace home in central London. William is second in line to inherit the British throne after his father, Prince Charles.

    Obama was breaking up his royal holiday with a stop at 10 Downing St. for talks with Prime Minister David Cameron about the multinational campaign against the Islamic State group, as well as counterterrorism efforts, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, the global economy, Russia’s stance toward Ukraine and other issues

    Political issues in the United Kingdom and the U.S., including Britain’s possible exit from the European Union, or Brexit, are on the agenda, along with the U.S. presidential campaign that will determine Obama’s successor.

    Cameron is leading the campaign in favor of Britain’s continued membership in the 28-nation EU, which Obama also supports. He wants Obama to speak out against severing ties, but voters will have the final say in a June 23 referendum. Cameron faces opposition from within his own Conservative government and widespread skepticism among voters about the benefits of staying in the EU. Backers of those who support Britain’s exit, meanwhile, have accused Obama of hypocrisy and interference.

    In an opinion piece published online Thursday by the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Obama urges Britons to stay in the EU. He notes the decision will affect U.S. interests and says “The U.S. and the world need your outsized influence to continue – including within Europe.”

    Another issue that could come up is Obama’s criticism of Cameron in an interview published recently in The Atlantic magazine. In the article, Obama faulted Cameron and other European allies for shortcomings in their handling of Libya after the 2011 toppling of leader Moammar Gadhafi. Obama said Cameron had become “distracted” by other issues.

    Libya has since descended into chaos and become a haven for members of the Islamic State group.

    Obama’s lunch with the queen is the latest in a series of engagements between the two families since he took office in 2009.

    “Each time, the president has come away with an even deeper personal affection for her,” said Obama spokesman Josh Earnest. “She is an important symbol of a country with whom the United States has a special relationship. But she also is a human being whose charisma and a sense of nobility and honor is something that I think people around the world are attracted to.”

    Obama described the queen as “delightful” following their first meeting in 2009. He also told an aide that she reminded him of his grandmother.

    That meeting is also where the queen and the much-taller Mrs. Obama showed how quickly they took a liking to each other by briefly standing arm in arm at a Buckingham Palace reception for world leaders attending an economic summit in London. The queen strayed from protocol by wrapping an arm around the first lady, who reciprocated.

    A palace spokesman at the time described the scene at the ladies’ first meeting as a “mutual and spontaneous display of affection.”

    The queen subsequently hosted Obama for a state visit in May 2011, during which the president and first lady slept at the palace. Obama and the queen also met in June 2014 during ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France.

    Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, and William and Harry, have all visited Obama in the Oval Office.

    Harry, a military veteran who served in Afghanistan, joined Mrs. Obama for a White House event in 2013. In 2015, they met at a U.S. military base to highlight their shared interest in the needs of military families and wounded service members. She and daughters Malia and Sasha also sipped tea with Harry at Kensington Palace when the first lady stopped in London last year.

    The post Obama’s royal holiday: Lunch with queen, dinner with princes appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Getty Images

    Photo by Getty Images

    Editor’s Note: For 31 years now, Paul Solman’s reports on the NewsHour have aimed to make sense of economic news and research for a general audience. Since 2007, our Making Sen$e page has vowed to do the same, turning to leading academics and thinkers in the fields of business and economics to help explain what’s interesting and relevant about their work. That includes reports and interviews with economists affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research.

    Making Sense/NBER logo

    Each month, the NBER Digest summarizes several recent NBER working papers. These papers have not been peer-reviewed, but are circulated by their authors for comment and discussion. With the NBER’s blessing, Making Sen$e is pleased to feature these summaries regularly on our page.

    The following summary was written by the NBER and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Making Sen$e.


    During the period of rising stock prices in the 1990s and early 2000s, the total compensation of chief executive officers rose rapidly. The pay of the median CEO at an S&P 500 firm was $2.9 million in 1992, measured in 2011 dollars. By 2001 this figure had more than tripled to $9.3 million. In contrast, the periods before and after the tech boom saw significantly less growth in CEO compensation. Further, growth in CEO pay during the tech boom period far outpaced growth in other high-income occupations.

    In “Growth through Rigidity: An Explanation for the Rise in CEO Pay,” Kelly Shue and Richard Townsend suggest that rigidity in the number of stock options granted to CEOs contributed to the sharp rise in CEO pay. They observe that most executives receive grants of at-the-money call options, that is, options to purchase company stock in the future at a price equal to the stock price on the day the option is granted. The value of such an option rises with the value of the stock price on the day the option is granted. For example, if a firm’s stock price increased by 30 percent over the past year, granting the same number of options as in the previous year amounts to a 30 percent increase in this form of compensation. Thus, by keeping option grants constant in terms of number during a period of rapidly growing stock prices, boards actually drastically increased CEO pay in terms of real value.

    CEOs

    Following regulatory changes in the early 1990s that encouraged tying CEO pay to corporate performance, stock options became an important component of executive pay. But while the value of these options fluctuates from year to year, the number of options issued to CEOs tended to stay relatively constant during the period of greatest increase in total compensation. Using data on large, publicly traded firms, the researchers find that during the tech boom roughly 20 percent of CEOs who were granted options received the same number of options in consecutive years. In fact, many firms offered CEOs multi-year contracts that specified that the same number of options would be granted each year. During a period of increasing stock prices, this mechanically increased CEO pay. In theory, compensation committees could have offset the rising option pay by decreasing alternative forms of compensation, but the research finds no evidence of this. If anything, other forms of compensation mildly reinforced the rapid rise in option pay.

    By the researchers’ calculations, rigidity in option grants can account for more than half of the tech boom’s deviation from long-run trends in CEO pay. This is partially due to spillover effects. Even CEOs at firms that adjusted their option grants annually may have benefited from the rising compensation of their fellow CEOs, since boards often set compensation by referring to peers. Option-grant rigidity is also consistent with the sharp rise in the correlation between CEO pay and stock returns during the 1990s and with the increase in CEO pay dispersion during the tech boom.

    The authors find that the number rigidity in option grants declined substantially following a regulatory change in 2006 that required firms to subtract the value of stock options from earnings on their income statements. Previously, firms were not required to recognize this expense, and regulations concerning disclosure of stock options tended to focus on their number rather than their value. The researchers suggest that during the tech boom, board members may not have fully understood the value of the options that they were granting to CEOs. They also find that boards with a greater percentage of independent directors, directors who joined the firm before the current CEO or directors with M.B.A. degrees are significantly less likely to grant number-rigid options, suggesting board member sophistication can limit unintended growth in option compensation.

    — Andrew Whitten, National Bureau of Economic Research

    The post An explanation for the rise in CEO pay? Stable option grants appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, holds a Reuben sandwich at a campaign event at the Shapiro's Delicatessen in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 21. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, holds a Reuben sandwich at a campaign event at the Shapiro’s Delicatessen in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 21. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — After spending a year campaigning as a hardened, uncompromising conservative, Ted Cruz wants voters to see him in a different light.

    Cruz’s presidential campaign is embarking on a concerted effort to highlight a more affable version of the fiery Texas Republican. He’s started working the late night talk show circuit, a new forum for the senator, and his wife, Heidi, has also been appearing more often on national TV to present him as a likable figure.

    Cruz’s two young daughters, who have already provided occasional comic relief to their dad’s campaign, will be joining the senator on the road frequently. And his team is looking for more opportunities to put Cruz in fun, laid-back settings, like when he joined kids for a matzo-making lesson in New York.

    “It’s important for us to show him in more of a lighthearted venue,” said Alice Stewart, Cruz’s communications director. She conceded that voters want more than just a candidate they agree with on policy, adding, “It’s not a secret that voters will vote for someone they like.”

    The lengths Cruz has to go in boosting his standing with voters were starkly evident in a focus group of Republican women this week in Pittsburgh. When the women were asked what they knew about Cruz, several described him as “untrustworthy” or a “liar.” GOP front-runner Donald Trump has spent weeks assailing Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted.”

    And when focus group participants were asked what animal best described Cruz, some said a “mosquito” or a “hornet.”

    “You just want to bat it away,” one woman said. The session was organized by Public Opinion Strategies and Purple Strategies as part of the “Walmart Moms” series that focuses on female voters.

    Cruz allies say the senator is warmer than he’s given credit for, particularly in private moments. Rep. Reid Ribble, a Wisconsin Republican who backs Cruz, recalled seeing the candidate playing tag with his daughters backstage before a campaign stop earlier this month.

    “I remember thinking to myself as I watched him play with his kids, ‘That’s the Cruz America needs to see,'” Ribble said. “The more people can see the humanity of any candidate, the better.”

    The campaign’s emphasis on Cruz’s persona comes as the senator fights for any possible advantage in his Republican primary fight with Trump. Cruz has no mathematical chance of winning the nomination through the regular voting and is counting entirely on overtaking Trump at a contested convention.

    Cruz’s campaign has demonstrated impressive deftness in working the convention delegate process. But many party insiders view Cruz with skepticism — his reputation in Washington is that of a self-serving opportunist — and his standing with the public is only a bit better.

    A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that only 26 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of Cruz, while 59 percent were unfavorable. Perhaps the only solace for Cruz is that Trump’s numbers are even worse — 69 percent of Americans view him unfavorably as do 46 percent of Republicans.

    Cruz’s campaign knows that in order to boost his numbers, he needs to reach out to Americans beyond those who listen to conservative talk radio and know the senator from his fights with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, including his 21-hour filibuster against President Barack Obama’s health care law that resulted in a government shutdown.

    In that effort, Cruz’s campaign sees Obama as someone to emulate. The president has consistently had high personal favorability ratings and mastered the art of courting Americans outside the political arena.

    Stewart from the Cruz campaign said Obama “may not have checked all the boxes for a candidate in terms of record and accomplishments, but voters liked him.” Cruz this week even parroted Obama’s famous “yes we can” campaign slogan, adopting “yes we will” as his promise to fulfill his campaign pledges.

    Before the New York primary, Cruz made the rounds of the late-night talk show circuit for the first time, appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and the “Tonight” show.

    Cruz is also doing more public events with his wife and daughters.

    During a CNN town-hall interview, Cruz talked about a recent class picnic where 8-year-old Caroline “got to dress up daddy” in a pink boa and “big goofy-looking underwear.”

    “It was on a videotape the whole time,” Caroline continued.

    “Uh oh,” Cruz said, trying to smile.

    “And now it’s a class video that they’re sending out to all the parents,” she said as her mom and the audience burst into laughter.

    Cruz quickly tried to change the subject.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Emily Swanson contributed to this report.

    The post Ted Cruz, likable guy? He’s working on that appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Data visualization by Martin Grandjean

    Data visualization by Martin Grandjean

    In Shakespeare’s 37 plays, more than 1,200 characters speak more than 880,000 words to each other.

    The numbers are staggering. But for Martin Grandjean, a data scientist based in Geneva, they’re also an opportunity.

    Grandjean examined how many and which characters appear on stage together at different points in each play to produce data visualizations that graphically represent these numbers. The graphics reconsider the relationships between different characters in the play, including who plays the most central role in the script — a result that Grandjean said sometimes surprised him.

    I asked Grandjean about his process to create the visualizations.

    Can you describe to me what these graphics show?

    These graphics are a network analysis of the characters of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Two characters are connected if they are simultaneously present in the same scene. This graphical representation helps to realize the scope of the “social network” behind the drama plays. It shows that some tragedies involve only small groups of characters, while others involve almost all the characters in key scenes. The size of the circles indicate how many connections a character has, showing, for example, that Caesar is not the main character in Julius Caesar.

    How did you create them?

    First, I create a file where I list the characters appearing in every scenes of the play, taking into account that some characters are likely to enter the scene after its beginning, or sometimes leave before the end. Then I make this spreadsheet into a file where every character is linked to the character that appeared at the same time in the first file.

    I visualize the file in a Network analysis software (here, Gephi), and create the graph with a force-directed algorithm, an algorithm that arranges the circles like magnets on a table: if they’re connected they are attracted, if not they repulse themselves. This produces a graph where the communities are very visible, if strong communities exist, like in Timon of Athens, Romeo and Juliet, or Antony and Cleopatra.

    I repeat this process for every play, and then export everything in a vector file to design the labels and colors.

    Data visualization by Martin Grandjean

    Data visualization by Martin Grandjean

    Why did you decide to use Shakespeare texts as subject matter?

    I’m currently developing an interface with three colleagues from the University of Lausanne and the EPFL to read theater pieces with a dynamic network showing the interaction between the characters. This experimental project will be presented at the Digital Humanities international conference in Kraków, Poland, this summer, and we are particularly testing this model on French-speaking works (Jean Racine, Molière, Jean de La Fontaine and others).

    I also chose to map the well-known works of William Shakespeare. The interest of this analysis is especially its comparative aspect. I initially wanted to map a larger corpus, but I decided to limit myself to the tragedies.

    Data visualization by Martin Grandjean

    Data visualization by Martin Grandjean

    What can we conclude from these visualizations?

    Above everything, the purpose is to compare the structure and density of the whole corpus. The longest tragedy, Hamlet, is not the most structurally complex and is less dense than King Lear, Titus Andronicus or Othello. Some plays clearly reveal the groups that shape the drama: Montague and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet, Trojans and Greeks in Troilus and Cressida, the triumvirs and Egyptians in Antony and Cleopatra, the Volscians and the Romans in Coriolanus or the conspirators in Julius Caesar.

    Of course, a literary scholar will know very precisely the plot of every play. But giving this type of overview to the non-academic readers is an important challenge for me.

    What are some other projects you’re working on?

    As I’m not a literary scholar, my research is mostly about the application of social network analysis and data visualization to historical sciences. I’m mapping exchanges of 30,000 letters between scientists and intellectuals after the First World War, trying to understand the structure of this international field.

    See more of Grandjean’s work below.

    Data visualization by Martin Grandjean

    Data visualization by Martin Grandjean

    Data visualization by Martin Grandjean

    Data visualization by Martin Grandjean

    The post Who’s the real main character in Shakespearean tragedies? Here’s what the data say appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    LONDON — Lending political backup to a struggling friend, President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea to Britons to heed Prime Minister David Cameron’s call to stay in the European Union and dismissed critics who accused the U.S. president of meddling in British affairs.

    Speaking at a press conference at 10 Downing Street, Obama told reporters that Britain’s power is amplified by its membership in the 28-nation union, not diminished. He made an almost sentimental appeal to the “special relationship” between the two countries. And he said cast a grim picture of the economic stakes —saying flatly the U.S. would not rush to write a free trade deal with a newly independent Great Britain.

    “Let me be clear, ultimately this is something that the British voters have to decide for themselves but … part of being friends is to be honest and to let you know what I think,” he said. “It affects our prospect as well. The United States wants a strong United Kingdom as a partner.”

    Obama spoke on the first day of a three-day visit to London, likely the last of this presidency. The visit comes two months before a June referendum on leaving the union. Polls suggest it will be a close-fought race, with most phone polls indicating a lead for the Remain campaign while some online polls put the Leave camp ahead.

    Obama described the votes as potentially damaging to the British economy. He said the U.S. is focused on writing a massive trade agreement with the European Union and would not prioritize a bilateral agreement with the UK. Britain would have to get “in the back of the queue,” he said.

    As he landed Thursday night, the president laid out his arguments in an op-ed in a London newspaper, harkening back to the “special relationship” forged by wartime allies President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. With that special status comes with leeway to interfere, Obama argued, writing that he was offering his thoughts with the “candor of a friend.”

    Obama’s candor wasn’t universally appreciated. In increasingly heated language, critics accused Obama of meddling in British business. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, the head of the Leave campaign called Obama’s advice “paradoxical, inconsistent, incoherent” and suggested Obama’s background played a role.

    Writing in The Sun newspaper, Johnson recounted a claim that a bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was removed from the Oval Office after Obama was elected and returned to the British Embassy. The White House has said that the Churchill bust is still in a prominent place in the presidential residence.

    Johnson wrote that some said removing the bust “was a symbol of the part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British Empire, of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender.”

    Obama’s late father was from Kenya, a former British colony that gained independence in the 1960s.

    Obama has remained a broadly popular figure in Britain, although reliable surveys are scarce. In June 2015, three-quarters of Britons told pollsters they had confidence in his judgment on world affairs, according to a Pew Research survey.

    That goodwill hasn’t kept Britons in breaking from U.S. at key moments. In 2013, as Obama leaned on Cameron to join in threatened airstrikes in Syria, the House of Commons rejected the idea.

    There have been other recent signs of stress on the relationship. British officials bristle over Obama’s recent comments in the Atlantic magazine, in which he said he regretted trusting Europeans to stabilize Libya after the 2011 death of strongman Moammar Gadhafi. He specifically said Cameron had become “distracted by a range of other things” while Libya devolved into chaos.

    The post Obama meets with Cameron amid Brexit debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    CARE aid worker Ninja Taprogge describes the destruction and disheartened people in Ecuador’s earthquake zone.

    Ecuadorians faced more aftershocks this week as they continued to comb through the rubble caused by Saturday’s deadly earthquake.

    At least 587 people have died and thousands more were wounded in the 7.8-magnitude quake that hit the South American nation on April 16. More than 23,000 people have lost their homes.

    PBS NewsHour Weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan spoke with Ninja Taprogge, an aid worker with CARE, on Friday about how the residents are faring.

    Residents walk past a collapsed home on April 19, 2016 after an earthquake struck off the Pacific coast, in Pedernales, Ecuador. Photo by Henry Romero/Reuters

    Residents walk past a collapsed home on April 19 in Pedernales, Ecuador. Photo by Henry Romero/Reuters

    “The situation is just terrible,” said Taprogge. Upon arrival, “the first thing that came to my mind is that there’s a really bad smell of dead bodies everywhere. It really touched my heart.”

    Because of the continued tremors, people are choosing to camp in the mountains rather than remain in the cities. “They are totally afraid to stay there,” she said.

    People are pictured at a temporary camp on a hill close to Jama on April 19 after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast. Photo by Guillermo Granja/Reuters

    A family takes refuge at a temporary camp on a hill close to Jama on April 19 after an earthquake struck off Ecuador’s Pacific coast. Photo by Guillermo Granja/Reuters

    Aid organizations are distributing bottled water and mosquito nets to the homeless to try to stave off the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.

    Although roads so far are basically passable, the clean-up process is arduous because of the lack of heavy-duty equipment. “People are using their hands to get debris out of their houses,” Taprogge said. “It will take years to build back safer.”

    The post Quake-stricken Ecuadorians take refuge in the outdoors appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Concia (fried and marinated zucchini). Reprinted from Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City. Copyright © 2016 by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Kristina Gill. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers,  an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

    Concia (fried and marinated zucchini). Reprinted from Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City. Copyright © 2016 by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Kristina Gill. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

    Spicy fish with couscous. Fried zucchini. Anchovy and frisée casserole.

    These aren’t the spaghetti-and-red-sauce Italian dishes that many of us are familiar with. They’re in a different corner of Italian cuisine, one that stretches back hundreds of years to the establishment of the Jewish community in Rome. “Tasting Rome,” a new cookbook by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill, explores that history amid the larger picture of Roman cuisine.

    “The way that Romans eat today is totally transformed from that uber-traditional, classic approach,” Parla said. “Rome, like all cities, evolves.”

    In 1492, Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition arrived in Rome from Sicily and parts of Spain. Some continued their voyage to settle in the Balkans, but a small number settled in Rome. A unique local cuisine took root, formed by a combination of what was most readily available (bitter greens, artichokes), locally farmed (mackerel, sardines) and cheapest (poor cuts of meat, which took hours of simmering to soften).

    The community’s palate diversified with the arrival of thousands of Jewish refugees from Libya, which became a hostile environment for Jews in 1967 during the aftermath of the Six-Day War with Israel. About 4,000 Jews left Libya for Rome, and in 1969, Qaddafi expelled Libya’s remaining Jews, growing the community in Rome.

    This brought Libyan flavors and ways of cooking — new spices, filo dessert and couscous, among others — into the Roman Jewish tradition, Parla said. These dishes “feel like they’re right off the page of a North African menu, and indeed they are,” Parla said.

    Gill and Parla worked with this history to create a chapter in their book showcasing Roman Jewish recipes. Parla, who holds a Masters degree in Italian gastronomic culture, had studied Roman culture for years; for a previous project, Gill collected more than 100 recipes from taxi drivers who she met in Rome.

    They wanted to “showcase the variety of flavors that are distinct to this community that you wouldn’t necessarily find in mainstream Catholic traditions,” Parla said. “The sweet and sour flavors, spiced desserts, the zucchini, the umami-rich pasta with bottarga, in contrast to the mullet roe and bitter greens. There are these distinct flavors.”

    You can find two of their recipes, both kosher for Passover, below.

    Red mullet with onions, pine nuts, and raisins. Reprinted from Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City. Copyright © 2016 by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Kristina Gill. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers,  an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

    Red mullet with onions, pine nuts, and raisins. Reprinted from Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City. Copyright © 2016 by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Kristina Gill. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

    Triglie con cipolle, pinoli, e uvetta

    Red mullet with onions, pine nuts, and raisins
    Serves 4 to 6

    Ingredients

    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
    Sea salt
    1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
    1/3 cup raisins
    1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    2 pounds whole red mullet, scaled, cleaned, rinsed, and salted

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Heat the olive oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions, season with salt, and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the pine nuts, raisins, vinegar, and 1/2 cup water. Place the fish on top and bring the liquid to a simmer.

    Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then uncover and continue cooking until the fish is cooked through, 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

    Concia

    Fried and marinated zucchini (pictured above)
    Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish or makes 3 to 4 sandwiches

    Ingredients

    2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    1/4 cup fresh mint or basil leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
    2/3 cup white wine vinegar
    Neutral oil, for frying
    6 or 7 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (6 1/2 cups sliced)
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    Extra-virgin olive oil, for dressing

    Directions

    Combine the garlic, mint, and vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside.

    Line a wire rack with paper towels. In a medium frying pan or cast-iron skillet, heat 2 inches of neutral oil to 350°F. Fry the zucchini in small batches until golden brown or darker, if you wish, and transfer to the rack to drain. Season with the salt.

    Add the zucchini to the vinegar marinade and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

    Serve garnished with additional fresh mint and drizzled with olive oil, on its own as a side dish or as a sandwich filling: Slice open bread such as Passi’s Ciabattina, fill with concia, and drizzle with some leftover marinade.

    Note: If the zucchini are very bitter, salt them in advance. Place the zucchini slices in a colander set over a bowl or over the sink and sprinkle with salt. Allow the slices to sit for an hour or two; some liquid will drain out. Rinse and pat dry before frying.

    The post Cook these classic Roman Jewish recipes for Passover appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    In a news conference Friday, Carver County, Minnesota, Sheriff Jim Olson mourned the death of music superstar Prince, calling the singer a “community member and a good neighbor.”

    MORE: Prince, music icon whose influence spanned four decades, has died

    Olson said the sheriff’s department in the Minneapolis suburbs where Prince lived and worked were still conducting an “ongoing investigation.”

    Here are some of the details from the news conference with Olson, and Martha Weaver, a spokesperson for the Midwest Medical Examiner’s office:

    • Olson said staff from Paisley Park were unable to contact the 57-year-old singer Thursday morning, and so went to the compound where he lived and worked, and found him alone and unresponsive in his elevator.
    • Police received a 911 call from Paisley Park at 9:43 a.m. CDT. Chanhassen Fire Department, the sheriff’s office and an ambulance responded.

    • Responders found the singer unresponsive in the elevator, administered CPR, but it was unsuccessful. They pronounced him dead at 10:07 a.m.

    • The Midwest Medical Examiner’s office was then contacted. There were no obvious signs of trauma.

    • Olson would not divulge what, if anything, was found or removed from the compound in the investigation, but he said there was no reason to believe it was a suicide. He said it was common to open an investigation under these circumstances.

    • The investigation is still ongoing, bringing in other jurisdictions, but Carver County finished processing the scene in Chanhassen, Minnesota, late yesterday afternoon.

    • Weaver said the autopsy was conducted Friday morning, and the full results will take several weeks, which is not unusual. She said Prince’s body has been returned to family.

    • Olson said he believed Prince was last seen alive 8 p.m. Wednesday night at Paisley Park.

    • The sheriff also said that officers did not use narcan, which is administered when someone is overdosing on opiates. He said his deputies have been carrying the drug for two years.

    Watch Watch Prince wail on ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ on PBS.

    The post Sheriff: Prince found alone, with no signs of trauma appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Authorities are searching for a suspect and motive after victims believed to be five adults and two children were found shot dead “executive-style” in three homes along a rural Ohio road Friday, the Associate Press reported.

    The victims are all believed to be family members, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader confirmed during a press conference Friday afternoon, the agency reported.

    The post At least seven found dead after ‘execution-style’ killings in rural Ohio appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    LONDON — President Barack Obama called on Friday for the overturning of a North Carolina law that requires transgender people to use public bathrooms conforming to the sex on their birth certificates and restricts protections for LGBT people.

    Obama criticized the state law and others targeting LGBT people during a news conference Friday in London. The United Kingdom had put out a travel advisory Friday warning British citizens about possible discrimination if they travel to certain U.S. states.

    Obama said he wanted the British to know that people in North Carolina and other states that have pursued similar legislation are “wonderful people” and that British citizens should feel free to come and enjoy themselves. He said he believes they’ll be treated with “extraordinary hospitality.”

    “I also think the laws that have been passed there are wrong and should be overturned,” Obama said.

    The president explained that he believed the laws were in response to “politics, in part,” as well as to “some strong emotions that are generated by people.”

    Obama also emphasized that some of the law’s proponents are “good people.”

    “Although I respect their different viewpoints, I think it’s very important for us not to send signals that anybody is treated differently,” Obama said.

    North Carolina’s so-called bathroom law, among other things, requires transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate in state government buildings as well as public schools and universities.

    North Carolina state Senate leader Phil Berger, a Republican, and one of the most vocal supporters of the law, responded to Obama’s comments in a press release stating that “not every father has the luxury of secret service agents protecting his daughters’ right to privacy in the girls’ bathroom.”

    Berger has said the law protects women and girls from men using the false pretense of being transgender to enter women’s restrooms and locker rooms.

    The post Obama says North Carolina law should be overturned appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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