Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

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

older | 1 | .... | 807 | 808 | (Page 809) | 810 | 811 | .... | 1175 | newer

    0 0

    The FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitive poster for Osama Bin Laden with the word "DECEASED" printed in red across it hangs on the wall at the FBI Headquarters in Washington, November 26, 2013.  REUTERS/Larry Downing   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY) - RTX15U8F

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Five years ago,U.S. special operations forces launched one of the most daring raids in history. They invaded a U.S. ally to kill the most wanted man on the planet.

    I recorded this conversation last week with NewsHour special correspondent Nick Schifrin, who visited the scene shortly after the battle.

    Nick Schifrin was the first Western reporter to arrive in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that day, and delivered exclusive, extraordinary video, images from inside the compound just hours after bin Laden was killed.

    At the time, Nick was ABC News correspondent in the region. And now he’s a NewsHour special correspondent.

    And he joins me in the studio.

    So, what did we see in that video?

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Hari, we saw how the world’s most wanted man lived and how he died.

    In terms of how he lived, we see a bedroom, a large bed, bigger than any bed anywhere else in the house. We saw the medications he was on, very simple medications available at the local pharmacy. We saw a pantry where there was a week’s worth of food stored up. We saw so many signs of children.

    There was a red wagon outside in the backyard. There were 12 kids living there. Half of them were bin Laden’s. We also saw a satellite dish outside. That was a one-way communication device used to watch TV on that dish, of course, never used it to communicate with the outside world.

    And, of course, we saw how he died, the pools of blood in his bedroom and the room of Khaled, his son, and the mess that Navy SEALs left behind. They ransacked the room where all the computers were. And all the files from those computers became what intelligence officials referred to as the Abbottabad files.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Here we are five years later. The news is almost — almost on a daily basis mentions ISIS. It doesn’t mention al-Qaida so much. Is there — explain the shift.


    I think, as one longtime al-Qaida puts it, al-Qaida has kind of like become Microsoft. It’s still got a decent share of the market, but it’s not preeminent. It’s not really seen as cutting edge. And it doesn’t really appeal to the younger generation.

    And that is because, of course what we call core al-Qaida, the al-Qaida leadership as it was defined in 9/11 and the years after, has been decimated. And that started before bin Laden was killed, about two or three years before, probably 2009. The CIA moved a lot of assets and intelligence and technology into the region, and drones started picking off these leaders.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What about the al-Qaida affiliates that have spread in other parts of the world and still seem pretty active? I mean, are these essentially franchise operations?

    NICK SCHIFRIN: That’s exactly what it is.

    And there was a reason that they were created even before bin Laden was killed, because core al-Qaida was on the run. So you had to have these affiliates. And they still have some success. And that’s really still the threat of al-Qaida today, the most prominent one, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen.

    That’s the group that has come closest to attacking the West. You had the underwear bomber, if you remember, that print cartridge bomb that didn’t go off. And, also, one of the members of the team that attacked Charlie Hebdo in Paris probably got training from al-Qaida.

    But what they have succeeded at recently is one of bin Laden’s other core tenants, not only attacking the West, but really ingratiating the local population, again, something ISIS doesn’t do.

    And what AQAP has done in Yemen recently is worked with local tribal chiefs. And that has allowed them to actually gain ground in Yemen. So, right now, they are actually doing quite well in Yemen.

    There’s three more affiliates. The most prominent one, other than AQAP, is al-Nusra in Syria, again, also working with the local population, working with other groups that fight Assad, no longer only focused on the West.

    AQIM in Northwest Africa has had some headline-grabbing attacks recently, although not quite clear how organized they are as a group anymore. And, lastly, Al-Shabaab, totally locally focused on the Somali government and Kenyans who have come into Somalia.

    So, to use a sports metaphor, al-Qaida still fields a team. They’re still on the field, but not a lot of long passes anymore, not a lot of touchdowns, trying to gain two, three yards at a time. And the coach, Zawahri, isn’t particularly well-liked by the players, can’t communicate that well. The bench is very weak, but still a threat.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Nick Schifrin, thanks so much.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Thanks a lot, Hari.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The raid on bin Laden’s compound was watched closely by President Obama and his national security advisers, among them, Leon Panetta, who was CIA director at the time. He watched the raid unfold in real time from the agency’s Langley headquarters.

    And he joins me now.

    So, Secretary, what was that day like for you? It was a culmination of a lot of work that went into it for years.

    LEON PANETTA, Former Secretary of Defense: It was.

    It was an awful lot of work that stretched back 10 years, almost to 9/11. And an awful lot of people deserve tremendous credit for that, the CIA, the intelligence agencies, those involved with the special forces operation.

    There were just an awful lot of people who did various pieces of the intelligence effort and the military effort that resulted in the raid itself. But it was — it was something that — as an individual responsible for kind of overseeing the operation from the CIA, it was a remarkable operation.

    And a lot of tribute goes to the bravery and courage of those who conducted it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Where is al-Qaida now, meaning, is the infrastructure, the network that Osama bin Laden exploited, does that still exist?

    LEON PANETTA: We have done a very good job at decimating al-Qaida’s leadership, particularly in Pakistan.

    And I think, obviously, the bin Laden operation was kind of the primary effort to go after the spiritual leader of al-Qaida. And so I think, generally, a good job at decimating their leadership.

    At the same time, al-Qaida’s probably metastasized, as we have seen with other terrorist operations in the Middle East. There are variations of al-Qaida that are still operating very much in the Middle East and North Africa.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Have we succeeded then as a policy to degrade their network to almost zero, or, as you mentioned, they have sort of sprung out into different branch operations in other parts of the world?

    LEON PANETTA: The reality is that terrorism remains a threat.

    It’s metastasized into ISIS. It’s metastasized into Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab. And so it continues to be very much a threat that the United States and other countries in the world have to focus on. This is a long-term effort.

    We have had some success, there is no question about it. We have gone after their leadership. We have done well to prevent another 9/11-type attack, but there remains an awful lot more work to be done in order to protect this country.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Five years on, have we fully understood the complicity of Pakistan in all this?

    LEON PANETTA: It’s — it’s been a challenging period to develop the relationship with Pakistan.

    Obviously, Pakistan was helpful in being able to work with us in many areas. Certainly, in the intelligence area, we worked together. On military efforts, we worked together. But, at the same time, Pakistan was difficult because they had a close relationship to various terrorist networks, and you were never quite sure just exactly where their loyalties would lie.

    And it was for that reason, very frankly, that when we were looking at the bin Laden operation, which we would have preferred, frankly, to have worked with Pakistan. But there are so many questions raised about whether or not we could trust them that the president decided that we should do it alone.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: When you look at the landscape from your vantage point, it seems like the terrorists learned more from us about how we hunted down bin Laden, how we went after organizations, their leadership infrastructure.

    And now we’re in an era where terror groups operate almost singularly, in cells. And it’s hard to find a single person that runs anything that we can go after.

    LEON PANETTA: Well, you’re right, in the sense that, just as we have learned how to confront terrorist groups and try to track them and go after their planning for possible attacks in this country, they have learned as well.

    They have learned, you know, a lot of our technology, our process, how we operate. And the result is that they operate much more in a lone wolf fashion, in the sense that, you know, they do outreach, they have individuals that are well-placed, but they minimize the contacts. They minimize the planning. And that makes them even a greater threat.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Secretary Leon Panetta, thanks so much for joining us.

    LEON PANETTA: Thank you very much.

    The post How al-Qaida has changed since bin Laden’s death appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    PoliMon (2)

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All eyes are on Indiana in the race for the White House.

    We examine the heightened significance of the Hoosier State in 2016 with our Politics Monday team, Tamara Keith of NPR and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report.

    So, one of the things that we saw Ted Cruz say in that earlier piece was a viable path to the candidacy, right, that he’s in this until that ends. Does that end tomorrow night for him?

    AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Hari, I have been arguing that it’s actually already over.

    I think that the race effectively ended last week with the primaries up and down the Northeast Corridor, and Donald Trump putting up such big numbers. He’s ahead in the polls right now in Indiana. He’s ahead in California. It’s going to be, I think, all but impossible for him to be stopped before we get to the convention.

    And even then, I think he’s going to get the 1,237 votes he needs before the convention. I just think the momentum is strongly behind him. Cruz never caught on. The stop Trump movement, it always had an antagonist, which was Donald Trump, but it never had a protagonist.

    And I think that was its biggest challenge. But there was never a challenge to voters, here’s what you can support. It was always, here is what you can be against.

    Voters want to vote — support someone. And they also like supporting a winner. And right now, Donald Trump looks like a winner.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, what about those stop Trump folks? Are they in denial? Is this an inevitability?

    TAMARA KEITH, NPR: They’re still working it.


    TAMARA KEITH: And Ted Cruz is campaigning extremely hard. His campaign, between his various surrogates, now his vice presidential pick, Carly Fiorina, they had 10 campaign stops in a single day. They are working very hard in Indiana.

    But it seems like, if Donald Trump wins in Indiana, after this disarmament pact was announced with Governor John Kasich, and, really, Ted Cruz has had Donald Trump to himself mostly, if he can’t win, Donald Trump’s going to be able to make a very strong argument: What are you doing if you can’t win in Indiana?

    And if Donald Trump is able to win all of the delegates in Indiana, he’d only need — he would be 85 percent of the way to clinching. That’s quite a long way toward clinching.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: This alliance between Kasich and Cruz, it sort of was on, on a Tuesday, and then off by a Saturday. Is it kind of still on? It seems that Kasich wasn’t campaigning in Indiana today.

    AMY WALTER: No, he wasn’t, but the stop Trump movement has spent almost as much money on television — these are these outside super PACs — in Indiana as they did in Wisconsin, where obviously Ted Cruz was successful.

    But, as I said, I think that voters are desperately looking for someone to vote for. So, this idea of just voting against Donald Trump really not catching fire. Plus, the one who is getting the momentum beyond what you’re seeing in the polling data is the endorsements, Donald Trump picking up endorsements from royalty in Indiana, everybody from Lou Holtz, the former Notre Dame coach, to Bobby Knight, the former Indiana coach.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Sports are — college sports are huge.

    AMY WALTER: Sports, big deal. The ring, the basketball ring, very big in Indiana.



    So, let’s shift gears to the Democratic side.


    HARI SREENIVASAN: Bernie Sanders still fighting it out. Is this as much of a race now in Indiana?

    TAMARA KEITH: Bernie Sanders — in Indiana, Bernie Sanders is demographically favored. The state looks good for him in that way. Polling shows him ahead — trailing somewhat, shows Clinton ahead.

    But if — talking to the campaigns, you get the feeling that they don’t really trust the polling and that they think Bernie could — Bernie Sanders could win in Indiana.

    And the challenge there, though, is he could wake up Wednesday morning and be further behind in the chase for pledged delegates than he was when he started. And what I mean is that he at this point needs to win every remaining contest by about 25 points — that’s a lot — if he wants to catch up to Hillary Clinton in pledged delegates.

    That’s why he held a press conference yesterday and he started pitching the idea very publicly of flipping superdelegates. He proposed having superdelegates support the will of the voters in their state. If that were to happen — we did the calculations — and Sanders would still be behind by about 500 delegates, combining superdelegates and pledged delegates.

    AMY WALTER: And the argument also doesn’t really work very well.

    It’s not very consistent with the Bernie Sanders message, which has been, I’m one of you, I’m the people, the people are standing up.

    Well, right now, the people have been voting for Hillary Clinton. He’s losing the popular vote. He’s only got about 41 percent of the popular vote, compared to her, somewhere around 56 percent. The pledged delegate count, he is behind.

    So to argue that the way I’m going to win is to get the insiders and the establishment to put me over the top, that sort of rings hollow for the guy who is running to break up the establishment.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Tamara Keith, meanwhile, we have seen Hillary Clinton almost pivot toward a general election posture.

    TAMARA KEITH: That’s absolutely happening.

    She’s campaigning in Appalachia today and tomorrow, a driving tour of these states. And what she’s doing, it is a combination. It is — she’s definitely in these states, campaigning for these states, but she’s using messaging and talking about issues that she thinks will carry her into the general election.

    The other thing is, she is also fighting with Donald Trump, and there was the woman card comment that Donald Trump made. He’s made it repeatedly, but he also made it on primary night last Tuesday. Her campaign announced today that they raised $2.4 million in three days on the woman card; 40 percent of those were new donors.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Wow. So, she has got kind of two flanks that she’s battling on.

    AMY WALTER: Yes, although I would argue she’s spending really more time focusing on the general election, and basically saying to Bernie Sanders this weekend, I hired general election campaign managers in the big swing states. That’s where my focus is. Yes, I’m still going to campaign for the primary, but the general election really has started.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, thanks so much.

    TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.

    AMY WALTER: Thank you.

    The post As candidates hustle in Indiana, signs that the general election has begun appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) gestures next to United Nations Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura during a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse  - RTX2CF37

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: The U.S. said progress is being made toward restoring a truce in Syria. That came as the Syrian military extended its own unilateral cease-fire in some areas, including Damascus. But violence continues to rage farther north in Aleppo.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Geneva today meeting with the U.N.’s envoy for Syria. Kerry expressed optimism, but stopped short of detailing truce proposals.

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: We are working over these next hours intensely in order to try to restore the cessation of hostilities and at the same time to raise the level of accountability that will accompany the day-to-day process of implementing this cease-fire.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: To that end, Kerry, who later spoke by phone with his counterpart in Moscow, said the U.S. and Russia agreed to station personnel around the clock in Geneva to better monitor a new truce.

    An Islamic State car bomb killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens more in Southwestern Baghdad today. Workers used shovels and water hoses to clear debris following the blast. Many of those killed were Shiite pilgrims commemorating the death of a revered eighth century imam.

    Puerto Rico has defaulted on a $422 million bond payment that was due today. Its officials warned, the U.S. territory’s debt crisis could soon worsen without the help of Congress.

    In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he hopes this creates a — quote — “new sense of urgency for lawmakers” to restore Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring authority. The island’s default will likely prompt lawsuits from creditors, and could foreshadow more problems to come when a much larger payment is due July 1.

    Nearly all of Detroit’s 97 public schools were forced to close today after teachers staged their latest sick-out. They protested the possibility that some of them won’t get paid through the summer if the debt-stricken school district doesn’t receive more funding from the state. Today’s closure impacted some 46,000 students.

    Cancer researchers today issued a warning to New England residents who get their drinking water from private wells. A study from the National Institutes of Health found a correlation between bladder cancer and arsenic levels in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont wells. Bladder cancer incidence in the region is 20 percent higher than the rest of the country. The risk is even greater if wells were dug before 1960, when arsenic-based pesticides were common.

    The person behind the digital currency Bitcoin may have finally been identified, after years of speculation. Craig Wright, an Australian entrepreneur and computer scientist, told several news agencies today he invented the currency back in 2009. Bitcoins allow consumers to purchase goods or services and exchange money anonymously without involving banks or other third parties.

    In an interview with the BBC, Wright said he came forward with reluctance.

    CRAIG WRIGHT, Entrepreneur: I didn’t decide. I had people decide this matter for me. And they are making life difficult, not for me, but my friends, my family, my staff. I don’t want money. I don’t want fame. I don’t want adoration. I just want to be left alone.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But several publications have questioned Wright’s claim. Earlier today, I spoke to Andy Greenberg, a senior writer from “Wired” via Google Hangouts. He said today’s revelation has raised even more questions.

    ANDY GREENBERG, WIRED: This has only gotten hairier as a story. It was unclear at first whether this was a hoax or whether we had found the creator of Bitcoin. And I think we have only gone further down that rabbit hole.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: For our full interview with Andy Greenberg, visit our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.

    On Wall Street today, stocks bounced back after last week’s losses. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 117 points to close at 17891. The Nasdaq rose 42 points. And the S&P 500 added 16.

    The first U.S. cruise liner in nearly 40 years docked in Cuba this morning. Passengers waved to locals as the 700-passenger ship operated by Carnival Cruise subsidiary Fathom Travel pulled into Havana. The arrival follows President Obama’s restoration of ties with Cuba in late 2014.

    For the record, Fathom Travel is a NewsHour underwriter.

    And some history was made in English soccer today. Leicester City has won the Barclays Premier League after overcoming 5,000-to-1 odds. The Foxes finished near the bottom of the league last year, but lost only three times this season, and clinched the title today, when second-place Tottenham played to a tie. It’s Leicester City’s first championship in the club’s 132-year history.

    Still to come on the NewsHour: Politics Monday, a look ahead to Indiana’s make-or-break election for Ted Cruz; then, CIA director Leon Panetta on the fight against al-Qaida five years after Osama bin Laden’s death; how Warren Buffett’s son is helping Africa feed itself; and much more.

    The post News Wrap: Kerry expresses optimism for renewed Syrian truce appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S., May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski - RTX2CD7Y

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s the eve of the presidential primaries in the Hoosier State; 57 delegates are at stake for Republicans. And Ted Cruz is trying to wrestle whatever he can away from his rival Donald Trump.

    John Yang has our report.

    MAN: You are the problem, politician. You are the problem.

    JOHN YANG: Ted Cruz went for broke today, trying to pull off a crucial primary win in Indiana. This afternoon, he faced off with backers of Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: I think anyone that wants to be president owes it to the people of this state to come in front of you and ask for your support. And I’m running to be everyone’s president, those who vote for me and those who don’t.

    MAN: We don’t want you.

    SEN. TED CRUZ: Well, you’re entitled to your view, sir. And I will respect it.


    MAN: Do the math.


    MAN: You asked Kasich to drop out. It is your turn.

    SEN. TED CRUZ: Well…

    MAN: Take your own words.

    JOHN YANG: But the words drop out don’t seem to be in Cruz’s vocabulary, not yet anyway.

    SEN. TED CRUZ: I am in for the distance as long. As we have a viable path to victory, I am competing to the end.

    And the reason is simple. Listen, this isn’t about me. It isn’t about Donald Trump. It isn’t about any of the candidates. This is about our country and our future.

    JOHN YANG: An Associated Press analysis has Cruz trailing Trump in the race for the nomination by more than 400 delegates. Cruz won’t win the delegates he needs to win for a first-ballot nomination, so he is trying to keep Trump from locking up the nomination before the convention in Cleveland.

    Trump spent the day making his final pitch in the Indianapolis area.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Honestly, if we win Indiana, it’s over. It’s over.


    DONALD TRUMP: And if we don’t, I will win it next week, or the week after, or the week after. It’s fine, because they have no path, whereas I have a very easy path. I mean, we will win it on the first ballot.

    JOHN YANG: Farther south, in Evansville, Democrat Bernie Sanders was whipping up support, not just for the Indiana primary, but also for his effort to keep his campaign alive until the convention.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: The way the system works is, you have establishment candidates who win virtually all of the superdelegates. It makes it hard for insurgent candidacies like ours to win. But you know what? We’re going to fight for every last vote. And we’re going to…


    JOHN YANG: Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead in delegates and seemed to be looking beyond the convention. Today, she campaigned in Kentucky.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Here in Eastern Kentucky, and obviously West Virginia, and Southeast Ohio, Appalachia coal has taken a huge hit. Talk about a ripple effect. It is just decimating communities.

    JOHN YANG: Late today, she paid a visit to West Virginia.

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

    HARI SREENIVASAN: We will take a deeper look at the presidential campaign with Politics Monday right after the news summary.

    The post Front-runners look to shake rival candidates in Indiana appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    If you don't want your money to be swindled out from under you, don't invest it in a brokerage account, says Larry Kotlikoff. Photo by  shironosov/iStock/360 via Getty Images.

    Here are five Social Security gotchas and five secrets from the new and revised book, “Get What’s Yours.” Photo by shironosov/iStock/360 via Getty Images.

    Author’s Note: The new Social Security law passed last November has forced many (if not most) households to revise their optimal collection strategies. This is particularly the case now that we’ve passed Social Security’s April 29 deadline for providing spousal and child benefits while one’s own retirement benefit remains in suspension. The new law forced me and my co-authors, Paul Solman and Phil Moeller, to rewrite our “Get What’s Yours” book. The revised edition, published by Simon & Schuster, is out today. It explains the new law and how best to adjust to it. But it also provides some new secrets and gotchas that we came across in the almost 15 months since the first edition appeared. To our amazement, the first edition became a #1 New York Times bestseller. We’re hoping the second will do just as well. Our hope is not based on a need to succeed. Rather, things have changed so much for so many people that we’re worried that readers of the first edition will take that advice and run with it when it’s no longer completely legitimate.

    And with that, here are five Social Security gotchas and five secrets from the new book.

    Larry Kotlikoff, co-author of “Get What’s Yours”


    1. If you take two benefits at once, you lose one of the two.

    Social Security won’t pay you two different benefits at the same time. Instead it will pay you the larger of the two benefits (or something pretty close to this amount). For example, if you are married and take or are forced to take your retirement benefit when you take your spousal benefit, you’ll lose your retirement benefit if your spousal benefit is larger. Social Security won’t say it has eliminated your retirement benefit. Instead, it will claim it’s giving you your retirement benefit plus the difference or excess between the two. But, in reality, it has used the spousal benefit to wipe out your retirement benefit. Spouses and qualified divorced spouses who were 62 before Jan. 2, 2016, can take just their spousal or divorced spousal benefits starting at full retirement age and their retirement benefit at 70. Those spouses who were widowed before taking their retirement benefit can take their widow(er) benefit before or after they take their retirement benefit. The same holds for qualified divorced widow(er)s.

    2. If you are forced to take your retirement benefit at the same time as your spousal or divorced spousal benefit, your retirement benefit will generally wipe out your spousal or divorced spousal benefit.

    As we discuss in Chapter 3, the formula that takes your average indexed monthly earnings and turns it into your primary insurance amount — your full retirement benefit — is highly progressive. Benefits paid to lower-paid workers are a much higher percentage of their pre-retirement incomes than is the case for highly paid workers. Consequently, even if you’ve earned relatively low covered wages during your working years, taking your retirement benefit will likely mean never receiving a spousal benefit, because 1) taking your retirement benefit keeps you from ever taking another benefit by itself, and 2) spousal benefits are at best only half of your spouse’s primary insurance amount, so your retirement benefit will likely exceed your spousal or divorced spousal benefit and, therefore, wipe it out. Stated differently, as shown in Chapter 10, excess spousal benefits or divorced spousal benefits are generally zero or very small if we’re talking about two spouses or two ex‑spouses who earned even modest wages.

    3. Being deemed before age 70 leads to permanently reduced retirement benefits.

    Apart from those grandfathered against post full retirement age deeming, being deemed whether before or after full retirement age, but before age 70, forces you to take your retirement benefit earlier than 70, which means your retirement benefit will permanently fall below its value were you to start it at age 70. Furthermore, if your excess spousal benefit is zero, you’ll receive only your reduced retirement benefit.

    Yes, you can undo some of the damage by suspending your retirement benefit at full retirement age and starting it up again at 70 at a 32 percent higher real (after inflation) level. But this 32 percent kicker coming from the delayed retirement credit will be applied to your reduced retirement benefit, not to your full retirement benefit. So once this gotcha gets you, you are gotten for life.

    4. You can contribute to Social Security your entire working life and receive nothing whatsoever in extra benefits.

    Suppose you start working at age 16 and continue working through full retirement age. Every week, week in and week out, you and your employer pay 12.4 percent of every dollar you earn in Social Security payroll (FICA) taxes. Also, suppose you earn relatively little in absolute terms as well as relative to your spouse. Then you may do best to wait to collect your spousal benefit starting at full retirement age (spousal benefits don’t increase after full retirement age) assuming your partner has filed for his or her retirement benefit, and you were 62 before Jan. 2, 2016.

    At age 70, you file for your own retirement benefit, but now you get hit by Gotcha #1. And if your spousal benefit exceeds your age-70 retirement benefit (that is, inclusive of the delayed retirement credits), your total payment will continue to equal just your spousal benefit. Yes, Social Security will describe your total check as consisting of your own age-70 retirement benefit plus your excess spousal benefit. But the sum of these two components will just equal your spousal benefit. So you’ll get nothing in extra benefits for all the years you contributed. Furthermore, when your spouse dies, you’ll collect a survivor benefit based on their earnings record, which will be even larger than your spousal benefit, which is larger than your own retirement benefit.

    5. Suspending your retirement benefits can cost you big bucks.

    This gotcha pertains to those whose auxiliary benefit is larger than their retirement benefit even inclusive of the maximum amount of delayed retirement credits that can be accumulated. For these people, the amount by which their auxiliary benefit exceeds their retirement benefit is treated by Social Security as their excess auxiliary benefit.

    Now suppose you are in this boat and you decide to suspend your retirement benefit and restart it at 70. Under the new law, you can’t collect any excess benefit of any kind during the period your benefit is suspended. So you get nothing whatsoever until you reach 70. At 70 you restart your retirement benefit only to find that the total payment is no larger than you would have received during the suspension period had you not suspended. Yes, your retirement benefit is larger thanks to the delayed retirement credits. But given our assumption that your excess benefit at 70 is still positive, this excess benefit is lower by exactly the amount by which your retirement benefit is larger. Hence, suspending in this situation is simply a decision not to take benefits for the period of suspension. It does nothing to raise your total future benefit payment.

    In other words, you would have suspended for nothing, losing potentially thousands of dollars in lifetime benefits. If you realize you made a mistake in suspending your retirement benefit (and seeing no change in your monthly payment is the clincher), you may be able to undo the mistake and recover all your suspended payments — but, it appears, only if you suspended before April 30, 2016.


    1. Unless you ask, you won’t receive.

    Social Security doesn’t know to whom you are married, whom you’ve divorced, whom you will divorce, whether your spouse or ex-spouse(s) died, whether you have young or disabled children, whether you are taking care of dependent parents. It knows nothing about your family — absolutely nothing. So if you can collect benefits for yourself based on the work histories of current or former relatives or if current relatives can collect benefits based on your work record, you must tell the agency. Furthermore, if your marital situation changes, or a former or current spouse dies, and this can affect your current benefits, you must tell the agency. Don’t expect your benefits to change unless you tell the agency.

    2. If your spouse was 62 by Jan. 2, she or he can still collect full spousal benefits on your record between 66 and 70 (while waiting until 70 to collect her or his own retirement benefit) even if you didn’t suspend before April 30, 2016 — provided you are taking your own retirement benefit.

    Married couples are connected at the hip when it comes to making collection decisions that can involve full or even excess spousal benefits. What one spouse does affects what the other can collect.

    3. There may be no advantage to waiting until full retirement age to collect widow(er) or divorced widow(er) benefits.

    If you are below full retirement age and are a) widowed (or were widowed, but remarried after age 60) or b) qualified, widowed and divorced (including those who remarried after reaching 60), and your deceased spouse took retirement benefits early, there may be no incentive in waiting to collect survivor benefits even before you reach full retirement age. This is due to the RIB-LIM widow(er) benefit formula, which entails no increase in this benefit past a certain point that comes before full retirement age, even up to 51 months before full retirement age.

    4. Already collecting? Consider suspending and restarting your benefits later.

    If you are already collecting your retirement benefit and want to raise it, there may be a way. If you are between full retirement age and age 70, you have the option to suspend your retirement benefit and restart it at any time up to age 70. Social Security will add its delayed retirement credits — 8 percent a year or 32 percent for four years — to your existing benefit.

    But be very careful. Some people suspend their retirement benefits and restart them four or so years later only to find their benefit hasn’t gone up. These are folks who are receiving their own retirement benefit plus an excess spousal benefit, an excess divorced spousal benefit, an excess widow(er) benefit or an excess divorced widow(er) benefit. The excess benefits are designed to decline dollar for dollar with the increase in one’s own retirement benefit due to accretion of delayed retirement credits. This dollar for dollar reduction in excess benefits leaves the total payment when it’s taken unchanged unless the excess benefit has been reduced to zero before the retirement benefit stops growing. Even then, it may not pay to file and suspend, because what’s lost in the short run may not be made up in the long run when properly valued.

    5. Filing early can be a winning strategy for some.

    If you have a spouse and children who can collect on your record, starting your retirement benefit early can permit your family members and, indeed, your ex-spouse, to collect on your work record sooner than would otherwise be the case. But doing so comes at a cost of permanently reducing your age-70 retirement benefit.

    The post 5 secrets and 5 gotchas to help you navigate Social Security’s new rules appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Century Center in South Bend, Indiana, U.S., May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski - RTX2CIH8

    Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Century Center in South Bend, Indiana on May 2. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters

    INDIANAPOLIS — In a stunning triumph for a political outsider, Donald Trump all but clinched the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday with a resounding victory in Indiana that knocked rival Ted Cruz out of the race and cleared Trump’s path to a likely November face-off with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

    Trump still needs about 200 delegates to formally secure the nomination, but Cruz’s decision to end his campaign removed his last major obstacle.

    “Ted Cruz — I don’t know if he likes me or he doesn’t like me — but he is one hell of a competitor,” Trump said of his last fierce competitor whom he had dubbed “lyin’ Ted.” Trump, in a victory speech that was much lower-key than usual, promised victory in November, vowing anew to put “America first.”

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

    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders eked out a victory over Clinton in Indiana, but the outcome will not slow the former secretary of state’s march to the Democratic nomination. Heading into Tuesday’s voting, Clinton had 92 percent of the delegates she needs.

    Clinton and Trump now plunge into a six- month battle for the presidency, with the future of America’s immigration laws, health care system and military posture around the world at stake. While Clinton heads into the general election with significant advantages with minority voters and women, Democrats have vowed to not underestimate Trump as his Republican rivals did for too long.

    For months, Republican leaders considered him a fringe candidate and banked on voters shifting toward more traditional contenders once the primary contests began. But Trump proved to be surprisingly durable, tapping into Republicans’ deep anger with party leaders and outlasting more than a dozen experienced political rivals.

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared the race over, saying on Twitter that Trump would be the party’s presumptive nominee.

    “We all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton,” he wrote.

    Indeed, Trump’s first challenge will be uniting a Republican Party that has been roiled by his candidacy. While some GOP leaders have warmed to the real estate mogul, others have promised to never vote for him and see him as a threat to their party’s very existence.

    Even before the Indiana results were finalized, some conservative leaders were planning a Wednesday meeting to assess the viability of launching a third party candidacy to compete with him in the fall.

    One outside group trying to stop Trump suggested it would shift its attention to helping Republicans in other races. Rory Cooper, a senior adviser to the Never Trump super PAC, said the group will help protect “Republican incumbents and down-ballot candidates, by distinguishing their values and principles from that of Trump, and protecting them from a wave election.”

    Supporters of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz attend the Indiana primary night rally where he announced that he is dropping out of the race for 2016 Republican presidential nomination in Indianapolis on May 3. Photo by Chris Bergin/ Reuters

    Supporters of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz attend the Indiana primary night rally where he announced that he is dropping out of the race for 2016 Republican presidential nomination in Indianapolis on May 3. Photo by Chris Bergin/ Reuters

    Indiana was viewed as the last gasp for Cruz, the fiery Texas conservative. He campaigned aggressively in the state, securing the support of Indiana’s governor and announcing businesswoman Carly Fiorina as his running mate, but lost momentum in the closing days.

    READ MORE: A primary day in the life of an unbound delegate

    Cruz had clung to the hope that he could keep Trump from reaching the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination and push the race to a rare contested convention.

    “I’ve said I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory; tonight I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed,” Cruz told a somber crowd in Indianapolis.

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich is now the only other Republican left in the race. But Kasich has won just one primary — his home state — and trails Trump by nearly 900 delegates.

    Kasich pledged to stay in the race, with his campaign manager saying the governor would continue to “offer the voters a clear choice for our country.”

    Only about half of Indiana’s Republican primary voters said they were excited or optimistic about any of their remaining candidates becoming president, according to exit polls. Still, most said they probably would support whoever won for the GOP.

    Clinton, too, needs to win over Sanders’ enthusiastic supporters. The Vermont senator has cultivated a deeply loyal following in particular among young people, a group Democrats count on in the general election.

    READ MORE: Why Trump and Sanders are blasting the same enemy in Indiana (and it’s not Clinton)

    Sanders has conceded his strategy hinges on persuading superdelegates to back him over the former secretary of state. Superdelegates are Democratic Party insiders who can support the candidate of their choice, regardless of how their states vote. And they favor Clinton by a nearly 18-1 margin.

    Exit polls showed about 7 in 10 Indiana Democrats said they’d be excited or at least optimistic about either a Clinton or Sanders presidency. Most said they would support either in November.

    The exit polls were conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

    With Sanders’ narrow victory Tuesday, he picked up at least 42 of Indiana’s 83 delegates. Clinton now has 2,201 delegates to Sanders’ 1,399. That includes pledged delegates from primaries and caucuses, as well as superdelegates.

    Trump now has at least 1,041 delegates. Cruz exits the race with 565, while Kasich has 152.

    Associated Press reporters Julie Pace and Scott Bauer wrote this report. Pace reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report from Washington.

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

    The post Trump virtually clinches Republican presidential nomination appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    People hold placards during a rally to commemorate World Press Freedom Day in Caracas, Venezuela. The placards read, "In check the right to information" (L), "No media nobody listens" (top R) and "Dictatorship is silence and darkness." Photo by Marco Bello/Reuters

    People hold placards during a rally to commemorate World Press Freedom Day in Caracas, Venezuela. The placards read, “In check the right to information” (L), “No media nobody listens” (top R) and “Dictatorship is silence and darkness.” Photo by Marco Bello/Reuters

    While many journalists and press freedom proponents celebrate World Press Freedom Day today, other journalists in countries like Turkey and Egypt continue to be detained by respective governments.

    More than 85 percent of countries in the world live with either partial or no press freedom.

    In 2015, press freedom declined to its lowest point in 12 years, according to a 2016 press freedom report released late last month by Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization to globally expand freedom and democracy. The report was based on a set of 23 methodology questions covering legal, political, and economic environments in which print, broadcast, and digital media operate.

    Only a small percentage, 13 percent, of countries throughout the world enjoy press freedom, the report said.

    World Press Freedom was proclaimed in 1993 by the UN General Assembly and serves to inform citizens of world violations of press freedom, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization website.

    Freedom House also reported that the largest press freedom declines were in Bangladesh, Turkey, Burundi, France, Serbia, Yemen, Egypt, Macedonia, and Zimbabwe.

    Just today, the Associated Press wrote that a Turkish columnist appeared in court, accused of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the past year there have been a stream of crackdowns on the press in Turkey.

    Meanwhile, in Cairo, Egypt, two Egyptian journalists were arrested on Sunday when government security forces stormed the Egyptian Press Syndicate’s headquarters, The Middle East Monitor reported. Egypt has also experienced on-going arrests with long-awaited trials for foreign and local journalists.

    The post World Press Freedom Day, a reminder that the press isn’t free in most countries appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    Jahana Hayes (L), awarded the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, reacts as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Jahana Hayes (L), awarded the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, reacts as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is honoring as National Teacher of the Year a Connecticut woman who has demonstrated through her own life that students can overcome obstacles.

    Obama says high school teacher Jahana Hayes’ enthusiasm makes her a natural talent in the classroom.

    The 44-year-old history teacher grew up in a Waterbury housing project and became a mother while in high school. She says the influence of her own teachers taught her that a school’s job sometimes overlaps with the job of parents. She says she wants her students to know there are no dead ends.

    Obama says Hayes is more than a teacher; she’s also a counselor, confidante and mentor to high school students in Waterbury.

    Hayes teaches at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury.

    Video by PBS NewsHour

    The post Obama honors Connecticut woman as Teacher of the Year appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0


    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally, the latest in our occasional series on poets and what inspires them.

    Tonight, Ocean Vuong, recently chosen for the prestigious Whiting Award. His new book, “Night Sky With Exit Wounds,” explores the legacy of the Vietnam War and the power of oral history.

    OCEAN VUONG, Author, “Night Sky With Exit Wounds”: Sometimes, people say, well, how does it feel to be the first poet? And I say, I’m not the first poet. I come from a long line of poets. They were not documented.

    And it’s interesting how poems are carried from one culture to another. In Vietnam, there’s much dependency on the body. One needs to have the body — in a way, the body is a book, that one needs the body to remember the poem, sing the poems and pass them along.

    My grandmother, she was a rice farmer. In a sense, all Vietnamese farmers were poets, because while they were working, they sang, and the songs helped the rhythm of the harvesting and the seeding of the fields.

    But, also, the daily news of life, and ultimately, when the war came, where the bombs were falling, information started to come into the rhyming couplets in the poems and the songs. And this is how information was passed.

    In the poem “Aubade with Burning City,” I took Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” the lyrics, and wove it through a scene about the collapse of Saigon.

    When my grandmother would tell me about the collapse of Saigon, she would say, “Saigon, this sounds very strange, but I remember it fell during the snow song.” And as a child listening to that, it was so surreal to me. That was the song that was used as a coded message for American personnel to evacuate.

    So, you can imagine the city falling apart during this beautiful, celebratory song.

    “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. Outside, a soldier spits out his cigarette as footsteps fill the square like stones fallen from the sky. May all your Christmases be white as the traffic guard unstraps his holster, his fingers running the hem of her white dress. A single candle. Their shadows, two wicks. A military truck speeds through the intersection, children shrieking inside.

    “A bicycle hurled through a store window. When the dust rises, a black dog lies panting in the road, its hind legs crushed into the shine of a white Christmas.”

    When my grandmother passed away in 2008, and I wanted to preserve that memory landscape on paper, I was faced with where to break her lines. And, of course, the oral tradition doesn’t offer a page. In a way, I was collaborating with this — with my grandmother beyond her life.

    When we immigrated to America, all she had were these songs and poems. My mother was also illiterate. She — her father is an American veteran. When we arrived in America, she went right into the nail salon to work, manual labor. And she made it her goal to teach me how to write.

    And the poem “The Gift” is very interesting because she only knew A, B, C, three letters. But she would have me write those letters anyway.

    “A, B, C, A, B, C, A — the pencil snaps, the B bursting its belly as dark dust blows through a blue-lined sky. Don’t move, she says, as she picks a wing bone of graphite from the yellow carcass, slides it back between my fingers.”

    We look at this wall, the interesting and tense relationship I have with the war is that, without it, I wouldn’t be here. And if I were to turn around and walk down this memorial and find my grandfather’s name, I wouldn’t be alive if his name was there.

    That is — the facts and the truths of what it means to be an American, is to be involved in this, and that perhaps — it’s seemingly so strange that a war in Vietnam and an American soldier would bring cause to a poet like me, a Vietnamese-American poet.

    “When they ask you where you’re from, tell them your name was fleshed from the toothless mouth of a war woman, that you were not born, but crawled headfirst into the hunger of dogs. My son, tell them the body is a blade that sharpens by cutting.”

    All of these people coming together out of violence, trying to do their best to make meaning out of their existence.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You can read more of Ocean Vuong’s work, along with all of our poetry coverage, on our Web site. That’s at PBS.org/NewsHour/poetry.

    The post Vietnamese-American poet contemplates his personal ties to the war appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0


    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now the latest addition to the “NewsHour” Bookshelf.

    It’s a very personal look at the changing role of grandparents and comes from longtime “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl, who has full-heartedly embraced the job in her new book, “Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting.”

    I talked with her recently.

    Welcome, Lesley Stahl.

    LESLEY STAHL, Author, “Becoming Grandma”: Thank you, Judy Woodruff.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we have known each other going back to being White House reporters under…

    LESLEY STAHL: The beginning of time, Judy.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: The beginning of time, President Carter, President Reagan.

    You are showing a side of yourself that people don’t see on “60 Minutes” here.

    LESLEY STAHL: Well, that’s true. I don’t go around saying, I’m a grandmother, although I feel it. I feel it. I want to tell everybody.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I will be honest right up front, I have serious grandmother envy. I’m dying to have grandchildren. Is it really as great as you make it out to be?

    LESLEY STAHL: It’s twice as great as I make it out to be.

    It’s — it’s an extraordinary new chapter that opens up suddenly, and no matter how many people tell you it’s the best thing that could ever happen to you, it’s — you don’t — you don’t understand what they mean until it happens to you, because it’s so full, body-full.

    It just takes you over in such an elation way, elated way, that you just can’t believe this new kind of emotion that you have never felt before.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And it’s something that you decided to write about. I mean, you could write about your career, about journalism, but it’s this.

    LESLEY STAHL: This felt right.

    And the reason I decided to do it is because I didn’t understand that emotion. What is that? Do all grandmothers have it? Turns out they do. And what is it and how do you explain it? Where does it come from?

    And once I started looking at that, then all these different avenues opened up to me. There’s a whole chapter on step-grandmothers. And I discovered that there are granny nannies. By that, I mean women taking care of their grandchildren on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Saturdays, helping their kids out. I just — the whole world opened up.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So much of the premise of this, Lesley, is that this is a new era of grandparenting. Our — grandmothers today are not what our grandparents were. And you write about, you know, a lot of us have had careers. You write about our hair color is different.


    LESLEY STAHL: We don’t play canasta.


    LESLEY STAHL: We go to work.

    You know, baby boomers are kind of the separate species of human being. And one of the things about baby boomers is that we want to be young. Let’s face it. And we’re young grandparents, because we’re baby boomers. And, of course, we determine everything as we go through our history. We’re such a big bulge.

    We’re young. We’re energetic. We’re spending infinitely more money on our grandchildren than grandparents of old. I saw a statistic the other day. It’s not even in the book. Grandparents today spend seven times more on their grandchildren than they did just 10 years ago. So…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Part of your title is “The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting.”

    LESLEY STAHL: Oh, yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is that wishful thinking, or is that real?

    LESLEY STAHL: No, no.

    What was that feeling I had? Well, I was stunned to discover and delighted that there are biological changes that go along when you’re a mother, but grandmothers have something similar. And it’s real. What you’re feeling is a change in your body. You’re being rewired to connect to this baby.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s not just because they’re cute and cuddly?

    LESLEY STAHL: Well, it’s also because they’re cute and cuddly, but they’re yours. There’s a real binding that goes on there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You were just telling me that the cover picture, it looks like you’re sitting there and you’re reading to your granddaughters.

    LESLEY STAHL: Uh-huh. Looks that way, right?


    LESLEY STAHL: So, they wouldn’t cooperate. They wouldn’t both sit quietly together at the same time. So, we put an iPhone — we taped it to the middle of the book, and they’re watching “Frozen.”


    LESLEY STAHL: It’s the only — and I think that’s the only picture we got where they were both cooperating.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You do focus so much in the book, Lesley, on the positives of grandparenting. And you have had a very positive experience.

    LESLEY STAHL: I have.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But we all know there are grandparents out there who, for whatever reason, aren’t being allowed to see their grandchildren or who are forced to completely raise their grandchildren under difficult circumstances.

    It’s a mixed picture, isn’t it?

    LESLEY STAHL: Well, I write about that and discovered it, actually.

    I have been asked, what’s the thing that most surprised me? And that grandparents are denied access to their own grandchildren, which is fairly prevalent, really surprised me and shocked me. just it’s — I get — I actually get pained even telling you about this, because the grandmothers who admitted it to me — and a lot of them are ashamed about this — told me with tears streaming down their faces.

    It’s a horrible thing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This book, Lesley, is — it’s a very personal story. I mean, it is very much about your own family, your grandchildren, your relationship with your mother, what kind of a grandmother she was.

    You also write about your husband, Aaron Latham, and you openly say is dealing with Parkinson’s. So, there’s a lot you lay bare here, isn’t there?

    LESLEY STAHL: Well, one of the things that — one of the reasons I wrote about my own relationship with my mother, which was a little difficult, unlike mine with my daughter, which is wonderful — but my mother and I clashed a lot.

    But she was a completely besotted grandmother. I would look at her and say, who is that? And I heard that over and over from women my age. “My mother is so different with my children.” And that’s part of being a grandmother. You go from being who you are to being a mush ball, like that.

    And people say, who is he? We don’t know ourselves. We get so mushy. And this is part of the reason I wanted to write it. We — they just soften us completely.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You can be — I guess part of the message is you can be a different kind of grandmother from the kind of mother you were?

    LESLEY STAHL: Totally different. And it’s out of your control, even if you didn’t want to be.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: I was struck at the end, you urge grandparents to jump in if they’re not already involved in the lives of their grandchildren, and urge parents, likewise, to let their own parents be involved.

    LESLEY STAHL: Well, children today, young parents need our help, because they’re not making much money. They’re both working. They’re suffering economically.

    So, they need our help. Those babies need their grandparents. We are very important to their development. And we need them, because they make us healthier. And so it’s a win-win-win. Why not?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, there are some great stories here, Lesley Stahl, “The Joys and the Science of the New Grandparenting.”

    Thank you very much.

    LESLEY STAHL: Thank you, Judy.

    The post For Lesley Stahl, ‘Becoming Grandma’ was better than she imagined appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    Football Soccer - Leicester City v Swansea City - Barclays Premier League - The King Power Stadium - 24/4/16
Leicester City's Wes Morgan in action with Swansea's Wayne Routledge
Reuters / Darren Staples
EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details. - RTX2BFC9

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now an underdog story for the ages.

    The English soccer team Leicester City came into this season as overwhelming long shots, but now, after defying all the odds, exit as their country’s overall football champions.

    The anticipation built, and then players from Leicester City erupted in cheers, celebrating the team’s first league title ever after 132 years.

    The Foxes were a 5,000-to-1 shot, but they won when second-place Tottenham played to a tie in its game on Monday. With that, the party spilled over into the streets of Leicester.

    MAN: I have been waiting for this for 40 years of supporting Leicester City. It’s unbelievable. And we have done it.

    MAN: I mean, the whole world knows who we are now. That’s important. Maybe the Americans can learn to pronounce Leicester properly as well.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s been an improbable run for a team that had barely avoided demotion from the English Premier League, the country’s top circuit. Winning the title was an even longer shot than the U.S. hockey team’s miracle win over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics.

    Much of the team’s success has been attributed to its journeyman manager Claudio Ranieri. But he said today the credit belongs to his players.

    QUESTION: How have you done it, Claudio? What has been the secret to Leicester’s success this season?

    CLAUDIO RANIERI, Manager, Leicester City Football Club: I don’t know. I don’t know the secret. I think the players, their heart, their soul, how they played.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Leicester has two games left to play, but those are now a formality. The title also guarantees the team a spot in next year’s All-European Champions League Tournament.

    For more on this unlikely season and the people who made it happen, we are joined from London by Andi Thomas, who covers soccer for SB Nation, an all-sports Web site.

    So, help us understand how big a moment this is for this city, this town.

    ANDI THOMAS, SB Nation: It’s an absolutely massive moment for Leicester the town and for Leicester the football club.

    It is something that absolutely nobody involved with the club or outside the club would have expected when the season kicked off. They’d have been hoping for, at best, a solid mid-table finish to avoid a relegation struggle, like last season.

    So, yes, this will have been as surprising as it will have been kind of moving.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And did the momentum build up throughout the rest of the U.K. as this potential grew closer?

    ANDI THOMAS: I think so. I think there’s a lot to like about Leicester as a — from a neutral perspective.

    There’s the unlikeliness of the story. There’s the fact that Claudio Ranieri is a very popular personality and manager in general. And some of the players, not all of them, but some of the players are quite, quite easy to warm to in some ways.

    So, yes, I think there’s been a lot of — a lot of outside interest, plus just the novelty of seeing someone outside the normal clubs in with a shot of winning the title is something to celebrate.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: How crucial was the manager in all this? This is a person who has been at big league — or big clubs before.


    And he seems to have been exceptionally important for the club. He came in — he was very much a surprise appointment. There was a lot of skepticism about whether he — whether he was the right person to struggle against relegation, because that’s what they’re expecting to do.

    And, instead, yes, he seems to have — because he inherited a squad that had just survived relegation last season, and he seemed to have carried on momentum from that improbable escape and just made everyone — united them as a team and as a unit.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And this isn’t a club that has big superstars that are paid lavish sums of money. This is a pretty average group of guys.


    I mean, by the standards of anyone outside football, they’re extremely well-paid professionals, but by the standards of the league they’re competing in, they are very much from the kind of the bottom rung in terms of the wages.

    The Premier League has never really been won by anybody outside kind of the top-wage-paying clubs. So, that — again, that’s just another factor that makes is a surprise victory.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And, you know, your oddsmakers are not wrong that often. When somebody decides to place 5,000-to-1 odds against the team doing this, what happened? How did they get the math so wrong?

    ANDI THOMAS: Well, I mean, the 5,000-to-1 odds, that’s longer odds than the Loch Ness Monster existing. That’s longer odds than Elvis being found alive.


    ANDI THOMAS: It was very much a novelty bet, kind of, if you want to throw 10 pounds away in a symbolic way, that’s how you do it.

    And the fact that — the fact that it became a live bet and a possibility is unprecedented.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Is there a class dimension to this? I mean, are these — is this a working-class town, I mean, from the folks we heard from, vs. some of the elite clubs and the fan base that they draw?

    ANDI THOMAS: Certainly, I think it’s fair to say that, in the big clubs in the Premier League, they market themselves very aggressively as global clubs.

    Manchester United has sponsors from all around the world. Manchester City have tie-ins New York and Melbourne, where, in Leicester, it very much feels like a triumph of the club and the town, in a slightly old-fashioned way, kind of the way English football used to be, before it became stretched at the top by the money of the Premier League.

    So, yes, there definitely is the element that this quite — it’s quite refreshing, refreshingly old-fashioned aspect to it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally, any of these players going to go on and transfer to other clubs now that their stock has improved?

    ANDI THOMAS: You would expect big clubs to be chasing them, certainly.

    I think Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante will both — there will be big bids for them over the summer. Whether they go or not, I don’t know. Leicester, the chance to go into the Champions League, this club is — the players are clearly quite keen on one another and work very well as a team.

    So, whether they will — hopefully, they will — you know, they will give it at least one shot in the Champions League before they accept the big offers and move on.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Andi Thomas from SB Nation, thanks so much for joining us.

    ANDI THOMAS: Thank you.

    The post How an underdog UK soccer team beat impossible odds appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0


    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: While we’re reporting on that war-torn country, for months, we have reported on Western-born young people who travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.

    Parents and relatives of some of the young European men who’d joined ISIS and other extremist groups met late last week at a conference in Paris. Among the group were also family members of victims of the terrorist attacks last fall in Paris. They gathered to grieve, to condemn terrorism and the extremism that drives it, and look for ways to prevent other young people from following the fates of their loved ones.

    From Paris, special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: This is the Bataclan club, where Islamist gunmen slaughtered 89 concert-goers last November the 13th.

    It was, briefly, a place of pilgrimage for a group of people inextricably linked to the massacre through the ideology embraced by their relatives, even though they didn’t participate in the attack.

    Karolina Dam, mother of 18-year-old Lukas, a boy with learning difficulties, converted and radicalized in Denmark and believed killed in an airstrike on the Syrian Turkish border. Janne Mortensen (ph), also from Denmark, whose convert foster son, Kenneth, was killed in Syria three years ago.

    Briton Michael Evans, whose brother Thomas converted and joined Al-Shabaab in Africa. This footage shows the jihadist with the nom de guerre Abdul Hakim just before he was killed in a battle with Kenyan troops.

    MICHAEL EVANS, Brother of Killed Foreign Fighter: It’s just such a tragic waste of life. You know, people out just enjoying their night were cut down for nothing. It’s so sad to be here. I don’t understand how someone who is my own flesh and blood could be — could think like this. I just don’t understand.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Canadian Christianne Boudreau wants deradicalization programs to make the most of the experiences of families like these, by using them as educators, helpers, and guides.

    She’s campaigning in memory of her convert son Damian killed in fighting near Aleppo in Syria.

    CHRISTIANNE BOUDREAU, Mother of Killed Foreign Fighter: It could easily have been my son that had been walking into here. It could have been easily me having to deal with what he had done. It’s one thing when he’s over in Syria and we don’t see it.

    But, here, we’re faced with it. And the parents that lose a loved one in this way, in a violent way, not only do they lose their son or their daughter to something horrific, but they also carry the guilt of what their child has done to others. And it’s a horrible, horrible burden to carry.

    GEORGE SALINES, Father of Bataclan Victim: She was 28 years old. She had the greatest smile in the world.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: George Salines is talking about his daughter Lola, one of those murdered at the Bataclan. Like others at the conference, he wanted it to be a turning point in the battle against extremism.

    GEORGE SALINES: I very much wanted to tell my fellow citizens that, even though I was a victim, I had no hate. I just wanted to prevent those events from happening again.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Not all of the relatives participating in the conference wanted to be identified.

    But the sense of solidarity could be instrumental in helping more parents to go public. Michael Evans made it clear that Islam wasn’t under attack.

    MICHAEL EVANS: No, it hasn’t altered my view of Islam at all, because my brother wasn’t practicing Islam. He was practicing a sick ideology that just hides behind Islam.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: According to the Pentagon, the number of foreign fighters entering in Iraq and Syria has gone down by 90 percent from 2,000 to just 200 a month.

    But this conference in Paris has been told that interest in joining the Islamic State remains enormous. The latest research shows that Google has registered 50,000 inquirees a month for people wishing to either joined the so-called Islamic State or to travel to Syria.

    But the good thing is that all of these people leave an electronic trace, which means that the West has a chance to counter the allure and the propaganda of the extremists and to win the battle for hearts and minds.

    This short film dramatizing the regret of a wounded Islamist fighter is an attempt to match the high production values of Islamic State videos, and to win the war of ideas.

    Adam Deen now works for the counterradicalization Quilliam Foundation, which produced the film, but he once belonged to one of Britain’s most militant Islamist groups. His own intellectual curiosity saved him, but he worries that not enough is being done to convince vulnerable young Muslims to abandon the path of extremism.

    ADAM DEEN, Quilliam Foundation: At the end of the day a very small minority of individuals will take up arms, will travel to ISIS. If we have a community that is — has become — has developed a religiosity, and identifies themselves with the Islamic faith, the problem is that the default position for some — for a young Muslim is Islamism and this type of puritanical Islam.

    And the danger is that, if they don’t have counternarratives, that they will be susceptible. So, a large portion of Muslims, young Muslims that are discovering Islam, let’s say, are susceptible to this type of — this interpretation, this pernicious reading.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Norwegian Bjorn Ihler is committed to opposing extremism in all its forms. He returned to the island of Utoya, where the right wing fanatic Anders Breivik gunned down 69 young people at a political summer camp. Breivik shot at Ihler, but missed. Ihler believes similar methods can neutralize both the ultra-right and Islamists.

    BJORN IHLER, Utoya Survivor: All forms of extremism are very similar in many ways. Extremism thrives on the same kind of factors regardless of what ideology is titled. And at the end of the day, their ideology very quickly becomes just an excuse essentially for being violent.

    The issues we need to address are not necessarily the theological issues, but rather the ideological issue of violence and how violence is being used for political means.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Ihler shares the view of some experts that bombing the so-called Islamic State will lead to more radicalization. But former British government Minister Pauline Neville-Jones disagrees.

    DAME PAULINE NEVILLE-JONES, Former Member, British House of Lords: If you use force, of course there will be those who think that this is a good reason for joining the jihad.

    But one of the things that’s very important things about Da’esh is actually to destroy its claim to constitute a state, to be a caliphate, because it’s a major part of their appeal: We won some territory. We are a real state force.

    We have actually to destroy that, because it’s a very — it’s very insidious. It’s very powerful.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: The battle against ISIS may be primarily military, but Karolina Dam believes that mothers like her can play a vital role.

    KAROLINA DAM, Mother of Radicalized Son: For me here, I miss him like crazy. I really do. I just wish he was here. I would have wanted to talk more with him about his religion and what he wants to do, and how I can be a part, a better part in his life, because I — we were very close, me and my boy, but obviously not close enough. Otherwise, he would have told me about this double life.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Paris may be peaceful once again, but there remain fears that, somewhere soon in Europe, there will be another Bataclan.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Malcolm Brabant in Paris.

    The post Relatives of Western jihadist fighters go public, hoping to stop others appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    A boy takes a picture with his mobile phone of damaged buildings during his visit to the city of Palmyra, Syria April 9, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki - RTX29851

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first, we return to the war in Syria.

    Most of the country’s urban centers have been hammered by bombs, rockets, and bullets. But the heart of the capital, Damascus, has been left relatively unscathed. Orthodox Christians were even able to hold a public Palm Sunday celebration last week as the war continues on the city’s outskirts.

    The New York Times’ Declan Walsh recently returned from Damascus and Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks.

    He joins me now from Cairo, Egypt.

    Declan Walsh, welcome to the program.

    So, you’re one of the few Western reporters to be inside government-controlled Syria during this moment in the civil war. What is it like?

    DECLAN WALSH, The New York Times: Well, it’s a country that is under tight control from Bashar al-Assad in those parts of Syria that he still controls.

    And there are military checkposts everywhere. There is the image of the president, Bashar al-Assad, everywhere you turn, on every major public junction. And, you know, it’s a very strange place in many ways, a place of great contrasts. You have — in Damascus, just on outskirts of the city, there are many neighborhoods that are controlled by the rebels.

    There is sporadic fighting that goes on all the time there. Yet, in the city center itself, there is some form, a semblance of normal life that’s taking place. People are going about their business. There’s traffic. At the weekends, people celebrate. I saw many weddings take place.

    So people seem to have determined, as much as they can, that they need on get on with their normal lives, even while pretty intense fighting in some cases is taking place in great proximity to them.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How are they managing to hold up?

    DECLAN WALSH: You know, there is an international aid presence on the ground that is helping people out somewhat.

    The machinery of the state is still functioning to some degree. But people are extremely strained. In cities like Aleppo and Homs, which I visited, you have many people who are living rough. They’re living in shelters. They’re living in abandoned buildings. And they’re living among the among the rubble of buildings that have been destroyed in airstrikes.

    So, already, there’s a housing problem. And there’s — people are also very vulnerable when it comes to things like food, electricity, water. But, again, it does depend where you are in the country.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And who are people holding responsible for their plight, for where they are right now?

    DECLAN WALSH: Well, when you speak to Syrians, people are reticent to talk about politics in — particularly in government-held areas.

    Journalists who visit, like me, travel around the country in the company of an official from the Ministry of Information. So, it’s quite difficult to get people to open up about, for instance, their attitude toward President Bashar al-Assad or indeed to talk about the rebels in other areas.

    But what people do talk about is, you know, how — they recognize how bad their own situation is. They can talk about that with great, great freedom. And they feel extremely frustrated. And they see — there’s a great sense of helplessness among Syrians at this stage, after five years of conflict, about the war.

    They see it as something that’s much bigger even than their own country. You know, this is a conflict that has so many foreign forces involved with it now. People will talk to you about America and Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey. These are all the countries that are supporting different sides in this conflict.

    And they — when you speak to people, there’s an overwhelming sense of helplessness, that, you know, there is no easy solution to this war in sight.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What was so fascinating, Declan Walsh, about your reporting is that, I mean, ordinary people — you talked with a shopkeeper. You talked with so many others who just — they’re still human beings. They still have, you know, normal human feelings.

    And you were even able to see a sense of humor that some of them have, still.

    DECLAN WALSH: Oh, absolutely, yes.

    I mean, you know, I suppose that’s one of the best defense mechanisms for all of us in situations of adversity. And if you have the strength to try and turn something to a joke, even to a dark joke, it’s one way of getting through the day.

    And for those people, Syrians, who are not directly caught up in the fighting on a day-to-day basis, they’re still living in situations of adversity. And they’re turning to all sorts of coping mechanisms to try and get through that. Humor is one thing.

    You know, when I was in Aleppo, one of the most striking things was that, in the city center, there was intermittent shelling. Bombs were landing here and there. You would be driving around in the streets, and you would hear an explosion 500 meters away. There would be another explosion an hour later and maybe a kilometer away.

    It made a tremendous racket. And for a newcomer like me, you would be absolutely alarmed, wondering, you know, what’s going on or where is this coming from? But the people that you’re speaking to locally wouldn’t even flinch. They just went on like it wasn’t happening.

    And when you asked them why, they said, look, you know, we have been living with this situation so long, this is the way we deal with it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, some remarkable reporting from inside Syria.

    Declan Walsh of The New York Times, we thank you.

    DECLAN WALSH: Thank you.

    The post How Syrians are coping with the daily adversity of war appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0


    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

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

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Education Secretary John King has only been officially in his position about a month-and-a-half, taking over for Arne Duncan, who served for the first seven years of President Obama’s administration.

    But King has inherited a very full plate, including the successor to No Child Left Behind, increasing resegregation of public schools, and a higher education admissions process he likens to a caste system.

    I sat down with him earlier today as part of our Making the Grade series on education.

    While the majority of the states are implementing Common Core, it hasn’t been without resistance. There are still hundreds of thousands of parents out there who are having their children opt out of some of these tests.

    And my question is, doesn’t that structurally defeat the system if, at a certain threshold, you can’t get good data anymore because people are opting out?

    JOHN KING, Education Secretary: So, the effort to raise standards is really about ensuring that all students graduate ready for what’s next.

    As you said, we have 40-plus states that are working on higher standards. There are challenges, for sure, in raising standards, changes that need to be made to instruction, to classroom materials, and to assessments. And states are making smart adjustments along the way.

    I think we generally have positive momentum. We have the highest graduation rate we have ever had as a country last year. But it’s not surprising that there are going to be challenges along the way, and states are going to need to be responsive to what they’re hearing from parents and educators, make adjustments, while staying focused on raising standards.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: No Child Left Behind, we all now in hindsight know that we didn’t reach 100 percent proficiency by 2014. But one of the things that that did do for us is give us a little bit of visibility into how specific schools and specific subgroups were performing.

    So, now, with the Every Student Succeeds Act, it seems that you’re letting possibly thousands of schools who were underperforming off the hook by focusing on just the 5 percent that are really going to get — be targeted the aid.

    JOHN KING: The structure of the Every Student Succeeds Act is to give states and local districts more flexibility, but within clear civil rights guardrails.

    There is a very clear requirement for states and districts to intervene when schools are struggling, as you say, in the bottom 5 percent, but also schools that have chronically low graduation rates, schools that have significant achievement gaps, where subgroups, African-American students, Latino students, English learners, if those subgroups are underperforming, states and districts also have an obligation to intervene.

    The president signed the law because he believes it builds on the civil rights legacy of the law, which was first adopted in 1965 as a civil rights law. And so those civil rights guardrails are key, we think, to successful implementation.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It actually takes a significant amount of power out of this very office and gives it back to the states in several ways. So, you can’t actually impose any specific guidelines about Common Core or about things that states have to do.

    So, I’m trying to figure out, what’s the right balance between the federal government’s involvement and state governments’ administration of education?

    JOHN KING: Well, we think, on standards, that that’s a good example of where we have tried to strike the right balance.

    So, the law requires that states adopt standards that will ensure that, when students graduate from high school, they’re ready for college and careers, they’re ready to do credit-bearing course work in college. That’s good, because it means every state has to have high standards.

    That said, the specific details of those standards are left to states. We think that’s right. That’s what we have always thought, that states should be the ones determining their standards. On accountability, it’s clear states and districts have a responsibility to intervene where schools are struggling or where there are achievement gaps, but the exact nature of those interventions, they can design based on local circumstances.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: One of the things that people are concerned about structurally is that there almost seems to be a resegregation of education in America right now, that, in the last three years, two things have changed primarily, that minorities now outnumber whites in the nation’s public schools, and the majority of public school students are poor, and that they qualify for free lunches.

    How do we change this narrative about almost two separate education systems?

    JOHN KING: It’s a huge problem.

    We know that we have tons of research evidence over decades showing that students do better in diverse schools, and yet 60 years after Brown vs. Board of Education, we still have racially isolated, economically isolated schools.

    What’s encouraging — the Century Foundation just did a report on this recently. What’s encouraging is, you have efforts all over the country, locally-led voluntary efforts, to create socioeconomically integrated schools.

    And we want to — we want to accelerate that work, so we have made school diversity a priority for investing in an innovation grant program. The president’s proposed an initiative called Stronger Together, $120 million in his 2017 budget that would support local efforts to create socioeconomically diverse schools.

    Schools — you can imagine an art school that might draw students from across different communities, a dual-language school where native English speakers and English learners would together have the opportunity to learn two languages.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Even in terms of higher ed, you have said before that there’s almost a caste system of colleges and universities in the admissions process. So, how do we change that?

    JOHN KING: I think of a place like Franklin & Marshall that’s committed to enrolling low-income students, has raised their academic standards at the same time as they have enrolled more low-income students, and they’re providing the supports necessary to ensure that those students graduate.

    And so I think there’s a bully pulpit role for the administration to play. But we have also got to make sure the resources are there. And that’s why the Pell Grant program is so important. It’s why the president has added $1,000 to the average Pell Grant since the administration began.

    It’s why we think it’s important to let students access Pell Grants in the summer, because that will help low-income students stay on track to graduation. So, there’s both a — there’s both a moral responsibility that higher ed institutions have, and a responsibility that government has to provide the resources to support all of our citizens in making it through higher education.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally, unlike a lot of education secretaries or Cabinet members, you have got a kind of a personal connection to education. You lost your parents when you were a very young age, and you have said before that it’s really teachers that saved your life.

    Explain that.

    JOHN KING: School really did save my life. My mom passed away when I was 8 in October of my fourth-grade year. I lived with my dad, who was suffering with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease.

    And so home was this very scary and unpredictable place. My dad passed away when I was 12. And during that period, my life could have gone in a lot of directions. You know, teachers could have looked at me and said, here’s an African-American Latino male student, family in crisis, going to a New York City public school in Brooklyn. What chance does he have?

    But they didn’t. They chose to invest in me and made school this place that was engaging and compelling and interesting, where we read The New York Times every day, we did productions of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Alice in Wonderland.” We went to the ballet and the museum.

    School was engaging and a place where I could be a kid when I couldn’t be a kid outside of school.

    So, I’m very clear: I’m alive today, doing this work today, became a teacher and a principal because the teachers I had saved my life. And, you know, I bring to work every day the goal of trying to do for other kids what my teachers did for me.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Secretary King, thanks for joining us.

    JOHN KING: Thanks so much.

    The post Secretary John King on raising education standards and changing the college admissions caste system appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at a campaign event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., May 2, 2016.  REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RTX2CIR0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now back to Indiana and today’s crucial primary vote.

    We’re joined by Brandon Smith of Indiana Public Broadcasting.

    So, Brandon, we talked to you last week, and I think a lot of us thought the Republican race couldn’t get any rougher, but, apparently, it is. What’s the state of that race right now?

    BRANDON SMITH, Indiana Public Broadcasting: Well, certainly, I don’t know if we can say anything new from Donald Trump’s side. Some would call what he said outlandish, what he’s been — this whole JFK assassination connection between Cruz’s father.

    But, certainly, Cruz’s reaction is something we haven’t quite seen before, and what some think is a hint of frustration, certainly, and perhaps even some desperation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Why are people saying that?

    BRANDON SMITH: Well, this is high noon for Ted Cruz, I mean, and he’s made it that way. He’s made it very clear that Indiana is the time. It’s the place to — if he’s going to make an impact in this race in stopping Donald Trump from the nomination, that Indiana is the place to do it.

    He set himself up for some pretty big stakes here. And yet just about every poll we have seen has him trailing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What is your understanding from your — and from your reporting, Brandon Smith, on what is driving the Trump vote? Who is supporting Donald Trump and why?

    BRANDON SMITH: A lot of new voters.

    I have talked to county clerks around the state who say they have seen record numbers in some cases of new registrations, brand-new voters who haven’t vote before. So that’s certainly part of it. It’s also people who aren’t the evangelical vote that Ted Cruz brings out, but are Republicans and concerned chiefly with economic issues, how the manufacturing industry is in this state.

    And that’s something that Donald Trump speaks a lot to.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What about on the Cruz side? What do you see driving his vote?

    BRANDON SMITH: Some of it is, like we — like I just said, the evangelical vote that he brings out, and it’s certainly strong in some parts of this state.

    There’s also no small part of that crowd who’s in it to stop Trump, some Kasich supporters who say, I’m here to stop Trump, I’m voting for Cruz. That’s some of it. But it doesn’t look like it will be enough.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How much is organization going to matter, do you think, when they count the votes tonight?

    BRANDON SMITH: I’m not sure how much it will end up mattering, because the best organization is probably Ted Cruz. He certainly spent the most time here. He’s gone all — he’s blanketed the state. It’s been quite the barnstorming tour of Indiana.

    And yet he is still probably — it looks like he’s going to lose, or at least not get a very big vote here. So, I’m not sure how much the organization will end up mattering.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you now about the Democrats. If you believe the polls, that one is much closer. What does it look like to you?

    BRANDON SMITH: That’s the way it’s looking here too. And it looks to be an echo of 2008, in which Hillary Clinton beat then candidate Barack Obama by a pretty narrow margin.

    It looks to be heading in the same direction here. Bernie Sanders certainly drives out a lot of young people. Turnout has been high around the state so far in both early voting and what we have seen at the polls today. So that will certainly help him, too, if it’s a lot of young people out there voting.

    But it looks to be a pretty close margin, though Hillary is expected by people here to win.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What’s motivating the Hillary Clinton vote? What do people like about her who say they’re going to vote for her?

    BRANDON SMITH: Well, it’s a couple things.

    One, I mentioned 2008. This is in many ways a Clinton state in that respect. She spent a lot of time here back then, and people remember that. She has a lot of support from the so-called party establishment. A lot of big-time Democratic leaders in this state threw their support behind Hillary Clinton.

    And some of it is also those economic issues, but it’s the idea that Hillary’s ideas, Hillary’s plans are perhaps a little more achievable than Bernie Sanders’.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And Sanders, just quickly, his support, younger voters?

    BRANDON SMITH: Younger voters, people disillusioned, a little bit of the mirror of Donald Trump’s support, some people who don’t like the system and think that Bernie will kind of upset the apple cart for good.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Brandon Smith with Indiana Public Broadcasting, we thank you. Good to have you with us again.

    BRANDON SMITH: Thanks very much.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can follow the latest results from Indiana on our Web site. Plus, find a profile of one of Pennsylvania’s delegates who will cast a critical vote at the GOP Convention in Cleveland. It’s the first in our series profiling delegates. You can read that on our home page, PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post Hoosier primary results could shape the rest of the White House race appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    A child walks past damaged buildings after an airstrike in the rebel held area of Aleppo's Baedeen district, Syria, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail - RTX2CNTZ

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And I’m Hari Sreenivasan.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On the “NewsHour” tonight: The spotlight’s on Indiana. Hoosiers cast a critical primary vote in the race for the White House.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Also ahead this Tuesday: the national conversation on rethinking educational standards. We sit down with Education Secretary John King.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Plus, what do you do when a family member runs away from home to fight for ISIS? Mothers and brothers of terrorist fighters speak out.

    CHRISTIANNE BOUDREAU, Mother of Killed Foreign Fighter: Not only do they lose their son or their daughter to something horrific, but they also carry the guilt of what their child has done to others. And it’s a horrible, horrible burden to carry.

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


    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Islamic State fighters killed a U.S. Navy SEAL in Northern Iraq. The ISIS attack near the city of Mosul was the biggest in months by the militants. They broke through Kurdish militia forces before being driven off. U.S. officials said the SEAL was there in an advisory role.

    JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary: You had an individual who wasn’t in a combat mission come under withering attack from enemy forces. He was in a combat situation. He was prepared to deal with it, but, unfortunately, under a complex attack, he was killed. And it’s tragic.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In all, three Americans have been killed in combat since the anti-ISIS campaign began in 2014.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Rebel rocket fire rained down on a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, today, killing at least four people. The hospital was in a government-controlled part of the city. A health official said more than 30 people were wounded in the bombing, many of them women and children.

    Separately, the U.N. Security Council demanded protection for hospitals in war zones.

    The president of Doctors Without Borders pushed for the vote.

    DR. JOANNE LIU, President, Doctors Without Borders: We will not leave patients behind, and we will not be silent. Seeking or providing health care must not be a death sentence. You will be judged not on your words today, but on your actions. Your work has only begun. Please make this resolution save lives.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Meanwhile, attempts to restore a truce all across Syria continued in Moscow. A special U.N. envoy said peace talks can resume if that happens.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Kenya, a small miracle. A 6-month-old baby girl has been pulled alive from a building that collapsed four days ago in Nairobi. Officials say she was dehydrated, but otherwise unhurt. At least 23 people died Friday night when the seven-story building buckled after several days of heavy rain. More than 90 others are still missing. Interior Ministry officials say the building had been marked for demolition.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Back in this country, more than 45,000 Detroit students missed class for a second day, as state lawmakers worked to end a teacher sick-out. The teachers rallied outside public school headquarters to protest a funding shortage. Union officials say it could leave some of them unpaid this summer.

    Legislative leaders insisted today the teachers will be paid. They’re debating a $720 million plan for the debt-ridden schools.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Two states chose different paths today on allowing concealed guns on college campuses. In Tennessee, a bill permitting the practice became law, when Republican Governor Bill Haslam chose not to sign it or veto it. But, in Georgia, Republican Nathan Deal vetoed a similar bill.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: U.S. car sales slumped last month, but trucks and SUVs soared, thanks to cheaper gas. Honda and Nissan gained 13 percent to 14 percent, their best April ever.

    But Wall Street had a down day, on worries about growth in Europe and China. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 140 points to close at 17750. The Nasdaq fell 54 points. And the S&P 500 slipped 18.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And the hip-hop Broadway musical “Hamilton” isn’t done making history yet. The groundbreaking show garnered a record 16 Tony nominations today. If it wins as many as 13, that would be a record, too. The Tony Awards for live Broadway theater performances will be handed out June 12.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Still to come on the “NewsHour”: how Indiana’s election results could shape the rest of the presidential primary; Education Secretary John King talks about the impact new national standards are having in the classroom; inside the government-held areas of Syria, and much more.

    The post News Wrap: Hospital bombed in government-controlled area of Aleppo appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Century Center in South Bend, Indiana, U.S., May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski - RTX2CIH8

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: There’s a lot riding on the results from Indiana’s presidential primary tonight, and the tension is higher than ever. The top two Republican candidates unloaded on each other today, taking the vitriol to new levels.

    John Yang reports.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: This man is a pathological liar.

    JOHN YANG: Ted Cruz in Indiana this morning unleashing a blistering attack on Donald Trump. The Republican front-runner cited an unsubstantiated National Enquirer report that linked Cruz’s father, Rafael, to the man who killed President John F. Kennedy.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: His father with was Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot. And nobody even brings it up. I mean, they don’t even talk about that.

    JOHN YANG: Trump also chided Cruz over a confrontation with the New York businessman’s supporters.

    DONALD TRUMP: Well, they know he’s lying. They have been watching him lie. That’s what he does. That’s why we call him lyin’ Ted.

    JOHN YANG: Hours later, Cruz branded Trump utterly amoral and compared likened him to a character in the “Back to the Future” movies.

    SEN. TED CRUZ: A caricature of a braggadocios, arrogant buffoon who builds giant casinos with giant pictures of him everywhere he looks. We are looking, potentially, at the Biff Tannen presidency.

    JOHN YANG: This very personal war of words went white-hot even as Indiana voters were going to the polls. And while Trump was trading barbs with Cruz, he was taking fire on another front, from Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. She was interviewed on MSNBC.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: He has given no indication that he understands the gravity of the responsibilities that go with being commander in chief, and that will be a big part of my campaign.

    JOHN YANG: Clinton spent the day in West Virginia and Ohio. But Democratic rival Bernie Sanders made a last-ditch push in Indiana.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: These trade agreements, whether it’s NAFTA or permanent normal trade relations with China, were a disaster for American workers. I understood that. I fought them. I was out on picket lines with workers in opposition to NAFTA. Secretary Clinton, as you know, has supported every one of these disastrous trade agreements.

    JOHN YANG: After today, the primary season moves into the home stretch, heading toward the final big day on June 7 and the biggest delegate prize, California.

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

    HARI SREENIVASAN: We will have a report from on the ground in Indiana after the news summary.

    The post Trump and Cruz unleash personal war of words on Indiana primary day appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at a campaign event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., May 2, 2016.  REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RTX2CIPY

    Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at a campaign event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana on May 2. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/ Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz ended his presidential campaign Tuesday, eliminating the biggest impediment to Donald Trump’s march to the Republican nomination.

    The conservative tea party firebrand who cast himself as the only viable alternative to Trump announced his exit after a stinging defeat in Indiana’s Republican primary.

    “It appears that path has been foreclosed,” Cruz told supporters in Indianapolis. “Together, we left it all on the field of Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got, but the voters chose another path, and so with a heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”

    Cruz had already been mathematically eliminated from clinching the delegate majority in the state-by-state primary process, but hoped to force a contested national convention in July. That possibility ends Tuesday with the Texas senator’s announcement.

    Had he succeeded in his quest, Cruz would have been the first U.S. president of Hispanic descent, although he often downplayed his heritage on the campaign trail, instead, touting the need for tougher immigration laws, for a border wall along the border with Mexico, protecting gun rights, repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law and instituting a flat tax.

    Cruz argued he was the only true conservative in the race, building on his reputation in the Senate where he clashed both with Democrats and members of his own party over his ideological stubbornness. Cruz railed against what he called the “Washington cartel,” trying to appeal to an electorate that is craving political outsiders.

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz hugs running-mate Carly Fiorina just before announcing that he is suspending his campaign for president at a campaign event during Indiana primary night in Indianapolis on May 3. Photo by Chris Bergin/ Reuters

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz hugs running-mate Carly Fiorina just before announcing that he is suspending his campaign for president at a campaign event during Indiana primary night in Indianapolis on May 3. Photo by Chris Bergin/ Reuters

    But he ultimately couldn’t compete with Trump’s appeal among white, working class voters who were drawn to the billionaire’s outlandish approach to politics.

    Cruz’s campaign placed its hopes on a data-driven effort to turn out conservative evangelical Christians who had opted out of recent presidential elections. Increasingly, he would modify his travel schedule to go where data showed there might be pockets of untapped supporters.

    With the scale tipping increasingly in Trump’s favor, he announced an extraordinary pact in April with his other rival, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, in which the two would divide their time and resources based on states where they were each poised to do better.

    Days later, he prematurely named former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina as his running mate, hoping it would woo some of the female voters turned off by Trump’s brash rhetoric.

    Trump’s appeal to evangelicals, though, and the New York billionaire’s popularity with the broader Republican electorate, proved too much.

    Cruz, 45, worked on George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign and went on to serve five years as the top attorney for the state of Texas, arguing nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He parleyed that experience into an underdog run for the U.S. Senate, defeating the state’s lieutenant governor in the primary before winning election in 2012.

    He first burst on the national political landscape in 2013 when he led a 21-hour quasi-filibuster against President Barack Obama’s health care law, reading his children Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” as a bedtime story via CSPAN during the marathon effort.

    Cruz later teamed with the most-conservative members of the House to spark a government shutdown. It ultimately didn’t accomplish any major Republican goals, but raised Cruz’s national profile even more.

    Cruz built a coalition of like-minded Republicans in Congress, as well as former presidential rivals — Fiorina, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, ex-Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Lindsey Graham among them — but won only minimal support from his Senate colleagues.

    Cruz’s campaign slogan of “Trusted” was tarnished after he was forced to apologize to Ben Carson for falsely suggesting the night of the Iowa caucuses that the retired neurosurgeon was dropping out of the race. Cruz also abruptly fired his communications director a day before the Nevada caucuses for spreading a false story about Florida Sen. Marco Rubio disparaging the Bible.

    Trump nicknamed Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” and derided him as “unstable,” ”crazy,” ”a maniac” and “sick.”

    Trump also questioned whether Cruz’s birth in Canada disqualified him to run for president, frequently threatening to sue him over the issue. He never followed through, but several suits were filed, including in Cruz’s home state of Texas.

    Cruz initially avoided attacking Trump, hoping that the former reality TV star’s supporters would flow to him if Trump flamed out. As Trump’s momentum grew with early primary victories, Cruz fought back and said Trump can’t be trusted because of his past support for Democrats, abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

    But it was too late.

    Cruz was joined on stage with his parents, as well as by Fiorina and his wife, Heidi.

    He made no mention of the Republican front-runner, vowing instead to continue his fight for liberty and for the Constitution.

    Associated Press reporters Steve Peoples and Scott Bauer wrote this report. Peoples reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Will Weissert in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

    The post Ted Cruz ends his bid for Republican presidential nomination appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    Donald Trump smiles as he speaks at the start of a campaign victory party after rival candidate Sen. Ted Cruz dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, at Trump Tower in Manhattan on May 3.  Photo by Lucas Jackson/ Reuters

    Donald Trump smiles as he speaks at the start of a campaign victory party after rival candidate Sen. Ted Cruz dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, at Trump Tower in Manhattan on May 3. Photo by Lucas Jackson/ Reuters

    Donald Trump’s victory in Indiana knocked Sen. Ted Cruz out of the race and put an official end to the Stop Trump movement. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ win proved his supporters aren’t going away quietly. But after Tuesday’s contest, the focus is now on a Clinton vs. Trump general election showdown. With that in mind, here are some key takeaways from Indiana.

    Donald Trump sealed the deal

    With his win in Indiana, Trump became the all-but-official GOP nominee. Sure, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is still in the race, and it will take Trump a few more primary victories to reach the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. But Cruz’s exit ceded the race to Trump, ending a bitter primary battle that threatened to spill over into the convention this summer.

    Trump’s commanding performance on Tuesday followed a five-state sweep last week. Now the rest of the primary season is just a formality — a month-long victory lap for Trump as he readies himself for a general election matchup against Clinton.

    It’s a stunning turn of events for Trump. A real estate mogul and former reality television star, Trump was written off by his rivals as soon as he entered the race last summer. Conventional wisdom held that Trump was motivated by a desire to elevate his status and brand, and would flame out as soon as the race got serious.

    Now the rest of the primary season is just a formality — a month-long victory lap for Trump as he readies himself for a general election matchup against Clinton.

    But the reverse happened: As Trump’s more seasoned political opponents dropped off one by one, he picked up steam — despite a seemingly never-ending string of controversial comments that would have derailed a traditional candidate. Once primary voting started in Iowa and New Hampshire, Trump was the unquestioned front-runner, and his status never changed.

    The final outcome took longer than expected. Through February and March it looked as if the Stop-Trump forces would succeed in forcing a contested convention. Trump struggled to break through and win a majority of the vote in the early contests. But he picked up momentum once the race narrowed to three candidates. His huge victory in New York on April 19 set the stage for last week’s sweep and Tuesday’s win in Indiana.

    Trump has touted his ability to close a deal. For now, in the primaries, he delivered as promised.

    Cruz never expanded his base

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz waits to take the stage at a campaign town hall meeting in Exeter, New Hampshire, January 20, 2016.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTX238O7

    Sen. Ted Cruz waits to take the stage at a campaign town hall meeting in Exeter, New Hampshire on January 20, 2016. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Cruz based his campaign on the premise that Republican primary voters wanted to nominate a hard-right conservative. After losing two straight elections with moderate candidates at the top of the ticket, Cruz argued over and over again, it was time for the party to pick a real conservative. But in order for Cruz to win the general, he first had to secure the nomination — and his path to winning the nomination was always far narrower than his campaign made it seem.

    From the start, it was clear that Cruz’s hardcore conservatism would appeal to a segment of the party’s base. Support from evangelical voters helped propel him to victory in Iowa. At that point, Cruz seemed better positioned to make a real run at the GOP nomination than the previous two winners of the Iowa caucus, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. Cruz had tons of money, a strong grassroots operation and good message discipline.

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz hugs running-mate Carly Fiorina just before announcing that he is suspending his campaign for president at a campaign event during Indiana primary night in Indianapolis on May 3. Photo by Chris Bergin/ Reuters

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz hugs running-mate Carly Fiorina just before announcing that he is suspending his campaign for president at a campaign event during Indiana primary night in Indianapolis on May 3. Photo by Chris Bergin/ Reuters

    Once the race shifted to New Hampshire, however, it became clear that Cruz’s message would not resonate nationally. Trump’s dominance in the South, where Cruz had hoped to gain momentum and establish himself as the front-runner, confirmed the fact that Cruz was far less popular with the party’s base than he had anticipated.

    From there Cruz’s campaign suffered a slow and oftentimes ugly decline. He managed to win several states and nearly 600 delegates — and he lasted longer than establishment candidates like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. And for a brief period, it even seemed possible that Cruz might force a contested convention and snatch the nomination away on a second ballot.

    In the end, though, he could not expand his base and attract moderate Republicans. And in the year of the outsider candidate, even Cruz — who railed against the “Washington cartel” — failed to convince voters that he wasn’t part of the GOP establishment.

    Cruz is young enough to run again in 2020 if Trump loses the general election. His speech on Tuesday night seemed to leave the door open, and he did his best to seem optimistic. But for Cruz, this loss really hurts.

    Sanders wins, but it doesn’t matter

    After suffering a major loss in New York and several other northeastern states last month, Sanders bounced back with a win in Indiana on Tuesday. Sanders was trailing in most polls going into the contest and wound up beating Clinton by a solid margin, showing that his supporters remain fiercely devoted to the Vermont senator.

    Still, the win doesn’t change the trajectory of the Democratic primaries. Clinton still has a huge lead in delegates, after the superdelegates are factored in, and is still on pace to win the party’s nomination. She likely won’t clinch the nomination until the last day of the primaries on June 7, but at this point the battle between her and Sanders is all but over.

    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders pumps his first in the air to the crowd after his wife Jane (R) came onstage and whispered in his ear as he spoke to supporters at a campaign event held during Indiana primary day at Waterfront Park in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., May 3, 2016.  REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RTX2CPEH

    Sen. Bernie Sanders pumps his first in the air to the crowd as he spoke to supporters at a campaign event held during Indiana primary day at Waterfront Park in Louisville, Kentuckyon May 3. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/ Reuters

    To prove that she is now focused on the general election, Clinton skipped Indiana on Tuesday, choosing to campaign in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia this week instead. Now that Trump is the GOP’s nominee, expect Clinton to ignore Sanders for the rest of the primaries. Sanders isn’t going to drop out, unlike Cruz. But his campaign is now little more than an afterthought.

    In a Trump vs. Clinton matchup, which party has the enthusiasm edge?

    Roughly 60 percent of Indiana’s Republican voters say the nomination process has divided the party, according to exit polls from the state. Just four in 10 Republicans said the primaries have energized the party. On the Democratic side, 74 percent of the state’s Democrats said in exit polls that the party has been energized by the primary battle between Clinton and Sanders.

    Indiana isn’t alone. Across the country, polls show that Democrats are emerging from the primary season more energized than Republican voters. There is still plenty of time for those numbers to change, of course. And the party out of power is typically more energized in general elections as it seeks to reclaim the White House. Trump’s rivals — and the media — underestimated his level of support for months before his recent string of blowout victories.

    Even so, Clinton should feel buoyed by early signs that Democrats feel more unified than GOP voters headed into the general election. Add to that Trump’s dismal approval ratings with women and minority voters — he is the least popular presidential candidate in the last 30 years — and the picture begins looking even brighter for Clinton. Trump could be competitive. But he’ll have a lot of image-mending to do as he starts pivoting to his matchup with Clinton.

    The post 4 major takeaways as Cruz drops out, Trump and Sanders win appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

    0 0

    U.S. Navy file photo of Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Charles Keating IV, 31, of San Diego. Photo provided by U.S. Navy

    U.S. Navy file photo of Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Charles Keating IV, 31, of San Diego. Photo provided by U.S. Navy

    WASHINGTON — A Navy SEAL killed during a firefight in Iraq was part of a quick reaction force that moved in to rescue U.S. military advisers from an Islamic State attack, the Pentagon said Wednesday. The attack triggered a massive coalition air response that destroyed equipment, buildings and killed up to 60 militants.

    Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Keating was shot and killed when he and other special operations forces went to the rescue of the U.S. forces that got caught in a gun battle involving more than 100 Islamic State fighters, Army Col. Steve Warren said.

    The small team of American advisers went to Teleskof, about 14 miles north of Mosul, to meet with Kurdish peshmerga forces. Warren said that Islamic State fighters launched a large, complex attack on the peshmerga there around 7:30 a.m., with armored Humvees and bulldozers, and broke through the front lines.

    It was, he said, one of the largest attacks that the Islamic State group has launched in recent months, and it came in the wake of several recent defeats of the militants in the region.

    Warren, a U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters that the U.S. advisers were less than two miles behind the front lines, and called for help just before 8 a.m. The quick reaction force went in to get the American forces out.

    Warren said Keating was hit at about 9:30 a.m. and was evacuated for medical treatment, but “his wound was not survivable.”

    He said Keating was taken to a medical facility in Irbil and that both of the Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopters were hit by small arms fire.

    According to Warren, even as the U.S. advisers were being rescued from the fight, a barrage of coalition aircraft — including F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, B-52 bombers, A-10 close air support aircraft and drones — responded and launched airstrikes on more than 30 locations, destroying truck bombs, vehicles and bulldozers and killing close to 60 enemy fighters. He said the peshmerga have regained control of the town.

    Warren declined to release details about the quick reaction force, other than to note that often such teams are set up and put on standby when U.S. forces go out on missions in dangerous areas. The team of commandos is usually stationed relatively close by so that it can respond quickly if needed.

    Keating, 31, is the third U.S. service member to be killed in combat in Iraq since U.S. forces returned there in mid-2014 to help the Iraqi government regain the wide swaths of territory captured by the Islamic State.

    His death came as Defense Secretary Ash Carter was meeting in Germany with defense leaders from 11 coalition countries, and agreed to accelerate the fight against the Islamic State group.

    In a joint statement issued after the meeting in Stuttgart, the group reaffirmed its support “to further accelerate and reinforce the success of our partners on the ground and for the deployment of additional enabling capabilities in the near term.”

    “We called on all of Iraq’s political leaders to commit themselves to the legal and peaceful reconciliation of political differences in order to confront the nation’s challenges and to remain united against the common enemy,” they said.

    Carter said he regretted Keating’s death but stressed that combat risks in Iraq are unavoidable.

    “Our overall approach is to enable local forces to do the fighting … but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to do any fighting at all,” Carter said. “We are putting these people are risk every day,” including the aircrews who are flying strike missions daily over Iraq and Syria, “and, tragically, losses will occur,” he added.

    He added that as the war intensifies, “these risks will continue.”

    There were few specifics from the meeting about what additional contributions would be offered for the fight, beyond citing resources to support the Iraqi military campaign and “various forms” of help to a civilian effort to stabilize and reconstruct areas of Anbar province devastated by war damage.

    The meeting was a follow-up to a similar session Carter led in Brussels in mid-February.

    The peshmerga are Kurdish militia whom have generally fought more effectively against the Islamic State in northern Iraq than the regular Iraqi security forces. The U.S. has been training, equipping and advising pershmerga forces as well as Iraqi security forces, and the Pentagon recently pledged up to $415 million in aid to the Kurds.

    The post Navy SEAL killed in Iraq was part of rescue team appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


older | 1 | .... | 807 | 808 | (Page 809) | 810 | 811 | .... | 1175 | newer