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

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    The Wall Street Journal’s Chester Dawson describes the massive evacuation due to a wildfire in Alberta, Canada.

    A wildfire engulfed the town of Fort McMurray in western Canada’s sprawling Alberta province on Wednesday, forcing residents to leave with basically the clothes on their backs, reported Chester Dawson, senior correspondent in The Wall Street Journal’s Calgary Bureau.

    The 25,000-acre blaze swept through the town, which is an outpost for Canada’s main oil sands operation. All 88,000 residents were given about a half-hour notice to evacuate once the fire started heading their way.

    A wildfire is seen from MacDonald Island Park near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada on May 3, 2016. Photo courtesy of Kangeun Lee/Handout via Reuters

    A wildfire is seen from MacDonald Island Park near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada on May 3, 2016. Photo courtesy of Kangeun Lee/Handout via Reuters

    “Even the firefighters, early in the day yesterday, didn’t seem too concerned about their ability to handle [the fire], but it quickly overwhelmed them as the weather heated up and the winds started blowing the fire directly into residential areas,” Dawson told PBS NewsHour Weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan.

    Many people lost their homes and now are living in the oil-producing camps, Dawson said.

    Wendy Tremblay prepares cots for residents evacuating a wildfire in Conklin, Alberta, Canada, on May 3, 2016. Photo by Topher Seguin/Reuters

    Wendy Tremblay prepares cots for residents evacuating a wildfire in Conklin, Alberta, Canada, on May 3, 2016. Photo by Topher Seguin/Reuters

    One oil producer, Shell, has halted operations and another has reduced production due to the evacuation. No deaths or injuries have been reported, he added.

    The post In Canada, wildfire forces entire town to evacuate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Athens, Ohio. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Athens, Ohio. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

    ATHENS, Ohio — With Donald Trump’s remaining rivals bowing out of the race, clearing his path to the nomination, Hillary Clinton is looking for ways to woo Republicans turned off by the brash billionaire.

    The Democratic front-runner’s campaign believes Trump’s historically high unfavorable ratings and penchant for controversy may be enough to persuade a slice of GOP voters to get behind her bid, in much the same way so-called Reagan Democrats sided with the Republican president in the 1980s.

    As Trump stood alone on Wednesday after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich ended their bids, there were some early signs that a sliver of the party might see Clinton as the only option.

    “I’m with her,” tweeted Mark Salter, a top campaign aide to 2008 Republican nominee John McCain.

    Democrats caution their effort to win over Clinton Republicans — or Hilla-cans — is in its earliest stages, but could grow to include ads and other outreach targeted in particular at suburban women in battleground states. Already, aides say, a number of Republicans have privately told Clinton and her team they plan to break party ranks and support her.

    “Let’s get on the American team,” Clinton said, making an explicit appeal to independents and Republicans, in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

    Hoping to hasten any move to her side, her campaign on Wednesday released a list of Republicans vowing never to vote for Trump along with a web ad featuring clips of prominent GOPers, including his former rivals, bashing the New York billionaire in every possibly way.

    “He needs therapy,” says former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, at the end of the spot.

    Even though a vocal segment of the Republican Party has denounced Trump, so far few have been willing to go as far as saying they would back Clinton in the fall. While such bipartisan support would expand Clinton’s base of potential voters, a series of high-profile endorsements from Republican officials could dampen enthusiasm among some in her own party.

    For months, primary rival Bernie Sanders has criticized Clinton’s record from the left, highlighting her 2002 vote in favor of the war in Iraq and support from Wall Street. The Vermont senator won the Indiana primary Tuesday, demonstrating her lingering weaknesses within her own party.

    Trump’s campaign has also made a conscious effort to target Independents and Democrats in the primary. He’s said he expects to win a portion of Sanders’ support thanks to their shared positions on trade and outsourcing.

    “We have tremendous numbers of Democrats that have voted for me,” he said, in a Tuesday morning interview on MSNBC. “Hundreds and hundreds of people were coming in that were registered Democrats that wanted to vote for Donald Trump.”

    Clinton has begun casting her candidacy as an effort to unify a divided country. After a series of victories last week, which all but ensured she will capture her party’s nomination, Clinton called on Democrats, independents and what she called “thoughtful Republicans” to back her bid.vs

    But even though a vocal segment of the Republican Party has denounced Trump, so far few have been willing to go as far as saying they would back Clinton in the fall.

    Ben Howe, a Republican strategist who has worked for Cruz, said he’d be actively working against Trump — a decision he recognizes means backing Clinton.

    “Anything right now that would allow Donald Trump to become president is the wrong move, so the de facto result is that Hillary would win,” he said.

    Endorsements from prominent GOP backers could potentially pave the way for Republican voters to back Clinton, particularly woman.

    “Educated, suburban white women are turned off en masse and there will be more of that,” Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Clinton backer, said of Trump. “In the Columbus suburbs, she’s going to do very well.”

    A February poll of likely Republican voters commissioned by a Democratic firm led by Stan Greenberg, a former pollster for former President Bill Clinton, found that 20 percent of Republicans are “uncertain” whether they would back Trump or Clinton in a head-to-head match-up.

    There is some irony in Clinton playing the role of a unifier: She’s long been one of the most divisive figures in American politics.

    For some voters, that leaves them feeling like they have few good options.

    Amy Bishop, 42, a stay-at-home mom from Indianola, Iowa, said she wasn’t sure how she would vote. She said she would “most likely” go for Clinton over Trump, but stressed that she wasn’t “100 percent.”

    “I don’t feel like she’s honest and upfront,” said the self-identified independent. Of Trump, she said, “I think he’s very reactive.”

    Tracey Kingery, a Republican from Des Moines, Iowa, said she, too, was unsure about how to vote.

    “I think he seriously would go half-cocked on everything. He’s a little too hot-headed for me,” she said. But, said the 47-year-old, “there’s been too much negative stuff about her.”

    Lucey reported from Indianola, Iowa.

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

    The post Clinton urges Republicans to join her ‘on the American team’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A picture of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hangs outside a house in West Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

    A picture of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hangs outside a house in West Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Polling? Who needs to do that? Fund-raising? Can’t be bothered. Parse your words? Fuhgetabout it.

    Donald Trump took the rules of modern politics, trashed them and became the last man standing for the Republican nomination anyway.

    12 ways Trump did it his way:


    It’s what Trump’s supporters love about him: He blurts out whatever pops into his head. He rejects “political correctness.” He insults rivals and critics. He has fun. After one particularly salty salvo, Trump explained: “That’s what I mean about being politically correct, every once in a while you can have a little fun, don’t you think?” Plenty of candidates may think it, but Trump said it: “I’d like to punch him in the face,” he said of one protester. To listen to a Trump speech from start to finish is to enter an alternate grammatical universe. Sentences veer off in unexpected directions as Trump has a new thought. When he interjects his trademark “by the way,” there’s no telling where he’s headed next.


    The billionaire is proud to campaign on the cheap, milking free media in a way that other candidates could only envy. He functioned through most of the primaries with a bare-bones staff. He has no national finance chairman. He never set up a traditional fundraising operation. Sure, he has “donate” buttons on his website, and raises millions hawking hats and other gear. But forget the chicken dinner circuit. Or charging donors $1,000 for a grip-and-grin photo. Or asking supporters to “bundle” contributions from friends and neighbors. Early on, Trump tweeted: “So, I have spent almost nothing on my run for president and am in 1st place. Jeb Bush has spent $59 million & done. Run country my way!”


    The poll-obsessed candidate doesn’t have a pollster. Other candidates spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on surveys to poll-test their words and messages, and track their standings in primary states. Trump goes with his gut and mines public polls for intel. He often tells crowds that he relies on his wife, Melania, to help him take the temperature of voters. “She’s my pollster,” he said, adding “she’s really smart.”


    Most candidates recoil from the dreaded “flip-flopper” label. Trump unabashedly changes his mind — not just week to week or day to day, but sometimes even within the same speech. He frames it as an asset. “I’ve never seen a successful person who wasn’t flexible,” Trump said at one GOP debate. “You have to be flexible, because you learn.”


    Candidates love to trot out five-point plans and lofty position papers — some more detailed than others. Trump, not so much. His outline for replacing Obamacare is more aspirational than detailed. His recent “America First” foreign policy speech was a broad-brush endeavor. Trump makes a virtue of leaving enemies guessing about U.S. intentions. “We have to be unpredictable, starting now,” he says.

    READ MORE: What does Donald Trump believe? Where the candidate stands on 10 issues


    Trump salts his speeches with vulgarities — although he’s dialed it back a bit after a scolding from Melania. Lots of politicians use profanities, of course, but typically not in public. Trump has publicly lip-synced the F-bomb, blurted out the S-word and hurled an offensive term at rival Ted Cruz. He fires a steady string of put-downs at other candidates whom he labels pathetic, liar, loser, nasty, evil and more. Oh, and not many candidates use the debate stage to refer to the size of their genitals.


    It’s become routine for candidates to rely on independent super PACs stocked with former aides and allies to play a strong supporting role for their campaigns, spending millions on political ads. Trump didn’t go that route in the primary, and was proud to proclaim he didn’t have a super PAC, although a few have sprung up to back him anyway. He said in his speech entering the race: “I don’t need anybody’s money. It’s nice. … I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.” Now that the general election race is under way, though, he’s warming to the idea.


    Remember how 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney was tarred by critics as a ruthless corporate fat cat? Trump has turned greed into a campaign asset. “My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy,” he said at a rally in Iowa. “I grabbed all the money I can get. I’m so greedy. But now I want to be greedy for the United States. I want to grab all that money. I’m going to be greedy for the United States.”


    Women. Hispanics. Muslims. Trump kept winning even as he rolled out a stream of remarks that could be a turn-off to huge swaths of the electorate. It started with his campaign-announcement speech, when he said illegal immigration from Mexico is bringing rapists, drugs and crime to the U.S. Then came his pledge to bar foreign Muslims from entering the country. Throughout his campaign, he’s had harsh words for women and their appearances, mocking the looks of Carly Fiorina, retweeting an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz and accusing Hillary Clinton of playing the “woman’s card.” Trump voters love that he “tells it like it is.”


    Trump isn’t afraid to pick a fight, even with a conservative powerhouse like Fox News Channel. He refused to participate in a Fox-sponsored debate in January after Fox refused to remove Megyn Kelly as a moderator. He was irked that Kelly had asked him in a previous debate about statements that he had made about women. Trump isn’t afraid to make up, though. He’s agreed to an interview with Kelly later this month.


    Trump keeps promising he’ll act more “presidential’ when the time is right. But, for now, he’s having fun — and so are his supporters. “I can be presidential,” he said at rally last month. “But if I was presidential, only about 20 percent of you would be here because it would be boring as hell.”


    Trump’s distinctive hairstyle may be in for a makeover if he’s elected president. “I would probably comb my hair back. Why? Because this thing is too hard to comb,” he said at an appearance in Iowa last summer. “I wouldn’t have time, because if I were in the White House, I’d be working my ass off.”

    Associated Press writer Julie Bykowicz contributed to this report.

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

    The post How Trump broke the rules of modern politics, and won anyway appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    President Barack Obama drinks a glass of filtered water from Flint, a city struggling with the effects of lead-poisoned drinking water, during a meeting will local and federal authorities in Michigan. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    President Barack Obama drinks a glass of filtered water from Flint, a city struggling with the effects of lead-poisoned drinking water, during a meeting will local and federal authorities in Michigan. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    FLINT, Mich. — Showing support for the beleaguered residents of Flint, Michigan, President Barack Obama drank filtered city water on Wednesday to show that it is again safe following a lead-contamination crisis.

    After officials briefed Obama on the federal government’s response to the contamination and he addressed the news media, a reporter asked if he would drink the water in a glass on the table. The president said he usually avoids publicity stunts. But he took a drink, saying he wanted to show the water must be safe if he’s drinking it.

    “This used a filter,” Obama said of the water. “The water around this table was Flint water and it just confirms what we know scientifically, which is, if you’re using a filter, if you’re installing it, then Flint water at this point is drinkable.”

    Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint in mid-January and ordered federal aid to supplement the state and local response. At that point, however, the crisis was in full bloom.

    Video by PBS NewsHour

    It took several months for the nation to focus on the beaten-down city’s plight, raising questions about how race and poverty influenced decisions that led to the tainted water supply and the beleaguered response once problems surfaced. More than 40 percent of Flint residents live in poverty and more than half are black.

    Obama, making his first visit to the city since the crisis began, said the discussion during the briefing underscored that local, state and federal officials must ensure that residents are healthy and have safe water to drink. He said he didn’t go to Flint to discuss issues of accountability.

    “There are times for politics and there are times for turf battles. This is not one of those times,” Obama said. “All of us are going to have to really keep our eye on the ball, even when the cameras go away.”

    He said the water crisis stemmed from a broader issues, the hard times and neglect that had gripped Flint long ago. He said the focus now must be on rebuilding and moving the city “in a better direction.”

    Obama also urged residents to use the water filters that are being provided free of charge, and for parents to have their children examined for lead in their bloodstreams. He also pressed people to let the taps run for five minutes every day to flush out any contaminants.

    In an effort to save money, the city, while under state management, began drawing its water from the Flint River in April 2014. Despite complaints from residents about the smell and taste and health problems, city leaders insisted the water was safe. However, doctors reported last September that the blood of children contained high levels of lead.

    The source of the city’s water was subsequently switched back to Detroit, but the lead problem still is not fully solved, and people are drinking filtered or bottled water.

    The political and legal fallout is ongoing. An independent commission appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder determined the state was primarily responsible for the water contamination in Flint, and he issued an apology. The Obama administration’s response, through the Environmental Protection Agency, has also come under criticism from Snyder and some in Congress who say the EPA didn’t move with necessary urgency upon hearing of problems.

    EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told Congress that, while staff repeatedly urged the state to address the lack of corrosion controls, “we missed the opportunity late last summer to quickly get EPA’s concerns on the public’s radar screen.” An inspector general is investigating the EPA’s response.

    After visiting with federal health officials, Obama met with nine Flint residents at Northwestern High School. A water faucet outside the room warned students not to drink the water until further notice.

    A sign is seen next to a water dispenser at North Western High School in Flint, a city struggling with the effects of lead-poisoned drinking water in Michigan. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    A sign is seen next to a water dispenser at North Western High School in Flint, a city struggling with the effects of lead-poisoned drinking water in Michigan. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Snyder spoke and was booed loudly as he was introduced in the gymnasium where Obama was delivering remarks after his meeting. Snyder said he understood why they were angry and frustrated and said he wanted to say he was sorry.

    “You didn’t create this problem,” Snyder said. “Government failed you.”

    Many in the audience yelled back, “You failed.”

    Outside the school, Reneta Richard, a teacher and Flint resident, said she hopes Obama’s trip has some impact on her hometown. She recently bought a house and said she’s there for the long haul.

    “I want him to leave a check — right here, right now — for pipe removal and medical bills and the life we’re going to suffer,” said Richard, 37, a single mom. “This isn’t going to be over in 10 years.”

    She spoke a block from where dozens of protesters had gathered and were chanting “Flint lives matter” and “They think it’s a game, they think it’s a joke,” a reference to their disgust for Snyder and other state officials over the scandal.

    Congress is also grappling with how to help Flint, but progress has been slow. A Senate committee last week approved a $220 million aid package as part of a broader bill that would authorize nearly $4.8 billion for water-related projects around the country. The bill could come up for a Senate vote in May.

    The post Obama drinks filtered city water in Flint to show it’s safe appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo by Flickr user torbakhopper.

    Photo by Flickr user torbakhopper.

    The Justice Department has now weighed in on a North Carolina law that has been considered the most anti-LGBT law in the United States.

    Justice Department officials sent a letter to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday that said House Bill 2 violated federal civil rights laws, including Title IX, which bars discrimination based on sex, the Associated Press reported.

    Critics argued that North Carolina’s controversial law, which was signed into law hours after it was introduced in March, restricted protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The so-called “bathroom bill” prevents local governments from passing laws that protect LGBT individuals by requiring transgender people to use bathrooms that match the gender they were assigned at birth.

    The letter said North Carolina was “engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination” against transgender state employees.

    The letter also said state officials had until Monday to confirm that “the State will not comply with or implement H.B. 2, and that it has notified employees of the State and public agencies that, consistent with federal law, they are permitted to access bathrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.”

    According to the Charlotte Observer, millions of dollars in federal school funding — reaching $861 million for the current school year — could be at risk should North Carolina officials not comply.

    Public outcry soon followed the bill’s passing, with gay rights advocates, businesses and entertainers staging boycotts over the measure.

    Justice Dept Letter on HB 2 by PBS NewsHour

    The post Justice Department says North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law is a Civil Rights Act violation appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. legendary singer James Brown and so-called Godfather of soul,
performs during a concert in downtown Naples 22, July 2003. Brown is on
tour promoting his latest album - the soundtrack to the new Rocky movie
staring Silvester Stallone. REUTERS/Mario Laporta


    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now a new look at the hardest working man in show business, a man of many contradictions, highs and lows, whose musical legacy opened doors and influenced black and white musicians alike.

    Jeffrey Brown has this newest addition to the “NewsHour” Bookshelf.

    JEFFREY BROWN: He was the Godfather of Soul, an incredible entertainer, by any measure one of the most important and influential American musicians of the 20th century.

    But who was James Brown, the man, and what shaped him? Those questions are taken up by musician and writer James McBride, best known for his memoir “The Color of Water” and his National Book Award-winning novel “The Good Lord Bird.”

    McBride’s new book is “Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul.”

    We talked recently at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., AN historic hall where James Brown regularly performed.

    And I asked first about the power of Brown’s music.

    JAMES MCBRIDE, Author, “Kill ‘Em and Leave”: Well, there’s no music in America that you can listen to that doesn’t have some James Brown in it.

    I mean, the whole creation of the synthesizers and these guitar parts and the beat, that was James Brown. Elvis Presley shook America up, and James Brown shook the world up, because his whole persona was that of someone whose consumed by this music, this sound.

    So, he was a phenomena. And he was really seen as a kind of a scream at the end of the dial, where black radio lived.

    JEFFREY BROWN: A scream at the end of the dial? Yes.

    JAMES MCBRIDE: Yes, he was this — he was — because everyone knows, “Wo, I feel good.”

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Yes.

    JAMES MCBRIDE: But, musically, he was very sophisticated. There is a lot of counterpoint in James Brown’s music.

    JEFFREY BROWN: This is not a traditional biography, though, that you have written, right? The subtitle says tell us that is searching for the American soul. And that means taking us to some deep places.

    JAMES MCBRIDE: Well, yes.

    Well, I think James Brown’s life is a metaphor really for how America has evolved. And it is a metaphor for how we can’t talk about the business of race and class and North and South, because, in many ways, James Brown was much more a Southerner than he was a black man. Everything about the…

    JEFFREY BROWN: And what does that mean?

    JAMES MCBRIDE: Well, everything about the way he lived, everything about his lifestyle and his choices, personal and professional choices, were dictated by the decorum and the pride and the honor and integrity of Southern life.

    So, you know the whole business of him doing his hair, for example, and always being proper, and not showing his pain, the whole business of trust in the South, and especially in James Brown’s world, and you talk to Southerners, this — this whole mentality of, if we trust you, we will trust you with our life, but if you betray that trust, our journey is over.

    And James Brown really typified that in many ways.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But you also talk about the idea of putting on a face, right, not presenting your true self, partly out of fear as a black man in the South.

    JAMES MCBRIDE: Well, that’s right. He had a lot of fear of white people as well, because he grew up in a segregated part of the world, and he grew up in a world where there was a lot of cruelty, in a world where everyone had to stay in their own lane.

    And I think his fear of white people and his fear of being broke and his fear of people trying to — taking what he had, including the government and the IRS, which cleaned him to the walls twice, made him a very lonely and fearful person.

    But he never showed that to people. His face was that of bravado and pride and smiling. He never wanted to show — he didn’t want people to know him.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, that comes through. Right? I mean, he’s a very hard man to know, even by those you talked to who were very close to him.

    JAMES MCBRIDE: Well, you know, he compartmentalized people.

    You know, he had his black friends. He had his white friends. He had his manager that he trusted with his money, and his accountant that he trusted with his money. And he had this promoter that he trusted and that one he didn’t.

    He lived in a world of many rooms. I don’t know if he is that different from any of us. But he is an exaggeration of all of us, because he doesn’t know how to quite function comfortably in any one place.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And what about the way he was treated, seen? I mean, you are talking about him rocking the universe. Elvis Presley, though, of course, gets much more — got much more attention.

    JAMES MCBRIDE: Of course.

    Well, I mean, listen, the whole business of the evolution of black music in America is a difficult subject to talk about without sounding like a racist malcontent. But I have spent most…

    JEFFREY BROWN: But you have made it part of the story here of James Brown.

    JAMES MCBRIDE: I had to. You can’t avoid it. It is like — it’s the elephant in the room.

    I mean, most black musicians, including James Brown, walked through department stores and hear ninth chords borrowing from their history. There is no pension for the guys who created…


    JEFFREY BROWN: You mean the Muzak, the music in the…


    JAMES MCBRIDE: Yes, the music — the music that plays into the…

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Yes.

    JAMES MCBRIDE: They hear their own music piped back to them, as they’re living lives of relative poverty and anonymity.

    And, I mean, history has gobbled up most black musicians’ contributions. I never thought it would eat James Brown alive, but it has to some degree.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So did he ever get his proper due?

    JAMES MCBRIDE: I don’t think he’s gotten his just due, because I don’t think he has seen — he is such a phenomena, that people remember him and they just remember he just gave them such a good time.

    They forget that, musically, he was brilliant, and that, personally, despite his personal struggles, which were painful to him and to others, that he put that aside in order to try to make people happy, and to try to make people, most importantly, get along.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Was it an easy story to tell? Was he an easy man to find in the end?

    JAMES MCBRIDE: No, this was the hardest book I have ever done, because even after finishing this book, I don’t really feel I know him completely.

    I don’t think he wanted to — it’s clear he didn’t want to be known. But I have enough of the ghost of the man, the nub of the man, to tell the story in a way that I think people would relate to.

    It is hard to know someone who spent his entire life not wanting to be known. Michael Jackson was the same way. In fact, a lot of the celebrities are the same way. They have this penchant for privacy because they don’t want to show you the pain that powers them.

    But the story — you know, the story is the pain that powers them. That’s the fuel. That is the motor in the car. And so — and dissecting that with James Brown, you realize that a lot of what motored him along was his desire for people to see beyond the color of his skin. And that is something we still have a hard time working out in this country.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, the book is “Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul.”

    James McBride, thank you.

    JAMES MCBRIDE: Thank you very much.

    The post You don’t have to search for James Brown’s musical influence appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump (R) reacts to a comment from Dr. Ben Carson (L) and reaches over to him in the midst of the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada December 15, 2015.     REUTERS/Mike Blake (TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)   - RTX1YVCN

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We return to the presidential race now and to a man who once challenged Donald Trump, but now supports him, Dr. Ben Carson.

    Today, it was announced that he will assist the Trump campaign in selecting a running mate.

    For the record, I knew Dr. Carson before he was a candidate, when he was a doctor for one of my children.

    And he joins me now from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

    Welcome back to the “NewsHour,” Dr. Carson.

    Now that Donald Trump has sewn up this nomination, what do you expect from him? Do you think he will change the message he’s been giving to the American people, change his presentation, or do you think it will stay the same?

    DR. BEN CARSON (R), Former Republican Presidential Candidate: Well, you know, getting to the process of gaining the nomination involves a mud-fight.

    So, that’s been largely taken care of. And now you can turn your focus a little bit more to some of the issues and some of the innovative solutions that really haven’t been talked about before, and really trying stabilize the economic situation of our country.

    And I think you’re going to see a lot of pivoting there. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some more mud-fighting when the actual election comes up with Hillary Clinton. But, right now, I think you’re going to see a little bit different.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you expect to see him take a position or positions that will surprise the American people?

    DR. BEN CARSON: I think people will be very pleasantly surprised by what he really has an opportunity to explain, because many have said, oh, he doesn’t have any understanding of foreign policy, doesn’t really, truly understand how the system works. I think they will be surprised at that.

    I think people will also be surprised at some of the individuals who will be selected for different positions. They will be, I think, very pleasantly surprised when they see the list of Supreme Court possibilities.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: As you know, a number of prominent Republicans are saying — yes, some are saying they will support him, but there are a number of prominent Republicans saying they will never support him.

    We heard again today from the Senator from Nebraska Ben Sasse. He said — he said: I stick with my view that I have expressed before that Donald Trump is a destructive force bent on dividing the country.

    Does Donald Trump try to change the minds of people like Senator Sasse, or does he just move on?

    DR. BEN CARSON: Well, you know, early on, you will hear a lot of that, as you have always heard when there’s controversy in a selection.

    Over the course of time, that tends to melt away as people begin to consider the alternative. Now, there may be some Republicans who, you know, prefer a more progressive ideology, prefer, you know, more debt, prefer withdrawal from the world and allowing our enemies to multiply and destruction of our military.

    And those people probably should — should move on.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you think it’s significant, Dr. Carson, that both former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush are saying today that they don’t plan to get involved in this election, they don’t plan to express their view one way or another?

    In other words, they’re not going to get behind this candidacy, they’re saying.

    DR. BEN CARSON: Well, again, we must recognize that, you know, what Donald Trump represents is really quite alien to the traditional political system, Democrats or Republicans. You know, they’re used to having people who are part of the system, who have obligations to this group or this group.

    To have somebody who is completely uncontrollable is a very difficult thing for the system to adjust to. But, hopefully, they will. The people have adjusted to it. And the people have decided that they will supersede the system and vote in such numbers that it wouldn’t be thrown into a contested situation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, of course, you’re referring to some or most of those who vote in these Republican primaries.

    I know you’re familiar with the polls, Dr. Carson, that show Donald Trump has a problem with different groups of voters, Hispanics, African-Americans, women. How does he begin to win those important parts of the electorate over?

    DR. BEN CARSON: Well, I think he’s going to begin to address those, certainly going to begin talking about the kinds of programs that provide ladders of opportunity that will give a person the ability to climb out of a state of dependency, utilizing their own God-given talents and strengths and hard work.

    And we will do things to try to facilitate that. We will be talking about how we can make education more widely available. And I’m talking about good education. You look at our inner cities, you look at some of those high schools, we have more than 50 percent of people dropping out, not because they don’t want to be educated, but because they’re not being educated, and they say, what’s the point in being here?

    We have to change that, because we need all of those people. We only have 330 million people. We have to compete against China with 1.3 or 1.4 billion. We can’t afford to lose any of our people. We need to start talking about, you know, our justice system and how we prevent such an influx of people, because we can’t afford to be losing all these people. This is great talent.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I saw another comment today, this one from the former governor of Utah, Republican Mike Leavitt. He said, “Donald Trump is going to have to demonstrate he has the temperament to be president.”

    How does Donald Trump do that?

    DR. BEN CARSON: I think he — you know, we all have our weaknesses. There’s no question about that.

    And, you know, he has sometimes had a little difficulty letting something go when somebody insults him. But I think he realizes that this will be a trick that his opponents will use to try to get him off track. And I think he’s much smarter than people think. And he’s just not going to fall for that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally, you mentioned Supreme Court names. Glad to have you share any of those with us.

    And, also, as I mentioned, he said that — Donald Trump said you’re going to be on the committee looking at a possible running mate. Are you interested in that position yourself?

    DR. BEN CARSON: I prefer to work from the outside.

    And I also recognize that myself as a running mate would just start the feeding frenzy again on behalf of some of the media who just couldn’t stand the thought of me doing anything. Rather than become a distraction in that sense, you know, I would rather help from the outside.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And are there some names of individuals you think would make a good running mate for him? Do you have people in mind?

    DR. BEN CARSON: I think there’s a whole host of terrific people.

    And, you know, I would rather allow, you know, Donald Trump himself to reveal those names.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you’re going to be working closely with him during this campaign, during the remainder of this campaign?

    DR. BEN CARSON: We will be working during the campaign to do everything we possibly can.

    You know, my goal is to make sure that we have a thriving and vibrant America for the next generation. You know, my whole life has been about children and making things better for them. And that’s not going to happen unless we fix the economy and create a safe environment.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Ben Carson, we thank you for joining us.

    DR. BEN CARSON: Thank you so much, Judy.

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    File photo of hospital bed by Getty Images

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: For the better part of two decades, there’s been a growing recognition that medical errors kill too many patients in the U.S.

    While exact numbers are elusive, a new analysis and estimate portrays an even grimmer picture. The new paper finds that as many as 250,000 people die each year from errors in hospitals and other health care facilities. That would make it the third leading cause of death in the U.S., ahead of respiratory disease, accidents and even stroke.

    Dr. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the research, joins me now.

    So, how did we get to this number? What did your research find?

    DR. MARTIN MAKARY, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: Well, we took the best available studies, the data from the medical literature, and we basically came up with a meta-analysis point estimate, and then asked, where would that fall if medical error were counted as a disease?

    It turns out that we learned that the CDC doesn’t consider medical error to be a cause of death in listing our national health statistics each year, even though the point estimate comes right in between number two and number three on the list, which means medical error is the number three cause of death in the United States. We’re just not measuring it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK. So, let’s talk a little bit about the methodology.

    If the numbers are scarce, are these studies representative enough sample sets to be able to extrapolate this quarter-million?

    DR. MARTIN MAKARY: These are studies of hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations in the top medical journals. And they are updating the 1999 Institute of Medicine report.

    And there’s broad consensus that the range is somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000. Our analysis came up with 251,000. No matter what number you pick, it is well above the currently listed number three cause of death. And it turns out that the reason it’s not being counted is that the system relies on billing codes to compile our national health statistics.

    But people don’t always die of a billing code. They can die from diagnostic errors, fragmented care, preventable complications. These are not things that are captured in national health statistics. That list of most common causes of death in the United States, that list is a big deal.

    It informs all of our research funding priorities as a country, all of our public health campaigns. We spend a lot of time and money on heart disease and cancer, but we haven’t even really recognized that the third leading burden on health in America in terms of death is medical error in its many forms.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, how do systems change to try to adapt for this? I remember there was a book written a while ago about the checklist, and actually preventing surgical errors just by something as simple as that.

    Are there systemic improvements that we can make to try to decrease this error rate?

    DR. MARTIN MAKARY: Well, there are so many great homegrown ideas by doctors around the country, hospital associations, national collaboratives.

    But the important work that they’re doing is vastly underfunded and underappreciated. Our large research center in patient safety at Johns Hopkins has applied for numerous federal grants, and we keep getting message back, this is not within the scope of the NIH. This is not within the scope of the National Cancer Institute.

    And all of these grants are relegated to a very small agency with a fraction of the budget, $300 million for the entire agency, including the grants. If you look at the number of people that die from breast cancer, it’s about a fourth or a fifth of the number of people that die from medical care gone wrong.

    And yet they have billions more because of the great lobbying efforts and the vocal advocacy work of that group. Well, it turns out that it’s not proportional to the burden of preventable health in America.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: How do you capture the number of people who might not be killed by a medical error, but might be with some serious negative health outcomes when they leave the hospital?

    DR. MARTIN MAKARY: Well, studies in — even in “The New England Journal of Medicine” show that as many as one in four patients in the hospital will have some medical error that they experience, almost always nonconsequential.

    And it’s estimated that about half of 1 percent to a little more than 1 percent of these errors could actually be fatal. If you extrapolate the numbers to all U.S. hospitalization, that’s where this 250,000 estimate comes from. That’s not even counting people that die at home or sometimes through limited insurance networks or cracks in the system that result in deaths.

    It doesn’t include outpatient office deaths or ambulatory surgery deaths. So, we think that the estimate is a solid estimate. There’s broad consensus in the field. It’s in that range. And it doesn’t even include a lot of other types of medical errors that lead to death.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, so I’m a patient. How do I figure out the hospital I might be taken to or that I’m already in is kind of the lowest that it can be on these error rates? Or what do I do to inform myself? What kind of questions do I ask a doctor or a hospital about my care?

    DR. MARTIN MAKARY: Well, on a national level, this is exactly why we need to measure the problem.

    On a bedside level, you should always go into your office visit or your hospitalization with a loved one or family member. They’re an important safety net. And, certainly, patients that we see that come in with that support system are often critical in coordinating care.

    Also, ask about a second opinion. If you’re going to have something major, like an operation or start a medication, sometimes, it’s worth getting a second opinion, because about 20 percent of second opinions are different than the first opinion. So, it’s good to know all the treatment options, be well-read, and come in with a loved one.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Dr. Martin Makary of Johns Hopkins, thanks so much.

    DR. MARTIN MAKARY: Great to be with you.

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    A new report from the Pew Research Center shows that parents monitor their children's social media habits, but use conversation as a "first line of defense" when teaching kids how to behave online. Photo by Getty Images.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first, a new report looks at how digital devices are taking a toll on kids and families.

    The report issued yesterday by Common Sense Media found half of all young people feel they are addicted to their devices. Almost 60 percent of adults think their kids are addicted too. And a third of parents and teens say that they argue daily about screen time.

    Now a new documentary explores this topic and offers ideas about what families can do to navigate these waters.

    William Brangham is back with our look.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The documentary is called “Screenagers,” and, in it, Dr. Delaney Ruston explores the complex relationship teenagers have with their screens, both the pleasures they take in sharing their lives online with their friends, as well as the darker side, those who lose control of their digital habits, and spiral into damaging behavior.

    WOMAN: When I went to hug him, I could feel the bones in his back. And that was scary.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The film also looks at the latest research about the impact all this screen time has on the brains of young people.

    SHERRY TURKLE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: You have a brain that is wired for what in psychology is called seeking behavior, the kind of thing that a Google search gives you, something new, something stimulating, something different.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Throughout the film, Ruston also turns the camera on herself, exploring the real and all-too-common conflicts that flare up as she and her family haggle over screen time.

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON, Filmmaker, “Screenagers”: What should the rules be? Because we don’t have any right now.

    TESSA RUSTON: I think the rules should be there is no rule. It’s not like I’m on it 24/7.

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON: When you have it, you’re always checking it. And I — don’t you think that…

    TESSA RUSTON: Well, if you put this in front of me, yes, I will go on it, and, yes, I can find something to do on it.

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON: Tessa, why are you so mad? OK. Just get dressed. I’m sorry you’re crying.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I met with Delaney Ruston last week in Washington, D.C.

    I wonder, what was that — initially, what made you want to do this film?

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON: Well, I was having a really hard time as a mom with my two kids. You know, my son wanted to play video games a lot and my daughter really wanted more and more social media, and I felt completely out of control.

    And, as a doctor, I was thinking, what is the impact of all this screen time? I knew, as a mom, that, every day, there was tension in the house, and I felt completely out of control on what to do, what kind of limits to set, how this was affecting them.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Now that you have done all this research, what was it, I’m curious, that most surprised you that you found?

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON: Well, I think one thing that really helped me to start to be a better parent around this is to learn that the dopamine that’s secreted in the brain’s pleasure center when we get new bits of information and we look at the screens, that center of the brain is most activated when we’re kids and we’re teenagers.

    So, knowing that they are so pulled into these in a way that we can’t even understand has made me not be as angry at them, but realize there’s a lot more I need to do as — in my parenting.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, these are little electronic drug delivery devices? I know that’s a crude way to put it, but that’s what you’re saying.

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON: Absolutely.

    I mean, it’s amazing that there’s many studies that look at MRI scans of the brain of kids who play a lot of video games, 20 hours or more of video games a week. And when they compare them to people who are addicted to, say, drugs or alcohol, their brains scans are similar. So, something is really happening on a physiological level. It’s not just psychological.

    MAN: We exposed young mice to switching sounds and light.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In the film, Ruston talks with researchers who are studying what multitasking, switching rapidly back and forth between digital devices, does to the brain function of mice.

    MAN: Afterwards, we looked at the effect on learning and found that the ability of these young mice to learn new things was very much compromised.

    It took them three times longer or more to learn how to go through a maze than the non-exposed young mice. We are exposing a whole generation of children to this rapid-paced media, and we have no clue what it does to the brain. And if it’s the same as we see in the mice, then this is very shocking news.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, does that kind of stuff terrify you? Or do you think this research is not necessarily analogous? I mean, how are people supposed to process this information?

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON: You know, I think it’s a question about how much we’re giving kids full potential in everything that they do. And, to me, a big issue is how much time they have with all sorts of skills that they’re learning offline, social engagement, competency, talking to people face to face.

    So, I think, if we’re giving them a lot of those situations, that even if there’s some concern about attention span and possibly some changes in the brain, I think that humans are resilient enough — and already we’re seeing that people are not, you know, dropping like flies from screen time. I don’t think we’re at that place yet where we need to be really alarmist.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Let’s say I’m a parent and I come to you and I say, I have a young kid, maybe a 10-year-old daughter. When should I get her a phone? What would you tell this parent?

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON: I think, you know, obviously, every kid is different, and that’s really important. And every situation in the home is different.

    But I do worry that it is getting younger and younger. And when we bring them — start having them in elementary school, we have to wonder, when is it too young that they’re not going to be able to resist the impulse to check or to post?

    MAN: Every girl in the picture is locked into her phone. Peralta knocks it into center. David tonight 2-2, a leadoff single here in the fourth, and nobody noticed.

    We need to — can we do an intervention?

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON: This is all about teaching kids self-control, and what we have learned through the research is that it’s absolutely teachable. So, I would really discourage a family from getting a child a device when they don’t feel like they are going to be able to control themselves from when they use it.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Ruston has been taking her film across the country recently, holding screenings in dozens of cities, encouraging parents and kids to come, to watch, and to then continue the conversation at home.

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON: You know what I think is really exciting, is that kids and teenagers actually want to talk about these issues.

    And I think that it doesn’t take that long in homeroom or in some other setting to ask these questions about, what are you struggling with, with your screen time, or what do you see happening on social media? And once we say we want to hear from you, then they care, as opposed to what I see so often is this message of zero tolerance, let’s just take everything away and get mad at you.

    That’s not going to get kids to open up and feel comfortable to be a part of this, and that’s really what this is going to take.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m William Brangham in Washington, D.C.

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    Kurdish Peshmerga fighters search for Islamic State militants in Tel Asqof, northern Iraq May 4, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic - RTX2CUKP

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: There were more details today about the death of Navy SEAL Charles Keating in a firefight yesterday with ISIS militants in Northern Iraq.

    The U.S. has moved in more troops and materiel recently to support Iraqi military efforts against the group. At the same time, there is political turmoil in Baghdad, where the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is facing challenges from rival Shia groups.

    For more, I’m joined now by The Washington Post’s Baghdad bureau chief, Loveday Morris. She just returned from the front lines in Northern Iraq.

    Loveday Morris, thanks for joining us.

    You were near the front lines of this battle. Describe the situation there. What did you see?

    LOVEDAY MORRIS, The Washington Post: What we are seeing on the front lines at the moment is an increased U.S. troop presence outside of the more established Iraqi bases.

    The line where I was at, south of Mosul, now there’s a U.S. artillery base which is relatively close to the front lines. And the problem with these front lines are that, that scrappy line, you have suicide bombers penetrating the lines regularly.

    So, as we see more troops, more U.S. troops coming, there were more announced by the president, there is an increased risk for them.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What do you know now about how this SEAL died?

    LOVEDAY MORRIS: What the Pentagon is saying that, at around 7:30 a.m., a large-scale ISIS attack broke through the Kurdish Peshmerga at the line.

    These Navy SEALs, they came as a part of a rapid reaction force, and this SEAL sadly died while trying to assist them.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Yesterday, the secretary of defense said that this was a combat death. But then the White House said this soldier wasn’t on a combat mission.

    How would you describe what U.S. forces are doing on the ground in Iraq?

    LOVEDAY MORRIS: I think a lot of people are confused, and I can see why.

    The problem is, if you have U.S. forces dotted along front lines that are scrappy front lines, and getting entangled when there are ISIS attacks, calling for assistance, and then becoming involved in firefights, I mean, is that — do you clock that as combat, or do you clock that as advise and assist?

    The Iraqis that were around — we talked to a lot of Iraqis that were around when this incident happened actually on Tuesday, and they actually seemed to be under the impression that these SEALs were assisting them take back the town. They seemed to think that they were part of a counteroffensive to take back the town.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: We have seen quite a bit of protests and demonstrations against the Iraqi government, due to corruption and lack of services.

    What’s the political situation like, and how is that affecting what’s happening on the battlefield?

    LOVEDAY MORRIS: At the moment, the political situation is a big worry.

    There’s a worry that it’s going to delay plans for any Mosul offensive. The prime minister, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, he is the commander in chief of the armed forces. He’s America’s main partner when it comes to fighting ISIS on the ground in Iraq.

    His position is in question. He’s fighting for his political survival. Everyone’s very worried about the potential for a political vacuum. That would have a huge impact on the U.S.’ campaign. They’re here at the invitation of the Iraqi government. What happens if you have a power vacuum here? It’s definitely a big concern for them.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Loveday Morris of The Washington Post, joining us via Skype from Baghdad, thanks so much.

    LOVEDAY MORRIS: Thank you.

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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump smiles as he speaks at the start of a campaign victory party after rival candidate Senator Ted Cruz dropped after the race for the Republican presidential nomination, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX2CPIK

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: On this day with more than its share of political tumult, the questions abound. How exactly did Donald Trump upend the Republican Party to become its presumptive nominee for president? And how does Bernie Sanders’ decision to stay in the race affect Hillary Clinton?

    For some answers, we turn to Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for USA Today, and Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for The Washington Post.

    And welcome to both of you.

    So, I think it’s fair to say that, a year ago, hardly anybody thought Donald Trump would have sewn up his party’s nomination by now, Susan, much less before Hillary Clinton sews up hers. How did he do it?

    SUSAN PAGE, USA Today: You know, he didn’t have the best campaign organization. He didn’t have experienced people around him. He didn’t have the best pollster, the best ads. He didn’t spend the most money.

    He had a message. He had a message and an understanding of the mood of the part of the American electorate that almost no one else did, at how angry and frustrated and how much a desire of a different kind of politics — that group of Republicans in these primaries, the kind of politics they were ready to embrace.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Karen, what would you add?

    KAREN TUMULTY, The Washington Post: Well, I think not only did he have that. He had it early.

    The fact is, Donald Trump, six days after the 2012 election, filed the paperwork to trademark the phrase that would become the signature of his campaign, which is “Make America great again.” He not only had a sense of the electorate, but he had it early, and he had it at a time when the Republican Party elders thought that there — you know, that what they needed to be doing was sort of softening the edges of the party, you know, appealing to women and Hispanics and young people.

    Donald Trump sensed that what would win this primary race was exactly the opposite.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, here we are now. He’s sewn it up. All day long, I think, we have been watching a parade of Republicans, conservatives either saying never Donald Trump, they’re not going to go with him, Susan, or some of them gradually falling in line.

    How serious opposition — is the opposition that he faces in his own party?

    SUSAN PAGE: I think the opposition is not serious in terms of getting the nomination. I think that battle is over, and he is now the face of the Republican Party.

    But you do see some fervent supporters, most of them not really elected senior Republicans, mostly in the electorate. You see a couple of people saying they won’t vote for him. But you know the favorite line of the Republicans who are running for the Senate this year is that I’m going to summit the nominee, without saying Donald Trump’s name.

    Now, this is a distinction that I think Democratic ad makers, Democratic opponents aren’t going to recognize. But it’s an effort to not break with the party, and yet not get too close to Donald Trump, because while he succeeded in winning this nomination, he is at odds with the kind of coalition that we think you need to have to actually win the presidency.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Karen, you actually interviewed Donald Trump last night as the results from Indiana were coming in. What are the challenges that he faces now heading into this general election?

    KAREN TUMULTY: Well, I think that the challenges are going to be presenting himself to an electorate that goes beyond the most fervent conservative — most fervent grassroots Republicans.

    It is going to be transforming himself into something and somebody who the broader swathe of the electorate can actually imagine in the Oval Office. The other thing, and what he told me in the interview, he has decided that what he has to do is make Hillary Clinton unacceptable to them.

    And he plans to do that, he told me, not by focusing on her ideas and what she would do for the country, but rather her past, that he thinks that that is a lot of fertile territory.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Susan, how does she counter~ that? She said in an interview today on CNN she views him as a loose cannon. She used that term over and over again. What are we looking at?

    SUSAN PAGE: So, we’re looking at two candidates who are each going to spend their time talking about the how terrible the other one is, right?

    This is what I think you do in an election where both candidates have negative ratings of above 50 percent. There’s limits to how much they can persuade people that they’re the optimistic candidate of the future they ought to embrace. But they need to make the case that the other guy is simply unacceptable, so Donald Trump talking about Hillary Clinton that way.

    Hillary Clinton describing Donald Trump as not an acceptable commander in chief, I think that’s a particular theme we’re going to see her hit over and over again, and someone who doesn’t have the temperament you need to be president.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, meantime, Karen, Hillary Clinton still faces a challenger in her own party. Bernie Sanders, as we know, won the Indiana primary. He’s likely or expected to win some of the primaries coming up between now and the convention.

    How much of — how does that affect Hillary Clinton’s path from now until the convention in Philadelphia?

    KAREN TUMULTY: You know, it probably doesn’t affect her chances of winning the nomination.

    What it could affect — and this ball is very much in Bernie Sanders’ court — what it could affect is how enthusiastic Bernie Sanders’ supporters are about supporting her, about turning up and voting for her in the fall. And this is a choice as — you know, the Clinton campaign has said but it’s a real choice as to, you know, what kind of tone he takes for the remainder of the primary, whether it’s talking about his ideas and how he wants to shape the Democratic agenda or whether it is beating up on the most likely nominee.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you see that Democratic contest, Susan?

    SUSAN PAGE: Well, you know, I think it’s a constant reminder of some of Hillary Clinton’s weaknesses to have Bernie Sanders not only out there running, but beating her in primaries, as he did last night.

    And it prevents her from doing what we traditionally see candidates do, which is move a little bit to the middle after securing their party’s nomination. She is, I think, not able to do that. She needs to stay — she’s been pulled a little bit to the left, tugged to left by him, particularly, say, on the issue of trade.

    It’s going to keep her there. And that’s a battle that I think we will see fought out over the platform when you come to the Democratic Convention in July.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, meantime, Karen, still, so much attention on Donald Trump and what he has been able to pull off and what he needs to do.

    From your conversation with him, what kind of sense did you get of how he sees his own challenge in the next months — in the months to come?

    KAREN TUMULTY: You know, he — he sounded pretty happy with the kind of campaign he has run, and seems to believe that he can continue to do that.

    I think, however, that a general election campaign is going to require a different kind of campaign operation. A lot of people are worried that he may not have the — because he’s been self-funding, he may not have the fund-raising capacity that he will need to go into what one — one — Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s former strategist, described to me as a billion-dollar buzz saw that the Democrats are preparing for him.

    Trump points out, well, they have spent all this money already in the Republican primary, and it didn’t do a thing to me.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, just quickly, Susan, a lot of people think, well, he is a billionaire. He can pay his own way.

    But it’s not that simple.

    SUSAN PAGE: It’s not.

    And look at how carefully the Clinton people are pursuing this. You know where Hillary Clinton was last night? She was in Ohio. That is going to be a swing state. They are already laying the groundwork there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Susan Page, Karen Tumulty, we thank you both.

    SUSAN PAGE: Thank you.

    KAREN TUMULTY: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And there’s more to come. We will be back a little later in the program to talk with Trump-rival-turned-supporter Dr. Ben Carson.

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    Wildfire is worsening along highway 63 Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 3, 2016. Terry Reith/CBC News/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.  MANDATORY CREDIT. ONE TIME USE ONLY. - RTX2CTR3

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

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And I’m Hari Sreenivasan.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On the “NewsHour” tonight: Then there were three. Donald Trump is now the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president, as Bernie Sanders scores a win against Hillary Clinton in Indiana.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Also ahead this Wednesday: on the ground in Iraq after ISIS fighters kill a member of the U.S. Navy SEALs in a large-scale attack near Mosul.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Plus: Are today’s kids addicted to their digital devices? We hear from the creator of the new documentary “Screenagers.”

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON, Filmmaker, “Screenagers”: I knew, as a mom, that, every day, there was tension in the house, and I felt completely out of control on what to do, what kind of limits to set, how this was affecting them.

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


    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: A wildfire burned its way into Canada’s main oil sands city and forced almost 90,000 people to flee. Everyone was ordered out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, and the province declared a state of emergency. The fire has raged across tinder-dry woodlands and consumed entire suburbs.

    Many people headed south. Others sheltered in nearby camps, and some criticized the way it was handled.

    JOAN BATES, Fort McMurray Resident: Well, it’s a disaster, and I find that it is not fair. They didn’t even let us take our things when we asked them, so we lost everything now.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today the country’s military stands ready to help if needed.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: From fire to water, President Obama made a long-awaited visit to Flint, Michigan today, where the drinking water has been contaminated with lead.

    William Brangham has the story.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The president was greeted by gray skies and a line of Michigan officials, including Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. He urged parents in Flint to have their kids tested for lead exposure and to use filters on their tap water. Then, he took a drink himself.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Generally, I have not been doing stunts here, but — and this used a filter.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: His visit was prompted in part by a letter from Mari Copeny, an 8-year-old girl in Flint.

    MARI COPENY, Flint Resident: I am one of the children that is affected by this water, and I have been doing my best to march in protest and speak out for all the kids that live here in Flint.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Known as Little Miss Flint, she and other residents had the chance to meet with the president today.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You should be angry, but channel that anger. You should be hurt, but don’t sink into despair. And most of all, do not somehow communicate to our children here in this city that they’re going to be saddled with problems for the rest of their lives, because they will not. They will do just fine.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All of this comes two years after the city’s water source was switched to the Flint River to save money. After months of complaints of tainted water, officials acknowledged the river water wasn’t treated properly and had leached lead from old pipes into people’s water supply.

    The city has stopped using the river, and lead levels are gradually falling. But questions persist about who knew what and when about the lead contamination.

    Julie Mack is a reporter at Michigan-Live, a state newspaper consortium. She was part of an investigative team looking into e-mails and documents from Governor Snyder and his inner circle.

    JULIE MACK, MLive Media Group: There was something obviously seriously wrong with the water. People are coming to showing off jugs of brown water for a year, you know, 17 months, before they did anything. And that remains a puzzle of, why did it take so long for there to be action?


    GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), Michigan: Good afternoon.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Snyder himself was heckled and booed today at his speech in Flint, and he apologized again, saying — quote — “Your government failed you.”

    Looking ahead, the mayor of Flint estimates it will cost $55 million to remove and replace Flint’s old lead pipes. The Michigan legislature has approved $67 million since October, but, so far, the money has been slow to reach residents.

    A congressional package of $100 million for the water system and $50 million for health care needs associated with lead poisoning is still awaiting action.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m William Brangham.

    How Gov. Rick Snyder’s inaction contributed to the Flint crisis

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. Justice Department warned North Carolina today not to enforce a new LGBT law. The statute limits protections for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people. The Justice Department said it violates federal civil rights laws. The department notified Republican Governor Pat McCrory that the state could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The biggest automotive recall in U.S. history will get even bigger. Japan’s Takata Corporation is adding up to 40 million additional air bag inflators on top of almost 30 million already recalled. In some cases, the devices can fire metal shards when they go off. But federal regulators acknowledged today that replacing all of them is a huge job.

    MARK ROSEKIND, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: There is already concern about supply being available. Part of the issue here is to make sure we accelerate and as quickly as possible get the replacements, but we do not want to introduce new safety risks by pushing too fast too hard.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The Takata air bags have been linked to at least 11 deaths.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Syria, the government and moderate rebel factions have agreed to restore a fragile cease-fire in Aleppo, after days of fierce fighting. The U.S. and Russia worked out the agreement, on the heels of similar deals in Damascus and Latakia province. The Syrian military said later that the Aleppo truce is good for only 48 hours.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The global tobacco industry was dealt a double blow today. The European Union’s highest court upheld requirements that cigarettes be sold in plain packages. The rules also limit advertising for e-cigarettes. Separately, India’s Supreme Court ordered that health warnings cover 85 percent of a cigarette pack’s surface.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, the federal Transportation Security Administration is moving to address long lines at the busiest U.S. airports.

    Officials said today they’re adding more screeners and bomb-sniffing dogs to expedite screening. Airlines have voiced concerns that growing wait times will affect the peak summer travel season.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And on Wall Street, stocks sagged after a private survey of job creation turned in disappointing numbers. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 99 points to close at 17651. The Nasdaq fell 37 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 12.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: will the GOP finally rally around Donald Trump? We get takes from political reporters and former presidential candidate Ben Carson; the U.S. role in fighting ISIS under fire after a Navy seal is killed in Iraq; why half of all teenagers say they’re addicted to their phones; and much more.


    The post News Wrap: Alberta wildfire forces nearly 90,000 to flee appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks as (L-R) his son-in-law Jared Kushner, his daughter Ivanka, his son Eric, Eric's wife Lara Yunaska and Trump's wife Melania  look on, during a campaign victory party after rival candidate Senator Ted Cruz dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination following the results of the Indiana state primary, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson - RTX2CPLV

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The Republican presidential race is effectively over as of tonight, and the party’s new leader is looking ahead. At the same time, detractors now face a decision: how to reconcile with the new reality.

    John Yang has our report.

    JOHN YANG: On his first day as the apparent Republican nominee, Donald Trump said he’s confident the party will fall in behind him, but that some were welcome to leave.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: I don’t think it’s imperative that the entire party come together. I don’t want everybody. I don’t even want certain people that were extraordinarily nasty. Let them go their own way.

    JOHN YANG: Trump, who rails against politics as usual, said he’s looking for a running mate with a political background to help him navigate Washington.

    It took just a little more than 300 days for the outsider to demolish a field of 16 rivals, including current and former officeholders with more than a century of combined government experience.

    Late today, the last opponent standing, Ohio Governor John Kasich, made it official.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: As I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith that the lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life.

    JOHN YANG: Ted Cruz quit last night after Trump routed him in the Indiana primary.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: We gave it everything we have got, but the voters chose another path.

    JOHN YANG: Party chairman Reince Priebus said it’s time for the party to get behind Trump and start working toward November.

    REINCE PRIEBUS, Republican National Committee Chairman: We have got to unify. We need time to unify. And — and we will unify. But this is what today starts, which is this unification process.

    JOHN YANG: But a parade of prominent Republicans is heading for the exits, some even burning their voter registration cards.

    Freshman Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska said he could never vote for Trump, tweeting last night: “Reporters keep asking if Indiana changes anything for me. The answer is simple. No.”

    And one-time Trump rival senator Lindsey Graham tweeted, “If we nominate Trump we will get destroyed, and we will deserve it.”

    Despite losing Indiana, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton now claims 93 percent of the delegates needed to clinch her party’s nomination. But Bernie Sanders made clear last night he’s not going anywhere.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I understand that Secretary Clinton thinks that this campaign is over. I have got some bad news for her.


    JOHN YANG: Clinton, meanwhile, turned her attention to Trump, as she did today on CNN.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I have seen the presidency up close from two different perspectives, and I think I know what it takes. And I don’t think we can take a risk on a loose cannon like Donald Trump running our country.

    JOHN YANG: Already launching a general election campaign, while still working to secure her own nomination.

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

    HARI SREENIVASAN: We will explore the new lay of the land on both sides of the presidential race after the news summary.

    The post Trump routs final GOP rivals but some Republicans refuse to fall in line appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Ochre star or purple sea star (Pisaster ochraceus)  Photo by Peter Pearsall/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/via Flickr

    Ochre star or purple sea star (Pisaster ochraceus) Photo by Peter Pearsall/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/via Flickr

    All good outbreaks run their course. A community perishes or perseveres. And purple sea stars (Pisaster ochraceus) off the Oregon coast have picked survival. They’re mounting an epic comeback, after a sea-star wasting disease decimated the marine animals in 2014.

    It’s no secret that the condition triggered the biggest sea star die-off along the West Coast in recorded history.

    What’s less known is that this steep decline in purple sea stars has been followed by an unprecedented flourish of younglings, according to new research from Oregon State University.

    “It is remarkable,” said ecologist and evolutionary biologist Pete Raimondi of the University of California Santa Cruz, who wasn’t involved with the new study. “It’s hard to even appreciate that this massive replenishment event is happening so quickly after the loss of the adults.”


    It’s unclear whether this is a true recovery. The disease lingers in pockets across the West Coast and has crept north into fresh territory. But the timing — and scale — of the Oregon comeback is surprising and hopefully suggests a positive forecast for this keystone species along the West Coast, experts say.

    A youth revival

    Sea star wasting disease was first spotted in spring 2013 near Vancouver and along southern and central California, but the Oregon coast was initially spared. However, the close proximity caused ocean ecologists like Oregon State’s Bruce Menge to take notice.

    “Although we’re looking at these populations more or less continually, we started paying special attention to whether or not they showed signs of wasting disease,” said Menge, who led the new study published today in PLOS ONE. Signs are hard to miss among the sea stars. Their arms twist like contortionists, their suckers peel from rocks, and their bodies melt away.

    The numbers were astonishing. I’ve been walking around at low tides looking at sea stars for 20 years, and rarely do you find lots of juveniles.”

    But they also built separate experiments to track younger generations of sea stars. For instance, his team deployed “turfies” — squares of astroturf attached to tidal rocks. These serve as ideal landing zones for the sea stars’ microscopic larvae, known as settlers and recruits.

    “We put these out for months, and then we bring them into the lab, sort out all the material and count the number of little sea stars,” Menge said. The team has conducted these surveys at 12 sites since April 2014, when the outbreak arrived in Oregon, offering a broad and long-term examination of the whole coastline.

    Menge’s team found that sea star wasting cut the juvenile and adult population of purple sea stars by up to 80 percent by the end of 2014, but then the tides turned.

    The number of young settlers surged during autumn 2014 and continued into the following year. By spring 2015 at some sites, baby sea star numbers increased up to 300 times relative to the previous year.

    Oregon isn’t alone. Purple sea star younglings are thriving across the West Coast.

    Sea star "recruits"  weigh less than 0.3 ounces and are less than 2 inches in diameter. Meanwhile, juvenile purple sea stars (pictured) range from 0.3 to 2.4 ounces in weight and 2 to 6 inches in diameter. Photo by Eric Andersen/via iNaturalist.org/Encyclopedia of Life

    Sea star “recruits” weigh less than 0.3 ounces and are less than 2 inches in diameter. Meanwhile, juvenile purple sea stars (pictured) range from 0.3 to 2.4 ounces in weight and 2 to 6 inches in diameter. Original photo by Eric Andersen/via iNaturalist.org/Encyclopedia of Life

    “The numbers were astonishing,” biologist Benjamin Miner, who works farther north at Western Washington University in Bellingham. “I’ve been walking around at low tides looking at sea stars for 20 years, and rarely do you find lots of juveniles.”

    But soon after Washington’s big mortality event, Miner said little one were everywhere.

    “The findings are pretty similar to what other groups in California are seeing, which is a huge amount of recruitment of baby sea stars since this wasting disease,” marine biologist Carol Blanchette of the University of California Santa Barbara said.

    The youth revival may be simply due to sea star reproduction and open real estate. A single female can produce millions of eggs each year. The resulting larvae float in ocean water for 45 to 60 days.

    “A place that seems like it’s locally extinct can be repopulated very quickly, because if the babies are coming from somewhere else, not locally, then repopulation can occur really quickly,” Raimondi said.

    But he says that sea star recovery isn’t a question of “will or won’t happen,” but rather, when and how long.

    That’s because sea star wasting is still killing adults along the West Coast. If the disease catches hold in the younglings once they mature into adults, then the mass die-off may repeat itself. “We’re kind of just waiting to see as we move into late spring and early summer of this year whether we have fresh outbreaks,” Miner said.

    Death brew

    Given the possibility of a sequel, researchers are desperately hunting for the triggers of the 2013 outbreak. In November 2014, research led by microbiologist Ian Hewson at Cornell University identified a virus that correlated with the presence of sea star wasting disease, but experts remain skeptical of whether it is one true cause.

    Pisaster ochraceus sea stars with wasting disease losing grip on the rock. Photo by Angela Johnson

    Pisaster ochraceus sea stars with wasting disease losing grip on the rock. Photo by Angela Johnson

    “The [sea star associated] densovirus certainly is the best candidate, but I would argue that it’s not a great candidate, because we found it in lots of individuals that appear to be healthy,” Miner said of anecdotal results from his lab. “And I’ve reared those individuals up that we know are positive for the virus, and they don’t get sick. And I’ve also had individuals that get sick that I know are negative for the virus.”

    Raimondi was one of the co-authors on the densovirus discovery paper, and even he has reservations about solely placing the blame on this microbe. The sea star associated virus isn’t new, he said. In fact, it’s been found in museum specimens that date back 70 years. Hewson’s team continues to examine the genetics of historical specimens (and to blog about it) to determine if the latest outbreak was caused by the virus suddenly mutating into a more potent form.

    Meanwhile, a theory based on environmental stress is brewing.

    “The fact that this has occurred along the whole west coast, from Alaska down into Baja California, suggests that it’s linked to a large-scale oceanographic change,” Menge said.

    Many suggest a temperature trigger, given the height of the sea star die-off in 2014 correlated with the warmest water in decades off the northeast Pacific Ocean. Last week, Miner’s team reported that reducing temperatures can protect purple sea stars from the wasting syndrome. Plus, the far north regions of Alaska, where the waters were really cold, were the only place where sea stars seemed unaffected.

    “But even now people are reporting signs of wasting up there,” Blanchette said. “So that does hint at this idea of a link between temperature and disease.”

    However, this warming model doesn’t fit with Oregon’s outbreak. An upwelling event occurred during the height of Oregon’s epidemic, wherein deeper colder waters shot upward toward the coast.

    “It doesn’t mean necessarily that temperature is not involved, but it’s likely a much more complicated story,” Menge said. His team is looking into the role of ocean acidification, which is impacting seas across the globe. Upwellings are regular events in the North Pacific that can carry acidic waters from the ocean floor into surface waters. Ocean acidification may have stressed the sea stars, making them more susceptible to the virus, Menge said.

    A sunflower’s swan song

    The sunflower sea star (Pycnopodium helianthoides) can be found in a variety of colors in the wild, like this healthy specimen with a lavender hue. U.S. Geological Survey photo by Kevin Lafferty

    The sunflower sea star (Pycnopodium helianthoides) are struggling to rebound following the wasting epidemic. They can normally be found in a variety of colors in the wild, like this healthy specimen with a lavender hue. U.S. Geological Survey photo by Kevin Lafferty

    Deciphering these stressors is the key to solving this outbreak, in Raimondi’s opinion, and to predicting what may happen next. Purple sea stars are fierce predators, and without them, other organisms are multiplying without resistance and upsetting the balance of West Coast ecosystems.

    Menge’s team has observed new blankets of gooseneck barnacles on the open spaces where sea stars used to be, and their report cites lower predation rates of mussels along the Oregon coast. He says that mussels will ultimately outcompete the barnacles.

    Deeper subtidal waters off the coast of Washington are suffering from a separate invasion of urchins, according to Miner. These urchins would normally be checked by another species, the sunflower sea star (Pycnopodia helianthoides), but they haven’t recovered anywhere along the West Coast. When urchins run amok, they can consume enormous amounts of algae and mow down kelp forests. The forests serve as habitats for fish and support fisheries.

    Sea urchins crawl upon the disintegrated corpse of a sea star that succumbed to Sea Star Wasting Disease—a smattering of unrecognizable white matter. Wasting U.S. Geological Survey photo by Kevin Lafferty

    Sea urchins crawl upon the disintegrated corpse of a sea star that succumbed to Sea Star Wasting Disease—a smattering of unrecognizable white matter. Wasting U.S. Geological Survey photo by Kevin Lafferty

    As far as anyone call tell, the sunflower sea star community is ecologically extinct along central California, Raimondi said. The animals aren’t totally gone, but their numbers are too low to corral urchins. Whereas scuba divers might have seen 100 or 1,000 in the past during a scuba dive, you might see one to 10 today, Raimondi said.

    “If the kelp forest is diminished because of urchins, which may be enhanced because of Pycnopodia loss, you’d have a truly fundamental shift in a lot of things, including the fish community,” Raimondi said.

    Raimondi doesn’t want to leave people thinking everything is doom and gloom. The increase in young purple sea stars shows how resilient these communities might be, he said. Plus, sunflower sea stars live in deep, murky water, so they’re hard to observe. It’s possible that their numbers dropped to this degree in prior outbreaks of wasting disease, but people didn’t notice.

    “So it’s not to say that things are not going to recover. In my opinion, they will,” Raimondi said.

    The post After shocking die-off, Oregon sea stars stage an epic comeback appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The Kenya Wildlife Service burned the largest stash of elephant tusks and rhino horns ever assembled in one place on Saturday. It was an effort to eliminate the prized but illegal ivory from the market.

    More than 100 tons of ivory, a ton of rhino horns and piles of exotic animal skins were lit ablaze. After the burn, all that remained were chunks of blackened debris and ash.

    The elephant tusks are assessed and cataloged at the Kenya Wildlife Service. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    The elephant tusks are assessed and cataloged at the Kenya Wildlife Service. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    Tusks are carried from the cataloging room to shipping containers. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    Tusks are carried from the cataloging room to shipping containers. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    The ivory is stacked into large piles for the burn. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    The ivory is stacked into large piles for the burn. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    Ivory statues seized in transit are added to the pyres. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    Ivory statues seized in transit are added to the pyres. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    About 1.35 tons of rhino horns await the burn. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    About 1.35 tons of rhino horns await the burn. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    The pyres were lit by the presidents of Gabon and Kenya in Nairobi National park on April 30. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    The pyres were lit by the presidents of Gabon and Kenya in Nairobi National park on April 30. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    The pyres continue to burn as evening approaches. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    The pyres continue to burn as evening approaches. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    Two days after the burn, the incinerated piles are still smoking. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    Two days after the burn, the incinerated piles are still smoking. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    Tusks are essentially teeth and don't burn easily. The Kenyans tend to the fires until the last tusk crumbles. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    Tusks are essentially teeth and don’t burn easily. The Kenyans tend to the fires until the last tusk crumbles. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    A herd of giraffes walk by the scene of the burn. The previous night, lions grabbed a burnt crocodile skin, which was discovered later that morning some distance away. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    A herd of giraffes walk by the scene of the burn. The previous night, lions grabbed a burnt crocodile skin, which was discovered later that morning some distance away. Photo by Mia Collis for the Kenya Wildlife Service

    The post Photos: Heaps of ivory tusks and rhino horns burn in Kenya appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) can autonomously perform 60 percent of bowel anastomosis on pig intestines. Photo by Children’s National Medical Center

    The Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) can autonomously perform 60 percent of bowel anastomosis on pig intestines. Photo by Children’s National Medical Center

    Robots are a growing presence in operating rooms throughout the U.S. as surgeons embrace the technology to help them remove damaged organs or cancerous tissue. These systems have improved greatly in recent years but still need hands-on surgeons to guide their instruments and make critical decisions. Turning a robot loose on its own to cut and sew delicate tissue inside a human body would be a massively complex undertaking requiring advanced imaging, sensor and artificial intelligence technologies—not to mention a lot more acceptance from the medical community and federal regulators.

    But those hurdles have not stopped scientists at Children’s National Medical Center’s (CNMC) Sheikh Zayed Institute from developing a robotic system that has successfully sutured and reconnected portions of pig intestine in a living animal with little or no human intervention, according to a report in the May 4 Science Translational Medicine.

    Soft tissue surgeries like this one, which is called intestinal anastomosis, are especially challenging for robotic systems because the tissue changes shape and moves around during the procedures.

    CNMC’s Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR)—although not yet completely autonomous—is designed to compensate for this by using a 3-D and near-infrared fluorescent imaging system, a force sensor and a preprogrammed algorithm to determine the appropriate type, tension and location of sutures.

    In the pig experiment the researchers placed markers, which fluoresced under infrared light, in the intestinal tissue. STAR’s imaging system tracked their positions down to the millimeter during the surgery. The robot’s computer developed and adapted its suturing approach—a combination of knots and running stitches—as it received information from the imaging system. Researchers had programmed the system with data about ideal suturing practices including spacing and tension, which could be consulted throughout to prevent leaks.

    To test STAR’s performance the researchers recruited surgeons to perform the identical procedure on pig intestines using three other methods: hand-sewn sutures, laparoscopy and the robot-assisted da Vinci Surgical System approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000.

    According to the researchers, STAR outperformed these other techniques in terms of ideal spacing between sutures—and this enabled the STAR-repaired intestine to withstand nearly twice as much pressure before leaking, compared with the intestines sutured manually.

    There were, of course, several caveats to STAR’s success. The robot system actually operated autonomously for only 60 percent of the experiment, with researchers making minor adjustments to the equipment as the robot worked. The intestinal suturing could been performed without human intervention, Peter Kim, professor of surgery and the lead for the Sheikh Zayed Institute, insisted at a press conference Tuesday—but “we were like parents with a young child that was about to walk.”

    STAR also sutured more slowly than its human counterparts, although Kim and colleagues Axel Krieger and Ryan Decker said it could be programmed to work faster. They acknowledged at the conference that their experiment was mainly a proof of concept, designed to determine that a robot could perform a particular surgery alone under specific conditions.

    Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation in Washington D.C. Photo by Children's National Health System

    Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation in Washington D.C. Photo by Children’s National Health System

    The idea is not to replace surgeons, the researchers said, but to add machine intelligence that improves surgical procedures. “Anytime you have a significant anastomotic leak, as [in] your intestine leaks, the risk of dying from it goes up by three to 10 times,” Kim said. “So if you have a technology that can potentially mitigate or reduce that, I think that’s a very clear value.”

    STAR’s ability to work without human intervention, while limited, makes it unlike any other robotic option available to surgeons. So far, Intuitive Surgical Inc.’s da Vinci system is the only general-purpose robotic surgery platform with FDA approval. Since 2000 da Vinci has helped surgeons perform a number of laparoscopic soft-tissue procedures including hysterectomies, gall bladder and kidney removals, prostate cancer treatment and heart valve operations.

    The key to da Vinci’s acceptance thus far has been the hands-on role the surgeon plays, controlling the robot’s four arms while sitting at an ergonomically designed console and aided by a high-definition 3-D camera. Despite its nearly $2-million price tag, da Vinci’s popularity has grown steadily. In 2012 doctors used the system to perform more than 350,000 surgeries in U.S. hospitals, a 60 percent increase from 2010.

    Based on its success, sales of surgical robotic systems are expected to climb from $3.3 billion in 2014 to about $6.4 billion in 2020, according to a report that Allied Market Research issued in January.

    CNMC’s work is a “technical breakthrough” because of its integration of various technologies, rigorous animal testing and the quality of the suturing, says Blake Hannaford, who was not involved in the pig surgery and is director of the University of Washington’s BioRobotics Lab and co-founder of Applied Dexterity, a start-up developing an open-source robotic surgery system called the RAVEN.

    Hannaford, however, points to STAR’s current limitations and questions whether such a technology will have much value to surgeons in the near term. “While in a technical sense semi-autonomous suturing is a ‘grand challenge’ problem of surgical robotics, clinically much suturing and bowel anastomosis is done by [surgeons using] staplers, which can do the whole thing in seconds,” he says.

    The success of autonomous operating room robots will ultimately rest with surgeons and their patients, says T. Sloane Guy, director of Robotic Cardiac Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College’s Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

    Guy, who has used da Vinci to perform cardiac surgeries for the past several years, says patients frequently express concerns about how much control surgeons cede to robotic systems.

    “I’m thrilled to hear that this type of research is being done,” Guy says of CNMC’s latest experiment.

    But he adds that this work is one of several stepping-stones that could take robotic surgical systems to full autonomy: “Part of my job as a doctor is to bring technology to patients that is beneficial to them as well as educate them regarding both the technology’s advantages and limitations. As a doctor, I have to be 100 percent convinced that I can trust a given technology and that it’s not some sort of gimmick.”

    This article is reproduced with permission from Scientific American. It was first published on May 4, 2016. Find the original story here.

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    On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an outbreak of the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria and frozen vegetables and fruits are believed to be the cause. Photo by Rachel/via Flickr

    On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an outbreak of the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria and frozen vegetables and fruits are believed to be the cause. Photo by Rachel/via Flickr

    Frozen vegetables are a staple in many diets, so a huge recall of them has us peering at the packages in our freezers.

    On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an outbreak of the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria and frozen vegetables and fruits are believed to be the cause.

    More than 350 products like green beans, broccoli, peas and blueberries sold under 42 brands at U.S. and Canadian grocers including Safeway, Costco and Trader Joe’s have now been recalled.

    Here are the four things to know about listeria and this massive recall:

    1. Listeria is deadly.

    Although much less common than other foodborne pathogens like salmonella or E. coli, listeria is the most lethal. Most healthy immune systems can keep an infection at bay, but if the bug makes it into the bloodstream, it causes listeriosis and kills one in five victims.

    Older adults, pregnant women, newborns and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of infection. People 65 and older are four times more likely to get sick from listeria than the general population, and pregnant women — who may not develop listeriosis themselves but whose babies could be threatened — are 10 times more likely.

    So far, the CDC knows of eight people who have been sickened — six in California and one each in Washington and Maryland. The Washington and Maryland patients died, but listeria was not considered the ultimate cause of death. The patients were between 56 and 86 years old.

    2. New tools led to this recall.

    The outbreak making headlines today began in 2013 with one illness, followed by five in 2015 and two in 2016. It may seem as if this outbreak is unfolding in slow motion, but that is because the CDC has a new tool to track the bacteria’s spread: the sequenced genome of listeria.

    While investigating a small cluster of 2016 illnesses, the CDC searched its database of previously sequenced listeria genomes and found matches from bacteria that sickened people in previous years.

    CDC’s venture into whole-genome sequencing has allowed the agency to identify more listeria outbreaks, especially more that span longer periods of time. Last year, they announced two outbreaks that began in 2010.

    3. Listeria gets around — and stays around.

    The CDC said that frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods in Pasco, Washington, are the “likely source” of the illnesses.

    Michael Doyle, professor of food microbiology at the University of Georgia and director of the school’s Center for Food Safety, said he thinks that “resident” listeria caused the outbreak. Rather than “transient” bacteria that contaminates a food and moves through the processing system with it, resident bacteria establishes itself somewhere in the machinery and persists over several years.

    “The organism’s quite hardy,” he said.

    Listeria has been known to plague ready-to-eat deli meats and soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk, but it’s popped up in surprising foods in recent years.

    Last year, Blue Bell Creameries recalled all of its ice cream products after 10 people were sickened by it. One reason listeria differs from other pathogens is that it can grow in cold temperatures.

    In 2014, 35 people were sickened by caramel apples, and officials determined that listeriosis contributed to at least three of the seven deaths reported.

    And cantaloupe was behind the largest listeria outbreak in U.S. history which sickened 147 people in 2011 and killed 33.

    4. It’s time for a freezer check.

    CRF has recalled all organic and traditionally grown frozen vegetable and fruit products processed at its Pasco facility since May 2014 and suspended operations there last week.

    Check the UPC codes and “Best By” dates on the vegetable packages in your freezer against the FDA’s list. If they match, you can return the recalled food to the store for a refund or simply discard it.

    Either way, don’t eat the recalled foods. Listeria can be killed with proper cooking, but unless you’re going to use a thermometer to make sure those fruits and vegetables reach 165 degrees F, it’s best not to risk it.

    If you did eat them and have symptoms such as fever, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions seek medical care. Sometimes listeriosis symptoms develop up to two months after eating contaminated food, but they usually start within several days.

    Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. You can view the original report on its website.

    The post 4 things to remember about your frozen greens and the Listeria recall appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day which commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945. Photo by Kacper Pempel/Reuters

    Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day which commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945. Photo by Kacper Pempel/Reuters

    Editor’s Note: Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day or Yom HaShoah in memory of the 6 million Jews killed during World War II. Many schools teach about the Holocaust by recounting the stories of survivors and by asking students to reflect on what they have learned.

    Lauren Porosoff teaches sixth grade English in New York City. She discusses how people’s thinking about the Holocaust has shifted since she was a child in the 1980s, and why it’s important to continue to teach its history.

    By the time I was in sixth grade — the age my students are now — I’d already participated in Yom HaShoah commemorations six times. Each year at my Jewish day school, the whole K-8 student body would gather in the gym and light 600 candles, one for every 10,000 Jews who were murdered.


    By sixth grade, multiple teachers had read us the book, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”, a compilation of art and poetry by children living in the concentration camps. I could spell “ghetto” in Hebrew, and I could explain the difference between a concentration camp and a death camp. I also knew what it was like to have a swastika painted on the bricks of my school wall and to be told by a child my age that she wasn’t allowed to play with me because I was Jewish. Small stuff compared to what Jewish people outside the New York metro area endure, but big to me.

    Now the context is different. I’m not the student but the teacher, not at a Jewish school but at a secular New York City private school, and not in the mid-1980s but three decades later, when it’s much harder to find people who experienced the Holocaust first-hand and intervening years have brought new massacres, wars and human rights violations for students to process.

    Meanwhile, students are asked politely to “lean into discomfort” (and are permitted to avoid it) rather than being taught the psychological flexibility skills to embrace the pain that inevitably comes with life. In this context, how can we teach children about the horrors of the Holocaust? And, as the Holocaust begins to fade from our cultural memory, how can we not teach children about it?

    How can we teach children about the horrors of the Holocaust? And, as the Holocaust begins to fade from our cultural memory, how can we not teach children about it?

    This year, my school is launching a half-day program about the Holocaust. Our students are watching a documentary film and then signing up for workshops that connect in diverse ways to issues the Holocaust raises. I should say, they’re watching most of the film, because it was decided that the last nine minutes are too graphically violent for our kids to see. I certainly don’t want to expose children (or anyone) to potentially traumatic content, and it’s hard to get more potentially traumatic than Holocaust imagery. On the other hand, I’d seen much worse than what’s in this film well before I was in sixth grade. How is it possible to teach about the Holocaust without confronting its horrors?

    Some of the workshops that students are attending are directly about the holocuast, such as “Anti-Semitism and Propaganda: How the Nazis Used Education and Imagery to Indoctrinate German Youth” and “Rescuers’ Stories: How Small and Large Acts Saved Thousands of People.” Other workshops are on Holocaust-related themes, such as Jewish identity (“The Jewish Student Affinity Group”), contemporary anti-Semitism (“The College Experience for Students: Religion, Bias and Harassment,”) and more recent genocides (“Never Again? The Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide.”)

    Students will learn not only through discussion but also by reading (“The Holocaust in Picture Books”), role playing (“Speak Up: Exploring Strategies for How to Respond to Anti-Semitic Comments,”) painting (“Using Art to Remember,” creating a series of paintings based on interviews with Holocaust survivors), and even taking a mini field trip to Raoul Wallenberg Forest to discover how this Holocaust rescuer saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews and how public spaces can keep history alive.

    It’s a rich, exciting program that fosters critical thinking, creative expression, perspective-taking, and maybe in some cases, social action. And yet…

    Part of me is so grateful for the opportunity to help kids understand what the Holocaust means today, to all of us. And part of me just wants to be in a dark room where I can mourn.

    I keep thinking of that candlelit gym, where even kids who were worst-behaved in class would be somber and serious, chanting over and over, Ani ma’amin be’emunah shelemah b’viyat ha’mashiach, which translates to, “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah,” words that Jewish people said as they awaited their deaths during the Shoah. The lively, engaged atmosphere of a 21st-century classroom seems both exactly right and exactly wrong on this day. Part of me is so grateful for the opportunity to help kids understand what the Holocaust means today, to all of us. And part of me just wants to be in a dark room where I can mourn.

    The post Column: How I teach about the Holocaust as living memory fades appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is refusing to support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is refusing to support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president.
    Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan is refusing to support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president, insisting Thursday that the businessman must do more to unify the GOP.

    The surprise declaration from Ryan on CNN’s “The Lead” amounted to a stunning rebuke of Trump from the Republican Party’s highest-ranking officeholder.

    “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “And I hope to. And I want to, but I think what is required is that we unify this party.”

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

    In a statement, Trump responded that he isn’t ready to support Ryan’s agenda.

    “Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people,” Trump said. “They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”

    Even in an election cycle that’s exposed extreme and very public divisions within the GOP, Ryan’s decision to withhold his support from Trump was remarkable, as the GOP’s top elected leader, second in line to the presidency, turned his back on his own party’s presumptive nominee.

    The salvos involving the likely White House nominee and the House speaker were highly unusual and rarely seen in the days after a political party essentially crowns its winner and all involve work to unify the party for November’s elections.

    Ryan had maintained his silence since Trump effectively clinched the nomination with a commanding win in Indiana on Tuesday that forced his two remaining rivals from the race. Other Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, offered their grudging support for Trump, and Ryan had seemed likely to eventually do the same.

    Instead he balked, in comments that could also reflect concern for his own political future and potential run for president in 2020.

    “We will need a standard-bearer that can unify all Republicans, all conservatives, all wings of our party, and then go to the country with an appealing agenda that can be appealing to independents and disaffected Democrats,” Ryan said. “And we have work to do on this front, and I think our nominee has to lead in that effort.”

    Ryan made clear he won’t be supporting Hillary Clinton and that he wants to come around to backing Trump. And he acknowledged the import of Trump’s victories over a field of some of the GOP’s most experienced politicians, saying the mogul had “tapped into something in this country that was very powerful. And people are sending a message to Washington that we need to learn from and listen to.”

    “But at the same time, now that we have a presumptive nominee who is going to be our standard-bearer, I think it’s very important that there’s a demonstration that our standards will be beared,” Ryan said.

    Ryan himself, his party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, had been seen as a possible “white knight” candidate who could emerge as an alternative to Trump at a contested convention. He called a press conference last month to rule himself out, and Trump now looks set to gather the 1,237 delegate votes needed to clinch the nomination ahead of the July gathering in Cleveland, foreclosing the possibility of a contested convention.

    Ryan will serve as the convention’s chairman, presiding over portions of the proceedings that will elevate Trump to the official status of nominee.

    With deep concerns about Trump at the top of the ticket, Ryan is positioning himself to play a central role in helping to protect vulnerable Republican House and Senate candidates heading into the general election, said Spencer Zwick, who is Ryan’s national finance chairman. Ryan has been working since becoming speaker last fall on an “agenda project” that could give lawmakers something to run on apart from the top of the ticket.

    “Paul Ryan is the single most effective tool and person to maintain control of the Senate and the House,” said Zwick, who attended a Detroit-area fundraiser with Ryan on Wednesday.

    “He’s focused on an agenda. He’s constantly out there talking about his agenda. Talk to (Sen. Rob) Portman in Ohio, or congressmen who are up, and they are very happy with the fact that Paul Ryan is promoting an agenda they can all sign on to. Many people aren’t sure what the Trump agenda is yet.”

    Trump and Ryan have publicly clashed in the past. Ryan rebuked Trump for plans to bar Muslims from the country, and when Trump was slow to disavow former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Trump told a crowd in South Carolina in February that Ryan doomed the GOP presidential ticket four years ago by saying entitlement programs need reform, criticism that Ryan dismissed.

    Trump has flouted a number of conservative tenets in his campaign. He has praised Planned Parenthood even as a House GOP committee investigates its practices regarding fetal tissue collection. He’s bashed trade agreements even as a major trade deal is pending before Congress. And just Wednesday he said he was open to the idea of raising the minimum wage.

    The post Paul Ryan not ready to support Donald Trump appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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