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

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    The Government Development Bank (GDB) is seen in San Juan, November 30, 2015. Puerto Rican officials talked tough ahead of a major debt payment due on May 2, 2016, with the U.S. territory's governor predicting default, and chances slipping for a restructuring deal with creditors.   Reuters/Alvin Baez/File Photo - RTX2BYU8

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    For years, the Puerto Rican economy has been in decline, and the U.S. territory is now on the brink of disaster, with $72 billion of overall debt and an unemployment rate twice that of the mainland. As the island’s government is forced to suspend funding for vital services, hundreds of Puerto Ricans are leaving every day, while those who remain struggle to stay afloat. Jeffrey Brown reports.

    The post Puerto Rican economic disaster leaves residents struggling appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    An aerial view of Highway 63 south of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Canada, shows smoke from the wildfires taken from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter May 5, 2016.  MCPL VanPutten/Canadian Armed Forces/Handout via Reuters   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY - RTX2D6CH

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    Since Sunday, a wildfire burning in the heart of Canada’s oil country has forced nearly 100,000 residents to flee their homes for safety, creating the largest mass evacuation in Alberta’s history. Friday saw evacuees being ferried from the fire’s path via airlift and land convoy as the blaze spread across more than 300 square miles — five times its original size. Hari Sreenivasan reports.

    The post In Alberta’s heartland, wildfire forces thousands to flee appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Inside A Rigzone Oil & Gas Career Fair Ahead Of Jobs Figures

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    In our news wrap Friday, the latest numbers from the Department of Labor show that the U.S. economy added 160,000 jobs in April, short of the 215,000 many economists predicted, while unemployment remained flat at five percent. Also, early reports indicated that Labour party candidate Sadiq Khan will be elected as the next mayor of London, the first time a Muslim has held that office.

    The post News Wrap: U.S. job growth lower than expected appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Charleston, West Virginia, U.S. May 5, 2016.  REUTERS/Chris Tilley - RTX2D1HR

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    Friday saw presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump try to organize party leaders behind his upcoming presidential bid, but the real estate mogul faced more major defections from lawmakers still unwilling to embrace his controversial candidacy. Meanwhile, President Obama weighed in on Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican party for the first time. John Yang reports.

    The post As Trump tries to coalesce GOP, Obama urges ‘scrutiny’ of candidate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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

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

    WASHINGTON — A look at the personal wealth portfolios of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump, how they earned their money over the years and the lifestyles they spend it on.

    CLINTON:

    Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, left the White House in 2000, a year that she later described as so financially perilous they were “dead broke.” The Clintons cited legal bills and other liabilities between $2 million and nearly $11 million. But within just one year, according to tax and disclosure records, they had wiped out all that debt, earning nearly $12 million. It was the start of an infusion of wealth that enriched the couple by more than $200 million over 15 years – and nearly $140 million since 2007.

    The Clintons leveraged public service, celebrity status, book-writing, consulting and a whirlwind of lucrative speeches that took them across the country and around the world on behalf of corporations, foundations, trade groups and even some foreign governments.

    Bill Clinton blended private appearances and consulting with his work promoting the family’s global charity, the Clinton Foundation. Hillary Clinton ran for the presidency in 2008, lost to Barack Obama, became his secretary of state for four years then joined her husband at the foundation and on the lecture circuit, earning $22 million by herself in three years.

    Their largesse has provided the trappings of a glamorous life.

    The Clintons own well-appointed houses in the suburbs of New York and in the nation’s capital. They hold a sole mutual fund worth between $5 million and $25 million. They are regulars at Caribbean resorts and New York’s exclusive Hamptons beachfront.

    Hillary Clinton’s three-year speaking tours often came with premium travel – flights on private jets, luxury “presidential” hotel suites and transportation and accommodations for the retinue of loyal aides who traveled with her, according to her contract demands.

    TRUMP:

    Though Trump’s $10 billion estimate of his own fortune is viewed skeptically by outside appraisers, he’s a safe bet to be the wealthiest American ever to be the presumptive nominee from a major political party, richer even than Republican Mitt Romney. Just as surely: He won’t let anyone forget it.

    “I’m really rich,” Trump said last June in announcing his presidency. Trump has also made the entirely plausible claim last year that, “I have a Gucci store that’s worth more than Romney.”

    Trump has described himself as a largely self-made man who parlayed a $1 million loan from his father into an empire worth billions. Trump’s eventual inheritance was far larger than that, however, and Trump relied on his father’s loan guarantees for his formative real estate and casino deals.

    He came close to losing it all in the early 1990s, when personal guarantees of a floundering casino and real estate empire put his fate in the hands of bankers who had loaned him money. Even then, however, Trump maintained a remarkable standard of living: The bankers gave him a $450,000-a-month allowance.

    There’s no such limit on Trump’s spending these days. Living out of a three-story penthouse atop the Trump Tower, he also owns residences in California, Florida, Virginia and the Caribbean. Caviar, yachts, gold-plated faucets, private jets and mansions with 126 rooms: If there’s a public signifier of wealth, it’s a safe bet that Trump has associated himself with it.

    The post How have Clinton and Trump earned their money over the years? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Flossie

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    HARI SREENIVASAN:  Finally, another installment in our brief but spectacular series.  Tonight, we hear from 91-year-old Flossie Lewis.  A former English teacher, she now lives at the Piedmont Gardens Senior Living Community in the Bay Area.  Lewis keeps busy by writing fiction and offers us insight on what it feels like to grow old.

    (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

    FLOSSIE LEWIS, Writer:  Getting old is a state of mind.  Now, I’m 91.  I’m badly crippled, but I still think I’m 15.  Will this go viral?

    MAN:  We hope so.

    FLOSSIE LEWIS:  There are several ways I keep myself stimulated.  By dragging myself to Piedmont Avenue on my walker or in my wheelchair, and you should see me use my wheelchair.

    I write light verse for “The Crest” which is our newspaper, and every month you can find a sly little bit of verse from Flossie Lewis.

    The other way I keep being stimulated is just watching politics.  And if that isn’t enough to drive you crazy, I don’t know what is.  You do struggle to keep yourself neat and clean and fashionable.

    And there is always the possibility that romance comes your way.  Just liking someone is a treat because part of being old is to get cranky.  There is indigestion and your teeth fall out and suddenly you need hearing aides and you feel increasingly unattractive, and then somebody says, “How nice you look today, Mrs. Lewis!  Or, you’re a real kick, Flossie!”

    And you feel good about yourself.  You pick yourself up and you say, “I’m going to get through it.  I’m going to get through it because I have a reason to get through it.”

    Really growing old is when you discover that you haven’t a reason to get through it anymore, and that you would like to go to sleep with a certain amount of dignity.  Accepting the fact the body is going to go but the personality doesn’t have to go, and that thing which is the hardest to admit is that character doesn’t have to go.

    I’m Flossie Lewis.  This is my Brief But Spectacular take on growing old.

    (END VIDEOTAPE)

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  What a charmer.  I want to be Flossie Lewis.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  If Washington politics is the key to longevity, through this election year, you should get another a few years to live —

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  I know.

    You can watch our brief and spectacular videos online at PBS.org/newshour/brief.

    The post She’s 91 but she feels 15. Here’s her secret appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has told Howard University’s Class of 2016 that the country is “a better place today” than it was when he graduated from Columbia University in 1983.

    He says America is “by almost every measure” better now. Obama also says the country “also happens to be better off than when I took office, but that’s a longer story.”

    That line drew cheers and applause from the audience at the historically black college in the nation’s capital. Obama then said “that’s a different discussion for another speech.”

    The 54-year-old president tells graduates that most of them were just starting high school when he was first elected to the White House.

    He says: “I used to joke about being old. Now I realize I’m old. It’s not a joke anymore.”

    The post Watch: Obama’s full speech to graduates at Howard University appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A group of evacuees in a convoy drive in front of smoke from the the wildfires near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 6, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Blinch - RTX2D6Y6

    A group of evacuees in a convoy drive in front of smoke from the the wildfires near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 6, 2016. Photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters

    Thousands of people are being airlifted out of Alberta, Canada on Saturday as officials fear a fire that has already ripped through more than 600 square miles and 1,600 buildings could potentially double in size.

    More than 80,000 were already evacuated from the town of Fort McMurray, which is in the heart of Canada’s oil sands, since the fire started six days ago.

    The 400,000-acre blaze at Fort McMurray, Alberta, sends smoke into Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the central and southern United States. Graphic by Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    The 400,000-acre blaze at Fort McMurray, Alberta, sends smoke into Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the central and southern United States. Graphic by Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    But thousands more who had sought shelter north of the town have become stranded and are expected to be flown out as the blaze spreads, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

    No injuries have been reported.

    Meanwhile, fire conditions remain extreme and the temperature is expected to rise to 84 degrees. Approximately 1,200 firefighters, 110 helicopters, and 27 air tankers are fighting the flames.

    A member of Wildfire Management Alberta's Wild Mountain Unit out of Hinton, hoses down hotspots in the Parsons Creek area of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 6, 2016. Picture taken May 6, 2016. Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTX2D9H1

    A member of Wildfire Management Alberta’s Wild Mountain Unit out of Hinton, hoses down hotspots in the Parsons Creek area of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 6, 2016. Picture taken May 6, 2016. Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta/Handout via Reuters

    Chad Morrison, Alberta’s manager of wildfire prevention, said there was a “high potential that the fire could double in size” by the end of Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

    Strong winds and high temperatures have fueled the blaze in a region that is covered in boreal forest, or snow forest, which has not seen significant precipitation in months.

    The size of the blaze has caused some fire officials to nickname it “the beast.”

    “The boreal forest is a fire-dependent ecosystem,” said Bernie Schmitte, forestry manager in Fort McMurray at a news conference earlier this week. “Spruce trees, pine trees, they like to burn.”

    Shelters to the south are being filled with people who say they feel fortunate to have escaped the fire’s path even as they express worries about the prospect of returning home, according to CDC News.

    Evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires use the sleeping room at the "Bold Center" in Lac la Biche, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Blinch - RTX2CZZV

    Evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires use the sleeping room at the “Bold Center” in Lac la Biche, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016. Photo by Mark Blinc/Reuters

    “To see a city destroyed like that, in a matter of a few days, is just mind boggling,” evacuee Cory Sammann told CDC News.

    The mass evacuation has forced the shut down of as much as a quarter of Canada’s oil output at a time when the country has started to feel the economic effect of lower oil prices, according to the AP.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that he will vist the area when firefighters are not busy fighting the flames.

    “Just the pictures are troubling enough, but I know that it is going to be extremely important that I get out there,” Trudeau said.

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

    The post Thousands of evacuees to be airlifted as massive Canada wildfire burns appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders arrives for a town hall campaign event at the Five Loaves and Two Fishes Food Bank in Welch, West Virginia, U.S., May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Tilley - RTX2D034

    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders arrives for a town hall campaign event at the Five Loaves and Two Fishes Food Bank in Welch, West Virginia, U.S., May 5, 2016. Photo by Chris Tilley/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has cut into Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead by 31, based on new data from Washington state, but his chances of winning the nomination haven’t gotten much better.

    Sanders handily won Washington’s caucus on March 26, when the Vermont senator won 25 of the 34 delegates awarded that day. An additional 67 district-level delegates could not be divided up until the state party released vote data broken down by congressional district.

    District-level data provided Saturday to The Associated Press show that Sanders will pick up 49 of those delegates, while Clinton will receive 18.

    The party’s delay in releasing the data had generated some debate on social media, where Sanders supporters questioned why he had not received more delegates in a state he won big. The party said it had a multistep process for awarding delegates and could not immediately generate the more detailed information.

    Still, even with the additional delegates for Sanders, his mathematical chances of winning the nomination haven’t improved.

    Based on primaries and caucuses to date, Clinton now has 1,702 delegates while Sanders has 1,411 – or a lead of 291 delegates, according to the AP count.

    If he hopes to overtake her based on just those primary and caucus delegates, he still must win 66 percent of the remaining delegates – a figure basically unchanged from before.

    Clinton’s lead is bigger when including superdelegates – party officials who can support any candidate.

    She now has a total of 2,224 delegates, or 93 percent of the 2,383 delegates needed to win. Sanders has 1,450.

    Just 159 delegates short, Clinton remains on track to clinch the nomination early next month.

    The post Sanders picks up 31 delegates in Washington state appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A same-sex marriage supporter holds a sign referring to Alabama's Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, during a protest outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama February 9, 2015. Same-sex couples began marrying in Alabama on Monday despite an attempt by Moore to block judges from issuing marriages licenses to gay men and women in open defiance of a January federal court ruling. Moore was suspended on Friday. Photos By Marvin Gentry/Reuters

    A same-sex marriage supporter holds a sign referring to Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, during a protest that took place last year outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama February 9, 2015. Photo By Marvin Gentry/Reuters

    Alabama’s chief supreme court justice was suspended by a judicial oversight committee on Friday for issuing an order that required probate courts to deny applications for marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

    Justice Roy S. Moore’s issued the edict in January, contradicting a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the legality of gay marriage.

    Justice Roy Moore in 2003. Photo by Mickey Welsh/Reuters

    Justice Roy Moore in 2003. Photo by Mickey Welsh/Reuters

    The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission formally charged Moore with breaching the state’s judicial ethics laws with the contention that he “flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority.”

    The charges said probate judges could have been prosecuted if they were to follow Moore’s order, Reuters reported.

    In a statement issued Friday, Moore countered that the commission did not have the authority to stop his order. “We intend to fight this agenda vigorously and expect to prevail,” he said.

    The 69-year-old had previously served as the state’s chief justice in the early 2000s, before his removal from office in 2003 for refusing to follow a federal order to remove a large Ten Commandments monument from Alabama’s judicial building.

    Moore regained the position in 2012.

    The state’s Court of the Judiciary will decide if Moore violated judicial ethics for the more recent charge, which could lead to his removal from office, according to the Associated Press.

    The post Alabama judge suspended over order to deny gay couples marriage licenses appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    cash

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    By Megan Thompson

    Read the full transcript below:

    MEGAN THOMPSON: 30-year-old Rohnell Robinson grew up in Richmond, California, just northeast of San Francisco. This industrial city of 100,000 was once considered one of the most dangerous cities in the nation.

    ROHNELL ROBINSON: A lot of the stuff that goes on around here — drugs, killings.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Robinson was only 14 when police caught him selling marijuana – the first of many run-ins with the law for drugs and gun possession. He says more than 10 friends have been killed by the gun violence that’s plagued Richmond’s urban neighborhoods.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: And what was that like, seeing that around you?

    ROHNELL ROBINSON: You kind of kind of get immune to it. Because it happens so much. I mean, it’s not a good thing.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Despite it all, Robinson graduated from high school and started college.  But he says, when one of his best friends was shot to death, he slid off his path… pled guilty to possession of a gun….And spent two years in jail…and three-and-a-half on probation for conspiring with a known gang member.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: What were you doing with the gun?

    ROHNELL ROBINSON: You see so much stuff happen, and you don’t want to be that person.  So it’s pick up a gun, or just be around and probably get shot with no way to protect yourself.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: When he got out, at his mother’s urging, Robinson called Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety, a city program that works with young men like him who police consider high-risk for gun crimes. The goal is to keep them from getting into trouble again.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Robinson committed to a program called “Operation Peacemaker.”  He was required to create a “life map” – a set of personal goals. He went through drug treatment, and he held down a job as a janitor, which the program helped pay for.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: And by doing all of that, after six months, he qualified for the program’s boldest element: a cash payment, up to $1,000 a month for as long as 9 months. Robinson got a monthly stipend for the maximum 9 months – sometimes $1000, sometimes less, depending on how he was doing on his goals.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: What did you do with the money?

    ROHNELL ROBINSON: I ended up getting my first apartment. Car. Just doing stuff that normal people would do. Bank accounts. It did a lot. It shows you that people care about you.

    DEVONE BOGGAN: The bottom line in this work is no shooting.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Devone Boggan is a mentor for at-risk youth who previously ran a successful program in Oakland, 12 miles away. Nine years ago, the city of Richmond, desperate to tackle crime, recruited Boggan to launch the program, which began as street outreach — a tactic used with success in other cities.  At the time, Richmond’s homicide rate was at a record high.

    DEVONE BOGGAN: Try to imagine growing up in a war zone. Bullets flying.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Richmond police believed that most of the shootings could be blamed on just a couple dozen young men.

    DEVONE BOGGAN: If gun violence in this city was to decrease in any kind of way, that first would have to happen because these young men decided that it would decrease. Why not, create a different kind of mechanism to come at these guys from a different angle?

    MEGAN THOMPSON: When you pay ‘em this stipend are you just, in a sense, rewarding bad behavior?

    DEVONE BOGGAN: Every bit of the stipend that they receive is tied to an accomplishment associated with their life map.  Now, if the question is — do they deserve it? That’s debatable. Why should these young men get that?

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Why should they? I mean, there’s a lot of guys out there who haven’t committed crimes, or aren’t suspected.

    DEVONE BOGGAN: Because they need it more than that guy. And the communities where these young men live in, and shoot in, need for him to get it.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: For Rohnell Robinson, the $1000-a-month stipend wasn’t all. There were also educational trips abroad, chaperoned by Office of Neighborhood Safety staff.  Robinson’s been to London and Paris…and had to travel with someone from a rival neighborhood.

    ROHNELL ROBINSON: Come to find out we like the same things. We kind of act alike. We just two dudes from different sides of town. That don’t mean we gotta not like each other.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: While Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety is paid for with taxpayer dollars, the stipends are paid for by private foundations. There’s also intense street outreach.  Every day, a team of 6 so-called Neighborhood Change Agents — all from the community, and all with arrest records — drive the streets, making contact with men identified as being at-risk.

    JOE MCCOY: We’re on our way to the North Richmond Projects.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Joe Mccoy grew up in these public housing projects. He spent four years in jail after pleading guilty to selling cocaine.

    JOE MCCOY: What’s up with you? How you doing, man?

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Mccoy checks in almost daily with Grady Hudson and his older brother Trovante. Both have been arrested for gun possession.  Mccoy pesters Grady about attending a life skills class.

    JOE MCCOY: You got there on time yesterday, like you was supposed to?

    GRADY HUDSON: Yeah, I got there on time.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: When Grady was 17, he spent 6 months in juvenile detention for bringing a gun to school.

    GRADY HUDSON: Due to territorial issues, I was kind of scared around here, so I had to protect myself by arming.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety helped Grady – now 19 – sign up for temp jobs, and offered him a life skills class to deal with anger issues. But Grady says he’s got more to work on.

    GRADY HUDSON: My head is elsewhere. It’s not focused on school material right now. But, like, I’m trying to get — I’m trying to get that together, and get my diploma.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: If he does get it together, Grady could be eligible for the monthly stipend that Rohnell Robinson received.   

    ALWYNN BROWN: The program aims to save lives in a really unconventional way.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Alwynn Brown is Richmond’s new Chief of Police, and has been with the department for 31 years. He says he supports Operation Peacemakers’ “unconventional” methods.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Some people look at the Fellowship Program and they say, “couldn’t we be doing something better with this money?”

    ALLWYN BROWN: Do you want to have, you know, young people who’ve been identified as being fairly lethal out doing what they usually do, or do you want to disrupt those kinds of life choices, and have them do something else.  

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Brown acknowledges, for the Neighborhood Change Agents, it’s all about building trust with the young men — which can be difficult for the police.

    ALLWYN BROWN: We’re talking about people who have grown up living outside the law. Well, we’re the law. I mean, that’s not an easy connection to make.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: But Neighborhood Change Agents have a strict rule — they don’t share information with police.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Isn’t that frustrating for you?

    ALLWYN BROWN: I get it. We understand that they need to have credibility with the folks that they’re trying to reach.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Richmond City Councilmember Gayle Mclaughlin became Mayor in 2007, and helped create the Office of Neighborhood Safety, when crime was spiking.

    GAYLE MCLAUGHLIN: I was facing a council at that time that wanted to declare a state of emergency every time a spike of violence happened and bring in the National Guard.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: She says the city needed a new approach.

    GAYLE MCLAUGHLIN: Some councilmembers were not ready to put some city funding into such a program. They were talking more about more police.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Now on the City Council herself, she continues to fund the office and says it’s been a success.

    GAYLE MCLAUGHLIN: The vast majority of the young people have stayed out of trouble.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: 68 men have completed the Operation Peacemaker Fellowship so far.  And according to the program, only about 20 percent have been arrested or charged for new gun crimes. 13 Were convicted, and got kicked out of the program. Richmond’s crime problem has improved, too — although it still has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the Bay Area.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: The number of murders here in Richmond has fallen by half in the last decade — from 42 in 2006, to 21 in 2015.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Other cities are now replicating Richmond’s Operation Peacemaker program – including Washington, DC, Toledo, OH and Oakland, CA. In Washington, which, unlike Richmond, would use taxpayer money to fund the stipends, the mayor has said she opposes the idea — saying resources should be spent instead on jobs programs.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Oakland city officials came to meet with Devone Boggan about their launch of the program in the next few months. But Mary Theroux, Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute in Oakland, a think tank focused on personal freedoms, says she’s not sure the program can be credited with the drop in crime. For instance, Richmond’s Police Department has also overhauled its gun violence strategies.

    MARY THEROUX: We had a decline in crime nationally in the same period. We certainly had lots of other factors. Economic factors can be huge, demographic factors

    MEGAN THOMPSON: While the program demands that fellows make and achieve personal goals, Theroux thinks it should go further, and require them to hold down a job or finish a degree.

    MARY THEROUX: So, I think it’s very important that we find out if this program is really helping them, or if it’s just essentially freezing them in place, and if there are other things we could be doing that would be helping them much more, have much more opportunities.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Devone Boggan says, in Richmond, that’s not the point.

    DEVONE BOGGAN: Success to us is not whether or not he becomes a model citizen. Success, to us, is about whether or not he uses a firearm to address conflict.

    ROHNELL ROBINSON: Look at my life. It’s not the greatest, but they put me — they put my mind frame in something better

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Rohnell Robinson left his janitor job and is training for a higher skilled job in the oil industry. He says he’s left his past life of crime behind.

    ROHNELL ROBINSON: If I thought then how I thought now, I definitely wouldn’t — would have never, never, ever picked up a gun.

    The post California program offers cash to reduce gun crimes appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    2016-04-18 10.30.01

    Hannah Yi (center) is shown here with her tour group. Photo courtesy Hannah Yi.

    Earlier this year, I wrote a letter to the North Korean tour agency “Korean International Travel Company.”

    The visa I received to visit to North Korea as an American tourist.

    The visa I received to visit North Korea as an American tourist.

    “My name is Hannah Yi, and I am an American citizen of Korean descent. I have always been interested in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and learning about the people and culture there. I have no relatives in DPRK, and my only intention is to travel for tourism purposes.”

    Three weeks later, I received a copy of my North Korean visa. The trip was on.

    In early April, I flew from New York City to Beijing. From there, I boarded a North Korean owned Air Koryo plane headed for the capital city of Pyongyang.

    Our only on-board entertainment was a Moranbong Band concert, which played on the overhead speakers. Moranbong Band is the country’s popular all-female performance group, whose members are chosen by leader Kim Jong Un.

    Throughout the two-hour flight, the women played electric violins and drums while singing songs about their great leader and country. It was our first taste of what was to come.

    In total, I spent seven days in the country with nine other Americans, shepherded by two female minders.

    2016-04-13 14.34.02-2-1

    One of the group’s many tour guides is seen here in Nampo, North Korea. Photo by Hannah Yi.

    Our days were packed with visits to monuments, museums, schools and factories. I quickly learned – as perhaps I might have expected – there is no such thing as a self-guided tour in North Korea.

    Each destination came with an assigned guide who would begin by rattling off strings of statistics.

    He or she would point to the height of a statue (super tall!), the size of a facility (really big!), the number of computers (so many!).

    Each guide would then launch into a speech about the wisdom and benevolence of the supreme leaders who make all things possible.

    2016-04-13 09.56.32-2

    Workers start the day under a banner that reads “Self Reliance” at the Chollima Steel Complex just outside the city of Pyongyang. Photo by Hannah Yi.

    The destinations chosen for us felt like the country’s attempt to prove North Korean prosperity and self-reliance. People here have “nothing to envy” — a common propaganda phrase.

    Most tours would end with a trip to a so-called “guest room.” These were sparse spaces with couches and coffee tables. The guide would point to the leather bound books on the tables and ask us to share thoughts on what we had just seen.

    During these exchanges, many of us would simply sit politely. Others wrote carefully-worded pleasantries as our minders looked on over our shoulders.

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    Bronze statues of the former leaders loom 22 meters high at the Mansudae Grand Monument. Photo by Hannah Yi.

    Pyongyang is undoubtedly a surreal place. There are huge portraits and towering statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il everywhere. People speak their names constantly. In the country’s capital, I saw people both cry and applaud when speaking of their leaders past and present.

    As if on cue, many of the North Koreans we were introduced to launched into a speech exalting the leaders. After this initial exchange, however, I was sometimes able to glean what felt like more authentic moments because I speak Korean.

    Whether it was a guide, waitress, our bus driver or the cameraman who followed our group for the duration of the trip, the first question he or she usually asked me was: “Are you a Korean person?”

    They were curious about my parents, my age, or whether I was married. They loved seeing photos of my family, especially the one where my mother is wearing a traditional Korean dress similar to the clothing women wear in North Korea.

    While the conversation did not always flow smoothly because of our accents or I did not know the right words — we could communicate well enough.

    2016-04-10 12.00.24-1

    A crowd watches a soccer game at the Rungrado 1st of May stadium in Pyongyang. Photo by Hannah Yi.

    In one moment that stands out, a waitress was so relieved that I could speak Korean and order food for the group that she came by multiple times to thank me, offering more water and vegetables.

    During one long drive into the countryside of Pyongyang, one of our minders shyly asked me if I had a cookbook with me. She was interested in making new dishes – especially pasta for her son – but had nowhere to get recipes. I tried to share a simple dish from memory, but soon realized she had no access to one ingredient we take for granted: paprika.

    On our last night in Pyongyang, we went to see fireworks in the city center. Our group was huddled among North Korean citizens young and old.

    As the lights blazed overhead, children yelped in delight. An elderly woman stood next to me with her family. As the fireworks erupted she said, “Oh, look at that!” I said in response, “It’s so pretty.”

    She looked at me confused, as if only then realizing I was a foreigner. After a moment of puzzlement, she quickly smiled at me, and I smiled back.

    These random and simple moments were what I found most memorable. Perhaps because we were watched so closely and our schedule was heavily curated, I found myself drawn to photographing the “normal” moments of daily life in the secluded country.

    See more of Hannah Yi’s photographs from North Korea on Instagram.

    2016-04-11 09.33.47

    The Grand People’s Study House in Pyongyang where people can take classes and checkout books. Photo by Hannah Yi.

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    Visitors to North Korea are often welcomed by large portraits of the two former leaders, like this one seen at the Science and Technology Center in Pyongyang. Photo by Hannah Yi.

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    Employees are seen at a department store in Pyongyang. Photo by Hannah Yi.

    2016-04-15 11.54.02-1

    A female traffic cop is seen here in Pyongyang. Photo by Hannah Yi.

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    Students are seen here at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang. Photo by Hannah Yi.

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    A woman sells souvenirs during a soccer game at the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang.

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    A man is seen walking under one of the many propaganda signs that hang on the streets of Pyongyang. Photo by Hannah Yi.

    The post What I learned being an American tourist in North Korea appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    London's Mayor elect, Sadiq Khan, leaves Southwark Cathedral in London, Britain, May 7, 2016.  REUTERS/Peter Nicholls - RTX2D8HZ

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    MEGAN THOMPSON, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: London has a new mayor and its first who is a Muslim: 45-year-old Sadiq Khan. The human rights lawyer and Labour Party leader is the son of Pakistani immigrants. His father was a bus driver and his mother was a seamstress.

    With election results declared final today, Khan was sworn into office and celebrated his win at a multi-denominational ceremony in an Anglican cathedral.

    SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: My name is Sadiq Khan and I’m the mayor of London!

    MEGAN THOMPSON: He said he’ll be a mayor for all Londoners and represents every community.

    Jenny Gross, a reporter for the “Wall Street Journal,” has been covering the election and joins us via Skype from London.

    Jenny, one million of London’s eight million residents are Muslim, a quarter of the city is foreign born. Do those demographics affect the campaign?

    JENNY GROSS, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: The demographics in London are so different than the rest of the country. So, that for sure could have been a reason, you know, given Sadiq Khan a boost in the polls.

    But I think moreover he lead a campaign that appealed to Londoners, you know, of course, beyond Muslims. He was elected with a huge mandate, something like 57 percent of votes went to him in the second round and 43 percent went to his rival, Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: That Conservative candidate said some things during the election that some people considered Islamophobic, even suggesting that Khan was sympathetic to Islam extremists.

    JENNY GROSS: What Zac Goldsmith did was he tried to link Sadiq Khan to extremists, but ended up back firing. Sadiq Khan, you know, said he spent his entire adult life fighting extremism and yes, he has, you know, met with unsavory figures in the past as part of his career — his former career in as a human rights lawyer.

    But I think — I think, you know, just when talking to people on the street here, people were turned off by the fact that instead of focusing on the issues like housing and transport, the emphasis of the Conservative campaign seemed to be about race and Sadiq Khan’s Muslim faith.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Are there signs that those tensions will ease now that the election is over?

    JENNY GROSS: I think there is a sense among some people here that people are just very excited about the fact that London has a Muslim mayor. I think it’s significant in that he is the first Muslim mayor in a major western capital city. Also that he was very happy that people here had chosen unity over fear and division.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Europe in general has been grappling with rising Islamophobia following the influx of Muslim refugees and also the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels. How significant is Khan’s election for Europe in general?

    JENNY GROSS: I think it’s extremely important, as you said, at the time of rising Islamaphobia here, in the U.K. in particular. It’s been — it’s been a big issue. You know, we have seen more than 800 young British Muslims have left the country to go to Syria and Iraq to join terrorist organizations.

    So, I mean, I think you know, part of Khan’s campaign, he said he was going to work on fighting extremism here and making sure that everyone in society felt included.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Jenny Gross, “Wall Street Journal” reporter joining us from London — thank you so much for being with us.

    JENNY GROSS: Thank you

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    Recaptured drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by soldiers at the hangar belonging to the office of the Attorney General in Mexico City, Mexico January 8, 2016. The notorious drug kingpin was transferred to a new prison on Saturday near Mexico's border with Texas. Photos By Henry Romero/Reuters

    Recaptured drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is escorted by soldiers at the hangar belonging to the office of the Attorney General in Mexico City, Mexico January 8, 2016. The notorious drug kingpin was transferred to a new prison on Saturday near Mexico’s border with Texas. Photos By Henry Romero/Reuters

    Notorious Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was transferred on Saturday to a new prison near the Texas border.

    Guzman was moved from the maximum-security prison Antiplano near Mexico City to the Cefereso No. 9 prison in the Ciudad Juarez, according to the Associated Press, which confirmed the transfer with Guzman’s attorneys.

    One of his attorneys, Jose Refugio Rodriguez, said Guzman was transported without warning.

    “I don’t know what the strategy is,” Refugio told the AP. “I can’t say what the government is thinking.”

    A federal police officer (R) inspect a vehicle at a security checkpoint near a prison in Ciudad Juarez where Mexican drug boss Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman has been moved from his jail in central Mexico May 7, 2016. Photo By Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

    A federal police officer (R) inspect a vehicle at a security checkpoint near a prison in Ciudad Juarez where Mexican drug boss Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman has been moved from his jail in central Mexico May 7, 2016. Photo By Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

    Guzman’s legal team is appealing a measure to extradite him to the United States, though a spokesperson for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Saturday that the transfer took place because of upgrades at the Antiplano prison and was not a move toward extradition.

    Guzman escaped from prison twice after being convicted for his role as leader of the Sinaloa cartel and its control over a bloody  international drug trade.

    Guzman escaped prison in 2001 before his capture in 2014. In 2015, he slipped out if the Antiplano prison through a hole in his cell and an extensive tunnel nearly a mile long before he was recaptured in January.

    Guzman had been returned to the Antiplano prison where the floor of his cell was bolstered with metal bars and concrete, the AP said.

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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the end of a campaign rally in Eugene, Oregon, U.S., May 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart - RTX2D75Q

    GOP U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the end of a campaign rally in Eugene, Oregon, U.S., May 6, 2016. Photo by Jim Urquhart/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — For a lot of angsty conservatives, there’s more to worry about than just Donald Trump. There’s the future of the conservative movement to consider.

    The soul-searching over what to do with the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee includes a broader debate over who gets to define conservatism.

    An Iowa talk show host on the right talks of conservatism going into “temporary exile.” A senator and self-described “movement conservative” still is casting about for an alternative to Trump and expected Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The head of a grassroots conservative group in Texas wishes he could wake up from a dream and discover the Trump-as-nominee notion is nothing more than the product of indigestion from a bad burrito.

    “The conservative movement, a movement I have been proud to be a part of, has been hijacked and twisted, and all the work we’ve done has been totally reversed,” lamentss RedState columnist Joe Cunningham.

    The bitter irritation over Trump isn’t just about ideology; there’s ego in play, too.

    “There are certain conservatives who view themselves as the brains and leadership of the movement who are somewhat offended that their call to action to stop Trump failed,” says Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, the oldest and largest conservative grassroots organization. “When they told people to go in a certain direction, the people didn’t follow. And so there’s a certain amount of ego and pride wrapped into the current state of affairs.”

    For Schlapp, the answer to the what-now question is easy, although his organization hasn’t made an endorsement. He’s ready to “strongly, enthusiastically, full-throatedly” support Trump – given the Democratic alternative.

    “Look,” he says, “Donald Trump is not on trial to determine whether or not he is an award-winning conservative. It is a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.”

    Further, says Schlapp, Republican voters didn’t reject conservatism to vote for Trump. They simply put a higher priority on Trump’s shake-up-the-system message than they did on evaluating how his positions jibe with their policy manuals.

    Some glass-half-full types say conservatives need to stop the gloom-and-doom over Trump, and use this as a teachable moment.

    Michael Quinn Sullivan, head of the grassroots group Empower Texans, says conservatives should be reflecting on how they underestimated the frustration of the electorate and consider how they can do a better job of communicating with the millions of first-time voters Trump is bringing into the system.

    “A lot of folks on the elected side of the movement have been trying very hard to keep the lid on top of the frustration and the angst and the anger, and when it finally blows it gets a little messy,” says Sullivan. “We need to be encouraging some of our elected officials and some of our politicians and party officials to be willing to let the steam off, and be willing to engage folks at the level where they really are.”

    Sullivan adds that based on his conversations with Texas voters, Trump’s early supporters included plenty of frustrated conservative activists who decided, “I know he may not be necessarily exactly one of us, but he’s going to go burn the place down. He’s going to shake up the establishment.”

    For now, though, Sullivan is with House Speaker Paul Ryan – just not ready to support Trump.

    The speaker said Thursday: “Conservatives want to know, does he share our values and our principles on limited government, the proper role of the executive, adherence to the Constitution? There are a lot of questions that conservatives, I think, are going to want answers to, myself included. “

    Gregory Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, which advocates for LGBT rights, says he hears from plenty of “died-in-the-wool conservatives who are splintered right now in terms of where they’re going.”

    “The wounds are still fresh, as it were, and I don’t think people are going to digest where we’re headed until several months have gone by,” says Angelo, adding that his organization is “just as splintered and soul searching” as other GOP groups.

    Exit polling in the primaries found Trump doing less well with people who are the most conservative.

    Across all states so far where exit polling data is available, Trump voters included 36 percent of those who are very conservative, 43 percent of those who are somewhat conservative and 41 percent of moderates.

    Count Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska among those who are most outspoken about the conservative dilemma.

    He used a Facebook post after Trump’s last GOP rivals dropped out to hold out hope for another option, saying he was willing to set aside “an ideological purity test, because even a genuine consensus candidate would almost certainly be more conservative than either of the two dishonest liberals now leading the two national parties.”

    Syndicated talk show host Steve Deace in Iowa, in a column written for USA Today, was even more cutting about how the GOP has failed conservatives.

    “Conservatism’s role in the 2016 election is now over while the idiocracy takes it from here,” he wrote.

    AP News Survey Specialist Emily Swanson contributed to this report.

    The post Conservatives worry about direction of party under Trump appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Presidential candidate Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte is pictured on a truck during election campaigning in Malabon, Metro Manila in the Philippines April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro - RTX2CVTC

    Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte is pictured on a truck during election campaigning in Malabon, Metro Manila in the Philippines April 27, 2016. Photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The upcoming Philippine presidential election could cause some heartburn in Washington. The winner of Monday’s vote will be hand-maiden to the most crucial U.S. relationship in Southeast Asia, and the front-runner has not inspired confidence with his casual threats to shoot criminals and by joking about the gang rape and killing of a foreign missionary.

    The historically tumultuous relationship between the U.S. and its former colony has thrived in recent years as the Philippines has turned to Washington for support against an assertive China. But there’s uncertainty about how the eventual election winner will navigate external relations during a period of high tensions with Beijing.

    Front-running candidate Rodrigo Duterte is known for his profanity-laden speeches and has been likened to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He made international headlines last month when he said that an Australian missionary who was gang raped and killed during a 1989 prison siege was so beautiful that he “should have been the first” to assault her. The Australian and U.S. ambassadors criticized that comment, and Duterte told them to shut up.

    On Friday, incumbent President Benigno Aquino III, who cannot run for re-election, made a desperate call for the trailing candidates to ally against Duerte, whom he described as a threat to democracy. The veteran city mayor has earned the nickname “Duterte Harry,” after a Clint Eastwood character with little regard for rules. He faces allegations that death squads committed extra-judicial killings to clean up the southern city of Davao that he’s run for 22 years.

    As with any foreign election, U.S. officials are reluctant to comment in case they are accused of trying to influence the result. “We look forward to working with the next Philippine administration to build upon our strong and enduring relationship, whatever the outcome of elections may be,” said Katina Adams, a State Department spokeswoman for East Asia.

    Still, they’ll be hoping for a successor who will follow the strategic path forged by Aquino, who has doubled down on ties with Washington in the face of China’s aggressive pursuit of territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea.

    On Aquino’s watch, the Philippines has agreed to opening up several of its military facilities in American forces – a quarter-century after nationalist sentiments forced the closure of U.S. bases in the island nation. That’s an important boost to President Barack Obama’s push to expand America’s presence in the Asia-Pacific to counter China.

    “The Philippines has adopted an adversarial posture with regard to China that is unique in the region,” said Marvin Ott, a former U.S. intelligence analyst and now a lecturer on Southeast Asian studies.

    Aquino has been more circumspect with China than his predecessor, who was accused of cutting a corrupt deal with Beijing over joint exploitation of resources in the South China Sea. Aquino did reach out to Beijing after taking office in 2010, but relations tumbled after Chinese vessels occupied a shoal off the Philippine coast in 2012. Manila subsequently lodged a case with an international tribunal challenging the legal basis of Beijing’s claims to virtually all the South China Sea. A ruling is expected within weeks.

    That’s an approach that’s been supported by the Obama administration, but which could sharpen tensions with China if the tribunal rules in Manila’s favor, as many expect.

    The contender most likely to follow Aquino’s policies on the South China Sea is the one the president has endorsed: Mar Roxas, a U.S.-educated investment banker who served in Aquino’s Cabinet. But all of the candidates, including Roxas, have signaled a willingness to improve relations with China, the region’s dominant economy.

    Vikram Singh, a former senior U.S. defense official, said it was possible that as president, any of the candidates could slow the recent agreements on increased U.S. military access to Philippine bases, but he expected “they’ll want to keep close ties with Washington when they see just how significant the pressure can be from Beijing.”

    Duerte’s position on the South China Sea has been characteristically unconventional. He has said he would initiate talks with the Chinese, and if those fail he’d go to one of the disputed Chinese-made islands by jet ski and plant a Philippine flag. He told a televised debate it would be up to the Chinese if they want to shoot him and make him a national hero.

    Associated Press writer Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, contributed to this report.

     

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    Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Worldwide threats to America and our allies" in Capitol Hill, Washington February 9, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTX2687T

    Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on “Worldwide threats to America and our allies” in Capitol Hill, Washington Feb. 9, 2016. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Even though the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records has ended, calls and emails are still being swept up by U.S. surveillance work targeting foreigners. Congress is making a renewed push to find out how many.

    Six Republicans and eight Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have asked the nation’s top intelligence official for the number of Americans’ emails and phone calls collected under programs authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

    The programs target foreigners, but domestic communications sometimes are vacuumed up as well. They were first revealed to the public by Edward Snowden, who leaked files from the National Security Agency.

    “Surely the American public is entitled to some idea of how many of our communications are swept up by these programs,” the committee members wrote in their April 22 letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

    They weren’t the first to request the information.

    In the past five years, Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of New Mexico have asked repeatedly. Last October, a coalition of more than 30 civil liberties groups wrote Clapper seeking the information. Unsatisfied with the answer they received, they wrote him again in January.

    Intelligence officials have tried to assuage concerns of Congress and others by saying that any domestic communications collected are “incidental” to the targeting of foreigners. They say Section 702 allows the government to target only non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States. They say the law explicitly bars the government from targeting a foreigner to acquire the communications of an American or someone in the U.S. But they say intelligence agencies are authorized under Section 702 to query communications made with U.S. persons under certain cases with certain approvals.

    Late last month, Clapper said intelligence agencies are looking into several options for providing an estimate and will do their best to come up with a number.

    “This tool is a terrific producer of critical intelligence for this country and our allies,” Clapper said recently about continued need for Section 702 programs.

    He did not say how soon an estimate could be released and cautioned that “any methodology we come up with will not be completely satisfactory to all parties.”

    Even Congress acknowledges that producing an estimate could require reviewing actual emails, for instance, acquired under Section 702, which itself could raise privacy concerns. But lawmakers say they are only advocating a “one-time, limited sampling” of communications.

    Intelligence officials held briefings last week for congressional aides to explain ways an estimate could be provided. That is something Congress wants to get before it starts debating whether to reauthorize Section 702, which is set to expire at the end of next year. The Senate Judiciary Committee plans a hearing Tuesday on the issue.

    Intelligence officials also briefed privacy advocates in March and are expected to hold another this month on the best way to estimate the extent to which domestic communications are ensnared in the quest for foreign intelligence. Among the problems is determining the citizenship of a caller or emailer, or whether the person is inside or outside the United States.

    “We can’t go into what I hope will be an extensive public debate without this basic information,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s program on liberty and national security.

    In a recent article, Goitein wrote: “The National Security Agency acquires more than 250 million Internet communications each year under this program. Given the ubiquity of international communication, this number is virtually certain to include tens of millions of exchanges that involve Americans, but there is no official public data on how many Americans’ communications are swept up.”

    Congress and privacy advocates got a glimpse into Section 702 surveillance from a congressionally mandated report that Clapper’s office released this past week. The report said Section 702 surveillance targeted 94,368 foreign persons, groups or entities outside the U.S. last year, up slightly from 92,707 in 2014.

    While the year-to-year increase is small, Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, notes that the number of targets has risen to more than 94,000 since the surveillance became legal in 2008.

    The report also said that 23,800 queries concerning U.S. persons were conducted on the database, although the report notes that one of the intelligence agencies involved in the queries, which was not identified, did not provide this information.

    The report also said 4,672 search terms concerning U.S. persons were used to retrieve information from Section 702 data, but privacy experts point out that the number excludes queries conducted by the FBI.

    “It’s true that the targets are foreigners, but in the course of targeting those 94,000 people, the government collects the communications of many, many – we don’t know the number – Americans,” Jaffer said. “That number is missing.”

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    U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he delivers the commencement address to the 2016 graduating class of Howard University in Washington, U.S., May 7, 2016.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTX2D9S9

    President Barack Obama smiles as he delivers the commencement address to the 2016 graduating class of Howard University in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. Photo by Joshua Roberts/REUTERS

    WASHINGTON — For Lauren Wilson, graduating from Howard University on Saturday came with an unusual perk: seeing President Obama in person for the first time.

    Wilson, an immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago who earned an M.B.A. in information systems from the university, said she was thrilled when she found out the president would deliver the commencement address.

    When President Obama was elected, “it led me to believe that I could do anything,” said Wilson, 28, who is black. “It inspired me to go seek more education and not hit a ceiling.”

    As his presidency winds down, Mr. Obama used the speech at Howard University on Saturday — just his third commencement address as president at a historically black university or college — to reflect on the state of race relations today, nearly eight years after he took office.

    “Is it enough? I don’t know if there is ever enough you can do until there is no more disparity.”

    “No, my election did not create a post-racial society. I don’t know who was propagating that notion, but that was not mine,” Obama said.

    “Racism persists, inequality persists,” Obama said. But he said race relations had improved since he graduated from Columbia University in 1983.

    “I want the class of 2016 to open your eyes to the moment you’re in,” Obama said.

    Sivona Blake, who graduated on Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, said the president gave Howard students a kind of “‘black State of the Union.’”

    “It was very real,” said Blake, adding that she thought race relations had improved under President Obama. “I like when speeches are real and not sugar coated.”

    Other students, like Wilson, had a mixed view.

    “I think [race] relations are actually a little bit worse now than when he took office, because things are more divisive,” Wilson said. But “in another aspect, I think it has been better because there is more opportunity for people of color.”

    Mr. Obama rarely spoke directly about race in his first term in office. But since his reelection in 2012, the president has done so more often, while launching initiatives like My Brother’s Keeper that are aimed at helping minority students succeed in education and find jobs after graduation.

    Still, he has frequently faced criticism that his efforts have not done enough to uplift the black community.

    Guests watch as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address to the 2016 graduating class of Howard University in Washington, U.S., May 7, 2016.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTX2D9YS

    Guests watch as President Obama delivers the commencement address at Howard University. Photo by Joshua Roberts/REUTERS

    Celeste Brown, a graduating senior at Howard who earned a degree in mechanical engineering, said the president was responsible for helping people of all backgrounds succeed, not just one particular group.

    “He’s done his best to [improve] equality for women, children, African Americans, and immigrants, so I think he has done a lot,” Brown said. “Is it enough? I don’t know if there is ever enough you can do until there is no more disparity.”

    Other students said no one, including the nation’s first black president, could transform race relations single-handedly in a relatively short period of time.

    “It’s going to be something that’s going to continue to evolve,” said Alec Williams, 24, who majored in economics. “I think he’s done as much as he can in eight years.”

    Obama’s decision to speak at Howard in the last months of his presidency sent a clear message, Williams added.

    “It was good to see our president, a black man, stand up there and tell us that yes, it is good to address these things, but it’s also necessary to have a plan of action of how you’re going to change it.”

    Wilson, the MBA graduate, agreed that speeches like the one at Howard only strengthened President Obama’s ties to the black community. “He values leaving a great legacy behind with the black community.”

    President Obama, who received an honorary degree from the university on Saturday, is scheduled to give two more commencement speeches this year, at Rutgers University in New Jersey on May 15, and at the Air Force Academy in Colorado in June.

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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Salt Lake City, Utah March 18, 2016. Some in Utah are calling a Trump-Clinton matchup a "nightmare." Photo By Jim Urquhart/Reuters

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Salt Lake City, Utah March 18, 2016. Some in Utah are calling a Trump-Clinton matchup a “nightmare.” Photo By Jim Urquhart/Reuters

    OREM, Utah — As the setting sun flooded a meeting of Utah County Republicans, Melanie Sorensen described her concerns about her party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

    First, she spoke about Donald Trump’s suggestion that he may violate party orthodoxy and back a minimum wage increase. Then, she addressed his tendency to take different sides of the same issue. Then, the image he projects to the world.

    “I’m certainly a ‘Never Hillary’ person but I may also be a ‘Never Trump’ person,” said Sorensen, 42, a homemaker who spends countless hours volunteering for the GOP. “It’s a nightmare. I’m living in a nightmare.”

    Voters in this slice of deeply conservative Utah are experiencing an acute version of the political panic attack that’s gripped much of the GOP since Trump’s remaining rivals dropped out last week.

    Utah County, 30 miles south of Salt Lake City, was never going to support Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. It’s home to Brigham Young University, and 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney won 88 percent of its voters against President Barack Obama. But it’s also the conservative heart of Utah, whose voters were among the most resistant to Trump in the nominating contest.

    The billionaire won only 14 percent of the votes at the Republican caucuses in March. Trump’s boastful, populist approach offends many in a deeply religious state that values humility, personal ethics and traditional conservative values. “What’s more important to us is the life led, the character of the candidate for office,” said Robert Craig, 55, a businessman and another member of the Utah County party’s executive committee.

    The way Utah’s Republicans grapple with Trump’s nomination may say a lot about his viability in November. No presidential nominee in recent decades has won the White House without overwhelming support from voters of his own party — typically 90 percent of them or more — but the GOP is badly splintered over Trump.

    U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., set off a firestorm last week when he said Trump had not yet earned his endorsement. The last two GOP presidents — George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush — said they wouldn’t attend the party’s July convention where Trump awaits the nomination.

    Some Utah Republicans are grudgingly lining up behind Trump. U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, who called Trump “our Mussolini” in March, now calls for party unity. “While Mr. Trump wasn’t my first choice, we must move forward and unite to defeat Hillary Clinton,” he said.

    K.C. Bezant contemplated what to do as he hurried back from his lunch break to the furniture store in the University Mall where he works. “Not a big fan,” he said of Trump. Bezant voted for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the caucuses. Another salesman, David Bauer, 69, met Bezant as he walked in.

    “Are you going to vote for Trump?” Bezant asked Bauer, who had also supported Cruz in the caucuses.

    “Yeah,” Bauer answered. “I don’t like Hillary. I’ll vote for him. Not voting is just putting another vote in Hillary’s back pocket.”

    “Yeah,” Bezant said. “I’ll do it.”

    Not everyone in the store was as sanguine.

    Tammy Pawlowski, 58, was horrified when Trump said this year that he never had asked God for forgiveness. She’s Mormon, “and repentance is a big thing for us,” Pawlowski said. “We have to be accountable to somebody — we need to be accountable to God for what we do and to people. If you’re not going to be accountable to anyone, then you don’t care about anyone but yourself.”

    Pawlowski said she might actually end up voting for Clinton: “I would actually pick her over Trump.”

    In more than two dozen interviews of Republicans in Orem, Pawlowski was the only one who said she might vote for Clinton. But some were seeking third-party escape hatches from what they considered to be an impossible choice. “I keep hoping for a do-over,” said Amy Gertsch, 40, a professional pet blogger who preferred Sen. Rand Paul, an early dropout.

    At the county GOP meeting, between the Pledge of Allegiance and a discussion of local races, executive committee members were trying to find a reason to support their party’s nominee. “What could help Donald Trump move more people in the Republican Party to his side is to pick a vice president, and have more people around him, who are conservative,” said Joe Phelon, 44. Heads nodded approvingly, and an excited murmur rippled through the room when someone mentioned a rumor that Trump would select U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 attack against Americans in Benghazi, Libya, as his attorney general.

    “We’re waiting to see what Mr. Trump would do,” said Ben Summerhalder, 63. “If we were voting today I’d have to hold my nose — he’s boorish, he’s not a conservative.”

    Some are more open to Trump. The billionaire was software developer Lowell Nelson’s third choice out of the 17 Republicans who competed for the nomination, and Nelson backed Cruz in the caucuses. But now Trump will get his vote.

    “He has stood firm against the trade deals and on immigration,” Nelson said. “Anything to get the establishment, the neoconservatives, angry, I’m OK with that.”

    But even in this group of loyal, hard-core Republicans, some thought they wouldn’t vote for the nominee.

    “A ‘no’ vote,” said Anna Standage, 49, “is still a vote.”

    The post For some in GOP, Trump-Clinton choice is ‘nightmare’ matchup appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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