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

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    A Texas bus crash that killed eight people and injured dozens more on Saturday is under review by a federal safety board.

    The authorities said the driver appeared to lose control of the charter bus along U.S. Highway 83 as it was traveling to a casino several hours north of the town of Laredo. No other vehicles were believed to be in the vicinity at the time of the accident.

    “The driver of the bus lost control and rolled over,” said Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Conrad Hein.

    The bus driver, whose name has not been released, is among the survivors of the crash. A preliminary investigation indicated that rain may have been a factor while the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was dispatching investigators on Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

    The bus was carrying 51 passengers, and seven people died at the scene. One person died later after being transported to a hospital. Webb County spokesman Larry Sanchez told the Laredo Morning Star that 44 people were hospitalized with injuries and at least 15 of them are in stable condition.

    The San Juan-based OGA Charters owns the bus. A NTSB statement released on Saturday said a team would begin an investigation Sunday morning.

    The post Eight killed, dozens injured in Texas bus crash appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    GREEN BAY, Wis. — House Speaker Paul Ryan says he doesn’t have a timeline for unifying behind presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

    During a news conference Saturday in Green Bay, Wisconsin, reporters asked Ryan whether he hopes to have party unity before the GOP convention in July. He says “this is a process, we still have some time to go.”

    Ryan also says that Republicans are in the process of unifying while “Democrats are still ripping each other apart.”

    Ryan says he and Trump will have policy disputes, “no two ways about it,” but that it’s important there be “real party unity, not pretend party unity.”

    Ryan says that while there are questions about Republicans refusing to back Trump, “we’re really in the never Hillary camp.”

    The post Paul Ryan on whether he will support Trump: ‘This is a process’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at Canaan Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., May 15, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RTSEER5

    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at Canaan Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., May 15, 2016. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Hillary Clinton campaigned hard Sunday in Kentucky, where rival Bernie Sanders looks to extend his winning streak in Tuesday’s primary and further delay her clinching the Democratic presidential nomination.

    At St. Stephen’s Church, Clinton appealed to the congregation for support, saying she hoped to have “the opportunity to serve you as your president.” Later, at Canaan Christian Church, she stressed rising above negativity.

    “As someone who’s seen a lot of mean things said, I know it can be hurtful. But we can’t give in to that,” Clinton said.

    While Clinton leads Sanders by nearly 300 pledged delegates going into primaries in Kentucky and Oregon on Tuesday, Sanders hasn’t stopped winning contests and has pledged to stay in the race until the July convention.

    With Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee, Clinton’s team would like to fully turn attention to the general election contest, but cannot completely make that shift yet.

    The two primaries will not yield many delegates, but a win in at least one would give Clinton momentum heading into the delegate-rich primaries in California and New Jersey in early June. Oregon is likely to go for Sanders, but Clinton’s campaign thinks the contest is competitive in Kentucky, and she planned to campaign through Monday and is airing television ads.

    Clinton easily won the Kentucky primary over Barack Obama in 2008. But this year she has come under criticism in some of the state after saying in March that “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Clinton later said she misspoke, but the comment has drawn fire in mining communities in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.

    The post Clinton campaigning hard in Kentucky ahead of Tuesday’s primary appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Ka Yang and her six children, all Hmong refugees, were moved to the U.S. in January, 2016. Photo by Ying Lee

    Ka Yang and her six children, all Hmong refugees, two days after they moved to the U.S. in January, 2016. Photo by Ying Lee

    The last time Ka Yang heard from her husband was more than four years ago, when he called her from jail after he was deported from the family’s hideout in Bangkok.

    Thailand had made a controversial decision in 2009 to stop hosting thousands of Hmongs fleeing persecution in Laos, and Yang’s husband, Kha Yang, found himself caught in the cross hairs.

    Hmongs have faced retaliation for decades following their recruitment by U.S. militia operations during the ’60s and ’70s. Although Kha Yang had refugee status, he was still forced back to Laos by the Thai government. He was arrested by Lao police when he arrived because they saw him as a traitor and a leader to more people like him, according to his wife.

    Calling her from jail, Kha Yang said he was sure police would kill him.

    “I’m not going to survive. If you have a chance, go to a third country,” Yang, speaking Hmong through a translator, recalled her husband saying. “I want to let you know I’m not going to survive.”

    Today, it is unclear if Kha Yang is still alive.

    His wife spent four years hiding in Bangkok, living in fear that Thai officials might send her back. In January, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees followed through with its promise — she and her six children would be flown to Madison, Wisconsin, to live with Kha Yang’s sister, who repatriated in 1980.

    This photo of Kha Yang was taken by a friend in 2004 in Thailand, just after the Yang family fled Laos the first time. It was provided by Ka Yang.

    Kha Yang is seen here in a photo taken by a friend in 2004 in Thailand, just after the Yang family fled Laos for the first time. Photo courtesy of Ka Yang

    This fall, President Barack Obama is expected to become the first U.S. president to visit Laos, where the U.S. enlisted Hmong people during the Vietnam War to fight with Americans against people from their own region.

    Obama is planning to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Vientiane, according to his office, because the U.S. is a partner to the association built to aid economic and cultural development. This year’s chair is Laos.

    But the Human Rights Watch, a nonprofit and international human rights advocacy group, hopes to use the trip to shine a light on the consequences still being felt from what has been called the CIA’s “Secret War” against communism in the 1970s and Laos’ lesser-known involvement during the Vietnam War era.

    During the Secret War, the CIA enlisted tens of thousands of people from the Hmong tribe, who lived in mountainous regions and whose ancestors are likely from China, living in Laos to fight for the U.S. As guerrilla soldiers on the ground, the U.S. trained 60,000 Hmongs, often to fight along North Vietnam’s supply route through Laos.

    After the Vietnam War ended and thousands of Hmongs had been killed, the ones who survived were largely seen as traitors in their own country, according to a Congressional report on Laos-U.S. relations.

    Following a period of arrests, kidnappings, rape and torture of the Hmong people, hundreds of thousands began to flee to Thailand, hoping to eventually gain asylum somewhere else, like Ka Yang and her children ultimately did.

    “There have been decades of abuses” against Hmong people in Southeast Asia, said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

    The U.S. has repatriated more than 253,000 persecuted Hmong refugees since the war ended, many of whom came through Thailand like the Yangs. But even though the U.S. Department of State has raised concerns with the Lao government about his case, it has not been able to find Kha Yang.

    Talking to his wife about anything that happened before this year triggers streams of tears. She said the Yangs crossed the Mekong River to Thailand the first time in 2004, traveling overnight in a small boat, because a family member had been killed by Lao officials.

    When they migrated to Bangkok from the coast, Thai officials took them to the Nong Khai immigration center, about 380 miles northeast. They were crammed into small rooms, often separated from each other without sufficient food or water and unable to go outside, sometimes for weeks at a time, she said.

    Then in 2009, Thailand decided to stop hosting the Hmong population living within the country. Refugee camps were destroyed and more than 4,000 Hmong people were deported.

    This included the Yang family, who were among 158 documented refugees living in the Nong Khai immigration center with paperwork from the United Nations.

    These 158 were awaiting repatriation to one of four countries that had already agreed to house them, including the U.S., Canada the Netherlands and Australia. The U.S. Department of State and Human Rights Watch condemned all the deportations, but deporting the Nong Khai group was seen as especially egregious because they were documented refugees who had a clear path to asylum.

    The Yang family was jailed for a week, then sent to a restricted village secured by police. In April 2011, they fled to Bangkok for a second time.

    Kha Yang had picked up a construction job to help pay for the medical bills of their youngest child who at the time was four months old, running a fever and developing blisters. When he left for work, he was detained by Thai authorities.

    “I was sure that he would die. And I had so many children to take care of and I was thinking about suicide,” she said.

    Since then, all of the 158 have been released and accounted for, except Kha Yang.

    His deportation was detailed by the U.S. State Department in its report on Thailand’s human rights practices because Kha Yang is believed to be the last documented Hmong refugee from the Nong Khai group that is still missing.

    While there may still be thousands who are hiding in fear of persecution with no clear path to asylum, Kha Yang holds the status of a refugee and has rights to protection under an international human rights treaty that Laos ratified.

    The State Department’s 2015 report released in April said Kha Yang’s whereabouts still “remain unknown,” adding that the Laos government had ignored requests from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to speak with him.

    “We have raised our concerns privately with the Lao government,” State Department spokeswoman Katina Adams told the PBS NewsHour in an email. “We encourage Laos to fulfill its international human rights commitments under the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

    Adams did not say whether the State Department will request that Obama, whose office deferred questions about Kha Yang’s case to the State Department, bring it up during his visit this fall.

    Torture and state-sanctioned kidnappings are not the only lethal legacies of the CIA’s Secret War operation that could confront Obama as he plans his visit.

    The U.S. dropped more than two million tons of bombs while trying to destroy North Vietnamese supply routes during the ’60s and ’70s. As many as a third of them did not detonate, leaving Laos contaminated with bombs that still explode and hit more than 100 people every year.

    The U.S. has contributed to the clean-up and recently increased annual spending on it. But more than 40 years after the war, most of the munitions remain

    Joshua Kurlantzick, who researches Southeast Asia for the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, said he thinks that Obama may call for a greater effort to remove the munitions rather than focus on a single human rights case. 

    And even if Kha Yang is still alive and could be freed, challenges remain for members of the Hmong community living in the U.S.

    Hmong Americans face significant social and economic barriers, and are “one of the poorest Asian American communities,” according to Kurlantzick, who is writing a book about the Secret War in Laos.

    Bao Vang, the president of Hmong American Partnership, the largest nonprofit dedicated to empowering the Hmong American community, said some strides have been made for the community, but that hurdles remain, as they do with other ethnic groups. After 40 years in the U.S., Vang points to the fact that 14 percent of Hmong Americans have obtained a college degree. “That is to be celebrated,” she said. “But it shows we still have deep disparities.”

    Vang said the nonprofit does not do international work, but that it supports Human Rights Watch bringing attention to Kha Yang’s circumstances.

    Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch hopes that pressure from his group and politicians will provoke Obama to put the resolution of his case on a list of humanitarian requests to Lao leaders.

    “He was someone who was found to be a refugee by [the UN] and forced back by the Thai government not once but twice,” in violation of international refugee law, Robertson said. “We will be pushing very hard to get him released and allowed to depart the country and join his family in the U.S.”

    The post Family fights for information about Hmong man jailed in Laos in 2011 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Maryland February 27, 2015. On Sunday, the one-time presidential candidate said he would consider becoming Donald Trump's running mate. Photo By Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Maryland February 27, 2015. On Sunday, the one-time presidential candidate said he would consider becoming Donald Trump’s running mate. Photo By Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday he would consider an offer by presidential candidate Donald Trump to be the presumptive Republican nominee’s running mate.

    In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Gingrich said while his answer wouldn’t be an “automatic yes” the one-time presidential candidate would leave the door open to the possibility of becoming the vice president.

    “If he asks me I’d certainly say I want to sit down and talk about it,” he said. “I think we’d be hard-pressed not to say, ‘yes.'”

    Trump is closing in on becoming the Republican presidential nominee as the primary season moves toward closure and as some one-time critics fall in line to endorse the businessman, who is just 103 delegates short of the 1,237 needed to shore up the nomination.

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus listens to a question during an interview in Washington May 6, 2016. On Sunday he said Trump decision not to release his taxes may not matter to voters. Photo By Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus listens to a question during an interview in Washington May 6, 2016. Photo By Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    In an unorthodox move, Trump said Friday he would buck the standard presidential candidates’ practice of releasing his personal tax returns.

    On Sunday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said on ABC New’s “This Week” that Trump has “rewritten the playbook” and voters would decide the repercussions of his decision not to release the tax returns.

    “It’s going to be up to the American people,” Priebus said. “I think Trump represents such a massive change to Washington that people don’t look at Trump as to whether or not he releases his taxes.”

    The post Newt Gingrich says he would consider being Trump’s running mate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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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

    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 New York on May 3, 2016. Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    NEW YORK — As he tries to charm Republicans still skeptical of his presidential candidacy, Donald Trump has a challenge: On several key issues, he sounds an awful lot like a Democrat.

    And on some points of policy, such as trade and national defense, the billionaire businessman could even find himself running to the left of Hillary Clinton, his likely Democratic rival in the general election.

    Trump is a classic Republican in many ways. He rails against environmental and corporate regulations, proposes dramatically lower tax rates and holds firm on opposing abortion rights. But the presumptive GOP nominee doesn’t fit neatly into a traditional ideological box.

    “I think I’m running on common sense,” he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “I think I’m running on what’s right. I don’t think in terms of labels.”

    Perhaps Trump’s clearest break with Republican orthodoxy is on trade, which the party’s 2012 platform said was “crucial for our economy” and a path to “more American jobs, higher wages, and a better standard of living.”

    Trump says his views on trade are “not really different” from the rest of his party’s, yet he pledges to rip up existing deals negotiated by “stupid leaders” who failed to put American workers first. He regularly slams the North American Free Trade Agreement involving the U.S, Mexico and Canada, and opposes a pending Asia-Pacific pact, positions shared by Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.

    “The problem is the ideologues, the very conservative group, would say everything has to be totally free trade,” Trump said. “But you can’t have free trade if the deals are going to be bad. And that’s what we have.”

    Trump long has maintained that he has no plans to scale back Social Security benefits or raise its qualifying retirement age. The position puts him in line with Clinton. She has said she would “defend and expand” Social Security, has ruled out a higher retirement age and opposes reductions in cost-of-living adjustments or other benefits.

    “There is tremendous waste, fraud and abuse, but I’m leaving it the way it is,” Trump recently told Fox Business Network.

    It’s a stance at odds with the country’s top-ranked elected Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who has advocated fundamental changes to Social Security and other entitlement programs. But it’s also one that Trump argues keeps him in line with the wishes of most voters.

    “Remember the wheelchair being pushed over the cliff when you had Ryan chosen as your vice president?” Trump told South Carolina voters this year, referring to then-vice presidential candidate Ryan’s budget plan. “That was the end of that campaign.” Ryan was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012.

    Complicating the efforts to define Trump is his penchant for offering contradictory ideas about policy. He also has taken recently to saying that all of his plans are merely suggestions, open to later negotiation.

    Trump’s tax plan, for instance, released last fall, called for lowering the rate paid by the wealthiest people in the United States from 39.6 percent to 25 percent and slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent.

    Trump described it as a massive boon for the middle class. Outside experts concluded it disproportionately benefited the rich and would balloon the federal deficit.

    Close to clinching the nomination, Trump now appears to be pulling away from his own proposal. While he still wants to lower taxes for the wealthy and businesses, he now says his plan was just a starting point for discussions and he would like to see the middle class benefit more from whatever changes he seeks in tax law.

    “We have to go to Congress, we have to go to the Senate, we have to go to our congressmen and women and we have to negotiate a deal,” Trump said recently. “So it really is a proposal, but it’s a very steep proposal.”

    Trump has a similar take on the minimum wage. Trump said at a GOP primary debate that wages are too high, and later made clear that he does not support a federal minimum wage. Yet when speaking about the issue, he says he recognizes the difficulty of surviving on the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

    “I am open to doing something with it,” he told CNN this month.

    On foreign policy, Trump already appears working to paint Clinton as a national security hawk who would too easily the lead the country into conflict.

    “On foreign policy, Hillary is trigger happy,” Trump said at a recent rally, He listed the countries where the U.S. had intervened militarily during her tenure as secretary of state and pointed to her vote to authorize the Iraq war while she was in the Senate.

    Trump’s own “America First” approach appears to lean more toward isolationism. One of his foreign policy advisers, Walid Phares, recently described it as a “third way.”

    “This doesn’t fit any of the boxes,” Phares said.

    Clinton has advocated using “smart power,” a combination of diplomatic, legal, economic, political and cultural tools to expand American influence. She believes the U.S. has a unique ability to rally the world to defeat international threats.

    She argues the country must be an active participant on the world stage, particularly as part of international alliances such as NATO. Trump has criticized the military alliance, questioning a structure that sees the U.S. pay for most of its costs.

    “No, I think I’m much tougher than her on foreign – and I think we won’t have to use it,” Trump recently told Fox News when asked whether he might come to Clinton’s left on some foreign policy issues. “You know, I appear that I might – maybe to the left. I believe in very, very strong defense. I believe in world peace. I want to help other countries.”

    Associated Press writer Lisa Lerer in Washington contributed to this report.

    The post On more than one issue, GOP’s Trump sounds like a Democrat appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    People gather for a candlelight vigil against gun violence in the Englewood neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, United States, July 3, 2015. Extra police patrols and long shifts were not enough to prevent nine deaths and about 50 injuries from gun violence in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend, when homicides jump almost every year. Chicago, with 2.7 million people, is the most violent large city in the United States, with poverty, segregation, dozens of small street gangs, and a pervasive gun culture all contributing to the problem. Picture taken July 3, 2015.   REUTERS/Jim Young   - RTX1JA3N

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    Read the full transcript below:

    HARI SREENIVASAN: For more on black flight and the impact of Chicago’s gun violence, I am joined here at WTTW by USA Today reporter Aamer Madhani.

    So, what is the impact, the ripple effect on the community when you lose 181,000 black residents in a span of 10 years?

    AAMER MADHANI, USA Today: It is enormous.

    You are looking at a city that is already going through this really difficult financial situation. We have about $20 billion underfunded pension system. We have a credit rating that is abysmal. We can’t afford to lose more people. And we can’t afford to lose people like the folks that you are talking to that have the means to leave Chicago.

    These are, you know, middle-class, working-class people with skills and education. Those are taxpayers, you know, and it is not just about — I think it is often, when we look at violence in places like Chicago, we say it is two Chicagos folks like to talk about.

    But what is happening to these families just as much affects me when they leave as it does those African-Americans communities.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Well, put this in kind of a national perspective.

    I mean, it has been called almost a reverse migration of African-Americans back toward different Southern cities, where maybe there seems to be opportunity and infrastructure.

    AAMER MADHANI: Right.

    So, you look at the biggest African-American populations, nine of the 10 have seen this decline since 2000. And you have seen places like Detroit, New York and Chicago where it has been greatest.

    But what is different about Detroit and Chicago, compared to New York, New York has a lot of gentrification going on, and you have seen violence nosedive a bit.

    But, in Chicago, there is this dark cloud that comes with this huge flight that is going on. And it’s — you know, you look at who is affected by violence, and you look at — there’s — we’re on pace for 500-plus murders this year, and the vast majority of the people that will be killed have gang ties.

    But then you look at some of the folks that you just talked to. You know, like, how could you not leave if you got shot in the arm and you have a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old? If I was in that person’s position, and if I was that person’s neighbor, I would think about leaving.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Right.

    And economists would say it is most rational decision, right, to protect your family or to protect your life.

    AAMER MADHANI: Absolutely.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: I mean, there seems to be a tension here. On the one hand, we want to support the idea of the American dream, and, sometimes, to do that, they are escaping a nightmare.

    AAMER MADHANI: One is just opportunity, right?

    Some of this migration has been going on since the ’70s. There is industrialization, as the steel mills closed and there’s fewer opportunities.

    Earlier this month, the Nabisco plant here in town on South Side that has a big African-American and Latino population that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been talking about, they just laid off 600 people.

    Why would you stay in some of these neighborhoods around if your job isn’t there? If you or I’s job, if we lost it, we would go to where our job — the next job is.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Is there a plan? I know that the city said, here is a particular opportunities program.

    But how do you get an enormous amount of unemployed young people who are in these communities an opportunity to do something and then actually to keep them there?

    AAMER MADHANI: It is a huge — it’s a gigantic problem. It is not unique to Chicago.

    There’s been some push now in private sector. Folks like Howard Schultz from Starbucks have made this sort of a prime project. But it is about saving a generation. But there aren’t any sort of quick answers to this.

    The city tries hard with getting teenagers and young adults into summer programs, where they’re working for the city or private enterprises. But, when you’re talking about, you know, next to half of African-American men between 20 and 24 that are neither in school or employed in a city the size of Chicago, that is enormous. That’s an enormous problem.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And this is similar to what is happening overseas in war-torn lands.

    AAMER MADHANI: It is not dissimilar to what I remember seeing in Iraq post-2003, when Paul Bremer decided they would disband the army, disband this Baathist Iraqi army.

    And you basically put hundreds of thousands of military-trained young men without jobs out on the street. And you have got to turn to something. You have got to make money. You have got to put food on the table.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Aamer Madhani, USA Today reporter, thanks for coming.

    AAMER MADHANI: Thanks for having me.

    The post Why neighborhood demographics are shifting in Chicago appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    ChicagoViolence

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    Read the full transcript below: 

    TRAVIS FAMILY: “Hit me!”

    FRIEDMAN: It’s game time at the Travis household.

    TRAVIS FAMILY: “Ooohh, cheaters never win…”

    FRIEDMAN: Kyle and Carla Travis moved with their two children from Chicago to the suburb of Matteson three years ago. They’ve been in this house for a year.

    CARLA TRAVIS: Love the neighborhood, plenty of kids. Not too far from the school that they go to.

    KYLE TRAVIS: In Matteson, it’s a different sense of community to me. Definitely one where you see a sense of freedom with students and the kids and whomever to come go as they please. // You need to be on a heightened sense of awareness, so to speak, in the city.

    FRIEDMAN: That heightened awareness became outright fear after the violence hit home in their old neighborhood of Bronzeville, a center of African-American culture in Chicago.

    KYLE TRAVIS: It was absolutely something I didn’t think would happen to me at the age in which I was. Was pursuing my masters, as far as for health administration…family…and doing well!

    FRIEDMAN: in broad daylight, Kyle was driving home from the grocery store, waiting at a red light, when he heard gunshots.

    KYLE TRAVIS: Bullet came through the passenger side window, struck me on this side of arm, exited here. If I would’ve maybe just taken foot off brake for a split second, it could’ve possibly struck me in the cheek or the head or whatever may have you, I mean, who knows?

    FRIEDMAN: Kyle was able to drive himself to a nearby hospital, where he was treated and sent home with bandaged arm.

    The couple’s decision to leave the city was accelerated by their concern for five-year old chase and seven-year old Emerson.

    The Travis family is part of a trend here in Chicago – on average more than ten thousand African-Americans leave the city every year…And data shows an increase in the number of blacks living in the suburbs. Researchers are beginning to call this migration “black flight.”

    From 2000 and 2014, just over 200-thousand African-Americans left Chicago, that’s roughly one out of every five blacks.

    University of Illinois at Chicago urban planning professor Janet Smith says gun violence is a key factor in the migration, especially for families with children.

    JANET SMITH: When we map over population loss and look at where crime is, and we look at the fact that that population loss has a lot of children, you see a relationship. We’re seeing families first more so than households, you know, single people or two-person households with no kids.

    FRIEDMAN: The city’s violence turned Tierra Winston into a suburbanite. She and her 14-year old son, Tyriek, were constantly worried about their safety in their old neighborhood, Roseland, one of the city’s most economically depressed.

    TIERRA WINSTON: There’s lot of gang violence, lot of drug trafficking. Sometimes I would be very leery about him riding a bike, going outside. I’d have to keep the windows open so I can kind of keep an eye on him.

    FRIEDMAN: At home one school night, two years ago, they too had a close call.

    TYRIEK BRIGGS: I heard gunshots, coming, like running, running past my window. So, I went to my mom’s room because she was asleep, and I woke her up. And I told her I heard gunshots through my window, and then I heard people running.

    I was, like, pretty scared.

    FRIEDMAN: No bullets entered their apartment, and Tyriek was not hurt. But for Tierra, that was enough. She decided to move to the suburb of Dolton.

    WINSTON: As soon as I walked in, I was like: this is it! This is my house.

    FRIEDMAN: Now Tyriek practices his jump shot without the fear of gunshots.

    WINSTON: It’s been different. I love my house, love the neighborhood.

    FRIEDMAN: The neighborhoods the Winston and the Travis families have left behind now grapple with a dwindling population.

    Chicago urban league president Shari Runner says middle class black flight is hurting the city’s tax base.

    SHARI RUNNER, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO URBAN LEAGUE: So, if you’re thinking about being a planner, a city planner, you’re thinking about anticipating revenue from taxes from people who live and work in the city. All of those assumptions have to be re-looked at, and how does that impact city as a whole in terms of how is it going to make that up and provide the resources it needs as a city to provide for citizens.

    FRIEDMAN: Runner says the city needs to invest more in better housing in these communities and in the young people who live in them.

    RUNNER: We have program called Opportunity Works that specifically targets 16-to-24-year-olds to make sure that they’re job ready, that they have access to jobs so they can begin to be contributing parts of our community and will stay away from those other kinds of activities that will put them at risk for being involved in the juvenile justice system.

    FRIEDMAN: Though leaving Chicago was a tough decision for the Travises, Kyle and Carla haven’t looked back.

    KYLE TRAVIS: You can’t help anyone else, whether it be through civic engagement, social responsibility, etcetera, if you’re not at peace at home. What’s most important for us is protecting the family nucleus.

    The post Chicago’s high murder rates drive exodus of black middle class appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks to the 2016 graduating class at High Point Solutions Stadium during Rutgers University's 250th commencement exercises, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, May 15, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Theiler - RTSEEYQ

    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks to the 2016 graduating class at High Point Solutions Stadium during Rutgers University’s 250th commencement exercises, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, May 15, 2016. Photo by Mike Theiler/Reuters

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. — President Barack Obama on Sunday urged college graduates to shun those who want to confront a rapidly changing world by building walls around the United States or by embracing ignorance, as he delivered a sharp and barely concealed critique of Donald Trump.

    Obama used his commencement speech at Rutgers University to illustrate a world view antithetical to the ideas espoused by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Looking out at a sea of red and black gowns, Obama told the roughly 12,000 graduating students that the pace of change on the planet is accelerating, not subsiding, and that recent history had proved that the toughest challenges cannot be solved in isolation.

    “A wall won’t stop that,” Obama said, bringing to mind Trump’s call for building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. “The point is, to help ourselves, we’ve got to help others – not pull up the drawbridge and try to keep the world out.”

    The president never mentioned Trump by name, but his intended target seemed clear. Repeatedly, Obama referred to disparaging comments about Muslims and immigrants, and opposition to free trade deals. But he appeared most incensed by what he described as a rejection of facts, science and intellectualism that he said was pervading politics.

    “In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue,” Obama said. “It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness. That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about,” the president said.

    “And yet, we’ve become confused about this,” he continued, warning that the rejection of facts and science would lead the U.S. on a path of decline.

    Obama’s rebuke came as Trump is close to clinching the GOP nomination, raising the prospect that November’s election could portend a reversal of Obama’s policies and approach to governing. In recent days, Trump has started focusing on the general election while working to unite a fractured Republican Party around his candidacy. Democrats are readying for a fight against a reality TV host they never anticipated would make it this far.

    Obama has mostly steered clear as Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders compete for the nomination. But he has used speeches such the Rutgers address to lay out themes that Democrats may ultimately use as they work to deny Trump the White House.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who ran against Trump for the GOP nomination, has since endorsed him and become one of his most vocal surrogates. Christie didn’t attend the president’s speech at Rutgers, instead spending the day at nearby Princeton University for his son’s baseball game in the Ivy League championship.

    In his speech, Obama told graduates that when they hear people wax nostalgic about the “good old days” in America, they should “take it with a grain of salt.”

    “Guess what? It ain’t so,” the president said, rattling off a list of measures by which life is better in the U.S. than in decades past.

    Some 50,000 students and their families packed High Point Solution Stadium for the ceremony, the first at Rutgers to involve a sitting president. The public university’s leaders lobbied the president for years to come to campus for the school’s 250th anniversary.

    Sunday’s address was the second of three commencement speeches that Obama will deliver during his final graduation season as president. Earlier in May, Obama echoed similar themes about progress in the U.S. when he spoke at historically black Howard University in Washington. The president will also speak on June 2 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    The university also bestowed an honorary law degree on the president, adding to the half-dozen or so other honorary degrees that the Columbia and Harvard Law School graduate has received.

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    Audience members use their mobile phones to record and photograph U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Nashua, New Hampshire December 28, 2015. On Friday, Trump was accused of pretending to be his own spokesperson during a 1990s interview. Photo By Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Audience members use their mobile phones to record and photograph U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Nashua, New Hampshire December 28, 2015. On Friday, Trump was accused of pretending to be his own spokesperson during a 1990s interview. Photo By Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Days after GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump denied posing as his own fictitious spokesperson during his business tenure, the presumptive nominee’s senior aide on Sunday has doubled down on the claim.

    “I couldn’t tell who it is. Donald Trump says it’s not him, I believe it’s not him.” – Paul Manafort

    An audio recording posted by the Washington Post on Friday appears to many who have listened to it to sound like Trump professing to be his own spokesperson, a man who calls himself John Miller.

    The recording was originally made by People magazine in 1991 during an interview in which a reporter asked questions about Trump’s love life and business career.

    “I’m sort of handling PR because he gets so much of it,” Miller said during the recording, when pressed by the reporter about his background as a public relations representative. “I’ve never seen anybody get so many different calls from the press.”

    Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, smiles as he talks with other Trump campaign staff on, May 3, 2016. On Sunday, Manafort said he believed Trump did not impersonate his own spokesperson. Photo By Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    Paul Manafort, senior adviser to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, smiles as he talks with other Trump campaign staff on, May 3, 2016. On Sunday, Manafort said he did not believe it was his boss on the recording posted by the Washington Post. Photo By Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    During an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Trump’s senior adviser Paul Manafort said that the recordings were inaudible and were in fact not his boss’s voice.

    “I could barely understand it,” Manafort said. “I couldn’t tell who it is. Donald Trump says it’s not him, I believe it’s not him.”

    When asked about statements that appear to be among Trump’s trademark nomenclature, Manafort said he believed Trump’s tendencies were likely picked up by some of his employees.

    “Words that are on that tape are words that Donald Trump uses,” Manafort said. “I have been working for Donald Trump for six weeks. I’m using words he uses.”


    Despite claims that he was a new employee of Trump, John Miller recounted intimate details about Trump’s love life, including pop-star Madonna’s alleged romantic interest in the businessman as well as details about the breakup with his ex-wife, Ivana.

    “He’s coming out of a marriage and he’s starting to do tremendously well financially,” Miller said.

    The Washington Post said in additional interview requests in the 1980s and 1990s, Trump also used the aliases “John Barron” or “John Baron” to representative himself, while declaring to be his own spokesperson.

    Barron (also spelled “Baron” in some press accounts) appears to have been Trump’s go-to alias when he was under scrutiny, in need of a tough front man or otherwise wanting to convey a message without attaching his own name to it.

    Trump testified under oath during a decades-old lawsuit that he had previously used a pseudonym during interviews with journalists, Reuters reported.

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    Video by ABC’s “Good Morning America”

    WASHINGTON — Months after he savaged her on Twitter and elsewhere, Donald Trump tells Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly that people who are bullied “gotta get over it” and fight back.

    In an excerpt of the interview, which will be on the Fox network Tuesday night, Trump says he’s a counterpuncher who goes after people when they go after him, only 10 times harder.

    Asked if he was ever bullied, the Republican presidential candidate said no. But he said bullying doesn’t just happen to children. “People are bullied when they’re 55,” he said.

    Kelly responded pointedly, with a smile: “Can happen when you’re 45.” She is 45.

    “You know, it happens, right?” Trump went on, as if he didn’t hear her. “But you gotta get over it. Fight back, do whatever you have to do.”

    Trump took offense when Kelly confronted him in the first primary debate about crude remarks he’d made about women. He later suggested her menstrual cycle was behind her aggressive tone, called her “third-rate” and boycotted one of the debates at which she was a moderator, as his feud with Fox News escalated.

    In the released excerpt, the two did not directly discuss his criticisms of her. She told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday the tone of the interview was cordial, with tense moments, and predicted viewers “will be feeling a little uncomfortable.”

    Kelly said she asked for the interview because she wanted to get her interactions with Trump on a professional footing. “You don’t want to be the story,” she said. “You want to cover the story.”

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

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    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in Campinas, Brazil. Leading researchers in Brazil are borrowing techniques used to accelerate the fight against Ebola in the hope of developing a Zika virus treatment that could be tested in humans in a year. Photo by Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in Campinas, Brazil. Leading researchers in Brazil are borrowing techniques used to accelerate the fight against Ebola in the hope of developing a Zika virus treatment that could be tested in humans in a year. Photo by Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Congress is ready to act on President Barack Obama’s long-stalled request for emergency funds to combat the Zika virus, which has been linked to serious birth defects and other major health problems.

    Obama requested $1.9 billion three months ago for several purposes, including creating a vaccine for the disease, taking steps to control the mosquitoes that spread Zika and helping other countries battle the virus. House Republicans Monday released legislation to provide $622 million; the Senate is likely to endorse a $1.1 billion measure on Tuesday.

    Here are things to know about Zika and the government’s efforts to battle it:

    THE DANGERS OF ZIKA

    For adults, the Zika virus can cause relatively mild symptoms such as fever, rash and joint pain. But during pregnancy, Zika can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects, as well as eye problems, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. Zika is commonly spread by mosquitoes and can also be contracted through sexual contact.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pregnant women not travel to areas with Zika and that if they live in a Zika area to strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and to prevent sexual transmission.

    Zika is likely to spread more widely during the summer mosquito season, but officials say outbreaks in the U.S. are likely to be limited. The South is likely to have the most cases since the mosquitoes that can transmit Zika are more prevalent there.

    To date, there have been more than 500 cases of Zika in the continental U.S., all of which so far have been associated with overseas travel.

    Last week, the first Zika-related microcephaly case acquired on U.S. soil was reported in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. The island’s health secretary said a fetus turned over by an unidentified Puerto Rican woman to U.S. health officials had severe microcephaly and tested positive for Zika.

    WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING TO FIGHT ZIKA?

    There is currently no vaccine or medical treatment for Zika. The government is working to develop a vaccine and better tests for Zika and is delivering funding to state and local governments to control the mosquitoes that spread it.

    Under pressure from Republicans controlling Congress, the Obama administration has transferred almost $600 million in previously appropriated funding to anti-Zika efforts such as research on the virus and Zika-related birth defects, response teams to limit Zika’s spread, and helping other countries fight the virus. Most of the money used so far has come from unspent funds from the $5 billion provided in 2014 to battle Ebola.

    The administration says more money is needed for mosquito control, purchasing diagnostic tests and developing and manufacturing a vaccine.

    THE BATTLE BEFORE CONGRESS

    Obama made his $1.9 billion request almost three months ago. Republicans say he has padded the request, for instance with a $246 million request for Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico. Democrats complain of GOP foot-dragging.

    Republicans have slated action for this week, starting Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has scripted three votes, with Obama’s request and a GOP alternative likely to fall short of the 60 votes required to turn back a filibuster. A $1.1 billion bipartisan alternative, however, is expected to advance despite grumbling by Democrats who think it’s not enough and conservative Republicans who believe it should be offset with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. The Zika funds would be attached to a separate spending bill for the departments of Transportation, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development that McConnell hopes can be finalized for Obama’s signature before Congress goes on vacation in mid-July.

    The House, meanwhile, promises action later this week on a $622 million stand-alone Zika measure that would be offset by cutting other spending, including leftover Ebola funding. The outlines of a final compromise are unclear.

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    The Obama administration plans to launch a "dual enrollment" program this summer that offers Pell grants for early college courses to students still in high school. The 44 colleges participating in the experimental program were announced Monday. Photo by Franz Marc Frei/Getty Images

    The Obama administration plans to launch a “dual enrollment” program this summer that offers Pell grants for early college courses to students still in high school. The 44 colleges participating in the experimental program were announced Monday. Photo by Franz Marc Frei/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Thousands of low-income students in nearly two dozen states will soon be able to get federal grants to take college courses for credit while still in high school, part of a program the Obama administration plans to begin this summer.

    The experimental program allows high school students to apply for federal Pell grant money to pay for college courses. The “dual enrollment” program is designed to help students from lower-income backgrounds.

    The Education Department says the administration will invest about $20 million in the 2016-17 school year to help about 10,000 students.

    On Monday, the administration is announcing 44 colleges that are expected to participate in the program.

    “Innovation is an important underpinning in our efforts to expand college access and increase college completion for our nation’s students,” said Education Undersecretary Ted Mitchell. “These sites will help us learn how the availability of Pell Grants impacts participation and success in dual enrollment programs.”

    The schools had applied for the program after it was announced last October, and can start offering Pell grants to students as early as July. Pell grants are for low-income people and do not have to be repaid.

    Nearly 80 percent of the institutions selected for the dual enrollment program are community colleges.

    Among the schools expected to take part: Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg, Virginia; Guilford Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina; Hagerstown Community College in Hagerstown, Maryland; Holyoke Community College in Holyoke, Massachusetts; Illinois Central College in East Peoria, Illinois; and Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis, Tennessee.

    In the 2010-11 school year, more than 1.4 million high school students took courses offered by a college or university for credit through dual enrollment programs. With this new experimental program, the administration is aiming to help better prepare students in need for the rigors of college-level work.

    According to the department, less than 10 percent of children born in the bottom fourth of household incomes earn a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to over 50 percent in the top fourth.

    The department has the authority to create the pilot program under the experimental sites section of the Higher Education Act of 1965. It gives federal officials flexibility to test the effectiveness of temporary changes to the way federal student aid is distributed.

    Usually, “experimental site” programs last for three years. But the department is hoping that this one will last for at least four years, to cover students all through high school.

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    Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses the audience in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo by Alvin Baez/Reuters

    Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses the audience in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo by Alvin Baez/Reuters

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders warned of a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico Monday, calling on the U.S. government to support a debt restructure in the territory.

    Addressing a crowd in San Juan ahead of Puerto Rico’s June 5 primary, Sanders called upon the U.S. Federal Reserve to authorize emergency loans and use its authority to allow for a restructuring. The Vermont senator also said hedge funds that hold a significant portion of the island’s $70 billion public debt should take what he called a “massive” haircut as the island continues to default on multimillion-dollar bond payments.

    “They cannot have it all…It is morally unacceptable that billionaire hedge fund managers have been calling for even more austerity in Puerto Rico,” he said. “The people of Puerto Rico should not be forced to suffer even more.”

    The island is mired in a decade-long economic crisis and smothered by a public debt load that the governor has said is unpayable and needs restructuring.

    Sanders said he would alleviate Puerto Rico’s economic woes in part by rebuilding local infrastructure to create jobs and establish a clean economy by harnessing the island’s solar and wind resources. He also called for an independent audit of Puerto Rico’s debt and said that if any of the debt violated the island’s constitution, it should be immediately set aside.

    He rejected a proposal by U.S. Congress to create a fiscal oversight board to help Puerto Rico manage its debt, calling it anti-democratic.

    “When you establish a federal control board that says these unelected officials have the power to make major, major decisions impacting millions of people and they are accountable to nobody…that’s wrong,” he said to deafening applause.


    Sanders said he also would create a clear, binding referendum to give Puerto Ricans the chance to determine the island’s political future.

    Some 250 people crowded into Sanders’ first event, including former Puerto Rico governor Anibal Acevedo Vila and other supporters who expressed frustration with Puerto Rico’s economic situation.

    “I never thought the crisis would reach this level,” said Maria Oliveras, a 63-year-old nutritionist with Puerto Rico’s education department, who added that she found Sanders very promising.

    Those sentiments were echoed by Jeffrey Rivera, a 36-year-old souvenir store owner: “He’s the only candidate to have a solid plan for Puerto Rico,” he said.

    Puerto Ricans can vote in U.S. primaries but not in U.S. presidential elections. More than 200,000 Puerto Ricans have left the island in the past five years to escape a worsening economic crisis. The majority of them have moved to the U.S. mainland.

    READ MORE: Is this 1917 law suffocating Puerto Rico’s economy?

    Among those who lived abroad was Jose Hernandez, a 62-year-old retiree, who arrived early to set up signs supporting Sanders.

    “Bernie pushed me into action,” he said. “I was gone from Puerto Rico for 17 years and when I came back everything was the same or worse. His message convinced me. It’s the first time I hear a candidate speak with such humanity, dignity and respect.”

    Congress has stalled on approving a plan to help Puerto Rico manage a debt incurred over decades as government spending went unchecked. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he expects to introduce a revised bill in coming days.

    Sanders’ visit comes a day before former President Bill Clinton arrives to campaign for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She released a statement on Monday saying that all U.S. citizens should have the right to vote for president regardless of where they live. She also said she supports a referendum to decide Puerto Rico’s political future.

    “It is time to bring this issue to closure,” she said.

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

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    Video by University of Pennsylvania

    PHILADELPHIA — The creator of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” says it’s a needed reminder during a heated political season that “immigrants get the job done.”

    Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote and stars in the inventive biographical hip-hop show about the life of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, also apologized for not mentioning Philadelphia even though some of the action occurs in the city.

    Miranda, speaking Monday at the University of Pennsylvania commencement, said even as politics traffics in “anti-immigrant rhetoric,” there is a musical “reminding us that a broke orphan immigrant from the West Indies built our financial system.”

    “Since the beginning of the great unfinished symphony that is our American experiment, time and time again immigrants get the job done,” he said.

    It was a thinly veiled jab at presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who wants to deport the millions of people in the U.S. illegally.

    Miranda began by apologizing for omitting any mention of Philadelphia or Pennsylvania except for one “blink and you miss it” reference to the Liberty Bell. He also apologized on the real Hamilton’s behalf for the decision to move the capital from Philadelphia, saying his character “traded Philly away in the most significant back-room deal in American history.”

    Slipping into character for a minute, he said, “My bad, Philadelphia,” but then he suggested that the City of Brotherly Love was the real winner of the deal rather than Washington, D.C., which he said is synonymous with “institutional dysfunction, partisan infighting and political gridlock.”

    “You are known as the birthplace of Louisa May Alcott, Rocky Balboa, Boyz II Men, Betsy Ross, Will Smith, Isaac Asimov, Tina Fey, cheesesteaks, and you can have scrapple, soft pretzels and Wawa hoagies whenever you want. You win, Philly,” he said to cheers from the crowd. “You win every time.”

    READ MORE: How ‘Hamilton’ helps me teach about xenophobia and immigration

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    Teacher In Classroom

    For many minority, immigrant and English-language learning students, a mispronounced name can be the first of many slights they experience in the classroom.

    When people come across Michelle-Thuy Ngoc Duong’s name, they often see a stumbling block bound to trip up their tongues. The 17-year-old sees a bridge, one that spans her parents’ journey from Vietnam to the United States. It’s a bridge connecting the U.S.-born teen to Vietnamese culture, a bridge to understanding.

    “My name is where I come from,” Michelle-Thuy Ngoc said. “It’s a reminder of hope.”

    A junior at Downtown College Prep Alum Rock High School, a San Jose, California-based charter school, Michelle-Thuy Ngoc (pronounced ‘knock twee’) is among the students backing “My Name, My Identity,” a national campaign that places a premium on pronouncing students’ names correctly and valuing diversity.

    The campaign—a partnership between the National Association for Bilingual Education, the Santa Clara, California, County Office of Education, and the California Association for Bilingual Education—focuses on the fact that a name is more than just a name: It’s one of the first things children recognize, one of the first words they learn to say, it’s how the world identifies them.

    For students, especially the children of immigrants or those who are English-language learners, a teacher who knows their name and can pronounce it correctly signals respect and marks a critical step in helping them adjust to school.

    But for many ELLs, a mispronounced name is often the first of many slights they experience in classrooms; they’re already unlikely to see educators who are like them, teachers who speak their language, or a curriculum that reflects their culture.

    “If they’re encountering teachers who are not taking the time to learn their name or don’t validate who they are, it starts to create this wall,” said Rita (‘ree-the’) Kohli, an assistant professor in the graduate school of education at the University of California, Riverside. 

    “If they’re encountering teachers who are not taking the time to learn their name or don’t validate who they are, it starts to create this wall.” — Rita Kohli, assistant professor at UC Riverside

    It can also hinder academic progress.

    A divide already exists between many English learners and immigrant students and their native English speaking peers. Despite a national increase in the overall graduation rate, the dropout rate for foreign-born and immigrant students remains above 30 percent, three times that of U.S.-born white students.

    Before transitioning into K-12 administration, Santa Clara County Superintendent Jon Gundry taught middle and high school English as a second language classes for 16 years. Many of his students were newcomer English learners and he made it a priority to learn the proper pronunciation of each student’s name on the first day of class.

    “I was their first connection to a new culture, a new country,” Gundry said. “As a teacher, I felt that if I didn’t make an effort to pronounce their name correctly, it showed I didn’t care about who they were.”

    Rendered Invisible

    Effort is the biggest obstacle to learning how to correctly pronounce a person’s name; teachers have to want to do it, said Jennifer Gonzalez, a former teacher and author of the education blog Cult of Pedagogy. To even suggest that a child’s name is difficult to pronounce is problematic, she said.

    “Even the word ‘difficult’ is a pretty loaded word,” Gonzalez said. “It’s only difficult because it’s culturally different.”

    As a kindergarten student in 1950s Brooklyn, Carmen Fariña, a native-Spanish speaker, had a teacher who marked her absent every day for weeks because she didn’t raise her hand during roll call. The teacher assumed Fariña was being defiant, but the future New York City schools chancellor never heard her name called; the teacher had repeatedly failed to pronounce it correctly, including rolling the r’s.

    “Mispronouncing a student’s name essentially renders that student invisible,” Fariña said during a keynote address at the National Association for Bilingual Education annual conference in March.

    Kohli produced a study with Daniel Solórzano, a professor of education and Chicano studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, on microaggressions, the subtle slights that are painfully obvious and hurtful to the person receiving them, but unintended and unnoticed by the person saying them. The work, “Teachers Please Learn Our Names! Racial Microaggressions and the K-12 Classroom,” is littered with stories of students who endured shame, anxiety, or embarrassment, and sometimes a mix of all three, when their names were called in class.

    There’s the tale of a Portland, Oregon-area student with a traditional Chinese name who had her name garbled by a vice principal during an honors ceremony. Set to present the student with an award, the principal laughed at his mistake, drawing chuckles from the audience.

    To avoid embarrassment, the student slumped in her seat, refusing to rise to receive the prestigious award. She later skipped her graduation.

    The mispronunciation wasn’t an isolated event. Having endured years of slights, she felt the need to become invisible long before the principal’s laughter marked the tipping point.

    The woman, who went on to become an educator, changed her first name to ‘Anita.’

    “If someone mispronounces your name once as a high school student, you might correct them,” said Kohli, whose parents immigrated to the United States from India. “But if this has been your entire existence in education, what do you do?”

    Kohli’s own brother had a teacher mispronounce his traditional South Asian name, Sharad (‘shu-rudth’) as Sharub during a ninth grade class. The teacher and the students decided it was easier to call him Shrub, and it stuck for the rest of high school. The nickname forced him to check part of his identity at the door.

    Michelle-Thuy Ngoc didn’t always embrace her full name, figuring that it would make other people uncomfortable. For years, she ignored the Vietnamese half of her first name, simply going by Michelle. The order in which Vietnamese names are spoken differs from English.

    “I came to accept [my full name] over time,” she said.

    Building Bridges

    If students have teachers who share their cultural backgrounds, they’re more likely to hear their names pronounced correctly. But while the diversity of the nation’s public school student body has exploded in the last few decades, the number of African-American, Latino, and Asian teachers hasn’t kept pace.

    Gonzalez, a former teacher in school districts in Kentucky and Maryland, said she often observed a ‘these people’ attitude from her mostly white female colleagues.

    “They approached it like, ‘It’s your fault for having a weird name,'” Gonzalez said.

    To some degree, Gonzalez understands the struggle students face. She grew up with a Russian surname, Yurkosky, that befuddled teachers and classmates. She said it rhymes with “her-pots-ski,” minus the “t” sound in pots.

    “But I did not experience all the other stuff and other ways that a person can feel discriminated against,” said Gonzalez, who is white.

    Kohli, a former Oakland Unified School District teacher, recommends that K-12 educators identify and expand their cultural limits and recognize the influence they wield over a student’s sense of self. While frustration or confusion may seem like a natural response when a teacher faces an unfamiliar name, it can leave a “lasting impact on the way that child sees themselves and their culture,” the study’s authors argue.

    Butchered names are not just a problem for English learners and immigrants; students from a number of cultural backgrounds have their names garbled or ridiculed. Hawaiian and African-American students, with names that link to their ancestry, also shared stories of how constant mispronunciations made them feel uncomfortable with their names.

    Mocking Names?

    In an extreme case, a teacher in Wayne Township, New Jersey, lost her tenure status and job in 2015 for mocking a student’s name on Facebook. Several letters in the student’s name spelled out a profane word, legal documents show.

    More often, the mocking is more direct and reflexive: laughing off pronunciation, asking the student to take on a nickname, or making a spectacle of their name, Kohli said.

    “It matters what you do when you’re in front of a child and struggling with their name,” Kohli said. “Is it framed as my inability to say someone’s name or is it framed as the student doing something to make your life more difficult?”

    Michelle-Thuy Ngoc attends Downtown College Prep, a 210-student high school that primarily serves first-generation, low-income Latino students.

    “We’re taking the time to understand each person’s story,” said assistant principal Moises Buhain. “It’s as simple as starting with a name.”

    As part of a social media campaign, the “My Name, My Identity” initiative is seeking name stories with the #mynamemyid hashtag. The push is personal for Yee Wan, the national association’s president and the director of multilingual education services for the Santa Clara County, California, office of education.

    Wan came to the United States as an adolescent English learner, and almost immediately faced pressure from instructors to adopt an “American name” to replace her given name, which means “warm friendship” in Cantonese.

    Gundry and Wan developed “My Name My Identity” after hearing a principal share a story about his effort to build connections with English-language learners in school, then feeling the push fall flat when he mispronounced the students’ names at graduation.

    “As educators, we have the power to bring awareness to valuing diversity … so that all of our students will feel included,” Wan said.

    The post A teacher mispronouncing a student’s name can have a lasting impact appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Monday he believes the Senate has a constitutional obligation to vote on a president’s nomination to the Supreme Court, staking out a position at odds with Republicans and some legal scholars.

    Obama made the claim in an online video interview about his stalled nomination of U.S. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland. Asked if he thought the Constitution’s language about “advice and consent” meant the Senate had an obligation to hold a vote, Obama told BuzzFeed News: “I do.”

    The Constitution says the president “shall” appoint judges to the Supreme Court “with the advice and consent of the Senate.” Senate Republicans have maintained they are fulfilling their constitutional duty by choosing not to consider Garland at all.

    The GOP has pointed out that in 2005, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid argued that the Constitution doesn’t say the Senate has a duty to vote on presidential nominees.

    Months of efforts by the White House to build up political pressure on Republicans to relent and hold a vote have so far been ineffective. Although a number of Republicans have met with Garland and a few have expressed openness to hearings, GOP leadership has stood firm behind their insistence that the next president should get to choose a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

    Obama also tried to use Donald Trump’s ascent as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee as another reason why a Scalia replacement shouldn’t wait. With many Republicans openly questioning Trump’s temperament and principles, Democrats have said it’s too risky to let Trump pick the next justice if he’s elected in November.

    “Precisely because this election year has been so crazy, because we have a number of Republicans say that they’re concerned about their nominee, it shows why you can’t politicize a Supreme Court vacancy,” Obama said.

    In the interview, Obama said erroneously that Garland had been “confirmed unanimously” by the Senate to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Garland was confirmed on a vote of 76-23 in 1997.

    Associated Press writer Josh Lederman contributed to this report.

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

    The post Senate obligated to vote on Supreme Court nominee, Obama says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President Barack Obama (R) honors Officer Donald Thompson (L) of the Los Angeles Police Department, who received first- and second-degree burns while pulling a motorist to safety moments before their car burst into flames, with the Medal of Valor at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTSEJFP

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     HARI SREENIVASAN: And finally tonight, our “NewsHour” Shares, something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too.

    President Obama honored 13 law enforcement officers at the White House today with the Medal of Valor. The award recognizes those who exhibited exceptional courage in the face of great danger to protect others.

    One by one, President Obama bestowed the day’s medals on those whose acts where not only brave, but instinctive. Los Angeles police officer Donald Thompson suffered first- and second-degree burns pulling an unconscious victim from a burning car. Officers Jason Salas and Robert Sparks and Captain Raymond Bottenfield ended a deadly shooting rampage at Santa Monica College.

    And Philadelphia Police Sergeant Robert Wilson III gave his life to protect innocent customers and employees during a video store robbery. His wife accepted the medal on his behalf. But all 13, the president said, went above and beyond the call of duty.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: In all of these places in each of these moments, these officers were true to their oaths.

    To a person, each of these honorees acted without regard for their own safety. They stood up to dangerous individuals brandishing assault rifles, handguns and knives. Each of them will tell you very humbly the same thing: They were just doing their jobs. They were doing what they had to do, what they were trained to do, like on any other day.

    We want you to know we could not be prouder of you and we couldn’t be prouder of your families for all the contributions that you make.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: President Obama signed a package of bills aimed at protecting and honoring public safety officers into law shortly before the ceremony.

    And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight.

    On Tuesday, we explore the growing problem of harassment of Muslim-American students in U.S. public schools.

    I’m Hari Sreenivasan

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And I’m Judy Woodruff.

    Join us online and again right here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank you, and good night.

    The post Obama gives Medal of Valor to 13 heroes who were ‘just doing their job’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    bookshelf

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: It was big news in February when scientists announced they had at long last detected gravitational waves from space. Albert Einstein had predicted the existence of these waves in his general theory of relativity, but they’re rather hard to see or, as we learn in our latest “NewsHour” Bookshelf conversation, to hear.

    Jeffrey Brown has that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The sound lasted about a fifth of a second, but it represented gravitational waves created by the collision of two black holes with the combined mass of about 62 of our suns a billion light years away.

    “Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space” is a story of things extraordinarily small and hard-to-comprehend large, and of the human drama in discovering them.

    Author Janna Levin is a physicist and astronomer at Barnard College. She’s also author of a novel, “A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines.”

    So, the blues, we’re sort of in the realm of metaphor here, but the idea is to hear the universe, at least as aspects that we can’t possibly see.

    JANNA LEVIN, Author, “Black Hole Blues”: Yes, most of what we know about the universe really does come to us from light.

    And we have telescopes that span the range of light to take pictures of the sky. This is utterly different. This is not a form of light. So when the black holes collided, they were like mallets on the drum. They rang space-time itself.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But you have got to be able to hear them.

    JANNA LEVIN: Right. So, you have to be able to record the shape of the drum.

    And that’s basically what this experiment did. It recorded the shape of the ringing drum from two black holes that collided 1.3 billion years ago.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, so step back and explain to us as simply as you can, what is a gravitational wave? And why is it important to our understanding of things?

    JANNA LEVIN: Yes. Yes.

    So, a gravitational wave is really a ripple or a change in the shape of space and time itself. So, if you were floating near these colliding black holes, you would literally be squeezed and stretched. And you would experience this squeezing and stretching. It emanates from this collision. It causes these ripples in space, kind of like fish swirling in a pond causing water waves.

    And then they emanate out. They travel at the speed of light, even though they are not light. And eventually they make it here to the Earth. If you were floating nearby, you might even literally hear the wave, because your ear could respond to the vibrations.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But you’re telling it through the human drama. You have got some really incredible characters, three of them most of all, who are at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about that.

    JANNA LEVIN: So, I really do think it was kind of a climbing Mount Everest story, an adventure story.

    People like Rai Weiss, who just dreamed up this idea of, how could you record the shape of space-time ringing? And it was sort of what he called a haiku, didn’t even believe anything real could come of it. He started this in the late ’60s.

    Later comes Kip Thorne, who is a brilliant theoretical astrophysicist. And they kind of pull resources. And eventually Ron Drever comes in. And now, after 50 years, there’s 800, 1,000 people working on this campaign.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And they in a sense sort of bet their careers, right?

    JANNA LEVIN: At the time that when people like Rai and Kip were dreaming about these things, people were not even sure that black holes were real.

    And there was a lot of argument in the astrophysics community even about gravitational waves themselves, if they were real. So, they were doing this almost out of a compulsion. It really is like climbing a mountain. They just couldn’t stop. And the whole community was not in favor of this experiment. I think that is not as widely know when we celebrated the discovery, that there were a lot of people that were not in favor of building this machine.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In telling the story of the human drama, inevitably, you get into jealousies, you get into failures, you get into all kinds of human dramas.

    JANNA LEVIN: Yes. Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But that is part of the story.

    JANNA LEVIN: Well, I think what people don’t appreciate is, that’s really how science is done.

    People think that we just come down with these answers. As scientists, we are full of answers. That’s really not what it is like. Scientists are full of questions. Sometimes, the questions don’t lead you to the answer, but, sometimes, they do, and there is this great discovery.

    But, yes, there is fighting along the way. There is competition. There are failures and successes. And at the end of the climb, some people made it to the summit, and some people didn’t.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Tell me about your own way into this. You write. You study this. You write about black holes.

    JANNA LEVIN: Yes.

    I have spent a lot of time thinking about black holes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.

    JANNA LEVIN: And I’m a theoretical astrophysicist. So I work on pen and paper.

    It is very abstract. It is kind of solitary. And I originally wanted just to write kind of abstract treaties about black holes, but I got lost into this LIGO story in part because I became so enamored of the physicality of the experiment. I went out to the sites, these four-kilometer-long machines.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, we should say LIGO is the name of…

    JANNA LEVIN: LIGO is the name of the two machines that together form this network of observatories.

    And I just couldn’t believe that they were pulling it off, and I just loved going to the sites and watching people install the components and make this real, make it physical, metal and glass.

    JEFFREY BROWN: That side of you that is a writer as well — I mentioned you are a novelist.

    JANNA LEVIN: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So you like combining the storytelling of the science.

    JANNA LEVIN: Right.

    So, I would be talking to Rai Weiss, who was one of the original architects. And the way he spoke about some of his original ambitions and how he couldn’t stop, and even a month before the discovery would say things to me like, if we don’t discover black holes, this thing is a failure.

    And I became so sort of caught up in that, I realized that this could actually read like a novel. And if you followed these characters, you could understand not only the process of science, but the internal ambitions and the drives.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So you are doing all this work for the book. In the meantime, the work is going on.

    And then there is this announcement that we all get in February.

    JANNA LEVIN: Yes. Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It was a shock that it came that quickly, right?

    JANNA LEVIN: Whenever I asked people, will you make a discovery in the science round — this was September of 2015 — everyone said, there is no way. There is no way. They said, it will be 2018 at the earliest.

    And then it struck, and it caught everybody off-guard. They actually weren’t really ready to make the detection. They were still kind of testing the machine and banging on it.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And then?

    JANNA LEVIN: And then it struck. It came from 1.3 billion years ago. It struck Louisiana. About 10 milliseconds later, it crosses the continent and hits Washington state and rings that machine.

    It is a spectacular detection.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And let me ask you finally, Kip Thorne, one of the scientists behind all this, you quote him as saying that our ability to measure gravitational waves will — quote — “open a new window on the universe.”

    JANNA LEVIN: Yes. Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So when you look at what comes from this, give us some sense of what it might mean.

    JANNA LEVIN: So, I remember when I was a young student listening to Kip talk about this, before LIGO was even built, and just before 2000, he always talked about a new window.

    And we liken it to maybe the first that anyone pointed a telescope at the sky. You know, Galileo was just looking at the moon and Saturn. He didn’t foresee that there were hundreds of billions of stars in collections called galaxies, or that there were quasars powered by black holes.

    These were things you couldn’t foresee. And I think what Kip hopes and what a lot of us hope is that the future will be so vast, beyond what we have even imagined, that there are dark sources out there that will ring these detectors, they will record the sounds of space, and there will be things we have never even predicted before.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, the new book is “Black Hole Blues.”

    Janna Levin, thanks so much.

    JANNA LEVIN: Thanks so much.

    The post Listening in on the ‘Black Hole Blues,’ the soundtrack of the universe appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Thousands of Bosnian Muslims gather for an opening ceremony of the King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz mosque in Sarajevo September 15, 2000. The Governor of Riyadh, Prince Selman Bin Abdul Aziz opened the mosque and Islamic complex, believed to be largest in the Balkans, crowing one billion German marks ($442.9 million) worth of Saudi aid to Bosnia during and after the country's war. Prince Selman is on a five-day visit to Bosnia.

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: But, first, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the country’s reputedly moderate ruling Islamic community is cracking down on dozens of radical mosques.

    The head of that community is on guard after his life was threatened by extremists. The radical mosques will be shut down unless they come under the council’s control. But there are doubts whether these small, mainly rural mosques pose the greatest threat in terms of radicalization.

    A former Bosnian intelligence officer has told the “NewsHour” that Western allies should be more concerned about the risk from a huge Saudi-sponsored mosque in the capital, Sarajevo.

    Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: I’m in Central Bosnia, about 100 miles from the capital, Sarajevo.

    I’m heading up to a remote mountain village called Osve, which is a place where, supposedly, there are some supporters of the so-called Islamic State. There have been people who’ve gone from this village to fight in Syria. Some have reportedly been killed. And we’re going to meet somebody who used to play rock ‘n’ roll, but is now labeled by the head of the Islamic community in Bosnia as someone who is a terrorist.

    Izet Hadzic used to be lead guitarist in a band called Black Lady. After fighting in the Bosnian War, he abandoned what he thought was a decadent lifestyle and sought peace in religion. He leads one of these so-called radical mosques. While he’s in dispute with the Islamic establishment, he insists he’s no terrorist.

    IZET HADZIC, Mosque Leader (through interpreter): Where does it come from to call us terrorists? It is because that people who look like us, have these beards, are doing such acts in the world, specifically ISIS and this cretin Baghdadi.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Two doors away from Hadzic’s small holding is the father of a young man killed in Syria. Next door is a family Hadzic regards as extreme. Bosnian intelligence officers are frequent visitors.

    Hadzic unequivocally condemns Islamic State.

    IZET HADZIC (through interpreter): You can’t call this jihad. To take a gun while someone is walking down the street with his family and begin to shoot? Can you imagine soldier doing this? These people are equal to cowards.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: We had a polite, but frosty reception in Bocinje, a nearby village that was a stronghold of foreign mujahideen during the Bosnian War. We hoped to interview a man who returned from Syria in 2014, but he didn’t want to be filmed because of an impending court case. His name is Ibrahim Delic.

    Dozens of other Bosnians now in Syria are said to want to return because they are horrified by ISIS atrocities. Crippled and radicalized during the Bosnian War, Delic recently talked to the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. Significantly, he criticized the Free Syrian Army, who are enemies of ISIS.

    IBRAHIM DELIC, Syrian Returnee (through interpreter): That Free Syrian Army, that is one scum army. Sometimes, they picked a girl, took her, raped a girl, gave her back home, or they killed her.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: The flag in this video shot in Syria is not that of Islamic State. Delic is telling a crowd to fight for Islam. He insists he didn’t commit any crimes.

    IBRAHIM DELIC (through interpreter): When I saw that, at the checkpoints, they started to stop foreigners who came to fight, when I saw Free Syrian Army soldiers taking guns away from them and killing them for the gun or for the little money they had, these foreign guys started to attack back. And at that moment, I knew that a big conflict among them is going to happen.

    I asked some people to help get me back across the border.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: This poor rural village contains several Serb families, once the sworn enemies of Islamists. But subsistence farmer Milan Petrovic insists he’s happy to live here.

    MILAN PETROVIC, Farmer (through interpreter): To tell you the truth, they are our good neighbors. We have no problems. They greet us, we greet them. We don’t have any problems.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: To get an assessment of the risk posed by radical Islamists in Bosnia, we visited a murder scene, in truth, a mocked-up murder scene used for training students at the Department of Criminology at Sarajevo University.

    Professor Goran Kovacevic, a Serb, is an expert on Islamic radicals and spent seven years as an agent with Bosnian intelligence.

    GORAN KOVACEVIC, University of Sarajevo: They are not radicals like they are presented in the media. For example, you have in the United States Amish groups behaving in a similar manner.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: The big difference is that the Amish are avowed pacifists. The radicals are total opposites, according to officials of Bosnia’s Islamic community.

    The organization claims it is trying to preserve moderate Koranic principles practiced in Bosnia since the country was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.

    International relations director Razim Colic says hard-line mosques are the product of extreme foreign influence.

    RAZIM COLIC, Foreign Affairs Director, Islamic Community: As the passage of time, these people got radicalized. A number of them, they have been in contact with some people outside Bosnia-Herzegovina, because this is not from Bosnia. It has been imported from somewhere else.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Since issuing an edict effectively outlawing the radical mosques, Bosnia’s Muslim spiritual leader, Husein Kavazovic, seen here at an inauguration ceremony, has required additional security.

    RAZIM COLIC: They told that they are — when they come here, they will slaughter him in the middle of Sarajevo. So, we are probably the first target, because they take us as infidels.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: But concerns have been raised about the huge Saudi-funded King Fahd Mosque, one of several that have changed not just Sarajevo’s skyline, but also allegedly the way of thinking.

    Yet, nominally, it’s controlled by the Bosnian Islamic community.

    GORAN KOVACEVIC: People should be worried about this mosque. They will have a lot of money. That’s the most radical mosque in the whole Bosnia-Herzegovina. But it’s under formal Islamic community. And it’s not ever mentioned as a part about this story of these illegal religious communities.

    And that’s the most radical. All those guys that actually performed some kind of terrorist activity in Bosnia-Herzegovina were part of that mosque, and nobody is mentioning that.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Certainly, the King Fahd Mosque doesn’t welcome scrutiny. We were some distance away because of a sign at the entrance banning filming. Just a few moments after the call to prayer began, the police arrived.

    WOMAN: The King Fahd guys were calling because they saw us filming. So I said, we are doing nothing wrong. What you can do, you can write our names and let it be, let us be.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: I’m sorry. Yesterday, we were talking to the foreign relations guy in charge of the Islamic council, and we were told that there’s absolutely no problem, they can be perfectly open about it, so what’s the problem?

    Via text messages, we complained about our half-hour encounter with the police to Colic of the Islamic community, who, despite his position, had been unable to allow us to film inside the mosque. He dismissed our complaints and also rejected the concerns of the former intelligence agent.

    RAZIM COLIC: I simply don’t agree with the officer.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: So, what is the — the sort of message that is coming out those mosques then?

    RAZIM COLIC: I don’t know that we don’t have — the message…

    (CROSSTALK)

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Do you monitor the mosques?

    RAZIM COLIC: Sorry?

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Do you monitor the mosques to hear what they’re saying?

    RAZIM COLIC: Yes, yes, yes, of course.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: How frequently do you do that?

    RAZIM COLIC: On a daily basis, because we have five times a day prayer there. Our imams, the three of them are there.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Late last month, Margaret Cormack, the piano-playing U.S. ambassador, hosted CIA Director John Brennan when he made a surprise visit to Sarajevo to discuss the country’s counterterrorism efforts.

    Ambassador Cormack regards the Bosnian Islamic community as a crucial partner in the battle against radicalization. But she had a clear message for Muslim nations and their vested interests.

    MARGARET CORMACK: We need these countries to allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to maintain its traditional moderate version of Islam.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Given the uncertainty about which Muslims potentially pose the greatest risk, can she be certain that the U.S. and its allies are getting the right information from Sarajevo?

    MARGARET CORMACK: Certainly, all the U.S. security teams who either work inside of our embassy or who have visited from Washington feel that we have a really positive, open information-sharing with our colleagues, our counterparts in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    We don’t have a sense that there are blockages in that. What we have worked with them on is establishing better information-sharing between the services here in the country, and I think that they’re making progress in that regard as well.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Analysts like Dino Abazovic, a specialist in conflict and its aftermath, are certain that poverty is also a precursor for radicalization.

    DINO ABAZOVIC, University of Sarajevo: A number of people, particularly youngsters, younger generation are seeing no future in the way of their prospects for employment and all these things. More than 40 percent of Bosnia population is officially unemployed.

    In that respect, I would say is the kind of circumstances that are fertilizing a fertile ground for different kinds of radicalization. So, unfortunately, anyone who neglects social and economic situation that these people are living in are — I think is wrong.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Bosnia’s enduring economic crisis requires members of the country’s top rock band, Konvoj, to take second jobs to support their music careers. They are advocates for the ideal of Sarajevo as a multicultural city and are horrified by increasing international hostility towards Muslims.

    MAN: It’s pretty — wow, what’s happening now in the world?

    BOJAN CRNOGORAC, Drummer: I have been with these people all of my life. My best friend is a Muslim. He was the best man at my wedding. I was the best man at his wedding. My parents told me not to divide people according to nationality or ethnic.

    People here are normal. I think that’s the kind of media stuff that’s pumping all this situation in Bosnia.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: International officials are convinced that Bosnia’s European, Westernized moderate Muslims are the best possible bulwark against radicalization. But in a country awash with weapons left over from the war, the need for enhanced vigilance is paramount.

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

    The post Is Saudi-funded mosque in Sarajevo threat to Bosnia’s moderate Muslims? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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