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- 05/19/16--15:20: _Our long and windin...
- 05/19/16--15:25: _U.S. could lift arm...
- 05/19/16--15:25: _Crimean Muslim refu...
- 05/19/16--15:30: _Helping baby boomer...
- 05/19/16--15:35: _‘There is no way I ...
- 05/19/16--15:40: _Solving the mystery...
- 05/19/16--15:45: _News Wrap: Democrat...
- 05/19/16--15:50: _An airliner lost, 6...
- 05/20/16--05:31: _How well do you kno...
- 05/20/16--13:15: _New owner of Trump’...
- 05/20/16--13:29: _Does city life pose...
- 05/20/16--13:34: _Secret Service offi...
- 05/20/16--14:28: _#ActuallyMyNameIs: ...
- 05/20/16--15:02: _Despite reports, Ha...
- 05/20/16--15:20: _NPR’s “All Songs Co...
- 05/20/16--15:25: _Meet bicycle diplom...
- 05/20/16--15:30: _Shields and Brooks ...
- 05/20/16--15:40: _New food labels to ...
- 05/20/16--15:45: _News Wrap: CDC says...
- 05/20/16--15:50: _Families weep as de...
- 05/19/16--15:20: Our long and winding road to understanding ‘The Gene’
- 05/19/16--15:25: Crimean Muslim refugees feel welcome, but there’s no place like home
- 05/19/16--15:30: Helping baby boomers find a meaningful second act
- 05/19/16--15:40: Solving the mystery of vanished EgyptAir Flight 804
- 05/19/16--15:50: An airliner lost, 66 people missing, and a hunt for clues
- 05/20/16--05:31: How well do you know the world: Sunken treasures and Afghan protests
- 05/20/16--13:15: New owner of Trump’s Taj Mahal wants to make casino great again
- 05/20/16--13:29: Does city life pose a risk to mental health?
- 05/20/16--13:34: Secret Service officer shoots armed man outside White House
- 05/20/16--14:28: #ActuallyMyNameIs: Why it matters when we butcher students’ names
- 05/20/16--15:02: Despite reports, Haiti not joining the African Union
- 05/20/16--15:40: New food labels to emphasize calories, amount of ‘added sugar’
- 05/20/16--15:45: News Wrap: CDC says 157 pregnant women in the U.S. have Zika virus
JUDY WOODRUFF: It seems as if there are important breakthroughs each year in the field of genetics and medicine. In many ways, we indeed could be on the verge of historical changes in how we use DNA and how we edit our biological code.
But the moment can be deceptive. The history of genetics is long and complicated, dating back to the mid-19th century. It’s full of exciting discoveries, endless mysteries and even nefarious intent.
That’s the ambitious scope of a new book, “The Gene: An Intimate History.” Its author is Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, a cancer physician and an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University. He’s the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.”
Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, welcome to the “NewsHour” again.
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE, Author, “The Gene: An Intimate History”: Pleasure to be here. Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, an intimate history within what? Just a short time after you have come out with this award-winning book on cancer, you tackle an arguably more complicated subject, the gene, and there is a personal connection. Explain that.
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE: Well, this book took actually a long time to write. It was — it took six years to write this book.
And the book gets intimate right from the first page. The story opens really with an exploration that was in the back of my mind where I — as I was growing up. It was about my family’s mental illness, two uncles consumed by schizophrenia and bipolar disease, and then, one generation later, another, so, on the same side of the family, also diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized, and the growing realization in my mind as a child that this wasn’t — there was some heredity lurking, that genes were lurking behind mental illness, and that coming to fullness as I started to study medicine and realize that there was a genetic core to all of this.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You sense, in reading this book, that there is an urgency to this, that you felt it was important to get this done now. Why?
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE: It’s important to get this done now because we are at the — on the verge of unveiling or discovering and inventing astonishing new technologies that allow us to read and write human genomes.
And let me explain what I mean. By read, I mean we can now begin to scan the human genome, your genome, mine, all the genes that you and I have, and ask questions about what it predicts for us in the future.
The technology is far from accurate, but, for instance, the risk of breast cancer may be present in a variation in your genome. And by write, I mean something even more strange, which is that, lately — and this has been widely covered, but, lately, we have been able to — scientists have been able to go into the human genome and make intentional alterations, erase genes, change genes, change their content, et cetera.
That’s a surprising thing to do and portends a very, very complex landscape for the future.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you do get to some of these very tough questions.
But you also — you really go back through the history of genetics, all the way back to Aristotle and even before that, I guess, Pythagoras, move ahead to Charles Darwin. There are a number of figures along the way you spend time on.
Is one of them more important than all the others?
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE: Well, they’re all important. This is a story knitted together with other stories.
And I wanted to keep things simple enough, so that all readers could get — you know, the average reader, I could understand what the lineage of inventions and discoveries was.
One of the most important figures, of course, is Gregor Mendel, a monk who sort of persisted with his experiments on pea flowers and pea plants, and just using those very, very simple experiments really brought out what was at that time a revolutionary understanding that units of carrying hereditary traits or features were moving between parents and their children.
That was a striking — a striking and original observation, so striking, so original, Judy, that he — that it was lost, the paper was lost. No one even remembered it for 40 years.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And his story is so personal. You write about all the disappointments he had. He was trying to pass an exam, never passed it.
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE: Twice, failed twice.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Twice, twice, which I think may be a lesson for a lot of people.
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE: I know.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Young people today worrying about passing their exams.
You also of course — and we suggested this a moment ago — get into the darker side of genetics, the movement or efforts along the way to tailor and fix the human progress in a way that’s negative and dangerous.
Why do you think that effort didn’t — it was bad enough, but why do you think it got as far as it did?
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE: Well, the road to that particular hell is paved with — actually was paved with progressive intentions.
I mean, that’s what’s interesting about the story. We forget it. We have forgotten that, that when the idea of eugenics was invented, the idea that you could improve the human race by better breeding, when it was invented, it was actually invented in England by Francis Galton, Darwin’s cousin.
And a lot of progressives, not all, but a lot of progressives signed on to it and thought that it was really great to improve the human race by selective breeding.
Now, what is amazing about is that that idea metastasizes to America, to our shores, and becomes, you know — that selective human breeding becomes selective human sterilization, Carrie Buck, a woman…
JUDY WOODRUFF: To whom you dedicate the book, along with your grandmother.
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE: To whom I dedicate the book, along with my grandmother.
Carrie Buck was sterilized for eugenic reasons. Oliver Wendell Holmes, the great judicial moderate, said three generations of imbeciles is enough. So, we were allowed — the state was allowed to sterilize Carrie Buck on that pretext.
And then it metastasizes again to Nazi Germany, where it takes on the most macabre form, moving from breeding, to sterilization, to ultimately to extermination. Of course, we remember the Nazi Germany, but we forget that this was our problem, too. This was not only their problem. This is something that arose out of a very particularly moment in American history.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You write — you take genetics, Siddhartha Mukherjee , all the way to today, practically, and the inventions that are coming and the discoveries that are coming almost at rate, a daily pace, and yet you do signal the limits of this.
It feels as if, just a few years ago, people were thinking, oh, we’re going to solve all our medical mysteries with the genome. But it isn’t that simple, is it?
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE: It is not that simple.
It’s very important to remember what parts are simple and not. Otherwise, we need this vocabulary. This is a vast public debate, and it cannot be had within the laboratory or in tissue culture rooms or in medical boardrooms. It has to had in a wide public place as possible.
But things are more complicated, because your genes predict the future, but not in an absolute sense, not in a one-to-one sense. In other words, there is still a striking role of chance, a striking role of the environment. It’s chance, plus genes, plus environments, and these interactions between them that make you and me.
And the gene predict a little bit in some cases, a lot in other cases. And we need to figure out what I what. We need to appropriately match where genes are useful and where genes can be misleading.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what — how should we think about genetics right now Should we think that there is still so much more to be discovered that can make a huge difference, or that we’re coming closer to the end of what there is to be known?
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE: I think both of these things can be true at the same time. There is a vast cosmos yet to be discovered. How do genes manage to make, you know, a human being?
And yet there are things that we already know that are very important. We know that we can predict with certain levels of fidelity whether you will have a heightened risk for certain illnesses, cancer, potentially Alzheimer’s disease, potentially other diseases. We can begin to predict that risk.
So, the question is — it’s a very uneasy time, because, simultaneously, we’re being able to, as I said before, read and write the genome with a limited capacity, but also projecting forward into the future, understanding that there’s a whole new landscape that needs to be figured out.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it was only a short time from the book on cancer to the book on the gene. So I’m assuming you have already started on the next one.
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE: Oh, I have not.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee.
The book is “The Gene: An Intimate History.”
Thank you very much.
DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE: Thank you for having me.
The post Our long and winding road to understanding ‘The Gene’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama could lift restrictions on arms sales when he makes his first visit to Vietnam next week. That would remove a final vestige of wartime animosity but would not please China, which views growing U.S. defense ties in its backyard with deep suspicion amid rising military tensions in the South China Sea.
There’s considerable support in Washington for the lifting the restrictions, including from the Pentagon, but also pockets of congressional opposition, leaving uncertain whether Obama will announce it when he visits Vietnam, starting Sunday. The administration is pushing for more progress on human rights, a constant drag on the relationship. Significantly, the communist government has committed to allow independent labor unions as a condition of its participation in the U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, but it still holds about 100 political prisoners and there have been more detentions this year.
As part of Obama’s effort to help Southeast Asian nations counter Beijing, the U.S. in 2014 partially lifted an arms embargo in place since the end of the Vietnam War, allowing Vietnam to buy lethal defense equipment for maritime security. Vietnam, which has mostly Russian-origin equipment, has not bought anything, but is still eager for Washington to remove the remaining restrictions. If nothing else, it would show relations are fully normalized and open the way to deeper security cooperation.
“Real progress on protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms including through legal reform is crucial to ensuring that Vietnam and our relationship achieves its full potential,” Daniel Kritenbrink, the White house senior director for Asian affairs, told reporters Wednesday. The issue is also sensitive because of criticism of Vietnam’s rights record among congressional opponents of TPP.
Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, said Thursday the administration has not finalized a decision on lifting restrictions, but he expected Obama would discuss it with the Vietnamese.
The risk of confrontation with Beijing is already growing as the U.S. challenges China’s island-building and assertive behavior in the South China Sea, where five other Asian governments, including Vietnam, have territorial claims. The Pentagon said that two Chinese fighter jets flew Tuesday within about 15 meters (50 feet) of a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane, forcing the pilot to descend sharply to avoid a collision. China on Thursday denied its behavior was unsafe, and demanded the U.S. stop spying.
China would view the lifting of the restrictions as an attempt to woo Vietnam closer to the U.S. and away from China. “It will undoubtedly be seen as aimed at weakening China’s position and influence in the region,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS.
But Beijing will be guarded in its reaction because Vietnam is a fraternal communist neighbor. Asked about the prospect of the U.S. lifting arms restrictions, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday that China “hopes the countries concerned will play a constructive role in ensuring their cooperation be conducive to the regional stability and safety.”
Hanoi and Beijing have an ambivalent relationship. Despite the ties between their ruling parties, they fought a border war in 1979 in which thousands died, and clashes in 1988 over their conflicting claims in the South China Sea claimed dozens of lives. Those tensions reared again in 2014, when China parked an oil rig off Vietnam’s central coast, sparking confrontations at sea and deadly anti-China riots in Vietnam.
“The Vietnamese have got a very tough strategic equation to solve,” said Marvin Ott, a former National War College lecturer who led the first, cautious military-to-military contacts between the U.S. and Vietnam in the mid-1990s. One aspect is how far Vietnam can go in deepening relations with the U.S. without provoking China. The other is placating U.S. demands for progress on democracy and human rights without threatening the ruling party’s grip on power, he said.
Obama will be the third consecutive U.S. president to visit Vietnam since diplomatic relations resumed in 1995. In 2013, the two sides declared a comprehensive partnership, and last July, the chief of Vietnam’s Communist Party visited the White House, showing that resistance among party hardliners to deeper ties with Washington was receding.
But anxiety about China and memories of the Vietnam War still limit military cooperation, said Murray Hiebert, a CSIS expert on Southeast Asia. Despite Vietnam’s desire for the U.S. to lift restrictions and its interest in modernizing its defense equipment, buying from Russia is cheaper and easier.
According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Vietnam has been the world’s eighth largest importer of weapons over the past five years.
Ott said that among South China Sea coastal nations, Vietnam is potentially the most significant military partner for the U.S. Among the others, Indonesia says it has no territorial dispute with China although they have overlapping maritime claims; the military of the Philippines, a U.S. ally, is weak; and Malaysia and Brunei are unwilling to confront China.
“If you’re sitting in the Pentagon, there’s only one country that actually could be a military partner and a factor in the South China Sea, and that’s Vietnam,” Ott said.
Associated Press writer Nancy Benac in Washington, and writer Christopher Bodeen and researcher Yu Bing in Beijing contributed to this report.
The post U.S. could lift arms embargo on Vietnam (which wouldn’t please China) appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s been more than two years since Russia invaded the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, home to a Muslim population that has suffered greatly through the centuries. Since the invasion, they are under pressure once more.
From Kiev, special correspondent Kira Kay reports, our story produced in partnership with the Bureau for International Reporting.
KIRA KAY: Here in the main mosque of Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, Imam Seram Arifov leads Friday prayers for the city’s Muslims, but he is more than 500 miles from his home in Simferopol, Crimea.
IMAM SERAM ARIFOV, Kyiv Islamic Cultural Center (through interpreter): I was a teacher. We had a private school. We were teaching the Islamic religious sciences. We also taught the Koran. I had to leave my homeland to continue my job in more acceptable conditions. We could not work in Crimea anymore. They didn’t let the school operate. They didn’t renew our license.
KIRA KAY: “They” are the Russians, who invaded and annexed Crimea in march 2014. The imam and about 100 members of the congregation are Crimean Tatars, a small Muslim community with centuries of history in the region.
But many found themselves on the wrong side of the new authorities, and now they have, in effect, become refugees in their own country. This young mother is one of them.
WOMAN (through interpreter): I had to quit my studies. I was studying there in high school, but I had to grab my documents and come here. All our loved ones are still in Crimea. We are far away from our parents. And it’s difficult to be away from our homeland.
KIRA KAY: Protests in Ukraine led to the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in early 2014, but Russia, unhappy with the loss of Yanukovych, took advantage of the turmoil, reclaiming territory it considered its own.
A referendum was held in March 2014. Russian authorities say 96 percent of Crimean voters supported the annexation.
But Refat Chubarov, the political leader of the Crimean Tatars, believes many Crimean residents were too intimidated by the heavy presence of Russian troops to express their true feelings.
REFAT CHUBAROV, Chairman, The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (through translator): The only ones who spoke out openly against such a fake referendum were Crimean Tatars. We understood that Crimea faced a new problem, a terrible one. Moscow never came to Crimea with good intentions.
KIRA KAY: The Crimean Tatars already had a long history of conflict with Russia, going back even before the Soviet Union. Then, during World War II, nearly the entire population was forcefully deported thousands of miles away by communist dictator Joseph Stalin. Ukraine says more than 100,000 people died in what it considers a genocide.
That history resurfaced dramatically last week, when a Ukrainian woman of Crimean Tatar descent won a Pan-European sing contest watched by tens of millions. Her winning song memorialized the 1944 deportation of the Tatars. Only after the Soviet Union dissolved in the 1990s and Ukraine became its own country did the bulk of Crimea’s Tatars return, with the hopes of starting over.
Gulnara Izetovna’s family resettled and had just finished building their new house. But after the referendum, Gulnara was stopped by authorities when returning from a trip.
GULNARA IZETOVNA (through interpreter): They asked about my nationality. I was accused of separatism and they interrogated me.
KIRA KAY: Izetovna fled, as have an estimated 30,000 other Crimean Tatars.
GULNARA IZETOVNA (through interpreter): Living now in the 21st century, I never thought that this could happen again. What my parents felt during World War II is the same thing I feel now.
KIRA KAY: Ukraine is an overwhelmingly Christian country. The Orthodox Church plays a strong role in life here. But the annexation of Crimea, and the Russian support of separatists in the east of the country, has created a shared enemy and made Ukraine more welcoming of thousands of Muslim refugees than some other parts of Europe.
Still, it has been a difficult process, says aid worker Enver Bekirov.
ENVER BEKIROV (through interpreter): There were many large families of Crimean Tatars, families with sick people, disabled people. We just decided to take the responsibility.
KIRA KAY: Bekirov ensures the displaced have proper clothing and food, and helps them find housing that various refugee agencies also pay for.
When Lenie Bilial fled Crimea, she was pregnant with her sixth child. She and her husband, Mustafa, had wanted to stay in Crimea, but felt repressed because of their faith.
MUSTAFA BILIAL (through interpreter): We are Muslims, and this is very important to us. What is happening in Russia, we see that Muslims are being persecuted. They come and break into these educational establishments. They include certain literature on the blacklist. I worry, for example, the Koran or other books might end up on the list.
KIRA KAY: Today, they feel welcomed by their new neighbors, but also not fully at home.
Back in Crimea, Russian authorities are now intensifying their crackdown on the Tatars, arresting activists and community leaders by using anti-extremist laws. Others have been abducted, including this man, who was filmed being taken by a pro-Russian militia and was later found dead with signs of torture.
The Crimean Tatars’ governing body, the Mejlis, has been banned. They are now functioning in exile. Leader Refat Chubarov has himself been indicted by Crimean prosecutors for violating Russia’s territorial integrity by continuing to insist Crimea is part of Ukraine.
GEOFFREY PYATT, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine: This is a moderate Muslim community that was victimized once before under Stalin and is now being victimized under the Russian occupation of Crimea.
KIRA KAY: Geoffrey Pyatt is the American ambassador to Ukraine. The U.S. has sanctions against Russia because of the Crimean annexation. Pyatt says that amidst the diplomatic pressure and war of words, Crimea’s Tatars shouldn’t be overshadowed.
GEOFFREY PYATT: Crimea is not going to be returned to Ukrainian sovereignty over the short-term. And the Tatar community understands that. To have a community like the Tatars, which is notably tolerant, notably inclusive, makes it even more important that we not allow their story to be forgotten.
KIRA KAY: Recently, Crimean Tatars have taken dramatic steps to make sure they aren’t forgotten. Last year, they created a blockade of the roads leading from Ukraine into Crimea, jamming an economic lifeline.
And activists believed to include Crimean Tatars blew up the power lines still serving Crimea, plunging the peninsula into darkness for weeks. But most Crimean Tatars acknowledge they won’t be going home any time soon, including journalist Osman Pashayev, who had been detained while covering commemorations of the historic deportation.
So, he and his entire news staff also went into exile. Their small operation keeps the flow of free information, both for the community in exile and those back home.
OSMAN PASHAYEV, Editor, ATR Television (through interpreter): We’re looking something to keep that connection. We have to be relevant to our audience, and we must avoid that the annexation becomes permanent.
KIRA KAY: But with every passing day, that connection may become harder to keep.
This is Kira Kay for “PBS NewsHour” in Kiev, Ukraine.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: business leaders launching second careers to address social problems like poor nutrition and food waste.
Economics correspondent Paul Solman looks at a program at Harvard University teaching former executives how to do good.
It’s part of our weekly Making Sense report, which airs every Thursday on the “NewsHour.”
PAUL SOLMAN: At Daily Table in food desert Dorchester, Massachusetts, apples for just 69 cents a pound, fresh salmon for less than $3, top-flight food at rock-bottom prices.
DOUG RAUCH, Founder, Daily Table: We have got massive amounts of wasted food, and, at the same time, we have got 49 million Americans that can’t afford to eat properly.
PAUL SOLMAN: Doug Rauch opened this nonprofit store after 30 years at Trader Joe’s, the last 14 as president.
So, is this food all rejects, seconds?
DOUG RAUCH: Every single product in the store is a quality product that was either excess inventory, a shorter code, so we don’t sell anything past its code date, or it’s something we made at a special buy on, something that is maybe the product has been discontinued or the label has changed, these sorts of deals.
PAUL SOLMAN: Americans waste some 133 billion pounds of food a year. Supermarket chains play a role by tossing products within 30 days of the sell-by date if they can’t ship them to stores quickly enough.
DOUG RAUCH: Here’s an item from Stonyfield that is April 19. So, that still has 12 days on it from now.
PAUL SOLMAN: Right.
DOUG RAUCH: And yet we’re selling this for 99 cents for a six-pack. This gives people in the community a chance to provide their family with yogurt that they never would have been able to afford.
PAUL SOLMAN: Daily Table wants to appeal to members of this community who may be too embarrassed to take handouts from food banks or soup kitchens.
DOUG RAUCH: There’s something inherent in a donor-recipient relationship which is a power differential. Here, we have flipped it. Because they get to be customers, we got to earn their patronage, and they come to experience that in a neighborhood where they get to feel better when they walk out instead of in any way slightly lessened.
PAUL SOLMAN: Retired at age 57, this is Rauch’s second act, thanks to a quirky fellowship at the Harvard Business School.
ROSABETH MOSS KANTER, Co-Founder, Advanced Leadership Initiative: It actually took him a while to hone in on the concept.
PAUL SOLMAN: Rosabeth Moss Kanter runs the Advanced Leadership Initiative for ex-execs intent on solving social problems.
ROSABETH MOSS KANTER: He was interested in food waste, he was interested in hunger, he was interested all over the place. And we gave him contacts, we gave him ideas, we gave him feedback. You don’t do it instantly.
PAUL SOLMAN: Kanter envisioned the potential eight years ago: millions of high-powered baby boomers like Rauch nearing retirement age.
ROSABETH MOSS KANTER: We said, hey, here is a leadership force, and if we could only deploy them to work on these pressing problems of water, and climate, and health, and education, and conflict, and rights, maybe that’s a perfect match, because these baby boomers were going to live 20 to 30 more years, be productive, be healthy, and most institutions had never taken that into account.
PAUL SOLMAN: This year, 47 retirees have returned to school with lofty resumes, and ambitions to match.
SUNEEL KAMLANI, Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow: I’m interested in establishing what I’m going to call the Acela Corridor Infrastructure Bank.
PAUL SOLMAN: Suneel Kamlani, former chief operating officer at investment bank UBS, plans to hook up building projects with cash-heavy funders.
SUNEEL KAMLANI: The country’s infrastructure is crumbling. Conversely, the private sector has a significant amount of capital.
PAUL SOLMAN: Biotech entrepreneur Ken Kelley wondered why there was no vaccine for the deadly Ebola virus.
KEN KELLEY, Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow: It became almost an intellectual itch inside my brain that I had to address.
PAUL SOLMAN: It turned out many diseases just aren’t big enough to attract industry or government funding. So Kelley is developing a public-private partnership and a global investment fund.
KEN KELLEY: To have vaccines and drugs available for neglected tropical diseases before they become pandemic threats.
ROSABETH MOSS KANTER: We encourage the fellows to think really big, bigger than they thought they could when they came in.
Don’t just think outside of the box. You know, be creative. Think outside the building.
PAUL SOLMAN: It’s the job of the program to help fellows figure out how to put their ideas into action. There are seminars.
ROSABETH MOSS KANTER: The whole point of this year is that you have been asked to stand back and reflect and not just repeat what you have been doing.
PAUL SOLMAN: Instead, fellows network, collaborate.
WOMAN: Why don’t your other cohorts agree with your position?
PAUL SOLMAN: And go to class. Carol Hallquist is working on an online hub connecting schools with retiree helpers.
WOMAN: Larry, Pat and I have been meeting about our projects on urban education. And we’re thinking about how we finance our projects differently, especially because of the two case studies.
ROSABETH MOSS KANTER: Pat, you’re nodding.
WOMAN: I am. Just having worked with Carol and Larry and the team, it’s fascinating how ideas generate through our dialogue.
PAUL SOLMAN: And then there’s the homework.
LYNNE WINES, Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow: It’s been quite a few years since I have had to write a term paper, and I, on spring break, had to write a term paper.
PAUL SOLMAN: Former banker Lynne Wines wants to help adults with cognitive disabilities find jobs.
LYNNE WINES: Somebody with dyslexia may not be able to take a written test or submit a written application, but they may be the best employee that they ever had.
PAUL SOLMAN: The upshot of this program? Turn ideas into viable ventures, like Doug Rauch’s Daily Table.
DOUG RAUCH: We put in a kitchen because people need to be able to grab ready-to-eat meals that they can take home and serve to their family. What they told us was, they don’t have any time. So we provide them meals that in three to five minutes they can heat up that are delicious, nutritious, and affordable.
They get to see food being produced. They get to watch product being made right there by people in their community. And it removes any question, like, where did this come from and how can you have it so cheap?
PAUL SOLMAN: To start, Daily Table has relied on donations, but Rauch thinks ventures like this need to pay for themselves.
DOUG RAUCH: We hope, and we’re starting to prove, that you can get to a break-even spot where then a store can keep going without additional philanthropic support. If this is true and we can actually show this to work, then it becomes scalable.
PAUL SOLMAN: Rauch is already scouting a second Boston location and plans to take Daily Table to a new city next year, just one of more than 200 graduates of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Program embarking on an encore career, and please forgive the cliche, trying to make the world a better place.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” this is economics correspondent Paul Solman in Boston, Massachusetts.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Advanced Leadership Initiative fellows pay a fee to participate in the program , though some financial fee is available. Harvard University wouldn’t disclose the exact amount, but reports put the fee at more than $50,000.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to the race for the White House.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton didn’t mince words about the presumptive Republican nominee today. In an interview with CNN, Clinton said that Donald Trump is not qualified to be president.
Trump drew still other criticism after he responded early this morning to the EgyptAir crash with this tweet — quote — “Looks like yet another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart, and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!”
Clinton responded in the interview, calling Trump’s comments reckless and dangerous.
When asked about her Democratic rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton declared the race for the party’s nomination over.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I will be the nominee for my party, Chris. That’s already done, in effect. There’s no way that I won’t be.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But Bernie Sanders has declared that he will keep up the fight on through the last primaries and bring his message to the convention in Philadelphia.
So, what does that mean for the Democrats’ chance in the fall?
I’m joined by longtime Democratic strategist and professor of politics at University of Southern California Bob Shrum.
Bob Shrum, thank you very much for being with us.
After Hillary Clinton said that today, I want to read to you just a portion of what the Sanders camp put out within the last hour. They said: “We expect voters in the remaining contests will disagree, as we do, with what she said.” He said — they say that: “Senator Sanders is doing much better than Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump in national and state polls. It is clear that millions of Americans have growing doubts about the Clinton campaign.”
What do you make of what is going on in the Sanders camp?
BOB SHRUM, Democratic Strategist: Well, it’s not just the Sanders camp.
This is a kind of natural back-and-forth that goes on at the end of these primary periods, when someone who is behind wants to keep making the case. We went through it in 2008. And some of what Hillary Clinton said was pretty tough. Some of what Barack Obama said was pretty tough, but they managed to put things together afterwards.
And I think there is a basis for doing that here. I think we will get to that point. But to expect someone who is still running in these primaries, who is trying to win a number of them, and who has a chance to win some of them, to say, oh, yes, I sort of agree with all of this, is a false expectation.
Hillary Clinton didn’t do it. Bernie Sanders won’t do it, but, in the end, I think they will get together.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Is it the right thing for her to do to say right now, I am the nominee?
BOB SHRUM: Well, she is mathematically the nominee. And the way she was asked that question, I don’t think she could have given any other answer.
One of the interesting things is, I saw her interview characterized as a warning to Sanders. I thought it was an invitation. She was saying, I will do my part to unify the party, he has to do his part.
And, by the way, he’s doing her a couple of favors right now. One of the biggest ones is, he’s not on television in California. She’s ahead here. If he went on television — I think he has the money to do it — he would threaten that in a serious way, and she would have to spend a lot of money to try to counter it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean not on television in terms of paid advertising.
BOB SHRUM: Yes, not on television in terms of paid advertising.
The weakness of my old consulting background, you say go on TV, you mean buy TV ads.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Bob Shrum, you have watched politics for a long time. What do you think Bernie Sanders wants as this point?
BOB SHRUM: Well, I think he probably still wants the nomination. I don’t think that’s going to happen. He wants to influence the party’s platform.
And I think there’s a basis for the two of them to agree on things like the minimum wage, on debt-free college, if not free college for everybody. And I think he probably wants some reforms in the nominating process.
Like, when he says open the party up and let the people in, I think what he means is independents should be able to vote in all primaries. I suspect he would also like to get rid of — get rid of or modify the superdelegate system.
And, frankly, that shouldn’t be a problem for Secretary Clinton. She won’t need those superdelegates in 2020 to get renominated.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I saw a poll today, somebody quoting a poll saying that, right now, something like 60 percent of Bernie Sanders supporters have an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton.
To what extent is what he’s doing potentially going to hurt her campaign in the fall, if she’s the nominee?
BOB SHRUM: Well, at this point, I don’t see the kind of sulfurous criticism of her that would hurt in the fall.
You know, as I said, there was a lot of back-and-forth at the end of 2008. There was a group called the PUMAs who said — women who said they’d never vote for Barack Obama. Almost all of them did.
So, I think the heat of passion at the moment cools off. I think that Hillary Clinton will want Bernie Sanders to have a role at the convention, and to help bring the Sanders people along, and I think that will happen.
And I think Sanders is conscious that he’s brought so many new people into the process, that they’re going to be around for a long time, and that they’re going to have real influence. That’s part of his legacy. He doesn’t want his legacy to be, I’m pretty sure, that he helped elect Donald Trump.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You don’t think then — I heard what you said about you don’t hear the kind of sulfurous language.
But in looking again at the Sanders campaign statement this afternoon, they said it’s clear millions of Americans have growing doubts about the Clinton campaign.
BOB SHRUM: Well, that’s the kind of thing you say at the end of the process when you’re behind.
I think Hillary Clinton made an argument in 2008 that she would be a much stronger general election candidate than Barack Obama would be, and that he might very well lose to John McCain.
I just think it’s kind of natural. I think we’re intrigued by it, in part because she has won the nomination, in part because he has mounted such a vigorous challenge, and in part because the Republican process is over, and all the attention is shifted to the Democrats.
But I will bet that, at the end of the day, we have a convention where we may have a roll call, and at some point in the roll call, Bernie Sanders will stand up and move to nominate Hillary Clinton by acclamation.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Bob Shrum, joining us from California, somebody who has been watching American politics for a long time, we thank you very much.
BOB SHRUM: Thanks. Thanks, Judy.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: We return to EgyptAir Flight 804 and what could have happened to it.
Deborah Hersman served as chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board from 2009 to 2014 and is now president of the National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization devoted to reducing preventable deaths and injuries. And Juan Zarate was deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism during the President George W. Bush administration. He’s currently the chairman of the Financial Integrity Network, a consulting firm.
Deborah Hersman, I want to start with you.
At this stage, what are investigators thinking about? What are they looking for?
DEBORAH HERSMAN, Former Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board: Really, the first 24 hours, they’re focused on response, recovery and search for the aircraft, and so you can see clearly that’s something that was a focus in this investigation.
But you want to gather any perishable evidence that might exist. You want to make sure you know who needs to be interviewed, that you’re able to connect all of the dots very early in the investigation and grab any of that information.
Analyzing the radar data is going to be important, because what they need to do now is pinpoint where that aircraft is, so they can identify not just the aircraft, the parts and take care of the humans, but also get those black boxes, which are really important to the investigation.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Juan Zarate, given what little evidence has come out so far, what are the signs that point to fowl play?
JUAN ZARATE, Former Deputy National Security Adviser: Well, there aren’t many signs.
And part of the reason you want to gather as much data and forensics as possible early on is try to give you clues. But authorities are indicating there weren’t signs in terms of intelligence that a threat was pending or threatening this particular airline or this route.
There has been no claim of responsibility yet, and certainly we don’t have any evidence that we have seen physically that would demonstrate this is terrorism. But we know terrorists have historically targeted aircraft. It has psychological, human and economic impact.
We know that al-Qaida and ISIS have been perfecting technologies and trying to hit us on aircraft over the years, whether it’s the underwear bomb plot out of Yemen, the shoe and liquid bomb plots out of the U.K., or even the downing of the Metrojet, the Russian airliner out of the Sinai by ISIS.
They have been trying to do this. And they have had expert bomb-makers trying to figure out ways of evading the security technology that we have, Ibrahim al-Asiri, the master bomb-maker in Yemen who has been training individuals for years, as well as the Khorasan group, a senior group of al-Qaida figures in Syria that up to 2014 were trying to perfect non-metallic devices that could get on aircraft.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Deborah Hersman, given the laundry list that Juan Zarate just went through, and the fact that this is an aircraft that has a pretty good safety record, that both the pilots that were in the cockpit have experience flying this aircraft, does that lead you to think that maybe this wouldn’t be a mechanical issue?
DEBORAH HERSMAN: You know, it’s so early in the investigation, we really don’t have that much factual information that is specific to this event.
And so it is, you know, really speculation at this point if anyone tries to identify what the cause is. There may be people who have deeper information within the intelligence community, but the information that’s been released publicly — in the U.S., we investigate as if it’s an accident until we find evidence of criminal intent, and then it’s turned over to the authorities and the FBI.
But, in this investigation, there’s not much to go on, at least that’s been publicly shared at this point.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Juan Zarate, what about those — looking at the different links in the chain? Where are the vulnerabilities? Is it at the airport, is it in transit, is it the cargo holds?
Just recently, France got even tighter about airport security, which you would think that this would be less likely that an attack was somehow planned or planted inside France.
JUAN ZARATE: You are right, there are weak links in the global airline industry and system, in terms of security.
First of all, no system is perfect. And so if you have terrorist actors constantly trying to probe defenses and innovate, they’re likely to get through once in a while, so that’s the reality.
But you also have to rely on airport security in third countries. It’s part of the reason why the Department of Homeland Security has tried to forward-deploy some of their assessments and their security protocols, vetting individuals and cargo before it heads to the United States.
But you have to rely on foreign partners, and capacity-building is important. You also have the insider threat problem. You referred to the French. The French had revoked the security clearance of about 50 individuals at Charles de Gaulle last year precisely because of concerns.
And those are concerns that were manifest in the Sinai downing, as well as the Mogadishu airline attack which didn’t result in the downing of the aircraft, but was certainly was an insider job. And, finally, the new technologies themselves. These are very smart individuals who have time and space to operate.
And what I worry about, even though we can’t — we shouldn’t speculate and we can’t definitively say what has happened, is, you have had a quickening of the threats and capabilities from groups like ISIS, and certainly an intent to hit aircraft. And that’s what I think worries individuals, especially when France and Egypt are involved.
They are prime targets for jihadi groups.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Deborah Hersman, it seems that the terrorists are deploying technology faster than the aviation industry is. And what about the sort of global web of satellites and sensors that could tell us where every given aircraft is at any given time, especially after the Malaysian Air disappearance?
DEBORAH HERSMAN: Yes, this really started back after Air France 447 in 2009.
That recovery operation took two years and cost $40 million. With Malaysia in 2014, 370, cost about that much in the first month, and so the real question that we should be asking is, why do we not have better technology to locate any aircraft where they are?
I can locate my kids with their iPhones anywhere that they are. We need to have need better technology on aircraft. And NTSB has recommended that we not only have more frequent sending of location. They want it to be sent once every minute, so that we can pinpoint location better. They want those recorders to last not 30 days, but 90 days.
And they also have recommended that an important package of information, small bit, small package of data be sent that’s triggered, if there is some event where you see a deviation from expected parameters, that you would send some information from the flight data recorder, so that you don’t have to pull that recorder up from the bottom of the ocean to know what’s going on.
So there’s a lot of technology, including cockpit video recorders, that hasn’t been taken advantage of that we could do more with.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Deborah Hersman, Juan Zarate, thank you both.
JUAN ZARATE: Thank you.
DEBORAH HERSMAN: Thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And I’m Hari Sreenivasan.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On the “NewsHour” tonight: a search for answers after an EgyptAir flight crashes in the Mediterranean with 66 people on board.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Also ahead this Thursday: Bernie Sanders intensifies the fight with the Democratic Party, but will his decision to stay hurt the party’s chance for unification?
JUDY WOODRUFF: And former executives get a chance to reboot their careers by solving some of the world’s biggest problems, thanks to a Harvard fellowship.
ROSABETH MOSS KANTER, Co-Founder, Advanced Leadership Program: We said, hey, here is a leadership force, and if we could only deploy them to work on these pressing problems of water, and climate, and health, maybe that’s a perfect match.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: The Senate approved a bipartisan plan to fight the Zika virus totaling $1.1 billion. It came after Republicans in the House passed a separate bill last night that costs $622 million. The White House says President Obama can accept the Senate compromise, but would veto the House measure because it doesn’t provide enough money.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The House of Representatives did battle today over gay rights. Democrats offered an amendment to protect lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender employees from discrimination by federal contractors. It failed by one vote.
The floor erupted with boos and shouts of shame, as Democrats accused Republicans of prolonging the process until enough members switched their yes votes to no.
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), House Minority Whip: The changing of those seven votes resulted in this House saying to the president of the United States, you cannot tell contractors that they cannot discriminate.
REP. PETE SESSIONS (R), Texas: It is not unusual to have people who vote and do change their vote. I have done that also. But the rules were followed.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Democrats say a provision in a defense policy bill that passed last night would overturn a presidential order that barred LGBT bias. Republicans say the provision simply restates existing religious liberties.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The Oklahoma State Senate voted today to make it a felony for any doctor to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy. It would be the first such law anywhere in the country. The bill goes now to Governor Mary Fallin, an anti-abortion Republican. She’s so far withheld comment. If she signs it, abortion rights groups are expected to challenge the law in court.
JUDY WOODRUFF: NATO has formally invited the small Balkan country of Montenegro to become its 29th member. The move today came over Russia’s strong objections. Moscow opposes the alliance expanding into Eastern Europe. A signing ceremony marked the occasion at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The U.S. and other member states still have to approve individually.
HARI SREENIVASAN: At least 220 families are still missing in Sri Lanka after deadly landslides that buried three villages there. Rescuers spent another day digging into the mud. The head of the operation said conditions and continued rain are making it a slow and painstaking search.
MAJ. GEN. SUDANTHA RANASINGHE, Head of Rescue Team: It is completely covered in thick mud. And just the area is completely boggy. The soldiers are working there with mud up above their knees. In some places, it’s going even up to their waist level.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Only 18 bodies have been recovered so far. More than 1,500 residents in the hardest-hit areas are now in shelters.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, California is relaxing its grip on water use, as a five-year drought eases just a bit. The state water control board voted Wednesday to lift a mandatory conservation order. Instead, local water districts will set their own standards. Parts of California received near-average rain and snow over the winter.
HARI SREENIVASAN: California lawmakers are making another run at tougher gun control. The state Senate pushed through nearly a dozen new restrictions today. One bans the sale of assault-style weapons with easily detachable magazines. Another says owners must turn in magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. The legislation now goes to the state assembly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A Colorado movie theater will not be held liable for a mass shooting in 2012 that killed 12 people. Families of the dead and survivors sued Cinemark, saying that its security was lax. But a state court jury sided with the company today. The shooter, James Holmes, opened fire during a midnight premiere of a Batman movie in Aurora. He’s now serving a life sentence in prison.
HARI SREENIVASAN: On Wall Street, rising expectations of an interest rate hike pushed stocks lower. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 91 points to close at 17435. The Nasdaq fell 26 points, and the S&P 500 slipped seven.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And a fixture of American journalism, “60 Minutes” veteran Morley Safer, died today at his home in New York. He’d retired just last week. Safer spent more than half-a-century at CBS News, including 46 years on “60 Minutes,” longer than anyone else. His career took off in the tumult of the 1960s.
MORLEY SAFER, CBS News: The Marines are burning this old couple’s cottage.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It was this groundbreaking reporting in Vietnam in 1965 by a young Morley Safer that launched a storied career at CBS News. His coverage of the military’s conduct stunned viewers.
President Lyndon Johnson suggested that Safer had communist ties. In 2000, the “NewsHour” asked Safer if he expected that kind of impact.
MORLEY SAFER: When I started getting reaction from the Marines in Vietnam itself, in Da Nang and other places, I realized that this was more than just another quite brutal search-and-destroy operation.
MIKE WALLACE, CBS News: I’m Mike Wallace.
MORLEY SAFER: I’m Morley Safer.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Safer joined 60 Minutes in 1970 and became known as an intrepid storyteller. He filed more than 900 stories, his last this past March. His droll touch and breadth of interests distinguished his work, from playing pool with Jackie Gleason and interviewing Dolly Parton, to traveling the Orient Express, while still staying true to his investigative roots.
His 1983 story about an African-American man named Lenell Geter serving life for armed robbery in Texas would become one of the program’s most honored. Geter’s conviction was overturned 10 days after Safer’s report exposed a faulty prosecution.
Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and executive producer of “60 Minutes,” was a longtime friend.
JEFF FAGER, CBS News: His life at “60 Minutes,” his life at CBS News had such an impact on all of us and how we cover stories and the kinds of stories he covered and the most incredible body of work.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Morley Safer is survived by his wife and daughter.
And Morley Safer was 84 years old. He was such a giant, Hari.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Yes. What a career.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: more on the security concerns surrounding the EgyptAir flight; what Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton could do to bridge the growing Democratic divide; a Harvard program that teaches baby boomers to solve social problems; and much more.
We return to EgyptAir Flight 804 and what could have happened to it.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: An airliner is lost with 66 people on board, setting off a frantic hunt for clues.
As the day ended in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, the fate of a missing Egyptian Air passenger plane was anything but clear. And there was the suggestion of a terrorist connection.
John Yang begins our coverage.
JOHN YANG: There was heavy security at Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris, where EgyptAir Flight 804 took off last night headed for Cairo, where today families of those on board left the airport in a daze.
MAN (through interpreter): They don’t have any information. They don’t have specific information.
JOHN YANG: The Greek defense minister said all seemed normal as the plane flew through his nation’s airspace before vanishing from radar.
PANOS KAMMENOS, Greek Defense Minister (through interpreter): At 3:37, the plane, which was 10 to 15 miles inside Egyptian airspace, at 37,000 feet, made a 90-degree turn to the left, and then a 360-degree turn towards the right, descending from 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet. The picture we had was lost at 10,000 feet.
JOHN YANG: Debris was spotted in the Mediterranean near the Greek island of Karpathos, although it wasn’t clear if it was from Flight 804.
Egypt’s aviation minister pointed to terrorism.
SHERIF FATHY, Egyptian Aviation Minister: If you analyze the situation properly, the possibility of having a different action or having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical…
JOHN YANG: This is only the latest in a series of incidents involving Egyptian aviation. In March, a man wearing a fake suicide belt hijacked EgyptAir Flight 181 to Cyprus. And last October, a Russian airliner exploded over the Sinai Desert after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh. All 224 people aboard died in what Egyptian officials said was a terrorist attack.
In the past two days, the plane lost today flew round-trips between Cairo and Eritrea and Cairo and Tunis. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi convened an emergency meeting of advisers. So did French President Francois Hollande.
In Brussels, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed U.S. condolences.
JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: The United States is providing assistance in the search effort, and relevant authorities are doing everything they can to try to find out what the facts are of what happened today.
JOHN YANG: The U.S. Navy deployed a P-3 Orion reconnaissance aircraft to help in the search for the wreckage, which could hold vital clues to what brought down Flight 804.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Tonight, an Egyptian Air official said that no debris from the missing airplane has been found, correcting an earlier statement.
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This week in the world, tens of thousands of Afghans marched in Kabul, a kidnapped schoolgirl escaped in Nigeria, and divers discovered an underwater treasure. Take our quiz about this and more.
The post How well do you know the world: Sunken treasures and Afghan protests appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The name on the front still reads “Trump,” but a different flamboyant billionaire now wants to make the Taj Mahal casino great again.
Carl Icahn isn’t sure whether he’ll spend the $100 million he promised to spruce up the struggling gambling hall opened in 1990 by Donald Trump, who hailed it as “the eighth wonder of the world.”
But there are certain things the new owner is doing right away to make the casino a place of his own.
First is healing the damage that the casino’s reputation incurred during a prolonged near-death experience as it languished in bankruptcy court and repeatedly threatened to close over the last year and a half. Icahn rescued the Taj Mahal by keeping it afloat during its Chapter 11 case and pledging to invest $100 million once he got control.
“We want to let the world know that we are open for business and we’re not going anywhere,” said Tony Rodio, president of the Icahn-owned Tropicana casino, which now runs the Taj Mahal as well.
But almost as soon as Icahn took over in March, he wavered on investing the full $100 million, spooked by the prospect of two new casinos in the northern part of the state. New Jersey voters will decide in November whether to authorize them.
Icahn will wait until the referendum to commit to spending that much money on a casino that could be at an even worse competitive position with new in-state rivals.
But he has authorized $15 million for immediate repairs on things guests will immediately notice, like 250 new slot machines, reactivating lights and water fountains that had been turned off for years, reopening a poker room, and offering live entertainment every night in its re-done Ego lounge. Less visible repairs include fixing leaks in a roof.
The 180 out-of-service hotel rooms that needed work should all be ready by the July 4 holiday. Including its Chairman Tower, named after you-know-who when he was Chairman of the Board, the Taj Mahal has 2,010 hotel rooms, placing it in the upper echelon of Atlantic City’s casino market.
When it opened in 1990, the Taj Mahal was the most expensive casino ever built, at $1.1 billion. Its chandeliers alone cost $16 million, and Trump flew in Michael Jackson for the grand opening. But it went bankrupt (for the first of four times) after just a year, choked by debt.
Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner who has received some help from Icahn courting political donors, lost majority control to bondholders in the casino’s 2004 bankruptcy filing. He has not owned or had anything to do with the casino company since 2009, aside from a 10 percent stake in return for the use of his name that was wiped out in bankruptcy court.
The Taj Mahal took $180 million from gamblers last year, ranking it 7th out of Atlantic City’s eight casinos.
Sean Friel, a valet at the Taj Mahal since the day it opened, said the past two years have been rough on the staff as the former owners, Trump Entertainment Resorts, let the property deteriorate. With Icahn having promised to keep it open, Friel said the staff is relieved.
“It’s a great weight off your shoulders,” Friel said. “I was afraid it would go dark; I saw them make up these big black things to barricade and lock the doors, and signs that said, ‘We’re closing.’ Now we can see light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Taj Mahal’s unionized employees are still fighting to regain health care and pension benefits that the previous owners terminated during bankruptcy, and Local 54 of the Unite-HERE casino workers union has held more than a dozen public protests against Icahn, calling for the benefits to be restored. The union last year authorized a strike but thus far has not walked out.
Should Icahn agree to go all-in on upgrades to the Taj Mahal, Rodio envisions new nightclubs, branded restaurants and other attractions to fill the vast empty spaces that exist in numerous areas of the sprawling casino complex.
“It’s a big canvas,” Rodio said. “We just have to figure out how to paint it.”
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Life in the city can be taxing. City dwellers often face higher rates of crime, pollution, social isolation and other environmental stressors than those living in rural areas. For years studies have consistently linked the risk of developing schizophrenia to urban environments—but researchers are only beginning to understand why this association exists.
Addressing the link is increasingly urgent: According to a recent U.N. report, the proportion of people living in cities will rise from 54 percent of the world’s population in 2014 to 66 percent by 2050.
Researchers first suggested in the 1930s that urban living might increase schizophrenia risk. Since then many large epidemiological studies have reported an association between the two, primarily in European countries such as Sweden and Denmark.
Converging evidence has revealed that growing up in the city doubles the risk of developing psychosis later in life. Studies have also begun to find that urban environments may heighten the risk of other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
A number of factors, including elements of the social environment (such as inequality and isolation) and physical stressors (such as pollution and noise) could explain how the city erodes well-being. Conversely, people predisposed to mental illness may simply be more likely to move into urban environments.
Two studies published this month shed new light on these effects and suggest both scenarios could be involved.
GROWING UP IN THE URBAN JUNGLE
To look more closely at this critical stage of life, a group of researchers led by Helen Fisher, a psychologist at King’s College London, and Candice Odgers, a psychologist at Duke University, conducted a longitudinal study involving 2,232 twin children in the United Kingdom.
The researchers used neighborhood surveys to determine whether twins lived in urban or rural environments at ages five and, later, 12. (Approximately half the children lived in cities at both time points). To further assess the characteristics of these neighborhoods, they used geodemographic data, interviewed mothers and surveyed neighbors. Finally they measured psychotic symptoms by conducting in-depth interviews with the children at age 12 to determine whether they had experienced hallucinations or delusions.
Their analysis revealed that growing up in the city nearly doubled the likelihood of psychotic symptoms at age 12, and that exposure to crime along with low social cohesion (that is, a lack of closeness and supportiveness between neighbors) were the biggest risk factors.
Although most kids who have psychotic symptoms will not develop schizophrenia as adults, Fisher notes, “In some of the other studies where we follow people later in life, we show that [psychotic symptoms] are actually related to lots of other [mental health] problems as well, so it’s a broader marker for that.” These problems include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.
“This [study] adds to our own experimental evidence that strongly leads us to suspect that being in the city does something to a specific circuit in the brain that impairs your ability to deal with social stress,” says Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, director of University of Heidelberg’s Central Institute for Mental Health in Germany.
Meyer-Lindenberg’s group previously found that people who were living in or grew up in cities showed stronger activation in the amygdala and cingulate cortex (brain areas involved in processing and regulating emotion), respectively, compared with those from rural areas. More recently, they discovered that migration, another well-established risk factor for schizophrenia, led to similar alterations in brain function.
WHO LIVES IN CITIES?
Epidemiological studies provide strong evidence that an urban upbringing could contribute to poor mental health. Yet schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder, meaning genetic factors may also contribute. One process that might be occurring is social drift, whereby people with mental illness tend to move into poor, deprived city neighborhoods.
In a recent study, published this month in Translation Psychiatry, a group led by researchers at the University of Oxford assessed genetic and environmental influences in three different cohorts of Swedish individuals: 2,386,008 siblings, 1,355 twin pairs and molecular genetic data collected from blood samples in another group of twins. Their analyses revealed that the link between schizophrenia and the chances of living in a deprived neighborhood later in life was itself influenced by genetic factors.
The authors see genetics as a stronger explanation than urban living for explaining the occurrence of mental illness. “The key issue we’re trying to address here is selection, who ends up living in deprived neighborhoods and why,” says Amir Sariaslan, a postdoctoral researcher in psychiatry at the University of Oxford. “You can’t assume without testing for this, that [environmental effects] are causal.”
He believes prior studies may have overstated the importance of city-related environmental influence on schizophrenia. “I have not seen a single study that has adequately addressed familial confounding in the association between urban living and similar sort of exposures and later adverse outcomes,” Sariaslan says. Many epidemiological studies assess familial risk by accounting for family history, but another study conducted by Sariaslan and his colleagues (published 2015 in Schizophrenia Bulletin) found that this had a much smaller effect than cousin and sibling comparisons.
Most researchers agree that the specific factors associated with city living causing the increased risk for psychosis have yet to be ascertained, but not all share Sariaslan’s conclusion. “This study does not compare, in my view, with the very, very strong evidence that does suggest an environmental effect of being born in a city,” Meyer-Lindenberg says. One of his concerns with the current study is that it focused on residence in adulthood, when it is very likely that the effects of the urban environment happen around birth or early childhood. In fact, another recent study that found evidence for social drift concluded that this effect still could not explain the mental health risk in urban areas and pointed to the importance of considering whether a study addressed risk before or after disease onset.
Scientists will likely need to combine the hereditary and environmental factors to understand how city life impacts mental health.
“Emphasizing the role of genes over the environment—or vice versa—is an overly-reductionist approach to the science, and ignores the fact that both sets of factors are relevant to psychosis onset,” says James Kirkbride, a psychiatric epidemiologist at University College London who was not involved in the new studies. “No one is denying genetic factors, overall, contribute a greater extent to risk, but of the two, only environmental influences can be ameliorated currently.”
According to Kirkbride, the science confirms that efforts to reduce the negative impact of urban living should focus on disadvantaged neighborhoods, where the cycle of poor mental health may persist across generations.
A Secret Service agent shot an armed man who approached a checkpoint outside the White House on Friday, the Secret Service said.
Shortly after 3 p.m. EDT, a man carrying a gun walked up to the checkpoint on E Street. Secret Service officers repeatedly ordered the man to drop his gun, but he failed to comply, said David A. Iacovetti, Secret Service deputy assistant director, in a statement.
A Secret Service officer then shot the man, who was then taken to a nearby hospital, Iacovetti added. An emergency medical service spokesman told the Associated Press that the man arrived at the hospital in critical condition.
The Secret Service said they recovered the gun at the scene, and the man did not enter the White House complex. President Barack Obama was not on the premises during the shooting.
A security alert placed on the White House grounds was lifted later Friday afternoon, nearly an hour after reports of a shooting nearby surfaced.
The shooting occurred on West Executive Drive, the U.S. Park Police said on Twitter.
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This is a developing story. PBS NewsHour will update the story when more information becomes available.
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What’s in a name? For many, especially minority, immigrant and English-learning students, the wrong name can actually sting.
As Education Week reports, learning how to properly say a student’s name can have a lasting impact on his or her success, both within and outside the classroom.
Join NewsHour Weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan for a special Google Hangout on mispronouncing names on Fri., May 27 at 1 p.m. EDT. We’ll chat with Education Week reporter Corey Mitchell, as well as teachers, researchers and students who offer insight into why learning to say someone’s name correctly is important.
Is your name hard to pronounce? Did a teacher ever butcher or make fun of it? How does having a unique name affect you? Let us know! Share your experiences with NewsHour by uploading a video comment. You can also tell us what you think on our social accounts including Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #ActuallyMyNameIs, as well as in the comments section below.
We’ll share some of your responses during our hangout.
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The African Union is denying that Haiti will become the organization’s first non-African member, stating that “only African States can join the African Union.”
“Haiti will not be admitted as a member state of the African Union at its next summit to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, as erroneously reported by several media outlets,” the organization said in a prepared statement.
Rumor of the change stemmed from a report by South Africa’s Morning Live, which was then picked up by media outlets in the United States, Haiti and its diaspora. The report even featured an interview with Haiti’s high commissioner to South Africa, Jacques Junior Baril.
“It’s not something we decided, it’s a place that we earned after we fought for our independence 212 years ago,” he said. “We paved the way for every other African nation to be free today, so historically speaking Haiti should have been in the AU already.”
Haiti is unique from the rest of the Caribbean. Much of its culture and history is still directly linked to countries like Benin, Sierra Leone and Togo. Toussaint Louverture, who led Haiti’s rebellion against the French in 1791, was of Beninese descent. Haiti established itself as a symbol of black independence, and as an advocate for the liberation of Africa from colonial rule after becoming the first black country to join the United Nations in 1945.
But despite the Caribbean nation’s strong ties to the continent, it will instead remain an observing member in the African Union. Haiti has held an observer status since 2012 but petitioned to be an associate member that same year. The petition has never been ratified. Instead, the African Union may vote to establish what it calls a “6th region,” comprised of delegates from all over the world representing the African diaspora.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: Many of you may know Bob Boilen as the host and creator of NPR’s “All Songs Considered,” one of the most downloaded music podcasts.
At the popular 9:30 Club here in Washington, D.C., recently, Jeffrey Brown sat down with Boilen, whose own band was the first to play at that club 35 years ago.
His new book, “Your Song Changed My Life,” recounts the history of modern music through voices Boilen has encountered.
JEFFREY BROWN: Your book, “Your Song Changed My Life,” right, that’s true. I mean, a lot of people would say that, but why? Have you figured out what it is that — about music that has that impact?
BOB BOILEN, Author, “Your Song Changed My Life”: I think it’s so visceral.
Music is so different than everything else. It’s not tangible. You don’t see it. It hits you on a level that is deeper than what we do and see in everyday life. I think it’s pure emotion and tone, and a lyric. Somebody saying a lyric that repeats over and over can be a call to action for somebody.
I tell stories of people whose lives were changed by a song, and often in those formative years, what some people call the reminiscence bump, where you’re more likely to be susceptible to something, with hormones raging, or the first time you ever like heard somebody go, yes, you know, like, those things are impactful because they’re firsts. And…
JEFFREY BROWN: You were looking for those moments from people.
BOB BOILEN: Well, then it wasn’t hard to find, either because so many musicians — there are 35 in my book, from — you know, you get Jimmy Page or a new artist like Hozier or St. Vincent.
You get artists who became musicians because something like that happened to them, where they heard a song on the radio while they were 8 years old strapped to the back seat of a car.
Or, for Jimmy Page, he moved into a house that was empty and there was a guitar in that house, the only thing, right?
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, with a page of Led Zeppelin.
BOB BOILEN: Led Zeppelin, yes.
But then sees a kid at school playing a guitar. And this is the ’50s. It’s not like today, where everybody’s got a guitar. This was a rare thing.
JEFFREY BROWN: It happens to all of us, as lovers of music, but it also happens to the musicians themselves. That’s what made them who they are.
BOB BOILEN: Yes.
And those musicians go on to spawn a whole crop of new ones. I see it all the time, like someone like Courtney Barnett, who is a musician from Australia that many people might not know. She’s 23 years old, one of the best musical poets of this generation, I think.
I think people who love Dylan could connect to Courtney Barnett, for example. She was influenced by, you know, a band in America that’s been a band for 20 years, Wilco. So, it’s interesting to see someone 23 being influenced by someone, say, in their 40s who has been making music since they were that age.
So, I just love those connections that happen.
JEFFREY BROWN: Did you see themes emerge when you’re talking to all these different musicians, anything that really stood out or surprised you?
BOB BOILEN: Well, I think one thing is that parents, listen, you have a large influence on what your kids are going to like.
And for my generation, I was rebelling against my parents’ music.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right.
BOB BOILEN: But that’s not true anymore. Most kids embrace their parents’ music. Most kids look back with some sense of, I want to know more.
I’m curious what’s going to happen in the land of playlists. Like, is your kid going to inherit your playlists? Not likely.
JEFFREY BROWN: What is going to happen? I mean, because we’re sitting here talking amid so many changes in the world of music, right, the industry, the way we take in music, how we listen to it.
BOB BOILEN: I think that we will still have the auditory experience.
We will still have that experience of sitting next to your mother or father, hearing a song, and — but you’re not going to get that physical thing that, for me, was really important. I mean, I miss the album. I miss the physical thing that I can hold and — while I listen.
But, that said, people today have the choice to listen to anything and everything. They can listen to Louis Armstrong, or they can listen to, you know, Alice Cooper, and they can do it all in the same three minutes of each other without having to purchase anything, without having to run to the local library or go to somebody’s cousin’s brother’s house.
So, I think that’s exceptional. And so the understanding of what music is and its history is much deeper than it will ever be.
JEFFREY BROWN: And you talk about people’s moments when they — moments of discovery. What about your own?
BOB BOILEN: Well, I grew up at the time when the Beatles came to be, and it may seem almost cliche for some, oh, the Beatles, you know?
Here’s a band that in 1964 were writing really cute, catchy songs, and then three, 3.5 years later, from ’64 to ’67, were writing unimaginable sounds, with a record like “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” lyrics that were no longer about how I love you and how I want to hold your hand.
It was much deeper life philosophy. And the orchestrations were just mind-boggling. And I love that progression in the music. I love what happens when a band can be one thing one time, and grow up and become something else. And I’m always looking for that group that wants to keep innovating.
I just find that fascinating, endlessly fascinating.
JEFFREY BROWN: Sometimes, cliches are true, right? The Beatles.
BOB BOILEN: Yes. Yes.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Bob Boilen, thanks so much.
BOB BOILEN: Yes. Pleasure.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: President Obama departs for a trip to Asia tomorrow, his first stop, Vietnam.
Mr. Obama will be the third consecutive president to visit the nation after America’s war there ended in 1975. Relations between the U.S. and Vietnam are warming as mutual interests become clearer.
In a move apparently timed to the president’s trip, Vietnam this week released a long-held political prisoner.
The U.S. ambassador to Vietnam has pressed the government there on human rights and other matters since he took his post.
Special correspondent Mike Cerre sent us this profile of the U.S.’ man in Hanoi.
MIKE CERRE: Breakfast at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Hanoi, with a side order of Vietnamese language lessons.
TED OSIUS, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam: I can speak what is a pretty difficult language, and I speak it pretty well.
I think, more often than not, people like to get out and mix it up, really learn what’s going on in the countries where they serve and make a difference.
MIKE CERRE: The closest most locals will ever come to a U.S. ambassador abroad is a passing motorcade or a heavily staged official event.
But given the tortured relations between the United States and Vietnam over the years, U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius is dispensing with traditional protocols to help create a new reference point on U.S.-Vietnam relations.
His mission in Vietnam started with a 1,200-mile bike ride, the length of the country, as a U.S. consular officer in 1995, soon after official relations between the two countries were restored. His bike diplomacy continues to be his signature style for interacting with the Vietnamese people, as well as local government officials.
While crossing the former demilitarized zone, once separating North from South Vietnam, a local woman offered a rare, but indelible Vietnamese perspective on what they call here the American war.
TED OSIUS: And I asked her, “So, why are there so many ponds right here?”
And she said, “Well, that’s where the Americans dropped bombs.”
And she said — she went on to say: “They dropped bombs on my village. They dropped bombs, and I lost family members.”
And I said: “Well, I need you to know I’m American and I work for the U.S. Embassy.”
And she said well, “Today — today, you and I are brother and sister.”
MIKE CERRE: Save for the war museum, mostly for tourists, it’s almost impossible to find any traces or mention of the war, let alone get anyone wanting to talk about it, especially the younger Vietnamese, who have little knowledge of the war.
TED OSIUS: So, they have known a lot of war. Ours was one.
In some ways, it more seared into our consciousness than into theirs. Yes, it was very painful for both sides. Yes, they lost a huge number of people, but they in many ways have been quicker to move on and look toward the future than we have.
MIKE CERRE: He relies on his Facebook page to circumvent official channels and the government-controlled media to communicate as directly as he can with the Vietnamese people on significant issues, like TPP, the new Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
TED OSIUS: But you’re not doing this alone.
More than half of our exports to Vietnam are agricultural. And there will be many more opportunities for our exporters to get into this market when the Vietnamese lower their tariffs. The idea that jobs will be sucked out of the United States and will go to Vietnam, I don’t think is correct.
MIKE CERRE: So those jobs have already left the United States?
TED OSIUS: We’re talking about industries like making shoes or apparel that involve a lot of people, and those jobs will shift within this region, for the most part.
MIKE CERRE: Also on the agenda for the first presidential state visit, a broadening of defense agreements
TED OSIUS: The Chinese have been very aggressive, and in some ways, they have been pushing the Southeast Asian countries towards us, because they have been so aggressive in building islands, in challenging the status quo in the South China Sea. And the United States stands for respect for international law.
MIKE CERRE: As much as the Vietnam tries to put the war behind it, a new generation of Vietnamese are still dealing with some its dangerous legacies, unexploded ordnance, and environmental contamination from the Agent Orange defoliant, suspected of causing crippling health issues for successive generations of Vietnamese.
TED OSIUS: If you’re honest about the past, you can have a very different kind of future than if you try to whitewash the past.
One is in the cleanup of dioxin, popularly known as Agent Orange. And we have had some real success in Da Nang, in cleaning up the dioxin that was left.
MIKE CERRE: He and the administration are also hoping to leverage the TPP negotiations to make progress on one of the more sensitive issues between the two countries, human rights.
TED OSIUS: This is really important. Yes, I have it. I always — I carry this card. It’s examples of demonstrable progress on human rights.
I have given this card to members of the politburo. I point out, these are the things that we’re asking you to do. We couldn’t be more clear. It fits on a card. The Vietnamese could still choose — rather than have economic growth, rather than have trade with us in Europe, they can choose to throw bloggers in jail.
MIKE CERRE: For Ambassador Osius, human rights begins at home.
TED OSIUS: I’m white. My husband’s black. And our kids are brown.
So, we represent, I think, one of the things that’s really great about America.
MIKE CERRE: Ambassador Osius isn’t the first gay U.S. ambassador, but he and his spouse, Clayton Bond, have become very visible leaders of the LGBT movement in the Diplomatic Corps and now sweeping across Southeast Asia, especially here in Vietnam, where a ban on same-sex marriages was lifted shortly after they arrived less than two years ago.
Is this more of a personal agenda or an official agenda?
TED OSIUS: Well, it’s about representing equality. And it’s about representing human rights.
And it’s very much an official agenda. The agenda of this administration is to keep pressing the envelope on human rights. And that includes the rights of LGBTI persons. Because my family and I are visible, we do more by example than through just talking. We show that you can be a same-sex couple and raise children, and do it successfully.
NGUYEN QUI DUC, Cafe Owner: So, anyone who thinks that the ambassador’s sexuality is a distraction, I think they should come here and see how it’s been embraced by people.
MIKE CERRE: Nguyen Qui Duc, a former NPR and BBC correspondent, owns a cafe on the same block as the ambassador’s residence, and is a close observer of the Vietnamese reaction to the ambassador’s diplomatic and personal style.
NGUYEN QUI DUC: It’s a nonissue, as long as he does his work and carries himself with dignity.
TED OSIUS: The fact that I show respect for Vietnamese language and culture and history, the Vietnamese people, the fact that I show that respect, that I clearly enjoy being here, I think that has helped my mission.
I really love being here. I feel like I won the lottery, because I really care about this country. To be able to come here and do this job at this time in history is a really rare privilege. I feel lucky every day.
MIKE CERRE: For the “PBS NewsHour,” Mike Cerre reporting in Hanoi, Vietnam.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: And now we turn to the presidential campaign, where the party front-runners have been trading barbs this week, among other things, on foreign policy.
During a CNN interview Thursday, Hillary Clinton criticized Donald Trump’s handling of issues, saying Trump is not qualified to be president.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Whether it’s attacking Great Britain, praising the leader of North Korea, a despotic dictator who has nuclear weapons, whether it is saying pull out of NATO, let other countries have nuclear weapons, the kinds of positions he is stating and the consequences of those positions and even the consequences of his statements are not just offensive to people. They are potentially dangerous.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Trump shot back Thursday night at a fund-raiser for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Today, we had a terrible tragedy. And she came up and she said that Donald Trump talked about radical Islamic terrorism, which she doesn’t want to use. She used a different term.
And I’m saying to myself, what just happened about 12 hours ago? A plane got blown out of the sky. And if anything — if anybody thinks it wasn’t blown out of the sky, you’re 100 percent wrong, folks, OK?
JUDY WOODRUFF: And then, today, there was more tough talk at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Louisville. Trump brought up the mass shooting in San Bernardino last year.
DONALD TRUMP: If we had guns on the other side, it wouldn’t have been that way. I would’ve — boom.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
DONALD TRUMP: If we had guns on the other side, it wouldn’t have been that way.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
DONALD TRUMP: And then you have the gun-free zones, gun-free zones. We’re getting rid of gun-free zones, OK, I can tell you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JUDY WOODRUFF: Trump, who has previously supported some gun restrictions, received the NRA’s endorsement today.
Hillary Clinton, meantime, was off the campaign trail today, while her opponent, Bernie Sanders, stumped in New Mexico.
And that all brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
It’s great to have you both. Thank you for being here.
So, David, Donald Trump wins the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. Not a surprise. What does it mean for him?
DAVID BROOKS, New York Times Columnist: Well, he’s beginning to get the lay-down from the Republican base.
What’s happening is — I have had so many conversations this week, the last couple of weeks — he’s becoming normalized. A lot of people who a week ago thought he was the biggest monster since — coming out of the swamps, now think, well, you know, he’s a little more conservative than I would — or less conservative than I would like, but I think we can educate him, we can bring him along.
So, now he’s just a normal candidate. And that’s part of the general lay-down in front of him. And he has got to be thinking, man, this is easy. But it’s — it’s pretty much happening, not across the board. A lot of people are just laying low, but he’s gathering the base.
And the one thing that I think was a misstep was, he listed his Supreme Court choices this week.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: And, to me, his fall campaign is not about winning over the Ted Cruz people. It’s about getting all the disaffected people across the ideological spectrum, including potentially some Sanders disaffected people.
And so making him on social issues and on court issues a very traditional orthodox conservative, seems to me, scares away a lot of people who are really his potential in the fall.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you see, Mark, what he’s doing?
I mean, he’s appealing to the NRA, saying, we’re not going to have any more gun-free zones, and then this — this — what David brings up, trotting out the names of 11 judges who he says are potential for the Supreme Court if he’s elected.
MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist: Yes, I just see this on the part of Trump — the judges, I see it a little bit differently. That is, just he’s reaching out to the base. He’s trying to reassure them, look, you know, I’m OK.
And it’s providing cover to them. Hey, look — you know, they don’t want to support him. They have got doubts about him. They’re afraid of what he might do by Columbus Day or Labor Day, to the point where he not only embarrasses and hurts Republicans, but embarrasses and hurts them for having endorsed him or stood with him.
So he’s just kind of providing cover: Well, he was going to give us the right kind of judges.
The gun-free zones I mean, this is a man of enormous flexibility. He didn’t just say that he was for an assault weapons ban. He wrote it in a book. When you write it in a book, it’s something — it’s just not off the cuff. And now he’s totally changed his position on that.
The gun-free zones, Judy, to me, it’s just — it’s irrational, that somehow packing heat, bringing a concealed weapon into an elementary school area or on a campus is going to increase personal safety.
That absolutely bizarre, boom, at San Bernardino — he can’t leave San Bernardino, for good reason. It was a political masterstroke on his part. I mean, San Bernardino, the tragedy that happened, the mass murder, what did he say after? I’m for banning Muslims of any kind from coming into the United States.
And what did it do? It was a 2-1 approval among Republican voters. And his numbers went up. So, I mean, he’s going to play that card, and that’s what he’s doing.
DAVID BROOKS: There’s a couple of other things going on here.
One is just the — like, does the president have power to end all gun-free zones around schools? School — there is a federal law that George W. — H.W. Bush passed.
MARK SHIELDS: That’s right.
DAVID BROOKS: But the schools — the localities and the states have some say in all this.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. Right.
DAVID BROOKS: And so he does — he doesn’t really have the power.
It’s like a symbolic issue. So much is symbolic. Even his reaction to the airplane that crashed, he — in narcissistic fashion, frankly, he chose the reality that was useful for him at that moment. And reality bends around him.
And so we don’t know what happened to that plane. But he said — and then we just saw that clip — if you disagree with me on this unknown thing, you’re 100 percent wrong. And that’s the reality force field that he creates around himself.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But he seems — as Mark was saying — and I guess you’re both making this point — he seems to be able to say whatever he believes at that moment, but then to say something different later.
And is he being held accountable by the voters? Or are his people just so enamored of what they’re hearing and what they’re seeing, Mark, that it doesn’t really matter what he says?
MARK SHIELDS: Well, I think the National Rifle Association would have endorsed a ham sandwich against Hillary Clinton.
I mean, he could have got up and said anything. This is — his past positions mean nothing. They were going to endorse him. And his past positions mean nothing to him. I think the man could pass a polygraph. I mean, he has already done this on Libya.
Just now it turns out that his position on Libya, where he’s criticized Secretary Clinton for the United States toppling — or being involved in the toppling of Gadhafi, and then leaving the country to its own resources, which proved sad and inadequate, that this was a tragedy, now it turns out that Donald Trump was all for going into Libya, for bringing full force.
Now, I think this is a cumulative thing. And maybe it doesn’t matter in the primary. I think, when you’re talking about a crisis, a national crisis — and every campaign has them — we had it in October in 2008 with the financial crisis and the collapse. And Barack Obama looked steady, looked sure-footed.
John McCain, the elder statesman, the senior guy, didn’t — wasn’t — yes, it was his party, and he was in a terrible bind with George Bush in the White House, but he didn’t look sure.
So, I don’t think that Donald Trump, this sort of reckless impulsiveness is going to wear well.
DAVID BROOKS: Well, the problem is…
JUDY WOODRUFF: You don’t? You don’t think…
MARK SHIELDS: No, I don’t.
I think there will be a time. If a question becomes, you know, what should the United States do and, you know, he says it — tweets at 6:00 in the morning, send the 82nd Airborne in, there may — I think there is a question of restraint and judgment and seriousness and maturity.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, the problem is, this is a binary choice. This is an election of one person against another.
MARK SHIELDS: I agree.
DAVID BROOKS: And so large majorities of Americans think that he is not honest and trustworthy. But the exact same percentage think Hillary Clinton…
MARK SHIELDS: That’s true.
DAVID BROOKS: A large percentage do not think he shares their values. The exact same percentage think Hillary Clinton — a large — or a significant majority disapprove of him, but nearly as many disapprove of Hillary.
And in a weird — he’s going down, but somehow Hillary is following him straight down. The Hillary thing is a mystery to me. She was up at 66 percent approval rating when she was secretary of state. It hasn’t been that long. She’s just fallen in half.
And so her approval ratings have just taken this long, slow slide. And so she’s at parity, basically, with him, except on the temperament issue, which is why she’s hitting that over and over.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Where he is — he’s something like 70 percent say…
DAVID BROOKS: She’s at 21 percent advantage over him.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Over him on that.
MARK SHIELDS: On the secretary of state, just in fairness to her, when you’re secretary of state, she had the support and endorsement of a lot of partisan Republicans.
And once it became obvious she was a presidential candidate — but, no, I do not argue that she has slipped. What we have is two candidates who are unpopular. Hillary Clinton, however, is seen as smart and experienced and someone who is knowledgeable. And, you know, I think the question on Donald Trump, the jury is still out on that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean on…
MARK SHIELDS: On those qualities. I mean, I think they both — they have the liabilities that you mentioned and David mentioned of trustworthiness and honesty.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But they both have positives as well.
But we also need to mention, of course, that there is still another Democrat out there that Hillary Clinton is running against in Bernie Sanders, David, who was out this week still saying he’s in it until the end. His campaign put out a statement yesterday saying there are growing doubts about Hillary Clinton as the party’s nominee.
Where does this Democratic race stand? People are — should we be asking, is it really over or not?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, I think it’s over just on the delegates.
And she has won, I don’t know, 60 percent of the votes. And she’s about 9 — on the average of polls, she’s about 9 percentage points up in California. So, probably, she’s going to be the nominee. Almost certainly, she’s going to be the nominee.
But I sort of sympathize where Sanders is, because the Democratic establishment is now saying to him, you have got to get out of the race or you got to tone down your rhetoric because you’re beating our candidate.
And he can say, well, yes, I’m beating your candidate. So, if he keeps winning, and so why should he get out? Winners don’t have to get out. They can keep going. That’s like the rule.
And so he can — both because he’s doing pretty well, reasonably well, second, because he believes in not only his candidacy, but his ideas and more specifically reforms of the process. And so — and, by the way, I do not think this is going to hurt the Democratic candidate in the fall.
In 2008, 60 percent of Clinton — only 60 percent of Clinton supporters said they would vote for Barack Obama. Sanders people are much more positively inclined toward Clinton than Clinton people were toward Obama.
And by six months from now, believe me, all this will be forgotten, and I think the Democratic Party is a much more unified party.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But is there still — I mean, what do you make of the race that’s still there between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton?
MARK SHIELDS: What I make of it is this, Judy.
Bernie Sanders 12 months ago launched a quixotic, improbable campaign. He was at 3 percent in the polls. Well-known pundits and wise people sneered, even snickered at his candidacy. She was 65 percent to 3 percent.
Over the past 12 months, Bernie Sanders has filled auditoriums of 27,000, 25,000, 20,000 people regularly. He has consistently won primaries. He’s dominated the debate. He’s raised $200 million.
There are three surviving candidates, three. There is only one who is favorable in the eyes of the voters. That’s Bernie Sanders. There is only one who trounces Donald Trump by large margins. That’s Bernie Sanders.
We had four primaries in the month of May. He’s won three of them. So the idea — is there anybody on the Democratic leadership, in the party, or the White House who understands he’s done so well? And you let him get out on his terms. He wants to make his fight.
I agree with David. The numbers are very much in Secretary Clinton’s, — the likelihood of her being nominated is overwhelming, but Bernie Sanders has enlisted millions of people. She needs those people in the fall, especially young people that are — have been indifferent to her candidacy.
And that’s why — of course he’s going to make the fight and make — carry it through. And he should. And they ought to give him some space and time and respect.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But my question is, what happens to all that enthusiasm that is out there right now for Bernie Sanders? Does it just sort of shift over to Hillary Clinton? It’s not going to happen overnight, presumably.
MARK SHIELDS: At the convention, Bernie Sanders stands up, and he says, this is the fight we have fought.
We have fought the good fight. We have kept the faith. We have not finished the course, but the rest of the course is, we have to stand to stop Donald Trump from ever being elected president. We have to stand with Hillary Clinton. I will do everything in my power over the next three months to make sure that Hillary Clinton is the next president of the United States.
DAVID BROOKS: He could tone down some of the rhetoric. She has not stolen the nomination from him.
MARK SHIELDS: No.
DAVID BROOKS: The process may not have been totally honest — or not totally fair. But it was — she won fair and square.
I happen to think a lot of those voters will go away. I think the fall campaign is going to be so negative, that it will drive down turnout, and the sort of people who are likely to not — to say just say I wash my hands of this are especially his young — Sanders’ young voters.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we end up…
MARK SHIELDS: That’s why it’s important that they keep him in the tent, very much in the tent, and honor what he has done.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we have got a few more weeks to watch the primaries. They’re not over yet.
Mark Shields, David Brooks, thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The labels on the food we buy will be getting a new look. The Food and Drug Administration rolled out rules today with a greater emphasis on displaying clearly how much added sugar is in the foods we eat.
Here’s William Brangham.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The changes to these food labels won’t go into effect until later this summer, but here’s what you will see when you go to the store.
On the left is the label we all see today. On the right is the new one. The first thing that jumps out is that the calories are going to be displayed much more prominently. But the bigger change is further down. A new line is being added showing how many grams of added sugars have been put into the food beyond what was there already.
And the label will also tell you the percentage of the recommended daily amount of sugar that is taken up with these added sugars.
So what does this all mean and will it make any difference?
Allison Aubrey of National Public Radio is here to help us sort it out.
ALLISON AUBREY, NPR: Hi, William. Good to be here.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Thanks.
I have heard these rules described as radical and wrongheaded by some people and as a huge leap forward for the positive by others. As a reporter who has covered a lot of this, where do you come down on that?
ALLISON AUBREY: I wouldn’t say this is radical. I would say that this reflects the evolved science, that this is incredibly well-grounded in science. It’s very clear now, many studies showing that excess sugar leads to not only weight gain, but also higher risk of heart disease.
I would say the only thing that is surprising here is that the food and beverage industry really didn’t get its way. Public health won out.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That’s not a terribly common thing these days.
ALLISON AUBREY: Not at all. Not at all.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, what is the FDA hoping for here? Are they trying to create some sense of sticker shock, that people will go into the store, pull some product off the shelf and say, whoa, I didn’t realize there was that much added sugar, and then now maybe make a different choice? Is that goal here?
ALLISON AUBREY: You know, maybe sticker shock in the beginning, but here’s what I think is at play.
I think the label is a lot simpler. Right? So, gone are all these recommendations about how much Vitamin A and Vitamin C you’re getting in the product. What’s really amplified, as we just saw on the label you pointed out, are calories. Calories are still a big deal. It’s not a perfect way to figure out what to eat, but it’s a very clear and easy way to figure out how much you’re getting. And calories still matter.
The other thing, as you pointed out, the sugar thing is just absolutely huge. And the added sugar thing is really important. Let me just give you an example.
So, if you were to take a 20-ounce sugary soda, that has 65 grams of sugar. That’s 16 teaspoons of sugar.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Wow.
ALLISON AUBREY: Now you’re going to see that on the label.
What you’re also going to see is, it’s going to say, this product contains 130 percent of the sugar you’re supposed to be eating in a day. In other words, this is more sugar than you’re supposed to be eating in a day. That’s really what they’re trying to communicate here.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, that is sticker shock.
ALLISON AUBREY: It will be at first for many people, because I think people are largely unaware.
Look, nobody’s taking their coffee cup and putting 12 teaspoons of sugar in it. But where we’re getting a lot of the sugar is the added sugar that is hidden in foods, so, yogurts, oatmeal, cereals, all kinds of processed foods, lots and lots of hidden sugars. And this is just going to make it easier to see how much is there.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: What does science tell us about what changes people’s behaviors? I’m just curious, do you think this is actually going to work to steer people to healthier choices?
ALLISON AUBREY: Well, I think the very first thing you have to do to change behavior is to give people good information, right? So, that’s the number one step.
And that’s really the goal here. I mean, 20 years ago, people weren’t really reading these food labels. The USDA has data showing that a lot of people, an increased number, a significant number of people are now reading the food labels.
So, the idea is better information, that’s at least the first step to behavior change. And then you need the people around you to support you. I think that also gets into the role of powerful people promoting this. Of course, the first lady has been talking about this nonstop during her years in the White House, and that has made a big difference.
She has really used her platform and really used her megaphone to raise awareness about these issues and bring attention to them.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The grocery industry somewhat made its peace with this, but the sugar industry, as you might imagine, has not.
They said that the FDA is — quote — “setting a precedent that is not grounded in science.”
What is the industry’s beef with this, so to speak?
ALLISON AUBREY: Yes, I should point out by saying, like, almost every nutrition scientist would disagree with that fact.
And the bottom line is that they’re already making changes. The food industry has seen the writing on the wall for a while. I mean, the World Health Organization, the American Heart Association for years now has been saying we need to cut back on sugar. Only recently did we work this into the dietary guidelines.
The writing has been on the wall. The industry is already making changes. You will see yogurts frequently now in the grocery store, not just the premium and high-end brands, but the everyday brands saying this product has 25 percent less sugar now. So the industry knows how to adapt, and, ultimately, they will.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Allison Aubrey of National Public Radio, thank you very much.
ALLISON AUBREY: Thanks, William. Great to be here.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.
On the “NewsHour” tonight: Floating wreckage proves EgyptAir Flight 804 crashed in the Mediterranean, but there remain more questions than answers as to what brought down the plane.
Also ahead: Food labels are about to get a makeover. The first lady and the FDA overhaul rules to include added sugar and other changes to promote healthier eating.
Then: The candidates talk foreign policy, as worries rise about party unity. Mark Shields and David Brooks take on that and more of the week’s news.
And ahead of President Obama’s trip to Vietnam, a look at how the U.S. ambassador to the country is doing away with traditional modes of diplomacy and jumping into the culture.
TED OSIUS, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam: The fact that I show respect for Vietnamese language and culture and history, the Vietnamese people, the fact that I show that respect, that I clearly enjoy being here, I think that has helped my mission.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Health officials reported the number of pregnant women in the U.S. infected with the Zika virus has tripled, to 157.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that it’s now including all women who test positive, regardless of symptoms. So far, fewer than a dozen have had miscarriages or babies born with birth defects.
Meanwhile, President Obama got a briefing on Zika today, and he urged Congress to get moving to provide funds.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Understand that this is not something where we can build a wall to prevent. Mosquitoes don’t go through customs. To the extent that we’re not handling this thing on the front end, we’re going to have bigger problems on the back end.
So, for those of you who are listening, tell your members of Congress, get on the job on this.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. Senate has passed a $1.1 billion bill to fight the virus. A House-passed bill totals just over half that, $622 million.
A shooting near the White House put the executive mansion on lockdown for a time today. Federal law enforcement officials say a uniformed Secret Service officer shot a man who drew a gun. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition. President Obama wasn’t at the White House at the time.
In Iraq, Baghdad is under a curfew tonight after protesters stormed the Green Zone and security forces fired tear gas and gunshots. Dozens were wounded, with at least one person shot in the head. It was the second time in three weeks that protesters had broken into the heavily fortified zone. Meanwhile, Iraqi troops retook the western town of Rutba, allowing the main road from Amman to Baghdad to be reopened.
Political turmoil shook Israel today and deepened divisions in the ruling Cabinet. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon abruptly resigned, removing one of the government’s last moderate voices. He said he no longer trusts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his hard-line supporters.
MOSHE YA’ALON, Defense Minister, Israeli (through interpreter): In all my positions, I worked in harmony and in a serious way. But, to my great dismay, extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel and the Likud Party, and are shaking the house and threatening to hurt its inhabitants. This is not the Likud Party I joined.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ya’alon warned that racism and violence is seeping into the Israeli army and doing it damage. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he regretted the resignation. It’s been reported that he plans to name hard-line former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as the new defense minister.
In Turkey, the Parliament voted today to strip lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution. Pro-Kurdish legislators charged that the goal is to prosecute them for allegedly supporting outlawed Kurdish rebels. It is the latest move against political opponents of the Turkish government.
A new president has taken office in Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen’s political party supports formal independence from China. But after a swearing-in ceremony at the presidential building in Taipei, she chose her words carefully.
PRESIDENT TSAI ING-WEN, Taiwan (through interpreter): The new government will conduct cross-strait affairs in accordance with relevant legislation. The two governing parties across the strait must set aside the baggage of history, and engage in positive dialogue, for the benefit of the people on both sides.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Tsai is the first woman to serve as president of Taiwan.
Another wave of heavy rain added to the misery in Sri Lanka today. Flooding in the capital, Colombo, has displaced more than 185,000 people. Today, trucks plowed through the water to ferry out evacuees. Helicopters were sent in to rescue others from their rooftops. The rain also triggered mudslides this week, and hundreds of people are still missing.
India has set a record for its hottest temperature ever, nearly 124 degrees Fahrenheit. It happened today in the western city of Phalodi, as authorities issued a severe heat alert for several states, and called in emergency water supplies.
MAN (through interpreter): Today, we are facing a very difficult situation. There is heavy traffic, and large quantities of water are being consumed from the big water tankers.
People are drinking a lot of water, and the demand is still rising. We have to fill up this tank at least three to four times a day.
JUDY WOODRUFF: India’s heat is always worst in April, May and June, before monsoon rains bring relief. Hundreds of people have died this week, and thousands of farmers have lost their crops.
Back in this country, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a bill that makes it a felony for doctors to perform an abortion. Her fellow Republicans pushed through the measure yesterday. It would have been the first law of its kind in the country.
San Francisco’s police chief, Greg Suhr, has been forced out, after a series of police killings of unarmed minorities. The latest came yesterday, when officers shot dead a black woman in a stolen car. Suhr was also criticized for not acting faster against police who sent racist text messages. Deputy Chief Toney Chaplin will take over on an interim basis.
Wall Street ended the week with a modest rally. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 65 points to close above 17500. The Nasdaq rose 57, and the S&P 500 added 12.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: revamped nutrition labels aim to kick our sugar habit; Mark Shields and David Brooks analyze this week’s news; thawing relations ahead of the president’s visit to Vietnam; and much more.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: They have found some of what’s left of EgyptAir Flight 804, and new clues may be emerging in the investigation. The passenger plane vanished from the radar early yesterday, en route from Paris to Cairo, with 66 people on board.
John Yang reports on the day’s developments.
JOHN YANG: At a Cairo mosque, families of passengers aboard EgyptAir Flight 804 prayed, and wept, for loved ones.
ABDEL RAHMAN AL NASERY, Cousin of Passenger (through interpreter): He was my cousin. He was like an elder brother to me. This is very hard for the family, and God bless all who died on the plane.
JOHN YANG: Their hopes dashed by the discovery of wreckage from the Airbus A-320 announced on Egyptian state television.
WOMAN (through interpreter): We have just received an official report from the Egyptian army. Military airplanes have been able to locate wreckage and belongings of the airplane.
JOHN YANG: The Greek defense minister recounted the grisly details.
PANOS KAMMENOS, Defense Minister, Greece (through interpreter): We have been briefed about the discovery of a body part, two seats and luggage at the scene of the search, slightly to the south of where the plane’s signal was lost.
JOHN YANG: A European satellite image showed an oil slick spreading over the area where the plane disappeared. Debris was spotted floating in the Mediterranean about 180 miles north of Alexandria, Egypt. It’s an area were the sea is up to two miles’ deep, but still no firm evidence of what happened.
Late today, what could be a significant clue: The Aviation Herald, an online aviation community, reported that an automated monitoring system on the plane sent signals indicating smoke in the front of the cabin and then failures of two key control systems before going silent.
Egyptian officials had initially suggested a terror attack as the likeliest explanation, but the Greek defense minister said today it’s just too early to tell.
PANOS KAMMENOS (through interpreter): There is no possibility to assess the situation. We cannot be part of the speculation, because the investigation committee must be allowed to do its work.
JOHN YANG: The French navy is helping scour the sea, and its investigators said no possible causes are being ruled out.
JEAN-MARC AYRAULT, Foreign Minister, France (through interpreter): All hypotheses are being examined. There is no specific one being favored. We have to find the debris and analyze it, and of course the black boxes, because we want to know the truth, the whole truth.
JOHN YANG: So far, there’s no hard evidence of an explosion. But from Cairo to Paris and beyond, speculation centers on terrorism.
STEVEN SIMON, Dartmouth College: They can’t pretend that it wasn’t or completely suspend judgment. They have to check the locks.
JOHN YANG: Steven Simon served on President Obama’s National Security Council. He says officials have to investigate it as a possible terror attacks.
STEVEN SIMON: They will look to see if any of the identities of any of the people on the airplane, the crew, the maintenance team, anybody who had anything to do with that airplane while it was on the ground in Paris, they will just go through, you know, those records with a fine-tooth comb, looking for dots to connect, if indeed there are any.
JOHN YANG: At the same time, he says, Europe has to work on beefing up counterterrorism efforts.
STEVEN SIMON: It’s sort of a cumulative process. You can’t throw a lot of money at something and expect radical changes in six months. This is going to be a transformative process in the European context which will take a while to complete.
JOHN YANG: As the search for what, or perhaps who, brought down Flight 804 presses ahead.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So far, there’s been no claim by any outside group that it had a hand in bringing down the plane.
Here to talk through some of the many questions still out there is our science correspondent and aviation analyst, Miles O’Brien.
Miles, first, this automated data that became known this afternoon, what do you make of that?
MILES O’BRIEN: Well, just a quick bit of background for our viewers.
This is — as an aircraft flies around, it’s essentially live-streaming its condition, its health of various systems. It’s mostly for maintenance, so when the plane lands, they know what parts to have ready and what to fix it to get it back in the air again.
There were a series of faults apparently right before the plane disappeared from radar, beginning with some problems with the windshield in the cockpit, smoke in the lavatory and in the avionics bay, which is beneath the cockpit, and then some failures of the computer systems.
There are literally hundreds of computer systems controlling this aircraft. They all have to operate in concert. This is certainly consistent with a catastrophic event. Whether it is a bomb or some major mechanical failure remains to be seen. It also is consistent with that initial left turn reported on Greek radar.
The plane took a 90-degree left turn initially when it apparently was in trouble, and that is standard operating procedure for a flight crew dealing with a decompression event and trying to do a rapid descent.
The idea is not to fly into the airway beneath you and potentially hit oncoming traffic.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, this is — in other words, you’re saying this is consistent with the little bit, the little that’s known about what the plane did before it plunged into the water?
MILES O’BRIEN: It is consistent with a crew dealing with a rapid decompression.
The cause of that rapid decompression, we don’t know. Was it a bomb or was it a major mechanical failure are the open questions.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Miles, what about the material they found floating in the water? They said two seats, a body part and some other luggage and so forth. Do we know anything based on that?
MILES O’BRIEN: It’s a reminder, of course, of the human tragedy of all this.
But it’s customary in these cases that you see seat cushions and life vests and baggage because it — obviously, it floats. Typically, it’s not very helpful unless, by some chance, the baggage happened to be close to where the initial failure occurred.
What’s useful, however, is knowing where it is, knowing the ocean currents, knowing how long it’s been in the water. You can backtrack to the point of impact. And that’s where you begin your search for the main body of wreckage and the black boxes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we heard in John Yang’s report that that part of the Mediterranean is something like two miles’ deep. What does that tell us about the difficulty of this ongoing search?
MILES O’BRIEN: That it is difficult. It’s a big challenge, fishing these boxes out.
We go through this time and again. There is technology off the shelf used by the military right now which has ejectable, floatable, deployable flight data recorders. There is technology which makes it possible to stream this data back in real time, not unlike the stream that we have just been talking about.
In the 21st century, the fact that we have to listen for pings two miles beneath the surface of the ocean to find out a critical question — the answer to a critical question is a bit scandalous. We should do something about it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Miles, a lot of people are saying now that we need to assume there was terrorism involved. Does it make sense to do that, in the absence of a hard answer right now?
MILES O’BRIEN: Well, I think we — I would caution our viewers.
If, in fact, there was some sort of mechanical failure here, that’s a very important thing to know as soon as possible. This is a fleet of aircraft in excess of 6,000 the world over. It’s an extreme — it’s a workhorse, and if there is some fundamental flaw here which caused this, we need to know about it yesterday.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you’re saying — but are we any closer? You’re saying it’s just coming very slowly as we get any closer to answers.
MILES O’BRIEN: You know, absent a claim of credit — and we haven’t seen that just yet — we’re in the dark on this, and it’s — you know, eventually, maybe a piece of fleeting wreckage will offer a clue as to whether there was a bomb on board, but I’m afraid we are going to have to wait for those black boxes, the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, to be discovered at the bottom of the sea.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, in the meantime, hold off on any assumptions?
MILES O’BRIEN: I think so.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Miles O’Brien, we thank you.
MILES O’BRIEN: You’re welcome, Judy.
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