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

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    Muhammad Ali (R) (formerly Cassius Clay), is seen here with his trainer Angelo Dundee ahead of his fight with Ernie Terrell at the Astrodome, Houston, Texas, U.S.Feburary 6, 1967.Mandatory Credit: Action Images / MSI/File Photo EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTSFZ23

    Muhammad Ali is seen here with his trainer Angelo Dundee ahead of his fight with Ernie Terrell at the Astrodome, Houston, Texas, on Feb. 6, 1967. Photo by Action Images/MSI/File Photo

    Renowned boxer Muhammad Ali died from septic shock due to natural causes Friday night, his family announced Saturday, while inviting fans to a public funeral that Ali had requested years before he died.

    His family had been called to his bedside at a hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., on Friday, when what began as a respiratory problem became a dire situation, spokesman Bob Gunnell said at a press conference near the facility.

    In the minutes leading up to his death, Ali, who suffered from Parkinson’s syndrome, was surrounded by his daughters, son and wife who were holding his hands, hugging him, chanting the Islamic prayer and saying, “You can go now. We will be OK,” according to his daughter, Hana Ali.

    “We all tried to stay strong,” Hana Ali wrote in a post on Instagram.

    A photo posted by Hana Ali (@hanayali) on

    She said his heart continued to beat after all his other organs had failed. “A true testament to the strength of his Spirit and Will,” she wrote. 

    Gunnell said that per his wishes, there will be a procession throughout the streets of his hometown in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, followed by a public ceremony at 2 p.m. that will be live streamed and translated.

    “Muhammad’s boxing career only encompassed half of his life. The other half was committed to sharing a message of peace and inclusion with the world,” he said. “His funeral will reflect those principles and be a celebration open to everyone.”

    A photo posted by Hana Ali (@hanayali) on

    While the ceremony will be predominately Muslim and an imam will preside, Gunnell said there will also be leaders from other religious groups in attendance.

    Former President Bill Clinton, comedian Billy Crystal and journalist Bryant Gumbel will give eulogies, he said, among others.

    “The funeral plans were done years ago, by Mr. Ali, who discussed them personally,” Gunnell said.

    Gunnell added the family has requested that in lieu of flowers, fans send donations to the Muhammad Ali Center in Kentucky.

    The center’s website will carry the livestream of the public proceedings.

    The post Muhammad Ali died from septic shock, family spokesman says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A U.S. Navy sailor (L) walks with soldiers in Joint Task Force Guantanamo's Camp VI at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson - RTSBT9Z

    A U.S. Navy sailor walks with soldiers in Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s Camp VI at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba March 22, 2016. Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is running out of time and options to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, so officials are scrambling to release as many prisoners as possible and considering novel legal strategies that include allowing some men to strike plea deals by video-teleconference and sending others to foreign countries to be prosecuted.

    But it looks to be little, too late to close the prison before President Barack Obama leaves office in January, denying him the chance to fulfill a campaign pledge.

    There’s the difficulty in transferring prisoners from the U.S. base in Cuba, questions about the legality of plea deals and solid opposition in Congress to anything that might help Obama achieve that promise.

    “The clock has struck midnight and the American people have won,” said Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who has said he would oppose any effort to move detainees to prison facilities in his state. “The president needs to admit that.”

    Later this month, lawmakers are on track to extend a ban on moving detainees to U.S. soil. That would leave the president with no way to make the January 2017 deadline, barring an unexpected reversal in Congress or a politically explosive executive order.

    The White House increasingly is pointed to a parallel strategy: trying to shrink the number of detainees in hopes of persuading lawmakers that Guantanamo is too expensive to sustain as a prison.

    Of the 80 remaining detainees, 30 have been cleared for an overseas transfer. Most will leave starting in late June and continuing into July, according to a U.S. official. Those prisoners will go to a number of countries, including at least one in Europe, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the administration had not authorized public release of the information.

    Seven additional detainees are facing trial by military commission, including five charged with planning and supporting the Sept. 11 attacks. Three others have been convicted. But commission proceedings have gone on at a glacial pace. In April, the Pentagon put forward fresh proposals for Guantanamo, but none has been incorporated into defense legislation moving through Congress.

    The remaining 40 were either at one time considered for prosecution or held as indefinite “law of war detainees” until the end of hostilities in the fight against terrorism that began after the 2001 attacks. The United States started using Guantanamo for suspects in January 2002; at its peak, the facility held about 680 prisoners.

    U.S. officials have chipped away at those numbers through the Periodic Review Board, a multiagency task force that conducts parole-style hearings for men once deemed too dangerous to release.

    The board did not hold a hearing until November 2013, but recently it has picked up its pace, holding more than 20 so far this year. Outcomes are leaning heavily in prisoners’ favor. If the government keeps up its current pace of about two per week, it wouldn’t complete hearings, much less arrange for transfers, until December.

    The U.S. also is working with other governments to prosecute some detainees overseas, the official said. These could be prisoners accused of conduct outside the U.S. involving offenses against citizens of other countries. It would otherwise be difficult or impossible to prosecute these men in an American court.

    One possible example would be Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu, a 42-year-old Kenyan accused of involvement in plots in Mombasa in November 2002: an attack on an Israeli-owned hotel, in which 13 people died, and an unsuccessful attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner.

    The official declined to identify any specific cases but said there could be five to 10 in all.

    The defense bill up for debate in the Senate soon includes a provision that would allow detainees to enter guilty pleas – via video teleconference – in federal civilian courts. If a judge accepts the plea, the detainee would be sentenced and transferred to serve that sentence in a foreign prison.

    In conversations with advocates, White House officials have said the Justice Department has reservations about such guilty plea proposals. Chief among the concerns is whether the judge could accept the guilty pleas as entered by the defendant knowingly and voluntarily – a bedrock principle of the American criminal justice system – while there is no mechanism in place to stand trial. The prisoner’s only other choice is continued, indefinite detention.

    The White House has not taken a position, but suggested it is receptive to the idea. The president believes it is “important that we have available to us a variety of tools at our disposal,” National Security Council spokesman Myles Caggins said in a statement, which also noted that federal courts have “outstanding record” of handling terrorism cases.

    Ramzi Kassem, a lawyer who has represented many Guantanamo prisoners over the years, including three still held, said the ability to strike a plea deal in federal court would benefit relatively few detainees. He said the renewed administration interest in closing the prison is hard to take seriously now.

    “Those efforts and that kind of resolve should have been shown over the course of the eight years of the Obama administration and not in its final moments,” said Kassem, a law professor at the City University of New York.

    This report was written by Kathleen Hennessey and Ben Fox of the Associated Press. AP writer Eric Tucker contributed.

    The post Officials using new legal strategies in efforts to close Guantanamo Bay appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally in Anaheim, California, United States, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake  - RTSFRB7

    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally in Anaheim, California, United States, May 24, 2016. Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    LOS ANGELES — Nearing the end of the primary season, a defiant Bernie Sanders predicted Saturday that the Democratic presidential process would lead to a contested summer convention against Hillary Clinton, pushing back against the likelihood that the former secretary of state will soon declare victory.

    Speaking to reporters three days before the California primary, Sanders showed few signs of surrender, vowing to take his bid to the Philadelphia convention in July. He urged news organizations not to anoint Clinton as the presumptive nominee through a combination of pledged delegates and superdelegates.

    “It is extremely unlikely that Secretary Clinton will have the requisite number of pledged delegates to claim victory on Tuesday night,” Sanders said. “Now I have heard reports that Secretary Clinton has said it’s all going to be over on Tuesday night. I have reports that the media, after the New Jersey results come in, are going to declare that it is all over. That simply is not accurate.”

    By nightfall, Sanders was rallying supporters outside the entrance of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where he pointed to his differences with Clinton on super PACs, the federal minimum wage and the Iraq War.

    “Hillary Clinton wants small, incremental changes. We want to transform this nation,” Sanders said as the Coliseum’s flaming cauldron torch lit up the sky.

    Sanders told reporters by the end of the primaries on June 14 neither candidate would have enough pledged delegates to declare victory and would be dependent upon superdelegates to reach the magic number. “In other words, the Democratic National Convention will be a contested convention,” he said.

    [Watch Video]

    Clinton currently leads Sanders among pledged delegates by a count of 1,769 to 1,501, an edge of 268 pledged delegates. An Associated Press count of superdelegates shows Clinton leading 547 to 46. Clinton is currently 67 delegates short of clinching the nomination through the combination of the two and is poised to cross that threshold in the coming days.

    Sanders wants Democrats to break with tradition. In 2008, then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama clinched the nomination against Clinton through a mix of both types of delegates. And superdelegates have historically backed the candidate who wins the most delegates from primaries and caucuses, a threshold Clinton is likely to cross this week.

    The Vermont senator is seeking a victory in California, New Jersey and four other contests on Tuesday. A win in the Golden State, where polls show a tight contest, would be an embarrassment for Clinton and embolden Sanders to aggressively lobby superdelegates to switch their support to him, arguing he’s the best candidate to take on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

    Clinton has begun forcefully attacking Trump on national security and his overall temperament for the White House and has largely looked past Sanders, hitting hard at the GOP real estate mogul. She told supporters Friday that “if all goes well, I will have the great honor as of Tuesday to be the Democratic nominee for president.”

    Sanders is expected to return to his Vermont home on Wednesday and advisers say he intends to ramp up his courtship of the party’s superdelegates, a process that is already underway, pointing to polls showing him faring better than Clinton in head-to-head matchups with Trump.

    He will compete in the District of Columbia primary on June 14, the final contest. Beyond that, Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver said they are considering whether Sanders might appear at more rallies around the country after the primaries and speak in Chicago at a gathering of Sanders’ activists on June 17-19.

    But a loss in California, the nation’s most populous state, would undercut his case against Clinton.

    “Once the numbers come in, I think we can begin a serious discussion among ourselves about what the right path for us is,” said Tad Devine, Sanders’ senior adviser. He added: “If he wins California and a lot of states, he’ll want to make a closing argument to the superdelegates.”

    Sanders is pushing for his policy views to be included in the party’s platform and wants the party to become more inclusive of independent and working-class voters.

    Recalling her own campaign against Obama in 2008, Clinton’s team has avoided urging Sanders to leave the race. But if Sanders loses California, he’s likely to face pressure to drop out.

    Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada told The Associated Press in an interview earlier this week that “sometimes you just have to give up,” a sign of what could come next.

    Sanders has said he will work “day and night” to defeat Trump, whom he repeatedly assails as a divisive figure. Yet few expect Sanders to quickly follow the example set by Clinton, who campaigned extensively for Obama after suspending the roll call vote at the 2008 convention and later, became his secretary of state.

    Said Weaver: “Given what he has said, I suspect there will certainly be a roll call vote at the convention.”

    The post Sanders predicts Democratic convention will be contested appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Redding, California, U.S. June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam - RTX2FLCQ

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Redding, California, U.S. June 3, 2016. Photo by Stephen Lam/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — A pair of powerful Senate Republicans on Sunday warned Donald Trump to drop his attacks on a Latino judge presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University, joining the widespread rejection of their presumptive presidential nominee’s treatment of the federal jurist. A third prominent Republican who also supports Trump urged the candidate to start acting like “a potential leader of the United States.”

    “We’re all behind him now,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned, adding that it’s time for unifying the party, not “settling scores and grudges.” “I hope he’ll change his direction.”

    So far, Trump has refused, reiterating in interviews broadcast Sunday that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Mexican heritage means he cannot ensure a fair trial involving a billionaire who wants to build a border wall to keep people from illegally entering the United States from Mexico. Curiel was born in Indiana to Mexican-born parents – making him, in Trump’s view, “a hater of Donald Trump.”

    “I couldn’t disagree more” with Trump’s central argument, McConnell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    “I don’t condone the comments,” added Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on ABC’s “This Week.”

    And Newt Gingrich, who became speaker of the House promising to open the GOP more to minorities, delivered the harshest warning of all.

    “This is one of the worst mistakes Trump has made. I think it’s inexcusable,” Gingrich, a former presidential contender, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

    Their remarks solidify the line GOP leaders have drawn in recent days between themselves and Trump, with whom they’ve made a fragile peace over their sense that almost anyone would be a better president than Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    The GOP pushback against Trump comes two days before presidential primaries in California, home to more Latinos than whites. It’s the final major battleground between Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Far ahead of Sanders in the delegate race, Clinton is poised to clinch her party’s nomination in the next few days.

    Trump has no more competition for the GOP nomination, but he does have significant issues with the most senior elected members of the party he hopes to lead.

    On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan tepidly endorsed Trump – but 24 hours later disavowed the billionaire’s remarks about Curiel.

    Trump University is the target of two lawsuits in San Diego and one in New York that accuse the business of fleecing students with unfulfilled promises to teach secrets of success in real estate. Trump has maintained that customers were overwhelmingly satisfied. Trump’s legal team has not sought to have Curiel removed.

    For a party that in 2012 explicitly pinned its survival on drawing support from Hispanics, Trump’s words create an ugly series of headaches.

    Racial politics, for one. Asked on CNN whether it was racist to link Curiel’s ethnicity to his ability to be fair, Trump replied, “No.”

    Asked the same question three times, McConnell thrice refused to respond directly and repeated a statement about disagreeing.

    “I think it’s a big mistake for our party to write off Latino Americans,” said McConnell, R-Ky.

    Gingrich answered was: “I think that it was a mistake … I hope it was sloppiness,” he said of Trump’s attacks on Curiel. “(Trump) says on other occasions that he has many Mexican friends, et cetera, but that’s irrelevant. This judge is not Mexican. This judge is an American citizen.”

    Corker, R-Tenn., expressed the same discomfort many other Republicans in Congress have complained about when they’re asked to respond to, or justify, Trump’s remarks. “I thought this interview was going to be more about the foreign policy arena,” Corker said on ABC.

    Like Ryan, all three Republicans have endorsed Trump. But their comments carried the implicit caveat that their support depends at least in part on Trump dropping his criticism of Curiel. All three also suggested ways Trump could move beyond his legal issues.

    Corker, who recently met with Trump in New York, said Trump “has a tremendous opportunity” to build out his foreign policy agenda.

    Gingrich urged Trump to become more of a statesman.

    “Trump has got to, I think, move to a new level,” he said. “This is no longer the primaries. He’s no longer an interesting contender. He is now the potential leader of the United States and he’s got to move his game up to the level of being a potential leader.”

    Trump has already rejected calls for him to change. “You think I’m going to change?” he asked during a combative news conference last week at Trump Tower in New York. “I’m not changing.”

    McConnell’s advice was blunt.

    “This is a good time, it seems to me, to begin to try to unify the party and you unify the party by not settling scores and grudges against people you’ve been competing with,” he said. “I’d like to see him reach out and pull us all together and give us a real shot at winning this November.”

    Associated Press writers Eileen Sullivan and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

    The post GOP leaders warning Trump to drop attacks on judge appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Jadwiga Brontē’s project “Invisible People of Belarus” shows life inside the internats, government-funded institutions where many people with disabilities live. Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    In the decades since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, as the world has reckoned with the unintended effects of nuclear power, a group of people in Belarus has quietly lived out its consequences.

    They are residents of Belarus’ “internats,” government-funded institutions that photographer Jadwiga Brontē has described as “something between an asylum, orphanage and hospice.” Some of them were born in the aftermath of Chernobyl, when radiation exposure had severe physical effects on pregnant women and babies. Others were left there by their families amid a larger social climate in Belarus that stigmatizes people with disabilities.

    Brontē, who was born in Poland, spent time in several of these institutions for her project “Invisible People of Belarus,” in which she documents life inside the internats in an effort to bring greater attention to the treatment of people with disabilities in the country. I asked her about her experience at the internats and how she worked with subjects to portray their daily lives.

    How did you decide to begin this project?

    This topic has always been very personal to me. I was born in neighboring Poland, a satellite state of the USSR at the time of Chernobyl disaster of 1986. After learning more about the aftermath of this disaster from an amazing photo essay by Paul Fusco called “Chernobyl Legacy,” I felt like it was my duty to go to Belarus and work on this subject.

    I decided to go to Belarus to document the stories on neglected and abandoned children, those born with mental and physical disabilities from the aftermath of the tragic accident in Chernobyl, because of my personal attachment to this topic. I wanted to know how this sensitive situation has been handled by post-Soviet Belarus 30 years later.

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Can you describe conditions inside the internats?

    The condition of the institutions is far from what we see in Western Europe. The internats are often overcrowded. There are not many activities, besides watching TV or going for a walk. Some international NGOs help organizing summer holidays for residents and bring some volunteers every year to spend a time and play with residents. Internats that house older people have the worst conditions, and people are treated without any respect. It’s really heart-breaking, and photographing in those places is very difficult.

    How did you work with your subjects to make them comfortable?

    My main concern was not to create stressful situations or cause anxiety. I visited a number of different internats. At some places I would stay for days. That would give me a chance to spend quality time doing some activities together and build the relationship — by going for a walk in a backyard, playing with a ball or balloons, drawing or coloring. Some older girls like to do make up and paint nails. With little ones, it would just carrying them around, playing music or just simply talking to them.

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Was there anyone with whom you particularly connected?

    I visited a number of different institutions, and in each place I would find some outstanding characters.Two people who really caught my attention were Lyosha and Sveta. Lyosha was a severely autistic boy who is very active and impatient, but in front of a camera he would calm down immediately. He loved the flash light and would pose perfectly still until the light would fire. Sveta was this amazing and beautiful young girl, very intelligent and friendly. She was very confident about her look and loves being photographed.

    What are you working on now?

    I’m working on an extension of my project called “Mothers of Invisible People.” This part of the project will focus on mothers who were forced to give up their disabled children or were/are manipulated and persuaded to have an abortion if deformities were suspected.

    This project will [explore] how Belarusian mothers living in a post-Soviet and dictatorship country of 22 years don’t really have their own voice. Religion, government and society have a massive influence on mothers and their decision to give up their children.

    You can see more of Brontē’s work below.

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    Photo by Jadwiga Brontē

    The post The face of Belarus’ ‘invisible people’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay) trains at his Pennsylvanian mountain retreat in Owigsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. August 27, 1974 for his fight against George Foreman in Zaire.  Mandatory Credit: Action Images / MSI/File Photo EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTSFZ26

    Muhammad Ali trains at his Pennsylvanian mountain retreat in Owigsburg, Pennsylvania, on August 27, 1974 for his fight against George Foreman in Zaire. Photo by Action Images/MSI/Reuters

    Muhammad Ali was still boxing professionally when observers first noticed signs of neurological decline, and many have been quick to link his profession to his diagnosis, years later, of Parkinson’s disease.

    In the decades that followed, and with Ali’s death Friday at the age of 74, however, a stubborn fact remains: Neurologists cannot definitively say whether Ali’s symptoms were a result of his boxing career. But they said head trauma does increase the risk.

    “It’s very hard to point in almost any individual case to what’s causing the Parkinson’s,” said Todd Sherer, the chief executive of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. “But there’s pretty convincing data that head injury can increase your risk for developing the disease.”

    Sherer, who holds a PhD in neuroscience, said a 2006 study published in Annals of Neurology helped establish that risk. In the study, a team led by Dr. Samuel Goldman, of the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center in Sunnyvale, Calif., followed the cases of 93 pairs of twins in which only one of each had Parkinson’s.

    Those who had sustained at least one head injury were more likely than their twin to have a later diagnosis of Parkinson’s, and the likelihood increased in those with more than one head injury.

    [Watch Video]

    Parkinson’s is a progressive nervous system disorder in which vital nerve cells in the brain malfunction and die, curbing the production of dopamine, the chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls motor skills. Symptoms include tremors, slowed movement, and speech changes, among others.

    There is no cure, but treatment options can help manage symptoms.

    Goldman said Saturday that he was not familiar with the details of Ali’s case, “but from what I understand there’s a good likelihood that his Parkinson’s is a consequence of repetitive head trauma.”

    Based on more recent studies of laboratory animals, Goldman said that he believes those who suffer two episodes of brain trauma within a short period of time are more likely to experience degenerative brain symptoms later in life.

    “It can really set off a degenerative cascade,” he said.

    Dr. Rodolfo Savica, a physician and researcher with the Mayo Clinic, agreed that those who suffer head trauma are more likely to face a diagnosis of Parkinson’s later in life. Genetic components, he and others believe, are also at play. “There is definitely an individual predisposition to develop this disease that we think can be potentially enhanced by the head trauma itself,” he said.

    Dr. John Trojanowski, a neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania, said he met Ali at a fundraising event in Las Vegas several years ago, by which point the boxer was unable to speak. Based on what Trojanowski understood of Ali’s symptoms, and Trojanowski’s own research, he said it’s “highly likely that his early-onset Parkinson’s was a result of his boxing.”

    “We know that at some threshold, once crossed, exposure to traumatic brain injury and repetitive brain injury sets the stage for early onset forms of neurodegeneration,” he said.

    “We’re far from solving the riddle” of Parkinson’s precise causes, he added. “But what everyone agrees on is that it ain’t good to box and have multiple concussions.”

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

    The post Was boxing to blame for Parkinson’s disease in Muhammad Ali? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton smiles before holding a roundtable on healthcare in San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 4, 2015. Clinton is campaigning in Puerto Rico the same day that Republican contender Marco Rubio is visiting. While Puerto Rico's residents will not be eligible to cast presidential votes in November 2016, they have a voice in the primaries and, as the island's economy has suffered, an increasing number have moved to U.S. states where they can vote, particularly Florida. REUTERS/Alvin Baez - RTX1R6G4

    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton smiles before holding a roundtable on healthcare in San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 4, 2015. Photo by Alvin Baez

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Ricans frustrated by the island’s economic crisis voted Sunday in the U.S. territory’s Democratic presidential primary and local elections, as front-runner Hillary Clinton drew closer to securing the number of delegates needed to win her party’s White House nomination.

    After a blowout victory Saturday in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Clinton was just 60 delegates short of the 2,383 needed to win the Democratic nomination and advance to the November general election, according to an Associated Press count.

    There were 60 pledged delegates at stake in Puerto Rico. Clinton would need to win more than 85 percent of the vote to get them all.

    But voters’ focus was mostly on the island’s economic crisis.

    Clinton and her rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, have visited Puerto Rico and pledged to help as the San Juan government tries to restructure $70 billion worth of public debt the governor has said is unpayable.

    “This is one of the most important political moments for Puerto Rico,” said Emanuel Rosado, a 29-year-old Clinton supporter and one of the first to arrive as a voting center opened. “I’m taking action as a result of the economic crisis.”

    [Watch Video]

    Two weeks before the primary, Sanders criticized a rescue deal, negotiated by U.S. House leaders and the Obama administration, as having colonialist overtones.

    In a letter to fellow Senate Democrats, Sanders said the House bill to create a federal control board and allow some restructuring of the territory’s $70 billion debt would make “a terrible situation even worse.”

    “We won’t have a voice or a vote in it,” said Marcos Valdez, a 20-year-old university student and first-time voter who supports Sanders and opposes a control board. “It won’t represent the interest of our people.”

    Clinton has said she has serious concerns about the board’s powers, but believes the legislation should move forward, or “too many Puerto Ricans will continue to suffer.”

    Nearly 2.9 million people are registered to vote. Turnout was expected to be high given that Puerto Ricans also were narrowing down their choice for the next governor, as well as senators, representatives and mayors.

    While they can participate in presidential primaries, Puerto Ricans do not vote in the November presidential election.

    No matter, said former Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila. He supports Puerto Rico’s current political status as a commonwealth and urged voters to participate in the primary.

    “Many in the past and today think that these presidential primaries are a ‘sham’ without consequences,” he said. “But given the threat that comes from the North and the powerful allies it has here, not taking advantage of this ‘sham’ to make our voice heard could be a precious wasted opportunity.”

    Among those voting was Democratic Party superdelegate Andres Lopez, one of the insiders who can vote for the candidate of their choice at the summer convention. He had remained uncommitted, but said Sunday he will support Clinton.

    Clinton has 1,776 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses; Sanders has 1,501. When including superdelegates, her lead over Sanders is substantial — 2,323 to 1,547.

    It takes 2,383 to win.

    With Lopez’s endorsement, all seven of Puerto Rico’s superdelegates have pledged their support for Clinton.

    “It is time to focus on squashing ‘El Trumpo,'” he said, referring to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

    This report was written by Danica Coto of the Associated Press. Associated Press writer Lisa Lerer in Washington contributed to this report.

    The post Puerto Rico votes as Clinton closes in on nomination appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A helicopter makes a water drop at the "Old Fire", which burned in Calabasas, California, U.S., June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

    A helicopter makes a water drop at a fire burning in Calabasas, California on June 4, 2016. Photo by Gene Blevins/Reuters

    California officials have lifted evacuation orders near a rapidly-spreading fire in Southern California that has burned over 500 acres and forced the evacuation of 5,000 people from their homes, fire officials said Sunday.

    A helicopter is silhouetted by glowing embers as it makes a water drop at the "Old Fire", which burned in Calabasas, California, U.S., June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Gene Blevins - RTSG21V

    A helicopter is silhouetted by glowing embers as it makes a water drop at a fire burning in Calabasas, California, U.S., June 4, 2016. Photo by Gene Blevins/Reuters

    The blaze started Saturday in Calabasas after a car crashed into a power pole and started three separate fires, the Associated Press reported.

    Consuming hills covered in dry brush, the fire grew to 200 acres within hours, with flames reaching as high as 50 feet.

    Firefighters watch as the "Old Fire" burns a hillside in Calabasas, California U.S., June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni - RTSG1ZV

    Firefighters watch as a fire burns a hillside in Calabasas, California U.S., June 4, 2016. Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Early Sunday morning, more than 500 firefighters had contained about 30 percent of the fire, assisted by water drops from helicopters and air tankers, officials said.

    At a news conference, officials said that three firefighters had been injured. Two homes and one commercial building were also damaged by the fire.

    The post Some evacuations end as crews contain Southern California fire appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Read the full transcript below: 

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Seventeen states will have new voting regulations in place for the presidential election this November. Twelve states will join the ranks of those requiring voters to show a government-issued photo I.D., including Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Texas.

    And in Kansas and Ohio, some voters are being removed from the rolls.

    For some insight into these new regulations, yesterday, I spoke with Reuters national affairs editor Jason Szep.

    You know, the idea that new voter I.D. laws have been coming on the books, I mean, this is something that we have been hearing about really almost since President Obama got into office. What’s the difference now?

    JASON SZEP, National Affairs Editor, Reuters: Well, the big difference now is, 2013, you had a Supreme Court decision, the Shelby decision.

    Since the Shelby decision, states no longer have to clear the — any kind of changes to voting laws with the Department of Justice. So, we’re seeing a lot more changes to the laws, a lot more friction over this issue in a number of states and a lot more litigation now over this issue.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What’s happening in Ohio that’s different this cycle?

    JASON SZEP: Well, Ohio has a law on its books. It’s had this law on its books for quite some time.

    And this is a law that essentially means, if you haven’t voted for three elections, you will automatically be purged from the voter registration rolls. Now, this law has been on the books for quite some time, but what’s different this year is, in 2008, you had huge turnout. It was a historic election.

    You had a very large number of African-Americans voting. And if those — those voters, many of those voters are what we call — are what are called infrequent voters — sat out the next few elections, when they go to the polls this time, they will find that they’re not registered.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, what about in Kansas? You have to prove that you’re a citizen before you can vote. Why has it become so difficult?

    JASON SZEP: The requirements to register in all states are, for the most part, you show an I.D., and you sign a document that basically swears that you’re a citizen.

    What’s happening in Kansas is that they have taken it a step further, and required proof of citizenship. And there are actually three states that have this law on their books, Kansas, Georgia, and Alabama.

    And a lot of young voters were getting caught up in this. A lot of young voters wouldn’t necessarily have the kind of proof of citizenship documents that they might need when they go and register at a local sort of DMV.

    There has been litigation around this. A court ruled in May that the DMVs should no longer require you to have your proof citizenship, but, in Kansas, that — the law is still in effect in other areas. It’s still in effect, for example, if you wanted to mail in your registration or if you want to a different location.

    It’s kind of — it’s led to the sort of two-tier — what is called a two-tier sort of voting system, where some people are required to show their proof of citizenship, some aren’t, where some people have the ability to vote in state elections and some can’t.

    County officials have described a sort of — sort of a sense of chaos around this. But it has been litigated. And I think the concern from the Democratic Party, the people that we have spoken to on this, is that there’s a concern that it will be used as a template in other states, this would be rolled out, and that, again, it could sort of affect mostly younger voters and unaffiliated voters.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Is this focused on race or is this focused on party?

    For example, in Texas, you can use your conceal-carry permit, but you can’t use your state-issued student I.D.

    JASON SZEP: I mean, the answer to that really is — is — depends on who you talk to.

    The Democrat Party officials will say, well, look, it has a lot to do with race, and that has in turn a lot to do with party. But if you talk to the Republican Party officials in a number of states, they will say, look, this is really about fraud, and there are concerns about voter fraud and tightening the restrictions to prevent that from happening.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Jason Szep of Reuters, joining us from Washington, thanks so much.

    JASON SZEP: Thank you.

    The post How new voter ID laws may affect the 2016 presidential contest appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Duran Andrade, right, and Katie Huddleston raise their fists while protesting outside the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame, California April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Noah Berger - RTX2C7OC

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    By Zachary Green

    Latinos make up the largest ethnic group in California, constituting 38 percent of the state’s populace.

    California also has one of the most significant immigrant populations in the U.S., as well as some of the most progressive policies towards undocumented immigrants. People living in the state without documentation can get driver’s licenses and receive in-­state tuition for public universities, and undocumented children can qualify for the state’s Medicaid system. But it wasn’t always this way.

    Over 20 years ago, California nearly adopted one of the most stringent immigration laws in the country. In 1994, with the support of then-Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, California voters passed Proposition 187, a ballot initiative that would have made undocumented residents ineligible for public benefits. The initiative passed with 60 percent of the vote, but Prop 187 had a much different impact on the state than its supporters intended.

    Credit: Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    Credit: Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    The initiative never took effect because a federal judge placed a permanent injunction against it. The fight against the measure also mobilized the Latino community against the state’s Republican Party, who were considered the main supporters of Prop 187. As the state’s Latino demographic grew larger and larger, California went from a swing state to one of the most solidly Democratic states in the country.

    Today, Democrats hold large majorities in both houses of the state legislature and no Republican holds statewide office.

    Read the full transcript below:

    HILLARY CLINTON: You know that this primary in California on June 7 is really important, because California is all about the future!

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Does everything that happens in America happen first here in California? Maybe not everything, but a lot sure has–and does. The environmental movement, for example, got a huge jump start after a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969. Other examples date back more than a century, and a couple are highly relevant today.

    From the progressive era more than a hundred years ago, to the student revolts of the 1960s, to the tax revolt of the 70s, California has often been an early warning system…just as it may be about a hot button political issue in this year’s campaign.

    DONALD TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Soon after those incendiary words about immigration…Trump vaulted into first place in the polls…a position he never yielded. But they echo an argument heard more than 20 years ago that helped win an election in California —and change the political contours of this state in ways that might be a portent for the nation.

    Seeking re-election in 1994, Republican Governor Pete Wilson was facing a battered economy, and a state budget strained by a wave of immigrants—legal and not—crowding schools and hospitals.

    He took a hard-line, anti-immigration stance — to deny almost all state services to undocumented immigrants — and embraced a state ballot measure, Proposition 187, that would have done just that.  The Prop 187 ad campaign was unsparing.

    PROP 187 AD: They keep coming, two million illegal immigrants in California.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Wilson won re-election—and Prop 187 passed with 60 percent of the vote. But that election galvanized the Latino community and shifted the state’s politics.

    Latinos are now the state’s largest ethnic group — more than 38 percent of Californians — and even with a lower turnout rate than White and Black voters, Latinos have an increasing share of the actual vote in California’s elections — about 20 percent in the last Presidential election.

    Manuel Pastor heads the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California.

    MANUEL PASTOR: You know, it’s important to realize that the demographic change in California between 1980 and 2000 is basically the demographic change the United States is going through between 2000 and 2050.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: The U-S Census Bureau projects that by 2050, the Latino population will more than double…and become 26 percent of the country.

    MANUEL PASTOR: A mobilization of the Latino community, a rush toward naturalization, and a rush toward civic engagement and voter engagement on the part of these newly naturalized citizens. That transformed the politics of California.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: What happened in the last 22 years is that California effectively became a one-party state. The only exception being Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger —a strong proponent of immigration reform, by the way.

    Today, every major statewide official in California is Democrat. The party holds huge majorities in the state legislature and Congressional delegation.  And California has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992.

    This Republican decline could spread if the party does not reverse course, according to longtime California Republican policy advisor Mike Madrid.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: So you’ve seen in your adult life, as a Republican, California go from a competitive state to possibly with the exception of Schwarzenegger, is one of the bluest states there is.

    MIKE MADRID: Yeah.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: To what extent do you think the immigration issue helped propel California in that direction?

    MIKE MADRID: Oh, there’s a direct correlation, there’s no question about it. The mid-1990s were really a definitive time for the party– the Republican party of California.  And I think that’s really a precursor, a preview of what’s likely to come nationally.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Just as important, the state’s view of immigrants has undergone a fundamental change. Dan Schnur, was Governor Wilson’s chief spokesman and has spent his career in California Republican politics.  He now directs a think tank at USC.

    DAN SCHNUR: A young Californian who went to school grew up in a neighborhood of people of a whole range of races and ethnicities, they don’t think of undocumented immigration as a crisis, or even a problem.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: The presumptive nominee of the Republican Party is not, does not appear to be sharing that view. So what does that portend for the party?

    DAN SCHNUR: Well, there’s a growing number of Republicans who do believe that the party has to change its approach on issues relating to immigration reform. That said, when pro-immigration reform Republicans talk, they tend to frame the issue not as an economic or a social or a moral imperative. They’re being told it’s a political necessity to help elect people to office who they’ll never meet to serve a party with which they’re becoming increasingly disenchanted.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Back when Proposition 187 passed, Angelica Salas… a child of undocumented Mexicans…decided to get involved in politics–she is now executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

    ANGELICA SALAS: Fifty percent of the population of California is either an immigrant or a child of immigrants. So what the state really sees itself as an immigrant state, and that if we’re going to advance collectively, not just for immigrants, but collectively, that we have to embrace immigrant integration.

    ART TORRES: This is Cesar Chavez and that’s me when I was 25 years old and Ted Kennedy.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Part of that integration can be seen in the corridors of power. When Art Torres was first elected to the legislature in 1974, he was one of the few Latinos in Sacramento.

    ART TORRES: Then there was only three Latinos in the assembly and only two in the state senate. Now, we have close to 26. What’s accounted for that is reapportionment and also increased voter registration in those districts which had a propensity — to have a larger Latino community.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: This spring, volunteers from Salas’s organization have been knocking on doors in those communities — urging legal immigrants to become naturalized citizens, and to vote. That’s happening not just in California, but across the country.

    Latinos nationwide are expected to come out to vote in record numbers this fall–over 13 million voters, by one estimate…up from 11.2 million in the last presidential election.

    ANGELICA SALAS: What I see for the rest of–the nation is that we’re going through this situation where certain politicians think that in order to win they need to attack us. They need to offend us. And I think that that is actually gonna backfire on them.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Between a shift in demographics and attitudes, undocumented immigrants have found a far friendlier climate in California than two decades ago.

    Proposition 187 never went into effect; permanently blocked by a federal judge’s injunction.

    Later under a Democratic legislature, laws were passed to let undocumented immigrants obtain driver’s licenses…pay discounted in-state tuition at state universities…and have their children’s medical bills paid by Medicaid.

    In state politics, the harsh anti-immigration rhetoric has all but disappeared.  But the prevailing view in California—that the immigration issue has been completely resolved—is not unanimous.

    JOEL KOTKIN: Well, the big equation is economic.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Scholar and author Joel Kotkin argues that unskilled immigrants came to California during a manufacturing and construction boom that has since ebbed … and that the state’s economy could end up paying the price for its large unemployed and undocumented population.

    JOEL KOTKIN: The economic opportunities are rather poor. So what you have is, you have a population that’s almost isolated, you know, with almost no way out for many of them. Maybe for their children, but maybe not for them.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Is this putting a very heavy burden on state resources?

    JOEL KOTKIN: Well, it’s a tremendous burden on the state. We’re gonna start to see it move particularly in the area of housing, where there’s a lot of pressure now to build subsidized, low-income housing for this same population. And when the economy weakens again as it will, I think they’re gonna be very vulnerable.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Former state legislator Torres, who also chaired the state Democratic party for more than a decade, believes that California’s large immigrant population benefits the state’s economy… he argues that some of the conservative talking points on immigration are wrong.

    For example, the number of undocumented immigrants in California has fallen 11 percent since 2010.  Torres says that’s due in part to lower birth rates and a growing economy in Mexico, as well as an increase in U-S border enforcement.

    ART TORRES: Those three factors, I think, have all contributed to a substantially lower– immigration, illegal immigration into the United States so that those people who call for a wall or other kinds of attitudes, it’s not necessary.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: If there’s no consensus about the impact of immigration on California’s long-term economy, there clearly is one about the political lessons California has for the nation…where the tough immigration line that worked in one election proved disastrous for the Republicans in what followed.

    MIKE MADRID: Just as we were starting to see the Prop 187, Governor Wilson days disappear and, you know, barely visible in the rearview mirror, up comes this new national dynamic of the Trump candidacy and everything that comes with it– which is really branding– everything bad about the Republican party into the minds of a new young generation of Latinos, which are going to be the largest, fastest growing of the electorate.

    The post What California voter trends could mean for the national election appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Iraqi national police and army

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    Read the full transcript below: 

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The Reuters news agency reports that the 17- month U.S. effort to train and build up the Iraqi army has fallen short. Current and former U.S. officers and officials told Reuters that despite U.S. efforts, the army’s combat capacity has barely improved, and that the government relies too heavily on Shiite militias to do the fighting.

    For more about the readiness of the Iraqi army, I am joined via Skype by Ned Parker of Reuters, who co-wrote the report.

    For someone watching at home, give us a little bit of the lay of the land here. What’s the mix between the Iraqi army and the militias? Who is doing most of the fighting?

    NED PARKER, REUTERS: Well, it’s a mixed bag, really. The problem is is that the Iraqi army only has about five functioning divisions, according to U.S. officers. And those divisions are about 60 to 65 percent capacity. So on the ground now, when fighting happens, the Iraqi military has basically a shortage of labor. And the one good fighting force that’s there, that’s effective from the state, is the Iraqi Special Forces. And according to U.S. officers, those forces are in real danger of burning out because they are the only force the state has been able to rely upon time and time again over the last two years.

    So the other force fighting alongside the special forces are militia groups that many of them are funded by Iran. They have hard-line sectarian ideology, and have been deeply controversial. So on the ground, what happens is many places like north of Baghdad, in areas like Tikrit or Beiji that were retaken from the Islamic State, by the Iraqi special forces, as soon as the battle is over in effect, the militias take over. And people in these areas, whether local officials, ordinary citizens, see not the state but the militia forces as the ultimate power.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In part of your story, you also talk about the supply chain and that it’s not all getting to the Iraqi army. Sometimes that the weapons that the United States is sending is actually getting to these militias.

    NED PARKER: What has happened is that as supplies go down the chain to big depots, such as Taji, which is the largest weapons warehouse for the Iraqi military in Iraq, on bases like that, if militias have influence, whether through corruption or just intimidation, they can take what they want. Now, U.S. officers I’ve spoken to say that there was a huge effort last summer to tamp down on this and to stop it, and there are very few cases. But it still continues.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And so what’s the U.S. supposed to do in this?

    NED PARKER: Some officers say that the Americans are not thinking about this enough and aren’t doing enough politically to push the deal. And when you speak with U.S. military spokesmen, they’ll say our job is not to police Iraq. And the military track movers far faster than the diplomatic track.

    But then if the military track is shaping a reality on the ground that is only further antagonizing and pushing Sunnis toward perhaps a new radical force that could emerge after the Islamic State, then it’s — that’s a problem. Because the political solution is so far behind, the new realities are creating new problems.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Ned Parker of Reuters joining us. Thanks so much.

    NED PARKER: Thank you.

    The post Have U.S. efforts to train Iraq’s army fallen short? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite fighters fire artillery towards Islamic State militants near Falluja, Iraq, June 1, 2016. Photo By Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

    Iraqi security forces and Shi’ite fighters fire artillery towards Islamic State militants near Fallujah, Iraq, June 1, 2016. Photo By Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

    After charging across the Middle East, gaining ground in Syria and Iraq for more than two years, the Islamic State is now fighting on multiple fronts to hold on to the territory it has captured.

    On Saturday, amid heavy fighting, Syrian government forces jostled their way closer to the front lines in the province of Raqqa, an area seized by the Islamic State in 2014, while Kurdish fighters supported by the U.S. are said to be close to capturing a key supply route north of the city.

    After ISIS militants drew closer to the Turkish border last week, the Associated Press reported that rebel forces in Syria have advanced against the group in Manbij, a city located about 20 miles away.

    “We made big progress and we are trying to ensure the safety of civilians before we begin our assault on the town,” Sharfan Darweesh, a spokesman for the Military Council for Manbij, said in a statement. The group is affiliated with U.S.-backed forces in Syria.

    Fighters of the Syria Democratic Forces take an overwatch position as their fellow fighters advance in the southern rural area of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria May 31, 2016. Photo By Rodi Said/Reuters

    Fighters of the Syria Democratic Forces take an overwatch position as their fellow fighters advance in the southern rural area of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, on May 31, 2016. Photo By Rodi Said/Reuters

    Meanwhile, Iraqi forces continue edging to the front lines in Fallujah with the backing of coalition airstrikes led by the U.S.

    According to a report released in March by the think tank IHS Jane 360, the Islamic State had lost more than 20 percent of its territory since last year and hasn’t made a significant advance since June 2015. U.S. officials said in April that Iraq had taken back about 40 percent of its territory once held by the militant group.

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

    Even as members of the Islamic State have made gains in Libya, in an audio recording the group’s spokesperson, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, said in May that its fighters have lost territory.

    Since January, spurred by offensives by the mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, the Islamic State has also incurred losses across the northeast section of Syria, as Syrian troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad pushed further east from Damascus with Russian air support — a surge that saw them retake the ancient city of Palmyra in March.

    In their most recent advance on Sunday, Iraqi troops pushed toward Fallujah’s southern border. Fallujah is considered to be one of the last bastions in Iraq held by the Islamic group, according to the AP.

    Thousands of people have fled Fallujah in recent days in anticipation of Iraq’s military assault. Four people drowned during the escape as they were crossing the Euphrates River.

    Iraqi military Lt. Gen. Abdel Wahab al-Saadi told the AP on Sunday his forces are nearing entry into the city, though some reports warned that Iraqi troops are ill-equipped and undermanned.

    The post Islamic State group facing assaults on multiple fronts appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told a congregation at Greater Saint Paul Baptist Church in Oakland, California, June 5, 2016, that she would take on the gun lobby. Photo Mike Blake/Reuters

    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told a congregation at Greater Saint Paul Baptist Church in Oakland, California, June 5, 2016, that she would take on the gun lobby. Photo Mike Blake/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton is pledging to challenge the gun lobby as she opened another California campaign day at an Oakland church.

    Clinton told an enthusiastic crowd at Greater St. Paul Baptist Church that the country is “getting indifferent to the great toll of gun violence.”

    The former secretary of state is closing in on the Democratic presidential nomination and has been campaigning aggressively to win California, which votes Tuesday.

    She’s also been drawing an enthusiastic response for a recent speech slamming Republican Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

    Clinton did not mention Trump or Democratic rival Bernie Sanders at the church. She recalled a summer interning at an Oakland law firm in 1971 when she and Bill Clinton were first dating, along with some “really wonderful memories.”

    The post Clinton promises to take on gun lobby appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Donald Trump says “it’s possible” he wouldn’t be treated fairly if the federal judge hearing a lawsuit against Trump University was Muslim.

    The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has called for banning Muslims from entering the United States.

    Trump responds “it’s possible, yes,” when asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” whether he’d feel a Muslim judge would treat him unfairly because of his policies.

    Trump has also proposed building a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico. He’s been arguing that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing the case, is biased against Trump because of the border proposal and the judge’s heritage.

    Curiel is an Indiana native whose parents are Mexican.

    The post Trump says ‘it’s possible’ a Muslim judge would treat him unfairly appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    David Gilkey, an NPR journalist whose photographs chronicled decades of global events, died in Afghanistan on Sunday.

    Zabihulla Tamanna, who was working as an interpreter for NPR, was also killed. The two were accompanying a unit in the Afghan army when it was hit by shelling.

    Reporter Tom Bowman and producer Monika Evstatieva, who was documenting the group’s reporting trip on Twitter, were also traveling with Gilkey and Tamanna but were unhurt, according to an NPR press release.

    “David has been covering war and conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. He was devoted to helping the public see these wars and the people caught up in them. He died pursuing that commitment,” Michael Oreskes, NPR’s Senior Vice President of News and Editorial Director said in a statement. “As a man and as a photojournalist, David brought out the humanity of all those around him. He let us see the world and each other through his eyes.”

    In 2009, Gilkey traveled to Gaza to cover the conflict between Israel and Hamas. He contributed to a “Brain Wars,” a joint project between ProPublica and NPR on treatment of brain injuries in veterans that was honored with a George Polk Award in 2010.

    His photographs of Ebola-affected nations played a vital role in the public’s understanding of the epidemic in West Africa. NPR received a Peabody Award for the coverage in 2014.

    Gilkey spoke to NPR about his experience covering the devastation in Haiti that followed the 2010 earthquake.

    “You can put yourself in the zone. I am doing this and what I’m doing is not pleasant — but you just march through it,” he said. “It’s hard, but you can’t get caught up in it and become part of it. You still need to maintain your state of mind that you are helping tell this story.”

    “It’s not just reporting, it’s not just taking pictures,” he said. “It’s… do the visuals, do the stories, do they change somebody’s mind enough to take action? If we’re doing our part, it gets people to do their part, hopefully.”

    He was embedded with the U.S. Army in 2013, one of the first journalists to join the army as it crossed the border from Kuwait to Iraq.

    Gilkey’s coverage of war-torn scenes and international conflict was interwoven by a sense of anticipation for the future. In 2013, he wrote about his experience covering the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban City, Philippines. He noted that “amidst a collage of wreckage, despite all odds, there is hope in the eyes of the victims that things will get better. The will to survive prevails over what seems to be the impossible.”

    His colleagues expressed consolation on social media.

    The post NPR photojournalist, interpreter killed while reporting in Afghanistan appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Boxers train at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, New York, June 5, 2016. Photo by Andi Wang/NewsHour Weekend

    Boxers train at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, New York, on June 5, 2016. Photo by Andi Wang/NewsHour Weekend

    When Muhammad Ali visited New York City, he sometimes visited Gleason’s Gym, believed to be the oldest active boxing gym in the country.

    The first time Ali stepped foot in the gym was 1964 — before he became one of the most famous athletes in the world and the gym moved from the Bronx to its current location, its third, in Brooklyn.

    Photos of Ali — standing victorious over Sonny Liston, swinging a punch at George Foreman in Zaire — hang on the walls that surround the young boxers who train at this city institution.

    In his office on Sunday morning, longtime owner Bruce Silverglade told PBS NewsHour about his encounters with Ali over the years.

    He first met Ali in the late 1970s, and said it was the boxing legend’s charisma that stood out to him even more than his athletic prowess.

    Gleason's Gym owner Bruce Silverglade remembers his 40-year friendship with Muhammad Ali, on June 5, 2016. Photo by Andi Wang/NewsHour Weekend

    Gleason’s Gym owner Bruce Silverglade remembers his 40-year friendship with Muhammad Ali in Brooklyn, New York, on June 5, 2016. Photo by Andi Wang/NewsHour Weekend

    “He was able to win the hearts and minds of most people in the world because of what he did in the ring,” Silverglade said. “He used that platform to become a spokesman for his race and his religion.”

    Ali made huge contributions to the sport, a point Silverglade said cannot be overstated. “When kids come into my gym today, they say, ‘I want to fight like Muhammad Ali. I want Muhammad Ali’s style,’” he said.

    Still, Silverglade said people don’t need a sophisticated understanding of boxing to draw on lessons from Ali’s life.

    “Muhammad Ali, a kid from a low socioeconomic area, a kid coming out of Louisville, Kentucky — this young man has changed the world,” Silverglade said. “If he can rise to fame, why can’t I? If he can make a statement, why can’t I? He’s an inspiration to a lot of people. You don’t have to know him to understand and enjoy that inspiration.”

    Posters hang at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Andi Wang/NewsHour Weekend

    Posters hang at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Andi Wang/NewsHour Weekend

    Elsewhere across New York this weekend, friends and fans paid tribute to the life of the famed boxer, who died Friday at age 74.

    Near Times Square on Saturday night, patrons remembered Ali at Jimmy’s Corner, a 44-year-old bar owned by Jimmy Glenn, a respected boxing coach who was an occasional trainer and friend to Ali. 

    “He was a king among men,” Glenn told the New York Times. “A fighter, a poet, a politician — he was everything.”

    Among photos of boxing greats past and present above the counter, a snapshot of Glenn and Ali together stands out in the Midtown shrine to the sport.

    “I learned about Muhammad Ali’s passing last night, and decided to come to Jimmy’s Corner — have a drink and honor him,” said patron Charles Camacho, who described himself as a longtime boxing fan.

    Camacho remembered how as a child, he would listen to his dad cheer on Ali during fights. “He’s somebody who transcends the sport. He’s somebody who made boxing a household name,” he said. “He stood up for what he believed in. He stood up for his own rights. ”

    Photos of Muhammad Ali adorn the wall at Jimmy's Corner bar in New York, on June 5, 2016. Photo by Andi Wang/NewsHour Weekend

    Photos of Muhammad Ali adorn the wall at Jimmy’s Corner bar in New York, on June 5, 2016. Photo by Andi Wang/NewsHour Weekend

    In the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn on Saturday morning, quiet crowds gathered at a brightly-colored mural of the boxing legend.

    New York-based illustrator and street artist known as BROLGA, painted the mural last December, according to a post on his Instagram page.

    “I painted this mural about the life and times of Ali,” he wrote. “While painting, I was approached by people of all ethnicities and genders. It was amazing to see the diverse scope of Ali’s popularity and the respect the people hold for him.”

    The painting — one of many in this artsy neighborhood — took on new meaning as people slowed at the intersection to memorialize a legend.

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

    Fans placed candles and a bouquet of white flowers in front of the mural, marking it as a site of unofficial mourning. Between the waves of weekend foot traffic typical of this north Brooklyn neighborhood, individuals and couples paused at the corner, snapping photos or simply taking in the art for a few breaths.

    “My brother was a fighter, and so was my dad,” said Emili Bondar, a resident of Los Angeles who stopped to take a photograph. “I grew up in that culture — around boxing. And I know Muhammad Ali was a great symbol to them.”

    Hetal Bhatt, 31, in town from the Bay area, said Ali was special to so many because he was a celebrity who stayed true to himself.

    “He taught me to never dilute yourself for anybody,” Bhatt said.

    The post Friends and fans remember boxing legend Muhammad Ali across NYC appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    In Uganda, where refugees are allowed to work, a man started a community radio station in one of the refugee camps. This man is listening to election results in February in Uganda's capital Kampala. Photo by James Akena/Reuters

    In Uganda, where refugees are allowed to work, a man started a community radio station in one of the refugee camps. This man is listening to election results in February in Uganda’s capital Kampala. Photo by James Akena/Reuters

    As the world debates what to do with the staggering number of refugees who have been dislodged from their normal lives, Uganda is an example of a country allowing displaced people to work.

    Uganda has hosted refugees since the first influx of Rwandans in 1959, and now has more than 500,000 refugees from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan and elsewhere, said Alexander Betts, a professor of forced migration and international affairs at Oxford University.

    Uganda “quickly recognized that, with large amounts of unoccupied arable land, it could benefit from allowing refugees the right to work in under-populated rural areas.”

    The refugees work as farmers, taxi drivers and run Internet cafes. They generally do not need formal work permits, and their refugee status documents entitle them to work, he said.

    “From Kenya to Uganda to Tanzania to Thailand, in all of these contexts, we see refugees helping themselves and their communities when they’re given opportunities,” Betts told PBS NewsHour special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro in an April interview.

    In Uganda’s capital Kampala, 20 percent of refugee-owned businesses have at least one employee. Of those employed, 40 percent are citizens of the host country, said Betts. (Read more of his research.)

    “These (refugees) are often people with skills, talents, aspirations,” he said. “If we don’t recognize their skills, if we don’t give them the training opportunities, if we don’t offer them the right to work, they end up appearing to be a burden.”

    But in places like Lebanon, the refugees could flood the job market. Lebanon has a population of 4 million and is hosting about 1.2 million refugees.

    “Out of every four Lebanese, one is Syrian,” Antoine Frem, mayor of the coastal city of Jounieh in Lebanon, said in September at the U.S. Institute of Peace. (You can watch his full presentation.)

    The Lebanese government is struggling to balance the needs of employers looking for workers and Lebanese citizens with whom the refugees are competing for jobs.

    Women scrub the sidewalk outside a compound housing Syrian refugees in Sidon, southern Lebanon on Feb. 3. Photo by Ali Hashisho/Reuters

    Women scrub the sidewalk outside a compound housing Syrian refugees in Sidon, southern Lebanon on Feb. 3. Photo by Ali Hashisho/Reuters

    In Lebanon, private companies can hire documented refugees. “All the construction sites have Syrian workers,” said Frem. But state-run institutions, such as public schools, cannot hire refugees because they are not enrolled in the Social Security and national benefits system, he said.

    “The Syrian refugees are replacing the Lebanese workforce in many places. You go to restaurants now, and the waiter serving you has a Syrian accent,” said Frem. “This is creating a job loss for Lebanese. And many of the Lebanese now, especially the talented ones, are emigrating.”

    In other countries, such as in Europe nations, which have much fewer refugees, people are wary of the newcomers for other reasons, said Betts.

    “There’s a lot of fear from people who don’t necessarily meet refugees in their day-to-day life, but who read newspaper stories and end up with … a fear of foreigners, a fear of the unknown,” he said.

    See all of the PBS NewsHour’s coverage of the migrant crisis.

    The post Should refugees be allowed to work? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo of U.S. Supreme Court by Larry Downing/Reuters

    Photo of U.S. Supreme Court by Larry Downing/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will hear appeals from two African-American death-row inmates in Texas, including one who argued his sentence was based on his race.

    The justices on Monday said they will review death sentences for inmates Bobby Moore and Duane Buck. Neither case poses a broad challenge to the death penalty.

    Moore was sentenced to death more than 35 years ago and says he is ineligible to be executed because he is intellectually disabled.

    A jury voted to sentence Buck to death after a defense expert testified that black people were more likely to commit violence. Buck’s lawyers have fought for years to win a new sentencing hearing.

    Buck came close to being executed in 2011, before the justices stepped in with a last-minute reprieve.

    But the court later denied a full-blown review of Buck’s case in 2014.

    This time around, the appeal focuses on a claim that Buck’s legal representation was constitutionally deficient.

    He was convicted of capital murder and sent to death row for the slaying of his ex-girlfriend and a man at her Houston apartment in July 1995. During the punishment phase of Buck’s 1997 trial, psychologist Walter Quijano testified under cross-examination by a Harris County prosecutor that black people were more likely to commit violence.

    Quijano, called as a defense witness, had testified earlier that Buck’s personality and the nature of his crime, committed during rage, indicated he would be less of a future danger.

    Buck’s case was among six in 2000 that then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, now a Republican U.S. senator, said needed to be reopened because of racially charged statements made during the trial sentencing phase. In the other five cases, new punishment hearings were held and each convict again was sentenced to death.

    The attorney general’s office has said Buck’s case was factually and legally different from the five others and that Buck’s trial lawyers first elicited the testimony from the psychologist. They also said the racial reference was a small part of larger testimony about prison populations.

    Moore claims that Texas’ top criminal appeals court is using outdated medical standards in evaluating whether he is eligible to be executed. Moore says that Supreme Court decisions in 2002 and 2014 bar executing intellectually disabled inmates, who are evaluated under current standards.

    The court initially announced that it would consider a second issue raised by Moore, that executing him after he has lived under a death sentence for so many years would inflict “needless pain and suffering in violation of the Eighth Amendment.” But the court said later Monday that it had made a mistake and would not consider the length of Moore’s time on death row.

    The cases, Moore v. Texas, 15-797, and Buck v. Stephens, 15-8049, will be argued in the fall.

    The post Justices to review claims from Texas death row inmates appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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