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

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    A Boeing 737 MAX sits outside the hangar during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight - RTX1XRU8

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: Good evening. I’m Gwen Ifill. Judy Woodruff is on assignment.

    On the “NewsHour” tonight: Donald Trump’s money troubles. Hillary Clinton outraises him by tens of millions of dollars and attacks him as bad for the economy. His defense? Just you wait.

    Also ahead this Tuesday: Venezuela’s desperation. The country’s deepening debt and political crisis pushes hungry citizens to riot in search of food.

    And Making the Grade — the latest in our weekly education series examines how to turn students into scientists by ditching textbooks.

    CHRISTY MATHES, Teacher, Sage Valley Junior High School: It’s not the child needs to memorize these things. It’s the student needs to be able to do some pretty intense stuff. We are actually doing the science.

    GWEN IFILL: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”

    (BREAK)

    GWEN IFILL: Iran has closed its largest deal with an American company in over three decades. Airplane manufacturer Boeing announced it’s signed an agreement to sell commercial jets to Iran Air, the country’s main carrier. Iran’s transportation minister said the sale could be worth up to $25 billion. It marks Iran’s first major deal with a U.S. company since last year’s landmark nuclear agreement.

    Attorney General Loretta Lynch traveled to Orlando today, as the Justice Department pushed ahead with its murder investigation. Omar Mateen killed 49 people at a gay nightclub there more than a week ago. This afternoon, Lynch visited a memorial at Orlando’s City Hall. She signed a note of condolence, and stopped at a display of wreaths honoring each victim.

    LORETTA LYNCH, Attorney General: The message of Orlando that I have seen today, and what the American people have seen in the wake of this horrific assault, is a message of determination to remove hatred and intolerance from our midst, to live our lives freely and without fear and to stay true to the principles of liberty, justice and equality that define America at our best.

    GWEN IFILL: Lynch said investigators are still working to determine whether they missed any warning signs that would have confirmed Mateen was a threat.

    Maine Republican Susan Collins led Senate colleagues from both sides of the aisle today in unveiling a compromise on gun control. The measure, which would bar anyone on the government’s no-fly list from buying guns, comes after the Senate rejected four bills from Republicans and Democrats last night.

    Collins said it was time to put aside party differences and end the Senate gridlock.

    SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), Maine: All of us are united in our desire to getting something significant done on this vital issue. Surely, the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and in Orlando that took so many lives are a call for compromise, a plea for bipartisan action.

    GWEN IFILL: But Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas, whose own proposal failed last night, cautioned that people on government watch lists who have not been charged with a crime shouldn’t be denied due process.

    SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), Texas: I remain concerned about a provision on the back end, after you have been denied a constitutional right. But we will see how the votes come out. I think it’s a slippery slope when an American citizen is denied a constitutional right without forcing the government to come forward with some evidence on the front end, as opposed to leaving that on the back end.

    GWEN IFILL: The Senate could vote on the gun control compromise bill as early as this week.

    Longtime Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah was convicted today of racketeering. A federal jury found the 11-term lawmaker guilty of all the charges against him, including fraud, money laundering, and bribery. Prosecutors said Fattah routed federal grant money to nonprofits he controlled, so he could pay off debts from his failed mayoral bid in 2007. The 59-year-old Democrat will be sentenced in October.

    The Obama administration today OKed routine commercial use of small drones, after years of grappling with rules to govern them. The Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations mean operators can fly without special permission. The rules require drones to stay within visual sight — visual line of sight, no higher than 400 feet. Flights are prohibited over unprotected people, and pilots must pass an aviation exam at an FAA testing center.

    The U.S.-led coalition today reported only a third of Fallujah has been cleared of Islamic State militants. That assessment comes days after the Iraqi government declared victory, and nearly a month after the Iraqi army launched its offensive there. Meanwhile, in Syria, activists said ISIS militants have now retaken all the territories in Raqqa province that it previously lost to Syrian government forces.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron made a last-ditch appeal to Britons today, urging them to vote to stay in the European Union. It came 48 hours ahead of Thursday’s referendum to decide whether or not Britain will remain a part of the E.U.

    Speaking in front of 10 Downing Street, Cameron warned leaving the bloc would be irreversible.

    DAVID CAMERON, British Prime Minister: To put it as clearly as I can, our economic security is paramount. It is stronger if we stay. If we leave, we put it at risk. That is a risk to jobs, a risk to families, a risk to our children’s future, and there is no going back.

    GWEN IFILL: The latest poll tilts narrowly in favor of Britain remaining in the E.U., but that support is dwindling.

    Back in this country, strenuous new physical testing for Marine combat posts are weeding out most female recruits. That’s according to new data obtained by the Associated Press. The Pentagon opened combat jobs to women six months ago. But about 86 percent of female Marine recruits, or roughly six out of seven women, failed the tests. That’s compared to 3 percent of men.

    On Wall Street, stocks finished the day with modest gains after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the Central Bank will remain cautious in raising interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 24 points to close above 17829. The Nasdaq rose six points, and the S&P 500 added five.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: Donald Trump’s campaign cash crunch; the International Olympic Committee upholds an Olympics ban on Russian track and field athletes; revamping science standards for more effective classroom learning; and much more.

    The post News Wrap: Boeing to sell passenger aircraft to Iran; DOJ investigates Orlando shooting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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

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

    ARVADA, Colorado — Eight years ago, Barbara Conley was one of the millions of Americans swept up in Barack Obama’s promises of hope and change when he accepted the Democratic nomination at a packed football stadium a few miles from her home in the Denver suburbs.

    But those optimistic days are almost unrecognizable to Conley now.

    With Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton preparing for their own nominating conventions, the 68-year-old independent is filled with so much frustration at the candidates and the political system that propelled them to victory that she can’t even imagine voting in November.

    “I’m so mad about both of the candidates,” said Conley, who finds Clinton too dishonest and Trump too unproven to be president. She paused while loading groceries into her car and declared, “It’s depressing.”

    Less than four months before Election Day, that same sense of anger and anxiety runs deep with voters across the country. Trump and Clinton will each try to paint a rosy picture of life under their leadership during their back-to-back conventions, but it seems unlikely either can quickly shake Americans out of their bad mood.

    A stunning 79 percent of Americans now believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, a 15-point spike in the past year, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Voters are strikingly unhappy with the candidates who will be on the ballot this fall, with only 22 percent saying they would be proud to see Trump win and 27 percent to see Clinton.

    Julie Defoe, a 51-year-old who works for a startup, said she feels backed into a corner by the nominees. A self-described conservative Democrat who voted for Republicans in the past two presidential elections, Defoe has considered simply not voting in November.

    “Or can we rally for a box that says, can we get a do-over?” said Defoe, who lives in Lafayette, Colorado.

    Kristie Boltz, a registered Republican from Black Lake, Ohio, said a choice between Clinton and Trump is so unappealing that she would rather Obama stay in office for a third term.

    “And I didn’t even vote for Obama. How crazy is that?” said Boltz, a 39-year-old who works in marketing.

    By some measures, America’s palpable pessimism can appear at odds with the country’s economic and security standing.

    The economy is growing, jobs are being created and unemployment is low. Tens of thousands of American troops have come home from dangerous war zones during Obama’s presidency. Crime is down nationwide.

    But the improving economy is no doubt a changing one, leaving some Americans without the skills they need for the jobs available. Terrorism fears have been heightened in the U.S. after a string of deadly incidents in the West, including Thursday night’s attack in Nice, France, that killed more than 80 people during a Bastille Day celebration.

    This summer in particular has seemed to bring a steady stream of gruesome news.

    A mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub left 49 people dead, as well as a gunman who pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State group despite no formal ties to the group. Shootings by police of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota were captured on video, followed by the murder of five police officers in Dallas.

    The incidents seemed to momentarily spark national soul searching about gun violence and race relations. But as Americans looked toward the presidential candidates and other political leaders, some saw little sign of readiness to meet a challenging time.

    “I wish the candidates would get together and be a team to help each other and help the country, that’s what I wish,” said Lonila Duarte, a 71-year-old from Denver who plans to vote for Trump. “And stop acting like children.”

    Emilie Passow, a 68-year-old Democrat from Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, said her disgust extends beyond the presidential candidates to Congress as well. “There’s so little attempt at conciliation and consensus,” she said.

    More than any other candidate in this election, Trump has latched onto the public’s fears. He promises to “Make America Great Again,” pledging to bring back manufacturing and mining jobs from areas where they’ve disappeared. With coded — and sometimes not so coded — language, he’s cast aspersions on immigrants seeking to come to the United States and on Muslims already here.

    “We’re trying to be so nice, we’re trying to be so civil. We’re so weak,” Trump said hours after the Nice attack. “The world has got to strengthen up, and we have to be very tight with our borders. It’s now a different world.”

    While Trump supporters cheer those lines, they leave other voters on edge.

    “It’s humiliating as an American that we would actually entertain that, that there are people who actually support him,” said Melissa Andreas, a 42-year-old dance instructor from Erie, Colorado. “I’m shocked.”

    Indeed, three-quarters of Americans consider Trump to be only slightly or not at all civil, and half say he’s at least somewhat racist, according to the AP-GfK poll.

    But three-quarters consider Clinton to be only slightly or not at all honest, and most think her use of a private email address and server while she was secretary of state broke the law, including 4 in 10 who think she did so intentionally.

    Andreas has never voted before in a presidential election. She liked Obama, but felt his Republican rivals John McCain and Mitt Romney were palatable enough that she didn’t see a need to cast a ballot in her swing state.

    That’s all changed in this election.

    “This election actually has me chiming in,” said Andreas, who plans to vote for Clinton. She said of the prospect of a Trump presidency: “I’m scared that our country is going to be in utter turmoil with him as our leader.”

    Seventy-six-year-old Mike Ryan shares many of those sentiments about Trump. But his view of Clinton isn’t much better.

    “I’ve always been a Democrat and always will be,” Ryan said. “But it’s going to be a toughy.”

    Like his fellow Coloradan Barbara Conley, some of Ryan’s feelings stem in part from his frustrations with Obama’s eight years in office. Though Ryan supports Obama, he’s been irritated by the years of battle between the Democratic president and Republican lawmakers that have often ended in stalemate.

    Asked whether he believes Clinton — or Trump — could do any better, Ryan said simply, “I’m disappointed with what we’re left with.”

    Associated Press writers Kathleen Ronayne and Marc Levy, and AP Polling Editor Emily Swanson contributed to this report.

    The post 8 years after ‘hope and change,’ voters are angry, anxious appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Cuba's shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez gestures after a speech by Cuba's President Raul Castro at the National Assembly in Havana, December 20, 2014. Stepping out of his legendary brother's shadow, President Raul Castro has scored a diplomatic triumph and a surge in popular support with the deal that ends decades of open hostility with the United States. REUTERS/Stringer (CUBA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4ISNQ

    Elian Gonzalez gestures after a speech by Cuba’s President Raul Castro at the National Assembly in Havana, on Dec. 20, 2014. Photo by Stringer/Reuters

    HAVANA — Elian Gonzalez, the young Cuban boy at the center of a tense 2000 international custody battle that became a cause celebre and raised tensions on both sides of the Florida Straits, is a college graduate.

    Cuban government website Cubadebate said Friday that the now 22-year-old Gonzalez received his diploma in industrial engineering from the University of Matanzas.

    Cubadebate said he read a letter from his class to former leader Fidel Castro at the graduation ceremony in which the newly minted professionals promised “to fight from whatever trench the revolution demands.”

    The website of the local newspaper Giron published a photograph of Gonzalez with a full beard.

    Gonzalez was 5 years old when he and his mother left Cuba in late 1999 along with others on a boat that eventually sank, killing most of its occupants.

    The boy was rescued and brought to the United States, and a bitter custody fight broke out between his relatives there and his father back home. The Cuban government organized massive marches to demand his return.

    Protests were also held in the United States calling for Gonzalez to remain, and the issue became a political football during the campaign for the 2000 presidential election.

    After a lengthy court battle, U.S. authorities ruled that Gonzalez belonged with his father, who flew to the United States and returned with his son in June 2000.

    A photo of heavily armed U.S. agents seizing the terrified boy from the arms of one of the men who rescued him from the sea became one of the most iconic news images of its time.

    The post Cuba’s Elian Gonzalez now a college graduate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) arrives for a news conference about their goal of permanently extending Bush-era tax rates at the Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S. on December 2, 2010.    REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo - RTSHXSY

    U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) arrives for a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on December 2, 2010. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/File Photp/Reuters

    ASHINGTON — Donald Trump may have just made women’s health a bigger issue in the 2016 election.

    His announcement Friday morning that he’d picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential candidate could boost his credibility with anti-abortion leaders who have been wary of him. But Pence’s selection won’t do Trump any favors with advocates of women’s health, who say the Indiana governor has supported some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the country.

    Pence drew national attention in March when he signed a law that makes it illegal to perform an abortion because of a fetal disability. The law also requires doctors to give women information about alternatives to abortion, like perinatal hospice care.

    Pence’s actions in Indiana — along with his record as a Republican congressman for 12 years before he was elected governor — are giving new hope to anti-abortion groups that weren’t all ready to unite behind Trump.

    “Mr. Trump’s selection of Gov. Mike Pence is an affirmation of the pro-life commitments he’s made and will rally the pro-life grassroots,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement. “Mike Pence is a pro-life trailblazer and Mr. Trump could not have made a better choice.”

    Abortion rights groups, however, are appalled. They say the Indiana abortion law helped lead to the conviction of a woman who was sent to jail for obtaining a drug-induced abortion in violation of the law.

    [Watch Video]

    A Trump-Pence ticket “could spell out a scary reality for American women and our families,” said Kaylie Hanson Long, national communications director for NARAL Pro-Choice America.

    The Indiana law became a model for similar restrictions that anti-abortion groups are pushing in other states. At the time, Pence said he signed the legislation because ““throughout my public career, I have stood for the sanctity of life.”

    “I believe that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable — the aged, the infirm, the disabled, and the unborn,” he added.

    That’s consistent with the way Pence has viewed the abortion issue throughout most of his career.

    “You’re either for protecting the unborn and the religious liberty of every American, or you aren’t,” Pence said in a February 2015 speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee’s annual Ronald Reagan Dinner.

    As a congressman, Pence had a long history of voting for abortion restrictions and other causes important to the anti-abortion community, including cutting off public funds to any health care provider that performs the procedure.

    In 2011, the House passed Pence’s legislation to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, as part of a larger effort to defund Obamacare. That same year — two years before he left Congress to become Indiana governor — he got a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee.

    That’s a more consistent record on abortion than Trump has had. He has spent most of the campaign explaining how he has “evolved” from a supporter of abortion rights to an opponent of the procedure — while still raising eyebrows among anti-abortion groups with other statements, like his declaration that “millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood” through its women’s health services.

    Beyond his abortion record, Pence has tried to present himself as a supporter of medical research and the life sciences industry.

    In 2013, he worked with life sciences leaders to launch the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, a $360 million nonprofit that got $25 million in startup funds from the state. He also talked about the need for Indiana to invest in biopharmaceutical research, saying the research could bring economic benefits to the state.

    “As these clinical trials move forward, as we see more research and development in Indiana, we’re going to see more jobs in Indiana,” he said during a 2013 visit to Covance, a contract research organization in Indianapolis that works on drug developments.

    The abortion law, however, may have undermined Pence’s hopes of being seen as a reliable supporter of medical research. In May, Indiana University sued the county prosecutor over the abortion law, arguing that it restricts academic freedom by criminalizing the transfer or collection of fetal tissue for research.

    He was also an outspoken opponent of embryonic stem cell research in Congress, writing in a 2009 op-ed that “I am a Christian who believes that life begins at conception and that a human embryo is human life. Therefore, I believe it is morally wrong to create human life to destroy it for research.”

    Pence hasn’t always displayed a sound knowledge of medical science. As a congressman, BuzzFeed reported, Pence wrote an op-ed that included this “reality check” about tobacco: “Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.”

    Pence has established enough credibility with the medical industry, however, to be able to raise large amounts of money from them.

    Pence’s campaign committee reported a $100,000 donation on June 30, from Anthony Moravec, CEO of Applied Laboratories of Columbus, Ind. The company started off as a regulatory consulting firm specializing in Food and Drug Administration submissions and now makes pharmaceutical and health care products.

    And according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, which analyzed Pence’s campaign reports, two of his top donors from the 2012 and 2016 election cycles were in the health industry. Moravec’s total giving was $431,735, followed by Stuart Reed, president of Magnolia Health, who gave $206,255.

    Sheila Kaplan and Dylan Scott contributed to this report. This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on July 14, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post With Pence pick, Trump just made women’s health a top-tier election issue appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania September 24, 2013. Born in Erzurum, eastern Turkey, Gulen built up his reputation as a Muslim preacher with intense sermons that often moved him to tears. From his base in Izmir, he toured Turkey stressing the need to embrace scientific progress, shun radicalism and build bridges to the West and other faiths. The first Gulen school opened in 1982. In the following decades, the movement became a spectacular success, setting up hundreds of schools that turned out generations of capable graduates, who gravitated to influential jobs in the judiciary, police, media, state bureaucracy and private business. Picture taken September 24, 2013. To match Insight TURKEY-ERDOGAN/GULEN   REUTERS/Selahattin Sevi/Zaman Daily via Cihan News Agency (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS RELIGION)   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TURKEY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN TURKEY - RTX188UQ

    Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania September 24, 2013. Photo by Selahattin Sevi/Zaman Daily via Cihan News Agency/Reuters

    LUXEMBOURG — The Obama administration would entertain an extradition request for the U.S.-based cleric that Turkey’s president is blaming for a failed coup attempt, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday.

    In a televised speech, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the United States should extradite Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan said Turkey had never turned back any extradition request for “terrorists” by the United States and stressed Turkey’s joint role with the U.S. in fighting terrorism. “I say if we are strategic partners then you should bring about our request,” he said.

    Visiting Luxembourg, Kerry said Turkey would have to prove the wrongdoing of Gulen, who left Turkey in 1999.

    Gulen has harshly condemned the attempted coup attempt by military officers that resulted in a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire that left dozens dead. But Erdogan’s government is blaming the chaos on the cleric, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania and promotes a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.

    [Watch Video]

    Erdogan has long accused Gulen, a former ally, of trying to overthrow the government. Washington has never found any evidence particularly compelling previously.

    “We fully anticipate that there will be questions raised about Mr. Gulen,” Kerry told reporters. “And obviously we would invite the government of Turkey, as we always do, to present us with any legitimate evidence that withstands scrutiny. And the United States will accept that and look at it and make judgments about it appropriately.”

    A Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, said Turkey “has been preparing a formal application with detailed information about Gulen’s involvement in illegal activities. After last night, we have one more thing to add to an already extensive list.”

    President Barack Obama urged all sides in Turkey to support the democratically elected government in Turkey, a key NATO ally.

    In a statement issued after a meeting with his national security advisers, Obama also urged those in Turkey to show restraint and avoid violence or bloodshed.

    Gulen is understood to maintain significant support among some members of the military and mid-level bureaucrats. His movement called Hizmet includes think tanks, schools and various media enterprises. Gulen and Erdogan only became estranged in recent years.

    Gulen said he condemned, “in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey” and sharply rejected any responsibility or knowledge of who might be involved. At a news briefing in Saylorsburg, Pa., Gulen noted that he’s been away from Turkey for more than 15 years and wouldn’t have returned even if the coup succeeded due to greater freedoms in the U.S.

    “In brief, I don’t even know who my followers are,” the frail-looking cleric said through an interpreter. “You can think about many motivations of people who staged this coup.”

    Reiterating American support for Erdogan’s government, Kerry said the U.S. opposed any attempt to overthrow a democratically elected leader. He said a change of government should only come through a legal, constitutional process.

    Kerry also said that U.S. military cooperation with its NATO ally has been unaffected by the turmoil. Turkey plays a key role in U.S.-led efforts against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

    “All of that continues as before,” Kerry said.

    He said the U.S. had no prior indication of the coup attempt, which came as Erdogan was on vacation.

    It appears not to have been backed by the most senior ranks of the military, and Turkey’s main opposition parties quickly condemned the attempted overthrow of the government. Prime Minister Benali Yildirim said 161 people were killed and 1,440 wounded in the overnight violence. He said 2,839 plotters were detained.

    “If you’re planning a coup you don’t exactly advertise to your partners in NATO,” Kerry said. “So it surprised everyone. It does not appear to be a very brilliantly planned or executed event.”

    Associated Press writer Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, Dominique Soguel in Istanbul, and Michael Rubinkam in Saylorsburg, Pa., contributed to this report.

    The post U.S. would consider extradition request for exiled Turkish cleric appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Flickr user Sheep purple

    Gonorrhea may become untreatable, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Photo by Flickr user Sheep purple

    Gonorrhea may soon become untreatable.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that the wily Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria may be developing resistance to the only two antibiotics left that can cure the sexually transmitted disease.

    The drugs, azithromycin and ceftriaxone, are used in combination to treat gonorrhea, a strategy experts hope will prolong the period during which these critical drugs will work.

    But a nationwide surveillance program showed rises in the percentage of gonorrhea samples that were resistant to one or the other drug in 2014. In the case of azithromycin, there was a fourfold rise in the portion of samples that were resistant.

    The rates are still modest: the percentage of samples resistant to azithromycin rose from 0.6 percent to 2.5 percent, and for ceftriaxone it doubled, from 0.4 percent to 0.8 percent. But these are red flags for scientists tracking gonorrhea’s march through the antibiotic armamentarium.

    “It is low. But what we do know is that this bacteria has demonstrated the ability, repeatedly, to develop antibiotic resistance to the drugs that have been used for it,” the first author of the report, Dr. Robert Kirkcaldy, told STAT.

    “The potential for untreatable gonorrhea is a very real possibility in the future.”

    Gonorrhea is common. In 2014, more than 350,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with it. People who are infected may have no symptoms, or may notice pain, burning, or discharge, in the site of infection — usually the uterus, anus, throat, mouth, or penis.

    Left untreated, it can cause infertility or chronic pelvic pain in women, and in men, testicular pain and infertility in rare cases. The bacteria can also get into the blood, infecting joints, and on rare occasions can move into the heart — which can be fatal.

    An infected pregnant woman can infect her infant during childbirth; the baby can develop an eye infection that can be vision-threatening.

    Since the dawn of the antibiotic era, these bacteria have been steadily mowing down every antibiotic placed in their path, Kirkcaldy said.

    Where resistance was seen to azithromycin or ceftriaxone, the infecting strain was still susceptible to the other drug and the cases were cured, he said. But the specter of pan-resistant gonorrhea looms large.

    “We think … it’s a matter of when and not if with resistance,” he said. “This bug is so smart and can mutate so rapidly.”

    Dr. Vanessa Allen agrees. The chief medical microbiologist for Public Health Ontario, Allen has been tracking the development of resistance in gonorrhea for some time. The rates Ontario is seeing for these drugs is similar to what the CDC is reporting, she told STAT.

    “It doesn’t seem to be a blip in the Ontario context,” said Allen, who has more recent data than the CDC report analyzes. Rresistance “seems to persist.”

    Kirkcaldy said one of the things that makes gonorrhea so difficult is that once it acquires resistance to a drug, it doesn’t appear to lose it. The bacteria are still invulnerable to antibiotics that haven’t been used to treat it for decades.

    Kirkcaldy declined to speculate on how quickly the bacteria may acquire the ability to evade these azithromycin and ceftriaxone, saying it’s too hard to predict.

    Using the combination therapy should buy more time. Allen said the report is heartening as it suggests US doctors have rapidly adopted the combination therapy, as recommended by CDC.

    Some companies are working on new antibiotics, “but these could be years away,” Kirkcaldy said.

    In the meantime, it’s critical to get people to start taking the threat seriously, he said, so that they take steps to prevent themselves from being infected with gonorrhea.

    “The trend is known,” said Allen. “At some point, it’s just: How much can we slow it down?”

    “It will happen and we don’t have any other options.”

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on July 15, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post Gonorrhea may soon become resistant to all antibiotics and untreatable appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The Islamic State claimed responsibility Saturday for the attack that killed more than 80 people in Nice, France, during the city’s Bastille Day celebration.

    Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian man who lived in Nice, was identified by police as the driver of a truck that tore through a crowd on July 14. He was killed during an exchange of gunfire with police.

    More than 200 people were injured in the assault. French president Francois Hollande said Friday that approximately 50 people were still in critical condition, and on Saturday French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve issued orders for “increased security” throughout the country, the Associated Press reported.

    Islamic State’s Amaq news agency issued a statement Saturday:

    “The person who carried out the operation in Nice, France, to run down people was one of the soldiers of Islamic State. He carried out the operation in response to calls to target nationals of states that are part of the coalition fighting Islamic State.”

    French authorities have not yet confirmed whether Bouhlel had any official ties to the Islamic State. But Cazeneuve said he had been radicalized “very rapidly,” the Washington Post reported.

    The group took approximately 36 hours to claim responsibility for the attack. This falls above the average time the group normally takes to claim similar attacks, both those carried out by operatives or sympathizers, according to Rukmini Callimachi, a reporter for The New York Times who focuses on the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

    The group called Bouhlel a “soldier of the Islamic State,” using language that implies he was an operative of the group, rather than a sympathizer who took action independently, Callimachi said on Twitter.

    The timeline of this claim is similar to the attack on a San Bernardino office party by Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook. The two killed 14 people on Dec. 2, 2015, and on Dec. 5 the Islamic State called the pair “martyrs” in a news bulletin.

    The Nice attack marks the latest in a series of killings by Islamic State operatives or sympathizers in July. On July 1, a gunman killed 20 people and took hostages in the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Islamic State also claimed a bombing in Baghdad earlier this month.

    The post Islamic State claims responsibility for Bastille Day truck attack appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump applauds after introducing Indiana Governor Mike Pence (L) as his vice presidential running mate as Trump's daughter Ivanka (R) looks on in New York City, U.S., July 16, 2016.    REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTSIB6S

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump applauds after introducing Indiana Governor Mike Pence, left, as his vice presidential running mate as Trump’s daughter Ivanka, right, looks on in New York City on July 16, 2016. Photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    NEW YORK — Donald Trump introduced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate on Saturday, calling him “my partner in this campaign” and his first and best choice to join him on a winning Republican presidential ticket.

    Skipping the traditional massive rally in favor of a low-key announcement in a Manhattan hotel, Trump tried to draw a sharp contrast between Pence, a soft-spoken conservative, and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate. In fact, he spent about as much time lambasting Clinton as praising Pence, declaring she had led President Barack Obama “down a horrible path” abroad.

    He said Pence would stand up to America’s enemies and that he and the governor represent “the law-and-order candidates” at home.

    “What a difference between crooked Hillary Clinton and Mike Pence,” Trump said. He added: “He’s a solid, solid person.”

    Pence, standing alone in front of American flags, hewed closely to the populist themes that Trump has voiced on the campaign trail, describing himself as “really just a small-town boy.” He praised Trump effusively as “a good man,” a fighter, a legendary businessman and a patriotic American.

    “The American people are tired,” Pence said. “We’re tired of being told that this is as good as it gets. We’re tired of having politicians in both parties in Washington, D.C., telling us we’ll get to those problems tomorrow.”

    The joint appearance was intended to catapult the party toward a successful and unified Republican National Convention, which kicks off in Cleveland on Monday. Trump conceded that one of the reasons he’d selected Pence was to promote unity within the Republican Party, left deeply fractured by Trump’s ascent.

    “So many people have said ‘party unity,’ because I’m an outsider,” Trump said. “I want to be an outsider.”

    Yet the announcement lacked much of the stagecraft typically associated with the public unveiling of a running mate, one of the most significant moments in a presidential campaign’s control.

    [Watch Video]

    The two did not walk out together, appearing at each other’s side only after Trump delivered a rambling 28-minute address that included a plug for his new hotel in Washington. And when they shook hands, with the political world watching, it was only for a few seconds before Trump left the podium.

    Pence, whose calm demeanor forms a marked counterpoint to the fiery Trump, was chosen in part to ease concerns in some GOP corners about the billionaire’s impulsive style and lack of political experience. A steady conservative with extensive governing experience, Pence may also serve to reassure Republicans who are skeptical about Trump’s conservative bona fides.

    Brandishing his running mate’s job-creating credentials, Trump ticked through a list of statistics he said showed how Pence had pulled Indiana out of economic recessions: an unemployment rate that fell to less than 5 percent on his watch, an uptick in the labor force and a decrease in Indiana residents on unemployment insurance.

    “This is the primary reason I wanted Mike — other than that he looks very good, other than he’s got an incredible family, and incredible wife,” Trump said. He predicted that Pence would have won re-election as governor, were he not running for vice president.

    The Trump-Pence event offered Americans the first glimpse at what the 2016 Republican presidential ticket will look like, barring the unexpected. Just as Trump was settling on Pence, Republicans gathering in Cleveland essentially quelled the movement to oust Trump at the convention, all but assuring he’ll be the GOP nominee.

    “They got crushed,” Trump said. “And they got crushed immediately, because people want what we’re saying to happen.”

    The Indiana governor is well-regarded by evangelical Christians, particularly after signing a law that critics said would allow businesses to deny service to gay people for religious reasons. But his hardline ideology is also at odds with Trump, who has largely avoided wading into social issues.

    Clinton’s team was already painting Pence’s conservative social viewpoints as out of step with the mainstream. Her campaign also seized on Trump’s chaotic process for selecting and announcing his pick, painting Trump in a web video released Saturday as “Always divisive. Not so decisive.”

    Trump’s formal announcement capped a frenzied few days in the presidential campaign, as early reports that Trump has settled on Pence threw speculation into overdrive. After days of his aides saying he hadn’t made a final decision, the billionaire called Pence Thursday afternoon to offer him the job, but hours later postponed their first appearance after a truck attack killed 84 people in Nice, France.

    Trump had spent weeks vetting vice presidential contenders, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and only zeroed in on Pence in recent days. Pence, meanwhile, had faced a Friday deadline to withdraw from his re-election race for governor so he could run for vice president; his aides filed the paperwork about an hour before the cutoff.

    In choosing Pence, Trump appeared to be looking past their numerous policy differences.

    The Indiana governor has been a longtime advocate of trade deals such as NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, both aggressively opposed by Trump. He’s been critical of Trump’s proposed temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the U.S., calling the idea “offensive and unconstitutional.” Pence also endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz instead of Trump ahead of Indiana’s presidential primary.

    Associated Press writers Brian Slodysko in Indianapolis, Julie Pace, Julie Bykowicz and Ken Thomas in Washington, and Alan Fram, Josh Lederman and Steve Peoples in Cleveland contributed to this report.

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    Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan celebrate after soldiers involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Yagiz Karahan - RTSI8MX

    Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan celebrate after soldiers involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016. Photo by Yagiz Karahan/Reuters

    Citizens surged the streets of Turkey on Saturday after supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan successfully quelled an overnight coup attempt that left more than 265 dead.

    Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan celebrate with flags on top of a police car in Ankara, Turkey, July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Tumay Berkin - RTSI9VZ

    Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan celebrate with flags on top of a police car in Ankara, Turkey, July 16, 2016. Photo by Tumay Berkin/Reuters

    Nationalists waved the country’s flag and stood atop abandoned tankers near government buildings that were bombed and shot by militia trying to oust Erdogan.

    After more than 2,000 people connected to the coup had been detained, Erdogan said that he vowed that those responsible “will pay a heavy price for their treason,” according the Associated Press.

    Prime Minister Binali Yildrim said even though the death penalty is not in the constitution, legal changes would be considered.

    People wave flags as they wait for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to appear for a speech in Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTSIAZH

    People wave flags as they wait for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to appear for a speech in Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016. Photo by Murad Sezer/Reuters

    Late Friday, the militia involved in the coup had blocked two key bridges in Istanbul and entrances to the airport, taking aim with fighter jets, guns and explosives at buildings and people protesting the uprising.

    In a statement, the group wrote it wanted “to reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms, to ensure that the rule of law once again reigns in the country, for law and order to be reinstated,” the AP reported.

    A man walks inside the destroyed parliament building in Ankara, July 16, 2016 after an attempted coup in Turkey. REUTERS/Stringer FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. - RTSI9AP

    A man walks inside the destroyed parliament building in Ankara, July 16, 2016 after an attempted coup in Turkey. Photo by Reuters

    Erdogan, who was on vacation, sent a mass text imploring Turks to “stand up” for democracy and peace.

    He also addressed the country on CNN-Turk from an undisclosed location through the iPhone application FaceTime, saying the uprising was by a “minority within our armed forces,” before returning. Supporters listened.

    People demonstrate outside Ataturk international airport during an attempted coup in Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir - RTSI82K

    People demonstrate outside Ataturk international airport during an attempted coup in Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016. Photo by Huseyin Aldemir/Reuters

    The Turkish military has long been seen as a guardian of secular traditions, clashing with Erdogan’s Islamic-influenced AKP party.

    Though not all members of the military supported the uprising; those who did not wore red and white.

    The government has also come under pressure amid a refugee crisis as millions of people fleeing violence in neighboring countries Syria and Iraq have fled to Turkey.

    As insurgents began to surrender, they were attacked by Edogan supporters before police were able to intervene.

    Soldiers push each other to board a bus to escape the mob after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTSI8P7

    Soldiers push each other to board a bus to escape the mob after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016. Photo by Murad Sezer/Reuters

    Throughout Friday and Saturday, more than one thousand were injured. About one hundred coup supporters, and 161 police officers and civilians were killed, according to the New York Times.

    The country has a history of insurrection, with the military staging three coups between 1960 and 1980. The most recent was after the government had changed prime ministers 11 times during the 1970s. Military took over for three years.

    Turkey is a NATO member and a key Western ally in the fight against the Islamic State. President Barack Obama urged all sides to support the democratically elected government.

    Obama’s office released a statement Saturday that said there was no indication any Americans had died.

    “The President instructed his team to continue to work with their Turkish counterparts to maintain the safety and well-being of diplomatic missions and personnel, U.S. servicemembers, and their dependents,” the statement said. “The President also underscored the shared challenges that will require continued Turkish cooperation, including our joint efforts against terrorism. The President requested continued updates, as the situation warrants.”

    Dan Moritz-Rabson contributed to this report.

    The post Crowds take to the streets after coup thwarted in Turkey appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A Pakistani Internet celebrity who gained fame through posts that pushed the country’s social boundaries has been strangled to death in what police suspect is a so-called “honor killing” by her brother.

    Fauzia Azeem, known online as Qandeel Baloch, 26, was killed in her family’s home near Multan in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

    “Her father Azeem informed the police that his son Waseem has strangled Qandeel,” Punjab police spokeswoman Nabeela Ghanzafar told Reuters. Ghanzafar also said police were trying to locate Waseem.

    Baloch, who rose to fame in 2014, has over 744,000 likes on her Facebook page and 48,000 followers on Instagram. Her Facebook page described her as a singer, actress and model.

    With posts that defied conservative social norms, Baloch drew support from those that viewed her as an advocate for women’s rights. She spoke openly about the expectations she faced as a woman, discussing issues such arranged marriage in interviews with Pakistani media.

    “I was 17 years old when my parents forced an uneducated man on me,” she said. “The abuse I have been through… It happens in places like this, in small villages, in Baloch families. This happened to me too.”

    Baloch received widespread criticism for her posts on social media, which some in Pakistan considered inappropriate. “What she (was) doing is a disgrace for Pakistan so she deserve this,” said Twitter user Asad Iqbal Orakzai, according to Reuters.

    She recently appeared in a music video wearing clothing that critics called revealing, and wrote in a recent Facebook post that she was trying to “change the typical orthodox mindset of people.”

    Honor killings consistently target females who male family members feel have tarnished the family’s reputation.

    According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent nonprofit that tracks human rights violations, 987 honor crimes occurred in 2015 in Pakistan against 1096 victims. 170 of those victims were minors.

    Advocates for a law to prevent honor killings took to social media after the news of Baloch’s death, speaking out against honor crimes and calling for reforms to existing legislation to ensure perpetrators are punished more consistently.

    Families, especially those in rural areas, sometimes settle honor killings in tribal councils, which can allow those involved in the murders to avoid jail time.

    Baloch had recently filed a request with the interior minister, the director general of the Federal Investigation Authority and the senior superintendent of Islamabad asking for protection, according to Dawn, a Pakistani media outlet based in Karachi. Baloch had said she was receiving threatening calls and hoped to gain government security protection, Dawn reported.

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    Barricades are seen outside the Quicken Loans Arena as setup continues in advance of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RTSIAPW

    Watch Video

    JEFF GREENFIELD: There’s a good reason why the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland.

    It was here, on a WJW-AM Radio in the early 1950s, that disc jokey Alan Freed began playing records that introduced a generation — white as well as black — to the music that has evolved and endured.

    But when rock music first hit mainstream America some six decades ago — in Cleveland first, then across the country — it was an intensely polarizing force.

    Liberating, empowering to some, dangerous, malevolent to others.

    Next week another polarizing force will arrive in Cleveland.

    DONALD TRUMP: “We are in a rigged rigged system”

    JEFF GREENFIELD: A candidate whose past, and whose path to the nomination, is unlike any ever chosen by either major party.

    Joe Ann Davidson is a National Committeewoman from Ohio, who attended her first convention as a delegate for Gerald Ford in 1976.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: I’ve always thought Americans wanted kind of the Gary Cooper type, the John Wayne type. Don’t say much but you do much. You don’t brag on yourself because that’s not what a real leader does.

    Trump’s broken all of those rules.

    JO ANN DAVIDSON, RNC OHIO DELEGATE: Maybe we’re moving into a new situation within politics which the old rules aren’t going to apply anymore.

    And I think that’s probably what’s on many people’s mind here. We had transition convention. We’re transitioning to what we’ve always thought about, your sort of typical conventions, to a whole different setup. We’ll see how it goes.

    MITT ROMNEY: I feel I simply can’t vote for him.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: For a significant number of Republicans, Trump’s triumph brings to mind John F. Kennedy’s assertion that “sometimes party loyalty asks too much.”

    18 Republican US Senators and more than 50 Republican members of the House are not attending the convention. Even the host governor, John Kasich, is skipping it. Many are staying away, because they simply cannot support the nominee.

    Which is why, as Republicans prepare for their 41st national convention, Trump’s supporters and party foot soldiers have worked so hard to quell intra-party battles.

    RULES COMMITTEE: I believe that completes our work on Rule 12.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: The so-called “Never Trumpers” are going out not with a bang but a whimper. Their efforts to free delegates from commitments to support Trump’s nomination on the first ballot failed.

    They needed 28 votes on the rules committee this week to force a floor fight on that, they got 12.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: As for Trump’s troubles with conservatives, well, Morton Blackwell has been at every GOP convention since 1964, when he was Barry Goldwater’s youngest delegate.

    MORTON BLACKWELL: There’s always some people who have hurt feelings, disappointed ambitions, who don’t come to a convention. But the tendency has always been, in my lifetime, for the party to unite.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: He says Trump’s choice of governor Mike Pence as his running mate sends the right message.

    MORTON BLACKWELL: Movement conservatives are going to be looking for that sort of thing. Mike Pence is a conservative movement builder.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis, who’s here as a delegate, is a conservative who backed Senator Ted Cruz in the primaries.

    SAUL ANUZIS, RNC MICHIGAN DELEGATE: I would have preferred to have a more conservative candidate, somebody who’s philosophically more consistent.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: But, like many Trump skeptics, Anuzis says he can easily live with Trump when he considers the alternative.

    SAUL ANUZIS: I think what Donald Trump has been doing is slowly building kind of a consensus to make conservatives and Republicans feel better about who he is and at least represent our values a lot closer than someone like Hillary Clinton ever would.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: In an election where large numbers of voters still have serious doubts about Trump’s temperament and stability, the convention is his chance to demonstrate a more reassuring image.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Ben Ginsberg is a top Republican election lawyer who advised the Bush and Romney campaigns.

    BEN GINSBURG, RNC FMR. GENERAL COUNSEL: The convention can show that Donald Trump has a number of validators who can speak to the characteristics that he wants to put forward. If that’s done well, then that will enhance the message of unity — and perhaps calm the dissident voices.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: The Trump campaign has apparently won its battle for a disruption-free convention…but the harder battle will take place once it ends: can Trump and his allies convince the skeptics within the Republican-conservative community to stand with him–or at least, no openly against him?

    In that effort, their strongest argument will be the identity of his presumptive opponent.

    The post What to expect from the GOP convention in Cleveland appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Palestinians take part in a Hamas a rally in support of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's government against a coup attempt, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 16, 2016. The sign reads: "Gaza will not forget who stand with it in its adversity and blockade". REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa - RTSI939

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR:  To help us understand the events in Turkey, I’m joined now from Washington by Eric Edelman, the former U.S. ambassador to Turkey during the Bush administration, and here in New York by David Phillips, director of the program on peace-building and human rights at Columbia University.

    Mr. Edelman, I want to start with you.  Most people watching TV last night said, oh, gosh, there’s a coup, but what precipitated this?  Why now?  Why did it happen?

    ERIC EDELMAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY:  Well, Hari, Turkey is an extremely divided and polarized society, and the former prime minister now President Tayyip Erdogan is an enormously polarizing figure.  He has been driving the country in a direction of greater division because of his desire to establish an executive presidency.  There’s a lot of concern about his autocratic rule and those divisions, as it turns out, also appeared to be mirrored in the military.  And some members of the military, obviously, yesterday decided to — or earlier, but activated yesterday a plan to take him out of office.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  David Phillips, this is a long time coming?

    DAVID PHILLIPS, DIRECTOR OF THE PROGRAM ON PEACE-BUILDING AND HUMAN RIGHTS AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY:  His autocratic governance has alienated a large section of the society.  When you look at the statement that the military issued, they said they wanted to restore constitutional order.  Just recently, Turkey’s been attacked by ISIS and suffered significant loss.  Their policy in Syria is failing.

    So, it’s the accumulation of several years’ worth of mismanagement on Erdogan’s part.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  So, Eric Edelman, what does Erdogan do now considering he knows there’s this dissatisfaction among the public and especially inside the military?

    ERIC EDELMAN:  Well, he was able to yesterday to rally his supporters, which is a big slice of the public, about 50 percent of the public, to come out and stop this coup from succeeding.  I think what you can see happening already is he’s doubling down on some of the things David was just talking about, the kind of policies he’s followed up to this point.  He’s purging not only the military which he had already been doing for some period of time, but he is now purging the judiciary and I think you’re going to see a period of some turmoil internally in Turkey while he tries to use this to his advantage to establish what he calls an executive presidency, but which many people fear is really just a more authoritarian personalized regime in Turkey.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  David Phillips, does this play right into his interests in a way, saying, hey, you know what, look, here’s all these bad guys that are trying to get me out of office, trying to ruin what we have as an idea of democracy and I’m going to tighten up things?

    DAVID PHILLIPS:  He’s been warning a coup for some time.  He’s not acknowledging the events of yesterday as a coup.  He’s calling it a terrorist action.

    In Erdogan’s world view, he’s surrounded by terrorists, the PKK, the Syrian Kurds, civil society in Turkey, the media.  He’s demonized everybody and that’s part of the polarization that exists in the country.  If he practices a kind of “victor’s justice”, purging the military, the judiciary and potential opponents in the polarization that Ambassador Edelman talked about, it’s going to become more severe and Turkey is going to become more unstable.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  Ambassador Edelman, it’s almost impossible to understate the geographic importance of Turkey considering the fights that the Western world is launching against ISIS and parts of the Syrian government.

    ERIC EDELMAN:  Yes, I mean, Turkey is a pivotal country.  It’s a NATO ally.  It’s astride several zones of conflict.  Of course, it’s a Black Sea literal state, so it has concerns about its neighbor to north, Russia, and what’s happened in Ukraine, the seizure of — annexation of Crimea.  But it, of course, also borders Iran, Iraq and Syria.  So, it — you know, it sits astride, you know, an incredibly important zone of conflict and one in which our military forces are currently engaged.

    And, unfortunately, I think what’s happened in the U.S.-Turkish relationship is on both sides, there’s been an assumption that Turkey is too big, too important to fail and, as a result, there’s been not as much attention in my view as should have been paid to some of these domestic Turkish issues that David and I have been talking about with you, Hari.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  Yes.

    DAVID PHILLIPS:  The Erdogan administration adopted a policy called “zero problems with neighbors” and within a couple of months, it found itself in conflict with almost all its neighbors and those conflicts were really largely of Erdogan’s making.  Turkey has historically been a valued member of NATO, but if NATO were being established today because Erdogan’s new Turkey is Islamist, anti-democratic, it simply wouldn’t qualify for membership.

    There is also a lot of documentation about Erdogan’s support for jihadi groups, the jihadi highway that ran from Urfa to Raqqah, provided weapons, money, medical care to wounded warriors coming out of Syria.  So, Turkey’s hardly been a reliable NATO ally member in this fight against violent extremism in the region.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  So, David, what does Erdogan do in this interim period because if there are these forces working against him as he says, or as this is a tough neighborhood to live in — how can he placate the interests of the West and figure out a way to keep his neighborhood safe?

    DAVID PHILLIPS:  Turkey (ph) had a motto peace at home and peace abroad.  Turkey hasn’t been able to realize either under President Erdogan.  Right now, there is a moment to pivot, to focus on domestic issues instead of cracking down on independent media and civil society to reactivate the peace process with Turkey’s Kurds.  If they’re looking for international mediators, there is a history of international involvement discreetly in this area.

    So, resolving the Kurdish issue would put Turkey back on the right track, coordinating more closely with the U.S. and the multinational coalition against ISIS would also be a wise move.  But Erdogan has hardly displayed good judgment when it comes to critical decisions and he’s likely to take this opportunity to consolidate his dictatorship, which would make Turkey less prone to cooperation with the West and less likely to reconcile with its own citizens.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  Finally, Ambassador Edelman, regardless of what Erdogan does in reaction to this attempted coup, this is still a country that NATO and the U.S. will continue to rely on.

    ERIC EDELMAN:  Well, in the best of all possible worlds, that’s true, Hari.  But, unfortunately, I have to agree with what David just said.  One would hope that it would be possible to do the things and it would be in Turkey’s, I think, interest for Erdogan to do the things that David suggested as an agenda post-coup.

    But the early return suggests that is not the direction in which he is moving and I think David’s correct, I think we’re going to see a period of internal focus, retribution and a movement away from the kinds of engagement with not only the Kurdish community but the rest of Turkish civil society that might help stabilize the situation.  So, I think we’re in for a period of intensified instability in Turkey.  And how far it will go?  I don’t know that anyone can say right now.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  All right.  Eric Edelman, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, and David Phillips, director of the program on peace building and human rights at Columbia — thanks so much.

    DAVID PHILLIPS:  Thank you.

    ERIC EDELMAN:  Thank you.

    END

    The post Why was there an attempted coup in Turkey? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Demonstrators stand in front of the East Baton Rouge Parish City Hall doors in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 11, 2016. Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    Demonstrators stand in front of the East Baton Rouge Parish City Hall doors in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 11, 2016. Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    A 12-year-old-boy was arrested late Friday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for his alleged role in a plot to shoot police officers, The Times-Picayune reported.

    Three others were arrested for the same alleged plot on Tuesday, less than two weeks after police shot and killed Alton Sterling in the same city, prompting a series of protests.

    The boy is the fourth suspect in an ongoing investigation into a gun robbery that took place last week. One of the suspects told officers that they planned to the weapons to harm officers during protests, according to police.

    Last Sunday, during protests over Sterling’s death, city police entered violent confrontations with protesters. Baton Rouge police showed up “wielding batons, carrying long guns and wearing shields,” the AP reported. That, too, was caught on video.

    About 200 protesters were arrested over a three-day period. The Louisiana branch of the ACLU has since filed a lawsuit against the department.

    A mourner wears a CD around his neck as he attends the funeral of Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 15, 2016. Sterling was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police officers while selling CDs in front of a convenience store. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman - RTSI6KM

    A mourner wears a CD around his neck as he attends the funeral of Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 15, 2016. Sterling was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police officers while selling CDs in front of a convenience store. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

    The arrest of the boy took place the same day as Sterling’s funeral, which was held in a 7,500 seat arena.

    In the aftermath of violence, children can develop pent-up depression and anger that manifests in “panic attacks and breakdowns,” relatives of men and women killed by police told the Times.

    A 2013 report by the American Psychological Association found that children who view violence in the media may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others and more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior.

    For young black people confronted with videos of police violence on social media television, those images are all the more personal, Shante Needham, a sister of Sandra Bland’s, told the Times.

    “They are aware of what’s going in the world, of how you can leave your house and you can very well end up in a body bag,” Needham said of her children. “They watch the news. They see all the stuff going on on Facebook. And it’s sad that kids even have to think like that, that if I get stopped by the police, I may not make it home.”

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    People watch a TV news broadcast about the South China Sea outside a shopping mall in Beijing, July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter - RTSI9WV

    People watch a TV news broadcast about the South China Sea outside a shopping mall in Beijing, July 16, 2016. Photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    An international court ruled on Tuesday that China has no legal basis in claiming rights within what it calls the “nine-dash line,” a demarcation line used by China for its claim to the South China Sea.

    China has said it rejects the ruling, with its foreign ministry claiming it is “out of bad faith.”

    Following the decision, angry comments flooded China’s social media dismissing the tribunal’s decision, with many people using memes to express nationalist sentiment or call for boycotts.

    Protesters from a local pro-China party chant slogans against the United States supporting an international court ruling that denied China's claims to the South China Sea, outside U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, China July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip - RTSHTND

    Protesters from a local pro-China party chant slogans against the United States supporting an international court ruling that denied China’s claims to the South China Sea, outside U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, China, on July 14, 2016. Photo by Bobby Yip/Reuters

    Posts showed slogans like “We don’t accept or recognize the ruling” and “Chinese territory doesn’t need arbitration.”

    In a video that was shared thousands of times, a group young Chinese people repeat “South China Sea arbitration: who cares” over and over again.

    A web game made by a Hong Kong-based media outlet called the “South China Sea Adventure” gives users the chance to play a Chinese fisherman who is drifting on South China Sea after a storm. During the game, the U.S. Navy demands that the player leave the water — then, he is chased by the Vietnamese army and eventually saved by the Chinese Marine Vessels.

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

    The tweet above says: “Start boycotting mangoes from the Philippines in online Taobao shop. The South China Sea is Chinese territory. China is not going to give you even a drop of water.”

    Chinese online vendors have also rallied around dried mango as an unlikely symbol of nationalism. After the ruling, a number of online shops selling dried mango changed their advertising from “made in Philippines” to “made in China.”

    Many vendors put up posters that read, “We have stopped selling Filipino mangoes.” Some even renamed their products as “Patriotic dried mangoes.” But buyers said online that some packages still say “product of Philippines,” leaving angry reviews.

    The Chinese government has also contributed to online discussions of the South China Sea ruling, mainly with graphics and animations that promote patriotic rhetoric.

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

    On Sina Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, China’s state newspaper People’s Daily published a map of China with the nine-dash line accompanied by the slogan “China cannot lose a single bit.” The image has been retweeted more than 2.9 million times. The map can be seen above in a tweet.

    But the government has also deleted ultra-nationalist tweets from people calling for war over the issue, according to a report by Foreign Policy that cited information from the anti-censorship website Freeweibo.

    “The government has fanned patriotic sentiment through the media — but kept it online rather than in the streets,” Jessica Chen Weiss, associate professor of government at Cornell University, said in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

    Meanwhile, people in the Philippines are celebrating the ruling with memes of their own.

    The post Dried mango has become an unlikely symbol of Chinese nationalism appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A man reacts near flowers placed in tribute to victims, two days after an attack by the driver of a heavy truck who ran into a crowd on Bastille Day killing scores and injuring as many on the Promenade des Anglais, in Nice, France, July 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol   - RTSI9UW

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: France began three days of national mourning today for the victims of Thursday’s terrorist truck attack in the Riviera resort city of Nice. Today, ISIS claimed responsibility saying the Tunisian man who drove the large truck was one of its soldiers, heeding its call to kill citizens of France and other countries fighting the militant group.

    But french authorities have not confirmed the link. The death toll stands at 84… after the truck ran over pedestrians for a mile-and-a-half along Nice’s promenade following Bastille day fireworks. Of more than 200 other people who were injured, about 50 remain hospitalized in critical condition.

    Special correspondent Jane Ferguson has more from nice.

    JANE FERGUSON: Signs of the horror are beginning to fade from Nice’s Promenade des Anges.

    Parts of this route along the French Riviera have re-opened, as tourists and locals cautiously return to a street known for its glamour, history, and now tragedy. There are more police around, and many have gathered to mourn the dead.

    Just to give you some perspective – now that the street has been re-opened – many are coming down to lay flowers and candles at the various spots where people were killed. So all down this street you can see small piles of flowers were each life was lost.

    Nice has drawn visitors for centuries – its old world style and beauty are still unmistakable.

    That’s why Philip Frayne and his wife came here for a holiday. He works at the U.S. embassy and lives in Paris. They were on the promenade just a few minutes before the attacker struck. His wife wanted to stay and dance at the street party, but he wanted to go for dinner.

    PHILIP FRAYNE: Had I taken my wife’s wishes and stayed to dance at the time we probably would have been right in the crossfire, but we decided to go get a bite to eat first, come back to dance later. That may have saved us, we don’t know.

    JANE FERGUSON: From a nearby restaurant they heard the attack.

    PHILIP FRAYNE: Once gunshots were heard then we all knew we had to get inside and we had to remain low and there were a lot of people amongst us who were crying and who were very upset.

    JANE FERGUSON: Other Americans caught up in the panic are still missing.

    20-year-old Berkeley student Nicolas Leslie was at the scene of the attack and hasn’t been seen since. His family is desperately trying to find him.

    A California family is turning to a Facebook page — SOS Nice — to help locate writer Renee Lo Iacono. She was in Nice Thursday night, but her family has not heard from her.

    The attacker – shot dead by police – 31 year old Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhel – was not on any French terror lists or known to police as a radical.

    The French interior minister said today he apparently “radicalized very quickly.”

     Police here in France have arrested five people including Bouhel’s estranged wife. They’re still trying to find out if they attacker acted alone or had help with other individuals. Hari.

    HARI: On this ISIS claim of responsibility Jane, how are investigators going to know whether the group planned this attack or trained Bouhel?

    JANE FERGUSON: They certainly don’t know yet Hari, they’re trying to look into whether or not this was a coordinated attack with ISIS. But what is clear is through their message. Their statement that they made today that Bouhel had followed their call to attack the citizens of countries that were attacking ISIS.

    That is very clearly not the same as saying that they coordinated the attack. Saying That they themselves planned it out. For instance like the Paris attack in in November, which was clearly coordinated and very much so planned inside Syria.

    This attack it seemed may have simply been inspired by ISIS, which of course is a very different thing but just as deadly.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Jane Ferguson joining us from Nice, France tonight. Jane thank you very much.

    The post Investigators look for motive in Nice truck attack appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The Quicken Loans Arena is seen as setup continues in advance of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RTSIBSX

    The Quicken Loans Arena is seen as setup continues in advance of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 16, 2016. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    CLEVELAND — Donald Trump’s effort to unite a splintered Republican Party around his candidacy is about to take center stage in a city that is itself deeply fractured.

    Once an industrial powerhouse, Cleveland is one of the poorest and most segregated big cities in America. Two out of 5 people live below the poverty line, second only to Detroit. Infant mortality rates in its bleakest neighborhoods are worse than in some Third World countries.

    The city’s mostly blighted east side is almost entirely black, the slightly more prosperous west side more mixed. And there’s deep distrust between the black community and police, in part because of police shootings such as the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and a U.S. Justice Department report that found a pattern of excessive force and civil rights violations by the department.

    Yet there are also islands of prosperity, created in part by a wave of college-educated young people moving into downtown neighborhoods, a trend that has reshaped the city’s image and helped attract the Republican National Convention, which will be held July 18-21.

    “It’s a city full of neighborhoods and a city full of divides,” said John Grabowski, a local historian.

    ___

    This is the place that in the 1970s — when the city was in default and a quarter of its population was moving out — embraced the slogan “Cleveland: You Gotta Be Tough.”

    Tough is a good way to describe Cleveland’s east side, where blacks from the South filled industrial jobs and settled during and after World War II. It’s now marked by high crime and abandoned factories. Over half the children live in poverty.

    Chris Brown, a 41-year-old black man and lifelong Clevelander, admits he was part of the problem in his younger days. “I was a thug, almost. On a highway going nowhere fast,” he said.

    Caught selling drugs, he went to prison for three years. Afterward, getting by was a struggle until he started working at a commercial laundry four years ago.

    Funded by civic leaders, foundations and local institutions, the laundry is part of a wider mission to stabilize east side neighborhoods by creating jobs. Built inside a former torpedo factory, it employs about 40 people, most of whom have done time in prison, and operates as a worker-owned cooperative. The employees can use their wages to buy a piece of the company and get a split of the profits.

    Brown took advantage of its loan program to buy his first house on the east side, where 1 in 5 homes is vacant. “Where we come from, there ain’t many guys like that,” Brown said.

    Those behind the cooperative, which also operates a greenhouse and a renewable-energy business, aren’t selling it as a solution to pervasive unemployment. But it’s a bright spot in an area desperately needing something positive, said plant manager Claudia Oates. “It shows we work, we believe in work,” she said.

    The convention will mean more hotel sheets for the laundry to wash, but apart from that, Brown said, the money the event will bring into the city won’t show up where he lives.

    “I don’t know many black people who’ve got anything to do with convention,” he said. “Nobody else I know is getting a job or money from the convention.”

    ___

    Downtown is where delegates will spend their money at souvenir shops and sidewalk cafes.

    It’s also where millennials are moving into renovated warehouse apartments and new condominiums. Once a ghost town at night, it’s now home to 14,000 people.

    The city’s spirits soared just a month ago when the NBA’s Cavaliers won Cleveland’s first major sports championship since 1964. Finals MVP LeBron James, who grew up in nearby Akron, talked about what winning meant at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday night.

    “The struggles we’ve had over the last 52 years, not only in sports, but just in everything. Families losing jobs, communities, just poverty all over Cleveland,” James said. “For us to be able to give a sense of hope to everyone that grew up in our town that we play in and the town we live in…”

    In the two years since the GOP awarded the convention, vacant downtown storefronts have been filled with new businesses, and the Public Square underwent a $50 million renovation. Health care and high-tech jobs are drawing young people, stabilizing the city’s population at about 388,000 after a peak of over 900,000 in the 1950s.

    “Cleveland’s got a long way to go. I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” said Bill Mangano, a white man who bought a downtown apartment after growing up in the city’s western suburbs. “We’re never going to be New York or Chicago, but we can carve out our own place.”

    Peter Karman, a 27-year-old white man, left behind a two-hour commute in San Diego for a job within walking distance.

    “All of my family and friends asked, why Cleveland?” he said. Here, he said, he can afford a lifestyle not possible in California, living in a downtown warehouse overlooking the Cuyahoga River.

    ___

    The crooked river that caught fire during the 1950s and ’60s from industrial pollution sparked an environmental movement resulting in the federal Clean Water Act. But for many generations, it was Cleveland’s racial boundary.

    Blacks stayed east of the river and out of the white neighborhoods to the west, fearing unwelcome stares and police harassment.

    Kevin Conwell, a black city councilman, remembers his parents warning him 40 years ago not to cross certain streets or risk having the police haul him back home.

    “People my age still tell kids not to go over there,” he said. “How do you break down that gap?”

    To this day, many of the east-side neighborhoods are at least 90 percent black, according to census data. But over the past 15 years, more blacks are moving to areas once off-limits, creating neighborhoods that are more racially diverse yet still poor.

    Overall, blacks make up about 53 percent of the city’s residents, whites 37 percent, Hispanics 10 percent.

    What’s holding back the neighborhoods now, Conwell said, are companies and unions that won’t hire minorities and lenders that won’t offer them home loans.

    “When you’re not working, you tear your neighborhood apart,” he said. “That’s your great divide.”

    Associated Press writer Mark Gillispie contributed to this report.

    The post Cleveland, a fractured city, an apt place for GOP convention appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 84th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana United States, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Bergin - RTX2ICTP

    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 84th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana United States, June 26, 2016. Photo by Chris Bergin/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton’s campaign is launching a major voter mobilization drive during the Republican National Convention, setting a national goal of getting more than 3 million people to register and commit to vote in the 2016 election.

    Clinton intends to announce the plan on Monday in a speech to the NAACP convention in Cincinnati, followed by a stop at an Ohio voter registration event with volunteers, campaign officials said Sunday. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is kicking off the voter drive as Republicans meet in Cleveland to nominate businessman Donald Trump at their national convention.

    The mobilization effort aims to capture the energy of Democrats watching the GOP convention each evening and harness it into a stronger voter base. President Barack Obama often told his campaign audiences, “Don’t boo — vote,” and Clinton’s team wants their faithful not to fume, but to fight back.

    “People will be watching Cleveland and Donald Trump the next few days and will be wondering, ‘What can I do? What can I do to stop this?'” said David Pepper, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. “And the best thing they can do is to register voters.”

    During the week, Clinton’s campaign and state Democratic coordinated campaigns will hold more than 500 registration or “commit to vote” events across the nation. For example, voter registration events will be held at the Islamic Center of Akron’s Eid celebration in Ohio; a bilingual day camp in Hazelton, Pennsylvania; Detroit’s Eastern Market; and a campaign office opening in Madison, Wisconsin.

    To reach the goal of 3 million new voters, the campaign said it had created a one-stop-shopping online voter registration tool in English and Spanish that can be widely shared online.

    Clinton’s voter registration and mobilization project will aim to build upon the turnout machine built by Obama’s two winning campaigns. And it also underscores how important it will be for Clinton to activate Obama’s coalition of black, Latino, female and young voters to turn out in large numbers amid a negative election environment against Trump.

    Recent polls have shown large numbers of voters, including independents, expressing wariness of both Clinton and Trump, signaling that the election could pivot largely on the ability of each party to turn out its electoral base.

    “In Florida, what she is doing on the ground with voter registration could be the difference between winning and losing,” said Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist who advised Obama’s campaigns in Florida.

    Schale said in an email that Democrats had an edge of about 660,000 registered voters over Republicans in 2008, a margin which dropped to about 500,000 in 2012 when Obama narrowly defeated Republican Mitt Romney in the state. Democrats currently have about 250,000 more registered voters there than Republicans.

    “When you keep in mind we won Florida by less than 100,000 votes (in 2012), you see how important registration is,” he said.

    The post Clinton using Republican convention to spur voter signup appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Flickr user Staffan Vilcans

    Photo by Flickr user Staffan Vilcans

    They are our upstairs neighbors whose late-night antics keep us awake. They commute with us on city subways. And we run into them when taking out the trash.

    We’re talking urban rats, of course.

    But despite how commonplace rats are in cities around the world, they remain in many ways mysterious, including in the potential threat they pose to public health, experts say.

    To combat that, a trio of scientists outlined on Thursday in the journal Frontiers in Public Health step-by-step recommendations for how they say public health officials should capture rats, implant them with microchips, test them for pathogens, and track their activity. The methods were developed and tested with rats in New York City, to whom the researchers assigned names like Stumpy (who had lost part of his tail) and Christine, a tiny yet aggressive female.

    “There’s not a lot of research being done with rodents, and because of that, we don’t have a lot of information about the pathogens they harbor,” said Michael Parsons, the report’s lead author and a chemical and behavioral ecologist.

    Rats — and rodents more broadly — aren’t responsible for nearly as many disease cases or deaths as, say, mosquitoes. But they can transmit fevers, a type of meningitis, and, yes, plague. The diseases are spread through bites and scratches, pathogens in the animals’ feces and urine, and via fleas. (People are not susceptible to all pathogens that rats harbor.)

    But no one has a good measure for just how dangerous rodents are to human health, experts say. Many infections spread by them might not be diagnosed, and if they are, they might not be investigated to determine if they have rodent roots.

    “Rodent-borne pathogens quite possibly make a lot of people ill, but (the cases) may rarely be diagnosed,” said James Childs, an infectious disease expert at the Yale School of Public Health. “It’s very hard for anyone to even estimate the burden of rat-borne disease in the United States or elsewhere.”

    Rat researchers also say there are major gaps in our understanding of all the pathogens rats might harbor. A 2014 paper on New York City rats identified what the authors called “a vast diversity of microbes that may affect human health,” leading them to call for “increased surveillance and awareness of the disease risks associated with urban rodent infestation.”

    And because rats can pick up so many different pathogens, they “may also serve as mixing bowls, providing an environment in which pathogens may interact and even exchange genes that promote resistance to certain drugs,” Kaylee Byers and Michael Lee, graduate students at the University of British Columbia who study rats and public health, wrote in an email.

    “Effectively, rats can act as sponges, picking up microbes in the environment … though the role of rats in transmitting these microbes back to people is uncertain,” they wrote.

    We also don’t know much about what rats do all day and night, said Parsons, a scholar-in-residence at Hofstra University. (We can only hope they’re whipping up our favorite childhood dish or training ninja turtles.)

    When rats go viral — as in Internet famous, not infectious — that can lead to false generalizations about rat behavior, Parsons said. Sure, that one rat may have liked New York’s famous pizza so much that he tried to take his leftovers with him, but he may have been unusually brave.

    Parsons said he is not trying to stir unnecessary fear of our fellow city dwellers. But he suggested that getting ahead of the problem by surveying what rats could do makes more sense than scrambling if a problem emerges.

    “Instead of sampling animals periodically, on a punctuated basis,” Parsons said, “we need to implement something on a continual basis.”

    The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene did not respond to questions about its rat surveillance program and what it thought of the new paper. In 2015, the city’s rat budget got a $2.9 million boost and its program has about 170 people on staff, including exterminators and scientists.

    The quality of rat control varies city by city, but Childs, the Yale expert, said New York is one of the more proactive (he also cited New Orleans as a standout).

    The paper, which Parsons wrote with a fellow Hofstra scientist and a medical entomologist from an extermination company, outlines the steps the researchers developed to trap rats and then monitor them.

    They first seeded cages with rat pheromones to lure the rodents. The researchers anesthetized the captured rats, collected bodily fluid and fecal samples, gathered parasites from fur, and inserted a microchip about the size of a grain of rice between their shoulders.

    The paper also offered advice for finding rats: a place in a crowded area but where you can conduct the research discretely — property owners won’t want to help you out if you broadcast they have rats.

    After being released, the rats were drawn back to sensors that weighed them, providing regular insights into their health. The researchers also recaptured some rats for tests to see if pathogen levels changed over time.

    Byers and Lee,who were not involved with the new paper, said the protocol would be useful for tracking diseases, but that it can be expensive and labor- and time-intensive for cities to launch such programs.

    “Depending on the number of pathogens [and rats] a municipality is interested in testing, the cost of diagnostic testing alone can quickly add up,” they wrote in an email.

    They added that luring rats to the same sensors could lead to interaction between infected rats and uninfected rats, and that the sensors would need to be sanitized to avoid becoming an infection source.

    Parsons said he is not dead set on the methods outlined in the paper, but that he hopes public health officials see that they should be thinking about this issue.

    “Maybe this isn’t the approach,” he said. “We’re just trying to start the conversation.”

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on July 14, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post Are NYC rats disease ‘sponges’? Scientists want to track them to find out appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Police officers block off a road after a shooting of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney - RTSIE5K

    Police officers block off a road after a shooting of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 17, 2016. Photo by Joe Penney/Reuters

    Three members of law enforcement were killed and three were wounded following a shootout at a gas station in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday morning.

    The suspected shooter is also dead, officials said.

    “These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop.”
    — Pres. Barack Obama

    Calling the attack “absolutely unspeakable” and “heinous” in an afternoon press conference, Gov. John Bel Edwards said one of the injured officers was “fighting for his life.”

    The shooting took place at a B-Quick convenience store located about a mile from police headquarters, according to Baton Rouge Police Cpl. L’Jean McKneely.

    Louisiana State Police Col. Michael D. Edmonson said officers initially responded to the scene following a call before 9 a.m. to central dispatch about a man wearing all black and carrying a rifle. The shootout is believed to have taken place a short time later.

    “We believe that the person who shot and killed our officers was the person that was shot and killed at the scene,” Edmonson said.

    While officials said there was a lone shooter, a police spokesman told the Associated Press that two “persons of interest” were also detained in connection with the firefight.

    Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards speaks at a news conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney - RTSIFFE

    Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards speaks at a news conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 17, 2016. Photo by Joe Penney/Reuters

    In a statement released by the White House, President Barack Obama said while the motive for the attack was unknown, “there is no justification for violence against law enforcement.”

    “For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for ours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault,” he said. “These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop.”

    Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement there is “no place in the United States for such appalling violence.”

    She said agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were assisting in the investigation.

    Sunday’s shootout occurred amid heightened tensions between police and community members in the Louisiana capital following the shooting death of Alton Sterling by law enforcement.

    Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who had been selling CDs outside a Baton Rouge convenience store, was shot and killed by police on July 5.

    The circumstances of the shooting, which was partially caught on a video and spurred widespread outrage on social media, is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department. The two officers involved in that incident are now on administrative leave.

    Four people, including a 12-year-old boy, were arrested this week in Baton Rouge for their role in what officials called a plot to shoot police officers.

    The post Three police officers killed, three injured in Baton Rouge shooting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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