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

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    People enjoy mild temperatures along the The High Line park, an elevated section of converted New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line on Manhattan's West Side in New York City, December 15, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTX1YUIY

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    GWEN IFILL: It’s now a must for visitors to New York City, taking a walk above far above the madding crowd in a new kind of urban park.

    Jeffrey Brown took that walk with the man who helped create it.

    JAMES CORNER, Founder, James Corner Field Operations: This is one of my favorite moments. This is where these tracks crisscross. It’s called a frog.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Railroad tracks of old in a park that has helped changed contemporary thinking about cities and public spaces.

    JAMES CORNER: We amplify found conditions.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Recently, I visited New York’s phenomenally successful High Line Park with its designer, landscape architect James Corner.

    JAMES CORNER: I think this is what a lot of people like. They see this. They have discovered a found object. There’s a sense of surprise, a sense of delight. It’s real and authentic. It’s not Disney.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And it really is real.

    JAMES CORNER: And people get a kick out of it, especially in the context of modern-day Manhattan.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The original railway tracks, 30 feet above street level, were built in the 1930s. Trains carried meat, milk and other cargo, sometimes making deliveries direct to Manhattan companies.

    After trains stopped running here — the last was in 1980 — the site wasted away, an eyesore that no one could figure out what to do with, until they did: Create a new kind of public park.

    Since its opening in 2009, the High Line has attracted millions of visitors and plenty of attention from other cities eager to recreate its magic.

    James Corner’s firm, James Corner Field Operations, worked on the High Line with architects Diller Scofidio and Renfro and famed Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf.

    JAMES CORNER: It was a huge effort and a big leap of faith, because the High Line was really perceived by a lot of people to be a liability, derelict, abandoned, dangerous, dark, drugs, crime.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So inviting.

    JAMES CORNER: Nothing good, nothing good.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Yes.

    What do you think has been the key to its success?

    JAMES CORNER: When you came onto the High Line, because the trains had stopped running and natural seeds had taken root, it was a beautifully surprising and delightful one-and-a-half-mile ribbon of green.

    So you had this green carpet in silence, a sort of strange, haunting quality to it. We believed that if we were to simply leverage that, make it more of a garden than it was then, allow for the kind of voyeurism and the exhibitionism that occurs on an elevated structure when you can peek into openings and streets and buildings, that there would be something very charming about that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: More of a garden. So, the High Line features an astonishing assortment of plantings that give a sense of nature thriving, even taking over in the midst of the city, and the voyeurism or exhibitionism of walking on a raised platform.

    It’s all about the views across the city, and into buildings, and about watching and seeing your fellow human beings up close.

    JAMES CORNER: It affects people’s psyche. It affects their imagination. It affects how they relate to other people. And it just charges up the positive energy about what it means to live in a city.

    In a sense, they’re theatricalizing everyday life. You can promote a new kind of civic, public value that I think is very important.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Theatricalizing? Dramatizing?

    JAMES CORNER: Dramatizing?

    JEFFREY BROWN: You mean it’s not just a beautiful space; it’s almost like a theater?

    JAMES CORNER: Exactly.

    And this is a bit of a balcony or a catwalk, if you will, where they can show off too. So, the interaction of people who want to be quiet and recessive and look from a hidden spot, vs. people who want to be sitting out front and center and be part of the show, there’s a theatricality to that.

    MAN: It’s kind of cool.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Part of the theater on this day included a sculpture called The Sleepwalker by Tony Matelli.

    JAMES CORNER: This is public art, and

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, irresistible.

    JAMES CORNER: Irresistible. It’s kind of — he’s sleepwalking.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But is he going to wink at us?

    JAMES CORNER: He might do, if you stare at him long enough.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Corner grew up in Manchester, England. He’s lived and worked in the U.S. since the 1980s.

    He and his firm are now in great demand, designing public spaces for cities around the country, Seattle’s Waterfront, San Francisco’s Presidio, a huge park in Memphis, and much more, including Cleveland’s brand-new Public Square, which served as a protest site during the recent Republican Convention.

    JAMES CORNER: In the ’70s and ’80s, we spoke about a flight to the suburbs. People were leaving the city to live in more or less detached homes with gardens and greenery.

    Those same people are now coming back to the city, and there’s now, in a sense, a flight to the city. People want the cosmopolitanism, the diversity, the exposure, the amenities that a city provides. They want restaurants and cafes and theaters and museums, and parks and public spaces.

    JEFFREY BROWN: If anything, the High Line may be a victim of its own success. It can be clogged with people, and property values around it have skyrocketed, pushing all but the rich, individuals and companies, further away.

    Still, James Corner sees a huge benefit in creating spaces for people of all walks of life to gather.

    JAMES CORNER: We’re social animals, and we want to have a place to live, and we want to have a place to work, but we also want to have a place to participate with other people.

    And I believe it is now, perhaps more than ever, more fundamental to what it means to be a democracy to be able to foster greater understanding, greater tolerance, understand what it means to live in diverse communities, and to embrace that as something enriching and positive.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The High Line itself continues to expand, with construction of a so-called spur, a block-long offshoot, starting in 2017.

    Thirty feet above the streets of Manhattan, I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”

    The post Above Manhattan’s bustle, a reshaped public space appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    GWEN IFILL: Next: As we have seen with recent pandemics, emerging diseases like Zika and Ebola can cross continents and oceans with uncontrolled speed.

    Scientists are identifying areas where new infectious diseases are most likely to emerge, where there are high risks of animal viruses passing to humans. One of those areas is Southern China.

    Hari Sreenivasan brings us this report, which was produced in collaboration with Global Health Frontiers.

    DR. PETER DASZAK, President, EcoHealth Alliance: We’re in Guilin in Southern China, in one of the most beautiful parts of China with these amazing limestone hills and valleys and very scenic and picturesque.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Peter Daszak is the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization based in New York dedicated to protecting wildlife and public health from the emergence of disease.

    DR. PETER DASZAK: The reason we’re here is, we’re interested in the risk of new diseases emerging out of the wildlife trade in China, just like SARS did a few years ago and just like ultimately HIV did in Africa 40-odd years ago.

    If we can get to the source of where they come from and reduce the risk, we could solve a huge problem and save millions of lives, rather than waiting for them to emerge and try to mop it up afterwards.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: At markets across China, like this one, people come in daily to buy chickens and ducks.

    DR. PETER DASZAK: It increases the risk of a pathogen like avian flu from spreading, because you have got live chickens. If one of them is infected, it brings the virus in, and it spreads to this flock over a few hours, and then those animals are taken to all distant parts of the region.

    Now, you could see this activity anywhere in the world. This is just like what happens in rural America and rural parts of Europe. But the difference is, here, we’re in a hot zone for emerging diseases. This is a place where we have repeatedly seen outbreaks from poultry moving into people and spreading globally.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Natural habitats can also contribute to the spread of viruses.

    DR. PETER DASZAK: We have got people fishing in the river. We have got people washing in the river. We know there is sewage coming directly from the houses into the river. There is not much wildlife here, but wild ducks will come down to this river as well and mix in and migrate with the viruses and spread them backwards and forwards into this mix.

    It’s a big mixing vessel for pathogens.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: At a goose farm, Daszak and his team are looking for signs of avian flu.

    DR. PETER DASZAK: The idea is that, if we can catch the viruses they carry here, we can prevent them going to market and potentially spreading the disease.

    OK, ready.

    We take swabs from the mouth, and we take cloacal swabs. We put them in viral transport medium and then ship them in liquid nitrogen to the lab for testing. Avian flu is a virus that’s common in many types of birds. But especially in poultry and waterfowl, it’s a real killer.

    And some of these strains can also jump directly into people. So that’s the problem.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Viruses that can cross over and infect humans have led to previous pandemics, including the most devastating in recorded world history, the 1918 flu, which killed more people than the First World War, more than 500 million infected worldwide, and as many as 100 million deaths over a two-year period.

    DR. PETER DASZAK: We’re trying to say, where is the next avian flu going to come from? Can we see it before it becomes a pandemic problem and stop it?

    There you go.

    I look at this a little bit like earthquakes. We know earthquakes can be devastating. We know they’re pretty rare, and we know where they happen.

    So, this is the same for pandemics. We know that this is a hot spot for pandemics. We know why it happens, but what we’re not doing with pandemics that we are doing with earthquakes is reducing the damage initially. This has been going on for 5,000 years.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Working with EcoHealth Alliance in this part of China is field operations manager Dr. Guangjian Zhu, a biologist trained in the ecology of bats, which are known to be the source of the SARS virus.

    DR. GUANGJIAN ZHU, Field Operations Manager: It’s really urgent to teach people how to deal with the virus and just change our normal behavior to decrease the risk of virus transfer.

    DR. PETER DASZAK: This is a big tourist cave. Shall we go?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Daszak is concerned about a bat cave that is a popular tourist destination.

    DR. PETER DASZAK: You have got the Rhinolophus horseshoe bats right here in this cave with all these tourists going through.



    The bats here in this cave are the same bats that carry SARS virus. Bats live in the cave all day long, because they’re nocturnal. And when they’re up there, they urinate and defecate, right on top of the tourists that are walking through.

    And all you have got to do is be that one person to breathe in at the wrong time, and suddenly you have been infected with a virus that is not only potentially lethal to people. It could cause a future pandemic.

    We sent you the samples from these bats.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Daszak and his team have used mathematical models to try to understand what is driving these diseases.

    DR. PETER DASZAK: We went back to every known example of emerging disease, HIV, Ebola, West Nile virus, SARS, plotted where it originated. And we said, what are the things that are going on in those places?

    The two big drivers are growing human populations, land use change, and high wildlife diversity.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Rapid global response to disease outbreaks is essential to stopping transmission and saving lives. But Daszak and his team of virus hunters believe that forecasting where outbreaks are most likely to occur is a critical part of a defensive strategy needed to prevent outbreaks before they emerge.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Hari Sreenivasan.

    The post Why southern China is a hotbed for disease development appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Afghan security personnel prepare for combat during an ongoing battle with Taliban militants in the Nad Ali district of Helmand on August 10, 2016.

Fierce fighting in Helmand has sent thousands of Afghans fleeing to the capital of the southern opium-rich province, sparking a humanitarian crisis as Taliban insurgents besiege the city despite intensified US air strikes. The Taliban advance on Lashkar Gah has compounded fears that the city was on the brink of falling into insurgent hands, even as US and Afghan officials insist that they will not allow another urban centre to be captured. / AFP / NOOR MOHAMMAD        (Photo credit should read NOOR MOHAMMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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    GWEN IFILL: As the summer’s political and foreign policy debate has focused overwhelmingly on the rise of ISIS, an old foe continues to threaten lives and security in Afghanistan.

    The Taliban have been closing in on Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, forcing residents to flee as the Afghan army struggles to contain them.

    For more on this, I’m joined now from Kabul by special correspondent Jennifer Glasse.

    Jennifer, welcome.

    You have been to Lashkar Gah, to the provincial capital.

    Tell us, what is important about that and what is happening there?

    JENNIFER GLASSE, Special Correspondent: Well, the people down there are very concerned.

    The Taliban in the last week or so have basically encircled the city, taken many of the road leading into and out of the town. They say they feel besieged; 30,000 people have been displaced just in the last couple of weeks alone, and the Afghan army is struggling to contain the Taliban and to keep them out of the provincial capital.

    Now, if the Taliban were to assault provincial capital, it would be the first time they have tried it since 2008. That assault was beaten back. But, of course, it’s been a difficult time for them. They have some help down there. Afghan forces have sent down reinforcements. They have help in the form of American airstrikes.

    U.S. officials say there have been at least 25 U.S. airstrikes in the past two weeks alone as the Taliban have mounted that offensive. Probably the biggest problem is that they are controlling many of the routes in and out of the city, including the main road between Lashkar Gah and Kandahar, the two big cities in Southern Afghanistan.

    This — of course, Helmand has always been a contested province. The fighting down there has been particularly fierce. More than 125 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives there, including one soldier who died in January in fighting in Helmand Province. About 400 British soldiers, as well as another 100 or so coalition forces have died during the conflict in Helmand Province.

    So, it has always been a heavily contested province, but the fact that the Taliban are making an offensive, making advances on the provincial capital, I think, shows that they are resurgent here, Gwen.

    GWEN IFILL: What effect have those — you talked about the U.S. airstrikes, the 25 U.S. airstrikes. What visible effect have they had?

    JENNIFER GLASSE: Well, certainly, they have helped move the Taliban back or keep the Taliban from forming in big groups, because that’s what we have seen since the drawdown of U.S. forces, since the withdrawal of NATO forces, the end of 2014.

    Without that airpower, the Taliban were able to group in large numbers. And that’s what the airstrikes are helping. Now, U.S. officials also say there are combat enablers on the ground in Lashkar Gah, in Helmand Province. Now, that could mean forces on the ground, fighting forces on the ground. That could also mean spotters who help target those airstrikes more effectively.

    There are also several hundred American advisers that went down there last year to help reform the 215 Army Corps that is in Lashkar Gah, that is in Helmand Province, trying to hold that province together, helping with, main role, training, advising and assisting the Afghan forces.

    But the Afghan force is clearly struggling.

    GWEN IFILL: Why are the Afghan forces, why do they appear to be so weak, after all of the support they have gotten, not only from the U.S., but also in training and advising? What has gone wrong, if anything?

    JENNIFER GLASSE: Well, there are a number of problems. A lot of it is inexperience. It is still a relatively new force. U.S. officials say they are better this year than they were last year because they have some combat experience. They have a little bit of better strategic experience.

    But there have been American advisers down there helping with the force. Problems with leadership. Many of the generals and officials down there have been changed or moved out. Problems with strategy.

    So, one of the things that the Afghans used to do was go and set up checkpoints on roads. They, of course, were easy targets for the Taliban. What the U.S. forces and other NATO advisers are trying to help them with is to actually go and take land that they need to take, hold land that they need to hold.

    But it’s definitely been a struggle in the last week or so around Lashkar Gah, as the Taliban have made a concerted offensive there, in some cases even blowing up bridges. So, the Afghan security forces — also with a fledgling air force. So, they don’t have their own airpower. And that’s why the U.S. has introduced its airpower.

    GWEN IFILL: And the Taliban, how strong is it? We went through this back and forth in Kunduz not long ago.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: Well, it’s not really whether at this point Lashkar Gah falls or not. It really is the psychological battle.

    So, last week, the Taliban went into a district south of Lashkar Gah, in the Helmand River, went into the district center for a brief point of time. And then the enemy army pushed them back.

    It’s really not whether they can hold the area, because in Kunduz in the north, they only held the city center for about three days. But the knock-on effect of that was really very dramatic, because it instilled fear in people. They did go around. They gathered a lot of intelligence. They gathered people’s names in Kunduz.

    And the concern, of course, of the people in Lashkar Gah, if they are able to get into the city, are able to get close as they have gotten, it just shows that they still are a resurgent Taliban. And people are very concerned, not just in Helmand Province, but around the country, that the Taliban have been able to make such gains.

    GWEN IFILL: Jennifer Glasse reporting for us tonight from Kabul, thank you so much.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: Good to talk to you, Gwen.

    The post In key Afghan province, thousands displaced as Taliban gains ground appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Few things are certain in life, and this year’s presidential campaign has certainly defied tradition. But when it comes to taxes, it’s become clear there are pretty big differences between the two major party candidates.

    Lisa Desjardins reports. It’s part of our ongoing look at issues shaping this election.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Taxes, among the most powerful of government policies, affecting how we live and work every day. This week starts the first head-to-head policy speeches between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, starting with Trump Monday.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: I am proposing an across-the-board income tax reduction, especially for middle-income Americans.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Trump’s plan? He would simplify the tax system to just three smaller rates and fewer deductions. His top rate would be 33 percent vs. the current 39.6 percent. We don’t yet know who would see which rates.

    He’s more specific on the estate tax. That’s the tax on inheritances over $5.4 million. Trump would eliminate that tax altogether, a big benefit for farmers and wealthy families. Republicans say it is fair and positive.

    Hillary Clinton, in her economic speech in Michigan today, could not have disagreed more.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: Multimillionaires shouldn’t be able to pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries.


    LISA DESJARDINS: Clinton would charge a minimum 30 percent tax on incomes over a million dollars, and she’d raise the total tax rate to 43.6 percent for those making over $5 million. Clinton wouldn’t change rates for the lower or middle classes.

    Clinton charges that Trump’s tax plan is a giveaway to the wealthy, especially one big change.

    HILLARY CLINTON: In his speech on Monday, he called for a new tax loophole — let’s call it the Trump loophole — because it would allow him to pay less than half the current tax rate on income from many of his companies.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Clinton is talking about something complicated, but important, called pass-through income. Here’s how it works.

    Classically, a business pays a 35 percent rate on taxable incomes. But some businesses, where the owner or family is the business — think about attorneys with their own firms, for example — can pay using what’s called a pass-through. In that case, the business doesn’t pay a corporate tax. Instead, the company pays the owner and the owner pays an individual income tax of up to 39.6 percent.

    This exists so the owner isn’t taxed twice, as a business and individual. Donald Trump’s plan would cut all corporate taxes to 15 percent. And he would set a new 15 percent rate for these pass-through incomes, a huge cut that could apply to his own businesses. He responds that Clinton and Democrats overtax companies.

    DONALD TRUMP: All Hillary Clinton has to offer is more of the same, more taxes, more regulations, more bureaucrats, more restrictions on American energy and on American production.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Different visions, Trump offering tax cuts to all, especially the wealthy, Clinton pledging to tax the wealthy more and to use that money for programs for the middle and lower classes, including targeted tax credits.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Clearly, there are still many other details to both of their plans, but let’s focus in on some of the bigger differences of their approaches to taxes with Neil Irwin. He reports on business and economic issues for The New York Times. And David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution, and a contributing correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.

    And we welcome both of you back to the program.

    So, I think both of you agree with what we have just been hearing. The biggest differences between Clinton and Trump are over how their tax plans treat the wealthy.

    David, spell that out a little more for us. What’s the difference?

    DAVID WESSEL, Brookings Institution: Well, Hillary Clinton has a very clear strategy of increasing taxes on the wealthy.

    She would increase the estate tax. She would increase, as Lisa’s piece said, the marginal income tax rate on the highest income earners. Trump, on the other hand, would lower taxes for pretty much everybody, but he would disproportionately lower them for people at the top. And he would do away with the estate tax.

    So, in a sense, she wants to use the tax code to narrow the gap between winners and losers in our economy, and he doesn’t make that a priority. He wants to lower taxes and says that that will somehow unleash a burst of economy growth.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Neil, remind us, how do we define wealthy here? What income levels are we talking about?

    NEIL IRWIN, The New York Times: Well, with Hillary Clinton, the biggest surcharge is for people making over $5 million a year. That’s the very, very wealthy.

    But she has some other provisions that affect people a little further down the income scale, some provisions that make sure people making over $1 million pay at least 30 percent. That includes — so that deals with the issue that Warren Buffett has talked about where some secretaries, middle-class people can end up with effectively a higher rate than people who make their income through capital gains.

    So, it’s kind of a multitiered effort she’s doing to use some different dials within the tax code to try and shift overall the burden a little heavier toward the affluent.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, in connection with that, David, let’s talk about what the two of them would do when it comes to corporations and businesses. And I know there’s a lot here, you know, we could focus on. But, mainly, what are the differences between the two?

    DAVID WESSEL: Well, the main difference is that Donald Trump wants to cut the tax on businesses, and she doesn’t.

    It’s pretty simple like that. She has a number of targeted tax breaks for businesses to encourage them to do things that she and her advisers think would be good for the economy, more apprenticeships, more profit-sharing. But he is willing to cut the rate, allow them to write off a lot more stuff more quickly.

    Now, one advantage he has, he doesn’t pay for any of this stuff. So she’s very carefully, you increase this, you cut that. She’s not making the long-term deficit better, but she’s not making it worse. He seems unconcerned with that, so he can give a lot more tax breaks.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, revenue overall to the Treasury, to the government would go down under his proposal?

    DAVID WESSEL: A lot, yes, trillions of dollars.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Neil, be a little bit more specific on that, Neil, because we have talked about — Lisa referred to something called the pass-through, where if somebody owns a business, they — again, without confusing everybody, what does that really, effectively mean?

    NEIL IRWIN: It’s kind of a big deal.

    Donald Trump talks about doing a 15 percent rate on business income, not just corporations like Apple or GE, but also on small businesses, including partnerships, including if I have a sole proprietorship, if I have a small partnership, he wants a 15 percent rate on that income as well, which means it creates great incentive — if you’re a wealthy person looking at a 40 percent rate in the current tax code, 33 percent under Trump’s plan, you can actually get that down to 15 percent if you can somehow route that income through a business, through a partnership.

    And what we will see if that happens is a lot of people trying to do that.

    DAVID WESSEL: Right.

    So what’s interesting is if you’re a wage-earner, if you get a paycheck from your boss, there’s no way you’re going to be able to take advantage of this. But if you can somehow turn yourself into a little company, a lawyer who is a partner, or you’re some kind of a baseball player who says, I’m now I’m — I’m David Wessel, Incorporated, then I can take advantage of this.

    So a whole set of people, if they can organize themselves as businesses, can take advantage of this. Ordinary wage-earners can’t.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And is it expected that that would happen, Neil?

    NEIL IRWIN: It is. The government — the law can try and do things to try and fight it.

    But we already see some of this that happens to avoid payroll taxes. It is clearly one of the issues that will have to be resolved.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In connection with this, we often hear Donald Trump talk about corporate tax rates are way too high in this country.

    The effective rate, though, David, as I understand it, is lower than what the number is. People end up paying less, or companies end up paying less than what they are charged on paper.

    DAVID WESSEL: Right.

    So, the statutory rate, the rate in the law is 35 percent, but when you look at all the deductions and credits and exclusions that we give businesses, the effective rate, on average, is much lower than that, in the 20s.

    For some companies, it’s higher. Some companies, it is lower. So, there is a lot of momentum in Washington to redo the corporate tax code, take away some of these deductions and credits, and lower the rates.

    It’s been very politically difficult because there are winners and losers. And actually neither candidate has gotten very specific about how they do that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I want to ask you both about the middle class, people earning less than what the wealthy do.

    But before we do, Neil, what about changes in the estate tax? This is the tax people are charged when they die. They pass on everything they have to their children and there’s a tax associated with that. How do Clinton and Trump deal with that?

    NEIL IRWIN: Well, with Trump, it’s simple. He wants to get rid of it entirely.

    And one thing to remember, right now, the cutoff there for a married couple, it’s $10.9 million, meaning you have to be a multimillionaire when a person dies to face that tax at all. He still wants to get rid of it.

    Hillary Clinton wants to go the other direction, reduce those exemptions down to $7 million for a married couple. So it would affect more people than it does now if Hillary Clinton got her way.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, again, what would the effect be on revenue, David?

    DAVID WESSEL: Well, we don’t get a lot of revenue from the estate tax.

    We know the direction. But I think what Neil says is really important. So, of every 1,000 people who die in a given year, only two of them face the estate tax. So, it affects only the very rich. It’s almost more of a talking point than it is a real tax policy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We often hear Republicans refer to it as the death tax.

    DAVID WESSEL: Right. Right. I don’t why they do that.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s talk about, Neil, the middle class, and let’s be clear about what bracket, what income bracket we’re talking about, because, again, we see differences between the two of them and what they would do with the tax rates.

    NEIL IRWIN: Yes.

    So, Donald Trump does have a middle-class tax cut. It’s fairly small. It’s moving one of the key brackets from 15 percent to 12 percent. One estimate, the proposal his is based on would cut after tax income for middle-class families by something like 0.2 percent, something like 5 percent for the richest 1 percent.

    So, he does have that tax cut in there. Hillary doesn’t. The question, though, is, is the scale that they’re talking about something that is going to really move the dial and change living standards for middle-class Americans? And the numbers just aren’t that big.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we should say, David, that Trump has been saying the last several days that Clinton favors raising taxes on the middle class. She says absolutely she does not.

    DAVID WESSEL: Right. In her — in the proposals she has laid out, she doesn’t raise taxes on the middle class.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, how do you single out the differences there on what happens to the middle class?

    DAVID WESSEL: Well, as I said, because Trump is cutting taxes for a lot of people and not paying for it, he’s able to offer some tax cuts, like the one Neil described.

    Hillary Clinton has some targeted tax cuts, like increasing the tax break for child care, which she has now responded to in a vague and evolving way. I think, when you step back, what Hillary Clinton is really saying is, look, some people are going to have to pay more taxes. I’m going to come up with a plan that puts all those tax increases on people who make more than $250,000 a year. I’m not going to be able to do very much for people who make less than that. I’m not going to cut their taxes much, but I’m also not going to raise them.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What would you to do that, Neil? And we should say that whatever candidates say during a campaign is not always necessarily what they can get passed once they’re elected.

    NEIL IRWIN: That’s always true.

    There is also some stuff on child tax credits. Hillary Clinton talks about it as a credit that would help a lot of middle-class, lower-income families afford child care. Donald Trump wants to do it as a deduction. That would mainly apply to the wealthiest Americans, upper-middle-class families. So, that’s another key distinction in this.

    DAVID WESSEL: We should mention that they both talk about college and student loans in different forms.

    Hillary is talking about making college debt-free. And so that would obviously be things that are targeted to the middle class. But I think Hillary Clinton is also saying, look, I want to spend a lot of money on pre-K and infrastructure, and that will help people get jobs and higher wages.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, there is a whole lot to look at with their economic plans. This has taken a big bite out of it.

    And we thank you both, Neil Irwin, David Wessel.

    DAVID WESSEL: You’re welcome.

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    Snapchat, the popular social network that allows users to share video clips and photos in temporary timelines, has come under fire for a feature that critics are calling racist, and it’s not the first time.

    The app unveiled a filter that let users distort their faces in a manner that the company said was meant to convey the appearance of Japanese anime characters, but instead was seen as promoting stereotypes of Asians and “yellowface.” A swift, online backlash prompted Snapchat to remove the filter.

    Critics pointed out the filter looks very little like traditional Japanese anime characters, who are often depicted with oversized, bright eyes. Julia Carrie Wong of The Guardian noted the filter is more reminiscent of historical anti-Asian propaganda that “replaces eyes with slits.”

    The current Snapchat filter backlash comes four months after the company removed a controversial Bob Marley filter. The feature debuted on April 20, a day known as an informal holiday celebrating marijuana, which has no official connection to the Jamaican reggae legend. Outraged users chided the social network for promoting blackface and reducing the world-renowned musician to a weed-smoking stereotype.

    “My first reaction literally was, ‘Not again,'” says Arisha Hatch, managing director of campaigns for Color of Change, an advocacy group that challenges tech companies to be more racially inclusive. “What’s so surprising is that Asians are typically overrepresented in the tech industry, so the opportunity for an employee or anyone to say ‘this is not right’ should have been there.”

    “They’re sending the message that it’s ok to mock and stereotype marginalized people for how they look, dress and sound.” — Arisha Hatch, Color of Change

    While most of Snapchat’s popular face-altering options depict ghosts and puppies, users have also criticized the “beauty” filters that could be seen as promoting light skin and European facial features. Pop star Rihanna even voiced concern that the filters drastically change her appearance. “I look white,” she said in one clip. In a second video posted by a friend, she questions, “Whose nose is that and why are my eyes crossed?”

    Hatch says filters like the ones that (questionably) depict Bob Marley and Japanese anime, as well as ones that make users appear more white, show a lack of awareness by Snapchat as to how such imagery has historical context. She says these depictions have been used to dehumanize minority communities for centuries and continues today.

    “They’re sending the message that it’s OK to mock and stereotype marginalized people for how they look, dress and sound,” Hatch says. “And that affects how a person of color is perceived when they’re profiled on the street, apply for a job or try to get a loan.”

    When contacted, Snapchat did not return emailed requests for an interview or statement on on how it plans to address issues of race and representation. They have also declined multiple requests from media and advocacy groups to release details on the demographic makeup of its more than 300 employees.

    However, in a statement to The Verge, Snapchat said the filter has been taken down, and that it “won’t be put back into circulation.”

    “Snapchat tells The Verge that the lens was inspired by anime, and was meant to be playful.”

    – The Verge

    Hatch says being consistently tone deaf on race can’t be blamed on innocent, playful intentions.

    “Intentions don’t erase the impact,” Hatch said, “And the impact is hurtful and damaging for people of color who see themselves dehumanized for fun. It shows that merely hiring more people of color is only part of the solution for tech companies. Educating themselves on culture, racism and history is vital as well.”

    Tech companies are grappling with widespread criticism for lack of diversity. According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, less than 10 percent of Silicon Valley staff are African-American or Hispanic. And social media networks are facing mounting backlash for hands-off approaches to racism toward high-profile users. Most recently, comedian Leslie Jones and Fifth Harmony singer Normani Kordei announced social media hiatuses over harassment from trolls geared toward their race and gender.

    Latinos and blacks “use social media networks about equally” as whites, according to Pew Research Center. And with two recent controversies over racially insensitive filters, Hatch says Snapchat, like other networks, may begin to feel the effects where it will hurt them most: engagement and revenue.

    “Twitter and Facebook are already learning that when you continue to perpetuate harmful stereotypes that impact the majority of your consumers, fail to listen to their complaints of harassment, and are seemingly insincere about incorporating them into your own staff, you’ll see it affect your growth,” Hatch said. “It’s only a matter of time before Snapchat realizes that too.”

    READ MORE: The problem with Snapchat’s Bob Marley filter goes beyond blackface

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    Libyan forces allied with the U.N.-backed government prepare to capture university buildings during a battle with IS fighters in Sirte, Libya, August 10, 2016. Picture taken August 10, 2016.  REUTERS/Stringer EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.  - RTSMQ6Q

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: American-backed militias claimed new progress in capturing the Islamic State’s last stronghold in Libya. The militia forces say they have now liberated 70 percent of the city of Sirte. Just a day earlier, they took control of several key sites there, including a sprawling convention center that ISIS fighters had used as a headquarters.

    GWEN IFILL: Australia is accusing asylum-seekers of lying about sexual abuse in offshore detention camps. More than 2,000 incidents allegedly happened on the island nation of Nauru. But Australia’s immigration minister rejected the accounts today.

    PETER DUTTON, Immigration Minister, Australia: I would just add a word of caution to some of the hype that’s out there at the moment. If people have done the wrong thing, whether it’s security guards, whether it’s people in our employ directly or elsewhere, then there’s a price to pay for that.

    But bear in mind that some people do have a motivation to make a false complaint, and we have had instances where people have self-harmed in an effort to get to Australia, and I’m not going to tolerate that behavior either.

    GWEN IFILL: Australia refuses to accept asylum-seekers trying to reach its shores by boat. It pays Nauru and Papua New Guinea to hold them instead.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the Philippines, startling numbers today from a crackdown on drugs. It began under new President Rodrigo Duterte as of July 1. Since then, police report killing 525 suspected dealers who they say put up a fight. In addition, they have arrested more than 7,600 suspects on charges of drug dealing. And another half-a-million people have turned themselves in to authorities. Human rights advocates are protesting the killings.

    GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration balked at reclassifying marijuana as a lesser drug. Instead, it stays on the list of the most dangerous alongside heroin and ecstasy. There’s a growing push to legalize pot. But the DEA said it still has a high potential for abuse.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The scientists who found lead contamination in Flint, Michigan’s water now say the problem has greatly improved. A team from Virginia Tech University tested 162 homes in July and reported that 45 percent had no detectable levels of lead. That is up from just 9 percent with no lead a year ago.

    MARC EDWARDS, Virginia Tech: This really shows that the corrosion control and all the things that are being implemented by the feds and state and city are really working, and Flint’s system is on its way to recover. Now, that doesn’t mean the current situation is acceptable. But this process of healing is going to continue.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: For now, however, the researchers say all Flint residents should continue to drink bottled or filtered water.

    GWEN IFILL: On Wall Street, stocks followed oil prices higher after an international report forecast greater stability in the oil market. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 118 points to close at 18613. The Nasdaq rose close to 24 points, and the S&P 500 added 10.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And at the Summer Olympic Games, Americans finished one-two in the women’s gymnastics individual all-around. Simone Biles cemented her place as the best in the world, taking gold, and Aly Raisman was right behind her to grab silver.

    Also today, American Kayla Harrison successfully defended her Olympic judo title from 2012.

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    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at Futuramic Tool & Engineering in Warren, Michigan. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at Futuramic Tool & Engineering in Warren, Michigan. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton offered a selective accounting of her history on trade Thursday, leaving out her support for initiatives that have since become unpopular. She also offered a rosier view of the U.S. workforce than the numbers portray.

    A look at some of the claims in her Michigan economic speech and how they compare with the facts:

    CLINTON: “We have the most dynamic, productive workforce in the world, bar none.”

    THE FACTS: Actually, bar two. Luxembourg and Norway have more productive workforces, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    More concerning is the fact that U.S. productivity has been slipping in recent years.

    Productivity, or the amount of output per hour worked, is a measure of how efficient an economy is. The U.S. is third in the world, says the OECD, a group of mostly rich countries. But American productivity has been extraordinarily weak since the recession began in December 2007, a trend that could weigh on economic growth and incomes. Higher productivity makes it possible for employers to pay their workers more without raising prices.

    Productivity fell 0.4 percent in the April-June quarter compared with a year earlier. That was the fourth time productivity has fallen from a year earlier since the recession began. Before that, productivity hadn’t fallen since 1993.

    Video by PBS NewsHour

    CLINTON: “It’s true that too often, past trade deals have been sold to the American people with rosy scenarios that didn’t pan out. … I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages — including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election and I’ll oppose it as president.”

    THE FACTS: She didn’t oppose the Pacific deal when she was secretary of state, but rather promoted it. In 2012, during a trip to Australia, she called it the “gold standard” of trade agreements. She flip-flopped into opposition in the Democratic primary when facing Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was vehemently opposed to it.

    Clinton says she no longer backs the proposed trade deal as written because it does not provide enough protections for U.S. workers on wages, jobs and the country’s national security.

    Over the years, she has opposed some trade deals and supported others. Two that she backed are the source of contention in her 2016 race with Republican Donald Trump, just as they were when Barack Obama called her out on them in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign.

    For years before that campaign, Clinton repeatedly defended the North American Free Trade Agreement, which her husband shepherded through Congress in 1993. As first lady in 1996, she said “NAFTA is proving its worth.” As a New York senator, she said the agreement was good for the U.S. “on balance” and her 2003 memoir voiced the conviction that the deal with Canada and Mexico was the right step.

    While campaigning for the Senate in 2000, she also expressed support for her husband’s initiative normalizing trade with China, despite her concerns about labor rights for Chinese workers. She said, again “on balance,” that it was in the interest of U.S. workers to have China open its markets to more U.S. goods.

    READ MORE: GOP morphing into the anti-trade deal party

    CLINTON: “Too many companies lobbied for trade deals so they could sell products abroad but instead moved abroad and sold back into the United States.”

    THE FACTS: This may be true, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Most trade deals the U.S. agrees to, including NAFTA and subsequent agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, include “investor protections.” These are legally binding provisions that are intended to reassure companies that if they set up shop overseas, foreign governments won’t be able to seize their assets or use regulations to hurt their businesses. Not surprisingly, many companies have taken advantage of those rules to shift their operations abroad.

    READ MORE: How does Donald Trump’s economic plan hold up?

    CLINTON: “According to an independent analysis by a former economic adviser to Sen. John McCain, if you add up all of Trump’s ideas — from cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations to starting a trade war with China to deporting millions of hard-working immigrants — the result would be a loss of 3.4 million jobs. By contrast, the same analyst found that with our plans, the economy would create more than 10 million new jobs.”

    THE FACTS: First, Clinton persists in citing a former McCain adviser — the respected Moody’s Analytics economist and forecaster Mark Zandi — without mentioning that Zandi is a donor to her campaign.

    As well, she did not fully capture what Zandi estimated when she quoted him as saying her plans would add 10 million jobs. Zandi actually estimated job gains of 7.2 million in the next presidential term if there are no policy changes.

    He estimated her plans would add 3.2 million jobs to that baseline. She’s taking credit for jobs expected to grow even if the economy were essentially on auto pilot.

    Further, the analysis Clinton quotes for Donald Trump was released in June, so it doesn’t account for revisions in his economic plans, such as his intention to make the top marginal tax rate for individuals 33 percent, instead of the 25 percent analyzed by Zandi. Still, the outdated analysis says that there would be fewer jobs after four years of a Trump administration than exists today.

    Also worth noting: Most forecasts are extremely speculative and seldom correspond with what really happens in the economy.

    Associated Press writer Cal Woodward contributed to this report.

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

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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at the National Association of Home Builders event in Miami, Florida. Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: From terrorism to taxes, the candidates dueled today over their visions of each other. Hillary Clinton talked economic policy. And Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that her failures in the Obama administration allowed a deadly new enemy to emerge.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: Oh, boy, is ISIS hoping for her.

    GWEN IFILL: Trump is stepping up his effort to tie Hillary Clinton time as secretary of state to the rise of the Islamic State.

    This morning, in Miami:

    DONALD TRUMP: You know, if you’re a sports team, most valuable player, MVP. You get the MVP award. ISIS will hand her the most valuable player award.

    GWEN IFILL: And last night in Fort Lauderdale, with this about President Obama:

    DONALD TRUMP: ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder. And I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.


    GWEN IFILL: The Republican nominee defended the line of attack in a call-in today to CNBC.

    DONALD TRUMP: There is something wrong with saying that? Why? Are people complaining that I said he was the founder of ISIS?

    QUESTION: I am wondering how you think that’s going to play in some battleground states.

    DONALD TRUMP: I don’t know. Whatever it is, it is.

    GWEN IFILL: The Clinton campaign dismissed it all as trash-talking, and said: “It goes without saying that this is a false claim. He’s echoing the talking points of Vladimir Putin and our adversaries to attack American leaders and American interests.”

    On the campaign trail, Clinton ripped into Trump’s economic policies in a speech outside Detroit. She charged he’s outright scared of free trade, and likened it to the Olympics.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: If Team USA was as fearful as Trump, Michael Phelps and Simone Biles would be cowering in the locker room afraid to come out to compete.


    HILLARY CLINTON: Instead, they are winning gold medals. America isn’t afraid to compete.

    GWEN IFILL: Clinton went on to cite a litany of issues that she said Trump remains silent on.

    HILLARY CLINTON: He’s offered no credible plans to address what working families are up against today, nothing on student loans or the cost of prescription drugs, nothing for communities of color in our cities to overcome the barriers of systemic racism, nothing to create new opportunities for young people.

    GWEN IFILL: But even as Clinton surges in the polls, there’s new worry for Democrats about a cyber-attack blamed on Russian hackers. The New York Times reports they breached e-mail accounts of more than 100 party officials and groups. That’s on top of hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the party’s House campaign committee.

    DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to step down when that news came to light on the eve of the party convention.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addressed the issue in Washington today:

    REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), Minority Leader: Russians broke in. Who did they give the information to? I don’t know. Who dumped it? I don’t know. But I do know that this is a Watergate-like electronic break-in.

    GWEN IFILL: Pelosi said she doesn’t know whether her own e-mails were targeted. And it’s equally unclear what revelations may yet be coming from the hackers.

    We will turn to the candidates’ competing proposals on the economy after the news summary.

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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at the National Association of Home Builders event in Miami, Florida. Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at the National Association of Home Builders event in Miami, Florida. Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

    ORLANDO, Fla. — After days of alleging repeatedly that President Barack Obama literally founded the Islamic State group, Donald Trump abruptly shifted tone on Friday and insisted his widely debunked claim had been sarcastic.

    Trump, in an early-morning post on Twitter, blamed CNN for reporting “so seriously” that he had called Obama and Democrat Hillary Clinton the extremist group’s founder and most valuable player. He added, in all capital letters: “THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?”

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

    Only hours before, the billionaire businessman had restated the allegation with no mention of sarcasm, telling rally-goers in Kissimmee, Florida, that “I’ve been saying that Barack Obama is the founder.” It’s a claim that Trump repeated at least a dozen times in three cities since debuting the attack-line Wednesday during a rally outside Fort Lauderdale.

    In fact, Trump had refused to clarify that he was being rhetorical or sarcastic when asked about the remark during interviews. On Tuesday, when conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt tried to steer Trump toward explaining he really meant Obama’s Mideast policies created conditions that IS exploited, Trump wanted none of it.

    “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do,” Trump said, using another acronym for the extremist group. Told that Obama was trying to defeat the militants, Trump added, “I don’t care. He was the founder.”

    The controversy over the Islamic State has dogged the campaign in a week in which he has been trying to highlight his economic proposals. Trump is encountering worrying signs as his campaign moves into the November election. Clinton’s lead over Trump in national polls has widened in recent days, while a growing number of fellow Republicans have declared they won’t support their own party’s nominee.

    Clinton is looking to take advantage by expanding into traditionally Republican states, seeking a sweeping victory in November.

    It wasn’t immediately clear why Trump altered course Friday and said the whole notion was sarcastic. But the allegation had elicited fresh concerns about Trump’s relationship with the truth and his preparedness to be commander in chief.

    Clinton’s campaign has cried foul and accused Trump of mimicking Russian President Vladimir Putin’s talking points, and the Democratic Party had asked for an apology.

    “I just do not think insults and bullying is how we are to get things done,” Clinton said as she laid out her economic plan Thursday in Warren, Michigan.

    Yet even as he worked to quell one campaign controversy, Trump appeared to spark another late Wednesday when said he was “fine” with trying Americans suspected of terrorism in military tribunals at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Asked specifically about U.S. citizens, Trump told the Miami Herald that he didn’t like that Obama and others wanted to try them in traditional courts.

    “I would say they could be tried there,” Trump said, referring to Guantanamo Bay. “That’ll be fine.”

    Federal law generally prohibits U.S. citizens from being prosecuted in military tribunals.

    Trump has blamed Obama’s decision to pull U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011 for destabilizing the Middle East and creating a situation in which Islamic State militants could thrive. He’d added Clinton to the mix by noting her initial support for the Iraq War and her ties to Obama’s policies as his first-term secretary of state. However, Trump previously had said he wanted U.S. troops out years earlier than Obama withdrew them.

    The founder of the Islamic State group was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qaida in Iraq who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006. The group began as Iraq’s local affiliate of al-Qaida, the group that attacked the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001.

    GOP concerns about Trump are compelling enough that dozens of worried Republicans were gathering signatures for a letter urging the party’s chairman to stop helping Trump and focus on protecting vulnerable House and Senate candidates, according to a draft obtained by the Associated Press. Trump said he wasn’t worried Republicans would cut him off — and threatened to stop fundraising for the party if they do.

    Trump’s campaign planned to sit down with RNC officials in Orlando on Friday. But both Republican Party officials and Trump’s campaign said the meeting was focused on campaign strategy in battleground states like Florida, and not tensions between the campaign and the GOP. The officials weren’t authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity.

    The post After repeatedly claiming Obama and Clinton link to ISIS, Trump calls it sarcasm appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton smiles while taking pictures with supporters at Futuramic Tool & Engineering in Warren, Michigan August 11, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane - RTSMQT4

    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton smiles while taking pictures with supporters at Futuramic Tool & Engineering in Warren, Michigan. Seeking common ground with blue-collar workers , Clinton frequently mentions Trump’s tax returns as a way of underscoring how his economic plans would benefit his personal interests. Photo by Chris Keane/ Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Hillary and Bill Clinton earned $10.6 million last year, according to a tax filing released by her campaign Friday that sought to pressure presidential rival Donald Trump to disclose his tax returns.

    The filing shows that the Clintons paid a federal tax rate of 34.2 percent in 2015. The bulk of their income — more than $6 million — came from speaking fees for appearances made largely before Hillary Clinton launched her campaign in April 2015. They gave more than $1 million to charity.

    READ MORE: The candidates and your taxes in one graphic

    The Clintons’ income puts them well within the ranks of the top 0.1 percent of Americans, though they pay a higher tax rate than many of their elite peers, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation based on 2013 data.

    The release is part of an effort to undercut Trump’s character by questioning the celebrity businessman’s record. Trump has refused to make his filings public, saying they’re under audit by the Internal Revenue Service and that he’ll release them only once that review is complete. All major U.S. presidential candidates in modern history have released their returns.

    The bulk of their income — more than $6 million — came from speaking fees for appearances made largely before Hillary Clinton launched her campaign.

    The Clintons have disclosed returns for every year dating back to 1977, in part due to laws requiring public officials release returns. She put out her most recent eight years of tax filings last summer and several years during her first presidential bid.

    Seeking common ground with blue-collar workers who have been attracted to Trump’s message, Clinton frequently mentions Trump’s returns as a way of underscoring how his economic plans would benefit his personal interests and questioning whether he’s as wealthy as he claims.

    Democrats believe Trump’s returns could be treasure trove of politically damaging information. They want to see his tax rate, charitable giving, and business dealings with foreign governments.

    “Here’s a pretty incredible fact: There is a non-zero chance that Donald Trump isn’t paying (asterisk)any(asterisk) taxes,” Clinton tweeted, just minutes after releasing her own returns.

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

    The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Clinton’s strategy is borrowed from President Barack Obama’s winning playbook against Mitt Romney in 2012. Obama repeatedly used Romney’s business dealings against him and seized upon the former Massachusetts governor’s reluctance to release certain tax records.

    Clinton’s campaign also released 10 years of returns from running mate Tim Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton. Over the last decade, the couple has donated 7.5 percent of their income to charity, the campaign said, and paid an effective tax rate of 25.6 percent last year.

    Clinton has tried to paint Trump as an out-of-touch business mogul but her substantial wealth has caused headaches.

    Kaine, the Virginia senator who’s spent much of his life in public service, reported a far lower income than the Clintons. Over the past decade, he and his wife earned the most in 2014, more than $314,000 in adjusted gross income. The Clintons made about 90 times more, reporting nearly $28 million for the same year.

    Clinton has tried to paint Trump as an out-of-touch business mogul but her substantial wealth has caused headaches. Republicans have seized upon the millions in speaking fees and a tone-deaf comment by Clinton in a 2014 interview that she was “dead broke” after leaving the White House in 2001. The couple owed millions in legal fees, but quickly generated far more from book deals, paid appearances and consulting fees.

    In total, the Clintons earned than $139 million between 2007 and 2014, according to eight years of federal income tax returns released by her campaign last July.

    The bulk of their income came from speeches delivered to corporate and interest groups, which paid Bill Clinton and later Hillary Clinton after she resigned as secretary of state in early 2013.

    Clinton delivered six paid speeches in 2015, including one to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. She commanded her highest rate from EBay, which paid her $315,000 for a March 2015 address in San Jose.

    Bill Clinton’s consulting work for GEMS Education, a global network of for-profit schools based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, earned him more than $5.6 million in fees between 2010 and 2015, according to the Clinton tax returns.

    Bill Clinton also earned more than $17 million over the same period for consulting work for Laureate Education, Inc., another worldwide for-profit education system based in Baltimore that makes most of its profits from overseas operations. Several former students have sued a school operated by the company, alleging fraud.

    Bill Clinton’s office last year said he had ended his consulting relationship with Laureate, but no similar statement has been made regarding to GEMS, which stands for Global Education Management Systems. His office did not immediately respond to a question about whether he still has a relationship with GEMS.

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

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    Volunteer surf life saver Mecca Laalaa runs along North Cronulla Beach in Sydney during her Bronze medallion competency test in 2007. Photo by Tim Wimborne/Reuters

    Volunteer surf life saver Mecca Laalaa runs along North Cronulla Beach in Sydney during her Bronze medallion competency test in 2007. Photo by Tim Wimborne/Reuters

    A beachgoer in Cannes, France, can now be fined and asked to leave the beach if caught wearing a “burkini,” a full-body swimsuit preferred by Muslim women.

    Cannes mayor David Lisnard said the burkini is a “symbol of Islamic extremism” and might disturb the peace in the wake of Islamist attacks on France, BBC reported.

    Lisnard’s new official ruling says that “access to beaches and for swimming is banned to any person wearing improper clothes that are not respectful of good morals and secularism.”

    “Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order,” the ruling continued.

    The ruling is temporary and in effect until the end of August, the Associated Press reported. The penalty is a 38 euro, $42, fine.

    The ban has received sharp criticism from French media. Le Monde, a French newspaper, challenged the law’s legality, while another French newspaper, Liberation, accused the ban of being purely political.

    This kind of ban is not new to France. In 2010, the French parliament passed a law banning burqas and forbidding people from concealing their faces in public. It was the first European country to do so.

    Since then, Belgium has also banned full-face veils. Switzerland, the Netherlands and Spain have partial bans, while Italy has also put a stop to “burkinis” in certain parts of the country, The Telegraph reported.

    Germany could be next to adopt a similar law. Senior officials have called for a ban on burqas and an end to dual citizenship in response to recent terrorist attacks.

    The League of Human Rights said in a statement that it would challenge the “burkini” ban in court.

    The post French mayor of Cannes bans ‘burkini’ swimwear appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A Greenland shark just took home the gold medal for longest-living vertebrate. This slow-moving native of the Arctic and North Atlantic can live to be 272 years old, according to a new study in Science.

    To estimate the age of this elder fish, an international team of researchers used radiocarbon dating on the eye lenses of 28 dead female Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus). In particular, they examined isotopes at the center of the eye lenses, which were formed when the sharks were born.  

    Only three of the sharks had carbon-14 isotopes associated with nuclear bomb testing during the 1950s, meaning the rest were older than 75 years old. By correlating shark length with radiocarbon dates, the team estimated the largest shark was 392 years old, give or take 120 years.

    “Even with the lowest part of this uncertainty, 272 years, even if that is the maximum age, it should still be considered the longest-living vertebrate,” lead author Julius Neilsen told the BBC.

    The researchers also determined that Greenland sharks, which grow less than one inch a year, don’t reach sexual maturity until they are 150 years old. Requiring more than a century to reproduce raises significant concerns for this already-threatened species.

    The world title for longest-living creature, however, still belongs to a 507 year-old clam, an invertebrate.  

    The post Meet the oldest known vertebrate in the world appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A 'for sale' is seen outside a single family house in Uniondale, New York, U.S., May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton - RTSFLBM

    A ‘for sale’ is seen outside a single family house in Uniondale, New York, U.S., on May 23, 2016. Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    Making Sense/NBER logo

    Each month, the NBER Digest summarizes several recent NBER working papers. These papers have not been peer-reviewed, but are circulated by their authors for comment and discussion. With the NBER’s blessing, Making Sen$e is pleased to feature these summaries regularly on our page.

    The following summary was written by the NBER and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Making Sen$e.

    After the last decade’s housing market crash, scholars, analysts and policy makers stepped up efforts to better understand how households’ attitudes toward the housing market, such as their optimism or pessimism, influence house price fluctuations. While some have argued that market mood swings play a key role in the trajectory of sales and prices, it has been hard to quantify that influence or to pinpoint its sources.

    In “Social Networks and Housing Markets,” Michael Bailey, Ruiqing Cao, Theresa Kuchler and Johannes Stroebel explore whether discussions with members of one’s social network about the housing market can influence one’s decision about whether to buy a home and at what price to do so. They find that the housing market experiences of a person’s friends can have large effects on that person’s housing market beliefs and housing investment decisions, even if these friends live far away.


    To measure individuals’ housing market beliefs, Facebook conducted an online survey of some of its users in Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States. The survey was conducted in November 2015 and yielded 1,242 responses from 113 L.A. ZIP codes. The researchers analyzed the responses and found that individuals whose friends experienced larger recent house price increases considered local property a more attractive investment, with bigger effects on the beliefs of those respondents who regularly discussed such investments with their friends.

    The researchers then compiled anonymized social network data from Facebook, combined with public housing deeds and assessor records, in an effort to analyze the relationships between the home price experiences of a person’s friends and four actual housing decisions: whether to rent or own, the square footage of properties bought, the price paid for a particular house and the leverage chosen to finance the purchase. The final data contained anonymized demographic, social network and housing market data for 1.4 million individuals and 525,000 housing transactions.

    The researchers found that a 5 percentage point higher house price increase over the previous 24 months in the communities where an individual’s friends lived raised that individual’s likelihood of moving from renting to owning by 3.1 percentage points over the next 24 months. Such a price increase was also associated with a 1.7 percent increase in the average size of the home purchased, a 3.3 percent increase in the amount paid for the house and a 7 percent larger down payment. When someone’s friends experienced less-positive house price changes, those individuals were more likely to become renters and more likely to sell their property at lower prices.

    The researchers conclude that their findings “can contribute to our understanding of the geographic contagion of house price shocks.”

    — Jay Fitzgerald, National Bureau of Economic Research

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    Volunteer health officials wait to immunize children at a school in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, in 2010. Photo by Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

    Volunteer health officials wait to immunize children at a school in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, in 2010. Photo by Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

    Nigerian military helicopters rushed emergency polio vaccines to Nigeria’s northern state of Borno on Friday morning, in response to Africa’s first cases of the polio virus in more than two years.

    A day before, the Nigerian government confirmed that two toddlers were paralyzed by the disease, nearly a year after the country was declared polio-free.

    These new cases have prompted Nigerian health officials to coordinate an emergency response with WHO, aiming to vaccinate nearly 5 million children in the northeastern parts of the country to contain the outbreak, NPR reported.

    “This is an important reminder that the world cannot afford to be complacent as we are on the brink of polio eradication – we will only be done when the entire world has been certified polio-free,” said Michel Zaffran, WHO director of polio eradication.

    WHO said the pair of new cases were linked to a polio strain last detected in Borno five years ago. In 2012, more than half of polio cases worldwide were located in Nigeria, WHO said.

    In September, the World Health Organization removed Nigeria from its polio-endemic list, meaning the African continent, as well, had eradicated the disease. That meant only two countries — Pakistan and Afghanistan — still reported polio cases.

    Borno state health commissioner Ibrahim Miringa told the Associated Press on Friday that attacks by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram made it difficult for health workers to access the region, specifically in Jere and Gwoza, where the two new cases were identified.

    In February 2013, nine women administering polio vaccines to children in Nigeria were shot dead. Although no group had claimed responsibility for the deaths, witnesses said Boko Haram was behind the attack, The Guardian reported.

    Suspicion that vaccinations are a western plot has also pervaded the area. In 2003, Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s plan to immunize more than 15 million in West and Central Africa was stopped in its tracks when three states in northern Nigeria boycotted the vaccination.

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    An Islamic State flag is seen in this picture illustration. Photo illustration by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

    An Islamic State flag is seen in this picture illustration. Photo illustration by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — A top Islamic State group leader in Afghanistan was killed in a U.S. drone strike last month, the Pentagon confirmed Friday, saying his death will affect the group’s recruiting and operations in the region.

    Gordon Trowbridge, deputy press secretary, said Hafiz Saeed Khan died in southern Nangarhar Province on July 26.

    The State Department last year designated Khan a global terrorist, saying he is the leader of the Islamic State in Khorasan, which includes former members of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban. Khan had previously been a Tehrik-e Taliban commander, but last year pledged loyalty to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    U.S. and Afghan leaders have been concerned about the growth of IS in Afghanistan. The militants are mainly in the country’s eastern region. They were targeted by a U.S.-backed Afghan military offensive last month that included American and Afghan special operations forces.

    Five U.S. commandos were injured in combat with Islamic State fighters during the offensive, in what officials thought was the first instance of Americans being wounded in fighting against the IS in Afghanistan.

    Trowbridge said Khan was known to directly participate in attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, and said his IS group used Nangarhar and the region to train and equip militants and provide a “continuous supply of enemy fighters.”

    READ MORE: How ISIS uses smart phone apps to sell and register its sex slave captives

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally, to another of our Brief But Spectacular episodes, where we ask interesting people to describe their passion.

    Earlier, we heard what was driving the recent chaos witnessed in the Middle East.

    Now we hear a more personal take from photojournalist Lynsey Addario, whose work appears regularly in The New York Times, “National Geographic,” and “TIME” magazine.

    Having covered conflict around the globe, from the Taliban in Afghanistan to turmoil in Libya, where she was kidnapped in 2011, she writes her experiences in a memoir, “It’s What I Do.”

    LYNSEY ADDARIO, Author/Photographer, “It’s What I Do”: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

    That’s a classic Robert Capa quote. He was a very famous war photographer. And it’s the truth. We cannot do our jobs from further back. And I have to care. I have to bring myself emotionally closer to the subject.

    I believe in these stories. I believe they have to be told. And so I force myself to go to these places. It’s not an adrenaline rush and it’s not an addiction.

    I have been kidnapped twice, once in Garma, which is a village outside Fallujah, by Sunni insurgents, and once in Libya. I was sure we were about to die. And all I can think about is really? Is this where I’m going to see the end of my life? What am I doing here? Why is it so important for me to be here?

    And I have to ask myself those questions, because a big part of this job is knowing that we might die at any given time.

    People always ask, like, are you stoic when you’re shooting? And I am anything but stoic. When I’m watching someone die, I become very overwhelmed with emotion, and I’m crying as I’m shooting. I think it would be really strange if I didn’t cry when I saw the things I see, because I see some of the most horrific things and some of the most beautiful things.

    Being a war photographer comes with great sacrifice. It’s almost impossible to have a personal life. The amount of psychological and physical trauma that each one of us carries with us from covering war over many, many years is extraordinary.

    When I first started doing this job, I had a really hard time reconciling the fact that life went on outside of these war zones, and I would come back to New York, and everyone was at a bar getting drunk and having fun. And I was so confused. I don’t understand why no one cares, and people aren’t out on the street protesting.

    I had to make a decision at some point that if I was going to lead this life, I had to not leave behind the things I have seen, but be present when I go home to be with my family and my husband and my son. I have to be there for them.

    I was so frustrated by people being so dismissive of the deeper reasons why anyone would cover war. It’s about educating people, policy-makers, talking about human rights abuses.

    Once a photographer starts seeing the impact of his or her work, it’s impossible to turn away. I mean, it’s impossible to stop doing it.

    My name is Lynsey Addario, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on life as a photojournalist.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Such amazing photographs.

    And you can watch more episodes of our Brief But Spectacular series on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.

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    2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Preliminary - Women's 100m Freestyle - Heats - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 10/08/2016. Yusra Mardini (SYR) of Refugee Olympic Athletes competes.    REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.   - RTSMEOB

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    JEFFREY BROWN: And we turn to another big story of these Games, away from the medal podiums.

    Across the globe today, there are some 65 million people who’ve been forced from their homes, an unprecedented number. Ten refugees are now on the world stage in Rio.

    He didn’t win the 100 meter butterfly yesterday, not even close, but 25-year-old Rami Anis, a Syrian refugee now living in Belgium, did get a standing ovation; 18-year-old Yusra Mardini, also from Syria, won a preliminary heat in her race before failing to advance further. Still, by the very special terms she’d set for herself, this was a victory.

    YUSRA MARDINI, Swimmer, Refugee Olympic Team: For the refugees in Brazil, and all the refugees around the world, we are going to represent you guys in a really good picture. And I hope you are going to learn from our story that you have to move on, because life will never stop with your problems or anything. And I hope that everyone will continue to achieve their dreams.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Just last year, both Yusra Mardini and Rami Anis made the dangerous voyage across the Aegean Sea that’s become a symbol of an international refugee crisis.

    On Mardini’s trip, the motor failed and she and her sister, also a swimmer, were the only ones strong enough to swim the crowded boat to safety. One week ago, to a resounding welcome, the two young Syrians and eight other athletes made history as the first ever Refugee Olympic Team.

    Filippo Grandi, U.N. high commissioner for refugees, was there, and spoke with us yesterday from his Geneva headquarters.

    FILIPPO GRANDI, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: I was so nervous, like if I was going to give an exam, I can tell you. And we had to wait for the whole ceremony, because they were the last but one team to enter before the hosts, Brazil. And when they entered, the emotion was unlimited.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The UNHCR worked with the International Olympic Commission to create the team, holding tryouts in refugee camps such as the huge Kakuma camp in Kenya. Those who made the cut got the help of world-class coaches to prepare for Rio.

    FILIPPO GRANDI: We started talking about that project in the midst of the most negative global discussion on refugees and migrants during the Europe crisis. So, it was really a reversal of that approach, that vision. It was positive. It emphasized achievement. It emphasized contributions by refugees.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Five runners who fled war in South Sudan as children made it to Rio; 21-year-old Yiech Pur Biel made his Olympics debut this afternoon in the 800-meter competition.

    Anjelina Nadai Lohalith will run on Saturday in the 1,500 meter race; 28-year-old James Nyang Chiengjiek will run the 400-meter dash Saturday well. Paulo Lokoro, 24 years old, is a middle-distance runner who escaped the war in 2006. He runs next Tuesday. Rose Nathike Lokonyen made the team despite having to run barefoot in tryouts in the refugee camp.

    ROSE NATHIKE LOKONYEN, Runner, Refugee Olympic Team: We compete among the refugees. Then it happened that some of us, we ran without shoe. Like me, I was just running barefoot.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Filippo Grandi visited the five as they trained in Kenya, and it was there he became convinced this refugee team could both compete with world-class athletes, and have an impact beyond Rio.

    FILIPPO GRANDI: We knew that these were people coming from hardship, often living in difficult conditions in refugee camps, having gone through very difficult situations. So, for them to step up to those technical levels would be difficult.

    But we knew that would compensate by enthusiasm, by commitment, and by the strong message that they would bring to the Olympic Games.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The oldest member of the refugee team is 36-year-old marathoner Yonas Kinde. He fled Ethiopia in 2013, and now has asylum in Luxembourg.

    And filling out the group, two refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who competed in judo earlier this week; 28-year-old Yolande Mabika lost her parents to war and first took up judo in a center for displaced children in Kinshasa. She lost her first-round match on Wednesday; 24-year-old Popole Misenga won his first bout before losing to a world champion from South Korea. Misenga’s mother was killed when he was 9, and he’s not seen his siblings since.

    POPOLE MISENGA, Judo Fighter, Refugee Olympic Team  (through translator): I am here, in Brazil. I’m participating in the Olympics, and I thank God for that. If my brother can see me on TV,, to know your brother is here in Brazil, striving to maybe see him, be one day together, I send him hugs wherever he is, and I am thinking of him here in Brazil. And I hope to bring all my family close to me, to see them. It’s been such a long time.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The two judo competitors have received asylum in Brazil three years ago.

    The Olympic host nation, a land of immigrants, has welcomed many recent asylum-seekers. Hanan Dacka, a 12-year-old Syrian refugee, was chosen as an Olympic torchbearer in the capital city of Brasilia earlier this year. It was a symbolic moment greeted warmly by onlookers, just as an international audience has embraced the refugee athletes at the Rio Games.

    But will it last? Filippo Grandi hopes the world sees beyond these 10 to the millions of others.

    FILIPPO GRANDI: Refugees are not just a number, are not just 60 million people, all the same.

    Refugees, each refugee is an individual with a profoundly difficult personal history. And I hope that the personal histories of these 10 athletes will illustrate this important characteristic of refugees that is too often forgotten, because too often we concentrate on big numbers, on the consequences of flows of millions of people and the impact that they have. And we forget that each one of them is a person with a history that needs to be addressed individually as well.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The hope, that is, is for an Olympic moment that goes beyond gold medals.

    I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”

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    2016 Rio Olympics - Soccer - Quarterfinal - Women's Football Tournament Quarterfinal - Mane Garrincha Stadium - Brasilia, Brazil - 12/08/2016.   Elin Rubensson (SWE) of Sweden (L) and Carli Lloyd (USA) of USA compete. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. - RTSMYZC

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Speaking of which, to the big wins and surprising loss at the Olympics.

    As we near the completion of the first week of the Rio games, U.S. Olympians have often fulfilled and even exceeded already sky-high expectations. Even so, there was a big upset today.

    Jeffrey Brown kicks off our coverage tonight.

    JEFFREY BROWN: First the bad news, that upset by Sweden of the U.S. women’s soccer team today, eliminating them from competition. It’s the first time the women’s team failed to advance to the semifinals in a major tournament.

    But, last night, expectations were sky-high, and gymnast Simone Biles met them, as she literally soared through the individual all-around competition to win her second gold medal, confirming her place as the best gymnast in the world today.

    And best-ever Olympian? Many would put Michael Phelps high on that list. Yesterday, the 31-year-old swimmer won the 200-meter individual medley for the fourth consecutive Olympic Games and his fourth gold medal in these Games. His astounding career tally now stands at 22 gold medals, 26 Olympic medals overall.

    And there was more history in the pool. Simone Manuel tied for fist in the women’s 100-meter freestyle, setting a new Olympic record and becoming the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.

    SIMONE MANUEL, Gold Medal Swimmer, USA: This medal isn’t just for me. It’s for a whole bunch of people who have came before me and have been an inspiration to me, Maritza, Cullen.

    And it’s for all the people after me who believe they can’t do it. And I just want to be an inspiration to others that you can do it.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And for more on these big events, we go to Rio and once again to Christine Brennan, sportswriter and columnist covering the Games for USA Today. She’s also a contributor for CNN.

    And hello again, Christine.

    So let’s go in that same order, if we could. First, the big loss today in women’s soccer. What happened and how big a loss?

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN, USA Today: It’s huge, Jeff.

    We hear that a lot in the Olympics, but this one is a very big deal. The U.S. women have never lost at this round ever in a World Cup or an Olympics. So this is a first. To go out in the quarterfinals is stunning.

    What happened? They have been having a little uneven play throughout the tournament. Goalkeeper Hope Solo has not been at her best. Still, you would think that they would get by Sweden. But, interestingly, the Swedish coach, Pia Sundhage, was the U.S. coach for two Olympic Games.

    There is no one who knows the Americans better than Pia Sundhage. So, was able to coach her Swedish team, bunch up the middle, do a lot of things, because she knows the U.S. so well. I think that’s number one.

    Number two, some classic misfires, just not playing well from some of the top Americans. Obviously, then, when you get to penalty kicks, as this game did, of course, anything goes at that point. And this is the first Olympic game ever to be decided by penalty kicks.

    And, again, Hope Solo not as great as she has been. And I wonder how much the U.S. team misses Abby Wambach, of course, the great star who retired after the World Cup last year.

    But think about this, Jeff. Thirteen months ago, this team was the toast of the country, just the favorite of all sports people of the year. And now to lose like this, well, the only positive I can come up with is that it shows that the world is catching up.

    And even the U.S. women, kind of the Johnny Appleseeds of the sport, sowing those around the world, would say that, when they lose, as devastating as that is, there’s also that plus that around the world people care more and more about women’s soccer, thanks in large part to the U.S. team.


    So, turning to some better news for the U.S., Simone Biles. When you and I spoke before the Games started, we talked about, how could she live up to the expectations? Well, she did.


    And it’s one thing for all of us to say she’s going to win the Olympic gold medal in the women’s all-around, which is kind of like winning in the Winter Olympics the women’s figure skating medal. It’s just like your name is known forever. You may never have to buy yourself another meal. And you are just one of the stars of all-stars of an Olympic Games.

    It’s one thing to be everyone saying you can do it. It’s the other thing to actually do it. And there were no nerves. This woman just cut right through it. I think she’s the greatest gymnast of all time, Jeff. I think she’s that good.

    She’s a combination of Mary Lou Retton, going back to Nadia Comaneci, then Olga Korbut. I mean, it’s almost like she is standing on the shoulders of every gymnast who came before her. And she is the culmination of an entire sport and the embodiment of an entire sport.

    She’s just that good, three-time world champ, now not only the U.S. team gold medal the other day, but then the individual all-around. Simone Biles had the pressure of the world on her shoulders, and not only did she deliver. She was absolutely at her best at the most important moment of her life. What more could you ask for than that?

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, so speaking greatest ever, then there’s Michael Phelps.

    Now, beyond greatest swimmer to discussion of greatest Olympian ever, and doing what he’s doing in his fifth Olympics.

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: I know. He’s 31 years old, which I know to you and I that doesn’t seem that old, but for swimming he’s going against teenagers that are early 20-something.

    And I must admit, I’m surprised. I knew he was going to be good, and I knew he might win a gold medal or two. I think I even said that in our previous conversation. But this is four gold medals, with one more chance tonight in the 100 butterfly, which is going to be tough for him. It’s going to be much closer.

    But he had a Katie Ledecky lead in the 200 individual medley last night. He has won the 200 butterfly. He has been the rock star of the U.S. team in two relays. And this really solidifies, I think, over the course of time, ’04, ’08, ’12 and ’16, to beat all comers, as a guy who’s 31.

    And I will say, maybe the greatest moment for me watching him was after that relay. In 70 minutes, he won two gold medals. But after the relay the other night, he literally sat down on the blocks and kind of slumped over like an old man, like coming home from a day of work, that he was spent. He had had it. He had thrown every ounce of his energy into that.

    And what an Olympics for a guy. This is a punctuation point of all punctuation points that I didn’t even see coming. He has been that good.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, and then finally another very touching and historic story in the pool last night, the victory by Simone Manuel, who tied for the gold in the 100-meter freestyle.

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: You know, Jeff, this is so important.

    The visual says everything. I mean, to me, as great as Katie Ledecky has been, as great as Michael Phelps has been, I don’t know if at the end of the day we don’t come away with Simone Manuel being that one image, because in basically a lily-white sport, a sport of suburban kids, which is fine, all of a sudden, you have [a black] woman becoming the first [black] woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.

    And what that message is, as a role model, this is a sport that obviously — the skill of learning to swim that many swimmers talk about, they have got to get into the urban areas. You have got to get into the places where kids aren’t able to go to pools.

    Boy, Simone Manuel, this could be the victory for the ages in terms of her ability to speak to those issues, and for the sport of swimming just could be able to branch out in ways it hasn’t, because, right now, it’s been kind of contained into one demographic. And to see that moment and that tie with the Canadian, and the way they reacted to each other, to me, that’s what the Olympics is all about.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Christine Brennan in Rio, thanks so much.

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Jeff, thank you very much.


    Editor’s Note: Simone Manuel was misidentified in the segment as the first African-American female swimmer to win an individual medal in swimming; she is the first black female swimmer to win an individual medal in swimming. 

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now back to the world of politics, and to the analysis of Brooks and Dionne. That is New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.


    Mark Shields is away this week.

    So, let’s pick up, gentlemen, with where I left off a few minutes ago with Robert Costa of The Washington Post.

    David, what a week for Donald Trump. I guess we all thought maybe things were going to slow down, but first there was the comment about the Second Amendment that — seen by some as a threat to Hillary Clinton, and then the ISIS comments.

    How do we interpret how Donald Trump is communicating with everybody?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, this isn’t a decision he is making. It’s a condition he possesses.

    And we’re not used to talking about the psychological mental health of our candidates. And in some things, I think it’s not fair to talk about his mental health, in terms of how he operates with his kids in his private life, but there is a such a thing as public psychology and political psychology.

    And in public, he obviously displays extreme narcissism, but most of all, he displays a certain manic, hyperactive attention. And so if you graph a Trump sentence, every eight-word verse, he’s like associative thinking.

    And there is a term in psychology called the flights of thought, where one word sets off an association, which sets off an association. And as one psychiatrist said, compare his speeches to Robin Williams’ monologues, but without the jokes, but with insults.

    And so he’s not in control of his own attention, I don’t believe. And, therefore, you get these rambling, weird sentences. You get things he patently shouldn’t be saying. And then even this, I’m being sarcastic about the sarcasm, I’m obviously being sarcastic, and then maybe a fifth a second later, he said, but not that much.

    So he is contradicting himself within 12 words. And that’s a condition.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, E.J., how are we to understand this, as people trying to understand this election?

    E.J. DIONNE: Well, I have been thinking about it, that there is the English language and then there’s the Trump language.

    And in the Trump language, words change their meaning day by day depending on his own political needs. I won’t go into the learned psychological explanation that David gave, but there are a lot of people now talking that way about him.

    But, politically, he doesn’t seem to care much about what he says. He gauges the effect. Sometimes, in the middle of a speech, he will change his direction if the audience doesn’t like him.

    And I had a very instructive trip this week to York, Pennsylvania. It’s a conservative county, Southern Pennsylvania, not far from here. And one of the most interesting conversations I had was with Allison Cooper, the editor of The York Dispatch.

    And talked about how people in this very Republican area — York City is Democratic, but the county is very Republican — are people who care about manners and decorum. And she spoke about — what she said is, common decency is a core part of who people are.

    And I think in this campaign, we have talked about soccer moms, we have talked about angry white men, and I think you’re starting to develop common decency voters who are just reacting to what Trump says.

    A Republican county commissioner I talked to up to there said that she’s been active with veterans. And after what Trump said about the Khan family and what he said about the Purple Heart, she said, I can’t vote for him.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The convention.

    E.J. DIONNE: And so something deep is happening, and it has nothing to do with ideology or even party.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, meanwhile, David, we’re trying to understand. As we just heard Robert Costa reporting a few minutes ago, leaders in the party are betwixt and between trying to figure out, how do they deal with this?

    He’s saying, I’m going to go my own way. They know they’re not going to separate from him. But how do we — again, how do we understand the state of his campaign?


    Well, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo points out that, in today’s polling, if you just take the states where Clinton is up by 10 points or more, she has got 273 electoral votes, enough to win. And so that’s 10 points more.

    Can we imagine a state where he moves the numbers in Wisconsin by 10 points? That would be a huge and unprecedented gain at this stage. And so it’s looking very bad for him.

    And so the Republicans have to figure out what to do. And so a lot of them are writing open letters, but even more are saying things privately, let’s get the RNC to defund the campaign. We just cut them off. And that either drives him crazy and he quits, or else at least we have got more money for our own people.

    And to me, that’s sort of interesting. Just take away the morality. I think the morality is, you cut off funding, but just on political grounds, do you think, well, if we spend the money on Senate campaigns, at least we can shore those up.

    But the blunt fact is, if Trump completely collapses, and gets 38, 40, 42 percent of the vote, then the tsunami is so big, it probably sweeps out a lot of the congressional races, no matter what they spend on locally. So, where to put the money is an interesting question.

    E.J. DIONNE: And Republicans are in a real catch-22, a lot of their candidates, because they know that if they get too close to Trump, they could lose a lot of voters in the middle, my common decency folks, but if they cut him off too aggressively, the Trump constituency is still a very big part of the Republican base.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There is still a constituency out there.

    E.J. DIONNE: And if they lose those votes, they’re in trouble.

    And that’s why I think you’re seeing timidity and uncertainty on the Republican side, because they don’t quite know what to do with Trump.

    DAVID BROOKS: And I would say, it was interesting, even after the Second Amendment comment, and all that, his poll numbers were flat this week. In fact, he narrowed a little with Clinton. It’s possible we’re seeing a floor and that he can’t — he can say all sorts of crazy things, but he’s not getting above or below where he is.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: If the question is, what are the options for Republican leaders, the options are what? Just to wait and watch and see what happens?

    E.J. DIONNE: I think that the way — partly, it depends on individual candidates.

    There are candidates in states where they know Trump is going to do very badly, and they’re already running away from Trump. There are other candidates who are, as I said, worried about this mix of votes they’re going to get. I think, more and more, you’re seeing — Republicans for Clinton is a real deal. The Clinton Republican is kind of the Reagan Democrat of this election at this point.

    And I think more and more the leadership is going to look at the threat to the Senate. The Senate is very shaky, their control there right — on the numbers right now, and say, it’s not worth propping this guy up, we have got to let him go and support our candidates.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meantime, David, it wasn’t an especially great week for Hillary Clinton, in that she did — today, we saw she put out her tax returns for the last year, adding to, I guess, a number of years.

    But what the Trump camp continues to say is, wait a minute, we still want to see those e-mails. And, in fact, there were a couple of leaks this week that make it look like there was something going on between the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s staff at the State Department.

    DAVID BROOKS: And it looks like they were soliciting money and then exchanging access.

    And so I think that Clinton’s overall past is not a surprise. And this is contrast, say, the Obama coterie. The Obama coterie doesn’t get in mini-scandals. The Clintons’ coterie gets in constant mini-scandals. And it’s never decisive. They never break their, end their political careers, but there’s just the whiff of scandal. And this goes back to the Rose Law Firm. This goes back for decades.

    And this is just part of their pattern, where what they’re doing is probably not disqualifying. If we got rid of everybody in Washington who sold access for donations, then the town would be empty. But it’s unseemly.

    And so I think it rises to the level of unseemly, unseemliness, which confirms a lot of the mistrust people have.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How much of a problem is it for her?

    E.J. DIONNE: Well, just to say, I don’t think we have the evidence yet that they sold access for contributions.

    And the Justice Department decided not to look into this. Nevertheless, I think the existence of the Clinton Foundation is a problem for her. My notion is that if she were ever elected president — and if I were she, I would announce it ahead of time — I would announce that for the duration of my presidency, this is going to become the Eisenhower-Kennedy Foundation.

    Let’s pick the two popular presidents when Bill and Hillary Clinton were kids or were young. Let David and Susan Eisenhower, Caroline Kennedy be trustees. Just push this aside, because you can even borrow from Prince, formerly known as the Clinton Foundation.

    But you just don’t want these stories coming out continually, even if there is nothing actionable in terms of the law. And I would just kind of push this aside, because you have never had a chance where a former president — they all have these foundations of one kind of another — actually has his spouse in the White House.

    They got to figure out what to do with this.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, meantime, you do have — there was this instance where Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department went up to New York and was involved in important meetings at the Clinton Foundation.

    Is there something wrong with that, David?

    DAVID BROOKS: I think minorly. Apparently, she paid her own way.

    I think minorly. As I say, the way life works, not only in Washington, but in every business that I have ever heard of, is that a friend wants something and you want them to give money to a good cause, and so, you know, people join boards of directors to make some professional connections.

    There is no pure line between those things. So, would it be better if there was a pure line in some ideal world? Would it be better if the Clintons didn’t have a predilection for blurring every line that they could? That would be better.

    But, again, I think it’s the width, but I don’t think it’s — I can’t get super angry about it, to be honest.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, E.J., you’re saying it’s — you don’t see anything there that is actionable, actionable?

    E.J. DIONNE: I don’t think we have seen anything actionable yet.

    What the Clinton people are saying is, look, every big foundation of this sort deals with aides, or other problems in the world, always have interactions with the State Department.

    But, as I say, people are going to keep asking these questions as long as the Clinton Foundation is around and as long as she is in public life. So, I’m against Trump’s wall with Mexico, but they need some kind of wall here to protect themselves and to kind of push these stories away.

    DAVID BROOKS: It would be a good experiment to know how much money they would actually raise as the Truman-Kennedy foundation. It might be $1.29 a year, but…

    E.J. DIONNE: Lot of love for both Ike and JFK.

    DAVID BROOKS: Not from foreign lobbyists.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, meantime, there are Clinton e-mails still out there. And we expect they are going to be out in the — leaked out into the public arena between now and the election.

    Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump said something about their economic plans this week.

    David, do we learn anything from this? What’s the bright line between the two of them?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, there certainly are bright lines.

    I was depressed by both of them.


    DAVID BROOKS: I think the country, the economy has some new, genuine challenges.

    We have had incredibly laggard growth. Productivity increases have been meager and terrible. Hundreds — millions of people have dropped out of the labor force. These have all happened this century. And to me, what both Clinton and especially Trump did was have economic plans built for 1973, as if we’re going to have labor-rich manufacturing jobs come back.

    Labor-rich manufacturing doesn’t exist anymore. Manufacturing jobs are white-collar, Silicon Valley programmers or highly-skilled technicians. They are not going to employ lots of people. And so we had two economic plans that had, in my view, very limited growth agendas.

    Infrastructure is good, but not it. Very limited productivity agendas, and really nothing to help people who are out of the labor force. So, they were so unimaginative. They were sort of grab bags, in Clinton’s case, of either the normal policies that Democrats have been proposing 20 years, or, in Trump’s case, a mixture of weird things that are left over from supply-side and populism.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How did you read all that?

    E.J. DIONNE: I saw — I thought there was more growth and sort of forward-looking stuff in the Clinton plan than David was.

    I was particularly struck that she began her speech by talking about the inventiveness of companies in Michigan and how they were taking advantage of change. And it reflected this issue that Democrats have to deal with. They want to sort of talk about how things are a lot better than they were eight years ago — and they really are — but if they say that too much, they look out of touch with all the people who are hurting, whereas Trump, I thought, if you listened carefully, he’s giving the words to the workers and money to the rich.

    The tax cuts that he has sort of make Reagan look like a — you know, almost like a Democrat. I mean, these are steep tax cuts for the wealthy, getting rid of the inheritance tax, the estate tax, which would be particularly good, as Hillary Clinton loves to point out…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, he’s trimmed some of the taxes…

    E.J. DIONNE: I’m sorry?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: He’s trimmed some of the tax changes he’s talked about.

    E.J. DIONNE: He trims it, but it’s still a huge tax cut, with nothing, no talk of compensation for the deficit or anything else.

    And Hillary had fun saying that this is really good for Trump’s family and his friends, but it’s not clear who it’s going to help.

    I don’t know what the net of this exchange is, but I think you’re seeing is, Clinton is not going to leave blue-collar voters to Trump. She is fighting for them. And a lot of what she’s done in the last two or three weeks has been to try to shore up her position in those swing states with a lot of blue-collar voters.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, well, we do get a chance to talk about the economy again. And we wanted to talk about the wonderful American results at the Olympics, these young athletes who are performing so well. But we’re going to save that for another time.

    E.J. DIONNE: Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles, they can all run in 2032.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you.

    And that’s a great lead, because we have got the Olympics coming up.

    David Brooks, E.J. Dionne, thank you very much.

    E.J. DIONNE: Thank you.

    The post Brooks and Dionne on the GOP’s dilemma and the role of ‘common decency’ in the campaign appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to the Middle East and a conversation about the chaos, calamity and political dissolution that now envelop the region.

    Hari Sreenivasan in New York has that.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The last five years of tumult in the Middle East defy easy explanations. Revolutions that began with much hope in early 2011 have evolved into disaster in places like Syria and Libya and led to political upheaval and repression in Egypt.

    In Iraq, the American-led war that began in 2003 has morphed into a many-sided conflict that has once again brought America back into the fight there and in Syria.

    Caught in the middle, millions of people whose lives have been upended.

    An attempt to capture in part the story of this cataclysmic time comes now from journalist Scott Anderson and photographer Paolo Pellegrin, whose work “Fractured Lands” comprises the entirety issue of this Sunday’s “New York Times Magazine.”

    And Scott Anderson joins me now.

    You’re telling one bigger story, and you’re using six different voices to get at it.

    SCOTT ANDERSON, Contributing Writer, The New York Times Magazine: Right.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But the big thesis in a nutshell.

    SCOTT ANDERSON: I wanted to tell this kind of broad story of how we got here, and to a degree where we might be headed next. And to tell this story, I really needed to focus in on people.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: One of the characters that you focus on in Iraq is so compelling. It’s a young woman who ends up — she was working for the CPA for a little while, the Provisional Authority. Tell us about her arc now.


    Yes. Khulood al-Zaidi, she was — she’s from a provincial town in Southern Iraq from a Shia family. When the Americans invaded in 2003, she heard the talk of democracy and human rights and women’s empowerment that the CPA was talking about. She became an instant convert. She worked for the CPA.

    And then, when the Americans left, she was stranded on the beach, so to speak. And she tried to continue doing work. She received many death threats from the militias, finally ended up having to go into exile in Jordan. And just in the last — about six months, she joined the migrant exodus to Europe.

    So, now she and one of her sisters are living in a little town in Austria, and they have been given asylum and they’re going to start a university in September.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You find these characters kind of at their bridge they’re crossing over, something that changed their lives forever, not just the overall invasion, but something very specific that happened in each of their lives.


    HARI SREENIVASAN: There is an Egyptian character that you focus on, an activist.


    Laila Soueif is a — she’s a math professor at Cairo University, has been an activist since the 1970s, leftist, a feminist. And she and her husband, who is now deceased, were probably the most — certainly the most prominent political dissident couple in Egypt.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And their son was in the family business, too.

    SCOTT ANDERSON: And their son and their two daughters got in the family business.

    Laila was — during the Tahrir Square in 2007 was in the front lines. She very early on, though, saw the danger. The existing political forces, they were slow in trying to consolidate after Mubarak was overthrown. She saw the danger of the military coming back in.

    And now she’s living that. And two of her children are in prison for protesting against the Sisi government.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And this was part of this ripple effect of the Arab spring.

    We thought — we saw the incredible act of Bouazizi, who immolated himself that caused this in Tunisia. And here it was spreading like wildfire across the region. And we look, three, fours years later, there’s not that much change. In fact, some things are worse off.

    SCOTT ANDERSON: I think what happened in a lot of these countries is that there wasn’t a consensus.

    These dictators had been around for so long. And so when they did fall, people tended to fall back on their tribal or sectarian allegiances that in a lot of these countries had always been people’s primary allegiance anyway.

    You look at Libya, Syria, Iraq, these were all artificial nations that were created by the Western powers at the end of World War I. When the strong man goes, you have no tradition of democracy, no tradition of political expression. Let’s not even talk about democracy. You know, what happens? What takes its place?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And you say that really it’s, in that initial carving up, there wasn’t much attention paid to what is Kurdistan, who are their loyalties to, what is the other rest of Iraq, and should this be part of one country?

    SCOTT ANDERSON: Right. Not even little consideration. I think it was a strategy. It was the same strategy the colonial powers used in sub-Saharan Africa.

    You empower a local tribe or ethnic group or religious group to operate as your local overseers. So, the majority can never — is never going to rebel against them, and they’re not going to rebel against you because they will be taken over by the majority.

    And this is a pattern that existed throughout the region.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You begin and end the story with bookends from one of your characters from Kurdistan. And near the end, he says, Iraq is gone, Syria is gone, it is our time now.

    SCOTT ANDERSON: What they have always wanted is a larger Kurdish homeland.

    But this character in particular, he sees no future for living amongst Arabs, so he sees this as an opportunity. This is a golden moment, in his mind, to rid the area, to basically ethnically cleanse the entire Kurdistan of the Arab population that has moved in.

    And this goes to this idea that people think, oh, well, why don’t we just start like bifurcating or trifurcating some of these countries, and everyone can go back to having their little homelands? But everyone is so mixed in now.

    And it’s like where — how far down do you start subdividing it?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: One of the things that I noticed in this article is that you don’t just say this is a Shia-Sunni problem, which is very easy kind of Western way to look at the Middle East and say, well, oh, clearly, these Shia must love those Shia, they’re in cahoots, and they are going to overthrow this.

    And you don’t — get into that.

    SCOTT ANDERSON: No, and it’s so much more complicated, and enjoined to the idea of how you subdivide it.

    In Iraq, there is lots of very large tribes that have a Sunni component and a Shia component. So, what happens? If you tried to do a Sunni-Shia division, what happens to that tribe?

    You know, there are issues with clans going back…

    HARI SREENIVASAN: A couple of thousand years.

    SCOTT ANDERSON: A couple of thousand years.

    You know, and so, when people start looking at like a kind of a quick solution to any of this, I think it’s just in for a really long, very rocky road throughout the region.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And, finally, Syria, you have multiple characters, and we just got to a few of them.

    But he’s fascinating for a totally different reason.

    SCOTT ANDERSON: Yes, Majd Ibrahim, he is a 23-year-old from Homs, a city in Central Syria that has probably the most destroyed city over the course of the Syrian civil war. They call it the Syrian Stalingrad.

    And the whole time he was — Majd is a very Westernized young man. I once asked them, looking at the Assad regime, what does your father say about the Assad regime? What were his views? And he said, we never talked about it.

    They never once talked politics around the dinner table. The security state that existed in Syria, and still does, was so firm that nobody would talk about it. And it goes to this idea that if people can’t even talk about their political aspirations, when you have a rupture, how can there be a consensus of what is going to take its place?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Scott Anderson of The New York Times. The piece is fantastic. It’s the entire “New York Times Magazine” this weekend.

    Thank you for joining us.

    SCOTT ANDERSON: Thank you, Hari.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And Scott Anderson’s work for “The New York Times Magazine” was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. They are a frequent partner of the “NewsHour.”

    The post Explaining the Middle East conflicts through the eyes of six individuals appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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