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

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    Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (C) addresses the audience after the Brazilian Senate voted to impeach her for breaking budget laws, at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, May 12, 2016.      REUTERS/Adriano Machado  - RTX2E1P4

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    Read the full transcript below: 

    ALISON STEWART, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: The Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro end tonight, and along with that, for Brazilians, a great distraction from a deep recession and the turmoil facing their government — specifically Dilma Rousseff, the nation’s president who was recently suspended from office. Rousseff stands accused of violating budget laws by illegally moving money between state-controlled entities to make her government’s budget deficit appear smaller than it really was. The impeachment trial begins this Thursday in Brazil’s Senate.

    Joining me now via Skype from Brazil to explain what to expect is” Wall Street Journal” reporter Paulo Trevisani.

    Paulo, can you explain to us what takes this from creative accounting to something illegal in Brazil?

    PAULO TREVISANI, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: So, about 15 years ago, Brazil created this law, this is called “Fiscal Responsibility Law”, by which (INAUDIBLE) is like what Dilma Rousseff is accused of doing, is became illegal and subject to impeachment.

    STEWART: Do her accusers say she did this on her own? How could she do this on her own?

    TREVISANI: Well, what the accusers say is that it was her responsibility to make sure it didn’t happen. Even if her ministers or whoever was working in the government made the mistake, it was, the accusers say, Dilma Rousseff’s final responsibility to make sure it didn’t happen.

    STEWART: Rousseff plans to testify in her own defense. What has been her argument so far?

    TREVISANI: Well, she says that everything she did was legal or at least it was based on precedent from previous presidents. The accusers say that the scale was much bigger than anything ever seen before. It’s a debate that boils down to politics at the end of the day. No matter how much legal arguments people toss around here and there, the final results that President Rousseff lost political support. She is going to testify, Monday, the 29th, and there is great expectations around it because it will be the first time that she talks eye to eye with her accusers. And we are all waiting to see what — if any new revelations she’s going to deliver.

    STEWART: In Brazil, in the Brazilian Senate, there are 81 senators. I believe it is 54 have to vote for impeachment for it to happen. What do people anticipate will happen?

    TREVISANI: The forecast at this point, there could be around 60 votes, six more than needed against Rousseff. There was a vote recently, you know, just (INAUDIBLE) of the process, and total of 69 senators voted against her. So, it’s pretty likely that she’s going to be ousted.

    STEWART: And to give our viewers a little context, can you explain some of the challenges economically that Brazil is experiencing right now, while also dealing with the president facing possible impeachment?

    TREVISANI: Of course, this is the one of the major crises in Brazil history ever. The political crisis with impeachment is dovetailing with a major recession. Brazil — the economy has shrunk 3.8 percent last year and it’s likely to shrink again about the same extent this year, about three-point-something percent. So, that means that right now, some 11 million Brazilians are jobless and that’s, of course, a major social problem with the economy. Inflation is running high.

    And there is also a major corruption probe going on in the background that is unfolding as we speak, and dozens of politicians are being accused of corruption, including people very close to President Rousseff, even though she is not accused of anything in that corruption probe. But what we have for Brazil is enormous cleanup job to be done in the next several years.

    STEWART: Paulo Trevisani from “The Wall Street Journal” — thank you so much for joining us.

    TREVISANI: My pleasure.

    The post Brazil’s president to begin impeachment trial appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Watson for Oncology analyzes patient medical records, along with millions of pages of articles and textbooks, to make treatment recommendations. Photo via IBM/STAT

    Watson for Oncology analyzes patient medical records, along with millions of pages of articles and textbooks, to make treatment recommendations. Photo via IBM/STAT

    In 2011, a supercomputer won $1 million on Jeopardy! In 2016, that same supercomputer is tackling a challenge quantified not in millions of dollars but in millions of cancer patients.

    The goal is to use Watson’s natural language processing to mine the medical literature and a patient’s records to provide treatment advice. And this month the Watson computer system is drastically expanding its reach — from one hospital in Thailand to six in India and a planned 21 more in China.

    This instantiation of Watson, dubbed Watson for Oncology, is an artificial intelligence system that has access to millions of pages of medical textbooks and journal articles. Oncologists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center trained the system to provide appropriate treatment recommendations by giving it descriptions of patients and then telling Watson the correct treatment.

    “[It’s] the same way we would train a young doctor by showing how our specialists would treat a certain cancer in a certain person,” said Dr. Mark Kris, a Memorial Sloan Kettering lung cancer specialist who’s leading the hospital’s collaboration with IBM.

    Watson looks at records from a patient, like doctors’ notes and lab test results, and gives opinions about what treatment to pursue. Those opinions are backed up by easily accessible evidence — doctors can click on the recommended treatment and see which medical studies support it.

    Preliminary studies show Watson is fairly good at recommending treatment. When examining different patients, Watson agreed with Memorial Sloan Kettering doctors over 90 percent of the time in one study, and 50 percent of the time in another. These studies were presented at a 2015 oncology meeting, and the abstracts were published, but the studies themselves are not. Authors include IBM-affiliated scientists.

    Clinical computing

    Doctors at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand have been using the system for about a year now, and oncologists at six hospitals in India started using Watson a few weeks back.

    One of those oncologists is Dr. Amit Rauthan, who practices at Manipal Hospital in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. Watson is fully integrated into the computer system at the hospital, so soliciting Watson’s opinion takes a few seconds and a few clicks.

    In an interview with STAT, he said he has used Watson for about two dozen patients. Most of the time, he said, Watson affirms that the decisions he had already come to were correct, such as one breast cancer patient who needed aggressive chemotherapy.

    Other times, Watson disagrees, and the doctors change their mind. One of Rauthan’s patients had stage 2 colon cancer, and Rauthan thought that it would need chemotherapy. Watson recommended skipping the radiation and observing the patient — and its opinion won the day.

    Rauthan emphasized that Watson itself didn’t make the decision. In the case of the colon cancer patient, Watson provided Rauthan with evidence about why chemotherapy might not be so beneficial, which he was able to share with the patient.

    However the information about what happened to Rauthan’s patients — whether the chemotherapy helped the breast cancer patient, for instance — isn’t presently used to help Watson improve going forward, Kris said.

    “That’s the ultimate goal — that it will learn from that experience,” Kris said. But that goal is years away, and one of the hurdles to achieving it is making sure that Watson can access and understand all of the information it needs about the patient — the complete medical record.

    IBM announced last week that it was expanding the program to China, with clinical use projected to start next month. Part of the utility of Watson is to “democratize access to cancer care,” said Dr. Kyu Rhee, chief health officer for IBM Watson Health, reaching areas that don’t have easy access to information. Cancer is the leading cause of death in China, killing an estimated 2.8 million people in 2015.

    Dr. Qunwei Chen, an oncologist in eastern China whose hospital is adopting the system, said he anticipated that Watson for Oncology will be useful, especially for doctors in small hospitals, where oncologists have less access to conferences at which they might learn about new treatment guidelines and procedures.

    IBM declined to say how much money who was paying whom for the use of Watson in China.

    The importance of data

    Because Watson for Oncology is a machine learning system, its outputs are only as good as its inputs. If it can’t read the doctor’s handwriting, it doesn’t know what the doctor tried to do. So a key next step is making sure that the data feeding into Watson is really good, which may prove a challenge.

    “The vast majority of patient data gathered and stored in electronic health records is totally unstructured,” said Zach Weinberg, president of Flatiron Health, a medical software company. One of the things his company is doing is trying to organize this data in a more useful way.

    Weinberg said that IBM is tackling “one interesting piece of the problem” — helping physicians make treatment decisions — but that machine learning algorithms are never going to be good enough to know everything a physician would know. (Weinberg’s company has been in touch with IBM, but has no formal collaboration.)

    “Machine learning is a piece of the puzzle that doesn’t solve everything,” Weinberg said. “Sometimes it can be presented as a cure-all solution to all of our problems. That’s not exactly true.”

    IBM’s Rhee concurs that doctors aren’t going anywhere. Watson, he said, serves as “a trusted advisor.”

    There’s no published research yet on how Watson’s advice impacts patients’ health, and oncologists in India say that it’s too early to tell how it is even impacting their decision-making process.

    That hasn’t stopped hospitals from promoting Watson. Manipal Hospital has even taken the system one step further, allowing patients to seek a Watson consultation remotely. The person can upload their medical records, pay 9,500 rupees (about $140) and then receive a PDF report of Watson’s analysis of their case, verified by Manipal physicians, along with an e-consultation with a Manipal doctor. The report does not come directly from Watson, an IBM spokesperson said.

    Rauthan said that Watson opinions are free for patients who come into the hospital.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Aug. 19, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post Watson goes to Asia as hospitals use supercomputer for cancer treatment appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo by Mori Rothman/PBS NewsHour

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    By Mori Rothman and Hannah Yi

    Read the full transcript below.

    MORI ROTHMAN: Battalion chief Mike Brown has been fighting fires in California for 26 years. But he’s never seen a fire quite like the Blue Cut Fire in southern California’s San Bernardino county, 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

    MIKE BROWN: It was like an angry fire. These were 50 to 100 foot flame lengths, and I was just amazed to see the volume of the fire.

    MORI ROTHMAN: In an ever lengthening wildfire season, Brown is dispatched to fires like this more often — for days at a time. This is his second wildfire in two weeks.

    MIKE BROWN: Fires are year round, and we’ve kinda come to the point that we understand that it’s a year round fire season for us.

    MORI ROTHMAN: California’s wildfire season traditionally began in the summer, when vegetation dried out, and forests became more flammable. But five years of drought and hotter than average temperatures, have shrunk the break between one year’s fire season and the next. Drier conditions also contribute to the rapid spread and destructiveness of the fires.

    MORI ROTHMAN: What makes a fire like this so dangerous?

    MIKE BROWN: The reason why it’s so dangerous is the intensity that it’s burning. The vegetation was very dense. We had 70 year brush that hadn’t been burned. No fire history in this area. Everything was in alignment.

    MORI ROTHMAN: Volatile conditions like those in the Blue Cut Fire are becoming more common in other parts of the state — like the Cedar Fire at Sequoia National Forest last week.

    Thousands of firefighters have been battling massive wildfires across California this summer, and experts warn this year could be worse than ever. That’s because drought, intense heat and tree-eating beetles are causing a dramatic rise in the number of dead trees, turning forests like this one into a tinderbox.

    Paul Gibbs is a spokesman for the US Forest Service.

    PAUL GIBBS: We’ve never seen anything at this level and this type of mortality in recorded history that we have. To have 50 to 75 percent of your forest and dead trees — that’s unprecedented.

    MORI ROTHMAN: Last week, Gibbs deployed to the “cedar fire” in central california to study how the dried out trees fueled the blaze. He says the weather pattern “El Niño” — which typically means wetter conditions for northern and southern california — mostly missed central california. With less rain, grasses and logs dried up earlier in the summer, creating more tinder for fires.

    MORI ROTHMAN: People thought maybe El Niño would make this year’s wildfire season a little calmer. Has that been the case?

    PAUL GIBBS: No, no, we’re seeing just the opposite. We did get a pulse of rain, so we have a very healthy grass crop this year. But as we get temperatures in the 90s and over 100, 105, the grass dies. Then you have a combination of the dry grass, which will carry fire and start fires a lot easier.

    MORI ROTHMAN: Gibbs is looking for that combination of dry grass and dead trees — hoping to anticipate where the next big wildfire might spark.

    PAUL GIBBS: I think we’re in store for a pretty active fall. But we’ve already got folks who’ve been out for a few days and have to start worrying about fatigue of firefighters, and really pace ourselves because then you realize this is a more like marathon race than a sprint.

    MORI ROTHMAN: A marathon that’s become the new normal for firefighters like Mike Brown.

    MIKE BROWN: We’ve had numerous fires over the last few months. We have crews coming off of fires, you know coming on to this fire. So crews are taxed we have families that are taxed, so it’s been cumbersome not only for firefighters but their families as well.

    The post California wildfires take a toll on firefighters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Screen shot 2016-08-21 at 3.39.04 PM

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    Read the full transcript below.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Florida’s southern coast is one of the most popular dive spots in the world — home to the only tropical coral reef in continental United States. Hundreds of species of fish live along this reef system. But the fish here are in danger, because of a foreign predator that’s been devouring them: lionfish.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Eric Nelson is an avid scuba diver who hunts lionfish up to a hundred and thirty feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.

    ERIC NELSON: They can eat 90 percent of their body weight, everyday, in fish. In fact, we have pictures of lionfish that have been gutted, and they have 50 small fish inside of them.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Nelson and his teammates are competing in a lionfish derby off the coast of Boca Raton, Florida. It’s a competition to catch as many lionfish as possible before sunset. the boat’s captain Paul Varian is a commercial fisherman who’s been diving these waters for 16 years.

    PAUL VARIAN: I saw my first lionfish 7/8 years ago, maybe. I remember going, “Oh woah! What’s that? That’s crazy.” And now they’re everywhere. There’s so many of them.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Lionfish are native to the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and there are different theories about how they came to inhabit Atlantic waters. The leading theory is that a few home aquarium owners set some lionfish free in the ocean in the 1980s, and the fish rapidly reproduced.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Several scientific studies have traced the DNA for the entire lionfish population in the atlantic back to a small group of fish.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: When lionfish invade a reef, they can reduce the population of fish they eat, by 65 percent over two years, according to a study conducted in the Bahamas.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: How much of a problem are lionfish to the reefs in this area?

    ERIC NELSON: Diving the same reefs over and over every year, you can actually really noticeably tell the difference between a reef that had lots of reef fish before lionfish invasion, and then devastatingly half as many reef fish.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Lionfish consume more than 100 species of fish, including baby grouper and snapper. And fish that maintain the health of the reefs by grazing on algae. Eric Nelson says he’s noticed that the hunts off the coast of Florida are starting to make an impact.

    ERIC NELSON: Once we started actively hunting lionfish, we noticed that the same populations are coming back.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: During the past decade, lionfish have invaded the underwater habitats in the the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Scientists expect that the lionfish invasion will continue to spread from North Carolina to the southern tip of Brazil.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: One reason for the rapid lionfish invasion is that they are fast breeders — laying more than two million eggs every year.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Lad Akins oversees the lionfish program for Reef Environmental Education Foundation, that is dedicated to marine conservation.  

    LAD AKINS: The marine environment is a very complicated, interconnected system and it’s taken thousands of years for things to work its place out in balance. When you introduce a new piece to that puzzle, it disrupts the entire system.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Because lionfish are not native to the Atlantic, they don’t have natural predators here. Akins says that when you combine that with their voracious appetites lionfish wreak havoc on underwater habitats. And, lionfish have been found as deep as a-thousand feet in the ocean.

    LAD AKINS: With the impacts that we’re seeing in our shallow waters, we don’t know how bad this is going to get. So our entire marine ecosystem is at risk. We could see extinction of some species of fish due to lionfish predation. We could see severe degradation to coral reef environments, if algae is not kept in check by the grazers, which lionfish are consuming. We could see impacts to commercial fisheries, to grouper snapper, shrimp, crabs.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Without natural lionfish predators here, the most effective way to control the population is for divers to catch and kill them. But they’re not easy to catch. They don’t swim in large schools, and they have poisonous spines that can sting.

    ERIC NELSON: This is safe, that’s safe. They also have venom right on that one and that one, and then along pectoral there. The pain can be 50 times worse than a wasp sting.

    ERIC NELSON: That’s about an hour after being stung. That was in total, about a three-month ordeal.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: The dive community has stepped up to find safe ways to catch lionfish. One diver designed this plastic cylinder that he calls a zookeeper to store lionfish underwater, and protect divers from being stung. Nelson and his team use pole spears that he adapted to make it easier to catch the fish. He calls them “lionfish slayers”.

    LAD AKINS: What’s great is that everybody is pitching in to address this. Divers are going out and spending their time, and their money to go out and remove lionfish; governments are putting money and effort into researching better tools and techniques.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been running a public awareness campaign about the lionfish threat and contributing prize money to derbies to catch them.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: As this lionfish derby comes to an end, the dive teams head back to the dock for weigh-in. Lad Akins organization, Reef, is one of the sponsors of the event. He says derbies can help scientists better understand the species.

    LAD AKINS: Every individual lionfish that’s collected is measured, because that information is very useful in looking at impacts and populations. And then samples are made available for researchers that are hoping to better understand lionfish.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Some fish is also donated to restaurants to create a human appetite for lionfish. Chef Andres Avayu at Piccolo Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale says his customers line-up for tables when the specialty item is on the menu.

    ANDRES AVAYU: You could grill it, sauté it, bake it- like it’s flavor, it’s really versatile in how preparation is done. There is no right, there is no wrong. It’s one of those fish that just is.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: One of his favorite recipes, lionfish tacos. And fisherman have noticed that catching lionfish can be profitable. Commercial fisherman Paul Varian, says demand is increasing. Even Whole Foods sells them, when available.

    CAPTAIN PAUL VARIAN: They’ve become a pretty big part of my income. The last year or so; everybody’s finally figured out that the guys who buy them from us; the restaurants; the consumers; everybody likes them and it’s worth it. Everybody’s making money and the consumer is happy at the end. So now, the price has gone up. Demand has gone way up. I have people calling me, I don’t even know who they are, begging me to buy lionfish. And I’m like sorry, I’m just supplying the people I’ve been selling to for years. If I could shoot a thousand pounds a day I could sell it.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: As the results come in from the weigh-in at this derby, some people are tasting lionfish for the first time.

    KAREN SCHROEDER: I’m a scuba diver, and I’ve seen them underwater for a long time. And everybody has been telling me it tastes like hogfish. It’s a nice light, white, crispy fish, and a very mild flavor.

    YASMEEN QURESHI: Lad Akins says popularizing lionfish cuisine, may be the best way to control the problem.

    LAD AKINS: Eradication is not on the table. Lionfish are simply too widespread, too deep, too inaccessible in some areas for us, with our current tools and technologies, to remove every last one. So what we’re left with is having to keep de-weeding the garden.

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Carolina and Ricardo Valera and Reef Environmental Education Foundation contributed underwater footage.

    The post How Florida is handling invasive lionfish appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A family member of a victim of a suicide bombing at a wedding celebration mourn over his coffin during a funeral ceremony in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, Turkey, Photo by Osman Orsal/Reuters

    A family member of a victim of a suicide bombing at a wedding celebration mourn over his coffin during a funeral ceremony in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, Turkey. Photo by Osman Orsal/Reuters

    A suicide bomber attacked a Kurdish wedding party in Turkey near the country’s border with Syria on Saturday night local time, killing at least 51 people and wounding 69 others.

    Of the 69 people wounded in the detonation, which took place in the town of Gaziantep, 17 were in critical condition, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech Sunday.

    Erdogan said the bomber was a child between 12 and 14 years old and in an earlier statement attributed the attack to the Islamic State.

    “As of now, the preliminary conclusions by our governor’s office and the police establishment point to an attack by Daesh,” Erdogan said, using a pejorative term for the Islamic State. No group has claimed responsibility yet.

    Women mourn as they wait in front of a hospital morgue in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, after a suspected bomber targeted a wedding celebration in the city, Turkey, August 21, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RTX2MEDQ

    Women mourn as they wait in front of a hospital morgue in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, after a suspected bomber targeted a wedding celebration in the city, Turkey. Photo by Osman Orsal/Reuters

    The detonation was the deadliest in a string of bombings that have roiled Turkey this year. In June, an attack on Istanbul’s airport killed more than 40 people and injured more than 200 others.

    But the targeting of a Kurdish wedding highlights internal tensions within Turkish society, reflecting a decades-old conflict within the country. Since 1984, the government has been fighting a Kurdish militant group, known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, which aims to establish an independent Kurdish state.

    Reuters reported that protests occurred during at least one funeral by those who felt the government has not sufficiently protected Turkish citizens.

    Grave holes are prepared as family members and friends attend the funeral of victims of a suicide bombing at a wedding celebration in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, Turkey, August 21, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX2MEOW

    Grave holes are prepared as family members and friends attend the funeral of victims of a suicide bombing at a wedding celebration in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, Turkey. Photo by Osman Orsal/Reuters

    In a statement, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party noted that the bombing occurred just hours after a Kurdish organization, which includes the PKK, publicized its intentions to pursue a peace process to end the conflict with the government.

    “This attack targets those determined and persistent in peace, resolution, and those struggling for democracy, equality, freedom and justice,” the statement said. “The attack was planned to disable the spread of peace and success of possible negotiations.”

    Both Erdogan and analysts said that attacks targeting Turkish Kurds serve to destabilize Turkey, which is part of the anti-Islamic State coalition, and thereby prove beneficial to the Islamic State.

    “ISIS has been trying to agitate or exploit already tense ethnic and sectarian faultlines” in Turkey, and weaken Kurdish militants who play a role in the Syrian war, Metin Gurcan, a security analyst and former Turkish military officer, said. “For ISIS, it is hitting two birds with one stone.”

    The post Bombing in Turkey leaves more than 50 people dead appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Police officers armed with rifles guard  the entrance to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital after a fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky

    Police officers armed with rifles guard the entrance to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital after a fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky

    Normally, when the Dallas Police Department hosts its monthly testing for people interested in becoming police officers, about 70 to 80 people show up. This past weekend though, the department was expecting about 280.

    The larger turnout followed a call from Dallas Police Chief David Brown to join the force after five officers were killed and others injured in a targeted ambush there last month. The chief asked young black men to stop protesting, to start applying, and to help fix the problems they see in their community.

    As police-involved shootings have increased tensions between police and black communities across the country, some law enforcement agencies have put out similar calls for help in hopes of recruiting a more diverse force as one way to re-establish community trust. Leaders in Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Knoxville, Tennessee, recently refocused their efforts to attract and hire more minorities.

    But officials say that having a diverse force is only one way of moving forward. In fact, they point out, research is mixed as to whether diversity helps reduce tensions. Other strategies, they say, help as much or more, such as hiring officers who know and understand the community, asking officers to build better relationships with neighborhoods they serve, reducing officers’ use of aggressive arrest tactics and increasing officer training.

    In Baltimore, the police force is fairly diverse — about 42 percent black, compared to 63 percent of the general population.

    Yet in a scathing report released this month, the U.S. Justice Department said Baltimore’s policing strategies lead to “severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of stops, searches and arrests of African Americans.”

    Aggressive policing tactics hardened a “long-simmering distrust of law enforcement” in parts of the community, the report said.

    Conflicts between the police and the community stem from much deeper issues — ones that police are not trained to solve, said Thomas Harvey, co-founder and executive director of ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit advocacy group that provides legal services for indigent people in Ferguson and the rest of St. Louis County, Missouri.

    “Why do we as the public keep expecting police officers to fill the role of nurses, social workers, housing specialists, mental health experts, drug treatment providers, poverty experts and racial justice advocates?” he said. “We don’t need more police. We need to make a commitment to address the root causes of poverty, which is at the heart of what we call crime in America.”

    Attempts at Diversity
    Law enforcement has had some success attracting more minorities. The share of minority officers nationally has nearly doubled in three decades, growing from 14.6 to 27.3 percent since 1987, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

    But that still doesn’t equal the share of minorities in the U.S., at 37.2 percent.

    Small departments are less diverse. Departments serving less than 2,500 people are 84.4 percent white; departments that serve a million people or more are 53.4 percent white.

    The Ferguson Police Department had two black officers when Michael Brown was shot and killed, two years ago, by a white police officer. To diffuse tensions, the U.S. Department of Justice recommended many changes to the police department — including hiring more minorities. Five more black officers have since been hired, including the new chief, Delrish Moss.

    Yet it is unclear if having a diverse force will make a difference, Harvey said. “We can’t get trapped into thinking that individual police officers can change systems.”

    A 2004 National Research Council report found that, “there is no credible evidence that officers of different racial or ethnic backgrounds perform differently during interactions with citizens simply because of race or ethnicity.”

    White officers in Cincinnati were not more likely to arrest non-white suspects, under similar circumstances, but black officers were, a 2006 study found.

    Racial bias in policing comes more from the culture of police departments, said Delores Jones-Brown, founding director of the Center on Race, Crime and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

    Jones-Brown said two types of training may help: one that teaches officers about their implicit biases, or stereotypes they form unconsciously, and another that teaches officers that if they are more respectful to the public, they will build community trust and justice.

    The Justice Department announced in June that it would start giving its lawyers and law enforcement agents implicit bias training.

    Why Minorities Don’t Apply
    There are two major reasons why law enforcement struggles to recruit minorities, Jones-Brown said. When police treat communities that they are all criminals, they don’t want to be part of the agency. And when police enforce low-level crimes in communities of color, many people end up with criminal records that disqualify them from applying.

    In Knoxville, past recruiting efforts had little success, said David Rausch, the chief of police. Of the 386 sworn officers there, 358 are white.

    The lack of diversity could be the result of a lack of qualified minority candidates, Rausch said. But it also could be because of a stigma attached to police by the minority community, which has worsened with recent events across the country.

    “We have folks where all they’ve ever heard in their life is law enforcement is the bad guys,” he said. “And quite frankly, my goal in the last five years is to change that.”

    “We have folks where all they’ve ever heard in their life is law enforcement is the bad guys. And quite frankly, my goal in the last five years is to change that.”

    Last year, Knoxville police upped its efforts in recruiting minorities. As a result, Rausch estimates, about half of the applicants being interviewed are minorities, compared to the usual 20 percent.

    In Indianapolis, the City-County Council voted in April to update its recruitment law to allow the chief of police to handpick 20 percent of applicants, with the rest chosen based on their qualifications, in hopes it would allow for more minority recruits.

    Mirroring the Community
    Sometimes the racial composition of law enforcement changes as the community changes, especially when a department tries to make the job more attractive.

    That’s true in Texas, where the Hispanic population has increased significantly. The share of Hispanic recruits to the Texas Highway Patrol has increased from 31 to 41 percent since 2014.

    Pay has increased. So, too, has recruitment. And much of the new hiring has been in communities near the U.S.-Mexico border, said Tom Vinger, press secretary for the state’s Department of Public Safety. Hispanics comprise a larger share of the population there.

    Even in large police departments, only a few across the country approximately reflect the racial diversity of their communities, according to a 2015 New York Times analysis.

    One of those, in Atlanta, has long been admired for its ability to attract a diverse force — 60 percent of sworn officers are black in a city where 52.4 percent of residents are.

    Atlanta leaders have been deliberate about hiring minorities for decades, said Chief of Police George Turner, adding that it helps to involve minorities in recruiting. It also helps to promote minorities, he said. Twenty-three of the 43-member command staff are black, including Turner.

    “If your command staff doesn’t reflect your community at the top of the organization, people feel like there is a ceiling in this agency, and they don’t feel like they have a chance of moving in,” Turner said.

    Diversity, especially in leadership, can improve problem-solving and increase innovation, said Patrick Oliver, who runs a criminal justice program at Cedarville University, in Ohio, and worked in law enforcement for 27 years.

    Diversity at the top also can prevent a culture of racial bias. Managers set expectations and policies, and supervise officers, Oliver said.

    Communities see diverse police departments as more legitimate and are more likely to take ownership in policing when a department is diverse, a 2000 study found.

    Having a good racial mix debunks stereotypes among officers, said Tammie Hughes, the assistant chief of police in Dallas. It also shows children in the community that “if she can be a police officer, I can be a police officer, too. Once you plant those seeds, they have something they can look forward to doing.”

    Not Everyone Agrees
    Calling for more diversity in police departments simply distracts from the real issue, said L’lerrét Ailith, communications manager with Black Youth Project 100, a group of 18- to 35-year-old black activists. The real issue, she said, is law enforcement is inherently anti-black and black communities do not receive enough social services.

    “If the system is inherently anti-black, if the system is set up specifically to target our communities and oppress our people, regardless of what the officer looks like, regardless of what connection he has to the people he is locking up, he is still locking people up,” Ailith said.

    The government should defund police and invest more in health care, mental health and recreation centers, Ailith said.

    Police understanding of a community may be more important than its racial composition. In Baltimore, most officers are not from the city, and three-quarters of them don’t live there.

    Officers who come from the community will know its history and what it needs, said Chris Burbank, a former Salt Lake City police chief who is now director of law enforcement engagement for a national nonprofit, the Center for Policing Equity.

    “Whenever [a police department] is viewed as an occupying force, that is difficult for community members,” Burbank said. “But when it’s individuals who have grown up in the community who are now on the police force, that goes a long way.”

    Training also helps. In 2012, Dallas began training officers in how to ease tense situations that have the potential to spiral out of control. Hughes, the assistant chief of police, calls it teaching officers how to “slow down a bit, and approach these incidents a bit more carefully.”

    “One little incident can tear down all that effort you’ve made to build community trust.”

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    File photo by Portra Images via Getty Images

    File photo by Portra Images via Getty Images

    MORENO VALLEY, Calif. — Alfredo David lay in bed, looking deflated under an Avengers blanket, as a doctor, two nurses, and medical interpreter Veronica Maldonado entered his hospital room. He wrapped up a call from his wife, then fiddled idly with his phone.

    He had received distressing news from the team at the Riverside University Health System Medical Center: His sharp abdominal pains and difficulty eating, previously diagnosed at another hospital as gastritis, were actually caused by metastatic cancer. The tumor was growing. David, 45, was not going to recover.

    Maldonado pulled up a chair for herself and another for palliative care specialist Dr. Faheem Jukaku, and the two sat at David’s eye level. Pointing to an MRI image of David’s abdomen, Jukaku explained in English how surgeons would attempt to ease his symptoms the next day. Maldonado translated Jukaku’s words into Spanish, modulating her tone of voice to match the doctor’s delivery.

    David listened — seeming resigned, but grateful that some relief might be on the way. Occasionally he’d ask a question in Spanish about the procedure, which Maldonado translated back to Jukaku. Asked about his earlier misdiagnosis, he rolled his eyes.

    David, a mechanic and father of three teenagers, understands some English. But he said Maldonado’s help had been crucial to deciding on his new course of treatment. Thanks to her, he said in Spanish as she translated, “I don’t have any misunderstandings. I’m more at peace.”

    “I don’t have any misunderstandings. I’m more at peace.”

    Interpreters routinely help people who speak limited English — close to 9 percent of the U.S. population, and growing — understand what’s happening in the hospital. They become even more indispensable during patients’ dying days. But specialists say interpreters need extra training to capture the nuances of language around death.

    Many doctors and nurses need the assistance of interpreters not only to overcome language barriers but also to navigate cultural differences. Opportunities for miscommunication with patients abound. Words don’t always mean the same thing in every language.

    Medical staff, already nervous about delivering bad news, may speak too quickly, saying too much or too little. They may not realize patients aren’t comprehending that the team can no longer save their lives.

    “That’s when it gets interesting,” Maldonado said. “Does the doctor understand that the patient isn’t understanding?”

    At Riverside and some other hospitals, interpreters have completed special training and work closely with palliative care teams to help patients and their families decide when the time has come to stop trying to cure a disease and start focusing on comfort and quality of life.

    Palliative care is unusual among medical specialties, said Dr. Neil Wenger, an internist who is chair of the ethics committee at the UCLA Medical Center. Rather than curing or eliminating disease, its purpose is to manage symptoms for patients who are not expected to recover.

    Physicians and nurses talk at length with dying patients and their families about their wishes, collaborating with social workers, chaplains and hospice workers. Under any circumstances, the clinical shift from curing disease to treating symptoms can be difficult for doctors and patients. Advance care planning — a process used to help patients understand their prognoses and explore preferences for future care — is more like psychotherapy than a routine medical consult, Wenger said.

    “This is not a straightforward set of questions,” he said. “You ask a question, and the next question is dependent on the response. It’s very easy to use the wrong words and startle the person and put them off. It’s a dangerous conversation.”

    When there’s a language or culture gap, Wenger added, the interaction becomes much more difficult. Both sides can fail to recognize important nuances, such as body language and variations in the meaning of words.

    Wenger said that he finds it hard to speak with patients about palliative care through an interpreter because, in his experience, unexpected turns in the conversation and difficult emotions can literally get lost in translation.

    Others say that interpreters are key for helping patients make sense of palliative care — that they just need extra training to be good at it.

    Kate O’Malley, a senior program officer at the California Health Care Foundation, said she started thinking about interpreters when the Oakland, Calif.-based foundation funded new palliative care programs in safety net hospitals throughout the state. It found that vast numbers of patients did not speak English as their primary language.

    At Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, for instance, 68 percent of palliative care patients in 2011 spoke a first language other than English. At San Francisco General Hospital, that number was 45 percent; at Riverside County Medical Center, 33 percent.

    “One of the key tenets of palliative care is to have goals-of-care discussions,” O’Malley said. So when patients speak a different language, “How do you do that?” Her team found that palliative care providers sometimes brought in interpreters to assist, but that many of them didn’t have the knowledge, training, or vocabulary to convey key concepts.

    Take the idea of hospice, the comprehensive palliative care services available to patients in their last months, often at home. For people from Mexico, the Spanish equivalent hospicio “conjures up the image of the worst nursing home you could ever imagine, where people are disabled and left for dead,” said Dr. Anne Kinderman, who runs the palliative care service at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. “If I come into the room and say, ‘I’m here to tell you about this great thing called hospicio,’ there’s a cognitive disconnect,” she said.

    “If I come into the room and say, ‘I’m here to tell you about this great thing called hospicio,’ there’s a cognitive disconnect.”

    Interpreters have to learn how to bridge that gap. “You have to know how to present [hospice] in Spanish,” said Viviana Marquez, supervisor of the department of language and cultural services at Riverside, and Maldonado’s boss. “It’s not a matter of finding an equivalent word, because there is none. You have to get into a deeper explanation.”

    Without that kind of clear communication, many Latino families never understand that hospice isn’t a place but rather a suite of comfort-focused extra services, available at home, that relatives usually can’t provide on their own, said Beverly Treumann, a medical interpreter in Los Angeles who now works as head of quality assurance for the Health Care Interpreter Network, an Emeryville, Calif.-based cooperative that lets member hospitals share interpreters through videoconferencing.

    Treumann said she once trained an interpreter who had refused hospice for her own mother because of such a misunderstanding. “This interpreter, she was heartbroken,” Treumann said. “The family took care of the mother — but without the extras that hospice could provide. The mother suffered because the concept wasn’t explained adequately.”

    Cultural differences can breed other misunderstandings too, Kinderman said. Families from many parts of the world approach health care decisions as a group. That can make a palliative care concept like a health care proxy — a person who makes medical decisions when a patient becomes incapacitated — hard for them to grasp.

    Hoping to bypass all these potential minefields, the California Health Care Foundation recruited Kinderman and other experts to help develop a palliative care curriculum for interpreters.

    It introduces the palliative care concept, defining terms and providing vocabulary to help interpreters accurately convey key ideas. It encourages interpreters to alert physicians when they suspect a patient and his family don’t understand what they are told. It also includes materials to help interpreters deal with their own complicated emotions during palliative care encounters.

    Marquez said that all 10 of the Riverside medical center’s interpreters have completed some version of the curriculum, which is taught in person or on the web.

    For Maldonado, who has been interpreting for about five years, working with palliative care patients has become a passion.

    She attends the palliative care team’s weekly meetings, working closely with staff and patients. If Maldonado is around when a difficult conversation arises, she’s the first person Marquez sends to interpret. If Maldonado or another interpreter who is comfortable with palliative care work is not available, Jukaku said, “we try to postpone the talk.”

    Last year, Maldonado taught a palliative care training course for interpreters. The session, held at the Moreno Valley hospital, attracted around 50 participants from throughout Southern California.

    The participants wanted to talk about terminology and “vicarious trauma” — the emotional toll that interpreting for palliative care patients can take. They shared self-protection techniques. Marquez recommended using the third-person voice instead of the customary first person: rather than directly translating the doctor’s words and saying “I recommend,” an interpreter might create emotional distance for herself in difficult moments by saying, “your doctor recommends.”

    Maldonado said she, too, has trouble sometimes containing her feelings when families are distraught or have trouble accepting that a patient may soon die. “Later in the day I say, ‘Oh my God … can I vent?’ I have to vent.”

    “When we get the tears and the reactions, we know we’ve rendered the message.”

    But Maldonado also noted that raw emotion from the families means she is doing her job well.

    “When we get the tears and the reactions,” she said, “we know we’ve rendered the message.”

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    U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia (R) and Sasha (L) board Air Force One at Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, U.S., August 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

    U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia (R) and Sasha (L) board Air Force One at Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, U.S., August 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

    WASHINGTON — After two weeks of sunshine and 10 rounds of golf, President Barack Obama is preparing for the busy fall awaiting him.

    The glow from his vacation on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard may fade sooner than expected, though. Obama gets back on the road Tuesday to comfort residents of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a city hard-hit in recent weeks by natural and man-made tragedies.

    Heavy flooding this month killed at least 13 people and displaced thousands more after murky water engulfed their homes.

    In July, the fatal police shooting of a black man outside of a convenience store sparked protests and mass arrests. Police say the death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling apparently led a gunman to train his weapon on law enforcement officers, killing three.

    Obama was criticized for not visiting Baton Rouge after Sterling’s death or the killings of two Baton Rouge police officers and a sheriff’s deputy. He went instead to Dallas to eulogize five police officers who were killed by a gunman who similarly targeted law enforcement.

    But the flooding is drawing Obama in, although the visit will come later than some would have liked. Some Louisianans and others, including The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge, called on Obama to break from vacation to console flood victims.

    Gov. John Bel Edwards has defended Obama’s decision to not visit before this week, saying an earlier trip by the president would have interfered with the response effort.

    While Obama resisted the public pressure, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump filled the void. He visited the flood-ravaged area Friday with his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and briefly helped unload a supply truck.

    With Congress still on a seven-week break, Obama and aides will likely spend time this week trying to figure out what they want from lawmakers before they shift focus on campaigning for re-election.

    Congress returns after Labor Day, and the House and Senate will have just a month to pass a catch-all spending bill by the end of the federal budget year on Sept. 30 to keep the government operating. Lawmakers plan to leave Washington in October and return after the Nov. 8 elections.

    The White House will continue to press for money to help keep the mosquito-borne Zika virus from spreading and develop a vaccine. The issue took on a new sense of urgency after Florida last week identified the popular Miami tourist haven of South Beach as the second site of Zika transmission on the U.S. mainland. A section of Miami’s Wynwood arts district was the first.

    In turn, incensed lawmakers have promised to keep the heat on the administration by holding hearings on the $400 million it delivered to Iran in January. Republicans say the money was ransom to win freedom for four Americans held in Iran. Obama denied that, saying earlier this month that “we do not pay ransom. We didn’t here. And we … won’t in the future.”

    But administration officials also said it made little sense not to “retain maximum leverage,” as State Department spokesman John Kirby put it last week, for the money long owed to Iran, to ensure the U.S. citizens’ release.

    Iran had paid $400 million in the 1970s for U.S. military equipment. Delivery was scrapped after the Iranian government was overthrown.

    The explanations have not satisfied critics in and out of Congress. Trump has begun telling supporters at his campaign rallies that Obama “openly and blatantly” lied about the prisoners. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Obama has set a “dangerous precedent” and owes the public a “full accounting of his actions.”

    After visiting Louisiana, the president heads to Nevada on Aug. 31 to discuss environmental protection at the Lake Tahoe Summit. He follows with a trip to China and Laos from Sept. 2-9.

    He’s also expected to campaign aggressively in October to help elect Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

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    Jacqueline Woodson is a poet and author of books for children and young adults. Photo credit: Juna F. Nagle.

    Jacqueline Woodson is an award-winning poet and author. Photo credit: Juna F. Nagle.

    Jacqueline Woodson, one of America’s premier writers of young adult and children’s literature, is out with her second novel for adults called “Another Brooklyn.” It’s her first in 20 years, and Jeffrey Brown talked to her about it in her Park Slope home recently.

    It’s set in the nearby Brooklyn borough of Bushwick, her childhood neighborhood, which becomes one of the central characters in this latest novel about memory, friendship and loss.

    [It] is so important, that people know the history of the places they exist in, even as those histories quickly change.”

    Woodson sees her role as a “history keeper” of Bushwick. She also wrote about the neighborhood two years ago in “Brown Girl Dreaming”, a collection of poems, which won the National Book Award and was a New York Times bestseller. Woodson’s family, like many African-American families, moved from the South to Brooklyn in 1968 as part of the Great Migration. Her parents hoped for greater opportunity in New York, and Woodson remembers the new neighborhood was “filled with strivers.”

    “The reason I wanted to write a book about this area was to preserve it, so that people know what it was like. I talk about the fact that the neighborhood was discovered by Franciscus the Negro, a former slave who bought his freedom. That is something I didn’t know as a kid, that the neighborhood I was growing up in was settled by a black man. I think all of that is so important, that people know the history of the places they exist in, even as those histories quickly change.”

    She read one of her poems from that volume recently in her old neighborhood, which she says has completely changed. It’s called “Bushwick History Lesson.”

    “Bushwick History Lesson”

    Before German mothers wrapped scarves around
    their heads,
    kissed their own mothers good-bye and headed
    across the world
    to Bushwick-

    Before the Italian fathers sailed across the ocean
    for the dream of America
    and found themselves in Bushwick-

    Before Dominican daughters donned quincenera
    dresses and walked proudly down Bushwick Avenue

    Before young brown boys in cutoff shorts spun their
    first tops and played their first games of skelly on
    Bushwick Streets-

    Before any of that, this place was called Boswijck,

    Settled by the Dutch
    And Franciscus the Negro, a former slave
    who bought his freedom.

    And all of New York was called New Amsterdam,
    run by a man
    named Peter Stuyvesant. There were slaves here.
    Those who could afford to own
    their freedom
    lived on the other side of the wall.
    And now that place is called Wall Street.

    When my teacher says, So write down what all of this means
    to you, our heads bend over our notebooks, the whole class
    silent. The whole class belonging somewhere:

    I didn’t just appear one day.
    I didn’t just wake up and know how to write my name.

    I keep writing, knowing now
    that I was a long time coming.

    Jacqueline Woodson is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DREAMING, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award and the NAACP Image Award. Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults and children.

    Her books include “The Other Side”, “Each Kindness”, “Coming On Home Soon”, “Feathers”, “After Tupac and D. Foster” and “Miracle’s Boys”, which received the LA Times Book Prize and was adapted into a miniseries directed by Spike Lee.

    Watch for Jeffrey Brown’s conversation with Woodson to air soon on the PBS NewsHour.

    The post A poet’s history lesson on Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) talks to Kenya's Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed as he arrives at the State House in Kenya's capital Nairobi on Aug. 22. Photo by Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) talks to Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed as he arrives at the State House in Kenya’s capital Nairobi on Aug. 22. Photo by Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

    Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Kenya on Monday to discuss regional security, a day after a suicide bombing at a market in Somalia killed at least 20 people.

    A truck carrying explosives detonated near a government building in the central Somali town of Galkayo, followed by a car bomb. The dual explosions shattered buildings, and killed and injured dozens of people at a nearby market.

    The Islamic militant group al-Shabab, which is trying to overthrow the Somali government, claimed responsibility for the attack. The incident occurred after Somali security forces captured an al-Shabab commander in Galkayo, reported Al Jazeera.

    The U.S. also is conducting airstrikes targeting al-Shabab militants.

    “The Somali people continue to bear the brunt of the trauma and destabilization resulting from al-Shabab’s vicious and persistent attacks,” said Mark Toner, deputy State Department spokesman, in a statement.

    UNSOM, the U.N. mission in Somalia, said via Twitter that the assault will not derail Somali parliamentary elections in September and the presidential election in October:

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

    Kerry’s visit also comes during continued political strife in South Sudan, which is causing destabilization and violence in the world’s newest country. Kerry announced almost $138 million in additional aid to the troubled nation. The funding, which will be administered through the U.S. Agency for International Development, includes money for food, nutritional supplements, clean water supplies and cholera treatments.

    Photographer Sebastian Rich captured scenes of malnutrition in South Sudan.

    On Tuesday, Kerry then travels to Nigeria, where he will meet with President Muhammadu Buhari about the country’s efforts to address corruption and fight Boko Haram militants.

    Kerry then moves on to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the conflict in Yemen, where Saudi-led forces are trying to defeat Shiite Houthi rebels.

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    Military families gather for a Christmas reception with U.S. President Barack Obama (not pictured) at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii December 25, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX202GW

    The military must do a better job of addressing the alarmingly high rates of underemployment and unemployment among military spouses, write guest columnists Douglas P. McCormick and Kathy Roth-Douquet. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to make ends meet has become all too common for American households, particularly for our military families. The Department of Defense has made great strides to promote financial literacy, financial independence and economic empowerment within the veteran community. They have accomplished this through programs such as home and small business loans, access to education, access to government contracts through veteran preferences in contracting and access to career and business training through transition assistance programs. But in spite of this substantial progress, we have yet to tackle the largest opportunity to create financial security and readiness among this community: extending this financial and economic empowerment to military spouses.

    We have yet to tackle the largest opportunity to create financial security and readiness among the military community: extending this financial and economic empowerment to military spouses.

    We expect our military and their families to be portable, but military spouses are not afforded the same expectation when it comes to their careers. Ninety percent of military spouses are female, and it’s imperative that the military and corporate communities come together to ensure that these women have access to attractive professional opportunities while their spouses are off defending American freedom and values.

    Yet, according to a recent study commissioned by Blue Star Families, military spouses have lower labor force participation rates and experience unemployment and underemployment at substantially higher rates than the broader population. The study found that 43 percent of military spouses do not participate in the workforce compared to 26 percent of civilian spouses with similar characteristics. Military spouses face unemployment rates of 18 percent compared to the national average of 4.4 percent. For the lucky spouses who find employment, 35 to 40 percent are considered underemployed, defined as having lower compensation levels relative to their education and experience level.

    This cost to society related to this lack of opportunity is estimated to be between $710 million to $1.07 billion per year. But more concerning than the economic cost is the unnecessary financial strain this places on a soldier’s family, the reduction of battlefield readiness and effectiveness and a resulting decrease in the military’s ability to attract and retain the best talent.

    This problem is also felt on a personal level. These numbers translate into real hardship in the lives of real people. Take Amanda Yeram, the wife of a U.S. Marine. A former Marine, mom and college graduate, Amanda had hopes of finding a job that would help support her family. But for five years after she left active duty — a period where her husband continued his military service — Yerman struggled to even get an interview.

    “Employers want to know that the person they hire and invest time in training is going to be around for a while,” acknowledged Yerman. “But when your family is changing military bases every two or three years, that is not always an option.”

    Military spouses face unemployment rates of 18 percent compared to the national average of 4.4 percent. 

    There are numerous plausible explanations for the disparities that Amanda and thousands of other military spouses experience, from the challenges of maintaining a demanding job while a partner is deployed for extended periods of time to lack of career opportunities where most soldiers are stationed, frequent relocations and cultural norms that may promote a more traditional caregiver role for a military spouse. While the cause of poor economic opportunity for spouses may be debatable, the need to rectify it is not.

    Fortunately, the military can address this problem with increased awareness, resources and smart policies. It must start with an expanded definition of veteran financial readiness, one that goes beyond the soldier. Financial readiness and opportunity is a family issue — not a soldier issue — and lack of economic opportunity has negative consequence regardless of who in the family experiences it. We recommend four initiatives to overcome this challenge:

    1. Family-focused financial literacy training: The services have long recognized that a military career presents unique financial demands for soldiers and has created programs to teach them how to navigate these challenges. Military spouses should be included in this training. They are more likely the people who will manage family finances during periods of prolonged separation and the ones who must be prepared to assume these responsibilities alone should their partners not return from combat. Finally, with proper training and skills, the spouse can be an important contributor — both in terms of income and knowledge — when the family transitions back to civilian life.

    2. Career counseling for military spouses: Today, we have transition assistance training for soldiers which teaches them how to translate their military service experiences into good civilian careers. We need a similar program for military spouses at the beginning of service that teaches them how to use their civilian skills within the military ecosystem and develop new skills that are easily portable when the family is forced to move. Basic training in this area will promote employment during active duty and empower spouses to build an interesting career, which can be an important family asset after service.

    3. Expanded eligibility of veteran empowerment programs: The service has successfully promoted economic opportunity among veterans through the GI Bill, Small Business Loan Programs and government contracting preferences, which promote access to education, capital and business opportunities. When determining eligibility for these benefits, we should not discriminate between service member and spouse; these programs should be designed to promote opportunity for the military family, not simply the veteran. The Small Business Administration is leading the way with this mindset by making a variety of loans, business education and counseling services available to military spouses. However, we need to do more: GI Bill benefits should be fully transferable to spouses without limitation, and a small business owned by a military spouse should receive veteran-owned contracting preferences.

    4. Public-private partnerships promoting remote employment: While companies struggle to find and retain the right talent, technology is rapidly changing the norms of employee relationships and the viability of telecommuting. DoD, veteran service organizations and the private sector must work together to facilitate an environment that helps companies identify and recruit underemployed military spouses. For example, Blue Star Families recently partnered with Salesforce.com to train military spouses for technical career paths that are both well-paid and flexible.

    Maximizing soldier welfare necessarily means ensuring family welfare. The biggest opportunity to achieve financial security for our military families resides in securing attractive employment opportunities for military spouses. Military service is a family business — let’s ensure we take care of the family.

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    Waves hit the seaside in Chosi, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 22, 2016. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

    Waves hit the seaside in Chosi, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 22, 2016. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

    A pair of typhoons in as many days hit Japan this weekend, leaving one person dead and 11 more injured, closing the island nation’s largest airport, dumping rain and pounding wind on the country.

    Typhoons Mindulle and Kompasu hit Japan within 48 hours of each other, and forecasters predict that a third storm, Lionrock, may hit the island nation later this week, the CNN reported.

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

    Warnings remain in effect for nation’s northern reaches, according to Japan Meteorological Agency. More than 10,000 people have been told to evacuate, and more than 100,000 more Japanese are under an advisory.

    Pedestrians walk under heavy rain and wind in Tokyo, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 22, 2016. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

    Pedestrians walk under heavy rain and wind in Tokyo, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 22, 2016. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally in Fredericksburg, Virginia, U.S., August 20, 2016.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally in Fredericksburg, Virginia, U.S., August 20, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

    WASHINGTON — Republican Donald Trump insists that he’s not flip-flopping when it comes to his proposal to deport the estimated 11 million people living in the United States illegally — even though his new campaign manager now says his stance is “to be determined.”

    Trump said in an interview with Fox & Friends on Monday that he’s “not flip-flopping,” but wants to come up with “a really fair, but firm” solution.

    Trump had previously proposed using a “deportation force” to remove the 11 million people living in the United States illegally— a proposal that excited many of his core supporters, but alienated Hispanic voters who could be pivotal in key states. Republican leaders fear that Trump can’t win — and could drag down GOP congressional candidates — if he doesn’t increase his support beyond his white, male base.

    Trump met Saturday with Hispanic supporters, representatives of a community that has been wary of the billionaire businessman’s deportation proposals and his plans to build a giant wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Questioned on whether Trump still intends to deploy the deportation force, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Sunday: “To be determined.”

    There have been previous signs that Trump might be moderating his stance on deportations. At last month’s GOP convention, the Republican National Committee’s director of Hispanic communications, Helen Aguirre Ferre, told reporters at a Spanish-language briefing that Trump has said he will not do massive deportations. Hispanic and religious leaders who met privately with Trump ahead of the convention said he signaled that he is open to embracing a less punitive immigration policy that focuses on “compassion” along with the rule of law.

    Trump’s comments Monday come as Republican officials insist the GOP nominee is finally hitting his stride and will catch up with Democrat Hillary Clinton by early September, following a major shake-up to his campaign. Polls now mostly show Trump lagging Clinton by 5 percentage points or more nationally.

    “Donald Trump has been disciplined and mature. And I think he’s going to get this thing back on track,” Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, said Sunday.

    Conway echoed Priebus’ optimism, contending that the candidate just had the best week of his campaign, “mostly because he’s able to be himself, the authentic Donald Trump.”

    Conway was named to her post last week in a shake-up in which the campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, resigned and conservative media firebrand Stephen Bannon, who led Breitbart News, took over as campaign chief executive.

    A new style was immediately evident as Trump, in a first, offered regrets for any remarks that had caused offense, stuck with his teleprompter at a series of events, and paid a visit to flood-ravaged Louisiana. Trump also announced his first ad buys of the campaign, more evidence of an acceptance of the traditional campaign elements most experts believe he will need in order to have a shot at winning. He made a direct appeal to African-American voters, insisting he wants the Republican Party to become their political home.

    Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, disputed claims of a turnaround in Trump’s candidacy. “We’re not seeing a pivot. Donald Trump himself said this was not a pivot. He wants to double down on letting Donald Trump be Donald Trump,” Mook said.

    Indeed, Trump was back to his old self on Twitter Monday morning. He went after MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” tweeting that the show is “unwatchable!” and said its host, Mika Brzezinski, “is off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess!”

    Conway had said Sunday that Trump “doesn’t hurl personal insults.”

    Conway, Mook and Priebus were interviewed on ABC’s “This Week.” and Conway also spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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    Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe restored voting right for about 13,000 felons in Virginia, the Associated Press reported Monday. Photo by Adobe

    Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe restored voting right for about 13,000 felons in Virginia, the Associated Press reported Monday. Photo by Adobe

    RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has again restored the voting rights of about 13,000 felons after his previous attempt was blocked by the state’s Supreme Court.

    McAuliffe’s announcement Monday came nearly a month after the court ruled that governors cannot restore rights en masse, but must handle them on a case-by-case basis. That ruling invalidated a previous executive order that had restored the voting rights of more than 200,000 felons who had completed their sentences.

    The roughly 13,000 people are those who had registered to vote before their rights were stripped away last month. McAuliffe said his administration processed each felon’s paperwork individually to comply with the ruling.

    Republicans have accused McAuliffe of trying to add more Democrats to the voting rolls to aid presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in November.

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    Then U.S. President George W. Bush presents D.A. Henderson, who is credited with eradicating smallpox worldwide, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House, July 9, 2002.   REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang/File Photo

    Then U.S. President George W. Bush presents D.A. Henderson, who is credited with eradicating smallpox worldwide, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House, July 9, 2002. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang/File Photo

    There are few people in the field of global public health so well-known that you merely need to utter two initials to evoke instant recognition.

    But to raise in conversation Dr. Donald Ainslee Henderson, the man who led the successful effort to eradicate smallpox, all anyone ever bothered to say was “D.A.”

    Henderson, a few weeks shy of his 88th birthday, died late Friday of complications that arose after he recently fractured a hip.

    Towering in physical stature as well as in reputation, Henderson had a booming voice, which he used to great effect. He did not hesitate to express his views — even if they were not shared by others.

    “D.A. was a giant intellectually, he was a giant in his personality, and he didn’t shy away from controversy,” said his friend Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy.

    Dr. Bill Foege, a friend and colleague for over 50 years, agreed.

    “He was a person of strong convictions,” said Foege, who served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1977 to 1983 and who first met Henderson at the CDC in 1962.

    “I always think that was one of the attributes that provided for leadership because people don’t like to follow someone who’s uncertain about where they’re going. He brought a certain certainty to everything he did.”

    “[P]eople don’t like to follow someone who’s uncertain about where they’re going. He brought a certain certainty to everything he did.”

    Before taking the lead in the smallpox eradication program, Henderson was the CDC’s director of disease surveillance. His mentor had been Alexander Langmuir, the epidemiologist who founded the CDC’s renowned program to train disease detectives.

    “I remember with Alex once talking about a subject and he presented his side and I said: ‘But it’s worth looking at the other side,’” Foege recalled. “And he slammed his fist down on his desk and said ‘There is no other side.’”

    “D.A. got part of his training in this environment of absolute certainty.”

    Henderson also shared Langmuir’s core belief that good surveillance is crucial to disease control.

    “He always stressed the fact that without comprehensive disease surveillance, you just couldn’t run an effective public health program,” said Osterholm.

    Tapped to lead the smallpox eradication program in 1966, Henderson moved to the World Health Organization, working as chief medical officer for the program.

    In 1977 the world saw its last case of wild smallpox infection — a few cases infected through lab accidents happened later — and the disease was declared eradicated in 1980. To this day smallpox remains the only human disease ever eradicated.

    The project had been an 11-year grind, and rather than being buoyed by that extraordinary achievement, it left Henderson deeply skeptical of other eradication efforts.

    Though he held out hope for the prospects of Guinea worm eradication, Henderson argued other diseases were out of reach.

    “He was very impatient with people claiming that they were going to be able to eradicate this, that, and the other thing,’’ said Dr. Donald Hopkins, special adviser to the Guinea worm eradication program.

    Hopkins, formerly with the CDC, worked on the smallpox program as it neared its successful completion. “I really, really regret that he didn’t get to see the end of Guinea worm,” he told STAT.

    Henderson’s pessimism about eradication prospects extended to the effort to rid the world of polio, though in 2011 he told the New York Times he’d come to conclude that the job might get done.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Aug. 21, 2016. Find the original story here.

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    ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUALS COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY A civil defence member transports an injured girl into an ambulance after an airstrike in the rebel-controlled city of Idlib, Syria June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah TEMPLATE OUT - RTX2GCL2

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first: Virtually every day, the skies over Northern Syria are filled with Russian and Assad regime jets, and, often, the bombs they drop land on civilians.

    There is no 911 to dial, and no one to call for help. But people do come rushing to save them, and more often than not, the rescuers are Syrians wearing white helmets. They are ordinary men and women who’ve chosen to stay, pressed into service by circumstance, charged with saving their fellow Syrians amid a brutal war.

    We meet some of them now, thanks to special correspondent Marcia Biggs, who reports from Turkey.

    MARCIA BIGGS: We all saw this heartbreaking video, 5-year-old Omran pulled from under the rubble of his flattened home, his photo going viral. Stunned, bloodied, and caked with dust, his face a symbol of so many others.

    But the faces you didn’t see in this video are of those who have been pulling people out of the rubble for five long years. This is the call to work for the brave members of the Syrian Civil Defense, an ad hoc grassroots first-response unit within rebel-held Syria.

    Nicknamed the White Helmets, they rush toward the scene of a bombing to save victims, many of whom are trapped under rubble, once tailors, bakers, pharmacists, these 3,000 ordinary Syrian men and some women now unwitting heroes.

    Twenty-three-year-old Radi Saad was a topography student at Aleppo University itching to get out of Syria, when the revolution began and his life changed. He now lives in Turkey, but travels back and forth to Syria to volunteer.

    RADI SAAD, Liaison Officer, Syrian Civil Defense (through translator): I never thought about being a search-and-rescue worker. That idea didn’t exist in Syria. During shelling or after an airstrike, all the people come out to save lives. When someone in need comes to you, would you say, I have nothing to offer you? So then why am I here? This is a question I asked myself.

    That was three years ago, and I have been working in civil defense ever since.

    MARCIA BIGGS: They work under the harshest of conditions to claw through the remains of buildings flattened by the Syrian regime’s weapon of choice, the barrel bomb, a crudely made drum packed with explosives and nails, indiscriminately rolled out the back of a helicopter over civilian areas, the slow and silent descent a cruel harbinger of the devastation it creates.

    RADI SAAD (through translator): The hardest part is to get people under the rubble out. It’s exhausting, and you don’t have technical equipment to use. You have simple equipment. Often, the process of searching and rescuing takes 30 or 40 continuous hours.

    You get tired, but the hope inside you makes you forget, and you just keep going to try to reach the person who needs your help.

    MARCIA BIGGS: Not all stories have a happy ending. Radi remembers searching in vain for 25 hours for a 2-month-old child.

    RADI SAAD (through translator): His father came to me, and I was the team leader. He was begging me, not to continue trying to find his son. No, he just wanted me to find any piece of his son’s body.

    These were moments I would never forget. You’re not thinking. You’re in a huge disaster, so you don’t think about what’s happening. Your emotions go away. You don’t have them anymore. When I got home that night, I remembered, and I felt the same feeling I have now. I was shocked. Do we have any feeling left? Have we lost our feelings? Has the hope become about finding a piece of a loved one, a body part?

    Even now, I can’t comprehend the situation I was in or what happened.

    MARCIA BIGGS: But what makes it one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, the infamous double tap, when planes circle back after the original strike to target rescue workers racing to the scene.

    Last October, White Helmets were responding to this bombing in Idlib province when Russian jets circled back, killing 31-year-old Issam al-Saleh (ph).

    RADI SAAD (through translator): I heard that Russian airstrikes targeted a farm with women and children, so I jumped in the car and went. I couldn’t drive fast enough. When I arrived, no one was there, just people under the rubble, but the jets were coming back.

    When I heard that Issam had died, it was a big shock. When we buried him, we all started crying. Issam was like a brother to me.

    MARCIA BIGGS: Issam’s cousin, Raed Al Saleh, is the head of Syrian Civil Defense, like most White Helmets, thrust into a job he never dreamed he’d have.

    RAED AL SALEH, Director, Syrian Civil Defense (through translator): Actually, my work in civil defense just kind of happened.

    At that time, none of us in Syria knew anything about civil defense, or how this work is done. So we went to a training in Istanbul. A trainer put us in a dark room and asked what we were able to find. We said there was just debris, but then he turned on the light and we realized there were people pretending to be wounded.

    It shocked us that we hadn’t found them. We decided then and there that we had to be serious about our training.

    Your mother or mine, your sister or brother, your friend could be under the rubble, and if they are not found, they will die.

    MARCIA BIGGS: Over the last five years, they say they have learned, saving almost 60,000 lives, working throughout all parts of one of the most fractured areas on Earth. Even some of the most radical groups allow them into their territory.

    RAED AL SALEH (through translator): To serve the civilians in the regions under control of armed groups, we have no choice but to deal with such groups in order to do our work. This happens all over Syria. We make it clear to all that we don’t make any official links with any political or military a group in Syria.

    MARCIA BIGGS: Do you have any agreement with ISIS to be able to work in those areas?

    RAED AL SALEH (through translator): We go and say we will offer our services. If you allow us to do so, fine. If you don’t, off we go.

    MARCIA BIGGS: Has any other group this large been able to unify in rebel-held Syria?

    RAED AL SALEH (through translator): All over Syria, there is no other organization that offers these services and works under one management, other than the Syrian Civil Defense.

    MARCIA BIGGS: Their tenacious leader has gone all over the world, begging for an end to the violence, last year, an impassioned speech at the United Nations, this year nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, all to no avail.

    RAED AL SALEH (through translator): In all my speeches, I was delivering a message to the people, to be in solidarity with us. I wasn’t asking politicians to do that. Politicians aren’t concerned about human suffering. They don’t look at the problem and get involved to solve it. They see the problems as opportunities, to see what they can get out of them.

    MARCIA BIGGS: Is anyone listening to you?

    RAED AL SALEH (through translator): We hope there are people listening to us. We hope the people will stand by us, to pressure politicians to change their policies, which only benefit politicians, and instead to base those policies on human rights and to take into account the crimes committed against civilians all over the world.

    MARCIA BIGGS: Do you feel like you’re banging your head against a wall?

    RAED AL SALEH (through translator): Actually, I used to feel like I was hitting my head against a wall. Now I feel like I’m hitting my head against iron.

    MARCIA BIGGS: So, how do you keep going when no one is listening?

    RAED AL SALEH (through translator): We have to. What keeps us going are the people we save from the rubble. People in Syria see us as the hope that keeps them alive.

    MARCIA BIGGS: One of their most hopeful moments came in the summer of 2014; 29-year-old Khaled Omar Harrah had already been digging through the rubble for nine hours when he heard the faint sounds of a baby crying. Only two weeks old, baby Mahmud was trapped under three stories of a collapsed building.

    For several more hours, they gingerly dug, finally pulling him out alive. Khaled’s video went viral, and he was nicknamed the baby savior. But, in Syria, cruelty lies around every corner. Just over a week ago, Khaled was killed in an airstrike, joining the other 134 White Helmets that have lost their lives.

    Khaled’s unit was based in rebel-held Aleppo, which has been besieged for over a month by government forces, which allow no food or medical aid to the over 300,000 civilians trapped inside. The head of the Aleppo unit recently sent to the United Nations Security Council this video. Throughout the message, a battle rages in the background.

    MAN (through translator): What broke our hearts is that we heard nothing from the U.N.

    MARCIA BIGGS: Abdul Rahman, a 30-year-old volunteer from Aleppo, says the food shortage is a main concern and half of the men in the unit are trying to learn to farm.

    Are they worried that they might starve? Are they worried that they’re going to run out of food?

    ABDUL RAHMAN, Rescue Worker: Of course, but they’re still working, because we believe in our job. They lost the hope. This is the bigger problem. Now, in Aleppo city, all the world see the besieged. And all the world just watching what happened, and no one do anything.

    MARCIA BIGGS: Despite all the deaths and the failures of the international community, the White Helmets soldier on.

    RAED AL SALEH (through translator): It’s difficult to talk with our team everyday, and most of the time, we have no answers to all the questions they ask. We are doing an important humanitarian job, and we will be rewarded by God.

    The Koran says, in the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful, whosoever saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. If you save a human who was under the rubble, it’s like you saved all mankind.

    Do you feel proud when you wear that?

    For Radi, his uniform a symbol of pride, and for the young man who dreamed of one day getting out of Syria, a renewed pride in his country, which he and the others hope to someday rebuild.

    RADI SAAD (through translator): Before the revolution, we didn’t have a sense of belonging to this country at all. But now we feel that, if we don’t build this country, no one will.

    MARCIA BIGGS: A small glimmer of hope for the future. For now, every airstrike brings more devastation, and the men, like this one, Fares Mohammed Ali, who dig with their hands and their hearts to raise people out of the ruins and into the light.

    One can only wonder how long this light of hope can burn. Fares died last month after an airstrike.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Marcia Biggs in Istanbul, Turkey.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, now let’s turn to Politics Monday with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report, Tamara Keith of NPR.

    So, Amy and Tam, let’s talk about what Matea was just reporting.

    Amy, when you hear these numbers and you see what Donald Trump is spending, what Hillary Clinton is spending money on, what does that tell you about the state of these campaigns?

    AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Well, I think Matea put it quite well.

    We’re just dealing with two very different theories of the case here. And the Donald Trump campaign is, he’s operating — it’s like in a parallel universe, where the normal rules of campaigning don’t apply. You don’t need staff. You don’t need advertising, that your megaphone being this media coverage is going to be enough to do that.

    But it’s clear that that’s not really working anymore. And you can see it in these battleground states, especially states where Hillary Clinton has been spending a great deal of money. Donald Trump is falling behind, in some cases, falling so far behind that the Clinton campaign now is saying, look, we have a state like Virginia — that’s a battleground state — Colorado, a battleground state, they’re not going to advertise there anymore because they feel so confident with their lead in those states.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Tam, it’s interesting that you’re able to say something like this, this early. I realize it’s November. It’s two-and-a-half months away, but it’s still — there is still time to go in this campaign.

    TAMARA KEITH, NPR: Yes, and the Clinton campaign does point out that they could reverse course and start running ads in those states.

    But they have been since June really pushing this message very hard that Donald Trump is — quote — “temperamentally unfit,” that he shouldn’t have his finger near the button. They’re out with a new ad on that topic again today.

    They have really been driving that message. And, you know, I went to a Donald Trump event last week and was talking to his supporters, and they’d all seen Hillary Clinton’s ads.


    AMY WALTER: Yes.

    And even building on Matea’s thing, the group called Open Secrets, which also looks at campaign spending, their analysis found that the RNC now has less in the bank at this point in the campaign than they have in the last three elections. So, 2004, 2008, 2012, they had more money in the bank at this time than they do now.

    The DCCC, which is the House arm, fund-raising arm for the Democrats, outraised House Republicans in July by three times as much. So this isn’t just about the Trump campaign. This could trickle down into the others as well.

    TAMARA KEITH: And what is notable about those RNC numbers is that Donald Trump is leaning so heavily on the RNC to do most of the basic fundamentals of a campaign. And the RNC has less money than it’s had in the past.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, I want to quickly move on to another issue that has been bubbling up again.

    On CNN yesterday, Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne, was asked whether Trump, as president, for push for deportation forces — this is a term he has used — to remove undocumented immigrants from the United States. Conway said — quote — “That is to be determined.”

    But it was something that Trump had called for previously.

    So, on FOX News, in a phone interview this morning, Trump was asked whether he has changed his mind.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: I will tell you, we’re dealing with people. We have to be very firm. We have to be very, very strong when people come in illegally. We have a lot of people that want to come in through the legal process. It’s not fair for them.

    And we’re working with a lot of people in the Hispanic community to try and come up with an answer.

    QUESTION: So, you’re not flip-flopping?

    DONALD TRUMP: No, I’m not flip-flopping. We want to come up with really fair, but firm answer. It has to be very firm.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, later today at a union convention in Las Vegas, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine told the people there they shouldn’t be swayed by Trump’s new talk of a firm, but fair immigration plan.

    SEN. TIM KAINE, Vice Presidential Nominee: He’s not changing his policies, not by an inch.

    He is still going to have the deportation force. He is still going to have separate families. He says he’s not flip-flopping on immigration. That’s what his campaign says. But we can’t afford to be tricked by Trump. This deportation thing is just another one. He is saying that he will try to deport people in a humane way, whatever that means. It’s just wrong.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Amy, what is going on here? What do we think is the thinking in Trump’s mind?

    AMY WALTER: Yes.

    You know, it’s clear from listening to his campaign surrogates and even listening to Trump in these last couple of days, he understands there’s a softening that needs to happen around some of these issues, especially something like mass deportation of 11 million immigrants.

    But it’s also clear that it’s really late in the game to change people’s perceptions of him. I’m sure you see this, hear the same thing. If you sit with a group of voters and ask them, what do you know about Donald Trump, the first thing they will say is the wall. The second thing they will say is a ban on Muslims.

    Having a deportation, having this fight over deportation, I don’t think, is going to change the basic perception that voters have of Donald Trump.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It sounds like there is some kind of battle going on, though, inside the Trump camp, Tamara, because earlier today we were told that he was going to make a speech on immigration. And now we learn it’s not going to happen this week.

    TAMARA KEITH: Right, and that maybe it’s still a work in progress.

    I think that it will be hard to know exactly what his position is or whether it’s changed on immigration until we hear that speech, and even once we do hear the speech, it may be hard to know precisely what the policy proposal is.

    He has talked about a deportation force before, and then said it would be humane, they could take their family with them, the citizen members of their family with them.

    So, at this point, it’s really not clear to me whether there is movement happening or not.

    AMY WALTER: And who it’s aimed at.


    AMY WALTER: Some of this is aimed at making those white college suburban voters who have been moving away from Donald Trump more comfortable with him and his rhetoric.

    But, at the same time, why those voters, especially if you talk to a lot of women voters who live in those suburban areas, the number one concern they have about Donald Trump is his temperament and the idea of him as commander in chief, which is why Hillary Clinton campaign out today making a very clear statement about his temperament and his fitness for office with the concept that Tam mentioned. Do you really want this guy with his finger on the button?

    The campaign ends — the ad ends with the sound of jet fighters is this the risk — basically saying, is this the risk you want to take?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, meanwhile, the immigration story continues boiling.

    For Hillary Clinton’s part, Tam, though, the e-mail story keeps bubbling. And there are three different strands of it today, what appears to be the difference she’s had with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is saying that he thinks the Clinton camp is trying to pin the e-mail problem on him because she told the FBI that she got the idea for personal — using personal e-mail from General Powell.

    Then you have got two other stories that the State Department is going to be releasing 15,000 previously undisclosed e-mails sometime in October, and then another strand of e-mails today having to do with the Clinton Foundation exchanging notes with Clinton’s aide.

    Is this just destined to be with us until Election Day?

    TAMARA KEITH: You think it will stop then?


    TAMARA KEITH: Right. I don’t think it’s going to stop with Election Day.

    AMY WALTER: I agree.

    TAMARA KEITH: On the Colin Powell thing, he has reportedly said: I told her that I used my AOL account. That worked better.

    He, by no means — nobody is arguing that he said, go put a server in your basement. So, you know, there is that.

    Judicial Watch, which is a conservative group that has been looking for problems for Hillary Clinton, has been releasing a steady stream of e-mails. And some of this is part of that.

    And there is this question that keeps coming up about the Clinton Foundation and the relationship between staff at the Clinton Foundation and staff at the State Department who worked for Hillary Clinton. What the Clinton campaign would say in response to all of that is that there is no evidence the she did favors for anyone, that Secretary Clinton did.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Amy, the bottom line is, does this hurt her?

    AMY WALTER: Right.

    It keeps coming back to, well, two things. If you’re going to pin something on somebody, first, make sure they know that you are going to do that. And, second, make sure they have a buy-in. Right? You probably should do both those things.

    But the second is, we just live in a world that’s very different from the way it was 20 or 30 years ago in the way that people view institutions and the sense of distrust and dysfunction about whether it’s about government, whether it’s about corporations, whether it’s about the media.

    And so any appearance of impropriety is going to be taken very, very seriously. The issue now — or the watchword really is transparency, authenticity. Those are things that have been missing from the Clinton campaign and from, quite frankly the way that Hillary Clinton has done her job as secretary of state, and then the Clinton Global Initiative from the very beginning.

    So, the expectations are very different, and they’re not meeting those expectations.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Some of these themes just keep on popping up again and again.

    AMY WALTER: It’s exactly right. If you think we’re going to see the end it — it’s not.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, we thank you.

    AMY WALTER: Thank you.

    TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.

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    U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton waves as she departs a gathering of law enforcement leaders outside of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, U.S., August 18, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson  - RTX2LV7K

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We begin tonight with politics, and the role of money in the campaign for the White House.

    New Federal Election Commission reports spell out how much each of the candidates has raised and spent so far. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton spent nearly $49 million in July, while Republican Donald Trump spent $18.4 million, a little over a third of what Clinton spent. Since the race began, the Clinton campaign has spent $319 million, while the Trump campaign has spent $89.5 million.

    We catch up on all of this now with Matea Gold. She covers money and influence for The Washington Post.

    And we welcome you back to the “NewsHour.”

    MATEA GOLD, The Washington Post: Great to be with you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Matea, when you look at these numbers that we have just cited of what these two candidates have spent, what does that tell you about their priorities?

    MATEA GOLD: Well, I have to say, when Donald Trump’s filing came in late Saturday night, it was incredibly surprising. He had actually had a very successful fund-raising month in July. He actually almost matched Clinton and the DNC through his fund-raising in conjunction with the RNC.

    So, we expected to see a lot of spending. But, really, this is a reflection of the completely unorthodox approach that Trump has taken to this campaign. He actually really has scoffed at some of the traditional campaign investments that you see campaigns making over the years.

    So, for one, he doesn’t believe in expensive TV ads. He’s just starting that right now. And he hasn’t built a big infrastructure on the ground. And those are the two big differences.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And speaking — one way to look at infrastructure, I guess, is the number of staff they have hired. And you look at that and you see that in these numbers of what you found in their filings.

    MATEA GOLD: Yes, it’s really remarkable, Judy.

    So, by the end of July, Clinton had 705 paid staffers, and Trump had 82, barely just maybe a half-dozen more than he had in June. This is a period of time that both of the candidates were receiving their nominations at the conventions, a time when candidates traditionally are gearing up for the final four months of campaign.

    And, really, what’s happening here is Donald Trump is leaning on the Republican National Committee, the national party, to provide the kind of ground voter motivation that often usually the candidate takes the lead in doing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And when you contrast, I think, the size of — the small size of Donald Trump’s staff compared to previous presidential campaigns, it’s really — it’s a notable difference.

    MATEA GOLD: No, there is no comparison.

    And what of the things that I think worries actually Trump allies is that he’s too vulnerable by leaning on the RNC in this way. If Trump’s numbers do not improve late in the fall, if the RNC decides to have its folks on the ground focus on Senate and House candidates, as opposed to really pushing their presidential candidate, he really won’t have anyone there to make up the difference.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, Matea, you also told us, it’s interesting when you look at these numbers, how much they spent on television on advertising. What do you find there?

    MATEA GOLD: They’re really mind-blowing.

    By the end of July, Clinton’s campaign had already spent $108 million on TV production and airtime. They just announced today another $80 million on national cable. Trump, by comparison, last week launched his first general election ad, $4.8 million.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what is the campaign — what is the Trump camp saying about this?

    MATEA GOLD: So, their argument is, they don’t need television in the way that she does. He has a huge megaphone through earned media, as we have talked about already in this election.

    His every remark, every speech…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: News coverage.

    MATEA GOLD: Exactly. His every remark and every tweet gets incredibly amplified through the media.

    And he reaches people directly through social media, so they really don’t feel like they have to spend in the ways that she does. And, in fact, we saw that this race was very tight up and through the summer until the conventions, at the time she was spending a lot on television. And that validated their theory of theirs.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, let’s look, Matea, at where the money is coming from.

    The campaigns confirmed some numbers we actually saw a few days ago, that she raised aids about $90 million in July, he raised about $82 million. It sounds like relative parity there, but what more is there to see?

    MATEA GOLD: Well, one of the mysteries of Trump’s filing is why there wasn’t more in his actual campaign account by the end of the month.

    His campaign has said they had raised about $64 million online and through direct mail with the party. We thought we would see most of that in his campaign. He ended up just reporting $36 million in his campaign, which suggests a lot of that money hasn’t been transferred over from the joint fund-raising committee or has been spent in another way.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me just stop you there.

    MATEA GOLD: Sure.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Explain the difference between the joint fund-raising committee and the campaign, those two pots.

    MATEA GOLD: Yes.

    So, there’s — both of the candidates actually are working through two joint fund-raising committees. It’s basically a committee that raises money for both the campaign and the national party and splits the proceeds. And so a share of the money that goes into the joint fund-raising committee legally goes to the campaign. Another share goes to the national party.

    And, usually, the small donations end up with the campaign. And those are really traditionally the most valuable, because the candidate controls that money and can really direct those resources.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And speaking of small donations, it’s interesting how much of the money — to look at how much came from donors giving $200 or less, with Clinton, $62 million, 18 percent of what she raised. But, for Trump, it was 30 — over 30 percent.

    MATEA GOLD: There is no question that, as soon as he finally began fund-raising, he tapped into incredible enthusiasm among his supporters, and, in fact, caught, I think, the Clinton campaign by surprise with how much money he was able to raise so quickly online through small donors.

    And he’s also put in a large share of his own money, $52 million by the end of July, into this presidential bid.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Fascinating. One month’s reporting, there’s a lot there.

    Matea Gold with The Washington Post, we thank you.

    MATEA GOLD: Thank you.

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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally in Fredericksburg, Virginia, U.S., August 20, 2016.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX2ME92

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump insisted today he’s not flip-flopping on his plan to deport some 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

    That came after his campaign appeared to signal a shift in his immigration policy over the weekend.  For his part, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine said that Trump’s conflicting messages show he can’t be trusted.  We will take a closer look at the campaign right after this news summary.

    A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s guidelines on transgender bathroom policies in public schools.  They permitted students to use restrooms that correspond to their chosen gender identity.  The district court judge granted the nationwide injunction late Sunday, a move that had been sought by 13 states.

    Still, White House spokesman Josh Earnest defended the president’s directive today in Washington.

    JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:  Our goal has been from the beginning to provide for the safety, and security, and dignity of students all across the country.  We certainly have the confidence in the legal basis for issuing that guidance.  But, obviously, we’re respectful of rulings that are put forward by federal judges.  And I will let my colleagues at the Department of Justice speak to the next step in the legal process.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  We will explore the implications of the Texas ruling later in the program.

    Russia has stopped using an Iranian military base to launch airstrikes in Syria, for now.  The announcement came just hours after Iran’s foreign minister criticized Moscow for publicizing their actions.

    Meanwhile, airstrikes continued across Syria today, that as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on a trip to Kenya said talks with Russia on stemming the violence are — quote — “reaching an end.”

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State:  It is possible that something could be agreed at — upon before the end of the month, but I can’t tell you whether it’s likely.  I wouldn’t express optimism.  I would express hope.  I will say this.  This has to end, this Syrian travesty.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Also today:  A Kurdish militia launched a major assault on the northeastern city of Hasakah to seize the last remaining government-held areas there.

    The death toll from a weekend suicide attack at a wedding in Turkey has risen to 54 people.  At least 22 victims in Saturday’s bombing near the Syrian border were younger than 14.  Officials and residents cleaned up around the attack site today, as relatives buried their loved ones.

    Turkey’s foreign minister vowed to battle the Islamic State group.

    MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, Foreign Minister, Turkey (through translator):  We will fight against the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations until the end.  And we will continue to support countries and forces who are also fighting it.

    As you know, the Syrian opposition’s operations at our border were concluded successfully.  And, of course, our border needs to be completely cleansed of ISIS.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  ISIS has yet to officially claim responsibility for the wedding massacre.  But they have been blamed for similar attacks in the country in the past.

    In the Philippines, there’s been a dramatic spike in the number of people killed as part of all crackdown on drugs.  It began after new President Rodrigo Duterte took office seven weeks ago.  Nearly 1,800 drug suspects have now been killed; 712 of them died in police clashes.  That’s up from 525 earlier this month.  And more than 1,000 other people were killed by vigilante groups.

    Tokyo was battered by heavy rain and strong winds today after a powerful typhoon made landfall just south of the Japanese capital.  Some 500,000 residents were advised to evacuate, and at least one person died.  Winds gusted up to 112 miles an hour across the city, and swollen rivers sparked fears of flooding.

    Elsewhere, a commuter train derailed, and hundreds of flights were grounded.  India is contending with its own deluge today.  At least 40 people have died in flooding that’s inundated central and eastern parts of the country.

    Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee.  Days of heavy rain caused the Ganges River to rise above its danger level.  It’s all part of India’s monsoon season, which runs from June through September.

    Stocks were mostly lower on Wall Street today, as a drop in oil prices dragged down energy shares.  The Dow Jones industrial average lost 23 points to close at 18529.  The Nasdaq rose six points, and the S&P 500 dropped a point.

    And Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte lost all four of his major sponsors today, Speedo, Ralph Lauren, skin care firm Syneron-Candela, and Airweave Mattress announced they’re ending their endorsements, after the swimmer’s drunken incident during the Rio Olympics.  Speedo plans to donate $50,000 of Lochte’s fee to Save the Children in order to help the needy in Brazil.  Lochte has apologized for making the claim he made about an armed robbery.

    The post News Wrap: Trump says he’s not flip-flopping on immigration plan appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    President Barack Obama will visit flood relief efforts under way in Louisiana and deliver remarks about the government's role in the region's recovery in Baton Rouge Tuesday. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    President Barack Obama will visit flood relief efforts under way in Louisiana and deliver remarks about the government’s role in the region’s recovery in Baton Rouge Tuesday. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is making his first visit to flood-ravaged southern Louisiana as he attempts to assure the many thousands who have suffered damage to their homes, schools and businesses that his administration has made their recovery a priority.

    The Baton Rouge visit Tuesday is a reminder of the political dangers and opportunities that natural disasters can pose. On top of a competent federal response, it’s critical for political leaders to demonstrate compassion and a reassuring sense of engagement.

    Obama took some criticism by opting to complete his family’s two-week vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, before inspecting the flood damage personally and meeting with local residents. An editorial headline in the Baton Rouge Advocate last week read: “Our Views: Vacation or not, a hurting Louisiana needs you now, President Obama.”

    The White House said Obama is willing to assume criticism about “optics” as long as the federal response is up to par.

    “The survivors of the flooding in Louisiana are not well served by a political discussion; they’re well served by a competent, effective, strong, coordinated government response,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday. “And the federal government has certainly done our part in the first eight to 10 days after this disaster, but there’s a long road ahead.”

    GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump visited Baton Rouge on Friday, hugging victims and driving through some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods, where the entire contents of homes were piled on the curb.

    Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton issued a statement Monday saying she would visit the communities affected by the flooding “at a time when the presence of a political campaign will not disrupt the response, to discuss how we can and will rebuild together.”

    The storm and its flooding have damaged an estimated 60,000 homes and forced thousands to seek temporary housing. More than 106,000 people have registered for federal disaster aid, with the state saying $20 million has been distributed to individuals so far. At least 40 state highways remained closed.

    Nearly 11 years ago, Hurricane Katrina’s crippling of New Orleans and the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama demonstrated how political leaders cannot afford to underestimate the gravity of responding to natural disasters with force and immediacy. In 2005, then-President George W. Bush was faulted by critics for flying over but not touching down in Louisiana in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a decision he years later described as a mistake.

    In 2012, Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney wasted no time in heading to Louisiana to see the damage from Hurricane Isaac.

    The White House on Monday pointed to praise for the federal government from the state’s Democratic governor and Republican lieutenant governor as evidence of an effective response. And it dismissed criticism of Obama’s decision to stay away during the first week-and-a-half after the flooding as politically motivated.

    Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who took office this year, said he suggested to Obama and presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett that they delay a trip to Louisiana until the initial disaster response was over and recovery efforts had started.

    Obama signed a disaster declaration on August 14 that makes federal funding available for assistance such as grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and low-cost loans to cover losses for uninsured property. He subsequently dispatched FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to the region.

    “I think the effectiveness of the response thus far speaks for itself,” Earnest said. “And I think frankly, it’s the most effective way to answer any of the politically motivated criticism that the president has faced.”

    The post Obama’s trip to Baton Rouge reveals political peril in natural disasters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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