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

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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry directs India's Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to her seat during a trilateral meeting between the U.S., India and Japan at the Lotte New York Palace hotel in Manhattan, New York September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz  - RTS2C43

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry directs India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to her seat during a trilateral meeting between the U.S., India and Japan at the Lotte New York Palace hotel in Manhattan, New York September 29, 2015. Photo by Darren Ornitz/Reuters

    GENEVA — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s stops in Bangladesh and India come amid increasing concerns about terrorism in both South Asian nations.

    After talks on Syria with Russian and U.N. officials, Kerry planned to depart Geneva later Sunday for meetings with Bangladeshi officials, opposition and civic leaders who are coping with a series of extremist attacks. The most recent killed 20 people, including 17 foreigners, at a popular restaurant last month in Dhaka, the capital.

    The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities maintain that a local banned group, Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, or JMB, was behind it.

    Kerry, on his first visit to Bangladesh as secretary of state, planned to discuss counterterrorism cooperation, along with human rights and economic development. On Saturday, police said they had killed three suspected militants, including an alleged mastermind of the cafe attack. Attacks over the past two years have killed atheist bloggers, foreign aid workers and religious minorities.

    In India, Kerry is set to attend the seventh meeting of the U.S.-India strategic dialogue. Those discussions are taking place as tensions rise in the disputed region of Kashmir, scene of some of the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years. Since early July, at least 67 civilians have been killed and thousands injured, mostly by government forces firing bullets and shotguns at rock-throwing protesters. Two policemen have been killed and hundreds of government forces have been injured in the clashes.

    India and Pakistan control parts of the Himalayan territory and claim it in its entirety. U.S. officials say Kerry will continue to urge dialogue between India and Pakistan over the dispute, the cause of two of three wars between the nations.

    Many Kashmiris want an end to Indian rule and favor independence or a merger with Pakistan. More than 68,000 people have been killed since rebel groups began fighting Indian forces in 1989 and in the subsequent Indian military crackdown.

    Kerry, who aims to try to further boost U.S. economic ties with India on his two-day visit, will be accompanied by U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and senior officials from 12 U.S. government agencies and institutions.

    The post Kerry heads to Bangladesh, India amid South Asian tensions appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    marine_reserve

    The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is set to become the largest ecological preserve in the world.

    A graphic from The Pew Charitable Trusts puts that size in perspective — the area will be more than 3.5 times the size of California, 10 times the size of Iowa and 105 times the size of Connecticut.

    The monument was created by President George W. Bush in 2006 to preserve the vegetation and wildlife in the area off the coast of Hawaii, and this week, President Barack Obama announced that he would expand the area to a total of more than 580,000 square miles.

    Having monument status means that commercial fishing and new mining is banned, but scientific research is allowed, as is recreational fishing with a permit. Native Hawaiian cultural practices that involve removing fish or other resources will continue.

    The White House has said that expanding the monument will help protect more than 7,000 species and preserve a sacred place for Native Hawaiians. Matt Rand, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Global Ocean Legacy Project, told the PBS NewsHour Weekend that the area also contains the oldest living organism on earth: a 4,500-year-old deep sea coral.

    Areas that encompass about 2 percent of the ocean are marine protected areas, but many scientists recommend protecting a greater area. A recent analysis of 144 previous studies on ocean protection found that more than half recommended designating at least 30 percent of the ocean as marine protected areas.

    The post How big is the world’s largest marine preserve? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Dimondale, Michigan, U.S., August 19, 2016.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX2M646

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Dimondale, Michigan, U.S., August 19, 2016. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump isn’t making it easy for top supporters and advisers, from his running mate on down, to defend him or explain some campaign positions.

    Across the Sunday news shows, a parade of Trump stand-ins, led by vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, couldn’t say whether Trump was sticking with or changing a central promise to boot the roughly 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally, with the help of a “deportation force.” And they didn’t bother defending his initial response Saturday to the killing of a mother as she walked her baby on a Chicago street.

    Questioned on whether it’s a problem that the GOP presidential nominee has left key details on immigration policy unclear so late in the election, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus demurred: “I just don’t speak for Donald Trump.”

    It was a striking look at Trump’s leadership of a team he had said would help drive him to victory in the Nov. 8 election.

    The very purpose of surrogates is to speak for and back up their presidential nominee. But Trump’s struggled to do so even as they stayed tightly together on the details they know: Trump will issue more details on the immigration plan soon, the policy will be humane, and despite his clear wavering, he’s been “consistent” on the issue. Any discussion of inconsistencies or potentially unpresidential tweeting, Pence and others suggested, reflected media focus on the wrong issue.

    Asked whether the “deportation force” proposal Trump laid out in November is still in place, Pence replied: “Well, what you heard him describe there, in his usual plainspoken, American way, was a mechanism, not a policy.”

    Added Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway: “The softening is more approach than policy,” adding that on immigration, Trump “wants to find a fair and humane way.”

    [Watch Video]

    The Indiana governor, Conway and other surrogates said the main tenets of Trump’s immigration plan still will include building a wall along the southern U.S. border and making Mexico pay for it, no path to legalization or citizenship for people here illegally and stronger border enforcement. Pence also did not answer whether the campaign believes, as Trump has said, that children born to people who are in the U.S. illegally are not U.S. citizens. That, he said, “is a subject for the future.”

    Native-born children of immigrants, even those living illegally in the U.S., have been automatically considered American citizens since the adoption of the 14th Amendment in 1868.

    Trump has focused lately on deporting people who are in the U.S. illegally and who have committed crimes. But who Trump considers a criminal remained unclear Sunday.

    “Those are the things that Donald Trump is going to answer. And this is not a simple question,” said Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman who’s had a difficult relationship with Trump.

    Conway said the candidate has said that people who want to be in the U.S. legally must apply through legal means.

    “He is not talking about a deportation force,” she said. “But he is talking about being fair and humane, but also being fair to the American workers competing for jobs.”

    Other Trump stand-ins, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, spoke similarly.

    Recent polls indicate Clinton is ahead in some of the most competitive and pivotal states. The first presidential debate is set for Sept. 26.

    Trump in recent days has suggested he might be “softening” on the deportation force and that he might be open to allowing at least some immigrants in the country illegally to stay, as long as they pay taxes.

    But by Thursday, he was ruling out any kind of legal status — “unless they leave the country and come back,” he told CNN.

    His surrogates on Sunday refused to comment on Trump’s reaction to the fatal shooting of NBA star Dwyane Wade’s cousin Friday, as she pushed her baby in a stroller in Chicago.

    Trump’s first tweet about the shooting ended this way: “Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!”

    A few hours later, he followed up with a tweet offering condolences to Wade and his family.

    Asked whether the initial tweet was presidential or appropriate, GOP officials and campaign advisers instead talked about reducing crime or said they were pleased Trump followed up with a tweet of condolence and empathy.

    Christie said the media “focus on process … instead of the message.” He said the killing of someone pushing a stroller “is unacceptable in an American city” and that “the level of violence in Chicago is unacceptable.”

    Pence appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Priebus was on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Christie was interviewed on ABC’s “This Week” and Conway was on Fox and CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

    The post Trump advisers struggle to speak for and defend nominee appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the Eagle Academy Foundation’s annual fundraising breakfast in New York City, April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTX2C6KX

    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the Eagle Academy Foundation’s annual fundraising breakfast in New York City, April 29, 2016. Photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Republicans and Democrats sparred Sunday over whether Hillary Clinton crossed ethical lines during her tenure as secretary of state by talking with people outside the government who had contributed to her family’s philanthropy foundation.

    Donna Brazile, the interim head of the Democratic National Committee, said it’s not unusual for supporters and activists to seek out private meetings and that there’s no evidence Clinton did any favors on behalf of foundation donors.

    “When Republicans meet with their donors, with their supporters, they call it a meeting,” she told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” ”When Democrats do that, they call it a conflict. It’s not pay-to-play, unless somebody actually gave someone 50 cents to say, ‘I need a meeting.'”

    GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence countered that because foreign donors can’t contribute to a presidential campaign, it’s possible they were seeking political leverage within the U.S. government by donating to the Clinton Foundation. He reiterated calls by Donald Trump’s campaign for the federal government to appoint a special prosecutor to examine possible corruption.

    “This (foundation) becomes a conduit for people to gain access, and gaining access is a favor,” Pence told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    The State Department has released all Clinton’s calendars and about half her detailed daily schedules as secretary of state, after The Associated Press sued for access in federal court.

    Based on the records released so far, the AP found that more than half the people outside the government who met or spoke by telephone with Clinton during her tenure as a Cabinet secretary had given money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. The AP’s analysis focused on people with private interests and excluded her meetings or calls with U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives.

    The government said Friday it probably won’t release the remainder of the detailed schedules until Dec. 30, weeks after the national election.

    [Watch Video]

    Clinton has said the AP’s analysis was flawed because it did not account fully for all meetings and phone calls during her entire term as secretary. She also said the analysis should have included meetings with federal employees and foreign diplomats. The AP said it focused on her meetings with outsiders because those were more discretionary, as Clinton would normally meet with federal officials and foreign officials as part of her job.

    Her campaign also objected to an AP tweet that stated “more than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation” and linked to the analysis. The tweet didn’t note what was in the story: that the records only covered part of her tenure and excluded meetings or calls with federal employees or foreign government representatives.

    AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday that the tweet was “sloppy” and “could have used some more precision.” But she said the story linked to the tweet was “completely rock solid.”

    “I think the issue about conflict with interest is not whether there’s an actual quid pro quo, it’s the proximity,” she said. “It’s the impression that people have of maybe they got the meeting because they donated, maybe they didn’t.”

    She added: “All of us can’t be held responsible for the way that everybody thinks about and responds to and talks about the coverage. Our responsibility is just to give them fair and balanced, rock-solid reporting and let them agree with it, disagree with it, talk about it, think what they might about it.”

    Clinton said Friday she would take “additional steps” to ensure there wasn’t a conflict of interest with the foundation if she is elected president. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had already said the foundation would no longer accept foreign or corporate donations and that he would no longer raise money for the organization if she became president. The Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, would remain on the foundation’s board.

    The post Politicos spar over ethics surrounding Clinton Foundation appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at the wake of a soldier killed in an encounter with communist rebels at a military Camp Panacan in Davao city, in southern Philippines August 7, 2016. REUTERS/Lean Daval Jr - RTSLIJ7

    Watch Video

    Read the full transcript below.

    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: In the Philippines, in the two months since President Rodrigo Duterte took office with a promised crackdown on illegal drugs, the national police say they have gunned down more than 700 suspected drug dealers and users who resisted arrest. More than 1,000 other police-involved killings are under investigation. The wave of extrajudicial killings has brought condemnation from human rights groups.

    Joining me from San Francisco for some insight into the violence in the Philippines is Paul Henson, the North American bureau chief of The Filipino Channel.

    Thanks for joining us.

    So, are people in the Philippines who voted for Mr. Duterte now becoming concerned about the lack of due process?

    PAUL HENSON, THE FILIPINO CHANNEL: There is a growing concern, Harry, but let me put it in context, first. I mean, President Duterte is one won the last elections by a margin of about six million over his strongest competitor. This is the population that is tired of criminality in the Philippines and that wants change.

    I guess what people weren’t expecting were the methods that the Duterte government is willing to undertake in order to stamp out crime and corruption in the streets. There is growing concern right now that due process is being involved, that those suspected of being involved in the drug trade are not being respected in terms of their constitutional rights to due process. And there is also fear that innocent people may be involved in the killings.

    And this collateral damage as well, one of the recent collateral damages was a 5-year-old girl who was gunned down by motorcycle-riding gunmen who were targeting her grandfather who was allegedly involved in drugs. So, there are innocent people being involved in this all-out campaign and that’s where the fear is coming from.

    SREENIVASAN: Put it in context for an American context, how big is the drug problem in the Philippines?

    HENSON: There’s been a recent study by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency that nine out of ten, that’s 9 2 percent of localities or villages in Metro Manila has drug-related cases. And nationwide, that’s one out of five localities. So, that is a very big chunk of the population of the Philippines.

    There’s also been a study by the United Nations that the Philippines is number one in terms of the use of methamphetamine hydrochloride, the number one in East Asia. A lot of this problem is really boosted by poverty, as well as unemployment in the Philippines. And the bigger problem is that the drug money and corruption has seeped not just in to the grassroots level but also in law enforcement and among justice officials. So, it’s a problem of narco politics as well.

    SREENIVASAN: You know, he famously went out and gave a national speech where he called out judges. He called out members of Congress and parliament and said, these are people that are associated with this. Has this crackdown actually nabbed some of the big fish, the kingpins that are bringing these drugs into the Philippines?

    HENSON: That’s actually what the people are looking out for, because this number, the number of people being killed, that’s amounting to around 1,900 now in total, these are street criminals. These are petty pushers and drug users.

    What the people want to see are more of the syndicate leaders, and the big bosses to be apprehended and put behind bars. That is what is sorely lacking still in this campaign.

    SREENIVASAN: And what about the sort of civil society, how are they pushing back?

    HENSON: Well, there’s been a big protest rally in the last two weeks, people are really concerned are taking out to the streets to air their grievances say that this extrajudicial executions are not right, even the vice president of the Philippines who comes from the opposing party has said that this is not right, that people should speak up and make their voices heard.

    SREENIVASAN: All right. Paul Henson of the North American bureau chief of The Filipino Channel, joining us from San Francisco — thanks so much.

    HENSON: Thank you very much. My pleasure.

    The post Philippines human rights groups condemn extrajudicial killings appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    These students at the Refugee Youth Summer Academy in New York City. Photo by Zachary Green/PBS NewsHour

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    By Ivette Feliciano and Zachary Green

    When she first arrived in New York City from the West African nation of Guinea three years ago, 18-year-old Binta Diallo says that she and her siblings had difficulty even setting foot outside their apartment.

    “We don’t know where were going … Everybody feel very sad. Like, knowing they left everybody in their country and then came here,” she said. Because she didn’t speak English, Diallo worried that she wouldn’t be able to keep up with other students when she began attending school that fall.

    That’s a problem that the Refugee Youth Summer Academy, a six-week program for children of families who have been granted asylum in the U.S., aims to fix. The program — also known by its acronym, RYSA — is dedicated to acclimating these children to New York life and getting them ready to enter the public school system. Students in RYSA get to experience a typical American school day, taking classes in English, math and social studies, as well as dance, music, art, storytelling and filmmaking.

    RYSA’s director, Kira O’Brien, says that putting children from different backgrounds together helps alleviate the feeling of isolation that many of them feel coming to a new country.

    “It provides them with a community of like-minded students, right? That they are not alone in this,” she says. “In their classrooms they might not have another student that speaks their home language or knows what, kind of, food they eat at lunch or knows what a hijab is. It’s when you build a community of students who are like, ‘Hey, I’ve done that, too.’ Or, ‘I felt that way at lunch time before,’ that you are really building strength within students. That they know that each other are out there.”

    Diallo says that attending RYSA helped her make friends and gave her a better grasp of English. She recently graduated from high school and will be attending college this fall. This summer, she returned to RYSA as a peer counselor, assisting RYSA’s teachers with younger students.

    Read the full transcript below.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: This summer, 118 students, from ages 5 to 20, attended the “Refugee Youth Summer Academy,” known as “RYSA”, here in manhattan.

    STUDENT 1: I like RYSA teachers!

    STUDENT 2: You get to learn more about different things you don’t know.

    STUDENT 3: I have many friends. We play together. I like here. It’s very good.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: This year’s class hailed from 29 different countries — stretching across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Russia, Africa, and Latin America.

    All of them come from families who have been granted asylum or refugee status in the us, some of them fleeing civil war, gang violence, and natural disasters in their home countries.

    The International Rescue Committee started RYSA 17 years ago to prepare these students for the New York City public school system.

    During the six week program, they get a taste of American school life, taking not just English and math classes, but also dance, music, art, and physical education.

    RYSA director Kira O’Brien says acclimating to a foreign school system is just one of many hurdles refugee children face.

    KIRA O’BRIEN: Things like language, things as simple as which direction a light flip switch goes. These are things that we might always take for granted, but kids are learning about every single time that they step outside of their apartment, that they go onto a subway. They’re always learning something new.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: 18-year-old Binta Diallo arrived from the West African nation of Guinea three years ago. At that time, even setting foot outside her family’s new apartment was difficult.

    BINTA DIALLO: We don’t know where we’re going. Everybody feel very sad. Like, knowing they left everybody in their country and then came here.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: She enrolled in RYSA a month after arriving and says the program helped her make the transition.

    BINTA DIALLO: My first summer here was, kind of like little bit nervous. But when I get here, I see like, I see white, black, a lot of people. Nobody, like, feel left out. Here, like, we were like, as a family, everybody cares for each other.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: O’Brien says RYSA provides refugee and asylee kids with an environment where they can bond with students from different backgrounds.

    STUDENT 3: I have friends! She’s my friend! She’s my friend! I have many friends!

    KIRA O’BRIEN: It provides them with a community of like-minded students, right. That they are not alone in this. In their classrooms they might not have another student that speaks their home language or knows what, kind of, food they eat at lunch or knows what a hijab is. It’s when you build a community of students who are like, “Hey, I’ve done that, too.” Or, “I felt that way at lunch time before,” that you are really building strength within students. That they know that each other are out there.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: That community has been helping 16-year old Bikash Shrestha, who moved here from Nepal three months ago.

    BIKASH SHRESTHA: They are so totally awesome. They were saying everything with me and I’m saying everything with them. How they came to, like, new york. Why they came. And how is their country? And we’re sharing about our cultures. Food. Traditions. Everything. It was nice to meet them. It was my pleasure to meet them.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Diallo participated in this summer’s program as a counselor assisting teachers with younger students. She says rysa helped bring her out of her shell.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: How did your experience here help you transition to your normal school?

    BINTA DIALLO: Here, like, be able to communicate with people. I just wanted, like, to be able to be used to communicate with other people. So I always choose, like, to sit with people. Some of them don’t even speak English. But we always feel like listen and laugh.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: O’Brien says the small triumphs of making friends or asking questions are crucial part of student development.

    KIRA O’BRIEN: We have had other students who have said their first words in English with us. They’re now writing, you know, full sentences. Kids who are coming in and asking questions, showing us that they are engaging. It might seem, like, miniscule that a kid raises their hand. But that kid could have been working up to that for the past three weeks. So we really want to celebrate that.

    KIRA O’BRIEN: “You are never alone. We are with you and we believe in you.”

    IVETTE FELICIANO: This month, RYSA held a graduation ceremony for its 2016 class. The New York City public school year begins next month.

    KIRA O’BRIEN: I believe so strongly that our kids need this. And if we’re gonna have an education system that reflects our city and who we have here, we have to honor that.

    BIKASH SHRESTHA: The RYSA is an– best part of my life. And I never gonna forget about this program. I think I’ll come next year too for here.

    The post NYC program helps refugee kids prepare for school appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, flanked by Liberia's President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (R) and Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo (L), attends the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) High Level Panel as part of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Kenya's capital Nairobi. Photo by Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

    Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, flanked by Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (R) and Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo (L), attends the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) High Level Panel as part of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Photo by Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

    Gender inequality costs sub-Saharan Africa an average of $95 billion each year, primarily because of setbacks that make it much harder for women to contribute to the workforce, according to an annual United Nations Development Programme report published Sunday.

    Released at the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya, this weekend, the report placed a focus on both legislation and social conventions that reinforce the gender gap and prevent economic growth.

    “A key message of this report is that giving more concerted attention to gender equality will be an important and long overdue stimulus to faster and more inclusive human development and economic growth for the entire continent,” Helen Clark, the administrator of the programme, wrote in a statement.

    Decreased access to economic resources and health care limit women’s success and their production potential, according to UN Communications Specialist Adam Cathro. Between 1990 and 2008, over 540 million premature deaths for females under 60 occurred, according to the report.

    Noting the disconnect between legal standards and actual implementation, the report said “legal instruments are necessary but not sufficient in the face of parallel systems of customary law. Negative social institutions and norms create a stumbling block for advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.”

    Central Africa had the lowest level of primary education parity, while East Africa had the highest. As in other measures, the gender gap for primary education enrollment has decreased.

    There’s also a significant wage gap. In sub-Saharan Africa women make 70 cents for every dollar earned by men in manufacturing, services and trade. Despite a shrinking gender gap in employment, and economic growth driven by increased numbers of women working, many remain underpaid.

    [Watch Video]

    The report also highlighted a disparity in women’s representation in government. While four countries — Rwanda, Seychelles, Senegal and South Africa — rank among global leaders for female representation, others, such as Nigeria and Comoros are among the world’s worst.

    According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Rwanda places as the world’s nation with the highest proportion of women in parliament, while only five countries with available information rank worse than Comoros, which has one woman in 33 total parliamentary seats.

    The 2015 Gender Gap Index lists Rwanda as the sixth most gender-equal nation global out of the 145 measured.

    Clark said improving gender equality would also help mitigate other crises the continent faces.

    “If gender gaps can be closed in labor markets, education, health and other areas, then poverty and hunger eradication can be achieved,” she said.

    The post Gender inequality is a $95 billion issue in sub-Saharan Africa appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    BY LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press

    Trump supporters protest outside the Luxe Hotel, where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was expected to speak in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, United States July 10, 2015. At least 10 businesses have severed deals with billionaire presidential contender Donald Trump after his disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants, following vigorous lobbying by Latinos and others. Trump said that some of his criticism has been distorted. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTX1JYHC

    Trump supporters in Los Angeles, July 10, 2015. Photo by REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump says he’ll deliver a detailed speech Wednesday on his proposal to crack down on illegal immigration — but it’s anyone’s guess what he will say.

    The announcement came late Sunday in a tweet by the Republican presidential nominee after days of wavering — and at least one canceled speech — on a question central to his campaign: Whether he would, as he said in November, use a “deportation force” to eject the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally.

    Trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton in many key states 10 weeks before the election, Trump is trying to win over moderate Republicans, some of whom have been turned off by his rhetoric on immigration and other issues. But any significant shift could disappoint his core supporters.

    Trump’s immigration speech in Arizona will come after he and Clinton spent last week trading accusations on racial issues. Trump called Clinton “a bigot;” Clinton accused Trump of allowing hate groups to take over the Republican Party.

    Clinton is starting this week by announcing her proposals for dealing with mental health issues. She is stressing the need to fully integrate mental health services into the U.S. health care system. Her plan stresses early diagnosis and intervention and calls for a national initiative for suicide prevention.

    Immigration issues dominated the Sunday talk shows as Trump’s surrogates, led by running mate Mike Pence, discussed his approach. But none could address whether Trump still favored a deportation force.

    They said Trump’s immigration policy will be humane, and insisted he has not been wavering on the issue. Any discussion of inconsistencies, they suggested, reflected media focus on the wrong issue.

    Trump’s tweet Sunday suggested he was poised to clear up questions about his immigration stance.

    Trump’s campaign also announced on Sunday a $10 million-plus buy for ads to air in nine competitive states starting Monday. And late Sunday, America’s only African-American owned and operated national Christian television network announced that its president and CEO, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, would interview the Republican nominee Saturday in Detroit.

    It’s been a long and sometimes puzzling journey to this point for Trump, who defeated 16 Republican opponents while promising to be the toughest on illegal immigration. Trump even questioned whether those born in the United States to people here illegally are citizens — even though they have automatically been considered citizens since the adoption of the constitution’s 14th Amendment in 1868.

    But lately, Trump has been exploring the issue’s complexities. Trump had suggested he might be “softening” on the deportation force and that he might be open to allowing at least some immigrants in the country illegally to stay, as long as they pay taxes.

    But by Thursday, he was ruling out any kind of legal status — “unless they leave the country and come back,” he told CNN.

    Trump has focused lately on deporting people who are in the U.S. illegally and who have committed crimes. But whom Trump considers a criminal remains unclear.

    The speech has been rescheduled at least once. Trump’s campaign had scheduled it for last Thursday, then canceled it. The campaign also blamed staff error for reports that it had been scheduled for August 31 in Phoenix.

    But it’s not clear what he’ll say, apparently even to his top supporters.

    Asked whether the “deportation force” proposal Trump laid out in November is still in place, Pence replied: “Well, what you heard him describe there, in his usual plainspoken, American way, was a mechanism, not a policy.”

    Added Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway: “The softening is more approach than policy,” adding that on immigration, Trump “wants to find a fair and humane way.”

    Pence appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Priebus was on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and Conway was on “Fox News Sunday” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

    The post Trump to deliver immigration speech amid questions of his stance on deportation appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Every summer, millions of people head to the coast to soak up the sun and play in the waves. But they aren’t alone. Just beyond the crashing surf, hundreds of millions of tiny sea urchin larvae are also floating around, preparing for one of the most dramatic transformations in the animal kingdom.

    Scientists along the Pacific coast are investigating how these microscopic ocean drifters, which look like tiny spaceships, find their way back home to the shoreline, where they attach themselves, grow into spiny creatures and live out a slow-moving life that often exceeds 100 years.

    The urchin pluteus drifts in the ocean currents for around a month before it lands on the rocky ocean floor. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    The urchin pluteus drifts in the ocean currents for around a month before it lands on the rocky ocean floor. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    “These sorts of studies are absolutely crucial if we want to not only maintain healthy fisheries but indeed a healthy ocean,” says Jason Hodin, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories.

    Sea urchins reproduce by sending clouds of eggs and sperm into the water. Millions of larvae are formed, but only a handful make it back to the shoreline to grow into adults.

    A female purple urchin releases eggs into the water, in a reproductive strategy known as broadcast spawning. Males release sperm around the same time, and the eggs are fertilized in the open ocean. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    A female purple urchin releases eggs into the water, in a reproductive strategy known as broadcast spawning. Males release sperm around the same time, and the eggs are fertilized in the open ocean. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    It may sound like a risky life strategy. But in the ocean, it works. Nearly every animal that lives along the shore — from mussels to sea stars to some species of fish — sends its young on an open ocean journey before they return home to grow into adults along the shoreline.

    “One of the big challenges in understanding marine life cycles is understanding how larvae do this,” says Hodin, who is working with a research team that is trying to learn how purple sea urchins find their way home.

    “How do they go from this vast open ocean and make their way back to very specific shoreline habitat?”

    Millions of urchin embryos are formed when clouds of sperm and eggs are mixed in the ocean. They will develop for around one month as they drift among the plankton. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    Millions of urchin embryos are formed when clouds of sperm and eggs are mixed in the ocean. They will develop for around one month as they drift among the plankton. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    Hodin said it is similar to a housing search. When you are looking for a place to live, the first step is to decide on a neighborhood. Hodin, along with Brian Gaylord of the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory in Bodega Bay and Matthew Ferner of the San Francisco State University Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies in Tiburon, recently found that that waves — specifically the strong, thrashing turbulence found in the urchin’s intertidal habitat — play a role in the larval urchin’s journey home.

    “We think that turbulence is basically an indicator that they’re in a good neighborhood,” he says.

    The waves in the intertidal zone are among the most extreme forces found in the ocean. But to a larval urchin, the waves represent home. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    The waves in the intertidal zone are among the most extreme forces found in the ocean. But to a larval urchin, the waves represent home. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    In fact, the team discovered that the crashing waves actually make the larval urchin — called a pluteus — develop faster.

    The turbulence acts as a primer,” Gaylord says. “It sort of pushes them into this settlement process earlier than we knew they would do this.”

    Once the pluteus has found a neighborhood to settle in, it finds a home by using more local cues, like the presence of other adults or certain types of algae. It will then undergo a complete transformation.

    “If you take a look at these marine larvae, they look literally nothing like the adults,” says Hodin. “In a sea urchin or a sea star, they even have a totally different body symmetry.”

    Sea urchins completely abandon their body type when they transform from larva to adult. This pluteus has two equal halves just like humans, but as an adult urchin it will have fivefold radial symmetry — five equal slices. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    Sea urchins completely abandon their body type when they transform from larva to adult. This pluteus has two equal halves just like humans, but as an adult urchin it will have fivefold radial symmetry — five equal slices. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    The larval urchin drifts in the ocean currents as a member of theplankton for a month or longer. How does it change from a tiny drifter the size of a grain of sand to a bottom-dwelling ball of spines?

    Halfway through its voyage out to sea, “something very interesting happens,” Hodin says. “They do a little trick to try to make that transformation from being a larva to being a juvenile happen faster.” They begin to grow the juvenile urchin form — a miniature adult — inside of the larva’s body.

    When it reaches the rocky shore, the juvenile urchin bursts out.

    “It sticks its little tube feet out of the side of the little pluteus larva swimming around, and it grabs hold of the rocks or the bottom of the seafloor,” says Nat Clarke, a graduate student in Chris Lowe’sLaboratory at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove.

    Tube feet enable adult urchins to grab food and hold on to the rocky seafloor. Juvenile urchins begin their lives on the bottom with just five tube feet. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    Tube feet enable adult urchins to grab food and hold on to the rocky seafloor. Juvenile urchins begin their lives on the bottom with just five tube feet. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    Within hours, it begins to resemble the purple, spiky sea urchin that beachgoers regularly see in tidepools and along the ocean bottom.

    Urchins commonly live for decades. Some can live for more than a century. Scientists know this because nuclear testing in the 1950s left trace amounts of radioactive material in red sea urchins’ shells, enabling researchers to calculate the sea urchins’ age.

    These purple urchins can live for 50 years or more. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    These purple urchins can live for 50 years or more. Photo by Josh Cassidy/KQED

    Adult urchins spawn throughout their lives, sending their young out to sea just as their own parents did. Somewhat like salmon, urchins may come back to the place they were born, although scientists aren’t sure yet how or why.

    “Research lately has been very, very strongly suggesting that most larvae come back to somewhere near the same shoreline that their parents came from,” Hodin says. “It’s something that people didn’t realize 15 to 20 years ago. There’s a lot more connectivity between the shoreline and the waters offshore where the babies are.”

    This article is reproduced with permission from KQED Science. It was first published on August 23, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post Watch sea urchins turn themselves inside out to be reborn appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The 2016 U.S. presidential election is shaping up to be one of the most divisive contests in recent memory. To better understand where you land on the political spectrum, take our updated Political Party Quiz, developed by Pew Research Center in collaboration with the PBS NewsHour.

    Questions gauge political values and an individual’s stance on policies and range from government spending to gay marriage. Your score shows your likelihood of being Republican or Democrat and is based on a Pew March 2016 political survey.

    The post Where do you fit? The 2016 Political Party Quiz appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Emissions spew out of a large stack at the coal-fired Morgantown Generating Station in Newburg, Maryland. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

    Emissions spew out of a large stack at the coal-fired Morgantown Generating Station in Newburg, Maryland. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — It’s as if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump live on two entirely different Earths: one warming, one not.

    Clinton says climate change “threatens us all,” while Trump tweets that global warming is “mythical” and repeatedly refers to it as a “hoax.” Measurements and scientists say Clinton’s Earth is much closer to reality.

    READ MORE: Where do the presidential candidates stand on health care?

    As heat-trapping gases in the air intensify and hot temperature records shatter, global warming is taking a toll on Americans’ everyday life: their gardens, air, water, seasons, insurance rates and more.

    WHERE THEY STAND

    Trump calls attempts to remedy global warming “just a very, very expensive form of tax.” He tells coal miners he’ll get their jobs back. Solar power now employs four times more people than coal mining.

    Clinton proposes to spend $60 billion to switch from dirty fossil fuels to cleaner energy. She says clean energy is needed, otherwise it would “force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.” She promises to deliver on the President Barack Obama’s pledge that by 2025, the U.S. will be emitting 30 percent less heat-trapping gases than in 2005.

    WHY IT MATTERS

    Dozens of measurements show Earth is warming. And it’s worsening. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists and nearly every professional organization of scientists have said climate change is real, man-made and a problem.

    The last 15 months in a row have set records globally for heat, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The world is on pace to break the record for hottest year, a record broken in 2010, 2014 and 2015. The five hottest years recorded have all been from 2005 on and it is about 1.8 degrees warmer than a century ago.

    But it’s more than temperatures. Arctic sea ice keeps flirting with record low amounts. Hot water has been killing coral as never before seen. Scientists have connected man-made climate change to extreme weather, including deadly heat waves , droughts and flood-inducing downpours. They even have connected it as one of several factors in the Syrian drought and civil war that led to a massive refugee crisis.

    Climate change is causing the seas to rise, which threatens coastlines. Sea level has risen a foot in the waters around New York City in the past century, worsening flooding from Superstorm Sandy.

    And it is making people sicker with worsened allergies and asthma, heat deaths, diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes, dirtier air and more contaminated water and food, a federal report said in April.

    Changing the world’s economy from burning fossil fuel, which causes global warming, has a huge pricetag. So does not doing anything. The world’s average income will shrivel 23 percent by the year 2100 if carbon dioxide pollution continues at the current pace, according to a 2015 study out of Stanford and the University of California Berkeley.

    Just the Obama administration’s efforts to cut carbon pollution from 1,000 power plants projects to cost about $8 billion a year, but save several times more than in reduced health problems.

    The world’s largest general scientific society warns of “abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts.”

    It may seem improbable that government action can restore balance to something as vast as the climate. But presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush showed that big things can be done about air pollution. They took steps that reduced ozone depletion and acid rain.

    The post Where do the presidential candidates stand on climate change? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    BY KEN THOMAS, Associated Press

    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada, August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Reno, Nevada, Aug. 25, 2016. Photo by REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

    SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Hillary Clinton is rolling out a comprehensive plan to address millions of Americans coping with mental illness, pointing to the need to fully integrate mental health services into the nation’s health care system.

    Clinton’s campaign released a multi-pronged approach to mental health care on Monday, aimed at ensuring that Americans would no longer separate mental health from physical health in terms of access, care and quality of treatment.

    The Democratic presidential nominee’s agenda would focus on early diagnosis and intervention and create a national initiative for suicide prevention. If elected, Clinton would hold a White House conference on mental health within her first year in office.

    Clinton’s proposal would also aim to enforce mental health parity laws and provide training to law enforcement officers to deal with people grappling with mental health problems while prioritizing treatment over jail for low-level offenders.

    “Building on her longstanding commitment to health care for all, Hillary believes everyone should be able to access quality mental health care — without shame, stigma or barriers,” said Maya Harris, a senior policy adviser to Clinton’s campaign, in a statement.

    The former secretary of state planned to hold a town hall meeting by telephone with stakeholders on Monday during a three-day fundraising spree in the Hamptons. The policy rollout would overlap with a Clinton plan to address drug and alcohol addiction which she campaigned on in Iowa and New Hampshire after hearing frequently about the problems from voters.

    The federal government estimated in 2014 that about 43.6 million adults in the U.S. had mental illness in the past year, or about 1 in 5 adults age 18 and over. It estimated nearly 10 million adults suffered from serious mental illness.

    An estimated 17 million children in the U.S. experience mental health problems, including 1 in 5 college students, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Nearly 1 in 5 veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan experienced post-traumatic stress or depression.

    Clinton’s campaign said the plan would attempt to integrate the nation’s health care system to create a more seamless way of providing both medical and mental health treatment to patients.

    It would expand the reimbursement systems for collaborative care models under Medicare and Medicaid that aim to treat patients through a team of health care professionals, including a primary care doctor, a care manager and a behavioral health specialist.

    It would also be helped by a Clinton proposal to boost funding for community health centers that she announced earlier in the summer along with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her primary rival.

    Money for the centers, a priority for Sanders, was increased under the Affordable Care Act. Clinton’s plan would make the money for the centers permanent and expand it by $40 billion over the next decade.

    The post Clinton rolls out plan to fully integrate mental health into U.S. health care system appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Watch a report on Jesse Curtis Morton’s transformation.

    Federal prosecutors once regarded Jesse Curtis Morton as a threat to national security.

    The FBI said the pro-jihadist website he helped found, RevolutionMuslim.com, inspired a number of terrorist plots. On that website, militant training videos, bomb-making instructions, praise for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and chat rooms for discussions among members created a multi-media stew of toxic content, they said.

    In 2012, Morton was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for his role in running the site.

    Now, just four years later, Morton is free and has been hired as a terrorism analyst at a George Washington University-based think tank.

    In a broadcast-exclusive interview airing Monday, PBS NewsHour Weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan talks with Morton about how this former extremist went from being wanted by the FBI to sought out by some of the top counterterrorism analysts in Washington.

    The post How a former extremist became a counterterrorism analyst appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Lucy’s distal radius undergoes computed tomographic (CT) scanning. Photo by Marsha Miller, UT Austin

    Lucy’s distal radius undergoes computed tomographic (CT) scanning. Photo by Marsha Miller, UT Austin

    Forty-two years ago, archaeologists in Ethiopia unearthed fossilized bones belonging to one of humanity’s earliest known ancestors to walk upright. Known as the “Lucy” skeleton, it reshaped our understanding of human evolution, but no one has ever been able to explain how she died — until now.

    Lucy likely died about 3.2 million years ago after tumbling 40 feet out of a tree, according to findings published Monday in the journal Nature. She hit the ground feet-first traveling 35 miles per hour, while stretching out her arms to break her fall.

    John Kappelman, a University of Texas geologist who proposes the new hypothesis, called it ironic that the fossil that fueled debate about the role tree-climbing played in human evolution died falling out of one.

    “Those adaptations that allowed them to move more effectively on the ground are not so good for climbing,” Kappelman told the PBS NewsHour. “It may have predisposed her to more frequent falls.”

    Stop motion video depicts a hypothetical scenario for Lucy’s fall out of a tall tree and the subsequent vertical deceleration event based on the patterning of the fractures. The first segment depicts about the last half of the fall from 7.4 m with a real time duration of 0.45 seconds, and the second segment shows a close-up of the last 2.2 m of the fall. Image by John Kappelman

    Stop motion video depicts a hypothetical scenario for Lucy’s fall out of a tall tree and the
    subsequent vertical deceleration event based on the patterning of the fractures. The first segment depicts about the last half of the fall from 7.4 m with a real time duration of 0.45 seconds, and the second segment shows a close-up of the last 2.2 m of the fall. Image by John Kappelman

    Lucy, a member of the ancient hominin species Australopithecus afarensis, is arguably the most celebrated find in the history of evolutionary science. When she was found in 1974, her remains were remarkably intact. Her bones make up about 40 percent of a complete skeleton, providing scientists unique insights into how humans started to walk on two feet.

    On the evolutionary timeline, Lucy lived about halfway between apes and humans, sharing characteristics with both. She had long arms like an ape, a protruding belly, a low forehead and the ability to navigate trees. She was small, probably smaller than her peers, weighing about 60 pounds and standing just 3 feet 6 inches tall. But despite her ape-like appearance, Lucy’s ankles, feet and pelvis placed her among the first species to exhibit the uniquely human trait of walking upright.

    Kappelman has spent 30 years teaching students about Lucy, and reached his most recent conclusions by X-ray scanning the bone fragments. His team zeroed in on a four-part fracture in her right humerus, the bone that runs between the shoulder and the elbow.

    UT Austin professor John Kappelman with 3D printouts of Lucy’s skeleton illustrating the compressive fractures in her right humerus that she suffered at the time of her death 3.18 million years ago. Photo by Marsha Miller, UT Austin.

    UT Austin professor John Kappelman with 3D printouts of Lucy’s skeleton illustrating the compressive fractures in her right humerus that she suffered at the time of her death 3.18 million years ago. Photo by Marsha Miller, UT Austin.

    The scans were consistent with injuries seen in modern-day humans who fall from considerable heights. Plus, the team couldn’t find evidence of bone healing, suggesting the fractures occurred near the time of her death.

    “She was trying to do her best to instinctively break her fall,” Kappelman said. “She was conscious when she hit, but death followed swiftly.”

    The investigation may also explain exactly how Lucy fell. “It was probably a feet-first fracture,” Kappelman said. “The body hit right to left. We see that the right arm is more severely fractured than the left.”

    A hypothetical scenario for Lucy’s fall out of a tall tree and the subsequent vertical deceleration event.   Based on the severity and pattern of the fractures, the authors hypothesize a feet-first landing with the body pitching forward toward the right side. Photo by Valerie A. Lopez and John Kappelman

    A hypothetical scenario for Lucy’s fall out of a tall tree and the subsequent vertical deceleration
    event. Based on the severity and pattern of the fractures, the authors hypothesize a feet-first landing with the body pitching forward toward the right side. Photo by Valerie A. Lopez and John Kappelman

    William Jungers, the chair of anatomy at Stony Brook University School of Medicine who wasn’t involved in the research, called Kappelman’s theory “plausible.”

    “Nest-building is a common feature of our closest living relatives, the African apes,” Jungers said. “It is not a stretch to expect such behavior in an ancient hominin that was both terrestrial and arboreal.”

    The post X-rays suggest ironic end for famous human ancestor Lucy appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company for use by severe allergy sufferers are seen in Washington, U.S. August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg - RTX2MWTD

    Pharmaceutical company Mylan will being manufacturing a generic version of the EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens. Photo by REUTERS/Jim Bourg

    A cheaper, generic EpiPen is coming to market after its maker, Mylan, was criticized by the public and chastised by members of Congress for gradually raising the price of a twin-pack to $608.

    Identical to the original product — a pre-filled syringe containing epinephrine, used for life-threatening allergic reactions — the generic will cost $300 for two, reports the Associated Press.

    But the price cut could also be a savvy business move, according to Stat, allowing Mylan to box out newcomers to the market and ultimately boost their profits.

    WATCH: Price of EpiPens spikes, causing major health concerns

    Mylan had come under heat in recent days for raising the list price of the drug by 450 percent since 2004, adjusted for inflation. Back in July, Stat reported that some emergency medical responders and families had begun using regular syringes instead of EpiPens because of the prohibitive cost, even for some with insurance.

    Mylan says 80 percent of commercially insured patients paid nothing for their EpiPens last year. But those with high-deductibles may not be immune to the price hikes.

    On the NewsHour, Minnestona Sen. Amy Klobuchar rejected a Mylan statement suggesting that the changing nature of insurance companies “has presented new challenges for consumers, and now they are bearing more of the cost.”

    “When it comes to the fact that they have been selling these things at this high price, and they blame insurance companies and government and everyone else, their profit margin is the one that’s gone up,” said Klobuchar, whose daughter suffers severe allergies. “They’re the ones that made more money.”

    Before the company announced the upcoming release of its generic product, it had promised last week to expand programs to make EpiPen more affordable, according to AP, including raising the income eligibility for its assistance programs.

    The post EpiPen drugmaker announces generic version to cost half the price appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Shortly before 2:30 p.m. Monday, police responded to a “disturbance” on the third floor of a Berrien County, Michigan, courthouse, authorities said. Photo by Getty Images

    Shortly before 2:30 p.m. Monday, police responded to a “disturbance” on the third floor of a Berrien County, Michigan, courthouse, authorities said. Photo by Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Justice Department lawyers investigating police agencies for claims of racial discrimination and excessive force are increasingly turning up a different problem: officers’ interactions with the mentally ill.

    The latest example came in Baltimore, where a critical report on that department’s policies found that officers end up in unnecessarily violent confrontations with mentally disabled people who in many instances haven’t even committed crimes. The report cited instances of officers using a stun gun to subdue an agitated man who refused to leave a vacant building and of spraying mace to force a troubled person — said by his father to be unarmed and off his medications — out of an apartment.

    READ MORE: Clinton rolls out plan to fully integrate mental health into U.S. health care system

    Though past federal investigations have addressed the problem, the Baltimore report went a step further: It was the first time the Justice Department has explicitly found that a police department’s policies violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The finding is intended to chart a path to what federal officials hope will be far-reaching improvements, including better training for dispatchers and officers, diversion of more people to treatment rather than jail and stronger relationships with mental health specialists.

    “Through the course of our work in the last several years on this bucket of issues, we’ve seen how important it is to get at the mental health issues as early in the system as possible,” Vanita Gupta, head of the department’s Civil Rights Division, said in an interview.

    Though past federal investigations have addressed the problem, it was the first time the Justice Department has explicitly found that a police department’s policies violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Civil rights officials say the Baltimore report builds on work they’ve done in investigating the treatment of the mentally ill in various settings. In Mississippi, the Hinds County jail recently agreed to better screening for mental illness and to create a committee to monitor inmates with serious disabilities. And Oregon last September settled a lawsuit that accused the state of segregating thousands of disabled residents in large facilities known as sheltered workshops.

    But it’s the work with police departments that often attracts the most attention. Even as police forces improve training and develop intervention teams to respond to individuals in the throes of a crisis, concerns remain that officers aren’t adequately equipped for the situations and are being forced to fill the void of a resource-starved mental health infrastructure. More than 14 percent of male jail inmates and 31 percent of female inmates are affected by serious mental illness, according to a July speech by Justice Department official Eve Hill, who said society has for too long relied on arrests and jail rather than treatment for the mentally ill.

    “From the standpoint of police, they are somewhat frustrated because many of the people who are walking the streets and who are in need of help are not getting it,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. “They have been out on the streets, they can’t afford medication, and so the police wind up being the only one they come in contact with.”

    The issue has attracted the attention of the courts. The Supreme Court last year held that police were immune from a lawsuit arising from the arrest and shooting of a mentally ill woman in San Francisco. But the justices left undecided the question of whether police must take special precautions when arresting armed and violent people with mental illness.

    The Justice Department, meanwhile, has incorporated treatment of the mentally ill into several of its wide-ranging civil rights investigations of troubled police departments.

    “I think some police departments have really made it a priority and are doing quite a bit. I don’t know that that’s consistent across all the departments,” said Amy Watson, a mental health policy professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

    Even as police forces improve training and develop intervention teams to respond to individuals in the throes of a crisis, concerns remain that officers are being forced to fill the void of a resource-starved mental health infrastructure.

    A 2011 Justice Department report on Seattle criticized officers for too quickly resorting to force when encountering people with mental illness or under the influence of drugs. In Cleveland, officers were found to use stun guns against people with limited cognitive abilities, and in one case used one on a suicidal deaf man who may not have understood their commands. Albuquerque, New Mexico officers responding to a domestic violence complaint used the same tactic on a man who had doused himself with gasoline, the Justice Department said.

    Those cities have since reached court-enforceable consent decrees aimed at overhauling practices.

    [Watch Video]

    The Portland police department, which also came under investigation, agreed to new training and accountability measures under a settlement. A federal monitor in February found the Seattle police department was sending trained crisis intervention officers to “crisis events in the great majority of instances” and had given some level of training to all officers in the last two years.

    Federal officials hope for a similar resolution in Baltimore, where the Justice Department says police have provided minimal training on responding to mental health crises. Under an agreement in principle, Baltimore has pledged to work more closely with disability organizations and mental health providers.

    But, Gupta said, improvements can occur only if there’s a system with resources in place to help the police.

    “It’s not about casting blame on specific actors. It’s about making sure that there is adequate support for community-based mental health services in compliance with federal law,” she said.

    The post Justice Department investigations find problematic police treatment of those with mental illness appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Syrian refugee families wait to register their information at the U.S. processing centre for Syrian refugees, during a media tour held by the U.S. Embassy in Jordan, in Amman, Jordan, April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed - RTSDU4Q

    Syrian refugee families wait to register their information at the U.S. processing center in Amman, Jordan, April 6, 2016. Photo by REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

    WASHINGTON — The United States will meet President Barack Obama’s goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country on Monday, the White House announced.

    Obama sought a sixfold increase in the number of Syrian refugees provided safe haven in the United States. After a slow start, the administration was able to hit the goal about a month early and just a few weeks before Obama convenes a summit on refugees during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly.

    Obama would have been hard-pressed to make the case for other countries to do more with the U.S. failing to reach a goal that amounts to only about 2 percent of the 480,000 Syrian refugees in need of resettlement. Millions more Syrians have fled to neighboring states such as Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and to countries in Europe since the civil war broke out in 2011.

    “On behalf of the president and his administration, I extend the warmest of welcomes to each and every one of our Syrian arrivals, as well as the many other refugees resettled this year from all over the world,” National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a statement.

    Rice said the summit in New York City will highlight the contributions the U.S. and other nations have made to help refugees. She said the U.S. has committed to working with the international community to increase funding for humanitarian assistance and double the number of refugees afforded the opportunity to resettle.

    “Together, we can build a more sustainable and responsive humanitarian system capable of meeting today’s unprecedented global humanitarian challenges,” Rice said.

    The increase in Syrian refugees also comes at a time of heightened national security concerns following extremist attacks in the U.S. and abroad. The Obama administration has said that refugees fleeing war and persecution are the most scrutinized of all immigrants who come into the United States. The process typically takes 12 months to 18 months and includes in-person interviews and a review of biographical and biometric information.

    Officers with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services travel to the country where the refugees fled of interview them. Upon completion of security and medical screening, the Homeland Security officer may approve the refugee’s application for U.S. resettlement. After approval, arrangements are made to match the refugee with a voluntary agency in the U.S. that specializes in helping them find a new home and employment.

    The post U.S. will reach Obama’s goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees on Monday appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 28: People attend a prayer vigil for Nykea Aldridge outside Willie Mae Morris Empowerment Center on August 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. Nykea Aldridge, a cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade, was shot in the head and killed when a stray bullet struck her while she was pushing her baby in a stroller Friday afternoon near an elementary school on Chicago's south side. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But, first: More than 80 people have been killed in Chicago this month. And more than 400 have been shot in August. It’s part of a weekly and even daily pattern of violence plaguing big and often impoverished sections of the city. So far, it’s a crisis that has eluded major solutions.

    John Yang has the story.

    JOHN YANG: One of Chicago’s bloodiest weekends this year ended the city’s deadliest month in 20 years. Among the victims, Nykea Aldridge, a cousin of basketball star Dwyane Wade, now with the Chicago Bulls.

    Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson:

    EDDIE JOHNSON, Superintendent, Chicago Police Department: She wasn’t aware that her short life would stand as an example for what is a clear failure in the criminal justice system here in Chicago.

    JOHN YANG: Aldridge was caught in crossfire as she pushed one of her four young children in a stroller near a school on the city’s South Side. The surge in gun killings has largely been concentrated there and on the West Side.

    Two brothers, Darwin and Derren Sorrells, are now charged with first-degree murder in Aldridge’s killing. Both are convicted felons on parole, and police said Derren Sorrells is a gang member.

    EDDIE JOHNSON: This reprehensible act of violence is an example of why we need to change the way we treat habitual offenders in the city of Chicago. When will enough be enough?

    JOHN YANG: Gun violence has fueled a jump in Chicago homicides this year to more than 449, nearly as many as all of last year. More than 2,300 shootings have been reported since January. And police have seized nearly 6,000 illegal guns, roughly one every hour. So far this year, Chicago has seen more homicides than New York and Los Angeles combined, even though both are larger.

    This weekend may have been especially bad, but in many ways, it is no different than many other summer weekends in Chicago.

    We are joined from Chicago by Jedidiah Brown. He’s a community organizer who’s seen this violence firsthand, president of Chicago Life, a community advocacy group. And by Lori Lightfoot. She’s the president of the Chicago Police Board and the head of the Police Accountability Task Force. They join us, both, from Chicago.

    Thanks for being with us.

    Ms. Lightfoot, I would like to start with you.

    This has been a problem for so many years in Chicago. We have seen evolving tactics and strategies by the police, by community activists. Is there anything you can point to, from your point of view, that’s a sign of hope, that’s a sign of progress?

    LORI LIGHTFOOT, President, Chicago Police Board: Well, I think one of the most important things is, this issue of violence is now not something that’s isolated to particular neighborhoods in Chicago, but it’s really a conversation that has captured the imagination of people across the city.

    And I think shining a light on it and transparency around that is something that’s very important. And the reason for that is that we have a lot of great, smart, committed people here in Chicago. And I think bringing people together to take a fresh look at some of these issues is going to be vitally important to really making an appreciable difference in what’s happening in Chicago, and also not just thinking about this from a law enforcement perspective, that the issues that I think are the root causes of the violence that we see in many of these neighborhoods are not something that’s going to be solved purely with a law enforcement answer.

    We have got to use what I would call soft power. There has got to be investment in neighborhoods. We have got to make sure that we’re giving our young people alternatives to this life on the streets. And we have got to keep talking about the importance of the sanctity of life.

    But we also absolutely have to focus on the proliferation of illegal guns that really is changing and making more difficult the issue of solving these violence issues.

    JOHN YANG: I want to get back to that gun issue, but, Pastor Brown, you’re on the streets. You talk to these young people. You see what’s going on.

    What do you think about what Ms. Lightfoot has just said about this — sort of the use of soft power; it’s not just a police issue?

    JEDIDIAH BROWN, President, Chicago Life: I think those are great talking points, but I’m very — I saw a young man shot this morning.

    Yes, the conversation is being had across the city, but the conversation is people waking up to the fact that this mayoral administration has failed our city, that there is a lot of dysfunction in our neighborhoods because there is no representation, there is no resources, there is no activities.

    And there is just a lot of talk. And so I hear what she’s saying, but the reality of it is that it hasn’t gotten any better. And I’m really praying that the man I saw shot this morning on my block where I live is going to live.

    JOHN YANG: You talk in your Twitter feed about sitting — Pastor Brown, sitting in your living room hearing shots and sirens at night, but you say you still love the city.

    JEDIDIAH BROWN: Yes, I love Chicago. I’m not going to give up on it, even seeing the young man shot this morning.

    Like I said, the conversation, as a resident, we recognize that City Hall and the police department, that they could do more to empower the residents, but they simply just won’t do it, because I don’t think that they frankly care.

    But I, as a resident, I am not giving to give up to violence and to the misconceptions of what’s going on, because this is not all gang violence that is happening in our city.

    JOHN YANG: Ms. Lightfoot, he talks about the feeling that the city leaders don’t care about the South Side.

    LORI LIGHTFOOT: I just think that’s wrong.

    Look, there is more that can be done. There’s no question about that. But what we need to be working towards is a place where people who are directly affected by the violence, people of other — of good will across the city, elected officials and the police department are coming together in a space where we can work together towards a solution.

    The people who are literally captives in their neighborhoods by this violence, the rhetoric, with pointing fingers back and forth, that doesn’t help solve the problem that they are living through every single day.

    And while I respect the pastor’s opinion, I think that what we need to be thinking about is, how we can move forward together as a community to solve this issue as a community? It can’t be top-down. It can’t be only the police department doing it, without respectful engagement with the community.

    But it has got to be something that all of us roll our sleeves up on and work towards solutions. And I think the language that we use in talking about these issues is also just as important as the specific actions that we take.

    And I think we need to move towards positive solutions that are at multiple tiers, with all the relevant stakeholders rolling up their sleeves and working hard to try to address this issue.

    As I said, it’s not an issue that the police department can solve by itself. It absolutely has a role to play, but so do our federal law enforcement partners, as well as the faith community, the people that are out there in those neighborhoods. And we have got to create a space where those conversations can be had.

    JOHN YANG: Pastor Brown, you have said that you think Ms. Lightfoot has nice talking points, but what would you do? What would you want to see done to achieve your goals?

    JEDIDIAH BROWN: So, what I’m doing now is, I’m actually organizing my neighborhood to take its safety in its own hands, trying to get residents back to the days of community watch and community patrols.

    I do want to point out that, yes, it’s going to take everybody, all hands on deck. And so, like, even with Lori, who I met when she was appointed by the mayor, and we — they made a commitment to us to working with us after the Laquan McDonald surfaced, and we have not heard anything from them once they realized we wasn’t just going to provide them cover.

    But we have been since then working very hard to organize the neighborhood and to let people know that they have to take public safety into their own hands and the cavalry isn’t coming.

    And we have heard nothing from City Hall, nothing to help us. And they know who are the ones out here that are doing the real work. And they know that we’re out here consistently when victims are shot.

    So, we’re now trying to find something to replace the trauma. When someone is shot in the neighborhood, it creates a very intense feeling of sorrow and grief and wanting to give up. And now we’re just — we’re getting ready to do pop-ups in the neighborhood to infuse hope in places that have been robbed by gun violence. And we’re having to do it on our own.

    JOHN YANG: Pastor Jedidiah Brown, Loretta Lynch, unfortunately, this is not going to be the last time we’re going to talk about this. But, unfortunately, we’re out of time for now.

    Thanks for joining us.

    LORI LIGHTFOOT: Thank you.

    JEDIDIAH BROWN: No problem.

    The post Chicago police: spike in gun deaths represents ‘clear failure’ of criminal justice appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    There are some competitors to EpiPen, but they haven’t caught on. Photo by Greg Friese/via Flickr

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: Drugmaker Mylan has been under heavy fire for its soaring price hikes for EpiPens, the lifesaving necessity for those with serious allergic reactions.

    Its price has skyrocketed to as much as $600 for a set of two. At first, Mylan offered financial assistance to customers, but after mounting pressure, the company said it now will release a generic version for half the price.

    To give us some perspective on how this case is different, Stephen Schondelmeyer studies this closely at the University of Minnesota, and Andrew Pollack covers pharmaceuticals for The New York Times.

    Gentlemen, welcome.

    Andrew Pollack, I want to start with you and ask you to explain just basically, what’s the difference here? What’s the big deal between a generic EpiPen and the kind that this company has been producing and selling at such a markup?

    ANDREW POLLACK, The New York Times: Well, it’s actually quite a bit confusing. The products are exactly the same. It’s the same product.

    However, they are calling one version now a generic. It will have a different package on it. It won’t say EpiPen, and they will be selling it for half the list price of the branded product.

    GWEN IFILL: Has that ever happened before?

    ANDREW POLLACK: Well, pharmaceutical companies, brand-name pharmaceutical companies often do introduce their own generic version of their own drug. It’s called an authorized generic.

    This is done once an outside generic company comes into the market. This allows them to keep some of the sales, rather than having all their sales being lost to the outside generic company. What is unusual here is that Mylan does not have an immediate generic competitor for the EpiPen.

    GWEN IFILL: So they’re basically competing against public relations at this point.

    Stephen Schondelmeyer, how did a product that cost as little as $100 in 2007 rise to $600 today?

    STEPHEN SCHONDELMEYER, University of Minnesota: Well, it did that because the marketplace doesn’t have any regulation, either government regulation or market regulation, that holds that down.

    And, in fact, this product that — at a self-insured employer I work with, it cost them $100 for this product in 2011, and today is costing them $730. That dramatic increase just isn’t seen.

    And now they’re calling it a generic in name. But it’s not a generic, meaning an independent economic decision-maker choosing to compete with the price of the brand name. So we won’t see this behave like a normal generic in the market either.

    GWEN IFILL: And even if it’s half the price, it will be still around $300, which is still more than it was just a short time ago, right?

    STEPHEN SCHONDELMEYER: Sure, it’s more than $200 than it was not too long ago.

    This is sort of like if your child happens to get kidnapped, and the kidnappers call you and say we will cut the ransom in half, so you’re going to save half the money. I’m not sure you would call that a savings.

    GWEN IFILL: Andrew Pollack, how did this study get so much attention? It feels like we weren’t talking about this at all a couple of weeks ago, and the numbers were just as high then.

    ANDREW POLLACK: Yes, I think it’s partly the back-to-school season is the peak buying season for these products.

    This year, you had many parents buy more than in the past, having high deductible insurance plans, where, having not met their deductibles, they had to pay the entire price. This started spreading on social media, and a big furor arose.

    GWEN IFILL: So, social media was the driving force behind this furor, this uprising, as it were?

    ANDREW POLLACK: Yes, we — my colleague Tara had an article on this a couple of days ago.

    GWEN IFILL: Tara Parker-Pope, right.

    Stephen Schondelmeyer, I want to ask you a little bit about how this could have been avoided. Could this, for instance — the first thing that Mylan did was offer coupons to reduce the price. Now, today, they have talked about making available a generic version.

    Is there anything other thing they could have done to bring this price down, or was this simply a force of the markets?

    STEPHEN SCHONDELMEYER: Well, I think Mylan could have avoided raising it so dramatically in the first place.

    This is a product they have been raising 9.9 percent at a time for two or three times a year. And then in the last two years, they started raising it 14.9 percent at a time for one or two or three times a year. The marketplace isn’t going up that rapidly in terms of inflation, and most people and their resources don’t go up that much.

    And then they come back and say, well, this is covered by insurance, so what are people worried about? Well, nobody — the insurance company doesn’t pay for this drug. The insurance company bills somebody for the drug and pays pharmacies for it, but the insurance company just processes transactions.

    So, premiums for insurance are out-of-pocket costs also, and they seem to have ignored that.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, you mentioned the insurance companies and the high deductibles.

    Andrew Pollack, you mentioned it as well.

    How much is this driven — the company says this is driven in part by the high-deductible health care plans and that is where the problem lies, not the pricing structure they create for the drug.

    ANDREW POLLACK: Well, this has been sort of a perennial battle between the pharmaceutical companies, not just Mylan, and the insurers, each blaming the other.

    But, in defense of the insurance companies, I mean, they say they have to take some measures because the price keeps going up. And it’s part of the playbook of all the drug companies, especially those with high-priced drugs, to try to cushion the consumer and, you know, bill the insurance company.

    GWEN IFILL: This does seem like we’re kind of chasing our tails here. There is one — there is the price, which drives the insurance, which drives the price, and caught in the middle of all this is the person who’s trying to make use of the drug.

    So, Stephen Schondelmeyer, let me ask you something about why this one. We have heard lots of talk before, and on this program, we have talked about the high cost of pharmaceuticals. Is it because this is something which is used for children, and that has gotten people angry in a different way?

    STEPHEN SCHONDELMEYER: Well, I think partly because it’s used for children and also because this is literally a drug about life and death.

    If you don’t have it, there’s a high probability a patient could die without access to this drug. Also, this is a drug that you have to have on hand to prevent a problem, so the patient may have to have one or two doses at home, one at their cabin up north, one or two doses at school, and a school may have 40 or 50 EpiPens.

    And, technically, right now, the nurse can’t use one patient’s EpiPen for another patient. So we may need to look at some alternative policies of how these are used at schools, much like we have with the Naloxone, that these become readily available, and they could have a supply at the school on hand, and use it for whoever needs it at the time, rather than each patient having to have one.

    GWEN IFILL: So, this is about so much more than price.

    Professor Stephen Schondelmeyer at the University of Minnesota and Andrew Pollack of The New York Times, thank you both very much.

    The post Did outcry on social media lead to Mylan’s generic EpiPen? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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