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

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    Nina Van Harn had to leave her family to escape what she considered was a forced marriage.

    Nina Van Harn had to leave her family to escape what she considered was a forced marriage.

    When it comes to forced marriage and child marriage, few think of the United States. But in a new two-part series airing this week, PBS NewsHour special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reports the stories of several women in the United States who have experienced the issue firsthand.

    Following this two-part report, we will have a conversation on Twitter at 1 p.m. EDT on Friday. Joining us for this chat will be Lemmon (@gaylelemmon), Casey Swegman of Tahirih Justice Center (@tahirihjustice), Mabel van Oranje of Girls Not Brides (@GirlsNotBrides), Becky Allen and Anne Connell of Council on Foreign Relations Women & Foreign Policy program (@CFR_WFP), Erin Kelly and Lyric Thompson of International Center for Research on Women (@ICRW) and Fraidy Reiss of Unchained At Last (@UnchainedAtLast). Follow along with the hashtag #NewsHourChats.

    Before joining the chat Friday, watch two clips from the full series below.

    In part 1, we meet Nina Van Harn, a 33-year-old Michigan woman who has launched a precedent-setting, first-of-its-kind legal case seeking an annulment on the grounds that her marriage at the age of 19 was against her will. Van Harn said she had to leave her family to break from the ultra-conservative community that sanctioned what she considered a forced marriage.

    Video by PBS NewsHour

    In part 2, we hear from Jada, a New Jersey girl who was brought by her father to live in Saudi Arabia. When Jada was 12 years old, her father began talking of marrying her off. When Jada’s half-sister appealed for help, advocates fighting forced marriage found that the U.S. State Department was largely powerless to stop a marriage in another country from going forward. Because American citizens must abide by the laws of the country they are in, Jada’s U.S.-based relatives were left to figure out how to avoid the marriage and get Jada back home to the U.S.

    Video by PBS NewsHour

    The post Twitter chat: Forced marriage in the U.S.? It happens here appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice (C) greets Israeli Acting National Security Advisor Jacob Nagel (L) and Undersecretary of State Tom Shannon (R) after their signing ceremony for a new ten year pact on security assistance between the two nations at the State Department in Washington, U.S., September 14, 2016.   REUTERS/Gary Cameron - RTSNRO0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL:  In the day’s other news:  The U.S. signed a record aid agreement with Israel worth $38 billion over 10 years.  The ceremony took place at the State Department.  National security adviser Susan Rice called it a reminder of America’s unshakable commitment to Israel.

    SUSAN RICE, National Security Advisor:  This marks a significant increase over our existing funding, and it will ensure that Israel has the support it needs to defend itself, by itself, and to preserve its qualitative military edge.  This is the single largest pledge of military assistance to any country in us history.

    GWEN IFILL:  The agreement came in spite of strained relations with Israel over the Iran nuclear deal and other issues.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Former Israeli President Shimon Peres is slightly improved tonight, 24 hours after a major stroke.  His doctor says the Nobel Peace Prize winner has regained consciousness, and reacts to stimulation.  Peres is 93 years old.

    GWEN IFILL:  The cease-fire in Syria still appears to be holding, but humanitarian aid is largely stalled.  Turkey’s ruling party did send a pair of aid trucks to a Syrian border town today.  They carried food and children’s toys.  But two United Nations convoys bound for Aleppo remained stuck, despite pleas from the secretary-general.

    BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General, United Nations:  It is crucially important that the necessary arrangements, security arrangements, should be given, so that they can be allowed to cross the lines.  We are working very hard.  We are very much committed.

    GWEN IFILL:  The cease-fire is due to run through Sunday, but the U.S. and Russia agreed today to extend it another two days.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  In China, authorities have cracked down on a village known for grassroots public demonstrations.  The raids began early Tuesday, after new protests in Wukan over the arrest of a local chief.  Residents say police descended on the village, firing rubber bullets and tear gas, as villagers hurled rocks back at them.

    GWEN IFILL:  A supertyphoon battered Taiwan today, with winds topping 140 miles an hour.  It’s the strongest storm anywhere in the world this year.  The powerful wind and heavy rain knocked out power to more than half-a-million homes and shut down air and train travel.

    Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Julia dumped rain along the Southeastern U.S. coast.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning has ended a hunger strike in prison, after the Army agreed for gender transition surgery.  In a statement, Manning welcomed the move, and said — quote — “This is all I wanted, for them to let me be me.”  In 2013, then-Private Bradley Manning got 35 years for passing secrets to WikiLeaks.  Later, she announced that she identifies as a woman.

    GWEN IFILL:  The Atlantic Coast Conference joined the NCAA today in pulling its championships from North Carolina.  It cited a state law limiting protections for transgender people and others.  But the Republican leader of the statehouse insisted he won’t back down.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  A major merger may be on the way.  Germany’s Bayer AG offered $66 billion for Monsanto today, and the U.S. seed maker accepted.  They would control a quarter of the world market for seeds and pesticides.  It’s subject to approval from shareholders and regulators.

    GWEN IFILL:  And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 32 points to close at 18034.  The Nasdaq rose 18 points, and the S&P 500 dropped a point.

    The post News Wrap: U.S. and Israel agree to record aid deal appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to a small group at the Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan. Mike Segar/Reuters

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  For Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, this day has been all about health.  It included releases of medical data, to varying degrees, and a journey to a Michigan city beset by a water crisis.

    It was Donald Trump’s first trip to Flint since the city found lead in its water in 2014.  The Republican nominee made a quick visit to a water plant and a local church.  But as Trump turned to criticizing his opponent, the minister interrupted:

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  Hillary failed on the economy, just like she has failed on foreign policy.  Everything she touched didn’t work out.  Nothing.  Now, Hillary Clinton…

    WOMAN:  Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for…

    DONALD TRUMP:  Oh, oh, oh, OK, OK.

    WOMAN:  Not to give a political speech.

    DONALD TRUMP:  OK.  That’s good.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Trump was also heckled, but he promised quick relief for Flint, if he’s elected.

    Word of his coming, though, wasn’t well-received by Democratic Mayor Karen Weaver, who backs Hillary Clinton.  She said: “Flint is focused on fixing the problems caused by lead contamination of our drinking water, not photo-ops.”

    Earlier, Trump taped an interview with “The Dr. Oz Show,” and gave the host of a one-page summary of a medical exam he had last week.

    The campaign declined to say what was in summary.  The interview airs tomorrow.

    Clinton is expected to resume campaigning tomorrow, after a bout with pneumonia.  Late today, her aides released an overall medical update from Clinton’s physician.  It said she continues taking medication to control a previously known thyroid condition and blood clots.  Otherwise, the doctor found her in sound health.

    Today, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, carried her cause to Las Vegas.

    BILL CLINTON, Former President of the United States:  We need to get over all these crazy divisions and go into the future together.  That’s Hillary’s position.  That’s what stronger together means.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Meanwhile, both major party nominees, especially Trump, came in for stinging criticism from former Secretary of State Colin Powell in personal e-mails stolen by hackers and leaked to BuzzFeed.

    In one, Powell called Trump — quote — “a national disgrace and an international pariah.”  And about Hillary Clinton, he said: “Everything HRC touches, she kind of screws up with hubris.”

    And on the foundation front, former President Clinton and daughter Chelsea will leave the board of a health group connected to the Clinton Foundation if Hillary Clinton is elected.  And the state attorney general in New York is now investigating whether Donald Trump’s foundation violated state laws on nonprofits.

    The post Trump tours Flint water crisis; Clinton releases health info appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to a small group at the Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan. Mike Segar/Reuters

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to a small group at the Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan. Mike Segar/Reuters

    FLINT, Mich. — Donald Trump was cut off, chastised and then heckled after he attacked rival Hillary Clinton during what was supposed to be a speech on helping where the government had failed the people of Flint, Michigan.

    “Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not give a political speech,” said the Rev. Faith Green Timmons, the pastor of the Bethel United Methodist Church.

    The Republican nominee quickly stopped, then said “Ok, that’s good, Then I’m going to go back to Flint” and its water crisis that had sickened its citizens.

    But the interruption seemed to embolden those in the sparse crowd. One woman shouted that Trump had used discriminatory housing practices in his buildings, causing the celebrity businessman to respond, “Never, you’re wrong. Never would.”

    Trump abruptly ended his speech, which had lasted six minutes. More heckling followed him out.

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

    The visit was part of the campaign’s effort to persuade voters that the celebrity businessman can appear empathetic and presidential in a crisis. Trump also has his eye on a good showing in the industrial Midwest, though polls have him down in Michigan, which last went Republican in 1988.

    The trip was the Republican presidential nominee’s first visit to the poverty-stricken city since lead was detected in its water supply in April 2014. More than 100,000 had their water contaminated after the city left Detroit’s water supply and started using improperly treated Flint River water.

    Trump did address the crisis, saying at the church “We will get it fixed and it will be fixed and effectively and Flint will come back. Most importantly, we’ll bring jobs back.”


    He also bemoaned that previously “cars were made in Flint and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now cars are made in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint.”

    Trump visited the traditionally African American church in the impoverished city to pay tribute to the city’s resiliency. But then, he attacked Clinton, saying “everything she touched didn’t work out.” Timmons then stepped up and interrupted him.

    Others began to heckle the GOP presidential nominee. The pastor stepped in and silenced them too, saying that Trump “is our guest” who should be honored.

    But when Trump abruptly ended his speech, a few more in the crowd yelled at him as he walked off stage.

    One black woman, Reneta Richard, yelled at him “What do you mean, ‘African-Americans have nothing to lose?'” repeating back to Trump his recent call for African-Americans to turn their back on Democrats and vote for him.

    The reverend had said in a statement distributed to reporters that the visit “in no way” represented an endorsement of Trump’s candidacy.

    “What we pray is that it conveys a fine example of a faithful, intelligent, historically African-American congregating at work, serving and volunteering among the people of Flint as we work through this crisis of national impact,” read the statement. “We cannot let this story drift from national attention for any reason.”

    The visit to Flint, where most residents are African-American, comes as Trump has increased his outreach to minorities, arguing that Democratic policies have left inner cities impoverished and dangerous.

    Critics say Trump paints an overly bleak picture of life in urban African-American communities, where crime has fallen and the life expectancy has risen in recent decades. Some black leaders have also suggested that Trump’s outreach to minorities is mostly about proving to undecided white voters that he’s not racist.

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

    The post Flint pastor interrupts Trump, tells him to ‘not give a political speech’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Museum visitors study "Adele Bloch-Bauer I," a 1907 painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt at a special exhibition of Klimt paintings looted by the Nazis during World War II, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, April 4, 2006. Los Angeles resident Maria Altmann won the return of the paintings from the Austrian government following a lengthy legal dispute over the rightful ownership of the paintings.  REUTERS/Chris Pizzello - RTR1C6Z2

    Museum visitors study “Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” a 1907 painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt at a special exhibition of Klimt paintings looted by the Nazis during World War II, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, April 4, 2006. Los Angeles resident Maria Altmann won the return of the paintings from the Austrian government following a lengthy legal dispute over the rightful ownership of the paintings. Photo by Chris Pizzello/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Heirs trying to recover artwork lost to Nazi looting during World War II could get some help under a bill approved by a Senate panel on Thursday.

    The bipartisan legislation backed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a voice vote would extend statutes of limitations for the recovery of that art. In recent years, courts have sided with several museums on the issue and blocked family members who believe the art is theirs.

    “For the families of those who lost everything at the hands of the Nazis, hopefully today serves as an important and symbolic step to reclaiming not just artwork, but familial legacy,” said Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who sponsored the legislation with fellow Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

    The legislation now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

    Last month, a judge ruled in favor of a Southern California museum in its 10-year legal battle over the ownership of two German Renaissance masterpieces that were seized by the Nazis in World War II. The judge said that because the art dealership decided not to seek restitution for the works after the war, the family thereby abandoned their claim to the art.

    [Watch Video]

    In 2009, the United States and other countries agreed to ensure that their own legal systems “facilitate just and fair solutions with regard to Nazi-confiscated and looted art.” The senators said this legislation is to fulfill that promise.

    “While we can never right the wrongs of the Holocaust, it is our moral duty to help those survivors and their families achieve what justice can be found,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

    The post Senate bill would speed recovery of art lost to Nazi looting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The dirty outline where the sign hung for a Blockbuster movie rental store. Photo by Rick Wilking/ Reuters

    Editor’s Note: For the latest Making Sen$e report, economics correspondent Paul Solman traveled to Detroit, home of two iconic U.S. corporations: Ford and General Motors. There, he spoke with with University of Michigan’s Gerald Davis about the disappearing American corporation and what it means for the economy going forward.

    Below, we have one of a series of excerpts we’ll be publishing from Davis’s new book, “The Vanishing American Corporation: Navigating the Hazards of a New Economy,” on the rise and fall of the American corporation. For more on the topic, tune in to tonight’s Making Sen$e report, which airs every Thursday on the PBS NewsHour.

    — Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor


    To a greater degree than almost any other country, the United States has had a corporatized economy for generations. From early on in the 20th century, corporations controlled most of the nation’s economic assets and employed the bulk of the labor force.

    By 1930, a mere 200 corporations controlled half of the nation’s corporate assets.

    Individual corporations dwarfed the size of other social institutions. In 1910, U.S. Steel’s assets were far larger than the federal government’s annual budget. By 1930, a mere 200 corporations controlled half of the nation’s corporate assets. Commentators at the time stated that corporations were more similar to nation-states than to traditional family-owned businesses. When General Motors’s CEO (and later secretary of defense) told Congress in 1953 that “what was good for the country was good for General Motors, and vice versa,” it was not meant arrogantly or sarcastically. The health of the economy and the health of the largest corporations were inextricably tied. To a great extent, particularly after the Second World War, the largest corporations were the economy.

    READ MORE: Column: What’s behind these big merger deal busts?

    But if the corporation is the foundation of the American economy, we need to be concerned. GM had about as many employees in 2015 as it did in 1928, which was just one-fourth of its size in the 1980s. Its total North American workforce today is about as large as the number employed at Ford’s famous River Rouge plant in the 1930s.

    Jerry Davis - employment at GM

    An optimist might suggest that those jobs have simply shifted to other, growing industries, such as computers and electronics. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the computer and electronics industry has actually shrunk dramatically since 2000, dropping 750,000 American jobs. And how about telecommunications and information services? Nope. There is about 1 million fewer jobs in that sector in 2013 than in 2000.

    Jerry Davis - US employment in computer

    jerry Davis - employment in information sector

    In fact, the number of public corporations has collapsed in recent years, as shown below. The U.S. in 2012 had less than half as many public corporations as it did in 1997. As we will see, this is not simply due to consolidation and mergers. Westinghouse, ITT, Eastman Kodak, Circuit City, Blockbuster, Borders, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual and many other household names are gone (or mere stubs of their former selves), and they are not coming back.

    Jerry Davis - Listed companies

    The corporation is not an eternal institution, but a transient one, at least in the long sweep of history. Corporations survive if they have an economic rationale and their revenues can cover their expenses. They are not supernatural beings like vampires (their unlimited lifespan notwithstanding). If they can’t cover their costs, and there are better ways of doing what corporations did, they will eventually die. If Netflix, with 3,700 employees, can provide videos more cost effectively than Blockbuster, which had over 80,000 employees in 2004, then Blockbuster will perish. As we will see, the winner need not be a corporation, or even a for-profit business: If Wikipedia does a better job than Encyclopedia Britannica, then the 240-year-old institution will close (unless it finds a sugar daddy indifferent to profit). There is no crying in baseball, and there is no sentimentality in the corporate world.

    The corporation is primarily an economic institution, one whose time — at least in many domains of economic life — may have passed.

    The major claim of “The Vanishing American Corporation” is that the public corporation fit well with the requirements for doing business in the 20th century, but is an increasingly bad fit for 21st century business. Corporations are tools for getting things done under particular circumstances, like monarchies, or diesel trucks. Although we might treat the corporation with reverence as a social institution, like the church or the family, it is primarily an economic institution, and one whose time — at least in many domains of economic life — may have passed.

    The post The rise and fall of the U.S. corporation appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Flickr user KT King

    Photo by Flickr user KT King

    After researching how students are placed in remediation classes, I began to wonder how someone who already has a college degree would do on such a test.

    So I decided to take the Accuplacer. (Take some sample questions here.)

    I have a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College, a private, selective, liberal arts school. Amherst didn’t make me take any placement tests. The more selective the college, the less likely a student is to take a placement test. The idea is that those students have already proved they’re ready, through high school grades and scores on tests such as the SAT and ACT.

    There’s an entire industry devoted to helping young people get ready for the SAT and ACT. Some parents pay thousands of dollars for their kids to get test prep and tutoring. But if you’re someone who has to take the Accuplacer test, chances are no one is paying for fancy test preparation.

    Some parents pay thousands of dollars for their kids to get test prep and tutoring. But if you’re someone who has to take the Accuplacer test, chances are no one is paying for fancy test preparation.

    In fact, many people who take the Accuplacer have never even heard of the test until they go to their local community college to enroll and are told to walk down the hall and take it. And yet, this may be the highest stakes test they ever take.

    I arranged to take the Accuplacer at the Community College of Baltimore County. I arrived on a cold and snowy day, feeling nervous. I last took a test more than 20 years ago.

    I met with a counselor who explained the basics. The test is on a computer. It has three parts and all the questions are multiple choice. There’s a sentence skills section and a reading skills section, 20 questions each. And then a math section. You start with high school algebra. If you do well on the algebra part, you get kicked up to college math. If you don’t do well on algebra, you get a set of questions that test your arithmetic skills.

    As I headed in to the testing room, the two women who were signing me in told me they’d tried the test. Both of them tested into developmental math. One tested into developmental reading, too.

    The test took me one hour and 48 minutes. You’re allowed to take as much time as you want, but the counselor told me to expect to spend about an hour and a half on it. So I went slow.

    I was pretty sure I did well on the reading and sentence skills sections, but I found a few of the questions tricky. And on the math, I thought I must have done decently on the algebra part because I had clearly been kicked up to the college math section, and once I got there I was mostly guessing.

    I was handed a score report as soon as I walked out of the testing room. Then I headed to a counselor’s office to find out what it meant.

    I did well on the English sections, but not perfect. A few of those tricky questions got me.

    On the college math section, I did not do well. I scored a 27 out of 120.

    The counselor told me I’d be in remedial math.

    I wasn’t really surprised. I never took math in college. My bachelor’s degree is in English, and college math was not something I needed to graduate. It’s not something I’ve needed for the kind of math I do in my job, either.

    But if I wanted to enroll at the Community College of Baltimore County so I could change careers — say I wanted to become a nurse or an art teacher — I would have to pass a college-level math class. And my Accuplacer score indicates I’d need a developmental math class first.

    It turns out I wouldn’t have to take developmental math though. Someone who already has a bachelor’s degree is exempt from taking the placement test. So even though my bachelor’s degree included no math at all, I could have used it as proof that I deserve to go straight into college-level math.

    If a certain level of math skill is required for college, and the test measures that level of skill, why shouldn’t I have to take developmental math like everyone else with a similar test score?

    This doesn’t really make sense. If a certain level of math skill is required for college and the test measures that level of skill, why shouldn’t I have to take developmental math like everyone else with a similar test score?

    This excerpt first appeared on American Public Media’s APMReports. Read the original article and listen to the radio program here.

    The post Column: Would I pass the college remediation placement test? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Researchers at the Wistar Institute in Pennsylvania pinpoint a mutation in last winter's flu vaccine.  Photo by Matej Divizna / AFP / Getty Images

    Researchers at the Wistar Institute in Pennsylvania pinpoint a mutation in last winter’s flu vaccine. Photo by Matej Divizna / AFP / Getty Images

    The pharmacy chain pitches started in August: Come in and get your flu shot.

    Convenience is touted. So are incentives: CVS offers a 20-percent-off shopping pass for everyone who gets a shot, while Walgreens donates toward international vaccination efforts.

    The start of flu season is still weeks — if not months — away. Yet marketing of the vaccine has become an almost year-round effort, beginning when the shots become available in August and hyped as long as the supply lasts, often into April or May.

    Not that long ago, most flu-shot campaigns started as the leaves began to turn in October. But the rise of retail medical clinics inside drug stores over the past decade — and state laws allowing pharmacists to give vaccinations — has stretched the flu-shot season.

    The stores have figured out how “to deliver medical services in an on-demand way” which appeals to customers, particularly millennials, said Tom Charland, founder and CEO of Merchant Medicine, which tracks the walk-in clinic industry. “It’s a way to get people into the store to buy other things.”

    But some experts say the marketing may be overtaking medical wisdom since it’s unclear how long the immunity imparted by the vaccine lasts, particularly in older people.

    Federal health officials say it’s better to get the shot whenever you can. An early flu shot is better than no flu shot at all. But the science is mixed when it comes to how long a flu shot promoted and given during the waning days of summer will provide optimal protection, especially because flu season generally peaks in mid-winter or beyond. Experts are divided on how patients should respond to such offers.

    “If you’re over 65, don’t get the flu vaccine in September. Or August. It’s a marketing scheme,” said Laura Haynes, an immunologist at the University of Connecticut Center on Aging.

    That’s because a combination of factors makes it more difficult for the immune systems of people older than age 65 to respond to the vaccination in the first place. And its protective effects may wear off faster for this age group than it does for young people.

    When is the best time to vaccinate? It’s a question even doctors have.

    “Should I wait until October or November to vaccinate my elderly or medically frail patients?” That’s one of the queries on the website of the board that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on immunizations. The answer is that it is safe to make the shots available to all age groups when the vaccine becomes available, although it does include a caution.

    The board says antibodies created by the vaccine decline in the months following vaccination “primarily affecting persons age 65 and older,” citing a study done during the 2011-2012 flu season. Still, while “delaying vaccination might permit greater immunity later in the season,” the CDC notes that “deferral could result in missed opportunities to vaccinate.”

    How long will the immunity last?

    “The data are very mixed,” said. John J. Treanor, a vaccine expert at the University of Rochester medical school. Some studies suggest vaccines lose some protectiveness during the course of a single flu season. Flu activity generally starts in the fall, but peaks in January or February and can run into the spring.

    “So some might worry that if [they] got vaccinated very early and flu didn’t show up until very late, it might not work as well,” he said.

    But other studies “show you still have protection from the shot you got last year if it’s a year when the strains didn’t change, Treanor said.

    In any given flu season, vaccine effectiveness varies. One factor is how well the vaccines match the virus that is actually prevalent. Other factors influencing effectiveness include the age and general health of the recipient. In the overall population, the CDC says studies show vaccines can reduce the risk of flu by about 50 to 60 percent when the vaccines are well matched.

    Health officials say it’s especially important to vaccinate children because they often spread the disease, are better able to develop antibodies from the vaccines and, if they don’t get sick, they won’t expose grandma and grandpa. While most people who get the flu recover, it is a serious disease responsible for many deaths each year, particularly among older adults and young children. Influenza’s intensity varies annually, with the CDC saying deaths associated with the flu have ranged from about 3,300 a year to 49,000 during the past 31 seasons.

    To develop vaccines, manufacturers and scientists study what’s circulating in the Southern Hemisphere during its winter, which is our summer. Then — based on that evidence — forecast what flu strains might circulate here to make vaccines that are generally delivered in late July.

    For the upcoming season, the vaccines will include three or four strains, including two A strains, an H1N1 and an H3N2, as well as one or two B strains, according to the CDC. It recommends that everyone older than 6 months get vaccinated, unless they have health conditions that would prevent it.

    The vaccines can’t give a person the flu because the virus is killed before it’s included in the shot. This year, the nasal vaccine is not recommended for use, as studies showed it was not effective during several of the past flu seasons.

    But when to go?

    “The ideal time is between Halloween and Thanksgiving,” said Haynes at UConn. “If you can’t wait and the only chance is to get it in September, then go ahead and get it. It’s best to get it early rather than not at all.”

    Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. You can view the original report on its website.

    The post The ads say, ‘Get your flu shot today,’ but it may be wiser to wait appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HONG KONG - 2013: In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA, revealed details of top-secret surveillance conducted by the United States' National Security Agency regarding telecom data.  (Photo by The Guardian via Getty Images)

    Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA, revealed details of top-secret surveillance conducted by the United States’ National Security Agency regarding telecom data. Photo by The Guardian via Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — A House intelligence committee report on National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says he’s not a whistleblower and that the vast majority of the documents he stole were military and defense secrets that had nothing to do with Americans’ privacy.

    The committee on Thursday released a three-page unclassified summary of its two-year investigation into the Snowden case. The committee says that contrary to Snowden’s self-portrayal as a whistleblower, the report reveals that he was a “disgruntled employee who had frequent conflicts with his managers.”

    The report comes as Snowden, living in Russia, seeks a presidential pardon because he says he helped his country by revealing secret domestic surveillance programs.

    Snowden’s actions led to revelations about the NSA’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records.

    The post Snowden not a whistleblower, congressional report says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    About 20 protesters occupied Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's office seeking to end the policy of offshore detention of asylum seekers in October 2015. The facilities have come under renewed scrutiny after leaked incident reports showed mistreatment and abuse. Photo by David Gray/Reuters

    About 20 protesters occupied Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office seeking to end the policy of offshore detention of asylum seekers in October 2015. The facilities have come under renewed scrutiny after leaked incident reports showed mistreatment and abuse. Photo by David Gray/Reuters

    Representatives from the tiny island nation of Nauru said they are improving conditions at their refugee center after reports of alleged sexual abuse against child refugees surfaced in recent weeks.

    The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child grilled representatives from Nauru for a total of nine hours on Tuesday and Wednesday during the group’s meeting in Geneva.

    Nauru houses one of two offshore detention facilities — the other is on Manus island, also in the Pacific Ocean — where people seeking asylum in Australia are held. The refugees come from places such as Iran, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

    Nauru’s refugee detention facility has come under increased scrutiny from the international community following the leak of over 2,000 incident reports alleging assault, sexual abuse and poor living conditions.

    Member of the Nauruan Parliament, Charmaine Scotty, who led the delegation, said in her opening statement, “We are doing the best we can given the limited resources available to us.”

    The delegation touted its new law enforcing the protection of children as well as its partnership with UNICEF to a review its child protection system. Scotty said the island had also put in place a 24-hour hotline for victims to report abuse.

    But over the two-day session, U.N. leaders pressed officials on child sexual abuse allegations, truancy rates among refugee children, and hostility toward journalists. During the questioning, Scotty became, at times, emotional defending her country and its people.

    At one point, Scotty spurned allegations that refugee children had drowned in Nauru waters. Only one adult had drowned off the island, she said, because the refugee “did not understand that the tide was too strong.”

    On the concern that journalists have been blocked from the camps, Samoa representative Clarence Nelson pointed out that the non-refundable visa fee for journalists has risen from $200 to $8,000.

    Scotty responded that Nauru raised its visa fees for journalists because their negative reporting was making “hard work extra hard” to run the facility when the community was less accepting of refugees.

    She also claimed visiting reporters behaved like “espionage secret agents,” lying on their forms about being tourists.

    Amnesty International’s Anna Neistat, one of few journalists to witness the conditions on Nauru, told the PBS NewsHour last month the island detention facility is a product of “one of the most cynical refugee policies I’ve ever seen.”

    Neistat said that refugees suffered “deliberate, systematic abuse” resulting in psychological trauma evidenced by the high rate of self-harm and attempted suicide.

    Some people are putting part of the blame on Australia. The Australian government does not accept any refugees who travel by boat, so those who attempt the journey are detained at the offshore processing facility on Nauru, about 2,800 miles off the coast of Australia.

    Australia’s immigration minster Thursday signaled a possible change to the controversial refugee policy by saying he would consider having Nauru refugees re-routed to New Zealand. But a New Zealand official said his government has no plans to enter into such an agreement.

    Nauru’s delegation was the first to appear before the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, which plans to question seven other countries over the next two weeks.

    The post Nauru defends refugee policies after abuse allegations surface appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    GWEN IFILL:  Now a “NewsHour” Shares, something that caught our eye that we thought might be of interest to you.

    A town in Washington state is home to a group of seven former lab chimpanzees who have been given a second chance to live out their lives in the rural pastures of Cle Elum, where they are honorary citizens.

    The story comes to us from PBS station KCTS in Seattle.

    JB MULCAHY, Co-Director, Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW:  Diana and I have been here a couple months prior to the chimps’ arrival.  Now it’s been a little over eight years that we have been with the chimps.

    DIANA GOODRICH, Co-Director, Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW:  So they are honorary citizens of Cle Elum and are known throughout the world as the Cle Elum 7.

    Annie is a really sweet, sweet chimp.  And she’s best friends with Missy.  She just adores Missy.

    Burrito is super goofy, really charming.  Our Facebook followers of Cle Elum are just totally in love with Burrito.

    JB MULCAHY:  Negra is the oldest of the group, about to turn 43.

    Foxie is known around the world now for her level of troll dolls, because she probably has about 400 dolls.

    DIANA GOODRICH:  Jody, we call the manager.  She is like watching out for everybody.

    Jamie is the boss of the group.  She also really likes Instagram.

    This area is what called Young’s Hill.  It’s an open enclosure, so it was the first time the chimps ever were outside without something over their heads, so they could actually see the sky.  And some of them, it was the first time they had actually ever stepped on grass probably in their entire lives, because many of the chimps were born in captivity.

    J.B. MULCAHY:  We never go into the enclosure with the chimps.  Aggression is a normal part of chimpanzees’ life.

    And so it’s just not safe.  But also we want to respect their space, since they are territorial.  And so we want, as much as we can, to respect that boundary and let them be chimps.

    GWEN IFILL:  Chimps.

    And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight.

    In our NewsHour Shares series, we show you things that caught our eye recently on the web. What about you? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet to @NewsHour using #NewsHourShares. We might share it on air.

    The post Where seven chimps are living out their post-lab days appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shake hands at the conclusion of their news conference following their meeting in Geneva, Switzerland where they discussed the crisis in Syria September 9, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTSN25V

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shake hands at the conclusion of their news conference following their meeting in Geneva, Switzerland where they discussed the crisis in Syria September 9, 2016. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. military will have to shift surveillance aircraft from other regions and increase the number of intelligence analysts to coordinate attacks with Russia under the Syria cease-fire deal partly in order to target militants the U.S. has largely spared, senior officials say.

    Senior defense and military officials told The Associated Press that they are sorting out how the U.S.-Russia military partnership will take shape and how that will change where U.S. equipment and people will be deployed. They said, however, that they will need to take assets from other parts of the world, because U.S. military leaders don’t want to erode the current U.S.-led coalition campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

    More military planners and targeting experts will be needed to identify and approve airstrikes against the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. The U.S. has rarely bombed the group, previously known as the Nusra Front, and the targeting is trickier because the militants are often intermingled with other U.S.-backed Syrian rebels.

    Making matters more complicated are U.S. military concerns about Russian targeting. Unlike the U.S., which uses precision-guided munitions, Moscow has predominantly used so-called dumb bombs in its airstrikes over Syria.

    The Syria cease-fire deal struck by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is designed to pause the civil war so that the superpowers’ militaries can be jointly concentrated against the Islamic extremist groups operating within the chaos on the ground. The concerns reflect the U.S. military’s broader skepticism about partnering with Russia, which it says it distrusts.

    Senior U.S. defense and military officials familiar with the planning spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk about the matter publicly.

    Under the deal, if the cease-fire holds for seven days and humanitarian deliveries are allowed into areas besieged by the Syrian army, the U.S. and Russia would set up a so-called Joint Implementation Center to focus on the militants and share basic targeting data.

    State Department spokesman Mark Toner acknowledged the skepticism.

    “I don’t think that anyone in the U.S. government is necessarily taking at face value Russia’s or certainly not the Syrian regime’s commitment to this arrangement,” Toner said. “I also think some of the comments from the Department of Defense were just about speaking to the fact that there’s logistical challenges of setting up the JIC (joint center) and coordinating these airstrikes and that’s going to require additional effort and additional time.”

    He added, however, “What really matters here is that the president of the United States supports this agreement, and our system of government works in such a way that everyone follows what the president says.”

    U.S. defense officials said they have begun working out some of the details, even though they are hamstrung by existing U.S. law that prohibits any military-to-military relations with Russia, as a result of Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.

    Defense Secretary Ash Carter must submit a waiver to Congress along with a report detailing why military cooperation with Russia is necessary. U.S. officials said Carter hasn’t done that yet, and he likely won’t until the required cease-fire and humanitarian aid conditions are met for the seven days.

    Until then, officials said the U.S. military team setting up the JIC will not be able to meet with their Russian counterparts. The U.S. officials laid out a number of questions that must be resolved before any targeting could start, including how much control either country may have over strikes taken by the other, how will the review process unfold, do either have a veto over any target, and who would be the final arbiter in any disagreements.

    Other officials have said they believe there is no veto authority on either side, and that the U.S. would bear no responsibility if a Russian strike kills civilians. And they have made it clear that the U.S. would end the cooperation if Russia violates the agreement and kills civilians or U.S. allies.

    A key question will be where the military will get the additional surveillance aircraft needed. Drones, in particular, are in high demand around the world, and commanders in volatile regions including Asia and the Middle East, won’t be eager to give up theirs.

    The U.S. hasn’t targeted much in some portions of Syria, including around Aleppo and regions where al-Qaida-linked militants are centered. The additional surveillance and analysis will be needed to identify and vet those targets to ensure friendly forces and innocent people aren’t mixed in.

    Military officials said that even once the center is set up, airstrikes won’t start happening immediately. They said it will take time to share and analyze the recommended target data and make certain that innocent civilians or allies aren’t hit.

    It can take weeks for a particular enemy target to get approved and added to the air tasking order that the U.S.-led coalition uses to assign airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.

    AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.

    The post U.S. plans to shift military assets to Syria in Russia deal appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: what specific skills employers want from college graduates, and what a college can do to prove students are ready.

    Hari Sreenivasan has the story as part of our special series this week on Rethinking College.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Graduation day at Georgetown University. It takes four years, more than $200,000, and a lot of hard work to get here.

    But now more employers are asking, what does a four-year degree really mean? What true marketable skills can new graduates offer the work force?

    Georgetown University is trying to answer that question.

    RANDALL BASS, Professor, Georgetown University: We’re hearing from employers, how do you differentiate between two graduates?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Professor Randall Bass leads the college’s Designing the Future Initiative.

    RANDALL BASS: If you have got a pile of 10 graduates who all have degrees from quality liberal arts schools, and they all look more or less alike in terms of their formal credentials, are there ways to differentiate them?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Last semester, Bass and colleagues at Georgetown offered a free experimental course for students who want to further distinguish themselves. Instead of receiving a traditional credit, students who meet the requirements are awarded a digital badge.

    RANDALL BASS: What we see in the badges is a way of trying to help students tell a story about some dimension of their learning that might otherwise be merely a line on their resume.

    ERIKA COHEN-DERR, Student Engagement, Georgetown University: It’s easy with a degree to show what you have learned in biology or in business. But it’s not easy to show what you have learned in terms of leadership.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Erika Cohen-Derr, who was part of the Georgetown team that designed the new badge, says employers want to know more about as student’s disposition.

    ERIKA COHEN-DERR: These are the soft skills. These are skills like empathy, communication, ethical leadership, the dispositions that a student has that they bring to any team or any group.

    DESY OSUNSADE, Talent Acquisition, Arabella Advisors: A resume has never been enough. That’s why the concept of badging is appealing to me.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Job recruiters, like Desy Osunsade, see digital badges as a way to better define talent.

    DESY OSUNSADE: We spend a lot of time and money as recruiters trying to make sure that we have the perfect fit, because recruiting is expensive.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Osunsade recruits for Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors. She says a degree doesn’t say enough about a potential hire.

    DESY OSUNSADE: It tells me the person’s line of study. It doesn’t tell me if they are good at things like critical thinking, problem-solving, do they work well in teams, do they have oral communication?

    A resume, in itself, with a degree from anywhere doesn’t tell me that.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The digital badge offered by Georgetown is called a Catalyst Badge.

    Alexis Oni-Eseleh participated in the pilot.

    ALEXIS ONI-ESELEH: The Catalyst Badge is just affirming that when we see something that needs to be changed, we just go about it, proving that you are an agent of change in accomplishing the goals you set for yourself.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Don Fraser, from the Education Design Lab, works with Georgetown, George Mason University, and University of Virginia, as part of a larger effort called the 21st Century Skill Badging Challenge.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: If I’m an employer, I’m going to get a better employee if they have badges that say they are a creative problem solver or critical thinker, a good oral communicator?

    DON FRASER, Education Design Lab: If there’s rigor in those badges, I would — and those are skills that you find valuable in the work that you’re doing, I would say yes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: More so than just if they came out of a specific school with a certain degree?

    DON FRASER: Exactly, right, because they have been working specifically to acquire those skills, which is totally different than the implicit way in which we believe they are getting those right now, hoping that by the time they graduate and get this degree, they have gained these skills in some capacity.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Anthony Carnevale is the director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

    ANTHONY CARNEVALE, Director, Center on Education and the Workforce: What’s happening is that the on-the-job training is no longer sufficient, because employers don’t commit to employees for a lifetime the way they used to, so we have got to get our own job training.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In may, Alexis Oni-Eseleh graduated from Georgetown with a major in global health and a minor in women’s gender studies. Since graduation, she has been helping with her parents’ company and will start a more serious job search this fall.

    ALEXIS ONI-ESELEH: Here it is, certification Catalyst Credential. I had to pass a certain level of criteria, which you can find here.

    And if you click there, it will take you to this Web site, which tells you everything I needed to do to become a Catalyst. The Catalyst Credential is awarded to a student who embraces challenges, demonstrates initiative, pursues positive social change.

    DON FRASER: You host them online, and they’re hosted digitally. People have the ability to click on that badge and get at the metadata associated with how the learner, the student achieved that particular badge.

    So, if I am so inclined, I can look at assessments that were a part of that badge. I can look at the work, the body of work that the student did in order to earn that badge.

    ANNOUNCER: The same degree from different schools produces different workers.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Some emerging for-profit education ventures see a much bigger role for digital badges.

    RYAN CRAIG, Director, University Ventures: A degree doesn’t say a lot. A badge or a micro-credential can say a lot more.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Ryan Craig is the author of “College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education.”

    RYAN CRAIG: The primary credential that we use in our labor market is the degree. That’s the sort of default credential. Micro-credentials, or badges, breaks that down into literally competencies. What micro-credentials are signaling is the shift from degree-based hiring to competency-based hiring.

    ANNOUNCER: That’s right, LinkedIn, it’s not just for top executives. It’s for you, and it’s the perfect place for you to start your professional story.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Craig points to Microsoft and its recent purchase of LinkedIn as new players in the field of post-secondary education because they offer educational training, certificates, and a marketplace to display skills.

    RYAN CRAIG: Competency marketplaces, we think, are the way in which a decade from now are, most post-secondary education will be purchased.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But Anthony Carnevale cautions that commercial badges, micro-credentials, and certificates need more scrutiny.

    ANTHONY CARNEVALE: It’s a whole industry where I there’s no transparency, no consumer protection, so let the buyer beware of what happened to the people who took this course, got this badge, so that people can tell if something is worth the money.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Alexis Oni-Eseleh says she recently used the Catalyst badge in a job interview.

    ALEXIS ONI-ESELEH: The interviewer asked me to talk about a time where I showed initiative, and I was able to talk about the digital badge and all the steps I had to take in order to get it and to qualify for it. And I even encouraged her to go look up the digital badge on my LinkedIn page.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: This fall, designers of the badge challenge are expanding their reach to colleges who serve non-traditional students, who often have a harder struggle to find jobs.

    In Washington, D.C., I’m Hari Sreenivasan for the “PBS NewsHour.”

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And a nice postscript to the story: This month, Alexis Oni-Eseleh started a job as a media buyer at an ad agency on Madison Avenue in New York.

    And online, a look at whether remedial classes really help college students succeed. That’s at PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post Giving students a leg up with job skills a resume won’t show appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    GWEN IFILL: Last night we brought you stories of American women forced into marriage in this country.

    Tonight, in part two of her exclusive report, special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells us of Americans taken overseas for the same reason, both women and girls, who often find themselves beyond the assistance of their own government.

    JADA, New Jersey Teen: I was a kid. I hadn’t really grown that much, so I was really scared.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Jada was just 12 years old when her father took her from the United States to live in Saudi Arabia. And her future was about to change dramatically.

    How did you first find out what your father had planned for you?

    JADA: Well, one day, we were walking. We were walking to a store. And he told me to stay on his right side, because they do that there, so that other men know that the woman that they have on their right side is for sale.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Jada, whose last name we are withholding at the request of her lawyer, hadn’t even started high school when her father, a convert to Islam, moved them both to Jeddah and began trying to marry her off.

    SHIRLEY, Jada’s Aunt: She’s thousands of miles away, and there’s nothing we can do.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Jada’s family back in New Jersey was terrified when they heard what her dad had planned. Jada’s mother had died suddenly a few years earlier, but her aunt Shirley says her sister Mecca rose up to fill the role.

    MECCA, Jada’s older half-sister: I was at work. And I got a text that said, help me.

    And I was like, gee, what are you talking about, help me?

    And she’s like, no, help me. My dad’s trying to sell me.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Over the next few months, Mecca tried to support her little sister, to plot her return and to save her from marriage.

    MECCA: Other than texting, I never got to physically hear her voice. So I didn’t know if she was crying at the moment or if she was scared. I’m just looking at text messages.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: And the messages grew increasingly desperate.

    MECCA: I was literally losing sleep, like every day depressed, going to work depressed, because I really didn’t know what to do.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Mecca contacted everyone she could think of, including the United States government.

    MECCA: Even though the embassy was meant to help Americans, it was — they had to still go through — they had to still use Saudi Arabia laws.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: In the end, it was up to the family to protect Jada.

    SHIRLEY: I started to feel like we were exhausting everything, because it seemed like everybody was saying, well, you know, you know, there’s really nothing we can do.

    MECCA: So, my aunt started saving money to get Jada home. And I started just contacting everybody. And that’s when I came in contact with Casey.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Casey is Casey Swegman, a counselor at the Tahirih Justice Center, an organization in Northern Virginia devoted to protecting immigrant women and girls.

    Mecca reached her via a human trafficking hot line. Over three months, Swegman gathered information about Jada’s case, working with Mecca on strategies to get her sister back.

    CASEY SWEGMAN, Tahirih Justice Center: I think, as an advocate, if Jada hadn’t had Mecca, it would’ve been a profoundly different experience.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Together, they succeeded in bring Jada home before any marriage could take place. Today, she is a star student about to enter high school and dreaming of college at UCLA.

    But not everyone is so lucky. According to the Tahirih Justice Center, thousands of American women are forced into marriages every year. Tahirih runs one of the only forced marriage programs in the country. And they have worked with nearly 400 girls and women to help them either avoid or escape a forced marriage.

    LINA ALAHRI, Married at 21: I remember the engagement. I’m in this crazy dress.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: American citizen Lina Alahri was 21 when her father took her to his native Yemen, amid the ongoing war…

    LINA ALAHRI: This is me.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: .. veiled as a visit to her ailing grandmother.

    Once there, the former California high school Almond Blossom queen contestant quickly learned that she was about to marry a man whom she’d never met, forced by her father into a marriage she didn’t want. She says she tried everything to avoid it.

    LINA ALAHRI: The first thing I imagined was, I can make a run for it right now. But I knew that wasn’t an option.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: According to custom, Alahri was taken to her new husband’s home, where she was expected to consummate the marriage while his whole family waited for proof.

    LINA ALAHRI: I remember my father in-law telling me, what is the problem? Why are you not doing it? The faster you do this, the faster you get to go home. The faster that you have intercourse is the faster that you can come home.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: But Alahri was 8,000 miles away from her home. And no one, it seemed, could help her, not even her government.

    LINA ALAHRI: You think, well, I am a U.S. citizen, and the one thing that you want to do is, you want to take off, hit the U.S. Embassy, and then they are your savior and they will fly you out.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: But it wasn’t the case. A close friend of Alahri’s was able to contact the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, on her behalf.

    “Tell her that we’re unable to intervene directly,” their response read. “If she can find her way to the U.S. Embassy, we are open.”

    But she couldn’t get there because it was too dangerous. And in the end, she consummated the marriage. She felt it was her only path to getting home alive.

    LINA ALAHRI: Sometimes, the only way out is through. Right?

    CASEY SWEGMAN: The whole system failed Lina. The world failed Lina.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Casey Swegman took on Alahri’s case after her best friend back in California contacted the group.

    CASEY SWEGMAN: When a women’s only choice, only option for getting to safety is to capitulate to rape, into a forced marriage, that is a failure of the entire system.

    MICHELLE BERNIER-TOTH, Overseas Citizens Services, State Department: We failed them by not having mechanisms to prevent them from going overseas and being forced into marriage in the first place.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Michelle Bernier-Toth is the managing director for overseas citizens services in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

    MICHELLE BERNIER-TOTH: They’re being held against their will, but in accordance with local law, because they have been legally married in that country. And their spouse now has legal authority and control over what happens to them. And contrary to a kidnapping or a hostage-taking, there is a legal basis for that action that is one of the big — it’s a huge challenge.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Americans usually think that, if they’re threatened overseas, the State Department can swoop in and rescue them, but the reality is much more complicated. Both young women in this story reached out seeking help from abroad. But the truth is, Americans don’t take their laws with them when they travel.

    In both cases here, these young women were able to orchestrate trips back to the United States. Then-12-year-old Jada’s family won custody of her when she came to the U.S. for a visit with her father. And Alahri’s plan for freedom was even more intrepid.

    With the war in Yemen pounding outside her windows, she worked with Tahirih and her best friend from home to orchestrate the plan. After marrying the stranger, she returned to the U.S. on a pledge to acquire visas for her in-laws. When she landed in the United States, Tahirih was waiting.

    It took several agonizing months for each of them to find their escape routes. Now on American soil, Tahirih has helped them restart their lives and continues to offer counseling and support.

    But Swegman and her colleagues still feel these are isolated successes over a problem few Americans even know exists: forced marriage in the United States.

    CASEY SWEGMAN: I think the worst outcomes are probably somewhere out there, with a woman who maybe only have the 15 minutes to call, but I never heard from her again. And I think, you know the bad endings are the ones we never see.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: “PBS NewsHour” attempted to contact both Alahri’s and Jada’s fathers, and received no reply.

    Today, home once again in California, Alahri considers Swegman a member of her own family.

    LINA ALAHRI: To have that support and have that love from somebody you have never even met before, it makes a huge difference. Like, Tahirih and like Casey, and I seem so lucky to have all that, because if it weren’t for those people, you don’t know where you would be.

    GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: But now the former Miss Almond Blossom contestant is back studying and working toward a future she nearly lost.

    I’m Gayle Tzemach Lemmon for the “PBS NewsHour” in California.

    GWEN IFILL: You can go online to watch the first of Gayle’s reports and a conversation about the series.

    And, tomorrow, join our Twitter chat about forced marriage at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, with Gayle and a number of experts and advocates. You can find the link on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post When American girls are forced into marriage abroad, the U.S. can do little to rescue them appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Mike Guillen works on the assembly line at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Arlington, Texas June 9, 2015. General Motors Co is raising the stakes on its bet that sales of fuel-thirsty sport utility vehicles will keep driving its global profits as Chinese and other markets sag. GM said on July 14, 2015 that it plans to spend $1.4 billion to modernize the factory in Arlington, Texas, that builds the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon sport utility vehicles. It's the largest single investment in a $5.4 billion, three-year plant upgrade program announced earlier this year. Picture taken June 9, 2015. To match Insight GM-SUVS/ REUTERS/Mike Stone	 - RTX1L9A9

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: Big companies today are not creating nearly as many middle-income jobs as they once did, and that’s been one of the concerns in this campaign.

    Economics correspondent Paul Solman went to Detroit, where ideas for spurring a new era of local manufacturing are taking shape. It’s part of his weekly series, Making Sense.

    PAUL SOLMAN: A must-see stop on the grand tour of decaying Detroit, the plant that, for decades, clanked out auto chassis for GM.

    GERALD DAVIS, University of Michigan: General Motors at its height had 900,000 employees, career ladders galore. They were providing a lot of benefits, creating good middle-class jobs. GM today has about 220,000 employees around the world. It’s about as many as it had in 1928.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But sociologist Jerry Davis says the GMs of yesteryear, though models of productivity and even of economic equality, are history.

    JERRY DAVIS: What happened to General Motors didn’t just happen to General Motors. There are about half as many public corporations today as they were 20 years ago.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, instead of General Motors, U.S. Steel, Eastman Kodak, and I could go on and on, what have we got?

    JERRY DAVIS: The big corporations today don’t really have that many employees. They’re not providing career ladders. They’re not creating middle-class jobs. Blockbuster had 80,000 employees and 9,000 stores across the country. Netflix does the same thing with fewer than 4,000 people.

    If anybody tells you they work at Facebook, probably they mean they are a contractor, because only about 12,000 people actually work at Facebook. They are worth $300 billion, but very few people actually work there.

    PAUL SOLMAN: In a new book, Davis calls it the vanishing American corporation and poses a pivotal question: What will rise from the wreckage? Mega-firms that hire relatively few workers? Made-anywhere product peddlers like Nike?

    JERRY DAVIS: They’re the biggest sneaker and sporting goods company in the world, but they don’t actually make most of the stuff with their name brand on it. They design it, they market it from Oregon, but the production is done by contractors all around the world. And that model is spread widely.

    It’s not just sneakers, it’s not just garments. Electronics, pharmaceuticals, pet food, you name the product, and you can find somebody to manufacture it and put your name on it.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Nikefication, Davis has dubbed it, exemplified by another multinational with a Detroit foothold, Ikea.

    JERRY DAVIS: The Ikea model is you manufacture it somewhere, you ship it out around the world, flat pack. So this model might be a very good model for customers because it’s very inexpensive. It’s not the world’s best furniture, but you can live with it.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And you do have to assemble it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Indeed, these days, a world of temps is only a moment away.

    JERRY DAVIS: A business like Upwork allows you to find contractors to do programming and other tasks available around the world.

    Czech Republic.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Czech Republic, U.S., Croatia, Philippines.

    But the technology that allows for such wonders, and the wage exploitation of a global race to the bottom, also suggests a more appealing future for work in America.

    JERRY DAVIS: You can go to this Web site and see these great designs for beds, chairs, tables and so on, the kind of thing that you might buy at Ikea. But these are designs that you can download and create locally.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Instead of assembling Ikea furniture themselves, that is, why can’t Americans also make it to their own specifications?

    JERRY DAVIS: So, this is basically an Ikea-like chair that’s made out of metal, but you could make it out of plastic or wood.

    PAUL SOLMAN: These are just prototypes or models.

    JERRY DAVIS: Yes. These are the designs online shrunk to a tiny version. But you could make a full-sized version of this, this afternoon.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So Davis took us to TechShop Detroit, where Vasile Vincent was using a computer-controlled cutting machine to carve a table leg based on an online design. For a monthly fee, members of TechShop, a nationwide chain, access all manner of gadgetry.

    Faithe Olsen was working the water jet cutter.

    FAITHE OLSEN, TechShop Detroit: It’s using sand. It’s using water pressure. It’s basically using erosion to cut through. We have got eighth-inch aluminum on there right now.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Wow. So that’s cutting through aluminum now.

    FAITH OLSEN: Yes. It’s just cutting right through it.

    PAUL SOLMAN: TechShop is for polished pros and rank amateurs alike.

    The manager of this Detroit site is Will Brick. So, who is this? The Red Baron?

    WILL BRICK: Yes, right. I like to imagine that’s me in the cockpit there.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Brick cooked up this model airplane for a summer camp.

    WILL BRICK: One of the things we taught kids to do was to build an airframe and then add a radio control mechanism to actually be able to remotely pilot it.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, future makers learn how to do it themselves, while entrepreneurs hatch the products of tomorrow. The Rope Runner was the brainchild of Kevin Bingham.

    WILL BRICK: He came up with this thing that allows you to scale a tree, go up and down without changing kit, and be as nimble as like a spider monkey, right? He came into TechShop, drew up some prototypes, made some wooden mockups, and cut out the finished aluminum pieces, assembled all that, and then engraved his logo and the phrase “Made in Detroit,” which I love, into the powder coating on the sides of the apparatus.

    PAUL SOLMAN: What Davis sees budding in Detroit is an alternative to a world run by Nike and Ikea, manufacturing brought back to America, made possible by ever-cheaper technology, and repurposing the industrial infrastructure of the past.

    Consider the Green Garage, a socially conscious business incubator housed in a former Model-T showroom.

    DEVITA DAVISON, FoodLab Detroit: We are a diverse community of about 211 locally-owned food businesses.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Devita Davison of FoodLab deploys local kitchens, so that entrepreneurs can bake and then sell cakes, for instance.

    DEVITA DAVISON: Taking advantage of underutilized community kitchen space in churches, day care centers and Head Start.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Amany Killawi co-founded LaunchGood, a crowdfunding site for Muslims.

    AMANY KILLAWI, Co-founder, LaunchGood: So, it can be anything from someone creating their first children’s story, to an app, to starting their own business. But then you also have specific personal causes, like helping the first Australian hijabi ballerina.

    I think many times Muslims are a seen as a source of problems in the world, and we’re here to show them there’s a source of solutions.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The businesses here represent Jerry Davis’ dream of a work force that makes locally, but thinks globally.

    JERRY DAVIS: These are businesses that are meant to last a long time. But really they are part of a broader ecosystem, and their goal is really, what can we do to make Detroit, as a community, stronger? It’s a very different model than, how do we create the most shareholder value, how do I retire before I have reached drinking age?

    PAUL SOLMAN: A visit to the Red Panda space, a whole office, gave Davis a chance to relive his days in the college rock band Ivan Pavlov’s Salivation Army.

    Today, professional groups like Wilco and the Red Hot Chili Peppers use Red Panda guitar effects to create new sounds. Owner Curt Malouin designs the pedals himself and has them made within fairly easy reach.

    CURT MALOUIN, Owner, Red Panda: And that allows us to have better control over the quality and more flexibility, so that we can experiment with new products and be on the leading edge of the market, but we can also then ramp up production really easily when we get a hit product.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Turns out Malouin assembled the very first pedal back at TechShop, where plenty of other do-it-your-selfers are inventing things on shared equipment.

    John Osborne dreamed up a box-making machine.

    JOHN OSBORNE, Inventor: It only takes about 15 seconds to change from one box to a completely different box, so it’s the only machine of its kind in the world.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And with so many a folks turning out small runs of bespoke products, you need all kinds of boxes. And it’s now technically feasible, says Jerry Davis.

    JERRY DAVIS: This is a place where capital equipment is so cheap and so easy to use that children can learn to use it in two hours, and if it’s that accessible, why do we need corporations?

    PAUL SOLMAN: But if everybody can make everything by themselves, there are no more manufacturing jobs.

    JERRY DAVIS: Why do we need to have jobs? If there are other ways to provide those same results, then maybe we could organize our time differently. Maybe we could be a maker on Tuesday morning and a farmer on Tuesday afternoon and a mash-up deejay on Tuesday evening. And we could all have more rewarding lives with more control over our time.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Hey, maybe you could all make TV stories like this one.

    But, until then, this is Paul Solman, economics correspondent every day of the week, reporting from Detroit.

    The post Will mega-corporations give way to a local manufacturing renaissance? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally in Canton, Ohio, U.S., September 14, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTSNSRV

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    GWEN IFILL: In Ohio, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton appear to be in a dead heat. But the stakes are higher for Trump. The Buckeye State has voted for the winning candidate in every election since 1964, and no Republican has ever won the White House without it.

    Tonight, we begin a two-part look at two counties that tell the tale.

    John Yang starts our reporting in a suburb outside Columbus.

    JOHN YANG: September in Delaware, Ohio, means the annual All-Horse Parade, the biggest event of its kind east of the Mississippi. And among those gathered along the parade route, we found enthusiastic supporters on both sides in the presidential horse race.

    Retired educator Gail Carpenter is voting for Donald Trump.

    GAIL CARPENTER: We need a bull in a China shop to break things up. It’s not working. The economy’s bad. I’m very worried about Iran and North Korea. I feel like he will do what he needs to do to keep us safe.

    JOHN YANG: Jen Villanueva Henkle, who works with children, backs Hillary Clinton.

    JEN VILLANUEVA HENKLE: She’s done a lot for women and children and people living in poverty for the entire history of her career. We support her and we’re excited to see her be our next president.

    JOHN YANG: But there were also folks like Julie Lamb.

    JULIE LAMB: It’s been a crazy ride for the last year. And I’m Republican, so that’s probably the way I’m going to go, but not that necessarily that crazy about that candidate.

    JOHN YANG: And here in the most Republican county in Ohio, that could spell trouble for Trump.

    Polls in the state show him locked in a tight contest with Clinton. No Republican has won the White House without winning this state. Both campaigns have opened field offices in Delaware County within the past week. This is Ohio’s wealthiest and fastest-growing county. Farmland is quickly giving way to manicured lawns and big houses.

    Republican presidential candidates have won this county in every election since before this diner opened in 1932.

    KYLE KONDIK, University of Virginia Center for Politics: You would expect a Republican to run 10 to 15 points better in a place like Delaware than they do statewide.

    JOHN YANG: And that’s where we met Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. He’s written a book on Ohio’s role in picking presidents, “The Bellwether.”

    KYLE KONDIK: What a Republican needs to do is run up the score in Ohio in the conservative rural counties and also the high-income, highly educated suburban counties that again are typically very Republican.

    JOHN YANG: Like Delaware County.

    KYLE KONDIK: Like Delaware County. And that’s the path to victory. And I think we saw that with George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

    If Trump isn’t doing quite as well as Republicans typically do in some of those places, that might be a problem for him and he will have to make up the votes elsewhere.

    JOHN YANG: Which is why voters like John Stark, who owns a construction company, are a threat to Trump’s chances.

    Your first election, presidential election was what year?

    JOHN STARK, Sunbury, Ohio Resident: 1984.

    JOHN YANG: You voted for?

    JOHN STARK: For Reagan.

    JOHN YANG: And which party’s candidate have you voted for ever since?

    JOHN STARK: The Republicans.

    JOHN YANG: Until now?

    JOHN STARK: Yes, I think this will be the first time not to, honestly.

    JOHN YANG: Was that a difficult decision for you, as someone who has voted for the Republican candidate every time since 1984?

    JOHN STARK: No. When I first saw Trump, I knew I couldn’t vote for him.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JOHN YANG: Nothing Trump has said or done since has swayed him.

    JOHN STARK: The Republican Party to me is a party of small government, low regulations, low taxes. And here we’re not really sure what he stands for, except himself. He likes to talk about himself a lot.

    JOHN YANG: Trump’s economic message doesn’t resonate with voters in this prosperous county like Stark. He says business is good. And his son got a job as an audio engineer a within a week of graduating college. Voting for Clinton was never an option.

    His candidate? Libertarian Gary Johnson.

    Do you worry that voting for Johnson could help Clinton?

    JOHN STARK: I guess I don’t care.

    You know, I got — you got to have principles, right?

    JOHN YANG: But it’s not as if Clinton’s having an easy ride here. Cathy Okunlola was an enthusiastic Barack Obama supporter in 2008 and 2012. This time, she’s backing Clinton, but without that same excitement.

    CATHY OKUNLOLA, Ostrander, Ohio Resident: She’s not going to get up and have those huge inspiring rallies that Obama did, you know? It’s not like a big party when you walk in the room for Hillary, but she gets the job done. And she really wants to help people, I think. Like, she’s doing it for the right reasons, I think.

    JOHN YANG: A stay-at-home mother of two young daughters, Okunlola said her main goal on Election Day is to beat Trump.

    CATHY OKUNLOLA: I really dislike Trump. I never really believed he would be the nominee, but, hey, here we are. So, yes, so I’m voting for Hillary.

    JOHN YANG: She struggled to put her feelings about Clinton into words.

    CATHY OKUNLOLA: There’s that kid in your class that just plugs away at everything, you know? They’re not exactly the popular kid, and they’re not exactly super talented at music or anything, but they just — they study hard, and they show up, and they’re always the talk of the class.

    Obama would have been the prom king and everybody would’ve loved him. And everybody went to school with somebody like that, you know, that everybody wanted to be around. And she’s not that person, but she is somebody where, if you were in trouble, that’s who you wanted, you know?

    JOHN YANG: Voters like Stark and Okunlola could well decide who wins Ohio and perhaps, the presidency.

    Analyst Kyle Kondik:

    KYLE KONDIK: I would suspect the margin between Trump and Clinton in Delaware County will be smaller than the typical margin between a Republican and Democrat in this county, and that could be very helpful to Clinton, but Trump may have opportunities to make that up in some more traditionally Democratic places that might be a little bit more Republican this time.

    JOHN YANG: As voters face very unpopular choices and try to pick a winner in the presidential horse race.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang in Delaware County, Ohio.

    GWEN IFILL: Tomorrow, John crosses the state to report from a traditional Democratic stronghold where Donald Trump is hoping to make inroads.

    The post Tight race in a reliably Republican Ohio county could spell trouble for Trump appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    File photo of voting booths by Scott Olson/Getty Images

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: This year’s political campaign has a new and different wrinkle. Cyber-hacking has led to regular public releases of documents and private e-mails involving the political parties and key players.

    The Democrats are the most frequent targets. But it’s not only them.

    The list of election season cyber-attacks is growing. The latest target, former Secretary of State Colin Powell. A trove of his e-mails appeared online this week after his personal account was hacked. In one referring to GOP nominee Donald Trump and black voters, Powell wrote, “He takes us for idiots.”

    Another referred to Democrat Hillary Clinton as greedy, not transformational. The messages were posted on a site that’s reportedly an outlet for hackers tied to Russia.

    Clinton today did blame the Russians. The White House wasn’t saying.

    JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary: We don’t necessarily want to reveal sources and methods that the FBI uses to conduct these kinds of investigations.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All of this follows the July release of thousands of Democratic National Committee e-mails. They were published on WikiLeaks just before the Democratic Convention. And on Tuesday, WikiLeaks tweeted a link to more DNC files. The Web site’s founder, Julian Assange, claimed in an interview with the “NewsHour” last month that it’s done in the public interest.

    JULIAN ASSANGE, Founder, WikiLeaks: And that performs an ongoing role leading to great works in investigative journalism, successful court cases, civil litigation, criminal process, and, of course, also contributes to public understanding.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Politico reports hackers are also targeting state Democratic officials. And congressman Michael McCaul, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, says Republican operatives have been hacked as well.

    Still, in Washington yesterday, the president’s homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, played down any threat to the integrity of the election, but added:

    LISA MONACO, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security: The efforts of malicious actors to intrude upon voter registration databases and other elements of our critical infrastructure, as well as our voting infrastructure, is of concern.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The White House says if there is a response to the hacking, it may not be announced in advance, or ever.

    For a deeper look at the actors and the politics behind the hacks, we turn to Dmitri Alperovitch. He’s co-founder and chief technology officer at CrowdStrike. That’s the cyber-security firm that investigated online breaches of the Democratic Party over the summer. And David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times.

    And we welcome both of you to the program.

    Dmitri, let me start with you.

    How does this cyber-hacking of the Democrats and others this year compare to what we have seen in previous elections?

    DMITRI ALPEROVITCH, CrowdStrike: Well, it’s really fascinating right now, not in the sense that election officials are getting hacked or political figures are getting hacked.

    We have seen that in other countries. And we have certainly seen in the course of the last couple of years in Ukraine in particular, where the Russians have been very aggressive in trying to disrupt the presidential election and the parliamentary elections in Ukraine.

    But what’s impressing me about this activity right now is that it’s happening against the United States. That, we have never seen before. And it speaks frankly to the boldness of these adversaries that are doing this to all types of figures across our political spectrum.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we know the administration is not naming the Russians, so how strong is the evidence that that is that who is it, the Russians?

    DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Well, at CrowdStrike, we were the ones who were brought in to investigate the DNC and then the DCCC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hacks, and we’re protecting actually a number of organizations across the political spectrum now.

    I can tell you that, based on our investigation, we’re very confident that Russian intelligence operatives were behind those intrusions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: David Sanger, what is known about the motive of the Russians?

    DAVID SANGER, The New York Times: It’s not entirely clear, Judy, what their motives are may be.

    This could have started as a generalist espionage operation. And of, course, it’s worth remembering that political organizations are considered fair game for espionage by foreign intelligence groups, including by the NSA and the CIA. We do this in our efforts to understand, the United States, that is, in our efforts to understanding what is happening in Russia, China and other places.

    But what is different, as Dmitri said, is taking that information and, in the lingo of the industry, weaponizing it, in other words, releasing this in public. And that is something we haven’t seen much against American officials.

    We got a first taste of it when phone conversations between Victoria Nuland, a senior State Department official, and an the American ambassador in Ukraine were broadcast. Then we got more of that when the DNC material was stolen, probably as long ago as up to a year ago, but perhaps earlier this year, and then released this summer just before, as you said, the Democratic National Convention.

    So, the timing seemed released — seemed designed to disturb the election. The big fear, of course — and we wrote about this in The Times this morning — is that we’re only at the beginning end of this and the next step might be the election vote itself.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.

    How much damage — before we talk about what’s ahead, Dmitri, how much damage has been done? Is it possible to quantity? And we have every reason to expect it’s going to keep coming.

    DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Well, certainly, reputations right now are being impacted of various official, not just at the presidential level, but at the sort of local and state levels whose private dossiers and other campaign information is being released.

    So, it’s, I think, hard to tell whether it’s going to impact any races specifically. But there’s no question that it’s impacting this race. And we have already seen some resignations of senior Democratic Party officials as a result of these leaks.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And back to you, David. We heard Julian Assange in that conversation — we didn’t report just now this — but I think there’s no question that he carries a serious strong, hard feelings against Hillary Clinton, because she was very critical of him during that huge dump of State Department cables back in 2010.

    Do we believe that it is between the Russians and Julian Assange and anybody else involved, WikiLeaks, that the Democrats are going to continue to be the main target here?

    DAVID SANGER: Well, they could well be, although the leaks from Secretary Powell’s e-mails were obviously highly critical of Donald Trump as well.

    So that doesn’t quite fit the narrative. But Julian Assange has made no secret of his distaste for Hillary Clinton, and neither has Vladimir Putin. And I think it’s important to remember, Judy, that in Putin’s mind, the United States and Secretary Clinton personally intervened in the 2011 Russian parliamentary election, which Mrs. Clinton denounced as a rigged election.

    And Putin believes that encouraged street protests against him and his party. So he protested that at the time. And in his mind, this may simply be returning a favor.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I want to ask both of you about something.

    And, David, you wrote about this today. You just raised it.

    Dmitri, how vulnerable are U.S. election systems? How possible is it, how likely is it that outside actors could interfere with the voting, the election in November?

    DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Well, there’s certainly no question that there are vulnerabilities in our election systems.

    We have electronic voting machines in certain counties that don’t produce a paper ballot. So if they’re hacked, there’s actually no way to tell what the original vote intention would have been. If there’s a backup paper ballot that’s printed out, then you can always go back and sort of recount the vote manually.

    So, in those cases, they would certainly be safe against hacking. I think it all depends on how close the election’s going to be. If it’s going to come down like in 2000 to a few hundred votes and it may be a couple of counties, then there’s certainly significant potential for manipulation that could occur.

    If it’s not even close, if it’s a landslide, then it’s not going to have any effect. But what I worry about even more than the actual manipulation of the vote is the shadow that can be cast on the integrity of the process.

    Even if there is proclamations by these hackers that they hacked the election or they have manipulated the vote, whether they had actually done it or not, that’s going to convince some voters if their candidate had lost that the vote was actually rigged and the person that they were voting for should have won..

    JUDY WOODRUFF: David, you did a great deal of reporting on this. What did you find?

    DAVID SANGER: Well, the first thing we found, Judy, is that the voting machines themselves are pretty hard to hack because they are largely offline, though, as Dmitri points out, in five states, there’s basically no paper trail, and I think that’s pretty dangerous.

    Secondly, while they may not be able to manipulate the vote itself, it could cause a lot of disruption that could make the experience in 2000, the hanging chads in Florida, look like a comparatively small problem. They could, for example, alter data on voter registration rolls, so people can show up to vote and their names would be missing.

    They would probably do a provisional ballot, but it would take a while to sort that out. There’s question about the safety of the systems in which the votes once tallied on election eve are then transmitted within the states, whether that’s encrypted or not.

    Of course, every state does it differently. The fact they do it differently is probably also a source of a little bit of protection. And, finally, Judy, there’s the system that we all use to report the election results.

    So, you know, when the “NewsHour” and others report results on election night, you will be getting early tallies from the AP. If somebody got into that reporting system and you had false numbers or slightly altered numbers, then there would be a discrepancy between what we heard on TV at night and the numbers as they came in for the actual vote count.

    And that would also, as Dmitri points out, create some doubts about the system, even if it’s only the real vote count that matters.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Disturbing. And I know it merits further — there will be more reporting on this.

    Dmitri Alperovitch, David Sanger, thank you both.

    DAVID SANGER: Thank you.

    DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Thank you.

    The post How hackers could prey on election vulnerabilities appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A boy carries a toy gun while riding a pick-up truck with other boys during a demonstration calling for aid to reach Aleppo near Castello road in Aleppo, Syria, September 14, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail  - RTSNR2I

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    JUDY WOODRUFF:  In the day’s other news:  The United Nations blamed Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad for delays in getting humanitarian aid into the country, despite the new cease- fire.  U.N. officials want to send convoys into Aleppo from Turkey, but they say Syria isn’t providing permits.

    In Geneva today, U.N. special envoy Staffan De Mistura complained that valuable time is being wasted.

    STAFFAN DE MISTURA, UN Special Envoy to Syria:  These are days which we should have used for convoys to move with the permit to go because there is no fighting.  The Russian Federation is agreeing with us about this.  This is something that requires to take place immediately.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Meanwhile, in Syria, amateur video purported to show government airstrikes on rebel groups in Homs and Idlib, in violation of the cease-fire.  Syria’s main ally, Russia, reported 45 rebel violations in the last 24 hours.

    GWEN IFILL:  A self-described hit man in the Philippines now says President Rodrigo Duterte personally ordered killings by death squads.  Edgar Matobato says it happened when Duterte was mayor of the southern city of Davao.  He testified today at a senate investigation.  It’s looking into killings of 3,000 drug suspects since Duterte became president.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Back in this country, President Obama today created the first national sanctuary in the Atlantic Ocean.  The Marine Monument encompasses 5,000 square miles off New England and includes underwater canyons and mountains.  The designation means a ban on commercial fishing, mining and drilling.

    GWEN IFILL:  The head of the IRS will avoid a congressional impeachment vote for now.  Instead, John Koskinen has agreed to testify at a House hearing next week.  Republican conservatives accused him of impeding an investigation into tax treatment of Tea Party groups.  Koskinen has denied it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  And Wall Street headed back up, with tech companies leading the way.  The Dow Jones industrial average gained 177 points today to close at 18212.  The Nasdaq rose nearly 76 points, and the S&P 500 added 21.

    The post News Wrap: UN criticizes humanitarian aid delays to Syria appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, United States September 15, 2016, as she resumed her campaign schedule after a bout with pneumonia..  REUTERS/Brian Snyder  - RTSNY3Y

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    GWEN IFILL:  For Hillary Clinton, it’s the first day back.  The Democratic presidential nominee returned to campaigning today after recuperating from illness.

    She appeared rested, recovered, as ready to return to the campaign trail as she boarded her flight to North Carolina.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee:  Welcome back to stronger together.

    WOMAN:  How are you doing?  How are you feeling?

    HILLARY CLINTON:  I am doing great.  Thank you so much.

    GWEN IFILL:  Clinton was last seen Sunday in New York, nearly collapsing from pneumonia while leaving a 9/11 memorial.  Today, she flew to her first event of the week in Greensboro, North Carolina.

    HILLARY CLINTON:  I’m not great at taking it easy even under ordinary circumstances, but with just two months to go until Election Day, sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be.

    GWEN IFILL:  Clinton’s aides released a letter from her doctor on Wednesday.  It rated the 68-year-old candidate healthy and fit to serve as president.

    Today, she said her time away helped her reconnect to why she is running.  She explained later to reporters.

    HILLARY CLINTON:  I’m going to close my campaign focused on opportunities for kids and fairness for families that’s been the cause of my life.  It will be the passion of my presidency.  We’re offering ideas, not insults.

    GWEN IFILL:  Republican Donald Trump, who is 70 years old, released a letter today from his longtime doctor.  It also declared Trump healthy, noting that he takes cholesterol medication and a low dose of aspirin.

    Trump discussed his medical status in an interview airing today on “The Dr. Oz Show.”

    DR. MEHMET OZ, “The Dr. Oz Show”:  If elected at age 70, you will be the oldest person to ever enter the Oval Office.

    DONALD TRUMP:  Just about the same age as Ronald Reagan, and Hillary is a year behind me.  I would say, just based on my life, I actually — and I don’t know if this makes sense — I feel as good today as I did when I was 30.

    GWEN IFILL:  The GOP nominee also talked policy today at the Economic Club of New York.

    DONALD TRUMP:  Over the next 10 years, our economic team estimates that, under our plan, the economy will average 3.5 percent growth and created a total of 25 million new jobs.  You can visit our Web site.  Just look at the math.  It works.

    GWEN IFILL:  Meanwhile, more evidence the race is tightening, with a CBS News-New York Times poll giving Clinton just a two-point lead.  It also suggests an enthusiasm gap; 51 percent of Trump supporters say they’re very enthusiastic about voting, while only 43 percent of Clinton supporters say the same.

    Health, stamina and enthusiasm matter.  The candidates have 54 days left until Election Day, and just 11 days until their first scheduled debate.

    The post Clinton says time away helped her ‘reconnect’ with why she’s running appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Nancy Lee Sanchez, in red, executive director of the Kaplan Educational Foundation, with students she advises. Sanchez is one of the increasing number of outside coaches finding surprising obstacles that colleges put up in front of students. Photo: Michael Hunnicutt

    Nancy Lee Sanchez, in red, executive director of the Kaplan Educational Foundation, with students she advises. Sanchez is one of the increasing number of outside coaches finding surprising obstacles that colleges put up in front of students. Photo by Michael Hunnicutt

    A student at a Massachusetts private college learns midway through a semester that his financial aid is less than he expected. Since he can’t afford the difference, the college embargoes his transcript for that term and his grades from the previous two years — even though he’d already paid for those — preventing him from transferring to another institution willing to charge him less.

    At a public university in Minnesota, students in similar situations lose their meal plans halfway through a semester, are slapped with a $50 surcharge that makes it even more unlikely they’ll be able to pay what they owe, and are barred from registering for any more classes until they do. To eat, some rely on local food banks.

    These obstacles are being reported by the growing ranks of independent professional advisors, counselors and advocates trying to help students like these get into and through college — and finding mindboggling barriers that have previously remained mostly out of public view.

    Colleges and universities “make decisions that seem, on the face of it, reasonable, but in effect actually end up restricting opportunities for students,” said William Moses, managing director of education at the Kresge Foundation, which funds organizations that coach low-income and first-generation students through the complexities of earning degrees.

    At community colleges, for instance, “A lot of people actually have maybe 75, 80 credits and could get an associate’s degree, but there’s something bureaucratic that’s standing in their way, like a parking fine, a library fine, they didn’t pay the graduation fee,” said Moses. “Lots of these trivial things that occur.”

    At a time when they’re under growing public pressure to improve the low proportions of their students who actually graduate, universities and colleges raise needless hurdles, Moses and other policymakers say.

    “I think the majority of higher education is complacent” about their dropouts, he said. If colleges and universities made reforms to keep students in class, he believes graduation rates would shoot up.

    Many students “could get an associate’s degree, but there’s something bureaucratic that’s standing in their way, like a parking fine, a library fine, they didn’t pay the graduation fee.”

    Policymakers and politicians want 60 percent of the population to have higher-education certificates and degrees by 2025, up from 45 percent now, but progress toward that goal is behind schedule. What contributes to the lag is the fact that only 53 percent of college students complete their two- or four-year degrees within six years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse. The rate is even lower at community colleges, where only 38 percent of students in those two-year programs manage to actually graduate in six years.

    The obstacles that many independent coaches find are disproportionately in the way of low-income students and those whose own parents never went to college, and who often need the most help navigating the higher-education world. Many go to institutions such as community colleges and regional public universities, where there is less support than at the private, nonprofit schools to which higher-income students are more likely to go.

    “They’re basically thrown into the deep end and told that they should be able to figure that out, whereas at elite institutions, there are a lot of people standing next to you, helping you,” said Moses.

    It’s precisely because of the sometimes seemingly impenetrable complexity of American higher education that a movement has been growing to provide professional mentors and “success coaches” to students, usually from outside colleges and universities.

    Not surprisingly, many of the problems these advisors find are with money, and an inflexible system that blocks students with the least financial means from making it to graduation.

    “I had 10 students who were enrolled last semester who aren’t enrolled this semester. At least half of them didn’t come back solely based on the fact that they could not register for classes and that they had an outstanding bill,” said Britney Hayes, a coach with the nonprofit organization College Possible.

    She took those students to their financial aid offices, where they were given the choice of asking their parents to take out loans or given a list of private student loan providers and encouraged to borrow more themselves. All, she said, ended up trying to clear their debts: Some solicited dollars from family and friends and others took out private loans or aren’t enrolled but working to pay off what they owe.

    While a few institutions, such as Georgia State University, offer small-dollar grants to students who need help getting over a rough patch, most are less hospitable, coaches say.

    Colleges also charge fees low-income students can’t afford, and that have little to do with their educations, said Nancy Lee Sanchez, executive director of the Kaplan Educational Foundation, who coaches black, Hispanic, and first-generation students.

    Sanchez said she encourages these students to apply to as many schools as possible because colleges can vary in how generous they are with school aid. But with each new application, costs add up. Although they’re sometimes waived for low-income applicants, college application fees range from $50 to $100.

    Universities also require the transcripts of students who want to transfer, and each transcript costs between $7 and $12. For students who earn less than $10 an hour and often contribute financially at home, those expenses can snowball into impossible sums.

    These are not the only costs that bother Sanchez. Students at the City University of New York system who have already completed community college typically pay a $70 application fee when applying to transfer to a four-year CUNY school if they take off more than one semester in between, a CUNY spokeswoman confirmed.

    “How could you charge for a student who transferred from a community college to a four-year school within the same system because they’re not enrolled that semester?” Sanchez said. “That is a fee that I have tried to speak to schools about, and it’s almost impossible to get it waived.”

    One university system charges a $70 “application fee” to students transferring from one campus to another after a semester away.

    Colleges have their reason for assessing fees and withholding educations or transcripts from students who aren’t able to meet their financial obligations to the schools that enroll them, said Anne Gross, vice president of regulatory affairs at the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

    “Using holds on registrations, transcripts, and other privileges is the only collateral that the school has over a student who owes them money,” Gross said “While there are many instances where schools are willing to work with a student to set up payment plans, forgive a portion of a debt, or help them find additional aid, they can’t always do so.”

    She said she’s heard from college business managers who say that students too often shirk on their end of the bargain once the school adjusts the debts they owe or fees they haven’t paid.

    “The transcript is the only leverage the school has,” Gross said. And public universities and colleges “have little discretion in collecting amounts owed to them as they are required to do so by law or standards set by their state.”

    Scores of other institutions don’t have the cash or operational know-how to help students bridge the gaps between what they can pay and the aid they’ve received.

    It’s not just financial problems snagging students, however. People inside institutions who take on coaching roles have their own grievances with the quality of college advising.

    Rachel Mudge, a math instructor at Foothill College near San Jose, California, said college advisors can give lousy advice, in large part because they’re responsible for so many students that they don’t have time to get to know them.

    For example, she said, she encountered a situation where a student who was failing math was given a road map for entering a University of California program in pre-medicine.

    Such students “just circle around in failure,” she said.

    Sometimes students receive no advice from the faculty staff paid to guide them from one college to the next. Mike Larsson, who coaches low-income students in Massachusetts as founder and chief operating officer of a nonprofit there called Match Beyond, recalled advising a student who was finishing up at a community college and wanted to transfer to a public university to get a bachelor’s degree.

    “This student worked his butt off at community college and got the GPA he needed to transfer, so he needed to understand how to transfer and what college to transfer to,” said Larsson. But the transfer advisor, with whom students signed up to meet on a clipboard hanging on the wall outside her office, was available only when he was in class.

    “She had such limited times to meet with students,” said Larsson. “They made a big deal about being able to transfer from this community college to the public university, and then no one from the community college or the university was there to give them any advice.”

    He said: “It’s a complicated process, and presumably there would be a more efficient and thoughtful way for students to learn about that process.” Instead, said Larsson, “There was a complicated bureaucratic process in place really designed to make things easier for the staff and the faculty and not for the actual student who is the paying customer.”

    At some colleges, not all the courses students need to complete as part of their degree requirements are available when they need them, costing them and taxpayers money.

    “For example, you have taken Engineering 101, 102; you’re ready to take 103, but 103 was offered last semester,” said Sanchez. “Just because of when the classes are offered, it makes a student, for example, have to either take a break, or take classes that are not needed to maintain financial aid.”

    This cycle may be one of the reasons community college students leave with an average of 80 credits when they need only 60 to earn an associate’s degree, according to an analysis by the nonprofit group Complete College America, wasting time and money.

    Moses said colleges could anticipate the enrollment of popular classes by analyzing the number of students who declare a certain major and their expected years of graduation. But so far few of them do. Instead, he said, colleges are more likely to explain, “Well, we have people on sabbatical,” or, “People don’t want to teach that course.”

    Sanchez has another pet peeve: colleges that don’t disburse financial aid until one, two or even five weeks after the start of a semester, meaning some students don’t have money until then to buy textbooks, and immediately fall behind.

    All they want, these advocates say, is for the process to make more sense.

    “This isn’t about dumbing down curriculum, or doing anything like that,” Moses said. “It’s just literally giving students what they’re asking for, which is to take the courses in their major that are required, or to get enough advising to know that they actually qualify for a degree.”

    This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Read more about higher education.

    The post The bureaucratic obstacles that can derail low-income college students appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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