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

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    U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama waves after her speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Scott Audette

    U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama waves after her speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Scott Audette

    WASHINGTON — The White House said Thursday it was looking into a cyber breach after what appeared to be a scan of first lady Michelle Obama’s passport was posted online.

    The fresh disclosures, which included emails to and from White House staffers, raised further concerns about the security of sensitive systems following a string of breaches affecting government agencies, private companies and the Democratic National Committee. Though officials declined to say whether the disclosures were authentic, there were no immediate reasons to suspect they were not.

    Attorney General Loretta Lynch said it was “something that we are looking into.” The U.S. Secret Service, responsible for the first lady’s safety, also expressed concern.

    Mrs. Obama’s information was part of a batch of emails spanning from February 2015 through July 2016 and purportedly hacked from the Gmail account of a White House “advance” staffer, responsible for logistics for official trips. The breach included the photo-and-information page of her passport, including passport number, birthdate and place of birth – most of which is public information.

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said officials were taking a “close look” at what happened. While emphasizing the need for government workers to be cautious with cyber security, he sought to downplay concerns by pointing out that the advance staffer whose email was apparently hacked was a contract worker rather than a permanent member of the president’s staff.

    “At this point I cannot announce any sort of conclusion that’s been reached about the individual or individuals that may have been responsible for the cyber breach that resulted in this information being leaked,” Earnest said.

    The Secret Service didn’t say whether it had opened a formal investigation, but confirmed it was aware of the “alleged email hacking.”

    “The Secret Service is concerned any time unauthorized information that might pertain to one of the individuals we protect, or our operations, is allegedly disclosed,” said Secret Service communications director Cathy Milhoan.

    The first lady’s office declined to comment.

    The information was posted on DCLeaks.com, the same website where former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s private emails were recently disclosed. The site says its goal is to expose the misuse of political power, and has been alleged to be an outlet for hackers tied to Russian intelligence groups.

    In another reminder of how pervasive the hacking problem has become, Yahoo said Thursday that hackers stole personal information from 500 million accounts, including birth dates, hashed passwords and security answers used to verify an accountholder’s identity. The internet company attributed the breach to a “state sponsored actor.”

    The post White House probes potential hack after Michelle Obama passport scan appears online appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Members of the Civil Defence rescue children after what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria June 2, 2014. REUTERS/Sultan Kitaz/File Photo     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTSOYP4

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: The Syrian army announced late today the beginning of a major new offensive against the rebel-held eastern sectors of Aleppo. This came after a defiant Bashar al-Assad blamed the United States for the failure of a cease-fire agreement struck two weeks ago.

    Hari Sreenivasan reports.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: A rain of fire lit up Aleppo, Syria, overnight. It was one of scores of airstrikes, the most in months, and it proved a thundering, brutal answer to Secretary of State John Kerry’s plea for the Syrian military and its Russian allies to ground their jets.

    Airstrikes resumed Monday, hours after a U.S.- and Russian-brokered cease-fire expired. In an interview broadcast today, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the Associated Press the blame lies squarely with Washington and its allies.

    PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, Syria (through translator): We announced that we are ready to be committed to any halt of operations, or if you want to call it, cease-fire, but it’s not about Syria or Russia. It’s about the United States and the terrorist groups that have been affiliated to ISIS and al-Nusra and al-Qaida, and to the United States and to Turkey and to Saudi Arabia.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The White House today rejected that charge, but Assad went further, insisting the U.S. deliberately targeted Syrian forces in a weekend airstrike. The U.S. military says that was a mistake.

    At the same time, Assad denied any Syrian or Russian involvement in the attack on a humanitarian aid convoy outside Aleppo on Monday. In Washington, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Marine General Joseph Dunford went before the Senate Armed Services Committee, and rejected Assad’s denial.

    The general also acknowledged a rift with the State Department over a cease-fire provision calling for military coordination with the Russians in Syria.

    GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff: Chairman, I do not believe it would be a good idea to share intelligence with Russians.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Committee chair Republican John McCain pressed Dunford on whether the Obama administration’s Syria policy, which prioritizes fighting the Islamic State and other militant groups and not Assad, is working.

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-Ariz.): I’m asking, is our military strategy succeeding in Syria?

    GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD: Our military strategy is focused on the counter-ISIL campaign. In my judgment, we are succeeding in that campaign.

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: So, as far as you’re concerned, we ignore the 400,000 dead and the six million refugees that’s caused by Bashar Assad?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: As that hearing was under way in Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry was in New York, meeting with the Russian foreign minister and the International Syria Support Group in a bid to revive the cease-fire. Prospects appeared doubtful, and Moscow announced it’s sending its only aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean Sea to begin new air operations in Syria.

    And outside Damascus, the United Nations resumed deliveries of food and medicine, sending a convoy into a suburb of the Syrian capital.

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

    The post Launching new strikes, defiant Assad blames U.S. for failed cease-fire appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Adrian Colbert raises his fist at a protest calling for the arrest of Officer Betty Shelby, who shot dead unarmed motorist Terence Crutcher, outside the Tulsa Police headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S. September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Nick Oxford - RTSOOXE

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL:  In the day’s other news:  Prosecutors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, charged a white policewoman who killed an unarmed black man last Friday.  Officer Betty Shelby will be tried for first-degree manslaughter.  Video shows Terence Crutcher walking away from Shelby, his arms in the air, before she fired.

    The district attorney acknowledged it’s all deeply troubling.

    STEVE KUNZWEILER, District Attorney, Tulsa County:  We need to pray for wisdom and guidance on each of our respective paths in life.  Each of us at the end of our days will have to account for our own actions.

    GWEN IFILL:  If convicted, Officer Shelby could face at least four years in prison.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Yahoo is confirming one of the largest breaches of online data ever.  It says hackers stole personal data from 500 million of its users’ accounts.  The Internet company blamed an unspecified state-sponsored actor.  It said the break-in dates to late 2014, but was only recently found.

    GWEN IFILL:  Afghanistan signed a draft peace deal today with a notorious Islamist warlord.  Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is believed to be living in Pakistan.  The U.S. designated him a global terrorist in 2003.  Hekmatyar’s representative signed the accord in Kabul.  It grants full political rights to his group, and allows him to return to Afghanistan.

    AHMAD GILANI, Head of High Peace Council (through translator):  I am happy and fully confident that the finalizing of this agreement will be the start of permanent peace and stability in Afghanistan.  On this, I congratulate the people of Afghanistan.

    GWEN IFILL:  This marks the Afghan government’s first peace deal with insurgents since the U.S. invasion in 2001.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Police in South Africa clashed with university students today during growing protests against rising tuition.  Officers fired tear gas in Johannesburg after students started throwing rocks.  and they surrounded a student residence where protesters gathered.  The demonstrators say fee increases will only add to racial inequalities, with many black students unable to afford the cost of college.

    GWEN IFILL:  Power is slowly returning to Puerto Rico tonight.  The island has been in the dark for nearly 24 hours, after a fire at a power plant caused a widespread blackout.  It’s affected 3.5 million people.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  On Wall Street, stocks posted more gains, amid relief that interest rates aren’t rising just yet.  The Dow Jones industrial average gained 98 points to close at 18392.  The Nasdaq was up 44 points, the S&P 500 added 14.

    GWEN IFILL:  And the White House today welcomed the winners of the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal for 2015.  The arts awards went to singer Audra McDonald, composer Philip Glass, and actor Mel Brooks, among others.  Humanities Medal recipients included NPR radio host Terry Gross, author Isabel Wilkerson, and chef Jose Andres.

    The post News Wrap: Officer who shot unarmed Tulsa man to face charges appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Two people sit on the ground as they protest in front of police in uptown Charlotte, NC  during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek - RTSOVKP

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Soldiers are in the streets of North Carolina’s largest city tonight, after two nights of violence. And the people of Charlotte are waiting to see what happens next, in the streets, and in the investigation of the fatal shooting that started it all.

    GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R-N.C.): I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate any types of violence directed toward citizens.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Appeals for calm came from all quarters, from Governor Pat McCrory on down. Hours earlier, he declared a state of emergency, and sent National Guard troops rolling into the city. That followed another night that began with peaceful demonstrations against the police killing of a black man on Tuesday.

    But it quickly turned again to violence. Someone started shooting during a march.


    MAN: Shots fired. Shots fired.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: A black protester was critically wounded, and many in the crowd accused the police.

    WOMAN: When they shot the guy — they started screaming no justice no peace, and then they just shot him.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The crowd retreated before paint balls and tear gas, but small groups smashed windows, looted stores and set fires. Police denied they had shot the protester, but Chief Kerr Putney said today it’s being investigated.

    KERR PUTNEY, Charlotte Police Chief: The allegation was made that one of our officers might have been involved. As I said before, guys, we are here to seek the truth. So, we’re investigating that to find the truth, the absolute truth.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The city also faced growing pressure to release video of the fatal shooting that set the protests in motion. Officials say Keith Lamont Scott had a gun and refused to put it down. His family insists he was unarmed.

    Chief Putney said today the video raises more questions.

    KERR PUTNEY: The video doesn’t give me absolute, definitive visual evidence that — that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun. I didn’t see that in the videos that I reviewed.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The chief said he’s trying to arrange to let the family see the video, but he cited state law as a reason not to make it public.

    As the day went on, the local district attorney asked the state bureau of investigation to take over the case, while, in Washington, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced she’s sending in a team of peacekeeping experts, and she made an appeal of her own.

    LORETTA LYNCH, Attorney General: I urge those responsible fore bring violence to these demonstrations to stop, because you are drowning out the voices of commitment and change and you’re ushering more tragedy and grief in our communities.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in Charlotte, some of the city’s biggest employers, from Bank of America and Wells Fargo to Duke Energy, told workers to stay home.

    Meanwhile, National Guard troops fanned out, with hundreds more officers also expected on the streets tonight.

    For some further insight into what local officials are doing this evening, I’m joined by Trevor Fuller. He’s the chair at large of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners. He’s been out in the Charlotte community today, and I spoke with him a short time ago.

    Chairman Fuller, thank you for joining us.

    How would you describe the situation in Charlotte right now?

    TREVOR FULLER, Chair, Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners: Well, there’s no doubt that it’s very tense.

    Thank you for having me, Judy.

    It’s a tense time in Mecklenburg County, something we haven’t really seen in our lifetimes. And so we are trying our best to keep things under control as best we can.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What are you hearing from people you talk to in the community? And we should say Mecklenburg County essentially encircles the city of Charlotte.

    TREVOR FULLER: That’s right. So, Mecklenburg County, we have over a million people who live here, approximately 800,000 of whom live in the city of Charlotte.

    And what we’re hearing is a high degree of unrest, uncertainty about what’s going to happen tonight and the next several days. And so what we’re trying to do is to manage — manage the flow of information, to manage our emotional state, and hoping that we can get some calm, so that we can then have the dialogue that we so desperately need.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you think it was the right decision to bring in the National Guard to beef up, in effect, the police tonight?

    TREVOR FULLER: Well, it’s clear that we didn’t have enough resources last night, and so I felt it was necessary for us to have some additional resources available to us. Even if it’s more than we need, I think we’re better off having the greater resources than not.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What sort of job do you believe the leaders in the community have done so far, the police chief, the mayor, and others?

    TREVOR FULLER: Well, I think everyone is working just as hard as they can to try to deal with the situation that really we haven’t dealt with in our community.

    We have had big events here, but nothing quite like this. And so I’m a little more forgiving under circumstances that people haven’t dealt with before. I think we’re doing the best we can, in particular our chief of police, who is trying hard under very difficult circumstances to maintain control.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you mean when you say this is something the community has not dealt with before?

    TREVOR FULLER: Well, Charlotte is a welcoming place, and we like to deal with our issues by talking through them, by developing plans of action together.

    And we are not a community that has this kind of disruption. We are a peaceful community, and we believe it’s better when we are able to talk with each other, even if we have difficult conversations, that it’s better to talk through these things and develop a communal plan of action.

    And so to have these kinds of unrest and violence in our community is something that is just not normal for us.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But do you see the justification that apparently many feel for being angry, in that they feel something was done in the shooting of this man who they say didn’t deserve to be shot to death?

    TREVOR FULLER: Yes, there is no question that I grieve for the family of Mr. Scott.

    I grieve for the people who are in the streets who are protesting. And what I believe they are protesting is a sense of helplessness, a sense of feeling under siege, that the system doesn’t seem to respond to them.

    And so that’s why, in Mecklenburg County, I have been talking so much about the challenge of economic opportunity. How can we make sure that prosperity that’s in this county gets shared by all?

    I have talked about universal pre-K in Mecklenburg County, the strength of our educational system. So there is no question that the protests, the unrest that we’re seeing has a source, a legitimate source. Our challenge now is, how do we get to the root of that and solve it without violence?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what do you think the answer to that is?

    TREVOR FULLER: Well, the answer is, first, we have to regain calm. We have to regain security, because, my view is, when emotions are high, intelligence is low.

    And so we have got to get our community in a place of safety, so that we can have these conversations that we need to have, conversations about who shares an economic prosperity, conversations, difficult conversations about race.

    But it’s very difficult to have those conversations when people do not feel safe. And so we first have to establish safety. And then we need to not only have the dialogue, but also have a plan of action and execute on it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Trevor Fuller, who is the Mecklenburg County commission chair, we thank you very much.

    TREVOR FULLER: Thank you very much, Judy.

    The post Soldiers stand in Charlotte’s streets amid police shooting protests appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Lawyers for the family of Keith Lamont Scott, who was shot and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police on Tuesday, released cell phone video of the incident captured by his wife.

    The video appears to show the moments leading up to and immediately following the incident, but not the actual shooting. 

    WARNING: Video contains graphic footage.

    WARNING: Video contains graphic footage. Viewer discretion is advised.

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Scott refused to drop a weapon that was later recovered at the scene. But in the two-minute clip, Rakeyia Scott can be heard telling the officers that her husband is not armed and suffers from a traumatic brain injury (T.B.I).

    She also pleads with Scott to get out of the vehicle. The footage was provided both to NBC News and The New York Times by the family’s attorneys, Justin Bamberg and Eduardo Curry.

    (WARNING: Graphic Language)

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer: “Hands up!”

    Rakeyia Scott: “Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot him. He has no weapon. He has no weapon. Don’t shoot him.”

    Officer: “Don’t shoot. Drop the gun. Drop the fucking gun.”

    Scott: “Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot him.”

    Officer: “Drop the gun.”

    Scott: “He didn’t do anything.”

    Officer: “Drop the gun. Drop the gun.”

    Scott: “He doesn’t have a gun. He has a T.B.I. [traumatic brain injury].”

    Officer: “Drop the gun.”

    Scott: “He is not going to do anything to you guys.”

    Scott: “He just took his medicine.”

    Officer: “Drop the gun. Let me get a f–king baton over here.” [muffled]

    Scott: “Keith, don’t let them break the windows. Come on out the car.”

    Officer: [inaudible]

    Officer: “Drop the gun.”

    Scott: “Keith! Don’t you do it.”

    Officer: “Drop the gun.”

    Scott: “Keith, get out the car. Keith! Keith! Don’t you do it! Don’t you do it! Keith!”

    Officer: “Drop the gun.”

    Scott: “Keith! Keith! Keith! Don’t you do it!”


    Scott: “F–k. Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? He better not be f–king dead. He better not be f–king dead. I know that f–king much. I know that much. He better not be dead. I’m not going to come near you. I’m going to record, though. I’m not coming near you. I’m going to record, though. He better be alive because … I come…”

    Scott: “You better be alive. How about that? Yes, we here, over here at 50… Fifty? 9453 Lexington Court. These are the police officers that shot my husband, and he better live. He better live. Because he didn’t do nothing to them.”

    Officer: “Is everybody good? Are you good?”

    Scott: “He good. Nobody … touch nobody, so they’re all good.”

    Officer: “You good?”

    Scott: “I know he better live. I know he better live. How about that? I’m not coming to you guys, but he’d better live. He better live. You all hear it, you see this, right? He better live.”

    Officer: [inaudible]

    Scott: “He better live. I swear, he better live. Yep, he better live. He better f–king live. He better live. Where is…He better f–king live, and I can’t even leave the damn…I ain’t going nowhere. I’m staying in the same damn spot. What the fuck. That’s O.K. did you all call the police? I mean, did you all call an ambulance?”

    Source: New York Times

    The post Video: Charlotte shooting of Keith Scott filmed by wife, released by family lawyers appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Ohio voters cast their votes at the polls for early voting in the 2012 U.S. presidential election in Medina, Ohio, U.S. on October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/File Photo - RTSNKB0

    Ohio voters cast their votes in 2012. Photo by REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/File Photo

    A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Ohio is illegally removing voters from its registration list, an important decision that could make tens of thousands of Ohioans able to vote in the critical battleground state on Nov. 8.

    The decision by a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a federal district judge’s decision that the policy was lawful, reported the Associated Press. The Department of Justice weighed in on the case in July, arguing the policy violated the law.

    Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, directed his office to remove voters from eligibility if they had not voted in a federal election since 2008. The Ohio American Civil Liberties Union and liberal policy group Demos filed a lawsuit in April to stop the policy, arguing that Husted was violating the National Voter Registration Act.

    WATCH: Why Ohio has purged at least 200,000 from the voter rolls

    “We are very pleased about the decision from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals,” ACLU Ohio senior policy director Mike Brickner told the NewsHour. “They have affirmed that the supplemental process used by Husted does violate federal law. The secretary of state cannot purge people simply because they haven’t voted in three federal elections.”

    Husted said in a statement, “This ruling overturns 20 years of Ohio law and practice, which has been carried out by the last four secretaries of state, both democrat and republican. It also reverses a federal court settlement from just two years ago that required exactly the opposite action.”

    It is unclear exactly how many voters were removed from the voter lists. Brickner says the number is between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands.

    The NewsHour’s own research showed that at least 200,000 people have been removed from voter rolls under the policy. An investigation by the Cincinnati Enquirer found that many of Ohio’s 88 counties have different policies for removing voters from their lists and that Husted did not know how many voters had been removed from the list statewide.

    President Obama received 103,481 more votes than Mitt Romney in 2012 to win Ohio’s 18 electoral college votes. That state has voted for the winner of the presidential race in every year since 1960, and no Republican has won the White House without winning there.

    Brickner said it will be up to a federal district judge on how to restore voters to the registration list and the Ohio ACLU asked that the state restore voters to the list or allow those removed to vote with a provisional ballot on election day.

    Husted could appeal the decision to the entire 6th Circuit or to the U.S. Supreme Court. The secretary said he will appeal if any remedy requires his office to reinstate voters who have died or moved out of the state.

    The post Voter purge is illegal in battleground Ohio, says federal appeals court appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A combination photo shows U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) in Los Angeles, California on May 5, 2016 and in Eugene, Oregon, U.S. on May 6, 2016 respectively.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (L) and Jim Urquhart/File Photos - RTX2DUNR

    A combination photo shows U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (R). Photo by Lucy Nicholson (L) and Jim Urquhart/Reuters

    NEW YORK — More than half the country fears a Trump presidency. And only about a third of Americans believe he is at least somewhat qualified to serve in the White House.

    In the final sprint to Election Day, a new Associated Press-GfK poll underscores those daunting roadblocks for Donald Trump as he tries to overtake Hillary Clinton.

    Moreover, most voters oppose the hard-line approach to immigration that is a centerpiece of the billionaire businessman’s campaign. They are more likely to trust Clinton to handle a variety of issues facing the country, and Trump has no advantage on the national security topics also at the forefront of his bid.

    Trump undoubtedly has a passionate base of support, seen clearly among the thousands of backers who fill the stands at his signature rallies. But most people don’t share that fervor. Only 29 percent of registered voters would be excited and just 24 percent would be proud should Trump prevail in November.

    Only one in four voters find him even somewhat civil or compassionate, and just a third say he’s not at all racist.

    “We as Americans should be embarrassed about Donald Trump,” said Michael DeLuise, 66, a retired university vice president and registered Republican who lives in Eugene, Oregon. “We as Americans have always been able to look at the wacky leaders of other countries and say ‘Phew, that’s not us.’ We couldn’t if Trump wins. It’s like putting P.T. Barnum in charge. And it’s getting dangerous.”

    To be sure, the nation is sour on Clinton, too. Only 39 percent of voters have a favorable view of the Democratic nominee, compared to the 56 percent who view her unfavorably. Less than a third say they would be excited or proud should she move into the White House.

    “I think she’s an extremely dishonest person and have extreme disdain for her and her husband,” said one registered Republican, Denise Pettitte, 36, from Watertown, Wisconsin. “I think it would be wonderful to elect a woman, but a different woman.”

    But as poorly as voters may view Clinton, they think even less of Trump.

    Forty-four percent say they would be afraid if Clinton, the former secretary of state, is elected, far less than say the same of Trump. He’s viewed more unfavorably than favorably by a 61 percent to 34 percent margin, and more say their unfavorable opinion of the New Yorker is a strong one than say the same of Clinton, 50 percent to 44 percent.

    That deep distain for both candidates prompts three-quarters of voters to say that a big reason they’ll be casting their ballot is to stop someone, rather than elect someone.

    “It’s not really a vote for her as it’s a vote against Trump,” said Mark Corbin, 59, a business administrator and registered Democrat from Media, Pennsylvania.

    Roughly half of voters see Clinton at least somewhat qualified, while just 30 percent say Trump is.

    Even when it comes to what may be Clinton’s greatest weakness, the perception that she is dishonest, Trump fails to perform much better: 71 percent say she’s only slightly or not at all honest, while 66 percent say the same of Trump. Forty-nine percent say Clinton is at least somewhat corrupt, but 43 percent say that of Trump.

    That deep distain for both candidates prompts three-quarters of voters to say that a big reason they’ll be casting their ballot is to stop someone, rather than elect someone.

    “Whatever her problems are, they don’t even come close to him,” said JoAnn Dinkelman, 66, a Republican from Rancho Cucamonga, California, who will cross party lines and vote for Clinton. “Everything that comes out of his mouth that is fact-checked turns out to be a lie.”

    Trump finds no respite with voters when it comes to what he vows to do as president, either.

    Nearly 6 in 10 oppose his promise to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, and only 21 percent of his supporters and 9 percent of registered voters overall are very confident he would succeed at fulfilling his promise that Mexico would pay for the construction.

    Six in 10 believe there should be a way for immigrants living in the country illegally to become U.S. citizens — a view that Trump opposes.

    “The wall isn’t the answer. It’s not feasible and Mexico won’t pay for it,” said Timothy Seitz, 26, a graduate student at the Ohio State University and a Republican. “We should be leaders. We shouldn’t cower from others and cut ourselves off in the world.”

    Beyond immigration, voters say they trust Clinton over Trump by wide margins when it comes to health care, race relations and negotiations with Russia. She also narrowly tops Trump when it comes to filling Supreme Court vacancies, as well as another of the billionaire’s signature issues: handling international trade.

    Trump is narrowly favored on creating jobs, 39 percent to 35 percent, while in general, voters are about equally split on which candidate would better handle the economy. Voters are slightly more likely to trust Trump than Clinton on handling gun laws, 39 percent to 35 percent.

    Voters are closely split on which candidate would better handle protecting the country and evenly divided on which would better handle the threat posed by the Islamic State group. And Americans are much more likely to say they trust Clinton than Trump to do a better job handling the U.S. image abroad.

    The AP-GfK Poll of 1,694 adults, including 1,476 registered voters, was conducted online Sept. 15-19, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, and for registered voters plus or minus 2.7 points.

    Respondents were first selected randomly using telephone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn’t have access to the internet were provided access for free.

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

    The post Voters view Clinton unfavorably, but majority fear Trump presidency appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTSIYT4

    Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Ted Cruz announced Friday that he would vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump this November.

    “After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump,” Cruz wrote in a Facebook post published Friday.

    Cruz had previously held off from voicing support for Trump at the GOP convention in July. “To those listening, please, don’t stay home in November,” he said in a speech at the convention. “Stand and speak and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

    In the Facebook post, Cruz said that he intended to follow through with his promise that he would vote for the Republican nominee and that having Hillary Clinton in the White House would be “wholly unacceptable.”

    Read the full post below:

    The post Ted Cruz changes course, endorses Donald Trump appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A combination photo shows U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) in Los Angeles, California on May 5, 2016 and in Eugene, Oregon, U.S. on May 6, 2016 respectively. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (L) and Jim Urquhart/File Photos - RTX2DUNR

    Photo by REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson and Jim Urquhart/File Photos

    If Donald Trump were in school, many of his comments would earn him a trip to the principal’s office, according to many educators across the country.

    They say they are struggling with how to teach an election cycle that has inflamed racial and ethnic tensions, sparked name-calling between the Republican presidential nominee and Democratic standard-bearer Hillary Clinton, and drawn stark lines between—and even within—the parties.

    Some teachers say they have found themselves trying to strike a balance with their own code of ethics as educators: They feel they have a responsibility to condemn some of Trump’s controversial remarks, despite their wish to maintain objectivity in front of their students.

    READ MORE: Explaining the ‘scandals, lies and incivility’ of the 2016 election to teens

    “I try to be very neutral in class—that’s always been my philosophy,” said Erik Anderson, a U.S. government teacher at Valley View Middle School in Edina, Minnesota. “Probably for the first time, there have been some things said in the campaign that I can’t just ignore. I have to say, ‘This isn’t right.’ I don’t remember ever before being unable to play it right down the middle.”

    Trump’s comments on immigration, in particular, have struck a nerve with Anderson and other teachers. The GOP candidate has called for large-scale deportations of undocumented immigrants, the construction of a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, and an outright ban on Muslim immigration.

    “It’s not so much the policy—it’s some of the words used, some of the hyperbole that’s thrown out there, and the personal nature of things. I would have a hard time looking some of my kids in the eye if I didn’t say anything,” Anderson said.

    “Everything is so potentially explosive that it makes you feel unsafe getting near it, but it’s too important. It’s our democracy; it’s our election.” –Kyle Redford, 5th grade teacher

    In an unscientific survey conducted in April, Teaching Tolerance, an educational project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, found that 40 percent of 2,000 teachers who participated were hesitant to teach about the campaign at all. As the new school year gets underway, many teachers are still reluctant, said Maureen Costello, the director of Teaching Tolerance.

    For the most part, the concern is not coming from administrators, she said. Rather, classroom teachers are wary of their own ability to navigate the tensions.

    Protective instincts

    Of course, not all teachers are unsympathetic to Trump. There are several Teachers for Trump social-media groups, for example. But teachers from those groups did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

    Sean Hiland, a high school social studies teacher in Atlanta who tweets and blogs under the handle Conservative Teacher, plans to vote for Trump. He said he tries not to broadcast his political beliefs to his students but, instead, encourages them to look past the rhetoric coming from both parties.

    “I don’t let my kids take anything a politician says at face value,” Hiland said. “I don’t want to breed cynics, but I don’t want them to be naive voters either.”

    Indeed, having students analyze issues beyond the campaign rhetoric is one of many ways that teachers are approaching the 2016 election, said Meira Levinson, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who has been holding professional-development sessions on the election with teachers.

    Some teachers have decided to facilitate strictly issue-based discussions, she said. Others have tried to put the election—and Trump’s rise in popularity—in historical context.

    Some teachers say they will teach about the election as in previous years but be more careful with setting the ground rules on acceptable classroom discourse. Still others are focusing on teaching their students how to analyze media reports and notice biases.

    Justin Christensen, an Advanced Placement U.S. government teacher at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, put it this way: “In my classroom, we’re not here to say, ‘I like this person, I like that person.’ We’re here to be political scientists.”

    Still, Levinson said many teachers “are still wrestling and stuck. Grown men started to tear up as they talked about this. They said, ‘I’ve been thinking about this all summer long. What am I going to do?'”

    Such teachers, she said, are committed to ensuring that their classrooms are safe spaces for their students, particularly those of color or from marginalized communities. At the same time, they’re worried that parents might complain to the school’s administration if they take a stance against a candidate in the classroom.

    Educators say the divisive and inflammatory rhetoric in this campaign cycle has caused some students—particularly undocumented students, children of immigrants, and Muslim students—to feel unsafe and concerned about their futures if Trump is elected. That has sparked teachers’ protective instincts.

    “It doesn’t feel like I can say, ‘There are two candidates and you should make up your own mind,'” said Luke Carman, a math teacher at Albany Park Multicultural Academy in Chicago, which is almost 80 percent Hispanic. “It’s obvious, but I still feel like they should hear, ‘No, I’m not voting for Donald Trump. No, I don’t support the rhetoric that’s coming from his campaign, because I fundamentally love and care about you as human beings.'”

    At the same time, teachers are concerned about making sure students who support Trump feel protected to voice their views.

    “The challenge of this election is how do you respond in the moment to a kid who says something that violates your school’s norms, or the norms of the classroom, without silencing the student or leading them to accuse you of endorsing the other candidate,” said Jonathan Gold, a middle school history teacher in Providence, Rhode Island.

    Mock election troubles

    Kyle Redford, a 5th grade teacher at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, California, and an opinion blogger for Education Week Teacher, said she wants to make sure both her students from Republican families and students who might feel personally threatened by Trump’s rhetoric feel supported. But if those two sides come into conflict, she said, she would feel comfortable stepping in to defend the latter group.

    “We’ve already seen kids using Trump’s language against each other. … ‘If Trump gets elected, your family has to go home.’ It’s really hurtful,” Redford said.

    Costello noted her group, Teaching Tolerance, has created a Speak Up for Civility contract for educators, other school staff members, and parents to sign, asking them to refrain from name-calling and stereotyping to model good citizenship for students.

    Teachers had requested a resource like this, she said. On the day of its release, about 1,000 copies were downloaded.

    The 2016 presidential campaign has also put a damper on one of the civic-minded traditions in U.S. schools: the mock election. This year, the exercise could lead to problems, some educators say, particularly if students are given the roles of impersonating the candidates and trying to win classmates’ votes.

    “I would not recommend it this year, because it encourages caricature and it just opens the door to the kind of language that doesn’t belong in school,” Costello said.

    If Donald Trump were in school, many of his comments would earn him a trip to the principal’s office.

    Kelly Wickham Hurst, a former educator and the founder of the advocacy group Being Black at School, started a Twitter hashtag, #blockthemock, to discourage educators from hosting mock elections, particularly for the sake of children of color.

    “To impersonate candidates—I think it would be very, very dangerous and damaging to children,” she said. “It would inflame some of the racial and ethnic tensions that kids are already hearing on the news.”

    Some schools are finding alternate ways to conduct mock elections. Hiland, the Atlanta teacher who supports Trump, said he will continue to host his school’s mock election but will conduct it in a panel format, with a student moderator and two panels of students representing both Trump and Clinton. He did that in 2008 and said it resulted in a greater a focus on the issues, as opposed to the candidates’ personalities.

    High-stakes teaching

    Even the National Student/Parent Mock Election is discouraging the impersonation element.

    “Discretion is the better part of valor,” said Gloria Kirshner, the co-founder and president of the program (of which Clinton has been a board member since 1987). “We’re never mentioning the candidates by name this year. We’ve given teachers a great deal of thoughtful ideas for kids to think about, rather than the usual ‘he said, she said.'”

    Despite the myriad of challenges of teaching the 2016 election, however, many teachers also see it as a unique opportunity.

    “I think I’m going to have students who have never cared more about history class,” Gold, the Rhode Island history teacher, said. “They’re going to want to understand all of this, and they’re going to want to talk to someone about this.”

    And the stakes are high, educators say. “You can’t go into autopilot this year,” Redford said. “Everything is so potentially explosive that it makes you feel unsafe getting near it, but it’s too important. It’s our democracy; it’s our election. You can’t pretend it’s not happening. It’s not going away.”

    This story was produced by Education Week, a nonprofit, independent news organization with comprehensive pre-K-12 news and analysis. Read the original post here.

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11:  A flag sits in a name of the 9/11 Memorial before ceremonies for the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2012 in New York City. New York City and the nation are commemorating the eleventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and one crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

    President Barack Obama has vetoed a bill that would have allowed the families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama nixed a bill Friday that would have allowed the families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia, arguing it undermined national security and setting up the possibility that Congress might override his veto for the first time of his presidency.

    The bill had sailed through both chambers of Congress, with final passage just days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. But the White House said the bill, which doesn’t refer specifically to Saudi Arabia, could backfire by opening up the U.S. government and its officials to lawsuits by anyone accusing the U.S. of supporting terrorism, rightly or wrongly.

    “I have deep sympathy for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,” Obama wrote to the Senate in a veto message about the bill, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. But, he said, “the JASTA would be detrimental to U.S. national interests more broadly, which is why I am returning it without my approval.”

    The move paves the way for Congress to try to override the veto, which requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate. Never before has Congress managed to overturn one of Obama’s vetoes, but proponents have said they’re confident they have the backing needed.

    With lawmakers eager to return home to campaign ahead of the November election, a vote could come as early as Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office said the Senate would take up the override “as soon as practicable in this work period.”

    Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat and a traditional Obama ally, came out swinging against Obama’s veto while predicting lawmakers would reverse it “swiftly and soundly.”

    “The families of the victims of 9/11 deserve their day in court, and justice for those families shouldn’t be thrown overboard because of diplomatic concerns,” Schumer said.

    A coalition of 9/11 victims’ families, meanwhile, said they were “outraged and dismayed.” In a response circulated by their lawyers, the families insisted the bill would deter terrorism, “no matter how much the Saudi lobbying and propaganda machine may argue otherwise.”

    Fifteen of the 19 men who carried out the attacks were Saudi nationals. Families of the victims spent years lobbying lawmakers for the right to sue the kingdom in U.S. court for any role elements of Saudi Arabia’s government may have had in the attacks. Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, strongly objected to the bill.

    Obama long had objected, too, warning that if U.S. citizens are allowed to take the Saudis into court, then foreign countries could do the same to the United States, its diplomats and its service members. The administration was also apprehensive about undermining a longstanding yet difficult relationship with Saudi Arabia. The U.S. relies on the Saudis as a counter to Iran’s influence in the region as well as to help combat the spread of terrorism throughout the Middle East.

    Since the bill’s passage, the White House has lobbied aggressively to persuade lawmakers to withdraw support, and found some sympathetic listeners. The bill had passed by voice vote — meaning lawmakers didn’t have to go on the record with their positions — and the White House was hoping the prospect of a recorded vote would lead some Democrats to reconsider publicly rebuking their president.

    Still, the White House said it was unclear whether it had peeled off enough lawmakers to block a veto override.

    Debate about the bill has spilled onto the presidential campaign trail, as candidates vie to appear tough on terrorism. The issue is one of a few where Democrat Hillary Clinton has publicly disagreed with Obama, with her campaign saying Friday that she supports efforts to “hold accountable those responsible” for the attacks.

    In the run-up to Obama’s veto, the White House said the system the U.S. uses to identify and punish countries that support terrorism was set by law and is more effective than a “patchwork” of legal decisions.

    The bill’s proponents disputed arguments of a boomerang effect if the measure were to become law. Another sponsor, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said foreign governments cannot look the other way if terrorist activities are being plotted or launched from inside their borders.

    The bill had triggered a threat from Saudi Arabia to pull billions of dollars from the U.S. economy if it was enacted. But Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir denied in May that the kingdom made any threats over the bill. He said his country had warned that investor confidence in the U.S. would shrink if the bill became law.

    The House vote on Sept. 9 came two months after Congress released 28 declassified pages from a congressional report into 9/11. The pages reignited speculation over links that at least a few of the attackers had to Saudis, including government officials. The allegations were never substantiated by later U.S. investigations into the terrorist attacks.

    Brian McGlinchey, director of advocacy for the website 28pages.org, said making the documents public “strengthened the resolve of 9/11 families and other advocates of justice to bring about the enactment” of the bill.

    He said a decision by Obama to deny the 9/11 families “their well-deserved day in court would truly stain his legacy.”

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    BEIJING, CHINA - JANUARY 23: A women wearing the mask rides a bicycle on the street during severe pollution on January 23, 2013 in Beijing, China. The air quality in Beijing on Wednesday hit serious levels again, as smog blanketed the city. Feng Li/Getty Images

    A women wearing the mask rides a bicycle on the street during severe pollution in Beijing, China. An NBER working paper finds that air pollution in China takes its toll on workers’ productivity. Feng Li/Getty Images

    Making Sense/NBER logo

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

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

    Even in a job where employees’ only physical exertion involves answering the phone, air pollution takes its toll on productivity.

    That is the finding of “The Effect of Pollution on Worker Productivity: Evidence from Call-Center Workers in China,” by Tom Chang, Joshua Graff Zivin, Tal Gross and Matthew Neidell. While previous studies have shown that pollution affects productivity in physically arduous jobs, the new research gauges its effects on workers whose tasks are primarily cognitive.

    The study of Chinese workers found that for each 10-unit increase in the pollution index, worker productivity, measured by number of calls handled, declined by 0.35 percent.

    Ctrip, China’s largest travel agency, provided data on the daily productivity of 5,000 workers at its call centers in Shanghai and Nantong, which was measured against the government-reported daily air pollution index, or API, for each city.

    The primary pollutant in both cities is particulate matter, largely the result of fossil fuel combustion. The smallest of these particles are so fine that they can penetrate indoors and be absorbed into the bloodstream, potentially affecting brain function. Particulate exposure also irritates the ears, nose, throat and lungs and causes mild headaches, which might similarly impede work performance. For particularly sensitive individuals, symptoms occur when the index rises above 100. Symptoms become more widespread when the index exceeds 150. To place this pollution level in perspective, in 2014, the API exceeded 150 on 13 days in Los Angeles and 33 days in Phoenix.

    READ MORE: What we know — and what we don’t — about global warming

    The study of Chinese workers found that for each 10-unit increase in the pollution index, worker productivity, measured by number of calls handled, declined by 0.35 percent. The average duration of individual calls was not affected by pollution levels, but the time workers spent on break increased. Poor air quality impeded the performance of otherwise highly productive employees as much as it did that of less productive workers.


    One concern the researchers had was that traffic — a major contributor to pollution — would distort the results of their study. A nightmare commute could reduce productivity by raising employee stress and causing late arrivals to work. However, the company was piloting a work-at-home program for 150 employees during part of the study period, and their performance was similarly affected by pollution.

    “If our measured productivity impacts are the result of diminished cognitive function, the negative impacts of pollution may well be larger for high-skilled occupations that form the backbone of the service and information economy.”

    The researchers illustrate the magnitude of their findings by assuming that the same relationship that they estimate in China would apply to workers in Los Angeles County. They estimate that on the 90 days in 2014 when particulate pollution levels exceeded federal standards, productivity in the service sector was reduced by $374 million relative to what it would have been if the pollution levels had just met the federal standards.

    “Given the size of the service and knowledge sectors in the developed world, even very small impacts from pollution could aggregate to rather substantial economic damages,” the researchers conclude. “If our measured productivity impacts are the result of diminished cognitive function, the negative impacts of pollution may well be larger for high-skilled occupations that form the backbone of the service and information economy.”

    — Steve Maas, National Bureau of Economic Research

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    EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company for use by severe allergy sufferers. Photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

    EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company for use by severe allergy sufferers. Photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

    Even as the cost of EpiPens dramatically rose, so too did the number of prescriptions written for patients in Medicare, sending spending by the program skyrocketing nearly 1,100 percent from 2007 to 2014, a new report shows.

    During the same period, the total number of Medicare beneficiaries using EpiPens climbed 164 percent, from nearly 80,000 users in 2007 to more than 211,000 in 2014, according to the analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. While the report does not delve into what’s behind the increase, factors could include increased awareness among people with allergies, marketing efforts and access to insurance coverage.

    The abrupt rise is notable because many people think that life-threatening allergies are less common among the elderly. In addition, epinephrine — the active ingredient in EpiPens — can pose greater risks to older adults. Food and Drug Administration labeling urges caution when prescribing to this age group.

    “That level of increase gives me pause,” said Martha Twaddle, senior medical officer for Illinois at Aspire Health, which provides home-based supportive care for people with serious illness. She did not work on the study. Epinephrine — the active ingredient in EpiPens — can cause side effects including chest pain, rapid increase in blood pressure or irregular heart rhythms, which could be fatal, for people with certain medical conditions, including heart disease.

    The foundation study comes amid ongoing scrutiny — including congressional testimony Wednesday by Mylan CEO Heather Bresch — over EpiPen price increases. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Foundation.)

    EpiPens are used in cases of severe allergic reactions. Costs for a two-pack of the pens has gone from about $94 in January 2007 to $609 in May of this year. In response to criticism of its price increase, Mylan announced in late August that it would make a generic version and price it at half of its current brand name price.

    The new numbers from Medicare could add fuel to the debate over these price increases and voters’ demands that Congress take action to roll back the cost of the popular medication.

    The health insurance program for senior citizens and disabled people spent about $6.4 million on the devices in 2007, but spent $75.3 million in 2014, with sharp price hikes by the manufacturer driving much of the increase. Those figures reduce the amount spent based on estimates of how much Medicare saved in rebates from manufacturers, although the agency would not disclose the exact amounts.

    Still, when patients show up in emergency rooms with life-threatening allergic reactions, epinephrine is a first line of defense, said Robert Glatter, emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. Those whose allergic reaction isn’t immediately life threatening would more likely get a mix of steroids and antihistamines, he said.

    All patients with suspected severe allergic reactions — even the elderly — are given either a prescription or an actual epinephrine auto injector upon discharge, he said.

    “We tell them to have it and use it if they have a lip or tongue swelling, shortness of breath, a skin rash [or other symptoms] of a problem,” said Glatter, adding that adults tend to become more susceptible to food allergies as they age.

    WATCH: Did outcry on social media lead to Mylan’s generic EpiPen?

    Increased awareness among doctors and patients about the importance of epinephrine could account for some of the increase seen in the study, said Richard Lockey, a past president of both the World Allergy Organization and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

    “Most people survive an allergic reaction … the people who don’t survive are those who don’t get epinephrine or don’t get it soon enough,” said Lockey, who says it is necessary to balance this idea with the possible risks epinephrine poses for older patients. “It’s a matter of clinical judgment.”

    Although Medicare is generally thought of as the government health program for older people, about 16 percent — or 9.1 million beneficiaries — are younger than 65. They are generally disabled or have kidney problems requiring dialysis. According to foundation researchers, although the majority of users were older than 65, a disproportionate share – 35 percent — of the EpiPen users were younger than 65. Additionally, 26 percent were between 65 and 69. Use fell off with age, with only 15 percent of the users being between ages 75-85.

    “You can come up with a ton of reasons why the under-65 population might see an increase in EpiPen use,” said James Goodwin, an expert in geriatric medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He did not work on the study.

    As for the overall increase, Goodwin said there are likely many factors and it isn’t necessarily evidence of overutilization. Still, Goodwin says he specializes in patients older than age 80 and has never prescribed an EpiPen, nor had three of his colleagues, who work with slightly younger elderly patients.

    One geriatrician said he has patients who are on it with prescriptions from their allergists, who weigh the pros and cons of having the drug. Those physicians “are the ones to say your allergy is serious enough to potentially become life threatening.”

    At the American Geriatrics Society, epinephrine is not included on the organization’s list of potentially inappropriate medicines, said Nicole Brandt, a professor at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland.

    “When you look at in context of someone having a severe anaphylactic reaction, which is life threatening, you want access to treatment,” said Brandt. She said doctors should caution patients about the appropriate use of the devices and encourage them to seek additional medical attention if they experience side effects.

    She suggested the increase in Medicare prescriptions seen in the study reflects access to insurance more than overuse.

    Since Medicare drug plans cover part of enrollees’ total drug costs, beneficiaries in prescription drug plans pay less that the full retail price. But beneficiaries still paid significantly more of their own money for EpiPens during the seven-year period studied in the report. Average out-of-pocket spending for beneficiaries with Medicare drug coverage nearly doubled for each EpiPen, from $30 to $56. The report does not include price increases beyond 2014.

    Still, those costs are far less than what some people with private insurance might pay, particularly those with high deductibles. As a result, at least one doctor — geriatrician David Barile from Princeton, New Jersey — who did not work on the study, speculated that the rise in Medicare use of EpiPens might simply be older people getting them for their grandchildren.

    Liz Szabo contributed to this report.

    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.

    KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to another in our Brief But Spectacular episodes.

    Yesterday, President Obama honored Mel Brooks with the National Medal of Arts.

    Tonight, we celebrate one of his comedic cohorts, legendary performer and writer Carl Reiner,” whose new book, “Carl Reiner: Now You’re Ninety-Four,” will be out later this year.

    CARL REINER, Actor/Writer: I wanted to be an operatic tenor.

    My father had these Red Seal records of Enrico Caruso. I lacked one thing — two things, actually, pitch and timing. Shall I sing it for you?

    I don’t know how the voice is today, but we will see. We will find out.


    CARL REINER: Those people who have a sense of humor get through life more comfortably than those who don’t.

    My influences in comedy started because my parents loved comedy. My parents always sought out comedies. The Marx Brothers were their favorites and our favorites. Couldn’t wait for a new Marx Brothers movie.

    I was a straight actor. I didn’t think I would ever be doing that. My brother saw a thing in the paper that said free acting classes, WPA, 100th and Center Street, New York.

    I met Mrs. Whittington, an old English woman, who said: “We’re going to all learn something from Shakespeare. We’re going to do a soliloquy from Shakespeare. We’re going to recite Queen Gertrude’s speech on the death of Ophelia.”

    And to this day: “There is a willow grows aslant a brook, that shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream. There with a clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke, when down her weedy trophies and herself fell in the weeping brook, pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay to muddy death.”

    It’s pretty close to that, anyway. Applause, applause.

    Max Liebman, who was doing a show called “Your Show of Shows,” and he need a straight man for Sid. Sid was maybe the best comedian that ever lived.

    I auditioned, and I got the job. There was a young comic called Mel Brooks. I didn’t know who he was, but he was standing up and delivering a monologue about a Jewish pirate.

    Delighted to be here on “The Hollywood Palace.”

    MEL BROOKS, Comedian: Delighted to be alive, never mind anything else.

    CARL REINER: And said to Mel, here’s a man who was actually at the scene of the crucifixion 2,000 years ago. He’s not too — and he said, oh, boy. I said, you knew Jesus? He says, thin lad, right? He wore sandals, walked around with 12 other guys? Yes, he said, they always came into the store. I had a candy store. They never bought anything, but I gave them water. They were nice boys.

    Steve Allen, he said, fellows, you got to record this. He had a recording studio, World Pacific Jazz. He said, go there, wail, do whatever you want with it.

    For about two-and-a-half-hours, Mel and I ad-libbed. I cut it down to 47 minutes, and the 2000-Year-Old Man was born. We still weren’t sure that it was for everybody, and that only Jews would like it.

    Cary Grant popped by. And I said, oh, I have a record I think you’re going to like. And I gave him one of the records. He came back the following day, and he says, could I have a dozen? He says, I’m going to England. He came back and he said, she loved it. I said, who loved it? He said, the queen mother.

    Went to Buckingham Palace, played the record.

    And I said to Mel, the biggest shiksa in the world loved our record we’re in.

    When I’m asked what’s the best time I have had in my life in show business, hands down, creating and producing “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and writing for it.

    If you have one good friend, you’re lucky. And I have one good friend. I call him my best friend. My life is fuller because I have had Mel in my life.

    If he doesn’t come over, I don’t know what to do with myself. He comes over every night. We love movies. And we said any movie that has three or four lines in it, and we hear those, we know we’re in for a good time. The lines are, lock all the doors, secure the perimeter, and let nobody in and out, and get some rest.

    He became an entity. And that entity wrote some of the best and most memorable movies of all times, I mean, to this day. Farting is OK because he wrote a movie called “Blazing Saddles.”

    The best thing that ever happened to me was meeting a woman named Estelle Lebost. She raised three of the greatest kids ever lived. And she raised one great husband, because she was eight years older than I, knew everything about everything.

    She informed me about life, politics. Everything that I am is because Estelle Reiner, Estelle Lebost, made me who I am today.

    Sixty-five years with the right woman, you can’t ask for anything more.

    This is Carl Reiner. That was my Brief But Spectacular take on this guy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Carl and Mel, we love you both.

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

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: It has been, as we have been discussing, a difficult week in Charlotte, where police and residents have clashed over the shooting death of a black man.

    It comes in the same week that an officer was charged with manslaughter, as we have also been discussing, over that shooting in Tulsa.

    But even amid the protests and tensions around the country, an unusual theater project is trying to help a community move forward.

    RELATED: Away from Battle, Soldiers Find Relief in ‘Theater of War’

    Jeffrey Brown went to Ferguson, Missouri, to see the efforts to heal.

    ACTOR: Were you aware of my proclamation forbidding the body to be buried?

    ACTRESS: Yes, I knew it was a crime.

    ACTOR: And you still dared to break the law?

    ACTRESS: I didn’t know your laws were more powerful than divine laws, Creon.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In ancient Thebes, a clash between the state’s need for security and order and the conscience of an individual, as a dead body lies on the ground unburied.

    But we are in modern-day Missouri, near Ferguson, where two years ago, 18-year-old Michael Brown’s body lay in the street for four hours after he was shot and killed by a police officer, leading to violent clashes and days of protest and rioting.

    A grand jury cleared officer Darren Wilson of criminal wrongdoing. But the U.S. Justice Department found a pattern of racial bias in a predominantly white police force in a predominately black city.

    LT. LATRICIA ALLEN, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department: We talk about the racial disparity and all of that. It was just a populace waiting to boil over.

    JEFFREY BROWN: We drove through the area where the shooting and rioting occurred with Lieutenant Latricia Allen of the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department. She was brought into Ferguson back then to help calm things down. Two years later, she told me, she can make arguments for both sides.

    LT. LATRICIA ALLEN: My life is being a law enforcement person and being a mother, because nobody really knows how I feel. But what I do know is that a mother shouldn’t have to bury her child, period.

    JEFFREY BROWN: She also says this of Ferguson and its aftermath:

    LT. LATRICIA ALLEN: It’s the big F-word. It’s something we don’t even really talk about anymore. It’s something that occurred, and no one is proud of anything that happened. It’s not like we’re on — wearing a badge of honor, police officers one, the citizens zero, nothing like that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, “Antigone in Ferguson,” a theater production, has brought Lieutenant Allen back here again, this time to sing.

    Performances at the Wellspring Church and Normandy High School, where Michael Brown graduated months before his death, were presented by a New York-based group called Outside the Wire, best known for its so-called Theater of War productions aimed at helping military personnel deal with PTSD.

    BRYAN DOERRIES, Co-Founder, Outside the Wire: It’s about holding a space, creating a space where truth can be told and they can be heard.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Founder Bryan Doerries has expanded the subjects he addresses in his work, but kept the original format. Four prominent actors present a staged reading of an ancient Greek tragedy.

    ACTOR: No woman will ever tell me what to do as long as I live.

    JEFFREY BROWN: A group of experts or, here, community members representatives, including a friend of Michael Brown, and his former teacher respond to the issues raised.

    DUANE FOSTER, Former teacher of Michael Brown: So many people look at the actual act of the shooting. People forget about the total blatant disrespect of that boy laying in the ground because people were trying to figure out what to do.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, most important, the audience of community members, people living amid the problem being tackled, engage in a discussion.

    WOMAN: We, all over the country, have the same problems here as everywhere. We are at war with ourselves.

    MAN: Where do we go as a society when we know what we do is wrong and we continue to do it?

    JEFFREY BROWN: Sometimes, that can get heated.

    LT. LATRICIA ALLEN: That’s the big elephant in the room, that we don’t want to talk about the murder rate. We don’t want to talk about black-on-black crime, because that gives us a black eye.

    MAN: There is no such thing as black-on-black crime; 94 percent of all crimes committed by black men are — yes, are perpetrated by other black men, but, also — if you read the statistics, it also says that 84 percent of murders that are committed on white people are committed by white people.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All of them connecting dots between the ancients and their experience and pain.

    WOMAN: We collectively are the Greek chorus, and we speak for what democracy is and for what we want in our world.

    JEFFREY BROWN: For Ferguson, Doerries chose Sophocles’ tragedy “Antigone.”

    BRYAN DOERRIES: So, the central question of this play, “Antigone,” is, what happens when everyone’s right or feels justified in what they’re doing?

    We think about the fact that the protester in the street is right for feeling rage and betrayal and anger, for being devastated by incident after incident after incident that we keep hearing about in the news. And the police force is right to be afraid, because we live in this incredibly violent world, in which one only has a few milliseconds sometimes to make a decision that could change the rest of your life.

    And so the play’s about stepping back from all that and acknowledging that we’re all human and we’re all fallible.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Doerries found a local collaborator in Phil Woodmore, a choral teacher at a middle school who also heads singing groups for the Saint Louis Police Department and for his church.

    PHIL WOODMORE, Composer, “Antigone in Ferguson”: I feel that the artistic value of what we’re doing breaks down a lot of barriers. It breaks down a lot of walls, and it breaks down a lot of things that put people in boxes, where they can be open, they can express themselves freely, and they can give maybe information or share things, personal stories that they might not have shared otherwise.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The star power came from four actors, Gloria Reuben, Reg E. Cathey, Samira Wiley, and Glenn Davis, who’d flown in from various television and other projects specially for this one day of performances.

    REG E. CATHEY, Actor: Take her away. She has said enough. Bury her alive.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Cathey, known for his work on “House of Cards,” is a veteran performer of the Theater of War. This time, he played Creon, the king and uncle of Antigone, who, in trying to preserve the state, is also tearing it apart.

    REG E. CATHEY: The family killing each other struck me really deeply, I guess because it’s only my sister and I. I have lost both my parents.

    And that’s what we’re doing in America. America, if we’re one family, if we truly are e pluribus unum, we’re killing each other in a vile way.

    SAMIRA WILEY, Actress: These people are doing wrong in the eyes of the gods.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Samira Wiley is a newcomer to this type of performance. She played Antigone, and said her current work on “Orange Is the New Black” has a deep connection to events in Ferguson after Michael Brown’s death.

    SAMIRA WILEY: You are standing in front of people. You are looking at people who were in this young man’s class, people who were his educators. And what we do, at the end of the day, is fake. It’s — we’re acting.

    But we can elicit real, emotional, human feelings from people. And one thing that Bryan Doerries tells — or told me was that it’s not so much about what we can give them, but what they can give us. And you can hear that in theory, but I really experienced that today.

    REG E. CATHEY: And that last song, “I’m Covered,” which has multiple meanings of, I’m covered in the blood of the lamb, which, of course, is Jesus. But, sometimes, it sounded like they were singing, I’m covered in the blood of the land, which strikes you a whole different way.

    Then you’re thinking, oh, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, which is the selfish part of being an actor, that you love it. We love killing the people.


    REG E. CATHEY: But it’s even better when we all get to take a journey together. And that happened this afternoon.

    JEFFREY BROWN: That song was written by Phil Woodmore and dedicated to Saint Louis law enforcement. Through art, a chance to be heard and perhaps, move forward. From Ferguson, Missouri, I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”

    That song was written by Phil Woodmore and dedicated to Saint Louis law enforcement, through art, a chance to be heard and perhaps move forward.

    From Ferguson, Missouri, I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    Welcome, gentlemen.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we turn to the lead story tonight and for the last few nights, David, two more shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, North Carolina, by police of black men. We’re still getting the information. We know the Tulsa policewoman was charged with manslaughter.

    What are we to make of this, the fact that these keep happening?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, first of all, the videos are just harrowing and have an effect on, I think, all of us and an effect on the national mood.

    It’s just this is a man losing his life. This is a wife losing her husband. These are cops in the middle. And you can feel the pressure building on them as they don’t know — quite know what to do. Beyond that, we don’t really know that much.

    I do think these things — these particular situations are always going to happen. And it seems to me there are two issues here, one, getting justice in the individual case or these individual cases and all the individual cases, and then, second, which is to me more serious and the more political subject, is, we do know there is tremendous racial disparities in searches, in arrests, in all sorts of police activities, maybe not in police killings.

    Harvard Research shows there is not much racial disparity there, but just about in every other police activity, there are these huge racial disparities. And when we see the protests, at least the legitimate parts of the protests, that’s the problem.

    And so some — I think it’s useful to separate these individual cases — and we don’t know what happened here yet — from the larger problem, which is indisputable. And finding a solution to that larger problem is really the political issue.


    And can we focus on the real problem, Mark, when we have these — when feelings run high, emotions run high, understandably?

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes, I’m not sure. I don’t think really we have so far, certainly. I mean, there’s — I agree with David. This is so incredible — it’s wrenching and it’s sobering.

    And my own perspective on it has changed since Senator Tim Scott, the African-American Republican from South Carolina, took to the Senate floor, a card-carrying conservative, an authentic conservative man, ran as such, got elected and reelected as such, and said — spoke about his own experience of being stopped seven times by police officers for the principal offense of, as he put it, driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood, or even being stopped by Capitol Police and demanded to show his I.D.

    It does give you an idea that this is a real problem understanding fully the pressures that David talked about and the risks that police officers do take.

    But I guess, when I look at this, Judy, most of, I mean, I — I just think about where we are as a country. And I’m not sure at this moment.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, that’s pretty — I don’t know what one says to that.


    I mean, I think, you know, as we go around the country — I was in Nashville last night. I met with some cops. I was in Chicago last week. And you find that a couple things happen. You find a lot of police forces that are actually doing better, I think, at community policing, getting integrated with the communities. San Antonio, Texas, does a fine job.

    And then — but then, in say, the Chicago case, there does seem to be some evidence of a Ferguson effect, of the cops being — not wanting to be on those videos, and then pulling back. And then you get the spike in the murder rate as a result.

    And so these are just super hard issues. And, on the one hand, there’s clear bias in the way African-Americans are treated. On the other hand, I used to be a police reporter. When cops are out there, even if they have a gun in their hands, they do not feel safe. They feel like they’re scared.

    And so these situations are harrowing on all sides.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Mark…

    MARK SHIELDS: Tulsa does show, I think, the value of transparency, which we are not seeing…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: They put the video out almost immediately.

    MARK SHIELDS: They put it out. And it was there in the case of Terence Crutcher. And the district attorney moved quickly, and started the process of resolution.

    North Carolina is — the only video we have seen so far is that of the widow. So, you know, there seems to be a lack of — or an absence so far of transparency.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. It seems to me the arguments for not releasing the video seem weak to me. And they really should release it.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we saw — well, the family is saying they have seen the video, and they are not saying it’s definitive, but they want it made public.

    And, David, Hillary Clinton put out a statement. I guess she tweeted that the video should be made public. She’s going to Charlotte this weekend.

    What do we know about these candidates at a moment? This comes in the middle of the election. We’re just a couple of days away from the debate. She’s made some sympathetic comments. Donald Trump initially made a sympathetic comment about the victim in Tulsa, but then, I guess, last night made a speech and talked about we need to support the police.

    DAVID BROOKS: Right. Yes.

    So, just politically — and this is not what I support, but what I think realistically is the effect of this. I think it helps Donald Trump. I go back to 1968. Richard Nixon was helped by riots, if you want to put it that way. And Trump’s campaign, from the convention speech on, has been really predicated on the argument that Americans are under violent threat, and that there is chaos and that our social order is being undone.

    And if there’s not just the shootings, but the riots and the unrest, I think, at least for a certain segment of the population, that will undergird and support his argument, his perceptions of what America is. And I do think, if there’s any political effect of this, that air of disorder will end up helping him a little.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You agree it helps him?

    MARK SHIELDS: I think it’s a pretty established principle in American politics that looting during a campaign helps the self-identified law and order candidate.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, not all the protests involve looting.

    MARK SHIELDS: No. No — but when there is looting, is my point.

    I think that North Carolina is a test case in many respects. North Carolina had the reputation among Southern states for being so progressive under the governorships of — particularly of Terry Sanford and Jim Hunt, exceptional national — state leaders and national leaders.

    And now, since — in the last year, since the legislature and its bathroom laws and other effects, it’s seen its own reputation tarnished. It’s lost the National Basketball Association all-star game, a matter of pride in a basketball state, lost the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, which is an identifying icon of North Carolina life.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Then some voting rights controversies.

    MARK SHIELDS: It’s lost — the voting rights controversy.

    It’s lost jobs and business expansion. But I think this — Charlotte had the self-identified reputation of being the Atlanta, the new Atlanta, too busy to hate, and all the rest of it. And I think this is a blow. And I don’t know how it plays out politically in the national election.

    I think Secretary Clinton, it’s — I’m not sure what the rewards are of going to Charlotte. There is a risk if looting followers, if there isn’t — there’s peace and tranquility, and she’s seen as a unifying figure, then that’s a positive.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, David, we are, we said, just a couple of days, hours away from the first debate.

    Let’s talk about it. What do we see, what do we feel at this moment? There are expectations. How different are they for these two candidates and what are they?


    First, it’s easy to overestimate the effects of the debates. We all have 1960 in our head. But, historically, they produce maybe a one- or two-point bump. And so George Bush lost a lot of debates. A lot of losers have won a lot of debates, and it hasn’t shifted the election.

    I’m very taken with an article in “The Atlantic Monthly” by James Fallows, where says, when you watch the debate, you should turn off the volume.



    DAVID BROOKS: But when you — you might lose us, but — unless you just want to look at our faces.


    DAVID BROOKS: But when you think of pivotal debate moments, it’s often a visual image. And that’s certainly true with Donald Trump.

    What he does is, he has exercised dominance displays throughout the Republican race. And it’s really his physical nature that helped him sort of stare down Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. And a lot of the moments are — either — Al Gore sighing — they’re not the words that come out of their mouth. They’re the visual posture they display that people are evaluating.

    And even though they don’t matter as much, I do think if Trump can seem normal, he will have normalized himself a little maybe for some voters.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But that’s — you’re saying that’s a lower expectation, a lower bar.

    DAVID BROOKS: To seem normal, a normal human being, yes, not mentally ill, yes.

    MARK SHIELDS: To return to my sports metaphor, I think, like a good basketball coach, the Clinton people have worked the referees this week. They have made the point that this is — he’s not to be held to some minimal standard, if he shows up and isn’t profane or obscene or obnoxious, that this is a debate for the presidency, that we’re measuring the qualifications of these people.

    So I think, in that sense, I think it has worked. He has been put on notice.

    I think she has a great advantage going in, not simply that she has debated Barack Obama five times, 90 minutes of Bernie Sanders five — he never has — he’s never gone one on one with anybody. He’s been able to choose his spots, and go in and speak in wall posters and bumper sticker slogans.

    You can’t do that for 90 minutes. You can’t just talk make America great again, build a great wall. This is a — it’s a test of some substance.

    She knows exactly all the policy. She just has to not try and prosecute the case. She has to try and win and tell people why she wants to be president, what difference it’s going to make in their lives, two things, not 23 things, what two differences they’re going to make, what two improvements.

    So, I really think that she has an advantage. He has a great advantage, Judy, in the sense that he’s enormously comfortable with the camera, he’s enormously comfortable on stage.

    And Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s great sidekick, had a marvelous statement. He said never underestimate a man who overestimates himself. And that’s — Donald Trump meets that definition completely.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you see — David, how do you see expectations for Hillary Clinton? What standard does she have to meet?

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, the coolness standard.

    If she loses this election, it will be for one reason, because she loses millennials. And they’re not going to vote for Trump, but they could vote for Gary Johnson and somebody, Jill Stein. And so she has to win over millennial.

    And this might be one of the few times she gets a lot of voters, at least live or later online, to actually look at her. And she has to somehow resonate with the people that Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama touched so deeply.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How does she do that?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, some of it may be college — some of it may be just the vulnerable style.

    This is a generation that’s grown up with — on social media. And they’re used to a style of social communication that’s more casual. And she has not been that. Her fund-raising style is like Cher and Barbra Streisand. It’s not like — it’s really reaching the young. Her policy style is very 1960s Democrat, sort of traditional.

    And she has not, either stylistically or substantively, broken in with the current issues, either stylistically, or the concerns a lot of young people have about TPP and all that kind of stuff, about the openness of trade.

    And so, somehow, millennials has to be her central focus.

    MARK SHIELDS: She’s running against somebody who’s substance-free, substance-free.

    I mean, so I think there is a certain responsibility on filling in the empty spaces, which are large in the case of the Republican nominee.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, the two of you are going to be with us all night Monday night starting at 6:00 on “NewsHour.”

    MARK SHIELDS: With the sound…



    JUDY WOODRUFF: And a little bit of news here at the end.

    We’re told that NBC is reporting both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will meet on Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, so a little bit of foreign policy in the middle of all this.

    We can’t wait to see you Monday night.

    MARK SHIELDS: Thank you, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you, both, Mark and David.

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    Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) commander Ivan Marquez and members of the leadership attend a news conference at the camp where they prepare to ratify a peace deal with the Colombian government, near El Diamante in Yari Plains, Colombia, September 23, 2016.  REUTERS/John Vizcaino - RTSP66T

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: This coming Monday, in Cartagena, Colombia, a peace deal will be signed that aims to end more than 50 years of war. The accord also will mark the end of the insurgency by the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia, known as the FARC.

    Hari Sreenivasan has more.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All this week, the guerrilla group has been meeting at a desolate location in Southern Colombia. Today, unanimously, the FARC voted to approve the deal and form a new political party.

    After the signing this coming Monday, the accord must survive one more hurdle, a nationwide popular referendum next weekend.

    Special correspondent Nadja Drost has been at this meeting all week, and joins me now.

    Nadja, we usually don’t talk about political conventions in other countries. And the images that I have seen from here have sound stages, fog machines. It seems almost like a musical festival. Give us a sense of what it was like there.

    NADJA DROST: Well, to give you a sense of where we are, we are in the middle of the Colombian plains, essentially the middle of nowhere, and we’re surrounded by miles and miles of shrubland.

    It might strike one as a strange place to hold an enormous conference, but this is a FARC stronghold and it has significant historical meaning for the rebel group.

    The conference that the FARC has been holding here this week is historic. It is their final conference as an armed group. Here, they have made the decision to terminate their armed existence and they have been plotting their strategy to transform to a political party.

    As you mentioned, there are sound stages, concerts. There are also guerrilla camps. They’re really going all out. It looks like the FARC are using this as an opportunity to introduce a new face to the Colombian and international public. With over 300 journalists here camped out in the middle of nowhere, it’s a chance for the FARC to change the image of them as a narco-terrorist group to a group of rebels who very much want peace and want to transform themselves to become political actors.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, so what’s the next step here? How do they move forward to disarm?

    NADJA DROST: If the peace accords do receive approval from the Colombian public, then FARC troops, thousands of them, will start mobilizing themselves into large areas that are being called zones of concentration, where they will stay put for six months as they start a gradual process of disarmament.

    But FARC leaders here this week said that they need assurance that an amnesty law will be passed before their troops can move anywhere. They are demanding that they have legal protections to ensure their troops are not going to get arrested as they move on that.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What are the indications in how that referendum vote will go?

    NADJA DROST: It is leaning more towards the side of accepting the peace deal. However, there is a very strong campaign, being led mostly by former President Alvaro Uribe, in rejection of the peace deal.

    However, both sides of the negotiation, both the FARC and the government, have made very clear that, if the no side wins, if the public rejects this peace deal, there is no way that they are going back to the negotiating table.

    One of the FARC head negotiators, Carlos Antonio Lozada, told reporters that there is not even the remotest possibility. And on the government side, it’s expected that in the case that this referendum fails the peace process, then we will likely not see another negotiation for at least 10 years.

    So both the FARC and the government are sending a very strong message to the public that this is Colombia’s best, if not possibly last chance for peace.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Nadja, you have covered the FARC for a long time. How did we get to this point?

    NADJA DROST: There have been many attempts in the past decades to end this conflict, both through negotiation or through military means.

    Essentially, both sides have become very tired of war. Colombia has lived now in 52 years of war. The FARC has suffered year after year of military blows. Their ranks have been shrinking. And despite very strong military campaigns, the Colombian government has not defeated them entirely.

    So, I think that it became clear to both sides that this war was going to be intractable unless a negotiation took place.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, special correspondent Nadja Drost joining us from Colombia tonight, thanks so much.

    NADJA DROST: Thank you so much.

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    Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton holds a rally at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania August 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Mark Makela - RTX2LBMU

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: This week, we’re taking a close look at how the presidential candidates might actually govern.

    Last night, the focus was on what Donald Trump’s early days in office could look like.

    Tonight, we turn to Hillary Clinton and what her campaign statements tell us about a Clinton-led White House.

    John Yang takes it from there.

    JOHN YANG: Hillary Clinton’s opponents have said that her presidency will be extension of the Obama agenda. But what would the early days of a Hillary Clinton White House look like? What might she propose and what could she actually get done?

    For this, we turn to my colleague Lisa Desjardins. And Amie Parnes, who’s in New York. She’s the co-author of “HRC” and senior White House correspondent for The Hill.

    Welcome to you both.

    Amie, let me start with you.

    You literally wrote the book on Hillary Clinton. What do you think her priorities will be in the first days in the White House?

    AMIE PARNES, Co-author, “HRC”: Well, she’s mentioned as much on the campaign trail repeatedly.

    She said that she wants to push a major infrastructure bill to fix roads and bridges and highways across the country. She also wants to do a whole immigration overhaul. And that’s something that she says is at the top, the very top of her list.

    She also wants to get done campaign finance reform, and I think, also, she’s going to have to deal with the Supreme Court and whether or not she picks up Obama’s appointee and takes that forward. And that is going to be interesting to see in this political climate.

    JOHN YANG: And, Amie, based on your reporting on Hillary Clinton, based on her time in the Senate, do you think she’s going to take a bipartisan approach, try to be more bipartisan than we have seen in the past?

    AMIE PARNES: I definitely think so.

    When you talk to people who have worked with both Clintons, they’re very much into working across the aisle, to extending an arm. I have spoken to Trent Lott about this. When he was majority leader, he worked with Majority Leader Daschle and with Bill Clinton. He feels very confident, he has said in the past, that Secretary Clinton will work in the same way.

    She has a pretty good track record of working across the aisle with Republicans. She worked with Tom DeLay and other Republicans, so I think this is very much her approach. I think she’s very much a centrist and I think this is what she’s really looking to do when she takes the office.

    JOHN YANG: Lisa, one of the many things you watch here at the “NewsHour” is the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Is that outreach or bipartisanship going to be replied to or answered, do you think?

    LISA DESJARDINS: It remains to be seen.

    In her corner, Hillary Clinton has two big factors in Congress. She has a growing women’s caucus that she’s worked with for a long time, right now, 20 female senators. It could be 19 or 20, depending on what happens this election, very likely 20.

    But she also has something even better. She has a commanding general coming into his own, Chuck Schumer. And notice, in the past few years, year-and-a-half, we haven’t seen him on our air very much. That’s because he’s becoming more bipartisan himself. He’s been reaching across the aisle in preparation, I think, for becoming the new Democratic leader.

    So, he’s trying to build that groundwork for her. She has got that. She also, however, John, has some conservative Democratic senators who are not going to agree with her on everything.

    JOHN YANG: And talk more about the women senators. It’s a very tight group, as you know, and includes Republicans. Could that help her reach across the aisle?

    LISA DESJARDINS: I’m sure she’s hoping so.

    It is an interesting group, because they eat dinner together, they support each other, they want to grow their ranks across the aisle. But some of them are in very risky Senate seats and they can only go so far. If Hillary Clinton is perceived as unpopular as she becomes president, some of these female senators are not going to take a big risk for her. They’re not going to support maybe tax cuts — or tax increases for the wealthy.

    They may support some things that are more across-the-board popular, like a change in child care or perhaps a smaller infrastructure plan than the one Hillary Clinton is proposing now.

    JOHN YANG: Amie, you mentioned the Supreme Court vacancy. That could be an issue that she’s got to deal with starting essentially on day one. What do you think that will tell us about the rest of her — about her approach to Congress, about her attitude toward Congress?

    AMIE PARNES: It will tell us a lot, and she’s going to have quite a little debacle, because she’s going to face some stress and some pressure from the left.

    They’re going to want her to not go with someone like Merrick Garland and pick someone who is a little more of their liking and of their ilk. And then she’s going to face — it basically shows what she’s going to do with Republicans, if she kind of, you know, walks toward them a little bit and offers someone who’s more centrist.

    I think it’s very much — you can kind of read the tea leaves there and see how she’s going to govern.

    JOHN YANG: And, Lisa, do you think the leaders on the Hill, the Republican leaders on the Hill, are going to take that as an indication as well?

    LISA DESJARDINS: Absolutely. It will be one of the first big signs of how she’s going to work with them or not.

    And it’s even more important than just sort of predicting what the next few years are going to be. That Supreme Court choice may determine what she can do on immigration, not just any comprehensive reform that may or may not go through Congress, but can she issue executive orders, can she keep President Obama’s executive orders?

    That Supreme Court choice will determine all of that.

    JOHN YANG: Amie, are there things that she might try to do by executive action, rather than going to Congress first?

    AMIE PARNES: I think there are quite a few.

    I think she’s going to try to take Obama’s executive actions a little further on immigration, I think maybe on climate. She has basically tiptoed and hinted as much about this. And she’s been asked about this. I think a lot of Republicans kind of feel threatened that she’s already talking about taking executive action.

    I think her first step would be to work with Congress, and I think that’s her preference, so I don’t think she’s going to move right away into executive action.

    JOHN YANG: And, Lisa, what’s her relations with, or what do you think the relations will be between the Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and the Republican leader — we don’t know if he will be majority or minority — and the House speaker, who likely will remain House speaker, Paul Ryan?


    Both of those men have their own very complex dynamics within their caucuses or conferences. We know that Hillary Clinton has worked with Mitch McConnell in the past.

    We understand it’s a relationship of respect, not a particularly warm relationship necessarily, vs. Mitch McConnell who did work perhaps best of all with Joe Biden. That’s something she will have to work on, but there is a potential there.

    Paul Ryan, I think, he is someone who has such difficult dynamics in his own conference. He has the far right, who sometimes says they will just jump ship on him. He’s got moderates. Those are things that the White House under Hillary Clinton is going to have to be very tactical about.

    They are strategists. They’re going to try to use that to their advantage, but it’s difficult for them, because sometimes Paul Ryan cannot make the decisions himself for his conference.

    JOHN YANG: Amie, we have less than 30 seconds left, but how do you think a President Hillary Clinton would make use of a President Bill Clinton?

    AMIE PARNES: I think that’s a really interesting question, and a lot of us want to know that.

    She talked about making him maybe an economic adviser, and got a little bit of pushback for that. But I think she is definitely going to put him to use. He is not going to have the traditional spouse role. She will definitely, obviously, send him to Capitol Hill, I would think, to work with people that he knows.

    And she will probably host — she and he maybe will host meetings at the White House for both Democrats and Republicans. And I’m sure that’s something that they want to start right away.

    JOHN YANG: Amie Parnes, Lisa Desjardins, thank you very much.

    AMIE PARNES: Thank you.

    The post What President Hillary Clinton would do on Day 1 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Officer Betty Shelby, 42, charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, is shown in this Tulsa County Jail booking photo in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., September 23, 2016.  Courtesy Tulsa County Jail/Handout via REUTERS    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY - RTSP3ZU

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    JUDY WOODRUFF:  In the day’s other news:  A Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed black man turned herself in early today.

    Betty Shelby is charged with first-degree manslaughter.  She was released after posting a $50,000 bond.  Her first court appearance is next week.

    Republican Donald Trump got a boost today ahead of the first presidential debate on Monday night.  In a reversal, former rival Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced that he will vote for Trump after all.  Writing on Facebook, Cruz said: “I promised to support the Republican nominee.  And I intend to keep my word.”

    Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s camp called for increased scrutiny of Trump at the debate.  A spokeswoman said — quote — “His level of lying is unprecedented in American politics.”

    A federal appeals court has struck down Ohio’s process for purging voters from the rolls if they haven’t voted in at least two years.  The court ruled today that the process removes people who are in fact still eligible to vote.  The state’s Republican elections chief defended the process, saying that Ohio has used it for more than 20 years.

    Bombs rained down on Syria’s largest city today in the fiercest aerial onslaught there yet.  The heavy air attacks on Aleppo came as the Syrian government’s military launched a new offensive to retake the city with backing from Russia.  Rescuers worked to dig out victims buried beneath the rubble, but they came under fire themselves.

    IBRAHIM AL-HAJ, Syrian Civil Defense (through translator):  We weren’t able to help them quickly because of the shelling that we were subjected to as we were pulling them from under the debris all night.  I have never in my life seen such a bombardment.  It is very, very intense.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  The assault on Aleppo appeared to shred any remaining hope of reviving last week’s cease-fire.  Still, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says that he and his Russian counterpart made — quote — “a little bit of progress” in talks today.

    Back in this country, a veto showdown now looms over an act of Congress permitting families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia, the home of most of the hijackers.  President Obama rejected the bill today, saying that it could boomerang against U.S. troops and diplomats abroad.  Even so, the House and Senate may have the votes to override the veto.

    And on Wall Street, stocks slumped after a new drop in oil prices.  The Dow Jones industrial average lost 131 points to close at 18261.  The Nasdaq fell 33, and the S&P 500 slid 12.  For the week, all three indexes gained about 1 percent.

    The post News Wrap: Tulsa officer charged with Terence Crutcher death turns herself in appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts answers questions next to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney during a news conference regarding the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., September 23, 2016.     REUTERS/Mike Blake - RTSP5H0

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: For the first time, the public is getting a look at the police shooting that rocked Charlotte, North Carolina. Keith Scott was killed Monday, and it turns out his wife recorded his last moments.

    Be advised: The video may be disturbing to some.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT, Wife of Keith Lamont Scott: Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot him. He has no weapon.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The voice of Rakeyia Scott, pleading with Charlotte police, telling them her husband is unarmed and has a brain injury, as the confrontation quickly escalates.

    MAN: Drop the gun! Drop the gun!

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: He doesn’t have a gun. He has a TBI.

    MAN: Drop the gun.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: He is not going to do anything to you guys.

    He just took his medicine.

    Keith, don’t let them break the windows. Come on out the car.

    MAN: Drop the gun!

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: Keith, don’t do it.

    MAN: Drop the gun!

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: Get out the car. Keith! Keith! Don’t you do it! Don’t you do it! Keith!

    MAN: Drop the gun.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: Keith! Keith! Keith! Don’t you do it!


    RAKEYIA SCOTT: Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Keith Scott is now lying on the ground, as his wife screams.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: Did you shoot him? He better not be (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dead. He better not be (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dead.

    PROTESTERS: Release the video! Release the video!

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All of this as city officials face mounting pressure to release police body camera and dash cam video.

    KERR PUTNEY, Charlotte Police Chief: One piece of evidence will never, ever make a good case. I know the expectation that video footage can be the panacea, and I can tell you that is not quite the case.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The city’s mayor said today the police video should be released, but only when it won’t jeopardize the investigation. Scott’s family has now seen the police footage, and is calling for its public release. And protesters kept up that call last night.

    MELIK, Protester: If you want people to not come out here, and protest, and not to be suspicious or second-guess what’s going on with the politicians and the police, you need to have transparency. People need to — people need to know the truth.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Thursday’s demonstrations were largely peaceful, as the city imposed a midnight curfew, and National Guard troops helped patrol the streets.

    Meanwhile, police say they arrested a suspect in the fatal shooting of a protester, Justin Carr, on Wednesday night. They gave no other details.

    For more on that new video and the ongoing investigation, we turn to Yamiche Alcindor, who is covering the events in Charlotte for The New York Times. I spoke to her a short time ago.

    Yamiche Alcindor, thank you very much for talking with us.

    We just showed that video. You were one of the reporters the family gave this to. Where was Mr. Scott’s wife when she took this?

    YAMICHE ALCINDOR, The New York Times: Mr. Scott’s wife was nearby his car. She was in the complex where they lived together. They have been married about 20 years.

    But she, from my understanding, what the lawyers told me, she had seen her husband sitting in the car. He flashed his cell phone at her indicating that he wanted — that he his phone was dying and that he wanted a charger. She then went inside to go get that cell phone charger. She was inside only for a couple of minutes, and then she came out.

    And when she came out, she saw the scene unfolding and, as the scene was unfolding, she started to record her video, to record the video on her phone.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And it is very difficult to watch, as we just showed our audience.

    What’s been the reaction? Has there been any official reaction since this has been out?

    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: From my understanding, we have asked for several hours now for a reaction from the city, and we have not, as of this hour, gotten any reaction from the city about this video.

    I should say the police chief has said that the dash cam video, which is a different video than the video that was released today, but that that video doesn’t really answer all the questions and it’s not definitive what happened.

    So, they have at least talked a little bit about what the video, all the videos that captured the shooting show. So, in that regard, they have done that. But they have not at all responded specifically to the video released today by the family of Keith Scott.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What questions, Yamiche, does this video answer? I know there are some blurry objects on the ground near where Mr. Scott’s body is lying. Is there any consensus on whether there was a gun?

    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The family has said — has told us through their attorneys that Mr. Scott didn’t own a gun. I was told by the attorneys today that the wife often cleaned that vehicle and that there was not a — she never saw a gun and that he didn’t own a gun.

    However, the police, of course, have been very clear. They say that he did have a gun, that they had found a gun — that they had found a gun on him after the shooting. They’re not exactly sure where that gun was found. However, they are saying that there was a gun on the scene.

    In terms of what this video — the questions this video answers, that was one of the first questions that I asked the attorney. And when I got on the phone, I made a list of questions. The first one I said was, well, what does this video show? What do you think that the video tells us?

    And, really, they said this video doesn’t tell us all that much. It obviously just shows you kind of the emotion and the chaos that unfolded when Keith Scott was killed. But there really isn’t anything in terms of whether or not he had a gun in his hand, whether or not he was walking toward police or walking away from police. There was really no — there was really not much captured.

    The video is very shaky, as your audience, I’m sure, has seen. And the idea is that this video really doesn’t show a clear picture even really of Keith Scott himself. However, I have been told by the attorneys that the dash cam video that they saw with the family, that that shows a lot more than the video that was released today.

    They say that that video shows Keith Scott backing up and that he had his hands down at his side. They said that there was some sort of object in his left hand, but they’re not sure what that object was. They are saying that he was right-handed, and that they are not — and that that would be the hand that he — so, in other words, he would be holding an object in the hand that he wouldn’t have usually been using primarily.

    But the family is not at all saying specifically to me that he didn’t have a gun in his hand. They are saying that no one has seen a gun on him and that they didn’t believe that he owned a gun.

    However, I have been talking to the attorneys now for two days, and they’re not telling me definitely he definitely didn’t have a gun, the video shows that he didn’t have a gun. They’re definitely not saying that

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, Yamiche, reaction in the community to this? What are they saying? What are people saying?

    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: People are saying that this video illustrates that the police really need to release the videos that they have, the dash cam video and the body cam video, need to give us more information about what happened.

    The people I have talked to so far say that the fact they’re screaming, you know, gun and they’re saying put your hands up, and the wife is screaming he doesn’t have a gun and trying to explain to them that he has a traumatic brain injury, that he had just taken his medication, that indicates to people that I have talked to that the police really were looking at this and looking at Keith Scott as someone who was violent from the beginning, and they were not really taking into consideration the fact that this might have someone who was disabled, someone whose wife was standing there really trying to explain to them the situation.

    So people are very angry at seeing this video. But I should say that people also say this doesn’t prove that he didn’t point a gun at police. So they really want all the other videos to be released as well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Yamiche Alcindor, reporting in Charlotte, we thank you.


    The post Footage of Keith Scott shooting raises more questions appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    WASHINGTON — Centuries of struggles and strife, decades of planning and pain, and years of hoping for a place that African-American history can call home will culminate as President Barack Obama officially opens the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

    Obama tweeted from his presidential Twitter account Saturday morning that he was “Proud to help open @NMAAHC with so many heroes. African American history is a central part of our glorious American history.”

    Before formally opening the museum, Obama will ring the Freedom Bell, acquired in 1886 by the historic First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, believed to be among the first Baptist churches organized entirely by African-Americans for African-Americans. It will be returned to the church for its 240th anniversary later this year.

    A shining bronze beacon on the National Mall, only steps away from a monument dedicated to a slaveholder president, the new Smithsonian chronicles the complex relationship between the United States and a people it once enslaved, and tell the story of those who worked to make the necessary changes to bring the country to where it is today.

    Thousands gathered on the National Mall on Saturday morning to watch Obama, the nation’s first black president, cut the ribbon to open the museum. People are flying in from around the country to be some of the first people inside, if they were lucky enough to get the much-coveted opening day tickets.

    “It’s like walking across the desert and finally getting to a fountain of water to quench your thirst. It’s absolutely breathtaking for me,” said Verna Eggleston, 61, of New York City, who will tour the museum later Saturday.

    Ground was broken for the new museum in 2012 on a five-acre tract near the Washington Monument after a decades-long push for an African-American museum on the National Mall. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, a longtime civil rights icon, worked with then-Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas to usher legislation through Congress, and President George W. Bush signed into law the bill that allowed the museum to move forward.

    The new museum “symbolizes all of the contributions, the culture and the crisis of black America,” said Rev. Howard-John Wesley, pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, whose members donated $1 million to the museum. “It’s a beautiful thing, especially in this day and time when we’re fighting to remind ourselves how important black lives are.”

    Construction was completed earlier this year on the 400,000-square-foot museum designed by British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye. The museum strikes a unique shape on the Mall with its three-tiered bronze exterior panels inspired by an African wooden column. The patterned bronze colored tiles are inspired by 19th century ironwork created by slaves in the South, and allow sunlight into the museum through patterned openings.

    Inside, museum officials say they have nearly 3,000 items occupying 85,000 square feet of exhibition space including exhibits like a Tuskegee Airmen training plane and the casket of Emmitt Till, a murdered African-American boy whose death helped rally the civil rights movement.

    “It’s been 100 years in the making. So many people have dreamed about this, fought for this and wanted this to happen,” said U.S. Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins, who wrote the book “Long Road to Hard Truth” about the struggle to get the museum open. “It’s going to be a testament to their work and a testament to so many of our ancestors that this museum will open on the Mall.”

    Millions of donors, both known and unknown, helped fund the museum. But some of the biggest donors’ names adorn the walls inside, including the Oprah Winfrey Theater; the Michael Jordan Hall: Game Changers; and the newest named addition, Robert F. Smith Explore Your Family History Center. It is named after the CEO of investment firm Vista Equity Partners after a $20 million gift announced Monday.

    “I am overwhelmed. I’m humbled,” said Deborah Elam, president of the GE Foundation and chief diversity officer of General Electric, as she waited for the museum’s opening. GE donated $5 million toward the construction of the museum. “I’m so proud our company contributed early because we believed in this project.”

    People flew into the nation’s capital from around the country to attend the opening of the museum, with security lines lasting for more than an hour for some people trying to the dedication ceremony.

    “Hopefully this grand occasion allows the rest of the nation to come out and see a building that’s not just for African-Americans, it’s for all of America,” said Master Sgt. Donald Sparks of Houston, who just finished a yearlong deployment in Iraq. “I’m just elated and can’t express how much joy and gratitude I have to be here today and witness history.”

    The post New Smithsonian museum chronicling black history opens appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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