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

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    Photo by studio023/via Adobe

    A weird phenomenon is happening high above the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas that could prove to be an atmospheric nightmare. Photo by studio023/via Adobe

    A weird phenomenon is happening high above the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas that could prove to be an atmospheric nightmare. Pollutants that gather from India and China in the lowlands around the mountains can be boosted as high as 18 kilometers, reaching the stratosphere—the atmospheric layer directly above the troposphere that contains most of Earth’s ozone.

    That is far higher than aerosols from vehicles, power plants and fires usually reach. Once aerosols are that high they can spread globally, destroy the ozone layer that protects us from ultraviolet radiation and exacerbate global warming, researchers warn.

    Until a few years ago “we thought human activities had little impact on the stratosphere,” says Jean-Paul Vernier, a remote-sensing expert at the NASA Langley Research Center.

    Scientists had previously thought only volcanoes could eject aerosols—tiny particles or droplets—to such heights. And most models looking at future climate change scenarios did not account for aerosols in the stratosphere. Special tests reported in September confirm the aerosols continue to collect over India, and the work reveals fresh insights into their composition.

    The presence of aerosols was a big surprise when Vernier and his colleagues discovered them in 2009. Sieving through the data from CALIPSO—a satellite jointly launched by France and the U.S.—they found a thick layer of aerosols between 13 and 18 kilometers above sea level over a large area stretching across the eastern Mediterranean Sea, northern India and western China. The layer is most prominent in the summer and is unrelated to volcanic eruption, Vernier surmised then.

    He called it the Asian tropopause aerosol layer (ATAL) because it lies within the tropopause, a transitional zone spanning the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. Last year the team reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research that the amount of aerosols in ATAL had tripled since 1996, the earliest time when they appeared in satellite observations.

    The finding was provocative but there had been “lots of debates about whether it is genuine or merely an observational artifact,” says William Lau, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park, who was not involved in the study. The best way to prove ATAL existed, Vernier says, was to fly aircraft through the tropopause over Asia, which would allow researchers to sample particles over a large area. Neither NASA nor the European Space Agency got permission from any of the Asian countries involved to conduct such field campaigns, however.

    Vernier’s group resorted to the second-best option. Collaborating with Indian scientists, in 2014 they launched weather balloons into the tropopause from three locations across India. They repeated the experiments in 2015 and 2016. In September 2016 the team, while at an International Global Atmospheric Chemistry project meeting in Colorado, reported that the sensors onboard the balloons not only confirmed the existence of tropopause aerosols over India, but yielded fresh data into their composition.

    For instance, the researchers found that 90 percent of the pollutants were tiny liquid droplets less than 0.2 micron in diameter. In the August 2016 campaign, conducted over the holy and notoriously polluted city of Veranasi, the team included a sampler in the payload that trapped tropopause aerosols on filters. Preliminary analyses show that most of the pollution was sulphate aerosols—along with dust and carbonaceous particles such as black carbon.

    Pump to the sky

    NASA Langley's Jean-Paul Vernier, right, holds a package of instruments about to be launched on a weather balloon into the skies over southeast India. Vernier and colleague Tobias Wegner traveled to Gadanki, India, to study an atmospheric feature called the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer or ATAL. Photo by NASA

    NASA Langley’s Jean-Paul Vernier, right, holds a package of instruments about to be launched on a weather balloon into the skies over southeast India. Vernier and colleague Tobias Wegner traveled to Gadanki, India in 2014, to study an atmospheric feature called the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer or ATAL. Photo by NASA

    As Vernier’s team was capturing pollutants, Lau and his colleagues tracked down the sources by feeding years of satellite measurements of pollution and meteorological conditions—taken as frequent as every few hours—into a new computer program developed by NASA called MERRA2. The team reconstructed the atmospheric processes and showed where ATAL aerosols came from and how they reached such heights.

    As Lau explained to an audience at the International Workshop on Land Surface Multi-sphere Processes of the Tibetan Plateau and Their Environmental and Climate Effects Assessment—held in August in China—there are two pollutant transportation pathways into the tropopause, one from India and the other from central and eastern China.

    Pollutants piled up in the foothills of the Himalayas and eastern Tibetan Plateau in April and May, Lau explains. “They then got swept up into the tropopause at the onset of Asian monsoons.”

    This pumping phenomenon is unique globally, Lau says, largely due to the Tibetan Plateau’s uncommon topography. It has an area of 2.5 million square kilometers (about a quarter of the U.S. landmass) and an average elevation of over 4,500 meters. Because the vast plateau at such altitudes absorbs a huge amount of solar radiation, the atmospheric layer above it in summer is much warmer than air at similar elevations over lower land or the oceans. This temperature differential, the engine of Asian monsoons, creates winds that blow from the Indian and Pacific oceans into Tibet, which drag with them the pollutants piled up in the foothills.

    Due to the plateau’s intense heating effects in the summer, the overlaying warm air can rise much higher into the atmosphere than over adjacent lowlands.

    “Consequently, the top of the troposphere above Tibet is much higher [than that over surrounding regions],” Lau says. “I think of it as a lid being pushed up by boiling water, protruding into the stratosphere.”

    There, the pollutants can easily spill over into the adjacent stratosphere, Lau says. “And at the end of the summer, the ‘lid’ comes back down, which leaves aerosols in the stratosphere,” he explains. The strong, horizontal wind that is a prominent feature in the stratosphere could then spread the pollutants around the world.

    Global Implications

    The observations “for the first time draw a direct link between surface pollutants in Asia and aerosols in the tropopause,” says Kenichi Ueno, a climate scientist at the University of Tsukuba in Japan, who is not involved in the study.

    And the timing makes sense, he says, because industrialization in China and India since the 1990s is in line with ATAL’s first appearance in 1996 and its thickening since then.

    Ueno says that once aerosols are in the stratosphere they become very stable and can last for years, compared with days or weeks in the troposphere, and they can activate compounds such as chlorine that destroy the ozone layer. Aerosols in the tropopause also complicate climate projections; they are not taken into account in the latest assessment released in 2013 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says Yu Gu, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    Aerosols that high in the sky “can change the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface and affect rainfall through cloud formation,” she says. But until researchers gain more details about their chemical composition, she adds, “we cannot begin to assess their precise climate impact.”

    More experiments would provide that detail. Meanwhile, “there should be more rigorous efforts to cut emissions in Asia,” Ueno says. “The findings really hit home the message that Asian pollution is a regional problem with global ramifications.”

    This article is reproduced with permission from Scientific American. It was first published on Oct. 28, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post Ozone layer over Asia threatened by weird pumping effect in atmosphere appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Henrietta Lacks. Born 1920. Black Virginian, tobacco farmer, steel worker.

    Cancer patient. Poor.

    At Johns Hopkins, 1951, while Lacks was being treated in the “colored” ward, a doctor passed on samples from her cervix to researchers, without her consent or even knowledge.

    That same year, at age 31, she died.

    Not all of her, though.

    Cells derived from the two samples taken from an unwitting Lacks have inexplicably lived on in labs for over 60 years now, used to research the effects of radiation, AIDS, the polio vaccine and much more. Here’s what Rebecca Skloot, author of the 2010 book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” told “Fresh Air” in 2010.

    [The cells] were the first immortal cell line ever to grow in culture. Scientists put them in culture in 1951, and they just never died . They kept growing and growing and growing. And scientists had been trying to do that for decades, and it had never worked.

    When she went to the hospital, she had a tumor on her cervix that was about the size of a dime, and within 6 months nearly every organ of her body was taken over by tumors. So her cancer grew incredibly fast in her body. When scientists put them in culture, they just took off. They doubled every 24 hours and they sort of piled onto each other and grew in these enormous … quantities that no cells had ever done before.

    Those cells have done a lot of good — and also contributed to a lot of profits. The case, which is as much about class, gender and race as it is about science, has spawned ethical debates about informed consent among researchers. To learn more, you can read the book or watch the coming HBO movie based on it. (See here for many pictures of Oprah Winfrey on set playing Lacks’ daughter.)

    But we recommend that first you should watch the awesome video above. “The Immortal Rap of Henrietta Lacks” stars mostly eighth graders from KIPP Bridge Charter School in Oakland, California. The students researched and wrote the lyrics — set to the songs “Right Hand,” “Shell Shocked,” and “Work” — with help from their performing arts teacher, Shannon Perkins, and San Francisco Bay Area educator Tom McFadden, who runs a small organization devoted to the intersection of science and the arts. McFadden sent drafts of the piece to Henrietta Lacks’ granddaughter for approval.

    I asked him how this idea came about.

    “I’d done one project before with this school on Rosalind Franklin,” McFadden said. “When I published that video, Rebecca Skloot said for your next project you should do one on Henrietta Lacks. She planted the seed through a tweet.” (And makes a cameo in the video, as well.)

    McFadden said he hoped the video would inspire schools and educators to embrace #HipHopEd, interdisciplinary project-based learning, and “the value of performing arts for student ownership of their scholastic experience.”

    Or maybe…

    Hey, Lin-Manuel Miranda, check it out!

    This report was produced by KQED’s Future of You. You can view the original report on its website.

    The post Oakland middle-schoolers use hip-hop to tell the story of Henrietta Lacks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has raised his Democratic rival’s immigrant background and mocked her family’s history of military service, saying he had forgotten the congresswoman’s “parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”

    The comment came Thursday evening during the first televised debate between Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, at the University of Illinois in Springfield. The Illinois Senate contest is one of a handful of races that could determine which party controls the chamber next year.

    Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, was born in Bangkok and her mother is Thai. The congresswoman said her family has “served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution.”

    Kirk responded: “I had forgotten your parents came all of the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”

    The remark was greeted mostly by silence in the auditorium, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee immediately called the comment offensive and said Kirk should apologize.

    Duckworth, the first Asian-American congresswoman from Illinois, later tweeted a photo of herself with her parents, including her father in uniform displaying his medals. Her tweet says: “My mom is an immigrant and my dad and his family have served this nation in uniform since the Revolution.”

    After the debate, Kirk spokesman Kevin Artl said the senator has called Duckworth “a war hero in his commercials and he commends her family’s service.”

    Kirk, a first-term senator from Highland Park, is seen as one of the Senate’s most vulnerable Republican incumbents, and Democrats consider Duckworth’s success on Election Day one of the keys to reclaiming a majority in the chamber. Duckworth has a comfortable lead in the most recent polls, but Kirk says the race is closer than people think.

    The post U.S. Senate Republican candidate mocks his rival’s military service appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    In this file photo, a self-employed student gets help from navigator in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Millions of young adults healthy enough to think they don't need insurance face painful choices this year as the sign-up deadline approaches for President Barack Obama's health care law. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    In this file photo, a self-employed student gets help from navigator in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Millions of young adults healthy enough to think they don’t need insurance face painful choices this year as the sign-up deadline approaches for President Barack Obama’s health care law. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Americans in the health insurance markets created by President Barack Obama’s law will have less choice next year than any time since the program started, a new county-level analysis for The Associated Press has found.

    The analysis by AP and consulting firm Avalere Health found that about one-third of U.S. counties will have only one health marketplace insurer next year. That’s more than 1,000 counties in 26 states — roughly double the number of counties in 2014, the first year of coverage through the program.

    With insurance notices for 2017 in the mail, families are already facing difficult choices, even weighing whether to stay covered.

    “At this point we are at a loss,” said Ryan Robinson of Phoenix. “We don’t know what the next step is.” He and his wife, Nicole, only have plans from one insurer available next year, and the company doesn’t appear to cover an expensive immune-system medication for their 11-year-old daughter.

    Phoenix is the market hardest hit by insurer exits, shrinking from eight carriers to one. With many other communities affected, however, the problem of dwindling choice may create even bigger political headaches than the rising premiums announced earlier this week.

    Largely as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the nation’s uninsured rate has dropped to a historically low level, less than 9 percent. But the program hasn’t yet found stable footing, and it remains politically divisive. Insurer participation rose in 2015 and 2016, only to plunge.

    Dwindling choice could be a trickier issue than rising premiums for the Obama administration and advocates of the 2010 law, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

    Most customers get financial assistance, and their subsidies are designed to rise along with premiums, which are increasing an average of 25 percent in states served by HealthCare.gov. But there is no comparable safety valve for disruptions caused by insurers bailing out.

    “Rising premiums get all of the political attention, but lack of choice between insurers could be a bigger problem for consumers.”

    “Rising premiums get all of the political attention, but lack of choice between insurers could be a bigger problem for consumers,” said Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president with Avalere.

    Five states — Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming — have one participating insurer across their entire jurisdictions. Only Wyoming and South Carolina had faced that predicament this year.

    Another eight states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada and Tennessee— have only one participating insurer in a majority of counties.

    Citing big financial losses, several marquee insurers sharply scaled back their participation for next year. United Healthcare exited from more than 1,800 counties, and maintains only a minuscule presence, according to the analysis. Humana nearly halved the number of counties where it offers plans.

    Insurers say enrollment was disappointing, patients were sicker than expected, and an internal system to help stabilize premiums didn’t work well. The Obama administration says insurers are correcting for initially pricing their plans too low.

    HealthCare.gov has taken steps to help consumers whose insurer is leaving by matching them to the closest comparable plan on the marketplace next year.

    Administration officials also point out that many private employers offer workers just one plan.

    The upheaval in the health insurance markets has consumers scrambling to figure out options. Sign-up season starts Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31.

    South of Minneapolis, in Goodhue County, Minnesota, farmer Eugene Betcher said his Blue Cross Blue Shield family plan is going away. The insurer is dropping its popular preferred provider plan, which covers more than 100,000 area residents.

    Betcher has an appointment with his insurance adviser, but he expects sharply higher premiums and having to switch doctors.

    In his early 60s, he’s mulling just keeping his wife on the plan. “I’m thinking of not covering myself and hoping to get to 65 and Medicare,” said Betcher. He’d risk a fine, but he says that financially he would probably come out ahead even if he had to pay out of pocket for medical care.

    In Birmingham, Alabama, property insurance adjuster Jacob Bodden said his Humana plan is pulling out and Blue Cross Blue Shield remains his only option. He gets no subsidy from the government, so he’d have to cover the entire premium increase himself.

    “I don’t trust the incompetents who created this mess can fix it.”

    “I don’t trust the incompetents who created this mess can fix it,” Bodden said.

    In Phoenix, Ryan and Nicole Robinson are at the epicenter of the health law’s latest troubles. Maricopa County has seen the most insurers bail out, and premiums for a benchmark plan are spiking 145 percent next year, beyond any other major market on HealthCare.gov.

    Ryan Robinson, who works in sales for an out-of-state health care company, said the family’s premium will go from $821 to $1,489. It’s more than their mortgage and they don’t qualify for an income-based subsidy.

    But what the Robinsons most worry about is that neither of their daughter’s two medications appears to be covered by the remaining insurer. That includes an immune-system drug costing about $5,000 a month.

    “I shouldn’t be getting government assistance, but I shouldn’t be offered a plan that’s ludicrous,” said Ryan Robinson. He says the idea behind the law “was good and principled,” but “there have got to be other solutions out there.”

    The Obama administration says consumers in such situations can seek an exception. “The law guarantees access to necessary prescriptions, even if they aren’t on a formulary, through an exceptions process,” said spokesman Aaron Albright.

    Avalere is a consulting and data-crunching firm that provides nonpartisan analysis for health care industry and government clients. It compiled insurance marketplace data from 49 states and the District of Columbia for the analysis. That represents markets in 3,129 counties, where 12.3 million people selected plans for 2016. Only Massachusetts was unable to provide 2017 data by this week.

    The post Americans may find less choice in health insurance in 2017, analysis says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A supporter displays a "NOT GUILTY!" button following the not guilty verdict delivered in the trial of seven occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Bradley W. Parks/OPB

    A supporter displays a “NOT GUILTY!” button following the not guilty verdict delivered in the trial of seven occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Bradley W. Parks/OPB

    A woman named Maureen Valdez ran out the doors of the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland on Thursday and shouted, “Not guilty!” to a soon-to-be-large crowd of demonstrators and media.

    She was announcing the verdict for brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five others acquitted after facing trial for the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon in early 2016. Supporters embraced one another outside the courthouse. Many cried.

    The verdict also unearthed new questions about the seven occupiers still awaiting trial, the so-called patriot movement, the Bunkerville case in Nevada, and racial equity. OPB’s “This Land Is Our Land” podcast further explained the jury’s decision.

    Here are three things we learned from Thursday’s verdict.

    Bundys Still In Custody
    Despite the verdict and an animated protest from defense attorney Marcus Mumford, Ammon and Ryan Bundy will remain in federal custody for now as they await trial for their roles in the 2014 standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada.

    Six defendants originally charged in the Malheur case, including the Bundy brothers, face charges in Nevada.

    The verdict in Oregon will certainly color the conversation around the Nevada trial. The Bundys’ father, Cliven Bundy, led the 2014 standoff with federal agents in Nevada. The elder Bundy flew to Portland around the time his sons were arrested in Oregon and was almost immediately taken into custody himself.

    Pete Santilli, a conservative internet radio host from Cincinnati, also faces charges in Nevada. Prosecutors dropped charges against Santilli stemming from his role in the Oregon occupation.

    Inmates (clockwise from top left) Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Peter Santilli, Shawna Cox, Ryan Payne and Joseph O'Shaughnessy are seen in a combination of police jail booking photos released by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in Portland, Oregon. All have been found not guilty of conspiracy. Photo by MCSO/Handout via Reuters

    Inmates (clockwise from top left) Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Peter Santilli, Shawna Cox, Ryan Payne and Joseph O’Shaughnessy are seen in a combination of police jail booking photos released by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in Portland, Oregon. All have been found not guilty of conspiracy. Photo by MCSO/Handout via Reuters

    7 Await Trial
    Thursday’s verdict is far from the last we’ve heard of what came to be known as the Oregon Standoff. Seven people, including husband and wife Sean and Sandy Anderson — two of the last four to leave the refuge — still face trial in February.

    It is unclear if the not guilty verdict returned Thursday will have any impact on the trial yet to come.

    It is also uncertain how this will affect Ryan Payne, an occupation leader who wants to retract his guilty plea. The federal government has until Monday to file a response to Payne’s request, at which point the judge will rule if he can withdraw it and go to trial in February.

    More Protests To Come?
    Shawna Cox, one of the defendants acquitted Thursday, said the so-called patriot movement highlighted in the Oregon occupation will continue. Cox said she expects more protests like the one at the refuge.

    “Absolutely,” she said when asked if she will participate in future protests. “We can do it peacefully.”

    OPB’s “This Land Is Our Land” podcast examined the patriot movement — a loosely-connected network of organizations that are united in the belief the federal government has overstepped its authority. Throughout the trial, defendants painted the jury’s decision as a check on the federal government.

    “The people have to insist that the government is not our master,” Ryan Bundy said in his closing argument. “They are our servants.”

    This report first appeared on OPB’s website.

    The post 3 takeaways from the Oregon standoff verdict appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A house in Roche-a-Bateau, Haiti is seen after Hurricane Matthew hit in early October. Photo by Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters

    A house in Roche-a-Bateau, Haiti is seen after Hurricane Matthew hit in early October. Photo by Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters

    When Hurricane Matthew steamrolled southern Haiti earlier this month, it wiped out houses, bridges and roads. It also decimated sanitation systems, putting the Caribbean island nation at risk of worsening cholera outbreaks.

    The Haitian Ministry of Health requested and received approval from the World Health Organization for 1 million doses of oral vaccine against cholera. And with the help of the WHO and Pan American Health Organization, the ministry will launch the vaccination campaign on Nov. 8, the groups announced this week.

    Health advocates praised the move, but said more action was needed. “Vaccines are just one part of the approach to controlling cholera — we still must ensure access to treatment for those who are sick, and work on ensuring access to safe water and sanitation — but they can have a very important role to play in limiting outbreaks,” said Dr. Louise Ivers, who leads Partners in Health’s cholera treatment and prevention activities, in a statement.

    People displaced by Hurricane Matthew have sought temporary shelter in schools and other places. Photo by Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters

    People displaced by Hurricane Matthew have sought temporary shelter in schools and other places. Photo by Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters

    WHO recommends building piped water systems connected to chlorination treatment plants, household treatments including safe storage and filtration, and construction of latrines and other sewage disposal facilities.

    Cholera is a waterborne illness that causes acute diarrhea and dehydration. It is easily treatable if promptly addressed through rehydration, but otherwise can cause death within hours.

    The health organizations plan to vaccinate 820,000 people older than one year in the most vulnerable areas of Sud and Grand’Anse in southern Haiti.

    Hurricane Matthew destroyed homes in neighborhoods such as Jeremie in southern Haiti. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    Hurricane Matthew destroyed homes in neighborhoods such as Jeremie in southern Haiti. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    Those given the vaccine next month also will receive rehydration salts and chlorine tablets to purify water, the BBC reported.

    Haiti’s first known cases of cholera appeared in households near a base housing U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal who were deployed to the island following its massive 2010 earthquake. The United Nations has come under criticism, including from within its own ranks, for not immediately taking responsibility and redressing the resulting health emergency. Last August, the U.N. acknowledged it had a role in the initial outbreak.

    About 10,000 people have died from cholera since the earthquake. And since Hurricane Matthew struck in early October, some 3,400 suspected cases of the illness have been reported.

    A child is treated for cholera at a hospital in Jeremie in southern Haiti on Oct. 19. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    A child is treated for cholera at a hospital in Jeremie in southern Haiti on Oct. 19. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    The post In Haiti, are 1 million doses of cholera vaccine enough to stop an outbreak? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A lone foraging emperor penguin "toboggans" on its belly across the frozen Ross Sea, with the live volcano Mount Erebus in the background, off Ross Island, Antarctica, December 9, 2006.  Picture taken December 9, 2006. REUTERS/Deborah Zabarenko

    A lone foraging emperor penguin “toboggans” on its belly across the frozen Ross Sea, with the live volcano Mount Erebus in the background, off Ross Island, Antarctica, December 9, 2006. Picture taken December 9, 2006. REUTERS/Deborah Zabarenko

    After years of diplomatic talks, the European Union and 24 other nations agreed Friday to establish the world’s largest marine reserve in Antarctica.

    The deal protects 600,000 square miles of ocean, which is more than twice the size of Texas, near the Ross Sea ice shelf, banning all fishing in nearly three-fourths of the reserve. Scientists will still be allowed to catch small invertebrates for research in other designated areas.

    The waters, which one ocean advocate calls the “polar garden of Eden,” are home to orcas, the colossal squid and multiple penguin species.

    The United States and New Zealand have pushed to create the reserve for years. The Associated Press reported the two nations submitted a proposal in 2012 that was rejected five time because of concerns from Ukraine, Russia and China.

    To get Russia on board, the agreement granted some concessions on fishing within designated research zones, the New Zealand Herald reported.

    “At a time when relations on so many fronts are difficult with the Russians, some co-operation and a constructive dialogue is very pleasing to us,” New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said.

    Secretary of State John Kerry also lauded the agreement, saying the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area “will safeguard one of the last unspoiled ocean wilderness areas on the planet.”

    The agreement takes effect December 2017 and will be reviewed in 35 years.The nations that made the deal are looking at further protections for the Weddell Sea and waters surrounding East Antarctica, the Associated Press reported.

    The post Antarctica to hold the world’s largest marine reserve appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Russia Ambassador Vitaly Churkin vetoes a draft resolution that demands an immediate end to air strikes and military flights over Syria's Aleppo city, at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, U.S., October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz - RTSRE5B

    Russia Ambassador Vitaly Churkin vetoes a U.N. draft resolution that demands an immediate end to airstrikes and military flights over Aleppo on Oct. 8, 2016. Photo by REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

    Russia failed to win re-election to the United Nation’s Human Rights Council Friday by two votes.

    The country competed against Hungary and Croatia for a limited number of spots that represent Eastern Europe on the broader council.

    In the 193-member general assembly, 144 votes went to Hungary, 114 to Croatia, and 112 to Russia.

    Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s U.N. ambassador, downplayed the loss.

    “It was a very close vote and very good countries competing, Croatia, Hungary,” Churkin said, according to the Associated Press. “They are fortunate because of their size, they are not exposed to the winds of international diplomacy. Russia is very exposed. We’ve been on council a number of years, I’m sure next time we’ll get in.”

    Given the council’s mission to promote and protect human rights worldwide, Human Rights Watch and others have questioned whether Russia’s continued membership was appropriate, given their military role in Syria’s civil war.

    The Human Rights Council has 47 member countries who come up for re-election on staggered terms.

    Saudi Arabia, also up for re-election in 2016, has been accused of hypocrisy on human rights issues, but successfully maintained its seat on the council.

    The post Russia narrowly loses Human Rights Council membership appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Rock musician Bob Dylan performs at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles in May 2004. Photo by Rob Galbraith/Reuters

    Rock musician Bob Dylan performs at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles in May 2004. Photo by Rob Galbraith/Reuters

    After two weeks of silence, Bob Dylan has finally acknowledged his Nobel honor.

    In an interview with The Telegraph, the 75-year-old musician said it was “hard to believe” the Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Prize in literature.

    Dylan said the honor was “amazing, incredible. Whoever dreams about something like that?”

    Nobel judges said they granted the award to Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

    Dylan became the first musician in the history of the literature prize to win. He was also the first American to nab the honor since author Toni Morrison in 1993.

    “The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless,” he also told an Academy member. “I appreciate the honor so much.”

    [Watch Video]

    By any measure, Bob Dylan is one of the most important and influential popular songwriters of his era. Now he’s also a Nobel laureate in literature, a choice that came as a surprise. Jeffrey Brown talks to singer/songwriter James Taylor and others about the way Dylan’s writing helped so many navigate a changing world.

    Dylan, famously elusive, took his time in acknowledging the award. There was a passing mention on his official website, but it was taken down within 24 hours.

    The Nobel committee also had a difficult time reaching Dylan by phone or email, enough to prompt one Academy member to call the musician “impolite and arrogant.”

    According to the Nobel Foundation, however, it’s not yet certain if Dylan will attend the Stockholm ceremony in early December.

    The post ‘It’s hard to believe’; Dylan breaks silence over Nobel Prize win appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 14:  TV personality Tim Gunn attends The BUILD Series Presents Tim Gunn discussing the fifteenth season of "Project Runway" at AOL HQ on September 14, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, finally, a “NewsHour” Essay.

    As we just discussed, this presidential campaign has raised a lot of questions about how women are seen and talked about.

    At the end of the first debate, Hillary Clinton mentioned former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. During her reign, pageant owner Donald Trump repeatedly commented on Machado for gaining weight, just one example of size consciousness in our society.

    Tonight, fashion guru Tim Gunn shares a challenge for American designers.

    TIM GUNN, Fashion Consultant: To begin, I love the American fashion industry, but it has a lot of problems.

    Consider this: When the actress Leslie Jones couldn’t find anything to wear to her “Ghostbusters” premiere, she had to call out on social media to find someone to dress her. How did that happen?

    Would it surprise you to know that the average American woman now wears between a size 16 and a size 18? She is what the industry calls a plus-size woman, a term that I would like to erase.

    There are more than 80 million of these women in America, and for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts. But many designers refuse to make clothes for them. They pretend that they don’t even exist.

    I have spoken to many people in the industry about this, and the overwhelming response is, “I’m not interested in her.”

    They say the plus-size woman is complicated, different and difficult, and that no two size 16s are alike.

    Let’s decode that. The fashion industry works from standards established decades ago. Habits are hard to break. From the runway, to magazines, pictures of how clothes are supposed to look, how women are supposed to look, are set. And it all revolves around thinness.

    For decades, models have trotted down the runway with bodies that are completely unattainable for most women. Yet we have been conditioned to think that that’s what looks good. There is no reason why larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women. It’s a design issue, and not a customer issue.

    The key is the following: It’s the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit.

    Right now, most plus-size designs make the body look larger, with box pleats and shoulder pads. Trust that I’m not trivializing the task. It’s challenging. Designs need to be re-conceived, not just sized up.

    And done right, our clothing can create an optical illusion that helps us look taller and slimmer. But, done wrong, we look worse than if we were, well, naked.

    Plus-size women deserve fashion, and they deserve choices. I’m not looking for solutions from high-end designers, because it’s a given that they don’t want their precious brands tarnished by the likes of a size 16.

    This message is for more accessible designers. It’s time to step up to the plate.

    Furthermore, why aren’t retailers demanding that this be done? The retailers have plenty of leverage, as in: Marc Jacobs, if you want to continue to own the current space that you have in our store, then we also need clothing for our larger market; 14-plus is now the shape of women in this nation, and designers need to wrap their creative minds around that.

    I profoundly believe that women of every size can look great. And in this time of inclusiveness, why should 80 million women be marginalized?

    Designers, make it work.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Hear, hear. It’s about time.

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

    Welcome, gentlemen.

    Mark.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MARK SHIELDS: Hi. Hello, Judy, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, we have a moment of levity before we talk about something very serious, David.

    And that is this announcement from the FBI that they have a new batch of emails from a laptop that belongs to Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin. Eleven days before the election, what — how much does this matter?

    DAVID BROOKS: I think it matters.

    We’re not going to know the substance of it by Election Day. Whatever emails were in there, whatever they are investigating, it’s hard to believe we will have some actual knowledge. But it brings Anthony Weiner back to the surface.

    And the argument that Republicans could make with a lot of justices, welcome to the next four years of your life. Having a reign of Clinton without a little — a lot of scandal bubble around side is just not something we have any historical precedent for. And so this is just another.

    And who you hang around with and who you associate with is going to come back to haunt you. And it’s almost perverse, in the way we have come down to sex scandals and the way this election has descended into the realm of Kardashianville. But we’re here. And so I do think a lot of others will think, there is just scandal on both sides. It’s just all sleazy.

    And that’s not the substance of what we have learned today, but that’s the atmospherics of it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What effect do you think this is going to have?

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, first of all, it will have a long-term effect on politics, I think.

    And that is Martin Lomasney, who was the legendary ward boss in Boston around the turn of the century and the early 20th century, said, never write it when you can say it, never say it when you can wink it, and never wink it when you can nod it.

    I mean, the compulsion to put all this stuff in emails, I think, comes back, is going to haunt future campaigns. As far as right now, for the Clinton campaign, it’s a real kick in the teeth. That had been resolved. They’d gotten a clean bill of health, or at least a non-prosecution, by the FBI director 90 days ago.

    And to have this revisited, especially featuring Anthony Weiner, who doesn’t have to be introduced to the nation, is a political problem. And it does just remind of the — and the problems and the difficulties that have surrounded the family for years.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it’s a problem, even not knowing what’s in these emails, which we won’t know?

    DAVID BROOKS: Right. There are two levels of media information. There is those of us who cover politics a lot and probably most people watching our shows, whether it’s on this channel or it’s any of the cables or the many networks. They have decided.

    But this gets to “Entertainment Tonight.” It gets to every comedian. It gets to The National Enquirer. It gets out to the group of people who are, as they say, not information-rich voters, who are the ones who are actually deciding. And a lot of their decision is, I really don’t like this Donald Trump guy, but — so I have got to vote for Clinton.

    But then they get this news about Clinton. And they’re just going on their moral instincts, and it begins to look like parity of sleaze.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Mark, do you think there are enough people out there who either — they are either undecided or they’re just persuadable at this point, or maybe they will stay home and not vote?

    MARK SHIELDS: I think, Judy, that there is no question going into this week that the Democrats were very much in the saddle and very dominant, when, in Utah, which, in the last 10 elections, seven times has been the most Republican state in the union, in the last week of October, the Republicans feel it’s necessary because of the third-party challenge of Evan McMullin, that they’re worried about it being a three-way race and perhaps losing Utah.

    They send the vice presidential candidate all the way out there. That tells you their playing defense. And right next door in Arizona, which has voted Republican 15 of the last 16 times, Michelle Obama is introduced by Barry Goldwater’s granddaughter to a crowd of 7,000, after Bernie Sanders got — Democrats are on the offensive.

    And then you get three things that happened. You get the Obamacare raise and hikes. You get the WikiLeaks and the peek, the unpleasant peek, unflattering peek anyway, into the financial doings of the Clinton Foundation and Bill — and former President Bill Clinton, and then you get this.

    And what does it hurt? It hurts, Judy, the women voters, especially Republican women voters, who, as David said, had turned off of Donald Trump, were trending toward Hillary Clinton. And I think younger idealistic Sanders voters, it may just stop them for a second, as they were turning to going to vote for Hillary Clinton, whether, gee, do I really want to do it? And I think that’s the problem for Democrats.

    DAVID BROOKS: And maybe we should put in perspective.

    Say, Hillary Clinton — say, she has an 87 percent chance of winning now. I think this may knock her down a point or two, and so that may reduce her chance of winning to like 80 or 75. And so I don’t think it’s like a game-changer by any stretch of the imagination.

    But a point or two, if we were driving home and somebody said you have a 30 percent chance of getting into a wreck on the way home, we would think, that’s pretty bad odds. And so that — it does slightly increase the odds.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you’re saying it’s not going to turn the race around, but you’re saying it will have an effect?

    MARK SHIELDS: I just think everything was heading in her direction, and I think that it maybe freezes that.

    I agree it’s not at this point a game-changer, by any means, Judy. But if Hillary Clinton won by five points or more, virtually every Republican I know believes she will carry the Senate. And if, all of a sudden, it’s a three-point, a two-point victory, it means a couple of things.

    It means that the Senate is very much up for grabs and it also means that Donald Trump will be a factor in a very bloody civil war in the Republican Party after this election.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean whichever way this goes?

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, I think, if he suffered a real defeat, a stinging defeat of 10 points, or in that area, I think he would no longer be a major figure, because nobody in the Republican Party basically wants him to be there. But he would have a claim if he loses by two.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, this has clearly been a bad week for Hillary Clinton.

    David, I do want to bring up something Mark mentioned. And that is, you hear not just Democratic women, independent women, Republican women saying — and we had a discussion about it here on the “NewsHour” last night — who are really troubled by what they have seen in the course of this election.

    How long-lasting a problem is that for the Republican Party?

    DAVID BROOKS: I think it’s mostly Trump-related.

    Of course, there’s always been a gender gap. But among — it’s — for Republicans politically, it’s sort of been manageable. And it depends on how they project themselves. In some years, they have done better.

    But Donald Trump is so egregious in the way he talks about women, the way he allegedly treated women, I do think it’s more his own thing. And where you’re seeing it especially is among college-educated women. The college-educated in general in all our previous elections have voted Republican, but now they’re going massively for the Democrats. And college-educated women, in particular, like 65 percent for Hillary Clinton.

    And they’re turned off of Trump both on issues, but especially on these moral positions, or the moral behavior that he’s undertaken. But I still think it’s mostly a Trump phenomenon. If you get — next time you get a Mitt Romney or somebody who’s just morally clean, I don’t think it lingers.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you think that that’s the way it will work, Mark?

    MARK SHIELDS: No, I don’t.

    I think Mitt Romney is the conspicuous exception. Mitt Romney was the man who stood up to Donald Trump early, hard, never wavered. We have seen this back-and-forth, Jason Chaffetz from Utah saying, I have a 15-year-old daughter. There’s no way I could support somebody like him.

    Now he’s voting for him. You get this back-and-forth. I just think, Judy, I mean, the Democrats have tried the war against women in the past. It didn’t really have that much traction. But I…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Accusing the Republicans of…

    (CROSSTALK)

    MARK SHIELDS: Accusing the Republicans waging a war on women.

    But when you have got a candidate who basically authors his own how-to tape on how to assault women for your own needs and wants, you know, without impunity — with impunity, and you don’t have that many people stand up and say he’s unacceptable, I think it’s a stain on the Republicans,.

    And I think it could very well be a problem, not of the dimensions of ’64 and the Civil Rights Act. But I think he’s not — it’s not going to go away in a hurry.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes.

    Well, I agree it’s a stain, but I would make a generational point here that there is a big difference, especially on some of these issues and basically on ethnic diversity issues, on a bunch of issues and sensibility issues, between older Republicans and younger Republicans.

    And what Newt Gingrich said to Megyn Kelly, a total insensitivity to sexual assault, that is just — I don’t meet too many Republican candidates under 45 who are that numb and that blind.

    And I do think there’s different attitudes growing up in the Republican Party. I’m struck especially among social conservatives, among evangelical voters. It’s very hard to find an evangelical person under 45, let alone on some of the Christian college campuses, who has any tolerance for Donald Trump.

    Of course, they’re there, but there is such a stark generational divide. So, the rising group of Republican voters are different tonally on a lot of these issues.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it’s not just evangelical women, who we have talked about.

    MARK SHIELDS: I don’t disagree with David.

    But I think what’s been unleashed by this experience, by Donald Trump and by the women who have come forth, I think there’s been a spontaneous, almost public and private confessional of women everywhere at every generation about revealing to their own daughters, to their spouses, to their family…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: About their own experience.

    MARK SHIELDS: … about their own experience.

    And I think this is out there now. I mean, it really is. And I think this is an — it’s an issue that was very private. And I think now it’s very much a part of the national agenda. And I think there is not going to be an unwillingness to address this in the future, like there has been in the past.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And in that connection, I will just mention briefly, Marcia Coyle, who is our Supreme Court reporter…

    MARK SHIELDS: Exactly.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: She’s a regular on the “NewsHour” — reported this week for “The National Law Journal,” a woman who just posted on her Facebook page, personally, something that happened between her and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. That is now in the news.

    But it goes to your point Mark about, it’s coming forward.

    Just a little bit of time before — I don’t want to leave everybody on a political note tonight, because there is something going on in this country that has to do with baseball, and it’s the World Series, and it’s the Cubs and the Indians. These are not two teams that have spent a lot of time in the finals of the Series.

    So, I want to — you two love baseball. So, what do you see happening? And what do you — you have got to tell me who’s going to win.

    Mark.

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, I can’t tell you who will win, but I will say this, Judy.

    Everybody knows it’s — Teddy Roosevelt was president the last time the Cubs won the World Series, 1908. OK? And so the Cubs are kind of America’s darling. I mean, everybody’s rooting for them, and they’re trendy. They’re kind of chic.

    But Cleveland, Cleveland is special. Cleveland was the second franchise and the first in the American League to desegregate in 1948.

    And, beyond that, it’s taken a lot of — they are the real underdogs in this race — I mean, in this competition. So, I have a very soft spot for Cleveland.

    And Jim Bouton, who wrote “Ball Four,” of the Yankees said once that, if you’re going to have a flying accident, you want it on the way into Cleveland, not the way out. I mean, that’s a terrible thing to say about a city. So, I’m rooting for them.

    DAVID BROOKS: I’m appalled that you can’t pick a side.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: I think we’re morally obligated to pick the Chicago Cubs. I have wondering who to vote for. I’m writing in Kyle Schwarber, Indiana University, proud native, great hitter, coming out of the bench.

    MARK SHIELDS: Great story.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Owner of the team.

    MARK SHIELDS: No.

    DAVID BROOKS: No, no. He’s a — the designated hitter.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Oh, oh, OK.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MARK SHIELDS: Six hundred days, he hadn’t faced face Major League pitching, and gets the hit and…

    DAVID BROOKS: Schwarber for president.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right.

    Yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We heard it here first.

    MARK SHIELDS: OK.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark Shields, David Brooks, thank you.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: a major agreement on ocean conservation today. Dozens of nations created the world’s largest marine reserve at the bottom of the globe.

    William Brangham has the story.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Twenty-four countries and the European Union agreed today to set aside 600,000 square miles of ocean. The newly protected zone is in the Ross Sea, which borders Antarctica. Most commercial fishing will be banned in the area, though researchers will be allowed to take limited samples.

    The protection will take effect starting December 2017 and will continue for 35 years.

    For more on what this means, and how it came to be, I am joined by Karen Sack. She’s managing director of the conservation organization Ocean Unite.

    Welcome.

    KAREN SACK, Managing Director, Ocean Unite: Thank you.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Nice to be reporting on some good news.

    KAREN SACK: It’s fantastic to be talking about some really unprecedented news for the ocean.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Tell us, how important is this?

    KAREN SACK: This is truly a seminal event in international ocean governance.

    It’s the first time that countries around the world are coming together to agree not to take fish or other species out of the water, but to leave them in, and to leave them in for a good long period of time.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, what species in particular are we protecting here with this preserve?

    KAREN SACK: Well, the Ross Sea is known as a Garden of Eden in the ocean, or sometimes called the ocean’s Serengeti.

    There are 16,000 species that live there, from seals, whales, penguins, of course. Commercially, the species that is caught there is called Antarctic toothfish. It’s known in the United States as Chilean sea bass.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, when we think of these preserves normally being done, we think of them being done by individual nations within their own territorial waters. But this one is quite different.

    KAREN SACK: It is.

    It’s because the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean around it is governed collectively by a group of countries under the Antarctic Treaty System.

    And the system actually came into being at the height of the Cold War, where countries set aside their differences and agreed to govern the Antarctic as a place for peace and science. That governance is now extending into the ocean.

    And about five years ago, the countries agreed to begin to work together to establish marine reserves and protected areas. And the Ross Sea is the first big one that they have managed to agree to.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I understand also that Russia needed to be cajoled to putting its name on this agreement.

    KAREN SACK: Well, part of the difficulty and why this is such a significant agreement is that decisions are made by consensus, which means that all of those 24 countries and the European Union have to agree to a decision going forward.

    For several years, Russia and China were not supportive of establishing a protective area. There was very high-level engagement from the Obama administration. We believe that President Obama actually discussed this issue with President Xi in China, and that shifted the Chinese position.

    Over the last 18 months, Secretary Kerry has really worked incredibly hard with his counterparts in New Zealand and around the world, working with Minister Lavrov of Russia. And it was just earlier this week, we understand, that we managed to reach agreement on this issue.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It was that touch and go?

    KAREN SACK: It was that close.

    Several of us were planning for maybe another year of negotiation. And it is just fantastic that we managed to get to this point, and is a testament to the ability of multinationalism to work, even when there are incredibly difficult issues on the global agenda at the moment.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We said at the beginning this is a 35-year period of time where this space will be protected. Is that long enough?

    KAREN SACK: Well, no, it isn’t.

    And, in fact, this was one of the big sticking points for Russia, how long the area should be protected for. The science shows that marine-protected areas should be in place without a limit in their duration.

    We believe, though, that these 35 years will provide the marine life in the Antarctic and the Ross Sea area the ability to show us all just how amazing it is and will convince everyone sitting at that table 35 years from now to continue protecting this unbelievably iconic and special ocean area.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Karen Sack, thank you so much for being here.

    KAREN SACK: Thank you.

    The post Ocean’s ‘Garden of Eden’ to house world’s largest marine reserve appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  Activist Amanda Nguyen attends MTV Total Registration Live at MTV Studios on September 27, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for MTV)

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: how one woman’s struggle to protect evidence in her rape case led to the start of a movement — and now, a new federal law.

    John Yang has her story.

    AMANDA NGUYEN, Sexual Assault Survivor: Over and over again, I started discovering is a system that is so broken.

    JOHN YANG: For sexual assault survivors like Amanda Nguyen, this small box has the tremendous power to deliver justice and bring closure. It’s a rape kit. Inside are the tools to collect and store the evidence to track down and prosecute an assailant.

    AMANDA NGUYEN: Rape is notorious for being under reported, and it’s because survivors are faced with a system that is stacked so high against them.

    JOHN YANG: Amanda was assaulted in 2013 when she was in college in Massachusetts. Rape kits are automatically destroyed in that state after six months unless the victim asks for an extension. And how do they do that?

    AMANDA NGUYEN: The catch is that there’s no information given on how to extend it, and the greater catch is that there’s no way to actually extend it.

    JOHN YANG: Even after she filled out the proper forms, the bureaucratic confusion continued.

    AMANDA NGUYEN: I found out that, against an extension put into place, my kit was wrongly removed from the forensic lab and almost destroyed. So, even if I have played by their game, it still is broken.

    JOHN YANG: After that, Amanda began asking questions. She learned that, in most states, police can legally destroy rape kits well before the statute of limitations runs out.

    AMANDA NGUYEN: What that literally means is that, if I was raped in a state that doesn’t destroy kits, like California, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, then this wouldn’t have happened to me, and it’s just because Massachusetts doesn’t have those rights.

    JOHN YANG: An activist was born.

    AMANDA NGUYEN: I had a choice. I could accept injustice or rewrite the law. And one of these things is a lot better than the other. My mission is simple: Fix the patchwork of rights.

    JOHN YANG: Amanda formed a coalition of rape survivors demanding a federal bill of rights. A Change.org petition has more than 140,000 signatures.

    Most sexual assaults are investigated and prosecuted under state law, but Amanda believes that a national standard can serve as a model for statehouses. Earlier this month, that finally became a reality when President Obama signed the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights. It’s the first time that the term sexual assault survivor appears in federal law.

    The bill says those who’ve been assaulted should be clearly told their legal rights, be able to track the status and results of their rape kit, not pay for a rape kit exam, and be able to get the police report.

    SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-N.H.): The way we met Amanda is that she just started coming to offices on the Hill.

    JOHN YANG: To help draft the Sexual Assault Survivors Act, Amanda turned to Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

    Senator, tell us, what would the bill do? What’s in the bill?

    SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN: Oftentimes, the system makes people feel like they are being re-victimized.

    And so the bill is an effort to say that survivors of sexual assault should have certain rights under our criminal justice system, and they should know what those rights are, and they should be treated — everyone should be treated fairly.

    This is something that is overlooked in the law the way it exists now. And so it was really her advocacy and her determination that has raised this issue, and gives us all of those supporters around the country who can help us talk to other senators and members of Congress to get this done.

    JOHN YANG: Amanda’s coalition is now lobbying state lawmakers across the country. Versions of the bill are pending in several states, including Oregon, California and Maryland, and has even passed in Massachusetts. The overall goal of the bill is to empower assault victims with information.

    LINDSEY SILVERBERG, Advocate, The Network for Victim Recovery of DC: It’s so scary, it’s so overwhelming to walk into a hospital to not have any idea really about what is going to happen.

    JOHN YANG: MedStar Washington Hospital Center in the District of Columbia offers every patient requesting a rape kit exam a forensic nurse specially trained to conduct those exams and a sexual assault advocate like Lindsey Silverberg. She’s there to provide victims with legal and emotional support.

    LINDSEY SILVERBERG: One of the benefits of having an advocate, with somebody in the exam room and then following up after with them, is that, if they decide to then engage law enforcement after the forensic exam is over, they have somebody who can walk them through that system.

    And we have seen an increase in the number of people who have decided to report to law enforcement after an exam, once they have all the information about what that looks like.

    JOHN YANG: But, in many states, full-time professional advocates like Lindsey don’t exist.

    LINDSEY SILVERBERG: Access to competent, well-trained individuals, both an advocate and a forensic nurse, is not the national standard at the moment.

    JOHN YANG: Amanda continues to champion the rights of the estimated 25 million sexual assault survivors nationally. She is cheered by unexpected encounters like this one with an Uber driver on one of her many rides to Capitol Hill.

    AMANDA NGUYEN: He didn’t talk to me the entire ride, but he saw I was going to the Senate. So, he asked me. And I told him the reason why and what I was fighting for. And this man who I would never met before, who was once intimidating, started crying. Like, just — tears just welled up in his eyes.

    And he turned to me and he said: “My daughter is a rape survivor. And when she went to the system, they didn’t treat her right.” And when we arrived at the Senate, he stopped and said: “Can I shake your hand? Thank you so much for fighting for my daughter.”

    JOHN YANG: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang in Washington.

    The post The woman behind the sexual-assault survivor ‘bill of rights’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX2QW67

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: While it’s too soon to tell what the impact of today’s revelation will be on the presidential race, there are plenty of other dynamics to drill down on.

    Here to discuss how the campaign is playing out in some of the states where it matters most, we’re joined by Andra Gillespie. She’s a professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta. Emily Ramshaw, she is editor in chief of The Texas Tribune in Austin. And Paul Steinhauser, he’s political director for NH1 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

    And we welcome all of you to the program.

    I’m going to start with you, Emily, by asking where the race stands in the state of Texas. And I’m doing that because I can’t believe that Texas is actually in play in this election year, because, what, Mitt Romney won four years ago by how many points?

    EMILY RAMSHAW, The Texas Tribune: Close to 18 percentage points. It’s really a fascinating case right now.

    We are, in theory, within the margin of error. Polling shows that Hillary Clinton is trailing Donald Trump here by 3 percentage points. Early voting turnout here has been through the roof in almost every major county. For the first time in my career covering Texas, Texas is actually, in theory, in play for Democrats.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Andra Gillespie, we have asked you to look at three states for us that are in play, where you are right now, Georgia, which is a place, again, you wouldn’t expect Democrats would have a shot. What does it look like right now in Georgia?

    ANDRA GILLESPIE, Emory University: So, right now, the polls have Donald Trump ahead, but his lead is within the statistical margin of error. Again, this is something that nobody would have expected in a normal presidential election year, but, of course, this year has been every — anything but normal.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about Florida, which you’re also looking at?

    ANDRA GILLESPIE: So, in Florida, it’s also still statistically tied. It’s a little bit mixed.

    Going into this week, a lot of prognosticator have started to put Florida in the lead-Clinton category, but there’s been a couple of polls that have put Donald Trump up. But, again, these leads are narrow leads and statistically they’re within the margin of error, so we can say nothing other than the fact that they’re tied right now.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we’re hearing today that Hillary Clinton is going to spending much of the weekend in Florida, in Daytona Beach and Miami.

    And, Andra, let me ask you, what about North Carolina? That’s a state where both of these campaigns have practically been living for the last few weeks.

    ANDRA GILLESPIE: So, this is also a hotly contested state. And it’s started to trend toward Clinton. But, again, we’re talking about these razor-thin margins that are within the statistical margin of error.

    Right now, people have started to look at North Carolina as a must-win state for Donald Trump if he hopes to be able to amass 270 Electoral College votes. And so, for that reason, Hillary Clinton yesterday brought Michelle Obama in to try to shore up support there to make sure that she keeps that in the lean-Clinton category. But, again, it’s still statistically too close to call.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Paul Steinhauser, you are in New Hampshire, where Donald Trump was today. How’s it looking there?

    PAUL STEINHAUSER, NH1: Well, I think you could say Donald Trump is one happy dude today. He broke the news about the email investigation by the FBI at this rally.

    Overall, though, Judy, it’s getting tighter here in New Hampshire. A new poll out today shows a three-point edge for Clinton. If you average all the polls over the last week, it’s only five points for Clinton. That’s one reason you keep seeing Donald Trump back here, three times this month. He’s been seven times since the Republican Convention, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s talk about why these races are shaping up the way they are.

    Emily Ramshaw, in Texas, what is driving voters? I’m sure you have talked to some. Your reporters have talked to them. What is motivating them this year?

    EMILY RAMSHAW: Well, what is really motivating them is the polarization of this race.

    You’re seeing huge turnout in communities with large Latino populations, with a lot of women turning out to the polls, saying they’re just outraged by Donald Trump’s comments about women.

    At the same time, you’re seeing record turnout in really strong Republican parts of the state, where folks are just determined to ensure that Hillary Clinton doesn’t get elected. So, really, you’re seeing just incredible polarization and anger and outrage and excitement on both sides.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about — Emily, staying with you, what about in the Latino community? How is that breaking down?

    EMILY RAMSHAW: The Latinos in Texas are considered the sleeping giant. They are largely Democratic-leaning when they are inspired to the polls, but they’re very difficult to get to the polls.

    And I think, so far, what we have seen from early voting turnout, normally, you vote early in Texas to avoid the lines. And there have been incredible lines in the first five days of early voting, particularly in a lot of these strongly Latino communities, even on the border and in El Paso. So that would suggest that a lot of these Latinos are being spurred to the polls.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Andra Gillespie, again, we have asked you to take on three states.

    But let’s take them one by one. In Georgia, the fact that Hillary Clinton is even in contention there, how do you explain it?

    ANDRA GILLESPIE: Well, I think it’s a number of factors.

    I think it’s, one, just the polarizing candidacy of Donald Trump, which has divided the Republican Party and perhaps dampened enthusiasm among some segments of the Republican population, particularly suburban white college-educated women.

    We also have a growth in voter registration amongst Latino and Asian-American voters. And we expect that, given Donald Trump’s immigration rhetoric, that that — those groups are going to trend Democratic. We have also seen efforts in the Democratic Party to do party building to make sure that they identify likely Democratic voters in the state in an attempt to try to get them to register to vote as well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s jump down to Florida, where we know it’s a very different demographic dynamic. The Latino vote there has been significant. What role is it playing this year?

    ANDRA GILLESPIE: So, I think, this year, all eyes are going to be on the Orlando area in particular.

    So, we know that, in South Florida, Cuban Americans have historically trended Republican in presidential elections, and so the Latino population in the state of Florida is diversifying. So, you’re looking at Puerto Ricans in particular who might be leaving the economic woes of the island to come straight to the mainland. And they can register to vote. They’re U.S. citizens.

    So, we could be seeing a different type of Latino electorate, one that would be disinclined to support Donald Trump for president, and again the same national pressures, with Donald Trump having alienated many women, having alienated African-Americans. And this might drive up turnout for Hillary Clinton amongst these segments of the electorate.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Andra, in both Florida and North Carolina, what kind of an organization do these two campaigns, Clinton and Trump, have?

    ANDRA GILLESPIE: So, Donald Trump has relied on the RNC to do a lot of the GOTV work and hasn’t really laid the same type of campaign infrastructure that Hillary Clinton has.

    And this could be the difference between winning and losing this time around. So, we know that Clinton has more campaign offices. We know that she has more paid staff. And these people are in place to help direct the GOTV operations that are in place now to get people to the polls for early voting and in particular to get them out on Election Day.

    So, this is not to say that the Trump campaign isn’t organizing, but some of this is being in a more decentralized fashion. It becomes a question of whether not that decentralization can actually yield the same type of high-impact voter turnout that we know a classic shoe-leather campaign can.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Paul Steinhauser, coming back to you, you alluded to this a minute ago, but what is driving voters this year in New Hampshire? Is it the same sort of polarization we’re seeing in these other states?

    PAUL STEINHAUSER: Yes, we’re not that different than the rest of the country. And I think you’re seeing the same trends up here that you’re seeing elsewhere.

    We get a lot more campaign traffic. Obviously, we get two bites at the apple. We saw all the candidates in the primary as well. And, Judy, we’re a little old-school up here. We don’t have early voting, so it’s November 8 for us.

    And it’s all about the grassroots outreach, the get-out-the-vote efforts here. It’s about the door-knocks and it’s about the phone calls. And as in the other states, the Trump campaign is a little stronger here, I think. They have had a little longer to put their organization together.

    But, still, the Clinton campaign has the bigger get-out-the-vote effort than the Trump campaign here in New Hampshire, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me just quickly touch base with all three of you with this question.

    Emily, to you first. How much is undecided, would you say, or still — people who may still change their minds in Texas?

    EMILY RAMSHAW: You know, I think, at this point, most folks’ minds are already made up.

    You saw Clinton playing late here in the game. She started advertising just a little bit in Texas, which was unheard of for a Democrat in the presidential race. She’s opened some offices here. But I think, by this point in the game, most people really know where they’re voting. And, again, early voting turnout has been so high that records may not be broken on Election Day itself.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Andra Gillespie, again, three states, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, what would you say about minds not quite made up?

    ANDRA GILLESPIE: So, I think that at, this point, it’s not so much about persuasion as it is about mobilization.

    And so, given the turn in news events, whether it’s tapes or whether it’s emails, that’s fodder for campaigns to go out and try to reach their targeted groups of people. So, if they have done the hard work of identifying voters and banking those votes, now it’s just a question of getting those voters out to the polls.

    So, changes in the news cycle probably aren’t going to change folks’ minds at this point. A lot of that’s already baked in. And I think a lot of that is being reflected in the numbers of people who have turned out for early voting.

    We will wait to see whether this is a harbinger of record turnout or it’s a harbinger of people having made up their minds already. But I think this race really does come down to who is best equipped to be able to get their people out to the polls between now and November 8.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And in just a couple of seconds, Paul, minds not made up, big percentage or not? Small percentage?

    PAUL STEINHAUSER: Very small percentage here, same story. Minds are pretty much made up. And it’s all about getting out the base, not only in the presidential race, but in our blockbuster U.S. Senate race as well, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Which we didn’t have a chance to talk to, but we will be in one of these coming days before election.

    Paul Steinhauser, Emily Ramshaw, Andra Gillespie, thank you very much.

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    FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 28, 2016.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTSPUVE

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We return to today’s revelation that the FBI will review newly discovered emails connected to Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information.

    To help us unpack what we know is Devlin Barrett, reporter with The Wall Street Journal.

    Devlin, welcome back to the “NewsHour.”

    So, where did these emails come from?

    DEVLIN BARRETT, The Wall Street Journal: I’m told that these emails were found on a personal laptop that was shared by a key Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, and her then husband — they are now separated — Anthony Weiner, who is a former congressman.

    The backstory here is that Mr. Weiner is under investigation for allegedly sexting with potentially an underaged girl. And so they looked at that laptop as part of that investigation and found a whole slew of emails that — some of which, I’m told, include Ms. Abedin’s having work discussions on email.

    And now they have to go through these thousands of emails to see if any of them might contain classified or any other information that the investigators would consider instructive to the email investigation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it’s thousands of emails? Is that what they’re saying?

    DEVLIN BARRETT: Well, right. There’s thousands of emails on the laptop, I’m told, but they have to go through and figure out how many of those are her work discussions. And that number, I’m told, hasn’t been calculated yet.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But this investigation into Hillary Clinton’s confidential emails has been going on for some time. They’re just now looking at this particular laptop?

    DEVLIN BARRETT: Right.

    I’m told investigators in the original Clinton email investigation were not aware of this device being used for any State Department work discussions at the time they did that investigation. I’m told that the FBI essentially only realized that they had possession of these work discussions, these email work discussions earlier this week.

    So, there’s been, frankly, a bit of a scramble in the FBI in the last few days to, one, figure out what they have and then figure out what to do about it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, as we say, this happens 11 days before the presidential election? This has to do with one of the two nominees for president.

    Did the FBI say anything to you about the timing of this and whether that affected their decision?

    DEVLIN BARRETT: They’re not saying anything publicly.

    What I’m told is that they considered the possibility of just reviewing the material and then telling just — and then Congress later. I think the decision they came to, though, was that they’d rather take whatever grief they’re going to take for saying this now than be accused after the election of having held it back, having sat on something important, and wait until the election was over to tell people.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, so we have the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and a number of others saying, we want to see what that is; it’s not fair…

    DEVLIN BARRETT: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: … that you’re announcing you’re doing this without letting us see what’s there.

    What do they say to that?

    DEVLIN BARRETT: Well, right.

    And I think the challenge for both campaigns is that they get to talk to this without knowing what the underlying facts are. But, frankly, it’s not — from my understanding, is that the FBI doesn’t really know what the underlying facts are yet. That’s what they’re trying to figure out.

    So, I think, frankly, it is going to be a political football for the rest of this time, and it’s obviously politically a very big deal. What no one knows — and I suspect not even the FBI really knows at this point — is, is it a big deal legally? Does it have a legal consequence? It will almost certainly have a political consequence, but it’s not clear at all yet if this will have a legal consequence.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And how long do they think this is going to take to go through these emails?

    DEVLIN BARRETT: Well, there’s two steps.

    First, you have to figure out, OK, find the universe of work emails. Then you have to figure out, OK, is any of the information classified? Classification reviews can take weeks or months. So, if there are things that are potentially classified, we may not know that for months.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, they are going — they have already begun the process, is that right, of going through what’s on this laptop.

    DEVLIN BARRETT: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And who’s doing the work?

    DEVLIN BARRETT: Well, it’s the FBI investigators. It’s the folks who did the original email investigation. And they’re now going through.

    And one thing they don’t know is how many of the emails on that laptop are possibly copies of emails they have already seen earlier in the investigation?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Where she might have copied herself or copied…

    (CROSSTALK)

    DEVLIN BARRETT: Right, if there is emails between two people, those emails exist on two computers. So maybe what they have is a lot of copies. But they to figure that out.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it certainly has opened up a whole new set of questions as we get closer to Election Day.

    Devlin Barrett with The Wall Street Journal, thank you.

    DEVLIN BARRETT: Thank you.

    The post Interpreting the FBI’s announcement on Clinton’s private server appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A gender-neutral bathroom is seen at the University of California, Irvine in Irvine, California September 30, 2014. The University of California will designate gender-neutral restrooms at its 10 campuses to accommodate transgender students, in a move that may be the first of its kind for a system of colleges in the United States.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: EDUCATION SOCIETY POLITICS) - RTR48EXM

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will take up the issue of transgender rights for the first time. The justices accepted a case from Virginia. It involves a transgender teen who was barred from using the boys’ bathroom at a high school. A lower court has ordered the school board to accommodate the student.

    The secretary of the interior says she is — quote — “profoundly disappointed” with the acquittals in Oregon’s wildlife refuge takeover. Secretary Sally Jewell says she’s concerned that it will damage the security and management of public lands. Seven defendants were charged with conspiracy after they occupied the refuge for 41 days. They say yesterday’s verdict vindicates their claims of federal overreach.

    SHAWNA COX, Acquitted Defendant: We have to say we are so grateful for the patriots and for those jurors who spent their time. And we know it’s a great sacrifice, and we are so grateful. We are in tears because we were so happy that they heard the truth and they didn’t — and they weren’t intimidated enough that they did come back with the right judgment.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, is being held on other charges from a 2014 Nevada standoff. His lawyer also faces charges after yelling at the judge yesterday to release Bundy. U.S. Marshals used a stun gun to subdue him in court.

    The U.S. economy surged ahead in the year’s third quarter by the most in two years. Commerce Department numbers today show the gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent. That’s twice the growth rate in the second quarter.

    In Syria, opposition fighters launched a new offensive today, pushing back against the government’s siege of the city of Aleppo. The rebels, including some Islamist militants, attacked the western half of the city, the side controlled by government troops. State media said the military repelled the attack.

    Later, the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he has decided against resuming airstrikes on Aleppo.

    The war in Yemen may be taking a sharp new turn. Overnight, Shiite rebels fired a ballistic missile deep into neighboring Saudi Arabia, which backs the Yemeni government. Saudi officials say the missile was intercepted about 40 miles outside the holy Muslim city of Mecca. The rebels claim the actual target was the international airport at Jiddah northwest of Mecca.

    The United Nations warns that Islamic State fighters in Iraq are using tens of thousands of civilians as human shields in the battle for Mosul. Iraqi troops have been closing in on the city. And U.N. officials said today that,as the militants retreat, they’re forcing men, women and children to go with them.

    RAVINA SHAMSADANI, Spokeswoman, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights: ISIL’s depraved, cowardly strategy is to attempt to use the presence of civilian hostages to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations, effectively using tens of thousands of women, men and children as human shields. Many of those who refused to comply were shot on the spot.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.N. estimates ISIS killed more than 200 civilians on Wednesday alone.

    There is new unrest in Pakistan: Anti-government protesters fought with police today in Islamabad and other cities. Crowds threw rocks, and officers answered with batons and tear gas. Several people were arrested, but the street clashes eased at nightfall. The protesters are demanding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif step down over corruption charges.

    It is the deadliest incident yet in the Philippines’ drug war. Police in a southern province killed a mayor and nine of his men in a shoot-out today. Hours earlier, outspoken President Rodrigo Duterte declared thousands more may die in the drug war. He also said that he’s going to stop swearing because God spoke to him and warned him to mend his ways.

    Back in this country, the death of a two-star U.S. Army general just two days before he was to assume command of the Space and Missile Defense Command has been ruled a suicide. Major General John Rossi was found dead at his home at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, in July. He’s the first general officer to take his own life since record-keeping began in 2000. Military suicides have risen in recent years, but an Army statement shed no light on Rossi’s motive.

    On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost eight points to close at 18161. The Nasdaq fell nearly 26, and the S&P 500 fell six. For the week, the Dow gained a faction, the Nasdaq fell more than 1 percent, and the S&P dropped seventh-tenths of a percent.

    And Bob Dylan will accept the Nobel Prize for Literature after all. He had not been heard from since the prize was announced two weeks ago. But, today, the Nobel Foundation said that Dylan has now called to say he — quote — “appreciates the honor” and accepts. No word yet on whether he will attend the award ceremony in December.

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    U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes the stage at a campaign rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S. October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder  - RTX2QWH3

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Call it an October surprise. Today’s FBI statement about Hillary Clinton’s emails roiled the presidential race, just 11 days before the election. Donald Trump pounced. The Clinton camp demanded more information.

    Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Hillary Clinton landed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to campaign, but was greeted by the news that the FBI is reviewing newly found emails linked the private server she used as secretary of state.

    In a letter to congressional chairmen, FBI Director James Comey said: “An unrelated investigation turned up emails that appear pertinent to the Clinton case.” He said he agreed with his team to allow investigators to review the emails and determine whether they contain classified information, as well as assess their importance.

    The candidate herself did not respond to shouted questions, and did not address it at her rally, sticking with her stump speech.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: Everyone working across the state are going to make sure that we win Iowa.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    LISA DESJARDINS: Clinton’s campaign chairman did send out a statement this afternoon calling the timing of the announcement extraordinary and urging the FBI to give more details about the emails in question, stressing that it’s not clear if these emails are significant.

    In Manchester, New Hampshire:

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: That I heard 10 minutes ago.

    LISA DESJARDINS: The news was certainly significant to Donald Trump.

    DONALD TRUMP: We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    DONALD TRUMP: I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the Department of Justice are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made.

    LISA DESJARDINS: This the same day that Clinton hoped to focus on other areas, like debuting a new television ad featuring President Obama.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: These last eight years is on the ballot.

    LISA DESJARDINS: And the Clinton camp had good news on the fund-raising front, as Donald Trump faced new money questions, especially about his repeated pledges to personally finance his campaign, like this from two days ago.

    DONALD TRUMP: I will have over $100 million in the campaign. And I’m prepared to go much more than that.

    LISA DESJARDINS: But new fund-raising reports show the total Trump personally donated to the campaign was $56 million as of just over a week ago. His contributions dropped in October to a total of $31,000 for the first three weeks of this month.

    What might matter more is how much Trump’s campaign has on hand. It’s $16 million according to the report. That compares with $62 million in Hillary Clinton’s war chest. Today, Trump said he is writing a $10 million check to his campaign. That is a big boost, but it still leaves a more than 2-1 money gap.

    Meanwhile, key Senate races are winding up with a contentious New Hampshire Senate debate last night and a headline-making face-off in Illinois. Democratic Congresswoman and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth had spoken of her family’s history of military service going back to the Revolutionary War.

    That prompted this from incumbent Republican Mark Kirk:

    SEN. MARK KIRK (R-Ill.): I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Duckworth’s mother is a Thai immigrant. Her father’s family does go back to the nation’s founding. Kirk later apologized.

    With a week-and-a-half left, the twists and turns of campaign 2016 keep coming.

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

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    Video by PBS NewsHour

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Hillary Clinton is calling on the FBI to release more information about its review of emails that may be related to its investigation into her private server.

    Clinton says “Let’s get it out.”

    The Democratic presidential candidate says the American people deserve to have as much information as possible before they vote Nov. 8.

    Clinton says she’s confident investigators won’t find information that would cause the FBI to change its decision to close the investigation without filing charges in July.

    Clinton spoke hours after the FBI announced it was reviewing newly discovered emails to see if they are relevant to its closed investigation into her private email server.

    The messages were discovered during a federal sexting investigation of Anthony Weiner, the soon-to-be ex-husband of a longtime Clinton aide, Huma Abedin.

    WATCH: FBI reviewing new information on Clinton’s private email server

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    WASHINGTON — Thought the furor over Hillary Clinton’s private emails was over? Think again.

    The FBI dropped what amounts to a political bomb on the Clinton campaign on Friday when it announced it was investigating whether new emails involving the Democratic presidential nominee contain classified information.

    The announcement was a surprise considering the FBI had closed its investigation into Clinton’s private email server in July. Turns out, though, this investigation doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Clinton’s homebrew server. A U.S. official with knowledge of the case said the new emails were uncovered recently in an unrelated sexting probe involving the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

    What we know:

    Clinton and her server

    Shortly after Clinton announced her plans to run for president, the FBI began investigating the handling of classified material involving her server in New York while she was President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

    Clinton insisted all along that she never sent or received emails that were marked classified at the time, but some emails on her server were later deemed top secret or included confidential or sensitive information.

    Most of the messages have shown how Clinton dealt with a series of foreign policy hurdles, from the Arab Spring in the Middle East to the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It has also offered a more private window into Clinton’s daily life, showing her asking an aide to help her find Showtime’s CIA-focused drama “Homeland,” getting political intelligence from longtime allies and managing a busy schedule and flights around the globe.

    Last July, the FBI said it wasn’t recommending criminal charges against Clinton. But FBI Director James Comey delivered a blistering televised statement in which he called Clinton extremely careless with her handling of national secrets and contradicted her past explanations about her emails.

    What’s new?

    In a letter to Congress on Friday, Comey said the FBI is investigating whether there is classified information in newly discovered emails. Comey says the emails surfaced during an unrelated FBI case, but didn’t say where the new emails came from or who sent them.

    A U.S. official with knowledge of the case said the emails were related to a separate sexting probe involving Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The official was not authorized to discuss details publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Federal authorities are investigating illicit text messages Weiner sent a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. The New York Times, which first reported the connection, said the FBI uncovered the new emails after it seized electronic devices belonging to Abedin and Weiner.

    Clinton told reporters that she knew no more than they did about Comey’s revelation. “We don’t know the facts, which is why we are calling on the FBI to release all the information that it has,” she said at a brief news conference. “Even Director Comey noted that this new information might not be significant, so let’s get it out.”

    As far as any connection to Abedin and Weiner, Clinton said: “You know, we’ve heard these rumors. We don’t know what to believe. And I’m sure there will be even more rumors.”

    Classification confusion

    Clinton told the FBI she didn’t pay attention to particular levels of classified information, though she said she treated all classified information the same.

    She said she could not give an example of how classification of a document was determined, and told the FBI that she relied on career professionals to handle and mark classified information.

    At one point in the interview, she was presented with a 2012 email that included a “c” marking before one of the paragraphs. Though the marking was meant to connote that the material was “confidential” — the lowest level of classification — Clinton said she wasn’t sure.

    She speculated that perhaps the “c” referenced the paragraphs being “marked in alphabetical order,” according to the FBI interview.

    Either way, Clinton said she regarded the content of the email as a “condolence call” and questioned the classification level.

    The emails of Secretaries of State past

    According to the FBI investigation, Clinton contacted Colin Powell in January 2009 to ask about his use of a BlackBerry when he was secretary of state.

    He warned her that if she used a BlackBerry to “do business,” her emails could become official public records.

    “Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data,” he advised Clinton, the FBI said.

    Wait… Weiner?

    Yes. Federal authorities began investigating the former New York congressman in late September after an online news outlet, DailyMail.com, published an interview with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl who said she had exchanged sexually explicit messages with him over several months.

    Among other things, the girl said that during a Skype chat, Weiner had asked her to undress and touch herself.

    Weiner released a statement acknowledging that he’d corresponded with the girl. In it, he apologized, saying he had “repeatedly demonstrated terrible judgment about the people I have communicated with online.”

    But he also said he had “likely been the subject of a hoax” and provided an email, written by the girl to a teacher, in which she recanted her story.

    READ NEXT: Latest Weiner scandal pushes Clinton aide Huma Abedin into spotlight again

    Federal prosecutors in both North Carolina and New York were initially involved in the investigation, but agents in New York subsequently took the lead, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

    Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011 after it was revealed he had been exchanging sexually explicit messages with multiple women. Abedin announced their separation in August following new sexting revelations.

    What happens next

    The FBI disclosure isn’t good news for Clinton, who had just begun to pull away from Republican rival Donald Trump in the polls after the release of a 2005 video in which Trump bragged about sexual assault.

    The best scenario for Clinton is that the investigation is resolved quickly without charges. But it’s more likely the review will take some time, casting a shadow over the election.

    Within minutes of Friday’s FBI announcement, Trump accused Clinton of orchestrating a “criminal scheme” before a boisterous and jubilant crowd.

    “Perhaps finally justice will be done,” Trump said.

    The Associated Press wrote this report.

    The post What we know about the FBI’s new email inquiry appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    People look at jars of marijuana at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California July 11, 2014.  REUTERS/David McNew/File Photo - RTX2IS58

    People look at jars of marijuana at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California July 11, 2014. Photo by David McNew/File Photo/Reuters

    This November, a record number of states will vote on marijuana use. Five — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada — will consider recreational legalization, and four more — Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota — will decide on legalizing it for medical purposes. (Though Montana initially approved medical marijuana in 2004, the law has since been drastically curtailed.)

    In many ways, the states that currently have legalized marijuana in some form — five including Washington, D.C., with recreational; another 20 with medical — represent ongoing experiments in public health. Those states have provided some interesting lessons thus far, but many questions remain.

    Proponents of legalization say that it creates millions in tax revenue, unburdens the criminal justice system, and provides health care options for sick patients. While many public health experts agree about the benefits, they also have concerns about widespread legalization because of the potential consequences of big companies latching on to the marijuana market, the changing public perception of marijuana’s safety, and the increasing potency of marijuana products in legalized states.

    Despite that, there’s growing public support for such laws nationwide. A 2015 Gallup poll found 58 percent of Americans support the legal use of marijuana, the third year that supporters have been in the majority.

    [Watch Video]

    Recreational marijuana

    Recreational marijuana laws allow residents to purchase the drug in a regulatory framework similar to that used for alcohol, including age restrictions and retail licenses. In Colorado, for instance, adults 21 and older can buy up to 1 ounce at a time, though they cannot consume it in public.

    The recreational use of marijuana remains illegal on the federal level. But if more states legalize, it will make it harder to enforce that ban, experts say. For instance, if California, with its 40 million residents, passes Proposition 64, it could have national implications.

    As one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, Colorado has been looked to as a bellwether on the issue. Dr. Larry Wolk, the chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said his state’s experience hasn’t raised any alarms thus far. “We don’t see, at least in the short term, any dramatic negative impact to legalization,” he said. “There hasn’t been any public health crisis or safety issue.”

    The state has seen some risks, including a rising rate of accidental ingestion of edibles by children and an increase in ER visits by marijuana users. But Wolk is hopeful that they and future legalized states can alter packaging and labels to address those issues.

    Wolk said that, so far, their data in Colorado shows that young people have not increased their marijuana use just because it’s legal, a concern among many who are opposed to legalization. Some smaller studies confirm this finding, but nationally, findings are inconsistent state to state. In Nevada and Massachusetts, opponents of legalization are seizing on that concern. Protecting Nevada’s Children is an opposition group against recreational legalization in Nevada, where medical marijuana is already legal. In Massachusetts, a television ad opposing legalization features a mother and daughter wandering through neighborhoods overrun with marijuana stores.

    On the other hand, one impact of legalization that has decidedly been observed is an increase in the drug’s potency in legalized areas, said Wayne Hall, director of the Center for Youth Substance Abuse Research at the University of Queensland, who recently studied the effects of cannabis laws in the US. This could account for more ER visits in those states.

    Each state’s ballot is significant: If Nevada legalizes recreational marijuana, it will enhance its already booming tourism in Las Vegas. Recreational marijuana in Maine would bring legalized marijuana to the East Coast. But California’s approval could put the most pressure on the DEA to rethink federal prohibition of the drug.

    And a changed federal landscape could in turn change the economics of the industry drastically. Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, said he thinks the biggest public health concern of marijuana legalization is what will happen when large corporations start to produce and mass-market marijuana in the same ways they do alcohol or junk food. “The initiatives are written to maximize business potential and minimize regulation,” Glantz said.

    He thinks state residents should encourage lawmakers to implement graphic warning labels, bans on flavored products, and barriers to vertical integration — that is, ensuring one company can’t be in charge of the growing, development, and sales of the drug. California’s proposition, for example, would prevent licenses for large-scale marijuana businesses for five years in order to prevent “unlawful monopoly power.”

    Medical marijuana

    Medical marijuana, meanwhile, has been legalized by half of states in recent years and enjoys strong public support.

    That trend has had a number of effects. For instance, studies have found that after medical marijuana is legalized in a state, its deaths by opioid overdose tend to fall, presumably because people who would have used the latter instead use the former.

    It also hasn’t resulted in more adolescents getting their hands on the drug in those states, research shows.

    But the widening scope of medical marijuana legalization may have contributed to an aura of healthfulness around the drug, some academics say.

    “There’s research that shows that people think marijuana is not only safe but also good for you,” said Glantz. “That is a little bit complicated because there are some therapeutic use of cannabis.” But there’s also some growing evidence that marijuana can be harmful, he said, leading to cognitive impairment, chronic bronchitis, and other potential issues.

    Some opponents of North Dakota’s medical marijuana bill, including the North Dakota Medical Association, are concerned that the drug hasn’t been tested by the Food and Drug Administration to determine appropriate dosages.

    Research into medical marijuana’s harms and benefits has been hampered by its federal status as a Schedule 1 drug. In 2011, the then-governors of Washington and Rhode Island requested to have marijuana and its “related items” moved to a Schedule 2 drug, but in August of this year, federal drug enforcement authorities announced that marijuana would remain Schedule 1.

    As a Schedule 1, marijuana is difficult to research. Scientists have to get Drug Enforcement Administration approval and often increase the security protocols in their labs. As a result, much remains unknown about marijuana’s efficacy and safety for pain management and other therapeutic uses.

    This November, how states vote could make a prediction on the national direction for marijuana legalization, recreational or medical. If many of the states vote yes, it could begin a new era in the ongoing experiment of legalized marijuana and public health impacts.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Oct. 28, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post As record number of states vote on marijuana, public health questions remain appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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