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

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    Governor of Iowa Terry Branstad arrives to meet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 6, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTSUXVM

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: A new flurry of high-level announcements today from the Trump transition. They include a new ambassador and a new leader for small business interests, and the incoming president himself has picked up another honor.

    Lisa Desjardins has our report.

    LISA DESJARDINS: He didn’t appear in New York’s Trump Tower lobby today, but President-elect Donald Trump still made headlines, as “TIME” magazine named him its 2016 person of the year, billing him president of the divided states of America.

    Meanwhile, the president-elect made more picks of his own, announcing he will nominate Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as his ambassador to China. Branstad is a Republican and the longest-serving governor of Iowa ever. He was one of the most prominent establishment Republicans to support Mr. Trump in the election, and he has a longstanding friendship with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

    Another official announcement, former wresting executive Linda McMahon is Mr. Trump’s nominee to head the Small Business Administration.

    Also today, the Associated Press and other outlets reported retired Marine General John Kelly is the choice for secretary of homeland security.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), President-Elect: Great, great general.

    LISA DESJARDINS: And multiple outlets also reported Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Mr. Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is known for opposing EPA climate change regulations.

    DONALD TRUMP: Mad Dog Mattis.

    LISA DESJARDINS: All this after the incoming commander in chief officially introduced retired Marine General James Mattis as his selection for secretary of defense at a rally last night in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

    Mattis would need a waiver from Congress to accept the position because he’s been out of the service less than seven years.

    DONALD TRUMP: What a great guy. He’s going to be incredible. He will get that waiver, right? He’s going to get that. Oh, if he didn’t get that waiver, there would be a lot of angry people.

    LISA DESJARDINS: The stop in North Carolina is part of a clear ramp-up of travel for Mr. Trump. Tomorrow, he will be in Columbus, Ohio, to meet with responders to the Ohio State campus attack last week, then a thank you rally in Des Moines, Iowa. Friday, the stops are Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to support the Republican Senate candidate in a runoff, and another thank you rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    President-elect Trump said today he thinks his biggest remaining pick, secretary of state, will come next week. This morning, he also told “The Today Show” he’s getting advice from his predecessor.

    DONALD TRUMP: I will say this. I have now gotten to know President Obama. I really like him. We obviously very much disagree on certain policy and certain things, but I really like him as a person.

    LISA DESJARDINS: And, today, Mr. Trump met with the president’s first chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said he argued for so-called dreamers, undocumented Americans brought here as children.

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

    The post Ambassador, small business advocate among latest Trump picks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON — The union president slammed by Donald Trump on Twitter challenged the president-elect Thursday to back up his claim that a deal to discourage Carrier Corp. from closing an Indiana factory would save 1,100 American jobs.

    “He overreacted, President-elect Trump did,” United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones told CNN. “He should have come out and tried to justify his numbers.”

    Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence — governor of Indiana — visited Carrier’s Indianapolis factory Dec. 1 to celebrate the deal. Trump suggested then that the number of jobs saved could top 1,100.

    Jones said following Trump’s announcement that the number of jobs saved is more like 800. “Are we pleased with some of the jobs being saved?” Jones told The Associated Press. “Yeah, without a doubt. But Trump is saying no more jobs are going to be leaving this country, and I think we could use a little more honesty.”

    Late Wednesday, Trump tweeted: “Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers.”

    That local union branch represents workers at Carrier’s Indianapolis plant.

    Indiana officials said Dec. 1 the deal involved “preserving 1,069 high-wage jobs” as Carrier kept furnace manufacturing at the plant and received $7 million in tax incentives over 10 years. The AP reported the figure covered about 800 union and supervisor jobs that were set for outsourcing to Mexico — and included some 250 headquarters and engineering staff positions which the company had always said would remain in Indianapolis.

    In a second tweet Wednesday night, Trump suggested to Jones: “Spend more time working — less time talking” and the union should “Reduce dues.”

    About 30 minutes after Trump tweeted about Jones, the union leader started getting harassing phone calls, he told MSNBC.

    He said one caller asked: “What kind of car do you drive?” Another said: “We’re coming for you.”

    He told the cable news outlet he wasn’t sure how the callers found his number.

    “Nothing that says they’re going to kill me, but, you know, you better keep your eye on your kids,” Jones told MSNBC. “I’ve been doing this job for 30 years, and I’ve heard everything from people who want to burn my house down or shoot me … I can deal with people that make stupid statements and move on.”

    The post Union president Jones challenges Trump on Carrier appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Project Mercury astronaut John Glenn, enters his Mercury Friendship 7 capsule before launch on February 20, 1962. Photo courtesy NASA.

    Project Mercury astronaut John Glenn, enters his Mercury Friendship 7 capsule before launch on February 20, 1962. Photo courtesy NASA.

    John Glenn, NASA astronaut, U.S. Senator and the first American to orbit the planet, died Thursday at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He was 95.

    Born in Ohio in 1921, Glenn gained his first flight experience as a highly decorated Marine pilot in World War II. He went on to serve in the Korean War, and, in 1957, set a transcontinental speed record by flying from Los Angeles to New York in 3 hours and 23 minutes as a military test pilot.

    Two years later, NASA selected Glenn to join the ‘Mercury Seven,’ the first cohort in the agency’s astronaut recruiting and training program.

    “He was one of the nicest men I’ve ever met…he had a great way with the people,” said NewsHour’s science correspondent Miles O’Brien, who knew him personally and flew Glenn once in his airplane. “He had all the right stuff that astronauts and test pilots have. He was last of the great American heroes.”

    In a 2012 speech at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, Glenn recalled the enduring bond he’d forged with the other U.S. astronauts. “That was a real team that was put together back in those days,” Glenn said. “Never was there anything any more tight than the brotherhood we had that supported each one of those flights.”

    At the time, NASA was racing the Soviet Union for supremacy in space technology. The USSR successfully launched the first satellite, Sputnik 1, in 1957 and put the first human in orbit, Yuri Gagarin, in 1961.

    But Glenn’s moment came on February 20, 1962. That day, he squeezed into the tiny Friendship 7 spacecraft and piloted the craft around the planet three times at speeds of up to 17,000 miles per hour before splash-landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

    President John F. Kennedy (left), John Glenn and General Leighton I. Davis ride together during a parade in Cocoa Beach, Florida after Glenn's historic first U.S. human orbital spacefight. Photo courtesy NASA.

    President John F. Kennedy (left), John Glenn and General Leighton I. Davis ride together during a parade in Cocoa Beach, Florida after Glenn’s historic first U.S. human orbital spacefight. Photo courtesy NASA.

    While a success, the flight was not without drama. While the world watched, flight controllers worried that a loose heat shield would cause Glenn’s capsule to burn up upon re-entry. NASA modified Glenn’s re-entry procedure to ensure a safe return, but it was later discovered that the alarm had been triggered by a faulty indicator.

    In a 2012 PBS NewsHour interview with Judy Woodruff, Glenn said that pre-flight preparations had been key to keeping his cool during the emergency.

    “You don’t train for a normal mission where everything goes okay,” he said. “You just keep working through as you are trained to do, and mainly keeping the attitude of the spacecraft exactly where it should be, so that you get the maximum protection from the heat shield.”

    Suddenly a national hero, Glenn was feted with a ticker tape parade in New York City. President John F. Kennedy awarded Glenn the Space Congressional Medal of Honor, and on February 26, 1962, the astronaut addressed a joint session of Congress.

    “This has been a great experience for all of us on the program and for all Americans, I guess, too. And I’m certainly glad to see that pride in our country and its accomplishments are not a thing of the past,” he said at the time.

    “I think if we can help some of these events of the past bring alive experiences for our young people today, where we whet their interest in science and technology and engineering and math, it will all be well worthwhile.”

    Glenn resigned from NASA in January 16, 1964 and announced his candidacy for the Ohio Senate seat in the U.S. Congress the following day. His initial bid failed though when an accident forced Glenn to pull out from the race early.

    Glenn worked as an executive for Royal Crown Cola for nearly a decade before being successfully elected as a democratic Senator from Ohio in 1974. During his 25 years on Capitol Hill, Glenn focused on government affairs and weapons controls and was chief author of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978. Glenn even ran in 1984 for the Democratic presidential nomination. But after a poor showing in early primaries, he withdrew his bid.

    Astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn positions himself to take photos from the Discovery's aft flight deck windows on October 30, 1998. Photo courtesy NASA.

    Astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn positions himself to take photos from the Discovery’s aft flight deck windows on October 30, 1998. Photo courtesy NASA.

    But 36 years after his first flight, space — and NASA — beckoned Glenn again. In 1998, he blasted off aboard the space shuttle Discovery as part of a mission to study space’s impact on elderly bodies. The flight gave him yet another record, the oldest person ever to fly in space.

    Glenn continued to serve in the Senate until 1999. In the years that followed, Glenn and his wife Annie established the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University in Columbus. Longtime supporters of the university, the couple famously dotted the “i” in the Ohio State Marching Band’s traditional football formation in 2009.

    Glenn was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal that same year and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

    “I think if we can help some of these events of the past help bring alive some of those experiences for our young people today,” Glenn said when asked by Judy Woodruff what it means to him to be seen as a hero, “where we whet their interest in science and technology and engineering and math, it will all be well worthwhile.”


    Mark Scialla and Laura Santhanam contributed to this report.

    The post John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, dies at 95 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's plane takes off as Trump is travelling to Ohio from LaGuardia Airport in New York City, U.S. December 8, 2016.   REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTSVAQ7

    U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s plane takes off as Trump is travelling to Ohio from LaGuardia Airport in New York City, U.S. December 8, 2016. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    NEW YORK — President-elect Donald Trump is taking on a somber task Thursday that became all too familiar to his predecessor — supporting survivors after an outbreak of violence, this time families and victims from last week’s attack at Ohio State University.

    Trump is flying to Columbus, Ohio, to meet with several people who were slashed by Ohio State student Abdul Razak Ali Artan. Artan, 18, first rammed a campus crowd with his car before getting out with a knife and stabbing students before being fatally shot by police.

    As Trump left for Ohio, there was word that he is expected to pick fast-food executive Andrew Puzder to lead the Labor Department. That’s according to a Republican official and a person close to Trump’s transition, both speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the information before the official announcement.

    READ NEXT: 8 taken to Columbus area hospital after attack at Ohio State University, attacker killed

    Puzder heads CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent of Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and other chains. The Californian was one of Trump’s earliest campaign financiers, and his selection would bring another wealthy business person and elite donor into the president-elect’s Cabinet.

    The Ohio trip could be a politically potent moment for Trump, who made a hard-line immigration stance the center of his campaign. Following the attack, Trump tweeted that Artan, a legal Somali immigrant, should not have been in the country. And last week, in nearby Cincinnati, Trump said lax immigration policies enacted by “stupid politicians” led to the “violent atrocity” at Ohio State.

    “We will do everything in our power to keep the scourge of terrorism out of our country. People are pouring in from regions of the Middle East. We have no idea who they are, where they are, what they’re thinking. And we’re going to stop that dead cold flat,” Trump told that Ohio crowd. “You just take a good look at what just happened in your state.”

    Trump will then head to Iowa for the next stop on his tour meant to salute supporters who gave him the White House. He is to appear in Des Moines with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, whom he is planning to appoint as U.S. ambassador to China. On Friday, the president-elect is to make an appearance in Louisiana to boost the Republican Senate candidate ahead of that state’s runoff before holding a rally in Michigan.

    Late Wednesday, Trump picked a new fight in the Midwest, taking on the president of a union local in Indiana.

    Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, had been critical of Trump’s declaration that he saved more than 1,000 jobs from leaving a Carrier plant in Indianapolis. Trump went after Jones on Twitter, saying the union leader had done “a terrible job” representing workers and should “spend more time working-less time talking.”

    Six weeks before taking office, the president-elect spent a busy 24 hours at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday as more of his Cabinet choices were revealed.

    He has selected retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security, according to people close to the transition; he officially picked Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate-change denier whose policies have helped fossil fuel companies, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and he named the former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, Linda McMahon, to head the Small Business Administration.

    He also may have breathed new life into the candidacy of a secretary of state contender. Trump said he planned to name his choice for the key Cabinet post next week and insisted that former rival Mitt Romney still had a chance. Trump, who has met twice with the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, denied he was stringing Romney along to make him pay for earlier remarks that Trump was unfit to be president.

    Three sources close to the selection process said late Wednesday that Romney’s stock was on the rise again after a period in which the celebrity businessman had cooled on the candidacy of the former Massachusetts governor. Trump has changed his mind repeatedly throughout the process and has expanded the pool of contenders beyond the previously identified final four of Romney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker and former CIA Director David Petraeus.

    Trump’s apparent choice of Kelly for Homeland Security came just hours after the president-elect appeared to open the door to letting immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children remain in the country. He gave off other contradictory signals when he chose Pruitt to head the EPA just hours after he and his daughter Ivanka met with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, a strong advocate of fighting climate change. Terry Tamminen, the CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, said he and DiCaprio presented Trump with a “framework” on how focusing on renewable, clean energy could create millions of job.

    Pruitt, whose selection demoralized some environmentalists and Democrats, came not long after Trump also met with former Vice President Al Gore, who is an environmental activist, and said he had “an open mind” about honoring the Paris climate accords.

    Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Julie Bykowicz and Lolita Baldor in Washington contributed.

    The post Trump heads west to meet with Ohio State victims, families appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

    House members have cleared bills to keep the government running through April. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday cleared bills to keep the government running through April and authorize hundreds of water projects, but a Senate fight over benefits for retired coal miners threatened to lead to a government shutdown this weekend.

    House members promptly bolted home for the holidays and will return next month to a capital city in which Republicans will fully control all levers of power, with Donald Trump inaugurated as the nation’s 45th president.

    The stopgap spending bill passed on a 326-96 vote; the massive water projects measure passed 360-61.

    In the Senate, however, Democrats made a last-ditch effort to add two provisions to the bills: Aa one-year respite for retired coal miners scheduled to lose their health benefits at year’s end and a permanent extension of “Buy America” mandates for steel used in the construction of water projects.

    “They totally gave the back of their hand to miners,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. “Who’s for the working people? Where’s Donald Trump on miners?”

    [Watch Video]

    Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, both of whom face re-election in 2018, argued that a provision in the spending bill to temporarily extend health care benefits for about 16,500 retired union coal miners is insufficient.

    The measure does not protect pension benefits despite President Harry S. Truman’s 1946 guarantee to miners of lifetime health and retirement benefits.

    “We’re going to stick together on this, and this is really important to Democrats,” Brown said. “And we hope that President-elect Trump, in his words about Buy America and his talk about workers, will help us convince Republicans.”

    READ NEXT: This couple teaches laid-off coal miners in PA how to code

    GOP leaders insisted the deal was the best the Democrats could get, heightening the possibility the government could close at midnight Friday.

    “They’re not going to get what they want. They ought to actually be grateful for what they got,” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican.

    Democrats’ options were limited, especially since the House has closed up shop and won’t consider changes to either bill.

    And delaying the separate water projects measure would kill $170 million long sought by Democrats to help the impoverished city of Flint, Michigan, repair its aging infrastructure to rid its water of poisonous lead.

    Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., nonetheless promised to filibuster the massive water projects bill over a provision allowing more of California’s limited water resources to flow to Central Valley farmers hurt by the state’s lengthy drought.

    Boxer and environmentalists complain that the provision favors corporate farmers over fishermen and endangered species. It appeared to be an uphill struggle, in part because her California colleague, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, favors the changes for the distribution of the state’s water resources.

    The Senate did, however, clear the annual defense policy bill, which authorizes $611 billion to run the military in 2017, provides a 2.1 percent pay hike for the military and again blocks President Barack Obama from delivering on his longstanding campaign pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    The vote was 92-7.

    The spending bill passed by the House would keep the government running through April 28 and provide $10 billion in supplemental war funding and $4 billion more for disaster relief for Louisiana and other states.

    In a win for Trump, the bill would speed up the confirmation process for retired Gen. James Mattis, his choice for defense secretary.

    Congress needs to pass legislation to grant Mattis an exception from a law that requires a seven-year wait for former members of the military to serve in the civilian post. The provision would speed up action on the waiver, though Democrats could still filibuster it.

    The underlying spending bill would buy several months for the new Congress and incoming Trump administration to wrap up more than $1 trillion worth of unfinished agency budget bills. Republicans promise an immediate infusion next year of additional money for the Pentagon.

    The two-year congressional session was often bitter and tumultuous.

    A conservative rebellion booted Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, from office last year. Democrats staged an overnight sit-in on the House floor protesting the GOP-led Congress’ inaction on gun control. Senate Republicans refused to let Obama fill a Supreme Court vacancy after Justice Antonin Scalia died last February.

    Tributes on Thursday to retiring senators offered a brief respite from rancor. The Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid of Nevada, delivered a long farewell speech after receiving kind words from the man he often sparred with, Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

    “What is the future of the Senate? I would hope that everyone would do everything they can to protect the Senate as an institution. As part of our Constitution, it should be given the dignity it deserves. I love the Senate,” Reid said.

    Associated Press writers Matthew Daly and Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

    The post House passes stopgap measure as senators raise objections appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, takes part in a panel discussion titled "Understanding the Post-Recession Consumer" at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California  April 30, 2012.  REUTERS/Fred Prouser  (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS FOOD) - RTR31FMC

    Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, takes part in a panel discussion titled “Understanding the Post-Recession Consumer” at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on April 30, 2012. Photo by Fred Prouser/Reuters

    NEW YORK — President-elect Donald Trump plans to add another wealthy business person and elite donor to his Cabinet, saying he would nominate fast-food executive Andrew Puzder as labor secretary.

    Puzder heads CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent company of Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and other chains. In 2010, he published a book called “Job Creation: How it Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It.”

    “Andy will fight to make American workers safer and more prosperous by enforcing fair occupational safety standards and ensuring workers receive the benefits they deserve, and he will save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth and suppressing wages,” President-elect Trump said in a statement.

    Puzder, in the same statement, said he was honored “to help President-elect Trump restore America’s global economic leadership.”

    The Californian was one of Trump’s earliest campaign financiers, serving as a co-chairman of his California finance team and organizing fundraisers well before most major donors got on board with the eventual Republican nominee. Together with his wife, Puzder contributed $150,000 in late May to Trump’s campaign and Republican Party partners, fundraising records show.

    As one of Trump’s most outspoken defenders, Puzder frequently appeared on cable news and Twitter to talk up the benefits of having a business leader in the White House.

    A week after Trump’s election, Puzder said he agreed with Trump’s aim to ease business regulations.

    “We’ve reached the point where overregulation is doing meaningful damage to our businesses,” he said last month at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas, citing high labor costs, increased health care costs and “political and social” policies as hindrances.

    Union leaders decried Puzder as a secretary who would look out for millionaires — but not workers.

    AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement that Puzder’s “business record is defined by fighting against working people.”

    Incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said there’s reason to be skeptical about Puzder.

    “Turning the Labor Department over to someone who opposes an increase in the minimum wage, opposes the overtime rule that would raise middle class wages, and whose businesses have repeatedly violated labor laws might be the surest sign yet that the next cabinet will be looking out for the billionaires and special interests, instead of America’s working class,” Schumer said in a statement.

    Trump’s selection won praise from the National Retail Federation, however.

    “Andrew Puzder is someone with the real-world experience to understand workforce issues and how jobs are created,” said David French, NRF’s senior vice president for government relations.

    Trump’s recent appointments have reflected his desire to turn to business leaders — who also were campaign donors. Trump tapped former WWE chief executive and top campaign contributor Linda McMahon to lead the Small Business Administration. He also selected his campaign’s national finance chairman Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and hedge fund investor, as Treasury secretary.

    Puzder visited with Trump several times since the election, including a meeting Wednesday afternoon at Trump Tower.

    He has long been a reliable GOP donor. He was a major financier for 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney and has remained close to him. At Romney’s annual donor summit in June, Puzder was one of just a few attendees who aggressively promoted Trump to the dozens who were more squeamish about their party’s new star.

    He told The Associated Press at the Republican National Convention in late July that he enjoyed the challenge of raising money for Trump, saying he often sought common ground with reluctant GOP donors by talking up Trump’s children.

    “If he’s such an evil villain,” Puzder said he would tell would-be donors, “how do you explain the kids?”

    AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report.

    The post Trump picks fast food executive Andrew Puzder for Labor appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    On Day 1, scores of young men and women arrive at Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, to begin the process of becoming Marines. The first night is particularly tough. From the moment the recruits arrive, they are under constant verbal assault: yelled and screamed at by drill instructors; One instructor will tell a recruit to do one thing, another will tell the same recruit to do the exact opposite.

    Drill instructors create a kind of fog of war and chaos to see how recruits react, says Drill Instructor Sergeant Jennifer Duke.

    “We need to break them down to basically nothing so we can build them back up, not as one, but as one team, one element to join our Marine Corp. It’s not my Marine Corp, it’s not his Marine Corps, it’s our Marine Corps.”

    Watch the video above for a window into that first night. And tune in to tonight’s report on how women are striving to enter previously closed combat jobs in the military.

    The post The chaos and fog of the first night of Marine Corps boot camp appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    rosennew

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to another in our Brief But Spectacular series, where we ask interesting people to share their passions.

    Tonight, we hear from news media critic and New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen. He runs the Web site PressThink.org, and he offers his views on the state of journalism in the age of Facebook.

    JAY ROSEN, Professor of Journalism, New York University: Twenty-five years ago, we would have been in a studio somewhere with 13 people around. We’re recording this with a single cameraman and his mom, who’s holding the microphone.

    Here, we have got our journalist in another city asking questions remotely. It’s becoming easier to make media, just at the same time that the network of news is expanding to include everyone with a cell phone all over the world.

    Well, what I think we really need is a press that can sometimes say to us, hey, you may not think this is interesting, but it’s really important. Journalists have to give us that kind of message sometimes.

    Some people say the problem is that people are always listening to voices that they already agree with on social media. One of the things journalists are really struggling with about Facebook is that it has, in a way, replaced their relationship with users of the news.

    Instead of going to their favorite news site, just find new stories in their Facebook news feed. That has given Facebook a huge role in the news system. We can’t really ask Facebook the kind of questions we would ask an editor in chief, because it doesn’t have one.

    When you sign up for a Facebook account, you have to agree to this long list that most people don’t read. That’s thin legitimacy. Thick legitimacy is when you really understand the deal.

    I think, at some point, they may realize that thick legitimacy is what they need to keep operating, because people trust Facebook. They advertise their life on this platform. And, so, trust is actually a huge part of the Facebook business. But they don’t think, in my opinion, hard enough about how to maintain that trust.

    I think it’s really important for people to understand that we’re not going to have serious journalism unless you choose it. Choosing serious journalism is related to an even more serious choice we have, which is choosing to continue to be a democracy. Democracy is not a spectator sport. It’s a participant thing.

    My name is Jay Rosen, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on journalism.

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

    The post The ‘thin legitimacy’ of social media as a news source appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Interior of the Ghost Ship before the fire that killed 36 people. Photo via Tumblr/KQED

    Interior of the Ghost Ship before the fire that killed 36 people. Photo via Tumblr/KQED

    There are no words to convey the heartbreak felt by those closest to the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire. At the moment, 36 are confirmed dead, with search crews still sorting through the ashes of the site. As stories and details of the fire are shared, and while thousands await news of missing loved ones, a phrase keeps coming up: “It could have been any one of us.”

    For those of us involved in artist spaces one way or another, the tragedy is impossible to process. I, too, have been inside a warehouse like that, living, working, dancing into the night. According to the Oakland Fire Department, this fire has taken more lives than any in the city’s history.

    And yet for many of us, these spaces are what have kept us alive. In a world that demands its inhabitants to be a certain way, think a certain way, or live a certain way, we gravitate to the spaces that say: “Welcome. Be yourself.” For the tormented queer, the bullied punk, the beaten trans, the spat-upon white trash, the disenfranchised immigrants and young people of color, these spaces are a haven of understanding in a world that doesn’t understand — or can’t, or doesn’t seem to want to try.

    For the tormented queer, the bullied punk, the beaten trans, the spat-upon white trash, the disenfranchised immigrants and young people of color, these spaces are a haven of understanding in a world that doesn’t understand.

    The first such space in Oakland I came across, in 1994, was Phoenix Ironworks, a giant former foundry in West Oakland cluttered with furniture, mannequins, makeshift structures, and large-scale, incredible art around every corner. A skate ramp owned by the editor of Thrasher took up part of the space; most of it was a labyrinth of more than 50 pianos forming walls and hallways. Parties at Phoenix Ironworks were the stuff of legend: bands played, and, if the mood was right, a giant Tesla coil would be wheeled out into 8th and Pine Streets to create loud, bright lightning across the sky on the furthest forgotten edge of the city.

    I spent long hours inside Phoenix Ironworks, rehearsing with my band and getting to know its residents. And in the years since, I’ve lived in, been to, helped build, or performed at dozens if not hundreds of similarly unsanctioned DIY artist spaces, warehouses and punkhouses in the Bay Area and around the country — and the world. There are thousands like me who are a product of such environments. Chances are that you are, too.

    We know the risks. We know that police and landlords can shut us down at any time. We know our creative alterations to these living spaces are not one-size-fits-all. And we are all too aware of the clashes in piling personalities of divergent backgrounds in close proximity.

    The bigger risks, the more unlikely ones — that such a treasured place could become an inferno in mere minutes — those don’t always cross our minds.

    Photo via Tumblr/KQED

    The inside of the Ghost Ship, where a deadly fire killed dozens of people last week. Photo via Tumblr/KQED

    Today, I know two people on the missing list. As I scroll through news and social media for updates, hoping to see the word “SAFE” next to their names, I also see words like “death trap” and “unpermitted.” Outsiders reporting on the tragedy inevitably get it all wrong: they mischaracterize the party as a rave, the music as EDM, and implicitly criminalize the victims as attendees of an illegal event. Hours after the fire, the tragedy is politicized.

    How can we explain?

    They don’t understand why we don’t just live in a $3,000/mo. apartment where everything is safe and sterile and clean; why we live in a warehouse, or a garage, or an attic or shed or laundry room; why there is a mattress on the floor with a space heater where there normally would be a Queen size bed with a duvet and a nightstand and central heating.

    They don’t understand why we congregate here at night, pushing salvaged furnishings out of the way to make room for the drum set and amps, packing our friends’ bodies in like sardines, moving as one to music that never gets played on the radio. Why we play music here for each other when we could be trying to get booked at “real” clubs. Why we avoid conventional nightclubs and their bookers, bouncers, security, soundmen.

    They don’t understand why the floor is so rickety, the lamps don’t have shades, the wall is painted three different colors and the table is made of scrap wood. Why we forage meals from dumpsters, and eat together from huge pots of rice and vegetables and spices. Why, on Sundays, we cook up even more as a group and set up tables in the city and serve it to those in need.

    They don’t understand why we work day jobs as little as possible, and perfect our art as much as we can.

    They don’t understand that we do not fit into the boxes the world tries to sell us. That their world is unacceptable, and that even for all the ragged edges, we need our own world on our own terms.

    They don’t understand how beautifully tight-knit these new worlds are; how the community around missing loved ones these past two days has supported each other in incredible ways, even amidst unimaginable grief. They don’t understand how our music scenes become families.

    I feel strange typing these words, because I no longer live in communal artist spaces like this. But they stay with you. They shape us, make us more fearless, give us confidence, validate our dreams. We never forget what those spaces gave us, especially those of us who turned those dreams into a life, and re-fit ourselves back into a once ill-fitting world.

    The people lost to the Oakland fire never had that chance; they won’t get the chance to grow older and better understand.

    And yes, there are conversations to be had about Oakland’s housing supply, and about the market forces that push artists into unregulated spaces. There will surely be a crackdown on the many similar warehouses in the rapidly gentrifying city, spaces with names I don’t want to publish so as not to raise their profile at a critical time. There are those discussing how to preserve them, and especially how to ensure they aren’t dangerous to residents and visitors. All of these conversations are either already happening, or will be in overdrive in the coming weeks.

    But for now, it just hurts. For Oakland, and for many of my friends, to be sure. But for all of us who understand.

    This story originally appeared on KQED on Dec. 4. You can read the original story here.

    The post Column: Places like Ghost Ship, site of the deadly disaster in Oakland, have kept us alive appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives a speech at the 9th Congress of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 29, 2016. Photo by KCNA/ via REUTERS

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives a speech at the 9th Congress of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 29, 2016. Photo by KCNA via REUTERS

    WASHINGTON — North Korea now has the capability to launch a nuclear weapon, a senior U.S. military official said Thursday, adding that while the U.S. believes Pyongyang can mount a warhead on a missile, it’s not clear that it can hit a target.

    The official said it appears that North Korea can mount a nuclear warhead on a missile, but may not have the re-entry capabilities for a strategic strike. That would include the ability of the weapon to get back through the atmosphere without burning up and the ability to hit the intended target. The official said North Korea continues to try and overcome those limitations.

    The Pentagon continues to revise its contingency plans regarding a North Korean strike, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity. The military routinely develops plans for all threat possibilities.

    U.S. officials have steadily expanded their assessments of Pyongyang’s nuclear abilities. Adm. William Gortney, then-head of U.S. Northern Command, said in March that Pyongyang may have figured out how to make a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on a long-range missile.

    Under Kim Jong Un, who rose to power following his father’s death in 2011, North Korea has seen steady progress in its nuclear and missile programs, including two nuclear tests this year.

    The country recently claimed a series of technical breakthroughs in its goal of developing a long-range nuclear missile capable of reaching the continental United States.

    North Korea is now “fully equipped with nuclear attack capability,” leader Kim announced proudly after the August launch of a submarine-launched missile.

    He was exaggerating, but the strings of tests indicate that North Korea may have medium-range missiles capable of striking American military bases in the Pacific in the next couple years, experts say. Some believe Pyongyang may be able to hit the western United States as early as 2020.

    South Korean defense officials say North Korea doesn’t yet have such a weapon, but some civilian experts have said they believe the North has the technology to mount warheads on shorter-range Rodong and Scud missiles that can strike South Korea and Japan.

    “I think that they’re struggling with getting the (intercontinental ballistic missile) program up and operational,” U.S. Gen. Vincent Brooks, the head of U.S. forces in Korea, said in Senate hearings earlier this year. But “over time, I believe we’re going to see them acquire these capabilities if they’re not stopped.”

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    STS-95 crewmember, astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn poses for his official NASA photo taken April 14, 1998. Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth and returned to space in 1998 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.  Courtesy NASA/Handout via REUTERS    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY - RTSVB32

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally tonight: remembering John Glenn, the Mercury astronaut and former U.S. senator who died today at 95.

    We start with this look back.

    MAN: Godspeed, John Glenn.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: February 20, 1962.

    MAN: Nine, eight.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: An Atlas rocket fired Friendship 7 into space. And over the next five hours, John Glenn’s name was indelibly inscribed in history, the first American to orbit the Earth circling the globe three times.

    JOHN GLENN: Zero g and I feel fine. Capsule is turning around. Oh, that view is tremendous.

    MAN: The honorable John Glenn.

    (APPLAUSE)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It was still fresh in his mind half-a-century later.

    JOHN GLENN: For many, many thousands of years, people had looked up and wondered. They’d been curious about what was up there. Now, we must consider ourselves among the most fortunate of all generations, for we have lived at a time when the dream became a reality.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: John Glenn’s time began in Ohio, where he was born and raised. He grew up to be a highly decorated Marine fighter pilot in World War II and Korea. And, as a military test pilot, he set a transcontinental speed record in 1957.

    Then, space beckoned. That same year, the Soviet Union stunned the world with Sputnik, the first manmade satellite. More Soviet successes followed, while initial U.S. unmanned launches met with repeated failure.

    The Soviets also leaped ahead in manned flight with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin making the first orbital flight ever in April 1961. Glenn was still training at that point. One of the first astronauts, the Mercury 7, he spoke of them at Cape Canaveral in 2012.

    JOHN GLENN: That was a real team we put — it was put together back in those days. And while we were competitors, boy, were we competitors to try and get the different flights, never was there anything anymore tight than the brotherhood we had that supported each one of those flights.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Glenn’s moment came in early 1962, when he crammed his silver-suited frame into the tiny Friendship 7 capsule.

    JOHN GLENN: We used to joke about the spacecraft. We said, you didn’t climb — you didn’t get into it, you actually put it on. It was more like putting on clothes. It was that small, because the whole thing, if you spread your arms out like that, the — you were touching both sides of the spacecraft.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: People around the world watched, but few knew the danger unfolding above.

    The capsule’s automated steering system jammed and ground controllers worried the heat shield was tearing away on reentry. Glenn’s life depended on that shield, but he told Judy Woodruff in 2012 his job was to stay focused.

    JOHN GLENN: You just keep right on working right on through it. And if something is going the happen, the worst thing you could do would be panicky in there. So I just kept on working as we had trained, and everything worked out OK.

    MAN: OK, does the capsule look like it’s OK? Over.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Much more than OK.

    John Glenn returned to Earth an American hero, feted with parades and elaborate receptions. President John F. Kennedy presented him with a NASA Service Medal, and, three days later, he addressed Congress.

    JOHN GLENN: I am only too aware of the tremendous honor that is being show us at this joint meeting of the Congress today. This has been a great experience for all of us on the program and for all Americans, I guess, too. And I’m certainly glad to see that pride in our country and its accomplishments are not a thing of the past.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The space program moved on, and so did Glenn. He resigned from NASA in 1964 and eventually entered politics. In 1974, he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Ohio as a Democrat and became chief author of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act.

    In 1984, he made a run for the White House, but he withdrew after poor showings in the early Democratic primaries. Ultimately, he served four terms in the Senate.

    WOMAN: Three, two, one.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And, in 1998, in his final months in office, he returned to space on board the shuttle Discovery. That earned him another first, at 77, the oldest person to fly into space.

    After his Senate years, Glenn and his wife, Annie, worked to promote civics education, establishing the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University in Columbus. But his abiding interest in space was never far away.

    The aging astronaut sharply criticized President George W. Bush’s decision to phase out the space shuttle program.

    MAN: Two, one, zero, and liftoff, the final liftoff of Atlantis.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The final flight took place in 2011, and Glenn voiced his views in his “NewsHour” interview the next year.

    JOHN GLENN: We do not have an American spacecraft on which we can go into space to get our people up there to the International Space Station, to do the research it was built to do. And we spent over $100 billion on that. But we should have had a continuity and a program that would let us build, research, and that the research we do up there is of benefit to everybody right here on Earth.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-Ohio): We will present a gold medal on behalf of the United States Congress to the honorable John Glenn.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Late in life, he as still being honored, receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in 2011, along with fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins.

    And in 2012, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. John Glenn lived out his final years in Ohio after suffering a small stroke.

    For more on the career and life of John Glenn, I am joined by science correspondent Miles O’Brien, who came to know Glenn through his years of reporting on aviation.

    Miles, it’s the beginning of the end of an era.

    MILES O’BRIEN: It is, Hari.

    You can’t help but look at a guy like that and say, one of the last of the great American heroes. This is a guy who, whatever he did, he succeeded to levels few of us can ever aspire to, and yet, all the while, was one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet, despite his relentless and competitive nature.

    That’s a hard mix. And he managed to do it, and he managed to do it really right to the end. He never really quit. He never retired. He always had a mission.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You got to know him personally. You even flew with him in your small plane?

    MILES O’BRIEN: Yes, I cooked up a scheme for a story.

    I had met him during the 1998 flight on the shuttle, when I had the opportunity to cover him and have no less than Walter Cronkite as my co-anchor on CNN. I consider myself very lucky to have had that experience.

    But, some years later, we were doing a story on technology and aviation, and I got the idea in my head that it would be kind of fun to see what Senator Glenn thought about the technology. It happened to be in the aircraft I owned at the time.

    I flew it to Columbus, and I had John Glenn get in my airplane and fly with me.

    And I have got to tell you, Hari, I have never had a more nervous landing in my life. But as the term in aviation is, I greased it. And he was — he could not have been more complimentary to me. He was the nicest passenger you could ever hope for, and yet the most intimidating at the same time.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: He’s almost a time capsule in a way of the relations between America and the world, and what he meant to the space program, what he meant to aviation at the time, especially in the context of the Cold War.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Absolutely, Hari.

    When you think of NASA and what the space program is all about, it was kind of a Cold War projection of soft power of the United States. And he was the perfect poster boy for that. He was everything that we — was considered the ideal in this country, small-town ethics, you know, handsome guy, the whole — really central casting kind of thing.

    He was the guy, somewhat at least, with some drama, depicted in “The Right Stuff” in the mid-’80s, sort of the, for lack of a better term, Goody Two-Shoes of the Mercury 7.

    While the rest of them might have been out carousing late into the night, he was with his longtime wife, who actually he met first in preschool, Annie, and lived a much more quiet experience in life.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And he went on to serve after as well.

    MILES O’BRIEN: He did, indeed.

    The chapters of his life are amazing, Marine Corps fighter pilot in Korea with numerous kills to his record, set a cross-country transcontinental supersonic record as a Marine test pilot in the ’50s, goes on to be the Mercury 7, then has this brief chapter as the president of Royal Crown Cola, then gets into politics for 24 years, and then goes on to build this amazing public policy school at Ohio State University.

    Each chapter, he just rose to the absolute top level, and made it always look effortless, at least as far as I could see.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Yes. And even as we saw in the clips there, he was still advocating for a more active role in the space program.

    MILES O’BRIEN: You know, when George Bush announced the retirement of the space shuttle, he was calling me a lot.

    And he was advocating, in a very forceful and clear way, for the United States still having the ability to carry its own astronauts to space. And he wasn’t going to let that go. He was very upset about it. He was well into his 80s at this point, but he was still in the game.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right.

    I don’t know if we have footage, or if it’s a shot of you and him in a plane. Let’s see if we can show that to our audience as well.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Well, while we’re playing it, I got to tell you one story I just heard, Hari.

    Annie Glenn, his beloved wife of more than 70 years, who is 96 and a bit frail, today, we’re told, upon hearing the news, what did Annie Glenn do? She went to the supermarket to buy food because she is anticipating a lot of guests.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Oh.

    MILES O’BRIEN: So, that tells you a little something about her and them. They were an inseparable and wonderful pair.

    And he — you know, talk about a life well-lived. What more can you say? Where did he go wrong? I can’t think of it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Miles O’Brien, thanks so much for joining us tonight.

    MILES O’BRIEN: You’re welcome.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, having known John Glenn, I can second everything Miles said about him.

    The post Remembering John Glenn, space pioneer and American statesman appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first, economics correspondent Paul Solman looks at how Donald Trump’s long business career, especially his relationship with Wall Street, may be shaping the way he fills top slots in his administration.

    Its part of our weekly series Making Sen$e.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), President-Elect: I know Wall Street.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The Trump campaign refrain from the get-go: Beware of Wall Street.

    DONALD TRUMP: I’m not going to let Wall Street get away with murder. Wall Street has caused tremendous problems for us.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And yet, within weeks of winning, the president-elect has let bygones be bygones, raiding the Street for top economic posts in his administration to be, like Wilbur Ross for commerce secretary, a vulture investor to some, a company savior to others, and former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin for treasury secretary.

    We sought out longtime Wall Street investment banker turned investigative journalist William D. Cohan to put the picks in context.

    WILLIAM COHAN, Financial Writer: Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross are deal guys. They are Wall Street deal guys.

    PAUL SOLMAN: What is a deal guy?

    WILLIAM COHAN: That means that you are very transactional.

    In Steve Mnuchin’s case, he made his fortune by buying a bank that the FDIC had foreclosed upon during the financial crisis of 2008, renamed it OneWest, and sold it eventually to CIT, that was run by another ex-Goldman banker named John Thain. And they all made billions as a result.

    Wilbur Ross did the same thing buying a business that was in the ashes of the financial crisis and, like a phoenix, resurrecting it from the ashes.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But isn’t a major reason that Donald Trump got elected the idea that he was the ultimate change agent, that he would disrupt things as they are? So, who better than deal-makers to do that?

    WILLIAM COHAN: Absolutely, the selection of Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross fit into this vision of people who cut through bureaucracy. I mean, you know, one of Trump’s great accomplishments is, you know, fixing Wollman Rink in Central Park.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The skating — the skating rink.

    WILLIAM COHAN: The skating rink. Right.

    DONALD TRUMP: I got together with everybody, the city, the council. Everything had to be done fast. And we got it done. And you can do that with this country.

    WILLIAM COHAN: Is America Wollman Rink? I don’t think so.

    PAUL SOLMAN: No, America isn’t Wollman Rink, but I think almost everybody watching, and certainly the people who voted for him, have had frustrating experiences with bureaucrats and bureaucracy, private as well as public, pushing them around.

    WILLIAM COHAN: It’s really hard to know what a Steve Mnuchin or a Wilbur Ross will do.

    I mean, their firms, they’re small, 10, 20, 30 people. Now they’re commanding battleships. The Treasury has 80,000 people. Commerce has 50,000 people.

    You know, you have to start miles away to turn a battleship around. There’s nothing in their background, nothing, that would indicate that they would have any skill at running these bureaucracies.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Is there anything in their background or in their personalities that would suggest they can further Donald Trump’s populist ambition, that is, serving the people who elected him?

    WILLIAM COHAN: I’m laughing because Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross are about as far from populism as you can possibly imagine. They are the .001 percent of the 1 percent.

    And one of the biggest ironies of the fact that he’s surrounded himself with all these Goldman Sachs people is that Goldman Sachs — he was on the Goldman Sachs do-not-fly list: This is the kind of client we do not want at Goldman Sachs.

    PAUL SOLMAN: How do you know that?

    WILLIAM COHAN: Because I wrote a book about Goldman Sachs. And I know that, from talking to people at Goldman Sachs, that he is the poster child for the kind of client they don’t want to do business with, mainly because he would borrow all this money from Wall Street to build his casinos, and then didn’t pay it back.

    PAUL SOLMAN: One big bank that did lend to Trump in recent years was Deutsche Bank, in 2005, to build the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. Steve Mnuchin’s hedge fund also lent money to the project.

    In 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, a big payment came due.

    WILLIAM COHAN: We’re talking $330 million payment that was due. He just decided he didn’t want to pay it. He sued Deutsche Bank, as well as all the other lenders, including Steve Mnuchin’s Dune Capital, claiming that he didn’t have to pay the money back because an act of God had occurred, this financial crisis, caused by the very people who lent him the money for this project, and, therefore, he didn’t have to pay it back.

    So, the one firm on Wall Street that would do business with him, he turns around and sues.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Cohan worked on Wall Street for 17 years, and has been writing about it ever since, in bestsellers like “The Last Tycoons,” “House of Cards,” and that book on Goldman Sachs, “Money and Power.”

    He’s interviewed Donald Trump for magazine articles.

    What was he like to interview?

    WILLIAM COHAN: Very charming, very funny. He once, you know, told me I had a great head of hair, like him, by the way.

    One thing that I talked to him about was how everybody on Wall Street had told me that he cheats at golf.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, you mean you asked him, do you cheat at golf?

    WILLIAM COHAN: Of course. I said — of course I asked him, do you cheat at golf? And he said: “No, William, I don’t cheat at golf. I’m a scratch golfer,” and, of course, “I have all these country clubs that I own. Why would I cheat at golf?”

    PAUL SOLMAN: And you didn’t believe him?

    WILLIAM COHAN: No, I didn’t believe him, because subsequent to that, a friend of mine was playing with him in a foursome that day and saw him cheat at golf. He shanked the ball off to the right. And then he would sort of parade up the middle of the fairway with his caddy 20 feet behind him, and then say: “Oh, Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, your ball, I found it. It’s right here in the middle of the fairway.”

    When you’re surrounded by yes-men, when you’re surrounded by people telling you how great you are all the time, then you lose perspective.

    My point is, it’s very different running your own private company, where you’re the boss, you’re the king. There’s not even a board of directors. It is Donald Trump all the time. And he’s used to telling them what to do, and if they don’t do it, he gets very angry and he makes sure that it gets done.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But from the point of view of his constituency, that’s not a bad thing, is it?

    WILLIAM COHAN: I think that’s a very different skill set than the one that’s required to get your policies through Congress at a very divisive moment in American history.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But make America great is about, hey, this country’s in trouble. By doing things the old-fashioned way, I’m going to bring in people, deal-makers, who know how to change things dramatically.

    WILLIAM COHAN: And that is the premise that allowed him to stitch together an Electoral College victory.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, then why isn’t it a good thing that he’s got Wilbur Ross, Steve Mnuchin and whoever else he gets from Wall Street in his administration?

    WILLIAM COHAN: They may turn out to be just what we’re looking for.

    And if these Cabinet appointees that he’s named, who have this kind of experience about getting things done, and who know how the capital markets work, if they can, all together, do that, then I will be the first one marching at the front of the line to get Donald Trump, you know, reelected and say he turned out to be a lot better than anybody thought.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But as somebody who’s known him and reported on him, you’re skeptical?

    WILLIAM COHAN: I’m skeptical.

    I’m hoping he doesn’t turn out to be the guy who cheats at golf.

    PAUL SOLMAN: William D. Cohan, thanks very much.

    WILLIAM COHAN: Thanks for having me.

    The post Does a Wall Street Cabinet discredit Trump’s Main Street message? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    combat1

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: For decades, women have played important roles in the U.S. military, but, until recently, they were blocked from front-line combat positions.

    But under orders from the secretary of defense, women can now try out for all combat jobs in all services.

    Over the past several months, we have followed three female pioneers striving for these positions within the U.S. Marine Corps, considered the toughest of the services.

    Producer Dan Sagalyn and correspondent William Brangham have the first of two reports.

    MAN: You should be standing at the division of attention. That means your heels are touching, feet at a 45-degree angle.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Eighteen-year-old Rebekah Wolff’s life is about to turn upside-down. She and a group of fellow recruits have just arrived at Parris Island, South Carolina. It’s day one of Marine Corps boot camp.

    MAN: Your mouth is shut!

    RECRUITS: Aye, sir!

    MAN: I said, do you understand me?

    RECRUITS: Aye, sir!

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: They now start thirteen weeks of grueling, disorienting, physically stressful training.

    Rebekah Wolff is one of the young female recruits who wants to join the fight to go into one of the jobs that for generations had been blocked to women, until now.

    Low-altitude air defense is what she wants to do. It’s basically shooting shoulder-fired Stinger missiles at enemy aircraft.

    That’s what you want to be doing, shooting Stinger missiles?

    REBEKAH WOLFF, Marine Corps Recruit: Yes.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Why that?

    REBEKAH WOLFF: Because it’d be cool.

    (LAUGHTER)

    REBEKAH WOLFF: Not a lot of females have had that opportunity until now, really, so that’s exciting.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Of course, that’s a long way off. For now, she’s not only got to prove herself at boot camp, but she will have to pass tougher physical standards than females have ever had to meet before. On the first night, after filling out some paperwork, recruits are required to make one phone call home.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: They’re instructed to shout five scripted lines into the phone, nothing more.

    WOMAN: Thank you for your support! Goodbye for now!

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Drill instructors intentionally create this sense of chaos, a miniature fog of war. They want to see how the recruits respond, and to shake their civilian mind-set.

    SGT. JENNIFER DUKE: So we need to break them down mentally. We need to break down these individualities that they come with of self and me and I. We need to break them down to basically nothing, so we can build them back up, not as one, but as one team, one element to join our Marine Corps. It’s not my Marine Corps. It’s not his Marine Corps. It’s our Marine Corps.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We first caught up with Rebekah Wolff earlier this summer back home in rural Maryland. At the time, she was living with her parents. Her mom and dad didn’t like it that she was joining the Marine Corps, but they were not surprised.

    From an early age, Rebekah wanted to break the traditional girl mold.

    LORRIE WOLFF, Mother: When she was young, she said she was always going to drive motorcycles, drink beer, smoke cigarettes, and get tattoos.

    (LAUGHTER)

    LORRIE WOLFF: I can remember her telling me that, oh, my goodness.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: How do you feel about the idea that your daughter might end up in a combat unit, maybe on the front lines somewhere?

    SCOTT WOLFF, Father: I don’t think any parent wants their kid, boy or girl, to go to combat. I surely don’t. I feel that they shouldn’t be on the front lines.

    LORRIE WOLFF: I don’t know that she fully understands what she’s getting into, though, too, sometimes. So, I mean, we have explained. She’s like, well, I will be able to shoot helicopters.

    Well, they do shoot back. I don’t know that she comprehends that.

    (LAUGHTER)

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Turns out the Marine Corps didn’t want women in certain combat jobs either. In 2013, the secretary of defense ordered that all combat positions be opened to women. But after a period of deliberations, the Marines asked for an exemption. They argued that putting women into the infantry and to other combat jobs would make the Marine Corps a less effective fighting force.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: General Robert Neller is the commandant of the Marine Corps, the highest uniformed officer. He says the Corps’ resistance came from a test the Marines ran back in 2014. It took all-male units and units that mixed men and women, and then compared their performance in a series of combat drills.

    GEN. ROBERT NELLER, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps: And then we ran them through a very physically demanding test. I mean, it was hard. And there was data in there that showed, in the aggregate, that, in certain things, mostly in load-bearing and the most physically demanding tasks, that the teams that have females integrated in them didn’t perform at the same levels as the all-male team.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The results showed that male-only teams moved faster, especially with heavy loads, they fired at the enemy more often, hit their targets more often, and evacuated casualties faster. Integrated units, with men and women, also suffered more injuries. Commandant Neller acknowledges integrated teams did have some advantages.

    GEN. ROBERT NELLER: We found that integrated teams did better in problem-solving. That’s why, as part of a team, if we have differences, any of us have differences, it can mitigated because the team figures out, OK, you’re good at this, you do this. You’re better at this, you focus on this.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The test was criticized by many, including the commandant’s boss, the secretary of the Navy, because it compared highly experienced, combat-hardened men with far less experienced women.

    MAN: Hit him in the face!

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But, still, there are many who say you don’t need a study to prove that men and women, physically, are different.

    COL. MARY REINWALD (RET.), Editor, Leatherneck Magazine: You know, the Marine Corps, we’re not idealists. We’re realists. And we know that there are differences between men and women.

    When I came in the Marine Corps, I was 5’3”, I was 110 pounds. And to be able to do the same thing as my counterpart, who was 6’1”, you know, 180 pounds, lean, mean fighting machine-type thing, was just unrealistic, no matter how good of shape I was in at the time.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Retired Colonel Mary Reinwald spent 27 years in the Marine Corps. She now edits “Leatherneck” magazine, which is geared to the Marine community. She thinks women just don’t belong in certain combat jobs because they’re too physically demanding.

    COL. MARY REINWALD: I have no problem saying I’m not as physically strong as my male counterpart. But I will also say that I bring other things to the table that he doesn’t. We can wish all we want. But that doesn’t mean that everybody’s going to be the same.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The Marines’ attempt to keep women from certain combat jobs was rejected by the defense secretary last December, and so now women can apply for all combat positions in the Marine Corps, women like 18-year-old Lacey Elkins.

    She’s from Hays, Kansas, and she’s just three weeks from finishing boot camp. She’s applied to operate tanks or amphibious assault vehicles.

    LACEY ELKINS, Marine Corps Recruit: College sounded boring. The Marine Corps offered me a bigger challenge. My brother is a Marine. He’s in Africa right now. It just offered me a bigger challenge that I was willing to accept and push me outside my comfort zone. And that’s what I was looking for.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I don’t know a lot of 18-year-olds who ever say, I want to get pushed out of my comfort zone.

    You were really looking for a challenge like this?

    LACEY ELKINS: Yes, sir. Having the opportunity to be a part of that generation for women was something that I wanted to do.

    My dad, I think I nearly gave him a heart attack, because he started screaming on the phone.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Screaming in a good way or a bad way?

    LACEY ELKINS: No, he was like, no, no, don’t even think about it..

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Twenty-one-year-old Victoria Golab-Meyer comes from Sheridan, Wyoming, and she too wants to serve in combat as a combat engineer. We caught up with her as she was on the Crucible, the grueling two-day 45-mile course that’s the last major training event for every Marine recruit.

    VICTORIA GOLAB-MEYER, Marine Corps Recruit: I want to be here. I want to be fighting for my country. I want to learn how to be honorable. I want to learn to fight. I want to advance my career and be in a place that feels like family. You know that they have your back.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Part of what sets the Marines apart is how it trains recruits. At the rappel tower, at the shooting range, in mock combat, even in the classrooms, the sexes are divided. Women train with women, men with men.

    The Marines are the only service that does it this way.

    SGT. JENNIFER DUKE: One, it’s just a tradition. It’s what the Marine Corps has always done. It takes away distraction. Most of these kids are high school age. You know, they’re 18, 19 years old. I mean, when you kind of get down to boys and girls, it’s a distraction.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But others, like retired Lieutenant Colonel Kate Germano, say this separation of the sexes is a bad idea that hurts females.

    LT. COL. KATE GERMANO (RET.), Fmr. Commander, 4th Recruit Training Battalion: History has shown that regardless of where or when, separate is never equal. And that is absolutely evident on Parris Island.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Germano commanded the female battalion at Parris Island, but she was fired in 2015, accused of creating a — quote — “hostile command climate.”

    Germano says she was just pushing to improve the performance of women recruits.

    Germano says that, when she arrived at Parris Island, women were performing far worse than men on a range of activities, everything from scores on the shooting range to academics, a disparity she attributes to segregated training.

    LT. COL. KATE GERMANO: I didn’t think it was a matter of the ability of the women and physiology, as much as it was a reflection of being separate and different.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Why does that matter? Why does it matter if you get trained how to shoot, how to navigate, how to do any of those military jobs, and you and I do it separately, you as a woman, me as a man? Why does differ? Why does that make a difference?

    LT. COL. KATE GERMANO: Because what ends up happening is there becomes this perception that women are trained differently from the men and that it’s easier for them, because the male recruits and the male drill instructors never really see those females putting out their maximum effort and pushing themselves.

    Women are absolutely capable of performing in extraordinary ways, if high expectations become the norm.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Commandant Neller says full integration takes place after boot camp. While he says the Marines are looking into some further integration now, he feels separate training has advantages.

    GEN. ROBERT NELLER: We believe the way we do recruit training sets women and men up for success, that they’re able to, particularly at the beginning, move at their own rate, at their own speed, build confidence. And then, as we go further down, they end up training together.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Tomorrow night, we will see how the three recruits we met made it through boot camp. Will they pass the tough physical standards required to make it to the front lines?

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m William Brangham in Parris Island, South Carolina.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Fascinating.

    And we will have more online on the chaos and disorientation of that first night of boot camp. You can watch a video on that at PBS.org/NewsHour.

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    Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt departs after a meeting with U.S. President elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower New York, U.S., November 28, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson - RTSTQYT

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: more on today’s nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA.

    We start with a little background on the man.

    A leading critic of the EPA now in line to take its helm. As Oklahoma state attorney general since 2011, Scott Pruitt has called for rolling back the agency’s efforts on climate change and other rule-making. In a statement today, he said: “The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations.”

    Not surprisingly, his selection drew harsh words from a number of Democrats.

    REP. JARED HUFFMAN (D-Calif.): Some of these folks only qualifications for the job that they have been appointed for is that they have attempted to dismantle and undermine and destroy the very agencies that they are now hoping to run.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But Pruitt is in sync with President-elect Trump on a range of issues, including his skepticism about man-made global warming.

    Writing in The National Review this year, he said: “That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming.”

    In fact, the vast majority of scientists agree that human activity contributes to global warming, all of which underscores questions about whether a Trump administration will refuse to abide by the Paris accords on greenhouse gas emissions.

    Pruitt has also vigorously fought the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which set unprecedented caps on carbon pollution by power plants. And he’s repeatedly sued the agency on the Clean Power Plan, as well as limits on methane emissions and other regulations.

    Transition spokesman Sean Spicer defended Pruitt’s approach on the “NewsHour” last night.

    SEAN SPICER, Chief Strategist, Republican National Committee: It is a very big difference to care about whether or not we’re toting to the agenda of the far extreme left that is a job-killing, regulation-type agenda that wants to step out of — put businesses out of business, or people who actually care about the environment and whose goal is clean air, clean water, making sure that we preserve our natural resources.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: One issue in the confirmation hearings may be oil and gas industry contributions to Pruitt’s campaigns. A New York Times investigation in 2014 found that Pruitt’s office sent letters to the EPA and President Obama that were largely written by energy industry lobbyists.

    Pruitt, in turn, defended his right to ally with what he called private sector players that shared his views.

    We get two reactions to the nomination now with Scott Segal. He advises clients on energy, the environment and natural resources at Bracewell, a law and government relations firm serving the oil and gas industry. And Rhea Suh, she is president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group.

    And we welcome both of you to the “NewsHour.”

    Scott Segal, is Mr. Pruitt a good choice?

    SCOTT SEGAL, Bracewell: Well, you know, he’s done a wonderful job as attorney general of Oklahoma. It’s a complicated job that he’s had to perform. It’s a resource-rich state. It has a lot of its own environmental statutes, as well as a good track record on enforcement of federal statutes.

    He has had to balance not just his desire to limit federal authority under a policy of federalism, but he also balances that with a much larger shop that defends consumer protection in the state of Oklahoma, and even argues against the major power companies, making sure that rate structures are appropriate.

    So he has a very balanced record as far as both consumer protection and working on regulations is concerned. I have seen him in action. He’s a smart guy. He’s articulate. And I think he will do a very good job at EPA.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Rhea Suh, you told us you were alarmed when you heard he was chosen.

    RHEA SUH, President, Natural Resources Defense Council: It’s pretty shocking to have somebody nominated to lead the Environmental Protection Agency — and, literally, the name the Environmental Protection Agency pretty much defines what this government entity is responsible for.

    It’s responsible for the oversight and the enforcement of our collective environment and protections around our collective environment for all of us.

    To have somebody chosen that not only doesn’t believe in the ability of the agency to enforce those things, as is evidenced by the multiple lawsuits that he has issued against the EPA, but doesn’t believe basically in the sanctity of that government agency and protecting its public trust responsibilities for all Americans, is quite disturbing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Scott Segal, does Mr. Pruitt believe in the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency, to protect the environment?

    SCOTT SEGAL: He absolutely does.

    In fact, he’s the senior law enforcement officer for the state of Oklahoma’s environmental protection statutes, and so he absolutely does believe it. What he does believe, in addition to that, is a firm commitment to the rule of law.

    And, frankly, some of the very regulations that have been referenced so far, whether it’s the Clean Power Plan for power plants or whether it’s the Definition of Waters of the United States, have been such a departure from past precedent and what the statutes actually say at EPA that in both cases those rules have been stayed.

    And Attorney General Pruitt has been part of those stays. That tells me that he will keep a watchful eye on whether EPA does activities that are consistent with their statutes. And if that is the case, then we all win in the long run, because we want to have executive agencies that actually abide by the law. Their regulations will stay many place longer and they will be more predictable and they will end up protecting the American people.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, Rhea Suh, if that’s the kind of thing he’s going to do, what worries you?

    RHEA SUH: Well, unfortunately, there’s a whole host of things that worry us.

    Number one, again, this agency is responsible for protecting public health, so these are decisions that are made every day, both in terms of policy, as well as in terms of enforcement, that affect the daily lives of people.

    So, whether it’s polluting industries that are not held to account, or whether it’s climate change, I think the biggest of all policy opportunities that this administration will have, instead of taking the mantle and really seeing the authority and the responsibility associated with the job, we see this individual walking in and turning it 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, if he’s looking — we just heard Mr. Segal refer to power plants and refer to water. If there is a scaling back of regulations in these areas, why isn’t it still possible to at least carry out some or a large part of what you see as the mission of the EPA? Can there be a middle ground, is what I’m asking.

    RHEA SUH: Well, thank goodness that the middle ground, I believe, is the law and the statutes of the land.

    There’s a variety of different laws that are in place designed to protect clean air, clean water. The thing that is quite worrisome about this nominee in particular is that he has gone after those underlying statutes and questioned the very legitimacy of us as a community, as a nation to have the right to things like clear air and clean water.

    So, make no mistake about it. In terms of radicalism, this is something that we have never quite seen before in the Environmental Protection Agency.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it sounds — Scott Segal, Ms. Suh and others in the environmental community are worried that Mr. Pruitt is going to do is basically undo the bulk of what — in other words, the heart and soul of these regulations and the difference that they make.

    SCOTT SEGAL: Right.

    I just don’t think there’s any evidence of that. I think they’re going to proceed basically on sort of two levels. The first is, those regulations which have gone further than the underlying statutes would allow, yes, those regulations are probably going to be pared back, to the extent that Attorney General Pruitt can do so consistent with law and public policy concerns. So that’s going to happen.

    Broader than that, though, EPA must go through regulatory reform. It simply must. It has for a long time overstated the benefits of its rules with the knowing acquiescence of the major environmental organizations in this country, and it has done so in a way that has misspent resources that could better protect the American public if they were spent more wisely.

    And I believe a degree of regulatory reform is necessary for that agency. That is exactly what was said on the campaign trail. Regulatory reform is a critical element. You won’t get it with using the same old players.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What about that, Rhea Suh?

    RHEA SUH: So, I think this language of regulatory reform, of overstepping the boundaries, when it comes down to it, these are the basic values that uphold our standard of living, our quality of living, the right to drink clean water and to breathe clean air.

    It’s not regulatory muckety-muck. These are basic values that, again, most Americans believe is their right. And we believe the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority and the responsibility to uphold that right for all Americans.

    So the fact, again, that we’re seeing a nominee come into this position that not only doesn’t believe in that authority, let alone will take the responsibility of upholding that authority, I think many, many people are more than disturbed. It’s actually quite a frightening prospect.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, so, much of this is going to be debated and discussed during his confirmation hearings. And we look forward to that.

    Rhea Suh, Scott Segal, we thank you both.

    RHEA SUH: Thank you.

    SCOTT SEGAL: Thank you.

    The post How far will Scott Pruitt take EPA regulatory reform? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Retiring U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) unveils a portrait in is honor on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. December 8, 2016.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTSVBGO

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: The 114th Congress scrambled to finish its business. The House OK’d a bill to fund the government through next April, ahead of a deadline tomorrow night. It includes disaster relief for Louisiana and other states and aid for Flint, Michigan’s contaminated water system.

    There’s also a waiver for retired General James Mattis to serve as defense secretary, even though he’s been out of the military less than seven years. Before the vote, lawmakers on both sides complained about the process and the result.

    REP. HAL ROGERS (R-Ky.): I truly hope that, in the near future, we can stop lurching from C.R. to C.R. and return to regular order for the sake of our national security, our economy and the well-being of all Americans. However, at this point, this is our best and only path forward.

    REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-Ca.), House Minority Leader: We cannot go down a path of missed opportunities and just roll over and not speak out and say this isn’t the best that we can do for the American people. And we owe them much better than this bill.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The bill’s passage in the Senate is still threatened by a fight over health care benefits for retired coal miners. But the Senate overwhelmingly gave final approval to a defense policy bill today. It again bars closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and grants a pay raise for the military.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid delivered his final speech to the chamber today. The Nevada Democrat recalled growing up in a tiny town outside Las Vegas, and ultimately joining the Senate 30 years ago.

    He also looked forward, speaking about the future of the body.

    SEN. HARRY REID (D-Nev.),Senate Minority Leader: I would hope that everyone would do everything they can to protect the Senate as an institution. As part of our Constitution, it should be given the dignity it deserves. I love the Senate. I don’t need to dwell on that. I love the Senate. I care about it so very, very much.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: New York Senator Chuck Schumer will take over as minority leader when the new Congress opens next month.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In Syria, heavy fighting raged in Eastern Aleppo today, as regime forces pushed ever deeper into rebel-held districts. Gunfire and the pounding of airstrikes echoed across the besieged city.

    Government troops have now retaken more than three-quarters of the rebel areas. President Bashar al-Assad rejected further truce offers today, but Russia said U.S. and Russian officials will meet Saturday to discuss the situation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The city of Paris spent a third day under emergency restrictions, in the face of its worst winter pollution in a decade. A haze hung over the French capital, and half of all cars were barred from traveling in the city, while public transportation was free. But many drivers ignored the curbs.

    LOUIS TROMELIN, Paris Resident (through translator): I don’t know if it is unique to Parisians or it’s all the French, but people are a bit selfish. They like to take their own car, when the trend would be take small buses, as you would in other European capitals.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The haze contains dangerous levels of very fine dust that can cause heart disease, lung cancer and various breathing ailments.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Back in this country, life expectancy has declined for the first time in decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports someone born last year is projected to live 78 years, nine-and-a-half months. That’s a month less than for someone born a year earlier, and its first drop since 1993, when the AIDS epidemic was raging.

    Researchers cite a rise in deaths from heart disease and other leading ailments. Japan leads the world in life expectancy at nearly 84 years.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. surgeon general warned today of growing e-cigarette use by the nation’s teenagers. Vivek Murthy said vaping could create a new generation of kids addicted to nicotine. E-cigarettes were initially pushed as a safer alternative for adult smokers. It’s already illegal to sell them to minors, but there is no scientific consensus yet on the risks or advantages.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And on Wall Street, stocks pushed to new highs, again, as a post-election surge continued. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 65 points to close at 19614. The Nasdaq rose 23 points, and the S&P 500 added four.

    Editor’s Note: The congressional spending bill does not include a waiver for retired Gen. James Mattis to serve as defense secretary. Rather, it includes a provision to speed up action. The waiver itself would still need Congressional approval.

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    U.S. President-elect Donald Trump arrives at John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton - RTSVB4V

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The nation marks the passing tonight of a major figure of the 20th century.

    John Glenn was the first American to orbit the planet, and the oldest person ever to go into space. He passed away today at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, at the age of 95. President Obama joined in an outpouring of tributes, saying John Glenn showed there’s no limit to the heights we can reach together. And President-elect Trump called him a great American hero.

    We will have a full report on his life later in the program.

    Now to the presidential transition. Word of John Glenn’s passing in Columbus, Ohio, came shortly before Donald Trump arrived in the city on an already planned trip.

    It followed more moves to fill out his Cabinet.

    Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.

    LISA DESJARDINS: President-elect Trump left New York and the transition behind this afternoon, and flew to meet with and first-responders to last week’s Ohio State stabbings.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), President-Elect: We just saw the victims and the families. And these were really brave people, amazing people. The police and first-responders were incredible.

    LISA DESJARDINS: This evening, it’s Iowa, where he will continue on that thank you tour after stops North Carolina and Ohio in the past week, all that and more news on his Cabinet. Mr. Trump formally announced Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general and opponent of climate change regulations, is his choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, and late today that Andy Puzder will be the labor secretary nominee.

    Puzder is CEO of the company that owns Hardee’s and the Carl’s Jr. burger chains. He was an early supporter of and fund-raiser for candidate Trump. He’s also been we know he’s critical of the Affordable Care Act, and he opposes raising the federal minimum wage, saying it would mean fewer jobs.

    ANDREW PUZDER, CEO, CKE Restaurants: What are we doing if we’re locking young Americans, 16-to-24 year-olds, out of the labor force? That’s a very, very serious problem at the moment and increasing the minimum wage is just exacerbating it.

    LISA DESJARDINS: This means Mr. Trump now has named choices for more than half of his Cabinet, from chief of staff, to treasury secretary, to U.N. ambassador.

    The group shows a few initial trends. Nearly half have been business executives, including four who are billionaires. A third are current elected officials. And so far, the proposed Cabinet is twice as many men as women.

    Also today, another chapter in that deal that Mr. Trump struck with the Carrier Corporation to keep jobs in Indiana. Local union leader Chuck Jones, in Indianapolis, questioned the president-elect’s claim that he saved 1,100 jobs. He said it’s more like 800.

    CHUCK JONES, President, United Steelworkers Local 1999: I have been in a lot of negotiations as a union representative, so I would have to assume that he assured the world — either knew the precise numbers or most certainly should’ve.

    LISA DESJARDINS: But, on Twitter, Mr. Trump sharply questioned Jones’ ability to fight for workers.

    Elsewhere, the president-elect did win a significant fight today over Green Party candidate’s Jill Stein’s recount push. Last night, a judge halted the effort in Michigan, saying Stein received too few votes to force a recount.

    And a Hillary Clinton sighting.

    HILLARY CLINTON, Former U.S. Secretary of State: This is not exactly the speech at the Capitol I hoped to be giving after the election.

    LISA DESJARDINS: The former Democratic nominee appeared at the U.S. Capitol for the unveiling of a portrait of outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

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

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    A new primate-inspired robot has a feature that is leaps and bounds above the rest.

    Scientists from U.C. Berkeley invented a one legged robot named Salto — short for ‘Saltatorial Locomotion Terrain Obstacles’ — that can jump higher than any other untethered robot. In a Science Robotics study, the team said Salto can jump at a rate of 1.75 meters (or almost 6 feet) per second, a rate 56 percent better than all other jumping bots.

    The team created Salto after watching search and rescue workers maneuver through rubble.

    “Our goal was to have a search and rescue robot small enough not to disturb the rubble further,” Duncan Haldane, roboticist and co-inventor of Salto, said in a press conference, and to “move quickly across the many kinds of rubble produced by collapsed buildings.”

    The robot’s design was inspired by the galago, a small primate that can leap from branch to branch at a rate of 2.2 meters (a little more than 7 feet) per second.

    Salto bounds around on one spring-loaded leg. Its spring is made of the same material as a rubber band and stretches like a slinky. The robot enters a super-crouch position, like a lion right before it leaps after its next meal. This spring and compression combination gives Salto a novel way to store and release more energy than other jumping robots.

    Sensors help Salto keep its balance as it leaps and rebounds. This feature allows the robot to jump, push off wall and flip in midair.

    The research team hopes Salto’s light weight, small size, high, reactive jumps and sensors will allow Salto to move through uneven terrain at a fast pace — a feature that could mean the difference between life and death in search and rescue missions.

    “The reason we’re concerned about speed is that you can actually plot the chance of survival of a person trapped in rubble against time,” Haldane said. “And that plot never goes up. So the clock is always ticking.”

    While this robot can jump high, how well the robot lands after consecutive jumps remains to be seen. The team eventually plans to place sensors on Salto and to test its maneuverability in complex terrains.

    The post This jumping robot leaps to new heights appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A technician holds a test tube with a blood sample at the Russian anti-doping laboratory in Moscow, Russia, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo - RTSVDQX

    A technician holds a test tube with a blood sample at the Russian anti-doping laboratory in Moscow. Photo by REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo 

    Olympic medalists and athletes from at least 30 different sports benefited from a state sponsored doping coverup in Russia, according to a new report from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    “[More than] 1,000 Russian athletes competing in summer, winter and Paralympic sport, can be identified as being involved in or benefiting from manipulations to conceal positive doping tests,” the agency said in a statement.

    The report alleges between 2011 and 2015 the Russian Sports Ministry switched and changed drug test samples using methods the Russian secret service devised.

    Urine swapping was used during the 2012 London Olympics, 2013 World Championships in Athletics, 2013 World Student Games, and 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic games. Salt and coffee were used to cover up samples, according to the report.

    Richard McLaren, a Canadian sports lawyer tasked with investigating and compiling the report, said the World Anti-Doping Agency could confirm a coverup that dates back to 2011 and became increasingly sophisticated over time.  

    “For years international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by the Russians. Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field,” McLaren said to reporters in London. “Sports fans and spectators have been deceived. It is time that this stops.”

    This is the second report the anti-doping agency has commissioned. The first, released in July, showed hundreds of positive drug tests had been concealed. That led to some Russian athletes being ban from this year’s Rio Olympics.

    Russia denied the accusations in that report and asked for more specific information because the report’s authors did not explain how the Russians allegedly opened sample bottles.

    The new report provides more details that could lead to the International Olympic Committee taking further action before the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

    On Thursday, the Olympic Committee president Tom Bach said any athletes and officials proven to be part of the doping system should be banned for life.

    The Russian sports ministry said Friday it will work with international organizations to improve anti-doping programs.

    “Today a war has been declared in our country. I think that zero tolerance for this phenomenon in sport should be implemented everywhere,” Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said.

    The report did not include any names of athletes alleged to be involved in the scheme.

    The post More than 1,000 Russian athletes involved in state-run doping, report finds appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A man prays during Friday prayer service at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling, Virginia, December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTX1ZBKT

    A man prays during Friday prayer service at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling, Virginia. Photo by REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

    WASHINGTON — Attorney General Loretta Lynch is visiting a mosque in Virginia next week amid a sharp increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims.

    Lynch is scheduled to visit the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center in Sterling on Monday morning.

    She’ll travel to New York City the following day for a discussion with gay, lesbian and transgender youth at Harvey Milk High School and to visit the Stonewall Inn and Stonewall National Monument.

    FBI statistics released last month show reported hate crimes against Muslims rose by 67 percent in 2015 to their highest number since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    There were 257 reported incidents of anti-Muslim bias in 2015, compared to 154 the year before.

    Lynch has said the numbers should be “deeply sobering for all Americans.”

    The post Attorney general to visit mosque, Stonewall National Monument amid increase in hate crimes appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to deliver remarks on clean energy after a tour of a solar power array at Hill Air Force Base, Utah April 3, 2015. Obama announced a Department of Energy initiative Friday with the goal of training 75,000 workers, especially targeting veterans, to enter the solar energy workforce by the year 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTR4W1C8

    President Barack Obama arrives to deliver remarks on clean energy after a tour of a solar power array at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, April 3, 2015. The president has allotted more than $90 billion in stimulus money to boost the clean energy industry to help shift the country away from foreign oil and create jobs. Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

    WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is asking Energy Department employees detailed questions about the agency’s operations and personnel, including a list of employees and contractors who attended international meetings on climate change over the past five years.

    The questionnaire also seeks a list of all political appointees and senior executives and asks workers to offer their opinions on who “owns” the department’s clean energy mission and other policy goals.

    One Energy Department official, who asked not to be named, expressed concern about the 74 questions and said it appears Trump’s transition team is targeting officials who have helped implement Obama administration policies on issues from the Iran nuclear deal to the operations of national energy labs.

    The Associated Press obtained a copy of the questionnaire, which was first reported by Bloomberg News.

    The document offers a window into how far the incoming Trump administration may go to reverse President Barack Obama’s worldview on pressing energy and climate policies. Obama’s allotted more than $90 billion in stimulus money to boost the clean energy industry to help shift the country away from foreign oil and create jobs.

    The solar company Solyndra was the first company to get a federal loan guarantee under an existing program that Obama expanded under the stimulus. But the company failed soon after receiving the guarantee, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $500 million. Republicans and other critics have cited Solyndra as an example of wasteful spending under a program they say failed to boost the economy but drove up federal deficits.

    The Trump transition questionnaire asks for a “full accounting of DOE liabilities associated with any loan or loan guarantee programs.” The team also wants a status report on the department’s recent issue of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for electric vehicles.

    The questionnaire asks about the Energy Department’s role in the Iran nuclear accord, an international deal negotiated by the U.S. and other world powers that stalls the threat of Tehran developing atomic weapons in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. Trump railed against the agreement during the campaign, calling it “stupid,” a “lopsided disgrace” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.”

    A series of the questions deals with the department’s network of national laboratories, which carry out long-term scientific and technological research. The questionnaire asks for the top 20 salaried employees of each lab and a list of “all other positions currently held by lab staff, paid and unpaid, including facilities, boards and consultancies?”

    The post Energy Department workers sent detailed questionnaire by Trump transition team appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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