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

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    This screenshot, taken at 12:47 p.m. ET on Jan. 26, 2017 shows that the @POTUS account is linked to a Google Gmail account beginning with the letters "ds." Minutes after this screen shot was captured, the account reset process was changed.

    This screenshot, taken at 12:47 p.m. ET on Jan. 26, 2017 shows that the @POTUS account is linked to a Google Gmail account beginning with the letters “ds.” Minutes after this screen shot was captured, the account reset process was changed.

    The @POTUS twitter account, one of the White House’s main social media accounts appears to be controlled by a user with a personal gmail account, the PBS NewsHour has confirmed.

    The Next Web first reported on the apparent vulnerability of several accounts associated with the new White House earlier today. The finding was widely shared on Twitter by technology journalists.

    In addition to being linked to a personal gmail account, the Twitter account appeared to have the lowest possible level of security, foregoing settings that would require a user to enter additional personal information to reset the password on the account.

    As we put together this report, the account appeared to be in the process of upgrading to a higher level of security.

    This screen shot was captured at 12:29 p.m. ET on January 26, 2017.

    This screen shot was captured at 12:29 p.m. ET on January 26, 2017.

    In its earlier form, the account did not have two factor authentication enabled. Two factor authentication adds an additional layer of security by limiting access to users through identity verification.

    The Electronic Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit that advises organizations on online security practices states that “Two-factor authentication can help mitigate the damage of a password breach or phishing attack.” Many of the highly visible email hacks that occurred over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign were the result of successful phishing attacks on personal email accounts.

    This is a developing story. We are pursuing comment from the White House. Morgan Till contributed to this report.

    The post @POTUS Twitter account appears to be linked to a personal Gmail account appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Businessman wearing glasses leaning on hand thinking.  Photo by Jonathan Siegel and Getty Images

    Author Elizabeth White’s advice for financially-struggling Baby Boomers: Find a “resilience circle” to help you get back on your feet. Photo by Jonathan Siegel and Getty Images

    Editor’s Note: In “Fifty-Five, Unemployed, and Faking Normal,” Elizabeth White offers advice to those baby boomers who are on the edge of financial ruin. Making Sen$e published an excerpt from the book last week in which White tackled the need for broke baby boomers to say goodbye to magical thinking and face reality. We have a second excerpt below on how people in this demographic can take the first steps toward getting back on their feet. For more on the topic, tune in to tonight’s Making Sen$e segment, which airs every Thursday on the PBS NewsHour.

    — Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor


    You never drank $12 dollar glasses of Chardonnay or used valet parking. You don’t know those people and don’t want to know them. You haven’t worked steadily in two years — maybe longer. You’re beat up. Shell-shocked. Weary to the bone. You’re juggling paying your utilities and buying your prescription meds. You scraped together this month’s rent, but next month will be dicey — beyond dicey. You’re only one payment behind on your car. They won’t repossess it for that. Thank God. A nice account rep agreed to payment arrangements for your mobile phone. You know your ass is showing if your phone gets turned off. The last letter from the IRS was certified. You need a payment arrangement for your payment arrangement. You still owe your sister from the last time you borrowed money from her. You’re so close to the edge… you hope you won’t kick the pebble that launches the avalanche.

    You haven’t worked steadily in two years — maybe longer. You’re beat up. Shell-shocked. Weary to the bone. You’re juggling paying your utilities and buying your prescription meds.

    Clawing Your Way Back

    When you’ve landed here, what’s the play? When nothing works anymore, what do you do? When you’ve forgotten who you are and what you know, where do you begin?

    You start with the tiniest step. Life is a series of choices. Each day you are presented with hundreds of opportunities to act or not act. You make choices. You choose. Clawing your way back is choosing to do a little more each day.

    Depending on how bad things are, starting might just look like brushing your teeth and washing your face. That’s all. Or maybe you put on clean clothes. You shave. Or you wash the dishes in the sink and do nothing more.

    And if those steps are too big, start smaller.

    It’s shocking to be here. I know.

    WATCH: 55, unemployed and faking normal: One woman’s story of barely scraping by

    It never occurred to you that no one would hire you. You’ve never had trouble landing a job before. Now getting arrested might be easier than getting an interview.

    Colleagues who could help you don’t lift a finger. Your anger gives way to resignation and loss. There is this slow motion dawning that the career you had is over. While you may still hold out hope for a job like the one you left, you know (and deep down you do know) that the longer you’re unemployed, the more unlikely that will be.

    After sending about 50 (or maybe 100) job applications without getting a response, you start to question everything.

    Some of you have shared staying in this limbo place for a long time, with sadness and loss tipping into depression.

    READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: Is age discrimination in your head?

    Making sense out of all of this is a process. There will be good days and some very bad ones. It’s disconcerting to be suddenly on the outside looking in at “normal” with your face pressed up against the window. You will feel unmoored if you’ve always belonged and your sense of who you are is tied up in your job title. And now there is no job title and no job.

    Here’s what I know after talking to lots of people: The only way through this is through it. There’s no cutting across the grass.

    Being part of a community can help. Find a tribe. Find a Resilience Circle — a place where you can confide in others who are on the same road. It gives you an opportunity to get out of your head and away from all that negative self-talk that’s wearing you down. Being heard by people who are facing what you’re facing can also lessen your feelings of isolation.

    And if you’re in an emotional free fall, your Resilience Circle can help you get your bearings and take those first few steps back from the abyss.

    It’s a beginning to build upon.

    READ MORE: Column: Broke baby boomers, it’s time to face reality

    The post Column: Broke baby boomers, it’s time to claw your way back appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    British Prime Minister Theresa May will address Republican lawmakers Thursday at their retreat in Philadelphia, a day ahead of her Friday meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House.

    May is scheduled to speak around 3 p.m. Thursday. Watch live in the player above.

    May’s meeting at the White House on Friday will be Trump’s first with a foreign leader as president, ands May wants to use it to bolster the trans-Atlantic “special relationship.”

    PBS Newshour will update this story after May’s remarks.

    The Associated Press’ Jill Lawless contributed to this report.

    The post WATCH LIVE: British Prime Minister Theresa May to speak at GOP retreat appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Students in eastern Mosul, a city in northern Iraq, got to return to school this week. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    Students in eastern Mosul, a city in northern Iraq, got to return to school this week. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    Soccer balls are bouncing again and schools are reopening their doors in eastern Mosul, a city in Iraq where government troops recently wrest back control from Islamic State militants.

    The estimated 180,000 Iraqis who fled when the battle to retake the city began in October are cautiously starting to return, said UNICEF Iraq representative Peter Hawkins from his office in Baghdad this week.

    An estimated 20,000 Iraqis have come back so far, shuttled by government buses from camps outside the city. Their departure frees up space in the camps for the anticipated influx of Iraqis when the military operation to retake the western part of Mosul begins at some point, he said.

    “It’s amazing how resilient the people are given all that they’ve been through,” said Hawkins, who visited Mosul last week. “The most amazing part was seeing women walking around the streets and children playing games,” like soccer.

    Residents are seeing what is left of their homes. Water pipelines, destroyed during the fighting, still need repairs. In the meantime, more than 300,000 gallons of water are trucked in every day, said Hawkins.

    The 30 schools that reopened needed to be checked and re-checked for unexploded devices left there by the militants. Textbooks, like the math book pictured below, were replaced with non-violent ones.

    Children got much-delayed vaccinations against measles and polio, which they hadn’t received during the two years that the Islamic State militants were in charge. The World Health Organization and its partner organizations set up a field hospital to treat gunshot and mine wounds. Hawkins said UNICEF also is working to provide specialized care for girls who suffered sexual and other abuse at the hands of the militants.

    “The key now is to help them resume their normal way of life and break that cycle of violence and grievance very common in that part of the world,” he said.

    The city still has its dangers, such as the possibility of a counterattack by militants in the western part of the city, he added, but the children know when they go to school, they are in a safe place.

    A mother adjusts her daughter's hat before she enters a classroom on Jan. 23. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    A mother adjusts her daughter’s hat before she enters a classroom on Jan. 23. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    For two years, under the Islamic State regime, only boys were allowed to attend school in Mosul. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    For two years, under the Islamic State regime, only boys were allowed to attend school in Mosul. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    About 30 schools opened in eastern Mosul after Iraqi forces took back control from the Islamic State group. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    About 30 schools opened in eastern Mosul after Iraqi forces took back control from the Islamic State group. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    Children played soccer in Mosul as the city gradually returned to normal. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    Children played soccer in Mosul as the city gradually returned to normal. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    Fresh graves are seen on a school compound in Mosul after Iraqi troops retook the city from the Islamic State group. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    Fresh graves are seen on a school compound in Mosul after Iraqi troops retook the city from the Islamic State group. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    A math book under the Islamic State contains a math problem that asks: "You have a store of 42 bullets and in front of you are 7 apostates and unbelievers. The question is how many shots from your sniper rifle you have for each of them." Image courtesy of PBS NewsHour special correspondent Marcia Biggs

    A math book under the Islamic State contains a math problem that asks: “You have a store of 42 bullets and in front of you are 7 apostates and unbelievers. The question is how many shots from your sniper rifle you have for each of them.” Image courtesy of PBS NewsHour special correspondent Marcia Biggs

    Another page of the text book contains math problems that use jihadi soldiers and landmines in the questions. Image courtesy of PBS NewsHour special correspondent Marcia Biggs

    Another page of the text book contains math problems that use jihadi soldiers and landmines in the questions. Image courtesy of PBS NewsHour special correspondent Marcia Biggs

    About 16,000 children in eastern Mosul were able to return to classes this week. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    About 16,000 children in eastern Mosul were able to return to classes this week. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    Students leave after registering for classes and getting new school bags in Mosul, Iraq on Jan. 23. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    Students leave after registering for classes and getting new school bags in Mosul, Iraq on Jan. 23. Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    The post Schools scrub signs of ISIS rule in battle-scarred Mosul appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    human breeding efforts have modified modern commercial tomatoes to be less flavorful over time. Photo by Mr.TinDC/via Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

    Human breeding efforts have modified modern commercial tomatoes to be less flavorful over time. Photo by Mr.TinDC/via Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

    Picture a tomato slice on your favorite sandwich. It’s red. It’s ripe. And, odds are, it doesn’t taste that great.

    But this blandness may not be the fruit’s fault, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science. The research argues the robust, classic flavor of commercial tomatoes have been bred out of them over the past century. In a quest to produce heartier, larger tomatoes capable of staying fresh on the way to the grocery store shelves, breeders have inadvertently removed genes that give flavor.

    Horticulturist and study co-author Harry Klee likens the taste evolution of a modern commercial tomato to a dwindling symphony performance.

    “If you think of an orchestra and you remove one piece like a clarinet, you won’t notice a big difference,” said Klee who works at the University of Florida. “But if you do that once a year for fifty years and then all the sudden someone different walks in, they are going to say, ‘Wait, that doesn’t sound like Beethoven’s 5th.’”

    The problem, Klee believes, is that breeders and growers have neither incentive nor tools to ensure the taste quality of their tomato varieties. Breeders focus on appearance, firmness, shelf life, disease resistance and yield, he said, while growers are paid for how many pounds they pick but don’t pay a penalty for lousy fruit. So, the flavor has deteriorated slowly due to neglect.

    Flavor preference is hard to identify. Taste happens in the mouth, smell happens in the nose and flavor is somewhere in between, Klee said. That’s because flavor is largely dictated by chemicals called “volatile compounds” that trigger olfactory receptors in the nose, not in the mouth.

    Just try drinking a glass of wine with and without holding your nose. The tastes will be completely different.

    Numerous genes responsible for the flavor of tomatoes have been lost, as food producers selected the fruit for other qualities, such as size and firmness. Photo by Harry Klee, University of Florida

    Numerous genes responsible for the flavor of tomatoes have been lost, as food producers
    selected the fruit for other qualities, such as size and firmness. Photo by Harry Klee, University of Florida

    So to find the genes responsible for tomato flavor, Klee’s team spent more than five years conducting taste tests with consumers. These panels tasted and rated 101 tomato varieties — heirloom, commercial and wild — on qualities like “overall liking” and “flavor intensity.” The researchers then ground up the tomatoes and analyzed their volatile compounds. Bland commercial varieties had significantly reduced levels of thirteen compounds associated with better flavor ratings.

    Klee and company then partnered with researchers in China, who sequenced the genomes of 398 tomato varieties. The Chinese scientists then analyzed the correlation between the volatile compounds and specific gene sequences, using a process called “genome-wide association study,” or GWAS. Their results suggest genes linked to the 13 pro-flavor chemicals have been selectively bred out of modern, commercial tomatoes.

    Klee believes these genes can be bred back into commercial tomatoes without losing the hearty characteristics breeders and growers value.

    “We’re not going to be able to take the modern tomato and make it taste like heirloom, but I do think we can make it taste significantly better… And if we can make the the 99 cent tomato at the grocery store taste better, people may make better decisions in their diets.”

    But David Francis, a tomato geneticist and breeder at Ohio State University, cautions that implying all heirloom tomatoes taste better than commercial ones is the “horticultural equivalent of alternative fact.”

    “As someone who has grown heirlooms and modern tomato varieties, for both research and a family business, I can say without a doubt that there are heirlooms with insipid taste and excellent flavor in some modern varieties,” Francis said.

    While Francis believes the science study does a good job of identifying the volatile compounds that could be used to improve flavor, he thought it did not adequately address the impact of a particular breed’s fruit size on flavor. Klee argues larger fruit carry more water, which dilutes their sugar content. But Francis thinks other genetic factors related to size could be at play.

    “A future study should control for the confounding effects of fruit size and market class by comparing modern cherry tomatoes with heirloom cherry tomatoes and modern large-fruited varieties with large-fruited heirlooms,” Francis said.

    And though genetics is a major factor both scientists also acknowledge that harvest and shipping methods may influence taste too. For instance, refrigeration can alter volatile compounds in the fruit and make them less tasty. Francis, meanwhile, believes picking a tomato before ripe does harm too.

    “Florida tomatoes often have poor taste when they reach Ohio in the winter because they were picked green. If that same tomato were vine ripened, picked and eaten fresh it would taste just fine.”

    The post In quest to grow a better tomato, breeders forgot about taste appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Kellyanne Conway during the daily press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, January 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. Spicer did not offer evidence to support President Trump's claim that millions of people voted illegally. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now for a view from inside the White House of the Trump administration’s first days in office, I’m joined by Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president.

    Kellyanne Conway, welcome back to the program.

    I’m going to start with the fact that this administration is not even a week old, and, already, the president of Mexico has canceled a visit he was going to make next week, saying he’s not going to pay for this border wall.

    Is this the way the president wanted to have a relationship between the U.S. and Mexico as his administration gets under way?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY, Counselor to President Trump: As President Trump said today in Philadelphia when he addressed the House Senate Republican Conference at their retreat, Judy, it was a mutual decision to postpone this trip.

    And I think that when these two leaders are ready to sit down and talk about a wide range of issues, they will do that. But let’s look at the rest of the week. I mean, this has been a pretty remarkable week in just four work days. We have had wage-boosting, job-creating measures. We have had manufacturing CEOs from all over the country here, really premier job creators, hearkening the — really heeding the president’s call to try to have an explosion in manufacturing in our nation.

    And then on the very same day, we had the labor union leaders, along with laborers themselves here at the White House, talking about what it means for them be a carpenter, a pipe fitter, a plumber, a steelworker, like the many men I grew up with in South Jersey outside of Philadelphia.

    And they said that they had never been invited to the White House before, Democratic or Republican. They felt so included that they’re part of the national conversation.

    The president has issued executive orders withdrawing from the TPP, so that we have bilateral trade agreements in the future that benefit the United States and its workers and its allies and its interests.

    So, it’s been a very busy week. We’re very happy to have our first foreign leader tomorrow, Prime Minister Theresa May, here, meeting with President Trump.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Kellyanne, let me — if I may interrupt.

    (CROSSTALK)

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: And we’re very happy about that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.

    I do want to ask you about some of these things, but sticking with the Mexico story, because the president of Mexico said it was his decision not to come.

    But what I want to ask you about is the border wall and paying for it. You had the White House press secretary tell reporters today that it was going to be paid for with a 20 percent tax imposed on Mexican goods coming into the U.S.

    Now, later, the White House said that was just one idea.

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: That’s right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What is it? Which is it?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: That’s right. That is one of the many methods by which to pay for the wall.

    It is one proposal on the table. Certainly, there are others. And, Judy, when you consider the price tag for this wall, which will be a physical wall constructed on the southern border, let’s contrast that to the billions and billions that we spend on benefits for and accommodating illegal immigrants.

    So, we — this country spends billions of dollars protecting the borders of other countries around the world. It’s high time we start protecting our own. We’re a sovereign nation. And as President Trump has said all along, made a centerpiece of his campaign from day one, we have to stop the flow of people and drugs over our borders.

    What he also did, by the way, these executive orders this week, in terms of building the wall, was, he has expanded the tools and the resources that our law enforcement officials and our brave men and women who are protecting that border. They need tools and resources and they should be respected.

    The detention areas will be larger to accommodate those and stop this catch and release, stop the sanctuary city funding.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: If I can just interrupt, because — and I hate to do that, but I — because I have a number of things I want to ask you about. We did report on all that last night.

    But the other thing the president did yesterday, in addition to make the announcement you just discussed, is he talked about the sanctuary cities, so-called sanctuary cities, where undocumented immigrants are given a different, a fairer treatment in the eyes of many.

    Today, we have seen 100 American mayors say they are not going to go along with what the president said. With that kind of pushback, how is the president going to force these mayors, who are saying this is an inhumane way to treat people who are here in this country as visitors?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: This issue of sanctuary cities goes to the heart of how Donald Trump himself has changed the whole way many Americans look at illegal immigration.

    For years, the question of fairness in illegal immigration went to one issue: What’s fair to the illegal immigrant? And now people are asking, what’s fair to the rest us of us? What’s fair to the American worker? What’s fair to the safety and sanctity of people who live in some of these sanctuary cities? What’s fair to Kate Steinle?

    That woman should be a household name. She should be known as a national treasure, this woman who was murdered in cold blood in front of her father in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times, Judy. That’s humane treatment of whom? Kate Steinle?

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: No, and I hear you. And the president has spoken of her often.

    But how will the president force mayors who are saying they are going to take care of undocumented immigrants if they come into their cities, because, frankly, they say the idea that most immigrants are committing crimes is just not true?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, that is not what the president said.

    You’re — now we’re conflating two different things. No one said that in terms of the sanctuary cities defunding. The — I guess those mayors will have to find money somewhere else, because they love when the money flows from the federal government here in Washington.

    So, if they want to continue to flout and flagrantly violate the law and brag about it today publicly, then they should go ahead. But they’re going to have it find their own money in doing so. And perhaps if they are violating the law, then we will see what happens in the future. But…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me …

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: … until then — you know, but, Judy, this is — I hear undocumented immigrants and I hear about say — again, what is fair to everyone, the people, the legal people, the American citizens who live there, our law enforcement who feels like they don’t have all the resources and tools they need, and then, of course, our employment base where people are saying…

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I’m going to …

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: People are tired of hearing that …

    (CROSSTALK)

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: … here to do the jobs Americans don’t want to do.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I’m going to interrupt you again. I’m sorry. I apologize for continuing to interrupt, but I do want to move on.

    Syria, the president said in an interview yesterday he wants to create safe zones for the people living in Syria. Wouldn’t this require U.S. troops? And has he discussed it with the senior national security members of his administration?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: He has discussed Syria in that regard with his national security team.

    But his national security and intelligence teams are being — still being formed, as you know. General Mattis will be, we hope, confirmed or sworn in — excuse me — sworn in on the next day or so. And, of course, we have Secretary Kelly now and the CIA director also.

    But the thing is, he will meet with them. But he has been — just President Trump has been very public about the fact that Aleppo is a humanitarian crisis that’s been all but ignored by this country for far long. And he will meet with them and he will make final decisions, but he’s been very public, including on a different network last night, Judy, about what options are very much on the table.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And — but not exactly in connection with that, but the president has also spoken about the prospect of torture, of enhanced interrogation. He said that it’s something that he likes.

    We also saw yesterday, Kellyanne Conway, a draft executive order reported on that raises the prospect of reviving these CIA so-called black site prisons, where we know terrorism suspects were once detained and tortured.

    Now, I want to ask you about a story in The New York Times today, because the press secretary, Sean Spicer, said this is not — this draft order didn’t come from the United — from the White House. But The New York Times quotes three different individuals who say that it did come from the White House, from the National Security Council office.

    So, I guess my question is, why doesn’t the White House simply acknowledge that this is where it came from?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: Because it didn’t. That is not an official White House document, period, as I have been told.

    And if it came if it came from the NSC, if it came from others who are leaking documents, it certainly is not — that is not a White House document that has been discussed internally. So, what the press secretary has said is true, as far as I have been briefed.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, both …

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: On the broader issue of torture, though, it’s important, because I think you said that the president said he likes it.

    What he said is that he has been informed by people very recently that it is a possible — a possibility that works. You have other people, like his incoming secretary of defense, who said that he doesn’t believe it works, that there are other tactics…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And both …

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: … that could work just as well. So he will meet with his team and make a final decision on that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And both the defense secretary and the CIA director said that they had never seen this draft order, until it was reported in the press.

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, that’s why. And if it were a White House document, they certainly would have, because they are the secretary of — his secretary of defense and his CIA director. So that helps answer the question as well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: A few …

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: We know there are lots of leaks everywhere. There’s nothing we can do about that, except not leak ourselves.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: A very few quick questions I’m just going to ask you one right after the other.

    This investigation into what the president calls widespread voter fraud, no credible evidence of this. Has anyone on the White House staff tried to talk the president out of doing this?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, I won’t reveal private conversations with the president, Judy, but I will tell you that what the president is talking about is registration and voter rolls.

    He knows there are dead people registered, there are illegal people registered, and he wants to get to the bottom of that without an election on the horizon. Usually, people get all exercised about electoral reform after something goes wrong or ballot integrity when we’re about to have an election.

    So, it’s great that, right after a successful election that he had, unexpected to most in the media, that he is looking at ballot integrity, one person, one vote, really the bedrock of our democracy. And that’s what he’s talking about. I have discussed with him as recently as today.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Again, pardon me.

    If there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud, couldn’t this end up just like President Trump’s longtime claim that President Obama was born outside the United States?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: No, I can’t imagine why that would ever be raised on the same plane.

    But let me say this. Were those same words used by anyone to describe Jill Stein and her fantasy of a recount based on — quote — “voter fraud” that she detected in Wisconsin and Michigan that ended up getting her millions of dollars in taxpayer — taxpayer dollars and a lot of platform by the media, perhaps even on your network?

    Somehow, that was a great idea by Jill Stein for 70,000 votes, because they didn’t want to accept the election results that they didn’t expect, and they wouldn’t accept.

    So, I just have to say the president is talking about registration and voter rolls. And I don’t think anybody can deny that there are people who are registered to vote, there are people registered to vote in different states, there are people who are ineligible to vote either because they’re dead and shouldn’t vote or they are illegal and shouldn’t be registered to vote.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You mentioned the media. We know the president has been engaged in, I don’t know of any other way to put it, than a long-running battle with the media, has been very critical of much, if not most of the news media.

    And, today, in The New York Times, it’s running a story, your colleague the White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, said — told The New York Times last night, he said the media is — quote — in his words, “the opposition party,” and that it should — quote — “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”

    Does the president share that view?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, there are other things Steve Bannon said in that interview in The New York Times, very rare interview.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But what about that quote?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, what — what — let’s talk about what he meant there.

    What he is saying there is, there’s no evidence that anybody in the media learned anything from this election. There’s no head that’s rolled. There’s no division that said, wow, we really screwed this up by stating as fact that Hillary Clinton was going to win, and that she was going to take the House and the Senate with her.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, in all fairness, Kellyanne Conway, most people we know in the Republican and Democratic parties looked at the public opinion polls, and thought that that was going to be the outcome.

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, not in the Trump campaign, or we wouldn’t have been sending him to Michigan, Wisconsin, certainly back to North Carolina, Pennsylvania.

    I had him in Pennsylvania three times a week. So, we must have seen something that allowed to us influence the calendar where we were deploying our two greatest assets, Mike Pence and Donald Trump.

    But, apart from that, there is no evidence that — you know, we — when I look up at the screen on most stations, Judy — and I’m like the most open press person here, I would think — I look up at the screen and I see no difference between the way candidate Trump, president-elect Trump, and President Trump is being treated by many outlets.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, should the media shut up and listen for a while, as Steve Bannon said?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: I think that we should all — I think we should all learn to listen more to America.

    And that’s probably Steve Bannon’s central point, is that Donald Trump proved that he understood America in the way that those who say they’re informing America simply did not.

    And it really takes listening. I was a professional pollster for 28 years. My job was to listen to people and take advice from them. Some of the best advice and insights I have ever received in my professional life have come from — most of them have come from people, by listening to them, by getting out of the bubble, by getting out of our coastal media centers.

    And this is just said with, you know, a great deal of — I have tried on many different networks now — it doesn’t get covered. People cherry-pick one or two words, but I have tried many times now on different networks to say, I would like us to have an open relationship and a fair and free press.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: OK.

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: But with a free press comes a responsibility.

    And that responsibility comes in allowing to us ask the questions, like what are we missing about America? As I like to say, we, the Trump administration, and the media, are — have to co-parent this country, have joint custody of the country for the next eight years probably.

    Let’s find a way to mutually coexist. But calling the president names, going on Twitter and saying snarky things about him, the president of the United States, that would never pass editorial muster on a network or in the papers really should be rethought.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we’re — it’s a big, big conversation. And it’s early in the administration.

    And I know we’re going to have opportunities to come back to that.

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: I’m happy to have it with you, Judy. Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Kellyanne Conway, thanks.

    The post Kellyanne Conway on Trump’s voter fraud claims, Mexico and the media appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Tourists walk on the wet sidewalk Jan. 6 near the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Photo by REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian.

    Tourists walk on the wet sidewalk Jan. 6 near the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Photo by REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian.

    Nearly half of California has emerged from a five-year drought, thanks in part to heavy rainfall this month, according to a recent report.

    The weekly United States Drought Monitor report released Thursday indicates roughly 49 percent of the state is no longer under drought conditions. By comparison, only 5 percent of the state was drought-free one year ago.

    This week marked the first time since January 2014 that no part of the state faced “exceptional drought” conditions, which is the most severe drought category. A year ago, as much as 40 percent of California was listed under those conditions.

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official Richard Tinker, the author of the report, said heavy precipitation affected areas through most of California, particularly the Sierra Nevada, coastal locations and the southwestern interior.

    According to the NOAA, most of central and south central California recorded at least an inch of precipitation this week. Other parts of the state received as many as 9 inches.

    Drought conditions in the state have been steadily improving over the last few months. In September 27, 2016, about 84 percent of the state was still in a drought. Two months later, that number fell to 73 percent. By the end of 2016, it was 69 percent.

    The U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly analysis, released on Thursday, says no part of the state faced “exceptional drought” conditions for the first time since 2014. Video by KQED Science

    Despite the improvements, California is still under a drought state of emergency that Gov. Jerry Brown declared three years ago.

    Still, California Natural Resources Agency spokesman Sam Chiu recently told the NewsHour that the state would not fully assess the drought conditions for at least another few months.

    “It’s early in the water season, and we know from experience that storms can cease,” he said.

    The post Nearly half of California is no longer in a drought appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    FILE PHOTO: An internally displaced Syrian boy walks over rainwater in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, northern Aleppo province, Syria December 26, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi/File Photo - RTSXJJN

    Watch Video

    ANTONIO MORA: In the day’s other news — Russia warned President Trump to think twice about setting up safe zones for refugees inside Syria. The president confirmed in his ABC interview that he favors the idea, but he gave no specifics.

    Today, a Kremlin spokesman warned the U.S. should thoroughly calculate all possible consequences before doing anything. Meanwhile, rebels in Syria say they want to see action, not just words.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: British Prime Minister Theresa May is talking up cooperation with the new Trump administration on her first visit to the U.S. as prime minister. She addressed the Republican retreat today and drew parallels between the GOP’s victory last November and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

    THERESA MAY, British Prime Minister: As we rediscover our confidence together, as you renew your nation, just as we renew ours, we have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility, to renew the special relationship for this new age. We have the opportunity to lead together again.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: May is set to meet with President Trump at the White House tomorrow.

    ANTONIO MORA: Cheers erupted in the West African nation of Gambia today as the new president returned home, following a political crisis. President Adama Barrow was welcomed by thousands of supporters.

    He had waited until longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh finally left, and West African military forces secured the country. Barrow is Gambia’s first new president in two decades. He’s promised to reverse Jammeh’s authoritarian policies.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Australia, celebrations and protests competed as the country marked Australia Day. It’s the anniversary of the first British colonists arriving in Sydney Harbor in 1788. Many Aborigines, though, now call it Invasion Day, and thousands protested in major cities. Some staged a sit-in at the Parliament House in Canberra.

    ANTONIO MORA: Wall Street took a bit of a pause today, 24 hours after reaching a major milestone. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 32 points to close at 20100. It cracked the 20000 barrier for the first time yesterday. But the Nasdaq fell one point today, and so did the S&P 500.

    The post News Wrap: Russia sends Trump a warning on setting up Syrian refugee safe zones appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    After being shuttered for 10 years, students at Howard University recently reinstated the school’s college Republicans group. And they had some help… from the party.

    In November, at its launch party, the group was presented with a $2,000 check from the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus. Leah Le’Vell, a member of the RNC’s African American Strategic Initiatives Team, was there to present the check.

    Le’Vell, who served as a student advisor to the National Diversity Coalition for Trump at Georgia State University, says she believes many black Americans do align with the Republican Party but that the persecution that comes with being an openly black Republican keeps many of these voters silent.

    “Social media’s super popular these days and there’s so much persecution,” Le’Vell said. “And so people often don’t say who they publicly align with.”

    In the video above, watch two students from Howard, a historically black university, discuss the future of the party for young, black Americans and how they came to identify as Republican despite being surrounded by more progressive family and friends.

    The post The stigma of being young, black and Republican appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The border wall illuminated at night in Nogales, Arizona on July 6, 2012. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

    The border wall illuminated at night in Nogales, Arizona on July 6, 2012. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

    Should the Trump Administration’s threats to impose a 20 percent tariff on US imports from Mexico be treated as a serious policy proposal or simply bluster and part of a power play? It’s hard to say. No sooner had it been announced than Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that the proposal was simply “one idea” in “a buffet of options” to get Mexico to pay for the wall. Nonetheless, either as policy or bluster, such a measure could prove counter-productive and extremely damaging to both economies and the global trading system as a whole.

    Production in Mexico and the United States is intertwined. Parts and components for key industries such as automobiles, aerospace, electronics, and apparel often cross the border in both directions several times before final assembly. The tariff would severely disrupt these production chains, doing damage to investment and jobs in both countries. Employment in the very states and manufacturing industries Mr Trump has pledged to boost would be adversely affected. Moreover, foreign autos and other imports that are not assembled in these supply chains would now be more competitive.

    The threat not only violates the NAFTA Agreement, but represents a dagger in the heart of the World Trade Organization.

    The U.S. threat to impose a discriminatory tariff against Mexico also establishes it as a scofflaw that is willing to break its international legal commitments. The threat not only violates the NAFTA Agreement, but represents a dagger in the heart of the World Trade Organization. The WTO works through commitments by its members to keep their tariffs below pledged rates and not to discriminate among WTO members — so called most favor nation treatment. Border taxes on just one member way in excess of U.S. pledged maximum rates obviously violate these commitments.

    President Trump claims he wants to renegotiate our trade agreements to make them fairer for the U.S. It is one thing to follow the rules required for renegotiation, but quite another to violate U.S. legal obligations for short-term political advantage. Indeed, if the President simply tears up previous agreements, why should others trust his pledges in the future? What would rules mean in a world in which the U.S. president is constantly seeking to get a better deal?

    Since the 1930s the US has played a leadership role in establishing a trading system based on rules. If the leader now breaks these rules, it is likely that other countries will lose faith in the WTO and feel freer to emulate U.S. behavior. If members feel free to raise trade barriers on each other, there could be dire consequences not only for U.S. exporters but also for a global trading system that has lifted billions out of poverty.

    There is also the irony that while the tax on Mexican imports can be presented as making Mexico pay for the wall, a significant share of the tariff will be passed through into higher U.S. prices, thus actually resulting in U.S. consumers paying for the wall. It is also possible that instead of this proposal, taxes on Mexican imports could be part of a more radical proposal currently being floating by Republicans in the Congress for corporate tax reform. This plan would involve radically lowering corporate taxes. It would also involve border tax adjustments of questionable WTO legality. Imports would be taxed by disallowing them as an expense, while taxes on U.S. exports would be eliminated. If this plan is adopted, it would be U.S. taxpayers rather than Mexicans who would pay for the wall!

    Donald Trump is a master manipulator of public opinion and the optics of imposing tariffs on Mexican imports will look good to his supporters. For him the political victory of building a wall and having Mexico appear to pay for it will be all that counts. He may also prove to be effective at intimidating U.S. firms with tweets and bribing them with lower taxes. But ultimately, trade policies based on deals and short-term political advantage will not only damage U.S. relations with Mexico and our other trading partners, but fail to enhance the employment or living standards of the working classes that elected him.

    The post Column: The great irony of the Mexico tariff is that Americans would pay for it too appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A corn field is seen in DeWitt, Iowa in this July 12, 2012 file photo. Photo by Adrees Latif/Files/Reuters

    A corn field is seen in DeWitt, Iowa in this July 12, 2012 file photo. Photo by Adrees Latif/Files/Reuters

    OTTUMWA, Iowa — In struggling Wapello County, a swath of southeast, Iowa Donald Trump was the first Republican to carry in 44 years, his earliest and most devout supporters cheer the new president’s quick action on health care, trade, energy and immigration, including accelerated construction of the long-promised Mexican border wall.

    And yet, even these voters, to whom Trump disproportionately owes his presidency, roll their eyes at his ongoing fixation with his popularity.

    “He’s said what needs to be done, and he’s doing it,” said Viki Wilson, a retired trucking company operator from Ottumwa, Wapello County’s seat. “He’s just got to sort the small stuff from the big stuff.”

    Far from the cacophony enveloping Washington in Trump’s first week in office, the Iowa voters who helped him capture the state and the presidency last November give the president high marks for reversing eight years of Democrat Barack Obama’s policies. But they shake their heads at his widely debunked claims about the crowd size for his inauguration and voter fraud costing him the popular vote.

    Wilson is like hundreds of Trump supporters in this county of about 35,000 people, a former Democrat in a once union-heavy city who embraced Trump’s candidacy out of frustration with the region’s high unemployment.

    Like Wapello, working-class counties that were once home to thriving union Democratic precincts, such as Racine County, Wisconsin, and Macomb County, Michigan, voted decidedly for Trump in November, and helped him carry the entire northern arc of states from Iowa to Pennsylvania.

    Cherie Westrich of Ottumwa had never been politically active. But the 51-year-old antique car rebuilder had researched the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement between the United States and Asian nations, and concluded the treaty would benefit U.S. corporations, not its workers.

    By signing an order withdrawing from the 12-nation treaty brokered by Obama, Trump made good on what he argued was a pledge to protect U.S. workers from competition in low-wage Asian countries.

    “No matter if you agree or disagree on this campaign promise, there’s no question he’s jumping right on it,” said Westrich, who became an active volunteer for Trump in Ottumwa last fall.

    It’s the kind of promise that drew hundreds of newcomers to Wapello County’s Republican presidential caucuses almost exactly a year ago when Trump finished a surprising second to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Wilson and Westrich, like thousands of other voters in this onetime coalmining and manufacturing hub, had drifted away from their Democratic roots, emblematic of the region’s shift from labor unions.

    For decades, the voters backed Democratic presidential candidates after supporting Richard Nixon in 1972.

    Vestiges of Ottumwa’s better days — rows of once-majestic Victorian homes — loom on bluffs overlooking the Des Moines River where barges used to haul coal to the Mississippi. Gone are the mines and dozens of manufacturing plants, replaced by a JBS — formerly Swift — non-union meatpacking plant is the county’s top employer with about 2,400 workers. John Deere’s Ottumwa plant is the city’s lone heavy manufacturer and, while still a union shop, employs about a third as many as the Swift plant.

    Making good on his trade promise and immediately giving federal agencies leeway to ignore Obama’s health care law have Wapello County Republicans feeling vindicated. It has eased concerns that Trump is too easily distracted by his image and refighting his 18-month campaign.

    Westrich was among the 1,200 Wapello voters who attended the county’s Republican presidential caucuses, twice as many as party officials had planned. She supported Trump on the hope that the brash billionaire could help revive what was once a thriving manufacturing base.

    Trump won her county in the caucuses nearly a year ago. And in November, he won Iowa, which was carried by Obama in 2008 and 2012.

    But the election is over, Westrich said.

    “He borders on being embarrassing. And I wish he’d stop,” she said. “But when it comes to doing things that mean something, he’s coming through.”

    Trump complained last week that news organizations had underreported the size of the crowd assembled on the National Mall for his inauguration. He has repeated the false claim that he lost the popular vote — despite his Electoral College win — because millions of immigrants ineligible to vote cast ballots. Trump wants an investigation.

    “I don’t like that he wanted to choose crowd-size at his inauguration as a fight to wage on his first day. That’s piddly,” said Mark Feller, an early Trump devotee from Dennison, in conservative western Iowa. “And you can’t tell me he didn’t win. C’mon.”

    Instead, Feller is happy Trump revived plans to construct the Keystone XL petroleum pipeline, which was halted under Obama.

    Even Trump’s equivocation and uncertainty about deporting children of immigrants in the country illegally is forgivable, in light of the list of other action he’s tackling, said Sandy Brus of rural Crawford County near Dennison. On Wednesday, Trump signed executive actions to speed construction of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall and cut federal grants for immigrant-protecting “sanctuary cities.”

    Brus, a retired teacher, is concerned the influx of immigrant children into Dennison, with a roughly 70 percent immigrant enrollment, is overburdening the district and underserving the students, including immigrants.

    “He’s got people around him that are encouraging him to think things through,” Brus said. “Now, they just need to take away his Twitter.”

    The post In Iowa, Trump voters cheer changes, dismiss petty fights, shake heads at focus on crowd size appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Pig embryos that had been injected with human stem cells when they were only a few days old began to grow organs containing human cells, scientists reported on Thursday. No human-pig chimeras were allowed to develop past the fetal stage, however. Photo by Simone van den Berg/via Adobe

    Pig embryos that had been injected with human stem cells when they were only a few days old began to grow organs containing human cells, scientists reported on Thursday. No human-pig chimeras were allowed to develop past the fetal stage, however. Photo by Simone van den Berg/via Adobe

    Pig embryos that had been injected with human stem cells when they were only a few days old began to grow organs containing human cells, scientists reported on Thursday, an advance that promises — or threatens — to bring closer the routine production of creatures that are part human and part something else.

    These human-pig “chimeras” were not allowed to develop past the fetal stage, but the experiment suggests such creations could eventually be used to grow fully human organs for transplant, easing the fatal shortage of organs: 120,000 people in the United States are waiting for lifesaving transplants, but every day two dozen die before they get them.

    Human-pig chimeras could also be used for research into prenatal development and to test experimental drugs. A human lung in a pig might show more accurately the effect of a compound intended to treat, say, cystic fibrosis than today’s lab animals.

    Policymakers likely have a lot of time to figure out their position. The attempts at human-pig chimeras failed more often than they succeeded.

    Scientists not involved in the chimera experiment, reported in Cell, said it answered a long-standing question. “What would happen if human stem cells were implanted in the early embryo of a large animal, not a mouse or rat?” said Dr. Sean Wu, of Stanford University, who studies congenital heart disease. “Now we have the first answer: You can get some human cells, though not a lot. It’s a tremendous accomplishment.”

    But it’s one that bioethicists have warned about for at least a dozen years, since advances in stem cell biology made it easier to produce chimeras. The creation of “intermediate forms” of life is thought by some critics to “denigrate human dignity and blur the line between what is human and what is not, especially if you believe that we were created in the image of God,” said bioethicist and legal scholar Hank Greely of Stanford.

    READ MORE: We’ve created human-pig chimeras — but we haven’t weighed the ethics

    Much of the bioethics focus has been on what would happen if an animal had enough human brain cells to think and feel like a person — but a person inside the body of a monkey, pig, rat, or mouse. That and other concerns led the National Institutes of Health to announce in 2015 that it would not fund experiments that put human pluripotent stem cells, those with the ability to morph into almost any kind of tissue or organ, into the early embryos of other animals. (It wasn’t funding such research at the time.) This is how the human-pig chimera was created, with funding largely from foundations.

    The NIH proposed lifting that moratorium last August, requiring additional oversight of chimera experiments and barring the use of human cells to create chimeras. But the proposal was not finalized before the start of the Trump administration, which this week directed federal agencies not to issue final guidelines or regulations on any topic, so the 2015 ban stands. That has no effect on experiments supported with private or state money. But a bill introduced late in the last Congress would prohibit chimera research, with penalties of up to $1 million and 10 years in prison.

    It’s anyone’s guess as to what the new administration thinks about chimeras. A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The Salk team did not report using CRISPR in the human-pig chimeras to help the pigs develop more humanlike organs. But those experiments are underway.

    Policymakers likely have a lot of time to figure out their position. The attempts at human-pig chimeras failed more often than they succeeded. And even the successes carried very few human cells. “The overall human contribution was very low, with what we estimate is less than 1 human cell per 100,000 pig cells,” and no human cells in the chimeras’ brains, biologist Jun Wu of the Salk Institute of Biological Studies, lead author of the Cell paper, said in an interview.

    But that’s likely a floor, not a ceiling. In the same paper, the scientists — working under Salk’s Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte — reported making rat-mouse chimeras, too. Injecting rat pluripotent stem cells into mouse embryos produced rat-mouse chimeras. By age 2, the mice had some rat cells in their kidney, lung, pancreas, liver, and brain. The heart had the most rat cells — 10 percent.

    The credit for that likely goes to CRISPR, the powerful new genome-editing technology. “To enrich the donor cells in the host, you need to disable the genetic program in the host embryo that gives rise to a particular organ,” Salk’s Wu said. He and his colleagues therefore used CRISPR to knock out, in fertilized mouse eggs, at least one gene crucial for the development of a particular organ, like the heart. Then, when the rat stem cells are injected, the ones fated to become heart cells had less competition and outcompeted mouse cells to form the particular organ, including the heart, eyes, and pancreas.

    READ MORE: NIH considering restarting funding for human-animal chimera research

    The Salk team did not report using CRISPR in the human-pig chimeras to help the pigs develop more humanlike organs. But those experiments are underway, Wu said.

    The same technique — injecting pluripotent stem cells into early embryos — failed with other combinations: The scientists couldn’t create rat-pig chimeras, and although they produced human-cow chimeric embryos, they did not transfer them into cows to develop into fetuses.

    And the human-pig chimeras proved much harder to create than the scientists expected, taking four years instead of the expected one. They first created “induced pluripotent stem cells” by turning back the calendar on adult cells until they were embryo-like. Wu and his team injected three to 10 of the human pluripotent stem cells into 1,506 pig embryos, each a few days old.

    After growing the embryos in dishes for a few days, the scientists transferred them to 41 surrogate mother sows — 30 to 50 embryos each. Because ethical guidelines advise against letting chimeras develop completely, the scientists gathered the 186 surviving embryos after 21 to 28 days. Pigs have a 114-day gestation period.

    Cells derived from rat pluripotent stem cells were enriched in the developing heart of a genetically modified mouse embryo using CRISPR. Photo by Cell

    Cells derived from rat pluripotent stem cells were enriched in the developing heart of a genetically modified mouse embryo using CRISPR. Photo by Cell

    That’s a low success rate. But the cloning that led to the creation of Dolly the sheepin 1996 also failed far more often than it succeeded, and now cattle, sheep, pigs, and some pets are routinely cloned. If the marriage of stem cells and CRISPR follows a similar path, it might not be long before pigs have enough Homo sapiens in them not only to grow human hearts, lungs, livers, and kidneys for transplant but also to model human diseases more closely than current lab animals do and to test experimental drugs.

    For that to happen, of course, the chimeras will need to gestate completely, be born, and grow up. Of the human-pig chimeras, those with the most human cells were the most underdeveloped; those with the fewest seemed to be developing more normally. “A lot of people are not optimistic that you can have full-term births of chimeras when the two species are so far apart evolutionarily,” said Wu.

    READ MORE: Human-animal chimeras face new ethical scrutiny

    Pigs and humans shared a common ancestor about 96 million years ago. There has been greater progress in creating chimeras from more closely related animals. On Wednesday, scientists reported in Nature that they had created mouse-rat chimeras — also starting with mouse pluripotent stem cells and fertilized rat eggs — in which the pancreases were sufficiently mouse-like that, when cells from them were transplanted into mice with diabetes, they churned out insulin and reversed the disease.

    Any human organs growing in chimeras that scientists want to transplant or just study will need to be very human. It’s not clear if using CRISPR to knock out genes involved in making the host animal’s organ will be enough. But making chimeras with human organs whose development can be studied is more likely to succeed than the technique researchers have been trying for years: coaxing stem cells growing in lab dishes to become three-dimensional, functional tissues and organs.

    “Chimeras involving human cells can provide a unique window into human development,” said Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell biologist at the University of California, Davis.

    With chimeras, added Wu, “we might have a chance to see how the human cells develop, how organs form, and how mutations can cause [such serious malformations] that there’s a miscarriage.”

    He and other scientists questioned how soon, if ever, chimeras would serve as sources for human organs, however. “Human cells are unlikely to behave entirely normally within a chimera,” said Knoepfler; cells from the host species are far more prevalent, providing the blood supply and connective tissue, for instance. “The odds are against it working any time soon,” he said, “or possibly at all.”

    And if it does work? Knoepfler said that a chimera that’s human enough to have transplantable organs could also have “too many” human cells in its brain. “How many human cells are ‘too many’ in a chimera’s brain? How many human cells are too many in a chimera overall?” he asked. “Nobody really knows.”

    Stanford’s Greely predicts that ethical concerns will abate. “In American bioethics, ‘cures’ is the trump card,” he said. “You play that angle” — such as by saying chimeras will provide transplantable organs to dying patients — “and, politically, you almost always win.”

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Jan. 26, 2017. Find the original story here.

    The post First human-pig chimeras spark hopes for transplantable organs — and debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline at the White House in Washington January 24, 2017.  Photo by Kevin Lamarque/ Reuters

    U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline at the White House in Washington January 24, 2017. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/ Reuters

    Donald Trump has signed more than a dozen executive actions since taking office on policies covering immigration, health care, abortion and trade. But what exactly do they mean? Is there a difference between an executive order and an executive action? And how does Trump compare to other presidents when it comes to the pace of these early edicts? We break it all down below:

    What is an executive order?

    An executive order is a specific type of presidential action — an official, legally binding mandate passed down from the president to federal agencies under the executive branch. Executive orders are printed in the Federal Register, and they’re numbered consecutively for the sake of keeping them straight. Essentially, an executive order gives agencies instructions on how to interpret and carry out federal law.

    Is an order different from an executive action?

    Not exactly. “Executive action” is a catch-all term that describes any action taken by a president. So technically, an executive order is one type of executive action. Other common types include presidential memorandums and proclamations, which are also used to direct the operations of the executive branch.

    What about memorandums and proclamations?

    An executive memorandum is essentially an executive order. The difference: An executive memorandum does not have an established process for how the president issues it. Memoranda do not have to be submitted to the Federal Register and are therefore harder to track. President Obama utilized executive memorandum at least 407 times, including on DACA (the immigration policy), gun control and the overtime rule. President Trump has already used this type of executive action eight times.

    READ MORE: The 12 executive actions Trump has signed so far

    Proclamations are the last form of executive actions. These are largely used for ceremonial purposes and usually don’t carry any legal effect. For example, when a former justice of the Supreme Court dies, a president might issue a proclamation, ordering American flags to be flown at half-staff.

    Are these things spelled out in the Constitution?

    Yes and no. You won’t find the term “executive order” in the Constitution. In the early days of the republic, presidents generally issued executive orders as a way to keep the public in the loop, not to direct policy.

    Instead, the so-called “power of the pen” comes from the “vesting clause” of the Constitution. That clause grants the president “executive power” — an extremely vague term that, historically, has come to mean all the complicated administrative actions associated with the day-to-day operations of the government.

    Among the most prolific with the pen: Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wrote 3,721 executive orders.

    As a result, there has always been a debate about executive power, how the founder envisioned its use, and what it means for presidents in the modern era. Constitutional experts generally agree that executive actions are legal as long as the president has authority in the policy area, and those policies are a reasonable interpretation of court precedent.

    Is Trump on pace to issue more executive orders more than past presidents?

    Every president (with the exception of William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia 32 days into his term, in 1841) has issued an executive order, according to an analysis from the National Archives and The American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Among the most prolific with the pen: Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wrote 3,721 executive orders; Woodrow Wilson, with 1,803; and Calvin Coolidge, with 1,203.

    Meanwhile, John Adams, James Madison and James Monroe issued just one during their presidencies, while John Quincy Adams only wrote three.

    More recently, Ronald Reagan issued 381 executive orders. Bill Clinton issued 364, and George W. Bush issued 291. Barack Obama issued 277 executive orders, or an average of 35 per year.

    As of Thursday, President Trump had issued 12 executive actions in under a week. At that pace, he would beat out Obama and George W. Bush, but fall far short of the records set by Roosevelt.

    Does the number of orders actually matter?

    It depends. Experts on executive power like to point that quantity isn’t everything. Some orders carry less weight, while others are far-reaching. Counting them is important, but ultimately the proof is in the pudding. A few major executive orders can outweigh dozens of smaller ones.

    Rachel Wellford contributed to this report.

    Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that President Obama signed an average of 35 executive orders per month. It was an average of 35 orders per year.

    The post Your cheat sheet for executive orders, memorandums and proclamations appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    After being introduced by his wife, Karen, Vice President Mike Pence told the crowd Friday at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. that “life is winning in America,” in large part because of President Donald Trump.

    Pence, the first sitting vice president to address the 44-year-old march, said Trump was committed to ending taxpayer dollars that go toward abortions.

    Speaking to a crowd gathered near the Washington Monument, Pence said the nation’s founders, in the Declaration of Independence, intended “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to be for all Americans, including the unborn.

    He accused the U.S. Supreme Court, in its landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that legalized abortion, of having “turned away from these timeless ideals.”

    Next week, Pence said, Trump will announce a Supreme Court nominee who will uphold the right to life.

    Watch Pence’s remarks in the video player above. You can also follow our live coverage of the march here.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    The post WATCH: At March for Life, Vice President Mike Pence says ‘life is winning’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    White House spokesman Sean Spicer speaks to the press aboard Air Force One as US President Donald Trump returns to Washington,  from Philadelphia on January 26, 2017.  Photo by Nichoals Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

    White House spokesman Sean Spicer speaks to the press aboard Air Force One as US President Donald Trump returns to Washington, from Philadelphia on January 26, 2017. Photo by Nichoals Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — A meeting with lawmakers vanished from the White House schedule. A ceremonial executive order signing was abruptly canceled. A statement about how a signature campaign promise will be paid for was walked back.

    The first days of any new president’s term are disorderly, as a sprawling government bureaucracy and overwhelming global responsibilities are suddenly thrust upon an administration that is trying to hit the ground running and sometimes just to get the phones working.

    By any measure, Thursday was a chaotic day in President Donald Trump’s White House.

    The confusion began early, when the president left the White House nearly an hour late for his first trip away from Washington, a quick jaunt to Philadelphia to speak to a Republican congressional retreat.

    While airborne, White House aides confirmed that a meeting between Trump and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and Texas Rep. Kevin Brady that was scheduled for the president’s return had been postponed until next week — and that Hatch, unbeknownst to the press, had actually met with Trump the night before.

    On the return flight to Washington, White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced to reporters on the plane that the administration was working with Congress to impose a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for the southern border wall that Trump had made the centerpiece of his campaign.

    An environment of chaos is not new for Trump, who at times seems to thrive on disorder. “By doing that, we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone,” Spicer said. “This is something that we’ve been in close contact with both houses in moving forward and creating a plan.”

    The surprise announcement, meant to fulfill Trump’s declaration that Mexico would pay for the wall, led to breaking news alerts lighting up phones across Washington.

    But less than an hour later, reporters in the White House press room were hurriedly escorted to Spicer’s office. He walked back his earlier comments, explaining that the tax on Mexican imports “was just one option” and that no final decision had been made.

    Spicer also announced that an executive order signing — traditionally a staid, painstakingly planned affair, complete with briefing papers and detailed memos — that was scheduled for the Oval Office just minutes later was being postponed because Trump had arrived back at the White House too late in the day.

    Spicer said the administration was still sorting out the “sequencing” of upcoming orders and that Trump was still making suggestions.

    “As you probably can tell, he’s very hands-on when it comes to these executive orders,” the press secretary said.

    And the order itself, which would commission an investigation into unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud, stemmed not from a campaign promise, but rather Trump’s public musings on the subject in recent days.

    There was at least one fresh sign that Friday, too, might be getting get off to a rocky start. Trump is slated to host the prime minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, but the official White House schedule misspelled her name as “Teresa.” Three times.

    An environment of chaos is not new for Trump, who at times seems to thrive on disorder.

    He sowed chaos in the campaign, pitting factions of his aides against each other, and he frequently changed his mind on issues based on his most recent conversations. His aides often woke up surprised to Trump’s early morning, out-of-nowhere pronouncements via Twitter. The candidate himself frequently made outlandish proclamations — like his insistence that President Barack Obama was the literal “founder” of the Islamic State group or his invitation for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails — only to moderate them in the following days.

    But the Trump administration is far from the first to experience some early growing pains.

    It took more than a day for staffers in President George W. Bush’s press office to be able to get all their phones and computers to work in 2001.

    And the very first moments of Obama’s term in 2009 were muddled when Chief Justice John Roberts bungled the oath of office, forcing a do-over the next day at the White House. Staffers had to rely on reporters to guide them to the Diplomatic Room for the ceremony.

    The post First days in Trump’s White House described as chaotic appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President Barack Obama his wife Michelle and their daughter Melia acknowledge the crowd after President Obama delivered a farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/John Gress - RTX2YEQ0

    U.S. President Barack Obama his wife Michelle and their daughter Melia acknowledge the crowd after President Obama delivered a farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago on January 10, 2017. REUTERS/John Gress

    CHICAGO — President Donald Trump incorrectly claimed in a television interview that two people were shot and killed in Chicago during then-President Barack Obama’s farewell speech.

    Trump referenced Obama’s speech in an interview Wednesday with ABC News and said, “Two people were shot and killed during his speech.”

    According to a transcript, he added “They weren’t shot at the speech. But they were shot in the city of Chicago during his speech.”

    Chicago police records show no one was fatally shot in the city on Jan. 10, the day of Obama’s speech. There were five shootings, but none occurred while Obama was speaking.

    Trump has criticized Chicago for its soaring violence, saying on Twitter this week that he would “send in the feds” if the city can’t “fix the horrible ‘carnage.'”

    The post FACT CHECK: Trump wrong that 2 killed in Chicago during Obama’s farewell speech appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday pledged America’s “lasting support” to the U.S.’ historic “special relationship” with Britain after he emerged from his first meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, leader of an ally who seeks to nudge the populist president toward the political mainstream.

    May, who said the meeting gave the two a chance to build a relationship, announced that Trump had accepted an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II for a state visit later this year with his wife, first lady Melania Trump.

    Trump sought to charm May, noting during his first news conference as president that, “by the way, my mother was born in Scotland.”

    “I am honored to have the prime minister here for our first official visit from a foreign leader,” Trump said, standing alongside May in the ornate White House East Room. “This is our first visit so, great honor.”

    He added that the United States and the United Kingdom have “one of the great bonds.”

    “We pledge our lasting support to this most special relationship,” Trump said during brief opening remarks. “Together, America and the United Kingdom are a beacon for prosperity and the rule of law.”

    May thanked Trump for inviting her to visit so soon after his inauguration last Friday and said their meeting was an indication of the strength and the importance of maintaining good relations between the trans-Atlantic allies. She said there was “much on which we agree.”

    “Today’s talks, I think, are a significant moment for President Trump and I to build our relationship,” May said.

    The Trump-May meeting came a day after Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto called off his own trip to Washington next week amid wrangling over who will pay for Trump’s planned wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Trump’s spokesman said the president would seek a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for the barrier, then later clarified that such a tax would be a possible approach.

    May’s meeting with the president is being hailed by the British government as a sign that the trans-Atlantic “special relationship” is valued by the new administration.

    Before answering questions from a few journalists, Trump welcomed May to the Oval Office where he promptly showed off a bust of Winston Churchill, one of her predecessors.

    “It’s a great honor to have Winston Churchill back,” Trump said. The bust had been moved from the Oval Office to another part of the White House when Barack Obama held the office.

    May’s visit, so soon after Trump’s inauguration, has been criticized by her political opponents, and risks being overshadowed by the flood of announcements, plans and proposals coming out of the White House. On Thursday, May was repeatedly asked about Britain’s stance on torture — the U.K. has condemned it — after Trump said he thinks torturing terrorism suspects works.

    Trump is something of a mystery to world leaders, many of whom expected Democrat Hillary Clinton to win the election. They also don’t know his administration’s main interlocutors with foreign governments, including son-in-law Jared Kushner and senior adviser Steve Bannon, a conservative media executive.

    So May is a bit of a scouting party — or guinea pig — among global politicians.

    She has strong reasons for wanting the relationship to work. Britain is set to leave the European Union and its 500 million-person single market. A trade deal with the U.S., Britain’s biggest export market, is a major prize.

    Trump has drawn parallels between Britain’s choice to leave the EU and his own success, using the Brexit vote to bolster his derision of the 28-nation bloc and his preference for striking bilateral agreements.

    That puts May in an awkward spot. She wants a good relationship with Trump, but does not share his disdain for the EU, saying it’s in Britain’s interests that it succeed.

    Trump and May both addressed a Republican retreat Thursday in Philadelphia, though their visits did not overlap. During his remarks to lawmakers, Trump bemoaned the fact that Wilbur Ross, his nominee to be commerce secretary, would not be confirmed in time for a visit that was expected to focus heavily on trade.

    May’s speech alternated between saluting Trump’s vision for what she called American “renewal” and reminding him, and his Republican colleagues, of the United States’ global responsibilities.

    Watch Trump and May speak in the player above. PBS Newshour will update their story after their remarks.

    Jill Lawless and Julie Pace wrote this report.

    The post WATCH: President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May to speak from the White House appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    (L-R) U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan greet one another on stage during the 2017 "Congress of Tomorrow" Joint Republican Issues Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela - RTSXJ2C

    Rank-and-file Republicans said they are coalescing around a strategy that would not have a single replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Instead they foresee a combination of changes. Photo by REUTERS/Mark Makela

    PHILADELPHIA — Republicans from the House, Senate and White House gathered in Philadelphia this week searching, among other things, for some agreement on how exactly to “repeal and replace” the federal health law. By the end of the second day of the three-day retreat, however, it was clear they were not yet singing from the same hymnbook.

    House and Senate Republican leaders did seem to settle on a timing strategy for overhauling the Democrats’ health care law that could take them through the summer, even if they were light on specifics.

    READ MORE: How Trump’s executive order impacts future of the Affordable Care Act

    “We don’t want to set arbitrary deadlines on things,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. “We want to move quickly, but we want to get things right.”

    Rank-and-file Republicans said they are coalescing around a strategy that would not have a single replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Instead they foresee a combination of changes they can make to the law through a budget bill that only requires 51 votes in the Senate, regulatory action and executive orders by the Trump administration, and individual bills addressing smaller aspects of the health system that will follow later.

    “If you’re waiting for another 2,700-page bill to emerge, you’re going to have to wait until the sun doesn’t come up, because that’s not how we’re going to do it.”

    “If you’re waiting for another 2,700-page bill to emerge, you’re going to have to wait until the sun doesn’t come up, because that’s not how we’re going to do it,” Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who is the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told reporters, referring to the length of the Affordable Care Act. “There’s no single fix. There’s no single plan.”

    Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., earlier also described the idea of separate “buckets” consisting of fast-track budget legislation, administrative action by Trump officials and more traditional legislation. “We’re looking forward to being very busy until August,” she said.

    Some of the individual bills Blackburn mentioned are those Republicans have pursued for years, such as allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines and capping some damages in medical malpractice suits in an effort to deter doctors from practicing “defensive medicine” to avoid being sued. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., whom Trump has nominated to run the Department of Health and Human Services, has been a leading advocate of some of these GOP proposals.

    READ MORE: Republican states look to tweak Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, not eliminate it

    According to the budget resolution passed by both chambers earlier this month, House and Senate committees were supposed to finish work on their partial-repeal bills by Jan. 27. That will not happen, as none of the committees in question has even begun work yet.

    And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he was pleased that the House has recognized that the Senate will move more slowly due to its other obligations to vet and vote on President Donald Trump’s nominees for the cabinet and other posts.

    “What the speaker has done, which I entirely concur with and the administration is on board with, is to lay out a game plan through the August recess of what we want to try and accomplish,” McConnell told reporters.

    While the members of Congress insisted that they were on the same page as Trump, that was not clear from the speeches delivered by the president and Vice President Mike Pence Thursday.

    But while the members of Congress insisted that they were on the same page as Trump, that was not clear from the speeches delivered by the president and Vice President Mike Pence Thursday.

    For his part, the president stuck to his desire for legislation sooner rather than later. “We have to take care of the American people immediately, so we can’t wait,” he told the group.

    Pence reiterated the idea that overhauling and replacing the law needs to be done at the same time. “President Trump has made it very clear: We need to end this law’s burden on hard-working families and business, and simultaneously replace it with a better plan, based on free-market principles and choice,” he said, according to the pool report of the speech, which was not open to the media and not broadcast.

    And it remains unclear if the Trump administration will submit its own plan or let Congress work its will. “I’ll leave that up to them to announce,” Walden said.

    Meanwhile, in a light rain, a group of several thousand protesters marched to within a block of the hotel in the center of the city where the Republicans were meeting, chanting “Philly hates Trump,” and “Facts are facts and lies are lies.”

    Demonstrators hold signs in support of the Affordable Care Act at a gathering before the start of a protest march near the hotel where House and Senate Republicans are attending a retreat, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Tom Mihalek - RTSXJ6Z

    Demonstrators hold signs in support of the Affordable Care Act near the hotel where House and Senate Republicans are attending a retreat in Philadelphia. Photo by REUTERS/Tom Mihalek

    Among the marchers were patients who have benefitted from the health law and don’t want to see it disbanded.

    “‘If they take away the ‘You can’t be turned down for having a pre-existing condition,’ I will probably not be able to get health insurance,” said Nancy Lowell, 58, a food service manager from Philadelphia who was diagnosed with cancer last year.

    Lowell, who said her cancer was treated with surgery, fears losing her insurance because “I still have to get a high resolution MRI annually, and without insurance that costs over $11,000. Just that one test.”

    And 31-year-old Andrea Tsurumi, a freelance illustrator also from Philadelphia, said she “doesn’t know” what she will do if the law no longer offers her affordable coverage.

    She said the availability of the insurance without employer-provided coverage enabled her to become an illustrator in the first place. “I’m terrified I’m going to have to give up my profession and find some sort of job to provide health care for my family,” she said.

    The post At GOP retreat, still searching for ‘repeal and replace’ consensus appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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