Archive For The “News” Category

Plane Skids Off Runway In Turkey Onto Cliff Edge, No Injuries Reported

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Plane Skids Off Runway In Turkey Onto Cliff Edge, No Injuries Reported

A Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 passenger plane is seen stuck in mud on an embankment, a day after skidding off the airstrip, after landing at Trabzon’s airport on the Black Sea coast on Jan. 14.

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Chaos and panic broke out aboard a Turkish plane that skidded off the runway, slid down the edge of a cliff and stopped just short of plunging into the Black Sea.

But despite the terrifying landing Saturday night, everyone on board, including 162 passengers and crew, safely evacuated the Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 flying from Ankara to the coastal Turkish airport in Trabzon.

[embedded content]
HaaretzYouTube

Footage taken inside the plane moments after the accident appears to show panicked passengers trying to get out, while crew members offer instructions. A baby can be heard wailing in the background.

[embedded content]
Les Photos de JCB TV & Aviation VideosYouTube

The BBC says passenger Fatma Gordu described a chaotic scene.

“We tilted to the side, the front was down while the plane’s rear was up. There was panic; people shouting, screaming,” Gordu said.

In a statement, Pegasus Airlines explained the plane “had a runway excursion incident” as it landed, without delving into what caused the aircraft to careen off the tarmac and end up, clinging nose first down the cliff.

The Independentreports the only thing that prevented the Boeing 737-800 from plummeting into the water was that its wheels got stuck in the mud.

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Plane Skids Off Runway In Turkey Onto Cliff Edge, No Injuries Reported

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Plane Skids Off Runway In Turkey Onto Cliff Edge, No Injuries Reported

A Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 passenger plane is seen stuck in mud on an embankment, a day after skidding off the airstrip, after landing at Trabzon’s airport on the Black Sea coast on Jan. 14.

STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Chaos and panic broke out aboard a Turkish plane that skidded off the runway, slid down the edge of a cliff and stopped just short of plunging into the Black Sea.

But despite the terrifying landing Saturday night, everyone on board, including 162 passengers and crew, safely evacuated the Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 flying from Ankara to the coastal Turkish airport in Trabzon.

[embedded content]
HaaretzYouTube

Footage taken inside the plane moments after the accident appears to show panicked passengers trying to get out, while crew members offer instructions. A baby can be heard wailing in the background.

[embedded content]
Les Photos de JCB TV & Aviation VideosYouTube

The BBC says passenger Fatma Gordu described a chaotic scene.

“We tilted to the side, the front was down while the plane’s rear was up. There was panic; people shouting, screaming,” Gordu said.

In a statement, Pegasus Airlines explained the plane “had a runway excursion incident” as it landed, without delving into what caused the aircraft to careen off the tarmac and end up, clinging nose first down the cliff.

The Independentreports the only thing that prevented the Boeing 737-800 from plummeting into the water was that its wheels got stuck in the mud.

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Former U.S. Sen. John Tunney, Inspiration For Redford's 'The Candidate,' Dies At 83

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Former U.S. Sen. John Tunney, Inspiration For Redford's 'The Candidate,' Dies At 83

Former Democratic Sen. John Tunney greets supporters at a 1976 Jimmy Carter campaign stop in Pomona, Calif. Tunney died Friday, at age 83.

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John Tunney, the former U.S. senator who looked briefly like the future of the Democratic Party and whose rise inspired the Robert Redford film, The Candidate, has died, his brother confirmed to NPR on Saturday.

Tunney was 83 when he died of prostate cancer Friday in Santa Monica, Calif.

The son of a former boxing heavyweight champion, Tunney became one of the youngest senators elected in the past century when he defeated Republican incumbent George Murphy in 1970 at age 36.

The young Democrat had to “quiet some of his idealism” and move toward the center to beat Murphy, according to the AP.

A poster for Michael Ritchie's 1972 satirical comedy-drama, 'The Candidate', starring Robert Redford.

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Just two years after that victory, The Candidate was released to critical and commercial success. Director Michael Ritchie had worked on Tunney’s campaign, and Robert Redford’s “Bill McCay” was based on the fast-rising senator.

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Tunney drew comparison to the Kennedy brothers, and found himself more popular than even then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1974, according to The New York Times.

But a Republican wave was bubbling. And within two years, he was faced with that issue, along with the fact that many liberal Democrats were frustrated with him for being too slow to turn against the Vietnam War.

“Conservativism came sweeping in like a mudslide,” the senator’s brother, Jay Tunney, told NPR.

Tunney lost his re-election bid in 1976 to Republican S.I. Hayakawa, the 70-year-old president of California State University.

Tunney had graduated from Yale Law School prior to entering politics, and he returned to practicing law after the defeat.

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A New Approach To Refugees: Pay Them To Go Home

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A New Approach To Refugees: Pay Them To Go Home

For refugees in Austria who choose to voluntarily go back to their countries of origin, a one-way trip to the Vienna International Airport marks the end of their journey in Europe.

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Hans Punz/AP

Our series, “Take A Number,” is exploring problems around the world — and the people who are trying to solve them — through the lens of a single number.

158,000. That’s roughly how many refugees are stuck in limbo in Europe right now.

Many of them got to Europe in late 2015, when the refugee crisis reached its peak, and have been waiting since then to see if they’ll be formally accepted into the European Union. To cut down on the wait time and economic impact of this massive influx, some countries and nonprofits in Europe have embraced a new idea — pay refugees to go back to the countries they left in the first place.

Mahmoud Abdelwahab is one of the people who has been waiting. He’s 25, and originally from Mosul, Iraq. In early 2016, he quit his job as a cook and came to Europe, ending up in Vienna.

“He saw people dying on the trip, like capsizing or falling from the boat into the sea,” Philipp Epaid says. Epaid is Abdelwahab’s counselor at Caritas, the nonprofit that provides refugee services to people in Austria who are returning home.

Abdelwahab filled out his application to stay in Austria almost two years ago. Since then, nothing.

All he could do — legally — was wait in a refugee camp. This is a big problem a lot of people waiting for asylum have: They aren’t allowed to get a job, which means Mahmoud couldn’t send money back to his family.

“He wants to work. He wants to learn the language, and if you have no chance to do this, you’re stuck and you get tired,” Epaid says.

Abdelwahab says he spent two years all alone, feeling like a failure. And that the odds of getting asylum are stacked against him.

He’s not wrong — the Austrian courts have been overwhelmed by applications. When the migrant crisis reached its peak back in 2015, the number of people wanting to stay in Austria tripled.

Instead of waiting longer, Mahmoud late last year made a tough decision. He decided to leave Austria and go back to Iraq.

“He saw other Iraqi people receiving the negative decision that they have to go back,” Epaid says. “And that’s why he decided for himself to back, before he got a negative.”

That decision — to voluntarily leave the country — is exactly what the Austrian government wants refugees to do. Last spring, Austria announced that it would give 1,000 euros to the first 1,000 refugees who signed up to leave on their own.

The program was successful, and the government extended the offer to more refugees. It’s an incentive that’s gaining traction across Europe.

“Either they choose the voluntary option or we have to discuss the forced option,” says Karl-Heinz Groendbock, the spokesman for the Austrian Interior Ministry. That’s the department that’s funding the voluntary program. “Whenever it comes to forced return, we’re talking about arresting people. It means we also have detention centers for people waiting for forced return.”

Groendbock says it’s a lot cheaper to give someone a one-way flight and 1,000 euros than using the country’s resources to deport them. And, he adds, when there are more applications, there will be more rejections. So, the government has wanted to encourage more refugees to return home — a decision thousands of refugees made in 2017.

But is paying them really in the best interest of refugees? Philipp Epaid, Abdelwahab’s counselor, is not sure. He says it’s really important that a refugee makes a life-changing decision like this one on his own.

But this program is exactly why Mahmoud Abdelwahab chose to return home to Iraq — voluntarily.

On a warm Thursday in October, he took a bus to the Vienna airport, ready to board a flight to Baghdad.

He’s taking the buyout, he says, to go home and use the money to buy a car and become a cab driver.

“Two years … [I] was here for nothing,” Mahmoud says as Epaid translates. “It didn’t make any sense to come here.”

NPR has reached out to Abdelwahab, but hasn’t heard from him since he flew home to Iraq.

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President Trump's Idea Of Good And Bad Immigrant Countries Has A Historical Precedent

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President Trump's Idea Of Good And Bad Immigrant Countries Has A Historical Precedent

United States Circa 1900: Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, New York.

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In a White House meeting with members of Congress this week, President Trump is said to have suggested that the United States accepts too many immigrants from “shithole countries” in Africa and too few from countries like Norway.

Those comments, relayed to NPR by people in attendance at the meeting, set off an immediate firestorm, in part because Trump appeared to be favoring the revival of a discriminatory immigration policy abolished by the U.S. Congress more than 50 years ago.

From 1924 to 1965, the United States allocated immigrant visas on the basis of a candidate’s national origin. People coming from northern and western European countries were heavily favored over those from the countries Trump now derides. More than 50,000 immigrant visas were reserved for Germany each year. The United Kingdom had the next biggest share, with about 34,000.

Ireland, with 28,000 slots, and Norway, with 6,400, had the highest quotas as a share of their population. Each country in Asia, meanwhile, had a quota of just 100, while Africans wishing to move to America had to compete for one of just 1,200 visas set aside for the continent as a whole.

The blatantly discriminatory quota policy was enacted on the basis of recommendations from a congressional commission set up in 1907 to determine who precisely was coming to the United States, from which countries, and what capacities they were bringing with them. Under the leadership of Republican Sen. William Dillingham of Vermont, the commission prepared a 42-volume report distinguishing desirable ethnicities from those the commission considered less desirable.

“Dictionary of Races or Peoples”

In a “Dictionary of Races or Peoples,” the commission reported that Slavic people demonstrated “fanaticism in religion, carelessness as to the business virtues of punctuality and often honesty.” Southern Italians were found to be “excitable, impulsive, highly imaginative” but also “impracticable.” Foreshadowing President Trump’s own assessment, the commission concluded that Scandinavians represented “the purest type.”

The main sponsor of the 1924 law enacting the national origins quotas was Rep. Albert Johnson (R-Washington), chairman of the House Committee on Immigration. Among Johnson’s immigration advisers were John Trevor, the founder of the far-right American Coalition of Patriotic Societies, and Madison Grant, an amateur eugenicist whose writings gave racism a veneer of intellectual legitimacy. In his 1916 book The Passing of the Great Race, Grant separated the human species into Caucasoids, Mongoloids, and Negroids, and argued that Caucasoids and Negroids needed to be separated.

Former U.S. President Harry Truman.

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Time Life Pictures/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The national origin quota system remained in effect for more than 40 years, despite increasing opposition from moderates and liberals. Minor adjustments were made under the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act, passed over the vigorous objections of President Harry Truman.

In a fiery veto message, Truman argued that the national origin quota policy “discriminates, deliberately and intentionally, against many peoples of the world.” After Congress dismissed his criticism and overrode his veto, Truman ordered the establishment of a presidential Commission on Immigration and Naturalization.

In its report, the commission concluded that U.S. immigration policy marginalized “the non-white people of the world who constitute between two-thirds and three-fourths of the world’s population.” The report was titled Whom We Shall Welcome, referring to a speech President George Washington delivered to a group of Irish immigrants in 1783.

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger,” Washington famously said in that speech, “but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions, whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”

That promise was broken by the enslavement of Africans brought to America in chains, but it set forth the ideal by which U.S. immigration policy was to be judged in the 1950s.

Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy both challenged the visa quota system, but it was Lyndon B. Johnson who made its elimination a top priority.

We should not be asking, ‘In what country were you born?’

“A nation that was built by the immigrants of all lands can ask those who now seek admission, ‘What can you do for our country?’ ” Johnson said in his 1964 State of the Union speech. “But we should not be asking, ‘In what country were you born?’ ” His administration proposed a reform that would put all nationalities on a roughly equal basis, with immigrant visas awarded largely on the basis of whether the candidates had skills and education considered “especially advantageous” to U.S. interests.

The idea that some countries produced better immigrants than others had support, however, and Johnson’s immigration reform proposal ran into substantial opposition. The chairman of the immigration subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Michael Feighan (D-Ohio) refused even to hold hearings on the administration’s bill in 1964 and relented the following year only after coming under heavy pressure from Johnson himself. When he did hold hearings, he made sure supporters of the quota system were given ample opportunity to argue for its continuation.

Former U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

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Among those testifying in its favor was John Trevor, Jr., whose father had played a key role in the enactment of the quota system. Trevor argued that the quota system ensured that newcomers would “mirror” the existing U.S. population, ensuring social stability.

Other arguments previewed the rhetoric of Trump campaign rallies more than 50 years later. The president general of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Adele Sullivan, claimed that choosing immigrants without regard to ethnicity “could result in further unemployment, overladen taxes, to say nothing of a collapse of moral and spiritual values, if nonassimilable aliens of dissimilar background and culture are permitted gradually to overwhelm our country.”

Similarly, Sen. John McClellan (D-Arkansas) asked whether opening the United States to immigrants from Africa would lead to “still more ghettos and thus more and more acts of violence and riots?”

Sen. John McClellan (D-Ark.), July 13, 1967.

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John Rous/AP

A fellow Democrat, Spessard Holland of Florida, in a speech on the Senate floor, asked, “Why, for the first time, are the emerging nations of Africa to be placed on the same basis as are our mother countries—Britain, Germany, the Scandinavian nations, France, and the other nations from which most Americans have come?” he asked.

In fact, the 1960 census showed that Americans of African slave descent outnumbered Scandinavian Americans by a margin of two-and-a-half to one. There were more African-Americans in the United States than there were Americans whose origins lay in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland combined.

Support for Johnson’s immigration reform, however, gained momentum after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had pushed for the abolition of national-origin quotas during the 1950s as a U.S. senator, tied the promotion of immigration reform to the civil-rights movement, then at its peak.

“We have removed all elements of second-class citizenship from our laws by the Civil Rights Act,” he said. “We must in 1965 remove all elements in our immigration law which suggest there are second-class people.”

Phenomenon of “chain migration”

With a huge Democratic majority elected the year before, the immigration reform finally passed both houses of Congress in September 1965. Conservatives, led by Ohio’s Michael Feighan, however, had insisted on a key change in the legislation, giving immigrant candidates with relatives already in the United States priority over those with “advantageous” skills and education, as the Johnson administration had originally proposed.

That change, which eventually led to the phenomenon of “chain migration” denounced by Trump, was seen as a way to preserve the existing ethnic profile of the U.S. population and discourage the immigration of Asians and Africans, who had fewer family ties in the country.

The key reform, however, was achieved. The new law did away entirely with immigration quotas based on national origin.

“This system violated the basic principle of American democracy, the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man,” President Johnson declared as he signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. “It has been un-American in the highest sense. Today, with my signature, this system is abolished.”

For some, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 legislation, in October 2015, was an occasion for celebration. Muzaffar Chishti, an immigrant from India and a senior lawyer at the Migration Policy Institute, observed at the time that the law sent a message to the rest of the world that, “America is not just a place for certain privileged nationalities. We are truly the first universal nation,” he said. “That may have been the promise of the founding fathers, but it took a long time to realize it.”

In the years since 1965, America has become a truly multicultural nation. With a U.S. president once again saying that immigrants from some countries are superior to immigrants from other countries, the question is whether America will keep its founders’ promise in the years ahead.

Tom Gjelten’s book on how the 1965 Immigration Act changed the United States is A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story.

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President Trump's Idea Of Good And Bad Immigrant Countries Has A Historical Precedent

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President Trump's Idea Of Good And Bad Immigrant Countries Has A Historical Precedent

United States Circa 1900: Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, New York.

Buyenlarge/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Buyenlarge/Getty Images

In a White House meeting with members of Congress this week, President Trump is said to have suggested that the United States accepts too many immigrants from “shithole countries” in Africa and too few from countries like Norway.

Those comments, relayed to NPR by people in attendance at the meeting, set off an immediate firestorm, in part because Trump appeared to be favoring the revival of a discriminatory immigration policy abolished by the U.S. Congress more than 50 years ago.

From 1924 to 1965, the United States allocated immigrant visas on the basis of a candidate’s national origin. People coming from northern and western European countries were heavily favored over those from the countries Trump now derides. More than 50,000 immigrant visas were reserved for Germany each year. The United Kingdom had the next biggest share, with about 34,000.

Ireland, with 28,000 slots, and Norway, with 6,400, had the highest quotas as a share of their population. Each country in Asia, meanwhile, had a quota of just 100, while Africans wishing to move to America had to compete for one of just 1,200 visas set aside for the continent as a whole.

The blatantly discriminatory quota policy was enacted on the basis of recommendations from a congressional commission set up in 1907 to determine who precisely was coming to the United States, from which countries, and what capacities they were bringing with them. Under the leadership of Republican Sen. William Dillingham of Vermont, the commission prepared a 42-volume report distinguishing desirable ethnicities from those the commission considered less desirable.

“Dictionary of Races or Peoples”

In a “Dictionary of Races or Peoples,” the commission reported that Slavic people demonstrated “fanaticism in religion, carelessness as to the business virtues of punctuality and often honesty.” Southern Italians were found to be “excitable, impulsive, highly imaginative” but also “impracticable.” Foreshadowing President Trump’s own assessment, the commission concluded that Scandinavians represented “the purest type.”

The main sponsor of the 1924 law enacting the national origins quotas was Rep. Albert Johnson (R-Washington), chairman of the House Committee on Immigration. Among Johnson’s immigration advisers were John Trevor, the founder of the far-right American Coalition of Patriotic Societies, and Madison Grant, an amateur eugenicist whose writings gave racism a veneer of intellectual legitimacy. In his 1916 book The Passing of the Great Race, Grant separated the human species into Caucasoids, Mongoloids, and Negroids, and argued that Caucasoids and Negroids needed to be separated.

Former U.S. President Harry Truman.

Time Life Pictures/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Time Life Pictures/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The national origin quota system remained in effect for more than 40 years, despite increasing opposition from moderates and liberals. Minor adjustments were made under the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act, passed over the vigorous objections of President Harry Truman.

In a fiery veto message, Truman argued that the national origin quota policy “discriminates, deliberately and intentionally, against many peoples of the world.” After Congress dismissed his criticism and overrode his veto, Truman ordered the establishment of a presidential Commission on Immigration and Naturalization.

In its report, the commission concluded that U.S. immigration policy marginalized “the non-white people of the world who constitute between two-thirds and three-fourths of the world’s population.” The report was titled Whom We Shall Welcome, referring to a speech President George Washington delivered to a group of Irish immigrants in 1783.

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger,” Washington famously said in that speech, “but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions, whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”

That promise was broken by the enslavement of Africans brought to America in chains, but it set forth the ideal by which U.S. immigration policy was to be judged in the 1950s.

Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy both challenged the visa quota system, but it was Lyndon B. Johnson who made its elimination a top priority.

We should not be asking, ‘In what country were you born?’

“A nation that was built by the immigrants of all lands can ask those who now seek admission, ‘What can you do for our country?’ ” Johnson said in his 1964 State of the Union speech. “But we should not be asking, ‘In what country were you born?’ ” His administration proposed a reform that would put all nationalities on a roughly equal basis, with immigrant visas awarded largely on the basis of whether the candidates had skills and education considered “especially advantageous” to U.S. interests.

The idea that some countries produced better immigrants than others had support, however, and Johnson’s immigration reform proposal ran into substantial opposition. The chairman of the immigration subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Michael Feighan (D-Ohio) refused even to hold hearings on the administration’s bill in 1964 and relented the following year only after coming under heavy pressure from Johnson himself. When he did hold hearings, he made sure supporters of the quota system were given ample opportunity to argue for its continuation.

Former U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Keystone/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Keystone/Getty Images

Among those testifying in its favor was John Trevor, Jr., whose father had played a key role in the enactment of the quota system. Trevor argued that the quota system ensured that newcomers would “mirror” the existing U.S. population, ensuring social stability.

Other arguments previewed the rhetoric of Trump campaign rallies more than 50 years later. The president general of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Adele Sullivan, claimed that choosing immigrants without regard to ethnicity “could result in further unemployment, overladen taxes, to say nothing of a collapse of moral and spiritual values, if nonassimilable aliens of dissimilar background and culture are permitted gradually to overwhelm our country.”

Similarly, Sen. John McClellan (D-Arkansas) asked whether opening the United States to immigrants from Africa would lead to “still more ghettos and thus more and more acts of violence and riots?”

Sen. John McClellan (D-Ark.), July 13, 1967.

John Rous/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

John Rous/AP

A fellow Democrat, Spessard Holland of Florida, in a speech on the Senate floor, asked, “Why, for the first time, are the emerging nations of Africa to be placed on the same basis as are our mother countries—Britain, Germany, the Scandinavian nations, France, and the other nations from which most Americans have come?” he asked.

In fact, the 1960 census showed that Americans of African slave descent outnumbered Scandinavian Americans by a margin of two-and-a-half to one. There were more African-Americans in the United States than there were Americans whose origins lay in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland combined.

Support for Johnson’s immigration reform, however, gained momentum after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had pushed for the abolition of national-origin quotas during the 1950s as a U.S. senator, tied the promotion of immigration reform to the civil-rights movement, then at its peak.

“We have removed all elements of second-class citizenship from our laws by the Civil Rights Act,” he said. “We must in 1965 remove all elements in our immigration law which suggest there are second-class people.”

Phenomenon of “chain migration”

With a huge Democratic majority elected the year before, the immigration reform finally passed both houses of Congress in September 1965. Conservatives, led by Ohio’s Michael Feighan, however, had insisted on a key change in the legislation, giving immigrant candidates with relatives already in the United States priority over those with “advantageous” skills and education, as the Johnson administration had originally proposed.

That change, which eventually led to the phenomenon of “chain migration” denounced by Trump, was seen as a way to preserve the existing ethnic profile of the U.S. population and discourage the immigration of Asians and Africans, who had fewer family ties in the country.

The key reform, however, was achieved. The new law did away entirely with immigration quotas based on national origin.

“This system violated the basic principle of American democracy, the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man,” President Johnson declared as he signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. “It has been un-American in the highest sense. Today, with my signature, this system is abolished.”

For some, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 legislation, in October 2015, was an occasion for celebration. Muzaffar Chishti, an immigrant from India and a senior lawyer at the Migration Policy Institute, observed at the time that the law sent a message to the rest of the world that, “America is not just a place for certain privileged nationalities. We are truly the first universal nation,” he said. “That may have been the promise of the founding fathers, but it took a long time to realize it.”

In the years since 1965, America has become a truly multicultural nation. With a U.S. president once again saying that immigrants from some countries are superior to immigrants from other countries, the question is whether America will keep its founders’ promise in the years ahead.

Tom Gjelten’s book on how the 1965 Immigration Act changed the United States is A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story.

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Ohio Man Charged With Putting Spyware On Thousands of Computers

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Ohio Man Charged With Putting Spyware On Thousands of Computers

In a federal indictment, Phillip Durachinsky faces numerous charges including installing malware on thousands of computers and the production of child pornography.

Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department

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Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department

A 28-year-old man who allegedly hacked into thousands of computers to watch and listen to users has been indicted in Ohio. Federal prosecutors say Phillip Durachinsky created malware that enabled him to remotely access and turn on the cameras and microphones of computers.

Durcachinsky was indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Prosecutors say he has been hacking into computers for over 13 years. A source close to the case, who spoke on background, says Durachinsky was working from the basement of his parents’ house.

Prosecutors did not say how Durachinsky got into the computers. But security researcher Patrick Wardle says people may have unwittingly opened an infected computer or file from a website. Wardle says once the malware gets on the computer “it has the ability to listen to people’s conversations, turn on the webcam, take screen captures, record keystrokes. It’s almost a complete surveillance device.”

The malware was named Fruitfly because it was initially found on computers in medical labs where researchers were studying fruit flies. It was first detected on computers at Case Western Reserve University, which reported it to the FBI last year.

Wardle also discovered it around the same time. His research led him to computers in people’s homes. Many were in Ohio, but they were also as far away as California. Wardle says the hacker had access to a 24/7 surveillance device.

“He could detect when the user is not sitting in front of their computer,” Wardle says. “Then (he could) turn the webcam on to hopefully record or spy on the user perhaps as they’re walking around their bedroom or something in that capacity.”

Prosecutors would not speak with NPR because the case is ongoing. But among the charges in the 16-count indictment is the production of child pornography. The indictment indicates that Durachinsky used the computers to store pornographic images and to transmit them over the Internet. The computers helped to power his operation and spread the malware to computers in schools, companies, a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Energy, and a police department.

It also appears that he programmed the malware to alert him if a user was watching pornography.

An attorney representing Durcachinsky could not be reached for comment.

Thomas Reed, with Malwarebytes, an anti-virus software maker, also discovered Fruitfly independently. He says the code was old — going back to the 1990s. “We were surprised to see that it had been undetected for so long and that we found it still active on somebody’s computer,” Reed says.

Fruitfly was found in both PCs and Macs. Many cybersecurity researchers were surprised it was on so many Macs. There are far more PCs in the world, so most hackers don’t bother with Apple computers. But, Reed says, “as much as people like to say that Macs don’t get viruses, there actually is malware out there for Macs.”

Reed, whose company makes antivirus software for Macs, claims there was a 270 percent increase last year in new strains of malware for Macs.

There is also a reason Reed thinks the virus went undetected for so long. It was only targeted at thousands of computers — a relatively small number in the world of malware where millions of PCs can be targeted.

“If stuff like this is used in a very targeted manner so it’s only being used to affect a small number of people, it can be really hard for security researchers to find it,” Reed says. “We may never know about it for years.”

That means there may be other spyware out there similar to Fruitfly that hasn’t been found, he says. However, the FBI says it has not seen a lot of spyware cases like this.

The best protections against spyware are rather analog. One way is to cover the camera on your computer. That’s what the Pope, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former FBI Director James Comey do.

Reed advises everyone to do the same and to turn off their computer when they’re not at it. And use the latest antivirus software.

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Trump Wishes We Had More Immigrants From Norway. Turns Out We Once Did

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Trump Wishes We Had More Immigrants From Norway. Turns Out We Once Did

Norwegian immigrants on their way to America on the SS Hero in 1870.

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In the Thursday meeting in which President Trump complained about “having all these people from shithole countries come here” — and singled out Haiti, El Salvador and Africa as examples — he also added that, “we should have more people from Norway.”

In fact there was a time when we did.

From 1870 to 1910 a quarter of Norway’s working-age population emigrated, mostly to the United States. You read that right — one-fourth of its workers left the country.

Back then Norway was quite poor. Wages were less than a third of what they were in the United States. And the wave of emigration out of the country quickly benefited those who remained. That’s because it reduced the supply of workers in Norway, so those left behind could demand higher wages. And this helped narrow Norway’s wage gap with the U.S. by 25 percent over that same 40-year period, putting Norway on the path toward its status today as one of world’s most prosperous nations.

Those are the findings of a paper published in European Review of Economic History back in 1997 by two economists. It’s considered a seminal work because the authors — Alan Taylor of the University of California Davis and Jeffrey Williamson — then of Harvard University, now professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Madison — combed through paper archives to piece together the first truly comprehensive picture of wage differentials across European countries and the United States during that time.

“They were the pioneers really — the first to do that,” says Michael Clemens, an economist at the Center for Global Development, a D.C. thinktank, who specializes on the role of migration in reducing poverty.

Then in 2008 a wealth of new data became available about Norway that added yet another twist to the picture: It turns out that the immigrants that Norway sent to the U.S. during that great migration wave of the 1870s were its poorest and least educated citizens. Researchers were able to determine this thanks to newly digitized census data from Norway. (Other European countries have embarked on similar efforts but Norway, with only around 2 million residents in its early census data, finished the task first. That has made Norway the go-to nation for researchers of historical economics.)

Leah Boustan, an economist at Princeton University, and several collaborators have done some of the most ground-breaking work of this kind.

“We created direct name matches between people who appear in the 1865 Norway census as children,” Boustan explains, “and then we looked at the 1900 census in Norway and the 1900 census in the United States. If we found you in the 1900 U.S. census we knew you had migrated.”

From this information they determined that those who left Norway came from “some of the lowest skilled families. They are coming from either rural areas or they are [the product of fathers holding] lower skilled laborer positions in cities,” she says.

And on arrival in the United States these Norwegian immigrants remained at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Compared to immigrants from the 15 other European nations that contributed to this great wave of arrivals, “the Norwegians held the lowest paid occupations in the U.S.,” says Boustan.

“They tended to be farm laborers. They were also fishermen. If they were in cities they were just sort of in the manual labor category — what today you would think of as a day laborer.”

“So when you look at the people leaving Norway you do pick up quite a bit of evidence of the poor, huddled masses,” she says, referring to the famous Emma Lazarus poem at the foot of the Statue of Liberty.

And although their descendants would eventually catch up to the rest of the U.S. population, it took a while. Twenty years after their arrival in the United States, the Norwegian immigrants were still making 14 percent less than native-born workers.

In other words, they shared a lot in common with many of today’s immigrants from … El Salvador, Haiti and Africa.

Editor’s note: NPR has decided in this case to spell out the vulgar word that the president reportedly used because it meets our standard for use of offensive language: It is “absolutely integral to the meaning and spirit of the story being told.”

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Why This List of Global Poverty Thinkers Is Being Called A 'Sausagefest'

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Why This List of Global Poverty Thinkers Is Being Called A 'Sausagefest'
Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Natalie Portman is so done with male bias in Hollywood. On Sunday, before reading out the top picks for best director at the Golden Globes, she said: “Here are the all-male nominees.”

She’s not the only one who’s over industry sexism.

On Wednesday, members of the international development community expressed outrage after a prominent blogger published a list of 11 top thinkers in the field. Seven were white men. So is the blogger, Duncan Green, and the person who curated the list, the economist Stefan Dercon.

#Sausagefest,” tweeted Alice Evans, a lecturer in international development at King’s College London, in response.

No one’s saying that the people on the list don’t deserve to be there. They include leading economists like Jeff Sachs, author of The End Of Poverty: How We Can Make It Happen In Our Lifetime, and William Easterly, author of The White Man’s Burden: Why The West’s Efforts To Aid The Rest Have Done So Much Ill And So Little Good.

But readers were furious that the list had glaringly fewwomen — especially from countries in the developing world. To be fair, Green did include a line in the bottom of his blog that said as much. But the damage was done. In the corner of Twitter that focuses on development, the conversation had gone viral.

So Green invited Evans to pen a response, which she called “The Perils Of Male Bias” He published it on his blog, From Poverty To Power, on Thursday. “People like me should do better at exerting a countervailing narrative,” he says.

In her piece, Evans wrote that by venerating men as knowledgeable authorities, we “blinker ourselves to alternative perspectives.” In a field as complex as international development — the study and research of how to lift millions of people out of poverty — tuning out women is “self-defeating,” she writes.

Her piece name-checks dozens of women who have made great strides in research to improve the lives of the poor and marginalized. There’s Lila Abu-Lughod, a Palestinian-American academic who uses her research to fight the stereotype that Muslim women are victims. There’s Ching Kwan Lee, the Hong Kong-born sociologist who exposed the poverty of the Chinese working class. And there’s Bina Agarwal, the prize-winning Indian economist who inspired a 2005 law that gives all Hindu women equal rights with men in the ownership and inheritance of land and property.

Across social media, men and women piled on their own recommendations:

I agree that’s indefensible for panels, esp in Dev Econ w/ many prolific tenured women scholars. Off the top of my head: Esther, Pascaline Dupas, Seema, Oriana Bandiera, Nava Ashraf, Eliana La Ferrara, Rohini Pande, Rema Hanna, Tavneet, Emily Oster, Nancy Qian, Siwan Andersen.

— Abhijeet Singh (@singhabhi) January 11, 2018

Some other ideas: Anne Krueger in the Washington Consensus section, Irma Adelman on everything, Elisabeth Sadoulet on just about anything related to agricultural life.

— Yaniv Stopnitzky (@YanivSt) January 11, 2018

How about some other women, as well as Esther Duflo, Rachel Glennerster and Dambisa Moyo (Moyo: really?), such as:

Nancy Birdsall
Frances Stewart
Ros Eyben
Ruth Levine
Inge Kaul
Gro Harlem Bruntland
Mary Robinson
Ngaire Woods

— Owen Barder (@owenbarder) January 10, 2018

Vijaya Ramachandran, a senior fellow who specializes in aid, corruption and governance at the Center for Global Development, has been working in development for decades. “The male bias issue is not new,” she says. “The profession is very male-dominated.”

In the U.S., women head only about 14 percent of the global charities and aid groups with the largest budgets; in the U.K., 27 percent; and in Kenya and South Africa, 15 to 20 percent, according to a 2013 study. And in the field of economics, according to the American Economics Association, only 1 in 5 tenure-track economics professors is a woman.

But Ramachandran says she has seen a growing interest in discussing gender imbalance in the workplace over the past few months, notably in the broader field of economics — the foundational work of many in global development.

She cites a senior thesis by Alice H. Wu, a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, about the hostilities that women face in the field of economics. Published in August, it cracked open conversations in universities and research institutions. In response, the American Economics Association last week announced it would draft a code of conduct to end the bias faced by female economists.

Ramachandran hopes to see these types of advances in gender equality for the economists, researchers, academics and analysts who work in global development, too.

For both Evans and Ramachandran, change starts with men asking themselves some hard questions. It irked Evans and other critics, for example, that Green — who in addition to blogging, is the strategic adviser for the U.K. global charity Oxfam — asked her to write the response blog.

“She really shouldn’t have to,” tweeted Aria Grabowski, a policy adviser at Oxfam America. “Before this blog went up, it should have been flagged for the lack of women. [Green] and [Dercon] should have done better the first time to include women … #Disappointed.”

Evans agrees. “The onus should not be on me to mop up their mess — asking women to sort out their problems,” she says. “The problem was men being uncritical.”

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Why This List of Global Poverty Thinkers Is Being Called A 'Sausagefest'

By |

Why This List of Global Poverty Thinkers Is Being Called A 'Sausagefest'
Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Natalie Portman is so done with male bias in Hollywood. On Sunday, before reading out the top picks for best director at the Golden Globes, she said: “Here are the all-male nominees.”

She’s not the only one who’s over industry sexism.

On Wednesday, members of the international development community expressed outrage after a prominent blogger published a list of 11 top thinkers in the field. Seven were white men. So is the blogger, Duncan Green, and the person who curated the list, the economist Stefan Dercon.

#Sausagefest,” tweeted Alice Evans, a lecturer in international development at King’s College London, in response.

No one’s saying that the people on the list don’t deserve to be there. They include leading economists like Jeff Sachs, author of The End Of Poverty: How We Can Make It Happen In Our Lifetime, and William Easterly, author of The White Man’s Burden: Why The West’s Efforts To Aid The Rest Have Done So Much Ill And So Little Good.

But readers were furious that the list had glaringly fewwomen — especially from countries in the developing world. To be fair, Green did include a line in the bottom of his blog that said as much. But the damage was done. In the corner of Twitter that focuses on development, the conversation had gone viral.

So Green invited Evans to pen a response, which she called “The Perils Of Male Bias” He published it on his blog, From Poverty To Power, on Thursday. “People like me should do better at exerting a countervailing narrative,” he says.

In her piece, Evans wrote that by venerating men as knowledgeable authorities, we “blinker ourselves to alternative perspectives.” In a field as complex as international development — the study and research of how to lift millions of people out of poverty — tuning out women is “self-defeating,” she writes.

Her piece name-checks dozens of women who have made great strides in research to improve the lives of the poor and marginalized. There’s Lila Abu-Lughod, a Palestinian-American academic who uses her research to fight the stereotype that Muslim women are victims. There’s Ching Kwan Lee, the Hong Kong-born sociologist who exposed the poverty of the Chinese working class. And there’s Bina Agarwal, the prize-winning Indian economist who inspired a 2005 law that gives all Hindu women equal rights with men in the ownership and inheritance of land and property.

Across social media, men and women piled on their own recommendations:

I agree that’s indefensible for panels, esp in Dev Econ w/ many prolific tenured women scholars. Off the top of my head: Esther, Pascaline Dupas, Seema, Oriana Bandiera, Nava Ashraf, Eliana La Ferrara, Rohini Pande, Rema Hanna, Tavneet, Emily Oster, Nancy Qian, Siwan Andersen.

— Abhijeet Singh (@singhabhi) January 11, 2018

Some other ideas: Anne Krueger in the Washington Consensus section, Irma Adelman on everything, Elisabeth Sadoulet on just about anything related to agricultural life.

— Yaniv Stopnitzky (@YanivSt) January 11, 2018

How about some other women, as well as Esther Duflo, Rachel Glennerster and Dambisa Moyo (Moyo: really?), such as:

Nancy Birdsall
Frances Stewart
Ros Eyben
Ruth Levine
Inge Kaul
Gro Harlem Bruntland
Mary Robinson
Ngaire Woods

— Owen Barder (@owenbarder) January 10, 2018

Vijaya Ramachandran, a senior fellow who specializes in aid, corruption and governance at the Center for Global Development, has been working in development for decades. “The male bias issue is not new,” she says. “The profession is very male-dominated.”

In the U.S., women head only about 14 percent of the global charities and aid groups with the largest budgets; in the U.K., 27 percent; and in Kenya and South Africa, 15 to 20 percent, according to a 2013 study. And in the field of economics, according to the American Economics Association, only 1 in 5 tenure-track economics professors is a woman.

But Ramachandran says she has seen a growing interest in discussing gender imbalance in the workplace over the past few months, notably in the broader field of economics — the foundational work of many in global development.

She cites a senior thesis by Alice H. Wu, a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, about the hostilities that women face in the field of economics. Published in August, it cracked open conversations in universities and research institutions. In response, the American Economics Association last week announced it would draft a code of conduct to end the bias faced by female economists.

Ramachandran hopes to see these types of advances in gender equality for the economists, researchers, academics and analysts who work in global development, too.

For both Evans and Ramachandran, change starts with men asking themselves some hard questions. It irked Evans and other critics, for example, that Green — who in addition to blogging, is the strategic adviser for the U.K. global charity Oxfam — asked her to write the response blog.

“She really shouldn’t have to,” tweeted Aria Grabowski, a policy adviser at Oxfam America. “Before this blog went up, it should have been flagged for the lack of women. [Green] and [Dercon] should have done better the first time to include women … #Disappointed.”

Evans agrees. “The onus should not be on me to mop up their mess — asking women to sort out their problems,” she says. “The problem was men being uncritical.”

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