Biden: Bernie Sanders Is 'Going To Endorse' Hillary Clinton

“You’re putting your rep on the line you’re saying I think this person has character and that’s what I’m prepared to do for Hillary,” Vice President Joe Biden told NPR. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

toggle caption Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Vice President Joe Biden is confident that Bernie Sanders is going to endorse Hillary Clinton and that the Democratic party will unify.

“Oh, I’ve talked to Bernie, Bernie’s going to endorse her, this is going to work out,” Biden said in an interview with Rachel Martin, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition. “The Democrats are coalescing even before this occurs.”

Last week, Sanders said he would vote for Clinton in November but hadn’t endorsed her because he “hadn’t heard her say the things I need to hear said.” Clinton’s Democratic rival is still in the race even though she has enough delegates to secure the nomination in July.

Biden will join Clinton for the first time on the campaign trail next Friday in his hometown of Scranton, Pa. at a state Democratic party event.

Biden acknowledges that Clinton has had trouble gaining voters’ trust. The best thing he can do for Clinton to try and alleviate that sentiment, he says, is “vouching for her.”

“Those folks back home know me. And they know my shortcomings, and I have a lot of them, and they know my strengths.”

“I understand the hardest thing to do is not writing the check. The hardest thing is vouching. When you vouch for them you say ‘I’m putting my reputation on the line, I believe this person is a good person, has character,” Biden told NPR, “You’re putting your rep on the line you’re saying I think this person has character and that’s what I’m prepared to do for Hillary.”

On the campaign trail, Biden and Clinton will discuss “their shared commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” according to the Clinton campaign.

Vice President Biden’s interview, including conversation about his cancer initiative, will air on NPR’s Weekend Edition this Sunday.

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Coastal Carolina University Wins First-Ever National Title In College World Series

Pitcher Alex Cunningham and catcher David Parrett of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers embrace after striking out the final batter to beat the Arizona Wildcats 4-3 to win the National Championship at the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

Pitcher Alex Cunningham and catcher David Parrett of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers embrace after striking out the final batter to beat the Arizona Wildcats 4-3 to win the National Championship at the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. Peter Aiken/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Instead of the Arizona Wildcats claiming their second championship in five years, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers broke through to win their school’s first national title, holding on for a 4-3 win in the decisive Game 3 of the 2016 College World Series.

A national championship is a big deal for any college; this one is huge for Coastal Carolina, a school in Conway, S.C., that reported total enrollment of 10,263 students (graduate and undergraduate) when classes started last fall. By contrast, Arizona reported having 43,088 students.

It’s the first time since 1956 that a team has won the College World Series in its first appearance, according to the AP, which adds that Minnesota was the last team to record the feat.

“We’re not the most talented team in America,” Coastal Carolina’s coach Gary Gilmore said as his players hugged and celebrated after the game. “We’re just the national champion. That’s all I know. That’s all that matters.”

The only player from Coastal Carolina who’s currently on an active roster in Major League Baseball is the Tampa Bay Rays’ Taylor Motter — who was watching today’s game during a stretching session on the field at Tropicana Field. As the final out was shown on the big screen, Motter pulled off his Rays jersey to reveal the teal of a Chanticleers shirt underneath.

.@taylormotter7 is the only Chanticleer on an @MLB active roster. When @CoastalBaseball won the #CollegeWorldSeries: pic.twitter.com/JfEmUiuOQQ

— #VoteRays (@RaysBaseball) June 30, 2016

The championship was in doubt until the final at-bat, which started at midday after bad weather forced a postponement Wednesday night. Trailing 4-2 in the ninth inning, Arizona used a sacrifice fly to score a run and a double from Ryan Aguilar to put runners on third and second base, threatening to tie or win the game outright. But on a 2-2 count, the game ended on a swinging strikeout.

Coastal Carolina seized the title by winning two games in a row; the Chanticleers had lost the series opener Monday, 3-0.

On Tuesday, a tense Game 2 ended in a 5-4 victory that was built on Gilmore’s unconventional decision to have Coastal Carolina’s closer, Mike Morrison, start the game. Morrison struck out 10 batters over 6-2/3 innings to keep his team’s season alive.

Coastal pitcher Andrew Beckwith – who went from performing a bullpen role earlier this season to dominating as a starter during the playoffs — was named the most outstanding player of the series.

Both Beckwith and Wildcats starter Bobby Dalbec lived up to their elite reputations Thursday, keeping the game scoreless through five innings. But neither pitcher would survive the sixth, when nearly all the game’s runs were scored.

After Arizona committed two errors that led to runs, Coastal’s G.K. Young crushed a 415-foot home run to put his team out of reach. Arizona answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to chase Beckwith.

A LEGENDARY HOME RUN BY G.K. YOUNG! https://t.co/hTY6MDxaTt

— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 30, 2016

After the game, many Coastal Carolina players dedicated the win to Gilmore, who’s coached at their school for 21 years. Gilmore said the title should put to rest any doubts about his program.

“They just thought we played in a small conference and couldn’t get this done,” an emotional Gilmore said after the game. The players, he said, “wanted to prove everyone wrong.”

The title game brought Gilmore the 1,100th win of his career; it also capped a month in which he was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Coach of the Year.

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Woman Asks Trump About Replacing TSA's 'Heebejabis' With Veterans

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke at a campaign event Thursday in Manchester, N.H.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke at a campaign event Thursday in Manchester, N.H. Robert F. Bukaty/AP hide caption

toggle caption Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Donald Trump had an awkward exchange Thursday at a New Hampshire event when a woman asked him why the U.S. isn’t putting veterans on the border or at TSA instead of these “heebeejabis they wear at TSA.” It was an apparent reference to Muslim employees who wear hijabs, or head coverings.

“Why aren’t we putting our retiree — military retirees on that border, or in TSA? Get rid of all these ‘heebeejabis’ they wear at TSA. I’ve seen them myself. We need the veterans back in there to take it — they’ve fought for this country and defended it, they’ll still do it. Thank you.”

“Well, I understand,” Trump said as she asked the question. When she finished, Trump continued, “You know, and we are looking at that. And we are looking at that. We’re looking at a lot of things.”

He then quickly pivoted to talking ab out border security, his endorsement by border patrol agents, and a new poll. “I have to tell you, as long as you bring it up though in terms of the border. Some great people, and Al you know this, we were endorsed — I was endorsed by 16,500 border patrol agents.”

Last September, Trump responded similarly to an questioner who expressed concern over Muslims. “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American. We have training camps growing when they want to kill us. My question: When can we get rid of them?” the man asked.

“We are going to be looking at a lot of different things. And a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We are going to be looking at that and plenty of other things,” Trump said.

Back in 2008, then-candidate John McCain was put in a similarly awkward position after a woman at an October event stood up and told him she had read that President Obama is Arab.

“I gotta ask you a question. I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he’s not, he’s not, he’s an Arab.”

McCain vigorously shook his head and said, “No ma’am, no ma’am, he’s a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about. He’s not. Thank you.” The audience applauded.

But McCain had stumbled earlier on the trail when he was asked “How do we beat the b****?”

“Can I get the translation?,” McCain said, laughing. “But that’s an excellent question.”

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Who Gets Tased? First Statewide Study Reveals Racial Disparities

Police trainers place bandages on Officer Edgar Gonzalez's back after removing Taser prongs. He was Tased as part of his training at Norwalk Police Department's headquarters in Norwalk, Conn.

Police trainers place bandages on Officer Edgar Gonzalez’s back after removing Taser prongs. He was Tased as part of his training at Norwalk Police Department’s headquarters in Norwalk, Conn. Hansi Lo Wang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Hansi Lo Wang/NPR

How many times last year did police pull a Taser on suspects nationwide?

Just like the total number of people shot by police, no one knows for sure.

Connecticut is the first state to require police to fill out a form for every time they pull a Taser. And it just released the first-ever statewide report on how police use them.

Police use stun guns against suspects who show what cops consider threatening and resistant behavior. The shock can get them to follow orders, and according to police, Tasers can level the playing field.

“You’re not depending just on size and strength in order to arrest someone,” says Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik. “Even a small-statured officer against a larger individual can still have a Taser as a tool to use to gain compliance.”

Kulhawik says Tasers are effective tools because neither the officer nor the suspect are usually injured. But he admits Tasers can be abused, and in extreme cases can result in death.

A stun gun used by officers with the Hartford Police Department.

A stun gun used by officers with the Hartford Police Department. Hansi Lo Wang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Hansi Lo Wang/NPR

In some Connecticut police departments, before officers can start zapping suspects they have to get Tased themselves.

“I know it’s five seconds long,” says Officer Edgar Gonzalez, his fists clenched. “It’s probably going to feel like the longest five seconds ever, but let’s do it.”

The new recruit is standing in front of a padded mat inside the Norwalk Police Department. His back faces one of his trainers, who is armed with a Taser.

The Taser fires, and Gonzalez groans, dropping to the mat. Seconds later, Gonzalez says he feels drained — but no pain.

“I think it’s going to be a great tool,” Gonzalez says. “I know that after going through that, I’m glad I will have one on me.”

According to the new report, Connecticut’s police used Tasers 650 times last year.

Ken Barone, a researcher at Central Connecticut State University’s Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy, co-wrote the report and found racial disparities in the data.

He found that black men were about three times more likely to be Tased than simply warned. For Latino men, it was over 40 percent more likely to be Tased than warned.

For white men, the chance of being Tased or warned were about the same.

“Some of this might be driven by the fact that those departments that submitted the most Taser reports are larger, more diverse cities,” Barone says.

Barone says researchers need more time to figure out what’s driving those racial disparities.

And there was another trend that stood out.

“Nearly one-third of all Taser incidents involved a person that the officer believed to be emotionally disturbed,” Barone says.

Taser International warns against using its stun guns on people experiencing psychiatric crisis or on children.

Thursday’s report found that nine of those Tased last year were younger than 18 years old — seven of whom were black and two white. Police reported five of them as “emotionally disturbed” or “suicidal.”

All the report’s information came from the forms cops are required by state law to fill out every time they pull a Taser. But there were cases of under-reporting.

For example, the Hartford Police Department did not report the case of Matthew Russo, a 26-year-old man who died after he was Tasered last April — until researchers followed up.

Deputy Chief Brian Foley says Hartford Police is trying to improve their reporting system for Tasers.

“The infrastructure’s not there. There’s no way to track it,” Foley says. “And that’s our goal, is to get it back and have it on camera, be it on Taser camera or on body camera, any time it’s used.”

Wilson Ramos got a tattoo of his brother’s name, Jose “Cheo” Maldonado, inked on his right forearm in memory of Maldonado, who died after a police officer shot him with a stun gun inside a jail cell in East Hartford, Conn. Hansi Lo Wang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Hansi Lo Wang/NPR

Video recording of police using Tasers may be a ways off for many departments.

In the meantime, Wilson Ramos says that goal and this new report gives him some hope.

His brother, Jose Maldonado, died two years ago in a jail cell after police Tased him.

“If this is a step forward so it can avoid someone else dying, then I’m glad it’s in place,” Ramos says. “But as far as for me, nothing’s going to take back that moment. I’m not going to get my brother back.”

According to the East Hartford Police Department, Maldonado was combative after officers arrested him for punching a car window while intoxicated.

Ramos has filed a federal lawsuit against the department.

“Due to the mandatory reporting now, I think it’s going to come to light that these things get used more often than they should for situations that don’t warrant it,” Ramos says.

Even in Connecticut, researchers say they still don’t know how often that actually is. And the rest of the country knows even less.

“The collection of such data is just sporadic, haphazard,” says Bob Kaminski, a professor at the University of South Carolina who studies how police use and keep track of Tasers.

A federal court did recently rule that police in the Southeast can’t Tase someone for simply being uncooperative. And California has passed a law requiring police to report Taser incidents and other uses of force that seriously injure or kill people.

But there are no similar laws regarding Tasers in other states or at the federal level.

“There is no national standard,” Kaminski says. “Policies vary by agency. There are recommendations that are put out, but they can decide themselves regarding the policies.”

Researchers in Connecticut say they hope their state will serve as a model of tracking Tasers for the rest of the country.

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Controversy Over Thailand's New 'Tier' In Human Trafficking Report

A police officer inspects a fishing boat in Thailand.

A police officer inspects a fishing boat in Thailand. Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. State Department issued its annual Trafficking in Persons report today, and the big news is the status of Thailand.

Thailand is now on the “Tier 2 Watch List” for countries that do not meet the minimum U.S. standards for the elimination of trafficking, but are making significant efforts to do so. Last year it was on the “Tier 3” list of the worst human trafficking offenders — countries making no significant effort to meet minimum U.S. standards. That list includes Burma, Haiti, Iran, North Korea, South Sudan, Syria and Venezuela.

Thailand’s fishing and seafood industries have been accused of forcing thousands of men from Burma and other countries to work against their will for long hours and little pay.

According to the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act, these laborers are victims of human trafficking, defined as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.”

The TIP report, which is used as a reference by other governments and international groups, says Thailand has made steps in the right direction. Its government amended its 2008 anti-trafficking laws. Changes include providing legal protection for whistleblowers and giving the government authority to close businesses involved in forced labor.

The government convicted 241 traffickers in 2015 compared to 104 in 2014, says the report, and conducted 72 investigations of cases of forced labor compared to 58 in 2014.

Still, the report says, trafficking in the seafood sector remains a big concern.

Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, acknowledges that Thailand has made some progress in the past year, but in his view the changes have been superficial. “Anyone who knows the situation knows Thailand is just scratching the surface,” he says. He believes major legal and regulatory changes to stop trafficking still need to be instituted.

“We haven’t seen senior people — significant figures in the military and police — held accountable,” he says. “We haven’t seen [the government] going after the financial sector. The labor for Thai fishing boats and sex trafficking is a major business.”

NPR asked the State Department to respond to criticisms from Adams and others that the upgrade was intended to smooth relations with Thailand’s government. In an email, the State Department replied that it evaluates human trafficking “efforts based on criteria established under U.S. law, independent of political developments.”

In this year’s report, the U.S. downgraded 27 countries and upgraded 20 countries in the three-tier ranking system. And there were 18,930 prosecutions of human traffickers reported in 2015 compared to 10,051 in 2014.

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VIDEO: Airstrikes Hit ISIS Convoy Fleeing Fallujah

Iraq's Counterterrorism Service released an image showing a destroyed militant vehicle after Coalition and Iraqi security forces targeted Islamic State fighters on Wednesday.

Iraq’s Counterterrorism Service released an image showing a destroyed militant vehicle after Coalition and Iraqi security forces targeted Islamic State fighters on Wednesday. AP hide caption

toggle caption AP

The U.S.-led coalition and the Iraqi military say they have hit two ISIS convoys in Iraq, and they say hundreds of the militant group’s vehicles were destroyed.

As NPR’s Alice Fordham tells our Newscast unit, “two large groups of ISIS fighters have been hit this week in the western province of Anbar.”

Anbar is home to the embattled city of Fallujah, which was under ISIS control for the last two and a half years. Iraqi security forces announced Sunday that they had wrested control of the city from the Islamic State militants after a five-week-long offensive.

The first ISIS convoy hit was outside Fallujah. A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition tells Alice that surveillance and intelligence reports indicated that a group of fighters was gathering southwest of the city. Then, as Col. Chris Garver explains, “When we could positively identify this as a convoy of Da’esh fighters, Iraqi Air Force and Coalition airstrikes attacked the convoy throughout the night and into Wednesday morning.”

He estimates coalition strikes destroyed 55 of their vehicles. An Iraqi military official said in a video released by the Ministry of Defense that Iraqi forces — including more than 20 helicopters — also destroyed 138 vehicles belonging to the group.

The official, identified by The Associated Press as Lt. Gen. Hamid al-Maliki, said no other force took part in the operation. Garver said both coalition planes and the Iraqi military launched airstrikes.

Iraq’s Ministry of Defense released aerial footage overlaid with dramatic music, apparently showing the airstrikes hitting the convoy on Tuesday. The aerial footage is at the beginning of the video. Be aware that further in there are images of people apparently killed in the strikes:

YouTube

The military officials in the video said an unspecified number of ISIS fighters were killed in the assault.

On Wednesday, Iraqi and coalition airstrikes also targeted a convoy near the city of Ramadi. Garver explained:

“When strikes from both Iraqi and Coalition [planes] hit the convoy, the Da’esh fighters abandoned their vehicles and fled on foot. We estimate Coalition strikes destroyed approximately 120 Da’esh vehicles. Again, we know the Iraqi Security Forces destroyed more.”

As Alice reports, “The extremists have lost several cities in Anbar in the course of this year – but still hold the large city of Mosul, which Iraqi officials say is their next objective.”

Fallujah is located just 35 miles from Iraq’s capital, as we have reported, and the militant group used it as a launching pad for armed attacks in Baghdad.

The recent military offensive in Fallujah has exacerbated a dire humanitarian situation. Last week, the U.N.’s refugee agency estimated that 85,000 people had fled the area since the offensive began in May.

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Floppy Ears And Green Gas From One 'BFG'

Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) in The BFG.

Doane Gregory/DreamWorks II Distribution Co.

In an age when computer-generated imagery can make anything possible, effects are expensive and miracles are cheap. So it should be said, as emphatically as possible, that the “big friendly giant” in The BFG, Steven Spielberg’s ingratiating adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book, is a spectacular creation. Voiced by Mark Rylance, who won an Oscar last year for Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, the BFG interacts seamlessly with its non-digital counterparts and projects a warmth and tremulous humanity that keeps it out of the uncanny valley. Here’s a story about bridging the gap between a plucky orphan and a fantastical giant, and part of that bridge is technical: If we don’t believe they exist in the same space or if their connection doesn’t register on the giant’s face, then the film doesn’t work.

Much like his animated bauble from a few years ago, The Adventures of Tintin, The BFG feels like a low-stakes experiment for Spielberg, a direct appeal to children through the cutting-edge tools of the day. Dusting off an old script by the late Melissa Mathison, whose work on The Black Stallion and his E.T. has a Zen-like storybook economy, Spielberg brightens the darker corners of Dahl’s book and accentuates its sweetness and charm. He delights in its dopey malapropisms, its jars of fairy-light dreams, and the green, rocket-blast farts that the BFG calls “whizpopping.” There’s the tiniest sliver of melancholy in these two lonely, picked-on characters forging an unlikely friendship, but a spirit of slap-happy adventure dominates.

Representing a throwback to an earlier, broader period of Disney live-action movies, Ruby Barnhill plays the orphan Sophie like Wendy Darling in Peter Pan — precocious and headstrong, with plenty of mobility in a floor-length pajama gown. Given to wandering the orphanage after hours, Sophie happens to catch the BFG sneaking around London with a trumpet-like object, which he uses to blow bottled dreams into children’s heads as they sleep. In an effort to contain his secret, the BFG snatches Sophie and takes her back to his humble abode in Giant Country, where he happens to be the lovable runt of much larger and much nastier species. Other giants, like The Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) and The Bloodbottler (Bill Hader), are man-eating bullies; the BFG subsists on a disgusting green vegetable called the “snozzcumber.”

The silliness extends all the way to Buckingham Palace, where Sophie and the BFG appeal to no less than the Queen (Penelope Wilson) herself to put a stop to man-eating giants. This leads to the film’s most delightful setpiece, which has the Queen’s guards and servants giving the two a royal welcome, complete with a whizpopping brunch that alights the palace in green gas and giddy embarrassment. It’s slapstick comedy and princess fantasy rolled into one—Sophie scooping great spoonfuls of strawberries-and-cream with the Queen, the BFG breaking up the room with his all-too-earthy mix of awkward gentility and explosive flatulence. Dahl isn’t above a little low humor, and neither is Spielberg.

Far too long at 117 minutes, The BFG finds Spielberg pressing too hard for wonderment at times, particularly when he’s dealing with the giant’s passion for catching and concocting dreams like fireflies in primary color. With John Williams’ score ladling on the sentiment like glaze on a Christmas ham, the film loses some of the deftness necessary for a story this slight. With so few twists and turns in the narrative — orphan meets giant, orphan befriends giant, orphan and giant appeal to the Queen to fight mean giants — there’s nothing gained in gumming up the works.

Yet simplicity reigns supreme, starting with Rylance’s beautiful performance as the giant and the artistry of the effects technicians who animated it. The BFG’s floppy ears alone recall Dumbo in their expressive twitches, which alternately wriggle like a bunny’s nose or curl back attentively. For a little girl with no family or friends, he’s a sympathetic listener, and her enthusiasm and mischievousness coaxes him out of isolation, too. The biggest emotional moments in The BFG combine Rylance’s working-class humility and decency with subtle wrinkles in the animation that suggest a stirring of the soul. It’s the rare CGI wonder that moves as well as awes.

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Faith And Fear In A Story Of 'Innocents'

A group of nuns deals with loss and violence in The Innocents.

A group of nuns deals with loss and violence in The Innocents. Music Box Films hide caption

toggle caption Music Box Films

Mathilde (Lou de Laage), the young French Red Cross doctor at the center of The Innocents, is in late-1945 Poland to tend to injured French POWs, patching them up so they can be sent home. She could hardly have expected to be summoned to a local convent to care for nearly a dozen pregnant nuns.

The nunnery is also a surprising locale for writer-director Anne Fontaine, best known for Coco Before Chanel and such erotic capers as Gemma Bovery and The Girl from Monaco, whose accounts of female sexual independence blithely indulge male fantasy. Although it contrives something of a happy ending, The Innocents is darker than the usual Fontaine fare.

Fontaine and co-writer Pascal Bonitzer, who collaborated on Gemma Bovery, adapted an existing script by Sabrina B. Karine and Alice Vial. Perhaps that’s why this movie is both grimmer and meatier than the director’s previous efforts.

Loosely based on actual events, the movie begins about nine months after one of its principal horrors: Soviet soldiers invaded the convent and repeatedly raped the sisters, including the prim abbess (Agata Kulesza, who played the godless aunt of the nun in Ida).

In reality, many of the nuns were killed. In this version, they suffer only from shame and fear of damnation — and the anguish of having their newborns torn from them. The mother superior wants to minimize “scandal and disorder” by removing the babies as quickly as possible. Partly, the abbess is humiliated by the situation. But she also wants to avoid any blot on the convent now that her Catholic homeland has become a Communist nation, and the status of nuns is by no means assured. Her severity leads to another of the tale’s infamies.

Mathilde is supposed to aid only French nationals, so she must make her risky visits to the convent surreptitiously. She’s aided by Sister Maria (Agata Buzek), who speaks French and is more worldly than her cohorts in other ways as well. Eventually, Mathilde enlists her gruff colleague and sometime lover, Samuel (Vincent Macaigne), whose parents were murdered in a Nazi concentration camp. (“Yes, I’m Jewish,” he barks at the nuns. “There are still a few of us left.”)

Post-war Poland must have been a tough place in which to sustain religious faith, and both Mathilde and Samuel are non-believers. Some of the nuns seem likely to lose their vocations, and their plight elicits theological debates amid the medical practicalities. “Isn’t pride a sin?” asks Mathilde when some of the pregnant sisters refuse to be examined.

Looking much more grown-up than in L’Attesa (The Wait), the assured La Laage proves she can carry a drama in which she appears in nearly every scene. She gets able support from the rest of the cast, notably Kulesza in a most unsympathetic role.

Shot in an abandoned convent in Poland, The Innocents has a stark, muted look that suits both the story and the wintry setting. Daily rituals and plaintive hymns continue amid the cries of women in labor. Yet at this moment in history, the austerity of the nuns’ existence is eclipsed by daily life in Warsaw and environs, while the unwanted babies seem less of a moral dilemma than the plight of the city’s many homeless orphans.

The movie only pulls its punches twice, and if the conclusion doesn’t entirely convince, the attempt at an upbeat resolution is understandable. In a story that turns on a baby boom, however disturbing its source, a little hopefulness is unavoidable.

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Prohibition-Era Gang Violence Prompted Congress To Act On Gun Control

In the 1930s, the United States government was absorbed with a different kind of gun violence: prohibition-era gangsters using fully automatic weapons of war, with civilians often caught in the crossfire. NPR looks back at how the U.S. Congress, at the urging of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, passed the nation’s first firearms legislation, which still holds today.

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