Prince's Music Videos Are Back Online

A still from Prince’s video for “Let’s Go Crazy.”


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Official music videos for five songs from Prince’s iconic album Purple Rain appeared on YouTube and Vevo Friday, the latest event in a general expansion of the availability of the Purple One’s music since his death more than a year ago. An official Prince channel on eachsite now features music videos for the singles “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” along with electric live performance clips of “Take Me With U,” “I Would Die 4 U” and a ridiculously funky, 13-minute version of “Baby I’m A Star.”

While he was alive, Prince was notoriously protective of his music and meticulous about scrubbing fan-generated videos from the Internet. (The Supreme Court recently decided not to hear an appeal in a dispute over the 2007 takedown of a 30-second video of a baby dancing to “Let’s Go Crazy.”) But since his death last April, Prince’s music has gradually become more accessible on the web. His Warner Brothers catalog, including his biggest hits, returned to major streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music in February, and previously unreleased material — some unsanctioned — has been trickling out.

These videos’ official appearance comes two weeks after Warner Bros.’ release of the 30th-anniversary deluxe version of Purple Rain, which includes a full disc of songs newly uncovered from Prince’s famed Paisley Park vault. The reissue debuted at No. 4 in the Billboard 200.

And there’s more good news for Prince fans: A representative for Warner Bros. records confirmed to NPR in an email that more Prince videos are on their way. But for now, fans have this handful of clips of some of his best-known work, a selection that represents The Revolution and their leader in their prime.

So if this weekend the elevator tries to break you down — go crazy.

Watch The Videos

  • ‘Let’s Go Crazy’


  • ‘When Doves Cry’


  • ‘I Would Die 4 U (Live)’


  • ‘Baby I’m A Star (Live)’


  • ‘Take Me With U (Live)’


  • ‘When Doves Cry (Extended Version)’


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Two-Time Prison Escapee May Have Used A Drone As Part Of His Plan

Jimmy Causey was captured in Texas on Friday after more than two days on the run. He used wire cutters that officials suggest were dropped from a drone as part of an elaborate plan to escape from a South Carolina Prison.

Williamson County Jail/Associated Press

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Williamson County Jail/Associated Press

The first time Jimmy Causey escaped from a maximum-security prison he and another inmate hid in a garbage truck and left undetected. For his second escape on Tuesday, Causey didn’t have a human partner at his side, but he may have been aided by a drone.

Causey, 46, was captured near Austin, Texas, on Friday morning after he escaped from Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, S.C. He was serving a life sentence after he held an attorney and his family hostage at gunpoint in 2002.

When he was captured, Causey had four cell phones, a shotgun, a pistol and almost $47,000 in cash with him. According to the Associated Press, Causey’s absence went undetected for 18 hours after he placed a dummy in his cell, a tactic he used during his first escape too.

Authorities in South Carolina believe a drone may have been used to deliver Causey the wire cutters he used to cut through four fences at the institution. Investigators have also said the inmate used a cell phone to arrange and execute his escape plan.

DPS Takes Prison Escapee into Custody

— Texas DPS (@TxDPS) July 7, 2017

During his first escape, ordering a pizza led to Causey’s capture, but after Texas authorities found Causey early Friday morning, Mark Keel of the state Law Enforcement Division said “good old-fashioned law enforcement” is what made the search a success.

While authorities have not confirmed a drone was used in this instance, South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling says drones and cell phones are becoming more common in aiding inmates’ escapes according to The Summerville Journal Scene.

“We’re seeing this a lot,” Stirling said at a press conference. “There are going to be some very serious consequences, and some people are going to get hurt because of drones and cell phones.”

Stirling also said the South Carolina’s Department of Correction is planning on spending $7.65 million to try and combat the use of drones by installing nets around the facilities.

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Sheila Michaels, Who Helped Bring Honorific 'Ms.' To The Masses, Dies At 78

Sheila Michaels, who played a key role in bringing the title “Ms.” from obscurity into mainstream use, has died at 78, according to the New York Times.

Michaels’ lasting impression on the English language was inspired by a letter to Mary Hamilton — a woman who, separately, made legal history by successfully demanding to be called “Miss.”

They were roommates and lifelong friends: The black woman who fought to be called “Miss” instead of condescended to as “Mary,” and the white woman who pushed to be called “Ms.” because it was nobody’s business if she was married.

Michaels passed away on June 22 from leukemia, according to the Times. Hamilton died in 2002 of ovarian cancer.

Ms, Miss, Neither

Ms. Sheila Michaels was born in St. Louis. She didn’t know her birth father until she was 14 and was partially raised by her grandparents, she said in an oral history. Michaels was kicked out of college at 19 after staging a protest against censorship on the college paper. A few years later, she risked the wrath of her stepfather and decided to join the civil rights movement.

Miss Mary Hamilton was born in Iowa and grew up in Denver. She, too, spent much of her youth being raised by her grandmother, according to Hamilton’s daughter, Holly Wesley. Her immediate family was passing as white, Wesley says. But Hamilton — who was half-Italian and a quarter indigenous — refused to participate.

Instead, she dropped out of the University of Iowa and joined the civil rights movement.

The two women met through The Congress of Racial Equality in New York. They moved in together around 1961, and spent the next few years living, traveling, protesting and registering voters together. (And having plenty of fun, too. “We partied a lot. I mean, we had great parties,” Michaels said in that oral history.)

The fateful piece of mail arrived that first year of their friendship and activism. It was a left-wing magazine addressed to Ms. Mary Hamilton, but it was Michaels who was struck by inspiration. Those two little letters …

“Wow, wonderful! Ms. is me!” Michaels thought, according to a 2000 interview with Japan Times.

“The first thing anyone wanted to know about you was whether you were married yet,” Michaels told The Guardian in 2007. “I’d be damned if I’d bow to them.” Going by “Ms.” suddenly seemed like a solution; a word for a woman who “did not ‘belong’ to a man.”

Michaels initially thought the address on that magazine was a typo. That’s not necessarily true, she later noted. The Oxford English Dictionary notes “Ms.” had been floated as an idea by 1901. By the early ’50s, it was used in business correspondence when a woman’s marital status was unknown.

But in everyday life, the title was obscure. Prompted by Hamilton’s mail, Michaels set off on a one-woman crusade to change that.

Her roommate was not impressed. Michaels spoke to the New York Times last year, and remembered Hamilton’s words: ” ‘Oh, Sheila, we have much more important things to do.’ “

There was plenty of other opposition, she told the Japan Times. So for the eight years, hers was a “timid” campaign, she said.

To The Supreme Court…

Meanwhile, the two women traveled through the South working with CORE and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. They registered black voters, knocked on doors, marched in protests, got arrested.

Michaels’ “Ms.” campaign might have been “timid,” but Hamilton was fighting hard for “Miss.”

In the South at the time, white people would typically refer to black people by first name, at best. Titles like “Miss” and “Mr.” were reserved for white people, through the same dehumanizing logic that made a black man “boy” instead of “sir.”

Hamilton was defiant in the face of such treatment.

Michaels wrote that a southern mayor, visiting Hamilton in jail, once called her Mary as he gloated over her arrest.

That’s MISS Hamilton, she told him. “If you don’t know how to talk to a lady, then get out of my cell!” (She also demanded the jail be cleaned. And shortly after, it was, Michaels says.)

Andrew Yeager reported for NPR about the case that brought Mary Hamilton into the law books. He spoke to Michaels for the story:

“Civil rights protests in Alabama hit a crescendo in the spring of 1963. In Gadsden, a factory town northeast of Birmingham, police arrested Hamilton and other demonstrators. At a hearing that June, the court referred to her as ‘Mary.’

” ‘And she just would not answer the judge until he called her “Miss Hamilton.” And he refused. So he found her in contempt of court,’ Michaels says.”

“So Mary Hamilton was thrown in jail and fined $50. The NAACP took the case that eventually appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the following year in Hamilton’s favor. In other words, the ruling decided that everyone in court deserves titles of courtesy, regardless of race or ethnicity. Michaels says Hamilton was immensely proud of the case.”

” ‘I mean, a Supreme Court case, you know, decided for you. Are you kidding? This is a big deal,’ she says.”

Wesley says her mother was in a hospital bed when the decision came down, after one of several beatings she received during marches. Targeted by the KKK and other groups, Hamilton went with her family to New York, where she became a union organizer and an English teacher.

…To The Media

Michaels remained active in the civil rights movement and other causes. In 1968, when second-wave feminism rose to prominence, she promptly headed to join in women’s rights demonstrations.

Her one-woman pitch for the title “Ms.” suddenly seemed less quixotic. As an early left-wing feminist, she started bringing the idea up — most significantly, during a radio interview in New York around 1969, The New York Times reports.

Michaels made her case on the air. And apparently, it was memorable: By the time of the Women’s March for Equality in 1970, the title was seen as a feminist “calling card,” lexicographer Ben Zimmer wrote. And in 1971, when Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes were coming up with a name for their new feminist magazine, someone thought … what about Ms.?

One woman’s linguistic light-bulb was making big news. It was attributed to “anonymous,” with Michaels’ role revealed years later. But the idea behind the name resonated with millions.

As the years passed — as Michaels gathered oral histories of the civil rights era, worked as a taxi driver, married, ran a Japanese restaurant, divorced — more and more women opted for “Ms.”

Michaels said in an oral history that her feminist activism was made possible by her work in the civil rights movement.

“Most of the activists were women,” she said. “All the figureheads were men, OK, we know that. … It was the first time anybody had treated me as equal.”

“For me, that was the seeds of feminism,” she said. “If I hadn’t been in SNCC, I don’t know that I would have been ready.”

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Beyoncé Has A Plan To Help Burundi, But Key Details Are Fuzzy

Beyonce, pictured at the Grammy awards in February, returned to Twitter after a year’s absence to announce a new philanthropic venture.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS

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Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS

Last week, Beyonce broke a year-long hiatus from tweeting by announcing a new initiative, BeyGood4Burundi — a partnership between her charitable foundation and UNICEF.

“Mothers in Burundi want to provide clean, safe water for their children. Let’s help them, together,” she wrote on June 30.

That single tweet raises some critical questions that often come up when a celebrity chooses to throw their star power behind a cause. Unfortunately, only some of them seem to have answers. Among the questions: How strong is her connection to Burundi? How much money is she giving? And is this effort promoting her own brand as well?

The object of Beyonce’s attention is a small, landlocked East African nation of 11.2 million. It’s been plagued by on-and-off violence since it gained independence from Belgium in 1962, and reports of current unrest continue. It’s classified as “low income” by the World Bank — average annual earnings are $280 per person and 77 percent of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day. That’s the marker for extreme poverty.

Her initiative has laid out some specific plans, like building nearly 1,000 water systems (including wells and boreholes).

Other goals include upgrading water systems at 70 schools and health-care facilities and providing educational materials on topics such as proper hand-washing techniques and the best way to clean food to avoid waterborne diseases. The initiative will focus on several rural areas. More wells would reduce the distance people have to walk to get water that is safe to drink. That’s a benefit for the young people, often girls, who have to walk long distances to collect water, taking time away from schoolwork. In addition, clean water would reduce the risk of water-borne diseases.

According to UNICEF, this is expected to be a multiyear partnership.

But some key details are hard to pin down.

How much did Beyonce donate to the effort? UNICEF deferred that question to Parkwood Entertainment, which handles Beyonce’s publicity and is also promoting the Burundi campaign. Parkwood did not respond to repeated NPR inquiries about the amount of funding from Beyonce.

That’s a concern, say some aid specialists. “I know some funders like to be private about their financial giving,” says Solome Lemma, deputy director of Berkeley, Calif.-based Thousand Currents, a nonprofit organization that funds grassroots organizations. “But given the public nature of this, I would be curious to know what it is.”

Then there’s the matter of the T-shirts. Beyonce’s website includes a page where people can donate to the initiative and purchase T-shirts for $30, with “proceeds to benefit UNICEF’s support of Burundi.”

But it’s left unstated how much of the proceeds go to the cause. A lot of charities choose not to give this information, “but that doesn’t make it a good practice,” says John Trybus, managing director of Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and an adjunct professor there.

Also, the T-shirts are featured on the “shopping” page of Beyonce’s website, which also sells her fragrances, hats, “intimates” and other products promoting her music and career.

“It would be best not to muddy the waters” by mingling the Burundi products and the products that “profit her personally,” says Trybus.

It’s also unclear what Beyonce has any expectations from the public beyond making a donation or buying a T-shirt.

“It’s rather limited,” Trybus says of the call for engagement. “That’s a big miss. A lot of the research on supporting causes shows that you need to give people different options to be involved.”

One way to do this, he suggests, would be to encourage people to share information about Burundi with their friends and family members to raise awareness about the issue of access to safe drinking water.

There are also seems to be a somewhat random quality to her choice of Burundi. UNICEF USA’s president and CEO Caryl Stern said that Beyonce became interested after she saw a TV news program about the country. UNICEF did not know which TV program. That’s another question NPR put to Beyonce that went unanswered.

Stern of UNICEF counters that Beyonce’s representatives at Parkwood were very engaged in discussing UNICEF’s plans to carry out this work in Burundi. “I’ve experienced very few partners with the level of detailed questions that have been asked and agreed to in advance of a project. This is real and very sincere.”


And though Beyonce herself has not indicated that she’s visited Burundi, her representatives have. Ivy McGregor, director of philanthropy and corporate relations at Parkwood, was part of a Parkwood team that traveled to Burundi in April to plan for the new initiative.

“We traveled throughout the provinces to uncover the need. We asked one question: How can we help?” McGregor told a crowd at the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany on Thursday, in a video posted on YouTube. “And there was always one resounding answer — safe, clean water.”

Will Beyonce’s high profile mean that resources will be diverted from other equally deserving causes? Stern doesn’t worry.

“There isn’t a competition over which one is most in need or most worthy or most exciting,” she says. “Every time we have the opportunity to work with anyone who shares that passion for children and helps us save the lives of children, it’s a bonus.”

Rachel Silverman, a senior policy analyst with the Center for Global Development, a think tank in Washington, D.C., agrees: “Focusing on Burundi — and on sanitation specifically — is likely to [raise] the profile of this issue on the international stage.”

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'GLOW' Co-Creators Explain Why Wrestling Is Like Greek Theater

Alison Brie (left) and Betty Gilpin star in GLOW, a new Netflix show about a women’s wrestling league in the 1980s.

Erica Parise/Erica Parise/Netflix

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Erica Parise/Erica Parise/Netflix

If you ask Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, wrestling was just better in the 1980s: They say it was less slick, less violent, more fun — even silly. There were easier entry points, too.

“Liz and I will watch a wrestling match now, and we’ll actually make it 15 minutes in and still have no idea who the good guy or the bad guy is,” Mensch says.

Mensch and Flahive are diving back into the world of ’80s wrestling in their new Netflix series GLOW. The show stars Alison Brie as Ruth Wilder, a struggling actor who finds work with Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling league — a wrestling circuit which actually existed in the 1980s.

Ruth takes on the persona of a Russian villain named “Zoya the Destroya.”

“Capitalist pig!” she yells at her nemesis Liberty Belle (Betty Gilpin). “I shall neuter all your dogs and fill your swimming pools with borscht!”

Co-creators Flahive and Mensch say making a wrestling show meant dealing in a lot of offensive stereotypes — and figuring out how to address those tensions within the show.

Interview Highlights

On the theatricality of wrestling

Carly Mensch: It’s almost like Greek theater in that it’s like you’re telling stories on a scale that we’re not used to, but that’s really exciting — that can cross cultures, can cross languages. From one side, if you’re being ungenerous, you can say it’s super reductive and then from the other side, you could say it’s storytelling at its most potently inclusive and epic. And if you can figure out how to harness that, I think that’s exciting.

On the wrestling personas playing up offensive stereotypes

Liz Flahive: A lot of it was about keeping our eye on the characters’ experience of having to play these characters. There’s a lot in wrestling that is exciting and also that makes us uncomfortable. And that tension is in the show … everywhere and is something we keep going back to, and exploring, and digging into.

Mensch: [The character of “Welfare Queen”] she’s played by Kia Stevens who is an actual professional wrestler in her alternate real life. … We would check in with her a lot just to see whether we were getting things right and just to help us speak to the women about the experience of playing these types of offensive stereotypes.

And she would tell us, as a black woman who’s been in the industry for a while, like, she’s had to play tons of offensive things. And Welfare Queen is perfectly in line with the requests that she gets.

On Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin playing characters who hate each other

Mensch: In real, real life [they] love each other. Which is actually a really helpful dimension because they trust each other so much. … They’re very much taking care of each other’s bodies, and no one’s ever actually slamming someone’s head into a post.

On the actors learning to wrestle at the same pace as their characters

Mensch: From the beginning we knew that in order to tell this authentic story — and to embrace the funny, Bad News Bears side of learning something totally new — that it would be smart for us to go really slow this first season and actually let our actresses learn how to wrestle at the same pace that their characters are learning.

Flahive: It did something to the women, too. We had them training in a bootcamp for three weeks before we started shooting and just the physical intimacy that they all experienced together and the idea that they had to learn something as a group I think bonded them deeply. I think in their performances the level of trust they all established in the ring was really helpful to us as we filmed the whole season.

Christina Cala and Melissa Gray produced and edited the audio of this interview Beth Novey adapted it for the Web.

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Transcript: Secretary Of State Tillerson On Trump's Meeting With Putin

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend talks during the G-20 summit in Hamburg Germany, on Friday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is on the left and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on the right.

Mikhail Klimentyev/AP

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Mikhail Klimentyev/AP

On Friday, President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 international economic summit in Hamburg, Germany. After the face-to-face, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who also attended the meeting, spoke to reporters along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and press secretary Sean Spicer. Here is the full transcript of the briefing, as provided by the White House.

SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Hi, everybody. I just want to highlight very briefly, and then Secretary Tillerson will go on, and then afterwards we’ll both answer a few questions.

But President Trump has had a very, very significant few days. I think, as you know, we went to Poland on Wednesday. In Poland, he met with 12 different leaders. We had bilats with Croatia and with Poland, as well as 10 other leaders at the Three Seas Conference where we talked about energy — the importance of the energy markets, the importance of supplying independent energy, infrastructure and opportunities there. I think, as you know, the speech which was just incredibly well-received, is part of our “America First But America Not Alone.”

Then coming here, the President has had very significant meetings at the G20 already. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to meet with Chancellor Merkel and her team. It was a very, very productive and friendly meeting. There were lots of areas for us to collaborate on that were very clear. We talked about economic issues, we talked about trade. We had a very productive dinner last night — Secretary Tillerson, myself, General McMaster — with President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Abe and their teams, discussing the importance of what’s going on in North Korea and the issues there. And then today we’ve had, already, several other bilats, and tomorrow we have another six.

The President also participated in a very important session today on trade and an important session on the environment and the economy. So I would just generally say we’ve had very productive economic meetings. There’s been very substantive issues discussed. The North Korea issue has been discussed very significantly, about the escalation in North Korea.

And with that, I will turn it over to Secretary Tillerson to talk about his meetings, and afterwards we’ll take some questions.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Thank you, Steve, and thanks for staying with us late these evening.

President Trump and President Putin met this afternoon for 2 hours and 15 minutes here on the sidelines of the G20. The two leaders exchanged views on the current nature of the U.S.-Russia relationship and the future of the U.S.-Russia relationship.

They discussed important progress that was made in Syria, and I think all of you have seen some of the news that just broke regarding a de-escalation agreement and memorandum, which was agreed between the United States, Russia and Jordan, for an important area in southwest Syria that affects Jordan’s security, but also is a very complicated part of the Syrian battlefield.

This de-escalation area was agreed, it’s well-defined, agreements on who will secure this area. A ceasefire has been entered into. And I think this is our first indication of the U.S. and Russia being able to work together in Syria. And as a result of that, we had a very lengthy discussion regarding other areas in Syria that we can continue to work together on to de-escalate the areas and violence once we defeat ISIS, and to work together toward a political process that will secure the future of the Syrian people.

As a result, at the request of President Putin, the United States has appointed — and you’ve seen, I think, the announcement of Special Representative for Ukraine, Ambassador Kurt Volker. Ambassador Volker will draw on his decades of experience in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, both as a representative to NATO and also his time as a permanent political appointment.

The two leaders also acknowledged the challenges of cyber threats and interference in the democratic processes of the United States and other countries, and agreed to explore creating a framework around which the two countries can work together to better understand how to deal with these cyber threats, both in terms of how these tools are used to in interfere with the internal affairs of countries, but also how these tools are used to threaten infrastructure, how these tools are used from a terrorism standpoint as well.

The President opened the meeting with President Putin by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject. The President pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.

The two leaders agreed, though, that this is a substantial hindrance in the ability of us to move the Russian-U.S. relationship forward, and agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of non-interference in the affairs of the United States and our democratic process as well as those of other countries. So more work to be done on that regard.

I’d be happy to take your questions. You’re going to referee, Sean?

Q: Mr. Secretary, Nick Waters (ph) from Bloomberg News. Can you tell us whether President Trump said whether there would be any consequences for Russia to the interference in the U.S. election? Did he spell out any specific consequences that Russia would face? And then also, on the Syria ceasefire, when does it begin? And what makes you think the ceasefire will succeed this time when past U.S.-Russian agreements on a ceasefire have failed?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: With regard to the interference in the election, I think the President took note of actions that have been discussed by the Congress. Most recently, additional sanctions that have been voted out of the Senate to make it clear as to the seriousness of the issue. But I think what the two Presidents, I think rightly, focused on is how do we move forward; how do we move forward from here. Because it’s not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed-upon resolution of that question between the two nations.

So the question is, what do we do now? And I think the relationship — and the President made this clear, as well — is too important, and it’s too important to not find a way to move forward — not dismissing the issue in any way, and I don’t want to leave you with that impression. And that is why we’ve agreed to continue engagement and discussion around how do we secure a commitment that the Russian government has no intention of and will not interfere in our affairs in the future, nor the affairs of others, and how do we create a framework in which we have some capability to judge what is happening in the cyber world and who to hold accountable. And this is obviously an issue that’s broader than just U.S.-Russia, but certainly we see the manifestation of that threat in the events of last year.

And so I think, again, the Presidents rightly focused on how do we move forward from what may be simply an intractable disagreement at this point.

As to the Syria ceasefire, I would say what may be different this time, I think, is the level of commitment on the part of the Russian government. They see the situation in Syria transitioning from the defeat of ISIS, which we are progressing rapidly, as you know. And this is what really has led to this discussion with them as to what do we do to stabilize Syria once the war against ISIS is won.

And Russia has the same, I think, interest that we do in having Syria become a stable place, a unified place, but ultimately a place where we can facilitate a political discussion about their future, including the future leadership of Syria.

So I think part of why we’re — and again, we’ll see what happens as to the ability to hold the ceasefire. But I think part of what’s different is where we are relative to the whole war against ISIS, where we are in terms of the opposition’s, I think, position as to their strength within the country, and the regime itself.

In many respects, people are getting tired. They’re getting weary of the conflict. And I think we have an opportunity, we hope, to create the conditions in this area, and the south is I think our first show of success. We’re hoping we can replicate that elsewhere.


Q: Mr. Secretary, you spoke, when you were speaking of the ceasefire, about they’re being detailed information about who would enforce it. Can you give any more information on what conclusions were reached? And you spoke of the future leadership of Syria. Do you still believe that Assad has no role in their government?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I would like to defer on the specific roles in particular of security forces on the ground, because there is — there are a couple of more meetings to occur. This agreement, I think as you’re aware, was entered into between Jordan, the United States, and Russia. And we are — we have a very clear picture of who will provide the security forces, but we have a few more details to work out. And if I could, I’d like to defer on that until that is completed.

I expect that will be completed within the next — less than a week. The talks are very active and ongoing.

And your second question again?

Q: Does the administration still believe that Assad has no role in the future government of Syria?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Yes, our position continues to be that we see no long-term role for the Assad family or the Assad regime. And we have made this clear to everyone — we’ve certainly made it clear in our discussions with Russia — that we do not think Syria can achieve international recognition in the future. Even if they work through a successful political process, the international community simply is not going to accept a Syria led by the Assad regime.

And so if Syria is to be accepted and have a secure — both a secure and economic future, it really requires that they find new leadership. We think it will be difficult for them to attract both the humanitarian aid, as well as the reconstruction assistance that’s going to be required, because there just will be such a low level of confidence in the Assad government. So that continues to be the view.

And as we’ve said, how Assad leaves is yet to be determined, but our view is that somewhere in that political process there will be a transition away from the Assad family.

Q: Thank you. Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times. On North Korea, did President Putin agree to do anything to help the U.S. to put more pressure on North Korea? And secondly, you seem to have reached somewhat of an impasse with China in terms of getting them to put more pressure on North Korea. How are you going to get them to go beyond what they’ve done already? And what is President Trump going to say to President Xi on that issue tomorrow?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: We did have a pretty good exchange on North Korea. I would say the Russians see it a little differently than we do, so we’re going to continue those discussions and ask them to do more.

Russia does have economic activity with North Korea, but I would also hasten to add Russia’s official policy is the same as ours — a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

And so I think here, again, there is a difference in terms of view around tactics and pace, and so we will continue to work with them to see if we cannot persuade them as to the urgency that we see.

I think with respect to China, what our experience with China has been — and I’ve said this to others — it’s been a bit uneven. China has taken significant action, and then I think for a lot of different reasons, they paused and didn’t take additional action. They then have taken some steps, and then they paused. And I think in our own view there are a lot of, perhaps, explanations for why those pauses occur. But we’ve remained very closely engaged with China, both through our dialogues that have occurred face-to-face, but also on the telephone. We speak very frequently with them about the situation in North Korea.

So there’s a clear understanding between the two of us of our intent. And I think the sanctions action that was taken here just in last week to 10 days certainly got their attention in terms of their understanding our resolve to bring more pressure to bear on North Korea by directly going after entities doing business with North Korea, regardless of where they may be located. We’ve continued to make that clear to China that we would prefer they take the action themselves. And we’re still calling upon them to do that.

So I would say our engagement is unchanged with China, and our expectations are unchanged.

Q: And you haven’t given up hope?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: No, we have not given up hope. When you’re in an approach like we’re using — and I call it the peaceful pressure campaign. A lot of people like to characterize it otherwise, but this is a campaign to lead us to a peaceful resolution. Because if this fails, we don’t have very many good options left. And so it is a peaceful pressure campaign, and it’s one that requires calculated increases in pressure, allow the regime to respond to that pressure. And it takes a little time to let these things happen. You enact the pressure; it takes a little while for that to work its way through.

So it is going to require some level of patience as we move this along, but when we talk about our strategic patience ending, what we mean is we’re not going to just sit idly by, and we’re going to follow this all the way to its conclusion.

Q: Thank you. Mr. Secretary, I have issue — you just mentioned on the DPRK. We note China and Russia recently said — they asked North Korea to stop the — to freeze, actually, the nuclear activities, and also they asked the U.S. to stop the deployment of THAAD system. So did President Putin bring up his concern about the deployment of THAAD system? And also, what’s the expectation of President Trump on tomorrow’s meeting with President Xi Jinping, other than the DPRK issue? Thank you.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: The subject of THAAD did not come up in the meeting with President Putin.

In terms of the progress of North Korea and this last missile launch, again, those are some of the differences of views we have between ourselves in terms of tactics — how to deal with this. President Putin, I think, has expressed a view not unlike that of China, that they would support a freeze for freeze.

If we study the history of the last 25 years of engagement with various regimes in North Korea, this has been done before. And every time it was done, North Korea went ahead and proceeded with its program.

The problem with freezing now — if we freeze where they are today, we freeze their activities with a very high level of capability. And we do not think it also sets the right tone for where these talks should begin. And so we’re asking North Korea to be prepared to come to the table with an understanding that these talks are going to be about how do we help you chart a course to cease and roll back your nuclear program? That’s what we want to talk about. We’re not interested in talking about how do we have you stop where you are today. Because stopping where they are today is not acceptable to us.

MR. SPICER: Margaret.

Q: Margaret Talev with Bloomberg. Mr. Secretary, could you give us a roadmap? Did you agree on a next set of talks between the President and Mr. Putin? And I guess I have kind of like a fluffy, color question on general impressions. We thought this was a 30-minute meeting. It ended up being 2 hours and 16 minutes. That’s a lot of time to watch those two leaders interact and also to just — whatever. Any insights on all those? Also, real quickly, any update on the dachas? Are they getting them back? And on Ukraine sanctions, any resolution or progress on those? Thanks.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Okay, so the first question?

Q: Next talks.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Next talks. There’s no agreed next meeting between the Presidents. There are agreed subsequent follow-up meetings between various working-level groups at the State Department. We agreed to set up a working-level group to begin to explore this framework agreement around the cyber issue and this issue of non-interference. So those will be ongoing with various staff levels.

Q: Who’s leading that? Is that Rob Joyce on the U.S. side?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, it will be out of the State Department and —

Q: State.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: And the national security advisor’s office.

As to the nature of the 2 hours and 15 minutes, first let me characterize — the meeting was very constructive. The two leaders, I would say, connected very quickly. There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two. I think, again — and I think the positive thing I observed — and I’ve had many, many meetings with President Putin before — is there was not a lot of re-litigating of the past. I think both of the leaders feel like there’s a lot of things in the past that both of us are unhappy about. We’re unhappy, they’re unhappy.

I think the perspective of both of them was, this is a really important relationship. Two largest nuclear powers in the world. It’s a really important relationship. How do we start making this work? How do we live with one another? How do we work with one another? We simply have to find a way to go forward. And I think that was — that was expressed over and over, multiple times, I think by both Presidents, this strong desire.

It is a very complicated relationship today because there are so many issues on the table. And one of the reasons it took a long time, I think, is because once they met and got acquainted with one another fairly quickly, there was so much to talk about — all these issues. Just about everything got touched on to one degree or another. And I think there was just such a level of engagement and exchange, and neither one of them wanted to stop. Several times I had to remind the President, and people were sticking their heads in the door. And I think they even — they sent in the First Lady at one point to see if she could get us out of there, and that didn’t work either. (Laughter.)

Q: Is that true?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: But — yes, it’s true. But it was —

Q: What was the timetable?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, we went another hour after she came in to see us. (Laughter.) So clearly she failed.

But I think — what I’ve described to you, the 2 hours and 15 minutes, it was an extraordinarily important meeting. I mean, there’s just — there’s so much for us to talk about. And it was a good start. Now, I will tell you we spent a very, very lengthy period on Syria, with a great amount of detailed exchange on the agreement we had concluded today — it was announced — but also where we go, and trying to get much greater clarity around how we see this playing out and how Russia sees it playing out, and where do we share a common view and where do we have a difference, and do we have the same objectives in mind.

And I would tell you that, by and large, our objectives are exactly the same. How we get there, we each have a view. But there’s a lot more commonality to that than there are differences. So we want to build on the commonality, and we spent a lot of time talking about next steps. And then where there’s differences, we have more work to get together and understand. Maybe they’ve got the right approach and we’ve got the wrong approach.

So there was a substantial amount of time spent on Syria, just because we’ve had so much activity going on with it.

MR. SPICER: Peter.

Q: Thank you very much. Mr. Secretary, can you say if the President was unequivocal in his view that Russia did interfere in the election? Did he offer to produce any evidence or to convince Mr. Putin?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: The Russians have asked for proof and evidence. I’ll leave that to the intelligence community to address the answer to that question. And again, I think the President, at this point, he pressed him and then felt like at this point let’s talk about how do we go forward. And I think that was the right place to spend our time, rather than spending a lot of time having a disagreement that everybody knows we have a disagreement.

MR. SPICER: Thank you, guys, very much. Have a great evening.

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The New Syrian Cease-Fire Isn't That New

A man looks out of a damaged building in the mountain resort town of Zabadani, Syria, in the Damascus countryside, in May. The U.S. and Russia announced a new cease-fire deal on Friday.

Hassan Ammar/AP

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Hassan Ammar/AP

If you think you’ve heard this story before – you have. Friday’s announcement that the U.S. and Russia reached an agreement to halt the fighting in Syria isn’t exactly new. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve heard it all before – in fact four times before.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking to reporters in Hamburg, Germany, tacitly acknowledged that it was difficult to put a fresh spin on the latest cease-fire deal.

“I would say that what may be different this time is the level of commitment on the part of the Russian government,” Tillerson said. The Russians, he said, “see the situation in Syria transitioning from the defeat of ISIS … to this discussion with them as to what do we do to stabilize Syria once the war against ISIS is won.”

And this meshing of interests (if that really is the case) is key to making a cease-fire stick, not just in Syria, but anywhere, says Paul Floyd, a senior military analyst Stratfor, which consults on global intelligence matters.

Cease-fires, it turns out, are fragile affairs and almost by definition they’re only expected to have a limited shelf life. But even if the big players can agree on a set of goals, “cease-fires are really made or broken by the guy with his finger on the trigger,” Floyd tells NPR. “Oftentimes, the interests of the players on the ground and the players at the top don’t align, and that doesn’t bode well for the survival of a cease-fire agreement.”

The more actors there are at the negotiating table and on the ground, the harder it is to forge a workable agreement, he says. “Syria is a perfect example — you don’t have two parties, you have three, four, five. All they all have different interests in play.”

Floyd says that mutual trust is the mortar that hold a cease-fire together. In Syria, that’s a commodity in very short supply. He says it gets worse with each failed attempt, as has happened repeatedly there.

Since early 2016, there have been four attempts to broker cease-fire deals involving various groups and state actors. All but one collapsed outright and the last is only working by degrees:

— A cease-fire that went into effect in February 2016 involved the United States and Russia. A month later, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would pull out of the pact as Moscow backed a push by Syrian-government forces to retake territory captured by the Islamic State. At the time, NPR’s Alice Fordham put the difficulty of a lasting truce this way: The parties, she said, “have … raised concerns that there’s no consequences for violations. And they’ve shown a reluctance to really look beyond the first few steps of this sequential plan because they say … we have to understand that there really will be a cease-fire.”

— Another deal was done in September between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It didn’t last long. It was difficult even for Kerry to be optimistic about the outcome. NPR wrote when the announcement was made that the U.S. secretary of state noted “the history of [failure] … and warned that the implementation of this new [cease-fire] is far from guaranteed.”

— In December of last year, Turkey and Russia agreed to a truce. It unraveled quickly. When the cease-fire was announced, analyst Aron Lund told NPR, “If there’s good faith on both sides here, then maybe. But good faith – Russia, Iran, Turkey – I don’t know.”

— And barely two months ago, Russia, Iran and Turkey signed an agreement in Astana, Kazakhstan, to create “de-escalation” zones. Although these zones have enjoyed some success, there’s much confusion about their boundaries and not infrequently, violations that result in more bloodshed. As we reported at the time, the watchdog group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that airstrikes had dropped off in the protected zones but that government forces continued to consolidate gains near the capital.

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Exiting Ethics Chief Walter Shaub Calls Trump White House 'A Disappointment'

Walter Shaub resigned this week as director of the Office of Government Ethics, effective later this month.

Claire Harbage/NPR

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Claire Harbage/NPR

Walter Shaub Jr., outgoing director of the Office of Government Ethics, says there’s a new normal for ethics in the Trump administration.

“Even when we’re not talking strictly about violations, we’re talking about abandoning the norms and ethical traditions of the executive branch that have made our ethics program the gold standard in the world until now,” Shaub told All Things Considered host Robert Siegel.

Shaub, who had been OGE director since 2013, resigned Thursday, effective later this month. A White House spokeswoman said, “The White House accepts Mr. Shaub’s resignation and appreciates his service. The President will be nominating a successor in short order.”

OGE chief of staff Shelley Finlayson will serve as acting director when Shaub leaves, the agency said. Trump’s nominee for permanent director will require Senate confirmation.

Shaub’s advice for the White House: “Pick somebody who’s got experience in the government ethics program, who’s shown respect for the ethical norms and traditions, and is independent, and not someone who’s going to be a partisan who will simply agree with everything they do.”

Defenders of federal ethics standards say OGE, and the ethics laws themselves, may be at a turning point.

“Previous administrations have sort of cared a lot about trying to do something about a violation of those conflicts of interest standards, and we have an administration now that honestly doesn’t care,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, or POGO.

She said she used to assume existing laws were “good enough” in revealing whether a president had conflicts of interest, but added: “It turns out that the laws don’t do that. And Shaub I think made a valiant effort in trying to at least let the public understand what it is that we actually don’t know.”

Shaub expressed concerns, too. He said the strong ethics policies of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama “proved that ethics is not a partisan issue.”

His word for the Trump administration: disappointment.

“I can only describe my experience with the way they’ve run their ethics program in the White House right now as one of disappointment,” he told NPR, citing especially the ethics waivers for White House staffers. “That’s just no way to run an ethics program.”

OGE, with just 70 employees under Shaub’s leadership, faced off with the administration repeatedly over the past eight months. Shaub failed to make President Trump divest himself of his business interests — a move taken by most recent presidents, even though the chief executive is not covered by conflict-of-interest law.

But Shaub and his staff did negotiate tough divestiture agreements with several Cabinet appointees, plus Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. A bureaucratic maneuver by OGE compelled the White House to disclose the ethics waivers given to White House aides to circumvent conflict-of-interest restrictions.

“OGE held the president accountable, and I think Walt gets a lot of credit for that,” said Norm Eisen, former ethics counsel in the Obama administration.

Eisen is now among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that Trump has violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, a provision that bars federal officials from accepting gifts or payments from foreign officials.

When Shaub leaves OGE later this month, he moves immediately to the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit legal group that works on redistricting, voting rights, campaign finance and similar issues. Shaub will lead an ethics practice.

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Sandy Stewart And Bill Charlap On Piano Jazz

Vocalist Sandy Stewart first emerged as a star of the cabaret scene during the 1960s, and her marriage to Broadway composer Moose Charlap kept her plugged into a vibrant music community. In 2005, Stewart and her son, pianist Bill Charlap, collaborated on their first album together, Love Is Here to Stay. On this Piano Jazz broadcast from 2006, hosted by Marian McPartland, mother and son bring a rare combination of swing and sophistication to a performance of “Two For The Road.”

Originally broadcast in the spring of 2006.


  • “Two For The Road” (Mancini, Bricusse)
  • “The Boy Next Door” (Blane, Martin)
  • “Where Or When” (Rodgers, Hart)
  • “Melancholy Mood” (McPartland)
  • “Here I Am” (Charlap, Sweeney)
  • “In A Sentimental Mood” (Ellington)
  • “The Nearness Of You” (Washington, Carmichael)
  • “Taking A Chance On Love” (Duke, Fetter, LaTouche)

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Recruiters Use 'Geofencing' To Target Potential Hires Where They Live And Work

Companies are trying geofencing, which uses GPS and radio frequency identification to set up a virtual, wireless perimeter so that cellphone users in that area receive messages or advertisements on their phones.

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Carol McDaniel has a perennial challenge: Attracting highly specialized acute-care certified neonatal nurse practitioners to come work for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla.

They are “always in short supply, high demand, and [it is a] very, very small group of people,” says McDaniel, the hospital’s recruitment director.

So, about six months ago, McDaniel says, the hospital started using a new recruitment tactic: It buys lists of potential candidates culled from online profiles or educational records. It then uses a technology to set up a wireless fence around key areas where the coveted nurses live or work. When a nurse with the relevant credentials enters a geofenced zone, ads inviting them to apply to All Children’s appear on their phones.

The system also automatically collects data from the user’s cellphone so it can continue to advertise to them, even after they leave the geofenced area.

The result? She’s getting responses from three to four job candidates a week; she got almost none before.

As the unemployment rate falls and fewer people are jobless, recruiters are using increasingly aggressive and innovative ways of trying to get the attention of potential job seekers — and mobile phones are becoming a key part of how that is done.

Geofencing uses GPS and radio frequency identification to set up a virtual, wireless perimeter — around an event, a zip code, a neighborhood — so that people in that area receive messages or advertisements on their cellphones. The technology is perhaps best known for its use sending coupons to potential customers passing by stores.

McDaniel says she loves how targeted the technology is. She even tries to poach workers by sending ads to nurses as they go to work at rival hospitals. And because it’s so targeted, she says, it’s far more cost-effective.

“We have invaded their space in which they live and work, so it’s a much better use of our dollars,” she says. “We’re not just throwing out a wide net and seeing who comes through the pipeline.”

McDaniel admits it’s a bit creepy and “Big Brotherish,” but says people who respond say they’re flattered because, unlike a general advertisement, it’s directed at them. And, if they don’t like it, they can simply opt out.

“A lot of people look at it as a compliment, and it makes them kind of feel good for the day. ‘Wow, Johns Hopkins reached out to me,’ ” she says.

Salt Lake City trucking firm C.R. England has been using the technology for a couple of years, setting up geofences around truck stops and other areas where it needs to recruit more drivers, who are always in short supply.

C.R. England competes with much bigger companies, and drivers might switch employers over a slight increase in pay, or an extra rest day between runs. So reminding drivers of opportunities at the company is key, says Wayne Cederholm, vice president of driver recruitment.

“There’s not a lot that differentiates these carriers, so the smallest thing can make a big difference,” he says. Also, because 75 percent of job applications come via mobile phones these days, that has become central to recruitment, Cederholm says.

That is especially true for those recruiting among the younger workers, whose gateways to the world are their phones.

“People really don’t spend nearly as much time on the traditional job boards,” says Jacob Rhoades, vice president of marketing for Parker Staffing Services in Seattle. The company saw a 40 percent increase in Web traffic and an uptick in resumes after it set up geofences this spring at area college graduations.

“It’s tough for a small business, especially in the Seattle hiring market, to get our name out there, considering we compete against companies like Amazon,” Rhoades says.

And the price is unbeatable. His latest experiment in geofencing was more effective and cheaper — as little as half a cent per view — than traditional campaigns he’s done before.

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