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J.K. Rowling's new 'Harry Potter' tale
In honor of Halloween, J.K. Rowling is delving into the back story of one of "Harry Potter's" more twisted Hogwarts professors.
Comedian, rap mogul arrested
Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight and comedian Micah "Katt" Williams were arrested Wednesday, accused of stealing a photographer's camera last month.
Suspected trooper killer caught
After 48 days of living in what one resident called a war zone, the people of northeast Pennsylvania are relieved now that Eric Frein is in custody.
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WATCH LIVE: Minnesota Senate Debate
Minnesota’s U.S. Senate candidates will meet for one last debate at 8 p.m. EST (7 p.m. CT) on Sunday, Nov. 2, just two days out from Election Day.
Incumbent Sen. Al Franken (DFL) will defend his record against opponent Mike McFadden (R) live from Minnesota Public Radio’s Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minn. Kerri Miller and Cathy Wurzer, two program hosts for MPR, will moderate.
Franken, a former comedian and writer for Saturday Night Live, squeaked into office by 312 votes in 2009, after a lengthy recount and court battle. He has since taken up a classically progressive stance within the Senate, notably writing provisions into the Affordable Care Act.
Minnesota Senate candidate Mike McFadden (left) and Sen. Al Franken (right) will square off in a debate Sunday.
McFadden is a businessman and political newcomer. Since winning handily in the primaries, he has focused on Franken’s record of backing President Obama’s policies, calling his opponent “the most partisan Senator in the Democratic Party.”
Until recently, that tactic didn’t appear to be working: in September, McFadden was still down by 13 points. But a new poll out this week shows Franken’s edge has narrowed to single digits, with McFadden gaining among independents.
It’s relatively unusual to debate the weekend before Election Day. Many voters have made up their minds by now, and campaigns typically conduct their final outreach efforts now, to ensure high turnout.
But if the candidates’ most recent meeting in Minneapolis is any indication, there are still plenty of issues to discuss out in the Gopher State. Sparks flew at that debate, with both men interrupting and occasionally shouting at one another over health care, tax policy, and negative campaign ads.
McFadden later paid to replay the debate in its entirety as a campaign ad of sorts.
The post WATCH LIVE: Minnesota Senate Debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Is Burkina Faso sub-Saharan Africa’s version of the Arab Spring?
People in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou celebrate after embattled President Blaise Compaore announced on Oct. 31 that he was stepping down to make way for elections following a violent uprising against his 27-year rule. Photo by Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images
Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore stepped down Friday to massive celebrations after his failed attempts to extend his 27-year reign. Hard economic times and youth unemployment were factors in his overthrow, but the upheaval doesn’t mark the beginning of Africa’s Arab Spring, two analysts say.
“I think what has happened in sub-Saharan Africa is entirely different from what has been happening in the Arab world,” said Ambassador Johnnie Carson, senior adviser to the president of the U.S. Institute of Peace and former U.S. assistant secretary of state for African Affairs.
In sub-Saharan Africa, he said, there’s more of a pre-existing institutional desire for democracy — dating back to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 — that didn’t exist in most Arab countries, which were starting from scratch.
“You have seen the introduction of new constitutions, many of them with term limits,” said Carson. “We have seen multiparty elections, we have seen an opening up of a political space for opposition groups, for civil society and for the media” in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Burkina Faso specifically, people want democratic institutions and their leaders to adhere to them, he said. “Compaore’s attempt to roll back the constitution is seen as an attempt to further empower himself and change himself from an elected African president to an inherited chieftainship.”
It’s true that people in Burkina Faso wanted the same things as the Arab Spring countries in North Africa, including basic services, access to education, health care and jobs, good infrastructure, security and peace, said John Mukum Mbaku, a nonresident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative and an economics professor at Weber State University in Utah.
But the revolution in Burkina Faso, dating back to 2000, was different because religion didn’t play a role as it did in the Arab Spring, said Mbaku. Religion is a “complicating factor” in places like Egypt, he said, where President Mohammed Morsi and his religious-oriented government were overturned.
A man in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, sells daily newspapers leading with stories about the recent events in Burkina Faso on Oct. 31. Photo by Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images
If Burkina Faso wants to learn from the Arab Spring, he continued, it will have to construct institutions so the government is guided by the rule of law, rather than an individual.
Compaore believed that without him the country would fall apart, Mbaku said, but if you have good institutions that are functioning and strong, no matter who is in office, democracy will survive, he said.
“This is a test case for democracy not only in Burkina Faso but across Africa,” said Carson. Other African leaders who have been in power for several decades will see how Burkina Faso’s people reacted when Compaore tried to extend his rule, and they might think twice about doing the same, he said.
Burkina Faso’s next elections are planned for 2015.
The post Is Burkina Faso sub-Saharan Africa’s version of the Arab Spring? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Why street harassment happens, and why most people just ignore it
A viral video thrusted the issue of street harassment into the spotlight this week. Viewed more than 23.5 million times on YouTube since being posted four days ago, the video, by the activist group Hollaback!, shows one woman being harassed more than 100 times in 10 hours while walking in New York City:
Shoshana B. Roberts was harassed more than 100 times during a 10-hour walk through New York City. Video by Hollaback!
According to a nationally representative survey commissioned by the advocacy group Stop Street Harassment, 65 percent of U.S. women said they have experienced this form of harassment, which takes place in public spaces and can involve anything from catcalls to forced sexual interaction. Among U.S. men, one-quarter said they have experienced street harassment. The survey also showed that non-white individuals and people who identify as gay, lesbian or transgender are more likely to say they have experienced street harassment.
What compels people to harass others on the street?
While few people actually admit to committing street harassment, the act is often done with the intent to frighten or dominate the targeted individual, said Laura Beth Nielsen, a sociologist, lawyer and Northwestern University professor who explores the role of street harassment in society.
For example, when a stranger on the street comments on a woman’s appearance, it is often done quietly and is “designed to be invisible to other people around,” she said. “The experience of the woman is that you don’t know where that’s going, and a lot of times, you may feel violated or threatened.”
Typically, people who are targeted by street harassment do not respond, as if ignoring the behavior. Comparable harassment on the Internet receives similar responses, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, which found that 60 percent of those who have faced online harassment “decided to ignore their most recent incident.”
As with online harassment, street harassment is about “crossing boundaries,” says Holly Kearl, founder of the advocacy group, Stop Street Harassment.
Much as parents advise their children to ignore school bullies, people choose to avoid confronting street harassment because “that’s what we’ve learned to do, and we don’t know how else to respond,” she said.
Fear that a response might escalate the situation often keeps the targeted individual quiet. Of women who said they have been harassed in the Stop Street Harassment survey, more than two-thirds said they were at least somewhat concerned that the harassment would become more aggressive. Time of day, location and the presence of other people also make a difference in how people respond, Nielsen said.
In her research, Nielsen said those targeted by street harassment often say that they modify their behavior as a result of the harassment: wearing headphones, changing how they dress, walking a different path or altering their modes of transportation.
“There are real-life consequences, excluding women from certain areas of the public,” Nielsen said.
Grassroots social movements have been organized to stem the behavior that leads to street harassment through education programs and public service announcements, she said.
The Hollaback! video is one manifestation of that effort. However, the video has been criticized for focusing on incidents of street harassment committed by non-white individuals. This led to the group issuing an apology that said they “regret the unintended racial bias in the editing of the video that over represents men of color.” Kearl said more research is needed to understand the role of race and location in street harassment.
At its essence, street harassment is a cultural norm, Kearl said, something that children grow up seeing in cartoons and in media.
“No country has achieved gender equality to date,” she said. “This is one more symptom of that, one more manifestation.”
The post Why street harassment happens, and why most people just ignore it appeared first on PBS NewsHour.