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How a tariff on Canadian lumber could backfire on the U.S.

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JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: As we touched on earlier, there is a trade dispute brewing between the U.S. and its northern neighbor.

William Brangham is back with that story.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: President Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on certain lumber imported from Canada escalated tensions between the two nations.

And the president has already said he wants to renegotiate or overhaul NAFTA this summer.

Today’s move drew a pointed response from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said, “You cannot thicken this border without hurting people on both sides of it.”

At a meeting with farmers this afternoon, President Trump came back with some tough words of his own.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: People don’t realize Canada has been very rough on the United States. Everyone thinks of Canada as being wonderful. And so do I. I love Canada. But they have outsmarted our politicians for many years, and you people understand that. So, we did institute a very big tariff.

QUESTION: And do you fear a trade war with Canada?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, not at all.

QUESTION: Why not?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They have a tremendous surplus with the United States. Whenever they have a surplus, I have no fear.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, let’s get some further explanation about this move, and what it means for the broader trade agenda of the new president.

Greg Ip covers all this for The Wall Street Journal, and he joins me now.

Welcome back to the NewsHour.

GREG IP, The Wall Street Journal: Thank you.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, who would have thought that we’d have our first trade flare-up of the Trump administration with Canada, of all places. Explain, what is this fight all about?

GREG IP: It does sound like a surprise, but it shouldn’t be surprising.

And, remember, the Canada-U.S. trade relationship is still the world’s largest. And a relationship that size always generates disputes. And this particular dispute didn’t fall out of a clear spring sky. It’s been going on for literally decades.

It’s rooted in the different way Canada and the United States charges forestry companies for the trees that they cut down and turn into lumber. In the United States, they have a market-based system. There is an auction. Companies compete against each other to buy the trees.

In Canada, the provincial government is basically assigned a fee that turns out to be lower than the market price American companies pay. The United States claims that’s an unfair subsidy. And so this has been an ongoing source of dispute between the two countries.

The dispute that is under way this week actually began under the prior administration. There had been, if you will, a truce between the two countries. That truce expired.

The Obama administration had been negotiating with the Canadians to come up with a permanent solution. And they failed. And so even though this is being portrayed as the first salvo by Trump’s tough trade regime, in fact, it’s quite possible that, if Hillary Clinton were president, we would be in the same place.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Let’s say Trump is successful and he puts this tariff on imported Canadian lumber. As a consumer here in the U.S., would impact would we likely see?

GREG IP: Well, remember, tariffs are in the end taxes. And somebody has to pay that tax.

And in this case, that tax will be paid by the buyers of that lumber, which is the home builders primarily and the people who buy those homes. The National Association of Home Builders estimates that there’s about $15,000 worth of lumber in a typical new home, a single-family home in the United States. This tariff will add about $1,200 to the price of that home.

Now, it’s been the case that because the market had already anticipated something like this, lumber prices have already started to move up, so you won’t necessarily see an immediate impact from this point forward.

But I think one thing people are forgetting is that trade disputes are two-sided. When the United States imposes tariffs on a partner like Canada, there is always a possibility that Canada will say that’s not fair and retaliate. And at that point, you have to ask the question, which Canadian industry will suffer because the Canadians have imposed tariffs — excuse me — which U.S. industry will suffer because the Canadians retaliated against it?

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We’re seeing this Trump move on wood. He also had some very strong complaints about Canadian milk. Last week, we saw him making some noises about steel in China. There might be a move on aluminum coming up.

Are we starting to see now a Trump trade policy emerge?

GREG IP: I think we are.

When he was first elected, there was a lot of fear of a trade war. They listened to Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign. Oh, we’re going to put a 45 percent tariff on China, a 35 percent tariff on Mexico. We haven’t seen any of that.

It’s clear now that Trump and his administration doesn’t want the start a trade war, i.e., big tariff on a whole country that triggers retaliation. What we are seeing is a very careful and meticulous review of all the tools they have available and to use those to start bringing cases against countries under existing law that they think are unfair.

Now, that doesn’t look like a trade war, but it could look like a lot of border skirmishes that add up. We still don’t know, though, what the end result is. The reason we have things like NAFTA and the World Health Organization is so that, when there is a dispute like this, as there always will be, it’s contained, you don’t get an escalating tit-for-tat spiral.

And the real test will be, if Canada takes this to a panel with NAFTA or the WTO, and wins, will the Trump administration abide by that ruling?

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Well, we have seen a lot of instances where the president has talked very tough standing on the sidelines, and then, when push comes to shove and he gets close with foreign leaders, or starts these negotiations, he becomes a little more conciliatory.

Let’s say a trade war or a trade fight really does break out. Do you think he will escalate or de-escalate?

GREG IP: At this point, it’s impossible to say, and I think it would be unwise for us to speculate too far, because I don’t think they really know.

But I think we know this much about Trump so far: He believes he’s a deal-maker. He likes to bargain. Part of bargaining is that you talk really tough. You ask for the moon, you settle for the topsoil. He says — he beats up on the Mexicans, he beats up on the Canadians, but the point is not to abrogate the treaty and have the two of us basically putting up walls and blocking trucks at the border.

It’s to come up with a deal that both sides feel they can live with. And I think that that’s probably where we’re going to end up. I think that Trump has people working for him who are ultimately deal-makers. And the Canadians are the same way. They’re grownups about this.

That’s why you saw the prime minister of Canada not respond to Trump with the same rhetoric, but to talk about the strength of the relationship and the desire for a deal.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The president has also said, as we touched on a little bit, that he wants to renegotiate NAFTA. How would that actually look? How could that unfold? What likely might we see?

GREG IP: So, I think one of the interesting things is that this dispute did erupt while that renegotiation is under way.

Wilbur Ross, taking questions from the press today, said he had actually preferred to have kept those things separate, because, as we discussing a minute ago, this softwood lumber dispute is a very old dispute that almost follows a dynamic entirely of its own that is actually somewhat independent of the issues of the issues that are bothering the president on NAFTA.

Unfortunately, because they could not get an agreement within the legislative window, it will end up getting sucked into that agreement. And it’s very hard to say exactly how it turns out.

We know from, for example, drafts that the administration has circulated on Capitol Hill, there are a few things they would like to change about NAFTA. They would like to, for example, have the ability to impose tariffs just because imports are surging from Canada or Mexico, not necessarily because they’re being sold unfairly.

They want the ability to not have — to be able to — they want more freedom to use our countervailing the subsidy laws against Canada and Mexico. Will the Canadians and Mexicans accept that as a price worth paying to preserve the special agreement? Will they say, no, we’d rather have no agreement? All those things remain to be seen.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Greg Ip of The Wall Street Journal, thank you very much.

GREG IP: All right, thank you.

The post How a tariff on Canadian lumber could backfire on the U.S. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

5 overlooked stories you should read now

A man walks in front of a replica of Unha-3 rocket displayed at the Sci-Tech Complex in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo
         by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

A man walks in front of a replica of Unha-3 rocket displayed at the Sci-Tech Complex in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Last week started with a potential nuclear standoff, saw two elections go down to the wire, and ended with scientists marching on seven continents in defense of, well, science.

As of this article’s publishing, these events all remain unresolved.

Fortunately, the nuclear showdown was reduced to a simmer when it turned out U.S. warships hadn’t actually been dispatched to counter North Korean sabre-rattling, as officials had claimed. Closely-watched elections in France and Georgia will move on to runoffs after no candidate could achieve a majority. (Consensus is hard to reach these days.) And for the moment, the future of science remains hypothetical.

What’s not hypothetical are these five important stories that you likely missed among all the other headlines.

Activists from the group Chok3 stand next to a banner painted with their own blood during a protest against the constant
         discrimination and violence against the gay community in Chechnya and other regions of Russia, outside the Russian embassy
         in Mexico City, Mexico. Photo by Carlos Jasso/Reuters

Activists from the group Chok3 stand next to a banner painted with their own blood during a protest against the constant discrimination and violence against the gay community in Chechnya and other regions of Russia, outside the Russian embassy in Mexico City, Mexico. Photo by Carlos Jasso/Reuters

1. More details of the anti-gay crackdown in Chechyna emerge. A spokesman for the region’s leadership said gay men do not exist there.

At the start of April, an opposition newspaper in Russia, Novaya Gazeta, reported that authorities in Chechnya had been detaining and killing gay men in the region.

The newspaper reported that more than 100 men thought to be gay or bisexual had been arrested and taken to a state-sponsored detention center. Another three had been killed, possibly several more, in the anti-gay sweep in the conservative region.

Shortly after news of the police sweeps broke, an emergency hotline was created by the Saint Petersburg-based advocacy group Russian LGBT Network. More details of the crackdown emerged: Chechen authorities would beat, torture and subject the men to electric shocks. Some victims said they were lured by authorities, posing as friends, on social chat rooms. Under duress, the men were also coerced to give the names of their gay acquaintances.

As media took notice in the U.S., details of the crackdown were scarce. Reports were largely limited to Novaya Gazeta’s initial story and local human rights activists who said there was a state-sponsored detention center that rounded up gay and bisexual men.

This was in direct contrast with the response from the spokesman for Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s leader. Spokesman Alvi Karimov called the initial report of the crackdown “absolute lies and disinformation,” saying that there is no anti-gay detention center in Chechnya because no gay men exist in the region.

“You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” Alvi Karimov, the spokesman, said. “If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return,” he added.

Several follow-up reports from CNN and The New York Times, among others, say otherwise.

Why it’s important

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, in
         2015. Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, in 2015. Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters

Chechnya is a Muslim-majority region in southern Russia, where, as one resident told Andrew Kramer of the Times, “Under Islam, lying with a man is a sin.”

“People don’t approve of homosexuals here in Chechnya. If anybody tries to start a gay movement here, they will be killed,” the man, who wanted to remain anonymous, added. The man also told the Times that he was opposed to the current crackdown.

Russia, in general, has been accused of a litany of human rights abuses against LGBTQ individuals, including a 2013 law, signed by President Vladimir Putin, that banned “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

Human Rights Watch also said in a statement back in January that Chechnya’s leader Kadyrov “has steadily tried to eradicate all forms of dissent and gradually built a tyranny within Chechnya,” adding that it’s been worse the past two years.

It’s all been done, too, “with the blessing of the Kremlin,” the international human rights group added.

Last week, Putin met with Kadyrov at the Kremlin, where the Chechnya leader brought up the reports of the anti-gay police sweeps — to reject them again. Putin, reportedly, did not comment.

There has been some international pressure, including from the U.S. State Department, on Russia to investigate the abuses.

Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch told BBC that the “chances of a proper investigation … are possibly rather thin.”

“But the chance that Russia’s leadership orders Kadyrov to stop the purge is there. It’s not everything, but it’s better than nothing,” she added.

2. A new look at America’s mortality

Does where we live determine how we die?

Researchers have argued yes. But the way medical examiners classify deaths can sometimes be vague, not always precise enough to map trends in any meaningful way.

Now, The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has designed a new model that could allow us to better predict and treat disease, addiction and other causes of death.

Five Thirty Eight visualized that data this week in an interactive map, which allows users to explore cause of death in every inch of the country over time.

Why it’s important

The new model gives us “more complete estimates of mortality across the country, one revealing regional and local variations in causes of death,” Five Thirty Eight writes:

Rural Appalachia stands out; nine counties in Kentucky and three in West Virginia make the list. Rising cancer rates and increased deaths from substance abuse in Appalachia have kept mortality rates high there, even while overall mortality rates in the U.S. have gone down.

Also high on the list: the Dakotas, dominated by Native American tribes on reservations, which have struggled with access to health care and treating mental illness.

It also gives a better glimpse at how certain causes of death have changed over time. Deaths from cardiovascular diseases were cut in half between the 1980s and 2014, as were those from transport injuries. Other causes, like mental health substance abuse disorders, nearly tripled in that time. This kind of information could better allow local and federal health officials to set priorities and direct funding where it’s needed most.

3. Fear of Chinese jihadists returning from Syria is a growing concern for Beijing

A man works on a security camera that was installed at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 2013. China's domestic security
         chief believed a fatal vehicle crash in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in which five died was planned by a Uighur separatist
         group, designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and UN. Beijing, then, said the East Turkestan Islamic Movement
         was behind the attack. Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

A man works on a security camera that was installed at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 2013. China’s domestic security chief believed a fatal vehicle crash in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in which five died was planned by a Uighur separatist group, designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and UN. Beijing, then, said the East Turkestan Islamic Movement was behind the attack. Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

As many as several thousand Chinese jihadists have traveled to Syria, most of them paying allegiance to the Turkestan Islamic Party, or TIP. The Islamic group, itself an offshoot of a larger Muslim separatist group, fights against President Bashar Assad’s government forces.

The number of Chinese fighters heading off to fight in Syria’s civil war has become a rising concern for Chinese officials in Beijing who worry about national security when these fighters return to their home country, the Associated Press reported.

As Council of Foreign Relations pointed out, TIP has previously taken responsibility for a pair of bus bombings in Shanghair and Kunming in 2009.

However, the number of Chinese jihadist fighters is a point of disagreement. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AP that it estimates that 5,000 Chinese jihadists, most of whom a part of TIP, are involved in Syria’s war. But, a terrorism expert at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations told AP that the number of Chinese fighters in Syria is closer to 300.

Why it’s important

Syria’s President Bashar Assad speaks during an interview with China’s state television CCTV, in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria’s national news agency, SANA, in 2013. Photo by SANA/Handout via Reuters

Besides Russia, China has been criticized as one of Syria’s steadfast backers in the ongoing civil war, vetoing several UN resolutions that would impose sanctions on the Syrian government.

China, along with Russia, vetoed a UN resolution in February that would have specifically directed sanctions at Syria over its suspected use of chemical weapons.

And what does Assad think of the Chinese jihadists? Last month, he reportedly addressed Beijing’s concern over this group in an interview with Chinese PHOENIX TV.

“They know your country more than the others, so they can do more harm in your country than others,” AP quoted the Syrian president as saying.

But, China has a history of using anti-terrorism crackdowns to repress local Muslim populations, such as the Uighurs, and to restrict religious practices of the nations’s minorities.

Earlier this month, the Chinese government barred parents from choosing a select group of names for their children, the Times confirmed. The “List of Banned Ethnic Minority Names” included two dozen banned names with “Muhammad,” “Arafat,” “Jihad” and “Medina,” among them.

The government said the ban was introduced to help “curb religious fervor” in Xinjiang, home to 10 million Uighurs in west China.

Rights groups condemned the ban, saying that the policy restricts religious freedom.

“Violent incidents and ethnic tensions in Xinjiang have been on the rise in recent years, but the government’s farcically repressive policies and punishments are hardly solutions,” Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “Instead, they are only going to deepen resentment among Uyghurs.”

4. In a northern district of Hanoi, villagers take police hostage

Released policemen (wearing dark uniforms) walk out from the communal house at Dong Tam commune, My Duc district in Hanoi.
         More than a dozen police and officials held hostage by Vietnamese villagers over a land dispute were released on April 22,
         state media reported, ending a week-long standoff that had gripped the country.  Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

Released policemen (wearing dark uniforms) walk out from the communal house at Dong Tam commune, My Duc district in Hanoi.
More than a dozen police and officials held hostage by Vietnamese villagers over a land dispute were released on April 22, state media reported, ending a week-long standoff that had gripped the country. Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

It takes a village to raise a child, the popular proverb goes. It often also takes a village to force change, a thought embodied last week by residents of a northern Hanoi suburb who held dozens of police and city officials hostage as bargaining chips in a land dispute.

Residents of Dong Tam took 38 police officers hostage April 15 as the latest tactic in their unsuccessful campaign to get the government to reconsider a land deal. Originally, the 145-acre tract was intended for a military airport, one resident told the New York Times, but that project was canceled and more than a dozen families built houses on the land. In 2015, the government handed the land over to The Viettel Group, a military communications firm run by the government, the BBC reported; protests began this year as residents grew increasingly frustrated over what they said was unfair compensation for their land.

When police went to arrest four villagers for “disturbing social order,” the villagers fought back, capturing dozens of police officers and barricading the district to get the attention of the government, including Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung.

The villagers slowly released the police officers over the course of the week as talks continued. Over the weekend, they released the 19 officers that remained, after Chung agreed to address their concerns within 45 days and not pursue charges against the locals who held the officers hostage.

Why it’s important

A street is seen blocked at a gate in Dong Tam during a land dispute protest on the outskirts of Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo
         by REUTERS/Stringer.

A street is seen blocked at a gate in Dong Tam during a land dispute protest on the outskirts of Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by REUTERS/Stringer.

Like in many other places around the globe, proving land ownership in Vietnam, whose government is controlled by the Communist Party, can be tricky.

Residents can own property, but the government can also seize it at any time in the name of socio-economic development, the BBC points out — though how they define that remains largely unclear. Four years ago, the government made reforms to how they evicted families from their land, but the experts told the Times those changes were “largely cosmetic.”

The difference now: Residents are adopting new strategies. Not all are as drastic as holding dozens of police officers hostage. But before and during this latest incident, for instance, residents voiced their frustrations on platforms like YouTube and Facebook. In this way, they’re better able to document what is happening and broadcast it to the world.

Social media, particularly Facebook, “has quickly become a battleground for pro-government social media users and Vietnamese activists to argue about the stand-off,” the BBC writes.

How the government settles this land dispute could have broad implications for property rights in the country. As one economist warned the AP: something like the Dong Tam incident could happen again “if there are no strong changes in the legal system and the behavior of the authorities.”

5. A pipeline project has leaked millions of gallons of drilling fluid into Ohio wetlands

A screengrab from Google Maps shows the Tuscarawas River just outside of Navarre, Ohio.

A screengrab from Google Maps shows the Tuscarawas River just outside of Navarre, Ohio.

The Rover Pipeline, a $4.2 billion dollar project that will carry natural gas through Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan and Ontario, Canada, leaked more than 2 million gallons of drilling fluid into wetlands close to Columbus, Ohio, officials discovered last week.

As reported by NewsHour’s Courtney Norris, about 50,000 gallons of drilling fluid — a thick gel-like substance used to cut through rock during pipeline construction — was released into wetlands near Richland County, Ohio, according to a violation notice made public last week. A much larger spill also took place April 13, which leaked an estimated 2 million gallons of drilling fluid into wetlands next to the Tuscarawas River.

The pollutants from the spill included bentonite, a clay mud used as a drilling lubricant, according to violation paperwork issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. It’s a mineral used to help cat litter clump when it gets wet and does not break down easily in water, making it difficult to remove from aquifers. A spokesman for the Ohio EPA, James Lee, told the Richland Source newspaper that the spill did not affect private wells or public water systems.

The Ohio EPA instructed Rover Pipeline LLC, which is owned by Energy Transfer Partners, to establish containment points and remove pollutants from affected surface water. Alexis Daniels, a spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Partners, told the Richland Source in an email that the company enacted its cleanup protocol upon recognizing the spill. Daniels also noted the drilling fluid released in the spill is non-toxic and not harmful to the environment.

Why it’s important

A banner flies in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Photo by Terray Sylvester/Reuters

A banner flies in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. President Donald Trump has pledged to make it easier for pipelines to move forward. Photo by Terray Sylvester/Reuters

After receiving permits in February, ETP began construction of the 713-mile Rover pipeline earlier this month; the project was scheduled to be ready for service sometime in 2017. It’s not clear how these latest spills affect that schedule.

The spills come at a time when President Donald Trump is pledging to make it easier for pipelines to move forward.

Trump said he planned to expedite environmental reviews — including the one that allowed Dakota Access Pipeline, also owned by Energy Transfer Partners, to be completed, despite concerns and monthslong demonstrations from Native American and environmental protesters. Trump also gave the green light to the Keystone XL pipeline, a project former President Barack Obama rejected in 2015.

“The process is so long and cumbersome that they give up before the end. Sometimes it takes many, many years and we don’t want that to happen,” Trump said while signing an executive order in January.

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers, including Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, are urging the government step in to stop construction of other pipelines across the country.

PBS NewsHour’s Iman Smith and Courtney Norris contributed to this story.

READ MORE: 5 important stories that can help you (mostly) take a break from politics

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Ivanka Trump promotes women’s rights, defends her father amid cool reception in Berlin

Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser of U.S. President Donald Trump, visits the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany.
         Photo by REUTERS/Michael Sohn/Pool.

Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser of U.S. President Donald Trump, visits the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany. Photo by REUTERS/Michael Sohn/Pool.

BERLIN — Ivanka Trump brushed aside groans and hisses Tuesday over her father’s track record and defended his attitudes toward women as she made her first international outing as a White House adviser.

Trump pledged to push for “incremental, positive change” for women in the U.S. economy and told a Berlin conference on women that she’s still “rather unfamiliar” with her role as first daughter and adviser to President Donald Trump.

The scattered groans and hisses came as she described her father as “a tremendous champion of supporting families.”

Trump’s one-day visit, at the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, gave Merkel and other officials face-to-face access with the president’s influential daughter at a time when world leaders are still trying to discern where his policies will lead.

Trump’s one-day visit gave officials face-to-face access with the president’s influential daughter at a time when world leaders are still trying to discern where his policies will lead.

Merkel and Trump were part of a high-powered panel discussion Tuesday at the W20 Summit, a women-focused effort within the Group of 20 countries, entitled “Inspiring women: Scaling up women’s entrepreneurship.” They were joined by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde and the Netherlands’ Queen Maxima, among others.

The 35-year-old Trump, who stepped away from both running her fashion brand and from an executive role at the Trump Organization to become an unpaid White House adviser, said she is still finding her feet in her new role.

“I’m listening, I’m learning, I’m defining the ways in which I think that I’ll be able to have impact” in empowering women in the U.S. economy and beyond, she said.

READ MORE: How the Kushners became crucial West Wing players

She says she plans “to bring the advice, to bring the knowledge, back to the United States, back to both my father and the president — and hopefully that will bring about incremental, positive change. And that is my goal.”

Trump has been a vocal advocate for policies benefiting working women and vocational training. During Merkel’s visit to Washington in March, she organized a discussion with the German leader, her father, and American and German executives about how companies can better train workers.

However, Trump has faced a backlash in the United States, particularly from liberals who think she has done little to temper her father’s conservative agenda. Since the president took office in January, liberal groups have questioned the impact of his policy moves on families.

On Tuesday, Berlin moderator Miriam Meckel brought Trump into the discussion with a pointed question about her White House role.

“As a part of the audience, especially the German audience, is not that familiar with the concept of the ‘first daughter’ I’d like to ask you: what is your role and who are you representing — your father as the president of the United States, the American people or your business?” she asked.

The question drew a quick response from Trump.

“Certainly not the latter. And I am rather unfamiliar with this role as well, as it is quite new to me,” Trump responded. She added that “it has been a little under 100 days but it has just been a remarkable, incredible journey.”

Meckel intervened again after Trump described the president as “a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive,” noting some reactions from the audience.

“Some attitudes toward women your father has publicly displayed in former times might leave one questioning whether he’s such an empowerer for women,” said the moderator, who is the editor of a German business magazine and also a professor of corporate communications at St. Gallen University in Switzerland.

“I’ve certainly heard the criticism from the media, and that’s been perpetuated,” Trump replied.

Upset with Trump the president, consumers boycott Trump the brand

But Trump added that her own personal experience and the fact that “thousands” of women have worked with and for Donald Trump for decades in the private sector “are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man.”

“He encouraged me and enabled me to thrive,” Trump said. “I grew up in a house where there was no barrier to what I could accomplish beyond my own perseverance and my own tenacity.”

There was, she stressed, “no difference between me and my brothers. And I think as a business leader you saw that, and as a president you will absolutely see that.”

Before the event, President Trump tweeted Tuesday that he is “proud of @IvankaTrump for her leadership on these important issues.”

There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

Trump, who promoted child care and family leave policies during her father’s campaign, told reporters Tuesday that child care “is going to be part of comprehensive tax reform.”

The president is set to roll out tax reform priorities Wednesday, but his daughter didn’t specify whether it would be part of that announcement.

She also said more needs to be done to help female entrepreneurs secure funding in the U.S. — “we are not where we need to be.”

Later Tuesday, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser gave Trump a tour of a training center in Berlin run by the German industrial conglomerate. Germany is proud of its vocational training system. Siemens says it has some 12,000 young people worldwide, including 9,000 in Germany, in programs that combine study with practical training.

Before heading to a formal dinner, Trump visited the German capital’s memorial to the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis. Trump converted to Judaism herself ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner.

Trump walked slowly through the field of undulating ground filled with concrete slabs, along with U.S. Embassy personnel. She was also flanked by a strong police guard to keep curious tourists and others at a distance.

She paused occasionally to look at the slabs, meant to symbolize the chaos of the Holocaust, and donned sunglasses before emerging on the other side of the monument to a crush of cameras and onlookers.

Catherine Lucey contributed to this report from Washington and Geir Moulson from Berlin.

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Hackers targeted French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, cybersecurity researchers say

Emmanuel Macron, French presidential candidate, speaks to journalists in Bazainville, France, on April 18. Photo by Thomas
         Samson/Pool via Reuters

Emmanuel Macron, French presidential candidate, speaks to journalists in Bazainville, France, on April 18. Photo by Thomas Samson/Pool via Reuters

Hackers with possible Russian ties tried to infiltrate the campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, researchers from the Japanese cybersecurity firm Trend Micro reported Tuesday.

Macron’s campaign digital chief, Mounir Mahjoubi, confirmed the hacking attempts but said nothing in the campaign was compromised, reported CNN.

Trend Micro monitors fake websites and domain names meant to trick employees into providing information such as passwords, and said these tactics were used to try to glean information from the campaign.

READ MORE: How powerful is France’s president? Here’s why the 2017 election matters

The Associated Press says the company found 160 hacking attempts starting in December. Researchers tracked the hacking attempts to a source it named Pawn Storm, which American intelligence agencies have connected to Russian intelligence. Russian officials have denied any state-directed surveillance. Trend Micro did not specify that any country was behind the cyberspying.

The news comes as officials are continuing to investigate interference in the 2016 presidential elections in the U.S., including possible ties between Russia and members of President Donald Trump’s campaign. Hackers with alleged ties to Russia also leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee servers.

Marine Le Pen, French National Front political party leader, visits Le Mont Saint Michel, France on Feb. 27. Photo by
         Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Marine Le Pen, French National Front political party leader, visits Le Mont Saint Michel, France on Feb. 27. Photo by Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Macron, a former French economic minister, won 24 percent of the vote in France’s first round of presidential elections on Sunday. He faces Marine Le Pen, the National Front candidate who won 21 percent, in a run-off election on May 7.

PBS NewsHour special correspondent Malcolm Brabant takes a closer look at the two remaining candidates in France’s presidential election.

The post Hackers targeted French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, cybersecurity researchers say appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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