Joanna Kakissis

Bill Owens: Trump And The Democrats

Sep 12, 2017

On the evening of September the 6th, at a meeting with Mr. Trump, Ms. Pelosi and Messrs McConnell, Ryan, and Schumer a negotiation ensued to resolve the debt ceiling, Harvey relief and a Continuing Resolution (known as CR - that essentially extends current spending into the future when Congress can’t agree on specific appropriations bills).  There was a back and forth amongst the assembled with the initial offer from the Republicans being a proposal for an eighteen month CR and debt ceiling raise to be included with Harvey relief of $7.85 billion, this was countered by a three month proposal from the Democrats; the Republicans then countered only to be pushed aside by President Trump who agreed with the Democrats.

France's busiest port, Boulougne-sur-Mer, sits just across the English Channel from Britain, in the Calais region.

Seagulls glide above scores of brightly painted boats docking to unload the catch of the day — mainly sole but also cod, roussette, crab and scallops.

It's all sold at a bustling seaside market where Marie-Laure Fontaine sells seafood from a fishing boat called Providence.

Maggie and Bea Ordever left their home in southeastern England last October, a few months after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

"We'd made the plan before Brexit came along," says Maggie, 67, who worked in the hospitality industry. "We didn't want to choose Spain or Italy because we wanted an easy route back for family. And we fell in love with Brittany."

The Celtic-influenced region of Brittany, in western France, felt like home to Bea, 54, a design engineer.

Marlene Schiappa was barely into her teens when she realized that Paris, the City of Light, could be a dark place for women.

Whenever she and her sister walked anywhere — to school, to the supermarket, to hang out with friends — men followed them, catcalling, harassing, even groping.

"We took alternative routes, out of our way," she says, "to avoid the bands of boys."

It's a hot summer day, and 8-year-old Zak Ballenger and his 5-year-old sister, Alison, are doing something they've never done in Paris.

They're diving into the cold, murky waters of a city canal.

"I like splashing around," Zak says, "because it's hot outside."

His mom, Celina Ballenger, is a 38-year-old nurse. She says she couldn't afford a vacation this year.

"So we've come here because we can't go out of Paris," she says.

Samir Hussain's life changed in 2015, just after he and a friend left a movie theater in Crawley, a town south of London.

A gang of strangers, all men, had harassed them during the show and tried to start a fight outside Hussain's car.

He noticed that one of the men held what looked like a bottle of water in his hand, wrapped in a sweater. The man splashed it on Hussain.

The sea winds of Greece are legendary.

The strong, dry north Etesian winds, also known as the meltemia, blow on the Aegean Sea from May to September.

Then there are the fierce main winds, which blew mighty waves towards Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey. "Then were the knees of Odysseus loosened and his heart melted, and deeply moved he spoke to his own mighty spirit: 'Ah me, wretched that I am! What is to befall me at the last?'"

Odysseus may have seen the winds as a curse. But on the island of Tilos, they're a blessing.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Slobodan Simic hardly looks like a donkey farmer. A 62-year-old lawyer and former lawmaker in the Serbian parliament, he's in dark glasses, chomping on a tobacco pipe.

"Jesus rode to Jerusalem on a donkey," he says. "They're special creatures, and that's why everyone in Europe used to have one. Ours was the Balkan donkey, and I want to preserve it."

The hamlet of Sevnica, population 5,000, sits right in the middle of the small, alpine nation of Slovenia, in a green valley along the Sava River, surrounded by pine-forested hills.

"It's really an amazing climate," chirps Lidija Ogorevc, a cheerleader-peppy tour guide here. "You should try our wine, our salami."

She stops in front of a fenced-in building — not unattractive, but clearly closed.

"A cultural monument," she declares.

With his coiffed, salt-and-pepper hair and stoic demeanor, Francois Fillon looks like a president out of central casting. The 63-year-old conservative, a former prime minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, is even serious and prim at his campaign rallies, where his passionate supporters clap and chant his name.

"I'm not asking you to like me, but to support me," he told one crowd at an April 9 rally. "We're not choosing a buddy. We're choosing a president."

Fillon is also a practicing Catholic, and the only presidential candidate who speaks openly about his faith.

The tiny Balkan country of Montenegro may be best known for its stunning coastline on the Adriatic sea — and as a setting for the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale.

But in February, news broke that sounded like a twist right out of a 007 thriller.

Montenegro's special prosecutor, Milivoje Katnic, announced that "Russian state bodies" had backed a plot to overthrow the government and kill the prime minister during elections last October.

Abbad Yahya is used to controversy. For the last five years, the young Palestinian novelist has been writing books that have been criticized for including sex and politically unpopular opinions.

Yahya, who's 28, expected similar complaints about his fourth novel, Crime in Ramallah, published in Arabic late last year, which chronicles the lives of three young men affected by a woman's murder in the city where the Palestinian Authority has its headquarters.

The "most beautiful candidate in Serbia" (self-proclaimed) arrives in the sleepy town of Kovavica at midday, a loudspeaker perched atop his aging car.

He's tall, blue-eyed and wearing his signature white suit, tie and shoes, his long hair in a man-bun.

His name is Ljubisa Beli Preletacevic, or just Beli for short. It means "the guy in white who switches his beliefs for political gain," says the candidate himself.

"I'm every bad politician rolled up into one young, strong man," he declares.

Filmmaker Maysaloun Hamoud does not like being typecast.

"The Israelis say, you don't look Arab or Palestinian," she says, rolling her eyes. "Huh? If I wear a dress or outfit that [doesn't look] religious, I cannot be a Palestinian? I have to be, like, exactly how you design me?"

Hamoud is 35, wearing a long skirt, tank top and rose-tinted sunglasses. The title of her acclaimed and controversial film Bar Bahar — or In Between in English — is tattooed in Arabic and English on her right forearm.

Growing up in the West Bank, Amjad Hasan has watched his leaders trying to negotiate a so-called two-state solution, or a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

"The talks seemed to go on and on," says the 22-year-old electrical engineering student, who studies at Birzeit University outside the Palestinian city of Ramallah. "And nothing happened."

The death knell, Hasan says, came after President Donald Trump hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington this week.

Jabar Mousa was 15 when he first met the Jewish settlers who would move near Dura el-Qare, his Palestinian village in the central West Bank.

It was 1977, and he and two friends were walking on a nearby hill. That's where they saw a group of young men in yarmulkes.

"We stop and asked these young men, who are you?" says Mousa, now 56. "And they said, 'We are students of the yeshiva. We study in a school in Beit El.'"

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Early in the morning of March 24, 2016, a 45-year-old Palestinian shoemaker named Imad Abu Shamsiyeh was having coffee with his wife, Fayzia, at their home in the West Bank city of Hebron.

They heard shots being fired outside. Instead of seeking cover, they grabbed Abi Shamsiyeh's video camera and ran to the roof of their house.

He immediately started filming, zooming on the street below.

"I saw someone lying on the ground," Abu Shamsiyeh says. "I wasn't sure if he was Israeli or Palestinian. Blood was gushing from him."

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Zlota Kurka, or Golden Hen, sits in a central Warsaw neighborhood surrounded by telecom offices and wine bars. Inside, there's a window-sized menu offering Polish-style soups, eggs, dumplings, cabbage and potatoes, all cooked by women in flowered aprons and schoolteacher glasses.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Poland elected a right-wing, populist government last year. And Polish leaders have voiced anti-globalization and anti-abortion themes that are not so different from those embraced by the Trump campaign.

The ruling Law and Justice Party has vowed to restore and protect traditional Polish identity and values.

But even Poles on the right of the political spectrum have concerns about Trump and what they perceive as his cozy relationship with Russia. They say Russia can't be trusted and are especially nervous after Russia's land grab in Ukraine.

Like hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing the long war back home, 25-year-old Firas Awad endured a dangerous sea journey and a long trek through much of Europe to reach Germany, where he's staked his future.

He and his 18-year-old wife, Tamam Aldrawsha, who are both from the city of Homs, now live in what used to be a country inn and restaurant, in a tiny, forested village north of Berlin called Klosterheide, population 280.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

For Greek citizen Katerina Bouretzi, seeing the leaders of the eastern and western churches together on her island of Lesbos this weekend was a gift.

"The refugee crisis put Lesbos on the map but it also isolated us from other Europeans, who like to blame us for everything," she said. "They blamed us for allowing the refugees to cross the Aegean, and I thought, 'What are we supposed to do, drown them?' And then they blamed us for being nice to them after they arrived here."

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