New York Times – March 23, 2012
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether its constitutional that the 2010 health law will require most Americans to have health insurance starting in 2014. This “individual mandate” seems to be the centerpiece of the new health law, however others participating in the debate are not quite convinced of this. Other provisions that could propel the law into action without the mandate include expanding the Medicaid program for the poor and setting up new marketplaces where people can compare plans and buy health insurance. Those against the mandate see, and are arguing for, ways that people could be encouraged to take part in buying health insurance that start short of a requirement.
New York Times – March 21, 2012
23-year-old Frenchmen, Mohammed Merah, admitted to the methodical killings of ten civilians, including three children, which occurred over the past ten days in the Toulouse, France region. Before being captured, Merah had isolated himself in an apartment building in the Côte Pavée neighborhood. He has been identified as a former garage mechanic who had been trained by Al Qaeda. These murders have not only created a security issue, but also problems concerning other Muslims within France. The event has increased concerns of “Islamophobia” and racism among French civilians against those who practice the Islamic religion.
The Guardian – March 21 2012
President Obama announced on Thursday that he will speed up the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline in order to allow construction to begin before the November elections. This process will include submitting an executive order directing government agencies to speed up approval processes in the southern US-only segment of the line. The President also is said to be planning to approve the entire route of the pipeline from Alberta to Texas, inciting angry reactions from environmental groups.
New York Times – March 20 2012
For months a simple and inexpensive generic drug has saved lives on America’s battlefields by slowing the bleeding of injured soldiers. However, the inexpensiveness of the drug has slowed its entry into emergency rooms across the U.S. due to the lack of profit for drug companies. The drug, tranexamic acid, has been added to the World Health Organization’s essential drugs list and also has been integrated into many foreign hospitals. Large cities are looking into housing the drug in their hospital’s pharmacies, but lack of interest is slowing of the process.
CNN (WIRED) – March 17, 2012
NPR’s acclaimed program, “This American Life”, aired an enormously popular excerpt of Mike Daisey’s one man show, “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”, chronicling the harsh and vicious working conditions at Foxconn, a Chinese Apple manufacturer. The episode incited outcry and backlash against the gadget producers and their worker rights policies from human rights activist as well as the general public. While the protests were culminating last Friday with release of the Ipad 3, NPR was busy retracting the story on the grounds that Mike Daisey fabricated much of its contents including how many factories he visited, the number of workers he spoke with, claims that workers are forced to handle toxic chemicals and more.
The Guardian – March 21, 2012
The Justice Ministry of China has, for the first time, ordered lawyers to pledge an oath of loyalty to the Communist Party in order to receive or renew their lawyer’s license. The move comes as an effort to align the lawyer’s political ideologies to that of the Government of China in a time of a complicated and delicate leadership transition within the Communist Party.
The Guardian – March 21, 2012
On Wednesday both Russia and China joined the UN Security Council in it’s and Kofi Anna’s effort to end the conflict in Syria. With the backing of the two world powers, the Council released a statement threatening Syria with 15 undisclosed further steps they will pursue in their effort to end the conflict, if Syria refuses to comply with Annan’s peace plan. This development has come as a breakthrough for the UN Security Council as both Russia and China have vetoed previous plans for action against the Syrian revolt.
New York Times – March 23 2012
A federal magistrate judge ruled that the Obama administration must warn drug makers that they may ban some agricultural use of popular antibiotics that encourages the spread of dangerous infections and is a hazard to public health. The order was given to prevent the widely used antibiotics from losing their effectiveness in humans because of their bulk use in agricultural animals. Not much is expected to change after the order due to farmers’ claims that the antibiotics are used for animal diseases rather than promoting growth. Nevertheless, environmentalists and health advocates supported the ruling and the FDA’s efforts to restrict antibiotic use to improve the issue.
New York Times – March 20, 2012
The Republican presidential candidates are running low on campaign funds, leaving them increasingly reliant on “super PACS.” “Super PACS” are small groups of supporters funneling millions of dollars in contributions to the campaigns. Romney and Gingrich have both spent more money than they have risen in February while Santorum has broken even. Recently, super PACS are increasingly taking up the slack because many of the major Republican donors have been donating directly to the Republican National Committee for the future presidential campaign instead of the party’s primary.
New York Times – March 23, 2012
On Friday President Obama announced that his nominee to lead the World Bank was current Dartmouth College President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim. Although Dr. Kim is running against other notable candidates from Columbian and Nigerian governments, Kim’s resume speaks for itself. An immigrant to the United States, Kim graduated from Brown University, and later went on to receive two degrees from Harvard, including an M.D. in 1991. In the 1990s, Kim co-founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing healthcare to the poor, Partners in Health, and served as director of H.I.V./AIDS at the World Health Organization. Obama’s reasoning for his choice? “It’s time for a development professional to lead the world’s largest development agency.”