USA Today – March 31, 2013
Two Chinese men are the first humans to die from a lesser-known strain of bird flu. A third person also has contracted the disease and is in critical condition. There is no sign the three contracted the disease from the same source and no sign of human-to-human transmission according to Chinese officials. The H7N9 strain is considered a low pathogenic strain that cannot be easily contracted. The majority of individuals who contract bird flu have the H1N1 strain.
AlJazeera – March 28, 2013
At age 94, Nelson Mandela, is reported as “responding well” to treatments for a recurring lung infection. The anti-apartheid icon, who also served as South Africa’s president for five years, has received much national and international support as he ages on various social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, where supporters have been wishing him well and to be discharged soon.
CNN – March 28, 2013
After the discovery of multiple health violations at a local dentist’s office in the Owasso suburb of Oklahoma, some 7,000 patients are being notified that they could have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis over the past six years. Dentist W. Scott Harrington voluntarily stopped practicing after the onset of the investigation.
NYTimes – March 28, 2013
Bee farmers across the nation have been experiencing dramatic increases in the losses of honeybees this year – some farms with a death rate of up to 55%. Some blame drought, others cite bee mites, and still others blame viruses, however, many beekeepers suggest that the biggest culprits are pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Despite that they have been certified, their effects together have been less studied. The pesticide industry refutes the argument, but is open to research and further studies. With less bees, that means less pollinated fruits and vegetables, which in turn, can dramatically increase already rising food prices.
NY Times – March 31, 2013
Egyptian TV satirist star, Bassem Youseff, has been prosecuted on charges that he insulted President Mohamed Morsi, denigrated Islam, and had disturbed public peace. Since Mr. Morsi has been in office, there have been at least two dozen cases of potential slander and very few of the cases have resulted in arrests. As Youseff waited for question, he continued to post sarcastic observations on social media. After questioning and paying the equivalent $2,200 bail, Bassem Youseff was released by authorities.
Bloomberg Businessweek – March 31, 2013
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has met with the Emir of Qatar in Doha to discuss the possible opening of a Taliban office in the Gulf State. This meeting has the potential to foster the peace process with the Islamic fundamentalist movement as foreign combat forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The Afghan Foreign Ministry said the talks will include the peace process and the opening of a Taliban office, but did not provide further detail.
NY Times – March 29, 2013
Speaking on North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un, a senior administration official said Friday, “We’re worried about what he’s going to do next, but we’re not worried about what he seems to be threatening to do next.” By “threatening,” the official is referencing Kim Jung-Un’s advertised plans to launch a missile attack on the US mainland. While specialists highly doubt North Korea’s technical ability to follow through on such a threat (and also the doubts about weather they would advertise it if in fact the threat was legitimate), they do fear a recurrence of attacks on South Korea that were much more silent in nature and execution.
POLITICO – March 30, 2013
Though there are numerous rumored candidates for the 2016 Presidential election, Hillary Clinton is the only one for whom active Super PACs have already sprung into existence. Two recent Supreme Court cases in 2010 ruled to allow unlimited and independent campaign spending by outside groups. The downside? Ill managed Super PACs can spend money inefficiently (in numerous ways) or even cause massive embarrassment and damage to the candidate they were trying to support.
Bloomberg – March 31, 2013
In Beijing and Shanghai, restrictions on housing purchases, limiting the credit given to third-home buyers, and increased down-payments and interest rates for second-home mortgages are some of the techniques the government implemented to attempt to cool the demand in the housing market and, hopefully, push prices back down. “At the same time, restrictions on home purchases don’t change the fundamental demand,” said a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, “and it seems the new measures in Beijing are aimed more at short-term problems rather than long-term healthy development of the property market.”