Obama’s new feat: HIV/AIDS

November 30, 2013

Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY


As the international community gets set to mark the 25th annual observance of World AIDS Day next week, President Obama is facing renewed pressure from U.S. lawmakers and activists to take legacy-setting action to combat HIV/AIDS. Activists say the world is at the door-step of virtually eradicating AIDS over the next generation, but it requires Obama to act boldly. In November, just weeks after Obama was reelected to a second term, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a “blue print” for what she called an AIDS-free generation. Obama repeated in his State of the Union address that he believed the goal was “within our reach.”

A bipartisan group of 40 lawmakers earlier this month called on Obama to announce a new goal for the U.S. government to double its support of treatment of lifesaving anti-retroviral drugs by the end of his presidency through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that is credited with providing millions of Africans with anti-retroviral drugs since its establishment and led to 1 million babies globally being born HIV-free. In a letter, the lawmakers — led by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California — made the case to Obama that “scaling up” to a goal of treating 12 million through PEPFAR “will not only save millions of lives but will also significantly reduce human suffering, new HIV infections, and healthcare costs in the years to come.”

The White House plans to announce during next week’s Global Fund conference that the administration has met the goal it set in 2011 of treating 6 million people through PEPFAR, but it won’t set a new target until early next year, according to Gayle Smith, the senior director for development and democracy at the White House National Security Council. “We are serving four times the number of people today than we were when PEPFAR first began, but because we’ve gotten better at it and more efficient at it, we’re doing it at reduced costs,” Obama said.

But when it comes to fighting AIDS in Africa, activists and health care specialists say Obama has lagged behind Bush, who received praise from the political left and right as well as the international community by establishing PEPFAR in 2003. Obama has chafed against the oft-repeated notion from some AIDS activists that he has lagged Bush in fighting the spread of AIDS.

In 2010 the Obama administration pledged $4 billion over three years. Activists said that the U.S. was punching below its weight, and led to other donor countries holding back funding.

“Now is the president’s chance to say what it all means. This is his crucial moment.”

I think Obama should give a lot more money to the AIDS foundation. This is a very serious disease in which people don’t realize how bad it really can affect your body. The Bush administration did a very good job with help the foundation. Obama has faced a lot of different oppression regarding people complying with what he wants to do. I know that with more time Obama will be able to give more money to the foundation, but it will take time. The AIDs foundation has been making great strides it’s just the American people who need to be more careful.  Hopefully one day we will be able to eradicate this awful virus.



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Anti-government in the Ukraine gets violent

December 2, 2013

Maria Danilove and Yuras Karmanau, Associated Press


A protest by about 300,000 Ukrainians angered by their government’s decision to freeze integration with the West turned violent Sunday, when a group of demonstrators besieged the president’s office and police drove them back with truncheons, tear gas and flash grenades. Dozens of people were injured. Order appeared to have been restored by Sunday night, with rows of riot police standing guard behind metal fences.

The mass rally in central Kiev defied a government ban on protests on Independence Square, in the biggest show of anger over President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign a political and economic agreement with the European Union.

While opposition leaders called for a nationwide strike and prolonged peaceful street protests to demand that the government resign, several thousand people broke away and marched to Yanukovych’s nearby office. Speaking before the vast crowds on Independence Square from the roof of a bus, the opposition leaders demanded that Yanukovych and his government resign.

A few hundred of them, wearing masks, threw rocks and other objects at police and attempted to break through the police lines with a front loader. After several hours of clashes, riot police used force to push them back. Dozens of people with what appeared to be head injuries were taken away by ambulance.

Chants of “revolution” resounded across a sea of yellow and blue Ukrainian and EU flags on the square, where the government had prohibited rallies starting Sunday. Thousands of protesters remained late into the evening and some were preparing to spend the night on the square.

Protests have been held daily in Kiev since Yanukovych backed away from an agreement that would have established free trade and deepened political cooperation between Ukraine and the EU. He justified the decision by saying that Ukraine couldn’t afford to break trade ties with Russia. A 2009 dispute between Kiev and Moscow on gas prices resulted in a three-week cutoff of gas to Ukraine.

As the demonstrators approached Independence Square and swept away metal barriers from around a large Christmas tree set up in the center, all police left the square. About a dozen people then climbed the tree to hang EU and Ukrainian flags from its branches.

Several hundred demonstrators never made it to the square. Along the way they burst into the Kiev city administration building and occupied it, in defiance of police, who tried unsuccessfully to drive them away by using tear gas.

The EU agreement had been eagerly anticipated by Ukrainians who want their country of 45 million people to break out of Moscow’s orbit.

This large outbreak of violence should stand out to the government. If the people of that country are going that far into trying to get you to resign obviously you are doing something wrong. Just because you personally do not want to break off from Russia doesn’t mean that the country you are there to represent feels the same. Over half the country feels that they should be linked to Europe and not Russia, since you don’t they are trying to, at any cost, get you out of office. I think that what they are doing will have an effect and that they should keep up with the rallying. By having demonstrations and rallies things will be changed.


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One Child leads to Orphan Parents

DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW from The New York Times

November 27th, 2013



“But you see, when your only child dies, then you’re not a mother anymore. You’re not anything really. And that’s what I’m trying to get used to,” Mrs. Crawley said on the hit TV show “Downtown Abbey”. About 76,000 only children die annually from accidents or disease, according to the Chinese news media, citing 2010 government health statistics. More than a million “orphan parent” families have been created since the one-child policy was formally instituted in 1980 and the number of single-child families began to soar.

Many Chinese couples were never allowed “an heir and a spar”. Social security in China is primarily the responsibility of the family, not the state, and adult children are legally obliged to support their parents in old age. Losing one’s only child can mean destitution, as well as grief.

But Ms. Tao, like many, did not dare break the law. The prospect of fines, forced abortion and, most important, losing her job in a state-owned factory were too intimidating. Some have financial difficulties; some are well-off. But they all need to talk. Some Chinese couples may disappear because of the amount of depression they have. Thought it is not always clear what happened, there have been reports of people who choose to die rather than face old age with no one to care for them.

Some city folk hid their illegal children in the countryside, buying a hukou, the all-important household registration, from local officials, she said. The price in villages can be as low as 300 renminbi, or about $50, far below the fee in cities, say people who have paid. Slowly, they are attracting more attention and financial support. Chongqing, the earliest city to do so, gives 3,120 renminbi to each such parent per year, and Zhengzhou will increase payments to 3,240 renminbi from 1,200, China News.Net reported. Beijing will spend 2,800 renminbi on each bereaved parent, buying health insurance, among other things, the report said.

This month, the government announced further changes, to allow couples in which one spouse is an only child to have two children. There are other exceptions, including for ethnic minorities and for rural couples whose first child is a girl. Over all, of 10,000 people born, 463 will die by the age of 25, Fuxian Yi said a medical scientist at the University if Wisconsin, citing state data. If so, eventually about 10 million families in China may face a grief like Mrs. Crawley’s.

I have always thought that this law in china was weird. It is a good law in a sense. They should influence people not to have too many children because of their population issue. They shouldn’t just cap it off at one and done. I do like how the government is basically giving them reperations but the government wouldn’t have to if they would have just let them have another child. I am glad that strides are being made to make this law a lot more restricted.


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Oil spill on the Mississippi

November 26th, 2013

David Pitt USA Today 



Officials were assessing the environmental damage Tuesday after a towboat carrying 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel and oil sank in the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa, closing the river to barge traffic. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service and other organizations don’t know yet what the towboat struck before it began sinking.

The River cannot be opened to traffic until the cause of the accident is determined and safe navigation is ensured. The boat is still leaking diesel fuel and oil, and the smell of diesel fuel lingers, though air monitors show it’s safe to breathe in the area. About 3,000 feet of absorbent booms encircle the spilled fuel and oil, and will be replaced as soon as they soak up the petroleum products. Right now they are only dealing with hundreds of gallons as opposed to thousands of gallons.

Officials are developing a plan to raise the boat that is stranded in about 14 feet of water and pushed up against the riverbank. No fish kill is evident but representatives of the EPA and Fish and Wildlife Service were en route Tuesday to assess environmental impact. Capt. Byron Black, the Coast Guard sector commander for the Upper Mississippi River, which includes 11 states, was on his way from St. Louis on Tuesday to assess the situation and determine when it’s safe to reopen the river channel.

Sooner or later maybe the world will discover that they probably shouldn’t transport liquids via water. When doing so you are always taking the risk of the contents leaking into the water. But until then this will continue. This is very harmful to our environment any way you look at it. It doesn’t matter how much of it you get out the water it still happened and someone how will effect the ecosystem. It’s terrible that this happened in the waters of the Mississippi River. Maybe history someday will stop repeating itself.


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Mexico’s grave scene

November 25, 2013

Asso. Press


The number of bodies found in almost two dozen clandestine graves in western Mexico has risen to 42, after five more corpses were discovered over the weekend. Many of the bodies were bound or gagged, others showed some signs of torture.

The graves are in La Barca near the border between Jalisco and Michoacan states, a very popular with tourist and American retirees. This region has become the site of a turf war between the Knights Templar and the New Generation cartels.

Agents were led to the 22 mass graves by local police officers who confessed to working with a drug cartel. The investigation started off as part of a search for two missing federal detectives. Investigators detained 22 local police officers, some confessed they had handed over the officers to the New Generation Cartel. The missing detectives have not been located, nor have their bodies appeared in the graves.

Meanwhile, in the north-central state of Zacatecas, officials reported Monday that they had found the bodies of two women hung from a pedestrian bridge in the city of Fresnillo. The two were found at dawn and the cause of death is still being investigated. Photos published by local media showed that a hard-written banner like the ones often used by drug cartels to leave threatening messages was hung near the bodies.

I think all of the police that helped in handing the detectives over should be stripped of their titles. Helping a drug cartel that is killing off your people that you, as a police officer, have been sworn to protect. All these people have been lost for so long hopefully they are able to give them peaceful burials. Meanwhile, the cartel are killing people all over Mexico and still getting away with it. These cartel need to be stopped.


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Meth: From N. Korea to Our Shores

November 21, 2013

Michael Winter, USA TODAY 7:49 p.m. EST November 20, 2013



Five foreigners extradited from Thailand to New York have been charged with conspiring to smuggle Breaking Bad-quality methamphetamine that was produced in North Korea, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

The suspects — two from Britain and one each from Taiwan, the Philippines and Slovakia — were arrested in September as part of a sting operation that nabbed a former U.S. sniper instructor nicknamed “Rambo,” the alleged mastermind of a plot to import narcotics and kill a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

U.S. authorities said two men — Ye Tiong Tan Lim and Kelly Allan Reyes Peralta — belonged to a Hong Kong crime syndicate that supplied the 99%-pure meth produced in North Korea. Last year, authorities in Thailand and the Philippines seized 30 kilograms — more than 60 pounds.

Lim told the informants his organization had stockpiled a ton of methamphetamine in the Philippines after the North Korean government destroyed some of the labs “to show the Americans that they are not selling it anymore,” according to court papers. He claimed the North Koreans had burned the labs of seven other crime groups, sparing only his organizations.

The September arrests included two former U.S. Army snipers, including Joseph Hunter, a 20-year veteran nicknamed “Rambo” who was labeled a “contract killer.” They and a retired German sharpshooter were indicted for plotting the murders-for-hire of a DEA agent and an informant in Africa.

This confirms the fact that there are drugs being imported from other countries. This also proves that people who know the system, the army snipers, are able and are helping these drug smugglers get into the country. If they found 60 pounds of it last year who knows how much could have been brought to our country. The amount of concentrate that it was they could possible break that down in order to make more when it gets over to the states. I am glad that they were able to confiscate these individuals and I hope that they do track down and stop the rest of this regime.


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Enter the School System


November 25, 2013


Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the panel’s creation March 17, the day a judge convicted two Steubenville high school football players of raping the West Virginia girl after an alcohol-fueled party in August 2012 following a team scrimmage. Authorities said that the two teens were arrested and charged within days of the attack. Special grand jury convened in Steubenville had investigated whether adults like coaches or school administrators knew of the rape allegation but failed to report it as required by state law.

Big Red football is a big deal in the economically depressed city of about 18,000, a former steel town that shed thousands of jobs in past decades.

An Ohio school superintendent, two coaches and a principal were charged by a grand jury that investigated whether other laws were broken in the rape of a drunken 16-year-old girl, the state’s attorney general said Monday. Ma’Lik Richmond, 17, was convicted of rape and sentenced to a year in the juvenile prison system. Mays, also 17, was convicted of rape and of using his phone to take a picture of the girl naked and sentenced to two years in juvenile detention.

The charges against the superintendent, Mike McVey, include felony counts of obstructing justice, DeWine said. McVey wasn’t immediately available for comment, but the district planned to issue a statement later Monday. An elementary school principal and a strength coach are charged with failing to report possible child abuse. A former volunteer coach faces several misdemeanor charges, including making false statements and contributing to a child’s delinquency.

It earlier charged the Steubenville schools’ information technology director with tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury. The panel also indicted that man’s daughter on theft and receiving stolen property charges unrelated to the rape case. Both have pleaded not guilty.

For something like this to happen and the coaches and even the superintendent to get involved is way over the line. A situation like this can be seen in a lot of different small towns throughout the country, where the coaches try to cover up what the players did in order for them to still play in the football game. I would always see how the teachers in my high school favored the athletes but this is to another level in which a young girl was sexual abused. For a majority of the entire school system to get involved gives the judge every right to try and persecute all of them.  The boys that actually committed the crime confessed and are spending their time in jail. The rest of the school system could have helped in to having that happen sooner.


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