Affordability Is Major Challenge for Reform
Burden on Middle Class Is a Top Concern
By Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 18, 2009
Lawmakers in both parties raised concerns Thursday that the health-care reform bill offered by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus a day earlier would impose too high a cost on middle-class Americans and said they will seek to change the legislation to ease that potential burden.
The Baucus plan is the product of a year-long effort to find a middle ground between the expansion of government-run health care that liberal Democrats are seeking and the private insurance overhaul that many Republicans favor. But with finance panel members on both sides expressing concerns about the Baucus draft, major revisions could come through amendments in committee and on the Senate floor and in final negotiations with the House.
No health coverage tied to 45,000 deaths a year
Tally rises from previous estimates of about 18,000 annually, study says
Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year – one every 12 minutes – in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.
“We’re losing more Americans every day because of inaction … than drunk driving and homicide combined,” Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.
Overall, researchers said American adults age 64 and younger who lack health insurance have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have coverage.
Oath Keepers organizer sees need to sound an alarm
Rand Cardwell drums up support for an antigovernment group whose views illustrate the disconnect that has come to define popular political discourse in President Obama’s first tumultuous year.
By Richard Fausset
September 18, 2009
Reporting from Farragut, Tenn. – There would be no screaming at Rand Cardwell’s meeting tonight, no histrionics, no playing to the cameras. The atmosphere was PTA. Garden Club. Kiwanis.
Cardwell had called this second meeting of the local chapter of Oath Keepers, and on a recent Tuesday night about 16 of his fellow Tennesseans trickled into a suburban Town Hall community room. Now they sat quietly around some folding tables, with all eyes on Cardwell, the chapter president.
Cardwell, a 48-year-old laid-off aluminum plant worker, was new to this activism stuff, but he wasn’t nervous. He’d led enough meetings back in his days as a Marine Corps sergeant.
Panel: Admit illegal immigrants to college
BY KRISTIN COLLINS – STAFF WRITER
RALEIGH – North Carolina’s 58 community colleges should admit illegal immigrants, a committee of the State Board of Community Colleges decided today.
The full board will vote on a final policy Friday, after years of controversy over the issue.
The committee made the decision this afternoon as protesters waved flags and shouted through bullhorns on the sidewalk outside.
The recommended policy says that illegal immigrants must pay out-of-state tuition, which a study determined covers more than the cost of their instruction.
Die Linke party wins German votes by standing out from crowd
With little to tell its rivals apart, the far left party is thriving and may transform the political landscape with its populist agenda
Kate Connolly in Erfurt and Berlin
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 17 September 2009 19.58 BST
Against a backdrop of multicoloured pre-fabricated housing blocks, a tanning salon and a travel agent offering last-minute deals to the Baltic coast, Frank Spieth handed out red balloons, pens and advice in equal measure.
The concerns of those who approached his campaign bus in Erfurt, the former communist east of Germany, were primarily local: a woman fighting for compensation from a hospital after contracting MRSA, another seeking a ramp access to her building, a man complaining about the state of windows in the city’s schools, which he said needed replacing even before the fall of the wall 20 years ago.
Call for murder charges to be brought over toxic dumping
Petition filed in Dutch court claims Trafigura knew waste that maimed thousands in Ivory Coast was hazardous
By Cahal Milmo, Chief Reporter
Friday, 18 September 2009
Trafigura, the oil-trading company at the centre of the scandal caused by the dumping of tons of toxic waste in one of the world’s poorest countries, could be prosecuted for murder after a dossier of evidence was submitted to a court in the Netherlands yesterday, alleging that the sludge caused deaths and serious injuries.
A complaint filed by Greenpeace Netherlands calls for a Dutch prosecution arising from Trafigura’s actions in July 2006 – when a chartered tanker carrying the contaminated waste arrived in Amsterdam – to be widened to include events in Ivory Coast a month later which caused thousands of people to fall ill after tons of the foul-smelling slurry was dumped in the port of Abidjan.
Exclusive: Army chief: ‘We must tackle Taliban grievances’
Former head of SAS reveals how he will implement new strategy in Afghanistan
By Kim Sengupta in Afghanistan
Friday, 18 September 2009
The British commander tasked with helping to bring to an end eight years of war in Afghanistan by persuading the Taliban to lay down their arms believes many in the enemy ranks have “done nothing wrong”.
The Islamist extremists now waging a ferocious insurgency against Nato forces are almost universally reviled for promoting a medieval style of fundamentalism and perpetrating brutal abuses of human rights, but Lieutenant-General Sir Graeme Lamb told The Independent that many in the Taliban’s rank and file carry a sense of “anger and grievances which have not been addressed”.
India challenges US by agreeing to impose limits on carbon emissions
From The Times
September 18, 2009
Jeremy Page in Delhi, Giles Whittell in Washington and David Charter in Brussels
India wrong-footed the United States and other rich nations yesterday by agreeing for the first time to set numerical targets for curbing its greenhouse gas emissions.
The move added to pressure on the Obama Administration to deliver on its own climate change pledges even as senior Democrats warned that US legislation may face severe delays.
Jairam Ramesh, the Indian Environment Minister, told The Times that legislation was being drafted in Delhi to limit India’s carbon footprint and in the process repair his country’s reputation for intransigence on climate change before the crucial UN conference in Copenhagen in December.
South Africa complains to UN over Caster Semenya row
From Times Online
September 18, 2009
The South African government has lodged a complaint with the United Nations over the treatment of the controversial world champion athlete Caster Semenya.
The South African track star was ordered to undergo gender tests after winning the women’s 800m final at the Athletics World Championships in Berlin last month.
South Africa’s Minister for Women, Children and People With Disabilities Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya filed the action on behalf of Semenya, who made headlines around the world when her gender was called into question because of her muscular build and strength on the track.
Somali deaths ‘will not deter AU’
The African Union (AU) has vowed to continue its mission in Somalia, despite the killing of 14 peacekeepers in suicide blasts claimed by Islamists.
The BBC Friday, 18 September 2009
The dead included the deputy commander of the AU force in Somalia.
Shelling after the double bombing left at least 13 people dead, mostly civilians, witnesses say.
Spokesman Maj Barigye Ba-hoku said the AU would continue to work with “peace-loving Somalis”, however he admitted that the mission was “complicated”.
“We do not run away when the situation worsens,” said Lt Col Felix Kulayigye, a spokesman for the Ugandan military, which contributes about half of the 5,000-strong AU force.
“We go there hoping for the best and expecting the worst. If it’s good, we’d be glad, but if it’s bad, we’d adjust accordingly to deal with it,” he said.
The peacekeepers are helping to protect the weak, UN-backed government in its battle against Islamist insurgents.
Burundi is the only other country to have sent peacekeepers to Somalia. Its senior officer in Somalia, Maj Gen Juvenal Niyonguruza, was among the dead.
Yemen accused of killing scores of civilians in air strikes
More than 80 civilians were killed when an air raid blasted a makeshift camp of displaced people in northern Yemen, witnesses said on Thursday, as the army pursued its offensive on Shiite rebels.
Published: 6:00AM BST 18 Sep 2009
One witness told AFP by telephone that most of those killed in Wednesday’s raid were women and children.
A “warplane targeted displaced families who had gathered under trees in the area of Adi,” in Amran province, the scene of heavy fighting between the army and the rebels, the witness said.
Another witness told AFP “at least 87 were killed” in the attack, which was acknowledged by a Yemeni official.
“The jet fighter targeted Huthi (rebels) who were firing (while hiding) among the displaced people,” the official told AFP, while declining to comment on the death toll.
A rebel statement condemned the attack, accusing the Sanaa government of committing a massacre.
“The bloodthirsty authorities have committed a new massacre,” the statement said.
Pro- and anti-government marchers face off in Tehran
Iran opposition leader Mousavi had urged participation in the Quds Day rally as a show of strength after a three-month post-election crackdown.
By Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 18, 2009 | 12:43 a.m.
Reporting from Tehran and Beirut – Thousands of demonstrators chanting, “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I sacrifice my life for Iran,” confronted government supporters marching in favor of the Palestinian cause today as the Quds Day commemorations got under way in Tehran and other Iranian cities, witnesses said.
State-controlled Iranian television showed demonstrators wearing traditional Arab scarves, holding posters of Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and chanting “Death to Israel,” a traditional rallying cry on this holiday, which takes place on the last Friday of every Islamic calendar month of Ramadan.
Quds Day is meant to demonstrate solidarity with the Arab struggle against the Jewish state.