Tag Archives: Swine Flu

1st Day of Questioning: Sotomayor Survives

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor survived her first day of questioning by the Senate Judicial Committee. Republicans grilled Sotomayor on her positions on abortion, gun control, and race/gender discrimination, as well as questioning her remarks that “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Sotomayor clarified that she meant only that a person’s life experiences have the ability to give them better understanding of the world, not that Latino women necessarily make better decisions than white men. The hearings continue tomorrow with questions by the Senators who didn’t get a chance to go today, then a closed session to discuss Sotomayor’s FBI background check before a second round of questioning, New York Times.

CSPAN has full video of the hearing. You can watch the whole session or watch questioning by individual Senators. The questioning by Sen. Sessions and Sen. Graham were the most contentious, CSPAN.

The House of Representative, meanwhile, was also busy today, releasing the first draft of the health care overhaul legislation. The plan by House Democrats would create a public health insurance plan option and would require individuals to either sign up with the public plan or find private insurance that they like better. The plan would cost $1.5 trillion and would be paid for by raising taxes on those who make more than $280,000 a year, San Francisco Chronicle. Reuters Factbox.

The Episcopal Church voted to end the ban on gay clergy today. The vote may get the Church kicked out of the Anglican Communion, but members said they felt compelled to vote their conscience, Associated Press.

The UK will begin a massive swine flu vaccination initiative and plans to vaccinate everyone in the UK once enough vaccine is available. 17 people have died of swine flu in the UK and over 300 have been treated in hospital, Wall Street Journal.

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President Obama Announces New Financial Regulatuions

President Obama to present sweeping financial overhaul that will put new regulations in place in order to avoid the problems that caused the current financial crisis, BBC News.

Senate to look into exclusive cell phone plans that limit which phones can be used on a network, Digital Journal.

Eric Cantor introduces the Republican health care plan. Plan will offer subsidy to low income households to help them buy private insurance. The Congressional Budget Office has not yet gone over the plan to determine how much it would cost, CNN.

7 more people have died from swine flu in New York City, bringing the total number of deaths there to 23, Fox News.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program has released a new report detailing the challenges the US will face due to global warming, New York Times.

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WHO Declares Swine Flu Pandemic

The World Health Organization has declared a global flu pandemic based on the growing spread of the swine flu, or H1N1, in many regions of the world and now 74 countries. Health experts had developed the pandemic protocols based on much deadlier flu scenarios such as the bird flu, or H5N1. The swine flu is not nearly as deadly but officials are fearful that the virus could mutate, BBC News. Three more people have died from H1N1 in New York City, bringing the total to 15 there, Fox44 News. Hong Kong has ordered all its daycares and primary schools shut in an effort to keep the virus from spreading, Voice of America.

Five American contractors being held in the death of James Kitterman, owner of a Houston, Texas based contracting company, were ordered released by an Iraqi judge due to insufficient evidence. Two will remain in custody in Iraq on drug charges, Associated Press.

Palau and Bermuda will take some of the 17 Chinese nationals who are still being held at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay despite court orders from as far back as 2003 clearing the individuals to be released, AFP. The Uighurs are an ethnic group of mostly Turkish descendants in central Asia. Many live in China and international reports indicate that China discriminates against the group.  22 Uighurs were held at Guantanamo Bay. The men were picked up at a camp in Afghanistan but have never been linked to terrorism or  expressed hatred against the United States. Some of the Uighurs have been released to Albania though China has requested they be sent home to face charges there. Experts suspect that they will be executed if returned to China.

Demonstrators march in support of Iran’s presidential candidates. Women account for about 65% of the voting population in Iran and 70% of the population is less than 30 years old.  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s main opponents are Mirhossein Mousavi, a reform candidate and Mehdi Karoubi who is the major liberal candidate. Mousavi’s support has been rising in recent days with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets to show their support. However, Karoubi could spilt the liberal-reform vote. Some analysts predict the election will be forced into a run-off between President Ahmadinejad and Mousavi, Reuters.

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11th Fatality in U.S. From Swine Flu

A second person has died in New York City from the swine flu, making the death toll in the U.S. now 11. Reports say a woman in her 50s with underlying health problems is the victim, but the woman’s name has not yet been released, CNN.

Seven people have been killed in a bomb blast in Mogadishu. A suicide bomber drove a vehicle onto a military base, killing one civilian and six government guards. Pro-government fighters began battling Muslim extremists two weeks ago for control of the Somali capital city, BBC News.

Helio Castroneves won the Indianapolis 500 race today, only a month after he was acquitted of devestating tax evasion charges that had threatened to send the IRL star to prison for six years, USA Today.

On this Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. MSNBC honors veterans. Slideshow. | NBC’s David Gregory Honors the Troops. | Memorial Day Roll Call Honors 148,000 Veterans.

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Over a Thousand Taliban Fighters Killed in New Offensive

Despite calling for a ceasefire, the Tamil Tigers are still under fire in Sri Lanka. The government said the fighting today would be some of the last. A EU commission will be investigating civilian deaths, which each side is blaming on the other. The ceasefire will hopefully end the long 26-year civil war finally, BBC News.

Pakistan says over 1,000 Taliban militants have been killed in the operation centered around the Swat Valley. While the country is celebrating the deaths, they are also frustrated with the civilian deaths incurred by U.S. air strikes. New reports say over 90 children died in the strike last week that killed 140 people, NPR.

A New York assistant principal has died from the H1N1 swine flu virus. Mitchell Wiener, 55, is the fifth American to die from the strain and five schools in Queens, New York have been closed in response to his death. Officials say the number of cases of swine flu are rising in New York City, NY Times.

President Obama delivered Notre Dame’s undergraduate commencement speech today amid protests from anti-abortion activists. Notre Dame, a Catholic university located in Indiana, awarded Obama an honorary degree of law. A few protesters heckled Obama during his speech, but it was mostly well received and garnered a standing ovation. 39 protesters were arrested before the speech, CNN.

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Pope Calls for Creation of Palestinian “Homeland”

Pope Benedict XVI is touring the Middle East. He arrived in Israel today and, in a speech at the Ben Gurion Airport in Te Aviv, called for the establishment of a separate Palestinian state, CNN. Full text of the pope’s comment: “I call upon all available officials to be part of the quest for a just settlement…so that the two peoples can live in peace in their own homelands within secure and internationally recognized borders.”

Tamils living in Canada staged a massive protest last night, blocking the on-ramp to the Gardner Expressway, a major highway in Toronto. The protest lasted six hours and three people were arrested. The protesters voluntarily moved to Queen’s Park outside the Ontario Provincial Legislature after receiving assurances that the Liberal party would bring up there concerns in Canada’s parliament today at Question Period , Globe  and Mail. The UN has confirmed a Sri Lankan doctor’s account of shelling that resulted in at least 378 civilian deaths and more than 1,000 wounded. Many more were said to be buried where they fell. The UN has called the attack a “bloodbath,” BBC News.

Mainland China confirms its first case of swine flu. The individual was a Chinese student returning home from the United States. Over 4,300 have the virus worldwide, Xinhua.

And, in an update on breaking news, Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi has been released from jail in Iran and is on her way to the United States, BBC News.

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Germany to Outlaw Paintball to Help End Gun Violence

A third person in the U.S. has died from the swine flu. The latest victim, a man in his 30s from Washington state, had underlying heart conditions. Other countries that have reported deaths are Mexico, 48 dead, and one deceased in both Canada and Cuba. 40 percent of those affected by the flu in the U.S. are between the ages of 11 to 18, but the deaths have not happened in that age range, MSNBC.

The German government have announced that they plan to outlaw paintball and other games that simulate violence, including laser tag. This comes after a school shooting in the country earlier this year that left sixteen dead, BBC News.

As reported this afternoon, sources confirm that the body found earlier outside of Athens, Ga, was indeed that of former UGA professor George Zinkhan. He murdered three people exactly two weeks ago and seemingly disappeared after the shooting. Police found his car abandoned in the woods last week, and his body was found a mile away from the vehicle. Police say he partially buried himself in the woods before committing suicide, possibly to make it harder to find his body, USA Today.

President Obama entertained tonight at the White House Correspondents Dinner with 3,000 journalists and celebrities in attendance. Of Dick Cheney, the President said the former VP was busy writing his memoir, “How to shoot friends and interrogate people,” MSNBC.

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Government Tries To Solve Native American Rape Epidemic

Former vice-presidential candidate and NFL football player Jack Kemp died yesterday at age 73 from cancer. Kemp was Bob Dole’s running mate in the 1996 U.S. presidential election and also served in the House of Representatives for 18 years. The Congressman played in the NFL as a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills, CNN.

Clashes have emerged between police and farmers in Egypt after the government called for hundreds of thousands of pigs to be slaughtered to deter the swine flu. There have been no reported cases of the strain in the country so far, BBC News.

The federal government has introduced funds to help battle the epidemic of rapes on Native American land in the U.S. The February stimulus bill provided $500 million to buy rape kits, pay for more police on tribal land, and improve medical care, and the March bill added another $85 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. According to a Justice Department report, because only federal prosecutors can prosecute crimes on Indian land (leading to few crimes being reported and prosecuted), 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in their lifetime, NPR.

Track the swine flu with USA Today’s world map.

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