You are browsing the archive for 2014 September 28.

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Two Suspects Sought After Shooting of Ferguson Police Officer

September 28, 2014 in Blogs

By The Guardian

The police chief says the shooting not related to protests over Michael Brown's death.


Authorities were searching on Sunday for two men suspected of shooting and wounding a police officer in Ferguson, the St Louis suburb where there have been angry protests since a white officer fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old black man, Michael Brown, last month.

Although there were two separate protests about the 9 August shooting of Brown happening around the time the officer was shot on Saturday night, St Louis County police chief Jon Belmar said he didn’t think they were related in any way to the attack on the officer.

The men fled when the officer approached them at around 9pm because the community center they were standing outside of was closed, Belmar said at a news conference early on Sunday. When the officer gave chase, one of the men turned and shot him in the arm, he said.

Belmar said the officer is expected to survive, but he didn’t identify the officer or give further details about his condition. He said the officer returned fire, but that police have no indication that either suspect was shot.

The shooting comes amid simmering tension between many community members and the police in Ferguson, where two-thirds of residents are black, but only three of the city’s 53 officers are African-American.

At around midnight on Saturday, about two dozen officers stood near a group of about 100 protesters who mingled on a street corner, occasionally shouting, “No justice, no peace.” Meanwhile, police had closed part of a nearby street as helicopters and officers from several law enforcement agencies searched the area for the two suspects.

Earlier on Saturday, Brown’s parents told the Associated Press they were unmoved by a videotaped apology released days earlier by Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson, whose attempt to march with protesters on Thursday sparked a clash that led to several arrests.

When asked if Jackson should be fired, Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, said he should be. Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr, said rather than an apology, they would like Darren Wilson, the officer who shot their son, to be …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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German Committee Says Incest Is a “Fundamental Right”

September 28, 2014 in Blogs

By Jenny Kutner, Salon.com

A government-backed ethics council recommends doing away with laws banning sexual relationships between siblings.


A government-backed committee in Germany has recommended that the government abolish laws criminalizing incest between siblings, arguing that such bans impinge upon citizens’ rights to sexual self-determination. According to findings from the German Ethics Council, that right is a “fundamental” one, and carries more weight than society’s “abstract protection of the family.”

“Incest between siblings appears to be very rare in Western societies according to the available data but those affected describe how difficult their situation is in light of the threat of punishment,” the council said in a statement, as reported by The Independent. “In the case of consensual incest among adult siblings, neither the fear of negative consequences for the family, nor the possibility of the birth of children from such incestuous relationships can justify a criminal prohibition.”

The question of abolishing incest laws arose on appeal in the case of a man named Patrick Stuebing, who has four children with his sister, Susan Karolewski. The two did not grow up together and met when Stuebing was 24 and Karolewski was 16, and have been romantic partners for several years. Stuebing was convicted of incest in 2008 and attempted to appeal his case to the European Court of Human Rights, to no avail. Karolewski was allowed to keep custody of the couple’s youngest child, but the other three were taken into care by the state. Two of the children are disabled, although it is unknown if incest is the cause.

The couple’s plight highlighted the “tragic situation” many incestuous pairs find themselves in, according to the council. It does not seem as if the government will agree, however, or if it will take the committee’s recommendation. A spokesperson for Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats party suggested the government is unlikely to abolish incest laws.

“The abolition of the offense of incest between siblings would be the wrong signal,” Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, legal policy spokeswoman for the party’s group in parliament, said in a statement. “Eliminating the threat of punishment against incestuous acts within families would run counter to the protection …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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On Its One-Year Anniversary, ObamaCare Gets an 'F'

September 28, 2014 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

This Wednesday will mark one year since enrollment in ObamaCare began. What began with the disastrous rollout of healthcare.gov has ended with the health law’s supporters claiming victory.

It is true that some of the worst predictions have not yet come true. Yet. But in the last year we’ve also seen plenty of bad news for consumers, providers, employers and taxpayers.

A report card:

Earlier this month, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services director Marilyn Tavenner testified that roughly 7.3 million people signed up for insurance through the exchanges. That’s down from early estimates of 8.1 million, because nearly 800,000 of those who initially enrolled have stopped or never paid their premiums. A bigger question is how many enrollees were previously insured and were just changing plans. Overall, the best estimates suggest that roughly 8 million people gained insurance under ObamaCare, but roughly half of those were enrolled in Medicaid (outside of the exchanges), which isn’t really health-care reform so much as adding people to government welfare. And it still leaves 41 million American adults uninsured. We spent billions to move the needle a tick.

In the last year we’ve also seen plenty of bad news for consumers, providers, employers and taxpayers.”

Despite the president’s assurances to the contrary, roughly 6 million Americans were kicked off their insurance because their plans failed to offer a lengthy-enough maternity stay, didn’t provide sufficient drug and alcohol rehabilitation benefits or otherwise fell short of the insurance that federal bureaucrats thought that they should have. This includes more than 100,000 New Yorkers. Nearly all eventually found other insurance, but a new study from the National Center for Public Policy Research found that, on average, ObamaCare plans were worse than the plans they replaced, in terms of both providers covered and cost-sharing. A new wave of cancellations is about to begin as well. Those New Yorkers who managed to renew their noncompliant plans prior to the effective start date for ObamaCare last year should start receiving cancellation notices any day now. Some people may not even be able to keep the plans that replaced the plans they couldn’t keep the first time. In several states, insurers have dropped plans that they offered on the exchanges or even withdrawn from the market altogether. And if that was not bad enough, Americans with employer-based insurance may find out their insurance has to be changed starting …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Nearly 2 Million Americans Have Chlamydia

September 28, 2014 in Blogs

By Jenny Kutner, Salon.com

The CDC found significantly higher rates of infection among young adults. Let's hear it for safe sex, everyone!


New estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that nearly 2 million Americans have chlamydia. That’s a lot of people. According to a recent report, about 1.7 percent of a group of 8,000 adult participants were found to be infected during an STI screening between 2007 and 2012 — which translates to about 1.8 million infections nationwide.

The rates of infection was higher among young women than other groups, which researchers attribute to the possible use of hormonal contraception, which in many instances might lead couples to have sex without a barrier method. A quick reminder, now backed up by the nearly 5 percent of women between the ages of 14 and 24 who have chlamydia: hormonal contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Although researchers found that the risk of infection was higher for people who had multiple sexual partners within the previous year, the infection rate for sexually active adults with just one partner was 1.4 percent. The finding indicates that monogamy does not eliminate the risk of getting chlamydia, and only underscores the need for STI testing and safe sex practices.

One of the most troubling estimates was for young black women, for reasons the researchers have yet to pinpoint. Black females had a rate of 13.5 percent, compared to 1.8 percent for white women. The report suggests that the massive disparity could reflect “decreased access to routine preventive care that includes chlamydia screening and timely partner treatment.” In other words, black women — and other women of color — who tend to be disproportionately affected by limited access to healthcare are likely suffering damaging health effects as a result.

The report notes that fewer than half of sexually active women are screened yearly for chlamydia, although the CDC recommends annual screening for all sexually active women under the age of 25, older women who have new or multiple sex partners and men who have anal sex. It’s also just good for everyone to get tested …read more

Source: ALTERNET