SPLASH! News for April 14, 2017

Dive Into the News of the Day

Kiran Opal


Two Companies Sue to Block Their Drugs in ‘Assembly Line’ Arkansas Executions

Huffington Post – Two pharmaceutical companies are asking a federal judge to stop Arkansas from using their drugs in the planned execution of seven men in 11 days this month.

The European-owned Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp. filed a friend of the court brief in support of a lawsuit by inmates because they’re opposed to their drugs being used in capital punishment.

“The use of the medicines in lethal injections runs counter to the manufacturers’ mission to save and enhance patients’ lives, and carries with it not only a public-health risk, but also reputational, fiscal and legal risks,” the companies said in their brief.

China Calls for Halt to US – North Korea Tensions

TIME – China said on Friday tension over North Korea had to be stopped from reaching an “irreversible and unmanageable stage” as a U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region amid fears the North may conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test.

Concerns have grown since the U.S. Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack, raising questions about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. and unilateral sanctions.

The United States has warned that a policy of “strategic patience” is over. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

China, North Korea’s sole major ally and neighbor which nevertheless opposes its weapons program, has called for talks leading to a peaceful resolution and the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

AG Agrees Tennessee Will Stop Enforcing 2 Abortion Limits

ABC – Tennessee’s attorney general has agreed that the state will drop two abortion limits similar to Texas laws struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, according to federal court filings Thursday.

One of the requirements mandated that abortion providers have hospital admitting privileges. The other forced abortion clinics to meet hospital-level surgical standards.

The Supreme Court struck down similar Texas laws in June 2016.

The Tennessee lawsuit was brought by three abortion clinics: the Bristol Regional Women’s Center, The Women’s Center in Nashville and the Memphis Center for Reproductive Health. The Tennessee case was on hold since December 2015 while awaiting the Supreme Court ruling.

The court documents said stopping enforcement will avoid the added costs and resources of continued litigation.

Trump Administration Issues Final Rule on Stricter Obamacare Enrollment

Reuters – The Trump administration on Thursday issued a final rule that will shorten the Obamacare enrollment period and give insurers more of what they say they need in the individual insurance market, likely making it harder for some consumers to purchase insurance, healthcare experts said.
It could also raise out-of-pocket medical expenses, the experts said, because it gives insurers more flexibility in determining the value of their coverage.

The rule, which takes effect later this year, comes as President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have renewed efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, after an effort to pass a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives failed last month.

Issued by a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and first proposed in February, the rule aims to aid insurers, who have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in the individual insurance markets set up by Obamacare. Several major insurers, including Humana Inc and Aetna Inc, have announced plans to exit some state exchanges in 2018.

Sued, Found Unfit, and a Friend Mysteriously Shot – Cop’s Rocky Record

Chicago Tribune – Michael LaPorta remembers much of what happened the morning a bullet shattered his skull. The words come slowly and the memories sting. But LaPorta remembers enough.

That he had come to town to celebrate his father’s birthday. That afterward he went drinking with one of his closest friends. That they went to two South Side bars before heading back to the friend’s home. And that, once there, he and his friend got into a heated argument.

A few hours before sunrise on Jan. 12, 2010, LaPorta crumpled to the dining room floor with a gunshot wound toward the back of his head. Chicago police classified the shooting an attempted suicide based largely on the account of LaPorta’s friend Patrick Kelly, the only other person in the house at the time.

Search for Answers After Coalition Strike Kills US Allies in Syria

CNN – The strike, carried out Tuesday near the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, killed members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which the US and other nations have backed and coordinated with to fight ISIS militants in the country.

The latest deaths come amid mounting concern over the civilian toll of coalition airstrikes, as efforts to drive ISIS from Raqqa, its de facto Syrian capital, and Mosul in Iraq intensify, and in the wake of last week’s US missile strike against a Syrian government target.

SDF General Command’s senior military adviser, Nasser Haj Mansour, told CNN that members of the SDF had coordinated the airstrike, based on inaccurate information.

Written by Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Getz is Editor of International Affairs for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

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SPLASH! News for April 14, 2017