Top News Stories for Today – Sept 13, 2017
Sanders to introduce universal health-care
Backed by at least 15 Democratic senators, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will introduce legislation Wednesday to expand Medicare into a universal health insurance program. The bill, the Medicare for All Act of 2017, would replace the current health-care system with a public system paid for by higher taxes, covering everything from prescription drugs to mental health treatment to eye care, with no co-payments.
Employers would pay higher taxes, but would no longer have to cover health insurance for workers, and there would still be private insurers for people who wanted elective treatments like plastic surgery. Doctors would be reimbursed by the government. It has no chance of passing anytime soon, but the support of several prominent Democrats signals a big shift in the politics of health care. The Washington Post, Axios, The Week
Post-Irma recovery begins in Florida
Days after Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, the state is starting to assess the damage and begin recovery efforts. On Tuesday, 2.3 million customers regained power, though millions remain without it. In the Keys, where 25 percent of homes were destroyed in devastating 130 mph winds and a 10-foot storm surge, residents are being allowed to return.
An estimated 94,000 people remain in Florida shelters. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but everybody’s going to come together. We’re going to get this state rebuilt,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday. Meanwhile, Irma, now a post-tropical cyclone, is continuing to make its way north after dumping rain across the Southeast. President Trump is slated to visit Florida on Thursday. The New York Times, ABC News, The Week
US Supreme Court lifts limits refugee ban
The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a federal appeals court ruling issued last week that would have let refugees with support from resettlement agencies enter the US, despite President Trump’s travel ban. About 24,000 people could be affected by the 5-4 ruling, which was issued without comment. The Supreme Court in June lifted a block on Trump’s executive order that barred certain people from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen from entering the country.
The justices are scheduled to hear arguments over the legality of the executive order on October 10. On Tuesday night, five justices also blocked a lower court’s order that Texas redraw two congressional districts due to racial disenfranchisement. CNN, The Texas Tribune
Suu Kyi cancels UN trip
Aung San Suu Kyi has canceled a trip to the UN this month so she can deal with the growing crisis in her country. A spokesman for Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, said she’d stay home to deal with “terrorist attacks” and the humanitarian crisis in the country’s Rakhine state, where at least 370,000 people — members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority — have fled to escape violence.
The latest outbreak of violence in Rakhine State was sparked by a series of alleged attacks on government border posts by Rohingya militants on August 25. The UN Security Council plans to talk about the crisis today. CNN
N. Korea warns US of greatest pain
North Korea has issued a new message of defiance in response to a new round of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council over its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons program. The North’s foreign ministry said the new sanctions are aimed at “completely suffocating” the nation and its people “through a full-scale economic blockade” in a statement released Wednesday through the official KCNA news agency.
Han Tae Song, North Korea’s ambassador to a UN-sponsored disarmament conference in Geneva, said Tuesday the United States would experience the “greatest pain” for playing a leading role in pushing the new sanctions through the Security Council. VOA
Al Qaida warns Myanmar over Rohingya
Al Qaida militants have called for support for Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, who are facing a security crackdown that has sent about 400,000 of them fleeing to Bangladesh, warning that Myanmar would face “punishment” for its “crimes”. The exodus of Muslim refugees from Buddhist-majority Myanmar was sparked by a fierce security force response to a series of Rohingya militant attacks on police and army posts in the country’s west on Aug. 25.
Myanmar says its security forces are engaged in a legitimate campaign against “terrorists”, whom it blames for attacks on the police and army, and on civilians. The government has warned of bomb attacks in cities, and al Qaida’s call to arms is likely to compound those concerns. VOA
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