One in four Americans without health coverage: study
As the US Supreme Court ponders the fate of healthcare reform in the current election year, a study released on Thursday shows that one in four working-age Americans went without insurance at some point in 2011, often as a result of unemployment and other job changes. The study by the Commonwealth Fund polled 2,100 people aged 19 to 64 and found that 26 per cent of non-elderly adults went without insurance — a percentage that researchers said equals about 48 million people when measured against US census data. The Commonwealth Fund, a non-profit organisation that analyses healthcare issues, said that seven in 10 of those who lost insurance spent a year or more without coverage, partly because plans sold on the individual market for health insurance were unaffordable.
Secret service agents’ lawyer: ‘Trial by mob’ wrongThe attorney for some of the secret service agents under investigation in a scandal involving prostitutes in Colombia ahead of President Barack Obama’s trip said on Thursday a ‘trial by mob’ was wrong. Lawrence Berger’s comments to Reuters in a telephone interview came after the Washington Post identified the two supervisors involved as David Randall Chaney, 48, in the inter-national programmes division, who was allowed to retire, and Greg Stokes, assistant special agent in charge of the K9 division, who has been notified that he will be fired. Berger, general counsel for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, represents Chaney and Stokes, and took issue with news reports describing the three of the 11 agents who are leaving as being forced out.
Syria, UN agree on terms of monitoring missionSyria and the United Nations signed an agreement on Thursday on terms for hundreds of observers to monitor a ceasefire, but fierce diplomatic wrangling lies ahead to persuade the West the mission can have the authority and power to ensure peace. A handful of UN observers are already in Syria monitoring a week-old truce that has failed to stop bloodshed. The question of whether the mission can expand while violence continues is up in the air. A crowd mobbed the head of the advance party on Thursday, some demanding the death of President Bashar al-Assad. The UN Security Council — divided between Western countries that want to topple Assad and Russia and China, which support him — must agree the proposal to send a larger observer force.
Thousands protest against military rule in EgyptThousands of protesters have gathered in Cairo’s downtown Tahrir Square, demanding that Egypt’s ruling military council hand over power to civilians. Rival political parties of Islamists and liberal youth groups joined ranks despite months of bitter disputes and accusations. Protesters chanted, “Down with military rule.” Islamists captured nearly 70 per cent of parliament seats in last year’s elections. They have stayed away from most street protests, hoping for accommodation with the ruling generals, who took
power after Hosni Mubarak’s regime was ousted in a popular uprising last year. In recent weeks, the Islamists have demanded that the military fire the cabinet it appointed and allow the parliament to form a new one, but the military has refused.