November 27th, 2013
The UN has named 2014 as the ‘Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.’ The resolution was adopted by the majority of member-states with 110 voting in favor, 7 opposed and 54 abstaining.
The year-long observance will entail organizing special events in cooperation with “governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations and civil society.”
The new resolution was passed on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Monday, which is celebrated annually and this year was moved up from November 29 due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the US.
The UN marks that day with a special session, including a meeting on the ‘Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people’ and a concert featuring Palestinian musicians.
On Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced the UN’s solidarity with the Palestinian people, noting the importance of peace talks aimed at a two-state solution.
“We cannot afford to lose the current moment of opportunity,” Ban Ki-moon said in a message read on his behalf. “The goal remains clear – an end to the occupation that started in 1967 and the creation of a sovereign, independent, and viable State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders, living side by side in peace with a secure State of Israel,” Mr. Ban stated.
Palestinians have made significant strides towards self-determination recently. In November of last year the UN General Assembly granted the Palestinians observer status at the international organization, thus implicitly recognizing a Palestinian state. The Palestinian bid has been upheld with 138 votes in favor, 9 against and 41 abstentions.
The new status could give the Palestinians more weight in peace talks with Israel and gives them a greater chance of joining UN agencies and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Joining the ICC would also grant the Palestinian delegation a greater legal basis for pursuing possible war-crimes prosecutions against the Israeli military.
More at RT
November 27th, 2013
Two B-52s reported to have flown over disputed area of South China Sea, ignoring China's instructions for prior warning.
Two US B-52 bombers are reported to have flown over an area of the East China Sea inside China's expanded "air defence zone" without notifying China.
The unarmed aircraft took off from Guam on Monday and the flight was previously scheduled as part of a routine exercise in the area, a Department of Defence spokesman said on Tuesday.
"Last night we conducted a training exercise that was long-planned. It involved two aircraft flying from Guam and returning to Guam," said Colonel Steven Warren, a spokesman for the department.
No flight plan was submitted beforehand to the Chinese and the mission went ahead "without incident", with the two aircraft spending "less than an hour" in the unilaterally-declared Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), he said.
An anonymous official told the AFP news agency that the planes were B-52 bombers - the largest aircraft in the US military's arsenal.
China last week announced the expanded air defence zone amid a growing territorial dispute with Japan over an island chain in the East China Sea.
The area also includes waters claimed by Taiwan and South Korea, which also have both expressed their displeasure at Beijing's move.
Under the rules declared by China, aircraft are expected to provide a flight plan, clearly mark their nationality and maintain two-way radio communication to allow them to respond to identification inquiries from Chinese authorities.
Japan, the United States and several other governments have criticised China's announced air defence zone.
November 26th, 2013
Trouble with the HealthCare.gov site appears to be so widespread that the Obama administration has opened the door for Americans to circumvent the site altogether.
Under a plan announced Friday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government would allow people to deal directly with insurance companies instead of through the federally run exchange website. The move comes as the administration's self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline for fixing the site is just days away, and officials acknowledge it may not be fully operational by then.
The pilot program announced by CMS would initially launch for residents in Ohio, Florida and Texas, and is the latest effort to give users an alternative to the troubled site.
“This is one more way we are working to offer consumers a variety of ways to enroll in affordable coverage,” agency spokeswomen Julie Bataille said in announcing the pilot project. “By strengthening the multiple channels to enroll in quality, affordable coverage … we are ensuring that every American who wants it can gain access to these new coverage options.”
Bataille said that direct enrollment has “been there from the start.” But the option was limited by the website problems, which have been fixed to the extent that insurance companies can now send applications to the site to assess enrollees' eligibility for coverage and potential discounts on premiums, she said.
Though the option could help Americans frustrated by the HealthCare.gov’s crashes, slow response times and other problems, it is another acknowledgement that the site probably will not be working for everybody by the administration’s Nov. 30 deadline.
Officials originally vowed to fix the site by then. As the extent of the site's problems became apparent, officials lowered the bar on that goal -- vowing instead to significantly improve the site by the end of the month.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that improvements to the site are on schedule, including faster response times, and that it should be able to handle 50,000 concurrent users.
"If there are more than 50,000 people trying to use the website, individuals can choose to receive an email from CMS when the traffic on the website has been reduced," he said.
Administration officials have also been encouraging Americans to submit written applications, contact call centers or visit sign-up centers to enroll for insurance.
They continue to say the site will be working smoothly by the end of the month for “a vast majority of Americans.” And last week, they extended the enrollment deadline from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23 to get insurance coverage starting Jan. 1.
Americans, who are required to have insurance under the president’s 2010 health care law, must enroll by the end of March or face a tax penalty.
In another development, GoHealthInsurance.com announced Monday that it has become the first private insurer to integrate with the so-called Federal Data Service Hub --- which includes IRS, citizenship and other personal information. So Americans can now use that as well to bypass the federal site and enroll in health plans under ObamaCare that kick in next year.
The company also said the process includes the capacity to calculate the subsidies.
As for the CMS announcement, Bataille said the pilot project will help improve the overall direct enrollment option because insurers and enrollees will provide federal officials with “detailed feedback on their experience.”
More from Fox News
November 26th, 2013
Washington Free Beacon
Iranian officials say that the White House is misleading the public about the details of an interim nuclear agreement reached over the weekend in Geneva.
Iran and Western nations including the United States came to an agreement on the framework for an interim deal late Saturday night in Geneva. The deal has yet to be implemented
The White House released a multi-page fact sheet containing details of the draft agreement shortly after the deal was announced.
However, Iranian foreign ministry official on Tuesday rejected the White House’s version of the deal as “invalid” and accused Washington of releasing a factually inaccurate primer that misleads the American public.
“What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action, and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkhamtold the Iranian press on Tuesday.
Afkham and officials said that the White House has “modified” key details of the deal and released their own version of the agreement in the fact sheet.
Iran’s right to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, is fully recognized under the draft released by Tehran.
“This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein,” the agreement reads, according to a copy released to Iranian state-run media.
“This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment programme with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the programme,” the Iranian draft reads. “This comprehensive solution would constitute an integrated whole where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
Iran’s objection to the deal as presented in the fact sheet raises new concerns about final stage talks meant to ensure that the deal is implemented in the next few weeks.
The White House confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon on Monday that the final details of the plan have yet to be worked out, meaning that Iran is not yet beholden to a six month freeze its nuclear activities.
November 25th, 2013
UK Daily Mail
By JAMES NYE
The Utah mother who claims her otherwise healthy teenage son died because of side-effects from a flu-shot has revealed her boy pleaded with doctor's to save him before he lapsed into a coma.
As she made the difficult decision to release heartbreaking pictures of her son, Chandler, 19, languishing in his hospital bed, Lori Webb described how scared he became as his health rapidly deteriorated following his routine vaccination on October 15th.
Suffering violent episodes of vomiting and debilitating headaches, Chandler's condition worsened in the week after the shot until he was placed on life-support at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, begging, 'Doctor's, save me.'
Sports loving Chandler, was given his first ever shot last month after agreeing to travel on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
However, the day after receiving the flu and tuberculosis shots, the Brighton High School graduate began suffering severe vomiting and was eventually admitted to hospital in Murray where he fell into a coma after a week of unexplained illness.
Despite doctor's best efforts they could not diagnose him, despite putting him through a battery of tests.
Officially Chandler's direct cause of death was swelling of the brain, but speaking to Fox News, Lori explained that she believes the vaccination was the reason - and that doctors should have asked sooner if her son had recently been given a shot.
'What attacked his brain happened so quickly within 15 hours,' Webb said on Fox and Friends.
'From one CT scan to the next, there was so much pressure and swelling on the brain that it crushed his brain stem.'
Chandler was ultimately taken off life support after a month in a coma and he died on Tuesday after 28 days in the hospital.
'He was sicker than he has ever been in his life. He says he's never shook so hard his whole life. He had the worst headache, threw up, and he slept for about two and a half days and didn't eat anything during that time,' said Webb to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Utah Department of Health spokesman Tom Hudachko said the state is aware of the case but can’t verify the cause of death nor whether it is investigating because of patient confidentiality.
He added that the health department has no record of anyone in Utah dying from a reaction to the vaccine, he said.
'Like with other medical procedures, there can be side effects and adverse reactions,' he said.
'In the vast majority of those cases the side effects are not very severe — soreness at the injection site, low fever, achiness. Occasionally, yes, there are more severe side effects from receiving the vaccine.'
130 million people nationwide, nearly half of all Americans, decide to get the flu vaccine every year and side effects are extremely rare.