Trump Names Obamacare Critic as Health Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump named Representative Tom Price as his choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price, a conservative Republican from Atlanta, has been a long-time critic of the Affordable Choice Act, also known as Obamacare, and has previously proposed to how to repeal and replace the signature project of President Obama. Price’s alternative proposal would include tax credits, tax-deductible health savings plans, subsidies for some health insurance plans, and cross-state insurance competition. As a representative, Price has also supported measures that make liability lawsuits against doctors more difficult, restrictions on Medicare coverage, and the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Trump Officially Declared Winner in Michigan

The state of Michigan officially declared Donald Trump to be the winner of the November 8th presidential election by 10,704 votes, or one quarter of a percent ahead of Hillary Clinton. The announcement came on Monday, one day after Green presidential candidate Jill Stein filed for a recount in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Michigan has 16 electoral college votes and polls had originally predicted that Clinton would easily win the state.

Election Security Experts Join Stein Recount effort in Wisconsin

Half a dozen election security experts are joining Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s call for a recount in Wisconsin. The experts testified that the insecure nature of the electronic voting machines necessitates a manual count of paper ballots. The margin of error in vote scanning machines could have been greater than Trump’s margin of victory, according to their testimony.

North Dakota Governor Orders DAPL Protest Camp Eviction

Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota issued an order for the evacuation of camp protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Dalrymple ordered a cut-off of emergency services to the area, justifying the measure on the basis of health and safety threats posed to the protesters by sub-freezing temperatures and an impending snowstorm. Representatives of the protesters decried the move, arguing that the governor has been responsible for violating the health of safety of the camp. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II said, “If the true concern is for public safety than the Governor should clear the blockade and the county law enforcement should cease all use of flash grenades, high-pressure water cannons in freezing temperatures, dog kennels for temporary human jails, and any harmful weaponry against human beings.”

Somali Student Responsible for Ohio Attack Said to Have Acted Out of Revenge

The Somali refugee student who attacked and injured eleven people with his car and with a knife at Ohio State University on Monday had previously expressed frustration about the treatment of Muslims around the world on social media. According to a Facebook post attributed to him written shortly before the attack: “I am sick and tired of seeing my fellow Muslim Brothers and Sisters being tortured and kille: EVERYWHERE. … I can’t take it any more. … America stop interfering with other countries…” 18-year old Abdul Razak Artan was shot and killed by police immediately after confronting him. The incident comes at time when hate crimes against Muslims are at an all-time high. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been tracking hate crimes for several decades, attributes the uptick to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign rhetoric.

South Korea’s President Willing to Resign Over Corruption Scandal

South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye announced on Tuesday that she is willing to resign before the end of her term. Her resignation head off an impeachment process that is scheduled to begin on Friday. President Park is accused of supporting and protecting a close advisor who has been charged with corruption. South Koreans have held massive demonstrations for five weeks calling on her to resign. President Park denies having benefitted from her advisor’s crimes. 25 lawmakers from her own party recently joined the chorus of South Koreans calling for her resignation. Park, who is South Korea’s first female president and represents the conservative Grand National Party, first took office in February 2013. Her term is scheduled to end in 2018.

Two-Thirds Of Northern Great Barrier Reef Dead or Dying Due to Global Warming

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has suffered its worst ever recorded coral die-off as a result of warming seas, scientists reported on Tuesday. Surveys of sites on the Northern Great Barrier Reef in March and April and again at the same sites in October and November found an average loss of 67 percent of shallow water corals. Researchers said the die-off was “almost certainly” the largest ever recorded anywhere because of the size of the Barrier Reef, which is the biggest coral reef in the world. The Director of the Australian Research Council attributes the die-off to increasing water temperatures due to global warming. The average global temperature for 2016 is the warmest in recorded history.

Civil Disobedience in Sudan

A three-day strike and boycott of government services launched in Sudan on Sunday is scheduled to end today.

The strike was called in protest of deteriorating standard of living, a 30% increase in fuel prices, and rising medical and public transport costs.

The Sudanese government claims that the strike “failed” because it received support from the banned Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) political party, which seeks the overthrow of the Sudanese government. The SPLM-N claims that the strike was successful and said that hundreds of thousands have participated.

Other opposition groups, including Islamic and leftist parties also issued the call for the strike and acts of civil disobedience.

The Sudanese government responded to the strike by closing a private TV channel that was critical of state policy.

The loss of oil fields which are now in the territory of the newly founded state of South Sudan, coupled with U.S economic sanctions, have contributed to economic troubles in the country.

A Thousand Sex Assaults in the Canadian Army in One Year

Three Canadian soldiers are sexually assaulted or harassed on average every day, according to a recent survey.

Data published yesterday from Canadian statistical agency StatsCan shows 960 soldiers were sexually attacked this year.

The incidents include rape, unwanted physical grabbing, kissing, fondling and use of drugs to make them vulnerable to sexual assault. The majority of the incidents were of unwanted touching.

Women are four times more likely to be targeted by sexual assault than men, although men outnumber women in the Canadian military forces.

Almost one in five soldiers reported being targets of either inappropriate sexual behavior or gender-based discrimination in the past year.

Overall, soldiers were 1.7% likely to be sexually assaulted during the year, double the rate of sexual assault among working Canadians.

Chief of Defense Staff General Jonathan Vance said the findings were “regrettably sobering,” adding that he was “extremely disappointed” since he launched “Operation Honor” to purge harmful and inappropriate sexual behavior in the military over a year ago.

Thirty personnel were stripped of their command as punishment for sexual assault this year.

Over 43,000 members of the armed forces participated in the survey.

The Global TIMSS Study Compares Students Mathematical Ability

East Asian students continue to outperform the rest of the world in the 4th and 8th grades, according to a global study published today.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study showed the best performing countries were Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Chinese Taipei and Japan.

U.S student’s relative achievements in mathematics showed improvement compared to the 2011 survey in the 8th grade, but 4th grade results were unchanged compared to 2011.

Russia and England showed improvement in both grades, and Saudi Arabia declined in both grades.

The study found that gender gaps in mathematics and science have narrowed, especially at the 8th grade.

It also showed that an early start in mathematics and science has positive results in the 4th grade.

It also found that schools worldwide are on average safer places for children, although it raised concerns of cyber-bullying.

The “Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study” (TIMSS) is conducted every four years among 60 countries since 1995, sponsored by the Association for the Evaluation of Education Achievement (IEA) in Amsterdam. 

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