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A U.S. soldier has been charged with killing 17 Afghan civilians.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, was charged on March 23 with 17 counts of premeditated murder, which is a capital offense that could lead to the death penalty. Bales has been accused of walking off a U.S. military base with several guns and a grenade right before dawn on March 11. With these weapons, he killed nine Afghan children and eight adults, then burned some of their bodies.
These allegations of civilian killings are one of the worst against an American and has strained the U.S.-Afghan relationship.
It is currently unknown what prompted Bales to go on his killing spree, but the case has drawn new attention to mental health care for the troops. In the recent years, suicide rates, brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress has risen for those who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times.
Bales also wounded six other Afghans – a man, a woman, and four children, which has lead him to be charged with an additional six counts of attempted murder and six counts of assault, for a total of 29 charges.
The father of two from Lake Tapps, Washington is currently being confined at the U.S. military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was on his fourth tour of duty at the time, and had served three of those tours in Iraq.
If convicted, Bales could face the death penalty.
The African Union has set up a military force to track down Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.
The military force is made up of 5,000 and will cease to exist until Kony is captured or killed. The manhunt was launched in South Sudan.
Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, has been accused of rape, mutilation, murder, and recruiting child soldiers. The LRA has supposedly gotten smaller, but is still creating havoc in Africa.
Kony and his close aides have been wanted since 2005 by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The AU’s mission comes right after the huge Kony2012 Internet campaign. So far, the video has been watched more than 100 million times on YouTube.
Employers are now asking potential applicants and employees for very personal information: their Facebook login and password.
Not only does this invade the privacy of the employee at hand, but also their friends and family who think that only friends have access to their profile. The Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, Illinois State Senator La Shawn Ford, and Maryland State Senator Ronald N. Young have all been actively speaking out against the new policy many employers seem to be using.
There hasn’t been much evidence or statistics to support the fact that this breach of privacy has been happening, only stories and rumors. All we have is the anger the people using social networking sites feel about the fact that employers think they have the right to information that is as sensitive as their personal emails and phone calls.
Facebook condemns the employers asking for the information. They won’t take their own legal action, but they are willing to work with politicians who are seeking to put in place certain rules to prevent this from happening.
Time to see what decisions will be made about the hot new political issue.
Sale numbers for homes have continued to improve.
Information from the N.H Association of Realtors revealed that sales went up in February by nearly 46 percent. This comes just after a 36 percent increase in January over the previous year.
The median prices for homes also have increased. In February 2012, the average was $165,000 versus $146,500 in February 2011.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving $220 million of his own money to help stop tobacco use. Most of this money will go to low-and-middle-income countries that have 80% of the world’s smokers.
The announcement of Bloomberg’s promise was made in Singapore at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health. Since Bloomberg started this initiative, he has donated over $600 million to the cause.
Over the course of the next four years, Mayor Bloomberg promises to:
To learn more about Bloomberg’s efforts, click here.
China is promising to stop taking organs from executed prisoners within the next three to five years, according to Huang Jiefu, the vice-minister of health for the country.
Many human rights groups have been advocating for this change since 1994. Nicholas Bequelin, who is a researcher for Human Rights Watch, pointed out that many of China’s current politicians are about to retire. In Bequelin’s opinion, this means that these leaders will not have to worry about following through with their promise.
Currently, China has 300,000 patients waiting for a liver transplant, but there have only been 546 transplants so far this year.
To read more, click here.
Dr. Edward Machtinger, who is the director of the Women’s HIV program at UCSF, recently lead a study to determine the relationship between HIV and women who are abused.
Dr. Machtinger’s study concluded that women who had HIV were two to six times more likely to have experienced some sort of trauma or abuse than women who were not HIV-positive.
The study also showed that around 30% of women with HIV also have post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. 60% of these women have been abused at some point in their life, while as only 12% of women without HIV have experienced abuse.
The results are based on surveys sent to 113 female patients who are HIV-positive and received treatement at UCSF.
To read more about the study, click here.
The White House is upset over the fact that Rick Santorum recently attacked President Barack Obama for allowing Malia Obama to take a trip to Mexico.
The GOP presidential hopeful criticized Obama for his decision and called him an irresponsible parent.
Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, has blasted Santorum for targeting a child on his campaign trail.
“I think that children, for candidate purposes, have always been off-limits in presidential campaigns, and really any campaign,” Cutter said to MSNBC.
The comments came when Santorum talked with Glenn Beck on his conservative radio show about Obama’s decision to allow Malia, 13, to visit Mexico, despite the fact that the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for there.
“If the administration is saying that it’s not safe to have people down here, then just because you can send 25 Secret Service agents doesn’t mean you should do it,” Santorum said.
Malia Obama was on a school-sponsored service trip, with a dozen other students, in the southern city of Oaxaca, which was close to where the 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit on March 20. She was safe and not harmed during the natural disaster.
In February, the State Department had issued a warning that crime and violence could occur in Mexico, but did not advise Americans not to visit.
Doreen Watson-Beard, 49, was a nurse at an assisted living facility who took care of her husband who had liver cancer. Watson-Beard had led Alzheimer’s support groups. When she began to forget to pick up her grandchildren, plans with her husband and gave the wrong dosage to a patient, she began to worry.
After her husband died, three years ago, she put off the symptoms as stress and grief. Watson-Beard was diagnosed at 44 with dementia. Forgetfulness was one of her first symptoms.
Dr. Marc Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist at Miami Jewish Health Systems and author of “How We Age” states that the diagnosis for dementia is quite complicated, especially at Doreen’s age.
Beth Kallmyer, a social worker at the Alzheimer’s Association, said many people don’t realize that the younger ones diagnosed with dementia can experience incredulous reactions to the diagnosis.
“It can be financially devastating,” she said.
This was painfully devastating on Doreen, who left her job last year. Her home is in foreclosure and she does not have medical insurance. She pays out of pocket for her doctor visits. Namenda, a treatment for the symptoms of dementia, is free from the Drug Company.
Watson-Beard wonders what her journey with dementia will be like. Aging will not be the same for her.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 200,000 Americans under 65 of the 5.4 million who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Most of these people are baby boomers, the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964.