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Monday, Sep 01st

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3 ways insurers can still avoid covering the sick

Insurers can avoid high risk patientsInsurers can no longer reject customers with expensive medical conditions thanks to the health care overhaul, but there's still wiggle room for them to discourage the sickest and costliest patients from enrolling.

Insurance companies can exclude some well-known cancer hospitals or certain individual specialists who treat pricey conditions from the list of providers they cover under a plan. They can dissuade HIV patients from signing up for coverage by requiring heavy initial payments of the bill for their prescriptions. They also might simply wait for competitors to jump into a market first and take all the risky patients who were hungry for coverage.

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Muslims react with outrage at UK sex abuse report

Pakistani child abuseMembers of Britain's Pakistani community reacted with outrage Wednesday amid reports that officials failed to act on sex abuse cases because of concerns about racism in the northern English town of Rotherham.

Muhbeen Hussain, founder of Rotherham Muslim Youth Group, told the Daily Mirror on Wednesday that Muslims are disgusted that justice was not done — leading to some 1,400 children being sexually exploited over a 16-year period, mostly by Pakistani men.

"Race, religion or political correctness should never provide a cloak of invisibility to such grotesque crimes."

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Bob Alexander: Postcard From Another World

British ColombiaA friend recently wrote me:

Remember the realization back in the early 70's that the whole country was insane? Could it be true, could a whole country go insane?

Way back when, in the dim distant past, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and pterodactyls swooped through the skies - You know - the 70s - my friend and I were trying to get a sense of What’s Going On. Here we are, millions of years later, still trying to map out a strange land. The only difference now is he still lives in that strange land, and my family escaped across the border into Beautiful British Columbia. In fact August 22nd, marked our Third Anniversary in Canada.

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Global warming is already here and could be irreversible, UN panel says

Global warming irreversibleGlobal warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous – and it’s increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday sent governments a final draft of its synthesis report, which combines three earlier, gigantic documents by the Nobel Prize-winning group. There is little in the report that wasn’t in the other more-detailed versions, but the language is more stark and the report attempts to connect the different scientific disciplines studying problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas.

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Indiana woman charged with feticide after unborn child's death

Purvi PatelA 33-year-old woman from Indiana, has been charged with the feticide and fetal murder of her unborn child after she endured a premature delivery and sought hospital treatment.

Purvi Patel faces between six and 20 years in prison for feticide and up to 50 years imprisonment for neglect of a dependent when she goes to trial, currently scheduled for 29 September. She is the second woman in Indiana to be charged with feticide following the prolonged criminal prosecution of Bei Bei Shuai, who lost her baby when she tried to kill herself.

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Report: VA scandal probe targets potential obstruction of justice

FBi to probe VAThe Justice Department and the FBI have joined the Veterans Affairs inspector general to investigate allegations of obstruction of justice at dozens of veterans hospitals across the country, according to a long-awaited report released Tuesday.

The report by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General said 93 VA health care sites across the country are being investigated in connection with falsifying scheduling records to hide delays in veterans' health care and "attempting to obstruct OIG (Office of Inspector General) and other investigative efforts."

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Military hardware for college cops

college cops get military supplies

Florida International University campus police have military-grade rifles. Ohio State has a Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicle. And Florida State has a brand new Army Humvee. These Pentagon hand-me-downs are just a few examples of the militarization of local police that has extended to college campuses — raising fresh questions about exactly why police departments would need such defense-grade hardware.

The Defense Department has been redistributing surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies since the early ’90s. But the recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri — intensified by local cops’ use of tanks and gas masks and their participation in the federal program — prompted President Barack Obama on Saturday to order a review of its appropriateness.

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The NRA Pissed Off the Wrong Nerd Genius

Bill Gates fights the NRASomewhere in a large glass tower in Northern Virginia, there’s a guy who runs guns with a French name having a bad day. With good reason.

It was reported Monday that Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and incredibly wealthy guy, and with his wife, Melinda, have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.

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Burger King, Tim Hortons merge into whopper-sized firm

Burger King mergerThe U.S.-based restaurant chain made it official Tuesday announcing that it agreed to merge with the Canada-based Tim Hortons restaurant chain. The deal, worth about $11 billion, will create the world's third largest quick service restaurant company with about $23 billion in sales and more than 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries.

The new global company will be headquartered in Canada, but each brand will be managed independently, with Burger King retaining its U.S. offices in Miami, the two companies said in a joint statement.

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