World News – December 27th- January 3rd
The Good: Iceland Equal Pay Sets Standard For The World
In the midst of growing unrest around the world concerning equal rights for women, Iceland has come into 2018 with legislation that aims to bridge the wage gap between men and women. Effective immediately, Iceland is requiring companies and government agencies who employ more than 25 employees to obtain a certificate proving equal pay policies; those who fail to do so will face fines. Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association said: “The legislation is basically a mechanism that companies and organisations … evaluate every job that’s being done, and then they get a certification after they confirm the process if they are paying men and women equally,” According to The World Economic Forum, Iceland is the world’s most gender equal country.
The Bad: Puerto Rico Still Without Power
Officials in Puerto Rico report that nearly 45% of the 1.5 million customers are still without power after Hurricane Maria struck the island on September 20th, 2017. The disaster that initially left the entire island without power is still wreaking havoc as engineers are still struggling to return power to citizens as well as municipalities. Eileen Cheverez is a therapist who lives in a city called Morovis which borders Ciales. She spoke to the Associated Press saying: “This truly consumes you mentally, emotionally…It’s like a lack of respect. I know the damage was great, especially in the mountains, but I feel they’ve taken too long.” According to the Associated Press, most businesses and industries have received power, revealing that residents are the majority of victims left in the dark.
The Good: New HIV technology is combating the disease on a cellular level
Researchers are continuing to develop new technology that fights HIV from within the body. Although the medical jargon can sound overwhelming, basically scientists have formed cells that can identify HIV cells within the body and destroy them. The process was developed using gene therapy that created blood forming stem cells called hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, or HSPCs to carry chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) genes. Although current antiviral medication can nearly eradicate the presence of HIV within a patient, the medication is still dependent on a strong immune system response. This new technology makes researchers hopeful that this new approach will reduce the need for antiviral medication and reduce the overall cost of therapy.
The Bad: New US Tax Plan Expected To Have Damaging Effects On Overall Health Care.
The newest tax overhaul which has gone into effect on January 1st, 2018 is expected to greatly affect the healthcare industry and patients as well. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that average premiums will increase, mainly affecting older, sicker patients. The premium rise is due to the repeal of the mandate for citizens to purchase insurance. The CBO estimates that young, healthy people will leave the market, leaving senior citizens and persons with pre-existing conditions to bear the cost of the exit. As the cost of health care rises, poorer patients are expected to suffer the most, with doctors and medical businesses not far behind.
The Good: Germany Is Eradicating Hateful & False Content Online
Germany is now enforcing it’s new law that was passed earlier in 2017. The Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, or NetzDG for short, is a law prohibiting social media sites from allowing hateful content or fake news posts. The new legislation will require that sites create online forms where concerned citizens can report abusive material. Sites will have 24 hours to address the content or else face a fine of up to 50 million euros. In more complex cases, sites will have a week to act. Any social media site with over 2 million users will fall under the provision making Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other platforms like Reddit & Tumblr key focuses.
The Bad: YouTube & Logan Paul Get Dragged On Social Media For Suicide Footage
A multitude of social media users have spoken out against YouTube and Logan Paul after Paul recorded himself and several friends in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest also known as “suicide forest”. After capturing footage of a hanging body and filming several reactions, Paul is recorded as saying: “Suicide is not the answer” following up his statement with an off camera comment to an apparent friend saying: “what, you’ve never seen a dead body before?” YouTube confirmed the video violated its Community Guideline policies and offered condolences to the victims family. “YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner,” reads an excerpt of YouTube’s statement. Paul has since also released a statement apologizing for the footage and removed the video from YouTube.
Congratulations, You Played Yourself
Last week in Copenhagen, Denmark a local drug dealer played himself. After having 1000 weed cigarettes on him, he entered into a car which he thought was a cab. Proclaiming he needed to get home quickly, he later realized that the car he had entered was a cop car and was arrested on drug charges.
Leave the gift giving to Mr. & Mrs. Claus. Last week an elderly couple, Patrick Jiron, 80, and Barbara Jiron, 83 were stopped by police on their way to Boston and Vermont to deliver “Christmas gifts.” With over 300,000 worth of marijuana packaged for some lucky person, the two were taken into custody.