New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is thinking about proposing a plan that would force
restaurants, movie theaters, and street carts to stop serving sodas and
other sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. The plan, unveiled by
Bloomberg’s administration Wednesday, does not include diet sodas or milkshakes. Consumers would still be
able to purchase larger sizes in grocery and convenience stores.
Despite Congress wanting to renew the program, extended federal unemployment benefits are soon to start running out. The federal
benefit extensions supported unemployment payments for up to 99 weeks to
help the unemployed until the job market improved. When the program
expired in February, Congress renewed it but reduced the number of weeks
payments could be sent and made it hard for states to get the maximum
amount of aid. Since then, a number of states have lost months of benefits and
half of a million people are expected to lose their jobless benefits
prematurely this year.
In an effort to save costs, the United States Postal Service
announced it will be offering $15,000 buyouts to 45,000 staff. During a time
when 60 percent of Americans pay their bills online, the postal service plans
to cut 229 mail centers in total to save $2.1 billion annually. Starting this
summer, it will begin by closing 48. Mail handlers must agree to retire by the
end of August to be eligible for the payouts.
The U.S. Senate has expressed outrage over the conviction of
a doctor who helped U.S. intelligence locate Osama bin Laden. As a response,
the panel voted to cut aid to Pakistan by $33 million. The amount was symbolic:
$1 million for each of the 33 years that Shakil Afridi has been sentenced to prison for treason. The foreign-aid budget for
Pakistan has also been cut in half, and officials threatened deeper slashes if
Pakistan did not open on-the-ground routes for U.S. and NATO forces.
We know that children are influenced by what they experience
and learn at very young ages. This week, in the 50th issue of Marvel Comics’s Astonishing X-Men, the gay mutant
hero Northstar proposes to his boyfriend, Kyle, and a same-sex wedding with
everyone’s favorite superheroes on the guest list is expected next month. Marvel’s
editor in chief, Axel Alonso, says gay marriage is just another aspect of real
life that he hopes will enrich his stories.
X-Men Makes History With the First Gay Wedding... by IBTimesTV
Police and protesters clashed during an antiwar rally in Chicago as
several thousand gathered near the meeting site of NATO dignitaries. The
rally was intended to be peaceful, but protesters fought riot
police and at one point uprooted a metal barrier and tried to push it
toward police. The protests drew to a close in the evening as rally
organizers urged people to disperse, and police threatened to use water
and other anti-riot measures against the crowd.
Iran has become angry with Google for removing the name Persian Gulf from Google Maps. Officials in Tehran are threatening to sue Google if the name is not restored immediately. “One of the seditionist acts taken
as part of the soft war against the Iranian nation has been Google’s
shameless act to drop the name “Persian Gulf” which is against
historical documents,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was
quoted as saying.
Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison for
firing a warning shot to frighten her bullying husband. Alexander tried
to defend herself using Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which came
to national attention recently with the Trayvon Martin case. The case was prosecuted by Angela Corey, the
same Florida prosecutor who is handling the case against Martin’s
shooter. Congresswoman Corrine Brown accosted Corey after the
sentencing, telling the state attorney, “There is no justification for
20 years. All the community was asking for was mercy and justice.”
In the past week, both Vice President Biden and President Obama have openly voiced their support for gay marriage. The week started with Biden making candid statements about his comfort level with gay marriage three days before Obama made his own statement saying he supported it. Biden did, however, apologize for bringing the issue to the forefront with his comments.
While it may not be a new drug, Truvada may help stop the spread of HIV. An FDA panel is urging that it be approved
for use as a preventative medication. Truvada is currently used as part
of a cocktail of drugs to treat HIV, but studies have shown that it can
also reduce infection rates. Doctors are hailing the research as a “huge
milestone,” saying it could lead to the end of the AIDS epidemic, which
has claimed more than 30 million lives worldwide. The FDA is expected
to make a decision by June 15.
Watch A Drug to Prevent HIV's Spread: Truvada's Promises on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.
After six terms in the U.S. Senate (or 36 years), Richard Lugar is projected to lose the
Indiana Senate primary to state treasurer Richard Mourdock. The
80-year-old Lugar faced a challenge by those in his
party who felt he was not conservative enough on federal spending.
Mourdock was backed by a variety of conservative groups, including the
National Rifle Association. There is also a clear Tea Party influence in this race as well.
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French Socialist Party candidate François Hollande swept Nicolas Sarkozy
from office earlier today in an election that many have said could change the
political face of France and Europe. Accoring to the French exit-poll
numbers, Hollande won with 52 percent of the vote to Sarkozy’s 48
percent. Polls had shown for months that Hollande had a healthy lead on
the incumbent, but Sarkozy remained defiant to the end.
Facebook is moving quickly toward its initial public offering, which is likely to occur in the next two to three weeks. The social networking company revealed Thursday that it would value
itself at $86 billion when it goes public, aiming for shares of stocks to be worth $28 to $35 each. The IPO would tower over Google's 2004 offering of $23 billion.
President Obama went to Afghanistan today in a surprise visit where he also gave a live, televised address to the nation. He spent time meeting with President Karzai and reiterated that America would be free from Afghanistan by 2012.