Trump’s budget renews debate on Arctic refuge oil drilling

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — President Donald Trump’s plan to help balance the federal budget features a new attempt to open the coastal plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to petroleum drilling. The effort is the latest chapter in a long-running political fight between two camps: environmentalists, who revere the plain as a maternity ward for polar bears, caribou and migratory birds; and politicians, including those in Alaska’s congressional delegation, who have campaigned for four decades on the promise of jobs and prosperity through “opening ANWR.” The refuge covers 2,300 square miles (5,957 square kilometers), an area the size of West Virginia and Connecticut combined in Alaska’s northeast corner. Some things… Read More

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California Democrats wrestle with proposal to replace private health insurance with `single-payer’ system

SACRAMENTO — A sweeping proposal to replace private medical insurance in California with a single, government-run health care system has suddenly taken on sharp political edges for Democrats, threatening party unity even as it promises to mobilize voters on the left. Supporters say “single-payer” proposals like Senate Bill 562, which the state Senate could vote on this week, are becoming a hard-and-fast litmus test for Democrats in California, and perhaps nationally — despite the long odds of one state going it alone with a top-to-bottom health care overhaul. “From here on out, single-payer — and in particular 562 — is going to be for Democrats what abortion is for Republicans,”… Read More

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Column: Why a monthly period is especially hard for millions of women around the world

Millions of girls and women are displaced and on the move right now globally – and the Trump administration’s proposed drastic cuts to humanitarian aid will have a major impact on these girls’ and women’s health. An especially important but often overlooked issue is one of the most basic parts of life for women – menstruation. This routine part of female life is a pronounced burden for women in low-income countries and those who are displaced. It disrupts many girls’ abilities to participate actively in school, potentially consigning them to second-class status for the rest of their lives. A lack of easy access to adequate toilets in schools or elsewhere… Read More

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Santa Cruz neurosurgeon pleads not guilty to 10 charges of child molestation

SANTA CRUZ – Santa Cruz brain surgeon James Kohut pleaded not guilty Friday in Santa Cruz County Superior Court to 10 charges on suspicion of raping children. Related Articles Medical board asks court to suspend Santa Cruz neurosurgeon’s license amid child-sex case 7 kids in protective custody in Santa Cruz County child-sex case with doctor, nurses Santa Cruz neurosurgeon and nurse arrested on sex offense charges Kohut made no eye contact with the packed gallery before Superior Court Judge John Salazar during the hearing. Kohut, who has an active license to practice medicine in California, hired Santa Cruz attorney Jay Rorty, who made a special appearance during Friday’s hearing. Rorty… Read More

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Column: Close the postal system loophole that allows opioid shipments into the U.S.

A hearing Thursday by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is tackling an issue that is essential to helping stem the opioid epidemic wracking our country: the shipment of synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil into the United States via the global postal system. From 2014 to 2015, deaths from synthetic opioids rose by 72 percent, fueling the more than 33,000 opioid overdose deaths. Almost every week we hear of communities being ravaged by new, increasingly potent and exotic synthetic drugs. Reports indicate that China is the number one supplier of synthetic opioids, so addressing the shipment of these drugs into the U.S. is crucial. Yet a loophole in… Read More

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As elderly population swells, some doctors see benefits of palliative care in the ER

A man sobbed in a New York emergency room. His elderly wife, who suffered from advanced dementia, had just had a breathing tube stuck down her throat. He knew she never would have wanted that. Now he had to decide whether to reverse the life-sustaining treatment that medics had begun. Dr. Kei Ouchi, then a resident at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, had no idea what to say. The husband, who had cared for his wife for the past 10 years, knew her condition had declined so much that she wouldn’t want a heroic rescue. But when Ouchi offered to take out the tube, the man cried more: “She’s breathing.… Read More

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