Recently in National News Category

Oprah announces end of talk show

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CHICAGO -- Oprah Winfrey announced Friday that she will take her show off the air in 2011, ABC News said.

Oprah, 55, will end her show after its 25th season, because she said, "it feels right in my bones and right in my spirit," The Star said.

The Oprah Winfrey Show made its debut in 1985 and is now syndicated in 145 countries, ABC News said.

Oprah will start the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), a 24/7 cable network dedicated to promoting self-improvement and self-discovery, The Star said.

Obama admin to prosecute accused 9/11 mastermind

NEW YORK -- The Obama administration announced Friday that it will prosecute the accused mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks in federal court, blocks away from where the World Trade Center was destroyed, the New York Times said.

Attorney General Eric Holder will ask for the death penalty when prosecuting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others in what could be one of the highest profile federal court trials of American history, the Philadelphia Inquirer said.

The Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center killed nearly 2,872 people, the Philadephia Inquirer said.

Five other detainees will be prosecuted before a military commission, the New York Times said. 

Shooting at army base in Fort Hood, Texas

FORT HOOD, Texas -- An army psychiatrist opened fire Thursday, killing 13 people and wounding 30 more,at Fort Hood, Texas, the New York Times said.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, who worked for the Army since 1995, shot 43 people at a Soldier Readiness Center where 300 soldiers were lined up for shots and eye exams, the Associated Press said.

Hasan, who was shot four times, and ten of the wounded soldiers were taken to Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas, where the doctor said the wounded soldiers might still die, the Associated Press said.

Hassan scheduled to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, the New York Time said.

Obama lifts ban on HIV immigrants

President Barack Obama voiced his intention Friday to overturn a ban that prevented people with HIV from entering the country, NPR said.

Obama will finalize the lift of the 22-year-old ban Monday, removing the United States from the dozen nations that still practice the ban, USA Today said.

"If we want to be the global leader in combatting HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it," Obama said at the White House before signing a bill to extend the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, NPR said. 

The program, started in 1990, was named after an Indiana teen who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion at 13 and fought for his right to attend school, USA Today said.  The program provides medical care and support services to more than half a million people with HIV, NPR said.

Obama declares swine flu a national emergency

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency Friday night, Politico said.

Obama signed a declaration Friday night allowing Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius to overlook federal guidelines and hospital officials to alter patient rules in order to speed up the treatment process, USA Today said.

This declaration would allow hospitals to relocate flu-related services to an off-site location to protect uninfected patients and decrease burdens on hospital staff, USA Today said.

Over 1,000 American individuals have died since April, and another 20,000 have been hospitalized because of the swine flu, Politico reported.

Delays in vaccine production have allowed only 11 million of the 120 million ordered vaccinations to be shipped to health providers, but the government hopes to have 150 million vaccinations by the end of December, USA Today said.

High number of marijuana stores in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES - Law enforcement officials and cannabis advocates believe the number of medical-marijuana dispensaries is too much, the New York Times said.

There are from 800 to 1000 medical-marijuana stores in Los Angeles, the New York Times said.

The Los Angeles City Council has been struggling to regulate medical-marijuana laws, the Los Angeles Weekly said.

Law enforcement officials are planning more crackdowns on cannabis clubs, the New York Times said.

Children most susceptible to H1N1

The number of youth who have died from the swine flu in the United States has increased, the Washington Post reported.

Out of the 76 deaths of under-18-year-olds that resulted from the H1N1 virus this year, 19 deaths occurred this past week, the Washington Post said.

Last year, only 21 percent of children ages five to 17 received flu shots last year, the New York Times reported.

Twenty to 30 percent of the children who have died from the swine flu were healthy, while the rest had vulnerable health issues, the Washington Post said.

A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine reported that although children were more likely to spread the virus, infants and 25 to 64-year-olds were more likely to die from it.

Battle on gay divorce continues in Texas

A Texas judge opened up a battle on same-sex marriage Thursday when she ruled that a same-sex couple married in another state can divorce in Texas, the New York Times said.

District Judge Tena Callahan ruled that Texas' ban on same-sex marriage violates the constitutional guarantee to equal protection under the law, the Washington Post said.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott will appeal the ruling, which he argues goes against voters' approval of the ban in 2005, the Washington Post said.  He argued that if the state of Texas does not recognize same-sex marriage, the courts cannot dissolve one.

Peter A. Schulte, the lawyer of the same-sex couple hoping for divorce, says they did not want to challenge the state's ban, the New York Times said.  They simply hoped to divorce in Texas, where they now live, instead of having to move back to Massachusetts, where they wed, in order to divorce.

Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison support Abbott's objections, the Washington Post said.

Government lacks in delivering its promise to veterans

The United States government is failing on delivering its promise of tuition checks to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Although over 200,000 of the 277,000 claims for tuition assistance were approved this semester, less than 22,000 veterans have received their checks, the Washington Times said.

Veterans Affairs now requires its workers to work overtime in order to process more claims and answer a hot-line for students, ArmyTimes reported.

"You got to love the VA," Iraq veteran Jeff Kohler told ArmyTimes. "I go through hell in Iraq and this is the thanks I get from them."  Like many others, Kohler depends on his savings, loans, and money borrowed from his parents in order to get by.

First lady weighs in on women and health care

Michelle Obama emphasized the importance of women's voices in the health care debate in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

Obama spoke to around 140 representatives of women's groups and the health care industry asking them to become active in the debate on health care for women.

"Women are affected because, as we heard, in many states, insurance companies can still discriminate because of gender," Obama said.

The Washington Post reports that a 2008 study from the National Women's Law Center shows that the disparity between men and women in health insurance can be as large as 48 percent.  Only 10 states in the U.S. ban gender rating.

"These are the kind of facts that still wake me up at night," Obama said.

The New York Times reports that Obama's role in policy discussions have been minimal.  Her speech Friday suggests an coming active role for her in the health care debate.

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