Drug Makers Raise Prices in Face of Health Care Reform
By DUFF WILSON
Published: November 15, 2009
Even as drug makers promise to support Washington’s health care overhaul by shaving $8 billion a year off the nation’s drug costs after the legislation takes effect, the industry has been raising its prices at the fastest rate in years.
In the last year, the industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. That will add more than $10 billion to the nation’s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992.
The drug trend is distinctly at odds with the direction of the Consumer Price Index, which has fallen by 1.3 percent in the last year.
Copenhagen climate talks: No deal, we’re out of time, Obama warns
Brown still hopes to salvage climate talks as US rules out binding targets
David Adam, Jonathan Watts and Patrick Wintour
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 15 November 2009 21.36 GMT
Barack Obama acknowledged todaythat time had run out to secure a legally binding climate deal at the Copenhagen summit in December and threw his support behind plans to delay a formal pact until next year at the earliest.
During a hastily convened meeting in Singapore, the US president supported a Danish plan to salvage something from next month’s meeting by aiming to make it a first-stage series of commitments rather than an all-encompassing protocol.
Postponing many contentious decisions on emissions targets, financing and technology transfer until the second-stage, leaders will instead try to reach a political agreement in Copenhagen that sends a strong message of intent.
GM to start repaying debt to U.S. government next month
Firm plans to retire $6.7 billion loan years before it is due
By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 16, 2009
General Motors is expected to announce on Monday that it will begin repaying its debt to the United States next month, years earlier than required.
The nation’s largest automaker plans to pay $1 billion per quarter until the $6.7 billion loan is repaid, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The plan does not cover all of the $50 billion the United States has invested in the company.
Catholic bishops’ influence on healthcare bill
The church’s support of Democratic healthcare efforts gave it a seat at the table during last week’s healthcare vote — and helped it add a controversial antiabortion amendment.
By James Oliphant
November 16, 2009
Reporting from Washington – For weeks, the Catholic Church has asked its U.S. parishioners to work toward ensuring that tough language restricting federal funding of abortion is included in healthcare overhaul legislation.
It has gone so far as to insert a prayer into the weekly bulletins of dioceses across the country, imploring Congress to “act to ensure that needed healthcare reform will truly protect the life, dignity and healthcare of all.“
EU lets its members fudge statistics
Don’t scapegoat Greece for lying about the size of its deficit – Eurostat should be given the teeth to stop such distortions
guardian.co.uk, Monday 16 November 2009 08.00 GMT
That a country’s macroeconomic figures are susceptible to manipulation and exploitation for political purposes is no secret. But Greece’s deficit situation takes “there’s lies, damned lies and statistics” to a whole new level.
Though it’s easy – and indeed right – to condemn Greek administrations for establishing a tradition of what in Athens is referred to as “creative statistics”, the latest episode in the country’s deficit saga sheds new light on the EU’s failure to scrutinise member states’ economies.
The recent “disclosure” by the newly elected Greek government that the country’s budget deficit is estimated at a whopping 12.7% of its GDP sent chills down the European commission’s spine.
John Lichfield: What a relief to be driving in disguise
Parisians, it seems, are choosing to identify with the département of their grand-parents; or their holiday homes
Monday, 16 November 2009
By their cars shall you know them. Not any more, it appears. Parisian motorists, disliked all over France for being over-aggressive, under-friendly and simply for being Parisian, have found a way to camouflage their origins.
Since last April, France has switched to a new system of car registration. The number no longer finishes with the two-digit code of the département or county (75 for Paris, 13 for the Bouches-de-Rhône and so on). Instead, the number-plate carries a separate sticker indicating its département and region.
The choice of these stickers is voluntary. Cars can legally display any département number code that their owner desires. You can, if you wish, live in Paris and drive around in a car displaying the code number of a faraway, backwoods département.
Barack Obama meets Shanghai students in China
US president tackles internet censorship and the US stance on arms sales to Taiwan in meeting broadcast on Chinese television
Tania Branigan in Beijing
guardian.co.uk, Monday 16 November 2009 08.06 GMT
The US believes that freedom of expression and political participation are universal values, Barack Obama told an audience of young Shanghai students today, in a townhall-style meeting streamed live on the White House website, broadcast on a local Shanghai television station and carried as text on a major Chinese portal.
The president tackled issues ranging from internet censorship and the US stance on arms sale to Taiwan to his Nobel Peace Prize, in his question-and-answer session with around 300 students – his sole meeting with the Chinese public during his three-day visit to the country.
But some expressed disappointment at the soft tone of many questions and said he should have addressed human rights violations in China more directly.
Japan’s economy continues growing ‘
Figures released by the Japanese government show that the country’s economy has grown for a second successive quarter
The BBC Monday, 16 November 2009
The world’s second biggest economy grew by 1.2% in the three months from July to September – faster than economists had predicted.
However, analysts say overall growth is likely to be sluggish for years.
The global downturn had plunged Japan into its worst recession since World War II.
Japan’s Trade Minister, Masayuki Naoshima, apologised for disclosing the market sensitive third-quarter GDP figures to oil industry executives ahead of its official release.
Palestinian push for an independent state causes Israeli alarm
Netanyahu to denounce Prime Minister’s drive to sidestep Israel and secure support from UN Security Council
By Donald Macintyre in RamallahMonday, 16 November 2009
Palestinian leaders from President Mahmoud Abbas down have alarmed Israeli ministers by swinging their weight behind a planned effort to secure UN backing for a unilaterally declared independent state in the West Bank and Gaza.
In an innovative strategy which would not depend on the success of currently stalled negotiations with Israel, the leaders are preparing a push to secure formal UN Security Council support for a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders as a crucial first step towards the formation of a state.
Russia warns Tehran it is ‘running out of time’ in uranium deal stand-off
From The Times
November 16, 2009
President Medvedev of Russia sounded an unexpectedly clear note of support for the United States over the Iran nuclear stand-off yesterday. He hinted that he was also fast running out of patience with Tehran and that Moscow might consider new sanctions.
Mr Medvedev said that neither he nor Mr Obama, whom he met in Singapore over the weekend, were satisfied with Tehran’s foot-dragging over a UN-backed deal that would allow Russia and others to enrich uranium for Iran. Mr Obama said that Tehran was running out of time.
Mr Medvedev said that Russia was trying to play a central role in diverting a crisis: “Our goal is clear, it is transparent.
Mozambique police ‘kill freely’
Rights group Amnesty International has accused the police in Mozambique of killing people with impunity.
The BBC Monday, 16 November 2009
Amnesty says 46 people have died at the hands of the police since 2006.
It also says investigations are lacking and police prosecutions are rare.
A Mozambican police spokesman says Amnesty’s findings are biased.
He says all police who had carried out unlawful killings have been convicted and jailed for more than 20 years.
The organisation cites the case of dancer and choreographer Augusto Cuivias, the BBC’s Africa analyst Martin Plaut reports.
In December 2007 Mr Cuivias heard a noise while he was at home with his partner and son.
Guinea-Bissau: Cocaine’s traffic hub
The unstable nation, along with other West African countries, makes an ideal stop for cartels smuggling drugs from South America to Europe.
By Scott Kraft :: reporting from bissau, guinea-bissau
November 16, 2009
Second Of Two Parts – As a senior police official, Edmundo Mendes’ job is to arrest the South American cocaine traffickers who use his troubled West African country, with its starry array of remote islands, as a transit point for drug shipments bound for Europe. It hasn’t been easy.
To demonstrate, Mendes walked a few steps from his office into the gritty mix of smoke and car exhaust in downtown Bissau. He fished a ring of keys from his pocket and made quick work of a rusty padlock. The metal door groaned open to a small courtyard. Across the way was a room, about 10 by 15 feet, where four men looked out drowsily from behind a barred, glass-less window.