In the News This Week

by Debra Brown


Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


India Launches World’s Biggest Experiment in Universal Healthcare.

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi is launching the world’s biggest experiment in universal healthcare, a program that the government says will grant 500 million people the entitlement to free health insurance overnight.

Citizens living below the poverty line in India will no longer have to pay for private hospital treatments. Officially titled Ayushman Bharat, Modicare will be provided in two strands. The first is a pledge to revamp 150,000 smaller doctors surgeries and community health centres into better-resourced, government-regulated “health and wellness centres”. The second is to close the gap between India’s public hospitals and the private sector hospitals that make up 70 per cent of the country’s total spending on health.


U.S. Won’t Label Atrocities Against Rohingya ‘Genocide. 

The U.S. has issued a report condemning the violent crackdown on the Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar military as “extreme, large-scale, widespread.” But the report, issued by the State Department, did not label the mass killings a genocide or crimes against humanity. Those distinctions are important legal terms governing how and whether the International Criminal Court may act in these cases.


Bill Cosby Becomes the First Celebrity in the #MeToo Era to Be Sentenced to Prison.

Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison in a sexual assault case. In his ruling, Judge Steven O’Neill said the evidence that Cosby planned the drugging and sexual assault of his victim was “overwhelming,” based on Cosby’s own words in a civil deposition.

Cosby was convicted April 26 of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the 2004 drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a 31-year-old Temple women’s basketball official he was mentoring.


Seattle Will Vacate More Than 500 Convictions for Marijuana Possession, Saying They Unfairly Impact People of Color. 

All seven judges on the city’s municipal court agreed this week to vacate convictions from 1996 to 2010 for misdemeanor marijuana possession, saying that they disproportionally impacted people of color.

Of the more than 500 cases cited, 46% involved African-American defendants, the judges said in their ruling.

More than 3,000 cases of marijuana smoking and possession, dating back to 1978, were dismissed in New York City. And California lawmakers approved a bill that would allow residents to petition the judicial system to have their old pot convictions expunged.


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