States seek $24B bailout for Medicaid
The Democratic governors of Washington, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and a leading national economist urged Congress on Wednesday to send an additional $24 billion bailout to the states, saying cash-strapped governments face deep budget cuts and thousands of lost jobs without the aid. The money would flow through Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor jointly financed by state and federal governments. Congress picked up a larger share of Medicaid costs through the 2009 stimulus bill, but that aid will expire in December. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics, said job losses could rival the nearly 200,000 cut from state and local governments through the year ending in May.
Blood donations by gays considered
A two-day hearing by the Department of Health and Human Services' Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability, starting today, is considering easing a 25-year-old ban on blood donations by most gay men amid a growing body of evidence that the sharpest restrictions may no longer be necessary. Pressure for a review of the policy is driven by improvements in testing. There were nine cases of HIV known to have been transmitted via blood products between 1994 and 2002 and none, in tens of millions of transfusions, from 2002 to 2007, the last year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has complete data.
Man sentenced for helping al-Qaida
A New Yorker extradited from Great Britain was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for helping an al-Qaida operative supply equipment to militants in Afghanistan. Syed Hashmi, a 30-year-old Pakistani-American, had pleaded guilty in April in federal court in Manhattan to charges he stashed away equipment for two weeks in 2004 in his apartment while studying in London. The al-Qaida operative eventually gave the raincoats, ponchos and waterproof socks to a high-ranking al-Qaida member. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said the stiff sentence was intended to send a message to anyone tempted to join the network of al-Qaida sympathizers and facilitators.
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico
Guns were aimed at U.S. agents
Pointing their rifles, Mexican security forces chased away U.S. authorities investigating the shooting of a 15-year-old Mexican by a U.S. Border Patrol agent on the banks of the Rio Grande, the FBI said Wednesday. Shortly after the boy was shot, Mexican soldiers arrived at the scene and pointed their guns at the Border Patrol agents while bystanders screamed insults and hurled rocks and firecrackers, FBI spokeswoman Andrea Simmons said, forcing the agents to withdraw. FBI agents later resumed the investigation, even as Mexican authorities continued to point guns from across the river.