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New Zealand and Israel have confirmed cases of swine flu, which has killed up to 149 people in Mexico and which threatens to become a pandemic. The World Health Organization has raised its alert level to phase 4, indicating a significantly increased risk of pandemic.
Five members of the United States Congress -– Donna Edwards (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), John Lewis (D-GA), Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) –- “were among a group of people arrested Monday in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC during a protest against the violence in Darfur.”
The BBC reports that Pakistan has launched air strikes against suspected Taliban hideouts in Buner district, less than 67 miles from the capital, Islamabad.
FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said in a speech yesterday “that her agency should have broader powers to take over and close a variety of financial institutions,” and that too big to fail is “a 25-year old idea that ought to be tossed into the dustbin.”
The Washington Post reports that “once a symbol of capitalist might and U.S. industrial prowess, General Motors would be half owned by the Treasury under a new sweeping plan” to save the company.
TARP watchdog Elizabeth Warren said that “the adverse scenario used to test the health of the 19 largest U.S. banks is ‘disturbingly close‘ to current economic conditions, sparking a concern that there might need to be a second stress test.”
Ken Terry points out that “despite raising its premiums by up to 11 percent and instituting premiums in areas of the country where Humana formerly had none, its Medicare Advantage enrollment increased to nearly 1.47 million members as of March 31, up 16 percent from a year ago and 2 percent since the end of 2008.”
A new Commonwealth Fund survey finds that “health care leaders believe the U.S. must rein in the growth of health spending, and most believe it is possible to keep the share of gross domestic product (GDP) now spent on health care steady over the next 10 years.”
Although Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made it clear he “likes coal,” the Interior Department “said on Monday it will try to overturn a Bush administration rule that made it easier for coal mining companies to dump mountaintop debris into valley streams.”
Speaking about the Waxman-Markey clean energy bill, Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) called for free pollution permits to petroleum refiners and Rep. G. K. Butterfield called for free pollution permits to electric distribution companies. These companies have given more than $375,000 to energy committee members in the first three months of 2009.