Swiss reject single health insurance

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Swiss reject single health insurance

Monday, March 12, 2007

24 of 26 Swiss Cantons rejected the proposal for a single health insurance system, in which premiums would be based on income and wealth. The vote on Sunday was the latest in a series of attempts to cut rising costs and ease the financial burden on citizens.

Around 71% of voters rejected the reform. Turnout was at about 46%, slightly above the Swiss average.

As expected, voters in the main German-speaking part of the country turned down the planned reform, which was supported by the centre-left but opposed by the centre-right as well as the business community, parliament and the government.

Opposition in the French and Italian speaking regions was less pronounced. The cantons Jura and Neuchâtel in the French speaking regions voted in favor of the proposed reforms.

Health insurance premiums are higher in southern and western Swiss cantons than in German-speaking areas.

The Swiss Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin said an important part of the Swiss Population appeared to be opposed to “a revolution” in health insurance but he said that he wanted current reforms currently under discussion in the Swiss Parliament to go ahead. He called on all sides, especially health insurers and the cantonal authorities, to make efforts to reduce spending on health insurance and aim for a greater cost efficiency. Currently Switzerland has 87 private insurers providing mandatory basic health care coverage for Swiss residents under a 1996 law. But costs have sky-rocketed. Over 100,000 people are not covered by health insurance due to non payment.

To win the battle of the cost of health care, everyone must place his or her private interests behind the interests of the general public. -Pascal Couchepin at a news conference

Opponents to the initiative argued that a single insurance system would lead to complacency and create a two-tier system, in which the wealthy would be the only ones available to afford to have additional private insurance coverage.

Supporters of the initiative said a single health insurer would increase the system’s efficiency and allow for annual savings of at least 300 million Swiss Francs (about $245 million) in administrative costs. Currently, the funding system is unbalanced, since many clients on low incomes use state subsidies to pay their premiums, according to the Green Party and the Social Democrats.

The initiative to unite all the insurance companies and introduce premiums based on wealth and income was the most recent in a series of attempts over the past ten years to reduce the public spending on health care. A proposal, similar to this recent proposal, to modify the funding system of the health insurance companies was rejected by 73% of voters in 2003.

Switzerland has the most expensive health system in Europe. Switzerland’s expenditure on health care was 11.6% in 2005, in front of Germany and France but behind the United States.

Learn more about Swiss Federal Council and Voting in Switzerland on Wikipedia.

Virgin Rail train collides with car near Copmanthorpe, killing driver

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Virgin Rail train collides with car near Copmanthorpe, killing driver

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Virgin Trains train travelling at high speed collided with a car near Copmanthorpe, Yorkshire, England, killing the car’s driver.

The accident took place at approximately 20:55 GMT when the Class 220/221 train, travelling at close to 100mph, hit the car which was on the tracks. The train then partially derailed but remained upright, coming to a stop further down the tracks. The car driver is believed to have been killed instantly. No one on the train was injured.

The car was not at a level crossing. North Yorkshire Police said that the car had left the road, driven through a fence and ended up on the track.

The train was the 14:25 Virgin Voyager cross-country service from Plymouth to Edinburgh Waverley, capable of speeds up to 125mph, but was deccelerating on approach into York. There were 74 passengers on board.

The line between York and Leeds was closed for several hours, delaying other services. Virgin Spokesman Arthur Leathley told reporters that Network Rail hoped to have three of the four lines in that section of the track operational by Tuesday morning.

Category:May 10, 2010

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Hezbollah-Israel war continues for a third day

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Hezbollah-Israel war continues for a third day
March 21st, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Friday, July 14, 2006

The fighting continues as Israel launches a fresh wave of attacks on Lebanese targets Friday, striking Beirut’s International airport, the road from Lebanon to Damascus and a power plant. Since Wednesday, Hezbollah have fired over 300 rockets into towns in northern Israel, killing four civilians and wounding dozens. Hezbollah rockets reached as far south as the port city of Haifa.

Lebanon said on Friday that Israel had launched “a widespread barbaric aggression” with the intention of hurting Lebanon. The country urged the United Nations community to stop the military offensive. “The targets chosen are connected either directly or indirectly with terrorism,” Israeli Air Force General Ido Nehushtan, said.

The Israeli attacks included the southern suburb of Beirut where Israel says Hezbollah has a stronghold. Most roads and bridges leading to the southern suburb of Beirut have been shelled, isolating the suburb from the rest of the country. The attacks came after Israeli planes dropped leaflets on the evening of July 13, warning residents in the mainly Shiite south suburb of impending attacks to Hezbollah property.

Israel says Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, is also a target. “Nasrallah has issued his own sentence.” said Ronnie Bar-On, the Israeli interior minister. The home and headquarters of Hezbollah’s spiritual leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah was hit by Israeli missiles, but Nasrallah and his nearest were unhurt in the attack. Nasrallah said in a televised address after the attack that Hezbollah is ready for an “open war” with Israel.

This comes after Ehud Olmert said Lebanon had committed an “act of war” when Hezbollah attacked Israel.

“You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war”, Nasrallah said in the broadcast. “You have chosen an all-out war with a nation which … has the capability, the experience and the courage.” He continued saying that Lebanon would either surrender or “have faith in Allah and victory”.

The Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora described the conflict as a “controlled war” and called it an opportunity to address the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Five civilians were killed and at least 50 have been wounded in Lebanon on Friday after Israeli attacks. According to Lebanon, 63 people have been killed and 167 wounded in the country since the raids commenced on Wednesday.

The Israeli military and Israel’s ambassador to the UN said that the rockets fired into Haifa on Thursday by Hezbollah were manufactured in Iran. Lebanese PM Siniora said that it was puzzling for Hezbollah to perform the attacks unsupported.

States worldwide have called for the release of the prisoners and for Israel to exercise restraint, while Lebanon has urged the UN Security Council, which held an emergency meeting on Friday, to pass a ceasefire resolution.

Lebanon’s UN envoy, Nouhad Mahmoud, claimed that Israel’s attacks on Lebanon “will not resolve the problem, but will further complicate it. The Security Council meets today in the shadow of a widespread barbaric aggression waged by Israel to this very moment against my nation,” he said. “What Israel is undertaking is an act of aggression and devastation aimed at bringing Lebanon to its knees and subverting it by any means.”

Israel’s chief of staff, Dan Halutz, said Friday that all three soldiers were alive and in a “reasonable” state of health.

UN summit results in pledge to mitigate food crisis

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UN summit results in pledge to mitigate food crisis
March 21st, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Friday, June 6, 2008

A three-day United Nations (UN) summit, bringing together leaders from 181 countries, has wrapped up with a pledge by all attending countries to address the global food shortage crisis. Key actions cited include doubling the world’s food production by 2030, providing resources for farmers in poor countries and increasing humanitarian aid in times of crisis.

Protests and violent riots have resulted in parts of the world in recent months due to increasing unaffordability, and sometimes unavailability, of food. It is estimated that 862 million people, or just over one eighth of the world’s population, are malnourished.

According to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, up to US$20 billion will be required annually to avert crises in the most hard-hit areas. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has put the figure closer to US$30 billion. Pledges made just at the summit amounted to more than US$5 billion, according to the UN.

Despite the largely positively-received outcome of the summit, held in Rome, Italy, there were some who felt that the proceedings could have gone better. Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) pointed to the fact that they were not invited to partake in the discussions. Food and hunger policy adviser Magda Kropiwnicka of ActionAid commented on the strength of the final pledge: “There were no quantifiable financial commitments. Apart from the existing UN Food and Agriculture Organisation funds, no money has been given to address the key problem of boosting capacity.”

While most delegates agreed that biofuels have been one of the causes of the food crisis, no actions were agreed upon to address this hot topic. Biofuels have been increasingly in demand in recent years, meaning that many crops that would have previously been used for food are now being used as fuel.

The impact that biofuels has goes further than simply increasing the demand of food crops. As fuel prices increase, so do the costs of fertilisers, farm vehicle use and the transport of foods. All of this adds up to a large increase in the cost of food.

Some UN officials say that biofuel use has caused up to 30% of the global food price inflation of late. The United States estimates that figure to be closer to just 3%. The Globe and Mail newspaper indicates that some estimates go as high as 60%. The only consensus that could be reached on biofuels is that they provide both “challenges and opportunities”, and need to be looked into further for a conclusive analysis on their impact on food production.

Other factors increasing food prices are increased consumption of meat and dairy products in developing nations like China and India. Argentina noted that subsidies granted to farmers from the US, the European Union and other Western countries have also been a major player in the increase.

Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology

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Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology
March 21st, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wikinews interviewed author Marc Headley about his new book Blown for Good, and asked him about life inside the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base“, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California. Headley joined the organization at age seven when his mother became a member, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005.

Canada’s Beaches—East York (Ward 32) city council candidates speak

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Canada’s Beaches—East York (Ward 32) city council candidates speak
March 20th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Beaches—East York (Ward 32). Four candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Donna Braniff, Alan Burke, Sandra Bussin (incumbent), William Gallos, John Greer, John Lewis, Erica Maier, Luca Mele, and Matt Williams.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Contents

  • 1 Sandra Bussin (incumbent)
  • 2 William Gallos
  • 3 Erica Maier
  • 4 Luca Mele

New Zealand medical student funding to be reviewed

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New Zealand medical student funding to be reviewed
March 19th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Monday, February 20, 2006

The New Zealand government has announced that it will be reviewing funding for medical and dentistry students at Otago and Auckland Universities to certify the institutions’ standards and help staff retention.

The dean of Auckland University’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Professor Iain Martin says the review “can’t come soon enough”.

The Medical Students Association welcomes the review. It says that it has been worried about student debt for years “High debt encourages too many graduates overseas, or into high paying areas of practice at the expense of areas like general practice”

Fake impotence drugs linked to low blood sugar outbreak

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Fake impotence drugs linked to low blood sugar outbreak
March 19th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An article in the February 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reports on an unusual cause for an outbreak of low blood sugar among men in Singapore: illegal use of sexual performance enhancement drugs that were contaminated with a diabetes drug.

Between January and May 2008, 149 men and one woman between 19 and 97 (mean age 51) were admitted to five public hospitals for unexplained low blood sugar. Similar cases were reported in media reports from Hong Kong. Seven Singaporean patients remained in a coma because of prolonged sugar starvation of the brain, and four subsequently died. The diabetes drug glyburide was found in blood and/or urine samples in 85% of cases; 30% admitted having used illegal sexual performance enhancers.

The contaminated products were a counterfeit version of the drug Cialis (meant for the treatment of genuine erectile dysfunction), and three purported herbal preparation (the affected brands included Power 1 Walnut and Santi Bovine Penis Erecting Capsule). All four preparations additionally contained Viagra in varying concentrations. Two herbal products contained traces of the weight loss drug sibutramine, a compound related to amphetamines.

The drug packaging mentioned names of non-existent overseas production facilities, so the source of the contamination with the diabetes drug could not be established.

The authors underline the risks that is known to be associated with purchasing drugs from unreliable providers or from online resellers. The clandestine use of impotence drugs as sexual performance enhancers seems to have provided a good illustration of this problem. They further call for more efforts by national and international health and law enforcement agencies to curb the manufacturing, international transport and sales of untrustworthy medication.

Bowler Brett Lee to miss first Ashes Test

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Bowler Brett Lee to miss first Ashes Test
March 14th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Australia’s cricketer Brett Lee is out of the first Ashes test match – which starts on July 8 in Cardiff – with a torn muscle in his left side. He is also doubtful to play the second Test at Lord’s, which begins on July 16. It will be at least two weeks before he can start training in the nets again.

“I am very very disappointed and gutted that I will not be there for the first Test match but I will find a way to bounce back,” said Lee. “I still see myself hopefully playing a major role for Australia through the end part of the series, whether that’s the second, third, fourth or fifth Test match depending on how things go.”

The fast bowler complained about soreness in his left side after playing the England Lions at Worcester. Scans on Monday revealed he has a tear to his rib muscle. Other reports have described the injury as a strained abdominal muscle.

Kevin Pietersen commented on Lee’s absence saying it was “a huge, huge, huge loss” for Australia.

Australia now have to choose which player to pick as a replacement for Lee. Two likely options are spinner Nathan Hauritz or pace bowler Ben Hilfenhuas.

England will start their campaign on Wednesday to attempt to regain the ashes after Australia completed a 5-0 whitewash last time.