Nation & World

Compiled by MARLENA IDROBO ’16

Nation and World Columnist


Martin Walsh, newly elected Boston mayor, aims to increase inclusivity and transparency in government

Last week, Bostonians elected a new mayor for the first time in 20 years. Democrat Martin J. Walsh will take office on Jan. 6, following current mayor Thomas Menino who was reelected five times and who did not enter the mayoral race this year due to health concerns. After winning the election, Walsh said he would practice “transparency” between the government, the press and the people of Boston, and stated that he plans to hold town hall-style meetings later this month for citizens to voice their opinions during the transition process. He also announced that he would appoint minorities to half of the positions in his cabinet as part of his broader goal of increasing inclusivity. Additionally, Walsh cited the improvement of schools and keeping neighborhoods safe and “free from gun violence” as main goals he would work toward during his upcoming term.

States opting out of Medicaid program expansion face reduced subsidies for safety-net hospitals

The Affordable Care Act will reduce a little-known government subsidy that in the past has funded safety-net hospitals, which serve uninsured and low-income populations. The health care law called for cuts to this subsidy with the intent that Medicaid, a government insurance program for low-income individuals, would replace most of it. However, a 2012 Supreme Court decision allowing states to opt out of Medicaid expansion will result in these states not receiving the needed funding to insure the uncompensated. The ruling affects several mostly Republican-led states that have chosen to opt out, including Georgia, where the state’s largest safety-net hospital will now receive almost half of its $100 million yearly subsidies. According to a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, states are allowed to use other resources to make up for hospitals’ lost subsidies. However, hospital administrators and other experts are skeptical that this will be enough, and  some claim that Medicaid programs do not provide total coverage for participants.


Typhoon Haiyan strikes the Philippines, leaving a predicted 10,000 dead

With winds that reached up to 190 miles per hour, Typhoon Haiyan swept through the central Philippines on Friday, a month after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck a nearby region. Relief teams from Japan, Singapore and the United Nations are aiding in the effort to rescue survivors and deliver food and supplies to the area around Tacloban, the city that was hit the hardest with an estimated death toll of 10,000. According to the U.N. World Food Programme, the storm will result in an estimated 2.5 million people in need of emergency assistance. Haiyan damaged over 23,190 homes and caused widespread crop loss, notably sugar and rice, according to Filipino government officials.

Iran increases U.N. access to nuclear sites after failing to reach deal with world powers

Leaders from the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany met with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Geneva for a series of talks that concluded early Sunday morning without reaching an interim agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program. According to diplomats, Zarif disagreed most with the United States’ refusal to recognize Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium, as well as with France’s push for tougher limitations on Iran’s nuclear program. Negotiators will meet again on Nov. 20 for further discussions. On Monday, Iran signed a cooperation pact with the United Nations giving inspectors access to a uranium mine and a heavy-water plant within three months. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who attended the Geneva talks, told a news conference he hoped the pact would lead to a more comprehensive agreement.

Marlena Idrobo ’16 is majoring in Latin American Studies. Besides writing, she enjoys dancing, eating Mexican food, and visiting Boston’s art museums.

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