Compiled by SARA RATHOD ’15
Nation and World Columnist
Sebelius resigns after healthcare.gov debacle, replaced by budget expert
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius submitted her resignation last week, ending a tumultuous five years that culminated in the damaging rollout of healthcare.gov, during which the site was plagued by numerous technological failures. She was replaced by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget who is known for her management acumen. In choosing Burwell, President Obama skipped over the usual list of health policy experts and members of Congress who would normally be considered to succeed the Health and Human Services Secretary. His choice signals a pressing desire for an adept hand to guide the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the midst of deeply divided public opinion about Obama’s signature policy achievement. Although Congress is expected to confirm Burwell’s nomination, Republicans hope to use the opportunity to question Burwell about the shortcomings of the law.
Boston remembers Marathon Bombings, one year later
On Tuesday, survivors, first responders, family members and officials gathered on Boylston Street to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The crowd observed a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m., the precise time when the first bomb exploded one year ago. They then made their way across the famous finish line to place wreaths at the site of each blast. Adrianne Haslet Davis, a dancer who lost her left leg during the bomb blast, spoke at the memorial, reminding her fellow survivors that it’s okay to grieve and praising the Boston Strong spirit for giving her strength. “When we can’t find the strength to do it ourselves, we have those around us to lift us back up,” she said. Vice President Joe Biden also paid tribute to the marathon survivors at the ceremony. He told the crowd that their resilience after the bombing inspired the nation. He concluded, “We are Boston. We are America. We respond. We endure. We overcome. And we own the finish line.”
Ukrainian military confronts pro-Russian protesters
Kiev declared an “anti-terrorist” campaign against pro-Russian separatists, sending armed personnel into Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region on Tuesday to confront the protesters. The forces now seem to be moving en masse toward the region. Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov announced the military operation in front of Congress, 24 hours after the government’s ultimatum for protesters to lay down their arms or face military action expired. The government now intends to drive protesters from the state buildings they occupied in recent weeks in as many as 10 cities across eastern Ukraine. Turchynov stated that the purpose of the campaign is “to protect the citizens of Ukraine, to stop terror, to stop criminality, to stop attempts to tear Ukraine to pieces.” The New York Times reported that the military has already stormed an airport in the town of Izium. Neighboring Russia has declared Ukraine to be “on the brink of civil war.”
Fire ravages port city in Chile, destroys over 2,000 homes
Firefighters on Monday were still combatting the flames which raced through the once picturesque port city of Valparaíso over the weekend, destroying over 2,000 homes, killing at least 15 people and injuring some 500 more. Airplanes and helicopters circled the city, dousing the wreckage in the hilltop villages surrounding Valparaíso. Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet stated that the incident was the largest air operation to combat fire in Chile’s history. Over a thousand people rendered homeless by the fire were staying in shelters on Monday, and volunteers flocked to the city to gather debris and donate food, water and clothing. The city is now under military control with 3,000 police officers and soldiers patrolling the streets. On Monday, sailors in riot gear were stationed in the area, prepared to evacuate another 700 families if the wind shifted in their direction. The cause of the fire is still unknown. However, critics blame poor urban planning and neglect of impoverished areas for exacerbating the disaster.