By Corina Pons MERIDA, Venezuela Reuters) - A dozen doctors hold a hunger strike in the corridors of an Andean city hospital. In another provincial city, hundreds of protesting medics suspend appointments. In the capital, staff from a pediatric hospital wave placards at the entrance to a hospital pleading for aid. Not usually active in politics, many of the OPEC nation's 40,000 doctors are becoming increasingly militant over drastic shortages of medicines, equipment and personnel amid a punishing economic crisis. With eight out of 10 medicines now scarce, according to the main pharmacy group, protesting doctors are demanding that President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government declare a national health crisis and allow foreign humanitarian aid. "I started to see patients, both in the operating theater and in the emergency ward, dying for lack of medicines," said David Macineiras, a 30-year-old orthopedic surgeon and one of 12 doctors who went on hunger strike at the main state hospital in the western highland city of Merida. "They arrive in bad conditions and we can't even get adrenaline to deal with a cardiac arrest," he said, describing the case of a woman who died for lack of adrenaline. Macineiras himself was hospitalized for four days after his hunger strike. The protests involve a small percentage of doctors, in part because medics - especially younger ones - depend on the state to complete their residencies and studies and so have good reason to avoid conflict. Doctors who hold high-ranking positions in public health acknowledge there are problems, but insist that none are sufficiently severe as to put patient lives at risk. Christian Pino, a surgeon at the Merida hospital who also joined the strike, insists the opposite is true. He recently operated on an elderly woman who due to chronic hospital shortages had to bring her own supplies, including saline solution. It ran out before the operation finished. "In post-op, we didn't have any serum to hydrate her, so the patient died," he said at the hospital where stretchers packed corridors and incubators stood abandoned with handwritten signs saying they were out of service. In June, Pino read a list of doctors' demands in Venezuela's National Assembly before the opposition-led legislature declared a state of medical emergency and approved channels for foreign humanitarian aid. "I prefer to raise my voice with my colleagues than be an accomplice to this," Pino said. But the government-leaning Supreme Court shot down the assembly's proposal. Government officials deny Venezuela is facing a humanitarian crisis and say there is no need for humanitarian assistance. Maduro is fiercely proud of health advances under the 1999-2013 rule of socialist leader Hugo Chavez, and he says adversaries are exaggerating the problems now. "There is no humanitarian crisis, I say it with absolute responsibility," Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez recently told an Organization of American States meeting on Venezuela. DEPRESSING DATA Up-to-date data is hard to find, but what little is available points to a severe deterioration. Health ministry statistics show that in 2015 for every 100 people discharged from state hospitals, 31 died - a rate six times higher than the previous year. Infant mortality was 2 percent of births last year, 100 times worse than 2014. It is a huge challenge for the ruling Socialist Party which, under Chavez, ran enormously popular free health projects such as Cuban-staffed clinics in the slums but is now finding its welfare programs stretched. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Venezuela and Guyana were the only countries in South America to see maternal death rates worsen last year. Health Minister Luisana Melo recently recognized health sector problems but said authorities are working to reduce the rates of infant mortality and death during childbirth. She said shortages only affect around 15 percent of medicines and that Venezuelans tend to consume more medicine than they need to. The government says a U.S.-backed "economic war" by political opponents and hostile business groups has caused the crisis, exacerbated by a plunge in the price of oil, which accounts for 95 percent of export revenues. Huge lines snake around most pharmacies from before dawn, with some people staying all night to stake a place. Rowdy scenes are common, and soldiers guard the crowds. In Merida, orthopedic surgeon Carlos Hidalgo said he joined the hunger strike after a patient arrived with an open fracture of the tibia and femur and there was no saline solution to clean the wound. "They went to a kiosk and bought water to wash him with that," he said. An infection set in and the patient's leg was amputated. "That's why we protested, not because of our working conditions," said Hidalgo, who makes 16,000 bolivars a month, equivalent to about $25 at the weaker of two official exchange rates and just $16 on the black market. Some doctors are also worried about their legal liability. Medics in the city of Barquisimeto decided to ask patients' relatives to sign a permission slip acknowledging the poor conditions they were working under. At hospitals there, medics have held two strikes this year. Surgeries were halted on a recent day due to lack of gloves. Idabelias Arias, the head of the emergency ward at a pediatric hospital in Barquisimeto, has had to use basic CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to revive children for lack of adrenaline. "Doctors are doing war medicine here." (Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Kieran Murray)
- Yahoo News
Republicans built up QAnon backer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but now are they afraid of what they created?
On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the combative Georgia Republican known for her association with QAnon, was back on Twitter after a 12-hour suspension, and back to making waves.
- NBC News
Court documents recounted the man's telling his children that he would consider them "traitors" if they contacted authorities.
- The Week
Constitutionally-speaking, Chief Justice John Roberts is meant to preside over President Trump's impeachment trial, but he apparently wants out, Politico reports.Multiple Republican and Democratic sources have reportedly told Politico that Roberts is seeking a way to avoid the job because of how things played out when he oversaw Trump's first impeachment trial last year. Roberts, Politico notes, has worked hard to keep the Supreme Court apolitical during his tenure, so he was reportedly displeased that he "became a top target of the left" during the proceedings. "He wants no further part of this," one source told Politico, although there's been no official word from Roberts' camp about what he'll ultimately do.Trump's trial is a bit of a constitutional oddity. On the one hand, it's a presidential impeachment, but on the other hand, the trial will take place after he leaves office, which is why there's a chance Roberts may have some wiggle room. Historically, either the vice president or the longest-serving member of the Senate have taken up the mantle for lower-level impeachments, per Politico. That means Vice President-elect Kamala Harris or Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) could be the choice. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment 12 National Guard members removed from inauguration duties Trump's White House staff and alumni are reportedly using the same excuse to skip his big sendoff
- Reuters Videos
Pattnaik mounted the sand art in India's eastern Puri beach depicting Biden and Harris' faces with a congratulatory message. Democrat Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris will be taking as the president and vice-president respectively on Wednesday (January 20). Harris will be the first woman, the first Black American, and the first American of Asian descent to serve as vice president, the country's No. 2 office.
A boy who was killed in an alleged murder-suicide by his father has been identified as 9-year-old Pierce O’Loughlin. Family tragedy: The boy and his father, Stephen O'Loughlin, 49, were both found dead at their home on Scott Street, Marina District in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, SF Chronicle reports. The boy’s mother, Lesley Hu, asked authorities to check on her son after learning that he did not show up for school that day.
"This is also a desire that's shared by other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries," he said in an interview. Separately, the Qatari government was supporting discussions between Iran and South Korea to secure the release of an oil tanker seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards early this month, the foreign minister said. As far as any potential U.S.-Iran talks, he said that Qatar will facilitate the discussions if asked and will support whoever is chosen to do so.
- NBC News
Suspect William McCall Calhoun Jr. faces a host of charges stemming from the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
- The Week
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has received a letter from Dominion Voting Systems, warning him that litigation is "imminent" due to his false claims that the company's machines were rigged to change the outcome of the election.Lindell, an enthusiastic supporter of President Trump, has been spreading baseless claims of widespread voter fraud for months. In the letter, Dominion's lawyers told Lindell, "You have positioned yourself as a prominent leader of the ongoing misinformation campaign. Litigation regarding these issues is imminent."Lindell told The New York Times he would "welcome" Dominion to "sue me because I have all the evidence against them. They sent this letter a couple of weeks ago. They're lying, they're nervous because I have all the evidence on them." Lindell did not say why, if he has such evidence, he has kept it to himself this entire time, holding onto it as judge after judge rejected lawsuits filed in an attempt to overturn the election in Trump's favor.More stories from theweek.com Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly wants no part of Trump's impeachment trial 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment 12 National Guard members removed from inauguration duties
Inauguration Day is a time of great expectancy and transformation. There are reports of at least 12 National Guard members being removed from the inauguration patrol duties. There are 25,000 troops in D.C. to protect attendees at the inauguration after the deadly and unprecedented Jan. 6 Capitol Hill insurrection.
An independent panel said on Monday that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January to curb the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for not declaring an international emergency until Jan. 30. The experts reviewing the global handling of the pandemic, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, called for reforms to the Geneva-based United Nations agency.Their interim report was published hours after the WHO's top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, said that global deaths from COVID-19 were expected to top 100,000 per week "very soon". "What is clear to the Panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January," the report said, referring to the initial outbreak of the new disease in the central city of Wuhan, in Hubei province.
- Associated Press
A California sheriff’s deputy was killed and another deputy was wounded in a shootout with a suspect who gunned down a K-9 dog before he was fatally shot, authorities said. The gunbattle erupted in Sacramento near a racetrack at the Cal Expo event venue after a vehicle pursuit late Monday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said. The deputy who died was identified as Adam Gibson, a six-year veteran of the department, Jones said.
- The Week
Anthony Scaramucci was right: The White House appears to be having trouble rounding up a sizable crowd for President Trump's official send-off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday."In what looks like a desperate attempt to build a crowd for the crowd-obsessed president, an email has been making the rounds to current and former White House officials inviting them, and as many as five plus-ones, to Trump's elaborate exit ceremony," Politico reported Tuesday morning. "The go-to excuse for skipping out has been the 6 a.m. call time at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. But truly, many just don't want to be photographed sending off their former boss."Trump's current staffers have a good reason to avoid their outgoing boss. "Former White House officials and campaign staffers who would typically land plum jobs in corporate America after serving their time are now out in the cold," Politico says. One former White House official who got out early put it this way: "No one wants to touch them, they're just toxic." Another former Trump aide, pointing to the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection, was more blunt, telling Politico: "They're f---ed."Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson, another member of the tiny impeached president club, to skip the inauguration of his successor. "Johnson snubbed Ulysses S. Grant in 1869," The Washington Post notes. More stories from theweek.com Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly wants no part of Trump's impeachment trial 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment 12 National Guard members removed from inauguration duties
- The Independent
President-elect’s nominee will now need votes of 60 senators to move forward
The company's comments come after California's top epidemiologist on Sunday issued a statement recommending providers pause vaccination from lot no. 41L20A due to possible allergic reactions that are under investigation. The vaccine maker said it was unaware of comparable cases of adverse events from other vaccination centers which may have administered vaccines from the same lot or from other lots of its vaccine.
Tam Dinh Pham of the Houston police department was part of the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. A veteran Houston police officer is in trouble after attending the U.S. Capitol riots in Washington, D.C., then lying about it. Officer Tam Dinh Pham joined the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
- Architectural Digest
Mercedes-Benz’s Hyperscreen, General Motors’ Bright Drop, and Jeep’s Electric Wrangler were among the unveils that turned headsOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
Pakistan’s prime minister reacted angrily Monday to media reports of a text exchange between an Indian TV anchor and a former media industry executive that suggests a 2019 Indian airstrike inside Pakistan was designed to boost Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chances for reelection. Imran Khan took to Twitter to respond to Indian media reports of an exchange on the WhatsApp messaging service between popular Indian TV anchor Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former head of a TV rating company.
- The Week
Antony Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden's choice to lead the State Department, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday and appears to have passed with flying colors. As it turns out, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) may have been his biggest fan.Graham, who called Blinken an "outstanding choice" and gave him an elbow bump during a break, asked a series of questions, many of which resulted in answers the senator found quite agreeable. For example, Blinkin doesn't "trust" the Taliban to police al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Afghanistan after a U.S. exit. He also considers Iran the world's worst sponsor of terrorism and said he concurs with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's assessment that China is committing genocide against the Uighurs and other religious and ethnic minorities. That last point reportedly left Graham "positively gushing."> Blinken agrees that the Chinese Communist Party engaged in genocide against the Uighur Muslim population, agrees they were not transparent on Coronavirus. Lindsey Graham is positively gushing.> > — David B. Larter (@DavidLarter) January 19, 2021If the friendly exchange was any indication, Blinken won't have much trouble getting confirmed, but the bipartisanship on display did have receive from sharp criticism from supporters of non-interventionist policy.More stories from theweek.com Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly wants no part of Trump's impeachment trial 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment 12 National Guard members removed from inauguration duties
- The Independent
Trump ends term with ‘patriotic education’ report which makes excuses for slavery and calls anti-abortion movement ‘great reform’
White House website says report is “rebuttal of reckless 're-education' attempts that seek to reframe American history around idea that United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one”
A woman was filmed having a meltdown after being asked by passengers to wear a mask properly while riding a train in Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The unidentified woman reportedly rode the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train from New Taipei City's Banqiao District to Taoyuan's Zhongli District bound for Taichung on Sunday without a mask, according to Taiwan News. Rex Huang, a member of the Facebook group Breaking News Commune, shared more details on what happened.