Senate Democrats May Pass 9/11 Health Care Bill
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) have finalized a deal with Senate Republicans to pass a bill that would provide specialized health care to 9/11 first responders, many of whom are now suffering from long-term and fatal illnesses caused by inhaling smoke and ash at the scene, The Hill reports. Schumer and Gillibrand announced Sunday that Republican leaders in the Senate have signed off on the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act after initially filibustering the legislation on December 9. The most recent version of the bill reduces its overall cost from $7.4 billion to $6.2 billion.
Forty Percent of Americans Believe in Creationism
A new Gallup poll shows that approximately 40 percent of Americans reject the theory of evolution and believe that humans were created by God in the past 10,000 years, The Huffington Post reports. Thirty-eight percent believe that humans evolved from basic organisms, but that God was part of the process, while 16 believe in "secular evolution," that humans developed over time without divine influence.
Afghanistan War Gets Four Percent of Media Coverage in US
According to The New York Times, the Afghanistan war accounted for just 4 percent of US news coverage in major outlets this year, down from 5 percent last year, and compounded by the lack of foreign journalists in Afghanistan. A study done by the Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism found that many news stations have had to cut their budgets and their staff significantly due to the financial crisis, leaving few funds available for overseas reporting. Others have chosen not to send their journalists to the war due to noted incidents of violence and danger against correspondents on the ground. According to the Pew study, the midterm elections, the economy and the oil spill in the Gulf each earned more than twice as much media attention as the war.
North Korea Won't Retaliate for South Korean Military Drills
North Korea released an official statement Monday evening saying it would not respond to South Korea's military drills conducted near the country's coastline, McClatchy Newspapers says. South Korea conducted more than an hour of live artillery exercises on an island seven miles off from North Korea's borders and remained on emergency alert after several days of retaliation threats. Monday's announcement by Pyongyang followed another statement by the government that North Korea is willing to resume talks with international nuclear inspectors.