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News and Live Blogging the “Health Insurance Summit”

I’m watching the Health Care Insurance Summit and that seems to be the big news this morning. But there ARE other things going on in the world . . .

Hummer’s suffering is about to be ended.

The lumbering giant is being put down by patriarchal General Motors, the American motoring giant 61%-owned by the US government.

It is a sign of the times.

The former favourite of Moscow’s moneyed, and the wheels once favoured by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has been hit by a double whammy of tighter belts in some of its markets and a dramatic shift in public opinion in others.

::

SeaWorld trainer dies in killer whale attack in Orlando

A trainer at the SeaWorld park in Orlando, Florida, has died after being attacked by a killer whale.

Witnesses said the orca had jumped and grabbed Dawn Brancheau by the waist from a poolside platform before dragging her underwater.

Guests were evacuated while fire crews tried to rescue the 40-year-old, but they were unable to revive her.

The killer whale, Tilikum, was also reportedly involved in the death of a female trainer in Canada in 1991.

Other orcas were also said to have attacked trainers at SeaWorld parks in 2006 and 2004.

::

Killer whales: what to do with captive orcas?

“They are highly social animals, that tend to live in cohesive groups, so it’s quite an artificial environment to capture them and put them in a small area,” says Dr Andrew Foote, an expert on wild orcas from the University of Aberdeen, UK

“The tragic events are a reminder that orcas are wild, strong and often unpredictable animals,” says Danny Groves, of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).

Wild attacks

Reports differ, but there have been up to 24 attacks by captive orcas on people.

Contrary to popular perception, attacks by wild orcas on people have also been recorded, though no-one has been hurt.

::

Plastic rubbish blights Atlantic Ocean

Scientists have discovered an area of the North Atlantic Ocean where plastic debris accumulates.

The region is said to compare with the well-documented “great Pacific garbage patch”.

Kara Lavender Law of the Sea Education Association told the BBC that the issue of plastics had been “largely ignored” in the Atlantic.

::

Obama mulls health care plan that would cover 15 million less

WaPo health columnist counters: ‘no Plan B, everyone knows it’

President Barack Obama and his aides have prepared a scaled-back healthcare reform proposal should they not have the votes in Congress to pass a broader measure, according to a report Thursday.

The new proposal would help insure roughly 15 million, about half the 31 million Senate Democrats’ original plan would aim to insure. Children would be allowed to stay on their parents’ health plan until they were 26, and the bill would expand Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance program.

The Wall Street Journal said the new proposal would “modestly” expand existing federal programs.

Things have been sort of slow in the news all week.  I think everything is on hold until this “Summit” is over — like this is going to change the world.  We’ll see.

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