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After HIV Spike, Drug Warrior Governor Grants Limited Temporary Needle Exchange

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence on Thursday issued an executive order (EO 15-05) declaring a “public health disaster emergency” in Scott County in southeastern Indiana due to an epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the county. The extraordinary measures allowed under the executive order include permitting the Scott County Board of Health to seek the state government’s permission to design and administer a short-term needle exchange program for the sole purpose of suppressing the HIV epidemic in Scott County.

The Republican governor’s executive order further says that all 79 HIV cases the Indiana State Department of Health has confirmed in Scott County since December “directly relate to intravenous drug use.” According to the executive order, no more than than five confirmed HIV cases, irrespective of how transmitted, are expected yearly in the county.

If you are in one of Indiana’s 91 other counties and wish to access new, clean needles to protect yourself from infection, tough. (Less than half of one percent of Indiana residents live in Scott County.) Yet, people outside Scott County will be no less dead or debilitated because of infections they receive from using old, dirty needles.
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For Once, Don’t Blame the Israelis

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The recent revelation that the Israelis had obtained classified information relating to the P5+1 negotiations with Iran over the latter’s nuclear program should not really surprise anyone. Israel has invested a great deal of political capital in confronting Iran and convincing the American public that it poses a genuine threat. So, it would be a given that its intelligence service, Mossad, would be tasked with finding out what information is not being shared by the White House.


But the truly intriguing back-story to this development is, “how did the Israelis do it and with whom exactly did they share their information?” The information obtained was described by the White House as “eavesdropping,” which would suggest some sort of electronic interception. But as the meetings undoubtedly took place in a technically secured room, which means that it was electronically “swept” before, during, and after meetings, the conversations could not be picked up either from bugs planted inside -- which would be detected -- or from penetration techniques originating outside, which is possible but would require a major deployment of high-tech gear close to the target.
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How Will The Yemeni Civil War End?

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The Civil War in Yemen is rapidly expanding. We have been forced to close our embassy and military base located there. It is now clear that Obama’s optimism for fighting terrorism in Yemen was misplaced. It hardly sets a standard for dealing with constant conflict and chaos throughout the Middle East. It now looks like the two major participants in t
his war are Iran and Saudi Arabia. In this region there has been competition between these two nations for hundreds if not thousands of years. The conflict ongoing in Yemen relates to the age-old conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims. It also reflects the contest over who will control the oil in this region. Not only is there a conflict between the Shia of Iran versus the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia, there has been long-term animosity between Arabs and Persians.

Now there are essentially three factions fighting for the control of Yemen. Our support for president Hadi has failed and he is essentially out of power although still involved in the conflict. Former president Saleh, who remains a powerful force in Yemen, is taking advantage of the chaos in his desire to return to power. So far the various factions that we have supported over the years have been poor choices, as usual. Today the, Houthis, supported by Iran, seem to be the ones who have gained the upper hand. However there’s no sign that this civil war will soon end or without major ramifications throughout the Middle East and maybe even beyond.

This turn of events will not make the neoconservatives happy, nor will this go unnoticed by the Saudis. It seems that al-Qaeda has gained the grassroots support from a large number of Yemeni citizens. Currently the chaos in the three-way battle for control of Yemen will guarantee that even though we have been literally run out of Yemen, our interests will remain. Being “allies” of sorts with the Iranians in Iraq will not carry over to the US sympathizing with the Iranian growing influence in in Yemen.

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