1. Cuba calls for condemnation of US embargo for 22nd consecutive year
For the 22nd year in a row, Cuba has asked the UN to condemn the United States’ 51-year embargo of the island country. Naturally, the U.S. objects, but it may face strong opposition in the UN General Assembly. Last year, Cuba’s proposition to lift the embargo was met with approval by all but three countries— the U.S., Israel and Palau.
Foreign states are disappointed that U.S. relations with Cuba have not improved more since President Obama took office. Though he improved travel between the two countries, he has actually strengthened the embargo by raising fines for violations.
At this point, opposition is coming from all sides. Humanitarians point out the adverse effects on innocent civilians. Countries that disapprove of Cuba’s one party system also criticize the embargo, seeing it as “counterproductive.” Even the Catholic Church has taken a stance against it.
The UN is scheduled to debate and vote on the embargo Oct. 29.
2. Three Americans win joint Nobel Prize in medicine
Last Monday, three American researchers were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their research into the traffic control system of cells. The $1.25 million prize will be shared by James Rothman, 62, a biomedical sciences professor at Yale University, Randy Schekman, 64, a molecular and cell biology professor at UC Berkeley and Thomas Südhof, a physiology professor at Stanford University.
Their work has an immediate impact on medicine. Disturbances within the control system may lead to diabetes or neurological and immune disorders. By revealing the intricacies of the cell’s control system, they have opened up research possibilities for the treatment of all three diseases.
The researchers warn, however, that future discoveries such as theirs may become rare without proper funding. All three men worry that the current economic climate will discourage young scientists from pursuing difficult research propositions. Initially, their own research would not have been possible without the generous grants they received.
3. Delta Airlines reviewing procedures after stowaway found on board
Last week, a 9-year-old boy managed to evade airport security and stow away on a Delta flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas. He made it past a Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) checkpoint and a Delta gate agent, and then boarded the plane.
Flight attendants suspected the boy was not supposed to be there when they realized the boy was not on the list of unattended minors and that he did not have an adult with him. When the plane landed in Las Vegas, the boy was taken into custody and his parents were notified. They told authorities that the boy had not been seen since Thursday morning, the same day as the plane ride he took.
The TSA says the boy was screened along with other passengers to be sure he is not a security threat. Delta is reviewing its procedures to ensure that nothing like this happens again.
4. Step aside Puerto Rico, North Colorado may become the 51st state
Eleven counties in Colorado have decided to vote on state secession on Nov 5. The secession movement’s members, from predominantly rural counties, feel alienated and underrepresented in an increasingly urbanized Colorado. Possible names for the state include North Colorado, New Colorado, Lincoln and Liberty, but even if the votes succeed, nothing guarantees that the state or federal governments would allow secession.
Only one state has ever successfully seceded from another state: West Virginia broke off of Virginia because of the Civil War. However, dozens of would-be states have tried. Some of the persistent agitators include Superior (the north peninsula of Michigan), Long Island, Delmarva (a peninsula split between Delaware, Maryland and Virginia) and Lincoln (the southwestern half of Texas).