Outside the Circle

Sarah Groft, National News Reporter

Thirty injured in NASCAR incident

Thirty people were injured at a second-tier NASCAR series race last Saturday. On the last lap of the DRIVE4COPD 300, a crash sent debris through a safety fence and into the grandstand. 14 civilians were sent to a local hospital by ambulance and 14 individuals were treated at the race track. Among the injured was a 14-year-old boy who was sent to the hospital in critical condition and a man with a life-threatening head injury.

The crashed vehicle belonged to Kyle Larson. During the last lap, his vehicle broke apart, causing other cars to swerve out of control. The crash occurred when Regan Smith, another driver, tried to block a competing driver, who ended up hitting another car. Smith took complete blame for the accident and said he hopes that everyone involved would be okay. The crash caused Larson’s car to become airborne, where the engine ripped out. Larson sustained no serious injuries.

Steve O’Donnell, vice president of race operations for NASCAR said that the ripped fencing would be replaced and that NASCAR would be looking into the incident carefully.

Traces of horse meat found in IKEA meatballs

About a month ago, an Ireland factory admitted to finding small amounts of equine DNA in the beef patties that they were exporting to the United Kingdom. Now, inspectors from the Czech Republic have announced that horse meat has also been found in the frozen meatballs that are made for the furniture company, IKEA. According to USA Today, Tiva Magnusson, IKEA spokeswoman, said that all meatballs have been removed from shelves in Slovakia, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and Ireland.

Magnusson also said that the shipments of IKEA meatballs to the United States were not affected by this discovery. “Our global recommendation is to not recall or stop selling meatballs,” she said.

Finding the source of the horse meat has been difficult for authorities. Since this discovery, horse meat has been found on pizza in Denmark, and in products from Nestle and Birds Eye.

One of the first incidences of horse meat occurred in Findus, a European firm that made a beef lasagna that was found to contain between 60 and 100 percent horse meat. However, Findus’ meat suppliers form a complex chain, so it was difficult to pinpoint the direct source.

From previous investigations, it was found that the horse meat was relabeled as beef when it left CarmOlimp, a company in Romania. The company stated that they indicated clearly that their meat was labeled “horse” and they have denied any involvement with the switch. Evidently this horse meat was combined with cow meat somewhere around Breda in the Netherlands. This meat then went to Spanghero, a company near the Spain border. There it was checked in as Romanian horse meat, but checked out as European Union beef.

The company’s chief executive said, “I don’t apologize because I don’t feel responsible. I think the responsibility lies elsewhere.”

In an e-mail, Marion Nestle, a food studies professor at New York University, said, “We [the United States] get meat from lots of countries. One United States Department of Agriculture study said that a single pound of hamburger meat might come from 400 different cows.” Nestle continued saying, “If there was a lot of horse meat around, it could easily get mixed in, and nobody would notice if nobody checked.”

Jet fleet grounded

An entire fleet of 51 F-35 fighter jets were grounded on Friday after one was discovered to have a cracked engine blade. The Pentagon said that the crack was discovered at Edwards Air Force Base in California during a routine inspection of an F-35A, an air force version of the fighter jet.

According to BBC News, the F-35 fighter jet is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapon, costing nearly $400 billion. The Pentagon said that a full investigation into the cause of the crack will occur, but until then, all flight operations would be suspended. This announcement was the second in the past two months that grounded jets from the F-35 range. The first announcement occurred in January when the Marine Corps version of the jet, the F-35B, had a manufacturing defect that caused the fuel line to detach right before taking off.

Uranium discovered in Iran 

Iran announced last week that enough raw uranium was found last week to power 16 nuclear power stations. The Iran Atomic Energy Organization report indicated that the deposits were found in southern coastal areas. Until this discovery, Western experts had thought that Iran was close to exhausting its raw uranium supply.

Although the exact locations of the 16 proposed nuclear plants are unknown, the state news agency, IRNA, stated that the areas included coastal areas such as the Gulf, Sea of Oman, Khuzestan, and the Caspian Sea. According to diplomats, the United States and its allies are prepared to offer Iran some easing of sanctions in exchange for Iran agreeing to restrict its production of higher grade enriched uranium. This request stems from the idea that Tehran intends to develop nuclear weapons capabilities.

Rosa Parks statue constructed in the United States capital

This week, a statue of Rosa Parks was placed in the United States Capital. Parks, an African-American Civil Rights activist, made history in 1955 when she resisted bus segregation and was arrested for refusing to yield her seat to a white passenger. Her actions became an important symbol in the civil rights movement.

Parks’ statue was the first full-sized statue of an African American in the Capital, which holds over 180 statues. Among them are busts of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sojourner Truth. Frederick Douglas is expected to be added soon.
When asked how he felt about the statue, House Speaker John A. Boehner said, “It’s another breakthrough for someone who has made so many of them possible.” Representative John Conyers Jr., a democrat from Michigan, employed Parks for a period of time. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he said, “As humble as she was, she would be overwhelmed by the fact that there would be a statue in Statuary Hall in her honor.”

The statue was sculpted by Eugene Daub and his partner Rob Firmin. It was made out of bronze and sat on a pedestal of black granite. When erected, it stood almost nine feet tall and weighed approximately 2700 pounds. The statue was authorized in 2005 shortly after Park’s death. When she died, Parks became the first woman to be buried in the Capitol rotunda. Additionally, in 1999 Parks was given the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award that Congress can present. This month, the United States Postal Service issued a Rosa Parks “forever” stamp in honor of what would have been her 100th birthday.

Breast cancer drug approved

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug on Friday that has shown to be effective in the battle against breast cancer. Kadcyla is a combination of a well-known breast cancer medicine called Herceptin with a powerful toxin that will theoretically reduce side effect while increasing the drugs’ ability to kill cancer cells.

The drug went through extensive clinical trials and was shown to extend the survival time of women with advanced breast cancer by almost six months. The company that developed the drug, Genentech, estimated the cost at about $9800 per month, which would add up to about $94,000 for one round of treatment. Although this cost is about two times higher than that of plain Herceptin, the cost is equivalent to some of the more recent breast cancer drugs on the market.

Kadcyla focuses on the 20 percent of patients that suffer from HER2-positive breast cancer. The possible reduction in side effects occurs because the toxin in the medication does not activate until it reaches the tumor. However, the drug could lead to liver toxicity, heart toxicity, and possibly death.