News and Events – Student loan rates, HIV positive organ donors, and Jenny McCarthy

Posted: July 23, 2013 in Events, Funding, Jobs, Life as a post-doc, Policy, Science

“A bipartisan group of senators appear to have reached a deal that would provide a long-term fix to student loan rates, allowing them to increase up to a ceiling of 8.25 percent. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are supporting the compromise, which also would bring both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans under the same interest rate for the first time. The rate on unsubsidized loans doubled on July 1st from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.”

“U.S. government climate and environmental research programs and the Smithsonian Institution would see deep budget cuts under a 2014 spending proposal approved today by a U.S. House of Representatives panel….To “do more with less,” the House panel is “dramatically scaling back lower-priority, or ‘nice-to-have’ programs,” said House Appropriations Chair Harold Rogers (R-KY) in a statement released yesterday.”

“The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) commends the Senate Appropriations Committee for approving a fiscal year (FY) 2014 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill that provides $7.4 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF). “I commend the Senate Appropriations Committee for funding NSF at the level we recommended,” said FASEB President Margaret K. Offermann, MD, PhD. “Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski and Ranking Member Richard Shelby have once again demonstrated their strong commitment to basic research and their appreciation for the critical role it plays in the U.S. innovation enterprise.””

“A U.S. House of Representatives committee this week unanimously approved a bill approving transplants using organs taken from people infected with HIV. The HIV Organ Policy Equity Act would lift a nearly 3-decade-old federal ban on such transplants and allow expanded research into the outcomes of transplant patients. Similar legislation has already passed the Senate, and the bill’s advocates say that the policy shift could save hundreds of lives each year if it ultimately makes it into law.”

Forbes article explaining why Jenny McCarthy’s recent appointment to co-host ABC’s the View is “dangerous and irresponsible.” “That and her self-declared education at “The University of Google” has led McCarthy to come out as an influential commentator, particularly in the area of the exhaustively-studied and rejected view of an association between childhood vaccines and autism. With the experience of helping her son with autism and the trust of her “mommy instinct,” McCarthy has espoused questionable, unnecessary, and often dangerous treatments she has learned of through her work with national autism support groups.”

“Biotech giant Monsanto is abandoning attempts to get more genetically modified (GM) crops into the European market. The company’s move follows the high-profile retreat from Europe by another GM biotech firm, BASF, in 2012.”

“In the not too distant future, consumers will be able to run on-the-spot tests for environmental toxins, GMOs, pesticides, food safety and more with their smartphones and other hand-held devices. ”

“UK researchers performed a greater number of experiments involving animals in 2012 compared to the year before, with hundreds of thousands of additional experiments taking the total number of animal procedures to 4.11 million.”


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