Children Die of Poisoning in India after Eating a Free School Meal
At least 22 students in Bihar, one of the poorest and most populous states in India, have died after eating a free school meal. The children, between the ages of 4 and 12 had eaten a lunch prepared by the school as a part of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
It is believed that an insecticide, organic phosphorous, got into the food during preparation but it is unclear if the poisoning was intentional. The deaths have sparked protests by women's groups. Allegations of corruption in the generally celebrated program have become common. The Chief Minister of the region, Nitish Kumar, has offered about $3,400 to the families of the dead children. He has also called for an investigation into the cause of the poisoning.
The Mid-Day Meal Scheme began in 1925 and is currently the largest school meal program in the world providing food to about 20 million children daily. The state education minister, PK Shahi stated, "the scale at which the operation is being carried out, serving food to 20 million children every day and that too in remotest village schools, checking food before it is served - that itself is a challenge." Shahi acknowledged that the food was not being properly checked before being served.
Media Resources: Al Jazeera 7/17/13; BBC 7/17/13; Reuters 7/17/13; Times of India 7/17/13
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .
4/14/2014 Kathleen Sebelius Resigns as Secretary of Health & Human Services - President Barack Obama last week announced the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius.
Noting that she will "go down in history" for "serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America," President Obama praised Secretary Sebelius for guiding the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA).
At least 7.5 million Americans have now signed up for health coverage through health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. . . .