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Morning Briefing

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Anti-nuke activist gets eight months

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Four months in, four months to go.

In the third of eleven sentencing hearings expected in coming days for a group of anti-nuclear activists opposing a $7.5 billion new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility, a veteran of the peace movement was sentenced to eight months in jail this afternoon.

Bonnie Urfer, the co-director of the watchdog group Nukewatch, was handed the sentence by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton. In jail since her May trial for a 2010 peace action, Urfer was credited with time served and given four more months in jail.

Urfer was part of a July 5, 2010, action at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. One of three nuclear weapons sites currently under consideration by the federal government, a major new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility at the Oak Ridge complex was officially announced July 25.

Part of a group of 13 who took part in the action, Urfer climbed over a barbed wire fence onto the property of the Y-12 complex and was arrested.

FEMA aid for flood victims

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According to The Scranton Times-Tribune:

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide aid to thousands of Northeast Pennsylvania residents who are just now beginning to recover from the floodwaters stirred by Tropical Storm Lee, the agency announced Tuesday.

The release of federal funds to 19 counties statewide, including Luzerne, Susquehanna and Wyoming, will allow home and business owners to recoup the cost of repairs and new construction through direct payments or low-interest loans to those who qualify.

Now that President Barack Obama has made an official disaster declaration in Pennsylvania that opens the door for flood-affected residents to potentially get federal money in their hands, residents can now submit an application for benefits to the agency."

Catholic Health System launches nonprofit for diabetes care

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Catholic Health System is one of a couple of health care groups partnering with Western New York nonprofit HEALTHeLINK to start a telemonitoring pilot program designed to improve diabetes patients' access to care, according to several news reports.

The program, which is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has already enrolled the first 100 of the roughly 150 patients it expects to monitor through March 2013 in 17 communities across the U.S.

Read the rest of the Information Week Healthcare report here.

Buffalo Business First reports:

"Using mobile devices, patients will report their blood pressure, glucose readings and other vital signs. As the data comes into the providers, their nurses and clinical staff monitor the information to notify doctors if a patient is in danger. The program will use existing monitoring equipment supplied by the three partners."

Read the entire story here.

I was appalled

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This past Monday night, I watched the Republican debate sponsored by the Tea Party. With any of these Republican debates, I feel like I'm in another reality … one that is out of touch with ordinary Americans who need jobs or who suffer in poverty. But I listen because I want to be an informed citizen.

This week, however, I was truly appalled by responses to one question from the CNN host Wolf Blitzer. He asked Ron Paul, who is a physician, about the hypothetical case of a 30-year-old male who decided that he didn't want to buy health insurance, but suddenly goes into a coma and needs intensive care. Paul said this case should not be the government's responsibility. "That's what freedom is about, taking your own risks," Paul said, but he was drowned out by audience applause as he added, "this whole idea that you have to prepare to take care of everybody …" This was greeted by loud audience applause.

Then Blitzer asked, "Are you saying that society should just let him die?" Before Paul could answer, the audience started shouting "yeah" -- and that was followed by laughter.

Morning Briefing

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11 anti-nuke activists in court this week, 2 sentenced to jail yesterday

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Two anti-nuclear activists were sentenced to jail yesterday for acts of civil disobedience at the Y-12 National Security Complex, a key U.S. nuclear weapons production and maintenance compound, to protest a proposed major new facility at the Oak Ridge, Tenn., site.

Jean Gump and Jesuit Fr. Bill Bichsel, part of a group of twelve activists who were found guilty last May of criminal trespass at the site, were sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton to time served and three months in jail, respectively.

Construction of a major new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility at the Oak Ridge complex, projected by the Army Corps of Engineers to cost some $7.5 billion, was officially announced by the federal government July 25.

Gump and Bichsel were part of a group of 13 who took part in the July 5, 2010, action, which came at the end of a 200-strong peace rally outside the gates of the complex. After a prayer vigil, 13 people climbed over a barbed wire fence onto the property and were arrested, Ralph Hutchison, a coordinator for the group opposing the new Tennessee facility’s construction, told NCR in May.

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