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August 5, 2014
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Researchers using a computer model say that hepatitis C could become "rare" — affecting no more than 1 in 1,500 people — in the United States by 2036.

Right now, roughly 1 in 100 people have hepatitis C in the U.S., but newer medicines and expanded screenings for adults born between 1945 and 1965 could make the number drop. A study conducted by Jagpreet Chhatwal of The University of Texas MC Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and colleagues modeled the effect the medicines and screenings will have on hepatitis C, and found that it would become rare by 2036, and could even reach that goal by 2026 if there were stricter guidelines for screenings.

The researchers wrote in Annals of Internal Medicine that the screening regimen now would identify close to 487,000 cases of hepatitis C infection within the next 10 years, and using current conditions, 124,200 cases of liver cirrhosis, 78,800 cases of liver cancer, 126,500 liver-related deaths, and 9,900 liver transplants could be prevented by 2050.

"We were pleasantly surprised that in the next 22 years we could make this a rare disease," Chhatwal told Reuters.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the liver that, if left untreated, can lead to liver damage, liver failure, and cancer. The researchers say it costs $6.5 billion a year to care for the 3.2 million people in the United States with hepatitis C. Catherine Garcia

11:30 a.m. ET

Louisiana Secretary of Health Rebekah Gee sent a letter on Monday to Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) expressing her "deep concerns" about his proposed Graham-Cassidy bill. "In its current form, the harm to Louisiana from this legislation far outweighs any benefit," Gee wrote about the health-care bill, which was introduced last week by Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) as the Republican Party's last-ditch effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Gee wrote that she's particularly concerned about the consequences that ending Medicaid expansion in 2020 would have for Cassidy's home state. She noted that in "only one year," Louisiana has been "able to provide more than 433,000 Louisianians with coverage, resulting in more than one hundred thousand primary care visits, tens of thousands of screenings for cancer, and thousands of new mental health services." "This would be a detrimental step backwards for Louisiana," she wrote, warning that the bill's proposal to end the expansion could cause "thousands" of Louisianians to "lose coverage and access."

She also worried that the Graham-Cassidy bill includes the "same per capita cuts" as the summer's failed health-care bill, which would have resulted "in profound cuts to Louisiana's most vulnerable citizens, including children, the disabled, and pregnant women." Also problematic, Gee wrote, is the fact that the plan makes it easier for states to waive essential health benefits and price protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions or "complex and costly conditions." "Finally, this bill, like ones before it, uniquely and disproportionally hurts Louisiana," she wrote.

Republicans have until Sept. 30 to pass the bill with a majority vote. Three 'no' votes in the Senate would kill it. Already, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has come out firmly as a 'no,' and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is expected to oppose it, too.

Read Gee's letter in full below. Becca Stanek

11:01 a.m. ET

President Trump informed the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that some countries are "going to hell." "Major portions of the world are in conflict and some in fact are going to hell," Trump said in his debut U.N. address in New York City. Reuters' Jeff Mason noted that leaders at the U.N. meeting reacted "seemingly in bafflement."

On a brighter note, Trump assured the diplomats and world leaders gathered for the annual meeting that the "powerful people in this room" can "solve many of these vicious and complex problems." In his wide-ranging speech, Trump specifically identified North Korea and Iran as among those problems, warning that North Korea's "Rocket Man" (a.k.a. Kim Jong Un) is "on a suicide mission" and deeming the Iranian government an "economically depleted rogue state" whose chief export is violence.

It was not immediately clear if these were the countries Trump believes are going to hell. Becca Stanek

10:55 a.m. ET
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

In his debut address before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Trump doubled down on his America First outlook as he warned of the threats posed by "rogue regimes."

He declared that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who he referred to as "Rocket Man," is "on a suicide mission," and noted that the U.S. "will have no choice but to totally destroy" the country if it threatens the U.S or its allies. Vowing to "stop radical Islamic terrorism," Trump also referred to the Iranian government as an "economically depleted rogue state" whose chief export is violence.

"Major portions of the world are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell," Trump said. Becca Stanek

10:38 a.m. ET

President Trump threatened to "totally destroy North Korea" and recycled his Elton John-inspired nickname for leader Kim Jong Un in a speech before the United Nations on Tuesday. "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime," Trump said. "The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That's what the United Nations is all about. That's what the United Nations is for. Let's see how they do."

Trump had originally branded Kim as "Rocket Man" in a tweet that The Washington Post claimed "even some of Trump's critics had to admit" was clever. Others frowned at the reference being made Tuesday in such a serious setting and framed by such chilling threats:

Watch Trump's comments below. Jeva Lange

10:11 a.m. ET
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The Trump administration's Department of Defense (DoD) has become increasingly inaccessible to journalists, Politico reports, citing interviews with unnamed "numerous reporters who cover the beat." As one such source summarized, "This is the worst relationship I've seen" between the Pentagon and the media in recent years, even considering the Obama administration's poor record on press freedom.

The decline in transparency Politico describes chiefly takes two forms: Secretary of Defense James Mattis offers limited press availability, and the Pentagon has cut down on the number of reporters permitted to join official trips. For example, a recent journey Mattis took excluded the correspondent from Reuters, which traditionally would have had a representative present alongside those from the other two wire services, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse. This exclusion "breaks with decades of standing practice," Reuters said.

The shift in Pentagon-press relations is significantly attributable to Mattis' perception that "the media is trying to pit him against the president and deliberately misinterpret the things that he says," an unnamed Trump administration official told Politico. Mattis has reportedly decided less contact with journalists will make it easier to control his messaging. Bonnie Kristian

9:51 a.m. ET
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Links related to Avril Lavigne are some of the most dangerous to click online, making fans of the early-aughts superstar wonder why cybersecurty firm McAfee had to go and make things so complicated. McAfee announced Tuesday that after Lavigne, Bruno Mars is the second most likely celebrity whose name might be used to tempt users to websites that contain viruses or malware, followed by Carly Rae Jepsen, Zayn Malik, Celine Dion, Calvin Harris, Justin Bieber, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Katy Perry, and Beyoncé, The Associated Press reports.

McAfee added that there is a 14.5 percent chance of landing on a "dangerous" webpage if you search for Lavigne, and a 22 percent chance if users are looking for free, downloadable files of her music.

Can McAfee make it any more obvious? Chief consumer security evangelist Gary Davis gave it a go: "In today’s digital world, we want the latest hit albums, videos, movies, and more, immediately available on our devices," Davis said in a statement reported by The Hill. "Consumers often prioritize their convenience over security by engaging in risky behavior like clicking on suspicious links that promise the latest content from celebrities."

So hey hey, you you, "slow down and consider the risks associated with searching for downloadable content." Jeva Lange

9:44 a.m. ET
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In the summer of 2007, an Alabama man named Kharon Davis was arrested on charges of capital murder and placed in county jail to await trial. He was 22, and his only previous offense was driving without a license.

Today, as The New York Times reported Tuesday in a deep dive into Davis' case and the problem of lengthy pre-trial detention more broadly, Davis is still in that county jail, still awaiting trial. He has now served half Alabama's minimum murder sentence without any conviction.

The causes for this egregious delay are many. Davis himself has exacerbated the situation by replacing his court-appointed legal team, but he is far from holding sole responsibility. One of his defense attorneys, for example, was the father of an officer investigating his case. He filed just two motions on Davis' behalf in the four years it took for the district attorney to suggest a conflict of interest was in play.

"The court has to gain control of the case and not let it petrify," Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University, told the Times. "This is like a railroad saying, 'This is an awful train wreck.' Well, the train belongs to the railroad."

For Davis, the Times notes, there finally may be a light at the end of the tunnel: Jury selection for his trial began Monday. Bonnie Kristian

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