A controversial bill in Iraq, proposed by former Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari and passed by the cabinet, would allow girls to be considered adults at age 9 and thus able to marry, NPR reports.
Known as the Jaafari law (after a school of Islam of the same name), it still has to make its way through the parliament. No action will likely be taken until after Iraq forms its new government, following last month's elections. If passed, the law will be voluntary and will only apply to the country's Shia Muslim majority.
Those who oppose the law say that despite some new freedoms in Iraq — more travel opportunities and internet access, for example — women's rights are not moving forward and conservative religious politics are becoming more mainstream. "We know the state of women in Iraq is getting worse, despite the intellectual openness that women had benefited from following the American occupation and the removal of the regime," lawyer Fawzia al-Babakhan told NPR.
In the end, the law is unlikely to be passed — it was likely an electoral overture to conservative Shiites — but it is still unsettling to radio host Ahlam al-Obeidi. "We are a society plagued by patriarchal attitudes and outdated tribal laws, which are all conducive to violence against women," she said to NPR. "This is not marriage, but rather the selling and buying of young women." --Catherine Garcia
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released on Monday its preliminary analysis of the Senate Republicans' health-care proposal, which estimates that by 2026, 22 million more people would be uninsured under the Better Care Reconciliation Act.
— Kedron Bardwell (@KedronBardwell) June 26, 2017
The Senate Republicans decided to jump on one bit of information in the analysis — that "the draft bill would lower premiums by 30 percent when compared with current law," the Affordable Care Act. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, also said the CBO report "confirms that the Senate health-care bill will soon start lowering premiums for millions of Americans relative to the unsustainable premium increases under the broken ObamaCare system."
They're not exactly on the same page as the Republican National Committee, which released its own statement saying, "Remember, the CBO has a long track record of being way off in their modeling, with predictions often differing drastically from what actually happens." So, depending on which Republican you ask, either the CBO report is completely accurate, or it can't be trusted. Catherine Garcia
22 million more would be uninsired under the Senate health bill than ObamaCare. That’s the entire population of these 17 states combined.
On Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its appraisal of Senate Republicans' health-care bill, dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The CBO estimated that were the BCRA to become law, 22 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 than if ObamaCare were to remain the law of the land.
As ProPublica's Charles Ornstein pointed out, that's effectively the populations of these 17 U.S. states combined:
The increase in the number of uninsured is the population of KS, NM, NE, WV, ID, HI, NH, ME, RI, MT, DE, SD, ND, AK, VT, WY, DC--combined.
— Charles Ornstein (@charlesornstein) June 26, 2017
The Senate's bill does make out slightly ahead of the bill House Republicans passed early last month, which the CBO estimated would result in 23 million more uninsured by 2026 than ObamaCare.
Trump has promised not to cut Medicaid funding. The Senate's bill would slash funding by $772 billion over the next decade.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday that Senate Republicans' health-care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would slash Medicaid spending by $772 billion over the next 10 years. That would mark a 26 percent cut in spending on Medicaid by 2026, compared to under ObamaCare.
President Trump has repeatedly pledged to not cut Medicaid funding. Just the day before the CBO released its cost estimate score of the BCRA, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway insisted there were "no cuts to Medicaid" in the bill.
Right now, there are more than 70 million people enrolled in Medicaid. The New York Times reported that Medicaid "pays for most of the 1.4 million people in nursing homes" and "covers 20 percent of all Americans and 40 percent of poor adults."
Overall, the CBO estimated that the BRCA would leave an additional 22 million people uninsured in 2026 compared to ObamaCare, but would reduce the federal deficit by $321 billion over the next decade. Becca Stanek
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Monday released its cost estimate of Senate Republicans' health-care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The CBO score revealed that by next year, 15 million additional people would be uninsured under the plan, as opposed to under ObamaCare, the current law. The CBO attributed this steep drop to the fact that the "penalty for not having insurance would be eliminated" under the BCRA.
By 2026, 22 million more people would be uninsured under the BCRA, the CBO said. The organization had predicted 23 million more individuals would be uninsured under the House GOP's health-care bill than ObamaCare; the BCRA is the Senate's version of the House measure, which passed early last month.
The CBO also estimated that the BCRA would reduce the federal deficit over the next decade by $321 billion — $202 billion more in savings than the estimate for the House bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pushing for a vote on the BCRA this week. Five Republican senators have already announced their opposition to the bill unveiled last week; Republicans can only lose two votes and still pass the bill. Becca Stanek
On Monday, Michael Bloomberg dedicated $200 million to helping American mayors address prolific issues in their communities via his Bloomberg Philanthropies charitable organization. Bloomberg, the billionaire former New York City mayor, told The New York Times that the American Cities Initiative will help mayors implement policy changes typically reserved for the state and federal government. "It's really efficiency in government, how you marshal resources and how you deal with the public, explain to them, bring them along," Bloomberg told the Times.
Bloomberg's initiative will include a so-called "Mayors Challenge," which asks city officials to submit innovative policy solutions by October. These proposals may tackle any issue facing their communities. Bloomberg's own priorities include climate change, gun laws, and the opioid epidemic; earlier this month, he vowed to contribute $15 million to the United Nations in an effort to replace funding lost by President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.
The rewards for the Mayors Challenge will vary, with 35 cities winning $100,000, four receiving $1 million, and one winner earning $5 million, ABC News reported. American cities must have at least 30,000 residents to apply. Winners will be announced in October 2018. Elianna Spitzer
Banner urging Nevada senator to 'vote no on TrumpCare' spotted flying by the capital of West Virginia
Either a plane headed to Nevada got terribly lost in West Virginia on Monday, or someone got their senators mixed up. Spotted flying above West Virginia's state capital was a plane toting a banner urging Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R): "Keep your word. Vote no on TrumpCare."
— Rob Byers (@RobByersWV) June 26, 2017
If West Virginians were trying to urge their Republican senator to vote no on TrumpCare, aka the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the person to talk to would be Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). Heller, who represents a state more than 2,200 miles away from Charleston, has already announced his opposition to the Senate's plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Becca Stanek
Climate change could get much worse much faster if these 'natural sponges' fail. And it looks like they're failing.
Climate scientists are uncertain if the world's "natural sponges," which for decades have helped absorb global carbon dioxide emissions, will be able to keep up with the amount of emissions being produced from burning coal, oil, and natural gas, The New York Times reports. In fact, the sponges might already be failing: Even as the amount of carbon dioxide being produced has stabilized in recent years, carbon dioxide levels in the air rose at record rates in 2015 and 2016.
That's where concerns about the "natural sponges," like the land surface and the ocean, come into play. "In essence, these natural sponges were doing humanity a huge service by disposing of much of its gaseous waste," the Times writes. "But as emissions have risen higher and higher, it has been unclear how much longer the natural sponges will be able to keep up." In other words, even if "emissions were to stay flat for the next two decades, which could be called an achievement in some sense, it's terrible for the climate problem," said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pieter Tans.
Should [the natural sponges] weaken, the result would be something akin to garbage workers going on strike, but on a grand scale: The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would rise faster, speeding global warming even beyond its present rate. It is already fast enough to destabilize the weather, cause the seas to rise and threaten the polar ice sheets. [The New York Times]
More research still needs to be done to confirm scientists' worst fears. But "I'd estimate that we are about at the emissions peak," said Chinese Academy of Sciences professor Wang Yi. "Or if there are further rises, they won't be much." Read more about the problem at The New York Times. Jeva Lange