American Morning

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August 3rd, 2009
12:10 PM ET

New strain of HIV identified

PARIS, France (CNN) - French researchers have identified a new human immunodeficiency virus, the first derived from gorillas, a report said Monday.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A new virus is difficult to detect by tests because it is not closely related to the other three HIV variants."]

The three previous HIV variants came from chimpanzees. The new findings indicate that gorillas, in addition to chimpanzees, are likely sources of HIV, the researchers concluded in a report published in the weekly Nature Medicine journal.

The new virus, called RBF 168, was detected in a 62-year-old woman who moved to Paris from the western Africa nation of Cameroon, the report says. She tested positive for HIV in 2004, and researchers led by Jean-Christophe Plantier identified the virus as being closely related to a recently discovered simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV).

The new gorilla virus "has many of the biological properties necessary for human infection," the report says.

"The human case described here does not seem to be an isolated incident, as before coming to Paris the subject had lived in the semiurban area of Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, and reported no contact with apes or bush meat," the researchers said.

That would indicate that the woman contracted the virus from another human.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Health
August 3rd, 2009
11:20 AM ET

US kids missing vitamin D

If you're like millions of parents you rub sunscreen all over your kids before they head out the door.

But experts are saying you might want to wait because a new study says millions of children and teens are not getting enough vitamin D. Seven out of ten, in fact. And there's more.

CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has the report.

Filed under: Health
August 3rd, 2009
11:13 AM ET

Harvard prof offers jokes about arrest

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) - In his first public appearance since the "Beer Summit" at the White House, Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates joked about his controversial arrest last month in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and said he likes police Sgt. James Crowley.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sgt. James Crowley and professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. sit for beers with the president and vice president Thursday."]

"I offered to get his kids into Harvard if he doesn't arrest me anymore," Gates said.

Gates was speaking Sunday at the Martha's Vineyard Book Festival where he signed copies of his book, "In Search of our Roots."

The professor said he plans on meeting with Crowley again. "I offered for the two of us to have lunch together, one-on-one, or go to a Red Sox game, or a Celtics games, or maybe the families can get together for dinner. Why not?"

Gates had a face-to-face meeting and a beer with Crowley at the White House last week, a move orchestrated by President Obama in an attempt to diffuse racial tensions that had erupted following Gates' arrest. Gates called the president's gesture "brilliant."

Crowley arrested Gates on July 16 when the officer responded to a call of a possible home break-in at the Cambridge residence.

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Filed under: Controversy
August 3rd, 2009
09:50 AM ET

Police: Crime rates down despite bad economy

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Chief John Timoney of the Miami Police Department (L) and Commissioner Charles Ramsey of the Philadelphia Police Department (R)."]

Crime rates are falling in big cities across America, even though unemployment is high and it’s summer – two factors that historically are a prescription for trouble. So what's going on?

Commissioner Charles Ramsey of the Philadelphia Police Department and Chief John Timoney of the Miami Police Department spoke to Alina Cho on CNN’s “American Morning” Monday.

Alina Cho: Chief Timoney, I want to start with you. As I just said, we're dealing with a bad economy, the dog days of summer, usually a recipe for higher crime. But crime rates are actually falling in major cities across America. What exactly is going on in your estimation?

Chief John Timoney: Well I think it's a myth the whole notion there's a direct correlation between a bad economy and crime. All you have to do is really look at the Great Depression. Crime rates did not skyrocket. Similarly, here over the last year and a half – and we've monitored [it] pretty closely – the assumption is crime is down. So some guy that’s a truck driver one day, loses his job, goes out and commits robberies and burglaries the next day is simply not true. Over the last year and a half at our CompStat crime meetings, we're looking at the people that were arrested for these crimes and it’s the same people. It’s the frequent flyers, guys with 15, 25 prior arrests. If the economy had a direct impact we'd be arresting people for the first time and that's simply not happening.


Filed under: Crime
August 3rd, 2009
06:35 AM ET

PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter: Political scorecard

Editor's Note: is a project of the St. Petersburg Times that aims to help you find the truth in politics. Every day, reporters and researchers from the Times examine statements by members of Congress, the president, etc. They research their statements and then rate the accuracy on their Truth-O-Meter.

E-mail 'analysis' of health bill needs a checkup

By Angie Drobnic Holan –

It may be the longest chain e-mail we've ever received. A page-by-page analysis of the House health care bill argues that reform will end the health care system as we know it: "Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed! ... Page 42: The 'Health Choices Commissioner' will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. ... Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free health care services."

Most of what the e-mail says is wrong. In fact, it's a clearinghouse of bad information circulating around the Web about proposed health care changes, so we thought it would be helpful to address a bunch of its claims.

Keep reading this story »

No free health care for illegal immigrants in the health bill

"All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free health care services." – Chain e-mail on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 in a chain e-mail.

Truth-O-Meter says: PANTS ON FIRE

One of its most bizarre claims is the one about free health care for non-citizens, "illegal or not."

We read the bill and its legislative summary, and could find nothing about free health care for anyone, much less non-citizens.

To confirm our examination, we turned to Jennifer Tolbert, an independent health care analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan foundation that studies health care reform. Tolbert has read and analyzed all the major health proposals, including those of the Republicans, and the foundation provides point-by-point analyses of the plans on its Web site.

"No one's provided with free health care. That's ridiculous," she said.

Read more: No free health care for everyone »

Health care exchange is government's way of regulating insurers

"All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange." – Chain e-mail on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 in a chain e-mail.

Truth-O-Meter says: TRUE

To explain this one, we will start with an explanation of the overall bill, which was unveiled July 14, 2009. The bill envisions that everyone will be required to have health insurance. People who get health insurance through work satisfy this requirement right off the bat.

People who don't get insurance through work or other groups will go to the health care exchange; it's designed to help people who have to go off on their own to buy health insurance, and for small businesses with few employees. The reason for the exchange is that the government wants to regulate insurers to make sure that health plans clearly explain what they offer, can't refuse people for pre-existing conditions, and must offer basic levels of service.

Read more: Yes, health insurance companies will have to conform »

Obama claims 14,000 lose health insurance every day

"14,000 Americans . . . lose their health insurance every single day." – Barack Obama on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 in a news conference.

Truth-O-Meter says: MOSTLY TRUE

In his nationally televised news conference on July 22, 2009, President Barack Obama cited a dramatic statistic to emphasize the need for health care reform. He said, “If we don't act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day.”

The White House told us the number came from a report published by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and authored by researchers James Kvaal and Ben Furnas. A chart in the report was headlined, “14,000 People Became Uninsured Every Day in December and January.”

Read more: He's in the ballpark »

Filed under: Truth-O-Meter
August 3rd, 2009
06:00 AM ET

Presidential meeting: Obama's 6 month checkup

President Barack Obama walks from Marine One upon his return on the South Lawn of the White House August 1, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)
President Barack Obama walks from Marine One upon his return on the South Lawn of the White House August 1, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

Obama administration huddles to assess, set goals

Another tough week ahead for the president. The debate on health care reform moves forward in the Senate and there are some big new worries today about unemployment benefits and paying down the debt. The president got his top advisers together this weekend to take stock.

What do you think? What must Obama accomplish in the next 6 months? How would you advise the president?

Filed under: Politics