They’re backing off. New Jersey and New York have modified a controversial policy mandating hospital quarantines for healthcare workers returning from West Africa. The switch comes after an asymptomatic nurse who volunteered with Doctors Without Borders expressed anger — and the White House and health experts voiced concern — about her quarantine in a tent without a flush toilet or shower. Kaci Hickox hired a lawyer, and her release was announced Monday. Both states have now agreed that most asymptomatic health workers can quarantine themselves at home.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Dilma Rousseff has been re-elected president in a close contest that reveals a deeply divided nation. Her left-wing Workers Party won 52 percent, largely from poor voters, while center-right candidate Aécio Neves secured 48 percent. A former Marxist guerrilla, Rousseff is credited with reducing poverty through welfare programs, but her economic policies are unpopular with the wealthy and business interests. International markets remain nervous about the level of Brazilian government intervention.
Ukraine is heading west, according to Sunday’s parliamentary exit polls. The results give President Petro Poroshenko a mandate to move against militant separatists and pursue democratic reforms. Pro-Europe parties swept the vote, with Poroshenko’s bloc taking 23 percent, ahead of the party of his ally, Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, as well as a third pro-Western party. A surprising fourth place — enough for a foothold — was snatched by backers of ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich. The separatists’ plan? To hold their own election next month.
Check-ups are a good idea. While a “stress test” of European banks may have seemed troublesome for the lenders deemed too short of capital to weather a financial crisis, the overall prognosis looks good. The European Central Bank found that 13 financial institutions out of 130 still need to generate $12 billion in capital. But by pinpointing the needs of the few, along with the strengths of the majority, investors felt somewhat safer on Monday, and European stocks rose in response.
South Africa launches major manhunt for goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa’s killers. (BBC)
Prosecutors to appeal Oscar Pistorius verdict of culpable homicide. (Reuters)
U.S. soldier dies in fight against ISIS in Iraq. (Time)
Washington school shooter lured targets with text messages (CNN)
Police: Ottawa shooter had political motives, made video. (CBC)
The ranks of the uninsured have dropped and there’s evidence that more 20-somethings have access to mental and physical health care than before President Obama overhauled the nation’s coverage. But by its first birthday, not every promise has been delivered. States still balk at Medicaid expansions, although some are reconsidering, and the GOP backlash continues. Costs have steadied, but whether that’s due to the economy or last year’s legislation remains a question for the toddler years.
The CDC predicts that as many as 1.4 million could be infected by late January. This pales in comparison to global plagues of even the past century, including AIDS and its 39 million victims, or the 1918 flu epidemic’s 20 million fatalities. But as OZY’s Melissa Pandika points out, the typical mathematical model used to describe previous Ebola outbreaks doesn’t apply to today’s, which is the worst on record. The deadly virus is spreading much faster than the model predicts.
“I wish I could have hugged you until I died,” a 26-year-old Iranian told her mother in a final voice message. Reyhaneh Jabbari was executed on Saturday for killing a man she said tried to rape her. She admitted to stabbing her assailant, an ex-intelligence operative, because she feared he would kill her. Her attacker wouldn’t have been found “since we don’t have his wealth,” she added. Despite international outcry, Jabbari joined the estimated 250 people executed in Iran this year.
The first Star Wars release since its sale to Disney shows the force is still strong with the franchise. Many protested George Lucas’ handover of the beloved sci-fi saga. But Rebels, a new animated kids’ TV show set in the Star Wars universe, is breathing fresh life into a business bogged down by tradition and disappointing prequels. If this show is anything to go by, J.J. Abrams’ new movie — due out next year — may be a force to be reckoned with.
Liberals have their own money-man answer to the conservative Koch Brothers. Former hedge-fund executive Tom Steyer has plunged $56 million into the NextGen Climate Action Fund to back liberal, environmentally friendly candidates in Senate and gubernatorial races. But even those who like the San Franciscan’s politics still decry the growing influence of money in elections. And critics say he’s a flip-flopping former coal investor who may just be eyeing the California governorship or a Senate seat for himself.
Domination, thy name is Madison Bumgarner. Last night, the 25-year-old Giants pitcher threw a complete game, an eight-strikeout shutout that allowed Kansas City just four hits and no walks. His World Series ERA plunged to a microscopic 0.29 in four starts, an unparalleled figure. The 5-0 win puts the Giants ahead in the series, but the Royals haven’t lost hope yet. Game Six (and Seven if needed) will be played in Kansas City, and Bumgarner shouldn’t be seen again.