Judge Rules Trump Administration Can’t Restrict Asylum
Dec24

Judge Rules Trump Administration Can’t Restrict Asylum

In a move that opens up further discussion of asylum-seeking immigrants, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the DC District Court struck down a ruling from the Trump administration handed down earlier this past year. Asylum Seekers To Benefit While the previous ruling would have limited the ability for those seeking asylum from domestic and gang violence, this judge’s decision overturns the July ruling. Judge Sullivan argued that the decision to limit the ability to seek asylum on the basis of categorical classification was unconstitutional. This ruling is likely to have a major impact on the way the United States is currently handling issues of immigration, specifically with regards to deportation practices. Trump’s Mistake In Previous Ruling While changes to immigration law are entirely feasible and legitimate in the right circumstances, this recent ruling claims that the changes set in motion by the Trump administration are in violation of immigration laws and policies on the basis of procedure. Because the Trump administration attempted to circumvent Congress on these policies, instead opting for procedures that would allow them to skip a Congressional vote. Because Congress is, by law, responsible for the procedures that determine the circumstances required for deportation, July’s policies do not hold, according to Judge Sullivan. This is not the first time this administration has attempted to work around Congress; it seems to have been a long-standing tactic for the Trump administration since early after the election. However, more cases like this one have recently been challenging Trump’s methods of enacting legislation, pressuring the administration to run policy changes through the normal checks and balances system of American government. Immigration Precedent Set In states with significant immigrant populations, this ruling is likely to have an impact. Approximately 43.3 million foreign-born people live in the U.S., and the American Immigration Council reports that about 10% of the people living in Indiana are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. In states like these, any change to immigration law is likely to cause something of a stir. With asylum being a hot issue as it stands, it will be interesting to see what the public response to this recent ruling...

Read More
Researchers Develop New Non-Opioid Drug To Treat Chronic Pain
Dec24

Researchers Develop New Non-Opioid Drug To Treat Chronic Pain

A new non-opioid drug for chronic pain is currently in its early stages of development. Researchers from the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience are working in partnership with the University of California San Diego and the U.S. National Institutes of Health to develop a drug capable of treating certain types of chronic pain. The drug compound, ML351, is designed to treat chronic pain without the addictive consequences of opioids. Discovered by researchers from the NIH, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ML351 inhibits a naturally produced enzyme that’s known to contribute directly to chronic pain that can’t be treated with common anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Because this chronic pain can’t be treated with normal over-the-counter medication, many patients suffering from chronic pain turn to more powerful drugs such as Oxycodone and other opioids. The use of opioids in treating chronic pain is a major issue in the opioid epidemic, but many medical professionals haven’t been able to provide an alternative to opioids aside from physical therapy and massage therapy. The researchers behind ML351 hope to change that. “Our goal is to demonstrate the preclinical efficacy of ML351 for chronic pain that does not respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and might otherwise be treated with opioids,” said Ann Gregus, a research scientist at the Virginia School of Neuroscience. Gregus is one of the lead researchers working on the drug compound alongside assistant professor Matt Buczynski. Acute pain, Buczynski says, is meant to protect the body from severe self-injury, but chronic activation of these pain signaling pathways can have debilitating side-effects. However, there are few drugs that exist to treat chronic pain effectively such as that caused by autoimmune diseases. This is where drug discovery, a multi-billion dollar industry, plays an integral role. ML351 is expected to target a new signaling pathway that’s believed to be responsible for the development of chronic pain that’s unresponsive to anti-inflammatory drugs. “ML351 may be effective for multiple types of pain,” said Gregus, “and our future studies will investigate its utility in other models of chronic pain.” Many Americans seeking medical care do so because of unmanaged pain. Medical issues with chronic pain affect over 40% of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, the painkillers designed to treat chronic pain have contributed to the ongoing opioid crisis. “Chronic pain is extremely challenging to treat due to a lack of effective first-line therapies,” said Buczynski. “While opioids are highly effective medications, concerns regarding danger of their misuse have reached a fever pitch.” Because of these dangers, the need for non-opioid treatments to effectively manage chronic pain is at an all-time high. “ML351 shows promise...

Read More
Singaporean Court Rules That Gay Man Can Adopt Son Born Via Surrogacy In U.S.
Dec24

Singaporean Court Rules That Gay Man Can Adopt Son Born Via Surrogacy In U.S.

In a landmark ruling for socially conservative Singapore, a court has ruled that a gay man has the right to adopt his son, who was born via a surrogate in the United States five years ago. The man, who has not been identified, is a 46-year-old doctor and his son has been living with him and his partner since shortly after he was born. According to Singapore law, surrogacy is technically banned and any children born out of wedlock are considered illegitimate. With such a status, they do not have the same rights as children born to married couples, unless legally adopted. Same-sex marriage is also banned in Singapore, and sex between men can be punishable with up to two years in jail. A further legal complication is that in vitro fertilization, which is how the man’s son was conceived, is limited to only heterosexual couples in Singapore. On Dec. 17, Singapore’s High Court made a ruling that eased several of these obstacles. Their decision overturned a district judge’s 2017 ruling that said the doctor could not legally adopt his son because he was conceived through in vitro fertilization and brought to term through surrogacy. The favorable court did not include a positive ruling regarding the doctor’s sexuality or choice of partner, as Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon emphasized that they did not endorse the doctor’s actions. Despite the lack of support for his sexuality, the doctor was overwhelmingly relieved with the court’s decision to grant him adoption rights for his son, ending the years-long legal battle. For gay men, surrogacy typically costs anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000. The price the doctor and his partner paid was at the top of that range. Their overseas surrogacy services included using the doctor’s sperm to fertilize an egg from an anonymous donor and transplanting the egg into a surrogate mother. After their son was born the couple, who have been together for 13 years, brought him to Singapore on a long-term visit pass. Authorities denied an early application for his Singaporean citizenship, leading the couple to seek advice from the Ministry of Social and Family Development. The organization advised that the child would have a better chance at citizenship if his biological father legally adopted him. In December of 2014, his father applied as a single parent to adopt him. Three years later, the district judge dismissed the application in the ruling that was just recently overturned. Now that the father can adopt his son, he and his partner have high hopes that the boy will be allowed to reside in Singapore for the long...

Read More
20% of U.S. Homes Forced to Cut Back Food and Medical Purchases Due to Energy Expenses
Dec20

20% of U.S. Homes Forced to Cut Back Food and Medical Purchases Due to Energy Expenses

Whether it’s running the heat during the winter or cooling off with air conditioning over the summer, energy is one of the most important expenses when it comes to homeownership. Heating alone uses more energy and costs more money than any other system — typically making up roughly 42% of your entire utility bill. According to the latest report from the Energy Information Administration, approximately 31% of U.S. households have trouble paying their energy bills. The average American family spends close to $2,000 on energy bills, which can be quite difficult to get by, let alone afford other residential essentials. Sadly, about one in five U.S. households are forced to cut back their food purchases, as well as medicine, and other necessities — some even have to forgo buying food for extended periods of time. Not buying medicine and food just to afford energy expenses. “Of the 25 million households that reported forgoing food and medicine to pay energy bills, 7 million faced that decision nearly every month,” read the Energy Information Administration report. Additionally, the study found that about half of U.S. homes experiencing this problem have an annual income of less than $20,000 — more than 40% of which had at least one child inside the home. “We only conduct the Residential Energy Consumption Survey ever four to five years,” said Chip Berry, who oversaw the survey. “This is the first time in the history of the study (dating back to the late 1970s) that we have [measured] energy insecurity across all households, so there’s not much in the way of historical comparison.” Homeowners have to not only keep properties comfortable and keep food on the table, but they have to spend money on garbage and recycling services, Internet, and so much more. All of that can add up and cause tremendous financial stress on a family. According to Move.org, there are a few ways for the average family to start cutting heating and cooling costs, in order to have enough money for other necessities. Here are some great ways to save money on your residential energy expenses: Keep your appliances off — Electricity is essential but it’s also very expensive. Don’t just leave your electric devices plugged in and turned on around the home, because that will certainly add up. Homeowners need to get in the habit of turning off computers and electronics whenever they aren’t being used. Turn off and unplug your washing machine, dryer, TVs, lights, and anything else inside your home that you’re not using. Replace your furnace air filter — Homeowners should have their furnace air filter replaced at least once every three to four months. But if you’re...

Read More
69 Year Old Man Child Told He Cannot Legally Reduce His Age By 20 Years
Dec17

69 Year Old Man Child Told He Cannot Legally Reduce His Age By 20 Years

A little while back, Dutch media personality Emile Ratelbrand started making waves on the internet about his age. He’s 69 years old. In the United States, that counts as a senior, old enough to reside in one of the 19,000+ senior living centers peppered across the country. We’re not really sure what point he was trying to make by doing this nor how Dutch government works, but he attempted to sue the Dutch government over his inability to legally change his age from 69 to 49. Why? Because he doesn’t feel that old. He claimed that he wasn’t a big hit on Tinder having to say his age is 69, so he wanted to change it. Instead of taking the numerous routes around displaying your actual age on Tinder, like paying for Tinder or simply lying to the app, Ratelbrand decided to take the logical route: sue the Dutch government. What gained him the most ire and attention is that his comments about it and general reasoning were regarded as transphobic: “We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?” he asked. Unfazed by the outrage and insensitivity of his comments, he kept it up. The Dutch court, in what must’ve been the biggest judicial eye-roll of the century, reviewed his claim. A month later, they announced a fairly predictable verdict. “[Ratelbrand] is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly…amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships. This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications,” the court said. Late-life crises are fairly common, but we can think of any number of things to occupy his time rather than taking up public resources on vanity. Get a dog. Buy a sports car. Sail around the world. Clean the carpets in your house, it’s probably been a while. Even better, buy a new house. Whatever it is, try not to become a human carpet stain. Of course, age discrimination is a very real, and very serious, thing. Something that Ratelbrand is most certainly not facing. And, at 69, devaluing the experiences of groups around the world in an effort to reanimate virility is arguably the least mature thing one can...

Read More