Talon Top Five: Weekly Current Events

Court orders FDA to restrict popular antibiotics in livestock

On Thursday, March 22, a federal magistrate judge ruled that the Obama administration must warn drug makers that the government may soon ban agricultural uses of some popular antibiotics that many scientists say encourage the proliferation of dangerous infections and may be harmful to public health.

The order comes two months after the Obama administration announced restrictions on agricultural uses of cephalosporins, a critical class of antibiotics that include drugs like Cefzil and Keflex, which are common pneumonia and strep throat antibiotics.

Judge Theodore H. Katz of the Southern District of New York issued the order, effectively restarting a Food and Drug Administration program, which started 35 years ago, intended to prevent penicillin and tetracycline from losing their effectiveness from their bulk use in animals.

Widely used antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline suffer from declined effectivity as a result of overuse. The reason for this is because as more and more microorganisms are exposed to the drug, the probability that any one of the microorganisms developing a antibiotic resistance is greatly enhanced.

“We are studying the opinion and considering appropriate next steps,” F.D.A. spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said in response to the decision.

Obama selects college president for World Bank Chief

President Barack Obama named Jim Yong Kim, President of Dartmouth College and global health expert, as their nominee to lead the World Bank on Friday, March 23.

As a result of this announcement, Kim is now considered the frontrunner to replace current president of the World Bank Robert B. Zoellick, whose five-year term is set to end on June 30. As per tradition, the United States will nominate the candidate for the position, who, in turn, will be subject to confirmation by the Board of Executive Directors.

Kim is an anthropologist, a physician , a co-founder of Partners in Health which is a nonprofit that provides health care for the poor, and a former director of the department of H.I.V/AIDS at the World Health Organization.

“The leader of the World Bank should have a deep understanding of both the role that development plays in the world and the importance of creating conditions where assistance is no longer needed,” President Obama said Friday. “It’s time for a development professional to lead the world’s largest development agency.”

President Obama supports southern part of Keystone XL pipeline

President Obama said on Thursday, March 22 that he favored the construction of the southern part of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

In January, the White House rejected a permit for the entire pipeline that would have run from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Since then Obama has received criticism from Republicans, especially in light of increasing gas prices.

Republicans argue that the southern part doesn’t require Obama’s approval and that he won’t be the reason the pipeline will be built. At the same time, environmentalists have voiced their opposition to any part of the construction proceeding.

Senate passes bill to outlaw congressional insider trading

On Thursday, March 22 the Senate passed a bill 96-3 that would stop congresspeople and their staffs from making insider trades on the stock market.

While insider trading is outlawed, the rules have been ambiguous when it comes to lawmakers, many of whom learn insider information because of the positions they hold.

The bill has already been passed by the house, but still needs to be approved by President Obama. The President is expected to sign the bill given that he advocated for it in his State of the Union Address.

Romney wins in Puerto Rico and Illinois

Sunday, March 18 and Tuesday, March 20 saw two more wins for Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential nominating contest.

On March 18, Romney won in Puerto Rico with 88 percent. Far behind was Rick Santorum with 8.5 percent. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul came in third and fourth, respectively.

In the Illinois primary, which took place on the 20th, Romney won again with 46.7 percent; Santorum got 35 percent. Paul came in third and Gingrich fourth.

The next race is scheduled for Saturday, March 24 in Louisiana.