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Public News Service - Social Issues

PHOTO: As Medicare marks its 49th birthday, a report suggests health-care reform has helped to improve the program's solvency. Photo credit: Kristine Kisky/morguefile.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Today is Medicare's 49th birthday, but questions linger about how many more birthdays the program will be able to celebrate. The influx of baby boomers reaching retirement age and increasing medical costs have lawmakers looking for options to prevent the program from going bankrupt ...Read More

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Congress' top priority before its August break should be to "immediately pass" a bill that funds a $17 billion overhaul of the Veterans Administration. Photo courtesy Sen. Reid's office.

CARSON CITY, Nev. - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is urging Congress to approve bipartisan legislation that would provide $17 billion to improve medical services at the Veterans Administration. Reid told his Senate colleagues he expects them to pass the "Veterans Access, Choice an ...Read More

PHOTO: Officer Briggs Schulz, left, of the Federal Way Police Department shares his views with a group of high school students in a "Teens Against Distracted Driving" presentation. Attorney Jason Epstein (R) asks teens to pledge to not text and drive, and not to ride with friends who do. Photo credit: Sam Fletcher, Premier Law Group

BELLEVUE, Wash. - Laws that ban texting while driving - and that allow law enforcement to cite someone for texting without another reason to pull the vehicle over - are the most effective at preventing distracted driving deaths, according to a new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. ...Read More

PHOTO: The Kentucky General Assembly's Judiciary Committee hears testimony Friday on the future of the state's death penalty. Photo by Greg Stotelmyer.

PADUCAH, Ky. - An in-depth examination of the death penalty by state House and Senate Judiciary Committee members schedulef for Friday will mark a shift in the debate, according to Kentucky's public advocate. Public defender Ed Monahan said the discussion by lawmakers is moving from "Should we fix ...Read More

PHOTO: Educators say third grade is the critical time when students move from learning to read to reading to learn. Some children's advocates don't think a law requiring third-graders to be held back if they don't read proficiently is the answer to Michigan's current education problems. Photo credit: jdurham/morguefile.com.

LANSING, Mich. - Too many Michigan fourth-graders aren't making the grade when it comes to reading, but should struggling students be required by law to repeat third grade? The latest Kids Count data ranks the state 37th in the nation for the number of fourth-graders reading at grade level, and som ...Read More

PHOTO: Israeli and Palestinian teens met this summer to learn how they can be individual citizen diplomats and help create a brighter future for the region. Photo credit: Hands of Peace.

CHICAGO - While violence rages back home, some Israeli and Palestinian teens opened their hearts and minds to each other in Chicago this summer. Hosted by American families during the three-week Hands of Peace program, they did the hard emotional work of "hearing the other side" and wondering how t ...Read More

PHOTO: Smoky Mountain High School in Jackson County will be the pilot site for Jackson County Schools' program to monitor the online activity of its students. Photo courtesy Jackson County Schools

SYLVA, N.C. - Who should be monitoring students' online activity? Traditionally, the answer is parents, but one North Carolina school system is employing a private company to monitor posts and "tweets" in what it describes as an effort to protect students' safety. Meanwhile, the ACLU of North Caroli ...Read More

PHOTO: Native Americans, immigrants and others are expected to testify at a human rights hearing today (Wed.) in Albuquerque. Their views will be part of a United Nations review of U.S. compliance with an international human rights treaty. Image courtesy U.S. State Department

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Testimony gathered at a human-rights hearing in Albuquerque today will be included as part of an overall review of U.S. compliance with an international human rights treaty. Ejim Dike, executive director of the U.S. Human Rights Network, the group organizing the hearing, said sh ...Read More

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