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Medicare Advantage Premiums To Drop Next Year

Sep 15, 2011

For some Medicare beneficiaries, the good times seem to keep rolling along.

Premiums for seniors enrolled in private Medicare health plans will drop 4 percent in 2012 while benefits remain stable, administration officials said today. In 2011 premiums fell by 1 percent.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) "plans Thursday to urge the supercommittee charged with cutting the nation's deficit to overhaul the tax code, his most direct remarks about the path the panel should undertake," Politico reports.

According to Politico, "Boehner will prod the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction lower the corporate rate and close loopholes — the preferred GOP method for cleaning up the nation's tax system."

"We are certainly living through times of great economic anxiety," International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said this morning.

"Exactly three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers," she cautioned in a Washington, D.C., speech, "the economic skies look troubled and turbulent as global activity slows and downside risks increase."

Even as Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann backs off some from an inflammatory claim that a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer led to mental retardation in a young girl, two bioethicists are turning up the heat.

Yes, the leading group of pediatricians in this country slammed Bachmann and said "there is absolutely no scientific validity" to statements that the vaccine against human papilloma virus is dangerous or causes retardation.

There are many remarkable things about what U.S. Marine Dakota Meyer did two years ago in Afghanistan.

NPR's Tom Bowman tells the story of the then-corporal's heroics. Along with Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, Meyer (now a sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve) disobeyed orders and undertook a dangerous, six-hour battle to rescue stranded troops who had been ambushed by enemy fighters.

The number of people filling first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose by 11,000 last week from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

There were 428,000 such claims. After peaking at 659,000 in March 2009, weekly claims started to edge down. But they've remained near or above 400,000 since early April of this year.

The stories of lost pets turning up years later and hundreds (or thousands) of miles from home keep coming.

Today's tale, from The Associated Press:

"A calico cat named Willow, who disappeared from a home near the Rocky Mountains five years ago, was found Wednesday on a Manhattan street and will soon be returned to a family in which two of the three kids and one of the two dogs may remember her.

"It is over. Give up. The mercenaries should go home."

That's the message today from British Prime Minister David Cameron to ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, The Guardian reports.

Rogue Trader Leaves UBS With $2 Billion Loss

Sep 15, 2011

Swiss banking giant UBS said Thursday that one of its traders lost an estimated $2 billion through unauthorized transactions, which could result in a loss for its entire third quarter.

Police in London's financial district said they have arrested a 31-year-old man in connection with the massive loss. He was arrested at 3:30 a.m. on suspicion of abusing his position to commit fraud.

The unidentified trader reportedly worked in UBS's London equities division.

Shares of UBS sank on the Zurich exchange Thursday, at one point plummeting more than 8 percent.

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