Republican voters criticize health bill amid fears over pre-existing conditions

Matthew Frankic: ‘I am not for what they brought out.’ Photograph: Justin Gilliland for the Guardian Matthew Frankic, a health insurance broker and Republican voter, makes his living signing people up for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Since the law went into effect in 2014, he has seen flaws. Each year, health insurance in his section of southern Indiana has seemed to cost more, and fewer doctors and hospitals seemed to accept it. But he supported the unpopular Republican effort to reform the law until he heard…

Read More

Health fears grow over fashionable ‘grumpy’ flat-faced cats

First it was dogs, now its flat faced cats who are paying the price of being in fashion. Persians, British and Exotic Shorthair cats are increasingly suffering from health problems because their characteristic shortened muzzle features have become more extreme through breeding. Vets have warned that this can lead to breathing difficulties, along with eye and skin infections, because of constricted nasal passages. In some cases the cats even have problems picking up food because of their flattened ‘grumpy’ faces. A recent study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh…

Read More

German parents told to destroy Cayla dolls over hacking fears

An official watchdog in Germany has told parents to destroy a talking doll called Cayla because its smart technology can reveal personal data. The warning was issued by the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), which oversees telecommunications. Researchers say hackers can use an unsecure bluetooth device embedded in the toy to listen and talk to the child playing with it. But the UK Toy Retailers Association said Cayla “offers no special risk”. In a statement sent to the BBC, the TRA also said “there is no reason for alarm”. The Vivid…

Read More

Trump education pick pits Jewish education needs against church-state fears

Last week, just before Thanksgiving, the president-elect named Betsy DeVos, a billionaire education reform activist and champion of charter schools and public funding for private schooling, as his education secretary. As leader of the American Federation for Children, a group that promotes charter schools, DeVos promotes exactly the model advanced by Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., at the Republican convention in July. The elder Trump has said he would earmark $20 billion in federal money to charter more independent schools or for vouchers for poorer families to pay for private…

Read More