Every day Latitude News scans the global press for the best stories about the U.S. Here’s what the world is saying about us today.
Death in Gambella
Ethiopian security forces have killed Omot Odol Ojulu, an Ethiopian-born American citizen who was on the African nation’s most wanted list, according to a report in The Sudan Tribune. Last March, Ojulu allegedly organized an attack on a public bus that killed 19 civilians.
A joint operation between regional police and federal counter-terrorism forces led to the shootout that killed Ojulu. One security officer also died. Ojulu led a terror cell in Gambella, a region of Ethiopia bordering South Sudan that suffers from tribal conflicts. Gambella is also rich in natural resources like oil and produces a large amount of the nation’s famous coffee.
The Sudan Tribune also reports that international human rights groups have “accused the Ethiopian government of forcing tens of thousands of Gambella villagers from their land to lease it to foreign and state-owned firms.” A government spokesperson told the newspaper that those accusations were “baseless.”
Ojulu was charged with terrorism in absentia. The government also said that he had planned an attack on a rice farm owned by an Ethiopian billionaire that killed six people, including a Pakistani worker.
European Union considers sanctions against Russia
Relations between Russia and the U.S. have deteriorated significantly after Congress passed a law in December punishing Russian officials for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a whistle-blowing lawyer who died in a Russian jail after accusing top police officials of corruption. The “Magnitsky Act” froze the accounts of Russian officials involved in his death and prevented them from traveling to the U.S. Russia responded by banning American citizens from adopting Russian children.
Now, despite the risks of retaliation, the European Union might adopt similar sanctions against Russia, reports Radio Free Europe.
“Russians consider themselves, really, like a part of Europe — Europeans,” says Kristiina Ojuland, a member of the European Parliament from Estonia who is leading the charge for the legislation. “And therefore it’s significant that Europe reacts, not only [to] the Magnitsky case, but in broader terms, reacts against this corrupt, black money that is flying into the EU countries.”
Asset freezes and travel bans in Europe would be much more devastating for Russian officials than similar sanctions in the U.S., according to Radio Free Europe, because “Russian officials are fond of vacationing, shopping, and educating their children in EU countries,” and tend to keep their money in European banks.
Canada and America’s healthcare spending problem
The U.S. has a healthcare problem, a problem which Obamacare, even when fully implemented, will not come close to solving: cost. As The Globe and Mail of Canada points out, high salaries, hefty administrative costs and the use of unnecessary tests and equipment are all contributing to that increasing portion of your monthly household budget. And as Obamacare is fully implemented, and states dramatically increase the ranks of Americans on Medicade, an increasing portion of those exorbitant costs will be covered by the government, rather than private citizens (although their costs will continue to rise too).
In Canada, despite the common American thinking that all healthcare comes from the government, the opposite problem exists: increasingly, private citizens are covering a greater portion of healthcare costs than the government. The culprit in Canada: private insurance premiums and co-payments for things like eye care and prescription drugs.
This, says The Globe and Mail’s Konrad Yakabuski, could give both countries something of an identity crisis:
It’s possible, therefore, that the public share of overall health-care spending will settle at the same level – say, about 60 per cent – in Canada and the United States. Americans don’t like to admit it, but they will depend more on the state for health care. Canadians are reluctant to say it, but more private health spending will become a reality here….
Still, the trend toward more public health-care spending in the U.S. and more private spending in Canada will challenge each country’s notion of itself.