News in Brief: June the Deadliest Month for Soldiers in Afghanistan, and More

June has been the deadliest month for NATO soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, The Washington Post reports. At least 79 NATO troops have died in the US-led war so far this month, topping the previous record of 76 NATO casualties in August 2009.

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BP is moving forward with its plans to start a potentially risky and record-setting oil drilling operation three miles off the coast of Alaska, according to The New York Times. The project is exempt from the offshore drilling moratorium put in place by the Obama administration amid the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico because the project is based on an artificial island created by BP. Scientists and critics are worried that the project could lead to another disaster because it involves controversial “extended reach” drilling practices.

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The government of Venezuela is seizing offshore 11 idling oil drilling rigs owned by Oklahoma-based company Helmrich and Payne in order to put them back in operation, according to Reuters. The move highlights the country’s habit of nationalizing key industries in response to a depressed economy and energy crisis. Venezuela’s socialist leader Hugo Chavez has blamed a “parasitic bourgeoisie” for his country’s failing economy.

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A Commonwealth Fund report shows that Americans pay more for health care and receive less than citizens of six other first world countries, according to a Reuters report. The US ranked last in health care efficiency, equity and quality when compared to Britain, Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Germany.

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Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) reintroduced a bill that would restore the estate tax on the wealthiest Americans, according to a Raw Story report. The legislation would exempts 99.7 percent of the country while bringing in $264 billion in revenues that would help reduce national debt, Sanders said. The senator also said he was “a little bit tired” of being lectured by Republicans about the deficit even though Bush-era Republicans funded two failing wars and gave tax breaks to the rich.