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News in Brief: Yemen on the Brink of War, and More

Yemen on the Brink of War

Yemen on the Brink of War

The Atlantic reports that Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh has killed at least 170 pro-democracy demonstrators since protests began in February, while the opposition movement continues to gain more international attention, all of which could tip the country's political conflict into a civil war. A bombing on May 2 by government loyalists was their first airstrike since the beginning of the movement. As opposition leaders continue to expand their efforts in protesting the regime, Saleh's responses have escalated, with the Republican Guard being led by his son, Ahmed. The Atlantic suggested that Saleh's increasingly violent responses to the protesters mean that he is desperate and could begin using air power, which could lead to a severe impact in a country where guns outnumber people three to one.

“The Berlin Patient” Officially Becomes First Person Cured of AIDS

According to CBS, San Francisco man Timothy Ray Brown has become the first person ever to be cured of AIDS. After being diagnosed in 1995, Brown became known as the “Berlin Patient” when he received a bone marrow stem cell transplant in Germany in 2007 that began to eradicate both his HIV and his leukemia. The transplant came from a donor who was immune to HIV, a rare occurrence among approximately one percent of Caucasians; the transplant apparently eliminated both diseases from Brown's body and manipulated his white cells into immunity from HIV. Doctors and scientists stressed that the procedure might not work for every person with AIDS, but that the results are considered a “functional cure.”

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Senate Republicans Expected to Push for Offshore Oil Drilling After Blocking Repeal of Tax Breaks

Republicans in the Senate are expected to introduce a bill on Wednesday that would open up offshore oil drilling in the US, only a day after blocking a Democrat-backed effort to repeal billions of dollars in tax breaks given to the biggest oil companies, The Hill writes. “Once again, Democrats have been faced with a crisis and done their best to turn it into a political exercise rather than doing something to actually help people and create jobs,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said on the floor. The bill would expand offshore oil drilling in the US and require the Interior Department to set timelines for reviews of pending offshore permit applications, and extend leases in the Gulf of Mexico for a year.

Gang of Six Down to Five

On Tuesday night, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) withdrew from the bipartisan Gang of Six, a group of senators attempting to create a budget compromise, The Washington Post reports. Coburn said upon his departure that the group was at an “impasse” and the legislators could not overcome their political divisions. The two remaining Republicans said it would be difficult to continue without him, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) told reporters he hoped the Gang of Six would “be able to come together on some long-term resolution of the issue. But it looks like it's not going to happen in the short term.”

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