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Federal Judge Strikes Down Affordable Care Act As Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Texas issued a ruling Friday declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, apparently setting the stage for another hearing on the health care law by the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor invalidates what's commonly referred to as Obamacare nationwide and casts into doubt the survival of the law on the eve of the deadline for tens of millions of Americans to sign up for health care coverage in 2019. The ruling comes in a lawsuit...

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Nearly 200 countries have agreed on a set of rules to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, a crucial step in implementing the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The rules describe in detail how countries will track their emissions and communicate with each other about their progress in the coming years and decades. But it stops short of committing them to the more ambitious emissions reductions necessary to slow climate change.

April Franklin / WXXI News

Family members, neighbors, law enforcement and school staff gathered along North Clinton Avenue in Rochester in a human chain on Saturday, in an effort to positively occupy the space where some people use and sell drugs in the area by saying No Más!

They wanted to temporarily disrupt drug sales on a prominent section of North Clinton where organizers say some of the highest rates of calls for services, opioid overdoses and arrests occur.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

Ryan Zinke is out as secretary of the interior.

Zinke will be leaving the Trump administration at the end of the year; his successor is expected to be announced next week.

On Saturday morning, President Trump tweeted that Zinke is leaving after serving for almost two years. He said Zinke has accomplished much during his tenure and thanked him for his service.

Nonhuman Rights Project

A judge in Orleans County has indicated she will likely rule that a case brought by an animal rights group seeking legal “personhood” for an elephant at the Bronx Zoo should be heard in Bronx County.

The case is about Happy, a 47-year-old Asian elephant who has been a focus of a group called the NonHuman Rights Project. It contends the elephant is an autonomous being who is suffering because she is isolated from other elephants.  The organization wants to see the elephant moved to an animal sanctuary.

A federal judge in Texas issued a ruling Friday declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, apparently setting the stage for another hearing on the health care law by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor invalidates what's commonly referred to as Obamacare nationwide and casts into doubt the survival of the law on the eve of the deadline for tens of millions of Americans to sign up for health care coverage in 2019.

Tianna Manon / WXXI News

What’s the future of funding the arts in Rochester? Local artists, officials and event organizers gathered at the Visual Studies Workshop auditorium in the Arts and Cultural Council Center Friday evening to discuss ways to fund Rochester arts in the future. 

The meeting, organized by City Councilmember Elaine Spaull, attracted more than 80 people, including artists or staff members at local major arts organizations, including the Rochester City Ballet and Writers & Books. 

Updated at 8:35 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday evening that Mick Mulvaney, his director of the Office of Management and Budget, will be the acting White House chief of staff.

It's unclear how long Mulvaney will serve in the role, succeeding outgoing chief of staff John Kelly. Trump announced on Dec. 8 that Kelly would leave at the end of the year.

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Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has appointed a new city court judge.

Melissa Barrett will fill the spot left vacant after Leticia Astacio was removed from the bench in October by the New York State Court of Appeals.

Barrett currently serves as principal court attorney for Rochester City Court. She has also been an assistant public defender for Monroe County and an Assistant District Counsel for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Warren selected Barrett after she was recommended by the city’s Judicial Screening Committee.

New York State Department of Health

This is a busy time of year for Margarita Gonzalez. She’s an insurance navigator at Trillium Health in Rochester, and with the enrollment period for New Yorkers to get health coverage through the state’s marketplace ending Saturday night, she’s been getting a lot of calls.

“I probably touched base with five clients this morning,” Gonzalez said just after noon on Friday, “and I’ll probably have at least five more today.”

Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about:

  • How parents react when they learn their children are part of the LGBTQ community;
  • A battle between insects: using samurai wasps to kill stink bugs;
  • How atheists feel about the concept of meaning.

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News from NPR

The Philippines and the United States have reached a rare meeting of the minds: Both are enthralled that church bells seized by the U.S. have been returned to the Philippines after 117 years.

President Rodrigo Duterte, unaccustomed to lauding the U.S., took pains Saturday to call the repatriation of the iconic artifacts "a generous act" by the Americans. For their part, U.S. officials stopped short of an apology, but have acknowledged that it was "time to do the right thing," in the words of John Law, the deputy chief of mission for the U.S. embassy in the Philippines.

Nearly 200 countries have agreed on a set of rules to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, a crucial step in implementing the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The rules describe in detail how countries will track their emissions and communicate with each other about their progress in the coming years and decades. But it stops short of committing them to the more ambitious emissions reductions necessary to slow climate change.

More than four millennia after being chiseled by Egyptian artisans, the intricate hieroglyphics and stone carvings of an ancient tomb have been uncovered.

Egyptian officials made the announcement Saturday at the site of the discovery in Saqqara, outside of Cairo, according to multiple media reports. Photographs of the tomb show a narrow doorway leading to a rectangular room, its walls covered with carved symbols, images and human forms. Particularly striking are their well-preserved colors – light yellows, rich blues and a reddish-brown skin tone.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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From the Inclusion Desk

City of Rochester / Office of Innovation

 

People with disabilities in Rochester face poverty at a level higher than any of the other 75 largest metropolitan areas in the country, according to a report recently released by the city.

Employment rates are almost three times lower among people with disabilities than they are for nondisabled people in Rochester, the report found. People with disabilities are also overrepresented in the city’s lowest-paying industries.

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A Rochester area pediatric dentist was honored in New York City on Saturday with the 2018 Golisano Health Leadership Award for New York State.

That award, given to Dr. Abrahim Caroci, is the highest regional honor for Special Olympics health partners.

Ann Costello, the Executive Director for the Golisano Foundation, presented the award at the Jacob Javitz Center to Caroci at the Special Olympics New York Floor Hockey winter Classic.

Pia Stampe is unsure how long she’ll be able to stay in business.

“If we don’t get referrals, then we can’t operate,” Stampe said. “We were better paid in 1995 than we are today.”

Stampe is the owner of Step By Step Pediatric Therapy Center in Rochester. Many of her referrals come through a state program requiring that children who show signs of developmental delays are evaluated and connected with appropriate therapists. The county has 45 days to make those connections.

Public listening sessions are being held over the next few weeks to study accessible ride sharing services for customers with disabilities. The New York State Transportation Company Accessibility Task Force was created as part of the legislation that made ride-sharing legal in Upstate New York. WBFO’s Nick Lippa reports on some of the issues facing riders.


More stories from the Inclusion Desk

A wide-reaching epidemic

WXXI, in partnership with public broadcasting stations across New York state, is airing special programming examining the opioid crisis.

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