Around the Globe

John Tompkins

FBI reopens Clinton email probe

FBI Director James Comey announced to members of Congress on Oct. 28 that his organization would be reopening its investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Comey said the decision came after the FBI discovered emails related to the Clinton case while recovering and examining information stored on a computer belonging to former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner and his wife, top Clinton aid Huma Abedin. Weiner was forced to resign from Congress in June 2011 in the wake of a public “sexting” scandal. The FBI is currently investigating Weiner’s past online and cellphone activity amidst allegations that he sent explicit images to a 15-year-old girl. In a letter to congressional leaders, Comey said he has yet to assess the significance of the new-found material related to the Clinton case and would not speculate on how long the new inquiry would take to complete.

“Obamacare” premiums set to rise

Affordable Care Act health insurance premiums are set to rise sharply in 2017, Obama administration officials con- firmed on Oct. 24. According to the White House, the cost of “Obamacare” plans will increase by an average of 22 percent next year. But federal tax credits for low income Americans will rise alongside premium prices, so few Americans are likely to see dramatic rate increases in the coming months. Monday’s announcement came as just one in a long list of setbacks that the president’s signature healthcare law has faced since it was signed in 2010. Earlier this year, major health insurance providers UnitedHealth Group and Aetna withdrew from Affordable Care Act markets in many states after suffering severe financial losses from participating in the law’s insurance exchanges. In spite of these challenges, the Department of Health and Human Services says that government subsidies and the option customers have of switching to cheaper healthcare plans will allow over 70 percent of those purchasing “Obamacare” to pay less than $75 per month for health insurance coverage next year.

Supreme Court takes up Virginia transgender bathroom case

The Supreme Court announced on Oct. 28 that it will soon consider a case involving a transgender Virginia teen who’s seeking to use the men’s restroom at his local high school. Seventeen-year-old Gavin Grimm came out to family and friends as transgender at the end of his freshman year and began his physical and legal transition to becoming a male shortly thereafter. Gloucester High School administrators initially allowed him to use the men’s restroom facilities at the start of his sophomore year, but after complaints from parents and other community members, the school board passed a new policy forcing students to use the bathrooms corresponding to their birth genders. A lower court ruled in favor of Grimm earlier this year, but the county school board appealed its decision. Friday’s announcement marks the first time the Supreme Court has agreed to consider this controversial issue.

VP nominee’s plane skids off LaGuardia runway

A plane carrying Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and members of his family, staff, Secret Service detail and press pool skidded off the runway at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on the evening of Oct. 27. None of the 48 people aboard the chartered Boeing 737 were injured in the incident, and all were successfully evacuated from the aircraft. The Indiana governor was en route to Manhattan for a fundraiser at Trump Tower when his plane fishtailed after a hard touch down on the wet tarmac and slid into the grass at the end of LaGuardia’s runway 22. Speaking with CNN the following morning, Pence said, “It was about 10 seconds of uncertainty last night, but we’re just so grateful to the pilots and to the first responders on the scene and (that) everybody came off the plane safely…Every landing you walk away from is a successful landing.”