International, national, and local news...
Zimbabwean Dictator Appointed African Union President
Robert Mugabe, the longtime Zimbabwean dictator, was appointed last week to head the 54-nation African Union. Mugabe, a former guerrilla leader, has been in power in Zimbabwe since the country gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1980. Mugabe, 90, has consistently condemned homosexuality and compared gays to pigs, goats and birds. While campaigning for re-election last year, Mugabe urged for the decapitation of gays and declared any diplomat who mentioned homosexuality would be expelled immediately from Zimbabwe. Mugabe is currently under a travel ban sanction and cannot visit the United States or European Union.
Medicare Plans Seek Coverage for HIV Testing
A proposed rule change by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would allow for HIV testing under Medicare. The proposal, which is now in the 30-day public comment period, would give people ages 15 to 65 access to an annual HIV screening. “Ensuring that all people living with HIV are aware of their status is critical to their individual health and the public health,” AIDS Institute deputy executive director Carl Schmid said in a news release. The AIDS Institute estimates 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. with another 168,000 unaware of their status.
Pinellas Sheriff Supports Medical Marijuana Bill
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said he approves of a new bill being introduced that would legalize marijuana in the State of Florida for medical purposes. Speaking to the Tampa Bay Times, Gualtieri admitted there are a “significant number of people who want this and there is a need for it for medical purposes.” Florida Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) filed the bill last week in Tallahassee, seeking to allow access to marijuana for medical treatment. Gualtieri’s public support is a key policy shift as the Florida Sheriff’s Association was a vigorous opponent of last year’s pro-marijuana Amendment 2.
Bromstad to Grand Marshal AIDS Walk Miami
American designer and television personality David Bromstad will serve as Grand Marshal for the 27th Annual AIDS Walk Miami, April 26. The theme for the 2015 AIDS Walk Miami is “One Step Closer to a Cure” and the host location is the Miami Beach Convention Center. In a statement, Bromstad, 41, star of HGTV show “Color Splash” said, “It was an honor for me to be chosen for this walk. It means so much to me. This disease has touched so many in our community and around the world. We have come so far, but our journey is not yet finished.”