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Top News: (11/7-11/13)

Here are the top stories for this week all summarized so you can stay informed and save time!

All sources are at the end of the post.

Democrats Keep Senate Control:

Democrats retained control of the Senate in US Midterms. Their leadership has portrayed this as vindication of their agenda and a rebuke of election denialism and extremist candidates on the right, even as Republicans edged towards control of the House of Representatives with a handful of key races yet to be called. Democrats gained Senate control late Saturday when Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto defeated former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt. However, the solidity of their control remains in question. While Democrats currently hold a 50-50 split with the tie-breaking vote, Georgia is having a runoff election. A victory by Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock would give the party outright majority control, bolstering its sway over committees, bills, and judicial picks. Republicans, however, remained close to seizing control of the House as officials continued counting ballots, with returns still flowing in for several races, including many in liberal-leaning California. As of Sunday, Republicans had won 211 seats and the Democrats 205, with 218 needed for a majority. It could take several days before the outcome of enough House races is known to determine which party will control the 435-seat chamber.

UN climate talks reach halftime with key issues unresolved:

The logo for COP27 is displayed at the U.N. Climate Summit, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

The UN Climate talks in Egypt are halfway through and negotiators are still working on draft agreements before ministers arrive next week to push for a substantial deal to fight climate change. The two-week meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh started with strong appeals from world leaders for greater efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and help poor nations cope with global warming. Negotiators are trying to put together a mitigation program that would capture the different measures countries have committed to in order to reduce emissions, including for specific sectors like energy and transport. Many of these pledges are not formally part of the UN process, meaning they cannot easily be scrutinized at the annual meeting. A draft agreement circulated early Saturday had more than 200 square brackets, meaning large sections were still unresolved. Rich countries have fallen short on a pledge to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate financing for poor nations. intense pressure from developing countries forced the issue of “loss and damage” onto the formal agenda at the talks for the first time this year. Whether there will be a deal to promote further technical work or the creation of an actual fund remains to be seen.

A Baby Born Weighing 1.18-lb Has Finally Come Home After Spending 4 Months in Hospital Fighting for Life:

Baby Isla / SWNS

A baby born weighing less than a loaf of bread at just 535 grams has finally returned home to sleep in her own room. Lauren Ormston’s pregnancy was initially smooth sailing. All her scans came back healthy including one at 20-week and she expected to welcome her baby on July 1st. But on March 4, she began to get severe pains in her abdomen and when she went to the hospital in Surrey, England, she learned she was going into premature labor. She was immediately induced and two hours later gave birth to baby Isla, weighing just 1.18-lb. Doctors told the 27-year-old and her fiancé that the baby had only a 10% chance of survival due to her size. Baby Isla was later diagnosed with a level two bleed on the brain and a hole in the heart. After spending four months in the hospital, Isla was finally discharged in July, weighing 10 lbs 8oz. It was an emotional rollercoaster, but now Lauren is over the moon that Isla is home and happy.

Mindfulness Program Shown to Be as Effective as Antidepressant Drug for Treating Anxiety Disorders:

By Darius Bashar

A guided mindfulness-based stress reduction program was as effective as using ‘the gold-standard’ antidepressant drug escitalopram for patients with anxiety disorders, according to a first-of-its-kind, randomized clinical trial from Georgetown University Medical Center. Standardized mindfulness-based interventions, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), can decrease anxiety, but prior to this study, the interventions had not been studied in comparison to effective anti-anxiety drugs. The clinicians recruited 276 patients between June 2018 and February 2020 from three hospitals in Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C., and randomly assigned people to either MBSR or the common antidepressant drug escitalopram. MBSR was offered weekly for eight weeks via 2 1/2-hour in-person classes, plus a daylong retreat weekend class during the 5th or 6th week, and 45-minute daily home practice exercises. At the end of the trial, 102 patients had completed MBSR and 106 had completed their medication course. Both groups saw a reduction in their anxiety symptoms (a 1.35 point average reduction for MBSR and 1.43 point reduction for the drug, which is a statistically equivalent outcome), dropping from a mean of about 4.5 for both, which translates to a significant 30% drop in the severity of peoples’ anxiety.


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