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US won’t pardon Snowden: White House

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Washington: The White House on Tuesday reiterated its refusal to pardon Edward Snowden, and said the former contractor should return to the US and “accept the consequences of his actions”.

“He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime,” Xinhua quoted White House counter-terrorism advisor Lisa Monaco as saying on Tuesday in response to a petition about Snowden.

“Right now, he’s running away from the consequences of his actions,” Monaco said.

The petition to the White House was created in the summer of 2013, shortly after Snowden released his documents, and has more than 167,000 signatures.

Monaco’s comments were similar to those that all government officials have given in recent months about Snowden, who is currently living in Russia.

While the Barack Obama administration was at one point discussing the possibility of leniency for Snowden, those talks appear to have dissolved.

“If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and accept the consequences of his actions,” Monaco added.

(IANS)

 

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Rate of autism in US reduced in the past three years

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Rate of autism in US reduced in the past three yearsRate of autism in US reduced in the past three years
FILE - Colleen Jankovich works with her 11-year-old autistic son, Matthew, in Omaha, Nebraska, May 23, 2014. VOA

Miami, Jan 2, 2018: After more than a decade of steady increase in the rate of children diagnosed with autism in the United States, the rate has plateaued in the past three years, researchers said Tuesday.

The findings were based on a nationwide study in which more than 30,000 parents reported whether their children had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“The estimated ASD prevalence was 2.41 percent among US children and adolescents in 2014-2016, with no statistically significant increase over the three years,” said the research letter by experts at the University of Iowa, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The first observation of a plateau was made by a separate group in 2012, when the rate flattened out to 1.46 percent, according to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

Federal health authorities say that means about one in 68 children in the United States have the neurodevelopmental disability, whose causes remain poorly understood.

The ADDM had documented a “continuous increase from 0.67 percent in 2000 to 1.47 percent in 2010.”

The 2.4 percent rate described in the JAMA report translates to one in 47 children, but researchers cautioned that the discrepancy may be explained by “differences in study design and participant characteristics.”

The JAMA report, based on the annual National Health Interview Survey, did not delve into “underlying causes for the findings and cannot make conclusions about their medical significance.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also noted a plateau in the autism rate in 2016, but said it was “too soon to know whether ASD prevalence in the United States might be starting to stabilize.” (VOA)

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