Midday Roundup: A sea of red to remember WWI in London

by Leigh Jones
Posted 11/11/14, 12:13 pm

Not forgotten. Today is Veterans Day in the United States and Armistice Day in Europe. While the U.S. celebration has come to honor service members from all conflicts, in Europe the day is dedicated to remembering those who died during World War I. In London, officials dedicated an art exhibit at the Tower of London, where 888,246 ceramic poppies filled the dry moat in an exhibit entitled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.” Each poppy represents the life of one British or Commonwealth citizen lost during the conflict. In Normandy, leaders from France, Britain, Belgium, and Germany dedicated a memorial to those who died in the region. The Ring of Memory lists 600,000 soldiers alphabetically, with no reference to their nationalities. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, and today is the 96th anniversary of the treaty that ended the “war to end all wars.”

Justice? A South Korean court has sentenced the captain of the Sewol Ferry to 36 years in prison for his role in the disaster that killed more than 300 passengers, most of them high-schoolers. Lee Joon Seok avoided the most serious charge of murder, and victims’ families decried his punishment as too light. Prosecutors had asked for the death penalty. Parents who attended the sentencing hearing shouted out their dismay. “Sir, this is not how justice should be!” one woman said. But the judge ruled prosecutors did not prove Lee and his fellow crew members failed to issue an evacuation order. Although many of the students followed an earlier order to stay below decks, several crew members testified Lee told them to get ready to abandon the ship. Shortly after the verdict was read, officials announced they had called off recovery efforts for nine of the 304 victims whose bodies have not been recovered.

Cured. The New York doctor who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Guinea is now virus-free and will be released from Bellevue Hospital Center today. Craig Spencer, 33, traveled to Africa while volunteering with Doctors Without Borders. He didn’t know he’d contracted the disease until after he returned home. His diagnosis caused a public-health scare because he rode the subway, ate at a restaurant, and visited a bowling alley the day before he started showing symptoms. His case sparked a debate about quarantines for returning healthcare workers. Spencer was the last patient being treated for Ebola in the United States.

Misled? A newly uncovered video is fueling critics’ claims that the White House purposely misled Americans on Obamacare. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Jonathan Gruber, one of the chief architects of the healthcare act, spoke at a conference of health economists last year. On the tape, Gruber says the administration took pains to disguise the transfer of wealth that occurs under the Affordable Care Act, saying, “[If] you made it explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed.” The American Enterprise Institute’s Tom Miller says the Gruber tape shows the administration’s duplicity and arrogance. Meanwhile, the administration announced Monday that Obamacare enrollment for 2015 would reach only about 9 million. That’s far short of the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of 13 million Obamacare signups.

Cooperation. President Barack Obama is shaking off the bruising midterm election losses with an eight-day East Asia trip. The president struck a positive note at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Beijing on Monday. China and the United States agreed on a mutual extension of visas for students and travelers between the countries from one year to 10. But tension remains between the two nations. On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service confirmed it had been hacked, likely by Chinese operatives.

Bayou battle. Election Day has passed, but the battle for one Senate seat rages on in Louisiana. A runoff election will take place Dec. 6 between GOP candidate Bill Cassidy and incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu. Cassidy is favored to win after three Republicans combined to take 56 percent of the vote on Nov. 4. Republicans have already secured a majority in the Senate, but adding one more seat could greatly enhance the GOP’s odds of holding the Senate through 2016.

WORLD Radio’s Jim Henry and Mary Reichard contributed to this report.

Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.

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