relaunches Web site

San Francisco designer Willo O’Brien and technologist Andrew A. Peterson worked closely with editor George Shirk to develop a new site, which sports plenty of social-media and self-promotional muscle, along with an elegant, clean design.

Blogging Booms Worldwide, Repression on its Heels

With Internet use booming worldwide, tens of thousands of new blogs written in Farsi, Arabic, Chinese and other languages are inspiring both civic activism and government crackdowns.

Worldwide, nearly half of all imprisoned media workers are online journalists or bloggers, according to a new study by the Committee to Protect Journalists that names Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Tunisia and Syria as leaders in online repression.

HIV Travel Ban Persists Abroad

Just a handful of nations persist in banning visits by HIV-positive foreigners, following President Barack Obama’s decision to lift the travel ban in the United States. Ki-moon, is working to end discrimination against those infected with HIV around the world—and in his home nation. South Korea has deported 521 foreigners diagnosed with HIV since 2008, and requires foreign residents to take HIV tests annually, as well as if they want to extend a work or residency permit.

Pakistan’s Schools in Terrorist Crosshairs

Schools in Pakistan are increasingly targeted by terrorists, prompting widespread closures, and frustrating the dreams of students in a nation fraught with civil strife and illiteracy. After a pair of October 20 suicide bombings at one of Pakistan’s largest universities killed eight people and injured dozens more, officials shut down schools around the country. They were the latest in a series of attacks that have targeted or destroyed more than 600 Pakistani schools since 2007, reported Inter Press Service. Yet some students decried the most recent closures. One first-grader complained that she was “bored at home,” while a fourth grader told IPS that the closures were interfering with her goal of becoming a doctor to “take care of my fellow women.”

California Prisons Report: A Look Inside with Hastings Scholar Hadar Aviram

Despite a year of legal sanctions and budget cuts, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation takes an upbeat tone in its new annual report. Inspirationally titled “Corrections Moving Forward” [25 mb PDF], the report opens with a letter from the CDCR secretary Matthew Cate, who writes that “in the midst of significant challenges, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has quietly had a remarkable string of successes in the last year. While it is easy to focus on the negative, there have been many positive developments at our agency.”

The Buzz is Catching

Second-hand smoke? Not an issue for electronic cigarettes, which emit nicotine-infused vapor. That’s good news for nonsmokers, and those who want to skirt anti-smoking laws. But should the FDA regulate them as “drug delivery devices” for nicotine addicts? Photo: Izuaniz

Regulators Swipe at Electronic Cigarettes

Smokeless electronic cigarettes may win converts, following new Centers for Disease Control evidence that secondhand smoke can raise the risk of heart disease by up to 30 percent in nonsmokers. The devices are battery operated, and dispense with burning tobacco; instead, users inhale a nicotine-infused vapor as the tip of the e-cigarette glows with a small red light. Proponents say that hit of nicotine doesn’t have the same health risks, especially for non-users. E-cigarettes have no odor and produce no smoke from combustion, which means e-smokers can get around smoking bans in public places. But no smoke doesn’t mean no fire.

A Pound of Cure: Tracy Velazquez on Prisons and National Health Care Reform

By Bernice Yeung | Crowdfund this with Spot.Us
Part of the Prisons & Public Health news blog
In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Tracy Velazquez of the Justice Policy Institute said national health-care reform could keep people out of jail. “Every year, thousands of people are locked up in U.S. prisons and jails because they do not have access to health care to treat mental illness and drug addiction,” she wrote. “Prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities are now some of the largest providers of mental health services in the country.” In conversation with, Velazquez, whose Washington, D.C.-based think tank considers “tough on crime” policies to have largely failed, said the costs of incarceration greatly outweigh the price of preventive health care. Bernice Yeung: Tell us more about the connection between health care reform and criminal justice policy.

Future National Seashore?

Rising tides may destroy Everglades National Park in Florida, sherpas fear melting ice will cause glacial lakes to burst their banks in a “mountain tsunami” and wipe out Mt. Everest’s climbing trails … how will climate change ruin your vacation? Photo: Everglades National Park/Heartajack