News you should know

This week’s top story

CVS has agreed to buy Aetna Insurance company for $69 billion. CVS, which is one of the most popular drugstores in the country, announced the deal Sunday. Aetna, which is based in Hartford, Connecticut, is one of the largest health insurers in the country. The deal has been described as having the “potential to reshape the Nation’s healthcare industry.”

CVS has 9,700 pharmacies in the United States, and currently offers walk-in ‘minute clinics’ at 1,100 of those locations. As a result of the Aetna buyout, CVS hopes to further expand upon services. The CEO of Aetna, Mark Bertolini, said that he envisions CVS having a walk in service similar to the Apple Genius Bar, where you can walk right into one of the stores and receive assistance. CVS wants to increase customer support and help customers make preparations for doctor visits, set up appointments and help with paperwork, as they look to change and expand upon what their stores offer.

Other important possible changes that CVS customers could soon be seeing include clinics providing medical services to the 60 percent of Americans who don’t have a regular doctor, clinics that specialize in certain aspects of patient care and the option to go to CVS clinics rather than emergency rooms, via the Hartford Courant. Additionally, the Hartford Courant notes that with Aetna “merged in CVS, waiving pre authorizations and co-pays” for prescriptions or clinical care will be “easier to handle.”

Local News

General Michael Flynn, a Middletown, Rhode Island native and University of Rhode Island graduate, pleaded guilty to a single charge of lying to the FBI on Friday, Dec. 1. Flynn, a three star general who was chosen by President Trump to be the cabinet’s National Security Advisor, was a focus of the investigation into alleged ‘Russian interference’ with the 2016 election.

Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI about being in contact with a Russian Ambassador in December of 2016, following the election. He is believed to have discussed sanctions made against Russia by then President Obama, as well as discussing a U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements.

Flynn was fired the next day by Trump. Trump tweeted that he “had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.” The overall impact Flynn’s guilty plea will have on the ‘Russian interference’ investigation still largely remains unclear.

National News

ABC News has suspended long time anchor Brian Ross for four weeks without pay, following a ‘serious error’ in his reporting regarding the Michael Flynn guilty plea. Ross reported that President Trump had directed Flynn to contact Russian officials before the election, when Trump was still a candidate, rather than after the election. Ordering Flynn to speak with Russia when Trump was still a candidate would be far more consequential than when Trump was President Elect. As a result of Ross’s false report, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 350 points. ABC apologized for the error and offered a clarifying statement. Citizens as well as other media outlets have widely criticized ABC for the incorrect report, which had a serious, negative impact on the stock market.

President Trump’s executive order to halt immigration from six Muslim majority countries has been upheld by the Supreme Court while legal challenges against it continue in lower courts. This means that, for the time being, Trump will be able to fully enforce the executive order. Critics of the executive order claim that it discriminates against Muslims, while supporters of the executive order cite the fact that the countries affected by the ban are the same countries that Obama listed to be sources of terror of in 2011. Currently, no refugees from the six countries on the list will be allowed to enter the United States unless they have a “bona-fide reason” to come here. Trump hopes this will deter terrorism threats in the Nation.

Corrine Brown, a former representative of Florida in the United States House of Representatives, has been sentenced to five years in prison. Brown, a Democrat who was a representative for 25 years, was convicted on counts of mail, wire and tax fraud. Brown used a fake charity that claimed to give scholarships to children of low income families to fund her own “lavish parties and trips.” Brown is estimated to have illegally used over $800,000 and only gave away one scholarship of just over $1,000.

International News 

The International Olympic Committee handed down strict punishment to Russia on Tuesday for a massive doping scandal involving Russian athletes. As a result of the International Olympic Committee’s ruling, Russia’s Olympic team has been banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics. Furthermore, Russian government officials will not be allowed to attend the games, and neither the Russian flag or anthem will be presented during the opening ceremony.

Some Russian athletes will still be allowed to compete in the games. However, they will have to wear neutral uniforms and are expected to be “rigorously” tested for drugs. Many Russian athletes will not be allowed to compete at all and some events will not have any Russian representatives. Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to be considering boycotting the games, in protest of the Committee’s decision to limit Russia’s involvement with the upcoming Olympics.