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Life in Short Supply

gobierno-niega-escasez-de-antirretrovirales-en-el-pac3adsDr. Martín Carvallo, who heads the Hospital Universitario’s HIV department, doesn’t know what to tell his patients when they ask what they can do when they can’t get the anti-retrovirals they need.

“What can I say? There’s nothing I can do, and there’s nothing they can do,” he says.

Paint is peeling off the blue walls of the Infectious Diseases Unit in what is supposed to be the flagship teaching hospital of the Universidad Central de Venezuela, i.e., the nation’s top med school. Barely any air comes in through open windows in this very hot Caracas morning. Although Dr. Carvallo says the department is pretty empty compared to other days, it feels quite full.

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The Problem With ISIS and Why We Care

wahid_2942025b-2The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been front and center in the headlines almost every day for the last couple of weeks. If the news isn’t about a territory they invaded in Iraqcivilians they killed in Syriabeheadings, or their threats to the west, it’s about Obama going back and forth on what to do about them.

And although some of us may read the news every day – yesterday’s big story being about thedeath of a second American Journalist in the hands of ISIS – saying we know exactly what’s going on is an understatement of the situation’s complexity.

Let’s look at some of the key components of the conflict in order to even begin to attempt to understand the bigger picture.

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Oil Prices Dropped, So What?

nyulocal-oilYou heard that this week the largest oil price drop in years occurred, but you’re not sure why it happened or what it means.

Let’s start with the good news: you are a winner. Prices at gas pumps are down to $2.99 a gallon from $3.70 a gallon in June. That means you, or anyone who buys you Christmas presents, will have more money to spend.

Lower oil prices are a boost to consumer spending power and occasionally to economic growth. Sometimes people save additional money instead of spending it, causing it not to fuel economic growth in the short run. But at this time of the year the holidays are just around the corner and it is expected that consumers will spend almost a third of the extra income.

Prices dropped because the economy has been growing at a slower pace than expected, especially in Europe and China. And meanwhile, the supply has increased.

Who to thank?

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