National briefs

HEALTH INSURANCE CONCERNS — According to a survey released by Reuters on Thursday, more than eighty percent of Americans think the U.S. health system needs either fundamental change or a complete overhaul. The Harris Interactive poll found that access to care, better coordination between different health providers and better flow of health information were among respondents’ chief complaints. Another poll found that health insurance costs have doubled for Americans since 1996.

KIDNAPPING CHARGES — Five young Hurricane Katrina survivors who were taken from their mother by a woman they had been living with for nearly three years are being interviewed by Child Protective Services about allegations that their mother abused them. Rhonda Tavey, who met the children’s mother while Tavey worked as a one-time American Red Cross volunteer during the Katrina aftermath, gave up the unharmed children voluntarily Thursday. Tavey has been charged with five counts of kidnapping.

BROADBAND WI-FI ON DELTA AIRLINES — Delta Airlines announced they are meeting customer demand for in-flight wireless data access by putting Aircell’s Gogo Wi-Fi service in over 330 of its passenger planes. Starting this fall, Aircell Gogo will be offered throughout Delta’s fleet and will be in all aircrafts by Summer 2009. Customers can expect unlimited data access on flights of three hours or less for $9.99, while for flights exceeding three hours, the service will cost $12.99.

NASA ON MARS — Since May 25, 2008, the Phoenix Mars Lander has been analyzing soil samples from Mars. NASA’s mission is to find evidence of whether Mars has or ever could support life. Some samples have shown evidence of water, ice and nutrients that could support life. During a news conference on July 31, NASA employees said that they are in the early stages of examining several findings (including the possible discovery of perchlorate) and all of the information must be tested and verified.

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