SEPT. 1, 2018


Hirono-Moran-Tester Bill Passes To Provide Disabled Veteran Employees at VA Additional Paid Leave

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Veterans with a disability rating of 30% or higher who are hired by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in critical medical positions can now access additional paid sick leave during their first year on the job for the purposes of receiving medical care related to their service-connected condition.

This is made possible with the passage of a bipartisan bill “the Veterans Providing Healthcare Transition Improvement Act (S. 899),” which was unanimously passed. The bill is authored by Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

“This common-sense legislation will ensure the VA’s disabled veteran employees receive the same additional paid sick leave that is available to other federal agency employees,” Senator Hirono said. “In passing this bill, Congress reaffirmed the importance of eliminating barriers for our disabled veterans so they may continue to serve our country. The VA is a critical agency and we need to continue to find ways to fill tens of thousands of vacancies at its medical facilities in Hawaii and across the country. I urge the President to swiftly sign this legislation into law.”

“The VFW Department of Hawaii thanks Senator Hirono for her leadership in passing legislation to ensure veterans working at the VA have access to the paid leave they have earned to get the care they need and deserve.” Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of Hawaii Commander Maria B. Va’a-Igafo said.

“SEIU NAGE strives to support legislation that benefits veterans and VA federal workers alike,” said Shari Cuaresma, Hawaii Region National Representative for the Service Employees International Union National Association of Government Employees (SEIU NAGE) which represents over 900 employees at the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System in Hawaii.

“SEIU NAGE has represented several veterans who are now federal employees, and have faced attendance issues as a result of service-connected disabilities. We fight for their continued employment while they obtain the medical services they need. SEIU NAGE is pleased to see Congress pass Senator Hirono’s Veterans Providing Healthcare Transition Improvement Act and appreciates her leadership in working to extend paid medical leave for our VA Title 38 Employees who are disabled veterans.”

The Hirono-Moran-Tester legislation will ensure that moving forward, all newly hired VA physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, chiropractors, podiatrists, optometrists, dentists and expanded-function dental auxiliaries who are disabled veterans will have parity with their federal counterparts and will not have to face the financial hardship of taking unpaid leave to receive necessary medical treatment. Hawaii is home to approximately 15,000 veterans with a disability rating of 30% or higher according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


New Study: Taking Aspirin Daily Does Not Reduce Chance for Heart Problems

A LONG-standing theory that taking a low-dose aspirin every day will cut the chances of a heart attack, stroke or other heart problems has been debunked by a new major research study.

Over the weekend, the European Society of Cardiology 2018 presented two studies that challenged the century-long, widely-accepted doctor recommendation for aspirin use in adults.

The studies included adult participants who took aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke and who had no history of these medical emergencies.

One found that aspirin did not help prevent a first stroke or heart attack in folks with a moderate risk for one due to health and lifestyle variables like smoking, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Another study explored the use of aspirin on diabetics, who are statistically more likely to die from heart problems.

Researchers randomly assigned 15,480 adults with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes — who don’t have any other outstanding health issues and no history of heart issues — either one aspirin pill, 1 gram of fish oil, both these pills, or a placebo pill every day for the next few years.

After just under eight years, researchers found that while there were fewer heart problems among the aspirin users, there were more cases of serious bleeding.

“There’s been a lot of uncertainty among doctors around the world about prescribing aspirin” for a vast majority of patients who haven’t had serious heart problems in the past, said Dr. Jane Armitage of the University of Oxford in England, one of the study’s lead researchers.

“If you’re healthy, it’s probably not worth taking it.”

The research study tested 100 milligram aspirin tablets, which is more than the commonly-sold 81-milligram tablets in the U.S., but is still considered a low dosage. (www.asianjournal.com)


Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Vulnerability of US Elections Systems

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard commented on disturbing reports of the widespread vulnerability of U.S. election systems exposed at DefCon 26 Voting Village, an annual hacking conference that was held in Las Vegas from August 9-12th.

“Kids being able to hack into our election infrastructure in mere minutes highlights the severe vulnerabilities in our election infrastructure that threaten our American democracy. These vulnerabilities erode voter confidence and expose our election outcomes to manipulation.

At the conference, approximately thirty children ages 8-16 were able to hack into imitation election websites mirroring U.S. election infrastructure across the country, some in under ten minutes.

“With the 2018 general election quickly approaching, Congress must act now to pass my Securing America’s Elections Act, and work with the states to safeguard our electoral infrastructure, ensuring that each and every American vote is counted faithfully and accurately.”

Gabbard introduced the Securing America’s Elections Act in March 2018 to protect the country’s elections infrastructure from cyber-hackers by requiring the use of paper ballots or voter-verified paper ballot backups in federal elections, and authorize emergency funding to empower every state to implement this policy that produces an auditable paper trail, beginning with the 2018 elections. The legislation would also address ongoing concerns with vulnerabilities in the software that is currently used in voting machines across the country.


Filipinos Part of Asian Box Office Hit, “Crazy Rich Asians”

For a second consecutive week, the Hollywood film “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the boxed office in the U.S. with $25 million in ticket sales ($6 million internationally). Last week’s opening garnered $35 million.

It is projected to be the highest grossing Asian Hollywood film. It is the first Hollywood studio movie in 25 years with an all Asian cast. The total gross in just two weeks reached $76.8 million and could change the perception in Hollywood that Asian movies can do well in the U.S.

Philippine actress Kris Aquino plays Princess Intan in the film. Filipino-American actor Nico Santos plays Oliver T’sien.

The success of the film could open the door for more Asian actors and Asian writers to have their books turned into movies. The romantic comedy is based on a novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan.

The film is being praised by critics for its depiction of Asians in a refreshing, non-stereotypical light. Movie analysts say opening week of the film was mostly an Asian American audience. By the second week, movie crowds for the film has expanded to include a diversity of ethnicities.

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