- Baby cured of HIV—Reports are early yet, but it seems a 2½ year old baby was cured of HIV contracted from its mother. An intensive cocktail of various antiretroviral drugs was given to the baby 30 hours after birth as the mother had not known she had HIV so hadn’t taken any medicine for it during pregnancy. The intent was to give the child the combination of drugs for the rest of its life. The level of HIV in the baby’s blood began to decrease during the first month of treatment, and after several months of no treatment, when doctors checked, the HIV tests came back negative. Dr. Hannah Gay, the doctor caring for the child, said it is likely that tiny amounts of the virus remains in the baby’s body, but “after at least one year of taking no medicine, this child’s blood remains free of virus even on the most sensitive tests available.”
- South Korea’s 1st Female President Enters Office—Park Geun-hye, daughter of the 3rd South Korean president, took office after being elected president in December elections
- Chuck Hagel Confirmed as Sec. of Defense—After nearly 2 months of wrangling and delaying, Pres. Obama’s nomination for Secretary of Defense, former Republican Nebraskan Senator was confirmed as Secretary of State.
- Dennis Rodman, Diplomat?—Dennis Rodman traveled to North Korea where he watched a basketball game with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jung-un. Rodman, while not condoning Jung-un’s actions, has repeatedly called Jung-un his “friend,” and had kind words for the head of North Korea. Said Rodman, “He wants Obama to do one thing: Call him. He said, ‘If you can, Dennis, I don’t want to do war. I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”
- JCPenny Posts Huge Loss in 4Q Report—A steeper-than-expected drop in revenue of 31.7% in the 4th quarter (which included the all-important holiday shopping season) meant a full year of decline for JC Penny as it struggles to turn its fortunes around.
- Pope Benedict Steps Down—The conclave hopes to elect a new Pope before the week leading to Easter Sunday, March 31.
- No Sequester Deal as Deadline Passes—As expected, no deal was able to be reached to avert the sequester’s $85B in governmental cuts. As previously written, this isn’t the economic apocalypse some forebode (yet, anyways): “… the sequester does not immediately chop billions from the budget in one fell swoop. It is part of a larger debt reduction plan meant to cut out $1.2Tr over 10 years. Even now, departments must give employees 30-day notices before furloughing/laying off government workers (so around March 31) then. And Congress can retroactively come to an agreement to override the Sequester. But then again, it’s Congress…The short of it: effects not immediately terrible, could get terrible”
- Sandstorm hits Beijing, China—Full album of pictures can be seen here
Looking Ahead to this Week:
- Don’t forget to change your clocks when day light savings ends next Sunday, March 10. It’s March so we spring forward 1 hour (it’s the bad kind of clock change).
- John Brennan, Obama’s other Cabinet appointment (for Director of the CIA) facing some pushback in his nomination (though to a lesser extent than Hagel) is expected to be voted on Tuesday, March 5, by the Senate Intelligence Committee (not the full Senate, yet).
- A new jobs report will be released on Friday. Expectations are for ≈160,000 jobs created and for the unemployment rate to continue to stall at 7.9%