November 2009 Current Events: Business/Science News

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Here are the key events in business and science news for the month of November 2009.

  • Government Expands Aid to Unemployed and Homebuyers (Nov. 5): The U.S. government, in separate actions, moved to expand economic aid to the unemployed, first-time homebuyers, and homeowners facing foreclosure. The Deed for Lease program created by Fannie Mae will allow homeowners facing eviction to stay in their homes as tenants for a year. The government will also extend benefits for the longtime unemployed. A major tax break for first-time homebuyers, which is supposed to expire at the end of November, will be extended until the spring of 2010. A new tax credit for homebuyers who have been in their current home for at least 5 years will also go into effect.
  • Unemployment Rate Reaches 10.2% (Nov. 6): Unemployment reaches the highest rate in 26 years, hitting 10.2% in October. While many economists claim the recession is ending, and the GDP grew in the third quarter for the first time in a year, the number of jobless in the U.S. continues to rise. A broader measure of unemployment, which includes unemployed, underemployed, and discouraged workers, stands at an all time high of 17.5%. This number is tracked by the Labor Department.
  • Water Discovered on Moon (Nov. 13): Scientists find water on the moon during NASA's Lcross misson. The Lcross satellite, sent to look for water, was comprised of two parts: a satellite meant to crash into a crater near the moon's south pole, and a spacecraft that measured the findings of that crash. At least 26 gallons of water were found. Scientists have long suspected the presence of water on the moon, but these findings demonstrate the possibility of sustaining human life there.
  • Mammograms Recommended for Women at Age 50, Not 40 (Nov. 16): According to a new study, researchers now recommend that women wait until the age of 50 to begin breast cancer screening with mammograms, instead of age 40, as has been recommended in the past. The new guidelines do not apply to women with certain risk factors for breast cancer, such as a family history of the disease. The new recommendations are aimed at preventing unnecessary tests and treatments. The research group, United States Preventive Services Task Force, also encourage doctors to stop instructing patients to perform self-examinations. (Nov. 18): The Obama administration, acknowledging the new mammogram guidelines for women between the ages of 40 and 50, announces that government insurance programs will still cover mammograms for women beginning at age 40. (Nov. 20): Changes to the guidelines for Pap smears, the physical exam that checks for cervical cancer, are released, with researchers recommending that women wait until the age of 21, or within three years of becoming sexually active, to begin the tests. Guidelines formerly recommended that women begin the tests at the age of 18. The advice, made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is meant to reduce unnecessary screenings and potentially harmful treatment. Though this research is in no way related to the recent mammogram examination study, researchers admit that the timing of its release is unfortunate and extremely coincidental.
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