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Nation & World briefs: Men wonder if hugging women still OK

  • In this Sept. 30, 2014 photo, Garrison Keillor talks with Daily Circuit host Tom Weber in the studios at Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul, Minn. Keillor said Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, he has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of improper behavior. (Jeffrey Thompson/Minnesota Public Radio via AP) Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News


Monday, December 04, 2017
Men wonder if hugging women still OK

LOS ANGELES — Sexual misconduct allegations that have brought down powerful men in Hollywood, media, politics and business are sending a shiver through the workplace. Men are wondering if it’s still OK to hug a female colleague or ask about her weekend. And some are asking themselves if they ever, perhaps even inadvertently, crossed the line.

If Garrison Keillor, the gentle-natured former host of public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” can be fired for accidentally (he said) placing his hand on a woman’s bare back, could they get in trouble for something similar?

University of Southern California sociologist Carolann Peterson says men do need to recognize that a sudden arm around the shoulder or a pat on the butt isn’t the innocuous gesture some might have thought it was, and it can make women uncomfortable, even if they don’t say so at the time.

“We need to speak up when we’re uncomfortable,” she says. “And we need men to be a little more sensitive in what they do.”

CVS bids $69B for Aetna

Drugstore operator CVS is making a $69 billion offer for insurer Aetna as it tries to position itself as a one-stop shop for Americans’ health care needs with prescription drugs, clinics and insurance plans to cover those goods and services.

The companies announced Sunday that CVS Health Corp. will pay about $207 in cash and stock for each share of Aetna Inc., a 29 percent premium over Aetna’s stock price before the first report about a possible deal in October.

The mammoth acquisition pairs a company that runs more than 9,700 drugstores and 1,100 walk-in clinics with an insurer covering around 22 million people. CVS Health Corp. is also one of the nation’s biggest pharmacy benefit managers, processing more than a billion prescriptions a year for insurance companies, including Aetna.

The deal’s impact on prescription drug prices is uncertain. Aetna customers could first see some changes in how their plans are managed. Over time, a bulked-up CVS may gain more negotiating leverage over prices, but it is difficult to say how much would trickle down to customers.

The deal could generate a new stream of customers to CVS stores, many of which now offer a growing menu of medical services in addition to the usual fare of prescriptions and cold-and-cough supplies.

That could help fuel a push by CVS to become more of a one-stop shop for health care, a place where patients can get blood drawn, then see a nurse practitioner and pick up prescriptions.

Rebels kill Yemen’s strongman Saleh

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni rebels on Monday killed their onetime ally Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country’s former president, as they gained the upper hand in days of fighting with his forces for control of the capital, Sanaa. The tumult threw the country’s three-year civil war into an unpredictable new chapter just as Yemen’s Saudi-backed government had hoped the Shiite rebels would be decisively weakened.

Saleh’s recent defection from the rebel camp and now his death shattered the alliance that had helped the Iranian-backed rebels, known as Houthis, rise to power in 2014 — giving the government and the Saudi coalition supporting it with airstrikes hope for a turning point in a stalemated war that has brought humanitarian disaster.

But with Saleh’s forces seemingly in disarray, it was not immediately clear if the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels will be able to turn the split to its advantage in the war.

It was a grisly end for Saleh, who ruled Yemen for more than three decades until an Arab Spring uprising forced him to step down in 2012. He later allied with the Houthi rebels hoping to exploit their strength to return to power. That helped propel Yemen into the ruinous civil war that has spread hunger and disease among its 28 million people.