Outbreak. Doctors in California are searching for the cause of a Polio-like illness that has left more than a dozen children paralyzed in at least one limb. Doctors do not know whether a virus or something else causes the disease. They have so far been unable to identify any common link between the cases. Health officials have not classified the illness as an epidemic but noted similar outbreaks in Asia and Australia. They have identified about 20 cases in California. Doctors and state health officials are encouraging parents who notice their children exhibiting weakness in one or more limbs to seek medical treatment immediately.
Several signatures short. Elsewhere in California, opponents of the so-called co-ed restroom bill state legislators adopted last year lost their bid to get the measure placed on the November ballot. The Privacy for All Students coalition needed to collect 504,760 signatures to force the ballot measure. On Monday, California’s secretary of state certified only 487,484 signatures. The Pacific Justice Foundation, a member of the coalition, plans to review each of the 131,000 signatures state officials rejected and appeal any thrown out erroneously. The bill forces public schools to allow students to use restrooms and play on sports teams according to their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
Struck down. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Arizona’s appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down a state ban on Planned Parenthood funding. The Whole Women’s Healthcare Act, signed into law in 2012, disqualified abortion providers from receiving public funding for other medical services. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law violated federal Medicaid law by not allowing patients to freely choose a qualified medical provider.
Evangelical influence. The Ukrainian lawmaker serving as the country’s interim president is a Baptist pastor. Oleksandr Turchinov, a 49-year-old top opposition leader, preaches regularly at a church in Kiev, even though he has to have security travel with him, according to Christianity Today. The evangelical church in Ukraine is calling on the country’s Christians to engage in a “ministry of active reconciliation”to help maintain unity in the country. Turchinov initially planned to form a new government today but has delayed a vote until Thursday. Despite the mass protests against ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, not all Ukrainians opposed his government or his desire for closer ties with Russia. Observers fear the months-long conflict could spawn a civil war that would tear the country in two.
Boko Haram strikes again. Islamic militants attacked a government-run college in Nigeria’s Yobe state early this morning, killing at least 29 students. A spokesman for the governor said troops guarding a checkpoint near the school mysteriously left their post just hours before the attack. The militants locked the door of a men’s dormitory and set it on fire, slitting the throat of anyone who tried to escape. Those who did managed to clamber out windows and flee for their lives were gunned down. The militants spared the school’s female students but told them to go home, get married, and abandon the Western education they claim is anathema to Islam. Before slinking back into the night, the militants firebombed every building in the school’s relatively new compound, destroying six dormitories, the administrative building, staff quarters, classrooms, a clinic, and the kitchen. More than 300 Nigerian civilians have been killed so far this month in attacks attributed to Boko Haram, which means, “Western education is forbidden.”