US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. School lunch policy: Let them eat crud (Chicago Tribune)

Mary Sanchez thinks that if anyone needs more evidence that Congress is working on behalf of lobbyists, this school-lunch charade is it.

2. Occupy our consciences (Washington Post)

We must acknowledge that the Occupy movement has accomplished things that the more established left didn't, writes E.J. Dione Jr.

3. Fixing Medicare (New York Times)

Its problems are profound, admits this editorial -- but beware of anyone promising quick fixes.

4. Newt 2.0 still has faults of Newt 1.0 (Politico)

Martin Frost writes: "I wouldn't vote for Gingrich, but I do have an appreciation for his strengths and weaknesses."

5. To stop the slaughter (New York Post)

The United Nations must act now to stop civilian deaths in Syria implores Amir Taheri.

6. Apple's American job disaster (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Manufacture of its products meant good-paying jobs in the U.S. But a move to China took them away, point out Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele.

7. How China Can Defeat America (New York Times

China's growing influence over the global economy means increasing competition with the United States is inevitable, a theme which is explored in this editorial.

8. Rising from the pack, Gingrich invites scrutiny (USA Today)

In light of Newt Gingrich's increasing popularity, Susan Page places the GOP candidate under close examination.

9. IRS should review Scientology tax-exempt status (St Petersburg Times)

The Church of Scientology's coercive funding methods warrant investigation by the Internal Revenue Service according to this editorial.

10. For children's sake, don't just slash Medicaid (Denver Post)

Jim Shmerling warns cuts to the Medicaid health programme will disproportinally harm the young.

#Match4Lara
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#Match4Lara: Lara has found her match, but the search for mixed-race donors isn't over

A UK blood cancer charity has seen an "unprecedented spike" in donors from mixed race and ethnic minority backgrounds since the campaign started. 

Lara Casalotti, the 24-year-old known round the world for her family's race to find her a stem cell donor, has found her match. As long as all goes ahead as planned, she will undergo a transplant in March.

Casalotti was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in December, and doctors predicted that she would need a stem cell transplant by April. As I wrote a few weeks ago, her Thai-Italian heritage was a stumbling block, both thanks to biology (successful donors tend to fit your racial profile), and the fact that mixed-race people only make up around 3 per cent of international stem cell registries. The number of non-mixed minorities is also relatively low. 

That's why Casalotti's family launched a high profile campaign in the US, Thailand, Italy and the US to encourage more people - especially those from mixed or minority backgrounds - to register. It worked: the family estimates that upwards of 20,000 people have signed up through the campaign in less than a month.

Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity, also reported an "unprecedented spike" of donors from black, Asian, ethcnic minority or mixed race backgrounds. At certain points in the campaign over half of those signing up were from these groups, the highest proportion ever seen by the charity. 

Interestingly, it's not particularly likely that the campaign found Casalotti her match. Patient confidentiality regulations protect the nationality and identity of the donor, but Emily Rosselli from Anthony Nolan tells me that most patients don't find their donors through individual campaigns: 

 It’s usually unlikely that an individual finds their own match through their own campaign purely because there are tens of thousands of tissue types out there and hundreds of people around the world joining donor registers every day (which currently stand at 26 million).

Though we can't know for sure, it's more likely that Casalotti's campaign will help scores of people from these backgrounds in future, as it has (and may continue to) increased donations from much-needed groups. To that end, the Match4Lara campaign is continuing: the family has said that drives and events over the next few weeks will go ahead. 

You can sign up to the registry in your country via the Match4Lara website here.

Barbara Speed is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman and a staff writer at CityMetric.