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NFL, under public pressure, toughens domestic violence bans
28 Aug 2014 at 3:22pm
By Eric Kelsey LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The National Football League, stung by a public uproar from critics who said it was too lenient on a player accused of assaulting his fiancée, on Thursday announced stricter domestic violence penalties. Players will now receive a six-game ban for a first-time violation of the league's policy and an indefinite ban for a second violation, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a letter to team owners obtained by Reuters. Goodell did not mention Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice by name, but apologized for how the league handled his suspension. Women's and family groups blasted the NFL after it suspended Rice for only two games in July for allegedly assaulting his then-fiancee and now wife.
U.S. officials approve Pennsylvania Medicaid waiver program
28 Aug 2014 at 2:53pm
(Reuters) - Federal officials approved Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to use federal funds to pay for private health insurance coverage for up to 600,000 residents, the governor said on Thursday. Corbett was one of several Republican governors to reject federal money to expand state Medicaid rolls under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Medicaid expansion under Obamacare has become a tool for political jockeying, with many Republicans loathe to support it. In Pennsylvania, the dispute is semantic.
Rob Ford resurgent in Toronto mayor race; but new claims emerge
28 Aug 2014 at 2:51pm
By Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has gained ground on challengers heading into an election this fall, according to a poll released on Thursday, but the boost was coupled with fresh claims about inappropriate behavior. The city's Catholic school authority released documents alleging that Ford had threatened a teacher, turned up late and inebriated to an important practice, swore at his players and made them roll in animal feces while working as a volunteer head football coach at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School. The allegations have not been proven in court and Ford did not immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment.
Oklahoma releases prison log for botched April execution
28 Aug 2014 at 2:20pm
By Heide Brandes OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - A person trained to draw blood inserted the IV for the botched execution of a convicted murderer in Oklahoma last April, a prison log released on Thursday revealed, but gave no other details of what happened when the procedure went wrong. The Oklahoma Department of Correction log said a doctor checked twice to see if inmate Clayton Lockett was unconscious during the April 29 execution. It noted that 12 minutes after the lethal injection of chemicals was administered: "blinds lowered in chamber." The next entry comes 24 minutes later: "Doctor pronounced offender dead." Lockett died, apparently of a heart attack, after prison officials called a halt to the execution because of problems with the IV that prevented the drugs from being properly administered and caused chemicals to spill onto the floor of the death chamber. Before the curtains were drawn to block the view, witnesses said Lockett appeared to be writhing on the gurney and struggling to lift his head.
Trimming pounds may cut health costs for diabetics
28 Aug 2014 at 2:09pm
By Shereen Lehman NEW YORK (Reuters Health) ? Overweight adults with diabetes who lost weight and kept it off lowered their average annual health care costs by more than $500, suggests a new study. ?It proved to be very effective - these folks lost weight and kept it off for 10 years,? said Mark Espeland, a researcher at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who led the study. Espeland told Reuters Health the savings were primarily due to fewer hospitalizations, fewer days in the hospital when someone was hospitalized and reductions in medication use and cost. For the study, published in Diabetes Care, Espeland and his colleagues enrolled 5,121 obese and overweight people at 16 sites across the country, beginning in 2001.
Ebola virus sequences may aid hunt for treatments
28 Aug 2014 at 1:50pm
Scientists tracking the spread of Ebola across West Africa released Thursday 99 sequenced genomes of the deadly and highly contagious hemorrhagic virus in the hopes the data may accelerate diagnosis and treatment. More than 1,552 people have been killed and 3,000 infected in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization's latest toll. Never before has there been an Ebola outbreak so large, nor has the virus -- which was first detected in 1976 -- ever infected people in West Africa until now. "We've uncovered more than 300 genetic clues about what sets this outbreak apart from previous outbreaks," said Stephen Gire, a research scientist in the Sabeti lab at the Broad Institute and Harvard University.
US to Test Ebola Vaccine in Humans Amid Growing Outbreak in West Africa
28 Aug 2014 at 1:39pm
Virus Has Sickened 3,069, Killed 1,552
What Ebola Survivors Reveal About the Virus, ZMapp
28 Aug 2014 at 1:39pm
Survivors May Shed Light on Ebola's Weakness
Fatal heroin overdoses on the rise in New York City
28 Aug 2014 at 1:33pm
By Jonathan Allen NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of deaths from accidental overdoses of opioid drugs has steadily risen in New York City since 2010, in part because of an apparent resurgence in heroin use, according to data released on Thursday by the city's health department. Heroin overdoses killed 420 people in the city in 2013, the highest in a decade, the department said. It was the most common substance tied to overdose deaths, involved in 54 percent of them. The largest increase in heroin overdose rates was seen in the city's wealthiest neighborhoods, the department said, rising to 5.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2013, from 1.9 in 2010.
West Africa Ebola outbreak could infect 20,000 people, WHO says
28 Aug 2014 at 1:00pm
By Stephanie Nebehay and Tim Cocks GENEVA/LAGOS (Reuters) - The Ebola epidemic in West Africa could infect over 20,000 people and spread to more countries, the U.N. health agency said on Thursday, warning that an international effort costing almost half a billion dollars is needed to overcome the outbreak. The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced a $490 million strategic plan to contain the epidemic over the next nine months, saying it was based on a projection that the virus could spread to 10 further countries beyond the four now affected - Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. With the IMF warning of economic damage from the outbreak, Nigeria reported that a doctor indirectly linked to the Liberian-American who brought the disease to the country had died of Ebola in Port Harcourt, Africa's largest energy hub. "This is not a West African issue or an African issue.
UN: Ebola disease caseload could reach 20,000
28 Aug 2014 at 12:55pm
GENEVA (AP) ? The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is accelerating and could grow six times larger to infect as many as 20,000 people, the World Health Organization said Thursday. The U.N. health agency unveiled a new road map for containing the virus, and scientists are fast-tracking efforts to find a treatment or vaccine.
Hand sanitizer may spare travelers illness abroad: survey
28 Aug 2014 at 12:52pm
By Shereen Lehman NEW YORK (Reuters Health) ? In a French survey of travelers to countries where diarrheal illnesses are common, the people who used hand sanitizer while abroad were half as likely to have their trips spoiled by a bout with Montezuma?s revenge. ?Use of hand sanitizer is highly acceptable by travelers and is associated with a reduction in the incidence of travelers? diarrhea and/or vomiting,? the authors write in their report published in Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease. Traveler?s diarrhea is experienced by 20-50 percent of international travelers who visit developing tropical areas, according to the study authors. The CDC advises travelers that carrying small containers of alcohol-based hand sanitizers may make it easier for them to clean their hands before eating (http://1.usa.gov/1g4A2EV).
World Food Programme boosts operations to Ebola-hit W.Africa
28 Aug 2014 at 12:51pm
The World Food Programme is planning to boost its emergency aid in the west of Africa, saying the region faces a "tsunami" of need caused by the Ebola outbreak. This is like a tsunami that is already at its peak," said Denise Brown, the WFP's regional director for west Africa. Speaking in Dakar after returning from Liberia and Sierra Leone -- the countries most seriously affected by the outbreak -- she said there was a "need to scale up" to ensure that air access, materials, body bags, and food were reaching those most in need. She said the WFP has "never responded in this scale to this kind of crisis" before, with the added complication that many areas -- such as the vast West Point slum in Liberia's capital Monrovia -- are quarantined, cutting off access to food.
Four killed in New Mexico medical transport flight crash
28 Aug 2014 at 12:36pm
By Joseph J. Kolb ALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - A small medical transport plane bound for Arizona crashed in New Mexico outside of Las Cruces late on Wednesday, killing a patient and three crew members aboard, a state police official said on Thursday. The plane, en route to Phoenix, crashed shortly after take-off from Las Cruces Airport, according to Lieutenant Emmanuel Gutierrez. "When officers arrived on scene, the twin engine plane was fully engulfed in flames about a mile south of Interstate 10," Gutierrez said in a statement. The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Scientists dig into Ebola's deadly genes for clues
28 Aug 2014 at 12:26pm
WASHINGTON (AP) ? A single funeral caused many.