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Going to the game? Pack earplugs and lose the vuvuzela, WHO says
27 Feb 2015 at 4:29am
Sports fans risk having their hearing ruined by vuvuzela trumpets and deliberate attempts to increase stadium noise and they need to start seeing earplugs as something cool, the World Health Organization said on Friday. Shelly Chadha, a WHO expert on preventing deafness, said some U.S. sporting crowds consider breaking noise levels as an achievement, and cited a 136.6 decibel world record claimed by Seattle Seahawks fans in 2013. Asked if they should be banned, Chadha said: "Yes, well, vuvuzelas are certainly something we can live without." Around 1.1 billion young people are at risk from hearing loss, the WHO said, in addition to about 180 million who have already suffered preventable damage to their hearing. As well as sporting events, there are risks to hearing at nightclubs and from listening to smartphones, and the solutions include volume limits, noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs, which can reduce noise levels by 30 decibels, turning the roar of a fighter jet into little more than a hair dryer.
Mexico nabs most wanted drug kingpin, Servando 'La Tuta' Gomez
27 Feb 2015 at 4:28am
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has captured the country's most wanted outstanding drug Lord, Servando "La Tuta" Gomez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel, police said on Friday, in a boost for President Enrique Pena Nieto as he grapples with grisly gang violence. Gomez was the prime target of Pena Nieto's drive to regain control of Michoacan, a violent western state wracked by clashes between the Knights Templar and heavily-armed vigilantes trying to oust them. (Reporting by Reuters Pictures and Anahi Rama)
Sanofi diabetes drug Toujeo wins European green light
27 Feb 2015 at 4:22am
French drugmaker Sanofi's new Toujeo diabetes drug has been recommended for approval in Europe, two days after being cleared to go on sale in the United States, regulators said on Friday. The positive decision from a committee of experts at the European Medicines Agency had been expected and will pave the way for the long-lasting insulin product to go on sale soon in Sanofi's chosen first European markets of Germany and Britain. Recommendations for marketing approval by the agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) are normally endorsed by the European Commission within a couple of months. Toujeo is a more potent follow-up to the Sanofi's top-selling Lantus drug, which accounts for a fifth of the company's sales.
EU agency recommends approval of Otsuka kidney drug
27 Feb 2015 at 4:20am
LONDON (Reuters) - A new kidney disease drug from Japan's Otsuka has been recommended for approval in Europe, the region's medicines regulator said on Friday. Jinarc, or tolvaptan, was given a green light for the treatment of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), an hereditary genetic disease that leads to the development of cysts in the kidneys. Recommendations for marketing approval by the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) are normally endorsed by the European Commission within a couple of months. ...
Four charged over albino murder in Tanzania amid growing calls for action
27 Feb 2015 at 4:17am
By Kizito Makoye DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Tanzanian court has charged four people over the murder of an albino woman over six years ago as pressure mounts for authorities in the east African country to do more to stop the killing of albinos whose body parts are prized in black magic. Ezron Mwasimba, public prosecutor in the high court in northern Mwanza city, said the four were accused of killing 22-year-old Zawadi Magindu at Nyamalulu village in Geita in November 2008 and cutting off her legs and one arm. The trial is the first of its kind to be held in the Geita region where six albinos were killed and three wounded between 2007 and 2012, according to police data. "We have gathered compelling evidence against the accused persons including from members of the bereaved family who had identified them," Mwasimba told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Decision on Ebola mass vaccination in August at earliest: WHO
27 Feb 2015 at 4:00am
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - An independent advisory body will decide in August at the earliest on whether to recommend widespread introduction of an Ebola vaccine, depending on results of clinical trials and the epidemic's course, the World Health Organization said on Friday. All three worst-hit countries in West Africa - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - aim to conduct phase III final-stage clinical trials of experimental vaccines. Liberia is already testing both the GlaxoSmithKline and Merck-NewLink vaccines, while Sierra Leone and Guinea are due to announce plans soon. WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier, reporting on a three-day meeting of experts, told a news briefing: "Vaccine introduction is by no means a given and will depend on the results of clinical trials and recommendations from WHO's Strategy Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on vaccines and immunization.
Decision on widespread Ebola vaccination in August at earliest: WHO
27 Feb 2015 at 3:36am
An independent advisory body will decide in August at the earliest on whether to recommend widespread introduction of Ebola vaccine, depending on results of clinical trials and the epidemic's course, the World Health Organization said on Friday. Reporting on a three-day meeting of experts, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a news briefing: "Vaccine introduction is by no means a given and will depend on the results of clinical trials and recommendations from WHO's Strategy Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on vaccines and immunisation.
Zimbabwe's Mugabe says wife not the power behind his throne
27 Feb 2015 at 2:31am
By MacDonald Dzirutwe HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe told state television that his wife Grace, a rising political star in the ruling party, is not the power behind his throne. Mugabe, the only leader his country has known since independence from Britain in 1980, will be in the resort town of Victoria Falls on Saturday where his ZANU-PF party is planning $1 million birthday celebration with thousands of supporters. Grace, a former typist in Mugabe's office before they married, was hoisted into the top echelons of ZANU-PF last December after attacking former vice president Joice Mujuru, who was later fired by the veteran leader.
Italian e-cigarette firms say new tax benefits tobacco
27 Feb 2015 at 2:12am
By Sara Ledwith and Martinne Geller LONDON (Reuters) - Electronic cigarette firms in Italy say a new levy that doubles the price of e-liquid refills unfairly helps tobacco giants like Philip Morris International and will hurt their industry. The tax, which was adopted in January, is set at half the rate of that on traditional cigarettes. The controversy centers on the fact that the lower rate is applied to both electronic cigarettes and to tobacco products such as Marlboro HeatSticks, which Philip Morris is launching in Italy alongside a 500 million euro ($568 million) factory investment.
Nikon pushes into medtech with $400 million Optos acquisition
27 Feb 2015 at 1:29am
By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Nikon , the 98-year-old Japanese company best known for its cameras, has agreed to buy British retinal imaging firm Optos for 259.3 million pounds ($400 million) as it moves into the medical sector. Nikon has previously said it intended to enter the medical sector to leverage its optical technologies and the Japanese group sees buying Optos as an important step in that long-term growth plan. Kazuo Ushida, president of Nikon, said the company would expand the medical business further in the future. The Japanese group will pay 340 pence a share in cash for Optos, a 30.5 percent premium to the closing price on Thursday, the two companies said in a statement.
Turkish Airlines says aiding investigation into British school girls
27 Feb 2015 at 1:13am
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Flag carrier Turkish Airlines said on Friday it was assisting an investigation into three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to join Islamic State militants. "Turkish Airlines is assisting the relevant government bodies in their inquiries but is unable to respond to or comment specifically in relation to the subject matter of ongoing investigations," it said in an e-mailed statement. ...
Study: Smokers may tap into multiple sources for nicotine
27 Feb 2015 at 12:24am
WASHINGTON (AP) ? The first peek at a major study of how Americans smoke suggests many use combinations of products, and often e-cigarettes are part of the mix.
AstraZeneca to carve out antibiotic R&D into separate firm
27 Feb 2015 at 12:21am
Drugmaker AstraZeneca has decided to carve out its early-stage antibiotic research by creating a stand-alone subsidiary company, as it sharpens its focus on other therapy areas. Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said last year he was looking to partner or sell its anti-infective business, which is no longer viewed as a core area for the British drugmaker. AstraZeneca said in an emailed statement it would invest $40 million in the new antibiotic company, which will include early-stage products such as a drug in Phase II for gonorrhea. The move will impact approximately 95 employees based in Waltham, Massachusetts.
U.S. military ends Ebola mission in Liberia
26 Feb 2015 at 11:35pm
By James Harding Giahyue MONROVIA (Reuters) - The United States military officially ended a mission to build treatment facilities to combat an Ebola outbreak in Liberia on Thursday, months earlier than expected, in the latest indication that a year-long epidemic in West Africa is waning. Washington launched the mission five months ago and the force peaked at over 2,800 troops at a time when Liberia was at the epicentre of the worst Ebola epidemic on record. Nearly 10,000 people have died in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea over the past year. More than 4,000 of those deaths were in Liberia, but the number of new cases has plummeted in recent months, leaving many treatment centres empty and the mission has already begun winding down.
Thoughts turn to recovery as Ebola slowly ebbs in West Africa
26 Feb 2015 at 10:55pm
By Daniel Flynn, James Harding Giahyue and Saliou Samb DAKAR/MONROVIA/CONAKRY (Reuters) - In the marble atrium of the Mammy Yoko hotel in Freetown, manager Nuno Neves has spotted something he has not seen since the Ebola virus struck Sierra Leone nine months ago: foreign businessmen. The Radisson Blu chain opened the four-star hotel in April to cater for investors in one of Africa's fastest-growing economies. A month later, Ebola crossed the border from Guinea and those investors fled. For months, Sierra Leone was cut off from the world amid panic at the worst recorded outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever, which has killed more than 9,500 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and infected over 23,500.