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Insomnia-curing video goes 'viral'
5 May 2015 at 5:44am
Film of an Irish stream shot by visual artist Johnnie Lawson has been viewed over 6 million times and its effects are so impressive that it's being incorporated into medical research.
Syrian barrel bomb attacks are 'crimes against humanity': Amnesty
5 May 2015 at 5:35am
By Kieran Guilbert LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Syrian government forces are targeting civilians in barrel bomb attacks in Aleppo that have forced hospitals and schools to move underground, Amnesty International said on Tuesday, describing the bombings as "crimes against humanity". Barrel bombs -- containers packed with explosives and projectiles that are dropped from helicopters -- killed some 3,000 civilians in the northern Aleppo governorate last year, and have killed more than 11,000 in Syria since 2012, Amnesty said. "I saw children without heads, body parts everywhere ... it was how I imagine hell to be," one factory worker told Amnesty in a report.
China to lift drug price controls from June 1
5 May 2015 at 4:40am
The Chinese government said on Tuesday it will scrap long-standing state price controls on most medicines, effective June 1, as part of market-oriented reforms. The government will no longer impose upper limits on retail prices for drugs, government agencies including the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and National Health and Family Planning Commission said in a joint statement. "The reform of drug prices needs to... fully utilise the resource allocation role of the market," the statement said. Price controls will be relaxed over drugs covered by medical insurance, blood products, immunisations, anti-AIDS and birth-control medicines, the statement said.
U.N. envoy says invited Syria opposition fighters to Geneva talks
5 May 2015 at 4:01am
U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has invited the leaders of opposition armed factions to consultations that he launched in Geneva on Tuesday, he told a news conference. He also said the rise of the Islamic State militant group had changed the facts on the ground since the signing of the Geneva Communiqué at an international conference three years ago, and suggested the communique be reviewed to reflect that.
Pregnant 10-year-old rape victim denied abortion in Paraguay
5 May 2015 at 3:34am
By Anastasia Moloney BOGOTA(Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Paraguay's decision to deny a pregnant 10-year-old girl an abortion after she was allegedly raped by her stepfather has sparked a national debate over the country's strict abortion law. Paraguay's health minister recently refused a request from the girl's mother to terminate the pregnancy, but rights groups say the decision could put the girl's health at risk and is "tantamount to torture". In Paraguay, abortion is only allowed when the mother's life is in danger. Health Minister Antonio Barrios told Paraguay's ABC newspaper that doctors and a psychologist were providing care to the girl.
Gene therapy takes step forward as GSK files for EU approval
5 May 2015 at 2:47am
LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline said on Tuesday it had submitted a gene therapy for approval in Europe, becoming the first big drugmaker to seek marketing authorization for the technology to fix faulty genes. Reuters reported last week that the move was imminent. It marks the latest sign of a renaissance in gene therapy after some disastrous clinical trial results in the late 1990s and early 2000s. ...
Norway ranks as world's best place to be a mother
5 May 2015 at 12:22am
Norway ranks as the world's best place to be a mother, well ahead of the United States which dropped to the 33rd spot in the annual scorecard released by Save the Children on Monday. Somalia is the worst place, just below the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. This year, the United States dropped from number 31 on the list to 33, behind Japan, Poland and Croatia. Scandinavian countries have consistently taken the first spots in the Mothers' Index, with Norway this year beating out Finland which held the top spot last year.
"No room" for gays in Kenya, says deputy president
5 May 2015 at 12:16am
Kenya's deputy president has said there is "no room" for homosexuality in Kenyan society, a widely-shared view in African countries that puts their leaders at odds with Western aid donors who back gay rights. William Ruto made the remarks at a church service on Sunday, the day U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived for talks. The United States has been at the forefront of calls for gay rights in Africa and criticises anti-gay laws on the continent. "The Republic of Kenya is a republic that worships God.
Global cancer drug spending hits $100 billion in 2014: IMS Health
4 May 2015 at 11:46pm
Waves of similar drugs, such as those that spur the immune system to fight cancer being developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Roche, AstraZeneca and others, will create competition that could help moderate costs. "We're in for a period of intense competition among alternative treatments, which is a different dynamic than we've seen in the past where the progress has been a little slower and individual drugs had a little more time," said Murray Aitken, executive director of IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, which compiled the report. The United States accounted for 42.2 percent of total spending, followed by the top-five European markets, comprised of Germany, France, Britain, Spain and Italy.
Thai king leaves hospital to attend coronation anniversary event
4 May 2015 at 11:05pm
Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest reigning monarch, left hospital on Tuesday to make a rare public appearance to commemorate the 65th anniversary of his coronation. It was the second time in as many months that the 87-year-old had ventured out of Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital, where he was admitted in October and underwent surgery to remove his gallbladder.
Bird flu may take bite out of Thanksgiving's turkey supply
4 May 2015 at 10:13pm
By P.J. Huffstutter CHICAGO (Reuters) - The largest-ever U.S. outbreak of avian influenza, which has devastated Midwestern poultry and egg producers in recent weeks, could be felt at Thanksgiving tables across the nation come November, farmers and some trade groups say. The virulent H5N2 strain has already spread to 14 states and led to the deaths or scheduled euthanizations of more than 21 million birds, including 3.3 million turkeys in Minnesota, the nation's top turkey producer. The whole process can take up to three months before a new flock of turkey poults can be brought in, said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. After chicks are re-introduced to the barns, farmers say, it typically takes about four months to produce a full-sized hen ? the type of turkey most Americans prefer for their holiday feasts.
China to stop setting most medicine prices from June 1
4 May 2015 at 9:18pm
China will remove price caps for most medicines from June 1 and give the market a larger role in setting prices in the world's second largest pharmaceutical market, the country's economic planning agency said on Tuesday. The change would encourage "reasonable" pricing of medicines and help control costs in the country's state medical insurance schemes, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in an online statement . "We have decided from June 1 to cancel government-set prices on most drugs to improve purchasing mechanisms for drugs, control costs for medical insurance and allow the trade price of medicines to be set by market competition," it said.
Reunited mother, daughter seeking court records
4 May 2015 at 5:37pm
ST. LOUIS (AP) ? A woman who recently reunited with her 49-year-old daughter filed a petition Monday seeking court files and adoption records that might shed light on what exactly happened in 1965 at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis, where the mother says she was told her newborn baby was dead.
Denver Zoo mourns death of oldest hippo, 58-year-old 'Bertie'
4 May 2015 at 4:45pm
Denver Zoo was mourning the death on Monday of Bertie, a 58-year-old male hippopotamus who was its longest resident and the oldest hippo accredited to a North American zoo, officials said. Bertie was humanely euthanized after his keepers saw "a significant decline in his quality of life due to his advanced age," the zoo said in a statement. "This is a very sad loss for Denver Zoo and our community. Bert was a member of our family for more than 50 years," zoo President and Chief Executive Shannon Block said.
Uganda's capital blazes a trail in cutting child deaths, charity says
4 May 2015 at 4:12pm
By Katy Migiro KAMPALA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Inside the second busiest hospital in Uganda, a Somali refugee gingerly paces up and down the maternity ward to ease her labour pains, passing a Congolese woman resting in bed after a Caesarean section. They help everyone, even if you are a refugee," said Esther Kabumo from Democratic Republic of Congo. "If you don't have money, it's not a problem." On a continent known for poor healthcare and high infant mortality rates, the Ugandan capital is an exception. Child deaths in Kampala fell faster than in any other African city between 2006 and 2011 - despite a large influx of refugees from war-torn neighboring states, Save the Children said in a report on Tuesday.