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Dartmouth College to ban hard alcohol on campus
29 Jan 2015 at 7:39am
(Reuters) - Dartmouth College will ban hard alcohol on campus as it seeks to cut down on binge drinking among students, the Ivy League school's president said on Thursday. The ban, which applies to students and all college-sponsored events, comes at a time when universities across the United States are trying to fight what the White House has described as an "epidemic" of sexual assault. The Hanover, New Hampshire, college is among the more than 50 elite U.S. learning institutions that the Department of Education is investigating to see if their policies on sex assault violate U.S. laws requiring equal treatment for men and women in higher education. Researchers say the culture of binge drinking on college campuses has fueled sex assaults.
Gas truck blast rocks Mexico City hospital, killing two
29 Jan 2015 at 7:29am
An explosion rocked a maternity hospital Thursday in the western part of Mexico City when a gas truck ignited, destroying a large part of the building and killing at least two people, emergency services said. Television footage showed rescue workers scouring through ruined sections of concrete and twisted metal, and Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said dozens of women and children were evacuated from the site, some with cuts from glass. Fausto Lugo Garcia, head of emergency services for Mexico City, confirmed on local television that two people were killed and added it was "very likely" that others could be trapped beneath the rubble. Many areas of Mexico City have no mains gas supply, and rely on deliveries from gas trucks.
A Cold Night for a Good Cause
29 Jan 2015 at 7:27am
Last night, as the temperature dropped to a chilling 25 degrees, I joined hundreds of volunteers canvassing the streets of Washington for D.C.'s annual "Point-in-Time" homeless count. This census of homeless individuals measures how well we are meeting our national goal to end homelessness and helps the Administration determine how to allocate...
Your Weight Is Just a Symptom
29 Jan 2015 at 7:11am
Something really heartbreaking happened this past Saturday.A lot of people were hitting the beach with friends and family (yes, it was warm where I live) and I, of course, was happy to join them.I found myself sitting next to a family, and the mom was obviously embarrassed to take off her clothes and be seen in her bathing suit. Her family was...
Medical aid group MSF says pulls out of parts of Sudan
29 Jan 2015 at 6:50am
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has pulled out of some conflict-hit parts of Sudan due to a lack of cooperation from authorities, the medical charity said on Thursday, as the country suffers increasing violence. Sudan has faced a rebellion in Darfur since 2003 and a separate but linked insurgency in Blue Nile and South Kordofan since the secession of South Sudan in 2011. The group said that total denial of access to Blue Nile, forced closure of activities in East Darfur and administrative obstacles in South Darfur had made its work in those areas impossible, accusations that Sudan has denied.
As Ebola 'fear factor' eases, African tourism edges back
29 Jan 2015 at 6:45am
By Edith Honan NAIROBI (Reuters) - From the jungle-clad slopes of the Great Lakes to the game parks of South Africa, tourism is beginning to recover as the Ebola outbreak in a corner of the continent ebbs and foreigners overcome their fear of the virus. The epidemic has been confined overwhelmingly to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where at least 8,700 people have died. Inquiries at Safaribookings.com, a marketplace for more than 1,200 safari companies in east and southern Africa, were down 25 percent during the last four months of 2014, but bounced back in January, with a 20 percent rise compared to a year ago. A scaling back of the wall-to-wall media coverage of the handful of Ebola cases that occurred in Europe and the United States - where most tourists to Africa come from - has helped.
Weekly Ebola cases below 100, WHO says endgame begins
29 Jan 2015 at 6:13am
By Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The number of new confirmed Ebola cases totalled 99 in the week to Jan. 25, the lowest tally since June 2014, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, signalling the tide might have turned against the epidemic. "The response to the EVD (Ebola virus disease) epidemic has now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing transmission to ending the epidemic," the WHO said. "To achieve this goal as quickly as possible, efforts have moved from rapidly building infrastructure to ensuring that capacity for case finding, case management, safe burials, and community engagement is used as effectively as possible." The outbreak has killed 8,810 people out of 22,092 known cases, almost all of them in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Cases and deaths have fallen rapidly in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the past few weeks, with just 20 deaths recorded in Liberia in the 21 days to Jan. 25.
Exclusive: CDC installing cameras in labs in agency-wide safety push
29 Jan 2015 at 5:26am
By Julie Steenhuysen ATLANTA (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has introduced camera monitoring of workers in its highest-level biosafety laboratories as it seeks to restore public faith in its procedures after a series of mishaps, agency officials tell Reuters. The mishaps have raised major questions over safety practices at more than 1,000 laboratory and support facilities that make up the CDC, whose role is to monitor and prevent outbreaks of disease. The move to monitor workers will allow lab directors and senior scientists to ensure they have followed safety protocols exactly, Leslie Dauphin, interim director of laboratory safety, told Reuters in an interview. "That is what the camera system helps with." The agency is expected to release details within a week of its own investigation into the Ebola mishap.
UNICEF makes record appeal to help 60 million children in crisis
29 Jan 2015 at 4:24am
By Magdalena Mis LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The U.N. Children's Fund launched a record $3.1 billion appeal on Thursday to enable it to help children caught up in a "new generation" of conflicts and disasters round the world, $1 billion more than it sought in 2014. A series of more complex and destructive crises, natural disasters and emergencies such as the Ebola epidemic, are putting some 60 million children in extraordinary danger of violence, hunger, disease and abuse, UNICEF said. "From deadly natural disasters to brutal conflicts and fast-spreading epidemics, children across the world are facing a new generation of humanitarian crises," Afshan Khan, UNICEF director of emergency programs, said in a statement.
Nigeria H5N1 bird flu spreads to four more states, total 11
29 Jan 2015 at 3:44am
An outbreak of H5N1 bird flu in Nigerian poultry farms has spread to four more states, raising the total of affected areas to 11, the agricultural and rural development minister said on Thursday. Africa's most populous country and biggest economy was the first country on the continent to detect bird flu, in 2006 when chicken farms were found to have the H5N1 strain. In 2007, Nigeria recorded its first human death from the disease. "At the time of my briefing the nation on January 21, 2015, seven states had reported cases of the bird flu.
WHO: Ebola response shifts to ending epidemic
29 Jan 2015 at 3:21am
LONDON (AP) ? Health officials are now focused on ending the biggest-ever Ebola outbreak rather than just slowing the deadly virus' spread, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
Norway finds first case of mad cow disease, says food safe
29 Jan 2015 at 3:14am
Norway reported its first ever case of mad cow disease on Thursday, saying the instance was an isolated one and telling consumers it was still safe to eat beef and drink milk. Tests at a British laboratory confirmed the disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), in a 15-year-old cow, which had been slaughtered, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority said. A new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, nvCJD, killed dozens of people in Europe beginning in the mid-1990s.
Obama budget to propose spending lift for military, domestic programs
29 Jan 2015 at 3:03am
By Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's budget will call for an increase in domestic and military spending that would end spending caps known as "sequestration," a White House official said, setting up a new source of conflict with Republicans in Congress. Obama intends to announce his plans during a meeting with congressional Democrats in Philadelphia on Thursday. The fiscal 2016 budget, which the White House intends to unveil on Monday, would fund a host of programs that Republicans are unlikely to support. It is the latest salvo by the Democratic president lobbed at a Congress controlled by the opposition party and follows a defiant State of the Union address last week that critics said betrayed an unwillingness to seek compromise.
UN warns Ebola epidemic 'not yet contained'
29 Jan 2015 at 2:39am
The Ebola epidemic is decreasing but is still present in a third of the areas of the three worst affected west African nations, UN Ebola coordinator David Nabarro warned Thursday. Nabarro was speaking at the African Union headquarters, as leaders gather a day ahead of a summit meeting where Ebola is a key issue for discussion. The worst outbreak of the virus in history has seen nearly 9,000 deaths in a year -- almost all in the three west African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone -- and sparked a major health scare worldwide. Only 99 new cases were confirmed in the week up to January 25, the first time the figure has dropped below 100 since June 2014, the World Health Organization said Thursday in Geneva.
Plastic chemicals linked to earlier menopause
29 Jan 2015 at 2:00am
Women whose bodies contained high levels of certain chemicals found in plastics and cosmetics experienced menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower amounts in their systems, US researchers said Wednesday. While the study in the journal PLOS ONE did not prove that the chemical exposures caused earlier menopause, study authors said the associations they uncovered merit further research. "Chemicals linked to earlier menopause may lead to an early decline in ovarian function, and our results suggest we as a society should be concerned," said senior author Amber Cooper, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Washington University School of Medicine. The findings were based on a nationally representative sample of 1,442 menopausal women, whose average age was 61.