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NYC expands smoking ban to include e-cigarettes
20 Dec 2013 at 7:40am
NEW YORK (AP) ? Years after being exiled to New York City's sidewalks by a ban on smoking in indoor public places, some smokers relished electronic cigarettes as a way to come in from the cold.
Spain gov't approves new restrictive abortion law
20 Dec 2013 at 2:58pm
MADRID (AP) ? Spain's conservative government on Friday approved tight restrictions on abortion, allowing the practice only in the case of rape or when there is a serious health risk to the mother or fetus.
Dads to diapers and more, myth-busting survey says
20 Dec 2013 at 6:08am
CHICAGO (AP) ? The detached dad, turning up his nose at diapering and too busy to bathe, dress and play with his kids, is mostly a myth, a big government survey suggests. Most American fathers say they are heavily involved in hands-on parenting, the researchers found.
'It's Kind of a Funny Story' author Ned Vizzini dies at age 32
20 Dec 2013 at 7:14pm
By Curtis Skinner NEW YORK (Reuters) - Best-selling young adult fiction writer Ned Vizzini, whose 2006 semi-autobiographical novel "It's Kind of a Funny Story" won plaudits for its portrayal of teenage depression and was adapted as a Hollywood film, has died at age 32. New York City medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer on Friday said that Vizzini had committed suicide and that his injuries were consistent with a fall from some height. Vizzini authored four young adult novels about late bloomers and unpopular teens, including "Be More Chill" and "The Other Normals" as well as a collection of essays titled "Teen Angst? Naaah...A Quasi-Autobiography." "I was totally blown away by his writing," Vizzini's editor Alessandra Balzer of HarperCollins imprint Balzer + Bray said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Nineteen students sick in China from poisoned yoghurt
20 Dec 2013 at 6:49pm
Nineteen primary school children in China have been hospitalized after drinking yoghurt said to be laced with rat poison and herbicide, the Xinhua state news said. A 34-year-old woman from Loudi city in the central province of Hunan confessed to poisoning the yoghurt drink before delivering to the students, Xinhua said on Saturday. There have been several attacks on schools in China in recent years while at the same time, food safety has become a contentious issue with a rising number of food-poisoning cases due in part to lax safety standards at small factories.
1,500 tested for TB at Southern California school
20 Dec 2013 at 6:36pm
INDIO, Calif. (AP) ? More than 1,500 staff and students at a Southern California high school were tested for tuberculosis after one student was diagnosed with the bacterial infection last month, health officials said Friday.
Senate leader Reid released from hospital
20 Dec 2013 at 3:52pm
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was released from the hospital after being diagnosed as exhausted and was cleared to return to work, a statement from his office said on Friday. The Nevada Democrat missed several key Senate votes as lawmakers wrapped up their work before the holiday break. Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin earlier said that he had spoken with Reid. Reid, who was first elected to the Senate in 1986 and became its leader in 2007, suffered a stroke in 2005 and was injured last year when his motorcade crashed in Las Vegas.
Big Majority of Facebook Posters Self-Censor
20 Dec 2013 at 3:32pm
In a study of user behavior, Facebook determined that about 70 percent of people about to post an item engage in some form of self-editing or self-censorship. Larry Greenemeier reports.
Obama says 'we screwed it up' on health law debut
20 Dec 2013 at 3:08pm
By Roberta Rampton and Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday defended his administration's decision to delay for some people the requirement to buy medical insurance under his healthcare law, but acknowledged that the botched rollout of the policy was his biggest mistake of 2013. "Since I'm in charge, obviously we screwed it up," Obama said at his year-end news conference. The sudden change was announced four days before the federal government's deadline to sign up for coverage that starts on January 1 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010 and set up online exchanges, or marketplaces, for enrollment. Republicans seized on the latest announcement as further proof that the law known as Obamacare is unworkable, but Obama said it was just a bump in the road.
Obama says Obamacare working despite all the problems
20 Dec 2013 at 3:08pm
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Friday that the "basic structure" of his 2010 health care reforms are working, despite recurrent issues with the HealthCare.gov website and "messaging problems" with the law. He told reporters at a news conference that last-minute exemptions from the law announced on Thursday provided an additional safety net for a small group of people, and said he took the blame for the poor rollout of his signature policy achievement. "Since I'm in charge, we screwed it up," Obama said. ...
Newtown shooter report falls short, Connecticut panel says
20 Dec 2013 at 2:22pm
By Richard Weizel HARTFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - Members of a Connecticut panel charged with recommending ways to prevent gun violence in schools after last year's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday said a state attorney's report failed to address the role of the shooter's mental health in the attack. The 16-member commission complained that the report released last month, which concluded that questions about 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza's motive for killing 26 children and school staff "may never be answered conclusively," limited their ability to advise Governor Dannel Malloy on how to improve school safety. "Unlike the reports that came out of the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings, we can garner very little about Adam Lanza and his family from the state report," said Dr. Adrienne Bentman, director of the adult psychiatry residency program at Hartford Hospital's Institute of Living and a member of the commission.
Reagan's would-be assassin to get more time away from hospital
20 Dec 2013 at 2:01pm
By David Ingram WASHINGTON (Reuters) - John Hinckley is ready for more freedom from the mental hospital where he has lived since shortly after he shot President Ronald Reagan in a failed assassination attempt in 1981, a federal judge ruled on Friday. U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman accepted a recommendation from St. Elizabeths Hospital that Hinckley be allowed to leave for 17 days a month, up from 10 days a month, to stay with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia. Hinckley shot Reagan in an attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed. As part of his therapy and reintegration into society, Hinckley has been allowed since 2006 to visit Williamsburg, a city about 150 miles south of St. Elizabeths in Washington, D.C. During the visits, Hinckley volunteers in the cafeteria of a local mental hospital, sees a music therapist and is observed by clinical staff before returning to spend the balance of each month back at St. Elizabeths.
Top Canada court strikes down prostitution restrictions
20 Dec 2013 at 1:51pm
By Randall Palmer OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's Supreme Court on Friday struck down major restrictions on prostitution, including bans on brothels and street solicitation, declaring the laws unconstitutional because they compromised the safety of sex workers. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin dismissed the federal government's argument that it was prostitution itself, not the laws that govern it, that puts prostitutes at risk. McLachlin said a law that banned brothels - what she called "safe havens" for prostitutes - could expose them to predators. "It makes no difference that the conduct of pimps and johns is the immediate source of the harms suffered by prostitutes." Justice Minister Peter MacKay said the Conservative government was concerned with the ruling.
French firm starts human trials of artificial heart
20 Dec 2013 at 1:23pm
French biomedical firm Carmat said on Friday it had begun the first human trial of its prototype artificial heart, which aims at overcoming shortages of organs available for transplant. The implant operation, which took place on Wednesday at the Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris, "went satisfactorily," it said in a statement. Tens of thousands of people with hearts damaged by disease or a heart attack die each year because of a lack of a donor.
France's Carmat implants its first artificial heart in human
20 Dec 2013 at 1:00pm
By Natalie Huet PARIS (Reuters) - France's Carmat said on Friday it had carried out its first implant of an artificial heart that can beat for up to five years, adding that the operation had gone smoothly. The implant operation was performed on Wednesday at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris, the biomedical firm said in a statement. "We are delighted with this first implant, although it is premature to draw conclusions given that a single implant has been performed and that we are in the early postoperative phase", said Carmat's CEO, Marcello Conviti. Heart-assistance devices have been used for decades as a temporary solution for patients awaiting transplants, but Carmat's bioprosthetic product is designed to replace the real heart over the long run, mimicking nature's work using biological materials and sensors.