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UnitedHealth CEO defends review of Obamacare exchange participation
1 Dec 2015 at 5:43am
NEW YORK (Reuters) - UnitedHealth Group Inc's chief executive on Tuesday defended the company's recent disclosure that it would consider exiting the Obamacare health insurance exchanges in 2017, citing losses on health plans it said were designed to succeed.
U.N. condemns air strike that cut water supplies to Syria's Aleppo
1 Dec 2015 at 5:00am
An air strike on a water treatment plant in Syria last Thursday cut water supplies for 3.5 million people, and although pumping has been partly restored, 1.4 million still have reduced supply, the head of U.N. agency UNICEF in Syria said on Tuesday. ?In Syria, the rules of war, including those meant to protect vital civilian infrastructure, continue to be broken on a daily basis," UNICEF's representative in Syria, Hanaa Singer, said in a statement.
On World AIDS Day, condom maker calls for safe-sex emoticon
1 Dec 2015 at 4:52am
Condom maker Durex says so and is presenting a formal submission on Wednesday, World AIDS Day, to get emoticon maker Unicode to adopt one. In the run-up to the day - designed to unite people around the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS - Durex launched a social media campaign last month "to create the first official safe-sex emoji", asking users to use #condomemoji. In an age of smartphones and tablets, emoticons, the small icons that are used to express emotions or physical things, are "crucial" to how young couples communicate, Durex said.
Snack bar maker Kind wants U.S. government to change labeling standard
1 Dec 2015 at 3:25am
By Anjali Athavaley NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kind LLC wants a U.S. federal agency to change its standards for what can be labeled as healthy, months after the snack bar maker received a warning letter for using the term on packaging for bars that were deemed too fatty. Kind argues that fat from items like fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains should not be counted in the tally, in a citizen petition the company said it plans to file with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, a copy of which was seen by Reuters. An FDA spokeswoman declined comment, but said the agency would respond directly to Kind once a petition is filed.
Malaysia says it plans to raise age for drinking alcohol
1 Dec 2015 at 3:22am
Malaysia plans to raise the minimum age for alcohol consumption from 18 to 21, it said in a filing to the World Trade Organization on Tuesday. It did not say when the change would take place, but said it was part of a strategy aiming to prevent underage drinking and limit the accessibility of alcohol to high risk groups. Malaysia also plans additional labeling requirements for alcohol products to warn about their effect on health, it said.
Jury picking resumes in Baltimore's Freddie Gray killing trial
1 Dec 2015 at 3:01am
Jury selection resumes on Tuesday in the trial of the first of six police officers charged in the death of a black man from an injury in police custody that triggered rioting and fueled a U.S. debate on police brutality. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams on Monday told the roughly 75 potential jurors that opening statements in the trial of Officer William Porter would take place as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday. The death of Freddie Gray, 25, in April followed police killings of black men in other cities, including New York and Ferguson, Missouri.
Fear of cholera, floods as Burundi refugees pack Tanzania camps
1 Dec 2015 at 2:56am
By Katy Migiro NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Heavy rains, flooding and a spike in new arrivals could threaten the lives of over 110,000 Burundian refugees in overcrowded camps in Tanzania, six aid agencies said on Monday, amid warnings of rising political tension in Burundi. Life-threatening malaria and diarrhoea have been spreading in Nyarugusu, the world's third largest refugee camp, since the rainy season began, and damage caused by a powerful El Nino has left aid agencies short of funds throughout east Africa. "Refugees are arriving in their hundreds every day," the agencies, which include Oxfam, Save the Children and HelpAge International, said in a statement.
17 countries in Americas may have eliminated mother-to-child HIV transmission...
1 Dec 2015 at 1:52am
By Anastasia Moloney BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Data from 17 countries and territories across the Americas, including the United States, Canada and Chile, show they may have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, the U.N. World Health Organization said on Monday. The countries were able to cut mother-to-child transmission of HIV by improving pregnant women's access to prenatal care, HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment, said the WHO and its regional arm in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Despite treatment advances, AIDS stigma lingers in rural South Africa
1 Dec 2015 at 1:46am
By Laurie Goering QUDENI, South Africa (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Eunice Khanyile opened a soup kitchen in a rural village in South Africa last year to help HIV-positive residents get the nutrition needed to stay healthy, not one person came. When it comes to AIDS, "the stigma is a huge problem", she said. People do not want to open up to others about their status." Today, just over 200 people eat the lunch cooked daily at the yellow-painted cement block kitchen in Qudeni, drawn by the smell of butternut and lentils and the banging of pots and pans.
IUD use attracts new opposition from anti-abortion groups
1 Dec 2015 at 1:33am
By Jilian Mincer NEW YORK (Reuters) - A rapid increase in the number of U.S. women turning to intra-uterine devices to prevent pregnancy has prompted escalating attacks on the birth control method from groups that oppose abortion. The next battle will be at the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to consider a new religious challenge to contraceptives coverage under President Barack Obama's healthcare law. Although the case deals broadly with whether religiously affiliated groups should be exempt from providing birth control coverage to their employees, some parties in the case have focused specifically on IUDs.
Beijing air pollution reaches hazardous levels
1 Dec 2015 at 12:59am
BEIJING (AP) ? Schools in the Chinese capital kept students indoors and parents brought their kids to hospitals with breathing ailments Tuesday as Beijing grappled with extremely severe air pollution for the fifth straight day.
Zambia expects $1 bln in deals with China at Africa summit
30 Nov 2015 at 11:42pm
Zambia expects to clinch $1 billion in Chinese investment and loans at this week's China-Africa summit in Johannesburg, a presidential spokesman said on Tuesday. Presidential spokesman Amos Chanda said Zambia was expected to conclude deals with China in infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, power generation as well as agriculture. Zambia and China were also likely to sign an agreement for the construction of two modern hospitals, Chanda said.
Gambia says to hold presidential election in December 2016
30 Nov 2015 at 11:23pm
Gambia will hold a presidential election in December 2016, with legislative and local polls to follow in April 2017 and April 2018, the electoral commission said on Monday. The tiny West African nation of less than 2 million people has been ruled by Yahya Jammeh since 1994, when the then 29-year-old seized power in a bloodless coup. Jammeh, who once told a reporter he could rule for "a billion years", had scrapped term limits from the constitution and blocked an attempt by regional bloc ECOWAS to reinstate them in May. The bloc refused to send observers to the last polls in 2011, citing intimidation of the opposition and the electorate.
AP News Guide: Summit opens debate on ethics of gene editing
30 Nov 2015 at 10:00pm
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Designer babies or an end to intractable illnesses: A revolutionary technology is letting scientists learn to rewrite the genetic code, aiming to alter DNA in ways that, among other things, could erase disease-causing genes.
U.S. abortion providers face increased threat of violence
30 Nov 2015 at 9:12pm
Now abortion provider LeRoy Carhart varies his route to work, books hotel rooms at the last minute and will not say whether he wears a bulletproof vest. More than half of U.S. abortion clinics experienced home picketing or other intimidation tactics in 2014, according to a national survey conducted by Feminist Majority, a women's rights group. Planned Parenthood officials and other industry advocates say they've seen an increase in threats since this summer, when an anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue for research.