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Arsenic and mercury found in river days after Brazil dam burst
26 Nov 2015 at 9:11am
By Stephen Eisenhammer RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Illegal levels of arsenic and mercury polluted the Rio Doce river in the days after a dam burst at an iron ore mine in early November in Brazil's worst-ever environmental disaster, according to tests by a state water agency. The Institute for Water Management in Minas Gerais (IGAM), found arsenic levels more than ten times above the legal limit in one place along the Rio Doce after the dam burst on Nov. 5, killing at least 13 people and flooding thick mud across two states. Mercury slightly above the permitted level was also found in one area.
VW's Audi suspends two engineers in emissions probe
26 Nov 2015 at 9:05am
By Andreas Cremer BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen's luxury flagship Audi has suspended two engineers after its larger diesel engines were found evading emissions limits in the United States, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said in a newspaper interview published on Thursday. Volkswagen (VW) and Audi notified U.S. authorities last Thursday that about 85,000 vehicles with 3.0 liter V6 diesel engines were fitted with emissions-control equipment that was not disclosed to U.S. regulators. The news widened a scandal at parent VW which has led to the ouster of its long-time chief executive and wiped more than 20 billion euros ($21 billion) off the group's market value.
Diabetic vision loss medication may promote return to driving
26 Nov 2015 at 8:28am
By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) - After a year of treatment with the drug ranibizumab (Lucentis), some people with vision loss due to diabetes regain their confidence to drive and have vision good enough to do so, according to a new study. Up to 45 percent of people in the U.S. with type 1 or type 2 diabetes have some level of vision loss, most commonly diabetic retinopathy. The results provide tangible evidence that improvements in vision measured with an eye chart also translate to real-world functioning based on vision, said lead author Dr. Neil M. Bressler of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Healthy diets may not be one-size-fits-all
26 Nov 2015 at 8:25am
By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - When two people follow the same weight-loss diet to the letter, but one fails to lose weight, the problem might be their bodies? different responses to the same foods, a recent Israeli study suggests. Over time, elevated blood sugar can lead to health problems like obesity and diabetes. Many popular diets such as Atkins, The Zone and South Beach center on a component known as the glycemic index (GI), a fixed ranking of foods based on how fast and how high they raise blood sugar after meals.
Feds plan new guidelines on toxic algae in lakes, rivers
26 Nov 2015 at 8:13am
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) ? New national guidelines are being developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect swimmers and kayakers from the growing threats posed by toxic algae in lakes and rivers.
Broad smiles and enduring spirit at Holocaust survivors' beauty contest
26 Nov 2015 at 7:04am
By Amir Cohen HAIFA, Israel (Reuters) - To the strains of Madonna's "Vogue", the 13 women with a combined age of about 1,050 strutted down the runway cautiously, hindered only slightly by walking sticks and the odd dodgy hip. The third annual Holocaust survivors' beauty pageant, honoring women who lived through the concentration camps and death marches of Nazi Germany, was held in the city of Haifa this week with hundreds of relatives turning out in support. "Many of them were children, teenagers or young adults during the Holocaust," said Jurgen Buhler, the German director of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, a sponsor.
WHO records highest-ever number of new HIV cases in its European Region
26 Nov 2015 at 6:38am
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that in 2014 it had recorded the highest number of new HIV cases in its European Region, which also includes Central Asia, since the start of reporting in the 1980s. WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a statement that more than 142,000 people in WHO's European Region were diagnosed with HIV last year with the increase coming from its eastern sector which comprises 15 countries including Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia. The statement followed publication on Tuesday of findings by the United Nations AIDS program which showed that new HIV infections overall had fallen by 35 percent since the peak of the three-decade-old pandemic in 2000.
French give nod to plain cigarette packaging
26 Nov 2015 at 6:34am
Cigarettes will have to be sold in plain packaging in France from next year after the French parliament narrowly voted through a proposal which has drawn the ire of tobacconists. The measure narrowly made it through parliament late Wednesday after an amendment which drew the support of 17 lawmakers from the ruling Socialist Party failed by just two votes. Lawmakers had passed a package of wide-ranging public health reforms on a first reading seven months ago as Health Minister Marisol Touraine embarked on a bid to cut smoking-related deaths in a country where around a quarter of adults indulge in the habit, according to World Health Organization figures.
Slipping Into A Food Coma? Blame Your Gut Microbes
26 Nov 2015 at 5:42am
When you push away your plate, loosen your belt and announce, "I couldn't manage another bite!" it may be your gut microbes talking, according to a new study. Researchers found chemical clues hinting that, when certain bacteria in the belly have had enough to eat, they tell the brain that it's time to put down the fork.About 20 minutes after a...
Can You Really Catch Up On Sleep?
26 Nov 2015 at 5:39am
It?s America?s favorite weekend activity: catching up on sleep. But when you sleep in, are you really making up for lost sleep??That?s a hard one to get a lot of consensus on in the sleep community,? says sleep medicine physician W. Christopher Winter, owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia. ?The answer...
Surrounding landscape can contribute to feeling healthy says UK study
26 Nov 2015 at 3:12am
If you want to feel healthier, live somewhere more scenic according to new results from a study carried out by the University of Warwick, UK. Just because a place is green does not compel us to feel better on its own.
Witch burning rebels stoke Central African Republic violence
26 Nov 2015 at 1:59am
By Tom Esslemont BANGUI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Rebels in Central African Republic have kidnapped, burnt and buried alive "witches" in public ceremonies, exploiting widely held superstitions to control areas in the war-torn country, according to a leaked United Nations report. The report by U.N. human rights officers, seen exclusively by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, contains graphic photographs of victims tied to wooden stakes being lowered towards a fire as well as the charred torsos of those subjected to the ritual. Central African Republic was plunged into sectarian violence when Muslim rebels briefly seized power in the largely Christian country in March 2013, with escalating violence on both sides creating lawlessness nationwide outside the capital Bangui.
Ex-Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards hospitalized with pneumonia
25 Nov 2015 at 10:05pm
Edwards, 88, who celebrated the birth of his fifth child in August 2013 with his third spouse, Trina Edwards, then 34, developed a cough while they were out of town visiting friends, she said in the posting quoted by news media in Louisiana. The colorful and roguishly charming Democrat served in the state legislature and U.S. House of Representatives early in his political career before going on to run for Louisiana governor, taking office in 1972 for the first of four terms. Edwards was convicted in May 2000 of extortion in the awarding of state casino licenses, ending a lengthy pursuit by prosecutors that according to his own count had made him the subject of 22 public corruption investigations over the years.
Mud from Brazil dam burst is toxic, U.N. says
25 Nov 2015 at 9:58pm
Mud from a dam that burst at an iron ore mine in Brazil earlier this month, killing 12 people and polluting an important river, is toxic, the United Nations' human rights agency said on Wednesday. The statement contradicts claims by Samarco, the mine operator at the site of the rupture, and Samarco's co-owner, BHP Billiton , that the water and mineral waste contained by the dam are not toxic. Citing "new evidence," the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement the residue "contained high levels of toxic heavy metals and other toxic chemicals".
GSK in China: escaping the shadow of a scandal
25 Nov 2015 at 8:35pm
By Adam Jourdan and Ben Hirschler SHANGHAI (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline Plc has cut 40 percent of its sales reps in China and axed some units as it eyes a return to growth in 2016, after sales plunged during a bribery scandal that landed it with a record $490 million fine in 2014. The British firm is gambling on a new, cleaner image to reboot its performance and reputation with doctors and consumers, China head Herve Gisserot told Reuters during a wide-ranging interview at the group's Shanghai headquarters. It is the first time Gisserot has spoken at length about the firm's progress since the high-profile scandal, which saw his predecessor Mark Reilly charged with bribery and eventually deported to Britain.