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France restricts blood transfusions over Zika virus
7 Feb 2016 at 6:08am
PARIS (Reuters) - Travelers coming back from any outbreak zones of the Zika virus will need to wait at least 28 days before giving blood to avoid any risk of transmission, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine said on Sunday. Zika, which is rapidly spreading through the Americas and has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites. However, Brazil in the last week announced two cases of transmission through blood transfusions from infected donors. ...
Rio carnival goers tell Zika mosquito to buzz off
7 Feb 2016 at 6:01am
A massive, fleshy crowd of semi-naked people might seem like the Zika-transmitting mosquito's paradise, but Rio Carnival goers Saturday said nothing -- not even an international health emergency -- can stop the party. The peak weekend of Rio de Janeiro's Carnival season got underway with an estimated one million people cramming into the city center for the Cordao da Bola Preta street party.
Bootleg liquor kills at least 24 in Indonesian village: media
7 Feb 2016 at 5:19am
Bootleg liquor has killed at least two dozen people in a village in Indonesia's Central Java province over the last few days, MetroTV said on Sunday quoting police. Police have arrested two people in the village of Sleman for selling homemade liquor that was believed to have contained harmful substances. "Police have sent the hard liquors mixed with harmful substances to the laboratory in Semarang to be tested," MetroTV quoted Sleman police chief Yulianto as saying.
Exclusive: Zika virus discourages many Americans from Latin America travel
7 Feb 2016 at 5:15am
The rapidly spreading Zika virus is discouraging many Americans from traveling to Latin America and the Caribbean, with 41 percent of those aware of the disease saying they are less likely to take such a trip, a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows. Airlines and cruise ship operators have yet to report drops in bookings because of Zika, and analysts have downplayed the impact that newly sedentary parents-to-be could have on their revenue. "I am actively trying to get pregnant with my husband, so I am a little bit concerned," said Erica, a respondent who said she was bitten by a mosquito during a January trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Zika has been reported.
Loan rejection may have been early warning of Taiwan building collapse
7 Feb 2016 at 5:02am
By Yimou Lee TAINAN, Taiwan (Reuters) - Before their apartment tower collapsed in a Taiwan earthquake at the weekend, a young couple living on the 14th floor had already been given a clue that the building was unsafe. Chen Yi-ting and her husband bought the apartment in the center of Tainan city five years ago, having relocated from an outlying district.
Duchess of Cambridge: Support children's mental health
7 Feb 2016 at 4:24am
LONDON (AP) ? The Duchess of Cambridge says in a new video that she and Prince William want all children to get support during difficult times to help them overcome mental health challenges.
Cricket-Pakistan's Shah banned for three months for doping offence
7 Feb 2016 at 3:58am
Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah has been given a three-month ban after pleading guilty to an inadvertent doping offence, the International Cricket Council said on Sunday. Chlortalidone is a diuretic drug which features in the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited substances. Shah pleaded guilty to the charge and said he had mistakenly taken his wife's blood pressure medication which contained the banned substance.
Athletes weigh gold lust against Zika health fears
7 Feb 2016 at 3:46am
By Ossian Shine and Joshua Schneyer LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - As global health chiefs try to bring a Zika virus epidemic under control, aspiring Olympic athletes are weighing their lust for gold against health fears surrounding the mosquito-borne virus in Brazil. Alarm has grown since the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday declared Zika an international health emergency that could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas. Zika is carried by mosquitoes, which transmit the virus to humans, while two cases in the United States suggest it may also be transmitted sexually.
Australia pledges aid to help Tonga, Pacific with Zika
7 Feb 2016 at 1:53am
By Morag MacKinnon PERTH (Reuters) - Australia pledged up to A$500,000 ($354,000) in aid for its Pacific island neighbors on Sunday to help combat the spread of the Zika virus after an outbreak in Tonga last week raised concern in the region. The initial focus on strengthening the fight against the mosquito-borne virus would be in Tonga, Steven Ciobo, minister for the Pacific, said in a statement. Australia would work with World Health Organization (WHO) officials and the Tongan government to control the mosquito population and increase access to testing, he said.
Despite treatment advances, AIDS stigma lingers in rural South Africa
7 Feb 2016 at 1:45am
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.
Fear of cholera, floods as Burundi refugees pack Tanzania camps
7 Feb 2016 at 1:30am
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.
Republican U.S. presidential hopefuls say Zika quarantine may be needed
6 Feb 2016 at 9:04pm
Two Republican U.S. presidential hopefuls said on Saturday they would implement quarantines of travelers if necessary to stop the spread of the Zika virus. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who garnered international attention in 2014 when he quarantined a nurse who returned to the United States after treating Ebola patients, said he would not hesitate to do it again. "You bet I would," Christie said during a debate in New Hampshire with other Republican contenders for the White House.
Mormon church comes out against Utah medical marijuana bill
6 Feb 2016 at 8:21pm
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) ? The Mormon church has come out against a Utah bill that would allow the medical use of edible pot products, a position that could be a serious blow to one of two medical marijuana proposals before state lawmakers.
More than 3,100 pregnant women in Colombia have Zika virus: government
6 Feb 2016 at 7:46pm
By Julia Symmes Cobb BOGOTA (Reuters) - More than 3,100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Saturday, as the disease continues its rapid spread across the Americas. Brazil is investigating the potential link between Zika infections and more than 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head size that can result in developmental problems. Researchers have identified evidence of Zika infection in 17 of these cases, either in the baby or in the mother, but have not confirmed that Zika can cause microcephaly.
New York moves to stop gay conversion therapy for youths
6 Feb 2016 at 7:30pm
NEW YORK (AP) ? New York is taking steps to stop therapists from trying to change young people's sexual orientation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday, joining a number of states that have acted against what's known as gay conversion therapy.