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Wrong kitty litter led to radiation leak at New Mexico nuke waste dump
26 Mar 2015 at 10:13pm
A radiation leak at an underground nuclear waste dump in New Mexico was caused by "chemically incompatible" contents, including kitty litter, that reacted inside a barrel of waste causing it to rupture, scientists said on Thursday. The U.S. Energy Department report on last year's radiation accident at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad showed that a drum of waste containing radioisotopes like plutonium was improperly packaged at the Los Alamos National Laboratory near Santa Fe before arriving for disposal.
Superbugs could kill a million Chinese a year: economist
26 Mar 2015 at 9:48pm
China faces a million deaths a year from antibiotic-resistant superbugs and a loss of $20 trillion by 2050, an economist and former top Goldman Sachs executive said Thursday. Beijing should "take ownership" of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) when it hosts the G20 summit next year, said Jim O'Neill, the leader of a British government-commissioned review on the subject. O'Neill, former chief economist at the US investment bank and chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said that the threat put "China's remarkable economic performance in the last decade and its enormous future potential" in jeopardy. The review, announced last year by British Prime Minister David Cameron, has found that by 2050, drug-resistant infections could cut global gross domestic product by 2.0 to 3.5 percent and kill 10 million people a year around the world.
Senior police official in Fresno, California, arrested on drug charges
26 Mar 2015 at 7:09pm
(Reuters) - The deputy police chief in Fresno, California, was arrested on Thursday on charges of participating in multiple conspiracies to distribute heroin, oxycodone and marijuana, the FBI said. Keith Foster, 51, was arrested along with three other residents of Fresno, about 170 miles south of Sacramento, an FBI statement said. Two other Fresno residents also face drug charges but have not yet been arrested. "It is important that we do everything we can to maintain and enhance the trust that our citizens have in us," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told a news conference after Foster's arrest.
Rugby-Saracens at forefront of on-field concussion research
26 Mar 2015 at 7:00pm
By Justin Palmer LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - When Saracens took the field against Newcastle Falcons in the Aviva Premiership last month only the eagle-eyed in the 7,000-strong crowd would have noticed the small plaster behind the ears of their black-shirted heroes. The white sticky tape holds in place a tiny impact sensor that the club hope will produce scientific evidence on the short-term and long-term effects of concussion on professional rugby players. With increased concern over head injuries in a sport of big men and big hits, Saracens, the 2011 English champions and last year's Heineken Cup runners-up, want to be at the forefront of research. "We've been aware, like most people in rugby, for some time that concussion is an issue," Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths told Reuters.
Rugby-Ten-minute cooler is key concussion advance
26 Mar 2015 at 7:00pm
By Mitch Phillips LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - For all the scientific advances and extensive research projects it seems the greatest development in the recognition and treatment of concussion in rugby has been the ability to spend 10 minutes with a dazed player in a quiet room. "Creating the opportunity for players to be taken off to an appropriate quiet environment for assessment has been one of the major changes," Simon Kemp, the Rugby Football Union's head of sport's medicine, told Reuters in an interview. "Ten years ago when a player said he was dazed for a few seconds he probably wouldn't have been viewed as having a concussion. "You don't usually feel any pain with a concussion so it has to be taken out of the player's hands.
Rugby-Concussion worries cast shadow in World Cup year
26 Mar 2015 at 7:00pm
By Justin Palmer LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Rugby officials, fans and television executives revelled in a thrilling Six Nations championship finale but concerns surrounding concussion and its long-term impact on players continue to cast a shadow over the game. The sight of England fullback Mike Brown lying unconscious after a sickening blow to the head or the controversy that surrounded Wales winger George North being allowed to play on after appearing to be knocked out has re-ignited the concussion debate in a sport with bigger, faster players than ever before. Head injuries have long been a concern in America's National Football League, highlighted again this month when Chris Borland, a 24-year-old linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers, announced his retirement. A lawsuit brought by thousands of former NFL players, which is awaiting judicial approval, is expected to cost the league in around $1 billion and there are fears rugby union could follow down the litigation route.
Japan makes a start on sharing lessons from nuclear crisis
26 Mar 2015 at 6:06pm
By Megan Rowling SENDAI, Japan (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When professional boxer and model Tomomi Takano heard that children in Japan's Fukushima prefecture were becoming unfit and overweight as the 2011 nuclear crisis there limited the time they could play outside, she decided to use her skills to help. "They really concentrated on the boxing and tried hard," she said at a recent U.N. conference on disasters in the northeastern city of Sendai. The boxer hopes to run more sessions in Fukushima to improve children's agility and provide an outlet for their emotions. Takano and civil society activists in Sendai said they wanted to communicate to the rest of the world the human impacts of the crisis sparked when a huge earthquake and tsunami caused nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant to melt down four years ago.
Senate tries to score political points on way to budget vote
26 Mar 2015 at 5:23pm
By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday launched a marathon session that will end with a vote on a budget plan after lawmakers weigh in on dozens of amendments that are likely to have more effect on campaign ads in 2016 than the final spending plan. Senators are voting on everything from gun control to sick leave to sanctions on Iran. The marathon session is supposed to be part of the Senate's annual budget ritual, but this is the chamber's first budget vote in two years and only the second since 2009. It drew more than 600 initial proposals, more than twice the number in 2013, Senate aides said.
UK must cut aid for Nepal if 'endemic' corruption persists: report
26 Mar 2015 at 5:04pm
By Kieran Guilbert LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The British government should make cuts to its 86 million pound aid budget for Nepal unless the country takes action to combat poor governance and "endemic" corruption, a parliamentary committee said on Friday. The Department for International Development (DFID)'s funding has seen Nepal make huge progress in health, water and sanitation, but this spending will only be justified if governance improves, the International Development Committee (IDC) said. DFID should also address the needs of women and girls in Nepal, who are at risk of trafficking, early marriage, domestic abuse and murder, by working to change social norms and ensure justice for victims, the IDC said in a report.
Dallas Woman Behind Bars for Allegedly Giving Illegal Butt Injections
26 Mar 2015 at 5:00pm
A Dallas woman has been arrested for allegedly administering to patients illegal cosmetic procedures -- butt injections -- without a medical license, according to police. Denise Rochelle Ross, known as "Wee Wee," turned herself in to authorities Wednesday because she had been wanted for practicing medicine without a license, according to the Dallas Police Department. Her alleged accomplice, Jimmy Joe Clark, is still at large.
White House crafts first-ever plan to fight superbugs
26 Mar 2015 at 4:59pm
By Yasmeen Abutaleb and Lisa Baertlein NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The White House is due to issue an ambitious plan to slow the growing and deadly problem of antibiotic resistance over the next five years, one that requires massive investments and policy changes from a broad array of U.S. government health agencies, according to a copy of the report reviewed by Reuters. The 60-page report is the first ever to tackle antibiotic resistance so broadly. A White House official confirmed that it would release the plan on Friday. Doctors and health experts have warned for decades that rising rates of resistant bacteria are leading to tens of thousands of deaths, threatening to nullify modern medical advancements.
Swiss authorities target 'live cell' injection clinics
26 Mar 2015 at 4:42pm
Swiss health regulators announced Thursday they have launched a criminal probe into clinics suspected of giving clients potentially dangerous animal cell injections as part of anti-ageing treatments. The investigation targets private clinics and people who have illegally offered the injections which are particularly popular among wealthy Chinese, Middle Eastern and Russian nationals, said the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP).
Boehner, Pelosi show gridlock is not U.S. Congress's only option
26 Mar 2015 at 4:04pm
By Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Maybe it was the kiss that John Boehner planted on Nancy Pelosi's cheek that early January day in front of the entire House of Representatives that should have provided a clue. Not long afterward, Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House, dispatched a top healthcare adviser to a secret meeting with his counterpart working for Pelosi, the Democratic leader. The Boehner aide's mission, according to a source who asked not to be identified, was to determine whether Pelosi might be willing to collaborate on major legislation. Two months later, after scores of private conversations and hard bargaining, the work by America's political odd couple bore fruit with a 392-37 House vote to overhaul the Medicare program that delivers healthcare for the elderly and disabled, including fixing for good its troubled formula for paying physicians.
Syria has OKed three of 33 U.N. aid access requests in 2015: official
26 Mar 2015 at 3:49pm
By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The Syrian government has only allowed the United Nations to deliver aid to three of the 33 sites it has requested access to this year, aid chief Valerie Amos said on Thursday as she urged the U.N. Security Council to take "concrete steps." Syrian troops removed surgical, medical and reproductive health supplies from two convoys granted access, Amos told the council. Medical supplies for just 58,000 people had reached some of the 4.8 million people in hard-to-reach areas, she said. "I ask this council to make it clear to the government of Syria that these convoys must be allowed to proceed and their security forces should allow the free passage of all supplies to people in need," Amos told the 15-member council.
U.S. House okays bipartisan bill to fix Medicare doctor payments
26 Mar 2015 at 3:46pm
By Susan Cornwell and Caroline Humer WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill to permanently repair the formula for reimbursing Medicare physicians, marking a rare bipartisan achievement and sending the issue next to the Senate. The measure drafted and driven forward by Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi would fix a long-standing problem with how Medicare pays doctors. The Senate may not act until it returns from a two-week recess that starts this weekend. Democratic President Barack Obama praised the House passage and said he hoped the Senate would approve the measure too, because he wants to sign it.