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China lifts quarantine after man dies of plague
23 Jul 2014 at 10:27pm
BEIJING (AP) ? A nine-day quarantine imposed on parts of a northern Chinese city where a man died of bubonic plague has been lifted, China's official news agency reported Thursday.
GSK asks European regulator to OK malaria shot
24 Jul 2014 at 3:51am
LONDON (AP) ? Pharma giant GSK said Thursday it is submitting its malaria vaccine for regulatory approval to the European Medicines Agency.
Head of troubled CDC anthrax lab has resigned
23 Jul 2014 at 11:34am
NEW YORK (AP) ? The head of the government lab that potentially exposed workers to live anthrax has resigned, an agency spokesman said Wednesday.
Myanmar Muslims in remote Rakhine suffer worsening health crisis
24 Jul 2014 at 7:03am
By Paul Mooney and Thin Lei Win INN DIN Myanmar (Reuters) - Visitors to the medical facility in one of Myanmar's poorest and most remote regions are greeted by a padlocked gate and a sign reading: "Clinic closed until further notice." A vehicle that used to ferry around doctors and patients parked next to the neat compound of bamboo and brick buildings in the western state of Rakhine is covered in thick dust. Since international aid groups were forced out of the area in February and March, members of the minority Muslim Rohingya community who relied on them say basic health care services have all but disappeared. Worst affected are those in Northern Rakhine State (NRS), home to most of Myanmar's 1.3 million Rohingya who are stalked by sickness and malnourishment and as yet untouched by reforms under a semi-civilian government which took power in 2011.
South Africa plans plain cigarette packaging by 2015: minister
24 Jul 2014 at 6:43am
By Wendell Roelf CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa aims to force cigarette companies to sell products in plain packets by next year, despite an ongoing World Trade Organisation (WTO) investigation into Australia's ban on tobacco branding, the health minister said on Thursday. South Africa, New Zealand, France, India and Britain are all considering adopting standardised packaging on tobacco products but the African country hadn't previously given a timeframe. Opponents of the law, who say it is heavy-handed and an invitation to counterfeiters, had hoped other countries would hold off from following Australia's example pending a WTO case addressing complaints by tobacco-producing countries. "I am not even sure we can wait for that WTO decision.
GSK seeks approval for world's first malaria vaccine
24 Jul 2014 at 5:50am
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday it is applying for regulatory approval for the world's first vaccine against malaria, designed for children in Africa. The British drugmaker said the shot, called RTS,S, is intended exclusively for use outside the European Union but will be evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). Malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, kills more than 600,000 people a year, mainly babies in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Yet hopes that RTS,S would be the final answer to wiping out malaria were dampened when results from a final-stage trial in babies aged six to 12 weeks showed the shot provided only modest protection, reducing episodes of the disease by 30 percent compared to immunisation with a control vaccine.
EU regulator: Morning-after pill OK for all women
24 Jul 2014 at 5:44am
LONDON (AP) ? A commonly used morning-after pill is suitable for use by heavier women, the European Medicines Agency said Thursday after a review of the evidence sparked by the French manufacturer's declaration that the drugs didn't work in women weighing more than 80 kilograms (176 pounds).
EU finds 'morning after pills' work, regardless of a woman's weight
24 Jul 2014 at 5:21am
Emergency contraceptives, known as the "morning after pill", remain suitable for all women who need them, regardless of a woman?s weight, European regulators said on Thursday. The European Medicines Agency had questioned whether the contraceptives worked as effectively in women weighing more than 75 kg, but its experts concluded that the benefits of using them outweighed the risks. ?Women should be reassured that regardless of their body weight, emergency contraceptives can still be used to prevent unintended pregnancy," said Sarah Branch, of Britain's drugs watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Militants order female genital mutilation in Iraq: U.N.
24 Jul 2014 at 5:06am
Militant group Islamic State has ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq's northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the United Nations said on Thursday. The "fatwa" issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Jacqueline Badcock told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil. "This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed," she said. "This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists," she added.
Lithuania to slaughter 20,000 pigs as swine fever spreads
24 Jul 2014 at 4:38am
Lithuanian authorities on Thursday ordered the slaughter of 19,400 pigs at one of the country's largest farms as an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the region spread. It was first case of ASF to be found in farm pigs in the Baltic country, Chief Veterinary Officer Jonas Milius said, amid an outbreak in which cases have appeared in neighboring countries. Poland has also reported ASF cases at farm pigs near its border with Belarus. ASF was found after pigs in the Rupinskai farm near the Belarusia and Latvia borders began dying in larger numbers than usual on Wednesday, the farm's owner, Danish firm Idavang, said.
U.N. rights body criticizes Ireland on abortion, church homes
24 Jul 2014 at 4:37am
By Padraic Halpin DUBLIN (Reuters) - A United Nations human rights panel has told Ireland it should revise its highly restrictive abortion laws and that allegations of abuse of women and children at Catholic-run homes must be better investigated. Following months of polarizing debate in the Roman Catholic country, Ireland's parliament voted to allow limited access to abortion for the first time last year but restricted it to cases when a woman's life is in danger. The U.N. Human Rights Committee remained highly critical of the law, saying Ireland should revise it to provide for additional exceptions in cases of rape, incest, serious risks to the health of the mother, or fatal fetal abnormality. "The Committee reiterates its previous concern regarding the highly restrictive circumstances under which women can lawfully have an abortion in the state," it said following hearings last week when Committee Chairman Nigel Rodley said Irish law treated women who were raped as a "a vessel and nothing more".
Massachusetts monks tap brewing tradition to support aging members
24 Jul 2014 at 4:30am
By Scott Malone SPENCER Mass. (Reuters) - Tucked off a two-lane highway in a hilly, wooded section of central Massachusetts, a group of Roman Catholic monks has embraced a centuries-old tradition they hope can sustain their aging members in a world of rapidly rising health costs. "We're trying to reinvent our economy," said Father Isaac Keeley on a recent tour of the abbey's low-slung stone buildings and starkly modern 30,000-square-foot brewery, nestled in a wooded property some 60 miles (97 km) west of Boston. "The health costs are huge," said Father Dominic Whedbee, the abbey's 65-year-old prior, the group's second-ranking member.
Chinese police arrest man after nursing home patients castrated
24 Jul 2014 at 4:27am
Police in China have arrested a man on suspicion of castrating or partially castrating four patients at a nursing home, state media said on Thursday, the latest scandal to hit the country's medical sector. Doctors discovered on Tuesday that three men at the nursing home in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang had had either one or both of their testicles removed with a blunt razor, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Britain files criminal charges against Alstom UK unit
24 Jul 2014 at 4:19am
Britain's leading fraud prosecutor on Thursday charged a British subsidiary of French engineering group Alstom with three offences of corruption and three offences of conspiracy to corrupt after a five-year investigation. The charges by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), flagged by the agency's head David Green in a Reuters interview on Wednesday, come just weeks after the French parent agreed a 12.4 billion euro (9.8 billion pounds) sale of most of its power business to U.S. conglomerate General Electric (GE). Officials for Alstom in Paris declined to comment. The charges against Alstom Network UK relate to large transport projects in India, Poland and Tunisia carried out between June 2000 and November 2006, the agency said.
China probes food businesses; Hong Kong bans imports in meat safety scare
24 Jul 2014 at 3:42am
China's food regulator has visited close to 600 restaurants, businesses and food distributors as it investigates a fast-spreading food safety scare that has dragged in a number of global brands and hit food outlets as far away as Japan. Hong Kong said on Thursday it suspended, with immediate effect, all imports from the U.S.-owned Chinese supplier at the center of the latest scare. It was unclear when the company last shipped its products to Hong Kong. Shanghai police detained five people on Wednesday, including the head and the quality chief of Shanghai Husi Food, a supplier to foreign fast-food brands including KFC, McDonald's Corp and coffee chain Starbucks Corp over allegations it supplied out-of-date meat.