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Sudden Supreme Court vacancy seizes U.S. campaign spotlight
13 Feb 2016 at 7:27pm
By James Oliphant and Ginger Gibson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The future of the U.S. Supreme Court grabbed center stage in the country's presidential campaign with the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia, setting up an election-year battle over who should succeed him on a nine-member bench that interprets U.S. law over such hot-button issues as abortion, gay marriage, healthcare and immigration. The death of the 79-year-old conservative justice, announced by Chief Justice John Roberts, promises to provoke a major confrontation this year between President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and the Republican-led U.S. Senate over who will replace Scalia. The U.S. president has the job of nominating justices, and the Senate has the job of confirming.
Pope presses Mexican president on corruption and drugs
13 Feb 2016 at 5:57pm
By Philip Pullella and Gabriel Stargardter MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis called on Mexico's government on Saturday to fight endemic corruption and drug trafficking and he then prayed with thousands before the icon that unites the country - the Virgin of Guadalupe. Corruption is deeply ingrained in Mexico, and President Enrique Pena Nieto, his wife and finance minister have all been embroiled in conflict of interest scandals involving homes purchased from government contractors. The pope also exhorted Mexico's bishops to take a more active stand against the drug trade, which he said "devours like a metastasis." Drug-trafficking gangs have infiltrated police forces across the country and more than 100,000 people have been killed in drug violence over the last decade.
Men face higher risk of cancers linked to oral sex
13 Feb 2016 at 12:40pm
Men are twice as likely as women to get cancer of the mouth and throat linked to the human papillomavirus, or HPV, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, researchers say. For men, the risk of HPV-driven cancers of the head and neck rise along with the number of oral sex partners, researchers said Friday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in the US capital. Nearly two out of three of these oral cancers in the United States and most western nations are caused by infection with the HPV 16 strain of the virus, and incidence of cancer is on the rise in recent years, said Gypsyamber D'Souza, who teaches epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
U.S. probes misconduct allegation at VA hospital in Cincinnati
13 Feb 2016 at 12:10pm
Federal officials are investigating an allegation of misconduct at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, the latest problem for a scandal-plagued agency that has become a punching bag in the Nov. 8 presidential election campaign. The Department of Veterans Affairs on Saturday confirmed the latest investigation but provided no details about the allegation. "VA takes any allegations of conduct that negatively affect the care of veterans, or that is against our values, very seriously," the agency said in a statement, noting that the Cincinnati hospital is one of the top 20 VA hospitals for quality of care.
Noise harder on children than adults, hinders how they learn
13 Feb 2016 at 11:17am
WASHINGTON (AP) ? From the cacophony of day care to the buzz of TV and electronic toys, noise is more distracting to a child's brain than an adult's, and new research shows it can hinder how youngsters learn.
In war on Zika mosquito, Brazil vows worry-free Olympics
13 Feb 2016 at 11:13am
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Saturday launched a door-to-door "war" on mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, vowing they will not jeopardize the Rio Olympics in August. "The situation does not compromise the Olympics," Rousseff said as she joined soldiers in a nationwide campaign to teach citizens how to fight the outbreak. Rio de Janeiro will host the Summer Games August 5 to 21, drawing athletes and spectators from around the world.
Pope presses Mexico president, bishops on corruption and drugs
13 Feb 2016 at 10:32am
By Philip Pullella and David Alire Garcia MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis launched a broadside against endemic corruption on Saturday on his first visit to Mexico as pontiff, calling on President Enrique Pena Nieto and his government to combat it. Corruption is deeply ingrained in Mexico, and Pena Nieto, his wife and finance minister have all been embroiled in conflict of interest scandals involving homes purchased from government contractors. The pope also exhorted Mexico's bishops to take a more active stand against the drug trade, which he said "devours like a metastasis." He told them to make it clear to drug dealers that they could not consider themselves good Catholics if their hands were "drenched in blood, but pockets filled with sordid money and their consciences deadened." Drug-trafficking gangs have infiltrated police forces across the country and more than 100,000 people have been killed in drug violence over the last decade.
State officials blocked Flint Legionnaires' probe: CNN
13 Feb 2016 at 10:03am
From June 2014 to November 2015 Michigan's Genesee County, which includes Flint, had 87 cases of Legionnaires', 10 of them fatal. The outbreak began weeks after a switch in Flint's water supply that also led to lead contamination.
WHO reports rise of neurological disorder in Zika outbreak
13 Feb 2016 at 9:31am
BERLIN (AP) ? A rare neurological disorder is on the rise in several Latin American countries that are also seeing an outbreak of the Zika virus, the World Health Organization said Saturday.
Berlin film 'National Bird' gives whistleblower view of drones
13 Feb 2016 at 8:34am
By Michael Roddy BERLIN (Reuters) - Lisa, a former technical sergeant who worked for a U.S. government data-gathering system, thought the way information was being used for military drone strikes put her "on the right side of history". Lisa thinks the drone program poses a threat not only to civilians killed accidentally in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but to Americans back home as well. "It's not just one person sitting there with a little remote control, a little joystick moving around a plane that's halfway across the world," Lisa, whose last name and those of the other two are not revealed in director Sonia Kennebeck's film.
Zika likely to spread to large Brazilian cities: expert
13 Feb 2016 at 8:33am
Brasília (AFP) - The Zika virus, linked to a surge in infants born with abnormally small heads, is likely to spread this year to Brazil's densely populated cities where it has barely surfaced, a top health official told AFP. Zika has struck hard in hot and humid southeastern and central Brazil, but largely spared bigger cities like Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, said Claudio Maierovitch, head of the communicable diseases surveillance department at the Ministry of Health. Since October, 462 cases of microcephaly have been confirmed in Brazil, which has a population of 204 million, and more than 3,800 cases are being studied as possibly being related to the virus, according to government figures.
Brazil enlists army, cabinet in campaign against Zika
13 Feb 2016 at 8:07am
By Silvio Cascione BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's government launched a nationwide campaign on Saturday to fight the Zika virus, with President Dilma Rousseff and cabinet ministers personally visiting homes and handing out leaflets along with 220,000 troops. Under a scorching sun in the neighborhood of Zepellin in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, which will host the Olympic Games in August, Rousseff said everyone needed to take part in the battle against the mosquito carrying Zika, suspected of causing the birth defect microcephaly. "Brazil and the world have lost the battle against dengue, but we won the war against yellow fever, which is carried by the same mosquito.
Oman leader Sultan Qaboos to travel to Germany for medical checks
13 Feb 2016 at 6:43am
Omani leader Sultan Qaboos is to travel to Germany on Sunday for a limited period of time for medical checks, the official Oman state news agency said on Saturday. Qaboos had previously spent eight months in Germany for medical reasons returning to Oman in March. Western-backed Qaboos has ruled since taking over from his father in a bloodless coup with the help of Oman's former colonial power, Britain.
More than 5,000 pregnant women in Colombia have Zika virus: government
13 Feb 2016 at 6:38am
More than 5,000 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, the country's national health institute said on Saturday, as the disease continues its rapid spread across the Americas. Zika, which has spread to more than 30 countries, has been linked to birth defect microcephaly and to neurological disease Guillain-Barre syndrome. Total reported Zika cases increased by 23 percent over last week's figures, while the number of pregnant women with the virus was up 57.8 percent.
Soccer-I'm 2-0 up in battle against cancer, says Cruyff
13 Feb 2016 at 6:05am
Dutch soccer great Johan Cruyff says he is "2-0 up in the first half" of his fight against lung cancer and confident of winning the battle. A former smoker who had heart surgery in 1991, the 68-year-old former Barcelona coach was diagnosed with cancer in October. "After several medical treatments I can say the results have been very positive, thanks to the excellent work of the doctors, the affection of the people and my positive mentality," triple Ballon d'Or winner Cruyff said in a statement.