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Dutch doctor in UK organ scandal found guilty

Public HealthJun 21 05

A Dutch doctor at the centre of a British hospital scandal was found guilty of serious professional misconduct on Monday for removing organs from the bodies of 850 dead children without their parents’ consent.

The General Medical Council (GMC) ordered Professor Dick van Velzen be struck off the UK medical register after his actions at the Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, northern England.

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UK government consults public on smoking ban

Tobacco & MarijuanaJun 21 05

The British government began public consultation on Monday on proposals for a partial smoking ban in England, a day after it was forced to deny it intends a total workplace ban. Views are being sought on plans to outlaw smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces and on how a ban might operate in licensed premises like bars and restaurants.

Newspapers on Sunday indicated any partial ban would likely become total, but this was denied by health officials. On Monday, the government said it wants anywhere that serves food to be smoke-free but that all other bars and members’ clubs would have the right to choose.

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Three EU states seen keeping ban on GMO maize type

Food & NutritionJun 21 05

The United States may see its case against Europe’s biotech policy strengthened this week as three EU governments look set to maintain bans on a type of genetically modified (GMO) maize, a EU official said on Monday.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, wants Austria, Luxembourg and Germany to scrap their bans on Bt-176, a GMO maize strain made by Swiss biotech giant Syngenta .

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Many child workers abused in Indonesian homes

Public HealthJun 21 05

The Indonesian government is ignoring the widespread physical and sexual abuse of hundreds of thousands of young girls working as maids in homes around the country, an international human rights watchdog said on Monday.

Human Rights Watch said in a 74-page report that some of the children interviewed had described being denied food and wages and beaten and raped by their employers.

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Consumer group wants warning label on potato chips

Food & NutritionJun 21 05

A California consumer legal group is campaigning to require warning labels on potato chips, saying they contain a chemical known to cause cancer and state law requires the warnings.

The Environmental Law Foundation filed notices with the Golden State’s attorney general on Thursday against Lay’s potato chip maker PepsiCo Inc., Pringles maker Procter & Gamble Co., Cape Cod potato chip parent Lance Inc. and Kettle Chips maker Kettle Foods Inc.

The notices give the attorney general’s office 60 days to take up the case on behalf of all Californians. If the state declines to pursue the matter, the group said in the documents that “it intends to bring suit in the public interest” against the companies.

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Zambia to put debt relief into AIDS fight

AIDS/HIVJun 21 05

Zambia will use millions of dollars freed up by debt relief to provide AIDS drugs for 100,000 people by the end of the year, a minister said on Monday.

Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande said the plan to provide free antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) was approved by cabinet last week after Zambia received additional debt relief from the Group of Eight (G8) rich nations.

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Indian women fight back against rape epidemic

Public HealthJun 21 05

For years, rape victims in India were too afraid to speak out, traumatized by the assault and fearful they would be blamed themselves. Many don’t trust the police.

Now, they are learning to fight back.

Rattled by a series of brutal rapes across the country, almost 3,000 women from 15 to 50 packed into a park in the Indian capital last weekend for self-defense classes that included elements of judo, karate and taekwondo.

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Number of Japan child abuse cases soar

Children's HealthJun 21 05

The number of cases of child abuse reported in Japan soared nearly a quarter in the year that ended on March 31, rising above 30,000 for the first time, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

Stricter laws on reporting abuse contributed to the rise, but the main factor was several notorious cases in which children died as a result of abuse by their parents, horrifying a nation that has boasted that its stable family structure made such abuse inconceivable.

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WHO probes China’s reported use of flu drug on birds

FluJun 21 05

The World Health Organisation is seeking clarification from China about reports it urged farmers to use a human antiviral drug to treat birds infected with a deadly strain of avian flu, breaking international guidelines.

Scientists fear the bird flu, which is infectious in birds but does not spread easily among humans, could mutate into a form capable of generating a pandemic in which millions of people without immunity could die.

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Dengue fever kills 3 in Yemen, 58 others infected

InfectionsJun 21 05

Dengue fever has killed three people since appearing in Yemen early this month and 58 others have been infected, a Health Ministry official said on Sunday.

Ministry Under-Secretary Abbas al-Metwakel told the official news agency Saba that there were 423 suspected cases in three Yemeni provinces, particularly in eastern Shabwa province.

He said authorities had launched a campaign to kill mosquitoes to prevent a spread of the tropical disease.

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Oregon’s top lawyer OKs medical marijuana use

Tobacco & MarijuanaJun 21 05

Oregon’s attorney general gave the state the go-ahead on Friday to resume issuing cards that allow sick patients to smoke marijuana despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling the federal government could prosecute medical use of the drug.

“The (Supreme Court) decision has no legal impact on the operation of Oregon’s program,” according to a statement by Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers’ office.

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Embryos cloned from human eggs matured in lab

Public HealthJun 21 05

Belgian scientists said on Monday they have cloned the first human embryos from unripe eggs matured in the laboratory, an achievement that could help to overcome a stumbling block in stem cell research.

Until now, scientists who have managed to clone human embryos have used donated mature eggs, which are in short supply.

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Pelvic inflammatory disease linked to pelvic pain

PainJun 16 05

Researchers have identified a range of factors that increase the risk of developing chronic pelvic pain from pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which results from vaginal infection, often sexually transmitted, that ascends into the pelvis.

“Recurrent PID repeatedly damages the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, increasing the likelihood of chronic pelvic pain and infertility,” warned the team leader Dr. Catherine L. Haggerty.

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Friends may be key to living longer

Public HealthJun 16 05

Looking for the secret of a long life? Look closely at your friends. New research suggests that having a strong network of friends helps people live longer.

“Older people with better social networks with friends were less likely to die over a 10-year follow-up period than older people with poorer friends networks,” Lynne C. Giles of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, told Reuters Health.

But in what may come as a surprising finding to older people who rely on their children and other relatives, having a large network of relatives was not associated with longer life, Giles and her colleagues report in the July issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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US lawmakers urge emergency contraception for rape

Gender: FemaleJun 16 05

Under bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. House and Senate on Wednesday, hospitals that receive federal funds would have to advise rape victims of the availability of emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy.

“The idea that someone cannot prevent an unwanted pregnancy that’s the result of an assault is just inconceivable to me,” said Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine of New Jersey, referring to hospitals that do not routinely provide rape victims with access to emergency contraception, a two-pill regime that can reliably prevent pregnancy if taken shortly after unprotected intercourse.

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