Health

Torrential rains, floods kill 20 in Central America
October 14, 2007 10:07 PM -

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) - Emergency officials across Central America worked to clean up towns inundated by recent deadly floods and landslides, and braced for more bad weather on Sunday.

At least 20 people were killed and thousands evacuated across Central America after days of torrential rain sparked landslides and flooding.

The same weather system that killed 23 people in a Haitian village on Friday triggered a landslide that buried 14 people under mud and debris in Costa Rica.

Red Cross workers had been digging through the debris since Thursday, when about 2.5 acres (1 hectare) of land on a steep slope gave way and fell on the small town of Atenas, about 20 miles west of the Costa Rican capital.

Tea struggles for place in 21st century Asia
October 14, 2007 09:45 PM - Ralph Jennings, reuters

TAIPEI (Reuters) - From Beijing to Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Taipei, faced-paced modern life means that tea has little appeal for Asian youth who don't have the patience to wait the 10 minutes it takes to brew tea in the traditional way.

"I don't have any time or relevant tea culture," said Becca Liu, a 25-year-old college graduate in Taipei.

"I'm more curious to know how to make coffee," she added. Determined to restore tea to its exalted status in Asia, tea lovers are trying to repackage tea as a funky new-age brew to a young generation more inclined to slurp down a can of artificially-flavored tea than to sip the real thing.

Schwarzenegger signs handgun "microstamp" bill
October 14, 2007 09:39 PM -

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill whose backers say will better help police use shells from hand guns as evidence in criminal investigations, a spokeswoman said on Sunday.

The legislation marks a victory for gun-control activists and the second time Schwarzenegger signed one of their priority bills. In 2004 he approved a ban on private citizens owning .50 caliber rifles.

Fearful looks get brain's attention fast: study
October 14, 2007 09:31 PM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Smiles may take a while, but a horrified expression is a sure-fire attention getter, U.S. researchers said on Sunday, based on a study of how fast people process facial expressions.

They believe fearful facial expressions make a beeline to the alarm center of the brain known as the amygdala, cuing humans to potential threats.

Afghanistan struggles with heroin addiction scourge
October 14, 2007 09:29 PM - Hamid Shalizi, Reuters

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan, the world's biggest heroin producer, is struggling to cope with a drug problem as thousands of Afghans -- trying to cope with the traumas of war, displacement and poverty -- are becoming addicted to narcotics.

On the outskirts of Kabul, a sprawling bombed-out building that was once a centre for culture and science is home to over 100 squatters whose main concern is feeding their heroin habit.

Illinois firm recalls beef patties on E.coli scare
October 14, 2007 09:21 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - J&B Meats Corp. is recalling 173,554 pounds (78.7 tonnes) of frozen ground beef products sold under "Topps" and "Sam's Choice" labels due to possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. government said this weekend.

The Coal Valley, Illinois-based company produced the patties in June and distributed them to retail stores nationwide, the U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, said in a statement.

U.S. maternal death rate higher than Europe's: report
October 14, 2007 10:14 AM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has a sharply higher rate of women dying during or just after pregnancy than European countries, even some relatively poor countries such as Macedonia and Bosnia, according to the first estimates in five years on maternal deaths worldwide.

The report released by various United Nations agencies and the World Bank on Friday shows that Ireland has the lowest rate of deaths, while several African countries have the worst.

The United States has a far higher death rate than the European average, the report shows, with one in 4,800 U.S. women dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth, the same as Belarus and just slightly better than Serbia's rate of one in 4,500.

Indonesian boy dies of bird flu: health ministry
October 14, 2007 09:14 AM - Reuters

A 12-year-old Indonesian boy has died of bird flu, taking the total death toll from the disease in the country to 88, a health ministry official said on Saturday.

Another official at the ministry's bird flu centre had earlier said was not clear how the boy, from Tanggerang city in West Java, contracted the virus, but that some chickens had died in his neighborhood.

Challenged By Customers, Cosmetic Company Goes Greener
October 12, 2007 06:51 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Austin, TX. - A texas cosmetics company, challenged by a group of it's customers to take a moral stand, and be greener, decided it's best to listen.

The company, Gourmet Body Treats currently uses only post-consumer recycled paper in all of it's facility's, along with several other energy saving practices. But customers and friends wanted more and challenged the company to use only sustainable ingredients in both product and packaging. They've set a deadline for them selves to meet this challenge for early this coming year. This is unprecedented in the cosmetic industry, and would be yet another way that the company has set a bench mark in ethics for the field.

 

Old virus causing new disease in United States
October 12, 2007 04:46 PM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A strain of virus best known for causing colds and "stomach flu" is becoming more common and more dangerous, U.S. researchers report.

They said that adenovirus 21 was surprisingly common and was causing an unexpected level of severe disease and deaths.

The researchers used a new test developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and said the wider use of such tests might help doctors and health officials better understand what diseases are making people sick.

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