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More Ebola in Guinea, Sierra Leone last week, no Liberia cases: WHO

Health workers push a wheeled stretcher holding a newly admitted Ebola patient, 16-year-old Amadou, in to the Save the Children Kerry town Ebola treatment centre outside Freetown, Sierra LeoneGuinea and Sierra Leone reported 132 new confirmed cases of Ebola in the week to March 1, an increase of 34 over the previous week, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. Liberia did not report any new confirmed infections in the week for the first time since May last year, but disease surveillance may not be optimal given the low number of samples, the U.N. agency said in its latest update on West Africa's epidemic. Only half of the 51 new infections in Guinea came from registered contacts of Ebola patients and some cases are only identified after post-mortem testing, it said. "The number of confirmed Ebola virus disease deaths occurring in the community in Guinea and Sierra Leone remains high, suggesting that the need for early isolation and treatment is not yet understood, accepted or acted upon," the WHO said in a statement.

Slash sugar intake to fight obesity, tooth decay: WHO

A worker mixes red icing sugarBy Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Adults and children from the Americas to Western Europe and the Middle East must roughly halve the amount of sugar they consume to lower risk of obesity and tooth decay, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. "The reason we are focusing on sugar is that we really have seen the important association with weight gain and obesity is a major public health concern for many countries, an increasing concern," the Director of WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, Dr. Francesco Branca, told a briefing. The current average in South America was 130 grams per adult per day, in North and Central America 95 grams, in Western Europe about 101 grams and 90 grams in the Middle East, Branca said.

New Report Shows Surge in Heroin Deaths
 A new CDC report reveals that fatal heroin overdoses nearly tripled between 2010 and 2013.

Akorn details policy to prevent use of its drugs in state executions
 (Reuters) - Akorn Inc announced a policy to prevent the use of its drugs in state executions in response to a call by shareholder New York State Common Retirement Fund, the third-largest public pension fund in the United States. The company said it would restrict the sale of components of lethal injection to a select group of wholesalers who agree to keep these products out of correctional institutions. Akorn said it adopted a policy earlier this year to not accept direct orders from prison systems. Shares of Akorn, which makes versions of sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone hydrochloride, rose as much as 6 percent on Wednesday.

Ruling Against Health Reform Subsidies Would Be Wrong -- and Harmful

Ruling Against Health Reform Subsidies Would Be Wrong -- and HarmfulAs the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in King v. Burwell this morning, it's critical that the court recognize that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides premium tax credits for consumers in all states, as we've explained. Invalidating the credits for people in states that didn't create their own exchanges would be wrong from a legal...

McDonald's to cut back on chicken fed with antibiotics

Fast-food giant McDonald's announced Wednesday it would stop serving chicken raised with antibiotics that are important to human health, as worries grow over resistance to crucial drugsFast-food giant McDonald's announced Wednesday it would stop serving chicken raised with antibiotics that are important to human health, as worries grow over resistance to crucial drugs. McDonald's said it would work with poultry farmers to halt the use of what the World Health Organization has identified as "critically important antimicrobials" to feed the chickens it serves alongside its popular hamburgers. Some antibiotics would still be allowed, but only poultry-specific ones not used on people. "While McDonald's will only source chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine, the farmers who supply chicken for its menu will continue to responsibly use ionophores, a type of antibiotic not used for humans that helps keep chickens healthy," the company said.

Many Americans approve of pot legalization: Reuters/Ipsos

File photo of marijuana under a magnifier at the medical marijuana farmers market in Los AngelesNearly half of Americans favor making marijuana legal and think Congress shouldn't be able to intervene in local pot laws in Washington, D.C., according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. Forty-four percent of respondents supported legalizing the use of marijuana, the online poll of 1,906 adults from Feb. 27 through March 2 showed. Possession of small amounts of marijuana became legal in the District of Columbia on Feb. 26 despite opposition from the Republican-led U.S. Congress. Though marijuana use remains illegal under federal law, the District of Columbia joined the states of Alaska, Colorado and Washington in legalizing recreational pot use, and a measure similar to the District's comes into effect in Oregon in July.

Treatment for prostate cancer varies by area of U.S
 By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) - A new study of Medicare and private insurance claims confirms that treatment trends for localized prostate cancer differ by U.S. region, by state and even from county to county. “There are several treatment options for men with localized prostate cancer,” said lead author Dr. K. Clinton Cary of the urology department at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. Nonetheless, he said, “It is interesting to see how treatment of the same condition varies depending on your geographic location.” The researchers used data on more than 77,000 men in a Medicare database who were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1998 and 2006 in addition to more than 63,000 in a private claims database between 2002 and 2006. Radical prostatectomy, surgery to remove the prostate gland and some surrounding tissue, held steady at 12 percent of patients over time in the Medicare group, but increased from 33 to 48 percent by 2006 in the privately insured group.

How much sugar is in that? 7 foods with added sugar

Foods that might have added sugar or another sweetener like high-fructose corn syrup as an ingredient are pictured Wednesday, March 4, 2015, in New York. New guidelines published by the World Health Organization on Wednesday say the world is eating too much sugar and people should slash their sugar intake to just 5 to 10 percent of their overall calories. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials say people should eat less sugar. But that's easier said than done.

Healthier lungs in California kids after pollution controls
 By Gene Emery (Reuters Health) - Doctors have long predicted that less air pollution will produce healthier lungs. Now a first-of-its-kind study of 2,120 children in southern California has documented dramatically better lung function growth as air quality has improved. Over a 13-year period, the proportion of children with poor lung capacity and lung health fell by half as levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter dropped. “It certainly supports the efforts that have been made over 40 years to improve air quality,” chief author Dr. James Gauderman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles told Reuters Health.

Flu winds down as FDA aims for better vaccine next winter

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2104 file photo, a flu shot is given at the National Press Club in Washington. The miserable flu season is winding down but not quite over yet, health officials said Wednesday, even as the government picked what they hoped would be a better vaccine recipe for next fall and winter. If it seems early to worry about the next flu season, well, producing 140 million doses of vaccine requires starting months in advance. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The miserable flu season is winding down but not quite over yet, health officials said Wednesday, even as the government picked what it hoped would be a better vaccine recipe for next fall and winter.

4 Patients Infected With 'Superbug' At Second Los Angeles Hospital

4 Patients Infected With 'Superbug' At Second Los Angeles HospitalLOS ANGELES (AP) — Four patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have been infected with an antibiotic-resistant "superbug" linked to a type of medical scope that's used on more than a half-million people in the U.S. every year, the hospital said Wednesday.The revelation comes two weeks after a similar outbreak at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical...

Head of U.S. National Cancer Institute to step down
 The director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute will step down later this month after nearly five years at the helm of the agency that supports basic research on cancer in academia, industry, and its own labs, the National Institutes of Health announced on Wednesday. Dr. Harold Varmus's resignation will be effective on March 31. Dr. Douglas Lowy, currently the deputy director, will become acting director on April 1. During his tenure, Varmus created NCI's Center for Global Health, launched an initiative to find drugs that target a particular biochemical pathway involved in cancer, and led the cancer component of the Precision Medicine Initiative announced last month by President Barack Obama.

Children in Southern California breathing easier, study says

FILE - This June 28, 1979 file photo shows a double-trailer flammable truck driving along the Santa Ana Freeway with a skyline of Los Angeles as a backdrop from East Los Angeles. A study appearing in the Thursday, March 5, 2015, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine that children in recent years breathed cleaner air and had stronger lungs compared to those who were studied two decades earlier, researchers found. (AP Photo/Wally Fong, File)LOS ANGELES (AP) — Smog-covered mountains, gritty sidewalks, smelly fumes from traffic-choked freeways. The Los Angeles area was a tough place to breathe several decades ago. Now a study shows how much that has changed, especially for the region's youngest residents.

Soccer-Swansea's Gomis taken to hospital after fainting
 (Adds details, quotes) LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) - Swansea City's Bafetimbi Gomis was taken to hospital for tests after needing oxygen on the pitch during the first half of his club's Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday. Gomis seemed to be conscious as he left the pitch but for a horrible few minutes the scene looked eerily like three years ago at the same ground when Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered cardiac arrest in an FA Cup tie and nearly died. "It's not the first time but it's always a big moment of worry for all the stadium, all the players," Gomis's fellow Frenchman, Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris said. Swansea manager Garry Monk confirmed that Gomis had gone to hospital for checks.

Vanda's eczema drug fails mid-stage study, shares fall
 (Reuters) - Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc said its experimental atopic dermatitis drug failed a mid-stage study to treat chronic itching. Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a chronic skin rash or inflammation that often appears in infancy. It affects between 9 and 30 percent of the U.S. population, according to the National Institutes of Health. The study data showed no statistical difference between patients on the drug, tradipitant, and those on a placebo, due to a "very high placebo effect", the company said on Wednesday.

Scopes That Spread UCLA 'Superbug' Were Awaiting FDA Clearance

Scopes That Spread UCLA 'Superbug' Were Awaiting FDA ClearanceThe manufacturer of the scopes that spread a drug-resistant "superbug" to seven California patients had tweaked the scopes' design and was selling them without federal permission to do so, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Seven people have become infected with the drug-resistant "superbug" known as CRE at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after undergoing endoscopy procedures, and CRE may have played a role in two of those patients' deaths, hospital officials said in February, adding that 179 people were exposed to the germ at UCLA. The scopes -- called duodenoscopes, which are inserted by mouth to access patients' small intestine, the pancreas and the liver -- were new and had only been in use since June, health officials said last month. The hospital said it traced the bacteria back to two endoscopes manufactured by Olympus Corporation of the Americas.

J&J nearing deal to buy cancer drug maker Pharmacyclics: FT

Products made by Johnson & Johnson for sale on a store shelf in WestminsterJohnson & Johnson is close to buying cancer drug maker Pharmacyclics Inc in the coming days, the Financial Times reported, citing sources. A bid from J&J is expected to value Pharmacyclics near its $17.5 billion market value or at a premium, FT said on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. Shares of Pharmacyclics, which markets blood cancer drug Imbruvica with J&J's Janssen unit, rose about 3 percent in extended trading. Sales of Imbruvica, which has U.S. approvals for four forms of blood cancer, are expected to touch $1 billion in the United States this year, Pharmacyclics has said earlier.

Monkeys infected by deadly bacteria at Louisiana lab
 (Reuters) - Five monkeys at a high-security primate research lab in Louisiana were accidentally infected with or exposed to a deadly bacteria being analyzed at the lab, officials told Reuters on Wednesday. A federal investigator also became sick a day after entering the Tulane National Primate Research Center near New Orleans in January and tested positive for the bacteria, Burkholderia pseudomallei, but it was unclear whether she had been exposed to the bacteria at the center or before her visit, said Tulane spokesman Mike Strecker. The rhesus macaque monkeys had been housed in the veterinary clinic of the center, which is about 40 miles (65 km) north of New Orleans. Research on the bacteria, which was being done to find a vaccine, has been halted while the incident is being investigated, Strecker said.

Crowdfunding psychedelics: LSD brain-imaging study seeks funds
 By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists are turning to crowdfunding to complete the first scientific study ever to image the brain of someone "tripping" on the psychedelic drug LSD. The study, part of a psychedelic research project the scientists say could revolutionize understanding of the human brain, is led by neuroscientists at Imperial College London who now need around 25,000 pounds ($38,000) to finish their work. When they do, the research will produce the world's first images of the human brain on LSD and will begin to reveal the way the drug can work to heal many debilitating illnesses such as alcohol addiction, depression and anxiety, the scientists told a briefing in London. "Despite the incredible potential of this drug to further out understanding of the brain, political stigma has silenced research," said David Nutt, a psychiatrist and professor of psychopharmacology at Imperial College London.

Former player Nate Jackson calls for NFL to allow marijuana

Former Denver Bronco Nate Jackson speaks during a cannabis industry expo in Denver, Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Jackson and some other former NFL players are calling on the league to allow medical marijuana as a means to help players deal with the physical pain inherent in their profession. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)DENVER (AP) — Former Broncos tight end Nate Jackson says he believes the NFL will have no choice but to remove marijuana from its lists of banned substances in the near future.

U.S. ambassador to South Korea attacked during speech
 The U.S. State Department said the American ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was injured in an assault during a breakfast speech in Seoul but that his injuries were not life threatening. "We strongly condemn this act of violence," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, adding Lippert was being treated at a hospital. President Barack Obama called Lippert to wish him a speedy recovery, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said.

Gout may lessen Alzheimer risk

The same uric acid that can crystallise to cause gout, a form of arthritis, may protect against Alzheimer's, researchers sayPeople who suffer from gout can take comfort in one thing: they may be less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, researchers said Wednesday. The same uric acid that can crystallise to cause gout, a form of arthritis, may protect against Alzheimer's, they wrote in the online journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Testing a theory that antioxidant properties in uric acid may protect the brain, experts from the United States and Canada looked at the records of 3.7 million people over the age of 40 in a British database of medical charts. Researchers compared data on people with gout, and those without, who developed Alzheimer's disease in a followup period of about five years.

China premier vows to fight pollution, corruption
 Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday his government would do everything it could to fight pollution and pledged zero tolerance for corruption, two highly sensitive topics that have become lightning rods for public discontent. Li, speaking at the opening of the annual full session of the National People's Congress, the country's largely rubber-stamp parliament, called pollution a "blight on people's quality of life and a trouble that weighs on their hearts". On corruption, a deep-seated problem President Xi Jinping has vowed to fight, Li said the battle would not end. We will see to it that every instance of corruption, should it be committed higher up or lower down, is severely punished," he said.

When wives take ill, divorce could be on horizon: study

Marriages are more likely to end in divorce if the wife takes seriously ill, a US study has found, in contrast, when husbands fall gravely ill, the likelihood of divorce is unchangedMarriages are more likely to end in divorce if the wife takes seriously ill, a US study has found. The research, detailed in the March issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, found that divorce was six percent more likely if the wife fell ill, than if she remained in good health. In contrast, when husbands fell gravely ill, the likelihood of divorce was unchanged, the researchers found. In the end, 32 percent ended in divorce while 24 percent led to one of the partners becoming a widow or widower, the research found.

U.S. Supreme Court divided over Obamacare subsidies challenge
 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided on ideological lines on Wednesday as it weighed tax subsidies key to the implementation of the Obamacare health law. Potential swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy raised concerns to lawyers on both sides about the possible negative impact on states if the government loses the case, suggesting he could back the Obama administration. But he did not commit to supporting either side. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Roberts, Obamacare's savior in 2012, seems inscrutable this time
 By Joan Biskupic WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who cast the decisive vote in 2012 to beat back the first major challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare law, kept his cards close on Wednesday. As liberal justices pounded Michael Carvin for altering his stance on the necessity of the tax-credit subsidies to Obamacare from his view in the failed 2012 court challenge, Roberts remarked, "Mr. Carvin, we've heard talk about that other case. In 2012, Roberts, a shrewd 60-year-old former corporate lawyer appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, drew the condemnation of fellow conservative justices and much of the right-wing legal community for preserving Obamacare.

Instant View: Supreme Court arguments help hospital shares
 Shares in hospitals shot up as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a major challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare law that threatens federal tax subsidies for residents of at least 34 states to help buy health insurance. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative on the nine-member court who often casts the deciding vote in close cases, raised concerns to lawyers on both sides about the possible negative impact on states if the government loses the case, suggesting he could back the Obama administration. Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial: "I think that hearing assuaged fears - at least for now - that we were headed for overturning Obamacare."     "Health care has been a favorite sector. Anything that questions that or can be an important negative will hold that back, and so this was a relief for investors in the sector." Brian Tanquilut, hospital sector analyst for Jefferies:     "The investor community thinks four justices are in the bag, so all you need is one.

U.S. hospitals optimistic they'll dodge bullet with Obamacare ruling
 By Caroline Humer and Bill Berkrot NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. hospital executives said on Wednesday they were optimistic they will avoid the toughest consequences of a Supreme Court decision on whether millions of Americans can continue to purchase subsidized health benefits under Obamacare. The high court heard oral arguments in the case challenging the federal tax credits that help residents in at least 34 states afford medical benefits under President Barack Obama's healthcare law. Investors interpreted commentary by Justice Anthony Kennedy, a potential swing vote among the nine judges, as favorable to the Obama administration's defense, boosting hospital shares. Since the subsidies were introduced last year, they have helped hospitals reduce the debt accumulated by covering the costs of uninsured patients.

Factbox: Obamacare case focuses on tax subsidies, insurance exchanges
 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a second major challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare law on Wednesday, focusing on the issue of tax subsidies available through insurance exchanges set up under the statute. Here is a look at the exchanges and subsidies. HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGES The Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, requires people who do not get health insurance through their employer, or the government programs Medicare and Medicaid to buy their own insurance. To make that easier, it created health insurance exchanges, which are centralized online marketplaces that allow consumers to shop among competing insurance plans.

White House 'pleased' with solicitor's Supreme Court arguments: spokesman
 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration was "quite pleased" with its lawyer's arguments on Wednesday before the U.S. Supreme Court defending President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, a White House spokesman said. Spokesman Josh Earnest cautioned against drawing conclusions about how the court will decide the case based on questions during oral arguments. The Supreme Court appeared divided on ideological lines as it heard the challenge to the 2010 law on Wednesday. (Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Bill Trott)

U.S. high court's Kennedy criticizes challenge to Obamacare subsidies
 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Justice Anthony Kennedy, a possible swing vote on a closely divided U.S. Supreme Court, told a lawyer challenging Obamacare subsidies on Wednesday that his argument raised a serious constitutional problem, but said the lawyer might win anyway on other grounds. Justice Anthony Kennedy questioned lawyer Michael Carvin part way into the scheduled one-hour oral argument about how a ruling might unlawfully pressure states in a case that tests President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement. (Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Will Dunham)

U.S. Supreme Court split over Obamacare challenge

Members of the King v. Burwell plaintiffs' legal team, including Kazman, Pruitt, Pamela and Douglas Hurst, and Carvin, exit the Supreme Court building after arguments in WashingtonBy Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court appeared sharply divided on ideological lines on Wednesday as it tackled a second major challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare law, with Justice Anthony Kennedy emerging as a likely swing vote in a ruling. The nine justices heard 85 minutes of arguments in the case brought by conservative opponents of the law who contend its tax credits aimed at helping people afford medical insurance should not be available in most states. A ruling favoring the challengers could cripple the law dubbed Obamacare, the president's signature domestic policy achievement. Kennedy, a conservative who often casts the deciding vote in close cases, raised concerns to lawyers on both sides about the possible negative impact on states if the government loses the case, suggesting he could back the Obama administration.

U.S. FDA updates safety alert for 'superbug' scopes
 U.S. health regulators issued an updated safety alert on Wednesday for endoscopes linked to drug-resistant "superbug" bacteria in California hospitals. The Food and Drug Administration said it was not recommending that healthcare providers cancel procedures performed with a duodenoscope for patients who need them. It did recommend that healthcare providers inform patients of the risks, including infection, and benefits associated with the procedure and report to the manufacturer and the FDA if they suspect problems with the equipment have led to patient infections. The alert followed news on Wednesday that four patients at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles were infected with a drug-resistant bacteria during endoscopic procedures that may have exposed 64 others since August.

McDonald's antibiotic-free move could prompt U.S. chicken squeeze
 A plan by McDonald's Corp to phase out chicken raised with certain kinds of antibiotics at its 14,000 U.S. restaurants will put additional pressure on an already-stressed supply chain. Antibiotic-free chicken currently accounts for a tiny portion of total U.S. supplies, and an increasing desire on the part of consumers for more "natural" products has meant that demand sometimes exceeds supply. Available product has been so tight that when six of the largest U.S. school districts tried to make the switch to antibiotic-free poultry last year, chicken sellers such as Tyson Foods Inc and Pilgrim's Pride Corp said they could not change their production systems quickly enough to meet the demand. "This is very likely to cause a disruption in McDonald's food supply and will likely raise operating costs for McDonald's franchisees," added Richard Adams, a former McDonald's franchisee who now runs the consulting firm Franchise Equity Group.

Second Los Angeles hospital reports 'superbug' infections

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shows the tip of an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) duodenoscope, attached to a long tube, not shown. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center said on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, that four patients have been infected with a superbug linked to a contaminated medical scope. It’s the second Los Angeles hospital to report infections from a superbug known as CRE. (AP Photo/U.S. Food and Drug Administration, File)LOS ANGELES (AP) — Four patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have been infected with an antibiotic-resistant "superbug" linked to a type of medical scope that's used on more than a half-million people in the U.S. every year, the hospital said Wednesday.

Second Los Angeles hospital identifies 'superbug' infections
 By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A second top Los Angeles hospital has reported an outbreak of drug-resistant "superbug" infections, and dozens more potential exposures, from procedures performed with a fiber-optic instrument called a duodenoscope. The notice from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of four such infections and 67 more patients who were at risk coincided with a hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, reporting a similar outbreak involving at least five infections and more than 280 potential exposures.

Safety for Women and Girls: Protection Strategies for a Healthful World

Safety for Women and Girls: Protection Strategies for a Healthful WorldThis International Women's Day, as we step back to marvel at the significant progress made by women and girls worldwide, we take note as well of the distance yet to travel before every woman and girl feels safe in this world -- safe enough simply to go to school, to gather water or firewood, to go to work before dawn. Safe enough that you know...

AbbVie to buy cancer drug maker Pharmacyclics in $21 billion deal

A screen displays the share price for pharmaceutical maker AbbVie on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange(Reuters) - Drugmaker AbbVie Inc said it will buy Pharmacyclics Inc , the maker of blockbuster cancer drug Imbruvica, for about $21 billion to boost its oncology drugs pipeline. AbbVie will pay $261.25 per share in cash and stock, a 13 percent premium to Pharmacyclics stock's closing price on Wednesday on the Nasdaq. Pharmacyclics stockholders can elect cash, AbbVie stock or a combination, subject to proration, the company said in a statement. "Imbruvica is not only complementary to AbbVie's oncology pipeline, it has demonstrated strong clinical efficacy across a broad range of hematologic malignancies," AbbVie's Chief Executive, Richard Gonzalez, said in a statement.

North Korea to reopen Pyongyang marathon to foreign runners
 By James Pearson SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea is set to reopen an international marathon to overseas runners after ending a ban on most foreigners entering the country because of fears over the deadly Ebola virus, tour companies said on Thursday. North Korean officials had previously told travel agencies specializing in tours to the isolated country that foreign runners were no longer allowed to participate in the marathon scheduled for April in the capital, Pyongyang. The country closed its borders to foreign tourists last October for fear the virus might spread and imposed a strict 21-day quarantine on foreign aid workers and diplomats, who were told to stay in embassy compounds. "I spoke to our North Korean partners this morning who said they were in discussions with the marathon committee about reopening the event to foreign runners," Troy Collings, manager of Chinese-based Young Pioneer Tours, told Reuters.

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