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Zuckerberg charity buys AI startup to battle disease

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergA charitable foundation backed by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife said Monday it has bought a Canadian artificial intelligence startup as part of a mission to eradicate disease. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative did not disclose financial terms of the deal to acquire Toronto-based Meta, which uses AI to quickly read and comprehend scientific papers and then provide insights to researchers. Meta capabilities will be unified in a tool made available for free to scientists.

China jails key suspects in vaccine scandal

Vaccines for polio, hepatitis B and measles are mandatory for all children in China and supplied by the state, while parents can buy additional immunisations privatelyChina sentenced two key suspects in an out-of-date immunisations scandal, a local court said Tuesday, in a case which fuelled public concern about vaccine safety and sparked outrage about official delays in revealing details. The scandal, which came to light in March last year, involved the illegal and improper storage, transport and sale of tens of millions of dollars' worth of vaccines -- many of them expired. The Jinan Intermediate People's Court sentenced Pang Hongwei, one of the key players in the scheme, to 19 years in prison for illegal business practices, according to a statement posted Tuesday on its verified Weibo social media account.

Prosthetics maker Ottobock draws private equity interest

A prosthetic foot is seen on a work table in the Ottobock workshop at the Athlete's Village in the Olympic Park in Stratford, east LondonGermany's Ottobock, the world's largest maker of artificial limbs, has attracted interest from private equity groups including KKR and CVC for a 20 percent stake in its core business, people familiar with the matter said on Monday. The suitors for the stake in its core healthcare division also include buyout firms BC Partners and Advent, the people told Reuters. The privately held company, owned by the founder's grandson Hans Georg Naeder, said on Friday it was targeting private equity firms, affluent families and technology funds as potential buyers in a deal to be completed by the end of June, ahead of an initial public offering at a later stage.

Trump makes early move on restricting abortions around the world

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington.By Ellen Wulfhorst NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday reinstated a global gag rule that bans U.S.-funded groups around the world from discussing abortion, a move that was widely expected but nonetheless dismayed women's rights advocates. The rule, which affects American non-governmental organizations working abroad, is one that incoming presidents have used to signal their positions on abortion rights. It was created under U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

New bird flu virus type confirmed on German turkey farm
 A bird flu outbreak in north Germany this week was of a new subtype called H5N5, the first time the strain has been confirmed on a German farm, the country's national animal disease center said on Tuesday. The H5N5 strain was found on a turkey farm in Germany in Steinburg in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, the Friedrich Loeffler Institute said.. The H5N5 strain has been found previously in wild birds in the Netherlands, Italy, Montenegro and Italy and Croatia, the institute said. It has also been found in wild birds in Germany this week.

China jails two over vaccine scandal
 A court in China on Tuesday jailed two people for selling vaccines without a license, state media said, after a scandal last year that sparked public anger. The court in Jinan city sentenced Pang Hongwei to 15 years in prison for illegally purchasing vaccines, including rabies vaccines, which she stored in warehouses in Jinan and another city, before selling them around China, Xinhua news agency said. Pang improperly stored the vaccines she bought, and earned nearly 75 million yuan ($10.93 million) from selling them, Xinhua added.

Nonprofit tied to insurance, drug giants behind healthcare overhaul ads
 American Action Network has previously spent millions boosting Republican candidates.

Britain can discuss but not seal trade deals while still in EU: executive
 Britain can discuss but not seal bilateral trade deals while it remains a member of the European Union, the deputy head of the bloc's executive, which will lead the technical negotiations on Brexit, said on Tuesday. Frans Timmermans' words raised the prospect of obstacles and delays for Britain's plan to pursue trade pacts with the United States and other nations as it prepares to leave the bloc. "It's a very simple legal situation," said Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission.

Fire-prone Indonesian province declares early emergency to combat "haze"

Trees burn during a fire in Pekanbaru, Indonesia Riau province, IndonesiaIndonesia's fire-prone Riau province declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, the disaster mitigation agency said, after President Joko Widodo urged regional authorities to avoid a repeat of fires that smothered Southeast Asia in smog in 2015. Indonesia faces global pressure to put an end to slash-and-burn land clearances for palm and pulp plantations which send clouds of toxic smoke over the region each year. Tuesday's move is intended to help Riau, which sits a stone's throw across the Malacca Strait from wealthy city-state Singapore, to begin taking preventive steps as dryer weather is expected in 2017 than in 2016.

Under cover of night, Syrian wounded seek help from enemy Israel

Israeli soldiers give initial medical treatment to wounded Syrians in an Israeli military ambulance, near the Syrian-Israeli border, in the Israeli-occupied Golan HeightsBy Rami Amichay and Baz Ratner GOLAN HEIGHTS (Reuters) - It happens nearly every night. After dark, the Syrian wounded come to known locations on the Israel-Syria front in the Golan Heights, driven by desperation to seek help from an enemy army. Israeli soldiers on lookout or patrol spot them waiting by the fence and whisk them away to a rear position where army medics soon arrive, according to army officials operating in the area that was seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

U.N. to need $8 billion this year to help Syrians at home and abroad
 By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations said on Tuesday it will need a total of $8 billion this year to provide life-saving assistance to millions of Syrians inside their shattered homeland and to refugees and their host communities in neighboring countries. The first part, a $4.63 billion appeal for 5 million Syrian refugees - 70 percent of whom are women and children - was launched at a Helsinki conference. A separate appeal for an estimated $3.4 billion to fund its humanitarian operation to help 13.5 million people inside Syria after nearly six years of war, is being finalised.

Bomb classes and gun counts: trauma of Mosul children under Islamic State

Schoolchildren pose after they registered in a school and received their new school bags in MosulBy Girish Gupta MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Schools in the east of the Iraqi city of Mosul are seeking to return to a semblance of normality after two years under Islamic State rule when they were either shuttered or forced to teach a martial curriculum that included lessons in bombmaking. Around 40,000 students - most of whom have been kept at home by their parents since the militants captured Mosul in 2014 - will attend around 70 schools in the coming weeks after the buildings have been checked for unexploded bombs. U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have retaken most eastern districts of the city and are preparing to push into the western part of Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State across its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Ryan says Trump to address joint session of Congress Feb. 28

U.S. President-elect Trump meets with Speaker of the House Ryan on Capitol Hill in WashingtonWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday he has invited President Donald Trump to address a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28. "This will be an opportunity for the people and their representatives to hear directly from our new president about his vision in our shared agenda," Ryan, leader of the Republican-controlled House, said at a news conference. (Reporting by Rick Cowan and Doina Chiacu)

E-cigarettes may encourage teenagers to smoke

E-cigarettes have not contributed to a decrease in teenage smoking.E-cigarettes may entice teenagers who would not have touched tobacco to smoke. According to a US study published in the journal Pediatrics, the arrival of e-cigarettes on the market has not contributed to a reduction in teenage smoking. The new study conducted by researchers from the University of California San Francisco, which surveyed 140,000 high school students between 2004 and 2014, confirms previous studies that found that e-cigarettes amount to a "gateway" to smoking addiction.

Synergy wins U.S. approval for constipation drug (Jan 19)
 (The Jan. 19 story corrects paragraph 9 to say Ironwood Pharma also sells Linzess in North America) (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday it had approved Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc's drug to treat chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). CIC, which affects 14 percent of the global population, is a type of gastrointestinal disorder where individuals have difficult and infrequent bowel movements. Trulance met the main goals of two late-stage studies in December on irritable bowel syndrome patients with constipation (IBS-C).

Federal program cuts disparities in HIV/AIDS care
 By Ronnie Cohen (Reuters Health) - When Gina Brown was diagnosed with HIV in 1994, she considered it a death sentence, but nearly 23 years later, she’s living a full life in New Orleans, thanks largely to the federally funded Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. In 2014, the safety-net program provided drugs, medical care and support services to more than 268,000 people in the U.S. living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. Now a study shows that in 82 percent of them, including Brown, HIV is no longer detectable in their blood – a state known as “viral suppression.” Those who are virally suppressed take antiretroviral medications that allow them to expect to live a nearly average lifespan.

Continuous glucose monitoring continues to show promise: studies
 By Megan Brooks NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) improved diabetes control and reduced glucose variability and was well liked in two studies of patients with type 1 diabetes using multiple daily insulin injections. Both studies were published today in JAMA. The DIAMOND study enrolled 158 patients on multiple daily insulin injections and a baseline hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) of 7.5% to 9.9%.

Aetna, Humana to consider all options after court blocks merger

A trader points up at a display on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeThe deal would "substantially lessen competition" in the sale of Medicare Advantage plans in 364 counties in 21 U.S. states and on the Obamacare exchange in three Florida counties, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on Monday. "We continue to believe a combined company will create access to higher-quality and more affordable care, and deliver a better overall experience for those we serve," Aetna Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini and Humana Chief Executive Offer Bruce Broussard said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Johnson & Johnson plans more price transparency; eyes U.S. tax, healthcare changes

Logo of healthcare company Johnson & Johnson is seen in ZugJohnson & Johnson's chief executive officer said on Tuesday that responsible drug pricing is a priority and discussed changes he would like to see on the U.S. tax code and healthcare policy, one day after meeting with President Donald Trump. It also said it was reviewing strategic options, including the possible sale, for some diabetes care businesses. High prices for prescription medicines have come under extreme criticism from health insurers and politicians, and J&J was the first major healthcare company to report results since Trump's scathing remarks on the subject.

Dying from cancer: Could your location determine your fate?
 CHICAGO (AP) — Americans in certain struggling parts of the country are dying from cancer at rising rates, even as the cancer death rate nationwide continues to fall, an exhaustive new analysis has found.

Trump health pick favors insurance for people with prior illness

U.S. Rep. Price testifies before Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington(Reuters) - President Donald Trump's nominee to run the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told a U.S. panel on Tuesday that he wants to ensure people with pre-existing conditions have access to health insurance, though he did not specify how. Speaking before the Senate Committee on Finance, one of two committees that oversee the health department, Representative Tom Price, a Georgia orthopedic surgeon said "nobody ought to be priced out of the market for having a bad diagnosis." "I commit that we will not abandon individuals with preexisting illness or disease," he said.

Toronto biotech raises $200 million ahead of ADHD drug decision
 Highland Therapeutics Inc has raised $200 million from Morgan Stanley ahead of the U.S. drug regulator's decision for a new drug that manages attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the Toronto-based biotech startup said on Tuesday. The drug HLD200, which underwent two Phase 3 studies last year, is under review and awaiting approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Part of the financing is contingent on the FDA decision, which is expected on July 30.

U.S. deficit forecast to shrink in 2017 but climb over next decade

A man pushes his shopping cart down an aisle at a Home Depot store in New YorkThe U.S. budget deficit is expected to dip during the current fiscal year but balloon over the next decade, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a report on Tuesday that showed President Donald Trump inheriting a tricky long-term fiscal picture. The CBO projected the deficit, the amount that government expenditures exceed incoming revenue, to fall slightly to $559 billion in fiscal year 2017, which ends on Sept. 30, compared to $587 billion a year earlier, and it was seen lower still in 2018 at $487 billion. After that, according to the CBO, deficits are expected to grow steadily over the next decade to $1.4 trillion by fiscal 2027, in part due to costs associated with the retiring baby-boom generation.

What to Know About Trump Reinstatment of Mexico City Policy Affecting Overseas Abortions
 The Mexico City policy stops funding for groups who provide abortion services.

The risk of death from cancer may depend on where you live
 By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - Cancer death rates are surging in some regions of the U.S. even as fatalities steadily decline nationwide, a new study suggests. Overall, the U.S. death rate from cancer has dropped about 20 percent from 1980 to 2014, the study found. "Known cancer risk factors – smoking, diet, and obesity, among others – combined with poor prevention programs may increase cancer cases," said senior study author Dr. Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Minnesota governor collapses while addressing legislators

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton speaks on the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia(This January 23 story corrects to amend chief of staff's name to Jaime Tincher in paragraphs six and seven) (Reuters) - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton collapsed on Monday while delivering his state-of-the-state address to legislators in St. Paul, but aides said afterward that Dayton quickly recovered from what they described as a fainting spell and returned home. "He quickly recovered, walked out of the Capitol and turned home," Tincher said, adding that emergency medical technicians met Dayton at his home and performed a "routine check" on him there.

Dutch government wants to counter Trump with abortion funds
 THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government says it wants an international fund to finance access to birth control, abortion and education for women in developing countries.

Minnesota governor says diagnosed with prostate cancer

File photo of Governor Dayton at Castile memorial picnic in St. PaulMinnesota Governor Mark Dayton, who collapsed while delivering his state-of-the-state address in St. Paul, said on Tuesday he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer but planned to stay on the job while undergoing treatment. Dayton, 69, told reporters at a press conference that he did not think the fainting episode was related to his cancer and felt fit to serve out the remainder of his term that runs until early 2018. The governor, who turns 70 on Thursday, said he learned of the cancer following a biopsy two weeks earlier and will consult with doctors on the best course of treatment in the coming days.

Healthy babies don't need apps to monitor vital signs
 By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - Smartphone applications paired with sensors to monitor babies' vital signs may appeal to parents anxious to make sure infants sleep safely through the night, but there's no medical evidence proving these products work, a new paper suggests. SIDS has become much less common in recent decades as doctors have urged parents to put infants to sleep on their backs without pillows or other soft bedding and toys that could pose a suffocation risk.

Britain confirms bird flu case in Lancashire, to cull infected poultry
 (Reuters) - The H5N8 bird flu strain has been found in a flock of about 10,000 pheasants at a farm in Lancashire, northwest England, British authorities said on Tuesday. Some of the birds have already died and the remainder will be culled, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said in a statement. Different strains of bird flu have been spreading across Europe and Asia since late last year, leading to the large-scale slaughter of poultry in certain countries and some human deaths in China.

Britain confirms bird flu case in Lancashire, to cull infected poultry
 (Reuters) - The H5N8 bird flu strain has been found in a flock of about 10,000 pheasants at a farm in Lancashire, northwest England, British authorities said on Tuesday. Some of the birds have already died and the remainder will be culled, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said in a statement. Different strains of bird flu have been spreading across Europe and Asia since late last year, leading to the large-scale slaughter of poultry in certain countries and some human deaths in China.

What to Know About Trump Reinstatment of Mexico City Policy Affecting Overseas Abortions

What to Know About Trump Reinstatment of Mexico City Policy Affecting Overseas AbortionsOn President Trump's first Monday in office, he issued an executive memorandum reinstating the Mexico City policy, also called the global gag rule, which bars federal funding for overseas groups that provide access to or counseling about abortions. What Is the Mexico City Policy, or Global Gag Rule? Introduced by President Ronald Reagan at a United Nations conference in Mexico City in 1984, the policy was dubbed the global gag rule by abortion-rights groups.

Many middle-aged workers face job problems due to physical frailty
 By Madeline Kennedy (Reuters Health) - Nearly a third of middle-aged workers suffer from some level of frailty, including fatigue, issues with walking and other physical limitations that make them less able to hold a job, according to a UK study. Frailty is more often something considered when treating elderly patients, but middle-aged patients may face some of the same symptoms, the study team writes in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Physical frailty leaves many people out of work entirely, while others take a lot of days off or struggle with physical demands, especially in manual labor jobs, the research team writes.

Trump health nominee says he does not back Medicare privatization

U.S. Rep. Price testifies before Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in WashingtonPresident Donald Trump's nominee to run the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told a congressional panel on Tuesday that he does not support the privatization of Medicare and defended his ethics record. Speaking before the Senate Committee on Finance, one of two committees that oversee the health department, Representative Tom Price said his position was consistent with that of Trump, who has stated he does not want to cut the federal health program for the elderly.

Water lead-level falls below federal limit in Flint

FILE - In this March 21, 2016 file photo, the Flint Water Plant water tower is seen in Flint, Mich. Michigan environmental officials announced Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, that Flint's water system no longer has levels of lead exceeding the federal limit. The finding by the Department of Environmental Quality is good news for a city whose 100,000 residents have grappled with the man-made water crisis since 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Flint's water system no longer has levels of lead exceeding the federal limit, a key finding that Michigan environmental officials said Tuesday was good news for a city whose 100,000 residents have been grappling with the man-made water crisis.

Lead levels fall below federal limits in Flint, Michigan: state

The Flint Water Plant tower in Flint Michigan(Reuters) - Lead levels in Flint, Michigan's drinking water, the focus of a public health crisis, have fallen below federal limits, state officials said on Tuesday, although they cautioned residents to keep using filtered water as the city's old lead pipes are replaced. Tests showed lead levels in the city's drinking water were 12 parts per billion (ppb) between July and December, below the federal limit of 15 ppb, Michigan officials said in a statement. The water crisis erupted when tests in 2015 found high amounts of lead in blood samples taken from children in Flint, a predominantly black city of about 100,000.

Trump administration seeks to muzzle U.S. agency employees

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington.By Valerie Volcovici and P.J. Huffstutter WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has moved to curb the flow of information from several government agencies whose mandate impacts environmental issues since last week, in actions that appeared designed to tighten control and discourage dissenting views. Employees at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have seen directives from the newly minted leadership seeking to limit how they communicate to the public, according to multiple sources. The moves have reinforced concerns that Trump, a climate change doubter, could seek to sideline scientific research showing that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming, as well as the career staffers at the agencies that conduct much of this research.

Highlights: The Trump presidency on January 24
 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump met with auto executives on Tuesday and gave the energy industry a boost with action on pipelines. Highlights of the day follow: PIPELINES Trump signs orders smoothing the path for the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, aiming to expand energy infrastructure and roll back key Obama administration environmental actions. ...

Antibiotics, not dirt, fostered hospital bugs: study

"Bugs similar to C. difficile that affected the UK have spread around the world, and so it is plausible that targeted antibiotic control could help achieve large reductions in C. diff infections in other countries," the study's co-author saidThe superbug C. difficile has sharply declined in British hospitals over the last decade due to restrictions in the use of antibiotics rather than stricter hygiene, researchers said Wednesday. Overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin allowed the drug-resistant bug to flourish, they reported in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, a medical journal. When other bacteria in the gut are killed off by these antibiotics, the more deadly -- and resistant -- C. difficile has more room for rapid growth, they found.

Rebuking Obama, Trump boosts Keystone XL, Dakota pipelines

President Donald Trump signs an executive order on the Keystone XL pipeline, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump moved swiftly Tuesday to advance the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, signing executive actions to aggressively overhaul America's energy policy and deal a sharp blow to Barack Obama's legacy on climate change.

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