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Exclusive: Obama to propose $2.5 billion tax credit for community college investment
 

U.S. President Obama answers a reporter's question after delivering a statement on the economy in the press briefing room at the White House in WashingtonPresident Barack Obama will propose a $2.5 billion tax credit over five years for businesses that invest in programs at local community colleges and hire their graduates, administration officials said on Friday. The proposal, dubbed the Community College Partnership Tax Credit, would require businesses to donate funds for equipment, instruction, or internships related to programs in areas such as healthcare, energy and information technology. Employers that hire students from such programs would get a one-time, $5,000 tax credit per individual brought aboard.



Utah legislators back plan to declare porn a health crisis
 

FILE - In this March 2, 2015 file photo, Republican Sen. Todd Weiler speaks on the senate floor at the Utah state Capitol in Salt Lake City. Weiler, wants to declare pornography a public health crisis, echoing an argument being made around the U.S. by conservative religious groups as porn becomes more accessible on smartphones and tablets. Utah lawmakers are scheduled to discuss the resolution Friday, Feb. 5, 2016 in a legislative hearing. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A state senator in Utah wants to declare pornography a public health crisis, echoing an argument being made around the U.S. by conservative religious groups as porn becomes more accessible on smartphones and tablets.



League hit with rising concussions, brain trauma news
 

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Aikman introduces a performance by Jackson at the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in ArlingtonBy Larry Fine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Former quarterback Troy Aikman says he is fortunate to have gotten out of the NFL in good health as news of brain trauma in recently deceased former players is mounting, and he knows others are suffering. "I know there's people that I played with and against and those before me that are really battling some tough times as a result we assume from having played the game," the three-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys told Reuters on Thursday. Two days before, a specialist said a study of former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler's brain following his death last year showed signs of CTE, which is closely associated with the repeated head blows common in boxing, hockey, football and other contact sports.



NFL-Aikman sees Panthers as possible powerhouse
 By Larry Fine SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Troy Aikman says the Carolina Panthers could be on the brink of a blockbuster run in the National Football League if they can avoid pitfalls that can come with success. Hall of Famer Aikman, who won three Super Bowl rings in a four-year stretch in the 1990s, said the emergence of quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers' core of young players could make the Panthers a perennial powerhouse. Carolina, 17-1 this season, is nearly a touchdown favorite against the Denver Broncos for Sunday's Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in the suburb of Santa Clara.

Convicted al Qaeda supporter, U.S. face off in medical malpractice trial
 A New York man serving a 15-year prison sentence for providing support to al Qaeda is urging a federal judge to award him $7 million because of a medical condition he says went untreated while in U.S. custody. Lawyers for Wesam El-Hanafi, 40, and the U.S. government made their closing arguments on Friday in a week-long medical malpractice trial over whether the prison system failed to timely diagnose and treat a blood clot in a deep vein in his calf. El-Hanafi, a Brooklyn-born man who U.S. prosecutors say facilitated surveillance of the New York Stock Exchange, contends his symptoms began shortly after his arrest in Dubai in 2010.

In Brazil, pregnant women urged to be cautious with a kiss
 

A couple kisses during the "Carmelitas" block party, during Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016. Top Brazilian Health officials said this Friday that the active Zika virus has been found in urine and saliva samples, cautioning that further study is needed to determine whether the mosquito-borne virus in those body fluids is capable of infecting people. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — In a sign of mounting global concern over the Zika virus, health officials on Friday warned pregnant women to think twice about the lips they kiss and called on men to use condoms with pregnant partners if they have visited countries where the virus is present.



First Zika-linked deaths reported in Colombia
 

A Health Ministry employee fumigates a home against the Aedes aegypti mosquito in the San Lucia del Camino community, Oaxaca State, Mexico on February 5, 2016The mosquito-borne Zika virus sweeping through Latin America has claimed three lives in Colombia, as the United Nations urged increased access to abortion because of fears of severe birth defects. In the first direct statements from government health officials blaming Zika for causing deaths, Colombia's National Health Institute (INS) said Friday that the patients died after contracting the virus and developing a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome.



Brazil's anti-Zika war goes house to house
 

Sao Paulo's Health Secretary Alexandre Padilha (R)jokes with two revellers dressed as mosquitos during a street carnival in the Brazilian city of Sao PauloSao Paulo resident Juliana Matuoka always thought her stunning tropical flowers were something to appreciate from afar. "Here, I got one!" exclaimed Marcio Hoglhammer, a municipal health department worker who arrived along with colleagues and two young soldiers as part of Brazil's massive house-to-house effort to eradicate the Zika virus and dengue-carrying mosquitoes. "I found larvae of the Aedes aegypti (mosquito)," he said.



Uganda rights groups set to monitor violence against women during elections
 

Supporter of Amama Mbabazi, former Ugandan prime minister and presidential candidate for The Democratic Alliance (TDA), holds a poster of him atop a mini bus during a campaign rally in Lyantonde townBy Yasin Kakande KAMPALA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Ugandan women's rights groups are setting up a control centre to monitor any violence against women in the East African nation's elections this month and to act quickly on any reports. The move comes after the United States voiced concern that the electoral environment in Uganda was deteriorating in the run-up to the Feb. 18 elections. Violence during an election cycle is common in many African countries where it may be triggered by political or ethnic tensions, or flawed electoral processes, with women and children the most likely to be affected.



Factbox: What will be in Obama's final budget proposal?
 

U.S. President Obama reacts at a meeting with students from the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative at Taylor's University in Kuala Lumpur(Reuters) - President Barack Obama is set on Tuesday to unveil his budget proposal for fiscal year 2017, his final year in office. The following are some of the proposals that will be included: PENTAGON The Pentagon will ask for more than $7 billion for the fight against Islamic State, up about 35 percent from the previous year's budget request to Congress, and wants a fourfold increase for military training and exercises in Europe to support NATO allies. TAX ON OIL In a long-shot bid to raise $20 billion to expand transit systems and research self-driving cars, Obama will propose a $10-a-barrel tax on crude oil.



Nigerians have image problem abroad, hampers emigration to West - president
 

Nigeria's President Buhari arrives to address the European Parliament in StrasbourgNigerians have an image problem abroad which makes it difficult to emigrate to the West, but they can stay at home where their services are needed, President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying by a British newspaper on Saturday. A former army ruler from the 1980s who returned to power as a civilian after winning an election in March last year, Buhari has the image of an ascetic disciplinarian keen to tackle his country's persistent problems with crime and corruption. "Some Nigerians' claim is that life is too difficult back home," he was quoted as telling the Daily Telegraph newspaper.



Is Chipotle a riskier place to eat? Hard to know
 

A Chipotle logo is seen on a store entrance in Manhattan, New YorkBy Julie Steenhuysen and Tom Polansek CHICAGO (Reuters) - In recent months, Chipotle has lost customers, sales and profits after outbreaks of foodborne illnesses that sickened more than 500 people from Seattle to Boston. The burrito chain will shut its 1,900 U.S. restaurants on Monday for a meeting with employees to review a rapid overhaul of practices that it hopes will eliminate outbreaks of E. coli, Salmonella and norovirus. Food safety investigations in the United States begin - and often end - at the local level, and some states limit the disclosure of implicated restaurants, keeping diners in the dark.



Australia to step up Zika testing as two new cases reported
 

Cans of Bushman insect repellent, made by Melbourne-based Juno Laboratories Pty Ltd, sit on a shelf at a shop in central Sydney, AustraliaAustralia will intensify testing for the Zika virus in Queensland state where Aedes mosquitoes are found, authorities said on Saturday, adding that two new cases among local residents were the result of travel to affected countries. Queensland's government has earmarked A$400,000 ($283,000) to boost laboratory capacity, particularly in the northeastern city of Townsville, where testing will begin on March 1. A A$1 million public education campaign will also be rolled out in the state, which is on high alert for any entry of the disease from Australia's Asian and Pacific neighbors.



U.S. judge grants injunction against anti-abortion activists
 

Anti-abortion activist David Daleiden speaks at a news conference outside a court in Houston TexasA U.S. judge on Friday granted a preliminary injunction stopping the distribution of surreptitious videos taken by anti-abortion activists who alleged Planned Parenthood staff discussed the illegal sale of aborted fetal tissue. The National Abortion Federation (NAF), a nonprofit representing abortion providers, accused the Center for Medical Progress and its founder, David Daleiden, in a lawsuit last year of illegally infiltrating and recording its private meetings. San Francisco federal judge William Orrick last year issued a temporary order prohibiting the distribution of the videos, which he extended on Friday until the litigation is over.



Tests show few high lead readings in Ohio village's water
 SEBRING, Ohio (AP) — Regulators say lead levels in tap water have been below the federal allowable limit in 96 percent of the samples tested this past week in a northeast Ohio village.

Colombia sees Guillain-Barre syndrome spike amid Zika cases
 

A Health Secretary employee fumigates against Aedes Aegypti mosquitos outside houses in Cali, Colombia, on January 28, 2015More than 22,600 cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in Colombia, which is seeing a sharp increase in a rare neurological disorder linked to the disease, authorities said Saturday. The news comes one day after Colombia, the country hit the second-hardest by the mosquito-borne disease after Brazil, announced three deaths which it blamed on Zika. The patients died after contracting the virus and developing the rare neurological condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome, according to Colombia's National Health Institute (INS).



Colombia: 3,177 pregnant women with Zika; no microcephaly
 

An Aedes aegipty female mosquito floats on stagnant water inside a tire at a used tire store in Villavicencio, Colombia, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The Aedes aegipty is the vector that transmits the Zika virus, and also dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya. The females lay their eggs on damp surfaces where they breed. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday that there's no evidence Zika has caused any cases of the birth defect known as microcephaly in his country, though it has diagnosed 3,177 pregnant women with the virus.



New York orders probe after radioactive leak at reactor
 Cuomo said he learned on Friday of "alarming" levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells at the Indian Point plant in Buchanan, about 40 miles (65 km) north of New York City on the east bank of the Hudson River. The governor has previously asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to shut down the plant because of doubts over the safe evacuation of the area in the event of an accident. Cuomo said in a statement the plant's operator, Entergy Corp, has informed him the contaminated water has not migrated off the site and poses no public health risk.

New York moves to stop gay conversion therapy for youths
 

In this Jan. 16, 2016 photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at Madison Square Garden in New York. On Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, Cuomo announced that New York is taking steps to stop therapists from trying to change young people's sexual orientation. The state is joining a number of states that have acted against what's known as gay conversion therapy. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)NEW YORK (AP) — New York is taking steps to stop therapists from trying to change young people's sexual orientation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday, joining a number of states that have acted against what's known as gay conversion therapy.



More than 3,100 pregnant women in Colombia have Zika virus: government
 

A health worker sprays mosquito repellent on a pregnant woman's arm, during a campaign to fight the spread of Zika virus in Soledad municipalityBy Julia Symmes Cobb BOGOTA (Reuters) - More than 3,100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Saturday, as the disease continues its rapid spread across the Americas. Brazil is investigating the potential link between Zika infections and more than 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head size that can result in developmental problems. Researchers have identified evidence of Zika infection in 17 of these cases, either in the baby or in the mother, but have not confirmed that Zika can cause microcephaly.



Mormon church comes out against Utah medical marijuana bill
 SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church has come out against a Utah bill that would allow the medical use of edible pot products, a position that could be a serious blow to one of two medical marijuana proposals before state lawmakers.

Republican U.S. presidential hopefuls say Zika quarantine may be needed
 

Republican U.S. presidential candidate and Governor Chris Christie speaks during the Republican U.S. presidential candidates debate sponsored by ABC News at Saint Anselm College in ManchesterTwo Republican U.S. presidential hopefuls said on Saturday they would implement quarantines of travelers if necessary to stop the spread of the Zika virus. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who garnered international attention in 2014 when he quarantined a nurse who returned to the United States after treating Ebola patients, said he would not hesitate to do it again. "You bet I would," Christie said during a debate in New Hampshire with other Republican contenders for the White House.



Fear of cholera, floods as Burundi refugees pack Tanzania camps
 

PLAN INTERNATIONAL handout photo shows refugees from Burundi who fled the ongoing violence and political tension at the Nyarugusu refugee camp in western TanzaniaBy Katy Migiro NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Heavy rains, flooding and a spike in new arrivals could threaten the lives of over 110,000 Burundian refugees in overcrowded camps in Tanzania, six aid agencies said on Monday, amid warnings of rising political tension in Burundi. Life-threatening malaria and diarrhoea have been spreading in Nyarugusu, the world's third largest refugee camp, since the rainy season began, and damage caused by a powerful El Nino has left aid agencies short of funds throughout east Africa. "Refugees are arriving in their hundreds every day," the agencies, which include Oxfam, Save the Children and HelpAge International, said in a statement.



Despite treatment advances, AIDS stigma lingers in rural South Africa
 

Nurse gives a red ribbon to a woman to mark World Aids Day at the entrance of Emilio Ribas Hospital, in Sao PauloBy Laurie Goering QUDENI, South Africa (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Eunice Khanyile opened a soup kitchen in a rural village in South Africa last year to help HIV-positive residents get the nutrition needed to stay healthy, not one person came. When it comes to AIDS, "the stigma is a huge problem", she said. People do not want to open up to others about their status." Today, just over 200 people eat the lunch cooked daily at the yellow-painted cement block kitchen in Qudeni, drawn by the smell of butternut and lentils and the banging of pots and pans.



Australia pledges aid to help Tonga, Pacific with Zika
 By Morag MacKinnon PERTH (Reuters) - Australia pledged up to A$500,000 ($354,000) in aid for its Pacific island neighbors on Sunday to help combat the spread of the Zika virus after an outbreak in Tonga last week raised concern in the region. The initial focus on strengthening the fight against the mosquito-borne virus would be in Tonga, Steven Ciobo, minister for the Pacific, said in a statement. Australia would work with World Health Organization (WHO) officials and the Tongan government to control the mosquito population and increase access to testing, he said.

Athletes weigh gold lust against Zika health fears
 

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in Campinas, BrazilBy Ossian Shine and Joshua Schneyer LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - As global health chiefs try to bring a Zika virus epidemic under control, aspiring Olympic athletes are weighing their lust for gold against health fears surrounding the mosquito-borne virus in Brazil. Alarm has grown since the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday declared Zika an international health emergency that could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas. Zika is carried by mosquitoes, which transmit the virus to humans, while two cases in the United States suggest it may also be transmitted sexually.



Cricket-Pakistan's Shah banned for three months for doping offence
 Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah has been given a three-month ban after pleading guilty to an inadvertent doping offence, the International Cricket Council said on Sunday. Chlortalidone is a diuretic drug which features in the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited substances. Shah pleaded guilty to the charge and said he had mistakenly taken his wife's blood pressure medication which contained the banned substance.

Exclusive: Zika virus discourages many Americans from Latin America travel
 

A woman looks on next to a banner as soldiers and municipal health workers take part in cleaning of the streets, gardens and homes as part of the city's efforts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus vectorThe rapidly spreading Zika virus is discouraging many Americans from traveling to Latin America and the Caribbean, with 41 percent of those aware of the disease saying they are less likely to take such a trip, a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows. Airlines and cruise ship operators have yet to report drops in bookings because of Zika, and analysts have downplayed the impact that newly sedentary parents-to-be could have on their revenue. "I am actively trying to get pregnant with my husband, so I am a little bit concerned," said Erica, a respondent who said she was bitten by a mosquito during a January trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Zika has been reported.



Bootleg liquor kills at least 24 in Indonesian village: media
 Bootleg liquor has killed at least two dozen people in a village in Indonesia's Central Java province over the last few days, MetroTV said on Sunday quoting police. Police have arrested two people in the village of Sleman for selling homemade liquor that was believed to have contained harmful substances. "Police have sent the hard liquors mixed with harmful substances to the laboratory in Semarang to be tested," MetroTV quoted Sleman police chief Yulianto as saying.

Rio carnival goers tell Zika mosquito to buzz off
 

Municipal employees give t-shirts and pamphlets about the Zika virus to a reveller at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on February 6, 2016A massive, fleshy crowd of semi-naked people might seem like the Zika-transmitting mosquito's paradise, but Rio Carnival goers Saturday said nothing -- not even an international health emergency -- can stop the party. The peak weekend of Rio de Janeiro's Carnival season got underway with an estimated one million people cramming into the city center for the Cordao da Bola Preta street party.



France restricts blood transfusions over Zika virus
 

Rosana Vieira Alves bathes her 4-month-old daughter Luana Vieira, who was born with microcephaly, as her daughters play outside their home in OlindaTravelers coming back from any outbreak zones of the Zika virus will need to wait at least 28 days before giving blood to avoid any risk of transmission, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine said on Sunday. Zika, which is rapidly spreading through the Americas and has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites. "Someone who comes from a zone where there is Zika can not give blood for 28 days," Touraine said in an interview with Europe 1 radio, news channel iTele and Le Monday daily.



Doctors puzzle over severity of defects in some Brazilian babies
 

Rosana Vieira Alves bathes her 4-month-old daughter Luana Vieira, who was born with microcephaly, at their home in OlindaBy Bill Berkrot and Anthony Boadle NEW YORK/BRASILIA (Reuters) - Experts on microcephaly, the birth defect that has sparked alarm in the current Zika virus outbreak, say they are struck by the severity of a small number of cases they have reviewed from Brazil. Consultations among doctors in Brazil and the United States have increased in the last two weeks, and some of the leading authorities on the condition are finding patterns of unusual devastation in scans of the newborns' malformed brains. While it's not known how representative the scans are, the early observations of these doctors point to a tough road ahead for the babies, their families and their communities and heighten the concern surrounding Zika, which is suspected of causing microcephaly.



Carnival roars ahead in Brazil despite Zika health scare
 

A reveller parades for the Vai-Vai samba school during the carnival in Sao PauloThe worst health scare in recent history is not keeping Brazilians from their annual Carnival revelry, with millions of partiers swarming streets and some making fun of the mosquito that spreads Zika and other viruses. "It's one more thing to worry about," said Juliana Araujo, a 48-year-old schoolteacher at a street party in Rio de Janeiro, where other problems, like an economic recession and impeachment proceedings against Brazil's president, seemed distant concerns. Recent news that traces of the virus had been identified in blood, saliva and other bodily fluids of patients known to have been infected with Zika would not do much to dampen a festival known for its fair share of casual sex, she predicted: "People aren't going to stop having fun and hooking up." Over a million people hit the streets in cities like Rio, home to the country's best-known Carnival celebration, and the northeastern capitals of Salvador and Recife, two cities hard hit by the outbreak.



4th patient infected during mold outbreak at hospital dies
 PITTSBURGH (AP) — A fourth transplant patient who contracted a fungal infection during a mold outbreak at a western Pennsylvania hospital has died, officials said Sunday.

Decrying graft, Pope to tour poor, violent corners of Mexico
 

Workers put up a poster with an image of Pope Francis along a street at the border with the U.S. in Ciudad JuarezBy Lizbeth Diaz and Simon Gardner MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis will visit some of the poorest and most violent corners of Mexico on his first visit as pontiff, and will also head to the northern border to address the plight of migrants trying to reach the United States. More than 100,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug wars over the last decade and its reputation was battered by the case of 43 students abducted and apparently massacred in 2014. President Enrique Pena Nieto´s government botched the investigation, and relatives of the victims are looking to Francis for help in getting to the truth.



Loan rejection may have been early warning of Taiwan building collapse
 By Yimou Lee TAINAN, Taiwan (Reuters) - Before their apartment tower collapsed in a Taiwan earthquake at the weekend, a young couple living on the 14th floor had already been given a clue that the building was unsafe. Chen Yi-ting and her husband bought the apartment in the center of Tainan city five years ago, having relocated from an outlying district.

Fourth patient linked to mold outbreak at Pittsburgh hospital dies
 UPMC on Sunday confirmed the death of Che DuVall, 70, and extended its sympathies to his family. DuVall, who had a lung transplant, is the fourth transplant patient at the hospital system who contracted infection and died. "We again want to reassure our patients that we have taken every possible precaution to make our hospitals as safe as is humanly possible and have followed all recommendations made by federal and state regulators," UPMC said in a statement.

Duchess of Cambridge: Support children's mental health
 

Britain's Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she attends a service at RAF church St Clement Danes, to mark the 75th anniversary year of the RAF Air Cadets, in London, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (Eddie Mulholland/Pool Photo via AP)LONDON (AP) — The Duchess of Cambridge says in a new video that she and Prince William want all children to get support during difficult times to help them overcome mental health challenges.



Battling doctor shortage, Indian hospitals offer intensive care from afar
 

Doctors remotely monitor live footages of patients inside an electronic intensive care unit at Fortis hospital in New Delhi, IndiaBy Aditya Kalra NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A doctor at a hospital in India's capital, New Delhi, was recently tracking a wall of monitors displaying the vital signs of intensive care patients admitted hundreds of miles away when red-and-yellow alerts rang out. The oxygen flow to a 67-year-old patient had stopped when no critical care doctors were present in a hospital in the northern city of Amritsar. India's top private hospitals, seizing on a shortage of critical-care doctors, are expanding into the remote management of intensive care units around the country and, starting this month, in neighboring Bangladesh too.



Celgene, Gilead Sciences shares could rise 30 percent: Barron's
 

Counterfeit medicine confiscated by Swiss customs is displayed during Swiss customs annual news conference at Euroairport in Basel-MulhouseThe tumble in share prices for biotechnology stocks has created some buying opportunities, with drugmakers Celgene Corp and Gilead Sciences poised for a 30 percent rise over the next year, Barron's said. Celgene, which specializes in treatments for a blood plasma cell cancer called myeloma, could see double-digit growth for its Revlimid drug for years to come, with significant growth potential from overseas, Barron's said. Despite negative publicity related to high prices on its hepatitis-C drugs, Gilead Sciences' products often cure patients within months, the publication said.



 
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