By: EMMA INNES
A new and potentially deadly form of bird flu has claimed its first confirmed victim.
Tests revealed that a previously unknown sub-strain of the H10N8 virus killed a woman who was admitted to hospital in China with fever and pneumonia.
The woman, from Nanchang City in Jiangxi province, died nine days after becoming ill despite antibiotic and antiviral treatment.
Experts believe the strain spread from poultry and may pose the threat of a pandemic.
The dead woman had visited a live poultry market a few days prior to her illness, suggesting an incubation time of around four days - similar to that of other bird flu strains.
Reports suggest the victim was not an isolated case. At least one other person is believed to have been infected by the same strain in Jiangxi Province.
Dr Yuelong Shu, from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, said: ‘A genetic analysis of the H10N8 virus shows a virus that is distinct from previously reported H10N8 viruses, having evolved some genetic characteristics that may allow it to replicate efficiently in humans.’
The strain is thought to have emerged from multiple re-assortments of genes from different bird flu viruses.
Notably, it shares genes with three other bird flu strains, H9N2, H7N9 and H5N1, the last two of which have spread to humans.
Scientists conducted tests on swab samples taken from the woman victim's windpipe.
Their results, reporting the first human death associated with H10N8, appear in The Lancet medical journal.
Co-investigator Dr Qi Jin, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, said: ‘Importantly, the virus had a mutation in the PB2 gene that is believed to be associated with increased virulence and adaption in mammals, and could enable the virus to become more infectious to people.’
The H10N8 strain was previously found in a water sample taken from Dongting Lake in Hunan Province in 2007.
In 2012, it was detected at a live poultry market in Guangdong Province.
Co-author Dr Mingbin Liu, from Nanchang City Centre for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the threat should not be taken lightly.
‘A second case of H10N8 was identified in Jiangxi Province, China on January 26, 2014,’ said Dr Liu.
‘This is of great concern because it reveals that the H10N8 virus has continued to circulate and may cause more human infections in future.’
Dr John McCauley, director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Influenza at the Medical Research Council National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in London, said: ‘This case reminds us to be aware of human infections from animal influenza viruses.
‘Previously we did not think that H7N9 infections might be so lethal.
‘More human infections by avian H10N8 viruses cannot be ruled out. H10N8 viruses are of low pathogenicity in poultry and so infection in birds is not easy to detect. Whether humans are frequently exposed and infected is also not known. ‘
He added that the underlying condition of the dead woman was likely to have worsened her infection.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2551679/New-bird-flu-claims-human-victim-prompting-fears-pandemic.html#ixzz2sWEE9C2i
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By: Jessica Moskowitz
'Knockout Game' Hurts Random Victims
It's a dangerous game, now reported in at least six states, and it could happen to anyone walking down the street.
One minute you're minding your own business, the next a complete stranger deliberately knocks you to the ground.
Across the country, police are struggling to tally the full impact of this deadly game. CNN's Pamela Brown reports.
By: Fox News
A recent string of attacks tied to a dangerous game called “Knockout” -- where unsuspecting residents are targeted and sucker-punched – is being investigated as possible hate crimes.
New York police are looking into the growing trend, WPIX reports, after attacks in predominately Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
The most recent attack was caught on video last week in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where a group of ten men spotted a man walking alone, punched him and kept moving, according to the station.
But New York is not the only place to see the “Knockout Game” being played out.
In Washington, D.C., Tamera Jackson, 27, told WJLA that a group of teens on bicycles came up behind her last week as she walked home and one of them punched her in the back of the head before the group sped away, laughing.
“For the fun of it.”- Teen, speaking of 'Knockout Game'
According to Fox 31 Denver, similar attacks have occurred in St. Louis and Pittsburgh, where a teacher was knocked out by a 15-year-old as he walked home from school last month. The attack was caught on a security camera video, and the teen was charged with assault.
And in New Jersey, CBS 2 reports, video footage shows Ralph Santiago, 46, randomly targeted for knockout by a group of teens. Santiago was later found dead with his neck broken and head lodged between iron fence posts, according to NJ.com.
Video shows Santiago walking during daytime in an alley, and just as he’s about to pass a pack of teenagers, one launches the fatal, knockout blow.
And what’s the point?
“For the fun of it,” one teen said in the video.
In September, a 13-year-old boy was sentenced to 18 months of confinement for the beating death of a 51-year-old man in upstate New York.
The teen had pleaded guilty to assault and attempted assault, admitting that he started the fatal beating by attempting to knock the man out with a single punch.
The teen said he and his friends were playing a street game called "knockout." His punch apparently had little to no effect, but the follow-up from a 16-year-old boy caused bleeding in the victim's brain, and he died in late May.
The 16-year-old co-defendant was found guilty last month in Onondaga County Family Court of second-degree manslaughter and received the same sentence.
Washington — For the second time this year, a public opinion poll has indicated that a majority of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana.
Fifty-eight percent replied yes when asked if they thought the use of marijuana should be made legal -- compared to 50 percent two years ago and just 12 percent in 1969, the Gallup polling institute said Tuesday.
Thirty-nine percent said no, and three percent held no opinion.
Support for legalization was predictably stronger among Americans aged 18 through 49, and among Democrats and those who described themselves as independents on the political spectrum, Gallup said.
Its findings mirrored a Pew Research Center poll, released in April, in which 52 percent of Americans said the use of marijuana should be made legal, a rise of 11 percentage points since 2010.
Gallup's findings follow the legalization of marijuana in the western states of Colorado and Washington -- even though possession remains a crime under federal statutes which rank marijuana on a par with heroin.
Other factors behind the trend, Gallup said, include the growing medicinal use of marijuana and a pledge from President Barack Obama's administration not to challenge the sale of marijuana in states that have made it legal.
"Whatever the reasons for Americans' greater acceptance of marijuana, it is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States," Gallup said.
Supporters of legalization cheered the results, which Gallup said were based on a random sample of 1,028 adults interviewed by telephone on October 3-6, giving a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
"The news of such widespread support for ending marijuana prohibition bodes well for efforts under way to change state laws around the nation," said Rob Kampia of the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group.
"Now, it's time for Congress (in Washington) to act on this clear public mandate by taking action to end the failed experiment of federal marijuana prohibition," added Aaron Smith of the National Cannabis Industry Association.
But Carla Lowe of the California-based Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, quoted by NBC News, said she was concerned that poll respondents who favor legalization "are really not aware or knowledgeable about the marijuana that?s out there today."
By Lauren Hockenson, Giga Om
Facebook on Thursday announced the final phase of removing an old privacy feature from the social media platform. The feature, which allows users to be hidden from search, will finally be taken away for users who have it enabled.
The feature, called "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" was removed from Privacy settings last year (noted in a December blog post) for those who didn't have it enabled. When enabled, the setting removes the ability for users to access a Timeline profile via search, even when a user puts in the exact name of the person he or she is locating. Now, users that still have that feature enabled will begin to see removal notices from Facebook, indicating that they will be present and visible in Graph Search along with the rest of the Facebook user base.
Facebook says in the blog post that the feature is a vestigial precaution that reaches back before the platform had a sophisticated search algorithm. When Facebook search acted as a mere directory, removing oneself from search made it more difficult for strangers to access a given profile. But now, as Open Graph opens up to search more settings and there is greater visibility of Timelines for friends of friends, the importance of finding a person through search has diminished while controlling the content on any given Timeline has become more important. Facebook says that the feature also caused hiccups in the user experience:
"People told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search."Of course, the sunsetting of this feature for those who care about it the most only stresses the importance of checking and updating Facebook privacy settings often. Now, it's more important to consider the content of the Timeline itself: a "private Timeline" is only such when content is marked explicitly "Friends Only." As Facebook continues to make search easier, it's important to keep in mind how these changes impact social media privacy at large.
By Susan Davis, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans failed to move forward Tuesday with a piecemeal approach to fund popular parts of the federal government to lessen the impact of the first government shutdown in 17 years.
House and Senate Republicans had offered short-term funding plans to keep open national parks, the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and other government services in the nation's capital. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky. said the piecemeal approach would "continue to move the ball down the field" towards finding an agreement to resume full government funding.
But the GOP efforts failed to win the necessary support in the House to advance to the Senate. The votes fell well short of the two-thirds threshold needed to suspend House rules.
The Senate had already warned that the plan would meet fate there as every previous attempt by the House to amend the stopgap funding bill. In that chamber, Democrats maintain the only way to end the shutdown is for the House to allow a vote on a stopgap measure to fund the government through mid-November that does not include legislation affecting President Obama's health care law.
Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said she did not support funding the government in "bits and pieces."
"We're the entire United States of America. You keep the whole government going, that's what you're supposed to do," she said. "All they have to do in the House is let the House vote on the Senate (bill) and let the House work it's will."
The White House agreed. "These piecemeal efforts are not serious, and they are no way to run a government. If House Republicans are legitimately concerned about the impacts of a shutdown — which extend across government from our small businesses to women, children and seniors — they should do their job and pass a clean CR to reopen the government," said Amy Brundage, a White House spokeswoman.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Democrats were not against debating some of the proposals that Republicans offered in the weeks leading up to the shutdown on the Affordable Care Act. He cited as an example a proposal to repeal a 2.3% tax on medical devices enacted to help pay for the law. However, Durbin said Democrats would not negotiate on the stopgap spending bill, or on a pending vote to increase the debt ceiling, the nation's borrowing limit.
STORY: 27 Questions and Answers
STORY: 66 Questions and Answers
"After the CR and the debt ceiling, I have been open to that," Durbin said, "Doing this with a gun to your head, as we've said over and over again, is not the appropriate way to bargain."
House Republicans huddled in private earlier Tuesday, and lawmakers showed no signs of losing cohesion on the first day of the shutdown. Republicans are bullish about the politics of a shutdown and they have reason to be, said David Wasserman, an analyst for the non-partisan Cook Political Report.
"Democrats have always believed a shutdown would finally make voters pay attention to how 'extreme' House Republicans are. So far there's not a ton of evidence that the game has changed," Wasserman said.
By Venessa Wong
Go ahead and order apple slices with your fast-food burger, but sometimes there’s no resisting the hot, crispy box of fries and all their greasy calories. Now Burger King (BKW) is taking steps to redeem a bit of the unhealthy reputation of deep-fried potatoes with an alternative pitched as significantly less fatty and caloric than the original.
Burger King’s Satisfries made their debut Tuesday with a coating designed to be less porous and absorb less oil, reducing fat by 40 percent and calories by 30 percent over McDonald’s (MCD) fries. The new product took two years of development with McCain Foods, which can’t sell them to any other fast-food clients. Satisfries will cost between 20 cents and 30 cents more than regular fries.
Burger King’s not the first to try a low-fat fry. Back in 1997, Ruby’s Diner served up Skinny Fries made by J.R. Simplot, which discontinued the product because the fruit pectin coating used to reduce grease absorption became too expensive, according to Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. Ruby’s tried again in 2004 with another Simplot product, although nine years later the so-called FitFries also appear to have fallen off the chain’s menus. (Ruby’s and Simplot didn’t immediately respond to interview requests.)
STORY: To Add Variety and Control Cost, Fast Foods Go Small
Burger King’s new fries aren’t a replacement for the old recipe, and spokeswoman Adrianna Lauricella emphasized that the healthier option will only be served “based on guests’ response.” The menu is already crowded with a diversity of deep-fried sides, including sweet potato fries, onion rings, and in some locations mozzarella sticks. McDonald’s, on the other hand, only serves regular fries from its bubbling oil vats. For comparison’s sake, a medium order of Satisfries has 40 fewer calories and 5 fewer grams of fat than the medium-size fries at McDonald’s, but the serving size for Burger King’s medium box is also about a third larger, 157g vs. 117g.
With an oxymoron like healthy fries, everything is relative. The chart below looks at how Burger King’s deep-fried finger foods stack up against each other—and some of these foods could surely benefit from a grease-resistant coating of their own.
by Kounteya Sinha, TNN
LONDON: Skipping breakfast, common the world over, has for the first time been associated with increase in heart attacks. Missing out on the morning meal has been found to increase coronary heart disease risk, reveals a 16-year-long study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
Men who skip breakfast have a 27% higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease than those who don't, the study says. Those who reported not eating breakfast were younger than those who did, and more likely to be smokers, employed full time, unmarried, less physically active and drank more alcohol.
Also, men who reported eating late at night had a 55% higher coronary heart disease risk than those who didn't. Researchers analyzed food frequency questionnaire data and tracked health outcomes for 16 years (1992-2008) on 26,902 male health professionals ages 45-82 before coming to their conclusion.
"Skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, includingobesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may in turn lead to a heart attack over time," said Leah E Cahill, lead author from the Harvard School of Public Health.
"Our study group spent decades studying the health effects of diet quality and composition, and now this new data also suggests overall dietary habits can be important to lower risk of coronary heart disease," said co-author Eric Rimm.
Men who reported eating breakfast, on an average, ate one more time per day than those who skipped breakfast, implying that those who abstained from breakfast were not eating additional make-up meals later in the day. Although there was some overlap between those who skipped breakfast and those who ate late at night, 76% of late-night eaters also ate breakfast, researchers said.
The study collected comprehensive questionnaire data from the participants and accounted for many important factors such as TV watching, physical activity, sleep, diet quality, alcohol intake, medical history, and body-mass index. It also included social factors like whether or not the men worked full-time, were married, saw their doctor regularly for physical exams, or smoked currently or in the past.
"Don't skip breakfast," Cahill said. "Eating breakfast is associated with a decreased risk of heart attacks. Incorporating many types of healthy foods into your breakfast is an easy way to ensure your meal provides adequate energy and a healthy balance of nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. For example, adding nuts and chopped fruit to a bowl of whole grain cereal or steel-cut oatmeal in the morning is a great way to start the day."
All you can eat ribs -- by the dumpster.
A Golden Corral franchise is being accused of improper food handling after photos and a video surfaced online that claim to show unsanitary conditions at the nationwide buffet chain.
Separately, a Reddit user named GCWhistleblower posted photos purporting to show a different Golden Corral kitchen overflowing with garbage and food.
Employee Brandon Huber posted a video on Youtube, taken while he worked at a location near Port Orange, Fla., which shows raw hamburger patties swarmed by flies near the restaurant's dumpster.
"I'm an employee here, been working here for a long time, and I don't feel that this is right," Huber says to the camera. "I mean look at it, what do you think?"
"Let me show you just how disgusting this is," Huber continues, as the camera pans to reveal stacks of food next to the dumpsters including raw baby back ribs, green bean casserole, pot roast, chicken, ham, and bacon.
A statement provided to the website Consumerist via Eric Holm at Metro Corral Partners, a franchisee who owns several Golden Corral locations in Florida and Georgia, including the Port Orange location, reads:
"A video was recently posted showing an incident of improper food handling at our Port Orange, Fla., location. None of these items were served to a single customer. All were destroyed within the hour at the direction of management. Brandon Huber, the employee who made the video, participated in the disposal of the food.
The following day, the father of the employee, allegedly posted an offer to sell the video for $5,000, which was not accepted.
The manager involved in the improper storage was terminated for failing to follow approved food handling procedures," Holm's statement said.
By: Jayne O'Donnell , USA TODAY
Wal-Mart pleads guilty and settles charges that it dumped hazardous waste in sewage systems, among other violations.
Wal-Mart Stores settled a decade-long investigation into its hazardous waste practices Tuesday when it pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to pay $81 million, the Environmental Protection Agency said.
In cases filed in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Wal-Mart pleaded guilty to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act by illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials at its retail stores across the United States. The company also pleaded guilty in Kansas City, Mo., to violating federal law governing the proper handling of pesticides that had been returned by customers at stores across the country.
When combined with previous actions brought by California and Missouri, Wal-Mart will pay a total of more than $110 million to resolve cases alleging violations of federal and state environmental laws.
'This case is as big as Wal-Mart is," says Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Johns, chief of the Justice Department's environmental crimes section in Los Angeles. "This conduct is alleged to have taken place at every single Walmart in the country."
Wal-Mart did not have a program in place and failed to train its employees on proper hazardous waste management and disposal practices at the store level, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
The practices started at an unknown date and continued until January 2006. That meant hazardous wastes were either discarded improperly at the store level — including being put into municipal trash bins or, if a liquid, poured into the local sewer system — or they were improperly transported without proper safety documentation to one of six product-return centers located throughout the United States.
"By improperly handling hazardous waste, pesticides and other materials in violation of federal laws, Wal-Mart put the public and the environment at risk and gained an unfair economic advantage over other companies," said Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Wal-Mart admitted trucking more than 2 million pounds of regulated pesticides and other products from its return centers to Greenleaf, a recycling facility in Neosho, Mo., between July 2006 and February 2008. Prosecutors say the products were processed for reuse and resale, but lax oversight caused regulated pesticides to be mixed together and offered for sale in violation of FIFRA.
In 2010, the company agreed to pay $27.6 million to settle similar allegations made by California authorities that led to the overhaul of its hazardous waste compliance program nationwide. The state investigation began eight years ago when a San Diego County health department employee saw a worker pouring bleach down a drain.
In another instance, officials said a Solano County boy was found playing in a mound of fertilizer near a Walmart garden section. The yellow-tinted powder contained ammonium sulfate, a chemical compound that causes irritation to people's skin, eyes and respiratory tract.
"We have fixed the problem," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said. "We are obviously happy that this is the final resolution."
Court documents show the illegal dumping occurred in 16 California counties between 2003 and 2005. Federal prosecutors said the company didn't train its employees on how to handle and dispose of hazardous materials at its stores.
In addition to sewage systems, the waste also was improperly taken to one of several product-return centers throughout the United Sates without proper safety documentation.
Buchanan said employees are better trained on how to clean up, transport and dispose of dangerous products such as fertilizer that are spilled in the store or have damaged packaging.
For instance, workers are armed with scanners that tell them whether a damaged package is considered to contain a hazardous material and are trained on how to handle it, she said. Wal-Mart also says it has created nearly 50 dedicated environment compliance staff, with elevated management authority;
Johns says Wal-Mart should have known better — sooner.
"We prosecute mom-and-pop stores for this type of conduct," he says. "If there's anyone who has the resources to comply with the law, it's Wal-Mart."
Several congressional members send a letter to Google CEO Larry Page about concerns such as whether Google will use facial recognition technology with Glass.
Several members of Congress sent a letter to Google to ask about privacy concerns related to Google Glass, including how the company will prevent Glass from unintentionally collecting data without user consent.
"Because Google Glass has not yet been released and we are uncertain of Google's plans to incorporate privacy protections into the device, there are still a number of unanswered questions that we share," the Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, led by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) wrote in a letter to Google CEO Larry Page.
Eight members of Congress signed the letter, and they want information from Google by June 14. They cited specific examples of privacy issues in Google's history to support the concerns about privacy.
Google Glass has received a lot of buzz, but its capabilities largely are limited at this point. Still, privacy and security are two of the major concerns for Google Glass, and at least one bar has already banned the use of the device. Users could seemingly videotape or photograph others without their knowledge, and it's unclear what provisions are in place to protect users' information, particularly as more developers create apps for the computing eyewear.
Google Glass Can Now Do More: Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr Apps Released for Glasses
By JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)
Google might have been mum on its much-buzzed-about glasses on day one of its big Google I/O Developer's Conference, but today the company has announced a series of new Glass-based applications.
Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Elle magazine all unveiled new applications for the connected glasses, which overlay digital information in the physical world. The Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr options all allow Glass wearers to share their photos on the respective social networks straight from the glasses.
While the Facebook app is restricted at the moment to just sharing photos taken with the glasses, Twitter allows for that feature and some other notification options. The app will also allow you to see Twitter notifications and respond to messages.
"In addition to sharing photos, you can also keep up with the people you follow on Twitter through notifications — for mentions, DMs and Tweets from users for whom you've turned on notifications. As always, you can reply to, retweet or favorite these Tweets," Twitter engineering manager Shiv Ramamurthi said in a Twitter blog post today.
ABC News tried out the Facebook and Twitter apps and can report that they did work as promised. We snapped a photo on the glasses, tapped it once to share and then we were able to select the social network to share it with. However, installing the sharing-based apps are a bit clunky at the moment. You must install the apps from the Glass app on the phone and then enable sharing in the web-based Glass control panel.
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The other new media apps like CNN and Elle are easier to get working. Similar to The New York Times app, both CNN and Elle show snippets of information from the respective publications. For instance, with the Elle app, users will receive text and photo-based updates throughout the day about fashion news.
Google Glass is not yet available for purchase; instead, Google has begun selling an Explorer Edition for $1,500 to early adopters and software developers. At this week's Google conference the company is holding sessions teaching software makers how to make Glass applications, instructing developers about the software tools and suggesting the apps that aren't too distracting.
Google told ABC News yesterday it plans to bring its new Hangouts appand more social functionality from its Google Plus network to Glass sometime soon. Google Plus is already deeply integrated into Glass -- you can share and see notifications from friends.
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