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Greenpeace: Pesticides Tainting Traditional China Herbs

Traditional Chinese herbs are being contaminated with a toxic cocktail of pesticides that poses a threat to consumer health and the environment, campaign group Greenpeace said Monday.

Some residue levels were hundreds of times higher than European Union food safety standards, according to tests carried out for a Greenpeace report "Chinese herbs: elixir of health or pesticides cocktail?", the latest to focus on the harmful effects of China's large-scale farming industry.

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Study Shows H7N9 Bird Flu Kills about 1/3 Hospitalized Patients

The H7N9 bird flu that hit China this year killed over a third of hospitalized patients, said researchers Monday who labeled the virus "less serious" but probably more widespread than previously thought.

They warned watchdogs not to take comfort from a lull in new infections, as the virus may reappear in the autumn.

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Saudi Announces New Death from SARS-Like Virus

An elderly Saudi man has died from the MERS virus, bringing the kingdom's death toll from the SARS-like infection to 33, the health ministry said.

The 81-year-old man died in Eastern Province, where most cases of coronavirus have been registered, the ministry said on its website late Friday.

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U.S. Doctors Urge Reversal of Gay Blood Ban

A leading U.S. doctors' group this week urged the reversal of a decades-old ban on donations of blood from gay men, saying the law is discriminatory and outdated.

The policy decision came Tuesday in Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association, a professional grouping of more than 800,000 doctors.

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Belgium Moves Closer to Euthanasia for Minors

Belgian lawmakers on Thursday moved closer to legalising the euthanasia of minors, so long as they are judged capable of deciding for themselves.

Four senators from parties in the governing coalition formally put forward changes to a 2002 law that made Belgium the second country in the world after The Netherlands to legalise mercy killing in certain cases.

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WHO Study: Third of Women Suffer Domestic Violence

In the first major global review of violence against women, a series of reports released Thursday found that about a third of women have been physically or sexually assaulted by a former or current partner.

The head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, called it "a global health problem of epidemic proportions," and other experts said screening for domestic violence should be added to all levels of health care.

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Study: MERS Virus in Saudi Poses Hospital Threat

The deadly MERS coronavirus which has emerged in Saudi Arabia poses a threat to hospitals because it spreads rapidly and carries a high mortality rate, according to a study out Thursday.

An international team of researchers studied 23 cases at four hospitals in Saudi Arabia, which included 15 fatalities, a mortality rate of 65 percent, the New England Journal of Medicine reported.

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EU Fines Pharma Firms over Generics Delay

The European Union has fined Danish pharmaceuticals multinational Lundbeck and several other producers a combined 146 million euros ($195 million) for delaying the market entry of cheaper generic alternatives to a major antidepressant.

The EU claimed that the companies sought to capitalize profit at the expense of patients.

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New York's Poor Get Urban Farm in Bid to Fight Obesity

New York unveiled a giant vegetable garden Wednesday in the Brooklyn borough's largest public housing development, in a bid to fight a growing obesity epidemic among the poor.

The one-acre (4,000-square-meter) plot at Red Hook Houses "will provide residents with access to a healthy source of produce, while also providing young people with a pathway to education and employment," Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs said in a statement.

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French Firemen Test Hypnosis to Help Victims

"Look me straight in the eye. Your mind is emptying, your body is relaxing," says the fireman, using the calming words of hypnosis to help a trauma victim -- a technique being pioneered by fire crews in the eastern French region of Alsace.

At the Haguenau fire station, 120 firemen have been trained in basic medical hypnosis which they can use to soothe someone trapped under rubble or in a car following an accident, or even a person suffering an asthma attack.

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