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Xinhua: China Gang Forced Children to Donate Blood

Police arrested seven people in northwest China allegedly involved in a scheme that forced school children to donate blood, state media reported.

The arrested are the deputy chief of a blood centre operated by a company in Gansu province, whose surname was given as Huang, and six jobless men, the official Xinhua news agency reported late Friday.

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U.N. to Feed Up to One Million People Hit by Ebola

The United Nations is to step up food aid to reach up to a million people affected by the Ebola outbreak wreaking havoc in west Africa, the World Food Program (WFP) said Friday.

With states of emergency and severe restrictions on movement imposed in the three worst-hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the U.N. agency is bringing in its own aircraft to transport its personnel.

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Ebola 'Moving Fast,' Toll May 'Vastly Underestimate' Crisis

There is evidence the numbers of dead and sickened by Ebola in West Africa may "vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak," the World Health Organization said Thursday. The U.N. health agency said it was prepared for the crisis to continue for months.

With more than 1,060 deaths and 1,975 sickened, the Ebola outbreak is already the deadliest ever.

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Ghana Cholera Outbreak at 'Staggering' Level

A cholera outbreak in Ghana's capital has reached "staggering" levels, an official said Friday, blaming poor sanitation and overcrowded health facilities for the rapid spread of the disease. 

Cholera has killed more than 40 people in Accra since June and infected 3,100 others, according to the Ghana Health Service.

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Ebola Puts Focus on Drugs Made in Tobacco Plants

It's an eye-catching angle in the story of an experimental treatment for Ebola: The drug comes from tobacco plants that were turned into living pharmaceutical factories.

Using plants this way — sometimes called "pharming" — can produce complex and valuable proteins for medicines. That approach, studied for about 20 years, hasn't caught on widely in the pharmaceutical industry.

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Mark Zuckerberg's Chilly Charity Challenge to Bill Gates

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has become the latest celebrity to be doused by a bucket of ice-cold water -- and now he wants Bill Gates to follow suit.

Aimed at raising awareness and cash for the fight against Lou Gehrig's disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge has become a viral craze in the United States in recent weeks.

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Chikungunya Test Vaccine Shows Promise

A candidate vaccine against the joint disease chikungunya, endemic to Africa and south Asia but moving north- and westward, showed promise by provoking an immune response in human trials, its developers said Friday.

The trial drug is made with nanoparticles that resemble a West African strain of the virus, which causes high fever and intensely painful arthritis, said a study in The Lancet medical journal.

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Obama Talks to Liberia, Sierra Leone Leaders on Ebola

U.S. President Barack Obama called his counterparts in Liberia and Sierra Leone Thursday to discuss the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the White House said.

The calls to Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone came as the U.S. State Department ordered families of its diplomats in Sierra Leone to leave the country to avoid exposure to the disease.

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Too Much Salt is Linked to 1.65 Million Deaths Per Year

People around the world eat twice as much salt as they should, and this behavior translates into 1.65 million heart-related deaths per year, researchers said Wednesday.

Excess salt can cause high blood pressure, which is leading factor in heart disease and stroke, according to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Older People Should Get High Dose Flu Shot

Older people are likely to benefit from a high-dose flu vaccine to ward off the seasonal malaise, which can be particularly dangerous to those over 65, researchers said Wednesday.

The findings in the New England Journal of Medicine are from the first randomized, controlled trial to compare high and standard doses of flu vaccine in older people.

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