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Mass Bird and Fish Deaths Stoke Curiosity

Five thousand dead blackbirds rained from the sky on the first day of the New Year in Arkansas. Then more dead birds fell in other states. Then huge fish kills were discovered in multiple US waterways.

And suddenly it became a worldwide phenomenon, with reports of mass die-offs of birds and fish in Sweden, Britain, Japan, Thailand, Brazil and beyond.

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Health Ministry Says Swine Flu Does Not Require Extraordinary Measures, Less Cases than Last Winter

The Health Ministry's Director-General, Walid Ammar, reassured the Lebanese on Friday that the H1N1 strain has become similar to seasonal flu saying there were currently some cases in Lebanon but not as much as last winter's levels.

In remarks to Voice of Lebanon radio station, Ammar said illness caused by the virus requires no extraordinary measures and that complications could only arise in pregnant women, children under the age of five and people with chronic diseases.

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British Watchdog says Imported Dioxin Egg 'No Health Risk'

Britain's food safety watchdog has said that egg tainted with dioxin that has been imported into the country after being contaminated in Germany is not thought to be a risk to health.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said they had been informed that affected eggs were sent to the Netherlands and mixed with other non-contaminated eggs to make a pasteurized liquid egg, which was then exported to Britain.

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China Orders Dairy Firms to Renew Permits

China has ordered dairy firms to apply for new production licenses this year in a move designed to improve product quality and safety in the scandal-hit industry, state media said Thursday.

The move comes in the wake of a deadly 2008 health scare sparked by the discovery that the industrial chemical melamine had been widely and illegally added to milk products to give it the appearance of a higher protein content.

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U.S. Study: Fifth of Cardiac Implants Harmful

One out of five patients who receive a well-known cardiac implant don't need it and are at greater risk of dying of heart attacks because of the device, a U.S. study said.

The survey of more than 100,000 patients who had received implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) "found that about 20 percent did not meet evidence-based guidelines for receipt of an ICD," researchers said.

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Taiwan Researchers say TB Patients have High Lung Cancer Risk

Tuberculosis patients are 11 times more likely than the average to develop lung cancer, according to a new study published by a group of Taiwanese scientists.

The researchers followed more than 700,000 randomly selected individuals over a period of six years, including 4,480 diagnosed with tuberculosis, they said in a statement Wednesday.

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Malaysia Delays GM Mosquito Trial After Protests

Malaysia has delayed a landmark field trial to release genetically modified mosquitoes designed to combat dengue fever, an official said Tuesday, following protests from environmentalists.

In the first experiment of its kind in Asia, 4,000-6,000 male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were originally scheduled to be released by last month in a bid to fight dengue, which killed at least 134 people last year in Malaysia alone.

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Blood Test to Spot Cancer Gets Big Boost from J&J

A blood test so sensitive that it can spot a single cancer cell lurking among a billion healthy ones is moving one step closer to being available at your doctor's office.

Boston scientists who invented the test and health care giant Johnson & Johnson will announce Monday that they are joining forces to bring it to market. Four big cancer centers also will start studies using the experimental test this year.

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S.Korea Reports First Bird Flu Outbreak Since 2008

South Korea on Friday confirmed its first outbreak of bird flu for more than two years, with more than 100,000 birds slaughtered as authorities bid to contain the lethal virus.

Two poultry farms, one in the central city of Cheonan and the other in the southwestern city of Iksan, were confirmed to have been contaminated by the H5N1 virus, the agricultural ministry said.

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Rice Noodles Cause China Food Scare

Large amounts of rice noodles made with rotten grain and potentially carcinogenic additives are being sold in south China, state press said Friday, in the country's latest food safety scare.

Up to 50 factories in south China's Dongguan city near Hong Kong are producing about 500,000 kilograms (1.1 million pounds) of tainted rice noodles a day using stale and moldy grain, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

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