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Cuba Issues Warning About Dengue Mosquitos

Cuban health officials warned Thursday about an increased number of mosquitoes in the country's urban areas that can spread diseases such as dengue fever.

The communist island's 23 largest municipalities are affected by an uptick of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, including the capital Havana, state television reported.

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New Yorkers against Super-Size Soda Ban

An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers oppose Mayor Michael Bloomberg's unprecedented proposal for banning super-sized sweet drinks and his support for breastfeeding, a poll found Thursday.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that 54 percent of New Yorkers oppose Bloomberg's planned prohibition restricting soda drink servings to no more than 16 ounces (almost half a liter). Some 42 percent of respondents backed the measure that could go into effect next year.

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Study: Tobacco Use Entrenched In Developing Countries

Tobacco use is massively entrenched in developing countries, where one of the biggest worries is the rise of smoking among women, according to a study published on Friday in The Lancet.

A survey of 16 countries that are home to three billion people found that 48.6 percent of all men and 11.3 percent of women are tobacco users, especially in poorer economies, where more girls are starting to smoke early and often at the same age as boys.

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Czechs Mull Blanket Ban on Smoking in Restaurants

The Czech Republic is contemplating a blanket ban on smoking in restaurants, a step that would put the country on par with many of its EU peers, Czech media said Thursday.

"We will submit a new version of the law, the toughest ever here -- a complete ban on smoking in restaurants," the Lidove noviny broadsheet quoted deputy health minister Martin Plisek as saying.

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Two Gene Clues for Resistance to Malaria

Scientists in Germany and Africa on Wednesday said they had found two variants of genes that help to explain why some lucky individuals do not develop severe malaria.

The two variants were netted in a comparison of 1,325 people in the West African state of Ghana who had fallen ill with severe falciparum malaria and of 828 counterparts who were otherwise healthy.

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West Nile Virus Kills 17 in Texas, Sickens Hundreds

The southwestern U.S. state of Texas is battling an outbreak of the West Nile virus, with 17 deaths blamed on the mosquito-borne disease, authorities said Wednesday.

Throughout the state 465 people have been sickened since the start of the year, putting it on track to have the most cases since the disease first emerged a decade ago, the Texas Department of State Health Services said.

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Australia Says No Plan for Total Smoking Ban

Australia said Thursday it has no plans to ban smoking after a key court ruling allowing cigarettes to be sold in plain packets, describing the health battle against tobacco as "one step at a time."

Tobacco products will have to be sold in drab, uniform packaging with graphic health warnings in Australia from December 1 after global cigarette firms lost a constitutional challenge against the world-first plan.

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Research: Suicides May Rise 15% in Hard Times

Suicide rates can rise by between eight and 15 percent in times of economic hardship, according to studies that separately probed the effects of Europe's economic crisis and of droughts in Australia.

Writing in the BMJ medical journal, researchers estimated the recession may have been to blame for some 1,000 people taking their own lives in Britain between 2008 and 2010.

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Asbestos Found In Chinese-Made Cars in Australia

Some 23,000 cheap Chinese-made cars were Wednesday recalled in Australia after asbestos was found in their engines, with unions demanding to know how they came to be in the country.

Importer Ateco Automotive instructed all Chery and Great Wall dealers to stop selling affected vehicles, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) closely watching developments.

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Tobacco Firms Lose Key Australia Plain Packet Case

Global tobacco firms lost a "watershed" court challenge to Australia's plain packaging laws for cigarettes on Wednesday in a closely-watched case health advocates said will have a worldwide impact.

The High Court of Australia ruled the measures, forcing cigarettes and tobacco products to be sold in drab, uniform packaging with graphic health warnings from December 1 this year, did not breach the country's constitution.

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