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World - U.S. judge tosses FDA panel report on menthol cigarettes

By Mica Rosenberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge ruled on Monday in favor of two tobacco companies that challenged a 2011 U.S. Food and Drug Administration committee report on menthol cigarettes, finding three of the panel`s members had conflicts of interests. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ordered the FDA reconstitute the committee and barred the agency from using the panel`s findings, which said removing menthol cigarettes from the market would benefit public health. Lorillard Inc and Reynolds American Inc`s R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co unit filed the lawsuit in 2011 arguing the panel`s members were biased against the industry. `The presence of conflicted members on the Committee irrevocably tainted its very composition and its work product,` Leon wrote in ruling filed at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. He called the panel`s findings and recommendations `at a minimum suspect, and, at worst, untrustworthy.` Leon has sided with the tobacco companies in the past.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014  01:32


World - Fight against domestic violence stalls in patriarchal Turkey

Last year, 13 women in Turkey were murdered by their partners whilst nominally under state protection, according to official figures. Turkey, which aspires to join the European Union, has drafted new legislation to try to bring women`s rights in line with European standards. Officials say the number of shelters has doubled in the past three years and victim support centers have been set up, allowing women like Hayat to receive protection and remain with their children. Turkey ranked 120th of 136 nations in the World Economic Forum`s 2013 Gender Gap Index, down 15 places since 2006, while a 2011 U.N. report indicated domestic violence rates were almost twice those in the United States, and ten times higher than in some European countries.     `There is a real concrete, open threat to our rights.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014  06:19


World - Clashes between Libya army, Islamists kill 16

Sixteen people, most of them soldiers, were killed and 81 injured in clashes between the Libyan army and Islamist fighters in the eastern city of Benghazi, medical and military sources told AFP Tuesday. Special forces soldiers violently battled the Islamists, who have held sway in Benghazi since a 2011 revolution which ousted and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, plunging the nation into turmoil. Near-daily clashes take place in Libya`s second city between the army and various Islamist groups, including Ansar al-Sharia, which has been classified by Washington as a terrorist organisation. Renegade former general Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive against Islamist militias in Benghazi in May.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014  02:39


Business - Netflix profit doubles on U.S., foreign subscriber growth

Netflix Inc said on Monday its quarterly profit more than doubled, boosted by strong growth in U.S. and international subscribers as a price increase for its most popular U.S. video streaming plan did not deter new users. Netflix added 570,000 U.S. customers in the second fiscal quarter ended June 30, passing 50 million worldwide subscribers for the first time. The company suffered a consumer exodus and stock plunge after it announced an unpopular price increase in July 2011. Netflix executives also said they were contemplating an eventual move into China, the world`s most populous country.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014  01:06


Top Stories - 4 more charged in 2011 hate crime

Victim targeted by white teens, harassed and beaten, then run down by a pickup truck

Thursday, July 17, 2014  09:11


World - Somalia facing new famine threat, aid agencies warn

Three years to the day since a famine that eventually killed more than a quarter of a million people was declared in Somalia, aid agencies warned Sunday the country faced a new catastrophe without urgent aid. A joint statement issued by a group of charities and aid agencies said there were more than 300,000 malnourished children in Somalia and a total of 2.9 million people in need of life-saving help. `Aid agencies today caution, again, that the signs of a drought are re-emerging in Somalia and urge for these not to be ignored in order to avoid a relapse into the conditions of the 2011 catastrophe,` the statement said, warning that without funding, aid programmes were likely to be forced to shut down. `Most affected people are still recovering from the massive losses of the 2011 drought and famine.

Sunday, July 20, 2014  13:03


World - Sri Lanka court sentences four for murder of Briton, rape of fiancée

By Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez COLOMBO (Reuters) - A Sri Lankan court convicted on Friday four men, including a ruling party town council member, of the murder of a British aid worker and the rape of his Russian fiancée and sentenced them to jail with hard labor for 20 years. Khuram Shaikh, a 32-year-old Red Cross worker based in Gaza, was shot and stabbed to death on Dec. 25, 2011, at a hotel while on holiday. His fiancée was beaten unconscious before being sexually assaulted, according to hospital and police records. Colombo High Court sentenced the four, including Sampath Vidanapathirana, a ruling party supporter and head of the council in Tangalle town, where the two were staying, to `rigorous imprisonment` for 20 years.

Friday, July 18, 2014  10:53


World - Emaciated children in South Sudan point to looming famine

By Carl Odera LEER South Sudan (Reuters) - A surge in the number of emaciated children arriving at a feeding center in Leer, a muddy rebel-held town in South Sudan`s oil-rich Unity State, is fuelling fears that the world`s newest nation is on the brink of famine. Food stocks are running low across conflict-ravaged northern regions of the country, aid workers say, and the onset of the rainy season has dashed hopes that South Sudan`s displaced subsistence farmers will plant enough crops to feed themselves. The country is the size of France but has hardly any paved roads and the United Nations and humanitarian agencies are struggling to provide aid to remote regions. Aid agencies say South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of conflict, could be headed for the worst famine since the 1984 Ethiopian famine.

Monday, July 21, 2014  17:04


World - Murdoch tabloid suspends `Fake Sheikh` after UK trial collapse

Rupert Murdoch`s British tabloid The Sun suspended an investigative reporter nicknamed the `Fake Sheikh` on Monday after a pop star`s drugs trial collapsed amid allegations that the journalist had lied in court. The trial of singer Tulisa Contostavlos, who had been accused of offering to procure cocaine for reporter Mazher Mahmood, was dismissed by a judge at Southwark Crown Court in London. Mahmood rose to prominence for his work at the News of The World, the weekly tabloid that Murdoch shut down in 2011 following revelations of phone hacking, and moved to its sister paper The Sun after its closure.

Monday, July 21, 2014  16:37


World - India police beat back protesters of alleged child rape

Indian police beat back angry protesters who attempted to storm the premises of a top Bangalore school where a six-year-old girl was allegedly raped, an officer said Monday. Hundreds of enraged parents have held a series of protests in Bangalore since the alleged incident was revealed last week, as India struggles to rebuild its battered reputation over levels of sexual violence in the country. Police seized a laptop containing images of children being raped from the instructor, who had worked at the school since 2011, the city`s police commissioner, Raghavendra Auradkar, told reporters. India is especially sensitive to cases of sexual violence after the 2012 fatal gang-rape of a student on a moving bus in New Delhi, which led to a public outcry and new tougher laws to deter rapists.

Monday, July 21, 2014  16:37

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