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Wednesday, Oct 22nd

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France to introduce plain cigarette packaging

French crackdown on smokingThe French government has unveiled controversial new measures to cut the number of its smokers, including introducing plain cigarette packaging.

The proposals are specifically aimed at reducing the high rates of teenage smokers in France.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine plans to follow Australia's example, which introduced similar measures in 2012.

Experts say removing branding on packets and adding large health warnings reduced smoking in Australia.

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Ebola cases could reach between 550,000 and 1.4 million by late January: CDC

Ebola cases Between 550,000 and 1.4 million people in West Africa could be infected with the Ebola virus by January 20, 2015, according to a report issued on Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The top range of the estimate, 1.4 million, assumes that the number of cases officially cited so far, 5,864 according to the count kept by the World Health Organization, is significantly underreported, and that it is likely that 2.5 times as many cases, or nearly 20,000, have in fact occurred.

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Sierra Leone burial team attacked despite lockdown

Sierra Leone burial teamA team burying Ebola victims was attacked in Sierra Leone's capital on Saturday, a member of parliament said, as a small group defied a three-day lockdown aimed at halting the worst outbreak of the disease on record.

In one of the most extreme measures since the epidemic began, Sierra Leone has ordered its population of 6 million to stay indoors as volunteers circulate to educate residents about the disease as well as isolate the sick and remove the dead.

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Officials: 706 babies, 43 employees exposed to tuberculosis at El Paso hospital

Robert RensendesHealth officials said that 706 babies from El Paso, New Mexico and Mexico who were born at Providence Memorial Hospital might have been exposed to tuberculosis.

In addition to the babies, 43 employees also might have been exposed to the disease, officials said Friday at a news conference at the city's Department of Public Health. Officials said the hospital delivers about 3,000 children a year.

The source of the potential exposure was a health care worker at the hospital who was found to have an active case of the disease, health officials said.

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Sierra Leone's Capital At Standstill As 3-Day Ebola Lockdown Begins

FreetownStreets in the capital of Sierra Leone were deserted on Friday as the West African state began a contested, three-day lockdown in a bid to halt the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

President Ernest Bai Koroma urged people to heed the emergency measures as health workers, some clad in protective biohazard suits, went house to house, checking on residents and marking each doorway they visited with chalk.

Radio stations played Ebola awareness jingles on repeat and encouraged residents to stay indoors.

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Artificial sweeteners may lead to diabetes

artificial sweetenersReaching for artificial sweeteners to avoid sugar may be trading one evil for another, a new study suggests.

For some people, artificial sweeteners may lead to type 2 diabetes as directly as eating sugar does, according to the research, published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The benefits and risks of artificial sweeteners have been debated for decades. Some studies show no link to diabetes and others suggest there is one. The new research, from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, finds that differences in gut microbes may explain why some people can handle artificial sweeteners just fine while in an unknown percentage of others the sweeteners lead to diabetes.

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GlaxoSmithKline to pay £297m fine over China bribery network

GlaxoSmithKlineGlaxoSmithKline has been found guilty of bribery by a Chinese court and has agreed to pay a fine of 3bn yuan (£297m) to the government in Beijing.

At the same time, the former head of its China division, Mark Reilly, and other GSK executives are facing two- to four-year jail terms, according to the state news agency, Xinhua. Reilly was accused of running a "massive bribery network".

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