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Hollywood and the downwinders still grapple with nuclear fallout

John WayneThe photograph shows John Wayne with his two sons during a break in filming on the set of The Conqueror, a big budget blockbuster about Genghis Khan shot in the Utah desert in 1954. It was one of Hollywood’s most famous mis-castings. The duke could do many things but playing a 13th century Mongol warlord was not one of them. Film geeks consider it one of the great turkeys of Hollywood’s golden age.

There is another, darker reason it endures in film lore. The photograph hints at it. Wayne clutches a black metal box while another man appears to adjust the controls. Wayne’s two teenage sons, Patrick and Michael, gaze at it, clearly intrigued, perhaps a bit anxious. The actor himself appears relaxed, leaning on Patrick, his hat at a jaunty angle. The box, which rests on a patch of scrub, looks unremarkable. It is in fact a Geiger counter.


Tobacco firms get partial win over claims on smoking effects

Tobacco adAmerica's largest tobacco companies must inform consumers that cigarettes were designed to increase addiction, but not that they lied to the public about the dangers of smoking, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a partial win for cigarette makers in the long-running legal fight that began in the Clinton administration in 1999. In this latest round, the companies objected to running court-ordered advertisements that would have branded themselves as liars.


Peabody Energy exploited Ebola crisis for corporate gain, say health experts

Peabody exploited ebola crisisPublic health experts involved in the response to the Ebola crisis have condemned what they described as a ludicrous, insulting and opportunistic attempt to exploit the disease for corporate gain by the world’s largest privately-held coal company.

As part of a PR offensive to rebrand coal as a “21st-century fuel” that can help solve global poverty, it has emerged that at the height of Ebola’s impact in Africa, Peabody Energy promoted its product as an answer to Africa’s devastating public health crisis.


'Groundbreaking' treatment found for cystic fibrosis

cystic fibrosis treatmentCystic fibrosis treatment has generally been focused on easing symptoms, but a combination of drugs used in a recent study prevented many of the pulmonary exacerbations that lead to patients being hospitalized.

Researchers gave patients a combination of Ivacaftor, used primarily for patients with a specific genetic mutation that causes cystic fibrosis, and Lumacaftor, an experimental drug that addresses another mutation which a high percentage of patients have. The success of the study is being considered groundbreaking because it addresses that disease instead of symptoms.


World Trade body rejects country of origin labels on meat

packaged meat labels The World Trade Organization has ruled against U.S. labels on packaged steaks and other cuts of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Monday that the WTO has rejected a final U.S. appeal, deciding the U.S. "country of origin" labels put Canadian and Mexican livestock at a disadvantage.


Blue Bell expands recall to all of its products

Wisteria outbreakBrenham-based Blue Bell Creameries is pulling all of its products from the shelves after more ice cream samples tested positive for a life-threatening bacterial infection.

The voluntary decision, announced Monday, is the latest and most sweeping development to plague the Texas business icon since a recall last month, the first in the company's 108-year history.


Big Tobacco Sues FDA Over New Packaging Guidelines

big tobaccoThe nation's largest tobacco companies are suing the Food and Drug Administration over recent guidelines that they claim overstep the agency's authority over labeling and packaging for cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Units of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Altria Group Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claiming the FDA's guidance infringes on their commercial speech.


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