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Showing posts from August 12, 2014

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Marvel's 'Guardians' rockets to $94 mln domestic debut

"Guardians of the Galaxy," Walt Disney Co's offbeat space adventure featuring extraterrestrial misfits and a talking raccoon, made $94 million in ticket sales this weekend, setting a record for an August film opening. The film's strong beginning, however, isn't likely to jumpstart a lackluster summer box office season. The 3D movie, which stars lesser-known characters in Disney's Marvel comic book universe, added $66.4 million from international markets, for a global debut of $160.4 million, Disney said on Sunday. "Guardians" outgunned last weekend's leader, the science-fiction thriller "Lucy" that collected another $18.3 million in sales at domestic theaters, according to estimates from Rentrak. "Lucy" stars Scarlett Johansson as a woman with a super-powered brain. "Get On Up," a biography of the soul singer James Brown, was third with $14 million in its first weekend in theaters. "Guardians" stars

Iliad may face tough battle cutting costs at T-Mobile

French telecoms firm Iliad will be hard-pressed to meet its goal of generating $2 billion in additional annual operating profit at T-Mobile US Inc by cutting costs and slashing prices if its takeover bid is accepted, analysts said. Iliad, which in recent years has shaken up the French mobile market with cheap subscriber plans, bid $15 billion last week for a 56.6 percent stake in T-Mobile, the No. 4 U.S. mobile operator. The Paris-based company, majority owned by billionaire founder Xavier Niel, said a merger would result in $10 billion in synergies and an additional $2 billion in annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). It would hit those targets by running T-Mobile, majority owned by Deutsche Telekom AG, in an "Iliad-like" way, sources familiar with the takeover bid told Reuters. Even if successful in its takeover bid, Iliad faces significant obstacles in reaching those cost savings and negotiating better deals with U.S. cellul

Iliad may face tough battle cutting costs at T-Mobile

French telecoms firm Iliad will be hard-pressed to meet its goal of generating $2 billion in additional annual operating profit at T-Mobile US Inc by cutting costs and slashing prices if its takeover bid is accepted, analysts said. Iliad, which in recent years has shaken up the French mobile market with cheap subscriber plans, bid $15 billion last week for a 56.6 percent stake in T-Mobile, the No. 4 U.S. mobile operator. The Paris-based company, majority owned by billionaire founder Xavier Niel, said a merger would result in $10 billion in synergies and an additional $2 billion in annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). It would hit those targets by running T-Mobile, majority owned by Deutsche Telekom AG, in an "Iliad-like" way, sources familiar with the takeover bid told Reuters. Even if successful in its takeover bid, Iliad faces significant obstacles in reaching those cost savings and negotiating better deals with U.S. cellula

Muhammad Ali's 'Fight of the Century' gloves up for auction

The gloves that boxing legend Muhammad Ali wore in his legendary 1971 fight against Joe Frazier in what became known as the Fight of the Century will come up for auction on Thursday and are expected to fetch more than $300,000. The auction is being run by Texas-based Heritage Auctions at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland. Heritage previously auctioned a set of gloves Ali wore to claim his first World Championship in 1964 for $836,500. The Fight of the Century, in New York's Madison Square Garden, was the first of three fights between Ali and Frazier during the 1970s. In 1971, Frazier officially held the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World. Ali had been stripped of the title he had held since the 1964 bout against Sonny Liston because of his refusal to participate in the Vietnam War-era draft. The March 8 fight against Frazier was Ali's second after returning to the ring following a 3-1/2 year absence. Ali's conviction had just been overturn

Mountain bikers eye $1 mln in 'toughest race on earth'

Mountain bikers tempted by the $1 million in prize money up for grabs in a new South African endurance race are given a warning before they sign up: "This could change your life, or end it". Teams of two will have to come up with a $10,000 entrance fee to race on Dec. 3 in The Munga - a grueling unassisted 1,000-km (620-mile) ride across South Africa's semi-arid Karoo desert region at the height of summer. But the pair that crosses the finish line first in the southern Cape wine-country hills of Stellenbosch will collect $750,000, dwarfing the sum shared by the winning Tour de France team. The challenge of mountain biking almost non-stop across the desert with barely any food or sleep ranks The Munga among the world's most punishing endurance events. But it is the cash that makes the race stand out. "I've observed in me and guys around me digging deep in extreme races and they were doing that for nothing more than intrinsic motivation and war stories,&

Property along Berlin's former 'death strip' lures wealthy buyers

When luxury living quarter The Garden opens next year only a metal strip across the courtyard retracing the Berlin Wall will remind its affluent inhabitants that 25 years ago this was the "death strip" on no man's land separating east and west. Instead of barbed wire and sentries, residents will be greeted by a 24/7 doorman and concierge service - and perhaps eventually, a growing, city-wide pushback against gentrification. On the anniversary of the fall of the Wall in 1989, Berlin is belatedly attracting the kind of wealth normally associated with the capital of a major economic power. A fluke of history means the city has a supply of vacant lots in coveted central locations along the Wall built by East Germany's communists to keep capitalism at bay, though some developers are wary of being too brazenly commercial about this. "Clients, international and German alike, value living on historical ground," said Michael Ries of the property developer Pante

Sudanese woman who had faced execution for conversion arrives in U.S.

A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, then detained after her conviction was quashed, arrived in the United States on Thursday. Mariam Yahya Ibrahim was scheduled on Thursday evening to arrive in Manchester, New Hampshire, where she has relatives, her brother-in-law Gabriel Wani said in a phone interview. "I'm very happy," Wani said as he waited for Ibrahim to arrive at Manchester airport. "I have been waiting for this for a long time." Since leaving Sudan after her sentence and detention triggered international outrage, Ibrahim has been in Rome, where she met with Pope Francis along with her husband and two children. She first touched down in the United States at Philadelphia International Airport, where she briefly met with that city's mayor, Michael Nutter. "It's very clear she is a tremendously strong woman," Nutter told reporters after greeting Ibrahim and giving her family a toy vers

Sudanese woman who had faced execution for conversion arrives in U.S.

A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, then detained after her conviction was quashed, arrived in the United States on Thursday. Mariam Yahya Ibrahim arrived in Manchester, New Hampshire, where she has relatives and where she was greeted by a crowd of people from the local Sudanese immigrant community who sang and handed her bunches of flowers. "I can't describe the feeling," said her husband, Daniel Wani, who had traveled with Ibrahim and their two children from Rome, where the couple had been recovering after Ibrahim's release by the Sudanese government. "We are so tired," Wani told reporters at Manchester airport. "The ordeal is over." Ibrahim smiled and waved to the crowd of about three dozen supporters, but she did not speak publicly. Since leaving Sudan after her sentence and detention triggered international outrage, Ibrahim had been in Rome, where she met with Pope Francis along with he

Muhammad Ali's 'Fight of the Century' gloves sell for nearly $400,000

The gloves that boxing great Muhammad Ali wore in his legendary 1971 fight against Joe Frazier in what became known as the Fight of the Century sold at auction on Thursday for almost $400,000. An anonymous bidder bought the gloves for $388,375 at the auction run by Texas-based Heritage Auctions at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland. Heritage previously auctioned a set of gloves Ali wore to claim his first World Championship in 1964 for $836,500. The Fight of the Century, in New York's Madison Square Garden, was the first of three fights between Ali and Frazier during the 1970s. In 1971, Frazier officially held the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World. Ali had been stripped of the title he had held since the 1964 bout against Sonny Liston because of his refusal to participate in the Vietnam War-era draft. The March 8 fight against Frazier was Ali's second after returning to the ring following a 3-1/2 year absence. Ali's conviction had just bee

Putin wants monasteries, church rebuilt inside Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for two monasteries and a church that were demolished during Soviet times to be rebuilt in the Kremlin, the largest overhaul of the site's architectural landscape in nearly a century. Putin has cultivated strong ties with Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, adopting more conservative policies and prompting some critics to suggest the line separating state and church has become blurred. At a meeting on Thursday with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and top administrators of the Kremlin site, Putin said his plan would involve tearing down a building used for administrative purposes to restore the site's "historic appearance". Putin gave no indication of the costs of construction. Russia's economy is teetering on the brink of recession and faces reduced access to foreign capital after the West imposed sanctions over Moscow's policies in Ukraine. The Kremlin, a fortified landmark sprawling across

Pakistan widows, 'second' wives flee fighting but are denied aid

Thousands of women displaced by fighting in Pakistan are struggling to get food and other aid because they lack identity cards and conservative Muslim elders have forbidden them from going to distribution centers. The women are among nearly a million people who registered for aid after the army began an offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan, a mountainous region on the Afghan border. The army ordered most civilians to leave before the offensive began in June. Many ended up in Bannu, a small city on the main road out of the semi-autonomous tribal region. No census has been conducted in North Waziristan for years, so no one knows the true scale of the problem. Government figures, however, show almost three-quarters of those seeking aid are women and children. There's plenty of food to go around, with the World Food Program handing out nearly 5,000 tonnes and many other aid groups active. But women face two problems: the lack of identity cards and an edict

Alzheimer's documentary 'Alive Inside' pushes for music therapy

Michael Rossato-Bennett initially thought it was the worst job he had ever taken. The filmmaker was flabbergasted when he entered a nursing home on a commission to film a few clips for a website. "I walked into these hallways with hundreds of residents in wheelchairs just sitting on the side of the hallway, and I had felt like I'd entered into Dante's 'Inferno,'" he said. That visit, though, eventually sparked "Alive Inside," an award-winning independent documentary on musical therapy for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other neurological ailments. When Rossato-Bennett started filming three years ago he met Henry. The 94-year-old man was crumpled in his wheelchair with his head down, eyes closed and hands clasped. He had been in a nursing home for a decade and couldn't recognize his daughter. But when a nurse put headphones over Henry's ears and played his favorite music, he began to shuffle his feet, move his arms and

Student starts global class action against Facebook

Austrian law student Max Schrems appealed to a billion Facebook users around the world on Friday to join a class-action lawsuit against Facebook's alleged violations of its users' privacy, stepping up a years-long data-protection campaign. Schrems, a thorn in Facebook's side who has a case involving the social network pending at the European Court of Justice, has filed a claim at Vienna's commercial court and invited others to join the action at www.fbclaim.com using their Facebook login. Under Austrian law, a group of people may transfer their financial claims to a single person - in this case, Schrems. Legal proceedings are then effectively run as a class action. Schrems is claiming damages of 500 euros ($670) per user for alleged data violations, including aiding the U.S. National Security Agency in running its Prism program, which mined the personal data of users of Facebook and other web services. The 26-year-old is also seeking injunctions under EU data-prot

Jailed Indian tycoon gets office to negotiate hotel sales

India's Supreme Court has granted a jailed business tycoon an office, a phone, Internet connection and three secretaries in the Delhi prison that has been his home for five months so he can sell two of his company's iconic hotels to help pay bail. Subrata Roy, head of the Sahara conglomerate, was jailed on March 4 for failing to appear in court in a legal battle with India's capital market's watchdog. He needs to raise 100 billion rupees ($1.6 billion) to have a chance of release. The Supreme Court gave him 10 working days from Monday to accomplish the sale of the Grosvenor House Hotel in London and the Plaza Hotel in New York. So he can negotiate with potential bidders, Roy will get a conference room inside the jail complex, a mobile phone, laptop and desktop computers, Internet access and video conferencing facilities, as long as he pays for them. Three of his company's secretaries will be allowed to join him to assist with the sale, the court said. "T

French hospital to open wine bar to cheer up terminally ill

A hospital in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand is to open a wine bar where terminally ill patients will be able to enjoy a "medically-supervised" glass or two with their families. _0"> "Why should we refuse the charms of the soil to those at the end of their lives? Nothing justifies such an prohibition," the Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital Center said in statement. The center's head, Dr. Virginie Guastella, said terminally ill patients had the right to "enjoy themselves". The bar will be the first in France to offer such a facility for patients and their families. Staff will be specially trained before it opens in the hospital's palliative care center in September. "Medically supervised tastings will help brighten what is often a difficult daily life," the hospital said. Although some researchers have long held that an antioxidant found in red wine is good for the heart, some recent research has determined that wine

How do you make a bird? Shrink a dinosaur for 50 million years

Large flesh-eating dinosaurs evolved into small flying birds, but it did not happen overnight. An international team of scientists on Thursday described an extraordinary evolutionary process that unfolded over a period of 50 million years in which a lineage of carnivorous dinosaurs shrank steadily and acquired numerous traits that led to the first appearance of birds. The researchers, using techniques developed by molecular biologists to reconstruct virus evolution, examined 1,500 anatomical traits in 120 different dinosaurs from the theropod group. These bipedal meat-eaters included giants like Tyrannosaurus rex and Giganotosaurus as well as the lineage that produced birds. "Our study measured the rate of evolution of different groups of theropod dinosaurs," said lead researcher Michael Lee, a paleontologist at the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Museum. "The fastest-evolving group also happened to be ancestral to birds. So, ultimately, the most ad

Museum celebrating 'Big Bang' of country music opens in Virginia

A museum celebrating 10 days in 1927 that helped introduce the mountain music of Appalachia to mainstream America opened in Virginia on Friday. The Birthplace of Country Music Museum tells the story of record producer Ralph Peer, who offered $50 to "hillbilly" musicians willing to come to a makeshift studio in Bristol, Tennessee, and play into his modern microphone.   The result, which launched the careers of such luminaries as Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, was dubbed by music historian Nolan Porterfield as "the Big Bang of country music" and hailed by Johnny Cash as the genre's most important moment. The session featured 19 acts recording 76 songs for the first time, including Rodgers' "Sleep Baby Sleep" and the Carters' "Single Girl, Married Girl." The museum's exhibits trace the origins of hillbilly music through the fields, the train tracks and the churches of the Appalachian Mountains. Most of the story is to

Jason Mraz's first summer job? Sweaty, hard work

Summer jobs: The very mention brings up memories of low pay, long hours and sweaty, clueless teenagers who don't really know what they're doing. Memories like that are still vivid for some of the nation's greatest achievers. Since last August, Reuters has been gathering the first-job stories of successful Americans, including sports legends, business titans and media superstars. This month, to coincide with the nation's monthly jobs report, we spoke to a few of them about those memorable summer jobs that got them started. JASON MRAZ, SINGER AND SONGWRITER First summer job: Fence builder "My dad was a fence contractor in Mechanicsville, Virginia, so my first paying gig was building fences. It involved a lot of digging holes, cleaning up construction sites and distributing lumber. It was for $5 an hour, which, at the time, was more than minimum wage." "It was hard manual labor, and I certainly would rather have been at the pool with my friends r

Obama commemorates Special Olympics anniversary at star-studded White House event

Katy Perry, Jason Derulo and Stevie Wonder were all there - but the only guest who got to give President Barack Obama a hug during his speech was restaurant owner Tim Harris. Harris has Down syndrome, but he owns his own restaurant and is a Special Olympics star in year-round sports. And the focus was more on the star athletes than on the pop stars at a White House event on Thursday to commemorate the anniversary of the Special Olympics organization. "Presidents need encouragement once in a while too...Thank you, Tim," Obama said after Harris left his seat during the president's remarks to give him a hug, Harris' trademark at his restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Established in 1968, the Special Olympics give people with intellectual disabilities opportunities to participate in sports ranging from basketball and bowling to figure skating and gymnastics. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will serve as honorary chairs of the Special Olympics World Games i

Michael Jackson's Neverland estate being considered for sale

Late pop singer Michael Jackson's Neverland estate is being considered for sale, a spokesman for the company controlling the property said on Friday. _0"> Owen Blicksilver, spokesman for investment firm Colony Capital LLC, said the company will make a decision soon as to whether it will place Jackson's estate near the central Californian coast on the market. He declined to reveal any further details. Jackson, who died in June 2009 at age 50 from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, had handed over the title on his Neverland ranch in 2008 to Colony Capital, which held his $23 million loan on the property. At the time of the deal, Colony Capital said the firm had been planning to spruce up the ranch and sell it for an estimated $70 million to $80 million or more if Jackson was able to revitalize his career. Jackson's estate, managed by John McClain and John Branca, said it is "saddened at the prospect of the sale of Neverland," and will con

Officer arrested in Paris police headquarters cocaine robbery

French police arrested an officer on Saturday whom they suspect of stealing some 52 kg (115 pounds) of cocaine, worth around 2 million euros ($2.69 million), from a locked room inside central police headquarters in Paris. _0"> Police discovered on Friday that the cocaine, which was seized in a raid in July and then kept in a locker inside the headquarters overlooking the Seine river, had disappeared. Security camera footage helped investigators to identify a man entering the anti-drugs squad's quarters with two bags on the night of July 24 and leaving shortly after, police said in a statement. Other officers helped to identify the man as a member of the Paris anti-drugs unit and he was tracked down and arrested in southern France, the statement said. A police source said the officer, 30, had been arrested in the southern city of Perpignan, near the border with Spain, during a raid. It was the second time this year that the Paris police headquarters at 36 Quai des Orf

German police rescue elderly man with bicycle on motorway

German police rescued an 83-year-old man pushing his bicycle in the middle of a motorway on Saturday after he gave up trying to cycle to Luxembourg to withdraw more than 100,000 euros ($134,300) from a bank there. _0"> The police in Schweich, near the western town of Trier, said they closed the high-speed A 602 motorway in both directions after the man was spotted pushing his bicycle there. Police said he told them he wanted to get the money out of his bank account before German tax authorities found out about it. The grand duchy is a preferred banking center for Germans trying to hide savings from taxation at home. Police said the man, who had been reported missing on Wednesday, was sent home in a taxi with his bicycle and the motorway was later re-opened. They declined to give any further information about the case. (Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum ; Editing by Tom Heneghan )

Property along Berlin's former 'death strip' lures wealthy buyers

When luxury living quarter The Garden opens next year only a metal strip across the courtyard retracing the Berlin Wall will remind its affluent inhabitants that 25 years ago this was the "death strip" on no man's land separating east and west. Instead of barbed wire and sentries, residents will be greeted by a 24/7 doorman and concierge service - and perhaps eventually, a growing, city-wide pushback against gentrification. On the anniversary of the fall of the Wall in 1989, Berlin is belatedly attracting the kind of wealth normally associated with the capital of a major economic power. A fluke of history means the city has a supply of vacant lots in coveted central locations along the Wall built by East Germany's communists to keep capitalism at bay, though some developers are wary of being too brazenly commercial about this. "Clients, international and German alike, value living on historical ground," said Michael Ries of the property developer Pante

Supporters, foes of pot legalization post rival ads in NY Times

Supporters and opponents of the federal ban on marijuana took to the pages of The New York Times this weekend with full-page color advertisements that highlight the fast-evolving debate in the United States about medical and recreational drug use. The advertisements followed The New York Times' decision last month in a series of editorials to call for repealing the ban, the biggest U.S. newspaper to do so. Opinion polls show a majority of Americans now back the legalization of pot. The ads are also designed to undercut pot's decades-old association with the counterculture and drop-outs by featuring people dressed in everyday working attire. In an ad in Sunday's edition of the paper, Seattle-based Privateer Holdings features its medical marijuana website Leafly.com, which helps users to find pot dispensaries and to choose strains. The ad depicts a woman jogger in Spandex gliding past a brownstone building as a crisply dressed professional man stands atop its steps with

Thai surrogate says unaware twin had Downs until late in pregnancy

A Thai surrogate mother left with one twin by his Australian biological parents after the child was born with Down's Syndrome said on Sunday she was not informed of his condition until late in her pregnancy. Pattaramon Janbua said her doctors, the surrogacy agency and the baby's parents knew he was disabled at four months but did not inform her until the seventh month when the agency asked her - at the parents' request - to abort the disabled fetus. Pattaramon, 21, told Reuters Television she refused the abortion on religious grounds and carried both him and his twin sister to term six months ago. The parents, who have not been identified, took only the girl back with them to Australia. The boy, Gammy, needs surgery for a congenital heart condition, according to media reports. An online campaign in Australia had raised nearly A$200,000 ($186,200) in donations so far for the operation. "I want to warn those who are considering becoming a surrogate mother, don&

Electronics giant Panasonic wants Singaporeans to eat its veg

Japan's Panasonic Corp, best known for its television sets and home theater systems, wants to feed Singaporeans its radishes and lettuce. A unit of the electronics conglomerate last week started selling to a chain of Japanese restaurants in Singapore fresh produce grown in what it says is the first licensed indoor vegetable farm in the island state. The move ties Panasonic's deeper push into farming technology with land-scarce Singapore's ambition to reduce its near-total reliance on food imports. "We foresee agriculture to be a potential growth portfolio, given the global shortage of arable land, climate change and increasing demand for quality food as well as stable food supply," Hideki Baba, managing director of Panasonic Factory Solutions Asia Pacific, told reporters. The facility, which presently has a small production capacity of 3.6 tonnes annually, produces 10 types of vegetables such as mini red radishes and baby spinach. Indoor farming has found

Hybrid kalette veggies set to tempt U.S. taste buds

The prospect of eating kale or Brussels sprouts might make some people gag, but a British company is hoping a hybrid mix of the two vegetables called "kalettes" will appeal to taste buds when they start to hit the broad U.S. market this fall. The tiny, curly-leafed purple and green sprouts are being promoted as the first major new vegetable product since broccolini, a cross between broccoli and the Chinese leaf vegetable kai-lan, was introduced in the United States in 1998. Though vitamin and mineral-packed kale has become trendy among health-conscious Americans, its marriage with Brussels sprouts in the United Kingdom was a product risk, said David Rogers, sales manager for Britain's Tozer Seeds, which created the hybrid after 15 years of research and development. "Kale for a long time has just been known as a sheep food, really," Rogers said of its reputation in Great Britain. "For a lot of people, the only time they'll eat Brussels sprouts is at

Biota's lead drug fails mid-stage study, shares slump

Biota Pharmaceuticals Inc said its influenza treatment failed to meet the main goal in a mid-stage study, about two months after the company lost a key government contract supporting the drug's development. _0"> Biota's shares fell as much as 29 percent to a record low of $2.29, making the stock one of the top percentage losers in early trade on the Nasdaq. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told the company in April that it was pulling out of its contract to support the drug's development with up to $231 million in funding. The agency did not offer a reason for ending the contract. After losing the contract, Biota announced a restructuring plan that included cutting its workforce by about two-thirds and closing a facility in Melbourne, Australia. The long-acting drug, Laninamivir octanoate, is a neuraminidase inhibitor administered via inhalation. Neuraminidase inhibitors, like Roche Holding AG's Tamiflu and GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Relen

Smith & Nephew sees more sector deals, not under investor pressure

Smith & Nephew (S&N), Europe's largest maker of artificial joints, expects continued deal-making in the medical technology sector but has not come under pressure from investors to sell out, its chief executive said on Friday. Olivier Bohuon, who has eschewed a wave of mergers sweeping the industry, said S&N had a bright future as a standalone group after reporting improved second-quarter results that came in just ahead of analyst expectations. The British company is no stranger to bid talk, having been touted as a target, on and off, ever since receiving an approach from Unilever in 1968. But the deal rumors have lately grown louder, with a wave of U.S. healthcare companies now striving to move their tax bases abroad in a tactic known as "inversion". Reports that Stryker was considering such a move on S&N in May sent its shares surging, only for the U.S. rival to rule out bidding for six months. S&N shares were up again on Friday, gained 3.7 per

Yum pledges to improve China supply chain oversight

Yum Brands Inc on Friday said it would strengthen oversight of its China supply chain after it severed ties with supplier OSI China following a food safety scandal. _0"> Yum, which owns KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants in China, said on its microblog it would require suppliers to install monitoring equipment in their production facilities, improve scrutiny during unannounced visits and introduce an incentive system for whistleblowers. (Reporting by Brenda Goh and Samuel Shen; Editing by Stephen Coates)

Ebola patient coming to U.S. as aid workers' health worsens

A U.S. aid worker who was infected with the deadly Ebola virus while working in West Africa will be flown to the United States to be treated in a high-security ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, hospital officials said on Thursday. The aid worker, whose name has not been released, will be moved in the next several days to a special isolation unit at Emory. The unit was set up in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said her agency was working with the U.S. State Department to facilitate the transfer. Reynolds said the CDC was not aware of any Ebola patient ever being treated in the United States, but five people in the past decade have entered the country with either Lassa Fever or Marburg Fever, hemorrhagic fevers similar to Ebola. News of the transfer follows reports of the declining health of two infected U.S. aid workers, Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol, who contracted Ebola while

Crowdsourcing the answers to medical mysteries

For people plagued for years by mysterious illnesses, a new online service aims to help by “crowdsourcing” among medical professionals for a diagnosis. The service, called CrowdMed (www.crowdmed.com), relies on retired doctors, nurses and other “medical detectives” to help patients find answers to their hard-to-diagnose medical conditions. Jared Heyman, the founder of CrowdMed, told Reuters Health, “We’ve been live for 15 months, and more than 50 percent of our patients tell us that their case was successfully solved.” Heyman was inspired to launch CrowdMed after watching his sister suffer from a chronic undiagnosed medical condition and rack up nearly $100,000 in medical bills. Today CrowdMed has nearly 2,000 active medical detectives. The company claims its approach has so far helped solve more than 200 unique cases out of some 400 submissions that some patients say have “stumped” their doctors for years. Patients remain anonymous. They pay a $50 deposit to submit a case; the

Exposure of health workers weakens Africa's Ebola fight

Jenneh became a nurse in Sierra Leone 15 years ago with the hope of saving lives in one of the world's poorest countries. Now she fears for her own after three of her colleagues died of Ebola. Health workers like Jenneh are on the frontline of the battle against the world's worst ever outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic fever that has killed 729 people in Sierra Leone, neighboring Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria so far. With West Africa's hospitals lacking trained staff, and international aid agencies already over stretched, the rising number of deaths among healthcare staff is shaking morale and undermining efforts to control the outbreak. More than 100 health workers have been infected by the viral disease, which has no known cure, including two American medics working for charity Samaritan's Purse. More than half of those have died, among them Sierra Leone's leading doctor in the fight against Ebola, Sheik Umar Khan, a national hero. "We're very worrie