China’s ageing elite live golden years in style

by Eva XIAO Agence France Presse BEIJING, China (AFP) — At a gated community for Chinese senior citizens, retired military personnel, film-makers, and top university professors settle into a new routine: ballet lessons, weightlifting and catered dining. As China’s population ages rapidly and the one-child policy left parents with only a single child to help them in their old age, the upper crust of Chinese society are spending the last years of their lives in […]

In China, unhappiness tracks poor air quality

by Marlowe HOOD Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Eye-watering, throat-scratching air pollution is a major driver of big city blues in China, according to a study published Monday that matched social network chatter with fine-particle pollution levels. “The take-away is simple,” lead author Siqi Zheng, an associate professor at MIT and director of the University’s China Future City Lab, told AFP. “Higher levels of air pollution lower people’s happiness in the world’s most […]

Swine flu kills 40 in western India

JAIPUR, India (AFP) — At least 40 people have died and more than 1,000 have tested positive for swine flu since the beginning of this year in a western Indian state popular with foreigners, authorities said Friday. Last year around 1,100 people died and 15,000 were infected across India by the highly contagious A H1N1 virus that spreads from human-to-human. Cases spike in the winter months of December and January in the west and north […]

INFOGRAPHICS: National Cancer Consciousness Week

(Eagle News) — In the Philippines, cancer remains a national health priority concern. It is the third leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the country after diseases of the heart and the vascular system, according to the Department of Health. Globally, cancer is the second leading cause of death, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018.  Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. The DOH has set […]

DR Congo Ebola death toll tops 400

KINSHASA, DR Congo (AFP) — The death toll from the latest outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo has passed the 400 mark in the east and northeast, health authorities said Tuesday. “Since the start of the epidemic, the total number of cases is 658 — 609 confirmed and 49 probable. In total there have been 402 deaths” in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, a health ministry bulletin stated. Health authorities […]

S.Africa’s neighbours slap import bans over foot-and-mouth disease

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) — Countries neighbouring South Africa have banned the import of cloven-hoofed animals and their products over a foot-and-mouth disease breakout in the northern Limpopo province, government said Monday. On Monday Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana confirmed the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), first identified a week ago in Vhembe district near the border with Zimbabwe. The outbreak prompted the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to lift the FMD-free status that the […]

Hong Kong scientists claim ‘broad-spectrum’ antiviral breakthrough

by Jerome TAYLOR Agence France Presse HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Hong Kong scientists claim they have made a potential breakthrough discovery in the fight against infectious diseases — a chemical that could slow the spread of deadly viral illnesses. A team from the University of Hong Kong described the newly discovered chemical as “highly potent in interrupting the life cycle of diverse viruses” in a study published this month in the journal Nature Communications. […]

France to cull wild boar after swine virus cases in Belgium

by Emmanuelle TRECOLLE Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — France will start culling thousands of wild boar near the Belgian border to prevent the African swine fever virus from spreading, the agriculture ministry said Monday. It said the operation would be held in the coming weeks and involve large number of hunters and forest officials. The virus was first reported in Belgium on September 13 near the borders with Luxembourg and France. “The spread […]

GSK, Pfizer to merge consumer healthcare units

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer on Wednesday announced a merger of their consumer healthcare units that produce over-the-counter medicines. GSK said it would have a 68-percent controlling equity interest in the joint venture that will have combined sales of about £9.8 billion ($12.7 billion, 10.9 billion euros). The deal paves the way for British group GSK to have two UK-listed companies, one specialised in the development of drugs and the […]

Scientists create bee vaccine to fight off ‘insect apocalypse’

HELSINKI, Finland (AFP)- Scientists in Finland have developed what they believe is the world’s first vaccine to protect bees against disease, raising hopes for tackling the drastic decline in insect numbers which could cause a global food crisis. Bees are vital for growing the world’s food as they help fertilize three out of four crops around the globe, by transferring pollen from male to female flowers. But in recent years bee populations around the world have been […]

Researchers explore new way of killing malaria in the liver

by Ivan COURONNE with Nathalie OLOF-ORS in Basel Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — In the ongoing hunt for more effective weapons against malaria, international researchers said Thursday they are exploring a pathway that has until now been little studied — killing parasites in the liver, before the illness emerges. “It’s very difficult to work on the liver stage,” said Elizabeth Winzeler, professor of pharmacology and drug discovery at University of California San Diego […]

Heavy screen time appears to impact childrens’ brains: study

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Researchers have found “different patterns” in brain scans among children who record heavy smart device and video game use, according to initial data from a major ongoing US study. The first wave of information from the $300 million National Institute of Health (NIH) study is showing that those nine and 10-year-old kids spending more than seven hours a day using such devices show signs of premature thinning of the cortex, […]