27 July 2017

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

In this April 23, 2014 file photo, E-cigarettes appear on display at Vape store in Chicago. Smokers who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn’t, according to a new study that suggests a liberal approach to the electronic devices could help curb smoking rates. The American study was based on the biggest sample of e-cigarette users to date and attempted to clarify if e-cigarettes help smokers quit. The research was published online Wednesday, July 26, 2017 in the journal, BMJ.
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn’t, a new study found.

Nicotine patches, gums and medications are known to aid smoking cessation, but there’s no consensus on whether vaping devices can help anti-smoking efforts. The U.S. research is the largest look yet at electronic cigarette users and it found e-cigarettes played a role in helping people quit.

“It’s absolutely clear that e-cigarettes help smokers replace cigarettes,” said Peter Hajek, director of the health and lifestyle research unit at Queen Mary University in London, who wasn’t part of the study.

26 July 2017

48 dead as heavy monsoon rains lash western India

An Indian woman who was air lifted from a flooded farm gets down from an air force helicopter after she arrived at an airport in Deesa, Gujarat, India, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. At least 29 people have died in the state of Gujarat amid torrential rains. This week’s deaths have taken the toll the state to 83 since the start of the monsoon season which runs from June through September.
At least 48 people have been killed as large swaths of western India have been lashed by heavy monsoon rains and flooding over the last week, officials said Wednesday.

In Rajasthan, home to a number of popular tourist destinations, the streets of at least four districts have been turned into virtual rivers, trapping tens of thousands of people on the upper floors of residential buildings. Rescue workers were scrambling to rescue thousands of others whose homes have been flooded or destroyed.

By Wednesday, the death toll in the state stood at 19.

Sri Lanka deploys army to distribute fuel during strike

Army soldiers guard the main oil installation facility after taking the control back from protesting union workers in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Sri Lanka's government has deployed army troops to restore fuel distribution crippled during a strike launched by trade unions who want to stop leases of oil tanks to India and China.
Sri Lanka’s government deployed army troops on Wednesday to restore fuel distribution crippled during a strike launched by trade unions who want to stop leases of oil tanks to India and China.

Long lines have formed at gasoline stations across Sri Lanka since Monday evening due to the strike by workers at the state-run petroleum company.

Military spokesman Brig. Roshan Seneviratne said troops entered the country’s main distribution facility and refinery at Kolonnawa and Muthurajawela outside Colombo early Wednesday and they are now working in distribution facilities alongside the workers not on strike to resume the distribution of fuel.

25 July 2017

5-story building collapses in India, killing at least 12

Rescuers work on the debris after a five-story building collapsed in the Ghatkopar area of Mumbai, India, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. A fire official says 11 people have been rescued and more are feared trapped.
A five-story building came crashing down Tuesday in Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, killing at least 12 people and injuring 12 others, police said. Another dozen people were feared trapped under the rubble.

The cause of the collapse of the building, which housed 15 families, was not immediately known.

Rescuers have been digging through the rubble in search of more victims since Tuesday morning and will continue during the night, police officer Lal Bhandari said.

24 July 2017

Girl’s HIV infection seems under control without AIDS drugs

This undated photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a scanning electron micrograph of multiple round bumps of the HIV-1 virus on a cell surface. In a report released on Monday, July 24, 2017, researchers said a South African girl born with the AIDS virus has kept her infection suppressed for 8 1/2 years after stopping anti-HIV medicines _ more evidence that early treatment can occasionally cause a long remission that, if it lasts, would be a form of cure.
A South African girl born with the AIDS virus has kept her infection suppressed for more than eight years after stopping anti-HIV medicines — more evidence that early treatment can occasionally cause a long remission that, if it lasts, would be a form of cure.

Her case was revealed Monday at an AIDS conference in Paris, where researchers also gave encouraging results from tests of shots every month or two instead of daily pills to treat HIV.

“That’s very promising” to help people stay on treatment, the U.S.’s top AIDS scientist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said of the prospects for long-acting drugs.

AP Explains: India and China face off in border standoff

In this Oct. 16, 2016, file photo, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping listen to a speech during the BRICS Leaders Meeting with the BRICS Business Council in Goa, India. India and China have faced off frequently since fighting a bloody 1962 war that ended with China seizing control of some territory. India’s army chief warned in July 2017 that India’s army was capable of fighting “2 1/2 wars” if needed to secure its borders. The dispute was discussed briefly without resolution by Xi and Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
It was the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan that sounded the alarm: Chinese soldiers had arrived with bulldozers and excavators, and were building a high-mountain road near India’s border — in an area the two nuclear-armed Asian giants have disputed for decades.

India responded to the call by sending troops last month to evict the Chinese army construction party from the Doklam Plateau. Within a few days, Indian media were running leaked video footage of soldiers from both sides shoving one another atop a grassy flatland.The tense standoff has only escalated since then, raising concerns in both capitals of an all-out military conflict. Both sides have made threats while simultaneously calling for negotiations. The U.S. State Department has urged the two sides to work together toward a peaceful resolution.

20 July 2017

Researchers in Cambodia find nest of rare riverine bird

In this undated photo provided by Wildlife Conservation Society, a Masked Finfoot sits on a nest in Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia. The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement on Thursday, July 20, 2017 that its researchers, along with conservationists from Environment Ministry and local residents, found a nest of Masked Finfoot, along the Memay river in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia’s northern Preah Vihear Province. It said the site is the only confirmed breeding location in Cambodia for this very rare species.
Wildlife researchers in Cambodia have found a breeding location for the masked finfoot, one of the world’s most endangered birds, raising hopes of its continuing survival.

The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said Thursday its scientists, along with conservationists from Cambodia’s Environment Ministry and residents along the Memay river in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, discovered the only confirmed breeding location in Cambodia for the very rare species.The International Union for Conservation of Nature has placed the bird on its red list of globally endangered species because its worldwide population of less than 1,000 is declining at an alarming rate. It is found only in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

India ready for talks with China to end border standoff

In this Wednesday, Oct. 23,2013, file photo, an Indian national flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem during a welcome ceremony for visiting Indian officials outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. India says it is ready to hold talks with China with both sides pulling back their forces to end a standoff along a disputed territory high in the Himalayan mountains.
India said Thursday it was ready to hold talks with China with both sides pulling back their forces to end a standoff along a disputed territory high in the Himalayan mountains.

Tensions flared last month in the southernmost part of Tibet in an area also claimed by Indian ally Bhutan, after Chinese teams began building a road onto the Doklam Plateau.

19 July 2017

China urges India withdrawal in standoff, stages drills

China renewed a call for India to immediately withdraw its troops from disputed territory high in the Himalayan mountains, following a report that Chinese forces recently held live firing drills in the region.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that Indian forces had to leave the area to avoid an “escalation of the situation.”

“We have stated many times that we hope the Indian side will get a clear understanding of the situation (and) immediately take measures to withdraw the troops that illegally crossed the border back to the Indian side of the border,” Lu said at a regular news briefing Tuesday.

14 July 2017

Political prisoner, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo dies at age 61

In this image taken from July 24, 2008, video footage by AP Video, Liu Xiaobo speaks during an interview at a park in Beijing, China. The judicial bureau in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang says jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has died of multiple organ failure Thursday, July 13, 2017, at age 61.
Imprisoned for all the seven years since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Liu Xiaobo never renounced the pursuit of human rights in China, insisting on living a life of “honesty, responsibility and dignity.” China’s most prominent political prisoner died Thursday of liver cancer at 61.

His death — at a hospital in the country’s northeast, where he’d been transferred after being diagnosed — triggered an outpouring of dismay among his friends and supporters, who lauded his courage and determination.

12 July 2017

Scientists say massive iceberg has broken off in Antarctica

This Nov. 10, 2016 aerial photo released by NASA, shows a rift in the Antarctic Peninsula’s Larsen C ice shelf. A vast iceberg with twice the volume of Lake Erie has broken off from a key floating ice shelf in Antarctica, scientists said Wednesday July 12, 2017 . The iceberg broke off from the Larsen C ice shelf, scientists at the University of Swansea in Britain said. The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, is described as weighing 1 trillion tons (1.12 trillion U.S. tons).
One of the biggest icebergs ever recorded, a trillion-ton behemoth more than seven times the size of New York City, has broken off of Antarctica, triggering disagreement among scientists over whether global warming is to blame.

The event, captured by satellite, happened sometime in the past few days when the giant chunk snapped off an ice shelf.

9 July 2017

G-20 shut Trump out on climate, strike deal on trade

Leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and their partners attend a concert at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall on the first day of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, Friday, July 7, 2017.
World powers lined up against U.S. President Donald Trump on climate change, reaffirming their support for international efforts to fight global warming.

The Group of 20 summit that ended Saturday in Hamburg also revealed tensions on trade, as the U.S. administration and international partners forged a deal that endorsed open markets but acknowledged countries had a right to put up barriers to block unfair practices.

8 July 2017

Key points from the G20 summit of world leaders

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left to right, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, United States President Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pose for a photo after the Women and Development event at the G20 summit Saturday, July 8, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany.
Leaders of the Group of 20 rich and developing countries spent two days trying to come up with common positions on climate change, trade and migration at their summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Implementation depends on the will of national governments to take action, and compliance isn’t perfect. But a common statement of purpose sets the tone for policy and enables peer pressure.

Here’s a look at what the leaders did — and didn’t — agree on: