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N. Korea says bird flu spreading following additional outbreak: report

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has informed the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that bird flu is spreading in the country following an additional outbreak of the disease, a U.S. radio report said Thursday. The North told the OIE on Wednesday that the H5N1 bird flu broke out at a chicken farm in the capital city of Pyongyang on March 27, though it did not elaborate on how many chickens died from the disease, the Washington-based Voice of America (VOA) reported.

US readies sanctions, demands concessions from Russia

The United States warned Wednesday it was "actively preparing" new sanctions to hit Russia if critical Ukraine talks do not produce concessions from Moscow. US officials privately signaled they had little hope that the Geneva talks between Russia, Ukraine, the European Union and Washington would make significant progress. They also revealed that the toughest available sanctions -- those targeting key sectors of the Russian economy -- would only come into force in the event of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Fears grow for hundreds missing in S. Korea ferry capsize

The frantic search for nearly 300 people, most of them schoolchildren, missing after a South Korean ferry capsized slipped into a second day Thursday, as distraught relatives maintained an agonised vigil on shore. Six people were confirmed dead, but with every hour that passed fears mounted for the 290 still unaccounted for after the multi-storey vessel with 475 on board suddenly listed, capsized and then sank 20 kilometres (13 miles) offshore.

Galapagos, GSK successfully conclude phase 2a study of skin disease drug

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian biotech group Galapagos NV on Thursday said it has successfully concluded the phase 2a study of a skin disease drug it is developing with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline PLC. Galapagos tested drug GSK2586184 on 66 patients with chronic psoriasis and observed a 75 percent improvement in significantly more patients than in the placebo group. GSK, which owns the drug's commercial rights, will decide whether to proceed with clinical trials, Galapagos said in a statement.

Fears grow for hundreds missing in S. Korea ferry capsize

The frantic search for nearly 300 people, most of them schoolchildren, missing after a South Korean ferry capsized extended into a second day Thursday, as distraught relatives maintained an agonising vigil on shore. Nine people were confirmed dead, but with every hour that passed fears mounted for the 287 still unaccounted for after the multi-storey vessel with 475 on board suddenly listed, capsized and then sank 20 kilometres (13 miles) offshore.

Russia, Ukraine sit down for crisis talks

Russia and Ukraine sit down for high-stakes talks in Geneva on Thursday, seeking to ease the crisis in the former Soviet republic after the US warned Moscow it must make concessions or face fresh sanctions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is due to meet his Ukrainian, US and EU counterparts just as pro-Kremlin militants -- whom Kiev says are backed by Moscow -- consolidate their takeover of parts of Ukraine's southeastern industrial heartland.

New kind of trial aims to speed cancer drug development

By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists and drugmakers are pioneering a new kind of clinical trial that changes the way cancer drugs are studied, potentially cutting both the time and cost of bringing them to market. Instead of testing one drug at a time, a novel lung cancer study announced on Thursday will allow British researchers to test up to 14 drugs from AstraZeneca and Pfizer at the same time within one trial.

Obama, Republicans openly feud over immigration legislation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Partisan bickering over immigration reform legislation intensified on Wednesday as President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Republicans accused each other of standing in the way of progress one year after bipartisan Senate legislation was introduced. On the one-year anniversary of the Senate bill, Obama went on the attack after a long period of trying to encourage progress in the House.

New U.S. sanctions against Russia likely after Geneva meeting

By Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. sanctions punishing Russia for its actions in Ukraine are likely to be announced as early as Friday if, as expected, a meeting between top foreign ministers in Geneva fails to produce significant progress.

US readies sanctions, demands Russia halt 'provocation'

The United States warned Wednesday it was "actively preparing" new sanctions to hit Russia if critical Ukraine talks do not produce concessions from Moscow. US officials privately signaled they had little hope the Geneva talks between Washington, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union would make significant progress. They also revealed that the toughest available sanctions -- those targeting key sectors of the Russian economy -- would only come into force in the event of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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