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Vermont lawmakers send GMO food-labeling law to governor

By Carey Gillam (Reuters) - A law that would make Vermont the first U.S. state to enact mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, received final approval from state lawmakers on Wednesday and now heads to the governor's desk.

California city sees spike in whooping cough cases

By Laila Kearney (Reuters) - A Southern California city has seen a spike in reported whooping cough cases so far this year, with the number of infections nearly tripling compared to all of last year, possibly due to a less potent vaccine or lower vaccination rates, officials said on Wednesday.

Breastfeeding may protect against heart disease

People who had low birth weights and those breastfed for short periods may be more likely to develop chronic inflammation linked to heart disease in adults, a study said Wednesday. Researchers in the United States found a "significant" association in almost 7,000 people between birth weight or duration of breastfeeding and higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation, in blood samples of young adults. The protein is produced by the liver and levels increase when a person suffers from inflammation.

Potential for human superbugs in cow manure

Cow manure is commonly used to fertilize vegetable crops, and a US study out Tuesday found it contains a high number of genes that can fuel resistance to antibiotics. These genes come from the cows' gut bacteria, and while none have yet been found in superbugs that are infecting humans, researchers said the potential is real. The research was done by scientists at Yale University, who sampled manure from a handful of dairy cows at a farm in Connecticut. In those samples, they found 80 unique antibiotic resistance genes.

Pope pleads for peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pope Francis prayed for peace in Ukraine and Syria in an Easter Sunday address before 150,000 faithful in which he also condemned the "neglect and dire poverty" behind the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa. "We ask you to enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine," the Catholic leader said in his prayer for the holiday, which this year coincides with Easter in the Orthodox calendar. dt/hmn

West Africa's Ebola outbreak prompts changes in I.Coast cuisine

West Africa's first outbreak of Ebola fever is bad news for gourmets in Ivory Coast, but brings respite from the hunter to species sought out for tasty meat but feared to carry the disease. Late in March, Health Minister Raymonde Goudou Coffie called for her compatriots to stop eating porcupines and agoutis, which look like large river-rats, "until we can be sure there are no risks".

Hawaii, a critical spot for modern US corn, becomes flash point in genetic engineering debate

WAIALUA, Hawaii - You can trace the genetic makeup of most corn grown in the U.S., and in many other places around the world, to Hawaii. The industry's leading companies all have farms in the tiny island state. They take advantage of Hawaii's warm weather to grow new varieties of corn genetically engineered for desirable traits like insect and drought resistance. But these same farms have become a flash point in a spreading debate over genetic engineering in agriculture.

Ebola has killed 61 in Guinea since January

The Ebola virus has claimed 61 lives in Guinea out of 109 laboratory-confirmed cases since January, the government said Saturday. They were among 197 suspect cases recorded in the impoverished west African country. "From now on, biological analysis can be done more quickly, and the toll will no longer include any non-confirmed cases," government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara said in a statement.

DNA test harsh step for families of missing ferry victims

Providing a DNA sample marked an emotional watershed for Han Mi-Ok -- a heart-wrenching acceptance that she was unlikely to ever see her child alive again. Her son Song Kang-Hyun was one of 325 high school on board the ferry Sewol when it capsized and sank more than three days ago en route to the southern resort island of Jeju. While some were rescued, hundreds remained unaccounted for and, for parents like Han, it was becoming harder to keep any sort of grip on the slim hope that they were alive in an air pocket somewhere in the submerged vessel.

Japan to continue scientific whaling in Pacific

Japan has decided to continue its whaling programme in the Pacific Ocean, reports said Friday, despite losing a United Nations court case on its other "research" hunt in the Antarctic. If confirmed, the move will likely spark anger among environmentalists who hailed last month's ruling by the UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Tokyo's hunt in the Southern Ocean was a commercial activity disguised as science.
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