Even though influenza is one of the most common illnesses, researchers say they still have a lot to learn about it. In a recent study, dozens of volunteers agreed to be infected with the swine flu so doctors could see what happened.
In a hopeful but tentative sign for the job market, there's news today that fewer people signed up for unemployment benefits last week. That's more than expected and brings this down to the best level in nearly six years. A four week average is also nicely down.
The Merchant Marine, a fleet of U.S.-flagged ships with American crews that are privately owned, deliver cargo for the government -- for a fee. During World War II, Merchant Marine vessels known as Liberty Ships dodged German U-boats, to deliver crucial supplies. Now, 60 Merchant Marine ships carry military cargo, but up to a third of them could be lost because of the automatic budget cuts scheduled for next year, cuts known as sequestration.
A conference at the Chatham House think tank in London is addressing the growing problem of counterfeit medicines. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that fake drugs account for up to half of all the treatments sold in some developing countries, putting millions of lives at risk. The WHO claims that knock-off medicine is now a $75 billion a year industry. The problem is not confined to poor countries; one-tenth of the drugs sold worldwide are believed to be fake, with some finding their way into the U.S. and Europe.
Sen. Ted Cruz isn't the first politician to lean on the classic children's story to advance his cause. Governors, lieutenant governors and even the president have held public readings.
Here's one job we can all be glad isn't ours this week: Tech support for Obamacare.
There are reports of two more glitches today.
Small businesses who want to sign up for health insurance online will have to wait until Nov. 1 to complete the process, although they will still be able to enroll by fax.
That's the small glitch.
A bigger deal is that the Spanish version of the main website for the federal exchanges -- the entry point to buy coverage -- won't be working for at least a few weeks.
Matt Barreto, who heads up the polling firm Latino Decisions, says after all the attention the administration has paid to getting Latinos to sign up for Obamacare, delaying the Spanish language exchanges doesn’t look good. “For a Spanish-dominated Latino household to then go to the federal government website and not be able to find that information, just symbolically makes you wonder how important is our community here,” he said.
Ten million Latinos are eligible to buy insurance on the exchanges, which open October 1. About four million out of that group are primarily Spanish speakers.
The government's Spanish-language website, Cuidadodesalud, will still be open for consumers who want to browse the different plans, which don't kick in until Jan. 1. But they won't be able to enroll for at least a few weeks.
President Obama took up the tech issue today during an appearance at a Maryland community college. “Somewhere around the country there is going to be a computer glitch and the website is not quite working the way it’s supposed to,” he said. “That happens whenever you roll out a new program.”
Jennifer Ng'andu is the health care policy director for the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic civil rights organization in U.S.
She says she worries about the fallout next week.
“There has been such a fever pitch around Oct. 1 that there are people who will have expectations,” she said.
Ng’andu says the most important thing is that the government let Spanish speakers know when they should come back.
This year's class of MacArthur fellows was announced Wednesday. Ramón Gutiérrez, a leading historian in Chicano studies, was a fellow in 1983. He shares the research in his field fascinates him most.
When it comes dangerous habits, smoking is one of the toughest to quit. The latest numbers suggest nearly half a million people die from smoking every year in the U.S. alone. People use everything from gum and patches to hypnosis to try and avoid that fate. But a new study out of the University of Georgia says that social networks might also help curb addiction to smoking. Partly because in our always-online world, people can find support any time they need it. Joe Phua is an assistant professor at the University of Georgia who conducted the study, and he explains how it works.
Charles Taylor had been given a 50-year prison term for aiding and abetting atrocities committed by rebels during Sierra Leone's civil war. A judge at The Hague called the sentence "fair in the light of the totality of the crimes committed."