National / International News

Day in pictures: 11 September 2014

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 06:50
News images from around the world: 11 September

Myanmar activist faces prison term

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 06:46
A Myanmar human rights activist is sentenced to at least 11 years in jail for taking part in an anti-government march.

University places information gap

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 06:34
What results do students really need to get into university?

ENI boss investigated for corruption

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 06:30
The chief executive of the Italian oil and natural gas company ENI is under investigation over possible international corruption charges.

VIDEO: Tributes paid to Bond star Richard Kiel

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 06:24
American actor Richard Kiel, who played steel-toothed villain Jaws in two James Bond films, has died in California aged 74.

FDA approves new weight-loss drug

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-11 06:00

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new weight-loss drug therapy. The drug, Contrave, is a combination of drugs used to treat depression (bupropion) and addiction (naltrexone). 

It’s approved for adults with a body mass index of 30 or higher (considered the threshold for obesity) and adults who are overweight (BMI of 27) but who also have a weight-related health condition.

In one trial cited by the FDA, 42 percent of patients treated with Contrave lost at least 5 percent of their body weight, while 17 percent of patients treated with a placebo did.

It has taken two attempts, four years, and several delays to get Contrave approved. In 2011, an FDA panel voted to approve the drug, but the agency declined and asked Orexigen, the drug’s maker, to pursue longer-term cardiovascular studies. When those studies were completed, the agency delayed approval again as it reviewed labeling and marketing requirements. 

“I don’t know what’s tougher, losing weight or getting an anti-obesity drug passed by the FDA,” says Robert Goldberg with the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. Goldberg says obesity is linked to the central nervous system, and so are the drugs that treat it, so the FDA is extra-cautious. “The FDA is also worried that people will take these medicines and use them just to get an eight pack after their insanity workout,” when they are otherwise healthy. “Does it have a different bar? Absolutely.”

And yet, despite concerns about widespread use or abuse, sales of existing drugs on the market have proven disappointing. 

“The weight-loss drugs are not completely accepted as standard therapy, even for patients who are obese,” says Dan Mendelson, CEO of Avalere Health. He says getting doctors and patients comfortable with these drugs has proven difficult.

Another challenge for any weight-loss drug is how and whether insurance companies cover it. 

“If a drug is approved and not widely covered, it’s not gonna get adopted,” says Mendelson.

There are at least three more weight-loss drugs under development. 


Israel to investigate Gaza attacks

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 05:57
Israel's chief military prosecutor orders criminal investigations into five deadly incidents in the recent Gaza war.

Coalition publishes MP Recall Bill

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 05:33
New laws to allow voters to "recall" their MP and force a by-election have been published by the government.

Syrian rebels free Fiji peacekeepers

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 05:09
Forty-five Fijian UN peacekeepers captured by an al-Qaeda-affiliated rebel group in the Syrian Golan Heights have been released, the UN says.

VIDEO: Lucky escape after van swept off road

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 04:59
Mobile phone footage has captured the moment a minivan carrying a couple was swept off Interstate 15 in Moapa, Nevada.

VIDEO: Missing iPhone 'could lead to Alice'

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 04:57
A missing iPhone belonging to missing schoolgirl Alice Gross could hold key information that might help to find her, police have said.

VIDEO: 'Vile thickos who populate twitter'

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 04:06
David Aaronovitch and Kelvin MacKenzie on the anger that can be found on social media sites.

AUDIO: Should students learn to cook?

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 03:57
Some parents, concerned about their children's welfare when they go to university for the first time this weekend, have been signing them up for cookery classes.

In pictures: Richard Kiel

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 03:53
Life and career of Bond actor Richard Kiel

Fat shaming 'leads to weight gain'

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 03:46
Making people feel shameful about their weight could lead them to gain weight, not lose it, suggests a University College London study.

Caption Challenge: Major spectacle

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 03:32
It's the Caption Challenge. Oh yes it is.

LA police in money laundering raid

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 03:23
Police in Los Angeles seize at least $70m (£43m) in cash in a mass raid on businesses allegedly laundering money for Mexican drug cartels.

Russia reduces gas exports to Poland

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 03:01
Russia's gas supplies to Poland have dropped by 45%, Poland's state gas firm PGNiG says, amid tensions over Ukraine.

PODCAST: Kroger is hiring

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-11 03:00

Let's start with a sign of weakness in the job market that may have an acute cause; we'll consult Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago. Plus, one of the oldest of America's supermarket chains has figured out how to stay ahead of the fresh-faced competition. Kroger of Cincinnati reported today that its profits went up 9 percent last quarter and its stock is up about 1 percent. Kroger recently bought Harris Teeter and already owned Ralphs and Food 4 Less. The company's also doing a lot of hiring. And by one projection, the United States needs about a million new teachers in the next five years or so, as more Baby Boomer–aged instructors retire. A national recruiting campaign is underway, but holding on to those budding teachers may be tough.

Militants 'surround' Nigeria city

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-11 02:58
Nigeria's militant Islamists have "completely surrounded" Maiduguri, the main city in north-eastern Borno state, traditional elders have warned.