MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian food safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor is conducting unscheduled checks at McDonald's restaurants in Sverdlovsk region, Itar-Tass news agency reported, citing local watchdog official Natalya Lukyantseva. On Wednesday, Rospotrebnadzor ordered the suspension of operations at four McDonald's restaurants in Moscow over what it said were "numerous" sanitary law breaches. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Christian Lowe)
By Jane Wardell SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's highest court set a date on Thursday for a full hearing into how a group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers were detained at sea, a case that will test the government's authority to pursue its secretive immigration policies. Lawyers for the group of Tamil asylum seekers said it was likely the United Nations would seek to join the case, a highly unusual step they said showed the level of international concern over Australia's "Operation Sovereign Borders". Justice Kenneth Hayne, who has said the case appeared to be unique in the world and raised serious questions about how far Australian power extends, set an expedited two-day hearing before a full bench of the High Court for Oct. 14-15. The boat carrying the 157 Tamil asylum seekers was intercepted in late June and held by Australian authorities at sea for weeks.
Violence erupted in an Ebola quarantine zone in Liberia's capital Wednesday when soldiers opened fire and used tear gas on crowds as they evacuated a state official and her family. Four residents were injured in the clashes that flared in Monrovia's West Point slum which has been contained as part of new security measures aimed at containing the deadly virus. The crackdown in Liberia comes as authorities around the world scramble to stem the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola, which has killed more than 1,200 people across west Africa this year. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf quarantined West Point and Dolo Town, to the east of the capital, and imposed a night-time curfew as part of new drastic measures to fight the disease.
Vietnam has released two Nigerians isolated after arriving from west Africa with fevers, saying they show no symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus. Airline passengers sitting next to the pair -- who travelled to Vietnam on Monday from Nigeria via Qatar -- have also been advised to monitor their health conditions. Vietnam has introduced mandatory temperature checks at its two major international airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in a bid to prevent passengers bringing the deadly virus into the country. According to the World Health Organisation, the latest official toll from Ebola has jumped 106 in two days to 1,350 dead, with the bulk of cases in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
High in the hills of Myanmar's war-torn borderlands, a clutch of new leprosy cases among communities virtually cut off from medical help is a sign that the country's battle with the ancient disease is far from over. It took six days by plane, boat, motorcycle, bus -- and an arduous mountain trek -- for a group of medical workers to treat two leprosy patients in a remote corner of the country, where conflict and neglect are the legacy of decades of military rule and even access to basic medicines is a distant dream. They soon found three more leprosy sufferers, including one man who had such a severe case he required hospital care. "I promised him that I would come back for him or I would send someone to pick him up," said Doctor Saw Hsar Mu Lar, after the May expedition, as he returned to his hospital in Mawlamyaing, Mon state -- one of only two specialising in leprosy in Myanmar.
By Krista Mahr and Mirwais Harooni KABUL (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of volunteers fanned out across Afghanistan this week, braving deteriorating security and distrusting parents to administer two chilled drops of the oral polio vaccine each to millions of children. Keeping the highly infectious polio disease in check in any country is a daunting task. Afghanistan is one of only three nations where the polio virus is still endemic, along with Pakistan and Nigeria. Only eight new cases have been confirmed so far this year, compared to 108 in Pakistan.
Birth certificates in California would be changed to more accurately reflect families in which parents are of the same gender under a bill passed by the legislature on Wednesday. The bill, which now goes to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, would allow parents to identify themselves as father, mother or parent when a child is born, a nuanced change from the current birth certificate that backers say is more reflective of growing rights and acceptance for same-sex couples. "This bill seems subtle but I think itâs going to make a profound impact on how people view each other," said the bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez of Los Angeles. In March, a baby in Tennessee became the first child in that state to have two women listed on her birth certificate, although one was in the spot marked "father." In Florida last year, a judge approved an adoption of a baby girl that listed three people as parents on her birth certificate: a lesbian couple and a gay man, who was the sperm donor for the baby but sought a bigger role in his daughterâs life.
West Africa must openly confront its political and governance weaknesses to curb the growing drug trade in the region, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said on Wednesday. "West Africa is no longer only a transit zone of drugs but an attractive destination where pushers take advantage of the weak political system to perpetuate their trade," Obasanjo, who chairs the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD), said while presenting his report to Ghana's President John Mahama. "We believe that we should confront openly the political and governance weaknesses which the traffickers exploit," Obasanjo said. Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan set up the commission last year to explore ways to stem the increasing trafficking of drugs and its use in the region.
By Clair MacDougall and James Harding Giahyue MONROVIA (Reuters) - Police in the Liberian capital fired live rounds and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse a stone-throwing crowd trying to break an Ebola quarantine imposed on their neighbourhood, as the death toll from the epidemic in West Africa hit 1,350. In the sprawling oceanfront West Point neighbourhood of Monrovia, at least four people were injured in clashes with security forces, witnesses said. It was unclear whether anyone was wounded by the gunfire, though a Reuters photographer saw a young boy with his leg largely severed just above the ankle. Liberian authorities introduced a nationwide curfew on Tuesday and put the West Point neighbourhood under quarantine to curb the spread of the disease.
These technology firms all received mentorship and money from Silicon Valley's so-called startup machine, Y Combinator. Now, for the first time in its nine-year history, the accelerator program is actively recruiting health-technology startups. To attract top talent in healthcare and biotech, Y Combinator recently tapped medical executive Elizabeth Iorns as a part-time partner. Sam Altman, Y Combinator's president, told Reuters he expects to see a growing number of venture capitalists investing in early-stage biotech and digital health companies.