Health

Biden says 'we have to act' after Texas school shooting

An anguished and angry President Joe Biden is calling for new restrictions on firearms after a gunman massacred at least 19 children at a Texas elementary school. “We have to act,” Biden told the nation Tuesday night from the White House, after years of failure to pass new laws. He spoke after arriving home from a five-day trip to Asia that was bookended by “horrific” mass tragedy. Just two days before he left on his trip, he met with victims’ families after a hate-motivated shooter killed 10 Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

Biden to sign policing order on anniversary of Floyd's death

President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order on policing Wednesday, the second anniversary of George Floyd's death. Most of the order is focused on federal law enforcement agencies — for example, requiring them to review and revise policies on use of force. It would also create a database to help track officer misconduct. The administration cannot require local police departments to participate in the database, which is intended to prevent problem officers from hopping from job to job. But officials are looking for ways to use federal funding to encourage their cooperation. The order would also restrict the flow of surplus military equipment to local police.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey avoids runoff in Republican primary

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has turned back eight primary challengers to win the GOP gubernatorial nomination without a runoff. Ivey, who is seeking her second full term, will meet whoever emerges from a Democratic primary of six poorly financed candidates in November. The primary challenge pushed the 77-year-old Ivey far to the right. She repeated former President Donald Trump’s false claims about election theft and pulled a pistol out of her purse in a TV commercial. Ivey was catapulted to the state’s top office when Robert Bentley resigned in 2017. She easily won her full term in 2018.

Gas wells leak explosive levels of methane in Bakersfield

Residents of Bakersfield are concerned for their health and safety after a state agency found that six idle oil wells near homes were leaking methane in the past several days. State and regional inspectors found concentrations of methane in the air around some of the wells at levels considered potentially explosive and environmental activists in the region are concerned about what other chemicals could be leaking from the wells. Uduak-Joe Ntuk, head of the California Geologic Energy Management division of the California Department of Conservation, the agency that confirmed that wells were leaking, said leaks were “minor in nature and do not pose an immediate threat to public health or safety.”

Seoul: N Korea fires suspected ICBM and 2 other missiles

South Korea’s government says one of the three weapons North Korea test-launched Wednesday was a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile. It would be North Korea's first ICBM launch in about two months and comes after a self-imposed moratorium on test-launching long-distance weapons. North Korea’s long-range missile program is aimed at obtaining an ability to launch nuclear strikes on the mainland U.S. The launches came after President Joe Biden wrapped up his trip to Asia where he reaffirmed a U.S. commitment to defend its allies in the face of the North’s growing nuclear threat. The South Korean military said the U.S. and South Korea fired two surface-to-surface missiles in response to demonstrate the allies’ striking capabilities.

Georgia primary running smoothly despite new election law

Georgia’s high-stakes primary election appeared to be running smoothly with no reports of major problems. Tuesday's election was the first statewide test of new voting restrictions passed by Republicans after the 2020 presidential election. A record number of ballots cast during the early voting period in the three weeks before Election Day helped ease the strain at polling places. There were no reports of long lines or widespread equipment problems despite hotly contested GOP primary races for governor and U.S. Senate. Voting in Alabama and Arkansas, the other two states holding regular primaries, also appeared to be problem-free.

Biden to sign policing order on anniversary of Floyd's death

President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order on policing Wednesday, the second anniversary of George Floyd's death. Most of the order is focused on federal law enforcement agencies — for example, requiring them to review and revise policies on use of force. It would also create a database to help track officer misconduct. The administration cannot require local police departments to participate in the database, which is intended to prevent problem officers from hopping from job to job. But officials are looking for ways to use federal funding to encourage their cooperation. The order would also restrict the flow of surplus military equipment to local police.

China's bet on homegrown mRNA vaccines holds back nation

China is trying to navigate its biggest coronavirus outbreak without a tool it could have adopted many months ago, the kind of vaccines that have proven to offer the best protection against the worst outcomes from COVID-19. The mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have still not been approved in mainland China, despite evidence they are the best protection against severe disease and death. Instead, China has pinned its hopes on homegrown mRNA vaccines that are still being tested. Health experts say the strategy could lead to avoidable deaths and deeper economic losses because whole cities would be locked down to insulate the country’s unprotected population.

UCLA to pay record of nearly $700M in doctor abuse lawsuits

The University of California system has agreed to pay $375 million to more than 300 women who said they were sexually abused by a longtime UCLA gynecologist. The announcement Tuesday brings total payouts by the university in lawsuits against Dr. James Heap to nearly $700 million. That's the largest amount paid by a public university in a wave of sexual misconduct scandals involving campus doctors. The private University of Southern California paid out more than $1 billion to settle thousands of cases against its longtime gynecologist. Heaps worked at UCLA for 35 years and has pleaded not guilty to 21 sexual abuse charges.

Number of Births, Fertility Rate Increased in 2021

TUESDAY, May 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- In 2021, there was an increase in the number of births and in the general fertility rate in the United States, marking the first increase since 2014, according to a May Vital Statistics Rapid Release report, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVID-19 Can 'Rebound' After Treatment With Paxlovid, CDC Says

TUESDAY, May 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- COVID-19 can make a comeback after an infected person has gone through a round of Paxlovid, the antiviral used to minimize a bout with the coronavirus, according to an advisory issued Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

E-Cigarette Use Tied to Excess Health Care Utilization

TUESDAY, May 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Adult current electronic cigarette use is associated with substantial excess health care utilization and associated expenditures, according to a study published online May 23 in Tobacco Control.

Cranberry Supplements May Aid Memory in Older Adults

TUESDAY, May 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Cranberry supplementation is associated with improved episodic memory performance and neural functioning in older adults, according to a study published May 19 in Frontiers in Nutrition.

Man pleads guilty to sending threatening emails to Dr. Fauci

Federal prosecutors in Maryland say a West Virginia man has pleaded guilty to sending threatening emails to Dr. Anthony Fauci and former National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins. Thomas Patrick Connally Jr. pleaded guilty Monday to making threats against a federal officials. One email threatened to harm Fauci and his family, according to the plea. It said Connally also admitted threatening former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, a Massachusetts public health official and a religious leader in New Jersey. Connally faces up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing in August.

Pandemic-weary Americans plan for summer despite COVID surge

Surges in COVID-19 cases are causing disruptions in many parts of the U.S., but as the school year wraps up and Americans prepare for their summer vacations, many people have returned to their pre-pandemic routines. Case counts are as high as they’ve been since mid-February, and those figures are likely a major undercount because of unreported positive home test results and asymptomatic infections. An influential modeling group at the University of Washington in Seattle estimates that only 13% of cases are being reported to U.S. health authorities. Yet vaccinations have stagnated and elected officials nationwide seem loath to impose new restrictions.

Ohioans got short shrift as political map fight dragged on

Accusations have flown for months over who's to blame for Ohio’s redistricting protracted redistricting predicament. It's been a mess of a political mapmaking fight that has left the state with unsettled political boundaries and no date for its Statehouse primaries. Voting rights groups blame Statehouse Republicans. Lawmakers blame national Democrats and the Ohio Supreme Court. The court implicitly faults the Ohio Redistricting Commission. Commissioners fault census delays. An Associated Press review settled on one key finding: After hundreds of days of time with government statisticians, lawyers, judges and politicians, the public was the group given the least time with the maps.

Suspect under arrest in deadly New York City subway shooting

A man has been arrested in an apparently unprovoked fatal shooting aboard a New York City subway train. Andrew Abdullah was taken into custody hours after authorities posted his name and photo on social media and implored the public to help find him. The 25-year-old is expected to face a murder charge in the death of 48-year-old Daniel Enriquez. Enriquez was shot to death while heading to brunch Sunday morning. The fatal shooting came about six weeks after 10 people were shot and wounded in an attack on another subway train.

US safety, savings rules set stage for baby formula shortage

A massive recall is getting most of the blame for the U.S. baby formula shortage, but experts say the products have long been vulnerable to this type of crisis. They point to decades-old policies that have allowed a handful of companies to corner the market. Safety and manufacturing rules imposed by U.S. regulators make it hard for smaller companies to enter the market. And federal contracting rules also favor the largest manufacturers who can offer the lowest prices on formula. Those government rules are aimed at assuring safe, affordable formula. But they are now getting renewed scrutiny because of the shortage.

Buddhist chaplains on the rise in US, offering broad appeal

Christian clergy have long dominated the chaplaincy in the United States. But the profession is becoming more religiously diverse, and Buddhists are leading the way. Buddhist chaplains say they’re uniquely positioned for the times due to their ability to minister to a wide cultural and religious spectrum. That includes the growing number of Americans who identify as nonreligious. In response to the demand, study and training opportunities for Buddhist chaplains have been established or expanded in recent years at colleges across the country. Nonaccredited certification programs are also popular. And graduates are finding jobs, as institutions eagerly snap them up to diversify staff and appeal more broadly to those they serve.

Delaware Gov. John Carney vetoes marijuana legalization bill

Delaware Gov. John Carney has vetoed a bill to legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults for recreational use. Tuesday's veto came after Carney's repeated concerns in recent years about legalizing recreational pot. Those concerns did not dissuade fellow Democrats from pushing the legislation through the General Assembly. Carney said he supports the medical marijuana industry and agrees that decriminalization was appropriate. But he said promoting or expanding the use of recreational marijuana is not in the best interests of the state, and that questions remain about the long-term health, economic and societal impacts of recreational marijuana use.

Mothers pass torch to daughters in abortion's forever war

Generations of women came together for a Manhattan protest against the U.S. Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. There were women who have been fighting for nearly a half century to hold on to abortion rights; there were daughters who now face the prospect of a long battle to regain those rights. The abortion war would seem to be a forever war. So mothers who joined their daughters at the May 14 protest, marching to Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge, were not only raging against the court and its expected decision; they were entrusting their cause to another generation.