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Wednesday, Jun 29th

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Medical marijuana arrives next week in Minnesota – but smoking it is banned

Medical marijuanaThere will be no baggies of pot awaiting patients next week, when Minnesota joins 21 other states in offering medical marijuana. No glass pipes, no plants to tend at home. Instead, the nation’s latest medical marijuana programme is a world of pill bottles and vials of marijuana-infused oil.

For the qualifying patients seeking relief from pain, medical marijuana advocates and some lawmakers, Wednesday isn’t the finish line, but the first step. The state’s restrictive approach, unseen in the industry, is likely to mean high costs, long drives and reluctant doctors.

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Supreme Court approves Obamacare subsidies on HealthCare.gov

John RobertsThe U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide availability of tax subsidies that are crucial to the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, handing a major victory to the president.

The court ruled on a 6-3 vote that the 2010 Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, did not restrict the subsidies to states that establish their own online healthcare exchanges. It marked the second time in three years that the high court ruled against a major challenge to the law brought by conservatives seeking to gut it.

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Harmful toxin used in baby clothes should be banned, advocates say

antimoney toxicAn advocacy and research organisation, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), is hoping to educate the public about the toxin antimony, push manufacturers to stop using it and ensure that the federal government adheres to its oversight responsibilities.

Antimony is a naturally forming element and metalloid that is found predominantly as sulfide mineral stibnite and has been used by humans for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used it in cosmetics.

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Hollywood and the downwinders still grapple with nuclear fallout

John WayneThe photograph shows John Wayne with his two sons during a break in filming on the set of The Conqueror, a big budget blockbuster about Genghis Khan shot in the Utah desert in 1954. It was one of Hollywood’s most famous mis-castings. The duke could do many things but playing a 13th century Mongol warlord was not one of them. Film geeks consider it one of the great turkeys of Hollywood’s golden age.

There is another, darker reason it endures in film lore. The photograph hints at it. Wayne clutches a black metal box while another man appears to adjust the controls. Wayne’s two teenage sons, Patrick and Michael, gaze at it, clearly intrigued, perhaps a bit anxious. The actor himself appears relaxed, leaning on Patrick, his hat at a jaunty angle. The box, which rests on a patch of scrub, looks unremarkable. It is in fact a Geiger counter.

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Tobacco firms get partial win over claims on smoking effects

Tobacco adAmerica's largest tobacco companies must inform consumers that cigarettes were designed to increase addiction, but not that they lied to the public about the dangers of smoking, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a partial win for cigarette makers in the long-running legal fight that began in the Clinton administration in 1999. In this latest round, the companies objected to running court-ordered advertisements that would have branded themselves as liars.

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Peabody Energy exploited Ebola crisis for corporate gain, say health experts

Peabody exploited ebola crisisPublic health experts involved in the response to the Ebola crisis have condemned what they described as a ludicrous, insulting and opportunistic attempt to exploit the disease for corporate gain by the world’s largest privately-held coal company.

As part of a PR offensive to rebrand coal as a “21st-century fuel” that can help solve global poverty, it has emerged that at the height of Ebola’s impact in Africa, Peabody Energy promoted its product as an answer to Africa’s devastating public health crisis.

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'Groundbreaking' treatment found for cystic fibrosis

cystic fibrosis treatmentCystic fibrosis treatment has generally been focused on easing symptoms, but a combination of drugs used in a recent study prevented many of the pulmonary exacerbations that lead to patients being hospitalized.

Researchers gave patients a combination of Ivacaftor, used primarily for patients with a specific genetic mutation that causes cystic fibrosis, and Lumacaftor, an experimental drug that addresses another mutation which a high percentage of patients have. The success of the study is being considered groundbreaking because it addresses that disease instead of symptoms.

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