A moderate dose of winter rainfall hasn't ended California's historic drought, but it has dropped just enough moisture on the beleaguered state to help 14 communities that had risked running out of water. In January, public health officials in the most populous U.S. state said that 17 communities were at risk of running out of water in 60 to 90 days. But now just three small communities were at risk, one in the central part of the state and two in the north, Department of Public Health spokeswoman Anita Gore said on Thursday. In the town of Willits, for example, a grant from the state helped to pay for a backup water treatment plant constructed within weeks of the drought's declaration by Governor Jerry Brown in January.
Eleven middle school students and a bus driver were injured on Thursday, three critically, when their bus veered off a Southern California road, authorities said. The bus driver and two of the students from El Rancho Charter School in Anaheim, California, were listed in critical condition at a local hospital, said Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department.
By Shelby Sebens PORTLAND (Reuters) - Top officials for Oregon's troubled health insurance network, dogged by technical glitches that have kept a single subscriber from enrolling online, recommended on Thursday dumping the state website in favor of a federally run healthcare exchange. Oregon, a state that fully embraced the Affordable Care Act, has endured one of the rockiest rollouts of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, requiring tens of thousands of applicants to apply on paper since launching on October 1. Managers of the state exchange, called Cover Oregon, have determined it would cost about $78 million to fix and continue under the beleaguered system, well above the projected cost of switching over to the federal exchange, spokesman Alex Pettit said. Under the latest proposal, the private insurance plans now offered through Cover Oregon would be moved to the federal website, while individuals seeking coverage under an expansion of Medicaid, a state-federal healthcare plan for the needy, would apply through the Oregon Health Authority, spokeswoman Ariane Holm said.
By Olivia Oran, Soyoung Kim and Nadia Damouni NEW YORK (Reuters) - Allergan Inc approached Shire Plc in recent months about a possible takeover but was rebuffed, according to people familiar with the matter, in the latest example of a U.S. drugmaker seeking to buy an overseas rival to lower its tax rate. The preliminary approach for Shire, which is based in Ireland and has a market value of $33 billion, did not progress to serious discussions between the two companies, the sources said. Since then Allergan has received an unsolicited $47 billion takeover offer from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc teamed up with activist investor Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management. Analysts have suggested one way for the Botox maker to defend against the unsolicited bid would be to acquire foreign drugmakers such as Shire, Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc or Alkermes Plc. One of the sources said it was unclear if Allergan would try to revive talks with Shire, or pursue another target as a means to remain independent.
By Alan Baldwin LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - It has been 20 years since Formula One last suffered a driver fatality but that milestone, an achievement that would once have stretched credulity, will get less attention than the anniversary of Ayrton Senna's death at Imola. The sport - already praying for Michael Schumacher's recovery from a skiing accident that left the seven-times world champion in a coma - is only too aware of the dangers still lurking around every corner even if it is enjoying the safest period it has ever known. But one always has this feeling don't tempt fate," Max Mosley, former president of the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA), told Reuters. Mosley, who raced in the 1968 Formula Two race that claimed the life of the great Jim Clark and was FIA president at the time of Senna's death at Imola on May 1, 1994, is nonetheless proud of what has been achieved since then.
By Nina Chestney LONDON (Reuters) - People in the European Union, who according to a United Nations body eat way more protein than necessary, could prompt big cuts in nitrogen pollution if they halved their meat and dairy consumption, a U.N.-backed report said on Friday. Nitrogen is used in fertilizer to replace nutrients which are removed by soils during plant growth but excess nitrogen can harm the environment by polluting water, air and soil. That represents around 80 percent of nitrogen emissions from all sources, said the study by the United Nations' Economic Commission for Europe's (UNECE) Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen. "If all people within the EU would halve their meat and dairy consumption, this would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 25 to 40 percent, and nitrogen emissions by 40 percent," lead author Henk Westhoek, program manager for Agriculture and Food at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, said in a statement.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Netflix Inc's streaming video service will be integrated into TiVo Inc set-top boxes provided by Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications and RCN, the cable providers said on Thursday. The deals are the first in the United States to bring Netflix as an app to cable set-top boxes. Netflix has similar arrangements with operators in Europe. (Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
Mcshalonic Martinez, 25, puffed on a caramel mochachino flavored e-cigarette at the Henley Vaporium in lower Manhattan, saying the device helped him kick his three-pack-a-day smoking habit. He can't imagine going back to traditional cigarettes. It does not recommend restricting flavored products or online sales and advertising, which public health advocates say make the products more attractive for children and teens. The announcement comes on the heels of a New York City law passed last year that banned e-cigarette usage anywhere that traditional cigarettes are prohibited.
By Kathryn Doyle NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many kids on Medicaid are not receiving dental care, and those who do often first show up with a dental emergency, according to a new study. Less than half of a group of four-year-olds the researchers followed had ever visited a dentist, and caregivers who neglected their own oral health tended to neglect that of their children too. "We know that both good oral health and dental problems tend to cluster and co-occur in families," said Kimon Divaris, who led the study at the UNC School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.