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Burn, Bury Or Scorch? Why Destroying Syria’s Chemical Weapons Is Hard

The ingredients used to make chemical weapons aren’t environmentally friendly, and until recently the process of disposing of those weapons wasn’t either. New rules make disposal safer, but are also a major stumbling block to the dismantling of Syria’s stockpiles. Read more…

October 31st, 2013

Market closures dramatically cut cases of new China bird flu: study

LONDON (Reuters) – China should close live poultry markets in big cities to disrupt the spread of a new strain of bird flu that resurfaced there earlier this month, scientists said, after a previous shutdown was found to have slashed the number of human cases.

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October 31st, 2013

Many vets given psychiatric drugs without diagnosis

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Nearly one-third of U.S. veterans who are given psychiatric medications by their doctors do not have a diagnosed mental health problem, according to a new study.

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October 31st, 2013

Obamacare controversy hits close to home for Capitol Hill staff

Applications are seen at a rally held by supporters of the Affordable Care Act in Jackson, MississippiBy Caren Bohan and Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican lawmakers opposed to Obamacare are grappling with a predicament of their own making as they decide whether to move their staff into the new insurance marketplaces tied to President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul. More than three years ago, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa proposed an amendment to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requiring U.S. lawmakers and their aides to purchase insurance coverage on the new online marketplaces known as exchanges. Obama's Democratic Party, which in 2009 controlled both chambers of Congress, saw it largely as a political stunt by Republicans who see the law as government overreach and have campaigned to scrap it. Now, House lawmakers face a deadline of 5 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Thursday to decide whether to fully follow the requirement, or exploit a loophole that allows them to keep certain staff on their current health insurance plans.

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October 31st, 2013

U.S. workers can carry over $500 of health spending accounts: Treasury

Treasury Secretary Lew speaks at Center for American Progress 10th Anniversary policy forumAmericans who use flexible spending accounts (FSAs) for healthcare costs may now be able to carry up to $500 of expiring money into the next year, the U.S. Treasury said on Thursday. An FSA allows individuals to set aside as much as $2,500 a year in pretax income for healthcare costs. In 2005, the Internal Revenue Service began allowing companies to offer their workers a 2.5 month grace period through mid-March during which they could use up any money that was left over. Now, an employer that sponsors an FSA can choose, as an alternative to that grace period, to allow its employees to carry over up to $500 to use during the entire following year.

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October 31st, 2013
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