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Resurgence of SARS Cases in Toronto

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TORONTO, Jun 11, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The World Health Organization said Wednesday it is concerned over the resurgence of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Toronto.

Toronto, which had been removed from the list of areas with recent local transmission May 14, was again added to the list on May 26 following evidence more than one generation of new cases had occurred.

Since the disease first resurged in Toronto, more than 90 new probable cases have been reported.

Health authorities in Toronto are again on high alert and are treating all hospital-associated clusters of patients with fever or respiratory symptoms as possible SARS cases until proven otherwise.

Possible cases are immediately isolated. All contacts are being traced and, when warranted, placed in home quarantine. Infection control measures are being followed in all affected facilities. WHO welcomes these precautionary measures.

WHO said it is monitoring the situation closely.

Oldest known human fossils found

HERTO, Ethiopia, June 11 (UPI) -- Three fossilized skulls unearthed in Ethiopia are said to be among the most important discoveries ever made in the search for the origin of humans.

The crania of two adults and a child, all dated around 160,000 years old, were pulled out of sediment near the village of Herto in the Afar region in eastern Ethiopia.

They are described as the oldest known fossils of modern humans.

What excites scientists is that the specimens fit neatly with the genetic studies that have suggested this time and part of Africa for the emergence of mankind.

"These specimens are critical because they bridge the gap between the earlier more archaic forms in Africa and the fully modern humans that we see 100,000 years ago," Tim White, a paleontologist at the University of California at Berkeley, told the BBC.

FTC: 'Coral Calcium Supreme claims false'

WASHINGTON, June 11 (UPI) -- The Federal Trade Commission is charging the marketers of a dietary supplement called Coral Calcium Supreme with making false and unsubstantiated claims.

It's part of a series of initiatives the FTC and the Food and Drug Administration are taking against the purveyors of products with unsubstantiated health and medical claims.

In a complaint filed in federal district court, the FTC alleges Kevin Trudeau, Robert Barefoot, Shop America (USA) LLC and Deonna Enterprises Inc. with violating the FTC Act by claiming, falsely and without substantiation, Coral Calcium Supreme can treat or cure cancer and other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and heart disease.

The FTC charges that these and other claims go far beyond existing scientific evidence regarding the recognized health benefits of calcium.

The defendants promote the product primarily through a nationally televised 30-minute infomercial featuring Trudeau and Barefoot, and through statements made in brochures accompanying the product.

NASA eyes Dec. shuttle launch

WASHINGTON, June 11 (UPI) -- NASA is planning its first major hardware redesign since Columbia's fatal breakup in hopes of getting the space shuttle back in orbit by December.

Briefing the NASA Advisory Council Tuesday, Michael Greenfield, who co-chairs the agency's "return-to-flight" team, said NASA engineers are proposing to eliminate the foam that prevents ice from forming on the shuttle's troublesome bipod ramp area before liftoff.

Foam has shed from that region, which connects the fuel tank to the fuselage, during at least eight shuttle flights since 1983, the Houston Chronicle reports. Breakaway foam struck Columbia's left wing on liftoff Jan. 16.

"By removing the foam, you remove the hazard," Greenfield said.

In addition to hardware changes, Greenfield and NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said future shuttle missions at first will be launched only during daylight hours so NASA can use video equipment to monitor the craft.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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