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Tunisia election tests transition from autocracy to democracy

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By Patrick Markey and Tarek Amara HAMMAM SOUSSE Tunisia (Reuters) - Blaring music and flags fill the hall where Tunisia's Initiative Party is warming up to test its chances in the second free election since the 2011 "Arab Spring" uprising that ousted autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The party's Eagle crest may be from the post-revolutionary era, but symbols from the past dominate its campaign for Sunday's parliamentary vote, where Ben Ali's old guard are hoping to make a comeback. ...

German firm wins appeal in Spain thalidomide case

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MADRID (AP) — A Spanish court on Wednesday accepted a German pharmaceutical company's appeal against a ruling that had ordered it to pay compensation to 22 Spaniards who blame their disabilities on the drug thalidomide.

Drugmakers to join forces to make millions of Ebola vaccine doses

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bigA nurse writes name of voluteer on protective suit during Red Cross training excercise in WuerzburgBy Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Leading drugmakers plan to work together to speed up the development of an Ebola vaccine and hope to produce millions of doses for use next year. U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson said on Wednesday that it aims to produce at least 1 million doses of its two-step vaccine next year and has already discussed collaboration with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, which is working on a rival vaccine. ...


Congo, UN troops fire live rounds amid protest against killings

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U.N. peacekeepers patrol near the border crossing point between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in GomaBy Kenny Katombe BENI Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Congolese troops and United Nations peacekeepers fired live rounds to disperse hundreds of people protesting outside a U.N. base in the eastern Congolese town of Beni on Wednesday, a Reuters witness said. Crowds gathered at the U.N. base calling for peacekeepers to leave the town after two people were shot dead on Tuesday during a protest over the U.N. mission's failure to stem violence blamed on Ugandan rebels that has killed dozens of civilians in recent weeks. ...


Drugmakers to join forces to make millions of Ebola vaccine doses

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Volunteer Ruth Atkins has blood taken before receiving an injection of the Ebola vaccine at the Oxford Vaccine Group Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine (CCVTM) in OxfordBy Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Leading drugmakers plan to work together to accelerate development of an Ebola vaccine and produce millions of doses of the most effective experimental product for use next year. Johnson & Johnson said on Wednesday that it aims to produce at least 1 million doses of its two-step vaccine next year and has already discussed collaboration with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, which is working on a rival vaccine. The U.S. ...


Amid regional turmoil, Israel looks to its firm bond with Jordan

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Netanyahu delivers statements in JerusalemBy Luke Baker JERUSALEM (Reuters) - If there were a heat map showing instability in the Middle East, the area around most of Israel's borders would have turned a steadily deeper shade of red over the past few years. With attacks by Hezbollah from Lebanon, the threat from Islamic State and the Nusra Front in Syria and growing unrest in Egypt's Sinai, the north and south are on edge. By comparison, the eastern frontier with Jordan looks like an oasis of calm. ...


Romanian ex-prison chief fails to show for trial

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BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A former Romanian prison commander charged with torturing and causing the deaths of 12 political prisoners in the 1950s and 1960s failed to show up for his trial Wednesday, saying he is sick.

U.S. consumer prices barely rise as energy costs fall

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Current gas prices are shown at a Shell gas station in Encinitas, CaliforniaWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer prices rose marginally in September as energy costs fell broadly, painting a weak inflation picture that should give the Federal Reserve ample room to keep interest rates low for a while. The Labor Department said on Wednesday its Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1 percent last month after declining 0.2 percent in August. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast consumer prices being flat in September. The CPI increased 1.7 percent in the 12 months through September after a similar rise in August. ...


GSK sees first Ebola vaccine doses ready late this year

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LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline expects to have the first doses of its Ebola vaccine ready late this year and is looking to work with the rest of the pharmaceutical industry to scale up production. "I fully anticipate that the initial supply should be available before the year end," Chief Executive Andrew Witty told reporters on Wednesday after reporting quarterly results. "It will give WHO (World Health Organization) and other agencies a useful tool," he said, adding that the GSK product was likely to be the first vaccine to be deployed. ...

Polish priest charged with abusing minors

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Prosecutors say a Polish parish priest has been formally charged in his native country with sexually molesting minors in both the Dominican Republic and Poland.

UK man faked coma for 2 years to avoid court

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LONDON (AP) — A fraudster who pretended to be quadriplegic and sometimes comatose for two years to avoid prosecution has been convicted after police caught him on camera driving and strolling around supermarkets.

EU okays new executive as Juncker vows to seize 'Europe's last chance'

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Jean-Claude Juncker, the incoming president of the European Commission, delivers his speech as he attends the presentation of the college of Commissioners and their program during a plenary session at the EU Parliament in StrasbourgBy Gilbert Reilhac STRASBOURG France (Reuters) - The European Union will have a new executive in place next month led by Jean-Claude Juncker following its approval in a vote by the European Parliament on Wednesday. Addressing the chamber before his European Commission was approved by 423 votes to 209, the former Luxembourg premier warned that voters were losing patience with EU bureaucracy and a failure to create prosperity. He promised a major plan for new investment within two months of him taking office on Nov. 1. ...


Factbox: Who's who on the new EU executive

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(Reuters) - The European Parliament votes on Wednesday in Strasbourg on whether to confirm in office the new European Commission, the EU executive to be led by Jean-Claude Juncker. Each of the 28 member states nominates a commissioner. All have passed individual confirmation hearings in the legislature. The line-up proposed by Juncker is as follows: PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER Luxembourg, center-right, 59. Prime minister for 19 years. Confirmed in office by parliament after nomination by national leaders in July over strong British objections. ...

Cuban doctors arrive in Liberia to fight Ebola alongside U.S. troops

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By James Harding Giahyue MONROVIA (Reuters) - A plane carrying some 50 Cuban doctors and nurses arrived in Liberia on Wednesday to help treat victims of Ebola in the West African country, where a U.S. military mission is also deploying to fight the deadly virus. An Air Cubana jet carrying the 51 medical staff touched down at Monrovia's Roberts International Airport. Another group of around 40 doctors from the communist-led Caribbean island were due to arrive in neighboring Guinea on Wednesday. ...

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