National Briefs: Feds push pill to block AIDS

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WASHINGTON -- Federal health officials recommended Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk for AIDS take a daily pill that has been shown to prevent infection with the virus that causes it.

If broadly followed, the advice by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could transform AIDS prevention in the United States -- from reliance on condoms, which are effective, but unpopular with many men -- to a regimen that relies on an anti-retroviral drug.

It would mean a 50-fold increase in the number of prescriptions for the drug, Truvada -- to 500,000 a year from fewer than 10,000. The drug, made by Gilead Sciences, costs $13,000 a year, and most insurers already cover it.

N.Y. Times editor fired

NEW YORK -- The New York Times on Wednesday announced that executive editor Jill Abramson is being replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet after 21/2 years on the job.

The company didn't give a reason for the change. Ms. Abramson, 60, and Mr. Baquet, 57, had both been in their current positions since September 2011.

Mr. Baquet, who would be the first African-American to hold the newspaper's highest editorial position, received a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1988.

Treatment for Manning

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is trying to transfer convicted national security leaker Pvt. Chelsea Manning to a civilian prison where she can get treatment for a gender-identity condition. But her lawyer said Wednesday that a move from a military prison would make Manning choose between the treatment and her safety.

Two Pentagon officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave the Army approval last month to try to work out a plan to transfer Manning from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to a federal prison. Manning entered the Army as a man named Bradley.

Gay-marriage scramble

BOISE, Idaho -- A federal judge's decision to allow same-sex marriages in Idaho starting Friday has attorneys for the state scrambling to appeal and gay rights advocates planning their next steps.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale overturned Idaho's ban on same-sex marriages Tuesday, and on Wednesday she refused to put pending marriages on hold while Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden appeal.

Gender clinical disparity

WASHINGTON -- Amid growing evidence that many drugs are not as effective in women as in men, the National Institutes of Health warned scientists Wednesday that they must take steps to alter long-standing basic research methods.

The NIH has already taken researchers to task for their failure to include adequate numbers of women in clinical trials. Now the agency wants scientists that it funds to include female lab animals and female cell lines.

Child labor, tobacco

RICHMOND, Va. -- An international rights group is pushing the federal government and the tobacco industry to take further steps to protect children working on U.S. tobacco farms.

A report released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch claims that children as young as 7 are sometimes working long hours in fields harvesting nicotine- and pesticide-laced tobacco leaves under sometimes hazardous conditions.

-- Compiled from news services



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