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300,000 wait for tap water in West Virginia
Written by JOHN RABY, Associated Press   
Saturday, 11 January 2014 08:03

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A company president apologized to West Virginia residents for a chemical leak that got into a public water treatment system, and a state agency ordered Freedom Industries to remove its remaining chemicals from the site.

About 300,000 people in nine counties entered their third day Saturday without being able to drink, bathe in, or wash dishes or clothes with their tap water. The only allowed use of the water was for flushing toilets.

Officials remain unclear when it might be safe again.

Federal authorities, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, began investigating how the foaming agent escaped from the Freedom Industries plant and seeped into the Elk River. Just how much of the chemical leaked into the river was not yet known.

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Searchers find missing plane in Idaho; Five dead
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 11 January 2014 08:01

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The wreckage of a small plane that crashed in Idaho more than a month ago, killing a Silicon Valley executive and the four others aboard, has been located following a persistent online and ground search that included the pilot's brother, officials and family members said.

Debris from the single-engine plane was located in the central Idaho mountains Saturday, but Valley County Sheriff's Lt. Dan Smith said an incoming storm may delay recovery efforts.

The aircraft had been carrying the 51-year-old pilot, Dale Smith, a software executive from San Jose, Calif.; his son, Daniel Smith and his wife, Sheree Smith; and daughter Amber Smith with her fiance, Jonathan Norton, officials said.

The plane was flying from eastern Oregon, where the family had been spending the Thanksgiving holiday, to Montana, where Daniel and Sheree Smith live, when it disappeared Dec. 1, in the mountains 150 miles northeast of Boise.

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Proposed Medicare drug change stirs access worries
Written by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press   
Friday, 10 January 2014 16:25

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a move that some fear could compromise care for Medicare recipients, the Obama administration is proposing to remove special protections that guarantee seniors access to a wide selection of three types of drugs.

The three classes of drugs — widely used antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs that suppress the immune system to prevent the rejection of a transplanted organ — have enjoyed special "protected" status since the launch of the Medicare prescription benefit in 2006.

That has meant that the private insurance plans that deliver prescription benefits to seniors and disabled beneficiaries must cover "all or substantially all" medications in the class, allowing the broadest possible access. The plans can charge more for costlier drugs, but they can't just close their lists of approved drugs, or formularies, to protected medications.

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CDC: US is "in the thick" of flu season, cases up
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 10 January 2014 16:29

ATLANTA (AP) — Flu season is ramping up, with illness widespread in at least 35 states. That's up from 25 in the previous week.

A flu expert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the agency's weekly report released Friday shows "We're in the thick of flu season."

The CDC's Lyn Finelli says the season likely hasn't peaked, but that it's too soon to know if it will be worse than normal.

The numbers aren't as high so far as last year, when flu season started early. Flu usually peaks in January or February.

The number of people seeking medical care for the flu climbed to more than 4 percent of all doctor visits last week, a near doubling from two weeks earlier.

___

Online:

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/flu


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Target: Data breach caught up to 70M customers
Written by ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Business Writer MICHELLE CHAPMAN, AP Business Writer   
Friday, 10 January 2014 14:28

NEW YORK (AP) — Target's December security breach was significantly more extensive and affected millions more shoppers than the company reported last month.

The nation's second largest discounter said Friday that hackers stole personal information — including names, phone numbers as well as email and mailing addresses — from as many as 70 million customers as part of a pre-Christmas data breach.

Target Corp. announced in December that about 40 million credit and debit cards may have been affected by a data breach that happened between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 — just as the holiday shopping season was getting into gear.

According to the company's investigation, criminals also took non-credit card related data for some 70 million shoppers who could have made purchases at Target stores outside the late Nov. to mid-Dec. timeframe. Some overlap exists between the two data sets, the company said Friday.

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