Rhode Island child with Enterovirus dies after infection: officials

A Rhode Island child has died of a bacterial infection associated with Enterovirus D68, state public health officials said on Wednesday.

The child, who was not identified, died as a result of a staphylococcus aureus sepsis associated with the respiratory virus, which the Rhode Island Department of Health in a statement called a “very rare combination that can cause very severe illness in children and adults.”

Officials noted that very few people who contract the Enterovirus D68 will develop symptoms beyond a runny nose and low fever.

Greenland in political chaos as three ministers step down

Three Greenlandic ministers stepped down from the government on Wednesday to press Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond to quit after she was accused of misuse of state money on private flights and hotels for family members.

Hammond, premier since April last year, temporarily left office on Tuesday to wait for the results of an inquiry into her use of state funds, naming Kim Kielsen as her acting head of government.

She had narrowly escaped a vote of no confidence however, and defection by her ministers signals that the opposition is not about to give up on the motion and will continue to push for a parliamentary election, which polls show they could win.

The political turmoil is likely to paralyze the government at a critical juncture as international companies such as London Mining Plc and Greenland Minerals and Energy are considering opening iron ore and rare earth mines.

Greenland is a self-ruling country within the Kingdom of Denmark and has a population of about 56,000 people.

Doctors net billions from drug firms

Drug and medical-device companies paid at least $3.5 billion to U.S. physicians and teaching hospitals during the final five months of last year, according to the most comprehensive accounting so far of the financial ties that some critics say have compromised medical care.

The figures come from a new federal government transparency initiative. The 2010 Affordable Care Act included a provision dubbed the Sunshine Act, which requires manufacturers of drugs and medical devices to disclose the payments they make to physicians and teaching hospitals each year for services such as consulting or research. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services compiled the records into a database posted online Tuesday, though the agency said that about 40% of the payment information won’t identify the recipients because of data problems.

The database revealed some eye-popping totals, such as the $122.5 million paid by Roche Holding AG’s Genentech unit to City of Hope medical center in Duarte, Calif., as royalties on sales of several products including blockbuster cancer treatments Herceptin and Avastin.

Genentech licensed patents from City of Hope based on research the medical center conducted in the early 1980s. The company said that excluding the City of Hope royalties, about 85% of the physician payments it reported to CMS were focused on drug research. City of Hope said the royalties are allocated to the inventors and to support continuing research.

Some doctors disputed details of the payment data. The database shows John LeDonne, a surgeon from Baltimore, as having received about $78,200 in payments for food and beverage for the five-month period from medical-device maker Teleflex Inc.

Obama, Netanyahu to meet as Iran deadline looms

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet for the first time since a rash of civilian casualties during Israel’s summer war with Hamas heightened tensions between two leaders who have long had a prickly relationship.

Much of Wednesday’s Oval Office discussion is expected to focus on another delicate issue: U.S.-led nuclear talks with Iran. With a deadline for reaching a final agreement less than two months away, all sides say significant gaps remain.

Netanyahu has long cautioned the U.S. and the international community that Iran is barreling toward a bomb and using diplomatic openings as a stalling tactic. The Islamic republic contends its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

The Israeli leader arrives in Washington following meetings at the United Nations, where he delivered a blistering speech accusing Hamas of committing war crimes by using Palestinian civilians as human shields during the 50-day Gaza war that ended Aug. 26. His speech was a response to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ assertion that Israel had carried out a “war of genocide” during the Gaza fighting.

Israel launched thousands of airstrikes against what it said were Hamas-linked targets in the dense Gaza Strip, resulting in more than 2,100 Palestinian deaths, the vast majority civilians, according to the United Nations. More than 70 Israelis were also killed.

Turkey's role in Islamic State fight may hinge on ancient tomb

A vow to defend the 700-year-old tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, in a Turkish enclave in northern Syria could decide Turkey’s role in the military campaign against Islamic State.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on Tuesday that the militants were advancing on the white stone mausoleum, guarded by several dozen Turkish soldiers and perched on a manicured lawn under a Turkish flag on the banks of the Euphrates.

The tomb was made Turkish territory under a treaty signed with France in 1921, when France ruled Syria. Ankara regards it as sovereign territory and has repeatedly made clear that it will defend the mausoleum if it is attacked.

"We can’t leave that place, which is ours through agreements, unprotected. Regardless of pride, this is important for our historical memory. This is important for everyone, not just for Turks," said Ilber Ortayli, a leading Turkish historian at Istanbul’s Galatasaray University.

Turkey has so far been reluctant to take an active role in the U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State, but the government on Tuesday sent a proposal to parliament to beef up its powers to order cross-border operations in Syria and Iraq.

Questions and answers about the US Ebola case

U.S. health officials have warned for months that someone infected with Ebola could unknowingly carry the virus to this country, and there is word now that it has happened: A traveler in a Dallas hospital became the first patient diagnosed in the U.S.

Texas health officials said there were no other suspected cases in the state, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immediately sought to calm fears that one case would spread widely.

"Ebola can be scary. But there’s all the difference in the world between the U.S. and parts of Africa where Ebola is spreading," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said, stressing that U.S. health workers know how to control the virus.

"There is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here," he told a news conference in Atlanta on Tuesday.

Taiwan throws support behind HK democracy demands

Taiwan, an island that China’s ruling Communist Party has long sought to bring into its fold under the same “one country, two systems” arrangement it has for Hong Kong, has thrown its support behind Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

Taiwanese leaders also have urged Beijing to live up to its pledges of autonomy in the former British colony or risk further alienating the Taiwanese public.

"If Hong Kong can soon achieve universal suffrage, it would be a win-win for Hong Kong and the mainland, and it can greatly help narrow the mental gap between residents on both sides of (the Taiwan Strait) and allow for the relations to develop positively," Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said in a statement.

"Otherwise, it may deepen the antipathy of Taiwan’s public and hurt the future of relations between the two sides," Ma said in the statement, dated Tuesday.

In August, Beijing rejected a proposal for open nominations of candidates for Hong Kong’s first-ever leadership election, promised for 2017. Instead, all candidates must continue to be picked by a panel that is mostly aligned with Beijing.

California governor signs 'gun violence restraining order' law

People who fear a close relative may commit gun violence will be able to petition a judge to temporarily remove the person’s firearms in California, under a bill signed into law on Tuesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

The legislation - the first such measure in the United States - was introduced after police in Isla Vista near Santa Barbara said they were unable to confiscate weapons from a man who later went on a rampage and killed six people, despite concern from his family.

"In the case of the Isla Vista shooter, Elliot Rodger, his mother was noticing that he was becoming more agitated and making these threats of violence, but there was little she could do and little the police could do," said Democratic Assembly member Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, who introduced the bill along with Santa Barbara Democrat Das Williams.

Under the so-called gun violence restraining order in the court system, immediate family members and law enforcement agencies could ask a judge to order guns temporarily removed from certain individuals.

The restraining order would last 21 days, and could be extended up to a year, after a notice and a hearing.

Texas patient confirmed as first Ebola case diagnosed in U.S.

A man who recently arrived in Texas from Liberia has been confirmed as having the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the U.S.

Authorities with the Centers for Disease Control revealed the finding late on Tuesday, two days after the unidentified patient was admitted to a Dallas hospital with suspicious symptoms.

Officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas put the man into β€œstrict isolation” and sent a blood specimen to state and federal labs for testing.

Both came back positive for the deadly disease, which has killed more than 3,000 people in Africa this year. According to the World Health Organization, there have been more than 6,500 Ebola cases confirmed in Africa, with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone among the hardest hit.

β€œHe is ill, he is under intensive care, he’s being seen by highly trained, competent specialists, and the health department is helping us in tracing any family members that might have been exposed,” said Dr. Edward Goodman with Texas Health Dallas, at a news conference on Tuesday.

Protesters to HK boss: Quit or we occupy buildings

Student leaders of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong warned Wednesday that if the territory’s leader doesn’t resign by the end of Thursday they will step up their actions, including occupying several important government buildings.

By raising the stakes in the standoff, the student leaders are risking another round of confrontation with the police who are unlikely to allow government buildings to be stormed. It also puts pressure on the Chinese government, which has so far remained silent and preferred to let Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying deal with the crisis.

The student leaders, who have played a key role in organizing the protests to press for greater electoral reforms, would welcome an opportunity to speak to a Chinese central government official, Lester Shum, vice secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said at a news conference.

"However, we ask them to come to the square and speak to the masses," Shum said. "This is a movement of Hong Kongers and not led by any specific group."

Shum demanded that Leung resign by the end of Thursday, and that the student leaders had no interest in talking to him.

"Because the government ordered police to fire 87 rounds of tear gas at protests, there is no room for dialogue. Leung Chun-ying must step down. If he doesn’t resign by tomorrow we will step up our actions, such as by occupying several important government buildings," he said, but added that demonstrators won’t occupy "essential" government offices, such as hospitals and social welfare offices.