Key provisions include creating a global cadre of emergency health workers, establishing a fund that could be tapped quickly, and support for the development of treatments for emerging infectious diseases.
By Frank Jack Daniel and Douglas Busvine NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled a plan centered on insurance on Sunday that they hope will convince U.S. companies to build nuclear power stations in India, but stopped short of demands to soften a liability law. With the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy still fresh in India's mind, parliament five years ago passed a law that makes equipment suppliers ultimately responsible for an accident, a deviation from international norms that the companies found hard to swallow. India's top diplomat, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, said the new plan was "squarely within our law". "The India nuclear insurance pool is a risk transfer mechanism which is being formed by GIC Re and four other public sector undertakings in the general insurance business in India," foreign ministry joint secretary Amandeep Singh said.
A French anti-smoking association said Sunday it had filed a case accusing makers of Marlboro, Camel, Lucky Strike and Gauloise cigarettes of colluding to limit prices so smokers won't cut their consumption. "The four big international tobacco industrials work as a cartel, (and) do all they can so that prices rise in a moderate manner to ensure consumption doesn't fall," Martinet told AFP.
The World Health Organization's chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola and pledged reforms to avoid similar mistakes in future. Despite turning a corner in the fight against Ebola, there was no room for complacency, WHO head Margaret Chan told a rare emergency session of the agency. "The world, including WHO, was too slow to see what was unfolding before us," she told delegates at only the third emergency session in the history of the WHO.
Now Chinese consumers are adding Japanese rice to the list of everyday foods they will bring in from abroad at luxury-good prices because they fear the local alternatives aren't safe. "Chinese rice farmers use pesticides," said a seller identified as Ying Ying, who started offering Japanese rice on the Taobao online marketplace last August. "Japanese rice isn't polluted by heavy metals." Pollution from industrialization has exacted a heavy toll on China's soil and water. In May 2013, officials in Guangdong province in southern China said 44 percent of rice samples contained excessive levels of the metal cadmium.
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday it will create a contingency fund and an emergency workforce to respond quickly to crises after strong criticism of the agency's delay in confronting the Ebola epidemic. Director-general Dr. Margaret Chan said at an emergency meeting called to discuss the agency's Ebola response that the outbreak showed the need to strengthen WHO's crisis management and to streamline procedures for recruiting frontline workers. "Member states truly understand that the world does need a collective defence mechanism for global health security." In the past year, 21,724 Ebola cases have been reported in nine countries and 8,641 people have died, according to the WHO, which says West Africa's outbreak is ebbing. "The WHO we have is not the WHO we need, not the WHO we needed to respond to health emergencies of the magnitude of Ebola," Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), told the talks.
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