Oklahoma judge OKs settlement with generic opioid maker

iStock/Moussa81(NEW YORK) — An Oklahoma judge signed off on the state’s settlement with a generic drugmaker on Monday, closing one chapter of ongoing litigation against drugmakers charged for their role in the opioid crisis.

Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman approved Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals’ $85 million deal with the state on Monday, which included provisions for the company to stop marketing opioids in the state.

“The resources and terms of the agreement will help abate the ongoing crisis the state is facing, help prevent doctors and Oklahomans from being misled by marketing materials and provides law enforcement with another investigative tool to help us shut down pill mills and illicit enterprises.” Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said in a statement after the settlement.

“In addition to the funds going to the state to be used to abate the opioid epidemic, Teva will not employ or contract with sales representatives to promote opioids in the state; the company will not use speakers, key opinion leaders or speaking events to promote opioids; and the company will not provide direct or indirect financial support for branded or unbranded information promoting opioids, such as brochures, newsletters, books and guides,” the statement from Hunter’s office said.

The settlement stipulates that Teva admits no wrongdoing, saying that it should not be “construed to be a concession as to any claim…admission, evidence of any violation of any statute or law” or “evidence of any liability or wrongdoing by Teva.”

Israel-based Teva was one of more than a dozen companies sued by Oklahoma for “deceptively marketing its opioid pain medications– as well as opioid products generally– so as to overstate their efficacy and downplay the associated risk of addiction,” according to court documents

The Oklahoma suit has been closely watched as a benchmark for more than 40 other states who are suing opioid makers and more than thousands of municipalities who have also filed similar lawsuits.

All of the defendants except for Johnson & Johnson have settled with the state, most notably, OxyContin maker Purdue Pharmaceuticals, which settled for $270 million.

The state is currently trying its case against Johnson & Johnson.

A Teva spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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As US sanctions hit Iran, residents complain of medicine shortages

WORLD NEWS As US sanctions hit Iran, residents complain of medicine shortages  https://linewsradio.com/as-us-sanctions-hit-iran-residents-complain-of-medicine-shortages/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) — Ghader Daemi Aghdam, an Iranian doctor and head of a pharmacy in the capital, Tehran, sat in his office, avoiding the chaos at the reception desk where patients were complaining that their prescriptions for medicine were not being filled.

“Out of every 20 people, we have to tell at least to ten that we have run out of medications they need,” Daemi Aghdam told ABC News.

Since pulling out of a deal reached under the Obama administration, the U.S. government under President Donald Trump has reinstated a series of tough sanctions on Iran, with the latest, targeting Iran’s supreme leader and other top officials in the the Iranian regime, being announced on Monday.

While humanitarian supplies, including medicine, is technically exempt, Iranians are already facing severe shortages and inflated prices for what is in stock.

“The main problem with importing medication is the restrictions in international transactions,” said Bashir Khaleqi, member of the Healthcare Commission of Iran’s parliament, in an interview about the medication condition in the country with the semi-official Tasnim News Agency, on Tuesday.

“The artificial tear drop that my son has to use for his eye condition” has doubled in price, from the equivalent of about $2.50 to $5, said Maryam, 45, a housewife and mother of two who asked that her last name not to be used to protect the honor of her family. Another drop went from $1.50 to $8 in a year, she said.

Maryam’s husband, who works full time, and her daughter, a part-time secretary, bring in a combined $75 a month.

“We have to cut many expenses out to afford medication for my son and for myself,” Maryam said, who suffers from lung problem after years of weaving carpets.

Some people have begin asking doctors to avoid prescribing foreign medications, and to instead prescribe medicines that were produced in Iran and might be more widely available. But others have voiced concerns about how sanctions have impacted the quality of medications produced domestically.

Daemi Aghdam believes that the sanctions might have impacted quality control in Iran’s pharmaceutical companies.

“I can name companies that even the quality of their simple cold tablets has suffered after the sanctions” he said.

“People understand the difference. When they see the domestic medication does not work on them, they ask for its foreign sample,” he added.

 It is not just the long lines of complaining patients at pharmacies that have revealed the problem. In the past few months, Iranians have taken to social media to post the names of drugs they need but cannot find in pharmacies.

In some cases, people have posted that they have a surplus of a given medicine and are willing to share the medication with others who need it.

“Friends, this is what remained from my mother’s inflation medication after her recovered. Please let me know if you need this medication, or if you know anyone who does. Please retweet so anyone who needs it can get it. Thanks,” said one post.

As for Maryam, she said she hopes that leaders can work out a solution.

“I know absolutely nothing about politics,” she said. “But I do hope politicians care more about people. All I want is my son not to lose his sight and I can breath.”

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Posted On 25 Jun 2019

Cast of ‘Younger’ stars in new PSA to protect women against violence

Entertainment News  Cast of 'Younger' stars in new PSA to protect women against violence https://linewsradio.com/cast-of-younger-stars-in-new-psa-to-protect-women-against-violence/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/entertainment-news/


Photo courtesy of TV Land(NEW YORK) — The cast of Younger is taking a stand to protect women against violence.

The show’s stars — Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, Nico Tortorella, Peter Hermann, Molly Bernard and Charles Michael Davis – have teamed up with The United State of Women for a new PSA in support of the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.

The Violence Against Women Act was enacted in 1994 and supports survivors of crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. In April, the House passed a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the act for five more years, but the Senate has not yet passed it.

“Girls, women, people who identify as women, and non-binary people are disproportionately affected by violence,” the cast says in the PSA.

“Right now long-standing funds to help and protect survivors of gender-based violence are under threat,” they continue. “It’s time to renew the Violence Against Women Act.”

The PSA urges fans to take action by going to TheUnitedStateofWomen.org.

Younger is currently airing its sixth season on TV Land.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 25 Jun 2019

Serena Williams to be next General Mills’ Wheaties box athlete

Sports News Serena Williams to be next General Mills' Wheaties box athlete https://linewsradio.com/serena-williams-to-be-next-general-mills-wheaties-box-athlete/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/sports-news/

Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — General Mills has found the perfect champion for their signature Wheaties box.

The company announced Tuesday that tennis star Serena Williams will be the next athlete featured on the breakfast cereal’s orange box.

Williams took to Instagram to share the monumental news.

“In 2001, Wheaties paid homage to a true champion and an icon by putting her on the cover of a Wheaties Box,” Williams wrote, captioning the image of her Wheaties box cover in which she wears a white dress.

“Althea Gibson was the FIRST Black Woman tennis player to be on the box,” she continued. “Today, I am honored to be the second.”

Williams, who has been named the WTA Played Of The Year seven times, has a long list of accomplishments to note. She has earned 23 major singles titles, 14 major doubles titles, and was ranked the world No. 1 in women’s singles eight times between 2002 and 2017.

As she mentioned, Williams is the second black woman to be featured on the box. She is also the first active tennis player featured on Wheaties since Pete Sampras in 2000 and the fourth female tennis player all-time.

“I am so excited to be on the cover of the next Wheaties box,” said Williams in statement. “I have dreamt of this since I was a young woman and it’s an honor to join the ranks of some of America’s most decorated athletes. I hope my image on this iconic orange box will inspire the next generation of girls and athletes to dream big.”

Williams’ limited-edition Wheaties box will become available in the U.S. starting next month.

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Posted On 25 Jun 2019

US-led Palestinian economic workshop opens to rejection, indifference

WORLD NEWS US-led Palestinian economic workshop opens to rejection, indifference  https://linewsradio.com/us-led-palestinian-economic-workshop-opens-to-rejection-indifference/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Brian Ach/Getty Images for TIME(WASHINGTON) — A U.S.-backed Palestinian economic workshop began in Bahrain Tuesday evening with no Palestinian or Israeli participation, facing rejection or indifference across much of the Middle East.

Palestinian leadership had decided against participating in the Peace to Prosperity workshop in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, where Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is scheduled to present an economic proposal to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Trump administration is proposing a $50 billion investment fund to be spent in the next decade in Palestinian territories and neighboring Arab countries as part of its Middle East peace plan.

The proposal has been spearheaded by Kushner, and the White House calls the plan the “most ambitious and comprehensive international effort for the Palestinian people to date,” although it has not made clear where the money would come from.

Although the workshop in Manama deals with one possible solution to a conflict, neither the Palestinians nor Israeli leaders are attending.

Palestinian leadership has decided against participating in the conference because it does not accept the principle that solutions to economic hardship should precede goals that Palestinians consider to me more pressing: the end of the 52-year-long Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the creation of a Palestinian state and help for Palestinian refugees.

“The potential of our people lies in their ability to live in a sovereign and free Palestine,” Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat said in a statement Tuesday. “Our right to self-determination, freedom, and independence should be honored through the implementation of UN resolutions and international law. This is the only way to peace and prosperity.”

Another leading Palestinian figure, Hanan Ashrawi, echoed the same view, convinced that a free Palestinian people in its own sovereign country will be able to build a vibrant and prosperous economy.

“First lift the siege of Gaza, stop the Israeli theft of our land, resources &funds, give us our freedom of movement & control over our borders, airspace, territorial waters etc.” Ashrawi tweeted. “Then watch us build a vibrant prosperous economy as a free & sovereign people.”

Palestinians in the West Bank rallied Tuesday to protest both the Trump administration’s Peace for Prosperity plan and the meeting in Bahrain. Demonstrations reportedly took place in Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah. In Gaza, a general strike was observed. Other protests reportedly took place in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

 In Israel, the Peace to Prosperity initiative — pitched by a U.S. administration friendly to Israel’s leadership — has been tacitly accepted. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the initiative will be examined fairly and openly.

Israel’s minister of regional cooperation, Tzachi Hanegbi, criticized Palestinians’ refusal to participate, tweeting that their lack of participation was “astonishing.”

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Posted On 25 Jun 2019

Guide murdered alongside American doctor had trouble with a local gang, police say

WORLD NEWS Guide murdered alongside American doctor had trouble with a local gang, police say  https://linewsradio.com/guide-murdered-alongside-american-doctor-had-trouble-with-a-local-gang-police-say/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Courtesy Carilion Clinic(NEW YORK) — An American doctor was murdered in Belize in what local authorities are saying was a shooting involving a member of a gang.

Dr. Gary Swank was found dead Sunday alongside a local tour guide, identified by local authorities as Mario Graniel.

Chester Williams, the commissioner of police in Belize, said that Swank was a victim of circumstance.

Williams said the tour guide “had a misunderstanding with one of the notorious gang figures in San Pedro” and that his home was shot at before the murders.

“Police detained the persons who we suspected did the shooting, waited for Mr. Graniel to give the report,” Williams said. “He never showed up to give the report. We maintain police presence in the area to protect him and the community from further shootings but we can’t follow the man everywhere he goes. He decided to go out with a tourist. We don’t have a boat to follow him and we can’t put police on every tour guide boat.”

He went on, “We did what we could have done in terms of detaining those who we believe were responsible and maintaining presence in the area where he lived. I don’t see what else we could have done.”

Superintendent Hilberto Romero, the acting head of the National Crimes Investigation Branch, said both Swank and Graniel had “multiple” gunshot injuries.

“One of the decreased was on board the vessel while the other was in the water. Both were taken out and taken to the San Pedro Polyclinic where they were pronounced dead on arrival,” Romero said.

“We are working on several leads. We know that they were fishing in that particular area and thereafter the report came in that there had been a shooting,” he said.

Word of the murders traveled to the U.S., prompting Swank’s hospital to release a statement about the “tragic news.”

“We are heartbroken at his loss. Dr. Swank was a well-respected and well-loved colleague who, each and every day, embodied the values that we hold dear,” said Chris Turnbull, the director of corporate communications at the Carilion Clinic in Virginia. “His absence leaves a void in our team and in our community. Our thoughts, prayers and attention are now focused on helping his family navigate this difficult time.”

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Posted On 25 Jun 2019

European Court of Human Rights reaffirms that Amanda Knox’s rights were violated

WORLD NEWS European Court of Human Rights reaffirms that Amanda Knox's rights were violated  https://linewsradio.com/european-court-of-human-rights-reaffirms-that-amanda-knoxs-rights-were-violated/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Paula Lobo/ABC(NEW YORK) — The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, announced Tuesday that a closed court hearing reaffirmed the court’s January decision that Amanda Knox’s defense rights had been violated in 2007 during police questioning about the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher.

The court had ruled this January that Italy had to pay approximately $20,000 in damages and legal costs to Knox for failing to provide her with a lawyer or proper translator during hours of police questioning on Nov. 6, 2007, during the initial stages of the investigation into Kercher’s murder in Perugia, Italy.

In rejecting the request, the court made the ruling final, and the Italian state will have to pay Knox damages. The judgment will be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which supervises the enforcement of European Court judgments. This should end Knox’s legal proceedings in Italy.

Knox was a 20-year-old college student studying abroad in Italy when she and Raffale Sollecito, her boyfriend at the time, were accused of murdering Kercher in November 2007. They spent close to four years in an Italian jail while the court proceedings unfolded.

Knox, along with Sollecito, were definitively acquitted of Kercher’s murder in 2015 after a long judicial ordeal, which involved two appeal court trials and two Italian Supreme Court decisions.

Rudy Guede, a young man from the Ivory Coast who had grown up in Perugia, was convicted of Kercher’s murder in a separate trial in 2008 and is serving a 16-year sentence.

Knox left Italy in 2011 immediately after her first acquittal and had not returned to the country until earlier this month, when she took part in a conference on wrongful convictions and spoke on a panel about the media’s role in criminal trials.

Knox’s lawyers had originally presented her case to the EU court in Strasbourg in 2013 to request damages from the state of Italy for her treatment during her questioning at the start of her legal proceedings when she was quickly put under investigation – along with Sollecito – for Kercher’s murder.

Tuesday’s court press release states: “The Court took the view that the Italian Government had not succeeded in showing that the restriction of Ms Knox’s access to a lawyer, at the police interview of 6 November 2007 at 5.45 a.m. – when there was a criminal charge against her – had not irreparably undermined the fairness of the proceedings as a whole.”

While ruling that her defense rights were violated, the court also ruled that “it did not have any evidence to show that Ms Knox had been subjected to the inhuman or degrading treatment of which she had complained [about]”.

Lawyer Carlo della Vedova told ABC News Knox was informed of the EU court’s decision Tuesday via email, to which she replied, “Amazing. Thank you Carlo.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 25 Jun 2019

Electrocuted man loses pulse for 20 minutes before ‘miraculous’ resuscitation

Adam Calaitzis/iStock(FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich.) — A Michigan man survived with an incredible story to tell after being electrocuted and losing his pulse for 20 minutes before being revived by doctors.

Michael Pruitt, 20, of Taylor, Mich., was electrocuted when a metal ladder he was carrying on a job site in Livonia, Mich., touched a live electrical wire, according to a post from Beaumont Hospital in Farmington Hills.

“I remember being electrocuted while holding that ladder and shaking, and then nothing,” Pruitt said, according to the hospital. Pruitt told ABC affiliate WXYZ the experience was “like in the movies” when characters are electrocuted and shake after it happens.

The homeowner at Pruitt’s job site called 911 and performed CPR before Livonia Fire and Rescue took over and defibrillated Pruitt, according to the hospital.

Pruitt was taken to the hospital’s Level 2 Emergency & Trauma Center.

“They brought in this perfect young man who had no vital signs,” Dr. Angel Chudler said, according to the hospital. “I said to my team, ‘We’re bringing him back.’ And then, I said to him, ‘You better come back!'”

Doctors defibrillated Pruitt’s heart twice, increasing the shock on the second attempt, before Pruitt’s heart began beating again two minutes later.

“We upped the joules a bit,” Chudler told WXYZ. “And you could just kind of feel and see on the monitor that his heartbeat was starting to come back.”

Beaumont clinical nurse Yasmeen Bachir said Pruitt began “grabbing the railings and shaking the bed with huge strength” when he was revived, comparing him to The Hulk, according to the hospital.

His mother, Jillian, who works as a rehabilitation tech at the hospital’s location in Taylor, said the fact that her son “made a sarcastic gesture” when asked about having superpowers signaled that he was back.

Pruitt was burned from the inside of his big toes, which the hospital said was where the electricity left his body when he was electrocuted.

“Michael’s resuscitation is miraculous. He did not lose any brain function,” Barbara Smith, the director of Trauma Services at the hospital, said, according to the hospital. “It’s a testament to the importance of immediate and continuous CPR to move oxygenated blood to the brain.”

The hospital said that recovering from an electrical shock “depends on the nature and severity of the injuries,” and prognosis is often based on how much of the body surface area was burned.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pompeo makes surprise visit to Afghanistan ahead of next round of Taliban talks

WORLD NEWS Pompeo makes surprise visit to Afghanistan ahead of next round of Taliban talks  https://linewsradio.com/pompeo-makes-surprise-visit-to-afghanistan-ahead-of-next-round-of-taliban-talks/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

JACQUELYN MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday, just days before the latest round of U.S. talks with the Taliban are set to begin.

Pompeo said “real progress” has already been made, and he hopes to have an agreement by Sept. 1. But the security situation in the country is still so tenuous he had to travel in and out of the country in secret, and the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani has grown increasingly concerned about so far being excluded. The Taliban, which now controls more territory than at any time since 2001, has refused to meet representatives of the Afghan government, which it calls illegitimate and a U.S. puppet.

Beyond the Taliban, there are also growing fears that ISIS is gaining ground in the country, while civilian casualties in 2018 reached their highest recorded number since the United Nations started tracking data in 2009.

“The hour has come for peace,” Pompeo said in Kabul, praising the agreement in principle reached by U.S. chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad and his Taliban counterparts in January on four pillars: U.S. troop withdrawal, Afghan national peace talks, a nationwide ceasefire, and preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terror groups.

It’s that last issue that brought the U.S. to Afghanistan nearly 18 years ago after al Qaeda plotted the September 11th terror attacks from Afghanistan.

But it’s also the issue where the most progress has been made, according to Pompeo, who said the two sides “are nearly ready to conclude a draft text outlining the Taliban’s commitments to join fellow Afghans in ensuring that Afghans soil never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists.” He declined to say what those commitments would look like, but said the U.S. understands even with certain promises, “the terror threat will remain.” The U.S. will ensure that Americans and American interests are protect, he added, although he deferred questions of how to accomplish that to the defense department.

Despite any progress at the negotiating table, the situation on the ground seems to be quite different. The U.N. reported two weeks ago that al Qaeda “has grown stronger operating under the Taliban umbrella across Afghanistan and is more active than in recent years.”

“The Taliban continues to enjoy support and endorsement from Al-Qaida in Afghanistan and it remains to be seen whether they will be willing to give this up in favour of progressing peace talks,” according to the report — which also found that “Afghanistan remains [ISIS’s] largest and most threatening manifestation outside” Iraq and Syria.

In exchange for the Taliban commitment, Khalilzad, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, and his team have opened the door to withdrawing U.S. troops. But the U.S. has not given the Taliban a firm timeline, Pompeo said, denying claims from the Taliban that it has.

The two sides will meet again on June 29 in Doha, Qatar, for their seventh round of talks. Khalilzad has expressed optimism because “I believe all sides want rapid progress,” but he warned in a tweet last week, “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

During his visit, Pompeo met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai. He also met with senior defense officials and the top U.S. and NATO commander, Gen. Austin Miller, as well as civil society leaders, including women’s rights activists, and opposition politicians.

The U.S. has held successive rounds of talks with Taliban leaders since last summer.

Left out of talks, Afghan government officials have grown increasingly angry and concerned the U.S. will abandon them. That anger exploded into public view in March when Ghani’s National Security Adviser Hambdullah Mohib condemned the U.S. talks as the “wrong approach” and “delegitimizing the Afghan government and weakening it and at the same time elevating the Taliban.”

The U.S. dismissed Mohib’s concerns at the time, and on Tuesday, Pompeo again defended the strategy, saying U.S. diplomats have had “detailed discussions” with the Afghan government “in parallel” with Taliban talks and the two partners are “fully aligned in our approach.” Ghani told reporters he is “always” optimistic about peace talks and “dedicated to achieving” them.

A U.S.-Taliban agreement on terror safe havens and U.S. withdrawal would “open the door to intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiation,” Pompeo added — the kind of negotiations Afghan officials have been seeking.

But he seemed to wash American hands of the outcome: “The objective of those negotiations is for Afghans to agree on a timeline and a political road map for reaching a comprehensive peace agreement. It’s not America’s role to dictate the outcome of those negotiations,” he said, although he added later, “The United States will help Afghans preserve the gains of the past 18 years.”

Among those gains are the improvements in women’s rights and opportunity, especially education, that many Afghan women are concerned could disappear.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 25 Jun 2019

Duchess of Cambridge takes over from Queen Elizabeth as patron of The Royal Photographic Society

WORLD NEWS Duchess of Cambridge takes over from Queen Elizabeth as patron of The Royal Photographic Society  https://linewsradio.com/duchess-of-cambridge-takes-over-from-queen-elizabeth-as-patron-of-the-royal-photographic-society/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) — Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, has picked up a new patronage that focuses on one of her favorite hobbies: photography.

On Tuesday, the Royal Photographic Society announced that Kate, 37, was a patron. Queen Elizabeth II had previously held the role for 67 years.

The Duchess of Cambridge is well-known for taking photos of her three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. The photos are released by Kensington Palace to mark special occasions like their birthdays.

Recent photos include shots of 1-year-old Prince Louis and 4-year-old Princess Charlotte.

Kate also snapped an adorable photo last year of Charlotte holding and kissing her then-newborn brother Louis.

As patron of the Royal Photographic Society, Kate will highlight the work of a society that has over 11,000 members and runs more than 500 events in the U.K. and around the world. The society was founded in 1853.

Kate combined the work of two of her patronages Tuesday. She joined kids from Action for Children, of which she is a patron, in sessions led by Royal Photographic Society Honorary Fellows Jillian Edelstein and Harry Borden.

The duchess joined the kids in learning about elements of photography including portraits, light and color, according to Kensington Palace.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 25 Jun 2019