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Elmo Puppeteer Denies Allegations of Sexual Abuse

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Kevin Clash, the “Sesame Street” puppeteer who has voiced Elmo since 1985, has taken a leave of absence from the show following allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor, TODAY reports. The 23-year-old accuser alleged that his sexual relationship with Clash began when he was 16. Representatives from Sesame Workshop concluded that the allegations were unsubstantiated, but added that “Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding Internet usage and he was disciplined.” In a statement, Clash added, “I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was.” No date has been set for Clash’s return.

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Potential Malaria Vaccine Disappoints in New Trial

Friday, November 9th, 2012

A recent clinical trial involving African infants ages 6–12 weeks revealed that a potential malaria vaccine was only 30% effective in reducing episodes of the disease, Reuters reports. The mosquito-borne illness infected about 216 million people worldwide in 2010. Other control measures such as insecticide-treated bug netting have decreased malaria-related deaths in recent years, and scientists hoped that the vaccine, known as RTS,S or Mosquirix, would continue to cut infection and mortality rates. Philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates helped fund the development, and calls for further research. If effective, the vaccine would likely be added to routine infant immunizations in the most-impacted countries.

Image: Newborn via Shutterstock. 

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Sweden Considers Banning Babies in Formula Ads

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Sweden’s government has drafted legislation that would prevent images of babies from appearing in formula ads, the Huffington Post reports. Ads for formula would only be permitted in scientific journals, and free samples or discounts on the product would be prohibited, as well. Supporters cite research lauding the health benefits babies derived from breast milk, including antibodies associated with fewer colds, healthier digestive systems, and decreased likelihood of developing allergies. Critics argue that reiterating the idea that “the breast is best” is harshly judgmental towards women who are unable or choose not to nurse. If the bill is passed, the law would take effect in August 2013.

Image: Baby drinking from bottle via Shutterstock

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Woman Names Twins Born on Election Day Barack and Mitt

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

After Tuesday’s election, both candidates expressed a desire to reach across the aisle and set aside partisan differences. Two other guys named Barack and Mitt can just reach across the crib. Millicent Awour delivered twin boys on Tuesday and named them after the incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, the NY Daily News reports. The twins were born in Slaya, Kenya, close to the town where President Obama’s relatives live.

Image: Babies’ feet via Shutterstock

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California Voters Reject Food Labeling Bill

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

California voters who cast ballots on Tuesday didn’t embrace Proposition 37, a measure that would have mandated labeling breakfast cereals, baked goods, and other processed foods containing genetically modified ingredients, NBC News reports. A dozen similar initiatives have been struck down this year in other states. Proponents argue that consumers deserve transparency to allow them to make informed choices. Opponents fear that labeling will dissuade customers from purchasing bioengineered food, even if it doesn’t differ from non-GMO items in terms of taste, texture, or nutritional content. The onus would be on grocers to ensure that their shelves were stocked with appropriately labeled products. A citizen’s petition, which is pending before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, aims to enforce these requirements nationwide.

Image: Baked goods via Shutterstock

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