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Britain orders inquiry into French breast implants

LONDON

breast implant safety under British scrutiny

The British government says it will investigate whether potentially faulty breast implants fitted by a French company pose a risk to women. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley on Saturday ordered the urgent review of the safety of silicone implants made by the now-defunct French company Poly Implant Prothese. The implants were pulled off the market last year in several countries amid fears they could rupture and leak silicone into the body. Around 40,000 women in Britain have such implants. British health regulators had previously said there was no need for women to have the implants removed, but Lansley said the government has since received new data and decided to investigate.

CHENNAI, India

Storm pummels India, killing 42

Heavy rains and winds unleashed by a cyclone over India's southeastern coast killed at least 42 people and damaged hundreds of homes, according to officials and news reports Saturday. Cyclone Thane struck Tamil Nadu state and the territory of Puducherry on Friday before weakening overnight, the Indian Meteorological Department said. The storm smashed houses and downed power lines in four districts of Tamil Nadu, where 35 people were killed, said the state's top elected official, J. Jayalalitha. The Press Trust of India news agency said seven other people were killed in and around Puducherry, which is also known as Pondicherry.

SANTIAGO, Chile

Tourist detained over forest fire

A 23-year-old Israeli tourist was detained on suspicion of causing a forest fire that has burned more than 42 square miles in Chile's Torres de Paine national park, authorities said Saturday. Regional prosecutor Juan Melendez identified the person as Roter Singer, though Israel Radio later gave the first name is Rotem. Melendez said the man acknowledged negligently allowing the fire to start. More than 560 firefighters have been trying to contain the fire, which forced the evacuation of 400 tourists. Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter said an easing of winds was helping on Saturday, but conditions were expected to worsen today and Monday.

HONG KONG

Man dies from bird flu in China

A man in southern China died of bird flu on Saturday, the state news media reported, in the country's first reported human death attributed to the virus in 18 months. The death came about a week after two dead birds tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza virus in nearby Hong Kong, causing the government to cull thousands of birds. Saturday's victim, a 39-year-old bus driver, died from multiple organ failure at a hospital in the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong province, according to the Xinhua news agency, citing the local health department.

BOGOTA, Colombia

Blast at police station kills 2

A bomb exploded at a police station in southern Colombia, killing the wife and son of a police officer and injuring at least six others, the authorities said Saturday. The blast on Friday night killed the wife and 8-month-old son of the police captain in charge of the outpost in the town of Orito, about 330 miles southwest of Bogota, said Gen. Rodolfo Palomino of the National Police. Palomino said four police officers and two others were injured, including the 2-year-old son of the captain.

Times wires

Britain orders inquiry into French breast implants 12/31/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 31, 2011 9:49pm]

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