Panel rejects test of anthrax vaccine in kids
The Obama administration's bioethics commission on Tuesday laid out guidelines for testing anthrax vaccine in children that make such studies extremely difficult and probably impossible. Studies of the controversial vaccine's effects on children can be done only if the research poses at most a "minor increase over minimal risk" to their health. That would be the equivalent of becoming sick enough to miss several days of school or getting a chest X-ray. "The safety of our children is paramount, and we have to get this precisely right," said Dr. Amy Gutmann, who chairs the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, which released the report. More than a decade after the anthrax attacks, the government has a multibillion-dollar stockpile of drugs and vaccines to fight an array of threats. There's no information on whether those so-called countermeasures would work in children like they're expected to help their parents, or even what dose to use.
U.S. treasury chief, president in talks
The United States and China began to re-engage Tuesday on knotty issues ranging from economic frictions to North Korea's nuclear program following a months-long hiatus during President Barack Obama's re-election and China's installation of new leaders. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in the first high-level exchange between the sides in six months and the start of a series of meetings that will test the potential for cooperation between the world's first- and second-largest economies.
Recordings for gay marriage cases
The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it would release same-day audio recordings of oral arguments in two same-sex marriage cases scheduled to be heard next week. The last time the court allowed same-day access to such recordings was a year ago, when it heard three days of arguments over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's health care law. One case before the court is a challenge to Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, and the other is a challenge of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Law bans curbs on food portions
A new law in the most obese state in the nation says Mississippi cities and counties can't ban the Big Gulp or put other local regulations on food and drink. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the measure into law Monday. Some legislators called it an "anti-Bloomberg" bill — a jab at New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who tried to ban the sale of supersized soft drinks. A judge blocked the law last week. Bloomberg has called the state's plan "ridiculous."
Britain: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban because of her advocacy of education for girls, returned to school Tuesday for the first time since she was targeted in October. Malala was airlifted to Britain for treatment after the shooting.
Zimbabwe: The electoral body said Tuesday that 94.5 percent of voters cast a ballot in favor of a new constitution that calls for a strengthening of human rights and a curb on presidential powers after a decade of political and economic turmoil in the southern African nation.