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25 per cent of Russian men die before they are 55, study reports

Aid agencies are struggling to cope with Mali refugees

Aid agencies are struggling to cope with the scale of the humanitarian crisis in West Africa caused by thousands of Malians fleeing conflict, according to a study out this week.

Chinese health authority inspectors enter a German aircraft in Shanghai

Two Chinese women die from H1N1 flu in Beijing

Two Chinese women have died from the H1N1 flu strain in Beijing in the past 10 days, Chinese state media said today, the first reported deaths from the virus in China's capital since 2010.

Former Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, with a beer

Beer ban in bid to curb Russia's alcoholism problem

Sales of beer on the street have been banned under a law which came into force today in an attempt to curb alcoholism. The former President, Dmitry Medvedev, signed amendments to alcohol laws in 2011 to reclassify beer, previously considered a foodstuff, as liquor.

‘It was awkward when the mother had to hand over our twins’

Wombs for hire: Number of wealthy British couples seeking foreign surrogates trebles in five years

Wealthy British couples who cannot have children are increasingly seeking “wombs for hire” from women overseas, according to figures obtained by The Independent.

Experts say there is no risk of MRSA infection to consumers of milk or dairy products so long as the milk is pasteurised

New MRSA superbug strain found in UK milk supply

Research reveals that antibiotic-resistant organisms are gaining a hold on dairy industry

China publishes a plan to reduce smoking

China publishes its anti-smoking plan

China on Friday published a plan to reduce the world's largest population of smokers as part of a 2005 treaty, without implementing recommendations such as warning labels that include photos of rotten teeth and diseased lungs.

Mikey Argy: 'This money will have a huge effect. It will give us security for the next ten years.'

Government’s £80m for victims of thalidomide – but still no apology

Britain’s lax regulations contributed to scandal of babies born disfigured because of drug

The News Matrix: Thursday 20 December 2012

War has so far cost taxpayer £17.4bn

More than 2,000 adults with chest infections who were randomly assigned to receive either amoxicillin, the commonest antibiotic prescribed by GPs, or a placebo

Antibiotics no more effective at relieving coughs and colds than a sugar pill

Those taking antibiotics in study reported more side effects including rash, nausea and diarrhoea

Rukhsana Bibi grieves over her daughter, a health worker, yesterday

Killed as they tried to save lives: Pakistan polio workers targeted

Vaccination programme suspended after five women are shot dead

TV chef cook book meals 'are less healthy than ready meals'

Recipes by TV chefs including Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson are “less healthy” than ready meals, researchers said.

Diseased feet, sick babies and dying cancer sufferers: The gruesome new packaging set to become mandatory for Australia's cigarettes

The new anti-smoking laws, which are the most Draconian in the world, strip packs of all branding, bright colours and logos

Medical staff treat a wounded Palestinian journalist in Gaza City yesterday

Overwhelmed Palestinian doctors run out of life-saving medicines

Pandemonium in Gaza City hospital as survivors are pulled from rubble

A child in Pakistan is given the polio vaccination

Polio cases slowing in Pakistan spur hope for global elimination

Polio cases caused by one of two circulating strains of poliomyelitis virus weren't reported in Pakistan in six months, speeding global eradication of the crippling disease.

Vodka continutes to take its death toll on Russians

Putin wages war on vodka as lifestyle death toll at 90,000

Vladimir Putin is waging the biggest public health drive since former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev failed to wean his country off alcohol abuse with a crackdown on tobacco and drink.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border