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Coronavirus live news: China confirms 137 local cases as Spain enters state of emergency

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/australia-newsplay episode download
26 October, by Helen Sullivan[ —]

Restrictions eased in Australian state of Victoria; WHO warns against ‘vaccine nationalism’; Israel to begin first vaccine clinical trials next month. Follow the latest updates

With the US election just over a week away, millions of Americans have been heading to the polls this fall with healthcare and drug prices as their top voting issue.

The United States’ massive, largely private and very expensive health industry has ranked as a top voter concern for years, and helped drive Democrats to victory in the midterm elections of 2018, when the party took control of the House of Representatives.

Related: 'The system is broken': Americans cast their vote for better healthcare

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

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Starwatch: Mars shines bright beside an almost-full moon

25 October, by Stuart Clark[ —]

Red planet puts on a vibrant show in celestial sea between Pisces and Cetus before Halloween blue moon

The almost-full moon comes together with Mars this week for a bright pairing in the evening sky. Mars remains red and vibrant, having recently passed its closest approach to Earth. The chart shows the view looking south-east at 9pm GMT on 29 October.

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One in five Australian scientists planning to leave the profession, survey shows

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/healthplay episode download
25 October, by Daniel Hurst[ —]

Survey reveals 17% gender pay gap and strain on industry at a time when it has been at the forefront of responding to coronavirus

Nearly one in five scientists in Australia are planning to leave the profession permanently, according to a new survey, which also reveals a 17% gender pay gap among those who responded.

The survey, based on answers from 1,464 scientists, provides an insight into challenges in the science workforce at a time when it has been at the forefront of responding to Covid-19 but has also come under intense strain.

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Hopes rise for approval of coronavirus vaccine by end of this year

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25 October, by Denis Campbell Health policy[ —]

US expert Dr Anthony Fauci says it should be known by early December if vaccine is safe to roll out

Hopes are rising that a coronavirus vaccine will be approved by the end of the year, with healthcare workers receiving their first dose in early 2021.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’s leading expert in infectious diseases, said on Sunday it should be known by the end of November or early December if a vaccine was safe and effective.

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The dementia that can be cured

25 October, by David Cox[ —]

There are more than 200 subtypes of dementia. And researchers have found that in one, confusion and memory loss can be treated. But the trick is to spot it…

When John Abraham began to lose his mind in late 2019, his family immediately feared the worst. Abraham had enjoyed robust health throughout retirement, but now at 80 he suddenly found himself struggling to finish sentences.

“I would be talking to people, and all of a sudden the final word wouldn’t come to mind,” he remembers. “I assumed this was simply a feature of ageing, and I was finding ways of getting around it.”

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Coronavirus symptoms: how to tell if you have a common cold, flu or Covid

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25 October, by Martin Belam[ —]

Fever, runny nose, headache? Lost your sense of taste or smell? Your guide to differentiating between the three illnesses

With winter approaching, the UK is entering the traditional seasons for colds and flu, with the additional complication this year that symptoms of those two illnesses can be broadly similar to those experienced by people who have caught the coronavirus and may be at risk of spreading it.

The NHS in England has produced online Covid-19 advice and a guide to differentiate between the three types of illnesses, which health experts hope will make it clearer to people whether they have an illness they would have most likely brushed aside last year, but which this year might lead them to think they need to self-isolate or seek to have a coronavirus test.

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Carry On Coronavirus: why a vaccine trial has saucy potential | Tim Adams

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25 October, by Tim Adams[ —]
Their counterparts in the Common Cold Unit found ways to flirt despite the social distancing measures they lived under

The news that the government is to fund “human challenge studies” into Covid-19, in which young, healthy volunteers will be infected with the safest possible dose and paid to be quarantined to test the efficacy of vaccines, was a reminder that this country has a unique history in such trials.

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Farewell James Randi, prince of reason. Now who’ll mock the quacks and anti-vaxxers? | Catherine Bennett

25 October, by Catherine Bennett[ —]
The great magician dedicated his later years to exposing all forms of fake science

A mong many tributes to the great James Randi, who died last week aged 92, one stands out. Hours after the death was announced, cutlery expert Uri Geller reacted with a tweet he piously expanded on Facebook. “How sad that Randi died with hatred in his soul. Love to you all.” One thing that the most professional paranormalist may find it hard to conceal, you gather, is indecent glee.

Geller’s public gloat has, however, ensured that many people who might never otherwise have viewed his televised humbling in 1973, at the height of media credulity about his claimed paranormal talent, will now have witnessed the spectacle of his inexplicably interrupted powers. Randi had advised the producers to supply their own props. Even supreme rationalists, it turns out, can exact vengeance after death.

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Twenty years of the International Space Station – but was it worth it?

25 October, by Robin McKie[ —]

Has the ISS benefited society? Scientists are divided: for some, it’s a beacon of unity; for others, just a set for an action film

Space scientists are preparing to celebrate a remarkable astronautical achievement. In a few days, they will mark the 20th anniversary of humanity’s continuous presence in outer space.

For two decades, teams of astronauts have made their homes 250 miles above our planet through their uninterrupted occupancy of the International Space Station (ISS). First inhabited by US astronaut Bill Shepherd and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko on 2 November 2000, the ISS has since provided shelter for a steady rotation of crews that has ensured the station has never been left unoccupied.

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