Only Small Increase in US Girls Getting Cervical Cancer Shot

vaccinationNEW YORK (AP) — More U.S. girls are getting a controversial vaccine, but the increase last year was only slight.

A national survey released Thursday found 60 percent of adolescent girls received at least one of three doses of the vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV. It was 57 percent in 2013.

For boys, the rate was 42 percent, up from 34 percent.

The vaccine has been available to girls since 2006 but has been recommended for boys since 2011. It protects against cervical cancer and genital warts. The shots are recommended at age 11 or 12, to protect youths before they start to have sex.

Health officials say not enough pediatricians are strongly recommending HPV shots. Vaccination rates against other diseases like whooping cough are much higher.

Teen Accused of Suffocating Newborn Then Going Shopping

police-lights-redNEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors say a teenager suffocated her just-born baby before taking his body with her on a trip to Victoria’s Secret in New York City.

Eighteen-year-old Tiona Rodriguez pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge stemming from the shopping trip two years ago. Prosecutors say she was arrested on a shoplifting charge at the store, and her 8-pound newborn was found dead in a bag she was carrying. The shoplifting charge was later dropped.

Prosecutors say Rodriguez intended for weeks to kill the infant and sent a text message about plans to “dig a hole” and “put it somewhere.”

Defense lawyer Earl Ward says Rodriguez’s term of pregnancy was unclear. He says Rodriguez didn’t know she was pregnant and she had a stillbirth. He says she acted out of confusion.


Feds Release Updated Strategy Against AIDS in America

HIV-AIDSNEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials have updated their strategic plan for fighting AIDS, setting new goals for reducing infections and deaths.

The plan unveiled Thursday updates one issued five years ago. Developments since then include new diagnostic tests, a daily pill for infection prevention and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — increasing the number of people with health insurance.

However, new HIV infections have stayed about the same, at around 50,000 a year. Diagnosed infections have dropped in women and heterosexuals, but climbed in gay and bisexual men.

The updated document adds some new goals for 2020, like reducing the death rate among HIV-diagnosed people by at least one-third, and increasing the percentage who control their infection though medication.

Oklahoma Court: Ten Commandments Monument at Capitol Must Go

gavel-and-scaleOKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court has reaffirmed in a 7-2 decision that a Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds must be removed.

The state’s highest court on Monday denied a rehearing that had been requested by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

Chief Justice John Reif wrote in the court’s concurring opinion that justices carefully considered the Pruitt’s arguments on behalf of the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission and found nothing to merit a rehearing in the case.

The court had found previously that the monument is a religious symbol and must be removed because it violates the state’s constitutional ban on using public property to benefit a religion.

The decision prompted an outcry from some conservative legislators who vowed to impeach the justices or amend the constitution.

Verizon Workers Vote to Authorize Strike, If Necessary

verizonNEW YORK (AP) — Verizon workers in nine states have voted to go on strike, if necessary, in a dispute about a new contract.

At a rally in New York Saturday, the Communications Workers of America union announced that 86 percent of Verizon workers who voted in a recent poll backed strike action if required. A contract that covers 39,000 workers represented by the CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers expires at midnight on August 1.

The contract covers employees the nine states from Massachusetts to Virginia who work for Verizon’s wireline business, which provides fixed-line phone services and FiOS internet service.

Verizon spokesman Rich Young said that the company had made the unions “a solid proposal that recognizes the changing communications landscape and offers a path toward success.”

Police: Passed Out Dad Also Put Drugs in 2-Year-Old’s Cereal

jailHELLERTOWN, Pa. (AP) — An eastern Pennsylvania man has been jailed on charges that he put prescription anti-anxiety medicine in his 2-year-old daughter’s cereal bowl after first snorting the drug and passing out from it.

Lower Saucon Township police say they were called to 26-year-old Joseph Wilson’s home Sunday afternoon after someone saw another toddler unattended in a stroller and crying.

Police found Wilson in his apartment passed out, with a friend slapping his face trying to revive him.

Police say Wilson told them he and the friend had been snorting Klonopin and Wilson acknowledged also putting the drug in the girl’s cereal. She was found in her crib.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Wilson, who remained in the Northampton County Jail on Tuesday on charges including drug possession and child endangerment.

Miley Cyrus to Host MTV Video Music Awards

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Miley Cyrus is twerking back to the MTV Video Music Awards as the show’s host.

The 25-year-old singer-actress revealed on her social media accounts Monday that she’s helming the Aug. 30 ceremony.

Cyrus announced the gig by posting a photo of herself in an alien costume with sandwich boards that read “MTV won’t let me perform” and “so I’m hosting this year’s VMAs.”

A scantily clad Cyrus shocked audiences with a rump-shaking performance alongside Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.

Cyrus won the video of the year trophy at last year’s show and invited a young homeless man named Jesse Helt on stage to accept the trophy on her behalf.

The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards will air live on MTV from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Canadian-Owned Infidelity Website Suffers Cyber Attack

youve-been-hackedTORONTO (AP) — A Canadian-owned dating website for married people seeking affairs says it has suffered a cyberattack after hackers claimed to have stolen confidential customer information, threatening to publish it unless the company is shut down.

Avid Life Media, which owns Toronto-based site, said Monday that it had taken steps to secure its sites.

Ashley Madison, whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair,” claims it has more than 37 million anonymous worldwide members.

Online security blog posted what appeared to be a screenshot of the site’s home page on Sunday bearing a message from the hackers, who said they acted to expose alleged lies Ashley Madison told customers about a service that allows members to erase profile information.

Families Hit by Rare Alzheimer’s Push for Research

Medical-ChartWASHINGTON (AP) — The rarest form of Alzheimer’s ravages generations as families pass down gene mutations that trigger the disease in people in their 30s, 40s or 50s.

Now, ahead of a major Alzheimer’s research meeting, dozens of these families met face to face for the first time, and asked government and drug company officials why it’s taking so long to find a good treatment.

Alzheimer’s usually strikes older adults, and the toll is growing as the population ages.

But these rare, gene-affected families hold crucial clues to fighting the brain-destroying disease in everyone.

Alzheimer’s brain damage begins decades before symptoms begin. Scientists now think the best hope may be taking experimental drugs early to stall, if not prevent, that damage.

Gene carriers destined to get sick are part of one major study.

Mom Accused of Letting Toddler Sip Margarita Avoids Trial

judgeshipSALEM, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts woman accused of allowing her 2-year-old daughter to sip her margarita at a restaurant and pouring some of it into the girl’s sippy cup has avoided trial and possible deportation.

Forty-two-year-old Sheldy Nelson of Lynn was originally scheduled to go to trial Wednesday on charges of child endangerment and providing alcohol to a minor.

A judge last week agreed to continue the charges without a finding for 11 months. They will be dismissed if Nelson takes a parenting class, passes random alcohol tests and complies with orders from child welfare officials.

Her attorney has said Nelson, who is from Haiti, didn’t realize margaritas contained alcohol. He said a conviction would result in deportation.

A waitress told police last August that Nelson ignored two warnings from restaurant staff to stop giving her daughter sips of her margarita.