Thursday

China approves nuclear safety plan and says its plants meet international standards. A government report said that a nine-month safety inspection of China’s 41 nuclear power plants, which are operating or under construction, showed that most meet Chinese and International Atomic Energy Agency standards. However, it said some plants need to improve their protection against possible flooding and earthquakes. China suspended approvals of new nuclear plants, and ordered safety checks, following Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns last year. The government has not decided when it will start approving new projects. Separately, Japan may order two of its 50 closed reactors to return online as soon as next week. Reuters, The Wall Street Journal

Mail-order hatchery in Ohio blamed for salmonella outbreak that sickened 93 people in 23 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 18 people recently have been hospitalized, and the outbreak may be the cause of one death. It marked the second time in a year that the Mount Healthy Hatchery near Cincinnati has been tied to outbreaks of salmonella from live poultry. Separately, federal officials reported that an outbreak between 2004 and 2011 of salmonella Montevideo tied to poultry from an unidentified West Coast hatchery sickened at least 316 people. An estimated 50 million live poultry are sold through the mail annually in the U.S. as backyard chicken farming has boomed. msnbc.com, The Associated Press

New York unveils plan to ban sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks. The plan, which would apply to sales at such locations as restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, is the most ambitious effort yet by the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg to combat rising obesity. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March. Bloomberg’s proposal requires the approval of the city’s Board of Health, but that is considered likely because he appointed all of the members. The New York Times

Tougher laws for teenage drivers could save more than 500 lives a year, report says. The study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also found that such measures could prevent more than 9,500 collisions annually. Figures gathered by the institute indicate that teen driver death rates have decreased significantly since 1996, when states began enacting graduated driver licensing systems, but the organization said the results could be better. The study found that some states with weak teen-driving laws could cut their fatal teen crash rates by half or more. Graduated licensing, which phases in full privileges for new drivers, is intended to enable teenagers to gradually build on-the-road skills. The Wall Street Journal

Regulators shut down 26 East Coast bus operations as safety hazards. The action, mainly aimed at Chinatown operations based in New York and Philadelphia, was described as the  largest safety crackdown ever carried out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. An official said the closed operations were part of “three networks of enterprises deliberately started to dodge safety laws.” The crackdown followed an investigation that began shortly after a series of fatal crashes last year. In 2011, at least 28 people died in fatal crashes of intercity buses, including three crashes in an 11-week period involving carriers serving Chinatown neighborhoods in East Coast cities. Bloomberg, USA Today

Recalls: Oskri peach granola

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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