Daily Briefing

Wednesday

California Regulators Propose $1.4 Billion Fine for Deadly Gas Pipeline Blast in 2010

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. faces biggest utility fine ever in California over the explosion that killed eight in San Bruno. Regulators proposed that the company, California’s biggest utility, pay $1.4 billion for the 2010 pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area community. The decision by two administrative law judges at the California Public Utilities Commission […]

Tuesday

Report Finds Global Surge in People With Access to Clean Water

WHO assessment says more than 2 billion have gained access to improved drinking water since 1990. In addition, the World Health Organization found that about 4 billion people now have achieved the gold standard: Clean is water piped directly into their homes. That’s well over half the world’s population. The movement toward providing universal access to […]

Thursday

Ebola Outbreak in West Africa Could Mount to More Than 20,000 Cases, WHO Says

In a worst-case scenario, World Health Organization projects a six-fold increase in Ebola cases in West Africa. In all, the outbreak in West Africa eventually could exceed 20,000 cases, which would mean a likely death toll of up to 10,000. The WHO made the projections in a plan released today on how to stop the outbreak. […]

Wednesday

Draft of UN Report on Global Warming Warns of ‘Severe, Pervasive and Irreversible Impacts’

United Nations assessment cites runaway growth in greenhouse gas emissions. In a draft of a major new report, the UN says the rise in heat-trapping gas emissions is raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades. According to the report, higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate […]

Tuesday

Industry in Japan Resisting Global Pact Aimed at Curbing Use of Mercury

Effort builds to undercut a pending mercury treaty in Japan, where an industrial catastrophe spurred the push for the pact. One year after the Minamata Convention on Mercury was sealed in southwestern Japan, Japanese industries from smelters to cement makers are digging in to fight storage costs and emission curbs the treaty would impose. The global pact, so […]

Monday

American Heart Association CEO Calls E-Cigarettes a ‘Trojan Horse of Nicotine’

A longtime foe of the tobacco industry, the American Heart Association urges tighter e-cigarette regulation. In its first policy statement on e-cigarettes, the AHA said the battery-powered devices should be only a last resort to help smokers quit. Nancy Brown, the organization’s CEO, said recent studies “raise concerns that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to traditional tobacco […]

Wednesday

Canadian Regulators, Regional Railroad Blamed for Oil Train Disaster That Killed 47

Final report on deadly Lac-Mégantic explosion faults railroad for cutting corners on safety to save money. The assessment of last summer’s oil train disaster in the small Quebec village slammed Transport Canada for failing to force the regional Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway to improve its safety record. “This was a company with a weak safety process,” said […]

Tuesday

Analysis Finds High Rate of Fatal Accidents in Texas’ Construction Industry

Texas construction workers are 12 percent more likely to be killed than those doing the same job elsewhere in the U.S. An analysis of workplace data from 2003 through 2012 found that the state’s specialty construction trades have especially high rates of fatal accidents. In all, Texas had 4,593 occupational deaths over the decade. Taking […]

Monday

New Food Additives Are Escaping Government Scrutiny

Food and Drug Administration fails to keep up with deluge of additives. In hundreds of cases, the FDA doesn’t even know of the existence of the new food additives, which include chemical preservatives, flavorings and thickening agents. “We simply do not have the information to vouch for the safety of many of these chemicals,” said Michael […]

Thursday

Johnson & Johnson Withdraws a Surgical Tool That Can Spread Cancer in Women

Largest maker of device used in hysterectomies pulls the product from the global market. Johnson & Johnson is telling customers world-wide to return surgical devices known as laparoscopic power morcellators, amid concerns they can spread and accelerate the growth of undetected cancer in women. J&J already suspended sales of new morcellators in April after the U.S. […]