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U.S. judge will not block California school vaccination law

(Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday refused to block a California law tightening vaccination requirements for schoolchildren in the state. The measure eliminated the so-called personal beliefs and religious exemptions from California’s school vaccination law, meaning that only children with a valid medical excuse could forego vaccinations for such childhood diseases as measles and polio. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego last month, asked for an injunction to stop the requirements from going into effect, but Judge Dana Sabraw ruled that state legislatures have a “long history of requiring children to be vaccinated as a condition to school enrollment,” and not allowing personal or religious exemptions.

China to consolidate drug market, promote traditional medicines

China plans to consolidate its huge and fragmented drug market and will support a greater role for traditional Chinese medicines (TCM), the central government said in a statement on Sunday following a meeting of the State Council. China will also strengthen safety controls and traceability of domestic drugs, the statement said, part of an ambitious program of healthcare reforms to improve home-made medicines and reduce reliance on generic and more innovative drugs from overseas. “Accelerating the development of our domestic drug industry will better serve our people's healthcare needs, help build a healthier China and unleash economic growth potential,” the statement posted on the central government website said.

Obama declares emergency over foul water in Michigan

US President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Michigan on Saturday, freeing up federal aid to help an area affected by contaminated water, the White House said. Authorities in the state have been dealing with a major health crisis over lead-contaminated water that arose from cost-cutting measures implemented in the city of Flint, home to some 100,000 people. On Thursday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder submitted a request to the president to call a state of emergency.

Rugby-Australian club player dies after head knock

An Australian rugby player has died from a head injury sustained in a tackle during a club match in New South Wales at the weekend, local media reported on Monday. Nicholas Tooth was visiting his home town in the New England region of the state for the weekend and accepted an offer to turn out for the Quirindi Lions on Saturday.

Washington state attorney general seeks to raise smoking age to 21

By Eric M. Johnson SEATTLE (Reuters) – Washington state could become the only U.S. state to raise its legal age for smoking tobacco to 21 from 18 under a measure proposed on Wednesday by its top law enforcement official. The legislation, if enacted, would also put the legal age for purchasing and possessing tobacco and nicotine-vapor products on an equal footing with the state's minimum drinking age of 21, with the goal of restricting access to teens and lowering healthcare expenses. The measure, however, would cost the state some $20 million a year in estimated tax revenue. …