Notre Dame fire: activists launch lawsuit over ‘toxic fallout’

Authorities accused of failing to act swiftly to contain potential lead poisoning

French authorities are under growing pressure over possible health risks from the Notre Dame cathedral fire after an environmental group filed a lawsuit saying swift action was not taken to contain potential lead poisoning, and a firefighters’ union raised concerns.

Hundreds of tonnes of lead in the cathedral spire and roof melted in the extreme heat of the fire in April, dispersing lead particles into the air that settled on streets and buildings in surrounding neighbourhoods.

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Whenever Trump says ‘infested’, we know he’s talking about people of colour | Afua Hirsch

His description of Baltimore mirrors his past slurs against Africa and the four congresswomen

I’ve never accused anyone of being prone to infestations. But if I were inclined to sink that low, I suspect my attention would be directed towards the 45th president of the United States. It’s not all Donald Trump’s fault. Who can blame anyone for spending most of their life in New York – a city I love, despite the fact that it harbours one rodent for every four people?

Trump hardly had a choice about moving to the White House in 2017, home for two centuries, reportedly, to an unwanted population of rats, ants and even raccoons. Yet it’s hard to avoid holding Trump directly responsible for the wider range of public health hazards reported at his luxury Mar-a-Lago resort – 78 were reported in the three years to 2017, including soiled kitchen utensils and potentially parasite-affected smoked salmon. Hard, too, to ignore the fact that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been described as a “slum landlord” for the multiple health and safety violations reported in his family firm’s 9,000 Baltimore properties, including mice, maggots and mould.

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I could not be in a government that advocated a no-deal Brexit | Stephen Hammond

Last week I let my job as a health minister. I would not sign up to Boris Johnson’s ‘by any means necessary’ 31 October Brexit

A new prime minister enters Downing Street promising to help the less advantaged, bring prosperity and opportunity to every area of the country, and make a success of Brexit. Conservative MPs cheer, a new era begins and there is a bounce in the polls. Three years ago that was Theresa May, and the rest, as they say, is history. Our new prime minister is well versed in history, so undoubtedly he will know the famous quote that history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce.

Last week I left the government. I would not have signed up to Boris Johnson’s pledge to leave the European Union on 31 October with no deal if necessary. Initially he said leaving without a deal was a “million-to-one” possibility. However, the rhetoric soon changed to the more confrontational tone of “do or die”. He has even rejected negotiations over a time limit to the Irish backstop. Now only a completely new withdrawal agreement would be acceptable. New red lines have been introduced for the political declaration that will shape our ongoing relationship with our former partners. There is talk of no-deal preparations being ramped up, but in reality these are mitigations.

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OITNB’s Jenji Kohan: ‘I’d be far richer if I’d stayed on Friends’

She worked on TV’s biggest hits – then revolutionised the way we all consume it with Orange Is the New Black. Jenji Kohan talks binge-watching, Love Island … and giving Joey VD

Deep into the new and final season of Orange Is the New Black, the groundbreaking Netflix show about life in a women’s prison, a character slumps in front of her TV, engrossed in Love Island. “I got obsessed with it,” explains Jenji Kohan, the woman who has been at the helm of OITNB for the last six years. “A friend who is British introduced it to my life last year, and I got unhealthily involved.” And so she wrote it into her series, giving her obsession to one of the characters, where it appears in the background like a branded water bottle.

Kohan does very few interviews – “I chose to be a writer for a reason. I don’t particularly want to be in front of the camera, so to speak” – but she is funny, dry-witted and very frank. So much so that she ends our conversation with a wistful: “I hope I didn’t say stupid things that will bite me in the ass later.”

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Review: Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden – A Fantastic XCOM-Style Tactical RPG From Former Hitman Developers

Duck and cover.

There’s a point early on in Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden when you realise this is something rather special. It’s when you’re methodically picking off a set of marauders patrolling a ruined settlement with a squad consisting of a wise-cracking anthropomorphic mallard (in a top hat, naturally) and his disgruntled warthog partner. You’ve just quietly insta-killed an enemy with Dux’s (the former) homemade crossbow – complete with a sardonic quip – before Bormin (the latter) feasts on the corpses of some fallen enemies, regenerating his health as he goes. A couple of blasts from his shotgun later and the rest are toast, ready for looting. It’s a small taste of what Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden has to offer, and its mixture of turn-based combat and stealth only gets better as time goes on.

Based on the Swedish role-playing game series of the same name, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden follows an alternate history where humankind has been all but wiped out by the one-two punch of a viral outbreak known as The Red Plague and a nuclear war. What remains of humanity has been transformed into mutants, with a mysterious man known as the Elder forming a small community of survivors known as the Ark. It’s a narrative spin that’s not wholly original on paper, but it’s how indie developer The Bearded Ladies Consulting (great name, guys) approaches this well-worn path that gives it so much character.

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New boxed warning cites increased risk of blood clots, death with higher dose

Generic Name: 
Trade Name: 
Xeljanz, Xeljanz XR

FDA has approved new warnings about an increased risk of blood clots and of death with the 10-mg twice-daily dose of tofacitinib (Xeljanz, Xeljanz XR) for treatment of ulcerative colitis. In addition, the approved use of tofacitinib for ulcerative colitis will be limited to certain patients who are not treated effectively or who experience severe adverse effects with certain other medicatuibs.

FDA approved these changes, including adding its most prominent boxed warning, after reviewing interim data from an ongoing safety clinical trial of tofacitinib in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that examined a lower and this higher dose of the medication.

The 10-mg twice-daily dose of tofacitinib is not approved for RA or psoriatic arthritis (PsA). This dose is only approved for ulcerative colitis for initial treatment and for long-term use in limited situations. While the increased risks of blood clots and of death were seen in patients taking this dose for RA, these risks may also apply to those taking tofacitinib for ulcerative colitis.

Tofacitinib was first approved in 2012 to treat adult patients with RA who did not respond well to methotrexate. In 2017, FDA approved the drug to treat patients with PsA who did not respond well to methotrexate or other similar medications. In 2018, FDA approved tofacitinib to treat ulcerative colitis.

Health professionals should discontinue tofacitinib and promptly evaluate patients who have symptoms of thrombosis. Counsel patients about the risks, and advise them to seek medical attention immediately if they experience any unusual symptoms, including sudden shortness of breath, chest pain that worsens with breathing, swelling of a leg or arm, leg pain or tenderness, or red or discolored skin in the painful or swollen leg or arm.

Tofacitinib should be reserved for treatment of ulcerative colitis in patients who experienced treatment failure with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers or could not tolerate them. Patients with a higher risk of thrombosis should not use the agent. For treatment of ulcerative colitis, tofacitinib should be used at the lowest effective dose, and the 10-mg twice daily dosage limited to the shortest duration needed.

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