Breaking through the HIV vaccine ‘logjam’: UC Santa Cruz lab reports improvements that could prove game-changing

Start your day with the news you need from the Bay Area and beyond. Sign up for our new Morning Report weekday newsletter. SANTA CRUZ – When biomolecular engineer Phil Berman began his postgraduate work at UC San Francisco in the 1980s, he had no idea he would spend the rest of his career searching for a way to stop a deadly virus that was then almost entirely known. But around him, as if from nowhere, hundreds of people began to die. He has spent the past three decades looking for an effective vaccine against the AIDS epidemic that would claim more than 20,000 lives in the coastal metropolis alone.… Read More

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‘3 Billboards’ protest for London fire victims

Associated Press LONDON — Activists for victims of a deadly London high-rise fire have taken inspiration from an Academy Award-nominated film to press for more action by police. Three mobile billboards were driven through the British capital Thursday on behalf of the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign. The group was set up after fire ravaged the Grenfell Tower apartment block in June, killing 71 people. Start your day with the news you need from the Bay Area and beyond. Sign up for our new Morning Report weekday newsletter. The signs read: “71 dead. And still no arrests? How Come?” In the film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” a mother played by… Read More

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Pelosi: ‘I would rather pass gun safety’ than win election

By Lindsey McPherson | CQ-Roll Call WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says her interest in gun violence prevention is so great that she prioritizes legislative action on it over one of her top goals — taking back control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections. “I would rather pass gun safety legislation than win the election,” the California Democrat said Thursday. Pelosi said she doesn’t want to wait until January, when Democrats hope to be in control of the House again, to act on gun violence. “I don’t want to wait that long,” she said. “We could have a select committee right now.” “We could write on… Read More

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The world lost half its orangutans in 16 years

By Ben Guarino | Washington Post Bornean orangutans, the largest tree-dwellers on the planet, are vanishing. The population of these great apes was halved between 1999 and 2015, per an estimate published Thursday in the journal Current Biology. A survey of orangutan nests, coupled with a statistical analysis of habitat changes, indicates that more than 100,000 animals were lost in the last 16 years. It is a dramatic drop for the animals who, because their genomes and unique physical characteristics so resemble ours, are among the closest living relatives to humans. Orangutans’ exact numbers are uncertain. They are intelligent and shy and prefer thick forests. You could walk by an… Read More

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McDonald’s pulls cheeseburgers from Happy Meal menu

By Joseph Pisani | Associated Press NEW YORK — McDonald’s is taking cheeseburgers and chocolate milk off its Happy Meal menu in an effort to cut down on the calories, sodium, saturated fat and sugar that kids consume at its restaurants. Diners can still ask specifically for cheeseburgers or chocolate milk with the kid’s meal, but the fast-food company said that not listing them will reduce how often they’re ordered. Since it removed soda from the Happy Meal menu four years ago, orders for it with Happy Meals have fallen 14 percent, the company said. Hamburgers and Chicken McNuggets will remain the main entrees on the Happy Meal menu. Start… Read More

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Suicide prevention group shows love at Golden Gate Bridge on Valentine’s Day

More than 100 volunteers gathered at the Golden Gate Bridge on Valentine’s Day to show love and compassion by watching for troubled people on the span. The group Bridgewatch Angels has been coming to the bridge since 2010, engaging in suicide prevention. It was formed by Pleasanton police Lt. Mia Munayer, who was deeply affected by the movie “The Bridge” that detailed the difficult subject. It was shown to her as part of her police training. “It really alerted me to the fact that something had to be done,” said Munayer, as she met her group at the Strauss Plaza on the east side of the span Wednesday morning. “Valentine’s… Read More

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