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Illicit cannabis vaping products could be behind US deaths | US News

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Illicit cannabis vaping products have been identified as a possible cause of hundreds of cases of severe lung illness in the US.

A sixth person died on Wednesday as officials urgently try to find out what killed them.

New York’s state heath department said “Dank Vapes” and “Chronic Carts” contain vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent in THC oil – the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found 24 of 41 people with the lung illness reported using Dank Vapes.

The effect of vitamin E acetate on the lungs in unclear and the US Food and Drug Administration has advised people to stop vaping THC oils and using unofficial products sold outside of shops..

The Dank Vapes brand uses diluted THC oil, but it is unclear whether it is made by one producer or a name used by multiple manufacturers.

Drug dealers have been diluting THC with vitamin E acetate to maximise their profits.

Cannabis extracts in vaping pens have been one of the biggest growth segments in the US states which have legalised the drug.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating hundreds of confirmed or probable cases of lung illness connected to vaping.

However, it says the condition has not yet been definitively tied to one product or ingredient.

Patients tend to arrive at hospital coughing and short of breath, with many also having a fever, general fatigue or gastrointestinal problems.

It has not been unusual for the patients to be put into intensive care units and on ventilators.

The increase in cases has prompted a Congressional hearing to be scheduled on the matter for later this month.

Products branded under the Dank Vapes name were until recently available on Amazon and are still for sale elsewhere on the internet.

Recognised makers of nicotine e-cigarettes, such as Juul Labs, British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands have said their products do not contain THC or vitamin E compounds.

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Tsunami warning after 7.7-magnitude quake hits Jamaica | World News

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A tsunami warning has been issued for Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean.

The powerful tremor struck 72 miles (117 km) northwest of the coastal town of Lucea at a depth of around six miles (10 km), the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The International Tsunami Information Center warned that “hazardous tsunami waves” could occur “within 186 miles (300 km) of the epicenter along the coasts of Jamaica… Cayman Islands and Cuba,”

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Coronavirus outbreak: Britons set to be evacuated from Wuhan | World News

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UK officials will try to evacuate all Britons from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday – as the Foreign Office warns against all but essential travel to mainland China.

Hong Kong and Macau are not affected by the new travel advice.

There are believed to be about 300 UK citizens still in the city of Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province.

China said a total of 106 people have now died in the country following the crisis, with more than 4,515 confirmed cases across the nation.

Both numbers rose dramatically in the latest update from the National Health Commission, with most of those affected hailing from Wuhan – the centre of the outbreak.

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Trump unveils Middle East peace plan which is ‘win-win’ for Israel and Palestinians | World News

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Donald Trump has unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan, saying the “realistic” two-state solution is a “win-win opportunity” for both Israel and the Palestinians.

Speaking at the White House, the US president said his administration’s vision would form the basis of direct negotiations between the two sides which was a “historic breakthrough”.

The proposal calls for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in parts of east Jerusalem and it more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control.

But it also recognises Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, something to which the Palestinians will almost certainly object.

The Palestinians have already rejected the proposal, accusing Mr Trump of being biased in favour of Israel as he has adopted policies that boost Israel at their expense.

Mr Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu together for Mr Trump's announcement
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Mr Trump was joined by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the announcement

However, the US president, speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel was taking a “giant step toward peace” and Palestinians deserved the chance for a better life.

Mr Trump said the deal was a “historic opportunity” for Palestinians to achieve an independent state of their own.

He said his vision will end the cycle of Palestinian dependence on charity and foreign aid, as he urged peaceful co-existence between the two sides.

The American leader said he told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that if he chooses peace then the US and other countries “will be there every step of the way to help”.

And urging peace in the region, Mr Trump said it was time for “this sad chapter in history to end”.

Mr Netanyahu said he has agreed to negotiate with the Palestinians because the peace plan “strikes a balance”.

However, an official with the ruling Hamas group in Gaza called Mr Trump’s statement “aggressive” and said the Jerusalem plan was “nonsense”.

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