Scandinavia study finds HPV vaccine safe

By Kathryn Doyle

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – In a large study of nearly a million girls in Denmark and Sweden, the human papillomavirus vaccine was not linked to short- or long-term health problems.

The HPV vaccine, given in three doses over a period of six months to boys and girls around age 12, protects against infection by a virus that can cause cervical cancer.

“There were not really any concerns before our study and no new ones after,” Lisen Arnheim-Dahlström said. She led the study at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

The new study used national data from both countries to investigate how many girls ages 10 to 17 were diagnosed with any of 53 autoimmune or neurological problems, including celiac disease, pancreatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and narcolepsy. It also looked at whether girls developed blood clots shortly after vaccination.

More than 997,000 girls were diagnosed with the conditions on the list between 2006 and 2010 and more than 296,000 of them had received at least one HPV vaccine dose. Some 160,000 girls had received all three doses.

According to the results published in BMJ, there was no link between the type or timing of the girls’ health problems and whether they had gotten the vaccine within the previous six months or had ever received the vaccine.

Previously, isolated incidents of blood clots or other problems had been pegged to the vaccine, but this large new study did not find any negative health consequences, researchers said.

The responsibility for safety is highest when you’re giving a drug to people who are well, said Dr. Mark Schiffman, a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute who was not involved in the new study.

Though his research centers on cervical cancer, Schiffman himself was a “late adopter” of the HPV vaccine. He told Reuters Health he did not have his young daughter vaccinated when the shots were first approved.

Drug approval trials are often too small to detect whether a dose given to millions of people might negatively affect one or two, he said. Those kinds of small associations can only be found after the drug has been used in a large population.

More than 100 million doses have been administered worldwide since the first HPV vaccine was approved in 2006.

“I’m now convinced,” Schiffman said. “I recommend to other near and dear friends and family that the vaccine is, to my mind, safe.”

He has now vaccinated his daughter and would recommend that every girl get the vaccine.

“Here in Australia physicians (and the community) have been very supportive of the vaccine right from the beginning,” Dr. Julia Brotherton wrote to Reuters Health in an email. “There were certainly parents who were hesitant at the beginning because it was a new vaccine, but it is no longer a new vaccine and the impacts of the vaccine in Australia are already significant.”

Brotherton is Medical Director of the National HPV Vaccination Program Register in Australia, where there have been very few cases of genital warts in young women since the vaccine was introduced and a reduction in precancerous cervical lesions, she said.

She was not involved in the new study but wrote an accompanying editorial in BMJ.

A general fear of what is new and unknown is not a good reason to skip vaccinations, Brotherton said.

There isn’t as much evidence to call on for side effects or health consequences for boys, but the side effect profile is in all likelihood the same, she said.

“Vaccination is always an individual decision,” she said. “But as clinicians and public health physicians we can confidently advocate for using the vaccine to prevent people from being infected with this cancer causing virus.”

“This opportunity to prevent disease and death from infectious disease that in the past killed or injured millions of people using the vaccines we have available today is truly the best gift you can give your kids.”

SOURCE: BMJ, online October 9, 2013.

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Alright, What’s Up With That? (talking-points-memo)

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Chinese Puzzle (Casse-tête chinois): London Review

The Bottom Line

The third installment of Cédric Klapisch’s globetrotting but still decidedly French trilogy.


London Festival screening, Oct. 12


Cédric Klapisch


For the third time, Romain Duris plays writer-amateur philosopher and practical romantic Xavier Rousseau in the writer-director Cédric Klapisch’s breezy and satisfying Chinese Puzzle (Casse-tête chinois), the third installment in the enjoyable if somewhat ambling trilogy that began with Duris’ character Xavier doing a postgraduate year in Barcelona in The Spanish Apartment (aka L’Auberge espagnole, aka Pot Luck, 2002) and then finding his feet as a writer in Russian Dolls (Les poupées russes, 2005). Now pushing 40, his marriage to Wendy (Kelly Reilly) a bust, and a father of two young children, Xavier moves to New York City to ensnare himself in the trilogy’s most baroque construction of romantic and emotional entanglements yet. The result is a pleasing walk in the park for all involved, not exactly profound, but appealing to both long term fans of the franchise and accessible to newcomers. Chinese Puzzle will easily solve the key to solvency with strong sales in France and tidy earnings from Francophiles abroad, especially when it hits ancillary. Cohen Media Group recently announced the release rights to the U.S.

All of three of the films were written and directed by Klapisch, who also made the comedy When the Cat’s Away (1996) and Paris (2008), a darker-hued ensemble piece. Because of the trilogy’s recurring cast of bed-hopping characters, their long-haul youth-to-maturity scope, and their essentially oh-so-French worldview — despite many excursions across borders — the trilogy have been likened, not always favorably, to François Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel films, a four-and-a-short film cycle, from The 400 Blows (1959) to Love on the Run (1979).

This trilogy is an altogether fluffier, light-hearted affair, lacking the emotional heft of Truffaut at his best. Nevertheless, Klapisch certainly likes to tip the wink to the Doinel series with Truffautian flashbacks here to the characters’ younger selves in the earlier version. He even has Xavier finally, after one marriage and many affairs and flirtations, reconnecting substantially with a woman he’s known since the beginning, à la Love on the Run. That closed circle construction suggests this might be the last go round for the characters, although there’s nothing in the plot to actually stop Klapisch from picking it up again in another 10 years, so long as Duris and his co-stars are available.

The fame in France of the supporting actors — especially Audrey Tautou, back playing Martine (Xavier’s original girlfriend in The Spanish Apartment) and Cecile de France as his longstanding buddy, the lesbian adventuress Isabelle – might explain why their characters seem to have substantially more screen time than in the previous installments, even though admittedly the emphasis throughout the series has been on how the complex root system of friends, family and lovers shapes Xavier’s life.

The event that gets the whole plot rolling here is Isabelle’s request that Xavier be the father of her baby so that she and her partner Ju (Sandrine Holt) can have a biological child together. Xavier’s English wife Wendy (Reilly), who was first his roommate in The Spanish Apartment and then the love interest in Russian Dolls, isn’t happy with the arrangement. Xavier and Wendy separate and then conclusively split up when she falls for a wealthy American John (Peter Hermann) and decides to go live with him in Manhattan. If he still wants to see his kids (Pablo Mugnier Jacob and Margaux Mansart) Xavier has no choice but to move to New York, although his accommodation options are much more limited than Wendy’s for financial reasons.

When sleeping on Isabelle and Ju’s couch starts to get awkward, Ju lets him rent the shabby apartment in Chinatown that she just happens to have lying around unoccupied. Xavier settles in and gets a job as a bicycle courier, leading to some reasonably interesting musings on New York’s streets heard in voiceover narration, echoing similar riffs on architecture and geography in the earlier films. But when his tourist visa runs out, he needs a more permanent solution to his residency and ends up marrying Chinese-American Nancy (Li Jun Li). Just to give all this skein of alliances and relationships one more tangle, Martine comes to visit with her own two kids in tow, thus rekindling the long dormant attraction between her and Xavier.

As before, Klapisch lightens the tone and keeps things bouncing along by deploying lots of effects-led trickery, like montages and slow-motion effects, as well as fantasy sequences done for laughs, such as Xavier’s little chats with the ghosts of philosophers Hegel and Schopenhauer, dispensing aphoristic nuggets of wisdom, adding an early Woody Allen vibe to the proceedings.

But there’s none of Allen’s only-sometimes-hidden disdain for ordinary people here, despite the highbrow references. Instead, Klapisch and his avatar Xavier have a genial affection for nearly everyone they meet, and that open-hearted embrace of plurality and difference, that inquisitive interest in other cultures, is one of the things that’s made the trilogy endearing. One of the low-key themes of The Spanish Apartment was a slightly starry-eyed celebration of EU harmony using a student apartment as a microcosm; Russian Dolls just extended that a little further to encompass Russia and the UK (part of the EU, but one of the Union’s more malcontent members). With its numerous Asian characters and polyglot Gotham setting, Chinese Puzzle goes global.

The cast all get to show off their comic chops for a change, and Duris in particular is as charming as ever, more likeable now that Xavier is a little less callow and a little less self-absorbed. There’s a palpable chemistry between him and his major co-stars, especially Tautou and de France, that feels exactly like that of old friends, picking up just where they left off.

Venue: London Film Festival (Laugh)

Opens: December 4 (in France)

Production: Ce Qui Me Meut

Cast: Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Kelly Reilly, Cécile De France, Sandrine Holt, Li Jun Li, Peter Herman

Director: Cédric Klapisch

Screenwriter: Cédric Klapisch

Producers: Cédric Klapisch, Bruno Levy

Executive producers: Raphaël Benoliel, Carol Cuddy

Director of photography: Natasha Braier

Production designer: Roshelle Berliner

Editor: Anne-Sophie Bion

Music: Christophe Minck

R rating, 117 minutes

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‘Downtown Abbey’ Cast Meets ‘The Simpsons’

Since Downton Abbey won’t grace screens stateside (unless you’re an illegal downloader, which we most certainly are not) until January, we’re dying for a wee bit of Downton to tide us through. Thanks to this clever Tumblr, we’re enjoying seeing our favorite characters in a much different light. A slightly orangey yellow light. Yes, the Crawleys and their downstairs staff have been Simpsonized. And it’s marvelous.

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PS4 demo kiosks will let you try out Sony’s baby, if you can find one

PS4 demo kiosks will let you try out Sony's baby, if you can find one

If you’re itching to go hands on with the PlayStation 4′s super comfy DualShock 4 prior to next month’s launch, Sony has you covered. Today the company announced it’s rolling out PS4 demo kiosks stocked with a handful of games to select retailers, and to help you locate one, Kaz and friends setup a website to find a store near you.

It isn’t working exactly as planned however, and instead of showing if your local Best Buy or GameStop has a unit on display, it’s populating results with rather peculiar listings in addition to Sony stores. Numerous tweets are reporting units listed everywhere from solar panel companies to massage parlors; our only local setup is listed at a computer shop, for instance. We called a local Best Buy and were told the store had a unit set up, but a trio of GameStops said they wen’t sure if or when they’d have one. Even if you have to call your favorite store and check availability before trekking out, it might be more convenient than Microsoft’s major-city bus tour.

DNP PS4 kiosks

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Grahamstown: Love and sex in the city of saints | News | National …

Five years ago, 26-year-old Rat Western loaded her cat, suitcases and two-year-old son into her car and drove a thousand kilometres from Jo’burg to Grahamstown, where she had found a job at ­Rhodes University. It was her first time in Grahamstown.

“I got to Bedford, saw a sign that said ‘Grahamstown, 100km’, full of bullet holes.
And everywhere was veld, miles and miles of veld,” she says on the upstairs veranda of the Red Café, overlooking Grahamstown’s High Street.

It wasn’t as eerie as she had feared. In fact, she’s now quite fond of Grahamstown, which reminds her of the naughty hero of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. “But here, Peter Rabbit would be really bad,” she grins.

Grahamstown, with its population of 120 000, is an odd place. It’s an isolated town (Port Elizabeth is 130km away) with a conservative English colonial heritage. At the same time, it has a reputation for tolerance and progressive thinking, as a place for experimenting with love, sex and relationships.

Grahamstown combines claustrophobia, in the sense that everyone knows ­everyone. (Niamh Walsh-Vorster)

“People often come here because they are going through hard times,” says Western. “There’s no place to hide. Survival depends on whether you like the image of yourself in the mirror. Here, it’s seen as entertaining to bounce your personality off. You can get hysterically involved in other people’s personal lives. It’s very hermetic.”

It’s also a bit claustrophobic. In Grahamstown, you can’t avoid each other. While we are having lunch, Red Café fills up with people who all seem to know each other. Look, there’s Breyten Breytenbach’s sister with her green parrot on her shoulder. And there’s the lefty philosopher Pedro Tabensky with his black beret. Oh, and let’s quickly say hello to Afrikaner academic Tim Huisamen, reading the local Grocott’s Mail in a quiet corner.

Unpolitically correct aphorism
Another thing about Grahamstown is its shortage of eligible men, or as a local and rather unpolitically correct aphorism would have it: “Rhodes University, where there are so many women that even the ugly guys get laid.”

Western nods and mentions the BBC drama series Cranford, which is set in a fictional 19th-century English town with a surplus of women. She urges me to watch bits of the first episode, which announces the arrival of a new doctor, a young man. The women get incredibly excited about this new kid in town.

“That kind of behaviour is exactly the same here. There are a lot of single women here, and they all gossip. If you fancy someone new, it’s best to keep your mouth shut, because everyone will make a move and try and trip you up,” says Western.

“What surprised me is how many of my students try to be lesbian.”

Not much later, I meet Suzette Bravi (23). A child of Jewish progressive parents, she grew up in a leafy Jo’burg suburb, where she went to a government school and had a steady boyfriend. Then, four years ago, she too travelled to this weird little town in the Eastern Cape, in her case to study journalism.

The first day she sat despondently in her digs. Was this it? This town with its 60 churches and low colonial buildings? That pitiful shopping centre, that insignificant cinema, that handful of bars and restaurants? And all those students, many of them smashing drunk during orientation week. And what to make of those “alternative” student outfits: pyjama pants, bare feet and dishevelled hair …

But things improved. The next day, she met an unusual guy with an impressive Afro, Joe, who played the viola and had been raised by two mothers. She had found her first of many soulmates. “I had been an outcast at school, didn’t have many friends. Here I met people I really had a connection with,” says Suzette.

Bastion of experimentalism
Then she met Beth, gorgeous, confident, intelligent and bisexual. Beth felt attracted to Suzette and decided she should teach her how to kiss a woman. Suzette was a bit hesitant, and suggested they involve Joe as well. They organised a threesome, and then another one.

“I remember it being very weird. No chance I would have done anything like that in Jo’burg. This can only happen at Rhodes,” says Suzette, who subsequently had a loveless relationship with a guy “because the sex was so good”, while Beth, who had still been a virgin when she arrived in Grahamstown, had many flings.

“So much crazy stuff can happen [in Grahamstown] with no consequences,” says Suzette, now back in Johannesburg. “It was liberating. I miss the freedom.”

Grahamstown Cathedral. (Paul Greenway)

Grahamstown as a bastion of experimentalism – who would have thought that in 1812, when Colonel John Graham established it as a garrison town? After 1820, the settlement grew rapidly thanks to the arrival of British settlers, many of whom preferred Grahamstown to a farming life. In 1855, the first elite school, St Andrew’s College, opened its doors, followed nearly 50 years later by Rhodes University, which would gain a reputation for being a liberal, free-thinking institution.

The annual Grahamstown Arts Festival, with its avant-garde theatre, added to this radical image. And so did some of the more famous lecturers, such as André Brink, who wrote his controversial Afrikaans novels Orgie (Orgy) and Lobola vir die lewe (Lobola for Life) in Grahamstown, and who had an intense affair with a student, who would become his fourth wife (from whom he was later divorced).

Obviously, this wild, promiscuous life is not for everyone. At the bottom of New Street are the offices of His People, a charismatic church that is popular among students. Every year, His People organises special seminars about relationships and love. It also publishes the 22-page brochure Finding love that lasts; discover God’s take on romance, which expounds on the Bible’s interpretation of friendship, marriage, dating, sexuality, interracial relationships and divorce.

“Many students come from traditional families and struggle with the freedom of Grahamstown after their sheltered home,” says His People staff member Sean Bennetts. “The drinking scene is big here, there’s no discipline. We don’t have rules about alcohol, but the Bible says: ‘Don’t get drunk and lose your inhibitions’.”

‘There’s a lot of love here’
Hundreds of people attend the weekly Sunday services. What’s striking is the absence of young white men. Bennetts blames it on masculinity issues. “Being a man means drinking and having sex. If you prefer a more spiritual life, you’re seen as vulnerable and weak.”

His People propagates “pure love”, which means no intimate physical contact before marriage. “The Bible says ‘no sex’,” says Bennetts. “If you are pure, God will bless the relationship.”

The church encourages its members to find partners who are also Christians. Bennetts met his wife, Sarah, through His People, and they were both still virgins when they got married. No, not knowing each other’s sexual preferences and quirks wasn’t a problem. “We have an awesome sex life,” assures Bennetts.

But there is a third side to Grahamstown’s love life, one that I initially overlooked. I had concentrated on stories about swingers, adultery, affairs, orgies, nightly prowling. It’s all there. But I was also invited to people’s houses for dinner or a drink. The atmosphere was invariably warm and open.

There was always a smile, a joke, a glass of wine, a kiss. The outside world, with its war in Syria, strikes in Johannesburg and an ailing Mandela, was far away. Grahamstown can be a vortex, but it can also be a comfortable, ­intoxicating bath.

In the Haricot Vert restaurant, psychologist Lisle Floss smiles as she listens to my theories about love in Grahamstown. “There’s a lot of love here,” she says after a long silence. “Here, people care, because you know you can care. In a big city, you may not know that your friend two suburbs away is struggling. Here people are aware that you are alone and may feel left out. Yes, you see a lot of love. People walking hand in hand. People hugging each other. It’s a soft town. There’s a lot of emotion shown in public.”

* Some of the names in the story have been changed for privacy ­reasons.

  • Fred de Vries is an author and journalist who has taught ­journalism at Rhodes University

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New Celeb Moms Tweet About Motherhood | Famecrawler

tori spelling so in love 300x300 Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)

Tori Spelling’s husband, Dean McDermott, cradles new son Finn.


?So in love!?

That perfectly sums up Tori Spelling?s feelings about her brand-new son, Finn Davey McDermott.

Even though this is an exciting, hectic and fatiguing time for Tori ? now the mother of four ? she?s still finding time to send tweets like this beautiful picture, as well as to post messages on

Appropriately enough, she sent a Labor Day message today:

As we settle in with our new bundle of love, I wanted to take a moment to wish each and every one of you a happy (and safe) Labor Day. ?I hope that you?ve been able to spend this weekend with friends and family, and enjoy the final days of summer.

Other famous new moms have been sharing their joys and pictures on Twitter this week as well! From Snooki?s return to her fave footwear to Giuliana Rancic?s midnight vigil, from Jillian Michaels? new ?nanny? to Hilary Duff?s latest dose of cuteness, they?re all sure to make you smile!

Check out our gallery here ? and happy Labor Day!

  • thumbs bill and giuliana Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)

    Giuliana Rancic

    “Saturday night. 12:14am. Chicago. Killing time online waiting for #EdwardDuke to wake up to feed him. This IS the life! #sohappy,” tweets the E!News host. She and husband/new dad Bill will be in the Windy City this month, mixing parenthood with business.
    Photo: via Twitter.


  • thumbs snooki kisses Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)


    The former party girl really has changed her ways. Asked by a fan whether she was going to have a margarita to celebrate Labor Day, she replied, “I’m not yet, I’m breast feeding. But have one for me!”
    Photo: via Twitter.


  • thumbs kim zolciak Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)

    Kim Zolciak-Biermann

    “I still can’t believe baby Kash is here and I’m no longer pregnant!” tweets the Real Housewife, now a mom of four. “The pregnancy went by soooo fast! #easiestpregnancyever.” Her daughter Brielle caught this shot of her famous mom looking amazing just weeks after delivery.
    Photo: via Twitter.


  • thumbs jillian michaels dog and phoenix Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)

    Jillian Michaels

    “Our new nanny…” says the star trainer as she watches her dog snuggle with baby son Phoenix.
    Photo: via Twitter.


  • thumbs jenna von oy gray Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)

    Jenna von Oy

    “Perhaps she’s more of a Daddy’s girl?” muses the actress of her daughter, Gray Audrey.
    Photo: via Twitter.


  • thumbs luca Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)


  • thumbs molly sims Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)

    Molly Sims

    Mom to a new baby boy, the model remarks, “Brooks is losing his hair in front so he looks like a little old man. Male patterned baldness! Thank goodness his daddy has hair!”
    Photo: via Twitter.


  • thumbs josie maran princess Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)


  • thumbs kristin cavallari Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)

    Kristin Cavallari

    “This mamma is gonna have her first glass of wine in 10 months tonight. Woohoo,” tweeted the star of “The Hills.” Her son, Camden Jack Cutler, was born August 8.
    Photo: via Twitter.


  • thumbs snooki shoe Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)

    Snooki (again)

    “I fit in my heels again! WOHOOOOO!” exulted the “Snooki & JWOWW” star. (Love the L-for-Lorenzo polish!)
    Photo: via Twitter.



[Photos: via Twitter]

Read more of Shana?s writing at Momsperiments.

And don?t miss a post! Follow Shana on Twitter!

Don?t miss the latest from Famecrawler ? like our Facebook page!

More on Babble:

Baby Bliss! Jillian Michaels and Heidi Rhoades Go Strolling With Their Children

How the Duggar Family Relieves Stress

Melissa Joan Hart: I?m Keeping My Baby?s Name Secret!

Daddy-Daughter Time! Bruce Willis Steps Out With Baby Mabel


 Happy Labor Day! New Tweets from Tori Spelling, Snooki, Giuliana Rancic and Other New Celeb Moms! (Photos)


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Romney campaign defends omission of war talk

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Mitt Romney’s campaign is defending the Republican presidential nominee‘s decision to make no mention of the politically unpopular 11-year-old war in Afghanistan in his speech last week at the GOP national convention.

Romney was the first Republican since 1952 to accept his party’s nomination without mentioning war.

Senior campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday the closely watched national speech was a “home run.”

The address was an opportunity to introduce Romney to millions of voters concerned about the economy, Fehrnstrom said, and with it Romney “accomplished what he set out to do, which was to talk about his better vision for America with more jobs and increasing wages.”

The U.S. plans to trim the number of troops in Afghanistan to 68,000 by October.


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Samsung finishes initial Chinese factory audits, plans long-term solutions to labor woes

HEG electronics student workers

Samsung faced some serious allegations surrounding the plants of its Chinese contractor HEG Electronics earlier this month, including potentially dire accusations that HEG was employing child labor. The Korean firm promised audits to set the record straight, and we’re seeing the first fruits of those inspections today. The results were decidedly mixed. While there weren’t any underage workers when Samsung visited, it did find HEG staff working excessive overtime, some unsafe practices and a system that punished late workers with fines. Samsung’s response will go beyond just asking HEG to shape up, though: it plans to finish auditing all 105 of its exclusive Chinese contractors by the end of September, determine whether inspections of non-exclusive contractors are needed and set up a long-term audit schedule past 2013 that includes tougher requirements. While there’s no certainty that the reforms will lead to the intended results, we’re glad to hear that Samsung wants to turn things around at such a rapid pace.

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Samsung finishes initial Chinese factory audits, plans long-term solutions to labor woes originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 03 Sep 2012 09:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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