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BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 15 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7401

UN is to hand out food packs in Syria: The United Nations World Food Programme has voiced concern over shortages of medical services, food, water, and electricity in Syria and is to distribute 50 000 food ration packs this month. The country has been in turmoil since March, but high food prices and a severe drought have compounded the situation. The UN says that 3500 protesters have been killed since the government began a crackdown on dissent in March.

Australia moves closer to plain packaging for cigarettes: The Australian Senate has passed a law banning brand colours …

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