ABOARD TRAIN V150, France - A French train with a 25,000-horsepower engine and special wheels broke the world speed record Tuesday for conventional rail trains, reaching 357.2 mph as it zipped through the countryside to the applause of spectators. Roaring like a jet plane, with sparks flying overhead and kicking up a long trail of dust, the black-and-chrome V150 with three double-decker cars surpassed the record of 320.2 mph set in 1990 by another French train. It fell short, however, of beating the ultimate record set by Japan's magnetically levitated train, which hit 361 mph in 2003. The French TGV, or "train a grande vitesse," as the country's bullet train is called, had two engines on either side of the three double-decker cars for the record run, some 125 miles east of the capital on a new track linking Paris with Strasbourg.
Researchers find drug resistance in flu strain
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CHICAGO - A less common strain of flu has shown hints of resistance to two flu drugs among patients in a small study in Japan, a country known for prescribing the drugs more frequently than anywhere else in the world. Signs of resistance to the drugs Tamiflu and Relenza turned up among a few patients who had type B influenza, normally a milder flu causing smaller outbreaks than the more common type A. The findings were troubling to researchers because they suggested doctors will eventually need new medications to treat drug-resistant flu if the viruses become more prevalent. Previous studies, including work by the same researchers, have found a few cases of resistance to Tamiflu in type A flu, the variety thought most likely to cause a pandemic if bird flu changes into a form that is more easily spread among people, not just poultry. Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious-disease specialist at Vanderbilt University who was not involved in the study, said Japanese doctors prescribe anti-flu drugs frequently, perhaps too often, giving viruses a chance to evolve.