WASHINGTON

FDA lifts age limits on morning-after pill

The morning-after pill is finally going over-the-counter.

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved unrestricted sales of Plan B One-Step, lifting all age limits on the emergency contraceptive.

The move came a week after the Obama administration ended months of back-and-forth legal battles by promising a federal judge it would take that step. Women’s health advocates had pushed for easier access to next-day birth control for more than a decade.

It wasn’t clear how quickly Plan B One-Step would move from behind pharmacy counters to sit on drugstore shelves. Until now, customers could buy that morning-after pill and competing generic versions without a prescription only if they proved to a pharmacist that they were 17 or older. FDA has not lifted age limits on competing generics.

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba

Spokesman: No ethical concerns over force-feeding

Calls for the doctors who force-feed hunger striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to refuse to perform the practice on ethical grounds have gotten no traction, a spokesman for the prison said Thursday.

No doctors, nurses or corpsmen have balked at feeding the prisoners or even voiced a concern about the military’s policy of using what’s known as enteral feeding to prevent any of the hunger strikers from starving to death, said Navy Capt. Robert Durand.

“They signed up to carry out lawful orders,” Durand said. “This is a lawful order.”

His comments came as the hunger strike at the U.S. base in Cuba neared a fourth month amid increasing pressure on the Department of Defense to reconsider its response to the protest.

Officials say 104 of the 166 prisoners were on hunger strike as of Thursday in a protest of their indefinite detention. Up to 44 are strapped down each day and force-fed liquid nutrients through a nasal tube. “We do it to preserve life,” Durand said, denying the assertions from prisoners that the procedure is painful.

RIO DE JANIERO

Thousands of protesters march against corruption

The number of demonstrators in the streets of Rio de Janeiro on Thursday swelled to an estimated 300,000 in another night of protests against corruption, economic injustice and high taxes.

The massive protest initially was peaceful as demonstrators moved through the city center, but it was interrupted by chaotic scenes and fighting.

Police fired tear gas in the path of the demonstration, causing panic. Demonstrators retalitated by throwing stones at police. They continued their march in the direction of the mayor’s office.

Incidents also were reported in a demonstration in Salvador, and in Brasilia about 20,000 people demonstrated in front of the seat of the Congress. About 10,000 people demonstrated in Recife.

Brazilian authorities late Wednesday took a step to appease the masses by agreeing to abandon a hike in public transport fares.

— From news service reports