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SYDNEY (AP) — Shaun the shaggy Australian sheep has at last been shorn smooth. But the woolly wanderer wasn't the wooliest of all.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will make the announcement as part of a previously scheduled briefing for reporters, the sources said. In addition, a steering committee made up of senior officials from NIH and the Department of Defense last week approved the first step toward using three advanced laboratories to manufacture Ebola vaccines and treatments, a person familiar with the planning told Reuters. The three labs, in Texas, Maryland and North Carolina, were set up in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in partnership with private industry to respond to pandemics or chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear threats.
Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera satellite news channel, security sources said on Thursday. Relations between Qatar, a Gulf Arab state, and Egypt have been tense since mid-2013 when then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled the Islamist Mursi after mass protests against his rule. Qatar supported Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood.
Prime Minister David Cameron suffered an unexpected setback on Thursday when a lawmaker from his ruling Conservative party resigned and defected to the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) party which has no seats in the British parliament. The move, by Douglas Carswell, a prominent Eurosceptic, will trigger a high-profile election for his parliamentary seat in southern England as he tries to get re-elected to represent UKIP, which wants Britain to leave the European Union. His defection is awkward for Cameron who is himself seeking re-election in May next year.
China on Thursday urged the United States to cut back on, or even stop, its close surveillance of the Asian giant using patrol aircraft, if it seriously seeks to repair damaged bilateral ties. Ties between the world's two largest economies have been strained by competing territorial claims between China and its neighbors, some of them U.S. "If the United States really hopes to avoid impacting bilateral relations, the best course of action is to reduce or halt close surveillance of China," Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement on the ministry's website.
NOVOAZOVSK, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's president called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.
Ebola-hit nations met for crisis talks on Thursday as the death toll topped 1,500 and the World Health Organization warned that the number of cases could exceed 20,000 before the outbreak is stemmed. Nigeria meanwhile announced the virus had reached its oil-producing hub, dashing hopes that the country had successfully contained its spread outside its biggest city, Lagos. Health ministers from member states of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS were meeting in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, to discuss how to strengthen its response to the devastating outbreak. As of August 26, 1,552 people had died from the virus in four countries -- Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria -- while 3,062 had been infected, the WHO said in Geneva.
By James Mackenzie and Gavin Jones ROME (Reuters) - Prime Minister Matteo Renzi returned from holiday this week with his customary vim, tweeting that he was back at work on a new plan to speed up Italy's sluggish justice system, reform its schools and spur investment. With Italy in recession for the third time in six years, Renzi badly needs to restore waning international confidence and show that he can finally come good on his repeated pledges to revive the eurozone's third-largest economy. The package of measures to be announced on Friday does not directly address the most visible problems like record youth unemployment or the huge public debt, but officials say it is aimed at shoring up some of the weakest points in Italy's overall economic foundations. "Our main structural deficits involve the justice system, the education system and everyday bureaucracy, so these are the areas that will be addressed," said Filippo Taddei, a senior economic policy expert in Renzi's center-left Democratic Party.
GENEVA (AP) — The Ebola outbreak in West Africa eventually could exceed 20,000 cases, more than six times as many as doctors know about now, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
By Michael Georgy CAIRO (Reuters) - A Sinai-based militant group said on Thursday it had beheaded four Egyptians, accusing them of providing Israel with intelligence for an airstrike that killed three of its fighters. Four headless corpses were found in the Sinai Peninsula earlier this month, security sources said -- the first time that any decapitations had been made public in Egypt. In a video released on Twitter, Egypt's most dangerous militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, said the four men had been spying for Israel's Mossad spy agency. The filmed killings was reminiscent of images posted on the Internet by Islamic State, which has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria, suggesting Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis might have been inspired by the group, notorious for beheadings and executions.French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that opposition forces fighting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq should have more Western support, but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could not be an ally against jihadists. Assad is not a partner in the struggle against terrorism," he said in a speech. "There is no choice to be made between two barbarisms." In a text provided before a speech to an annual conference of French ambassadors, Hollande also said: "To fight Islamic State, the international community must also arm opposition forces who are fighting it." Syrian rebel forces have been fighting Assad for more than three years with political backing from the West in a war that has cost 190,000 lives.East Ukrainian pro-Russian separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko said serving Russian soldiers, on leave from their posts, are fighting Ukrainian troops alongside the rebels, Russian state television reported. "Among us are fighting serving soldiers, who would rather take their vacation not on a beach but with us, among brothers, who are fighting for their freedom," said Zakharchenko in an interview posted on Vesti.ru, the Internet site of a Russian state television station.Ukrainian President Poroshenko said on Thursday Russian forces had invaded Ukraine and he called an urgent meeting of the Ukraine's security and defense council to decide the next steps to take in the crisis. "I made the decision to cancel a working visit to the Republic of Turkey in connection with the rapidly deteriorating situation in Donetsk region, in particular in Amvrosiyivka and Starobesheve, as an invasion of Russian forces has taken place," he said in a statement on the presidential website. Writing by Alessandra Prentice;By Anton Zverev DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) - Pro-Moscow rebel forces in Ukraine gained a foothold on the Sea of Azov on Thursday and their objective is to fight their way down the coast to the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, the leader of the main separatist entity said. Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, told Reuters in an interview that about 3,000 Russian volunteers were serving in the rebel ranks. "Today we reached the Sea of Azov, the shore, and the process of liberating our land, which is temporarily occupied by the Ukrainian authorities, will keep going further and further," Zakharchenko said in the city of Donetsk, the main rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine.European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Thursday he does not expect Europe to suffer interruptions of Russian gas supplies that go through Ukraine, but he could not rule it out completely. Addressing a meeting of German and Balkan leaders in Berlin, Germany's EU commissioner said it was important not to allow the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom to become too powerful when it comes to the ownership of gas pipelines. Russia, Europe's biggest supplier of gas meeting almost a third of demand in the region, cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in June in a dispute over unpaid bills but Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine have been flowing uninterrupted since.KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk appealed to the United States, European Union and G7 countries on Thursday to freeze Russian assets until Russian forces withdraw from Ukrainian territory. At a government meeting, Yatseniuk asked "the U.S., and EU, G7 countries to freeze Russian assets and finances until Russia withdraws armed forces, equipment and agents." He also said the finance ministry would sell $340 million to the central bank to support reserves and help stabilize the hryvnia. ...CAIRO (AP) — Judicial officials say Egypt's state prosecutor has raised new charges against the country's ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, accusing him of leaking secret documents to Qatar, an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood group.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claim that Israel achieved a "great military and political" victory over Hamas in the latest round of fighting in the Gaza Strip has met with skepticism from many Israelis, according to a poll published Thursday.
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect more than 20,000 people, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday in a bleak assessment of the deadly disease. The United Nations health agency issued a strategic plan to combat the oubreak in four West African nations where it said the actual number of cases could already be two to four times higher than the reported 3,069. It acknowledges that the aggregate case load of Ebola Virus Disease could exceed 20,000 over the course of this emergency," the WHO said. "Response activities must be adapted in areas of very intense transmission and particular attention must be given to stopping transmission in capital cities and major ports, thereby facilitating the larger response and relief effort," the WHO said.Pakistani protest leader Tahir ul-Qadri's camp said on Thursday talks with the government had failed and protesters camped out outside parliament would be allowed to go home. The statement from his political party said Qadri would make a speech to his supporters later on Thursday to deliver the message. "Dr Qadri is expected to say to the crowd that they are free to go back," the party said in the statement. "Pakistanis have been burning in the flames of hunger, poverty and injustice but nobody cares for them." Qadri said a day earlier that Thursday was the last day for the government to meet his demands, mainly the registration of a criminal case into the killings of 14 of his party activists during clashes with police at a June protest in the city of Lahore.
British retail sales grew this month at the fastest pace in six months, according to a survey on Wednesday that showed retailers' optimism about the next three months showed its biggest improvement in over 12 years. The Confederation of British Industry's distributive trades survey's retail sales balance rose to +37 in August, its highest level since February, from +21 in July and well above economists' forecasts of +27. The CBI's quarterly survey showed retailers' optimism about the business situation for the next quarter hit its highest level since May 2002.
GENEVA (AP) — WHO: Ebola outbreak eventually could exceed 20,000 cases, more than 6 times as many as now.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The death of an Arizona firearms instructor by a 9-year-old girl who was firing a fully automatic Uzi displayed a tragic side of what has become a hot industry in the U.S.: gun tourism.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A sprawling undersea search area for a missing Malaysian airliner in the southern Indian Ocean could be extended farther south based on new satellite analysis, only weeks before the multimillion dollar, yearlong sonar hunt for wreckage is due to begin, officials said Thursday.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,552 people out of 3,069 known cases in four countries and "continues to accelerate", the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday. The epidemic in the region, the deadliest since the disease was first discovered in 1976, has killed nearly as many people as all the previous known outbreaks combined.
More than 100 trucks hauling copper from the Democratic Republic of Congo have been denied entry into Botswana over fears of an Ebola outbreak in Congo, leaving the trucks stranded at a border crossing, local media reported on Thursday. The trucks, en route to South Africa from Democratic Republic of Congo, have been stranded in neighbouring Zambia since Monday, when they were denied entry into Botswana, the Times of Zambia newspaper reported. Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday declared an Ebola outbreak in its northern Equateur province, about 1,200 km (750 miles) north of the capital, Kinshasa.
SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Thursday rejected remarks by former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda that Beijing had expressed willingness to improve ties between Asia's two biggest economies, and said there was "no change" in its policy on Tokyo. Relations between China and Japan have been frayed by rows over the legacy of Japan's wartime militarism, a territorial feud over tiny islands in the East China Sea, and mutual distrust over defense policies. China's foreign ministry was asked to respond to a speech on Wednesday in which Fukuda described his recent meetings with Chinese leaders, and added that both sides had shown the same sense of crisis over Sino-Japanese ties. "Japan must face up to reality, show sincerity, take concrete actions and make efforts to eliminate political obstacles that affect the development of bilateral relations," Qin added, in a statement on the foreign ministry's website.
France's president on Thursday rejected any cooperation with Bashar al-Assad whom he accused of being a "de-facto ally" of jihadists wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq, and urged a "humanitarian and military" response to the threat. Speaking at an annual Paris gathering of ambassadors from around the world, Francois Hollande touched on crises in both countries as well as those rocking Ukraine and Libya -- all of which he said affected France directly.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A fiery Pakistani cleric who has been leading a mass rally outside parliament demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation said on Thursday that he has "shut the door" on further talks with the government.
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BRUSSELS (AP) — Don't be fooled by Angela Merkel. The German chancellor may be the most powerful leader in the European Union, but she hardly paints a true picture of the place of women in EU politics.
The number of European Union citizens moving to Britain has risen significantly, data showed on Thursday, putting pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron and his pledge to cut immigration - a key political issue ahead of a 2015 election. Opinion polls show that immigration is regularly top of voters' concerns heading into a general election next May and has fuelled rising support for the UK Independence party (UKIP), which wants to end EU workers right to move freely to Britain by pulling out of the 28-country bloc altogether. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said net long-term migration into Britain was 243,000 in the year to March 2014, up from 175,000 in the previous twelve months.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has taken 1,552 lives out of 3,069 known cases in four countries and "continues to accelerate", the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. A separate Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, identified as a different strain of the virus, is not included in the latest figures which cover Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, it said.
LAGOS (Reuters) - A doctor in Nigeria's oil industry hub of Port Harcourt has died from Ebola fever, after he was infected by man linked to the first case in Africa's most populous country, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. Heath Ministry spokesman Dan Nwomeh said the doctor had treated a primary contact of Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian who brought Ebola to Lagos. Port Harcourt lies at the heart of Nigeria's two million barrels per day oil industry and is a hub for expatriate workers in major international oil companies.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to take the oath of office as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday, a position that will keep him in the nation's driving seat for at least another five years.
By Leila Abboud and Lisa Jucca PARIS/MILAN (Reuters) - The battle over Brazil's telecoms market intensified on Thursday as European competitors Telecom Italia and Telefonica made rival offers for Vivendi's Brazilian broadband business GVT. Vivendi, which will examine the bids at a Thursday board meeting, must now choose whether to exit its last remaining telecom business after selling off its French and Moroccan mobile operations to focus more on media. French tycoon Vincent Bollore, who is Vivendi's chairman and largest shareholder, has led the talks with Telefonica and Telecom Italia in recent weeks and his view will weigh heavily in the outcome. Spain's Telefonica said it had raised a previous 6.7 billion euro bid for GVT to 7.45 billion euros ($9.84 billion), increasing the cash component of the initial offer made at the start of August.
MADRID (AP) — Spain's telecommunications company Telefonica has raised its offer to buy Brazilian operator Global Village Telecom, or GVT, from French media conglomerate Vivendi to 7.45 billion euros ($9.82 billion) from 6.7 billion euros previously.
By Tulay Karadeniz ANKARA (Reuters) - Tayyip Erdogan will cement his position as modern Turkey's most powerful leader when he is sworn in as president on Thursday, advancing his drive to reshape the country but heralding what critics fear will be an increasingly authoritarian rule. In a final speech to supporters of his AK Party on Wednesday he spoke of his move from the prime minister's office to the presidential palace as the birth of a new Turkey. Erdogan's victory in Turkey's first popular presidential election this month caps more than decade as prime minister in which the economy has tripled in dollar terms and the country has carved out a growing, though often controversial, role in the politics of the conflict-torn Middle East. Erdogan's rhetoric has long played on the divisions between his supporters among Turkey's pious conservatives and a Western-facing, largely secular class suspicious of his Islamic ideals.
PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande on Thursday called on the United Nations to organise "exceptional" support for Libyan authorities to restore order there because there was a risk the country could fall into chaos. "My main concern today is Libya," Hollande told an annual address to French diplomats. "If we do not do anything internationally, terrorism will spread across the entire region. ...
European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Thursday the bloc was seeking to fill its gas storage facilities and de-escalate a row between Ukraine and Russia in order to safeguard its own gas shipments from Russia in the 2014/15 winter. Ukraine warned Europe on Wednesday Russia could cut off gas to the continent this winter, but Moscow said the supplies would continue regardless of the political situation. Oettinger told Germany's ARD television diplomacy to defuse tensions between Kiev and Moscow was of the highest importance. "We need a solution that prevents an escalation between Ukraine and Russia," he said.