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US: IS expert death will 'disrupt' chemical weapons use

The death of an Islamic State chemical weapons expert is expected to temporarily degrade and disrupt' their use agaist innocent people" US Central Command said in a statement.

His death is expected to temporarily degrade and disrupt the terrorist network and diminish ISIL's ability to potentially produce and use chemical weapons against innocent people.

– US Central Command

US Central Command has issued a statement saying Islamic State chemical weapons expert Abu Malik, was killed in a coalition airstrike on January 24 near Mosul

Malik had been a chemical weapons engineer during the rule of Saddam Hussein and then affiliated himself with al Qaeda Iraq in 2005, Central Command said.

When he joined Islamic State, also known as ISIL, it gave the insurgent force a chemical weapons capability, the statement said.

Canada tightens anti-terror laws in wake of attacks

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said jihadists had declared war on Canada. Credit: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/PA

Tough new laws announced by Canada will make it a crime to call for a terror attack and allow police to detain anyone suspected of being involved in a plot without charge for up to seven days.

Work to toughen the law began in October after a gunman killed a soldier at Canada's national war memorial in Ottawa before storming parliament.

The attack came two days after a man said to be inspired by the Islamic State (IS) group, ran over two soldiers in a car park in Quebec, killing one and injuring the other before being shot dead.

Under the current law it is a crime to make a specific threat, but the new measures will criminalise calling for general terror attacks on Canada or to promote or advocate others to carry out terrorism elsewhere.

The penalty will carry a maximum of five years in prison and authorities will also be able to remove terror-related material from any Canadian website.

Over the last few years a great evil has been descending upon our world, an evil that has been growing more and more powerful, violent jihadism.

– Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper

Mr Harper said jihadists had declared war on Canada and it would be a grave mistake to ignore their threats.

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Japan says hostage negotiations are 'deadlocked'

Yasuhide Nakayama said talks to free the hostages have become 'deadlocked'. Credit: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

Japan's deputy foreign minister has said negotiations with the Islamic State group threatening to execute a Jordanian pilot and a Japanese journalist have become "deadlocked," according to Japanese state media, AFP reports.

Yasuhide Nakayama told reporters in the Jordanian capital that there had been no progress in trying to secure the release of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and pilot Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh.

According to Japan's public broadcaster NHK, Mr Nakayama said: "It has become deadlocked. Staying vigilant, we will continue analysing and examining information as the government is making concerted efforts together."

Woods analyses his worst round of professional golf

Tiger Woods was playing in his second event in five months after undergoing surgery. Credit: Willie J. Allen, Jr./PA Wire/PA

Tiger Woods has said he will "keep fighting" after he plunged to new depths with the worst score of his professional career in Friday's second round at the TPC Scottsdale.

The 14-times major champion was out-of-sorts in every phase of his game as he struggled to an 11-over-par score of 82 at the Phoenix Open.

Woods was competing at Scottsdale in only his second event in five months after suffering back problems for most of last year after undergoing surgery.

Charity calls for liver disease screening as deaths rise

The rise in deaths from liver disease could be linked to an increase in alcohol consumption. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/PA

The number of people dying from liver disease in the UK has risen by 400% over the last 40 years according to the British Liver Trust.

The charity is calling for the Government to introduce early liver disease screening along with a specific national liver health prevention campaign which it said could save £600m and thousands of lives.

Chief Executive of the Trust, Andrew Langford, said: “If we do nothing, we will continue to see ever increasing rates of liver damage and early death.

"The average age of death from liver disease is 57, that’s over 20 years lower than deaths from cancer, stroke and heart disease – liver disease is now the third most common cause of premature death."

The organisation has launched its fourth annual 'Love Your Liver' campaign along with an online screening tool which is designed to help the public assess their risk of liver disease.

British army sets up brigade to fight social media war

The new 77th Brigade will be equipped to fight wars in the digital age. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/PA

The British army is setting set up a specialist brigade that will be expert in the use of social media in the digital age, according to reports.

The new brigade, which will be made up of reservists and regular troops and based in Hermitage in Berkshire, is expected to be officially operational in April following a recruitment drive in the Spring.

An Army spokesman said the unit would "play a key part in enabling the UK to fight in the information age" and that it "consists of more than just traditional capabilities".

He added: "77 Brigade is being created to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare.

The new brigade is being named the 77th in tribute to the Chindits,a British guerrilla force led by Major General Orde Wingate against the Japanese in Burma during WWII, which used unorthodox tactics.

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Police Federation: All officers should be given Tasers

Home Office figures released last October showed the use of Tasers by police had increased every year. Credit: Scott Heppell/PA Wire/PA

All rank-and-file police officers should be armed with a Taser because of the heightened security threat, the head of the Police Federation has said.

Steve White, chairman of the body which represents front-line officers, said acts of terrorism could be carried out anywhere and police needed to be protected.

He cited the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby near Woolwich Barracks in 2013 as an example of how lone wolf-style attacks could be carried out without guns.

He told The Guardian: "The terrorist ideal to get attention no longer relies on an attack being in a place of note. It could be in Cheam high street, in any town, in any part of the UK.

"We know there are more dangerous people out there, preparing to attack police officers and we need to be able to respond to that threat."

Drivers warned of icy roads as big freeze grips UK

Forecasters warn cold conditions across the UK will lead to ice on the roads. Credit: Drivers face difficult conditions

Motorists have been warned to expect difficult driving conditions as icy weather continues to grip the UK.

The Met Office has issued yellow 'be aware' warnings for ice across the entire country and snow across the Midlands, northern England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

With temperatures remaining low overnight, forecasters have warned that ice is likely to form on untreated road surfaces and more snow is expected on high ground, especially across Scotland.

Strong winds of up to 60mph are predicted in north-west Scotland, meaning blizzard conditions are likely, experts say.

There is the potential for disruption throughout this period due to the accumulating snow and ice but also with temporary blizzard conditions leading to very difficult driving conditions."

– Eddie Carroll, Met Office's chief forecaster

The Met Office said sleet and snow showers would affect parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland today, with snow falling to lower levels and extending further south through the day.

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