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Ebola death toll rises to 6,915

The death toll from the Ebola outbreak has risen to 6,915 out of 18,603 recorded cases.

The World Health organisation released the updated figures as house-to-house searches for further possible Ebola patients began in Sierra Leone today in a bid to tackle the spread of the virus.

Freed aid worker Alan Gross 'very happy' at Obama move

Alan Gross speaking after his release today. Credit: Reuters

Freed aid worker Alan Gross said on Wednesday he was "very happy" to hear about the thaw in relations between the US and Cuba.

Speaking to the media after his release from Cuba, he thanked U.S. President Barack Obama for all he had done to secure his release and said he did not blame the Cuban people for his ordeal.

"Two wrongs never make a right. I truly hope that we can all get beyond these mutually belligerent policies and I was very happy to hear what the president had to say today," Gross said.

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Surgeries cancelled as NHS faces winter pressure

Patients' surgeries across the country have been cancelled this week as the NHS struggles with beds not being freed up quickly enough.

Since Monday more than thirty operations have been cancelled at the Royal Shrewsbury hospital, Basildon hospital has been placed on black alert with routine operations cancelled, and a major internal incident has been declared at Gloucestershire Royal leading to it being put on black alert as well.

ITV News Correspondent Nina Nannar reports:

An astonishing shift in US-Cuban relations

President Obama has announced a historic change in relations between the US and Cuba, ending 50 years of virtual separation between the two states.

But the move was met with hostility from some of his Republican opponents, who accused Mr Obama of rewarding a regime that suppresses its own population.

ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports.

Pakistan in mourning after Taliban school massacre

Pakistan is in a period of mourning after the brutal massacre of 132 children at a school in Peshawar by Taliban militants.

Pakistan's Prime Minister has said he will crush the organisation and restore capital punishment for those who kill, in its name.

But for the friends and families of the victims that is for another day.

Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, focused on their unimaginable grief: Lives full of promise, cut short.

ITV News' International Affairs Editor Rageh Omaar reports:

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Anger over cost of £31 million al-Sweady Inquiry

The Defence Secretary and former leaders of the Army and Navy have all hit out at the cost of the al-Sweady Inquiry into alleged abuse of Iraqi detainees.

Sir Thayne Forbes, the retired judge who chaired the inquiry, said allegations of murder and torture made against British troops were the product of "deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility".

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports.

Pope Francis congratulates US and Cuba on agreement

Pope Francis welcomed the move towards normalising US-Cuban relations. Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis has congratulated the United States and Cuba on their decision to establish diplomatic relations, and the Vatican said it was ready to support the strengthening of bilateral relations.

In a statement, the Vatican also confirmed that its diplomats facilitated talks between the two countries, "resulting in solutions acceptable to both parties."

Three Cuban agents return home after 16 years in jail

Cuba's president Raul Castro. Credit: Reuters

Three Cuban intelligence agents who had served 16 years in U.S. jails have returned to Cuba.

They were released as part of a prisoner exchange in which Cuba freed an American foreign aid worker who had served five years in a Cuban prison, President Raul Castro said.

Castro said he spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama by telephone on Tuesday ahead of the announcement that the United States would be moving to normalise relations between the two countries.

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