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Rebels 'agree to provide humanitarian corridor'

A leader of pro-Moscow rebel forces in eastern Ukraine, Alexander Zakharchenko, said he had agreed to open a humanitarian corridor for encircled Ukraine troops after Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement.

Putin called on the rebels to provide the corridor in the east of the country to allow Ukrainian government troops to leave the battlefield.

"We are ready to give a humanitarian corridor," Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, told Rossiya 24 TV, adding that troops would have to leave their heavy armoured vehicles and ammunition.

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Record 3m Syrian refugees in 'biggest-ever crisis'

The total number of refugees created by ongoing fighting in Syria has reached a record three million, United Nations' refugee body says.

More than half of all displaced Syrians are children.
More than half of all displaced Syrians are children. Credit: Reuters

Almost half of all Syrians have now been displaced from their homes due to the crisis, with one in every eight fleeing across the border.

Over half of those uprooted are children, the UNHCR says, adding that most families have been on the run for a year or more.

The vast majority of those that have left Syria are registered refugees in Lebanon (1.14 million), Jordan (608,000) and Turkey (815,000), the agency says.

The organisation adds that its Syria operation has become the largest in its 64-year history.

Ukraine rebels 'torturing civilians and holding hostages'

Pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine are "regularly" detaining and torturing civilians, campaigners claim.

Rebels are said to have targeted journalists and political opponents.
Rebels are said to have targeted journalists and political opponents. Credit: Reuters

Human Rights Watch says fighters supporting rebel strongholds in the region have "captured hundreds of civilians" including journalists, pro-Ukrainian political activists and in some cases their family members since April.

The organisation says that in August alone researchers in eastern Ukraine documented 20 cases in which rebel fighters had captured civilians, and said they interviewed people who claimed to have been tortured or held for ransom.

Pro-Russian insurgents are regularly committing horrendous crimes.

There are solid grounds to be seriously concerned about the safety and well-being of anyone held by insurgent forces in eastern Ukraine.

– Hugh Williamson, Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch also said it had seen evidence of extra-judicial death sentences against members of the public.

Icelandic volcano alert raised to red after eruption

A volcanic eruption has occurred near Iceland's Dyngjujokull glacier, prompting authorities to raise the warning code for aviation to red, the highest level, but no volcanic ash has been detected, Iceland's authorities said.

There has been heightened seismic activity in the area for about a week.

"The Icelandic Met Office has raised the aviation colorcode over the eruption site to red and the Icelandic Air Traffic Control has closed down the airspace from the earth up to 18,000 feet," Iceland's National Crisis Coordination Centre said.

"No volcanic ash has been detected with the radar system at the moment....Seismic eruption tremor is low indicating effusive eruption without significant explosive activity."

Ash from the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut down much of Europe's airspace for six days.

The red code indicates that an eruption is imminent or underway with a significant emission of ash likely.

More defections could follow Carswell, Farage hints

Nigel Farage has hinted that more MPs could follow Douglas Carswell by defecting to his party before the election.

Nigel Farage says Carswell's defection is not a
Nigel Farage says Carswell's defection is not a Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The Ukip leader said politicians among the Conservative and Labour ranks "feel strongly" on the issues the party stands for.

"I don't think anybody will say that Douglas Carswell coming to Ukip is a one-off.

"There are many other people out there that are making up that calculation now," he added.

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Cancer patients 'can cut death risk by walking'

People with breast or prostate cancer could dramatically reduce their risk of dying by walking just one mile a day, new estimates suggest.

Walking for 20 minutes a day could dramatically reduce the risk of death.
Walking for 20 minutes a day could dramatically reduce the risk of death. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Walking for a mile at a moderate pace of around 3mph, or walking for 20 minutes a day could reduce breast cancer patients risk of dying from the disease by 40%, while those with prostate cancer could reduce their risk by 30%, according to the calculations.

The estimates from Walking for Health, run by Macmillan Cancer Support and the Ramblers, have been based on guidelines from the Chief Medical Officer.

The guidelines suggest 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week. For walking this must be "brisk" or "fast" walking, typically 3mph or faster.

Stars send support for hospitalised Joan Rivers

A host of famous faces have sent out messages of support for US comedian Joan Rivers, who remains in hospital after she stopped breathing during throat surgery.

Ellen De Generes, Rosie O'Donnell and Nancy Sinatra who took to Twitter to send their best wishes.

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I’m thinking about you, @joan_rivers, and sending lots of love your way.

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hey u - miss @joan_rivers - this show ain't over - GET WELL NOW !

James Foley and others 'waterboarded by Islamic State'

At least four hostages held in Syria by Islamic State militants, including US journalist James Foley, were waterboarded during their captivity, The Washington Post has reported.

James Foley is believed to have been beheaded by the Islamic State.
James Foley is believed to have been beheaded by the Islamic State. Credit: Nicole Tung

The newspaper, citing people familiar with the treatment of Western hostages, said the Islamic State captors appeared to model the technique used by the CIA on three terrorism suspects captured after the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Center.

A source close to the family of a hostage held by Islamic State acknowledged to Reuters that hostages had been waterboarded, but gave no further details.

Waterboarding, a process characterised by Barack Obama and many other US politicians as torture, simulates drowning. Captives have water poured over their noses and mouths until they feel as if they are suffocating.

Three Americans and fewer than 10 other western hostages are still being held by the militant group, according to people familiar with the situation.

Almost half of adults 'have suffered insomnia'

Almost half of Britain's adults have suffered a bout of insomnia, leaving them unable to sleep for nights on end, research from sleep experts has found.

According to the Sleep Council:

  • 48% have suffered from Insomnia.
  • 22% have lost sleep because of Restless Leg Syndrome.
  • 18% suffer night terrors or nightmares and a further 14% struggle with Nocturia (an excessive need to urinate).
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