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Israeli-American relations slump to an historic low

by - Middle East Correspondent

By Middle East correspondent Geraint Vincent

I would say Israeli-American relations are at an historic low right now, but Tel Aviv has had Hamas rockets fired at it this evening, as did several other Israeli cities. Whilst that is happening Israel is not going to worry too much about what a White House spokesman has to say about its policies.

Having said that I think it is clear that a timetable is being worked out here for a ceasefire to happen. Israel's generals are talking about how they are going to have finished destroying all those tunnels some time in the next few days.

When they say that job is done, that will be an opportunity for a pause in the ground operation and a chance for Hamas to consider whether or not there is anything on the table worth talking about. If they decide that there is not though, and they keep firing the rockets, then the war will, I am afraid, go on.


US doctor gives single Ebola serum to fellow patient

A US doctor battling the deadly Ebola virus gave the only dose of an experimental serum used to treat the disease to his colleague, according to the relief group they were both working for in Liberia.

A microscopic view of the Ebola virus.
A microscopic view of the Ebola virus. Credit: DPA

Dr Kent Brantly who had been working to treat the disease took "a turn for the worse" said Franklin Graham, the president of the Samaritan’s Purse charity.

But rather than try the experimental serum he opted to let his colleague Nancy Writebol try it instead.

Graham said: "There was only enough for one person. Dr. Brantly asked that it be given to Nancy Writebol. However, Dr. Brantly received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola because of Dr. Brantly’s care.

He added: "The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life.”

Scientists: Meat-eating dinosaurs evolved into birds

Over 50 million years huge meat-eating, ground-dwelling dinosaurs shrunk and evolved into flying birds, according to scientists.

New research from University of Southampton and presented in the journal Science, says that the branch of theropod dinosaurs, which gave rise to modern birds, were the only dinosaurs that kept getting smaller.

Massive meat-eating dinosaurs evolved into agile flying birds, according to new research.
Massive meat-eating dinosaurs evolved into agile flying birds, according to new research. Credit: PA

Darren Naish, vertebrate palaeontologist, said: "These bird ancestors also evolved new adaptations, such as feathers, wishbones and wings, four times faster than other dinosaurs."

Associate professor Michael Lee, from the University of Adelaide, added: "Being smaller and lighter in the land of giants..provided these bird ancestors with new ecological opportunities, such as the ability to climb trees, glide and fly.

"Ultimately, this evolutionary flexibility helped birds survive the deadly meteorite impact which killed off all their dinosaurian cousins."


US boss critically injured by demoted colleague in shooting

The CEO of a US company has been critically injured after being shot by a recently demoted executive who then turned the weapon on himself, NBC reported.

Chicago police said they responded to shots fired in a high-rise building in the city's Financial District and found a 54-year-old victim, identified as ArrowStream CEO Steven LaVoie, injured with a gunshot wound to his stomach and his head.

S La Salle Street, Chicago, close to the scene where a chief executive was shot before the gunman turned on himself.
S La Salle Street, Chicago, close to the scene where a chief executive was shot before the gunman turned on himself. Credit: Google Maps

The 59-year-old gunman was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head, police said.

Police said the gunman's wounds were self-inflicted. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in a critical condition.

'Gas-like smell' was reported before Taiwan gas blasts

Taiwan authorities received calls from residents in Kaohsiung's Cianjhen district about suspected gas leaks, AFP reported. The leak triggered a series of explosions that were powerful enough to rip open roads and overturn cars.

The fire agency said in a statement: "The local fire department received calls of gas leaks late Thursday and then there was a series of blasts around midnight affecting a area of two to three square kilometres." Emergency workers rushed to the scene and were removing bodies from the area.

Nato: 'We will study' UK report on Russia threat

Nato has promised to study a parliamentary report which said that Russia's destabilisation of the Ukraine had exposed "serious deficiencies" in its preparedness to deal with a military threat from its former Cold War adversary.

Nato has promised to study a UK parliamentary report on Russia.
Nato has promised to study a UK parliamentary report on Russia. Credit: Reuters

Oana Lugescu, a spokesperson for the alliance said: “This is an important report and we will study it carefully."

She added that the 28 member states had already taken steps to reinforce collective defense with more planes in the air, more ships at sea, and more exercises on the ground, especially in eastern Europe.

At the Wales Summit in September, she said Nato leaders will adopt an action plan to reinforce the readiness of the alliance to ensure it is able to deal with all the threats it faces.

She added: "We are also considering reinforcement measures, the designation of bases and pre-positioning of equipment and supplies. We are reviewing our defence plans, threat assessments, intelligence-sharing arrangements and early-warning procedures."

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