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US gives £134m to Israel to restock their Iron Dome

The US Congress has rushed through a $225 million (£134m) bill to support Israel's missile defence system.

The money will help restock Israel's Iron Dome, which has been credited with shooting down dozens of incoming rockets fired by Palestinian militants since July 8.

President Barack Obama has said the Iron Dome is a concrete way the US was helping "make sure that Israel is able to protect its citizens".

US Ebola pair to arrive back in America for treatment

Two American aid workers seriously ill with Ebola are due to arrive back in the US for treatment this week.

The Emory University Hospital in Atlanta where the pair will be treated.
The Emory University Hospital in Atlanta where the pair will be treated. Credit: Reuters

One will arrive today in a small private jet outfitted with a special, portable tent designed for transporting patients with highly infectious diseases.

The second is to arrive a few days later, doctors at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital, where they will be treated in a high security isolation unit, said.

It is the first time anyone infected with the disease has been brought into the country but US officials are confident they can be treated without putting the public at risk.

The two Americans have been named as Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol. Both worked for US missionary groups in Liberia that treated Ebola patients.

It has not been revealed which of them will be flown home first.


How much councils have lost in unpaid parking fines:

The Local Government Association claims local councils have been forced to write off millions in unpaid parking fines as they have been unable to trace foreign vehicles.

The LGA wants the government to get tougher on foreign drivers.
The LGA wants the government to get tougher on foreign drivers who are often not registered in the UK. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

LGA economy and transport board chairman Peter Box wants a central database introduced to allow the Government to get tougher on people failing to register their vehicle.

He said: "Drivers of foreign-registered vehicles need to realise they are not above the law in this country.

"Reckless and inconsiderate parking by non-UK registered vehicles puts other drivers and pedestrians at risk.

"The millions of pounds worth of fines written off could also be spent filling potholes, providing bus services and tackling the £12 billion repair backlog to bring our roads up to scratch."

See how different parts of the UK measure up:

  • Brighton & Hove is owed more than £750,000 in unpaid fines
  • Oxfordshire, Southampton and Portsmouth councils are owed £500,000
  • Bournemouth council has written off £57,000 in the past 12 months
  • Maidstone Council in Kent has lost out on £28,455 worth of tickets
  • Leicester City Council has waived £20,000 in fines in the past year
  • Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire is still owed £13,365
  • While Doncaster Council in Yorkshire has ripped up £12,000 worth

PM: Nato and its members 'will not be intimidated'

David Cameron has said Nato and its members "will not be intimidated" by Russia in the wake of its actions in Ukraine.

Speaking ahead of the Nato summit in south Wales next month the prime minister said the gathering marked a "pivotal" moment in Nato's history.

He said: "In 2014, the world is more unpredictable than ever. To the East, Russia has ripped up the rulebook with its illegal annexation of Crimea and aggressive destabilisation of Ukraine.

"To the South, an arc of instability spreads from North Africa and the Sahel, to Syria, Iraq and the wider Middle East.

"So we must use the Summit to agree how Nato should adapt to respond to and deter such threats; and to ensure the continued collective defence of all its members."

The summit near Newport is the first in the UK since Margaret Thatcher hosted the alliance in 1990, as the Cold War was ending and Nato started to chart a course for a new relationship with Russia.

Violence in Libya forces British embassy to shut down

Escalating violence in Libya has prompted the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to shut down its embassy in the country.

Many staff were evacuated earlier this week following intense fighting in Tripoli but now the FCO says it will suspend its consulate once it has assisted the departure of British nationals.

An FCO spokesman said: "The protection of our staff is paramount, and we assess that the current environment in Tripoli does not allow us to operate safely. We have therefore decided temporarily to relocate UK-based staff from the country."

40 extra baggage staff drafted in at Gatwick Airport

Forty extra baggage staff are being drafted in at Gatwick Airport to prevent any repeat of the chaos they experienced last weekend.

Passengers have been advised to pack important items in their hand luggage.
Passengers have been advised to pack important items in their hand luggage. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Staff shortages meant baggage-handling company Swissport was unable to cope with a succession of off-schedule arrivals late last Saturday night.

Arriving travellers were told to go home without their bags or face long delays.

But Swissport, who has apologised for the problems, said it had drafted in 40 extra staff to cope with demand this weekend, which is expected to be one of the airport's busiest.

Gatwick management is also laying on staff to assist with the baggage operation.

They stressed last week's problems only affected incoming flights and said they were expecting a "smooth weekend."


Millions in foreign parking fines owed in Britain

Millions of pounds worth of unpaid parking fines have to be written off each year by councils unable to trace drivers of foreign vehicles, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

The LGA said it is unfair as Britons can be chased for parking fines abroad but not vice versa.
The LGA said it is unfair as Britons can be chased for parking fines abroad but not vice versa. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Some councils have had to rip up thousands of parking tickets with one local authority - Brighton & Hove Council - being owed more than £750,000.

EU laws allows European vehicles to drive on UK roads for six months before having to register with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) but the Government does not keep a record of the estimated three million entering the UK each year.

Currently the DVLA only records information about non-UK-registered vehicles when they are notified through offence reports provided by the police or from tip-offs from the public.

This means foreign vehicles are able to disappear within the system by going unregistered.

The LGA said this left town hall parking bosses facing an impossible task to chase down drivers for payments while laws in other countries mean British drivers parking illegally abroad can be tracked and chased.

Probe into '£42 million UK arms sales to Israel'

Questions were tonight being asked about whether military equipment manufactured in the UK has been used in Israel's offensive on the Palestinian enclave.

Israeli soldiers load shells on to a tank near the Gaza Strip.
Israeli soldiers load shells on to a tank near the Gaza Strip. Credit: Reuters

Documents obtained by The Independent showed arms export licences worth £42 million were granted to 130 British defence manufacturers since 2010.

This allowed them to sell military equipment to Israel, ranging from weapons control and targeting systems to ammunition, drones and armoured vehicles.

The Government said it was now reviewing all licences to Israel.

At least 1,600 Palestinians - most of them civilians - have been killed and 8,000 injured during the assault, while Israel has lost 63 soldiers and three civilians.

Missing Israel soldier 'may have been killed' in ambush

Missing Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin may have been killed during an ambush, Hamas has claimed.

The militant group insisted it had "no clear indication of the whereabouts" of the 23-year-old Israel accused them of abducting.

A statement by the group said: "We have lost contact with the group of fighters that took part in the ambush and we believe they were all killed in the (Israeli) bombardment.

"Assuming that they managed to seize the soldier during combat, we assess that he was also killed in the incident."

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