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Foreign Secretary welcomes new Syria sanctions

The Foreign Secretary has welcomed fresh EU sanctions against the Syrian regime, describing President Assad as the "cause of instability and conflict" in the country.

Philip Hammond and European counterparts agreed the measures at a meeting in Brussels today.

Another 18 individuals and entities, including some suspected of supplying the administration with oil, will be subjected to restrictions.

Philip Hammond welcomed the new round of sanctions. Credit: Leon Neal/PA Wire

Among those targeted by the sanctions is a "notorious" military commander who ordered nerve gas attacks that killed hundreds of civilians.

"Sanctions are a key part of our strategy for weakening the regime and limiting its ability to perpetrate more barbaric acts against the Syrian people," Mr Hammond said.

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Indiana murders suspect told police he 'messed up'

The man suspected of murdering seven women in the US state of Indiana told police he had "messed up" by killing one of his victims in a motel.

Darren Deon Vann reportedly arranged to meet his victim at Motel 6 in the city of Hammond through a 'pay for prostitution service', Hammond police chief John Doughty said.

Hammond police chief John Doughty speaking to reporters. Credit: RTV

An acquaintance of the victim became suspicious after receiving strange messages from her phone.

She then went to the motel and discovered the body, after which she gave police a phone number leading them to Vann.

Mr Doughty said Vann had co-operated with police and was seeking a deal with prosecutors, though he would not elaborate on what the deal was.

Smoke rises over Kobani after latest air strikes

Huge explosions were seen over the Syrian town of Kobani today as air strikes against Islamic State targets continued.

US-led air strikes have helped stop the advance of IS militants. Credit: Reuters
Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Kobani after an air strike. Credit: Reuters
The US air-dropped arms to help Kurdish fighters for the first time. Credit: Reuters

Mayor: Suspect is 'what I would label a serial killer'

The Mayor of the town of Hammond in Indiana has said the man arrested by police over the killings of seven women "is what I would label a serial killer".

A police file photo of Darren Deon Vann. Credit: Reuters/Lake County Sheriff

Writing on Facebook, Thomas McDermott Jr said Darren Deon Vann was also a convicted sex offender.

"Great job to the Hammond Police on getting this sexual predator off the Region streets," McDermott added.

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Russia to ban EU imports of animal fats and offal

Russia's veterinary service has said it will temporarily ban EU imports of animal fats and offal, AFP reports.

The Russian authorities say the ban, which comes into effect tomorrow, results from the detection of harmful substances in meat products imported from the EU.

The Kremlin has already banned most food imports from Western countries in retaliation to sanctions on Russian officials following the crisis in Ukraine.

Britain and France join US-led air strikes in Iraq

Britain and France have taken part in a series of US-led air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq, US Central Command has said.

The latest strikes were conducted near the cities of Fallujah and Bayji in conjunction with Iraqi ground forces, officials said.

Another six air strikes - not involving Britain or France - were carried out against the militants in the key border town of Kobani in Syria.

'Nightmare scenario' avoided as Nigeria is declared Ebola-free

Nigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola after a 42-day period with no new cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

The announcement eases fears that the disease could have spread to one of Africa's most densely-populated areas.

Commuters and traders crowd at a market in Nigeria's largest city Lagos Credit: REUTERS/George Esiri

WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan said on Sunday that the appearance of the virus in Lagos would have been "the worst nightmare scenario anyone could imagine".

She said the nation's innovative polio campaign, which uses satellite technologies to track population, had been re-purposed to aid the fight against Ebola.

Last week, the WHO announced that Senegal was Ebola-free, but the pace of the outbreak continues to quicken in the three worst-hit countries.

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