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2.3 million US birds could be infected with bird flu

Initial tests have found probable new cases of the rapidly spreading avian influenza on four commercial poultry sites in Iowa, affecting nearly 2.3 million birds, the state's agriculture department said.

Additional tests are pending to confirm the presence of the highly pathogenic H5N2, agency officials said. Initial positive tests for H5 avian influenza were found in a commercial egg-laying farm with an estimated 1.7 million birds in Sioux County; a 250,000 pullet farm in Osceola County; and in two commercial egg-laying operations in O'Brien County, with a total of 338,000 birds, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said.

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Family of black teenager shot by police sue US city

The family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead by US police last summer, have filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri.

Brown was fatally shot by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in August.

Michael Brown was shot dead last August. Credit: Family handout

In November, a grand jury elected not to file charges against Wilson. A federal investigation later determined that Wilson should not be charged.

The shooting last August sparked a wave of angry demonstrations and unrest over police violence, particularly against minorities in Ferguson and around the US.

White House 'sorrow' over deaths of hostages during rescue

The United States said an American counterterrorism operation in January killed two hostages, one American and one Italian, who were held by al Qaeda in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The operation in which American doctor Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto were killed also resulted in the death of an American al Qaeda leader, Ahmed Farouq, the White House said. Another American al Qaeda member, Adam Gadahn, also was killed, likely in a separate operation, the White House added.

In a statement, the White House expressed sorrow over the hostage deaths and said the United States had no reason to believe hostages were at the targeted compound.

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