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North Yorkshire soldiers head to Sierra Leone

Army medics trained at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire have left the country to join British efforts in fighting the Ebola outbreak.

They will man the Ebola Training Academy in Sierra Leone, which will supply five treatment centres currently being built by the UK.

North Yorkshire soldiers head to Sierra Leone

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Ebola 'must be combated in west Africa to limit UK risk'

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said it was vitally important for the UK to support countries in western Africa to defeat Ebola to prevent further loss of life and ensure it does not spread into the UK.

Speaking as she set off for Sierra Leone with around 100 RAF medics being sent to build a training academy and field hospital she said:

"If we don't combat Ebola it will take many more lives, but also it can pose a risk to the UK".

Met Office warning as Hurricane Gonzalo sweeps through region

High winds will sweep through North East England.

The region is expected to be hit by gale force winds and heavy rain today as the remains of Hurricane Gonzalo sweeps across Britain.

The Met Office has issued a a yellow warning for wind and is advising people to expect disruption to travel.

The strongest winds are expected as the rain clears eastwards and winds veer northwesterly through Tuesday morning.

Surface water and spray will make driving conditions difficult, as fallen leaves will affect drainage increasing the risk of surface water.

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Aid worker returns home after Ebola fight

Cokie van der Velde and grandchildren Credit: ITV News

An aid worker from North Yorkshire has returned from West Africa after her latest spell helping to fight the deadly Ebola virus.

Cokie van der Velde, from York, is now enjoying time at home with her family.

She works for the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, and has been helping doctors to combat the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Guinea.

Cokie van der Velde at work in East Africa Credit: ITV News

Prison officers cut by a third in the region

Prison officer numbers have been cut by more than a third in the North East in less than four years, according to the Howard League for Penal Reform.

That amounts to more than 600 prison officer posts in the region.

The worst hit prison is HMP Durham, where prison officer numbers have almost halved.

Here is a breakdown:

Deerbolt -33% Durham -49% Frankland -30% Holme House -40% Kirklevington -22% Low Newton -29%

"The prison system is in crisis, and these figures reveal why. While the prison population has grown, officer numbers have been cut without any thought for the consequences. A shortage of governors makes matters even worse, because officers are being taken off the wings and asked to 'act up' to fill vacancies. Having made prison officers redundant, the Ministry of Justice is now apparently struggling to recruit. These are desperate times, and ministers are resorting to desperate measures."

– Frances Crook, Howard League for Penal Reform
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