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Japanese government working for release of Kenji Goto

A Japanese envoy in charge of the hostage crisis in Jordan has said the government was continuing to work for the quick release of Kenji Goto. The Japanese journalist is being held hostage by Islamic State militants, after a new deadline was purportedly set for a prisoner swap.

Kenji Goto was captured by Islamic State militants after travelling to Syria to save his friend last October. Credit: PA

As ordered by the Foreign Minister, we continue to collect information, analyse it and share it. We in the government, are working as one for Mr Goto's early release.

If you are concerned how Mr Goto must be feeling now, we can only work together as hard as possible and as one for his early release. That is all I can say.

– Japanese envoy Yasuhide Nakayama

Nakayama refused to give any details regarding Mr Goto's current situation.

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Who: Response now moving to ending Ebola epidemic

The World Health Organisation has said that its response is now moving to the phase of ending the epidemic.

Number of cases and deaths up to January 18. Credit: WHO
  • Number of cases continues to fall in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
  • Mali declared free of Ebola after 42 days since the last case was tested
  • Intense-transmission countries have sufficient capacity to isolate and treat patients
  • 27 laboratories are providing services in the three intense-transmission countries. Five more laboratories are planned to meet demand
  • Case fatality among hospitalised patients remains between 57% and 59% in the 3 intense-transmission countries, with no detectable improvement
  • A total of 828 health worker infections have been reported in the three intense-transmission countries; there have been 499 reported deaths.

Pilot's father: Jordan's King to try to save hostage son

The father of the Jordanian air force pilot being held by the Islamic State (IS) has said that Jordan's King Abdullah II has vowed to make efforts to save his son.

Pilot's father: Jordan's King to try to save hostage. Credit: Reuters

Our king has expressed condolences to me, and I also conveyed the intention of our tribe. He very carefully read the written application (of our hope to salvage Muath al-Kasaesbeh) before putting it into his pocket

– Safi al-Kasaesbeh.

Safi al-Kasaesbeh, father of the Jordanian hostage Muath al-Kasaesbeh, made the remarks after talking with the King, who assured him the government has not given up, and would take measures to bring his son back.

Co-pilot was 'flying AirAsia plane' when it crashed

The co-pilot of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was flying the passenger jet when it crashed last month, killing all 162 people on board, officials say.

The AirAsia plane went missing on December 28 in stormy weather. Credit: Reuters

Mardjono Siswosuwarno, head investigator for Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, said the plane was in good condition and that all crew members were properly certified.

He said the aircraft's flight recorder gave a "pretty clear picture" of what happened in the final moments before it crashed on December 28.

Last week, officials said the plane had been "climbing too quickly" before the crash.

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Islamic State release 'new threat to kill Jordanian pilot'

Islamic State appear to have released a new video threatening to kill a Jordanian pilot unless an Iraqi prisoner is released.

Relatives of Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh protesting outside the Jordanian prime minister's building yesterday. Credit: Reuters

In the unverified audio message posted on YouTube, a man, claiming to be Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, says Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh will be killed "immediately" unless Iraqi prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi is released by sunset on Thursday.

"I am Kenji Goto. This is a voice message I've been told to send to you. If Sajida al-Rishawi is not ready for exchange for my life at the Turkish border by Thursday sunset 29th of January Mosul time, the Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh will be killed immediately," the voice in the recording says.

A spokesman for the Japanese prime minister said the government was analysing the new recording.

Earlier, Al-Kaseasbah's father told ITV News that he was "demanding" the Jordanian authorities secure his son's release.

Middle East on edge after Hezbollah attack on Israel frontier

The Middle East is on edge tonight after a missile fired by Hezbollah fighters at a military convoy killed two Israeli soldiers.

It is the Islamic Militant group's most deadly attack on Israeli forces since their five week war nearly a decade ago.

Israel has promised to do whatever it takes to defend itself.

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports:

Scientist jailed for 5 years in US nuclear weapons spy sting

A former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist has been sentenced to five years in prison for passing classified US nuclear weapons data to a person he believed to be a Venezuelan government official, the FBI said.

Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, 79, a naturalized US citizen from Argentina, pleaded guilty in June 2013 to several espionage-related offenses. Credit: Leslie Woodhead/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, 79, a naturalized US citizen from Argentina, pleaded guilty in June 2013 to several espionage-related offenses. His wife, who is 71, was previously sentenced to a year in prison for her role in the same case, according to the FBI.

The pair believed they were dealing with a Venezuelan representative but were actually in contact with an undercover FBI agent.

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