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US police officers advised to wear bulletproof vests

Police unions in the US have advised officers to take extra precautions after two New York Police Department (NYPD) cops were gunned down at the weekend, NBC News reports.

A directive to the 35,000 officers of the NYPD advised officers to work in threes on the street and to wear bulletproof vests.

Similar directives went out to officers in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Boston.

New York police officers turn backs on Mayor

Police officers in New York have turned their back on the city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, as he arrived at a hospital to pay tribute to two officers killed by a gunman.

According to the New York Times, the protest was encouraged by union leaders because the mayor has campaigned against "overreaching by police" under his predecessor.

(Credit: YouTube / NY Post)

Mayor de Blasio was visiting Woodhull Hospital on Saturday evening to give a press conference on the murder of the two police officers.

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South Korea nuclear plants computer system hacked

Computer systems at South Korea's nuclear power plant operator have been hacked, he company and the Seoul government have said.

However, NBC New reports that only "non-critical" data has been lost and there is no risk to the safety of the country's 23 nuclear reactors.

The attacks come amid concerns that North Korea may mount cyber-attacks against industrial and social targets after allegations by the United States that Pyongyang was responsible for a devastating hacking assault on Sony Pictures.

Security measures stepped up in France after man drives into crowds

Security measures for police and other authorities have been stepped up after a driver said to be shouting "God is great" slammed into crowds in a French city, injuring at least 11 people and raising national concern as Islamic extremists call for attacks.

The government said the man's motives were unclear but last night's incident in Dijon, in eastern France, came a day after a knife attack on police in another town being investigated by anti-terror officers.

Officials say a 40-year-old man had been arrested over last night's attack.

Australian mother court plea rejected

An Australian magistrate has rejected a plea by lawyers for a woman charged with murdering eight children to hold the next hearing in a mental health court.

Mersane Warria, charged under her full name of Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday, is accused of killing seven of her children and her niece, whose bodies were found inside her home in Manoora, a suburb of Cairns, on Friday.

Police were called to the home in the morning after receiving a report of a woman with serious injuries. When they got to the house, they found the bodies, along with Warria, who had stab wounds to her chest.

Warria, 37, did not attend today's brief hearing at Cairns Magistrates Court as she is in hospital.

Magistrate Alan Comans rejected a request from Warria's lawyer to hold the case's next hearing in a mental health court.

Criminal cases are sometimes referred to such courts if the defendant is believed to be mentally ill or has an intellectual disability. The court then decides what the defendant's mental state was when they committed the offence.

The case was adjourned until January 30.

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France: Man arrested after 'car rampage' injures 11

A driver said to be shouting "God is great" slammed into passers-by in several parts of Lyon, France, injuring 11 people and raising national concern.

The government said the man's motives were unclear but last night's incident came a day after an attack on officers in another town being investigated by anti-terror police and amid general concern after several threats by Islamic extremist groups calling for attacks against the country.

The Interior Ministry said a 40-year-old man had been arrested over last night's attack.

Police union official Michel Bonnet said some witnesses apparently heard the Renault Clio driver shout "Allahu Akbar" - God is great - and refer to the "children of Palestine", but the ministry would not confirm that.

Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve will go to Lyon today.

A day earlier, French police in a Tours suburb shot and killed a man also shouting "Allahu Akbar" who had stabbed and wounded three officers in a police station.

Battle continues to retake Sinjar from Islamic State

Credit: Reuters

Iraqi Kurdish fighters, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) group, pushed their way today into the town of Sinjar, captured by the Sunni militants last summer.

Further to the east, near the border with Syria, Iraqi security forces battled the IS extremists as they tried to retake the strategic military airport of Tal Afar.

The battle for Sinjar and the surrounding area has become the latest focus in the campaign to take back territory lost to IS during the militants' summer blitz.

More: US led forces target Islamic State in 16 air strikes

International Monetary Fund criticised over Ebola policies

Credit: Reuters

Policies advocated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have contributed to under-funded, insufficiently staffed and poorly prepared health systems in the countries with Ebola outbreaks in west Africa, academics have said.

Researchers from Cambridge University's department of sociology, joined by colleagues from Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, examined links between the IMF and the rapid spread of the disease.

They said IMF programmes over the years have imposed heavy constraints on the development of effective health systems in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - the cradle of the Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 6,800 since March this year.

Economic policy reforms advocated by the IMF have undermined the capacity of health systems in these three nations - systems already fragile from legacies of conflict and state failure - to cope with infectious disease outbreaks and other such emergencies, they added.

Lead author and Cambridge sociologist Alexander Kentikelenis:

A major reason why the Ebola outbreak spread so rapidly was the weakness of healthcare systems in the region, and it would be unfortunate if underlying causes were overlooked. Policies advocated by the IMF have contributed to under-funded, insufficiently staffed, and poorly prepared health systems in the countries with Ebola outbreaks.

– Alexander Kentikelenis

Lightning strike injures seven near Florida NFL stadium

Credit: Reuters

Seven people were taken to hospital after lightning hit a car park near the Tampa Bay Buccaneers American Football stadium in Florida.

A spokesman for Tampa Fire and Rescue said that it didn't appear that anyone was struck directly by the lightning and that no one suffered any serious injuries.

Earlier, the Green Bay Packers beat the Buccaneers 20-3.

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