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UK: Police killer Harry Roberts to be freed
A notorious killer who shot three unarmed police officers 45 years ago will be released from prison within days. Police chiefs say the parole board's decision to release Harry Roberts, 78, who was jailed in 1966, is a “slap in the face”. He shot dead three officers in front of children playing in a street after they pulled over a van containing Roberts and two others, which contained weapons for their planned robbery. Roberts received three life sentences for the crimes that shocked the country. Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the decision is a “slap in the face for the families of the three police officers he brutally murdered who, once again, are forced to re-live their pain and loss”. JM
South Sudan: Peace deal offers hope
There is a glimmer of hope that peace may be restored to South Sudan following a meeting with three factions of the ruling party on Monday (20/10). Meeting in the Tanzanian city of Arusha they accepted joint responsibility for the war that has devastated the nation for the past 10 months. The factions of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement signed a deal acknowledging a “collective responsibility”. The talks in Arusha are the first sign of improvement, but peace will not be achieved without the support of both President Salva Kiir and his sacked former deputy, Riek Machar. JM
Ottawa shooting: Canada will not be intimidated
Canadian PM Stephen Harper has said his country "will never be intimidated" after a deadly gun attack near the national parliament in the capital Ottawa. Gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed a soldier at an Ottawa war memorial, before forcing his way into the building and dying in a shootout with police. The attack came two days after an alleged convert to jihadi ran down and killed another soldier in what authorities branded a terrorist attack. Authorities raised the security threat level from low to medium on Tuesday, which came as Canadian jets were to join the US-led air armada bombarding Islamist militants in Iraq. Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned that "facts are still being gathered" as he condemned the “despicable attack." RK
UK: NHS needs extra £8bn say health bosses
Drastic changes and extra cash are needed to ensure the NHS can safeguard its future, easing pressure on hospitals and giving patients better care. A five-year plan highlighted that an annual £30bn shortfall would open by 2020, which needs to be plugged by switching funds from hospitals into other services, such as GP surgeries. NHS bosses warned that patients may suffer “severe” consequences if Westminster doesn't accept the need for funding to increase from £100bn to £120bn by the end of the next parliament – an extra £8bn on top of planned increases in line with inflation. Sources close to health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the government plans to "respond substantively" to the report in due course. RK
Nepal: Mountain rules tightened in wake of Himalayan disaster
Trekkers will be required to take guides and weather forecasts improved when the Nepalese government introduces new rules, following the country's worst hiking disaster. The tourism department has said trekkers will be required to rent a GPS tracking unit to help authorities trace them and take a trained local guide, when new rules are introduced in the spring. At least 41 people were killed last week when a blizzard and avalanches swept across the mountans in northern Nepal. Of those, 21 were foreign trekkers from countries including Canada, Poland, Slovakia, India, Japan, China and Israel. Tourism department official Tulasi Gautam said: “The main reason for the high number of casualties is that those trekkers without proper guides were prompted to continue with their trek in attempts to beat the storm. So we plan to strictly enforce new rules of no trekking without porters or proper guides.” JM
South Africa: Oscar Pistorius jailed for five years
South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in jail for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but his 'short' sentence has been criticised by campaigners. The sentence was handed down by high court judge Thokozile Masipa on Tuesday (21-10), bringing an end to the 49-day trail which has gripped the world. However the jail term has sparked outrage on social media after it was revealed that 10 months into his sentence, Pistorius would be eligible to apply to serve the rest under house arrest. Many argue the athlete should have been convicted of murder instead of culpable homicide. The 27-yerar-old double-amputee shot Steenkamp four times through the toilet door on Valentine's Day last year after mistaking her for an intruder. JM
South Korea: 'Christmas tree' pulled down
South Korea has taken down a steel tower on its border with the North after the totalitarian state threatened to bomb it as “religious propaganda”. The 43-year-old tower has previously been covered in colourful lights and topped with a cross for Christmas by Christian groups. But the 'Christmas tree', which is only two miles from the border, was demolished last week as North Koreans condemned it as propaganda warfare. The news of the dismantling came three days after troops from the rival states exchanged fire along the border. Earlier this month, there were signs of easing tensions after a high-profile delegation from the North visited the South and agreed to revive senior-level talks. RK
USA: Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies
Ben Bradlee, the editor who reigned over the Washington Post during the notorious Watergate scandal, has died aged 93. He died of natural causes on Tuesday (21-10) at his Washington home, leaving behind a lasting legacy. Bradlee, who was editor of the Post from 1968-1991, was hailed for having “the courage of an army”. He was also a friend to former President John F. Kennedy, and was awarded the country's highest civilian honour – the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year. In a statement President Barack Obama said: “For Benjamin Bradlee, journalism was more than a profession – it was a public good vital to our democracy.” RK
Australia: Domestic violence reforms to empower victims
Women's groups have welcomed legislation in NSW which means victims will be able to give evidence in court via a pre-recorded statement and police will be able to use body-mounted cameras to record evidence. The reforms, to be introduced on Tuesday, are a nationwide first but domestic violence groups say they still need to check out the details. Moo Baulch, domestic violence NSW chief executive, said: “Anything that takes the pressure off victims giving evidence in court has to be helpful. Women are inevitably going to be traumatised in that moment when police arrive at 4am, and there's abuse and violence going on.” Under the reforms a victim must give his or her consent to be filmed and the perpetrator will have access to the video before trial under strict conditions. JM
Northern Ireland: Ban on paying for sex is approved
Paying for sex will become illegal in Northern Ireland under new measures backed by the Stormont Assembly last night (20-10). The proposal to outlaw purchasing sex is among a number of clauses contained in a bill aimed at amending laws on trafficking and prostitution. Currently paid-for consensual sex is legal in Northern Ireland but activities such as brothel-keeping, pimping and kerb-crawling are not. The clause was passed by 81 votes to 10 but Stormont's justice minister, David Ford, leader of the cross-community Alliance party, opposed the ban. Research published by Queen's University in Belfast found that approximately 17,500 men pay for sex in Northern Ireland each year. The ban will follow Sweden which made buying sex illegal in 1999. JM
Unicef: A child is killed by violence every five minutes
Violence kills a child every five minutes in the world, according to a leading charity. The UN children's agency, Unicef, warns that 345 children under 20 could die from violence every day over the next year, if the world fails to agree a commitment to safeguarding young people in their homes, schools and communities. The report, Children in Danger: Act to End Violence against Children, found that more than 75% of violent child deaths are the result of interpersonal violence, rather than conflict. Unicef claims only 41 countries have an explicit ban on violence against children, but the report states that richer countries should not be complacent as no nation is currently providing children with the protection they need. RK
Australia: Former PM Gough Whitlam dies
Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, credited with transforming Australian society in the 1970s, has died at the age of 98. The Whitlam government created Australia's national health insurance scheme, abolished university fees, introduced state aid and strengthened ties abroad. However, his three years in office was plagued by resignations and ended with his controversial dismissal by the governor-general. In a statement, Mr Whitlam's family said he was a “loving and generous father, he was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians.’’ RK
Egypt: Cairo bombing wounds 12 people
A bomb blast in central Cairo has left 12 injured after a court sentenced seven Islamic militants to death over terror attacks last year, Egypt's offical news agency has reported.The explosion was caused by a homemade bomb placed in a busy district near a court house and subway station.Earlier in the day an Egyptian court sentenced seven militants to death following the killing of 25 soldiers last year. Egypt has witnesses a series of suicide bombings, assassinations and attacks over the past year after the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Most of the attacks were carried out by al-Qaida-inspired group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which is based in the northern region of Sinao Peninsula, where the Egyptian army has been carrying out a year-long offensive. JM
Ebola outbreak: Facebook CEO donates $25m to fight Ebola
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr Priscilla Chan, are donating $25m to help fight against the worst-ever Ebola outbreak in west Africa.The money will go to the CDC Foundation, a non-profit organisation securing donations to help the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fight the epidemic, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives.CDC has so far received an estimated $40m in commitments and donations to help combat the crisis.Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post: “We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome.“We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long-term global health crisis.”JM
UK: Boris urged to ban smoking in London's parks
Smoking in London's parks would become illegal under proposals from health advisers appointed by the mayor, Boris Johnson. The plans follow a review of health across the capital and would see bylaws banning smoking in outside areas including famous landmarks like Trafalgar and Parliament Square to make it one of the world's healthiest cities.Professor Sally Davies, the government's chief medical officer for England, said it would help deter young people from smoking by reducing the likelihood of them seeing adults lighting up. She said: “I welcome any measures to reduce both active smoking and its role-modelling in front of children.”In 2007 smoking was made illegal in enclosed public spaces such as pubs, clubs and restaurants across the UK. Smoking-related diseases are estimated to cause 8,400 premature deaths and 51,000 hospital admissions a year in the capital. RK
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