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News Digest: Ebola nurse is no longer critically ill

British nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, "is showing signs of improvement and is no longer critically ill", according to the hospital treating her.

The Scottish public health nurse remains in isolation at London's Royal Free Hospital where she is receiving specialist care. The news suggests she has "turned a corner", although it is impossible to say how long a full recovery will take, according to Professor Hugh Pennington, one of Britain's leading microbiologists.

"The likely thing is she will make a full recovery," he said. "Sometimes it can take several months. That will depend on the patient, you can't make predictions about that at all.''

2m to miss out on full State pension

Some two million retiring pensioners will miss out on getting the full new State pension when it comes into force next year.

About 3.5 million workers will reach their State pension age between 2016 and 2020 but, out of these, only 45% will be entitled to a full new pension of at least £148.40, pensions firm Hargreaves Lansdown has stated.

The current means-tested State pension, which is made up of a basic payment and top-ups linked to career earnings, is set to be replaced with a single payment of at least £148.40 in today's money.

People who reach pensionable age after April 2016 will see their national insurance contributions count towards a "single tier" amount.

But a Freedom of Information request submitted by Hargreaves Lansdown has revealed that just 45% of those retiring between 2016 and 2020 are set to receive the full pension amount. It includes one million pensioners in the first five years who are set to receive less than 86% of the new pension.

The majority of people falling short of the full State pension are likely to have been contracted out during their working lives.

'Idiot' pundit slammed for city slur

An American news pundit who claimed Britain's second city was a "no-go" zone for non-Muslims has been branded "a complete idiot" by David Cameron, with others accusing him of fear-mongering.

Steven Emerson was forced to apologise after he said "there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don't go in", while appearing on Fox News.

The Prime Minister told ITV News: "When I heard this, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fool's Day. This guy is clearly a complete idiot.

"Now he has started with an apology, that's not a bad start, but what he should do is look at Birmingham and see what a fantastic example it is of bringing people together of different faiths, different backgrounds and actually building a world-class, brilliant city with a great and strong economy."

Mr Emerson later apologised for his "terrible error" regarding "the beautiful city of Birmingham" and suggested the remarks had been down to "other sources".

Divers find second black box in AirAsia wreckage

Divers have found the second black box from the AirAsia plane that crashed more than two weeks ago, but they have not been able to free it from debris on the floor of the Java Sea.

The cockpit voice recorder was located just hours after officials said the data flight recorder had been brought to the surface.

Divers are working to free it from under heavy wreckage.

The instruments are vital to understanding what brought Flight 8501 down on December 28, killing all 162 people on board.

69 funeral-goers killed by crocodile bile in their beer

Crocodile bile is believed to have been put into traditional beer at a funeral in Mozambique, killing 69 people.

The deadly liquid, produced in the liver and stored in the gall bladder, is thought to have been put into beer that killed 69 people at the funeral on Saturday in north-east Tete province.

A health official said poisoning by crocodile bile was common in the area. According to some traditions, when a crocodile is killed the bile must be removed and buried in front of witnesses to prove it has not fallen into the wrong hands.

Belfast Telegraph


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