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Gorbachev ally who helped broker end of Cold War dies

Eduard Shevardnadze, a ground-breaking Soviet foreign minister and later the President of an independent Georgia, has died at the age of 86 after a long illness.

Mr Shevardnadze swept heroically across the international stage in the final years of the Soviet empire, helping topple the Berlin Wall and end the Cold War. But as the leader of post-Soviet Georgia, his career ended in humiliation and he was chased out of his parliament and forced into retirement.

As Soviet foreign minister he was the diplomatic face of Mikhail Gorbachev's liberalising policies of glasnost and perestroika. Mr Shevardnadze's wife Nanuli died in 2004. The couple had a daughter and a son.

Israelis admit murder of Arab teen

Three Israeli suspects over the killing of a Palestinian teenager who was abducted and burned to death last week have confessed, an official said.

The confessions come as violence continued on Israel's volatile front with the Gaza Strip. Palestinian militants bombarded Israel with some 40 rockets and mortars, drawing Israeli air strikes in retaliation, and at least eight Palestinian militants were killed.

As Israel pressed ahead with a mobilisation of forces along the Gaza border, the Hamas militant group vowed revenge.

Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said Israel was "prepared for a potential deterioration" in Gaza "with potential to use military force as required".

The region has been on edge for weeks since three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank.

Last week, hours after they were buried, 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was abducted from outside his home in east Jerusalem and his charred remains were found shortly afterwards in a Jerusalem forest.

His death triggered days of violent protests in Arab areas of Jerusalem and northern Israel. The Jewish suspects, all from the Jerusalem area, have not been identified and remain in custody.

Agony of killer bear boy's family

The parents of a schoolboy killed by a polar bear "would not have let him go" on the Arctic expedition without believing he would be properly protected, an inquest heard.

Horatio Chapple (17) was on an adventure holiday to the remote Svalbard islands in August 2011 with the British Schools Exploring Society when he died.

The Eton pupil from Salisbury, Wiltshire, was sleeping in his tent when the bear went on the rampage, inflicting fatal injuries to his head and upper body. Four others were hurt before the bear was shot dead. Horatio's parents, GP Olivia and surgeon David Chapple, understood Horatio would be equipped with a pen flare, with a working trip wire around his camp site and a weapon available to a trip leader in case of an attack. However, the expedition did not have enough pen flares to frighten approaching bears and there was also a shortage of stakes for the tripwire.

"I believed and trusted the things that were listed, otherwise I wouldn't have let him go," said Mr Chapple.

Sobbing mother admits killing her three children

A mother has wept in the dock at the Old Bailey as she admitted killing her three young disabled children in April.

Tania Clarence (42) pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Olivia (4) and three-year-old twins Ben and Max by diminished responsibility.

But Clarence, from south London, denied murdering the three when she appeared. All three children suffered from type 2 spinal muscular atrophy, known as floppy baby syndrome.

A trial was scheduled for next February.

Earthquake measuring 6.9 rocks Pacific Coast

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake on the Pacific Coast has jolted a wide area of southern Mexico and Central America.

At least three people are reported dead and dozens of houses damaged in Guatemala.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at 6.23am local time on the Pacific Coast five miles north-east of Puerto Madero, near the Guatemala border. "I thought the house was going to collapse," said Claudia Gonzales (32) who ran to the street in the town of Comitan with her daughter.

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