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News Digest: Bank rejects F1 boss's £20m offer to settle stake dispute

A German bank that once held a major stake in Formula One has rejected Bernie Ecclestone's offer of a €25m (£20m) settlement in a dispute over the sale of that stake.

Earlier this week a Munich court dropped a bribery case against Ecclestone connected to the sale of Munich-based bank BayernLB's F1 stake in exchange for a £60m payment.

Separately, BayernLB has been keeping open the option of civil proceedings against the 83-year-old. Ecclestone's lawyers offered to pay the bank £20m. The bank said it rejected the offer, without giving reasons, and did not say what its next move might be.

WHO in Ebola international alert

The World Health Organisation has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread.

It is the largest and longest outbreak ever recorded of Ebola, which has a death rate of about 50% and has so far killed at least 932 people. WHO declared similar emergencies for the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and for polio in May.

WHO chief Dr Margaret Chan said the announcement is "a clear call for international solidarity", although she acknowledged many countries would probably not have any Ebola cases.

"Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own," Ms Chan said at a news conference in Geneva. "I urge the international community to provide this support on the most urgent basis possible."

The agency had convened an expert committee this week to assess the severity of the continuing epidemic.

The current outbreak of Ebola began in Guinea in March and has since spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, with a suspected cluster in Nigeria. There is no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola.

The impact of the WHO declaration is unclear; the declaration about polio does not yet seem to have slowed the spread of the virus.

In the US, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have already elevated their Ebola response to the highest level.

Man sets fire to home while tackling ants nest

A man has set fire to his house after trying to get rid of an ants nest by dousing it with petrol and lighting it.

The incident in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, follows a similar blaze earlier this week in Bridgend, South Wales, when a man managed to start a fire at his home as he tried to kill a spider with an aerosol spray.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue said the man had initially set light to his hedge but this spread to the outside of his house.

Briton and wife jailed for data law breaches

A British man and his American wife have been handed prison terms on charges of illegally trading in the personal details of Chinese citizens after they testified that they bought such information to help companies combat fraud.

Peter Humphrey and Yingzeng Yu operated a firm in Shanghai that helped companies screen potential business partners and employees. After a one-day trial, Humphrey was sentenced to two-and-a-half years, to be followed by expulsion from China. Yu was sentenced to two years.

Clarifications and corrections: Portstewart Strand

On P3 of yesterday's Belfast Telegraph (August 8) it was stated that Portstewart Strand was to be completely closed for filming of Game of Thrones until today. Restricted access has been permitted from yesterday and will continue until Monday. A picture of actress Emilia Clarke for the same story was wrongly identified as Lena Headey.

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