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News Digest: Rivers remains in New York hospital after heart attack


Comedian Joan Rivers

Comedian Joan Rivers

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Comedian Joan Rivers

Comedian Joan Rivers remains in a New York City hospital after going into cardiac arrest at a doctor's office.

Daughter Melissa Rivers said her mother was resting comfortably after falling ill on Thursday.

She did not elaborate on the 81-year-old's condition. She offered thanks for an outpouring of "love and support" and asked for continuing thoughts and prayers.

The comedian with 50 years of showbusiness under her belt has spawned a reputation for often critical red carpet fashion commentary.

A show she had scheduled today at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey, has been postponed.

Tests raise Ebola vaccine hopes

An experimental treatment for Ebola has cured 100% of infected monkeys in a test.

The ZMapp drug was effective even when given five days after the animals displayed severe symptoms of the virus.

Two US doctors given the drug after being infected in Liberia have also recovered, but it is not know Zmapp was responsible or they were lucky.

At least two other patients treated with it have died.

The tests were conducted by scientists led by Gary Kobinger, from the Public Health Agency of Canada. He said: "ZMapp exceeds the efficacy of any other therapeutics described so far, and results warrant further development for clinical use."

"We hope that initial safety testing in humans will be undertaken soon, preferably within the next few months."

Out of 3,069 cases reported so far, thee have been 1,552 deaths.

Ebola, belonging to the family of filoviruses, ranks alongside Marburg virus as one of the world's deadliest infections.

Fatality rates in previous outbreaks have hit 90%.

It kills by overwhelming the immune system and sending the body into shock as blood pressure drops to dangerous levels.

There is no approved vaccine or post-exposure treatment.

Diplomats urge Russia sanctions

EU foreign ministers yesterday accused Russia of invading eastern Ukraine and said Moscow should be punished with more sanctions.

Days after Nato claimed Russia had slipped 1,000 soldiers and heavy weaponry into Ukraine, the EU's top diplomats met in Italy to discuss the crisis.

Afterwards, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said: "We see regular Russian army units operating on Ukrainian territory. We must call a spade a spade."

The diplomats are set to propose new sanctions for consideration today, but no official has said what form they would take.

The US and EU has already imposed sanctions on dozens of Russian officials, several firms and the country's finance sector. Moscow has retaliated by banning food imports.

Beyond the EU, US President Barack Obama said Russian support for rebel combatants in eastern Ukraine must incur "more costs and consequences".

Russia strongly denied it had invaded Ukraine, where fighting between State forces and rebels has claimed 2,200 lives.

Lethal leprosy threat to native red squirrels

Red squirrels in Scotland are being killed by a form of leprosy that makes them lose their fur and die after causing painful swelling to their noses, ears and feet. The new infection is the latest threat to the rare animals that have been in decline for years due to competition from invasive grey squirrels and the deadly squirrelpox virus. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have discovered six cases caused by bacteria similar to Mycobacterium lepromatosis, which causes leprosy, since 2006.

London property prices rise by 19.3% in a year

London house prices leapt by 19.3% annually in July, marking the biggest year-on-year increase seen in the capital in more than a decade, Land Registry figures show. At £457,072, the average house price in London is more than two-and-a-half times the typical property value of £175,653 across England and Wales. The last time that prices in London saw such a large increase was in March 2003 during the boom. Prices in the capital also rose by 3.3% month-on-month in July.

Belfast Telegraph