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News Digest: Sarkozy hitting comeback trail with a political score to settle


Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy


Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy will announce his political comeback next Thursday, immediately after a press conference by President Francois Hollande, friends said yesterday.

Mr Hollande, humiliated by an ex-girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler's memoirs and weakened by a mutiny within Socialist ranks, now faces the prospect of being upstaged by Mr Sarkozy.

The former conservative president, who withdrew from politics after being defeated by Mr Hollande in 2012, will relaunch himself as the man "to save France", a close aide said.

"He is determined to settle the score with Hollande," Mr Sarkozy's former adviser Henri Guainot said. Mr Sarkozy is set for a long campaign.

Ebola infection toll passes 4,200

A surge in new cases has seen the number of people believed to be infected with Ebola pass 4,200, according to World Health Organisation figures.

The toll includes more than 500 new cases in Liberia in just a week.

The UN health agency has said that it expects thousands of new infections in Liberia, the hardest hit country in the current outbreak, in the coming weeks.

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An Ebola epidemic in West Africa is spiralling out of control and moving faster than efforts to contain it. New figures published by the WHO attribute more than 2,200 deaths to Ebola.

Earlier, the African Union said it had agreed to send medical support teams to the West African countries affected by Ebola for a six-month mission.

The Ebola outbreak began in Guinea and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. The hardest hit of those countries desperately need more healthcare and humanitarian workers to respond to the crisis.

The African Union is sending at least 100 people to support efforts to contain the outbreak. The European Union promised £4m to fund the mission.

Obama to tell nation of Isis fight

President Barack Obama will today unveil his plans to confront Islamic State militants in a prime-time address to the nation.

Mr Obama will discuss the threat posed by the the militants – also known as Isis – and a strategy for "degrading and ultimately destroying" the group, the White House said.

Ahead of his address, Obama is meeting congressional leaders at the White House. Officials have said the president is seeking "buy-in" from politicians but they have not specified whether Obama will seek an authorisation for use of force.

The US is already launching air strikes against militants in Iraq, actions taken at the invitation of the Iraqi government and without congressional authorisation.

And Iraqi politicians have urged the country's new prime minister to quickly assign the critical posts of defence and interior minister which will spearhead efforts to combat the militants. Prime Minister Haider Abadi had said he would appoint them in a week's time.

Jazz world in mourning for band leader Wilson

Gerald Wilson, a dynamic jazz musician whose career spanned more than 75 years, has died aged 96.

Wilson's son, Anthony Wilson, said his father died on Monday at his home from pneumonia.

The big band leader began his career in the 1930s as a trumpeter for Jimmy Lunceford's band before forming his own group. He played and composed music with the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie, and arranged music for Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles.

Anti-logging activist is murdered in Amazon

An outspoken opponent of illegal logging and three other native Ashaninka community leaders have been shot dead.

Edwin Chota had received frequent death threats from illegal loggers, who he had tried for years to expel from the lands for which his community was seeking title.

Illegal loggers are suspected. Corruption lets the loggers operate with impunity, stripping the Amazon region's river basins of prized hardwoods, especially mahogany and tropical cedar.

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