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Taiwan gas blasts kills 25

A series of gas explosions in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung has killed 25 people and injured 267 others, officials say. The blasts rocked the city's Cianjhen district, scattering cars and blowing deep trenches in roads. The exact cause of the gas leaks is not clear, but reports say the blasts were caused by ruptured pipelines. Images of the scene showed major fires, upturned vehicles, bodies covered in debris and streets split in two. The explosions happened late on Thursday night, with witnesses reporting huge fireballs soaring into the air. Taiwan's premier said there were at least five blasts.

Infected Ebola worker heads to the US

A hospital in Atlanta is preparing to receive a US aid worker infected with the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa. The unnamed patient will be flown to the US in the next few days for treatment at a high-security ward at Emory University Hospital, medics said. The worst outbreak in history has swept through the region, killing 729 people. A spokeswoman for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said her agency was working on the transfer with the US State Department. Barbara Reynolds said she was not aware of any Ebola patient ever being treated in the US before. But in a statement, the Atlanta hospital said it has an isolation unit which is specially equipped to deal with this kind of infection. On Friday, the head of the World Health Organization and leaders of West African nations affected by the Ebola outbreak are expected to announce a joint $100m (£59m; 75m euro) response plan. Sierra Leone's president has declared a public health emergency over the outbreak after 233 people died there. Ebola spreads through human contact with a sufferer's bodily fluids.

UN sends aid convoy into Syria

The United Nations has sent its first aid convoy into Syria without the consent of the government in Damascus.It comes a week after the UN adopted a resolution allowing aid deliveries without the Syrian government's approval. Officials said, nine trucks carrying food and sanitation supplies entered Syria from Turkey on Thursday. The UN says more than 10.8 million Syrians are in need of aid after more than three years of brutal civil war.More than 150,000 people have been killed in Syria and over 9 million have been displaced from their homes by the fighting, which began in 2011 as an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Fourth female suicide bomber hits Nigeria's Kano

A female suicide bomber blew herself up in a college in northern Nigeria's biggest city of Kano on Wednesday, killing six people and critically wounding another six in the fourth such attack by a woman in Kano in less than a week, a security source said. The bomber targeted youths who were looking at a notice board for national youth service in Kano Polytechnic, the source said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although militant group Boko Haram, which is fighting for an Islamic state in religiously-mixed Nigeria, has repeatedly bombed Kano as it radiates attacks outwards from its northeast heartlands. Using female suicide bombers in the city appears to be a new tactic of Boko Haram, although they have used them on occasion for years in the northeast. Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up at a trade show and a petrol station in Kano on Monday, killing one other person and injuring at least six others. On Sunday, a female suicide bomber killed herself but no one else while trying to target police officers. In a separate incident on Tuesday, two suicide bombers killed 13 people in attacks on two mosques in the town of Potiskum, in Yobe state in the northeast, a medical official there told Reuters on Wednesday.

Hamas ties ceasefire to blockade

The leader of Islamic militant group Hamas has said there can be no ceasefire to ease the conflict in Gaza without an end to Israel’s blockade. Khaled Meshaal said Hamas would continue to reject a lasting ceasefire until its conditions were met following further Israel air strikes and ground operations in Gaza, as Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel. Israel launched its offensive on 8 July with the declared objective of stopping rocket fire from Gaza. At least 649 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 31 Israelis have been killed in 15 days of fighting, as Israel targets militant rocket crews inside the densely populated Gaza Strip. Earlier The UN's top human rights official. Navi Pillay condemned Israel's military actions in the Gaza Strip and criticised Hamas for "indiscriminate attacks" on Israel

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