Good morning! Here’s what people will be chatting about on Wednesday.
1. The World Health Organisation is holding a two-day emergency meeting in Geneva to discuss the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Summit members will determine whether the disease outbreak is a “public health emergency of international concern,” the United Nations said in a statement. The outcome will be announced at a press conference on Friday, Aug. 8.
2. A Russian hacker group stole 1.2 billion usernames and passwords, a U.S. security firm has said. The New York Times, which first reported the findings, described the breach as the “largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials.”
3. Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox withdrew a $US71 billion bid for Time Warner. Time Warner rejected Fox’s initial offer made in June. Speaking to the FT, a source close to the company said no future deal would be made.
4. A high-ranking Army officer, Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, was killed by an Afghan solider in an attack on a military training academy on Tuesday. General Greene was “an engineer by training whose missions usually did not involve guns and grenades,” The New York Times wrote. “His goal was to integrate smartphones, video conferences and even virtual worlds into a military culture that often prized hardware rather than software.”
5. The first television debate between the leaders of the “yes” and “no” campaigns over Scottish independence — Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling — was held on Tuesday night. According to a Guardian poll, Salmond, the Scottish National Party chief arguing for Scottish independence, lost the live debate to Alistair Darling, the leader of the Better Together campaign.
6. In an interview with the BBC, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. “stands squarely behind Israel’s right” to defend itself against rocket attacks. “I believe that the situation now that has evolved will concentrate people’s minds on the need to get back to the negotiation and try and resolve the issues of the two states,” Kerry added.
7. New York State’s financial regulator, Benjamin M. Lawsky, is discussing a possible settlement with British bank Standard Chartered over allegations that the bank failed “to detect transactions vulnerable to money laundering,” The New York Times said, citing people familiar with the matter. In 2012, Standard Charted was fined $US340 million by the same regulator for money-laundering violations.
8. Apple and Samsung announced they have settled all patent disputes over smartphones and tablets outside the U.S. In a joint statement, the two companies said: “This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts.”
9. A new study about the effects of aspirin says the drug “could dramatically cut people’s chances of getting and dying from common cancers,” the Guardian said. A team from Queen Mary University of London concluded that taking a low-dose of aspirin everyday for at least 5 years could reduce the risk of certain cancers, but warns that it could increase the risk of stomach bleeds.
10. The Rosetta spacecraft is about to become the first-ever probe to orbit around and land on a comet. The spacecraft, operated by the European Space Agency, has been on a 10-year, 4 billion mile journey through space.
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