Good morning! Here’s what people will be chatting about on Thursday.
1. Two former leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime were sentenced to life in jail for crimes against humanity during the “killing fields” revolution in the 1970s. Former head of state Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, both now in their 80s, are the first senior officials to be held accountable for the regime responsible for the death of around 1/4 of Cambodia’s population.
2. Liberia declared a state of emergency to fight the Ebola outbreak. In a speech late Wednesday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said that the spread of the disease was exacerbated by “ignorance and poverty, as well as entrenched religious and cultural practices,” the AP reported. The death toll from Ebola has climbed to more than 900. Meanwhile, health experts are meeting in Geneva to discuss how to combat the virus.
3. Israel says it’s willing to extend a 72-hour truce in Gaza, while Hamas reportedly denies that any such agreement has been made, according to conflicting statements from officials of the two fighting groups quoted by Reuters. A three-day ceasefire took effect on Tuesday and expires on Friday.
4. In response to sanctions, Russian president Vladimir Putin has officially banned food imports from the U.S., E.U., Canada, Australia, and Norway. Earlier, Russian officials said they would discuss “an option to increase food imports from Ecuador, Brazil, Chile and Argentina with the countries’ ambassadors on Thursday,” according to Reuters.
5. Bank of America has reached a tentative deal with the Justice Department to pay more more than $US16 billion to settle allegations relating to mortgage fraud, which helped trigger the financial crisis. According to the Financial Times, if the agreement is finalised, it “will be the Department of Justice’s largest settlement with a single entity.”
6. Italy, the third largest economy in the Eurozone, is back in recession after GDP fell 0.2% in the second quarter.
7. Google is teaming up with Barnes & Noble to offer same-day book deliveries in a move to take on online retailer giant Amazon, The New York Times reports. “Starting on Thursday, book buyers in Manhattan, West Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area will be able to get same-day deliveries from local Barnes & Noble stores through Google Shopping Express, Google’s fledgling online shopping and delivery service,” the paper said.
8. Australia is holding a national day of mourning to remember the victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane that was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July. A total of 298 were killed in the tragedy; 38 were Australian, the Guardian said.
9. After a one-month break, the defence team and prosecutors are preparing to give their final closing arguments in the the Oscar Pistorius trial. The double-amputee runner is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
10. People who don’t get enough Vitamin D are more likely to get dementia later in life, according to “one of the biggest studies of its kind into the nutritional supplement,” The Independent said. Scientists found that senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were higher in elderly men and women with low levels of Vitamin D.
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta Spacecraft is sending back the first images and data after becoming the first probe ever to rendevous with a comet.
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