Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
The number of new confirmed Ebola cases totalled 99 in the week to Jan. 25, the lowest tally since June 2014, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, signalling the tide might have turned against the epidemic. "The response to the EVD (Ebola virus disease) epidemic has now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing transmission to ending the epidemic," the WHO said. "To achieve this goal as quickly as possible, efforts have moved from rapidly building infrastructure to ensuring that capacity for case finding, case management, safe burials, and community engagement is used as effectively as possible." The outbreak has killed 8,810 people out of 22,092 cases, almost all of them in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Cases and deaths have fallen rapidly in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the past few weeks, with 20 deaths recorded in Liberia in the 21 days to Jan. 25 -- less than one a day.
The government of Central African Republic said on Thursday it rejected a ceasefire deal made in Kenya between two militia groups aimed at ending more than a year of clashes and attacks in which thousands have died. Central African Republic has been gripped by violence since the Seleka rebelled and seized power in March 2013. The Seleka occupies much of the north and an interim government is struggling to assert its authority.
Serena Williams battled past gallant Madison Keys Thursday to set up a dream Australian Open final between the top two seeds after arch-rival Maria Sharapova demolished Ekaterina Makarova. She has a 16-2 record against Sharapova, with the Russian five-time Grand Slam champion losing their every encounter since 2004. Despite the ominous statistic, Sharapova has been in outstanding touch and blew away fellow Russian Makarova 6-3, 6-2 on a blustery afternoon on Rod Laver Arena. She is now in her fourth Australian final, having won in 2008.