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Iraq 'expels Isis militants from a major oil refinery' forces claim

Iraqi forces say they have driven away Islamic State militants from around the country's largest oil refinery.

It comes a day after officials said they had retaken the nearby town of Baiji, which had been under militant control since June.

The top US military officer, General Martin Dempsey, has also arrived in Iraq on an unannounced visit.

It is his first trip since a US-led coalition began a campaign of airstrikes against the militants.

More than 1,000 non-combat American forces are in Iraq to help train the national army. President Obama has authorised sending up to 1,500 more to support Iraqi forces.

Ebola patient to be treated in US

A Sierra Leone surgeon with Ebola being flown to the United States for treatment is critically ill, the Nebraska Medical Center said yesterday.

Dr. Martin Salia, a 44-year-old permanent U.S. resident, was stable enough to make flight from West Africa to the United States. The hospital said in a statement yesterday that the plane carrying Salia, whom it didn't identify by name, was expected to land in Omaha at around 2 p.m. local time. He will be the third Ebola patient at the Omaha hospital and the 10th person with Ebola to be treated in the US.

Cyprus happy with Moody's rating

Cyprus's government has hailed rating agency Moody's three-notch upgrade of the bailed-out country's credit grade as validation of its adherence to the terms of its rescue.

Moody's said the upgrade to B3 from Caa3 with a stable outlook reflects the government's progress so far in shoring up the country's finances and buttressing a hobbled banking sector.

Even with the upgrade, the rating is still "junk," or non-investment grade.

Moody's said Cyprus still faces a weak economic outlook and a burgeoning number of bad loans.

Rating agency Standard & Poor's last month gave Cyprus a one-notch upgrade.

Brazil cannibals get 23-year sentence

Three people in Brazil have been sentenced to 20-23 years in prison over killing two women, eating parts of their bodies and using some of their flesh to make and sell stuffed pastries.

An official at the court in the north-eastern city of Olinda said the seven-person jury handed down the sentences last night. Jorge Beltrao Negromonte da Silveira was sentenced to 23 years in prison while his wife, Isabel Cristina Pires, and his mistress, Bruna Cristina Oliveira da Silva, each received 20-year terms. The three were arrested in April 2012, and police said they confessed to the crimes.

The defendants' lawyers told reporters they would appeal the sentences.

Sunday Independent