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  1. A man has shot four people dead in a bank in southern Israel before turning the gun on himself, police say.

    One person was injured, while a woman held hostage for about an hour was freed before the gunman killed himself.

    Police initially described the incident as a robbery, but later said the man may have entered the bank with the intention of shooting.

    Investigators think he was refused a settlement over a 6,000-shekel (£1,070) overdraft, Israeli media said.

    "It appears that we are talking about a lone individual who came to the bank in the morning hours, sought cover for a debt, a loan, and did not get it," said Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.

    He told Army Radio that the man found he could not withdraw money from an automatic cash machine, and came back to the Bank Hapoalim branch in Beersheba with a pistol before opening fire.

    Witnesses were quoted as saying the gunman had killed a security guard at the bank before shooting three people who were lying on the floor.

    "He took a hostage, held her for close to an hour or more," Mr Aharonovitch said. "The moment the police forces burst in, he killed himself - shot himself and committed suicide."

    Media reports identified the attacker as a Jewish man in his 40s formerly employed as a paramilitary border guard.

    "We are not convinced entirely at this point that we are talking about a robbery or an attempted robbery," said national police chief Yohanan Danino.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the incident as a "great tragedy".

    "It is not a common event in Israel," he was quoted as saying. "An attack like this must not [be allowed] to recur."

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  2. Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius will not compete again this year as he awaits trial for murder.

     

    Pistorius, 26, is on bail after being charged with the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp but can compete before his court case is heard.

     

    His agent, Peet van Zyl, said the six-time Paralympic champion was not mentally ready to return to the track.

     

    "There was never any pressure from me or his coach (Ampie Louw) to return, it's his decision," said van Zyl.

     

    It means the South African will not compete in the IPC World Championships in Lyon in July.

     

    Pistorius was arrested after shooting Steenkamp dead on 14 February and has not competed since.

     

    The double amputee, known as Blade Runner because of the carbon fibre prosthetic blades he races in, claimed he mistook Steenkamp for a burglar and has denied murder.

     

    On 22 February, Pistorius was granted bail and had certain conditions lifted which meant he could compete in events outside his homeland.

     

    Coach Louw was quoted by Eye Witness News in South Africa as saying his athlete was "nowhere close" to being in a position to train.

     

    Pistorius had not been invited to compete in July's London Anniversary Games, with UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner saying he did not want the meeting to turn into a "media circus".

     

    However, Pistorius's agent said plenty of meeting organisers had been in touch to invite Pistorius to compete in their events.

     

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  3. Flooding and landslides across nine southern Chinese provinces have killed more than 50 people and left 14 missing, officials say.

    Guangdong was hardest hit, reporting 36 deaths after days of heavy rain, said the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

    Six people had died in Jiangxi, added the ministry.

    And further bad weather is forecast for Guangdong later on Saturday, with warnings of heavy wind and rain causing more flooding in the next few days.

    Teams of relief workers have been sent to oversee the recovery efforts in the hardest hit areas, officials said.

    Heavy rainstorms in Guangdong reportedly caused widespread flooding in the province's mountainous areas and affected nine cities including the provincial capital, Guangzhou.

    Nearly 900,000 people had been affected across the state, with floods destroying 2,675 houses, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

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  4. Rafael Nadal dropped only four games as he beat Roger Federer in 68 minutes to win his seventh Italian Open title.

     

    In the 30th career meeting between the pair, who share 28 Grand Slam singles titles, the Spaniard raced to a 6-1 6-3 victory at Rome's Foro Italico.

     

    In 2006 Nadal edged a classic final against Federer in this event, but this year he prevailed with plenty to spare.

     

     

    He has now won six of his eight tournaments since returning in February from a seven-month break due to injury.

     

    "If you'd told me that four or five months ago I would have said you are crazy," said the 26-year-old, who has won 36 of 38 matches in 2013.

     

    "So after eight tournaments, six victories and two finals, it's a dream for me."

     

    Nadal heads to the French Open in tremendous form as he looks to win an Open-era record eighth title at Roland Garros, and knowing he is likely to be seeded fourth - and so potentially avoid leading rival Novak Djokovic until the semi-finals.

     

    With 11 wins in their 13 previous matches on clay, the Spaniard was a heavy favourite against Federer in Rome, but the manner of this victory was still mightily impressive.

     

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  5. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's top aide has resigned over his role in a growing expenses scandal.

    Nigel Wright quit after revelations he had secretly given a senator a C$90,000 (£58,000; $87,000) cheque to help repay improperly claimed housing expenses.

    The conservative prime minister said he had accepted the resignation of his chief of staff "with great regret".

    Mr Wright is now expected to be replaced by Ray Novak, media reports in Canada say.

    Sen Mike Duffy, a former journalist, resigned from the Conservative caucus on Thursday two days after revelations about the cheque emerged.

    Nigel Wright is a managing director of a major Canadian private equity firm who has been on secondment to the prime minister's office since 2011.

    Opposition lawmakers say his cheque broke ethics rules barring senators from taking presents.

    On Sunday, Mr Wright said in a statement that he had decided to step down "in light of the controversy surrounding my handling of matters involving Senator Duffy".

    He stressed that he had not informed the prime minister about the cheque.

    The federal ethics commissioner is now examining the matter.

    On Friday, Senator Pamela Wallin also resigned from the Conservative caucus over an audit into her travel expenses.

    She is among four senators whose expenses have been under scrutiny since December of last year.

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  6. The US man accused of imprisoning three women for a decade in his house in Ohio will plead not guilty to all charges, his lawyers say.

    Ariel Castro, aged 52, is charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.

    The women were abducted at different times and held in Mr Castro's house in Cleveland. One of them escaped earlier this month and raised the alarm.

    "He's not a monster and he shouldn't be demonised," said lawyer Jaye Schlachet.

    Speaking to the AFP news agency, he added that details of Mr Castro's innocence "will be disclosed as the case progresses".

    Craig Weintraub, another defence lawyer, told WKYC-TV that his client "loves dearly'' the child he fathered with 27-year-old Amanda Berry - one of the three alleged kidnap victims.

    The other women freed from Mr Castro's house were Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32.

    The defence lawyers said they had spent four hours speaking to Mr Castro in prison.

    Prosecutors in Ohio have said they also plan to seek aggravated murder charges that could carry the death penalty.

    The charges relate to alleged forced miscarriages suffered by one victim.

    The prosecutors are still preparing their case against Mr Castro and there has yet to be an arraignment hearing.

    'Sexual predator'

    Mr Castro made his first court appearance in Cleveland on 9 May without entering a plea.

    County prosecutor Brian Murphy told that hearing: "The charges against Mr Castro are based on premeditated, deliberate, depraved decisions to snatch three young ladies from Cleveland West Side streets to be used in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit."

    He is charged with four counts of kidnapping, covering the three initial abduction victims and Jocelyn, Ms Berry's six-year-old daughter, who was apparently conceived and born in captivity.

    The former school bus driver also faces three counts of rape, one against each woman.

    Bail was set at $8m (£5.1m), meaning in effect that he has remained in custody ever since. He is currently on suicide watch and is being kept in isolation.

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  7. Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy has been arrested on suspicion of rape.

    The 26-year-old French international was held by Scotland Yard's sex crime squad along with two other men who were arrested in Fulham, west London.

    They were questioned over allegations that a 34-year-old woman was raped on 6 May by three men.

    Mr Remy's solicitors said the player denied the allegation, but he could not comment. The men have been released on bail until September.

    £8m deal

    The allegation was passed to the Met from Kent Police two days after the woman said she was attacked.

    A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "Three men, aged 26, 23 and 22, were arrested at an address in Fulham on suspicion of rape."

    Mr Remy joined QPR from Marseille in an £8m deal in January.

    In a statement Mr Remy's solicitors, Harbottle & Lewis, said: "Our client is aware of press reports concerning his arrest by the Metropolitan Police Service on the morning of 15 May 2013.

    "Our client denies the claim that has been made. Our client is not able to make any further comment in relation to this matter."

    It added he "has not been charged with any offence".

    A spokesperson for QPR said the club was "aware of the allegations" but could not comment while the police investigation was continuing.

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  8. Mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite are more attracted to human body odour than uninfected insects, a study suggests.

    Researchers found that infected insects were three times more likely to be lured towards a human scent.

    They believe that the deadly parasites are seizing control of their biting hosts and boosting their sense of smell.

    The research is published in the journal Plos One. 

    Dr James Logan, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), said: "One thing that always surprises me about parasites is how clever they are. They are these ever-evolving organisms that seem to be one step ahead of us the whole time."

    To carry out the study, the researchers infected malaria mosquitoes (Anopheles gambiae) with the most deadly form of parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.

    They placed about 100 of the infected insects into a container, along with some nylon stockings that had been previously worn by volunteers for 20 hours.

    "It is a very effective way of collecting body odour... the odour can remain attractive for months," explained Dr Logan.

    The scientists repeated the experiment with uninfected insects.

    They found that mosquitoes carrying the deadly parasite were three times more likely to be attracted to the smelly stockings.

    The scientists believe this is because the tiny parasitic organisms are manipulating their hosts' sense of smell.

    Dr Logan said: "We think it is giving them a heightened sense of smell. We are hypothesising there is an alteration somewhere in their olfactory system that allows them to find us quicker."

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  9. Part of a shoe factory has collapsed in Cambodia, leaving at least two people dead, officials say.

    The concrete roof at the factory in Kampong Speu province, west of Phnom Penh, crashed on to employees as they were working, a police spokesman said.

    Teams were working to rescue people from the rubble. At least six people were injured, police said.

    The garment industry is Cambodia's biggest employer and export earner.

    More than half a million people are employed in the industry, for which the minimum wage rose this month from $61 (£40) to $75 a month. Many of the factories make clothes for the US and European markets.

    Workplace safety in nations at the heart of the global garment industry has been in the spotlight in recent weeks, following the collapse of a commercial building housing garment factories in Bangladesh.

    More than 1,100 people died in the disaster, which was Bangladesh's worst industrial accident.

    Reports suggested as many as 100 people could have been working inside the factory when the collapse happened.

    "We cannot say how many were trapped under the debris," a local police chief told AFP news agency.

    One report said the weight of equipment stored on the roof caused the collapse.

    "We were working normally and suddenly several pieces of brick and iron started falling on us," injured 25-year-old Kong Thary was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

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  10. Japan's economy, the third largest in the world, expanded at its quickest pace in a year, showing signs of an economic recovery.

    Gross domestic product grew 0.9% in the three months to March compared to the previous quarter, indicating an annualised rate of 3.5%.

    Japan grew at a rate of 1% at the end of 2012 as it emerged from a recession.

    Analysts said it was a good report card for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's aggressive stimulus measures.

    "The Japanese economy is on the right track to recovery," said Hideki Matsumura, from the Japan Research Institute.

    He cited a jump in individual spending on the back of a rally in Japanese stocks, as well as recovering exports, as the main reasons.

    "The economy is expected to grow further for now thanks to the impact of Abenomics," Mr Matsumura added, referring to the name given to Mr Abe's attempt to stimulate Japan's stagnant economy with big government spending and aggressive central bank monetary easing.

    The policy shift is aimed at beating deflation, which Japan's economy has been suffering for almost two decades. Falling prices deter business and consumers from spending as they tend to hold out for a better deal.

    The central bank has therefore pumped trillions of yen into the money supply, pushing down the currency's value.

    That has helped exporters, making Japanese firm more competitive in overseas markets and increasing the value of their repatriated profits.

    The yen has lost about one quarter of its value since November last year, and that has also lead to a huge rally in Japanese stocks as investors rush to take advantage of bigger earnings potential for companies.

    The main Nikkei 225 index has risen 45% this year.

    A growth rate of 3.5% would mean Japan is outpacing the US, which expanded 2.5% in the January to March quarter, as well as the eurozone, which contracted 0.9%.

    However some analysts were more cautious, questioning whether the recovery could be sustained.

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