Talks planned. Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and European Union officials next week to make an attempt at “stabilizing the situation” in eastern Ukraine. The talks come as Ukrainian forces are making progress quelling the pro-Russian insurgency that sprung up earlier this year. On Monday, troops captured most of a town near Donetsk, the main rebel stronghold. Government troops also are battling the rebels in Luhansk, with fighting reported in the city center. According to the United Nations, 344,000 people have been forced to flee the fighting. Those who stayed face food and water shortages, and observers say the situation has exploded into a dire humanitarian crisis.
Death and hope. The death toll in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa has topped 1,200, World Health Organization officials announced today. Across Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria, 2,240 people have contracted the disease. But health officials also have cause to celebrate. Three Liberian doctors who received an experimental treatment are showing signs of “remarkable improvement,” Liberian officials said. The doctors got the last known doses of Zmapp, which also was given to two American missionaries being treated in Atlanta. More doses of the drug, developed by an American company, will take months to develop. In the meantime, some patients are recovering on their own, offering hope that with careful and early care, the outbreak might not be as deadly as many feared.
Rocket attacks renewed. Peace in Gaza appears to be over, at least for now. Israeli officials announced they had launched new airstrikes against targets in the Palestinian area after three rockets fired from Gaza City landed in Israel. No casualties were reported. The back and forth attacks followed five days of calm during which negotiators in Cairo tried to reach a permanent agreement. But on Monday, a Palestinian delegate to the talks said the two sides hadn’t made any progress at all. Hamas, the terror group ruling Gaza, wants an end to the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the tiny strip of land bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
School shooting averted. Two California high school students are under arrest for plotting to kill three staff members and as many students as possible at South Pasadena High School. School officials alerted police after noticing the students’ suspicious behavior. Police have not released details about what caused the concern. One of the students tried to run when officers showed up at his house with a search warrant. No other details about the ages of the students or a possible motive have been released.
Big voice goes silent. Don Pardo, the longtime voice of Saturday Night Live and a legend in radio and television, died Monday. He was 96. Pardo is most recently known for introducing the SNL cast members at the end of each show’s first skit, a vocal parade he started when the show first aired in 1975. He only missed one of its 38 seasons. But Pardo’s career started long before SNL and included stints on popular TV gameshows The Price is Right and Jeopardy! Americans watching NBC heard his voice announce that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. Pardo was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2010.