Panama confirms four microcephaly cases tied to Zika

Four babies born with microcephaly linked to the Zika virus have been confirmed in Panama, the health ministry said.

There is a total of 264 cases of the mosquito-borne infection in the country.

Public health officials have been concerned about the possibility of a surge in the rare birth defect, seen in high numbers in Brazil, as the virus spreads rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Fourteen pregnant women have contracted the virus, and six babies who were infected with Zika were born with malformations, including the microcephaly cases, the health ministry said.

Woman rescued six days after Kenya building collapse

A woman was pulled alive from the rubble of a building that collapsed when heavy rains hit Nairobi in Kenya six days ago, a reporter on the scene said.

The woman was pulled out hours after being located this morning by rescuers who gave her oxygen while they continued with efforts to extract her from the ruins of the six-storey building.

Officials have so far confirmed a death toll of 33 but at least 80 more people are believed to be missing. A total of 137 people have now been rescued.

Sri Lanka suspends politicians after worst brawl in 12 years

Sri Lanka's parliament voted unanimously to suspend two of its members for one week over their involvement in the worst punch-up in the legislature in 12 years.

The two men, one from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party and the other from an opposition faction loyal to former president Mahinda Rajapakse, were held responsible for sparking a brawl on Tuesday.

The chamber descended into chaos after former army chief Sarath Fonseka said a 2006 bombing in Colombo was an inside job. One politician was hospitalised after receiving a black eye while several others suffered minor injuries.

Tuesday's violence was the worst since a June 2004 attack on a Buddhist monk by lawmakers from the then ruling party. 

Bangladeshi Islamist leader to be executed for war crimes

Leader of Bangladesh's top Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami is set to be executed within days after the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence for war crimes.

Motiur Rahman Nizami was convicted of murder, rape and orchestrating the killing of intellectuals during the country's 1971 independence struggle.

"We're satisfied. Now there is no bar to execute him unless he seeks clemency from the president and the president pardons him," Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said after the Supreme Court dismissed Nizami's final appeal.

A defence lawyer for the 73-year-old said he would not seek clemency.

Helicopter group seeks bankruptcy protection

One of the world's largest helicopter operators, the CHC Group, has filed for bankruptcy protection. 

It comes just days after a fatal crash of one of its helicopters in Norway forced the company to ground much of its fleet.

It joins a number of of oil-field services companies caught by the downturn in global energy prices.

CHC Ireland Ltd is not included in the administration of its parent company and is not impacted by the move. 

CHC provides the helicopter search and rescue service for the Irish Coast Guard from its four main bases at Dublin, Sligo, Shannon and Waterford for the State.