Bomb threats targeted US Jewish community centres in at least six states today, and some were made with prerecorded telephone calls, according to an official with the Jewish Federations of North America. It's not clear why up to 20 Jewish community centres across the South and Northeast were targeted, said Richard Sandler, chair of the JFNA board of trustees."Some of the threats were robo-calls," said Sandler, adding that the number of threats was unusually high. No additional details about the calls were immediately available. Some community centres were evacuated but no explosives were found, Sandler said.

The benefits of breast cancer screening have been overstated and it can lead to patients having unnecessary surgery and harmful treatment, a top medic has warned. A study of women in Denmark found about a third of cases involved overdiagnosis and suggested screening was not associated with a reduction in the number of advanced tumours. Commenting on the research Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said "considering all small breast cancer lesions to be deadly aggressive cancer is the pathology equivalent of racial profiling". He said screening was important but warned of an over-reliance and suggested the focus should be on disease prevention through diet and exercise. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at Denmark's screening programme, which offered mammograms to women aged between 50 and 69, and compared incidences of tumours found in women of different age groups in screening and non-screening areas.

A US cow stranded on ice in western Oregon experienced what might be called a moo-ving rescue. The Polk County Sheriff's Office got a report last Friday about a cow that had ventured onto a frozen pond, fallen and couldn't get back up. A sheriff's deputy, the cow's owner and a friend of the owner rushed to the rescue. The sheriff's office says the owner used some lassoing skills to get a rope around the cow from shore. Video shows the bovine being steadily winched across the ice on its belly, safely reaching shore, and then moseying back toward the barn.Sheriff Mark Garton said the cow is doing just fine.

Authorities credit an 85-year-old Texas man who walks with the aid of a cane for helping save the lives of two women whose speeding car flipped over onto his front yard and burst into flames. Texas Department of Public Safety officials say the 22-year-old driver likely was driving too fast as she rounded a bend and lost control in Burleson, south of Fort Worth. Lindell Marbut witnessed the wreck, banged on the windshield with his cane and helped to pull the driver from the car as his caretaker called emergency services. The caretaker then helped him drag the passenger to safety. Johnson County firefighter Keith Flemming said that "it wouldn't have been a good turnout" had Marbut not intervened.

The Italian firm restoring one of Christianity's holiest sites - the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem - says it's more than halfway finished with the €14 million project, which has already uncovered a Crusades-era mosaic angel hidden under plaster. Piacenti SpA, a family-run conservation firm from the Tuscan town of Prato, won the contract to restore the biblical place of Jesus' birth and began work in 2013 alongside Palestinian workers. The overhaul became necessary after Unesco listed the site as endangered, with its leaky roof, rotting wood beams and centuries of built-up candle wax blackening the brilliant mosaics ringing the interior.

Advertisement
Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announces his resignation. Photo / AP
Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announces his resignation. Photo / AP

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denounced last week's US intelligence report on Russian hacking, calling it a politically motivated "press release" that provided no evidence that Russians gave WikiLeaks hacked material. The report accuses Russia of trying to interfere with the US political process, with actions that included hacking into the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and individual Democrats like Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta. The report said Russia also used state-funded propaganda and paid "trolls" to make nasty comments on social media services. It said the Russian Government provided emails to WikiLeaks - something Assange denied again today.

Northern Ireland's power-sharing government was plunged into crisis as its senior Catholic leader quit in a showdown with his Protestant colleague that could trigger a snap election and shatter the bedrock of the region's peace deal. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, the former Irish Republican Army commander who has helped to lead the unity government for nearly a decade, said his resignation was the only effective way to challenge his power-sharing partner, First Minister Arlene Foster. McGuinness accused Foster of ignoring "a public mood that is rightly outraged at the squandering of public money and allegations of misconduct and corruption". McGuinness has repeatedly called on Foster to step aside while MPs investigate her alleged mismanagement of a government "green energy" programme.

- agencies