Don't be afraid of Islamic State (IS), laugh at them instead - that is the message of an Iraqi sitcom that has aired on TV and been widely shared online.

This is a jihadist online video like no other. A group of crazed IS fighters sits in a circle, while the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi conducts them in song, waving leather whips wildly. The young men have beards and wave around weapons. "We banned smoking...

Read more: The Iraqis who laugh at Islamic State


Yoga practitioners are fighting a new sales tax by insisting the activity isn't primarily about fitness. Around the world, its definition can often be rather more flexible, writes Jon Kelly.

It might feel a lot like exercise to millions of gym-goers as their muscles strain and they struggle to hold that pose. But in the US, the yoga community is arguing vociferously that's not really what their asanas are all about.

From 1 October, a sales tax of 5.75% in Washington, DC, will be extended to...

Read more: Is yoga really about exercise?

imageIce cream van on terraced street, Manchester, 1965

One of the leading photographers of the past century, Shirley Baker, sadly died towards the end of September. Here Tom Gillmor, of the Mary Evans Picture Library, who are guardians of her archive, pays tribute to her work.

Shirley first contacted Mary Evans Picture Library in early 2008. From looking through the first few printed pages she sent to me, featuring a mass of small contact photographs, I was immediately struck by a body of work of terrific...

Read more: Remembering the work of Shirley Baker


It is 25 years since Denmark became the first country to celebrate same-sex civil unions....

Read more: VIDEO: The day Ivan got hitched to Ove


In the 1960s and 1970s, hundreds of Cypriots disappeared. Now, there is a renewed effort to find out what happened to them - mass graves are being dug up and a laboratory in Sarajevo is helping to identify the bodies.

Forty years ago, Maria Georgiadis (above in the white dress), lost her whole family - her mother, her father, her sister and her brother. But she has never been able to lay their bodies to rest.

Georgiadis, a Greek Cypriot, was 28 years old at the time...

Read more: How Bosnia is helping Cyprus find peace


Younger bowel cancer patients should be offered a genetic test to screen for a rare condition linked to a higher risk of further cancers, say researchers.

Genetic screening of tumours would save lives and would be cost-effective for the NHS, a new study has confirmed.

Lynch syndrome raises the risk of developing cancer, particularly bowel cancer and womb and ovarian cancers.

Teenager Stephen Sutton, who raised millions of pounds for cancer research, had a family history of the syndrome.

"This is a way of improving...

Read more: Cancer gene test 'would save lives'


You may not have heard of a company called Taboola, but what it does may annoy you greatly.

"Controversial slimming pill sweeps the UK", "15 inconveniences of being a woman", "Nine people you won't actually believe exist", "Danger! Don't watch this with your wife" - if you've ever seen any of these headlines screaming out at you, then you'll be familiar with the company's work.

Taboola is one of the main providers of sponsored stories on news and gossip websites.

When you scroll to the bottom...

Read more: The 'click-bait' internet firm


In her first interview with the BBC, the wife of the British hostage Alan Henning has called on the Islamic extremists threatening to kill him to spare his life and let him go....

Read more: VIDEO: Henning's wife makes new mercy plea


For much of the month of September, after a disappointing summer, Tokyo basked in temperatures of 25C or more. In most countries there would be a rush for the beach, but not here. Overnight on 1 September, beach-going Japanese become as rare as buttered sushi.

It is a spectacle as enigmatic as any annual mass migration in the animal kingdom.

Visit the sun-blessed sands near Tokyo any day in August and you'll witness millions ambling out from their air-conditioned roosts into the soupy afternoon heat and heading for the...

Read more: Why Japan's sunny beaches are deserted


Microsoft founder Bill Gates has said he is "optimistic" about increasing the treatment capacity for Ebola in West Africa....

Read more: VIDEO: Gates 'optimistic' for Ebola sufferers

Home Secretary Theresa May explains what new powers on extremism will mean

A future Conservative government would seek new powers to ban extremist groups and curb the activities of "harmful" individuals, Theresa May has said.

Banning orders and "extreme disruption" orders will feature in the party's 2015 election manifesto, the home secretary told the Tory Party conference.

She said that in the battle against extremism "British values" would prevail.

Mrs May also promised police greater access to internet data.

She is among a number...

Read more: May: Our values will beat extremists


The online auction site eBay is planning to split off its payments system PayPal into a separate company.

It expects to do that in the second half of 2015.

EBay's chief executive John Donahoe said: " A thorough strategic review ... shows that keeping eBay and PayPal together beyond 2015 clearly becomes less advantageous to each business strategically and competitively."

PayPal's revenues are growing at 19% a year, twice as quickly as eBay's.

Its payment system is available in 203 markets worldwide and is expected to process 1 billion mobile payments this year....

Read more: eBay to split off PayPal business


By Guy Faulconbridge

BIRMINGHAM England (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday he would not be heartbroken if Britain left the European Union because he felt little attachment to a relationship he said was not serving British interests.

Cameron, who has promised to renegotiate Britain's EU membership if re-elected before offering voters an in-out referendum by 2017, is under pressure from the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) and some of his own lawmakers to toughen his rhetoric on Europe.

"I feel about a thousand times more strongly about our United Kingdom than I do about the European Union,"...

Read more: British EU exit 'wouldn't break my heart', Cameron says

SILOPI, Turkey (AP) — Turkish truck driver Ozgur Simsek was sleeping off a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) fuel run to the Qayara power station in Iraq, he said, when he heard banging on his vehicle's door.

"IS took over last night," the power plant's foreman shouted, referring to the Islamic State group. "Empty your trucks and run!"

Simsek rushed to unload his tanker's fuel, he said, but it was too late. A battered pickup bearing the black-and-white logo of the Islamic State group rolled across the tarmac. Qayara's security guards, who only moments before had been joking around with the truckers, turned...

Read more: Hostage tale suggests IS wary of upsetting Turkey

(Reuters) - EBay Inc said it would spin off PayPal, its fast-growing payments business, into a publicly traded company in the second half of 2015, marking an about-face for the company.

EBay Chief Executive John Donahoe had resisted demands by activist investor Carl Icahn to hive off the service, saying PayPal was integral to eBay's business - and vice versa. Icahn backed off from his demand in April.

"A thorough strategic review with our board shows that keeping eBay...

Read more: EBay to spin off PayPal

Our selection of some of the best news photographs taken around the world during the past 24 hours.

imageFilm-makers Joe Shemesh and Doug Thost have spent months in dark, wet Tasmanian caves recording the lives of the Tasmanian cave spider.
imageA protester sleeps as she blocks a street near government headquarters in Hong Kong. Hong Kong leader CY Leung has urged pro-democracy protesters to stop their campaign "immediately", as huge crowds continue to bring parts of the territory to a standstill.
imageMongolia's Nandintsetseg Myagmardulam (red) fights with Kazakhstan's Zhaina Shekerbekova during their women's...

Read more: Day in pictures: 30 September

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan and the United States signed a long-awaited security pact on Tuesday that will allow U.S. forces to remain in the country past the end of year.

At a ceremony held at the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul, newly appointed national security adviser Mohmmad Hanif Atmar signed the document along with U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham.

The deal will allow about 10,000 American troops to stay in the country after the international combat mission ends Dec. 31. Former...

Read more: Afghanistan, US sign long-awaited security pact

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