US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy hosted Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen as a "great friend of America", in a fraught show of support at a rare high-level, bipartisan meeting on US soil. Speaking carefully to avoid unnecessarily escalating tensions with China, Tsai and McCarthy steered clear of calls from US hardliners for a more confrontational stance toward China in defence of self-ruled Taiwan. The two leaders stood side by side at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, and committed to maintaining longstanding US policy.

"America's support for the people of Taiwan will remain resolute, unwavering and bipartisan," McCarthy said at a press conference later. He said U.S.-Taiwan ties are stronger than at any other point in his life. Tsai said the "unwavering support reassures the people of Taiwan that we are not isolated." More than a dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including the House's third-ranking Democrat, joined Republican McCarthy for the daylong talks.

At least 20 Palestinians were injured and hundreds arrested in Israeli police raids on Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, triggering clashes in the West Bank, cross-border strikes in the Gaza Strip and fears of wider escalation over the holiday period. The violence in the early hours of Wednesday (Apr. 5) and then later in the evening- during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and on the eve of the Jewish Passover holiday - followed a year of spiralling bloodshed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Dozens of armed Israeli officers entered the courtyards of the mosque while nearly 20,000 Palestinian worshippers were still performing the Taraweeh. They fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at worshippers just before the prayer ended to disperse them, an eyewitness told Middle East Eye. Earlier Israeli police said in a statement that security units were forced to enter the prayer hall early Wednesday, after 'masked agitators' allegedly barricaded themselves inside the mosque.

Italy blocked the artificial intelligence software ChatGPT in the wake of a data breach as it investigates a possible violation of stringent European Union data protection rules. The Italian Data Protection Authority said it was taking provisional action "until ChatGPT respects privacy," including temporarily limiting the company from processing Italian users' data. OpenAI, the US firm that developed the chatbot, said it had disabled ChatGPT for Italian users at the government's request.

While some public schools and universities around the world have blocked ChatGPT from their local networks over student plagiarism concerns, Italy's action is "the first nation-scale restriction of a mainstream AI platform by a democracy," said Alp Toker, director of the advocacy group NetBlocks, which monitors internet access worldwide, to AP. The restriction affects the web version of ChatGPT, and is unlikely to affect software applications from companies that have licences with OpenAI to use the same technology driving the chatbot, such as Microsoft's Bing search engine.

A novel treatment using supercharged immune cells appears to work against tumours in children with neuroblastoma, a rare kind of cancer. Nine of 27 children in the Italian study had no sign of cancer six weeks after the treatment, although two later relapsed and died. The treatment - called CAR-T cell therapy - is already used to help the immune system fight leukaemia and other cancers in the blood. This is the first time researchers have achieved such encouraging results in solid tumours, and raises hopes that it can be used against other kinds of cancers.

Neuroblastoma is a nerve tissue cancer that often starts in infancy. Standard treatment can be intense, involving chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, depending on the cancer's stage and other factors. The children in the study had cancers that had come back or were particularly hard to treat. Eleven children were alive when the three-year study ended, including some who only partially responded to treatment and got repeat doses of the modified cells.

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