BBC News with Kathy Clugston
A judge in the US has sentenced a Nigerian man to life imprisonment for attempting to blow up a passenger plane on Christmas Day in 2009. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab smuggled an explosive device on board in his underwear. Adam Brookes reports from Washington.
In 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded an airliner in the Netherlands bound for Detroit. On Christmas Day, as the plane approached its destination, he attempted to set off a bomb secreted in his underwear. It didn't go off properly. Abdulmutallab was badly burnt, but the passengers and plane were unharmed. At his trial last year, he pleaded guilty . Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claims to have trained and equipped him. During his sentencing, Abdulmutallab told the court that he was trying to avenge attacks on Muslims by the United States. He will go to prison for life.
The United Nations General Assembly is meeting to vote on a Syria resolution similar to the one recently vetoed by Russia and China in the Security Council. Russia is unlikely to back the latest resolution, which is non-binding, and China is sending a top envoy to Damascus. Barbara Plett is at the United Nations.
The resolution condemns violence by the Syrian government. It also backs an Arab League plan for a political transition, which calls on President Assad to transfer power to his deputy. It's modelled on the Security Council resolution vetoed by Russia and China, and they are expected to vote no again. There isn't any veto in the General Assembly, but neither does it have the legal authority of the council. However, its 193 members do reflect world opinion, so a strong yes vote would give political and moral weight to the Arab plan.
An investigation panel in Iraq has backed accusations that the country's Sunni Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi has been behind attacks on security officials and Shia pilgrims. The Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sought his arrest in December, triggering a political crisis between Shia and Sunni political factions. Mr Hashimi has taken refuge in the autonomous Kurdish region. He denies all charges.
Moves are afoot in Germany to strip the President Christian Wulff of his immunity from prosecution. The prosecutor said there was an initial suspicion that Mr Wulff improperly accepted and granted benefits. He has denied any wrongdoing. With more details, here's Thomas Baecker.
Doubts about Mr Wulff's probity centre on his dealings with a film-producer friend. In 2006, the state of Lower Saxony guaranteed a loan of more than $5m for one of his friend's companies. It's alleged that in return Mr Wulff and his wife were invited on luxury holidays. The public prosecutor has now asked lawmakers in the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, to lift the president's immunity so a formal investigation can start. Mr Wulff has been hit by a series of scandals, among them benefiting from an improper arrangement for a personal loan and later trying to bully a newspaper editor not to run the story.
World News from the BBC
Figures released today have highlighted the startling return to health of the American car maker General Motors. The company, which the US government had to rescue from collapse in 2009, turned its highest ever profit in 2011. But as our business reporter Mark Gregory explains, not everything is well with the company.
The big picture is General Motors has made a remarkable recovery from near collapse three years ago. The company spent months in bankruptcy and only survived thanks to a multi-billion dollar bailout from the US government. But last year, armed with lower labour costs and shorn of many of its debts, GM roared back to financial health. However, investors are still finding things to worry about: sales were flat in the all-important North American market towards the end of last year.
The European Commission has welcomed the Italian government's plan to make the Catholic Church there subject to property tax . The proposal could earn the state more than $1bn in much needed revenue. Here's Alan Johnston.
The new government's austerity programme has demanded sacrifices from many Italians, but at first the Catholic Church was spared . It continued to be free of tax on its huge amounts of property, not just its places of worship but also its buildings that house hotels, private clinics. The matter had even been taken up by the European Commission. It has been looking at whether the tax-exempt status of the Church's commercial properties amounted to a breach of EU laws aimed at guaranteeing free competition.
Police in France are investigating the theft of a diamond- studded collar from a deceased poodle buried in a Parisian pet cemetery. Several years ago, Tipsy was interred by his wealthy masters with more than $10,000 worth of jewellery around his neck. The treasure vanished when the tomb was desecrated last week.
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