BBC News with David Austin
The United Nations has said it'll join a government-led humanitarian mission in Syria this weekend. The UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said technical staff would accompany the Syrian authorities to observe conditions. She said the visit would include cities which had seen thousands of casualties in anti-government protests. Here's Barbara Plett.
Valerie Amos said UN technical staff would accompany a government-led mission to aid population centres. These include the city of Homs, parts of which were devastated by a month-long government siege, and Deraa, where the uprising against the Syrian regime began a year ago. Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will also participate. Ms Amos said the UN officials would observe condition first-hand and gather information on the overall humanitarian situation, but she stressed the urgency of unhindered access to provide emergency care and basic supplies.
The United States says it remains committed to reconciliation in Afghanistan even though the Taliban has said it's suspending peace talks, which have barely begun. The White House said no end to the conflict in Afghanistan was likely without a political resolution. The Taliban had been talking to the Americans about possibly setting up a political office in Qatar and exchanging a kidnapped American soldier for five Taliban fighters. American sources said the Taliban objected to the idea of involving the Afghan government in the negotiations. A State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said Afghans needed to talk to each other.
"The process that we have been willing to support is one where we facilitate a dialogue, Afghans to Afghans. That's going to take two to tango. They're going to have to decide what they want to do in this regard. We think that if we have Taliban who are willing to renounce violence, that that is a process that we should support."
Argentina has said it'll take legal action against companies involved in oil exploration in the British-controlled Falkland Islands, which it claims. The Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman said the search for oil in Falklands waters was illegal. Mike Wooldridge has this report.
Tensions have been growing between Argentina and Britain ahead of the 30th anniversary next month of the war between the two countries over the Falklands. Among other actions, last month, Buenos Aires refused to allow two British cruise ships to dock in southern Argentina after visiting the Falklands. The issue of Britain authorising companies to explore for oil in Falklands waters has been a source of controversy between the two countries for some time now. Argentina's foreign minister says his government aims to dissuade investors by raising the political cost for any company involved. The Foreign Office in London says it will work closely with any firm potentially affected to ensure that the practical implications for them are as few as possible.
That report was from Mike Wooldridge.
This is the World News coming to you from the BBC.
The International Monetary Fund has approved a new rescue loan for Greece worth 28bn. The move follows a decision by the eurozone countries to go ahead with a second bailout of Greece worth a total of 130bn. Private sector lenders have already accepted a deep cut in what they are owed.
An organisation that handles most international payments between banks says it'll cut off sanctioned Iranian banks from this Saturday. The move by Swift is designed to enforce EU sanctions on Iran. Here's Mark Gregory.
Swift is a non-profit-making organisation owned by its 7,000 financial institution members around the world. It provides a secure electronic channel for banks in different countries to transfer funds, letters of credit and other cross-border financial dealings. The decision to exclude some Iranian banks will make it harder, but not impossible, for the countries to do business abroad. Swift had come under intense pressure from the US and European governments to cut off Iranian entities associated with the country's nuclear programme.
The government of Ethiopia says it's attacked military posts inside Eritrea which it says were being used to arm and train militias. A government spokesman accused Eritrea of using proxy militias to launch attacks on Ethiopia. He blamed the groups for the kidnapping and killing of foreign tourists in Ethiopia in January. Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a border war from 1998 to 2000.
An ancient letter written by Mary Queen of Scots has been sold at auction in Scotland for nearly $8,000. The letter, dated 1554, excuses a nobleman from carrying out his duties as he was suffering gout. It says John Blair is sickly in person with the infirmity of gout and not able to travel without peril to his life. The identity of the buyer hasn't been disclosed.
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