BBC News with Sue Montgomery
North Korea has taken foreign journalists to see what it says is a rocket that will carry an observation satellite into orbit in an effort to convince the world that its space programme is peaceful. There they were given a tour of the site.
"Below is the side view of the launching vehicle."
North Korean officials say the satellite will take high-resolution pictures of the Earth. Charles Scanlon has this report.
Inviting Western journalists to a top-secret launch site is a big step for the world's most closed country. It's part of a concerted effort by North Korea to convince its critics that the rocket programme is for perfectly legitimate and peaceful purposes. North Korea was also trying to soften the diplomatic impact by choosing a new southerly trajectory, so the rocket won't fly over the main islands of Japan. It's not a strategy that's likely to convince the United States and its allies. They say the rocket is a potential delivery system for the North's nuclear weapons. But it may make it easier for China to resist pressure for further sanctions against its neighbour and old ally.
The Syrian opposition has dismissed demands by the government that it provide written guarantees to stop fighting and disarm before a peace plan is to be implemented on Tuesday. The opposition accused President Bashar al-Assad of sabotaging an agreement negotiated by the international envoy Kofi Annan. Grant Ferrett reports.
Just 48 hours before the Syrian army was due to withdraw from towns and cities, the government in Damascus has thrown the entire ceasefire deal into doubt. Not only does it want the international envoy Kofi Annan to provide written pledges from its opponents to stop fighting, it's also seeking a commitment from foreign governments that they won't fund or arm what it called "terrorist groups". The opposition Syrian National Council said it was a ploy by President Assad to reject the peace plan. Kofi Annan has appealed to the Syrian authorities to keep their promises and stop fighting.
The deposed President of Mali, Amadou Toure, has formally stepped down as part of a deal to end the crisis in the West African country. His resignation paves the way for the soldiers who ousted him in a coup more than two weeks ago to also stand aside. Mr Toure quit after meeting the mediator from the regional group Ecowas in the Malian capital. The speaker of parliament is expected to head a transitional government until fresh elections.
Emergency officials in Nigeria say 38 people have been killed by two car bombs in the northern city of Kaduna. A spokesman for the emergency management agency told the BBC many others have been injured by the blasts which had caused extensive damage in a busy area of the city. Security had been stepped up in Kaduna in recent days following warnings by the Islamist sect Boko Haram that it would attack the city. The group has carried out numerous attacks in the country.
World News from the BBC
Bahrain has rejected a request to transfer to Denmark a jailed human rights campaigner who's been refusing food for two months. The Supreme Judicial Council said the conditions for handing over convicted criminals did not apply to the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who also has Danish citizenship.
Israel has banned Germany's most famous living writer Guenter Grass from entering the country over a poem describing the Jewish state as a threat to world peace. Leana Hosea reports.
The Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai accused the Nobel laureate of trying to fan the flames of hatred against Israel and its people. In the poem, Guenter Grass expresses concern that Israel could attack Iran with an atomic weapon to eradicate its nuclear programme and accuses Israel of plotting to annihilate Iran. He since said that the poem was intended to criticise the current Israeli government, not the country and its people. The poet wrote that he remained silent for so long for fear of being labelled anti-Semitic.
The British government says it's very disappointed by the decision of an immigration tribunal to annul a deportation order against a prominent Palestinian activist. Sheikh Raed Salah was detained several days after arriving in Britain last June for a speaking tour. The government had issued a banning order against him, describing his presence as not conducive to the public good.
Police in the American city of Tulsa have arrested two men after a spate of shootings killed three black people and wounded two others. A police spokesman said the two white men were detained after a tip-off from the public.
The South African golfer Louis Oosthuizen has hit one of the rarest shots in golf, an albatross, at the US Masters tournament in Augusta. He took just two shots at the second hole, three below the hole's average, or par-five. His albatross was only the fourth in the 78-year history of the Masters.
BBC News with Sue Montgomery North Korea has taken foreign journalists to see what it says is a rocket that will carry an observation satellite into orbit in an effort to convince the world that its s
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