BBC News with Stewart Macintosh
Members of the UN Security Council say they are finalising a draft resolution authorising an advance team of observers to travel to Syria to monitor the ceasefire there and the further implementation of the international peace plan. A spokesman for the UN envoy Kofi Annan said a group of observers was already standing by to board a plane to Damascus as soon as the resolution was passed. Barbara Plett reports from New York.
There's intense political pressure to get the observers into Syria. Kofi Annan's spokesman said about a dozen monitors are on standby waiting for a green light from the Security Council. But the Russian envoy here said the draft resolution to authorise the mission is too long and complicated. It was supposed to be a brief text to just get some boots on the ground, he said. Western diplomats say they need to spell out the details of the mandate even if it's for a small advance team. They also want to keep language criticising the government's human rights violations, which Russia wants to drop.
In Syria itself, activists say several people have been shot dead by the security forces during demonstrations after Friday prayers. The regular weekly protest had been seen as a major test of the ceasefire, which came into place on Thursday.
The Sudanese army says it's launched a counterattack on the disputed oil fields of Heglig, which were occupied by South Sudan earlier this week. It said Sudanese forces were on the outskirts of Heglig town, but the South Sudanese say they are still firmly in control. The country's ambassador to the UN, Agnes Oswaha, said South Sudan had originally attacked the north in self-defence.
"Sudan has been using Heglig as an area for launching an offence against South Sudan, whether it's via area bombardment or underground. So in self-defence, we were able to repel them outside Heglig."
There are conflicting reports about the whereabouts of the prime minister of Guinea-Bissau after rebellious soldiers there launched a coup on Thursday night. Earlier reports said Carlos Gomes Junior had been arrested by the military, but diplomatic sources believe he's still safely in hiding. Thomas Fessy reports.
There is confusion in Bissau over the whereabouts of the former Prime Minister and presidential candidate Carlos Junior Gomes. Earlier reports said he was arrested by a group of soldiers after they attacked his house with heavy weapons on Thursday night. But diplomatic sources believe Mr Gomes is safe somewhere in the capital Bissau. Although the situation was calm on Friday, soldiers could be seen around several embassies, suggesting that they were searching for the man who was well on course to become president at the end of the month.
The defence ministry in Yemen says more militants have been killed in fighting in the southern province of Abyan. The ministry said that after hours of fierce fighting, government forces had driven out what it called al-Qaeda-linked militants.
This is the World News from the BBC.
The Supreme Court in the Netherlands has rejected an attempt by relatives of Bosnian Muslims massacred at Srebrenica to sue the United Nations for failing to prevent the killings. The court upheld earlier rulings, saying the UN was protected by immunity under international conventions. Lawyers representing a group of thousands of relatives have said they'll appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Dutch peacekeepers in Srebrenica were unable to prevent Bosnian-Serb forces from murdering some 8,000 Muslim men and boys from the town in 1995.
The United States says it'll cancel its planned food aid deliveries to North Korea after the government in Pyongyang defied Security Council resolutions and went ahead with a rocket launch on Friday morning. From Washington, Steve Kingstone.
A senior administration official told reporters it was impossible to see how the US could move forward with sending food aid in light of North Korea's rocket launch. The planned assistance had been part of a tentative agreement announced in February under which Pyongyang had pledged to halt uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities. A spokesman for the US State Department said that agreement was now suspended. Washington viewed the rocket launch as a thinly disguised test of long-range missile technology.
The United Nations refugee agency says it's concerned at the growing number of people fleeing the fighting in northwest Pakistan between government troops and Islamist militants. The agency said about 10,000 new arrivals a day were being registered at a camp near Peshawar.
Portugal has become the second country after Greece to ratify two European Union treaties intended to stabilise the financial situation in the eurozone. The treaties, dealing with financial stability and budget discipline, are part of an EU pact signed in March. They'll come into force once they have been ratified by 12 countries. The Portuguese parliament approved the treaties with an overwhelming majority.
BBC News with Stewart Macintosh Members of the UN Security Council say they are finalising a draft resolution authorising an advance team of observers to travel to Syria to monitor the ceasefire there
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