BBC news 2013-09-21

BBC News with David Austin

The Syrian government has started handing over details of its chemical weapons to the international community’s chemical weapons watchdog in The Hague. A spokesman for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said it had received an initial declaration from Syria, but was expecting more. Paul Adams reports.

The Russians and Americans gave Syria just a week to submit what they called a comprehensive listing of its chemical weapons programme, not just the weapons and agents, but the location of all storage, production and research sites too. It’s not clear how much of these the Syrians have now handed over, but it clearly falls some way short. A spokesman for the OPCW said the organisation had received an initial declaration, was looking at it and expected more. It needs as much information as possible, as quickly as possible.

With the American administration fast running out of money, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that would keep the government operating, but cut funding for President Obama’s healthcare programme. The president called the move irresponsible. Here’s Katy Watson.

It’s becoming a familiar drama here in Washington-- the arguments between the White House and Republicans over spending cuts and borrowing limits. While the vote in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has approved a stopgap bill, it’s also included a provision to cut funding to Obamacare, a move that President Obama criticised saying it risked a tailspin for the recovering US economy. He added that if the debt ceiling wasn’t raised, America would be a deadbeat. He said the entire world looked to the US to ensure the world economy is stable.

There’ve been conflicting accounts of a shooting in the Nigerian capital Abuja. Security officials say they returned fire when they were attacked by Islamist militants from the group Boko Haram. But survivors have told the Reuters news agency that the soldiers opened fire on unarmed squatters who had defied an order to vacate the house they’d taken over. An eyewitness told the BBC he’d seen nine bodies at the scene. Security officials said several members of Boko Haram were arrested, but didn’t say whether anyone had died.

Reports from the West Bank say Israeli soldiers have manhandled a group of European diplomats as they were trying to hand out tents to Palestinian Bedouins, whose homes were destroyed by the army earlier this week. Kevin Connolly has this report from Jerusalem.

The diplomats said as soon as they arrived, around a dozen Israeli army jeeps converged on them and ordered them not to unload their truck. A French diplomat said she was dragged from the vehicle and forced to the ground. One European official described the Israeli actions as shocking and outrageous. The diplomats argue that Israel is failing in the duty under international law to protect civilians under military occupation. A British official expressed concern at the blocking of aid and said the demolitions caused suffering to Palestinians, were harmful to peace and were contrary to international law.

Kevin Connolly

World News from the BBC

The Canadian smartphone maker Blackberry says it’s cutting its global workforce by 40% in an attempt to staunch huge losses. Blackberry said 4,500 staff would be laid off. The firm had pinned hopes on the launch of the Blackberry 10 earlier this year, but sales have been weak.

The authorities in Mexico say they’ve partially re-opened the main motorway link between the seaside resort of Acapulco and the capital Mexico City following Tropical Storm Manuel. Elsewhere, in the state of Guerrero, clean-up and rescue operations are continuing. Will Grant reports.

As the floodwaters recede in parts of Guerrero, the full extent of human suffering in the state is gradually being revealed. For example, the story of Vincent Romero, a coffee grower from the devastated village of La Pintada, who lost 30 members of his family in the mudslide which tore through their homes on Monday, although many other damaged villages in the state where the rescue teams are yet to reach. In other parts of Guerrero as well as neighbouring states such as Oaxaca and Michoacan, the flooding continues and residents are forced to wade through the stagnant water to find food and clean drinking water.

Police in Zimbabwe say they are investigating a former executive of the country’s state-owned diamond firm for suspected corruption. It follows allegations that Godwills Masimirembwa sought a $6m bribe from a Ghanaian company that was investing in diamond mining in Zimbabwe. He’s denied any wrongdoing.

Researchers in Hungary looking for the burial place of the heart of the 16th century sultan Suleiman the Magnificent have uncovered a forgotten Ottoman town. After eight months of archaeological digs around the Hungarian castle of Szigetvar, the researchers found the outline of the town, which grew up around the sultan’s tomb. Suleiman the Magnificent was one of the most successful leaders of the Ottoman Empire, expanding it almost to the gates of Vienna. He died in 1566.

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