BBC news 2013-10-22

BBC News with Marion Marshall.

The United States has tried to defuse French anger over allegations that the US national security agency secretly recorded over 70 million phone calls in one month in France. The US Secretary of State John Kerry told journalists in Paris that it was part of operations to protect the security of American citizens. The allegations were published by the newspaper Le Monde. With more details, here is Christian Fraser in Paris.

Le Monde's report was written by the outgoing Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald who's worked with Edward Snowden to lift the lid on the NSA's activities. Between December and January this year, it's believed the agency tapped over 70 million phone calls in France over a 30-day period. The program code-named in documents as US-985D monitors target phone numbers and can pick up text messages that feature specific words. It gives analysts a systematic record of who is talking to whom. And not only it alleged the NSA was snooping on those connected to terrorist plots, but also on senior business figures and government officials.

A consortium led by Brazilian and Chinese state oil companies backed by the firms Total and Shell has been awarded the right to exploit Brazil's biggest new oil field. But there are clashes between security forces and protesters outside the hotel where the auction took place as Wyre Davies reports.

Outside the luxury beachfront hotel to the south of Rio where the auction was taking place, riot police clashed with anti-government protesters, many of them striking oil workers. Teargas and stun grenades were fired as bemused holiday-makers and sunbaths locked on. The huge military presence ensured the events inside the hotel went ahead undisturbed. What was billed as one of the biggest oil sell-offs ever was won by a single bid, or be it a consortium of Chinese, Brazilian, French and Anglo-Dutch companies. Delighted Brazilian ministers and officials declared the proceedings an overwhelming success.

A suspected suicide bomb attack on a bus in the southern Russian city of Volgograd has killed 6 people and injured more than 30. Russian anti-terrorism officials say the explosive device was detonated by a female suicide bomber believed to be the wife of an Islamist militant. She's been identified...