BBC News 2015-10-13

Hello, I'm John Jason with the BBC news.

The Russian president Vladimir Putin has strongly defended his country's military operations in Syria, saying the aim is to stabilize what he called the legitimate authorities there and to create the conditions for a political compromise. He said that without Russian support for president Bashar al-Assad, there was a danger that terrorists, as he described them, would take over Syria. Sarah Rainsford is in Moscow.“Mr. Putin insisted that Russia was a peace-loving nation but it was in typical forceful form. He says the barrage of brand-new cruise missiles fired at Syria last week showed the world what high-tech modern weapons Russia has and that it's ready to use them to protect its interests. As for warnings that he's only increased the risk of a terror attack here, Vladimir Putin argued that it's better to target Russians fighting with IS in Syria and let them to gobble up that country as he put it, then bring their jihad back home.”

The Iraqi military says its air force killed several senior members of the Islamist State group in an airstrike in the west of the country on Saturday. The military initially suggested that the IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was among those killed but other sources say this wasn't the case. Sebastian Usher reports.“The first statement from an intelligence unit in the Iraqi Interior Ministry said that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the target of the attack. Instead he was taken away from the scene and his condition was unknown. But various sources now suggest the IS leader was not there at all. This is not the first time that such reports have surfaced about the elusive al-Baghdadi. But witnesses on the ground say that an airstrike did hit an IS meeting and the group has taken casualties.”

A British military helicopter's crashed in Afghanistan killing five of those on board and injuring five others. SK reports from Kabul.“The Puma helicopter crashed as it was landing at NATO's resolute support mission headquarters. It is NATO's current train, advise and assist mission in Afghanistan. A spokesman said an investigation was underway but confirmed the crash was an accident and not the result of an insurgent activity. This comes hours after an improvised explosive device struck a convoy of UK military vehicles in central Kabul.”

An Iranian court has convicted a Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian who's been accused of spying. The judiciary official quoted by Iran's official news agency said no further details were available. The Washington Post foreign editor Douglas Jehl called the ruling vague and said it was unclear if he'd been sentenced.“We've now heard from the Iranian government that a verdict has been issued but that is not final. And that's subject to appeal. That's truely all we know. And unfortunately it reflectes a continued pattern of mystery, opacity and gamesmanships surrounding the way Iran's handled this case. You know the only thing that's been clear in the case from the beginning is Jason's innocence.”

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The governing African National Congress has passed a resolution for South Africa to leave the International Criminal Court. South Africa has been criticized for ignoring an order to arrest the indicted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir when he attended a conference in Johannesburg in June. Parliament must now decide if South Africa is to withdraw.

The Mexican attorney general has made public the file on the disappearance of 43 students last year. Candace Piette reports. The attorney general's office said the document had taken around a hundred investigators seven months to compile. The disappearance of the students has deeply embarrassed the government of Enrique Peña Nieto. Relatives disputed the government's account that police in Guerrero state handed the students over to a drug cartel who killed them and burnt the bodies. And an international panel of experts said it had found many flaws in the investigation.

The center-left Social Democratic Party in Austria's held up to par in the capital Vienna withstanding a challenge by the far-right Freedom Party in municipal elections. Elections were dominated by concerns about the economy and immigration. Vienna's Social Democratic mayor Michael Häupl said he had mixed feelings about the result.“I've got mixed feelings but when it comes down to a naturally result due respect and humility, I'm not happy about our losses. But under the circumstances, I can live with the results. The refugee question was not my preferred topic but I think it's important if people come to us fleeing murder and terror or starvation in the refugee camps, we need to help them in an appropriate manner.”

President Alexander Lukashenko Belarus has won a fifth term in office with almost 84 percent of the vote. No other candidate had achieved more than 5 percent. In 2005, the then US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice described Belarus as Europe's last dictatorship.

BBC news.