BBC News 2015-10-29

Hello, I'm Sue Montgomerywith the BBC News.

The US defence secretary Ash Carter has signaled a change in American strategy against the Islamic State group in the Iraq and Syria. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mr. Carter said the US-led coalition would intensify airstrikes and it would not hold back from performing ground operations. We won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against the ISIL or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes in the air or direct action on the ground. Last week, US troops worked alongside Kurdish forces to free prisoners from an IS jail in northern Iraq.

The US State Department spokesman John Kirby says Iran will very likely be invited to participate in multilateral talks in Syria later this week. The spokesman John Kirby was speaking at the State Department briefing about the talks that are due to take place in Vienna. They are expected to be invited, whether they accept that invitation is up to them. And if they do accept, at what level they want to stand in terms of the participant is up to Tehran. All previous mediations efforts have failed, but the BBC Middle East analyst says there is hope that for the first time, all key countries with a stake in Syria may begin to move towards the shared vision of the country's future.

The Dominican Republic says it will seek the extradition of two French pilots who fled the country after being convicted of drug trafficking. The pilots Bosca Forry and Bruno Rondo were sentenced to twenty years in prison. Police have found nearly 700 kilograms of cocaine on their plane. They spent 15 months in detention but were released under supervision while the appeal was processed. It was then that the pilots returned to France. At a news conference in Paris, Mr. Forry denied the charges and said he had no choice but to return to his homeland. When we are dealing with a judicial system that does not investigate, does not listen to us, then condemned us to twenty years for the sole reason we are French, I’m sorry, but my reaction was to go home to my country where I can explain my story to justice, and close this case and eventually return to my peaceful life that I had before this catastrophe befell my family and me.

As thousands of Afghans and Pakistanis affected by Monday’s earthquake spent a second night without shelter. There are warnings some may die of exposure, and officials say there is an urgent need for tents and blankets. The UN Children’s Fund said its conditions of extreme cold and insecurity were cutting off some communities and children were especially at risk as it is coming to the elements. At least 360 people are known to have died in both countries. World news from the BBC.

The candidate who has finished third in the first round of Argentina’s presidential election has hinted that he may throw his support behind Bolicci Makery, the main opposition candidate in next month’s run-off. Seleucia Massa is a former ally turn rival of President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner.

The Pentagon has awarded a multi-billion-dollar contract to build a new long-range strike bomber to the Northrop Grumman Corporation. The deal is valued as up to 80 billion dollars. Northrop will provide 100 planes to replace the aging B52 and B1 aircraft. They will be the first new US bombers in almost three decades.

The World Bank says developing countries have quickened the pace of reforms to make it easier for local businesses to start and operate. In the Bank’s annual survey on the ease of doing business rich countries dominated the top as usual, but the leading ten improvers included five African countries and two Central Asian nations. Singapore came first in the World Bank’s assessment.

The flat in London where the musician Jimi Hendrix lived in the late 1960s is to be open permanently to the public. Pollen Paterson has been there. The blue plaque outside 23 Brook Street reads, Jimi Hendrix, guitarists and song writer, lived here 1968-1969. Now the top-floor flat is being restored to hollow walls where he called it home and will open as stores next February. Hendrix himself was interested in the building’s history. Handel lived next door for 15 years until his death in 1759. When Hendrix found out, he bought a copy of the Messiah. Some critics argue that Handel’s choruses may even have influenced Hendrix’s cords. Pollen Paterson Reporting, BBC news