BBC news 2017-03-17

BBC News with Cathy Clarkston.

The U.S. Justice Department has indicted two Russian spies in connection with a massive breach of information, affecting 500 million Yahoo! accounts in 2014. It's the first time Washington has levied criminal charges against Russian government officials. The group's targets included security, diplomatic and military personnel.

The United States' central bank has raised its interest rates by a quarter of a percent. It's the third rise in 15 months by the Federal Reserve, and the bank's Chair, Janet Yellen, said the economy was making solid progress. But the rates are still very low, between 0.75% and 1%.

Syria's state news agency says at least 30 people have been killed in a suicide bombing at the main courthouse in Damascus. Later, a second suicide bomber targeted a restaurant, causing severe casualties.

The U.N.'s Intellectual Property Agency says China is on track to leap over Japan and the United States in the next two years to become the world's top user of the international patent system. It said the number of patent applications from China soared by almost 45% last year.

Voters have turned out in large numbers for the Netherlands' general election, with extra polling stations being opened in some areas to cope with demand. The election is being watched elsewhere in Europe for signs of how well the anti-E.U., anti-immigrant Freedom Party will perform.

The authorities in Ethiopia say 113 people are now known to have died in Sunday's landslide at a rubbish dump. 3 days of national mourning are being observed for the victims. The tragedy occurred on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will review vehicle fuel efficiency standards put in place by Barack Obama's administration. The head of the EPA said they were costly for the motor industry, but he's facing criticism from environmental groups.

BBC News.