BBC news 2011-07-23

BBC News with Marion Marshall

Norway is reeling from two attacks in a number of hours, in which many people have been killed. The worse incident seemed to have been at a gathering of young people on an island northwest of Oslo. At least 10 people have been killed there. Bjoern Erik Sem-Jacobsen is the local acting chief of police.

"This afternoon, one person dressed like a police officer entered the island and said he was going to have control, and shortly afterwards he started the shooting. It's very likely to think that this has a connection with what has happened in central Oslo. People have been swimming ashore and hiding, and that is a critical, chaotic situation right now."

Police said later that they'd arrested one person in connection with the shootings. Earlier, an explosion in the centre of the Norwegian capital Oslo killed seven people and injured a number of others. Police said the blast was caused by a bomb, which ripped through government buildings, including the prime minister's office and Norway's biggest tabloid newspaper, but they said the prime minister was safe. Ingunn Andersen from the Norwegian broadcaster NRK was near the scene of the blast.

"All the buildings surrounding the main building were totally ruined, and glasses were all over streets, and there were people lying there, bleeding and chaos."

The Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said it wasn't clear who was behind the blast.

"It's a bit too early to confirm whether this was a terrorist attack. We keep getting more detailed information, but this needs to be verified. The police are going through it, and we will come back with more concrete information as soon as we can."

President Obama has said that the attacks in Norway are a reminder that the world has a role in preventing this kind of terror from occurring. The Nato secretary general said that Nato countries stood united in the battle against acts of violence. The British foreign secretary said Britain stands shoulder to shoulder with Norway in the face of such atrocities.

The United Nations says government troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo carried out mass rapes of at least 47 women. The UN Office for Human Rights said the assaults were carried out over New Year in a village in north Kivu province. Here's our West Africa correspondent Thomas Fessy.

The UN says Congolese soldiers attacked the village with machetes, rifles and rocket-propelled grenades on the pretext that they were hunting rebels. They looted or burnt down at least 100 homes. The UN says the number of women raped could be even higher since some of the alleged victims fearing reprisals refused to talk to the investigators. The Congolese Information Minister Lambert Mende told the BBC that the authorities would look into the allegations.

Thomas Fessy

You're listening to the latest World News from the BBC.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians are reported to have been taking part in anti-government rallies in defiance of the security forces. Activists say eight people have been killed. Protesters have managed to release more video of the demonstrations than ever before - for the first time with a live stream of several rallies. In Hama, videos show tens of thousands of people in the streets. An activist said government forces have increasingly targeted activists.

A human rights group in Ghana has accused a government minister of "promoting hatred" by urging people to report suspected homosexuals to the authorities. The group said Paul Evans Aidoo's comments could endanger the nation's underground gay community. Mr Aidoo had said he wanted to rid society of gay people. Homosexual acts are illegal in Ghana.

One of Britain's leading book publishers, Macmillan, has been ordered to pay about $18m in a court settlement over allegations that one of its agents offered bribes for a contract in Africa. Concerns were initially raised by the World Bank, which was funding a tendering process to choose a supplier for school materials in Southern Sudan.

Police in Northern Ireland have apologised to a couple for mistakenly arresting them moments before their wedding ceremony was due to begin. The Irish groom, his Chinese bride and their guests were detained on suspicion that the marriage was fictitious for immigration purposes. Here's our Northern Ireland reporter Andy Martin.

The groom knew immediately that something was wrong when the registrar at Derry's Guildhall unexpectedly claimed that there was unfinished paperwork just before the ceremony began. He and his fiancee were led into an adjoining room and arrested by detectives. They were taken to a nearby police station, locked in separate cells and dressed in paper forensic overalls. Although the police have apologised, that's not enough for Mr McElwee. The couple were married 24 hours later, but say the magic had already been taken out of their big day.

Andy Martin

BBC News.