Latest new from around the world
Italy: Pope Benedict XVI joined Buddhist monks, Islamic scholars, Yoruba leaders and a handful of agnostics in making a communal call for peace today, insisting that religion must never be used as a pretext for war or terrorism.
He welcomed 300 people to the hilltop town of Assisi to commemorate the 25th anniversary of a day-long prayer for peace called by Pope John Paul II in 1986.
Israel: Twenty-five Egyptians left a jail in southern Israel today and were being bused to the border with Egypt ahead of a swap for a US-Israeli citizen jailed in Cairo on suspicion of espionage.
The arrest of US-born Ilan Grapel set off new fears in Israel that relations with the new Egyptian junta would sour after the ousting of president Hosni Mubarak by a popular uprising in February.
The swap was expected to help ease the strains that have developed between the two countries.
Uruguay: Congress scrapped a 1986 amnesty law today that shielded officials charged with human rights abuses during the right-wing dictatorship of 1973 to 1985.
The vote met demands by human rights groups that people who kidnapped, tortured and killed in the name of the state should be punished.
At least 180 suspected leftwingers were kidnapped and killed during the dictatorship. The Supreme Court will decide whether lifting the amnesty is constitutional.
Turkey: Rain and snow made conditions even worse for thousands of people left homeless by Sunday's earthquake.
Over 500 people have since been confirmed dead, 2,300 people injured and 185 people have been pulled from the rubble.
A moderate earthquake hit the Hakkari province today, sending people rushing out of buildings in fear and pani, but no damage was reported.
Cuba: A Chinese military hospital ship set sail for Jamaica today on the first leg of a humanitarian mission to strenghen its ties with Caribbean countries.
The Peace Ark is equipped with 300 beds, eight operation rooms and advanced surgical equipment, enabling the 107-strong medical team on board to conduct 40 major surgeries a day.
After tending to sick people in Jamaica the ship will continue on to Trinidad and Tobago and Costa Rica.
Germany: Police say eight officers were injured in clashes with football fans before the German Cup match between Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Kaiserslautern on Wednesday.
One woman was seriously hurt when she fell onto railway tracks.
Fighting between rival groups apparently left more people injured but there were no official figures.
Police say they were attacked with stones, bottles and fireworks and responded with batons. Eight people were arrested.
Iraq: A top spook announced on Wednesday that at least 240 members of the former ruling Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party and ex-military officers have been detained ahead of the withdrawal of US combat troops at the end of the year.
"We have arrested a group belonging to the Ba'ath party that were planning to launch sabotage actions and revolt to topple the political process in the country after the withdrawal of American forces," Interior Ministry official Lieutenant-General Hussein Kamal said.
Authorities are continuing to "neutralise" what he characterised as a "dangerous network with branches across Iraq."
The Netherlands: Shell bosses announced in Amsteredam today that their profits had doubled to nearly £4.4 billion in the third quarter due to higher oil prices.
They said net profit was £4.46bn, up from £2.16bn in the same period last year.
Global oil prices have risen 48 per cent from this time a year ago.
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