BBC News with Gaenor Howells.
Venezuela has ordered Colombian diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours. The Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had earlier announced he was breaking off relations over accusations that his government was harboring left-wing Colombian rebels. At a meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington, Colombia presented videos, maps and photos to prove that Farc and ELN rebels have bases in Venezuela. Mr Chávez blamed Colombian President Alvaro Uribe who’s leaving office next month for the deterioration of relations.
“I blame President Uribe who's sick with hatred, because he's going into the dustbin of history, he’s going straight there, a pawn of the Yankee empire. He ended up isolated in the continent, he didn't defeat the guerrillas or the drug traffickers, and Venezuela is a victim of all this.”
The International Court of Justice in The Hague has ruled that Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia did not violate international law. The ruling, backed by 10 judges with 4 against, was announced by the president of the court, Hisashi Owada.
“The court considers that general international law contains no applicable prohibition of declaration of independence. Accordingly, it concludes that the declaration of independence of the 17th of February 2008 did not violate general international law.”
Although not legally binding, the ruling could have implications for separatist movements around the world. It’s expected to lead to a renewed push by Kosovo for further international recognition. The president of Serbia, Boris Tadi, speaking after the court decision, said his country would never accept what he called "the unilaterally proclaimed independence" of Kosovo. Mr Tadi said his government would carefully analyze and consider the situation in the days to come.
A Russian scientist deported to Britain two weeks ago in a spy swap between the United States and Russia has said he wants to “go home”. The statement is the first from Igor Sutyagin since he arrived in the United Kingdom from Russia, where he’d been held in a prison camp since being convicted of spying for the Americans. Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from Moscow.
Igor Sutyagin is homesick. Barely two weeks after arriving in the UK, he has told his brother he desperately wants to go home. In a statement released by his brother in Moscow, Mr Sutyagin says he wants to see his wife and children and to fix the porch on his little house outside Moscow. How soon that might happen is hard to tell. The British authorities have said nothing about what they intend for him. But as part of the deal for his release, Mr Sutyagin was pardoned by President Dmitry Medvedev, so in theory he should be allowed to return to Russia in the future.
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A leading academic in the United States has accused the British oil company BP of trying to buy the best scientists and academics to help in its defense in lawsuits arising from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The academic says scientists should think twice before they sign a contract with the corporation, which has such powerful economic interests at stake. The BBC has obtained a copy of a contract being offered to scientists by BP. It states they cannot publish the research they do for BP or speak about the data for at least three years.
A tropical depression is forming over the Bahamas and moving towards the Gulf of Mexico. US officials say it could affect the operation to clean up the oil spill there. With more here's Vanessa Buschschluter of our America’s desk.
The American National Hurricane Center says that the tropical depression could hit the area of the massive oil spill in the Gulf within the next three days. American officials said they would decide later on Thursday whether to evacuate the site. Some ships skimming oil off the surface are already on the way to port. But Admiral Thad Allen, who’s the official in charge of the cleanup, said whatever happened, the cap which has been placed over the well to contain the oil would stay in place.
The Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has announced that the term of the army chief of staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, has been extended by three years. General Kayani, who was appointed by the former President Pervez Musharraf, was due to retire in November when his 3-year-term in office expired. Mr Gilani said the extension was essential, given the country’s battle against terrorism.
The Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has addressed the nation on the eve of Revolution Day. In a speech partly designed to provide reassurance about his health, Mr Mubarak spoke standing up for more than ten minutes.
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