BBC News with David Austin
A new Congress has convened in Washington after mid-term elections in which President Obama's Democratic Party suffered heavy losses to the Republican Party. For the first time in more than four years, the Republicans are in control of the House of Representatives. From Washington, here's Paul Adams.
Washington's power shift has just taken place, the outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, passing a comically outsize gavel to her Republican replacement John Boehner of Ohio. Mr Boehner, now the third most important politician in the country, was clearly relishing the moment, entering the chamber to rousing cheers from his party colleagues and pausing occasionally to wipe tears from his eyes. He spoke of the tough decisions that lie ahead for the 112th Congress.
The people, he said, had voted to end business as usual; today Congress would start to carry out their instructions.
The militant Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has returned home from his three-year self-imposed exile in Iran. Thousands of people lined the streets of his hometown Najaf, south of Baghdad, to welcome him. From Baghdad, here's Jim Muir.
Residents of Najaf say the city was thrown into turmoil by the sudden return of Moqtada Sadr to his birthplace and stronghold. His movement shrouded in mystery, he disappeared to Iran over three years ago. In 2008, his Mehdi Army militia collided with government forces commanded by the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Many were arrested. After a long breach with Mr Maliki, Moqtada Sadr announced in October that he was backing him for a second term of office, and his movement has seven ministers in the new Iraqi cabinet. So Moqtada Sadr's arrival in Najaf is another sign of normalisation, though it's not yet clear whether he's home to stay or just visiting.
Thousands of Pakistanis have turned out in Lahore for the funeral of one of the country's most well-known politicians, the governor of Punjab province Salman Taseer, who was assassinated on Tuesday. Mr Taseer had angered extreme Islamists because of his defence of religious minorities. Aleem Maqbool reports.
It has been a relief to many that after such a brutal end Salman Taseer's state funeral at least passed off peacefully. Thousands came to mourn one of this country's most well-known politicians. His death, though, has implications far beyond politics. It's revealed divisions in Pakistan that are at the very heart of so many of the problems here. For some, the governor was a hero, a man who spoke out against extremism and discrimination; but for others, it is his assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, who's being feted. There were even some public gatherings in his honour.
A bodyguard of the late pop star Michael Jackson has given details of the frantic efforts to revive him after an overdose of sedatives in 2009. The guard was giving evidence at a hearing in Los Angeles to determine whether the star's doctor should stand trial.
World News from the BBC
The man internationally recognised as the winner of Ivory Coast's presidential election, Alassane Ouattara, has dismissed an offer by his rival Laurent Gbagbo to hold talks with regional leaders to end the political crisis. He said Mr Gbagbo, who's refusing to give up the presidency, was not sincere and was playing for time. Mr Ouattara called on the West African regional grouping Ecowas to remove Mr Gbagbo from office quickly.
A new parliament has convened in Venezuela. It's the first in five years to have substantial opposition representation. But opposition politicians say their influence has been curtailed by the powers given to the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez by the outgoing parliament, which allow him to pass some laws without the support of lawmakers. The BBC's Sarah Grainger is in Caracas.
The new president of the parliament, Fernando Soto Rojas, swore in 165 new deputies, more than a third of them opposition representatives, making it harder for President Chavez to get reforms passed by the parliament. But that won't trouble the president too much. He was recently granted the power to rule by decree for the next 18 months. He says the measure will help him to respond to devastating floods in many parts of the country. The opposition sees it as a means to bypass the new assembly.
A food scandal in Germany, involving the possible contamination of a huge number of eggs with the poisonous chemical dioxin, appears to have widened. The government has said that up to 3,000 tonnes of contaminated fatty acids from eggs were sold to animal feed manufacturers. The German agriculture ministry said it had collected acid samples for testing in November, but the samples weren't tested until late December.
Members of one of Britain's biggest cocaine trafficking rings who laundered about $100m in drugs money have been jailed. Among those convicted was a firefighter commended for his heroism in the aftermath of the 2005 attacks on the London transport network.