BBC News with Mario Haugage(inaudible).
The French government has given a company accused of relabeling horsemeat as beef permission to resume some of its activities. The company Spanghero had its licence suspended last week after investigators found evidence that horsemeat from Romania had been relabelled there. From Paris, Hugh Schofield reports.
Following a decision by the agriculture minister, Spanghero will now be allowed to resume its work preparing ready meals and cooked meats. This may sound odd given that it was in supermarket ready meals that the horsemeat was detected. But in fact Spanghero’s alleged role in this affair was not as a preparer of food but as a trader in food. It’s claimed that the company bought the horsemeat from a Cyprus-based middleman, relabelled it as beef and then sold it on. But Spanghero’s main activity has always been food processing. With 300 workers, it’s a major employer in a region hit hard by unemployment.
Elsewhere in Europe food safety officials in the Netherlands have carried out raids of more than 100 slaughterhouses and processing plants to see if horsemeat is being passed off as beef. And supermarkets in Britain have agreed to update the government every three months on the results of random DNA tests carried out on beef to ensure it contains no other meat.
The Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has returned home after cancer surgery in Cuba. He announced his return on the social media site Twitter with the words “Thank you, my God. Thank you, my beloved people.” Venezuela’s Information Minister Ernesto Villegas confirmed the president’s arrival on Venezuelan national television.
“He’s back. He’s back. He’s back. Bravo! Commander Chavez has returned. We are very happy to be able to share this very joyous news. Congratulations, Venezuela.”
The European Union has decided to keep sanctions against Syria in place for another three months, but has modified the arms embargo to allow for more non-lethal and technical support to the opposition. Britain had been pressing for the embargo to be lifted so that more arms could reach the Syrian rebels.
At least 13 people are reported to have been wounded in violence outside a mine in South Africa. The men, who included four guards, were injured by rubber bullets and machetes. Reports said the incident happened when scuffles broke out between members of rival trade unions of the mine which is run by Anglo American. Pumza Fihlani reports from South Africa.
At least 13 mine workers have been injured at the Anglo American Platinum mine’s Siphumelele shaft in Rustenburg after security guards allegedly shot rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of feuding miners from rival unions. South African police spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane told the BBC that four security guards also suffered machete wounds. The mine is a few kilometres away from the Lonmin mine where police shot and killed 34 striking miners last August.
This is the World News from the BBC
In Tunisia, attempts to form a new government of technocrats have failed. The Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali is quoted as saying that another form of government is still a possibility. Mr Jebali has threatened to resign if his proposals were not accepted by the leader of his own Ennahda party. The French news agency says the prime minister shows no sign of standing down and he’s still seeking a compromise. The political crisis in Tunisia followed the assassination of a prominent opposition politician.
Troops have been deployed to the three largest airports in Bolivia following a surprised move by the government to nationalise them. The airports are run by Sabsa, the subsidiary of a Spanish company which runs several other airports around the world. The Bolivian President Evo Morales accused Sabsa of failing to improve infrastructure and services. This is the third state take-over of a Spanish-run company in less than a year.
A lawyer from London has been jailed for 10 years for arranging hundreds of bogus marriages. Tevfick Souleiman was found guilty of conspiracy to breach immigration law and of receiving the proceeds of crime. Richard Clark reports.
Over eight years solicitor Tevfick Souleiman and three immigration advisers at his north London law firm arranged sham marriages for illegal immigrants of what the judge called an industrial scale. They flew in women from eastern European countries, paid them to marry men outside the EU who they hadn’t even met before the ceremony and then flew them home the following day. Each couple was also provided with a script of their supposed love story to help them hoodwink officials if questions were asked.
A strike by journalists has disrupted news programmes across the domestic and international radio and TV networks of the BBC. Members of the National Union of Journalists have stayed away in protest of compulsory redundancies. The BBC says it’s trying to redeploy as many as possible of the 150 staff facing redundancy.