BBC news with Marion Marshall.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague has asked judges to postpone the trial of the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Fatou Bensouda’s request follows the loss of key witnesses. Mr. Kenyatta was accused of orchestrating violence after Kenya's 2007 elections. Anna Holligan reports from the Hague.
“The prosecutor says she has come to the conclusion that the case against President Kenyatta does not satisfy the high evidentiary standards required a trial. Essentially, this means what remains of the evidence isn't enough to justify proceeding with the trial. She has asked the judges for more time to see if it’s possible to gather with additional evidence. It means the first international trial of a sitting head of state is unlikely to go ahead as scheduled on Feb. 5 if at all.”
The United Nations says youth from South Sudan second largest ethnic group the Nuer have forced their way into a UN base to attack civilians who'd sought refuge there. The UN spokesman Farhan Haq said he feared that there’d been casualties of the compound in Jonglei state. Tens of thousands of civilians have taken shelter in UN bases. Rapidly escalating violence link to rivalries between the Nuer and Dinka majority has raised fears that the world's newest country could slide into civil war.
President Putin has made a surprise announcement that jailed former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky could soon be freed. The President told reporters that Mr. Khodorkovsky had asked for clemency. One of the President spokesmen Sergei Markov told the BBC that Mr. Khodorkovsky had acknowledged he’s guilt. Bridget Kendall reports.
“Mikhail Khodorkovsky is seen by many as Russia's most famous political prisoner, once an oil magnate and Russia's richest man. He fell out with President Putin and ended up in prison convicted of fraud, theft and money laundering. So the announcement today that President Putin plans to release him on humanitarian grounds came as a shock. It meant to be part of a campaign to improve Russia's human rights image ahead of the Sochi Olympics in February, but perhaps it's also a sign that Mr. Putin thinks his own grip on the country is secure.”
Two British Islamists have been found guilty of murdering an off-duty soldier in broad daylight on the London street. A jury took just 90 minutes to convict Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale of killing Fusilier Lee Rigby in May. The court heard they knocked him down with their car then attempted to hack his head off. The British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the verdict.
“The whole country united in condemnation of what happened and I'm sure everyone will welcome these verdicts today. I think it also shows that we have to redouble our efforts to confront the poisonous narrative of extremism and violence that lay behind this. And make sure that we do everything to beat it in our country.”
World News from the BBC
A rescue operation is underway in central London after a theatre roof apparently collapsed amid performance. Police say there are a number of casualties. Our eyewitness at the Apollo Theatre said she heard a crackling noise and people in the upper tier started to leave. She said almost immediately plaster started falling amid big clouds of dust as the ceiling seem to crumple.
The American ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power has said it's essential that those behind sectarian violence of the Central African Republic be held accountable. Ms. Power was speaking after meeting the country's interim President Michel Djotodia and other leaders in the capital Bangui where she also visited victims of the attacks. The US envoy said the tales of horrific abuses in recent days were spine chilling.
The Cuban government has eased restrictions on the sale of cars allowing private individuals to buy new and second-hand vehicles without the need for special letters of permission. The government said controls imposed after the revolution were now obsolete. Sarah Rainsford is in Havana.
“It was a privilege accorded to certain workers and officials, top athletes or artist. Now those permission letters have been scrapped in another step towards freeing up the economy here. One reason is the letters were sold after they were being sold illegally for thousands of dollars. The state will maintain its monopoly on retail sales and vehicle prices are expected to be high out of reach for many of the Cubans. The government says the money raised will be used to develop public transport on the Island which just currently very limited and poorly maintains.”
A judge in the United States said a white man who shot and killed a drunk black woman who knocked on his door late at night should stand trial for second degree murder. Judge David Turfe rejected the argument that he was acting in self-defense. The woman was apparently seeking help after a car crash. The case in the Detroit suburb triggered protests.