BBC News with Jonathan Izard.
A federal judge in the United States has ruled that 3 former bodyguards from the American security firm, Blackwater, be imprisoned. Nicholas Slatten was sentenced to life in prison for murder. Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty and Paul Sloug were given 30 years each for manslaughter.
The men, all former members of the U.S. Military, were found guilty last October of the killings of 14 Iraqis in Baghdad in 2007. 3 more people were found to have been lawfully killed. The judge rejected the appeals for leniency. David Willis looks back at the story.“Founded by former Navy SEAL and Republican Party donor, Eric Prince, the company was paid billions of dollars to protect American diplomats at the height of the Iraq War.
But of the many shootouts in which Blackwater staff were involved, none compares to the massacre that occurred on the 16th of September 2007.A Blackwater team, escorting a State Department convoy, opened fire as it approached the Nisoor Square. By the time the convoy had moved on, a total of 17 people were dead.”
The United States has objected to Moscow lifting a ban on delivering an advanced Russian anti-missile system to Iran. The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said the 2010 embargo was voluntary and no longer needed following last month's international framework agreement on Iran's nuclear program. But Washington considers the embargo to be part of U.N. sanctions that shouldn't be lifted unless a final deal is reached by the end of June. Josh Earnest is a White House spokesman.
“The United States has previously made no oral objections to that sale. I'm not in a position to obviously speculate on the decision-making process that Russia is engaged in right now. But I do think it's safe to say that Russia understands that the United States certainly takes very seriously the safety and security of our allies in the region.”
The BBC has been told that some of the 276 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted a year ago by Boko Haram Islamist militants have been seen alive in the past month. A resident of the northeastern town of Gwoza, who asked not to be identified, said she saw them 3 weeks ago as they left a large house close to her home.“We just saw them being brought out of the house and taken away.
We asked them what had happened. And they said a plane had dropped a bomb on them, and some of the sisters were injured and were being taken to the hospital.”Boko Haram was recently forced out of Gwoza by the Nigerian military. Events are being held in Nigeria to mark the first anniversary of the schoolgirls' abduction.
A court in Kenya has jailed 3 men for 15 years after they were found guilty in a gang rape case which prompted international condemnation. The 16-year-old victim of the attacks suffered severe injuries after being raped and thrown into a pit latrine. Nearly two million people signed a petition demanding justice after local police were reported to have told the suspects to cut the grass as a punishment. World news from the BBC.
The Florida Senator Marco Rubio has announced that he will seek the Republican Party's nomination for the presidency. Speaking in Miami, Mr. Rubio said he was uniquely qualified to pitch his Party as the one that could defend the American dream. The son of Cuban immigrants, Marco Rubio has become one of the leading lights of the Republican right.
Iraq's Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, has said he wants the United States to step up its air attacks on Islamic State militants. Speaking before he flew to Washington for talks with President Obama on Tuesday, Mr. al-Abadi said Iraq needed greater international support to defeat IS. He is also expected to request billions of dollars of American arms. Last week, Mr. al-Abadi announced the start of a campaign to drive the jihadists out of Anbar Province in western Iraq.
The Uruguayan author and journalist Eduardo Galeano has died in Montevideo at the age of 74. He'd been suffering from lung cancer. Nicholas Rocha looks back at his life.“Eduardo Galeano was one of Latin America's most prominent writers and a leading voice of the left. His 1971 essay, Open Veins of Latin America, became a classic of leftist political literature in the region. It chronicles the deep injustices of Latin America and its exploitation by capitalist and imperialist forces. The book became a best-seller a second time after the former Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez, presented a copy to President Barack Obama in 2009.”
Tributes have been paid to the German literary giant Gunter Grass, who's died aged 87. The German Culture Minister, Monica Guneter, said the Nobel Prize winner's literary legacy would stand next to that of Goethe. And the country's Foreign Minister, Frank Walter Steinmeier, described him as a father figure to the generation who came of age in post-war Germany. Grass was widely regarded as a moral compass for his country, tackling topics such as the rise of Nazism and the guilt that followed German wartime atrocities. He's best known for his novel, The Tin Drum.
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