BBC News with Marion Marshall
The United Nations Security Council is holding an emergency session to discuss the conflict in Mali. Before the meeting, France said it was seeking more international backing for its military offensive against Islamist fighters in the West African country. On the ground, Malian rebels have seized the central town of Diabaly from government troops. Mark Doyle reports from Bamako.
Day four of the French military operation and a mixed picture is emerging. The air campaign has hit several rebel rear bases in the Sahara desert, but the French military admit that an Islamist column pushed on in the centre of the country. The Islamists are still hundreds of miles away from the capital Bamako, and the French say this city would have fallen without their military intervention. But the rebels are well-equipped and apparently determined.
The Iraqi authorities say they’ve started releasing hundreds of detainees in an apparent response to recent protests by the Sunni minority. The Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani apologised to the prisoners, saying they had been held unlawfully because of bureaucratic delays. He said more than 300 detainees had been released in the past week since he formed a government committee to look into protesters’ demands.
A group of Muslim clerics in Saudi Arabia has called on the government to put detainees held on security charges on trial or release them. The petition by 100 clerics in the ultra-conservative province of Qassim follows the detention of 11 women staging a small protest demanding the release of their relatives. The petition calls for fair hearings for prisoners warning that disaffection is growing, leading to protests and sit-ins.
A judge in Greece has ruled that a group of prisoners who escaped from jail last year committed no offence because they had been held in appalling conditions. The judge said that they were simply escaping humiliation. The ruling was made in November, but it’s only now been made public. Mark Lowen is in Athens.
Cramped, dirty and a breach of human rights—that was the view of the Greek judge about the prison where the 15 nationals had been held. The men were said to have been detained with others in a room of 15 m2 with one toilet and no water or bedding. Some had caught typhoid and had no access to medical care. Greece is the main entry point for illegal immigrants into Europe—over 80 per cent pass through the country. And human rights groups have frequently condemned the state of detention centres.
Long queues have formed in Havana outside embassies and the passport office after new legislation came into force allowing Cubans to travel abroad. Most Cubans will only need a valid passport and a visa to leave the communist-run island after more than five decades of severe restrictions. But the cost of applying for a visa is still high for the majority of Cubans—up to ten times the average monthly wage. World News from the BBC
President Barack Obama says he’s now reviewing proposals to curb gun violence a month after the Connecticut school shooting where 20 children and six adults were killed by one gunman. President Obama said he’s studying proposals made by his Vice President Joe Biden. As Paul Adams reports from Washington:
He indicated that background checks, a renewed ban on assault weapons and keeping high-capacity magazines out of the wrong hands would all be on the list. Not everything, he said, would require legislation. He cited effective tracking of gun data as one example of the sorts of measures the administration could pursue without the help of Congress. But he urged members of Congress to examine their conscience and said the opponents of new controls were very good at whipping up fears that the federal government was simply planning to take people’s guns away.
A convoy consisting of thousands of supporters of an influential Pakistani religious scholar, Tahir-ul-Qadri, has arrived in the capital Islamabad demanding electoral reform. Tahir-ul-Qadri says he wants a bloodless revolution, but the authorities accuse him of trying to postpone the election due in May.
New research suggests that Australia’s population wasn’t completely isolated from the rest of the world for thousands of years as previously thought. A study of Aboriginal DNA suggests that Australia experienced a wave of migration from India 4,000 years ago. Rebecca Morelle reports.
A team of researchers compared the DNA of Aboriginal Australians with genetic material from around the world. By looking at small variations in the genes, they were able to see who was closely related to whom. They found that Australian and Indian DNA have mingled about 4,000 years ago, meaning some intrepid Indian explorers arrived on the continent at around that time and they might not have come empty-handed. The scientists think the migrants brought along advanced stone tools called microliths.
(1)They were appalled by the damage from the fire.
(2)I am appalled at his mistakes.
(1)We have suffered 30 years of humiliation and torture.
(1)Oh how I hate the cramped quarters and dry, stale air on airplanes.
(2)I have to share my office with three other people so we are very cramped for room.
(1)Most people condemn war.
(2)He was condemned to death.
a clear conscience 问心无愧
guilty conscience 内疚
have no conscience 没有良心；不辨是非
(1)The temptation was warring with his conscience.
6.whip up 煽动
whip up public opinion煽动舆论
whip up racist sentiments煽动种族主义情绪
(1)Reliable information is scarce, making it easy to whip up prices by spreading rumours.
(1)These breath-taking images were taken of an underwater maze inside a glacier by an intrepid explorer.
1.The petition by 100 clerics in the ultra-conservative province of Qassim follows the detention of 11 women staging a small protest demanding the release of their relatives.
2.He cited effective tracking of gun data as one example of the sorts of measures the administration could pursue without the help of Congress.
3.But he urged members of Congress to examine their conscience and said the opponents of new controls were very good at whipping up fears that the federal government was simply planning to take people’s guns away.
4.They found that Australian and Indian DNA have mingled about 4,000 years ago, meaning some intrepid Indian explorers arrived on the continent at around that time and they might not have come empty-handed.