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BBC News with David Austin

Algerian security officials say the army has captured five militants involved in a hostage taking at the desert gas plant at In Amenas. Earlier the Algerian government warned that the number of hostages killed in the siege was likely to rise. Emily Buchanan reports.

As Algerian security forces work to make the gas plant safe from booby-traps, they are reported to have discovered 25 bodies—people allegedly killed by the militants. And they say they found five kidnappers still alive while three others are still at large. A Mauritanian website is also showing a video of the alleged mastermind behind the kidnap, Mokhtar Belmokhtar. Wearing military fatigues, he claims responsibility for the taking of western hostages saying it was in revenge for the Algerian regime allowing France to use its land and airspace for the military operation in Mali.

The French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said his country's military intervention in Mali is aimed at restoring government control over the entire country. He said French air raids were now hitting targets in the region of Gao and Timbuktu but acknowledged that French forces had not yet secured control of the town of Diabaly, north of the capital of Bamako. Mark Doyle reports from Mali.

Sources inside the town said two days ago the insurgents had left the centre of Diabaly, but the Malian military says they suspect the Islamists are in a nearby forest. A French colonel said the situation in Diabaly was still fluid. It seems likely the French want to push their ground forces towards Diabaly very soon, but a senior officer in the Malian army said some parts of the town's population were sympathetic with the Islamists and this made their task difficult.

Colombia's Farc rebel group says a temporary ceasefire it declared at the start of peace talks with the government two months ago has come to an end. The Colombian government had refused to halt military operations until a final peace accord is achieved.

Barack Obama has been sworn in for his second term as US president in a simple ceremony at the White House. The US constitution requires that the president take his oath of office on Jan. 20. Mr Obama will repeat his oath on Monday in front of huge crowds at the US Capitol as Jane O'Brien now reports from Washington.

The occasion will be far more subdued than the celebration that marked Barack Obama's historic victory in 2008. The president faces enormous challenges in his second term. The country has become more divided in the past four years and although the economy is growing slowly it remains mired in debt with Congress lurching from one fiscal crisis to another. President Obama's place in history will be largely shaped by how he deals with the growing financial problems described as the biggest strategic threat facing the US. Jane O'Brien.

World News from the BBC

The United Nations has said the use of torture remains widespread in prisons in Afghanistan more than a year after it first highlighted such abuse. Of more than 600 detainees and former detainees interviewed, more than half said they have suffered mistreatment. Quentin Sommerville reports from Kabul.

Prisoners in Afghan jails have been beaten, threatened with execution and sexually abused. Some were given electric shocks to extract confessions or obtain information. The UN report found systematic torture in six Afghan police jails and widespread use of torture in others including some belonging to the Afghan intelligence service the NDS. The scale of abuse was first exposed in an earlier report published in 2011. The Afghan government says the claims are exaggerated but has promised to increase the monitoring of its facilities.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition appears to be running neck-and-neck with the centre-left opposition in regional elections in the state of Lower Saxony. Projections issued on German television put both sides on roughly 46%. Results are expected in the coming hours. The election is seen as a bell-weather for the general election due to be held in September.

The Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro says President Hugo Chavez is gaining strength following complications he suffered after cancer surgery in Cuba. Mr Maduro said the Venezuelan leader had now finished what he called the post-operative period and was entering a new phase of treatment in Havana. President Chaves had his fourth operation for an undisclosed form of cancer in December and hasn't been heard or seen in public scense.

Football - and Mali have beaten Niger 1-0 at the African Cup of Nations in South Africa. Captain Seydou Keita scored in the final minutes making his team the first to collect three points for a victory in the tournament. Earlier, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo drew 2-2 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

BBC News


1.booby-trap 诡雷,陷阱

We had to explore the terrain carefully lest booby traps go off all around us.

2.mastermind n.策划者,操纵者;

The mastermind of the expedition was a Frenchman.

3.sympathetic adj. 同情的;

Opinion at the grassroots level is sympathetic to the strikers.

4.oath n. 誓言,誓约

You cannot call back your oath.

5.mire vt. 使陷于泥坑;使陷入困境

The rain mired the cart and it couldn't be moved.

6.confession n. 忏悔,告解;供认

Confession disburdened her mind of anxiety.

7.neck-and-neck adj. 并排的;并驾齐驱的

I mean to catch him up and come neck and neck into the winning post.

8.exaggerate vt. 使扩大;使增大

Of course, one should not exaggerate these frictions either.


1.And they say they found five kidnappers still alive while three others are still at large.

at large 未被捕的;自由的,不受约束的;逍遥法外的:

The murderer is still at large.

We wandered at large on the campus.

2.Wearing military fatigues, he claims responsibility for the taking of western hostages saying it was in revenge for the Algerian regime allowing France to use its land and airspace for the military operation in Mali.

in revenge for 出于对…的报复

The killings were said to have been in revenge for the murder of her lover.

The village was bombed in revenge for protecting enemy soldiers.

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