BBC News with Julie Candler
Syrian pro-government forces have recaptured the strategic town of Qusair after a siege lasting more than two weeks. The rebels said they withdrew overnight. The BBC’s Lyse Doucet was one of the first Western journalists to reach Qusair after its fall. She saw few civilians but government soldiers everywhere firing guns amid the devastation.
I'm in the central square of Qusair and the iconic clock tower now has a new flag with Bashar al-Assad on it, waving in a sign of victory. And what a victory it is at what a price. Not a single house on the streets leading out from this square has been left untouched-- the windows shuttled, the doors blown out, the balconies pockmarked with gunfire. This was a bloody battle for a strategic city. Qusair is gone, but the fighting will certainly go on.
Qusair is near the Lebanese border and lies along vital supply routes for both government and opposition forces. At the same time, the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has said proposed peace talks will not take place this month in Geneva as originally planned. He said neither side in the Syrian conflict was ready to commit to the conference, which he now hoped could be held in July. Mr Brahimi was speaking after days of talks on Syria at the UN in Geneva led by Russia and the United States.
Britain is expected to announce compensation on Thursday for thousands of Kenyans who say they were tortured during the 1950s when the British administration in Kenya fought with Mau Mau insurgents demanding an end to colonial rule. A British law firm is representing more than 5,000 Kenyans and the foreign office recently confirmed it was negotiating settlements. Several claimants alleging torture and sensual mutilation brought a test case at the High Court in London last year.
President Obama has appointed Susan Rice to the post of national security adviser. She is currently the US representative to the United Nations. From Washington, Paul Adams reports.
Speaking outside the White House, President Obama praised his tireless outgoing national security adviser Tom Donilon, and the president said Susan Rice would be a worthy successor.
"She is at once passionate and pragmatic. Susan is a fierce champion for justice and human dignity, but she is also mindful that we have to exercise our power wisely and deliberately."
Susan Rice is regarded as an effective but abrasive diplomat. She is disliked by members of the opposition Republican Party, who believed she was responsible for promoting a false account of the events which led to the death of the American ambassador in Libya last September. Some are bristling at her appointment as national security adviser, but there is nothing they can do about it-- the position does not require Senate approval.
Protests have been held in the western Turkish city of Izmir, demanding the release of young people, who the authorities accuse of misusing social media during the anti-government protests. Thirty people were arrested in the city on Tuesday night and charged with inciting criminal acts. But family members of those detained have dismissed the allegations.
An American soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians last year has pleaded guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty. Staff Sgt Robert Bales described to an American military court how he went to two Afghan villages and shot dead unarmed civilians, mostly women and children. His defence team say he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
More than 30,000 people in the eastern German city of Halle have been asked to leave their homes as a precautionary measure after rivers reached their highest level in 400 years. Rescue helicopters in southern Germany have been plucking families from rooftops.
Chinese researchers have found what’s thought to be the oldest primate fossil ever discovered. The beautifully preserved skeleton, the size of a mouse, was found in Hubei province and is 55 million years old. Here is our science correspondent Pallab Ghosh.
The creature, known as Archicebus achilles, is thought to be of a very early form of large eye primate school tarsiers, but it also has many similarities with the group of creatures that went on to become monkeys, apes and humans. So much so that according to Dr Henry Gee of the journal Nature, which published the research, it’s hard to know for sure where this creature fits in.
"Fossils are never preserved with their birth certificate or a little notice that says 'Here be the ancestor of all humans'. Now when you found the fossil, it could be the ancestor of all humans but you would never know this. So most we can say is it looks close to what we would expect the ancestor to look like.”
1.recapture vt. 夺回；拿回；再体验；政府征收再经历
Our forward position was recaptured with the aid of the friendly forces.
2.pockmark vt. 使留下痘疤；使有凹坑
Small bodies of water pockmark the flat face of the area.
3.mutilation n. 毁损；残缺；切断
The protesters mutilated the statue.
4.outgoing adj. 外出的；即将离职的；乐于助人的
She is the outgoing head of a large corporation.
5.pragmatic adj. 实际的；实用主义的；国事的
We need to adopt a more pragmatic approach.
6.abrasive adj. 粗糙的；有研磨作用的；伤人感情的
If you criticize Pablo, he becomes very abrasive.
7.post-traumatic adj. 受伤后的
It is this combination that results in post - traumatic renal insufficiency.
8.fossil n. 化石；僵化的事物；顽固不化的人
At this distance of time it is difficult to date the fossil.
1.Not a single house on the streets leading out from this square has been left untouched-- the windows shuttled, the doors blown out, the balconies pockmarked with gunfire.
lead out 开始；出发
He rushed into the burning building and led the people out to safety.
More than 99 percent of such batteries wind up recycled, keeping toxic lead out of landfills and waterways.
2.An American soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians last year has pleaded guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty.
plead guilty 服罪；被告服罪
He must at once plead guilty to the charge brought against him.
Confronted with ironclad evidence the scoundrel had to plead guilty.