BBC News with Jerry Smit.
A leading member of the Pakistani Taliban has written to the schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in an effort to explain the group's motives when they shot her in the head. Orla Guerin reports from Islamabad.
The message to Malala was written by a prominent Taliban leader, Adnan Rasheed. He says he was shocked by the attack on her and wished it had never happened. But the letter written in his personal capacity does not contain an apology. The militant leader said he would leave it to Allah to decide if the attack was right or wrong. Malala was targeted, he said, because she was running a smear campaign against the Taliban, not because she was going to school or championing girls’ education.
A preliminary inquiry suggests insecticide poisoning killed 22 children who fell ill after eating a free school meal in the Indian state of Bihar. Officials say the lunch was contaminated with organo-phosphorus, a substance used in pesticides. More details from Zubair Ahmed in Delhi.
There have been violent protests in and around the villages and near the school, and the government has launched an inquiry into the incident. The doctors treating the children believed that the food was contaminated with organo-phosphorus which is a kind of pesticide used by the farmers. The education minister has been saying to the media he met the cook who prepared the meal and according to her, she used a new type of cooking oil which looked dodgy and discoloured. She brought it to the notice of the teacher responsible and she assured everyone that there was nothing wrong with the cooking oil.
North Korea has urged Panama to release the crew of a ship carrying arms from Cuba to North Korea that Panama detained on Monday. In its first comment on the case, North Korea's foreign ministry said the cargo of ageing Cuban weapons was being sent for repairs and will be returned to Cuba. Sarah Rainsford reports from Havana.
North Korea and Cuba both now argue that the weapons found on board the ship were old and being sent to Pyongyang for repairs. It appears that Havana was paying for the work not with cash but by butter, sending 10,000 tonnes of sugar. The military cargo was concealed beneath that official load and was undeclared. Panama security minister says that makes it contraband. His country has now called on United Nations experts to examine the evidence and decide whether UN sanctions banning the transfer of arms to North Korea have been violated.
Scientists say they have developed a new surgical knife that can distinguish between healthy and cancerous tissue. Preliminary tests at hospitals in London suggest the tool will help doctors to perform more accurate surgery on cancer patients as they'll know almost instantly if they are cutting through healthy or unhealthy cells. The device, known as an intelligent knife or an iKnife, has to undergo further trials.
World News from the BBC.
Thousands of Greek workers are demonstrating outside the parliament in Athens ahead of a vote on job cuts in the public sector. Twenty-five thousand public service workers will be faced with a combination of job transfers and redundancies under the new law. Greece will receive loans of nearly 7bn euros from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund once the law is passed. Earlier the Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announced a cut in taxes on restaurants from 23% to 13%.
Teachers in Kenya have called off a nationwide strike after the country's education minister threatened to close all state-run primary schools indefinitely. The minister had described the strike, now in its fourth week, as illegal and unconstitutional. He said teachers who failed to turn up for work should consider themselves sacked. Jeffrey Karuga of the Head Teachers' Association described the minister's decision as unfortunate.
"It is going to set a very bad precedent. All the Kenyan Primary School Head Teachers Association and the Kenyan Secondary School Head Teachers Association advocate for their rights and their voices of the voiceless students and children have not been even involved in this discussion which has been going on."
The woman nominated by President Obama as ambassador to the United Nations has criticised the UN for failing to stop the violence in Syria. Samantha Power told a confirmation hearing in the Senate that the UN Security Council had not responded to the slaughter in Syria and said it was a disgrace that history would judge harshly.
A senior violinist at Russia's Bolshoi Theatre has died after falling into the orchestra pit. Viktor Sedov had worked at the world famous ballet and opera house for four decades. A spokeswoman failed to explain the exact circumstances of what happened, but said Mr Sedov fell into the below stage pit where the orchestra sat on Tuesday and died of his injuries in hospital.