BBC News with Charles Carroll
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are holding rival rallies in the capital Cairo in what’s widely been seen as a trial of strength between the army and supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi. The main rallies have so far been peaceful. Earlier, Yasmine Abu Khadra described the scenes at the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque where the pro-Morsi rally is taking place.
The atmosphere now is very solemn as the protesters here have started to do the night prayers of Ramadan, the holy month. Before, at this period of time, the atmosphere here was very festive, was very energetic. People were chanting all of the songs. They were saying “down with the military rule”. They were saying that we are against this what they have called the military coup. As for securing the Rabaa al-Adawiya, some of the protesters here are manning the checkpoints here to make sure that there isn’t any invaders are trying to come into Rabaa al-Adawiya and they may trigger any kind of clashes.
Ariel Castro, the man accused of holding three women captive in his house in the American city of Cleveland for almost a decade, has agreed to a plea bargain. He’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars. Jonny Dymond reports from Washington.
Ariel Castro will die a prisoner, but he will not face the death penalty. That’s the deal he has struck with the prosecution. Prosecutors have called for him to be sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years in prison. The women he abducted, imprisoned, raped and assaulted for around a decade will not have to testify in court thanks to his guilty plea. One woman gave birth to a child fathered by Castro in captivity; another suffered five miscarriages after Castro starved and assaulted her.
At least 39 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in two bomb explosions in Pakistan’s north-western region bordering Afghanistan. Officials say the bombs ripped through a market in the Kurram tribal region. Here’s our South East Asia editor Anbarasan Ethirajan.
The market in Parachinar town was busy with the evening shoppers buying food to break the daily Ramadan fast when the blasts occurred. Officials say the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers on motorcycles. Doctors at a local hospital say they are struggling to cope with the injured. The conditions of some of the wounded are said to be critical. No group has said it carried out the attacks.
French prosecutors have announced that they’ll press charges against the disgraced former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn for pimping. The charges related to sex parties, which Mr Strauss-Kahn attended in Lyon in north-eastern France and in other cities. Mr Strauss-Kahn has admitted taking part in orgies, but says he never paid to have sex with high-class prostitutes. Mr Strauss-Kahn resigned from the IMF after he was accused of raping a member of staff. The case was later dismissed.
World News from the BBC
Police in north-west Spain say the driver of a train which crashed on Wednesday has refused to answer questions about the incident. The driver, who’s in hospital, is being detained on suspicion of committing a criminal offence. Spanish law allows a suspect to remain silent under police interrogation. Investigators now say 78 people died in the accident near the city of Santiago de Compostela and about 90 people are still in hospital-- dozens of them in a serious condition.
The United States has told Russia that the fugitive intelligence analyst Edward Snowden would not face the death penalty if he were to be handed over. In a letter to the Russian justice ministry, the US attorney general said that Mr Snowden would be tried promptly in a civil court and would not be tortured. He said the reassurances removed any ground for Mr Snowden’s claim for temporary asylum in Russia. Earlier President Putin’s spokesman repeated that he would not be handed over to the United States, which wants him to stand trial for leaking secret details of a government surveillance programme.
President Raul Castro has said that power in Cuba is being gradually transferred to a new generation of socialist leaders. Celebrating 60 years since the start of the revolutionary struggle, several Latin American leaders gathered in the eastern Cuban city of Santiago. Sarah Rainsford reports from Havana.
Raul Castro spent much of his speech recalling the daring but disastrous assault on the Moncada barracks led by his brother Fidel and the years of prison, exile and finally the revolution that followed. But he also looked at the future. Twenty-three at the time of the Moncada assault, Raul Castro is now eighty-three. Fidel is five years older and too frail to attend the celebrations. “So Cuba’s historic generation is ceding its place to a new generation”, Raul said. “Calm and confident, that they are ready and able to keep the socialist and revolutionary flags flying high.”