BBC news. Hello I'm John Shay.
The US treasury has told the BBC that it considers the Russian president Vladimir Putin to be corrupt. The American government has already imposed sanctions on Mr Putin's aids, but it's thought to be the first time it's directly accused him of corruption. The president spokesman described the claim as pure fiction. But an American treasury official Adam Szubin says Mr Putin has committed financial wrongdoing.
We've seen him enriching his friends, his close allies, and marginalizing those who he doesn't view as friends, using state assets whether that's Russia's energy wealth, whether it's other state contracts. He directs those to whom he believes will serve him and excludes those who don't. And to me that is a picture of corruption.
The United Nation's Security Council has approved creation of an unarmed UN mission in Columbia to monitor a bilateral ceasefire if FARC rebels and the government reach a peace agreement. More than half a century of fighting has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions. Natalia X is in Bogota.
The news should bring optimism to Havana where peace negotiations between the Columbia government and the FARC have been inching towards a final agreement for the past three years. Both sides expect to reach an agreement by late March. If they do, more than six thousand FARC fighters would start the process of free integrating into society.
The European Union has moved closer towards accepting that the Schengen agreement on open boarders could be suspended for up to two years in response to the influx of migrants and refugees. The meeting of European interior ministers in Amsterdam was acrimonious, with some suggesting that Greece should be isolated from the Schengen zone. Alan Holigan reports.
Austria's interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner called for Greece to be temporarily suspended from Schengen unless it did more to secure its boarders, but a European commission spokesperson dismissed the idea, twisting that there will be no exclusions or suspensions. Instead, she says, we will save Schengen by applying Schengen. The temporary border controls imposed by Austria and Germany were supposed to be lifted in May, but countries can get EU permission to extend the measures for a maximum of two years under exceptional circumstances.
The United Nation's special envoy to Syria has said he expects that peace talks between government and opposition representatives would start on Friday. Speaking in Geneva where the talks were meant to begin on Monday, Staffan de Mistura said they've been delayed by disputes over who should take part. He says he expects the whole process to go on for six months.
This is the latest world news from the BBC.
The World Health Organization says it expects the mosquito-born Zika virus, which is thought to cause serious birth defects, to affect all countries in the Americas, except Canada and Chili. An outbreak has been spreading rapidly in Brazil, which will host the Olympics later this year. It’s thought the virus can impair brain development in the womb. Pregnant women have been advised to consider avoiding travel to countries where Zika is present
The authorities in Israel are reported to have given approval for the construction of more than 150 new homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied west bank. The decision would mark the end of an informal 18-month freeze on construction.
The Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, has opened the biggest exhibition outside Israel of art created by Jewish prisoners of the Nazis. Almost half of the 50 artists featured did not survive the holocaust. The 100 pieces on show in Berlin were painted or drawn in secret in concentration camps and ghettos. In her opening speech, Chancellor Merkel paid tributes to victims of Nazism.
The overwhelming majority of the survivors are no longer with us today, but their testimonies endure, and with them, the memories of the crime of the Nazis. There are millions of personal stories of unimaginable suffering that remain anchored in our memory.
Pope Francis has asked Protestants for forgiveness for historic persecution by the Catholic Church in his latest attempt to foster Christian Unity. The Pope also urged Catholics to forgive those who’d persecuted them, saying the mistakes of the past should not be allowed to poison relations. The Vatican has announced that in October Pope Francis will visit the Swedish city of Lund, where the Lutheran World Federation was founded, to commemorate the start of the Protestant Reformation five centuries ago.
And that’s the latest BBC world news.