Activists say more than 50 people have been killed and 100 wounded in fighting between government forces and rebels in Homs Province. They said 13 children were among the dead when the Syrian army shelled the town of Houla. Activists reported confrontations in other Syrian cities including Damascus. They said army tanks were deployed in Alepo contained demonstrators after Friday prayers. A spokesman for the international special envoy Kofi Annan said he would visit Syria soon but declined to specify the date, citing security reasons.
One of Spain's largest banks, Bankia, has asked the Spanish government for a bailout of 19 billion euros, almost 24 billion dollars. The bank also said it had revised last year's results to view a loss of more than 3.5 billion dollars instead of the previously announced profit of about the same amount. From Madrid, Tom Barridge reports.
The fact that trading in shares of Spain's fourth largest bank, Bankia, was suspended today, reflects the uncertainty over the bank's exposure to bad loans. The bank lent heavily during Spain's property boom before the market crashed four years ago. One thing now is clear. The Bankia will get loans totally 19 billion euros from the Spanish government. The Spanish State already has another 4.5 billion euros invested in Bankia. And as a result, it now controls 90% of the bank.
A deal has been agreed, which will give South Africa, Australia and New Zealand a share in being home to the world's biggest ever radio telescope. The telescope, called the Square Kilometre Array, comprises 3,000 antennas that will survey a billion galaxies that accelerate away from each other. Professor Bryan, Direct of the project, said it would investigate some of the fundamental mysteries of the universe.
What is the nature of the dark matter and dark energy, the stuff that makes up 96% of the universe, and yet the stuff we know very little about. It also looks towards the very early and possibly of the universe of a few hundred thousand years after the big bang and looks at how stars and galaxies are formed from that at primordial chaos, and give us new insights into how we came to be our origins.
Vatican police have arrested a man reported to be Pope Benedict's butler and in connection with theft of confidential documents from the Pope's private study. From Rome, here's David Willey.
The string of secret Vatican documents has been systematically leaked to the Italian press in recent months. Last month, Pope Benedict appointed three senior Vatican cardinals to carry out investigation into how the documents fell into wrong hands . The suspect now being interrogated has been named by the Italian media as Paolo Gabriele, the Pope's private butler. They say Vatican police found a stack of secret documents in his home, just inside the walls of the Vatican city state.
This is the world news from the BBC.
With most votes counted after the first round at the presidential election in Egypt, unofficial results suggest the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi is ahead. John Leyne reports from Cairo.
Counting is still continuing in Cairo but results from more than 90% of the country suggest that Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood is now decisively in the lead. Ahmed Shafiq, a former general who was President Mubarak's last prime minister, looks almost certain to join him in a round of election in the mid of June. So the two old power centers in Egyptian politics, the army and the Brotherhood, would go head-to-head in what could be a very polarised battle.
Lebanese official say a group of Shia pilgrims kidnapped in Syria on Tuesday has been released. There were celebrations in the southern suburb of Beirut following the news of the 11 members on their way back to Lebanon via Turkey. A BBC correspondent in the Lebanese capital says the abduction of the pilgrims apparently by rebel fighters from the Sunni based opposition in northern Syria have threaten to cause further tension between Lebanese supports and opponents of the Syrian government.
Officials in Sudan say government troops have captured two areas from rebels in Blue Nile State on the boarder with South Sudan. After a day's fighting, the rebel group SPLM-North denied the claims by the governor of Blue Nile State, who said clashes were continuing. Fighting in the region began shortly after South Sudan became independent last year.
And the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has vetoed parts of a controversial bill, which regulates how much land farmers must preserve as forest. Among the 12 articles, which President Rousseff rejected, is an amnesty for illegal loggers . The powerful Brazilian farmer's lobby had argued that and easing of environmental restrictions would promote sustainable food production. But environmentalists have asked the president to veto the entire bill, saying it would lead to further destruction of the Amazon rainforest.