Islamist forces linked to al-Qaeda are reported to have seized the key town of Gao in northern Mali. Residents of the town say Islamist fighters have taken over buildings occupied by Tuareg rebels, including their headquarters, and raised the black flag. Our West Africa correspondent Thomas Fessy reports.
Islamist combatants have once again taken the upper hands over the Tuareg-led counterparts in the vast northern region. After weeks of uneasy truce in Gao and the failure to build an alliance, MNLA Tuareg-led fighters have reportedly been driven out of the key northern town by militants who want to impose sharia law. Heavy fighting broke out on Wednesday morning between the two rival groups. A doctor at a hospital in Gao said over the phone that most people killed and injured seemed to have been armed but a number of civilians had also been caught in the fighting.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said there are no quick or easy solutions to the crisis in the eurozone. Mrs Merkel has been holding talks in Paris with the French President Francois Hollande. Speaking ahead of an EU summit on Thursday, she said leaders should avoid making rash promises they can't keep.
"There is no easy and quick solution. There is no magic formula or single coup which can make the government debt crisis go away once and for all ."
British politicians have hailed a historic handshake between the Queen and a former IRA leader, Martin McGuinness. The Queen and Mr McGuinness, who's now a Northern Ireland's deputy first minister, shook hands at a theatre in Belfast. A spokesman for the Prime Minister David Cameron said the meeting had taken the Anglo-Irish relationship to a new level. Speaking at a Jubilee party attended by the Queen, Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson said that the handshake was an important moment.
"I think it shows that Northern Ireland is moving forward. I think what you might describe as normality is occurring in Northern Ireland. And you can see it from the people, enthusiasm that there is. You've got a confident people here wanting to reach out, and I think that speaks very well for the future.
Barclays bank has been fined $452m for misconduct by British and United States financial regulators. The bank has apologised for systematically misleading the authorities about key interest rate figures. BBC's business editor Robert Peston explains.
Barclays has owned up to something simple and many would say shocking. For four years between 2005 and 2009, it lied about the interest rate it was having to pay to borrow. It attempted to manipulate so-called benchmark interest rates to increase profits or minimise losses on big deals. The regulators also say Barclays understated the interest rate it was being forced by creditors to pay during the credit crunch to create the perception that it was seen as stronger than was the case.
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The European Union, the United States and Japan have reinforced their legal challenge to Chinese quotas on the export of rare earth minerals, which are needed to make a wide range of high-tech products. The European Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said the quotas distorted global markets, giving Chinese companies an advantage. China says the quotas are to protect the environment.
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she has great hope that an international meeting on Saturday on the conflict in Syria could prove to be a turning point. The meeting in Geneva is due to be attended by all five permanent members of the Security Council, including Russia and China. Mrs Clinton said the talks convened by the international envoy Kofi Annan could succeed if all parties backed Mr Annan's proposals.
"We are looking forward to hearing a report about his consultations with those whom he intends to invite. I'm keeping my calendar open for a meeting with a great hope that this perhaps can be a turning point in the very tragic circumstances affecting the Syrian people.
A month before the opening of the London Olympics, the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua has predicted that China will top the medal table, once again beating the United States. The Xinhua editorial sets out in precise terms where China can expect to win gold medals and predicts that it can win at least 37, nine of them in gymnastics alone. At the Beijing Olympics four years ago China won 51 gold medals.
Football, and Spain and Portugal are playing for a place in the final of the Euro 2012 football tournament. The match in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk has gone to extra time after no goals were scored in the regulation 90 minutes. The winners will face either Germany or Italy, who'll play the other semi-final in Warsaw on Thursday.