BBC news with Mary Small.

President Barack Obama has announced that he's shelving the former President Bush’s plans for a missile defense system in Europe, a project that had become a major irritant in the relations between the United States and Russia. From Washington, here is Paul Adams.

President Obama says the new missile defense system will be stronger, smarter and swifter than its predecessor. The latest intelligence assessment suggested that Iran was concentrating its efforts on developing short- and medium-range missiles, not ones capable of hitting the United States. But faced with CRIticism that the administration is turning its back on missile defense in Europe and caving in to Russia. The Defense Secretary Robert Gates said such fears were misguided. The US had already held talks, he said, with Poland, and the Czech Republic about stationing land-based interceptors in Eastern Europe in the future.

Russia had objected to the plan to base a missile interceptor system close to its borders, calling it a threat to its security, but the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has welcomed the US move to recast its missile defense plans as a responsible step.

"I discussed this question with the US President during our meetings in London and Moscow. We had agreed that Russia and the US would strive to cooperate in estimating the risks of missile proliferation in the world. The announcement by Washington demonstrates the good conditions for this sort of cooperation are now appearing.Czech and Polish government officials said that they’d been expecting the move but were surprised by the speed of it. European Union leaders and the NATO Secretary General welcomed the new plan.

The deputy commander of the African Union peacekeeping forces in Somalia, Major General Juvenal Niyonguruza, has been killed in Mogadishu. Eight other peacekeepers were killed when suicide bombers in two vehicles packed with explosives drove into the main UN compound. Mark Doyle reports.

The confirmation of the details of this devastating attack on African Union peacekeepers came from the Ugandan army which provides the commander and most of the troops for the mission in Somalia. There have been attacks on African peacekeepers in Somalia before where more peacekeepers were killed, but this incident may be seen as particularly serious because it took place right in the heart of the peacekeepers' compound, well away from the perimeter gates and struck at the headquarters of the most senior officers.

The government in Yemen says it’s launching a commission of inquiry into reports that up to a hundred local people died, when an air force plane bombed refugees sheltering on a mountainside in the northwest. Government officials say that they don’t use heavy weapons which could endanger civilians in their fight against the long running rebel insurgency in the north. Witnesses said the bomb hit the refugees as they were sheltering under trees and bushes.

BBC news.

A United Nations investigator says there's strong evidence to link the dumping of toxic waste in Ivory Coast three years ago with the subsequent illness of tens of thousands of local people and the deaths of 15 of them. The investigator said that people were still suffering sickness and the long-term consequences of the dumping near Abidjan have yet to be fully determined. The company responsible for the waste, Trafigura, denies any link between the dumping and the illness. But earlier lawyers representing some of those taken ill, said Trafigura was close to an agreement offering compensation for their suffering.

European football is testing a radical change in the way matches are refereed, with the use of the two extra officials in the new Europa League competition. The changes affect matches in the group's stage which is now under way. Alex Capstick reports.

For the first time in a European club tournament, the referee will have four assistants, two linesmen and two extra officials, one behind each goal to help make important decisions in the penalty area. It’s part of an experiment by UEFA, the game's governing body in Europe, which has refused to introduce video technology. The new officials will be expected to intervene when there is doubt over whether the ball has crossed the goal line and to clarify whether an offence has been committed or whether a player has tried to dupe the referee by faking a foul.

Lawyers representing an American man whose execution by lethal injection was called off after executioners failed to find a usable vein, say they will file / lawsuits to stop a second execution attempt. Romell Broom was convicted of the rape and murder of a teenager and was due to be put to death on Tuesday. After two hours and several failed attempts to insert the needle, the process was halted. It's reported that Mr. Broom’s veins have been damaged by years of heroin abuse. It’s the first time in US history that an execution attempt by lethal injection has had to be rescheduled.

BBC news.

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