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This is the BBC news. Hello, I am Johnathan Izard.
The US military has reportedly captured a chemical weapons expert who once worked for Saddam Hussein, but now belongs to the militant Islamic state group. The man identified as Sleiman Daoud al-Afari was apparently taken prisoner in a raid conducted by Special Forces a month ago. With more details, here is Alan Johnston. “The US recently increased its capacity to carry out Special Forces operations in Iraq. And it seems the commanders managed to take prisoner a man called Sleiman Daoud al-Afari. He is said to be a veteran of Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program. And under interrogation, he is reportedly reviewed how the Islamic state group was able to acquire mustard gas agent, and load it into artillery shells. There has been a series of reports of the militants using the substance on the front lines.”
A Federal Court in New York has found a US air force veteran guilty of trying to join the Islamic state group in Syria. Tairod Pugh who converted to Islam had flown to Turkey weeks after he was sacked from his job as a mechanic in Egypt. He was arrested at the Istanbul airport. Dozens of Jihadi videos were found in his possession and a draft letter to his wife in which he pledged to defend IS.
South Korean military sources say North Korea has fired two short range ballistic missiles off its east coast into the sea. The missiles flew about 500kmand hit waters northeast of the port city of Wonsan. Here is Steve Evans. “The launch of the missiles follows a similar launch last week just after the UN tightened sanctions on North Korea. Yesterday, Kim Jong-un, the country's leader, said his military has succeeded in making a nuclear bomb small enough to put on a missile. There is some skepticism by outside experts about such claims, but there is no doubt that North Korea is developing both nuclear weapons and the rockets to deliver them.”
The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has arrived in Washington to start the first state visit to the White House by a Canadian leader in nearly 20years. Babara Plett Usher is in Washington. “Justin Trudeau had pledged during the election campaign to reset relations with Canada's most important ally. They have been strained under the previous Conservative government. And within weeks of his victory, President Obama issued an invitation. He sees in the young leader someone who shares his politics and priorities especially on issues like the environment. The two are expected to discuss ideas for curbing climate change, also ways to expand what’s the world's largest trade relationship and especially Canada's steps toward ratifying a trade agreement signed by 12 Pacific Rim countries last month.”
Prosecutors in Brazil are filing charges against the former president LuizInacio Lula da Silva for money laundering and failing to declare his assets. He denies any wrongdoing and says the charges are politically motivated. The accusation is a part of major corruption investigation at the state oil company Petrobras. World news from the BBC.
The car manufacturer Volkswagen says its top executive in the US Michael Hornis stepping down with immediate effect. No reason was given for his departure which comes 6 months after the emission scandal broke. Here is Michelle Fleury. “Michael Horn, the head of VW's operations in the United States, is leaving after more than two decades with the company. In a statement, the German carmaker said Mr. Horn was leaving to pursue other opportunities effective immediately. No doubt there would be speculation as to why he is leaving now. From the early days, Mr. Horn was instrumentally dealing with the company's response to its emission scandal. He was the one sent to apologize to US law makers last October telling them this company has the bloody learn.”
The Chilean General who led an army death squad in the aftermath of the 1973 military coup has died aged 94. General Sergio Arellano Stark was the commander of the infamous Caravan of Death responsible for the deaths of at least 75 opponents of General Pinochet's military government.
New estimates show that the number of African rhinos killed by poachers has increased for a 6th year in a row. Over 1,300 rhinos were killed for their horns last year. Kreg Bruce from the Zoological Society of London said poachers are always one step ahead. “They understand the intelligence concept, they are incredibly well armed, they are incredibly well funded, so we are really dealing with a very more sophisticated criminal element than we were ever before.”
The White House has ruled out a meeting between President Barack Obama and the aging leader of the Cuban revolution Fidel Castro during the US president's historic trip to Havana later this month. In the Reuters interview, president Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said Mr. Obama would be meeting Cuban dissidents after completing official events with President Raul Castro. Mr. Rhodes said he did not anticipate obstacles being created to prevent them from meeting Mr. Obama. BBC news.