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Syria 'submits chemical weapons data' to Hague watchdog
Syria has begun sending details of its chemical weapons as part of a US-Russia brokered deal to make them safe, the chemical arms watchdog has said.
The Hague-based OPCW added that it expected more details from Syria in the coming days and had postponed a meeting planned for Sunday.
Syria was given a Saturday deadline to give a full list of its chemical arms.
The US had threatened military action over a chemical attack in Damascus which the UN says was a war crime.
BBC:Blackberry to cut 4,500 jobs amid earnings plunge
Blackberry to cut 4,500 jobs amid earnings plunge
Blackberry has announced it is planning to cut 4,500 jobs, or 40% of its worldwide workforce, in an attempt to staunch huge losses.
The smartphone maker said it anticipated a loss of as much as $995m (£621m) when it reports its second-quarter earnings next week.
Shares in the firm closed down 17% after briefly being halted following the announcement.
In August, the Canadian company said it was evaluating a possible sale.
BBC:Diplomats protest over West Bank clash with Israel troops
Diplomats protest over West Bank clash with Israel troops
Diplomats from a number of European countries and the UN have reacted angrily after Israeli soldiers intervened to prevent them delivering aid to Bedouins in the West Bank.
One French diplomat said she was forced to the ground from her vehicle.
The aid was being delivered to Khirbet al-Makhul after homes there were demolished under a High Court order.
An Israeli spokesman said it was reviewing whether the diplomats had abused their privileges.
BBC:Pakistan to free Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Baradar on Saturday
Pakistan to free Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Baradar on Saturday
Former Afghan Taliban second-in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is to be released from prison in Pakistan on Saturday, the foreign ministry says.
A spokesman said the release was to "further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process".
Mullah Baradar is one of the four men who founded the Taliban movement in Afghanistan in 1994.
He became a linchpin of the insurgency after the Taliban were toppled by the US-led invasion in 2001.
BBC:Sri Lanka set for historic vote in northern areas
Sri Lanka set for historic vote in northern areas
Voters in Sri Lanka's north are set to elect their first ever semi-autonomous council, four years after the army defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.
The Tamil-majority Northern Province, which was first promised such a body decades ago, is the only region which has never had its own council.
But the run-up to the vote has seen allegations of army intimidation - all denied by the authorities.
On Friday a Tamil opposition candidate said her home had been attacked.
BBC:Nigeria's 'Boko Haram': Abuja sees security forces targeted
Nigeria's 'Boko Haram': Abuja sees security forces targeted
A cell of suspected Islamist militants has opened fire on security forces in Nigeria's capital Abuja, say officials.
The clash occurred at about 03:00 local time after a tip-off about the location of a suspected Boko Haram weapons cache, Nigeria's spy agency said.
The State Security Service did not give any details about casualties. A witness told the BBC he saw nine bodies.
However, other witnesses told Reuters news agency the shooting came during an attempt to move squatters.
Reuters:Guatemala arrests suspected drug trafficker wanted for ties to Mexican cartel
Guatemala arrests suspected drug trafficker wanted for ties to Mexican cartel
(Reuters) - Guatemalan and U.S. law enforcement agents on Tuesday arrested a suspected Guatemalan drug trafficker wanted for ties to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, the gang run by drug lord Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.
Waldemar Lorenzana was captured by Guatemalan officials working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Teculutan, Zacapa, some 130 km (80 miles) northeast of Guatemala City, the attorney general's office said in a statement.
Lorenzana, 48, belongs to a family with a strong pedigree in drug trafficking and the U.S. government had issued a $200,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
The Guatemalan attorney general's office said Lorenzana was wanted for trafficking cocaine to the United States from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.
Reuters:Lockheed Martin clinches $4 billion Pentagon missile defense deal
Lockheed Martin clinches $4 billion Pentagon missile defense deal
(Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Friday it has finalized a contract worth $4 billion with Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) to supply equipment for a missile defense system to the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
The deal involves Lockheed's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system that is designed to intercept ballistic missiles in midair.
The contract reflects growing confidence and demand for the missile defense system, said Riki Ellison, founder of the non-profit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.
The deal, which has been in negotiation for several years, will combine orders for the United States and UAE, generating savings for the United States of about 10 percent, said Mat Joyce, Lockheed program manager for THAAD.
Reuters:U.S. singer Selena Gomez cancels Russian concerts
U.S. singer Selena Gomez cancels Russian concerts
(Reuters) - U.S. pop singer Selena Gomez has scrapped two concerts in Russia after falling foul of new visa rules which critics say can be used to keep out Western artists who promote gay rights.
The concert organizers said the "Come and Get It" singer pulled out of the planned performances in St. Petersburg and Moscow next week when it became clear she would not be able to secure a visa in time.
They blamed the delay on the new rules, which they said were prompted by official concern over two concerts in Russia at which Madonna and Lady Gaga defended gay rights, and a gig in neighboring Ukraine where the lead singer of U.S. group Bloodhound Gang stuffed a Russian flag down his trousers.
"The situation is a result of the scandals over the Madonna, Lady Gaga and Bloodhound Gang concerts, after which the Russian authorities changed procedures for issuing visas to foreign musical and artistic groups," said the promoters, the Russian Entertainment Academy.
Reuters:Fumes sicken dozens at Tacoma elementary school
Fumes sicken dozens at Tacoma elementary school
(Reuters) - Forty-two students and five staff of an elementary school in Tacoma, Washington were taken to area hospitals on Friday after being sickened by fumes, possibly from a leaf blower being used on the school roof.
The students and staff from Edison Elementary School were treated for dizziness, nausea and headaches related to the fumes, which became noticeable shortly after classes began, Tacoma Fire Department Battalion Chief David McRoberts said.
McRoberts said the symptoms did not appear to be serious and a spokesman for Tacoma Public Schools said all of those affected were ready to be released from the hospital by mid-afternoon.
"We're definitely thankful that all of the injuries and illnesses were minor and not worse," the spokesman, Dan Voelpel, said.
Reuters:Japan firms resist Abe's calls to raise wages: Reuters poll
Japan firms resist Abe's calls to raise wages: Reuters poll
(Reuters) - Japanese companies are largely ignoring Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's calls for higher wages in the face of an expected sales tax increase, a Reuters poll shows, underscoring the difficulties the government faces in trying to defeat entrenched deflation.
Abe will make a final decision on October 1 about whether to lift the tax to 8 percent from 5 percent in April. While necessary to bolster state coffers, the hike threatens to take the wind out of the success he has had with boosting stocks and weakening the yen.
Now that Japan Inc has begun to benefit from his bold monetary and fiscal policies, the prime minister wants companies to return the favour by lifting wages, which in turn will boost consumption and prices, and make the recovery sustainable.
"The government will consider bold steps in order to achieve a virtuous circle of rising profits, jobs and wages," Abe told a meeting on Friday of government, business and labour leaders. "I'd like to ask people from the industry and labour circles to make bold efforts for their part as well."
Reuters:White House rounding up support for Yellen to take reins at Fed
White House rounding up support for Yellen to take reins at Fed
(Reuters) - White House officials are mustering support among Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee to back Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen, three sources said on Friday, laying the groundwork for her expected nomination to the Fed's top job.
Two Senate Democratic aides, who requested anonymity, said officials had encouraged senators to support Yellen and talk her up, hardening the sense that President Barack Obama has settled on her to replace Fed chief Ben Bernanke when his term ends in January.
A third source familiar with the calls said the White House had reached out to some of the 20 Democratic senators who had signed a letter to Obama in July urging him to appoint Yellen, who would be the first woman to hold the job if confirmed by the Senate.
This source said the White House had not communicated that Obama had made a decision on who to nominate, but wanted to make sure any negative reports about Yellen did not go unanswered.
PC WORLD:Ballmer: Three-layered plan will lead to 'One Microsoft'
Ballmer: Three-layered plan will lead to 'One Microsoft'
It’s been two months since Steve Ballmer unfurled his plan to restructure Microsoft’s operations, and inquiring minds would like to know what stage the process is at.
In fact, he was asked just that on Thursday during the company’s meeting with Wall Street analysts, but Ballmer’s answer wasn’t entirely clear or specific.
The analyst who brought up the subject asked whether the process was completed and, if it’s not, whether it would take several more quarters for all the pieces of the different teams to be in place and for everyone to know whom they report to.