News in English

Russia starts withdrawal from Syria / Greek PM urges refugees to move to shelters / Explosion in car in Berlin / Htin Kyaw becomes Myanmar's president / Breivik back in court / The weather


Russia starts withdrawal from Syria

Russian forces have started pulling out of Syria following yesterday's surprise announcement of a partial withdrawal by President Vladimir Putin. The first group of Russian war planes have now arrived back in Russia. Putin announced the decision last night: "I consider the mission set for the Defence Ministry and the armed forces has on the whole been accomplished. I am therefore ordering the Defence Ministry to begin the withdrawal of the main part of our military force from the Syrian Arab Republic." The UN's Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura says he hopes Putin's announcement of a pullback will help the peace process. Negotiations aimed at ending the conflict and finding a political solution are continuing in Geneva. Russia - which is a key ally of President Bashar al Assad - started its air campaign last September, enabling Syrian government forces to re-capture territory from rebel groups.

Greek PM urges refugees to move to shelters

The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he sees "no chance" that border closures throughout the Balkan region will be lifted. He's urging refugees and migrants to go to shelters and reception centres set up by the Greek government. Yesterday over a thousand people crossed into Macedonia at an unguarded section of the border. Macedonian officials say they've started transporting hundreds of people back to Greece.

Explosion in car in Berlin

German police say an "explosive device" has gone off in a car in central Berlin, killing the driver. The background to the incident is unclear. Investigations are underway.

Htin Kyaw becomes Myanmar's president

Myanmar's parliament has elected Htin Kyaw to be the country's next president. He'll be the first civilian leader after more than 50 years of military rule. Htin Kyaw is a close ally of Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party swept to victory in elections in November. Suu Kyi is barred from holding the post by the constitution, but she says she will be effectively in charge.

Breivik back in court

The Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik has returned to court where he's been arguing that his isolation in jail is a violation of his human rights. Breivik, who made a NAZI salute during his hearing, was sentenced to 21 years in prison after murdering 77 people in bomb and gun attacks in 2011. The government has rejected his claims.

The weather

The possibility of more rain or snow this afternoon, especially in the northern Alps. A few sunny periods in eastern Tyrol and upper Carinthia. Highs are ranging between minus 2 and plus 8 degrees.