Gas blast at Mexico children's hospital

Brendan Case and Andrea Navarro 6:04 AM   A gas explosion has ripped through a children's hospital in Mexico City, killing at least three people and injuring 58 more, including 22 children, officials say.

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Buckingham Palace silent over knighthood

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, left, and her husband Prince Philip.

Nick Miller 1:12 AM   The palace refused to confirm whether the Queen would personally hand Prince Philip the insignia of the Knight of the Order of Australia.

MH370 loss declared an accident

Malaysia Airlines

Lindsay Murdoch 3:34 AM   All 239 people on board are presumed dead, its Department of Civil Aviation said on Thursday.

Russian bombers over English Channel

A British RAF Typhoon shadows a Russian Bear-H bomber over the North Atlantic in 2007.

6:24 AM   Britain summoned the Russian ambassador on Thursday and asked him to explain why two Russian "Bear" long-range bombers had flown over the English Channel the previous day.

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AirAsia disaster: pilots disabled computers moments before crash

Wreckage from AirAsia flight

Herdaru Purnomo 10:13 AM   The pilots of AirAsia flight 8501 cut power to a critical computer system that normally prevents planes from going out of control shortly before it plunged into the Java Sea, two people with knowledge of the investigation said.

Storms like US blizzard may get stronger but less frequent, study finds

 Students lay out in their bathing suits on the Quad, on the campus of Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Boston

7:20 AM   Large storms like the blizzard that battered New England this week may become more severe but less frequent as the Earth's climate changes, scientists said on Thursday.

Armed man at Dutch national broadcaster overpowered

The den of sin: There is more to Amsterdam than the Red Light District.

7:01 AM   Dutch news agencies reported on Thursday that a man with a gun had entered the offices of the national broadcaster NOS before he was overpowered.

Families plead for release of Islamic State hostages as deadline passes

Islamic State hostages: Japanese journalist Kenji Goto holds what appears to be a photo of Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Moaz Kasasbeh in a still photo from video posted on YouTube on Tuesday. The Arab subtitle reads, "I only have 24 hours left to live".

Nabih Bulos and Patrick McDonnell 6:44 AM   As another reported deadline passed Thursday, Jordanian authorities said they were seeking proof that a captive air force pilot was alive before releasing a female militant as part of a proposed prisoner swap.

Bali Nine case: fellow inmates plead for clemency

Awaiting execution: Myuran Sukumaran, left, and Andew Chan.

6:06 AM   Indonesians who turned their lives around with the help of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan believe the pair should be spared from execution so they can reach hundreds more.

Gas blast at Mexico children's hospital

Relatives of victims cry at the site of an explosion at a maternity hospital in Mexico City.

Brendan Case and Andrea Navarro 6:04 AM   A gas explosion has ripped through a children's hospital in Mexico City, killing at least three people and injuring 58 more, including 22 children, officials say.

Mumbai police arrest editor for publishing Charlie Hebdo cover

A billboard with the <i>Charlie Hebdo</i> cover in Paris.

5:21 AM   Police have arrested the editor of an Urdu-language newspaper for reprinting an anti-Islam cartoon from satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Volcanic eruption in Tonga creates new island

A volcano that has been erupting for several weeks near Tonga has created a new island in the ocean. This photo was taken on January 14.

Nick Kirkpatrick 3:47 AM   A volcanic eruption in Tonga created a new island — but the island may not last very long.

Fox News defends Michelle Obama over Saudi Arabia headscarf 'Twitterstorm'

No headscarf: US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama with new Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

6:22 PM   Two Fox News journalists have taken the unusual step of defending first lady Michelle Obama, whose decision not to wear a headscarf during an official visit to Saudi Arabia this week has attracted intense media scrutiny in the US.

Glimmer of hope for Bali 9 pair

Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan

Jewel Topsfield 4:57 PM   The Bali Nine pair on death row have been given a glimmer of hope with the Denpasar District Court to allow an application for a judicial review to be registered despite the Indonesian Attorney-General saying there could not be a second review into their case.

Jordan prisoner swap possible

The mother of Islamic State captive and  pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh takes part in a protest calling on the Jordanian government to negotiate for his release.

Suleiman Al-Khalidi 4:49 PM   Jordan has said it would go ahead with a proposed prisoner swap only if the captured Jordanian pilot was freed.

Murder highlights plight of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia

An ethnic Rohingya faints during a rally in Kuala Lumpur.

Aubrey Belford 4:40 PM   The murder of a Rohingya man in Malaysia casts rare light on the situation described by Rohingya activists as widespread abuse by human traffickers who exploit the stateless and much-vilified Myanmar minority.

Cuban leader demands Obama hands back Guantanamo Bay

Cuban President Raul Castro.

Maria Isabel Sanchez 4:24 PM   Cuban President Raul Castro laid out on Wednesday the conditions to normalise relations with the United States, demanding an end to the embargo, the return of Guantanamo Bay and Havana's removal from a terror list.

Bali Nine: AFP supply information even where Australians face the death penalty

Andrew Chan.

Lindsay Murdoch 4:16 PM   Australian Federal Police have the authority provide information to foreign police agencies even in cases where a guilty verdict could result in the death penalty.

East Timor's Xanana tells colleagues he will resign as PM

Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister of East Timor.

Daniel Flitton 3:47 PM   East Timor's independence hero and former guerrilla fighter Xanana Gusmao has told colleagues he will resign as Prime Minister in the next fortnight.

China targets foreign tech vendors with new trade rules

Chinese has taken another step in its fight against foreign technology vendors.

Paul Mozur 2:33 PM   China has adopted new regulations requiring companies that sell computer equipment to Chinese banks to turn over secret source code, submit to invasive audits and build so-called back doors into hardware and software.

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Israel threatens Hezbollah with full-scale conflict as cross-border shelling leaves UN peacekeeper dead

Israeli soldiers carry their injured comrade after an anti-tank missile hit an army vehicle in an occupied area on the border with Lebanon.

Ruth Pollard 2:28 PM   In the most significant escalation of tensions since the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, cross-border missile attacks have left a United Nations peacekeeper dead in Lebanon and killed two Israeli soldiers in the country’s north.

Artificial intelligence not a threat: Microsoft research chief contradicts Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates

Science fiction: Alex Garland's <i>Ex Machina</i> is one of thousands of films to explore the idea of hostile AI.

Tim Biggs 1:03 PM   Machines will eventually achieve a human-like consciousness but do not pose a threat to the survival of mankind, Microsoft head of research Eric Horvitz says.

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Russia considers censuring West Germany

Russia's State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin wants lawmakers in Moscow to consider a censure of West Germany.

11:04 AM   Over 25 years after the Berlin Wall's fall, Russian lawmakers are considering a proposal to condemn West Germany's 1990 "annexation" of East Germany as Moscow's answer to Western denunciation of its seizure of Crimea.

Michelle Obama forgoes a headscarf and sparks a backlash in Saudi Arabia

To shake or not to shake hands: US President Barack Obama and headscarf-less first lady Michelle Obama participate in a delegation receiving line with new Saudi Arabian King, Salman bin Abdulaziz in Riyadh.

Adam Taylor   Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: For first lady Michelle Obama, just a few hours in Saudi Arabia were enough to illustrate the stark limitations under which Saudi women live.

Autopsy of poisoned ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko was 'the most dangerous ever'

Alexander Litvinenko is seen lying in hospital after being poisoned.

The autopsy on the body of poisoned Russian former spy Alexander Litvinenko was described as one of the most dangerous ever on day two of an inquiry into his death.

Climate models don't over-predict warming, Nature study shows

Sceptics can cherry-pick climate models but the long-run trends aren't over-stating climate change, new study finds.

Geoffrey Mohan   If you listen to climate change sceptics, Earth's surface hasn't warmed appreciably in the last 15 years, and any "record" set last year is just the result of the planet doing what the planet naturally does.