Africa seeks Boko Haram fighting force 

Chad's army drives Boko Haram out of a Nigerian border town as African leaders plan to bolster force fighting Islamist insurgents.

Top world stories

Bali Nine pair lodge handwritten appeals

Holding out hope: Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Two Australian drug smugglers have written to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, asking for a review of their death sentences.

US on edge as measles outbreak spreads

AP

The White House urges parents to get their children vaccinated as a trend away from vaccination shows signs of reversing.

Greek defence chief prompts jet scramble

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos drops a wreath in the sea off the islets of Imia, where three Greek servicemen died in 1996 during a confrontation with Turkey.

The new Greek defence minister, from the small right-wing party in coalition with the leftist Syriza, has revived tensions with Turkey.

Latest world news

Two cases of child pornography possession in Vatican in 2014

Former Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski was arrested last September in the Vatican on charges of having paid for sex with children.

11:06 AM   The Vatican, which is still struggling with the effects of a worldwide paedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church, discovered two cases of possession of child pornography within its own walls last year, its chief prosecutor said on Saturday.

Reports Australian journalist Peter Greste to be freed and deported

Set to be freed: Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste.

Louise Hall and Lucy Battersby 10:06 AM   Jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste could be released and deported from Egypt as early as today, unconfirmed reports suggest.

Islamic State says beheads Japanese hostage - monitoring group

Islamic State have released a video they say shows the execution of Kenji Goto.

7:46 AM   Islamic State militants released a video on Saturday saying they had executed Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, the SITE monitoring group said.

Ukrinian peace talks break up in Minsk

Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, second from the right, arrives for Ukraine peace talks in Minsk on January 31, 2015.

5:32 AM   Peace talks on the Ukraine crisis, involving Ukrainian and Russian representatives and separatist envoys, broke up on Saturday after more than four hours with key players leaving the venue by different cars, a Reuters witness said.

Bangladesh fire kills 13 people in a city market

4:24 AM   At least 13 people were killed on Saturday when a fire swept through a plastics factory in a crowded market in a suburb of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, police said.

Fire devastates major Russian library

3:06 AM   A fire at one of Russia's largest public libraries has been raging for more than 17 hours, threatening to destroy thousands of rare documents.

Italy elects senior judge Sergio Mattarella as president

Elected after four rounds of voting: New Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

Steve Scherer 11:19 PM   Italian legislators have elected Sergio Mattarella, a constitutional court judge and veteran centre-left politician, as president, handing a welcome political victory to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Hostage negotiations with Islamic State deadlocked, says Japan

This image from a YouTube video posted by jihadists purports to show Kenji Goto holding a photo of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh.

9:24 PM   Efforts by Japan and Jordan to secure the release of two of their nationals held captive by Islamic State militants remain "deadlocked" and the situation remains highly unpredictable, Japan says.

Pakistan's Shiites mourn 61 killed in mosque blast

A Pakistani Shiite Muslim mourns the killing of his community members.

8:53 PM   Thousands of Shiite Muslims have rallied to protest the killing of 61 people in a suicide bombing at a mosque, as southern Pakistan shut down to mourn the nation's worst sectarian attack in nearly two years.

US strike kills IS weapons expert

The removal of Saddam Hussein lifted the lid on the regions religious hatreds, leading to the rise of Islamic State

3:28 PM   A US-led coalition air strike on Islamic State has killed a chemical weapons specialist who gained expertise under Saddam Hussein's regime.

Mitt Romney won't run in 2016 Presidential Election

Mitt Romney's decision not to run in the 2016 Presidential Election will almost certainly bring an end to his decade-long quest to become president.

Jonathan Martin and Michael Barbaro 3:23 PM   Mitt Romney said on Friday that he would not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

Vaccine critics turn defensive over measles

The mumps-measles-rubella vaccine.

Jack Healy and Michael Paulson 2:51 PM   The families of the many Californian parents who shun vaccinating their children are being vilified as measles spreads across the US.

South African death-squad leader 'Prime Evil' granted parole

Apartheid death-squad leader Eugene de Kock listens to questions put to him by lawyers at the special public hearing of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Johannesburg in 1998.

Dan Bilefsky 1:32 PM   South Africa has granted parole to Eugene de Kock, the convicted death-squad leader widely known as "Prime Evil" because of his abuses of black activists during the apartheid era, after he served two decades in prison, the Justice Ministry said Friday.

Jordan still awaiting proof pilot is alive

The mother of Jordanian air force pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh carries a portrait of her son during a protest.

1:07 PM   Fate of Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State unknown despite Jordan's willingness to exchange woman jihadist prisoner for him.

US judge allows UK spies to testify in disguise

Spy.

Mark Hosenball 12:44 PM   MI5 officers operate covertly both in Britain and overseas and it was argued that forcing them to testify under their real identities would compromise past and current undercover operations and jeopardise their safety. Mark Hosenball reports.

Balloonists surpass a distance record during flight across Pacific

A photo from the Two Eagles balloon team.

By Joseph J. Kolb 12:36 PM   American-Russian pair claim to have broken a world record in their bid to fly from Japan to Mexico, with many kilometres yet to be flown.

Africa seeks Boko Haram fighting force as Chad captures town

Two young Nigerian Muslim refugee women in a United Nations refugee camp in Baga Sola, Chad. They are among more than 14,000 Nigerians who have this year fled to Chad to escape the bloody attacks by Boko Haram.

William Davison and Chris Kay   Chad's army drives Boko Haram out of a Nigerian border town as African leaders plan to bolster force fighting Islamist insurgents.

Venezuela confirms shooting down small plane near Aruba

UP AND AWAY: A Sounds Air plane.

Venezuela says a civilian plane its military jets shot down for ignoring orders was off its coast and not in international airspace.

Greece says will not co-operate with troika or seek aid extension

Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, left, talks to Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis after their meeting at the Finance Ministry in Athens.

No resolution is in sight to the gaps between the anti-austerity policies of the new Greek government and demands of its European partners.

Islamic State kills Kurdish commander in surprise attack on Kirkuk

Smoke billows in the background as Kurdish peshmerga fighters take positions on the side of a road in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

Kareem Fahim   Islamic State fighters attack Kurdish forces in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, in one of the jihadists' most aggressive assaults in months.

Kerry fined $US50 for failing to shovel snow at Boston home

US Secretary of State John Kerry .

Tom Moroney   US Secretary of State John Kerry has been fined for not having snow cleared from the footpath beside his home while he was abroad.

Germany houses refugees in Holocaust-era concentration camps

The entrance gate of the former concentration camp in Dachau, Germany.

Rick Noack   German local governments are using the sites of former Nazi concentration camps to house a flood of asylum seekers.