BBC News

BBC News (36)

The Rolling Stones have arrived in Cuba for a landmark free concert that is expected to attract thousands of people later on Friday.

Until 15 years ago, Cuba's communist government banned Western rock and pop music - including The Beatles and Elvis Presley - as subversive.

Speaking to reporters on the band's arrival at the airport in Cuba, lead singer Mick Jagger, said it was going be a great show.

As the authorities race to uncover more information about the Brussels attackers, attention has turned to the city suburbs where they lived and planned the attacks on the city.

The BBC's Fergal Keane has been exploring Molenbeek, an area in Brussels that has become synonymous with jihadism.

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Disabled people face benefits change

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More than half a million disabled people could lose out as a result of further changes over the next four years to welfare payments.

The formula the government uses to calculate the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for disabled people will change in January.

The government said 640,000 people could be affected by this by 2020.

It said it would save £1.2bn and ensure PIP was fairer, but disability charities criticised the move.

Recipients of PIP are assessed using a points system to determine what level of help they receive.

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Fire brigades 'must improve diversity'

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Fire services must do "much more" to recruit black and minority ethnic (BME) firefighters, new fire minister Mike Penning has said.

His comments came as official figures showed just 4.4% of full-time firefighters in England and Wales are from non-white communities.

In Greater Manchester the figure is just 2.8% - even though 16.2% of the population is from an ethnic minority.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the figures were "totally unacceptable".

Mr Penning, who took over the fire and rescue portfolio in January, said diversity was "not an optional extra".

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Budget build-up and driverless cars

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The Daily Telegraph reports that benefits payments to the disabled are to be cut by more than £1bn in a move that could clear the way for Chancellor George Osborne to cut taxes for the middle classes in the Budget. Mr Osborne is set to raise the 40p tax threshold, taking hundreds of thousands of people out of the higher tax rate, the Telegraph continues.
Financial Times front page
Image caption The Financial Times also predicts spending cuts in the Budget, saying Mr Osborne faces an £18bn black hole in the economy that has opened up since November.

The Mexican government says there are some 1,000 kidnappings a year in the country, but it's thought the figure is closer to 100,000.

Kidnapping is a lucrative business, and kidnappers can earn millions of dollars.

The BBC met "Crack" who says he is a kidnapper. He spoke to Vladimir Hernandez for the Our World film: Kidnapped in Mexico.

The BBC cannot independently verify his claims.

This video contains graphic descriptions of violence and some strong language.

Watch the Our World film (global times), or watch in the UK.

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Progressive rock legend Emerson dies

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Keyboardist and progressive rock legend Keith Emerson has died aged 71, his former band Emerson, Lake and Palmer says.

"We regret to announce that Keith Emerson died last night at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles," the band's Facebook page said.

The statement asked for his family's privacy and grief to be respected.

Emerson was widely considered one of the top keyboard players of the progressive rock era.

His former bandmate Carl Palmer said on Facebook: "I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend and brother-in-music, Keith Emerson.

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Facebook buys selfie face-swap app

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Facebook has bought photo-editing app Masquerade, which lets people change their appearance in real-time.

The app can transform faces - often in a cartoon-like fashion - and overlay make-up, animal features or accessories on live video.

Masquerade's filters have been compared to those in rival Snapchat, which Facebook tried to buy in 2013.

One expert said Facebook was responding to competition from Snapchat, which streams millions of videos daily.

Face-changing apps gained popularity after instant messaging app Snapchat added live filters called lenses in 2015.

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German police probe 'haul of IS files'

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German counter-terrorism police are investigating documents said to reveal the identities of a large number of fighters of so-called Islamic State.

The files, obtained by German and British media outlets, are said to be recruitment questionnaires that identify thousands of supporters of the IS group from 50 countries.

They appear to contain names, addresses and phone numbers.

German officials say they are working on the belief the files are genuine.

A German interior ministry statement said the papers offered "a great chance to identify Germans taking part in terrorist activities of the so-called IS" and to understand the group's structure.

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SNP to oppose Sunday trading shake-up

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The SNP has said it is to vote against UK government plans to change Sunday trading laws in England and Wales.

Proposals to allow English and Welsh councils to permit larger stores to open for more than six hours will not directly affect Scotland, where there are no trading restrictions in place.

But the SNP said it had concerns over the knock-on effects on Scottish pay.

With more than 20 Tory MPs set to rebel, the risk of a government defeat in a vote on Wednesday has increased.

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