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Listening to the lyrics of almost all the songs from the Ghanaian hip hop and hiplife recording artist from Tema, Michael Owusu Addo, known by his stage name Sarkodie, one cannot deny the fact that all was not rosy from his beginning.
He always drums it into the minds of his fans that, he went through tough times before getting to where he is today.
According to the one time BET award winner, at the grass roots of his career, organizers of event did not see the need to pay him cash, and instead they paid with t- shirts and toffees.
“I played many shows for many organizers and they always paid me with t-shirts and toffees.”
All this did not stop him from chasing his dream, believing in himself and putting in his best in whatever he finds doing.
“I still held on to the dream though at a point I nearly stopped rapping. I am not sure I would be here if I listened to people’s opinion.”
Sarkodie is often named as one of Africa’s greatest Hip hop artists. MTV ranked him number 6 on their list of the Hottest African MC’s in 2014.
In 2013, Lynx TV ranked him number 1 on their list of the “Top 10 Ghanaian Rappers Of All Time”.
In 2015, AfricaRanking.com ranked him number 3 on their list of the “Top 10 African Rappers Of 2015”. In the same year, Sarkodie was named by The Guardian as one of the top five hip hop acts on the African continent.
Source: Live Fm Ghana
Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders ratcheted up their attacks in a bruising, final debate before next Tuesday's New York primary.
The Democratic race has turned increasingly negative in recent days as the candidates traded barbs about their qualifications for the presidency.
They also clashed on Wall Street banks, gun controls and the minimum wage.
Mr Sanders has won seven of the past eight contests, but Mrs Clinton holds a clear lead in race for the nomination.
The Democrats have largely avoided the personal attacks that have dominated the Republicans' debates.
But with so much at stake that changed in Thursday's debate.
"Does Secretary Clinton have the experience and intelligence to be president? Of course she does," Mr Sanders said at the debate. "But I do question her judgement."
New York has a reputation for brashness and bellicosity, and it seemed that attitude may have rubbed off on the two participants in the Democratic debate in Brooklyn.
Practically from the opening bell, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders went after each other's policy positions and records with a vigour that stood in stark contrast to the polite exchanges of past debates. Sure, they were both qualified to be president, they admitted, but both questioned their opponent's "judgment".
The former secretary of state knocked Mr Sanders off balance on gun control, quipping when he let out a chuckle during her response that 30,000 people dying a year is "not a laughing matter". Meanwhile, the Vermont senator once again bashed Mrs Clinton for her support of the 2003 Iraq War - tying it to the same kind of "mentality" that led to an ill-fated US intervention in Libya.
At one point moderator Wolf Blitzer tried to break up a heated exchange by warning that "if you're both screaming at each other, the viewers won't be able to hear either of you".
They kept talking. At this point in the marathon Democratic campaign, neither side can afford to let an attack go unanswered.
Mr Sanders repeatedly criticised Mrs Clinton for her financial ties to Wall Street, particularly her paid speeches to an investment bank. He also faulted her for supporting the Iraq War.
Meanwhile, Mrs Clinton has questioned whether Mr Sanders has adequately thought out his policy proposals after he struggled to provide specifics during an interview with the New York Daily News.
"It's easy to diagnose the problem. It's another thing to do something about it," Mrs Clinton said.
The candidates' recent tensions were on display on stage. Mr Sanders mocked Mrs Clinton's responses at times while Mrs Clinton occasionally talked over her opponent.
Other highlights included:
Mr Sanders is one of the most left-leaning candidates in recent history
The Democrats on the issues - How do Mr Sanders and Mrs Clinton compare to past Democrats?
#BernieMadeMeWhite: Minority supporters of Sanders speak out - Supporters push back against "all-white" narrative
Is Wall Street a problem for Hillary Clinton? - Support from the financial sector is an asset and liability
A resurgent Mr Sanders has won seven of the last eight contests, sparking a groundswell of enthusiasm from his supporters.
The Sanders campaign drew more than 25,000 people to a rally on Wednesday in Washington Square in Manhattan.
However, buoyed by earlier wins across the southern US, Mrs Clinton holds a sizeable lead in the number delegates needed to secure the nomination.
Many analysts believe that Mr Sanders needs to pull off an upset in New York to remain viable in the race.
Mrs Clinton, who represented the state in US Senate for two terms, holds a commanding lead in New York, according to recent polls.
North Korea conducted a missile test off its east coast on Friday morning, but the launch appears to have failed, say US and South Korean officials.
The rocket has not yet been identified but is suspected to have been a previously untested "Musudan" medium-range ballistic missile.
The launch coincided with the birthday of North Korea's founding leader, Kim Il-sung.
It also comes amid particularly high tension on the Korean peninsula.
The missile is named after the Musudan village in the northeast, where a launchpad is sited
South Korea's Yonhap national news agency quoted government sources as saying that the missile was a type of intermediate-range ballistic missile known as a Musudan, also called the BM-25.
North Korean forces were seen recently moving two such missiles.
The report said it would be the North's first Musudan test, and that it may have at least 50 more.
The Musudan is named after the village in North Korea's northeast where a launch pad is sited.
It has a range of about 3,000 km (1,800 miles), which extends to the US Army base on the Pacific island of Guam, but not as far as the mainland US.
The US said it had tracked the latest launch, but could also not confirm details,
"We call again on North Korea to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its international commitments and obligations," a State Department official said.
China also criticised what it called "the latest in a string of sabre-rattling that, if unchecked, will lead the country to nowhere," according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The BBC's Stephen Evans in Seoul says that even though it failed, the test illustrates the determination of current leader Kim Jong-un to get the ability to strike the United States, but also the North's technological limitations.
The North has made a series of threats against the South and the US since the UN imposed some of its toughest ever sanctions on the country.
The move was a response to the North's fourth nuclear test in January and its launching of a satellite in February, both of which broke existing sanctions.
In March, North Korea said it had developed nuclear warheads small enough to fit on ballistic missiles. However, experts cast doubt on the claims.
The birthday of North Korea's founder - Mr Kim's grandfather - is significant. Four years ago, the North tried to celebrate it with a similar missile launch, but that, too failed.
The US military would have been within its rights to shoot down Russian aircraft that flew close to one of its warships in the Baltic Sea, Secretary of State John Kerry says.
Two Russian jets flew within metres of the ship on Monday, US officials said.
Russia's defence ministry said the Su-24 fighter jets "turned away in observance of all safety measures" after observing the USS Donald Cook.
Mr Kerry criticised the gesture and said contact had been made with Moscow.
"We condemn this kind of behaviour," he told the Miami Herald and CNN Espanol in a joint interview.
"It is reckless. It is provocative. It is dangerous. And under the rules of engagement, that could have been a shoot-down."
He added that the US "is not going to be intimidated on the high seas" and that a message had been conveyed to Russia over the danger of such a gesture.
Individual Nato members' rules of engagement should clearly outline what are defined as "actions that might be construed as provocative", according to the organisation's own guidelines.
Applying those rules of engagement "requires commanders at all levels to exercise considerable judgment", Nato says.
Mr Kerry did not specify why the US Navy did not fire at the jets.
The two Russian jets flew over the US destroyer almost a dozen times, American officials said.
At one point the jets were so close, about 9m (30ft), that they created wakes in the water around the ship.
The ship was sailing close to a Russian navy base, Russia's defence ministry said.
"After spotting the ship, Russian pilots turned away from it in full compliance with safety measures.
"All flights of the Russian aircraft are in strict compliance with international rules of the use of air space above neutral waters."
The commander of the Donald Cook described the flights as a "simulated attack".
The passes were "unsafe, potentially provocative" and "could have caused an accident," officials said in a release.
The actions of the Russian jets may have violated a 1970s agreement meant to prevent dangerous incidents at sea, but it is not clear whether the US is going to protest.
A Russian helicopter taking pictures also passed by the ship seven times.
The Donald Cook was conducting deck landing drills with an allied military helicopter when the jets made their passes, according to a statement from the United States European Command.
The US suspended flight operations from the ship until the Russian jets left the area.
The next day, a Russian KA-27 helicopter flew circles at low altitude around the ship, followed by more jet passes.
The aircraft did not respond to safety warnings in English or Russian.
At least nine people have died and more than 250 are injured after a powerful earthquake hit southern Japan, toppling buildings and cutting power supplies.
Officials say more people could be trapped under collapsed buildings.
Thousands fled their homes and many people spent the night in the open in the town of Mashiki, near Kumamoto city on the island of Kyushu.
Troops have been sent to the scene but rescue operations are being disrupted by aftershocks, officials said.
No tsunami warning was issued after the magnitude 6.4 quake struck at 21:26 on Thursday (12:26 GMT) east of Kumamoto.
Nuclear reactors on the island are not reported to have been affected.
The two Sendai nuclear reactors on Kyushu were operating as normal while the three Genkai nuclear reactors still in operation were already closed for routine inspection.
The quake struck at a depth of 10km (six miles) and was followed by aftershocks measuring 5.7 about 40 minutes later and 6.4 just after midnight local time.
But Japan's seismology office recorded the shaking at some places to be as intense as the huge magnitude nine earthquake that hit the country in 2011.
That triggered a tsunami in a double disaster that left more than 18,000 people dead or missing and led to meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
"The shaking was so violent I couldn't stand still," Hironobu Kosaki, a local police official, told the Associated Press news agency.
Initial reports said two people had died but the toll rose to nine as rescue teams worked through the night.
Yasuhiro Soshino, of the Japanese Red Cross Kumamoto Hospital, told BBC World News on Friday morning that they had received 254 injured people including 15 severe cases.
"Red Cross medical teams in other areas are also gathering at our Red Cross hospital," he said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at least 19 houses had collapsed and officials were still assessing the extent of the damage.
About 16,000 homes were left without electricity and 38,000 without gas, reports say.
At least two deaths occurred in Mashiki, where the shaking was most severe. The town lies 15km (nine miles) east of Kumamoto.
One victim died after being pulled from the rubble and another was killed in a fire, Kumamoto prefecture disaster management official Takayuki Matsushita was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.
Mashiki residents said houses and walls had collapsed and the water supply had been cut off.
An official in the nearby city of Uki said houses there had also collapsed as well as part of the city hall's ceiling.
The BBC's Japan Correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes says the quake took place at a time when most people were at home.
Some train services were suspended as a precautionary measure.
Japan is regularly struck by earthquakes but stringent building codes mean that damage usually does not occur.
A woman from Ohio has been charged with streaming the rape of a teenage girl via Twitter's live video app Periscope.
The offence is alleged to have occurred two months ago and was brought to the authorities' attention by someone who said they had seen the broadcast.
The accused's lawyer says that she "categorically" denies the charges.
An expert said the case highlighted the impossibility of controlling content on live-streaming services, which are gaining in popularity.
According to the indictment, the sexual assault took place in the city of Columbus on 27 February.
Marina Lonina is also accused of taking a photo of the 17-year-old in a state of undress the previous night.
Lonina's boyfriend, Raymond Gates, has been accused of carrying out the assault. It is not yet known how he intends to plead.
The two face charges of rape, kidnapping, sexual battery and pandering sexually-oriented matter involving a minor.
Twitter declined to comment. Periscope's guidelines say that graphic content is banned.
But this is not the first time the app has been linked to an alleged offence.
Earlier this month, it was reported that police in London had intervened after a fight between two rival gangs had been arranged via the app.
Other incidents include:
The app has hosted more than 100 million broadcasts since it launched last year, the vast majority of which are innocuous.
But the issue of live-streamed crime could become more common as the activity becomes more mainstream.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced it was adding a tab to its app to help users find live-streamed videos.
The social network had already altered the algorithm of its news feeds to prioritise such feeds.
"The volume of content being created and uploaded every day is far too great to be regulated manually and automatic systems are simply too inaccurate to be practical," commented Dr Joss Wright from the Oxford Internet Institute.
"There is almost no practical way to prevent content like this being uploaded and shared if people want to do it and any system to do so would also have serious implications for freedom of expression and the publication of legitimate but controversial content.
"The internet has undoubtedly made this case worse for the alleged victim. But as with other real-world crimes, prevention is not always possible."
Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has welcomed an investigation into his charity over "serious regulatory concerns".
The Daily Mail claimed only £14,115 out of £1.7m donated to the Didier Drogba Foundation had helped causes in Africa.
The Charity Commission has opened a case to review concerns about the charity's administration.
But Drogba, 38, said "everything is clear" and "this money will be spent when it needs to be spent".
In the article, the Mail said £439,321 was spent putting on lavish fundraising parties attended by celebrities, and more than £1m languished in bank accounts.
Speaking to the BBC from Montreal, Canada, where he is playing for MLS side Montreal Impact, Drogba said all charity projects so far had been funded by his own sponsorship deals, rather than money from UK fundraisers.
The former Ivory Coast international said: "I'm responsible for this money; I'm not going to spend it just to spend it.
"I have projects for the long term and I know what I want to do."
The African charity, established in 2007, is run in the Ivory Coast but is also registered in the UK.
In an earlier statement, Drogba said he had spent 3.7m euros (£2.9m) on projects in the Ivory Coast, including building a mobile clinic and investing in orphanages.
Drogba said he will take legal action against the Mail, which said in a statement that it "stands by every word of this important story".
The Charity Commission said it wanted "further information" about the foundation's spending plans and would look into "allegations that the charity has provided misleading information to donors and the public".
Liverpool staged one of the most dramatic comebacks Anfield has seen to overcome Borussia Dortmund in a classic and reach the Europa League semi-finals.
Jurgen Klopp's side were twice left needing three goals to go through in the face of Dortmund's rapier attacks - but climbed the mountain twice with Dejan Lovren's injury-time header from James Milner's cross concluding a night packed with drama and emotion.
Anfield commemorated the 27th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 supporters died, with an impeccably observed minute's silence before kick-off - followed by a thriller that will be recalled for generations for sheer excitement and a finale that sent Anfield wild.
The Bundesliga side struck twice inside the first nine minutes through Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - both after swift breaks, with the latter sealed by a crisp 14-yard strike - to take a 3-1 aggregate lead in the tie.
The German side missed numerous more chances to extend their lead as Liverpool struggled to cope with their attacking threat.
The Reds slowly grew into the game, creating and missing a succession of chances. Even when Divock Origi gave them hope early in the second half - slotting the ball through the legs of keeper Roman Weidenfeller - it seemed to have been snuffed out by Marco Reus's cool 57th-minute finish.
They still needed three goals with less than 25 minutes left but Philippe Coutinho's low shot cut the deficit and when Mamadou Sakho headed in after 77 minutes, Liverpool stood on the brink of something remarkable.
Amid riotous scenes, Lovren rose to head home in stoppage time in front of the Kop to spark chaotic celebrations and seal a win that will take its place in Anfield folklore.
Klopp received a rapturous reception from the fans who idolised him in Dortmund when he walked along the Anfield touchline before kick-off - but he then inflicted agony on the club he took to two Bundesliga titles and the Champions League final.
As Liverpool chased the game in the closing stages, Klopp was almost wound up to the point of frenzy, turning around to the crowd beneath Anfield's directors' box whirling his arms in encouragement and gesturing wildly for more vocal support.
It kept the momentum going and Liverpool's supporters believing right through the dark moments when Dortmund controlled the game, inspiring his players to that sensational finale.
The turnaround revived memories of the so-called 'Miracle of Istanbul' in 2005 when they came from 3-0 down at half-time to win the Champions League final against AC Milan.
This may not bring a trophy, but Klopp can now take his place alongside other Liverpool managers who have their names alongside famous victories.
When Klopp urged Liverpool's players to take a bow in front of the Kop after they claimed a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion in injury time earlier this season, he was mocked and the gesture was taken as a signal of how low expectations had fallen.
The bow was back at the final whistle here and no-one would begrudge Klopp or anyone else for taking in the acclaim.
When Klopp took over from sacked Brendan Rodgers in October, he set about rebuilding the relationship between Liverpool's players and disillusioned supporters. He has already forged the bond and nights like this will only cement it further.
Liverpool could have gone under when they needed three goals to go through but they created a host of chances throughout the game and not for one moment did they resemble a team who felt the task was beyond them.
On and on they came against a Dortmund side who, while dangerous in attack, gave Liverpool a chance at the back all night - one chance too many in the end.
Anfield has seen many great nights and this can be added to the list.
It almost seems an insult to suggest it after the feast of football witnessed, but for all the drama and the surge of attacking football that eventually swept Dortmund aside, Liverpool still look so vulnerable at the back.
Sakho is a fans' favourite and contributed a goal but he was guilty of poor positioning that contributed to all three Dortmund goals.
With left-back Alberto Moreno also a weak link, Klopp has work to do in the defensive areas - but no-one was too concerned with that after a truly remarkable night.
The victory over Dortmund continued a long tradition of famous and emotional European nights for Liverpool.
The most memorable of these surely remains the 2005 Champions League final, when Rafael Benitez's team came from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 3-3 with AC Milan before winning the match on penalties. Liverpool fans often talk about the spirit of Istanbul - and it was clearly in evidence on Thursday.
But it is not the only memorable European night for the club. In December 2004, Liverpool needed to win by a margin of two clear goals against Olympiakos to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Rivaldo put the Greek side ahead but Liverpool fought back with Steven Gerrard scoring a late winner.
In 1977, Liverpool returned to Anfield for the second leg of a European Cup tie against French side St-Etienne trailing 1-0.
The Reds took the lead but needed to score twice more after Dominique Bathenay's equaliser. However, goals from Ray Kennedy and super-sub David Fairclough ensured they did just that.
Liverpool will be in Friday's draw for the last four of the Europa League. That will be covered in Sportsday on the BBC Sport website.
Klopp's team return to Premier League action when they play at Bournemouth on Sunday, with kick-off at 13:30 BST.
Dortmund, who are seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, host Hamburg on Sunday.
Players who commit a foul to deny a goalscoring opportunity will no longer automatically be sent off, football's rule-making body has confirmed.
The previous 'triple-punishment' rule required a red card - and therefore a suspension - as well as the award of a penalty under those circumstances.
However, players committing accidental fouls that deny a goalscoring chance will now be cautioned instead.
But deliberate fouls will still incur a red card.
Those include holding, pulling or pushing, not playing the ball, serious foul play, violent conduct or deliberate handball in order to deny a goalscoring opportunity.
The change has been ratified by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) - a body made up of the four British football associations and Fifa - which decides on changes to the Laws of the Game.
It follows a comprehensive, 18-month review, led by former Premier League referee David Elleray.
Meanwhile, the IFAB has selected the Italian Football Federation to carry out a new trial of video replays.
The technology will be used to help referees decide whether a goal has been scored, whether a penalty should be awarded, whether a player should be sent off, or in cases of mistaken identity.
Italian Football Federation president Carlo Tavecchio said: "We were among the first supporters of using technology on the pitch and we believe we have everything required to offer our contribution to this important experiment."
Tests initially will be in private before moving to a live pilot phase with replay assistance by the 2017-18 season at the latest.
A trial of the use of video assistant referees for "game-changing decisions" in football will begin no later than the 2017-18 season.
Technology would only be applied to key incidents concerning goals, red cards, mistaken identities and penalties.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) says it has had interest in hosting live trials from 12 national associations and one confederation.
The news was announced following a meeting of the IFAB in Cardiff.
New Fifa president Gianni Infantino, who believes greater use of technology within the game is inevitable, called it a "historic" day for the sport and said the decision proved the game's leaders were "listening to football".
The IFAB, which is made up of the four British football associations and Fifa, says a final decision on approving the technology for use throughout the game will only be made following a thorough period of testing and an agreement on the protocols for its use.
Infantino said: "We cannot close our eyes to the future but it doesn't mean to say it will work.
"The flow of the game is crucial. We cannot put that in danger. That is why we have to be open to test."
In addition to the video technology trials, the IFAB has also decided to end the 'triple punishment rule'.
It means in instances in which the referee feels defenders have made a legitimate attempt to make a tackle inside the penalty area, they will not be sent off if they commit a foul. A penalty and, possible goal against their team, is deemed sufficient punishment.
This would not apply when the offence is holding, pushing or pulling, the defender does not attempt to play the ball or the offence would be worthy of a red card if it had been committed elsewhere in the penalty area.
Will the natural flow of the game be disrupted?
The IFAB is determined this must not happen. At their news conference on Saturday, it was stressed repeatedly that if the flow of the game was hindered, the video experiment would not be implemented on a full-time basis. Logistical issues, such as when a referee stops the game for a video review, are the major reasons the IFAB have been so reluctant to say when the experiment will begin.
What about offside?
Ordinarily, referees will not stop the game to review an offside decision. However, there is a caveat. Goals can be reviewed so if there is a potential offside in the build-up to a goal, this can be checked.
Will we see it in Britain?
It is possible. The IFAB says 12 countries have expressed interest in hosting trials. Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said the Scottish Cup could be the ideal vehicle, so it is fair to assume Scotland is one of those interested.
At which levels of the game will it be used?
This is still to be decided. Football has always been proud of the fact the game is essentially the same, whether it is played on a park or in the biggest stadiums. Technology, clearly, is not available to all. However, even at a professional level, not all grounds in all countries have access to the number of cameras needed to provide adequate cover to make key decisions.
Will players like it?
Generally speaking, those involved in the game - be they players, managers or officials - are willing to embrace anything that ensures more correct decisions are made. No system is 100% foolproof. But tight goalline decisions, such as the one that went against Tottenham in Saturday's north London derby, are now being made correctly because of video technology. Provided it is implemented properly, there is no reason to believe further improvement will not be made with the forthcoming trials.
The IFAB unanimously approved a comprehensive revision of the Laws of the Game - an 18-month project, led by former English referee David Elleray. It is the most comprehensive revision of the laws undertaken during the IFAB's 130-year existence.
The word count has been halved and gender neutral language introduced throughout.
One of the amendments relates to a player who is injured by a challenge punished by a yellow or red card. Rather than the injured player having to leave the field, which gives the offending team a numerical advantage, the player will be able to have treatment on the pitch (Law 5).
The kick-off is also changing, with players able to move the ball in any direction, rather than just forward (Law 8),
There will also be experimentation with a fourth substitution within extra time, although the league or competition for the trial is yet to be decided.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned the policies of US Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, equating them to bigotry.
Zeid Raad al-Hussein did not mention Mr Trump by name, but he singled out the businessman's support of torture and his policies towards Muslims.
"Bigotry is not proof of strong leadership," Mr Hussein said.
The commissioner also criticised a plan by rival candidate Ted Cruz to conduct surveillance on Muslim neighbourhoods.
"Hate speech, incitement and marginalisation of the 'other' are not a tittering form of entertainment, or a respectable vehicle for political profit," Mr Hussein told an audience in Cleveland, Ohio.
He added: "A front-running candidate to be president of this country declared, just a few months ago, his enthusiastic support for torture (...) inflicting intolerable pain on people, in order to force them to deliver or invent information that they may not have."
During the campaign, Mr Trump has said that "torture works" and promised to bring back "a lot worse than waterboarding".
Waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques previously used by US forces on terror suspects have been banned by the Obama administration.
Mr Trump's controversial statements have been criticised by world leaders including UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Pope Francis.
Mr Cameron called Mr Trump's plan to ban Muslims from travelling to the US "divisive, stupid and wrong".
Both Pena Neito and the Pope have taken issue with Mr Trump's call for a border wall between the US and Mexico.
Correspondents say Mr Hussein's tough talk is unlikely to sway Mr Trump. The New York billionaire has been a harsh critic of the UN on the campaign trail.
"The United Nations is not a friend of democracy," Mr Trump told Israeli activists in March. "It's not a friend even to the United States of America, where as all know, it has its home. And it surely isn't a friend to Israel."
Germany will allow the potential prosecution of a top comedian after the Turkish president filed a complaint.
Jan Boehmermann had recited a satirical poem on television which made sexual references to Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Under German law, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government had to approve a criminal inquiry.
Mrs Merkel stressed that the courts would have the final word, and it was now up to prosecutors to decide whether to press charges.
The chancellor added that her government would move to repeal the controversial and little-used Article 103 of the penal code, which concerns insults against foreign heads of state, by 2018.
Boehmermann is a satirist and television presenter well-known for pushing the boundaries of German humour. He was given police protection earlier this week.
Some experts say he has a strong defence against potential charges, because his poem could be seen as part of a wider piece of satire about free speech, rather than a deliberate insult, the BBC's Damien McGuinness reports from Berlin.
An earlier remark by Mrs Merkel that the poem was "deliberately offensive" had led to accusations in Germany that she was not standing up for free speech.
The poem was broadcast on ZDF television two weeks ago. The public TV channel has decided not to broadcast Boehmermann's weekly satire programme this week because of the furore surrounding him.
Paragraph 103 of Germany's penal code, on defamation of organs and representatives of foreign states, has the following to say:
(1) Whosoever insults a foreign head of state, or, with respect to his position, a member of a foreign government who is in Germany in his official capacity, or a head of a foreign diplomatic mission who is accredited in the Federal territory shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine, in case of a slanderous insult to imprisonment from three months to five years.
The article dates back to the penal code drafted when the German Empire was formed in 1871, although at that time it just applied to monarchs.
It has been little used in recent years and is colloquially known as the "Shah law" among German lawyers after the Shah of Persia successfully brought a case against a Cologne newspaper in 1964.
A Swiss man living in Bavaria was also prosecuted under the article in 2007, after he posted offensive comments about the then-Swiss President, Micheline Calmy-Rey, on the internet, according to German and Swiss media.
Before announcing that Boehmermann could be prosecuted, Mrs Merkel stressed her government expected Turkey to comply with EU democratic norms in the areas of free speech and judicial independence.
"In a state under the rule of law, it is not a matter for the government but rather for state prosecutors and courts to weigh personal rights issues and other concerns affecting press and artistic freedom," she said.
"The presumption of innocence applies," she added, explaining that she was not making any prejudgement about Boehmermann.
In her statement in Berlin, Mrs Merkel said that the approval of the federal government was a legal precondition for the prosecution of this specific offence.
"The foreign office, the justice ministry, the interior ministry and the chancellery took part in this review," she said.
"There were diverging opinions between the coalition partners... The result is that in the present case the federal government will grant its approval."
Mr Erdogan has drawn much criticism in Turkey and internationally for attacking opponents, including harassment of journalists. Many accuse him of authoritarian methods, stifling legitimate dissent and promoting an Islamist agenda.
Some Germans worry that Mrs Merkel is compromising on freedom of expression in order to ensure Turkey's continued co-operation to stem the influx of migrants into the EU.
Thomas Oppermann, head of the Social Democrat (SPD) group in the German parliament, tweeted: "Prosecution of satire due to 'lese majesty' does not fit with modern democracy."
A more powerful earthquake has rocked the southern Japanese city of Kumamoto in the middle of the night, a day after an earlier tremor killed nine people.
The magnitude-7.3 quake hit at a depth of 10km (six miles) at 01:25 on Saturday (15:25 GMT on Friday) in Kyushu region. At least three people died and hundreds were injured.
A village has been evacuated after a dam collapsed, it says.
A tsunami warning was issued, and lifted some 50 minutes later.
Japan is regularly hit by earthquakes but stringent building codes mean that they rarely cause significant damage.
This new earthquake in Kyushu was much bigger and hit a wider area than the one that struck Kumamoto on Thursday night, says the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo.
In one town near the coast, the city hall has been so badly damaged there are fears it could collapse. A hospital has been evacuated because it is no longer safe.
Roads have buckled and some power supplies are now disrupted
Thousands of people have fled on to the streets and into parks - where they are huddled under blankets looking dazed and afraid, our correspondent says.
But there are numerous reports of people trapped inside buildings, including at least 60 inside an old people's home.
Public broadcaster NHK says the dam collapsed in the Nishihara village.
Television pictures showed thousands of people filling streets and parks, looking dazed across the region.
NHK had warned of sea waves of up to 1m (3ft).
Japan's nuclear authority said the Sendai nuclear plant was not damaged.
The quake was originally assessed as magnitude 7.1 but revised upwards to 7.3 later.
Gavin Hayes, a research geophysicist with the US Geological Survey (USGS) in Colorado, told the BBC that the latest earthquake would hamper the earlier rescue operation that was already under way.
He said more damage could be expected as the earthquake had been shallower and the fault-line had been much longer.
"The ground surface would have moved in the region of 4-5m (yards). So, you are talking very intense shaking over quite a large area. And that's why we'll probably see a significant impact from this event."
The Associated Press news agency said guests at the Ark Hotel near the Kumamoto Castle, which was damaged, woke up and gathered in the lobby for safety.
Kumamoto Castle is said to have suffered more damage in the new tremor
Thursday's magnitude-6.2 quake caused shaking at some places as intense as the huge earthquake that hit the country in 2011, Japan's seismology office said.
That quake sparked a huge tsunami and nuclear meltdown at a power plant in Fukushima.
Most of those who died in Thursday's quake were in the town of Mashiki where an apartment building collapsed and many houses were damaged.
More than 1,000 people were injured.
Some 40,000 people had initially fled their homes, with many of those closest to the epicentre spending the night outside, as more than 130 aftershocks had hit the area.
Japan is one of the most seismically active areas on Earth, accounting for about 20% of global quakes of magnitude 6.0 or greater. Seismometers are recording some kind of event every five minutes, on average.
It is through bitter experience that Japan has learnt the strategies to mitigate damage, injury and death. Not only does it implement some the best building construction practices but it has also established an early warning network.
This system relies on the lightning analysis of the developing quake, establishing its location and strength. Alerts are then broadcast that can give people more distant from the epicentre vital seconds' notice.
Just 10 seconds is more than sufficient to drop and get under a sturdy table or open the doors of a fire station.
The prospect of buildings already damaged in Thursday's quake toppling over in this latest tremor will be a concern.
A police helicopter was used to retrieve the lost wallet of the Alabama governor, at a reported cost to taxpayers of $4,000 (£2,800).
In late 2014, Robert Bentley left Tuscaloosa for his beach home five hours' drive away, but left his wallet.
He then asked his security to deliver it, a trip completed via state police helicopter, according to flight logs.
Mr Bentley, who is facing calls to resign over a sex scandal, said he never asked for a helicopter.
"I requested they deliver my wallet, I didn't know how they were going to do it," the governor told AL.com. "I did not request that a helicopter was used.
"You have to have your wallet for security reasons. I'm the governor. And I had to have money. I had to buy something to eat. You have to have identification."
AL.com said using the state helicopter to retrieve his wallet cost Alabama taxpayers about $4,000 (£2,800).
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency chiefs have differing stories about the helicopter incident.
One said he had permission to use the helicopter from the governor's former bodyguard.
Another said he was never told about the wallet and did not approve use of the helicopter.
On Tuesday, state lawmakers made initial steps to impeach Mr Bentley over an alleged sex scandal with an aide.
State representative Ed Henry told NBC News Mr Bentley "betrayed the trust of the people of Alabama" and that "if he truly loves the people of the state, he will step down".
Manchester City will play Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.
That means City could face incoming manager Pep Guardiola in the final, after his Bayern Munich side were drawn against Atletico Madrid in the other tie.
Guardiola will replace current City boss Manuel Pellegrini in the summer.
The first leg will take place in Manchester at Etihad Stadium on 26 April, with the return leg in Spain's capital on 4 May.
"It is a difficult draw," said former Real Madrid boss Pellegrini. "It doesn't matter which team we played. The options are the same.
"I always prefer to finish at home but that is not the most important thing."
The final takes place at Milan's San Siro Stadium on 28 May.
|More on the Champions League|
|Man City: 'Personal pride and giant step forward'|
|Uefa opens Man City disciplinary case|
|Hat-trick answers critics - Ronaldo|
|Barcelona are in a hole, says Enrique|
Pellegrini was manager at Real Madrid from 2009 to 2010, during which time Cristiano Ronaldo was bought from Manchester United for £80m, while Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso were also signed.
However, the Chilean was sacked after only one season and replaced by Jose Mourinho, following early elimination from the Champions League and also missing out on the domestic championship to Barcelona.
Former Manchester United forward Ronaldo, 31, is the leading scorer in this season's Champions League with 16 goals.
He is also the competition's all-time record goalscorer, with 93 in 125 appearances, and scored a hat-trick as Real overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit against Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals.
|What happens if Manchester City and Liverpool win the Champions League and Europa League?|
|Winners of the Champions League and Europa League are guaranteed to qualify for next season's Champions League|
|A maximum of five clubs per country are allowed to compete in the Champions League|
|So should Manchester City and Liverpool win their respective titles but finish outside the top four, only the Premier League's top three would qualify for the Champions League, alongside the two European competition winners|
|A European trophy for both Manchester City and Liverpool would mean Manchester United or West Ham missing out on the Champions League even if they finish fourth in the Premier League|
|England would not gain an extra spot in the Champions League if Manchester City or Liverpool win their respective competitions and finish in the top four|
Friday's draw means there is still the prospect of a repeat of the 2014 final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, when Real scored three times in extra-time to beat their city rivals.
Atletico reached the last four by knocking out reigning champions Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
Bayern Munich, top of the Bundesliga table, are five-time champions of Europe, their last success coming in 2013.
The draw means four Spanish clubs could contest both the Champions League and Europa League finals after Sevilla and Villarreal were kept apart in the Europa League semi-finals.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has dismissed suggestions from the Spanish media that facing Man City represents another favourable draw for his side after they avoided Atletico and Bayern.
The 10-time European champions knocked out Italian side Roma in the last 16, before beating Wolfsburg - currently eighth in the German Bundesliga - to reach the last four.
"I don't agree that our knockout ties are always the easiest," said Zidane. "You've already seen us lose 2-0 in the first leg against Wolfsburg, so I don't want to hear this.
"Everyone we've faced so far have been strong: Roma, Wolfsburg and Manchester City.
"It will be a very difficult knockout tie. The only positive is that we play the second leg at home. I'm certain that it will be a real battle."
Bayern's former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola will try to outwit Atletico counterpart Diego Simeone when the pair meet again in the other semi-final.
The sides play at Atletico's Vicente Calderon stadium on 27 April, with the return leg at the Allianz Arena on 3 May.
"I know the Spanish league very well and I know how strong Atletico are," said Guardiola.
"They know exactly what they have to do. It's always very complicated against them. We need 90 minutes and then another 90 minutes of full concentration.
"Diego Simeone is one of the best coaches in the world. He's changed the club; Atletico have reached a new level over the last five years."
Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer added: "Atletico are monsters of passion. They are honest and authentic."
Musician Jacob Kwame Etroo better known by his music name Quata Budukusu has stated that his comeback at this time is the opportune period to hug the limelight having been away for 6 years.
“I attended to other things within the quiet period. Running my recording studio and tattoo parlor so although I wasn’t in the limelight being the music man that I am, I continued to write and record music at my studio.
“Getting signed onto Bakus Entertainment 6 months ago was most opportune as I needed such a large and diverse team to help elevate my music” the bearded artiste posited.
Although coy about the duration of the contract and how much money he is guaranteed, Quata Budukusu submitted “it’s a standard contract and I can say it’s one of the biggest deals I have appended my signature to.”
According to Quata, he is delighted with the performance of his two videos adding “‘One Life to Live’ is currently part of the top 15 videos enjoying airplay in South Africa thanks to my publicists over there. The performance of the song and video has led to collaborative efforts with Mafikizolo, Black Uhuru and a couple of others.”
The man with 4 albums including ‘Bonie’, ‘Concert’ and ‘Independence Day’ recounted to blakkpepper.com how fortunate he’s been in working with production houses who believed in his dream and availed their platforms to nourish such dreams.
On his aspirations for the year, Quata pledged that he shall mount some of the grandest stages in Ghana and beyond indicating that because he is uniquely different his fans have missed him given the void his absence had created.
Describing himself as a diverse artiste with abilities to sing, rap, ragga and tongue-twist, the artiste who broke through the ranks in 2004 says because he can predict music trends, some released singles he recorded four years ago sound fresh and relevant today mentioning that with engineers Kelis Beatz, Ragoon Beatz, King Joe and Diaz Qlasik responsible for some of his tunes, quality is assured.
“I love to work at home since I own my own recording studio so I can get time for my music since music production requires refinement till the perfect brew is achieved. I do however have respect for noted engineers like Appietus, Kill Beatz and Kaywa and I shall be engaging them in a bit” the Aggrey Memorial alumnus declared.
He stressed: “After my second album, I set up my Audio Farm studio believing as an artiste I needed a studio to easily record when new material comes to me. While others were busy buying cars I invested in equipment. Indeed my studio has hosted Tinny, Tony Harmony, Mzbel and a couple of others who produced music there. It’s a commercial studio although I have been changing residence from East Legon, Dzorwulu through to my current base at Block Factory in the West Hill area but plans are afoot to reopen it to the pubic soon.”
According to Quata Budukusu, he’s delighted with the rise of Sarkodie intimating that he’s built on the foundation laid by his good-self and colleagues. He praised Kinaata for his incisive lyrics, Mzvee for her lyrics, brand, singing and dancehall offerings as well as Stonebwoy for not letting down hopes people had in him even from the ‘Kasahari’ days at Adom FM with Dr Duncan. “Stonebwoy’s lyrical composition is immense. He certainly has more to offer and I can say in 10 years’ time, Stonebwoy will carry Ghanaian music in his talons” he predicted.
Growing up Quata mentions Nas, Buster Rhymes, Ghostface Killer, Twister as well as good old Bob as persons whose music he fed on adding that he’s got a huge music appetite including ballet and salsa since “music is a universal language which speaks to the soul.”
Born and bred in Cantonments Accra, the man whose formal education ended at the Senior High School level explained “education involves utilizing the mind to its full potential and securing basic education is most critical and having discovered my passion for music I have self-taught myself to advance in my chosen field.”
Hailing from Asseibu in the Central region, the entertainer with 8 siblings stated he’s lost his dad to eternity but still has his mother around explaining although his brother Ebibidro also did music for a while he’s veered into other things now.
Having rolled with his wife for 6 years and officially sealing their union 12 months ago, a delighted Quata disclosed his better half has taken seed but would not disclose her name or how their paths crossed. He however offered this: “When a man needs to settle down, he needs a level headed lady he can elevate with. My wife is such a lady. She is a corporate lady who combines work and home duties beautifully and the journey has been most enjoyable.”
A lover of beautiful things, Quata acknowledged that he is encountered a varied damsels in his life given the fame and all but when pressed for numbers stated he doesn’t keep a count but was delighted with his life partner as she caters for his manly needs.
On his faith, the ‘Baby’ singer noted that God is the focal point in his life adding he often interacts with the Supreme Divine although as a member of the Legion of Mary society of the Christ the King Catholic Church his church visitations have not been as frequent as desired.
The ‘neat freak’ stated his style is urban wear and when it looks cool on him he’s good to go. On his love for tattoos Mr. Etroo posited “people are addicted to alcohol, women or drugs. I love tattoos on my body and I give tattoos to others as well since I am a tattooist. I have clients who pay GH¢ 2,000 for a design.”
Although videos for his two singles are making the rounds (Wind N Go low and One Life to Live) , Quata who says ‘Budukusu’ means don declared he’s offered 7 singles in the system disclosing while hibernating he churned out about 500 songs he is gradually offering for public consumption.
“After ‘One Life to Live’ and ‘Wind N Go low’ videos, ‘Paper’, ‘Kudi’ as well as ‘Pum Pum Shots’ videos are set to follow. You know I am the signature for rap and tongue twisting so I shan’t disappoint the eager fans.”
According to Don Quata, he sees riches and success as having good health, good living, peace of mind and having good communication channel with God, the rest are all world perceptions people hold.
“I am comfortable. I am not hungry, I live well and dress good so I am good” he stressed.
Fufu and any soup involving goat meat sets the rapper in a good mood while whisky on ice, wine and Champaign suits him well.
“I am naturally hyper so I don’t need stimulants be it drugs or alcohol before mounting a stage. Truth is you can’t even be tipsy desiring to offer a good show.”
Quata Budukusu expressed thanks to Natures’ Crew, Lowdown Records/OM Studio, Saddick, Kojo Antwi, the Original Gadons Family comprising Palas, Buba, Oloch and Mohammed for their love and care.
Blakkpepper.com can only hope the partnership with Mr. Ernest Annoh-Dompreh of Bakus Entertainment and personal manager Mr. Tengol Kplemani can continue to yield immense dividend for all concerned.
Enjoy ‘One Life to Live’ from Quata Budukusu:
Donald Trump has won the Republican presidential primary in New York while Hillary Clinton has triumphed in the Democratic race.
With the majority of votes counted, Mr Trump looks set to extend his lead over rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich.
Meanwhile Democratic hopeful Mrs Clinton, a former senator for New York, is on course for a resounding victory over Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders.
Wins will put Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump closer to securing their nominations.
With almost 95% of the results in, Mr Trump is leading with just over 60% of the vote while Mrs Clinton has just under 58%.
US networks projected that Mr Trump had won in his home state barely seconds after the polls closed at 21:00 EDT (01:00 GMT).
Speaking at Trump Tower in Manhattan, he said: "I have to say to the people that know me the best - the people of New York - when they give us this kind of a vote it's just incredible."
He said he was going to get more delegates than "anyone projected even in their wildest imaginations".
The big question is whether the billionaire businessman will make a clean sweep of all 95 Republican delegates at stake in New York by earning the majority of votes.
This would reduce the chances of a contested nomination at the Republican party convention in July.
Donald Trump needed a commanding victory, and he got it. Although the results in the state's 29 congressional districts - which allocate three convention delegates apiece - have yet to be finalised, it appears likely that Mr Trump will claim the lion's share of the 95 delegates at play.
Perhaps even more importantly, however, is the new, restrained Donald Trump on the campaign trail in the past few days. Gone are the incendiary tweets bashing his opponents (and their spouses). Instead on Tuesday night the candidate gave a short speech hammering home his economic message, emphasising his delegate and vote lead, and laying the groundwork to argue that he should be the party's nominee even if he doesn't win the 1,237 delegates necessary to claim the nomination outright.
Mr Trump recently brought in several experienced political hands to manage his campaign after a turbulent few weeks. If this new demeanour is part of the change they have inspired, Mr Trump could prove to be a more formidable opponent not just at the ballot box in upcoming primaries but in the contest to win over those in the party still deeply suspicious of his candidacy.
"Tomorrow, we go back to work," Mr Trump said during his victory speech. It was a very un-Trump-like line - and something that should have his opponents very concerned.
Claiming her win, Mrs Clinton told supporters her campaign for the nomination was "in the home stretch and victory is in sight".
"New Yorkers, you've always had my back and I've always tried to have yours," she said. "Today together we did it again and I am deeply, deeply grateful."
It has been a fierce campaign in the state, with the leading candidates using their local ties to attract voters.
The Democratic campaign has turned increasingly negative, with Mrs Clinton and Mr Sanders trading barbs about their qualifications.
But following the latest result in the race for the Democratic nomination, Mrs Clinton said there was "much more that unites us than divides us".
Has New York shaped the Trump campaign? - It's the place where he built both his personal brand and his politics
What's New York's state of mind? - The issues that matter to voters from Buffalo to Brooklyn
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The two front-runners for both parties cast their own votes in New York on Tuesday. Mr Trump cast his ballot at Central Synagogue in Manhattan in the morning, while Mrs Clinton voted with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, near their home in the suburb of Chappaqua.
They are the last presidential candidates to vote in the primary contest. Mr Sanders voted in his home state of Vermont in March, while Republican challengers Mr Cruz and Mr Kasich went to the polls in Texas and Ohio.
The voting in New York was marred by widespread complaints of irregularities, including more than 125,000 people missing from New York City voter rolls. The city's chief auditing officer, Scott Stringer, ordered a review of the city's Board of Elections (BOE) over what he called "chaotic and inefficient" organisation.
Although Mr Trump was sweeping to victory across most of the state, Ohio Governor Mr Kasich, otherwise in a distant second place, was leading in his home borough of Manhattan.
Meanwhile Mr Sanders, who has vowed to fight on in the nomination process, spent Tuesday in Pennsylvania before heading home to Vermont for a day off the campaign trail.
Republican hopeful Mr Cruz, whose criticism of "New York values" attracted scorn in the state, had also moved onto Pennsylvania and dismissed the New York result as nothing more than "a politician winning his home state", according to the Associated Press.
Pennsylvania is the most important of five states holding both Republican and Democratic primaries on 26 April, and then candidates will look to score successes in Indiana on 3 May.
The US state of Utah has become the first to declare pornography a public health risk in a move its governor says is to "protect our families and our young people".
The bill does not ban pornography in the mainly Mormon state.
However, it calls for greater "efforts to prevent pornography exposure and addiction".
One group representing the adult entertainment industry attacked what it called "an old-fashioned morals bill".
Pornography, the bill says, "perpetuates a sexually toxic environment" and "is contributing to the hypersexualisation of teens, and even prepubescent children, in our society".
Further steps must be taken to change "education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level" against what it calls an epidemic, but it does not suggest how changes should be implemented.
The bill was signed by Republican Governor Gary Herbert, who said the volume of pornography in society was "staggering".
One 2009 study by Harvard Business School said that Utah was the state with the highest percentage of online porn subscribers in the US.
Some studies have, however, indicated that porn may not be addictive.
The bill was supported by the anti-porn campaign group Fight the New Drug. Reports have pointed out the group's founders are all members of the conservative Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon Church.
Close to 63% of the state's residents are Mormon, but Fight the New Drug's leaders have denied working on behalf of the Mormon Church.
The Free Speech Coalition, a porn industry association, called for more dialogue.
"We should live in a society where sexuality is spoken about openly, and discussed in nuanced and educated ways, and not stigmatised," said Mike Stabile, a spokesman for the group.
"We all should work together to prevent non-adults from accessing adult material."
More than two billion people live in parts of the world where the Zika virus can spread, detailed maps published in the journal eLife show.
The Zika virus, which is spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, triggered a global health emergency this year.
Last week the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the virus causes severe birth defects.
The latest research showed mapping Zika was more complex than simply defining where the mosquito can survive.
One of the researchers, Dr Oliver Brady from the University of Oxford, told the BBC: "These are the first maps to come out that really use the data we have for Zika - earlier maps were based on Zika being like dengue or chikungunya.
"We are the first to add the very precise geographic and environmental conditions data we have on Zika."
By learning where Zika could thrive the researchers could then predict where else may be affected. The researchers confirmed that large areas of South America, the focus of the current outbreak, are susceptible.
In total, 2.2 billion people live in areas defined as being "at risk".
The infection is suspected of leading to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains.
The at-risk zones in South America include long stretches of coastline as well as cities along the Amazon river and its tributaries snaking through the continent.
And in the US, Florida and Texas could sustain the infection when temperatures rise in summer.
Dr Brady added: "Mosquitoes are just one condition needed for Zika to spread but there's a whole range of other ones.
"It needs to be warm enough for Zika to replicate inside the mosquito and for there to be a large enough [human] population to transmit it."
Both Africa and Asia have large areas that could be susceptible to the virus, the researchers said.
However, the study cannot answer why large numbers of cases have not already been reported.
One possible explanation is that both continents have already had large numbers of cases and the populations there have become largely immune to the virus.
An alternative is that cases could be being misdiagnosed as other infections such as dengue fever or malaria.
Europe seems likely to be unaffected, but that could change as more evidence emerges on which mosquitoes the viruses can spread in.
A large explosion at an oil facility in the south-east Mexican state of Veracruz has killed at least three people and injured 136 more.
The blast hit a facility owned by Mexico's state oil company, Pemex, in the port city of Coatzacoalcos.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated and schools closed. Footage showed a large fire and vast plumes of smoke.
The cause of the blast is unclear. Several explosions have been reported at Pemex facilities in recent years.
The latest incident occurred at around 15:15 local time (20:15 GMT), Pemex said in a statement. Veracruz state Governor Javier Duarte told a radio station the blast was felt 10km (six miles) away.
The fire was under control by early evening, Pemex said. Residents were told to stay indoors because of the possible toxic nature of the smoke from the blast, but Pemex said the smoke dissipated quickly, lessening any possible toxic effects.
Of the 136 people injured, 88 remain in hospital, 13 of whom are in a serious condition, Pemex said.
Video posted on social media purporting to show a local hospital showed scenes of chaos and patients suffering heavy blood loss.
Pemex said the part of the factory hit by the explosion was managed by a sister company, Mexichem.
Associated Press reported that the plant produces vinyl chloride, a dangerous chemical used to make PVC pipes and packaging materials.
Export of oil from the plant, one of the largest terminals for oil distribution in Mexico, would not be affected, the company added.
In September 2012, an explosion then a fire at a gas plant in the northern state of Tamaulipas killed 33 people.
Pemex's own headquarters in Mexico City was hit by a large gas blast in January 2013, killing 37 people.
A number of fires also struck the company's rigs in the Gulf of Mexico last year, and a worker was killed in another fire at the Veracruz plant in February this year.
The Canadian government will introduce legislation next year that would make the sale of marijuana legal, its health minister has said.
If enacted, the move would make Canada one of the largest Western countries to allow widespread use of the drug.
Health Minister Jane Philpott pledged on Wednesday to keep marijuana "out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals".
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed for legalisation during his campaign.
The announcement coincided with 20 April - an unofficial holiday among cannabis advocates. Hundreds of marijuana users demonstrated outside Parliament in Ottawa on Wednesday.
Medical use of marijuana is already legal in Canada. Some have argued that legal marijuana would reduce stress on Canada's criminal justice system.
"We will work with law enforcement partners to encourage appropriate and proportionate criminal justice measures," Ms Philpott said. "We know it is impossible to arrest our way out of this problem."
The Canadian Parliament is expected to take up the legislation in the spring of 2017
However, Gerard Deltell, a legislator from Canada's opposition Conservatives, opposes the change, saying it would harm Canadians' health.
"That's one of the worst things you can do to Canadian youth - to open the door to marijuana," he told Reuters news agency.
Mr Trudeau has named Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief, as the government's point person on legalisation.
"We control who it's sold to, when it's sold and how it's used," Mr Blair said likening marijuana to how alcohol is regulated. "And organised crime doesn't have the opportunity to profit from it."
He stressed that marijuana would remain illegal in Canada while legislation is being discussed.
Ms Philpott said the exact details of the legislation are still being worked out.
In the US, voters in four states plus the District of Columbia have already legalised the recreational use of the drug in ballot initiatives.
In other parts of the US, however, the drug remains illegal.
Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has won part of a human rights case against the Norwegian state.
The court upheld his claim that some of his treatment amounted to "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".
After the judgement, Breivik's lawyer, Oystein Storrvik, called for his solitary confinement to be repealed.
Breivik, a right-wing extremist, killed 69 people at a summer camp for young centre-left political activists on the island of Utoeya in July 2011.
Earlier that day, he set off a car bomb in the capital, Oslo, killing eight people.
In her ruling, judge Helen Andenaes Sekulic said the right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment represented "a fundamental value in a democratic society" and also applied to "terrorists and killers".
Breivik had challenged the government over his solitary confinement, which saw him kept alone in his cell for 22 to 23 hours a day, denied contact with other inmates and only communicating with prison staff through a thick glass barrier.
His prison regime deviated so markedly from that enforced upon any other prisoner in Norway, regardless of the severity of their crimes, that it had to be considered an extra punishment, the judge said.
However, article three of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) required that prisoners be detained in conditions that did not exceed the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention, given the practical requirements of the particular case, she said.
The prison authorities had also not done enough to counteract the damage he had suffered from being in isolation, she said.
A typical cell in Skien prison looks like this
Judge Sekulic also noted that Breivik had been woken up every half hour at night over a long period of time and on some occasions subjected to strip searches with female officers present, which he found particularly difficult.
"Taken together with the other stringent restrictions which he was subject, this was regarded as degrading treatment in the Convention sense," said the judge, Norwegian national broadcaster NRK reported.
State lawyer Marius Emberland said the government was surprised by the verdict but had not decided whether to appeal.
If neither side appeals within four weeks, the prison is obliged to make Breivik's regime more lenient in line with the judge's remarks, NRK reported.
The prison must work to bring in other prisoners and "facilitate a community", the judge said.
However, the judge ruled that strict controls on Breivik's correspondence were justified and his right to a private and family life under article eight of the ECHR had not been violated.
The court also ordered the Norwegian state to pay Breivik's legal costs of 330,000 kroner ($40,000; £28,000).
Eskil Pedersen, a survivor of the shootings on Utoeya island, said he was "surprised, and then angry and upset" by the ruling.
"It was like being punched in the gut that the perpetrator won such a public victory," he told NRK.
Another survivor, Bjorn Ihler, tweeted that the judgement in Breivik's favour showed Norway had a "working court system, respecting human rights even under extreme conditions".
Lisbeth Kristine Roeyneland, who runs a support group for the victims' families, told NRK she was surprised and "a little disappointed", but also relieved that the ruling prevented him making contact with other extremists.
Breivik gave the Nazi salute when he appeared in court
One of the longest cross-border drugs-smuggling tunnels between Mexico and the US has been found by authorities in San Diego, American officials say.
They say the 800m (874 yards) tunnel was used to transport an "unprecedented cache" of cocaine and marijuana.
It was the 13th sophisticated secret tunnel found along California's border with Mexico since 2006.
But a local official described it as "ingenious" and unlike anything seen before.
Three have been found on the same short street in San Diego that runs parallel to a border fence with Mexico.
In the latest incident about 1,016kg (2,242lb) of cocaine and 6,350kg of marijuana suspected of being transported through the tunnel was seized, officials say.
The entrance to the tunnel on the American side was hidden under a big bin
"This is the largest cocaine seizure ever associated with a tunnel," Southern California District Attorney Laura Duffy said, and is the second "super tunnel" to be discovered in recent weeks,
In March, authorities uncovered a 380m tunnel that ran from a restaurant in Mexico to a house in California.
The latest tunnel ran at a depth of 14m (46ft) from the bottom of an elevator shaft built into a house in Tijuana to a hole in the ground on the American side enclosed within a fenced-in lot set up as a pallet business.
The hole was hidden under a trailer-sized rubbish bin that smugglers used to move the drugs from the lot, federal officials said.
"They put the drugs in the dumpster and then hauled the dumpster to another location to unload it," Ms Duffy said.
Federal agents followed a truck that took the bin to a central San Diego location about 40km (25 miles) north of the border and witnessed the cargo being loaded onto a box truck, which drove away.
San Diego County sheriff's deputies then stopped the truck and seized the drugs, arresting three men in the process.
Ms Duffy said that federal agents searching the pallet lot and the tunnel recovered additional supplies of marijuana and arrested three more suspects.
The tunnel used in the operation was sophisticated, The Los Angeles Times reported, and had a ventilation system and lighting. On the Tijuana side, the tunnel was connected to an elevator that ascended into the house.
"I think it fair to say that few would suspect that traffickers were moving multi-ton quantities of cocaine and marijuana in this very unassuming way, in full view of the world around them," the paper quoted Ms Duffy as saying.
"It's a rabbit hole,'' she said of the latest tunnel to be found.
"Just the whole way that it comes up right out into the open is a bit ingenious. It's something completely different than what we've seen before."
US president Barack Obama has arrived in the UK for a three-day visit.
During his stay the president is expected to give his views on the UK's forthcoming EU referendum, and advise voters to remain in the union.
He and First Lady Michelle Obama are due to have lunch with the Queen at Windsor on Friday, and dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Mr Obama will also speak at a news conference with Prime Minister David Cameron.
His UK stay is part of a tour which also includes a visit to Germany and Saudi Arabia - from where he has just left after having discussions with King Salman on issues including Iran, Syria, Yemen and the fight against so-called Islamic State militants.
In the UK, debate has circulated over the president's views on the forthcoming EU referendum, due to take place on 23 June.
Mr Obama's national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters in the US before the trip: "As the president has said, we support a strong United Kingdom in the European Union."
But last week Boris Johnson accused Mr Obama of "hypocrisy" over his support for such an outcome.
The London mayor said everything about the history of the US suggested they would never share sovereignty.
"I don't know what he is going to say but, if that is the American argument then it is nakedly hypocritical. The Americans would never dream of it," he told the BBC.
During his visit the US leader will also dine with the Queen in Kensington Palace.
Mr Obama arrived at Stansted Airport and was greeted by the the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, John Petre, and the US Ambassador to the UK, Matthew Barzun.
The Obamas previously met the Queen, Prince Philip and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their state visit in 2011.
The hugely popular, acclaimed and influential musician Prince has died at his home in Minnesota at the age of 57.
Police were summoned to his Paisley Park estate early on Thursday and found his body in a lift. An investigation has been opened.
Prince became a global superstar in the 1980s, with albums such as 1999, Purple Rain and Sign O' the Times.
No cause of death has been stated. A post-mortem investigation will take place on Friday.
His innovative music spanned rock, funk and jazz. He sold more than 100 million records during his career.
"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died," his spokeswoman said.
In a statement, Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson said his deputies responded to a medical call at about 09:43 local time (14:43 GMT) and later found an unresponsive adult male in an elevator at Paisley Park Studios.
First responders tried to revive him with CPR but he was pronounced dead at 10:07.
Hundreds of fans gathered outside Paisley Park. US President Barack Obama said the world had lost a "creative icon".
Born in 1958, Prince was a prolific writer and performer from a young age - reportedly writing his first song when he was seven.
A singer, songwriter, arranger and multi-instrumentalist, Prince recorded more than 30 albums. His best known hits include Let's Go Crazy and When Doves Cry.
A musical prodigy from a broken home, Prince famously wrote, arranged, produced and played almost all of his hit records.
But the Purple man's purple patch really came with his first band The Revolution.
With them by his side, he wrote more than two dozen rock classics in a five-year flurry.
Purple Rain, Little Red Corvette, 1999, Raspberry Beret, When Doves Cry, Kiss... At the same time, he dashed off Manic Monday for The Bangles and Nothing Compares 2U, made famous by Sinead O'Connor.
In the studio, he was unstoppable. But the magic really happened on stage. He would vamp, preen and tease an audience into a frenzy, then slay them with a quiet moment of crystalline beauty. He was a joy to watch.
He also wrote music for several artists - Sinead O'Connor's version of Nothing Compares 2U became a worldwide smash in 1990.
In 1984, he won an Oscar for the score to Purple Rain, a film in which he also starred.
Throughout his career he had a reputation for secrecy and eccentricity, once changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol.
In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which said he "rewrote the rulebook".
He had a mercurial relationship with technology. In 2000, he released singles via the pioneering music-sharing service Napster, but he later declared the internet "completely over" and refused to allow his music on major streaming platforms.
Prince's latest album, HITnRUN Phase Two, was released last year and he had been touring as recently as last week.
On 15 April he was taken to hospital after his private plane made an emergency landing in Illinois. It happened just hours after he had performed on stage in Georgia. He was treated and released after a few hours.
Tributes have been pouring in from artists young and old, across the musical spectrum.
"It's such a blow. It's really surreal. It's just kind of unbelievable," Aretha Franklin told MSNBC. "He was definitely an original and a one of a kind. Truly there was only one Prince."
Venezuela is introducing power cuts of four hours a day from next week to deal with a worsening energy crisis.
The cuts will last for 40 days as the country struggles under a severe drought limiting hydroelectric output.
It is the latest setback to Venezuela's economy which has been hit by a sharp fall in the price of its main export, oil.
The country's main brewer, Polar, also says it will stop production because it has no dollars to buy grain abroad.
The company, which produces 80% of the country's beer, says 10,000 workers will be affected by the stoppage.
Announcing the restrictions on Thursday, Energy Minister Luis Motta Dominguez said the hours of suspension would be published on a daily basis in newspapers and on ministerial websites. He added that the cuts would not happen between 20:00 and midday.
Venezuela's energy crisis has been deepening all this year, in February, shopping malls were told to reduce their opening hours and generate their own energy.
Polar is Venezuela's best-known brand of beer.
President Nicolas Maduro has accused the country's business elite of colluding with the US to wreck the economy.
He has accused the President of Polar, Lorenzo Mendoza, of being allied to the opposition which now dominates the Venezuelan parliament against him.
Many businessmen and opposition politicians blame the energy crisis and shortages of basic goods on government economic mismanagement.
They say tough currency controls introduced in 2003 by the late president, Hugo Chavez have only made this worse.
Venezuela's economy is in dire straits, suffering from spiralling inflation, shortages of some basic goods and dwindling revenue from oil.
The country's almost exclusive relies on oil, the price of which has fallen sharply.
An African man who has emerged as a basketball star at a high school in Canada is supposedly 30 years old.
Jonathan Nicola, who left South Sudan and arrived in Windsor, Ontario last November, was arrested Wednesday at the Canadian border. The Windsor Star reports that Nicola was still being held by the Canada Border Services Agency as of Wednesday afternoon for allegedly contravening the Immigration Refugee Protection Act. The agency did not elaborate on what Nicola was accused of doing.
Nicola said back in January that he turned 17 on Nov. 25, 2015. He also spoke about diseases and war in his home country of South Sudan and the long process he went through to obtain a Canadian student visa.
“A few of my friends know of my background, how we live over there,” Nicola explained at the time. “I don’t know how many of them have a clue of how it is in Africa. With the war going on, terrorism and all this, they make it real double hard (to obtain a visa).”
Authorities believe Nicola is 30. Catholic Central High School spokesman Stephen Fields said the school cannot comment on Nicola’s case.
“Generally I can tell you that we have a system of checks and balances in place that whenever international students are coming into any of our schools, we make sure that they have all of the necessary government documentation that they require in order to be in one of our schools,” said Fields. “Again, generally speaking, if we felt at any time that there is any kind of threat to any of our students at any of our schools, then we would act appropriately.”
Nicola stands at 6-foot-9 and is enrolled as an 11th grader. Catholic Central basketball coach Pete Cusumano said a few months ago that he believes Nicola has a shot at going pro.
Whenever we hear that minors who are playing sports have lied about their age, there is one story that comes to mind. You have feel sorry for Nicola for the situation he came from, but there are going to be a lot of furious people if it is determined that he is, in fact, a 30-year-old man.
At least eight people have been killed in "execution-style killings" in four places near each other in rural Ohio.
It is believed the victims - seven adults and one teenager - are from the same family, the state's attorney general said in a statement.
They were all shot to death in the head and any suspects are still at large, police said.
More than a dozen officials from multiple agencies were sent to crime scenes in Piketon, south of Columbus.
A pastor at the scene said the violence may have been the result of a "domestic situation".
All of the victims are members of a family called Rhoden, said Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader.
Three young children survived the shootings. The boy who was killed 16 years old.
"There is a strong possibility that any individual involved in this is armed and incredibly dangerous," Mr Reader said.
Police have not determined a motive or identified the dead, and have not determined whether the killer is among the deceased.
Aerial view of one of the locations being investigated in Pike County, Ohio
There are 'multiple crime scenes' in Piketon, Ohio
All of the victims were found in homes along Union Hill Road in Pike County. The Pike County Sheriff said there are four active crime scenes spanning about 30 miles (48km).
Sheriff Charles Reader said he would "suspect the family was being targeted".
Ohio Attorney General Mike Mike DeWine said it is possible some of the victims were shot overnight because they were found in their beds.
"One mom was apparently killed in her bed with [the four-day-old child] right there," said Mr DeWine. "It's hard to believe."
Authorities do not believe any of the deaths were suicides and are urging residents of the county to come forward with any information they might have.
Local schools Peebles Elementary and Peebles High School were earlier on "lockout" - no-one went in or out - due to the ongoing situation in Piketon, a spokesperson for Adams County Ohio Valley Schools said.
The FBI in Cincinnati tweeted that they are "closely monitoring the situation".
Ohio Governor John Kasich and Republican presidential candidate tweeted that the situation is "tragic beyond comprehension".
The suicide rate in the US has surged to its highest level in almost three decades, according to a new report.
The increase is particularly pronounced among middle-age white people who now account for a third of all US suicides.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report did not offer an explanation for the steep rise.
However, other experts have pointed to increased abuse of prescription opiates and the financial downturn that began in 2008 as likely factors.
The report did not break down the suicides by education level or income, but previous studies found rising suicide rates among white people without university degrees.
"This is part of the larger emerging pattern of evidence of the links between poverty, hopelessness and health," Robert D Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, told the New York Times.
CDC reported on Friday that suicides have increased in the US to a rate of 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986.
Meanwhile, homicides and deaths from ailments like cancer and heart disease have declined.
In the past, suicides have been most common among white people, but the recent increases have been sharp.
The overall suicide rate rose by 24% from 1999 to 2014, according to the CDC. However, the rate increased 43% among white men ages 45 to 64 and 63% for women in the same age-range.
In 2014, more than 14,000 middle-aged white people killed themselves.
That figure is double the combined suicides total for all blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Alaska Natives.
The suicide rate only declined for only two groups: black men and all people over 75.
A former Army corporal accused of raping a colleague with another soldier said he thought it was a joke when his co-accused and the alleged victim suggested a threesome.
Jeremy Jones and Thomas Fulton, both 28, deny raping Cpl Anne-Marie Ellement, from Bournemouth, in 2009.
The men say the sex with Ms Ellement, who died in 2011, was consensual.
Mr Jones said the three were "giggling and laughing" during the encounter in the early hours of 20 November 2009.
Ms Ellement was later found outside her accommodation at the barracks in Sennelager, Germany, wearing only a cardigan, crying and with muddy feet.
Thomas Fulton (left) and Jeremy Jones both deny rape
Mr Jones told the court he could not remember whether it was fellow corporals Mr Fulton or Ms Ellement who first discussed having a threesome.
"I thought they were joking but they made it quite clear it was not a joke," Mr Jones said.
"She was fully aware of what was going on and she made the decision, and the three of us were all excited to go back to the room."
After the encounter, Mr Jones said he asked Ms Ellement to return his blue hooded jumper, which she was wearing, and she put on her brown cardigan.
He suggested to Mr Fulton that they go into Sennelager, which appeared to upset Ms Ellement, who left.
Anne-Marie Ellement joined the Army at the age of 25 and had insisted she would not have consented to sex with either of the men
Previously, Mr Fulton told the court that Ms Ellement had left the room wearing his trousers and, when he tracked her down to a nearby car park to get them back, an argument ensued before she pulled them off and threw them at him.
The men were initially arrested on suspicion of rape but the case was dismissed. They were later charged with rape in 2015.
A panel of civil servants and senior military officers at the hearing in Wiltshire was not initially told the circumstances of Ms Ellement's death in 2011. They later heard in evidence that she had taken her own life.
Mr Jones, formerly of Close Protection Unit Royal Military Police Operations Wing, and Mr Fulton, formerly of 174 Provost Company 3 Royal Military Police, each deny two charges of rape.
The trial continues.
Donald Trump says a pact formed by his two rivals for the Republican presidential crown is a desperate act.
He lambasted Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich over the alliance they announced late on Sunday.
Under their plan, Mr Cruz and Mr Kasich will give each other a free run in state primary votes next month.
Before then, five US states go to the polls on Tuesday, when Mr Trump is expected to tighten his grip on the nomination.
He has a clear lead in party delegates but may still fall short of the 1,237 needed to win outright.
If he does not reach that figure, the vote will go to a contested convention - where delegates are free to back another candidate. A different nominee like Mr Cruz or Mr Kasich may emerge.
On Monday, Mr Cruz defended the deal, saying it was "great for Indiana and great for the country".
This announcement comes just days before Mr Cruz and Mr Kasich are likely to receive a thorough drubbing in a handful of states in the mid-Atlantic, including delegate-rich Pennsylvania.
By Wednesday morning Mr Trump could have put considerably more distance between himself and his two opponents.
So this accord may be an early effort to push the focus past the next round of voting and on to more friendly contests.
Indiana is shaping up to be a pivotal battleground. A recent poll shows Mr Trump with a comfortable lead in a three-way race that narrows considerably if Mr Kasich is taken out of the equation.
Given the rules in Indiana - 30 delegates to the candidate who wins a statewide plurality and three delegates to the top finisher in each of the state's nine congressional districts - every bit of help Mr Cruz can get to edge past Mr Trump will be invaluable.
Speaking in Indiana, the Texas senator said Mr Trump winning the nomination would hand the White House to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in November's election.
But in a series of tweets on Monday, Mr Trump, a New York businessman with no experience of elected office, said this was collusion from two weak candidates.
And in a statement, he said: "It is sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for ten months in order to try and stop that person from getting the Republican nomination."
Mr Trump has waged war on the Republican National Committee over the process by which delegates are allocated, saying the system is "rigged" against him.
Five states go to the polls on Tuesday - Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Under the Cruz-Kasich plan, Mr Cruz will cut campaigning in the Oregon and New Mexico primaries and Mr Kasich will give Mr Cruz a "clear path" in Indiana.
Indiana and Oregon vote next month, with New Mexico to follow in June.
In the Democratic race, Mrs Clinton will be looking to tighten her grip on the nomination after her big New York win, but Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says he still has a path to victory.
A Canadian man held captive by Islamist militants for months in the Philippines has been killed.
John Ridsdel, 68, was taken from a tourist resort along with three others by the Abu Sayyaf group in September last year.
Confirming the death, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it "an act of coldblooded murder".
On Monday a severed head was found on a remote Philippine island, hours after an Abu Sayyaf ransom deadline expired.
The Philippine army has not confirmed if it belonged to one of the captives.
Mr Ridsdel was kidnapped from a marina near the city of Davao along with another Canadian, Robert Hall; a Norwegian, Kjartan Sekkingstad; and a Philippine woman, Mr Hall's girlfriend, Marites Flor.
They were taken 500km (300 miles) to the island of Jolo. Abu Sayyaf released a video of the group in November, demanding $80m (£55m) for their release.
Mr Ridsdel later warned that he was due to be killed if no ransom was paid.
Several hours after the deadline, a severed head was found in a street on Jolo. The Philippine authorities said it belonged to a foreign man but it has not yet been formally identified.
"It's hard," a friend of Mr Ridsdel, Bob Rae, told CBC News. "It's just very hard. I've been involved behind the scenes for the last six months trying to find a solution and it's been very painful."
A former mining executive, Mr Ridsdel is described by Canadian media as semi-retired.
He also worked as a journalist.
Offering his condolences, Mr Trudeau gave few details, saying he would not compromise the safety of the other captives.
Abu Sayyaf was set up in the 1990s with funding from al-Qaeda, and is fighting for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.
One of its commanders recently pledged allegiance to so-called Islamic State. The group is also holding several other foreigners.
Eighteen Philippine soldiers were killed in clashes with the militants on Basilan island near Jolo island earlier this month.
Bangladesh police say a top gay rights activist and editor at the country's only LGBT magazine is one of two people who have been hacked to death.
The US ambassador to Bangladesh condemned the killing of Xulhaz Mannan, who also worked at the US embassy.
Another person was also injured when the attackers entered a Dhaka flat.
Since February last year suspected militants have killed several secular or atheist writers and members of religious minority groups.
The two men were murdered two days after a university teacher was hacked to death by suspected Islamist militants.
So-called Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility - but the Bangladeshi government insists there is no IS presence in the country.
"I am devastated by the brutal murder of Xulhaz Mannan and another young Bangladeshi," said US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat.
"We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders," she added.
BBC Bengali Service editor Sabir Mustafa said staff at Roopbaan, a magazine and activist group for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community that had not been condemned by the government and received some support from foreign embassies, had been careful to protect their identities but had not believed their lives were at risk.
Suspected extremists in Bangladesh are gaining a sense of security that they can carry out killings with impunity, he says.
A British photographer who knew Mr Mannan and the other victim, known as "Tonoy" and named in Bangladeshi media as Tanay Mojumdar, said they and other friends had set up Roopbaan with the aim of spreading tolerance.
Homosexuality is technically illegal in Bangladesh and remains a highly sensitive issue in society.
Both men were openly gay and believed that if more gay Bangladeshis came out then the country would have to accept them, the photographer said.
They were also were behind the annual "Rainbow Rally", held on Bengali New Year, 14 April, since 2014. This year's rally was banned by police as part of widespread security measures.
"Both were extremely gentle, non-violent and aware that being openly gay and active in their work was a personal danger," the photographer said.
Their killings were likely to spread fear among Bangladesh's gay community, he said.
"Until a year ago the only threat to coming out was shame of the family and having to start a new life elsewhere in Bangladesh. Now it's one of danger," he said.
Meanwhile Bangladesh's best known blogger said he had received a death threat on Sunday.
Imran Sarker, who led major protests by secular activists in 2013 against Islamist leaders, said he had received a phone call warning that he would be killed "very soon".
Earlier this month, a Bangladeshi law student who had expressed secular views online died when he was hacked with machetes and then shot in Dhaka.
Last year, four prominent secular bloggers were also killed with machetes.
The four bloggers had all appeared on a list of 84 "atheist bloggers" drawn up by Islamic groups in 2013 and widely circulated.
There have also been attacks on members of religious minorities including Shia, Sufi and Ahmadi Muslims, Christians and Hindus.
Two foreigners - an Italian aid worker and a Japanese farmer - have also been killed.
Muslim-majority Bangladesh is officially secular but critics say the government has failed to properly address the attacks.
Joe Hart kept Manchester City's hopes of reaching their first Champions League final alive with two brilliant late saves that ensured their semi-final first leg with Real Madrid finished goalless.
With star striker Cristiano Ronaldo missing because of a thigh injury, a cautious Real side offered little goal threat until the closing stages.
But in the last 20 minutes, Jese headed against the bar for the Spanish side before Hart brilliantly denied Casemiro and Pepe from corners.
Hart showed great reactions to keep out Casemiro's header with his foot but his block to deny Pepe, who was unmarked and five yards from goal, is the standout reason City will travel to Spain next week with a precious clean sheet.
The closest City came to a goal of their own was when Keylor Navas tipped over Kevin de Bruyne's dipping free-kick in stoppage time.
That was Navas' only save of a game that was billed as a shootout between two attacking sides but was, in fact, a game largely devoid of goalmouth action.
City will take the positives from denying Real an away goal but England's last remaining representatives in Europe's elite competition still face a huge task if they are to reach the final, in Milan on 28 May.
Their failure to score at home means former Real boss Manuel Pellegrini does not have a lead to take back to the Bernabeu, where Zinedine Zidane's side have not conceded a goal in the Champions League all season.
The news Ronaldo's thigh muscle was deemed too tight for him to play was clearly a massive boost for City before their first Champions League semi-final.
Without their 47-goal top scorer, a Real side that had scored 133 goals in their previous 46 games this season seemed reluctant to commit men forward and struggled to create chances.
Gareth Bale, playing his first game in England since his £85m move to Real from Spurs in 2013, was unable to provide the spark in Ronaldo's absence.
Bale did get the better of Gael Clichy early on down the right but failed to find a team-mate with his crosses and his finishing was also below his usual standards.
The Wales winger cut in to send one curling shot bouncing wide in the second half but disappointed with a free-kick from the edge of the box which he fired against the City wall.
Both of Real's late chances came from set-pieces and they struggled to open up City.
The home side were not helped by David Silva being forced off by injury before half-time and were short of their customary zip in the final third.
Sergio Aguero was starved of service and only managed one shot at goal, which came when he fired over from the edge of the box at the start of the second half.
The former Atletico Madrid striker has now played Real 13 times in his career and has still never beaten them, but will get another chance on Wednesday, 4 May.
In truth, City's whole attack will have to do better in the second leg.
De Bruyne, who started in the number 10 role but ended up on the left after Silva's injury, was also short of inspiration, Jesus Navas made few inroads down the right and Kelechi Iheanacho's pace had little impact.
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini:
"We played a very intense game and defended well. We tried to create until David Silva got injured then we lost the ball too much. If you cannot win then a 0-0 draw is good.
"We knew they were going to play a slow game and that is why we pressed as a team. When we had the ball, we could not make the difference. We could not score."
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany:
"It is too close to call at the moment - 0-0 is a very dangerous scoreline.
"From the moment we manage to score in Madrid, it will be very different.
"It is hard to keep a clean sheet against such an attacking team. We can be proud of what we have achieved in this first leg."
The first leg of the other semi-final, between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, takes place in Spain on Wednesday.
Before their trip to Madrid, City travel to Southampton on Sunday in a 16:30 BST kick-off. With three league games remaining, Pellegrini's side are still in need of Premier League points to secure a top-four finish that will make sure of Champions League football next season too.
Real, third in La Liga and a point behind leaders Barcelona, are already certain of their Champions League place but are still in the title race. They also have an away game this weekend - against Real Sociedad at 15:00 BST on Saturday.
Up to $800m (£550m) in cash held by so-called Islamic State (IS) has been destroyed in air strikes, a US military official says.
Maj Gen Peter Gersten, who is based in Baghdad, said the US had repeatedly targeted stores of the group's funds.
The blow to the group's financing has contributed to a 90% jump in defections and a drop in new arrivals, he said.
In 2014, the US Treasury called IS "the best-funded terrorist organisation" it had encountered.
In a briefing to reporters, Maj Gen Gersten, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the US-led operation against IS, said under 20 air strikes targeting the group's stores of money had been conducted.
He did not specify how the US knew how much money had been destroyed.
In one case, he said, an estimated $150m was destroyed at a house in Mosul, Iraq.
Forces fighting IS received intelligence indicating in which room of the house money was stored. The room was then bombed from the air, Maj Gen Gersten said.
While it was difficult to know precisely how much money had been destroyed in total, estimates put the figure at between $500m and $800m, he said.
Islamic State's exact wealth is not known, but, after seizing oil fields and setting taxes, it approved a budget of $2bn and predicted a $250m surplus last year.
Since then, however, the group has lost territory, and its oilfields have been targeted in air strikes by the US-led coalition.
US intelligence indicated the group's cash troubles had led it to start selling vehicles to make money, Gen Gersten said. In January, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that IS announced it was to cut fighters' salaries in half "because of the exceptional circumstances that the Islamic State is passing through".
"We're seeing a fracture in their morale, we're seeing their inability to pay, we're seeing the inability to fight, we're watching them try to leave Daesh in every single way," Gen Gersten added, using an Arabic term for IS.
Some defectors had been captured posing as women or as refugees in Iraq, he said.
The number of those arriving to fight for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had fallen to about 200 a month, Gen Gersten said, down from a peak of between 1,500 and 2,000 per month a year ago.
In February, the White House said it believed there were some 25,000 people fighting for IS, down from close to 31,500 last year.
Turkey has come under repeated pressure by the United States to tighten its border with Syria and prevent people crossing into IS-held territory.
On Tuesday, the US confirmed it would place rocket launchers in Turkey close to the border of territory held by the group.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Haberturk newspaper the system would be deployed near the Syrian town of Manbij, through where IS brings in new supplies and fighters.
Apple reported a 13% drop in its second quarter revenue on Tuesday as sales of iPhones slipped.
The technology giant reported quarterly sales of $50.56bn (£34.39bn) down from $58bn last year - the first fall in sales for the company since 2003.
Apple sold 51.2 million iPhones during the quarter, down from 61.2 million in the same quarter of 2015.
China was a particular weak spot - sales there fell 26%. Results were also hit by the impact of a stronger dollar.
Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said the company performed well "in the face of strong macroeconomic headwinds".
Apple's quarterly profit slipped to $10.5bn from $13.5bn.
Apple also announced it would return $50bn to shareholders through an increase in share buybacks and a 10% increase in quarterly dividends.
Investors had been expecting a slowdown in sales and were hoping for an increase in dividend payments.
Apple shares fell 8% in after hours trading. Its shares have fallen close to 20% over the last twelve months.
Back in January the company warned that it was experiencing its slowest-ever increase in orders for iPhones and that this would cut into second quarter earnings.
Declining growth in smartphone sales has impacted the entire industry and companies are struggling to find the next area of innovation.
"The industry is in a lull between the mobile boom and what comes next in automotive, the connected home, health and industrial applications of the internet of things," said Geoff Blaber, from CCS Insight.
One bright spot for Apple was its services unit, which includes App Store downloads, Apple Pay and Apple Music. The division experienced a 20% growth compared with the same quarter in 2015.
However, growth at that unit could be threatened by a new law in China passed in March. It requires all content shown to Chinese people to be stored on servers based on the Chinese mainland.
As a result Apple's iBooks and iTunes movies service were shut down in the country.
Apple said it hoped access to the services would be restored soon.
Apple was recently in a standoff with the US government over whether the company should help the FBI unlock an iPhone.
The FBI wanted Apple to build a program to unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.
Apple refused, calling the government's order a violation of its rights. The FBI eventually turned to outside hackers to break into the phone.
Pop star Prince did not leave a will, his sister has revealed in court documents.
The papers, filed in state court in Minnesota, show Tyka Nelson has petitioned for a special administrator to oversee the star's estate.
The rock legend was found dead in an elevator at his Paisley Park Studios compound in a suburb of the American city last Thursday at the age of 57.
The size of Prince's fortune is unclear but includes $27m (£18m) in property.
Nelson is Prince's only surviving full sibling and stated in the papers that immediate action was necessary to manage her brother's business interests.
Prince is on course to dominate the UK charts this week, as mourning fans rush to buy his music, while the Hollywood Reporter claimed over three million of his songs and albums had been bought in the US since his death.
A private memorial service was held for the rock star on Saturday, attended by about 20 of his closest friends and family.
Following the service, drummer and frequent Prince collaborator Sheila E confirmed there were plans to turn Paisley Park into a museum, akin to Elvis's Graceland.
Thousands of fans have flocked to Paisley Park, the First Avenue nightclub, and other sites made famous by Prince since his death, while tributes have come from Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake and President Obama, amongst others.
Police in the Cape Verde islands off northwest Africa say they have found the bodies of 11 people, including eight soldiers, at a military barracks.
The authorities say they believe a disgruntled missing soldier was behind the killings.
A government statement said the deaths were not an attempted coup or connected to the drugs trade.
The victims included eight soldiers and three civilians, two of them Spanish nationals.
The Spaniards were working on repairs at a hilltop communications hub protected by soldiers at the barracks.
A police officer found the bodies at about midday local time (01:00 GMT) at the Monte Tchota barracks north of the capital Praia on the biggest island, Santiago, Cape Verde Television said.
It said police later found an abandoned car containing eight Kalashnikovs and ammunition.
The former Portuguese colony, an archipelago about 600km (370 miles) of the coast of Senegal with a population of 500,000 people, has been praised by international organisations for its commitment to democracy and development.
However, it has also been targeted by international drug rings as a destination for smuggling cocaine.
Last week police seized 280kg of cocaine from a yacht and officials have linked two recent attacks on public figures to the drugs trade.
A new government took office last Friday following an election in March and has promised a zero tolerance approach to crime. Cape Verde has been targeted by international drug smuggling rings.
Kenya's controversial former first lady, Lucy Kibaki, has died in a London hospital of an undisclosed illness.
She gained notoriety for slapping a cameraman in 2005 when she stormed the offices of a private media group in anger at the way a story about her had been reported.
In a tribute to Mrs Kibaki, President Uhuru Kenyatta praised her for her role in fighting HIV/Aids in Kenya.
Mr Kenyatta succeeded her husband Mwai Kibaki, who governed from 2002 to 2013.
Mrs Kibaki, who was born in 1940, had withdrawn from public life during the latter part of her husband's rule.
She was last seen at a public function in August 2010, when she seemed excited about the adoption of a new constitution, dancing to a famous gospel song, Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper reports.
Mr Kenyatta said she had been unwell for the last month, receiving treatment in both Kenya and the UK.
Mrs Kibaki trained as a teacher, leaving her job not long after her marriage in 1962 to raise her four children.
"Her Excellency will be remembered for her immense contribution in the development of country," Mr Kenyatta said in a statement.
According to the Daily Nation, she organised the First International Aids Run in 2003.
But correspondents say she also provoked condemnation when she said unmarried young people had "no business" using condoms, calling on students to abstain from sex in order to avoid infection with HIV.
Mrs Kibaki was the most controversial of Kenya's first ladies, crossing swords with politicians, diplomats, journalists and policemen she believed had not treated her with sufficient respect.
Just months after her husband became president, she is reported to have shut down a bar inside State House that was a watering hole for ministers and close allies of Mr Kibaki.
Former US First Lady Laura Bush hosted Mrs Kibaki at the White House in 2003
In 2005, she stormed into the house of her neighbour, the World Bank's then-country director Makhtar Diop, in a tracksuit at midnight and demanded he turn his music down at a private party to mark the end of his posting in Kenya.
She also went to the local police station in shorts to demand that Mr Diop and his guests be arrested for disturbing the peace.
Later, she burst into the offices of the influential Nation Media Group with her bodyguards and demanded that the reporter who had written about her confrontation with Mr Diop be arrested.
She slapped cameraman Clifford Derrick who was filming her and refused to leave the offices until 0530 the next day.
He tried to sue for assault, but the case was thrown out of court.
In 2007, Mrs Kibaki was filmed by Nation TV slapping an official during an independence day celebration at State House.
Security officials seized the video images and erased the slapping incident, before returning them.
Staff at US yoghurt maker Chobani will receive a share of a 10% stake in the yoghurt maker, the company's founder has announced.
While shares are commonly granted to staff in start-up technology firms, it is an unusual move for a food company.
The shares will be distributed among Chobani's 2,000 employees worldwide. The award will be based on how long an employee has been at the firm.
For some the shares could, reportedly, be worth millions of dollars.
Staff will not know how exactly much their shares are worth until the company is given a value, which would happen if it is sold, or sells shares on the stock market.
Chobani would not comment on whether it is considering either of those options.
However, the company is estimated to have a value of several billion dollars.
Hamdi Ulukaya, who founded the company in 2005, made the announcement at Chobani's plant in upstate New York.
"This isn't a gift. It's a mutual promise to work together with a shared purpose and responsibility. To continue to create something special and of lasting value," he told staff.
Investment firm TPG Capital is due to buy a 20% stake in Chobani and has loaned it $750m.
The arrangement with TPG Capital was reached in 2014 as part of a deal to prevent the company from falling into bankruptcy.
TPG's stake will be allocated after employees are given their 10% share of the company.
Donald Trump has won the presidential primaries in Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania while Hillary Clinton is top in Maryland, US media project.
The two front-runners in the race for the White House are hoping to cement their leads after voters in five north-eastern states went to the polls.
Mr Trump's rivals have already shifted focus away from the north-east.
Ted Cruz and John Kasich have teamed up to help each other in the Indiana, Oregon and New Mexico primaries.
Mr Trump has condemned their pact as a sign of weakness and desperation. More to follow.
Donald Trump has won presidential primaries in all five US states that voted on Tuesday, while Hillary Clinton took four out of five.
Mr Trump called himself the Republican "presumptive nominee" after victories in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
The results bring him closer to the number of delegates he needs before the party's national convention in July.
For the Democrats, Mrs Clinton was denied a clean sweep by Bernie Sanders.
Mr Sanders won the vote in Rhode Island, and vowed to fight to the end of the primaries process.
Speaking at Philadelphia Convention Center after securing the four other states, Mrs Clinton said her campaign was setting "bold, progressive goals" to improve lives in the US.
"We believe in the goodness of our people and the greatness of our nation," she said.
Meanwhile Mr Trump told supporters in New York he would not moderate his policies if elected president.
"I'm not changing," he said. "You know I went to the best schools. I'm like a very smart person. I'm going to represent our country with dignity and very well.
"But I don't really want to change my personality. You know, it got me here."
His rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, have already shifted their attention to upcoming states, teaming up to help each other in the Indiana, Oregon and New Mexico primaries.
Mr Trump has condemned their pact as a sign of weakness and desperation, and another sign of the Republican party colluding against him. "The Republican party needs something much better than that," he said after his latest victories were announced on Tuesday.
Neither Mr Kasich nor Mr Cruz has a chance of securing the Republican nomination outright. The hope of a contested convention this July in Cleveland is keeping them in the race.
This scenario would see party delegates - Republican officials and activists - choose the nominee. However Mr Trump is edging closer to securing 1,237 delegates, which would mean he could secure the nomination before the convention.
There's winning, and then there's WINNING.
Donald Trump's night is shaping up to be the latter, as he steamrolls his opposition in all five of mid-Atlantic states voting on Tuesday.
This campaign season has been punctuated with a series of theories about how and why Mr Trump's presidential ambitions would eventually be thwarted. The latest was that he'd never be able to win more than 50% of the vote as the field narrows. It appears likely that he'll easily surpass that mark across the board and claim the lion's share of the delegates at stake.
During a primary night speech that took place before the polls even closed, Texas Senator Ted Cruz promised that his campaign was now heading to "more favourable terrain". He's setting up a firewall in Indiana, but there's a Trump-fuelled conflagration heading his way.
The New Yorker still has work to do to clinch the Republican nomination, but after his latest performance such a prospect seems increasingly likely.
Speaking in Huntington, West Virginia, after the vote, Bernie Sanders vowed to fight to the end of the nomination process, saying he would attract broad support in November's election.
"The reason that we are generating this enthusiasm is because we are doing something very unusual in contemporary politics. We are telling the truth," he said.
Despite some success, it is unlikely Mr Sanders will be able to overcome Mrs Clinton's lead to become the Democratic nominee for president.
Bernie Sanders has vowed to remain in the Democratic contest until the end
The pact between Mr Kasich and Mr Cruz got off to a rocky start on Tuesday. The Ohio governor is to give Mr Cruz a "clear path" by not campaigning in Indiana and Mr Cruz will reciprocate in New Mexico and Oregon. But neither has endorsed tactical voting among their supporters.
Speaking in Indiana on Tuesday night, Mr Cruz said his supporters could look forward to some success as the race moved on to more conservative states.
His event was held at a basketball court where some scenes were filmed for the 1986 film Hoosiers, about a small-town high school basketball team that wins the state championship.
The Texas senator attempted to recreate a scene from the film but was mocked on social media for referring to a basketball "ring" rather than a "hoop".
A two-year-old boy has accidentally shot and killed his mother in the US city of Milwaukee after finding a gun in the back of their car.
The woman, Patrice Price, had been driving a car owned by her security guard boyfriend who had left his gun in the car, her father Andre said.
Milwaukee police said she was shot once in the back while driving on a local highway on Tuesday morning.
Also in the car were Price's mother and her other son aged one.
Mr Price said she also had an older daughter, and described Patrice as "hardworking".
"Now I don't have her no more. My chest has been hurting," Mr Price told Milwaukee station WISN.
"I have a knot in my chest. They won't even let me see my daughter. I wanted to hold my daughter for one last time."
Last month, a four-year-old boy in Florida shot his mother, Jamie Gilt, in similar circumstances.
A gun had slid from underneath the front seat of the car to the back and he unbuckled himself to get it. Ms Gilt survived the shooting.
A suicide bomber has struck in the western Turkish city of Bursa, injuring at least seven people, officials say.
The attack took place near the city's 14th Century Grand Mosque, a symbol of the city, reports said.
The governor of Bursa said the attacker was a suspected female suicide bomber.
Turkey has been hit by a wave of suicide bombings blamed on both Islamist and Kurdish militants. Earlier reports said one person had been killed in the blast.
However, Reuters news agency later quoted Turkey's health minister as saying 13 people had been wounded, none seriously, while the Bursa governor's office said seven people had been hurt.
On Tuesday the US warned of "credible indications" of terrorist threats at tourist areas in the country.
Donald Trump has detailed his foreign policy in a speech, a day after sweeping to a win in five US primaries.
Mr Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican candidacy in the 2016 presidential race, said he would pursue an "America First" policy.
He called the foreign policy of President Obama's administration "a complete and total disaster".
On Tuesday, Mr Trump called himself the Republican "presumptive nominee" after his primary wins.
He claimed victories in Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
While he has used his campaign to outline some of his foreign policy goals, this is the first time he has detailed them in a speech. He used a teleprompter, having previously said no candidate for the presidency should do so.
Earlier, he said the speech would not be a "Trump doctrine", and that he would retain some flexibility to make changes if elected.
Here are some of the main points he has made so far:
Mr Trump supports stronger interrogation of IS suspects
He says that no other candidate would be tougher on the so-called Islamic State (IS) and he would weaken the militants by cutting off their access to oil.
He has also said he supports waterboarding and other strong interrogation methods against IS. And while he says he would stay within the law, he would like laws on interrogation techniques expanded.
On nuclear weapons
The nuclear threat, and the risk of proliferation, is "the biggest problem the world has", Mr Trump told the New York Times last month. Using a nuclear weapon first would be "an absolute last step", he said.
On US allies
Mr Trump has decried what he calls the United States' position of "the world's policeman", and calls it a weakness. He has called for a reassessment of ties with some of Washington's closest allies.
Speaking to the New York Times about the US-Japan relationship, he said: "If we're attacked, they do not have to come to our defence, if they're attacked, we have to come totally to their defence. And that is a, that's a real problem."
On China, for example, he says it should be taken to task on a number of issues in order to make trade with the US more equitable. If elected, he says he will make China stop undervaluing its currency.
Mr Trump once said he was his own best foreign policy adviser, but, in recent months, has expanded his back-room team. Some of his appointments had proved controversial.
The team is led by Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama who has helped shape Mr Trump's policies.
Another member, retired Gen Joseph Schmitz, resigned from the military in 2005 amid accusations of misconduct. However, Mr Schmitz was never charged with wrongdoing.
Another adviser, Walid Phares, was criticised when he was named as part of Mitt Romney's foreign policy team in 2011.
Muslim advocacy groups took issue with Mr Phares's close ties to right-wing Christian militia groups during the Lebanese civil war.
After his sweep of the five mid-Atlantic states, Mr Trump said of the battle for the Republican nomination: "It's over. As far as I'm concerned, it's over."
He told supporters in New York he would not moderate his policies if elected president.
For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton was denied a clean sweep by Bernie Sanders, after he won in Rhode Island.
After their victories, Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton turned their fire on each other.
Mr Trump said his Democratic rival's only advantage in the presidential race was being a woman.
"Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get 5% of the vote," he said.
Mrs Clinton hit back at his accusation that she was playing the "woman card".
"Well, if fighting for women's healthcare and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in," she told cheering supporters in Philadelphia.
Saul Niguez's sublime solo goal put Atletico Madrid in control of their Champions League semi-final against German giants Bayern Munich.
Niguez jinked past a clutch of Bayern defenders before curling into the corner, giving the home side a narrow first-leg lead to take to Germany.
Bayern dominated the second half, David Alaba hitting the bar from 35 yards and Arturo Vidal's strike forcing a save.
Fernando Torres poked against the post in a rare counter as Atletico held on.
The teams will meet at Bayern's Allianz Arena on Tuesday to decide who will meet Manchester City or Real Madrid in the final on 28 May.
Atletico - for so many years in the shadow of illustrious neighbours Real Madrid - have never been crowned European champions, twice losing in the final of the continent's leading club competition.
Under coach Diego Simeone, Los Rojiblancos have emerged as serious challengers to Spain's regular duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid and have now put themselves in a decent position to create history by winning the Champions League.
With Bayern boasting a remarkable home record of only one defeat in 24 matches, the tie is far from over.
But Niguez - a Spain Under-21 international who has cemented his place in the Atletico side this season - extended the Spanish title-chasing side's own excellent form at a raucous Vicente Calderon.
The 21-year-old midfielder picked up the ball about 35 yards from goal, dancing through flimsy challenges from Bayern trio Thiago Alcantara, Juan Bernat and Xabi Alonso, then keeping his composure to steer the ball into the bottom corner.
Much of Atletico's success under Simeone has been built on defensive resilience, with his organised side conceding just five goals in this season's Champions League.
Atletico had also kept clean sheets in their previous four La Liga games but faced Bayern - the competition's top scorers with 28 goals in 10 matches - without defensive lynchpin Diego Godin.
However, the injured Uruguay centre-back, 30, was barely missed as a typically determined Atletico display shut out Bayern.
Former Argentina midfielder Simeone slightly altered his side's defensive tactics in the first half, occasionally pressing Bayern higher up the pitch, before reverting to their deep and compact shape after the break.
The German side, who are one win away from a fourth consecutive Bundesliga title, totally dominated in the second half as Alaba and Vidal went closest to equalising.
Home keeper Jan Oblak also blocked Javi Martinez's close-range header in-between, helping Atletico secure a 14th clean sheet in 16 Champions League home matches.
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola's three-year reign ends in the summer when he moves to Manchester City, with the Spaniard admitting his time in Germany will be judged on his ability to win the Champions League.
His side have lost to Spanish opposition at the semi-final stage in each of the past two seasons, knocked out by Real Madrid in 2014 and Guardiola's former club Barcelona last year.
Now the Catalan coach must outwit Simeone next week to avoid a clean sweep of defeats by La Liga's big three.
Guardiola, on course to comfortably win the Bundesliga in each of his three seasons, may reflect on his decision to leave Germany forward Thomas Muller on the bench until the final quarter of the match.
Muller is their joint top scorer in the Champions League having scored eight goals in his 10 appearances this season.
With Guardiola's gameplan seemingly relying heavily on crosses into the Atletico box, the absence of the predatory Muller appeared even more strange.
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone:
"The first half was very close to what we wanted. In the second half they were better and got in behind but we felt comfortable, we defended well.
"It was a great piece of individual skill with lots of creativity, Saul Niguez is developing well which is great for us.
"I think it's still an open tie, they will be playing at home next week with their fans behind them but we have the chance to get an away goal. It'll be a close game like today, we'll see who makes the most of their chances."
Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres:
"It was a fantastic night and I'm happy for all Atleticos. We've got the lead we wanted.
"We kept fighting, that's what we do. Bayern have a level that few other teams have but we kept on doing our thing."
Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola:
"Their goal is a brilliant goal, but it's our mistake. We kept standing off. I'm not happy with how we played.
"It was a good game overall, but we started badly. The goal was a consequence of our slow play."
Both teams continue the pursuit of their domestic league titles this weekend.
Second-placed Atletico, who are level on points with leaders Barcelona, host lowly Rayo Vallecano as they bid for a second La Liga title in three seasons.
Bundesliga champions-elect Bayern also play on Saturday when they host fifth-placed Borussia Monchengladbach.
A federal judge has sentenced Dennis Hastert to 15 months in prison, calling the former House Speaker "a serial child molester" who tried to cover up his abuse with hush money.
Using a wheelchair, Hastert, 74, told the court he was "deeply ashamed" that he "mistreated" students while he worked as a school coach in the 1970s.
One of the victims said the abuse left him "devastated" and "betrayed".
Hastert served as an Illinois congressman from 1987 to 2007.
He was the longest serving Republican House Speaker in US history. As House Speaker, Hastert was second in the line of succession to the presidency.
Many of his former Republican colleagues had appealed to the judge for leniency.
Hastert (top right) was second in the line of succession to the presidency
In October, he pleaded guilty to violating banking reporting laws after he tried to pay someone $3.5 million to keep quiet about his past sexual abuse.
Prosecutors allege Hastert abused five boys while he was working in Yorkville, a suburb of Chicago, between 1965 and 1981.
However, Hastert could not be charged with the sexual abuse of his victims because of the amount of time that has passed since the crimes.
His defence lawyers had sought to avoid a prison sentence, saying Hastert is in poor health and had already paid a high price in disgrace.
After his guilty plea, Hastert's portrait was removed from the House of Representatives in the US Congress.
Judge Thomas Durkin said on Wednesday that Hastert must also undergo sex offender treatment, serve two years of probation after his release and pay $250,000 to a fund for victims.