Boko Haram still a threat, says Hollande

Boko Haram remains a threat despite "impressive" military gains against it, French President Francois Hollande said, as regional and Western leaders gathered for talks on the Islamist threat.

"The results (of the counter-insurgency) are impressive" and the rebels have been "diminished and forced to retreat", he told a news conference in Abuja, Nigeria.

But he added: "This terrorist group nevertheless remains a threat."

Mr Hollande was speaking after talks with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in the Nigerian capital before regional leaders met to discuss the conflict.

Nearly seven years' of violence have left at least 20,000 dead and left more than 2.6 million homeless, devastating infrastructure in Nigeria's remote northeast and creating a humanitarian crisis.

Discussions at the security summit are expected to focus on the formal deployment of a new regional force comprising of troops from Nigeria and its neighbours Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Dept of Defence to call for new government jet

As part of a series of briefing documents published for new ministers, a Department of Defence document said a high level inter-departmental group is preparing a report for the Government with recommendations on replacing the main government jet which went out of service in 2014.

The Ministerial Air Transport Service (MATS) is currently served by one small Air Corps learjet capable of flights to the UK and central Europe.

This is being examined as part of an overall equipment purchase programme for the Defence Forces that will see the Navy's flagship LE Eithne being replaced with a new large multi-role vessel (MRV).

MRVs usually include a functional helicopter deck.

Buddhist monk hacked to death in Bangladesh

An elderly Buddhist monk was found hacked to death in Bangladesh, the latest in a spate of murders of religious minorities and secular activists in the Muslim-majority nation.

No group has yet claimed responsibility, although the killing in the remote southeastern district of Bandarban appeared to bear a resemblance to several recent murders by suspected Islamist militants.

A rise in violence in the South Asian nation has now seen seven murders since the start of last month alone.

Jashim Uddin, deputy police chief of Bandarban, said the 75-year-old monk appeared to have been attacked by at least four people at the Buddhist temple in Baishari, some 350km southeast of Dhaka.

Three people killed in mass brawl at Moscow cemetery

Three people were killed and dozens were injured after a mass brawl involving hundreds of men broke out at a Moscow cemetery, Russian police said.

Witnesses said the brawl was sparked by rivalry between ethnic groups battling for control of the burial service business.

About 200 people, some armed with guns and other weapons, took part in the clashes at the vast Khovanskoye cemetery in southwest Moscow and more than 90 people were detained after riot police broke up the brawl, police and witnesses said.

Moscow's city health department said three people were killed and 23 were hospitalised, four of whom were seriously injured.