Noontime News is a snapshot of the news from the past 24 hours.

John Kerry defends US foreign policy against accusations of ‘standing down’

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has launched a defence of America’s foreign policy,  strongly rebuffing claims that President Barack Obama’s unwillingness to deploy force in troubled regions meant it was withdrawing from the world stage.

Qatar World Cup: 185 Nepalese died in 2013 – official records

The extent of the risks faced by migrant construction workers building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been laid bare by official documents revealing that 185 Nepalese men died last year alone.

Syria’s foreign minister threatens to walk out of peace talks

Long-awaited direct peace talks between the Syrian government and rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad failed to get under way as expected on Friday morning after Damascus insisted on ending “terrorism” before seeking a political solution to end nearly three years of war and misery.

Cairo rocked by explosives on eve of 2011 uprising anniversary

Cairo was rocked by four explosions on Friday that killed at least six people, injured 80 and severely damaged artefacts inside a major Egyptian museum.

Three killed and more than 20 injured in 46-car pileup in Indiana

A couple from Michigan and a man from Chicago have been killed in a massive pileup involving at least 40 vehicles on a snowy interstate in north-western Indiana, authorities said, as crews cleaned up after the  crash.

US hints at Edward Snowden plea bargain to allow return from Russia

The attorney general, Eric Holder, has indicated that the US could allow the national security whistleblower Edward Snowden to return from Russia under negotiated terms, saying he was prepared to “engage in conversation” with him.

Five dead, 30 missing in blaze at Quebec elderly home

At least five people have died and 30 are missing after a fire raged through a care home for the elderly in eastern Quebec on Thursday morning. Officials fear the death toll will climb and said firefighters could not save people they saw and heard.

Reader Comments Welcome. Share news stories you have seen here…please be sure to attribute them. Comments with violations of Fair Use guidelines may be edited.