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Big cuts at BBC World Service

The BBC has confirmed reports that the World Service will face major budget cuts, with five language services to close.

It's suggested more than a quarter of the service's workforce – around 650 jobs – will be lost as part of the changes.

The services in Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa and Serbian will close, as well as the English for the Caribbean regional service.

The station is having a major restructure to meet a 16 percent savings target announced last year by the Foreign Office.

BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks said: "These closures are not a reflection on the performance of individual services or programmes. They are all extremely important to their audiences and to the BBC. It is simply that there is a need to make savings due to the scale of the cuts to the World Service's Grant-in-Aid funding from the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office and we need to focus our efforts in the languages where there is the greatest need and where we have the strongest impact."

The BBC is expected to provide more information about how the changes will affect the World Service tomorrow (Wednesday). Information leaked out to the media this afternoon, prompting confirmation of the language service closures ahead of a planned announcement tomorrow.

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