22/03/2012 World News Today


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The man who had admitted killing seven people into loses shot dead


after a long stand-off. A round of gunfire, the sign French police are


storming Mohammed Merah's hideout. The gunman fires first, and is then


killed by commandos. The Blair asking how the government claimed


to have links with Belgrade or was not stopped before the killing


spree. An army coup in Mali, why have troops have a friend of


President due to stand down and a few weeks. Growing anger about the


shooting of the 17-year-old from Florida unarmed when he died, why


has the men who shot him a month ago not been arrested? -- the Man.


The worst of the debt crisis is over according to the head of the


European Central Bank. But try telling that to Portugal where


there has been a general strike in protest at the country's austerity


And the hunger for the next big film franchise. Will it pick up


were twilight left off? -- Twilight. An intense exchange of gunfire, and


Mohammed Merah, the gunman suspected of killing seven people


in southern France, was dead. Holed up in his apartment in Toulouse for


more than thirty hours, French police were told to take Merah


alive but ended up shooting him in the head as he tried to escape.


There are now questions about whether Merah worked alone and


whether the intelligence services could have caught him sooner.


Christian Fraser reports from the scene in Toulouse. Will act of the


dramatic siege. It was thought Mohammed Merah had taken his own


life in the early hours this morning but as police moved in to


clear the apartment they came the most intense round of gunfire. This


is Mohammed Merah flailing about in his car, he was a 23 rd criminal


with a string of convictions for robbery and violence. A French


citizen trained in Afghanistan who claimed he had orders from Al-Qaeda.


Four hours he had negotiated with police but late last night he told


police it was against his conscience to surrender and


communication stopped. There were attempts to break his resolve.


Several times flash grenades were thrown at the apartment but with no


response through the night the decision was taken to send in the


elite commandos. They entered through the front, blowing off the


door, and using specialist fibre optic cameras they picked their way


through the apartment, trying to locate Mohammed Merah. Until they


reach the balcony. Suddenly he appeared, armed with a Colt 45


handgun and opening fire. Two policemen were injured. He advanced


out of the bathroom and jump from the window wearing a bullet-proof


vest and still firing wildly. But waiting for him was a police


marksman who shot him dead. Mohammed Merah had died exactly as


he wanted, in a ferocious stand-off with police, armed with a pistol.


In three separate and brutal attack Mohammed Merah killed seven people.


Three soldiers from a parachute regiment and a Monday three


children and a rabbi at the Jewish school. -- on Monday. Police said


he confessed in negotiations and that his only regret was not


killing more. He had filmed as a tax, revelling in the gruesome way


in which he had executed each victim. -- of his attacks. He told


us he had been radicalisation prison, said the prosecutor, and it


started reading the Koran, but he showed no sign of fundamentalism,


although he was violent with other prisoners and had attempted suicide.


He had also travelled to Afghanistan alone and later


immersed himself in extremist website. He burgled houses to raise


enough money to buy an extraordinary arsenal of weapons


that were found in the boot of his Today Nicolas Sarkozy told the


nation an inquiry is underway to find a gunman's compasses and every


person who goes on website which glorify terrorism, he said, will be


punished by law. Fourie president facing a battle for re-election it


is a successful conclusion. Throughout the week he has been


centre stage in this crisis, overseeing the biggest manhunt


France has ever known. But questions have been asked today by


his own Foreign Minister. How did the domestic intelligence agencies


lose track of such a violent criminal who had travelled to


Afghanistan and was already on their radar as a dangerous


Joining us now is Thomas Withington, a defence analyst and editor of the


G three defence magazine who also lives near by the scene of the


How did the police and intelligence services allow this to happen when


We need to bear in mind that possibly hundreds of thousands of


people are known to the intelligence services. The hard


thing is predicting those people who may be odd, bizarre, may hold


strange political beliefs would then be so motivated to go and


carry out these kind of acts of appalling violence. That is an


incredibly difficult thing to anticipate. To be fair to French


will Dorothy's it is still early days but in my own personal opinion


I feel they have acquitted themselves rather well today. This


was always going to be a very difficult operation. By their


nature anything involving commander special forces are complex and I


think they did a very good job and a difficult job. Over the next few


days and weeks I think that will be analysed in much more detail.


Campaigning in the presidential election has been suspended but


nevertheless we know and President Sarkozy has taken centre stage.


What about the language used, he said this was the work of a monster,


a fanatic, how was that playing into the presidential campaign?


is interesting because the campaign prior to these terrible events had


been characterised by discussions of race, national identity,


religious practices. I tend to feel there is every chance this could


now continue or increase. Marine Le Pen, for instance, has wasted no


time in capitalising on this. She said she had predicted these kind


of offence would take place. -- events. But in the political


landscape has changed for Sarkozy, he has to walk a tightrope. -- I


think the political landscape. He needs to be careful not to be


accused of capitalising on it for his own political ends. Let's not


forget there are still several weeks to run in this campaign yet


they say a week is a long time in politics, anything can happen. His


fortunes could be reversed and it is very difficult to predict.


this case tell us anything about French society and howitzer


minorities are integrating -- how the minorities are integrating?


There has been questions regarding that. My feeling is it does not. We


have had the attacks in Madrid, London, Norway. It wasn't an


Islamic Mick -- Islamic extremist. Most famously we had them in the US


in 2001. They multicultural societies and for me it does not


saving Dickie about the domestic landscape -- say anything about the


domestic landscape in France but the dangers of extremism. Troops in


Mali say they've overthrown the government of President Amadou


Toumani Toure. The rebels have suspended the constitution and


closed all borders. The president is reported to be in an army


barracks in the capital, Bamako, protected by loyal troops. The coup


leaders have arrested a number of ministers and generals. Land-locked


Mali is considered a relatively peaceful country, so there's been


some surprise at developments there, This is the group of mutinous


soldiers who say they have ended the rule of the President and


suspended the constitution. At 4:30pm local time this group of


renegade soldiers appeared on state television to announce the end of


what they called an incompetent In the name of the Armed Forces and


defence of Mali, in all its parts, we have decided to resume


responsibilities by putting an end to the incompetent and discredited


regime of Amadou Tory. This is the dramatic culmination of a traumatic


24 hours in Bamako. It started when soldiers took to the streets and


started exchanging fire. Translation macro we heard gunfire,


people started to run. We had no idea what was happening.


President himself has fled the presidential palace and his


whereabouts are unclear. A8 read from his official accounts said


there is no coup in Mali, but it's just a mutiny. If he succeeds this


will add a new layer of insecurity to Mali, the spread of support for


Al-Qaeda and a flood of weapons traffic from Libya since Mohammed


Gaddafi. For weeks the army has appealed to the government for


better weapons to fight the event - This is the reason the soldiers


have given for the ecu... -- their coup. The President had already


agreed to stand down and the presidential election was due in


just under any month. The Borders have been closed, the soldiers say


they have arrested several ministers and top military officers.


A curfew has been declared and for the people of Mali, the big


question is who is in charge? The soldiers say they will hand power


to a new democratically-elected government. But they have not said


Joining the is a veteran journalist and writer who has been covering


Africa for decades. Nice to see you, Cameron. This is very unexpected to


have happened in Mali, normally a trunkful -- tranquil place.


extremely disturbing. A coup of mutiny is led by captain, they


started to call themselves the committee for this and that. This


reminds us of what happening -- what happened in Burkina Faso,


junior officers. They always bring trouble. They are not united


themselves, they did not have experience -- do not have


experience. The President was not going to stand in those elections


anyway, so why try and do this? That is what is causing the biggest


headache to people who want to When he came to power they said


what a nice guy, they made him an ambassador. So quite an exemplary


man? Absolutely. A so what is puzzling as to why they did it.


They say he had not managed to stamp out the two month rebellion


in the north of Mali and that the situation was getting worse. Is


that just an excuse? Yes because the Tuaregs have been demanding


their territory for a long time. They are opposed -- they operate in


other places. They are getting more arms now? Absolutely. A lot of them


went to fight for Gaddafi so they have come back and that is another


subtext, we do not know if they have infiltrated the army and are


using these chaps as a front so they can set up a state where X


Gaddafi people could be saved. thought the day of the army coup


was almost over in Africa but what you think will happen now in Mali?


I weep for Mali. This is the dry season and there is no food there,


no water, they already have 200,000 refugees as a result of the war. At


the political confusion and you have a catastrophe of immense


proportions. The economic Community of West Africa has condemned it, a


United Nations and everybody is making noises but they will leave


the people of Mali to themselves. Let's take a look at some of it


today's other main developments. A former commander of the Turkish


armed forces has gone on trial. He is charged with trying to overthrow


the government. He is the most senior Turkish military officer to


be tried in a civilian court. If found guilty, he could face of a 20


years in jail. The UN Security Council has


demanded that troops be withdrawn from Syrian cities, but these


latest pictures, that have not been verified, reportedly shall


explosions and gunfire in Homs. In Italy, eight more bodies had


been found in the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner which


sank in January. The ship remains half submerged. But the latest


recovery brings the official death toll to 30. Two passengers remain


missing. A rally a dead by the US civil


rights campaign that I'll show up in it is due to take place in


Florida in a few years' time. -- Al Sharpton. George Zimmerman, who


shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, has not been arrested. This has


sparked a national debate about race relations and the right to


defence. A memorial to Trayvon Martin close


to the spot where he died. The 17- year-old, carrying a bag of


skittles and a drink, was shot here. The gated community take security


seriously but what happened here a Emergency calls from residents


captured the drama of the evening and left questions hang in the year.


Who attacked whom and why did George them are often feel the need


to shoot? -- George Zimmerman. This town's African-American community


thinks it knows enough already and that this church, they have come


with stories of police brutality and corruption. It is really


getting out of hand. The shooting, they believe, is part of a long and


dishonourable tradition. Hannibal Duncan is as angry as the next


person and is not impressed with this community's response. At the


end of the day, we need a 21st century solution for a 21st century


problem. But for now, it is mostly about sound and fury. In a land


will on Wednesday, protesters carried out side this office. They


want George Zimmerman's licence revoked but feel that Florida's gun


laws at fault. An author and the subject believes there will getting


it wrong. People were very upset about the situation and


understandably so. They have a right to be, but it is not the law


that is the problem in this case. It is whether George will -- George


Zimmerman acted lawfully or unlawfully. For the rally was due


to be held in a nearby church but organisers have moved it here


because they feel there will be a big turnout. Al Sharpton But


emotions are all here and he may wish to tread carefully.


I am joined by the Professor of Law at the University of California.


Florida's law is very expansive. It says that someone does not have a


duty to treat if they're confronted with danger, but goes further. They


are not only allowed to stand their own ground but to protect others,


even by using violence forced to prevent a burglary. Is it that


badly drafted law? Is it not clear what is allowed in terms of self-


defence? No problem is that where it is clear that allows too much


self defence. It allows people to be vigilantes not just to defend


themselves but other people and even other people's property.


this go further than other laws governing self-defence in other


states in America, in that it encourages vigilantes? It does.


Other laws have similarly brought laws but Florida's among the most


brought in the nation. Most would require you to retreat from some


kind of dangerous threat and do not allow you to try to stop someone


from committing a felony. When it comes to this particular case, I


suppose you are limited in how far you can pronounce on it because the


exact details and circumstances are not yet known. We do not know all


the facts of this case but one thing that has become pretty clear


is that people are out there on the state with guns more than ever in


America. They may not have adequate training to know what the law


allows and when they should not be using deadly force.


The line is a little unstable but we heard nearly all of what he had


to say. The president of the European


Central Bank, Mario Draghi, says the worst of the eurozone debt


crisis is over. He acknowledges issues still exist but says it is


now up to national governments to deal with further problems. People


and Portugal have been holding a general strike today in protest at


the austerity measures imposed. The government's programme is having a


profound effect on many families and Portugal.


This is a middle-class suburb on the edges of Lisbon. This woman


last with an 84-year-old mother and her a living year-old son. She is a


civil servant. In the past few months, have already modest


earnings have dropped by one quarter. She now relies on basic


food handouts from her son's school. She says public sector workers like


her are being hit too hard. A few doors down, we meet a teacher


married to another teacher. They're both earning less following


government cuts. I do not think it is right because I have less money


to spend but I think it is necessary because we have left be


on their capacities. Across the road, one of many small plots of


land dotted around Lisbon. As tax increases, food is more expensive,


and now more people grow their own. At the local school, the head


teacher says family's who where not long ago the new rich are now the


new poor. He says violent behaviour has risen and more children now


arrive in the morning without having eaten breakfast. One obvious


effect of the eurozone crisis is that countries like Portugal have a


shrinking public sector. While some argue that the scale of the


government's cuts are starving the economy of a vital source of growth,


others are seeing the crisis as an opportunity for a more efficient


form of government. That is the mission of the government which was


voted in last summer. Portugal is on track to get its public finances


in order. If you look at our economy, we need to get our


judicial system quicker, we need to get a tax system less volatile and


more consistent. We are working hard to build more companies and


that is the secret of economic growth. There is no magic about it.


There is a new acceptance in Portugal. Many believe a short


painful period of adjustment will set the scene for future growth.


One of the most eagerly awaited films of the Year will open in


thousands of cinemas around the world on Friday. The Hunger Games


is released. It is an adaptation of the best-selling dark, future young


adult novel. Hollywood will hope it is a powerful new franchise.


The Hunger Games is finally about to open in cinemas in some 50


countries around the world. This week, fans had been camping out


overnight hoping to see the stars of a film they cannot wait to see.


It is so exciting and I cannot wait. I bought the tickets the minute


they went on sale. I am counting down. The Hunger Games is set in a


futuristic, post-apocalyptic vision of North America where children


from different districts compete in a fight to the death in a televised


spectacle. You're not sitting and wanting these children to fight.


You are seeing a situation of child abuse were reality television has


gone very bad. The Hunger Games as an adaptation of the first volume


of a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. More than 26 million The


Hunger Games related titles and in a publication in America alone.


With the end of the Harry Potter films and their Twilight films,


there is a need for a powerful new money-making franchise. It is hoped


The Hunger Games will deliver. It is a franchise with the potential


to be brought, bringing not just in the target he audience but also


adults drawn to the subtext. We are living in a voyeuristic culture


where some time people's pain and violence as glorified for under 10


it. Adults to read it can perhaps see these parallels. Fans of the


book won't go and see this film in droves but what about the


uninitiated? To some, The Hunger Games is seen more as a triumph of


hype and marketing as opposed to the art of cinema. Although it has


won some strong reviews, not all critics have been engaged. There


was a lot of stuff in the films which seemed like it was just in


there because it was in the bricks. Whereas I, and neophyte to this


whole world, was left wondering what the point of it all was.


Across continents, hordes of fans and you waiting to see the film. In


North America, it is expected to draw in as much as $100 million in


its first weekend. Looks very exciting. Let's remind


you of our menus. The death of the French gunman, Mohammed Merah, has


ended the immediate drama into his. The whole affair remains -- of


leaves many questions unanswered. - - Toulouse. It is still unclear


what the impact of the case will be on the French presidential campaign.


Tensions remain high and the Mali capital of a Mackle after a good of


rebels say they seized power overnight in a military coup. That


is often the programme. Next is a Today in the sunshine temperatures


climb to 19 Celsius. Overnight, more clout and a repeat performance


tomorrow, turning warm when they get that sunshine. High pressure


dominates to the east but we will see some scattered showers here.


First thing on Friday, a fairly cloudy start. That will break-up


and through the afternoon, sunshine and temperatures bouncing back.


There is still the risk of the gentle easterly breeze bringing in


some cloud but where it doesn't, as in London, we could hit 20 Celsius


on Friday afternoon thanks to the sunshine. In the south-west, a much


dire day. Wales gets off to a cracking the and stays that way


throughout, but through the West Midlands there is the chance of


some showers. Cloudy in sherry to start for Northern Ireland, died in


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