BBC News with Fiona MacDonald
Protests have been held in over 100 American cities to express anger at the acquittal last week of George Zimmerman who shot and killed the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida last year. The case has triggered widespread and impassioned debate over guns, race relations and self-defence laws. Trayvon’s mother Sabrina Fulton speaking at the rally in New York said she wanted to lead by example and called for peaceful action to change the laws. This is what she told the crowd about her son.
“As I had said before, Trayvon may not have been perfect, but he was mine. He was mine. We loved him; we supported him; we cared for him, just like you do your kids.”
The marches were organized by the prominent American civil rights activist, the Reverend Al Sharpton. They come a day after president Obama said the US needed to do some soul searching about the killing.
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the resumption of the Middle East peace process is a vital strategic interest to his country but he added Israel had clear conditions for any solution. The Palestinians have also insisted on terms they say must be met. Quentin Sommerville reports from Jerusalem.
All sides still remain far apart. There’s no agreement from where the borders between the two states should lie nor on the future of Palestinian refugees. And one of the most contentious points is the status of Jerusalem: both sides claim the city as their capital. Previous talks were derailed by the expansion of the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The negotiations are expected to be held in Washington in the coming week. If progress is made, they are expected to last month.
Security and hospital sources in Bagdad say a series of car bomb explosions in several commercial districts has killed at least 30 people. More than 70 others are reported to have been injured. The attacks took place in mainly Shiite neighborhoods as people were coming out onto the streets after the end of today’s Ramadan fast.
An investigation in India has found high levels of agricultural pesticide in cooking oil and leftover food at a school where 23 children died after eating lunch earlier this week. Joanna Jolly reports.
Police say the samples taking from the school in Bihar contain what they described as very toxic levels of organic phosphorus compound. The children age between 5 and 12 died after eating a meal which was provided free under a government scheme. More than 20 other students and the school cook were treated for poisoning. Officials say the headmistress of the school has disappeared. The state minister for education said the oil was bought from a shop run by her husband.
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Lawyers representing families of the victims of the Costa Concordia disaster have criticized it is too lenient the jail sentences given to five employees of the cruise ship company. Allen Johnston reports from Rome.
Among the defendants were men who were at the center of this disaster. They included senior officers and a helmsman who were on the bridge the moment the ship ran the rocks. Also in the dock was a manager who ran the cruise company’s onshore emergency response as the crisis unfolded. They all faced manslaughter and negligence charges and they were given jail terms. But they had plea bargained and their heaviest sentence was less than three years and with possible the appeal still to come, it’s thought unlikely that any of those convicted will actually be jailed.
Switzerland’s largest geothermal energy project has been halted after a deep underground drilling triggered an earthquake. The tremor was felt to over a wide area in the northeast but it caused no material damage. The aim of the St. Gallen project is to find pockets of underground hot water. Aaron Hipper reports.
The drilling had reached the depth of more than four kilometers when the 3.6 magnitude quake struck. Several other mini quakes have been recorded as well. They are linked not to the drilling itself but to measures that had to be taken when underground gas began building up pressure. To halting of the project although temporary is a setback for efforts to produce more clean energy in Switzerland after parliament decided to fade out nuclear power. The similar quake stopped a geothermal project in Basel four years ago. Concerns about earthquakes have also been raised in connection with the practice of hydraulic fracking to produce shale gas.
Gunmen have kidnapped two election officials in northern Mali as the country prepares for a presidential vote in eight days time. The two men, one of whom is a deputy mayor were due to distribute voters’ cards in the town of Tessalit, close to the city of Kidal.