BBC News with Jonathan Izard
The man who said he killed seven people in al-Qaeda-inspired attacks in France has been shot dead by a police marksman. Mohammed Merah was hiding in the bathroom of his apartment in Toulouse when commandos broke in after a 30-hour siege. A French prosecutor said he fired more than 30 bullets at them before being killed. Our correspondent Christian Fraser reports from Toulouse.
The final acts of the most dramatic siege that had lasted over 30 hours. It was thought Mohammed Merah had taken his own life in the early hours of this morning. But as elite commandos moved in to clear the apartment, picking their way through each room with fibre-optic cameras, the gunman suddenly appeared at the bathroom door. There was an intense shoot-out. Merah advanced wearing a bullet-proof vest, firing wildly before he jumped out of the window. But outside was a police marksman who shot him dead. President Sarkozy said French Muslims must not be stigmatised because of the gunman's actions.
There's been international condemnation of Malian troops who've overthrown the government of President Amadou Toumani Toure. A rebel spokesman said the soldiers would return the country to democracy as soon as national unity and integrity were assured. The United States joined France and the African Union in denouncing the coup. The American position was expressed by the State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
"The United States condemns the military seizure of power in Mali. We echo the statements of the African Union, of Ecowas and of other international partners in denouncing these actions. We've called for calm; we've called for restoration of the civilian government under constitutional rule without delay so that the elections can proceed as scheduled."
Five more bodies have been found inside the wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia, which capsized in January off the coast of Italy. A spokeswoman for the Italian Civil Protection Agency said this raised the confirmed number of dead to 30. From Rome, here's Alan Johnston.
It's more than two months now since the Costa Concordia sank off the island of Giglio. But still the hunt for the missing goes on. And in the course of the afternoon, those overseeing the search announced that they discovered three bodies. But first, they were said to be in a very inaccessible part of the hull. But later, it emerged that in fact the remains have been found just outside the wreck, trapped between it and the rocks of the seabed. Then, late in the evening, it was announced that a further two bodies had been discovered in the same area.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a resolution calling on Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes allegedly committed during its long conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels. Sri Lanka campaigned hard against the vote, saying it would usurp its sovereignty. But the United States said Sri Lanka was not doing enough to hold those responsible for violations to account.
World News from the BBC
Activists say government forces in Syria have killed 10 people who were trying to escape to a refugee camp in Turkey. They say the victims, including three children, were travelling on a bus when it came under fire in Idlib province. Violence continued in many parts of Syria despite Wednesday's UN Security Council statement urging the withdrawal of troops from population centres.
Women's groups and politicians in Morocco have been discussing a contentious law on the rape of underage girls which allows a man to escape prosecution if he marries his victim. The meeting follows a case earlier this month when 16-year-old Amina Filali killed herself after being forced to marry her rapist. The MP Naima Ben Bella says amending the law would help change the attitude that such a marriage restored the victims' honour.
"Amina's case is one case among many. As members of parliament, we will do our best to prevent underage marriages. We have to change this traditional mentality."
The Mexican army has detained a local police chief who had in his possession arms, drugs and banners referring to a drug cartel. The Mexican defence department said Raymundo Monroy Mendoza was arrested in the town of Huetamo. It said troops searched his car after he began to act nervously at a military checkpoint. They found hand grenades, rifles, cocaine and banners and pamphlets about a drug cartel known as the Knights Templar, which is one of Mexico's newest cartels. The cartel controls much of the methamphetamine and marijuana trade in western Mexico.
Schools in Brazil have started to place computer chips in school uniforms to keep track of pupils and reduce truancy. The education secretary in the northeastern city of Vitoria da Conquista said 20,000 primary school pupils would have microchips embedded in their school T-shirts, and that by next year, all local pupils aged four to 14 would use them. Their parents will receive a text message when their children arrive at school or if they are late for classes.
BBC News with Jonathan Izard The man who said he killed seven people in al-Qaeda-inspired attacks in France has been shot dead by a police marksman. Mohammed Merah was hiding in the bathroom of his ap
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