News Wrap: Zimmerman’s Bail Set at $150,000 in Trayvon Martin Case
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HARI SREENIVASAN: A Florida judge today set bail at $150,000 for George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman appeared at a hearing in Sanford, Fla. He apologized to Martin’s parents, who were sitting in the courtroom, as his lawyer looked on.
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, defendant: I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little younger than I am. And I did not know if he was armed or not.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin’s parents, said they were disappointed by the judge’s decision to grant bail. And, he said, they questioned Zimmerman’s sincerity.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, attorney for family of Trayvon Martin: Zimmerman makes this self-serving apology in court 50 days later. The real George Zimmerman Web site — and you all have reviewed it — never once said I’m sorry. Why today?
HARI SREENIVASAN: It was unclear when Zimmerman will be released from jail. As part of the conditions of his bail, he will be required to wear an electronic monitoring device and he cannot have any firearms.
A commercial airliner crashed in Pakistan today, and all 127 people on board were feared dead. The jet went down in bad weather as it tried to land at an airport near the capital, Islamabad. As night fell, emergency workers searched the wreckage for any sign of life, but the Pakistani defense minister said it was unlikely anyone would survive.
U.S. officials have confirmed that four American troops died last night in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. They were in a U.S. Army Black Hawk that went down in the Helmand Province in bad weather. It was en route to the site of a suicide bombing at an Afghan police checkpoint.
The presidential candidates in France wrapped up their campaigning today ahead of Sunday’s first-round election. Socialist Francois Hollande is the current front-runner in the 10-candidate field. Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy has been hurt by high unemployment, but in Nice today, he argued his policies kept things from getting even worse.
NICOLAS SARKOZY, French president (through translator): Look simply across the borders right next to us, to what has happened to countries whose governments have not wanted to make the choices that needed to be made when they needed to be made. Is there one Frenchmen who wished for France the current situation in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Iceland?
HARI SREENIVASAN: The top two vote-getters in Sunday’s voting will meet in a runoff on May 6.
In Syria, there was more heavy shelling of the embattled city of Homs today, leaving a U.N. cease-fire in tatters. Government troops blasted away at two rebel-held neighborhoods in the city. A Syrian human rights group based in Britain said mortar rounds were landing every five minutes in one area.
Meanwhile, in Damascus and elsewhere, thousands of protesters spilled into the streets once again. They braved gunfire from troops to demand that President Bashar Assad leave office.
Huge crowds also gathered in Cairo, Egypt, to protest against the ruling military. Last year, Tahrir Square was the center of the uprising that ousted President Mubarak. Today’s protests aimed at putting pressure on the country’s generals to hand over power to civilians. Protesters also called for members of the old regime not to run in the upcoming presidential elections.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.