HARI SREENIVASAN: Insurgents in Iraq killed at least 46 people today in a wave of attacks aimed at Shiite pilgrims and police. There were bombings in Baghdad, as well as the western city of Fallujah, Kirkuk in the north, and Karbala in the South, among other places. In Kirkuk, a car bomb exploded outside a police station, leaving more than a dozen dead, while, in Karbala, two car bombs killed 13 Iraqis in a busy shopping and dining area.
In Syria, rebel forces abandoned the eastern city of Deir el-Zour in the face of government tanks. It was the latest in a series of setbacks for the opposition. Meanwhile, government shelling continued in sections of Hama and Homs. Activists reported at least 31 people were killed in the assault.
A powerful earthquake shook central and Southern Mexico today, but the country escaped major damage. The quake had a magnitude of 7.4, and was centered east of Acapulco. But it shook buildings well to the north in Mexico City. Workers and residents in the capital filled streets, fearing their buildings would collapse. A pedestrian bridge did fall on a minibus, but there were no injuries.
France mourned today for the victims of Monday’s attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse.
We have a report from Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: In a school playground this afternoon, the coffins of three children and a rabbi were loaded to be taken away for burial in far-off Israel.
Their murders have shocked France and sent Europe’s biggest Jewish community reeling after the most deadly anti-Semitic attack France has seen in almost 30 years.
Jonathan Sandler was age 30 and a teacher, his son Gavriel was 6, his daughter Aryeh just three-and-a-half, when they were shot with a Colt 45 pistol. Also among the dead, Miriam, the 8-year-old daughter of the school’s headmaster, and the police don’t believe the mystery gunman has finished yet.
This corner of Southwest France is now under the country’s highest state of terrorism alert, which means that the authorities here believe that this cold-blooded killer will strike again unless he’s caught first. The school’s CCTV camera filmed the killer yesterday. He was using the same weapon as in his previous two attacks. He wore his motorcycle helmet throughout and apparently made his getaway on the same scooter as last week, though we understand it’s been painted from black to white.
President Sarkozy has sent his interior minister to Toulouse to lead the manhunt. The minister told me he’s looking for one man deranged enough to shoot children in the head and to post his murders on the Internet.
CLAUDE GUEANT, French interior minister (through translator): According to a witness, he had a video camera on his chest, and the film can be played on a computer and even broadcast on the Net.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Police cars were on guard outside this Muslim school this morning, not that the pupils or their parents needed reminding that a racist killer is on the loose.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The victims in the other attacks were French paratroopers of minority backgrounds.
Federal and state investigations began today in the death of a black teenager in Sanford, Florida — 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed last month by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman has said he acted in self-defense.
But a Martin family lawyer said today the teen’s girlfriend disputes that account. She says she talked to Martin on his cell phone as Zimmerman followed.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, attorney for family of Trayvon Martin: He had no intention of getting back in his truck, doing what the police instructed him to do. He kept pursuing Trayvon Martin. And how do we know? Because this young lady connects the dots. She connects the dots. She completely blows Zimmerman’s absurd self-defense claim out of the water.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Zimmerman has not been charged. But a state grand jury will now review the case, as will the U.S. Justice Department.
Illinois was the prize of the day in the Republican presidential race, with 54 delegates at stake. Mitt Romney poured television ad money into the state, looking to add to his delegate lead. He already had more than twice as many delegates as Rick Santorum, his closest challenger.
Wall Street gave up some ground today, after two reports pointed to a possible slowdown in China. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 69 points to close at 13,170. The Nasdaq fell four points to close at 3,074.
The hunt for Amelia Earhart will begin anew this July. American scientists and historians announced today they will explore waters around a remote Pacific island. In Washington, team leader Ric Gillespie pointed to recent analysis of a photograph taken shortly after Earhart disappeared in 1937. It showed what could be wreckage of her plane’s landing gear.
RIC GILLESPIE, International Group Historical Aircraft Recovery: Well, that was a very important piece of information, because it gave us, in search parlance, a point last seen. This is where the airplane went into the drink, washed over the edge by rising tides and surf. It gives us a point to start our search.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were trying to fly around the world when they vanished.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.