BBC news 2011-10-11

BBC News with Gaenor Howells

The commander of African Union forces in Somalia says his troops have driven Islamist al-Shabab militants out of their last major stronghold in Mogadishu. General Fred Mugisha told the BBC that the whole of the capital was now controlled by African Union and Somali government forces. He said an offensive in the north had pushed the militants back from a range where their mortars could hit civilian areas. Yusuf Garaad of the BBC Somali Service said it represented a serious blow to al-Shabab.

Mogadishu is the most important city. It's the seat of the government. And if the government has extended its control to all parts of the capital except that little pocket, that's very important (and) because that gives [a] big morale boost to the government and its supporters, and that's negative to Shabab and its ambition to control the country.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has made a personal appeal to the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for an end to what he called the persecution of Anglicans in Zimbabwe. As he left the meeting in Harare, Doctor Williams said he'd shown the president a dossier detailing the church's concerns and had urged him to take action. Robert Pigott reports.

Doctor Williams said he'd come to Zimbabwe with the hope of negotiating with Mr Mugabe. He said he'd used the two-hour meeting to ask in the clearest possible terms that the president use his powers as head of state to put an end to all unacceptable and illegal behaviour. The encounter followed Doctor Williams' pointed attack on Mr Mugabe's stewardship of Zimbabwe in a sermon to some 15,000 Anglicans yesterday, in which he condemned the lawlessness that characterised the way it was governed.

The US President Barack Obama says he's deeply concerned about the deaths in Egypt of at least 24 people during violence between Coptic Christians and the security forces. He called for minority Copts to be protected and stressed the need for elections to go ahead as planned in November. Egypt's ruling military council has ordered government ministers to carry out a speedy investigation. Coptic church leaders have blamed what they call "infiltrators" for stirring up Sunday's violence.

Stock markets have risen in the US and Europe after France and Germany's leaders committed themselves to a plan to tackle the eurozone crisis by the end of the month. Here's our economics correspondent Andrew Walker.

Financial markets really want a concrete plan from eurozone leaders to fix the sovereign debt and banking crisis. That still hasn't materialised, but leaders of the two biggest powers involved - France and Germany - have promised one and set themselves a deadline: the end of the month. Investors have taken comfort from that commitment, but the improved sentiment is fragile. The political obstacles to a deal are formidable, and if the leaders fail or agree something seen as inadequate, then the recent gains in the markets could be reversed very quickly.

World News from the BBC

Peru's new President Ollanta Humala has replaced two thirds of the country's most senior police officers in a purge designed to root out alleged corruption. Thirty of Peru's 45 police generals have been pushed into retirement, including the overall commander and the head of the anti-drugs force.

Heavy fighting is continuing in the Libyan city of Sirte as pro-Gaddafi forces struggle to hold back the advance of fighters from the National Transitional Council. They now control both the main hospital and a showpiece conference centre. Wyre Davies is in Sirte.

The once lush and opulent Ouagadougou complex in Sirte is the kind of place that Colonel Gaddafi liked to spend his millions. Today, the complex is in ruins, damaged by a week of intense clashes and vandalised by vengeful fighters. Also bearing the scars of battle, the nearby central hospital, used as a base by retreating Gaddafi fighters. There today, we found dozens of injured people in the wards and corridors. There are also serious worries for thousands of civilians trapped inside Sirte as slowly but surely Gaddafi's fighters are squeezed and pushed back towards the sea.

Security officials in Iraq say a series of explosions in Baghdad has killed at least nine people and injured almost 20 more. Police said the first blast was caused by a roadside bomb in a Shia neighbourhood; minutes later, a second bomb exploded nearby; then a third blast went off as firefighters arrived at the scene of the first incident.

An Iranian actress who appeared in a film critical of the Iranian authorities has been sentenced to a year in prison and 90 lashes. Opposition websites say that Marzieh Vafamehr was sentenced on Saturday, but the charges against her haven't been made public. She was arrested in July over her part in the film My Tehran for Sale, which explores limits on freedom of expression for artists in Iran.

BBC World Service News.