BBC news 2011-10-17

BBC News with Gaenor Howells

Kenyan soldiers have crossed the border into Somalia in pursuit of rebels from the Islamist group al-Shabab, who they blame for the recent kidnappings of several foreigners. An eyewitness told the BBC he'd seen about 25 armoured vehicles carrying Kenyan troops inside Somalia. Will Ross is following events from Nairobi.

We've been hearing from eyewitnesses inside Somalia saying that they've seen convoys of heavily armed military vehicles inside Somalia with Kenyan troops. There have also been helicopters seen inside Somalia. Certainly this is an operation that the Kenyan government wants to put on to show that they are serious about trying to tackle the problem of these recent kidnappings. Now the Kenyan government has blamed all four kidnappings on al-Shabab, even though there is no actual concrete proof that they were the work of al-Shabab. It's possible they were simply bandits carrying out kidnappings to get a ransom.

The former Socialist Party chief in France, Francois Hollande, has won the party's nomination to stand against President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's election. The current Socialist leader Martine Aubry acknowledged defeat after today's second round of voting in a primary election. Hugh Schofield reports from Paris.

Martine Aubry has gone on radio and television in France conceding victory to Francois Hollande. He'd built up an unassailable lead, and it's now been decided he'll be the Socialist Party candidate for the upcoming presidential election. Mr Hollande has never served in government, and his enemies say he lacks political substance. But he's got a cool head; he's well liked not just on the left, and above all the polls all show that he can easily beat Nicolas Sarkozy in April.

The Italian government has promised tough punishment for those behind Saturday's riots in Rome, some of the worst street violence in the city for decades. Police clashed with demonstrators on a march through the capital, one of a series of protests around the world against corporate greed and cuts to public services. At least 20 people were arrested, and dozens of people were injured. From Rome, here's David Willey.

The authorities have been swift to sweep up the street damage, tow away burnt-out cars, sandblast graffiti and board up or replace broken bank and shop windows. But Italians are astonished at how several hundred protesters, many dressed in black and wearing crash helmets, managed to cause mayhem in the Italian capital for four hours on Saturday. Interior Minister Roberto Maroni called for exemplary punishments.

Forces from Libya's interim authority, the NTC, are trying to find a new strategy to dislodge fighters still loyal to Colonel Gaddafi from their position in the city of Sirte. A BBC correspondent there says the NTC forces have lost focus and momentum after days of fighting. Our correspondent says the situation remains chaotic and violent.

You're listening to the World News from the BBC.

President Obama has attended a dedication ceremony in Washington for a new memorial to the assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King. The statue is near the spot where in 1963 Doctor King delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech. It became a rallying call for black Americans seeking greater civil rights and their supporters. President Obama said Doctor King's vision of unity remained as relevant today.

"And so with our eyes on the horizon and our faith squarely placed in one another, let us keep striving; let us keep struggling; let us keep climbing toward that promised land of a nation and a world that is more fair and more just and more equal for every single child of God. Thank you. God bless you and God bless the United States of America."

People in Bolivia are voting to choose the country's senior judges. The judicial elections were introduced by President Evo Morales, who says they'll make Bolivia's justice system more accountable. Opposition groups say the reform will politicise judges. Mattia Cabitza reports from La Paz.

For the first time, Bolivians are getting a direct say in who will sit in the country's top courts. Judges were chosen directly by politicians before, but now more than five million people will elect them from a list of candidates who were put forward by the Bolivian Congress. The legislative body is dominated by the party of President Evo Morales, and this has prompted calls to invalidate ballots. Many voters are not sure whether the winners of the elections can be truly independent and impartial.

The Mexican army says it's rescued 61 men who were being held captive by a drugs gang near the border with the United States. The army said the captives were found in a house guarded by suspected kidnappers in Coahuila state. They said they'd been abducted from various parts of Mexico and forced to work for organised crime.

BBC News.