BBC news 2011-10-23

BBC News with Iain Purdon

The commander whose forces captured Muammar Gaddafi has said he tried to save the former Libyan leader's life so that he could stand trial. Omran al-Oweib spoke to Gabriel Gatehouse.

Omran al-Oweib described in forensic detail the fierce battle that took place around that drainage pipe on the outskirts of Sirte where Muammar Gaddafi was found on Thursday. He said the colonel took just 10 steps after being dragged from his hiding place before falling injured to the ground. Some anti-Gaddafi fighters had wanted to kill the former dictator then and there, he admitted, but he'd pleaded with them not to. He said it was impossible to tell who had fired the bullet that ultimately killed the former dictator.

Libya's National Transitional Council has told the BBC Colonel Gaddafi's body will be handed over soon to representatives of his family and tribe. The foreign affairs spokesman for the Transitional Council, Ahmed Gebreel, says there will be an inquiry into the death.

"It's unfortunate that Gaddafi was killed because I think most of the Libyans wanted to see Gaddafi, or wanted Gaddafi to face a fair trial on all the crimes he had committed against the Libyan people. And I must say the NTC is conducting an investigation, and an official position will be released very soon."

Libya's de facto Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril has said the country's first post-Gaddafi election will be held within a maximum of eight months. Speaking during a visit to Jordan, Mr Jibril said voters would elect a national congress to draft a constitution; this would then be put to a referendum; the congress would also form an interim government until the first presidential elections were held. Libya's interim authorities say they will announce their country's full liberation on Sunday.

European Union finance ministers in Brussels have taken a step towards stabilising the eurozone debt crisis. Banks in the eurozone will have to raise more capital to protect themselves against market turmoil. However, there's still no agreement on expanding the wider eurozone bailout fund for indebted countries. Our economics correspondent Andrew Walker reports from Brussels.

The general direction the negotiations are heading is reasonably clear, but tying down the detail is proving very difficult. The hardest is the question of how to make the eurozone's bailout fund effective enough to help Spain and Italy, the two big economies with debt problems, if they need it. Banks are likely to be pressed to accept more losses on what they are owed by Greece. They'll also have to raise more capital - a financial buffer to help them survive if they run into further problems. These ideas are all interlinked. Greece is central. It's widely thought it can't pay all its debts. If it is to have the burden eased, financial markets will worry whether other countries will end up in the same situation, forcing financial institutions to take further losses.

World News from the BBC

The Turkish army says it's killed nearly 50 Kurdish rebels over the past two days in a major military offensive. Turkey launched the action earlier this week after militants killed more than 20 of its soldiers. From Istanbul, Jonathan Head reports.

A wave of public anger has swept through much of Turkey after Wednesday's deadly attack by the PKK, and thousands of troops have been sent to the Iraqi border to pursue the insurgents. The Turkish military has now publicised the results of its operation. In a statement on its website, it says 49 PKK fighters have been killed over the past three days. Army units have recovered dozens of bodies from a valley which was bombed from the air and by ground artillery. The statement says operations against the PKK are continuing on both sides of the border.

The American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned the Central Asian states of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan against restrictions on religious freedom. Mrs Clinton met the presidents of both countries during a tour of the region to promote greater economic integration. She said efforts to suppress religious freedom could lead to increased sympathy for radical views.

More details have emerged about a flash flood on Thursday in central Burma with dozens more bodies recovered and scores still missing. A doctor told the BBC he'd counted 83 bodies. Torrential rain swept away several hundred shanty homes in Pakokku, built around a riverbed which had been dried for several years.

The medical team in charge of the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has reiterated that he is in excellent health. The team spoke out to deny a prognosis by another doctor, Salvador Navarrete, who had given Mr Chavez less than two years to live. A spokesman for Mr Chavez's medical team said Mr Navarrete was wrong and had no access to the president's clinical records.

BBC News.