Now for some terrible but not completely unexpected news from Niger…..
The BBC reports…..
Niger President Mamadou Tandja and his cabinet are being held by soldiers after gun battles in the capital, a government source has told the BBC.
Gunfire broke out around the presidential palace at about 1300 (1200 GMT) and continued for 30 minutes, says the BBC's Idy Baraou in Niamey.
State radio is playing military music - a similar pattern to two coups in the 1990s.
Tensions have been growing in the uranium-rich nation since last year.
Mr Tandja was widely criticised when he changed the constitution in August to allow him to stand for a third term.
Our correspondent says tanks have been firing and witnesses report seeing injured people being taken to hospital.
An unnamed French official told AFP that a coup attempt was under way.
"All I can say is that it would appear that Tandja is not in a good position," he told the news agency on condition of anonymity.
Soldiers captured Mr Tandja while he was chairing his weekly cabinet meeting, the government source told the BBC. AFP later reported an official as saying Mr Tandja was possibly being held at a military barracks about 20km (13 miles) west of Niamey.
A witness told the news agency that the bodies of three soldiers had been taken to a military mortuary.
The situation in Niamey remains unclear - there has apparently been no large-scale deployment of military personnel.
The government and opposition have been holding on-off talks since December - mediated by the regional body Ecowas - to try to resolve the country's political crisis.
Mr Tandja, a former army officer, was first voted into office in 1999 and was returned to power in an election in 2004.
Niger has experienced long periods of military rule since independence from France in 1960. It is one of the world's poorest countries, but Mr Tandja's supporters argue that his decade in power has brought a measure of economic stability.
Under his tenure, work has begun on the world's second-biggest uranium mine, and energy deals have been signed with Chinese firms.