after five years of being held hostage by hamas, israeli soldier gilad shalit has been reunited with his family. the first prisoners released to secure his freedom are back in the west bank and gaza strip. this is an emotional release for palestinians and israelis. >> gilad shalit was given a warm welcome by israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu as he stepped off the helicopter. a few moments later, he was reunited with his father. his father worked tirelessly to secure his release from captivity. he was set free on the egyptian border and made comments to egyptian television before being handed over to the israelis. shalit looked weak and pale
after his ordeal. >> yes, they were five long years but i always thought that the day would come when i would be free. it might have taken a long time, but it finally happened. >> the first group of freed palestinian prisoners were celebrated as heroes in the west bank and gaza. palestinian authority president mahmoud abbas lot of them personally. israel released 470 detainees in the first part of the deal. >> your families here in the homeland and the whole world are very happy. they see you and are delighted, joyful. we greet you immensely. >> the israeli president said the lopsided exchange was a difficult decisions about the right one. in a televised speech, he said the entire nation was with gilad shalit. thousands welcome him back in his hometown.
there, he hopes to adjust to his new-found freedom away from the media spotlight. >> our mideast correspondent has been following events for us. earlier, she spoke to us from jerusalem about the emotional reaction to the prisoner swap. >> i think that the people are really delighted to see him back home. many people here have supported the plight of the shalit family to keep this topic in the headlines. i think that that is the general sense of relief here that he actually made it back home. of course, there are those voices, for example the relatives of terror victims, who are angry over this deal. you have right wing politicians to say this is another invitation to kidnapping. for today, the joy of seeing gilad shalit back home is
overwhelming things. palestinians have received their relatives. they have not seen them for a long time in gaza and the west bank. hamas is trying to capture all of the popularity, this is a show of victory over israel. there are also a lot of families who say that we were waiting for this moment. people told me that they are waiting to see if it is more than just a prisoner release. they want to see a change in this situation for gaza. they would like to see a change. there is a challenge for hamas to deal with that. >> would this have an effect on future peace talks? >> i think that opinions are divided. we don't expect hamas to be at the negotiation table. that is still the task of the
plo and president abbas. some see president boss rather weakened by this deal even though he gained a lot of popularity with this initiative. -- some see president abbas we whata -- we are hearing from the egyptians that they hope that this deal might support more regional stability which is clearly something that is lacking here at the moment in the region. >> thank you. germany along with egypt held several rounds of talks on the prisoner exchange between israel and homosporous their german leaders were quick to welcome shalit's release and praised egypt for their role. >> the release was welcomed in berlin. the german mediator's help in
the negotiations that led to shalit's release. >> we are sincerely glad that the shalit family can hold their son again. we are happy that germany was able to help make that happen. for us, it was clear that germany would provide its support for the release of gilad shalit. >> he warned that the conflict between israel and the palestinians remains a concern. >> the situation is fragile, dangerous. that is why every chance for new progress must be seized. a new opportunity has opened up and it should not be wasted. >> german chancellor angela merkel wish to shalit -- wished shalit well. >> we will have more on that
later in a half-hour. another sleepless night thanks to the rating agencies. >> france has done everything it can to keep its triple a rating. moody's has warned they could put the number to the economy on a negative outlook. the market started on the back foot after germany dampened hopes for a quick fit. this drives things down even further. >> borrowing money has just got more expensive for france. the risk premium for a 10-year state bond has moved to a high. moody's has warned them to cut government spending, only then can they hang onto their credit rating. >> we will respond. right now, we are ahead of our deficit reduction goals. france has the means to respond, we are the country with the most public spending. if it becomes necessary to
reduce that spending to achieve our savings goals, we will do so. >> that could be too ambitious. the french tax receipts are expected to drop in the near future and the government has warned that economic growth in 2012 will likely remain the forecast of 1.75%. >> ratings are also an issue in italy with standard and poor's downgrading 24 banks and other financial institutions. they point to tension in the markets and lower prospects for economic growth in italy. s&p says that this follows a special review of the italian financial sector due to the rough for economic environment. they have had a tough time agreeing to austerity measures creating a credibility problem for the government. to greece's efforts, the prime minister has made a final appeal for political support ahead of a vote on an unpopular new round
of austerity measures which have greeks and taking to the streets in their thousands. half of workers on strike for a second day. the railways have been paralyzed by this action. garbage has not been collected for two weeks. unions are calling for one of the biggest strikes that the country has seen in years, a two day general strike started on wednesday. the investor confidence has taken a dive in germany. the index has fallen more than expected on mounting concerns about the debt crisis and faltering growth in export markets. we have more from the frankfurt stock exchange. >> the index is based on a survey among economists, analysts, and other people working for banks, and other companies in the financial sector. after the turbulence on the market in the last few months due to the european debt crisis, it is no big surprise that people have a bleak outlook
on to the future. this is how traders explained that there would be a relatively little impact on the week index on trading this tuesday. in other sector, the mood remains very resilient. the association of german engineering and plant construction, for example, confirmed the optimistic outlook for this year. the french luxury goods maker, leave baton, pete exports -- beat expectations. >> you can see it there germany blue-chip index bucked the trend. u.s. stocks rose led by financials. the dow jones gained over 1%. the euro is currently trading for $1.37. breaking up the banks into retail and investment divisions, that has been an issue since
the 2008 financial crisis. the current debt crisis has given supporters of the idea more ammunition. among them, the head of the german sdp party. those who favor a break up with like to make sure that the taxpayer will not pick up the tab for high risk speculation. >> a retail bank for the people and an investment bank for investment deals. simply put, that could mean that lenders engaging in both investment and regional banking would be broken up. one bank would become a two. the first was speculate with securities, the other would lend to companies and private companies. advocates say that means that as an investment bank goes bankrupt, the effect would not jolt the real economy as much. in germany, the company most affected by a segregated banking system would probably be deutsche bank.
germany's biggest lender makes 2/3 of its revenue through investment banking, the rest comes from retail. critics say breaking up the banks would not offer a more protection. lehman brothers was exclusively an investment bank and its collapse spark a global crisis. >> in britain, -- soared to a 3- year high. in the increase was due to sharply higher energy prices. the bank of england expects this to ease as the global economy cools off. the average inflation rate is about 3% for the european union. >> thank you. at least four people have died in a suicide bomb attack in mogadishu. the blast occurred near the foreign ministry where two members of the kenyan government had a right to attend a meeting. this came hours after rebels
promised a campaign of attacks after canyon troops crossed the border into somalia. -- kenyan troops crossed the border into somalia. nairobi blames al-shabab for a recent rash of kidnappings. nairobi believes that they are being held by al-shabab in somalia. german media reports that the country's defense ministry is planning bigger spending cuts than originally announced. an internal document says that the cuts should be completed by 2017. the ministry is also planning big cuts for spending on military equipment. the air force will get 140 new fighter jets, almost 40 less than originally planned. the defense minister is also cutting the number of tanks from more than 400 to just 350.
the armed forces will buy fewer helicopters. chile's supreme court is asking germany to extradite a doctor accused of human-rights abuses. children and adults were subjected to sexual abuse and torture. a chilean court found the suspect guilty of a child abuse and sentenced him to five years in prison in the beginning of 2011. he fled the south american country and is now living in germany. berlin has no extradition treaty with santiago. europe's highest court has moved to protect human embryos from -- protect human embryos, forbidding the planning of any process that destroys a human embryo. this has deeper implications for medical research.
they ruled that destroying embryos undermines the dignity of human life. the case was referred from a german court and concerned a researcher in bonn who was using stem cells from embryos imported from israel. >> researchers believe these stem cells hold the key for treatments of disease like alzheimer's and parkinson's. when they are extracted from the cells, the embryos are destroyed. when they can be considered human embryos? that question was at the center of a legal suit. the european court handed down this definition. >> each human egg cell at the point of fertilization, each on fertilized human egg cell into which a mature human cell has been transplanted, each on fertilized human egg cell might start developing and dividing
constitutes a human embryo. >> that means researchers cannot patent am really stem cells either. greenpeace, which challenged the pact in germany, hailed the court's decision. >> we welcome the european court of justice's clarification of the issue that human embryos enjoy a high level of protection against commercial interests. they cannot exploded by industrial or commercial interests. >> the scientist at the heart of the legal storm says the ruling will hurt european researchers and push stem cells science to the u.s. and asia. >> this decision virtually condemns european scientists conducting basic research. this prevents them from being in a position to put the results of this basic research to use. >> the court's decision is binding for all national courts in the eu summit even in countries with more liberal laws on stem cells, such as belgium
>> 1941 days in the hands of the palestinian militant group hamas. gilad shalit was only 19 when he was captured and taken hostage. on tuesday, he was finally reunited with his family. in exchange, israel agreed to release more than 1000 palestinians. hundreds of them more serving life sentences -- hundreds of them were serving life sentences for violent attacks against israelis. for gilad shalit's family,
friends, and supporters, no price was too high. >> gilad shalit back after five years in captivity. his case captivated the nation. despite being week from his ordeal, shalit said he was grateful to be a free man. >> i feel like i am in good shape and in good health. i'm very happy to meet people who have worked for my freedom. i thank everyone for their efforts. >> shalit was reunited with his loved ones. his father had been a central figure in the battle to have his son released. the israeli prime minister was also on hand to welcome shalit. he told his parents, i brought her son back home. he added that the prisoner swap
was a difficult deal to agree to. -- i brought your son back home. >> when this proposal reached my desk, i felt in my heart that it was time to bring our soldier back home alive and well. >> polls show that 80% of israelis support the deal. most see shalit as an important symbol for the struggle. israel has paid a high price with the release of so many palestinian prisoners. celebrations in the palestinian territories, hundreds of thousands turned out in gaza as the prisoners arrived. some of them had been behind israeli bars for years. >> i am very happy with the welcome my people have given me. i think 30 years of suffering in jail is behind me.
>> representatives of the hamas administration in gaza also came to the celebrations. they called on israel to release further palestinian inmates while israel warned palestinians against carrying out new attacks. >> it took years to secure gilad shalit's release and in the and it took intense mediation by germany and egypt to broker a deal that both countries could live with. here is a look at how the ordeal began. >> in june, 2006, palestinian militants from the gaza strip attacked this post. they killed two soldiers and abducted a 19-year-old conscript. he became a bargaining chip in the hands of hamas. some 6000 palestinians were held in israeli jails. hamas wanted to secure the release of as many of them as possible in return for shalit. shalit's story gripped the
nation. each year, hundreds of israelis gathered to commemorate his capture. for his family, and audio recording was one of the few signs that their son was still alive. >his father continued to plead for his son's release. for more than three years, the family received no word on him. then in october 2009, a glimmer of hope, his captors released this video. that was all. despite repeated requests, the international red cross was not allowed to visit. negotiations continued behind the scenes with the help of germany's intelligence services. hamas demanded that israel release hundreds of palestinian prisoners including militant leaders. a majority of israelis supported
the prisoner swap but netanyahu's government refused to release any palestinians serving sentences for terrorist crimes. the calls became even louder. more than 7000 people joined the soldier's family in a march on jerusalem. they set up a protest tent in front of netanyahu's residents, they said that they would stay until their son was free. >> to the government, the israeli prime minister, we sat right in front of him to bring our son home after five years. >> last week, netanyahu announced the breakthrough in negotiations. gilad shalit could finally come home in exchange for 1027 palestinian prisoners. >> for more, i'm joined by a middle east analyst with the german institute for international and security affairs. tell us more about germany's
role in mediating this exchange. >> germany had been asked to mediate in this conflict in 2006 by the israeli government. there has been a tradition of german involvement in the swaps. they were active in order to bring about the release. >> why now? it has taken five years to secure his release. what was required to make the deal happen? >> i don't know, a exactly. the german mediation was not the decisive factor but rather egyptian pressure. while it is a coincidence that just after the changes in egypt, each it seems to have exerted pressure on hamas to release gilad shalit. that is part of the reason why
the media is focusing on the egyptian role that seems to have been decisive during the last six months. >> this was a 1000 to 1 swap in the palestinians favor. what this be an incentive to take more hostages? >> this is an incentive. we have the experience of 2004 when germany mediated a prisoner swap between hezbollah and the israelis along the lines of this one. i think that this experience led hezbollah to believe that they could be successful another time by kidnapping israeli soldiers. that happened in 2006 and was the trigger for the 2006 war between hezbollah and israel. >> we have heard hamas officials encouraging their members to specifically target israeli soldiers and capture them. what was israel thinking in
doing this? >> the israeli security establishment is not nigh eve in these issues. they know exactly by security standards that this is a grave mistake to give in to this sort of blackmail by hezbollah or hamas. it does not make any difference. there is a conviction on the part of the israeli government that they have to do everything they can to bring back their soldiers, dead or alive. they know about the problems involved. >> what about the mideast peace process? and do you think that prisoner swaps like this will push it forward? >> no way. last time in 2004, i think that this led to the war. i think that that could be avoided if this does not serve as an encouragement to hamas and hezbollah to start other kidnappings that would already