goldplated employment contract be a thing of the fast? we will take a look at how things are going for 51% of the population that are not men. more on that on the way. but first our top stories. ♪ anchor: you witness reports say militants have set fire to oil wells outside of the town of tikrit. they are trying to block air raids. it is now day four of the move to take tikrit from the islamic state. the drive from the army into the
sunni area has provoked fears it will only deepen religious divide. reporter: fighting to retake to create -- tikrit, now in the hands of the islamic state group. the biggest operation with some 30,000 forces mobilized. fighters from different communities. >> the shia militias. do have some sunni tribal men. and you have the iraqi army. the concern is about the population because they are not happy with that. and then i don't think they can take ground and stay there. reporter: in a country torn apart, the offensive has raised
fears and the army is dominated by sheias. the town of mosul. former enemies have struck an unusual partnership in the face of the threats. the militia is fighting alongside the iraqi army finance i by iran. hundreds of guards are taking part in the offensive. anchor: john kerry is continuing his toys for a nuclear deal with iran with a stop in saudi arabia. they are worried about iran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons. a deal would not allow iran to develop a bomb.
talks are still inconclusive. >> we still do not know whether we will get t here we will not. it may be that iran when not say yes to the kind of deal the international community requires. we owe it to the people of the world to try to find out. and we will return to these talks on the 15th of march recognizing that time is of the essence, the days are taking by, and important decisions need to be made. anchor: we go to beijing were the congress opened this morning. china set a lower growth target for this year and promised to open more industries for foreign
investors. they are trying to make their economy more productive. we have more on this from beijing. give us the details of this lower target. reporter: this morning they opened with the premier giving a speech. a number that everybody was waiting for. a more modest forecast for the year ahead. china is targeting 7% annual growth rate, which is down from last year. he lowered the growth rate in more than a decade. china came in at 7.4%. the lower targeted rate was largely expected. the markets reacted negatively. they digested this lower 7% figure. anchor: it is no surprise
industry has left the air and water heavily polluted. was to talk about controlling pollution? reporter: one of the hot topics was pollution. it is a major topic in beijing and the major cities. pollution was called a blight and china will continue to fight the problem. how will china fight the problem? china will look to curb coal consumption and other fossil fuels, natural gas. renewable sources such as solar winds. another issue that came up in the speech was the military budget. spending will increase 10% this year, the fifth year in a row the budget will increase by
double digits. china will increase, aim to add 10 million jobs this year to keep china's unemployment rate from rising above 4.5%. they will wrap up on march 15. anchor: thank you for that. the u.s. ambassador to south korea survived a knife attack in seoul by a political activist already known to the police. north korea called the attack just punishment. reporter: the bloody aftermath of a frantic attack. he was attending a breakfast meeting when he was approached with a man armed with a knife. kim ki-jongmark lippert was then
slashed across the face and is left-hand. the government has said they regret the incident. >> unacceptable whatever the reason. we take this seriously because it has happened to the ambassador of the united states. reporter: the attacker was quickly apprehended and identified as 55-year-old kim ki-jong, a man previously known to police for throwing a piece of concrete at the former japanese ambassador. they believe the presence of the u.s. military is preventing unification with north korea. troops begin their annual joint exercises, which are set to run until april. north korea testfired
short-range missiles on monday. anchor: a last ditch attempt to save two australians looks to have failed. tony abbott offered a prisoner exchange to save the men. indonesia rejected the bid. andrew chan and myuran sukumara have now been transferred to the so-called execution island. why they were against a prisoner exchange. >> we understand the need for australia -- such efforts should be done in a way that is respectful to the laws of the country and also respect the sovereignty of the laws in indonesia. we do not have any laws
pertaining to the issue of negotiation. anchor: now to the united states. the child for dzhokhar tsarnaev is now on -- the trial for dzhokhar tsarnaev is now underway. the defense is going to try to convince the jury that tsarnaev was unfairly influenced into committing the crime. reporter: victims of the boston bombing arrived for the first day of the trial. he showed no sign of emotion as see sat and listen to the witness accounts in graphic detail. two pressure cooker bombs exploded amongst crowds know the finish line of the boston
marathon. three people died, including an eight-year-old boy. almost 300 were injured. >> jp right here and parker, that's where he dropped the backpack. there is right there. they had burned over 50% of our bodies. their hair was gone. i want the death penalty. that would be justice for me. reporter: lawyers were quick to admit responsibility for the attacks. they hope to avoid the death penalty. he was happily influenced by his brother. dzhokhar tsarnaev's trial is set to go on until june. there is the possibility of a death penalty under federal law.
anchor: winter is still dragging on. flu season. this year's strain is deadlier than ever. the death toll is almost 20% higher than expected. here is kate moody with more. reporter: fever chills, and coughing. hospitals are treating symptoms of influenza. a thousand more people have died this winter than -- 8000 more people have died this winter. an ineffective vaccine. this year the primary strain mutated after the vaccine was distributed, making it unlikely to protect those who received it.
the u.k., belgian, and spain had increased mortality rates. 60,000 more deaths, attributed largely to influenza. the flu virus is rarely fatal and can lead to complications like pneumonia. the elderly are advised to seek medical care as soon as symptoms begin to show. they should avoid direct contact with others to prevent the virus from spreading. anchor: militants reportedly set fire to oil wells near tikrit to try and block air raids held since june. china looks for way too kick start it's the economy. they have released a new growth target of 7%, the lowest in 24
years. the u.s. ambassador to south korea hurt in a knife attack in seoul. time now for the business news with stephen carroll. that start with the european central bank meeting in cyprus today. reporter: 1.1 trillion euro to boost. he will be asked when he will pull the trigger on the so-called big bazooka. they plan to buy 60,000 euro. that figure is a negative figure, below zero. we have falling prices in the eurozone. the bond-buying policy is already having an effect. >> it is absolutely coming on
the stronger end. they announce the ecb -- they have not initiated and the data has turned up. do not expect any headline printing coming out of this meeting. ecb will stay on the path. they want to see how the qe will impact the market. they will take further matters from there. reporter: look at the currency markets. the euro falling to an 11 year low against the dollar. it is down again in trading. on the stock market, trading is up slightly. the london ftse near record highs, cap by an insurer trading up by 5% after a healthy
rise in profits. interest rates on the quantitative easing program are unchanged. anchor: let's come back to france. three important letters when it comes to your work contract. reporter: dcdi. a permanent job contract that has lots of rejection for the workers. they are laying off -- it is extremely difficult for employers. and now the changes to the system could be underway. we have been looking at the details. reporter: getting the contract is considered the holy grail in employment. it is difficult and expensive
for companies to fire workers. the same is not true for those entering the job market. more than half of young people go from one short-term contract to another sometimes for years. the system has come under criticism from some experts, who say it stifles the french economy. the president has suggested introducing a new type of contract. it what make it easier for employers to hire and fire. it has the support of the new nobel prize winner for economics. >> the solution would mean better protected jobs for some. the kind of action france has to take. reporter: but the plan faces
opposition from the powerful union. they are concerned about the impact it could have on job security. reporter: we take a look at some of the other stories. the turnaround seems to be working. almost $1.3 billion last year. they are revamping stores in france and continues to revamp its market. the firm lost 140 million euros and up to 10 million the previous year. the collapse of the russian ruble. anchor: thank you so much. time now for the press review. ♪ anchor: let's take a look at what the weekly news magazines are saying. reporter: we start out with
"l'express." taxes, the great revolt. it continues. you can imagine paying all those taxes we have. francois hollande has said no more taxes, not this year, not in 2016, and not in 2017, which is a french presidential election year. there was a wealthy textile in switzerland, saying i pay the same taxes as i would in france. i don't have the problem of regulations changing all the time. they keep on moving the goalposts in france. the mood is bleak. anchor: another french weekly is
profiling the man france's most popular politician. reporter: he was detested act in the 1990's as prime minister of france. now his resurrection in terms of population is typifying. the mayor of bordeaux has emerged as a strong contender for possibly that election for the opposition in 2017. he has to get past nicholas sarkozy, the party leader. this week he said it is the battle between him and nicholas sarkozy to run up to the 2017 election. they are saying there is mania
among certain people on the left. you want to watch out for them. anchor: the jihadist threat that continues in many countries around the world. reporter: one magazine is called " alternative nationalle." this is about the wave of jihadist groups we have seen around the world. the main article opens with these words.' they are delighted because we are afraid. it looks at how the network around the world is building and incorporating. their hundreds of chechen fighters in syria. the leaders in syria is chechen. another example is that the
indonesian group is in principal renounced violence but has been recruiting for people to go to syria. it sent finds to syria. another magazine, which is looking at the plight of christians in the middle east. you can see the headline there. it says the vatican is launching an offensive to counter these attacks. last month 21 egyptian christians killed in libya. the quotation in the magazine was, "pope francis can count on is popularity to speak out about this whole question." anchor: you found an a tight
magazine with a scoop on the vatican. reporter: pope francis has got a lot of popularity. he can cash in. santa romana sieze, the holy roman spends. that is about his choice for the person to take over retaking finances of the that again, with lots of scandals. this is the former archbishop of melbourne. they have seen his expense sheets. his flights within europe are over 1200 euros per flight within europe. that is because he is flying business class. not a style of other parts of
the vatican to indoor. they are saying, other popes have had this problem before. "i and going to fix this now." there is a scandal with this cardinal who is not quite right. anchor: thank you for that look at the weekly news magazines. for a closer look, you can check out our website on france24.com.