George Alagiah presents international news and intelligent analysis going live to the heart of the day's top global story. Plus up-to-the-minute global business news.
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A serious warning from the European Commission - economic growth in the
eurozone is at a standstill. With growth in Germany forecast to slow
down, the commission says it is time for action. The recovery in
the European Union has now come to a standstill. There is a risk of I
knew recession unless action is taken.... -- there is a risk of
another recession. Welcome to GMT. Also in the
programme: Dozens still trapped as Turkey's earthquake zone is hit by
a massive aftershock. Nine people were killed.
A hidden world of Afghanistan's women - we have a special report on
whether life has got any better ten years on from the fall of the
Taliban. In Brussels, the European Union's
economy commissioner has just thrown a verbal grenade into what
is already a pretty explosive economic crisis. Olli Rehn says
that growth in the EU has stalled and there is a risk of another
recession. The numbers support it. The latest forecasts in Germany
predict growth of less than 1%. Add to that the crisis in Italy and
that in Greece, and you can see where it is coming from.
As the eurozone is enveloped by a storm of uncertainty, there is
intense debate about the way forward. Will Italy's Prime
Minister stepped down as promised? And how much longer will it take
greased to form a new government? The IMF is seeking clarity.
Political clarity. It is much needed in Greece, in Italy. There
is clearly some rumours, expectations, trepidation. No-one
really understands always going to come out as the leader and when.
And I think that confusion is particularly conducive to
volatility. In Greece there are more talks
under way to end the power vacuum. Lucas Papademos was seen arriving
this morning. He looks likely to avoid -- to replace George
Papandreou was Prime Minister. But time is short.
In Italy people have been left guessing what they are politicians
will do to resolve the crisis. There have been efforts to calm the
money markets after borrowing costs rose to levels that most of you as
unsustainable. Elsewhere in Europe there is a mood of anxiety about
what is happening in Italy. current state is a clear and
present danger to the eurozone, and the moment of truth is fast
approaching. If the leaders of the eurozone want to save their
currency then they, together with the institutions of the eurozone,
must act now. In Brussels the latest forecast, delivered by the
European Union's monetary affairs chief, is one of gloom. This
forecast is, in fact, the last wake-up call. The recovery in the
European Union has now come to a standstill. There is a risk of
another recession unless determined action is taken. There is fresh
talk of that two-speed Europe and changes to treaties. But there are
no detailed plans and the President of the European Commission says
that a split of the European Union simply will not work.
Our correspondent is in Athens, where Grace's president is expected
to make an announcement about the government, we think, in the next
few minutes or so. Mark, I wonder if there is any indication of what
this indication might be? It really is just a matter of time
before the signals come from the president's office. I am just being
told that we are getting an announcement. An announcement has
just come as we have been on air. It says that Lucas Papademos is now
the new Prime Minister of Greece. That has come in the last 30
seconds. He was the front runner, we thought it was all but certain,
then there were several spanners in the works. He seems to have
negotiated behind the scenes to stay in office for longer. He also
seems to have accepted that the current finance ministers should
stay in place. This country will now begin anew interim national
unity government with one priority, and that is to vote through the
latest bail-out package for Greece so that it can receive its next
vital instalment of a bail-out loan. Without that money, bankruptcy and
default could spread shock waves through the eurozone.
Lucas Papademos has a technocratic background. How much confidence
will there be that he can deal with all the infighting that goes on in
Athens? Well, he has one distinct advantage and it is this - he will
be leading a national unity government, a government that
brings together the different political factions that have
paralysed this country for the last few days during these coalition
talks. That is a began vantage to have over George Papandreou. The
other advantages that he is not George Papandreou. -- that is a big
advantage. He will have the confidence of Europe's leaders.
Against him is the fact that he is a banker and bankers are not
exactly the most popular of professionals here at the moment.
He will have a tough task. A bail- out package will require of him to
push through more austerity measures. We saw how the reached
boiling point here with demonstrations on the streets of
Athens. We will expect more of that under his premiership. Thank you.
Just a reminder that, in the last couple of minutes, we have heard
that Lucas Papademos is to head a new Greek government. That has come
from the president's office in Athens.
I am joined by a journalist from the Economist. We are watching the
news on rattling as it happens. What is your reaction to that? He
is a technocrat, a former banker, now taking charge of events in
Greece. I think the first in to say -- the first in to save it has
taken an in orders at -- an enormous amount of time for Greece
to form a unity government in this crisis, even though it seemed
obvious who the replacement would be for George Papandreou. With so
much pressure on Greece and an offer of new finance, they have not
been able to get it together. you accept that that is true but
now, going forward, they appear to have agreed to a government of
national unity and, therefore, it should looked different going on.
think it is a positive sign. It remains to be seen if he is able to
do the difficult things that need to be done in Greece are to put the
economy back on a sure footing and keep Greece in the euro. Until we
see signs of that, people will continue to worry. I wish him well.
We have a real indication of how high the stakes are today. Olli
Rehn, the European economy commissioner, used the word
recession. I am not surprised by that. The numbers could be really
bad next year. Shehzad Tanweer worries. There is a short-term
worry about market panic, the break-up of the euro, what happens
to Italy and so on. Then a more medium term panic around the fact
that, in order to keep countries like Greece in the euro, they are
going to have to implement some tough austerity packages. Where is
the growth going to come from if countries on the periphery of the
eurozone are tighten their public finances? You mentioned Italy. We
have kind of, we hope, sorted out Greece with a new government. There
is still a political crisis in Italy. Greece is a relatively small
problem. It accounts for about 2% of the eurozone's GDP. Italy is
another thing altogether. It is a huge economy. Its sovereign debt
market is the third largest in the world, after America and Japan.
There is no big bank in the world that does not have major exposure
to Italy. When people start to panic about Italy, as in the last
few days, we are all worse off. Let us take a look at some of the
other stories making headlines around the world. At least nine
people have been killed and up to 100 more are believed to be trapped
in rubble after an earthquake hit eastern Turkey, causing buildings
to collapse. The earthquake struck the city of Van. Survivors are
being found but many more are still trapped. Just over two weeks ago an
earthquake hit the same region, killing more than 600 people.
Joining me from Istanbul is our correspondent the stop Jonathan,
what can you tell us on the latest on the rescue mission? They are
still drilling holes into the hotel that collapsed. They still not know
many -- how many people are inside. Some have managed to send messages
out by a mobile phone. They think the current number is around 37 who
were staying there. But it is a busy hotel and have a lot of people
working and having meetings there when it collapsed. They have been
pulling out one or two people every hour. A total of 27 people have
been rescued so far, including a two Japanese workers who came to
help with the earthquake last month. Tragically, one of those workers, a
doctor, died from his injuries after he was rescued this morning.
His colleague is safe and suffering minor injuries in hospital.
Thank you very much. The Israeli Supreme Court has
upheld the rape conviction of the country's former president, Moshe
Katsav. He is expected to begin serving his prison sentence next
week. He was found of raping an assistant while he was a cabin
isn't -- a Cabinet minister. The South African National con --
the South African National Congress has fired its Youth League leader,
Julius Malema. A coal mine accident in south-west
China has killed at least 20 workers and left more than 20
others trapped. It was caused by I gas leak. Hundreds of rescuers are
trying to free the trapped workers. It is the latest in a string of
back should -- accidents in China's Mining Industry.
In Britain, the executive chairman of News International, James
Murdoch, has accused two former executives at the News of the World
of misleading MPs over who knew what about for hacking at the paper.
This is his second appearance at a parliamentary committee after
discrepancies in the evidence he gave over the summer.
Still to come: As violence continues in Syria, we hear from a
resident of the embattled city of Osh. -- Homs.
We have just heard about the new Prime Minister being announced in
Greece. Turning to Italy, the Italians have a bond auction today,
haven't they? What will that tell us? The crunch to it was what kind
of interest rates the Italian government have to pay. On one year
bonds be paid over 6%. Last month they paid 3.5% interest rate on
that. That gives you a flavour. This is because investors are
losing confidence in Italy's ability to attack it -- tackle its
debt. One former bond trader told me that things are going to get
even tougher, particularly on ten- year bonds. At the level we're
talking about, it is seven to 8%. The cost is two euros for every 5
euros of revenue that you receive. You are paying 40% adjusted your
borrowing cost of all your income. The worst part is, if we are
looking at Italian growth of 0.5% in the next year or so, the
question is: Where is the money going to come from? That is the
issue. A lot of people are speculating that the European
Central Bank will have to do more. It has been buying bonds but many
people say that is not enough. The Germans do not want that because
they say it will increase inflation. Part of the way out of the crisis
is what these countries can do to get their books in order -
austerity packages. Portugal has a vote on its austerity package.
is right. The parliament is debating it for next year. Portugal
has already had a bail-out, but really the measures that people are
having to stomach are very difficult and our correspondent
The cuts are very deep. For example, the most controversial measure has
been the removal of holiday and Christmas pay for most public
sector employees and for many state pensioners. That is a one-seventh
cut in annual income. That was deeper than some had expected. Many
tax rises. Other spending cuts which will affect pretty much
everyone here. That is an example of how bad things have got for some
of how bad things have got for some people in Portugal. I want to show
you the market reaction, not only to the European zone difficulties,
but other issues out there in the markets. You can see the FTSE is up
by 30 points. Asian markets, a good deal weaker. That is before the
D this is GMT from BBC world news. The headlines: Lucas Papademos is
named as Greece's new Prime Minister. He will head a coalition
Government until early elections in February. A dire warn from the
European Commission - economic growth in the eurozone is at a
standstill and urgent action is needed.
South Korea is holding its National College entrance exam this Friday.
The pressure for academic success is fierce. Many young Koreans find
when they graduate there are not enough jobs to go around. They are
now urging them to opt for vocational training instead. There
are not many excuses for arriving late to Korea's National College
entrance exam. This is the one day of the year when the Government
changes flight schedules and even holds up the morning rush hour to
give students the best possible chance. University is seen as
crucial here. 80% of school leavers now go on to higher education.
That's causing a problem. This boy is taking a different
route. At 17 he has decided he wants to be a chef. Rather than
cramming for the university entrance exam, he is learning
practical skills at a vocational high school. Today's lesson, read
bean noodles. My mum and my dad, they didn't want
me to go to this school. In our culture, in Korea, man was not
supposed to cook in the kitchen. I really want it. People around me,
they told me, you shouldn't do that, you know. That's one of the reasons
why I choose culinary because I didn't want to be like normal
students. The Government wants more students to think like Woonmo.
The dilemma for South Korea is with 80% of its students going to
university there are not enough top jobs to go around. Many of the gad
watts end up unemployed -- graduates end up unemployed. The
President has been promoting a new scheme to give those with work
experience the same benefits and status as those with degrees.
This is what he's up against - parents who will do almost anything
to get their child into university. At Seoul's main Buddhist temple the
price of your off spring's success is 100 bows a day, every day since
July. TRANSLATION: I am here for my granddaughter. The Government is
wrong to discourage people from learning. I would have liked to
have gone to university myself. It was not possible in my day. Ju-sung
Eun is old enough to remember the days before democracy. For her and
many others here, fear for ending up on the wrong side of a two-tier
system still runs deep. The Arab League is preparing for a meeting
on Saturday when they will consider what they say is Syria's failure to
implement a peace plan agreed last week. They are split over the key
issues. On Wednesday, opposition leaders who favour dialogue were
pelted with eggs as they tried to hold talks with the Arab League at
its headquarters in Cairo. They had to turn back. The Syrian National
Council, mainly led by opposition leaders outside the country wants
no dialogue, just regime change. Well, the Syrian uprising was
inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. Protests began
in March, with raltlys calling for freedom in Deraa. -- rallies
calling for freedom in Deraa. Several people were killed when
forces opened fire. The protests and violence spread to many towns
and cities. The central city of Homs emerged as what activists call
"the capital of the revolution." The UN says there have now been at
least 3,500 hundreds in the country. Here in the studio I am joined by
Helen Abdul Dayem, a former resident of Homs, who lived there
until her family was caught up in the revolution. I say caught up in
the revolution. In fact it was your son who was shot. Yes, he was shot.
Actually, as a family, in general, we were very active in the
revolution. My son went out on the first demonstration. Specifically
after children were tortured. There was a demonstration that came out
on the road to Hama. We considered these boys very brave to even dare
to do that. It's very iron-fisted regime in Syria and you dare not.
should say your son is back here in Britain and he's fine. He's fine.
Presumably you're still in touch with people in Homs, are you?
What are you hearing? Absolutely unbelievable stories. Empty houses
are now being taken over. Smashed. Troops are moving into empty houses
now. Snipers on the roof top. I have friends who are trying to get
out now, a particular friend of mine actually has tickets to leave
the country and cannot even get out of the area where we lived in,
because it's very close to where the snipers are on the roof. She
cannot even leave her house. there any sign, do you think, that
these - I have just talked about the Arab League in discussions - is
there any sign this is a regime willing to listen to anybody? Is it
in the end going to have to be the phase many people are using -
revolution? "I Think it is a revolution. It has been a
revolution for a long time. would call it a revolution? I would
from a long time ago. These are the bravest people I have ever seen,
daring to go p against this regime, who are ruthless, heartless,
vicious, torturing children. Raping women. It just doesn't stop. They
will fall. I believe we've got, from Homs, a physician, a dock who
has been witnessing the unrest. For -- a doctor who has been witnessing
the unrest. For his safety we will just call him Dr Abdullah. What can
you tell from the patients you see and the kind of injuries you are
dealing with? So, can I start from what happened today? Today, more
than 50 tanks are surrounding the hospital right now. They are
preventing all the medical supplies to come into the hospital. We just
got a phone call from there that someone dying from his collar. He
died because they would not let blood get into the hospital. I am
so sorry, but we have to leave it now Dr Abdullah and of course here
in the studio, Helen Abdul Dayem. Thank you too for your time. Thank
you very much. Now, the European Union has blocked
the release of a documentary on Afghan women in jail for what are
called moral crimes. The EU said it decided to withdraw the film, which
it commissioned because of very real concerns for the women who are
portrayed in the film. Human rights workers say it is important to lift
the lid on Afghan judicial practises.
A glimpse inside a hidden world. Badam Bagh, a women's prison. Many
have been jailed for so-called moral crimes, like running away
from forced marriages or violent husbands.
This woman is here because she was raped. When she reported the attack
She remains a prisoner behind these walls. She dared to tell her story
in a documentary. The European Union has decided not to release it.
They say it fears for the safety of those who were filmed. Human rights
workers say many of the woman in jails like this are guilty of
nothing. They were victims of violence, abused first by their
husbands or relatives and then by the judicial system itself.
Some are now serving long sentences, thanks to corrupt judges and police.
Human rights workers want their stories to be told.
I think it's very important that people understand that there are
these extraordinary horrific stories happening now, ten years
after the Taliban Government, ten years after what was supposed to be
a new dawn for Afghan women. many, that new dawn has not come.
International news and intelligent analysis going live to the heart of the day's top global story. George Alagiah shares his experience as one of the BBC's most successful foreign correspondents to communicate why world stories matter to a UK and global audience.
Featuring exclusive reports from BBC World News correspondents based around the world, plus up-to-the-minute global business news.