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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New York police cleared the first anti- capitalist camp that inspired
a worldwide protest movement. More than 70 protesters were arrested
for defying orders to leave. But most of those Diddley voluntary.
Based around of the park in riot gear. They are trying to block off
every street right now. They are Welcome to GMT. In the programme,
heading for victory. Spanish polls put the right-wing candidate in the
lead, but winning the election will beat the easy part. I'll be
reporting from Spain, where the Socialist government is bracing
itself for defeat as the economy heads into even deeper crisis.
Syria's opposition leaders meet Russian officials. Can Moscow
really played honest broker? It is 1230 in London, 8:30pm in Hong Kong
and 7:30am in New York, where police have closed down the
original occupy Wall Street encampment. It saw several arrests
and accusations of heavy hand it must from the protesters. They'd
been in the city's parks since September, spawning a protest
movement that spread across the Atlantic to Europe. The Europe --
the New York authorities said the encampments became a health hazard
and say the protesters can return I am sorry, we've got a problem
with that report. It just came in a few minutes ago. Let's go to a
report we've also got from Humphrey Hawksley, on the events of that
night-time operation, clearing Zuccotti Park. Stay calm, do not
give up! It is 1am and police start to evicted protesters from there it
two a month old encampment in the shadow of Wall Street. Those who
came here to demonstrate against corporate greed and the gap between
rich and poor are being ordered out. The whole world is watching!
police say they are clearing the park to clean it. The owners have
complained about the dirty conditions. Some chained themselves
together in protest. Others go. They're angry confrontations
between the police and the protesters. At about 3:25am they
started with arrests. It immediately escalated into punching.
The police pushed a big group of us. The woman in front of me had a
whole bunch of people behind her and couldn't back up. The police
started beating her with batons. I went to helper but we got sprayed
with pepper spray. What is going on in this city that you think this is
necessary? The one so from the rows of riot police lining the streets,
blocking off access to the park as the protesters were removed. The
protesters are angry about being evicted. They've been told they can
go back but they've got to go back without any tents, so they know
this is the end of their encampment. Already they are planning to move
somewhere else in the city. This was the scene in the middle of the
night. Those who came here to make their voices heard against what
they see as corporate excess left without a place to protest. What do
you think about the fact you've been evicted? I think it's sad but
maybe it's what we needed. I think it will just make us stronger.
protesters are roaming the streets of trying to regroup. Some want to
retake the park once it's been cleaned. Others say their powerful
anti- capitalist message has been heard and it doesn't matter where
Staying with the US but turning to political rather than financial
leadership, we can see that trying to prove you can run the country is
no easy task. The Republican Party are holding a series of debates
between the party members hoping to be nominated as a candidate for
next year's elections. Last week, Texas Governor Rick Perry had an
absent-minded moment and forgot which government department he
would cut if he got into power. Yesterday it was White House
hopeful Herman Cain's turned to go a little bit blank, when a reporter
from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked him about one of the biggest
foreign policy stories of the year. So you agreed with President Obama
on Libya? OK, Libya. President Obama supported the uprising -
correct? President Obama called for the removal of Gaddafi, I want to
make sure we are talking about the same thing before I say yes, I
agree, or no, I didn't agree. I do not agree with the way he handled
I've got to go back... I've got all this stuff twirling around in my
head. Herman Cain there. We will have more on that, on the
Republican nomination race, later in the programme. Let's take a look
at some of the other stories making headlines around the world. Syrian
opposition activists say at least 80 people were killed on Monday by
government forces. The opposition is responding to the latest
violence with a multi- pronged a diplomatic offensive. Their
representatives have held talks in Moscow with the Russian Foreign
Minister, Sergei Lavrov. The head of the Syrian National Council has
been speaking to reporters in Moscow after that meeting with the
Russian Foreign Minister. He is part of what he had to say.
wanted to explain to our Russian Bent -- friends about our point of
view. About the need to adopt these decisions by the Arab League,
Russia and the international community, so that we can form a
force that will put pressure on the regime, that would prevent it from
getting away, from stopping the killings. Let's go now to Daniel
Sandford, our correspondent in Moscow. What exactly is Moscow up
to? On the one hand, they seem to veto any suggestion of taking
action at the UN, but here they are talking to the opposition. Russia's
position is they don't believe that further sanctions on necessary or
useful. They don't want to see any kind of unnecessary pressure
towards regime change in Syria. But what they do want to see is some
kind of negotiated solution. They recognise there are some legitimate
complaints by the opposition in Syria, and what they want to see is
the Syrian government and opposition talking together. What
is at the meeting today for Russia is to try and persuade the Russian
-- the opposition groups to get around the table to negotiate this.
But the opposition group's view is, we want to see pressure from
countries like Russia on President Al-Assad to resign before we will
get into that process. They want to see Assad making clear commitments
towards democracy before they will get round the table with him.
there is a challenge on the ground for the Russian position. We are
hearing that dozens of people, possibly as many as 70 or 80 shot
yesterday and today in Syria. How does that help Russia when asking
the Syrian opposition to get into a dialogue? It doesn't help at all.
Russia is finding itself, as it was over Libya, slightly isolated. At
least a Bolivia, Russia had not vetoed these Council resolutions.
On Syria, they are saying they would oppose any further sanctions.
They are getting themselves in a position where they are starting to
see the opposition interior as a supporter of President Assad.
That's causing big problems. The opposition groups are saying that
Russia is having the wool pulled over its eyes by the Syrian regime
and that Russia should start listening to the views of the
Syrian people. That is what they've been saying, what was described as
very Sybil talks today. I have to say, listening to the press
conference after the meeting, it doesn't sound like the two
positions have changed very much. The opposition are still saying
they want more pressure from Russia on President Assad to stand down,
or at the very least make very concrete moves towards
democratisation. Do you get the impression that the opposition
movement is there simply because it feels it has did, rather than it
really does think that Moscow can be some kind of honest broker able
to have influence over the Damascus government? I got the impression as
they went into these talks that they came here genuinely hoping
they could persuade the Russian government, to convince them of
their credentials and what they were trying to achieve. It didn't
sound from the press conference afterwards that they felt they'd
manage to do much persuading. They said it was a perfectly decent
discussion and that both sides have listened to each other, but they
didn't sound as though they felt that they'd managed to change
Russia's position. A British minister has called for the release
of political prisoners in Burma. A number of prisoners were due to be
released this week but this appears to have been delayed. The
international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, is visiting Burma.
It's the first such visit by a British minister for a generation.
He told me that the reforms being introduced by the government are
grounds for cautious optimism, as he put it, but that more needed to
be done. Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is pushing to
overturn a ban on sales of uranium to India. The move would remove a
diplomatic thorn between the two countries and comes ahead of a
visit by US President Barack Obama. The ban was introduced four years
ago because India had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
treaty. Julia Gillard said a change in policy would strengthen
Australia's connection with what she called dynamic, democratic
India. As India rises and brings hundreds of millions of people out
of poverty, it will need more energy, it is looking to supply 40
% of that energy need through nuclear energy. We are a very big
supplier of uranium. So having access to this new and growing
market is good for Australian jobs. Italy's new appointed Prime
Minister is holding talks with representatives of the two largest
political parties today, as he seeks to form a new government
which can steer Italy through its debt crisis. Their votes will be
crucial in a confidence vote likely this week, which would seal the
Back to US politics, the Republican Party are holding a series of
debates between the members hoping to be nominated as a candidate for
next year's elections. Last week, Texas Governor Rick Perry had what
can only be described as an absent- minded moment and forgot which
government department he would cad if he got into power. Yesterday, it
was White House hope for Herman Cain's turn to go a bit blank when
a reporter from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked him about
one of the biggest foreign policy stories of the year. Joining me now
from Virginia is Dr Larry Sabato, from the University of Virginia.
The hopefuls seem to be making a habit of this. Yes, we've learnt
two important scientific developments from the Republicans.
Brain freeze is real and apparently it's communicable. I don't know if
would -- if it will spread between the two we've seen so far.
President Obama with a huge smile on his face. They are doing his
work for him. They are. Of course, the White House believes in the end
that the most credible candidate who will be nominated his former
Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. They are preparing for a very close
competitive battle with him. But obviously, to the extent that the
other republicans can embarrass me to rob me, it helps a lot. --
embarrassed Mitt Romney. What is it about American politics that throws
up this kind of thing? Sitting here on the other side of the pond, it
is laughable that men who aspire to the highest office some would say
in the world could be like this. Well, I have to be honest with you,
Ivor followed politics for 40 or 50 years and I can tell you honestly
this is one of the weakest of fields that I've ever seen in
either party. That just enhances Mitt Romney's standing, because he
is a major player. But most of the other Republican candidates are not
really major players, even in their own estates. Texas Governor Rick
Perry would be but a number of the others don't even have a home base.
This is not an impressive group of opponents. In the end, one would
assume that this would mean that the one who is impressive would be
nominated. Does it make a difference in the end, because one
remembers George W Bush and his brain freeze moments in his
campaign. There he was, he was there for eight years. It depends
on the opposition. In the case of Texas Governor Rick Perry, I think
the brain freeze has heard him. That was just a devastating moment.
It has been played and replayed on almost every television channel. It
makes him look quite foolish and unprepared. As far as Herman Cain
is concerned, this is just the latest in a long series of
incidents that suggest to most reasonable people that he is not
prepared to be President. I think the sexual harassment charges are
more serious for him and are indeed Still to come on GMT: Could this
man put the Spanish economy back on First, let's get all the business
news. This big debate in Europe, some people say we need to go for
growth, others say we have to have austerity and cut. In a way, we're
getting some of the answer to that. The new eurozone growth figures are
out today. Yes, it is a tough balance.
Spending cuts and tax increases are killing of potential growth. For
the last three months, eurozone GDP came in and at 0.2%. Germany came
in at 0.5%, France at 0.4%. France was better than expected. Greece is
Bock down in recession, down by 5.2%. It is better than previous
quarters but still a horrible number. This highlights the tough
dilemma facing eurozone leaders. We have to make a choice - either
belt-tightening or growth. When we look at the Hyde debt numbers in
most European countries, it means belt-tightening. You have to accept
it will cost growth, but if you do it together with measures that can
stimulate and increase growth in the medium term, I think it is the
right way to go. It is the right way to go, but the
markets want to see what measures are going to be put in place to
drive growth. You have to grow yourself out of debt.
Tough times or road, including four companies. Richard Branson has been
saying, do not let go of some of your more ethical thought.
-- thoughts. Absolutely. We will focus on that
later if we have more time. I want to focus on the credit rating
agencies. The EU has never for given the three big ratings
agencies for not giving enough warning about the crisis that hit
in 2008, for not revealing some of the uncomfortable truths about the
debt that some European countries were sitting on, as well as not
giving Europe the credit for post crisis reforms. There is some
discussion for an alternative to these three.
TRANSLATION: I believe this will start the discussion again that an
independent European ratings agency should be founded. That would give
an alternative to the American -- the American agencies which are
quite dependent on private enterprise.
More business later on. For more on the Occupy a Wall
Street movement, have a look at our the headlines: Police in New York
have carried out an operation to clear and the Wall Street
campaigners from their protest camp. In a meeting with Syrian opposition
leaders, Russia's Foreign Minister has restated the position that they
should engage in dialogue with President Assad.
The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says he has paid the first instalment of
a tax bill. The down payment would allow his company to lodge an
appeal against his tax demand. He called the payment the price of
freedom of speech. Our correspondent joins us. Bring us up
to date. He has described his recent life as
being like a Hollywood movie. It began earlier this year when the
artist was detained for three months without access to a lawyer.
He was then released. The authorities said he had not paid
his tax. It is something denied by the artist. He says he has paid
this bond in order to allow him to fight his case. Much of the money
for that Bond has come from his supporters, thousands of supporters
who have made online donations. In some cases they have literally
throw it over the wall of his studio. Here is what he had to save.
Only by doing is do we have a chance to make an appeal. I do not
think we can win the case. The whole thing is politically
motivated. You will never get a fair trial in China. I see this as
a ransom. A few months ago I was kidnapped. This is a payment for
the price of freedom of speech. This is not just for me. If you see
the report from the young -- the support from the young people,
everybody expecting me to fight, to make sure that this kind of action
never happens to anyone else. These are the true lives of many people.
In my case it is more public. I have a chance to talk about it
openly. How this case now precedes really
is not clear. We have seen so many developments throughout the past
few months. When I met the artist last week he simply said that he
did not know what to expect. He added that the authorities simply
make up the rules as they go along. Another eurozone country that is
suffering is Spain. The country's governing Socialist Party seems to
be heading for his worst ever defeat in this week's general
election. The opposition Popular Party is promising economic
recovery and new jobs. Under pressure from the EU to continue
with austerity measures, can be really turn Spain's fortunes
around? This report contains flash photography.
This was once a Spanish-born town. Today it is a symbol of the
country's crisis. Manuel took me to see why. This is
their factory he worked out before Spain's economy crashed, wiping a
business. TRANSLATION: There are no opportunities here today, nothing.
This place was dependent on doors, and that is all gone.
Spain's deep economic crisis is a major burden for the Socialist
government and the campaign trail. Wide by Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba,
the Socialists are still fighting this election. Using scare tactics
to rally support, they warned that the conservative Popular Party
plans to decimate the welfare state with spending cuts. TRANSLATION:
The people who are suffering most in this crisis are traditional
voters, the Socialist electorate, so it is hard to convince them.
What we're saying is, yes, things are tough now but they will be much
worse under the Popular Party. proof they point to Castile-La
Mancha. Pharmacists here have not been paid for dispensing
prescription medicines for six months. The Popular Party insists
it is tending to a sick economy after years of reckless spending
under the Socialists. Above all, the opposition is framing itself as
the party of change. A policy plans are deliberately vague. We need a
new policy and a new government. That is the way to make things
change and to start building the confidence and trust that we need.
With the entire eurozone in crisis, voters you know that whoever wins
this election will have to take tough decisions. There will be
bigger spending cuts. Both of the main parties are planning to --
promising to create jobs. There is deep scepticism here that anyone
can actually deliver on that. Most people know that the fate of Spain
is linked to outside forces. Eurozone leaders and investors are
watching closely to see if the government can turn his economy
around and avert a bail-out. -- turned this economy around.
You might be wondering what to get your nearest and dearest for
Christmas. Nothing says I Love You Like a diamond. If you have $15
million burning a hole in your pocket our correspondent has the
perfect suggestion for that very special gift.
It is called the Sun drop, one of the rarest coloured diamonds in the
world. At 110 carats it is probably a little large Ford you ring finger.
It is also the biggest diamond of its kind ever to be put up for
auction, but will it sell in these times of global financial crisis?
$15 million is a very correct estimate, I think, for this diamond.
This time last year in Geneva we sold a diamond for $46 million.
There are buyers for important, rare coloured diamonds. Ever since
the economic downturn began in 2008, Business in gemstones has been
burning. Some people clearly still have money. What is more, jewels
like these will not lose their value as quickly as the euro or the
dollar. Auctioneers are expecting a storm of bids.
We are coming to the end of GMT. Before we go, a reminder of our
main story. Police in New York's City have closed down the original
calcite occupy encampment. There were accusations of heavy
handedness from the protesters. They have been in Zuccotti Park
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.