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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Welcome to GMT. I am Naga Munchetty. Massive explosions tear through a
naval base in Cyprus. At least 12 are dead. It is thought
the blasts were triggered by a fire at a munitions dump, and were felt
Egypt's revolution at a crossroads. The protesters step up the pressure,
accusing the authorities of betraying the uprising.
It is 12:30pm in London, 1:30pm in Cairo and 2:30pm in Cyprus. That is
where huge explosions have torn through the main Greek Cypriots
naval base, killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more.
The blast happened at the munitions store east of the country's second
city of Limassol in the south. The blast were at the fishing village
of Zygi. It has been described as a catastrophe of Le Buechel
proportions, felt as far away as the village of Mari. -- catastrophe
of biblical proportions. Nothing could a prepared local
people for this. The hot summer morning were shattered as the
munitions store packed with gunpowder exploded. The blast
ripped through the Cypriot National Guard naval base, killing and
maiming of those unlucky enough to be in its path. The force was so
powerful, homes and cars near by were seriously damaged. The sound
blew my socks off. The Glass Blew In, windows, door frames, things
fell off the shelves. It was as though a bomb has hit the place.
Officials speculate this was a tragic accident. The fire brigade
was called out to fight a while far, and as they struggled with the
blaze, there were massive explosions from the naval base. The
weapons cache had been confiscated two years ago from this ship, the
Monchegorsk, chartered by the Iranian national shipping company.
The arms left to run and were bound for Syria of the cargo was
intercepted a on suspicion it was violating a UN arms embargo on Iran.
The Tehran has always denied accusations the weapons were
intended for a militant groups like Hizbollah.
Next to the naval base is the island's main power station, also
largely destroyed. The South of cypresses in the grip of a heatwave
and possibly months of power cuts. Residents have been urged to cut
back on the use of fridges and air- conditioning. We have come up with
a plan of interrupting supply to residential areas on a rotational
basis. Basic infrastructure places like airports, hospitals, tourist
areas, industrial areas will not be affected. It is thought about 2000
tons of gunpowder exploded. Nearby farms have been devastated and the
country's President has called it a catastrophe. Many will be asking
why so much dangerous material was not stored more safely.
The blast caused extensive damage to villages near by. Stephanos
Kouratzis, a Greek photographer, has been travelling through nearby
Zygi and Mari. He is now back in Nicosia. Describe the scene. Good
evening from Cyprus. The electrical plant has been levelled. The
catastrophe is huge. The surrounding villages have been
affected. Most of it was the village of Mari. The nearby fish
farms had also some damage. Fishermen have been reporting that
dead fish are on the shores. It is quite worrying. There was an
official announcement two minutes ago that officially there are 12
dead people. The Minister of Defence and the commander of the
National Guard have both resigned. You mention that Mari is a few
kilometres away from Zygi, where the blast occurred. The damage
could have been worse if it was not for this hill. Explain more.
Between the village and the plant, there is a small hill. This is what
saved the village from a bigger disaster. It was like a field. -- a
shield. Interlocked the wave. also mention the fishermen and the
damage. They must be concerned about their income in the coming
months. These fish farms, they are the main income this time of year,
because it is summer. They will be scared of these things, and trying
to find out more. The Government does not have a full image of the
issue that has come up. I imagine this catastrophe will come clear in
coming days. Stephanos Kouratzis, thank you very much.
It has been six months since protests in Tunisia brought about a
historic revolution in the country that sparked a wave of uprisings
across the Arab region. George Alagiah is in Egypt to mark the
occasion. With the latest, George, Hull.
Thank you very much. Five months on, Tahrir Square is still very much
what it was in January and February, a place of protest. It is a place
that has now got iconic status. It toppled the presidency of Hosni
Mubarak. The fact that these people are still here tells another story.
There is growing disenchantment with the pace of change. Let me
give you an idea. This poster behind me essentially says that the
Transitional Military Council, the generals that took over the running
of the country, that they are defending Hosni Mubarak and the
people around him, saying that they have not been brought to justice.
That is what this resolution is about. One of the protesters who
has been here is Mohammed. Thank you for being with us. Tell me, in
your words, what are you still doing five months since Hosni
Mubarak fell? The regime is still here. It has not changed. Hosni
Mubarak is not here, but he is still in power. That is not what
the transitional council say. They say that the change has to come
slowly. They say that if the country went up the pace you're
wanting, it would be chaos. intermediary council wanted to make
a military movements to cut the regime, by telling the people that
they would accept the demands. Behind the scenes, everything is
still there, fake promises, accepting other man's. The regime
is still here. -- accepting their demands. That will come as a huge
surprise to people around the world to have watched the events in this
country and remember those moments in Tahrir Square on February 11th,
five months ago. They will be surprise to hear you say that
nothing has changed. You are talking to a mess. This is a mess.
We activists, and we're taking any risks. These activists me to go
back. -- needed to go back. Friday, there were many thousands
here, how long are you going to stay, and what are you going to do
to step up the pressure? I have started another movement. I'm not
eating, I have not had any food. Many people are supporting me. I
will stay like this for as long as I can, until the military council
goes away, and instead of this... I am so tired. I know. It is very hot.
Mohammed, thank you very much. I should say, it is very hot, it is
39 degrees. Egypt is not the only place. From Tunisia, which started
it all off, six months ago, right through to Libya and, of course,
Syria. There have been protests right across this Arab region. We
can go over to be written and talked to our correspondent, Owen
Bennett Jones, who has been monitoring these cocks in Syria.
Reconciliation talks, there being cold. Bring us up to date on what
is exactly happening -- they are being cold.
They're in their second day. The first day was dealing with the
general issues, and also possible changes to the constitution. Des
two is more focused. They're talking about election law. In the
evening, media law. These are big issues. The questionnaires, is
incredible? To people believe it will happen? -- the question is.
And some opposition members have not joined in with the stocks. What
are they saying? They are saying it is impossible to hold this kind of
dialogue at a time when, if people go out on the streets to express
their point of view, there can be shot and killed. That is happening,
week in, week out. We have been used to these huge protests, and
people die every Friday. Last Friday, probably 15 people died. It
is difficult to get Agora numbers. There are clashes throughout the
week. The opposition leaders in Syria, and some in exile, say it is
impossible to talk to the Government without going on. What
is your judgment on these talks, and whether or not they will come
to any sort of meaningful conclusion, as far as the demand
for change in Syria goes? As far as the Government is concerned, it is
the only show in town. They have been using force for four months
and it has not worked. This is the other track. They have a process
underway. This is a two-day meeting with an indeterminate time table
but there will be, they say, a national dialogue Conference at the
end of this which will come up with proposals for legislative change.
There is a process, but cannot work without the opposition
participating? Is it really possible that a regime that is
shooting people on the streets every week is going to be willing
to have genuinely free and fair elections, and if they lose, to
give up power? It is that kind about combat people on the
opposition side cannot see happening. -- it is that kind of
power that. You get a sense, talking there, and
talking to the protesters here, that throughout this region, that
has seen these convulsions over the last six months, there is now a new
stage. It is as if the initial protests, the initial call for
democratic change in places like Egypt and Tunisia, that in many
ways is the easy part. What comes next, the replacement, is turning
out to be much, much more difficult. That is all from Tahrir Square.
George, thank you very much. A quick look at some of the other
stories making headlines around the world today. In Russia, the hope of
finding any more survivors after a tourist boat sank in the Volga
river, are fading. More than 100 are feared dead. 80 passengers and
crew survived the accident but so far, just six bodies have been
recovered. Nearly 70 people have been killed
in a train crash in northern India. Police say more than 200 other
passengers were injured when the train derailed between the cities
of Kanpur and Anna Battke. In a further sign of worsening
relations, the United States has suspended $800 million of military
aid to Pakistan. Tensions were already beginning before Osama Bin
Laden was killed in a US raid in the country. Recently, Pakistan
expelled more than 100 US military trainers and threatened to shut
down ACA base. Still to come: More than 600
victims of the shrubbery to massacre are being re- buried on
the 16th anniversary of the killings. -- CIA base.
Aaron Heselhurst is here with the business news. It is something
we're not getting away with, alleged hacking.
Absolutely. The pressure is mounting on Rupert Murdoch's bid
for BSkyB. This is what investors are looking at. Jeremy Hunt is
saying that he is not going to be rushed into any decision. He knows
he has also written to the regulators seeking advice. All of
this, growing speculation that this takeover will be referred back to
the Competition Commission, which will involve a lengthy decision --
investigation into whether Murdoch would be a fit owner. Investors are
doing one thing because of all of this, dumping BSkyB shares. It fell
6%. It is around 700 pence per share. Let us remind ourselves, not
too long ago, it was �8.50 per share. Let us listen to the
comments made by Nick Clegg not Rupert Murdoch is now in town in
London, seeking to sort things out. I would simply say to him, look how
people feel about this. Look how the country has reacted with
revulsion to the revelation, so do the decent and sensible thing, and
reconsider. Think again, about your bid for BSkyB. I should say the
global empire News Corp as it is investors from round the world but
they are focused on one story and that is what is doing on in the UK.
They are punishing News Corp shares, they are down There is a story that
usurps this story? Is bigger than this story. I know what word meant
That C word we use round the eurozone, contagion. It is back
again. Over Italy. If we are worried about Greece, Ireland and
Portugal we should be sweating bricks when it comes to Italy. It
has the highest sovereign debt ratio reltive to its economy
outside of Greece. It has a lot of, a lot of debt indeed. Investors are
starting to punish the economy. They sold off the banks on Friday.
The interest rate that has to pay on the debt, the country, that is,
reaching dangerous levels. Listen to this. We are approaching that
zone really where they are sufficiently elevated we almost hit
whatever terms is a self full tilling prophesy who Italy can
sustain the high interest costs and that concern itself puts those
costs on an ever more upward path. So, yes, I think we are very much
in significant territory, in terms of outright yield levels and it's a
concern. And markets are down off You are watching GMT from BBC World
news. Our main headline this hour. Massive explosions tear through a
naval base in Cyprus, 12 people are dead. Dozens are injured. More than
600 victims of the Srebrenica massacre will be reburied on the
16th an versery of the killings. The remains will be taken from a
memorial cemetery where more than 4,000 massacre victims are buried.
Round 8,000 Muslims were killed by Bosnian Serb forces. Joining us
from Slovenia is the lead lawyer for the mothers of Srebrenica, a
group made up of family members of those killed in the massacre. What
are you expecting today. Thank you for joining me. Good day. Thank you
for the opportunity to discuss it. Tell me, what do you think today
will mean, to people in the town? Well, today anniversary is
different, because of the two main things. First, the general is
arrested and that gives hopes to mothers Srebrenica. Second thing is
verdict in a case which could have var good implications to our case.
It has been many years since the scenes of devastation, how have
people moved on? Well, emotions of the mothers are very mixed. First,
first impression was relief, while the hunt after Ratko Mladic is over.
Second he could show the places where their sobs and husbands were
killed and buried. And anger because of his behaviour in the
court room. That as I said, this verdict gives a hope to mother, and
we hope that we will have it on our part. What does this cemetery mean
to these families? What do they feel? Do they feel some peace will
come about for the victims? Yes, the worst thing is still looking
for revenge of your son or husband. That is the worst thing for the
mothers. They emphasise a lot of time, the most important thing is
to find remains of their relatives, who were killed in Srebrenica.
Second is to determine who is or who was responsible for it. Do they
feel the international community has done enough to bring justice to
themselves and their victims. Definitely not. Somehow they feel
to be like betrayed, because of the behaviour of the international
community. That is the reason why this verdict in which came as a
surprise, is a very good thing. Thank you very much for joining me.
The UN's High Commission forerefugees has described the
drought in east Africa as the worse humanitarian disaster in the world.
Our correspondent has been to the overcrowded refugee camp in North
East Kenya. This woman gave birth to to her daughter just four days
ago. But they are far away from home. She is from Somalia but
escape add country wracked by war and drought. So her daughter was
born in a refugee camp in North East Kenya. A victim of man and
Mother Nature. My grandparents were the last to leave. My whole family
south of Somalia. There is nothing for me or my daughter there now.
Every day cease more and more desperate people turn up at the
refugee camp, while the rains stay away. I need to know what you want.
I know. You have the power to help Somalis. And this man is charged
with their welfare. He is the UN High Commissioner for refugees,
facing one of the most difficult crises of his career. They walked
for day, I just saw a mother that lost three of her children on the
way. So this is indeed something terrible, and I believe that the
international community needs to massively support the plight, this
population to overcome the plight they are suffering. The camp is the
biggest in world. It is well over 350,000 people strong. Yet every
single day it grows and grows. 1300 people arrive here every day. They
retired, their are malnourished, and they are looking for sustenance
and they are looking for a bit of help. The camp spreads for miles.
Much of it unrel regulate and the UN's top priority is getting the
Kenyans to provide more official facilities nearby. Until then, the
camp's number will be swelled by those the drought forced into exile
and by those who were born into exile. You can get plenty more on
the situation in east Africa on the BBC News website. We have special
reports on the drought, including first hand accounts of how some of
the ten million people affected are coping. There are details on how
you can donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee. The last
American space shuttle in operation Atlantis has docked at the
International Space Station on its final mission. It has delivered
enough food to last the astronauts for a year, and will bring rubbish
back from the space station to earth. In orbit above the earth. A
moment of history as Atlantis, the last American space shuttle comes
into dock tat International Space Station for the last time. Slowly
performing a back flip so that astronaut tons station can check
for any damage to the heat tiles on the bottom of shuttle. And at
Mission Control in Houston they keep a close watch as the shuttle
makes its final approach. Atlantis arrival -- arriving. Welcome to the
space passion for the last time. will see you shortly. It is great
to be here The crew are getting ready to welcome the crew... Inside
the space station the crew wait to welcome the new visitors and first
through the hatch from the shuttle is Commander Chris Ferguson.
are you? Good. Closely followed by the other astronauts from Atlantis.
Two, one, zero. Lift off. shuttle blasted off on Friday,
climbing into the sky for the last time. Carrying with it supplies for
the space station, with enough food to last a year. The astronauts will
stay here until next week. Before their final journey home. And the
end of a programme that has lasted 30 years, as the shuttle passes
into history. The end of an era. Organisers of the Tour de France
have ban add tell kaition car from the race after it crashed into two
requireds sending them flying. Stage nine was another eventful one
with a number of riders involved in accidents. Before we take a look at
the incident. It is pretty bad, I should warn you. Have a look at
this mass crash. Four riders had to go to hospital with broken bones.
The most high profile was Alexander. He has a broken thigh bone. That is
the end of his tour and he says it is his last Tour de France. The
most shocking came 55 kilometres first on. A television car swerved
into the path of Fletcher who brought down another ryeer. The
Dutchman flew into a ditch. Fletcher had cuts to his arms and
legs but both got back on their bikes. Spain's rider won stage nine
when while the Frenchman wears the yellow Jersey. We are just about
out of time. If you have any views on the stories we are covering we
would love to hear from you. We will have our own Facebook page as
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.
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