11/11/2011 GMT with George Alagiah


11/11/2011

Stephen Sackur 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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The Eurozone's bad boys, Greece and Italy, prepare to take a step back

:00:07.:00:17.
:00:17.:00:19.

from the brink of economic chaos. Athens gets a new government, Rome

:00:19.:00:23.

are prepared to say goodbye to Berlusconi, are they serious about

:00:23.:00:33.
:00:33.:00:42.

Welcome to GMT. I'm Stephen Sackur. Also in the programme: Syria is

:00:42.:00:52.
:00:52.:00:55.

accused of crimes against humanity. Commemorations in Afghanistan and

:00:55.:01:02.

around the world to mark Armistice Day.

:01:02.:01:08.

It is 12:30pm in London. In Rome the upper house of the Italian

:01:08.:01:12.

parliament has approved a sweeping set of austerity and reform

:01:12.:01:15.

measures designed to convince international financial markets

:01:15.:01:20.

Italy is serious about dealing with its mountain of sovereign debt. In

:01:20.:01:23.

Athens the effort to bring the eurozone back from the brink

:01:23.:01:28.

continues. A new government led by Lucas Papademos is about to be

:01:28.:01:33.

sworn into office. Last night the US government demanded swift action

:01:33.:01:38.

in Europe to end the crisis. Could today marked a turning point?

:01:38.:01:43.

Humphrey Hawksley has the latest. The era of flamboyant showmanship

:01:43.:01:49.

is drawing to a close. Technocrat Mario Monti heads into the Senate

:01:49.:01:54.

building, he could be prime minister as soon as tomorrow. A

:01:54.:01:59.

former low key European Commissioner seen as effective, a

:01:59.:02:08.

low profile and scandal free. He was given a hero's welcome inside

:02:08.:02:13.

the chamber, then came speeches underlining the pressure on Italy

:02:13.:02:19.

to change direction. TRANSLATION: We hope this can pave the way to a

:02:19.:02:23.

government that will enable it to lead to come out of this critical

:02:23.:02:26.

situation and avoid default altogether.

:02:26.:02:31.

The austerity package hopes to save almost 60 billion euros, and aims

:02:31.:02:39.

to balance the budget by 2014. The measures include an increase in VAT

:02:39.:02:44.

to 21%, up 1%. And increasing the retirement age for women to match

:02:44.:02:53.

that of men, to 60 in 2014, and 65 in 2026. There will be measures to

:02:53.:02:59.

fight tax evasion. The cuts will be tough, but the markets and many

:02:59.:03:05.

Italians welcome the change Mario Monti symbolises. I think he will

:03:05.:03:10.

be good, capable. He inherits a complete disaster but has the right

:03:10.:03:15.

capabilities. TRANSLATION: I hope he goes better than the last lot, I

:03:15.:03:21.

hope things improve. For us that is the message from Asian and American

:03:22.:03:25.

finance ministers -- ministers speaking with one voice about

:03:25.:03:29.

Europe's ability to reform. It is crucial to all of us Europe

:03:29.:03:34.

moves quickly to put into place this plan to restore financial

:03:34.:03:39.

stability. We are all directly affected by the crisis. The

:03:39.:03:42.

economies of the Asia-Pacific region, gathered here today, are

:03:42.:03:46.

run a better position than most countries to take steps to

:03:46.:03:50.

strengthen growth in the face of the pressures from Europe.

:03:50.:03:55.

Across Europe that other troubled country, Greece, is about to swear

:03:55.:04:01.

in a new prime minister. It is also opting for a technocratic safe pair

:04:01.:04:05.

of hands, Lucas Papademos is an economist, formerly with the

:04:05.:04:12.

European Central Bank. As we reported the upper house of

:04:12.:04:15.

the Italian parliament has approved the package of reforms in the last

:04:15.:04:19.

few minutes, and the lower house is expected to do the same over the

:04:19.:04:23.

weekend which should lead to the promised resignation of Silvio

:04:23.:04:33.
:04:33.:04:35.

Berlusconi. We are joined by Karen Jenia any -- by Our Correspondent

:04:35.:04:41.

from Rome. Does the round of applause indicate guarantee he will

:04:41.:04:43.

be the next prime minister and they believe that will be the right

:04:44.:04:52.

move? If you look at the front of the newspapers you would get the

:04:52.:04:56.

impression Mario Monti was definitely going to lead the next

:04:56.:05:01.

government, the technocratic government as it has been called,

:05:01.:05:06.

by different parties he wanted to take different forms, but there is

:05:06.:05:09.

consensus in many politicians he is the man. You saw that welcome as he

:05:09.:05:14.

walked into the Senate, a very warm and heartfelt welcome to this man

:05:14.:05:18.

who is widely respected, even by those who don't necessarily think

:05:18.:05:23.

he should lead the next government. I have been speaking to some MPs

:05:23.:05:28.

and senators from Berlusconi's own party and put to them over the last

:05:28.:05:32.

few hours whether they thought it was a definite thing that Mario

:05:32.:05:36.

Monti would be the next prime minister. They said, hold on, there

:05:36.:05:40.

are other names, we are not necessarily backing him. But the

:05:40.:05:45.

consensus if you look in the papers, 10 on the television, everybody is

:05:45.:05:51.

watching Mario Monti, talking about his safe pair of hands, his

:05:51.:05:56.

incredible economic brain, he is head of the University in Milan, a

:05:56.:06:01.

very prestigious university, widely seen as the next successor to

:06:01.:06:05.

Silvio Berlusconi and all the talk is just how different he would be

:06:05.:06:10.

Eid in this country to what Italy has had on and off over the last 70

:06:10.:06:20.
:06:20.:06:24.

years. I am joined by a representative from the University

:06:24.:06:34.

of Boston. I know you have Greeks new leader, -- I know that you know

:06:34.:06:38.

him personally, is he the man to decrease out of the mess?

:06:38.:06:47.

Yes, I do. He is a very experienced person, a governor to the Central

:06:47.:06:50.

Bank of Greece for many years, vice-president of the European

:06:50.:06:58.

Central Bank. He is the right person at the right time. The Greek

:06:58.:07:03.

government has to come up with specific plans to implement the or

:07:03.:07:07.

austerity package which is tied to the European Union bale-out. There

:07:07.:07:12.

is a real discussion about with Mr Papademos in power if the Greek

:07:12.:07:16.

public will except stronger measures than they have been

:07:16.:07:22.

prepared to accept thus far, what to do you think?

:07:22.:07:28.

He has a short mandate for three or four months, he has to implement

:07:28.:07:38.
:07:38.:07:41.

the decisions of the summit to back in October October. After two years

:07:41.:07:50.

in recession the Greek public is reluctant for a way out, and

:07:50.:07:57.

Papademos at present, according to the polls, is the person entrusted

:07:57.:08:05.

with the hope that next to debt management there will also be

:08:05.:08:11.

growth measures that will allow Greece to start creating wealth

:08:11.:08:15.

again in order for it to be able to pay its debts.

:08:15.:08:20.

A you almost made me smile when you said that is all he has to do. He

:08:20.:08:24.

has a massive task ahead of him. You say he has got three months in

:08:24.:08:29.

power. It seems it is way too early to breathe a sigh of relief and

:08:29.:08:34.

think grief -- Greece is on its path to stability. Yes, you are

:08:34.:08:42.

right. There is still a mountain to climb for the Greek people. The

:08:42.:08:47.

only hope is that a technocrat can do better than politicians who have

:08:47.:08:57.
:08:57.:08:59.

failed in the past to do their Let's take a look at some of the

:08:59.:09:09.
:09:09.:09:11.

In Yemen people have been killed through shelling by government

:09:11.:09:16.

forces. This coincides with a return to Yemen of the un envoy

:09:16.:09:25.

trying to end the months of conflict. The moment and have a

:09:25.:09:31.

quick hit a Turkish city, 12 people on knowing to have been killed. Two

:09:31.:09:34.

weeks ago another earthquake hit the region killing more than 600

:09:34.:09:41.

people. Palestine's application for full

:09:41.:09:43.

membership of the United Nations appears destined to fail as

:09:43.:09:46.

divisions have emerged within the Security Council on the issue. The

:09:46.:09:49.

Council is meeting today in New York to formally approve a report

:09:49.:09:52.

into the application. Israel and the US have made plain their

:09:52.:10:00.

opposition to the membership bid. The plight of a blind Chinese

:10:00.:10:03.

activist has captured the imagination of people both inside

:10:03.:10:08.

and outside the country. Chen Guangcheng used to offer legal

:10:08.:10:11.

advice to people attempting to take on the government and now he is a

:10:11.:10:15.

prisoner in his own home. Other activists have made regular

:10:15.:10:21.

attempts to visit him, most are barred. We went to see if we could

:10:21.:10:26.

meet him. Along this country roads in Shandong province lives and

:10:26.:10:30.

activist who has become a focus on disc -- focus of discontent. He is

:10:30.:10:35.

not allowed visitors. Shady figures garden. There we are going to try

:10:35.:10:44.

to see him. -- shady figures guard him. The men are waiting and know

:10:44.:10:48.

exactly what to do. There are no pleasantries. When they realise we

:10:48.:10:52.

are journalists they forced open the doors and go through everything.

:10:52.:10:58.

We are told to stay put. It is a glimpse into a world many don't

:10:58.:11:03.

know it exists in China. These are not robbers. Quickly and

:11:03.:11:07.

efficiently they are carrying out the work of the state. And no time

:11:07.:11:11.

did these people identify themselves, but they were obviously

:11:11.:11:16.

in authority. We were left in the car wondering what happen next and

:11:16.:11:19.

suddenly they through our equipment back at us, closed our doors and

:11:19.:11:27.

told us to leave quickly. They didn't want us to see this man, a

:11:27.:11:32.

blind activist who taught himself the law. Run For All -- Dumo used

:11:32.:11:40.

his knowledge to help women who forced to undergo abortions -- Chen

:11:40.:11:47.

Guangcheng. This video shows how closely they keep watch.

:11:47.:11:54.

TRANSLATION: There is no law that places restriction on him, he

:11:54.:12:00.

should have the freedom to speak out, the freedom to meet friends.

:12:00.:12:03.

If China's leaders hope people would forget about him they were

:12:03.:12:08.

wrong. Dozens of activists like this man have travelled to see him.

:12:08.:12:14.

He says he was beaten up, but that will not stop him going again.

:12:14.:12:21.

TRANSLATION: When I heard about this blind lawyer who fight for

:12:21.:12:24.

human rights who represents people for no personal gain, I was deeply

:12:24.:12:30.

moved. That is why I wanted to see him.

:12:30.:12:34.

Others have shown their support in a different way. Posting

:12:34.:12:38.

photographs of themselves on the internet wearing dark glasses, it

:12:38.:12:44.

just like Chen Guangcheng. The blind activist has become a symbol

:12:44.:12:47.

of people's unhappiness with the government and its sometimes had

:12:47.:12:55.

the handing -- heavy-handed way of dealing with discontent.

:12:55.:12:59.

Here is a timely question, how do countries laid low by economic

:12:59.:13:05.

meltdown recover? Iceland, at the centre of the financial storms in

:13:05.:13:10.

2008, may provide some lessons. The President is encouraging all

:13:10.:13:13.

Icelanders to turn a profit in their own homes by opening up their

:13:13.:13:17.

doors to visitors. President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson is leading by

:13:17.:13:22.

example, inviting visitors into his own home, the presidential palace.

:13:22.:13:29.

For pancakes. We are going to invite you to visit our home, and

:13:29.:13:34.

we will give you a delicious pancakes with cream and sugar,

:13:34.:13:42.

Traditional Icelandic delicacy, because we favour health and good

:13:42.:13:44.

nutrition, and extraordinary product.

:13:44.:13:53.

Still to come, a Human Rights Watch condemns Syria for crimes against

:13:53.:13:58.

humanity, we will here from the city which is the focus of the

:13:58.:14:05.

uprising. First, let's get all of the

:14:05.:14:10.

business news. We just cannot stay away from the eurozone, can we?

:14:10.:14:15.

No. The prospect of what is now going to happen, a short-term

:14:15.:14:20.

stabilising of the market. There are structural questions, can it

:14:20.:14:23.

continue to exist intact? A long time ago I heard economists are

:14:23.:14:27.

talking about the possibility of not that Greece would leave but

:14:27.:14:33.

Germany would, and form a two-tier Europe. The reality the impact that

:14:33.:14:36.

would have would make it difficult and there is no mechanism to do

:14:36.:14:40.

that. Also, the decision-making process, it has taken two years to

:14:40.:14:44.

get to this point with Greece. I spoke to Ireland's former Minister

:14:45.:14:49.

of State for European affairs. He helped negotiate -- negotiate the

:14:49.:14:57.

burlap package for Ireland. We need to have, sit down calmly

:14:57.:15:01.

and look at the lessons of the last 12 months, strange and

:15:01.:15:05.

institutional arrangements -- strengthened. We need to get away

:15:05.:15:10.

from talking about a to tears and all of that, that undermines

:15:10.:15:20.

confidence and would make it We also know that as Italy grapples

:15:20.:15:24.

with its eurozone problems it has focused elsewhere because there is

:15:24.:15:34.

a big telecoms scandal in Italy? in India! For give me! De GE to

:15:34.:15:44.
:15:44.:15:44.

selling off of mobile phones -- thick 2G selling off of mobile

:15:45.:15:48.

phone licences was controversial because the many people thought

:15:48.:15:54.

they were sold off too lightly. 17 people are on trial, one of which

:15:54.:15:59.

is the telecoms minister. If you compare it with the previous

:15:59.:16:04.

scams including telecoms dams, they pale into insignificance if you

:16:04.:16:08.

look at the magnitude and personalities involved. It is a

:16:08.:16:13.

landmark judgment, and I am shocked -- I am sure the world business

:16:14.:16:18.

community is watching what is going on because there is a lot at stake.

:16:18.:16:22.

A big scandal there, and part of a general feeling that India has too

:16:22.:16:26.

cosy a relationship between the business and political elite.

:16:26.:16:31.

Thank you. Don't forget you can keep up with

:16:31.:16:38.

everything happening in the world today on our website. There you

:16:38.:16:44.

will find all the latest on the eurozone crisis and also the latest

:16:44.:16:50.

on the markets. We are seeing some stabilisation of

:16:50.:16:58.

the markets, the FTSE up from about 0.5% there. We are seeing a

:16:58.:17:01.

response to the stabilisation of the political crisis in Italy and

:17:01.:17:05.

Greece. Thank you very much indeed.

:17:05.:17:15.
:17:15.:17:19.

You are watching GMT, I am Stephen Sackur. A headlines: The upper

:17:19.:17:23.

house of the Italian parliament has approved a sweeping set off

:17:23.:17:26.

austerity and reform measures. And in Athens the interim

:17:26.:17:30.

government is about to be sworn in. It will face the task of pushing

:17:30.:17:36.

through the bail-out package agreed with European leaders last month.

:17:36.:17:40.

Around the world, Armistice Day, commemorating the fallen in the

:17:40.:17:44.

world's wars, has been marked by silent reflection and simple

:17:44.:17:49.

ceremonies. British Defence Minister Philip Hammond joined

:17:49.:17:53.

3,500 British soldiers at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, laying a

:17:53.:17:57.

wreath and observing a two-minute silence. It comes to A days after

:17:57.:18:03.

the latest death of a British soldier in Helmand province -- it

:18:03.:18:07.

comes two days. In Canberra, a Senedd -- a ceremony

:18:07.:18:13.

was held at the War Memorial with Julia Gillard laying a wreath. The

:18:13.:18:16.

names of eight Australian soldiers who died in Afghanistan in the last

:18:16.:18:20.

12 months were added to that memorial's roll of honour.

:18:20.:18:24.

In Seoul, Americans remembered those who died throughout their

:18:24.:18:29.

history, including in the Korean War. The commander of US forces in

:18:29.:18:33.

Korea, General James Thurman, led the anniversary ceremonies at

:18:33.:18:39.

Yongsan base, not far from South Korea's National War Memorial.

:18:39.:18:43.

For more on the Armistice Day memorial services, do please head

:18:43.:18:49.

to the BBC website. There you can read about the sacrifices made by

:18:49.:18:52.

World War One veterans and we have a selection of portraits of

:18:52.:18:55.

soldiers who served in the war and some of their stories are explained,

:18:56.:19:05.
:19:06.:19:06.

The New York-based group Human Rights Watch has accused Syrian

:19:06.:19:13.

forces in the City of Tom's of -- in the City of Homs of unlawful

:19:13.:19:20.

killings. The city has become what activists called the capital of the

:19:20.:19:27.

human rights uprising. Human Rights Watch says that UN Security Council

:19:27.:19:30.

action should be supported to end what it calls the carnage. The

:19:30.:19:35.

report gives graphic eyewitness accounts of torture by the Syrian

:19:35.:19:39.

forces. Human Rights Watch says nearly 700 people have been killed

:19:39.:19:44.

in Fisher since April, more than 100 since Syria agreed to run Arab

:19:44.:19:50.

League peace deal more than a week ago -- 700 people have been killed

:19:50.:19:59.

in Homs. We were trying to reach a doctor live in Homs, we know that

:19:59.:20:04.

he is there, witnessing some terrible things, but unfortunately

:20:04.:20:08.

the Telecoms have let us down. I am pleased, though, to say I am joined

:20:08.:20:13.

by Jonathan Powell to consider the wider implications not just of the

:20:13.:20:16.

Syrian crisis but of so many international arenas where there is

:20:16.:20:20.

a question over whether international intervention can work.

:20:20.:20:23.

Jonathan Powell, former chief of staff to Tony Blair and not

:20:23.:20:27.

unfamiliar with some of these questions. On Armistice Day, let's

:20:27.:20:32.

start with Syria. Do you see any potential for international

:20:32.:20:37.

intervention in Syria? I certainly see potential for it. What is

:20:38.:20:42.

happening there is horrifying. Just as in Libya where support was given,

:20:42.:20:46.

there is a case for it in Syria. The cases against are that they

:20:46.:20:52.

have not asked for such support, and it has been proved very

:20:52.:20:57.

difficult to get UN support for it. In Kosovo we took action without UN

:20:57.:21:02.

support, so it is possible but difficult. We now have the United

:21:02.:21:05.

Nations which for the last six years has been committed to the

:21:05.:21:09.

notion of responsibility to protect if there is a humanitarian crisis

:21:09.:21:14.

and civilians are being killed, but is the politics is not right, as

:21:14.:21:18.

you have described in Syria, does that mean nothing? No, we can do

:21:18.:21:23.

things politically and in terms of the initiative taken by the Arab

:21:23.:21:27.

League, but it is not sensible to take military action. You only want

:21:27.:21:31.

to do that if you are called upon to do it by the opposition and if

:21:31.:21:34.

the neighbouring countries thought you should and if it can be proved

:21:34.:21:39.

to be effective. In Chicago in 1999 Tony Blair made a speech which set

:21:39.:21:43.

out criteria on using force in such circumstances and we should be

:21:43.:21:49.

guided by the nose. We do accept that the conflict -- guided by

:21:49.:21:55.

those. -- would you accept that the conflict has made it more difficult

:21:55.:22:01.

to get the income must -- the international community onside.

:22:01.:22:05.

They go through phases on this subject. It's the thing of Somalia

:22:05.:22:12.

after Black Hawk down, the UN were reluctant. Then we had Afghanistan

:22:12.:22:21.

and a rat, and then people were reluctant again. Post Libya, people

:22:21.:22:25.

are willing to intervene to. have skirted round the issue of the

:22:25.:22:29.

Security Council and the way it works. Does it mean, everything you

:22:29.:22:33.

have described, the politics and the reality on the ground, that we

:22:33.:22:39.

have to accept Russia and China can exercise a veto on humanitarian

:22:39.:22:43.

interventions? That was the danger that Tony Blair pointed out in the

:22:43.:22:49.

context of Kosovo. He said, will we allow the UN to block any action

:22:49.:22:52.

taken in those circumstances? Kosovo went ahead even though we

:22:52.:22:57.

could not get Russian or Chinese support. That was a relatively

:22:57.:23:03.

happy experience. Iraq was not a happy experience. You now

:23:03.:23:06.

specialise in conflict resolution and opening dialogues. The Arab

:23:06.:23:10.

League said it had got a deal to open a dialogue in Syria. If he

:23:10.:23:14.

were advising the leaders of the Syrian National Council, the

:23:14.:23:18.

opposition leaders, right now, would you advise them to engage in

:23:18.:23:23.

a dialogue? I would advise them to do that but it is their decision. A

:23:23.:23:28.

large part of them do not want a dialogue with the Assad regime.

:23:28.:23:32.

They need a united position on this, do they have a dialogue to get him

:23:33.:23:39.

out or fight until he gets out? do you think it could be used for?

:23:39.:23:44.

I am in favour of dialogue in all circumstances, it is something I

:23:44.:23:47.

used in Northern Ireland. You do not need to concede opposition but

:23:47.:23:52.

talking may be easier to get Assad out. Talking may have been easier

:23:52.:23:59.

to get Gaddafi out. Jonathan Powell, thank you.

:23:59.:24:02.

Animal welfare charities across the UK are reporting a dramatic rise in

:24:02.:24:06.

the number of pets being handed in by owners who can no longer afford

:24:06.:24:12.

to look after them. The Battersea Dogs and cats homes the number has

:24:12.:24:17.

more than doubled in the last year. When household budgets are

:24:17.:24:23.

stretched, even the most loved family pet can be too expensive.

:24:23.:24:27.

Shady's owner, out of work for four months, has decided giving him to

:24:27.:24:31.

Battersea Dogs Home is his only a option. You are not out of work,

:24:31.:24:36.

you will be in arrears with rent, I am on the verge of losing my flat

:24:36.:24:40.

and if I lose my flat, can I keep him? But I love him so much, I want

:24:40.:24:47.

to make sure he will be all right. Battersea has always taking in pets

:24:47.:24:50.

from owners who can no longer afford them. In the past year,

:24:50.:24:54.

however, numbers have doubled. Eight year-old Sam is typical of

:24:54.:24:58.

the new wave of arrivals. He was brought in three weeks ago after

:24:58.:25:03.

his owner's home was repossessed. The home is also seeing more

:25:03.:25:06.

pregnant animals and those needing potentially expensive medical

:25:06.:25:09.

treatment. A lot of the animals coming in have conditions that make

:25:10.:25:13.

us think they have been ignored for some time and the owners can no

:25:13.:25:17.

longer get to grips with them. In a case like this, had the surgery

:25:17.:25:22.

been done one or two years ago, it would have been cheaper, easier and

:25:22.:25:27.

better for him. It takes an average of 48 days for Battersea Dogs to be

:25:27.:25:34.

re-home. The future for shady's owner, himself facing eviction, is

:25:34.:25:38.

less certain. We are coming to the end of GMT,

:25:38.:25:42.

but time to remind you of the main story today. The Italian Senate in

:25:42.:25:46.

the last hour also has approved an emergency austerity package aimed

:25:46.:25:51.

at averting economic collapse and helping resolve the eurozone debt

:25:51.:25:57.

crisis. The Bill now passes to the lower house. The measures are a

:25:57.:26:01.

part of efforts to end the country's spiralling debt crisis

:26:01.:26:06.

and it is believed once the lower house approves them then Silvio

:26:06.:26:09.

Berlusconi will resign and Italy will get a new Prime Minister.

:26:10.:26:14.

In Athens, the incoming Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is putting

:26:14.:26:18.

the final touches to his interim government, which will face the

:26:18.:26:21.

task of pushing through the bail- out package agreed with the

:26:21.:26:25.

European leaders last month. He is due to be sworn in later today but

:26:25.:26:29.

the ceremony, as we understand it right now, has been delayed by

:26:29.:26:33.

several hours. His administration will be a coalition of the

:26:33.:26:37.

governing Socialists, the centre- right New democracy and a small

:26:37.:26:42.

party of right-wing populists. Correspondents say Lucas Papademos

:26:42.:26:46.

will be forced to introduce further austerity measures. Things still

:26:46.:26:50.

International news and intelligent analysis going live to the heart of the day's top global story, presemted by Stephen Sackur. Featuring exclusive reports from BBC World News correspondents based around the world, plus up-to-the-minute global business news.


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