11/11/2011 GMT with George Alagiah


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


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


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


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


accused of crimes against humanity. Commemorations in Afghanistan and


around the world to mark Armistice Day.


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


parliament has approved a sweeping set of austerity and reform


measures designed to convince international financial markets


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


Athens the effort to bring the eurozone back from the brink


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


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


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


Humphrey Hawksley has the latest. The era of flamboyant showmanship


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


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


former low key European Commissioner seen as effective, a


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


the chamber, then came speeches underlining the pressure on Italy


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


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


situation and avoid default altogether.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


finance ministers -- ministers speaking with one voice about


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


moves quickly to put into place this plan to restore financial


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


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


run a better position than most countries to take steps to


strengthen growth in the face of the pressures from Europe.


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


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


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


European Central Bank. As we reported the upper house of


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


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


weekend which should lead to the promised resignation of Silvio


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


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


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


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


impression Mario Monti was definitely going to lead the next


government, the technocratic government as it has been called,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


very prestigious university, widely seen as the next successor to


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


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


years. I am joined by a representative from the University


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


public will except stronger measures than they have been


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


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


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


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


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


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


growth measures that will allow Greece to start creating wealth


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


In Yemen people have been killed through shelling by government


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


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


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


weeks ago another earthquake hit the region killing more than 600


people. Palestine's application for full


membership of the United Nations appears destined to fail as


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


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


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


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


activist has captured the imagination of people both inside


and outside the country. Chen Guangcheng used to offer legal


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


prisoner in his own home. Other activists have made regular


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


did these people identify themselves, but they were obviously


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


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


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


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


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


Guangcheng. This video shows how closely they keep watch.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


moved. That is why I wanted to see him.


Others have shown their support in a different way. Posting


photographs of themselves on the internet wearing dark glasses, it


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


doors to visitors. President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson is leading by


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


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


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


Traditional Icelandic delicacy, because we favour health and good


nutrition, and extraordinary product.


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


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


uprising. First, let's get all of the


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


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


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


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


talking about the possibility of not that Greece would leave but


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


institutional arrangements -- strengthened. We need to get away


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


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


with its eurozone problems it has focused elsewhere because there is


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


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


phone licences was controversial because the many people thought


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


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


scams including telecoms dams, they pale into insignificance if you


look at the magnitude and personalities involved. It is a


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


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


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


cosy a relationship between the business and political elite.


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


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


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


on the markets. We are seeing some stabilisation of


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


response to the stabilisation of the political crisis in Italy and


Greece. Thank you very much indeed.


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


house of the Italian parliament has approved a sweeping set off


austerity and reform measures. And in Athens the interim


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


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


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


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


ceremonies. British Defence Minister Philip Hammond joined


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


In Seoul, Americans remembered those who died throughout their


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


Korea, General James Thurman, led the anniversary ceremonies at


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


report gives graphic eyewitness accounts of torture by the Syrian


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


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


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


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


he is there, witnessing some terrible things, but unfortunately


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


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


Syrian crisis but of so many international arenas where there is


a question over whether international intervention can work.


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


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


start with Syria. Do you see any potential for international


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


notion of responsibility to protect if there is a humanitarian crisis


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


taken in those circumstances? Kosovo went ahead even though we


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


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


specialise in conflict resolution and opening dialogues. The Arab


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


were advising the leaders of the Syrian National Council, the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to get Gaddafi out. Jonathan Powell, thank you.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


pregnant animals and those needing potentially expensive medical


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the last hour also has approved an emergency austerity package aimed


at averting economic collapse and helping resolve the eurozone debt


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


several hours. His administration will be a coalition of the


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


party of right-wing populists. Correspondents say Lucas Papademos


will be forced to introduce further austerity measures. Things still


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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