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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The global economy battling on all fronts. Stocks hit a one-year low.
America's Fed paints a gloomy picture. And the eurozone is in
crisis. Red alert. Markets plunge in Asia
and Europe, as the world economy faces several threats.
Greece, the central threat to the eurozone. A wave of strikes, as the
government pushes even tougher Welcome to GMT. I'm George Alagiah.
Also in the programme: Pope Benedict begins his first official
visit to Germany. But not everyone in his home country is glad to see
him. And, saving the most endangered
species of sharks, one bowl at a time. A new campaign gets underway
in China to persuade restaurants to drop one of the more exotic
delicacies on their menus. We are doing our best to get our message
It's 2.30pm in the afternoon in Athens. It's early morning in New
York. It's lunchtime here in London, where the market turmoil is plain
for anyone to see. A few minutes ago, the London exchange was down
more than 4%. That followed a sea of red in Asia. In fact, global
stocks have hit a one-year low. The reasons? Take your pick: a gloomy
forecast from the US Fed. A slowdown in Chinese manufacturing.
And, of course, the eurozone crisis. The Greek government has approved
another raft of austerity measures, but faces a wave of protests from
the unions. Our correspondent Mark Lowen is in Athens.
Hello from the Greek capital where demonstrations and strikes have
returned. Later it will be the turn of teachers and university staff
who will gather in front of the iconic Greek Parliament, protesting
at the austerity programme being pushed through by the Government. A
new wave of social unrest has hit the country and Athens has been
brought to raise standstill. After a summer lull, the strikes
are back. Asos, trained empty. No sign of the attack sees. A 24 hour
strike is under way in protest at the growing wave of austerity
measures. The station's silent. A mixed reaction. TRANSLATION: We are
trying to solve the problems of several generations. They are
painful but there is nothing we can do and we will have to face it, we
will have to deal with it. TRANSLATION: The best thing would
be for these people who govern us today, to leave. A new round of
austerity measures was announced on Wednesday. 30,000 public sector
workers are to be placed on partial pay, given notice by the end of the
air. Pensions will be cut by 20%. The threshold on income tax will be
lowered and the controversial new property tax will continue for
three more years. This is to meet the terms of the next bail out
instalment. Without that, the country could declare bankruptcy by
next month. The news dominated the headlines, one newspaper calling it
an attack without mercy. The European Union and IMF will send
officials back to Athens next week to assess progress. And decide on
the next tranche of bail out. Even if that is released, many fear an
inevitable default. And that would bring more crisis to the eurozone.
The government is facing an increasingly difficult challenge,
trying to show international creditors it is sticking to these
austerity measures to meet its fiscal targets, but trying to calm
the growing wave of social unrest. People feel the austerity measures
are driving up unemployment and exacerbating the economic crisis.
Many feel Greece is paying an increasingly large price for
keeping the eurozone together. Greece is seeing a wave of protest.
When does that wave of protest become what people might call a
political threat? Until now, of the government has
sounded a defiant note, saying Greece will push on with its
austerity measures. The government is determined to see off these
protests. More strikes have been called for October. We will have to
see whether the protests grow to an extent the Government is threatened.
In Greek politics, the government is facing opposition which says it
wants to renegotiate the terms, it does not feel happy with the
programmes being introduced. The government is facing a tax on all
sides but it says they have the support of the European Commission,
European Central Bank and IMF which was to see the country meeting its
fiscal targets and the terms needed for the bail-out.
Let's take a look at some of the other stories making headlines
around the world today. Pope Benedict XVI has returned to
his homeland for his first official visit to Germany. He was welcomed
by Angela Merkel at Berlin airport. In one hour he will address the
German Parliament. 100 MPs has said he will boycott -- they will
boycott his speech. Our correspondent is in Berlin. These
protests that the MPs have been talking about, it is that reflected
in the population? Will they be protests outside? I think there
will be some protests outside. You must remember there will be a big
mass in the biggest football stadium in Berlin of where 80,000
seats have been taken. Later in the week, the Pontiff goes to the
Catholic heartland of Germany in the south west. I have no doubt
hundreds of thousands of people will come out to greet him. Having
said all that, this is a very different visit from the first one
he did just after he became Pope, when he was greeted back as a
national hero almost, a man who had done very well in his job as it
were, being welcomed back by a united nation. Now you get all
kinds of division, the child abuse scandal, people within the Church
saying there is a big shortage of priests, and policy needs to be
changed. Difficulties within the Church. The man who met him,
President Wulff, is a divorced Catholic, remarried, and he cannot
take part in some Catholic ceremonies. It is not the easy
visit that it would have been five years ago. Do you think he is
likely to address any of those issues you have listed? I do not
think he will come out for and say policies will change. But the
critics within the church I have been talking to, they say they are
listening to his tone, they are listening to signs that he welcomes
dialogue. And they say in the first speech he made at the presidential
palace, where he used that word, freedom, frequently, they see that
as hopeful. They regard an attitude that tolerates some dissent within
the Church as being hopeful for them. But, they also say, he is a
conservative, in his eighties, they did not expect a transformation.
All they want is a little bit of tolerance, and a sign of listening.
Two French Muslim women have become the first to be convicted of
covering their faces with veils in public, in defiance of a new law.
Hind Ahmas and Najate Nait Ali were each ordered to pay a fine.
A man convicted of killing an off- duty policeman in 1989 has been
executed in the American state of Georgia, despite concerns the case
against him was not conclusively proved. Troy Davis was put to death,
after a four-hour delay while his final appeal was being considered.
Officials in Pakistan say more than eight million people are now
affected by monsoon flooding in the southern province of Sindh. The
United Nations World Food Programme estimates that three million are
critically short of food and aid organisations are struggling to
reach those stranded on high ground. And there are fears that large
areas of stagnant water will help spread disease.
Still to come on GMT: A group of South African designers seek to be
discovered, with collections on the First though, let's get all the
business news. What is going on, in these markets?
Let me get some of the figures on the screen.
The FTSE index is down 5%. At the beginning of the programme, it was
I don't seem to be able to get the markets on the screen. These are
down to levels which they haven't been down to for many months.
Any reasons? We are getting a pretty bad storm.
We had the IMF worries, they were saying the problems we were getting
in terms of the financial stability of the eurozone in particular,
recapitalisation of banks, the use of economic growth. Worries from a
Federal Reserve in the US. A number of very bad surveys. One analyst
summed up some of the worries people have.
We have a lot of negativity now which has managed to hit Business
Investment for some time. Not just a European a story, but a US growth
story. And the ongoing European debt crisis which is not resolving
itself. Now, contagion is spreading to larger economies like Spain and
Italy. Was contagion does spread it is difficult to see how the
European Union can deal with such large economies. We have the market
figures again. The FTSE 100 index has been worse.
Today we had more figures about Italian growth, the government
saying growth will be even slower. Still just positive.
Given all of that come up are the market's going to fall further?
told earlier to a portfolio manager and this is what he said.
European shares have come back a long way. We have to remember a lot
of European companies have significant sales outside the
eurozone. Not just into the Far East but in Scandinavia, a UK,
North America. A lot is discounted in current share prices. The
problem is the banking sector is in meltdown. Until that issue is
resolved, it is hard to see investors getting the confidence to
buy equities. Stay with us, much more on these
This is GMT. Our main story. There is gridlock in Greece as a
transport strike bikes and into financial fears as stock market
plunge around the world. Palestinian officials have brushed
aside a promised US veto and pressure to abandon their bid for
UN membership, saying they were determined to take their case to
the Security Council. There was no progress after a meeting between
President Obama and the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday
night, so the Palestinian bid will be formally presented on Friday.
The Israeli president Shimon Peres has been involved in the peace
process since its inception. He explained to our Middle East
correspondent Rupert Wingfield- Hayes why Israel is opposing the
Palestinian bid for UN membership. How should we negotiate with the
Palestinians or through the international talents -- channels?
The problem is the United Nations cannot answer the full questions,
how to provide independence to the Palestinians? How to provide
security to Israel. If there is no security there is no independence.
There is no independence without security again. Since the United
Nations cannot deal with the security issues, it is an empty
declaration. A waste of effort. I am not speaking against the
Palestinians. Peace is possible. The best way is through talks. Even
though there are difficulties in Lots of diplomacy going on in New
York. Our correspondent has been watching it off. Mahmoud Abbas and
President Obama, very entrenched positions, we know that. What on
earth is there for them to talk about? If there was any doubt left
that the United States would indeed veto the plan the Palestinians are
putting forward for membership if it comes to a vote at the Security
Council. Overall administration officials are being slightly tight
lipped about what other compromises or options they are looking at for
the long term. It is becoming increasingly clear that the
Palestinians are going to go forward with their plan to give
that letter to the secretary general of the United Nations on
Friday, requesting full membership for their stake. The United States
is trying to sea with its allies in Europe whether there is a way of
looking beyond that day. The French foreign minister has said once the
Palestinians give in their letter, it could take weeks until this
comes to a boat and that gives everybody time to develop a
strategy to try to avoid showdown. But that strategy is not very clear
at the moment. There are calls in China for people to stop eating
sharks fin soup. As wages have risen, so has the demand for the
delicacy, but now the Chinese superstar basketball player Yao
Ming has lent his name to a campaign to persuade people to
abstain. Some viewers might find some of the pictures in this report
rather distressing. It is legal, but harvesting a
sharp's Finn is a gruesome business. This display aims to bring home
that point. The Finns are sliced off at sea, dried and sold to
Chinese restaurants to make soup. Myth has it that the things grow
back, but in reality the sharks simply bleed to death. This exhibit
is to show the connection between the bowl of soup that lands on your
table to the origin of the soup, which is these really beautiful,
majestic animals which are fast in decline. I was moved by that
picture, says this woman. Humans are the cruellest animals. A sharks
fin is tasteless and has no special, nutritional value. But its high
cost means it has become a status symbol in China. People come to
restaurants like this one behind me to buy shark's suit to show off
their wealth. This is another restaurant, but it has decided to
stop selling the delicacy, which can cause more than $100 a bowl.
China's increasingly wealthy consumers are pushing some species
towards extension. Tens of millions are killed each year. This company
wants to take a stand. TRANSLATION: Most of the people agree with what
we have done. We have not lost many customers since we decided to stop
selling shark's fin soup. But most shark's fines still end up in China.
That is where the country's famous sportsman, Yao Ming, has lent his
name to a new campaign. His message is simple. We can now speak to our
BBC colleague and Chinese cuisine at writer, Fuchsia Dunlop. I
suppose the problem would days is that in China we are talking not
just about people's tastebuds, but people's yearning to show their
status. Yes, shark's Finn is a curious delicacy. It has no
inherent taste, but it is a prize for its supposed tonic properties
and its wonderful mouth feel, an intriguing sulkiness in the mouth.
But because it is the kind of delicacy that used to grace the
tables of emperors. Ordering a sharp's Fen is a way of honouring a
guest or buttering up an influential official. It raises the
status of the fees, like cracking open a bottle of champagne. What do
you think the chances are of Richard Branson and the basketball
player of influencing people? the moment it does not look very
good because there is not much social stigma attached to eating
shark's Fen. In fact, the contrary. People will boast about serving
delicacies and endangered species that should be protected. On the
other hand, sophisticated consumers are getting concerned about eating
green food products, products are free of pollution a. As people
become more aware of environmental issues and more concerned with
these kind of thing is, eating shark's event will become less
acceptable. Do you think this particular campaign, which is about
shark's fin soup, do you think there is a spill over into tigers?
That is another animal that is in danger in China. Could it become
part of a wider campaign? Burka Singh on shark's Fein is an
important example of a delicacy that is driving various species to
extinction, but it is the tip of the iceberg. China is the world's
greatest market for endangered species in general. It is important
they have brought on board such an important Chinese celebrity, so it
looks like not as an international campaign targeting China, but
something coming from China itself. It bait and stigmatised shark's Fen,
perhaps people will become more aware of the issues of eating
endangered species in general. you are a fashion follower, you
won't know that London Fashion Week has just come to an end. For
everyone who took part now it is the time to take stock and count
contacts and contracts. Shows like the one in London are opportunities
for young designers to get their work noticed. Among those looking
for their big break was a group of South African designers and one of
them is here in the studio. Heni Este-Hijzen runs a fashion label
Heni. We are also joined by Theo Ombalala, creative director of the
Ubuntu International Project initiative to grow talent from
emerging markets. Thank you both for being with us. Is there such a
thing? We hear about South Africa being the rainbow nation and you
are the perfect example of it, so can we talk about South African
fashion? Surely there are different fashions? The biggest thing coming
to London for me was in fact that. There is no essential things such
as South African fashion. We are all different cultures,
inspirations and points of view. The biggest thing is the merger of
all those aspects. That is what creates the aesthetic of South
African fashion. What is your organisation trying to do with
fashion? You are very involved in promoting it? It is an initiative
that seeks to, it you like, identified a first and foremost Pan
South African aesthetic that has cultural reference, that is
intelligent, that fuses things like rural craft with contemporary sort
of aesthetic. Are we going to see a bit of material from Durban and
mixed in with what Afrikaners where? That is quite a good idea.
That is what we are talking about. It is taking those wonderful,
different aspects and it is up to the designer in terms of
interpretation and what they want to do with it. We have got so many
things to pull form -- from. Ubuntu, you're organisation, is an ancient
concept. I cannot be human and less I recognise their humanity in you.
One of the things that struck me when I lived in South Africa was
the way in which South African politicians, especially the men,
had to borrow from West Africa when they turn up in Parliament because
there was not a South African traditional costume. Where did it
go? The important thing about the Ubuntu philosophy is I am what I am
because of who we all are. In terms of the aesthetic and the creative
process, if we start with the Allied, who am I? What do I
represent especially in modern Africa? Race, colour, creed is all
changing now. We have Africans who are white, Indian, Chinese, who
have as much right as the indigenous people of Africa. The
whole sort of community in Africa is changing. We have I am who I am.
They also have who we all are. How do we fit in as individuals into
that collective context? That was amazing. But, in the end, as I said
earlier, you have got to sell some clothes. That is what you are. That
is the bottom line. You are a tailor. How did it go? Interesting
question. That is the bottom line. I think it is a bit too early to
say that it went. That sounds like it did not go well at all. No, it
went really well. We are talking about publicity and what everyone
is saying and after that it translates into sales. It has been
very positive. I am hopefully going to be counting the money pretty
soon. Nelson Mandela established a new way that people did not have to
wear a new tie and a suit. You need someone else to take up the cause.
The fashion market at the moment is saturated. We want these designers
to become international brands, but if you do not already have a
signature in terms of your own label from an individual point of
view, you cannot penetrate that saturated market. We first of all
have to work on the signature. What does it mean? How does it represent
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.