31/10/2011 GMT with George Alagiah


Tim Willcox presents international news and intelligent analysis. As the world population officially reaches 7 billion, we look at how the event is being marked around the globe.

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It is getting crowded out here. From today, we are sharing the


earth with 7 billion others. The global population has doubled in


just 50 years. We will hear how some countries want to get even


Welcome to GMT. Also coming up - the last few hours of the NATO


mission in Libya. The allies say it is a major success, but at what


cost? And a night to chill the soul, as an unseasonal snowstorm hits the


north-east of the United States. It is lunchtime in London, 8:30am in


New York. Today is the daily chosen by the United Nations to mark the


arrival of the 7 billionth occupant on the earth. What matters about


today is the impact of the soaring population on the planet. We will


be live in Africa to talk about it in a moment. First, this report


from our correspondent. It is more about symbols than exact science,


when it comes to global population. The UN has declared that in each


country, one baby born on 31st October becomes the 7 billionth


person. There are mini Tanni candidates. The Philippines'


contribution is this baby. Blissfully unaware of her celebrity


status. Born into a crowded public hospital in Manila, she was greeted


with a chocolate cake and speeches. Family planning is a controversial


issue in this Catholic country, and her mother has decided to defy


Church teaching and practise birth control. This little boy is that


chosen one in Russia. But a quarrel is brewing. In the Far East of the


country, local politicians have declared another candidate as the


first to be born on this day. Russia has a shrinking population.


But India has the opposite problem. It has been projected that in 2025,


its population will overtake China's. There is also a sex ratio


problem, because of a cultural preference for boys. So in one


region, they said they would be nominating seven girls. In 20


years' time, there will be far less girls than boys at a marriage age.


That means that girls will be brought in from different states.


They will be brought in from a different society, and they will be


less empowered to deal on equal terms with their husband. China is


also dogged by a shortage of girls. But the government there believes


its draconian family planning policy has paid dividends. Its


problem now is not enough young Chinese to support a huge elderly


population. So, 7 billion and counting. And for many, the key


question is, how to manage the earth's scarce resources so that


babies born now have a bright future. Much of the world


population growth is coming from Africa. In Zambia, half the


population is aged under 16. Nigeria, already the largest


country on the continent, is also seeing the demographic boom. Our


correspondent joins us from Lagos, a city of 15 million and still


growing. Yes, welcome to what has been called the baby factory by its


director. This is a maternity hospital in Lagos, the post-natal


ward, with about 50 women here, who have given birth in the past few


days. There is an extraordinary atmosphere here, as some of the


Dad's turn up, nappies are being changed, milk is being fed. There


is lots of breast feeding going on as well. One of the women worthy of


much congratulations is this one with me now. How are you and your


little one doing? Fine, thanks. He is a nice boy. I gave birth on


Tuesday, it is nearly a week now. He seems fine. Is he your first


one? Yes, and I would like to have two more. Just two more, that's


quite small by Nigerian standards. Before, about five years ago...


sorry, we seem to have lost our correspondent there. Problems with


the satellite. We can bring you some breaking news coming in from


Paris. Unesco, the United Nations cultural organisation, has voted in


favour of giving the Palestinians full membership. 107 votes against


14, with 15 abstentions. The United States and Israel were firmly


opposed. It is going to cost Unesco dear, because having approved this,


they will lose their funding from the US, which amounts to some 22%.


It is not clear who will step in to meet that. They needed the backing


of to thirds of the 193 members, but this is another step, really,


towards the aspiration of full statehood. That news just in.


Unesco, the world heritage organisation, making that decision.


Some of the other headlines. The Australian airline Qantas has


resumed flights following the industrial dispute. The company


says services will be back to normal by Tuesday. An independent


tribunal forced the airline and the unions to negotiate. A suicide


bomber has killed five people in a United Nations building in Kandahar


in the southern Afghanistan. The Taliban has claim responsibility.


Floodwaters are still wreaking havoc across much of Thailand,


swamping suburbs. Much of the capital appears to have escaped the


worst of the floods. There is worry about disease in the outer suburbs.


NATO is officially ending its seven-month long mission in Libya.


The operation began in March, one month after the uprising against


Colonel Gaddafi started. NATO has been asked to keep a presence in


the country, and discussions are ongoing. Let's go to Tripoli, to


speak to our correspondent. Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the head of the NTC,


asked NATO to stay until the end of the year, so are they disappointed


about this move? I apologise, the line is not very good, but as far


as the NTC is concerned, the war against Colonel Gaddafi is over.


But they definitely want NATO to stay. The Secretary-General of NATO,


Anders Fogh Rasmussen, is here now. He will be speaking with the


leaders of the Transitional Council. And he will be talking to them


about what kind of a role NATO member states can play as Libya


builds its new future, whether that is securing the borders,


decommissioning of weapons, or, most importantly, according to the


defence ministry here, building a national military. On the ground at


least, the war against Colonel Gaddafi's forces was fought by


individual militias, nominally loyal to the Transitional Council,


but there are quite fond of their weapons and their new-found power,


and it will be difficult to draw Let's go to our central London


studio, to speak to a Conservative MP, who opposed Britain joining the


NATO mission in Libya. Anders Fogh Rasmussen says this was one of the


most successful NATO missions yet - do you accept you called this one


wrong? Not at all. None of us that doubted that NATO would prevail at


the end of the day. It was essentially an uneven battle


against a tinpot dictator. But victory in itself does not justify


intervention. War Nige to be a measure of last resort, and this is


why I opposed our interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.


were calling for a diplomatic negotiation, but Colonel Gaddafi


never had any intention of leaving, did he? We must remember here that


there were alternatives to war before we committed our NATO forces.


For example, Egypt had a vastly superior air force, was calling for


un no-fly zone, was in a better position to put it in, and was


ideally located. We should have explored these options first.


Intervention should always be a lost resort once we have explored


all other options, and that includes diplomacy. What about the


moral high ground in this? Had NATO not intervened, Benghazi could have


been the scene of a massacre. not know that for sure. I spend


quite a lot of time there, and when you see the number of tanks and


artillery which were destroyed by NATO, you realise that Colonel


Gaddafi was within a few miles of the city. Don't forget, Gaddafi was


having trouble taking the much smaller town of Misrata in the West.


But also, Egypt had a vastly superior air force to Libya, it


could have put in a no-fly zone overnight. I think NATO getting


involved stretched the UN mandate, and basically, the objective was


regime change. It was in my view the longest assassination attempt


in history. If we talk about the humanitarian reasons for


intervention, we must not forget, why have we not intervened in


Bahrain, in Yemen? These are locations where tinpot dictators


are putting down their own people, smaller countries. Answer that


question, is it just because Gaddafi had no friends? There is an


element of that, but there has to be some consistency with regard to


our foreign policy interventions. France's initial reaction to the


Tunisian uprising was to put the revolt down. I suspect this was


less to do with humanitarian reasons and more to do with regime


change, as we saw with the bombing of Gaddafi's homes, and stretching


the UN mandate to breaking point by With Libya's transition taking


place, Syria is also feeling the heat. The Arab League is waiting


for a response from President Assad to its proposals for ending the


bloodshed. President Assad, in a newspaper interview yesterday,


warned of another Afghanistan, if foreign forces intervened in Syria,


as they had in Libya. Our correspondent has been watching


events from neighbouring Lebanon. Apocalyptic language from President


Assad yesterday, and really, encapsulating what a lot of the


region feels about the dilemma, when it comes to dealing with


That's right. Syria is not a simple knock on the affair from Libya,


Egypt, Tunisia and so on. The conditions in each of these


countries are different. But Syria is certainly more complicated than


any other. It has a very complex internal, sectarian situation and


an interface with Israel so the whole Arab Israeli conflict comes


into play with Syria's long history of opposition to Israel. There are


a lot of consideration Sir that didn't hold true for the countries


in North Africa, which were in a sense more homogenised and easier


to deal with. President Asad was saying what everyone knows, that


there are fault-lines that come together, ethnic and others, which


means what happens there has a big effect on the region, both in the


immediate vicinity in countries like Lebanon, Iraq, with sectarian


issues, and in the wider region, politically. It is a complex case,


but the bloodshed goes on and on and there are fears that that kind


of fragmentation could happen anyway unless there is a resolution


in sight, which is why the outside world is starting to scratch its


head a bit and think, maybe we should be doing something about


Syria. There was defiance in the tone of the interview yesterday. He


said he had interviews -- introduced reforms, and


pragmatically speaking, does he have the support of the key cities


in Syria? Damascus and Aleppo are yet to come out and join the


uprising, which means there are significant social classes,


especially the Sunni Muslim middle- classes, the middle-class, the


minorities, like that Christians who are largely with the regime


because they fear the consequences of regime change. What he is trying


to do for sale, at least, is a reform process. It took a little


step forward with the first meeting and it has for months to complete


its job. From the point of view of the opposition, that is not fast


enough and they don't take it seriously because the reforms and


changes they have seek makes no difference on the ground, and the


bloodshed goes on, the torture, all very well documented and it still


goes on. So there is a disconnection between the two


narratives. Jim, thank you very much. In the last few minutes the


UN group Unesco has planted Palestinians full membership --


grunted. A small step from a body which protects world heritage site,


but a significant one in the wider ambitions of Palestine to the


estate. We can speak to John Dovaston. It would have been a


surprise had they not done this, but they must be very pleased.


are very pleased. I have been watching the Palestinian delegation


celebrating in the hall in Paris and it was an overwhelming victory.


107 countries voted in favour of Palestinian membership with only 14


against with 49 abstentions. You are right. This membership of


Unesco will not give the Palestinians the state they want,


but they see it as a step, if you like, towards gaining international


recognition and putting pressure on Israel. I have just lost the sound


to you, I think, but this was a victory despite huge pressure from


the United States, Israel and the European Union for the Palestinians


not to go ahead. The US, for example will probably cut of all


funding to Unesco under a law that was approved in the 90s that no UN


body will get funding if Palestine is a full member state. The United


States give 70 million US dollars a year to Unesco, 20 % of the Budget,


and despite the threat the membership went ahead and approved


the membership. We will leave it there if we have lost sound with


you. You're watching GMT. As the snow falls over Occupy wall Street


protesters, we speak to a hedge fund manager who wonders if the


rift between demonstrators and the companies can ever be bridged.


Let's see if we can bridge any gaps here. Where shall we start with?


Qantas? Great news for the 70,000 passengers to have been stranded


since Saturday since the airline suspended all operations. It is


back in the sky, and the reason is the Australian independent tribunal


ordered a permanent end to the industrial strike action which has


rocked the airline. It is important to explain the background. There is


expansion in Asia and our sorting, so the unions have been up in arms.


Ever since then the reason that the see of Qantas order the suspension


was he wanted a permanent end to the strikes, which is what he got


that the broader picture is that the Western legacy have to shake-up


the business model because they are struggling to compete. It is 20 %


more expensive to run than other airlines. Yes, and the reason is?


Let me see means like pensions, proper working practices and costs


which means they have to get them under control which is part of the


process. He summed up very well. are hearing by when estate


operations should be back to normal. OK. ECB, Super Mario, why Super


Mario? He is Italian, and we will get a bat, but he is highly


regarded for what he has done in turning round the Italian central


bank. Jean-Claude Trichet, it is his last day today and he has held


the reins for eight years and the focus is his legacy. It's


interesting because the first half of his reign where we saw euro-zone


growth and moderate inflation and on top of that the financial system


in the Eurozone was stable. It is likely to be overshadowed by the


sovereign debt crisis, but all eyes on Super Mario. The biggest problem


he may have at the moment is that he is Italian. He has to be


regarded as an Italian central banker who likes easy money and low


interest rates that he is in fact a very conservative central banker


and he is going to try and avoid being regarded as a dark -- as a


dark, so he might be more conservative. He may be more


conservative, but all eyes will be on whether he can continue on the


same path as the ECB is following. He is not very keen on buying all


of these bonds. The was described as a very German Italian. He might


have to be too. A quick look at the markets, I don't know if we have


got them. It is more bank and lest ways. The markets are down and it


is retreating. We want to hear what you think, so do get in touch with


us at GMT. The best way to do that is to go to our website -


This is GMT from BBC World News. I'm Tim Willcox. The headlines: The


world's population hits the landmark figure of seven billion.


The UN says it has doubled in the last 50 years and it will carry on


climbing. NATO is officially ending its seven-month long mission in


Libya - the new transitional authorities have asked it to keep a


More than three million homes are without power in the United States


after an unseasonal snowstorm blanketed the country's north east.


At least nine people have died in snow-related accidents. From


Washington, Zoe Conway reports. It is being called shock October,


freakish no raining down on 60 million Americans. Could it be that


Mother Nature has been playing a spectacular Hallowe'en trick? She


has certainly broken records. Only four times in the past 135 years


has New York's Central Park seen snow this early. I hate it, hate it,


hated. I cannot express how much I hate it. This weather is just


blowing us away. We are shocked. Misery has been felt across the


country as downed power lines knocked out 3 million people


electricity. For many residents it could be days before the power


comes back. Nine people died in the storm as roads became treacherous.


More than 1,000 flights were cancelled and some passengers were


trapped on grounded planes for hours. In their autumnal glory, the


White House trees were proved that the President hadn't got the date


wrong. It is not ideal. Are you doing all right? And the first


family were still needed to preside over trick or treating. Good to see


you. Well the weather did not prevent him from doing his job, for


many Americans it will take time for their lives to return to normal,


The snow in New York was a taste of what's to come for the Occupy Wall


Street demonstrators camping out in lower Manhattan. The movement


against corporate influence in government which began six weeks


ago has spread to many cities in the US and around the world, but


not without controversy. Over the weekend, police took action against


a number of Occupy protests in Virginia, Texas, Oregon and


Colorado. On today's GMT, we explore the view from the other


angle, the view from Wall Street. We can speak now to James Altucher.


He is New York Managing Director of Formula Capital. Many of you guys


dismiss the protesters as an incoherent jumble of groups, but


you ignore them at their peril, don't you? I don't think so. You


said yourself, they are protesting against corporate influence in


government, so why isn't there and occupy Washington DC? We always


hear about this one, but the people working on Wall Street on normally


low level back office administrators and officials of the


different banks. They have lost their homes and lost their savings


and pensions and now they have to deal with all of these protesters


yelling in their faces when they are not guilty. Where is Occupied


Washington DC? When you say you people, we are not sure what you


mean. I used to live on Wall Street but I don't work on Wall Street.


think a lot of the anger is that some of the people in the financial


industry are getting richer where is the the rest of this life is


getting much tighter. When you say the rest of us, a lot of people


want jobs and they don't want their homes foreclose on. They want to


have a chance at success and the so-called American dream. Again,


who initiated the bail-out? To improve double the compensation? It


is not the low level workers -- work is on Wall Street it is the


chief executives on Park Avenue or in Connecticut, it is the


government in Washington. I think the anger, I understand that, and


we are all angry, but let's get to the root of the problem if we want


to have changed, and it is not sitting on Wall Street, it is


sitting in Washington DC where many of the policies were initiated.


Does Wall Street share any of the blame when you look for example at


the hedge funds, the derivatives markets, the slicing up a debt,


money being made each time that is done. Of course, but all of those


see he does have quit or been fired or throw out and had their golden


parachutes. All of them? Leman brothers, a lot of the big guys who


were there are now gone. Lehmann Brothers is demolished. Meryl Lynch


got absorb into Bank of America, which is based in North Carolina,


so I think at some point you have to say he will be protesting


against? Why I'll be sitting here in a park next to Wall Street when


the corporations are maybe thousands of miles away or even


just five miles away. What are we protesting about and what do we


want? Right now I have heard everything from the banks not


lending to health care, and of course a lot of scapegoating and


accusations of anti-Semitism coming out of Occupied Wall Street. Who


are they protesting against and why the location they are in? I have


not heard a reasonable argument. Many of the corporates are still in


Washington DC. It is a new phenomenon, so that is what makes


it difficult for us to get our heads around, this is spreading


almost like the internet. There is a wide range of complaints but they


have to focus themselves somewhere. I agree, but look at the last time


there were massive demonstrations across the US. 1968, when we were


International news and intelligent analysis going live to the heart of the day's top global story, with Tim Willcox.

As the world population officially reaches 7 billion, we look at how the event is being marked around the globe.

Plus as Nato prepares to end its mission in Libya, we look back at what it has achieved and ask if it was worth it.

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