22/11/2013 Newsnight


22/11/2013

Greenpeace activists released on bail speak after two months detention in Russia. What is the future of virtual currencies? Sir Jonathan Ive and Bono on design. With Emily Maitlis.


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After 70 days in a Russian jail, the Greenpeace activists are released.

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We speak exclusively to one about life behind bars and whether it has

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changed his beliefs. I spend a lot of time in handcuffs and small

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spaces, being transported around. It is a very claustrophobic place,

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prison. Have we reached tipping point for the Bitcoin, what began as

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a subversive virtual currency, is now recognised by the fed. Does it

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ruin it? The Chingford boy who designed the iPod has teemed up with

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Bono, a warning, there will be singing. There is a tune I wrote

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earlier on it. # Strangers in the night (plays out

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of tune) # Exchanging glances, lovers at

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first sight! A diet of fish soup, court

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appearances in cages and two months in a Russian jail, there must have

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been times when the Greenpeace activists wondered if their trek

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into Arctic waters had really been worth it. But today came freedom of

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sorts. The release of 29 of the Arctic 30 on bail. Tonight we speak

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exclusively to one of the British men freed and asked about his

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experienced behind bars, and what taught him about Russia, prison and

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the effectiveness of direct action. First a reminder of how it all

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began. (Gunfire) It was this attempt by the protestors in September to

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board an Arctic oil rig, owned by the Russian company, Gazprom, that

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prompted the authorities to arrest them and charge them, first for

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trespassing and then hooliganism. This wasn't the first time they were

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on the rig, a year ago they got a warning from the Russians but no

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arrests. Court images like this brought worldwide condemnation of

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the activists' treatments. It is not just grassroots supporters is that

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have been campaigning for their release. Celebrities have got in on

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the act as well, causing widespread focus on the Russians and their

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reaction. Focus perhaps not entirely welcome ahead of the 2014 winter

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Olympics. How are you feeling? Feels very good to be out. The granting of

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the bail for 29 of the 30 held in detention came just after a maritime

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court ordered them to release the vessel and the crew on the payment

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of a three. Six million euro bond. Russia was dismissive of the case

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and said it didn't fall under the international tribunal of the law of

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the see. But President Putnam said Putin -- Putin said he didn't want

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to aggravate the situation. Whether they will be allowed to leave the

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country we do not know. I asked one of the freed how he felt to be free?

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I was jubilant this morning, the prevailing emotion most of the day.

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I still feel very strongly about our cause and you know the campaign to

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save the Arctic. Yeah, the period inside hasn't daunted me in the

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task, but you can't spend two months in Russian prisons without really

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taking a look at the whole issue and your own circumstances as well. I

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have had highs and lows. You mentioned the highs and the lows,

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what were the lows? The greatest low came last week when I heard that

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they had applied for a three-month extension for the investigation.

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Which really spelt out that there was the potential for us to be

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staying in the -- jail until late February. That was worrying from the

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point of view I wouldn't see my partner and I was going to miss

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Christmas and I wouldn't see my family. But, yeah, I was prepared

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for it. It was just a bit of a low point. But I think that the lowest

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point was when I ran out of reading materials. You know when you are

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sat, left alone with your thoughts, at that point you can get quite low.

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You have only been out a few hours, just describe what you have decided

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mentally you never want to do or see again? What do I never want to see

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again? That is Russian fish soup. Yeah, I haven't made any massive

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resolutions to change my way of life in any way. Did you ever question

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why you had ended up where you had? No, not at all. I was there for a

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reason, I have never doubted my Reasons. My resolve has never been

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stronger to fight for environmental issues, particularly the campaign of

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saving the Arctic and combatting climate change. Stepping back you

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could say none of your actions have yet impacted on what Russia, Gazprom

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or Shell are doing there, so has the direct action even worked? Had I not

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have done that I wouldn't be speaking to you now I doubt. My

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message is very much that humanity has to take a holistic view and

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really start doing some serious work towards preventing climate

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catastrophe. What we really need to do is get some kind of legal

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low-binding agreement to make an Arctic refuge, and that's what

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really you are aiming for, with the whole Save The Arctic Campaign. This

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was a small battle in that campaign. So I think it has been absolutely

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worth it. It certainly brought it to the attention of the Russian voters,

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you know, hopefully it is bringing it to the dinner tables around the

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world. For the conversations that will work both ways, some people

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watching this will say you left the Russians no choice. They had warned

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you a year ago, and those warnings hadn't been heeded, and they saw you

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boarding an oil rig, they had to take the action that they took. Do

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you agree with that? I think that works both ways. You know, they felt

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that they had to take action but we also feel that we have to take

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action. They felt what we were doing is wrong, but we know what they are

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doing is wrong. Scientific fact states that the climate is changing.

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And the icecaps are receding. If we don't do something who will stand up

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and say now is the time to act. We can't leave it too long. There are

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no constituents for the planet. We need it all realise we have to do

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something for it now. I have been frustrated at times, I have been

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very angry at times, but ultimately this is the price for standing up to

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be counted. I would do nothing different. I'm not saying that we

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should go out and do the exact same thing again. That wouldn't be

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helpful or creative. I think Greenpeace has shown that it is

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constantly creative in the way in which it tries to fight climate

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change and I think this has been done, so something else will be done

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next time. It has certainly got the conversation going in Russia and I

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think to that end we have succeeded greatly.

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Thank you very much indeed. A US senator has acted on the story

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broken earlier this month by Newsnight that Saudi Arabia had

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invested in Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme and in turn could

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obtain atomic bombs at will. Ed Markey who sits on the committee of

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foreign relations sought reassurance from the White House. What is the

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senator actually requesting? He's clearly concerned that while the

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attention has been on Iran, Saudi Arabia has been making preparations.

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It has been saying explicitly to the US for years that it was making

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preparations to go nuclear if Iran was ready to do the same. In his

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letter to the President, which we have obtained, he says:

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Essentially he's asking President Obama is this right? That the Saudis

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and Pakistanies have this understanding that in extremists the

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Saudis could get nuclear warheads and what is he going to do about it.

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Pakistan has denied the story, what if their side is right? They have

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denied it, we had Pakistani sources, former officials who said they

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believed the story of the deal with Saudi Arabia was true. But they have

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denied it. Saudi Arabia hasn't. That is causing some people to think,

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well could the Saudis have some other track to nuclear weapons,

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possibly. Something that might even continue even if there is a deal on

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the Iranian nuclear programme, and Senator Markey is particularly

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concerned about reports that the US has been negotiating a nuclear

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technology-sharing agreement with Saudi Arabia. He writes to the

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President: Of course the President may well

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argue that the most important thing he can do to address these concerns

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is complete this deal with the Iranians to halt their programme and

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therefore calm the regional situation, news tonight, Foreign

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Minister Lavrov has gone to Geneva where those talks are taking place.

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Mr Hague, the British Foreign Secretary will go tomorrow morning.

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John Kerry also on his way, they may be close to some sort of interim

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deal on the Iranian nuclear question. The Peercoin, the other

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coins making the Bitcoin look passe. They have exploded on to the public

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imagination, fans are hoping it is the passport to the quick fortune.

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These currencies bypass Governments and central banks, regulation and

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oversight. It is the thing that makes them so attractive, but

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ultimately uncontrollable. They have been seen since their inception a

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shadowy form of trade. This week they got the seal of approval, or at

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least recognition by none other than the Fed chairman. Has their time

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come? # There is nothing quite as

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beautiful as money # There is nothing quite as

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beautiful as cash # With money you can make a splash!

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What is money? For most people it means cash, here in this East End

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market the only way is cash. Fold it up, put it in your pocket or stuff

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it in your mattress, it is something you can believe in. In some quarters

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that belief in paper money is beginning to crumble. Some things

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have value because they are either desirable or rare. Like gold,

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diamonds or famous works of art. The problem with money is that it is

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anything but rare. Central banks around the world are printing the

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stuff like it is going out of fashion. For some people it already

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has. Using horribly complicated computer code, programmers have

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replicated some of the qualities we value in something like gold.

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Powerful computers compete like prospectors to unearth or mine the

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coins in cyberspace, but there is a fine night supply of them. Here you

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have a token, which is impossible to dilute, impossible to counterfeit,

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and just like people would consider buying gold during inflationary

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times, they are considering buying Bitcoin and buying Bitcoin, many

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people are buying Bitcoin because they are afraid of inflation. All

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very clever, what is the use of something that only exists in the

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ether. You can't take that down the pub. Well actually you can! Right, a

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drink I think. To buy a drink I'm going to need one of these, or one

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of these. There you go. That will be ?3. 20. Thank you very much, that

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was zero. 0071 Bitcoins to pay. So far virtual currencies have been in

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the shadows of the financial system, an experiment in creating a new form

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of exchange. But when the world's most powerful banker name checks

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them, people sit up and listen. A word or phrase from the Fed

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chairman can move markets, this was no exception, Bitcoins soared in

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value after the recent comments. Bitcoins are now worth ?730 each,

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two years ago it was three. Virtual currencies have been used across

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cyberspace. currencies have been used across

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two years ago it was three. Virtual currencies have been used across

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two years ago it was three. Virtual happening in the central blanks. And

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two years ago it was three. Virtual moving into something that they

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It is a socioeconomic movement we are going through at the moment,

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every time you have that you have to have the money behind it, a currency

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behind that, be that golden. At the moment this seems to be Bitcoin.

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What do you mean it is a socioeconomic move? It is a

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libertarian movement, it is a "by the people for the people" get away

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from big Government and big industry, get away from the people

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polluting the seas, the Internet and the global financial crisis. The

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LIBOR scandals, the scandals in HSBC, they are talking about Silk

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Road and HSBC, the current scandal can Co-Op bank, people are scared by

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the banking in this country and around the world. But you heard the

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point the commentator made that people think it is a post-Government

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currency, it is not, because the Government can step on it or stamp

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it out if they want to? That is false. Why? Because it is completely

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outside, it is like P-to-P file swapping hitting the music industry,

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this is the same thing with money. With the current regulatory

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environment will be as effective at stopping that as the music industry.

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Governments have already seized Bitcoins. And they couldn't hack

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into it. The Bitcoins... If they see it as a threat they will take it off

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the people, we all know that. How do they do that then? How do they take

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it off people? It is just like I have cash in my waet now, there is

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no way of insuring your Bitcoins against loss. That is one of the

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fears. They can take it off you or get it off your computer. This is

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what is happening in this industry, the environment in the US and the UK

:18:34.:18:38.

versus the rest of the world, China, India, around the world, Bitcoin is

:18:39.:18:41.

the unbanked of the world. Six billion people don't have access to

:18:42.:18:46.

banking infrastructure as such are now using these currencies with

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their mobile technologies, and they will lead this market. The number

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one market for Bitcoin is in China. If the US and the UK don't want to

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compete in this market they can go home, we don't want them to compete

:18:58.:19:00.

in this market. When you say Bitcoin to people, a lot of people will

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think of the dark net, the drugs, the child porn, the rather seedy

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side of the transactions that people don't want to do up front. Isn't

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that where Bitcoin is going to stay? No, of course not. That is a very

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minor part. When Silk Road was busted the Bitcoin started to move

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up in value because you got rid of what was perceived a bad agent in

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the market. There is a commerce element to Bitcoin, fine, the

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majority of reason we are looking at Bitcoin now is the increase in

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price. That is what takes it way in currency. If I owe you ?200 and it

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is trading at ?2 and I give you a Bitcoin and say the debt is done,

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tomorrow the Bitcoin halves and I get away with not paying you ?100.

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The market is so volatile people can't use it as exchange currency.

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There is no currency. 16% risk we are seeing on daily basis the

:20:00.:20:05.

Instant transaction like bit-pay. Which not many people will take at

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the moment? It is a huge industry. What about all the other currency, I

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mentioned at the beginning there, the Peercoin, and the lobe bow nick

:20:13.:20:17.

Celt and all the rest of it. If you can do an algorithm you want to code

:20:18.:20:33.

a new coin? Internet affect -- internet affectation. Would you

:20:34.:20:36.

invest in it? I had a look at it a couple of years ago looked at the

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infrastructure and sold it back. Sir Richard brandson is looking at

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Bitcoin for his interspacial flight new programme, he has already booked

:20:45.:20:49.

a quarter of a million dollar seat with it. There are 20,000 merchants

:20:50.:20:55.

that accept Bitcoin and it is growing in popularity. Thank you.

:20:56.:20:58.

Probably the most influential man you have never heard of, the

:20:59.:21:06.

Chingford-born design genius behind some of apple's most ubiquitous

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products. In keeping with their it is a ternity, tacit ternity, he

:21:13.:21:20.

rarely gives interviews. Joining with Bono for a charity event he

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broke his silence. Designed doesn't get any more rarified and bespoke

:21:35.:21:39.

than this. 43 one-off pieces, specially commissioned for an

:21:40.:21:44.

auction in New York. The famous face of the sale is the singer Bono. But

:21:45.:21:52.

apple's design supremo Sir Johnny Ine is the man sweating over the

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nuts and bolts, you would be hard pressed to find one here. What is

:21:58.:22:01.

interesting about these things is they are so purposeful, and there is

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incredible beauty cons Kent of just how focussed and -- consequent of

:22:07.:22:11.

how focussed and beautiful they are. Mostly you don't know who designed

:22:12.:22:15.

them or their biography, but you see what they do, and they do it so

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beautifully. A private view of the lot, before they are auctioned

:22:21.:22:25.

tomorrow more Bono's Product Red Charity. Which raises money to

:22:26.:22:30.

tackle AIDS, Malaria and TB in Africa. This is a tune earlier I

:22:31.:22:35.

wrote on it. # Strangers in the night (plays out

:22:36.:22:39.

of tune # Exchanging glances

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# Lovers at first sight. Don't give up the day job,

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to get ready. I thought OK, I thought I would see all of them, and

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be trusted to see all the new apple products. And I walked in. I hope

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you will tell us about it, these guys won't? They had them all

:23:30.:23:33.

covered which was upsetting. I just saws desks -- saw desks everywhere

:23:34.:23:40.

with these cloths, as well as hurt I thought that was a very dull grey.

:23:41.:23:49.

Despite apple's strange approach of pre-viewing its goodies, I was

:23:50.:23:53.

willing to discuss this computer, spoiler alert it is not out yet.

:23:54.:23:58.

This is the MacPro, just launched. It is like a number of the PCs here,

:23:59.:24:07.

it is made from alluminium, we experimented with anodisinging it in

:24:08.:24:16.

-- anodising it. The apple product will be in the grey, but this is the

:24:17.:24:20.

only one. What if there is a huge demand, it is too bad? There is just

:24:21.:24:25.

one. The approach was just to have essentially CPU, just the actual

:24:26.:24:30.

computing brain. And make that as fast as possible. But the cooling

:24:31.:24:33.

system actually means that it runs very quietly. Is it inspired by a

:24:34.:24:38.

wine cooler, because it lose look a little like a very sophisticated one

:24:39.:24:42.

doesn't it? I think what is more interesting is the inside. You

:24:43.:24:45.

actually see how it has been infigured about this central

:24:46.:24:49.

chimney, the air is pulled in through the bottom. That is a handle

:24:50.:25:48.

. I think as part of the human condition we sense when people care.

:25:49.:25:51.

We probably sense more when people don't care. And the majority of our

:25:52.:25:57.

manufactured environment, testifies to people actually not really caring

:25:58.:26:04.

about us. Space, in fact, and fiction, has been a major influence

:26:05.:26:10.

on apple's lead designer. No wonder he has included a space shuttle in

:26:11.:26:13.

the auction. Not a whole one. This is a window. And also I think the

:26:14.:26:18.

shape is just extraordinary as well. Do you think design and engineering

:26:19.:26:23.

gets the credit it deserves? Does Government give it enough attention,

:26:24.:26:29.

is it, is enough time spent on it at school and university. Are we

:26:30.:26:35.

encouraging people to be good at what you guys are exemplares of?

:26:36.:26:41.

There is certainly an issue, it is an expensive subject to teach.

:26:42.:26:47.

Because it requires workshops and machinery. So sadly there is not

:26:48.:26:52.

the, you know when we were growing up and certainly in the UK the UK

:26:53.:26:59.

has had an incredible tradition of design education. There is certainly

:27:00.:27:03.

not the same commitment, you don't see as many workshops when you work

:27:04.:27:08.

around schools now. Some may feel there is a large element of boys

:27:09.:27:12.

toys about this show and this auction. And they may think that it

:27:13.:27:19.

might be better and easier if apple and you didn't just reach into your

:27:20.:27:23.

pockets and make a contribution that way? You know apple are leading

:27:24.:27:27.

right out front. They are the largest corporate donor to the

:27:28.:27:32.

global fund, which is the mechanism to get these AIDS drugs to people

:27:33.:27:35.

who don't have them. They are very quiet about it, they are very apple

:27:36.:27:38.

about it, it is annoying sometimes, because they are doing such great

:27:39.:27:44.

work. Again, I just say to you, this is quite a sly political tool. And

:27:45.:27:50.

we can all give and do you know, our band, U two is also Red, but that's

:27:51.:27:57.

the point is the neon, the excitement, the sort of making this

:27:58.:28:02.

a political priority by keeping it in the public discussion. There is

:28:03.:28:08.

still time to get your bids in. Though a Russian oligarch is said to

:28:09.:28:17.

be determined to snap up the Soyuz spacesuit. Just the papers before

:28:18.:29:23.

That is all tonight, but those of a certain age can remember where they

:29:24.:29:28.

were 50 years ago today when they heard the news, that of President

:29:29.:29:33.

Kennedy's assassination. We will leave you with the sharp images of

:29:34.:29:37.

those moments in 1963. Good night.

:29:38.:29:44.

Greenpeace activists released on bail speak after two months detention in Russia. What is the future of virtual currencies? Sir Jonathan Ive and Bono on design. With Emily Maitlis.


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