20/03/2014 Newsnight


Inept? The search for flight MH370. Gus O'Donnell. New rules let you blow your pension pot. Karl Ove Knausgaard. And repairing female genital mutilation in Africa.

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accused of delate. While the batteries on the flight black box


recorder are running out. Could this be the wreckage of the missing


plane, as we are looking at the search area. The man who provided


the crucial information is here. Would you like to cash in your


pension, buy one of these? The Government's new rules say no


problem. If people do buy a Lambourghini but know they will live


on the state pension, that becomes their choice and the state is much


less concerned about that. But surely no-one would be that daft.


I'm going to spend, spend, spend. The Pensions Minister will be here


to clarify. A what happens when you write about your every emotion?


Answer, you might get a best seller, but half your family stops talking


to you. . "I had long wished him dead, but from the very second I


realised his life could soon be over, I began to hope for it". It's


morning in Malaysia, and for the families still waiting to learn the


fate of the 239 passengers and crew of flight MH-370, more importantly


searches are about to resume 2,000 miles off the Australian coast. That


is where grainy images were captured, that appear to be the


first genuine clues of the plane's where abouts. The first


investigations of that area turned up nothing. But it is still the


centre of the search. Yet tonight there is pressure on the Malaysian


Government over whether they have acted fast enough. Jim Reid is in


Kuala Lumpur for us this evening. It is around six. 30 in the morning


here, and this building behind me is where many of the family members of


people who boarded the plane are staying here in Kuala Lumpur. In


around half an hour's time the sun here will come up, it will also rise


in western Australia. That will mean that flights once again, search


flights, can resume to this area identified yesterday round about


4,000 miles from here. As you said, satellite imagery, commercial


satellite imagery appeared to show large pieces of debris beneath the


surface there, which could or could not be related, we don't know yet,


to this missing plane. Also overnight we learned that data which


could have helped identify and pinpoint that area was passed to the


Malaysian authorities ten days ago. But wasn't used straightaway. That's


clearly important, if this plane did ditch into the sea, then the longer


that debris is held under water the more chance there is that it is


moved by currents and tides and therefore just not found at all over


time. Overalthough, what this tells us is that at the end of all this


this is the best lead yet in this long-running saga. A lead which, an


investigation which has been criticised by many from the start. A


warning that this report contains some flash photography.


Two tiny specks on a grainy photograph, now the centre of a huge


international search. 29 aircraft, 18 ships, and six helicopters are


now looking for one missing plane and the 269 people on board.


Military aircraft sent out from the Australian coast west, deep into the


Indian Ocean. Their job is to find the pleases of debris on the


satellite images. The largest is 24ms long, the lead is said to be


credible. At a news conference, Malaysia's Defence Minister had


something solid to report for the first time in days. REPORTER:


Minister you keep using the word "credible", can you explain what


makes it so different? Right now the information that we have received


from the Australian authorities was actually coroborated to a certain


extent from other satellites, this is something that we can bring our


ships acrosses? This is something the two prime ministers spoke to,


that makes it different from the earlier leads. From the naval base


they are sent down to the southern corridor, the swathe where satellite


readers show the plane may have been heading. A military radar station up


the coast from here picks up one of the last signals from the plane, as


it left Malaysian airspace and flew west across the strait. Two weeks


after that plane went missing this country is still looking for


answers. Malaysia's ruling party in power without a break since 1955 is


not used to this kind of pressure, this kind of scrutiny, both from the


international community and from its own citizens.


It is in large cities with a tech friendly population that the


Government is being tested. Newspapers and TV stations are


heavily regulated or controlled by allies of the Government. But


millions of young Malaysians are getting their news in other ways


these days, on blogs and on Twitter people are free to report what they


want. Because there is a general distrust I think there is a lot of


media coverage about how inefficient the Government has been, how slow it


has been and things, people have latched on to that rhetoric as well,


to use it and go, they might be lying, are they hiding stuff. That


kind of thing on top of speculation, the lying accusations are coming


out. It is everywhere on the Internet. That all came to a head


this week when Chinese relatives of missing passengers tried to storm


the daily news conference and were dragged away by security. The


Malaysian Government has been repeatedly accused of wasting


valuable time and announcing crucial details only to U-turn completely


the next day. Just this evening British satellite operators said


there were strong indications ten days ago that the Boeing 777 would


be found either in the southern part of the Indian Ocean or central Asia


and not in the seas around Malaysia where a wild goose chase continued


for at least two days after that information was passed on. Ministers


here in Malaysia say no other country has had to deal with the


situation like this before. A source close to the Government told us th


western media is simply biased against the developing world and the


level of criticism is, in his words, below the belt. The most influential


opposition figure in Malaysian politics is currently facing a


five-year jail term, he claims long-standing charges of sod me,


still technically -- sodomy, still technically illegal here are false.


It episode confirms what we have been saying for decade, which is


that this poor governance, authoritarian, they will use


anything just to stifle the opposition. Is there a danger that


many people in Malaysia are going to look at this and think you are


exploiting this tragedy for political gains? I'm sharing


information to help. What else do you expect me to do, to say it is OK


they are handling it brilliantly? But you know the facts prove


otherwise, things have to change. I strongly urge the Government last


week in parliament to say, please, acknowledge your faults and move on.


Release the information, apologise for the shortcomings. But this


situation also offers an insight into the nuances of diplomacy and


power in modern south-east Asia. 153 of the passengers on board the


flight are from mainland China. Kuala Lumpur's peddling district,


the threat by the relatives to go on hunger strikes is big news. The


links between Malaysia and China are strong, a quarter of all Malaysians


are ethnic Chinese. What might have united the two countries, that


relationship has become more and more trained as time as gone on. The


Chinese Ambassador was using very undiplomatic language this week,


complaining of chaos and rumours making it impossible to think. The


Chinese Government was under tremendous pressure, especially in


the Chinese social media space. The young Chinese people nowadays they


realised that China is a growing power, what they couldn't understand


is why the Chinese Government put more pressure, couldn't they put


more pressure being a regional power on a small country like Malaysia to


do more in terms of search and rescue operations. Search planes


will make a new attempt to reach the suspicious debris, floating


somewhere in the Indian Ocean. If and when the objects do turn out to


be the missing airliner, the attention turns to another, bigger


question, what exactly happened to the flight. With us now are my


guests. Chris, briefly, explain what your satellite company does? It is a


global satellite operator, we concentrate with data and voice, we


operate the global maritime distress service and operate safety services


for the aircraft and your reporter was using our equipment. What


precisely did you give to the Malaysians in terms of information


and crucially, when? When you mean the Malaysians that is the Malaysian


investigation, on Tuesday we gave a plot that our engineers thought


might be of use to the inquiry which had a north and south run to it.


Because of the nature of the information just a sim ping with no


GPS data we could give no more than a suggested route. When did they act


on that information, we are on Thursday? We gave it on Tuesday, and


we can't say when they decided to act on it, I would note that the US


sent ships down to the south on Thursday morning. There was a delay,


a time during which they could have been searching in a more precise


area than the vast corridors we have been talking about over the last


couple of days? Clearly we are not here to criticise the Malaysian


Government, far from it, it has been a difficult time for them. What we


would say is we provided broad data for people to look at. As far as you


know, did they pass that kind of information on to other countries,


particularly China, and would it have been helpful for them to do so


as far as you know? Well the investigation itself is something


that I can't comment on, as far as I know China would have been an


interested party and we would have been clearly expecting that to have


been passed on. David you know how these things work, it does appear


that there has been a delay. How would that delay have had an effect


on ever finding the plane? Every day is absolutely crucial, and in a


search like this, with time, information degrades. Looking at the


surface wreckage, even at a very minimal current, ocean current of


one nautical mile it spreads out each day 24 nautical miles. So after


eight days that wreckage could be 200 nautical miles away from where


the plane actually plunged into the ocean. In terms of layman's miles,


200 nautical miles? Nautical miles are 15% bigger than a statute mile,


about 230 miles. Very significant distances in terms of this kind of


search. The crucial piece of evidence, the black box, it stops


working after some time, 30 days doesn't it? It is a pinger attached


to the black box which can you can use to locate T that is the key


window of opportunity that is closing very fast. As soon as the


black box and the pinger is submerged into sea water it starts


pinging, once a second, it will do that for approximately 30 days then


the batteries won't last after that. Sometimes actually they don't even


last 30 days. So by the time they can actually get the equipment out


into this area of the world to start listening for the pinger you are


probably looking at something in the order of 22 days. There is probably


only a handful of days left. Even if they start mobilising this equipment


virtually overnight. We are in an absolutely critical time window


here, that as you suggest is closing very fast. If they do, in the search


tomorrow, manage to confirm that this is debris from the plane, what


happens next then, that is, in a sense, the start of the next phase?


Then they remobilise all the assets that have been searching everywhere


else in the world, the planes, the aircraft, bring them all into this


one zone and then they have to start looking for multiple pieces of


wreckage, because tracking this back to the plunge point, based on one


piece is very difficult. There will be a lot more wreckage in the water


that they will be able to use to help do that back tracking. You are


very experienced in having done this. Just describe the scale of


what they are trying to achieve here, the difficulty? This is


unprecedented in terms of searching for an aircraft that has been lost,


it is almost a search within a search within a search and another


search on top of that. The first thing they have to do is locate this


potential wreckage that was seen on eight days after the plane crash,


four days ago, five days ago tomorrow. That alone could have


drifted over 100 nautical miles away. They need to find that and use


that to back track them to where the other wreckage is, and then to back


track it to the plunge point and then you start with the sub-sea


search. That is just the surface search. Then you have to try to


listen to the pinger, time is running out, if you don't hear the


pinger you are dealing with an enormous search box. Much larger


than anything we saw with Air France. So this step would be the


first of many if it is indeed the correct one to take. We are sadly on


day 13 now, briefly to both of you with experience in this, do you


think it is viable that we will find the plane? I think the window is


closing and even a couple of days ago I thought it was very, very


difficult and they really have to get lucky, they have to find


wreckage quickly, they have to find maybe, listen, hear something from


the pinger but it is really getting very tight now. To you Chris, do you


think this will be found? It is more a case of isn't it time to mandate


all aircraft having tracking devices on board, it is done for the North


Atlantic why not the rest of the world. Thank you very much for


joining us tonight. Money doesn't quite make the world go round, but


it is probably what preoccupies politicians more than anything else.


At least these days. But should it? Sir gust O'Donnell who rose to the


top of the Civil Service as an expert bean counter believes with


the benefit of hindsight believes there should be much more to


Westminster, mandarins and ministers should focus on our well being


instead. That sounds rather nice, what does it mean in terms of


concrete policies? Well, that was my first question. Why don't we have


three manifestos that say how we are going in the five years we will have


in the next fixed-term parliament to improve the well being of you. We


have measures now, we know that actually in the last couple of years


well-being has been going up in the UK. What would you put in those


manifestos then? I would say we really need to care about


unemployment, I would be very tough love, I think just giving people


benefits and not getting them engaged with the Labour market is a


mistake. We need to get people into work that improves their


self-esteem. I would be much fiercer on the conditionality tests. I would


be saying people at the moment I think they need to engage in three


attempts to get jobs to get benefits, I would increase that


dramatically. A tougher approach on unemployment? A tougher approach on


unemployment. I would definitely be reallocating resources towards


mental health, that is hugely important. I would change the


treatments, far too many of the treatments are giving people


antidepressants. I think building stronger communities. It is quite


interesting, and I agree this is a long-term thing, but if you look at


those countries that are really getting it right, in the


Scandinavians, they have 60% of people who trust each other. You


look at the Anglo-Saxon countries that goes down to 30-40%, southern


Europe 20%, Africa a lot of them less than 10%. We need to do things


to encourage trust, build communities, encourage volunteering.


Look at the Olympics, we had a quarter of a million applicants to


volunteer in the Olympics, 70,000 did it. The volunteers felt good


about it, but we the public just seeing them felt good. It improved


our well being. If politicians don't already have our well being at the


forefront of their minds what do they have at the forefront of their


minds? I think quite often they get kind of dragged away to things like


saying let's think about GDP per capita, all of these measures that


are given so much coverage, dare I say it, on the media. When GDP has


gone up 0. 1 it is a triumph, and down the same it is a disaster.


Those sorts of things do buy us our national debate. I think it is


really important that we should be saying actually those kinds of


things, they will be revised substantially and they are not that


important. I care much more about the unemployment statistics than the


GDP statistics. With that in mind then, even as a former Treasury


economist, you are basically saying there is an element to which things


like yesterday's budget are a bit of a charade, they don't matter that


much? This is painful for me to say, having lived through decades worth


of budgets, but I think yes they are far less important than I think we


tend to say. You know the economy is driven by lots of long-run forces


and short-term corrections on the tiller is what they are, and yeah,


shouldn't be taken all that seriously. I think that this week's


statistics that really matter were the overall life satisfaction for


the UK going up. Why do we have then not just a budget but also an Autumn


Statement now. Would you like to see that swept away or at least going


back to one big financial statement a year? I would like to see


Government move to a longer term plan, yes, like I say, now we have


fixed term parliaments I don't think people have responded to this


enough. I would have a Spending Review which is a five-year Spending


Review for the whole of the next parliament, I would have that


conditional on economic growth figures, I would then have my budget


would be kind of interim reports on how we are doing along that and


tacking things as they inevitably will turn out different than you


expected. You would get rid of some of the circus, the annual date where


you know it will happen, you wouldn't have it any more? I think


it is a bit of a relic of a bygone era. Yes. He might think it is a


relic but budgets can still do pretty dramatic things, yesterday it


is proposed that pensioners should be allowed to get their mites on


their own -- mitts on their own money when they want it. Rather than


being tied into a dusty old annuity that will pay out in a miserly way.


Steve Webb, the Pensions Minister, said he was relaxed if retirees blew


it all on a Lambourghini and then lived on the state pension. We will


talk to him in a moment. Now we see some lucky pensioners' spending


plans. Some people are saying that the changes to pensions are as


revolutionary as Margaret Thatcher's right to buy policy. So where better


to find out what the grey vote makes of it all than a golf course in her


old constituency in Finchley. Do you think the pension change is a good


idea? It is a brilliant idea because it gives people the freedom to do


what they want with their own money. What if they go crazy? They won't.


People who have been in business all their lives and why should they


waste the money? You don't think some people might be attempted to


buy a sports car and go on a cruise, get a floozey? That's great idea,


they might, I might take that up. The cruise or the flooze? The


floozey. Are you going to go crazy? I'm going to spend, spend, spend. On


what, cars, women, cruises, where is it going? All of those. All of the


above! I won't spend, spend, spend. Why not? Because you have got to


hopefully I have got another 30, 40 years to live. You never know! The


Chancellor has been given credit today for delivering a politically


clever budget that will win over older voters, but has it really


worked? Has he bought your vote? No. He hasn't bought my vote and he's


never actually had my vote. No that's not going to sway it for me.


Do you think there is something rather horribly cynical about this


that George Osborne is buying people's votes? No. Why? Because


he's only doing what they should have done years ago. It's the grey


vote isn't it. Even though I'm auburn. Steve Webb the Lib Dem MP


and Pensions Minister is with me now. In you're splashed on the front


page of tomorrow's Sun with you pictured in said Lambourghini.


Whether by accident or design you have rather put your finger on the


problem with the policy. Some people will cash in their chips, blow their


cash and then end up reliant on the state won't they? With an average


pension pot of ?25,000 I don't think many people will be buying sports


cars. When your colleague said to me what about the Lambourghini set I


fell into my own bad habit of answering the question I was asked.


That is how I get on the front page of the Sun. The serious question is


it is people's own money. We won't cast them adrift, we will guarantee


them guidance, information, but ultimately making sure they have a


decent state pension and if they want to spend the money sooner


rather than later we are treating them as adults, I don't think it is


among. It might be a Mondeo rather than Lambourghini, do you


acknowledge there may be people who PLO it all very -- blow it all very


publicly -- quickly, even though they might get advice? We have


talked about people who have saved, put money by when they are working,


they tend to be the more frugal and careful. If you blow the lot you do


pay tax on it potentially at a higher rate. There are structures in


place that encourage you to take the money for slowly. At the end of the


day now we have put in place the state pension reform that I have


driven through that make sure people have enough to live on. It won't be


a king's ran some, but a bare minimum. Then they can answer


questions about spending money early in the retirement and less later on,


we should give them the choice. These are big changes starting


almost immediately. Do you accept it is a massive experiment with


people's financial security, you are guarnteeing the pension but it will


only hold if not future Government will tear it up. It is possible your


guarantee will disappear a few years down the line. We he know around the


world not -- we know around the world not all countries do the


annuity system, lots of people will still buy an annuity, we know today


getting on for a quarter of people don't even take the tax-free lump


sum they can take today. They spend their whole pension on buying an


income. A lot of people will still buy a pension. What we are allowing


is people to have different priorities, needs and expectations


of their later life. This system allows people to choose what's right


for them. Yes with guidance, we guarantee guidance free of charge,


face-to-face if that is what people want. You have to remember the


market has broken now, people are urging us to take action now. People


are getting poor-value products, they are not getting a good deal,


that is why we have to get on with it. Have you ever fancied splashing


a bit of a cash on a Lambourghini: I have come down here in my two-door


Corsa and I will be going home in it! With us now is John Bird the


founder of the Big Issue, and City super woman Nicola Horlick. Do you


think people will buy Lambourghini, course is as or whatever and blow


their cash if they can get at it? A lot of people will blow their cash.


I'm one of those people who believes you shouldn't give them the


opportunity to blow their cash. What is so interesting, if you look at


the last 100 years, that Governments have increatesingly got into --


increasingly got into a situation where they have stopped people and


made them save money. That is what the mentions, that is what you know


the dole money is all about. It is about taking money, national


insurance money, ever since the First World War there has been that.


It has always been used on the basis that if you leave it to some people


they won't save. I'm typical, if I didn't have to save I wouldn't save.


And there's hundreds of thousands of people who will then become


vulnerable and will then be open to all the loan sharks and all those


other things. Nicola, do you think there is a miniboom in Lambourghini


or retirees splashing their cash along the way? I don't think so, I


think these are people already in the habit of saving, so they are


likely to be responsible about it. I think the thing is that an annuity


if you die the next day you lose all the money to the insurance company,


it is not great. The other thing is that the annuity rates are so poor


that they are generating very low amounts of income. So at least if


you can get your hands on the money you can then put it into, it depends


how much you have got, you could put it into a high-yielding unit trust,


or other fixed-income type instruments or if you have a decent


amount you might be able to buy a flat and let it out. You will get a


much better income that way. What is so wrong with that, that sounds


sensible, with people taking responsibility for themselves? There


is this kind of idea that you shouldn't patronise people, and


there is a kind of entry pat toe micing, which -- patronising. What


we have to do in these inclement times we live in, we have to


encourage people to save and keep their money and not splash out. If


they did exactly what you did and moved it and were clever like you,


who works in the City, great, but there is everybody giving you


advice, everybody is after your money and in my opinion this is one


of those kind of little pieces of ideology that is thrown in just


around the election time, just when they are coming up to the election.


Because what we are saying is all our pensioners are very sensible and


clever and they are going to look after themselves. But it is actually


not true. I know too many people who will take this money and urinate it


up the wall. There are plenty of us, educated, smart people as well as


many people who frankly don't really want to have to worry about where to


put their cash and financial products are terribly complex.


People are often ripped off by-products they don't understand.


There is a problem. Recent research showed 17 million people had the


numeracy levels of primary school children. You can still buy an


annuity, nobody is saying it is illegal to buy an annuity. If you


want to do that you can still do it. This is a very big move, this is a


radical move to give millions of people access to their cash and many


of them by not want to handle it? In my opinion it is overdue. I was


always felt it was wrong to force people to buy an annuity, I feel it


is the right thing to be done. In terms of numeracy and people's


understanding of financial products. Obviously it is a relatively complex


area, but the amount that is now written about financial services and


written in layman's terms is so much greater than it was 30 or 40 years


ago. On the whole people are much more aware of what's going on in


financial circles. We don't learn about finances at school, we don't


know how capitalism work, we don't know how insurances work. The


largest amount of money in the world is pension funds, it is ?50


trillion. We don't know anything about that. Therefore you may say


that there is a lot more knowledge around but there is not any real


knowledge given to us at school about how the system works.


Can you be comfortable if it is based on the guarantee if you blow


all of it you have a better state pension. That only lasts for as long


as this current Government's promise lasts. There is no guarantee that 20


years away there will be anything like the state provision there now?


That is always the problem, Government change things and other


Governments change them again. That is a problem. We generally need to


save more. We need to be talking to people and saying, please save. Now


it is very difficult obviously when we have been through a recession and


people have been hard up for a long period of time. But we want people


to save more. And I do actually think that people already have a


pension pot and are savers and are responsible and are not going to buy


a Lambourghini. Watch this space with interest. The changes begin


next month. Whether it is the knitwear, the leather trousers or


the moody camera work, we can't get enough of Scandinavian TV. Now an


extraordinary memoir full of Nordic noir has become a literary


sensation, the provocatively title, My Struggle, by the Norwegian writer


is a blisteringly candid account of family life. But the author himself


has been ostracised by some of his family. As the third volume of the


saga is published here. We have been to Sweden for this exclusive


interview with him. I want to be, you know, a good man, always wanted


to be good, now I'm doing something that is absolutely not good. You


can't say it is good, you know. How can I defend myself, can I say, my


literature is more important than your life? This man dreamt of being


a great writer and some say he is. He certainly is successful and


becoming well known. He did it by writing about his life in an


extraordinary way, a long hypnotic saga, three-and-a-half thousand


pages, provocatively entitled My Struggle Min Kamf. It covered the


banal, savouring a cup of tea. "For a while I picked up the teapot and


poured, dark brown, the tea rose inside the white cup". To his


feelings about his father. "I had long ed him dead, but the very


second I realised his life could be over, I began to hope for it". I


tried to write a novel for four or five days and I wrote every day,


that is what I do. It is hard to fail every day. But I was looking


for something, and at the end of was so frustrated I thought I would


write it as it was. No tricks, no nothing. Just wanted to write it. I


didn't think that anybody should read it or anything like that. I


just wanted to tell a story, which is the story of my life, basically.


He's married with four children, but his book isn't all happy families.


There is the bullying controlling figure of his late father. For his


part, he admits to resenting being a "new man", a hands-on dad while he


was burning to write. It is a question of getting through the


morning, the three hours of typers that have to be changed, breakfast


that has to be served, teeth brushed and taking them to the nursery,


whereupon now I have the next five hours of writing until the mandatory


routines for the children resume. I have three kids and two in prams and


with the shopping bags. Some Japanese were stopping and taking


photographs of me, this was the Scandinavian "man", I have no


problems with that. But I wanted to write about the differences between


how you should behave, what you should do. This is Sweden's Baltic


coast, but if it all looks a bit Robinson considers -- Crusoe, it is


very apt, he's not a castaway, but he is a devisive figure. In his


native Norway where his book first became a sensation, it sold half a


million copies in a country of five million. But people he has written


about have been bruised, he was disowned by some of his family after


recording his father's death through alcoholism in unsparing detail.


There has been all kinds of reactions from threats of you know


suing me and wanting to stop the book until the people being


flattered that they were in the book you know. I was kind of careless and


ruthless and I just did it. It was almost unbearable realising this


consequences of my writing. But still you know then you build up a


defence for yourself and I said, you know, but it is my story, it is the


story of my father. I returned the -- "I returned the glass to the


table and stubbed out of my cigarettes, there was nothing left


of my feelings than with those I have spent seven hours with. The


whole crowd of them could have burned in hell for all I cared." The


writer has been taken off a few Christmas card lists you suspect.


After six volumes, he's used everything up. His demons and


everyone else's, he's now writing a film script and some essays. His old


life as an author a struggling author is over. I wanted it to end,


I'm no longer an author. There is also the self-destructive thing


involved in it. I didn't you know die of drinking, but I did this


instead and I kind of gave up everything, in a way. More than


4,000 women in London alone have been treated on the NHS for the


after effects of the barbaric practice of female genital


mutilation. But for millions of women around the world, help is


almost impossible to find. So you would think the Government of a


country as poor as Buki in, aFaso would welcome an American charity to


build a hospital to treat victims. Think again, the hospital was due to


open two weeks ago, but it is standing idle. Women queueing up for


operations have been turned away. This village in western Bukino Faso,


doesn't have electricity or running water. And yet a sexual revolution


is taking place here. Up until recently every girl was genitally


mutilated. TRANSLATION: I was five when I was cut, we were taken to an


old lady, and she used the same knife on all of us. But a few years


ago she tells me health workers came to explain that the reason that some


girls died after the cutting and the problems with sex and childbirth


were nothing to do with witchcraft, as they had all believed, but it was


the cutting. She says the older women took some persuading,


including her mother. TRANSLATION: We all sent our daughters to be cut,


because we believed that without cutting they will never be married.


And now she tells her mother she's going to have what was cut off


restored. TRANSLATION: I would go if I could, but I'm too old. She tells


the village women about the new hospital which is offering clitoris


restoration. She says she has seen it with her own eyes and she's


going. 26 of them say they want to go with her. The oldest is 46 and at


24 Bebe is among the youngest. TRANSLATION: I'm going to get


treated because I don't get any pleasure when I have sex, only


Payne, now they are going to put that right. They set off in the heat


and dust to the hospital that promises miracles. Meanwhile,


surgeon, Marcy Bowers has arrived from Chicago, due to start operating


tomorrow, it is her first time in Africa and today she visits Bobo's


famous mosque. An internationally recognised expert on genital


surgery, she has brought five American volunteer medics with her


to help launch the hospital. This is a crime against humanity and FGM


should be banned, no-one likes t the women don't like t the men don't


like it, the people don't like it. I think it is time it came to


answered. But we need to facilitate that by allowing the people that


have been victimised to regain some sense of freedom. By now the village


women have finally arrived at their destination. The hospital which cost


?250,000 and eight years to build is an impressive site. But to their


surprise it is closed. They organise a room in the hospital grounds where


they can bed down and wait. The next morning the women welcome the local


organiser. She tells them to wait outside while she shows me the


hospital with all its new facilities which she says the Government have


just announced they are not allowed to use. She's behind the charity


Cliter Aid who raised the money for the hospital. They believe in UFOs


and promoting the pursuit of pleasure as that the of the Railian


movement. She believes the Government intervened because of the


Railian connection. I'm really upset, I have to apologise to the


women, they are so excited. It is about politics and I don't do


politics. There are 130 million women out there who need our help,


if somebody wants to build a hospital to them them you have to


let them do it. She says the mainstream religions here fear that


these women might, out of gratitude become Railians, as far as the women


are concerned, all they want is the operation they have come for. All is


not lost. Local doctors have rallied around and provided a clinic in the


town where the operations can take place. The women from the village


are brought here to await their turn. Bebe says she's not scared,


she's just ang that she was cut in the first place. TRANSLATION: I was


cut when I was four years old. It hurt then and it still hurts now. I


am very angry about it. When my husband approaches I just don't want


sex. Bebe is among the first. It is a simple procedure requiring a local


anaesthetic and lasting about 45 minutes. Dr Boweres explains the


women suffer different degrees of mutilation. No matter how severe,


even with infibulation and deep three, we can always find the


clitoris. Although the tip has been cut off, the rest lies beneath the


surface, it is about finding it and bringing it up. You may prefer to


turn away at this point. There is an area there missing, go ahead and cut


this. There is the clitoris. This outcome should look amazingly


normal. Like unaltered female anatomy. Cut and finished. By the


end of the day the team have operated on eight women. They are


doing what they came for. Things are going well at the clinic. The word


has got around and the queue is growing as women fly in from Mali,


Senegal and even Kenya for the operation. The team have operated on


some 29 women and are on their way to achieving the most important


purpose of their visit, to train local doctors to take over. Then the


American surgeries are told that their permissions to operate in the


country have been withdrawn. And the operations must stop. The minister


of health now reveals the reason for their opposition. That medical


organisations should be focussed on saving lives and not advertising


their religion in an attempt to convert vulnerable people. And yet


none of the doctors here are religious and I saw no attempt to


convert the patients. We have operated on women from all over


Africa, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Senegal, pretty much the cat is out


of the bag and is alive and purring. As word gets around that the surgery


is not only available but successful, and even successful with


local doctors here in Africa, I think the movement is only going to


continue. The women from the village who are still waiting at the


hospital for the operation are devastated. They must continue


living with their pain. What's happening here at the hospital is


like a metaphor for the campaign against FGM in Africa and worldwide.


Constantly thwarted by tradition, prejudice, religion and distrust. At


the party planned for their last night at the hospital, there are


mixed emotions. Bebe and 15 others from the village have been treated


and are looking forward to their new lives. Adjara who did so much to


bring the women here is among those who didn't. She has no idea if she


ever will. That's almost all for tonight. In a


month where we have all learned a great deal about how planes are


tracked the National Air Traffic Service has released images showing


exactly how the skies above us are monitored here in Europe. Take a


look, good night. It will be a cold start to the day


on Friday. Cold with a risk of some icy patches in Scotland and Northern


Ireland, where we have got some pretty wintry showers from early on.


A lot of sunshine for many. Into the afternoon there will be heavy


showers developing and it is not just rain and sleet, there will be


snow around in Northern Ireland, hail and


Inept? The search for flight MH370. Gus O'Donnell. New rules let you blow your pension pot. Karl Ove Knausgaard. And repairing female genital mutilation in Africa.

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