17/06/2011 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today. Another Friday of bloodshed in


Syria. Thousands take to the streets in continued defiance of


the Government's violent crackdown. Our correspondent becomes one of


the few journalists to enter Syria. He hears from those trying to flee.


What many have told us is the Syrian army and secret police are


getting closer to this point every day. We believe they are two or


three miles in that direction. Openly defying the authorities and


the driving bans, Saudi women take to the wheel.


German retreat - the German debt crisis, Berlusconi lin and France


show the way forward. Leaving Britain to fight on the frontline


in Libya. We hear one student's Hello. Welcome. Three months on


from the first protests against the rule of Bashar al-Assad in Syria,


thousands of people have taken to the streets after Friday prayers,


demanding reform. Unconfirmed reports say at least 16 protestors


were shot dead in several cities. Syria are fleeing violence in the


north and heading towards the border with Turkey. International


journalists are not allowed into Syria, but our correspondent


entered the country earlier today. This is his report. We took the


route the smugglers use, winding through the olive groves and down


the hillsides to avoid the border patrol. We were inside Syria. This


is how some 10,000 now live here - standed along the border in a no-


man's-land, too scared of their own army to return home. In one tent


sat this woman, elderly and frail. "I came here because of the


violence. Because of the Army. We're frightened of them.", she


said. Everyone here has a tale of horror. Few will tell theirs on


camera, too afraid of reprisals, but their stories are all similar.


TRANSLATION: We were watching from a place in Jisr al-Shughour so we


could tell our families what was happening. The soldiers went in


with tanks and army vehicles. They started to attack the buildings.


They entered offices and stole whatever they wanted and set fire


to them. The people of Syria have been all but sealed off for three


months now, as the President has tried to crush are rebellion he


blames on religious extremists. Many have told us the Army and


police are getting closer to this point every day. We believe they


are just two or three miles in that direction. On the other side of the


country we know that army units are getting closer to centres of


rebellion along the border. The tactics seem clear. The Army, the


ageem is trying to quash the rebellion.


-- the regime is trying to quash the rebellion. This, many here told


us, this is how the Army is doing it. We cannot show this mobile


phone footage. It's of a dead man with a long bloody wound across the


top of his skull. What does this make them think of their President?


"he's a traitor. He should give us our freedom." Such open decent was


once unheard of here. It is perhaps a sign that the brutality, far from


crushing this rebellion is actually fanning its flames.


Today's protests have been taking place across the country. The


capital Damascus demonstrators gathered in several areas. Nine


people died in Homs, after army units opened fire there on


protestors. Soldiers, backed with tanks and helicopters have taken


control of two northern towns, Marat al-Numan and Khan Sheikhoun.


Reports are coming in of Government troops shooting protestors in


Banias. Tens of thousands have rallied in the southern town of


Deraa. Now some other stories making the news. In Yemen, tens of


thousands have held another demonstration in the capital


calling for a transitional Government to replace the President.


The Yemeni Government has denied reports that President Saleh will


not be going home. A spokesman insisted the President will return


in the coming days. A rebel leader in the Sudanese region of South


Kordofan has offered a one-month ceasefire. Seen here in the middle,


he said his side would stop fighting Government troops if talks


began to settle security and security issues. Some areas of


Vietnam are contaminated with algt orange. Troops will rid the area.


The British Government has banned the shipping firm UPS from


screening air cargo at some airports in the UK because of


concerns about security. The Department of Transport said there


was no immediate or specific terrorism threat.


The leaders of the two larger eurozone economies, Germany and


France have presented a United Front on a new rescue package for


Greece, adding they want it agreed as soon as possible. Angela Merkel


and Nicolas Sarkozy have been meeting in Berlin to discuss the


issue. In Athens, a new Greek Cabinet has been sworn in, after


days of mass protests. They will propose new spending cuts and tax


increases. The streets of Athens is clear.


Government finances may be clear of difficulties but Greek citizens


don't want more belt tightening. Who does pay? In Berlin today, they


fear they know. Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy agreed a


second bail out is needed. And said it should be sooner rather than


later. TRANSLATION: Europe and the euro are intertwined. Speaking on


behalf of Germany, Germany has benefited enormously. Germany's


strength is connected to a strong euro. We will do all we can to


preserve the euro and its stability. TRANSLATION: Like our German


friends we are kopbs convinced a new debt restructuring programme is


necessary for Greece. We appreciate the efforts taken by Greece so far.


So this was French-German, shoulder-to-shoulder unity, private


disagreements vanished. Chancellor Merkel had been keen on bans that -


- banks that lend to Greece. She accepted today that this would have


to be voluntary. If the banks don't extend their lending to the Greek


Government, Chancellor Merkel say knows the German taxpayer will pick


up the bill. There'll be much resistance to that, both among


ordinary people and in the bud des tag, the German Parliament. She has


a fight on her hands. In aththen, a new Cabinet has been


-- in Athens a new Cabinet has been sworn in. They may enact austerity


measures, so easing the pressures elsewhere to come up with bail out


money. TRANSLATION: The country needs to


be saved. It will be saved. It must regain its dignity and economic


domination. It must exit this turbulence. All Greeks must fight


to take our heads out of the water and take a breath.


Despite the words in Athens and Berlin, the forces of opposition on


the streets remain. In Athens, the mood is - we will not pay higher


taxes or cut spending more. In Germany, the popular mood is, we


don't want to transfer our taxpayers' money to the struggling


economies of the eurozone. Parliaments will have to be


consulted in both Athens and Berlin. Leaders have chartered a way


forward. That doesn't mean that all will follow them. Let's go to


Berlin. We can speak to Professor Irwin Collier. Thank you for


joining us on the programme. How much of a retreat is this for


Germany and a victory for the European Central Bank? This is


really hard to judge because so much is -- must be happening behind


the scenes. Banks do not want to come forward, in the same way that


politicians have to come forward. The test will be this call for


voluntary rollovers, if we in fact see French and German banks


engaging in the voluntary rollovers, then we'll know this was agreed


upon ahead of time. This was the so-called Vienna initiative, when


banks kept credit lines open to those struggling economies in the


Soviet bloc. How do you endeuce these banks to do it voluntarily? I


don't understand. Times are getting more complicated, through the


existence of these credit swaps. Once you are engaging in this sort


of activity, it's like a horse race. Betting on horse races depends on


people having different opinions on the outcome. There will be people


who will gain from a credit event. There will be people who will lose


from a credit event. The interests are not nearly as homogenius


throughout the banking community. We will see how hard it is to


unwind such positions. I would be surprised, if in fact, we see this


massive move of banks to do the rolling over. In terms of public


opinion in Germany, how much trouble does this place Angela


Merkel in, do you think? She is desperately holding on and this is


just one more item that makes the job of being a federal Chancellor


so difficult. And it's not merely a case that the German voters are


worried about the transfers going towards Greece. They are also very


much concerned about the idea of their tax money also being used to


subsidise or to help the banks, who helped, or at least one party to


the entire transaction. She has a very difficult political waters to


navigate through. Does this prevent a default further town the line


when it comes to Greece being able to manage these debts? This press


conference, by itself, certainly will make no difference in history


if we do not see in fact the rapid unification around the common


policy that is more than merely voluntaryry. Policy co-ordination


right now is absolutely essential. One does have the feeling from the


press reports that in fact they are still at loggerheads and the


interests are very different, according to country and according


to which bank happens to have the era of the respective leader.


Thank you for talking to us here on the programme. Saudi Arabia is one


of the few Middle Eastern countries which has seen little open protest


since the Arab Spring began six months ago. Today women's right


supporters have been openly driving cars. The campaign follows the


detention last month of a Saudi woman who posted a video on the


internet of herself driving. Peter Biles reports.


It's Friday 17th June. I'd like to go to the supermarket, says the


woman at the wheel of the car. A routine errand, but in Saudi Arabia


her mission is Strictly clandestine. The pictures have apparently come


from a social media website. Her location is not revealed as she


drives along the deserted streets in the early hours of the morning.


All this is about, she says, is if I need something I can go and get


Saudi Arabia is the only country where women are prevented from


driving. There's no written law, as such, but driving licences are not


issued to women. Now though, campaigners have turned to the


internet to gather support. TRANSLATION: We should have courage


in this country at the highest levels. The leadership in this


country should resolve the issues so women are not deprived of their


natural rights. Women are part of this society. They form at least


50% of this community. Why deprive half of the community of their


rights? This YouTube video shows a Saudi


woman, Manal al-Sherif, driving while talking to a passenger. "we


want change in the country," she is heard to say. Last month


authorities arrested her. She has been released, but tens of


thousands of people have joined the campaign calling for her acquittal.


The determination to defy the ban has made the Government nervous in


this era of instant communication. A week ago we drove and we got the


campaign in a matter of 30 minutes. We were reported. We were attacked


at the bus. Six cars were surrounding us and they took us to


the police station. We weren't allowed to leave unless


our guardians came and signed a pledge to take us home.


Some Saudi women complain that they experience problems of harassment


when riding in taxis. Driving themselves, they argue, would allow


them greater independence and security. Protests in Saudi Arabia


are extremely rare. It is why this call for social change has drawn so


Let's speak to Amnesty International. Thank you for coming


in. How significant a protest was this today and how many members


took to the streets? We talk to people who were connected with the


protest earlier and they said several dozen people defied the ban


and got into their cars. Do we know if they were arrested? So far, no


reports of arrests. Some were told they were committing a traffic


offences but no one has been arrested. It dates back to 1990,


the last time something like this happened. When you look at the Arab


Spring and the Saudi dynasty, how far have they gone in terms of


addressing the Democratic calls? way near far enough in terms of the


human rights calls. This is one facet of a much wider problem


affecting women's rights and discrimination. The Saudi


authorities promised for years that they would lift the ban and


promised they would allow women the right to vote in municipal


elections, the only game in town in terms of elections in Saudi Arabia


but are yet to come good. This will hopefully push them to go further.


The King when he returned from convalescence announced welfare


payment increases, has that Board of the opposition at local level?


It is difficult to know. They have not been widespread protests like


North Africa, there were rumblings in the sense of demonstrations that


were repressed in the East which has eight Shia majority. People


were demonstrating on behalf of detainees held without trial. Also,


the beginnings of a challenge to the one-party state, in terms of


the Royal Family because the number of political activists trying to


set up the party were arrested and detained. Have we seen signs of


nervousness? There is nervousness and for good reason because it will


at some stage be pushed up and the sort of protest women are bravely


undertaking today will hopefully be a step in the right direction.


Thank you. Libyan rebels say ten people have been killed and forty


injured in a series of rocket attacks by Colonel Gaddafi's forces


on the rebel-held port of Misrata. After weeks of stalemate, the


rebels seem to be gaining ground, pushing forwards from their


stronghold of the port city itself along the road to Tripoli. And


their cause continues to attract recruits some from as far away as


Europe. Andrew Harding reports. In high spirits, rebels heading


towards Ms rata. Among today's reinforcements, a young maths


student from Lancaster University, Sadeeq Belach. In England I could


not do much for this revolution is so I decided to go and hold a gun


for the first time in my life. him, it is personal. His father


greets him but Gaddafi's forces have taken 16 members of their


family. Within hours, a shy earnest student seems transformed. It is a


short journey to the front line. But is he ready for this? Those


were uncomfortably close. Gaddafi is superior firepower is a constant


threat for this part-time soldier. He has come right to the very front


lines here. Very active front lines, Gaddafi's forces a mile or so down


the road. Week in here micelles whistling overhead. NATO planes are


patrolling the skies. The men are bracing themselves for what they


believe could be an imminent Gaddafi offensive. In a quieter


moment, his training begins. These are the rockets. He hopes his maths


skills will help with targeting. Fantastic. I do not want to kill


anybody. My friends do not want to kill but we had to fight. Where is


the enemy now? His lack of experience is nothing new. The


rebels need training and weapons and too many are dying. And so


after a mere Aral Sea so of training, he joins the ranks. --


hour or so. We live in peace or While the Arab Spring has been


dominating news coverage, a film about the themes of the wider


conflict has been gaining critical acclaim. Phil macro has picked up


awards around the world as well as an Oscar -- Incendies. It tells the


story of one family's journey to Lubna Azabal is the start of the


film, a Belgian actress of Moroccan descent. I asked if the Phil macro


-- Incendies... It could have been shot in Serbia. A war is a war. You


ask me about the effect of the movie. The effect is maybe it helps


people to open some windows and helps people to talk and we are in


the middle of the Arab Spring. It is a wonderful revolution. An


unexpected revolution. But the movie, it is more about a family


who lives inside a complex world in the Middle East. It is a coming of


age feel for these children who are left a letter. Explain what they do


and see in terms of retracing their family history over the turbulent


40 years. It is the point of view of two teenagers, they are growing


up in a country without war, Canada. They know nothing about the Arab


culture and the war. So to their mother, they discover the reality


I wonder why you think it fits into the Arab Spring which we discussed


earlier and the idea of liberation and discovering the truth and


trying to change what is going on. For the first time because of


social networking like Facebook and Twitter, they decide to handle


their own destiny for the first time in their lives. And that is


why it is wonderful and why -- and what he does in the movie, she


takes her own destiny and her destiny unfortunately will get


I never had to experiment -- experience this horror and violence


but I was lucky to talk to people who got through that thing, in


Palestine and Jordan and I met a lot of Iraqi refugees in Jordan.


And they let me know they wrote experiences and you learn a lot


about its the cruelty of the world. You think this is a film which is


optimistic, does the film show hope for the region or not? I think yes,


because the mother in the movie says that sometimes, sometimes,


peace comes only after death. There is a notion of sacrifice, a notion


of to win the freedom you must maybe sacrifice yourself for a


generation and to maybe also their love and hate can co-exist one day.


And vengeance and forgiveness can co-exist also an this is may be the


message of the movie, yes. Lubna Azabal, the star of Incendies.


A reminder of our main news: Thousands of people have


demonstrated in towns and cities across Syria against the government


of President Bashar Assad. Official media said a number of policemen


had been shot, and one had died. Unconfirmed reports from activists


said at least sixteen demonstrators were shot dead by security forces


in several locations. That is all, Hello, for many it has been a wet


day so far and the rain is heading towards northern England as we


speak. Tomorrow, the rain lingers in the north and elsewhere


scattered showers. This area of low pressure, a band of rain stretches


through southern areas of England and tomorrow the wind turns


westerly with gusty wind and heavy showers. Today's band of rain by


tomorrow sits across northern England and southern areas of


Scotland. South of here, a little bit brighter, glimmers of sunshine


but showers heavy in the West tracking eastwards on the breeze. A


few in Ascot and Southampton for the cricket. In the south-west, a


dry day, tomorrow scattered showers, blustery and heavy with hail and


thunder but not persistent rain off today. Similar across Wales, sunny


spells and blustery showers. In Northern Ireland, not much


difference, sunshine in the West but scattered showers. Scotland,


cloudy with the best of the brightness in the northern isles


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