17/06/2011 World News Today


17/06/2011

The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


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

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Syria. Thousands take to the streets in continued defiance of

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

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

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

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

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three miles in that direction. Openly defying the authorities and

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the driving bans, Saudi women take to the wheel.

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

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

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

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

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

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demanding reform. Unconfirmed reports say at least 16 protestors

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

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north and heading towards the border with Turkey. International

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journalists are not allowed into Syria, but our correspondent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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They entered offices and stole whatever they wanted and set fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ageem is trying to quash the rebellion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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crushing this rebellion is actually fanning its flames.

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

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capital Damascus demonstrators gathered in several areas. Nine

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

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protestors. Soldiers, backed with tanks and helicopters have taken

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

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Reports are coming in of Government troops shooting protestors in

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

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

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thousands have held another demonstration in the capital

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calling for a transitional Government to replace the President.

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The Yemeni Government has denied reports that President Saleh will

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

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

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

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he said his side would stop fighting Government troops if talks

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began to settle security and security issues. Some areas of

:05:42.:05:52.
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Vietnam are contaminated with algt orange. Troops will rid the area.

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The British Government has banned the shipping firm UPS from

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screening air cargo at some airports in the UK because of

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concerns about security. The Department of Transport said there

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was no immediate or specific terrorism threat.

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The leaders of the two larger eurozone economies, Germany and

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

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

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and Nicolas Sarkozy have been meeting in Berlin to discuss the

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

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

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increases. The streets of Athens is clear.

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Government finances may be clear of difficulties but Greek citizens

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

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fear they know. Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy agreed a

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

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

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

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

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

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friends we are kopbs convinced a new debt restructuring programme is

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

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

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

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

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

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Government, Chancellor Merkel say knows the German taxpayer will pick

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

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

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

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

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

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money. TRANSLATION: The country needs to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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economies of the eurozone. Parliaments will have to be

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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banks kept credit lines open to those struggling economies in the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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opinion in Germany, how much trouble does this place Angela

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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interests are very different, according to country and according

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

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

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

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

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supporters have been openly driving cars. The campaign follows the

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

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internet of herself driving. Peter Biles reports.

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

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

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her mission is Strictly clandestine. The pictures have apparently come

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

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

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

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Saudi Arabia is the only country where women are prevented from

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

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

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internet to gather support. TRANSLATION: We should have courage

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

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

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

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

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rights? This YouTube video shows a Saudi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Some Saudi women complain that they experience problems of harassment

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

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them greater independence and security. Protests in Saudi Arabia

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

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:15:45.:15:47.

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

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

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

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protest earlier and they said several dozen people defied the ban

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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affecting women's rights and discrimination. The Saudi

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authorities promised for years that they would lift the ban and

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promised they would allow women the right to vote in municipal

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

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

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The King when he returned from convalescence announced welfare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the Royal Family because the number of political activists trying to

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

:17:58.:18:08.
:18:08.:18:15.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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rebels seem to be gaining ground, pushing forwards from their

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:19:38.:19:48.
:19:48.:19:48.

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

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were uncomfortably close. Gaddafi is superior firepower is a constant

:19:55.:20:05.
:20:05.:20:05.

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

:20:05.:20:10.

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

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

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

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believe could be an imminent Gaddafi offensive. In a quieter

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

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

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

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

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

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

:21:03.:21:13.
:21:13.:21:16.

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

:21:16.:21:19.

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

:21:19.:21:24.

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

:21:24.:21:30.

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

:21:30.:21:40.
:21:40.:22:11.

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

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

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

:22:28.:22:37.

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

:22:37.:22:41.

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

:22:42.:22:49.

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

:22:49.:22:59.
:22:59.:23:01.

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

:23:01.:23:07.

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

:23:07.:23:12.

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

:23:12.:23:16.

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

:23:16.:23:26.
:23:26.:23:28.

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

:23:28.:23:38.

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

:23:38.:23:47.

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

:23:47.:23:57.
:23:57.:24:10.

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

:24:10.:24:15.

earlier and the idea of liberation and discovering the truth and

:24:15.:24:21.

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

:24:21.:24:27.

social networking like Facebook and Twitter, they decide to handle

:24:27.:24:30.

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

:24:31.:24:37.

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

:24:37.:24:45.

takes her own destiny and her destiny unfortunately will get

:24:45.:24:55.
:24:55.:25:12.

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

:25:12.:25:20.

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

:25:20.:25:25.

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

:25:25.:25:29.

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

:25:29.:25:35.

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

:25:36.:25:44.

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

:25:44.:25:49.

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

:25:49.:25:58.

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

:25:58.:26:07.

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

:26:07.:26:15.

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

:26:15.:26:19.

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

:26:19.:26:25.

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

:26:25.:26:28.

A reminder of our main news: Thousands of people have

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demonstrated in towns and cities across Syria against the government

:26:31.:26:34.

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

:26:34.:26:37.

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

:26:37.:26:40.

said at least sixteen demonstrators were shot dead by security forces

:26:40.:26:50.
:26:50.:27:00.

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

:27:00.:27:05.

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

:27:05.:27:09.

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

:27:09.:27:15.

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

:27:16.:27:20.

through southern areas of England and tomorrow the wind turns

:27:20.:27:25.

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

:27:25.:27:28.

tomorrow sits across northern England and southern areas of

:27:28.:27:35.

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

:27:35.:27:39.

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

:27:39.:27:45.

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

:27:45.:27:52.

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

:27:52.:27:57.

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

:27:57.:28:01.

spells and blustery showers. In Northern Ireland, not much

:28:01.:28:07.

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

:28:07.:28:10.

cloudy with the best of the brightness in the northern isles

:28:10.:28:15.

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