02/08/2011 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, David Eades.


Washington's political stalemate is broken. The eyes are 74 and the


knees are 76. After backing from the House of Representatives, now


the Senate approves a last-minute bill to rescue America's finances.


This is however just the first step. This compromise requires that both


parties work together on a larger plan to cut the deficit, which is


important for the long term health of our economy.


Hundreds flee from the Syrian government assault in the city of


Hama. The head of the United Nations says President Assad has


"lost all sense of humanity". A new take on plastic surgery as a


British man walks from hospital The United States Senate has voted


in favour of a last-minute bill that raises the limit on national


borrowing, averting a possible debt default. On Monday, the measure was


passed by the House of Representatives after a hard-fought


compromise that split both the Democratic and Republican parties.


Officials say a default would have severely damaged the global economy.


From Washington, Steve Kingstone reports.


It has been a ferocious fight. Nerves frayed, reputation scored on


both sides. Finally, it is over. The agreement was sealed by a boat


in the Senate. Who got the better deal? Listen to the difference


between gleeful Republicans and wrote reluctant democrat. This is a


welcome change in behaviour and I gladly supported. Make no mistake,


this is a change in behaviour from spend, spend, spend to cut, cut,


cut. Almost everything else about this deal stinks and it stinks to


high heaven. It has come to this because America is deep in the red.


For every dollar that the Government spends, 40 is borrowed


money. Congress it's a seal on its spending of 14.3 trillion dollars.


This deal raises it by 2.4 trillion in return for spending cuts of at


least 2.1 trillion dollars. The White House admits that at times


this debate has resembled a circus. They know that the American public


are deeply unimpressed with the politicians. The question is, what


does it mean for the President's re-election prospects next year.


good news for the President is that he has got out of this particular


crisis before the debt ceiling happened. The bad news is that he


was completely outplayed by the Republicans, but not get anything


that he wanted. He has spent two months spending that -- signalling


that he does not have his hands around the political mass. That is


not good news with an election coming in 18 months. Markets


initially welcomed the deal. But they remain deep concerns about the


US economy. Threat of a default has damaged brand America. It was


damaged by the spectacle that they had seen in Washington of a


significant number of elected officials of this country


threatening default. It damaged the confidence. Amid all the bitterness,


Washington has produced one heart- warming sight. Congresswoman


Gabriel go-for-it return to cast a vote seven months after being shot


in head by a gunman. The moment of unity will quickly pass. --


Gabrielle Gifford. Now that the compromise deal has


been reached between the Democrats and Republicans, President Obama


will sign the bill into law at any moment. This is what he had to say


a short time ago. We have seen that Washington has the ability to focus


when there is a timer ticking down and a looming disaster. It should


not take the risk of default, the risk of economic catastrophe, to


get Faulks in this town to work together and do their jobs. Because


there is already a quite crisis going on in the light of a lot of


families and a lot of communities. While much of the attention has


focussed on who won the political battle, questions remain over what


the economic impact will be. The political agreement has removed


the immediate risk of the United States defaulting on its debts by


allowing it to borrow more money to pay its bills. But will the default


issue rear it's head again in the future? The political stalemate has


unsettled financial markets and endangered Washington's coveted


triple-A credit status. The Fitch Credit Agency today said it was not


going to cut that rating but, if any of the other agencies do, it


could make it harder for the US to borrow money on international


markets. And the cuts the deal put in place over the next 10 years has


ignited a debate in the US over whether it will affect growth in


the economy. Joining me now from New York is


economics expert and author Daniel Altman, from the Stern School of


Business at New York University. And with me in the studio is David


Buik, a financial analyst with BGC Partners. Daniel, is this a


sensible package? I did not think so. It was not necessary to do this


out. The Republicans drew a line in the sand which was not necessary.


There was no reason to go around making these cuts. It is more


important to secure the long-term security of this country by


balancing the budget further into the future, making him -- tax


increases as well as spending cuts. It feels about, nonetheless, as if


President Obama is the loser. think he probably had a better


endgame if he waited to see what would happen in Congress and step


in at the last minute to use his congressional authority to pay the


nation's debt. That would make him look more decisive. What he has


done is help Congress share some of the credit for this, when in actual


fact the deserve the blame. Some cuts there. Are the enough?


respect Daniel it enormously as an economist. -- I respect Daniel as


an economist. President Obama or inherited a shocker from President


Bush. I defy anybody to say that anybody else could have done Abed a


good job with it. There comes a time when the kissing has to stop.


I thought that the political posturing and the brinkmanship on


both parties was a disgrace. Regardless of who what -- who let


what to whom, let us look at the economics. 2.4 trillion dollars of


public spending cuts. That is showing willing. I would like to


have seen much more of a long-term plan. There is an election next


year, but not withstanding that, you have the duty of care, and I


thought at all that they had done was paper -- call that the dead was


paper over the cracks. You and I know what that that is not going to


work. Papering over the cracks need a much longer term deal. Absolutely.


I agree that the situation into there is no date was shocking. If


anything, the credit rating should have gone down then because there


but absolute credit worthiness not relative credit worthiness. We need


a long-term planning, not just in her taxes are but also an hour


spending. We need to invest more in infrastructure, scientific research,


education, the things that at -- actually enhance there economic


potential. A lot of Americans are feeding cuts. -- afraid of cuts.


What is the deal for everybody outside America? The fact remains


that the whole tax system and the Interstate system in the United


States is ridiculous. All American money goes abroad. They have 9.2%


unemployment in the United States. They have to attract that money


back from overseas, where it is earning lots of profits for various


people. It is not going back into the economy. Unemployment will


never stop. I want to see some kind of tax to encourage, together with


slightly higher interest rates, that over a period of time.


increases are verbal Tom from a Republican point of view. There are


two sides to it. We're losing the economic mobility, the ability of


people to move from lower socio- economic classes to higher ones. On


the second point, I would say that we need to be careful. Foreigners


have been happy to lend this country money enlargement at low


interest rates, even through this crisis. We did not have to draw


this line in the sand now. Thank you for joining us. Very quickly,


her much do you think has to be done by the Government now it to


get some sense that we're seeing that it come down. Now that the


political posturing is finished, it is very important that President


Obama grabs back the initiative, because he has lost it. The hat to


produce a plan that is feasible and plausible going forward. It has to


have some serious cuts in public expenditure as well as increasing


the debt ceiling. That has to be done in conjunction.


The crackdown in Syria goes on. In the central city of Hama, one of


the symbolic homes of the anti- regime protests, the tanks which


have killed up to 140 people in the past two days remain in place as


the residents flee. It has become a familiar pattern in a country where


demonstrations have so often been crushed by military action. The


United Nations Secretary General, Ban-ki Moon, said President Assad


had "lost all sense of humanity". Our world affairs correspondent,


Mike Wooldridge, reports. Amateur video said to show the


scene today. Serbian forces are attempting to tighten the noose in


and around this city with a tradition of defiance. -- Syrian.


Reports today speak of tanks and troops advancing further and taking


up new positions. A resident told the BBC that the a authorities were


trying to stop people attending prayers. The army are trying to


scare the people from going out. They do not want us going to the


mosques. The will shoot at anything that is moving around. Protesters


say that they are not ardent. But the state television version of


events purports to show armed men taking part. It is becoming


increasingly apparent that this has been one of the most violent


periods since the uprising started in March. Condemning what he called


the unacceptable repression of anti-government protests, the


Italian government today recalled its ambassador. The European Union


has now extended sanctions to Syria's Defence Minister and other


security officials. Broader international action has so far


been much more elusive. In the UN Security Council, Britain, France,


Germany and Portugal are pushing to revive a resolution condemning the


crackdown. Yesterday, Russia asked Saudi it to stop using force. China


has in the past made it clear that it would block a legally binding


resolution. It is more likely that the resolution -- that they will


agree on a statement. I feel it is a battle for the regime's survival.


They are fighting for their political survival in this country.


The government is only too well aware that Ramadan it provides act


at -- inability -- an opportunity for people to gather. Well, in


response Italy today withdrew its Ambassador to Damascus, citing the


'horrible repression of the civilian population'. Joining me


now from Rome is spokesperson for the Italian Foreign Ministry,


Maurizio Massari. What effect is the removal of your ambassador


going to have? It was meant to be a strong political gesture from the


Italian government as a response to the repression of the so billion --


civilian population in Syria. We hope other states will all suit.


The message seems to be that they are not particularly interested in


doing that. That is true, but we'll see in the next few days. At the


same time, we do hope that the political pressure, particularly


from the UN Security Council, will increase, as we stress that this is


not only an Italian, European or Western issue. It is an issue that


is of concern to everybody. problem with the UN, when you refer


to the UN and you're hopes that the pressure will increase from them,


it looks pretty toothless. The discussion at the moment is about


whether you'll end up with a resolution or a statement. It is


not cutting a lot of mustard, is For this is an incremental process,


we have seen in the last few days the position of Russia shifting, in


the sense of being much more open, calling for an end to the civilian


repression. Turkey is also -- turkey also spoke out about it. So


it is a consensus building, a diplomatic activity which is not


necessarily incremental. Do you think the Russians them are pivotal


now, towards getting something that might actually have diplomatic


cloud? We do believe that Russia is a crucial player, and the boys of


Russia would certainly be heard by other countries in the Security


Council. So we think that Russia plays a very important role. As I


said, it is an incremental process. We have not given up hope, and we


will continue to strive to make sure that the international


community bogy of a strong and firm response to this horrible massacre


against civilians. In other news, the Israeli


government says it will postpone a planned increase in fuel prices as


part of an effort to tackle the biggest popular protest in decades.


Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets to


protest against the soaring price of fuel, housing and basic services.


Benjamin Netanyahu has set up a taskforce to live into their


demands, but has warned against what he calls quick-fix solutions.


Police in Norway have admitted being in possession of a recording


between Anders Behring Breivik and officers during the massacre on


July 22nd. According to local police, he called to tell them that


his mission was accomplished. The chief prosecutor declined to


comment on the content of the call. A man who threw a plate of shaving


foam at Rupert Murdoch during recent parliamentary hearings on


phone hacking has been sentenced to six weeks in jail. Jonathan May-


Bowles pleaded guilty to assault. He is a 26-year-old comedian also


known by the stage name Jonnie Marbles.


Barclays Bank has announced plans to cut at least another 1,400 jobs


by the end of the year, bringing the total to 3,000. The bank's


half-year profits have fallen by one-third. It is blaming part of


the drop on having to set aside funds to compensate people who were


sold payment protection insurance falsely.


The United Nations is warning that more than 500,000 people are now at


risk of starvation across East Africa, with more than 12 million


in need of urgent help. Famine has been declared in parts of Somalia,


there are fears it will spread unless there is a huge increase in


aid. Andrew Harding reports from Mogadishu.


Visiting Mogadishu? It is best to be prepared. We are heading into a


city that has forgotten the meaning of safety. Near the front lines, we


find the famine's latest fugitives, tens of thousands have come here


seeking food and hoping for security. They are in bad shape.


The familiar images as shocking as ever. Twins here, both fighting for


life. Their mothers have fled from terror Tory controlled by the


Islamist group Al-Shabab. -- terror Tory. The militants killed my son.


They tied him up, then shot him, because he was carrying a bag of


food aid and they said it came from the in Fidel's. The world is


getting more supplies into Mogadishu now, soup kitchens in


every district. But it is not here that Somalia's famine has been


defeated. This is an almost impossibly difficult, dangerous


place for foreigners to operate. You can see how much security we


need just to move around the centre of the city. And the real battle


now is to find a way to move across to the nearby front lines and get


the age to where it is needed the most. Here is one way. UN Food


blocked by Al-Shabab is handed over to trust of local charities that do


have access to the out Somalia. Everybody knows that we can get


food to anywhere in the country. this could be the solution? This


could be the solution to end the famine, in a way. One of them.


needs are certainly over whelming here. But the politics are messy.


Somalia is not an easy place to help.


The former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is due to go on trial in


Cairo on Wednesday, five months after he was ousted from power. He


will be tried alongside his sons, his former interior minister and


other officials accused of corruption, and ordering the


killing of protesters. There are still doubts over whether he will


actually appear in court. He used to dominate Egypt. But now,


Hosni Mubarak's face inspires the demonstrators, who keep coming back


to Tahrir Square. Night after night, they have demanded the former


President should be brought to justice for the deaths of


protesters who battled to overthrow his regime earlier this year. In a


tented city, they maintained a vigil for weeks. Mothers whose sons


were shot. TRANSLATION: I need revenge, she told me. I want


justice for my tum -- son, from Hosni Mubarak and everyone


responsible. But many of the shootings happened that night. The


gunmen were hidden in the shadows. The firing was almost certainly


coming from government agents, but no one knows precisely who. So will


the prosecution be able to cope responsibility on Hosni Mubarak?


Apparently, he claims he did not know what was going on. He


certainly is not used to having to answer for his actions. You could


not dream of ever seeing him so held responsible for corruption, or


for any of the abuse its that he personally oversaw and enabled.


Egyptians have already seen the fall of Interior Minister. The


crowds gave him a hostile reception when he appeared in court in Cairo


last week. Will Leitch at's military rulers really subject


their former leader to this sort of ideal -- ordeal? Will be he plead


ill health? Many people are stacked -- sceptical. He was an army


officer, he was the air force commander. And there is a sort of


mentality in the army, in the commanders, that they should not be


humiliated. On Monday afternoon, the army and police moved in again


to clear protesters from Tahrir Square. They must know that the


demonstrators will almost certainly be back in large numbers if Hosni


Mubarak fails to appear in court tomorrow. So the police and the


army are back here in force. Egypt is still very tense and very


divided. How this trial is handled could be very important as to


whether there will be future conflict ahead.


In a major medical breakthrough, a 40-year-old father who was


critically ill has become the first person to leave hospital with a


plastic heart. Matthew Green has been given an artificial implants


to keep him alive as he waits for a suitable donor. The operation was


carried out at Papworth Hospital. David Shukman reports. Meet the


first man in Britain walking with a plastic heart. Matthew Green, with


his wife and some, and a bag that has become a new and essential


member of the family. The device that is keeping Matthew alive. Tell


me a little bit about how it is extraordinary device will change


your life. It will revolutionise my life. Before, I could not walk


anywhere, I could hardly climb the stairs. I went out for a pub lunch


over the weekend, and that is the alarm, it just shows that you


pressure is a bit high. This is the kind of plastic heart, with four


valves and two pumping chambers, fitted inside Matthew's chest. The


blood flows through these dudes under his skin, and I've just below


the ribcage. Normally, this would have to be driven by a huge bomb in


hospital. What is new is that Matthew has been given one of these,


a portable pump. It is not light, seven kilos, but it does mean he


can get out and about. This animation shows a plastic heart


beating in slow motion, doing the job of a real one. But it is not


meant to be permanent. The surgeon who fitted a hard at Papworth


Hospital says the aim is to buy time for Matthew while he waits for


a human heart to be transplanted. The longest a patient has received


and been supported by one of these machines is three years. So it does


provide medium to long-term support. And this is very important, because


it buys us more time. To find a suitable heart. The latest figures


show that 132 people in Britain are hoping for a heart transplant. But


on average, they wait six months, and while they do, 15 % of them


died. So the option of fitting an artificial heart may be critical.


But there are risks. They are almost certainly safer than a hard


they are replacing, but they have problems. There are risks of blood


clots and infection. But we know how to reduce those risks.


Matthew Green and his family, the little bag carrying his new heart


offers a new lease of life. His big hope is to go for a bike ride.


A reminder of our top story: The US Senate has voted in favour of a


last minute bill that raises the limit on national borrowing, and


averts a possible debt default. The vote came hours before a deadline


to reach agreement. Officials say a default would have severely damaged


the global economy. That is all from the programme, Next, the


from the programme, Next, the Tomorrow is the last very warm and


humid day before big changes arrive in our weather, from Thursday


onwards. But if you are a fan of the warmth, and if you can put up


with the humidity, it is a day to take advantage of it. Although this


weather front will deliver some showers in the afternoon, it is the


developing system by to the West that will turn things wetter on


Thursday and cooler from Friday. In Wednesday, showers to will develop


across the Midlands, some will be heavy and thundery but they are hit


and miss. Outside of these, there will be sunny spells and it will


feel warm and humid. Perhaps even 30 degrees in the South East.


Further west, it is brighter for the time, although in the Far West,


Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, cloud will increase through the afternoon. And


rain will move in, the first signs are that Atlantic weather system I


showed you a minute to go. Elsewhere, a brighter day. 20


degrees in Belfast, though cloud will increase from the West later


in the day. And a different day to come across Scotland, drier and


brighter, 22 degrees Celsius in Glasgow. In the evening, the


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