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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