02/08/2011 World News Today


02/08/2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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important for the long term health of our economy.

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Hundreds flee from the Syrian government assault in the city of

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

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

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British man walks from hospital The United States Senate has voted

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

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

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passed by the House of Representatives after a hard-fought

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compromise that split both the Democratic and Republican parties.

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

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From Washington, Steve Kingstone reports.

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

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

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

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between gleeful Republicans and wrote reluctant democrat. This is a

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

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

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

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

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For every dollar that the Government spends, 40 is borrowed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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was completely outplayed by the Republicans, but not get anything

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

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

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

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

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

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

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significant number of elected officials of this country

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

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Washington has produced one heart- warming sight. Congresswoman

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

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

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Gabrielle Gifford. Now that the compromise deal has

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been reached between the Democrats and Republicans, President Obama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the economic impact will be. The political agreement has removed

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

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

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

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unsettled financial markets and endangered Washington's coveted

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

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

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

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

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

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the economy. Joining me now from New York is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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an economist. President Obama or inherited a shocker from President

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

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

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I thought that the political posturing and the brinkmanship on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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but absolute credit worthiness not relative credit worthiness. We need

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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have been happy to lend this country money enlargement at low

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

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

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

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

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political posturing is finished, it is very important that President

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

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

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have some serious cuts in public expenditure as well as increasing

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

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

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

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

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

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demonstrations have so often been crushed by military action. The

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

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

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Mike Wooldridge, reports. Amateur video said to show the

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

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

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Reports today speak of tanks and troops advancing further and taking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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increasingly apparent that this has been one of the most violent

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

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the unacceptable repression of anti-government protests, the

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Italian government today recalled its ambassador. The European Union

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

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security officials. Broader international action has so far

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

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Germany and Portugal are pushing to revive a resolution condemning the

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

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

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

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

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They are fighting for their political survival in this country.

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

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

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response Italy today withdrew its Ambassador to Damascus, citing the

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'horrible repression of the civilian population'. Joining me

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now from Rome is spokesperson for the Italian Foreign Ministry,

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Maurizio Massari. What effect is the removal of your ambassador

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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necessarily incremental. Do you think the Russians them are pivotal

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now, towards getting something that might actually have diplomatic

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

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Russia would certainly be heard by other countries in the Security

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

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

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will continue to strive to make sure that the international

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

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against civilians. In other news, the Israeli

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

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

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Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets to

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

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Benjamin Netanyahu has set up a taskforce to live into their

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

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Police in Norway have admitted being in possession of a recording

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between Anders Behring Breivik and officers during the massacre on

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

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his mission was accomplished. The chief prosecutor declined to

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

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foam at Rupert Murdoch during recent parliamentary hearings on

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

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

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known by the stage name Jonnie Marbles.

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

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

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

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

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sold payment protection insurance falsely.

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

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

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

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

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aid. Andrew Harding reports from Mogadishu.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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getting more supplies into Mogadishu now, soup kitchens in

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

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defeated. This is an almost impossibly difficult, dangerous

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Somalia is not an easy place to help.

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

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

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

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other officials accused of corruption, and ordering the

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

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

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

:21:15.:21:19.

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

:21:19.:21:23.

President should be brought to justice for the deaths of

:21:23.:21:28.

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

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

:21:35.:21:42.

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

:21:42.:21:46.

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

:21:46.:21:53.

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

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

:21:57.:22:03.

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

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the prosecution be able to cope responsibility on Hosni Mubarak?

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

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

:22:15.:22:21.

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

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

:22:27.:22:33.

Egyptians have already seen the fall of Interior Minister. The

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

:22:38.:22:42.

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

:22:42.:22:48.

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

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

:22:53.:22:59.

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

:22:59.:23:02.

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

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

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

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demonstrators will almost certainly be back in large numbers if Hosni

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

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

:23:25.:23:28.

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

:23:28.:23:32.

whether there will be future conflict ahead.

:23:32.:23:36.

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

:23:36.:23:39.

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

:23:39.:23:43.

plastic heart. Matthew Green has been given an artificial implants

:23:43.:23:49.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:24:44.:24:48.

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

:24:48.:24:53.

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

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

:24:57.:25:01.

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

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

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

:25:12.:25:18.

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

:25:18.:25:22.

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

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

:25:27.:25:33.

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

:25:33.:25:37.

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

:25:37.:25:45.

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

:25:45.:25:48.

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

:25:48.:25:54.

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

:25:54.:25:58.

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

:25:58.:26:02.

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

:26:02.:26:06.

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

:26:07.:26:11.

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

:26:11.:26:15.

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

:26:15.:26:24.

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

:26:24.:26:30.

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

:26:30.:26:33.

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

:26:33.:26:37.

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

:26:37.:26:42.

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

:26:42.:26:46.

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

:26:46.:26:56.
:26:56.:27:01.

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

:27:01.:27:05.

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

:27:05.:27:09.

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

:27:09.:27:13.

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

:27:13.:27:18.

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

:27:18.:27:21.

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

:27:21.:27:28.

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

:27:28.:27:33.

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

:27:33.:27:36.

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

:27:36.:27:41.

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

:27:41.:27:45.

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

:27:45.:27:52.

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

:27:52.:27:55.

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

:27:55.:28:00.

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

:28:00.:28:03.

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

:28:03.:28:08.

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

:28:08.:28:13.

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

:28:13.:28:17.

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