18/08/2011 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Zeinab Badawi. Renewed pressure


on President Asaad of Syria. Britain, France and Germany back


Washington's call for him to step down. For the sake of the Syrian


people, the time has come for him to step aside and leave this


transition to the Syrians themselves. Coordinated attacks on


Israel's border with Egypt kill seven. Israel retaliates with


deadly air-strikes on the Gaza Strip. Fear of a return to


recession grips the financial markets once more, with sharp falls


in Europe and the United States. Thousands of Catholic pilgrims


welcome Pope Benedict to Madrid for World Youth Day, but the event also


attracts protesters. And 20 years since the Moscow coup that ushered


in the collapse of the Soviet Union, how much have the daily lives of


Welcome to the programme. World leaders united today in their


condemnation of President Bashar Al Asaad of Syria and called on him to


step down. President Obama accused him of allowing a vicious onslaught


of his people. The UN believes that nearly 3,000 people have been


killed in Syria in five months of protests. Also today, the UN Human


Rights Commission gave a body of evidence of alleged repression by


the Syrian authorities which it says could amount to crimes against


humanity. Jim Muir reports from neighbouring Lebanon. Five full


months of bloodshed and the Americans have held back for


calling for the President to go but they do not know what would come


next but now at their patience has cracked and the call has come.


people of Syria to serve the Government that respects their


dignity, protects their rights and lives up to their aspirations.


President Assad is standing in their way. For the sake of the


Syrian people, the time has come for him to step aside and leave


this transition to the Syrian people. Addressing his party


faithful shortly before the announcement from Washington,


President Assad said the country would stand firm, however much


outside pressure would mount. Now the Americans are really trying to


turn the screws. The steps at present a plan announced this


morning will further tighten the circle of isolation around the


regime. -- that President Obama. It immediately freezes all assets of


the government that are subject to American jurisdiction and prohibits


American citizens from engaging in any transactions with the


government of Syria or investing in that country. These actions strike


at the heart of the regime. American steps came as the UN


Security Council was preparing to hear a damning human rights report


on the Syrian regime's oppressive practices. The report includes


evidence that suggests crimes against humanity have been


committed in Syria. It recommends that the situation should be


referred to the International Criminal Court. All this came,


ironically, hours after President Assad said that all military and


police action against civilians had ended. Tanks and troops have been


pulled out of three trouble spots, including the port city of Latakia.


But the regime has plenty of other instruments for ensuring control.


The regime comforts itself by encouraging popular demonstrations


are support like this one. But the call from Washington for President


Assad to go will give fresh heart to protesters. The new sanctions


could generate enough pressure to start producing cracks within the


regime. But how long that might take is anybody's guess. Joining me


from the UN headquarters in New York is Farhan Haq, deputy


spokesperson for the UN Secretary General. President Assad apparently


tells Bank Ki-Moon that all operations against civilians have


been stopped, has Bank Ki-Moon been able to verify that? We have not


and the Secretary-General has once again called for all violence and


military operations and police operations to be halted and that


the same time, what he is calling for is an independent investigation


into the killings and violence and we have been trying to get a team


for many months from Our Human Rights Office into Syria and we are


urging the authorities to allow the team entry and the High


Commissioner for Sherman writes for the year when it is going to be


briefing the Security Council in the coming hours about a very


serious, sombre report prepared by the team even without having gone


into Syria. It is based on interviews they could get and on


that basis, they are worried and concerned that crimes against


humanity might have been committed in recent months. Talk us through


the steps, we know they have talked about systematic attacks and abuses


of civilians and they have this body of evidence. What happens


then? When you say that this should be referred to the ICC? Could


President Assad be referred to the ICC? The recommendation in the


Human Rights Office report is for the Human Rights Council to urge


the Security Council to consider a range of steps including referring


the case of Syria to the International Criminal Court and


the human rights High Commissioner will be presenting the report in


the next few hours and then the Security Council membership can


then evaluate whether they want to take up this recommendation. What


is your guess? We know that Britain, France and the United States have


called on the President to step down, what about Russia and China?


Are they elected to create some kind of paralysis? -- are they


likely? I do not speak for other countries? There have been


divergent opinions on the Security Council, in fact the last action


the Security Council took two weeks ago was a presidential statement


concerning Syria which took many weeks of negotiation to craft. It


is possible it will take some time and the secretary general


understands that this might take some time but he does hope that the


Security Council can continue to speak with one voice on Syria and


can push for an end to violence. Thank you. Rebels in Libya say


Colonel Gaddafi is becoming increasingly isolated after forces


took full control of two key towns in the capital. The rebels said


they have captured captured Garyan, 80 kilometres to the south, Zawiya,


50 kilometres to the west, and an oil refinery just outside of Zawiya.


The advancing rebels are insisting they'll enter Tripoli by the end of


the month. You will get more on this. Matthew Price is there. This


is a blow to Colonel Gaddafi, it would seem. What response have we


had from the Libyan government? about the same time that the BBC


correspondent Rupert Wingfield- Hayes was being driven past the oil


refinery and seeing that it was in rebel hands, I was at a press


conference in Tripoli being held by the Libyan Prime Minister and he


said that the oil refinery is firmly in government hands. I


didn't know if that information was out of date or if he was giving us


misinformation but it is clear that there is an increasing disconnect


between what some of the things that the Libyan government says to


us as journalists and some of the facts on the ground as reported by


correspondence and reporters not just from the BBC but other


organisations to be trust. So why are, the reporting from there is


that there are still fighting going on and it sounds like skirmishes


from the reports I have read but at the same time it is clear that at


the moment, the rebels also have pretty much control of Zawiya and


the control the coastal road all the way from triply all the way to


Tunisia. -- Tripoli. The Prime Minister insisted that road was in


full government control and that clearly is demonstrably not true. I


suppose the answer to the question, how is the Government dealing with


this, is that it might be in a sense of denial about some of the


advances and there is a sense of confusion and one of the things I


have picked up on from some government officials in the last


couple of days is a sense of nervousness, and that has not been


there before. Thank you very much. Matthew on the balance of power


tipping away from Colonel Gaddafi. Now some of the other developments.


Police in Pakistan's biggest city, Karachi, have blamed gang rivalry


for the killing of at least 39 people since Wednesday. Many of the


victims were shot in the head and appear to have been tortured. The


violence escalated after gunmen shot dead a leader in the ruling


Pakistan Peoples Party, Waja Karim Dad. The Indian anti-corruption


campaigner Anna Hazare says he won't leave prison until Friday,


despite reaching a deal with the authorities. He will start a 15-day


hunger strike that has now been agreed by the authorities. His


arrest sparked protests across the country. Here, police in Birmingham


say about 20,000 people have turned out for the funerals of three men


who were killed during disturbances in the city last week. Haroon Jahan


and brothers Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir were hit by a car in the


Winson Green area of the city. The when's says the situation in East


Africa is becoming desperate with more than 1000 Somalis pouring into


Kenya every day. To escape the famine and violence. The UN


recognises that more than 12 million people are in urgent need


of aid as the famine has spread to the southern parts of the country,


seen in the Red Ed area on the map. -- read earlier. They keep coming.


Walking for miles, many of their loved ones dying on the way. This


huge camp in northern Kenya is their only hope for survival. So


crowded, an extension is now being opened. A mother tells her she


walked for more than 100 miles. Her two youngest children did not make


it. Five of them survived. Britain has pledged more than �100 million


and has announced a massive vaccination programme against


disease. But the warning is that unless other governments to more to


help, up to 400,000 children could die. The decisions we take today,


the extent to which the international community can stop


that, will become clear in the months ahead. How many of those


400,000 will die? We had the power to stop that. The decisions we make


will determine the results. There are also new fears that the longer


the crisis continues, the more risk of ethnic and tribal rivalries


breaking out in the camps. There will be issues of resources like


water and basic amenities, so reports of internal fighting and


altercations are there. Britain wants a long-term solution. Within


its EoN programme, projects are there to hand out seeds for crops


that can survive the current climate. And to keep cattle alive


so that when the famine ends, these people have some hope. I have been


talking to John O'Shea from the Irish relief agency, and he told me


that it's very difficult to assess the situation inside Somalia.


Everybody connected with this is guessing because we're not there,


nobody is inside the provinces in southern Somalia controlled by the


terrorists. Everybody is pursuing the situation is ABC. The most


educated guesswork suggests that there are 4 million people in this


area with no access to food. There is a drought as well. There are no


white people, no international aid, nobody getting in with meaningful


amounts of food to keep these people live. Starving people can


only last for so long. And the photographs and images we see on


screens are from the refugee camps of Kenya and Ethiopia, were very


brave people have managed to get out of their own country and have


reached the relative safety of the refugee camps. However, there is no


focus on the 4 million lives hanging by a very slender thread in


the southern provinces. The British Government and the chief Cabinet


ministers have said we are on the cusp of a disaster and we have the


power to prevent that. Who should be doing more? And what should they


do? It's a very interesting word, the power, I spoke to Andrew


Mitchell, and I regret to say that I failed on this attempt to


convince him that the British Government has to exert pressure on


the supreme body in this area, the Security Council of the UN, they


are or, in my way of thinking, the only body on the globe are supposed


to be responsible for vulnerable populations. There are no more


vulnerable at the moment than those 4 million people. For some reason,


unknown to anybody, the Security Council has not even discussed the


tragedy of Sonali. What should they do? Discuss and do what? If they


discussed this they must come to the conclusion that they must send


in the international peacekeepers who will provide a safe corridor


through which the aid committees can then give out aid. But the


worst affected people are in those areas controlled by the militants.


And it will be very perilous? we allow tourists to set the agenda


now. Is the era of Neville Chamberlain back with us? Are we


afraid to face back these people? The Kenyans say the refugee camp


expected to receive tens of thousands of refugees, at least the


International Committee can get to them? They can, if the people


inside Somalia can reach the border. We're asking people to walk for 30


days without food and water. We're asking the impossible. Many


thousands have died already, according to the UN themselves,


29,000 people children under the age of five have died. This is high


noon for the Security Council. Get off the pot. This is make a


decision, do we care sufficiently about the lives of 4 million people


or is what is going on in Syria and Libya of such importance that we


have to set aside the needs of 4 That was John O'Shea, earlier today,


about the famine in East Africa. The border between Israel and Egypt


has long been calm. Now there has been a rare co-ordinated strike


inside southern Israel by militants. Seven people have been killed in a


series of attacks in southern Israel close to the Egyptian border.


Gunmen attacked a passenger bus. A military patrol and a private car


on desert roads leading to the Red Sea resort of Eilat. Several of the


attackers were later killed in a gun battle with Israeli troops.


Israel has retaliated with air strikes on the Gaza Strip, where


six Palestinians are thought to have died. Let's talk more about


this, joining us from Jerusalem is Gil Hoffman, Chief political


correspondent and analyst at the newspaper, the Jerusalem Post. Gil


Hoffman, tell us how this has been viewed in Israel, because as we


said it has been a very calm border. It is very demoralising and quite


scary. For 30 years Israel had to worry about the border to the south,


where we have problems. To the north, with Hezbollah, we have


problems with Gaza but we have had problems with Iraq and Iran in the


east but in the south, Egypt, it has been so quiet and calm, 30


years of a cold peace and now the Israeli army has to be ready on


that border as well. It is quite a large border. It is going to be a


significant challenge and coming at a time when we have had a very


quiet summer in Israel, it was really a big shock -- a big shock


to the system. The Egyptian authorities that have given the


Americans assurances they will monitor that border and ensure that


there are no security breaches. By you assured by that? Well, the


Israeli government and Netanyahu himself just give a press


conference, said they are not holding Egyptians responsible, they


are holding Hamas responsible. Hamas is in charge of everything


that comes out of Gaza. Apparently the terrorists came out of Gaza and


when the Prime Minister says they are going to be held responsible,


that means there will be retaliation that could be quite


significant. Do you suppose we're going to see us rail shift some of


its security concerns from the North to the south and does it have


the budget, the resources, to do that, because they have been cuts


in government spending in Israel? Indeed, there have been cut in


spending and yet the defence minister has been very clear that


for the moment Mubarak -- from the moment Mubarak fell, Israel has to


take into account there could be threats from the south. There have


been warnings recently that is why there were additional forces ready


there when the attack happened. Now this is going to change the has


really Psyche, the Israeli spending, it changes everything. Now we know


one of the results, the Arab Spring, there can be another another border


where they could be problems. It is developing into a scary summer


after the Arab Spring. Gil Hoffman, thank you.


The financial markets have been rattled by the economic outlook.


There was another day of steep falls on global markets because


investors via another downturn in the world economy. The Dow Jones


index in New York plunged more than 4% at one stage and there were


similar falls in London, Paris and Frankfurt. Let's go to the New York


Stock Exchange and our correspondent, Michelle Fleury.


Just put these falls we have seen today and a new York -- and I know


New York is a couple of hours before it closes, put it into


context for it. I was talking to a trader earlier. He said the word in


all of this is confident, or lack of it. For whatever reason


confidence has led the flora -- has left the floor office trading floor


and those around the world. The big concern was that growth will be


slower in Europe, in the United States, and there is data out today


hear that added fuel to those concerns. We saw weak housing data,


a manufacturing report that indicated that confidence in that


sector also seems to be dissipating and we are seeing as a result of


that all sorts of share prices falling, the price of oil down


almost $5 and when people are worried they start pulling their


money out of what they perceive to be riskier assets and putting it


into safer assets and that has been reflected with the price of gold up


around $30 on the day. Another record for the price of gold.


Michelle Fleury in New York, thank you.


It is a sign of the times that a four-day visit to Catholic Spain by


the Pope has been marked by protests. Some people are angry at


the cost of the visit during a period of extreme belt-tightening


in Spain as a result of austerity measures. Sarah Rainsford has this


report from Madrid. As Pope Benedict's plane touched


down in Madrid, a crowd was waiting to welcome him. Spain's royal


family was there as well. This is a state visit as well as a pastoral


one. But above all it is about connecting with young Catholics,


insuring the Church has a future. TRANSLATION: I have come here to


make thousands of young people from all over the world, Catholics


committed to Christ, searching for the truth that will give real


meaning to their existence. By come as the successor of Peter, to


confirm the more in the face. people lining the Pope's route have


come from more than 190 countries to be here. The fact the Pope chose


Madrid to host this mass rally reflects his concern at the


declining influence of the church here and Spain's rapid


secularisation. This crowd say Spain is not secure enough. Their


protest against the use of public funds for a papal visit defend --


descended into fighting with police on Wednesday night. Fuelling their


anger is the fact this lavish four- day event has been staged in the


midst of the deepest economic crisis in decades. Today, it is


backed a party mood, complete with party nuns. The only clouds on the


streets are the pilgrims. -- crowds. It is blisteringly hot but these


young Catholics have been on the streets under the sun for hours


already. They have come to Madrid from all over the world and are


anxious to get the best possible place for their first glimpse of


Pope Benedict. Now the Pope has joined the pilgrims, this welcome


ceremony is the first in a busy schedule of events. The climaxes a


mass on Sunday, when more than one million people are expected.


20 years ago this week the course of history was changed. Hardline


Communists in Moscow launched a coup against the Soviet leader,


Mikhail Gorbachev. The coup failed and within a few months to Soviet


Union had collapsed. Our Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg


reports on how Russia has changed since the demise of the Soviet


empire. When I moved to Moscow 20 years ago


this is the street where I lived and worked for stoppages called


Novoslobodskaya Ulitsa. Back then it August 1991, the Soviet Union


was tearing at the scenes, the economy was in ruins and here and


all over Moscow, supermarket shelves were empty of people had to


queue for hours just to buy bread, oranges or milk. Today,


Novoslobodskaya Ulitsa looks very different. There are coffee shop --


shops, sushi restaurants, shopping centres, it is unrecognisable. I am


going to find out what people think about the immense changes which


have taken place on the street and in their country. At the local


health spa for hounds, Dynishka the Yorkie is enjoying a bobble massage.


20 years ago Russians were struggling to survive. Today,


customers here are spending $120 on canine coiffures. The designer


dorgi dresses from Italy are pricier. -- Dr ICES. Now the salon


plans to open a branch in London. TRANSLATION: Most of our clients


are businessmen, their wives are businessmen, and politicians. More


people can afford to bring their pets, so the economy is on the up


the stock at the technological university where I used to teach,


they are less upbeat. All the students I talked to say they plan


to leave Russia. More than one million Russians have done just


that in the last three years, seeing better prospects of broad.


TRANSLATION: Moscow has become such an expensive city. I think if I go


abroad and get a job financially I will be better off. Life will be


more interesting away from Russia. One man who stay -- who is staying


is Nikolai Swana Deeo. He has been cutting keys for 30 years. As his


friend and electricity bills have increased, his income has plummeted.


What he earns in a week is barely enough to feed his family. He


relies on produce from his vegetable patch to survive.


TRANSLATION: When the coup happened in 1991, I collected food and money


and took it to the Democrats who were defending the Russian


parliament. I regret that now. They should not have destroyed the whole


Soviet system. Beauty parlours for Peps and broken dreams. It is like


two different pressures on one street. -- Russias.


How times have changed in Russia. Let's remind you of the main news


story today. The United States, Britain, France and Germany have


demanded that President Basharat last -- President Bashar al-Assad


of Syria leave office following the violent suppression of street


protests against his leadership. It is the first explicit call for --


on the West and its allies for him to step down. Mr Obama has frozen


all Syrian government assets in the United States and Bob -- and banned


oil imports from Syria. That is it from the programme. Next, the


weather. From me, Zeinab Badawi, Hello. We have had some very wet


weather around today, affecting southern and south-eastern counties


of England with localised flooding and heavy showers in the north-east


through the night. Tomorrow, very different. More sunshine around and


it stays dry. There is below that brought the rain today but through


tomorrow, high pressure will build across the UK and that means it is


set to be drier and brighter. Mist and fog in the South first thing. A


lot of the showers clearing from the north-east. The next weather


front will push in from the West introducing cloud and Pacha into


Northern Ireland but elsewhere the weather is set fair for Friday and


-- for Friday afternoon. The northern England and Midlands,


sunny spells. For the southern counties of England, a very


different looking day tomorrow. Drier, brighter, more sunshine.


Feeling warmer. Highs in the late 20s. The weather is set fair across


south-west England. Sunshine continues in the afternoon. After a


sunny start in Wales, a little more cloud in the afternoon. It is the


Northern Ireland where it will be a bright start but through the


afternoon it turns increasingly cloudy with outbreaks of like brain


forced -- like rain. Pacha in the Western Islands and for the far


west of Scotland. Further East, brighter skies, 19 or 20 Celsius.


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