12/09/2011 World News Today


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

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 12/09/2011. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



This is BBC World News Today. An explosion rips through a Kenyan


slum in Nairobi. At least 120 people are killed after a leaking


fuel pipeline bursts into flames. The death toll is likely to rise.


The most radical reform of British banking in a generation. Will they


stave off another crisis and protect the taxpayer from footing


the bill? Meanwhile, shares in major French


banks plummet over concerns they are over-exposed to Greek debt.


Slavery in the UK. Police discover 24 people held in filthy and


cramped conditions, working many years for next to nothing. Next me


try this Again. SPEAKS RUSSIAN. As David Cameron tries to dazzle


his hosts in Moscow with a bit of Russian, how important are language


skills in modern diplomacy? Hello and welcome. Today life for


some of the poorest people in Nairobi became more wretched, after


a fuel pipeline exploded in a densely populated slum. Dozens are


being treated in hospital for severe burns. Around 120 were


killed, leaving many families bereaved. Witnesses said people had


been collecting fuel as it leaked from the pipeline into nearby open


sewers, before it exploded. Our world affairs correspondent reports


from Nairobi. After the explosion of fuel that leaked from the


pipeline, people in flames leaped into the river. The fires and


reached to the river itself. They had been built up to the pipeline,


the homes, and many were engulfed. All that was left was wreckage of


corrugated iron sheds and scattered possessions. It began when word got


around there was a leak, and people set out to scoop up what was


leaking. Many were taken to hospital. This person said she


heard a big blast and she saw people on fire. All around me were


people on fire. The Prime Minister visited. This is a terrible tragedy.


It is unimaginable that so many people can lose their lives. It is


terrible. Terrible. Terrible. the rescue work continued, there


were echoes of a similar tragedy two years ago when fire broke out


when they were scooping up fuel from an overturned tanker in


western Kenya. We can get the latest in Nairobi.


Can you give us an update? authorities confirmed at least 80


people were confirmed dead and they have been taken to the city


mortuary. They expect that number to rise. I was at the slum. I saw


officials assessing bodies that had been killed. Can you tell us more


about the slump? It is in the industrial district of Nairobi. It


is one acre in size. It is densely populated. Most of their housing is


made from corrugated iron. It is a low income area. It is not too far


from the oil refinery, which is where the spill had come from.


The most radical and comprehensive overhaul of the British Banking


system in decades is on the cards. High street banking will be


ringfenced from more risky investment operations. The


government hopes the proposals, which should come into effect over


the next eight years means tax payers are never again asked to


spend tens of billions to pay for bankers' mistakes. Our Business


Editor reports. The mighty banks, such as Royal


Bank of Scotland, perhaps facing their biggest shake-up because of


this economics professor. Sir John Vickers. Status quo is not an


option. Things have to change. what are the reforms? The most


important is the creation of a ring fence to protect parts of banks


that provide vital services to individuals and small businesses.


Retail banking would be protected if more speculative global


investment banking parts found themselves in bother. A former


Royal Bank of Scotland chairman said his old bank should not be


anxious. The separation of investment banking from what I call


commercial banking, that is more than retail, could be for the good


of the bank. Because of recurring financial crisis witnessed over


many centuries, the banks would have more rainy-day money and


borrow from those who could afford to lose in bad times to make


themselves more resilient. Around me is evidence of the boom in


banking and finance and that is over 20 years. Between the City and


Canary Wharf. The commission believes much of that boom was


poisonous. Camber poison be extracted without harming the


patient -- can it be extracted? The great banking crisis of 2007, saw


massive costs heaped on taxpayers and the worst recession for eight


years for which the UK and much of the West has not been recovered --


eight years. Billions has been spent and hundreds of jobs have


been lost. This asks the questions and provides the answers.


commission says the costs will be �1 billion per year for the British


economy and estimates the annual cost of banking crises of �40


billion per year. If the reforms work, they would represent value


for money. The chief executive of a bank said the reforms are a


disaster. What does a member of the commission think of that? It is


neither a disaster for any British bank, and it is not a disaster for


the British public. His is not just about making banks safer, it is


about promoting. Things like more competition on a high street.


Easier switching. This is what the government should introduce. A new


industry, not growing so much, perhaps, but possibly more stable


and less dangerous. Meanwhile, there've been sharp


falls across European stock markets as fears again gather strength


about the possibility of a default in Greece. French banks have been


hit particularly hard. There are concerns their credit rating might


be downgraded because of their exposure to Greek debt. Societe


Generale sought to calm fears by announcing plans to sell off assets


to raise capital. From Paris, Christian Fraser reports.


If Greece is the epicentre of the crisis, it sent shock waves to


every corner of Europe. It cannot be felt more acutely than in Paris.


Today, shares in French banks tumbled. Concerns grew about their


exposure to government debt in Greece, Spain and Italy and the


threat of a damn great in its Credit Agricole rating. --


downgrade. Markets are pricing in the need for government in --


intervention. Whether that is a capital injection, it is premature


speculation, said the finance minister.


TRANSLATION: There is no emergency for the banks. They have plenty of


means of response. They will provide liquidity. The European


Central Bank said there are 5 billion euros potentially available


for banks. The French banks hold billions of Euros of Greek bonds.


Investors fear those assets could be devalued. American banks have


begun to draw back on their loans. Societe Generale was forced to


respond. They announced cuts of 4 billion euros. Enough to cope with


reality if funding becomes more scarce. We have to recognise how


much money we have spent and how much more we we may still have to


put into the banking system. The question is how much this will cost


European banks. The head of the European Central Bank gave


assurances they could provide European banks with short-term


lending. If French banks are downgraded, it may underscored that


despite two bail-out packages, European governments are limited in


their ability to defend banking. We can talk more about this. We are


joined by a banking expert. If the French banks are in trouble, how


serious could the crisis be? anything dramatic happened, it


would not be a picnic. The question is anything dramatic will happen.


This is a rumour that they might have a downgraded Credit rating. In


France, there is suspicion day are over exposed to Greek debt. The


French government says everything is all right. They would, wouldn't


they? The French banks are over- exposed. To some degree. The


question is, what is the real chance of that blubbing up? If it


does, how badly? Can the French government do it -- blowing up. I


do not think it could happen. I suspect there are people in the


market who would quite like to see French bank shares go and there


were and would like to see that. There are speculators on the market.


Many people on the market get a profit if the share goes down as


well as up. They bet on shares going down. You think speculators


are driving the panic? Absolutely. There is evidence from a number of


places in certain situations since the financial crisis that


speculators have gone into the market and that that shares would


go down. If they do, they win the bet and make money. And the French


government calming the fears, will they succeed? Hopefully. One danger


we have with modern systems, is that contagion spreads like


wildfire. And about the British bank reforms? They are dramatic.


Are they going to work? In terms of the UK, they make the banks in the


UK for less likely for any contagion to spread. In terms of


making the global banking system safer, they do not add that much to


the bigger picture. That is what they should be doing with the G20


behind it. For the global meltdown, it is a global solution. If our


part of it is safe and the rest blows up, our part goes with it.


Banking is a global business and you need global solutions.


We can look at some of the other main developments. Staying with


France, the European Commission will help the French authorities


monitor the impact of a fatal explosion at a nuclear plant. One


person was killed and four injured when a first exploded at the site


near Nimes. The French authorities say there is no radioactive leak.


French police have interviewed the former IMF chief Dominic Strauss-


Kahn as part of an investigation into a complaint filed by a


journalist who alleges he tried to rape her. Tristane Banon says he


assaulted her in 2003. Last month, a US prosecutor dropped attempt --


attempted rape charges after saying the alleged victim was unreliable.


He denied charges in both cases. Musicians welcomed a decision by


the European Union to extend copyright for recorded music. The


decision follows a campaign by people such as Cliff Richard who


faced a loss of revenue in later In South Africa, a court has ruled


that a song calling for white farmers to be shocked at


constitutes hate speech. The song was performed by a Julius Malema, a


youth leader of the African National Congress. Defiant to the


end, this was Julius Malema, at the weekend, singing a sanitised


version of the controversial struggle song. But today in court


the maverick politician was nowhere to be seen, just a handful of


supporters amassed outside as the judge delivered the damning ruling.


The song amounted to hate speech and was banned out right.


This is not really a victory for those who oppose Julius Malema, it


is a victory for those in those communities. There ruling party may


have it on his shoes with Julius Malema, but on liberation songs it


has closed ranks. Senior figures within the party


testified that the refrain captured its country's history.


Our appeal will continue, we are journeying on, we will defend the


heritage of the African National Congress.


Not long ago, Julius Malema seemed invincible and now seems like a


broken man. Though his supporters outside court are trying to put a


brave face on -- put a brave face on things, the second hearing


tomorrow could mark the end of Julius Malema's political career.


Julius Malema's supporters clashed with police one month ago.


By if found guilty of bringing the party into disrepute, Julius Malema


could be expelled from the African It is six months since the massive


earthquake and tsunami that hit north-eastern Japan. Almost 16,000


people are known to have died, nearly 5,000 more still missing.


There are now fears the worst hit town may never recover. Our


correspondent, Damian Grammaticas, who reported from Japan in the


aftermath of the disaster, has been back to the visit one of the


affected areas. The water, you would think for a


tsunami survivor, would be terrifying.


Six months ago, Chihiro was swallowed by the waves. She saw


more than half of her swimming team swept away, but today she is back


in training and says it holds no fear.


By Japan's earthquake unleashed the tsunami, Chihiro's team were


swimming near the seashore. This is news footage of that day.


Underneath the water, their town of Rikuzentakata lies submerged. This


building is where they were trapped. The after the disaster, her teacher


showed us how it Chihiro survived. The mark on the wall shows the tiny


space where she found she could breathe.


Offered team-mates, seven died. Chihiro had been gripping one


friend's hand, trying to pull her to safety. The water tore them


apart. TRANSLATION: When I am alone, I


cannot help thinking about my friend who died. I really long to


see them again. Chihiro's town, so badly damaged,


is trying to move on, too. There is a massive effort to shift and sift


the wreckage. We now is that -- we now know 1,500 people died when


Rikuzentakata was washed away. 2,000 more have since packed their


bags and left, their homes and livelihoods gone. Getting on with


the job of rebuilding is the urgent priority for the survivors here in


Rikuzentakata. They have even started drawing up plans. They


feared nothing is done, people will leave this town and it will slowly


wither and die. The plan is to be built the town's sea walls, but


make them 15 metres high. Japan's Government promised a huge


emergency budget for reconstruction, but nothing has happened. Ranks of


prefabricated huts have been put up to house more than 2,000 families,


including cows's. Her father has lost his or oyster fishing business,


and her grandfather is one of 200 people from the Town presumed dead


but often no trace has been found. A TRANSLATION: At what do I think


about the Government? Not much. Our politicians have been fighting over


who should be Prime Minister. This is not the time for that. We have


come to expect nothing from them. Chihiro's school was destroyed, so


every morning she travels one hour of the coast to a temporary one. Or


she wants is a new school and a new home in Rikuzentakata. -- all she


wants. In the meantime, it is a swimming, she says, that teacher


from dwelling on the memories of the tsunami.


TRANSLATION: When I am swimming, I do not have to think about anything,


I just empty my mind. That is why I Damian Grammaticas with the


aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.


Four people in Britain have been charged with slavery offences


relating to four people found at a travellers' site. The men are all


from the same family of travellers and were charged with conspiracy to


holding a person in servitude and conspiring to hold them in forced


labour. David Cameron has been visiting


Russia today along with leading British business leaders. He said


he wanted to consolidate British political and commercial links with


Russia. When Mr Cameron tried to impress his hosts with a few words


in Russian, the Foreign Office announced today it is reinvesting


in building the language skills of British diplomats. Our


correspondent looks at language, politics and diplomacy in the


modern world. A lot has changed since David


Cameron first visited Russia 26 years ago. Then, he was on a gap


year between school and university. Now, as British Prime Minister, he


was just asking to practise Russian. Today I want to make their case


that... Are SPEAKS RUSSIAN... Together, we are stronger.


OK, it was not perfect, but just a little phrase, especially in a


language as difficult as Russian, can go a long way. After all, he


has to keep up with his polyglot deputy, who speaks five languages.


SPEAKS GERMAN. Do the famous German air is very


refreshing, says Nick Clegg. Also, Tony Blair had the French


language. SPEAKS FRENCH.


Or did he? One diplomat recalls cent meeting his one-time


counterpart whose policies he was said to envy. When he switched into


friends, Mr Blair was said to have translated his thoughts too


literally, sane, I lust after you in many different positions. --


seeing, I lost after you. The US politicians exercise their


skills with mixed degrees of success. Who in Ireland can forget


Barack Obama's visit in May when he showed off Gaelic? Hillary Clinton


delved into the Russian dictionary to try to rebuild relations with


Moscow. She arrived in Geneva clasping a symbolic but in with a


Russian word written on it. We worked hard to get the right


Russian word, did we get it? you got it wrong.


Unfortunately, there would have chosen meant, overcharged.


- Mike there were but they chose meant overcharged.


We are joined by Professor David Bellos from Princeton University


who has just written a book called Is That A Fish In Your Ear?. This


idea of reviving language skills for British diplomats, are they


needed? Everyone wants to speak English, do they really need it? It


be yes, because if they are the only people who only speak English,


they are going to be missing a great deal.


But they must rely on their translators before they can even


read the morning paper headlines, the at a disadvantage.


Do they not talk to other politicians who speak English?


Yes, of course English is a planetary language nowadays, it has


been in increasing quantities for several decades, but that does not


mean that non-native English speakers do not speak other


languages, often more than one. That does not mean that interesting


and important conversations do not go on in Chinese and in French,


German, Japanese and Arabic. Not to eat and be able to get on board at


a passive level in this sort of thing going on is not an advantage


for a diplomat or for anyone else who needs to have some


understanding of another culture. Does a little go a long way? We saw


a David Cameron trying to impress Russia with a few words? Good


people like it when the unit -- when you make an effort, or do you


have to become proficient to gain the benefits you are talking about?


That is variable according to who is doing it and what the other


society is like. I can only give a few anecdotes on this, but


certainly in Hungary so few foreigners speak Hungarian that


even trying a few words they are over the moon that you are trying.


In France, the French have a very much more self-confident view of


their language. Just the fireplace or? There are


those who say Nicolas Sarkozy would have a much greater global impact


if he communicated in English sometimes when talking about Libya.


The French, of course, speak a language which, for many centuries,


was the global language and the language of culture, and that they


wish to hang on to it, at least for themselves. We must not forget,


French is spoken not as a native nine with -- native language but as


a language of culture and communication in many parts of the


world, especially in the Middle East and Africa. It is part of the


global conversation. Thank you very much indeed for


talking to us. That is all for the programme, but Next is is the


weather. Formatted from me, Zeinab Badawi, goodbye. -- from me, Zeinab


The we have had a windy day and where every you have been, very


dusty conditions, particularly across the North and areas of the


UK. We still have an amber warning in force from the Met Office for


the strength of the winds. All centred around this an area of low


pressure across southern -- across Scotland. For Tuesday, another


windy day, perhaps not as windy as today. In the north, further heavy


rain, in Scotland further south it is showers. In Northern England to


the east, some strong gusts starting to develop. Through the


southernmost counties of England, it is hit-and-miss with the showers.


They will come through with some brisk westerly winds. Or the south-


west England and Wales Country gusty conditions where you are


exposed. There is a chance through the Irish Sea we could have more


destruction to the ferries. Across areas of Northern Ireland, Wendy


Download Subtitles