19/09/2011 World News Today


19/09/2011

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This is BBC World News Today with me, Philippa Thomas. Is this the

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start of President Obama's campaign for re-election? He's making the

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case for raising taxes on the rich, saying it's time for America's

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wealthiest to pay more of the nation's bills. It is wrong that in

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the United States of America a teacher or a nurse or a

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construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates

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than somebody pulling in $50 million. Violent confrontations in

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Yemen - the death toll mounts during a two-day crackdown on the

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streets of Sanaa. Reflecting on a tough year of coalition government

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- we'll be live at the Liberal Democrat party conference in

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Birmingham. And the conjoined sisters who have

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overcome the odds to survive after being separated by surgeons in

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:01:10.:01:14.

Hello and welcome. The gloves are off in Barack Obama's fight for re-

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election. We heard his new rhetoric for the first time today but we

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will hear it again and again over the year to come. The president

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says he wants to tax the rich, or as he put it at the White House

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this afternoon, he will veto any "one sided deal" that puts all the

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burden for reducing the US deficit on the shoulders of ordinary

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Americans. So we could call this the first airing for Mr Obama's

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campaign "stump speech", his pitch to voters to share his sense of

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urgency. During the past decade, profligate spending in Washington,

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tax cuts for multi-millionaires, the cost of two wars, and the

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recession, turned a surplus into a yawning deficit. But left us with a

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pile of I in use. If we do not act, the burden will fall on our

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children's shoulders. The last few months in Washington have been

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dominated by the conservative focus on cutting spending to pay down

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America's debt. Today, the president called for what he terms

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a "balanced plan", where for every two dollars cut from Washington

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spending, another dollar will be raised in new revenue. To sell his

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plan, Mr Obama swung into populist mode. Middle-class families should

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not pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires. That

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is straightforward. It is hard to argue against that. Warren

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Buffett's Secretary should not pay it more tax than Warren Buffett.

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There is no justification for it. It is wrong that in the U S A eight

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teacher or nurse or construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay

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a higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million. Anybody who

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says we cannot change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has

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signed a pledge to protect every tax as long as they live, they

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should be called out. They should defend that unfairness. President

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Obama went on to insist that he wasn't indulging in class warfare,

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but he certainly seemed to be adopting a newly populist tone.

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We'll hear analysis in a minute from political commentator Robert

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Traynham, who's served on a number of Republican presidential

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campaigns, but first let's ask the BBC's own Adam Brookes in

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Washington how this speech has gone down. Adam, what's the initial

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reaction? On the face lit, President Obama was in professorial

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moat. It was a disquisition on the tax code. Under Lerwick --

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underline it, was par for election season politics. It was a challenge

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to the Republicans, an attack on, strong criticism, of senior members

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of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives by name.

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And it was a challenge to the Republican Party. It was when the

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President said he will veto any plant that comes out of the House

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of Representatives which cuts welfare and entitlement payments,

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payments to the elderly and the poor, unless there are tax rises in

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there too. The Republicans made it very clear they will not accept any

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tax rises. We are seeing the battle lines getting drawn and the

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President coming out of his corner swinging in a way it many of his

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supporters have been waiting for him to do. How much is he trying to

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re-energised the base that sometimes says he forgot where he

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came from? I felt I could almost see congealing before my eyes, the

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principal themes of the Democratic campaign. It will be about fairness,

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energising Democrats to make sure the bankers who have huge bonuses

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on Wall Street pay their fair share, about using government stimulus and

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tools to create jobs and it is trying to get the disaffected,

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recession battered democratic base at the political centre to rally

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behind President Obama, a more centrist frame of mind. Let's bring

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in our political commentator. You are a veteran of Capitol Hill and

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campaigns. What would you advise your politicians to say in answer

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to this if you were advising the Republicans?

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This is an interesting contrast in argument between the haves and

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have-nots and also at the Republicans would say what you're

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doing is penalising the people living the American Dream,

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penalising the folks climbing up the economic ladder. I would think

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Republicans would say first and foremost we are for tax reform,

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levelling the playing field, for making sure the tax code is fair

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but we need to understand this really is about class warfare and

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you are trying to penalise those more fortunate than those that are

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not. Do you think there will be worried in Conservative ranks this

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is quite a powerful appeal to the American public?

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Well, what's more worrying to any politician running for re-election

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is we have 9.1 unemployment. What is more worrying is there is no

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short-term solution to the millions that are unemployed in America.

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That is the number one concern so the question becomes hard to fix

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the immediate problems, overhauling the tax code, although important,

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that will not bring the unemployment rate down. Final

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question to you, it struck me the famous campaign slogan about taxes

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was read my lips, no new taxes. He paid the price when he changed his

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mind. It is quite brave saying read my lips, more new taxes. It depends

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who you ask. If you ask the president, that is what he wants.

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He wants to draw this contrast that I am willing to come up with new

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programmes and a vision but it will cost something and if you look at

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the presidential battle grounds in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida

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and Ohio, it is a pretty resonating argument. If I am a democrat rave

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re-election, it is not a bad argument to run on.

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Thank you. Escalating violence in Yemen has left at least 50 people

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dead over the past two days. The government cracked down on

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demonstrations in Sana'a, but now the protests have spread outside

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the capital. Anger has been directed at President Ali Abdullah

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Saleh who has in Saudi Arabia since June recovering from an

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assassination attempt. Mike Wooldridge reports.

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A second day of deadly violence in the Yemeni capital. The battles

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bringing to an end what was a political stalemate lasting months.

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The protesters have been trying to extend the area where they have

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been encamped in their thousands demanding the Yemeni ruler leave

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office for good. In this new confrontation between the

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demonstrators and security forces, many more casualties today hastily

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removed to hospitals and makeshift clinics. It has forced Yemen and a

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greater escalation back into the international arena. We call on the

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government to end attacks against civilians and civilian targets in

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full compliance with the obligations under international

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human rights law. The government will investigate and hold

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accountable those responsible for these acts. It's unfortunate those

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events occurred at a time while some solutions for the crisis were

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appearing. President Saleh a left for treatment in Saudi Arabia after

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wounded -- been wounded. He told his vice-president to discuss a

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deal under which he would step down in return for immunity from

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prosecution. But the President has backed away three-times from

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signing deals to transfer power. It is not just Sanaa seeing an upsurge.

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This is Taiz. More evidence of the pressure on the government and

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mediators. UN and Gulf envoys have arrived to try to find a solution.

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Opposition leaders say protests will continue. Joining me from

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Birmingham is Abdulalem Alshamery. What a you hearing from the streets

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about the tactics the security forces are using -- what are you

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hearing? The tactics at the moment, I call it genocide against humanity.

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It is led by the Sun and cousins. Since yesterday, more than 50

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people were killed and hundreds wounded. I do not know what an

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international community is waiting for. They have the right to step in

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further and stock what he's doing. We are seeing the international

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community stepping back and watching what is happening. King

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Abdullah, the Saudi king, received the President of the Yemen and

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thanking him for the support he has given to the regime. I don't know

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what will happen in the near future, as I speak now the death toll is

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increasing. We have not seen any thing in the Arab League. We are

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hearing reports of UN and Gulf envoys travelling to Sanaa to

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negotiate with the President to step down. For the last nine months

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now, the GCC has been sending representatives but the agreements

:12:17.:12:27.
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and initiatives and offers by the GCC and worldwide given to sell a,

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he is not signed any agreement. Why are they not doing like they did

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with the Syrians and the Libyans and Egyptians? Why do we have to

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suffer, the death toll is still increasing. We have seen no action

:12:45.:12:55.
:12:55.:12:55.

from the UN. Yemen have received the head of the GCC and the UN in

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Sanaa and they say they want to revive the initiative. What sort of

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initiatives? Let's look at the pressures within because we could

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look at how the military is still supporting the present, is that a

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united force or do you see cracks in military support for the regime?

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There is a crack in the military, the Republican Guards and the

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central security forces led by his son and nephews. They are the only

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loyalists. Of the Ali, there is a huge crack and we have heard many

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of the Republican Guards members have defected and are not excepting

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what is happening to Erin people. Thank you. -- to their own people.

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The Greek government is trying to find the money it needs to deal

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with his debts. The need to be satisfied with the Government's

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progress on deficit-reduction before more bear that funds can be

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released. The IMF has criticised the Greek Government's strategy of

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reducing the deficit by raising taxes.

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Some people say the future of the euro-zone lies in this man's hands.

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He is the Greek Finance Minister and these are critical days. His

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country faces bankruptcy next month without another injection of bail

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out money. Other European leaders insist Greece must do more to

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reduce its deficit and that this was the message the IMF gave him

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today. The ball is in the Greek court, implementation is of the

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essence. Yes, there have been tax rises and pay cuts but they have

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not done the job. The numbers in the public sector remain high, tax

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collection is a shambles and the economy is shrinking. So, more cuts

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are on the way but this time increasingly the Greeks are

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:15:14.:15:18.

The Athens bike fair drew many middle-class families. Among them,

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was so Joanna Karelles, a public sector worker. She says she is

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scared. We are very careful about what we buy now. Every time we go

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to the supermarket, we are very careful to go with a list and it is

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becoming a shorter and shorter list. When schools started this autumn,

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this family found a shortage of books in the classroom. Just a week

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ago, the government announced a property tax, the aim to raise 2

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billion euros. It would hit flat owners like Anna. It works out

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about six or 7 euros per metre which means just about more than

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700 euros for this flat for a year in two instalments. How do people

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feel about that one-off tax because it is quite a lot of money? It is.

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I think the middle classes and property owners are getting

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outraged. The taxes will be collected by electricity bills and

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already the power unions are saying they will sabotage it. On the

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streets there are crowds saying they will not pay the new tax. That

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is the problem. Families and public-sector workers are

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increasingly unwilling to accept cuts in exchange for a further

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bail-out. 53 people have been killed in the

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earthquake which hit the India Nepal border according to officials.

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The epicentre of the quake was in the northeastern Indian state of

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Sikkim, where at least 31 people were killed. Police and media say

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rain and landslides are blocking the efforts of rescue workers

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searching for survivors. Gunmen in Burundi have shot dead at

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least 36 people in an attack on a bar. Survivors said dozens of men

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armed with automatic weapons entered the bar in Gatumba, close

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to the capital, Bujumbura. It's the worst outbreak of violence since

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disputed elections in Burundi last year.

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Here in the UK, six men and one woman have been arrested on counter

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terror charges. The men, aged between 25 and 32, were detained

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last night in a series of raids in Birmingham. The woman is being

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questioned on suspicion of withholding information. The Greek

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Cypriot government says drilling for natural gas in water south of

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Cyprus has started, despite repeated warnings from Turkey that

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it must not go ahead. Turkey said drilling would prompt it to send

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its own exploration ships into waters controlled by a Turkish

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Cypriots. Britain is facing an economic

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crisis, the equivalent of being at war, that was the stark assessment

:17:58.:18:02.

given today by Vince Cable at the Liberal Democrats' conference in

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Birmingham. He painted a gloomy picture of the economic recovery,

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saying there were gloomy times ahead. Nick Clegg, the party leader,

:18:11.:18:15.

said there was no alternative to the Commission's strategy.

:18:15.:18:19.

A bleak warning was issued in Birmingham today. A warning to the

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country that danger lies ahead. The enemy is not one that we can see,

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not one they can protect us against. It is the threat that the economy

:18:28.:18:33.

may not recover. We now face a crisis that is the economic

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equivalent of war. The Business Secretary told his fellow Liberal

:18:38.:18:41.

Democrats today that the public deserved and wanted to be told it

:18:41.:18:47.

like it is. The truth is, that there are difficult times ahead,

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that Britain's post-war pattern of ever-rising living standards has

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been broken by the financial collapse. Ministers' language is

:18:58.:19:03.

changing. They have begun to talk of the need opt for a stimulus to

:19:03.:19:07.

get the economy moving, to get more companies to follow Jaguar Land-

:19:07.:19:11.

Rover who today announced they would be creating 750 jobs building

:19:11.:19:17.

a new engine plant in Wolverhampton. The Lib Dem Conference has echoed

:19:17.:19:21.

to the sound of coalition disharmony, as one partner

:19:21.:19:26.

criticises the other in what they call their political marriage. Some

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people say coalition is a political marriage, how would your wife,

:19:29.:19:34.

Miriam, feel if you describe her as witless, a nightmare and that

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divorce was inevitable? I think... Miriam would not be pleased! People

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on that platform behind me have said it. To accept that people

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would get on the platform and say stuff about the Conservatives, that

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is what happens in politics. Party conferences are the times when

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ministers display their differences in public with their coalition

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partners. In private, they are united in worrying about how one

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earth to get the economy moving again.

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Our political correspondent is that the conference in Birmingham for us.

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We have been talking about the economy, in the USA, Greece and

:20:20.:20:27.

here, it seems economic gloom is the theme of the hour? Exactly. And

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yet, the mood at the Liberal Democrats' conference is strangely

:20:30.:20:35.

upbeat, especially when you consider that it was only back in

:20:35.:20:39.

May that they suffered really bad losses at local government

:20:39.:20:42.

elections and even now, they are still languishing in the opinion

:20:43.:20:47.

polls. To talk a little more about this, I have with me Mark

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Littlewood, a former head of press for the Liberal Democrats. They at

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11 % in the opinion polls, that is half what they were on before the

:20:58.:21:03.

general election, why are they so upbeat? Why is there not more

:21:03.:21:08.

revolt in the air? I think it is more defiance than being upbeat.

:21:08.:21:12.

The Liberal Democrats usually get a boost from local elections. The May

:21:13.:21:16.

results were horrible and there were many councillors who lost

:21:16.:21:21.

their seats. They will probably conclude that is because the party

:21:21.:21:26.

is in coalition with the Conservatives. It is not since the

:21:26.:21:30.

days of David Lloyd George back in the 1920s that Liberal Democrats

:21:30.:21:34.

have held any high office of sorts. Although there is concern about the

:21:34.:21:39.

opinion poll ratings and what should be done to get them back up

:21:39.:21:44.

to the twenties, I think there is still a degree of pride that the

:21:44.:21:47.

Liberal Democrats are in a meaningful power. Vince Cable was

:21:47.:21:51.

warning of tough times ahead on the economy and we know the Liberal

:21:51.:21:56.

Democrats were getting a lot of blame for the austerity, presumably

:21:56.:21:59.

that means there could be more pressure on whether the coalition

:21:59.:22:05.

actually holds together to 2015? think it is likely the coalition

:22:05.:22:10.

will hold together for the duration. There is total unity on the need

:22:10.:22:14.

for fiscal retrenchment to get the budget deficit under control over

:22:14.:22:19.

the course of this Parliament. That is the glue which is holding the

:22:19.:22:23.

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats together. I think Vince Cable was

:22:23.:22:26.

right to say the outlook for the economy was hardly rosy and what is

:22:26.:22:31.

happening internationally will buffet it, they are not in control

:22:31.:22:35.

of their own destiny but I think the Liberal Democrats will have to

:22:35.:22:38.

do more to explain how the British economy can get out of this mess,

:22:38.:22:44.

what concrete steps have been taken -- can be taken. There has been a

:22:44.:22:49.

lot said at the conference to echo what President Obama has said, we

:22:49.:22:54.

have got to hit the rich harder, that has been the message repeated

:22:54.:22:58.

by Vince Cable, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander. Really, the

:22:58.:23:02.

challenge is, what can the coalition do to help growth in the

:23:02.:23:07.

British economy? We are bumbling along at very sluggish rates of

:23:07.:23:11.

growth. What can we do to make this a better environment to do business

:23:11.:23:15.

in? My concern is the Liberal Democrats are drawing red lines

:23:15.:23:20.

about tax cuts for the rich, considering how the burden of pain

:23:20.:23:23.

should be shared out, rather than working out what steps can be taken

:23:23.:23:28.

to get the economy off the floor. Thank you for joining us. Nick

:23:28.:23:31.

Clegg will give his speech to conference in a couple of days'

:23:31.:23:36.

time and his big theme here has been the Liberal Democrats are

:23:36.:23:39.

providing a restraining influence on the Conservatives in the

:23:39.:23:43.

coalition, but once again, the opinion polls do not quite suggest

:23:43.:23:50.

he is having much luck convincing the voters.

:23:50.:23:54.

Thank you. Surgeons who successfully separated conjoined

:23:54.:23:58.

twins a month ago say the two baby girls are recovering well. Rital

:23:59.:24:04.

and Ritag Gaboura were born joined at the head. The sisters, who are

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from Sudan, had four operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital in

:24:09.:24:14.

London. Doctors say they have overcome incredible odds to survive.

:24:14.:24:20.

Fergus Walsh reports. This is now to get the nurse for

:24:20.:24:25.

Rital and Ritag, sharing the same cot but these twins have undergone

:24:26.:24:30.

an extraordinary journey to be physically separated. Born at

:24:30.:24:34.

joined at the head, doctors said they would probably have died

:24:34.:24:37.

unless they underwent surgery. Their parents, both doctors from

:24:38.:24:43.

Sudan, can now each hold one daughter in their arms. For them,

:24:43.:24:46.

it is a miracle. What was it like when the twins

:24:46.:24:52.

were able to look each other in the eye for the first time? It was

:24:52.:24:59.

really a great moment in our life. I will never forget. I hope that

:24:59.:25:05.

they will get a normal life and treated as normal human beings and

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to forget all of their suffering times. Looking at the twins now, it

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is remarkable to think that just a month ago they were joined at the

:25:15.:25:19.

head. It is still too early to be sure but there are no signs at this

:25:19.:25:23.

stage that either has suffered any neurological damage as a result of

:25:24.:25:28.

the separation. This was the huge surgical team at Great Ormond

:25:29.:25:34.

Street Hospital who carried out four complex operations spread over

:25:34.:25:40.

four months, first dividing the veins and arteries, then growing

:25:40.:25:44.

use skin to cover the skull and finally this, the moment when the

:25:44.:25:51.

twins were separated. There are so many things that you have to get

:25:51.:25:54.

right in the right order, separating the blood vessels,

:25:54.:25:59.

making sure the brain is safe, reconstructing skin. It has really

:25:59.:26:04.

been a tribute to the team that we have been able to plan this in such

:26:04.:26:08.

detail and keep them safe throughout. A charity, Facing the

:26:08.:26:14.

World, paid the medical costs and say the twins will still -- soon be

:26:14.:26:20.

well enough to be flown home with the hopes of a bright future.

:26:20.:26:24.

Our main news: President Obama has up blind his plan for cutting

:26:24.:26:30.

America's huge budget deficit saying wealthier citizens must pay

:26:30.:26:33.

higher taxes. At least 50 people have been killed

:26:33.:26:38.

in the capital of Yemen, Sanaa, in escalating violence between

:26:38.:26:42.

opponents of President Saleh and forces loyal to him.

:26:42.:26:48.

That is all from the programme. Next, the weather, from the

:26:48.:26:58.
:26:58.:27:01.

Philippa Thomas and the rest of the Hello. The weather for this week is

:27:01.:27:06.

looking pretty changeable. Weather fronts queuing up from the Atlantic

:27:06.:27:11.

sweeping across the UK. Today, we have a band of rain affecting

:27:11.:27:15.

southern areas of the UK. It is courtesy of this weather front

:27:15.:27:21.

moving across northern England over Nat Nat, slowly sinking its way

:27:21.:27:31.
:27:31.:27:32.

southwards throughout Tuesday. -- moving its way southwards overnight.

:27:32.:27:37.

Tomorrow, the skies should brighten across Lincolnshire and the

:27:37.:27:44.

Midlands but later turning cloudy and white. South East is looking

:27:44.:27:50.

largely dry and bright. In Devon and Cornwall, some of the rain will

:27:50.:27:57.

be heavy at times, continuing through southern Wales. Northern

:27:57.:28:00.

Wales will be dry and brighter through Tuesday afternoon. The

:28:00.:28:04.

Northern Ireland and Scotland, quite a different looking afternoon.

:28:04.:28:08.

Sunny spells and scattered showers, watch out with some gusty winds.

:28:08.:28:12.

There will be some heavy showers in the afternoon with the odd rumble

:28:12.:28:16.

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