19/09/2011 World News Today


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


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


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


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


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


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


than somebody pulling in $50 million. Violent confrontations in


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


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


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


Birmingham. And the conjoined sisters who have


overcome the odds to survive after being separated by surgeons in


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


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


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


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


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


burden for reducing the US deficit on the shoulders of ordinary


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


dominated by the conservative focus on cutting spending to pay down


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


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


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


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


not pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires. That


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of Representatives which cuts welfare and entitlement payments,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


energising Democrats to make sure the bankers who have huge bonuses


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


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


recession battered democratic base at the political centre to rally


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


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


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


to this if you were advising the Republicans?


This is an interesting contrast in argument between the haves and


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


doing is penalising the people living the American Dream,


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


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


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


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


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


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


is quite a powerful appeal to the American public?


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


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


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


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


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


that will not bring the unemployment rate down. Final


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


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


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


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


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


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


the presidential battle grounds in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida


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


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


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


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


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


the capital. Anger has been directed at President Ali Abdullah


Saleh who has in Saudi Arabia since June recovering from an


assassination attempt. Mike Wooldridge reports.


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


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


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


been encamped in their thousands demanding the Yemeni ruler leave


office for good. In this new confrontation between the


demonstrators and security forces, many more casualties today hastily


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


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


government to end attacks against civilians and civilian targets in


full compliance with the obligations under international


human rights law. The government will investigate and hold


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Opposition leaders say protests will continue. Joining me from


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


community stepping back and watching what is happening. King


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


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


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


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


hearing reports of UN and Gulf envoys travelling to Sanaa to


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


now, the GCC has been sending representatives but the agreements


and initiatives and offers by the GCC and worldwide given to sell a,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of the Republican Guards members have defected and are not excepting


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


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


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


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


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


reducing the deficit by raising taxes.


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


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


country faces bankruptcy next month without another injection of bail


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


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


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


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


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


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


are on the way but this time increasingly the Greeks are


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


I think the middle classes and property owners are getting


outraged. The taxes will be collected by electricity bills and


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


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


is the problem. Families and public-sector workers are


increasingly unwilling to accept cuts in exchange for a further


bail-out. 53 people have been killed in the


earthquake which hit the India Nepal border according to officials.


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


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


rain and landslides are blocking the efforts of rescue workers


searching for survivors. Gunmen in Burundi have shot dead at


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


armed with automatic weapons entered the bar in Gatumba, close


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


disputed elections in Burundi last year.


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


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


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


questioned on suspicion of withholding information. The Greek


Cypriot government says drilling for natural gas in water south of


Cyprus has started, despite repeated warnings from Turkey that


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


its own exploration ships into waters controlled by a Turkish


Cypriots. Britain is facing an economic


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


equivalent of war. The Business Secretary told his fellow Liberal


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


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


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


been broken by the financial collapse. Ministers' language is


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


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


Rover who today announced they would be creating 750 jobs building


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


to the sound of coalition disharmony, as one partner


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


ministers display their differences in public with their coalition


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


earth to get the economy moving again.


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


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


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


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


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


May that they suffered really bad losses at local government


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


results were horrible and there were many councillors who lost


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


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


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


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


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


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


Liberal Democrats are in a meaningful power. Vince Cable was


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


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


that means there could be more pressure on whether the coalition


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


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


for fiscal retrenchment to get the budget deficit under control over


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


Conservatives and Liberal Democrats together. I think Vince Cable was


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


happening internationally will buffet it, they are not in control


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


providing a restraining influence on the Conservatives in the


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


he is having much luck convincing the voters.


Thank you. Surgeons who successfully separated conjoined


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


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


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


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


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


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


an extraordinary journey to be physically separated. Born at


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


unless they underwent surgery. Their parents, both doctors from


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Street Hospital who carried out four complex operations spread over


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


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


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


right in the right order, separating the blood vessels,


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


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


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


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


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


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


America's huge budget deficit saying wealthier citizens must pay


higher taxes. At least 50 people have been killed


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


opponents of President Saleh and forces loyal to him.


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


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


looking pretty changeable. Weather fronts queuing up from the Atlantic


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


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


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


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


Tomorrow, the skies should brighten across Lincolnshire and the


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


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


be heavy at times, continuing through southern Wales. Northern


Wales will be dry and brighter through Tuesday afternoon. The


Northern Ireland and Scotland, quite a different looking afternoon.


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


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


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