14/11/2011 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me Zeinab Badawi. Focus on Syria -


Arab leaders toughen their stand against Bashar Al-Assad in the face


of continuing pro-democracy protests there. Jordan's King


Abdullah tells the BBC President Assad should change the political


system and hand over power. If I was in his position, if it was me,


I would step down and make sure whoever comes behind me has the


ability to change the Status Quo. The new leaders of Greece and Italy


start forming their new governments, as Germany warns Europe faces its


biggest challenge since the Second World War.


Shock in Germany, the authorities warn of a new far-right extremism,


as they investigate a Neo-Nazi group behind a string of racist


murders. Also in the programme. The rich


elite in China, create a new line in jobs. Women millionaires in


China seek protection. We report on the rise of the Chinese female


bodyguard. And rebirth of a bigone era on the


silver screen, the new silent films Hello and welcome. Syria's


isolation on the international stage is becoming more apparent by


the day. Over the weekend, Syria was suspended from the Arab League


and today, King Abdullah of Jordan became the first Arab leader to


openly call for the resignation of Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad.


In an exclusive interview with the BBC, King Abdullah called for wide-


ranging political change and then a handover of power. The authorities


in Damascus accused other Arab nations of shameful and malicious


interference. From Cairo, Jon Leyne reports. As the violence in Syria


continues, the world is losing patience. These images appear to


show more brutal attacks on opposition protesters in the city


of Homs. Yet more evidence that Syrian tanks have not been pulled


back from the streets, as the government promised to do.


So now there's growing pressure on President Assad himself. In an


interview with the BBC, King Abdullah of Jordan became the first


Arab leader to urge him to step down. If he has the interests of


his country he would step down. He would create an ability to start a


new phase of Syrian political life. Syria's response has been an


element theatrical show of defiance. People were encouraged onto the


street at the weekend to protest against the Arab League's decision


to suspend Syria. Angry mob as tacked the embassies of Qatar,


Saudi Arabia and Turkey, three countries that have taken a very


tough line against Syria. It's just leading Syria into more isolation


than ever before. At the European Union, Britain joined other


countries in voting for new sanctions against Damascus, mainly


targeted at key figures around President Assad. It's very good


that the Arab League are taking a leading role on this crisis. It's


very important in the European Union that we consider additional


measures to add to the pressure on the Assad regime. There's evidence


the sanctions are beginning to bite. Though these queues for gas may be


the result of the Syrian government trying to starve out opposition


supporters. This evening, Syrian opposition figures have been at the


Arab League in Kaio discussing how to coordinate the -- Cairo


discussing how to coordinate a fight against the government.


They're proposing a mission of 500 military and human rights observers


to monitor the situation inside seer ya. It will be seen as the


last test of the Syrian government's good faith. Everything


suggests the other Arab leaders are already looking beyond President


Assad's time in charge of Syria. For years the Arab League has been


seen as a bit of a cosy club of Arab autocrats and dictators. In


recent months it's taken two of the most decisive moves in its 66 years


of history. The Arab League was founded in 1945 by Egypt, Syria,


Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. With the suspension


of Syria, the league now numbers 21 members, stretching from Asia to


Africa, with a combined population of almost 350 million people. In


March the Arab League voted in support of a no-fly zone over Libya,


that led directly to a UN Resolution and the subsequent NATO


intervention there. Now the suspension of one of its founding


members suggests the Arab Spring may be pushing the Arab League away


from its more traditional and cautious approach. One of the


strongest voices to come out against the Syrian government is


Jordan. My colleague Lyse Doucet has been speaking to King Abdullah


of Jordan, and she joins us here to tell us more about what he told her.


Arab leaders not renowned for talking out against one another,


are they, what did King Abdullah tell you? Arab leaders are still


very worried about what's happening inside Syria and what will happen


in the region. You saw in that piece, the hint of what comes after


in the post Bashar Al-Assad era. The king knead clear today, A, they


don't know where to move next, how to make it happen. He said any


intervention inside Syria was like opening a Pandora's box. This is


what he had to say about what the regime itself thinks of it. Syria


is a case in isolation. You'll see more violence continue in Syria


unfortunately. If you were looking at it from the Syrian regime's


point of view, with all that's going on, as a regime, they're


still in a fairly comfortable position. They will continue to


play different groups off against each other. I think you continue to


see more of the same going into Syria. But he's opened a bit of a


Pandora's box though. Talk about Syria, about the democratic deficit


elsewhere in the Middle East, not to mention Jordan itself.


Indeed. He was anticipating that, when I asked about his talks about


President Assad. He spoke to him twice this year. He said well, "I


offered help to Syria, even though, he said the Jordan story is not


perfect. He likes to maintain he is part of the Arab Spring, in the


sense that he has responded to the protests on his street. The critics


say, and I asked him this, that he has been promising reform since he


came to power in 1999. He's had nine, ten governments, all of them


tasked with this and it hasn't happened. What is the problem? Is


he choosing the wrong people? Who is not committed to reform? As for


the way ahead, he said he, like everyone else, can't be certain.


Nobody can predict. Usually at the end of the year, we all like it


make predictions for the next year. If you list ton my predictions at


the end of last year, what 2011 would be like, I was way off the


mark. I don't anybody in the Middle East can predict what's going to


happen. I will say that I think what we see as an Arab Spring,


we're not even halfway through it yet. This is going to be tumultuous


changes for the Middle East for at least the next couple of years.


Anything can happen. It's often said in the region that the


monarchies, be it Jordan, Morocco, be it the gulf shake Doms, they


have a buffer. King Abdullah is in his third government this year. He


can respond by saying he's doing his best. He will have to do


something even about the monarchy. No-one on the streets of Jordan is


calling for the monarchy to go, but there is a concern he has to move


faster, if he is going to satisfy the demands on his street because


the whole region is watching what happens in Jordan and neighbouring


countries. We are all watching too. Thank you


very much. Now let's look at some of the day's


other main developments: The Norwegian who confessed to the bomb


attacks in July that killed 77 people has appeared in open court


for the first time. There had been concerned about whether he would


use the appearance as a platform to promote his extremist views. Today


he tried to give a speech justifying his actions describing


himself as a commander of the resistance movement, but he was cut


off by the judge. The Japanese economy is growing


since the first time since the tsunami in March. It's expected


from July to September with consumer spending also growing. One


reason was a boom in sales of energy efficient appliances and


people tried to save electricity amid the nuclear disaster.


An inquiry into how the whole of the UK media behaves has opened in


London, after a phone hacking scandal, that led to the closure of


one of the country's biggest selling newspapers, the News Of The


World. Lord Leveson said that while press freedom was fundamental to


democracy, his inquiry would focus on a simple question - who guards


the guardians? The aclaimed Nigerian writer


Chinhua Achebe has refused to accept one of the highest honours


for the second time. When he declined the honour in 2004 he


complained that his homeland was being turn nod a bankrupt and


lawless land. Turning down the award again, Mr Achebe said the


same problems weren't still being addressed. The soy yeses Soyuz


rocket has successfully taken off, heading towards the International


Space Station. The mission follows a string of failures but is seen as


crucial in rebuilding Russia's space programme. A similar cargo


rocket crashed after lift-off in August.


Now Germany is once again ringing alarm bells over the future of


Europe. The German Chancellor says Europe is facing its biggest


challenge since the Second World War. She's at the centre of


attempts to hold the eurozone together in the wake of the euro


crisis. Our Europe correspondent, Matthew Price, reports from


Brussels. They've changed the guard in Italy and Greece, out with


Silvio Berlusconi and George Papandreou, in with the grey men.


In Rome today, Mario Monti, the new Prime Minister, was being hailed as


the man to save Italy and by extension the euro. He's an


economist, a respected university President, he knows how Europe


works. He was a commissioner for a decade. And he's a staunch defender


of the euro. Today one of his former students gave this


assessment: Given the present emergency he is playing an


important role and can be the right man at the right time, at least for


a little while. Financial markets also seemed relieved. But for how


long? Here in Brussels, Mario Monti's appointment has been


broadly welcomed. He's seen as a can-do man. During his time at the


commission here, he was known as Super Mario. Yet, in becoming Prime


Minister, the fundamentals in Italy haven't changed. They still have


record levels of debt and interest rate payments on the money that


they borrow. In Greece too, there's a new leader on the block. Lucas


Papademos is also referred to as a technocrat, an economic expert felt


to be uninfluenced by public pressure. Yet in the Greek


Parliament today, it was clear that may not be possible. The opposition


hinted at political problems to come. It could derail Greece's next


slice of bail out funding. The important point is the euro is


still in crisis. Listen to Germany's Angela Merkel today:


TRANSLATION: Europe is in the middle of what may be its toughest


hour since world war two. We mustn't be discouraged by that. We


must tuck seed -- succeed in getting Europe out of this crisis.


She knows the problem now is trust or lack of it. Germany is the only


euro country investors see as truly safe. Italy and Greece may have


changed the guard, but they and others remain under huge pressure.


The German authorities try to be vigilant about the activities of


far-right sympathisers, they impose heavy penalties on them. In the


last week, rather last week police in Germany uncovered a new right-


wing extremist cell responsible for ten racist murders, including eight


Turkish immigrants. The group, the National Socialist Underground, had


been operating undetected for years. Detectives said their


investigations have led to re-open the cases of other unsolved racist


An apartment building in a small town in south-east journey, blown


up and burnt out earlier this month. This is where the police found


evidence of a violent crime spree which has shocked the nation.


Officials believe members of a neo- Nazi group called the National


Socialist underground, were responsible for at least 10 murders


over more than a decade. A video which showed gruesome images of


several of the victims was found at the scene. It is a chilling story


that has dominated the front pages on when the German Chancellor spoke


at the annual conference today, there was only one topic to start


Terrorism coming from the far right is a shame for for our country. We


will do everything to investigate these incidents and make sure


justice is done -- shameful for our country. The killings have become


known as the kid that the murders. Nine of the victims were ethnic


minority business owners, who ran Turkish kebab stalls. The 10th


victim was eight Police woman. A neo-Nazi gang is suspected of


carrying out bank robberies and this bombing in an immigrant


neighbourhood in the City of Our job now is to find out whether


there is a wider network, a larger operation behind the suspects and


on what scale the group has been organised. Two of the suspects,


seen here during a bank robbery, are already dead. They committed


suicide in a mobile home earlier this month. But what secrets have


they taken with them? Any resurgence of violence on the


extreme right is obviously a sensitive issue here in Germany.


Other political questions are already being asked, notably about


the role of the domestic intelligence service. If they did


not know anything about these people, why not? But if they did,


why didn't they take any action? The German media are now reporting


that the suspects may have evaded capture for more than a decade


because they may have been working as informants. Troubling questions


Matthew Goodwin is an expert on the far right, and he joins me via


webcam from Manchester. Broadly speaking, can you say that far-


right activities are on the increase across Europe? These


recent events take place against a backdrop of Norway and the far


right has been very much in the headlines since then, but one of


the things that is really important to avoid is an alarmist reaction to


these types of events and say that this is evidence that far-right


terrorism or violence is on the increase. The problem we have is


that unlike Al-Qaeda or or inspired terrorism it is hard to track acts


of right-wing violence or right- wing terrorism across time and


across Europe. So even though our instincts tell us this is on the


increase, the data and information is lacking. Given we have been


talking about Germany, where the authorities are traditionally more


vigilant because of their history, one to make of activities there


with the uncovering of this extremist sell? Any event of this


nature in Germany will be viewed with a greater sense of


significance given their national history. But Germany has always had


quite a militant and active right- wing extremist scene. It has been


smaller than in other countries and more closely monitored that it has


always been there, much in the same way that most European states have


a fringe extreme-right movement that to varying degrees is prone


towards violence, or the ballot-box strategy, or conflict within


minority communities. It is not the case that Germany is on the cusp of


a major wave of terrorism but the risk is always there. You mention


Al co-leader, so do you think that there is an argument that the


authorities across Europe -- Al- Qaeda, -- and they have exploited


the vacuum somehow? While we have done over the last 10 years is


focus heavily on our Cader focused -- Al-Qaeda inspired terrorism and


have focused resources on countering radicalisation. Some


might legitimately question this in the after Mark's -- aftermath of


Norway and in Germany whether we prioritised one form of extremism


at the expense of others. That is not just the far right, there is


republican dissidents and, animal rights extremism, left-wing


extremism. We need to think about this challenge more holistically.


Matthew Goodwin, thank you very much.


The rise of China's wealthy elite has been well reported in recent


years. What may be less well known is the fact that women make up a


third of the country's millionaires. However, in China, as elsewhere in


the world, there's growing resentment over the widening gap


between rich and poor. So many of these women millionaires are now


seeking personal protection, and that's led to a growing demand for


female bodyguards, as Martin Patience reports from the southern


Out of uniform, they would not stand out in any crowd. But these


women are a changing face of China. Mixing brains withdrawn, they are


graduates training to be bodyguards. One successful entrepreneur founded


the training camp. She came up with the idea after being mugged twice


Having a female bodyguard is a bit like having a sister watching out


for you. We can share a room, and she can work as my secretary. If it


was a man, people might get the wrong impression. This woman earns


up to $100 a day. Like her colleague, she is highly trained to,


but she not only wants to protect her clients, she wants to learn


I see how independent women can be. They are often better at their jobs


than men. My family are very proud of me. China's growing economy is


generating enormous wealth. The number of billionaires in the


country has doubled in the last two years. But not everyone has shared


in China's boom. The gap between rich and poor is widening, which is


creating envy and resentment in society. Many of those with money


are seeking protection. As China has developed, it cities have been


transformed. Business has become more cut-throat however. We were


out with the client for the day, and she is escorting a wealthy


entrepreneur too late business meeting. The client is the head of


an investment company. She says she feels safer with personal


Some of my friends have been involved in disputes and the number


of them have been kidnapped. It can At an upmarket jewellery store, the


client likes to have a bodyguard at hand. China may be a country


growing richer, but anger is building amongst those missing out.


That is putting the wealthy elite The last time a silent movie got an


Oscar, it was the first Oscar ever, and that was all the way back in


1927. Well, now two new films are quietly making a bit of a splash.


The French film, The Artist, is rapidly becoming a favourite for


the award season. And a second silent film set around a young


Louis Armstrong made a debut at the London Jazz Festival. The screening


includes a live score written by Wynton Marsalis. In a moment we


will be asking if the silent film is making comeback, first let's


I'd like to carry on watching that, but I can't. I am joined by the


film critic from the Observer, Jason Solomons. A I found it


absolutely charming. It is not exactly silent, we have to say,


because there is lovely music in it. In the old days, silent films were


not silent either. There was a pianist at the front either making


it up as he went along because there were no scores provided, so


there was always sound and that is where the new silent movies have


come through. Music is actually crucial to them. Sound design is


crucial, so they are silent in a way but very clever and modern,


which is why her have no problem watching them. It's not old


fashioned. It is not like we are missing out on modern technology.


It is very evocative, and I should say before people start getting in


touch with us, we are calling Liliana strong by the American


pronunciation. -- calling him at Luis Armstrong in the American


pronunciation. The thing the film is a bit of a flash in the panel


will be part of a wider phenomenon? I think it must be a wider trend.


It is not as if producers got together and said they needed


silent films. There are independent film-makers who are frustrated by


the mainstream. Independent audiences are frustrated with the


mainstream. The multiplexes are not giving we what she wanted you are


not a 17-year-old boy. A throwback to the old way of going to the


cinema is finding people engaging with the story and with acting,


almost in its purest form. There are no special effects or they are


very tiny. You're getting story telling in its essence and bacon


salad around the world. It is a business proposition they will be a


hit -- and if they are selling they Let's see another one of the silent


films, But The artist. I think it is very likely to win a Best Film


Fabulous, isn't it? Did you like it? The it took the world by storm


at the Cannes Film Festival. Everyone who has seen it has been


bowled over. It is about the magic of movies. My French film-maker


friend, no one has heard of the start there or his co-star, but by


the end of February when the Oscars are out I think they will be


household names. This film is an unstoppable hit. I am not a huge


fan of the whole charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton era. This is not


slapstick. This is elegant. Yeah, it is set in 20s Hollywood and is


about Hollywood and the talking pictures coming in and ruining the


silent era. But they are about to get their revenge. We all like love


stories, don't we? Jason, thank you very much. That is all from the


programme. Next the weather. We have a rather Kraupp -- cloudy


forecast for the next few days. Misty and murky tonight and it will


lead to a great start tomorrow morning. Not especially cold for


most places and we are expecting a frost-free night. The weather


continues to be dominated by an area of high pressure across


Scandinavia and with the south- easterly winds they will drag in


the cloud. The mist will lift as we go through the morning and there


will be breaks towards the West with maybe a few more in the


southern counties of England. Beware we have the overcast skies,


temperatures will struggle. Eight or nine degrees across the North of


England and East Anglia. And given the brightness through the south-


west we might get highs of around 12 to 13 degrees. We have brighter


spells across the west of Wales and through Cardigan Bay. A little


cloudy further inland. For the Isle of Man declared war break doesn't


get of the afternoon but still breezy conditions and temperatures


sitting at 10 degrees. North West Scotland, a favoured spot, but like


Monday, around the Moray Firth, mist and fog is stubborn to clear


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