16/11/2011 World News Today


16/11/2011

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This is BBC World News Today with me, Kirsty Lang. Organised armed

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resistance in Syria. Army defectors launch their biggest

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attack so far in Damascus while the Arab League debates suspending

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Syria's membership. The empty chair of Syria in the

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Arab League. Almost unthinkable. A graphic illustration of how this

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crisis is shaking the Arab World to its core.

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Keeping politics out of politics. Italy's new prime minister unveils

:00:37.:00:40.

his technocratic government. Courting controversy by countering

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China. President Obama announces more US troops are to be based in

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Australia. Also coming up in the programme:

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Should smoking in cars be stubbed out? Doctors in Britain say smoking

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in your own car should be banned. Critics say it would be an invasion

:00:56.:01:06.
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of privacy. I think we are penalised everywhere we go, no

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matter where it is, even outside now.

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It's all about the image. We look at the importance of design in the

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hugely influential Manchester music Hello and welcome. A raid by Syrian

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army defectors on a military intelligence complex in the suburbs

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of Damascus shows the scale of opposition President Bashar Al-

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Assad is now facing. Calling themselves the Free Syrian

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Army the group say their troop numbers are growing. It comes as an

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Arab League foreign ministers meeting called for urgent action to

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protect civilians from the regime's brutal crackdown on protesters. Jon

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Leyne reports. Every day, more evidence emerges

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from Syria of the government's brutal reaction to opposition

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protests. These pictures are impossible to verify for certain

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but appear to show members of the security forces beating up

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opposition supporters on the outskirts of the capital. Who wants

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freedom anyway? Says one of the security men. Make sure you shave

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their heads before you start beating them properly, third

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another. -- says another. And these pictures appear to show it Syrian

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government tanks attacking opposition strongholds, despite a

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pledge by Syria to withdraw its armour from the streets. But the

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conflict is also edging closer to a full civil war. These are some of

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the increasing number of army detect -- defectors, taking on the

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security forces. They say they were involved in the first major attack

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on a military base last night, with a co-ordinated assault on

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intelligence headquarters close to Damascus. Once again, the

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government is encouraging its own supporters out onto the streets.

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They have been rallying to support President Assad and to denounce

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international pressure on Syria. Syrian TV have been a run pictures

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which appear to be of the release of 1,000 political prisoners, one

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of the few signs of the government bowing to foreign pressure, but

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Turkey is among countries to have run out of patience. It is

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threatening to cut off electricity supplies.

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TRANSLATION: We cannot approve a system that has been committing

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crimes against humanity. We are currently supplying electricity to

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Syria. If this trend continues, we may have to revise that decision.

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And in the Moroccan capital, Arab ministers have been gathering to

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consider new action against Syria. They are expected to confirm the

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decision to suspend Syria from the League and possibly impose new

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sanctions. Syria has angrily decided to boycott the meeting.

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Here it is. The empty chair of the Syrian Republic in the Arab League.

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Almost unthinkable and a graphic illustration of the way this crisis

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is shaking the Arab world. The crisis is moving rapidly forward,

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both in diplomacy and growing violence on the ground.

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The commander of the Free Syrian Amy has told the BBC that they did

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carry out the brazen attack on the intelligence complex in Damascus.

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Colonel Riad al-Asaad has led the defectors since July, when he

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abandoned his post in protest. TRANSLATION: The operation did in

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fact take place and it was precise and it was targeting the

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intelligence services centre in Damascus. The centre was used as a

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killing centre for killing innocent Syrians in Damascus. For the past

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10 days, we have seen an increasing number of defections. Because of

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what we are doing on the ground, this encourages people to join our

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battle and the number of our members is increasing on a daily

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basis. The regime has got to go. We are on the side of the Syrian

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people, who have full legitimacy. Let's find out more about the Free

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Syrian Army. The BBC's Jonathan Head joins us live from Istanbul.

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How does this Free Syrian Army fit into the broader opposition to

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Assad's rule? They were established about five

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months ago, the beginning of them were, and they have operated

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officially rather autonomously. They are army defectors who tried

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to reform themselves as a coherent military group that can then go

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back and take the fight to President Al-Assad's forces, so

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they then go under the umbrella of the Syrian National Council, the

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main umbrella group, which says it is committed to a non- violent

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uprising, but clearly they are aiming for the same goal and the

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Syrian National Council has applauded the actions of the Free

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Syrian Army. Bear in mind, the unarmed protesters that the

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National Council broadly represents have been facing pretty heavy armed

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onslaught from government forces for many months now so I think they

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feel they are entitled to fight back but this Free Syrian Army is

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operating autonomously and has set out what it says it will do in

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their transition, the role it will play in setting up new security

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forces and crucially, committing itself when there is a change of

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government, a democratic government, to handing back all authority to

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the civilian government. Turkey has been accused of

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providing safe haven to this group by the Damascus regime. Is there

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any proof of that? There is plenty of proof in that

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the commander you were just listening to there has been living

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in Turkey for several months now. The official position of the

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Turkish government is that they do not shelter the group but they

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offer asylum to anybody fleeing oppression and violence inside

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Syria. They have 8,000 refugees who have been living on the border,

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among them and number of defectors. Turkey distances itself from any

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official organisation. It says it wants and non-violent solution but

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it is clearly tolerating them and there are clearly close links

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between Turkish intelligence and Turkish government officials and

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those Free Syrian Army officers. They are talking to each other a

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lot. Thank you very much. Italy's new

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government has been announced and it's all bankers, company

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executives and top flight academics with not a single politician among

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them. The new Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, has been

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sworn in and said the absence of party politicians would help,

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rather than hinder, the government's duties. As well as

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being prime minister, he will also be finance minister. Meanwhile,

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Greece's new technocratic Prime Minister faced his first democratic

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test today - a vote of confidence in the Parliament. Mr Papademos, a

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former central banker, secured a comfortable majority.

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In a moment we will be going to Athens but first, Alan Johnson

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joins me from Rome. The markets are very happy with this new

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technocratic government. Do you think the Italian people of?

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Right up to the last moment, there was speculation that there might be

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senior figures in this Cabinet line-up but when the list was read

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out it was only technocrats. You get the sense that the extreme

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financial pressure born against Italy from the markets has led to a

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certain sidelining of democracy in one of Europe's biggest democracies.

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Having said that, you get the fence that people on the street in Rome

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are ready to give Mario Monti a chance. They are weary of the

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failings of their political class and are ready for something a

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little different. To Athens, Mark, Greece's

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technocratic prime minister faced his first Test today, the vote of

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confidence in parliament. Was that a rubber-stamping exercise or was

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it Sirius was my it was largely a formality.

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They were always expected to get an easy majority because the National

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Union coalition government controls 254 out of the 300 MPs behind me,

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so it was a comfortable but expected win. Probably the only

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simple tasks that the new government will have. Ahead it

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faces an extremely difficult task. The urgent priority to ratify the

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latest bail-out package but in return for that, it will need more

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austerity measures, are more cost cutting, and austerity is a very

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dirty word in Greece. It will bring tens of thousands out onto the

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streets in the next few months, starting tomorrow, when a large

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demonstration is planned to coincide with the anniversary of

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the student uprising against a military dictatorship here 38 years

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ago. We expect a very large protest on the street angry at the

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austerity measures that the government has said it will pursue

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in order to secure the next vital instalment of its international

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known. Mark, thank you.

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Now, a look at some of the day's other news. Portugal's prime

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minister is hoping to sell off state assets to a former colony.

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Pedro Passos Coelho is travelling to Angola to gauge the country's

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interest in buying shares in some of Portugal's state companies. In

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an extraordinary piece of role reversal, Angola's economy, which

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suffered over decades of civil war, is predicted to grow by 12% next

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year, while the economy of its former colonial master, Portugal,

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is contracting under the pressure of the Eurozone debt crisis.

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Here in the UK, the number of people out of work has hit a 15-

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year high of 2.6 million. -- one in 516-24-year-old Britons are out of

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work. The Bank of England warns the economy could stagnate until the

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middle of next year. Judges at The Hague have ordered

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the former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic to undergo a full

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medical examination, to see if he's fit enough to stand trial for war

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crimes. General Mladic, who's 69, failed to attend a hearing last

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week, saying he was too ill. He's accused of commanding acts of

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genocide in the Bosnian war, charges he denies.

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter has claimed any racist abuse in

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football should be settled by a handshake. He made the comments on

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his Twitter page. England's Football Association has announced

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it's to charge Liverpool's Luis Suarez with racially abusing

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Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

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President Obama has upset the Chinese by expanding American

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military ties with Australia. China's state news agency has

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accused the US president of using his diplomatic ambitions in Asia to

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detract attention from his economic woes at home. President Obama

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announced plans to station more American troops in China and there

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is growing concern in the region about the rise of Chinese power.

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This report from Sydney. Only four other American presidents

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have made this journey. One of the United States's oldest allies. In

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Julia Gillard, the president has the closest of political partners

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to press home his wider mission, the engaging American foreign

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policy in the Asian Pacific region. The two leaders announced the US is

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to increase its military presence in Australia by stationing 2500

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marines and extra aircraft around Darwin. China was not mentioned by

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name but the President's security message was clear enough.

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United States is stepping up its commitment to the entire Asia-

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Pacific. We are deeply grateful for our alignments of Australia. Our

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alliance is going to be indispensable to our shared future

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and the security we need and the prosperity we seek, not only in

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this region but around the world. America and Australia already carry

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out military exercises together but and the reinforce represent a much

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more muscular presence in the region. It is the signalled to

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allies that they have a reliable friend and to China that it cannot

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act alone. America has already had its disagreements with China over

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trade and currency. What it does not want to happen is for that to

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escalate into anything more dangerous. President Obama said

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today there is nothing to fear it with China but by linking commerce

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and security, the US is saying with prosperity comes vigilance.

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The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, has outlined conditions for

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allowing American military bases to remain in Afghanistan in the long

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term. He told a gathering of 2000 Afghan elders and leaders that

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among its other conditions, American forces must agree to stop

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carrying out nitrates, which a very controversial in Afghanistan. It is

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taking place amid high security. The Taliban has threatened to

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Arriving at the Loya Jirga. It is an Afghan tradition, the gathering

:15:20.:15:27.

of tribal elders and political leaders. President Karzai came to

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get their backing for a contentious proposal, a security pact with the

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Americans. He spelled out his terms. TRANSLATION: Note-taking prisoners.

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Who are they to imprison the Afghan people? We have no right to have

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jails here, this is our soil. -- they have no right. The return he

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said the Americans could retain military bases in Afghanistan after

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combat forces lead in 2014. But the White House may not like the deal

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he is offering. As the Loya Jirga got under way, a major security

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operation around the capital. The Taleban have about to attack the

:16:16.:16:21.

delegates who, in a bitter irony, will be discussing reconciliation

:16:21.:16:25.

with insurgents. Security forces here on the highest

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level of alert. Checkpoints like this one have been reinforced and

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around the city they are more patrols and more road blocks.

:16:33.:16:37.

Police sources claimed to have foiled a number of potential

:16:37.:16:42.

attacks, but they know there could be others.

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Many shops were closed today. Many streets, all but deserted. People

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were staying home, fearing the worst. Loya Jirga can be a

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dangerous business here. Joining me now live from Harvard

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University is Michael Semple, a former European Union diplomat in

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Kabul and author of 'Talking to the Taliban'. Live from Harvard

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University is Michael Semple, a former European Union diplomat in

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Kabul and author of 'Talking to the Taliban'. Isn't it a bit late for

:17:08.:17:11.

Karzai to start distancing himself from the Americans is that going to

:17:11.:17:19.

wash with ordinary Afghans? I think he has deliberately selected people

:17:19.:17:25.

who will find it palatable. It is not legally binding in any way, is

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it? It is not like a parliament? it is a bit like calling a

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political rally way you want to get lots of people at to line them up

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in front of you way you state your position and you can claim their

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support. In subsequent rounds of negotiation, he can say, I have the

:17:44.:17:48.

people behind me and you must listen to me. You are saying that

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almost everyone in that tent will have been selected in some way by

:17:52.:17:56.

the Karzai administration? Absolutely. That is the way it is

:17:56.:18:02.

done. There is no election to form this gathering. Based at --

:18:02.:18:06.

messages were sent out to the amp - - administration's appointed by the

:18:06.:18:10.

President and they were told to gather a certain number of the book.

:18:10.:18:17.

In your view, this is a sham, is it? The theatre is a far better

:18:17.:18:22.

word than sham, and sometimes theatre does count. A lot of people

:18:22.:18:27.

will be examining the Loya Jirga up to check are the important people

:18:28.:18:34.

there or not. It is one of the ways that Afghan politics is done, but

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you should remember that there is also a parliament that is elected

:18:39.:18:42.

to try to take decisions on such things. A lot of members of

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parliament have been unhappy. Apparently security is so bad that

:18:47.:18:54.

we have been told that our own BBC team dare not even going the 10th.

:18:54.:18:58.

-- in the tent where the gathering is happening, which shows how

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vulnerable the Karzai administration is. I think it shows

:19:05.:19:11.

how the focus has been turned away from the ostensible subject matter,

:19:11.:19:15.

which is what should be the right terms between the duty Afghanistan

:19:15.:19:21.

and the US. It has been shifted to a tussle between some of the

:19:21.:19:24.

insurgents and the Karzai administration to see whether the

:19:24.:19:28.

latter can pull it off without disaster. What do you think about

:19:29.:19:32.

this proposal that Karzai put forward that the Americans should

:19:32.:19:39.

stop night raids? How will this go down in Washington? On the one hand,

:19:39.:19:43.

these are well rehearsed positions. It is absolutely true that some of

:19:43.:19:50.

the aggressive moves of NATO forces are quite unpopular. Karzai it

:19:50.:19:54.

likes to speak to the crowd on this one. But there is also an issue of

:19:54.:20:00.

who is doing him a favour. The way that the speech has been picked his

:20:00.:20:03.

as if the Americans are desperate to keep bases there for some

:20:03.:20:08.

interest they have. Whereas the positions that I have heard from

:20:08.:20:12.

Washington is that if they are going to retain any minatory

:20:12.:20:19.

presence there is to maintain the stability of Afghanistan. Thank you

:20:19.:20:26.

very much. Doctors here in the UK say no-one

:20:26.:20:30.

should be allowed to smoke in a car, even when driving on their own. The

:20:30.:20:32.

British Medical Association argues that a ban should be enforced

:20:32.:20:35.

because people in smoky cars are exposed to very high levels of

:20:35.:20:38.

harmful poisons. Opponents argue that cars are private spaces and

:20:38.:20:44.

that a ban would go too far. Jane Hughes reports.

:20:44.:20:48.

This is a test to measure the level of toxins released when someone

:20:48.:20:53.

smokes in a car. Tobacco smoke contains 69 potential cancer-

:20:53.:20:57.

causing chemicals. Even after a short drive and a single cigarette,

:20:57.:21:01.

the monitor shows those chemicals are well above safe levels in this

:21:01.:21:05.

car. Second-hand smoke in a confined space can do terrible

:21:05.:21:10.

harm: It can cause lung cancer, asthma, respiratory infection, and

:21:10.:21:14.

increase the risk of sudden infant death. Opening the window only goes

:21:14.:21:19.

some way to a lowering the harm, and there is evidence that suggests

:21:19.:21:23.

the toxins stay around long after the cigarette has been put out.

:21:24.:21:27.

Smoking in cars carrying children has already been banned in South

:21:27.:21:31.

Africa, most Australia and parts of the US and Canada. Wales and

:21:31.:21:35.

Northern Ireland are considering the same thing, but the BMA wants

:21:35.:21:41.

more: A blanket ban, even when there are no passengers. Cars are a

:21:41.:21:44.

restricted environment, air gets concentrated in there and if

:21:44.:21:48.

someone is smoking, the people in that car, both at the time and

:21:48.:21:53.

later, will get very high doses of the cancer-causing agents that are

:21:53.:21:57.

in cigarette smoke. Drivers we spoke to in Cardiff were

:21:57.:22:02.

divided about the idea. I think the government penalises us everywhere

:22:02.:22:07.

we go, no matter where it is, even outside now. It is a very good to

:22:07.:22:11.

it stops Bassett -- passive smoking in an area where you get a lot of

:22:11.:22:15.

people. If you are alone, fine, but when you have children, that is a

:22:15.:22:20.

different matter. Some say cars are private spaces and this would be a

:22:20.:22:25.

step too far. If we introduce a ban, all cars, irrespective of who is in

:22:25.:22:30.

that car, it is a very small step to banning smoking in the home as

:22:30.:22:36.

well. It is a very dangerous step to take. Ministers in England and

:22:36.:22:39.

Scotland say there are no plans for a ban, but they are working to a

:22:39.:22:47.

rape -- raise awareness of of the risks.

:22:47.:22:51.

The '80s and '90s was an era that changed the face of British music.

:22:51.:22:53.

The so-called Manchester scene gave birth to bands like the Happy

:22:54.:22:57.

Mondays, Joy Division and The Stone Roses. But it wasn't just about the

:22:57.:23:00.

sound, it was about the image too. That's being celebrated at a

:23:00.:23:02.

exhibition of album covers and posters in London and Kathy

:23:02.:23:12.
:23:12.:23:15.

Joy Divis and it was the ban that started it all off. -- Joy Division.

:23:15.:23:20.

The band that took 70s punk and turned it into a deeper, more

:23:20.:23:30.
:23:30.:23:39.

This is the cover of their debut album, Unknown pleasures. It is a

:23:39.:23:49.
:23:49.:23:50.

dark, stark and seething with energy. Bans were making owned --

:23:50.:23:54.

their own music on their own terms. They genuinely did not care whether

:23:54.:24:00.

people like to them or not. They had a strong vision. It was their

:24:00.:24:10.
:24:10.:24:11.

With the suicide of the lead singer, Joy Division reformed into a new

:24:11.:24:17.

order. Both bans, as well as many others, were assigned to Factory

:24:17.:24:22.

Records, one of the most influential labels of the era.

:24:22.:24:27.

Factory Records was the Manchester sound under one roof. It was

:24:27.:24:30.

factory Records who also created the image. The label had its own

:24:30.:24:40.
:24:40.:24:42.

design team and came up with For fans of the Manchester scene,

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the place to experience it in all its glory was the Hacienda club. A-

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night out there was claimed to be a life-changing experience, not least

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because with their music came the drugs and this was all about

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Ecstasy. And nothing said more about the spirit of the Hacienda

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than this iconic poster. It was very intense. Lots of people up on

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podiums, lots of people dancing, dry ice everywhere, lighting, and

:25:16.:25:22.

this incredible music, this techno music that was happening. So, in

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some ways, this is a way of trying to express that feeling in a visual

:25:27.:25:35.

way. The Happy Mondays were the poster

:25:35.:25:39.

boys of the scene in the late 80s and they were the ones who made the

:25:39.:25:42.

Manchester sound into Nat -- international with several were

:25:42.:25:47.

tours. By then, it was all about house music and rave culture and a

:25:47.:25:57.
:25:57.:25:58.

The influence of the first Summer of Love was most obvious in the

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music of the Stone Roses who mixed 60s garage pop with the 80s garage

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beat. Their self-titled album has been described as one of the

:26:09.:26:13.

greatest of all time in the UK. The band recently announced that they

:26:13.:26:18.

are reunited with a world tour planned for 2012. The first stop,

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Manchester of course. A reminder of our main news. The

:26:27.:26:29.

Syrian opposition stepped up its armed operations with an overnight

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attack on military and intelligence bases near Damascus. Meanwhile, an

:26:32.:26:35.

Arab League meeting in Morocco has been fiercely critical of Syrian

:26:35.:26:40.

violence against anti-government protesters.

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The Italian prime minister, Mario Well, that's all from the programme.

:26:49.:26:53.

Next the weather. But for now from me and the rest of the team,

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Seeing a bit of cloud tonight. It has been fairly wet today in

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Cornwall. The rain will move through overnight tonight so by

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tomorrow, although it starts cloudy, it will become bright up to the day.

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Here is that weather front, the heaviest of the main living through

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Northern Ireland and up to Scotland by the end of the night. With the

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remains in Scotland tomorrow morning, cloudy and damp. Some

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cloud in the south-east corner, but things should brighten up nicely

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through northern England. Sunshine by 3pm. Temperatures around 11

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degrees. The cloud will linger through East Anglia, parts of Kent,

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with some spots of light rain. Some sunshine along the south coast. The

:27:42.:27:45.

cloud later in the afternoon will thicken again through Devon, but

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for much of daylight hours, it will be tried with highs of 13 or 14

:27:49.:27:55.

degrees feels --. Wales should remained dry. The brain will return

:27:55.:28:00.

for Northern Ireland and it could be heavy. It will be accompanied by

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strong winds as well. A bit of rain moving into the south-west corner

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