16/11/2011 World News Today


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


resistance in Syria. Army defectors launch their biggest


attack so far in Damascus while the Arab League debates suspending


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


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


crisis is shaking the Arab World to its core.


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


his technocratic government. Courting controversy by countering


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


Australia. Also coming up in the programme:


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


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


of privacy. I think we are penalised everywhere we go, no


matter where it is, even outside now.


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


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


army defectors on a military intelligence complex in the suburbs


of Damascus shows the scale of opposition President Bashar Al-


Assad is now facing. Calling themselves the Free Syrian


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


Arab League foreign ministers meeting called for urgent action to


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


Leyne reports. Every day, more evidence emerges


from Syria of the government's brutal reaction to opposition


protests. These pictures are impossible to verify for certain


but appear to show members of the security forces beating up


opposition supporters on the outskirts of the capital. Who wants


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


their heads before you start beating them properly, third


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


government tanks attacking opposition strongholds, despite a


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


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


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


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


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


intelligence headquarters close to Damascus. Once again, the


government is encouraging its own supporters out onto the streets.


They have been rallying to support President Assad and to denounce


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


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


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


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


threatening to cut off electricity supplies.


TRANSLATION: We cannot approve a system that has been committing


crimes against humanity. We are currently supplying electricity to


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


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


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


decision to suspend Syria from the League and possibly impose new


sanctions. Syria has angrily decided to boycott the meeting.


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


Almost unthinkable and a graphic illustration of the way this crisis


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


both in diplomacy and growing violence on the ground.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Assad's rule? They were established about five


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


officially rather autonomously. They are army defectors who tried


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


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


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


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


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


Syrian National Council has applauded the actions of the Free


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


National Council broadly represents have been facing pretty heavy armed


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


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


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


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


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


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


the civilian government. Turkey has been accused of


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


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


the commander you were just listening to there has been living


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


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


offer asylum to anybody fleeing oppression and violence inside


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


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


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


it is clearly tolerating them and there are clearly close links


between Turkish intelligence and Turkish government officials and


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


lot. Thank you very much. Italy's new


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


executives and top flight academics with not a single politician among


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


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


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


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


Greece's new technocratic Prime Minister faced his first democratic


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


former central banker, secured a comfortable majority.


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


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


technocratic government. Do you think the Italian people of?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


failings of their political class and are ready for something a


little different. To Athens, Mark, Greece's


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


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


it Sirius was my it was largely a formality.


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


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


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


simple tasks that the new government will have. Ahead it


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


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


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


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


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


demonstration is planned to coincide with the anniversary of


the student uprising against a military dictatorship here 38 years


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


austerity measures that the government has said it will pursue


in order to secure the next vital instalment of its international


known. Mark, thank you.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


is contracting under the pressure of the Eurozone debt crisis.


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


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


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


middle of next year. Judges at The Hague have ordered


the former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic to undergo a full


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


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


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


genocide in the Bosnian war, charges he denies.


FIFA president Sepp Blatter has claimed any racist abuse in


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


his Twitter page. England's Football Association has announced


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


Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.


President Obama has upset the Chinese by expanding American


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


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


detract attention from his economic woes at home. President Obama


announced plans to station more American troops in China and there


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


This report from Sydney. Only four other American presidents


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


Julia Gillard, the president has the closest of political partners


to press home his wider mission, the engaging American foreign


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


to increase its military presence in Australia by stationing 2500


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


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


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


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


alliance is going to be indispensable to our shared future


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


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


out military exercises together but and the reinforce represent a much


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


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


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


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


escalate into anything more dangerous. President Obama said


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


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


The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, has outlined conditions for


allowing American military bases to remain in Afghanistan in the long


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


among its other conditions, American forces must agree to stop


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


taking place amid high security. The Taliban has threatened to


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


of tribal elders and political leaders. President Karzai came to


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


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


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


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


said the Americans could retain military bases in Afghanistan after


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


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


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


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


with insurgents. Security forces here on the highest


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


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


Police sources claimed to have foiled a number of potential


attacks, but they know there could be others.


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


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


dangerous business here. Joining me now live from Harvard


University is Michael Semple, a former European Union diplomat in


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


University is Michael Semple, a former European Union diplomat in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


parliament have been unhappy. Apparently security is so bad that


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


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


vulnerable the Karzai administration is. I think it shows


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


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


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


insurgents and the Karzai administration to see whether the


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


this proposal that Karzai put forward that the Americans should


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Washington is that if they are going to retain any minatory


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


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


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


British Medical Association argues that a ban should be enforced


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


harmful poisons. Opponents argue that cars are private spaces and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Smoking in cars carrying children has already been banned in South


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


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


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


restricted environment, air gets concentrated in there and if


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


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


in cigarette smoke. Drivers we spoke to in Cardiff were


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


rape -- raise awareness of of the risks.


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


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


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


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


exhibition of album covers and posters in London and Kathy


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


way. The Happy Mondays were the poster


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


Manchester sound into Nat -- international with several were


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Syrian opposition stepped up its armed operations with an overnight


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


Arab League meeting in Morocco has been fiercely critical of Syrian


violence against anti-government protesters.


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


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


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


Cornwall. The rain will move through overnight tonight so by


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


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


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


remains in Scotland tomorrow morning, cloudy and damp. Some


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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