17/11/2011 World News Today


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Mass protests hit the streets on two continents. Scuffles, tear gas


and arrests, as thousands frustrated over the global economy


voice their anger in America and Europe.


Right move or wrong step: Burma gets the green light to chair the


ASEAN summit in 2014. A special report from the West Bank


is critical of increasing violence between Jewish settlers and


Palestinians. Also coming up in the programme:


The stage play that's meant to shock - a Spanish play about


religion sparks controversy. Are there some topics which are too


It's been called the age of protest - in New York's Wall Street,


protesters are calling it their "Day of Action". Hundreds of people


are demonstrating in Manhattan and across other major US cities to


mark two months since the Occupy Wall Street movement began a


campaign against economic inequality. In New York, riot


police arrested people outside the New York Stock Exchange who were


protesting about their eviction two days ago from a central city park.


And the protests are being echoed across the Atlantic in Greece and


Italy. Thousands of students have been protesting in Athens and Rome


against austerity plans and rising unemployment.


Well, in a moment, we'll be speaking to the BBC's


correspondents in Athens and Rome, Mark Lowen and Alan Johnston. First,


let's go to New York and Caroline Hepker. In Manhattan, about 60


people have been arrested so far, where we saw hundreds of people


gathering to protest about economic insecurity and the greed of Wall


Street. There were small skirmishes. In the park, the protesters have


talked about rallying on to Brooklyn Bridge. They have also


talked about taking over the subways. New York's transport


authority will say they will do their utmost to protect the subway.


There has been sympathy for the protesters as well. Give us an idea


of the profile of these Occupy Wall Street protesters. They are a very


varied range of people. They are led by a small group of leaders,


and they are being backed by a significant donations, but they are


angry that the Mayor has managed to get rid of their tents and other


things they have been using to stage this two months old protest.


The protesters have also tried to prevent people from getting to the


New York Stock Exchange. I spoke to a trader who works on the floor of


that stock exchange. He said he had no trouble getting into work this


morning. He even said he had empathy for the anger at the


protesters have shown. He said they were simply directing their anger


at the wrong people. He said the traders on the floor of the New


York Stock Exchange, they are not the elite that the protesters angry


at. Let us cross to Athens now. This is an annual parade to mark a


student uprising in 1973. The protest began today in Athens


Polytechnic. It snaked its way through the square, and up to their


embassy. It ends there. As well as the commemoration aspect of the


march, it is a huge demonstration against anti austerity measures.


Fast crowds came out onto the streets today. -- fast. That said,


it was fairly peaceful. We were looking at pictures of those riot


police who were out in force clearly. Now to Rome. There is no


more marching here in Rome. These were young people who are


suspicious of Mario Monti's new administration. They are suspicious,


as well, of the austerity programme to come. The young people are


saying, why didn't you go after the people who caused the crisis in


Italy? I think are, generally, you get the feeling that it Italy is


ready to give Mario Monti a chance. Polls are suggesting that most


people have faith in him. William has written about this and joins us


from Durham, North Carolina. Is this anger going anywhere? You have


to take it country-by-country. If you look at Italy and Greece, they


are very specific demands there. In the United States, protesters are


being somewhat more generic. They are protesting against social


conditions. That is one of the inadequacies of the American people.


They have focused attention on the growing inequality of income of


wealth, which has become a problem that our economy, society and


politics. Do you think these protests will have a lasting impact


on the way that politicians do their business, or will it just be


situation as normal? In Italy and Greece, and other European


countries as well, as the crisis spreads, you will have an extended


process of trying to come to grips with the imperatives of austerity


verses genuine show socked -- genuine social hardships people are


experiencing. In the United States, even if the movement fades, it will


leave a residue. America it did have the effect of crystallising


sentiments that were shared about the growth of inequality of wealth


bus stop Americans can stand for much greater inequality than would


be acceptable in most European countries, but even here, enough is


enough. We let lead to new political methods? -- will it.


sceptical. There is a danger in the United States that protesters's


tactics will get in the way of their message, and politicians who


might be inclined to react to the message may be forced to distance


themselves from the tactics of the movement, if the movement starts to


shut down transit systems and bridges and things like that.


Now a look at some of the day's other news: Fears continue to grow


over Iran's nuclear programme. Six leading world powers have agreed a


draft resolution on Iran at a meeting of the United Nations


nuclear agency, the IAEA. The resolution expresses "deep and


increasing concern" about Iran's nuclear programme.


The emir of Kuwait has ordered the security forces to take all


necessary measures to maintain order. Several thousand protesters


briefly occupied Parliament on Wednesday. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad


Al-Sabah said no violation of state institutions would be tolerated.


Japan has banned shipments of rice from an area near the crippled


Fukushima nuclear plant, after it was found to have radiation levels


above safety limits. The sample came from a farm in Fukushima City,


around sixty kilometres from the nuclear plant. The Japanese


government says none of the rice had yet been sold.


Scientists may have established how a mountain range came to exist


under the Antarctic. The mountain's are thought to be 1 billion years


old. There have been further signs that


Burnett is gradually being welcomed back into the international fault.


Leaders gathered for the summit on the Indonesian island of Bali. They


have agreed that Burma cannot chair the group in 2014. Meanwhile, one


year Ron from third release of the pro-democracy leader, our


international development correspondent has been to Burma to


meet her. Burmese people support this man


with something close to reverence - - this woman. Conditions that


prevented her party from a standing in elections were lifted. It is


expected that people will decide to register again as a party. There is


no doubt which way the leader will vote. I am not entirely sure of the


reasons why people think it is not the right time to register. On the


whole, I think the majority of allow people going for re


registration is fine. What reforms are we going -- what reforms are


going on here? How do you see Burma changing? There you while! -- duo


are! -- you are. This is the first of Burmese generation that may not


have to grow up under a dictatorship. There is no doubt in


deep affection and that she is held here. She is on the eve of making


the most important political decision of her life. The issue is


the speed of which these reforms are being implemented, and it is


part of that that she will stand in these by-elections and wins. Issue


goes to parliament with the strength of that mandate, that will


help to transform politics and Burma. -- if she goes. It is not


about the past. It is about the future. What the leaders are doing


now, by confirming the resignation, we are trying to ensure that the


process of change continues. The momentum is maintained. The leader


they call here the lady looks like she is running for office already.


The cost has been great. The young -- the long years of seclusion has


been great, but she has not suffered. I have never seen it as


suffering. I find it embarrassing when people talk about my suffering.


People have died, and it seems to be that no one still alive has a


lot to complain. She told me the new President is a good listener.


What do you think of this move to let Burma chaired the 2014 summit?


You can't be stuck in the past, can you? It is important to look into


the future. But you also need to live with the past. This is an


important message. There is a necessity to see consistent human


rights. This is very important. They need to remember what happened


in the past. But surely you also have to look at progress, and not


just what has happened in the past? There have been a recent overtures


by the government in Burma to try and reach out to their former


Yes, I witnessed a lot of progress in Myanmar. This is important. We


need to encourage the current President. I think the President


has been consistent in the resurrection. Progress has to be


welcomed, recognised, but also continue reminding... Can you state


quite clearly, do you think the fact that Burma has been invited to


chair ASEAN 2014, is it the right step or the wrong move?


understand but let the not respond to that question because it is a


political question. I think that the new authorities are in the


right direction. But more time is needed. There is still a lot of


political prisoners in Myanmar prisons. I visited myself.


Prisoners who have suffered torture and mistreatment. There are many


human rights situations that you cannot at this moment forget. I


think that the government is going in the right direction, I recognise


that. This is my message to the United Nations, a report to the new


United Nations on that. But also to remind of the importance that a


transition to democracy, to have success they need to sort out human


There's been a big rise in Jewish settler violence against


Palestinians living in the West Bank. The United Nations says the


number of attacks by settlers against Palestinians resulting in


injury or property damage has gone up roughly threefold in the last


These are olive farmers from the Palestinian village, clashing with


Jewish settlers last month. The Israeli army intervened. The


Palestinians say they were forced to leave their trees. They say


settlors then set their fields on A few days later, Nidam Qaraweq


shows me the damage. He tells me these settlers attacked him with


sticks. As to his trees, he says they are wholly to him, sold you


can't put a value on them. The situation around the villages


especially tense, after two Palestinians there were convicted


of murdering a family of five settlers, including three children,


in March. But settler related violence is on the increase across


the West Bank. The UN that says the number of Palestinians being


injured in settler attacks has roughly tripled since 2009. Some


settlers have guns, which the Israeli government allows them to


legally own. But it is the Israeli army that often has to intervene.


We go to the Palestinian village which sits right next to a Jewish


settlement. It is a regular point of friction. These clashes between


Palestinians and Jewish settlers are happening on a weekly, if not


daily basis at the moment. The Israeli army had intervened,


they've been firing tear gas towards the Palestinians. They are


on the side of the Jewish settlement. But the officer in


charge here has tow the boat sides are as stupid as the other. And


Nitzan Alon, a man who has just left his post as Israeli army


commander in the West Bank, says he's worried about a rise in Jewish


extremism, even calling it terrorism. But settler leaders say


he's wrong. I think that Commander Alon is exaggerating and making


mistake, not being careful with his words. Or Palestinians, continued


settlement expansion, illegal under international law, is an obstacle


to peace. Is a viable Palestinian state requires tens of thousands of


settlers to leave. That would not happen easily. A spokesman for the


Israeli government joins us now from Jerusalem. Does the Israeli


government categorically condemn any kind of violence by Jewish


settlers against innocent and unarmed Palestinians? Most


definitely yes. We've been doing so for quite some time. President


Perez, Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Speaker of our Parliament - all


across the board the police leaders and military leaders, this


vigilante violence is unacceptable and we condemn it and act against


it. The United Nations says the level of inaction by the Israeli


police is shameful for a country that says it uphold the rule of law.


It says 90 % of complaints by Palestinians result in nothing


being done, nobody is indicted. shared that report with the Israeli


police a short time ago. They said it's not true, that every complaint


made his thoroughly investigated, but that a tactical and


intelligence level. I would remind you that some two months ago we


established a special police task force of some 60 officers who are


permanently bared, designed to stamp out this sort of vigilante


violence. It is unacceptable. We as a society and country do not want


to see this vigilante violence. Anything done outside the rule of


law will not be tolerated. You said you talked to the Israeli police,


then give us the correct figure because the UN says 90 % of


complaints result in nobody being indicted. What is the number of


people being indicted? I don't have that figure. I can tell you that


every complaint made his thoroughly investigated. But nobody is ever


indicted, that's the point. That is not correct. People have been


arrested, put in jail, people have been put in front of legal


proceedings. We have no tolerance policy. My Prime Minister, there


was a terrible incident in northern Israel where a mosque was attacked.


My Prime Minister stood up and said it was unacceptable. This is not


Jewish, this is not Israeli, we A satirical play about the life of


Jesus Christ is causing controversy following its premiere in France.


The play, called Golgota Picnic, has been denounced by Catholic


groups who staged street protests, while others have demonstrated in


favour of freedom of speech. The play's director welcomes the debate


between culture and blasphemy. We will be discussing this. This play


intends to shock. A modern depiction of Jesus Christ - the


stage littered with Big Macs and a very present day falling angel. The


French opening follows a run for six months in Madrid with no


trouble. But now Catholic groups in Toulouse petitioned to censor the


play but were denied. Shock tactics didn't always have a place on the


stage. The UK passed the Theatres Act in 1968 abolishing censorship.


A change brought on by the prominence of the Angry Young Men


playwrights. John Osborne was one of the early writers who fought for


a theatre that reflects society. But with the freedom have come the


protests. In 2006 Jerry Spinger: The Opera could hide behind the law,


in the face of protests who called the play blasphemous. The career of


director Peter Brook has spanned the changes and for him freedom on


stage is necessary. Look at every television programme, look at every


newspaper and you can't get away from the themes of clashing


interests, clash of civilizations, With religion at centre stage,


Golgota Picnic will continue to gain supporters and protesters,


waiting for its next resurrection I have been joined in the studio by


the playwright and former theatre critic. It is very difficult to


strike a balance between freedom of speech but also blasphemy. I don't


think it is. Isn't it? It's the age-old battle of fundamentalists


who feel that religion, or religious belief and doctrine, is


this very fragile thing which is subject to terrible, inexplicable


ABTA. And that it must be stopped, that religion must be revealed.


Christianity is a very strong plant. If there are some people who for


whatever reason want to smear or mark it, religion will survive.


Surely you shouldn't mock people's beliefs, you should respect them.


Not necessarily. I do think from what I've read of the play that it


sounds very infantile, silly. set out to shock. Exactly. It seems


to set out to shock in the crudest, most juvenile fashion. I haven't


seen it so I don't know. Nor have I, I may be quite wrong. But I think


the freedom to criticise religion and perhaps from the viewpoint of


fundamentalists, that is to market in an unacceptable way. I think


that is quite wrong. How typical of the general public do you think


theatregoers are and playwrights such as yourself are? I don't think


there is such a thing as a typical theatre-goer or a typical play


right. I completely understand the attitude of the fundamentalist.


Jerry Springer rehearsed the same arguments. They've been going on


for many years here and I'm sure abroad. I think probably they are a


little more fragile in their attitudes in Paris and France.


few seconds things have become more relaxed for your protests over the


years? A little. Which pleases you, no doubt. I'm so glad to hear that.


Thank you very much indeed. That is all from the programme. Next is the


weather. From the team here on It's been a mild day today,


especially if you had some sunshine. But rain returns to Northern


Ireland and western Scotland and other parts of the West overnight,


with still some outbreaks of rain tomorrow and still a brisk wind.


Low pressure from the Atlantic reading the weather fronts in our


direction, high to the east has now pulled away somewhat. It is


allowing the wetter weather to come in. There will be heavier bursts in


the rain to western Scotland during Friday, but central and eastern


areas are looking dry with further sunny spells. A fine afternoon


across much of northern England. It is mild again, 13 or 14 degrees.


Sunny spells across East Anglia and the south-east, the temperature a


degree or two higher than we've had today, but it will be on the breezy


side. We look to the south-west, and yet there is a chance,


especially during the first part of the day, for a bit of patchy, light


rain or drizzle. There is a brisk towards the south and west of Wales


as well. North-west England brightening up, Northern Ireland


blustery again but not quite as windy as today. The rain tomorrow


isn't going to be as heavy as it was today, just like and patchy.


Outbreaks of rain for Western and Central Scotland. Across the North-


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