25/11/2011 World News Today


25/11/2011

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This is BBC World News Today with me Zeinab Badawi. The Arab League's

:00:14.:00:19.

ultimatum for Syria to accept an observer mission expires and still

:00:19.:00:25.

no response from Damascus. This as evidence grows of more soldiers

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defecting to the opposition. The BBC goes inside Homs with the free

:00:31.:00:38.

Syrian army. After months of protest has been shot down in the

:00:38.:00:42.

streets that myth of armed insurgency has become reality.

:00:42.:00:48.

100,000 stuck out in Cairo's Tahrir Square not satisfied by the

:00:48.:00:52.

concessions by the military. They want the Army out of politics now.

:00:52.:00:55.

Thousands of candidates in elections in the Democratic

:00:55.:00:59.

Republic of Congo, what hope for a peaceful outcome in one of the

:00:59.:01:05.

world's most war-torn countries. Also coming up: An incredible story

:01:05.:01:10.

of injury and recovery. How this Dutch Paralympic champion paralysed

:01:10.:01:15.

for years is now training to make her mark in the future at the

:01:15.:01:20.

Olympics. And the search for life in space.

:01:20.:01:25.

NASA is launching its biggest ever mission to Mars in a Rover called

:01:25.:01:35.
:01:35.:01:37.

Curiosity. Hello and welcome. The silence from

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the Government in Syria has been deafening. It has failed to respond

:01:41.:01:46.

to an Arab League ultimatum to allow an observer mission into the

:01:46.:01:50.

country or face sanctions. Now the Arab League says it will meet on

:01:50.:01:56.

Saturday to decide what Next Steps it should take. Inside Syria itself

:01:56.:02:00.

activists say more people have been killed by security forces as the

:02:00.:02:06.

protests have continued. The BBC's security correspondent Frank

:02:06.:02:10.

Gardner has this analysis. I undeterred by tanks, torture and

:02:10.:02:15.

over 3000 deaths Syrian protesters are still taking to the streets,

:02:15.:02:21.

risking their lives to call for an end to the rule of President Bush

:02:21.:02:26.

are are as said. Often surrounded by acolytes he is facing the most

:02:26.:02:31.

serious challenge to his role. Much of the population fears the chaos

:02:31.:02:40.

that could follow his departure. There will be many Syrians who want

:02:40.:02:44.

to join the opposition. There have been attacks on military

:02:44.:02:47.

installations prompting fears of a civil war, a nightmare for the Arab

:02:47.:02:53.

League. Its members have already suspended Syria, its chair stands

:02:53.:02:57.

emptied. They have been meeting to discuss whether to introduce harsh

:02:57.:03:01.

new sanctions unless Syria pulls its troops out of cities and allows

:03:01.:03:06.

in monitors. Syria's neighbour Turkey says time is running out for

:03:06.:03:11.

the Bashar al-Assad regime. Meanwhile, the protests continue.

:03:11.:03:16.

The sniping, the arrests, the intimidation, torture and bloodshed

:03:16.:03:24.

show no signs of stopping. We are staying with Syria. The BBC

:03:24.:03:27.

has obtained first-hand evidence that the struggle for democracy in

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the country is becoming an armed insurgency. The opposition for us,

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the free Syrian army, is made up of soldiers who have defected. Our

:03:37.:03:41.

correspondent and a cameraman are the first journalists who have

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spent time with the free Syrian army in and around Homs, the scene

:03:45.:03:50.

of the worst violence in the current uprising in Syria.

:03:50.:03:56.

Syria's border with Lebanon. These men are taking in guns are to

:03:56.:04:02.

support a growing insurgency. De area is the mind and fall of Syrian

:04:02.:04:09.

patrols. Hours earlier, as smuggler was captured here. Each man carries

:04:09.:04:15.

two or three Kalashnikovs for the fighters inside. Our guides are not

:04:15.:04:25.
:04:25.:04:26.

paid smugglers, but supporters of the revolution. The regime has had

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as under siege for 40 years, he says, we have been starving for 40

:04:30.:04:40.
:04:40.:04:46.

years. Into Homs. The Syrian army is all around. They will probably

:04:46.:04:56.
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shoot if they spot us. This is a suburb. The people are hemmed in by

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the security forces. The fear is suffocating. But the firepower is

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no longer all on one side. These are the men of the free Syria army.

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They do not exactly hold this area, but just hope to slow up the

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security forces. Almost from the beginning it was Syrian Government

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propaganda that armed groups, or armed gangs, were supporting the

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opposition. Now, after months of protest has been shot down in the

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streets, that myth of an armed insurgency has become a reality. --

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protesters. More join every day. A gun battle signals another

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defection. Soldiers are running into the suburb, fired on by their

:06:07.:06:17.
:06:17.:06:21.

former comrades. Five made it out, his 6th did not. We heard him

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screaming, he says, we could not go back. There were too many troops

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chasing us. Another explains that they fled after being ordered to

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shoot unarmed protesters. We are all one people, one blood. You

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cannot just kill them. The rebels believe they can win if there is

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help from outside. They want a no- fly zone over Syria. That special

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report is by Paul Wood with the freak Syrian army inside the city

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of Homs. Now to the unrest in Egypt and in Cairo 100,000 people are

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still believed to be out in Tahrir Square. The man chosen to be

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Egypt's new Prime Minister has said on state TV he wants to be given a

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chance to serve the people. 78 year-old Kamal al-Gazouri says he

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plans to form an all inclusive Cabinet, but his words have done

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little to sway the protesters. They are demanding the head of the

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ruling military council, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, must step

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aside before the elections on Monday. Lyse Doucet is in Tahrir

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Square and joins us live. It looks like it is all happening behind you.

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Give us an update. You can see Tahrir Square tonight is both a big

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party as well as a political rally. This sounds you here tonight are

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not of the tear gas canisters, but off firecrackers going off in the

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air. There has been a whole display here tonight. You may not see them,

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but you can hear the sound of the firecrackers going off. There is a

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huge mass of people down there in that corner with a flag waving.

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Earlier this week that was a place of great tension weather were

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running battles between the police and protesters. But the truce is

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holding. We do not hear the wailing of the ambulance sirens, but we

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still hear all of the chanting and new banners are still going up.

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:08:52.:08:56.

This one says, we will never leave the rights of the martyrs. They are

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calling on Egyptians to come back to the square and send a very loud

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message. Look at all the discussions going on. People

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assemble in groups, it is a bit of a carnival atmosphere. Every kind

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of popular Egyptian street food is on sale. There is food in those

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metal pots, next to the popcorn that is being sold. You can get

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grilled corn on the cob. These are the enterprising vendors who know

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they can turn a profit share. They even started selling gas masks in

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the square when there was tear gas throughout the week. Tonight they

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are mostly selling candy and toffee apples as they try to send a

:09:38.:09:45.

message to the military leader that they are here to stay. Lyse Doucet,

:09:45.:09:51.

a party atmosphere in Cairo's Tahrir Square. We have talked about

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Syria and Egypt, and now to Yemen where tensions are high and tens of

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thousands of people have been protesting also on the streets

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after Friday prayers. They are angry about the power transfer

:10:03.:10:08.

deals signed earlier this week by President Ali Abdullah Saleh,

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because the deal would give him and his family immunity from

:10:12.:10:16.

prosecution. Hundreds of the Mini's have been killed since the protests

:10:16.:10:21.

started in January. The impact of the Arab Spring in Morocco may not

:10:21.:10:25.

be as dramatic and violent as it has been elsewhere in the Arab

:10:25.:10:29.

world, but the elections in Morocco have been brought forward as a

:10:29.:10:34.

result of the upheaval. The elections are the first under a new

:10:34.:10:37.

constitution which gives greater powers to the prime minister and

:10:37.:10:44.

parliament. But some reformers say the changes do not go far enough.

:10:44.:10:48.

Voters casting their ballots in what should be an historic election

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for Morocco. This time they are voting for a Government expected to

:10:53.:10:59.

have power to bring about real change. This is the man who could

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play a key role in the new Government, the leader of the

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Islamist party. He said he hoped the turnout would be more than 50%.

:11:13.:11:18.

There are concerns it could be very low. But in any case, he said,

:11:18.:11:24.

democracy would be the winner. These first stirrings of trouble in

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February in Morocco prompted the political reform. Thousands poured

:11:31.:11:36.

onto the streets demanding equality, justice and an end to the monopoly

:11:36.:11:43.

of power held by the ruling elite. In March, King Mohammed VI address

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the nation. He promised comprehensive changes to the

:11:47.:11:52.

constitution. It included losing his power to appoint the Prime

:11:53.:11:58.

Minister, insuring the independence of the judiciary is reinforced, and

:11:58.:12:04.

granting increased rights for women. Those who wrote these changes into

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the new constitution say the King does want a parliamentary democracy.

:12:09.:12:19.
:12:19.:12:21.

He is aware of the effect that traditional legitimacy knees to be

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strengthened and that is why he has been anticipating the demands of

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the people and has satisfied them in advance. But not everyone is

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convinced the king is sincere about handing over so much power. Instead

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they fear he will retain much of his control over the country.

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So clearly it has been a significant week across the Arab

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world and to help as tight up the threads here with me in the studio

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is the Middle East analyst at Chatham House, Nadim Shehadi.

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Clearly, the ripples of the Arab Spring have gone all over the place.

:13:02.:13:08.

We have just seen the situation in Morocco. But the big fear is the

:13:08.:13:13.

instability we see in key countries like Syria. They have got this Arab

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League ultimatum and the silence has been deafening from Damascus.

:13:16.:13:22.

What do you think Damascus are considering? They are probably

:13:22.:13:25.

confused what trick to play with the Arab League because the leaders

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of the Arab League are probably leaders of the same type as Bashar

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al-Assad, so they know the same tricks as he does. It could be very

:13:37.:13:44.

difficult for him to gain more time. He has been buying a lot of time.

:13:44.:13:50.

Yes, but it has not been working with the Arab League so far. What

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do you think the Arab League will do? They said they will be meeting

:13:55.:13:59.

in Cairo on Saturday and they have talked about sanctions. Financial

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sanctions, what kind of things could they do? The most important

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thing they would do is deprived the President of his legitimacy.

:14:12.:14:18.

Ultimately he can always cling to power when the West attacks him

:14:18.:14:25.

because he says this is imperialism and I am resisting. But when his

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fellow Arab leaders also take away his legitimacy... It is humiliating.

:14:32.:14:36.

But can the Arab League do anything in terms of sanctions without

:14:36.:14:40.

support on the international community? The international

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community have been waiting for the Arab League. When the Arab League

:14:44.:14:49.

makes decisive steps a lot more will follow. A lot of his power

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also comes from the indecision from the international community. This

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will help make it clearer position. You had a report on the free Syrian

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army and people were talking about an armed insurgency, I want to ask

:15:09.:15:15.

you about Egypt. It is very clear the position in Syria calls itself

:15:15.:15:25.
:15:25.:15:26.

non-violent and peaceful. Any talk of violence in Syria plays into the

:15:26.:15:32.

hands of the regime that is saying if it falls, there will be civil

:15:32.:15:39.

war. This is what frightening many in the West. Overall I think one

:15:39.:15:49.

has to put faith in the opposition Looking at Egypt and Yemen.

:15:49.:15:59.
:15:59.:15:59.

Concessions in Egypt, from the military, also he is standing down,

:15:59.:16:04.

till still 9 protests go on? the regimes will try to re-gain

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their power and cling to as much power as they can. This is

:16:08.:16:13.

happening in Egypt. It's not flying with the protesters. That is why

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they are continuing the protests. In the case of Egypt, I think the

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majority of the population are not on the same wavelength as those in

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Tahrir Square. That make it is more difficult. Nadim Shehadi thank you

:16:31.:16:37.

very much for joining us. Now the day's or other news. Italy has had

:16:37.:16:40.

to pay record high rates to investors to borrow money in the

:16:40.:16:46.

latest auction of government bonds. Bonds due to be repaid in two

:16:46.:16:52.

years' time hit more than 7.8% compared with 4.6% in the last sale

:16:52.:16:56.

a month ago. The UN enjoy for North Korea has appealled for more

:16:56.:16:59.

humanitarian aid to be delivered to the country. South Korea has been

:16:59.:17:03.

sending medical supplies to the North over the past few weeks, but

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it has not sent food, saying it risks being diverted to feed the

:17:10.:17:13.

Army. The Australian government plans to establish the world's

:17:13.:17:18.

largest marine reserve in the Coral Sea. The protected area north-east

:17:18.:17:23.

of the Great Barrier Reef will cover an area of nearly one million

:17:24.:17:26.

square kilometres. The Democratic Republic of Congo holds elections

:17:26.:17:30.

on Monday in what could be a turning point for the people there

:17:30.:17:34.

who have suffered decades of war and suffering that has seen

:17:34.:17:38.

millions dead. 19,000 candidates are in the running. Elections in

:17:38.:17:44.

the DRC have in the past been marred by violence. Andrew Harding

:17:44.:17:54.
:17:54.:17:54.

has been Togo ma gsh has been to Goma, which is still living with

:17:54.:18:01.

the legacy of Congo's long wars. It's election time in one of

:18:01.:18:06.

Africa's most chaotic countries. No-one here is expecting a smooth

:18:06.:18:13.

ride. On the throne here, one of 11 presidential hopefuls. Loyalties

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are dangerously ferocious. So is the desire for change. They are the

:18:20.:18:25.

ones with the power, they don't care about the population. We don't

:18:25.:18:29.

have road. No road. N-your country I think you have road. There is no

:18:30.:18:37.

jobs, no water, no electricity. much peace either. This is Goma, a

:18:37.:18:43.

poor town, the bicycles are wooden. The peacekeepers can't be

:18:43.:18:49.

everywhere. Rival armed groups battle for power and Congo's

:18:49.:18:53.

mineral wealth. Joseph Kabila has the usual advantages and may sneak

:18:53.:19:00.

another victory. It could be close and tense. The elections could be a

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step forward for a country that squandered its potential for

:19:03.:19:07.

decades. There is a real danger they could trigger more instability

:19:07.:19:14.

in a region that is still plagued by violence and impunity. My fear

:19:14.:19:20.

is that all this might lead to serious violence. Maybe to breaking

:19:20.:19:30.
:19:30.:19:34.

up this country. Who knows. Out of sight the clearest proof of Congo's

:19:34.:19:38.

enduring lawlessnesss. New victims of sexual violence that plights the

:19:38.:19:42.

countryside. 15-year-old Mary says she was raped this week by two

:19:42.:19:52.
:19:52.:19:52.

unknown men. "then they beat me", she says. She does not expect

:19:52.:19:58.

justice. The hope for progress remains strong here. He's one of

:19:58.:20:03.

19,000 candidates, running for a seat in Parliament at these

:20:03.:20:07.

elections. I think this is a step forward. Let's not think of

:20:08.:20:15.

miracles, but I think this is a step forward to what's strong

:20:15.:20:24.

institutions and peaceful country. Miracles are not on the cards.

:20:24.:20:31.

Congo's economy is growing, its fate matters to Africa. It is the

:20:31.:20:41.
:20:41.:20:41.

wounded giant at the centre of the continent. Elections there in the

:20:42.:20:46.

DRC. For an extraordinary story of injury and then recovery. A

:20:46.:20:49.

paralympic silver medallist, in handcycling, is hoping to compete

:20:49.:20:55.

in the Olympics, after regaining the use of her legs. Van der Vorst

:20:55.:20:59.

Vorst had been paralysed from the waist down for 13 years. Then she

:20:59.:21:04.

was out training and she was hit by another cyclist, soon after the

:21:04.:21:14.
:21:14.:21:15.

feeling gradually began to return to her legs. Meet Van der Vorst

:21:15.:21:21.

Vorst as she once was. Paralympian, paralysed in both her legs. Now,

:21:21.:21:26.

meet her today. From the age of 13, her left leg was paralysed after

:21:26.:21:30.

surgery ri on her foot went wrong. Three years ago she also lost the

:21:31.:21:37.

use of her right leg in a car crash. Last year she had another terrible

:21:37.:21:43.

training accident that put her back in hospital for a long time. During

:21:43.:21:48.

the months of physiotherapy and training, she began to get feeting

:21:48.:21:52.

in her legs and then the use of both them. Doctors can't explain.

:21:52.:21:57.

It I just did it. I just walk. I did it over and over again until I

:21:57.:22:00.

fall down on the ground. I could not believe it. I think many people

:22:00.:22:05.

can't believe it. Yeah. Can you explain it? No. I've no idea how it

:22:05.:22:09.

happened. I really don't know. couldn't use your legs for three

:22:09.:22:15.

years of your life, both legs, 13 years of your life for one leg?

:22:15.:22:19.

Yeah. Now you are cycling again? Yeah. I don't know why but I do.

:22:19.:22:24.

Her living room is full of the trophies and medalsals from a long

:22:24.:22:31.

career as a disabled athlete. Three World Championships and eight

:22:31.:22:38.

nationalists and a silver medallists at the Beijing

:22:38.:22:43.

paralympics. I'm happy to do it all again, now with my legs. Also,

:22:43.:22:47.

besides the sport, life is easier walking. It feels like a big

:22:47.:22:51.

challenge. I really want to push hard and train train and see where

:22:51.:22:58.

I can get. So, she has lived one Olympic dream. She hopes to power

:22:58.:23:06.

her way to another. Rio2016. I wouldn't bet against it. Amazing

:23:06.:23:12.

story. Wonderful. It's been called the most ambitious mission to Mars

:23:12.:23:15.

ever. On Saturday the American Space Agency, NASA, will launch a

:23:15.:23:20.

vehicle, the size of a car, on a nine-month voyage to the Red Planet.

:23:21.:23:26.

When it arrives, the vehicle called, the Curiosity rover cure, will

:23:26.:23:31.

begin the most extensive search yet for signs of whether life has ever

:23:31.:23:35.

been possible on the Red Planet. To talk about NASA's latest mission to

:23:35.:23:41.

Mars, I'm joined from our studio in Cambridge by Paul Murdin from the

:23:41.:23:43.

Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University. Are you excited by

:23:43.:23:51.

this? Yes. It's the laboratory on wheels. It will make the most

:23:51.:23:56.

comprehensive survey of Martian rocks ever. It's a nuclear powered

:23:56.:24:03.

Rover. What is the significance of that? Rovers up until now have been

:24:03.:24:08.

powered by solar PV Panathinaikosels. They get dusty

:24:08.:24:12.

and less efficient. This will last for a very long time. Well over two

:24:12.:24:17.

years and possibly as long as ten. And, what do you suppose it hopes

:24:17.:24:25.

to discover? How will it actually operate? Well there will be lots of

:24:25.:24:32.

investigations of different sorts of the rocks that the controllers

:24:32.:24:40.

in California find for the Rover to look at. The idea is that the

:24:40.:24:45.

compositions of these rocks will be discovered and the processes that

:24:45.:24:50.

formed them. It's not only looking for minerals, but how they are made,

:24:50.:24:56.

for example, at the bottom of lakes or even bye-bye logical activity,

:24:57.:25:00.

bacteria or early sea creature which might have existed on Mars

:25:00.:25:05.

several billion years ago. It costs a fantastic amount of money this

:25:05.:25:10.

Rover, didn't it? Do you think, in some way, it's going to redeem NASA,

:25:10.:25:15.

which of course had suffered a few shocks of its reputation in the

:25:15.:25:22.

recent past? A lot of money. $2 billion, give or take a bob or two.

:25:22.:25:26.

I hope that a lot of effort has gone into it to make it work.

:25:26.:25:31.

Having said that, Mars is a long way away. The journey is a

:25:31.:25:37.

difficult one. One has to grit ones teeth and get on with it and hope

:25:37.:25:45.

it goes. What would constitution a success and what would constitute a

:25:45.:25:49.

failure? The worse failure is they drop it and that it doesn't make it

:25:49.:25:53.

to the surface of Mars. The success will be discovering what the

:25:53.:25:59.

surface of Mars is made of and the outstanding success will be finding

:25:59.:26:04.

that there has been biological activity on Mars in the past and

:26:04.:26:11.

maybe even somewhere in some place under the ground there is still

:26:11.:26:14.

biological activity. There is life on Mars. You hope this will bring

:26:14.:26:19.

us the answer to whether there is life on Mars? Yes. I hope in the

:26:19.:26:23.

end we will retrieve some sort of Martian life and learn about life

:26:23.:26:29.

from that life. So that we can get better understand our own kind of

:26:29.:26:35.

biology. Paul Murdin from the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge

:26:35.:26:38.

University thank you for. That Arab League deadline for Syria to accept

:26:38.:26:41.

an observer mission or face sanctions Floyd Hasselbaink passed

:26:42.:26:46.

with no response from Damascus. That is all from World News Today

:26:46.:26:50.

with me Zeinab Badawi. From me, and the team, enjoy your weekend and

:26:50.:27:00.
:27:00.:27:03.

We had windy weather around today. We stick with this windy theme

:27:03.:27:07.

throughout the course of the weekend. Tomorrow, strong wind

:27:07.:27:12.

across northern areas with heavy rain. This weather front will push

:27:12.:27:17.

in towards northern areas as we head through Saturday, further

:27:17.:27:23.

south with high winds, high pressure leads to a chilly start.

:27:23.:27:30.

Further north the strongest winds will develop, sometimes into Gus

:27:30.:27:40.
:27:40.:27:42.

force. There is an amber warning from the weather centre. Guss of 70

:27:42.:27:47.

to 80mph. Further south a sunnier afternoon. The gusty winds from the

:27:47.:27:54.

south-westerly direction, Gusing up to 30mph-40mph taking the edge off.

:27:54.:27:59.

Wales it will turn increasingly cloudy. North-western areas will

:27:59.:28:08.

see patchy rain arriving. Guss of 50mph-60mph. Wet and windy for

:28:08.:28:12.

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