02/12/2011 World News Today


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This is World News Today with me, Zeinab Badawi. Repression in Syria


is condemned by the UN's top human- rights body as protests inside


Syria continued. Is the stage now set for further tough action by the


United Nations? To the Syrian government, the time has come to


end the violations of the human rights of your people and to step


aside so that Syria can transition peacefully and democratically.


Germany's Chancellor warns it will take years to resolve the eurozone


debt crisis. An Afghan woman jailed for being


raped is freed by President car side. A human rights activist tells


us that the plight of Afghan women is abysmal.


Also coming up, a test of popularity of Russia's ruling party.


As the country prepares for Sunday's elections, we have a


special report on corruption in public life there.


Now warming temperatures have lent less sea ice. And the giant of


Britain's Natural History of Broadcasting ways into the debate


on global warming. -- wades into Welcome. The United Nations Human


Rights Council has voted to condemn the gross and systematic abuses in


Syria. Their record 37 countries voted in favour with just six


abstentions and four against. This comes as America's by President Joe


Biden praised the role that Turkey has been taking to put pressure on


the Syrian regime to stop the A stand-off in north western Syria.


For the moment, there is no shooting. They chant, we do not


fear your soldiers or your militias. There was a similar scene in other


towns. In Homs, in Deraa, and other places. They are calling for more


international help, for protective buffer zones. Nine months into the


uprising, President Assad's opponents cannot oust him. His


efforts have exacted a heavy human cost. The commission's report


documents widespread systematic and gross violations of human rights


and fundamental freedoms by Syrian authorities by actors such as a


killing of children, beating, shooting during demonstrations,


arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment. At an emergency


session of the UN Human Rights Council, delegates were given a


chilling report. Our message is firm and clear. To the people of


Syria, the world stands by you and we will not ignore your plight in


the face of ongoing violence. To the Syrian government, the time has


come to end of the flagrant violations of the human rights of


your people and to step aside so that Syria can transition


peacefully and democratically. council passed a resolution


condemning the abuses. The High Commissioner wants them referred to


the International Criminal Court. The report was dismissed by Syria's


representative. TRANSLATION:, it lacked objectivity, he said. The US


is leaning heavily on its ally Turkey to push for change in Syria.


Vice-President Joe Biden was in the Turkish capital today paying his


respects to an area leader who helped this country to modernise.


And piling praise on his Turkish hosts for the example they offer to


the rest of the Middle East. Turkey has its own dilemmas over Syria. It


fears further chaos there will destabilised their long border and


dried waves of refugees to join the thousands who have already fled


here. Intervention by Turkish troops, even to protect -- protect


civilians, is leaving ruled out for now. Events could change the policy.


As pressure mounts on the Assad regime, the alternatives to his


role are being considered more seriously. The head of the main


opposition, the head of the Syrian National Council, Dr Burhan


Ghalioun, has said that he would revise Syria's relationship with


Iran. He said he regards to Nessie as a model and refutes claims that


there is civil war in Syria. -- he regards Tunisia as a model.


Let us talk to Bilal Saab from the Monterey Institute of International


Studies. It is no longer fanciful to think of a post Assad Syria.


There could be a serious realignment of foreign policy


there? That is very true. His statement is quite puzzling to me.


I am not sure why he felt of the need to go publicly with this


statement saying that, should a new government emerge in Damascus, we


will see a very different Syria, a Syria that no longer has a special


relationship will Iran, a Syria that no longer offers military


assistance and political sponsorship to has by laugh. It is


puzzling to me why he went public with this statement. It has been


interestingly read by allies in Washington. Do you think it has


been co-ordinated somehow by Joe Biden's visit to Turkey? Obviously,


it would be in America's interests if Syria did we orientate itself


away from Iran. I do not know about any efforts of co-ordination. I


think it is fair to say that what he said could reflect his own


personal convictions and that is fair. I hope it is shared by other


members of the Syrian National Council. Is that music to the ears


of Washington? Absolutely. To what extent have these statements speak


ordinated -- been co-ordinated? I cannot say. Syria's population it


is traditionally Sunni. It has been governed by an offshoot of Shia


Islam. It would make sense, wouldn't it, if post Assad Syria


went more towards the Arab Sunni majority? It does make sense,


absolutely. We have been arguing for this for a long time. It is


quite refreshing to see it being spoken publicly. We have all


assumed that if Syria has a majority Sunni population, it would


have a government that would be dominated by Sunni, and it would be


a very different Syria. It reflects the geopolitical realities of the


region. Syria has quit given a great deal of support do Hezbollah,


at a Shia operation in Libya. A lot of people would say, what has that


done for us? That is very trip. Hezbollah is going to be a very


different actor should the Assad regime collapse. It would be a


politically isolated entity in Beirut. We are already seeing that


given that they have agreed to fund a special tribunal to Lebanon which


they see as an entity used by the United States and Israel to defeat


it. It is planning to me that we are seeing changes in the behaviour


of Hezbollah. Thank you very much. Let us go to Egypt now. Within the


last hour, the country's electoral authorities have begun as a result


of the first round of parliamentary elections there. The Muslim


Brotherhood is predicted to win most votes in the election. However,


a more radical Islamist party is also expected to do well.


Live to Cairo. Give us some idea what -- idea of what the early


results are sharing. It is a little bit complicated. We have got not


many details yet. Broadly speaking, we believe the Muslim Brotherhood


are going to be the big winners, in the sense that they will get around


30% of the votes. They are in a coalition with a couple of secular


parties. There coalition will get over 40%. The Muslim Brotherhood


of's share of that will be about a third of the vote. Unfortunately,


they haven't yet announced the details because that is part of a


proportional system which they are not announcing to the end. They


have given us a very small chunk of the results. So far as one


understands, the Muslim Brotherhood will have around a third, another


block of the more radical Islamists would we think, we are not sure,


but we think get up to 20% of the vote in this first round of voting.


They are vying for second place. Vying for second place with the


more liberal secularist party. There have only been about four


winners, clear winners, so far. All of those are independents. It seems


as if the Islamists are going to be the largest single block in the new


parliament. Lots of different variety of the Islamists. The


Muslim Brotherhood are seen as being relatively moderate. They are


not talking about banning alcohol or imposing a dress code. The more


radicals are doing strongly in second place. It is a complicated


process, as you said. Elections will go on for some time. Remind us


again of that. There are three... There are two Houses of Parliament.


There are three rounds within the people's Assembly elections. The


last one is not until January. Each of the three rounds also has a run-


off. In case that was not complicated enough, there -- they


are voting on to substance. There is the first-past-the-post that we


use and in the United States. There is also a proportional system so


you vote for a list and a coalition of parties. Two separate voting


systems. Two separate houses. Six rounds of voting in all. Simple


enough. A the I am glad there is someone who understands all of


that! Other Nears. The Iranian embassy in


London now stands empty after its diplomats were expelled from


Britain. Removal men cleared the west London address and later


Iranian diplomatic staff and families throw out -- flew out of


Heathrow. William Hague has ordered the closure after the British


diplomatic compounds in Tehran were stoned on Tuesday.


The former military American headquarters near Baghdad has been


handed over to Iraqi control. Baize was certainly grounds of a huge


palace complex built by her Saddam Hussein. It was once home to 50,000


US service personnel. Hillary Clinton has met Burma's


pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, for a second time. They met in


Rangoon where Aung San Suu Kyi was kept under house arrest until her


release the year ago. After talks, Aung San Suu Kyi said she was


confident about the prospects for democratic reform in Burma.


The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ended the week on a somewhat


downbeat tone saying it will take years to resolve the eurozone debt


crisis. She also told the German parliament that work had begun to


create a fiscal union which would provide greater stability among


countries using the European single currency. Meanwhile, President


Sarkozy of France has been meeting the British Prime Minister David


Cameron to discuss the Franco- German rescue plan.


Talk of a treaty change was in the air as the car carrying the lead up


of Britain's biggest non- eurozone economy came into the courtyard of


the lease a palace. They were getting together again for talks.


Mr Cameron would have wanted to hear what his friend has meant when


he talked of the French and Germans creating a revised treaty. Mr


Cameron once the crisis resolved quickly but not at the expense of


British influence. When you look at the crisis in the eurozone, the


need is for the institutions of the eurozone to get behind the current


sirens -- currency. The second fundamental thing is real


competitiveness throughout the eurozone so that it works properly.


Neither of those required treaty change. I am very clear that if


there is a treaty change, I will make sure that we further protect


and enhance Britain's interest. truth, this was where the real


focus on the eurozone crisis was today. From Europe's biggest


economic power and its key leader, the latest message that it is time


to think they can work towards fiscal Europe's -- fiscal union.


She also warned that it will be a long haul. TRANSLATION: There are


no easy and fast solutions, especially not, as some people


insist of saying head off any summit, the apparent one last push.


That is neither my kind of language or my way of thinking. The


resolution of the euro crisis is a process and this process will take


years. Despite that forecast, in Frankfurt the market reacted


positively to the news that France and Germany are working on new


joint proposals. There is still a nervousness that next week will be


another important week and are France and Germany really talking


the same language on greater integration and discipline in the


eurozone? On Monday, the ozone's bid to will have their latest get


together to thrash out their ideas. Angela Merkel may have brought


about years, but the focus right now is on a crisis calendar that


will lead to a Brussels again at the end of next week and the latest


grunge EU summit. -- the latest crunch EU summit.


The plight of women in Afghanistan and the rough justice they are


often subjected to forced supposed sexual transgressions hit the hen


nights from time to time. One case that has attracted a lot of tension


is that of Gulnaz. She was jailed for being raped. When she appealed,


her sentence was increased from two to 12 years. Then she was given the


choice of marrying the man who wrote tap and made her pregnant or


of serving a jail sentence. But she I appealed the first time my


sentence was two years. The second time it became 12 years. I didn't


do anything. Why should I be sentenced for so long? Today,


President Karzai of Afghanistan intervened and gave Gulnaz a full


pardon. She won't have to marry the man who raped here. It is possible,


as in Afghan culture it would restore her family's honour. This


is what her lawyer said about that. Gulnaz is going to be released with


no conditions. She does not have to marry her attacker. She has been


pardoned and also granted early release by President Karzai, with


no conditions. If she so chooses to marry him, that is her decision. I


received that from the President shall palace, so I could have


better clarification on what exactly her situation was.


lawyer there for the woman simply known as "Gulnaz." Abuse against


women in Afghanistan is monitored by Human Rights Watch. Heather Barr


is with the organisation in Kabul. She told us why this case has


attracted such international attention. I think it is really a


shocking story. It's a shocking story in Afghanistan. It is a more


shocking story to people who are not familiar with the challenges


women face here. It is a shocking story because it comes at the


moment when we're about to mark the tenth anniversary of the conference


which marks the end of the Taliban Government and what was meant to be


a new dawn for Afghan women. Do you think this denial of women's rights,


discrimination, sexual violence against them is something which is


more common in Taliban-held areas in Afghanistan? Well, I think that


what Gulnaz's case really demonstrates is that while life is


terrible for women under the Taliban, life is not good for women


under the Afghan Government either. It's the Afghan Government's formal


justice system that put Gulnaz in prison. So, while it's certainly


true there has been significant progress made for women since the


fall of the Taliban, this really demonstrates that progress has been


far less than Afghan women had the right to hope for. And the sad


thing is, Heather is there is a kind of conspiracy of silence


because the women themselves are just too scared to speak out,


aren't they? We had that case in 208, when a female Lieutenant


Colonel in the Afghan police force, trying to document abuse against


women was shot dead in her car. This sends a clear message - if you


are being victimised, sexually assaulted, forced into a marriage


against your will, don't go looking for hellch it is likely you'll be


victimised again by being -- looking for help, it is likely


you'll be victimised again by being stigmatised. It is a bleak


situation you describe there, Heather. What can be done to


prevent such suffering continuing on such a large scale in


Afghanistan? Some of the things which can be done include making


sure that shelter is available for women facing violence or forced


marriage. Making sure shelters are protected. Pushing back against


forces that want to close down shelters, who see women as property


of men and don't think they should have the right to flee abuse. The


Government can do a lot to make sure women have access to shelter.


Donors can do a lot to pay for those services. There has been some


progress. There are 14 shelters in Afghanistan. That does not meet the


need in a country where violence against women is endemic.


Heather Barr from Human Rights Watch talking to us from Kabul. The


parliamentary election campaign in Russia is coming to a close as


voters prepare to go to the polls on Sunday. The key question is; how


far the ruling United Russia party will hold on to its huge majority


in the State Duma. The United Russia party is chaired by the


Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin and has dominated legislators for the


best part of a decade. It controls 315 of the 450 seats in the du ma,


which gives it the two-thirds majority it needs to pass changes


to the Russian constitution if it wants to. The rest of the seats are


held by the Communist Party, the national and Liberal Democrats and


the Social Democratic Fair Russia. Like his party, Vladimir Putin has


dominated politics in Russia when he became President, he said he


would clamp down on the oligarch, that is the small group of


businessmen who control much of Russia's wealth. A decade on,


Russian public life is still riddled by extensive corruption.


Our Moscow correspondent has been investigating.


In a Moscow graveyard, the tomb of a young corporate lawyer who died


in prison after a severe beating and months of medical neglect. He


had been investigating a tax fraud of over �100 million. The tax


officials and policemen he accused of organising it turned the tables


on hip and had him arrested. Within a year he -- on him and had him


arrested. Within a year he was dead. This woman's family became multi-


million yeahs soon afterwards. Her mother-in-law is the owner of this


ultra modern house worth �10 million. Her husband bought villas.


She claims the money came from her husband's business. The tax returns


show a joint income of only �20,000. It's terrible. I don't know how


these people live with themselves. They have no conscience. I find it


very difficult to come to terms with that. For many observers the


death of the man epitomises some of Russia's biggest problems. Out of


control officials, enriching themselves and nobody to bring them


to account. Outside Moscow, behind huge fences, dozens of secretive


luxury estates have sprouted up. These �10 million houses should be


way out of the reach of any public servant, but they're not. 60% of


the buyers of housing in Russia, top end housing in Russia are


Russian Government employees. ferry the new elite around,


thousands of luxury cars have been bought, can taxpayers' money. Top


of the range mersaisys, Audi and BMWs. This scandal was discovered


by this man, a former KGB officer and one of the few voices in the


Parliament against the rampant corruption. Our bureaucrats did not


save any money. They spent a lot, just for their luxury, just for


their pleasure. The corruption is spiralling


because the Parliament has become a toothless tiger. During this


session on fraud, it was half empty and no-one was listening. In fact


the deputies themselves were cheating, running around voting on


behalf of colleagues who had not turned up.


Fascinating! He's the face and voice of natural history


broadcasting in Britain. His extraordinary career spans almost


60 years. Now Sir David Attenborough has spoken out on


climate change, as his latest Frozen Planet series comes to a


climax, he is warning in his view the speed of the ice melting has


implications for us all. It is smothered by the world's greatest


ice sheet. It is a journey of breathe of taking journey, to polar


regions w audiences in their millions, guided by the giant of


natural history broadcasting, David Attenborough. The last of the


series next week is a highly personal view. The Adelie penguin


is the most southerly nesting of all penguins. Like the polar bear,


up in the north, their lives are dependant on the sea ice.


His big concern is the effect of rising temperatures. Here a huge


iceberg breaks away from Greenland. This does happen naturally, but the


melting could accelerate if the Arctic and part of Antarctica


continue to warm up. When I met David Attenborough for


an interview, he explained it was the speed of change that was most


striking and worrying. This change is extremely shift. It


is happening within our lifetime. We've seen it happening. That is a


- in geological terms, in biological terms, it is hugely


swift. So, to adapt, you can adapt to slow change. Quick change is


much more difficult. One of the great features of the


Antarctic coast, the Wilkins Ice Shelf is scene breaking up. The


crew filmed fissures. It fits into a pattern of change. It's not


beyond possibility that warming will actually cause sea level rises,


which could threaten the wildlife. Is there a risk of sounding too


alarmist about this? I try not to. The fact is that we know these


changes are happening. The evidence for that is incontro vertible. As


far as we can see ahead, if they go on they will have catastrophic


effectsen the human race. Be-- effects on the human race. Behind


this is the life-long passion for what he is known - wildlife and his


delight in his favourite polar creature.


I think a caterpillar, a caterpillar that lives for 14 years


and is frozen solid, frozen solid to its core, 14 times, which takes


14 years to accumulate enough food to allow it to grow into a moth.


That's amazing! But what about the future? Well


scientists can not be sure about the rate of melting. We do know


that distant regions that once seemed irrelevant feel much closer


to us now. Got to go. Goodbye. Enjoy your


Hello. There is rain tonight with England and Wales seeing the bulk


of that. For all it will be windy. The windy weather stays with us for


the weekend. With that, with plenty of showers for north-western areas.


Low pressure to the north of the UK. This will push weather fronts over


us with the rain. Quickly in the morning it will clear from the


south. We keep a lot of cloud during the day.


These showers are on brisk winds. By 3pm the showers keep on coming


into north-west England. To the east of the Pennines, mainly dry


with sunny spells. That is the picture for the East Midlands.


Southern counties of England though, we keep a lot of cloud. One or two


showers around here. It is mild, 11-12 Celsius, but it is windy so


we lose the benefit. In Cornwall there could be spells of rain on


and off. In Wales, brighter skies the further east you are.


Showers to the north and west of Northern Ireland. The further


south-east you are the more likely you will stay dry. Showers wintry


on hills. Strong winds to begin the day in northern Scotland. They will


ease down a little bit during the day. Showers on Saturday night


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