02/12/2011 World News Today


02/12/2011

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

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

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

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

:00:29.:00:33.

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

:00:33.:00:39.

aside so that Syria can transition peacefully and democratically.

:00:39.:00:43.

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

:00:43.:00:47.

debt crisis. An Afghan woman jailed for being

:00:47.:00:53.

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

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us that the plight of Afghan women is abysmal.

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

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

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special report on corruption in public life there.

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

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Britain's Natural History of Broadcasting ways into the debate

:01:19.:01:29.
:01:29.:01:36.

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

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

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

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

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

:01:55.:02:04.
:02:05.:02:06.

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

:02:06.:02:14.

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

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

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

:02:25.:02:30.

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

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

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

:02:42.:02:47.

documents widespread systematic and gross violations of human rights

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and fundamental freedoms by Syrian authorities by actors such as a

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killing of children, beating, shooting during demonstrations,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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your people and to step aside so that Syria can transition

:03:30.:03:33.

peacefully and democratically. council passed a resolution

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condemning the abuses. The High Commissioner wants them referred to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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fears further chaos there will destabilised their long border and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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There could be a serious realignment of foreign policy

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

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

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

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

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relationship will Iran, a Syria that no longer offers military

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assistance and political sponsorship to has by laugh. It is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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politically isolated entity in Beirut. We are already seeing that

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

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

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

:07:59.:08:09.
:08:09.:08:11.

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

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

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of the first round of parliamentary elections there. The Muslim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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more liberal secularist party. There have only been about four

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

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

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parliament. Lots of different variety of the Islamists. The

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Muslim Brotherhood are seen as being relatively moderate. They are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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that! Other Nears. The Iranian embassy in

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London now stands empty after its diplomats were expelled from

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Britain. Removal men cleared the west London address and later

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

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Heathrow. William Hague has ordered the closure after the British

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diplomatic compounds in Tehran were stoned on Tuesday.

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The former military American headquarters near Baghdad has been

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

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

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US service personnel. Hillary Clinton has met Burma's

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

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

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

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confident about the prospects for democratic reform in Burma.

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

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

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

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create a fiscal union which would provide greater stability among

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countries using the European single currency. Meanwhile, President

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Sarkozy of France has been meeting the British Prime Minister David

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Cameron to discuss the Franco- German rescue plan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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sirens -- currency. The second fundamental thing is real

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competitiveness throughout the eurozone so that it works properly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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years. Despite that forecast, in Frankfurt the market reacted

:14:17.:14:20.

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

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

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another important week and are France and Germany really talking

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the same language on greater integration and discipline in the

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

:14:37.:14:41.

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

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

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

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

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

:14:59.:15:04.

often subjected to forced supposed sexual transgressions hit the hen

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

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

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

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

:15:23.:15:33.
:15:33.:15:34.

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

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

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

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President Karzai of Afghanistan intervened and gave Gulnaz a full

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

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

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

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

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pardoned and also granted early release by President Karzai, with

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

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

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better clarification on what exactly her situation was.

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

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

:16:43.:16:48.

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

:16:48.:16:50.

attracted such international attention. I think it is really a

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

:16:56.:16:59.

shocking story to people who are not familiar with the challenges

:16:59.:17:03.

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

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

:17:10.:17:14.

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

:17:14.:17:19.

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

:17:19.:17:22.

discrimination, sexual violence against them is something which is

:17:22.:17:28.

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

:17:28.:17:31.

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

:17:31.:17:35.

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

:17:35.:17:41.

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

:17:41.:17:46.

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

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true there has been significant progress made for women since the

:17:49.:17:53.

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

:17:53.:17:57.

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

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

:18:01.:18:04.

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

:18:04.:18:09.

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

:18:09.:18:16.

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

:18:16.:18:22.

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

:18:22.:18:27.

are being victimised, sexually assaulted, forced into a marriage

:18:27.:18:33.

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

:18:33.:18:37.

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

:18:37.:18:43.

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

:18:43.:18:46.

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

:18:46.:18:50.

prevent such suffering continuing on such a large scale in

:18:50.:18:53.

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

:18:53.:18:59.

sure that shelter is available for women facing violence or forced

:18:59.:19:05.

marriage. Making sure shelters are protected. Pushing back against

:19:05.:19:08.

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

:19:08.:19:12.

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

:19:12.:19:16.

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

:19:16.:19:21.

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

:19:21.:19:25.

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

:19:25.:19:30.

need in a country where violence against women is endemic.

:19:30.:19:34.

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

:19:34.:19:37.

parliamentary election campaign in Russia is coming to a close as

:19:37.:19:41.

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

:19:41.:19:46.

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

:19:46.:19:51.

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

:19:51.:19:54.

Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin and has dominated legislators for the

:19:54.:20:00.

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

:20:00.:20:04.

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

:20:04.:20:07.

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

:20:07.:20:12.

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

:20:12.:20:18.

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

:20:18.:20:22.

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

:20:22.:20:26.

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

:20:26.:20:30.

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

:20:30.:20:34.

Russian public life is still riddled by extensive corruption.

:20:34.:20:39.

Our Moscow correspondent has been investigating.

:20:39.:20:46.

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

:20:46.:20:51.

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

:20:51.:20:57.

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

:20:57.:21:00.

officials and policemen he accused of organising it turned the tables

:21:00.:21:05.

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

:21:05.:21:15.

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

:21:15.:21:21.

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

:21:21.:21:26.

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

:21:26.:21:31.

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

:21:31.:21:37.

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

:21:37.:21:42.

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

:21:42.:21:47.

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

:21:47.:21:57.

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

:21:57.:22:01.

control officials, enriching themselves and nobody to bring them

:22:01.:22:07.

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

:22:07.:22:10.

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

:22:10.:22:18.

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

:22:18.:22:27.

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

:22:27.:22:31.

Russian Government employees. ferry the new elite around,

:22:31.:22:36.

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

:22:36.:22:43.

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

:22:43.:22:48.

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

:22:48.:22:53.

Parliament against the rampant corruption. Our bureaucrats did not

:22:53.:22:58.

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

:22:58.:23:02.

their pleasure. The corruption is spiralling

:23:02.:23:06.

because the Parliament has become a toothless tiger. During this

:23:06.:23:11.

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

:23:11.:23:15.

the deputies themselves were cheating, running around voting on

:23:15.:23:21.

behalf of colleagues who had not turned up.

:23:21.:23:25.

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

:23:25.:23:29.

broadcasting in Britain. His extraordinary career spans almost

:23:29.:23:32.

60 years. Now Sir David Attenborough has spoken out on

:23:32.:23:37.

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

:23:37.:23:44.

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

:23:44.:23:50.

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

:23:50.:23:55.

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

:23:55.:24:00.

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

:24:00.:24:03.

natural history broadcasting, David Attenborough. The last of the

:24:03.:24:09.

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

:24:10.:24:15.

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

:24:15.:24:22.

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

:24:22.:24:27.

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

:24:27.:24:32.

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

:24:32.:24:36.

melting could accelerate if the Arctic and part of Antarctica

:24:36.:24:42.

continue to warm up. When I met David Attenborough for

:24:42.:24:45.

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

:24:45.:24:51.

striking and worrying. This change is extremely shift. It

:24:51.:24:57.

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

:24:57.:25:02.

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

:25:02.:25:06.

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

:25:06.:25:13.

much more difficult. One of the great features of the

:25:13.:25:21.

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

:25:21.:25:26.

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

:25:26.:25:32.

beyond possibility that warming will actually cause sea level rises,

:25:32.:25:37.

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

:25:37.:25:43.

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

:25:43.:25:48.

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

:25:48.:25:53.

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

:25:53.:25:58.

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

:25:58.:26:04.

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

:26:04.:26:08.

delight in his favourite polar creature.

:26:08.:26:15.

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

:26:15.:26:23.

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

:26:23.:26:30.

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

:26:30.:26:35.

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

:26:35.:26:40.

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

:26:40.:26:43.

that distant regions that once seemed irrelevant feel much closer

:26:44.:26:50.

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

:26:50.:27:00.
:27:00.:27:01.

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

:27:01.:27:05.

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

:27:05.:27:10.

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

:27:10.:27:15.

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

:27:15.:27:18.

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

:27:18.:27:24.

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

:27:25.:27:30.

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

:27:30.:27:33.

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

:27:33.:27:37.

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

:27:37.:27:41.

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

:27:41.:27:47.

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

:27:47.:27:51.

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

:27:51.:27:55.

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

:27:55.:27:59.

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

:27:59.:28:04.

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

:28:05.:28:08.

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

:28:08.:28:11.

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

:28:11.:28:15.

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