06/12/2011 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me Kirsty Lang. Sectarian violence


arrives in Afghanistan. These Shia pilgrims marking the festival of


Ashura were the target. In two simultaneous attacks leaving nearly


60 dead. Hundreds flee the Democratic Republic of Congo as


fears grow that delayed and disputed election results will


plunge the country into widespread violence. TRANSLATION: I'm from


Ivory Coast, I saw what happened there. I don't want to go through


the same thing here. America's treasury secretary ups the pressure


on Europe to get its house in order. Arriving in Berlin, Tim Geithner


said the world is watching. Also coming up in the programme -


Remembering Ted Hughes. To gold bears came down and swam like men


beside us, and dived and stood in deep water as on a throne. Hello


and Welcome. As if Afghanistan didn't have enough problems, the


spectre of sectarian violence between Sunnis and the minority


Shia community has raised its ugly head. A suicide bomber struck in a


crowd of Shiite worshippers in a packed Kabul mosque while another


exploded minutes later in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.


It's an ominous sign just a day after the Bonn conference promised


to retain international support in the country once troops withdraw in


2014. Let's hear from our correspondent in Kabul, Quentin


Somerville. You can get an idea of this by the fact that President


Karzai has cut short his trip to Europe, he was planning on visiting


the UK and had meetings planned with David Cameron, those have been


cancelled. Instead he will return Afghan Shias be themselves in a


A massive explosion from a suicide He it is chaos, hundreds are heard,


dozens dead. The dying and injured are piled up on drugs. -- trucks.


At the City Hospital it struggles to cope. And on the pavement


outside a mother mourns her lost son. Her -- my heart is broken, she


cries. Desperate and in despair, more gathered for news of missing


family and friends. TRANSLATION: This is a day of mourning, it is an


attack against humanity and an attack against Islam. It was part


of a co-ordinated assault against Shias, a bomb it also exploded in


Kabul but the -- in Mazar-i-Sharif but the explosion in Kabul was


bigger. The people here are very angry, there has long been tensions


between Afghanistan's, Sunnis and Shias but violence on this scale is


unprecedented. In Germany, President Kasai had just finished


attending a summit on his country's future. This is the first time on


such an important religious day that something of that horrible


Major has taken place. We all wish the best for those who are injured,


a quick recovery and patience to the families of those who have lost


dear ones. As the injured were treated the Taliban issued a


statement saying they had not carried out the attack. The


government says they are lying. These attacks turned this Muslim


day of mourning into a day of terrible loss, bringing a new kind


of suffering to this already fractured country. We still do not


know who carried out the attacks, you have to ask the question who


would benefit from further disharmony, more violence and


insecurity here in Afghanistan? There are a large number of


insurgent groups, many of them based in Pakistan, who would


benefit from introducing a sectarian strain of violence into


this country, a strain of violence we have not seen before.


Thousands of people have fled the Democratic Republic of Congo and


riot police are patrolling the capital, Kinshasa amid fears that


the election results could spark violence. President Joseph Kabila


is reported to be ahead of his main rival after preliminary results.


But the opposition claims there's been electoral fraud and says it


will reject the outcome. There were several violent clashes between the


two sides during the election campaign. Here's our correspondent


in Kinshasa Thomas Hubert. Fleeing from the post-election violence by


a fear is on its way in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over


the last two days more people have left the capital, many making the


short journey to the neighbouring republic of Congo, results from the


presidential election are due out on Tuesday evening but the


electoral commission itself is not certain it will be ready in time.


Security has been tightened amid fears the result could spark


renewed violence. TRANSLATION: I say better safe than


sorry. I am from Ivory Coast, I saw what happened there. I don't want


to go through the same thing here. With two-thirds of the votes


counted the incumbent Joseph Kabila is reported to be ahead of his main


rival. The opposition has already said it will reject the had come.


All these electoral documents, these bags of ballot papers, these


results sheets are being compiled and brought together in this centre.


This is one of 169 centres across the country where the presidential


results are being tallied together. Tensions have only been increased


by a slow and seemingly chaotic accounting process as well as


allegations of vote rigging. TRANSLATION: I think the results


that will leave this place will no way of represent the real results


from the votes counted in the bureau's immediately after the


official ballot. This is what people fear, even


before people went to the polls of violence broke out as security


forces were called upon to restore order. According to Human Rights


Watch at least 18 people have been killed in election related violence


so find witnesses are reporting army deployments in several cities


around the country. These were the first locally organised and funded


election since the official end of years of war in 2003 and were meant


to offer hope of greater stability in the mineral-rich, crisis-ridden


giant. But fears are mounting that the rejection of the results will


pave the way for further bloodshed. Jendayi Frazer is former US


Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. She's now a


professor at Carnegie Mellon University and has co-authored a


book Preventing Electoral Violence in Africa. She joins me from our


Washington studio now. How concerned are you about the way


this election was conducted? think it was conducted as best it


could be from the point of view of the significant operational and a


logistical challenge is that exist in a country of such a huge size


and with such limited infrastructure. So I think the


Independent Electoral Commission with the support of the


international community, particularly the United Nations,


did the best it could in terms of conducting an election. Despite the


images we see, it was largely peaceful, so I think they have done


well. The country of that size will have problems and challenges.


were involved in the Congo's first democratic elections five years ago


following this long period of civil war, are you disappointed by the


progress in the last five years? the contrary. I think there has


been significant progress. In fact, there was more violence in the last


election than there has been in this election to my understanding.


At that time the opposition carried out major clashes in the capital


city and we have not really seen at this time, so I think things are


better. You have an opposition that has, even prior to the boat and


accounting, been threatening violence and claiming a rigging, so


they are essentially trying to deal legitimise the election and the


process before losing the election -- prior to the vote. The thing


that has been unfortunate. But I think the electoral commission


should be congratulated. This is a real concern, that the opposition


has said it will not accept the results. Presumably this is why


thousands of people are fleeing the area, they are terrified? They are.


And it is because they said they would not accept a result and were


threatening violence if they do not win. That is just irresponsible on


the part of political parties and politicians. The book we wrote on


preventing electoral violence, one of the suggestions was there should


be criminal charges if you incite violence prior to and after results


because you lose. There has to be a willingness of political parties to


accept defeat. They all want to win but they need to accept defeat as


well. Thank you very much. Now a look at


some of the day's other news... Police in Moscow say they have


arrested about 250 people, including opposition leader Boris


Nemtsov. The detentions came during a second night of demonstrations in


the Russian capital. The protesters were holding an unauthorised rally


against the result of Sunday's election, which they say was rigged


in favour of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's party. Belgium


finally has a new government 18 months after the country's election.


Elio Di Rupo is the country's first French-speaking prime minister for


more than 30 years. He's promised to push through tough austerity


measures. Forming the government has taken a year and a half - it's


believed to be a world record. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the


Lebanese Shia movement, Hezbollah, has made his first public speech in


several years. He gave a short address to tens thousands of


supporters in Beirut to mark the Shia Muslim holy day of Ashura. He


offered his support to the Syrian government and accused the United


States of plotting to destroy Syria. French parliament has began


debating a law against prostitution. It will then begin debating a


tougher new law aimed at punishing people who pay for sex. The Bill is


seen as a test of the country's long history of liberal attitudes


towards sex. Eurozone leaders felt the heat from America today. First


came the warning from the credit rating agency Standard and Poor's


that 15 European nations - including France and Germany -


could lose their triple A credit rating. And then hours later the US


Treasury chief flew into Berlin to impress on European leaders that a


break-up of the single currency would be disastrous for the world


economy. Stephen Evans reports from Berlin. Power meet power - shoulder


to shoulder as eurozone leaders try to work out had to keep the


currency afloat. Tim Dyke the's message was that he is reassured


that European leaders -- leaders are acting to prevent the euro


shattering -- Timothy Geithner. encouraged by the developments in


Europe in the past few weeks including reform commitments made


by the new Government's in Spain and Greece and the new steps taken


this week about progress towards a physical combat for the eurozone.


earlier Timothy Geithner went to the European Central Bank in


Frankfurt at the start of a whistle-stop tour. It comes as the


ratings agency Standard and Poor's, which assesses credit risk and


which the Finance markets listen to, threatened to strip eurozone


countries including Germany of their triple A rating. Across the


eurozone there has been irritation from political leaders, the


chairman of the -- Jean-Claude Juncker said it was an exaggeration


and unfair. A similar annoyance in Paris - we have done much to cut


deficit and we will do more, that was the tone. TRANSLATION: Does not


take into account Franco-German proposals. The rating of France and


the others will depend a lot on that. The talking continues as many


leaders gather in Marseille for a political conference. The European


Central Bank meet on Thursday with the crisis top of the agenda. And


then at the summit in Brussels to consider the Merkel Sarkozy plan.


In Berlin shoppers are spending but we fear of the economic future


rising. Their ability to spend over the coming years really depends on


whether this summit of leaders at Tim Geithner goes from the finance


ministry here to meet the leaders of France, Germany and Spain. His


message is that if the euro collapses, the damage goes wider


than the eurozone. He is not saying whether extra funds may be


available to keep it afloat. In Ireland, the new austerity


budget there has been unveiled, including more than $1 billion in


tax increases and a hike in VAT to 23 p cent. The finance minister


said that tough measures are necessary to tackle the deficit,


and despite the gloom, he does -- expect Ireland to make as swift


recovery if plans to ease the eurozone crisis succeed.


It may look like Christmas, but it does not feel like it in Dublin.


The Irish government's December Budget contained a whole new set of


austerity measures. Hitting every section of society. For those in


the retail business, the timing could hardly be worse. People are


fearful to spend. Two categories, younger people, 18-25s, they are


not saving -- spending, they are spending. 25-fortifys have no money.


The over 55s are fearful, all they have is doom and gloom. There is no


optimism, people is paralysed. Ireland has gone from boom to bust


a bail-out, and still has big problems. The Government's freeze


spending more than it is taking him. The unemployment rate is almost 15%,


and he is now having to raise taxes, including an increase in VAT. It


was want of a series of revenue- raising measures announced today by


Ireland's new finance minister. He said the previous government had


let the country down. The people of Ireland have paid the very high


price for the mismanagement of the economy. Personal wealth has been


destroyed, thousands of people are sinking into poverty. Immigration


has returned, and unemployment is far too high. He said it would take


another four years at least for the country to recover. In spite of


Ireland's huge debts, there are still grounds for optimism. Exports


are going well, and after three years of political and financial


turmoil, the country has now entered a period of relative calm.


The problem for the Irish people is that it looks like the cutbacks are


going to get worse, before the economy get better.


To discuss that, I am joined by a London -- Mark Hennessy, the London


editor of the Irish Times. That is a killer statistic we heard there


in that report, the Irish government still spending 16


billion more than it takes in. It is difficult to see a way out of


that. Yes, if you take the cuts they have made today, if they


implement them it will still leave us with a told billion gap. It will


either have to be met by growth or by increased taxes or reduced


government spending. There is no growth of any significant form. The


majority of that is going to have to come from extra tax and lower


government spending over the next three Budgets. What we had today it


was bad, last year it was bad, every budget we have had for three


years has been pretty awful, and they will remain or four for a


considerable period of time. Irish have been pretty stoical


compared to their other European counterparts. You have not had


widespread demonstrations or civil unrest. We have not, largely


because we are a pretty pragmatic people and we would tend to believe


that 500,000 of us watching on the main street of Dublin would not


make any difference, we would shout but it would not fundamentally


change the facts in which we have to exist. The difficulty we have


now at the European level, what is happening, with the euro zone deal


which has been spoken about and a new EU treaty, that is almost


certainly going to have to be put before the Irish people under Irish


constitutional law. That is going to be very difficult to pass,


particularly if there is anything in it which is going to look like


there is greater transfer of sovereignty, and there has to be


otherwise there would be no point of the treaty. Has this crisis


brought about more anti-European feeling in Ireland? Well, it


certainly a more questioning attitude to those people who would


have argued that the European Union is always to our benefit, and the


euro is to our benefit. Those in the opposite camp are going to get


a more considerable hearing next time round. One lessons we have


from referendum in the past, people start of being asked one person --


question and they end up answering another one. Our people questioning


whether posterity is the right way forward? People saying, the only


way to get out of this is growing the economy, so investing?


majority of opinion it would accept that, where will the money come


from? It would not come from ourselves, we have not got it. It


is not coming from our European partners and it is not going to


miraculously appear. Unless you have money coming from somewhere,


it will be impossible to do a stimulus programme. There is no


belief in any short-term solutions. What has been impressive is the


effort by small business in Ireland to get its act together, start


fighting for export markets that they previously would not have felt


they were capable of fighting for, or perhaps would not have been


interested in fighting for. That sort of pragmatic response has been


exhibited at many levels in Irish society.


I'm afraid that is all we have got time for, thank you very much.


It is almost 100 years since the British explorer Captain Scott's


doomed expedition into the Antarctic, and it ended in the


deaths of five men on their way back from the South Pole. A new


exhibition in Cambridge has brought together papers and journals, some


of which have been never seen before in public, which give a


vivid record of the daily life of the exhibition.


Miserable. Utterly miserable. We are camped in the slough of despond.


The words were written on 6th December, 1911. It was the


beginning of the end, the final push by Scott and his four


companions to reach the South Pole. And we know that story, in


extraordinary detail, because of this. The letters they wrote, those


final words that were discovered after their deaths. Had we lived, I


should have had a tale to tell of the hardy heard, endurance and


courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of


every Englishman. These rough notes, and our dead bodies, must tell that


pale. There are also drawing, this the cave where one team it lived


for 21 months. A line drawn to separate the men from the officers.


There are even cartoons. It is the words which are most affecting.


They were starving, racked with frostbite, yet the handwriting is


perfect pot of letters written for both their families and history. It


veers between Scott to the tragic hero and Scott the stiff upper-lip


bungler. 100 years on, what do the letters suggest? What is coming out


of some of the less well known manuscript material, you get the


sense of him having his public persona, being a buttoned up


Edwardian. You read the letters to his wife and you realise, he is a


man of real passion. And so, 100 years on, the first public display


of the private letters. The words that turned the icy remains of


history into a human story. The poet Ted Hughes has been added


to the pantheon of Britain's greatest writers, a memorial has


been unveiled in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. The stone with


his name Nye it lays -- now lies next to his mentor, TS Eliot, and


alongside torso, Wordsworth and Keats. -- Chaucer, Wordsworth and


Keats. Ped would be utterly honoured to be


at the foot of TS Eliot's stone. And he would be indeed honoured to


be in the corner, because he was a poet of England. Do you think it is


important that he is in Poets' Corner? I think it is what he


deserved, it is his due. Thinking of the other poets who are there,


there is a memorial to the First World War poets who made -- meant


everything to him as well. A memorial to Sir John Betjeman,


previous Poet Laureate, a memorial to John Clare, and native poet. A


memorial to William Blake, a visionary. I think he is at home in


that company. How would you describe Ted Hughes's poetry?


of all, I think his work is linguistically compelling. It is in


a direct line from Anglo's gap -- Anglo-Saxon languages, and he is


aware of that, and he was conscious of the lineage, deep, deep into


English tradition. His reputation took some bashes took his lifetime.


Do you think putting him in Poets' Corner put that to rest? I think


his reputation as a poet did not suffer that much. Now and again,


everybody gets a few whacks from that area. But it was about his


life, and I think, as he said himself, his version of his life


was only one version of among many. That will be part of the discourse


for a while. But I think it will dwindle to an awareness of two


extraordinary 20th century poets been together, Sylvia Plath and Ted


Hughes. All the evidence is that they energised each other as


writers. And that is the literary fact of the matter. The


biographical thing will probably go on a bit. What d'you think we have


lost with the passing of Ted Hughes? I think we have lost a


patriotic visionary English poet. And a great poet in the language.


The poet Seamus Hughes, -- Seamus Heaney, remembering Ted Hughes.


A suicide bomb attack on Shia Muslim worshippers has killed at


least 58 people in the Afghan capital.


It has been a chilly day, we have wintry weather to come tonight


across part of Scotland. Once that has cleared away, tomorrow, many


places will have a windy day but there should be sunshine around


with showers in the north and west. This weather front through part of


Scotland is bumping into the cold air through the night, giving a


spell of sleet and snow up particularly across higher ground.


Strong winds, and problems of ice across the night and tomorrow


morning. Through the morning, we have got some snow across north-


east Scotland, a few showers elsewhere but a lot of dry weather


and sunshine through the afternoon. It will be a windy day, coming down


from the north-west bringing showers. Across the Pennines, we


may seep sleet and snow for a time, further south, try and sunshine.


The dry afternoon to come for south-west England, sunny spells


here. A bit more cloud for Wales, we could see a peppering of showers


through the day with temperatures at seven degrees. Cloudier through


north-west England and Northern Ireland. Many places down towards


County Antrim and County Down should be dry and fine, but the


north coast will have frequent showers. At 3pm, most the rain


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