The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
Browse content similar to 12/12/2011. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
This is BBC World News Today, with me, Zeinab Badawi.
Justifying his veto, David Cameron tells Parliament why he refused to
sign a pact to salvage the euro. He insists Britain is still committed
member of the EU. I am a apps but it clear that it is possible to be
both a full, commission -- committed member of the EU, but to
stay at the range is when they do not protect our interests.
Local elections in Syria - turnout is low as clashes continued between
the army and opposition forces. Another demonstration in Russia,
but this time apparently in support of Vladimir Putin. The excerpts
voting irregularities but will not call fresh elections.
Also coming up, the voice of the young and unemployed.
We will report from Italy where unemployment is leaving young
people facing a very uncertain Hello and welcome. David Cameron is
continuing to face huge criticism that he has given up a seat at the
EU top table and got nothing in return. Today he told MPs that he
had acted in the UK's best interests last week by opting out
of any potential treaty changes, to establish a new agreement to help
save the UK law. But he insisted that Britain was still a fully
committed member of the EU. David Cameron must be counting down
the days until the Christmas break. His decision to veto an EU treaty
last week has left him with a painful reminder of the tensions
within his own coalition. As he took his place in the House
of Commons, there were taunts of, where his clay it? A reference to
the very notable absence of the Deputy Prime Minister. But Cameron
was adamant he had had no choice in Brussels, because his calls for
extra safeguards for the financial sector were not heeded by other
countries. I wish those safeguards had been accepted, but frankly the
choice was a treaty without proper safeguards, or no treaty. And the
right answer was no treaty. Nevertheless the Prime Minister
went on to argue that Britain was still very much part of Europe.
am asked to be clear that it is possible to be bought a four,
committed an influential member of the EU, but to stay out of
arrangements with the do not affect our interests.
The opposition leader argued that Britain had been dangerous the
isolated. We will no rue the day Britain -- This Prime Minister has
left Britain alone, without influence. He it is bad for Britain.
Last time David Cameron appeared in the House of Commons, Euro-sceptics
in his own party and told him to show some bulldog spirit. Since the
summit may have been praising him for his stance, and there was
plenty more of that today. He has stood up for democracy, and for
free markets. This is to be wonderfully commended.
But as the Prime Minister fielded questions from friend and foe alike,
the fall-out from last week continued across the Channel. And
there was still shaking of heads at Britain's decision to go it alone.
I regret that the United Kingdom was not willing to join the new
fiscal compact. I regret it as much for the sake of Europe and its
crisis response, and -- as much as for British citizens.
The bigger question remains whether enough was done in Brussels to say
the euro. If the answer is No, the row over Britain's relationship
with the EU may seem a bit of a sideshow.
As we have been reporting, David Cameron justified his veto by
saying he was acting to protect Britain's financial sector, but
business opinion in the City is divided.
Whether it is UK banking, insurance or other financial services, the
outcome of the summit could redefine the landscape. So has the
clash with the eurozone's leadership generated short term
gains because of David Cameron's stands, or other long-term losses
because UK influence is reduced. The Prime Minister said he wanted
to safeguard the City of London from further European regulations.
He could not get firm commitments so he would not sign the treaty.
Some say he was right. He played his hand as well as he could. The
UK was never going to be part of a fiscal compact of 26 countries all
tying together their budgetary discipline. Given that, he had to
do his best to try to protect British financial interests from a
slew of regulations. But there was a warning from a
senior European official that the city was not immune from further
restrictions even under the existing rule book. If this move
was intended to protect bankers and financial corporations in the city
from being regulated, that will not happen.
It is a crucial issue because financial services makes up 9% of
the UK's annual economic output. Manufacturing makes up just over
10%. When it comes to employment, financial services with just over
one million people lags well behind manufacturing with 2.3 million.
There is no doubting the importance of financial services, but there
are many other sectors across the UK economy, some with very
different perspectives, including longer term views on whether their
best interests have been served by the outcome of last week's summit.
The Japanese carmaker Honda is a major investor in the UK. The
company says its operations were not affected by Britain's political
relationships in Europe, but other industry leaders are more concerned.
It is better to be inside, working... A Sir Martin Sorrell,
told the BBC that the UK's image had suffered.
A I was talking to an Indian businessman this morning about
where he would placate his plant given the last 72 hours. The
perception would be that the UK is outside Western Europe...
Looking into the future, the big concern is the possible break-up on
the euro, and fears about that cent share price -- share prices lower.
Do get a clearer idea of whether the veto wielded by David Cameron
will help protect the financial sector here, we are joined by
Damian Chalmers, professor of EU law at the London School of
Economics. This Beatle, or will it jeopardise the City or help it? -
Mac this veto. The City is already subject to financial services law.
There is a large amount of EU regulation that applies to
financial services, most of us decided by a qualified majority of
voting. So nothing in the last week has changed that. But surely if
there are moves to, for instance, introduce a tax on financial
transactions, Britain would be protected from that? No, that is
already being proposed under the existing treaty. The commission has
already made a proposal for the financial transactions tax, and
nothing in relation to changing the treaty, any amendments, will affect
whether that gets adopted or not. Would it cost the UK billions of
pounds, as George Osborne says it would? A tax on financial
transactions, which Britain says would cost it billions and would be
a waste of time if only introduced by the European Union, it has got
to be global? There are many arguments for or against it, many
estimates are a bit speculative, and at the moment it is just a
proposal so we would have to wait and see the eventual form. There is
of course a particular problem with that tax, which is that financial
services are concentrated in the United Kingdom and this would be
decided by a body where the United Kingdom accounts for about eight to
9% of the votes. But by and David Cameron's concerns legitimate, when
he says our financial sector accounts for a bigger chunk of GDP
than other countries, and he wants to make sure it is not jeopardised?
I agree they are completely ginger tonight, -- completely legitimate,
but there are no new safeguards added in the last week to protect
them. Whether there will be in the negotiations around the tax
regarding financial services regulation, we will wait to see.
Some of the Day's other main news. And President Barack Obama has said
that US troops are leaving Iraq with their heads held high. After
talks with the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, Mr Obama said the
US would remain an enduring part the two mack even after the troops
have pulled out at the end of this month.
Panama's former strongman Manuel Noriega has returned home more than
two decades after United States forced him from power. He has
served sentences for drug offences in the UK -- US and money
laundering in France. He returns to Panama to serve 328 year terms for
the murder of political opponents in the 1980s.
Jonny Wilkinson has announced his retirement from international rugby.
He won 91 caps in a 30 year career, and memorably clinched a 2003 World
Cup for England with a drop goal in extra time. He leaves the
international stage second on the all-time scoring list.
It is almost 100 years since Roald Amundsen became the first person to
reach the South Pole. Today in Norway's Prime Minister Jens
Stoltenberg made the same journey by a rather easier means, an
American Hercules plane. He schedule to welcome around one
dozen expeditions marking the event. Opposition activists in Syria have
been boycotting the local elections in the country, saying they are
just irrelevant. The Government claims that large numbers of people
are going to the polls, but the boycott is especially in opposition
strongholds like Homs is believed to be high, suggesting that civil
disobedience is taking hold in Syria. As voting began, security
forces battled pro-opposition army defectors in clashes. Jonathan
Haynes reports from neighbouring Turkey.
Syria is a country divided. Today, between those who voted, and those
who are still fighting. And then there were those who chose to
protest. These opponents of President Assad mocked his
elections by holding one of their own. In Hammer, they protested in a
more conventional way. The general strike is in force in many
opposition strongholds. Here, almost everything is shot. The
likelihood of any voting taking place in neighbourhoods like this
is not high. These pictures are said to be from the contested city
of Homs. Ten people are reported to have been killed in the last 24
hours. A local election has little
relevance here. But in Government strongholds like Damascus, people
did come out of court. These elections are, says the Government,
the first step in its own reform programme. It says they are freer
than before and will give more power to local administrations, but
insists President Assad is the only figure who can do never bought
reform and stability. But, with perhaps half the country racked by
violence and no independent monitors, the value of this
exercise, if any, is impossible to judge.
For the millions who have turned against President Assad, reform
under his leadership is now an impossibility. Their protests have
cost perhaps 5,000 lives, but they will not stop. Once the voting is
over, the struggle for power in this country will resume.
Staying in the Middle East, the situation in Bahrain. David Cameron
has been meeting King Hamad and he urged him to bring in concrete
reforms after his Government suppression of pro-democracy
protests. After their meeting, King Hamad told the BBC he was looking
to Britain to help reform by rain's police and judiciary. Frank Gardner
reports. A controversial visit by the king
of a country racked this year by violence. By rain. -- King Hamad is
seeking Britain's help in implementing reforms. David Cameron
has urged him to act swiftly to prevent abuses.
What we are looking for to move from dictatorship to democracy, to
move forwards from a Prime Minister being in power for 40 years, to a
Prime Minister to being elected. That is what we are really willing
now to, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to discuss this
issue with that the king. In Bahrain, the protests and the
clashes with police and villages continue. Many protesters want an
end to the Sunni monarchy, but large parts of the population do
not. Ahead of the main opposition party -- the head of the main
opposition party, says he is ready for dialogue with the king.
King Hamad, seen here receiving a damning report into human rights
abuses, tells the BBC he plans to invite in personal advisers from
all political parties, but most remain sceptical. Bahrain's
Government was hoping that report would draw a line under the
violence that has claimed around 40 lives, but political grievances
remain. This gulf state is now deeply divided between the Shia
opposition and those who support Thousands of Russians have taken to
the streets of Moscow in support of Vladimir Putin, facing calls to go.
The President, Dmitri Medvedev, announced on Facebook an
investigation into fraud allegations in the vote. But a
spokesman for Vladimir Putin said the allegations about the elections
eight days ago do not undermine the legitimacy of the vote or the
result. Over the weekend, huge demonstrations were held in demand
or fresh elections and the opposition was planning another big
protest on 24th December. Meanwhile, one of Russia's richest businessmen,
Mikhail Prokhorov, has said he will challenge Mr Putin next March. We
are joined by G blogger -- a blogger who was in protest last
week. Fair to say that the protests are an urban phenomenon. Yes, it is
a natural phenomenon. People go to the streets, naturally. The point I
was making is that these are young people, for the large part, who are
on the internet, and not perhaps typical representative of the
Russian population at large. Yes, of course, because in Russian
protests, usually, they consist of pensioners. Young people do not
like politics. That is the common thing for the Russian population.
But now, when big things happen, old people have friends in the
social networks, or they subscribe to the main leaders' opinions. They
can read that something is happening and something is wrong.
And they are interested in politics, and involved. Vladimir Putin has
said there may have been some fraud, some irregularities, but he will
not accept calls for a fresh election. What happens from here?
To protests continued? Yes, I think protests will continue. -- do
protests continue. We're waiting for her the Communist Party, to see
if they will use the amendments, and then we can have free elections.
But I do not believe that they will refuse their deputy in the States
demands. Thank you for joining us. Unemployment has joined corruption
and poverty as the most talked- about topics across the world. In a
new BBC opinion poll, almost a 5th of the 11,000 respondents said that
they had discussed job losses with friends and family over the
previous month. This week on BBC World used, we are looking at how
on employment has affected young people around the world, starting
in Italy where Ben Thomson has travelled from Tuscany in the north
to Naples in the South meeting young people facing a pretty
uncertain future. The city of Prato in northern Italy
is dominated by factories making textiles. They once employed
thousands of people. But the recession has not been kind. In
recent months, many factories like this one had been forced to close.
Italy, like Greece, Spain and Portugal, is in serious financial
difficulty. During the boom years of the 1980s, the government here
spent too much money, and now it has to pay that money back. For
students at the local college, that means jobs are hard to come by.
think that when I finish my studies, I will have problems in finding
jobs because for young people, it is more difficult to find a job.
am going to go abroad because in Italy, there are not many jobs for
young people like us. The school's Head Teachers says the future looks
bleak. TRANSLATION: I am not worried only for my students, I
worried for the whole generation. I am a father, so why am very worried.
Travel south to the rural areas and the problem is much worse. This is
Pompeii, in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, an area traditionally
known for farming and agriculture. Unemployment here has always been
high but over the last few years, it has jumped, particularly among
young people between 16 and 24. The rate of employment is now the
lowest in Italy. Here, instead of protesting about the problems, they
are making music. They say it gives them a voice. TRANSLATION: I think
the economic crisis is really huge. But we have a weapon against the
economic crisis. It is music. Sometimes I do cash-in-hand jobs to
get money, but it is so difficult. It is all about who you know.
want to leave Italy, but the crisis now engulfing Europe means that
finding a golf -- finding a job elsewhere could be as difficult as
finding one here. In our Paris studio, is a
representative from the European Youth Forum. His youth unemployment
any different from my general unemployment. -- his youth
unemployment any different from a general unemployment? Good evening.
Youth unemployment has always been higher than regular unemployment.
We have seen that since 1945. Since to designate, youth unemployment
has been accelerating at an alarming scale. -- since 2008. The
differences in be access to the labour market. The market is more
volatile and insecure in comparison to the previous times. Young people
today are much more mobile. They are better educated, they are more
driven and have more ideas that they want to put into new jobs, but
there are simply no jobs available, so there is a big difference
between winning young person wants to enter the labour market and
another regular person who is already in the market or has had
experience. It is the first job that is the main cause of problems.
It is a difficult problem. It is a hard one to Salford. All the
talking Europe is of extending the retirement age, and so on, so
people are obviously hanging on to their jobs. What does that mean for
young people? It is a major problem. As representatives of youth
organisations in Europe, we are more concerned about only focusing
on austerity measures. And not focusing on investing. You might
call me delusional, to call for investment in a time of crisis but
it is important for us that we do not focus on cutting in the wrong
places. If you invest in youth organisations and young people,
offering possibilities for young people to develop their talents, to
improve skills and capabilities, that will serve them on the labour
market, providing for them a quality internship, for them to
guarantee that within four months of leaving school they have the
possibility of training or a first job. That would very much of young
people on the path of becoming part of the labour market. We do not
believe that just because some people are going to have to work
more and harder in their late years, that that means that this means
that there will be no jobs for young people. There is not this
dichotomy. We are in favour of inter-generational solidarity.
How is this for parental pressure? Especially for those of you with
the challenge of getting children to school in the mornings, prepared
with a healthy packed lunch. Imagine if you tried to achieve the
very high standards of cuisine, but you also have to make it look good.
In Japan, it is not just about being healthy. The ancient Japanese
skills of food presentation had been brought to the humble school
lunchbox. It is lunchtime at this
kindergarten in Japan. The children are eager to see what their parents
have made for them. In this country, a sandwich wrapped in tinfoil just
will not do. The packed lunch has been elevated to something nearer
an art form. At his table, there is some great ones. This is a teddy
bear and hollow Kitty. Next to this, there is a piano. This woman is an
acknowledged master of making character into boxes. -- dental
boxes. She gives lessons to other mothers. Is the competition among
others? -- is their competition among mothers. I feel that it is
Sportsday, and the expectations are getting high. You know, you have to
sit next to other mothers, so I feel pressured. What else have you
done? The teacher has kept photographs of her best designs.
Who are these portraits? Michael Jackson. Harrison Ford. As Indiana
Jones, with the hat and stubble. How did you draw the stubble?
Little seaweed. And do you do this kind of character box every day
queue meant yes. That is very devoted. -- every day? Yes. I enjoy
doing it and the children enjoy it. Back in the kindergarten, lunch is
coming to a noisy end. It did not last very long, the colourful
characters, that took eight hours to make have been gobbled in a
matter of minutes. -- that took hours to make.
More a work of art than a lunchbox. Yes, you have been hearing it, the
rumours are true. We are in for a stormy week of weather. Stormy
conditions starting tonight with heavy rain and strong winds. Later
this week, torrential Wayne -- torrential rain is forecast. This
weather front is moving through tonight, bringing heavy rain to
most places. It will be a wet start for the south-east. Windy for all
of us. Tomorrow, some of the strongest gusts are around exposed
coasts. Across the Pennines, we could see up to five centimetres of
snow. Further south, it is a windy afternoon with frequent showers.
There could be slush and sleet across the moors. Gusty winds in
exposed areas. Snow falling across the tops of Snowdonia and maybe the
Brecon Beacons. Across Northern Ireland, we are in the firing line
for strong winds. Blustery conditions starting to develop