15/12/2011 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today, with me Zeinab Badawi. Mission ended,


but is it mission accomplished? A formal ceremony in Baghdad marks


the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq - were there any gains?


This is a time for Iraq to look forward. This is an opportunity for


Iraq to forge ahead on the path to security and prosperity. Disgraced,


but not in prison - France's Jacques Chirac is found guilty of


corruption gets a suspended jail term. Putin faces his public during


his annual phone-in he says he's pleased young people protested over


the election results. Also coming up in the programme: the small


piece of writing by a teenager that's fetched more than a million


dollars at auction. A manuscript, written by British author Charlotte


Bronte when she was just 14 is sold to a French museum. And taking


Hollywood by storm - the silent era film The Artist tops the list of


contenders for the Golden Globes Hello and welcome. Nearly nine


years of United States military involvement in Iraq is over. At a


symbolic ceremony in Baghdad the American military standard was


lowered, formally marking the end of a hugely controversial conflict.


The US Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, said it was mission


accomplished, and worth the enormous cost, in both dollars and


lives. Our World Affairs Editor, John Simpson, reports from Baghdad.


A quiet, down beat ceremony marks the end of an occupation which


lasted 1 hundred months, cost the lives of 4,500 Americans and of an


unknown number of Iraqis. This is a time for Iraq to look forward. This


is an opportunity for Iraq to forge ahead on the path to security and


prosperity. Welcome to Sadr City, a sprawling working class Shi'ite


suburb of Baghdad. The occupiers are going, says the poster, thanks


to our Government. But things have changed here out of all recognition.


The last time I was here in Sadr City was about three years ago and


I have to say I was nervous. Kidnapping was rife and there were


bombs here justy day. Now, well, you can see for yourself how


relaxed everything is. But not everything is necessarily better.


There are power Kuti day here and in every where in reek. -- power


cuts. -- in Iraq, the Americans never fixed the electricity supply.


They put in water supplies, but that has been forgotten. Instead,


people remember the American atabs on the city. This man keeps the


pictures on his mobile. -- American attacks. These are pictures from


the internet and that is American laughter. At the meat market, you


don't find any love for the United States. The butchers of Baghdad are


happy to see the back of the Americans. The chicken seller sairs


they brought poverty and killed our children. According to the man who


sells cow hearts, they destroyed our country. And the Searl of


sheeps' heads thinks things were better under Saddam. But the United


States has done a good job of training the security forces here.


These check points are every where and are the front line of the civil


war. There are attacks ony day. There were 79 bomb attacks last


month. This one targeted the Prime Minister. Still in 2007, there were


1,000 bombs a month. The suffering doesn't stop, but the insurgency is


vizibly winding down. For 40 years not just the eight of the American


occupation, Iraq has known little more than dictatorship, war and


isolation. Now, people are daring to hope that their luck may finally


be changing. We hope to have more thon that ceremony in Iraq later.


Now claims of fraud, protests and calls for him to step down have


made one of the more testing months of Vladimir Putin's political


career. Today he was giving his annual televised phone in. It


lasted more than four hours, and he accepted that the demonstration a


that have been taken place in Russia were lawful, but he accused


the organisers of trying to weaken the country at the behest of


western powers. Here is our Moscow correspondent. Vladimir Putin holds


a live question and answer session on television each year. This year


after the protests in Moscow, everyone was looking for signs of


weakness to the -- or concessions, but there are not any. He entered


the studio as confident as ever. He was Russian ya's president for


eight years and had been Prime Minister for four. But now he is


facing his biggest crisis. In the first few questions he dealt with


the Parliamentary election results. TRANSLATION: I have no doubt that


the result reflects the real balance of power in the country.


Five days ago thousands of people took to the streets of Moscow to


protest against those results. He said he was glad is many young


people had become politically active, but suggested that some of


the opposition were being paid by foreign powers. TRANSLATION: There


are of course people with passports of the Russian confederation but


are working for the foreign powers. We will try to win those people


over. It made me furious... Evidence that the election was


rigged is aCombe lating. This man was a about an observe ein a


polling station, but the result he witnessed was changed when it was


entered into the national data banks. The number of votes given to


the ruling party was double the original counts. Blen you see it


with your own eyes so play Tantly and... -- blatantly and


unsophisticatedly done, I felt betrayed, I felt infuriated. I felt


very angry at the people who did it to me and who did it to people like


me. That story is far from unique. We have been sent examples from


across the Russian Federation, where the number of votes received


by United Russia went up from the initial certified results to the


results entered in the official computer. But all that was swept


aside as Vladimir Putin gave a bravura performance lasting over


four and a half hours. He head no - - made no concession that there was


cheating. He said that is what opposition parties claim every


where in the world. And he also attacked the west. He said he would


like to be an ally of America, but that sometimes it seemed to me him


that America isn't looking for allies. Now a look at some of the


days other news. A US-based rights group has named Syrian military


commanders whom it accuses of ordering soldiers to shoot-to-kill


during the anti-government protests. Human Rights Watch says 74 senior


government officials and military officers are directly involved in


crimes against humanity. The findings are based on testimony


from Syrian army defectors. At least 140 people have died, after


drinking contaminated alcohol in India. The district hospital near


Calcutta where most of the patients are being treated is said to be


full to capacity. The illegally- made cheap liquor contained toxic


methanol and was sold in a village shop. Seven people have been


arrested. The Governor of the Bank of France said the British debt


should be downgraded before French debt. He said Britain was in a


weaker position than France. The police in South Africa are


investigating allegations that illegal filming took place outside


Nelson Mandela's home. The former president, who is 93, has now


retired from public life and lives in the Eastern Cape region. One of


two international news agencies being investigated has denied


spying on the former president. The country singer, Billie Jo Spears,


has died at her home in Texas. She was 73. Her hits included Mr Walker,


It's All Over, What I've Got in Mind and Misty Blue. But she'll be


best remembered for her song Blanket on the Ground, which was


number one in the country charts in the US in 1975. The former French


president, Jacques Chirac, has been convicted on corruption charges and


given a two-year suspended sentence, after being found guilty of


creating fictitious jobs for members of his party when he was


mayor of Paris. Mr Chirac is the first former French head of state


to be convicted since the wartime collaborationist leader, Marshall


Petain. He says he won't appeal, because he no longer has the


strength to fight. From Paris, Christian Fraser reports. It is the


only time since Marshal Petain and before him Louis 16th that the


highest office in is in land has faced justice. Jacques Chirac was


convicted and sentenced as a common criminal. The 79-year-old was found


guilty of paying friends and allies with public funds between 1977 and


1995 while the mayor of Paris. In effect he used the civic payroll to


support his campaigns. The collusion, embezzlement and abuse


of power, he was handed a two-year suspended sentence. Escaping jail,


but shamed nonetheless. TRANSLATION: For the family it's


very painful, but we must accept it. I think the decision is much too


severe for him. At no point in the trial did Jacques Chirac give


evidence. He is suffering from a condition linked to Alzheimer's


triggered by a mini-stroke. Generally, opinions were divided on


whether the former president should have faced trial. There is still


affection for a man whose values are seen as very French. He is more


popular than the man who replaced him A two year sentence may appear


lenient. But the real punishment is the verdict. It an unfortunate foot


note to 12 years in power and one that sheer sheer fought to avoid. -


- sheer sheer fought to avoid. -- Jacques Chirac fought to avoid.


Agnes Poirier is a French journalist living in London. She's


been following the Chirac case and joins me now. A lenient sentence I


think most people are thinking. But that was no surprise? Actually it


was a surprise. Nobody thought that he would ever get convicted.


Because the first French president since Marshal Petain I think, which


is a long time ago, to be convicted for abuse of trust. And illegal


conflict of interest. Nobody thought he was going to be found


guilty in France? Well no, yes, not, because I mean, it is a long case.


He was the mayor of Paris between 1977 and 1995. That is almost 20


years. And this took place for a long time. He did reimburse all the


fake salaries, or the real salaries for the fake jobs and the town hall


was actually not pressing any charges. But the fact, the fact he


has been found guilty now, but he has got a sentence, what do you


think people make of that? He is a very old man and he is frail. A lot


of people rejuice at the sentence, because it proves that justice can


be independent. -- rejoice. And a president can be found guilty. On


the other hand, a lot of people say it comes too late. Why, perhaps we


should scrap that immunity that French presidentsen joy. What is


what he cited as he was serving as a president? Yes, it could have


happened just a shortly after he left power. Now, he is a frail man.


So ewe rejoice without rejoicing. Is it a big stain on his legacy.


There are no other political implications? Yes it is a stain. In


a way Jacques Chirac serve Foard long time and he was a minister --


served for a long time and he was a minister ten years before I was


born. He had a long and career and he was he was very appreciated on


the world stage. He said no to the war in Iraq. He did achieve many


things. He was also the man the French left loved to hate. But


nobody hates him any more. And this has brought the curtain down in an


Back to the top storey of the end of US involvement in Iraq. Joining


us from New York is Matthew Sherman, a former State Department official


-- official who spent three years working in Iraq. Was it all worth


it in terms of dollars and the lives lost? I still think it is too


early to tell. What today does mark is an important milestone in the


evolving relationship. With the US military gone, the politics of Iraq


changes because they played such an important role and now you have an


opportunity for the Iraqi political environment to stabilise which


means it will be a different US and Iraq relationship and the type of


political relationship in Iraq but also a different relationship with


how Iraq used itself in the region and on the world stage. -- views


itself. While the military mission is at an end there is a challenging


diplomatic mission ahead. Under lot of people are saying that the irony


of the mission to go into Iraq is that it has delivered one of


America's big enemies in the region, Iran, a much stronger hand because


it has a lot of influence now in post Saddam Hussein in Iraq.


would have to disagree with that slyly. What is important for us to


remember is the strength of Iraqi nationalism. I don't think Iraq


wants to be a client state for anyone, beat the international


community, Iran -- be it the international community, Iran, any


country. It will be important for us to see how Iraqi nationalism


involves the -- have also the next coming months and years. That will


be the true test inside the country. But you cannot discount what the


critics say when they say Iran does have influence in Iraq. The Prime


Minister himself has spent time in Iran. They are co-religionists in


the sense that they are all Shia Muslims. But now the mission has


transformed Iraq into a Shia Muslim majority country run by a Shia


Muslim government. Again, I would have to say that you need to take


into mind something that brings together all Iraqis, and that is


nationalism. It is also important not to forget the history Iraq has


with Iran. Having been there for so many years and having engaged with


these leaders on many issues, it is that nationalism that runs through


Iraq and even in the government while Iran it will play a role


within Iraq, Iraq also has to deal diplomatically with its neighbours.


We have to be mindful of that as we move forward in the months and


years to come. Briefly, from the American perspective, a lot of


people will be glad to see this chapter closed. It was a war which


Barack Obama as a senator said was a dumb war. It is bad to categorise


any of these things with simple statements such as that. This is a


very complex type of situation. It has been complex for the nine and a


half years we have been there and complex for the soldiers and


statesman on the ground. But what we need to look as well is to the


future and be able to look at how we can utilise the remaining


strategic influence to help stabilise Iraq to be independent of


Iran which means helping diplomatic relations with in the region and


also being able to help Baghdad become a stronger player on the


international stage. Matthew Sherman, thank you for joining us


from New York. It's half the size of a credit card, has 19 pages and


4,000 words, and today it sold for nearly �700,000. This tiny


manuscript was written in 1830 by the British author, Charlotte


Bronte, who wrote Jane Eyre and Emma amongst other great novels. To


the disappointment of British collectors, it's on its way to a


museum in France, as Ed Thomas reports. So small you need a


magnifying glass to read it, but every page is crafted with short


stories. It details an imaginary world written by Charlotte Bronte


for her brother's toy soldiers. It has not been seen in public for


over 60 years until its owners, a German family, sold it at auction


today. Its new home will be a museum in France, a disappointment


for many when you consider how important this tiny manuscript


eased to English literature. This is the first time it has been seen


in living memory. It has not been known about. Modern scholarship has


not seen it, so it's an exciting opportunity. That significance is


not lost here in the village where the Bronte sisters grew up. The


family home is now a museum and the trustees were outbid at auction.


They wanted it to complete the set, because all six of the many


manuscripts were written here. And it was in this room that Charlotte


Bronte would talk about her story ideas with her sisters and with a


brother. And it is on this table that her classics were written like


Jane Eyre. He said that every now and then they glided from his eyes


to his brain where a immense fire was burning. And when you listen to


Charlotte Bronte A's words of the manuscript you might recognise


similar passages in Jane Eyre. For many this goes some way to explain


how her genius developed. It is significant because this teenager


became one of the greatest novelists in the English language.


And it is because -- significant because this particular book has


the seeds of Charlotte's greatest work, Jane Eyre. The manuscript may


not be coming home, but there is one edition missing, and with it,


more Bronte story has yet to be told. -- Bronte stories yet to be


told. The Golden Globe nominations have been announced and this year's


leading contender is "The Artist" which tells the story of the demise


of the silent era in Hollywood. Other films in the running include


George Clooney's film "The Descendants"; "The Help" about


African-American maids in 1960s Mississippi, and Stephen


Spielberg's "War Horse". In a moment, I'll be discussing all of


this with film critic Jason Solomons, first let's take at look


If Jason, you either love it or hate it. I think it has six


nominations at the Golden Globes, so obviously somebody loves it.


What about you? I think every one that sees it loves it. Seeing a


small club does not do justice -- justice. Anyone seeing it


surrendered to its beauty and daring and the swooning love story


and a very fact it is a silent movie. You have to know what you're


doing. It will be the first French may be to win Best Picture at the


Oscars and the first silent-movie for 80 years. Why is this old


fashioned thing taking people by storm? Because it is really good.


It is brilliantly done, it is lovely and I suppose it is about


storytelling and tells you that you are away from the pyrotechnics of


these days to what we like about The actress her name is peppy


Mellor, and it is a peppy film. Clearly you like it, and I haven't


seen it. Tate it for me it is good. J son, you're usually right. What


about The Help, set in the 1960s in Mississippi? Before we talk about


it here is a clip. Hold on. She looks like the winning horse at the


Kentucky Derby. That has paprika on. Forgive me Lord, but I don't have


to kill that woman. Now she's dead put some marks on the toilet paper.


But I carried the papering from my own damn house. So that is


basically about African American maids working in a White House told.


The maids are meant to confess in the -- made to confess her horrors


of their lives. This film was very popular in America, but I think


that has this many nominations is terrible. I found that film


extremely problematic. Just backlit, watching the old stereotypes being


reinforced, and I know with the distance of age, but we are looking


black characters playing rolling eyes maids in the back of the


kitchen. I don't think we have progressed any further. This film


is a hugely retrograde step. Whereas The Artist is a forward


step even though it is going back into nostalgia, but this film is


not really changed. It is not told from the black standpoint. For me


this film is a sort of embarrassment and not the sort of


film I would expect Hollywood to be lauding. I don't think it will make


it through to the Oscars. But it might do. The actress does have


extreme dignity in the role, but I find the film uncomfortable to


watch from the off. What about some of the films that have not made the


list? Some highly acclaimed films like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.


I was very upset to see the film shut-out. It has a fantastic cast


and a brave performance by Gary Oldman and looks fantastic. Colin


Firth is in it. A great British cast. It seems that film, which has


been popular in Britain, has not quite translated to America. I am


worried it will be shut out of the awards and I think it is one of the


most clever and stylish and interesting works of film of the


year. It may get their revenge with BAFTA claiming the back. But


somehow the Americans, so far, seem to be shunning it. And also the


Tree of Life, Terence Malik, that has been shunned. It won the Cannes


Film Festival award. It has been completely shut out by the Golden


Globes. They don't want any of that hippy nonsense! But The Artist,


given their props, a good choice. You don't sound a happy man really,


apart from The Artist. Thank you for that. After almost nine years


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