06/01/2012 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today. I'm Zeinab Badawi. The Syrian


authorities say they will strike back with an iron fist, after an


apparent suicide bombing in Damascus. Syrian media claim dozens


are dead or injured, and blame terrorists. But how credible are


those claims? There was a very strong sense that


the Syrian authorities wanted to display what had happened. There


were crowds of people chanting pro- regime slogans in support of Bashar


al-Assad. The British government says there's


no urgent need to remove sub- standard breast implants but it


will cover costs for women who had their surgery under the NHS.


A key moment for Turkey - its former army chief is arrested over


an alleged plot to topple the government a few years ago.


Also coming up in the programme: The African National Congress marks


its centenary. As South Africa's ruling party prepares for a weekend


of celebrations, we ask where next And the new sound of 2012. We meet


the winner of the BBC's search for Hello and welcome. It's difficult


to verify events in Syria, because journalists can not operate


independently, but according to the Syrian Interior Ministry around two


dozen people and many more were injured in a suicide bombing in


Damascus today. The bombing comes two days before the Arab League is


due to consider the initial report of its monitoring mission in the


country. The Syrian opposition claim the authorities staged the


bombing to bolster their claims that terrorists and armed gangs are


behind the killings in Syria. Mike Wooldridge has more.


Another scene of devastation in the centre of Damascus. The wreckage of


a bus said to be carrying a policeman. Other vehicles with


shattered windows, multiple Syrian state television and


breaking the news, the reporter says the blast happened in an area


heavily populated, especially before Friday prayers with people


going shopping. They were targeted in addition to security personnel.


The television calls it the work of a suicide bomber, a terrorist


explosion. Anger at the scene in the aftermath. The interior


minister said a suicide bomber targetted cars and pedestrians and


detonated explosives to kill as many people as possible. It comes


two weeks after the authorities say there was an attack by suicide


bombers in Damascus on buildings associated with security forces.


The attack killed 44 people. The government blamed Al-Qaeda,


opposition say the regime was behind it. It shows the escalation


of the violence in Syria and its changing nature. Whether today's


explosion will lead to similar claim and counter-claim is not


clear. The main armed group fighting the government indicates


it was not involved. It coincides with increasing controversy over


the effectiveness of the Arab League observer mission currently


in Syria. The President's government is accused of misleading


the Arab League monitors by not taking them to some of the most


vocal anti- government areas. On Thursday, a group of observers to


break away from the government minders to visit a suburb in


Damascus. These pictures filmed by BBC Arabic show the monitors in


orange vests being encircled as they are here by with his accounts


from angry grieving citizens. This man has said his son was shot by a


sniper and stabbed to death as he was leaving a mosque during


protests. The observers did not witness any violence but these


pictures seem to show the same suburb later that day with people


fleeing in panic as gunfire breaks out. Some Arab League countries


admit the 100 strong mission may have fallen short in its duty and


agrees to send 40 more observers. Ian Black is the Middle East Editor


for The Guardian newspaper. He was allowed to visit the scene two


hours after the blast and he told the BBC a little earlier about what


he was able to see. The most striking evidence I saw


were the remains of a man who had blown himself up. There was part of


a head and some feat, a grisly scene. And other identifiable bits


of a human body in a plastic bag by one of the buses which was targeted.


By the time I and other journalists were taken to the place to see it,


there were no other bodies there, they had been removed, as had to


the injured. There were other what appeared to be body parts,


unidentifiable to the non expert eye but human remains which were


shown to the media to be filmed repeatedly, and there was a strong


sense the Syrian authorities wanted to do display what had happened.


There were crowds of people chanting slogans, pro regime


slogans in support of Bashar al- Assad. Hostility to those traitors


he carried out the crime. It has to be said it took place in an


ordinary neighbourhood of Damascus. A Guardian reporter talking about


the attack in Damascus today. Some of the other news: Binyamin, tens


of thousands have held street protest putting pressure on the


President to honour his agreement to step down next month.


The protesters called on authorities to release prisoners.


Supporters of the President held a separate protest near by.


The latest US employment figures showed they are better than


President Obama might have hoped for. There were 200,000 new jobs to


bring unemployment down to 8.5%, the lowest in three years.


Further protests across Nigeria against the controversial removal


of a fuel subsidy by the government. It has doubled the cost of petrol.


Hundreds gathered in the capital but were prevented from entering


eagle square by armed police and soldiers.


The World Boxing Association will investigate the ringside appearance


of an unknown man who seemed to speak to officials during Amir


Khan's defeat. He pasted photographs of the incident on his


Twitter feet. He said it took a long time to announce a fight after


the fight was finished. Britain's government says there is no


evidence to recommend the urgent removal of faulty breast implants


given to thousands of women in the UK. However, it says it will cover


the costs of removal for the small minority of women who had their


surgery under the National Health Service but not if was done


privately. Our medical correspondent Fergus Walsh reports.


These breast implants are being filmed with medically tested


silicone, a company in North Lanarkshire is the only British


firm which makes them. The French Poly Implant Prothese implants had


industrial grade silicone and were banned. Health officials in the


Czech Republic followed France's lead recommending women have the


implants removed as a precaution. The official line is there is no


need for removal but the NHS will pay for replacement implants if


cancer patients are suffering anxiety. It's important not to


exaggerate the reasons to be worried but if women are worried we


will support them. I expects and the expert group want to see


private providers offer the same standard of care. It's thought


40,000 or more UK women have Poly Implant Prothese implants. 95% done


privately for breast enlargement. 5% were done by the NHS for breast


reconstruction after cancer. Karen is desperate to have her Poly


Implant Prothese implants removed, one has ruptured. Ministers say


private clinics are morally obliged to help patients like her but there


are no legal powers to force them. I don't know where it has left me.


I do not have the funds to have them removed. I must walk around...


It could get worse. The issue comes down to an assessment of risk.


Every woman undergoing implant surgery is told there is a danger


of complications and that increases the longer the implants stay in.


Eventually, they may need to be replaced. The government review


group considered whether the Poly Implant Prothese implants carried


additional an acceptable risks that would require the removal. They are


very robust. This surgeon says private clinics should pay for


replacements but women must not be abandoned by the NHS. They did not


know the risk that they would be implanted with non-medical great


implants, the NHS picks up the bill for smoking and alcohol related


diseases. We all know smoking and alcohol can cause problems and yet


the NHS picks up the bill. Government's decision means women


who cannot persuade private clinics to help them will have to pay for


replacements like bees or simply live with their Poly Implant


Prothese implants. The former head of the Turkish


armed forces has been arrested as part of an investigation into an


attempt to overthrow the government. A prosecutor said he should be


remanded in custody after he testified in court in Istanbul.


General Ilker Basbug is the highest ranking of to be linked to the


investigation. Prosecutors say the network plan to topple the Islamist


government in a 2003. There are carry 400 suspects on trial over


several alleged anti- government plots by the military and the


secular establishment. A London- based Turkish analyst and research


associate at the Foreign Policy Centre in London. He joins me. So,


this is quite a key moment for Turkey when you have a former head


of the army being asked by a civilian court to undergo these


charges. Yes, no matter what angle we look at it, it's a historical


moment. Just as any historical moment, the glass is half full or


half empty. It signifiers the normalisation of democracy in


Turkey when an accusation can be brought against a leading military


officer and they do have to stand before the law. It raises serious


questions though about Turkish judiciary and how the cases handled


and put questions. It will be a key test for the Turkish government as


to whether the trial will be conducted properly if Turkey wishes


to impress upon its critics it is a modern secular state. Indeed. A lot


of the problems with the court case or the prose is issues are not


necessarily the problems relating to A E K A. It needs reform and the


EU has been critical on various occasions. Effaces criticisms not


only at international level in showing the ultimate goal is


democracy but also at the domestic level. There are questions and


certain parts of Turkish society that see the court case as a


punishment. With the recent issue with the bombings and listed by the


military and did it apologise for the bombings. In Turkey, the


military are the custodians of the secular nature of the state and the


president with his roots, it is not a him of trying to undermine his


secular opponents? It really isn't. They have spent enough time in


office for us to be able to assess the agenda and attitude and


political theology. The critics would raise questions whether or


not the case symbolises a making it more like Russia. A strong party


and a strong ruler. Even that would be a dubious reading of the


situation. He denies all the charges and says Huckerby accused


by the government which appointed me head of the military in Turkey.


Yes, the accusation is not that he was necessarily trying to overthrow


the government but that he gave permission to misinformation


campaigns being run by the Office against the government. The


accusations a quite specific and manageable. The overall case


involving hundreds of people includes serious allegations


including organisation of armed groups to overthrow the government.


The plot thickens. Indeed. Thank you.


Hungary's centre-right government is continuing to defend the new


constitution it has introduced which critics claim a roads


democracy in the country. Alarm is expressed internationally and the


EU is examining whether the charges -- changes break EU law. With one


rating agency downgrading Hungary's credit status to junk, the


government might be forced to renegotiate some or all of the


changes if it is to get a possible We found little cheer on this tramp


across the Danube. No wonder, hungry's economy is in a slump and


some here accuse the government of turning back democracy -- Hungary's.


So this is all the fuss is about? Ministers are not shy of showing


off their new constitution, as for the idea it is anti-democratic...


That is a supposition charge, even the question itself is a bizarre


one. In the heart of Europe we are finally getting back on track to an


organic development of the country which was disrupted by communism.


That is not how they see it. Tens of thousands turned out to protest


the new laws this week, claiming the independence of the judiciary


and the central bank are threatened. At the Public TV station some


journalists are run hunger-strike in protest. They are restricting


the constitutional Code, the freedom of press, dismantling


democracy, they are trying to set up a kind of tyranny, a regime


which is unprecedented in Europe. This row could not have come at a


worse time, the economy here is in dire straits. The government says


it needs some 20 billion euros of international loans to help pay its


bills. But the legal changes the government has just forced through


put such loans in jeopardy. At Budapest's food banks there is


concern over what that might mean for Hungary's poor. International


criticism of the new constitution has put loan negotiations on hold


at a time when poverty here is increasing. Back over the Danube


and this once affluent but the higher is heading into the unknown.


-- empire. Ministers say they will do all they can to satisfy


international investors but will they have to give up their


The African National Congress has been the party of some of South


Africa's most iconic figures, like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and


Walter Sisuslu. Well, this weekend the ANC marks its centenary with


three days of celebrations attended by African leaders along with


veterans of the anti-apartheid movement. As our Africa


correspondent Andrew Harding reports, the old liberation party


is now facing an entirely different We have come to fix Burke, a small


struggling South African town -- Fichsburg. Sewage on the streets,


one tap shared by a whole neighbourhood. This is raw sewage?


How long has it been like this? almost 10 years. Anger is growing


here, people expected more from freedom and the governing ANC.


Vincent says the ruling party is corrupt, bloated and it is time for


change. The ANC now has collapsed. They cannot even provide a Amin's


of services to the people. We want them to lose power peacefully


because we didn't want to be any situation like happened in both


Libya and Egypt and Tunisia. It has been a long, momentous journey for


the ANC, forged during the struggle against racial oppression, the


greatest liberation movement led years of street protests, armed


rebellion and negotiation before its leader became South Africa's


first Democratic president. And now the party is celebrating its 100


the birthday. Present Jacob Zuma leads the festivities. This is a


bittersweet moment for the ANC. The party seems to be way -- weighed


down by corruption, infighting and incompetence. Yet look how popular


they still are. That is because history and loyalty still count for


a great deal here. Many have perished, died, collapsed. Not the


ANC. But is the party of revolution losing its touch? At a golf


tournament for ANC elite a man in prison with Nelson Mandela


acknowledges mistakes. There is a bit of corruption, paps it is worse


in our country because we have not yet delivered the services fully to


the people of South Africa. But for all its faults, the ANC keeps


winning elections. Back in Fichsburg in a shack by a sewer,


and it says simply they gave us freedom. -- Anna. She said I would


die voting for the ANC. A new singing talent has been


compared to soul greats like Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. High


praise. He is an unassuming 24 year-old singer from London who has


won the BBC Sound of 2012 award. Michael Kiwanuka came top of the


poll of music industry insiders as the most exciting new artist of the


year. He said he felt honoured and humbled to have one. We went to


Michael Kiwanuka may have won the accolade of the sound of 2012 but


his music and its timeless quality will probably feel -- would it feel


as at home in the 1970s as it does today -- the BBC Sound of 2012. I


never expected to win. It will be a great platform for me for as many


people as possible to hear it, a dream for any musician. I feel so


honoured, happy and humble to be part of it. Over the past few


months the 24 year-old has certainly been winning high-profile


And the north London singer- songwriter is already earning


favourable comparisons to artists like Bill rivers and Marvin Gaye. -


- Bill Withers. He uses recording equipment to create a classic,


vintage sound. The list is put together by asking more than 180


people, ranging from music writers to DJs and bloggers, to name their


favourite new artists. Recent winners who have gone on to become


Some have said it has become too mainstream at the cost of more


independent music. One panellist disagrees. The record companies are


aware this could help and it gives an enormous boost to an artist's


career in the early stages. But to get the top of the list, people do


not vote for anything, they vote for what is good and if you get to


the top of the list you have to be pretty good. With so many convinced


of Michael's potential great things are now expected from him over the


I am sure you will hear a lot more from Michael. Let's get more from


BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens. You know so much more about these


performers so don't show me up! I have enjoyed listening to some of


them. Do you think the right person I think he is brilliant, the top


five is eclectic and hopefully people will listen to these artists


for the first time. He was the only Brit in that top the list, wasn't


he? The rest were American and Swedish. Very much reminiscent of a


bygone era, he almost looks a bit like Al Green, doesn't he? Otis


Redding, Marvin Gay kind of tradition... A strong, vintage


sound. People like that. Sometimes people do not need forward-thinking


of music. Skrillex does forward- thinking dug step, he is in the


list. He came No. Two? Frank ocean? That was an explosive song. I like


him. He is established, isn't he? Quite popular already. The rules of


getting in this list is you cannot have had a Top 20 single but they


are all signed, they are tipped for great things for the year ahead.


Who was your favourite? Mine was Nikki and the dove, a Swedish duo


who were around number five. -- Let's see why you like to them... -


They are raised Swedish duo and the Swedes do pop very well, don't


they? ABBA, yes! They are my favourites, I think. Do you think


this list tells us about how a taste in music might be changing?


People seem to like the voice. Adding that is why Michael Kiwanuka


did so well, I am sure we will hear a lot more from him -- I think.


There is forward-thinking hip hop from Azealia Banks, forward-


thinking soul music, dub step, it is an interesting list. Between all


of these five artists there is a 1000 other brilliant musicians who


why am sure we will hero over the next year. I look forward to it. I


have learned a lot from you just now. Thank you! That is all from us.


Today we saw some sunshine and much lighter winds. It felt quite


pleasant and it will be more at the same tomorrow. Decent spells of


sunshine with the breeze picking up as we head through the day. Through


the night, a weather front will sink southwards and introduce


patchy cloud and outbreaks of rain and drizzle. The winds tomorrow


will bring scattered showers into northern areas of Scotland with a


few of those feeding into north- west England and the Midlands lated


in the day. They will be really isolated but not too heavy. Through


eastern England and southern counties of England as well breezy


conditions through the day but a lot of dry weather and sunshine. If


you are heading out it should be very nice. South-west England and


Wales, sunny spells, maybe some a road showers for northern areas of


Wales through the afternoon. A bright, breezy afternoon for


Northern Ireland with highs of seven to 80 degrees. It is in


Scotland where the winds will continue to strengthen perhaps


touching gusts of gale force and some of the showers and the North


and the Northern Miles could be on the B-side. As we had do Saturday


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