10/01/2012 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me Zeinab Badawi. Syria's President


Bashar al-Assad makes a rare and defiant speech. He criticises the


Arab League and blames external forces for a violent conspiracy in


his country. We will not allow a bunch of people who sold their soul


to the devil to destroy what the Syrian people have built throughout


history. The race to win the Republican


presidential nomination moves to New Hampshire. Can Mitt Romney pick


up enough momentum here to finish off his rivals?


A last minute rush for South African University places turns


into a stampede with deadly consequences. Everybody was pushing.


There was a lot of screaming. It was terrible, it was terrible.


Also coming up in the programme, swapping sport for politics.


Manchester United idol Eric Cantona says he's going to try to run for


president in his native France. And smart television bringing TV


Hello and welcome. The Syrian government went on the offensive


today both against its internal opponents and foreign opponents and


critics. In a two-hour defiant speech, President Bashar Al Assad


blamed a foreign conspiracy for the wave of violence in his country and


pledged to regain security by hitting terrorists with an iron


fist. His regime's been criticised for its violent suppression of


anti-government protests. The United Nations believes more than


5,000 civilians have been killed since March last year. Paul Wood


Business-as-usual for Syria. President Assad's speech promised


more of the same, an iron fist, he called it. So, today, this latest


video apparently shows a suburb of the capital, Damascus, with tanks


on the streets. It's only the 4th speech by Syria's leader in at 10


months of this crisis. He said the country was facing terrorism and he


blamed a conspiracy on foreign powers. The dark ages of warmongers


outside are now clear. He went on to attack the foreign media. They


want to shake Syria's stability, he says, them or stoking fear to cause


us to collapse. At the start of this crisis, President Assad was


seen as above the fray, but street protesters they pinned their hopes


of an to bring in reforms but now they just want him to go, and the


opposition accuses him of pushing the country close to civil war.


regime has learned nothing from the past 10 months. It is more extreme


now than ever. Arab League monitors have failed to calm things down.


President Assad attacked them. The opposition want foreign military


intervention. But help is not on the way. Syria is at the heart of


the Middle East, and what happens in that Syria is unlikely to remain


in Syria. There are net any number of scenarios where there are


significant spillover effects towards Israel, Turkey and the Gulf.


So, on the ground, both sides seem to be expecting an escalation in


the violence. The Arab League has condemned an incident in which two


members of its observer mission in this area were injured in an attack


by demonstrators. The head of the Arab League said the Syrian


government was responsible for protecting members of its mission.


I'm joined from Washington by Theodore Kattouf, former US


ambassador to Syria and the United Arab Emirates. He is currently the


President of American Friends of the Middle East. This attack on the


Arab League, what lay behind this? It took place in Latakia, a city


which is fairly supportive of President Assad. Do you think it


was genuine or orchestrated? can never be certain but it's very


clear from statements emanating from leaders of the Gulf co-


operation Council, and the head of the Arab League, that they hold


Syria responsible for these attacks and, indeed, in his speech today,


President Assad was dismissive of, and insulting towards, the six


states of the council, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, set off. One member


at least, the Gulf council, Coltart, has broken in relation to the Arab


League, and said the observer mission is not able to do this on


its own and it would be better if it got help from the UN. Is that


something you agree with? It's a view I agree with. I think they


have been at the forefront of those Arab League states, saying that


Syria needs to be taken to task at the UN Security Council. And I


think it's quite true that the 150 monitors who are they right now,


are not capable of a restraining Syrian intelligence and a special


military units from assaulting their own people. And, in terms of


what the USA can do, that it isn't doing, what would you like to see


Washington doing? I mean, it's not what I think, but I think here in


the USA, we had just pulled our troops, and you have pulled your


troops out of Iraq. We want to put our troops out of Afghanistan in a


couple of years. Tensions are very, very high with Iran, and quite


honestly, I don't see many people eager to see the administration


directly intervening in a serious. But, if there was going to be an


intervention, it would be to follow some what of the Libyan example


where the Arab League condemns them, goes to the secluded Council, and


then that Russia and China would have to go on, and right now,


Russia particularly is not don't go along with any tough action. I


think we are stay need for the on the Bashar al-Assad's rare speech.


What do you make of that? Is he in control? Is your mouthpiece for the


regime? Frankly, whichever the case, it's probably a distinction without


a difference. The regime is far more than one man. His family, his


inner circle, the circle of his protectors, and they are not going


to give up power peacefully. They are not going to, even though he


talked of reforms, he would have done it by now, he wants to give


whatever he can he feels necessary to the opposition, but not until


they are totally off the streets, and repressed and humbled.


Ambassador, thank you very much for talking to us live or from


Washington. The candidates hoping to take on President Obama in


November's presidential election are fighting it out in New


Hampshire today in the second stage of the battle for the Republican


nomination. The former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney,


is tipped to win. He won in Iowa last week by just eight votes. Mitt


Romney is hoping the momentum he gains here will help secure him the


nomination. Over to Manchester, New Hampshire, and my colleague Katty


Kay. It's quite a feat, if he pulls this off? It absolutely is. What he


would like to do is win and win big. So he can have secured a party's


nomination, coast through the primaries and start a directing his


attention to Barack Obama and the general presidential election which


takes place in November. There's a few more hours until the polls


close in New Hampshire and during that time, the candidates are using


every last minute to persuade every voter they can. Paul Adams has the


news. Mitt Romney in confident mood in Manchester. He is the man to


beat, and moderate Republicans surrounded by more conservative


opponents. I hope the people turn out, the entire nation is watching.


The Republican voters will certainly to some up. The only


questions, how big will he win and how many of his rivals will fight


another day? The candidates have swarmed all over diners up and down


the state, but what have they left behind and do people believe any of


them can deliver change? None of these Republicans, I don't feel it.


I don't know. I'm up in the air. Winter has yet to come hard in New


England. But the ice fishermen are looking for a catch. Hoping to land


more than just tiddlers. Jason has not decided to devote four yet, but


thinks Mitt Romney will win. -- who to vote for yet. I think he will


win. A lot of people are looking for him. I need votes for that and


the underdog candidate. Huntsmann is enjoying a late surge.


He won't win but the bomber jacket and the baby's suggest he has not


given up for the after a lacklustre campaigner, there's plenty of


excitement around today. This is the media surrounding Newt Gingrich,


who was not even expected to finish in their top three. The President


has his supporters here, too. They don't want the Republicans making


all the noise. Primary season has months to run but Mitt Romney hopes


to have it wrapped up rather quicker than that. Republicans are


hoping for a big turnout in these primary elections here in New


Hampshire. Let's get a sense of the significance of this. I'm joined


here by Tim Stanley. Thanks so much for joining us. This is our first


presidential election you have been covering. What are you making of


the process? You really have to come here to see it and understand


what it's like to be surrounded by these politicians and media people,


how crazy it is and how it becomes a microcosm of a national campaign.


What I have been feeling is this is two elections at once. A referendum


on Mitt Romney, as a candidate, which I think you will win today


quite handsomely. Secondly, who will emerge as his conservative


rival, and that is split between several candidates. I have no


feeling who is preferred more, but I can see some momentum behind Jon


Huntsmann and Ron Paul. Hampshire has a history of


upsetting presidential races. If Mitt Romney doesn't do as well as


expected here, today, what does that mean for his campaign?


really has to get over their dibber cent of the boat, preferably over


the D5. -- 35% of the vote, preferably over 35. If he doesn't


get over that, I think other candidates, particularly Jon


Huntsmann, are well placed to say Mitt Romney moved her, spent so


much money, off went on TV, met nearly every single person and


couldn't get more than 35%. It suggests the Republicans don't


think he's as popular as national polls suggest he is, which is why


it's important for him to do well. You said there is a race for the


front-runner, Mitt Romney, and the rest of the Conservative pack. Also


who will be the best candidate to take on Barack Obama in November?


Has Mitt Romney persuaded voters in New Hampshire, do you think, he is


best suited to win the White House for the Republicans? Unfortunate,


for him, the day before there was a scandal in which he said during a


speech that he likes being able to fire people. His words were taken


out of context but already the Democratic National Committee is


spinning them against him all over the breakfast shows for the even if


Mitt Romney does not win today, I suspect this primary has set him up


for a fall in November and he could be hurt by his victory here today.


Nationally, he's only three points ahead of Mitt Romney. -- Barack


Obama. Ron Paul is only one point behind Barack Obama for the what


does that say? Thank you very much. Of course, we will know does result


later tonight and will bring you the result and looking ahead to


what they mean for the national elections, the critical election,


in November, when whoever is a Republican, Hasted Robert is Barack


Obama. Thank you very much. In South


Africa, one person was crushed to death and nearly 20 people were


injured as thousands of students tried to get through the gates of


the universe to Johannesburg to apply a fall last minute places.


There's a shortage of educational opportunities in the country, and


many families had camped outside all night, hoping to be successful.


In a moment we'll be speaking to the deputy Vice-Chancellor of the


University. But first this report Survivors still looking for lost


belongings. Thousands of applicants stood outside the camp for days,


but there were only 800 slot in the university. They desperation caused


a frenzy. Everybody was trying to get space. Everyone wants to get in.


I was trying to protect my son. It was not easy. There was a lot of


screaming, everybody was pushing. It was terrible. This is where the


stampede took place today. The parent who died was that the front


of the queue. She was head, trying to find a place for her child, when


the crowd from behind to poached the people in front. -- she was


here. -- behind pushed the people in front. University management


expressed sympathy with -- sympathy for the loss of life, but said the


crowd was uncontrollable. Given what has happened, the university


Vice-Chancellor has assured us that there will be an inquiry.


unemployment rate amongst the youth is as high as 15%. There is a more


hunger for Una -- education, but they are not enough places.


We're joined by Professor Adam Habib, the Deputy vice-Chancellor


of the University of Johannesburg, who happens to be visiting Oxford.


Are you going to be changing your procedures? I cannot take you.


sad about this news. Are you going to be changing your procedures?


we are not. We will have an inquiry. We will tighten up procedures to


manage accounts better. We have tried to do that. But we have got a


reason why we keep these entrants open. The poorest of the port do


not apply early on. They do not have the educational opportunities.


-- poorest of the poor. The schooling system does not prepare


them, so we give 11,000 places in advance, and keep about 1,000


places available for last-minute entrance. That creates hope.


Looking at the wider picture in South Africa, does everybody have a


right to further education? principle, everyone has a right.


But are they enough places? We have 23 universities in the country.


Most of us have places. We take about 24% of those who do the final


examinations, and qualify. There is not enough places available end be


higher education system. -- in the higher education. Everybody wants


to come to the universities. They see that as the only way of getting


out of poverty. Thank you very much indeed.


He's been a footballer, a film star, and some people have even described


him as a "philosopher". Now the former Manchester United idol, Eric


Cantona, has announced his political ambitions. He's trying to


secure the support that will allow him to stand against France's


President Sarkozy later in the year. The Gallic shrug, the talent, those


mesmerising feet. They were low points, of course - the Kung Fu


kicking of the Crystal Palace fan, followed by the philosophy. When


the sea gulls follow the sea, they think it is because some think will


be swung into the sea. The move to acting was obvious, and popular.


The Ken Loach film, Looking For Eric, was a huge success. Just the


kind of profile you would need to become the President of France. He


needs the backing of 500 elected officials. But, the letter he sent


is more an attempt to raise the issue of the poor quality of social


housing. In this advert, Ed in 2010, Eric Cantona takes the prospective


tenant of a run-down council flat. The kitchen needs a bit of work, he


says. So, he asks. You going to take it? Eric Cantona seems an


unlikely champion of the poor, but as a footballer, he knows about the


gulf between the highly paid players and the public. Eric


Cantona is a brilliant and unpredictable. It is what made him


a star in the first place. Now, many of you are watching me on


a conventional television, but some of you will be watching on a


computer via the internet. Well, whatever method you're using, one


thing appears more certain - there is a move towards further


integration of the two mediums. That integration is what IPTV is


all about. Our technology correspondent has been speaking to


some of the industry's leading players at the Consumer Electronics


Show in Las Vegas. San Francisco, the gateway to


Silicon Valley. I have come to see how the software firms plan to


transform another industry. The internet revolution has been slow


to hit television. Silicon Valley believes it can change our


relationship with TB. One small software company has a big idea.


This is the problem - today's TV user has too much choice. Lots of


material, lots of the set-top boxes, and all these remote controls. What


if we took all of them away, and replaced them with one second


screen, enabling us to control access to all this television?


Dijit believes this second screen can make choosing what we watch and


sharing it with friends a lot easier. But it was when I headed to


Google's HQ that I found a phone with the biggest ambitions. Google


to -- Google TV brings the Web to your living room. So far, it has


struggled to attract an audience. People say that TV is a lean back


experience. Their internet is a lean forward experience. What do


you know about television? What we know is what Google is good that -


helping users find what they want. I left Silicon Valley and the


software firms and set off to Las Vegas to get another view on the


future of television. This week, every big TV manufacturer is in


town for the Consumer Electronics Show. And the battle is on between


Samsung and Sony to be the big players in Smart TV. They believe


Connecting your set to the Net will naturally. When you go out and buy


a TV, and bring it home, you should be connected to the internet.


screens get bigger and slimmer, the pictures sharper. Now, television


is getting smarter. And they hope viewers will come


Let's talk some more about this. We're joined by Zara Rabinovich,


from the website Chip Chick. Do you think they have cracked it this


time? Or I think they have a. -- I think they have. We heard there,


our reporter talking about the main players. Who do you think will be


right in it there? At the moment, the battle seems to be Samsung and


L G. A lot of people are familiar with a voice controls. Both of


these players have got integrated cameras - you have facial


integration, for example. You can say hi to change the channel. The


Samsung is building a big store. To bes are coming in with built-in


hard drives and flashed drives. Samsung are also allowing you to


upgrade your TV. You can put a new chip into the TV. So going that way,


are you thinking over a time frame? Months, years? If you have the


money, you can't get on to it straight away. But it will still be


outside most people's price range. I hope we will see a job in prices.


Within three years, I'd imagine a connected to the end everybody's


house. And it can also work with your mobile phone. It is getting to


be a really multi- connected world. It was another mild day. We have


had a lot of cloud, and we will stickler that overnight. Tomorrow,


we still have that weather front. That will bring outbreaks of rain.


It since southwards, and it could be a chilly start fall north-


eastern Scotland. Damp, it shares the lead conditions initially. With


the westerly wind continuing, these conditions will persist. -- damp,


drizzly conditions. Sunny spells through central and southern areas


of England - 12 degrees away top temperature. Those conditions


reluctant to improve. -- our top temperature. But to the east, the


chance of bright and as. For the Northern Ireland, glimmers of


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