18/01/2012 World News Today


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This is BBC World News today. Agencies admit thousands of lives


could have been saved in the Horn of Africa last year it early famine


warnings had been heeded. As fears grow of another food


crisis, this time in the west of the Continent, we ask have lessons


been learned? There is a shortage of grain, we are waiting for the


consequences of the shortage. The rescue operation on the Costa


Concordia is suspended as the ship shapes down the rocks. The


government says there is a risky could sink completely.


Hungary's Prime Minister faces his accusers in the European Parliament.


He says he will change legislation it branded undemocratic, but will


it be enough? I appeal to him to accept the principles of democracy


and freedom and implement them. Also coming up. Blacked out in


protest. Wikipedia shuts down its English-language website for 24


hours in protest a new anti-piracy proposals in the US.


Lights are set to switch off in this Somerset town, so people can


see the stars clearly. Hello and welcome. Aid workers in


East Africa were so slow to sound a warning over last year's Fanon,


that thousands of people died unnecessarily. That is the


conclusion of a report by two of the aid agencies, Oxfam and Save


the Children. They say agencies took more than six months to act on


information from satellites and eyewitnesses of the developing


crisis. The report comes as fears grow that the Sahel region of West


Africa could be facing a further food crisis. Our correspondent now


reports. The mothers are waiting when this health clinic opens,


almost all their children were being treated for severe


malnutrition. It is this child's third visit and she is showing


progress. Many more children are at risk of severe malnutrition in the


share at this time.. Her mother returns to a village nearby. The


last rain stopped early in many places, pests did much damage to


crops as well in this region, supposed to be one of the bread


baskets of the country. The what are seen as more precious than


usual. The hardest game has only 10% of the Food We need she says.


My husband went to Nigeria to work, but the money went quickly and he


has gone back. I have to fetch wood and water to sell them for


something for us to live on. There is great on sale in the market in


this town. The poor can ill-afford the rising price. Here, a scheme to


help the poorer buying food when it is still available. This is visited


today by the EU humanitarian aid conditioner. This is a typically


hard-pressed village, people are given cash to help them feed their


families, increasingly seen as the quickest way to state of


malnutrition. The commissioner said it was a race against time. We see


the hunger season coming much earlier, February or March, rather


than May or June. We see already the scale of the problem been


substantial. If we act swiftly and early and we target the most


vulnerable, we can prevent a catastrophe and we will. That


places even more importance on centres like this one, run by Save


the Children, which shows mothers how they can reduce the chances


that the children will become acutely malnourished and sick.


The search for survivors from the Costa Concordia has been suspended


after the ship has shifted, making it too dangerous for divers. The


Italian government says there is a risk that the ship could sink


completely because of rough seas and salvage teams have just days to


siphon off the ship's fuel. Italy's Prime Minister who is in London for


talks with David Cameron says everything has been done to limit


the environmental impact of the disaster. It is slow going inside


the ship. They are moving through the floating debris of a once a


luxury liner, a long corridors turned on their side. Specialist


divers here are searching for survivors, but they know they are


likely to only find the dead. This is how they have been entering the


ship, through the top deck, now on the waterline. At one point, the


glass door of the shop was a of me, with the contents inside all


pressing down. It could have shattered at any moment.


rescued was put on hold today, as the ship began to move slightly,


making it too dangerous to look for the missing. Among them, Russell


Rebello, a waiter on board. Today, his brother Kevin came to the


island and sold the wreck of the Costa Concordia for the first time.


Does he think his brother can possibly be alive? It is the 5th


day. Five days, but there have been miracles and people have come home


after many days. On the mainland, the captain's wife was mocked by


journalists. He is enemy Number One, criticised for abandoning ship. He


is reported as saying he slipped by mistake into a departing lifeboat.


Few here believe that and his lawyer says the captain, he is


under house arrest, is deeply shaken by what happened, but the


sister of another missing crew member has no sympathy. It is


outrageous they have come under house arrest. He is like a free man.


The search is taking too long. salvage operation is ready to go


just as soon as they get permission. Equipment and personnel have been


brought in. Everyone knows that removing the ship from its current


resting place is going to be a mammoth task. The long days are


taking their toll on rescuers. One collapsed exhausted today. A


satellite picked up his image of the ship, lying peacefully against


the island. Down on the shower, Kevin Rebello waits for his brother.


Hungary's Prime Minister says issues raised by the European


Commission cannot easily be resolved. A day after the European


Commission announced they are taking legal proceedings against


hungry for infringing the rights of data protection, the judiciary and


the central bank, he defended his country's position. In the debate


in the European Parliament the EU president appealed to the Prime


Minister to respect the principles of democracy. The on the legal


aspects, some concerns have been expressed regarding the quality of


democracy in Hungary, its political culture and the relations between


government and the position between the state and the civil society. I


strongly appeal to the Prime Minister up to respect the


principles of democracy and freedom and to implement them. He needs to


implement them in the practice and social life of his country. We are


talking about a restructuring of enormous scope, enormous importance


and we understand that there are debates in relation to that. Today,


I address the letter to the president of the commission and I


expressed an opinion in this letter and I said that the problems that


had been raised by the commission it could easily be resolved. They


could swiftly be resolved and remedy to. It looks on the face of


it as though he has backed down quite considerably, is that the


case? He has backed down, but he is putting a brave face on it and is


trying to maintain what he would call his own dignity. It is


interesting listening to the president of the commission talking


about not only the letter of the law and the European treaties, but


also about the spirit. The Prime Minister was quieter on the spirit,


and he is keen to point out that only the letter of three laws at


the 365 that he passed last year have actually been challenged.


it realistic to imagine that he could stage an enormous political


U-turn? No, be it is difficult to imagine that. He did not have to go


to Strasbourg, he invited himself and offered to go and face this


criticism that hungry has been under. It will be interesting to


see in the coming days or what happens next. We will see if they


have the man is to persuade the IMF, they have been looking for a lead


it into the EU and we will know that on Friday when the Minister in


charge of Hungary's undergoes Houston's with the IMF talks to the


European Commission. Then we will have a clearer idea of how credible


the commission finds the responses which the Prime Minister has given.


He suggested that he did not think that Hungary actually needed money


from the IMF, but that it was willing to talk to the IMF and that


it could do with some sort of security, what do you make of that?


Is it is the line and a consistent line from the government that it


prefers to borrow on the markets from the financial world, rather


than turning to the IMF, even though the IMF would offer that


money, the loner that Hungary wants a better interest rates than that


available on the market. The government is keen to show that it


can finance its debts from the market, but it does that not want


to face the difficulties of that. He wants to have this alone as the


safety net, not as some think the Government wants. Thank you.


And a jury in a police commissioner has been suspended for alleged


negligence after a suspected member of the Islamist sect Boko Haram


escaped in a shoot-out. Kabiru Sokoto was thought to have


masterminded the bombing of a Roman Catholic church on Christmas Day.


He was arrested on Saturday, but was freed a day later in an attack


by a Boko Haram gang. The Iranian Foreign Minister at the -- Ali


Akbar Salehi is in Turkey for talks on his country's nuclear programme


and has suggested a new round of international talks on the subject


could take place soon. He said the talks, which collapsed a year ago,


would probably be held in Istanbul. The British Prime Minister David


Cameron has accused Iran and its allies in the Lebanese Hezbollah


movement of helping Syria's government to suppress the uprising


there. Mr Cameron said evidence had emerged that Iran was supplying


arms to the Syrian security forces. He said Hezbollah was also


supporting the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.


The online Encyclopaedia Wikipedia has shut down its English-language


website in the 24 hour blackout. The action is a protest against a


proposed law in the United States aimed at stopping online piracy.


Other websites have also joined the temporary shutdown clot, including


word press. We have taken it for granted for so long now that any


end to the free flow of information on phones, tablets and PCS, seems


impossible. It has happened. One of the world's was popular websites


and cribs sheet for students everywhere has gone dark. Wikipedia


has blacked out it site in protest at the threat of legislation from


the US Congress. Two bills, one in the House of Representatives and


one in the Senate, would force search engines to delist websites


but hose a pirated material. Advertisers would be forced to cut


links with the pirates to. It isn't just Wikipedia, a clutch of


websites are making a stand a what they say is heavy-handed


legislation that will not work, but could damage the World Wide Web.


useful analogy might be that if you hear it there is this great


invention called the of Mobile, then two years later you find it is


being used by bank robbers, the answer isn't to band all to Mobiles,


the answer is to deal with that problem directly. So on people see


this as a clash between New Media and old, others as a battle between


the creators of content, the people to make films or write songs, and


those who aggregated, the big search engines like the local. The


defenders of the bill say it is simpler than that. They say that


piracy is threatening their intellectual property and with it


This bill has focused on websites that there up stealing from


American property and profiting from it.


It is an unprecedented protest. American lawmakers will not be able


to ignore it. For more than this, we can cross


over to the activist director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


It is an international digital right support group which opposed


is the proposed laws. Is this not as simple as saying that some


people believe that the internet should abide by-laws, and some


people believe that the internet should have its own laws? Nobody


here is debating whether or not, it was should apply to content on the


internet. The issue at play is that a lot that Congress is debating


right now, SOPA, and the protect i p act in the Senate, are overly


broad laws. Instead of merely taking down infringing Materials,


they would give unprecedented Materials to the executive branch


to force search engines to dump search queries and other such


measures. These are tools that we really don't ever want to use to


fight piracy, especially when many of the tools already available are


successfully fighting the so-called piracy problem. Some might say that


the measures are not successful which is why you have to go this


far. What is interesting about that is that the proposed legislation is


working to try and improve rights holders abilities to withhold


access to certain content online, but it has this collateral effect


which is that the tech industry, the internet industry which has


been in America and has been so wonderful to our economy, would be


endangered by this. It could scare off investors. It could make it so


that people who want to create new technologies might be worried about


legal liabilities. I am very concerned about just what would


happen if this legislation were to pass.


Let's return now to Niger and the concerns there about food shortages.


Our correspondent is in the capital of Niger. Over to you.


Great concerns here, largely because of the drought and the crop


pests that have affected the recent harvest, but also the rising food


prices. So much so was their concern that today, the EU


humanitarian aid commissioner, who has been visiting Niger, announced


a more than doubling of humanitarian aid to over 100


million euros. On top but that, a further 150 million euros will now


be invested in long-term food security and other measures to


build up people's resilience. I have with me the Unicef


representative in Niger. Also, the UN that humanitarian co-ordinator


at the moment. This idea of trying to do much more to integrate


emergency aid, as we have just heard it is being more than doubled,


with what you might call longer term eight, did try to address the


routinely chronic poverty in the country. Why might that approach


make a difference now? This is a lesson we have learned from the


2010 crisis. Nearly two years later, we are back in a crisis and I think


what we have seen today is climate change in action in this a have a.


It is not enough to deliver humanitarian assistance. We need to


be able to break the cycle of the current crisis, and to do so, we


need to tackle and that the same time, the immediate needs of the


population and the structural factors. For a long time now,


people have been trying to break that cycle. Most particularly,


since the 2005 famine here which killed so many people. Might there


be any hope now that there will be more success in achieving this?


political environment has drastically changed with the new


government. It is willing to tackle the situation openly which was not


the case before. There is strong partnership between American


agencies, UN agencies and the government here, and an


understanding that we cannot just looked towards treating severely


malnourished children but respond to the underlying causes of


malnutrition and therefore act to solve that. The context is


different but do you as confident as the EU aid commissioner that you


should be able to contain this particular crisis? Yes. In contrast


to 2010, this time the warning was early enough to be able to respond


before facing humanitarian catastrophe. Thank you very much


indeed. Obviously, we all have to see whether that actually happens.


In Russia, a group of celebrities, writers, TV presenters and even a


rock star have launched a Voters League. They say it is to ensure


future elections are fair. It is part of a string of new initiatives


made since the controversial elections in December. The


Government has ignored plans for the vote to be held again but has


already made some concessions to the protesters.


As Moscow emerged from its long winter break, the Kremlin wall had


been hoping that the protest movement for fair elections had


lost its momentum. In secret meetings, in ever-changing venues,


activists have been working hard to keep the fledge and movement alive.


At a press conference today, a group of Russian writers and


celebrities formally launched one of the initiatives - and newly-


created Voters League. This is a non-political organisation to help


people take part in fair elections. We want people to know that when


their vote goes in the ballot box, it will be counted.


Before the New Year, Moscow saw the three biggest protests of the


Vladimir Putin the ear. Tens of thousands took to the streets,


furious at what they believed where fixed parliamentary elections.


Protests inspired and gave hope to a new generation of activists.


Among them, this man, who is editorial director of one of


Russia's biggest media empires. It is the start of a huge social


discussion which was artificially frozen for many years. Now, it has


woken up and they think it will be hard to stop it. The internet is


still boiling with further evidence of alleged electoral fraud. This


was a raid on Monday by a parliamentary deputy and


journalists on what appears to be a room full of people falsifying a


list of supporters for a pro Kremlin candidate. The videos are


fuelling the anger of ordinary demonstrators like this internet


entrepreneur and part-time lecturer. She says her fury overcame her fear


of attending her first protest on the day after the elections. Now,


she has been to them all. I have never been to any protest meeting


before but I felt, and I called my parents, who said that I should not


call and they begged me not to go but I felt there was no way not to


stand up. In the weeks since the protests began, the Kremlin has


made several concessions, including the introduction of several


democratically elected governors and the regions. There is still a


huge gap between what the government is offering and the


truly fair elections the demonstrators want.


Millions of BBC viewers across the UK have been glued to it this


Stargazing Live programmes this week. One town has decided to get


involved in a very strong way. Tonight, Dulverton is switching off


all its lights to minimise light pollution and get a better view of


the sky. Good evening from Dulverton. About


2000 people live here and some of them have started coming down on to


the States this evening having switched off their lights at home.


They are massing on this date for this Stargazing Live event


organised by BBC. -- state. This is the high street here in Dulverton.


It is not a huge place but still certainly lots of light pollution.


In one hour, everyone was switched off their lights and the place will


be full of darkness and everyone can look to the skies and hopefully


see some stars. Dulverton at sunset. Tonight,


things in this part of Britain will look rather different. At a time


when light would normally be coming on, this evening, they will be


switched off. The aim is zero light pollution. This is so that the


skies are as clear as possible. will be really cool because we can


all look up into the sky and see things we have not seen before.


What will it be like? Ski area. you a bit nervous? -- scary. It


will certainly be a change because these pictures from Nasa show how


much like the is around the world at night, presenting us from


getting a clear view of the stars. -- preventing. This is Britain's


first darkness reserve. We take lighting for granted and turn


lights on and off without even thinking about it. We want to show


that even a small place like Dalton or Exmoor can make a big difference


to light pollution. It seems that everyone in is a rural community is


getting involved and later tonight, traffic will be banned and the


councils which of every state light. Despite appearances, the pub is


staying open. It will not be business as usual, however, with


serving in the dark presenting new challenges. There may be a bit of


spilt beer on the floor but hopefully not too much. It will be


worse than the kitchen, I think. After weeks of planning, tonight,


Dulverton get its moment in the spotlight. That is until the


spotlight is also switched off. There are some things you cannot


plan for and the British weather is certainly one of them. You can see


that it is there is Olli Rehn tonight and it is rather Rover cast,


so not the clear skies they were hoping for but they have the big


telescopes here and there are installing special BBC night-vision


cameras which good -- should give people the chance to see some stars.


Have you switch the lights off. Yes! We will be back in an hour.


reminder no other menus. Two major ad agencies have


criticised the delayed international response to the


drought in the Horn of Africa last year which led to thousands of


unnecessary deaths. The report by Oxfam and Save the children comes


as fear grows over another humanitarian food crisis in the


Sahel region in West Africa. That Hour week of temperature of ups and


downs continues today. Milder today but already called the there is


spreading south across the UK so tomorrow it will feel fresher than


it has done today. For the moment, the mild here or holds across other


areas. -- beer. A wet start in the south tomorrow with some sunshine


in northern areas. Rain, sleet and some health no coming tomorrow.


Across southern areas, after a wet start, change in the afternoon with


sunshine breaking through the cloud and a change of wind direction and


that cold area started to move in. Despite the sunshine, it will feel


fresher by the end of the afternoon as temperatures come back down


closer to average for this time of year. A few showers in the north


and those showers will move across Northern Ireland with rain, sleet


and perhaps some snow across higher ground. Showers continued to pack


into western Scotland. There will be some significant parts in high


areas of western Scotland. Some of those wintry showers continued on


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