24/01/2012 World News Today


24/01/2012

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This is BBC World News Today with me, Tim Willcox. The end of the

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Arab League mission in Syria? Where Saudi Arabia led other gulf states

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follow. Damascus brands it a mounting

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foreign conspiracy claiming the pull out will have no effect on the

:00:19.:00:27.

security crackdown. They are free to go to New York or

:00:27.:00:33.

the moon. As long as Syria doesn't pay for their ticket.

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Choppy times ahead - the IMF slashes its growth forecast for the

:00:36.:00:44.

world's economies most of the blame it says lies with the eurozone.

:00:44.:00:47.

Nigerian security forces carry out raids in the northern city of Kano,

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hunting suspected supporters of the Islamist group Boko Haram.

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Also coming up in the programme - the race for the White House moves

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up a gear. President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union

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address telling voters why he deserves a second term as the

:01:04.:01:14.
:01:14.:01:21.

Republican candidates slug it out And Hugo leads the field for the

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Oscars, with eleven nominations. We look at the contenders for

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:01:34.:01:47.

Hello and welcome. The Arab League peace mission to Syria looks on the

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verge of collapse today as more countries decided to pull out. The

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five remaining members of the Gulf Co-operation Council followed the

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lead of Saudi Arabia, which withdrew on Sunday, saying Syria

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wasn't respecting any agreements. The Syrian response was defiant -

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the country's foreign minister claiming there was a conspiracy

:02:04.:02:13.

against his country. From Beirut, Jim Muir reports.

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Isolated and under pressure but still defiant. For the Syrian

:02:17.:02:22.

foreign minister, what is happening at the Arab League are part of a

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plan. He said it was not surprised some of the Arab states ignored the

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report of the Arab observers because they did not like what it

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said. I criticise the report in advance that we would not accept

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because it is a blatant resolution that harms Syria's sovereignty and

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it's an interference in internal affairs. The Arab observers have

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been on the ground in different parts of Syria since late December.

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Their report to the Arab League has not been published but the League

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voted to extend it for another month and give it more money. The

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commander of the observer mission so the violence was reduced after

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the monitors arrived and blamed armed rebels for opening fire on

:03:16.:03:23.

checkpoints prompting them to shoot back. Actor this dispute that a

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version of events saying in many places security forces are still

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shooting at demonstrations at funerals and hundreds have died.

:03:36.:03:40.

With the other Gulf states following the Saudi Arabia lead and

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pulling out of the mission, the trend seems to be towards the UN.

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The Arab League has asked for a meeting with the Secretary-General

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but like the Arab League the Security Council is currently

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divided with Russia and China opposed to veto any moves against

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Syria. It all adds up to mounting pressure on Damascus but the

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foreign minister appeared confident it can ride out the storm. Syria,

:04:06.:04:13.

he said, does not tremble in the wind. Joining me now from

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Washington is Ali Al-ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf

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Affairs. Does this mean this peace mission is doomed?

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I think the peace mission will continue but without the most

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important factor in the Arab League which is the Gulf block that has

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been the driving force behind initiating action against Syria.

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The Gulf countries see this as part of a war and I underline the word

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which has been used by a Saudi mouthpiece, the Gulf countries

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including Saudi Arabia, war with the Iranian regime, so is a front

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in the war. They would like to wrestle away the -- Syria away from

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the Iranian alliance or access in the region which has been very good

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for the Iranians in terms of them are projecting their influence in

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Arab countries like Lebanon and the Palestinian issues. So such a

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raider would like to make this International, that will not be

:05:27.:05:37.
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accepted by Damascus -- Saudi Arabia. There is an irony, the GCC

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are leading a counter revolution in Bahrain and in Yemen while

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simultaneously supporting revolution in Syria. It's not about

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democracy, it's about realigning the political ground in the Middle

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East in favour of the GCC Alliance and its other Arab allies by

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weakening and toppling the regime in Syria which has been a strong

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ally of Iran. Syria is a battle front with Iran. It is not the

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target but Iran is the target. Where do you see things developing

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:06:26.:06:26.

now? I think there will be a great amount of pressure on the Russians

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to stop all not to veto any UN Security Council action against

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Syria. China apparently has received some type of a bright last

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week, the Chinese president was in Riyadh and he was given assurances

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of supply of oil to China and I think there is also today we had an

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announcement of a 9 billion dollar refinery which will be built in

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China, funded by Kuwait. There are incentives for China from the GCC,

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Russia has yet to receive such incentives and the price is not yet

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right for Russia to stop supporting the Syrian government. On the

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question of arms, Russian arms are pouring into Syria, what other Gulf

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states doing behind the scenes with the Syrian Free Army? From the

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beginning Saudi Arabia has supported the Syrian opposition,

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dedicated a leading television channels to support the revolution

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in Syria, they are armed groups in Syria which have been supported

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directly with weapons and communications, tools and equipment,

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from Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries. This is a war, really.

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It is a proxy war between Iran and the GCC. This is basically... It

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should be called a war because people are dying, both sides have

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weapons. We must leave it there. Thank you

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for joining us. Now a look at some of the day's other news. Egypt's

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military ruler has announced a partial lifting of the country's

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decades-old state of emergency from Wednesday. Field Marshal Tantawi

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said it would still apply in dealing with crimes committed by

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"thugs", the label the military has often given to the organisers of

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anti-government protests. The move came on the first anniversary of

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the popular uprising which ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

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Turkey has condemned as discriminatory and racist a bill

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passed by the French Senate which makes denial of the Armenian

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genocide a crime. It has vowed to punish Paris with retaliatory

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measures if French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose right-wing

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UMP party initiated the bill, signs it into law.

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Russia has announced that its peacekeeping troops and helicopters

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are to be withdrawn from South Sudan by April 1st. It's a severe

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blow to the United Nations' operation in the area, since it

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relies on the helicopters to move personnel and supplies around the

:09:13.:09:20.

country. The IMF has slashed its growth

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forecast for most major countries downgrading world growth by 0.8%.

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The main reason is because of the crisis in the year resign but the

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IMF is predicting a recession in Italy and Spain. The IMF urged

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governments to encourage growth and are just what it described as the

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rhythm of austerity. More bad news for the eurozone from

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the IMF. Global economic recovery is under threat because of strains

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in the euro area. The eurozone economy is forecast to shrink by

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0.5% in 2012. Food for thought for ministers and officials meeting in

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Brussels. They cannot argue with the figures. The economic slowdown

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continues and several factors point towards a moderate recession in the

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first half of this year. Which makes it all the more important to

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get some kind of good news out of Greece. Another Herculean task.

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Talks between the Greek government and banks which agreed to write off

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50% of the Greek debt they hold are stuck on the issue of how much

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interest Greece will pay on the debt which remains. The European

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ministers say there's no point in a deal unless agreed payments come

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down to a sustainable level in the long term. That also means Greece

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itself needs to push through a more austerity. It's quite clear the

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implementation increase has failed. When it comes to structural reforms,

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fiscal reform, they have not delivered. The ministers have been

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discussing the new fiscal treaty for the eurozone which Britain

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refused to be part of. The text is due to be finalised at the European

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summit next Monday. When the EU leaders meet they want to talk

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about growth and employment across the Union. Today's figures show

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just how important that is. With a much greater economic growth, the

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eurozone cannot escape from the crisis.

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Nigerian security forces claimed to have arrested 160 members of an

:11:32.:11:36.

Islamist sect during dawn raids incarnate. According to residents,

:11:36.:11:40.

a man and his wife were killed in a gun battle after forces surrounded

:11:40.:11:45.

a suspected hideout. The group has claimed responsibility for last

:11:45.:11:55.
:11:55.:12:02.

week's attacks that killed at least Nigeria is in trouble. Soldiers on

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the streets and communities torn apart by violence. These are

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Christians who have fled their homes in the Muslim-dominated north

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of the country. A militant Islamist group Boko Haram gave them three

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days to leave or else. Two days after the deadline they started

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killing and shooting and bombing and that is what the left. You're

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scared? Yes. We are scared and that's what the left. Who do you

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blame? The government. They cannot protect us. Boko Haram is not just

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targeting Christians. The ruins of a police station in the northern

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city. At the weekend militants killed almost 200 people here. It

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amounts to a declaration of war against Nigeria's secular

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government. This was an extremely well planned, well orchestrated

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assault with devastating results. The evidence suggests Boko Haram is

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fast evolving from what was a fairly local menace into a full-

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scale insurgency. So far, the Government's response has been a to

:13:18.:13:28.
:13:28.:13:35.

flounder and plain Al-Qaeda. These attacks are quite new. It is an

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ugly face. The violence has horrified most Muslims. But in the

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impoverished North people do feel let down by leaders and

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marginalised. Boko Haram is exploiting it. Most of the

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unemployed on the streets, no jobs, it is a sad situation. Boko Haram

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is a symptom of the neglect? Yes. A vast increasingly polarised country

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braces itself for more violence. President Obama is giving his

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annual State of the Union address in Washington as the pitches for a

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second term in office. In this crucial election year the heat is

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on for President Obama and Republican candidates hoping to

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stand against him. In a row over a transparency, mitt Romney has

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revealed his tax records, will the details of his vast wealth help or

:14:38.:14:48.
:14:48.:14:50.

hinder his chances for the The years is a healthy salary. But

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with the economic equality playing such a big part, how bad will that

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affect him? Generally, in America, people don't mind other people

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making large sums of money, and that is certainly particularly true

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of the Republican Party. There have been lots of wealthy Republican

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candidates. What Mitt Romney has got in trouble for is not so much

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the amount of money has, but how his campaign has handled the issue

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of his wealth, particularly on his tax returns. It has been a tricky

:15:23.:15:28.

day for Mitt Romney in his race to challenge President Obama. That is

:15:28.:15:32.

after those tax records were released. They show he received $45

:15:32.:15:38.

million in income over the last two years. He paid $6.2 million in tax,

:15:38.:15:46.

an effective tax rate of 13.9 % in 2010. His tax rate is below most

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Americans, who pay up to 35 % of their income in tax because much of

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his income comes from capital gains on investments. His records also

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show that over the past three years he gave $7 million to charity,

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about half of that to the Mormon Church. Republicans have been quick

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to defend Mitt Romney on his tax issues and say he did nothing

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illegal with his tax returns and they are above board. And that

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American support the idea that investment income should be at a

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low tax rate because then it is reinvested in the economy and

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stimulate growth. On the other hand, Democrats have leapt upon this to

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say it is another sign of unfairness and you cannot have

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people this wealthy paying less tax than the average American.

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President Dibaba's state of the Union address tonight. -- President

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Obama. How ambitious can he be? will reiterate this, on the idea of

:16:44.:16:49.

fairness, that there is a need for greater fairness in the American

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economy and for wealth to be more evenly distributed. He is going to

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mention the idea that some people have large sums of money, the top

:16:57.:17:03.

1%, and the idea of inequality and the Occupied movement we have heard

:17:03.:17:08.

of. There will be a populist appeal to the American voters to say I am

:17:08.:17:12.

on your side and that he will stand up for the middle class of America,

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implicitly drawing comparison with the Republicans, who the Democrats

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say stand up for the wealthy in America. In conversations I've had

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in the last couple of days with senior White House officials, the

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one thing they have said is that the President does not want to make

:17:27.:17:30.

any explicit reference to the Republican race. As one official

:17:30.:17:35.

said, they do not want to put Barack Obama as on the same planet

:17:35.:17:38.

as the Republicans who are running for the nomination because they do

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not want him to be wading into that fight. And we will be covering the

:17:45.:17:55.
:17:55.:18:02.

state of the Union address later. The Spanish Judge who indicted the

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former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, has gone on trial. Judge

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Baltasar Garzon is accused of breaking an amnesty law by

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attempting to investigate alleged human rights abuses committed

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during Spain's civil war and during the dictatorship of Franco that

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followed. From Madrid, Tom Burridge reports.

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Today, hundreds gathered outside the Spanish Supreme Court. Many

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held pictures of loved ones who had gone missing. And Spain's dictator

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-- when it Spain's dictator Franco was in charge. They were here to

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support the judge she was now on trial. One woman says her parents

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were killed by fascists after the Spanish Civil War. She told me the

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judges her only hope -- is her only hope. His trial is a disgrace as

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Spain has not resolve its problems from the past. He is being tried

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for investigating alleged human rights abuses carried out under the

:18:59.:19:03.

regime of General Franco. The case will focus on the Spanish amnesty

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law set up after Franco died so that Spain could move on. And the

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outcome will determine whether crimes of the past could be

:19:11.:19:17.

investigated in the future. But there are many others like this man

:19:17.:19:20.

who was strongly opposed to investigating crimes from Spain's

:19:20.:19:30.

pass. His organisation launched a prosecution against the judge.

:19:30.:19:33.

Undoubtedly he has opened old wounds which people of all

:19:33.:19:37.

political colours in Spain had overcome and moved on from in the

:19:37.:19:41.

Franco regime. You have to take into account that the judge is from

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the left. The case is putting the international spotlight on Spain.

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Human rights lawyers came here to attend a trial, which they say is a

:19:55.:20:02.

blow to democracy and human rights. Courts around the world has said

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you cannot use amnesty laws to prevent the investigation of the

:20:06.:20:10.

crimes of previous dictatorships. And yet, when he says in Spain that

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he is not going to apply amnesty to the crimes, he is being prosecuted.

:20:18.:20:23.

Some in Spain will never agree to forget. In many ways, the country

:20:23.:20:28.

has moved on. But there is still an underlying political tension here.

:20:28.:20:33.

That is over what has happened in the past. And this trial of the

:20:33.:20:42.

country's best-known judge has The story of a 12-year-old orphan

:20:42.:20:46.

in Paris has topped the nominations for this year's Oscars. Hugo, the

:20:46.:20:49.

3D adventure film by Martin Scorsese, is up for 11 awards

:20:49.:20:52.

including Best Picture and Director. Hot on its heels is the French

:20:52.:21:02.
:21:02.:21:04.

silent film the Artist, with ten This morning we will share the news

:21:04.:21:08.

we have all been waiting for. seems nothing more matters in

:21:09.:21:12.

Hollywood than this. The Oscars have always been the most formal

:21:12.:21:17.

awards ceremony as well as the most prestigious. And in the melee of

:21:17.:21:27.
:21:27.:21:27.

names, if you stood out. Hugo. The Descendants. The Artist. In all,

:21:27.:21:30.

The Artist picked up 10 nominations including best picture, director

:21:30.:21:36.

and actor. Descendants took five and is a favourite for best picture,

:21:36.:21:40.

as is Hugo, nominated in 11 categories, most of them technical.

:21:40.:21:45.

For best actor, George Clooney goes up against Brad Pitt. And the best

:21:46.:21:51.

British hope lies with Gary Oldman for his role in Tinker, tailor,

:21:51.:21:58.

soldier, Spy. Meryl Streep's portrayal of Margaret Thatcher is a

:21:58.:22:04.

favourite for Best actress. She is up against Michelle Williams and

:22:04.:22:10.

viola Davies in The Help. The entertainment reporters managed to

:22:10.:22:15.

rev up their excitement. Rye now it is all about Hugo. Despite the

:22:15.:22:21.

announcement being made before dawn in LA. That was so it would hit the

:22:21.:22:28.

American breakfast shows. If The Artist wins Best Film it will only

:22:28.:22:32.

be the second time a silent movie has won the top prize since Wings

:22:32.:22:37.

won the first ever best picture award in 1929. It is the No. 1

:22:37.:22:40.

contender right now because everybody has a crush on it. They

:22:40.:22:44.

are delighted with it. But there are big reservations about whether

:22:44.:22:50.

it is really an Oscar-winner for best picture. George Clooney has

:22:50.:22:54.

never won an Oscar for best leading actor. His Golden Globe has tipped

:22:54.:23:00.

the odds in his favour for The Descendants. And it would be Brad

:23:00.:23:04.

Pitt's first asked if he won as well. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

:23:04.:23:10.

was ignored by the Golden Globes. But the film gives Gary Oldman and

:23:10.:23:13.

his first ticket to the awards which will be held on the last

:23:13.:23:22.

Sunday in February. Joining me now is film critic Jason Solomons. Hugo

:23:22.:23:28.

and The Artist, there is a big theme of nostalgia. In the age of 3

:23:28.:23:31.

D, and all that technology, but you go to the cinema and these are

:23:31.:23:35.

about the beginnings of cinema, silent cinema and what she could do

:23:35.:23:40.

in the old days without technology. Strange that the academy who kind

:23:40.:23:46.

of push forward the arts and motion picture science is are going back

:23:46.:23:52.

to other eras when blockbusters are what is dominating the cinemas.

:23:52.:23:55.

blackout is intentional, there is not a problem with the club. This

:23:55.:23:58.

is you go, and it is up for a lot of technical awards. It is

:23:58.:24:04.

nominated his -- in almost every technical category. It is

:24:04.:24:10.

extraordinary, and that is where it will find its victories. The

:24:10.:24:14.

cinematographer he is also superb. Interestingly it is about lo-fi

:24:14.:24:22.

technology and the beginning of the silent era. But it is pushing

:24:22.:24:25.

forward 3D and is probably the best one ever made. The is has gone in

:24:25.:24:30.

as the leading contender, but just be kind it with 10 nominations is

:24:30.:24:33.

The Artist, which I saw at the weekend, and it is charmingly

:24:33.:24:38.

brilliant. I think it is clever, charming, funny. Ultimately it is

:24:38.:24:43.

very moving. It is a love story and I think it reminds us why we fell

:24:43.:24:47.

in love with films in the first place. It is beautifully shot and

:24:47.:24:51.

has a great knowing wink. He knows what it is doing but it is not

:24:51.:24:56.

gimmicky or a sketch of a pastiche of those built. It tips a wink, but

:24:56.:25:03.

it knows it is doing it now. These are French and nones are worth --

:25:03.:25:09.

have crept into Hollywood -- French unknowns. He was in a children's TV

:25:10.:25:19.
:25:20.:25:20.

series. Unknown in France, but like the comedian here. In France they

:25:20.:25:24.

find it a bit strange. We have been kinder to the film because it stars

:25:24.:25:30.

him. They are now embracing it. I think that is the one that will

:25:30.:25:35.

come out the winner. I think it will be the first silent winner

:25:35.:25:39.

since 1927 and the first French winner of Best Picture ever. That

:25:39.:25:44.

was nearly 100 years ago. It is a difficult trick to pull off, but it

:25:44.:25:49.

does it beautifully. Not a great deal of time, but The Descendants,

:25:49.:25:55.

how many is that up for? BT's five, and I think it will win for George

:25:55.:25:58.

Clooney is performance. He has been nominated three or four times and I

:25:58.:26:02.

think this is the one that will win it. A lovely performance that

:26:02.:26:06.

balances laughter and tears. But Dad coming to terms with his wife

:26:06.:26:10.

being in a coma and he finds that she has been unfaithful. P rains

:26:10.:26:14.

the performance in. It is quite subdued for a comic performance and

:26:14.:26:21.

he does it very well. Wall -- warhorse, huge promotion, dating

:26:21.:26:25.

back to the First World War. Yes, a period piece and an old-fashioned

:26:25.:26:31.

movie harking back in National Velvet and those John Ford westerns.

:26:31.:26:34.

Lyrical passages. I think it is very well done. I don't think he

:26:34.:26:39.

has magic in it which is what people take from the stage show,

:26:39.:26:43.

but the war scenes are excellent. Spielberg is clearly a fantastic

:26:43.:26:47.

film maker and he deserves six nominations. We need a popular film

:26:47.:26:51.

at the top should -- Oscars. Jason, we are out of time. We will see

:26:51.:26:57.

what happens in Fairbridge. That is it from us. From me and the team.

:26:57.:27:04.

It was a cold day across the country with plenty of cloud and

:27:05.:27:09.

rain through the night and we keep the cloud and it is another cloudy

:27:09.:27:13.

story for tomorrow. But it will be quite mild and also fairly breezy.

:27:14.:27:17.

We are beginning to see a weather front moving in off the Atlantic

:27:17.:27:20.

bringing with it another band of rain to the north and the West.

:27:20.:27:24.

Ahead of that we have damp and drizzly conditions and mist and fog

:27:24.:27:27.

first thing in the morning. By the time we get to the afternoon we

:27:28.:27:32.

might see glimmers of brightness across the North-East. But it will

:27:32.:27:36.

be fairly overcast and at least temperatures into double figures

:27:36.:27:39.

through the afternoon. The top temperature in London of 11 degrees

:27:39.:27:43.

and for many it should be dry and another cloudy affair. Across

:27:43.:27:48.

south-west England week should see patchy and light rain with a top

:27:48.:27:51.

temperature of 10 degrees. A bit of a breeze in the south-west,

:27:51.:27:56.

especially around the coast and for Wales we have like rain on and off

:27:56.:27:59.

through the afternoon. Some heavy rain moving into Northern Ireland

:27:59.:28:06.

accompanied by strong and gusty winds. It is also wet and we speak

:28:06.:28:09.

-- windy for western Scotland. We might see some brakes and a cloud

:28:09.:28:13.

in the morning giving some brighter spells. Through the evening the

:28:13.:28:17.

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