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This is BBC World News Today with me Tim Willcox. Getting ready to
burn the midnight oil in Brussels. EU finance ministers wrestle with
bail out number two for Greece, but how much more pain can - or will -
Greeks take? More clashes between protestors and
police in Senegal, as demonstrators vent their anger at President Wade
going for a third term in office. What a difference a year makes. On
the anniversary of Misrata's rise against the Gaddafi regime in Libya,
people go to the polls in local elections.
Also coming up in the programme: One step closer to ridding the
world of polio. A special report on the immunisation programme that's
helped India become polio-free in the last year.
India used to have more polio cases than anywhere else, but political
will, resources and dedication have finally wiped it out. And meat, but
not as we know it. Test tube burgers could soon be on the menu.
How appetising a solution could it be to feeding the world's growing
Hello and welcome. It looks like it's going to be another long night
in Brussels. EU finance ministers focus once again on Greece's second
massive bail out. After weeks of increasingly fraught negotiations
it does now look as if the deal might go ahead. The stakes couldn't
be higher and among the big questions preoccupying finance
ministers tonight, will political leaders in Athens stick to their
promises and will it be enough to stave off default later in the
year? Here's Matthew Price in Brussels. The mood has changed in
Brussels, as thaeriefd Europe's finance ministers all made it clear
that they expect this deal to go through. The chairman of the
meeting saying it has to be concluded now. Greece saying
they've done enough. The EU's chief economics official indicated he did
expect the deal to go through. But that wouldn't be the end of the
eurozone's problems. I trust tonight we can then turn the page,
turn the corner and move from stabilisation to what's boosting
sustainable growth and job creation. Because that's what is really
needed in Europe now. The package, without which Athens will go
bankrupt in mid-March, is centred on a �110 billion bail out fund.
Much of it will go towards financing a deal that will see �83
billion of Greek debt written off. Private lenders will see a
reduction of 70% in the money that they've invested in Greece. In
Brussels there is a sense that this deal will finally go through. The
French Finance Minister has said if it doesn't, there is a risk of a
systemic crisis across the eurozone. So here, they will say that they
have rescued Greece, once again. Yet, at what cost to the people of
Greece? In Athens overnight, there was more violence, more protests
against what Greece is being asked to do. And on the streets this
morning, a sense that the public sector job cuts... Minimum wage,
simply won't work. TRANSLATION: No matter how many
loans we receive, if we don't start producing something to be able to
stand on our own two feet, we will never have recovery in Greece.
TRANSLATION: Even if they cut all pension, all benefits from the
unemployed, from disabled people etc, the problem will not be solved.
It's a dead end. Some believe this deal saves Greece, others fear the
cuts are so deep that its people will bear the cost for a generation.
Penny Marinou set up her own business after working at the Greek
Economics Ministry for many years and joins us now from Athens. And
Wolfram Schrettl, a Professor of Economics at the Free University of
Berlin, is also with us. In whose best interests, do you think, is
this second bail out package, the Greeks or Germany and the eurozone?
In neither's interest I would say. So what it does, it buys again time.
It avoids disorderly default. What it does not get for both Greece and
the rest of the eurozone massive growth in Greece that. Cannot be
achieved by this austerity programme. So Greece is entering
its fifth year of recession. Is the Greek economy still going to
contract further despite this bail out, this won't kickstart any
growth, is it? Certainly not. What it may do is stop the decline. That
is not enough for what we need right now. The only medication that
would really achieve the goal is that Greece steps outside the
eurozone for a transer to period, recovers quickly, following
devaluation and then re-enters. Just like Estonia entered
undramatically, Greece should exit. You know the Greek people extremely
well, how much more can they take of these austerity measures?
Describe what's happening to ordinary, middle-class Greeks and
the pain they're going through. Well, for middle-class and lower
income Greeks it's really very difficult. They've come to the
point where their income is just about enough to cover living costs.
Of course, I suppose that these austerity measures were necessary,
but they haven't been accompanied by some development measures.
That's the problem. Because even if the government tries to get income
from taxation, there's no income left to tax. So we're going round
in a vicious circle I would say. was covering the confidence vote
last year, and all the demonstrations and the mass public
General Strikes, then a lot of people said they wanted to stay in
the euro. Has that changed? I don't think so. I really believe that the
majority of Greeks want to stay in the eurozone. And in Europe.
Professor, does that surprise you, because from what you're saying it
looks as if default is inevitable at some stage. No, it doesn't
surprise me at all. I mean, in all countries, where there was a
devaluation of the currency, the avoidance of the devaluation was
made a matter of national pride and dignity. This was so in the Asian
crisis. It was so in the Russia crisis. Then President Yeltsin said
there wouldn't be devaluation. But this is a mistaken understanding of
dignity and pride. It harms the country, though. We have the
private write down for private investors as well. How much of a
schism is there between Angela Merkel and her Finance Minister
about the best way forward, because there's a row at the moment about
the ECB not wanting to write down its Greek holdings at 70%, which
all the others are having to do. don't want to comment on the schism
between Chancellor Merkel and the Finance Minister, but they both...
Why not? Just let me complete that. They were united in the original
sin of saying under no circumstances will Greece exit the
eurozone. That was the original mistake and we're suffering from
the consequences of this. Whether or not they are now divided is
unknown to me. I see. Thank you. Just a final thought, what do you
think the ultimate long-term impact of this is going to be? Do you
think there will be a change, perhaps, in Greek public opinion
and they'll say yes, we will take these cuts, take this austerity,
rather like the Irish have done, but they don't have the same
export-led economy like the Irish, or do you think there will be mass
demonstrations and none of this will ever get through? I think
there will be mass demonstrations but things are getting through at a
slow pace, I would say. And many Greeks believe that the only way to
change things in this country, where there are so many things
wrong so to apply a really strict programme and change the way the
Government functions. You can't imagine what problems we have in
this country. Everything is wrong. All the public services don't work
properly. Nothing works properly. It's you know, a mess. OK. Well,
thank you both very much. Let's look at the day's other news:
Experts in the UN atomic energy agency are visiting Iran to find
out more about the country's nuclear programme. Their arrival
coincided with an announcement from Tehran. Its military has launched a
four-day exercise to test the defences of its nuclear sites.
Security forces in Nigeria say they have killed eight militants in the
north-east. They say they were part of an Islamist sect. Explosions
were heard coming from a market in the centre of the city. Three
government soliers were injured in the shootout.
Reports from Syria suggest government troops are preparing for
another assault on Homs. There already been rocket attacks. China
has warned that any Western support for the opposition could lead to
Civil War. Senegal's President, Abdoulaye Wade,
has accused opposition parties of planning violence to disrupt next
Sunday's presidential election. Opposition candidates called for
further protests against the President's decision to run for a
third term. He says he wants to finish what he kaulds hills grand
projects. At least six people have been killed since demonstrations
began late last month. Mike Wooldridge reports. Religion
entering into the volatile situation in Senegal. People
gathered at this mosque in the capital Dakar, angry that during a
demonstration on Friday, the security forces had fired a tear
gas grenade into the building. A new confrontation develops. The
original incident has drawn in members of Senegal's largest Sufi
brotherhood. "We're very upset because the police desecrated the
mosque. This act is hurting us a lot. It's a spiritual place. Even
our colonisers have never dared resort to such profannity", this
man says. As rocks were hurled and tear gas fired once more, for the
fifth consecutive day, the government sought to limit the
damagelet the interior minister offered sincere apologies for a
tear gas canister going off inside the mosque and urged politicians
not to hold protests in the vicinity of mosques. Feelings are
running high. "We speak in the name of religion, not only in the name
of Muslims or the brotherhood. We live together perfectly with
Christians. Once you start attacking the church and now it's
the turn of our brotherhood, what's it going to be tomorrow?"
The clashes on the streets of Dakar and other towns began last month.
After 85-year-old President Abdoulaye Wade won the backing of
Senegal's top legal body for his intention of seeking a third term
in the presidential election which takes place next Sunday. There's a
two-term limit for leaders, but Mr Wade argued that his first term
doesn't count. In a country with a reputation for stability and for
pioneering democracy, Mr Wade's spokesman accused an opposition
candidate of recruiting a militia to provoke chaos and make Senegal
ungovernable. Today France, the former colonial power expressed
deep concern over the rising tensions. It was exactly one year
ago today that the Libyan city of Misrata rose up against Colonel
Gaddafi, coinciding with that anniversary, it's been voting to
elect a local council, the first major city in Libya to hold
democratic poll since the fall of Colonel Gaddafi. He banned
elections as an invention of the West. A new 28 member council will
help rebuild the city. Dr Fawaz Gerges joins us live now. These are
local elections, aren't they, but maybe a dress rehearsal for the
ones in the summer, what does it say about the unity of the country
do you think? Not much, Tim. It's too early yet. It's an important
milestone on the road to establish a legitimate government, legitimate
institutions. This is the first free poll in more than 30 years.
There's a great deal of excitement. It's a rehearsal, a trial, before
national elections take place later this year. But the turnout hasn't
been as great as many people had hoped. Between 30 and 40 or 50%.
There's not much excite as -- excitement as there was in Tunisia
and even Egypt. In this sense, it's the first step. As you also
suggested Misrata was one of the cities that was besieged by
Gaddafi's forces for several months. Heavy fighting left deep scars in
Misrata, so in this sense, the elections to choose 28 members,
local council members, is a very important event. But there are many
challenges. Among those the path to democracies. The challenges
surround the NTC itself. I wonder what your thoughts are about the
process they are making. They are now talking about having their own
party and seem to be doing things by decree rather than overt
democratic process. You're absolutely correct. You put your
finger really on some severe challenges facing Libya. First of
all, there's a great deal of tensions and cleevages. Not much
has taken place in the sense of building a centralised government.
Local militias, ironically, Misrata militias are some of the most
notorious in the country. They have refused to leave Tripoli. Several
of the Misrata militias. Human rights organisations, American and
Western organisations have accused the militias in particular, Misrata,
of torturing hundreds if not thousands of the former regime
suspects. Some of the suspects also have been killed. But the biggest
question, the biggest challenge facing Libya is to basically
establish a unified government, to create unity out of the multiple
local identities. You have Misrata, Ben gauze yay, Tripoli, this is --
Benghazi, Tripoli, this is, they have a long way to go. Will that
happen? It will take a long time. This is the first step in a one-
A sudden thaw has sent blocks of ice down the Danube river,
destroying boats and floating restaurants in Belgrade. Debris was
scattered through the ice for more than a mile. Many boats were sunk
while others were left stranded on the river bank. At least 20 people
have died in Serbia during the recent cold snap.
Movement on the Danube at last. After over a week off a big freeze
on much of the river, a rise in temperatures over the weekend has
caused at the thaw. But it was so sudden that it brought large chunks
of ice, some of them 30 centimetres thick, crashing into hundreds of
boats. Temperatures in Serbia rose from minus 20 Celsius last week to
10 degrees on Sunday. TRANSLATION: Nobody expected that
this could happen. It started suddenly and this is it.
We had not seen weather like this in a long time. People were relaxed.
The boats stayed there. The icebreakers did not remove the ice
on time. The floating ice also snapped and
broke her ankle lines. Several restaurants and bodes settled on
the riverbanks. There was concern that the melting
snow and ice could overflow. But the river's water levels are lower
than normal because of a drought last year. This has made flooding
unlikely. Polio is one of the world's oldest
and most crippling diseases. Scientists now think they could be
close to eradicating it. The virus, causing paralysis, affects mainly
children under five. India has been free of polio for over a year
thanks to a programme. A correspondent has been in Delhi.
Just two drops his all it takes to prevent polio. Now imagine
repeating that 170 million tines, tracking down every young child
across India. Then you begin to get an idea of what it has taken to get
rid of polio here. The mark on the finger shows they have received the
vaccine. What has been achieved is
remarkable. In the used to have more polio cases than anywhere else.
But political will, resources and dedication have finally wiped it
out. The volunteers here are from
Britain, members of Rotary, a network of professionals. Rotary
has been at the forefront of the fight against polio for a
generation. They have raised money and awareness.
My dream is to have a polio free world. We have done it with
smallpox. We are very close now. We are on the last days, I hope.
nurse and I bet to make babies daily. Coming here and doing this
is just an extension of that. I love people and I want to seek help
the children. This hospital still has a backlog
of patients paralysed by the virus. He will have four operations...
This by caught polio as a baby. He will need many surgeries before he
can walk. It is painful to see the suffering.
It is painful to see everybody so far around it. If the world can be
rid of polio, it will be the greatest thing I can dream up for
stud polio used to spread pm through raw sewage and water, but
the virus has disappeared because enough people are protected.
India has shown eradication is possible. But the war is not won
yet. India's polio Free staters is under
threat. Pakistan and Afghanistan and Nigeria all saw an increase in
cases last year. This virus respects no borders. That is why it
is vital that massive immunisation campaigns like this continue until
every child in every country is protected.
Poorly run immunisation programmes and families who refuse the vaccine
are what is preventing those countries from matching India's
success. It will take unswerving commitment of the sort seen here if
this disabling disease is to be consigned to history.
Now, we usually think of burgers as a cheap, fast food - but what is
the environmental cost? One Dutch scientist has spent thousands of
Euros on creating a burger in a test-tube, created entirely from
artificial meat grown from stem cells. Are signs correspondent has
more on this Petri dish of the day. This is a strip of muscle grown
from a stem cell taken from a cow. In a few months, it will be part of
the world's burst synthetic hamburger. The strip is one of
thousands grown in a laboratory in the Netherlands. Researchers plan
to make these strips with layers of fat to produce the most expensive
and high tech fast-food meal in the history of the world. For now,
though, the scientist behind the project will have to make do with
today's fast food. He is in Vancouver at a scientific meeting
to sell his vision of the future. My dream is to produce meat that
tastes and looks exactly like this. You will not be able to distinguish
it from the livestock meet. But you know now that it is produced in a
very animal friendly and whizz off friendly way.
Stem cells can be taken from -- and resource friendly wave.
Stem cells can be taken from the real thing.
So what do they think of the plan at this store in Vancouver? I don't
think it is a good idea. Why is that? It just does not make sense
to me. There's nothing better than natural meat. That is what we have
been raised on our whole lives. We know where the farming comes from,
who is processing it for us. But in the future, that natural
meat could become too expensive. Buying meat in supermarkets is
something that we take for granted nowadays. But not for much longer,
according to some economists. They believe that because of rising
demand from India and China, meat prices are set to soar. Most of us
will not be able to afford it. We have about 1 billion people who
are undernourished on the planet. As we push it towards 9 billion
people by 2050, we will need to produce more food. Right now, there
are a number of countries that are developing, and as their economic
situation improves, they demand for meat improves.
This professor hopes the technology will one day help to feed an ever
growing and increasingly hungry world.
Let's talk to Tim Lang, the best of Food Policy at City University in
London. -- Professor of Food Policy. Is the solution to the growing
world appellation here? I noticed that the doctor called it
his dream. You could call it a dream for some and a nightmare for
others. We need to undertake this. It is clearly very amazing
technology, but let's not get too excited. This is a mystery funder.
We don't know who it is who has put up a course of a million Euros, a
large amount of money. -- a quarter of a million Euros. It is going to
take months to turn this into something resembling a hamburger.
The doctor was saying that this is about feeding the population of the
future. Actually the problem in the world of food is about a quarter of
humanity over eating, not under eating. There's aim -- a mild
distribution of food. That is the question. But this raises questions
about ethics, environmental footprints and so on. The
fundamental issue is this this switch of power. This is a switch
away from nature and growing as that clip said. It is about cows
and animal growing in nature, fed by farmers being replaced by
factories. Aren't you painting a romantic
picture of modern farming and processed meat? This may sound an
appetising but much of factory farming is unappetising as well.
That is the point I'm making. This is a twist in the tale of Western
food. To sell it as the moral case for feeding the world is frankly
nonsense. I'm sorry, but current methods are
unsustainable, are they not? Current methods of meet growing,
yes. But it depends on how we do it. It is possible to have sustainable
use of land and animals. It is equally possible to have
unsustainable use of them. The key issue is a sustainable food system
requires a lower footprint. That means consumers eating different.
In this sense, this is a technical fix and a sideshow. But it raises
lots of interesting questions. Is it important? Not really.