24/02/2012 World News Today


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This is BBC World News today with me, Zeinab Badawi. Crisis talks on


Syria deliver a stern warning to the Government to implement a


ceasefire or face sanctions. Despite the absence of Russia and


China, Britain says progress has been made. A real determination to


tighten a diplomatic and economic stranglehold on the regime. The is


the Syrian government beginning to listen? The Red Cross says it is


negotiating in the City of Homs to evacuate the wounded.


More protests in Afghanistan and Pakistan against the burning of the


Koran at a US military base in Afghanistan. Will the anger


subside? The UN's nuclear watchdog says Iran


is increasing its Iranian -- uranium enrichment programme. Also


coming up, it is that time of year again. Hollywood's big weekend


starts now. We take a look at the foreign films that might be taking


home an Oscar. And how this South African music


legend boosted school attendance by returning at 60 years of age to


finish is studying. -- finish his studying.


Urgent talks aimed at stopping the violence in Syria have been taking


place in Tunisia. The International Conference has called on the Syrian


government forces to introduce a ceasefire immediately and allow aid


in or face a range of new sanctions. A official declaration is expected


shortly. -- an official declaration. In the last half-hour it has been


said that the Red Cross has been associating with the authorities


and opposition to evacuate those of urgent need of assistance in Homs.


There are reports that the evacuation has begun.


Baba Amr in Homs today where Syrians are being shelled by their


own government. On one street, people gather to send a message to


the conference in Tunisia to intervene. "Help us, militarily or


not a tall,'s says one banner. And more footage. Jubilant opposition


fighters with remnants of an armoured vehicle they say they


destroy it. They won the outside world to arm them. At the


conference in Tunis, the array of foreign ministers opposed to


President Assad is impressive yet even powerful countries like the


United States have to admit that they are helpless to stop the


violence. The problem is, who is not in the Conference Room. Russia


and China refused to come, and without any allies of President


Assad, there is no way to getting to agree to a ceasefire. Outside, a


small, noisy protest of pro President Assad demonstrators


briefly disrupted proceedings, a reminder that not everyone is


against the Syrian President. Ever since Russia and China blocked a UN


presence -- UN resolution criticising Syria, the outside


world has been split. Until that changes, giving authority to do


anything in Syria will be very difficult. We have now reached the


point where this is clearly a criminal regime. Yes, of course,


all our efforts so far, but the Security Council, trying to agree a


resolution, based on the Arab League plan, involving a cessation


of violence, those efforts have been frustrated by Russia and China.


To tackle the violence in Syria there are no easy options. Any


ceasefire would need President Assad's consent, calling for


humanitarian corridor as is also tricky. They would need armed


protection. On the opposition could also be dangerous. It might just


make the bloodshed worse. -- arming of the opposition.


Meanwhile, it is a waiting game. As far as humanitarian aid goes, all


the conference can do is prepare for a future when Syria's Borders


will not be closed, by stockpiling a day in neighbouring countries and


keeping up the diplomatic pressure. -- stockpiling aid.


A spokesman for the Syrian National Council joins us now. The SNC chief


has said that the conference does not meet the aspirations of the


serene people. Why? We are looking for military support for the Syrian


people. We are calling for the international community to impose a


safe zone and a humanitarian corridor. There is no action, there


is no implementation, and there is no mechanism to put this idea on


the ground. This is why the Saudi minister of foreign affairs even


was upset by the outcome of the conference. This is the first time


you see that the Arab League is in advance of the international


community, in advance of the United States and Europe. The Arab League


is appealing for the international community to intervene and help us


here. You can see... If I can get some clarification from year, to


intervene and help the Syrian people. What kind of intervention


are you talking about? -- clarification from you. We are very


clear. We need to impose a limited no-fly zone above the designated


safe zone areas. At the same time, if the situation continues, the


international community has the right to create a humanitarian


corridor as and seek assistance for the cities in need. Light in Lech -


- Homs and other areas. We need to prevent civilians by all necessary


means. This is something the international community asked to


respond to. Can I ask you, have you been calling at the conference for


the Syrian National Council, before the opposition forces to be armed?


We are calling on the international community to help and support for


Free Syrian Army. The only forces on the ground to were helping the


Syrians and protecting against them -- against the militia is the Free


Syrian Army. But they have become the heroes of the Syrian people.


This is why we have to help them and support them by arming them and


helping them by communication, to help them to organise themselves to


be in better shape. We see photographs coming from Baba Amr,


and other areas, where we are right side and we cannot help our


brothers. The only force is the Free Syrian Army and this is why we


need to support them and are on them. A thank you for joining us.


We are also joined by Shashank Joshi, an associate fellow at the


Royal United Services Institute. On the matter of the Syrian National


Council, William Hague says that it is time for them to be officially


recognised as one of the main representatives of the Syrian


people. Will that happen soon? think it will. There is immense


fear or that the fragmentation in the opposition groups will sabotage


any chance of a political transition. In a way, it legitimate


its President Assad's claimed that he has done so much to advance that


there is no alternative to the dictatorship. One of the urgent


demands is that the SNC not only solidify is its own internal


divisions but that it also settles once-and-for-all the issue of who


is the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. The SNC has


competitors. Inside Syria, there are those who think that the SNC is


detached from the ground realities and any Western efforts to push the


SNC above other groups as the only legitimate organisation is quite


risky. Within ACAS also described the regime as a criminal one. We


have also seen Hillary Clinton talking about the Syrian National


Council, asking them what they stand for. -- William Hague has


also described. Could you legitimately describe them with


farms? There is more scepticism here. There is more scepticism


about the SNC then there was about the transitional council in Libya


last year. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is dormant in the SNC


and it is more or conservative and opaque than its counterpart in


Egypt, for example. There is concern over Sunni fundamentalists


to name be part of the general -- who may be part of the uprising.


Western governments are terrified that weapons provided will end up


in the arms of groups like Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Briefly, humanitarian


corridors. Apparently there are talks between the Red Cross and Red


Crescent, is that a sign that the regime is softening? It is a sign


that it is making tactical concessions to avoid pressure.


That you for talking to us. At least 12 people have been killed as


anti-American protests continue in Afghanistan over the burning of


Korans at a US base. That means that 80 Afghans and two American


soldiers have died in four days of process. There have been anti-US


demonstrations in Lahore, Karachi, the Shala and Islamabad in Pakistan.


Earlier, NATO's top commander appealed for calm and restraint.


As feared, protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers.


Denting their fury for a 4th day in a row. -- venting their fury. In


the city of Herat, religious leaders are accused of fanning the


flames and directing the violence. Police fired above four at


demonstrators who attacked a local Reconstruction Office, and tried to


reach the US consulate. There were protests around the country. In the


south-east, a NATO convoy went up in flames. That will please the


Taliban, who have been exploiting the Koran controversy, urging


Afghans to target NATO forces. General John Allen, NATO's taught


military commander, is trying to limit the fall-out. -- top military


commander. He made an emotional visit to a base where two US


visitors were killed by an Afghan colleague who sided with the


protesters. These other moments when you reach down inside and grip


the discipline that makes you a United States soldier. And you get


through the pain, and you get through the anger and you remember


why we're here. We're here for our friends. We're here for our


partners. We're here for the Afghan people. Among the Afghan people,


and the Afghan security forces, many are demanding tougher action


against the troops who burned their holy book.


I asked this army commander on duty in Kabul what should happen to


those responsible. The TRANSLATION: Hang them.


Trouble flared in the capital, too, with protests in several districts.


Security forces struggled to control their own streets. Then the


police did some burning of their own, taking down a white Taliban


flak and setting it alight. By nightfall, the death toll had risen


to a dozen. Having asked for forgiveness, NATO say they want to


move on. This has been another day of protest and another day of


bloodshed. Tonight, security forces around the country remain on alert.


So far, the angle on the streets has not been cooled by the


apologies from senior American military officials. Or from


President Obama himself. I've been talking to Martine Von


Balart from the Afghanistan analyst network based in Kabul, and she


told us she did not believe that the protests would gain momentum.


Today was probably going to be the worst day of all because it is a


Friday and it is the easiest to mobilise people, to get angry


crowds together. There was violence but there was also a lot of


restraint. The violence was limited to a few areas, and it actually


seems like it is somehow waning. If it continues like this, it will go


on for a few more days but it will probably not get much worse. NATO


is appealing for calm and saying to people, let's see what the


investigation yields. If anybody is found guilty of misconduct, it is


highly unlikely that any punitive action will be taken against them.


That is a problem. At the moment, people are letting themselves be


calmed down. By their leaders, by the Milans and by the Government.


People do expect punishment, because they think that some huge


mistake has been made and an insult has been done. That will strut the


motions, but it will probably not be as he did and will not have the


same spark when it comes together. On the whole, you do not believe


that this incident is really going to have a long lasting impact on


military operations by foreign forces in Afghanistan, it's not


going to intensify opposition to their presence? It will not be like


that directly but it is very much part of a gradual decline in trust.


People are really not sure why they are here and what their intentions


are. People find it difficult to believe that this was unintentional.


Are you surprised that after more than a decade of foreign troops in


Afghanistan, that they are not better attuned to the cultural and


religious sensibilities of the people there? You would have hoped


it would have been better after 10 years but watching how the


international community functions, I can understand how it happened.


The international community has been here for 10 years but they


have not accumulated the knowledge of 10 years. They seem to be


learning things over and over again. Or not learning it at all. It


The United Nations says the number of people displaced by fighting in


Mali has risen by almost 120,000. The fighting started last month


when it Tuareg fighters joined a group of rebels and attacked towns


and army bases. Doctors treating a member of the


Dutch royal family, Prince Johan Friso, say that she may never


regain consciousness following a skiing accident. He suffered


massive brain damage after being trapped in an avalanche last week.


He is the second son of Queen Beatrix.


A retired British businessman, Christopher Tappin, has been


extradited to the United States following a long legal battle. He


is accused of conspiring to sell missile parts to our land. He has


always insisted she was the victim of an American sting operation. --


And Iran has dramatically stepped up its efforts to produce higher


grade uranium enriched -- enriched uranium and has denied


investigators access to facilities. The conclusion will be seen


inevitably by many in the West as a defined move by Tehran and could


also increase alarm surrounding and an's nuclear ambitions. Joining me


now as a former or arms inspector who headed the United States search


for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Charles, this report says


around has boosted its capacity to enrich uranium which will fuel


worries it has a weapons programme in the making. This is bad news and


frankly surprising because they would have thought and Iran would


want to drag out the negotiations progress. What the IAEA is


reporting is that is not only boosting its programme to develop


enriched uranium but it has refused to answer any questions surrounding


alleged Westernisation programmes, that is, activities specifically


designed for weapons. By not allowing the agency access to the


facilities, the greatly add to the suspicion that in fact they have


taken the decision to build a nuclear weapon.


The IAEA report says it has increased the number of centrifuges


and is prepared to expand at uranium enrichment. It will be


harder for and now it to deny that it is trying to develop nuclear


weapons. That is correct. It also contributes to the problem of


timing. The amount of time between when Tehran it takes an unambiguous


action that shows it can build a nuclear weapon to the time where


they can actually build a nuclear weapon is getting very short. It is


called the breakout time. As a result of this, the Israelis and


the Americans are becoming more pressurised to do something before


it is too late. This news from that IAEA, is that likely to intensify


calls for a tougher stand on an? From an Israeli perspective,


certainly. The Israelis believe, and I would not they have


experience in building clandestine nuclear weapons, but they are and


have called for the United Nations to speak on this on 5th March. Are


they going to allow more time to see what happens with sanctions?


Apparently, the Iranians do not seem to be swayed by the sanctions


so far. Thank you for talking to us.


A high school in the South African township of Soweto has seen a 20%


rise in attendance since a famous jazz musician return to school.


Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse Plans to set his secondary school Certificate in


the coming months. He hopes to encourage youngsters from deprived


backgrounds not to abandon Among the biggest names in the


music business, Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse. One of South Africa's


proudest exports and the international jazz scene. For him


even now, practises a priority, but so too is making up for lost time.


Not everyone gets a welcome like this but still a novelty, he is


returning to the classroom and a country where 50% of youngsters do


about the school before the 18th. Many of the kids here are his


neighbours. There frequently were the way -- he was lured away by


jazz, at a time when education was second at -- segregated along


racial lines. If they were not out of bounds, they were deliberately


ensure that schools only teacher and Afrikaans.


Now back and spared the uniform along with other mature students,


exams are just around the corner. What has inspired this musician to


return? The answer? The sight of barefoot children taking themselves


to school. When I went to families of these children, I found that


they were so impoverished it was It was just one of those


experiences that I could not believe people could live like that.


The children were willing to go to school and that was encouraging.


you think that was an experience that made you think I am going to


do something? Absolutely. This 60- year-old may be an inspiration as


his school has seen a 20% increase in attendance since he arrived, but


there are still 1 million youngsters and South Africa who


have turned their backs and secondary education.


Education is one of the biggest hurdles in the new South Africa.


Despite a second chance for people like this, there is a younger


He is a good skipper at 60! In Los Angeles, preparations are under way


for Sunday night's Oscars ceremony. They principally on the English-


language pictures but one category is reserved for foreign language


films. A Belgian film is in the running.


It is a dark crime drama setting is the backdrop of the illegal animal


growth hormone crate. Israel's entry into the Foreign Language


Film category comes with a Footnote. It is a tale of father and son


scholars. For many foreign-language films, the nomination alone gives a


tremendous publicity boost to films which may have otherwise been


ignored. It creates more awareness and curiosity. It gives these were


the films a chance to stand out. The Holocaust has often been


nominated in the Oscars ceremony. Based on a real-life story, this


film chronicles the plight of a group of Jews in World War II: to


escape the Nazi is by a hiding in the sewers. Canada is up for an


Oscar with the French-language film set in a Montreal classroom, which


tells of an Algerian immigrant teacher whose children have been


nominated -- traumatised by the suicide of his predecessor. Los


Angeles is the home to the largest Iranian population in North America,


more than 600,000 according to one estimate. Oscars night is turning


into a very big event indeed for many in this community because for


the first time in 40 years, an Iranian film is up for an Oscar. It


is called a separation and it may well win. It explores the clash


between social classes and the religious and non-religious -- the


non-religious and conflict resolution in Tehran. An Oscar


trophy would be viewed as a reward that could really help the


country's besieged film-making community. I cannot make any


predictions. Whatever happens to this film will make the cinematic


community very happy. A separation is viewed as the dumb to beat and


is seen as the favourite to win the Academy Award. -- film.


Before we go, while we have been on air, the Red Cross in Syria say at


first Group of seven when the people have been evacuated from


Homs. That is all from us. Next, The last of our very mild air is


holding on across southern areas but it will slowly get squeezed


away as this cold front continues to move southwards. High pressure


builds from the West keeping most of our weather fronts at bay.


Saturday looks mostly nice. Some decent sunshine, particularly for


central and eastern areas. First Saturday morning, cloud comes in


from the south-west but we have the sunshine though it will be if


chilly start to the day. Temperatures recovering in the


sunshine. The winds will be lighter. Here, it is actually still feeling


pretty pleasant. South-eastern areas, highs of 13 Celsius, still


mild for the time of year. South- west England and parts of South


Wales will see the westerly wind continuing to feed in. Misty and


foggy conditions through Bristol and the Channel. Temperatures


slowly climbing into a high single digits. In Northern Ireland, after


a bright start, sky slowly cloud over from the West. Scotland are


still win the although perhaps not this promise today but it will


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