The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
Browse content similar to 24/02/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
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