08/03/2012 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Tim Willcox. Having retaken


Homs, reports from Syria say the army is now focusing on rebels in


the northwestern city of Idlib. The fear, that Idlib could be a new


Baba Amr, where the UN's humanitarian chief talks of


devastation. That part of Homs is completely destroyed and I'm


concerned to know what has happened to the people who lived in that


part of the city. A Special Forces rescue mission in Nigeria ends in


failure, with 2 hostages, an Italian and a Briton, killed.


Heading our way. The largest solar storm in five years comes with


warnings about threats to power supplies and navigation systems.


Also coming up in the programme: living with the painful memories.


As the first anniversary of the Japanese tsunami approaches, the


families still trying to come to terms with the loss of their loved


ones. And wowing the crowds after 60 years on the throne. The Queen's


Jubilee tour gets underway in Hello and welcome. Reports from


Syria say government tanks and troop carriers are moving on the


city and province of Idlib - home to many Free Syrian Army fighters


and close to the border with Turkey. There've reportedly been government


warnings to civilians to leave their lands and their homes.


Meanwhile the UN's humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, has been


speaking about the devastation she saw during a short visit to the


Syrian city of Homs and in particular the district of Baba Amr.


In Cairo the UN and Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan,


says the conflict can only be resolved by a political settlement.


The diplomatic pressure coincided with news of the defection of


Syria's Deputy Oil Minister to the rebels. Jim Muir reports from


neighbouring Lebanon. The Valerie Amos said she was devastated by the


destruction she sobbed on her visit to Zawiya. -- Baba Amr. That part


of Homs is completely destroyed by and I am concerned to know what has


happened to dead people to live in that part of the city. The scale of


the destruction impressed upon her. Much of the superficial damage has


been cleared away but the underlying devastation cannot be


disguised. In addition to the hundreds who died here under


bombardment it is said that many more died during summary executions


carried out last week. This man is the highest Government member so


far to defect. He issued a four minute denunciation on YouTube.


do not want to end mightier serving the crimes of this regime. I join


the cause of justice knowing they will burn my house, terrorise my


family and tell lies about me. The blood of the martyrs will not


forgive those who continue as accomplices of the regime on the


grounds that they are just employees of being orders. It is


good news for the opposition. Its fighters have kept up harrying


opposition forces. -- Government forces. The Government continues to


use its heavy weapons against towns and villages. It is looking


increasingly like civil war. That is what the special peace envoy


wants to halt. Stopping off in Cairo he urged the opposition as


well as the Syrian Government to co-operate for a balanced solution.


His approach she believes is the only practical way. We have to be


coldly realistic when we put proposals on the table to


understand it can be carried through and will have the right


results otherwise we raise false hopes and cause more problems.


he cannot make a break through it is doubtful that anybody else can.


Well, as reports from inside Syria say that army reinforcements have


been sent to the northwestern province of Idlib, activists say


they fear an assault similar to the one that devastated the Baba Amr


neighbourhood of Homs. Nour lddin is a resident of Idlib, and we can


speak to him via a webcam. What is happening around that City this


evening? The village where gunmen were born, where a young man was


killed they went to his house and other houses in the village. There


was another one in the countryside. He died. That led to many people in


their houses and at the market demonstrating. There is a very long


delay on this site, just one last question if I may, have you seen a


build up of army tanks and troop carriers and have there been


warnings to people to media before the army moved end? -- move end? --


move in? I am sorry, there were technical problems with that


interview. The BBC's Lina Sinjab is in the Syrian capital Damascus.


Strong words from the UN. His best having any impact at all on the


Zairean as authorities? Yes indeed. -- Syrian as authorities. Baroness


Amos said she was waiting to hear what the Syrian as authorities have


to say before she takes any further action. The situation is ongoing


despite the international condemnation. What about the


defection of the Deputy Oil Minister, has there been any


official recognition of that? has not been any statement yet from


the Government about this defection. Anything which happened in the past


was attributed to the Ministry of whom the Government considered


traitors. There has not been any reaction from the Government about


that so far. Thank you very much for joining us. A British and an


Italian construction engineer have been killed in Nigeria during a


failed attempt backed by special forces to rescue them. In a


statement, just over an hour ago, David Cameron said Nigerian and


British forces launched the rescue attempt after information that


delights of the men were under increasing threat. We have a video


of the men being held in captivity, it was uploaded to YouTube. David


Cameron says early indications are that the men were murdered by their


captors before they could be freed. It was only today that David


Cameron authorised the rescue operation to go ahead. We are still


waiting for many of the details to be confirmed. David Cameron gave


this statement at Downing Street a short while ago. A British citizen


was taken hostage in Nigeria by terrorists in May 2011. He was held


left a colleague who was Italian. Since then we have been working


with the Nigerian authorities to try to find them both and secured


their release. The terrorists holding deep two hostages made very


clear threats to take their lives including in a video which was


posted on the internet. After months of not knowing where they


were being held we received information about their location


and a window of opportunity arose to secure their release. We were


all sorts under the impression that their lives were in danger and


their deaths were imminent. Today I authorised arrest you attempt to go


ahead with our support but it is with great regret I have to say


that both men have lost their lives. We are still awaiting confirmation


of the details but the early indications are that both men were


murdered by their captors before they could be rescued. Our security


correspondent has been giving us a few more details about the


operation and what we think went wrong. These two men were first


kidnapped last here in the north- west of the country from a


residential compound. There was a video a few months later and then


today David Cameron made it clear there had been further concern


about the threat to them and intelligence had come in a


revealing their possible location. On that basis he said he had given


the authorisation for an operation to go-ahead which we understand was


Nigerian with operational support also from the UK. That in turn


tragically has led to the death of the men tragically at the hands of


their captors. Let's have a look at some of the other news now. The


Greek Government says it is on its weight to a bond swap deal with


investors which could help avoid their huge debts. More than 75 % of


private creditors are said to have signed up. The three widows of


Osama Bin Laden have been charged with illegally entering and living


in Pakistan. Lisa French President says he will abandon politics if he


loses the forthcoming presidential election. Nicolas Sarkozy has been


criticised for competing with the National Front for right wing bolts


after seeing there were too many foreigners in France. -- right-wing


votes. Scientists say charged solar particles are heading towards us at


more than 16 kilometres per second. The solar storms do not directly


harm people but can disrupt satellites and air travel. More


from Our Science Correspondent now. A storm on the surface of our son.


The most intense in five years. It was triggered by gigantic solar


flares earlier this week. The continued activity could soon have


an effect on Earth. US Government agencies are monitoring the


situation closely. We are at least able to tell you that yes, this is


coming towards us, be aware, keep watching, do not get hysterical.


solar tsunami is coming our way! But hysterical they got. But how


worried should we be? The sun is throwing out sheets of charged


particles. It often does this but the difference is that this time


these sheets maybe on a collision course with the Earth. We will be


protected by the Earth's magnetic field but there could be disruption


to the planet's satellites which could affect computer and


telecommunications systems. We are moving towards as solar maximum so


we may expect these things to increase. We are already co-


operating with the Americans on this. Our Prime Minister and Barack


Obama signed an agreement last year. So far there are no signs of


Let's talk to Ingo Mueller-Wodarg from Imperial College London. A


solar tsunami, we heard. I think the worst is over, it has not hit


us to Baddeley. It has fizzled by. The main problem is that the


electromagnetic storm is a bubble of gas, high energy gas, hitting us


in space. But we are well protected by our geomagnetic field and our


atmosphere. It seems that the bubble did not hit us directly but


hit us on the side. Probably the worst is over. These particles are


moving at 4 million miles an hour. Will we be seeing more of these and


how great is the potential threat? On ground the threat is minimal.


These events have happened as long as life existed on Earth and before


that. We are well protected by our magnetic field. However, what used


to not be a big problem and is increasingly a problem because we


rely on technology in space is that these events disrupt the magnetic


fields in space and they can hit the communication between


satellites which, in turn, affects signals which much of our lives


depend on. And defence systems as well. Of course, and power grids.


Events like this will continue to happen and they will get stronger


now, with the solar cycle... Why is the sun sends -- sending off be


used massive storms? -- the be used massive. This summer is a ball of


gas and the magnetic field rearranges itself. -- the sun is a


bald gas. It throws off these big bubbles of gas, coronal mass


ejection has, and it throws them into space and they are either hid


us or they don't. -- coronal mass ejections. The event is completely


normal and has not changed over hundreds of thousands of years.


nothing to be worried about. have to be careful nowadays. The


problem nowadays is that we rely on technology that is in space. We


have to be absolutely careful. Sadly, the funding into this area


has gone down dramatically. Ingo Mueller-Wodarg, thank you very much.


This Sunday's Japan will be remembering victims of the


earthquake and tsunami that hit the east coast a year ago. 16,000


people were killed when towns and city in Iwate and Miyagi


prefectures were devastated. Damian Grammaticas has been to Japan's


East Coast to speak to one family caught up in the disaster.


Shadows on the landscape are all that is left of this place. Avoid


full of memories. For Tatsuya Suzuki it is the memory of the


smile his wife gave him, right here in the two-storey house, as he left


for work. I wish I could go back in time, he says, go back to that date.


If only I could have saved him. He is burdened by guilt that he


survived and Izumi did not. As the a tsunami swept into the area, he


had managed to get their two children to safe place is. Seconds


later Izumi was carried away by the wave. Today, Hikaru and her little


brother Hibiki are laughing again. Sometimes they cry out in their


sleep. I see the sadness and a struggle to know what to say. My


heart aches. The tsunami killed 1,000 of the


7,000 people here. One year on the, the government is burning what


little remains of the area. They aim to build this town again, but


higher. For hundreds of miles along the coast it is the same story,


dozens of communities starting a new. The first priority is the


unfinished task of accounting for everybody. More than 3,000 are


still missing. At this school, 70 children were swept away. Four have


not been found. Yasukichi Takayama's mother disappeared.


Nothing moves on, he says. I have been following police teams like


this all year. Hikaru and Hibiki used to be so


inseparable from their mother. Hikaru is doing well at his new


school but their father feels trapped by the past.


TRANSLATION: Even though a year has gone by, nothing has really changed.


Time has stopped for me. I am still grieving. His children never one to


live here again but one day, he says, he will move back. This place


still feels like home. In the immediate aftermath of the


tsunami there were big fears that the radiation threat posed by the


Fukushima nuclear plant but one year on those fears have largely


diminished. Some experts believe that the radiation did not pose a


long-term risk. One of those experts is Professor Richard


Garfield from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. He


joins us now from New York. I was there at the time and there was


real fear that people even in Tokyo about what was happening. Were


those fears are exaggerated completely? Not at all. We did not


know how much radiation there would have been and if it had been like


Chernobyl there would have been an enormous help effect. It did not


turn out that way. These were much better designed, the radiation was


contained for the most part and the radiation that did escape was not


that harmful and did not reach population centres. It is


interesting because, because of lack of knowledge in that sense of


not really knowing what might happen, that drove, not hysteria,


but real mental anxiety. Is that one of the longer-lasting effects


of this disaster? Fear, confusion, lack of understanding of how much


radiation there is. Any place there is a radiation escape, this is a


man made situation and it is something people don't control


themselves. One always has a perception of greater risk when


those events are external and unnatural and imposed on one. At


the Japanese government compounded by not giving good information.


you think people will die as a result of what happened a year ago,


but not because of radiation but maybe because of mental health


problems and stress and other things impacting on the daily


lives? It appears that it is other health affects the and radiation


which will have a long-term impact. A third of a million people were


displaced and some have health problems but can't be dealt with as


effectively when they don't know the physicians who are taking care


of them. There are so many people who have lost family members and to


have long-term mental and social impacts or stop the father in the


story said, my heart aches. Thank you very much, Professor Richard


Garfield. A visit to one of Britain's most


ethnically diverse cities, Leicester, has marked the beginning


of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee tour. There were enthusiastic crowds as


she travelled with the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duchess of


Cambridge. This report contains flash photography.


10 years ago the Golden Jubilee got off to a comparatively slow start.


That was not the story today. The people of Leicester, a culturally


diverse city in the heart of England, came out in their


thousands to launch the Queen's died in Jubilee and to welcome her


guest companion, the Duchess of Cambridge. -- diamond jubilee. It


is the cultural diversity of Leicester which made it the place


to start the tour. Few places better show the changes that have


taken place over her rain. But Leicester could -- at Leicester


Cathedral she attended a special service between various faith


groups. Prayers were said for the six British soldiers killed in


Afghanistan. We pray for those who died in


Afghanistan yesterday from the Yorkshire and the Duke of -- and


its the Duke of Lancaster's regiments. Outside the cathedral,


the Queen and the Duchess said despite stood side by side to


receive bouquets of flowers. The fact that the Queen invited the


Duchess to join her is a public endorsement of her importance to


the royal family. At times they worked as a team, the Queen taking


one side of the crowd, the Duchess other -- the other. They went to a


fashion show at De Montfort University. Their relationship


seems to be an easy one, the younger one leaning across to chat.


Them, in the city centre, the Queen hoping perhaps that the newcomer


will absorb a few lessons. Bob there was something more to the


Duchess's presence. It is a subtle signal that the Queen recognises


the importance of bringing on somebody who will be so central to


the monarchy of the future. At there was no doubt, though, who is


still this court -- the star of the show. Not everybody is a monarch --


monarchist but this monarch's popular as ever. She is the queen


of our country and I am proud. Coming to Leicester was just


fantastic. We could not have asked for much more. It was an awesome


moment to celebrate it with her. The Palace's view - it was a


welcome beyond their expectations. A reminder of our top news. Reports


from serious say that government track -- tanks and troop carriers


are moving on the province of Idlib, home to many Free Syrian Army


fighters. There have been reports that they have been government


warnings to civilians to leave their lands and their homes. That


is all from me. Next, but whether. Hello. After a very active first


half of the week it is all change. The emphasis is on for dry weather.


More cloud than today tomorrow but temperatures quite high. The breeze


and things are settling down, this area of high pressure. -- the


reason things. Plenty of dry weather to come. This week were the


front of pushing across Scotland is an exception, outbreaks of rain


tomorrow. -- week weather front. Breezy, but 12, 13, possibly 14


degrees. A strip of cloud across southern England, maybe a spot of


rain. We will continue with thicker cloud into Wales, light rain or


drizzle in the hills, also affecting parts of north-west


England, and maybe brushing the north of Northern Ireland. The


further south east you are, brighter skies into Belfast, for


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