09/03/2012 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me Zeinab Badawi. The shelling the


in Homs goes on and Valerie Amos says she still does not know enough


of what is going on in the country. We still need a more robust


engagement that will enable us to have more information about what is


happening. New pictures of the house where the British and Italian


men held hostage in Nigeria died. Italy wants answers from Britain


why they weren't told about the failed operation.


13 million people in Africa's Sahel region could just be months away


from a full blown food emergency. Also coming up in the programme:


New research uncovers a controversial remedy. Could


psychedelia's drug of choice, LSD, be a treatment for alcohol


addiction? Hollywood's voiceover artistes.


They sell us the promise of a great film, but do the voices have to be


Hello and welcome. The United Nations Humanitarian Envoy, Valerie


Amos, who's just visited Syria, says the Syrian authorities have


agreed to join UN agencies in making a limited assessment of the


situation in the country. Speaking in Turkey, Baroness Amos repeated


her call for unhindered humanitarian access to Syria. This


a video claims to show shelling in Homs. A cameraman says that the


minarets bore the brunt of the bombardment. We cannot verify these


pictures independently. These pictures from Damascus to show an


anti-government demonstration. Here, protesters burn the pictures of


President Assad's predecessor, his father. The UN's humanitarian chief,


Valerie Amos, visited Syria earlier this week. She is now in Turkey and


has called on the Syrian government to provide free access to those


areas worst hit by fighting. government have agreed to a limited


assessment exercise to be conducted by UN agencies and the Syrian


authorities. This would give us some information about what is


happening in the country. We continue to need a more robust


engagement that would enable us to have more information about what is


happening. What to do about Syria is a topic for the EU foreign


ministers here it meeting for talks in Copenhagen. Ministers reject


calls for foreign military action. The first goal is to stop violence.


The second is to bring in humanitarian aid. And the third is


a peaceful transition and this is what we want to reach. The UN's en


voyage is due to arrive in Syria on Saturday. He has called for a


political settlement to the crisis. The UN humanitarian she has been


talking on the telephone to the BBC after her visit. She told us that


not enough aid is reaching the people. Homs itself, the part so


visited, are extremely quiet, shops are not open. There are one or two


neighbourhoods where shops are open and there are more people. There


are estimates that only about 50 % of those who live in Homs are still


there. The neighbourhood in Homs is completely devastated, destroyed.


There is evidence of heavy artillery having been used. There


is not a single building in the area that I visited that had not


had any impact of this. You can see large holes, you can see evidence


of tanks having rolled through the neighbourhood in for a march on the


road. It is a terrible situation to see. I spoke to a couple of


families who had basically gone back to get what they could from


their homes, to salvage what they could. There are few men on the


streets who said that people were very fearful and that people had


fled to family and friends. We are trying to negotiate with the


opposition to see some people who I understood had been displaced, but


eventually we had to give that up. We were not able to negotiate to


get into that the opposition held area to see them.


The Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has expressed his anger


with the UK. He said it is inexplicable that Britain had not


informed Italy before it started a mission to free a British engineer


and his Italian colleague held hostage in Nigeria. Both men died


during the rescue attempt carried out on Thursday by British special


forces and the Nigerian military. Here's our security correspondent


Gordon Corera. The house in north-west Nigeria at


the centre of yesterday's failed rescue attempt. Inside, evidence of


a fierce gun battle. The battle ended with the news that the two


hostages had died. Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinara had been held


for 10 months by a violent Al-Qaeda linked itself. Italy's President


today asked why his government had not been consulted before the raid.


The behaviour of the British government in not informing Italy


is inexplicable. A political and diplomatic clarification is


necessary. Officials at the Foreign Office say the decision to send in


troops had to be made fast. So fast that the Italians could only be


told after it had been made. So why did it happen so quickly? The


Nigerians confirmed the hostages location after arresting a suspect


in the last few days. But there were concerns that the kidnappers


were alerted to a possible rescue and the hostages in danger of being


moved or killed. Under pressure the Prime Minister authorised the raid


yesterday morning. And then he informed the Italians. The British


Special Boat Service went in first in a daylight raid, killing one


gunman as they entered. But they then found the hostages had already


been murdered by the time they reach them. We had to make a


decision very quickly and we had to go ahead with this operation with a


very limited time. That constrained how much we were able to consult


others. We were able to inform the Italian government as the operation


got under way. Today, Chris McManus's former colleagues paid


tribute to the 28-year-old from Oldham. My reaction was devastation,


Chris was a very good individual and a great team player. We were


distraught. Chris McManus's family said that they believed everything


that could be done had been done. But at this box a diplomatic row.


Now a look at some of the days other news.


Afghan and US military officials have signed an agreement on


transferring control of the US-run detention facility at Bagram


airbase to the Afghan authorities. At a formal signing-over ceremony


US officials agreed that the Afghan government would take charge of


about 500 prisoners over the next 45 days and assume full control of


the facility in six months. A US drone killed at least eight


militants in Pakistan. The latest job figures from the


United States show that nearly a quarter of a million jobs were


created last month. But the unemployment rate, which is based


on a different survey, remains unchanged at 8.3%.


Oxfam is warning the drought in the Sahel region of West Africa could


turn into a humanitarian catastrophe if urgent action isn't


taken. The aid agency says more than a million children are at risk


of severe malnutrition in Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania,


Niger and northern Senegal. As many as 13 million people could


be affected in the Sahel, the semi- arid area bordered by the Sahara


desert in the North and the wetter regions of equatorial Africa to the


south. The situation has been compounded in some areas by a


refugee problem, recent fighting between Tuareg rebels and the army


in northern Mali has caused more than 100,000 people to flee their


homes. I've been talking to Penny Lawrence from Oxfam, who's in the


capital of Mali, Bamako. She set out the main reasons why there is a


food crisis looming in this part of Africa: The rain fall has been very


little and it was very little two years ago as well. People have not


had a lot of time to recover from one drought. Food prices have


increased greatly. In the north- west, food prices have doubled in


their last six months. If you cannot grow enough food and you


cannot buy it, you will have a real problem managing. When you have


spoken to the authorities and all of these countries, do they say to


you that they're in desperate need of help and they cannot manage?


they do. They are doing everything they can that they are poor


countries and poor governments. The international community also need


to support them. It means governments giving money but it


also means the public giving as well. We need to prevent this


crisis turning into a terrible catastrophe. What are you looking


for and what have you got? We are looking for �23 million to help the


one million at most abjectly affected by this food crisis. At


the moment, we have a significant gap on that. We are hoping that


people will give generously. But it is not just these reasons you have


set out. In Mali there is a conflict which means that people


are fleeing their homes and they cannot plant any more. That is just


up in the north. The food crisis affects a wide area. Yes, there is


also a conflict. If you can imagine those people who have not any got a


food crisis on their hands, but are also fleeing from fighting, too, it


means that we need to double our efforts. We are working with some


very brave local partners and we are able to get support to those


people. What kind of time frame are you looking at? For the clock is


ticking and we have two or three months in which to really make sure


that we distribute food, distribute cash to help people over this


difficult period otherwise we are facing a terrible catastrophe.


The Greek finance minister Evangelos Venezelos has said it's a


historic day for the Greeks. The deal reached with Greece's


creditors today means the Greek debt mountain is reduced by more


than 100 billion euros. But although this is the biggest ever


restructuring of government debt, nothing much will change for


ordinary Greeks. The country is still suffering from a lack of


growth and productivity. Here's Mark Lowen in Athens.


The last few months have been some of the darkest in Greek's modern


history. The recession has deepened as has the despair and anger of the


Greek people. Writing, poverty and loss of faith in leaders have


pushed this country to the brink. Now, a rare glint of hope. The deal


struck to less than Greece's burden. This agreement we have reached with


the private sector is excellent. It is an historic day for Greece, for


the Greek parliament, for the Greek people and for the national economy.


This is the largest debt restructuring ever recorded. 107


billion euros of debt will be written off as old bonds are


exchanged for new. Over 80 % of bondholders have agreed to it.


Securing the deal was essential for Greece to get its next bale-out,


130 euros, that it needs within weeks to avoid bankruptcy. But the


Greek crisis has not been resolved. The country just have an


opportunity and it has got on the right path. Debt relief for the


government, but among ordinary Greeks, few feel relieved.


Austerity has pushed unemployment to record highs. With wages already


slashed, some individual bondholders say they will not


The fundamental problems here are still remain, a lack of growth and


productivity, and without solving them, this country will struggle to


pull itself out of the worst recession since the Second World


War. Once again, Greece has teetered towards the edge. Once


again, it has been saved. But when will the next crisis moment come,


and will this exotic country have the strength to keep fighting? --


exhausted country. In Japan, 100,000 people are still not been


able to return to the homes they fled after the disaster at


Fukushima. Thousands more are afraid to return to areas that have


seen radiation levels increase. The Government has begun an operation


to try to decontaminate thousands of kilometres of land. We have been


back to see how the fall-out has transformed two communities close


to the planned. Absorbed by the trees, the radiation threat is all


around us. Everyone had to evacuate. This is where nobody was. A year


ago, this was home to thousands of people, 25 miles from the the Vichy


much power plant. Today it is to radioactive to live here. -- of the


Fukushima power plant. There are thousands of square miles of


contaminated land all around here. No one knows whether it can be made


for humans to live in again. This professor has tried to work out how


to remove the radiation that the disaster spewed out. It carried


over and career twice the size -- it carried over an area twice the


size. The government say they will decontaminate everywhere, but I do


not think they can do it. It will cost a colossal about.


Fukushima's reactors are still fragile, so many were still too


fearful to live in the shadow of the nuclear cloud. Just miles away,


Minamisoma is in an exclusion zone. 25,000 people who fled last year


from here have not returned. Across the town, the top five centimetres


of soil is being removed. More radioactive particles keep falling


from the trees. At this nursery school, they now take radiation


readings every day, and then swap the playground Queen -- clean


before the children can go out to play. They all wear masks. The


school is one of the few places that has been completely


decontaminated. A counter installed on the playground shows that


radiation is a little above normal but within safe limits. They have


cleaned up our nursery and playground, that is all. We cannot


even take the children out of the front gate. Our life is limited to


these tiny spaces. So even when levels are low, many parents will


not bring their children back here. Living with radiation is a risk


they do not want to take. A year on in priggish enough.


Researchers in Norway have -- a year on in Fukushima. Researchers


in a way have been studying result from a selection of trials


undertaken in the 1960s regarding alcohol and other intoxicants.


Without this man we may never have heard of LSD. In 1943, this Swiss


scientist was working on a chemical, when he started feeling strange.


kind of dream world appeared. A feeling of being one with the world.


A very strange experience. Saying, LSD had been bottled up, and had


found its way -- is soon, LSD had been bottled up and given to


patients. This hospital even had its own LSD block. The CIA were


conducting their own experiment to see whether the drug could be used


to control minds, or as a weapon to spray on enemy troops. The


recreational use of LSD soon became apparent. In 1955 a British MP was


there and using the drug. -- was filmed at using the drug. The


results were obvious, so much so that the film was not shown for


another 30 years. Around the same time, a writer was beginning his


experiments with LSD, culminating in his popular essays. It was not


until the 1960s that LSD usage exploded, with a new generation


looking to use the drug to free their minds and bodies. By this


time, the negative affects had become apparent to many. The drug


could cause extreme paranoia and leave its users exposed. They could


also trigger a prolonged mental illness.


We can speak to a professor who is also a psychiatrist who used to


advise the Government on drugs policies. You have looked at this


research. They apparently -- and apparently won a single dose up LSD


can have an effect on alcoholics which can last month. Are you


convinced? I think it is completely credible. We know that drugs like


LSD induce very profound changes end in sight. Most of the great


things we used to cure alcoholism are about changing inside. It is an


understanding about life beyond alcohol. I think it is part of a


psychotherapeutic intervention in a protective environment and that


psychedelic drugs have quite a role in various therapies for various


problems. We are beginning to do a research -- report on the effects


on people with depression. How does this help combat alcoholism? We do


not know exactly. The work on the projects stopped in the 1960s out


of fear that young people were going to use it. We have not


actually put LSD through a modern brain or imaging techniques. We


have seen that the chemicals and LSD switch off parts of the great -


- brain that are overactive when people get locked into thinking


repeatedly about the press of plot or craving alcohol. What the


chemicals deal -- repeatedly about depressive thoughts or craving


alcohol. But people could go from alcohol to LSD. But people do not


get addicted to LSD. It is not addictive. Eight pre-tax against


addiction. -- eight pre-tax against addiction. Are you not worried


about how harmful it can be? We can do a risk assessment. All I can say


is that psychedelic drugs have a much greater role in the treatment


of addiction is that we have allowed them to be tested for her.


I think it is a disgrace that we have to wait 40 years to try this


again. They could have revolutionised the treatment of


disorders like alcoholism and save hundreds of thousands of lives. The


reason we are not doing it is because we think that it will stop


young people from doing it. Are you convinced or do you think there is


more research to be done? We have to do this today. All of this


research was done in the 1960s. We need to do trials now using the


different side Alex in the proper way in a modern situation. --


psychedelic us in the proper way. One of the last things in Hollywood


that is a last fashion is was ever trailers. -- voice over trailers.


Recently, a female voice over artists have been trying to get in


to the act without much luck. We take a look inside the voice in the


studio. In a world within our world, they created a world unlike any


other world. But for these make believed Euros... -- make believe


he rose... It is a male dominated field. They tend to go with man.


There had been occasions where there have been women but it is


rare. What is it about men? physicality of men's voices carry a


presence, especially in a theatre where there are noises and special


effects. Welcome... To paradise. Tasia Valenza is one of the few


people who have -- who has voiced a trailer. She believes that the male


voices can sell a movie but thinks that male voices -- male voices


might be better for specific kinds. It is a specific to a type of the


genre. When it comes to chick flicks or her romantic comedies, I


think women do it very well. Opinion appears split. I think


women should do voice-overs. It would be quite appealing. I think


guys do it better. By a lot of people would disagree. Oh, well.


Science has been used to justify excluding women from the business.


While men and women like listening to female voices, they trust a


man's voice more. Many believe that women's voices can do the job.


evolves. I think it is the next frontier and I think women have


that at their door front. But it is still a man's will? Yes. Experience


the adventure of a lifetime. change is likely to be incremental.


In the meantime, we will have to deal with the rich baritones


beckoning us to future attractions. That is all from the programme. Was


that deep enough for you? Thank goodness there are women


presenters! From myself and the rest of the team, enjoy your


rest of the team, enjoy your weekend.


High pressure is going to get us find whether this weekend and


through much of next week as well. A cloudy day today it will


gradually brighten up tomorrow. Here is the big picture going into


the weekend. As you can see, it is still quite breezy across northern


areas, but elsewhere, like winds, and the pressure is suckling things


down. Sunday morning starts out bash progress Saturday morning


The cloud will thin and break as it rolls over into the east of the


Pennines. The sun makes all up the difference. In London, we could see


16 degrees. Into Wales, there will be some cloud and you might


encounter some drizzle. North and east Wales will be getting some


sunshine. Some brightness on the southeast of Northern Ireland.


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