15/03/2012 World News Today


15/03/2012

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This is World News Today. One year on in the Syrian uprising

:00:15.:00:20.

and the country is divide and in the midst of conflex. Rallies in

:00:20.:00:25.

support of the government in Damascus, as a newspaper publishes

:00:25.:00:30.

when it says are President Bashar al-Assad's personal e-mails.

:00:30.:00:34.

As antiAmerican sentiment hardens, the Taliban suspends, talks with

:00:34.:00:38.

the United States. One of China's best-known and flamboyant

:00:38.:00:42.

politicians, is sacked suddenly from his post. What does this tell

:00:42.:00:46.

us about China's future political direction? Also coming up in the

:00:46.:00:54.

programme: Loss and grief in the Swiss Alps. As Belgium announces a

:00:54.:00:59.

day of mourning, investigation noose the accident continue. And in

:00:59.:01:03.

Greece, the potato sellers helping families squeezed by the debt

:01:03.:01:13.
:01:13.:01:19.

Hello and welcome. I'm Zeinab Badawi. One year on and

:01:19.:01:25.

the Arab Spring in Syria has been likened by some to an Arab autumn.

:01:25.:01:30.

The leaves falling off a deeply embedded tree, as a metaphor for

:01:30.:01:34.

the number of people killed in the Syrian uprising, while the Assad

:01:34.:01:40.

government is solid. Many thousands have fled their

:01:40.:01:44.

homes to escape the conflict. Yes this report.

:01:44.:01:49.

Against the odds, Syria's rebels continue to fight back.

:01:49.:01:51.

The pictures are difficult to very few.

:01:51.:01:58.

This is thought to be in the central town of Hama.

:01:58.:02:05.

They celebrate a small victory. But the Free Syrian Army is heavily

:02:05.:02:11.

outgunned and outnumbered. In homss -- Homs, opposition activists

:02:11.:02:18.

release film of security forces going house-to-house. Activists say

:02:18.:02:23.

that the government is carrying out a scorched earth policy, destroying

:02:23.:02:27.

everything of use to the opposition, but in Damascus, a mass rally in

:02:27.:02:29.

support of President Bashar al- Assad, broadcast on state

:02:29.:02:34.

television. It was spring, 2011 that saw the

:02:34.:02:40.

first demonstrations. Starting in the southern town of

:02:40.:02:43.

Deraa. The target of people's anger,

:02:43.:02:46.

President Bashar al-Assad. His family have ruled Syria for

:02:46.:02:51.

more than 40 years. As the protests spread, the

:02:52.:02:57.

response of the security forces became increasingly violent.

:02:57.:03:01.

Some members of the Syria army defected to fight for the

:03:01.:03:04.

opposition, but not in big enough numbers to tip the balance.

:03:04.:03:09.

The government has tried to deal with the situation with a

:03:09.:03:12.

combination of miner concessions and brute force. In April,

:03:12.:03:16.

President Bashar al-Assad promised a new constitution. Offering

:03:16.:03:21.

multiparty elections. The government says it is facing an

:03:21.:03:26.

armed insurgency and has blamed terrorist gangs for the violence.

:03:26.:03:31.

But at the same time, the authorities have continued to use

:03:31.:03:38.

force against unarmed protesters. Opposition strongholds like Homs

:03:38.:03:41.

and Idlib have been besieged and bombarded.

:03:41.:03:46.

There have been reports of troops going house-to-house in some areas,

:03:46.:03:50.

killing civilians, including women and children.

:03:50.:03:54.

Just as Syria has been divided, so has the international community.

:03:54.:04:02.

The can I has been suspended from the Arab League, while the EU and

:04:02.:04:07.

the Us have imsupposed sanctions, however, there has been no

:04:07.:04:11.

agreement to call for the end to the violence, because of Russian

:04:11.:04:15.

and Chinese objections. Hopes are now pinned on the new international

:04:15.:04:20.

envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, but his push for a peace plan, which began

:04:20.:04:26.

in Damascus, last weekend, has yet to yield any results.

:04:26.:04:30.

While military intervention has been ruled out by Western nations,

:04:30.:04:34.

there are calls by some Arab countries to arm the opposition. An

:04:34.:04:42.

option that would surely see the country slip further into Civil War.

:04:42.:04:47.

Well, one year on and some intriguing details about President

:04:47.:04:50.

Bashar al-Assad in the midst of the uprising have epercentaged. More

:04:50.:04:55.

than 3,000 of his personal e-mails have apparently been leaked by

:04:55.:04:59.

Syrian opposition figures to the British newspaper, the Guardian.

:04:59.:05:04.

They shed light on his private life and reveal advice given by

:05:04.:05:08.

individuals, including officials from Iran on how to respond to the

:05:08.:05:13.

opposition. We cannot verify the e-mail's

:05:13.:05:17.

authenticity, but it is believed they are genuine. In one e-mail,

:05:17.:05:21.

President Bashar al-Assad jokes about reforms in a message to his

:05:21.:05:29.

wife and refers to:, "The rubbish laws of parties, elections and

:05:29.:05:35.

media. Later, President Bashar al- Assad is advised to take a hard

:05:35.:05:41.

line against the opposition in an e-mail from Hamza Al-Khatib.

:05:41.:05:51.
:05:51.:05:54.

The e-mail seems to confirm the strong bond between President

:05:54.:06:00.

Bashar al-Assad and his British- born wife, Asma.

:06:00.:06:04.

The Syrian government has denied these were President Bashar al-

:06:04.:06:07.

Assad's personal e-mails. Well, a taste there of what was

:06:07.:06:12.

contained in some of the e-mails. Now, Hamid Karzai has called for

:06:13.:06:17.

NATO-led forces to pull back to their bases and end patrols in

:06:17.:06:22.

Afghan villages. The remarks come after the killing of 16 civilians

:06:22.:06:26.

by an American soldier last weekend. In a separate development, there

:06:26.:06:31.

has been a setback for peace talks before they even started. The

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Taliban suspending negotiations as they objected to the involvement of

:06:35.:06:41.

the Afghan government. Lyse Doucet told us what is known about the

:06:41.:06:44.

reasons for the Taliban's opposition.

:06:44.:06:49.

Even though the Taliban have been trying to capitalise on the late's

:06:49.:06:55.

violence in the country, including the killing of Afghan civilians, 16,

:06:56.:07:01.

this has less to do with that, than the tentative process of dialogue

:07:01.:07:04.

with the Americans. It was a significant achievement that the

:07:04.:07:08.

Taliban had agreed to open a political office in Qatar, had

:07:08.:07:12.

agreed to talk to the Americans about getting their prisoners out

:07:12.:07:17.

of Guantanamo Bay and other detention centres, given the gap of

:07:17.:07:20.

confidence between the two sides and the fact that they are still

:07:20.:07:24.

attacking each other, but what is also clear is that they have

:07:24.:07:27.

different ideas about where the dialogue goes next. They say they

:07:27.:07:32.

want to talk about their prisoners and only to talk to the Americans

:07:32.:07:36.

about that, not to Hamid Karzai. Where as the Americans were told,

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had made it clear to their Taliban interlock terse, that the next step

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was to bring in the Afghan government.

:07:49.:07:53.

Now let's take a look at some of the day's other nis. In Egypt,

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prosecutors have charged 75 people in connection with last month's

:07:58.:08:06.

football rioting in which more than 70 people were killed. The writhe

:08:06.:08:12.

happened in Port Said. Days of protest followed the writhe, with

:08:12.:08:15.

thousands holding the governing Military Council responsible.

:08:15.:08:21.

Evidence emerges shows that another 7,000 women in the UK I may have

:08:21.:08:25.

received faulty breast implants from PIP. This brings to 47,000 the

:08:25.:08:28.

number of women affected. The Department of Health has advised

:08:28.:08:31.

those with worries to see their doctors.

:08:31.:08:35.

David Cameron has visited Ground Zero in New York on the last leg of

:08:35.:08:38.

his official visit to the United States.

:08:38.:08:42.

Last night he and President Obama paid tribute to each other at a

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star-studded banquet at the White House in Washington.

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Now one of China's most flamboyant politicians, Bo Xilai, has been

:08:51.:08:56.

sacked as the Communist Party boss in the city of Chongqing. Bo Xilai

:08:56.:09:00.

had been a contender for promotion to China's top leadership, but he

:09:00.:09:05.

is thought to have upset some with his high-profile campaign against

:09:05.:09:08.

corruption and a revival of Maoist ideology.

:09:08.:09:13.

We look at what went wrong with this politician.

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He is one of China's most high- profile politicians.

:09:19.:09:25.

Bo Xilai is comfortable in the limelight. He had been tipped for a

:09:25.:09:29.

top position dure this year's leadership change.

:09:29.:09:33.

He made his name launching a campaign against organised crime in

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Chongqing, where he was the party chief, but since last month, there

:09:37.:09:42.

has been intense speculation over his future.

:09:42.:09:48.

His police chief, shown here on the right, apparently tried to defect

:09:48.:09:53.

at a US Consulate. Bo Xilai's close associate is now under

:09:53.:09:55.

investigation. It was this extraordinary political scandal

:09:56.:10:01.

that now appears to have claimed Bo Xilai.

:10:01.:10:05.

On Wednesday, Premier Wen took the highly unusual step of critising

:10:05.:10:13.

his colleague in public. TRANSLATION: The present Chongqing

:10:13.:10:17.

municipal party Committee and government must reflect seriously

:10:17.:10:23.

on this incident. Bo Xilai appeared withdrawn at this

:10:23.:10:26.

year's Parliamentary session. He may have already known that his

:10:26.:10:30.

days were numbered. Later this year, a new generation

:10:30.:10:34.

of leaders will start assuming power in China. Bo Xilai was

:10:35.:10:40.

expected to be among them, but with his career now over, he's become a

:10:40.:10:48.

casualty in a struggle at the very top of Chinese politics.

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I've been joined in the studio by Rod Wye. He was a senior officer in

:10:57.:11:03.

Beijing, and head of the Group of Research of Beijing. The write was

:11:03.:11:07.

on the wall for Bo Xilai, but why did he have to go sooner, rather

:11:07.:11:10.

than later, do you think? I think that the pressure got too much.

:11:10.:11:19.

It was clear, you are right, that at the beginning of this month when

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there was the disappearance of his right-hand man, that nothing good

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could come of this. There after it was a matter of time before he was

:11:29.:11:31.

formerly removed. Does this suggest that there is

:11:31.:11:37.

some kind of a struggle at the top of the power, the hierarchy in

:11:37.:11:43.

China? Does it mean that one faction is triumphant with his

:11:43.:11:48.

sacking? Well it is played out, obviously, against the background

:11:48.:11:53.

of the forthcoming party Congress, when a new leadership is to be

:11:53.:11:57.

established. That leadership could last ten years. So the stakes are

:11:57.:12:02.

high. Bo Xilai has been campaigning hard to become a member of the

:12:02.:12:05.

Politburo standing Committee, but something went seriously wrong.

:12:05.:12:09.

Quite what that is, we don't know. We know about the deforeign

:12:09.:12:13.

exchange, or the attempted deforeign exchange of Wang Lijun,

:12:13.:12:19.

but what was deeper behind that, we don't know it is not clear. We

:12:19.:12:27.

don't know who has won. But outgoing prem aire wen, to make

:12:27.:12:31.

a criticism like this, when he says something like we don't want to see

:12:31.:12:37.

a return to the cultural revolution, the revival of Maoist ideology,

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what does that tell us about where China is heading -- Premier Wen.

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Premier Wen was stronger on reform than he had been previously. I

:12:50.:12:55.

think that the question of the cultural revolution is no so much a

:12:55.:12:59.

veiled criticism of Bo Xilai and his Red Songs. There is a warning

:12:59.:13:04.

that unless reforms were pushed through, China faced really serious

:13:04.:13:07.

political trouble. That is the way it is going to go?

:13:07.:13:17.
:13:17.:13:19.

That is really on that path? It is not I rev -- I revkobl. I think

:13:19.:13:23.

that the strikes high. I don't think that Bo Xilai's disappearance

:13:23.:13:28.

is complete for one group nor the other. We don't know what group he

:13:28.:13:32.

represented. Why? On the one hand he was pushing

:13:32.:13:35.

Maoist ideology, but on the other hand his economic reforms were very

:13:35.:13:40.

much in keeping with the kind of things that the leadership now want.

:13:40.:13:45.

Is he simply down but not out? A popular politician that could yet

:13:45.:13:51.

cause mischief? I think he's out. My goodness, you took me by

:13:51.:13:55.

surprise, you were so brief. Thank you very much. You did not mince

:13:55.:13:59.

your words, but he is out for the count. Thank you very much.

:13:59.:14:04.

Now, to the top story, as we've been saying it's a year since the

:14:04.:14:07.

Syrian uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and in that year

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around 8,000 people are estimated to have died and thousands more

:14:10.:14:14.

have fled to neighbouring countries like Turkey and Jordan. To talk a

:14:15.:14:19.

little more about this anniversary, we are joined by the Syrian lawyer

:14:19.:14:26.

and dissident, Katherine AlTully, what a difference a year has made.

:14:26.:14:31.

A lot of deaths, but Assad is still in power, are you beginning to

:14:31.:14:37.

think it is worth it? The last year was the dignity and the freedom

:14:37.:14:41.

year to all of Syrian people. The Syrian people went out to the

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streets for their freedom and their dignity and because they want this

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Syrian regime to be a throw away. The Syrian people, when they went

:14:54.:15:02.

to the streets, they were knowing that this regime is bloody, but

:15:02.:15:07.

they decided to get their freedom and went to the streets for that

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Of course, all want freedom and dignity and democracy deserve, even

:15:13.:15:19.

if we pay our life for that, and Syrian people felt that and decided

:15:19.:15:26.

to let the President Bashar al- Assad regime, go out from Syria.

:15:26.:15:36.
:15:36.:15:46.

Up he is using tanks against the city. He has surrendered the city.

:15:46.:15:56.

People are hungry and have no water. I want to ask, we have seen

:15:56.:16:06.
:16:06.:16:08.

pictures of a massive brawl are sad rally. It is not controversial to

:16:08.:16:16.

say Bashar al-Assad commands the support it in his area up.

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Sectarian is sent to be rife in Syria. You have made mistakes,

:16:21.:16:31.
:16:31.:16:35.

haven't you? All the Syrian people know that if we can say that a

:16:35.:16:41.

group of people in the street. Security forces forced people who

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have worked with the state and students are forced with guns to

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sure the media that he still has support. We know all this is not a

:16:57.:17:07.
:17:07.:17:15.

truce. Serbian opposition is not united. This is not a democracy.

:17:15.:17:24.

All Serie a's opposition is United on wanting the Government to be

:17:24.:17:34.
:17:34.:17:36.

overthrown. The opposition also support the people on the street

:17:36.:17:45.

and we want it peacefully. All international laws and Syrian

:17:45.:17:55.

losses say defending yourself is you're right. I am sorry to cut you

:17:55.:18:02.

off. The families of the children killed

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in a court should crash and Switzerland have attended a

:18:05.:18:15.
:18:15.:18:16.

memorial service. Relatives and community members are more men the

:18:16.:18:22.

children and adults killed in the trap. Two drivers were also killed

:18:22.:18:32.
:18:32.:18:32.

in the crash. The last year of primary school and

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Fortrose of the annual ski trip to the Alps. Incomprehensible that

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such a holiday can end in this way. The mountain village has been

:18:44.:18:54.
:18:54.:18:58.

welcoming this that -- group for years. Local mountain guide saw the

:18:58.:19:04.

children on the last day of their holiday. TRANSLATION: they were

:19:04.:19:09.

clattering through the village. In a small village like this, every

:19:09.:19:15.

child feels like one of your own. It has been a brittle 24 hours or

:19:15.:19:21.

parents. Today, they left the hotel for the grim task of identifying

:19:21.:19:29.

the dead. Some wanted to see the crash site. The Belgian ambassador

:19:29.:19:39.

has been here throughout. You feel the emotion. It is terrible. A

:19:39.:19:46.

terrible accident in, all these young people. What can you say?

:19:46.:19:50.

coach crashed at the end of or winding mountain road on a stretch

:19:50.:19:57.

of water we. Because of the accident is still unknown. It has

:19:57.:20:04.

focused on the driver. Here, the crash investigators are working

:20:04.:20:09.

through the wreckage to try to find out why the boss swear it. At the

:20:09.:20:15.

moment, there are more questions than answers. There was no other

:20:15.:20:24.

vehicle and all that, 0 apiece. Did the driver have a heart attack?

:20:24.:20:33.

TRANSLATION: the police told me they are conducting post-mortems.

:20:33.:20:43.
:20:43.:20:44.

One fears that he was handling a DVD at the time.

:20:44.:20:48.

As Greece sinks deeper into recession, ordinary Greeks are

:20:48.:20:54.

struggling to call and are looking for ways to live cheaply. One

:20:54.:21:03.

initiative has sprung up to sell basic products like potatoes. The

:21:03.:21:07.

initiative started in northern Greece and has spread to Athens

:21:07.:21:14.

with thousands are benefiting. They're calling it the potato

:21:14.:21:19.

revolution. Ordinary Greeks squeezed by the recession waging

:21:19.:21:29.
:21:29.:21:31.

war on prices they can no longer afford. A simple strategy with

:21:31.:21:38.

simple product but it is drawing the crowds. Hundreds are taking

:21:38.:21:47.

part forcing supermarkets to cut prices. The idea as a growing fast.

:21:47.:21:57.
:21:57.:21:59.

Salary so. The taxes are high. We have to spend a lot of money to buy

:21:59.:22:06.

the basic goods. All sides benefit. Farmers are no longer paying fees

:22:06.:22:14.

to wholesalers. TRANSLATION: middle man exploits us. We want to help

:22:15.:22:19.

the consumer in these difficult times. It sends the message that a

:22:19.:22:25.

few people cannot profit from us. Greeks are coming up with new

:22:25.:22:31.

wheeze and ideas of dealing with this recession. This is a positive

:22:31.:22:41.
:22:41.:22:47.

by-product of the financial crisis. One buyer is this man. At home, he

:22:47.:22:52.

and his wife tell a familiar tale, a family trying to lead a normal

:22:52.:23:02.
:23:02.:23:03.

life. I have to Galway from Greece and find another country, a country

:23:03.:23:08.

that can give me the right circumstances to have a better

:23:08.:23:18.
:23:18.:23:24.

future. This is a movement with fur it -- far reaching implications.

:23:24.:23:32.

To talk more about the social dimensions, we have a journalist

:23:32.:23:37.

and novelist who has been loving in Greece for years. Their impact of

:23:37.:23:47.

the crisis, it has taken its toll. I saw how people really wear.

:23:47.:23:55.

has been a huge shock for people. It happens so suddenly. It tickets

:23:55.:24:05.
:24:05.:24:07.

call extremely quickly. Salaries were slashed. One statistic was

:24:07.:24:17.
:24:17.:24:18.

that the number of suicides in 2011 went up by 40 %. Yes, and younger

:24:18.:24:28.

people, tragically. There is this terrible suffering. There is also

:24:28.:24:35.

the other side witches solidarity among people. They have to group

:24:35.:24:42.

together. For the last few years, there has been a sense of, where

:24:42.:24:52.
:24:52.:24:53.

did this problem come from? People have done a lot of soul-searching.

:24:53.:25:03.
:25:03.:25:07.

How did it come out of the blue? I think, I can see people have got

:25:07.:25:13.

over the initial shock and or seeing how they can rebuild their

:25:13.:25:23.
:25:23.:25:24.

lives. Our they are resourceful people? The Greek family is

:25:24.:25:34.
:25:34.:25:35.

famously strong. If parents are finding a few children coming back,

:25:35.:25:45.
:25:45.:25:46.

that is a strange, isn't it definitely. There is a set common

:25:46.:25:50.

in Greece about adult children going back to live with their

:25:50.:26:00.
:26:00.:26:01.

parents. You are a naturalised Greek. You are a descendant of

:26:01.:26:11.
:26:11.:26:13.

Catherine the Great. Does it give you the advantage of being Annan's

:26:13.:26:21.

-- outsider? I have published a novel which looks at present the

:26:21.:26:28.

Athens but tries to go back to see below historical factors. Big deals

:26:28.:26:38.
:26:38.:26:43.

with the riots of true 1008. -- 2008. They have a yearning for

:26:43.:26:48.

freedom within them. For me, it was interesting to go back into the

:26:48.:26:58.
:26:58.:27:00.

history. Do you think the crisis has irretrievably changed the

:27:00.:27:10.
:27:10.:27:14.

Greeks IK? And nor, I don't. The Greeks are freighters. -- fighters.

:27:14.:27:19.

There has been civil war, and Nazi occupation. The Greeks have come

:27:19.:27:29.
:27:29.:27:30.

back from far worse. Thank you the first anniversary of the uprising

:27:30.:27:36.

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