15/03/2012 World News Today


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


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


support of the government in Damascus, as a newspaper publishes


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


As antiAmerican sentiment hardens, the Taliban suspends, talks with


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


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


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


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


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


Greece, the potato sellers helping families squeezed by the debt


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


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


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


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


government is solid. Many thousands have fled their


homes to escape the conflict. Yes this report.


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


The pictures are difficult to very few.


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


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


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


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


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


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


support of President Bashar al- Assad, broadcast on state


television. It was spring, 2011 that saw the


first demonstrations. Starting in the southern town of


Deraa. The target of people's anger,


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


more than 40 years. As the protests spread, the


response of the security forces became increasingly violent.


Some members of the Syria army defected to fight for the


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


The government has tried to deal with the situation with a


combination of miner concessions and brute force. In April,


President Bashar al-Assad promised a new constitution. Offering


multiparty elections. The government says it is facing an


armed insurgency and has blamed terrorist gangs for the violence.


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


force against unarmed protesters. Opposition strongholds like Homs


and Idlib have been besieged and bombarded.


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


killing civilians, including women and children.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


While military intervention has been ruled out by Western nations,


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


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


Well, one year on and some intriguing details about President


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


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


Syrian opposition figures to the British newspaper, the Guardian.


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


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


opposition. We cannot verify the e-mail's


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The Syrian government has denied these were President Bashar al-


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


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


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


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


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


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


Taliban suspending negotiations as they objected to the involvement of


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


reasons for the Taliban's opposition.


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


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


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


with the Americans. It was a significant achievement that the


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


agreed to talk to the Americans about getting their prisoners out


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


was to bring in the Afghan government.


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


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


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


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


thousands holding the governing Military Council responsible.


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


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


number of women affected. The Department of Health has advised


those with worries to see their doctors.


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


his official visit to the United States.


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


star-studded banquet at the White House in Washington.


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


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


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


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


corruption and a revival of Maoist ideology.


We look at what went wrong with this politician.


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


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


top position dure this year's leadership change.


He made his name launching a campaign against organised crime in


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


has been intense speculation over his future.


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


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


investigation. It was this extraordinary political scandal


that now appears to have claimed Bo Xilai.


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


his colleague in public. TRANSLATION: The present Chongqing


municipal party Committee and government must reflect seriously


on this incident. Bo Xilai appeared withdrawn at this


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


days were numbered. Later this year, a new generation


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


formerly removed. Does this suggest that there is


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


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


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


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


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


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


Politburo standing Committee, but something went seriously wrong.


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


exchange, or the attempted deforeign exchange of Wang Lijun,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that unless reforms were pushed through, China faced really serious


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


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


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


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


represented. Why? On the one hand he was pushing


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


overthrown. The opposition also support the people on the street


and we want it peacefully. All international laws and Syrian


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


off. The families of the children killed


in a court should crash and Switzerland have attended a


memorial service. Relatives and community members are more men the


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


in the crash. The last year of primary school and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


As Greece sinks deeper into recession, ordinary Greeks are


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


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


initiative started in northern Greece and has spread to Athens


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


revolution. Ordinary Greeks squeezed by the recession waging


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that can give me the right circumstances to have a better


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


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


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


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


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


call extremely quickly. Salaries were slashed. One statistic was


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in Greece about adult children going back to live with their


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


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


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


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


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


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


history. Do you think the crisis has irretrievably changed the


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


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


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


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