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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