The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
Browse content similar to 16/03/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
This is BBC World News Today was me, Zeinab Badawi. The special envoy to
Syria, Kofi Annan, speaks publicly after his visit to Damascus and
calls for unity from the United Nations. Mr Annan was briefing the
Security Council following his talks with President Assad. He
urged against any action that could escalate the conflict. Concern
goads be on Syria itself because the crisis can have a serious
impact for the whole region if it is not handled effectively. Flags
fly at half-mast and church bells ring in Belgium on an official day
of mourning for the bus crash victims. The Afghan President
accuses the United States of not co-operating with the investigation
into the killing of 16 Afghans by an American soldier. Also coming up
in this programme, swapping Anglicanism for academia. After a
decade as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams is
stepping down at the end of the year to take up a post at Cambridge
University. And the Little Master finally reaches that big milestone.
Tendulkar hits his 100 international century amidst scenes
Hello and welcome. The special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, has
said the priority on Syria is to get humanitarian aid into the
country. And you UN team is due to arrive in Syria this weekend to
discuss practical steps for a monitoring mission in the country.
He was speaking after breaking the United Nations Security Council and
Mr Annan also said it was important to establish democracy in the
country but he said Syria must be handled very carefully, since any
miss steps would have a severe impact in the region. From
neighbouring Lebanon, Jon Donnison has the support.
In the northern city of Idlib, opposition protests early this
morning. This, in a place where the government was believed to have
regained full control. They are calling for immediate foreign
military intervention. And in the capital, Damascus, more
demonstrations. They chant, Assad is a God's enemy. We support the
city of Idlib. They have made placards sake, we call on Russia
and China to get Assad out of the intensive care room so that he can
die in peace -- behind made placards. Later, after Friday
prayers, the numbers grew. In this town video posted by opposition
activists showed thousands of people marching and then apparently
government troops opening fire. Meanwhile in New York Kofi Annan,
the international envoy to Syria, briefed the UN Security Council on
his progress in pursuing the peace plan. I discussed with the council
proposals I made to the Syrian government that was aimed to number
one, stop the violence, accelerate humanitarian assistance and
establish credibility and confidence for the political
process when it is initiated. I will be sending a team in this
weekend to pursue the discussions and the proposals we left on the
table and at the appropriate time, when I'd been sufficient progress
has been made to, I shall be prepared to go back to the region.
In my discussions... He spoke of getting strong support and despite
differences of opinion from Russia and China he said he hoped the
council would soon speak with one voice. He warned of a serious
impact on the region if the crisis was not handled carefully. But he
offered no immediate solutions. And on the ground there is no end to
the violence in sight and political talks seem equally far off. Much of
the Syrian army's focus this week has been on the southern town of
Deraa. And opposition activists say these pictures show security forces
opening fire on protesters in Syria's second city, Aleppo,
yesterday. The UN will send a humanitarian mission to Syria over
the weekend but it can only get fade-in if it is safe to do so. --
it can only get aid in if it is safe to do so. To discuss this be
joined by ambassador Nancy Toad -- Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, who
served as the US representative to the United Nations under President
Clinton. The Kofi Annan show, the only one in town, you reckon?
Unfortunately I think he is on his own in terms of Russia and China
but he does have the moral support of the United States. This is the
most distinguished diplomat we could possibly cent, the most
accomplished negotiator. If anyone Cup -- if anyone can pull a rabbit
out of a hat it will be Kofi Annan. But I am afraid the conditions are
not yet sufficient for the Syrians to agree to any real dialogue. More
has to be on the table. You talk about the road blocks, from Russia
and China, but there has been a softening in the Russian's position,
saying we're not just historic allies of Syria all the time. Do
you see room for manoeuvre? I don't see any real change in the
Russians' actions. They are still equating the protesters to
protesters, they are still sending arms to the Syrian government, the
regime that has killed over 8,000 people. What is going on is the
world is not ready to intervene seriously in this conflict. The
Russians are successfully dividing the Security Council. It is up to
the Arabs to step up to the plate and put troops on the ground to
stop the killing. Qatar is talking about it, Turkey is talking about a
buffer zone. It is the region that will bear the brunt of this and it
is the region that needs to step up. I think the Arabs should move
forward. That would give the tipping point to Kofi Annan to
finally get this regime to recognise the game is up. When you
have the French Foreign Minister saying that the arming of any of
the factions in Syria would lead us of all war, do you think, don't you
agree with that? The introduction of arms would create greater
conflict not only in the country but the region? That is already
happening. They are in a civil war and the region is arming the
opposition. We don't know how much but it is happening and you have a
civil war. This has been going on for a year. I don't know how much
longer the international community can decide when it is ready to act,
the time is now to act, give Kofi Annan the force to back the post of
diplomacy. This regime is living in fantasy land. Look at the e-mails
they are sending about shopping at the same time they are slaughtering
8,000 of their peoples. Arming the opposition is a cop-out. It will
not happen fast enough, we don't know who they are, there are bad
consequences. This is a very tricky situation. Doing half measures will
not stop it will only get worse, it is time to put the troops into the
ground, protect the people and give Kofi Annan some quivers, some
arrows in his quiver. It sounds briefly as though you were
suggesting the path of diplomacy and to negotiations is a waste of
time? Not at all but it does at times, I have said through the
genocide in Rwanda, Srebrenica, Darfur, until the international
community steps up to the plate it will not get a deal. What is
happening here is Assad has basically been saying I am not
going to negotiate, have any dialogue well there are terrorists
operating. These are not terrorists, the opposition who want democracy.
The international community and Arabs need to step-up, p to fund
stand up to Assad. He will then back down and you have the
conditions. Kofi Annan is doing everything he can, getting a
ceasefire, getting monitors on the ground. If anyone can do it, he can,
he is the best diplomat the world can offer but right now this regime
is not negotiating. Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, sent to the
joining us from Washington. Belgium has held a day of national
mourning to remember the victims of the bus crash in Switzerland
earlier this week. 28 people, most of them children, died when the bus
taking them home from a skiing holiday hit the wall of the tunnel.
Flags were flown at half mast and church bells rang as Belgium
observed a minute's's silence for the victims. Chris Morris has the
story. At 11 o'clock in the morning a
minute's silence to remember those who died. At this school in
Heverlee, to which seven children and two adults never returned,
pupils gathered in the playground. Many of them too young to
understand. Across the country flags were at half mast. In
government buildings, in railway stations, even in local factories,
people stopped for a moment of contemplation. From another school
in Lommel near the Dutch border, 15 pupils died. All of them are only
about 12 years old. They run no words for it, there is only silence.
-- There are no words forehead. We can hope that parents and
grandparents become better after some time but I think it will last
20 years. In Heverlee balloons were released in that act of remembrance.
And on the school gates a list of names of those who died, among them
Sebastian Bowles, an 11-year-old boy was a British father and a
Belgian mother. And still people are looking for answers. Why did
the bus crash in Switzerland? So there is -- so far there is nothing
to suggest the driver was suddenly taken ill. The investigation
continues. More people will be leaving their own personal tributes
here over the next few days and soon we will have a series of
heartbreaking funerals. It is the loss of so many young children, who
should have their whole lives ahead of them, which is making this
tragedy so difficult to accept. And now those who died have been
brought back home. Coffins emerging from military aircraft, one by one.
Hard for everyone to take. A sombre ceremony as Belgium searches for
some way to bring some comfort to the bereaved.
A day of national mourning in Belgium. Now let's take a look at
some of the other main news in brief. The United States has
denounced the plan by North Korea to launch a long-range rocket to
put a satellite in orbit. It said the move was a threat to regional
security and was inconsistent with North Korea's recent agreement to
suspend missile and nuclear tests in return for food aid. North Korea
says the launch next month is part of its space programme to mark the
centenary of its creation as a nation.
In China, millions of microblog users, but his websites where
people post their thoughts in just a few lines of text, are facing new
rules from today. It is an attempt by the authorities to try to
prevent the spread of what they call unfounded rumours. Users of
the sites in the capital Beijing now have to register with their
real identities in order to post online. A Turkish military
helicopter has crashed into a house on the outskirts of the Afghan
capital Kabul, killing 16 people. 12 of the dead were Turkish
soldiers on board the aircraft. The other four where Afghan civilians.
The Turkish government says it appears the helicopter crashed
while trying to make an emergency landing.
The President of Afghanistan had -- Hamid Karzai, has accused the
United States of not co-operating with the investigation into the
killing of 16 Afghan villagers by an American soldier last Sunday.
The President was speaking after meeting victims'' relatives. Some
of whom said that more than one killer was involved. The soldiers
suspected of carrying out the attack was flown out of Afghanistan
on Wednesday and is being transferred to a military prison in
the United States -- soldier. Lyse Doucet has sent this report from
Afghanistan. Tribal elders in villagers came
from Kandahar in the south to talk to the President. Hamid Karzai
called them to the Palace to help him understand what happened when
16 Afghans were killed in the early hours of Sunday morning. The
Afghans at this table spoke with anger and emotion. He describes how
his love of people died in one house alone. -- Hull 11 people died.
President Karzai listened and took notes. When he rose to Levi called
out to question. Do you accept the official American
Account but only one American soldier was involved in these
killings? The story of the village elders is entirely different. They
believe it is not possible for one person to do that. In his family,
in four rooms, people were killed, children and women were killed, and
they were all brought together in one room and put on fire. That one
man cannot do. And the army chief has just reported, I don't know if
you heard his report, that the after an investigation team did not
receive the corporation that they expected from the United States.
There for these are all questions that will be raising and raising
very loudly and raising very clearly. What do you do next, sir?
It is by all means the end of the rope. The end of the road? The end
of the rope. Nobody can afford such luxuries any more, if you can call
it a luxury. Does that mean your relationship with your United
States is at the end of the road? This form of activity, this
behaviour, cannot be tolerated. It is passed, past, passed the time.
But you cannot fight the Taleban on your rain, with your own forces?
That is a different question, right now we are addressing this issue
and we will look it up in an extremely diligent and forceful way.
Thank you. The US has been trying to contain the damage from this
latest violence but the President's condemnation strains an already
troubled relationship at a very The leader of the worldwide
Anglican Communion, Rowan Williams, has announced that he is to resign
at the end of the year. Dr Williams, who as Archbishop of Canterbury, is
also the spiritual leader of the Church of England, has been in
office for 10 years. He will take up an academic post as Master of
Magdalene College, Cambridge University. Our religious affairs
correspondent Robert Pigott has Even as he demanded to be let into
Canterbury Cathedral for his enthronement, Rowan Williams was a
reluctant leader of the Church. This is why the Christian will
engage with passion in the world of society and politics. Out of a real
hunger and thirst to see God's image, but destiny of human beings
to become got's sons and daughters. Dr Williams said he wanted to
capture the imagination of the public for Christianity. Let us
greet our newly enthroned Archbishop with quake that mess.
From the start, he had to contend that divisions in the Church of
England and the worldwide Anglican Communion about homosexuality.
is unfortunate that he came to the Archbishop at a time when the
communion was being driven apart by issues of human sexuality. I think
what he has tried to do is to hold the Church together, whatever his
own personal views. The ordination of the Bishop of New Hampshire
threatened the communion that disintegration, a crisis which Dr
Williams has had to manage for a decade. He has had to deal with the
tension. He is not only working in this country, with Western liberal
people, but internationally as well. He has had to keep a communion --
minion together of American liberals and African Conservatives.
Anglicans reveal the charismatic archbishop, but many resent the
Liberal the interpretation of the Bible the EC in the West. It was Dr
Williams' it greatest achievement that he -- he held the community --
the Communion together. It became clear he would not stay much longer.
I did not particularly want to be President of the next conference, I
have done that. The next one will be in 20 team. Between now and
then,... I can understand why after a long time in that very important
job, he wants to move on. I pay tribute to the service he has given
to the country and the church. He leaves the Church still in grave
danger of division. Anglicans know he will be very hard to replace.
Joining us now to talk some more about this is Ruth Gledhill, the
religious affairs correspondent from the Times newspaper. Ruth, is
Dr Rowan Williams going to go down as one of the great Archbishops of
Canterbury? I think he well, in history. But there will always be
talk about the issues he has had to face. Issues unlike any other
Archbishop in modern times. Because he has had to cope with
unprecedented division and schisms in the church. Different parts of
the Church in different parts of the world changed, according to
their secular context. The Anglican Communion has many different
promise since -- provinces. Some are Conservatives and others are
very liberal. There has been very far from a meeting of minds, there
have been fractures and splits and Rowan Williams has been trying to
manage them as well as keep things together on the home front. It has
been an almost impossible job. His successor will need to have for a
constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros. Do you think he
just got fed up managing all these divisions? In his statement, he's
certainly indicated the degree of weariness. He talked about crisis
management and how he found it rather enervating. But he also
talked about the good things that have happened and the achievements
he felt he had managed. Many achievements on the international
front, is remarkable visit to Zimbabwe, the way he called Robert
Mugabe to account. He has had a big effect in the Sudan and other parts
of the world. For Christians are really suffering and other faiths
are suffering due to war and poverty. He has had a strong impact
in preaching the Christian gospel at a time of economic difficulties.
He has been taking the Government to task over Iraq, for example.
clearly, you have given us some long list. In terms of who will
succeed him, Archbishop cent Gamu it -- John Sentamu of York, is the
money going on him? He is the strong favourite. He has expressed
some surprise that there should be the case but I took -- I think the
public would love him. The Bishop of Bradford is also in the frame.
He is very bright and very politically able. He would
certainly be a man able perhaps to manage the Church politically and
are more adept way than the very spiritually inclined Rowan Williams.
There are other bishops such as Graham James, the Bishop of
Worcester, so I think there are few people, there are quite a few
potential candidates and it will be interesting, and interesting six
months as the Church decides which one of these it wants to be the
next Archbishop. Ruth, thank you so much.
The Oscar-winning American actor George Clooney has been arrested
following a protest outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington. He
was among demonstrators protesting about a blockade that is preventing
food and aid getting to more than a quarter of a million people. He was
arrested for defying a police order to leave the grounds of the embassy,
but has now been released. Paul Adams reports.
Amid the sort of publicity few can muster, George Clooney pleading his
case, standing outside the Sudanese mission with some simple the month.
We need a humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it
becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Immediately.
The second thing we are here to ask, it is very simple, is for the
Government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent
men, women and children. He has spent much of the week in
Washington, including an appearance on Capitol Hill, arguing for action
to stop Sudanese attacks. We found children filled with shrapnel. He
is just back from the border region and a secret trip into the affected
area. This club was shown to senators. George Clooney has
political cloud and access, among the guests at the White is for once
the's state banquet in order of David Cameron. You will be arrested.
Today's outcome was never in doubt. George Clooney and his father and a
dozen other activists, deliberately defying the police, knowing well
what would follow. Mr Clooney shows no sign of giving up. The arrest
and the least of George Clooney. -- and released.
For more than a year now, India has been holding its breath, but today,
Sachin Tendulkar allowed his nation a collective sigh of relief. The
Indian batsman and the country's undisputed hero made his 100th
international century against Bangladesh in Dhaka. It made him
the first to do so and sparked scenes of jubilation at home as
well as tributes from around the globe.
The magic moment, surging to do car getting his century against
Bangladesh. It has been a while coming. The immediate reaction was
one of relief. Already, there is an outpouring of praise, acknowledging
the monumental achievement. It is an amazing achievement, without
precedent and very unlikely to be achieved again. It just shows a
rare combination of amazing skill, huge application, a great drive and
desire, but also being able to keep a calm head when there is huge
expectation. For more than two decades, he has entertained cricket
lovers around the world. But in India, where the game is religion,
he is the undisputed God. For his fans, this latest record
underscores his greatness. I cannot think that anything could be better.
Finally, he did it. Everyone was relieved. It is a proud moment for
the nation. It this adulation that has made him one of India's biggest
stars, endorsing everything from beverages to banks. It has also
made him one of the world's richest sportsman. At the age of 38, there
are almost no Matins left for him to scale. He has got his 100th
century. He does appear as if his glorious career is nearing its end.
Until this moment, everyone will savour every moment.
A reminder of our main news: The UN and Arab League envoy on
Syria, Kofi Annan, says he is sending a delegation to Damascus
next week to discuss setting up a new monitoring mission there. After
a briefing the UN Security Council on his recent talks with President
Assad, Mr Annan warned that the situation in Syria needed to be
handled very carefully. That is all for now, from me and
It will be a mixed bag in the UK this weekend, some frost in the
North, some rain to come, we are seeing that moving southwards
tonight following a scattering of showers. The rain is set to weaken
as it crosses England and Wales but it will be five to 10 mm across
southern and eastern areas. Behind that, the shores will follow. A
cold and frosty start in the North. We will have this rain affecting
southern and eastern parts of England. Behind it, heavy showers
with a lot of cloud keeping things cool in the North East of England.
That rain can be seen across parts of East Anglia. Some uncertainty
still on its exact position. Stay tuned to the forecast if you have
plans. These showers across the south-west of England and Wales
could be accompanied by some gusty winds. The risk of hail and thunder,
and over the hills, the risk of sleet and snow. For Northern
Ireland, it looks brighter, some sunshine but also some showers or
stop that wintry next in Scotland over the hills. Unsettled for the