26/03/2012 World News Today


26/03/2012

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This is BBC World News Today with me Zeinab Badawi. Another severe

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food crisis in West Africa looms yet again. We're in the worst

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affected country Niger, to report on those doing what they can to

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stave off disaster. 2012 will be particularly tough. Harvest have

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failed, prices are shooting up, there is growing

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But a leading development agency tells us such food shortages are

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entirely avoidable - so why do they keep on happening?

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North Korea's nuclear ambitions hijack talks between major world

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powers on nuclear terrorism at a summit in Seoul.

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Guess who's coming to dinner? The row over the political donors who

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are given access to the Prime Minister David Cameron.

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Also coming up in the programme: The director of the hit movie

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Titanic, hits rock bottom. James Cameron returns from the

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deepest place on earth at the Hello and welcome: 'It's hunger

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season again' - that's how the BBC's Andrew Harding has described

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the food shortage that's affecting the Sahel region of West Africa.

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The spectre of a major food crisis is once again casting its shadow.

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The UN and international aid agencies are warning of severe food

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shortages that are threatening the lives of the most vulnerable.

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The BBC's Andrew Harding has travelled to the Sahel region and

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sent this report from one of the affected villages in Niger, a short

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distance from the capital Niamey. We need an armed escort to venture

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a. Islamist militants are a growing threat. Saw his hunger. In this

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tiny village this 50-year-old woman threshes grain. In recent years she

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has lost her husband and children to disease and poverty. This

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pitiful crop will only feed what is left of the family for one week.

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course we are hungry. The rain did not come. It has been getting worse

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for years. There are almost no men left in the village. All have gone

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abroad in search of work. There is a food crisis nearly every year in

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this village and 2012 will be particularly tough. Prices are

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shooting up, have also failed, and there is growing insecurity across

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the region. The familiar warning signs. 10 are

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severely malnourished children arrived in the clinic this week.

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The UN fears 400,000 children could be in this condition within months.

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One in 10 is likely to die. It is much worse already this year it

:03:30.:03:40.
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says this nurse. Yet in Niger is not without hope.

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In his village there is a scheme to trap rainwater.

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The democratic government is acknowledging the crisis and co-

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operating with the outside world. As women get a small wage from the

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UN. Because of this work we can feed our families, she says. Maybe

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in the future these fields will recover.

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That does not change the fact that the village well is drying up.

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Along the road is needed each year. As a child she remembers life was

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wonderful here. Not any more. A little earlier Deborah Doane from

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the World Development Movement told us that she believed this food

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crisis is entirely avoidable. Famines are entirely avoidable.

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They are man-made. What is happening in the Sahel is based on

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the poor planning, poor structures, and policies that have been going

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on for many years. Who is to blame? It is not down to one particular

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thing. In the 1990s there were a series of policies from the IMF and

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the World Bank which forced that removal of price controls which led

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to the loss of investment in agriculture over the past 15 years.

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We can look at an over-reliance on an international system that takes

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the levers of control out of countries in that region. Rising

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food prices that we are seeing recently that were the result of

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the 2005 crisis, the 2010 crisis, those are down to the fact that

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there are too many people buying their local -- eyeing the global

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markets and not looking locally. many people see an anomaly. There

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is food available in these countries. The markets are well

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stocked. But a large number of people are simply unable to afford

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to buy food. That is precisely the problem that is happening in Niger

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and elsewhere in that the Sahel. If you are having a crop failure in a

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time of drought, exacerbated by climate change, you are buying and

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more of your food. You are buying in these. That is traded on global

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commodity market. We are seen a rise in maize prices since 2010 of

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75 %. When you are in are the poorest countries in the world and

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you cannot afford to buy food that is a fundamental problem. Is there

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are grounds for optimism? A lot of people are saying that high

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commodity prices as well as increasing democratisation in the

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Continent should promise a better future. If they are relying on

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exports of other commodities, primary commodities, you are still

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relying on food. The fundamental problem will be if they do not

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prioritise food security and how to produce the right crops for the

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right people locally. There are some signs of optimism. There is

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some research that looked at and the culture in the region.

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Investment in the local crops has proved to be quite good, but a lot

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more needs to be done to make sure that that is prioritise. If they

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are simply looking at exporting more of a primary commodities and

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bring in enough income to pay for the commodities, be will be in the

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same position in a few years' time. A rare moment of co-operation

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between China and the United States. Barack Obama at Hu Jintao met on

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the sidelines of a nuclear summit. Barack Obama reiterated the

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commitment of the United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear

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weapons. They cannot have been many

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surprises in the conversation between these two men today. Barack

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Obama began the meeting by reminding his Chinese counterpart

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they had already met 11 times before. The list of topics was

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familiar. At the top of that was North Korea and its nuclear

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programme. Non-Proliferation said Barack Obama was in their interests

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of both leaders. He has already criticised China for

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not being tough enough. Its approach to dealing with North

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Korea he said was not working. At a Korean university today he

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demonstrated the kind of message he wanted to be heard. This is a

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decision you must make. Today we say, have the courage to pursue

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peace and give a better light to the people of North Korea. America,

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he said, had no hostile intent towards North Korea. He said it was

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committed to reducing its own nuclear stockpile as well as

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pressuring others. I say this as President of the only nation ever

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to use nuclear weapons. I see it as a commander in chief finos that the

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nuclear codes are never far from my side. Most of all I see it as a

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father, who once might two young doctors to grow up in a world where

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everything they know and love can be instantly wiped out. Barack

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Obama's visit began on Sunday with his first glimpse inside the close,

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his state. Korea has dominated discussions ever since. China has

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reportedly urged fellow delegations not to be sidetracked by the sight

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of -- by the North Korean question. North Korea is not coming to the

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sum at. It is not even on the official agenda. This meeting is

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about preventing nuclear material from falling into the hands of

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terrorist groups, not about nuclear disarmament, but North Korea is

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just one hour's drive away from here. Barack Obama's speech and his

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schedule shows just how much part of the discussion this is.

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Let us look at some of the other news.

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Coffee and man has said the crisis in Syria cannot be allowed to drag

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on indefinitely. More fighting and deaths have been reported in Syria

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today. After a meeting in Moscow Mr Coffey

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a man urged all parties to accept change. This cannot be allowed to

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drag on indefinitely. I have told the parties on the ground they

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cannot resist the transformation. They have to accept that reforms

:11:00.:11:09.

have to come, change has to come. The prospect of political deadlock

:11:09.:11:14.

in Senegal appears to have faded after the incumbent president said

:11:14.:11:18.

he had accepted defeat in the election. He had contested the

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ballot. He had already served two terms in office. The winner of the

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election said his victory marked a new year for Senegal.

:11:30.:11:35.

Savage teams have recovered five more bodies from the wreck of the

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Costa Concordia. 32 people are thought to have died when he the

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ship crashed into rocks. Pope Benedict is flying to Cuba

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following his visit to Mexico. He will spend three days in Santiago.

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Catholic leaders dared say they hoped his visit will help

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revitalise faith on the island. Reports say that the authorities

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have detained in dissidents prior to his arrival.

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Two British soldiers have been shot dead in southern Afghanistan by a

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man in Afghan army uniform. The attacker died when a Coalition

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forces returned fire. In the last hour it has been confirmed that

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another NATO service member has been shot in eastern Afghanistan by

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someone who was apparently part of the local Afghan police.

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A growing number of NATO troops are being killed by Afghans who are

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supposed to be their comrades and allies.

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This is a tough conflict at the best of times. For international

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troops the risk of being shot by the very men they are training is

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the hardest on the face. These two deaths bring to 15 the number of

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British troops who have died in this way.

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The news was announced in the Commons. Details of the incident

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are still emerging but it appears that a member of the Afghan

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National Army opened fire at entrance to their British

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headquarters killing two British personnel. The assailant was killed

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by return of fire. Afghan anger has followed stories of US soldiers

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urinating on enemy corpses, burning copies of the Koran, and then 17

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villagers were killed by one rogue US soldier. It is the background to

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the attacks by Afghan soldiers. In military jargon NATO is always

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blue, Afghan forces are always green. These attacks are known as

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Green on blue. A total of 13 troops have died this year at a hands of

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Afghan forces. Before the debt of the two British personnel, six

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American personnel were killed. One Albanian was killed. Fought French

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troops were killed by an Afghan soldier in February. We are taking

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measures to ensure that these are cadences are kept to a minimum.

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This is at terrible spate of attacks. Although all these attacks

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a relatively small in number the effect they have is Severe. Their

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aim is that Afghan forces will be ready to take on the fight against

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the Taliban for themselves by 2014. There is international resolve to

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stick to the plan, keep to the timetable of withdrawal by the end

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of 2014. However strong that maybe it is hard to see how there can be

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just on the ground between the soldiers of these such different

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nations. After the spate of violent killings. Flags will be flying at

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Here, the British Prime Minister David Cameron has revealed that

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some of the leading Conservative party's biggest donors have been

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invited to private dinners at Number 10. It follows the emergence

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of secret filming in which the party's former treasurer said six-

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figure donations would buy access to the Prime Minister and his

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policy unit. Initially Downing Street refused to give the names of

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the guests, but there has been mounting pressure to do so. Mr

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Cameron has launched an internal party inquiry - but Labour says

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that is not enough. Here is our political Editor Nick Robinson. Not

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everyone can afford to have dinner in the flat over the shop, not

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least when the shop in question is Number Ten Downing Street and your

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host is the Prime Minister himself. To date came confirmation that

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David Cameron had, as claimed, hosted Doran parties for the very

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very rich. In the two years that I had been Prime Minister, there have

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been three occasions when it significant donors have come to

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dinner in my flat. They were not fund-raising dinners nor the paid

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for by the taxpayer. This is not what those attending a conference

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on dementia expected but David Cameron knew he had no choice but

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to reveal who had attended the demurs. Our bigger donors have been

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for dinner in Number Ten Downing Street, in the Prime Minister's

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private apartments. The guests at the parties hosted in the flat

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contributed nearly �10 million to the Conservative Party. Amongst the

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6th donors where Henry angriest - a Swiss-born banker. Like father - I

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hedge-fund trader. Ian Taylor, chief executor of an oil company.

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And Michael Spencer a billionaire businessman. At the end of the

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speech today, David Cameron left, refusing to take questions from

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reporters. And the Prime Minister was not in the Commons to answer

:17:07.:17:12.

questions in a statement on party funding. The Minister had come to

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talk about reforming party funding and was met with derision. As set

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out in the coalition government document, party funding in Britain

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needs to be reformed. LAUGHTER. shows utter contempt for this house

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that the Prime Minister can make a statement to the media just three

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hours ago and refuses to come here to face us. Ed Miliband condemned

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what he called the whitewash of an inquiry into the Conservative Party

:17:48.:17:54.

by the Conservative Party for the Conservative Party. This scandal

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speaks to the conduct and character of the prime minister and

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government. Anything short of an independent inquiry will leave a

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permanent stain on his government and this Prime Minister. -- this

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government. 0 of the a few weeks ago the Prime Minister told

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schoolchildren about his flat above the shop. I live in a very nice

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flat above Number 11 Downing Street, but what I get up to there is

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private. How he must wish what -- that that remained true. It is

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private no longer. Joining us now is our political correspondent.

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Downing Street moving fast to dispel this controversy? Absolutely,

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the key is to move quickly and try and limit the damage. And of course

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to blunt the story under amount of detail. Moving fast but the story

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has been given fresh momentum now because a former Downing Street

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aide who is now a lobbyist, has been caught in that Sting as well

:19:10.:19:17.

by the Sunday Times. A in terms of the face time, that is more

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difficult. It is not impossible. The Prime Minister is obviously

:19:21.:19:31.
:19:31.:19:32.

very busy. There are certain ways of meeting. This cannot be seen in

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isolation, it leads into a wider and long lasting scandal about

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donors who give cash to political parties in order to gain access to

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political leaders? That is right. I do not think David Cameron or his

:19:48.:19:52.

closest advisers would describe this as anything other than a

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potentially dangerous political moment. That is why they have moved

:19:57.:20:00.

so quickly. The problem with this episode is that it feeds into a

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broader image and it reinforces that sense that we know the voters

:20:05.:20:09.

in Britain have of the Conservatives, as being a party of

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the rich and powerful, which is considered to be the party's

:20:14.:20:18.

greatest weakness. Do you think this has the potential to create

:20:18.:20:24.

awful damage to David Cameron and his party? I think it is too early

:20:24.:20:29.

to say. Downing Street is hoping that by releasing this detail, that

:20:29.:20:34.

will help to be the story but that will not stop journalists from

:20:34.:20:39.

continuing to Dec. It will not stop the opposition party, despite their

:20:39.:20:44.

troubles in power, at from continuing to think there is an

:20:44.:20:50.

opportunity here and to keep asking for an inquiry. Thank you very much.

:20:50.:20:52.

When the Hollywood film director, James Cameron was working on the

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abyss more than 20 years ago, he cannot have known that the plot for

:20:56.:20:59.

his film about a mission to the bottom of the ocean would become

:20:59.:21:05.

part of his own story. Earlier today, he returned from a four-hour

:21:05.:21:08.

expedition to the deepest place on Earth - 11 kilometres down to the

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Mariana Trench in the western Pacific. In his one man submersible,

:21:11.:21:14.

Mr Cameron has made history - becoming the first person to make

:21:14.:21:17.

the journey alone. Rebecca Morelle reports from the island of Guam -

:21:17.:21:26.

the nearest landmass to the dive site. Heading to the deep his place

:21:26.:21:29.

on earth, bad wetter threatened to scupper the mission but finally

:21:29.:21:38.

James Cameron was a way. -- bad weather. He was left alone and

:21:38.:21:45.

cramped in a tiny metal sphere. The descent took 2 1/2 hours. The

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pressure built to 1,000 at his fears. I did not see anything

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bigger than an inch long. I was hoping to get to rock outcrop

:21:55.:22:00.

things where I expected to see a different community there,

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unfortunately I ran out of power before I got that far. We will have

:22:04.:22:14.
:22:14.:22:16.

to go back and do a different dived. This thing is beg. -- the Hague. It

:22:16.:22:23.

is 50 times the size of the Grand Canyon. This is a vast frontier

:22:23.:22:28.

down there. It will take us a while to understand. I after several

:22:28.:22:32.

hours of exploring, Mr Cameron resurfaced to the delight of his

:22:32.:22:41.

team. James Cameron is the first person to have journeyed to the

:22:41.:22:47.

Mariana Trench for half a century. He says he hopes to inspire a new

:22:47.:22:51.

era of deep-sea exploration. The ocean is the final frontier of the

:22:51.:22:56.

Earth, we know less about it than the planets. But now with the

:22:56.:23:01.

success of this mission, James Cameron hopes to inspire a new era

:23:01.:23:07.

of deep-sea exploration. To talk some more about this, we

:23:07.:23:14.

are joined by ate a marine biologist.

:23:14.:23:18.

Unlike in abyss, there are no aliens at the bottom of the Pacific,

:23:18.:23:25.

but what kind of things might James Cameron have encountered? He would

:23:25.:23:33.

probably see a lot of small at sea cucumbers. Possibly a lot of the

:23:33.:23:38.

things like shims. Probably nothing too conspicuous. Could he have

:23:38.:23:47.

spotted new species? At those kind of debt, spotting new species would

:23:47.:23:54.

be very difficult, you should really go more shallower than that.

:23:54.:23:59.

Tell us what kind of experience he would have had going down like

:23:59.:24:08.

that? 11 kilometres is a fantastic debt. It took him to add a have

:24:08.:24:13.

first to get down there, it is a long distance. The temperature

:24:13.:24:16.

would be colder than the more you got to the bottom. There is very

:24:16.:24:21.

little light there. He would have kicked up a lot of sediment and I

:24:21.:24:26.

would imagine it was an uncomfortable experience. By it

:24:26.:24:33.

sounds like an understatement! think it would be horrible. Was it

:24:33.:24:37.

quite danger is? He could have lost communication with the outside

:24:38.:24:42.

world for instance. That is always the risk you take with a

:24:42.:24:48.

submersible. If you employed, that is the worst thing that could

:24:48.:24:56.

happen. -- implode. It was a life- threatening adventure then? Yes,

:24:56.:25:01.

but he has put a lot of money and time and trainee into this. I am

:25:01.:25:07.

sure it is pretty safe, but it just looks very dangerous. Are you

:25:07.:25:15.

impressed or not? Absolutely. It is amazing, it raises the profile of

:25:15.:25:21.

deep-sea biology, it is fantastic. Does it take us anywhere apart from

:25:21.:25:26.

be exciting for Mr Cameron? I hope so. He commented that he was

:25:26.:25:31.

planning to go back. I was concerned they would just go once

:25:31.:25:34.

and that would be yet but it is nice to hear he plans to do some

:25:34.:25:40.

more. Going to the marionette branch is not necessarily

:25:40.:25:48.

representative of other take places. -- the Mariana Trench. The trenches

:25:48.:25:54.

are very isolated habitats and why happens one trench does not mess

:25:54.:25:57.

his family have been in other trenches, it is similar to

:25:57.:26:03.

mountains. Going to Mount Everest does not tell you about Mount

:26:04.:26:09.

Kilimanjaro. This is a good start and it has proved the technology.

:26:09.:26:14.

Is there any point in a human going down like this? Can they do more

:26:14.:26:22.

than machines? People would disagree. My feeling is that you

:26:22.:26:27.

can get more bottom time with a remote systems. You do not have the

:26:27.:26:33.

danger issue. There are a lot of arguments for and against. Let us

:26:33.:26:38.

hope James Cameron was not wasting his time with that life threatening

:26:38.:26:41.

exploration. Thank you very much. A reminder of our main news: A

:26:41.:26:43.

drought, chronic underdevelopment and political instability have

:26:43.:26:46.

created a landscape which has more than 60 million people in the Sahel

:26:46.:26:54.

Region of West Africa at risk of food shortages. That's it for now.

:26:54.:27:02.

Goodbye. Hello. On Monday afternoon we

:27:02.:27:03.

Hello. On Monday afternoon we continued with the warmth across

:27:03.:27:07.

many parts of the country, but tomorrow there is more of the same.

:27:07.:27:12.

We have sunshine and high temperatures for the end of March.

:27:12.:27:15.

Although we have the sunshine around, high pressure is keeping

:27:15.:27:20.

things in try which is not good news for those regions which need

:27:20.:27:24.

rain. No sign of significant rained throughout the week. Another dry

:27:24.:27:31.

day tomorrow, it begins cold with Matt -- with mist and fog. The

:27:31.:27:35.

sunshine will have temperatures by the afternoon. It is still cooler

:27:35.:27:41.

on the coast of East Anglia but come further inland, there will be

:27:41.:27:47.

temperatures of 18 Celsius. 21 tomorrow in London. 18 degrees in

:27:47.:27:52.

the south-west and breezy in Cornwall, but as the breeze travels

:27:52.:27:57.

up the north coast of Wales, we see the temperatures climbing up to 20

:27:57.:28:02.

degrees. For Northern Ireland, it is cooler towards the coast of

:28:02.:28:08.

Antrim but we will see temperatures up to 19 degrees on the north coast.

:28:08.:28:14.

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