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This is BBC World News Today with me, Tim Willcox.
Another deadly suicide attack in Mogadishu - Somalia's Olympics
Chief and the President of the country's football federation are
among ten people killed. Shortages begin to bite as the
international community repeats calls for the Mali coup leaders to
give up power. Mitt Romney edges closer to the
Republican presidential nomination as President Obama's team turn
their fire on him. Too broke to compete - how Greece's
austerity could stop athletes in their tracks.
Also coming up in the programme: The Russians who've developed a
taste for politics. Pushing for policies with a bit
more bite - we meet the newcomers who've decided to take charge.
When the protests began after the parliamentary elections, I read on
Facebook that new people should run for office.
And our master butchers' ancestors - beating lions to the best cuts of
Hello and welcome. At least ten people have been killed in an
explosion at Somalia's National Theatre. Among the dead are the
presidents of the Somali Olympic committee and the country's
football federation. Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali narrowly
escaped the blast. He told the BBC a female suicide bomber was
responsible. The Islamist group Al- Shabaab, linked to Al Qaeda, says
it carried out the attack, and promised more to come. But, under
fire from the African Union, and Kenyan and Ethiopian forces, how
does Al Shabaab still present such a potent threat? Peter Biles
Just a few bricks ago, Somalia's National Theatre reopened for the
first time in 20 years. It was a moment of optimism, but today, as
ministers, MPs and local dignitaries gathered at a theatre,
an explosion tore apart this Mogadishu landmark. The Prime
Minister was addressing an audience of 200 people when the bomb went
off. I am safe, and most of my Cabinet
is safe and secure. However, some Somalis at the ceremony lost their
lives. There are conflicting accounts of
what happened. The transitional government says a female suicide
bomber was responsible. But the militant Islamist group out to bat
says the explosives were planted before hand. -- Al-Shabaab.
I don't know what to say but there are a lot of casualties.
Among them were two sports officials, the president of the
Somali Olympic Committee and the head of the Football Association.
Both of them died in the bombing. In London, where David Cameron
hosted an international conference on Somalia in February, the British
Prime Minister has condemned the latest attack.
The Al-Shabaab fighters, often said to be inspired by Al-Qaeda, have
been on the back foot in recent months. They were driven out of
Mogadishu and forced into adopting guerrilla tactics. But their
ability to stage an attack in the heart of the capital served as a
reminder that this is still one of the most dangerous countries on
earth. Richard Dowden is the director of
the Royal African Society and joins us from Central London.
How much of Somalia does Al-Shabaab control?
Probably not the right word. They did control a lot of the South and
south-west until recently, but now they have been displaced from that
by the invasion from Kenya and Ethiopia. I think they operate,
they can easily go back to being an underground movement, but until
recently, they controlled a lot of the South and parts of the capital
as well. Recently, the Ethiopian has managed to drive them out of a
place where they could shell the city. The city has been much safer
recently. But why is it impossible for Kenyan
and Ethiopian and African Union forces to actually defeat Al-
Shabaab? This... The Somalis... How to put
this? They did defeat the Americans, who tried to invade in 1991, 1992,
and only lasted a year. It ended in the black cork down incident. They
have been fighting since about 1989. There are a lot of skill for
fighters there, where as Kenya has had absolutely no war experience,
and the Ethiopians have had some but not of this type, of an urban
fighting. The Somalis fighting at home, and they have experience
behind them and are extremely good at these sorts of tactics.
How pure are the motives of Ethiopia and Kenya? Are they
fighting because out a bad represent a threat to their nation
states as well? -- because Al- Shabaab represents a threat.
I'm not convinced that Al-Shabaab is a threat to Kenya or Ethiopia in
that way. I think it is an internal Somali force that has become funded
by Saudi Arabian money, I suspect, as many of these movements are in
Africa. I think they are not able to hold ground any more, Al-Shabaab,
but they can create these nasty attacks.
Thank you theme for joining us. 6,000 kilometres to the west is
Mali - until a fortnight ago a relatively stable West African
country, fighting a rebellion in its northern region. But since Army
officers seized power in a coup, rebel fighters have made important
territorial gains. Thousands of refugees have now fled their homes
to escape the violence around cities like Timbuktu and Gao. As
the crisis in Mali has deepened, the international community has
urged the coup leaders to give up power. Mike Wooldridge has this
report. In Mali's capital, this, the face
of the crisis. People queuing to beat the shortages that are likely
to impact on daily life. A West African organisation and the
African Union had the sanctions they imposed will convince the
military junta to step down by today. So far, the junta has other
ideas. Its leader is calling for the country's feature to be decided
at a national convention tomorrow. TRANSLATION: The conclusion of this
conference should be accepted by everybody in order to put a stop to
political considerations and the rapidly with the security situation
in the north and the integrity of our national territory.
For now, the northern half of the country remains effectively in the
hands of the rebels, who swept through its main towns when the
junta said its main aims were to prevent this. Some labels - recruit
rebels are said to have links to Al-Qaeda.
Including in the historic city of Timbuktu, as it mayor told the BBC.
There are armed people going around. I have seen 15-year-old people with
rifles and weapons. They are roaming the streets and pillaging.
The stakes are high for the organisations, with their past
success here in Togo, for example. Last year the presidential problems
in Ivory Coast was a bigger challenge. The victor of that, as
the chair of the organisation, is overseeing the Mali crisis.
The President has called for the activation of the West African
blocks' security force of around 3,000. But that could take weeks.
Mali's envoy to the UN pleaded for support from the Security Council,
calling the situation indescribable, and that is country was threatened
with partition. Here we have the spokesperson for
the organisation on the phone. Despite the sanctions, despite the
course for these two leaders to hand over, you're not having much
success, are you? Yes, we are. I believe the military
junta does not have much time to gamble.
How much time do they have? Already several deadlines have passed.
they haven't. We have a process for the sanctions. From the reports in
the media, the queues suggest the sanctions are beginning to bite. I
am glad that the rebels have How much support do you think the
captain has, the leader of this chunter?
It is within the junta. He has the few people around him. I doubt if
he enjoys any other support beyond his immediate supporters. Of course,
in West Africa, he does not enjoy I think the support is limited to
the military junta. Thank you for joining us.
It looks as if Mitt Romney will become the Republican nominee to
take on Barack Obama in November. The former Massachusetts governor
won all the latest primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington
DC. And Barack Obama is now targeting him in his presidential
campaign. So does this mean game over for the other candidates? Our
correspondent Steve Kingstone reports from Washington.
It is not official yet, but this 65-year-old multi-millionaire will
be the Republican challenger to Barack Obama. That is what Mitt
Romney thinks, and it is what the President thinks, too. Just listen
to his words this week during a speech on entitlement reform.
Governor Romney has said he hoped a similar version of this plan from
last year would be introduced as a bill on day one macro of this
Parliament. It was the first time he had
singled out Mr Romney by name, an unmistakable sign that the general
The air war has already begun. The Obama campaign portrays Mr Romney
as a puppet of the or industry. And the when the camp fires back, say
the President is to blame for soaring petrol prices. In
Washington, the candidate ignored his Republican rivals and targeted
the real opponent. The President did not cause the
economic crisis. But he did make it worse. He delayed the recovery and
he made it anaemic. Then, the clearest possible
statement of what Mitt Romney stands for. Free enterprise has
done more to lift people out of poverty, to help build a strong
middle-class, to help educate our kids and to make our lives better
than all of the government's programmes put together.
Technically, there are three other republicans contesting the
nomination. But the incumbent and his opponent had already moved on.
When you strip away the spin and the slurs, the battle for the White
House will come down to an old- fashioned ideological divide
between a president who thinks that government can help to solve
America's problems and a Republican challenger who says government is
the problem. Tim Stanley is a journalist and
historian of the United States, who joins us from Washington.
Mitt Romney has got 21 wins now either Rick Santorum's 11. Is there
a sense of inevitability about this?
There certainly has. Mommy has half the delegates he needs to get the
nomination. -- Romney. He is getting endorsements from important
people, like the Cenotaph Florida. A lot of pressure is going to start
to be put on Rick Santorum to drop out. At the end of the month, we
have got some big contests in big states, and it is likely the state
of Pennsylvania will go to Santorum. But Romney will win places like New
York, putting him closer to the nomination. Yes, Romney is the one.
There is a tea-party favourite. Are more of the tea party movement
coming in behind Mitt Romney now? No. That has not started to happen
yet. More of them voted for him in Maryland, although that was not
terribly competitive. If you look at Bromley's support, he is trapped
in what you might call a demographic prison. He is popular
among people who earn more than $100,000 per year, people you are
over 65 and people who say they are moderate or somewhat conservative.
He still fails to draw support from tea-party people, and part of his
problem is going to be he is going to have to spend a lot of time
appealing not only to moderate and independent and Democrats, he is
also going to have to spend a lot of time still reaching out to
people on the right of American politics.
And he is prettily, isn't it, but And I do not think it will be that
began issue. The Democrats will look mean if they play upon it. I
think foreign-made, it is a plus overall. He can play the card
saying, I am from a religious minority, I am from a people who
understand pursue -- understand persecutions. I do not think the
Mormon and all will be played in this election in the way we expect.
Briefly, it will cost a lot of money. Who is going to be the
number two? We do not know who that is going to be yet. We cannot
possibly say. Many people who would should be, they are halfway through
Senate terms that they want to complete. It is more likely to be
someone like Rick Santorum, but I would not advise anyone to place
money on anyone at this moment. Stanley, thank you.
The man suspected of masterminding the September 11th attacks has been
referred to trial. He has been charged with terrorism, hijacking
aircraft and a number of other accounts, along with four others.
The case will be heard at a military -- at a military tribunal.
French anti-terror police have raided properties of suspected
Islamist militants. Prosecutors have confirmed they are charging 13
people who were detained last week. Hundreds of demonstrators have
crowded around a court in Ankara for the opening of a trial of two
retired generals who allegedly staged a coup in 1980.
Yahoo! Has confirmed it is to cut 2000 staff, 14 % of the workforce.
They say this is to make the company's smaller and more
profitable. It was saved them around $375 million.
It is a month since Vladimir Putin was re-elected Russia's President.
Since his victory, this huge anti- government street protests which
have dominated live in the Russian capital seem to have petered out.
Russians' interest in politics has not disappeared, and Muscovites
have been finding other ways to put pressure on the authorities, as
Steve Rose and Beck reports. A boxing hall might seem an odd
place for municipal council meeting. Then again, this is about to become
a bit of a battle ground. First, they argue over who gets to be the
chair man. The man with the microphone represents the old guard.
He says he is in charge. His opponents do not agree. They are
part of a new wave of opposition activists who were getting elected
in Moscow at municipal level, and trying to change the way politics
is done. The party of power is about to back -- is about to bite
back, quite literally. This is fat to be again a trip's first
experience of local politics -- this is Vladimir Garnachuk's first
experience of local politics. He did not expect to be bitten!
District councils like this one have few powers, but it appears
Russians are getting interested in politics on their doorstep. A few
months ago, local government meetings in the share attracted
little attention and few visitors. Now, this is people power at the
grassroots level. Away from the council chamber, Vladimir Garnachuk
campaigns on local issues. Opposite says school, which the authorities
plan to turn into a centre for drug addicts. Vladimir is trying to stop
it, but he never planned to go into politics. TRANSLATION: I had never
heard of municipal councils, but when the street protests began
after that rigged parliamentary election, I read on face but that
new people should run for office. - - I read on Facebook. It is not
only by becoming councillors that the Russians are trying to change
their country. In Zhukovsky, near Moscow copyboy have been protesting
about the destruction of the local forest. Trees are being cut down to
make way for a road. This issue has brought big crowds onto the streets
of a small town. It is a sign that Russians are determined to make
their voices heard. The Greek Athletics Federation says
it has suspended all domestic sporting activities because there
is no money. There are fears that unless budget cuts are reversed,
participation in the London Olympics could be at risk. We can
speak to Mark Lowen in Athens. A humiliation for any country, let
alone Greece! Yes. This was where it all began. The Olympics began
here in the eighth century BC. This was also where the first modern
Games was held. Just imagine if the Greek Athletics Federation were to
pull out of this summer's London Olympics whatever humiliation that
would be, a sign of how deep the country has fallen. The sign is
that they are suspending domestic sporting activities because of the
budget a source at the federation said if the government does not
intervene to resolve the budget crisis, pulling out of the London
Olympics would still be an option. How much of a Gambetta is this? Is
there any suggestion the Greek government will say, OK, we will
make an exception, because of national pride? Absolutely. It
could be a game of hide States. -- high-stakes. We will have to wait
and see. The board of the federation will meet in a few weeks.
They have appealed to the Minister of Culture. We will have to see
what the government says. They want to avoid any further humiliation
after the deep financial crisis this country is still going through.
European championships are coming up, and the London Olympics in July.
I think they would do anything they can to avoid having to pull out of
their games. The prospect of that shows just how deep this financial
crisis is affecting all aspects of Greek society. The team going to
London is half the size of that in Beijing. Mark Lowen, thank you very
much. A discovery on frozen place near
the Arctic sea in northern Siberia has provided scientists with an
incredibly well-preserved specimen of a 10,000-year-old mammoth. There
are signs that the juvenile animal was attacked by lions and butchered
by humans. After thousands of years lying
frozen in the grand, it is twisted and contorted. Now lie in on its
back, its head has flopped to one side and its legs stick a pin the
air. Its stake strawberry blonde hair is exquisitely preserved.
Extraordinary. Professor Daniel Fischer is at the Museum of
Palaeontology at the University of Michigan. Tell it us how important
this says. -- tell us how important this is. It is an extremely
important specimen. In part, because of the quality of tissue
preservation. Even a part of the animal are missing, what is there
is extremely well-preserved. It is also important for the story it
tells, the story you can reconstruct from the evidence of
what remains. The cuts that our human ancestors appeared to have
been interested in consist of meat and bones from the main core of the
body. There have been removed. That part of the animal has been
butchered. We see evidence of this in terms of the entry incisions
into the hide, and some cut marks on some of the bones. That humans
were waiting, I think, for Lyons, or they sued these Lions away that
had killed this mammoth. Is that something may perhaps did
frequently? They relied on more ferocious animals to kill food and
then butchered them afterwards? That is one possibility. This is
all inference at the moment, based on the patterns of damage that we
see on the carcass of this animal and on some things we do not see
that we would expect. Lyons typically enter a carcass in the
region of the Bailey, the aim has all the neck, but these regions are
not blemished. There are incisions at a very different replaced. --
There are incisions that are very differently placed. This mammoth
was only about two-and-a-half years old. Is there any suggestion that
there was some sort of ritual involved here by our ancestors when
it came to butchering an animal than eating it? I suppose this is a
matter of opinion and inference. I actually think there is probably a
utilitarian explanation for most of what we see. I do not see the need
to call on ritual aspects of it. The inference we have generated is
lions were responsible for the initial pursued to, that is based
on singing deep scratch marks -- seeing deep scratch marks. They can
only really have been produced by the claws of a large cat-like
animal. I am sorry, Professor, we are told time. Remarkable images.
Viewers in the UK can see the full programme on BBC Two at 9 o'clock
tonight. Viewers around the world can find out more on the BBC
website. That is it from me and the Hello. Finally, the weather front
we have had slipping southwards been the snow and disruption across
the UK is clearing away. A dry day to come tomorrow. Even the chance
of decent sunshine. Through the night, the weather front will clear
away from the south, taking with it the strong winds. First thing on
Thursday, cloudy through the southern half of the UK. Further
north, a week weather front also been ploughed and some outbreaks of
rain. -- bringing cloud. Through the southern counties of England, a
largely cloudy start to the day. That will break up and allow
sunshine to break through. Sunny skies developing through northern