27/04/2012 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today. He's on the run but he's not afraid to


speak out. After a daring escape from house arrest China's human


rights activist Chen Guangcheng releases a video addressed to the


TRANSLATION: All rumours on the internet, all the accusations of


the violence against me and my family, they are all true. Spain's


unemployment reaches a record high, one in four now without a job. The


South Korean conglomerate Samsung overtakes the Finnish firm Nokia as


the world's leading mobile phone maker. What are they doing right?


Also coming up in the programme... The Indian reservation in South


Dakota where drink is banned yet alcoholism is rife. The tribe is


taking Marise and shops to court for selling them alcohol. There is


no more money to buy beer, that is how we drink. Plans to ban


foreigners from Dutch cannabis Hello and welcome. One of China's


most famous human rights activists who's escaped house arrest has


released a video addressed to Premier Wen Jiabo asking him to


ensure the safety of his family, investigate local officials and


punish corruption. The blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng made an


extraordinary escape from his home in Shandong province on Sunday. His


location is unknown but supporters say he's safe in Beijing. In a


moment I will talk to one Chinese dissident in the US. But first...


The BBC's Damien Grammaticus reports from Beijing. Speaking from


race secret location, Chen Guangcheng, one of China's most


famous human rights campaigners. For almost two years he has been


under a legal detention. Addressing the Communist leaders directly he


called of them to investigate his treatment. He said it was an


example of the unchecked abuses of power happening in China today, all


in the name of the Communist Party. How we escape from his village


confinement is a mystery. A tense like this one to reach him have


been blocked by dozens of hired thugs guarding his home. Activists


who tried were often attacked and beaten. A year ago footage of Chen


Guangcheng and his son under house arrest was smuggled out. Security


men perched on ladders kept his every move under watch. They are


thought to have beaten him savagely after this that it was said, so how


Baloyi has slipped away is not clear. Chen Guangcheng spent four


years in this prison after exposing how of thousands of women underwent


forced abortions and sterilisations. There are now fears for the safety


of his wife and child who he left behind. He had a direct question


for Trina's Premier. He asked Wen Jiabao if the local officials


abusing their power were acting alone, or with the support of the


central government. He said I think you should give people a clear


answer. In recent days China's leaders have struggled to contain


one crisis caused by the sacking of the senior politician Bo Xilai. The


escape of Chen Guangcheng gives them a new problem and focuses yet


more attention on abuses of power here. We are joined from New


Orleans by the founder of China Aid, an organisation that aims to


promote religious freedom in China. He was forced to flee the country


16 years ago. Bob, are you worried about the safety of the Chen


Guangcheng, what can happen next to I am concerned over the long-term


safety for him. But I am assured he is right now 100% safe in the City


of Beijing. But sooner or later he will have to appear, what kind of


strategy with his friends and supporters be urging him to make


now? -- would his friends. He was offered to come a broad for


permanent safety but he was reluctant after he escaped out of


his home. He would like to fight for his freedom and rights in China


until the end according to what he said. So you have information that


since his escape from house arrest at a country has offered him safe


I am not able to tell you that. But so far he is in a safe location and


he would like his voice to be heard by the international community and


the highest authority of the Chinese leaders. This comes at a


How does this fit in with that? We saw the appeal he made to the


premiere to clean up government in China. After all, this is a blind


man, a self-taught legal at the best who advocates nothing but a


rule of law and social justice -- He just wants basic freedom and


human rights protection guaranteed by the Chinese constitution and


Chinese law. So what kind of threat this blind man could pose -- could


this blind man pose? He made his appeal to Wen Jiabao and said what


you say to those corrupt officials who have beaten me? Are they doing


it with your acquiescence? What do you think is the answer? I think it


will echo the same mentality Wen Jiabao said in his press conference


during the National people's Congress in March because even he


is determined to that without dealing with the corruption, even


the existence of the party is at stake. So Chen Guangcheng refers


his own case that by a detaining him and putting hundreds of


thousands of dollars of monitoring equipment around his family and


village and there is corrupted officials took financial advantage


over a case like that. We have to leave it there. Thank you for


joining us. The latest job statistics from Spain are daunting.


Almost a quarter of people are unemployed. The foreign ministers


admitted the country is in crisis of huge proportions. And getting


Spain out of its current predicament is even tougher now


because the credit rating agency Standard and Poor's has downgraded


spade -- Spain's credit worthiness by two points. The queues at the


unemployment centres in Spain get longer as the jobless rate edges


towards one in four. It is the highest in Europe and looking for


work is an increasingly that this task. TRANSLATION: L'Equipe on


looking. I would take anything that comes up but there is not much


around. The crisis includes many people there were casualties of the


boom-and-bust in the construction industry, many of the migrants


arrived in the good times. TRANSLATION: I have taken loads of


courses as an electrician thinking the -- the electrician. I took a


course in massage, that was no good. They do not want to hire me, they


say I am old. Spain has gone back into recession so the rise in


unemployment is to be expected. Austerity measures as the


government seeks to cut borrowing needs might eventually help by


bringing interest rates down but in the short term they just add to the


pain which is felt acutely by young people. The situation is even worse


for youth unemployment where the ratio is something like one in two.


The problem is Spain is in a recession, which is deepening, so


the likelihood is unemployment will continue to rise substantially


further. The problems are mounting for the Prime Minister. There has


been another credit rating downgrade from Standard and Poor's.


The agency expects the recession to drag on into next year and also


thinks it increasingly likely the government will have a hefty bill


to prop up the country's banks. Labour law reforms should help


create jobs but the immediate outlook is for higher unemployment.


Growth in the US economy has slowed. The weakest areas were business


investment and government spending but consumer spending and exports


grew faster than before. At least 27 people had been injured in a


number of explosions in the Ukraine. The blasts were the near and


eastern city, the first was close to a central Tam -- tram stop, a


second device went off near a local cinema. Barcelona are looking for a


new coach after Pep or dealer confirmed rumours he would leave


the Spanish champions at the end of the current season. He said he


intended to take a sabbatical from football but will no doubt be


courted by a host of leading clubs in an effort to make him change his


mind. A bomb has exploded in central Damascus and whilst Syrian


state television is blaming it on a suicide bomber, activist groups say


the government was behind the attack. At least nine people were


killed and up to 30 injured. This after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-


Moon warned the Syrian government that it is "in contravention" of an


internationally agreed peace plan. The BBC's Jim Muir reports from


Beirut. More bad news for Kofi Annan and his peace plan, a suicide


bomber in Damascus. State television carried gruesome


pictures of the aftermath, showing shattered body parts in explicit


detail. It all reinforces the regime's argument it is facing not


a popular uprising but a terrorist onslaught. With government shelling


still going on, like here in do mad, activist accused the regime of


being behind the bomb to distract attention from its continuing use


of heavy weapons in defiance of the Kofi Annan peace plan. Under the


plan, troops and tanks should have gone back to barracks weeks ago.


Activists say the regime has killed more than 460 people since the UN


observers started arriving. The regime it uses what it calls armed


terrorist groups of carrying out a string of assassinations and other


attacks. It says it has documented more than 1300 violations. Rebel


fighters are certainly still active on the ground, like here at Deir


Ezzor in the east. The and and plan calls for them to stand down, too.


And up in the north the rebel Free Syrian army was announcing the


formation of a new unit, that is also in contravention of the Cave


and and plan. Crucially, Russia is backing the regime and blaming the


rebels for provoking the violence. That makes action by the Security


Council at this stage out of the question. So where do we go from


here? Yes today two senior US officials told a congressional


hearing that the US fell to the peace plan was failing and they


said they were considering contingencies. That seems to me to


indicate Washington is moving towards a start favoured by the


Turks and Arab countries, that if the so-called ceasefire falls apart


that you may have some type of humanitarian zone in the north-west


of the country. For the moment, Kofi Annan's plan is the only game


in town, but getting the badly- needed UN observers in is proving


slow and in the meantime events on the ground are threatening to run


Nokia at stall the number one -- Samsung has stolen the number one


spot from Nokia. Even at Apple lost out, it is still the world's third-


biggest mobile phone maker but it lost its crown as the biggest maker


of smart phones to Samsung. I am joined by Rupert good wins, the


editor of a London based on mind Samsung has come a long way since


selling fruit and vegetables. What is it doing now? They have taken


over from a lot of companies. They have a particularly good track


record of having a good idea and are sticking with it for a long


time. They're smart phones especially, if you look at the


history, they have been making them better and better. They have a


long-term approach to this. They have sold 25% more smart phones and


apple but is this a trend that will definitely continue? It is a trend.


Samsung got some advantage by the fact they got them cheaper and can


sell them cheaper and this have the same quality field and are more


functional than the apple stuff. They're also good at turning out


lower-cost feature films which make up the vast majority of phones


still sold in the world. Samsung used to be said to be just a


follower and not an original creator of mobile phones and they


get very upset when you tell them that. What does this tell us about


the new technology? To some extent, that is still quite accurate. Their


phones are good. Phone systems are now quite established. They have


not changed very much since the I phoned him out. The technology is


maturing and that is why the market is changing. Microsoft's from the


software which is what Nokia her using has not really set the world


alight. It is very good but it is lacking in features. When it tried


in the future? I think they will, they are doing very well. Mobile


phones, we're all fascinated with them, I think they will sink down a


little and by that point, Samsung will do very well. Is the


significance in the fact that it is in Western Europe? There is a mood


perhaps back from the Far East. It doesn't really matter where things


are made. They're very simple inside and there isn't much


differentiation you can have. The importance as the software and what


is going to happen is, the focus will be on the applications rather


than the phone itself so that might see things coming back to the West


again. You can tell me after we come off their what phone you have!


In South Dakota, a reservation is home to a tribe that has a huge


alcohol problems. Despite the fact that alcohol is banned from the


reservation area, stories just across the state line in Nebraska


have been selling it to them so now, leaders are taking the shops,


distributors and breweries to court and they are seeking 500 million


damages. This is home to just 12 residents.


For surprisingly busy drugstores. These shops still sell 5 million


bottles of beer a year, more than 13,000 servings a day. And 52 years


old and I have come here because I'm an alcoholic. I get my beers


from here. Most of that beer travels just a short way across the


border into South Dakota. On the other side of the state line lies


the Pine Ridge Indian reservation, the second largest in America. It


is illegal to drink alcohol there but it is estimated that 80% of the


families have one or more member who is suffering from alcoholism.


As Indians, we drink until there is no tomorrow, to there is no more


money to buy beer, that is how we drink. This man is a recovering


alcoholic and a father of 12. elsewhere to buy beer additives are


half-an-hour to walk. Some people use wheelchairs or crutches when we


walk up there. The tribal council is suing the shops, the


distributors and the breweries. The $500 million suit argues that that


the vast amount of beer being sold, companies must know there is being


used illegally. We have tried many avenues to close alcohol sales


there. We're looking at what they have given us and that is the


respect for our culture and people. The beer company has declined to


speak to the BBC. There is little sympathy here for or the lots at.


It is not illegal to buy alcohol at a place where it is legal. It is


the leaders that are doing some of the same, they are coming down here


and buying themselves but then they want to find the lawsuit.


thinks that they owe his community something. They could get a


treatment centre going, something to say, thank you for on your


business. For buying all our alcohol and ruining your lives.


They have yet to do that, all they give us his pain.


One of arms to Iran's most infamous tour has attractions are the City's


coffee shops where you can buy cannabis. Now the industry could be


threatened after cafe owners lost their court battle against a


government plan to ban tourists from entering the cafes. Soft drugs


and the Netherlands are not strictly legal but their use is


tolerated. The ban is due initially to come into force in three


southern provinces in May. The Netherlands is famous for its


liberal approach to soft drugs. While it is not strictly legal to


smoke cannabis here, its use is tolerated. The Dutch government


decriminalised the possession of less than five grams of cannabis in


1976. Cannabis cafes or coffee shops are a major site in most


cities and a major attraction for tourists. Now the government wants


to tighten the restrictions. think it is ridiculous. It is a


shame because I believe the world really admires the Dutch for their


pragmatic and forward-thinking view on how to handle what they consider


salt trucks and it just seems that they are literally going back in


time. The new law is designed to cut the number of drug tourists who,


some residents complained, were creating nuisances like traffic


jams and an increase of hard drug dealers on the streets. It has also


designed to cut cross-border crime coming by people coming to the


Netherlands to buy them and returning home to sell them


illegally. From 1st May, coffee shops in the three southern


provinces will become members-only clubs. Up to 2000 membership cards


will be issued by each coffee-shop to residents over the age the 18th.


The novel come into effect across the country at the end of this year.


There are around 700 cover shops in the Netherlands. Honours fighting


the arms says it discriminates on the basis of where they live. Some


say new rules will cut up to 90% of their business. It is disappointing


for everyone and Holland. Nobody sees that there is a problem, we


don't have problems with tourists who come to smoke a joint and then


go to visit a museum. His got a third of tourists are attracted by


the possibility of smoking cannabis. With the new legislation, there are


fears it could have a huge impact on tourism. The mayor is hoping to


negotiate a deal with the government to insure the tourists


trying to buy cannabis can keep on coming.


We are joined now by a representative of the Dutch


opposition party, a Social Liberal Party will stop this mood is meant


to help tackle the rise in drug- related crimes so wide you have a


problem with that? Everybody in the Netherlands is against drug-related


crime and we have to fight that, of course. But I think that this new


idea of government is not going to support that goal. I think that is


because we are going to in legalise drugs and more than we did, that


there will be a lot of selling of illegal drugs on the streets


instead of coffee shops. But this only applies to foreigners, not to


Dutch residents of the Netherlands? The Netherlands is a very small


country and we have a lot of Borders and especially in the south,


a lot of French people and the Belgian people and German people go


to the coffee shops to buy cannabis but if they are not able to buy it


there, there are a lot of illegal dealers on the street who not only


possess cannabis but other hard drugs who are willing to sell that


to those foreign visitors. So I think that in the end, the crime in


this area can even be bigger than it is now. Cafe owners say they


will appeal and say this is discriminatory, do you think the


chances of getting this overturned are strong or not? I don't know,


the judges will decide of course but the thing is, we have to tackle


this problem in a pragmatic way, instead of going back, we should be


more discussing this internationally and saying to each


other, the real about soft drugs in Germany, in Great Britain and also


America and the whole of Europe. Young people are using cannabis and


under the age of 18, people should not of course use cannabis but if


you are grown up, then that there should be a free choice and you


should regulates that as a government because then problems


will escalate. Loss of revenue for the Dutch government in these


financially perilous times? If you are going to regulate not only the


way of selling but the production of it, you can do things like


regulating the way it is produced but you can also tax it and it has


figured out that to tax cannabis can create 500 million euro for the


budget so it is also interesting weather but it and for the problems


in Europe. A reminder of our main story: The


blind Chinese activist, Chen Guangcheng, has appealed to the


central government at for justice after making a dramatic escape from


has arrest. He released a video appealing to the Prime Minister,


Wen Jiabo, to ensue -- ensure the safety of this family and to tackle


corruption. That's all from us. For many of us, it was another wet


day today. You'll be pleased to hear that tomorrow, things are


looking a little bit drier and brighter. But it is not set to last


for the whole weekend because we have a developing area of low


pressure to the south. For the time being, a decaying weather front


sitting across us and that will keep it cloudy through Saturday.


The south-east is where we look later for rain on Saturday but for


the time being, for much of northern England, a lovely Saturday


afternoon with plenty of sunshine. Drew central areas, it is cloudy


but drier than today. The south- east of England will steadily see


rain creeping in as we head through the late morning and early


afternoon. Some rain over south- western parts of England but not as


torrential as the downpour as we saw today. For Wales, the cloud


will thin and things should brighten up. Across Scotland and


Northern Ireland, plenty of spring sunshine to be enjoyed. A northerly


wind feeding in some cooler air and the risk of some rain. For Saturday


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