06/08/2013 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today. Airlift from Yemen. The US and


Britain evacuate diplomatic staff amid fears of a significant terror


attack in the Arab nation. British and American citizens are also told


to leave immediately. Reports say Al-Qaeda was planning one of the


most serious plots against Western interests since 9/11.


Let's talk. Two days into his new job, Iran's president calls for


serious negotiations with the West over the country's controversial


nuclear programme. Also coming up, a silent killer in


eastern Canada. A python escapes from a pet shop and strangles two


children as they sleep. And China gets a taste for French


wine. But it is not just bottles they are snapping up, it is an


Hello and welcome to the programme. The US and UK are warning of an


extremely high terrorism threat in Yemen and have began evacuating


diplomatic staff following the sudden closure of 20 US embassies


and consulates on Sunday. Both countries advise citizens in Yemen


to get out immediately. The US has intercepted conversations between


two senior Al-Qaeda figures, including top leader Ayman


al-Zawahiri and their representative in Yemen. The warning to leave Yemen


came shortly after a US drone strike killed four suspected Al-Qaeda


militants. The BBC's Yalda Hakim is just back from Yemen after speaking


to people whose family members have been killed in what they say are


drone strikes. Yemen is one of the front lines in


America's war against Al-Qaeda. The number of don't strikes has tripled


between 2011 and 2012. -- drone strikes. That is according to a US


think tank. But for this farmer, it comes with a high human cost. He was


working in the fields one day when he heard the blast, we went to see


what happened and when he got there, he saw that two missiles had


killed in the Yemeni town last September. This footage was given to


us by a local journalist. Survivors said they saw at least one drone and


Al-Qaeda leader travelling on the same stretch of road. The United


States has never officially acknowledged that it carried out the


strike, the Yemeni government paid $75,000 in blood money to the


families. With drone strikes an established part of US strategy to


combat Al-Qaeda, a Yemeni youth activist has a worrying message for


Washington. The United States thinks it understands Yemen, but drones of


been one of the most effective tools for Al-Qaeda to succeed in Yemen. A


big part of Al-Qaeda's pirate at the moment is convincing Yemeni people


that they are at war with the United States. -- Al-Qaeda's pirate.


the Yemeni Foreign Minister rejects this analysis. I have heard this,


and there might be some truth in it, but the fact is that if your targets


are Al-Qaeda leaders, and if they are in danger in the security of


your country, there is no alternative. The Foreign Minister


also says the accidental killing of civilians is an unfortunate


side-effect of war, but that is little comfort for the ball like


this farmer, who knows his fight for justice is a long and lonely one.


That was Yalda Hakim reporting. Anthony Cordesman is the Arleigh A


Burke Chair in strategy at their Centre for Strategic and


International Studies and is in Washington for as. Good to have you


there. I am not sure if you could hear another report the analysis


that these drone attacks, and there was another one, is perhaps


providing some sort of order or incentive for Al-Qaeda in Yemen to


attack US interests, what do you think? Firstly, this is the same


reaction everywhere that they are used. A lot of it is straight


propaganda. You have a target in Al-Qaeda, who do all they can to


make this into an attack on the local population. They will stage


people to appear in crowds, to be spokesman to the media, who claim to


have had civilian casualties, and there are real civilian casualties,


but the fact is this is war. If you are going to deal with a terrorist


movement, which in many ways is an insurgent group, that hides behind


the billion areas, that locates itself with women and children. --


hides behind civilian areas. That attempts to move in ways that there


is no ability to distinguish between military and civilian targets, the


drones offer advantages no other method of attack does. It can loiter


for a long time, can observe what is happening on the ground, bring in


other intelligence sources, because unlike a combat aircraft, you can


take the time and loiter over the target. That does not mean there


will not be tragedies, or innocent civilians, but in a war, the fact is


that the enemy is going to get killed. If you...And if the enemy


fights this kind of war, there will be cases, tragic as they are, we're


civilians died. You describe this as a war, so how credible do you


believe this threat to be? And why has the US moved to shut embassies


in 19 other countries? I think the problem we have is the New York


Times and other papers have basically focused on a possible


communications link between the head of Al-Qaeda, is essentially in


Pakistan, and the head of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen,


but what none of those now is what really is the mixture of sources and


methods. You almost never react to one indicator to date. Behind this,


what no one will say, because it will give away sources and methods,


is probably a history of weeks or months of build-up, a whole set of


additional indicators, which can be anything from imagery of what is


happening on the ground, to pattern analysis, to something like


money-laundering or the movement of weapons, or simply patterns of


immigration that no one will disclose. But you do not do this


simply because you have one indicator. You do this because you


have a mixture of indicators that there is a truly serious threat.


Anthony Cordesman, we shall leave it there, thank you for your analysis


from Washington. Let us move on to Iran, where the


new president is showing signs that he wants to open talks with the


international community of his country's controversial nuclear


programme. Hassan Rouhani says he is ready to start serious talks and


without wasting time. TRANSLATION: I do not think that the


West has heard Iran's message. I do not think that the West thinks that


continuing their sanctions and threats will bring them to any


conclusion. Interaction and constructive talks, to resolve


mutual concerns, guarantees both sides' interests and we are after


the win-win game. And this is possible. Let us discuss the


significance of this by speaking to Amir Paivar from BBC Persian TV. We


heard those comments of a win-win game, and it being possible, what do


you think? I think it is possible. It would not have been any easier,


or the state would not have been better set than it is now with the


government of Hassan Rouhani, but it does not mean it will be an easy


ride, because in Iran, the last word is that of the supreme leader. The


country would not want to be seen as losing too much with no negotiations


with their nuclear programme. So there is the opportunity there are,


but it would be a difficult task. Just on that point about the supreme


leader, is there any chance that perhaps the new president is taking


instructions from him to open up talks or is this coming from Hassan


Rouhani himself? It could not have come from Hassan Rouhani alone. The


general understanding is the supreme leader is backing this initiative.


The question is how far each of them would want to go. For the survival


of the regime, that is paramount to the supreme leader. But that is


undermined because of the current stand-off, and that is what the


supreme leader would want fixed. But for diplomats, such as Hassan


Rouhani and the people around him, they would want to go further, which


is weird difficulties would start. But to start negotiations, to talk


to world powers over Iran's dossier is what the supreme leader once as


well. Very briefly, Hassan Rouhani spoke about the election


consolidating the process of democracy in Iran, what do you


think, is that true? You see people from conservatives, from centrist


and reformists in his cabinet. This is a national unity cabinet and will


probably decrease the infighting within the regime and bring more


stability. On those terms, I think he is right.


Thank you. A brief look at some of the other news. A series of car


bombs has gone off in the Iraqi capital Baghdad killing at least 20


people. The blast targeted markets and shopping districts and other


latest in a sting of attacks which have risen since the start of the


year. July was the deadliest month since 2008 according to the US.


A former US Army psychiatrist has gone on trial in Texas over the


deaths of 13 people at Fort hood in 2009. He is accused of the worst


noncombat attack on a military base in history. He is representing


himself and told jurors the evidence would show he was the shooter, but


would not tell the whole story. Now to Canada where two young boys


have been killed by an rock python. It escaped from a pet shop and


police say the 16 foot snake coiled itself around the five and


seven-year-old boys as they were sleeping. It had apparently got into


their flat through a ventilation system.


Seven-year-old Connor and five-year-old Noah adored one


another. Sleepovers were a regular treat, but yesterday, a visit to


their best friend's home turned into unimaginable tragedy. The police


sealed off the New Brunswick building where the brothers were


killed. They had spent the night at the flat above the pet shop where


their friend lived. It is believed the snake kept on the ground floor


of the shop slip out of its cage, travelled through the ventilation


unit and into the room the boys were sleeping. The shop owner, a family


friend, discovered the children. thought they were sleeping until I


saw the hall in the ceiling. I switched on the lights and saw this


horrific scene, and the snake was gone. When I found it, it was


underneath a spot, and I pinned him down, put him in a cage. The snake,


similar to these, is thought to be an African rock python,


approximately four metres long, and it had wrapped itself around the


children. By the time the emergency services arrived, the boys were


dead. Experts say incidents like these or error. Was the snake


Hungary? Absolutely. That does not mean that it was a snake that was


neglected. Nevertheless, one Canadian media report claims


customers had previously complained about the conditions at the shop and


a question hangs over whether the shop was properly licensed. Tonight,


the boys' mother is described as grief stricken.


The European Commission is to send a team of monitors to the border


between Spain and Jabbar author as the row over the British territory


continues. As macro Spain and Gibraltar. The Spanish government


says it may introduce a fee to cross the border and close Spanish


airspace to flights bound for The Rock. The monitors are expected to


arrive in the next month or so. From Gibraltar, Tom Burridge sent this


report. They are disputed waters between Spain and Britain. As you


can see, we are not far from the Rock and according to the Gibraltar


government we are clearly in their waters, but the Spanish government


disagrees. Hello ask is the source of the tension, the row between


Spain, Gibraltar and Britain. -- below us. Seven days ago Gibraltar


says it has created an artificial reef, Spain says the blocks were


dumped in the sea to keep Spanish Fishermens away. In the morning mist


we found these Spanish fishermen preparing their nets. It's madness,


says this man. For years we have got on well and now we have fallen out


with our neighbours. Their Gibraltar neighbours have set -- live in a


small slice of Britain for 300 years. Spain gave Gibraltar to


Britain in a peace treaty but has since claimed it should be given


back. Spain has threatened a 50 euros charged to cross the. --


charge to cross the border. This is really so totally contrary to the


Freedom of Rome but we believe this will be illegal and therefore it


cannot be made to work. -- that we believe. There has been tension in


these crowded waters before. People on either side of the divide our


friends, colleagues and neighbours, but the three governments on this


issue for now can't get along. Europeans have enjoyed wine for


centuries and now it seems the Chinese have developed a taste for


the tipple, so much so that French Vineyards are being bought by


Chinese investors, but are they maintaining quality? In a moment we


will hear from Celia Hatton in Beijing but first here is Christian


Fraser in the French city of Bordeaux.


That or it's of Chateau de Pique date from the 14th century. -- the


turrets. TRANSLATION: the French have been


waking wine far longer than the Chinese. You have to recognise that


expertise and I hope to maintain that.


But a large part of what is produced in the Chinese owned Vineyards is


destined for the Chinese alone. There is no reflection about


quality, they just want to buy a brand and make money from it.


region of 8000 chateaux, the Chinese owned less than 60. What is far more


significant is the trade. Last year they bought 21 million bottles of


wine. The middle-class in China will grow to some 300 million people in


coming years, and that is of value to Chinese investors who want to


control the tyre supply train from production to the consumer.


Chinese usually reach for French wine when they want to enjoy


something. Chinese wine is a different story. Many believe they


can't compete with their rivals in the old world. Someone to change


that. In a region better known for mining coal than growing grapes, one


winery has won over the world's toughest critics. These wines are


picking up scores of international awards and lots of local fans. It


has European touches including oak barrels from French forests but the


work that sets its wine apart is all Chinese.


You have been dating for people to buy your wine so you are used to


begging, and now we don't need to beg any more. Since 2008 the


vineyard sells all of its wine every year, 2 million bottles. Most of the


wine is consumed inside the country. Chinese drinkers, it seems, are


learning to look past their French favourites to Smith, swirl and


swallow a local success story. -- sniff.


I did not know that the Chinese were wine drinkers. Has this been going


on for some time? It is a fairly new experience for the Chinese. They


made wine 4000, 5000 years ago but they have really concentrated on


spirits made from grains and it was not until the 1980s that the


government decided to get behind grape wine because they were


concerned about the amount of alcohol being consumed. How much is


this a status symbol and the new middle-class wanting what Westerners


wanted? The top end of the market certainly is but at the lower end it


is very much about changing drinking habits. To show how quickly China


has developed, within 30 years they have now become the sixth largest


wine producing country in the world, they are looking at becoming


maybe larger in the next five years. That is extraordinary. They are


having to groan their own wine, white? -- grow their own wine,


wine? -- why? If you have a lot of money you like to own your own


Vineyard and in some cases that is what is happening in Bordeaux. The


Chinese economy is one of the few that is still working so they have


some money and they are investing, partly to meet the demand back home.


Have you tasted any Chinese wine? have tasted a few, we are still


trying to find the right one to put on display. Two years ago a Chinese


wine one Trophy at one of the biggest wine tasting competitions.


-- wine won a trophy. I wonder if... I don't know if cultural


cringe is the right word but 30 years ago Australian wine was seen


as inferior. Do you think we will be any position where drinking Chinese


wine will be second nature? -- in a position. I think so. The Vineyards


and the experience are both quite underdeveloped. They are learning


and their wines are getting better year in, year out.


A year ago today the Mars rover Curiosity was touching down on the


Martian surface. So far over 70,000 images have been sent act to Earth


and we have learned a lot more about the red planet. Our science editor


David Shukman has the details. It began with a high-speed approach


and then a nail-biting descent. One year ago in NASA's most


sophisticated rover successfully touched down on Mars.


Mission control erupted. Years of planning had paid off and a series


of discoveries was to follow. This sequence of pictures shows how


Curiosity got to work exploring the landscape of the clues about whether


it ever could have supported life. Let's imagine we could be on Mars


right side Curiosity. The most striking thing is its sheer size but


this allows it to carry more instruments than ever before to see


if life could ever have existed. The first discovery was on the surface


itself. Curiosity was among rocks that had formed a bit of a stream.


-- aid head. -- a bed. It attempted something never tried before, to use


a drill on the end of the arm to dig below the surface just a couple of


inches, but the results were amazing. The drilling revealed a


kind of clay which could only be formed in water with the right


chemical balance for life. In fact the water would have been


drinkable, proof according to NASA of the first discovery of a


potential habitat on a world beyond our own. Rock from an old stream in


Britain, very similar to what has been found on Mars. This man from


NASA's team says this is extremely significant. This would have been


sweet water which on earth is perfect for life to thrive. On Mars


we have rocks perfectly conducive for life in the ancient past.


Curiosity is on the move again. Water once flowed here and we now


know that life at least had a chance.


Before we go, let's remind you of our top stories. The US and UK


governments have withdrawn diplomatic staff from Yemen and


urged their citizens to leave it security concerns. -- amid security


concerns. This was after recorded conversations between two senior


Al-Qaeda figures. The Iranians president says that he


is determined to resolve the long-running dispute over the


country's nuclear programme. From me and the rest of the team, it


weather has really calmed down. Most places are set fair for the rest of


the week. In the August sunshine it will feel warm with temperatures


around average or above. Low pressure is close enough to throw us


a few showers. We will have cloud in Northern Ireland and the northern


half of Scotland. We will have rain turning more fragmented into the


afternoon. Across northern England, very isolated showers, most places


dry and bright. Showers across the coast of East Anglia and on the


south coast. The showers on Tuesday across Devon and Cornwall will be


well scattered, still plenty of sunshine lifting the temperatures to


20 or 21. That is what we will see in southern Wales as well, one or


two isolated showers. A cloudy start from Northern Ireland, one or two


heavy showers possible and even across central and southern


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