30/10/2013 World News Today


30/10/2013

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This is BBC World News Today with me, Katya Adler.

:00:09.:00:14.

Controversy amid the celebration as four Frenchmen return home from Mali

:00:15.:00:19.

where they were held at gunpoint for three years.

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The men were captured by Al-Qaeda militants and held hostage in the

:00:22.:00:25.

Sahara desert. Did France pay a multi-million dollar ransom for

:00:26.:00:29.

their release? Chinese police now call Monday's car

:00:30.:00:32.

crash in Tiananmen Square a terrorist attack. Five people are

:00:33.:00:42.

arrested. Also coming up. Rare video from the

:00:43.:00:46.

front line in Syria, evidence that Iranian soldiers are supporting

:00:47.:00:48.

Assad's forces despite Tehran's denials.

:00:49.:00:57.

And the stars of British and Irish music await the winner of this

:00:58.:01:02.

year's Mercury Prize. Could David Bowie become the oldest winner yet?

:01:03.:01:09.

We will take a look at the nominees.

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Fellow and welcome. The French government has denied that a

:01:23.:01:27.

multi-million dollar ransom has been paid for the release of four men who

:01:28.:01:32.

were held hostage by gunmen linked to Al-Qaeda leader. They were

:01:33.:01:35.

kidnapped three years ago in the north of Niger were a French company

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runs a uranium mine. A French newspaper claims the French

:01:41.:01:46.

government handed over $27 million for their release.

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They spent over 1000 days in captivity, in constant fear of their

:01:54.:01:58.

lives in the baking heat of the African desert. Their wives and

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loved ones have lived every day of that torment. Their homecoming was a

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tearful celebration for them and, perhaps, for the whole country. They

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have followed every twist of this story. When Thierry Dol, Daniel

:02:16.:02:23.

Larribe, Pierre Legrand, Marc Feret were seized in the northern -- in a

:02:24.:02:30.

Northern town of Niger, Francois Hollande was still a minor

:02:31.:02:38.

politician. These negotiations have been long, difficult and intense, he

:02:39.:02:46.

says. We must express gratitude to the president of Niger. We now have

:02:47.:02:54.

to win the release of the other still being held. On the first night

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of freedom, the men slept on the floor, said the foreign minister, it

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will take time to readjust. The questions motoring to how their

:03:04.:03:08.

release was secured. The newspaper Le Monde says 20 million euros was

:03:09.:03:18.

paid from a secret fund. But report echoes earlier comments from a

:03:19.:03:22.

member of the family 's group that a ransom was paid. At least seven

:03:23.:03:30.

other French hostages are being held by Al-Qaeda linked groups. President

:03:31.:03:38.

Hollande has said his government does not ransom hostages.

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As we heard there, the homecoming of these four men was some welcome news

:03:53.:03:56.

for Francois Hollande on what is otherwise a miserable week for the

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French leader. He's now officially the most

:04:00.:04:01.

unpopular French president on record. His approval rating stands

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at just 26 per cent according to the latest BVA poll, the worst score for

:04:08.:04:11.

a French leader since it began polling 32 years ago.

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French political commentator Anne-Elisabeth Moutet joins me from

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Paris. What is going so wrong for him? He

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has slapped many taxes on the French, and they have been

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increasingly badly received. First, there was a feeling he was taxing

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the rich, then a feeling he was taxing the entire middle classes. He

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does not seem to be able to make his mind up about practically anything.

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The only evidence of decisiveness was when he went to war when Marley

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was threatened by jihadists. -- Mali. Le Monde, which are not -

:05:07.:05:19.

which is not newspaper on the right, is saying a ransom has been paid.

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Do you think that is credible? Officially, it no longer pays ransom

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is, the French government that is. Would he be so desperate? In one

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word, yes, I think this is something they have been considering for weeks

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and months. There is the real tragedy of the hostages, but it is

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well known that we have always paid. France does now that part of Africa

:06:00.:06:05.

are quite well but it would have been part of genital negotiations.

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Tipping the balance would always have had to happen. We are looking

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at these disastrous poll ratings for Francois Hollande, but is this not

:06:16.:06:24.

actually more of a crisis for French politics in general? Or middle of

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the road politics. President Sarkozy, just before he left power,

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he had 30% approval rating. The National front is doing incredibly

:06:39.:06:44.

well. Is this a general crisis in French politics? There certainly is

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a general crisis in mainstream politics. President Sarkozy was

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unpopular, yes, but for different reasons. But Francois Hollande, even

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in his own party, he is being increasingly questioned, by the left

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of his party as well. He is questioned by his green allies. But

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mostly, he is questioned by everyone because he is incapable of sticking

:07:25.:07:31.

to a decision. Whether it is the 75% supertax, or the ecological tax

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which was withdrawn last weekend, or the tax on savings, or any kind of

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decision. He looks at things and if it does not work too well, it is not

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even scientific, he will take things back. He was a fairly efficient head

:07:52.:07:59.

of our party when the party was in a position. But this republic is not

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geared for compromise. You always have to bang your fist on the

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table. I am sorry to interrupt, it was a pleasure to talk to you.

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Return to China. China's national broadcaster, CCTV, says police have

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confirmed that the calf ration - car crash and fire in Tiananmen

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Square on Monday was a terrorist attack. Five suspects have now been

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arrested. It is now clear this was no accident

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but a terrorist attack say Chinese police. They say the Jeep was driven

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by a man, his wife and his mother who deliberately crashed the vehicle

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and died when the ignited petrol inside it. Two tourists also lost

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their lives. After the incident in Tiananmen Square, police cleared

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away the evidence. They now say the vehicle had licence plates licensed

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in the western region of Xinjiang and they found knives and a banner

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inside it. Five suspects have been arrested. They were detained within

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hours of it happening. In Beijing, there are still extra police checks

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in place. The name police have given for the driver of the Jeep indicates

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he may be from China's minority Uighur people. There is a fielder

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mean OBR security clamp-down in Xinjiang. -- there is a fear there

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may be a security clamp-down. Alim Seytoff is a spokesman for the World

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Uighur Congress. He joins me from Washington.

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Was this a terror attack by the Uighur minority? We are not exactly

:10:25.:10:33.

sure of what took place. The Chinese government claims this was a

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terrorist attack, but without independent evidence, it cannot be

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accepted as fact. In the past, the Chinese government have attempted to

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link Uighurs with acts of terrorism. On the day, when foreign news

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agencies went to report, they were detained by Chinese police. This was

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a terror crime scene, that the government claimed the scene

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immediately. -- cleaned. So far the government is saying... Sorry, the

:11:20.:11:26.

government is now saying that in the car they found extremist banners and

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knives and that the three people in the car, their names suggest that

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they could have been from the Uighur men are pretty -- from the Uighur

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minority. Yes, the name suggests that the meal is a Uighur -- male is

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a Uighur, but this raises more questions than answers. Why would a

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man bring his own wife and his mother to do such an act? If he did,

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there were witnesses that he was honking his horn while he drove into

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the crowd. The Chinese government claimed that they found jihadist

:12:29.:12:35.

banners in the car. But the whole car was burned and individuals

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inside burned to death, and we are surprised that a banner survived

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such a fire. Questions are being raised. Briefly, could you just tell

:12:47.:12:53.

us a little bit about the Uighur minority. There is definitely an

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rest in the western province where the Uighur are half the population.

:13:10.:13:18.

Yes, there have been a lot of protests against the Chinese

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government's brutal rule. In one instance, in July of 2009, Chinese

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security forces attacked and killed hundreds of Uighurs. Unfortunately,

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Chinese also died and the government called it a terrorist incident. The

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Chinese government used 9/11 to crackdown on the Uighur people,

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labelling of eager people as terrorists. -- Uighur people. Since

:13:55.:14:09.

the new president took power, several hundred Uighur people have

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been executed. The Chinese government's ethnic policies have

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basically failed but instead of addressing the legitimate grievances

:14:22.:14:26.

of the Uighur people, the government has introduced more depression and

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pointing -- more repression and pointing the finger of blame at the

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Uighur people. The court in London where two former editors of a

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British tabloid newspaper are facing charges related to phone-hacking has

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been told that three journalists on the same paper - the now-defunct

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News of the World - have pleaded guilty to similar charges. Rebekah

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Brooks, and David Cameron's ex-spin doctor Andy Coulson, are accused of

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conspiring to intercept telephone voicemails. A warning, this report

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from Tom Symonds contains flash photography.

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Former tabloid editor, former media executive. For Rebekah Brooks the

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fight for her reputation and possibly her liberty has started for

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real. Andy Coulson, once a spokesman for David Cameron, arrived

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separately. But Rebekah Brooks was seated alongside Andy Coulson in the

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dock. Some defendants were accused of phone hacking, some of paying

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public officials for stories. Some from hiding evidence from police.

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Rebekah Brooks was accused of all three. The prosecutor denied that

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the trial would be an attack on the freedom of the press but he said

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journalists were not entitled to break the law and there was no

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justification for them to get involved in phone hacking. When

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public officials took payments for stories, he said, it is not the same

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as a conscience driven whistle-blower. Where there is a

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payment there is a crime. And on allegations of hiding evidence from

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police, there can be no justification for anyone interfering

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with the police enquiry. The revelation in 2011 that murdered

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schoolgirl Milly Dowler 's phone targeted lead to News International

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admitting widespread hacking. This trial is about who knew it was going

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on. The prosecution says it has built a case licking Glenn

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Mulcaire, the private investigator contact that the newspaper called

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on, with Ian Edmondson, a News of the World desk editor. It is claimed

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his name appears in Glenn Mulcaire' notebooks. The money is followed to

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the man in charge of keeping the financial records. And that the

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phone hacking continued after Rebekah Brooks's successor, Andy

:17:02.:17:08.

Coulson, took over. For the first time we can reveal that three other

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journalists, Greg Miskiw, James Weatherup and Neville Thurlbeck

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pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hack phones. Glenn Mulcaire has admitted

:17:19.:17:25.

new hacking charges. The defendant left court tonight having been told

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that this complex case will continue with further prosecution statements

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tomorrow. Now a look at some of the day's

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other news. Government forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo have

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captured one of the last remaining strongholds of the M23 rebel group.

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Officials say the town of Bunagana on the Ugandan border is now back in

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government hands. It's the latest in a string of Congolese army victories

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against the M23, which took up arms last year, allegedly with Rwandan

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backing. Police in Egypt have detained Essam

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el-Arian, the fugitive deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's

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political wing. He is expected to go on trial next Monday accused of

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inciting the killing of ten protesters during clashes last

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December. Mr al-Arian's detention sparked angry protests by some

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students at Cairo's al-Azhar University.

:18:20.:18:25.

President Putin has beaten President Obama to the title of Most Powerful

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Person in The World, as ranked by the US business magazine, Forbes.

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Its annual list penalises the American leader for what it calls

:18:35.:18:37.

his "lame duck period" during the US government shutdown and says the

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Russian president has solidified control over his country, after 12

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years dominating the Kremlin. Now, to an extraordinary insight

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into the role Iran is playing in the Syrian conflict. Officially, Tehran

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says it is assisting Damascus by sharing its "experience" by sending

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advisers from its elite Revolutionary Guards. But now we can

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show you pictures of Iranian fighters on the front line. The

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video was captured by an Iranian cameraman, who had been embedded

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with the Revolutionary Guards. His camera was later obtained by rebels.

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The BBC's Yalda Hakim has more. This story begins in September when

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a group of Syrian rebels said they had captured video footage after a

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battle. They said it proved that Iranians armed forces were on the

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ground in Syria and supporting the Assad regime. The captured footage

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was filmed by a cameraman embedded with Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

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Its authenticity has been verified by BBC experts. In this segment of

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the footage the cameraman is being driven to the Iranians will it in

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southern Aleppo. The man sitting on the right-hand side is a

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Revolutionary Guards commander. He is relaxed and humorous. But he

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nevertheless has an ideological view of the Syrian conflict and the role

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of Iran in it. The captured footage shows the

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Iranians instructing and organising a new pro-regime militia known as

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the National defence Force. But it seems the body are not just been

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trained on the ground in Syria. And the Revolutionary Guards are not

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just providing training. They also engage in behind the lines combat

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operations. The sun rises over Aleppo. But this

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will not be a peaceful day. Reports are coming in that a force of rebels

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is moving in on a nearby regime stronghold known as the poultry

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farm. This is a military emergency. Two truckloads of fighters head to

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the poultry farm as fast as they can. There are about 40 fighters now

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gathered here and all these men know that an attack is coming. The leader

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leads his men out of the base to secure the right-hand flank of the

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battlefields. At first glance the remaining group look well equipped

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for a fight. They spot movement on the horizon. But there are far more

:22:23.:22:36.

than just three rebels. This footage was filmed by the rebels cameraman.

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It shows the rebel force both outnumbers the Iranians squad and

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has much heavier weapons, including this tank. The Iranians are heading

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into an ambush. The others tried to retreat but it

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is too late. These are the last images that were filmed. Two days

:23:09.:23:22.

later Revolutionary Guards commander is buried with military honours in

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Iran. It is final confirmation of his important role in the

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Revolutionary Guards. In spite of continued denials of military

:23:32.:23:35.

involvement, this story has shone a light on the covert war of Iran in

:23:36.:23:48.

Syria. Here in Britain, rock and pop stars

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are right now attending the Mercury Prize ceremony, which celebrates the

:23:52.:23:55.

best new album by a British or Irish band. Among the contenders is David

:23:56.:23:59.

Bowie, who could become the oldest ever winner at 66.

:24:00.:24:13.

But the favourite to scoop the award is Laura Mvula, who just a year ago

:24:14.:24:17.

was working as a receptionist for the City of Birmingham Symphony

:24:18.:24:27.

Orchestra. With me is Sam Wolfson, Executive Editor of the music

:24:28.:24:33.

website Noisey.com. The Mercury Prize is seen as cutting edge. The

:24:34.:24:40.

very new in British and Irish music and bands. Who can we expect to win

:24:41.:24:47.

and in your opinion would they deserved to win? I think David Bowie

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is in with the good shot. That is reflect off quite as safe list

:24:55.:24:59.

overall. He probably does not need the prize-money! If you look at past

:25:00.:25:03.

awards that money has really changed the lives of young artists at street

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level. So there is a question of whether these awards are doing the

:25:12.:25:15.

job that they should or that they claim to do, which is to be urgent

:25:16.:25:22.

and reflective of British music It is judging process in mystery. We do

:25:23.:25:29.

not find out who the judges are until the awards are actually handed

:25:30.:25:33.

out. Presumably so that they do not come under pressure from individuals

:25:34.:25:38.

or record labels. But there have been some complaints about this It

:25:39.:25:44.

is a good idea in the sense of if you look at the Oscars and the

:25:45.:25:47.

financial pressures put on the judges, but when the list was come

:25:48.:25:52.

out you find it is quite a narrow group. From rock back ground,

:25:53.:25:58.

middle-aged, Normandy. It does not seem that they could find the next

:25:59.:26:04.

kind of new scene, the young scene on the street. Well you are an

:26:05.:26:13.

expert on what is new in Britain and Ireland. Where did you go if you

:26:14.:26:16.

want to hear cutting edge and the new front line? I think Kim Krool,

:26:17.:26:24.

he is from south London and is speaking to a new wave of young

:26:25.:26:31.

people at the moment. Swindall, that is a mixture of grime and jazz.

:26:32.:26:37.

There are records that are proud of their political connections. And

:26:38.:26:41.

these guys just do not seem to follow that line.

:26:42.:26:47.

That is all from us on the programme. Next the weather. But for

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now from me and the rest of the team, goodbye.

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No sign of the weather settling down in the next few days. We have a

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weather front crossing the country right now which has brought rain too

:27:08.:27:11.

many areas. It is reaching the

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