08/11/2013 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Philippa Thomas. One of the


biggest storms ever to make landfall hits the Philippines at ferocious


force. Typhoon Haiyan is lashing central parts of the country,


bringing winds of more than 300 kilometres an hour.


A crucial meeting gets underway in Geneva between Iran and the US


Secretary of State John Kerry. With news that the Russian Foreign


Minister is flying in tomorrow, is a nuclear deal in prospect?


Also coming up: Identified by survivors of the Lampedusa boat


tragedy, a Somali man is arrested in Italy accused of people smuggling.


And if you've ever dreamed and we find out what inspired our


man in Moscow to do this. Hello and welcome. One of the


strongest typhoons ever to hit land has slammed into the Philippines,


forcing millions to take shelter. Typhoon Haiyan's winds have so far


reached 314 kilometres per hour waves are being recorded as high as


six metres, and as you can imagine, the storm leaving a widespread trail


of damage. Hundreds of thousands of people in its path were evacuated,


but the national disaster agency says at least four people have been


killed. From Manila, here's our correspondent Jon Donnison.


This could be the most powerful typhoon ever to hit land. From dawn,


winds up to 200 mph started to batter the Philippinesmulti-macro


central island. In the East and province of A, the coastal town here


was swamped by storm surge. Streets turned into rivers of debris.


Satellite images track the Typhoon Bopha macro on this progress. It is


now heading towards Vietnam and southern China. Millions of people


had been urged to seek shelter. Some, though, had chosen to stay


put. Filipinos are well used to typhoons. They have had more than 20


this year, but none of this strength. The country is still


recovering from an earthquake last month that left hundreds dead and


tens of thousands of people living in temporary shelter. Today, those


same people had to face a super-tight or in. The president has


called for the country to pull together. TRANSLATION: As always, no


storm can bring a united Filipino people to its knees. It is my hope


that people will stay safe in the coming days. Large parts of the


central Philippines are without power, with phone lines also down.


After such heavy rain, there remains a heavy risk of landslides. People


across the Philippines are facing a difficult night. The capital,


Manila, has largely avoided the brunt of the damage, but elsewhere,


aid agencies are seeing the damage could be unprecedented. One United


Nations official here told me hundreds of thousands of homes could


have been damaged or destroyed. Already, many families here have


lost everything, but it may be days before you know the full extent of


the damage, and the number of lives that have been lost.


For the latest on the storm, we go now to our weather presenter John


Hammond - as far as records go, this is one of the worst storms ever


witnessed? It could be the worst we have seen. It is early days, and it


will be a while before we get all the data in about this storm, but


certainly the potential is there for it to have been the worst storm to


have made landfall. The Philippines have already had four typhoons this


year, and this part of the world is used to typhoons. That is, of


course, no consolation if it is your community that has been wrecked by


this vicious storm. The worst of the storm has now gone through the


Philippines, but that is not the end of this typhoon. It continues to


track further west, as we will see in a moment. If you like, this is a


perfect storm. All the ingredients were there, high seat averages, at


least 26 degrees, a lot of spin in the atmosphere, caused by the's


rotation, and you need the win is not to be too strong. To strong


winds whipped out the storm apart. But everything came together to


create this monster. It was a deadly storm, obviously, and still is. We


get in underneath the clouds, and take a look at where the strongest


winds were. They were particularly vicious around the eye wall. This is


where the worst of the winds are concentrated, with gusts of 250


kilometres per hour, but much more widely across the storm, you have


over 100 kilometre per hour winds. These are destructive winds, huge


amounts of rain, colossal waves as well. Just now, it has cleared


through the Philippines ended in the South China Sea. It is only going to


weaken a little bit, because the seat averages here are still very


high, and the atmosphere is very conducive to this storm. It is


powering its way westwards, and currently, there is some


uncertainty, but we think that it looks as if by Sunday, it will


threaten the coast of Vietnam. We will keep a very close eye on that.


Thank you very much. Thank you


In the last hour, the US Secretary of State John Kerry has begun a


crucial meeting in Geneva with his Iranian counterpart - a meeting that


could lead to a ground-breaking deal on the future of Iran's nuclear


programme. 24 hours ago, Mr Kerry wasn't even due to be there, but now


he's in Geneva with the UK, French and German foreign ministers for a


series of unscheduled talks with the Iranian delegation. Let's remind you


what would be involved in a possible deal. Firstly, Iran would have to


halt some of its uranium enrichment activity - that is the process that


could produce a nuclear weapon. In return, the US, EU and UN may


provide some limited relief from the economic sanctions they've imposed,


which could be related to Tehran's access to global markets or to its


crucial energy sector. which could be related to Tehran's


access to The EU, for example, currently bans imports of Iranian


oil. I want to emphasise, there are still some very important issues on


the table that are unresolved. It is important for those to be properly,


thoroughly addressed. I want to emphasise there is not an agreement


at this point in time, but the P five is working hard, and I look


forward to the meetings I will be having very shortly, with Lady Cathy


Ashton and with my fellow ministers in the group, and I will also be


meeting with the Iranian minister. We hope to narrow those


differences, but I don't think anybody should mistake that there


are some very important gaps that have to be closed. John Kerry. But


the prospect of a deal between Iran and the West is already causing a


backlash, most powerfully expressed today by Israel's prime minister. I


understand the Iranians are walking around very satisfied into Geneva,


as well they should be, because they got everything they wanted. They


wanted relief of sanctions after years of a gruelling sanctions


regime. They got that. They are not reducing in any way their nuclear


enrichment capability, so Iran got the deal of the century will . The


international community got a bad deal. This is a very bad deal.


Israel utterly rejects it, and what I am saying is shared by many in the


region, whether they express it publicly or not. Israel is not


obliged by this agreement, and it will do everything it needs to do to


defenders Alf and defend the security of its people. Our state


department correspondent Kim Ghattas is in Geneva. Kim, you were not


meant to be there either. You are travelling with Secretary of State


John Kerry. Although we have heard a powerful objection from Israel, the


momentum seems to be with some sort of agreement with Iran. Absolutely.


You are right, we were not supposed to be here this evening. We were


supposed to be in Oman, and in Abu Dhabi tomorrow, but this is


diplomacy. Unexpected things happen. Sometimes they are good, even though


they are also criticised by those who don't support the move. You


heard there from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who


said the deal was a very, very bad one. We have a reaction from the


White House, who said this was a pre-mature reaction by the Israeli


Prime Minister. There is no deal yet, but of course, the gaps are


closing, and that is why Mr Kerry is here in Geneva. He decided to change


his travel plans to come to Geneva and increase the level of


participation in the negotiations. The Iranian minister has been


negotiating with negotiators from the P five Plos one. He'll was


wanted to have those talks with his counterparts, with Foreign Minister


's, and yesterday, it was agreed that the talks would reach the stage


where it was logical to increase the level of representation and bring Mr


Kerry and his foreign counterparts to Geneva. That is not to say that a


deal is done. There are still big gaps between the two sides that are


being discussed this evening, and the talks will continue tomorrow,


but this is indeed a turning point, not just in the discussions about


Iran's nuclear programme, but also in the relationship between the US


and Iran. And briefly, we understand the two main areas for discussion I


Iran's uranium enrichment activities, and then the sanctions


that are imposed on Iran. On the latter point, what kind of sanctions


could be lifted, but ratcheted up again should Iran proved to be


acting in bad faith? In private American officials are very keen to


stress that they are not planning to lift any sanctions. They are


offering Iran in the short-term relief from sanctions, which would


allow Iran to get access to some of its cash, which is frozen in bank


accounts around the world, from oil sales, for example. We are really


talking about a fraction of that money, $1 billion out of an


estimated $50 billion. To some extent, that is where the gap


remains between the two sides. Iran wants to know that at the end of


this, all sanctions will be lifted. It is unclear whether the West and


its partners in these negotiations are willing to put that on the table


at the end goal. Thank you very much. Kim is very close to the


talks, but our next guest is closer. Michael manage the spokesman for EU


foreign affairs at the European Union. He joins me on the line from


Geneva. Thank you very much for your time. Can you give us an idea of


where we are at right now? Well it has been a very intense day here.


People have been meeting other people, and they started early in


the day with a meeting between the six powers that are representing


their web represented in the talks by Cathy Ashton. The ministers have


been flying in as well. That has been going on for the last hour and


three quarters, and meeting between the Iranian Foreign Minister, John


Kerry and Cathy Ashton. That is still continuing. It is basically


intense activity, and Allah 's likeable continue tomorrow as well


with the arrival of a couple more ministers. Is it confirmed that the


Russian foreign minister will be flying in tomorrow? Clearly, his


presence and his backing for Iran has been crucial. It adds weight to


the negotiations if the Minister is coming, and so far we have for the


six here. Tomorrow, the last two, Russia and China will be represented


at ministerial. Clearly, there are different tracks of these


negotiations. They are led by Catherine Ashton on behalf of the


six, and there has to be a sort of diplomatic track as well as a


technical track, so the technicians are talking, the experts on the


nuclear programme and also the diplomats are talking, and we have


the ministers now as well. So the different tracks are being worked on


in the hope that we can further be progress. We have already made


progress compared to the previous Iranian government, where we did not


really get anywhere. There is already a lot of forward movement.


We spoke on this programme the last time everybody met, and you told us


about the sense of drama in the room as the Iranians opened up their


laptop and there was a plan there. Is there the same sense, to be


nontechnical, positive buzz there tonight? Yes, although I think we


should be cautious. They put their proposal on the table last time and


we had the first real property detailed discussions on the issue


last time. There was a lot of positive noises going around


yesterday, but clearly in a negotiation like this, there is a


lot of things that still need to be thrashed out. No one is taking


anything for granted, but we want to push things forward. It is all about


getting a completely watertight deal that is verifiable, that proves


unequivocally to the international community that Iran is not


participating in a military nuclear programme, just a peaceful


programme. There are some things Iran clearly has to do, and they


must do them quickly. We want to do a deal as fast as we can, but it


clearly must be a good deal, so we are not rushing things. Thank you


very much. Yasser Arafat did not die a natural


death, according to an inquiry set up by the Palestinians to


investigate the death of their former leader. Speaking at a news


conference in Ramallah, Palestinian officials said they see Israel as


the "only suspect" in the death of Mr Arafat in 2004. Their allegation


follows a forensic report by Swiss scientists which concluded that Mr


Arafat's remains contained high levels of radioactive polonium.


Israel denies any involvement. Our Middle East correspondent Yolande


Knell reports. Emotional scenes back in 2004. The


Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, didn't know he was bidding a


final farewell to his supporters. He had been taken six suddenly at his


headquarters in the mall and doctors could not work out what was wrong.


He was flown to a hospital in Paris, where he died. Last, new


research suggested that the late leader might have been poisoned with


a radioactive substance. Then his body was exhumed behind these


screens so samples could be taken. Today, Palestinian investigators


gave their first response to the findings of the teams that carried


out the tests. TRANSLATION: Both reports, the Swiss


and the Russian, confirmed the findings of the ongoing


investigation. Yasser Arafat did not die of old age. He did not die from


disease. He did not die a natural death. Scientists found higher than


expected levels of polonium-210 the same substance used to kill a former


KGB agent in London in 2006. The tests cannot say for sure if Arafat


was poisoned. If more of the substance had been extracted, it


could have left a tale tale signature. If you have a large


sample of polonium, you can look at the radioactive spectrum coming out


of it, and get an idea of where it was made. That can tell you whether


it came from a nuclear reactor or natural source that was refined and


perhaps which react to it came from. The Palestinians are accusing Israel


of killing their president, and they say they will continue to


investigate this case. Israeli officials deny any responsibility.


Let me say this as simply and clearly as I can - Israel did not


kill Arafat. It is as simple as that. We have nothing to do with


this, and the Palestinians should stop levelling baseless allegations


without a shred of proof. Yasser Arafat lies here, at his grave,


where visitors can come and pay his respects. His loss as the leader of


the Palestinian national cause is strongly felt, but nine years on, it


is still possible the exact cause of his death will never truly be known.


Now to a new development in the tragic sinking of the migrant boat


off the coast of Italy last month. A Somali man has been arrested in


connection with the disaster of Lampedusa, in which 366 African


migrants died. The 24-year-old has been accused of being part of the


group which smuggles people from North Africa to Europe. It is


reported he pretended to be a migrant himself, but was identified


by the survivors of the disaster as one of the organisers of the trip.


Arriving in Sicily for questioning, the Somali malik used of involvement


in organising a long and terrible journey that ended in hundreds of


deaths. Two weeks ago, he landed here, in the harbour of the Italian


island of Lampedusa. He was among yet another group of migrants hoping


to be able to start new lives in Europe. But the island's refugee


reception centre was attacked. Survivors of last month 's


disastrous sinking in Lampedusa said they recognised him, that he was


among a group of armed smugglers who transported them across the Sahara,


then help them at a camp in Libya and demanded money. The migrants


said there was torture and rape and the arrested man faces allegations


related to people trafficking, kidnapped and sexual violence. The


migrants were eventually passed on to another organisation that


arranges boat journeys like this in Europe. These travellers were lucky.


They were saved. But the boats are often overcrowded and unseaworthy,


and the journey at the centre of the story of the Lampedusa disaster


ended this way. The boat caught fire then capsized, and was eventually


found on the sea bed, its whole crammed with dead bodies.


Now a brief look at some of the day 's other news. A car bomb has


exploded outside a hotel on the main road in the Somali capital,


Mogadishu, killing at least six people. Local reports say the hotel


was hosting a number of VIPs at the time of the blast.


A British Royal Marines has been found guilty by a military court of


murdering an injured Afghan insurgent in 2011. Two other Marines


have been acquitted. His actions were recorded on a helmet mounted


camera. All three Marines have denied murdering the man whilst on


patrol in Helmand province. Spain's High Court has ordered the


release of nine members of the bask militant group, ETA. It is the first


group prisoner release since a ruling by the European Court of


Human Rights last month, and it could lead to a release of other ETA


prisoners after that court ruled that Spain had acted illegally.


The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have met the Indian


President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi. The visit came on the third


day of the couple's nine day tour of India. They will then travel to Sri


Lanka to represent the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government


Meeting. China's leaders gather on Sunday for


a closed-door meeting which could dramatically shift the past -- the


path the country takes for years to come. The Plenum of the Communist


Party is expected to announce major changes to the country's economic


direction. Our correspondent is in the southern province of Yunnan


where land is at the heart of conflicts between the Communist


Party, the people and the government.


The skyline of Shanghai. It is where you see china's incredible rise and


economic story unique in history. Enormous wealth created in the shift


from communism to capitalism. Now, the breakneck growth is slowing so


to reinvigorate it, china's leader, Xi Jinping, is promising


unprecedented reforms. Outside the city -- outside the cities, where


almost half the population lives, reform is urgently needed. The issue


here is land. Private ownership of land is still banned, but land


values are soaring, pitting farmers against the government. This is


Yunnan, in the far south-west. People fighting to stop their land


being taken from them, seems repeated across the country.


China's farmers, like hearing Guangxi village, can only work the


land. They cannot sell them all or money against them. They are shut


out of china's economy. The authorities want to build a giant


tourist village. Many local governments are deep in debt.


Seizing land is the main way they make money, so the tax system also


needs reform. People from the area soon heard we were in Guangxi. They


hurried to the village, wanting us to hear their complaints too. Every


complaint was about land rights As you can see, it is a problem that


affects hundreds of millions of people. What is blocking change of


the developers and the local governments who benefit from all of


this. TRANSLATION: If Xi Jinping in-laws


us, what can we do but buys up? Xi Jinping could really help farmers if


he abolished china's system of residence permits, which makes it


hard for them to move to the city. But that is contentious. People in


the city 's fear a flood of poor migrants will take their jobs and


add to the burdens on hospitals and schools. Major reform is needed here


too. The state controls the banks and the financial system. China s


commonest leaders may be reluctant to loosen their grip. They have seen


what happened in the financial crisis in the West. Party officials


say, we have seen what has happened to you guys in Europe and the United


States, and we are nervous about giving too much power to bankers. I


think the state is still going to control all of the significant


institutions. They are just going to push them to operate more on market


principles. As China has boomed many have enriched themselves.


Powerful commonest families, giant state enterprises, vested interests


that could lose out in any reforms. But if Mr Xi can push through


reform, this could be just the start for China.


From today, passengers in the Moscow underground can travel absolutely


free. It is a special offer ahead of next year's Winter Olympics, which


Russia is hosting in Sochi. I am always doing this. I rush off


to the underground to catch a train, and then when I actually get here, I


realise I have left my wallet behind and I haven't got any money to pay


for my journey. From today, that will not be a problem in Moscow


because now, there is another way to get your ticket. This is how you do


it. I agree, it is unorthodox, but I think I will get there in the end. I


am trying to do squats in this rather unusual Russian vending


machine. I am told that if I can do 30 squats in two minutes, then this


machine will actually reward me with a free Metro ticket, worth 30


rubles. This is the brainchild of the Russian Olympic Committee, and


the whole idea is to in courage a sporty lifestyle for Russians ahead


of the Sochi Games. If you think you can fool this invention, think


again, because there are special sensors here. If it doesn't like any


of my squat, it won't count them. There we go. Three, two, one. There


we go! I've done it. I am going to get my ticket. Here it comes! Thank


you very much. Mind you, was it worth it, because I really don't


have the energy to get on that train!


We will have to go back to him to see whether people take up that


offer. A reminder of our main news. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most


powerful storms on record, has been battering the central islands of the


Philippines with winds of 200 kilometres per hour, and a storm


surge which has inundated coastal villages. Next, the weather.




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