08/11/2013 World News Today


08/11/2013

The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


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

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biggest storms ever to make landfall hits the Philippines at ferocious

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

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bringing winds of more than 300 kilometres an hour.

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

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

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

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Also coming up: Identified by survivors of the Lampedusa boat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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now heading towards Vietnam and southern China. Millions of people

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

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

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

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recovering from an earthquake last month that left hundreds dead and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Nations official here told me hundreds of thousands of homes could

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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powering its way westwards, and currently, there is some

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

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

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Thank you very much. Thank you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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meeting with the Iranian minister. We hope to narrow those

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

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

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

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

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understand the Iranians are walking around very satisfied into Geneva,

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

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wanted relief of sanctions after years of a gruelling sanctions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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heard there from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who

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

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

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

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

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

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participation in the negotiations. The Iranian minister has been

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Iran's uranium enrichment activities, and then the sanctions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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at ministerial. Clearly, there are different tracks of these

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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we had the first real property detailed discussions on the issue

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

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

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

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

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getting a completely watertight deal that is verifiable, that proves

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unequivocally to the international community that Iran is not

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participating in a military nuclear programme, just a peaceful

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

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

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

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very much. Yasser Arafat did not die a natural

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

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

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conference in Ramallah, Palestinian officials said they see Israel as

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

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follows a forensic report by Swiss scientists which concluded that Mr

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Arafat's remains contained high levels of radioactive polonium.

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Israel denies any involvement. Our Middle East correspondent Yolande

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Knell reports. Emotional scenes back in 2004. The

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

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

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

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

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research suggested that the late leader might have been poisoned with

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a radioactive substance. Then his body was exhumed behind these

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screens so samples could be taken. Today, Palestinian investigators

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

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out the tests. TRANSLATION: Both reports, the Swiss

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and the Russian, confirmed the findings of the ongoing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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investigate this case. Israeli officials deny any responsibility.

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

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

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this, and the Palestinians should stop levelling baseless allegations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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connection with the disaster of Lampedusa, in which 366 African

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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reception centre was attacked. Survivors of last month 's

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

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

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

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

:18:57.:19:01.

related to people trafficking, kidnapped and sexual violence. The

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migrants were eventually passed on to another organisation that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:19:48.:19:52.

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

:19:53.:20:00.

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

:20:01.:20:07.

murdering an injured Afghan insurgent in 2011. Two other Marines

:20:08.:20:11.

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

:20:12.:20:16.

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

:20:17.:20:21.

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

:20:22.:20:25.

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

:20:26.:20:32.

group prisoner release since a ruling by the European Court of

:20:33.:20:35.

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

:20:36.:20:43.

prisoners after that court ruled that Spain had acted illegally.

:20:44.:20:48.

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

:20:49.:20:50.

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

:20:51.:20:55.

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

:20:56.:21:02.

Lanka to represent the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government

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Meeting. China's leaders gather on Sunday for

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

:21:08.:21:13.

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

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

:21:17.:21:23.

direction. Our correspondent is in the southern province of Yunnan

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where land is at the heart of conflicts between the Communist

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Party, the people and the government.

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

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

:21:42.:21:46.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:22:19.:22:22.

being taken from them, seems repeated across the country.

:22:23.:22:27.

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

:22:28.:22:32.

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

:22:33.:22:38.

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

:22:39.:22:42.

tourist village. Many local governments are deep in debt.

:22:43.:22:46.

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

:22:47.:22:51.

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

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

:22:58.:23:02.

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

:23:03.:23:06.

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

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the developers and the local governments who benefit from all of

:23:11.:23:12.

this. TRANSLATION: If Xi Jinping in-laws

:23:13.:23:22.

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

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

:23:28.:23:32.

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

:23:33.:23:35.

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

:23:36.:23:39.

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

:23:40.:23:45.

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

:23:46.:23:49.

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

:23:50.:23:53.

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

:23:54.:23:59.

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

:24:00.:24:03.

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

:24:04.:24:08.

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

:24:09.:24:11.

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

:24:12.:24:17.

principles. As China has boomed many have enriched themselves.

:24:18.:24:23.

Powerful commonest families, giant state enterprises, vested interests

:24:24.:24:30.

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

:24:31.:24:34.

reform, this could be just the start for China.

:24:35.:24:39.

From today, passengers in the Moscow underground can travel absolutely

:24:40.:24:42.

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

:24:43.:24:52.

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

:24:53.:24:57.

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

:24:58.:25:01.

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

:25:02.:25:05.

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

:25:06.:25:10.

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

:25:11.:25:17.

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

:25:18.:25:23.

am trying to do squats in this rather unusual Russian vending

:25:24.:25:27.

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

:25:28.:25:33.

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

:25:34.:25:40.

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

:25:41.:25:45.

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

:25:46.:25:49.

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

:25:50.:25:53.

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

:25:54.:26:00.

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

:26:01.:26:11.

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

:26:12.:26:16.

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

:26:17.:26:20.

have the energy to get on that train!

:26:21.:26:24.

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

:26:25.:26:29.

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

:26:30.:26:33.

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

:26:34.:26:37.

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

:26:38.:26:41.

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

:26:42.:26:43.

Goodbye.

:26:44.:26:49.

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