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This is BBC World News Today, with me, Philippa Thomas. A bold message
from America's Joe Biden to China, on its own soil. Challenge the
government, challenge your teachers, challenge religious leaders.
The US vice-president is there to help ease regional tensions - but
how would THAT advice to China's people go down with the Beijing
authorities? Assassination in Lebanon - A senior Hezbollah
commander is shot dead outside his home.
Israel denies involvement. Who else could have been behind the attack?
Also coming up: Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson tells a court that
she's taken cocaine, but she denies being an addict.
And extraordinary images of abandoned glory - how two
photographers, who call themselves urban explorers, capture images by
trespass. Hello and welcome.
The US Vice-President Joe Biden has begun a trip to China by encouraging
people to "challenge the government". He told an audience in
Beijing that children in America are rewarded, not punished, for
challenging the status quo. Interesting remarks at a time when
Mr Biden is attempting to smooth tensions between China and its
neighbours over Beijing's newly declared air defence zone over the
East China Sea. Our Beijing correspondent Damian Grammaticus has
this special report on what is at stake.
In Asia, a rising China is asserting itself. And America is responding.
Red lines are being tested by Beijing. In some have suggested the
US weekend economic Lee is in decline. -- weekend. America remains
the sole superpower. Joe Biden's first stop was to meet the many
Chinese hoping to get US frees us. Challenge the government, challenge
your teachers, challenge religious leaders. Letting China's altering
the status quo in Asia is not something America will let happen.
You are candid and construct of, developing this new relationship,
both qualities are sorely needed. China's leaders in bold by economic
strength at adopting and more nationalistic tone. This is the
issue they have chosen, these islands controlled by Japan and
claimed by China. For months, China has been sending ships to probe
Japan's resolve, flexing the new naval forces it is building. The
islands lie far to the south-west of Japan. For decades it has had an ear
defence own covering the area. In the last week China announced its
own is own overlapping Japan's. Ignoring China's move, America said
-- sent unarmed bombers through the zone. Unwilling to lose face, China
responded by scrambling fighters. The risk of a midair collision
rising. America is concerned about growing pattern of behaviour by
China which is stirring up tensions in Asia. One small incident over
these disputed islands could trigger a far wider crisis drawing in chain
on the one side and America on the other. -- China. China says other
nations have their defence also it should have one as well.
Why has China decided to take this action now? TRANSLATION: It is a
zone for protection. Japan is the one that is Bass -- dispatched
planes and ships. That is jewel Biden's problem. -- Joe Biden's.
What is happened is warning, disputes over in Ireland you have
never heard of could lead America, Japan and China into a difficult
situation. A Hezbollah commander has been killed outside his home in
Lebanon. The group said Hassan al-Lakkis was
assassinated as he returned from work late last night. The Islamist
group blamed Israel, which says it wasn't involved. Our correspondent
in Beirut Jim Muir sent this report from the scene of the killing.
Celebrated in death, virtually unknown publicly through this life.
The funeral of Hassan al-Lakkis drew a huge crowd of supporters. He has
been a major threat to -- person in the campaign. He had been with the
movement from the beginning and was with -- one of the leaders. This is
where he died, a very ordinary, quiet residential area. He was
getting out of his car in the night when he was shot at close range in
the head. Hezbollah immediately accused Israel of carrying out the
killing, something the Israelis immediately denied. In past cases
where Israel is believed to have carried out assassinations like
this, their policy has been to say nothing at all, and there have been
plenty of cases like that. Israel has never denied it had a hand in
this man's assassination. He was killed by a car bomb explosion in
2008. Some reports said Hassan al-Lakkis worked with them. The
Israelis also admit the Hannah -- Helen Garner -- helicopter gunships
also killed as man. His successor very rarely appears in public for
that reason. In recent months he has admitted his fighters are actively
engaged in now or in Syria, alongside regime forces battling
rebels Sony --. Israeli leaders are putting the death of Hassan
al-Lakkis in that context, while Hezbollah, Syria and Iran insisted
it was Israel. The full truth may never be known. For Hezbollah,
Hassan al-Lakkis is yet another martyr, a man who already give one
of his own sons who died in the war with Israel in 2006.
Should you as a member of the public get more advice about the pitfalls
of chatting about criminal cases on social media?
Yes according to the British government's chief legal adviser,
the Attorney General Dominic Grieve. He's said today that blogs and sites
like Twitter and Facebook allow casual comments to be seen by
thousands of people, with the risk that trials can be prejudiced. So
his department is to start publishing advice, not just to
journalists covering the cases, but also to the general public.
With me is the media lawyer Dan Hyde. First, do you think the
Department is ahead of other countries and Jude restriction in
giving this advice? It is a unique approach. -- Jude restriction. --
jurisdiction. Twitter is getting popular, cases of prejudice at as
well? I think there is a couple of reasons. It it is laudable, it is
trying to inform people so that rather than typing something out,
they have some idea that they may be stepping over the line and could be
having an impact. If the content is unlawful, there could be
consequences. Twitter is seen as something as a stream or Facebook
like other social media sites. If you treat or publish something that
seriously peeps or -- impedes or affects a trial, you are caught by
that. From that perspective it has to be a good thing. My concern would
be two things, one will it make a massive difference? If something
is... If someone is charged with contempt and they go to court, if
they plead ignorance, they may be told this information is readily
available, you could have got it from the Twitter feeds. I wonder. We
will see what impact it has. But it is done with the best of intentions,
let's say. Well-meaning, innovative but we will wait and see. The
celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has admitted in court that she has taken
cocaine, but denied being an addict. She said it happened during very
difficult times, when her first husband was dying, and when - as she
describes it - she was under great pressure from her second husband,
the multi-millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi. Nigella Lawson was
giving evidence in the fraud trial of two of her personal assistants.
Sangita Myska reports. Nigella Lawson today looked
confident as she walked past a frenzied media scrum. She was at
court to face tough questions about the breakdown of her marriage to
Charles Saatchi and he claims that she was a habitual drug user. She
told the court... She also talked about smoking
cannabis during her marriage to Mr Saatchi.
Nigella Lawson and ex-husband Charles Saatchi, a multimillionaire
at collector, were often photographed it in public. Then in
the summer, these photographs were published in which Mr Saatchi had us
and around Miss Lawson's neck. The couple divorced shortly afterwards.
In court, Miss Lawson alleged Mr Saatchi had threatened her by
saying, if you don't come back to me and clear my name, I will destroy
you buy, she said, spreading false allegations of drug use. She
finished by saying... Nigella Lawson is one of Britain's
most celebrated television looks. Today she is giving evidence in the
trial of two of the couple's former personal assistant is, Elizabeth and
Francesca Grillo at accused of dishonestly spending over half ?1
million on a company credit card. It was here that at the family home
that Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi formed a close relationship
with the Grillo sisters. The women were in charge of household duties,
including organising the laundry and looking after the children. It is
here that the claim that they came to a tacit understanding with
Nigella Lawson that they could spend thousands of pounds on the company
credit card if they did not reveal her alleged use of class a and Class
B drugs to Mr Saatchi. The jury heard that Miss Lawson gave the
Grillos thousands of pounds worth of guests and I felt let down by
Elizabeth Avenue. I love her. My children love her. She came to me at
a difficult time, she was a rock full top I would have done anything
for her. She earlier told the court that she felt it was her that was
now on trial when the world's media. Her former personal assistant is
denied the charges. Moving onto the central African
republic. The violence gripping the Central African Republic is getting
worse. Fighters from the mainly-Muslim Seleka group are being
blamed for a series of attacks on the Christian majority. The
sectarian and sexual violence gripping the Central African
Republic is now the worst it's ever been. Fighters from the
mainly-Muslim Seleka group are being blamed for a series of attacks on
the Christian majority. French and US officials have warned that a
genocide could be in the making. Since the rebels overthrew the
president in March around 400,000 people have fled their homes in
fear. Our Africa Correspondent Andrew Harding has been to meet some
of them. The silence is hunting. The eerie sense of a nation in hiding.
Finally we spot three nervous ghostlike figures. On the right,
this boy said we thought you were the rebels. He says his family of
six kids and the rest of the village are hiding out here in the villages,
too scared to come out towards the road. We are going to see them now.
As word spreads, others cautiously approach us. Months of conflict in
the Central African Republic have forced perhaps 400,000 people to run
for their lives. They are stranded, increasingly desperate and far from
help. Disease killed this woman's youngest daughter last week. We live
like animals here, says the local teacher, no clean water, no food.
Back on the road, and far to the south, we run into the team-macro
rebels. -- Seleka. They are mostly Muslim, some foreign. They are
rebellion has collapsed into a murderous free for all. Now, it
seems, no one is in charge. And the violence is surging.
Suddenly, we stumble across the latest bloodshed.
They bring out their dead. Seleka fighters attacked a few hours ago a
young Christian farmer, one of five killed here, religion now fuelling
the violence. The international community, the French, must protect
us, he says. The Muslims are terrorising us.
And now the Christians are hitting back. Nearby, we meet members of
self defence militia. The weapons are home made. The desire for
vengeance, growing. These groups have already carried out brutal
reprise all is against Muslims. -- reprisals. In the middle of the
mayhem, streetsmart children find sanctuary in a church compound in
this town. He ran from his village when the Seleka came last month and
left him as an orphan. 40,000 people have now joined him
here. He fights back the tears. They killed my father, he says, and
took his body. I don't know what will happen to me now.
It is fear that is trapping tens of thousands of people in this one
spot, and that is not going to change until people are sure it is
safe to go home. But French and African forces are poised to arrive
here in the next week or so, and things could change, could improve
quite quickly. What can they protect everyone? And for how long? This is
a chronically unstable nation. All trust, absent, the only currency
that counts is fear. And things have never been this bad. Andrew
Harding, BBC News in the Central African Republic.
Now a brief look at some of the day's other news. New research
suggests up to 30,000 Eritreans have been ten -- kidnapped and tortured
in the signing -- Sinai Desert. The report, compiled by a team of
academics and activists from Sweden and the Netherlands accuses senior
military officers of kidnapping people and selling them to human
traffickers. The ailing former South African President North and Mandela
is continuing to put up a courageous fight, according to one of his
daughters. She said her father remained strong.
He has been receiving medical care at home since been discharged from
hospital in September. Ukraine's three previous post Soviet
residents have issued a statement giving support to anti-government
protesters on the freezing streets of Kiev now for the 14th night on a
roll. Tens of thousands have suffered -- surrendered government
buildings in the capital angry at the government's decision not to
sign an association deal with the EU. In what is thought to be a legal
first, a US animal rights group is calling on you -- New York court to
recognise a chimpanzee as a legal person.
It wants a chimp named Tommy to be granted what is known as legal
personhood, so that he can be entitled to what is entitled as the
-- described as the fundamental right of bodily liberty. With me is
the founder and chairman of The Ape Alliance, an international coalition
working for the welfare of apes. Ian Redmond, would you say you
recognise this description of chimpanzees as people, as beings
that you could regard as friends? Definitely, yes. Anyone who has had
the good fortune to get to know great apes will see there is no
question of it. They have the cognitive capacity to know who they
themselves are. Give a chimpanzee and within a short time you will
have self-directed behaviour, looking to see parts of their face
they don't normally see. -- give a chimpanzee a mirror. I think there
is a selective advantage in being able to understand your position in
society, and it strikes me that our laws developed in countries where
there are not great apes. We have exported those laws to countries
where there are, but if you look at tradition in African countries come
in Rwanda where I spent a lot of time, they have a word for wildlife,
a word for people and a word for gorillas. Gorillas are not
categorised amongst wildlife. They are seen as other tribes?
Almost as another tribe. The translation of orangutan is
usually translated as man of the forest but it is actually person of
the forest. What would it mean to give this status to them?
At the moment they have the same legal standing as a check, or any
object, you can buy them or own them do not whatever you like with them,
apart from cruelty. But cruelty laws do not keep them
from being kept on their own like Tommy is in inadequate enclosures
and without the company of other chimpanzees. I would say, yes, open
-- we cannot see open all the cages, but care for them as you would any
other being with special care. What is your answer to churches who say
thinking of giving them this legal distinction somehow produces the
link between man and God. If you believe that God created
everything, then he created chimpanzees.
I don't think God would approve of us torturing them or treating them
in this terrible way. Respecting them, their intelligence and social
complexity, I think it is difficult to do that and not give them legal
standing other than an object. They are not objects, they are persons,
non-human beings. We are not asking for human rights, but recognising
that beings who may not be human have many of the criteria we think
are important and deserve our respect. Why not have legislation
that makes that more likely to follow?
Ian Redmond of The Ape Alliance, thank you for speaking us.
-- to us. When we think of photographs, they are not usually
images of buildings abandoned, unloved and decaying, but two
photographers who call themselves urban explorers are fascinated by
what we tend to pass by. Daniel Marbaix and Danny Barter have
published a book, States of Decay, based on their travels of the US,
and they have often roamed the UK and Europe often getting arrested
for trespassing. I have brought them together in one of the BBC's big
screens asking Danny to guide us through one of the images. Tell us
where you are. This is an underground of it Dorian
Reservoir in London. It has featured in some quite
prominent TV shows and films, but people will be able to figure that
out. It is a beautiful piece of Victorian architecture I painted
with light. You have had to like it and I again I suppose you were not
intending to be there. No, we were not intending to be
there. There were a few of us and it
involves putting on your wellingtons and going underground until you find
something you want to see. Daniel, this was an old manor house
in the UK and you are looking at decay, crumbling before us. What
keeps you going into these kinds of situations? Weekend of do it for the
thrill of it, really. We almost started doing it for fun,
really. You start one building, and then you go repeatedly and meet
other people and meet up with them and going to other places. You call
yourselves urban explorers. What do you mean?
It basically means you are exploring the environment available to you, so
it may be the rooftops of the cities, it may be sewers, it may be
abandoned buildings. This is an image that you took Danny in
Pennsylvania. These are workers who is from a call
break that had been sitting there for about 40 years.
You can find the documentation talking about their daily routine.
Four. -- coal-breakers. There is an element of looking into
the past and it is interactive and of the things that have been left
behind, the small stories kept within these places.
Tell me, Dan, about the differences between shooting in the US and in
Europe. Certainly regarding the law it is different, isn't it?
Yes, in the majority of Europe, trespassing is a civil offence so
the older -- one of the building would have to press charges. The
buildings are abandoned so there is no one to do that, whereas in
America it is a criminal offence, so you can get time in county jail,
fairly significant time, and deported. It is obviously important
to you to get these images. Here we are looking at an American
church, a flag, an altar, but you can see the decay. This was the
cover of the same book and it is a little bit of a metaphor on American
society and the place religion has come to having it, opposed to them
as an industrial powerhouse, I suppose.
It has a lot of stories to tell, some of those should be left to
other people to figure out. This final image says, I had to leave my
mark somewhere. This is really poignant, but also
what you are doing, I guess. Yes, I saw it and it kind of made me smile.
It was never intended to go into the book but it came out nicely with the
decay around it. And is your work all about getting
people to look again at what they have left behind? It is just showing
the beautiful buildings that have been left to crumble, cause of
money, generally. It is more expensive to refurbish
the building than to knock it down and build a new one. Daniel Marbaix
and Danny Barter speaking to me earlier.
Just a reminder of the main news. US Vice President Joe burden is on a
visit to Beijing hoping to ease tensions over China's controversial
ear space identification zone. It has heightened tensions between
the US and Japan over who owns a group of islands in the East China
Sea. Thank you for being with us on World News Today.
Good evening. It is that time of the year when we get occasionally
battered by big storms and there is one heading our way tomorrow. The
main problem will be the strength of the wind, pointing the Met Office