13/12/2013 World News Today


13/12/2013

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. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian

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refugees are left exposed and at harm from a harsh Middle East

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winter. Amnesty criticises Europe's attempt to help the needy as

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pitiful. We have a special report from one refugee camp in bitterly

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cold Lebanon. The world's big powers have not been able to stop the war

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in Syria, perhaps that is not so surprising, but surely sorting out

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this problem should be much easier. 100,000 people pay their respects to

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Nelson Mandela as he lies in state but now his body is removed from

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public view, thousands who had missed out are disappointed.

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Concerns about stability in North Korea after the country's second

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most powerful figure is executed. If you can read any of these works, you

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will know it is Esperanto. We speak to a fluent Esperanto speaker who

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looks after an impressive collection of its literature.

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The suffering for Syrian refugees fleeing violence has been bad

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enough, now nature has heaped even more misery on them. Hundreds of

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thousands of Syrian refugees are facing an exceptionally harsh winter

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storm and freezing temperatures in the Middle East with no more than

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flimsy tents for shelter. Human rights organisation Amnesty

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International says Europe should hang its head in shame for failing

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to provide a safe haven. There are 6.5 million people displaced inside

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Syria. This is how the numbers of refugees stacks up. According to the

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UN Refugee Agency, 838,000 have fled to nearby Lebanon, living either in

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tented camps, unused buildings or with friends and family. More than

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560,000 Syrians are believed to be in Jordan. 540,000 have sought

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refuge in neighbouring Turkey. In Iraq, more than 200,000. Our Middle

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East editor Jeremy Bowen is in Lebanon where he spent the day with

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refugees in the Bekaa Valley. No working taps, Noel Wells, only

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snow. And then here collect it to melt it into water. However bad it

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gets here, their families still have to drink. An extended family of 20

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live here in a refugee settlement in the Northern Bekaa Valley. They have

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a small still but they do not have much would so they were bringing

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pieces of a plastic rug. The area around the store is quite warm but

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the fumes of burning plastic hang heavy in the air. This is no place

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to be a child. It is a much worst -- much worse place to be a baby. Two

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sisters in law and spend their days goes to the small stove with their

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newborn sons, around one-month-old. The babies have the cold. Their

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mothers are trying to breast-feed but it is hard because they are

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undernourished, living each day on one bowl of lentil soup. They mix

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some baby formula with the melted snow water. This baby was born

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without a hand and his mother says he was delivered by a midwife and

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has never been seen by a doctor. She has been told an operation could

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help them. He could probably have an operation but I don't have any money

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to take him. The family seem to share a lot of love but they are

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close to destitute. Because of the cold and lack of water, this is all

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that a bucket of melted snow mix. They have not watched for around two

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weeks. Most refugees in the Bekaa Valley live in informal settlements

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as the government does not allow the huge cans that have been built in

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Jordan. Aid is haphazard. In all the settlements there are children who

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have no shoes or a winter clothes. They often smiled but they look

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cold, undernourished and on the edge of the list. The world big powers

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have not been able to stop the War in Syria and perhaps that is not

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surprising but surely sorting out this problem should be much easier.

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What it needs most is a mixture of political will and money. The fact

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that these people are still living like this in the third year of this

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crisis suggests there is not enough of either. Big sums of money have

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been donated to help refugees but very little has reached here. These

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are resilient people and local aid workers say the camp is no better

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and no worse than others in the area. The humanitarian crisis caused

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by the Syrian war is growing and eventually. A bitter day was

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becoming another freezing night. The body of Nelson Mandela is no

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longer lying in state. Officials say an estimated 100,000 mourners filed

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past his body in the capital, Pretoria, the very place he was

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sworn in as Africa's first black President in 1994. Not everyone was

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able to view his body, many were turned away. Final preparations are

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now being made in his home village of Qunu for his funeral on Sunday.

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Huge disappointment for those who did not manage to see Nelson Mandela

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lying in state? That is right. Night has fallen here and you can see the

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Union Buildings floodlit behind me. This very imposing centre of

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government for South Africa and it was here during the day but tens of

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thousands of ordinary South Africans queued for the third day of this

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lying in state which is now over, and many thousands had to go home

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disappointed because they simply would not have reached it before

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because of the day. Most of the day was very dignified. Singing ebbing

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way to silence as people approached the point where they could look for

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the last time into the face of Nelson Mandela but that those denied

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the opportunity, there was of course frustration and sometimes anger.

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On the last day of lying in state, the patience of some was beginning

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to wear thin. They feared they would never get to pay their respects to

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their dead leader. A policeman called for calm. Then a gap was

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forced. The younger swept through. It was a brief moment of drama,

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could be contained by police. There were no serious injuries but all of

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this indicative of the powerful feelings evoked by the death of

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Nelson Mandela. APN that here transcends all divides. We wanted to

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maybe push inside so that we could be able to go and pay our last

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respects to him. A government minister acknowledged many would not

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get through. If the numbers are too big, there is nothing we can do

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about it. We do not have to apologise because that is the way

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the situation is. 500 miles to the south of his birthplace, the

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military practice their flyover Sunday's funeral. Preparations here

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are gathering pace. This is the convoy that will carry the body to

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its final resting place. Away from the formality of the state occasion,

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these ANC members remembering a man who was to them not a global icon

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but a local hero. There are small impromptu celebrations of Nelson

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Mandela's live in place across South Africa. Here in his home region, the

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sense of anticipation ahead of Sunday's funeral is particularly

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intense. This is one of the poorest parts of South Africa, the place of

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deep anger over government corruption, the failure to deliver

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on the promises of liberation. For people like this widowed mother of

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five children, Nelson Mandela is exempt from limb. Do you feel proud

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that he came from here, from this place? I am proud, so proud, she

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tells me. As the day ended, Nelson Mandela was leaving Pretoria.

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Tomorrow, the man who led South Africa to freedom will make the last

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journey to the place of his birth. Tomorrow, Saturday, but very

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poignant journey for Nelson Mandela's body will begin here in

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Pretoria when he is taken to be put on board that aircraft to take him

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from the airbase down to the Eastern Cape, all the way his grandson will

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be talking to the body of Nelson Mandela, telling him, according to

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tribal custom, exactly what is happening. He will be telling his

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grandfather, we are now going on a flight down to the Eastern Cape to

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begin your journey home to your homeland in Qunu for the

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preparations for the funeral on Sunday.

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There is international concern tonight about the stability of the

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secretive state of North Korea after the execution of the regime's second

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most powerful figures Jang Song Thaek. He was the uncle by marriage

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of the country's leader Kim Jong Un. It's reported he was shot by machine

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gun after being found guilty of treason. South Korea says it is in a

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heightened state of readiness. This is the man who sought to bring

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down the North Korean regime, the once powerful uncle of the country

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's young ruler reinvented as a criminal and a coup leader. Facing

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this military court before his execution. His crimes of plotting to

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seize power, the most serious of North Korea could muster. His old

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influence and proximity to the North Korean ruling dynasty only

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underlines the message delivered with his death that no wonder, not

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even family, is immune. The state news agency described him as worse

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than a dog and a traitor to the nation for all ages. Who was the

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dead man? Jang Song Thaek was powerfully placed in North Korea's

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ruling grip. He was married for decades to the sister of the former

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ruler. He died two years ago, passing control to his young son. He

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is now a broadly purging all opposition. News of the execution

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told of a man responsible for all North Korea's ills, its corruption

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and economic failure. A despicable reformer, too close to China and a

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warning to all those who hoped for change. Just over 100 miles away

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here in the South Korean capital there is worry about what North

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Korea will look like without its elder statesman. Jang Sun Tech was

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seen as being too close to its leader to colour but there is a new

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generation of rising and it has just proved it will do whatever it takes

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to stay in power. He has to realise that once a terrorist stops, he has

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to bring home the goods. If people don't have jobs or security, who

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else has he to blame? Jang Sun Tech has already been edited out of

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official documentary is all stop his story rewritten by the countries

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powerful propaganda machine but many believe that story reveals far more

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about the fears and floors eating away at the heart of the regime.

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Tomorrow Egyptian authorities will announce the date of the referendum

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on the new constitution and after that they will be a period of 30 to

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90 days for either parliamentary or presidential elections to be held.

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Ever since the removable of Mohammed Mercy in July there have been a

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string of car bombs and attacks. Before we came on air, I spoke to an

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adviser to Egypt's interim President and I put it to him that a

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democratically elected President had been replaced by a military backed

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one. That is not a precise reading of what happens on the 30th of June.

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That was a fully fledged revolution by people who were against the

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fascism represented by the Muslim Brotherhood that came into power

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probably through the ballot boxes but intended to rule Egypt by

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confiscating the whole democratic process and that was very clear on

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November 2012 when we had the constitutional declaration of the

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Muslim brotherhood. You felt that justified the actions of the

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military in Egypt to intervene and remove those people from power? What

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has happened is that we had an impeachment process of a President

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in a very nonconventional way in a popular way that people came out

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onto the streets, asking this President to leave office and to

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have an early presidential election. I will not get into the

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figures with you because opponents say the figures were much smaller

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but even though we thought there was popular support for his removal,

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there is popular support in the country for him and the Muslim

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brotherhood movement. Can you afford to write them out of the script?

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this is not a precise estimate of their presence in Egypt's. They are

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one factor of the society and we would not say it goes beyond 5

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million of the population. That is a lot, can you ignore that? It is

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actually the other way round, we want them to not ignore the other 85

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million. They are the ones who are not including the Egyptian people.

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What they call anti-government demonstrations, we know they are

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anti-future demonstrations. The Egyptian people has tried to set

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clear road map to the future which is very democratic and having a

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constitutional start and having that in the way that the Muslim

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Brotherhood has tried to deprive the Egyptian people from having the

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dream of the Democratic progressives and state. Do you accent you have a

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PR problem. Look at the demonstrations we saw in support of

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Mohammed Morsi and in Alexandria we saw women as young as 15 given heavy

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prison sentences. They have now been allowed to leave prison but they say

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they were not doing anything wrong. That is not good for you. Let us

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agree that we have a propaganda machine that is taking typical

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events that could happen here in London, it happened here at the

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University of London. We have someone who wrote in chalk on the

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floor of that university and she was prosecuted for vandalism. If that is

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the same case that we have young ladies as long as -- as young as

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this land is -- as young as this youngster at the adversity of London

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doing vandalism and destroying private property and when they were

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prosecuted through a legal system that is exactly the same rationale

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that this young lady at the University of London has been

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prosecuted, we cannot say that it is an act of tyranny versus attack act

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of the rule of law and in both cases it was the rule of law. In Egypt's

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you now how to ask for three days notice if you want to carry out a

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protest against the government and you might not be given the

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commission. The demonstration law here in the UK asks you for six days

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for permission which is pretty much the case. In some cases you would

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not get permission in the UK. Are we comparing like with like? You have

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got hundreds of supporters and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in

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detention and you have human rights organisations say they have been

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arrested... More precisely we have leaders of that organisation

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instigating violence and acting violently and it is very clear and

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it has been declared by the public prosecutors. That was the adviser to

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Adly Mansour talking to me just before we came on air. Violent

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protests have erupted in Bangladesh after the execution of the Islamist

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opposition leader Abdul Kader Mullah on Thursday. At least three people

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were killed when demonstrators clashed with police and set fire to

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houses, shops and vehicles. Abdul Kader Mullah was hanged on Thursday,

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for war crimes committed during Bangladesh's war of independence

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from Pakistan in 1971. Despite the violence crowds also took to the

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streets of Dhaka, to express their support for the execution. Here's

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Andrew North in the capital Dhaka. Bangladesh on the edge. Islamist

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protesters on the streets of the capital. The police retaliate with

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massive force, wildly firing handguns and rubber pellets as they

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try to regain control. The Islamist came and they had sticks and

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petrol, this man said. They pulled me out of my car and burned it, look

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that is my car. Police water cannons were used to put out the fires of

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the demonstrators had already disappeared. Pop-up protests like

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this are a hallmark tactic. It is just after Friday prayers and

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already the kind of trouble that many feared has begun. Two cars have

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been set alight here and the police and the fire brigade are trying to

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put them out. Extra riot police are being brought in now. There is a

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sense that this could start to spread across the city. Clashes have

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already spread outside the capital. Several deaths and injuries have

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been reported. The violence was sparked by the execution of an

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Islamist leader, Abdul Kader Mullah. He was convicted for atrocities

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during the war of independence but during a much criticised trial the

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Islamist are calling for a strike this weekend. Bangladesh is braced

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for more violence and there are increasing doubts that elections

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promised for next month will happen on time.

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American media outlets are reporting that a former FBI agent who was

:20:24.:20:28.

believed to have been held in Iran for the last six years was working

:20:29.:20:32.

for the CIA on an unapproved mission. The US National Robert

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Leveson went missing during a business trip to Iran in 2007. The

:20:37.:20:42.

associated press foundation suggest that a team of analysts from the CIA

:20:43.:20:47.

with no authority to run spy operations paid him to gather

:20:48.:20:51.

intelligence for them. He has been missing for six years. The CIA has

:20:52.:20:57.

no comment on any claimed links between him and the American

:20:58.:21:01.

government but the report suggests that the CIA paid his family $2.5

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million to avoid a public lawsuit and disciplined ten veteran

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analysts. In 2010 his family was sent a video of him looking frail

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and asking the United States government for help. I have been

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held here for three and a half years. I am not in very good health.

:21:22.:21:31.

I am running very quickly out of diabetes medicine.

:21:32.:21:35.

Within the last our reporters have questions the White House official

:21:36.:21:39.

spokesman about this case and the spokesman stressed that he was not

:21:40.:21:42.

working for the US government at the time that it disappeared. Robert

:21:43.:21:49.

Leveson was not a US employee when he went missing in Iran. There is an

:21:50.:21:54.

ongoing investigation into his disappearance so I will not comment

:21:55.:21:58.

further about what he may or may not be doing in Iran. I will not fact

:21:59.:22:02.

check every reference made in the story that you speak of and we feel

:22:03.:22:07.

it was highly irresponsible to publish it and we urge the outlet is

:22:08.:22:13.

not to publish out of concerns for Robert Leveson's safety. I will also

:22:14.:22:17.

not say anything that will further harm our efforts to bring him home

:22:18.:22:21.

safe, which has been our goal for the years he has been missing. Since

:22:22.:22:27.

he disappeared the US government has vigorously pursued and continues to

:22:28.:22:31.

pursue all investigative leads, as we would with any American citizen

:22:32.:22:36.

missing or detained overseas. We continue to be focused on doing

:22:37.:22:44.

everything we can to bring Bob home safely to his family and this

:22:45.:22:46.

remains a top priority of the US government.

:22:47.:22:54.

If I said to you saluton, it's estimated that up to two million

:22:55.:22:58.

people around the world would know what I was saying. It means hello in

:22:59.:23:01.

Esperanto. It sounds a little like Spanish perhaps a touch like German,

:23:02.:23:05.

but it was the brainchild of a Polish linguist, Ludwig Zamenhof,

:23:06.:23:07.

who designed Esperanto in the 1870s to be a neutral, international

:23:08.:23:10.

language. This Sunday is Esperanto Book Day.

:23:11.:23:14.

So we are joined here to talk about Esperanto by Olga Kerziouk who is

:23:15.:23:17.

Curator for the Esperanto collections at the British library

:23:18.:23:29.

here in London. Hello. Cannes one. Oh, Cannes one, I

:23:30.:23:39.

can say that much! Why did you decide to learn this. I was born in

:23:40.:23:45.

the Ukraine and when I was 15 years old I got very interested in a book

:23:46.:23:55.

about a traveller who was blind and he travelled the world and I was

:23:56.:24:01.

absolutely excited about this and that is how I learnt about

:24:02.:24:06.

Esperanto. How easy is it to learn? It is very easy but you still need

:24:07.:24:11.

to put some effort, as with every language. One of the reasons that it

:24:12.:24:15.

is easy is that the words are similar if they denote the same

:24:16.:24:30.

thing. Let us look at this one word. They are all similar whether they

:24:31.:24:35.

mean cottage or house or mansion. It is very easy to learn because

:24:36.:24:41.

grammar is very easy. You learn the roots of words and you learn the

:24:42.:24:48.

system of prefixes and suffixes. How widespread is it? We think only 2

:24:49.:24:53.

million speak it globally. It is difficult to say because you cannot

:24:54.:24:57.

say, people started and then stop and then continue and we only know

:24:58.:25:06.

about people who are members of these international associations for

:25:07.:25:09.

Esperanto. Be honest, how many people have you sat down and gone to

:25:10.:25:13.

a restaurant or a club or something and started chatting to someone in

:25:14.:25:21.

Esperanto? Yes, well, some people have a star and you can see that

:25:22.:25:27.

they speak Esperanto. It was very popular in previous decades. I used

:25:28.:25:31.

to have a green star. You are not wearing it now! Yes, I forgot. It

:25:32.:25:37.

used to be more popular than now. I wanted to put it to you that

:25:38.:25:42.

basically English is Esperanto, it is the language of aviation and

:25:43.:25:48.

business, do you need Esperanto? Yes we need it because it is beautiful

:25:49.:25:54.

and easy and not everybody can spend years and years learning English.

:25:55.:25:59.

People do other jobs in their life and it is also if you care about

:26:00.:26:04.

linguistic justice. What is Esperanto Book Day? We don't have

:26:05.:26:13.

much time. The man who created Esperanto was the first poet and the

:26:14.:26:20.

first translator. So you have lots of books in the British library that

:26:21.:26:26.

have been translated into Esperanto? Yes, this book was originally

:26:27.:26:32.

written in Esperanto. It is translated into English from

:26:33.:26:36.

Esperanto. And just say happy birthday in Esperanto. Hello.

:26:37.:26:40.

Saluton. the rain is really swamping Scotland

:26:41.:28:09.

through the afternoon. That rain is on the move ended the evening it

:28:10.:28:13.

will push to the south and east and eventually clear the south-east by

:28:14.:28:17.

dawn on Sunday. A reasonable start for many but there is another area

:28:18.:28:22.

of rain are pushing up. It could bring it gusts up into the far north

:28:23.:28:25.

of Scotland.

:28:26.:28:28.

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