07/01/2014 World News Today


07/01/2014

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.

:00:07.:00:09.

Two fronts, one battle - the new threat from Al-Qaeda

:00:10.:00:12.

In the Syrian city of Aleppo, Al-Qaeda linked militants are

:00:13.:00:20.

accused of executing 50 prisoners, including rival fighters.

:00:21.:00:23.

In Iraq, they've overrun the city of Fallujah.

:00:24.:00:26.

A right royal scandal - the daughter of Spain's King Juan Carlos

:00:27.:00:30.

faces accusations of fraud and money-laundering.

:00:31.:00:33.

Coming up: A brutal blast of Arctic air heads east in North America.

:00:34.:00:49.

I'm Nada Tawfik in Central Park where the temperatures have been the

:00:50.:00:54.

lowest they have been since the 19th Century.

:00:55.:00:59.

And if stepping up your fitness was a New Year's resolution, then how

:01:00.:01:03.

about using one of these? We check out the latest wearable gadgets

:01:04.:01:06.

as the world's biggest electronics show gets under way.

:01:07.:01:14.

Hello and welcome. We start with the resurgence of Al-Qaeda linked

:01:15.:01:18.

militants in the west of Iraq - which is seeing some of the heaviest

:01:19.:01:26.

fighting in years. Islamist militants have seized territory

:01:27.:01:28.

there and across the border in Syria. And as Iraq's Shia-led

:01:29.:01:31.

central government gets military support - ironically - from both the

:01:32.:01:34.

US and from Iran - the BBC has heard that hundreds of civilians are

:01:35.:01:38.

fleeing Fallujah, fearing they may be caught in the crossfire of an

:01:39.:01:42.

offensive designed to retake that strategic city.

:01:43.:01:45.

Mike Wooldridge has more on Al-Qaeda in Iraq - and the backlash.

:01:46.:01:52.

Iraqi government reinforcements on the way to Anbar after militants

:01:53.:01:57.

captured ground in the province and held it for the first time in years.

:01:58.:02:00.

They will be joining other government troops who are battling a

:02:01.:02:04.

resurgence of Al-Qaeda linked militancy and what appears to be an

:02:05.:02:08.

attempt to create a Sunni Muslim state straddling the frontier with

:02:09.:02:13.

Syria. The western Anbar Province has seen some of the heaviest

:02:14.:02:19.

fighting for years. Government troops are battling the Islamic

:02:20.:02:22.

State of Iraq and the Levant. The fighting began last month in Ramadi

:02:23.:02:29.

after government troops broke up Sunni protest camps. The town is

:02:30.:02:35.

being controlled by Sunni tribes. The Islamic State of Iraq and the

:02:36.:02:39.

Levant is fighting government forces in Syria and it's being attacked by

:02:40.:02:47.

Syrian opposition groups in Aleppo. This amateur video purports to show

:02:48.:02:51.

the clashes between Al-Qaeda linked fighters and other rebels in Aleppo

:02:52.:02:57.

in the past few days. Analysts say behind such clashes lies competition

:02:58.:03:02.

for the control of Syria's opposition-held areas and a desire

:03:03.:03:07.

to regain Western support after a suspension of aid. At least 34

:03:08.:03:15.

jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, none of them

:03:16.:03:18.

Syrians, were killed after clashes with other rebel movements in Idlib.

:03:19.:03:24.

So, on different fronts, in two countries, there is a new and

:03:25.:03:28.

complex element in the tension and fighting across this volatile region

:03:29.:03:32.

reflected in Iraq in the stand-off in Fallujah, fiercely fought over

:03:33.:03:36.

and currently resembling a ghost town. Aid for civilians who have

:03:37.:03:41.

been caught up in the clashes in Fallujah, many have fled their homes

:03:42.:03:47.

in the town and from other places. The US is expressing increasing

:03:48.:03:52.

concern. Isolating extremists seen as a priority now and that's as much

:03:53.:03:54.

a political as a military issue. If we zoom out to the Islamic state

:03:55.:04:30.

of Iraq, I think we should be careful before attributing blame to

:04:31.:04:33.

any states. Many of the Islamist groups in Iraq and in Syria receive

:04:34.:04:40.

funding from private donors from the Gulf, countries like Kuwait, Qatar

:04:41.:04:45.

and Saudia Arabia. I'm not of the opinion that Al-Qaeda in Iraq is

:04:46.:04:52.

receiving funding from Saudia Arabia to give Iran a bloody nose. I don't

:04:53.:04:58.

think that is Saudi policy, that Saudia Arabia is willing to take the

:04:59.:05:01.

risk of backing Al-Qaeda outright. They may of course be backing

:05:02.:05:06.

extremist groups in Syria that are short of Al-Qaeda. I think we have

:05:07.:05:10.

to remember Al-Qaeda has been a resurgent force inside Iraq for the

:05:11.:05:14.

entirety of the past 18 months. This is nothing new. Most of the causes

:05:15.:05:19.

of this are really internal to Iraq, not external. Yet, the fighting in

:05:20.:05:25.

Syria and in the west of Iraq, clearly one source of turbulence

:05:26.:05:30.

feeds off the other? Absolutely. We are certainly seeing Al-Qaeda's

:05:31.:05:35.

resurgence within northern Syria, at least until recent weeks, sweeping

:05:36.:05:41.

aside moderate rebels having an effect on activities inside Iraq.

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You are seeing the region become awash with weapons, weapons captured

:05:46.:05:48.

within Syria can be used within Iraq. You are seeing movement of

:05:49.:05:58.

fighters across the border as well. It has boosted their opportunities

:05:59.:06:03.

within Iraq. It's also changed the sectarian climate within Iraq. It's

:06:04.:06:07.

made more and more Iraqi Sunnis feel that their government is backing a

:06:08.:06:12.

regressive, brutal state next door. So, I think the events are also

:06:13.:06:17.

deepening Iraq's own political divisions. The White House spokesman

:06:18.:06:21.

said today they are trying to take - I think he called it an holistic

:06:22.:06:27.

approach towards Al-Qaeda-linked militants in the area. How do you

:06:28.:06:31.

see American aims here? I think what it means is we want to give weapons

:06:32.:06:37.

to the Al-Maliki administration to fight Al-Qaeda, but we don't want to

:06:38.:06:41.

give them so many weapons they feel they can bomb their way out of this

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problem and they have no need to reach out to the countries aggrieved

:06:45.:06:50.

Sunni population. It is saying arms are part of the answer, but they are

:06:51.:06:51.

not the only answer. In positive news from Syria, there's

:06:52.:07:03.

been a significant development in the process of destroying the

:07:04.:07:06.

country's chemical weapons. The first load of highly toxic

:07:07.:07:09.

chemicals has been shipped out of the port of Latakia, a week after

:07:10.:07:12.

the formal deadline expired The UN has confirmed that a small

:07:13.:07:15.

number of containers are now on board a Danish cargo vessel - the

:07:16.:07:19.

first instalment of around 1,300 tonnes of weapons and

:07:20.:07:22.

precursors - which are due to be transferred to an American ship and

:07:23.:07:25.

destroyed at sea. Now to a new scandal shaking the

:07:26.:07:33.

Royal Family in Spain, where the King's youngest daughter -

:07:34.:07:36.

Princess Cristina - has been named as a suspect in a tax fraud

:07:37.:07:39.

and money-laundering investigation. It's the first time that a member of

:07:40.:07:44.

the Spanish Royal Family has been directly implicated in a corruption

:07:45.:07:47.

investigation. She'll appear alongside her husband

:07:48.:07:50.

in court in March. He's been under investigation over

:07:51.:07:53.

his business dealings since 2010. The Spanish journalist Miguel-Ansho

:07:54.:08:01.

Anxo Murado is following the story. I imagine this is getting quite a

:08:02.:08:15.

reaction in Spain? Yes, of course. This comes amid a string of, in some

:08:16.:08:20.

cases, scandals, in other cases I would call them mishaps which have

:08:21.:08:26.

to do with the Royal Family and with the king. It comes two days after a

:08:27.:08:33.

poll indicates that this is denting the prestige of the monarchy in

:08:34.:08:38.

Spain. That prestige has already been dented by the king himself?

:08:39.:08:45.

Yes, I was referring to mishaps. I think that more damaging than this

:08:46.:08:50.

case in which the king is not involved. He's not involved in these

:08:51.:08:56.

legal cases. Probably more damning to him was the mishap of what

:08:57.:09:04.

happened during his infamous, let's call it, hunting trip to Botswana

:09:05.:09:11.

where he was - well, people learned in Spain that he was hunting

:09:12.:09:16.

elephants, that he was there without the Queen. A series of things that

:09:17.:09:21.

were so far removed from the image he enjoyed among the Spanish

:09:22.:09:27.

population, that actually that cost, I think - that was quite a

:09:28.:09:30.

disappointment to many people. I think what these polls reflect is

:09:31.:09:35.

more of that than this case in which her daughter could be allegedly

:09:36.:09:39.

involved. Let's come back to Princess Cristina. Do you think the

:09:40.:09:44.

authorities will charge her? It's difficult to say. A previous summons

:09:45.:09:50.

to court was dropped by a higher court and this one is going to be

:09:51.:09:54.

appealed by the lawyers of Princess Cristina. So, we have to wait and

:09:55.:09:58.

see whether she appears in court. Even if she is charged by the judge,

:09:59.:10:06.

there are still lots of things, a range of things they can do to avoid

:10:07.:10:12.

being tried. Even though this story has been going on for three years,

:10:13.:10:18.

Spanish justice is painfully slow, we are at the beginning or at the

:10:19.:10:23.

beginning of a very long process. Where do the polls have the Spanish

:10:24.:10:33.

Royal Family? Well, this poll that was widely circulated by the Spanish

:10:34.:10:38.

media two days ago shows something astonishing. In 12 months, the

:10:39.:10:46.

King's popularity has dropped from 60% to 40%. Probably more worrying

:10:47.:10:51.

is the fact that most people interviewed believe that he cannot

:10:52.:10:59.

restore the prestige of the institution and they are already

:11:00.:11:03.

thinking of the Crown Prince Felipe, who is more popular than his father

:11:04.:11:09.

- this is another extraordinary turn of events - he could take over and

:11:10.:11:17.

become the King. The King has clearly said he doesn't want to step

:11:18.:11:21.

down. Crown Prince Felipe also says he doesn't want to step in. But the

:11:22.:11:26.

fact that we are discussing these things is really an extraordinary

:11:27.:11:31.

thing in Spain, a country where, until recently, the monarchy was not

:11:32.:11:35.

discussed in public, never criticised indeed. Thank you.

:11:36.:11:42.

Forecasters say parts of North America are facing dangerously low

:11:43.:11:45.

temperatures - not seen in more than 20 years. The blast of polar

:11:46.:11:48.

air that's hit the Midwest is spreading to the south and east,

:11:49.:11:51.

America's deepfreeze - more than half of the country's enduring some

:11:52.:12:09.

of the coldest temperatures felt in decades. It is freezing, man! It's

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cold! It's colder than it's been forever. But I've got more layers

:12:17.:12:20.

on! The cause of this unusually cold spell is what forecasters in the US

:12:21.:12:27.

are calling a polar vortex, an Arctic blast which has brought with

:12:28.:12:31.

it sub-zero temperatures. Days of snow have been followed by these

:12:32.:12:36.

high-speed gusts of wind. The result? Travel misery. Treacherous

:12:37.:12:42.

roads and thousands of flights cancelled, trains were also brought

:12:43.:12:46.

to a halt. Hundreds of passengers near Chicago were forced to spend

:12:47.:12:54.

the night on board. You are unsure of the unknown. The water has frozen

:12:55.:12:59.

over here in the centre of Washington DC. It is so cold I can

:13:00.:13:05.

barely feel my fingers. We have a reading of 10 Fahrenheit, that is

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-12 Celsius. If you want to get an idea of how cold it really is, then

:13:10.:13:16.

take a look at this. We poured water on a T-shirt less than five minutes

:13:17.:13:21.

ago and now it is solid! The mercury has been so low that parts of the

:13:22.:13:27.

east and Midwest have been colder than much of Antarctica. Doctors

:13:28.:13:31.

have warned people to stay indoors to avoid frostbite. Some have no

:13:32.:13:38.

choice, like John Willis. You have a face mask. My moustache keeps

:13:39.:13:43.

freezing! Schools and offices remained closed across large parts

:13:44.:13:47.

of the country. The crippling cold weather is forecast to last for the

:13:48.:13:59.

next few days. Nada Tawfik is in New York. You are in Central Park. What

:14:00.:14:10.

is it like in the city? Well, the deepfreeze has certainly reached New

:14:11.:14:12.

York. It is painful to be outside. People have really been staying

:14:13.:14:16.

indoors. We have only seen a few people out in the park. Forecasters

:14:17.:14:24.

have called this "Weather whiplash". It was 13 degrees Celsius yesterday

:14:25.:14:30.

and now it is -14 Celsius. So the temperatures here are dangerously

:14:31.:14:36.

cold. That, of course, is because of this polar freeze that has come down

:14:37.:14:41.

from the Arctic and gripped the Midwest states, all the way to the

:14:42.:14:44.

east coast, even down to Florida, where they are not used to these

:14:45.:14:48.

cold temperatures. Officials have warned people to stay indoors

:14:49.:14:52.

because besides the travel disruptions that we heard from in

:14:53.:14:57.

that package, people have died. This has been a deadly cold freeze

:14:58.:15:02.

gripping the United States. Four men in Chicago died of heart attacks

:15:03.:15:06.

trying to shovel their driveways of snow. So, I suppose, it's meant a

:15:07.:15:11.

lot of normal life, like schools, have had to be shut down?

:15:12.:15:20.

Absolutely. Across the nation, several businesses and schools had

:15:21.:15:24.

to be closed. Especially in parts of the south where they are not used to

:15:25.:15:29.

these cold temperatures. In New York, the Governor declared a state

:15:30.:15:33.

of emergency because they are concerned about people being outside

:15:34.:15:38.

for too long and getting frostbite. Frostbite can occur in minutes

:15:39.:15:40.

because of the temperatures. So, they are urging people to stay

:15:41.:15:43.

indoors, but if they have to come out, to cover their skin, to wear

:15:44.:15:48.

layers and the city has also been around scouring for anyone who might

:15:49.:15:51.

be homeless out on the streets to make sure that they are safe

:15:52.:15:53.

indoors. Thank you. JP Morgan Chase has agreed to pay

:15:54.:16:08.

$1.7 billion for its involvement in the Bernard Madoff scam. The

:16:09.:16:12.

American company was his main banker for two decades and US

:16:13.:16:14.

prosectors claimed that it turned a blind eye to his suspicious

:16:15.:16:17.

activities. When Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme came to light five

:16:18.:16:19.

years ago, his comapny claimed to have assets worth $65 billion

:16:20.:16:22.

despite only having about Two managers being held captive by a

:16:23.:16:42.

Goodyear tyre factory in France have been released after the police

:16:43.:16:49.

intervened. The workers' union wants to discuss a redundancy plan.

:16:50.:16:57.

One of Asia's most influential film moguls - Run Run Shaw - has died

:16:58.:17:01.

in Hong Kong at the age of 107. He founded the Shaw Brothers Studios

:17:02.:17:04.

which popularised kung-fu movies around the world.

:17:05.:17:06.

He produced almost 1,000 films, including the classic Blade Runner.

:17:07.:17:12.

Fitness fans are getting the chance to try out the latest wearable

:17:13.:17:16.

technology gadgets, which have been unveiled at the world's biggest

:17:17.:17:19.

consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. Technology giants like Google

:17:20.:17:22.

and Samsung use the event to showcase their latest innovations

:17:23.:17:25.

and our technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones,

:17:26.:17:28.

wearable tech. Whether that hope and hype comes to frui wigs, we will --

:17:29.:18:07.

fruition, we will wait to see. Will it ever appeal beyond a band of

:18:08.:18:21.

fitness fa Nat ticks determined to log their every? One of the new

:18:22.:18:24.

products may breakthrough from the pack, but there's plenty of

:18:25.:18:31.

competition. Epsom launched these reality glasses which allow you to

:18:32.:18:34.

watch HD movies or receive information. Technology giant

:18:35.:18:41.

Samsung unveiled a huge TV whose main attraction is the curved

:18:42.:18:44.

screen. There was a curved smartphone from LG. A tiny British

:18:45.:18:53.

firm was preparing its assault on Las Vegas, with a 3D printer. This

:18:54.:19:01.

is a huge deal. This is the first time that Robox has been seen by

:19:02.:19:05.

anyone, so we are keen to show the public and everybody what we can do,

:19:06.:19:10.

what Robox can do and how it can make 3D printing simple. Here is

:19:11.:19:14.

another technology that is big in Las Vegas this year. Unmanned aerial

:19:15.:19:19.

vehicles, commonly known as drones. People are finding all sorts of

:19:20.:19:23.

commercial uses for them. Amazon have already said they want to use

:19:24.:19:27.

drones to deliver parcels, but other uses may be more realistic. There's

:19:28.:19:34.

a lot more uses for it say like agriculture, monitoring crops.

:19:35.:19:38.

There's uses for search and rescue. You are able to throw something up

:19:39.:19:41.

in the air quickly without having to get a fully manned helicopter out

:19:42.:19:46.

there. Las Vegas this week is the place to see the big picture of what

:19:47.:19:50.

is new in technology. But remember, not all of the bright ideas hatched

:19:51.:19:52.

here will take off. With me is the technology journalist

:19:53.:20:00.

and gadget guru Caramel Quin. There is so much we can talk about.

:20:01.:20:14.

The curved smartphone. This is made with guerrilla glass? Yes, you see

:20:15.:20:18.

that on the front of iPhones. They can make it in 3D shapes like

:20:19.:20:24.

curves. So why would you want a curved phone? I don't know. It could

:20:25.:20:28.

be more ergonomic or it could be because you can. And wearable? You

:20:29.:20:41.

could get a flexible guerrilla glass as well, so it could be fold open to

:20:42.:20:50.

be a bigger screen. Because it can be done, it will be done. The ball

:20:51.:20:59.

of power, Intel, it allows you to throw all your devices in there?

:21:00.:21:06.

Yes. It's a concept right now. The technology is available. It's

:21:07.:21:09.

inducktive charging so, at the moment, you can buy cases for your

:21:10.:21:13.

phones so you can lay them on a special mat to charge them. They are

:21:14.:21:17.

trying to build the technology into each gadget and you could get one

:21:18.:21:23.

bowl or device like this. So our children will say, "You plugged them

:21:24.:21:30.

in?" There are two rival formats for doing this. The smart money is on

:21:31.:21:35.

waiting to see which one wins the format war. A few more. Swimming

:21:36.:21:44.

goggles, now they are using the colours? You buy the blue thing and

:21:45.:21:50.

it clips on to your favourite swimming goggles. It gives you a

:21:51.:21:54.

display here. A colour will indicate what your heartbeat is like. It has

:21:55.:21:59.

a heart rate monitor here. Serious training gadget? Very clever stuff.

:22:00.:22:02.

It will tell you how many laps you have done, how fast your turns are.

:22:03.:22:08.

The next one is about health. It is about a bracelet that can warn you

:22:09.:22:12.

of what? How much UV you are getting. Whether you have had too

:22:13.:22:16.

much sunshine. This is really good for kids? Yes, it is good for

:22:17.:22:20.

anybody really to know. You don't keep track of it. It looks really

:22:21.:22:24.

nice. That is the big challenge with wearable technology. It is looking

:22:25.:22:33.

so nice that you want to wear it. A jeweller designed that. You could

:22:34.:22:38.

spend all your money on all of this. Perhaps, just wait and see to find

:22:39.:22:43.

out which ones are real goers? Yes. Thank you.

:22:44.:22:49.

Now to this week's series on emerging artists from the BBC's

:22:50.:22:52.

Sound of 2014 new music list. Today we're looking at the British

:22:53.:22:55.

electronic producer and singer-songwriter Sampha, whose

:22:56.:22:57.

use of sparse beats and mournful piano chords have already seen him

:22:58.:23:00.

compared to James Blake. BBC News went to meet Sampha at his brother's

:23:01.:23:04.

flat - a place he says has inspired a lot of his music.

:23:05.:23:25.

This is my brother's flat. This is where I come to have a laugh. #6

:23:26.:23:40.

this is my -- this is my brother. This is like an inspirational place

:23:41.:23:41.

for me. a Celine Dion song. My mum loved it.

:23:42.:24:18.

I was getting a reaction. I was young. My mum was, like, "I love

:24:19.:24:25.

that." From there or nothing, I figured out harmonic progression.

:24:26.:24:30.

When I saw him perform live, it blew me away. And that was Sampha. Then

:24:31.:24:42.

this guy was on stage. It was so powerful. I had to hold back the

:24:43.:24:53.

tears a little bit. The music I make is honest music, I guess. I don't

:24:54.:25:16.

know how to describe myself. I went around to a friend and Jessie Ware

:25:17.:25:22.

was there and I sort of, like, was like, just spending time with them

:25:23.:25:23.

and he decided to making a track. Sampha there. We will have more from

:25:24.:26:24.

the BBC's Sound of 2014 tomorrow. The main news: Fears of a sectarian

:26:25.:26:30.

war in Iraq as Islamist militants overrun Fallujah. In Aleppo

:26:31.:26:36.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants execute 50 prisoners.

:26:37.:26:43.

Thank you for being with us on World News Today.

:26:44.:26:53.

Hi, there. We have a risk of further flooding as we head through the

:26:54.:26:57.

night-time. Hi, there. We have a risk of further

:26:58.:26:58.

flooding as we head through the night-time. Southern counties of

:26:59.:27:02.

England have the highest number of flood warnings in

:27:03.:27:03.

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