07/01/2014 World News Today


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


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


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


accused of executing 50 prisoners, including rival fighters.


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


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


faces accusations of fraud and money-laundering.


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


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


lowest they have been since the 19th Century.


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


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


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


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


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


fighting in years. Islamist militants have seized territory


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


central government gets military support - ironically - from both the


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


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


offensive designed to retake that strategic city.


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


Iraqi government reinforcements on the way to Anbar after militants


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


They will be joining other government troops who are battling a


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


attempt to create a Sunni Muslim state straddling the frontier with


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


fighting for years. Government troops are battling the Islamic


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


complex element in the tension and fighting across this volatile region


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


aside moderate rebels having an effect on activities inside Iraq.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


been a significant development in the process of destroying the


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


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


the formal deadline expired The UN has confirmed that a small


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


first instalment of around 1,300 tonnes of weapons and


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


destroyed at sea. Now to a new scandal shaking the


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


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


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


the Spanish Royal Family has been directly implicated in a corruption


investigation. She'll appear alongside her husband


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


is the fact that most people interviewed believe that he cannot


restore the prestige of the institution and they are already


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


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


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


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


fact that we are discussing these things is really an extraordinary


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


discussed in public, never criticised indeed. Thank you.


Forecasters say parts of North America are facing dangerously low


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


roads and thousands of flights cancelled, trains were also brought


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


freezing! Schools and offices remained closed across large parts


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


cold temperatures. Officials have warned people to stay indoors


because besides the travel disruptions that we heard from in


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


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


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


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


Absolutely. Across the nation, several businesses and schools had


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


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


of emergency because they are concerned about people being outside


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


American company was his main banker for two decades and US


prosectors claimed that it turned a blind eye to his suspicious


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


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


despite only having about Two managers being held captive by a


Goodyear tyre factory in France have been released after the police


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


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


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


which popularised kung-fu movies around the world.


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


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


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


consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. Technology giants like Google


and Samsung use the event to showcase their latest innovations


and our technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones,


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


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


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


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


competition. Epsom launched these reality glasses which allow you to


watch HD movies or receive information. Technology giant


Samsung unveiled a huge TV whose main attraction is the curved


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


here will take off. With me is the technology journalist


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


electronic producer and singer-songwriter Sampha, whose


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


war in Iraq as Islamist militants overrun Fallujah. In Aleppo


Al-Qaeda-linked militants execute 50 prisoners.


Thank you for being with us on World News Today.


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


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


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


England have the highest number of flood warnings in


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