21/01/2014 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me Kasia Madera. On the eve of the


biggest diplomatic effort to end the Syrian conflict, shocking pictures


of torture allegedly, by government forces. Thousands of prisoners were


starved, beaten and executed - investigators say the victims looked


like they'd been in concentration camps.


The pictures of starved bodies were reminiscent of the pictures one saw


that came out of Auschwitz and Belsen after the Second World War.


The standoff between riot police and protesters in the Ukraine capital


Kiev with a warning the situation could get out of control. Also


coming up: one wants independence from Britain,


the other from Spain. We have a special report about Catalonia and


Scotland's bids to breakaway. And the way we're listening to music


is forever changing, and from today, Americans get a new streaming


service to rival Spotify. Hello and welcome. As international


diplomats gather in Switzerland for a conference aimed at ending the


conflict in Syria, there are claims that Syrian government forces are


guilty of torturing and executing prisoners. It comes in a report by


three former war crimes prosecutors - they were commissioned by Qatar


which backs the rebels. They've examined 55,000 images smuggled out


of the country. The disturbing photos show injuries to 11,000 dead


prisoners. The Syrian government has denied claims of abuse. Our


correspondent Paul Wood's report contains some graphic images.


Tens of thousands of people have disappeared in Syria's jails. Many


tortured to death, according to the opposition. They say there's proof


of that in these disturbing images. A military photographer catalogued


some 11,000 deaths in custody. He defected, taking the whole library


of abuse with him. It shows body after body, beaten, emaciated. The


injuries were repeated time and time again. The brutal beatings - and


pictures of starvation, starvation can be used as a means of torture,


the pictures of starved bodies were reminiscent of the pictures one saw


that came out of Auschwitz and Belsen after the Second World War.


The photos are in a report commissioned by Qatar which backs


the rebels but it was written by some of Britain's leading war crimes


lawyers. They say such evidence would support findings of crimes


against humanity against the current Syrian regime.


Such evidence could also support findings of war crimes against The


-- against the regime. I have seen a lot of this evidence. It is


compelling and horrific. It is important that those who have


perpetrated these crimes are one day held to account. All that doesn't


augur well for the peace talks here where President Assad's


representatives are due to arrive shortly. President Assad is hardly


likely to want to negotiate his own exit if that leads to an appearance


at the Hague. He has made it clear all along he believes these talks


are about anything but the transition of power. For the


opposition, that is the main order of business here. But most of the


rebels are actually doing the fighting inside Syria aren't


represented. Most too want an Islamic state, not a democracy. Some


rebel groups are part of al-Qaeda. They will fight on, whatever happens


in the talks. Meanwhile, President Assad seems to be winning. No one


really expects a peace deal in Switzerland this week but perhaps


it's hoped a durable ceasefire might emerge, that's something the UN


could never achieve in three years of Syria's civil war.


A Syrian government spokesman has told BBC World News the findings are


not credible. The spokesman for the Syrian Information Ministry said


many crimes were being committed in the country - and not by the


government. And he said the forensic scientists couldn't be certain about


the provenance of the pictures. They don't know the source of these


photos, first of all so they are not really know these sort for whom,


because I cannot discuss with you if you don't tell me these pictures,


these images for who? Who are these person? We have professional killers


in Syria from around the world, they kill Syrian people, they attack


universities, schools, Mosques, I think who practising this kind of


torture against people - Qatar one of the states should go to criminal


court, not Syria. That was a spokesman for the Syrian Information


Ministry. As we have been reporting the Geneva two talks are due to take


place tomorrow in Switzerland. Our diplomatic correspondent is there


and has this update. Expectations are pretty low for what


can achieved because it's been so difficult, so tricky to get everyone


around the table. The spectacular row which blew up yesterday over


whether or not Iran should take part was a symptom, a reflection of how


fragile the balance is between who is invited and who is not and who


would say they wouldn't come if other people were here. The agenda


is a question of discussion. The Syrian delegation before arriving


here made clear they also want to see on the agenda the question of


fighting extremists in Syria. It's likely when the Syrian foreign


Minister gives his speech tomorrow he will make that part of what he


wants to say. The opposition say the main purpose of the talks should be


how to get rid of President Assad and they may bring up this new


report which was released today, no doubt deliberately on the Eve of the


talks, with all this evidence, this horrific photographic evidence which


they will say points to the fact that there have been mass killings


by the Syrian Government. Around the table will also be as many as 40


other countries and international bodies and the point of having them


there will be to endorse this process, to make it seem important,


to try and make it harder for the two Syrian delegations to turn their


back on it if they feel uncomfortable, if they feel what's


being discussed isn't going their way. As for what the organisers, the


UN Secretary General and his special envoy on Syria, what they want out


of the conference in the long-term they would like to see a political


settlement. But no one thinks that's going to happen quickly. In the next


few days. Some diplomats are saying these talks, if they can continue


and no one walks out, could go on for months, even over a year before


there is a real substantial political solution, if at all. In


the meantime, in the next few days what the organisers are hoping for


is that they can launch a dialogue between the two sides to talk about


some concrete steps which might amiliate the life of those Syrians


displaced by the fighting. Some are in besieged areas running short of


food and water. If at least there can be local truces agreed, or


temporary humanitarian corridors then I think the organisers of this


conference would consider that a real achievement.


We will of course keep you updated. Now some of the other news.


A car bomb has exploded in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese


capital, Beirut, in an area which is a stronghold of the militant


movement, Hezbollah. The Red Cross says at least four people have been


killed and 35 injured. Local media say a suicide bomber was inside the


car, packed with explosives. Our Middle East correspondent Jim Muir


reports. Caught by the cameras, the moment


the latest bomb went off in Beirut's southern suburbs. It exploded in the


middle of a busy street, plunging the area into chaos. Cars were


wrecked, shops and apartments had their windows blown out and some


were set on fire. Scenes like this have become all too prominent in


recent weeks and months here in Lebanon. This is the latest in a


series of explosions here in the southern suburb of Beirut, an area


largely controlled by Hezbollah and has been hit by rocket attacks and


various other forms of aggression in the past few weeks. Hezbollah


supporters chanted defiantly as one of their political leaders appeared


on the scene. I asked him whether the movement would be responding to


the attack. TRANSLATION: We have a religious,


moral and scrupulous and values which prevent us carrying out such


terrorist attacks. It's not in our customs, our traditions or our


religious morals. Hezbollah later said that some of the explosives in


the bomber's car had failed to detonate. If they had, the carnage


could have been much worse. Now everybody's asking where will the


bombers strike next? Some of the day's other news: French


intelligence services have reported the discovery of a new mass grave in


the Central African Republic. French Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian


described the grave as holding around 15 bodies outside the capital


Bangui. The discovery comes a day after the CAR's transitional


parliament elected Catherine Samba-Panza as the country's new


interim president to replace Michel Djotodia.


A senior cleric at the Vatican has been served with an arrest warrant


by Italian police for money laundering and fraud. Monsignor


Nunzio Scarano was already facing charges of trying to smuggle money


across the Swiss border. These latest charges relate to claims he


stole money from a home for the terminally ill to pay off his


mortgage. The English Football Association has


charged Nicolas Anelka with an aggravated offence following his


controversial quenelle goal celebration last month. The West


Brom striker has until Thursday to consider whether to contest the


charge, which could result in a five-game ban. The Frenchman says he


made the salute in support of comedian and friend Dieudonne M'Bala


M'Bala and has denied it has anti-Semitic overtones.


Football's world governing body, Fifa, has given one of the cities


which will host matches at this year's World Cup four weeks to have


its stadium ready - or face being dropped from the tournament. The


Arena da Byehada in Curitiba is behind schedule after problems with


costs and safety concerns. It's been chosen to stage four group stage


matches, but FIFA says those games could be taken elsewhere.


The Thai Government has declared a state of emergency to deal with the


growing violence. It will be in force for 606 days and gives them


wide-ranging powers to deal with the protesters who have been blockading


the centre of the Thai capital. After two-and-a-half months of


turmoil, the Prime Minister has finally been forced to declare a


state of emergency. Announced here by her hard hardline Labour


Minister. In theory, she can now deploy the Army to back the police


in dealing with the protests which have disrupted the capital and


threatened her hold on power. But it isn't at all clear how emergency


rule will be applied. The last time this happened in Bangkok four years


ago more than 90 people died when the Army put down an occupation that


had shown increasing flashes of violence. Back then, though, the


Army was a lot more sympathetic to the Government in power. This time


the military has been reluctant to support a Prime Minister whose


brother it ousted in a coup only seven years ago. And there have been


plenty of rumours it might step in again. If it is deployed to help


impose emergency rule, it won't be to help the Government. The


anti-Government protesters certainly believe they have the backing of the


military. And despite dwindling numbers they've shown no signs


they'll give up their blockades and rallies in central Bangkok. A spate


of recent attacks on the protesters, this man was caught on camera


throwing a grenade which injured nearly 30, may have pushed the


Government to act. The many weeks of chaos have emboldened armed groups


on both sides which may now be hard to rein in. Both sides seem to have


radical elements which the leadership can - well, the main


group publicly reject violence but there are radicals that we can not


really control. It's totally unacceptable. At an evening speech


to the faithful the protest leader was predictably unimpressed by the


Government's decree. How can it be right for this Government to use a


state of emergency against us, he asked? Come and get us, we're not


afraid. But this deadlock is imposing a heavy cost on Thailand.


Emergency rule now casts another shadow over the general election


scheduled for less than two weeks' time. In Ukraine, protests are


getting out of control, according to the Foreign Minister. Sergei Lavrov


described violent clashes between anti-government protesters and


police as scary. He has also accused EU politicians of stirring up the


situation. Tuesday saw an uneasy stand-off on the streets of Kiev.


That was after a second consecutive night of clashes. Let's go to Kiev,


to speak to Daniel Sandford. Bring us up to date with what the mood is


like. As you can see, there is a concert going on with a few hundred


people. Mercifully, the first time in two nights, there are no clashes,


as far as we can tell, at the bottom of the street reading up to the


Parliament. We have seen a couple of pretty violet nights with lots of


people injured, several people have lost their eyes from stun grenades


and plastic bullets. Tonight, there does not seem to be violence at


present. That means we have now had about 12 hours in Kiev which have


been relatively violence free. I guess a lot of anticipation and


concerned about these new protest laws that will come into effect on


Wednesday. Yes, there is the potential flash point tomorrow. I do


not think anyone can deny that. Large numbers of people are believed


to be heading to Kiev tomorrow, in order to complain about those new


protest laws. There were published in an official newspaper today, they


come into force tomorrow. These laws ban things like the stage down


there, the tents, which are a traditional part of the process, and


also, the wearing of helmets and masks, something which people were


doing long before these clashes broke out. So I think it is


definitely a potential flash point, it could be that everyone is


exhausted after those 36 hours of rioting, or it could be that they


are preparing themselves for a difficult day tomorrow.


We will continue to monitor that. Let's stop to Gianni Magazzeni, from


the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva. Thank you for speaking to


us. We heard Daniel in EEF, talking about concern over tomorrow's new


laws. -- Daniel in Kiev. That is an area you have flagged up. Yes. It


concern has been expressed about those laws that will be passed,


because they seem to fall short of vision for international German


rights treaties, that Ukraine has actually ratified. I think we are


concerned about the fact it will limit the rights of freedom of


association, as well as freedom of expression. There are also issues


with broadening the scope to cover violations by law-enforcement, or


criminalise defamation. These are issues that great concern with


respect to the legal obligations in Ukraine. These have been


international human rights treaties, which Ukraine ratified. We are also


concerned about the penalties, including risen sentences for


violations of the new laws. I know you want Viktor Yanukovych to


suspend the application of these laws, have you had any communication


with the Ukrainian government you Mac the government here has suddenly


received the communication, the press statement, we have been in


touch. Also with our colleagues on the ground in Kiev. The critical


issue is that as the High Commissioner has said, urgent


constructive dialogue, but one that will be inclusive and sustained over


time, and for it to succeed, it is essential that this dialogue would


be based on full respect for international human rights law. I


think, interestingly, there are also political commitments that Ukraine


has made, as recently as March 2013, and it has undergone what we call a


universal review, where every single member state of the UN has provided


comments to Ukraine, regarding it human rights situation, and laws and


practices. Interesting to note, some of these recommendations also


included the question of addressing the police impunity, or enhancing


the legislation that provides for the freedom of assembly. All of that


means that if we look at the root causes of the ongoing


demonstrations, I think addressing the human rights concerns, doing so


hand-in-hand with Ukraine Government, and whether sustained


and constructive dialogue, inclusive, with all other parties,


that may result in action that would eventually remove some of the


concerns. Jannie Mages any, sorry to interrupt, but we are out of time.


-- Gianni Magazzeni. Thank you for coming on to talk to us.


2014 is the year that Scotland votes on independence from the UK, it is


not really part of Europe where independence debate is raging.


Catalonia is scheduled to hold a referendum in November, although the


central government in Madrid says any vote is illegal and will be


blocked. The campaigns for independence in Catalonia and


Scotland have much in common, that also some key differences, as Alan


Little reports. Once, the Catalan language was


banned in schools here. Now, Catalan children grow up with a national


identity distinct from the rest of Spain. The hilltop town has declared


itself a free Catalan territory. A symbolic repudiation of its Spanish


heritage. The government in Spain see that it is real, this feeling


that we have for our dream. Catalonia will be independent.


Support for independence is growing here. This demonstration in


September 2012 attracted more than 1 million people. Scotland has seen


nothing like this. Spain says it will block November's referendum as


illegal. Catalonia's resident, Artur Mas, said he admires the more


pragmatic approach of David Cameron. With the British mentality. This is


to say, if you have a nation, Scotland or Catalonia, you have in


this nation abroad majority of the population that is asking for a


referendum, asking for real democracy, what you have to do? To


sit at a table, to talk about that, to reach agreements, and to let


people vote. This is the British way. There is another big difference


between Scotland and Catalonia. In Scotland, support for independence


has been pretty solid, at around 30%, arguably for decades. In


Catalonia, it has shot up to 50% in the last few years. Many


anti-independence campaigners believe that it is a short-term


response to a short-term economic crisis, but one which could have


profound and irreversible long-term consequences.


Opponents of the referendum want tough action from Spain, to rein in


Catalonia. We could, for instance, suspend the autonomy, we hope it is


not a scenario. But in any case, our Constitution, our democratic


constitution, it's us -- gives us some tools to stop illegal misuse.


But the popular mood seems unmistakable. In a country when even


eight-year-olds chant for independence, Spain's refusal to


grant a referendum risks wishing more and more Catalans into the


independence camp. How do you listen to your music, on


a radio or a record player, via download or do use a bleak stream?


Listening directly over the internet is increasingly popular, with super


successful Swedish company Spotify claiming more than 24 million new


users worldwide. Today, it gets a major new rival, American rapper and


producer Dr Dre, the mind behind Beats headphones, is launching a


rival streaming service in the US called Beats Music. Let's find out


more with Dave Lee. Just explain to us what is going on. For awhile,


Spotify has been the main player in the streaming industry. Until now,


it has not Billy had a competitor that is kind of cool and will be


seen as a major rival. But now, Dr Dre, using his hedge fund brand that


we see all over the place -- headphone brand, has launched this


platform. The first time we have seen a well-known brand challenging


Spotify's domination. Even I know that Dr Dre is cool. The result was


a concern about royalties and how the artists get paid, what is the


situation with this new Beats Music company? The problem the streaming


services have is impaired to buying music, the money artists get is


tiny. So, the battle that many websites have is to try and help


them make money through other ways. Like suggesting concerts that people


can go to, suggesting merchandise they can buy. That is the battle.


Convincing the artists it is worth having their music on these


services, instead of not being on them and just being able to buy the


physical CD. That is the main area. Some artists, they have ruled out of


Spotify. The artists by this new company, do you think? That is Dr


Dre's selling point. He ready has contacts, he can get people on this


platform. What about this other, Jim .com? He is fighting extradition to


the US for copyright theft. He has launched his competitor. The only


album on that is his own album. So it is not being seen as a major


player yet, but who knows? He may turn out to be won. But the main


rival is Dr Dre. Spotify remains to be the key one here. Weekly, do we


know how many bands, how much is it, that Beats Music will have on


it? At the back of the main selling point is not so much the size of the


database, what Beats Music hopes is its selling point is this ability of


musicians they have on board to recommend, they are humans doing it.


It is otherwise quite mechanical, but eats music is watch more human.


That should be there selling point. -- Beats Music. I know you have


written something on the website, so you can check out more on that. For


now, from me, Kasia Madera, and the rest of the team, goodbye.


Slowly, we continue to see this and of rain across western areas pushing


East. Showing up here on the pressure chart. Moving


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