22/01/2014 World News Today


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


rubber bullets and now deaths in the streets of Ukraine's capital Kiev.


Two people have died from bullet wounds in the escalating violence,


the first fatality is it since the political crisis started in


November. Together at last - Syria's


government and opposition join the international peace conference in


Switzerland. But Syria insists President Assad must stay despite


this warning from Washington. You cannot restore Syria, you cannot


save the Syrian people, so long as Bashar Al Assad is in power. The


kind of provocative statements, repetitive statements, old


language, based on hatred towards the Syrian government. Why are we


being moved on? Also coming up: The perils of reporting China. Our


correspondent is moved on while covering the trial of a prominent


human rights lawyer. And how to get information to the


world's most isolated nation. We'll talk to the human rights group using


weather balloons to reach the people of North Korea.


Hello and welcome. At least two protestors have died from bullet


wounds in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, the first fatalities since


Ukraine was gripped by political crisis in November, on the day that


a new law restricting demonstrations came into force. Anti-government


protestors have been throwing petrol bombs and stones. The police have


responded with rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas. This report


from our correspondent, Daniel Sandford, in Kiev.


As night fell, violent demonstrators were stoking the fires on the


barricades in Kiev. This was the day when new anti-protest laws were


introduced in Ukraine, but they were not designed to deal with this kind


of chaos. This evening, this central kiosk where is like a vision of


hell, with black tyres burning and to testers throwing stones and


firing fireworks, straight into the lines of riot police. The violence


started at breakfast time, police had tried to clear the barricades,


this was the protesters' response. The riot officers they were


attacking had been deployed it to defend the Ukrainian parliament


which passed the hated new laws. The Prime Minister made this statement,


which only stoked their anger. TRANSLATION: The cynicism of the


terrorists has reached the stage where they are throwing Molotov


cocktails at people. It all began in December as


demonstrators in favour of joining the European union. --


demonstrations. Has ended with officers firing plastic bullets on


the crowd and today they please confirmed for the first time that


some protesters had died. In hospital, I found this man, a


retired military man from crime who lost his eye in the fighting on


Monday. It was his birthday full. -- it was his birthday. I was near the


barricade when the riot police hit my head. I took the bullet out


myself with my hand and then I was taken away by ambulance which


brought me to hospital. I had surgery straightaway and my eye was


removed. Below Parliament, police made several attempts to clear the


crowd. This resulted in further injuries. The violence is still


really can find it to one street. -- of violence is confined. There are


laurels in the fighting when peaceful protesters went up to the


front line to sing the national anthem before chaos started again.


The BBC's Duncan Crawford is monitoring events on the ground.


What is it like there tonight? We have seen clashes going back and


forth over the course of the day, and owned a ten minute walk from


where I am at the moment. In the road leading up to parliament which


has been the focus of these clashes between riot police and the


protesters, we seen the riot police using stun grenades, firing plastic


bullets into the crowd. The protesters were throwing rocks. And


they were also throwing Molotov cocktails back at them. The


opposition leaders have been holding talks today with President


Yanukovych. They expect more than -- they have spent more than three


hours in talks. Earlier on, they came to the stage behind me, at the


Independents were all stop many hundreds of people are still


listening to protest leaders speaking. The tally click all, the


former world heavyweight boxing champion, now a leading opposition


figure, he heads up a party. -- Vitali Klitschko. He told the


protesters that if the government does not a concession, tomorrow we


go on the attack. Very strong words indeed. Another opposition figure


told the crowd that, I am going forward, even if I get a bullet in


the head. So a really tense situation here tonight. The rhetoric


has it really wrapped up and the possibility for more violence is


very real tonight. -- really ramped up. The Ukrainian Prime Minister has


told us that a lot of what we are seeing are the extremists and


radicals of the far right and most of the country is functioning as


normal. Yes, the Prime Minister told the BBC that the country is


functioning as normal. He is correct in that. If you go outside of the


protest area here in the centre of Kiev, if you are not in those mean


streets read the classes are taking place, people are going about their


business as normal. -- those streets where the classes that are taking


place. This is a serious situation. The opposition want to see the end


of these anti-protest laws that were brought into force today. They want


to see the Parliament resign and they would like to see snap


presidential election is called. So far, President Yanukovych has not


showed any sign that he is going to budge even one little bit. Thank you


very much. For the first time, the Syrian


regime and the official opposition have been brought to the same table


- as peace talks begin in Montreux in Switzerland. The UN Secretary


General Ban Ki-moon has hailed that fact in itself as an historic step.


But the talks - supposedly about forming a transitional government to


replace the Assad regime - have opened with angry speeches,


including a declaration from the Syrian Foreign Minister that


President Assad will not go. Our Middle East correspondent, Paul


Wood, is in Montreux. War criminal to some, a saviour to


his supporters in Montreux today. The fate of President Assad is the


main issue of this conference. These are not yet direct talks between


regime and opposition but at least they are in the same room will stop


Syria's Foreign Minister had this to say about the regime's opponents.


The media lured these people, these terrorists, by claiming they are


moderate but they know full well they are extremists. And they are


terrorists. The UN Secretary General accused him of using inflammatory


language. You are seeing I live in New York, I live in Syria, I have


the right to give the Syrian version here in this forum. Of course. I


never objected to that. We have to have some constructive and


harmonious dialogue. Please refrain from any inflammatory remarks... An


team and is usually quite mild-mannered but these are


intractable issues. -- Ban Ki-moon is usually quite mild-mannered. The


opposition insist that President Assad cannot be part of a


transitional government. Other victims in Syria are just too low


one man to remain on his throne. No phone has the value of one single


innocent life. There is no way, no way possible in the imagination that


the man who has led the brutal response to his own people could


read in the government. One man and those who have supported him can no


longer hold an entire nation and a region hostage. No-one should have


worried that the diplomatic niceties would obscure the real issues here.


One side thinks these discussion should be all about regime change.


The other side believes the talks should be about anything but the


transition of power. And at the end of a first day of meetings, the two


sides seem as far apart as ever. The latest fighting. Perhaps 130,000


people have died in Syria, President Assad has clung onto power. But he


cannot win an outright victory. Neither can the rebels. The hope of


this conflict lies in both sides recognising that fact. And beginning


a dialogue. In the last hour, Syria's ambassador


to the UN, Bashar Jafaari, spoke to reporters from Montreux. He objected


to Iran being excluded from the talks, and said in order for Syria


to engage, there needs to be a difference in the way the Syrian


government was addressed. The statements and the speeches of


most of those who took the floor today in the meeting and, as you


know, the 40 delegations took the floor, did not encourage the


national political buyer logs. It was a kind of provocative statement,


a repetitive statement, old language, based on hatred towards


the Syrian government and based on a kind of blind provocation which is


counter-productive, fruitless and unsuccessful. Not positive at all.


Let's talk to our chief international correspondent, Lyse


Doucet, is in Montreux. The real talks will get under way on Friday.


How do you assess the situation now? It is as Ban Ki-moon said in his


press conference, he said it is not easy for two sides to sit down after


so much death and destruction. When you talk about the pain and the


sacrifices that Syrians have made, every Syrian at that table today


would have lost somebody in this war. They would have been looking at


the other side of the table and blaming them for the hardship of


their own family and friends and neighbourhoods, which lie in ruins.


The accused each other of having blood on their hands. And being


responsible for war crimes. It would have been naive to expect anything


else, but John Kerry also called it difficult, the beginning of a


difficult and complicated process. The real test comes on Friday, the


UN envoy has admitted, that it will not be in agreement -- it is not in


agreement that the two sides will sit in the same room and discuss the


details. I think we should have no illusions, this is going to take a


very, very long time and if there is a lesson from the Northern Ireland


peace process, two sides on the sit down to negotiate when they


understood there is no military solution. There are powerful


commanders who are not at this meeting and they are fighting as we


speak. It seems as though the future of President Assad is a red line for


both sides. Indeed. That is a good way to put it. Neither of them wants


to cross it. Bashar Jaafari, the UN ambassador of Syria, is still


talking, still defending President Bashar al-Assad's right to stay in


power. But of course, for the opposition, they simply cannot


countenance a process which does not state explicitly that President


Hassan must go. And even Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General


made it clear that the document which underpins this whole process,


called Geneva one, that was signed up to in May of 2000, June of 2012,


explicitly state that there must be a transitional governing body, all


of whose members are there by mutual consent. And if that is the


criteria, there is no way that President Assad would pass that test


so it is about transition, so one way or another, that has to be on


the table or else there will be no one at the table. Thank you very


much. Much has also been said in Switzerland about the urgency of


getting humanitarian aid into Syria. Joining me from Westminster


is the British Conservative MP who has been urging an agreement over a


safe corridors to do just that. Thank you for being with us. We are


hearing a lot of political rhetoric, a lot of it is angry. You think


there is any potential in these talks to get at least local


agreements at that age? Yes, I think the most important thing about this


is that a process has finally started. -- about aid. You cannot


resolve conflict with people sitting around and talking. Other side have


a lot to get off their chest which is why there is all this hyperbole


that we are hearing today. At the end of the day, it is about


protecting the Syrian people. And we have 9 million displaced people


internally and 2.4 million people as refugees in the surrounding


countries. I think it is absolutely paramount to try and create some


form of safety corridor. If all sides care about the Syrian people,


they should at least come up with some sort of solution to give safe


passage to the majority of people in Syria by giving them some area where


they can be safe in their own country. If we do not do that, the


pressure on neighbouring Lebanon, I met with the ambassador today and


she said 25% of their country today are Syrian refugees. In Jordan, they


are under the same pressures. In Iraq and Turkey as well. If this


goes on, for much longer, the social pressures in the neighbouring


countries could be potentially explosive. You know quite well the


way that President Assad's mind operates, you have met many times


leading up to 2011, for him, it seems to be, stick it out until the


end, he does not want to go. Yes, he is obviously regime change and


protecting the regime has been his red line. But actually, those that


surround him, he is disposable at the end of the day, if the cost


becomes too high. If there is a risk to their own future, he would be


disposable, you will be disposable to the Russians, disposable even to


the Iranians. The question is, how much pain and pressure are they


willing to withstand to keep him. How much blood has to be let between


now and the eventual time in which he will go, because surely he will


go. He has no future in Syria at all. A final thought about what can


be done now in practical terms? You spoke about getting conditions


sorted out on the ground to allow some humanitarian aid in, there are


many splinters and factions with the militia, does that but aid workers


at risk? There are two factions, there are the forces of Bashar


al-Assad and the Free Syrian Army better represented right 150,000


people. The fly in the ointment, if you will, is a group representing


about 15,000 people in the East End in the north, and that is where the


pressure is from. But where the majority control is, between


President Assad and the Free Syrian Army, I believe that there is space


enough to create safe stones and safe corridors. Thank you. The trial


of a prominent Chinese human rights campaigner has begun in Beijing.


Shoo Ju-yoong is the founder of a group demanding government


transparency and full disclosure of the assets of Chinese leaders. He's


accused of gathering people to disturb public order. And in a sign


of how sensitive trials of this type can be, our correspondent Martin


Patience was jostled away from the court by the security forces.


Street after street, block after block, a huge security presence. It


felt like a military operation. The police filmed everyone's moves. At


this is what justice looks like in China. Why are we being moved on?


The courtroom is just down the road, but as you can see, the police here


are pushing us our way. What is clear is that China does not want


any coverage of this trial. This is the man in the dock, Shoo Ju-yoong,


filmed here in prison. He liked the new so-called citizens movement


which called for government officials to publicly declare their


assets. The group staged anti-corruption protests. Their


message was resonating with the public, but there are methods,


trying to organise an independent movement, have now landed them in


court. His lawyer says that the trial is a sham and he is not being


allowed to call witnesses. A handful of supporters gathered outside the


court. Transparency is all part of the National anti-corruption


campaign, said this woman. Our leaders must declare their wealth.


The president decides what is disclosed, he wants to avoid


damaging revelations. Today, details emerged of secret offshore accounts


held by some of the Chinese elite. Among those named, his own


brother-in-law. Unsurprisingly, the reports were blocked here. China's


leaders say they are serious about tackling corruption, but as today's


trial shows, they will do it on their own terms.


Now a look at some of the days other news.


Russian police are hunting for a woman they fear may be planning a


suicide bomb attack in Sochi during the Winter Olympics. The woman,


named as Ruzanna Ibragimova from Dagestan in the North Caucasus is


believed to be the widow of an Islamist militant. Wanted posters


have been distributed throughout the town.


The police in Italy have made ninety arrests in a major anti-Mafia


operation. Assets were seized in raids in Rome, Naples and Florence.


The operation centred around the Contini clan, part of the Camorra


crime network based in Naples. Bars and pizzerias run by the family in


the centre of Rome were searched by the police. One was a popular


restaurant close to Parliament. The controversial comedian Dieudonne


has been taken into custody in France. He's been called a pedlar of


hate by the government for sketches regarded as anti-Semitic. Earlier


today he allegedly assaulted a bailiff who attempted to collect


fines for offences including racial discrimination and hate speech.


The passengers rescued from a Russian research ship that became


trapped in thick Antarctic pack ice last month are finally back ashore


in Australia. More than 50 scientists and tourists had to be


airlifted from the Akademik Shokalsky onto another vessel after


several failed rescue attempts. As the sun rose over Tasmania, so


too did the spirits of those that had been stranded in the Antarctic


ice will stop finally, after many weeks at sea, they sailed into


Hobart on an Australian supply ship. The Akademik Shokalsky was


stuck for ten days and several rescue attempts failed before


finally help arrived. This has been a complex and controversial rescue.


There are no questions about whether the Russian research ship should


have been in such dangerous Antarctic waters in the first place


and who will pay for this very expensive international rescue, as


the ordeal for the passengers finally comes to an end. The leaders


of the expedition have defended their actions insisting they were


simply the victims of a freak event. The fundamental problem was the fact


that there was a massive upheaval, movement of the ice from another


part of Antarctica into that area. We had not seen that in any of the


satellite imagery before and it caught us. We were unfortunately in


the wrong place at the wrong time. Australian authorities have said the


rescue mission has disrupted other valuable projects in the Antarctic


because their main supply ship was needed to bring members of the


stranded expedition safely back to dry land.


How do you get information to the people of the world's most repressed


regime North Korea? It has no Internet. No dissident voices.


Virtually no alternative sources of information to the authoritarian


government of Kim Jong-un. Well one answer is to send in weather


balloons carrying rather unusual cargo.


Here with me is Thor Halvorssen, the president of the New York-based


Human Rights Foundation who was in South Korea a week ago to help


launch the balloons. Tell us first what you were sending over the


border? Well, the balloons themselves, each of them have a


bundle, the bundles weigh about eight kilos and it ranges from


leaflets, they are waterproof leaflets is, they have slogans that


are in favour of democracy and information that they would not


otherwise come across, as well as transistor radios, USB keys


containing information, education and in some cases, just dollar


bills. Who is with you? You have got human rights activist sending over


the weather balloons, do you also have defectors from North Korea? The


main people pushing this had been defectors who themselves received a


balloon like this, material from a balloon like this, and that is why


they decided to defect. You know that it works. Yes, it is mostly


anecdotal, but we are in a push to dramatically increase the technical


capabilities of this, so that we can both track them using GPS and really


help these defector group is with some good technology and linking


them with people, peer-to-peer networks, people that can help them


with this. Why would the police so keen to stop you? There was a lot of


police in June, but lastly, there was no police, the Chief police came


to let me know everything would be, but the last time, the North Korean


government sent out a press release to say they would bomb the side, and


this is the usual rhetoric by that government, but then there was one


from the Ministry of Defence of North Korea saying they were dead


serious about arming this site, so in many ways, this is an example of


the South Korean government spending to the will of the North. You can


see why the North Korean government is sending tee threatened by you


sending in this information, but are you endangering these people who are


likely to be, if they are found with this information or transistor


radios, they could be, or worse. Whether it is North Korea, Cuba,


dictatorships anywhere, the people living in it, they have many times


had so many things done to them. They suffered so much that and act


like reading a brochure or watching some entertainment from the South,


is a tiny Revolution, but it is something that they do, very


knowingly, of what they are doing. Just the very act of finding


something, picking it up and is looking, they are conscious. They


are meant to hand it over to the police, they're not meant to look,


but a lot of the time, they look at it and then they handed her over. It


is reaching the population, it is reaching the military. The number of


defectors that I have met who were active soldiers when they


defected... You are reaching into the establishment? Absolutely,


definitely, and many people who have never heard of anything happening


elsewhere, they are learning. It is not just propaganda, we send in


entertainment, things like TV shows that reveal that there is a world


out there and everything on it, and everything they are taught to


believe is not true. Thank you very much for coming in to talk to us


about this. This is BBC world News, thank you very much for being with


us. That is all from me. Good evening, most of us have had


some very decent weather in the last couple of hours. Tonight, some heavy


rain on the way. If you live


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