05/03/2014 World News Today


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


Diplomatic efforts are underway in Paris - trying to find common ground


over Ukraine. Russian and American foreign ministers come face to face


on the crisis, but there's been no meeting of minds.


On the ground, the struggle for control continues. First the Ukraine


flag flies in Donetsk in the east, hours later marchers replace it with


the Russian flag flying over government buildings. I'll will be


live from Sevastopol where Russian forces are continuing to consolidate


their grip here in the Crimea. Also coming up: Israel says it's


seized a ship carrying advanced Iranian weapons to Gaza.


And we'll meet the 13-year-old British boy who's carried out atomic


fusion in his classroom. Hello and welcome.


The first day of direct diplomatic talks about the Ukraine crisis is


still underway in Paris, with no breakthrough yet in American and


European efforts to persuade Russia to back down. There's a fragile calm


in Ukrainian cities from Donetsk in the east, where rival groups have


wrestled each others flags from the top of government buildings, to


Sevastopol in Crimea in the south, where Russia has tightened its grip


on key military facilities. NATO has reviewed a fool review of its


cooperation with Russia. Russia has tightened its grip on key military


facilities. There has been a nasty diplomatic incident. My colleague


Ben Brown is there. Yes, it has been another difficult


and tense day here in Crimea. Highlighted perhaps by a series


incident in which the United Nations's special envoy who were


sent here on a fact mind -- fact-finding mission, he was


surrounded by armed men, armed pro-Russian supporters and


protesters, and he took refuge in a coffee shop and he was seeking


sanctuary there, really. He was pretty frightened and shaken up, and


he ended up cutting short his mission year, getting on an


aeroplane and leaving. The United Nations taking that very seriously


and saying he was seriously threatened. Meanwhile Russian forces


here in Crimea have been tightening their grip on Ukrainian military


bases, they have taken over partial control today of two missile defence


units in separate areas of Crimea. They are also continuing to tighten


their naval blockade of Ukrainian naval vessels here. As my colleague


Daniel Sandford no reports. The first sign that the Russians


were tightening further their stranglehold on Ukraine's small


navy. Russian troops taking up new positions overlooking a Ukrainian


military dock. We climbed down to see what was happening and found,


two of Ukraine's must fight -- sophisticated fighting ships,


blockaded in the bay by Russian boats and overlooked by a Russians


neighbour. -- sniper. On the dock we find this woman speaking to her


husband. He was only metres away. The ship dear not come closer in


case it is dolled by the Russians. -- stormed. When the commander of


the Black Sea Fleet came to the ship and said he would storm it, of


course it was frightening. War is a very frightening thing. On these


heavily armed ships, the sailors have resorted to medieval methods to


defending themselves. The Ukrainian soldiers have put


mattresses over the railings, that is to stop the Russians throwing


grappling irons and boarding the ship. Well almost the entire


Ukrainian navy is stuck in the harbour, they have to watch Russian


warships coming and going at will. What would have and if you try to


leave the harbour? TRANSLATION: There could be a clash between the


ships and navigation accident which can result in casualties. Then two


men in black courts arrived. They remonstrated with the officers on


the ship for our Ukrainian navy statement which had called the


Russian president ally. The Ukrainian stood their ground and


complained about the armed men surrounding them. -- president a


liar. I am the only one who has a weapon said the senior officer. I


have given up everything else. I just have the one pistol to protect


my crew. This evening a small boat came up to replenish the ships. The


Ukrainians are preparing for a long siege.


So it is as you can stay still very tense here in Crimea. Yesterday we


had that incident where Russian troops actually fired warning shots


over the heads of unarmed Ukrainian soldiers at the Belbek a military


airfield. We have not had any shots of any kind fired today. But still


another dangerous day in Crimea. The stand-off between the Russian forces


and Ukrainian forces continuing at bases around Crimea.


We have come to the Ukrainian naval headquarters where there are


volunteers from the self-styled Russian defence Force, besieging the


space along with unidentified Russian soldiers as well. And they


will not even let us go from here, the few yards to those gates, to try


to talk to interview the Ukrainian naval staff who inside there.


TRANSLATION: wives arrived to bring them food and


fresh clothes. But the Russians laying siege to this base here


refuse to let them deliver their suffice. A retired naval commander


told me it is tense but peaceful. Only one week this is a peaceful


coexistence. That is it. It is like a barrel with powder. Right now


everyone can understand that war is not the case. War is not the choice


of the people. No one doubts the very real dangers of the stand-off


but it is also beginning to look like a stalemate that could last for


quite some time. One footnote to that, interesting to


hear today the Foreign Minister saying that Russia has no control


whatsoever of these armed groups that are surrounding various


Ukrainian bases here in Crimea. When you see those pictures that we were


showing you there and that report of the forces who are outside the


pro-Russian forces, clearly some of them are local volunteers as a style


themselves, but there are also these uniformed troops who look very much


like Russian armed troops, although they do not have the Russian army


insignia on their uniforms. Then when you see their vehicles, they


are definitely Russian army, because you can see they have Russian army


number on them. There is not any doubt about that. The Ukrainian


prime minister, the acting prime minister, he is 100% sure that these


forces are under the control of Moscow. That shows I suppose how far


as said, far apart the two sides are, the Russians and Ukrainians on


this one issue of who is controlling these pro-Russian forces. Clearly it


will be a difficult divide that the diplomats are trying to address, the


US Secretary of State has been meeting Sergey Lavrov in Paris. We


await the details of exactly what they have discussed and whether


there has been any progress in those talks. That is all from here in the


Crimea, and you back to the studio in London.


Let's take a closer look at the European response to this crisis.


Joining me from Brussels is Daniel Brossler. He's the correspondent for


the centre left German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. Daniel, thank


you for joining us on World News Today. I was going to ask you about


the European response, but we do not have one as yet, and it is difficult


for there to be a united European response, isn't there? It is


difficult. But everyone understands the needs to be a response and I


think there will be one. If tomorrow, at the summit, the leaders


will not find a common position, Putin will laugh at that. This is


impossible. I think there will be strong wording, there will be an aid


package for Ukraine, and probably there will be sanctions as well. As


the German Chancellor Merkel has the strongest position with President


Putin, she has been cautious in the way she has spoken about his


actions? That is how a way of doing politics. She is looking at the


options, being careful. But if you asked her, she would say she was


outspoken, she called Putin several times and she made it known to the


public that she really criticised harshly during those telephone


calls. I think she did not do before. So I think she is trying to


send a message to Vladimir Putin. I do not think that she will reject


sanctions as there is a need to have sanctions. Reminders, Daniel, how


close the relationship is and when -- how much is at stake? The


relationship is very important. First of all you have to see that


economic play Germany and Russia are having really close ties, as far as


energy is concerned, Germany pretty much depends on supplies from Russia


to a great deal. So this is of course at stake. But on the other


hand I think in Germany the federal government is clearly seeing that if


there is no strong message noted Russia, then there is a red line


that they have crossed, then it will be very difficult to deal with


Russia in the future. So I think there is a strong understanding of


this. And the Chancellor, coming from East Germany, knows very well


who she is dealing with. She harbours no illusions whatsoever as


far as Mr Putin is concerned. Do you think from her point of view it is


important to keep the conversation going. She can treat him German and


Russian face-to-face? She speaks Russian, he speaks German. I think


there is no real trust between them. There is something like a working


relationship. It is known that we tend to speak quite frankly, quite


openly. Anglo-American will has criticised Vladimir Putin in


public. -- Angela Merkel. Not really trust, but a working relationship.


But if there is anybody know who is able to find a dialogue with Mr


Putin, probably it would be Angela Merkel. Finally, could you give me a


brief idea, can we say there is German public opinion flowing one


way or the other, saying what the sentiment is? In Germany you always


have a certain fear of war. If you would as Germans now, they would


say, do everything to avoid anything that is coming close to war. So I


think Germans would say, it is really bad what is happening in the


Ukraine. But the priority should be to come to terms with Russia and to


avoid any military conflict. Thank you very much for joining us.


A South African boxer and friend of Oscar Pistorius has told his murder


trial, that Pistorius once fired a shot under a table in a restaurant


in Johannesburg, and then asked him to take the blame for it. The


incident happened last January, just weeks before the Olympic and


Paralympic athlete killed his girlfriend. He says he mistook her


for an intruder. Our Africa correspondent Andrew Harding reports


from Pretoria. For relatives guarding Oscar


Pistorius on his way into court this morning. As the prosecution


continues to build its case against him. Taking the stand, the first


witness to agree to appear live on camera. Professional boxer. He


describes an incident at her South African restaurant. This is the


place today. The athlete fired a Fred's done under one of these


tables, seemingly by accident. Then allegedly as the friend to take the


blame. I remember Oscar clearly apologising, is everybody OK. He at


pleased to Darren, to say it was you. I do not want any attention.


This is a murder trial saw it may seem to discuss a separate minor


incident and a restaurant. It gives the prosecution the unique


opportunity to raise questions about Pistorius' character. The painted a


picture of Oscar Pistorius being a bit of gun fiend. But it was not all


bad for him today. His lawyer picked holes in the vital evidence of two


neighbours. That cannot be. They said they had heard a woman scream


before the gunshots on the night that Reeva Steenkamp died,


contradicting his version of events. It is a man's life at stake. In all


fairness let's say, let's look at other possibilities. Today's


restaurant revelations may prove damaging to the story is, but his


team has shown signs of the formidable research it has done to


prove it he did not need to kill Reeva Steenkamp. In Cairo the trial


has resumed of Al-Jazeera journalists accused of supporting


the Muslim Brotherhood, the outlawed movement of ousted Egyptian


president Mohamed Morsi. In all 20 people, including former


BBC correspondent Peter Greste, are on trial, 12 of them in absentia.


The trial is seen as a test of how far the current military-installed


government will tolerate independent media. From the court Quentin


Sommerville reports. Here we heard some of the first


detailed allegations against the three journalists today. Up for


questioning was the lead investigator in the case. He was


asked a direct question about the bureau chief for Al Jazeera English


here in Egypt's. He was asked if he is a member of the Muslim


Brotherhood. The policeman responded that as long as he was supporting


them then he was a member of the group. They all deny the terrorism


charges. I spoke to Peter Greste at the end of the child -- trial. He


said the men were doing well but they had been incarcerated for 66


days. He says they are political prisoners, caught in a battle


between the government of the jet and the government of Qatar that


owns the Al Jazeera network. The trial still has some way to go.


Peter Greste said to us that he hopes for more support from the


Australian government. He thinks the Prime Minister there could do more


to help the man. More witnesses will be called. At least four more are


expected but they will not be heard from and to March 24 when the


hearings resume. The Israeli military says it has


seized a ship carrying rockets made in Syria that was heading towards


Gaza. The cargo ship was intercepted in the Red Sea. Israel says it began


tracking the missiles several months ago as they were flown from Damascus


to Tehran. Yolande Knell reports. This footage shows Israeli marines


inspecting a rocket in the hold of a ship. The Israeli military says it


is a Syrian made surface to surface missile and that dozens were found


on board a cargo ship that it intercepted in the red Sea. Israeli


intelligence is understood to have tracked the shipment over months. It


says the rockets were moved from Damascus airport to Teheran and then


taken to a port in southern Iran. From there it is said they were


placed on a civilian vessel which sales to Iraq. Finally the ship was


intercepted by Israeli naval forces in international waters on its way


to Sudan. Add a news conference journalists were told that the


rockets were bound for militants in Gaza. If they had reached their


destination it would have meant that millions of a stray leaves were at


the mercy of the terrorists in Gaza. -- millions of Israelis. That


is what we set out to stop. Israel blames Iran for supplying the


weapons because these cement bags were found with them. The Prime


Minister that is in the US pressing for tougher international action on


Iran was quick to clandestine operation was organised by Iran.


While Iran is conducting these plots and smiling to the international


community it continues to perpetrate terrorism around the world. The


government in Gaza denies any link to these rockets but Iran has not


commented. The crew of the ship is being questioned.


Now a look at some of the day's other news.


Pope Francis has strongly defended the record of the Catholic Church on


tackling the sexual abuse of children by priests. In a rare


interview with an Italian newspaper the Pope said no-one had done more


to root out paedophilia. Last month the United Nations strongly


criticised the Vatican for failing to stamp out child abuse and for


allowing systematic cover-ups. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab


Emirates and Bahrain have withdrawn their ambassadors to Qatar. It's in


protest at what they've called its interference in their internal


affairs. The three countries accuse Qatar of failing to implement a


security deal signed last year stipulating non-interference in each


other's affairs, including support to hostile media.


A big parade in Venezuela's capital, Caracas, has marked the first


anniversary of the death of the former president Hugo Chavez who led


the country for 14 years. Thousands of troops and supporters took part.


The commemoration comes at a time of high tension. Mr Chavez's successor


Nicolas Maduro has faced a month of protests and demonstrators say they


will be back on the streets during the day.


Across the United States, in fact in 17 states so far, there've been


efforts to decriminalise marijuana and now that campaign has come to


the US capital. A bill passed by the council in Washington DC may mean it


will no longer be a criminal offence to possess and smoke marijuana in


the privacy of one's own home. Michael Collins works with the Drug


Policy Alliance and joins me now from Washington. A favourite treat


-- decriminalisation. Thank you for being with us. We should make it


clear that this is not about being allowed to smoke marijuana in the


streets of the US capital but do you think it is a significant step in


decriminalisation terms? Yes, it is a huge step forward for the capital


of the United States and a huge step forward towards ending what is a


failure, the war on drugs. I think that the interesting thing about the


Washington, DC initiative is that the arguments used to persuade the


council members to vote in favour of decriminalisation were ones that


involved racial justice because inside the nation's B majority of


people who are arrested for crimes related to marijuana are people of


colour and the council members voting in favour agreed that the law


was unjust and racially -- unjust and racially biased. So it is not


just a drugs or medical issue, it is seen as a civil rights issue as


well. Absolutely. Other states such as Colorado and Washington that have


legalised marijuana and taken steps towards decriminalisation have used


different arguments that have been more persuasive. In Colorado and


Washington there was a huge debate about using the money from taxation


towards education but in Washington, DC the prevalent debate revolved


around civil liberties and the fact that the laws in Washington, DC


adversely affect minorities, people of colour and people of low income


so they were seen as being in complete -- completely unjust. This


could change police priorities? We hope so. We think it is a waste of


time for police to be going after low-level drug users, marijuana


users. The resources would be better spent on serious crimes and we are


very pleased that the City Council agreed with us. Where next do you


think such initiatives are likely to come up? We have covered Colorado


where voters have legalised the sale of marijuana and where else in the


United States is the issue coming to the fore? Perhaps in Washington, DC


this year we will go a step further. The decision has not been


made yet but perhaps we will see a referendum on full legalisation.


There are initiatives being prepared this year for Oregon and Alaska. In


2016 you will see a number of other states putting legalisation there.


In Colorado the train has left the station. There is a lot of momentum


around marijuana legalisation. People have crossed the Rubicon. A


lot of other states are looking at marijuana legalisation as a way to


increase their revenue for budgets and so we have no doubt that the we


are going to see this movement spread elsewhere. We will watch this


developing story. Thank you. A 13-year-old British boy has become


the youngest person ever to successfully carry out atomic


fusion. Today Jamie Edwards showed off his experiment for the first


time and proved that it really worked. Our correspondent Danny


Savage was there. A school classroom in Preston is not


the first place you would expect to see a nuclear reactor but yes, this


is a 13-year-old who has built one. Jamie Edwards today attempted to be


the youngest fusion era in the world by smashing two hydrogen atoms


together, making helium through nuclear fusion. I need to ask you


all to leave... It is not without its risks so the room was cleared


although we left the camera running and after a few minutes. I heard the


geiger counter rapidly go up and I thought, what is that? Then I looked


over and the neutron counter was write-up of the scale. I've realised


we must have done it, that is neutrons, I cannot believe it. His


mum watched on from outside, hoping that practical science did not turn


into horrible histories. Relief that it is safe and he is all right and


he has achieved what he wanted to achieve. I am really relieved at the


moment. Radiation is measured with a geiger counter and a couple of


Christmases ago Jamie spent all his Christmas money on buying a geiger


counter. He has since gone on to develop this project to become the


youngest fusion era in the world. The previous record was held by a


14-year-old in America. Jamie turns 14 this weekend so he had to get it


done today. For his next trick Jamie plans and mini hadron Collider.


That makes the rest of us feel very inadequate!


The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has held meetings with his


Russian counterpart in Paris. The highest level diplomatic encounter


since the Ukraine crisis escalated. The Russian Foreign Minister left


the French following mirrors/ -- French Foreign Ministry today


without having held a hoped-for meeting with his Ukrainian


counterpart, hoped for by the Ukrainians anyway. The UN


representative in the Crimea was forced to cut his mission short


after being threatened by armed men as he left the naval headquarters in


the regional capital. Thank you for being with us.


Hallo. An area of high pressure is going to build in next week and


bring some dry weather. Tomorrow there is more rain to come. There


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