14/03/2014 World News Today


14/03/2014

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This is BBC World News Today with me, Zeinab Badawi. Two days before

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the referendum in Crimea that could see the region breakaway from

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Ukraine and re-join Russia, Moscow ignores US calls for it to respect

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Ukraine's territorial integrity. A handshake but no common vision on

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Ukraine, says Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during talks

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in London with his American counterpart.

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We do not have a common vision of the situation. The differences are

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there, but the dialogue was definitely constructive.

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We believe the referendum is contrary to the constitution of

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Ukraine, is contrary to international law, is in violation

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of that law and we believe it is illegitimate.

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We're marking the third aniversary of the start of the conflict in

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Syria. We ask what hope is there of a diplomatic solution with the

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different sides showing little appetite for compromise.

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An automatic signal from the missing Malaysian airliner suggests it flew

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on for five hours after air traffic control lost contact with it.

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And remembering one of Britain's political giants: Tony Benn -

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towering figure of the radical left - has died.

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Hello and welcome. The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei

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Lavrov, and the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, had six hours of

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talks today on Ukraine - including a walk together in the sun in the

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grounds of the US ambassador's residence in London. But even with

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the threat of extensive US and EU sanctions hanging over it, Moscow

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was not budging on its support for the referendum on Sunday in Crimea,

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which will allow the region to break away from Ukraine. Washington says

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it is regrettable that Russia has chosen not to de-escalate tensions

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in Crimea. An intensive six hours of talks in

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the sunshine of the US Ambassador's London garden. At stake, the future

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of relations between the West and Russia. At the end of it, no

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narrowing of the gap over Ukraine's future. The urgency is the

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referendum planned for Sunday in Crimea. The region could either

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break away from Ukraine even opt to join Russia. People in the West are

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saying this would be illegal and a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.

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With preparations under way, there seems little chance of it being

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called off. John Kerry flew to London for one last attempt. And to

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warn his Russian counterpart that if Crimea is effectively annexed by

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Russia, there will be serious consequences. We believe that the

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decision to put for word this by Russia and to ratify the boat, this

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would be a back door annexation of Crimea and would be against

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international law. Sergei Lavrov said that

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disagreements remain and indicated that if Crimea votes to join Russia

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in Moscow will not stand in its way. Do you expect Crimea to become

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independent or to become part of the Russian Federation? TRANSLATION: As

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for the referendum, I and President Putin have said that we will respect

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the choice of the Crimean people and will make clear our position once

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the outcome of the referendum is known.

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It is clear that these last-ditch talks have gotten nowhere and

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there's nothing that the West can do if the Russians because of Crimea

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were to break away and join Russia. The stage is set for new western

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sanctions against Russia next week and a deterioration further

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East-West relations. Who knows what the consequences will be? And,

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immediately a further worry. Violence in eastern Ukraine last

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night. Sergei Lavrov said that Russia has no plans to intervene.

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But his Foreign Ministry warned that Russia reserves the right to protect

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its compatriots. A worrying hint of possible things to come.

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Bridget Kendall joins us now. Presumably people are waiting to see

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what the results are? In particular, whether Russia may wish

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to annex Crimea? Sergei Lavrov said in public and

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private to John Kerry, that would meet its nuclear ones the referendum

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has happened. I do not think that is a sign that there could still be a

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way out of this. That is simply Russia being procedural. It does not

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want to pre-empt what the people of crime yesterday. I asked him, as you

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heard on the report, what will happen? He said that they would

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respect the Crimean people. Crimea is lost to Ukraine. It will join

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Russia and the West sees this as annexation. Russia sees it as the

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Crimean people exercising their right to self-determination. If that

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happens, if the referendum goes ahead, then there will be more

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sanctions. EU ambassadors will be gathering on Sunday to prepare for

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the talks on Monday which may trigger these abounds for officials.

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-- bans on visas. That also includes Germany. It has

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strengthened its position. Yes, Angela Merkel has toughened her

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position. She has previously been a peacemaker but she clearly has an

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arrangement, a relationship with President Putin. She has spoken to

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him on the phone. She speaks in Russian and he speaks

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in German, apparently. Yes, they have the languages and a

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relationship but you have seen that Germany has no hard its position.

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Europe is very alarmed. Russia sending its troops into Crimea and

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training taking place on the border with eastern Ukraine, as he saw in

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the report, is a sign of trouble. This will be seen as a pretext. A

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new statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry said that they

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reserve the right to protect compatriots. That is worrying.

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Although, Sergei Lavrov seems to have reassured John Kerry that

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Russia does not plan to intervene. But things change quickly.

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Do you see any potential for movement on either side? There was a

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change in tone with John Kerry. He said that Crimea has a special

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status for the Russians. John Kerry came with a proposal

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which was that if you do not annex Crimea then maybe Kiev will allow

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greater autonomy. The new Ukrainian Prime Minister, the interim Prime

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Minister, was in Washington yesterday. But I think what was

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interesting was that it took six hours today for these talks. It was

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fairly congenial also. They had different visions but they did shake

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hands. They both do not want to stop the diplomatic track. 's the body

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language is good. They are smiling at each other. Shaking hands.

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Yes. This is not a break-up of a relationship. Even a personal level,

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between Russia the West. But once the sanctions that chicken, Russia

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will retaliate. They have said there will be reciprocal actions. That

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will ratchet up the tension. Whether schools now, is well...

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They said it was regret regrettable. We are going to be

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asking where diplomacy is in the Syrian situation. To mark this grim

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milestone, we have gained rare access to a new front in the war, in

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the north-east of Syria. The Kurdish population they are clashed daily,

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not with the regime, but with Islamist and other rebel groups.

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Killed by a suicide bomber. Another gunfight is given an emotional

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funeral. This person is among more than 500 who have died in the

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struggle with Islamic extremists, not the Assad regime. This part of

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Syria is controlled by the cards. We have rare clips of women fighters.

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-- this part of Syria is controlled by the Kurdish people.

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You cold-blooded British, you are sending us the scum of Britain and

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Europe. And all in the name of Islam. They grow their beards but

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they have nothing to do with Islam. This Islamic group is more extreme

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than Al-Qaeda and are on the offensive here. This mosque was

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virtually demolished when the attack a village recently. It belonged to a

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sect of Islam they do not like. This was not random damage, this was

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wholesale and absolutely systematic destruction of the mosque. There is

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virtually nothing left. For most Muslims it is the ultimate insult to

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burn the Koran. The Kurdish people are back in control of that village

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but it is still problematic. The struggle is also about the oil that

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abounds here. Gangs fight over it at night. By day, home-made mini

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refineries pumping pollution. This nearby village was occupied for six

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months last year by an official Al-Qaeda group in Syria. Kurdish

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forces got them out. The villagers say they were glad to see the back

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of them. TRANSLATION: When we were attacked, the village fled. If they

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were here, you would not last five minutes.

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The Kurdish people showed us a jail for captured militants. A group of

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prisoners paraded for cameras. They were all Syrians from ices or

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Al-Qaeda and we were not allowed to speak to them. But we were shown

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people with papers from several countries. They found on the bodies

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of Islamist fighters. Evidence of outside involvement in Syria's war.

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This is a war with any words. Kurdish people fighting Islamic

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extremists while the regime watches on. Like the wider war, it shows no

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sign of ending, as Syria moves further deeper into conflict and

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disintegration. We can now speak to Andrew Tabler, a

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Syria specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East policy. On

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this grim anniversary, I would like to ask you where we are at

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diplomatically in trying to find a resolution?

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Were at a dead stop. The recent peace talks in Geneva and Montreux,

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came up with no solution. The deal was between Russia and the United

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States that the United States would deliver the opposition and the

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Russians would deliver the regime and they would hammer out a

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transitional Government, based on the Geneva communique. The regime

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refuses to discuss it. It only once talk about fighting terrorism.

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Therefore, the talks broke down. Special representative Dave a top to

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the Security Council yesterday and his words back that up to stop why

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do you suppose the international community has lost the momentum a

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bit in trying to bring the Geneva talks back to any kind of meaningful

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pathway? Is it because of Ukraine? Is the

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situation simply too difficult? The regime simply will not discuss

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it. It is a strange situation where everybody realises that the only way

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to peace Syria together again is through a transition, the bona fides

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transition. Unfortunately that is simply not happening. Particularly

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for the Russian side, there has been no pressure placed on the Assad

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regime to comply. And that, I think, has led to the current breakdown in

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talks. Is there also a sense, which some

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people in Washington have expressed, of concern about certain elements in

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the opposition being Islamist? Even jihadist West were hanging on?

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Yes. I think that particularly among the Sunni opposition it is extremely

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chaotic. Not just on the extremist side, but there are literally

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hundreds of groups and I think that in the absence of a coherent

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structure, but people can trust, the height next to a very brittle leader

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like President Assad. -- a very brittle leader. It is one that is

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not easily rectified. Thus far, the only programme that President Assad

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has put forward to try and change this is his transition, his third

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re-election as president of Syria. I have observed a number of elections

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in my life and really, the elections there are just a big joke. President

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Assad won the last election by 97%. Quite overwhelming. Do you see the

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friends of Syria, perhaps, using military force in some shape or

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form? I do not mean in the way of boots on the ground, but perhaps a

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no-fly zone? Unfortunately, I do not see that. I see consensus where, the

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regime is behind on delivering chemical weapons and there is

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international agreement if they do not comply, there could be military

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strikes, but until now, we do not have the strong arguments for direct

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military intervention. People are suffering in the meantime and we

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will see how much the international community can stomach this. We still

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have a way to go before intervention is likely. Thank you for talking to

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us. And now some of the other news in

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brief. The police officer who initially investigated the death of

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Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend was cross-examined again today at the

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athlete's murder trial in Pretoria. He told the court that Pistorius had

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blood on his arm after shooting Reeva Steenkamp. Photos from the

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night, of the athlete with blood and of the gun were also shown in court.

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Pistorius denies intentionally killing his girlfriend.

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The president of Bayern Munich Uli Hoeness says he will not appeal

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against his conviction for tax evasion. He's been sentenced three

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and a half years in prison, for defrauding the German tax

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authorities out of more than $35 million. A former star player,

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Hoeness is stepping down immediately as president of Bayern Munich.

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Information has emerged that the the Malaysian airliner that has been

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missing for seven days sent routine automatic signals for several hours

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after the aircraft was reported lost. 239 people were on board.

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There is still no trace of the aircraft, and still no idea of what

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happened to it. The search area has widened again. That search began in

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the South China Sea. The authorities have since expanded that area

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several times. First to the Straits of Malacca, then they shifted focus

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toward the Andaman Islands. In the latest development, the search has

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stretched further west to include the Indian Ocean, as well as deeper

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into the South China Sea. Rupert Wingfield- Hayes sent this report

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from Kuala Lumpur. In Beijing today, but hostility

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towards Malaysia Airlines officials was palpable. One of the most

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important things Malaysia Airlines has been doing is not speculating.

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Nobody here is satisfied. How can love ones have simply disappeared?

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It is incomprehensible. Astonishingly, a week later, there

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is no trace of the flight. Today, the BBC confirmed the aeroplane

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continued sending out a signal, via satellite, for several hours after

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radar contact was lost. In the past 24 hours, we have seen a shift of

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resources, ships and aircraft from the original search area, in the

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Gulf of Thailand, over here, to the Straits of Malacca, and even far out

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into the Indian Ocean. The latest to join this shift has been the U.S.

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Navy, which is sending a destroyer to the Straits of Malacca today.

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What remains unclear is why. This captain was a Malaysia Airlines

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pilot for 35 years and says there is no way they are starting to search

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the Indian Ocean on a hunch. I have a feeling. This is not your own

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property. You are telling America, give me a ship, send it there. The

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British, probably, have you any ships around the area? Can you

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please send it now? It is our own property, we can do what we want.

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There must be a level of strong conviction that something has

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happened. Malaysia 's prime minister joined prayers for the missing. Many

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think is government knows much more about the fate of the flight than it

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is letting on. Our science correspondent has

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conducted his own research, looking at satellite systems on the flight.

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One of the systems was operated by the big London telecommunications

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company who confirmed their system was on board and they received

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automated signals. I understand they received the signals for up to five

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hours after the aircraft went out of Malaysia and S space. It is probable

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the information was automated, it does not really carry any real

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information. But the fact they received the signal means the plane

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must be intact and powered. It cannot have crashed.

:21:03.:21:09.

Jonathan Amis. -- Amos. The veteran British Labour

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politician Tony Benn has died at his home in London at the age of 88.

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Tony Benn was one of the most influential left- wing figures in

:21:22.:21:24.

British politics, and was a popular public speaker, anti-war campaigner

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and political diarist. He was a life-long Socialist and in a moment

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we will be discussing how relevant his kind of politics is in today's

:21:31.:21:33.

world, first Iain Watson looks back at his life. 100% support to those

:21:34.:21:40.

who do not, cannot, or, will not pay the poll tax. For much of his career

:21:41.:21:44.

he was seen as a left-wing firebrand, indulging in what he

:21:45.:21:48.

called extraparliamentary to the tee, or put simply taking the

:21:49.:21:54.

argument for socialism into the streets. -- activity. As Anthony

:21:55.:22:02.

Wedgwood Benn, he refused to inherit a title to become an MP. You have

:22:03.:22:14.

defeated the House of Lords. As a minister in the Wilson government he

:22:15.:22:17.

was seen as a modern eyes and technocrat and help to clear the

:22:18.:22:21.

supersonic Concorde project for take-off. He later said that Tony

:22:22.:22:36.

Benn later immature -- immatured with age. His critics say the

:22:37.:22:43.

deficiency highlighted help get labour from power the two decades.

:22:44.:22:47.

He argued the nationalisation of the Big Bang is and the withdrawal from

:22:48.:22:54.

the European Union. The Humphrey Applebys have got together. You

:22:55.:22:58.

cannot do this, Minister, because we agreed with the Dutch, and the

:22:59.:23:03.

Belgians and the Italians, and so the minister has no power anyway. In

:23:04.:23:09.

2001 he said he was leaving Parliament to take up politics. He

:23:10.:23:13.

was a leading figure in the campaign to stop the Iraq war. People paid to

:23:14.:23:24.

hear his thoughts. Confirming he had completed the journey from radical

:23:25.:23:27.

to national institution. He chronicled contemporary events. Last

:23:28.:23:32.

year, he told the BBC he remained convinced politics should not be

:23:33.:23:37.

about shoddy compromise. My mother said to me that all decisions,

:23:38.:23:41.

including political, are basically moral, is it right, is it wrong? He

:23:42.:23:48.

often declared politics should be about policy as not personality.

:23:49.:23:53.

Today, Westminster lost one of its most distinctive and distinguished

:23:54.:24:00.

figures. With me is Hilary Wainwright,

:24:01.:24:03.

founding editor of the magazine Red Pepper, and an author and

:24:04.:24:06.

commentator on left-wing politics and social movements. Looking at the

:24:07.:24:12.

political beliefs Tony Benn had, socialism. A bit out of date today?

:24:13.:24:20.

I do not think so. His socialism was about people collaborating, acting

:24:21.:24:24.

collectively. It was not about the state. He believed in workers'

:24:25.:24:31.

control and industrial democracy. It was going back to original ideas of

:24:32.:24:38.

socialism as a form of collaboration and cooperation rather than the

:24:39.:24:45.

market ethos of individualism. Even countries who have socialist

:24:46.:24:49.

somewhere in their title, such as Cuba, with the socialist system,

:24:50.:24:54.

China, if you look at them now, especially the economic systems,

:24:55.:24:59.

they have embraced capitalism. I would not say capitalism. Market

:25:00.:25:08.

forces. It is a particular kind. The state still plays an important role.

:25:09.:25:13.

On the other hand, you have coming from the people, whether it is next

:25:14.:25:19.

to Wall Street, or the City of London here, all the squares of

:25:20.:25:25.

Spain and Greece, you have the emergence of incredibly strong,

:25:26.:25:29.

youthful movements, wanting a different system, which are clearly

:25:30.:25:33.

against capitalism and the kind of experiment with new kinds of collect

:25:34.:25:39.

to democracy, which is what Tony Benn would have looked towards and

:25:40.:25:48.

been inspired by. Is the term socialism an albatross, and people

:25:49.:25:54.

espouse socialism but the term is a bitch... ? I

:25:55.:26:03.

-- the term is a bit... It is the worship of capital. It is worth

:26:04.:26:19.

keeping alive. It is important to distinguish the social from the

:26:20.:26:23.

state. There have been many different forms of social and that

:26:24.:26:27.

should not be overwhelmed by simply the notion of the state. Tony Benn,

:26:28.:26:34.

he said the older he got the more of a socialist he was and that is

:26:35.:26:39.

unusual. Because he radicalised in office. He had a vision. He was

:26:40.:26:46.

blocked by business and the state. He was looking all the time for

:26:47.:26:51.

alternatives. That is it. Enjoy your weekend.

:26:52.:26:59.

With more of a breeze picking up, we have lost the risk of fog in the

:27:00.:27:07.

morning. Into the weekend, it is looking pretty decent the most.

:27:08.:27:11.

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