14/03/2014 World News Today


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


the referendum in Crimea that could see the region breakaway from


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


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


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


in London with his American counterpart.


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


there, but the dialogue was definitely constructive.


We believe the referendum is contrary to the constitution of


Ukraine, is contrary to international law, is in violation


of that law and we believe it is illegitimate.


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


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


different sides showing little appetite for compromise.


An automatic signal from the missing Malaysian airliner suggests it flew


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


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


towering figure of the radical left - has died.


Hello and welcome. The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in Crimea. An intensive six hours of talks in


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


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


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


referendum planned for Sunday in Crimea. The region could either


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


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


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


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


warn his Russian counterpart that if Crimea is effectively annexed by


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


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


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


international law. Sergei Lavrov said that


disagreements remain and indicated that if Crimea votes to join Russia


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


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


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


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


the outcome of the referendum is known.


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


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


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


sanctions against Russia next week and a deterioration further


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


immediately a further worry. Violence in eastern Ukraine last


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


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


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


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


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


to annex Crimea? Sergei Lavrov said in public and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


strengthened its position. Yes, Angela Merkel has toughened her


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


new statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry said that they


reserve the right to protect compatriots. That is worrying.


Although, Sergei Lavrov seems to have reassured John Kerry that


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


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


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


status for the Russians. John Kerry came with a proposal


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


wholesale and absolutely systematic destruction of the mosque. There is


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


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


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


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


refineries pumping pollution. This nearby village was occupied for six


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


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


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


were here, you would not last five minutes.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


disintegration. We can now speak to Andrew Tabler, a


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


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


diplomatically in trying to find a resolution?


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


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


States that the United States would deliver the opposition and the


Russians would deliver the regime and they would hammer out a


transitional Government, based on the Geneva communique. The regime


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


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


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


do you suppose the international community has lost the momentum a


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


pathway? Is it because of Ukraine? Is the


situation simply too difficult? The regime simply will not discuss


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


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


transition. Unfortunately that is simply not happening. Particularly


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


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


talks. Is there also a sense, which some


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


regime is behind on delivering chemical weapons and there is


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


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


military intervention. People are suffering in the meantime and we


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


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


us. And now some of the other news in


brief. The police officer who initially investigated the death of


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


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


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


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


Pistorius denies intentionally killing his girlfriend.


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


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


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


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


Hoeness is stepping down immediately as president of Bayern Munich.


Information has emerged that the the Malaysian airliner that has been


missing for seven days sent routine automatic signals for several hours


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


from Kuala Lumpur. In Beijing today, but hostility


towards Malaysia Airlines officials was palpable. One of the most


important things Malaysia Airlines has been doing is not speculating.


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


It is incomprehensible. Astonishingly, a week later, there


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


There must be a level of strong conviction that something has


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


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


is letting on. Our science correspondent has


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


One of the systems was operated by the big London telecommunications


company who confirmed their system was on board and they received


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


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


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


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


must be intact and powered. It cannot have crashed.


Jonathan Amis. -- Amos. The veteran British Labour


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


called extraparliamentary to the tee, or put simply taking the


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


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


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


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


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


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


deficiency highlighted help get labour from power the two decades.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to national institution. He chronicled contemporary events. Last


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


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


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


often declared politics should be about policy as not personality.


Today, Westminster lost one of its most distinctive and distinguished


figures. With me is Hilary Wainwright,


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


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


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


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


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


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


socialism as a form of collaboration and cooperation rather than the


market ethos of individualism. Even countries who have socialist


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


youthful movements, wanting a different system, which are clearly


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


alternatives. That is it. Enjoy your weekend.


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


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


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