18/03/2014 World News Today


18/03/2014

The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


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

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redraws the map, signing a bill to take Crimea from Ukraine back into

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the hands of Russia. TRANSLATION: In the hearts and minds of our people,

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Crimea has always been part of Russia.

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In Red Square, thousands of Russians celebrate an historic day - as the

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US vice-president declares the move to be "nothing more than a land

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grab". As the search area for the missing

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Malaysia Airlines plane widens, relatives of Chinese passengers

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threaten a hunger strike, desperate for more accurate information.

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It's called Operation Punch - but is the police crackdown on gangs in the

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capital of Congo, Kinshasa, going too far?

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And how safe is it to trade breast milk online - with more women

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turning to the internet to sell their excess supplies?

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Hello and welcome. Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has

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signed a treaty paving the way for Crimea to become part of Russia -

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again. He won a standing ovation in the Russian Parliament, where he

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declared that in the hearts and minds of the people, Crimea had

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always been Russian. Although he said he had no plans to annex more

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of Ukraine, he did describe Russia and Ukraine as "one nation" and

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warned Western powers their sanctions would have no effect. From

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Moscow, here's Daniel Sandford. In the imperial splendour, a defiant

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President Putin entrance to a fanfare. Today, in the Kremlin, the

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historic seat of power, he was expanding Russia's borders for the

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first time in 70 years, welcoming back the former jewel in the crown

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of the Russian Empire. TRANSLATION: In the hearts and minds

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of our people, Crimea has always been an inalienable part of Russia.

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This is an unshakeable conviction, transferred from generation to

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generation, unshaken by time and by circumstance. Time and again, the

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audience of MPs rose to applaud him. He accused the West of acting

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irresponsibly, aggressively and the critically in Ukraine, but promised

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he was not interested in annexing any more to a tree. TRANSLATION: I

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want you to hear me, dear friends. Don't trust those who frighten you

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about Russia, those who say that Crimea will be followed by other

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regions. We don't want Ukraine to be split. Then, he signed a treaty with

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the new Crimea leadership beginning the process of joining the strategic

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peninsula to the Russian Federation. It could all be over by the end of

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this week. The Russian national anthem brought to a close a ceremony

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that went ahead despite the intense objections of Ukraine, American

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accusations of a land grab and what is sure to be a period of

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international isolation. And as the crowd on Red Square

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shouted, Russia, Russia, President Putin told them that Crimea had

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returned to its home port. The annexation of Crimea has moved with

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breathtaking speed, three weeks, from start to finish. The world has

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condemned it, but many Russians see it as an end to a historic mistake,

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an end to a quarter of a century of decline. But as Ukrainian troops

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massed on the border with Crimea, there are reports of a Ukrainian

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soldier being shot dead in his base in the peninsula, which brought this

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warning from the Prime Minister. TRANSLATION: Now, the conflict is

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shifting from a political to a military phase. Russian soldiers

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have started shooting at Ukrainian servicemen. But in Russia, the

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annexation of Crimea is being hailed as a triumph. They know there will

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be a price, but they have calculated it is a price worth paying.

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Ukraine says that pro-Russian gunmen have today invaded one of its

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military bases in Crimea, killing one serviceman and badly injuring

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another. We'll have more on that later in the programme. But let's

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bring you more now on President's Putin's intentions. A short time

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ago, in an exclusive interview with the BBC's Hardtalk, his spokesman

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Dmitry Peskov called for better protection for Russian speakers

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living in the east of Ukraine. First of all, we do expect some measures

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from those people who call themselves the Ukrainian government.

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And we do expect the Western community to be begging those people

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to take effective measures in order to protect those people living in

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the Eastern regions of Ukraine. Because at the same time, we are

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hearing reports about clashes in Kharkiv, an Eastern city of

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Ukraine, and so, there are clashes and sounds of gunfire, and also,

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some reports about one or two people being wounded. Those clashes between

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military government, extremists, coming from Western regions. So, we

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do expect the Ukrainian government to protect the Russian population,

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otherwise Russia simply cannot stay without reaction. We will have to

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react. We will have two protect Russians, and also Ukrainians,

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living there. To discuss President Putin's

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strategy, and international reaction, we're joined from

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Washington by Cliff Kupchan, head of the Russia and Eurasia Team at the

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consulting firm Eurasia Group. Thank you for being with us. Mr Putin

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today looked pretty triumphant - do you think he is likely to stop here

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or does he have ambitions to go further? This, for President Putin,

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is it out Ukraine, it is not about Crimea. -- is about Ukraine. He will

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insist upon Ukraine adopting a neutralised status, he will insist

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upon the decentralisation of Ukraine, so that Ukraine -- so that

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Russia can, as his spokesman said, protect the lives of ethnic Russians

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in a decentralised Ukraine. Now, I do not think he is going to get a

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decentralised Ukraine. On Thursday, the European Union will enter into

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an agreement which will draw it ever closer to Ukraine. So, this is about

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Ukraine. So, for those who might say, well, Crimea can be made out to

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be a special case, perhaps Mr Putin will stop there, and perhaps he

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would not have the support of the Russian publics to go any further,

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that is too much wishful thinking for an easy life? Well, I am scared

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that we are going to fall into the same Putin trap that we fell into

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about 2.5 weeks ago. In my view, the US Government and the policy

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community in the West thought that Putin would never use force to get

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Crimea. Well, he did. I have met with this man many times. The roomy

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ferocious in many senses, he is very bright, but he wants what he wants.

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It is very clear that it does not want Ukraine to go into another

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sphere of influence. It would be very dangerous to think that now

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that he has got Crimea, he is fed, and it is over. That is just wrong.

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So what in your view is the best way for Washington and the West to

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approach Mr Putin now? Well, so far, I think we are doing pretty well. It

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is not obvious to me that all that President Putin is doing what I

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would call a rational cost benefit analysis of his game. I think he

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wants influence over Ukraine. Whether that means the shedding of

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blood or whether it means economic pain on Russia, he is willing to

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absorb it. Over time, as the West makes clear that if he goes further,

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he could be vulnerable to Iran-like sanctions, or even the annexation of

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Ukraine, many of his closest associates could come under

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sanction, as well as Russian companies. I think that would be a

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significant push back and could deter him from further action. We

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have heard very strong words from John Kerry, the Secretary of State,

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over the last couple of weeks, and today from Vice President Joe Biden

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is there a danger, though, in the level of their rhetoric, if they

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cannot really follow through? There is always a danger of miscalculation

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and action and we action, but look, what is the US supposed to do?

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Russia just dismembered a nation state. Strong push back and

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deterrent is what we need to do, in my view. And I do not think there is

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nothing we can do. The US has tremendous financial diplomacy at

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its disposal. The United States just took Iran off-line, its economy

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contracted by 6%. Mr Putin had better read up on what US financial

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sanctions can do if they are in plummeted. So, I do think the United

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States is headed down the right path and I do think there is a great deal

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we can do if this gets worse. Thank you very much.

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11 days on, 239 people missing, and still we're all searching for clues

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about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Some of the relatives of

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Chinese passengers are so angry at the lack of accurate information

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that they're threatening a hunger strike. Meanwhile, the search has

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expanded to cover a huge area of nearly 2.25 million square miles.

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Malaysia's Transport Minister says all 26 countries along the search

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zones need to co-operate closely if the search is to succeed. But as our

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correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes discovered today, politics is

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already getting in the way. Somewhere over the Indian Ocean, an

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American search plane has just spotted an oil slick on the surface

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of the water. The pilot sweeps loafer another pass. In the back,

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the crewmember drops a sonar device which can detect a plane's emergency

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transmitter deep beneath the water. In the hunt for Malaysia Airlines MH

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370, planes like this can make a huge difference. The Malaysian

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government today said the search area is now as big as Australia, and

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it needs more help. The search area is now 2.24 million square nautical

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miles. This is an enormous search area. It is something which Malaysia

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cannot possibly search on its own. And therefore, we are pleased that

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so many countries have come forward to offer assistance and support in

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the search and rescue operation. But at this air base near Kuala Lumpur

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today, much of that international support was sitting on the ground,

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unable to fly. We were supposed to take off more than 7.5 hours ago, in

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one of these Japanese search aircraft. By now we should have been

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well out over the Indian Ocean, south of Java, flying a grid search

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pattern, hunting for signs of Flight MH370. We are obviously not. That is

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because we have been waiting here all day for the Indonesian

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government to give permission for these foreign military aircraft to

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overfly their territory. International politics could now be

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the biggest obstacle to finding Flight MH370. The northern search

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area straddles Burma, India, China and Pakistan. None of these

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countries are likely to allow military overflights. Time to find

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the Malaysian aircraft is rapidly ticking away. The plane's so-called

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black box flight recorders will continue to put out a signal for

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just 30 days. In 11 of those days are already gone. The search has

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hardly got off the ground. Now a look at some of the day's

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other news: On the 12th day of the trial of Oscar Pistorius in

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Pretoria, the court was shown photographs of the bloody scene at

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the athlete's home, and a police ballistics expert described how he

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tried to reconstruct the angle of the gunfire on the night Pistorius

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killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

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He denies her murder. New information on human rights

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violations in Syria suggests civilians are increasingly being

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targeted by both sides. United Nations investigators say they have

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evidence that jihadist rebel groups have carried out mass executions of

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civilian detainees. And they say government forces have increased the

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use of barrel bombs, which the UN says are designed to spread terror

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among the population. And the Rolling Stones have

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cancelled the rest of their tour in Australia and New Zealand following

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the death of Mick Jagger's partner L'Wren Scott. The US fashion

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designer was found dead in her New York apartment on Monday - she'd

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apparently committed suicide. In Kinshasa, the capital of the

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Democratic Republic of Congo, the police are going after the city's

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dangerous street gangs. The authorities say the operation has

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already proved successful because many of the young men who used to

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kill, loot, and rape are nowhere to be seen. But human rights groups

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claim hundreds of young men have been arbitrarily executed by

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policemen. The BBC's Maud Jullien sent us this report from Kinshasa.

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It is place although that this was once a dangerous part of kin

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Chasseur. For years residents were afraid to carry money or phones in

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their pockets after dark, women worth afraid of getting rate. --

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where afraid. TRANSLATION:. It was very difficult here at first, they

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would through broken bottles and often we had to close shop and go

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home. But in the past few months, life has become easier. Behind this

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change operation is this man. This footage from local television shows

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how the police target street gangs. Human rights organisations are

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accusing policeman being behind the disappearance of over 100 young men.

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I am standing on a football field where I am told a young man was

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killed is. Apparently there was a police truck right here and the

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young man was standing right next to that pull over there. He was shot

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three times in the skull and I am told executions like these were not

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rear during this operation. -- not rare. All his father has this

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photograph of him which was taken after he had died. His father did

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not want to be identified. He said his son was killed by policeman. We

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did not know where our son was taken. We know he was killed by a

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policeman who took issue with them for personal reasons. The Congolese

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government has hailed the operation as a success and has decided to

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continue with that. The head of the country's police admits there was

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some abuse by his staff but he said there were no murders and that all

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those responsible have been taken to court. Some policemen have been

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sentenced to death, they are in prison for life for acts committed

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in this operation. We cannot tolerate criminals within the police

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service who remain. The operation may have helped clear the streets of

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gangs, but it's brittle excesses have left heartbreak for many

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families. Let's go back to top story, today

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President Putin noted that no shots had been fired over the annexation

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of Crimea. But within hours it seemed that shots had been fired to

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deadly effect. The BBC's Ben Brown is at the base in Simferopol. What

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do we know happened there? We do not know anything for at salute these --

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for absolute certainty. The Ukrainian government has said this.

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Let me run you through what they are saying, they are saying this base

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behind me, not a high-profile military base, there were -- was

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some sort of assault on the base by men in masks. We think perhaps

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pro-Russian volunteers rather than conventional Russian army to its,

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but we do not know that for sure. But one Ukrainian army officer

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killed. He was shot dead. Another officer wounded in the neck and

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arm. He was a captain. Another Ukrainian army officer or soldier at

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least also wounded. He was attacked, said by the Ukrainian government, by

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Iron Dome is. And the other troops there, they had their weapons and

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their IDs, they were concentrated and taken away. -- confiscated.

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People have seen that Crimea will be Russian again. You can sum up the

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mood there. The mood here is, I think amongst

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the Russian people here, it is very jubilant. There were not well

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jubilation is here today. There were celebrations after the referendum.

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People sang and danced and wave their flags. There is real concern

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now, they will feel that they are in a foreign country, they are in

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Russia effectively now, and they are nervous. Some have been packing up

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and leaving Crimea altogether. Thank you very much.

:19:36.:19:40.

A referendum on Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom

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is now exactly six months away, and both the Independence and the

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"Better Together" campaigers know that large numbers are still

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undecided. On the 18th of September, they'll be

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asked the "Yes/No" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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Well, following What Scotland Thinks is John Curtice, Professor of

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Politics at the University of Strathclyde, who joins me now from

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Glasgow. How would you say that opinion is

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divided right now? The truth is that the opinion polls show that the no

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side, those people who want to stay inside United Kingdom, are head. But

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they also suggest that there is no narrow lead before Christmas. If you

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take the average of the opinion polls, once you take out the

:20:28.:20:32.

dominoes and undecided, we're looking at a figure of around 58%

:20:33.:20:38.

for the no side, do the same calculations for the second half of

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last year, you were looking at 61% no, 39% yes. The yes side have made

:20:45.:20:50.

and bands of around two to three points. It is giving them some hope

:20:51.:20:59.

but -- that the opinion polls have started to move in their direction.

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And in six months they could close the 8-point gap that stands between

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them and the magic 50% figure. How much is this about where Scots will

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be better off, outside or within the United Kingdom? Undoubtedly this is

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a central issue in the campaign. It is the basics and the framework on

:21:21.:21:25.

which people are looking at the campaign. It is about how Scottish

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or British you feel. If you feel more Scottish, you feel more

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sympathetic to the referendum. Given that many people in Scotland feel a

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mix of Scottish and British, they are having to resolve the choice

:21:43.:21:50.

between -- put in front of them. Out of all the consequences, the one

:21:51.:21:54.

that seems to matter most to voters is whether or not they think

:21:55.:21:58.

independence will be good for the country's economy and or bad. The

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problem the yes side face is that although they may have some progress

:22:03.:22:07.

and have persuaded some people in Scotland that independence would be

:22:08.:22:12.

a good idea, there are still more people has a mystic about the

:22:13.:22:16.

consequences of independence than optimistic. Certainly they will have

:22:17.:22:20.

to change those numbers around if Scotland is going to vote in favour

:22:21.:22:35.

of independence. -- optimistic. We have a referendum on whether a part

:22:36.:22:39.

of a country should leave not. It is all being done by agreement. Spain

:22:40.:22:44.

in particular is rather nervous about this because it faces its own

:22:45.:22:48.

issues, particularly in Catalonia where there is a majority in the

:22:49.:22:54.

Parliament of holding a referendum. In Spain, the view of the central

:22:55.:23:01.

government is -- in Madrid, no individual party can hold a

:23:02.:23:07.

referendum on leaving the country, therefore Madrid and Barcelona are

:23:08.:23:14.

at logger heads. But here the process has been agreed. Thank you.

:23:15.:23:24.

Breast milk is often called liquid gold because of its unmatched health

:23:25.:23:27.

benefits for babies. But it's becoming gold in another sense as

:23:28.:23:31.

well - as a growing number of women use the internet to sell their

:23:32.:23:34.

excess milk. The demand is there, not just from mothers who can't

:23:35.:23:38.

supply their own babies, but from fathers too. From New York, Nada

:23:39.:23:41.

Tawfik reports. This couple raising their

:23:42.:23:48.

seven-month-old son on one income. With times tough and expensive

:23:49.:23:52.

growing, she found a creative way to earn extra money. Staying at home

:23:53.:23:58.

takes away income from our home. I racked my brain for all the things I

:23:59.:24:04.

could do from home and I stumbled on selling my breastmilk. So I figured

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why not. This is the stash I have been building. At $2 an ounce, her

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breastmilk gets the family an extra $100 a week. Money she says that she

:24:18.:24:23.

can spend on groceries or meals. Her ad on this website is one of

:24:24.:24:27.

hundreds from others who see an opportunity where there is demand.

:24:28.:24:37.

And not just from women. Partners Mark and brain connected with women

:24:38.:24:43.

on line Udine to their breast milk. Their twins were felt -- fed with

:24:44.:24:49.

that milk from the day there were born. There was an appealing option

:24:50.:24:55.

to be able to do this. It was something we never thought we were

:24:56.:25:03.

able to do, having the boys. In the United States, 80% of pregnant women

:25:04.:25:08.

come into hospital saying they will nurse their babies. That is proof

:25:09.:25:14.

that baby -- people recognise the benefits of breastmilk. But when

:25:15.:25:17.

that milk is obtained over the Internet, officials risk that the --

:25:18.:25:28.

won the risks might outweigh the benefits. This woman says it is a

:25:29.:25:33.

growing trend in period should be aware of potential risks. It can

:25:34.:25:43.

contain viruses, such as aids or hypertensives -- hepatitis. You do

:25:44.:25:46.

not know of this milk is drugs and, medications that the woman is taking

:25:47.:25:51.

or illicit drugs in it. There is no way to know these things. Baby keys

:25:52.:25:57.

losses mother's milk and she hopes that by selling online any -- many

:25:58.:26:02.

other babies will benefit from it too. -- baby 's lives.

:26:03.:26:15.

We've now found out who scooped one of Britain's biggest lottery

:26:16.:26:18.

jackpots. A car mechanic from South London, Neil Trotter, who's 41, won

:26:19.:26:21.

almost ?108 million in Friday's Euromillions draw. He now plans to

:26:22.:26:25.

give up his job and focus on his passion for car racing. He said

:26:26.:26:29.

today he's going to need a lot of garage space - as he's planning to

:26:30.:26:32.

buy a fleet of supercars. Let's remind you of main headline.

:26:33.:26:37.

Ukraine's defence ministry says one of its soldiers has been killed and

:26:38.:26:41.

another injured in a raid on a military base in Crimea. You're

:26:42.:26:45.

watching World News Today, thank you for being with us.

:26:46.:26:50.

Mild-to-moderate, and staying pretty breezy. For most places it will be a

:26:51.:27:07.

fine day tomorrow. Hazy sunshine developing,

:27:08.:27:10.

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