27/03/2014 World News Today


27/03/2014

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This is BBC World News Today with me, Kasia Madera. Two of the world's

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most influential men leaders meet in Rome. Contentious issues like

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abortion were discussed when President Obama met Pope Francis -

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but their first meeting began with smiles and warm handshakes.

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Like people around the world I have been incredibly moved by his passion

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and message of inclusion. As the UN votes to declare Russia's

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annexation of Crimea illegal, a prominent Ukraine opposition leader

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says she'll run for president. Also coming up: First Twitter, now

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Youtube. Internet users in Turkey face another site ban. What's behind

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the Turkish governments latest attempt to restrict new media?

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It's official - the World Health Organisation declares its South East

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Asia region Polio-free, after no new cases were recorded in India In the

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past three years. Hello and welcome. Pope Francis has

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held his first ever meeting with President Obama. Their talks, at the

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Vatican, began with the US president describing himself as a great

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admirer of the Pope. After the meeting the Vatican confirmed that

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the issues raised included abortion and birth control. The BBC's Katty

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Kay in Rome. She is monitoring the historic meeting. Lots bringing

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these men together, but also a lot to divide them.

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Yes, welcome to a wet and rainy Vatican Square, but I must say it

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has not dampened the spirits of White House officials, glad that the

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meeting went on for one hour, feeling that there was more that

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united the men. Resident Obama made a point of saying that he and the

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Pope had not dwell on the social issues including contraception and

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abortion that divides them, the president and the White House keen

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to stress that it had been a successful meeting focusing on

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poverty, income inequality, and conflict around the world.

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The coming of the president. The American superpower engaging with

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the very different world of the Vatican. A place of time honoured

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tradition, centuries of faith and belief. Moving to the slow rhythm of

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ritual, the president came looking for an ally. He likes the Pope's

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style and says he is a man the world should listen to. He has praised the

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Pope's amendment to the struggle against global poverty. President

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Obama said that is his fight also and he is waging it back home in

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America. He hopes he can build an alliance based on a common concern

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for the plight of the poor. The smiles seemed promising. President

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Obama talked of his admiration for his host and thanked him for his

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audience. Then the men were left to discuss the affairs of a troubled

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world around them. Later, more tradition. An exchange of gifts.

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Nothing was said to the cameras about how the discussion had gone.

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After the president left, the Vatican made no mention of any

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emerging partnership between them in a war on poverty, it is said the

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talks focused more on tension between American Catholics and the

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White House. President Obama may not have got as much as he wanted out of

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his visit to the Vatican. Are they now divided or United? I am

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joined by the offer of a new book, the Vatican according to Francis.

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Much has been made over whether this was a construct of discussion

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focusing on the things that united them, or whether it was the social

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issues that divide them. What do you think?

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They both have much in common but this discussion was influenced by

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the American conference of Bishops. There is a scepticism on the part of

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Democrats towards American Catholic ships. -- Bishops. The holy see used

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the visit to redefine Pope Francis, perceived as a liberal in Western

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media. They are saying, on these issues, we are still there, Pope

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Francis is a Pope, not a liberal Pope.

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I spoke to a Vatican official who reiterated that, saying that they

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could not let resident away without raising social issues. But from the

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point of view of the White House, they were thrilled. If only for the

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photo opportunity. The length of the conversation means that they must

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have had something to say to each other. But I also think that the

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influence of American bishops is still very strong. This Pope had a

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need to demonstrate a personal understanding, but the holy see as

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such, they had to underline the differences. Not a disconnection,

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just a different role between the holy see officially, and the

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personal relationship between the Pope and the president.

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You have written a book about this Pope. Watching his body language,

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did you read anything into it? He seemed less enthusiastic, even

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personally, than the president. We must consider that the president

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needed this visit more than the Pope. And this Pope is Latin

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American. He has a different approach to the United States. He

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views the USA is a country that is the heartland of capitalism. And he

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has criticised the excesses of capitalism. For this reason, and the

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fact that President Obama reflects a Democratic administration, perhaps

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this Pope was more cautious. Thank you for joining us in a

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beautiful Saint Peters Square. A day of historic visit.

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A stunning location indeed. Moving on, Russia's annexation of Ukraine's

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Crimea region has been described as illegal in a resolution passed in

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the last few hours by the United Nations General Assembly in New

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York. Ukraine's Foreign Minister described Russia's action as the

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most flagrant violation of international law since the UN was

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founded. But the Russian ambassador called for respect for the voluntary

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choice of the overwhelming majority in Crimea. 100 nations voted for the

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resolution, with 11 against and 58 abstentions. In Ukraine, an

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opposition leader and former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, has

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announced she will run for president in the election in May. She was

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released from jail after President Viktor Yanukovich fled Kiev. She had

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been imprisoned in 2011 for alleged corruption, linked to a gas deal she

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brokered with Russia. David Stern is in Kiev. I want to talk about the

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United Nations vote, and also Yulia Tymoshenko in a moment. But first of

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all, you have some breaking news for us?

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Yes, I am just above the central square in Kiev, a large crowd had

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just marched from the square on the parliament. They are very aggressive

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and angry and are demanding the resignation of the Interior

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Minister. They are angry over the killing of a far right activists

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earlier this week. They are now outside the parliament, I was just

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over there, they are shouting, shame, alt with the gang. -- out.

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That was a slogan of the revolution, now it is being directed

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at parliamentarians. Very emotional and aggressive crowd.

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What did they make of this is UN vote, this non-binding vote?

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They see it more as a symbolic thing. It is non-binding. Although

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it was a strong vote with 100 members out of 193 voting for this,

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Ukrainian officials say this is another vote of confidence, of

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support, but the question is, what will anything do to de-escalate the

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tension? The government is looking toward the West, looking to

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sanctions, but there is a great deal of worry that Russia could exercise

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what it considers a right to intervene militarily in the eastern

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part of the country. Thank you very much.

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Now a look at some of the days other news. 90 people are still missing

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after a massive mudslide in Washington state on Saturday. The

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official death toll is 16 - a further eight bodies have been

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located but not recovered. Search crews are using dogs, bulldozers and

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their bare hands to clear the mud at the scene, 90 kilometres northeast

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of Seattle. After five days, rescuers say there's little hope of

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finding anyone else alive. The world's longest serving prisoner

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on death row has walked free from prison after having his conviction

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for murder overturned by a court in Japan. Iwao Hakamada - a former

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boxer - was sentenced to death in 1968. He'd been found guilty of

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murdering his boss, his wife and family. He'll now face a re-trial.

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Ed Miliband has led the tributes at the funeral of veteran Labour

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politician, Tony Benn. He died earlier this month at the age of 88.

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Turkey has blocked access to the video-sharing website YouTube - and

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that's just a day after a Turkish court suspended a ban on Twitter

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that had been supported by the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The

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action against Youtube was taken after an audio recording was posted

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which was said to be of ministers discussing military operations in

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Syria. I am joined by the Opinion Editor with the English language

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Hurriyet Daily News, via webcam from Istanbul. What now? What is wrong

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with you Tube, put it into context for us?

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The Prime Minister had already talked about taking action against

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the website a couple of days ago, because after all, the audio

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recordings are targeting the Prime Minister and his environment,

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accusing them of bribery and corruption, they were on Youtube. So

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already, it was on the so-called hit list of the Prime Minister. But what

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triggered the bank today was a leakage of an audio recording. --

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ban. It was a recording of a very sensitive meeting between the

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foreign minister, his advisers, military representatives, and the

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chief of intelligence, talking about possible action against Syria. This

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is a very serious national security breach. That is why the government

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has taken the action of attempting to curb the website to prevent it

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spreading out. When we saw Twitter being banned,

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the Turkish people went around the back door, so to speak. What

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reaction to this? A similar reaction. But I must say,

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the fact that very sensitive information was leaked as sent a

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shock wave throughout the country. People are also reflecting on how

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such an important meeting, because at the end of the day the Foreign

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Ministry has confirmed it is authentic, so people are shocked

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that it could happen, that such an important meeting was able to be

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listened to and then diffused via the Internet. Obviously people try

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back or strategies -- back door, the same thing will happen here. But

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there is a serious threat to national security. The government is

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targeting the wrong address. It should be thinking about measures in

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order to prevent such listening taking place. I'm so sorry to

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interrupt you, but we have to leave it there. That was Barcin Yinanc.

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Moving on. Still no debris has been found from

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flight MH370 in the southern Indian ocean. Satellite pictures from

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Thailand apparently show 300 objects in the search area. If debris is

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found, sonar equipment will be used to search the sea bed. Our transport

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correspondent Richard Westcott reports.

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You couldn't pick a harder place to find a missing aircraft. Remote, two

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miles deep and with some of the worst weather in the world. But for

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all the ships, satellite and spotter planes, there is only one way to

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find things under the water. Sonar. Researchers at the University of

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Southampton showed me how it started. They call this piece of

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equipment the fish. It is the same sort of piece of equipment they will

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be using to find the aircraft. It sends sound waves down to the sea

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bed, listens to the Echo and a map. Scanning the bottom, line by line,

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the picture builds. But it is slow work, and we had good weather. In

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the open ocean, weather is as much as 20 metres, waves of as much as 20

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metres. You have to lower the fish down to just above the sea bed, and

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that can take a couple of hours of feeding cable out. It is dangerous

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and slow. They used the same technique a few years ago to locate

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a French airliner that had crashed into the Atlantic. It took some two

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years to find most of that aircraft, and they were lucky, because it came

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to rest on a rare, flat part of an underwater mountain range. The

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search for flight MH370 will be even harder. Is it easy to get confused,

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for a rock to look like a piece of aircraft?

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Very easy, and we don't know what the sea bed is like in a particular

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area. They could get lucky and pick up something on day one. They could

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be out there for ten years. If they are fortunate, they will stumble

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across a large piece of wreckage. It could look like this. Those two long

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ridges are the power cable to the Isle of Wight. The green blob over

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here is a 100 foot long shipwreck. They still don't know for sure

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whether Malaysia airline ended up. In an hour, we mapped barely one

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square mile of the sea bed. The search area for the missing plane

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spans tens of thousands of square miles.

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Here in Britain, a number of MPs from the Conservtive party are

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urging the Government to consider following Germany in considering

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proposals to send home out-of-work migrants from other European Union

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countries. The German government has welcomed a report proposing new

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welfare limits for EU migrants. Among the recommendations, EU

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migrants would be removed from the country if they failed to find work

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within three to six months. Immigrants currently account for 15%

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of those who claim welfare benefits in Germany. That's 1.2 million

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people, of whom 290,000 are citizens of other EU countries. With me is

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Imke Henkel. She's the London correspondent for the German weekly

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news magazine Focus. These are just proposals, not law. Exactly. They

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will not appear before the summer, possibly. But the coalition is

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interested in Nice? Definitely. It is quite a number, and it is a topic

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in Germany as well as it is in Britain, and there has been a spell

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at the beginning of the year between the two coalition partners, we have

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two Conservative Party is, and there is always a wrangle between them,

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and there has been from the Bavarian party, quite pronounced, a Pellinen

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it, populist move against immigrants. Do you think it is

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interesting that the coalition in our country, the Conservative part,

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is also interested? I had a laugh when I read it. MPs saying how

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important is David Cameron's influence is. But it is certainly a

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coalition that, if Britain moves and Germany moves, becomes more

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decisive, it is politically skilful. There have been a few British

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proposals around the beginning of the year, and there was an outcry

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about how xenophobic and anti-European David Cameron was. But

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he wasn't saying much different from watch Angela Merkel was saying. And

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she now very much more adeptly does a very technical report, looks into

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the conditions, basically says, EU law already says that you are

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allowed to stay for three months, and the freedom of movement only

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applies for people in work. As a job-seeker, you can stay another six

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months. In general, it is within the already given boundaries, and this

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report just looks at, maybe we can tweak it a bit more. It is a good

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point that you make, it is not that easy to get benefits within the U.

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Imke, we have to leave it there. Thank you very much.

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Now, what happened at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war will now be

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investigated by the United Nations. The UN Human Rights Council voted

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for an inquiry into alleged war crimes committed during that time.

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The resolution calls for an investigation into alleged abuses

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committed by both the Sri Lankan state and Tamil rebels, during their

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25-year conflict. Our diplomatic correspondent James Robbins reports.

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Five years ago, the long civil war in Sri Lanka was brought to a bloody

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end. Both sides are accused of war crimes, but it is the conduct of

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government forces in the final assault which has been the subject

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of global controversy ever since. Pressure for a full investigation,

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allegations they deliberately shelled civilians, used rape and

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torture as weapons of war, has now resulted in a UN vote to open an

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international investigation. TRANSLATION: The result of the vote

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is as follows. 23 member states voted for the

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resolution, 12 against, and 12 abstained, including India, which

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many had expected to support an investigation.

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The draft resolution is thereby adopted.

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In northern Sri Lanka, many will be delighted by newsmen -- news that

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the UN will now look into this. We are only interested in the welfare

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of the country, the people of the country. So this investigation

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should be allowed. If you have nothing to hide, why don't you allow

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this investigation? They can do that.

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Sri Lanka's government stands accused of abusing the law, ignoring

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unexplained disappearances of dissenters and move into greater

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authoritarianism. But a senior minister told the BBC that the Tamil

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Tigers remain a threat, and Sri Lanka's sovereignty could be

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violated. We are not in agreement with any investigation into our

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internal matters. We have our legal system. We have able people, very

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eminent people with the knowledge of international law and human rights.

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So the test now is this. We'll Sri Lanka's president

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cooperate in anyway with the UN enquiry? Last year chairing a

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Commonwealth summit in Colombo, he rejected all of the pressure for

:24:24.:24:28.

full investigation of the past. He shows no sign of any change of

:24:29.:24:35.

heart. 80% of the world is now free of

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polio after no new cases were recorded in India in the past three

:24:40.:24:42.

years. The World Health Organisation has declared that the deadly virus

:24:43.:24:46.

has been stamped out of its entire South East Asia region, which

:24:47.:24:48.

includes India but not other neighbouring countries. The

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announcement is being seen as a major milestone in the fight against

:24:52.:24:54.

polio. The BBC's global health correpondent Tulip Mazumdar reports.

:24:55.:24:57.

Many thought it couldn't be done. Immunising all of India's 170

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million children. But the country hasn't had a new polio case in three

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years, which means the WHO can now declare the whole of its Southeast

:25:09.:25:11.

Asian region free of this deadly virus. Countries like Britain have

:25:12.:25:18.

been polio free for decades, but the WHO says this announcement brings

:25:19.:25:23.

the goal of a polio free world much closer. However, major challenges

:25:24.:25:30.

remain. Polio remains endemic in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

:25:31.:25:34.

In a scanner stand and Nigeria, cases of strop substantially, -- in

:25:35.:25:40.

Afghanistan and Nigeria, cases have dropped substantively. But in

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Pakistan, polio is on the rise, with new infections increasing from 58 in

:25:48.:25:52.

2012 to 93 last year. And here's why. Militants in the country have

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killed dozens of polio workers in the last couple of years, believing

:25:58.:26:02.

programmes are cover-up for Western espionage or a plot to harm Muslim

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children. There have been outbreaks in countries such as Syria and the

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Horn of Africa where immunisation campaigns have been disrupted by

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conflict. Globally, cases actually rose by more than one third between

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2012 and 2013. But with most of the world is now officially polio free,

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there is greater optimism that the goal of wiping this virus off the

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face of the planet by 2018 is achievable. Tulip Mazumdar, BBC

:26:31.:26:35.

News. A reminder of our main news: Pope

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Francis has held his first ever meeting with President Obama. Their

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talks began with the US president describing himself as a great

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admirer of the Pope. Well, that's all from the programme.

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Next, the weather. But for now from me and the rest of the team,

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goodbye. Hello. Whether changes are on the

:26:55.:27:05.

way for most of the UK. It is going to warm up. Some hail, sleet and

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snow is still around at the moment. Going through Friday, we have this

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week whether France still producing outbreaks

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