07/04/2014 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me Zeinab Badawi.


A dramatic and emotional day in court as the South African athlete


Oscar Pistorius takes the stand for the first time in his murder trial.


He apologised to the family of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who


he's admitted killing, and gave much of his evidence in tears. There has


not been a moment since this tragedy happened that have not thought about


family. Pro-Russian protesters step up their hold on Government


buildings. Kiev responds by exploiting -- deploying security


services. And it's the first day in the


five-day process that is India's general election: more than 800


million people have a vote. Also coming up: A remarkable


reconciliation - we'll hear from a victim and a convicted attacker, 20


years since the start of the Rwandan genocide.


"I'm a Yankee doodle dandy, Yankee doodle do or die."


The curtain comes down on one of Hollywood's greats, Mickey Rooney


dies at the age of 93. Hello and welcome.


It was an emotional start to the testimony given by the South African


athlete, Oscar Pistorius, who's on trial for the murder of his


girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year. As he stood in court he turned


to the public gallery instead of addressing the judge and made a


tearful apology directly to Reeva's mother June. He sobbed as he told


the court in Pretoria that there hadn't been a moment since he shot


dead his girlfriend that he hadn't thought about her family. He says he


mistook her for an intruder. Andrew Harding reports.


Finally, it is his turn to talk. Oscar Pistorius makes his way from


the dock this morning, heading to the witness box. Past his own toilet


door, the one he shot through, now an exhibit in the courtroom. We then


lose sight of him, only his voice is allowed to be broadcast as he turns


to the public and launches into an emotional speech to the family of


the woman he killed. I would like to apologise and say there is not a


moment and has not been a moment since this tragedy happened that I


have not thought about the family. I wake up every morning and you are


the first people I think of, the first people I pray for. I can't


imagine the pain and sorrow. I was simply trying to protect


Her, I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt


loved. Reva's mother showed no emotion. The Oscar stories family,


quite the opposite. At one point, the athlete sops, he is comforted by


another aunt. Then Pistorius described his own state. I have


terrible nightmares about the things that happened that night. I can


smell the blood and I wake up being terrified. The state has sought to


shown that Oscar Pistorius as reckless. Today, he stressed his own


vulnerability. Disabled and fearful of crime. When I grew up, we were


exposed to crime. Housebreaking is with family members being


assaulted. -- housebreakings. He was allowed to finish early after his


lawyer pleaded that he had not slept last night. The core of his evidence


is expected tomorrow. Let's get the latest.


It was a day of great expectation when Oscar Pistorius started his


testimony. It certainly was. There had been no


certainty about when he was due to testify after the first witness, a


pathologist for the fans, started to take the stand this morning. Three


hours in, suddenly that evidence wound up Oscar Pistorius got up and


took the stand, walking over to the witness box. It was an hour before


lunch, and that our was extremely old -- emotional for Oscar


Pistorius. Starting with an apology and then going into early details of


his life. He began to calm down as he went through his early childhood


and talk less about Reeva Steenkamp. He then returned after lunch and


spent an hour or so of further evidence talking about more details


being questioned very gently by his defence counsel before he told the


judge that Oscar Pistorius was exhausted. Oscar Pistorius himself


said he had not slept at all last night and his defence counsel asked


for the day of evidence to be adjourned.


He will obviously have an easier time with his defence counsel. Yes.


His defence counsel who we have seen being very aggressive, today with


defence witnesses was trying to coax the information out that presents


their best case. He wanted to portray Oscar Pistorius has a


vulnerable but brave young man who triumphed over his disability to


them overcome adversity. Also a young man who had had a fear of


crime, a just viable fear, being a victim of crime and seeing members


of his family being victims. Also a sense that Oscar Pistorius wanted to


be self-sufficient. He talked about Oscar Pistorius at school trying to


give a sense of him looking after himself and taking the lead in his


own defence. Possibly playing into the picture of a man who fear


crime, perhaps paranoid about it, because of his vulnerability. At the


same time, he was taking matters into his own hands. This whole very


gentle questioning from Barry, the defence counsel, will come to an end


eventually and then we will see the state prosecutor, the fearsome state


prosecutor Tom some refer to as the pit bull, getting hold of Oscar


Pistorius and trying to present a different version of Oscar stories.


And also pick apart Oscar Pistorius's statement of events.


In Ukraine, security officials are being sent to the eastern cities of


Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv following the occupation of several


Government buildings by pro-Russian groups. In Donetsk, the people who


seized the regional administration building have announced the creation


of a sovereign "people's republic". They've also called for a referendum


and asked Moscow to send in a peacekeeping force.


Tell us what the state of affairs is. Tonight, pro-Russian


protesters, activists, can truly to control. -- continued to control.


They also control the local headquarters of the Ukrainian


security services just across town. As you mentioned, earlier today they


proclaimed the people's Republic of Donetsk. They have also called


President Putin -- called on President Putin to sending


peacekeeping groups. They have demanded a referendum by May the


11th and judging by all of the Russian flags that were flying at


the administration building and the Russian and Soviet era songs that


were blaring out of the loudspeakers, it is clear that a lot


of people in that crowd, 1000 people on the square, once Donetsk and


other regions to break away from Ukraine and to join Russia. We know


that Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have been


holding talks and John Kerry apparently has said that he is quite


concerned about what is going on. What do you think the possibility of


any kind of Russian military intervention might be in that part


of Ukraine? That of course is a major concern,


it is a concern not only to John Kerry in the United States, but to


Europe, too. Authorities in Kiev who continue to maintain that there is a


real possibility that Russia could send in troops across the border


into the eastern Ukrainian regions. As far as Moscow is concerned,


Russia has continued to say that they have no plans to do that and


the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Ukraine should


stop blaming Russia causing trouble. And that they should find solutions


to its own problems. Thank you.


An Australian vessel searching for the missing Malaysian airline ship


has detected signals consistent with those from a black box flight


recorder. It's being described as the most promising lead of the


search so far. Here in the UK a British businessman


accused of hiring hit-men to murder his new wife on their honeymoon in


South Africa is being extradited today. It follows three years of


legal challenges. Shrien Dewani has always denied ordering the


carjacking in Cape Town, in November 2010.


Peaches Geldof has died at the age of 25. The circumstances of her


death in Kent in southern England are unclear. Police say it is being


-- treated as sudden and unexplained. Peaches Geldof is the


daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates.


A roadside bomb in Afghanistan has killed at least 13 people. The


explosion in Kandahar province hit two vehicles carrying civilians.


They were travelling on a side road after the main road was blocked


after an earlier suicide bombing. The bombing comes two days after


Afghanistan's presidential election that represents the first democratic


transfer of power in the country's history. Early unofficial results


from the vote suggest that two of the candidates are so far ahead of


the six others that later results or even ballot rigging would not affect


the result. With 10% of the votes counted, the former finance


minister, Ashraf Ghani, said he had 50%, and the former Foreign


Minister, Abdullah Abdullah, 35%. All sides have complained of fraud,


and candidates have until midnight to lodge objections. Vali Nasr is


the Dean of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He


was formerly senior adviser to the US special representative for


Afghanistan and Pakistan. First of all, the fact of the matter


is that the preferred candidate seems to be trailing, the preferred


candidate of Hamid Karzai. Does that sound about right? These are


preliminary results, we do not know how the voting in far-flung areas


have gone. But right now it is correct. Ashraf Ghani, the front


runner, was also quite close to President Hamid Karzai and there was


also the suspicion that he President Hamid Karzai was supporting more


than one candidate. He may get the candidate that he really wanted and


the one that he pretended to want and is happy distant third and that


gives legitimacy to the outcome he was looking for. I see. Ashraf Ghani


and Abdullah Abdullah both veterans on the political scene in


Afghanistan. Do you suppose that they are in a way the candidates of


continuity? More so Abdullah Abdullah than Ashraf Ghani. Ashraf


Ghani is a technocrat, his style is familiar to the West and very much


appreciated. He is a doing person, he wants to get things done, build


institutions. He worked at the World Bank. He is not the wheeler dealer


that Afghanistan is used to. It remains to be seen if he can manage


the political process with his style. Both have said that they


would sign the military cooperation agreement. That is with the United


States. That is something presumably that people in the United States


would welcome? Yes, of course. That was their rhetoric during the


campaign. Now we will see whether they have the strength to do so. If


they do so, whether there may be a backlash against that decision. This


became such a hot political issue, it is not as easy for a new


president is to come in and nearly proceed with signing the accord. I


think it is still a sensitive issue and we will have to see if the rest


-- rhetoric of the campaign will translate into action. Briefly, I


you pleased with how the election has gone? -- RU. The voting part


went well. We will have two see if the results stand up. It is not good


for Afghanistan if large cached in areas did not vote with the same


level of turnout as couple and the North. -- PAshtun. Those other


things we to watch. If they go smoothly, this will have been a


spectacular election. Thank you. The world's biggest election is


underway in India. It will take a month for more than 800 million


voters to cast their ballot. And opinion polls indicate that the


governing Congress Party is facing a stiff challenge if not defeat by the


nationalist Hindu BJP, led by Narendra Modi. The election involves


930,000 polling stations around the country and will be held over nine


phases, ending on May the 12th. One of the first regions to vote is the


north-eastern state of Assam, from where our correspondent Sanjoy


Majumder reports. They queued up from the early hours


of the morning at this polling station set up in a girls school.


Woman almost outnumbered men. Standing patiently for hours in 30


degrees heat. Once inside, a quick identity check after which their


fingers are marked with indelible ink to make sure no one votes twice


before they can make their choice. It's been a solid start on day one


of the voting. A pretty good turnout, and that is always a sign


that voters want to send politicians strong message. Assam has not really


kept pace with the rest of India when it comes to development. There


is a sense here that they have been left out, sense of frustration, even


of alienation. This is tea growing country, the plantations dotting


this country were set up by the British in the mid-19th century to


produce the world-famous Assante. But while the industry has


prospered, the tea growers have not. This is three generations of


this family. Father, son, and grandson will all vote in these


polls. The live right by the plantation in conditions that have


seen little improvement over the years. The tin shacks that serve as


their homes offer no protection against the heat. There is no


electricity or proper health care. TRANSLATION: The British were here,


I've been working here since then. They left. I voted in the first


elections and have voted in all elections since then.


We are not asking for much, all we want is someone who will improve


things for us. We work so hard but our wages are so low. The tea


industry is making profits, but we get no share of its.


I'm voting for the first time, so I'm really excited. Our lives you


are pathetic. There is no future for media. I want to vote for someone


who will give me an opportunity to move out from here and begin a new


life for me. Now it is decision time for Assam


and the rest of India. Five weeks from now we will know who they have


backed. Today Rwanda began its official week


of mourning to remember the 20% of its population - mostly Tutsis - who


perished in the genocide 20 years ago. 800,000 people were brutally


killed in just 100 days. President Paul Kagame said at a ceremony


attended by some world leaders that many had written Rwanda off as a


country with no future but only a past. My colleague George Alagiah is


in Kigali and examines whether Rwandans have reconciled after their


tragic past. A day to remember, a day to say


never again. But for some in the crowd the memory alone was too


much. Rwandans were joined by international dignitaries including


the UN Secretary General, and today he acknowledged the organisation's


failure to stop the genocide, the fastest boat of mass murder in


modern times. The people who planned and carried


out the genocide where London's -- were from Rwanda, but the history


and root causes beyond beautiful country.


One of the most infamous massacres took here in the South of the


country. Up to 50,000 people are killed in this half built school


with a sword refuge. It is a memorial centre now. First the water


was cut off and now supplies were allowed in, and then they moved in


for the kill. The clothing of the victims tells its own story. Women,


children, the elderly hash no one was spared. How do you remember the


past without getting trapped in? In every city, and every time, in every


village am a these are the challenges they have to deal with.


This man led a group of the killers two decades ago. In a remarkable act


of generosity, he has been allowed into the life of this woman, one of


the few who survived. She lost her husband and two sons on the night of


April 20 1994. TRANSLATION: We were pleading for mercy and they still


killed us. Some of the children were saying, forgive us for being Tutsi,


we will not be any more. But they still killed us.


What kind of man attacks innocent people? TRANSLATION: When we


attacked, there was no humanity in us. We were like wild animals. If


you have ever seen and mad dog, but was us. Our plan was to make sure


there were no survivors. That was our mission.


After the genocide, Emanuel admitted killing nine people and served seven


years in jail. How can you sit here, sit next to


the man who may have been the killer of your husband and sons?


TRANSLATION: I never thought I could be close to a person who killed


another, let alone speak to him. But with the counselling we have had, I


have learned to forgive. I also forgive him because he told the


truth and ask to be pardoned. Over half the population of Rwanda


was born after the genocide. Among them are the 20,000 or so children


conceived in heat and born to women who are raped. Background is one of


them, but like the rest of his generation, he wants to look


forward. TRANSLATION: The only reason we keep commemorating the


genocide is to make sure it never happens again. It is not fair to


just associate Rwanda with the genocide. If people came here, they


would realise that. Today, people in Rwanda are


remembering their past but in doing so they highlight the extraordinary


achievements of the last two decades. And nation no longer


divided between victims and perpetrators, but uniting around a


shared vision of the future. Remembering the genocide 20 years on


in Rwanda. He had one of the longest running


film careers of all time: the Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney, has


died at the age of 93. His career began, when he was just 18 months


old. Mickey Rooney was a prolific actor,


he starred in hundreds of films over ten decades. He worked with some of


the greatest names in cinema during the golden age of Hollywood. In a


moment we'll assess his life and career.


We just got a glance of them there with Judy Garland, and some people


would say that his best work was very early in his career.


That is the problem when you start young. Even one direction, dare I


say, the spent three years at the top ten years chasing it. What


people don't realise is that he started out in silent films, he was


then signed by MGM, and by the age of 19 1939 he was high star in the


world. And they sure these pictures of him in the White House with


Eisenhower, this was heady stuff for someone so young.


He was living history, wasn't he? Absolutely, but when you're young


you don't get it. He said he wasn't aware of how big he was. He was


signed to a very strict studio system, and they did not want to


marry either gardener. He went through a garage is. He would always


refer to his eighth wife as a transient thing.


Surprising he could render all their names.


His advice was always to get married in the morning because it didn't


work out you haven't wasted the whole day.


Was he not declared bankrupt? He was 93, everybody has problems.


You went through difficult times, and periods when Hollywood fell out


with him. But he discovered and created Marilyn Monroe, and many


other different stars, Lana Turner. The problem he really had, and he


told this to me, he said he could have been bigger, but I am short.


And when you are short, you can't play the bad guy.


He was very versatile, he did funny, serious, poignant.


He reinvented himself at the end as a Disney star, he popped up in a lot


of those films, and he always played the grumpy grandad and Santa 's


helpers. He didn't mind. Eyes and for the last time at the Oscars two


years ago, and he looked great. And totally coppers mentis?


He did a pantomime, and asked for anybody, he just love performing.


How would he like to be remembered, would you guess?


His daily was as long as you are remembered, that's all that


matters. If you love the work, that's all that matters. He said


that the big moment was meeting the British Royal Family, he got very


teary about that. A reminder of our main story. Oscar


Pistorius has made an apology to the family of Reeva Steenkamp on the


first day of giving evidence. Humidity are full apology directly


to the mother of Reeva Steenkamp. He told the court that had not been a


moment since he shot dead Reeva Steenkamp that he had not thought


about her family. That's all from us, from me and the team, goodbye.


about her family. That's all from us, from me and the team, goodbye.


A nasty squall line through this evening, but that will clear through


the evening. A fresh breeze and the fresher feel to


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