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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