08/04/2014 World News Today


08/04/2014

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.

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A historic day for Anglo-Irish relations as the Irish President

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makes the first state visit to Britain since his country became

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independent in 1922. Michael D Higgins was welcomed at Windsor

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Castle by the Queen, where he'll attend a royal banquet shortly. He's

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said Britain and Ireland have a shared responsibility to reinforce

:00:26.:00:27.

the peace process in Northern Ireland.

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The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has accused Russia of using

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special forces to foment chaos in Ukraine. He says allied forces will

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react if necessary. The United States and our allies will not

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hesitate to use 21st century tools to hold Russia accountable for 19th

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century behaviour. Also coming up, athlete Oscar

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Pistorius breaks down in court while recounting the night he shot his

:00:55.:00:58.

girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. And ground-breaking treatment helps

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four paraplegic men to move their legs again.

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Hello and welcome. Anglo-Irish history is being made today. The

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Irish President, Michael D Higgins, has begun the first ever official

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visit of an Irish head of state to the UK. He has praised the

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achievement of peace in Northern Ireland, while saying of course

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there is still a road to be travelled to a lasting

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reconciliation. Earlier today, the Queen welcomed the Irish president

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to Windsor Castle - he has since addressed both Houses of Parliament

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at Westminster and as we go on air, he's about to be celebrated as the

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guest of honour at a royal banquet. Our special correspondent Fergal

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Keane has been following the day's events. The formality of the state

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occasion quickly gave way to the genuine warmth of friendship. The

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Irish anthem, played in Windsor, harks back to the days of revolution

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against the Crown. But here, none of history's darker shadows. For

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decades, they had made an event like this unthinkable. Today's welcome is

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all about the spectacle of a grand state occasion. But behind the

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symbolism is a story of real historical significance, of a

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changed relationship between two nations. This journey to Windsor

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Castle has taken much patient work to achieve. President Higgins

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inspected a guard of honour, a reminder of military links between

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two countries stretching back to the days of empire. Here, he presented

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The Irish Gurads with a coat for their mascot - an Irish hound called

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Donal. -- Irish wolf hound. But at Westminster Abbey, the President's

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visit reached its most poignant moment. At the tomb of the unknown

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soldier he paid tribute to the war dead. Among them, many thousands of

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Irishmen. And then a gesture of remembrance for a victim of a more

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recent conflict. The plaque to the Queen's cousin, Lord Louis

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Mountbatten, killed by the IRA. The President spoke of warm Anglo-Irish

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friendship. The journey, then, of our shared British Irish

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relationship has progressed from the doubting eyes of estrangement to the

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trusting eyes of partnership and in recent years to the welcoming eyes

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of friendship. Tonight he will attend a state banquet hosted by the

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Queen, at which the former IRA commander Martin McGuinness will be

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a guest. A moment when history pivots towards the future.

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Mark Hennessy, London Editor of the Irish Times, joins me from

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Westminster. Welcome to the programme. It has been a long and

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difficult journey but what do you think have been the key events that

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are made today possible? That has brought a level of connection

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between the countries. A little hole trust has built up slowly. Both

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governments were attempting to deal with the closest that was the

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Troubles. -- the crisis. There has been ever closer union between

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diplomats, politicians and others on both sides. This visit could not

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have taken place a few years ago because of the problems of Northern

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Ireland. But the relationship is just much bigger now than Northern

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Ireland. It was so important when the Queen went to the Irish Republic

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and then later she shook cows with Martin McGuinness? -- shook hands.

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It may not be understood outside of Ireland in terms of the open at --

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impact it made. When she went to the garden of remembrance, she laid a

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wreath and that moment change public opinion and wheeze that are

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difficult to understand for anybody who was an ordeal. -- was not there.

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There is a debate deal of work to be done and the connections that have

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taken place are only political level. There is a great deal of work

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to be done in decades to come between the Irish people who live in

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Britain and so on. That is not necessarily an opinion double B shot

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by every Irish person at home but there is a hope that in years two,

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that will happen. A final thought on Martin McGuinness being there at

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Windsor Castle. It is significant but that should not be overly

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emphasised. It couldn't have happened to a musical? -- ten years

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ago? They were not in a position to refuse this invitation. They were

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told by Irish public opinion that they had made the mistake. Thank

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you. Warnings are flying both ways over a

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very tense situation in eastern Ukraine tonight. With Russian forces

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still massed on their side of the border, Moscow has warned Ukraine to

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stop any military preparations in the region, saying Kiev's actions

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could provoke a civil war. But the US Secretary of State, John Kerry,

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has accused Russian special forces of fomenting what he describes as

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the current "chaos" in the east. He's warned that the US and its

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allies are willing to impose further tough sanctions on Moscow if

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necessary. It's clear that Russian special forces and agents have been

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the catalyst behind the chaos of the past 24 hours. Some have even been

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arrested and exposed. Equally as clear must be the reality that the

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United States and our allies will not hesitate to use 21st century

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tools to hold Russia accountable for 19th century behaviour.

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A lot of the drama in the east of Ukraine right now revolves around

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the actions of pro-Moscow separatists who have seized

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buildings in cities like Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv, as well as the

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efforts of the Ukrainian authorities to take the buildings back. From

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Donestk, Steve Rosenberg sent us his assessment of the current situation.

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The picture here really does remind me of the kind of things I saw in

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Kiev in recent months. In other words, a government building which

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has been stormed and barricades set up outside - barricades made of

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tyres and barbed wire. Except in this particular case, it's

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pro-Russia protestors who have stormed and seized the building and

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set up these barricades. On the square outside the building, there's

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a group of 1,000 pro-Russia protestors who have been chanting

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'Russia, Russia'. They've been listening to speeches about the

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Donetsk people's republic, and Russian, Soviet music. This is the

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foyer of the administration building. The last time I was here

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about three weeks ago it was very different. There were lots of riot

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police here. The governor was in his office upstairs. Now no police at

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all. Instead, pro-Russia activists. They've changed the decor a little

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bit. You can see on the wall there are maps of the Donetsk region.

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They've been changed. The word Russia is in the middle. People here

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support Russia and they're counting on Russia to make sure a referendum

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is held on regional sovereignty. Let's go to Washington now, and the

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BBC's Barbara Plett-Usher. You have been heating pad John Kerry sizzler

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will be talks about Michael too. He was quite hard in his testimony.

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He was saying that these activists had been inspired. He said that if

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this continued, the United States will willing to continue with toffs

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sanctions. -- tough sancions. There had been a dream and for a meeting

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next week and Europe. They were trying to come to some sort of

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diplomatic solution. He wanted Russia to publicly demobilise trips.

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-- troops. Will this be the most serious thing between Moscow and?

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John Kerry said that he had been called and the report of the

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conversation had been constructive. There is contact. But John Kerry

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said he thought it was not a small matter that Russia had come to the

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table. With me is Irena Taranyuk of the BBC

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Ukrainian Service. Clearly there are diplomatic moves but what I do

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healing about the situation in eastern Ukraine? -- are you hearing.

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Barricades have been going. The footage as you can see, it is tense

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and tan. -- calm. Part of the second tests -- But the separatists to not

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recognise the authorities and the recognise themselves to be the legal

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bills. We see the activists, but how much enthusiasm as they are in

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eastern Ukraine to hold a referendum, what do you think? There

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is almost universal support. Russian speakers have been prevalent and

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they have had the rates respected. Yesterday an influential candidate

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team to a location to ensure people that the Russian language would be

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used... Public opinion is with CF. -- Kiev. William Hague has stated

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this morning that this deal is the hallmark of Russian special forces.

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Do you think people are afraid that Russian forces will cross over? Very

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much so. Russians are warning against using military force and it

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is an act of direct interference. They are trying to precipitate the

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situation. We will keep across the story. Thank you.

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Oscar Pistorius has told his murder trial about the final minutes before

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he shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He told the court that he

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was overcome with fear after hearing a noise from the bathroom - and that

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his first thought had been to arm himself and to protect her.

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Let's hear more from the BBC's Milton Nkosi who's at the court in

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Pretoria. Today we witnessed an emotional Oscar Pistorius. He tried

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in court when he talked about attacking the bathroom door with a

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cricket bat. After he had filed for gunshots entered. -- fired four

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gunshots into it. There have been tears and drama already in this

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trial. But nothing like today. Oscar Pistorius arrives, poised to tell

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the court how and why he shot Reeva Steenkamp. Her family are here in

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numbers - knowing this is a crucial day. From the witness stand, but not

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shown on television, Oscar Pistorius describes hearing his bathroom

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window being opened in the middle of the night. That is the moment that

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everything changed. I thought there was a burglar. The first thing that

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ran through my mind was I had to arm myself. I needed to protect Reeva

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and I, that I needed to get my gun. It was then that I was overcome by

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fear and I fired some shots. Reeva Steenkamp's mother, in the centre,

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bows her head as he describes moving desperately without his prosthetic

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legs from his bedroom shown here to the bathroom down this narrow

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corridor. I had my pistol raised to my eye, to the corner of the

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entrance of the bathroom. And then I heard a noise from inside the

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toilet. What I perceived to be someone coming out of the toilet.

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Before I knew it I had fired four shots at the door. It was Reeva

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Steenkamp in the toilet. Oscar Pistorius said he rushed back to the

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bedroom to check on her, realised she was missing. He frantically

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broke down the toilet door to find her. He then breaks down and

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wretches, his family in tears. I sat over Reeva and I cried. And I don't

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know how long... I do not know how long I was there for. She wasn't

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breathing. At which point the court is abruptly adjourned for the day.

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Milton, there could hardly have been a more dramatic day, how that South

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Africans reacted to what they have heard in court? Philippa, South

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Africans across the length and breadth of the country are talking

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about this case, remember that on the 7th of May in one month's time

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there will be a historic taking place year. The political parties

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are full and campaign swing and they are trying to get the votes. The

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country is still talking about one story, the Oscar Pistorius trial.

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There is a dedicated channel that is broadcasting 24 hours about this

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trial and all of what they have today was live on radio throughout

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the country, so people are talking about this case at the dinner table.

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Thank you, Milton. Now a look at some of the day's

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other news: In Pakistan, a bomb blast has killed at least 12 people

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on a busy train in the Balochistan province in the south-west of the

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country. The train was travelling from Quetta

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to Rawalpindi when the bomb went off at the Sibi station while passengers

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were boarding and disembarking. It's been confirmed that the

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Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe is in hospital in Sydney. His

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manager says he's fighting a serious infection and may never swim

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competitively again. He's being treated with high doses of

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antibiotics, after contracting an infection during surgery on his

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shoulder. His manager says his condition is not life-threatening.

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Although Australia media say he may lose use of his arm.

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Teams searching for the missing Malaysian plane say they have not

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picked up any more signals which could be from the black box plane

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locator. Two sets of signals were detected over the weekend. It's now

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exactly a month since the plane went missing with 239 people on board.

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Four men who were paralysed from the chest down have begun to move parts

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of their legs again - for the first time in years - after

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ground-breaking treatment in the United States. A report, in the

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journal Brain, suggests that electrical stimulation makes the

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spinal cord more receptive to the few messages still arriving from the

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brain. Experts say electricity could become a treatment for spinal

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injury. Here's our medical correspondent, Fergus Walsh.

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Stimulators off, West Lake up. Kent Stevenson from Texas was completely

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paralysed from the chest down five years ago. He can now do this. It is

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thanks to electrodes fitted to just below his injury, which stimulate

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this spinal-cord enabling messages from his brain to control movements

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that were previously in his paralysed limbs. We did not expect

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these individuals to ever be able to think, let me move my tall and be

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able to move it, this was an astonishing thing and it made us

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step back and have to look at how we thought the nervous system function.

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Rob Summers was the first of the four paralysed patients fitted with

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electrodes in his spine. Three years ago, scientists published research

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showing that he could stand and even take a few steps on a treadmill

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while being supported. Mr Summers has continued with physiotherapy and

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reading more muscle control. But US researchers writing in the journal

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Brain, say although all of the patients have regained some

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voluntary movements, none can walk unaided. The experimental technique

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does not involve repair of the spinal-cord but researchers believe

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it may help many other paralysed patients to regain some of their

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movement. A British businessman accused of

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arranging his wife's moderate reading their honeymoon in South

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Africa has been extradited from Britain after a long legal battle on

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the grounds of his mental illness. He denies hiving mentor and tell his

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wife as they travel by taxi outside Cape Town in 2010.

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After such a long wait for his extradition and such a long way to

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see him appear in court, this evening was over almost as soon as

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it had begun. There were epic scenes outside Cape Town. Camera crews from

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across South Africa and a lot from the UK came to try to get a shot of

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this man as he arrived. He came any black people carrier with blacked

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out windows. We understand he was taken to holding cells beneath the

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these courtrooms where he was interviewed and formally charged

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with the murder of his wife. They were on honeymoon here in November

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2010. He was taken upstairs and put in front of the judge and that was

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the first time we saw and in public for a very long time. He was very

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smartly dressed but the black suit and white dress. He was concentrated

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and understood what was going on during proceedings. He quickly was

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taken back down below. He was remanded in custody and will appear

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again on the 12th of May but now he will go to a secure time traffic --

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psychiatric unit where he will have his own room. He will be observed

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for 30 days and ultimately it will be up to doctors and they hoodie

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said when and if he has ever said to stand trial again.

:23:09.:23:12.

Indians have started going to the polls in the first phase of a

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general election in which more than 814 million people are eligible to

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vote. And to mark this giant exercise in democracy, we thought

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we'd bring you the story of a man who makes his political statements

:23:27.:23:29.

anonymously. Daku is India's answer to Banksy - a graffiti artist who

:23:30.:23:32.

says his work is a political statement. This is his first

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television interview. My name is Daku and I am a street

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artist. Daku is a Hindi word and it means bandit. I just draw on walls

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and I kind of leave my mark on the walls. Most of my work includes

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social-political topics. Mostly they are illegal. Everyone has an image

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of Daku in their head. In Delhi, or generally in India, people pee

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everywhere. That's legal, but painting is illegal, how is that?

:24:15.:24:25.

Unlike Europe or in America where people look at graffiti with a very

:24:26.:24:28.

negative eye, generally in India people don't look at graffiti as

:24:29.:24:31.

vandalism, it's simply colour on the wall. Most of my work has multiple

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stories, people make up their own stories with that and that is what I

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like about it, whether it is pro-voting or someone says it is

:24:44.:24:46.

anti-voting, it creates some kind of conversation around it. I made a few

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stickers like, "Stop Bribing. Stop Shopping. Stop Raping." There are,

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like, so many of them. Because Banksy is popular, you compare me

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with him. As Daku is spreading it's becoming more and more like, "Oh,

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there's Banksy." More people see it, more people like it, more people

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share it, more people do it and it multiplies. I also feel the wall is

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a very powerful medium. It is so sensitive as well that you can

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almost start a riot with just one wall. Whether it is in the form of

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graffiti or in the form of street art, or whatever that is, I want

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more youngsters to come out and experience it for themselves.

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Especially on the streets because that is where you can get your

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message out. A reminder of our main news: In an

:25:53.:26:03.

historic address to the British parliament, the Irish President,

:26:04.:26:06.

Michael D Higgins, said Britain and Ireland had a shared responsibility

:26:07.:26:09.

to help reinforce the peace process in Northern Ireland. The President's

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state visit is the first since Ireland gained independence from

:26:13.:26:22.

London. And the US Secretary of State, John

:26:23.:26:26.

Kerry, has accused Russia of being behind the latest unrest in eastern

:26:27.:26:29.

Ukraine. Moscow has said any use of force to end pro-Russian protests in

:26:30.:26:33.

eastern Ukraine may lead to a civil war.

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Well, that's all from the programme. Next, the weather. Goodnight.

:26:38.:26:59.

Good evening. It felt more like early April today with that fresh

:27:00.:27:06.

breeze from the North West. Tomorrow

:27:07.:27:08.

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