08/04/2014 World News Today


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


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


makes the first state visit to Britain since his country became


independent in 1922. Michael D Higgins was welcomed at Windsor


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


said Britain and Ireland have a shared responsibility to reinforce


the peace process in Northern Ireland.


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


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


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


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


century behaviour. Also coming up, athlete Oscar


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


girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. And ground-breaking treatment helps


four paraplegic men to move their legs again.


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


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


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


achievement of peace in Northern Ireland, while saying of course


there is still a road to be travelled to a lasting


reconciliation. Earlier today, the Queen welcomed the Irish president


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


symbolism is a story of real historical significance, of a


changed relationship between two nations. This journey to Windsor


Castle has taken much patient work to achieve. President Higgins


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


relationship has progressed from the doubting eyes of estrangement to the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


governments were attempting to deal with the closest that was the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


wreath and that moment change public opinion and wheeze that are


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


you. Warnings are flying both ways over a


very tense situation in eastern Ukraine tonight. With Russian forces


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


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


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


has accused Russian special forces of fomenting what he describes as


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


allies are willing to impose further tough sanctions on Moscow if


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


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


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


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


tools to hold Russia accountable for 19th century behaviour.


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


the actions of pro-Moscow separatists who have seized


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


diplomatic solution. He wanted Russia to publicly demobilise trips.


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


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


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


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


table. With me is Irena Taranyuk of the BBC


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


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


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


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


recognise the authorities and the recognise themselves to be the legal


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


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


is almost universal support. Russian speakers have been prevalent and


they have had the rates respected. Yesterday an influential candidate


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


shown on television, Oscar Pistorius describes hearing his bathroom


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


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


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


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


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


bows her head as he describes moving desperately without his prosthetic


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Africans across the length and breadth of the country are talking


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


country. The train was travelling from Quetta


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


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


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


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


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


antibiotics, after contracting an infection during surgery on his


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


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


Teams searching for the missing Malaysian plane say they have not


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


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


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


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


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


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


journal Brain, suggests that electrical stimulation makes the


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


brain. Experts say electricity could become a treatment for spinal


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


while being supported. Mr Summers has continued with physiotherapy and


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


Brain, say although all of the patients have regained some


voluntary movements, none can walk unaided. The experimental technique


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


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


movement. A British businessman accused of


arranging his wife's moderate reading their honeymoon in South


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


these courtrooms where he was interviewed and formally charged


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


more youngsters to come out and experience it for themselves.


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


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


historic address to the British parliament, the Irish President,


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


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


state visit is the first since Ireland gained independence from


London. And the US Secretary of State, John


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


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


eastern Ukraine may lead to a civil war.


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


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


breeze from the North West. Tomorrow


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