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This is BBC World News Today, with me Zeinab Badawi. Pope Francis uses
his strongest language yet to condemn child sexual abuse by
Catholic priests and asks for forgiveness. The Pope apologises for
the evil damage done to children by priests and says there will be
sanctions. If the Vatican at last answering criticisms that it has
done too little too late? TRANSLATION: We will not take one
step backward with regard to how we deal with this problem and the
sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, we have to be even
stronger. In South Africa Oscar Pistorius is
accused of repeatedly lying about what happened the night he killed
his girlfriend. We have the latest on the third day of his questioning
by the prosecution. Your version never happened and you
have to keep up with an untruth. On the road back to Afghanistan - an
exclusive report on a young girl who was wounded by a stray grenade and
heads home after getting treatment in the United States.
And should more of us follow the example of French technology workers
who have won the right not to be contacted by e-mail or phone by
their bosses for 11 hours a day? Hello and welcome. The child sexual
abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has been a stain on the reputation
of the Church for some time now. Today, Pope Francis moved to try to
address the criticisms. He has asked for personal forgiveness for the
evil committed by Roman Catholic priests who have abused children.
The Pope said the Church was conscious of the personal and moral
damage done, and said that those responsible must face sanctions.
However, he did not spell out just what those sanctions would be. We'll
be discussing whether his comments today go far enough. First, our Rome
correspondent Alan Johnston reports. The Pope was meeting a delegation
from the French Catholic Children's Organisation. Speaking off the cuff,
she turned to the issue of clerical child abuse and couched what he had
to say in quite personal terms. He said he felt compelled to take
responsibility for all the evil that some priests have committed. He said
he was asking for forgiveness for the damage caused by men of the
Church. TRANSLATION: We will not take one
step backward with regard to how we deal with this problem and the
sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, we have to be even
stronger, because you cannot interfere with children.
This new papacy is being widely seen as hugely successful in many ways.
With its down-to-earth style and strong focus on the poor and
marginalised, Francis has won admirers from far beyond the
traditional confines of Catholicism. But there has been some scathing
criticism of his approach to the child abuse scandal. Some argue that
he has not made the issue enough of a priority. But in these latest
remarks, Francis seemed to very publicly commit himself personally
to addressing the problem. And they're his strongest comments on
the matter so far. But for many victims of abuse, words will not be
sufficient. They are demanding much more action in the drive to root out
the sex crimes of the clergy. With me is Peter Saunders, the Chief
Executive and founder of the National Association of People
Abused in Childhood. And Fiona O'Reilly of Catholic Voices, a group
formed to give a Catholic perspective in the media. Fiona,
Pope Francis' works today, those works go further than any other
Pope? Benedict recognised that these were
awful crimes for which there can be no excuse. What is encouraging with
Pope Francis is that he is mentioning the need for sanctions.
Nobody is saying enough has been done, more still must be done, but
this is a Pope who gets it. I could not agree more. The Pope has
mentioned sanctions and we await to see what he means by that. He talks
about not going backwards and I think that is significant. There are
millions of survivors of abuse around the world. Abused at the
hands of clergy of the nominations, not just Catholic. But I do think
that Pope Francis is the man who appears to get it. I am hopeful.
But it is a watch and wait scenario and some organisations have said
that they need to know what the sanctions are. They say that unless
priests accused of abusing children are handed over to settle criminal
authorities, that that is what they want. There is no suggestion that
this is the kind of sanction the Pope is talking about, is the?
He made it very clear to all of the churches that they were compelled to
comply with local civil law and criminal law. In this country, an
abuser would be guilty of a criminal offence. In some countries, child
abuse is not actually an offence. What Pope Benedict did and what Pope
Francis is now building upon, is deconstructed the local bishop'
conferences to safeguard and bring to justice and bring healing to
victims. That is the reason I am here. I was also a victim of abuse
by priests as a child. There are many others. My concern is support
for the victims. There is a great deal more the Church can do. It has
a history of cover-ups. In many institutions, we are here at the
BBC, which now has many questions to answer over the Jimmy Savile
scandal. Your emphasis is on going for. But
also, acknowledging the pain carried by survivors. They have had bad
experiences. I have generally had good experiences in my dealings with
the Church and the charity I work for. But there are many survivors
have had the worst closed in the face. I hope Pope Francis will
ensure this does not happen. So, acknowledgement of what has
happened and prevention and protection. Yes. We have good child
protection laws in this country. It is care for victims in the past that
is the acid test. Other parts of the world need to deal with this also.
The vast majority of them will be supportive of what Pope Francis is
saying. Fiona, you implied that the fault is
not exactly with the Vatican but in countries with it is not a robust
enough judicial system to deal with child sex abuse. There was a report
by the UN recently which was damning of the Vatican and said that even
today, it is more concerned about protecting its own reputation rather
than protecting children. That there are still cases of abusing clerics
who are simply moved around from one Diocese to the other.
That still needs to be fully tackled. The real opportunity with
the UN report was that it ignored the good work that has been done. It
should have partnered with the Vatican to help them. Just to
dismiss it on the basis of factual inaccuracies... To come back to an
earlier point, one of the things implicit in comments was that the
church needs to respond. Part of the response must be informed by what is
helpful for victims. It is encouraging that the papal
commission has Cardinals on it, like Sean O'Malley from Boston, but also
Maria Collins, a survivor of sexual abuse he was treated disgracefully
by the Church. She is any good position to help the Move for from
this. I would have liked to have seen a few more survivors of abuse
on that commission that the Vatican set up. Many of us who have worked
with survivors, whether with clerical abuse or other forms of
abuse, have been disappointed. Very quickly, you said you are
hopeful those sanctions will be robust. What kind of sanctions do
you think Pope Francis should be dropped about? I hope he looks
carefully at the United Nations papers and the criticisms. I hope he
actively encourages bishops around the world, where they do have
information about this, to work with civil authorities to protect
children. Whatever it takes. That is what I hope he means by sanctions.
Thank you very much. The South African athlete, Oscar
Pistorius, has faced a third day of intense cross-examination at his
trial in Pretoria. The chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, accused him
of repeatedly lying in his testimony, giving his version of
events on the night he killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, last
year. Arriving for another challenging
morning in court, Oscar Pistorius repeatedly accused of lying about
how and why he shot Reeva Steenkamp. As usual, no video images of the
athlete were allowed. The prosecutor asked him why he did not talk to his
girlfriend and check where she was, the moment he felt they were both in
danger. When you heard the noise, you never
discussed it with her. I did not.
I asked whether you said that. Why not?
At one point, emotions got the better of him.
This is a person I cared about! Pistorius then argued that it was
instinct that prompted him to rush from the bedroom to the bathroom on
his stumps. I am not sure why I did it.
I find your instincts strange. The prosecutor was unconvinced,
insisting a reasonable man would have behaved differently and that
Reeva Steenkamp would have surely shouted out from the bathroom.
Did she scream while you shot her four times?
No. Are you sure? Did Reeva Steenkamp
scream after the first shot? The trial has been adjourned until
Monday. Our correspondent Milton Nkosi has
been following the case in Pretoria. It would seem that the focus this
week has been as much on Gerrie Nel, the chief prosecutor, as it has
been on Oscar Pistorius. Yes, that is correct. When this
trial began, the man of the moment was Oscar Pistorius's own defence
counsel, Barry Roux. He was the man on all the television channels and
in the newspapers. Now the tables have turned. The NL, really
prosecutor, -- Gerrie Nel, the lead prosecutor is in the forefront now.
Look at this newspaper headline. The times: And now the Bild newspaper.
This says "in the terrier's jaws" . The Star: Gerrie Nel is on the front
page there also. Gerrie Nel is known as the pill terrier for his
relentless style of cross-examination. He once kept a
witness for two weeks on the witness stand. He also successfully
prosecuted the former South African Police Service and. That was for
corruption. On Monday, Oscar Pistorius will return to the witness
stand for more tough questioning from Gerrie Nel.
Thank you very much. Now a looked at some of the day's
other news. A cyclone with winds of up to 230
kmph has hit coastal areas of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Residents and tourists had been fleeing the area as Tropical Cyclone
Ita drew nearer. The storm has already claimed the lives of twenty
three people when it barrelled over the Solomon Islands late last week.
The UN's refugee agency is helping Italy with refugees. The agency
wants the EU to help the process and arrivals, presiding -- providing
reception facilities. Many have been rescued in the past days.
The Japanese Government has approved an energy plan that backs the use of
nuclear power, despite public anxiety after the Fukushima
disaster. The plan reverses an earlier decision to phase out
nuclear power by a previous Government.
Several private newspapers in Myanmar - also known as Burma - have
printed black front pages in protest at the recent arrests and sentencing
of journalists. The move follows the conviction on Monday of a journalist
for the Democratic Voice of Burma. Zaw Pe was handed a one year prison
term for trespassing and disturbing a civil servant while doing a story
on education last year. In Ukraine, the interim Prime Minister is
meeting regional leaders in the east of the country on a mission to
defuse tensions and end the stand-off with pro-Russian
protesters. He is in Donetsk where pro-Russian activists hold a
government building. He arrived in eastern Ukraine amidst
a growing local crisis. Here is the focal point. The regional
administration building for Donetsk, which pro-Russian protesters have
occupied, declaring a People's Republic. You can see around me,
protesters, they have also occupied a building in another eastern
Ukrainian city. It seems quiet right now but there is an undercurrent of
tension. The interim Prime Minister met with regional political and
business leaders who gave him an earful. They demanded more money
from Kiev, regional autonomy, and equal status for the Russian
language. The key question was, what will Kiev do about pro-Russian
activists. The interim Prime Minister insisted they will not use
violence. We have made an offer. They are to leave the premises of
the state administration. Disarm. And we, the state of Ukraine, can
guarantee them that they will not be detained or arrested.
As you can see, these barricades are extensive. The protest is tell us
that they do not trust the new Ukrainian government in Kiev. The
question is, if talks fail and the stand-off continues, could this
eventually turn violent? The White House has said that the
United States will not be as UAVs to the man nominated by Iran to be its
next ambassador to the United Nations will stop -- issue a Visa.
He is linked to the group that's bombed the US embassy in 1979. --
that stormed. The White House has said today that
it will not grant a visa. It follows a week of concern from US officials
who say they have been talking to Iran to make it clear they were
unhappy with the choice nominee. What that effectively means, if the
Visa has not granted, is that it is a message from the US to Iran that
you need to choose somebody else. The misgivings are over his alleged
involvement in the Iran hostage crisis. He was a member of the
student group which stormed the embassy and help Americans hostage.
But he has maintained that his role was merely as a translator and the
ghost later, a peripheral role. The US say it does not affect ongoing
talks between the two countries over a nuclear enrichment programme. But
they do say it is a separate issue and talks will not be affected.
Thank you very much. Violence in Afghanistan has not only claimed
many lives it has also left many maimed for life. One young girl that
we were wounded by a stray grenade has returned home after treatment in
the USA. Seven-year-old Shabibi took the full force of a blast in a
region where villagers are constantly caught in the crossfire.
I first came across Shabibi just days after her tiny body was
shattered by a grenade in one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.
Every day, children like her live in fear for their lives. She was one of
the fortunate few. Flown to America after a nurse raised the alarm, she
was treated for her injuries and has even been to school. But her family
were left behind, thousands of miles away. Today, I met her and her
guardian as she returned to Afghanistan. A country with an
uncertain future. With elections just last weekend security is tight.
She seemed fascinated by the streets of Kabul. Taliban, she says,
pointing to the men with guns. In fact, they are police. Finally, the
moment her father arrives. At first, Shabibi seems overwhelmed. Then the
intimacy returns after many months apart. I laughed and I cried when I
saw her. I feel deeply indebted to the people who helped. I am bursting
with happiness. I feel it in my heart, I cannot stop smiling.
She shows off what little English she has. I want to see my brother,
sister, and mother, she tells me, and teach them to write. In a
country dominated by images of war, this is a father is relief that his
daughter has survived. Most of us with mobile phones and
laptops are connected to the Internet during all of our waking
hours. An agreement between technology workers in France and
their bosses means there will now be entitled to at least 11 hours away
from work e-mails and phone calls. The idea is to create and Greece. --
create boundaries of how much they can be contacted outside of working
hours. It has prompted a debate about work -life balance in an age
of connectivity. I am joined by the founder of Idler the magazine, set
up to promote alternatives to the work ethic, freedom, and the fine
art of doing nothing! It is a lovely dream.
Do we all need to follow the example of these French technology workers?
They are sending out a positive message. Perhaps pitted against the
more extreme work ethic that you see in the United States. If you read
interviews with the Google CEOs and suchlike of this world, for them, it
is a status thing to be constantly connected. In the office at 7am, if
I needed whilst asleep, my blackberry is next to me, I think it
is an arid vision. But it is a globalised world. You
might be running a big empire with working hours elsewhere in the
world. In the news business, how business, something is always
happening. But you need your rest, your sleep!
I was just reading today that Charles Darwin had a period set
aside each day for idleness. For playing backgammon with his wife. He
was not switched on 24-7. On an individual level, everybody must
learn how to switch off. And learned that it is OK to do so.
Does it not necessarily matter when you switch off? For example, if you
are a working mother with small children, often you want to work
late at night or early morning when they are asleep, so what do you make
of that kind of ring, -- thing, not everybody has the same working
pattern? The flexible arrangement works very well. Switch off in the
afternoon, working the evening. People have different work rhythms.
I did awake until 1pm then fall asleep till about 5pm. A nice life
you have. Can I join you? Please do! I might catch up in the evening.
I look for distractions whilst writing, check my e-mails, get
active people efficiently, but they do practice what I preach. This
message, can resonate? There is so much unemployment. Careers,
competition, coming out of a recession, a tough job market.
People want to be connected all the time and impress their bosses and
employees. But there is also the fact that you can share the work
around. Employ more people during a shorter working week. That has been
trialled in Sweden. City workers will be given a 30 hour week on the
same pay. Because they say the 40 hour work is unproductive, half the
time you're not really working. There is a funny link between
idleness and efficiency. You can work fewer hours and be more
efficient, lots of studies back that up.
I don't take a leaf out of your book, but I am not going to sleep
just yet. A reminder of your main news. Pope Francis says he will take
personal responsibility for the abuses of priests, asking victims to
It looks as though the weekend will be half