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This is BBC World News Today with me Philippa Thomas.
The Russian flag flies over and other city in Ukraine. Pro-Russian
activists storm buildings in the city of Luhansk.
The worst he's ever seen - preparations for the 2016 Rio
Olympics are hammered by the IOC's Vice President.
Our Middle East Editor asks what remains of the peace initiative now
the US deadline for talks between Israel and the Palestinians has
passed without agreement. Perhaps the time has come to accept
that the two state solution is not going to happen.
Inside Tutankhamun's tomb or is it? A replica is revealed in Egypt and
we'll tell you why. Hello and welcome. Another day,
another opportunity for pro-Russian activists to flex their muscles in
eastern Ukraine. Today they've stormed several official buildings
in the city of Luhansk. They seized the regional government's
headquarters and the prosecutor's office. Armed men later attacked the
main police station. Ukraine's acting President has criticised
local police for what he calls their inaction and criminal treachery. Our
correspondent has just sent us this report.
With each day the city of here that seems to lose more and more control
in eastern Ukraine. This is Luhansk. Pro-Russian activists smashed their
way into the regional administration building. The windows are broken and
the crowd climbs in. They've made no secret of their political
sympathies. These sub fought Moscow. They reject the Ukrainian government
which they see as illegitimate. They are demanding a referendum on
breaking away from the city of Kiev. It was not long before this office
had a new receptionist. The intruders are determined to stay
here. The police did nothing to stop this. They left the building without
fighting back. Four days pro-Russian groups, some of them heavily armed,
have been seizing government buildings and police stations across
the region. The West has accused Russia of stoking separatists
centred -- sentiment here. Today the EU announced new sanctions against
Moscow. These are banned some asset freezes against 15 individuals. They
include the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. It also
includes the head of military intelligence and the chief of the
General staff of the Russian armed forces. Tonight in Luhansk, the
crowd moved on to police headquarters to try and take over
here as well. They are seeking complete control over this town and
for now, it seems that Kiev is powerless to stop them.
The US Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken in the last few minutes
about what is happening. He said events there were a wake-up call for
NATO and Russia is playing by a different set of rules.
Most importantly, it together we must make it clear to the Kremlin
that NATO territory is not intended to be violated. We will defend every
single bit of that. The NATO treaty must mean something. Our allies on
the front line need and deserve no less.
Let's get the latest on the situation in eastern Ukraine with
Sarah Rainsford who is in Donetsk. We have just heard from our
correspondent that the Ukrainian authorities appear to be powerless.
They do not seem to have control. That is absolutely correct. We have
seen the takeover of several key buildings and official holdings.
First of all, the administrative headquarters were taken over without
any resistance. Then the prosecutors office was overrun by a crowd of
pro-Russian activists. Then the police headquarters was taken over
by as well. A large crowd shouted at officials inside. Troops inside were
ordered to come out. People inside -- in charge of the storming of the
building had in trying to negotiate a handover of weapons. There is a
large crowd outside and it has been reported that some shots were fired.
We understand that some stun grenades were thrown as well but as
far as we know no one has been reported as hurt. The key buildings
have fallen to pro-Russian separatist groups. These are
dramatic moments. Is it possible to say how much support these groups
have in the city? Are they getting hundreds and thousands of people
watching them? Not in those numbers, but there is a sizeable crowd here
nonetheless. There have been big crowds at a number of events.
Certainly, there is a lot of support and anger in Kiev. We had spoken to
a number of people today. They say they do not feel represented by Kiev
but they do not necessarily support the armed takeover of holdings. A
lot of people are extremely unhappy with the situation here but they are
not supporting armed action and they are extremely worried about it. That
is the main concern from some people we have spoken to. They do not want
to see significant balance. That is the last thing that they want. --
significant violence. Some people even support becoming a part of
Russia but there is no great support in this Russia -- this region for
the violence that has been exhibited. We can go to Libya now.
There have been reports that gun had stormed the parliament in Surrey --
the parliament in Tripoli. Our correspondent joins us. What can you
tell us? We know that gunman forced their way into the parliament in
Tripoli. -- several gunman. Pictures have just come into worse. Witnesses
have told us that a lot of shots were fired but these were fired in
the air. When the shots were fired, most of those inside left the
building. We understand that there is no one inside the building at the
moment. It is not entirely clear whether the gunman have still left.
This episode the back of a special session to date which was intended
to put in a new Prime Minister for the country. They were in the middle
of voting and it is understood the voting was in deadlock. A number of
matters are being discussed on how to move forward and actually select
a Prime Minister between the top two candidates that were it to date. --
that were picked today. Thank you. ?NEWLINE The International Olympic
Committee Vice President says that preparations for the 2016 Rio
Olympics are the "worst" he's ever seen. John Coates described the
situation as "critical", and warned that there is no plan B to find
another host city. 18 of the federations said they were not
ready. This is in the case of some of the Olympic Parks. Construction
has not even commenced in some areas. Water quality is a
significant concern for the watersports events. There is little
progress in those areas. The Olympic village seems to be on track. A lot
of the connect ding is significantly delayed. -- connecting areas.
Let's go now to the BBC's Katy Watson who is in Sao Paulo. The
organisers have responded and said the time has now has to win the
general discussion about progress contributes to the progress of the
games. They also go on to say that the Olympic Games will be delivered
within the agreed time frame. That is a defiant statement. But it is
having to accept outside help now. The IOC are sending in experts to
help them. That is correct. It is an unprecedented step. The more
pressing issue, and it is a battle on several fronts, is the issue of
the World Cup which is just under a month away. Brazil is really
suffering from seeing protests in Rio. There are headlines coming out
every day about infrastructure projects. That is the most pressing
battle. Perhaps when the World Cup has finished, then the issue of the
Olympics will come to the forefront. For now, the World Cup is more
pressing. Thank you. A US deadline on peace talks between
Israel and the Palestinians has passed without any agreement being
reached. Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu suspended the talks last
week, after his Palestinian talks partner Fatah agreed a unity deal
with the more militant Hamas. Talks have been happening, on and off, for
more than 20 years. The negotiations have failed, time and again. Our
Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen is in Jerusalem, wondering if the two
state solution just isn't going to happen. Jerusalem has been fought
over since people settled here more than 6000 years ago.
For more than 20 years off and on Palestinians and Israelis have
negotiated peace. Hope has given way to despair and then cynicism. Now it
is hard to find Palestinians or Israelis who care much about the
latest negotiating failure. There have been too many of them. The last
round of peace talks collapsed with Palestinians and Israelis blaming
each other and President Obama blaming both of them. Since the
peace process started more than 20 years ago it has been about trying
to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel so they divide the
land that they fought over. More than two decades on peace seems as
far away as ever. Perhaps the time has come to accept that the two
state solution is not going to happen. Israel has occupied the West
bank including East Jerusalem since the 1967 war. After Jerusalem, the
most contested city is Hebron, the burial city of the Prophet Abraham.
Behind heavy security a small number of Jewish settlers live right next
to more than 150,000 Palestinians. This man's father led the first
Jewish settlers back to Hebron in 1967. He believes God wants Jews to
live in Hebron and is raising seven children here.
Talks are at best an irritant. I do not think talks will go anywhere.
For close to 20 years the state of Israel has been giving and giving. I
do not believe in it. I think the reality for Jews in Hebron is like
the reality for Israel in the Middle East. The Arabs would be more
comfortable if we did not exist. Palestinians and Israelis say they
want peace but when you cross the line from one side to another you
realise that their views of what peace should look like very
different. And in the absence of peace mutual hatred is never far
below the surface and is boiling up again. This house in Jerusalem was
bulldozed last summer after the Israeli authorities said it was
built illegally. For a while its Palestinian owner lived with his
family in this cave. He stayed on to protest. Now he has been served
papers saying that the lean-to he built must be demolished.
TRANSLATION: The negotiations are a big illusion. They didn't achieve
anything and they won't because the Israelis are using the negotiations
as a cover to establish more settlements and to confiscate more
land from Palestinians. The negotiations are a waste of time.
They don't want any Arabs or Muslims here. Peace talks started because
two peoples went to war over the same piece of land. They have helped
manage the conflict but not stop it. Tension is rising. Another perfect
sunset over the holy city cannot disguise a stormy future.
In Washington is Aaron David Miller. He's advised both Republican and
Democratic Secretaries of State and is now with the Middle East
Programme at the Wilson Centre. Do you think these talks can be
revived? Maybe. But revival is one thing. Continuation of the peace
process is one thing. Reaching a conflict ending agreement which
addresses the underlying concerns and requirements of both sides is
another. The process is failing, not for any magical reason, but because
neither Netanyahu or managed a bass -- mannered a bass -- the
Palestinian president are willing to talk. If neither side truly owns it
then the process cannot have traction. There is really
Palestinian peace process suffers from many things. When you strip it
all away, it suffers from one fundamental problem. Neither side,
and I include the Americans, are prepared to pay the price of what it
will cost to produce a conflict ending agreement. John Kerry has
tried to get the Israelis and Palestinians to take ownership. He
has made it his mission and it has failed. What does he do now? I
worked for some secretaries of State, some of whom succeeded and
some didn't. John Kerry is to be given great credit for his
relentlessness and pursuit of this process but it is not the John Kerry
Administration. This is the president Obama administration. It
seems that the President has come to a different conclusion. He is more
focused on his legacy with the middle class than the Middle East.
On this point, I think he is right. F Netanyahu and Abbas aren't
prepared to make these decisions, why would any president wants to
risk what remains of a second term to spend the political capital and
time required when in fact there is insufficient ownership? I am not one
of those who argue that somehow we can create that ownership. We
cannot. Every breakthrough in this region since the early 70s was
driven by pain and gain which appeared in a localised form. Once
it did appear, the US, whether it was Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter,
George Bush, were able to take advantage of those openings.
Ownership is local and unless we are similarly to that fact we will
continue to pursue a process that is in essence a key to an empty room.
As divers continue to recover bodies from the sunken South Korean ferry,
President Park Geun-Hye has apologised for failing to prevent
the disaster that has left more than 300 people dead or missing. At a
memorial for the 250 schoolchildren who were on board, she apologised
for the slow response to the tragedy. The BBC's Emily Buchanan
has more. The vast new memorial brings home
the sheer scale of the disaster. Hundreds of young faces stare out
from it. For their families, their grief was overwhelming. TRANSLATION:
I was crying so much I couldn't even look at the faces of the children.
It hurt so much. South Korea's president came to pay her respects.
Her government is under enormous pressure over the slow response and
lax regulation of the shipping industry. She has promised a new
department to deal with major catastrophes. TRANSLATION: I should
apologise for being unable to prevent the accident and for the
insufficiency in taking initial action. I wonder if this apology
will be able to comfort those hurt and ease their pain, as it breaks my
heart. What made the ferry capsize is still not clear but gaping
failures in the rescue operation have provoked outrage. Many of the
teenagers on board were told to stay seated while members of the crew
scrambled to safety. There are still dozens of bodies missing and the
grim search for them goes on. Divers have been hampered by strong
currents. Most of the dead and missing are children from one high
school. A whole community has been devastated. The emotional and
political fallout has only just begun.
We have breaking news. The NBA has banned Donald Sterling for life. He
has been fined $2.5 million and banned from games and associating
with players because he is alleged to have made racist comments. That
is breaking news out of the United States of America. The NBA has
banned Donald Sterling for life. There's been another spike in
violence in Syria, where mortar attacks in the capital Damascus have
killed at least 14 people and wounded more than 80. Most of the
casualties are students of a college hit by two of the shells. These
pictures show the aftermath of that attack, which Syria's government is
blaming on rebel fighters. In a separate incident, officials say a
car bomb in the city of Homs has killed at least 37 and wounded more
than 80. A replica of one of the world's most
famous antiquities - the tomb of Tutankhamun - is to be unveiled near
the site of the original in Egypt. It's been commissioned to save the
real tomb from the wear and tear that tourists inflict. But will they
be happy with a copy? Rajan Datar reports.
The Valley of the Kings in Luxor contains some of the most famous and
most visited ancient burial chambers in the world. But the most
celebrated is the tomb of the boy king Tutankhamun, discovered by a
team led by the British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922.
For more than 3000 years, this tomb survived intact in almost pristine
condition. But after only nine decades of tourism, with up to 1000
visitors every day, the conditions deteriorated rapidly. And the main
reason for that was this. Human breath. Since the tomb was opened
up, the constant changes of humidity, moisture levels and
airborne pollutants which come in with people have an effect on it.
Previous restoration attempts have added to the problem so it was
agreed a replica would be created with the long-term aim of severely
restricting public access to the original. Laser scanners and 3-D
printing were used to make the copy. The backdrop to all this has been
the continuing political crisis in Egypt over the past three years.
Tourism in many areas of the country has collapsed. Luxor town centre is
deserted and local traders are desperate. As you see yourself,
temples empty, market empty, most of the place empty, every part is
empty. We need tourism more than anything else. Replacing Luxor's
star attraction Tutankhamun's tomb with a facsimile may well be seen as
commercial suicide for a town already on its knees. Initial
reaction was rather sceptical from a guide there. It will be negative for
tourism because I'm sure that every country could have replicas of other
tombs back home. One in Japan, one in America. There is no need to come
anymore to see the tomb. The public will be given, for a period of time
at least, a chance to see both the original and the facsimile and judge
for themselves. The Travel Show was allowed a sneak preview and we took
an Egyptologist as well. Well, I'm sorry but I have to say it's
marvellous. This is just the start of a reappraisal of many of the
world's ailing antiquities. It looks like tourists may now have to get
used to visiting replicas instead. Let me just remind you of our
breaking news. The NBA has banned Donald Sterling for life. He is the
owner of the LA Clippers. He is alleged to have made racist remarks.
He was fined $2.5 million and banned for life and even from associating
with players. Pro-Russian protesters have stormed
various buildings in Luhansk. John Kerry has blamed Russia.
The IOC has said the preparations for the Olympics are the worst it
has ever seen. Good evening. It looks as though
Wednesday. Tough with grey skies. There will be dense fog