02/05/2014 World News Today


02/05/2014

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This is BBC World News Today with me Philippa Thomas.

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In Ukraine today, deadly violence in the east and south. There's a

:00:11.:00:14.

standoff in Sloviansk, where the Ukrainian military has encircled the

:00:15.:00:17.

rebels but they're still holding the city centre. Two Ukrainian soldiers

:00:18.:00:27.

were also killed and two helicopters brought down.

:00:28.:00:30.

And in the southern port city of Odessa, at least three people have

:00:31.:00:33.

been killed during clashes between protestors for links with Russia and

:00:34.:00:37.

those for Ukrainian unity. It is obvious to the world that these

:00:38.:00:40.

Russian groups are not just protesters. They are heavily and

:00:41.:00:45.

militants who are receiving significant support from Russia.

:00:46.:00:49.

Around 500 are feared dead as a landslide buries a village in the

:00:50.:00:52.

north east of Afghanistan. Also coming up: dozens arrested in

:00:53.:00:59.

the Philippines for luring Internet users into explicit sex acts and

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then blackmailing them with the images.

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And imagine a gospel according to Mary - we visit the London stage

:01:06.:01:09.

production that breathes life into a character rarely given a voice. The

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church downgraded her to almost silence, to acceptance, to

:01:15.:01:21.

passivity. This may be seen as lovely virtues in the female form.

:01:22.:01:31.

Hello and welcome. Rebels in eastern Ukraine have suffered heavy losses

:01:32.:01:38.

according to a statement from Ukraine's acting president - who

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says Kiev's forces have taken control of a number of checkpoints

:01:42.:01:44.

during today's military operation against pro-Russian activists in the

:01:45.:01:49.

eastern city of Sloviansk. But government forces have also taken

:01:50.:01:53.

losses. Two Ukrainian helicopters have been shot down by what Kiev

:01:54.:01:56.

says appeared to be surface-to-air missiles, with two crew dead.

:01:57.:02:08.

Meanwhile, in Odessa, at least three people are said to have been killed

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and many others injured through clashes with pro-Russian militants

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and supporters of the country's unity. More on that in a minute but

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first, our Special Correspondent Fergal Keane got to the outskirts of

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Sloviansk and this is his report. This was the rebels answer to the

:02:31.:02:35.

government's offensive, missiles that downed helicopters. These were

:02:36.:02:41.

the instruments of state power. Two were brought crashing to the

:02:42.:02:45.

ground, two pilots killed. Here, a wounded crew member is helped by the

:02:46.:02:50.

rebels who captured him. It was an image that seemed to define a day in

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which the government yet again struggled in the face of determined

:02:55.:02:58.

opposition. The militants had been waiting for some move by the state.

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This, the masked face of well-prepared insurgency. Don't

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stand behind me, this gunman warns. Here, petrol bombs are being

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prepared, ammunition brought forward. And a promise of fire down

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the road any soldiers might come. It was here on this bridge that

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Ukraine's army was confronted by its own citizens. Helicopters deployed

:03:27.:03:32.

troops onto the strategic crossing six miles from Sloviansk. But the

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people refused to allow them across. Firing in the air, they tried to

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push on but it simply increased the emotion. This elderly man was

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treated for shock. But as the stalemate on the bridge deep end, we

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found a mood of defiance. I am prepared to take the gun if I need

:04:06.:04:17.

to for my land. You understand me? The soldiers were nervous, far from

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Kiev and the government that is giving them orders. You don't seem

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very in control here? What is happening? Pointing to the

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protesters, he told us, they are the people. The atmosphere on the bridge

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remains very tense. There is not an appetite for any more confrontation

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from the troops and there is a great deal of anger for the pro Russian

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supporters. No -- neither side knows where this is leading.

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Let's get the latest on this from the BBC's Sarah Rainsford, who's in

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Donetsk. Sarah, is it your understanding that the military

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operation is continuing? Yes, certainly that is what both sides

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are saying. There is a statement from the pro-Russian forces inside

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Sloviansk and they are confirming they have suffered some casualties,

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talking about 3 million share and two civilians being killed and

:05:18.:05:22.

fortified checkpoints being taken over. They say they are building new

:05:23.:05:26.

check point inside the city as they prepare for another assault by the

:05:27.:05:31.

Ukrainian military. We have also heard from the interior minister,

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talking about what has been happening. He described military

:05:36.:05:40.

operation as a necessary action. He said, we couldn't not act but we

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needed to act carefully. We need to act carefully. Underlining the very

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delicate situation that the government is enough it begins the

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launch of this military operation, anxious to reassert its control in

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Ukraine but nervous about sparking a reaction from Russian troops on the

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border, as Russia said they would intervene if they felt their

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citizens were in any danger. Thank you.

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In the last couple of hours, President Obama and the German

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Chancellor, Angela Merkel, have been speaking at the White House about

:06:16.:06:18.

the Ukraine crisis and urging Russia to take more action to de-escalate

:06:19.:06:27.

the situation. It is obvious to the world that these Russian backed

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groups are not peaceful protesters. They are heavily armed militants who

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are receiving significant support from Russia. The Ukrainian

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government has the right and responsibility to withhold law and

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order within its territory and Russia needs to use its influence to

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make these groups disarm and stop promoting -- stop provoking

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violence. But Russia's Minister proclaimed that the people of

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Ukraine are standing up for themselves. The most striking and

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irritating thing is that the requirements of the people in the

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east of the country are very simple. They are in a situation

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where there is an illegitimate government in the capital, very much

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representative of radical elements and people wanted guarantees of

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their right, they wanted federalisation. Over a very long

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period of time, perhaps two months after the toppling of the legitimate

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government, no one took up weapons, at least for a month and a half.

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They were waiting for a construct of response from Kiev regarding their

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requirements to ensure their legitimate interests.

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With me is John Lough, an associate fellow on the Russia and Eurasia

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Programme at Chatham House. Clearly an military battle now and still

:07:54.:08:00.

that battle of propaganda. A proper -- a problem for the Russian --

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Ukrainian military is that they want to see if they can assert control

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without provoking Russia. That is right. As you just spoke about and

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that report, the danger is that a peacekeeping force will come over

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the border. At the same time, the Ukrainian military's capacities are

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limited so how successful they could be his questionable. What do you

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think of President Putin's strategy here? From what we can see, Russia

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wants to prevent the election taking place in Ukraine, thus meaning it

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would delegitimise a new leader. That would put pressure on Kiev to

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agree to reformatting of Ukraine as a country, giving the regions are

:08:57.:09:00.

much enhanced autonomy, allowing eastern regions to gravitate away

:09:01.:09:07.

from Kiev, undermining the independence of the country. So the

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strategy is not so much to go in and be seen to go in and an incursion as

:09:13.:09:18.

to make the east ungovernable customer I think that is the intent.

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It would be very dangerous if they invaded, as it would probably

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unleash war. They wouldn't want to do that. The danger is that they are

:09:32.:09:35.

escalating the situation in the east of the country and it could get

:09:36.:09:40.

beyond their control. We saw President Obama and Angela Merkel

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talking there but what can they do? The sanctions have been levied. They

:09:45.:09:52.

could put more sanctions in, stop Russia having access to

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international finance. That would have a very marked effect on the

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Russian economy. It is something of a nuclear option. It would tip them

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immediately into recession. But I do not see any immediate hunger for

:10:05.:10:11.

that because it would have an effect on the rest of the West as well.

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Briefly, is there any other way to de-escalate the situation from

:10:18.:10:21.

outside? At the moment, I don't see any immediate way of doing that. We

:10:22.:10:26.

have to hope that the Russians will accept that there are extreme

:10:27.:10:31.

dangers involved here and they may have to come involved in appeasing

:10:32.:10:36.

-- peacekeeping way. As many as 500 people are missing,

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feared dead, after heavy rains triggered a major landslide in

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Afghanistan. A UN spokesman in the country says they died after a hill

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collapsed on the village of Hobo Barik in the remote northeastern

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province of Badakshan. Local government officials are appealing

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for help, including special equipment to help them dig through

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the mud. Let's get more from our correspondent who is following

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events from Kabul. David, there are various figures for the numbers

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missing, feared dead. What are you hearing? I appreciate it is hard to

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know this far-flung region. Hard facts are very few and far between

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on the ground but we do know that 350 bodies have been confirmed found

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in the mud when this huge landslide came down and engulfed not one but

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two villages, wrecking 300 houses, threatening 700 more. It is, as you

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say, the most remote part of the country. It is the finger of

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Afghanistan that stretches up towards the Chinese border in the

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north-east. Badakhshan is mountainous, there are deep ravines

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and high mountains. It is inaccessible and in a country where

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there are many mountainous and desert regions which are hard to get

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to, Badakhshan really is the most inaccessible part of the country.

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The government -- the governor of the province has told us that he

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believed some 2000 people could be missing. There was a wedding going

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on in one of the villages, it was a Friday morning, so those that work

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away from the village would have been away so those attending the

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wedding will have been caught up in this natural disaster. This follows

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many days of very heavy rain. We had 150 people killed in the north of

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the country last week in floods and bass heavy rain caused the mountain

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to collapse downwards. The first pictures which are coming in from

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the area show rescuers digging with shovels and their bare hands. Local

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rescue officials are saying they need heavy machinery to come in to

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see if they can find survivors, miraculously, hidden in the mud. As

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we saw in the United States recently, it is very hard to find

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people in thick mud settling down in an area like this. The UN have got

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teams on the ground and the international forces here say they

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stand ready to help if the request comes from the Afghan government.

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President Obama has expressed his solidarity with the Afghan people,

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calling this a tragedy, and saying the international forces will be

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what they can but at the moment, it is just individuals with picks and

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shovels trying to find whether there are any survivors under this huge

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mudslide. Thank you. The Nigerian capital Abuja has again

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been hit by a bomb blast, which has killed at least 19 people, injuring

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60 more. The car bomb targeted a busy bus station in the suburbs

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which was hit by another deadly explosion last month. The Islamist

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militant group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility. Our correspondent,

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Will Ross, reports from the scene. Scenes of chaos on the outskirts of

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the Nigerian capital. A man was seen parking a car here and walking away.

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Seconds later, the bomb exploded. Is molested extremists -- Islamist

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extremists said they carried out the attack. This is the spot where the

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car was detonated, overhear the wreckage of other cars which were

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loaned out. The great shop here is that this is the second blast in

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less than two weeks and people here are wondering why they are being

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targeted. In hospitals across the capital, the injured are getting

:14:36.:14:39.

help. Reza tells me she was waiting for a lift home with a friend when

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the bomb exploded. There was fire everywhere and she said she was

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thrown to the ground by a nearby car. She has no idea if her friend

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survived. Security is getting worst -- worse in Nigeria. These are the

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parents of the 200 girls missing after being abducted last month.

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They are angry the government has not done enough to rescue the girls.

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At the bomb site, foreign forensic teams have come to help with

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investigations but feeling vulnerable, many people want to know

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what is being done to prevent another attack. This city is due to

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hold a huge event, the world economic Forum, next week with heads

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of state coming here from all over the world. With results as --

:15:32.:15:36.

relentless violence in the north-east and now bomb blast,

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perhaps it is now time for everyone to admit the strength of the crisis

:15:41.:15:45.

in Nigeria. Now a look at some of the days other

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news. Northern Ireland's Republican party Sinn Fein says police in the

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province are asking a judge for more time to question its leader, Gerry

:15:54.:15:56.

Adams, in connection with one of the most notorious murders of Northern

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Ireland's Troubles. Jean McConville, a mother of ten, was shot by the IRA

:16:00.:16:04.

in 1972. Mr Adams, who denies any involvement, volunteered for

:16:05.:16:10.

questioning almost 48 hours ago. A truce has been agreed between

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Syrian government forces and rebels in the besieged city of Homs. It

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allows opposition fighters to withdraw from their positions.

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Around 1,000 fighters are expected to leave the city over the next 48

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hours. The US Secretary of State, John

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Kerry, says the South Sudanese president has agreed to hold peace

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talks with his bitter rival Riek Machar. The talks between Salva Kiir

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and his former deputy could take place as early as next week.

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Here in Britain the celebrity publicist Max Clifford is beginning

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an eight year jail sentence tonight for a string of indecent assaults

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against young girls and women in the 1970s and 80s. It's a longer

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sentence than many expected, but the judge told Clifford that he was

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wrong to assume his position in the entertainment world meant he was

:17:00.:17:04.

untouchable. Police in the Philippines say they

:17:05.:17:07.

have arrested dozens of suspects linked to an online sexual blackmail

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syndicate. In a case relating to what some describe as sextortion 58

:17:13.:17:15.

people have been arrested, alleged to have persuaded people to expose

:17:16.:17:18.

themselves in front of webcams, or to send explicit material. Demands

:17:19.:17:21.

for between ?500 and ?15,000 dollars were made with threats to send the

:17:22.:17:25.

compromising images to the victims' relatives or friends.

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It took place from call-centre style offices on what Interpol

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investigators described as an industrial scale. There were

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hundreds of victims in Hong Kong and Singapore.

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People in the Philippines, the United States and United Kingdom

:17:42.:17:45.

were also targeted. Among the victims, investigators say, was the

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Scottish teenager Daniel Perry who committed suicide last July.

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Jim Gamble is the former head of a specialist British police unit the

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Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and now runs his

:17:59.:18:01.

own internet security company tackling a range of issues including

:18:02.:18:05.

so-called sexploitation cases. He joins us from Belfast.

:18:06.:18:15.

Welcome to the programme. Tell us what your take is on the industrial

:18:16.:18:22.

nature of this very systematic exploitation. It is a blend of

:18:23.:18:25.

grooming techniques that you will see from those people who seek out

:18:26.:18:31.

children to offend against them online and actually traditional

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criminal techniques where conmen for years and years have laboured

:18:36.:18:38.

vulnerable and susceptible individuals. I am not surprised that

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it is industrial. It is almost a call Centre of days gone by when you

:18:44.:18:48.

would have phoned the sex lines they are able to go online to social

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media sites and dating sites and identify men who are either

:18:54.:18:56.

vulnerable would because of their age, either very young or very old

:18:57.:19:02.

or because they are out and seeking some kind of sexual engagement so it

:19:03.:19:07.

must be like shooting fish in a barrel for these criminals. When

:19:08.:19:11.

they get these men and engage them in a conversation where the men

:19:12.:19:14.

think they are talking to attractive young women, they are all too quick

:19:15.:19:20.

to expose themselves in what they think is some form of sexual

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gratification and then they are caught, trapped. Is this kind of

:19:26.:19:33.

Sting, it has been uncovered in the Philippines, are the Philippines a

:19:34.:19:39.

centre for this kind of abuse) I do not think the Philippines

:19:40.:19:42.

necessarily. South East Asia has a range of factors apparent within it

:19:43.:19:47.

around the vulnerability of some groups where we have seen travelling

:19:48.:19:52.

sex offenders go there in the past. There has been a perception I think

:19:53.:19:57.

wrongly held by some where police corruption lends itself to people

:19:58.:20:02.

getting away with this but the police in the Philippines have shown

:20:03.:20:06.

that there is a real collaborative effort here to identify and locate

:20:07.:20:09.

and hold these people to account. Let us go to basics. A young boy,

:20:10.:20:15.

Daniel Perry, was exploited and blackmailed and he took his own

:20:16.:20:20.

life. What to Police Scotland have done should be applauded, they have

:20:21.:20:24.

set an example for other police services to follow and they have

:20:25.:20:27.

relentlessly and ruthlessly pursued the individuals the whole way to the

:20:28.:20:30.

Philippines to hold them to account to what they did to this young

:20:31.:20:35.

Scottish man. I must say this is that it is the kind of deterrent

:20:36.:20:38.

that we need to see, it is a real deterrent that sees 58 people

:20:39.:20:43.

arrested. If you are listening to this programme tonight and you have

:20:44.:20:49.

been seduced by one of these exploited groups, please talk to the

:20:50.:20:52.

police. Once you hand over any financial details and you pay

:20:53.:20:56.

someone, it never goes away. These people will bleed you and drain you

:20:57.:20:59.

dry and you might think you can keep it a secret but one day the police

:21:00.:21:02.

and the Philippines or elsewhere around the world will discover some

:21:03.:21:06.

of these organisations and they will get into the computer that they have

:21:07.:21:11.

and your photographs and names will come out anyway. Think about it, the

:21:12.:21:15.

right time to come forward is when somebody tries to exploit you. Go to

:21:16.:21:20.

talk to the police, where ever you are, and put the fear where it

:21:21.:21:23.

belongs, in the predator, so they do not come online looking for people

:21:24.:21:28.

to exploit for their own financial gain. That is a very important

:21:29.:21:31.

discussion to have. Jim Gamble in the Belfast, thank you.

:21:32.:21:35.

She is worshipped, she is an icon of womanhood, but we rarely hear her

:21:36.:21:40.

words. Now a stage production of Colm Toibin's novel The Testament Of

:21:41.:21:43.

Mary gives the world's most famous mother a voice. The Virgin Mary is

:21:44.:21:46.

played in a 90 minute one-woman performance by the actor Fiona Shaw

:21:47.:21:54.

at London's Barbican Centre. Kasia Madera has been speaking to Shaw and

:21:55.:21:59.

her producer Deborah Warner. We sat there for a while in silence

:22:00.:22:07.

because they were afraid of the word. Crucified. I said, yes. Yes.

:22:08.:22:28.

And that Mary spoke, but it will be a new beginning. I would say the

:22:29.:22:34.

intention is to open up the imagination of someone without a

:22:35.:22:39.

religious act dash-mac whip dash-mac without a religious imagination or

:22:40.:22:43.

with. You open it up to a different keyhole and you see a different

:22:44.:22:48.

landscape, different and yet familiar. It lets you see something

:22:49.:22:55.

that you know in a new way. The crucifixion is a scene that is so

:22:56.:23:05.

well-known. How do you dramatise it. The items that she lives with now.

:23:06.:23:09.

She lives in a room with the necessary items to prompt her

:23:10.:23:14.

memory. She has a crown of thorns which is made out of barbed wire.

:23:15.:23:19.

She has the large nails of the cross. Sponges. It is amazing how

:23:20.:23:23.

domestic the death of that man was. I grasped. I saw the cross. Given

:23:24.:24:07.

that she is so iconic and she is such a mythical creature now, this

:24:08.:24:12.

story is so well-known, it is so important to so many different

:24:13.:24:16.

people. By playing it in such a way, by making the figure of Mary so

:24:17.:24:22.

ordinary, are you downplaying it? She does not speak often. If she was

:24:23.:24:27.

ever downgraded, the Church downgraded her to almost silence, to

:24:28.:24:32.

acceptance, to passivity. All of this may be seen as lovely virtues

:24:33.:24:36.

in the female form but if God came to earth as a man, then there is

:24:37.:24:43.

always a limitation of identity if he is only a man. There has to be

:24:44.:24:48.

also the female side of that theology. I dream to my son came

:24:49.:25:01.

back to life it was dawn. We dream to that we were sleeping. There were

:25:02.:25:09.

left trees in the distance but nothing close by and there was no

:25:10.:25:16.

sound. We were woken by the sound of water gargling up from the earth and

:25:17.:25:21.

I put my hand down to see if it was real. Then I heard Mary Garst

:25:22.:25:26.

because the water seems to be gushing out over the well and then I

:25:27.:25:35.

saw him. He was rising with the water. He seems -- his hands, his

:25:36.:25:40.

feet, his forehead where their form and been, there were blue marks,

:25:41.:25:50.

open and gaping -- where the thorns had been. Mary held him as the water

:25:51.:25:54.

delivered in. She laid him across my lap. Fiona Shaw giving us The

:25:55.:26:02.

Testament Of Mary. A final story. Twin sisters who have spent almost

:26:03.:26:08.

80 years apart have been reunited. They were separated as babies when

:26:09.:26:13.

one was put up for adoption. Their unmarried mother was in domestic

:26:14.:26:18.

service and could not afford to keep both girls. The women met in

:26:19.:26:24.

California after the longest period of separation ever recorded for

:26:25.:26:25.

twins. A reminder of our main news: Ukraine

:26:26.:26:28.

says pro-Russian militants have suffered what it called heavy losses

:26:29.:26:31.

during the government operation against the insurgent-controlled

:26:32.:26:33.

city of Sloviansk. Ukrainian forces are reported to

:26:34.:26:36.

have taken control of a number of checkpoints around the city. There

:26:37.:26:49.

have also been losses on the Ukrainian side. Thank you for being

:26:50.:26:51.

with us. Hello. It has been a cloudy day

:26:52.:27:01.

today and the cloud will continue to melt away tonight and it will turn

:27:02.:27:08.

cold. There will be patches of frost developing overnight even

:27:09.:27:10.

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