03/06/2014 World News Today


03/06/2014

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

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"An historic day", or "theatre written with the blood of Syrians"?

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Syria goes to the polls - and for the first time in decades,

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there's more than one name in the running for president.

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The US steps up its commitment to Europe's defence -

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announcing a one billion dollar fund to increase military

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Also coming up - Fears about the spread of Ebola in West Africa, as

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a British firm becomes the first to fly its people out of the region.

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And how one US art collector helped to keep alive an African art

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Hello and welcome. After 3 years of civil war,

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tens of thousands killed, and millions displaced, presidential

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elections are being held in Syria. Voting has been extended

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in what officials have called a There is little doubt

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President Assad will win For the first time

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in decades though, there are other But Maher Hajjar

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and Hassan al-Nouri are hardly known and critics say they've been unable

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to campaign on anything like And large parts of Syria did not

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take part in these elections. No votes were cast

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in opposition-held areas seen here Quite a contrast to the government

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controlled parts of the country seen here in red, where officials set up

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more than 9,000 polling stations. The BBC's Middle East Editor,

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Jeremy Bowen, has this report. There's a serve decorated some of

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the buses the water company used to bring workers to this polling

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station in Damascus. -- posters. If anybody supported anyone else they

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were keeping quiet. Everyone I spoke to said they would be voting for the

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head of the family that has run Syria for more than 40 years. This

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man scratched his bum so he could fold in blood. He was not the only

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one doing it. For the first time in more than 50 years there was a

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choice in the presidential election. Proof, according to officials, that

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this was real democracy. She said how happy she was to be voting for

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President Assad. But the election has been denounced as a sham by

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opponents abroad. Britain called it a parody of democracy. For all the

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savage criticism of this election it is important to remember that

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President Assad does have genuine support. Some of them have started

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chanting outside. He would not have got to where he has been without

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that kind of support. As far as he is concerned, this is good politics.

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President Assad is certain to win the vote. He cast his ballot with

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his wife, who grew up in London. In the parts of Syria are controlled by

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rebels the election has been ridiculed as much as condemned. This

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artist painted rubbish skips to look like ballot boxes. There is no

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voting in rebel held areas. Back in Damascus, this is a former minister,

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one of the rival candidates. Before the vote he said his own family had

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found the campaign was fear by Syrian standards but not, as he put

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it, from all points of view. One single person who believes in me

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would not have the guts to put a poster of me signing his name. Even

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your relatives might be scared to put up posters? Not scared,

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reluctant. They are reluctant because they never believed there

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would be an election in Syria and suddenly they have three candidates

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competing for the president of the Syrian republic. Look at this big

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change. Thousands of his posters have been up in Damascus. Questions

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about the future have always been parried with, it is up to the Syrian

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people. Whatever his opponents say about this controversial election,

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once his victory is announced he can tell them he has a new seven-year

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mandate. Joining me now from Westminster is the Conservative MP

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Brooks Newmark. Welcome. Let us assume that President Assad wins,

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how should the UK and the US react? I think there should be no change at

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all. Everybody recognises that this election is a complete farce, he has

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found useful idiots who have been preapproved. There was a process in

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Geneva which was about a transition. This throws that out. President

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Assad is responsible for butchering and gassing and torturing a of his

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own people. -- 150,000. This is one of the worst managerial crisis --

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humanitarian crises in history. The election has no bearing on reality.

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What should the West do given they don't want to inflict military

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strikes on the regime and given Russia is in little mood to

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cooperate? I think we need to put as much pressure on President Assad as

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possible, and that means providing genuine support for the Free Syrian

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Army and coalition, who represent the moderate majority of Syrians. At

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the moment what we've got is a bunch of terrorists on one side in the

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form of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, doing the fighting

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effectively for President Assad, and then on the other extreme side we

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have those fighting in the north-east, and copper in the middle

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of it is the vast majority of Syrians. -- trapped in the middle.

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Instead of supporting the moderate majority we are letting the

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radicals, the terrorists, if you will, who did not exist in Syria two

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years ago, gets stronger and stronger. We need to bolster the

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moderate majority and that is what they must do. You think your

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government is minded to do that? I mean, certainly, there is an

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appetite. People are recognising that because we're not supporting

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the moderate majority, there are about 15,000 terrorists. Where they

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did not exist two years ago they are growing and growing because we are

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not arming sufficiently the moderate majority. The only way to bring him

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to the negotiating table is through force. Through force, he recognises

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committee will then come to the negotiating table. On the absence

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force he will do things like he is doing today. I am afraid he

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recognises one thing, which is strength and might and the only way

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to deal with them is through that. President Obama has announced

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plans to increase the US military presence in eastern Europe.

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The move is a response to the crisis in Ukraine, and what the

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US president described as Russia's 'provocation' in the region.

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He's earmarked one billion dollars to pay for greater US participation

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in training and exercises, to rotate troops into the region

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and to provide naval deployments in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea.

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With me is Nicholas Burns - former US Ambassador to NATO, now

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Thank you for coming in. Is this enough? It is the right move by the

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President of the United States and by the NATO alliance, because

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President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron have been very clear, they

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are not going to have a military confrontation risk war with God

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you're putting over Ukraine. We have no security commitment with them. --

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brisk walk with Vladimir Putin over Ukraine. But is story and Latvia are

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former republics, Babe Ruth -- they both have significant ethnic Russian

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population. The theory is if there is not a strong announcement,

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Vladimir Putin will not respect the Alliance and might think he has more

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running room in Eastern Europe than he thinks. It is prudent, it is

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wise, we will not see a major build-up. The danger is it will be

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seen as a provocation. Vladimir Putin is many things but he is not

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irrational. He understands power, just like President Assad. He needs

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to be shown that NATO will live up to Article five, which is that an

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attack on one is an attack on all. This reinforces the chance to

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maintain stability in Eastern Europe as a result of what happened in

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Crimea. Do you see a future in which Ukraine becomes a member of the

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European Union and NATO? Not any time soon. I think it should have

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representation in Brussels, certainly in the form of a trade

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agreement, it is a partner of NATO, it has been training with them, but

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to bring them into the alliance any time soon, I don't think you would

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have the unanimity that would require and that might be the kind

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of provocation that would be very unwise. Friendship towards Ukraine,

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economic and political support, maybe even helping them build a

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military, that is as far as you will see the US and Europe go. How do you

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assess the approach of Vladimir Putin towards the separatist in the

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east of Ukraine? He is pulling back troops from the border. He says he

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is. He is actually quite devious and it is a highly cynical policy. He

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says he is not interfering and yet when some of these ethnic Russians

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have been killed the remains have been shipped back to Russia. It

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stands to reason as many governments have been saying that the Russian

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government is actually directing some of these operations, and agents

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of the Russian government are helping to form these bands of armed

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brigands. That is what they are. They are trying to take over the

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legal authorities that are the responsibilities of the Ukrainian

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government. I don't think we should believe flooding are put in when he

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says his intentions are benign. You think there will be a problem

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getting this programme through Congress? I don't. I think they are

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urging the president to show a little more strength on Ukraine. He

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did that today. He is to be commended for that. He will have

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congressional support for that. On another issue, we're hearing in

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Egypt's that -- we're hearing the results of election. Can they do

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business? They will have no choice because each are so important in the

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effort to contain Iran, to maintain the support of the moderate states

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of the Middle East. There will be a lot of misgivings because it is a

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return to military dictatorship and Egypt's highly divisive politics

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will be difficult to deal with. Very good to speak to you. As we were

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saying, Egypt's former army chief has been confirmed as the next

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president, winning by a landslide with more than 96% of the vote. The

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right spread -- result was expected. We will get more now. This was

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expected but tell us more about the figures, the voting figures and the

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turnout figures. A landslide victory for the Field Marshall, more than

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96% of the votes. His opponent got less than 4%. We have other figures

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to consider. The turnout was around 47% only. Less than 50% of eligible

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voters took apart. More than 50% chose to stay away. They do not

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believe in this political process, so Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has some

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steps to take to convince these people he will be a president for

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all Egyptians, not only those who voted for him. He is now addressing

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a nation with a severely divided political landscape, polarisation in

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the political scene, so he has lots of challenges that lie ahead. His

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inaugural ceremony will be next week, after that he has lots of

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problems to take care of and he has to point out what his plan is to

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address all these lingering problems. In fact, in a speech that

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he gave a while ago, he thanked the Army, the judges, the media, and

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there has been lots of concerns about media restrictions in the

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period to come, given the fact that the man comes from a military

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background. Some media groups and human rights groups are afraid there

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will be lots of restrictions on freedom of speech. Perhaps he

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intended to give some assurance that the period to come will not be a

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period of restriction. He's one of Pakistan's most powerful

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politicians but he is now in police custody in London, arrested

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on suspicion of money laundering. Altaf Hussain,

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leader of Pakistan's third largest party the MQM, has been living

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in the UK in self-imposed exile In the party's powerbase,

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Pakistan's largest city Karachi, police are on the streets

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and thousands of supporters have Here in London, the BBC's Richard

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Galpin has been to Altaf Hussain's Plainclothes police officers moved

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in this morning, to arrest Altaf Hussain here at his home in a

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wealthy area of north London. The result of an investigation lasting

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at least a year. But this police operation was not just about

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arresting him. It was also to try to find more evidence. The police had

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been searching his house here for hours. And it's not the first raid

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here. There have been many others in the past. There are also other

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allegations against Mr Husain, not just the allegation of

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money-laundering. He is also accused of inciting his millions of

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supporters in Karachi to violence. He denies all the allegations.

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Although based here in London for more than 20 years, Altaf Hussain

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still controls the MQM in Pakistani. Delivering firebrand speeches over

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the telephone to the party faithful in Karachi. Including what seems to

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be clear threats against the MQM's opponents and critics.

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So, no surprise then that news of his arrest has already led to

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trouble in Karachi, the MQM's heartland. His supporters taking to

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the streets in angry protests, sparking fears, not least for

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British citizens living in the city. British citizens have already been

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moved from Karachi to Islamabad, especially the dramatic stuff, and

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they have also asked the British people who are working over there to

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take extra care -- especially Telematics staff. There may be a

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direct threat to them. -- diplomatic staff. The situation is extreme.

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Already many people have fled to the safety of their homes, with shops

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and other businesses locked up. Many fearing the worst.

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Now a look at some of the day's other news.

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Spanish politicians have been outlining what happens next with

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the abdication of King Juan Carlos and the accession of his son

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On Monday the king announced that he would step down after

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Thailand's ruling military council says it will lift a curfew

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in some tourist areas, including the popular beach resorts

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The curfew from midnight to 4am was imposed after the military took

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Nigeria's interior minister has said that several people have been found

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guilty of providing weapons to Boca have run militants, welcoming the

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move. What is gladdening if the military high command has been able

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to use it intelligence operations to identify people. Having found them

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as early as this is gladdening to everybody who is concerned about

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ending this insurgency. Staff at a British firm in

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Sierra Leone have left the country following an outbreak

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of the deadly Ebola virus. London Mining is

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the first company to speak publicly There are already

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about 50 suspected cases in Sierra There have been more than 100 deaths

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in neighbouring Guinea where the outbreak started,

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with cases also reported in Liberia He's Professor of Infectious Disease

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Epidemiology at the London School You have been studying it polar for

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more than 40 years. And you know how quickly it can spread. -- you have

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been studying the Ebola virus. How easy is it to spread? It transfers

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through blood from one person to another, sometimes through vomiting

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or coughing on another person, and it has to be close contact. Those at

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greatest risk are the health professionals. Is it wise to get

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workers out of a dangerous field? I do not understand what the

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considerations were in moving this people out, it is just because of

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simple issues such as insurance, possibly, which tells the complete

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to remove the Patriots. I cannot answer the question. There is very

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little risk that they would be effective if they are not in close

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contact with a patient with the Ebola virus. I was introducing the

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story, I gave the viewers some number, but there could be others

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who do not know about. It is difficult to find cases because they

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are hidden in many times, there is a stigma sometimes against the cases

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and families do not want to identify it. It is systematically searching

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from village to village that people are found, managed in a hospital and

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released. So who does that, is it health workers putting themselves at

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risk? Health workers are at greatest risk, most outbreaks occur because

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patients into a hospital where practices are not being done which

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will protect the health workers. The best procedures are wearing gloves,

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wearing a mask and making sure there is no contact directly with body

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secretions. So there needs to be a lot of training for the

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professionals who are expected to go out there and monitor and contained

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the Ebola virus? Absolutely, it is vital, it is important for this

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virus and many other hospital infections as well. The training

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should be done on a regular basis, not just when there is an outbreak.

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One of the concerns that some of the families have is that their loved

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ones are in hospitals. We have had reports that infected patients have

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been taken out because families want them treated by traditional healers.

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Is that something you have heard? I have heard the same thing, this

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often happens. Those at greatest risk now will be the traditional

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healers who will be working with these patients and the family

:21:49.:21:53.

members who are in contact with them. This is common, people wants

:21:54.:21:57.

to take their sick ones home and Ebola virus patients are very sick.

:21:58.:22:02.

Thank you for speaking to us about this.

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It's 50 years since the first museum dedicated to African art opened

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It was founded by Warren Robbins, a career diplomat who had never

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visited the continent when he started his collection.

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But he strongly believed that appreciating the art of Africa could

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foster greater understanding between white and African-Americans

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His collection eventually became the National Museum of African Art

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and moved to the heart of the nation's capital.

:22:27.:22:29.

The traditional art of Liberia and Sierra Leone convey a culture

:22:30.:22:38.

These ceremonial masks and carvings, dating from

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the 15th century to modern times, are part of a major exhibition at

:22:44.:22:47.

We have got the joy of helping people to rethink how

:22:48.:22:55.

This is only one aspect of African art, often mistakenly described

:22:56.:23:03.

But half a century after America's first dedicated African art museum

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opened its doors in Washington, perceptions are changing.

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What I really feel excited about is that we no longer, I hope, have to

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go to Europe or to the United States to justify the beauty, the

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We can understand it because of its own aesthetic standards.

:23:29.:23:42.

The 50th anniversary of the National Museum of African Art is also

:23:43.:23:45.

Warren Robbins was a cultural attache working

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One day in the late 1950s, he walked into an antique store

:23:51.:23:56.

and bought a wooden carving, the start of a world-class collection.

:23:57.:24:02.

And here we are at Warren Robbins' home.

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Back in Washington, he turned his house

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into a museum and used his African art as a vehicle for civil rights.

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He created a space that was extraordinarily rare at the time.

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Which is someplace that appreciates where African-Americans came from,

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remember, we're talking about the United States in 1964, the

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peak of the civil rights movement, and before it had triumphed.

:24:29.:24:33.

So in that sense, it was a major move forward.

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And as the museum has developed, that has only strengthened.

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Robbins was also very well connected.

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Hollywood stars such as Gregory Peck and Elizabeth Taylor flocked to

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his exhibitions, raising the profile and understanding of African art.

:24:47.:24:53.

I think Warren's legacy was to establish something that created

:24:54.:24:57.

But what he always wanted was a museum that was living.

:24:58.:25:08.

Today's museum, now part of the Smithsonian Institution, showcases

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historical and contemporary works, helping visitors understand how

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the art of Africa is as rich and diverse as the continent itself.

:25:19.:25:32.

An expert scientific panel here in the UK has given its backing to a

:25:33.:25:38.

fertility treatment that would allow genetic material from three people

:25:39.:25:41.

to create a baby. The aim of the three parent IVF technique is to

:25:42.:25:45.

prevent couples from passing on severe disabilities to their

:25:46.:25:49.

children. The ground-breaking procedure, which involves replacing

:25:50.:25:53.

40 part of the mitochondrial DNA, is still at research stay, but it could

:25:54.:25:58.

be available for patients within two years if draft legislation is passed

:25:59.:26:02.

into law. And we have shown you some -- and

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here are some more unusual pictures of a black bear relaxing in the

:26:10.:26:13.

Florida sunshine. This was in Daytona Beach, who said that there

:26:14.:26:17.

looked like he was on vacation. He has been spotted around the

:26:18.:26:20.

neighbourhood over the past few days, opening up bins and looking

:26:21.:26:25.

for food. All good things must come to an end, the bins have been taken

:26:26.:26:28.

away and the hammock removed on safety grounds.

:26:29.:26:55.

As he had to the course of the night and area of low pressure will push

:26:56.:27:01.

up from the south, and using a lot of rain to the country. That takes

:27:02.:27:04.

over tomorrow, which will be relatively cool. Cooler than what we

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have been used

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