04/06/2014 World News Today


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


President Obama marks 25 years since the fall of communism


in Poland by condemning Russia's 'dark tactics' in Ukraine.


25 years on from Tiananmen Square, we look at how the protests -


and the crackdown - are viewed by young Chinese today.


Venice feels the pressure of a new political scandal - is the


And the prestigious Bailey's prize for fiction is moments from


being announced - we'll bring you breaking news from the ceremony.


Today's top level diplomatic summit was supposed to be the G8 in Sochi.


Instead it's the G7 in Brussels - with President Putin out


in the cold, following his annexation of Crimea.


It's the crisis in Ukraine which is expected to dominate these


discussions - after President Obama's speech in Warsaw earlier


today, marking 25 years of Polish democracy, and warning against what


he called Russia's dark tactics to destabilise a democratic Ukraine.


But are the seven leaders meeting here


tonight agreed on how to deal with Russia and the Russian president?


A place and a moment rich with symbolism,


the Polish capital where 25 years ago the citizens of the old Eastern


America's president, among foreign leaders marking the anniversary.


For the history-loving Barack Obama, this was a chance to celebrate,


but also to draw parallels with today and Ukraine.


The days of empire and spheres of influence are over.


Bigger nations must not be allowed to bully the small or impose their


will at the barrel of a gun or with masked men taking over buildings.


And the stroke of a pen can never legitimise


the theft of a neighbour's land, so we will not accept Russia's


occupation of Crimea, or its violation of Ukraine's sovereignty.


Our three nations will stand united so that further Russian provocations


will only mean more isolation for Russia.


Earlier, a first meeting between Mr Obama and Ukraine's newly


elected president - Washington promising greater assistance.


The United States has already stepped up in a number of ways -


we're supplementing the assistance the IMF is providing with $1 billion


in additional loan guarantees and we have discussed additional steps that


we might take to help during this reform and transition process.


With the Americans pushing for a meeting between Mr Poroshenko


and the Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Ukraine's new leader


We are ready to present a plan for a peaceful relation


We think that the next several days will be very


important, crucial, for history from the Ukrainian perspective.


In eastern Ukraine, the fighting continues.


At a border guard camp in Luhansk, pro-Russian rebels helped themselves


to guns and ammunition after government forces decided to leave.


Elsewhere, the government is still on the offensive.


Plenty for President Obama and his colleagues to discuss


This week of diplomacy now reaching a critical phase.


This gathering was of us to be hosted by Vladimir Putin in Sochi.


Now world leaders must agree with what they will say, separately or


together, when they bump into the Russian leader at D-Day


We will take you to Brussels just now. We will go to James Robbins


just now. What is your view on whether the leaders will agree on


how to deal with the Russians? Russia excluded from this meeting.


Prez-mac is what into the building in the last minute or so. They are


going into a working dinner. They have voted. They are going to be


discussing what Russia needs to do and what signal they want to send to


Vladimir Putin. As a minimum, of course, they want him to pool more


forces back from the border with Ukraine. They also want Russia to


stop, as they also want Russia to stop, as these with eastern Ukraine,


encouraging separatism is, as well as they hope to persuade the Russian


president to get involved in dialogue with the Ukrainian


president. What is really interesting is that as soon as this


meeting in Brussels is over sometime tomorrow afternoon, several readers


are heading out to France for the commemorations of the D-Day landings


in 1944. The first person to see President Putin will be David


Cameron. He will have a one-to-one meeting with ladder near Britain and


Paris and will convey a strong message from this meeting for


President Putin two digests. Dash-mac Vladimir Putin.


Well just hours before the G7 was set to get under


way Germany announced it is to investigate allegations that the US


government bugged Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.


Ms Merkel publicly requested an explanation of


the alleged spying by the National Security Agency when this news broke


To shed a little light into why this is only just being


investigated, I'm joined by the German journalist Imke Henkel.


Seven months on. It is a technical process. One prosecutor said he will


start an enquiry. It is very much a traditional process. It is not a


government process. She has been hesitant at the beginning to show


any reaction to the news that her phone calls were hacked or worse by


Don. Dash-mac spied upon. Then she slowly became more stern and her


reaction. Recently the government thought, the interior minister has


been to the United States. Although he has been someone who was in the


beginning quite strict and said this is outrageous and we cannot have our


friend spying on us, he has now said, he has said... It is not in


their interests. Do you think this enquiry might change intelligence


cooperation between them? I do not think so. Anglo-American would be


interested with getting closer cooperation with United States.


Dash-mac Angela Merkel. Germany is not included, France and


Belgium is. They would like to move closer to that, yes. Today we have


been talking about the G7, of course. It is awkward timing even if


it wasn't meant to be announced today. It is a parallel process. It


is an independent authority that does it. There was no pressure from


the government. There will be a debate within the authority. We will


have to watch and see what they come up with and how the German public


response. In Hong Kong there have been demonstrations. We wondered


what the young generation of Chinese think about an event that


This crowd weren't even born 25 years ago.


Different flags, different slogans, different lives.


This generation of students at a Beijing music festival,


not trying to be the conscience of China or to change the world.


Just enjoying what freedoms they do have.


Life goals for these friends, buy a house and buy a car and get married.


It is an open secret they tell me but


they're too busy looking for a job to be thinking about those things.


But the picture of aspiration doesn't include everyone.


Protests and riots a daily reality for those


with no stake - exploited workers, neighbours to polluting factories,


This is a much richer country than in 1989, but also more unequal,


more corrupt and much less likely to trust its government.


So how to keep the post-Tiananmen generation in line?


Beijing is marching them towards a middle-class future.


Outsiders often marvel at China's achievements over the past 25 years


but no one here takes their urban lifestyle for granted.


Life's a daily struggle - for education, health care,


for an apartment, for a job and even for the means for actually...


Even for the means to actually get that job.


These young people are trying to grow a different China.


On the Righteous Path Farm, the message is harmony with the planet.


They say their movement is growing as others


Radical, idealistic, but they now to steer clear of politics.


There will be no repeat of the Tiananmen generation.


They wanted freedom, democracy, equality.


But their method was rebellion and criticism and getting out


Our attitude is positive, we are building a better society,


25 years on from Tiananmen, this is a generation


But it doesn't always want the government's song book it is given.


They want to voice their own China dream and I find it hard to imagine


that 25 years from now, they'll still be putting up with the


For many of them who do not know what happened 25 years ago, it is


hard for them to find any relevance. Their parents would not tear to


share their experience or their views with their children. I think


it is difficult for many of them, unless they come out of the


country, and perhaps they will have the access to the information. Then


they might think about it. For the parents, they do not want to raise


personal consciousness which might lead to their children being


punished. Although it is 25 years ago, the Tiananmen incident is still


a big incident in China. So you can imagine how much fear those parents


may have for sharing their experience with their children. It


has been very hard to talk about this online in China, have you seen


any evidence of references is creeping into social media?


Actually, my colleagues and I have been following a Chinese social


media platform, a Twitter equivalent in China. We found some changes


throughout the day. Some terms were totally banned in the morning. But


now, just a moment ago before coming to the programme, we found terms


like today tonight... Is this June the 5th? That is right. Some other


key terms are still banned on social media regarding June the 4th. While


it may not be in the mind of a 20 something now, she finds hard to


believe that 20 years on that things. These thing -- so repressed.


For many people in China, they cannot believe what happened 25


years ago. They may not believe such little change has taken place in


China over the last 25 years in terms of politics. I think they


appreciate the economy -- economic achievement done by the government.


But at the same time they are increasing the voice for the


government to bring in democracy. Finally, it has been interesting to


watch and Hong Kong, where there is one country and two systems, there


is more freedom, there have been thousands of people out there. It


happens every year, it is very big tonight. In Chinese culture, any


anniversary involving the number five or ten is significant. I think


that is the reason why we see more. Of course another reason is there


are more people in Hong Kong who realise that Hong Kong needs to


fight for their own democracy if they could survive in the future.


Thank you very much Raymond Li. The Taliban have released


a video showing the moment when they The footage shows Sergeant Bergdahl


wearing Afghan clothing and being searched,


before he boards a helicopter. He was returned to the Americans


in exchange for five Taliban The prisoner swap has caused


controversy in the US. Our North America Editor,


Mark Mardell reports. Inside this truck


on the remote Afghan/Pakistan border, a man who has been held


captive for five years. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl blinks


repeatedly, perhaps unused to sunlight, perhaps close to tears.


Certainly overwhelmed by the prospect of freedom.


He is told, don't come back to Afghanistan,


next time you will be killed. Something reinforced in English


on the 17 minute home video. They spot the helicopter.


US forces ask them to light a flare but they only have


a white flag and they are jubilant. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl looks tense.


For 13 years, US special forces have been trying to kill each other but


on this day, a quick greeting, brief handshake and a pat down to check he


is unarmed and not carrying a bomb. The commentary says the US soldiers


were nervous and in a hurry. He gets another search before he


is allowed in the helicopter. Then finally off to freedom


but some claim the President has handed the enemy a propaganda coup.


The Taliban are using this victory narrative that they have now to


strengthen the recruiting, strengthen the position because they


are looking at a major military offensive this summer to dent the


confidence of the Afghan forces with the goal to


kick over Afghanistan in 2017/2018. The release


of this gloating video will only add to the storm surrounding the swap


but the President seems unrepentant, arguing this is the way wars end.


a ceremony that is always rich with pomp and pageantry.


It was the last Queen's Speech before the next general election,


The speech outlined the government's programme until then.


The 63rd state opening the speech.


The 63rd state opening is over and the household cavalry


have galloped back and the is over and the household cavalry


returned in gilded carriage and so what are we left with?


returned in gilded carriage and We are left with the start


of what promises to be a truly fascinating, potentially


historic year in British politics. First up


in September is the referendum on whether Scotland should remain a


part of the United Kingdom or not. If they chose to leave, that would


be the biggest shakeup in Britain's constitution in 300 years.


In a year from now, we have the general election to decide possibly


a very different kind of government from the one we currently have.


With the Queen's Speech, we have a flavour


of what that campaign is going to be about with the Conservatives


and Liberal Democrats saying we have made progress on Britain's


mountain of debt and deficit. Stick with us,


we are on the right track. The Labour Party response saying


this is not a government that knows what it's


doing or knows how to manage the problems of modern Britain.


The Queen has set it up nicely. It is highly nonpolitical


from her point of view but no doubt the year ahead,


plenty of potential excitement. In Italy, the Mayor of Venice is


among 35 officials arrested on suspicion of embezzling money


meant for the city's multi-billion They're alleged to have taken


the equivalent The project WAS due to be completed


this year Venice at its magnificent best but


this beautiful city is in trouble. It's gradually sunk deep


into the mud and now floods come much more frequently.


High tides drown the ancient piazzas.


But there is a plan to save Venice from the sea.


Flood barriers are being built in the lagoon at a vast cost and the


city's mayor blessedthe project when it was tested for the first time.


TRANSLATION: It is an emotional moment


and will change the vision we have of the city and its lagoon.


But the mayor himself has now been arrested, accused of corruption


in connection with the scheme. More than 30 people have been


detained altogether and 100 more have been investigated.


Police suspect funds were siphoned off from this colossal seven


billion-dollar project and that millions were paid


in bribes to politicians, accountants and businessmen.


This crucially important project aimed at preserving


the splendours of Venice is now immersed in a major scandal.


In the last few minutes the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction


The ?30,000 prize is awarded to any woman writing


in english whatever her nationality, age or subject matter.


With me is Claire Shanahan. She's head


of arts with the reading charity Booktrust, which manages the Prize.


A book called a girl is a half formed thing has one. It is her


first novel and a fantastic accomplishment. It is a coming of


age story, innovative set in rural Ireland and quite innovative and


original. It is really a stream of consciousness where we are inside


the girl's head and she describes things as they happen to her. The


language is played with. Punctuation is a bit misplaced, ideas are half


formed, sentences are fragmented. It is perhaps a challenging read for


some readers but incredibly rewarding. There we have it. The


fact that she has won this prize brings her more attention. It is her


first novel so she will be getting used to fame. There is an


interesting story. She wrote this book in six months which is quite a


short period of time to write a novel but it took her ten years to


get it published. She has been plugging away with it and it was a


very small independent press based in Norwich who eventually took it


on. It was only their second book that they published. This is about


the power of the small publishers. You sometimes hear them being


swallowed up by the juggernauts. For the writer, her perseverance and for


the publisher, it is fantastic to have this claim. The book has


already been celebrated quite widely. It has found success with


two other prizes and is on a number of other short lists. Good things


are in store for her. I should mention one of the names that didn't


make it, Donna Tart, the American juggernaut. Not to get it, that is a


statement. The Goldfinch was tipped as the favourite. This prize has a


history of not rewarding the favourite. It has already won before


and it is an incredible accomplishment in itself. It is 800


pages so maybe challenging in a different way from regions. Both


books and also -- all six books on the short list of a rich experience,


something different. There has been a worry that the Man Booker Prize


going global might mean American domination. It is a global list and


global attraction. Regardless of where writers are based and where


they are from, a lot of writers tend to write international fiction. We


live in a global world. We are a UK-based charity and promote reading


from all around the world. For us, the power of a book for an


individual reader is what is important and that personal


collection. It is thrilling when it is a first novel. There were three


debut novelists on this list so you did have more established names up


against the new people. That is what they really can achieve, they can


bring writers to the reader's attention. Thank you for coming in


to talk about the box. Don't forget you can get


in touch with me and some But for now, from me and the rest


of the team goodbye. Hello. It has been a cloudy day for


much of the country. Much of the rain will move northwards but by


tomorrow things will improve across much of England and Wales with the


sunshine coming out. It will feel warmer also. We starts Thursday on a


cool note across the south-west. That's brighter


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