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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