05/08/2014 World News Today


05/08/2014

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This is BBC World News Today with me, Rajesh Mirchandani.

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A gunman in Afghan army uniform in Kabul opens fire

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The major general is the most senior officer to die in Afghanistan

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Many others are wounded in the attack.

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The Secretary of State extends half of the men and women in this

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department, his thoughts and prayer is to all those affected by this

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tragedy. Israel withdraws its troops

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from Gaza after agreeing a temporary ceasefire

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, but the death toll after weeks of Bernie Ecclestone,

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the boss of Formula One, agrees to pay a hundred million

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dollars to escape bribery charges. And a Royal visit to the sea

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of poppies installed at the Tower of London to commemorate those who

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died in the First World War. We begin with

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the deadly inside-attack at an elite At this British run camp in Kabul

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the US says it believes an Afghan soldier fired at officers and shot

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dead an American major-general. He's the most senior US officer to

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be killed in Afghanistan The Pentagon has been speaking

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about the incident... I can confirm that an individual

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believed to be an Afghan soldier fired today into a group of

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Coalition troops at the defence University in Kabul. There are a

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number of casualties, perhaps up to to include some Americans. Many were

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seriously wooded, others received only minor injuries. The assailant

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was killed. -- wounded. And Major General was among the casualties.

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That was the Pentagon spokesperson. The BBC's Tom Esslemont is

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in Washington. Can you give us any more about what

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we know is thought to have happened and by who? You heard the Pentagon

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spokesperson confirming that this was an American general who was

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killed in this attack at the British run academy, or the entrance to it,

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just outside Kabul, and military Academy and that it was an Afghan

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soldier, he believes, who carried out the attack. Other members of the

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Coalition forces were injured in this attack. What the Pentagon has

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not yet done has confirmed the identity of the general or his exact

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rank. He said that family members were still being informed, but it is

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still a bitter blow for US forces who are still in the process of

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withdrawing from Afghanistan. On that point, what has the reaction

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been in the US to this killing? It is a sad truth that we hear all too

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often about US and British and other allied forces being killed in

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Afghanistan, what is the reaction given that this is a senior member

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of the Armed Forces and that this is the year that the US is supposed to

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pull out? It is a bitter blow any time an attack of this kind happens,

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not only because of loss of life, but because it dents the project

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that the United States has been trying to implement in Afghanistan

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under Barack Obama who has been withdrawing troops gradually over

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the last few years. There are around 30,000 US troops in Afghanistan,

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down from 100,020 11 and by the end of this year, there will be around

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10,000 troops on Afghan soil. Other members of the Coalition are doing

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similar things. There is a big problem for Afghanistan, because of

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insecurity caused by this kind of attack, each time something like

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this happens, it is a boost for the Taliban who opposes the position of

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foreign troops on Afghan soil. There is the worry of future stability for

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the country, because we still do not know who will replace hammered cars

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I as President, because there is still a dispute over the winner of

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the election -- Matt Hamid Karsi. Thank you.

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Twelve hours in and the latest ceasefire

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between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas is holding right now.

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Israel has also withdrawn its troops from the Gaza strip but says

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It's been four weeks since Israel launched its military operation in

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Gaza in response to rocket strikes by the militant group Hamas.

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The fighting has left more than 1,800 Palestinians dead,

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most of them civilians, hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

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Meanwhile 67 Israelis have also died during the operation,

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Our correspondent Jon Donnison reports from Beit Hanoun in North

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This man is 80. He has survived half a dozen wars in Gaza and our

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lifetime of struggle. He has returned to find his family home

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destroyed. For the third time. Mohamid is one of 34 grandchildren.

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He is salvaging what he can from the rubble of what is his fourth war.

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This was his grandfather's bedroom, a room with a view. A mile away in

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the dust, you can see the Israeli tanks withdrawing. Ahmed was a

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teacher, he is no supporter of Hamas but he says this war did not start a

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month ago, it is about Israel's decades long military occupation and

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land. We want this return to us now. The Gaza Strip. The West Bank as

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well. Will you stay? Yes, I will stay and all my family will stay,

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here. Where will we go? Israeli bombs also destroyed the family

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business. A chicken farm. The co-ops are gone, the birds are dead. That

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coops. Ahmed and his son also grow fruit and vegetables, but the

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blockade of Gaza which Hamas once lifted, killed their trade. The

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blockade is not just about what comes into Gaza, it is about what

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comes out. When they cross the border, everything is down. The

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blockade is not just about goods and business, it is about people. He has

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three teenage children, none of them have ever left Gaza, none of them

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have ever met an Israeli and this tiny stretch of land, which has seen

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so much destruction is less than one third the size of London.

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Palestinians feel trapped in a cycle of death, destruction and

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rebuilding. This will not be the last war, but once again, Gaza has

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been crippled. The healing will take years. Many will never recover.

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Amazing pictures of destruction. With me now from Washington is

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Neri Zilber. He's a visiting fellow with the

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Washington Institute and an expert Thank you for speaking with us. How

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hopeful are you that this cease-fire will last? I think everyone that is

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looking on is hopeful that this cease-fire lasts longer than two

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hours. The previous one this past weekend, it is important for the

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viewers to understand that this is a first stage in the cease-fire. The

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real negotiations for our more doable solution will have to be

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hammered out by the parties in Cairo. That is the point is, part of

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the agreement for this 72 hour cease-fire, part of the deal is that

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both sides attend talks in Cairo, both sides are going, does that give

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you any more hope that not only will this cease-fire at last the full 72

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hours which has not happened yet, but that there could be a lasting

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peace achieved? Sure, I hope it is a more hopeful sign that the parties

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are there and they are negotiating. We should not delude ourselves, the

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gaps between the parties are still significant. Overall, I think Hamas

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has to back down from the demands it has been making over the past month

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and try to find a compromise so that the people of Gaza, more than

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anyone, have a better way forward and a brighter future. In terms of

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those demands that Hamas once, they want an end to the blockade of Gaza

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and the opening of border crossings and Egypt. Egypt has brokered this

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cease-fire, the talks are in Cairo, clearly Egypt has something that

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Hamas once, what about Israel, are they likely to compromise -- wants

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all stop I think demilitarisation is a hope. It is something to put on

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the table, because I think it is very important to remember that the

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blockade around Gaza did not just happen coincidently. It is due to a

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Hamas coup, due to Hamas not giving up their arms. You call it a coup,

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they did win an election and they have a mandate in Gaza. On that

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point about whether peace is possible, we were hearing from the

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Palestinian legislator today that a long-term truce would be difficult,

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because she said, what Israel has done is make peace more difficult

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because it has created more anger and hostility. When you look at the

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destruction in Gaza it is hard to see how either side can back down.

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They have to come together and find a better way forward, I should

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mention that the Palestinian legislator is very much part of the

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solution here. I think a better way forward for a Gaza and Israel and

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Egypt would see a return of the legitimate authorities, the

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Palestinian Authority back into Gaza to start undoing a lot of the damage

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that was done by the measures of Hamas during the coup. Do you think

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it Fatah regain control, Israel would negotiate with them? Yes,

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Israel is aware of the crisis inside Gaza. I think it, along with the

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rest of the international community and Egypt are looking for a

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mechanism by which to open up Gaza. The biggest stumbling block at the

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moment is Hamas and their utilisation of terrorism and

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violence. Many would disagree, Israel also has their image to think

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of, but we will have to leave it there. Thank you for joining us.

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Staying with this story for a moment:

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A British Foreign Office Minister, Sayeeda Warsi,

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has resigned over the British government's position on Gaza,

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Baroness Warsi said she believed the government's current policy was

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Baroness Warsi was the first Muslim woman to serve in a British Cabinet.

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The Prime Minister said his government had always stated

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that the situation in Gaza was intolerable and that

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both sides should agree to an immediate, unconditional ceasefire.

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A German court has dropped bribery charges against the head of Formula

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One racing, Bernie Ecclestone, after he offered to pay a hundred

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Mr Ecclestone faced up to ten years in prison if he'd been found guilty.

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Our sports news correspondent Andy Swiss has more.

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He is no stranger to big-money deals, but perhaps none as important

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as theirs. Bernie Ecclestone arriving in court this morning to

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agree a ?60 million payment which would spell the end of the case

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which had threatened his Formula One future. Accompanied by his lawyers

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and his wife, the relief was already playing to see. For more than three

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months, he has been on trial in Munich, the accusation that he

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bribed a German banker ?26 million to steer it the sale of Formula One

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to a company which would keep Bernie Ecclestone in charge. He said this

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was not the case and that he had only paid the money because the

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banker was blackmailing him. This morning the judge said the suspicion

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of bribery against Barney -- Bernie Ecclestone was not backed up and ask

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if he could pay the ?60 million quickly and he said he could. Such

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deals can be struck under barbarian law and leaves the Formula One boss

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a free man. This is not about a conviction but a cessation of the

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trial Wildman taming the presumption of innocence. There will be no

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guilty verdict whatsoever. -- whilst maintaining. Bernie Ecclestone has

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been the driving force of Formula One, transforming it into a global

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success story. These allegations have been about control. He won a

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civil case in London but was warned he would be sacked if convicted of

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any criminal act. Now to the growing fears over

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the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. British Airways has now suspended

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flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until the end

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of August. The Ebola virus has killed almost

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900 people across West Africa since the outbreak started in March

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this year. With me is the BBC's global

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health reporter, Tulip Mazumdar. She was in Guinea last month

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reporting on the outbreak. The You do. But talk to about what

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we are seeing now, British Airways suspending flights, organisations

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are ramping up their about this. There have been quite a few

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developments like this in the last few weeks although this has been

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going on since March. But it airways is the last airline to come out and

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say, we are going to suspend flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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Emirates had already done similar. A couple of West African airlines have

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done that as well. They are blaming it on the deteriorating health

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situation in both of those countries. Saudi Arabia, we have the

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hajj coming up, the annual pilgrimage. Saudi Arabia said they

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will not be giving visas to people from the three affected countries.

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There will be deploying teams to make sure people who are potentially

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showing symptoms are taken away. So there have been quite a few

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developments in the last few weeks and at the same pieces ready ramping

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up in the last few days. And we knew of two Americans being evacuated

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back to America. They are back now in Atalanta. They were given a syrup

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which is being developed by an American company in California. It's

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basically a blood sera which they give their bodies to boost their

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antibodies to help their immune system make them recover quicker and

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easier. This drug has not been tested on humans yet. It has not

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been licensed. It has been tested on animals with positive effects but at

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this stage, they were given the chance to have this sera. They

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accepted it, knowing it has not been put through all these ways they

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normally licensed these drugs. Reportedly they are both doing much

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better. Especially the doctor who got sick in Liberia and his

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colleague as well. She is said to be doing much better. But this is

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something not being given widely yet because it has not been licensed.

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Nancy's husband said she was weak but improving. Thank you.

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Yesterday, we showed you some of the commemoration services that have

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been taking place to mark 100 years since the start of World War One.

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Here in London, the anniversary is also being marked

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Thousands of ceramic poppies are spilling

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to represent British and Commonwealth soldiers killed

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Our royal correspondent, Nicholas Witchell, was there.

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Each poppy represents a life, and with approximately one million

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British and Commonwealth deaths in the Great War, this is a piece

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of art on a scale which is both spectacular and sobering, spreading

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as it does from the walls of the Tower and into the dry moat which

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surrounds it - a reminder both of the magnitude of the losses and of

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the part played by the Tower in the Great War recruiting process - here

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men assembled to join up and to swear their allegiance to king and

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The idea for the installation was a wartime poem by an anonymous

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soldier, Blood Swept Lands And Seas of Red, inspired the installation's

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This is one of the ways I can actually explain to people how many

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people died, in a way that everyone can see unilaterally, because it's

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It's not just a number - you can visualise it all.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, who last night

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were representing the United Kingdom at the official commemoration of

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the start of the conflict at a war cemetery in Belgium, walked slowly

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through the field of poppies and then each in turn they placed

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It's already taken nearly two years to bring the concept to this point,

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and as the organisers point out, this is an artwork which is still

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So far they've planted around 120,000 poppies, and that's just

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By the time this installation is complete in November,

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the poppies will stretch all the way around the Tower.

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Bridging the years, a piece of contemporary artwork

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in modern London which reminds us of the events and

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Scientists are poised for a key moment in the history

:20:48.:21:06.

of space exploration tomorrow, when a spacecraft attempts to

:21:07.:21:08.

The Rosetta was launched ten years ago and it's going to try to orbit

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around the comet as it flies through space at nearly

:21:13.:21:15.

Here's our science editor, David Shukman.

:21:16.:21:19.

We are now almost at the point of getting our closest ever look

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of the strangest things objects in the solar system,

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Throughout human history, comets have lit up the night sky,

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their tails inspiring a mix of fascination and fear.

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Over the past ten years, a European spacecraft called Rosetta

:21:37.:21:43.

has been catching up, racing across billions of miles of space,

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So let's take a closer look at how this extraordinary mission

:21:48.:21:54.

The Rosetta spacecraft, with its huge solar panels

:21:55.:21:58.

and on-board instruments, is now on the brink of a unique achievement,

:21:59.:22:02.

Rosetta will manoeuvre around the comet.

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It will have to fly in a triangular pattern - with so little gravity,

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it cannot orbit in the normal circle, but once this starts,

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its instruments will examine the structure of the comet, exactly what

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it is made of, how much water there is - in the form of ice -

:22:20.:22:24.

and the carbon and other molecules that may be present.

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These are the key ingredients needed for life, and it's possible that

:22:29.:22:32.

The biggest question that we're trying to get an answer to is,

:22:33.:22:43.

Was it the building blocks of life that were brought to us on a comet?

:22:44.:22:53.

Getting into orbit will be an incredible achievement

:22:54.:22:56.

in itself, but later this year, Rosetta should go even further.

:22:57.:23:00.

It will release a lander about the size of small fridge to

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touch down on the comet to study it in unprecedented detail.

:23:04.:23:08.

Rosetta will study the comet for a year - previous missions have

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just flown past - and it will hunt for the key ingredient for life.

:23:18.:23:20.

We don't know actually whether comets and asteroids may

:23:21.:23:23.

have delivered quite a bit of water but also us - where did organic

:23:24.:23:28.

It might have come from comets as well.

:23:29.:23:33.

So it's fundamental questions we want the answers to.

:23:34.:23:37.

Tomorrow's rendezvous with the comet will be a landmark

:23:38.:23:39.

No one knows how hard it will be, let alone whether landing

:23:40.:23:44.

on this bizarre surface will be possible later this year.

:23:45.:23:59.

With me now from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich,

:24:00.:24:00.

here in London, is public astronomer Dr Marek Kukula.

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How exciting is this? It has never been tried before so this really is

:24:13.:24:20.

ground-breaking. Manoeuvring in space. But also the scientific prize

:24:21.:24:25.

is amazing. We are asking fundamental questions about where we

:24:26.:24:28.

came from, where the water on Earth came from, the origins of life. I am

:24:29.:24:34.

a huge fan of stories like this. I love science fiction and this is

:24:35.:24:38.

science fact. I always ask people when they say the scientific prices

:24:39.:24:42.

are great, why is it important that we know about where the fundamental

:24:43.:24:48.

building blocks of life came from? Their philosophical reasons why it

:24:49.:24:51.

is interesting to know where we came from. But it is the practical

:24:52.:24:56.

application of that knowledge compare to the cost of getting

:24:57.:25:00.

it... Absolutely. This is an important question. When we develop

:25:01.:25:04.

missions like this we develop brand-new technology that can do

:25:05.:25:07.

things no one has ever been able to do before. The technology is

:25:08.:25:11.

designed to explore a comet will have spin off applications back here

:25:12.:25:16.

on Earth. They are difficult to predict, but also understanding

:25:17.:25:19.

fundamental questions like the origins of life and water may have

:25:20.:25:23.

huge implications for the way we understand things back here on Earth

:25:24.:25:26.

in the future. With things like this it is difficult to predict the

:25:27.:25:30.

benefits apart from understanding ourselves better, but it is very

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difficult to rule out that there won't be many spin offs that will

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have very practical uses. We have seen that with the US space

:25:39.:25:42.

programme and shuttle as well. What if it fails? What if it doesn't

:25:43.:25:48.

work? This has never been tried before. It is incredible that it has

:25:49.:25:52.

got this far, the ten year voyage, and so far it is forming perfectly.

:25:53.:25:57.

But even if something goes wrong we will learn a lot about how to do it

:25:58.:26:04.

better next time. So with anything, a big mission of such ambition, you

:26:05.:26:09.

have to do it step-by-step. Now it's crunch time, it's arriving at the

:26:10.:26:13.

comet. We will see over the next few months some amazing images and

:26:14.:26:18.

daredevil manoeuvres. Will there be a countdown party when it happens?

:26:19.:26:23.

Are you watching it live? I am sure there will be a very tense few hours

:26:24.:26:27.

as the probe approaches the surface. I know the astronomers who

:26:28.:26:31.

spent ten years of their life and ten years before that planning it

:26:32.:26:36.

are on tenterhooks right now. A mixture of excitement and anxiety.

:26:37.:26:37.

Thank you. Baroness

:26:38.:26:41.

Warsi, Sarah Wilson, British Cabinet, Sayeeda Warsi. Formula One

:26:42.:26:43.

racing, Bernie Ecclestone, Mr Well, that's all from the programme.

:26:44.:26:46.

Next the weather, but for now, from me

:26:47.:26:48.

and the rest of the team, goodbye. If you want some rain on the

:26:49.:27:02.

forecast, you will like this forecast. There is rain coming in

:27:03.:27:08.

from

:27:09.:27:09.

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