05/08/2014 World News Today


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


A gunman in Afghan army uniform in Kabul opens fire


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


Many others are wounded in the attack.


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


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


tragedy. Israel withdraws its troops


from Gaza after agreeing a temporary ceasefire


, but the death toll after weeks of Bernie Ecclestone,


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


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


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


died in the First World War. We begin with


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


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


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


be killed in Afghanistan The Pentagon has been speaking


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


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


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


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


seriously wooded, others received only minor injuries. The assailant


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


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


in Washington. Can you give us any more about what


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


spokesperson confirming that this was an American general who was


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that the United States has been trying to implement in Afghanistan


under Barack Obama who has been withdrawing troops gradually over


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the election -- Matt Hamid Karsi. Thank you.


Twelve hours in and the latest ceasefire


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


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


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


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


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


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


Meanwhile 67 Israelis have also died during the operation,


Our correspondent Jon Donnison reports from Beit Hanoun in North


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Palestinians feel trapped in a cycle of death, destruction and


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


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


Amazing pictures of destruction. With me now from Washington is


Neri Zilber. He's a visiting fellow with the


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


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


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


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


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


real negotiations for our more doable solution will have to be


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


mention that the Palestinian legislator is very much part of the


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


Egypt would see a return of the legitimate authorities, the


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


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


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


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


rest of the international community and Egypt are looking for a


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


moment is Hamas and their utilisation of terrorism and


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


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


Staying with this story for a moment:


A British Foreign Office Minister, Sayeeda Warsi,


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


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


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


The Prime Minister said his government had always stated


that the situation in Gaza was intolerable and that


both sides should agree to an immediate, unconditional ceasefire.


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


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


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


Our sports news correspondent Andy Swiss has more.


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


as theirs. Bernie Ecclestone arriving in court this morning to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


any criminal act. Now to the growing fears over


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


flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until the end


of August. The Ebola virus has killed almost


900 people across West Africa since the outbreak started in March


this year. With me is the BBC's global


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


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


we are seeing now, British Airways suspending flights, organisations


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


antibodies to help their immune system make them recover quicker and


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


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


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


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


normally licensed these drugs. Reportedly they are both doing much


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


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


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


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


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


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


Here in London, the anniversary is also being marked


Thousands of ceramic poppies are spilling


to represent British and Commonwealth soldiers killed


Our royal correspondent, Nicholas Witchell, was there.


Each poppy represents a life, and with approximately one million


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


were representing the United Kingdom at the official commemoration of


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


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


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


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


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


By the time this installation is complete in November,


the poppies will stretch all the way around the Tower.


Bridging the years, a piece of contemporary artwork


in modern London which reminds us of the events and


Scientists are poised for a key moment in the history


of space exploration tomorrow, when a spacecraft attempts to


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


around the comet as it flies through space at nearly


Here's our science editor, David Shukman.


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


of the strangest things objects in the solar system,


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


their tails inspiring a mix of fascination and fear.


Over the past ten years, a European spacecraft called Rosetta


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


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


The Rosetta spacecraft, with its huge solar panels


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


Rosetta will manoeuvre around the comet.


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


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


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


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


and the carbon and other molecules that may be present.


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


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


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


Getting into orbit will be an incredible achievement


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


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


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


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


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


We don't know actually whether comets and asteroids may


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


It might have come from comets as well.


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


Tomorrow's rendezvous with the comet will be a landmark


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


on this bizarre surface will be possible later this year.


With me now from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich,


here in London, is public astronomer Dr Marek Kukula.


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


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


is amazing. We are asking fundamental questions about where we


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


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


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


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


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


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


application of that knowledge compare to the cost of getting


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


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


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


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


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


fundamental questions like the origins of life and water may have


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


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


benefits apart from understanding ourselves better, but it is very


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Thank you. Baroness


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


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


Next the weather, but for now, from me


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


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




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