07/08/2014 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Kasia Madera.


International concern over Christians in Iraq forced to flee


their homes by advancing militants from the Islamic State group.


An emergency meeting is called at the United Nations,


The US is reportedly considering emergency air relief,


In the trial of Oscar Pistorius, the prosecution says there can be no


verdict other than murder, as both sides present closing statements.


The accused was more concerned with fending for his life than


entrusting the court with a truthful account that fateful morning.


Russia imposes a ban on food from Europe and the US in reaction


to sanctions it's received over its policy on Ukraine.


And do we really spend more time on our digital devices than we


Reports from the United States say President Obama is


considering airstrikes in northern Iraq and airdrops of food and


medicine, as thousands of members of religious minorities try to escape


It's understood tens of thousands of Christians have been forced to


flee their homes as militants from the Islamic State - formerly known


The militants captured Mosul in June.


But they have now taken over Iraq's largest Christian town of Qaraqosh,


as well as surrounding towns of Tall Kayf, Bartella and Karamlish.


All those are on the way to Irbil, the Kurdish region's capital.


There's been no official confirmation of airstrikes


from the White House, but it is emphasising that any military action


For more on this, let's speak to the BBC's Tom


To the White House is suggesting. At the moment, there is a difference


between what officials are saying publicly and what they appear to be


saying privately. I figure could collusion we can draw is that


President Obama is perhaps mulling over the options available. -- I


think the conclusion. There was a press briefing from Josh earnest in


the last few minutes. The White House believes that the persecution


of ethnic minorities in the part of ironic you talked about is barbaric.


-- Graca. When it comes to the discussion of intervention and the


decision made on those grounds, it is on a case-by-case basis. He also


repeated a number of times during the briefing that there are no


American military solutions to the problem in Iraq. Here is more of


what the spokesman had to say. Witham the stakes are very high. We


are seeing innocent populations being persecuted because of their


ethnic or religious identity. The situation is disturbing, and we are


following it closely. It is important for everyone to


understand, and the president has made it clear, there are no American


military solutions to the problems in Iraq. We cannot solve these


problems for them. They can only be solved with Iraqi political


solutions. You heard there that the key thing which the White House


spokesmen were stressing was that if there is going to be any action


taken on the part of the United States, it would have to be tied to


Iraqi political reform, a process which is obviously ongoing. Thank


you very much. Meanwhile, fears remain


for thousands of people from Iraq's Yazidi minority who have fled into


the mountains of northern Iraq. With me now is Dr Marzio Babille,


the official UNICEF representative Tell us what is the situation? I


believe some of them have been rescued from that mountain range. We


have two conditions on the ground. The first indicates that more than


10,000 UCDs have been rescued from the mountain range. They are on the


move to be safe in the northern province. -- Yazidi. They will join


180,000 Yazidi community members who are already safe and actually


protected in locations being assisted by United Nations


agencies, including Unicef and the local government. Unfortunately, we


have more than 25,000 children stuck in the mountain range together with


their families. We are deeply disturbed, concerned and outraged by


the fact there is no third or access to water in these mountains, and


they are being chased by the Islamic State, who were persecuting them


after the fall of the city. A desperate plight. Talk to us about


the situation for the Christians in Qaraqosh, so I know Unicef has been


working with them as well. Qaraqosh and the other cities are on claims


for Christians in this country. They have been clashes between the forces


protecting them any Islamic State military push. These generate waves


of displacement in different directions. Unicef and other


agencies are currently rescuing more than 7000 individuals in the


Christian quarter, providing water, food and shelter. The Christians are


moving and are on the move since the last month. Unfortunately, the


sudden changes of the situation on the ground have pushed dramatically


boost numbers. In particular, we have to consider the region nine


colleges from Rose all Unicef visited providing water and hygiene


kits. -- Rose all. -- Mosul. Your work is endless and tireless, but


for the time being, we wish you the best of luck because we are out of


time. There is lots more on our website


about the conditions in northern Iraq.


Oscar Pistorius has been called a "deceitful witness" who'd fallen


into telling a ''snowball of lies'' during the prosecution's closing


Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp,


He maintains he mistook her for an intruder.


From Pretoria, our Africa correspondent,


Brisk and focused, Oscar Pistorius striding back


into court this morning to hear the prosecution sum up the case


For the first time, Barry Steenkamp, father of Reeva Steenkamp, was also


Ill-health has kept him away from this murder trial until today.


In court, prosecutor Gerrie Nel went on the attack, dismissing the


My lady, it is so improbable it can never be reasonably possibly be true


and is a clear indication of his deceitfulness.


The focus today unsurprisingly was the shooting itself,


the four bullets Pistorius fired through the toilet door,


Nel said the athlete had given conflicting


But the prosecution's main point was this -


that Pistorius must have known he would kill someone.


If you fire four shots into a small cubicle with a high-powered firearm,


with that ammunition, you foresee the possibility you will kill


somebody, and you continued doing it.


From the prosecutor here today, two key claims.


One, that Pistorius has repeatedly proved himself to be


The other that even if the judge finds that he's telling the truth,


the fact that he went to that toilet door and fired four times


Pistorius's defence will argue that the prosecution are


Their presentation will begin in earnest tomorrow.


Now to Russia, where President Putin has imposed an almost total ban


on food imports from countries that have introduced sanctions on Moscow


All food imported from the United States into Russia will be banned.


There'll also be a ban on imports of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables,


and dairy products from the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway.


These measures will hit Russians the hardest because they rely on cheap


imports, and on farmers in the West for whom Russia is a big market.


Moscow is by far the biggest buyer of European fruit and vegetables.


It is also the second-biggest importer of US poultry.


The Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, also said Russia is


considering banning Western airlines from flying over its airspace


Our Moscow correspondent, Steve Rosenberg,


looks what impact the food bans will have on supermarket shelves.


In recent years, Russian consumers have gotten used


to their supermarket shelves being full of imported products.


In fact, in big cities like Moscow, it is estimated that more than 60%


So, for example, in this supermarket, they've got baked beans


nectarines from Greece, tomatoes from Holland, and bacon from Spain.


because today, the Russian government imposed a ban


on future imports of beef, pork and poultry, fruit and vegetables,


cheese, dairy products, and fish from those countries which have


That means from the European Union, the United States, Canada,


So very soon, all of this will disappear.


But the Russian authorities are confident that the supermarket


They are already searching for alternative supplies


from other parts of the world, like South America,


and they are encouraging domestic manufacturers to boost production.


They say that these measures will hurt exporters much more than


But what do the shoppers think about that?


TRANSLATION: If we don't get fish from Norway,


we will produce our own in the Far East.


TRANSLATION: Russia is doing everything right.


It needs to develop its own agricultural industry.


But for Russia, there could be a price to pay.


The European Union has already denounced this embargo


as politically motivated, and said it was prepared to take


further action against Moscow if necessary.


economist talks and trade policy expert. She was a financial


advisor to of the US president George W Bush He in his first term.


Dear noted today touring to be impacted much on this then? It was


about $1.3 billion versus 15 billion for Europe, so a big difference. So


Europe will be hit hardest. Talk is through the figures. It is a divide


and rule strategy. The Russians understand they may get a better


outcome if they hit America's partners instead of the US directly.


It is easier to hit the partners. That is why this a line then maybe


important, because that will be most costly to the Europeans, not


Americans. The Ukrainian airlines have already been banned from


flying, but it is the other international airlines that is of


great concern. Exactly. If they banned major European airlines, US


airlines, obviously the Europeans get hit harder. The key issue to


understand that this food then is it is part of something happening


against a greater context. So for example, the Pentagon is reporting


there have been 14 incursions by Russian military aircraft into US


airspace in the last month or so. They feel those are not training


runs, they are designed to heighten the level of deployment on the US


side, which is costly. The US is accusing Russia of having violated


one of the nuclear test ban treaties, which the deny. There are


many aspects of this argument. Fittest is one aspect. At the


moment, it seems this is something the Russians can actually use and


the way they are protecting themselves. Again, the question is,


will work in interest? They may not need the food from abroad, although


I have my doubts about that, and I don't keep their will be able to


replace the fruit from Asia so easily, but all of the productivity


of the farmland in Russia is basically coming from Western money


being invested in the development of agriculture, so if they cut off food


exports, they also cut off the capital that wants to invest.


French cheeses? Indeed. There's a question of how much does it hurt


the Russian public, and it may hurt them more than anybody in West. OK,


for the time being, thank you very much for speaking to us.


In further news about Russia, NATO's Secretary General has had


talks in Ukraine and has promised Kiev the support


of the alliance in the face of what he called Russian aggression.


He called on Moscow to stop supporting


separatists, pull back its 20,000 troops from Ukraine's border and as


Instead of de-escalating the conflict, Russia continues to


Russia's support to the separatists continues.


It has intensified in scale and sophistication.


The downing of MH17 shows the tragic consequences


Well, let's keep the focus on Russia because the fugitive former US


intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has been granted


a three-year residence permit in Russia.


He's been living there for the past year and his temporary


The whistle-blower faces espionage charges in the United States.


But Moscow says it will not extradite him.


Two top Khmer Rouge leaders have been jailed for life


after being convicted of war crimes by a UN backed court in Cambodia.


Nooun Chee-uh and Kew Sampawn both denied charges


relating to the deaths of 1.7 million people in the 1970s.


They will now undergo a second trial on genocide charges.


One of China's most famous dissidents, the human rights lawyer,


Gow Juh-Shung, has been released after a lengthy jail sentence.


He's been in and out of prison since 2005.


He was jailed for inciting state subversion,


that's a charge often levied against critics of China's government.


Egyptian mediators are continuing their efforts to extend


a truce between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, on the


Indirect talks are taking place in Cairo.


Israel has said it is prepared to continue the truce.


The Palestinians are pressing for an end to the blockade of Gaza.


Israel wants Hamas and other militant groups to give up


Palestinians in Gaza have been stocking up on food, uncertain


Reclaiming their own streets, government security forces in Gaza.


Before the ceasefire, they were in hiding.


Even now, they aren't venturing too far.


Like everyone here, they are waiting to see


Even if it is, for many, like seven-year-old Maha,


An Israeli shell claimed seven relatives including her mother.


For two weeks, doctors here has been trying to send


Her aunt says she's a great student who loves to sing


She's always been very active, she tells us.


A short distance away, the green flags of Hamas were back on view.


Front and centre on stage, four-year-old Ahmed.


This was its first public event since fighting began.


This local businessman gave an impassioned endorsement


She gave up her position for the sake of our children, he said.


Supporters are continuing to arrive for this rally.


In recent weeks, in the eyes of people here,


Its fighters have inflicted heavy losses on the Israeli Ministry


but if Hamas can't achieve political concessions,


Hamas negotiators in Cairo want Israel to lift


Israel wants an end to attacks by Hamas.


Many here expect the talks to end and fighting to resume.


We spend more time on our smartphones, tablets and other


That's according to research from the broadcast watchdog, OFCOM.


And unsurprisingly, it's the younger generation who are leading the way,


with six-year-olds apparently showing the same understanding


As our technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones explains,


digital devices are now dominating our lives as never before.


These teenagers are on a summer school course


But today's report says in general it's 14 and 15-year-olds who are the


They are growing up with smart phones and tablets and teaching


My mum, I have to help her with a lot of stuff because she can't


Honestly, I think I spend most time on Instagram on my phone or tablets.


I'm spending less time watching TV nowadays.


This research shows we are all spending more time than ever


That's longer than we spend sleeping.


OFCOM says because we often multitasking,


we are, in fact, communicating for more than 11 hours a day.


Behind this is the spread of mobile devices.


Smartphones are now owned by 61% of the UK population, though they


And as for tablets, they are in 44% of homes and that figure has


Well, TV still retains its attraction, viewing has slipped


below four hours a day for the first time in quite a while.


It seems in a mobile world people are finding


Older people may sometimes struggle to keep up but many, like this


Silver Surfers group in Manchester, getting to grips with technology.


The figures show one in five people over 65 now owns a tablet computer.


I bought the tablet with the intention


of getting to know what's happening in the world, as you might say.


The grandkids are coming in and telling you this is what you


do, that's what you do, so I want to do it myself, you know.


But it's these youngsters who are the trendsetters, watching less TV,


listening to less radios, spending more time with their phones.


If you want to know what the future looks like ask a teenager.


With me now is Dr Ellen Helsper, Associate Professor at the


London School of Economics who specialises in digital technologies


When we look at the figures, the eight hours and 41 minutes we are


knocking around online, on computer screens, on tablets, it includes


work as well, so it's not that bad? No, when we are awake, we are


connected to television, digital devices. We are living in a digital


world and it's been so for a while, but now we are living in a digital


world and it's been so for a while, but now shopping, to friends and


family, trying to find information. It's not surprising we are spending


eight hours more, almost nine hours a day, connected to some kind of


device. Some people are spending more than that because they are


doing two things at the same time. How does that work? The age of


multitasking. Even at work you may be answering your mobile phone,


while you're looking at your computer screen. At home, you could


be friends and also watching television. It is not a new


phenomenon. We always used to do other things when we were watching


television, writing a letter were watching television, writing a


letter was listening to the radio, things like that, multitasking. We


are quite good at it, but it's difficult. It seems teenagers are


the best at it? Yes, this is the interesting thing in this report.


They asked a lot of young people, old people, how confident they were


and how much they thought they knew about different technologies and


this is where the young people said, I feel very confident, and


comfortable. The research we have been doing shows all so that the


counter side to that, actually, there's a lot of difference between


young people and that's something we need to keep in mind, there's a lot


of young people who do need help, who are not as savvy, who don't feel


comfortable maybe and the idea all the young people know might go


against us as adults being there for them when they do need help. When


communication between parents and teachers and young people, we don't


want to disempower them to feel like they can't talk to each other. A lot


of young people do need help because it is a complex world. Our whole


lives are online. There is the bullying aspect of it as well and


the fact people are not getting out and getting physical. This could


become an addiction like sugar or alcohol. Yes, there are differences


in June young people, the other thing the report showed, in all age


groups, men and boys are more confident about their skills than


women. Even if they might not actually know that much more. I have


more confidence and we see a lot of differences for example between


people with higher educational levels and people who might not have


that much experience with formal education. There's a lot of


differences between people and we need to keep that in mind, to keep


the conversation going, so everybody can benefit from technology and not


just the few who are really integrated and love it and talk to


other people about it. And who financially have the money. Thank


you so much for talking to us. Six-year-olds have the same and the


standings is 45 euros, certainly in my household.


But for now from me and the rest of the team goodbye.


Hello there. There are some serious weather on its way for the weekend.


Through tomorrow, some nasty conditions. Heavy rain developing up




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