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This is BBC World News Today with me Philippa Thomas.
It's claimed another journalist held by militants in Syria is killed.
The Islamic State militant group says it has killed Steven Sotloff
and threatens more deaths unless what it calls
the evil alliance of America stops its campaign against them.
Ukrainian soldiers trying to stage a retreat
in the east claim they were ambushed and shot by pro-Russian rebels
while they were waving white flags. We've given the corridor get out.
They've given the corridor to exit and they were shot. It a violation
of international conventions. successes against IS rebels while
a new human rights report accuses Islamic State militants of ethnic
cleansing on a massive scale. And from food to fine art
and even building materials - we'll explain why China's
in the middle of a museum boom. We start with some
breaking news this hour. A video has been released
on the internet purporting to show the beheading of the American
journalist, Steven Sotloff, by Islamic State militants.
The video shows Mr Sotloff dressed in a jumpsuit on his knees
beside an IS fighter with a knife. The US State Department made
this statement a short time ago. This is something that the
administration has been watching very carefully since the threat
against his life was made a few weeks ago. Our thoughts and
prayers, first of all, are with his friends and family. The United
States has dedicated significant time and re-sources to try and
rescue Steven Sotloff. I am not in a position to confirm the authenticity
of that video or the reports. If there is a video that has been
released, it is something that will be analysed very carefully by the US
government and our officials. this statement a short time ago.
Let's get the latest from our North America Correspondent Rajini
Vaidyanathan in Washington. Are there any more details coming
through? We have heard more details from the
state department. A similar message from US officials. They are working
to confirm the video authenticity. But if the video is genuine, they
would be second by this brutal act. The White House has said they have
dedicated research is to try to release Steven Sotloff. His mother
made a direct appeal to the fighters asking for his release. We
understand that the jihadis are saying they may not stop there.
That's right. I have not watched the video, but what I am reading is that
in the video they say that this is because of your arrogant attitude
towards the Islamic State. At the end of the video, they make
to kill a third hostage, believed to be a British national.
to kill a third hostage, believed to Now to the crisis in Ukraine.
President Petro Poroshenko has signed a new conscription law
as Kiev officials say 15 servicemen have died in the last 24 hours
in the east of the country, and his defence minister has warned
of a great war brewing with neighbouring Russia.
Meanwhile, Britain's Defence Minister Julian
Brazier has said UK troops may take part in a joint military exercise
in Ukraine later this month. And after NATO's announcement that
it will establish a rapid reaction force in
Eastern Europe, Russia said it will review its military strategy.
This ratcheting up of diplomatic tensions comes
as the Ukrainian army alleges its forces were attacked while trying
to retreat through what was intended to be a humanitarian corridor
outside Donetsk on Saturday. The Ukrainian government said
its armed forces were surrounded and put under relentless attack by
pro-Russian rebels around the town of Ilovaysk, south east of Donetsk.
Our Kiev correspondent David Stern has the details.
In Kiev, they are demanding changes immediately. The Ukraine government
is coming under pressure from all sides. These images show the
has the details. Ilovaysk,
town of... Ukrainians were promised safe passage
town of... Ukrainians were promised they left at the weekend, they say
they were ambushed. Maybe as many as 100 died. The rebels deny this. A
convoy was captured, everything was taken away. The purpose of this
convoy was to take away the injured. But there were too many
military vehicles and too many armed men. That is why both convoys were
military vehicles and too many armed surrounded and captured, basically
without fighting. But the Ukrainians claim it was a war crime. They were
given the corridor to get out. Nobody was shot, well they were shot
given the corridor to exit and they were shot shot. It is a violation of
international conventions. Reports say that hundreds of Ukrainian
soldiers may have been taken captive. These images show some of
them. The pictures come from the rebels, but they clearly show
abuses. A soldier is hit. Others are humiliated. They are told they will
be subject to forced Labour. Some of the prisoners have reportedly been
released. The fate of others is unknown. Reports of what happened in
the town and its aftermath are only now beginning to filter out. Anger
is rising at the rebels and at the government who people see abandoned
the forces. The Ukrainian president has promised changes to the
military. The question is, can he make them fast enough?
Vitaliy Shevchenko is a Ukrainian specialist at BBC Monitoring who's
been working to verify some of those images we just showed you.
What struck you about what you were seeing there? First of all, the
brutal nature of what is happening in Ukraine. It is very graphic,
shopping in places. We have to watch it because when you are dealing with
a crisis like that, it is sometimes the only source of information of
what is happening. Because it is a war zone, it is very dangerous
there. Few reporters adventure into that part of Ukraine. How did you
track down the pictures, or ten point them in terms of geography?
Basically, it is a matter of knowing where to look and being able to tell
falsehoods from the truth. I am originally from Eastern Ukraine and
it helps to know the way people usually speak, the way they dress, a
kind of cars they drive, the general feel of the area. We knew from
official reports from Kiev and rebel claims that there has been a massive
battle there and something major has happened. Then we started seeing
video clips posted on you tube of prisoners of war, dead bodies and
military hardware that used to belong to the Ukrainian army, burnt
out and devastated in the fighting. Thank you for your time.
I am going to remind you of our breaking news which is the Islamic
State jihadists claiming that they have killed Steven Sotloff. Are
making use, the State Department has just said that if the video that was
released allegedly showing the killing is genuine, they are second.
They say they are second, the White House has said their thoughts and
prayers are with the family. Now to the crisis in Iraq where
Amnesty International says Islamic State militants have committed
a wave of ethnic cleansing across the north of the country accusing
the group of turning the region The human rights group says it has
evidence IS has committed atrocities against minorities,
including mass murder. The report says
at least 1,000 Yazidis have been killed in recent weeks with close to
2,750 kidnapped or enslaved. And as the Islamic State continues
to claim large parts of Northern Iraq and Syria,
more than one million people have The United Nations Human Rights
Commissioner has also denounced the action of the Islamic State
fighters. Joining me via webcam from Geneva
is spokesman Rupert Colville. Thank you for being with us. Is this
a case of an ethnic cleansing campaign? Yes, that is what we
believe. Ethnic and religious cleansing. Widespread and systematic
persecution on the basis of religion are there as now sitting -- or their
ethnicity. This amounts to crimes against humanity. Atrocities are
taking place on an extraordinary scale and on a daily basis. We have
heard about the Yazidis, the baby had been pursued and treated. Is
this a case of the Islamic State perceiving all who are not of the
SUNY faith -- Sunni. Yes, they are perceiving and removing people from
areas in Iraq. Many minorities, some of them ancient, and they have all
lived together fairly harmoniously for centuries. But Sunnis are also
being targeted, we have a report of 19 been executed for not
cooperating. Sunni Clerics being killed as well. What can the United
Nations do to attract the perpetrators and eventually try to
bring them to justice? -- to track. We are doing our utmost. There is a
human rights team in Iraq, working with the United Nations operation
there. They are doing their best to track and verify reports. There is
an horrendous litany of crimes and murder and sexual exploitation of
people. After the human rights Council resolution yesterday, they
have asked us to send another team in specifically to focus on the
region. The spotlight will remain on what they are doing. But they seem
to be utterly shameless, they do not hide it. They broadcast and do these
horrendous videos showing mass executions. What are your fears for
civilians who are still be in cities like Mosul? Are fears are high,
especially for the many minorities who are still in the. Particularly
in Saint Jarder -- Sinjar. Some groups have been given options to
convert, but there have been killings as well. The Yazidis were
given no choice, convert or die. Thank you.
Now a look at some of the day's other news.
Experts who were asked to look at claims that young girls have
been systematically sexually groomed and abused in the Yorkshire town
of Rotherham have spoken publicly for the first time.
They've talked of their frustration after their reports into
the 16-year scandal were ignored and their findings suppressed.
It finally emerged last week that about 1,400 children were sexually
exploited in Rotherham, right up until last year.
The US has carried out a military air strike in Somalia on
a convoy carrying the leader of the radical Islamist group Al Shabab.
It's unclear if Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in the drone strike
and a Pentagon spokesman said it was assessing the results
The air strike comes days after African Union troops
and government troops launched a major offensive aimed at seizing
Pakistan's Parliament has held an emergency session over the current
The session of both houses is an attempt to rally support behind
Clashes between security forces and demonstrators continued
for a third day on Monday in the capital Islamabad,
with the protesters calling for the Prime Minister to resign.
Scientists in Singapore say they've made a breakthrough in hopes
of finding a cure for dengue fever, a flu-like illness spread by
mosquito bites which tends to kill more than 20,000 people a year.
British prosecutors have withdrawn the European Arrest Warrant
against the parents of a five-year-old with a brain
tumour, parents who are being held in custody in Madrid while
Brett and Naghemeh King took their family
to Spain last week after taking five-year-old Ashya out of hospital
They insist they were taking him to get treatment that's only
He has been at the centre than extraordinary week of human and
legal drama, but Ashya King's immediate ordeal may now be over.
His parents, Brett and now dammit, no longer face an arrest warrant in
Spain, after the Crown Prosecution Service withdrew its case. --
Naghemeh King. From Britain's point of view, they are free to go and be
reunited with their son. That means they focused has turned to the
Spanish prison the talkings has been moved to, and the formalities of
Spanish bureaucracy to release them. Tonight, in a new video recorded
before the arrest warrant was dropped, the family thanked the
public for its massive support. I'd just like to say thank you to
everyone. So many people spending so many
hours in social media, spreading the word, and I'd like to say thank you
to everyone. That support included a 100,000
strong petition delivered to Downing Street today, calling for the
parents to be released. The government said it welcomed the
prosecutor's decision to drop its case against the family. I hope we
have a good resolution in place, whether to get independent advice
that they trust, and that we can make sure the most important thing
happens all, which is that Ashya gets the right treatment for the
situation he isn't. This letter reveals why Hampshire
Police dropped the prosecution. Written by the Chief Constable to
legal officials, it says, it is our view that Ashya need of medical
treatment and for his parents to be at his side. Our intent was to
secure his safety, not to deny him family support in this particularly
challenging time in his life. In a separate development,
Southampton General Hospital said today it would now be holding an
internal enquiry into the events of the past week. It also said they
would not object to Test being sent to that clinic in Prague to receive
proton beam treatment, which is family have been calling for long.
The hospital said it would not recommend it.
These events in Ashya's life have been played out across the past six
extraordinary days. It was last Thursday his parents took Ashya from
hospital, boarded a ferry to France, before police were alerted.
On Friday, a European arrest warrant was obtained. Ashya was made a ward
of court. And then on Saturday, Ashya was found in Malaga, and
admitted to hospital, as his parents were arrested. This delicate, sick
little boy has become the subject of claim and counteraccusations.
A week of ethics, police searches and a family driven by the need to
save his life. A combination of law and love at the
heart of this story. Just to remind you of our breaking
news, a video has been released on the internet purporting to show the
death of the American hostage Steven Sotloff by Islamic State militants.
Mr Sotloff, a journalist, was abducted in Syria last August. I
will warn you, we are about to show a still from the video of Steven
Sotloff before he is killed. We have decided to show you this still, not
to broadcast anything else from the video, and while showing you, you
can see he is there in an orange jumpsuit. The Islamic State
militants have released this video, we think, although the White House
has said they haven't been able to establish the authenticity of the
video yet. I think we can go to our North American correspondent, in
Washington. Obviously, taking great care here about the voracity of this
video, but what are you hearing from the White House, from the State
Department to macro? What we are hearing that
intelligence officials here are working extremely hard to try to
determine the authenticity of the video. Any last few seconds, we have
heard from the Pentagon, who say they are monitoring the situation as
best that they can, and they say they cannot confirm the authenticity
of the video, but that their thoughts and prayers continue to go
out to the family. A similar message from the White House and the State
Department, he said that if the video was genuine, they would be
sickened by what they describe as a brutal act. I think once
intelligence officials here in Washington are able to confirm the
authenticity of the video, that is when we will hear from someone
senior in the administration coming out on camera and giving a reaction.
That could indeed be President Obama, although he is due to take
off for a trip to Estonia, and then, of course, Wales for the NATO
summit. His flight is due to leave in about an hour. Intelligence
officials can confirm the authenticity before then, there is
the possibility, and this is only me guessing, that President Obama could
make some kind of statement before he bought apples one.
It adds to the pressure, as well, on NATO leaders, over whether they can
do anything to halt the rise of Islamic State, which is threatening
NATO's borders, almost. That is right, and that is something
that President Obama will be discussing with his counterpart when
he is in Wales. Last week, President Obama made a statement about whether
or not he is considering taking action against Islamic State
fighters in Syria. We of course know that more than 100 air strikes have
already been carried out by the US against the Islamic State in the.
What President Obama said is that he would use the opportunity to meet
other allies and discuss a wider act of cooperation, what the US could do
in the region, and Secretary of State John Kerry is also planning to
visit various countries in the Middle East to also speak to allies.
So, that is the next step. We already know the US has carried out
surveillance flights over Syria, but no action on that yet from the
president. Thank you very much.
And now, a different kind of American story. The FBI is
investigating allegations that the online accounts of dozens of
celebrities have been hacked. This led to explicit photos of some
of Hollywood's most famous actresses being posted online. Our technology
correspondent reports. It is Hollywood against the hackers.
Jennifer Lawrence is just one of the celebrities whose private, sometimes
intimate photos were stolen. They are now demanding action, and the
FBI is hunting the thieves. It was on this site that the voters were
first posted. How they got here still is not clear. One theory is
that the celebrities were using Apple's iCloud service to store
their pictures, and someone, somehow, found out their passwords.
Apple will only say it is investigating. What exactly is the
cloud? Here is an example. I taken there with a picture on my phone,
and within moments, it appears this tablet computer. It appears this
tablet computer. They a bank of computers and could not in the sky,
but firmly on the ground. Those computers belong to firms like
Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, and in theory, your data
should be safe in their clouds, as long as it is protected by good,
secure passwords. This man advises celebrities are making their phones
and computers safe. He says the emotional impact of being hacked
shouldn't be underestimated. We are talking about photographs
that are very intimate and very private, and those being published
to the wider Web and to anyone who wants to live in and see them as to
have a massive psychological impact on the people that
have a massive psychological impact Millions now use the cloud to store
and share personal data, but Hollywood stars have shown
China, as you know, is a growing economic superpower,
but it's also keen to spread its influence on the cultural scene.
As a result, many more museums are springing up there.
In fact, a new museum opened in China almost every day last year.
Some have rather unusual themes, as our Beijing correspondent
You would be forgiven for thinking it is a joke, but welcome to
Beijing's latest cultural offering. A museum devoted to roast duck. That
is right. A history of the capital's most famous dish. It was
built by a Chinese restaurant chain, and most of the visitors here
are actually peckish customers, waiting to be fed. TRANSLATION:
Young people don't know much about history, so when we visit museums,
we learn about our past. It is like travelling back in time.
Roasting travelling back in time.
all rubber. If you think travelling back in time.
fashion, there is fruit, you can go to the watermelon
museum. If you fruit, you can go to the watermelon
museum for that as well. China's cultural scene has
flourished in recent years. One of the big success stories here in
Beijing's Art district. Across China, a new museum opened its door
almost every day last year. TRANSLATION:
This curator tells me the building boom is all part of improving the
country's image. TRANSLATION: The government realises
that economic success is not enough. Soft power and the creative
industries must now play an important role improving
industries must now play an There is a huge appetite for museums
here, with more than 100 new ones expected to open their doors this
year. But if, in China, censorship is always at play, if there is
anything controversial, those museums will be forced to shut down.
And that means it is fine to serve up plastic food. But anything
politically sensitive is strictly off the menu.
You can also talk to me about this or any other of our