18/09/2014 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me Philippa Thomas.


It's decision day for Scotland - a vote that could shake up the nation,


the United Kingdom and Europe. A record turnout is expected


of voters answering the single simple question, Should


Scotland be an independent country? We have a special report from the


frontline where the Syrian Army is fighting Islamic State militants.


The Syrians say the soldiers are experienced, battle hardened and


fighting every day. Also coming up:


Ukraine's president tells the US Congress that


his war is not Ukraine's alone, it is also Europe's and America's.


But will they give him much more than warm applause?


And is the food in your fridge really still fresh?


We'll talk to the prize-winning inventor of a hi-tech safety check.


Hello and welcome. After months of campaigning


and passionate debate, the people of Scotland are finally


casting their vote to decide whether Scotland should become


an independent country. Queues formed outside polling


stations from first thing this morning.


A record turnout is expectedwith more than 4.2 million people


registered to vote. In just three hours time


the polls will close and the vote counting will begin.


By Friday morning we should know the result of this historic ballot.


The BBC's Special Correspondent Allan Little reports.


This long campaign has reached into every remote corner of Scotland.


Today it is time to decide. This ballot box was on its way to an


island with a population of less than 100. An unprecedented 97% of


the electorate are registered to vote. In Edinburgh the grey autumn


weather did not keep voters away. This is an important state for


Scotland. I think so, for This is an important state for


generations as well. It is probably the most important day of my life,


the future of the country and all of Britain. It will be exciting and


interesting to see which one will win. Those at the top of the


campaign voted early. So did two others who played key roles. The


former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Deputy First Minister Nicholas


Virgin. The votes from 5500 polling stations will be counted from


Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway. Here at Ingliston on the outskirts


of Edinburgh is clear the announcement will be made. I am


focus on making sure the process go well and even if people do not like


the result at the end of the day they will at least trust it. My job


is to insure the integrity of the process. Reporters and television


crews from around the world have come to Edinburgh for what is


happening here is unprecedented in a modern European democracy. The BBC


will have live coverage as all the results come in. In the other vote


taking place in Scotland today we can give you a result now. The


famous and ancient golf club in St Andrews has voted to allow women to


become members. 85% of those who voted were in favour. The cop said


there where a significant number of women who would be fast tracked to


membership in the coming months. Julie Peacock is in our Glasgow


newsroom. What has it been like? The polls


opened at seven this morning. But reports from the polling stations


are that it has been busy all day. No reports of any major queueing at


the moment but a steady and firm number of people coming in to vote.


Around 97% of the Scottish electorate have registered to vote,


that allows -- amounts to 4.2 million people. They will be asked


the question should Scotland become a independent country with the


simple choice of yes or no. We will not know the result until the polls


close at ten o'clock tonight which is when we will get some idea of how


many people have voted, what the turnout will be like and eventually


what the result will be. Do we know if people still in line at ten


o'clock will be allowed to Fort? Yes, the law has changed because of


problems with recent general elections in the UK. Anyone at a


polling station, either inside or in a queue outside, they will be


allowed to vote. People will still be able to vote because it is


something that has engaged the entire population and many people


want to put the vote today whenever they can. You are in for that very


exciting few hours. Thank you. Islamic State militants have


released a new video featuring a British hostage.


The man is not Alan Henning, the British hostage threatened with


death by the militants at the weekend.


The footage of John Cantlie is different


from previous videos as it does not feature anyone being beheaded,


and no IS militants are seen. Our security correspondent


Gordon Corera has more. The latest release from the group


calling itself Islamic State is another propaganda video. It is


different from the last. This one features the British journalist who


says he is a prisoner and his life hangs in the balance as he reads


from a script. After two disastrous and hugely unpopular wars in


Afghanistan and Iraq why is it that our governments seem so keen to get


involved in another unwinnable conflict? There is criticism of


British and American intervention in Iraq and the current policy. This


video is different from others we have seen recently, it is filmed


inside and not in the Desert, no-one is killed in it. The group's aim is


similar, using a hostage to try to affect public opinion and challenge


policy. This was the freelance journalist, John Cantlie, in Syria


before he was first detained in 2012. He tried to escape and was


short but was eventually freed by a read by the free Syrian army where


he was held. He went back in November 2012 and was captured


again, this time with James Foley, the American journalist seem killed


in a video a month ago. His family have now been informed about


today's video which the government has condemned.


Police in Australia have carried out one of their largest ever


anti-terrorism raids after allegedly receiving intelligence that


militants connected with Islamic State were planning to kidnap


and behead a member of the public. Details of the operation,


which involved hundreds of police officers in Sydney


and Brisbane, were announced by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott


who said his country was at "serious Our Middle East correspondent has


been given a rare access to the Syrian army. A district on the edge


of Damascus city centre. It has been fought over since rebels seized it


two years ago. A new government offensive is happening now. The way


Sony and is used to live is a memory. The Syrian army allowed us


into a small corner of the front line. A Minute Drive from the south


of Damascus. This village was recaptured recently from rebels


after hard fighting. This is a small outpost, 300 metres separate the


front lines. What happened here it says a lot about the war and how do


the fight against Islamic state might go. These Syrian soldiers said


they were volunteers and the West was finally catching up with the


belief that on the opposite sides of the lines were religious extremists.


Morale was high. These Syrian general guarding this sector who


seemed popular with his men, did not want to identify himself. Islamic


State is a threat on the wall world. They control Syria and will


take us back to the stone age. Said he can crush them without the help


of the Americans. The afternoon firefight started when bullets came


in from rebel positions. The Syrian army has been much more effective


than its enemies expected. The Syrian's say any attempt to fight


the soldiers will not work because they are experienced, battle


hardened and fighting every day. The US and UK believe this army is the


tool of a brutal dictator. The Syrian soldiers were shooting at a


mix of Al-Qaeda sympathisers and supported moderates who the


Americans want to use to fight Islamic State. Syrian soldiers say


the West should help them fight jihadists. Because I come here to


fight people who want to destroy our country. I want to save my sisters,


brothers and father, the great Syrian people. The politics are


getting more tangled and more bloody. Staying with the situation


in Syria, the United Nations are saying they will have to cut food


rations to Syrian people because of the lack of funding. This comes as


Syrians are preparing for the fourth winter of the Syrian civil war.


Now a look at some of the days other news.


Francois Hollande says France is ready to carry out air strikes


against Islamic State militants in Iraq.


But the French President insists he will not deploy ground troops there,


and he will not intervene in Syria. Mr Hollande's comments come


in response to a request for aerial support from the Iraqi government.


The Chinese President and Indian Prime Minister have


announced landmark economic deals, on the second day of


Mr Xi Jinping's visit to India. China plans to build two industrial


parks in India, as part of its overall investment of twenty billion


dollars in the next five years. Fire crews in California's Sierra


Nevada are battling a blaze that threatens at least 2,000 homes and


has displaced hundreds of residents. The so-called King Fire is the most


menacing of 11 major wildfires currently threatening California


after a prolonged drought. Thailand's prime minister has


apologised for suggesting that it's 'unsafe'


for tourists to wear bikinis - unless they are unattractive.


His widely-criticised comments, came as the police continued


their search for the killers of two British holidaymakers.


David Miller and Hannah Witheridge were found dead on a beach


on Monday. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko


has appealed to members of the US Congress for military help


for Ukrainian soldiers fighting pro-Russia separatists


in the east of Ukraine. His address to the joint session of


Congress followed a meeting with the US Secretary of State John Kerry.


He told Congress that non-lethal material was not enough,


that his soldiers needed more than night-vision goggles


and blankets to win. He said that support for Ukrainian


soldiers was in America?s interest. these young men are fighting today


is not only Ukraine's war. It is Europe's and it is America's


too. Today aggression


against Ukraine is a threat to global security everywhere,


hybrid proxy war terrorism. the erosion of the national


and international agreements, the blurring and even erasing


of national identities. All these threats now


challenge Europe. If they are not stopped now,


they will cross European borders and spread absolutely throughout


the world. To prevent this,


Ukrainian soldiers are in the line of fire exactly right now


when we have a so-called ceasefire. Willis Sparks is from the


Eurasia Group research firm Do you think the Ukraine president


will get that militaries sport, that lethal aid that he is asking for?


No. He warned. I think that the extended lead in on Iraq and Syria


makes clear that the president of the United States and a lot of other


leaders around the world have their plates full with not only this


conflict but others as well. Frankly, Iraq Obama believes


correctly that he was elected to end war is not to start new ones. That


is not to say that the US will not help Ukraine. They will continue to


provide financial support for the new government in Kiev which is


vitally important for the Ukraine government's long-term survival.


There will be sanctions on Russia to increase the price for the Russians


of every action that they take that threatens Ukraine. Blankets and


night goggles may not be enough but for the moment he is unlikely to see


more than lethal forms of aid. How much do you think the White House


worries about provoking Russia? Well, I don't think they worry about


provoking Russia in the broader sense, because if they were they


would not have gone as far, frankly, as they have already gone in


sanctions on Russia's energy sector, it's a natural sector, and it's the


natural sector. I think what the US wants to avoid is to be a good it


did in a shooting war where it is not clear how that conflict would


play out, what reaction on the ground is my provoke, and in


general, when you add more weapons into a conflict zone, it is always


very difficult to say where those weapons will end up in any given


circumstance if the balance of power shifts. Ukraine's new leaders have


made it clear they would like to join the European Union. They would


like the Natal security guarantee. If there are any chance of the


things happening? -- Natal security guarantee. Rob Lynott. There is very


little appetite in Europe at the moment to support countries as


unstable as Ukraine, given all the other worries going on. The various


separatist movements that we are seeing in the UK today and in Spain,


Belgium, and elsewhere. There has been an agreement signed between the


EU and Ukraine that will certainly keep in both trade and political


tides, but membership of the EU is a very long-term project, and


membership of NATO is even more theoretical. If you would like to


appease the Russians, it might be some sort of guarantee that


Ukraine's membership of NATO is postponed indefinitely. It has not


been offered yet, but it is probably the best thing available for the


long-term struggle. Banking. -- thank you.


The sister of a Russian soldier killed near the Ukrainian border has


She says that the Russian authorities gave her conflicting


accounts of what happened to her brother, with one official saying he


was killed by artillery from ukraine, but another that he


The alleged involvement of Russian troops in fighting against Ukrainian


After filming the BBC team was attacked and then arrested.


The BBC has lodged a formal complaint to Moscow


Our correspondent there Steve Rosenberg picks up the story.


Constantine fought in Chechnya. This summer, he performed his final


mission. When he called to say he was going


away he sounded kind of scared. He said,


I will be heading south west. I thought he meant the Ukrainian


border. I told him to stay safe. Three weeks later,


her brother was killed in exercises I asked that official,


"Do you believe the words you are I just want to understand how


my brother was killed. Perhaps not everyone here is


so keen to know the truth. A few hours after that interview, we


were attacked by at least three men, They hit our cameraman, smashed


the camera, and drove off with it. We didn't expect our day to end here


in the hospital, we are here because our cameraman is having x-rays and


being checked out after the attack. Someone clearly didn't want


our report to be broadcast. After four hours


at a police station, back in the car, we discovered our


equipment had been tampered with. Someone cleaned the hard drive


on my computer. Luckily, we had made copies


of the interview. State-controlled media portrays


these soldiers as volunteers who've taken leave of absence to go and


fight. Those independent Russian journalist brave enough to conduct


their own investigations face threats and intimidation. They say


there is no war. They say our soldiers are not involved. So who's


to blame his death? How did this happen? I am tortured by this


question. It is a simple question. All she wants is an answer.


When the James Dyson Foundation asked young people to


"design something that solves a problem" for an engineering


competition, they received some remarkable submissions.


Winners included the PrintAlive BioPrinter, which 3D prints complex


structures mimicking human skin layers that can be used to close


the wounds of severe burn victims, Solari, a solar powered outdoor


cooker, and Mima, a kit to inspect a beehive without


An overall winner will be announced in November.


With me is Solveiga Pakstaite a Lithuanian Industrial Design


Technology student from Brunel University who was one


She designed 'Bump Mark' a bio-reactive food expiry label which


shows you exactly when your food is going off so you don't have to rely


Tell me why we needed this. I noticed that we waste a lot of food


annually. It is clearly an issue and the current expiry labels are not


working so well to prevent this. Another problem is visually impaired


people are not able to gain this type of information at all. They


have no clue about the freshness of their food. Yes, they have to


guess, and perhaps end up throwing food away to be cautious, and that


is money they don't have. One third of blind people are not in paid


employment, so it is a struggle. This is why this is tactile. I


wanted the texture to change, to let them know. So this is an food


packaging, you will have a little marker, and tell me about the


texture. What should you feel? If the food is fresh, it should feel


solid. When it expires, you will start to feel bumps. The way it


works is that you put a solid gelatin gel on top of the bumps, the


Yukon QB bombs, and then the gelatin has this property, because it is a


natural substance, it expires just like food, it turns back into a


liquid when it expires, so that enables you to feel the dumps. So if


it feels smooth you know your food is safe. Sometimes we do all we food


that is too fresh. Exactly. My research found that 87% look at the


expiry date and if it has expired, they want even check the condition


of it, they want smell it, they will just throw it away. You have used


gelatin. Have you had interest from industry, from business, you think


this is a workable idea as well as a brilliant concept? I have currently


got a patented pending for this, so it is protected, and I was able to


do that because I won a scholarship with the James Dyson foundation.


That's let me finance... It was an extensive recess, so I was able to


file for patents. Now I can get to the next age of finding an investor,


so I am talking to a view different comedies about this. Commercial


confidence gelatin. This kind of scheme, I suppose, allows you to


work without a big company behind you at the beginning. Yes, I was


able to take this as far as it could go within my university. And now


you're going to a global edition. How exciting. You could get


inspiration from the other products as well. Yes, it is Williams firing.


-- it is really inspiring. We are going to regroup with the astronomy


photographer of the year awards. This year is no exception to the


stunning images that have been provided. It is as good as


as we look ahead to the weekend, it looks a lot fresher with some


welcome sunshine coming from the north. With this weather


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