23/09/2014 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me Philippa Thomas.


A major escalation in the American-led war against


Islamic State militants and against fighters linked to Al-Qaeda.


The US leads Arab allies in air and missile strikes against Islamic


State targets in Syria, at least 120 militant fighters have been killed.


We are going to do what is necessary to take the fight to the terrorist


group for the security of the country, the region and the entire


Some of the 200 missing Nigerian school girls,


A warning on climate change from the head of the United Nations.


Ban Ki Moon tells world leaders in New York, this is


Also coming up, grim testimony from survivors of


They tell the BBC that smugglers chopped off the hands of migrants


And Marilyn Monroe was always playing a role but now has a new


President Obama says the support of Arab nations in air strikes


on Islamic State targets in Syria, makes it clear to the world that


It's reported that at least 70 IS militants


and 50 other al-Qaeda-linked fighters were killed in the first


The US confirms that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan,


Bahrain and Qatar took part in or supported the strikes.


Warplanes, drones and Tomahawk cruise missiles were used to hit


targets in cities including Deir Al-Zour, Aleppo and Raqqa, where


The Pentagon says it launched strikes from warships


in international waters, hitting targets


including training compounds, vehicles and storage sites.


When President Obama said that there would be no safe havens


for the Islamic State, this time he meant it.


Overnight, the US might was unleashed on the


Sunni extremist targets in Syria from these ship launched cruise


missiles, to fighter aircraft, to drones, and, critically, the


participation of the air forces of a number of other Arab countries.


And in the clear light of day, the flattened buildings, the rubble,


the twisted metal and chaos, the evidence of what had unfolded.


And that coalition of Gulf states in Jordan was something that


the president stressed when he spoke at the White House this morning.


Last night on my orders, America's Armed Forces began strikes


The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that


Above all the people and the government in the Middle East are


rejecting ISIL, standing up for the peace and security that the people


And one other country with an interesting role in the


The country's representative at the UN was given the heads up


but officials here are keen to stress there was no negotiation.


We did not seek the regime's permission.


We did not discuss targets, they say.


What is clear is that Syria did not stand in America's way.


And that is because the Assad regime has come under sustained attack


The Sunni extremists have taken vast swathes of land, so much


so that the city of Raqqa has become the effective headquarters of IS.


And their playground, too, by the look of it.


That explains its targeting in the overnight air strikes.


The raids coincided with Islamic State parading its British


hostage, the freelance journalist, John Cantlie, reading under duress


Senior US politicians seem content to call


Awful, vile, a cancer, an insult to our values.


But such petty insults don't really do much harm to


the most powerful jihadist movement seen in recent history.


But one notable absentee from this joint action against the jihadists


David Cameron, who is in New York ahead of the UN General Assembly,


has issued a statement saying that he supports the strikes, and will be


discussing over the next couple of days what else the UK can do.


But the Pentagon, which released these videos


of the attacks, has for the moment the vital support it needs.


The strikes marked a new chapter in the military action. What is its


legal basis and how long could they continue? Our diplomatic


correspondent has this analysis. A bombardment out of the blue. It is


not to mask this bombing but the US air force with Arab allies. Critics


will call at another US led military intervention in a foreign country


without UN Security Council approval. But the fanatical


followers of the so-called Islamic State use barbaric methods and they


are seen as a threat that could envelop the whole region in chaos.


I'm worried that today's strikes were not carried out by the Syrian


government but the government was informed and the people helped. The


strikes took place in areas no longer under the effective control


of their government. These attacks are the strongest international


responses -- response yet to the Islamic State network. Led by the US


but also involving Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab


Emirates. Most of them also taking an active military role. The aim was


to degrade key areas in these shaded zones controlled and supported by


the extremist 's. This strikes themselves were carried out by


fighters, bombers, and one man drones, plus dozens of missiles and


massive barrage is. They get a wide area, including Raqqa, and IS


stronghold. Targets included training camps, and even a finance


centre used by the extremists. It is thought IS disburse some of its


fighters and weapons in anticipation of the attack. Ironically, the


Syrian president could benefit from this turn of events. Only a year


ago, his government was the potential target of US strikes but


now the Americans are taking on some of his enemies for him. It is


inevitable that air strikes against Isis will help the Assad regime,


that is an unintended consequence. You have to do that sometimes. What


of other unintended consequences? Curbs on the Turkish border say they


are worried that IS fighters are coming their way to flee the air


strikes. The refugee crisis that, already hundreds of thousands


strong, could get worse. It was back in April that more than


200 school girls from Chibok in Northern Nigeria were abducted


by Boko Haram Islamists. It caused worldwide outrage and


sparked a social media campaign. Well, in the past hour there's been


a dramatic The Nigerian Defence Ministry has


confirmed to the BBC that some of the girls are now in


the custody of the Nigerian army. But he has now retracted that


statement and said that although some girls are in the Army 's care,


these are not the missing schoolgirl is that we were all thinking about.


Let's try to clear this up. Can you tell us what we know? Yes,


well, the story broke on Twitter initially. Some independent Nigerian


newspapers saying that they had information that some of the girls


were now safe in a military barracks in another city. The BBC managed to


get through to the spokesman for the Nigerian military, and he confirmed


that some of those girls were now safe in the military barracks. We


then reported that but within a few minutes, he called back to retract


the statement. He said there were some girls that have now reached the


barracks and they are safe, but he said categorically that they are not


from the same group. And this seems to imply there are more girls,


possibly, that have been taken by Boko Haram van we knew about -- than


we knew about. We know that many more have been taken. The abduction


of well over 200 schoolgirls, 219 of whom asked or missing, that hit the


international headlines, but there have been many attacks over the past


two or three years in which some people, including girls, have been


abducted by Boko Haram, and I have interviewed some in the past, prior


to this recent attack. There are more being held, and while the focus


is on those girls, the attacks are continuing on different villages.


And the abductions are continuing. So it is a terrible situation at the


moment in the north-east. And although last week there was some


good news from the Nigerian military, as they were saying they


had some success against the Islamist extremist group close to


the city of my degree, some towns are still in the hands of Boko


Haram, and more people are being abducted each week. I know you will


stay across the story for us, thank you for joining us live.


Now a look at some of the day's other news.


The World Health Organisation is warning there could be


Ebola has already killed almost 3000 people across West Africa.


A prominent academic from China's Uighur minority has been


Ilham Tohti was a vocal critic of government policies in the troubled


The Spanish government has withdrawn its controversial plans to limit


The conservative Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, said the governing


Popular Party had not been able to reach agreement on the proposals.


Two Palestinian survivors of last week's refugee boat sinking have


told the BBC they saw smugglers deliberately ram the boats, and


then chop the hands off those who clung to the sides of the vessels.


300 to 500 asylum seekers died in the incident off the coast of Malta.


The Maltese Prime Minister says this is mass murder.


This is a detention centre, not a dream destination.


It's where those rescued from the sea off Malta can end up.


And despite the trauma of an uncertain future,


Thousands died in unsafe and overcrowded vessels.


The BBC was allowed to meet three survivors in what has


A crime the UN says that cannot go unpunished.


Earlier this month, Ibrahim, Manon, and Muhammad paid smugglers


They left Gaza, ordered a boat to Egypt and then, in


the Mediterranean, they were ordered to switch to a smaller boat.


When the captain refused to stop, Mamon tells me, the smugglers rammed


Around 150 people below deck drowned straight away.


When someone tried to cling to the smugglers boat, Mohammed says, they


They also laughed as the boat went down.


This grim account of lives lost at sea has been backed up


by the handful of other survivors now out in Greece and Italy.


What they say happened has been judged to be credible by the


United Nations and by the Maltese government.


Day in, day out, year in, year out, the Maltese military is having to


rescue migrants from the inhospitable sea.


The government in Malta wants a Europe-wide


response to people smuggling following this latest tragedy.


That's something you wouldn't even imagine in a movie, let alone


And this is murder at sea? It is.


Back at the detention centre, where their freedom is on hold,


those who cheated death at the hands of smugglers live with the


horror of what they witnessed and are hoping for something better.


Idyllic and alluring for holiday-makers,


the Mediterranean Sea is proving increasingly treacherous


There are more migrants, there are more deaths, there are no


World leaders are being asked to make bold pledges to address climate


change at a one day summit in New York.


Opening the gathering of a hundred and twenty world


leaders, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said climate change is


The meeting is intended to build momentum for a new global treaty


on reducing greenhouse gas emissions next year, although both


Here's our science editor David Shukman.


From the melting of the ice in the far north of the Arctic...


To the rising sea level threatening low-lying countries like Bangladesh.


To the fear of dust storms and droughts intensifying in the


Climate change is described by the United Nations


Climate change is a defining issue of our age.


Today, the UN called a special summit on global warming.


There's been deadlock in negotiations.


Maybe some Hollywood stardust would help?


I play fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems.


I believe that mankind has looked at climate change in that same way.


As if pretending that climate change wasn't real would


The smallest islands say this is a matter of survival.


But pleading for help hasn't really worked, so young mother from


the Marshall Islands in the Pacific tried a poem to her baby poem.


They say you, your daughter and your granddaughter, too,


will wander rootless with only a passport to call home.


Then her daughter was brought on stage.


It's not often a baby gets a standing ovation at a UN summit.


Getting anywhere on climate change has always been a struggle.


The talking started back in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio.


That year, emissions of carbon dioxide totalled


By then, annual emissions were running at more than 32 billion


tonnes and the treaty only covered a few dozen countries anyway.


By the time of the Copenhagen summit five years ago, which tried and


failed to reach a global agreement, emissions were more than 34 billion


This year, they are set to climb to more than 40 billion tonnes with


no sign yet of a cut which climate scientists say should happen soon.


Carbon dioxide swirling above America, Europe and China.


Some countries, cities, and companies are cutting emissions


But the UN wants a global deal next year although there is no


The actress Emma Watson has been targeted online, with anonymous


"trolls" making threats to release nude photographs of her.


The threats follow her address to the UN on gender equality,


in which she called on men and boys to identify themselves as feminist.


The former Harry Potter actress, who's now a Goodwill Ambassador


for the UN, spoke about her own determination to be equal,


Winning at choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently I am among


the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too


aggressive, isolating and anti-men. Unattractive, even. Why has the word


become such an uncomfortable one? So Emma Watson was talking


about embracing feminism, A good time, we thought,


to talk about Marilyn Monroe - one focus of a new book called


Women In Dark Times from Jacqueline Rose, who is the new Professor


of Gender Studies at Cambridge. Marilyn Monroe, reading some of your


book about what she had written, she was so conscious of the path she had


to play and anguished about the fact there was so much more to her own


thoughts. One of the genius of Marilyn Monroe is the fact that so


many parts were a send-up of what she was meant to be, a kind of clown


who got compared to Charlie Chaplin in her day by being so witty and


exposing what was wrong with the images she was supposed to be


portraying. In a way she hated doing what was expected of her and she got


control of Fox Studios, she got direct script control, so she was


very feisty, but she was even more political than that. She was utterly


transgressive, she slept with Jews, Communists, Montenegro's and other


women, so she was way ahead of her time in that sense. -- Communists,


black people. She phoned a club where Ellis -- where Ellis


FitzGerald was not allowed to play and said if you have her on I will


sit in the front row. She said in her diaries, actresses must have no


mouth. She knew that absolutely but she was not really interested in the


public she was supposed to be interested in. She said she was not


looked after, cherished and love as a child, so that gave her an


understanding of the poor, the week and be vulnerable, and the only


people she wanted to perform for word the people in the trailers and


working in the factories. -- were the people. She did seem so at home


with the glittering lifestyle. She was a very contradictory woman, but


that is an important point of feminism that we don't ask women to


be perfect. She said in her journals, my body is my body, every


part of it. She also knew that she internally suffered, but she was


abominable, that she could not control everything. -- that she was


vulnerable. I am not directly comparing Emma Watson and Marilyn


Monroe but she is talking about feminism, Emma Watson, saying I


don't want you to define my body, I don't want you to control me.


Because she has made this address she is being threatened with nude


photos being released, there is a backlash. There is, and in a sense


nothing has changed, the link between female vulnerability and the


need to behave a certain way, and the misogyny and rage that is


released when you about that. There has been progress by women but the


relationship between women's sexuality and their assertiveness


and their right to speak out and the way that people, especially men,


hate them if they do, we have not got to the heart of that yet.


Earlier we spoke about the women abducted in Nigeria and we know that


some of those may have been sold on as slaves, we know that this is


still happening today, keeping women down. We have rarely seen a period


where violence against women is so brazen, from FGM to rape during


wartime, Jimmy Savile, women are read more -- are more at risk from


domestic abuse than war, disease, cancer combined. We are seeing what


hatred of women can do and we need a feminism that goes to the heart of


that and tries to understand that. Marilyn Monroe was amazing because


America off-loaded on her the demand to be perfect, she had to be the


perfect ambassador of new American capitalism, she had to ferry it


across Europe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and in many ways she was a


very unhappy woman. It is as if she is giving UAW message, look at what


a nightmare America is giving me and I have to live it. -- a double


message. The UN refugee agency says that


Turkey urgently needs help to deal with the Syrian refugees who have


crossed the border fleeing from the danger of ISIS. Today we have more


from the border. Age is no barrier when the


desperation to flee is so strong. More arrived today, Syrian escaping


the trauma of the ISIS advance. The youngest were terrified by the


experience. Turkey is a safe haven under strain, struggling with over


130,000 refugees since last Friday. Most border crossings have been


closed as Turkey tries to stem the flow. Those who fled welcomed news


of the air strikes on ISIS, hoping it could at some point allow them to


return home. The Americans must bomb, he tells me, because ISIS are


killing us. This man was a teacher, he has been here since the weekend


and he says the military action is a rare piece of good news. I feel


happy, I want to say I am grateful and joyful to America and her


partners. I am so happy. Could the US and its Ali is -- its allies by


the lightning advance of ISIS towards Turkey? The militants are


dangerously close to the border and with waves of people coming every


day perhaps that gave with waves of people coming every


final push to strike. Humanitarian agencies have set up agencies to --


clinics to deal with the crisis. Many here suffer from dehydration,


and some have entered the world as refugees. TRANSLATION: Nobody


expected the war in Syria to last more than three years. Nobody


expected that more than 300,000 refugees would come. Yesterday we


had two doctors here, now we have six. Meanwhile the political


had two doctors here, now we have continues, a stand-off between


had two doctors here, now we have and Kurds, people


had two doctors here, now we have year Civil War. The refugee


had two doctors here, now we have brought the test -- hostility back


to the surface. Can the military action they wanted halt the march of


the Islamic State? That is all from World News Today


macro. The fairly settled weather looks set


to continue for the next few days. Tomorrow there will be rain in the


forecast, especially in the southeastern


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