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This is BBC World News Today with me Tim Willcox.
Changing Britain's relationship with the European Union - Prime Minister
David Cameron, sets out his key demands for reform ahead
But it is not a commitment that should apply any longer to Britain.
We have a different vision for Europe.
The International Olympic Committee calls for disciplinary action
against Russian athletes accused of doping.
Syrian government forces take a key position in Aleppo and break
a two-year siege by Islamic State militants.
Aung San Suu Kyi tells the BBC she believes her party has won a
parliamentary majority in Myanmar's elections.
And from the Dowager in Downton Abbey to a bag lady in her latest
film - Dame Maggie Smith tells us about the roles that have
The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has set out the reforms
he'll be looking for in negotiations over Britain's membership of the EU,
After writing a letter to Europe's leaders, he said
"It is mission possible" though he admitted that it would take
The Commission in Brussels has been quick to describe
one of Mr Cameron's demands, curbs on benefits for EU migrants, as
"highly problematic" but the German Chancellor Angela Merkel said he was
bringing "no surprises" to the table and she said she was reasonably
Here in the UK, some of David Cameron's own politicians
accuse him of demanding too little, as James Landale now reports.
Today, a note with a Westminster postmark was sent to Brussels,
the relationship between Britain and the European Union.
In his letter, he set out for the first time, in some detail,
how he wants to reform the EU before a referendum.
Today I'm writing to the president of the European Council,
setting out how I want to address the concerns of the British people.
This is perhaps the most important decision that
the British people will have to take at the ballot box in our lifetimes.
And this is what he wants - binding principles to protect
countries outside the euro from decisions made within the euro,
greater competitiveness, including a new target to cut red tape,
and a legally binding exemption from the EU's commitment
to ever closer union, and greater powers for national parliaments.
And, crucially, he is also demanding benefit curbs for EU migrants,
claiming 40% of those coming are on welfare - a figure some question.
So we have proposed that people coming to Britain from the EU
must live here and contribute for four years
before they qualify for in-work benefits or social housing,
and that we should end the practice of sending benefit overseas.
Now, I understand how difficult some of these welfare issues are
and I'm open to different ways of dealing with this issue.
Note that last phrase, which gives the Prime Minister some flexibility.
You say this is not mission impossible,
but isn't that the point - it's actually mission quite possible,
and that it's not the fundamental reform that you once promised?
This is challenging, this is substantial,
it is going to be difficult to achieve,
and if we do achieve it, it'll make a real difference.
If there's a deal, he promised to campaign
But if not, he wouldn't rule out campaigning to leave -
a decision, he said, that would be final.
If we vote to leave, then we will leave.
There will not be another renegotiation
And so the real negotiations with the EU leaders start now
The referendum campaign, of course, has already begun.
I think it's a really ambitious reform programme,
but I think there are lots of things that other EU countries will agree
with, so I think the Prime Minister is right to push for these four
What we know is that David Cameron isn't taking back control,
he's not dealing with the cost of Brussels,
and he's not backing any of this up with treaty change,
And as for the Prime Minister's backbenchers,
Is that it?! Is that the sum total
of the Government's position in this renegotiation?
The renegotiation amounts to no more than tinkering around the edges.
This is pretty thin gruel, much less than people had come to expect.
How is he going to be able to sell this pig in a poke?
Today was all about the Prime Minister clearing his throat
and clearing the decks ahead of a tough negotiation.
Officials admit he probably won't get everything,
but he will get something, and the question is whether that
something will be enough to convince people to vote to stay in the EU.
What matters is what comes back in the post.
James Landale, BBC News, Westminster.
I spoke to our Brussels correspondent, Katya Adler, a short
while ago and put it to her that Mr Cameron's most controversial demand
was for restrictions to migrants' access to in-work benefits.
First of all, the word "controversial" is
like. You heard from the opinion maker that matters most to Downing
Street and that is the Chancellor of Germany, Europe's powerhouse, Angela
Merkel, and she said she was happy to do whatever it took to help keep
Britain inside the EU, help David Cameron get his reforms - as long,
as they were compatible with EU rules and that means it will
be no problem to keep the UK outside the idea of ever-closer union, to
protect those countries that don't use the euro currency or to make the
EU more competitive, but when it comes to curbing EU migration, which
David Cameron wants to do, that is more problematic.
There are areas of broad agreement inside the
yes, let's crack down on benefit tourism, there can be curbs on child
benefits, but David Cameron also wants to restrict in-work benefits
for non-British EU workers inside the UK for four years and that,
according to many EU countries, goes against the core principle of the
freedom to live and work across the bloc and this will be a problem for
David Cameron. Standing back from that, Tim,
wherever you travel in the EU, they may be irritated by the UK's demands
but want to keep the UK in for purely selfish reasons. Without
militarily, so this is just the start of negotiations and horse
now, so take your seats. these proposals are wishy-washy.
And on the BBC website you can find in-depth analysis of those four key
Russian athletes accused of doping may be stripped
The International Olympic Committee has called for disciplinary action,
following allegations by the World Anti-Doping Agency of widespread
It's also suspended the former IAAF president, Lamine Diack.
A Kremlin spokesman said the accusations were unfounded
Our Sports Editor Dan Roan reports on the crisis in world athletics.
Sport had never heard anything quite like it.
Yesterday's damning report into state-run cheating
laid bare the worst doping scandal in history.
Russia faces an unprecedented ban from next year's Rio Olympics
and the head of athletics in the UK says it is time to get tough.
I don't really care what Russia does if it is suspended,
So point number one, should it be suspended?
Yes, until it can prove it is compliant.
If it refuses to do that, and some of the signs overnight were not
encouraging, well, whatever the consequences are, let's take them.
Political tensions are rising - Vladimir Putin is meeting with the
country's sports chiefs tomorrow, but his spokesman has dismissed
This sporting superpower will discover its punishment
at the end of the week, but the lab at the heart of the scandal had
TRANSLATION: I believe that problems obviously exist,
but Russia is on the path to clear its name and change.
Why is it that sports seems so vulnerable to corruption?
How is it that journalists are left to uncover scandals such as this,
And how on earth can athletics recover its battered reputation?
For these British athletes at Lea Valley today, it was training
as usual, but at a time when sport is under scrutiny like never
Hopefully it is fully investigated, but for those athletes who are
competing cleanly, and there is a lot of athletes competing cleanly,
I would not want the public to think that everyone is cheating or
everyone who wins must be cheating, that is definitely not the case.
For eight years he was deputy to the man he replaced this year, Lamine
Diack, now under investigation that he took bribes to cover up doping,
tonight suspended by the International Olympic Committee.
That has led to questions over exactly what Coe knew
and if he is the man to steer the sport through its current crisis.
I think he has to look for some special measures here, not to have
to go through committees and commissions.
He has to grasp the nettle and say, you have to do something
The fear now is that the cheating may extend well
Beyond Russia, the worst may be yet to come.
Only a small number of seats have been officially
declared so far in the Myanmar elections, but at this point
Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition NLD party has won nearly all of them.
Speaking to the BBC's Fergal Keane in her first interview since
the vote, Ms Suu Kyi said she now believes her party will have enough
seats to form a government, and she said she is confident the results of
the election cannot be sabotaged by the country's
Aung San Suu Kyi had the smile of the victor,
convinced her party had enough votes
to form the country's first democratic government.
What is your sense of how well the NLD has done?
Well, around 75% in the union legislature.
And that will be enough, more than enough,
The minimum requirement is about 67%
if we are to be able to form a government on our own.
Do you believe that the generals, the people who have controlled here
for so long, will allow you to do that?
Well, they've been saying repeatedly
that they will respect the will of the people
and that they will implement the results of the election.
sabotage your nascent democracy in this country.
I think they should think of it not as sabotaging our efforts,
should they try to do something like that.
What they would be sabotaging is the will of the people.
Her supporters want Aung San Suu Kyi to be president,
but she is barred from that job thanks to a specific clause
in the constitution imposed by the military.
You spoke the other day about being above the President,
Well, I'll make all the decisions, it's as simple as all that.
If I'm required to field a president to meet the requirements
of Section 59F of the constitution, all right, we'll find one.
But that won't stop me from making all the decisions
It's a name only - a rose by any other name!
One of the most significant promises in the interview
like these Rohingya being targeted by Buddhist extremists.
It's not going to be easy, that they must understand, because prejudice
is not removed easily, and hatred is not going to be removed easily.
But we can work at it together, and I'm confident that
the great majority of the people of this country want peace.
This is just the beginning of the road,
There's a lot more to be done before, I think,
our people will feel secure enough to celebrate.
That is a caution born of experience.
Syrian government forces have broken a siege by Islamic State militants
at a military airbase in the northern province of Aleppo.
IS fighters had been surrounding troops who were holding out
But reports say they have now been freed
With me is Edgard Jallad of BBC Arabic.
I suppose this is the most significant breakthrough by Syrian
forces since the Russian bombing campaign started. Indeed, this is
their only achievement so far but some critics say it couldn't be the
only achievement, taking into consideration this massive war
machine supporting the Syrian forces, yet this battle was very
important, taking into consideration its background. Two and a half years
ago, this ace was under siege and this specific battle started last
May when the so-called Islamic State tried to take it, but the government
forces decided to bite. We don't know how they managed to survive.
Had they enough ammunition and food? If this was a complete siege
of the area. Maybe we will know in the future but according to some
news we have read online, they have beaten us ammunition, because this
is one of the major military bases in Aleppo but food and supplies may
have been smuggled to them from neighbouring villages, but these
areas were under the control of Islamic groups, they threatened not
to do that. Taking all this into the picture, it could be a key thing to
which he for the moment because it forces are trying to take all of the
Aleppo province, to stretch things have and areas, the coastal area
that is predominantly a la white. They want to stretch it to the
Turkish borders and this could be the first achievement in that order.
What is the balance of power on the ground since the start of the
Russian bombing campaign? It is a very confused picture but against
Islamic states and other rebel groups, do we know how much
territory has been retaken by Syrian forces? It is not a massive space
that was occupied or retaken by German forces, which is why we say
this is a first big achievement for the government forces for the
moment, but at the same time the Russians were criticised for not
targeting Islamic State and this time the Islamic State is in focus
and this could be a big defeat for them in that area. Thank you very
much. A mass vaccination programme against
meningitis A in Africa has been More than 220 million people were
immunised across 16 countries In 2013 there were just four cases
across the entire region, which once A theme park in California is
planning to phase out its Sea World has seen a drop
in visitor numbers at The company's shares have halved
in value since a documentary two years ago highlighted the damage to
the whales, also known as orcas. It's faced intense criticism
from for keeping killer whales in captivity,
with activists saying it's cruel. Slovenia is to introduce new
restrictions on its border with Croatia to
control the flow of migrants. More than 170,000 migrants have
crossed into Slovenia since mid-October when Hungary closed
its southern border with Croatia. "temporary technical hurdles" would
be imposed, but stressed that the Police in Northern Ireland say
a former British soldier has been arrested on suspicion of murdering
three civil rights demonstrators 13 people were killed when British
paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march through
Londonderry in 1972. It's the first arrest made
since a fresh investigation into the killings was announced
three years ago. Our Ireland Correspondent,
Chris Buckler, is in Londonderry. I began by asking him how
significant this was as the first phase of a new police investigation.
That suggestion of a new phase means more arrests are likely in the
months ahead. We understand this 66-year-old man gave evidence to the
Bloody Sunday inquiry and that inquiry found members of the British
Parachute Regiment wired into a crowd of civil rights protesters in
1972 without warning, and some of those who were shot out were fleeing
from the chaos, others were trying to help the dead and injured, and
what happened in Bloody Sunday is burned into memories here in Derry.
You can see the pain may a mural on the walls, some of the images of
those days, and they still have the power to shock. The families have
welcomed this arrest because they have always put for a criminal
investigation, but Unionist politicians are concerned because
paramilitaries here were let out of prison early as part of the Good
Friday Agreement and paramilitaries convert it now of events as a result
of the Good Friday Agreement are released early from prison. A
soldier would not get the same reduction in sentence and that has
upset Unionist politicians. The government has said there is no
desire to change that at this stage. The Former West German Chancellor
Helmut Schmidt has died aged 96. He led his country between 1974
and 1982 and is regarded as one Schmidt, a lifelong smoker,
was the architect of the European Monetary System,
which linked EU currencies and was William Horsley looks back
at his life. Helmut Schmidt was a far-sighted
strategist who lived to see his By 1972 he was a minister
in the government of Willy Brandt, a brilliant manager
of the economic miracle. Two years later he himself was
Chancellor. The Berlin Wall dividing West
and East Germany was the front line With skilled diplomacy he pursued
detente with Communist leaders on the other side but
when the Soviet Union stepped up Braving fierce protests at home,
he let America deploy medium range nuclear missiles on West German soil
to keep the military balance. Barely ten years later,
Communism would collapse. A friend of Britain, Schmidt
showed forcefulness and wit. In challenging those who wanted
Britain to leave the European community, he told a Labour Party
conference to think again. But comrades,
in regard of your vote of yesterday I cannot avoid putting myself in the
position of a man who in front of ladies and gentlemen belonging to
the Salvation Army tries to convince With French leaders he launched
a European monetary system which paved the way much later
for the single currency, the euro. After eight years, Schmidt's shaky
coalition was undermined by It fell to
Helmut Kohl's Christian Democrats. He was multi-talented,
some say arrogant, but few world statesman have enjoyed such high
respect as Helmut Schmidt. William Horsley reporting
on the life of the former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt,
who has died at the age of 96. She's been a star of stage and
screen for more than 50 years, with roles from The Prime of Miss
Jean Brodie to Professor McGonnagall Dame Maggie Smith's now starring
in her latest film, The Lady in the Van, but despite all
of this success she thinks she's been typecast, as she tells
our arts editor Will Gompertz. Park the van in your drive?
That never occurred to me. Maggie Smith as Miss Shepherd,
the eccentric old lady who parked her van on
Alan Bennett's drive in Camden You're not doing me a favour, you
know, I have got other fish to fry. I'm about the only person I know
who has never seen her. I know she's dead,
of course she's dead, she's been dead a long time, but nearly
everybody I meet had come across What with all this to-do I think
I'm about to be taken short. It was all because Alan, to this day
he keeps coming up with different things about her and he said,
which I don't believe for a moment, I wouldn't have been
able to cope with it. There are no boa constrictors
in Camden Town. I know a boa constrictor
when I see one. Have you seen roles come
and go you wish you had done? Now I'm stuck with being an old cow,
I'm stuck with that. Mrs Crawley tells me you paid her
a visit when you first came, Are you pleased to see the back
of it? I have to say, my body is
pleased to, as well as... Would you ever say you have given,
in your own eyes and ears, Ever say you have given
a great performance? I'm not sure many would
agree with that. Maggie Smith is quite clearly
a master of her art. A quick reminder of our main news to
the British Prime Minister has demanded a more flexible European
Union at the launch of his bid to renegotiate the UK's membership.
David Cameron wants more power given to national parliaments. You can get
in touch with me and some of the team here on Twitter and there is
plenty more on the website. That's it from the programme. Coming up is
the weather. From me and the team, goodbye. So far this week it has
been mouthed by day and by night but that is set to change