01/12/2015 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me Karin Giannone.


The role of American Special Forces in Iraq is to be expanded to help


The US Defence Secretary says they'll work with Iraqi and Kurdish


These special operators will over time and be able to conduct raids,


free hostages, gather intelligence and capture Isil leaders.


This Pacific island is a world away from Paris but it's


Scientists debate the boundaries of manipulating our DNA


which could treat or even cure inherited genetic conditions.


And the rock pools that form a prehistoric path.


We report from the dinosaur trail on Scotland's Isle of Skye.


Each one of these circular indentations was


Those are those trunk-legged, longnecked giants and they used to


We start with the fight against so-called Islamic State and the US


Defence Secretary has announced that America's role in direct combat in


Special operations personnel will be sent to Syria to support local


forces on the ground, and in Iraq, a special task force will be


deployed to conduct raids and gather intelligence.


Here in the UK, MPs from all parties are being urged by the government to


back military action against Islamic State in Syria.


They'll vote on the issue on Wednesday.


More on that in a moment, but first, let's hear what US Defence Secretary


Ash Carter told a congressional committee in Washington earlier.


In full coordination with the government of Iraq we are deploying


a specialised expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi


and Kurdish Peshmerga forces to put even more pressure on Isil.


These special operators will, over time, be able to conduct raids,


free hostages, gather intelligence and capture Isil leaders.


This force will also be in a position to conduct unilateral


That creates a virtuous cycle of better intelligence


which generates more targets, more raids, more momentum.


I spoke to Gary O'Donoghue in Washington about how surprising


this announcement by the US Defence Secretary is.


I think it is part of what they will call the intensification of the war


against Islamic State. There has been pressure on the administration


to do more and say what it is going to do and this ratcheting up of the


involvement of special forces as part of that response. Ash Carter


said they would conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and


kill off ice leaders. Earlier in the year, they killed an Isis leader who


ran oil operations for Isis in Syria. A few weeks ago they were


involved in the releasing of some prisoners in northern Iraq. They


were just meant to be advising in that one but they got involved in a


firefight and one US special forces member died. This is an escalation


of some things that are already doing and an acknowledgement that


air strikes are not enough and they need people on the ground to


organise and assist local forces and do some things of their own.


Some Americans are worried and this is mission creep.


There will be that concern. This is not a large deployment. The numbers


in northern Syria, 50 special Ops members. Not large numbers of boots


on the ground. They will be involved in some kind of combat role so some


will see that as mission creep and some will see that as far too little


as there are people who want much bigger numbers. The Obama


administration is treading this line that it has promised not to put


boots on the ground but it must respond to changing situation.


Here in Britain, MPs are preparing to debate and later vote on


UK air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria.


But could more air strikes make a difference in Syria?


Prime Minister David Cameron says military action is just one part of


Our Diplomatic Correspondent James Robbins looks at the nature


The RAF Tornados are poised. From Cyprus, they have been striking Isis


in Iraq and if the word comes from the Prime Minister, they are ready


to strike in Syria. The government says Britain can be made safer and


Isis weaker. It strikes alone cannot defeat Isil but they can degrade


them. They can prevent them spreading further in Syria and


relieve the pressure on opposition forces which are being attacked by


Isil. The government believes those anti-Assad moderate forces could be


boosted. They want to prove they are fully on board for a war with Isis


until it is finished and this is the first step in escalating the British


involvement in that war. What is not being voted on this week is what the


next steps will be. Who is currently bombing Isis targets? Leading the


coalition are the US and France with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It


makes Russia's campaign a problem. They have a different agenda,


supporting President Assad. Moscow and Washington are still at long


raids and again today President Obama urged Moscow to follow in


line. I am confident we are on the winning side of this and ultimately


Russia will see the threat that Isil poses to its country is the most


significant and they must align themselves with those of us who are


fighting Isil. The coalition claims real damage to Isis headquarters and


killing many of their leaders although there are fears civilians


have been hit by air strikes. This will only be brought to a conclusion


by boots on the ground but the issue is whose feet are in them and what


is the degree of leadership? Can British tornadoes launch a far more


coherent strategy for Syria? It depends on settling political


divides, including the future for President Assad, if any.


Let's turn to the climate talks in Paris now and, after the upbeat


mood of yesterday, many world leaders are beginning to head home,


leaving the tough negotiations for a deal to reduce carbon emissions


Before he left the conference, President Obama met with leaders


from island nations hit hard by rising sea levels,


I think we are going to solve it. The issue is just going to be the


pace and how much damage is done before we are able to fully apply


the brakes. In some ways, it is a keen to the problem of terrorism and


Isil. In the media... Immediate aftermath of a terrible attack like


in Paris it is natural for people to despair but look at Paris, you


cannot tear down Paris cause of the demented actions a handful of


individuals. One of those places on the front


line of climate change is the tiny South Pacific island nation of


Vanuatu from where our correspondent Matthew Price has been


looking at how important setting carbon emission targets are to the


islanders. If you look at the seashore behind


me, I am at the heart of the capital city, the most vulnerable one in the


world to big events such as the huge cyclone which hit these islands in


March. It is hard to realise what a difference in targets, the sort of


targets they're talking about in Paris in terms of 1.5 degrees,


warming of 2 degrees, three degrees, it is hard to understand what those


means. But in these islands and other vulnerable low-lying areas,


they believe those numbers are crucial and they will make the


crucial difference between places like this surviving or having to


have huge funds injected in them in order to adapt.


How were were people of the talks going on in Paris and how much faith


do they have that something will emerge to benefit them in future?


One thing somebody close to the talks from the UN perspective said


to me in recent days was that the proceeds there to have been a real


change in mood. These sort of low-lying countries, in which around


the world hundreds of millions of people could be affected by climate


change, they are no longer saying they're going to be victims of


climate change and what are the rest of the world going to do about it?


They are active now in a bottom-up approach. The people in these places


feel that they are at the moral heart of these negotiations. We saw


that in the way that the Association of Ireland states went to Paris at


the beginning of the week and said 2 degrees warming of the world's


atmosphere is no good, we need it to be 1.5. They went in with their


fists swinging at the beginning of negotiations to try to influence


them. For more on this our Science


Correspondent, Rebecca Morelle is at What happens next?


It will be a tough two weeks of negotiations. Yesterday, we had all


the world leaders here laying out broad ambitions. This is what we


want to do to save the planet. Obama said this could be a turning point.


The leaders are gone now and the hard work begins. Each country is


setting out its stall. They hope to produce a document by the end of the


week and this will form the basis of a legal agreement. Countries are


saying, OK, we won't have this kind of thing to be in the -- we would


like this kind of thing to be in the document and not this kind of thing.


There will be some trade to get what they want, and some sticking points.


This push for a more ambitious target of 1.5 degrees being the


threshold of the planet can take, to be honest, having spoken to most


people here, they think 2 degrees Celsius is gone to be hard enough to


achieve already so whether the smaller island states, and I was


talking to a representative from our least developed country, I'm not


sure they will get that. But they are trying to as possible. Quite a


lot of debate over the next two weeks and lots to thrash out before


we see if there is a deal at the end of it.


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


A bomb has exploded near a metro station in the Turkish


A local mayor said five people were injured.


The explosion happened on a highway overpass at the height


A jury has been shown CCTV images of a gang who stole


around ?14 million worth of jewellery from a safety deposit


vault in London's Hatton Garden over the Easter weekend.


They were caught on one of the few working cameras covering


the building, carrying the stolen jewellery away in wheelie bins.


Cuba has reinstated restrictions on doctors leaving the island to work


in the USA and other countries. It is said the health services have


been severely affected by the great number of people moving abroad since


travel restrictions eased two years ago.


Hundreds of Moroccans, Algerians and Pakistanis continue to


protest at the border between Greece and Macedonia.


They're demanding to be allowed to carry on into northern Europe


after Macedonian authorities began to filter migrants based


Our Europe Correspondent Chris Morris has this update


This is the Greek Macedonian border and the people you can see here are


from Syria and they have just been allowed to cross the board. At the


moment, only people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are being allowed


through by the Macedonian authorities. You can see this fence,


built in the last few days, one of numerous fences which are starting


to be built across the Balkans to try to stem this flow of migrants.


On this side of the fence, still in, all these people are from other


countries, Iran, Pakistan, Morocco, Somalia. They are not being allowed


across the border at the moment. It stretches right back along the


railway here, two or 3000 people who have been stuck here for days. There


was mounting frustration and anger, storms have been thrown at police, a


big security presence on the Macedonian side, and aid agencies


are worried that thousands more people are thought to be travelling


up through Greece from the Greek islands to the border will soon be


stranded here as winter begins to set in.


The US President has called on Turkey and Russia to move


beyond their diplomatic spat and focus on the threat


On Monday, President Putin said Turkey had shot down a Russian


warplane on the Syrian border to protect oil supplies from the IS.


Barack Obama met the Turkish President on the sidelines of the


He said an international coalition can defeat IS, but added that Russia


should rethink its support for Syria's president Bashar al-Assad.


I spoke to Dr Igor Sutyagin and asked him


if he thought Vladimir Putin genuinely believes his accusation


that Turkey shot down the Russian warplane near the border with Syria


in order to protect its oil trade with the Islamic State group.


No-mac, I don't think that the Russian president thinks so.


Especially keeping in mind that his own military perfectly now that the


main flow of oil from the Islamic State controlled part of Syria goes


to Iraq, which was supported by Russian General staff repeatedly


between the 15th and 19th of November. Two weeks ago, Russian


leadership knew that oil flows to Iraq, not to Turkey. Why do you


believe President Putin is coming out with this? It is a string of


angry allegations at Turkey and its alleged collusion with Isis.


Revenge? It is necessary to humiliate somebody who humiliated


the president. It seems to be the attempt to put lots of deaths on his


head and accuse him of something. Otherwise it is very difficult to


explain why that happened to a domestic audience. How risky is it


for Russia to keep up this kind of rhetoric, given the situation


regarding Islamic State? But also such close economic and business


ties with Turkey, with them importing oil and gas from Russia.


Russian sanctions against Turkey, which have been announced, are very


carefully tailored. It was specifically designed to hit Turkey


and not Russia. The surplus in trade with Turkey is approximately $25


billion, which Russia gets from Turkey. That is over the amount of


money being paid to Turkey. Overall, trade is approximately 44 billion


last year and just 7.5 billion were Russian imports from Turkey and the


rest was Russian exports. An investigation into the crash


of an Air Asia plane en route from Indonesia to Singapore,


a year ago, has found that it was caused by the pilots' inadequate


response to a technical fault. All 162 people


on board the Airbus A-320 were killed after the captain attempted


to resolve the fault Gene editing -


the ability to manipulate our DNA - is set to transform


our knowledge of human biology. It offers the hope that inherited


genetic conditions could be treated, Scientists from all over


the world have gathered in Washington to discuss the potential


of gene editing and whether limits From there,


our Medical Correspondent Fergus Just a day old with a lifetime


of opportunity ahead. This baby has been born


into a world set to be transformed The ability to precisely


manipulate our DNA. How we grow and develop is shaped


by DNA which sits in the nucleus It's an instruction manual


for how our bodies work. Written in a chemical code


of just four letters. Key sections are called genes,


a spelling mistake can trigger disease,


but now scientists have discovered a cheap and easy way to correct


such errors by editing the code. Think of gene editing


as a molecular sat-nav. It scans the DNA,


searching for the error. Then it uses molecular scissors to


snip through both strands which switches off the faulty gene, or it


can repair the code by inserting These techniques raise


the prospect of treating, even curing, some genetic diseases,


and it's not science fiction. Last month, we heard about


one-year-old Layla whose leukaemia was fixed by doctors in London who


gave her gene edited immune cells. The technology could eventually


be used to treat scores of A faulty gene means her


skin constantly blisters. It is incredibly painful


and can prove fatal. This technology holds


the unimaginable dream of a cure. We really do have a hope that we can


specifically correct Sahana's cells The breakthrough prize is awarded to


Emmanuelle Charpentier and The scientists who invented


a cheap and rapid new gene editing system, just three years ago,


have already been showered with awards and labs across the world are


using their technology. So what is the potential


of gene editing? In the future,


we hope that this will be a technology that can actually be


used not only to understand disease, So not only understand


the information in a cell, If we see a mutation that causes


disease, we have now That could help patients with a


whole range of genetic conditions. Their faulty cells could be removed,


treated in the lab, and then healthy If gene editing was done


in embryos then any DNA changes The hot issue


at this meeting is whether scientists should even be allowed to


do research to modify the genes of embryos or is it a step too far


that might lead to designer humans? They are giants that once roamed


the planet. Now more than 100 rare footprints


left by huge plant-eating dinosaurs Researchers at Edinburgh University


discovered the tracks, which were made by sauropods more


than 170 million years ago. Our science reporter Victoria Gill


has been to Skye. It's a landscape that legend


has it was shaped by giants. And


while there are many myths inspired by the drama of this island,


its coast has been hiding evidence A huge dinosaur


and I guess it would have compacted It was on this bay that


palaeontologist at the end of a day's fossil hunting noticed


an unusual pattern in the rocks. As the light hit it


at the right angle, it just kind of clicked that something was odd


about these things. And we'd seen things like this


before because we study dinosaurs. So we realised that these


were dinosaur footprints. What looks like four rock pools


in front of me are actually So each one


of these circular indentations was Those are those trunk legged,


longnecked giants and they used to What researchers stumbled


on here is the most extensive A trackway of more than 100


footprints left behind by some These are a record of real dinosaurs


living and moving around right here. And so we can tell a lot


about how big they were, about how they moved, about what


environments they lived in. At the museum in Staffin,


just a few miles from the site, Dougie Ross has curated a collection


of Skye's Jurassic treasures. He's been exploring and fossil


hunting here most of his life. But even he didn't expect


a discovery of this scale. At most I expected them to find


a few fragmentary bits So when they first announced that I


thought, oh, It's the pattern


of prints that allows experts to But


a few ancient feet have even formed The experts are now calling this


Scotland's Dinosaur Island and as they continue to race


the tides to work here, they expect its rocks to reveal more


of their prehistoric secrets. Victoria Gill,


BBC News, on the Isle of Skye. And you can find out more


about the Isle of Skye's Jurassic secrets in a special multimedia


feature on the BBC Earth website. In direct combat in Syria and Iraq


will be escalated. If you want to get in touch with me,


or some of my colleagues, you can


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