01/12/2015 World News Today


01/12/2015

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This is BBC World News Today with me Karin Giannone.

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

:00:00.:00:08.

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

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

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free hostages, gather intelligence and capture Isil leaders.

:00:32.:00:37.

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

:00:38.:00:39.

Scientists debate the boundaries of manipulating our DNA

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which could treat or even cure inherited genetic conditions.

:00:47.:00:50.

And the rock pools that form a prehistoric path.

:00:51.:00:53.

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

:00:54.:00:59.

Each one of these circular indentations was

:01:00.:01:01.

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

:01:02.:01:06.

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

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

:01:28.:01:30.

Special operations personnel will be sent to Syria to support local

:01:31.:01:40.

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

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deployed to conduct raids and gather intelligence.

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

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back military action against Islamic State in Syria.

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They'll vote on the issue on Wednesday.

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

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Ash Carter told a congressional committee in Washington earlier.

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In full coordination with the government of Iraq we are deploying

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a specialised expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi

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

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

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free hostages, gather intelligence and capture Isil leaders.

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This force will also be in a position to conduct unilateral

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That creates a virtuous cycle of better intelligence

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which generates more targets, more raids, more momentum.

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

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this announcement by the US Defence Secretary is.

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

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against Islamic State. There has been pressure on the administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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of some things that are already doing and an acknowledgement that

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

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

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Some Americans are worried and this is mission creep.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UK air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria.

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But could more air strikes make a difference in Syria?

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

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Our Diplomatic Correspondent James Robbins looks at the nature

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

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

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

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

:05:42.:05:46.

them. They can prevent them spreading further in Syria and

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relieve the pressure on opposition forces which are being attacked by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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supporting President Assad. Moscow and Washington are still at long

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raids and again today President Obama urged Moscow to follow in

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

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

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

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

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killing many of their leaders although there are fears civilians

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

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

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

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coherent strategy for Syria? It depends on settling political

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

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

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

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leaving the tough negotiations for a deal to reduce carbon emissions

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Before he left the conference, President Obama met with leaders

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from island nations hit hard by rising sea levels,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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individuals. One of those places on the front

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

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Vanuatu from where our correspondent Matthew Price has been

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looking at how important setting carbon emission targets are to the

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islanders. If you look at the seashore behind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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they believe those numbers are crucial and they will make the

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crucial difference between places like this surviving or having to

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have huge funds injected in them in order to adapt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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fists swinging at the beginning of negotiations to try to influence

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them. For more on this our Science

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Correspondent, Rebecca Morelle is at What happens next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A bomb has exploded near a metro station in the Turkish

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A local mayor said five people were injured.

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The explosion happened on a highway overpass at the height

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

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around ?14 million worth of jewellery from a safety deposit

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

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They were caught on one of the few working cameras covering

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

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Cuba has reinstated restrictions on doctors leaving the island to work

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

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

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travel restrictions eased two years ago.

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Hundreds of Moroccans, Algerians and Pakistanis continue to

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protest at the border between Greece and Macedonia.

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

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after Macedonian authorities began to filter migrants based

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Our Europe Correspondent Chris Morris has this update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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big security presence on the Macedonian side, and aid agencies

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are worried that thousands more people are thought to be travelling

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

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stranded here as winter begins to set in.

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The US President has called on Turkey and Russia to move

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beyond their diplomatic spat and focus on the threat

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

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

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Barack Obama met the Turkish President on the sidelines of the

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

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

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I spoke to Dr Igor Sutyagin and asked him

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if he thought Vladimir Putin genuinely believes his accusation

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

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

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

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

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

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to Iraq, which was supported by Russian General staff repeatedly

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

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

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

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angry allegations at Turkey and its alleged collusion with Isis.

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Revenge? It is necessary to humiliate somebody who humiliated

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

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

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

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

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regarding Islamic State? But also such close economic and business

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

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

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carefully tailored. It was specifically designed to hit Turkey

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

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

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

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

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rest was Russian exports. An investigation into the crash

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

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

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response to a technical fault. All 162 people

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

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to resolve the fault Gene editing -

:19:17.:19:18.

the ability to manipulate our DNA - is set to transform

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

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genetic conditions could be treated, Scientists from all over

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the world have gathered in Washington to discuss the potential

:19:33.:19:35.

of gene editing and whether limits From there,

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our Medical Correspondent Fergus Just a day old with a lifetime

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of opportunity ahead. This baby has been born

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into a world set to be transformed The ability to precisely

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manipulate our DNA. How we grow and develop is shaped

:19:54.:20:02.

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

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for how our bodies work. Written in a chemical code

:20:06.:20:12.

of just four letters. Key sections are called genes,

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a spelling mistake can trigger disease,

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

:20:20.:20:22.

such errors by editing the code. Think of gene editing

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

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searching for the error. Then it uses molecular scissors to

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

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can repair the code by inserting These techniques raise

:20:40.:20:44.

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

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

:20:51.:20:54.

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

:20:55.:21:00.

gave her gene edited immune cells. The technology could eventually

:21:01.:21:07.

be used to treat scores of A faulty gene means her

:21:08.:21:11.

skin constantly blisters. It is incredibly painful

:21:12.:21:17.

and can prove fatal. This technology holds

:21:18.:21:22.

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

:21:23.:21:28.

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

:21:29.:21:32.

Emmanuelle Charpentier and The scientists who invented

:21:33.:21:42.

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

:21:43.:21:50.

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

:21:51.:21:52.

using their technology. So what is the potential

:21:53.:21:54.

of gene editing? In the future,

:21:55.:22:01.

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

:22:02.:22:04.

used not only to understand disease, So not only understand

:22:05.:22:07.

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

:22:08.:22:11.

disease, we have now That could help patients with a

:22:12.:22:16.

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

:22:17.:22:25.

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

:22:26.:22:28.

in embryos then any DNA changes The hot issue

:22:29.:22:40.

at this meeting is whether scientists should even be allowed to

:22:41.:22:45.

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

:22:46.:22:48.

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

:22:49.:22:55.

the planet. Now more than 100 rare footprints

:22:56.:23:02.

left by huge plant-eating dinosaurs Researchers at Edinburgh University

:23:03.:23:06.

discovered the tracks, which were made by sauropods more

:23:07.:23:11.

than 170 million years ago. Our science reporter Victoria Gill

:23:12.:23:17.

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

:23:18.:23:22.

has it was shaped by giants. And

:23:23.:23:25.

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

:23:26.:23:27.

its coast has been hiding evidence A huge dinosaur

:23:28.:23:31.

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

:23:32.:23:38.

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

:23:39.:23:42.

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

:23:43.:23:45.

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

:23:46.:23:48.

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

:23:49.:23:50.

before because we study dinosaurs. So we realised that these

:23:51.:23:54.

were dinosaur footprints. What looks like four rock pools

:23:55.:23:57.

in front of me are actually So each one

:23:58.:24:00.

of these circular indentations was Those are those trunk legged,

:24:01.:24:06.

longnecked giants and they used to What researchers stumbled

:24:07.:24:11.

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

:24:12.:24:17.

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

:24:18.:24:22.

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

:24:23.:24:29.

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

:24:30.:24:32.

environments they lived in. At the museum in Staffin,

:24:33.:24:35.

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

:24:36.:24:43.

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

:24:44.:24:47.

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

:24:48.:24:50.

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

:24:51.:24:53.

a few fragmentary bits So when they first announced that I

:24:54.:24:57.

thought, oh, It's the pattern

:24:58.:25:02.

of prints that allows experts to But

:25:03.:25:12.

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

:25:13.:25:20.

Scotland's Dinosaur Island and as they continue to race

:25:21.:25:24.

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

:25:25.:25:26.

of their prehistoric secrets. Victoria Gill,

:25:27.:25:29.

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

:25:30.:25:35.

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

:25:36.:25:38.

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

:25:39.:25:41.

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

:25:42.:25:55.

or some of my colleagues, you can

:25:56.:26:00.

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