11/12/2015 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Tim Willcox.


Has Russia changed its policy over Syria?


President Putin says Russian forces are providing air support


and weapons to a major Syrian opposition group fighting President


TRANSLATION: Lee at -- activities assist in uniting the efforts of


government troops and the Free Syrian Army.


A guesthouse close to the Spanish Embassy comes under attack.


Some of the gunmen are still on the loose.


Also coming up: Do you really need all the heavy equipment


Are we on the verge of a momentous climate deal? The deadline is


looming and France says there has never been a better time.


all the heavy equipment to make a film?


We look at how movie-making is going mobile.


There's confusion in world capitals today about whether Russia


President Vladimir Putin has told Russia's top defence military


supports Syria's opposition Free Syrian Army


providing it with arms and ammunition.


At face value his statement appears to be first time Moscow has said


Let's hear some of what Mr Putin had to say.


TRANSLATION: The activities of our aviation group assist in United the


efforts of government troops and Free Syrian Army. Currently several


of its units numbering over 5000 troops as well as regular forces are


engaged in offensive actions against terrorists in several provinces.


Besides support from the air as Wallace for the Syrian army, we


assist them with weapons, ammunition, and provide additional


support. The BBC's Richard Galpin


joins us from Moscow. It is interesting. We have been


speaking to Mr Putin's spokesman, and he says, yes, it is correct


about the Russian air force is providing air cover to some units of


the Free Syrian Army, these 5000 men he was talking about there, saying


they are fighting together alongside the Syrian army, therefore they are


getting help from the Russian air force. But he has flatly denied that


Mr Putin said the Russians were also supplying arms and ammunition to the


Free Syrian Army. He says this is completely wrong interpretation of


what Mr Putin said. One of my colleagues here persistently asked


him, this is what he is saying in Russian, and he is saying, no, you


misunderstand, this is not what Mr Putin said, he was only talking


about providing arms and ammunition to the Syrian army.


Maria Lipman joins us from Moscow - she's a political analyst


What do you understand Mr Putin said? If you read his words, I think


there is no ambiguity. He mentioned both the Syrian government forces


and the Free Syrian Army, which is in opposition to President Assad,


and he said the Russian aviation group provides assistance to both,


and helps them unite the effort. Now, what will you -- Europe author


found out is also posted by Russian news agencies, and that is that the


representative said this is not about assistance to both, the


Russian aviation group assists government forces and actually


provides air cover for all forces fighting terrorism. This is a very


general statement which is different from what President Putin said, and


his press man also added, don't hold onto closely to the phrasing, maybe


suggesting it was a slip of the tongue, maybe suggesting Putin


didn't mean what he said. In any case we have here a very clear


variant is on what President Putin said and the way his press man


interpreted his words. So what do you think he meant to say by doing


this, if it wasn't a slip of the tongue? Is it trying to narrow the


differences with the West, what is your reading? I really don't know


what to say. I think we need the sources on the other end to be able


to say whether there is indeed be assistance, that would be the best


clarification. We cannot read in more than what he said. Since the


operation is a military one and the Russian system in general is not


transparent to say the least, this especially applies to military


operations, there is no way to find out more than what Putin's press man


said unless we have information from someone on the ground, the Syrian


forces. It is interesting, earlier he said Russian aid had helped


repair a tank factory in Homs, which would appear to be helping President


Assad in the fight against the terrorist groups which President


Putin said he was originally joining this conflict to try to smash. Well,


this is indeed... If this were the case, if Russia indeed were helping,


as President Putin said, with air cover, weapons and supplies, the


forces in opposition to President Assad, and at the same time helping


President Assad himself, this would really be bizarre, and this would be


a change of policy. But I would really be careful not to interpret


it further. I think what we have is a contradiction now between Putin's


words and his press man's words, and I think we should wait for further


clarification. Thank you very much. The Afghan Taliban claim


they carried out a car bomb attack in an affluent embassy


district of Kabul. A Taliban spokesman said the blast -


during rush hour - was a suicide attack, and that heavy


fighting was continuing. The Afghan police said at least


seven insurgents fired guns As you can see the embassy is close


to ISAF's headquarters in Kabul, Some reports suggested


the Spanish Embassy itself had come under attack, but this


has now been denied by Spain's Prime


Minister Mariano Rajoy. Bilal Sawary is a freelance


journalist in Kabul, What is the latest, are the gunmen


on fighters still at large? I just spoke to the deputy chairman who


said the priority for the Afghan special forces is to evacuate some


of the homes where families and civilians live, and he said Afghan


special forces were moving, and the priority was to kill the attackers


but at the same time protect lives. The electricity to the area has been


cut off. Afghan elite forces are there, these are the forces that


know how to fight these attacks, and Afghan snipers from those units are


now saying they have killed at least two of the attackers. The problem is


that it is the area, the homes around those areas, that are making


it really difficult. The Afghan forces cannot move quickly because


of them. As we speak we can still hear gunfire from time to time, so


that means the attackers are armed and they are still there. This is a


heavily fortified area, understandably. How is it that the


Caliban can penetrate somewhere like this? -- the Taliban. This is not


far from the homes of senior Afghan officials, so questions will be


asked by ordinary Afghans, why is it that there are these security and


intelligence failures and these sort of attacks could take place. We


understand that the Spanish Embassy had concerns about an attacks like


this a week ago. It is nothing uncommon these days in Kabul to get


the security warnings. The US embassy has several times publicly


warned of attacks like this. But the challenge for the Afghan government


now is to justify a peace process with the Taliban... -- with the


Taliban, and I think the question will be asked, what are they doing


to help the peace process, do they talk to the group is launching these


vicious attacks? Only the day before yesterday in Kandahar, there was a


very deadly attack in which Afghan officers and families were killed,


including children. This will put the national unity government under


tremendous pressure. Bilal Sawary, thank you very much. Let's catch up


with some other stories. A lake in California


is being searched by police investigating last week's


shootings in San Bernardino, Divers from the FBI have begun


searching waters just over 3 kilometers from the site


of the killings. It's thought the two suspects


visited the area on the day Michel Platini has failed


to get his temporary ban from all football


related activity lifted. The Frenchmen lodged an appeal


against the 90 day ban with the court of


arbitration for Sport. But it upheld the ban although it's


asked FIFA to conclude an investigation into corruption


allegations quickly. An update now on those three jumbo


jets that authorities in Malaysia claimed had been abandoned


for more than a year An air freight company,


Swift Air Cargo, says it's the owner and it bought the


Boeing 747s in June. The airport had taken out newspaper


adverts threatening to sell them. The firm says it was stunned to see


the notices because it had been talking to the airport


about recovering the planes . Negotiators at the international


climate change conference in Paris are confident of reaching a deal


to combat global warming. The meeting has been


extended until tomorrow, when France says it will


present a draft agreement. Let's get the latest


from our Science Editor David Let's take stock of what has been


agreed here and what hasn't, because it's quite difficult to pick your


way through this. What will governments have settled on is a


target to try to limit global warming to two degrees or possibly


1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels. Some see that as enormously


significant, providing a goal for the world to work towards in coming


decades. But what haven't they agreed? Currently there are no


targets for reducing greenhouse gases that are blamed for global


warming. Some countryside unless you have detailed plans and


programmes with deadlines for how you will reduce those gases, you


will never head off the worst effects of climate change. Other


countries don't want to be hemmed in by those restrictions. Then there is


the difficult question of who should pay to help the poorest countries


cope with the impact of global warming. The poorest countries are


said to be most vulnerable to those impacts, whether through rising


temperatures or increased rain. Developed countries like Britain


have tended to say, we will pay the cost of that, but they are also


looking at rigid countries like Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Qatar to


step up the plate, and that has yet to be settled. The talks will go


right through the night in France. France's far-right party


the Front National is battling for control of several


of the country's regions, ahead of the second round of


Regional Elections on Sunday. The FN is leading in six out


of France's 13 regions after the first round of voting last


week, but polls are now suggesting that the centre-right opposition


is gaining ground ahead One of the most fiercely contested


seats is in the region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie,


where FN leader Marine Le Pen won Our Paris Correspondent


Lucy Williamson reports. Habits in France's northern villages


don't easily change. At the fish market here they still shuck the


scallops by hand, fresh from the sea that morning. But below the surface


there are fast flowing changes taking place here. France's far


right Front National one almost 50% of the vote here last weekend. It


used to be the Socialist party that won elections here. It is because of


the lack of jobs, Philippe tells me, but I think it is very dangerous.


The fishing boat is no longer drop their catch here. The river is now


too silted up. A bit like the economy here, says this local man.


He is considering voting for the FN on Sunday for the first time because


things haven't changed enough. The Front National has managed to lance


the boil. It is difficult to move the French. I think it is a


situation we are in now. Last weekend Marine Le Pen drew 41% of


votes across the region. In Calais, half went to her. As well as jobs,


she says what voters want is an end to immigration and policies that put


French people first. This region used to be a socialist stronghold.


Its work is rooted in the industry is of northern France. Now many


workers say they feel economically insecure and politically physical,


and into that sea has walked Marine Le Pen with their invitation to


those she calls France's forgotten ones. In Calais's Christmas markets


this week plenty say she has got it right. Why not the FN? We want to be


French, and we want France to become France. But a tactical withdrawal by


the Socialist candidate here has led to a boost in support for the FN's


main rival. He to a boost in support for the FN's


gets votes by pointing to problems, like Calais's migrants. Something he


already has a solution for. TRANSLATION: I will push the border


back to Dover if you don't tackle the issue of migrant work in the UK.


The border is in Dover, not Calais, and we are doing your job for you.


The vote on Sunday is expected to be close, and hanging over it, a second


question: Who will win the bigger prize on offer 18 months from now


and the President of France? Saudi Arabia is marking a political


milestone this weekend with a round of municipal elections


which for the first time will see women voting and hundreds of women


standing as candidates. more than more than 900 of them,


along with some 6,000 men vying for seats on almost


300 local councils. But how big a breakthrough


for gender equality The view from the top in Riyadh, a


sprawling city under tight control. If change comes here, it is that a


gradual pace. But women, who faced many restrictions, are now getting a


glimpse of democracy. TV adverts are reaching out to


Saudis, calling on them to cast their ballots for local councils.


For the first time, women can vote and be candidates. Salman has been


running voter education classes with the Saudi nonprofit organisation.


She was the first woman in Riyadh to put her name down to vote. The


voting centre was a public school, and we went in and the ladies


waiting for us to register were excited to see us coming, we were


the first to walk in, so just going through the process, writing the


paper, filling out the information, was just a wonderful feeling. I knew


this was a day in history. The election may make history, but any


woman going to vote will not be able to drive herself there. When this


woman took the wheel here in the past, she was jailed for 73 days.


The young activist was disqualified from running in the election. She


challenged that and is back in the race, but, she says, there is a hard


road ahead for Saudi women. How long do you think it will take


for women here to achieve legal -- equal rights, can be achieved? Equal


rights? The entire package? Oh, my God, it will take for ever! I went


be alive to witness it, but to win step-by-step, like this one, and


hopefully the drive and one, it will take a lot of time, and they have to


come step-by-step. Some hearsay there is less to be election than


meets the eye, including one of the leading campaigners for women's


writes. They did not register my name as a voter at or a candidate


because I am boycotting the election -- I did not register. I have my


reasons. I am at human rights activist, and I think before women


go to elect, they should be a full citizens. Do you think this election


is just window dressing. Kind of. And the windowdressing may not


distract from concerns about Saudi justice. While some here are


counting down to the election, others may be counting down to their


execution. The human rights group and Amnesty International says more


than 150 people have been put to death here this year, the highest


recorded figure in two decades. And there are fears that another 50


prisoners could be executed soon. Saudi Arabia says its judiciary is


independent and it rejects any interference in its internal


affairs. But the new monarch, King Salaman, knows his kingdom is under


increasing scrutiny. The American space agency NASA


says three astronauts from the International Space Station


have returned safely to Earth. Russia and Japan, landed


in their Soyuz capsule in the snowy steppes


of Kazakhstan. Three new crew members will join


the station next Tuesday. Well, those three new


astronauts will blast off from Baikonur Cosmodrome


and rendezvous with the ISS more The launch site in Kazakhstan has


been in use for more than 50 years, allowing crews plenty of time


to develop a few kooky rituals and customs before heading


into space, as Sarah This is Yuri Gagarin,


the first-ever man in space. Because his flight in 1961


was so successful, crews ever since have copied many of the things


he did in the hope it Before the crew go up


in a real one of these, a Soyuz space capsule,


there is a whole series of rituals they have to go through


and Tim Peake is no exception. The first of them has


already been done. The crew have planted


a tree here in Baikonur. Yuri Gagarin did it first,


and there is now a whole alley of trees as a living memory


to all of those who have been up There is another way


that the astronauts leave their mark, as Tim Peake himself


told me before he came down here. On our final morning,


once we have prepared for our space flight,


we will be in our flight costumes We were each allocated a door


in the Cosmodrome cosmonaut hotel, so we will each sign a door


to the cosmonaut hotel We have not long to


go until launch day. The astornauts are in quarantine


to make sure they stay healthy for the flight, but


the traditions go on. On their last nervous night


here on earth before liftoff, they will sit down to


a classic of Soviet cinema. On launch day itself,


it's on with the spacesuit and they emerge to


a Soviet rock song. Before they climb into the space


craft, it is time for one Gagarin requested a pee stop


on the way to his first flight, so from that moment onwards


all the astronauts stop, we get off the bus,


we undo our suits, we have a pee # I'm a shooting star leaping


through the sky. # Like a tiger, defying the laws


of gravity...# was preparing for launch,


he asked for music to be pumped into his headphones


to calm his nerves ahead He got Russian love


songs played to him. Tim Peake has been able


to choose his own music and he has selected three tracks to be played


as he prepares to make # I want to make a supersonic


man out of you.# We all get a little


carried away sometimes, but for Ukraine's Prime Minister it


happened quite literally, was defending his embattled


government's record when a supporter of President Poroshenko


presented him sarcastically with a bunch of roses,


then picked him up and pulled him The incident exposed deep divisions


in Kiev's pre-western Ukraine's Western backers have


warned that time is running out for it to make good on its promises


to root out endemic It's becoming clear that


all the heavy equipment we usually see on a film set might soon be


a thing of the past. We managed to catch up with a group


of young Kenyans who have filmed a movie about life in


the slums on a mobile phone. The film features actors


who are little known in Kenya, the script is in slang called


sheng and the soundtrack I was born and raised in the slums.


They have also shared the same thing in the ghetto. She is the young


teenager who lives in the ghetto and she gets pregnant. They are talking


a lot about empowering and how to mould yourself at an earlier age. If


I had seen the movie earlier I would have changed my life, maybe not got


pregnant at a young age. RAPPING it's a phone, the simplest


thing everyone has, it has a camera, just shoot what you have, building,


whatever, it has an impact on someonelife.


It doesn't have too inspired 10 million people as long as it


inspires one You're watching world News today. An


update on the attack in the embassy district of the Afghan capital


Kabul. The Spanish Minister Mariano Rajoy says a Spanish policeman has


died in that attack, an attack on a guesthouse near the Madrid embassy.


It is thought some attackers may still be hiding in the area. We will


bring you all the updates on that. That's it from me for the time


being. Coming up next, the weather. But from me, Tim Willcox, goodbye.


Hello. Some potentially disruptive weather through Saturday because of


the next weather system pushing in on the -- of the


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