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This is BBC World News Today with me Philippa Thomas.
The American President takes on the nation's powerful gun lobby.
In the past hour, an emotional Barack Obama unveils new gun control
measures and asks Americans to support them.
Every time I think about those kids, it gets me
Alarm in Germany at reports of gangs sexually assaulting around 90 women
in several cities on New Year's Eve.
A bionic eye is offering hope that vision can be
Each year, more than 30,000 American lives are cut short by guns -
Those statistics come from President Obama,
who has demanded that Congress "stand up" to America's
Here's what Mr Obama is proposing to introduce by executive order.
Mr Obama said he would close a loophole where background checks
were not carried out on people buying guns over the internet
The President said background checks would be expanded and linked
to mental health and criminal records.
And he announced that $500 million would be made available to provide
better access to mental health care.
Our unalienable right to life and liberty and the pursuit
And from first graders in Newtown. at Columbine.
And from every family who never imagined
that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet
Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.
And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago
The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives,
Paul Ryan, says the President's actions will be challenged
Mr Ryan said Mr Obama has never respected the right to safe
and legal gun ownership that the country has valued
Our North America Editor was at the news conference. If you cast your
mind back to when you interviewed the president six months ago he said
his inability to do anything on gun control was the greatest frustration
of his presidency. We saw today, frustration, anger, impatience. As
you rightly point out, emotion as well. He visibly teared up and had
to wipe tears away as he remembered the children who lost their lives.
But is not going to affect the people who arranged against him in
this debate? -- is that? Almost certainly not. Opponents say it is
unworkable what he is suggesting. On philosophical grounds they say the
president is meddling with the second Amendment right to bear arms.
Even though if you can be called later date at the proposals, they
are comparatively modest. Well, it is no surprise that the NRA is
fiercely opposed. A statement from Chris Cox,
the executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative
Action which says: They say the proposals are ripe for
abuse from the Government and the American people don't need any more
condescending lectures... Sarah Trumble is Senior Policy
Counsel at Third Way, a US think tank which supports
tighter gun controls, Sarah, I know you are sitting in the
East room watching President Obama delivered that statement. It is a
cause that is intellectually and emotionally very dear to him.
Absolutely. It was an incredibly emotional experience. Also
infuriating that we still need to be dropping about this in 2016. And yet
as we have just heard from the NRA, it says it speaks for many thousands
of Americans who hold gun rights dear. They see it as part of their
very American nature. There is nothing inherently opposed to gun
rights in any of these executive actions today. In fact the president
was quite clear that he supports the second Amendment. All that these
laws do and all these executive actions will do is ensure that
people are following the laws we already have. Making sure that guns
stay out of the wrong hands. Who is forming in behind President Obama in
terms of putting money into this fight because the NRA as we know has
a huge amount of it? The NRA has always been rich and they are loud
and powerful. But like the president said today, they may Congress but
they don't own the American people. In recent years we see the American
public rising up, a big groundswell in support of people want stronger
gun laws led by people like Gabby differs who was shot in the head and
almost killed right by Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New
York City who has put in millions of dollars to this fight. Isn't this a
particularly different year in which they have this fight, because we are
limbering up for the present campaign, if anything, politics gets
more partisan, not less? That is true but the president waited as
long as he could for Congress to act and they failed to do so. The
American public are demanding action and of Congress won't do it, the
president will. Paul Ryan the Speaker of the president of the
House of Representatives has already said there will be legal action and
we are hearing that from primarily republican sources, are you
convinced this battle can be one? Yes. The president is a
constitutional lawyer. He specialises in this. The smartest
lawyers in the country work for him and I am confident that these are
constitutional. He did not write new legislation, he is only enforcing
laws that exist. Are you confident that enough Americans care enough
about this when you have an election, generally issues like the
economy come to the fore, gun control is often not pushed by the
candidates. We used to worry that after a mass shooting there would be
lots of public sympathy and after a few weeks attention would win, but
in 2015 we had on average more than one mass shooting every day, there
is no time for attention to win and attention is -- Americans are
scared. Thank you for speaking with us.
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has voiced outrage
over the sexual assaults and thefts that male gangs inflicted on women
This evening a crowd of around 150 most female protesters gathered
by the cathedral in Cologne to denounce the assaults.
Police suspect that organised groups of young drunk men, perhaps as many
as 1000 carried out the attacks. They said the men appeared to be of
Arab or North African appearance. Damian McGuinness is in Berlin and I
asked him about the reaction. It was chaotic. Thousands of people in
front of the cathedral in Cologne. Usually New Year's Eve is chaotic
anyway with fireworks being set off in all directions, but this was
particularly disturbing with the sexual assaults. What has really got
Germany talking is the comment by police officers that the men
appeared to be, the attackers appeared to be of north African or
Arabic appearance. There is no evidence that the perpetrators were
actually migrants or refugees or seekers themselves, but anti-migrant
far right groups have been saying that this proves that Germany has
been taking in too many migrants and refugees because of course, in 2015,
more than a million refugees and asylum seekers and migrants came to
Germany just in 2015 alone. So this event has sparked outrage. The
assaults on women, but also a lot of discussion amongst people in Cologne
themselves. The problem is of course where did 1000 people suddenly come
from. They said there was North Africans who were not asylum seekers
but where did they come from all of its open in such a large amount, you
do ask yourself that. TRANSLATION: I think you should just be prepared.
You should be careful and always wait for the help of the police.
TRANSLATION: I would advise young people not to get so drunk that you
don't know what is going on, and to perhaps not be alone, and to call
for help as quickly as possible. And especially at large events, there
are always enough people around who hopefully are not drunk. It is worse
in areas where there is nobody and where you can't get help. The next
challenge that Germany faces is the Carnival season at the beginning of
February and particularly in Cologne, where the whole city shuts
down for street parties. Officials have to find out what happened on
New Year's Eve and make sure it doesn't happen again.
The Turkish authorities say the bodies of at least 34 migrants
who were trying to reach Greece have now been discovered on beaches
The deaths occurred after yet another boat carrying migrants
capsized en route to the Greek island of Lesbos.
It isn't clear how many boats have sunk in rough seas, but the Turkish
authorities said some of the bodies had been washed up on a beach
while others were recovered from the water.
Several children were found among the dead, fully clothed and wearing
Now a look at some of the day's other news.
American defence officials say at least one member of the US
Special Forces has been killed during operations against Taliban
The officials said two other US servicemen were wounded in fighting
near the town of Marjah in Helmand Province.
Turkish authorities have freed an Iraqi translator four months
after he was detained in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir,
The translator, Mohammed Rasool, still faces trial, while the two
journalists were freed in September and deported.
All three had been accused of helping militant groups.
Here in Britain, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, has confirmed that
government ministers will be able to campaign for either side
in a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.
Mr Cameron has made clear he will argue for the UK's continued
membership if he secures reforms from Brussels.
Now, the latest video from the so-called Islamic State group.
In the footage, five men are murdered -
The relative of one of the victims has been speaking to the BBC
about the killings - and what it's done to the families.
He's been talking to our world affairs correspondent,
The so-called Islamic State captured these five men. It forced them to
confess to espionage. Then it killed them. The men, one of them was 25, a
31-year-old, an 18-year-old, a 30-year-old, and a 40-year-old. At a
secret location, in Turkey, we met one of them. He is a democracy
activist. He says his brother, in Isis controlled Syria, was just a
normal person. My brother is normal, just like all the people inside my
city. Has shown he fixed the air conditioning, electric, things in
the homes, he lived a normal life. He hasn't slept since he learned of
his brother's death. How do you understand what happened? Until now,
I don't really accept the reality, of it. Up until now, I didn't
accept, just this moment, it came to me, my brother is... Sorry.
I was saying, my brother was still alive, but after that, back to
reality, Isis executed him and he is innocent. At astonishing risk,
activists inside wrecker smuggle out footage of life inside the Isis
ruled city. Where conmen are in charge and it is safest simply to
keep quiet. -- gunmen. What is it life now for people in Riker? It is
held. -- hell. Isis arrest people without any charge just like that.
The five men who were forced to make confessions had no chance to give
their defence and tell their own stories. They paid with their lives.
The masked front man in that IS video is thought to be
The man suspected of being in the video is Siddhartha Dhar,
who disappeared after being granted bail at a UK court
Now the British Home Office is facing serious questions over how
an extremist suspect could flee the country while
Commemorations have been taking place in France in memory of the 17
people who died in Islamist attacks last January. President Hollande
unveiled a plaque outside the offices of Charlie Hebdo where most
of the victims were shot dead. He also took place in ceremonies at a
site where policemen were killed and a kosher supermarket where officers
died. The row between Iran
and Saudi Arabia over the Gulf kingdom's execution of dissident
Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr and the subsequent attack
on Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran continues to expose fault
lines in the region. Bahrain has now suspended
flights to and from Iran, Kuwait has recalled its ambassador
from Tehran - and Gulf foreign ministers are preparing to meet
in Riyadh on Saturday to take The BBC Arabic security
correspondent Murad Shishani says tension between Riyadh
and Tehran is nothing new. This is the iceberg of the sectarian
tensions ongoing for a decade now, coming from the Middle East.
Secondly, this is politicised, after a proxy war was ongoing in Syria and
Iraq. Between both parties, supporting militant groups on the
ground, either diplomatically lobbying against each other in
various places, now coming to a clear political tension. Whether it
will escalate or not, we don't know yet, all indications both parties
don't want to go further than this. However they want to play the same
rule by supporting their own tools in different lists. That is the
situation we can see, from the Middle East. Of course, that has
impact on real lives on the ground outside diplomatic matters. If you
look at the Yemen or Syria, you need reconciliation. Yes, you need them,
but Yemen and Syria specifically which had had some talks, supposedly
to be held soon, this will be definitely affecting that. All
escalations in my opinion will go to these places, where there will be no
confrontation between both parties but they will be playing supporting
the proxies in different places. We have just had a wire comes through
from Reuters agency saying the Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister says recent
tensions won't affect political negotiations on Syria, I suppose the
answer to that is, you hope they won't. Exactly, you can hope that,
but it's seems if both parties have big influence in Syria. They have
their own allies. Both are influential on the ground, let alone
jihadist, who are striking chords on their own, but there are other
influential guys, the jihadis local groups, they are not adopting the
global ideologies. There are also Shia militants who are supported in
Iraq and Syria and these are I think the main factors which will be
effective at keeping the conflict ongoing. In Australia, fire
destroyed a whole house after a hover board level to charge set the
place alight. The blaze ripped through the entire property but the
family escaped unharmed. This was in Melbourne. It was a gift for
Christmas, the hover board, it was plugged into the wall in the
daughter's bedroom and it's just ignited. You can see the damage it
caused to the house, the whole house has had to be demolished. Apparently
you can get hover boards in Australia but as Doctor as 150 US
dollars, as in many countries, they have been become in vogue and this
went badly wrong. In the US, a three-year-old girl who was strapped
into a car when it was stolen was found unharmed. A frantic search was
launched after a thief drove off leaving her mother just feet away
filling up a water jug. The car was found abandoned without the child
and it wasn't until four hours later that she was discovered shivering
and alone at 1am in a car park. A police officer's body camera video
shows him chopping up this patrol car and scooping her up. This
happened in Albuquerque in New Mexico. Thank goodness for that
officer. A new implant or "bionic eye" has
helped a blind woman It's hoped it could eventually help
restore the sight of thousands A computer chip - costing around
$75,000 - is implanted over the retina and sends light signals
to the brain. If trials are positive,
surgeons hope it could be available on the National Health Service
in as little as two years. Our medical correspondent
Fergus Walsh has the story. Since the age of five, Rhian Lewis
has been gradually losing her sight as a result of a rare condition,
retinitis pigmentosa. It is a bit like if someone has put the dimmer
switch off ever so gradually. It has been maybe 80 years since I had any
idea what my children looked like. I certainly don't know how I have
aged. But now surgeons at Oxford I Hospital are to fit a German-made
implant in a bid to return -- restore some of her vision. The tiny
chip is fitted over the retina's like processing cells which have
stopped working. Just three by three millimetres. The implant has 1600
light-sensitive pixels, when like it's the implant it sends electronic
signals to the optic nerve and onto the brain, which processes them. She
has to learn how to interpret those messages. This control box allows
her to adjust the contrast and frequency of the pixelated images.
But can she now tell the time? Three.
Oh, it is. Oh, my God! Well done. I got it. It is very nice to compare
that to TV pictures. An outline of things moving and coming and going.
Compared to what we see, we consider that to be low-level vision. Someone
who is completely blind, the ability is actually life changing. She still
needs help getting around, but she says having the implant is pure joy.
You're not completely helpless, you can actually find the edge of a
wall. I really can't put it into words. I just felt elated. Switch
the machine on. It comes on completely instantly. I will move my
head around there, the flashing his starting. Mac in 2012I met Robin
Miller, one of the first patients to receive an earlier version of the
implant. Those devices lasted up to 18 months. It is hoped, this new
implant, could stay in place for up to five years.
Fifa's ethics committee has recommended imposing a nine-year ban
on the governing body's suspended secretary general,
Mr Valcke was originally suspended for 90 days,
but that has now been extended by a further 45 days.
A statement from the committee also recommended that Mr Valcke serve
a nine-year ban and pay a fine of $67,000 for alleged "misuse
of expenses and other infringements of FIFA's rules and regulations."
Former West Indies captain Chris Gayle has been fined $7,000
by the Australian team he represents for flirting inappropriately
with a female journalist during a live television interview.
Gayle then went on to tell the journalist not to "blush."The
cricketer has since apologised and said he'd been joking.
There wasn't anything meant to be disrespectful or offending to her.
She felt that way, then I am really sorry for that. There wasn't any
harm meant in that particular way, to harm any particular person like
that. It was a simple joke. The game was going on. Entertainment, you
know, things get out of proportion. These things happen. There wasn't
any harm done, and I will believe it at that and I am sorry for that, and
I will just have to move on. The female commentator journalist
interviewing Chris Gayle was Mel Here's what she had to say
about the incident. It was more that it was just
unexpected. Of course you don't expect to get that sort of answer. A
little bit disappointing, because that just doesn't happen normally. I
don't want to be the subject of such conversations, I like just going
about their business and doing my job. It is a good thing that people
are talking. We always want equality and I have always felt in my career,
nothing but respect. He apologised and I accept that and we move on.
You don't even have to be a fan of cricket to appreciate the amazing
feat a 15-year-old Indian schoolboy has achieved.
He's become the first batsman in the game's history to complete
Our South Asia Correspondent Justin Rowlatt reports.
15-year-old Pranav Dhanawade didn't expect to break any records today.
He says he just played what he calls his natural game, attacking from the
word go, and attack he did. He smashed 59 sixs, 127 fours. 6.5
hours later, he had run up a total of ten centuries. 1009 and runs not
out, and all in a single innings. Son of an auto rickshaw driver was
powered into cricketing history, shattering the previous record of
628 runs that had stood for 116 years. To play a big innings. After
that, I scored 100, 200, 300, I want to play for India. Mumbai 's school
cricket is seriously competitive, unlike my game. It has produced
legendary cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, widely reckoned to have
been deep test batsmen of all time. Today he tweeted his congratulations
to the young player, urging him to work hard and scale even greater
peaks. All right, come on, lads, let's try again. He is certainly a
hero to these kids, but perhaps it is the rival team that needs to do
the hard work. They were all out for a paltry 31 runs.
I'm Philippa Thomas. Thank you for being with us here on BBC World News
Today. Good evening. Still some heavy rain about this evening
particularly across the north-east of England. An Amber warning in
force until midnight. Tomorrow morning, dense fog could be the
hazard across parts of England and Wales. It could form anywhere but
particularly in the