05/01/2016 World News Today


05/01/2016

The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


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This is BBC World News Today with me Philippa Thomas.

:00:00.:00:00.

The American President takes on the nation's powerful gun lobby.

:00:07.:00:12.

In the past hour, an emotional Barack Obama unveils new gun control

:00:13.:00:15.

measures and asks Americans to support them.

:00:16.:00:18.

Every time I think about those kids, it gets me

:00:19.:00:28.

Alarm in Germany at reports of gangs sexually assaulting around 90 women

:00:29.:00:32.

in several cities on New Year's Eve.

:00:33.:00:36.

A bionic eye is offering hope that vision can be

:00:37.:00:41.

Each year, more than 30,000 American lives are cut short by guns -

:00:42.:01:04.

Those statistics come from President Obama,

:01:05.:01:07.

who has demanded that Congress "stand up" to America's

:01:08.:01:09.

Here's what Mr Obama is proposing to introduce by executive order.

:01:10.:01:14.

Mr Obama said he would close a loophole where background checks

:01:15.:01:18.

were not carried out on people buying guns over the internet

:01:19.:01:20.

The President said background checks would be expanded and linked

:01:21.:01:26.

to mental health and criminal records.

:01:27.:01:29.

And he announced that $500 million would be made available to provide

:01:30.:01:32.

better access to mental health care.

:01:33.:01:37.

Our unalienable right to life and liberty and the pursuit

:01:38.:01:48.

And from first graders in Newtown. at Columbine.

:01:49.:02:03.

And from every family who never imagined

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that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet

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Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.

:02:17.:02:37.

And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago

:02:38.:02:40.

The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives,

:02:41.:02:50.

Paul Ryan, says the President's actions will be challenged

:02:51.:02:53.

Mr Ryan said Mr Obama has never respected the right to safe

:02:54.:02:56.

and legal gun ownership that the country has valued

:02:57.:02:59.

Our North America Editor was at the news conference. If you cast your

:03:00.:03:12.

mind back to when you interviewed the president six months ago he said

:03:13.:03:16.

his inability to do anything on gun control was the greatest frustration

:03:17.:03:22.

of his presidency. We saw today, frustration, anger, impatience. As

:03:23.:03:25.

you rightly point out, emotion as well. He visibly teared up and had

:03:26.:03:32.

to wipe tears away as he remembered the children who lost their lives.

:03:33.:03:38.

But is not going to affect the people who arranged against him in

:03:39.:03:44.

this debate? -- is that? Almost certainly not. Opponents say it is

:03:45.:03:49.

unworkable what he is suggesting. On philosophical grounds they say the

:03:50.:03:53.

president is meddling with the second Amendment right to bear arms.

:03:54.:03:57.

Even though if you can be called later date at the proposals, they

:03:58.:04:01.

are comparatively modest. Well, it is no surprise that the NRA is

:04:02.:04:05.

fiercely opposed. A statement from Chris Cox,

:04:06.:04:08.

the executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative

:04:09.:04:10.

Action which says: They say the proposals are ripe for

:04:11.:04:18.

abuse from the Government and the American people don't need any more

:04:19.:04:21.

condescending lectures... Sarah Trumble is Senior Policy

:04:22.:04:32.

Counsel at Third Way, a US think tank which supports

:04:33.:04:34.

tighter gun controls, Sarah, I know you are sitting in the

:04:35.:04:44.

East room watching President Obama delivered that statement. It is a

:04:45.:04:49.

cause that is intellectually and emotionally very dear to him.

:04:50.:04:55.

Absolutely. It was an incredibly emotional experience. Also

:04:56.:04:58.

infuriating that we still need to be dropping about this in 2016. And yet

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as we have just heard from the NRA, it says it speaks for many thousands

:05:05.:05:10.

of Americans who hold gun rights dear. They see it as part of their

:05:11.:05:16.

very American nature. There is nothing inherently opposed to gun

:05:17.:05:19.

rights in any of these executive actions today. In fact the president

:05:20.:05:23.

was quite clear that he supports the second Amendment. All that these

:05:24.:05:27.

laws do and all these executive actions will do is ensure that

:05:28.:05:31.

people are following the laws we already have. Making sure that guns

:05:32.:05:35.

stay out of the wrong hands. Who is forming in behind President Obama in

:05:36.:05:40.

terms of putting money into this fight because the NRA as we know has

:05:41.:05:45.

a huge amount of it? The NRA has always been rich and they are loud

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and powerful. But like the president said today, they may Congress but

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they don't own the American people. In recent years we see the American

:05:54.:05:57.

public rising up, a big groundswell in support of people want stronger

:05:58.:06:04.

gun laws led by people like Gabby differs who was shot in the head and

:06:05.:06:11.

almost killed right by Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New

:06:12.:06:14.

York City who has put in millions of dollars to this fight. Isn't this a

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particularly different year in which they have this fight, because we are

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limbering up for the present campaign, if anything, politics gets

:06:25.:06:28.

more partisan, not less? That is true but the president waited as

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long as he could for Congress to act and they failed to do so. The

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American public are demanding action and of Congress won't do it, the

:06:36.:06:39.

president will. Paul Ryan the Speaker of the president of the

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House of Representatives has already said there will be legal action and

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we are hearing that from primarily republican sources, are you

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convinced this battle can be one? Yes. The president is a

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constitutional lawyer. He specialises in this. The smartest

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lawyers in the country work for him and I am confident that these are

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constitutional. He did not write new legislation, he is only enforcing

:07:04.:07:07.

laws that exist. Are you confident that enough Americans care enough

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about this when you have an election, generally issues like the

:07:12.:07:16.

economy come to the fore, gun control is often not pushed by the

:07:17.:07:20.

candidates. We used to worry that after a mass shooting there would be

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lots of public sympathy and after a few weeks attention would win, but

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in 2015 we had on average more than one mass shooting every day, there

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is no time for attention to win and attention is -- Americans are

:07:35.:07:39.

scared. Thank you for speaking with us.

:07:40.:07:41.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has voiced outrage

:07:42.:07:43.

over the sexual assaults and thefts that male gangs inflicted on women

:07:44.:07:46.

This evening a crowd of around 150 most female protesters gathered

:07:47.:07:51.

by the cathedral in Cologne to denounce the assaults.

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Police suspect that organised groups of young drunk men, perhaps as many

:07:57.:08:03.

as 1000 carried out the attacks. They said the men appeared to be of

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Arab or North African appearance. Damian McGuinness is in Berlin and I

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asked him about the reaction. It was chaotic. Thousands of people in

:08:15.:08:18.

front of the cathedral in Cologne. Usually New Year's Eve is chaotic

:08:19.:08:22.

anyway with fireworks being set off in all directions, but this was

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particularly disturbing with the sexual assaults. What has really got

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Germany talking is the comment by police officers that the men

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appeared to be, the attackers appeared to be of north African or

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Arabic appearance. There is no evidence that the perpetrators were

:08:40.:08:44.

actually migrants or refugees or seekers themselves, but anti-migrant

:08:45.:08:48.

far right groups have been saying that this proves that Germany has

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been taking in too many migrants and refugees because of course, in 2015,

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more than a million refugees and asylum seekers and migrants came to

:08:59.:09:04.

Germany just in 2015 alone. So this event has sparked outrage. The

:09:05.:09:08.

assaults on women, but also a lot of discussion amongst people in Cologne

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themselves. The problem is of course where did 1000 people suddenly come

:09:15.:09:18.

from. They said there was North Africans who were not asylum seekers

:09:19.:09:20.

but where did they come from all of its open in such a large amount, you

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do ask yourself that. TRANSLATION: I think you should just be prepared.

:09:29.:09:30.

You should be careful and always wait for the help of the police.

:09:31.:09:37.

TRANSLATION: I would advise young people not to get so drunk that you

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don't know what is going on, and to perhaps not be alone, and to call

:09:43.:09:47.

for help as quickly as possible. And especially at large events, there

:09:48.:09:50.

are always enough people around who hopefully are not drunk. It is worse

:09:51.:09:54.

in areas where there is nobody and where you can't get help. The next

:09:55.:10:00.

challenge that Germany faces is the Carnival season at the beginning of

:10:01.:10:03.

February and particularly in Cologne, where the whole city shuts

:10:04.:10:09.

down for street parties. Officials have to find out what happened on

:10:10.:10:12.

New Year's Eve and make sure it doesn't happen again.

:10:13.:10:16.

The Turkish authorities say the bodies of at least 34 migrants

:10:17.:10:19.

who were trying to reach Greece have now been discovered on beaches

:10:20.:10:22.

The deaths occurred after yet another boat carrying migrants

:10:23.:10:25.

capsized en route to the Greek island of Lesbos.

:10:26.:10:27.

It isn't clear how many boats have sunk in rough seas, but the Turkish

:10:28.:10:31.

authorities said some of the bodies had been washed up on a beach

:10:32.:10:34.

while others were recovered from the water.

:10:35.:10:35.

Several children were found among the dead, fully clothed and wearing

:10:36.:10:38.

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

:10:39.:10:44.

American defence officials say at least one member of the US

:10:45.:10:46.

Special Forces has been killed during operations against Taliban

:10:47.:10:49.

The officials said two other US servicemen were wounded in fighting

:10:50.:10:54.

near the town of Marjah in Helmand Province.

:10:55.:10:59.

Turkish authorities have freed an Iraqi translator four months

:11:00.:11:04.

after he was detained in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir,

:11:05.:11:07.

The translator, Mohammed Rasool, still faces trial, while the two

:11:08.:11:11.

journalists were freed in September and deported.

:11:12.:11:12.

All three had been accused of helping militant groups.

:11:13.:11:15.

Here in Britain, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, has confirmed that

:11:16.:11:22.

government ministers will be able to campaign for either side

:11:23.:11:25.

in a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.

:11:26.:11:28.

Mr Cameron has made clear he will argue for the UK's continued

:11:29.:11:32.

membership if he secures reforms from Brussels.

:11:33.:11:38.

Now, the latest video from the so-called Islamic State group.

:11:39.:11:41.

In the footage, five men are murdered -

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The relative of one of the victims has been speaking to the BBC

:11:45.:11:49.

about the killings - and what it's done to the families.

:11:50.:11:52.

He's been talking to our world affairs correspondent,

:11:53.:11:54.

The so-called Islamic State captured these five men. It forced them to

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confess to espionage. Then it killed them. The men, one of them was 25, a

:12:10.:12:26.

31-year-old, an 18-year-old, a 30-year-old, and a 40-year-old. At a

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secret location, in Turkey, we met one of them. He is a democracy

:12:35.:12:40.

activist. He says his brother, in Isis controlled Syria, was just a

:12:41.:12:48.

normal person. My brother is normal, just like all the people inside my

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city. Has shown he fixed the air conditioning, electric, things in

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the homes, he lived a normal life. He hasn't slept since he learned of

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his brother's death. How do you understand what happened? Until now,

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I don't really accept the reality, of it. Up until now, I didn't

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accept, just this moment, it came to me, my brother is... Sorry.

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I was saying, my brother was still alive, but after that, back to

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reality, Isis executed him and he is innocent. At astonishing risk,

:13:45.:13:53.

activists inside wrecker smuggle out footage of life inside the Isis

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ruled city. Where conmen are in charge and it is safest simply to

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keep quiet. -- gunmen. What is it life now for people in Riker? It is

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held. -- hell. Isis arrest people without any charge just like that.

:14:16.:14:19.

The five men who were forced to make confessions had no chance to give

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their defence and tell their own stories. They paid with their lives.

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The masked front man in that IS video is thought to be

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The man suspected of being in the video is Siddhartha Dhar,

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who disappeared after being granted bail at a UK court

:14:36.:14:38.

Now the British Home Office is facing serious questions over how

:14:39.:14:42.

an extremist suspect could flee the country while

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Commemorations have been taking place in France in memory of the 17

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people who died in Islamist attacks last January. President Hollande

:15:00.:15:04.

unveiled a plaque outside the offices of Charlie Hebdo where most

:15:05.:15:08.

of the victims were shot dead. He also took place in ceremonies at a

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site where policemen were killed and a kosher supermarket where officers

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died. The row between Iran

:15:15.:15:15.

and Saudi Arabia over the Gulf kingdom's execution of dissident

:15:16.:15:17.

Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr and the subsequent attack

:15:18.:15:19.

on Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran continues to expose fault

:15:20.:15:22.

lines in the region. Bahrain has now suspended

:15:23.:15:27.

flights to and from Iran, Kuwait has recalled its ambassador

:15:28.:15:29.

from Tehran - and Gulf foreign ministers are preparing to meet

:15:30.:15:34.

in Riyadh on Saturday to take The BBC Arabic security

:15:35.:15:36.

correspondent Murad Shishani says tension between Riyadh

:15:37.:15:43.

and Tehran is nothing new. This is the iceberg of the sectarian

:15:44.:15:59.

tensions ongoing for a decade now, coming from the Middle East.

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Secondly, this is politicised, after a proxy war was ongoing in Syria and

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Iraq. Between both parties, supporting militant groups on the

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ground, either diplomatically lobbying against each other in

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various places, now coming to a clear political tension. Whether it

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will escalate or not, we don't know yet, all indications both parties

:16:25.:16:27.

don't want to go further than this. However they want to play the same

:16:28.:16:32.

rule by supporting their own tools in different lists. That is the

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situation we can see, from the Middle East. Of course, that has

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impact on real lives on the ground outside diplomatic matters. If you

:16:43.:16:46.

look at the Yemen or Syria, you need reconciliation. Yes, you need them,

:16:47.:16:51.

but Yemen and Syria specifically which had had some talks, supposedly

:16:52.:16:58.

to be held soon, this will be definitely affecting that. All

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escalations in my opinion will go to these places, where there will be no

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confrontation between both parties but they will be playing supporting

:17:10.:17:14.

the proxies in different places. We have just had a wire comes through

:17:15.:17:18.

from Reuters agency saying the Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister says recent

:17:19.:17:22.

tensions won't affect political negotiations on Syria, I suppose the

:17:23.:17:26.

answer to that is, you hope they won't. Exactly, you can hope that,

:17:27.:17:31.

but it's seems if both parties have big influence in Syria. They have

:17:32.:17:37.

their own allies. Both are influential on the ground, let alone

:17:38.:17:44.

jihadist, who are striking chords on their own, but there are other

:17:45.:17:48.

influential guys, the jihadis local groups, they are not adopting the

:17:49.:17:55.

global ideologies. There are also Shia militants who are supported in

:17:56.:18:02.

Iraq and Syria and these are I think the main factors which will be

:18:03.:18:05.

effective at keeping the conflict ongoing. In Australia, fire

:18:06.:18:12.

destroyed a whole house after a hover board level to charge set the

:18:13.:18:16.

place alight. The blaze ripped through the entire property but the

:18:17.:18:20.

family escaped unharmed. This was in Melbourne. It was a gift for

:18:21.:18:25.

Christmas, the hover board, it was plugged into the wall in the

:18:26.:18:29.

daughter's bedroom and it's just ignited. You can see the damage it

:18:30.:18:34.

caused to the house, the whole house has had to be demolished. Apparently

:18:35.:18:38.

you can get hover boards in Australia but as Doctor as 150 US

:18:39.:18:44.

dollars, as in many countries, they have been become in vogue and this

:18:45.:18:50.

went badly wrong. In the US, a three-year-old girl who was strapped

:18:51.:18:54.

into a car when it was stolen was found unharmed. A frantic search was

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launched after a thief drove off leaving her mother just feet away

:18:59.:19:03.

filling up a water jug. The car was found abandoned without the child

:19:04.:19:06.

and it wasn't until four hours later that she was discovered shivering

:19:07.:19:11.

and alone at 1am in a car park. A police officer's body camera video

:19:12.:19:15.

shows him chopping up this patrol car and scooping her up. This

:19:16.:19:19.

happened in Albuquerque in New Mexico. Thank goodness for that

:19:20.:19:20.

officer. A new implant or "bionic eye" has

:19:21.:19:23.

helped a blind woman It's hoped it could eventually help

:19:24.:19:25.

restore the sight of thousands A computer chip - costing around

:19:26.:19:30.

$75,000 - is implanted over the retina and sends light signals

:19:31.:19:33.

to the brain. If trials are positive,

:19:34.:19:36.

surgeons hope it could be available on the National Health Service

:19:37.:19:38.

in as little as two years. Our medical correspondent

:19:39.:19:42.

Fergus Walsh has the story. Since the age of five, Rhian Lewis

:19:43.:19:55.

has been gradually losing her sight as a result of a rare condition,

:19:56.:20:02.

retinitis pigmentosa. It is a bit like if someone has put the dimmer

:20:03.:20:06.

switch off ever so gradually. It has been maybe 80 years since I had any

:20:07.:20:10.

idea what my children looked like. I certainly don't know how I have

:20:11.:20:16.

aged. But now surgeons at Oxford I Hospital are to fit a German-made

:20:17.:20:20.

implant in a bid to return -- restore some of her vision. The tiny

:20:21.:20:25.

chip is fitted over the retina's like processing cells which have

:20:26.:20:30.

stopped working. Just three by three millimetres. The implant has 1600

:20:31.:20:36.

light-sensitive pixels, when like it's the implant it sends electronic

:20:37.:20:39.

signals to the optic nerve and onto the brain, which processes them. She

:20:40.:20:46.

has to learn how to interpret those messages. This control box allows

:20:47.:20:54.

her to adjust the contrast and frequency of the pixelated images.

:20:55.:20:57.

But can she now tell the time? Three.

:20:58.:21:07.

Oh, it is. Oh, my God! Well done. I got it. It is very nice to compare

:21:08.:21:22.

that to TV pictures. An outline of things moving and coming and going.

:21:23.:21:26.

Compared to what we see, we consider that to be low-level vision. Someone

:21:27.:21:31.

who is completely blind, the ability is actually life changing. She still

:21:32.:21:36.

needs help getting around, but she says having the implant is pure joy.

:21:37.:21:42.

You're not completely helpless, you can actually find the edge of a

:21:43.:21:46.

wall. I really can't put it into words. I just felt elated. Switch

:21:47.:21:54.

the machine on. It comes on completely instantly. I will move my

:21:55.:21:58.

head around there, the flashing his starting. Mac in 2012I met Robin

:21:59.:22:02.

Miller, one of the first patients to receive an earlier version of the

:22:03.:22:07.

implant. Those devices lasted up to 18 months. It is hoped, this new

:22:08.:22:12.

implant, could stay in place for up to five years.

:22:13.:22:16.

Fifa's ethics committee has recommended imposing a nine-year ban

:22:17.:22:18.

on the governing body's suspended secretary general,

:22:19.:22:20.

Mr Valcke was originally suspended for 90 days,

:22:21.:22:24.

but that has now been extended by a further 45 days.

:22:25.:22:28.

A statement from the committee also recommended that Mr Valcke serve

:22:29.:22:30.

a nine-year ban and pay a fine of $67,000 for alleged "misuse

:22:31.:22:33.

of expenses and other infringements of FIFA's rules and regulations."

:22:34.:22:40.

Former West Indies captain Chris Gayle has been fined $7,000

:22:41.:22:42.

by the Australian team he represents for flirting inappropriately

:22:43.:22:45.

with a female journalist during a live television interview.

:22:46.:22:53.

Gayle then went on to tell the journalist not to "blush."The

:22:54.:22:57.

cricketer has since apologised and said he'd been joking.

:22:58.:23:03.

There wasn't anything meant to be disrespectful or offending to her.

:23:04.:23:10.

She felt that way, then I am really sorry for that. There wasn't any

:23:11.:23:16.

harm meant in that particular way, to harm any particular person like

:23:17.:23:21.

that. It was a simple joke. The game was going on. Entertainment, you

:23:22.:23:26.

know, things get out of proportion. These things happen. There wasn't

:23:27.:23:29.

any harm done, and I will believe it at that and I am sorry for that, and

:23:30.:23:32.

I will just have to move on. The female commentator journalist

:23:33.:23:34.

interviewing Chris Gayle was Mel Here's what she had to say

:23:35.:23:36.

about the incident. It was more that it was just

:23:37.:23:44.

unexpected. Of course you don't expect to get that sort of answer. A

:23:45.:23:48.

little bit disappointing, because that just doesn't happen normally. I

:23:49.:23:53.

don't want to be the subject of such conversations, I like just going

:23:54.:23:55.

about their business and doing my job. It is a good thing that people

:23:56.:23:59.

are talking. We always want equality and I have always felt in my career,

:24:00.:24:04.

nothing but respect. He apologised and I accept that and we move on.

:24:05.:24:06.

You don't even have to be a fan of cricket to appreciate the amazing

:24:07.:24:09.

feat a 15-year-old Indian schoolboy has achieved.

:24:10.:24:11.

He's become the first batsman in the game's history to complete

:24:12.:24:13.

Our South Asia Correspondent Justin Rowlatt reports.

:24:14.:24:22.

15-year-old Pranav Dhanawade didn't expect to break any records today.

:24:23.:24:30.

He says he just played what he calls his natural game, attacking from the

:24:31.:24:36.

word go, and attack he did. He smashed 59 sixs, 127 fours. 6.5

:24:37.:24:45.

hours later, he had run up a total of ten centuries. 1009 and runs not

:24:46.:24:54.

out, and all in a single innings. Son of an auto rickshaw driver was

:24:55.:24:58.

powered into cricketing history, shattering the previous record of

:24:59.:25:03.

628 runs that had stood for 116 years. To play a big innings. After

:25:04.:25:18.

that, I scored 100, 200, 300, I want to play for India. Mumbai 's school

:25:19.:25:27.

cricket is seriously competitive, unlike my game. It has produced

:25:28.:25:32.

legendary cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, widely reckoned to have

:25:33.:25:37.

been deep test batsmen of all time. Today he tweeted his congratulations

:25:38.:25:41.

to the young player, urging him to work hard and scale even greater

:25:42.:25:46.

peaks. All right, come on, lads, let's try again. He is certainly a

:25:47.:25:51.

hero to these kids, but perhaps it is the rival team that needs to do

:25:52.:25:55.

the hard work. They were all out for a paltry 31 runs.

:25:56.:26:01.

I'm Philippa Thomas. Thank you for being with us here on BBC World News

:26:02.:26:10.

Today. Good evening. Still some heavy rain about this evening

:26:11.:26:13.

particularly across the north-east of England. An Amber warning in

:26:14.:26:17.

force until midnight. Tomorrow morning, dense fog could be the

:26:18.:26:21.

hazard across parts of England and Wales. It could form anywhere but

:26:22.:26:24.

particularly in the

:26:25.:26:25.

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