15/02/2016 World News Today


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We start with Syria, where the chaos of its five-year


civil war continues to have devastating consequences


The UN says at least five medical facilities and two schools


in northern Syria have been hit by missiles,


killing up to 50 people, including children.


At least two hospitals were hit in Idlib province,


both in the town of Maarat al-Numan - which has been facing air strikes


from Russian and Syrian regime planes after rebels


A children's hospital was partially destroyed near another rebel-held


town of Azaz, in Aleppo province, close to the Turkish border.


MSF has blamed the Syrian regime, while Turkey has blamed Russia.


But it comes just days after an apparent international


agreement for a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria.


Our diplomatic correspondent James Robbins has more.


Rescue workers scramble over the rubble of a hospital hit


by missiles, to rescue any survivors they can find.


It has been bombing intensively to try to win the area back


We have had at least seven deaths among personnel and patients


and at least eight people have disappeared.


Further north, missiles hit a children's hospital and a school


apparently sheltering refugees fleeing the joint Russian


This is only a few miles from the border with Turkey


which is opposed to the action.


All the talk over the weekend in Munich involving Russia


and the United States was about achieving


A cessation does not apply to their bombing campaigns.


Moscow sees pretty much anyone fighting against Syria's President


Assad as a legitimate target, no distinction is drawn


in the Kremlin between fighters for so-called Islamic State


and these anti-Assad rebels who are supported by the West,


so it is hard to see the five year war being anywhere


The Russians can end this if they want to.


They can make this work by scaling back their bombing and redirecting


it against the real terrorists rather than bombing


Russia shows no sign of changing course and is embroiled in a hotter


and hotter war of words with Syria's neighbour Turkey.


Washington is urging cooler heads but on theground there is nothing


In the last few hours we've heard that the UN peace envoy


for Syria, Steffan de Mistura, is making a surprise


I spoke earlier to BBC Arabic's Lina Sinjab in neighbouring


Yes, I have spoken to some sources in Damascus and they have confirmed


that he will be there tomorrow morning it is a short cut 24 hours


trip to that area. It seems that is only because of the recent


developments and escalations. We are not sure about the agenda, we know


that he will meet senior Syrian officials, but we do not yet know


much detail about what those discussions will be about. We assume


the special in what will raise the issues of the attacks today about


hospitals and by mainly the Russian and government warplanes.


At the moment we do not have anyone accepting responsibility on the


strikes at the hospital facilities. Yes, there are some details about


the amount of people that were targeted, we know that at least ten


people were killed any hospitals in Idlib and another dozen as well and


another hospital. Neither the Russians nor the Syrian government


have claimed responsibility for the attack but we know for sure that in


that area of Syria in Idlib and then Aleppo, it is only the Syrian


government and the Russian warplanes that are in operation, so there is


no third-party to blame for these attacks.


Separately, we are hearing that military exercises have been taking


place today between the Turkish air force and Saudi Arabia, what extent


of military involvement do we expect from Saudi Arabia?


Basically, we heard an announcement from Saudi Arabia that they are


willing to send in ground troops to Syria. We know that they are sending


some warplanes as well to operate with the Turkish forces. That is


another addition to the competition. Saudi Arabia strongly opposes


President Bashar al-Assad and they do not see a future with him in


power. Sending troops to Syria now to fight Islamic State might be seen


as more problematic by the rebels, who are supported by Saudi Arabia,


so the focus is now shifting to fight Islamic State rather than


fighting President Assad's forces. My correspondent in Beirut.


Now to a fascinating glimpse into the world of Pope John Paul II.


Hundreds of personal letters uncovered by the BBC between him


and a married woman over a 30-year period reveal a close friendship.


The documents were hidden away in the National Library of Poland,


along with dozens of photographs showing the pair together.


Our religious affairs correspondent, Caroline Wyatt, reports.


This is the story of the Pope's letters to his closest


Pope John Paul II was writing to a married woman,


Professor Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, a philosopher and fellow Pole.


When you've got a strongly heterosexual man and an attractive


woman in a very intense relationship that is cultivated and which engages


mind at a high level of intensity, there's danger everywhere.


The letters have been hidden away in the national library of Poland.


Pope John Paul let their friendship grow, writing "God gave you to me


The future Pope invited Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka to join him


and others on country walks, skiing holidays, even camping trips.


Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka invited the then cardinal to stay


with her family at their country home in New England in 1976.


After the trip, his letters suggest a man struggling to make sense


of their friendship in Christian terms.


One from 1976 says, "my dear Teresa, I have received all three letters.


You write about being torn apart but I could find no answer


Later, his letters looked back to that trip to New England


like this one, saying, "I'm thinking about you and in my thoughts I..."


Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka's letters are not publicly available.


I do believe she completely fell in love with him during the first


I think it's completely reflectd in the correspondence.


John Paul II died in 2005 and the extent of Anna-Teresa


Tymieniecka's role in his life has until now remained largely hidden.


There is no suggestion that the Pope, now Saint John Paul


II, broke any vow of celebacy, but the letters show the human side


of a much-loved Pope, doing one of the loneliest


Reverend James Martin is editor at large of the Jesuit magazine,


Thank you for joining us, what you make of these revelations?


It is not uprising in one sense. It has been talked about in another


book. Celibate males and females have close relationships with people


of the opposite sex, it is not really that unusual.


But the start this friendship when he was a cardinal and continued


whilst he was the Pope, is that not uprising?


No, I have deep friendships with both women and men. Because you are


celibate does not been that you stop having friendships with people.


There might have been a love relationship but it sounds like they


were both faithful to their files, so it is not uprising to me.


Did you get any sense about how much was known about it at the time? How


much freedom Bob John Paul II had private correspondences like this?


As a cardinal and even as a Pope, I doubt it would be someone --


something he would tell close friends about. Some people might


have known about his affection for her, but it is important as someone


who are celibate to have deep and intimate friendship with people of


both sexes. Hope John-Paul, he was canonised


very quickly, if this had emerged quicker, do you think that would


have affected our process. -- Pope John-Paul.


There is nothing wrong with having such a friendship, it works for a


lot of people. Such a famously popular Pope, do you


think this adds to his appeal, this showing of the human side, as it


were? Yes, for some people the celibate


lifestyle appears cold and distant, we have someone and we see someone


who had deep relationships with people. But that someone like Pope


Francis, I do not think anyone would accuse him of being a cold person.


The human ices people and reminds us that celibate friendships, sometimes


even intense friendships at times are required.


You do not find this unsurprising or unsettling, but it has fascinated


the world since it came out today. Yes, people have a total


misunderstanding of what it means to be celibate, as if we cut ourselves


off from all friendships. Sometimes people who are celibate fall in


love, and perhaps the dead, but he was able to do with it and remain


fearful to his promise of celibacy and hard are those of marriage.


-- perhaps the dead. Thank you for joining us. My


pleasure. -- they did.. Meanwhile, the current Pope Francis


has asked Mexico's indigenous population for forgiveness over


the social exclusion He led an open-air mass in native


languages in the country's impoverished Chiapas state,


where he called for greater appreciation of indigenous cultures


and issued a warning over the human He told the crowd of around 100,000


people that the world could learn from them how to interact


harmoniously with nature. The service comes in the middle


of a five-day trip that he's already used to speak out against


crime and corruption. Now a look at some of


the day's other news. Poland's government is to introduce


a law making it illegal to assert that the country was responsible


for Nazi atrocities Some of the most infamous sites


of the Holocaust are on Polish soil, but Poland objects to the term


"Polish death camps" to describe death camps set up under


German occupation. The law would allow the government


to take legal action against anyone using the phrase, and anyone


breaking the law could be jailed Police have retaken control


of a Mexican jail following last week's riot in which 49


inmates were killed. Officials say officers had put


an end to the self-government imposed by criminal


leaders in collusion They've also dismantled


what they call luxury cells, containing mini-bars,


aquariums and saunas in the prison in the Topo Chico


prison in Monterrey. Police in Australia have seized one


of their biggest hauls They discovered hundreds of millions


of pounds worth of liquid methamphetamine, concealed


inside a consignment It was in late April,


1999 that two teenagers went on a rampage in Columbine High


School, in the US state of Colorado. They killed 13 people that day -


shooting classmates and teachers mercilessly - and leaving explosive


devices behind them. At the same time, they turned


the name of their town into a byword for the phenomenon


of school shootings. In the 17 years since,


we've heard from survivors and the families of victims,


but the killers' parents Now the mother of one,


Sue Klebold, has written a book All of her proceeds will be donated


to research and charitable foundations focusing


on mental health issues. She's been speaking


to the BBC's Kirsty Wark. Columbine High School lies 15 miles


south of Denver in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. On the 20th of


April 1999 its name became infamous around the world. That was when two


students can withdraw their cars packed with explosives, guns and


grenades into the parking lot of the school and set about destroying the


school. This was not a moment of madness, it was a cold-blooded


massacre, months and months in the planning.


And your suburban high school turned into a killing field.


I was crying and telling them not to shoot me. They shot the girl he shot


her in the head in front of me. This was clearly the most


devastating and formatting scene that I have ever seen. I hope never


to see it again. -- dramatic scene. -- traumatic. I do not think that I


knew anything until that evening. It was such a day of confusion, we had


puppies come to our home, we were asked to leave our home and sit


outside. We sat on the ground all day.


At that stage, you must have thought it was more likely that your son was


involved in the shooting as opposed to being shot?


We could hear through the window, the television had been left on and


at one point we heard 25 people were dead. At that point I remember


thinking that Delyn is really doing this, he must stop and that was when


I prayed for him to die. I thought, something must stop this, whatever


it is that is going on. It took me a very long time to believe, months to


believe that my son was actually responsible for killing and hurting


people. Up until that point, I believe I was living in an extreme


state of denial. It must have been a very strange


thing to commute that between them, he and his friends were going to


blow out that school. That was one of the most difficult


moments of this entire process because I had to go to so many


different phrases of accepting this and acknowledging that they were


present and they had heart people and that it was planned, not


impulsiveness, and then at the police reports to learn that the


plan had to been to tell everyone in the school, but that the plan had


failed, when I thought of that and thought of the magnitude, I've


really did not think that I would live through it.


Did you think there were certain signs that you missed?


I think that there were, in particular, the fact that in his


junior year, several things happened to him. We had all those issues in a


row. He got arrested, he got into trouble at school. He had scratched


a locker at school. I did not recognise that those things meant


that there was a potential life and death situation. I did not recognise


that these where possible signs of a mental condition. That is why I


wrote this book because I wanted people to understand that when


children act out or shall edit ability or anger, it may not be that


they are just being difficult or needs to be lectured, it may mean


that the article. Many people will read this book and


in different ways because it will mean a lot to different groups, it


will mean a lot to the victimsand the survivors, and so on. What would


you say to them? What do you say to them now?


I have this feeling of wanting to see over and over again, I am sorry,


I am sorry, I am sorry. And I know that such a thing is so completely


inadequate. I just so sorry for what my son that.


That was the mother of one of the Columbine shootings speaking to


Kirsty Wark. The heads of four central European


nations want stronger border controls to stem the flow


of migrants and refugees Hungary, Poland, Slovakia,


and the Czech Republic - known as the Visegrad Group -


are working out how to deal with the thousands that cross


through their countries every day. They have criticised Greece's


response and could help Macedonia Our correspondent is present there.


What have we been hearing? We had been led to expect there


would be a rebellion in Prague today, a major act of defiance


against the European Union 's and in particular, Angela Merkel of


Germany. That did not happen. All four leaders appeared on the stage


behind me and said that the preferred a pan European solution to


the European problem and for now, they are not willing to introduce


something on their own. Having said that, one of the words you can


probably see on the screen behind me is the what trust. That is the


slogan of the Czech presidency. It is in short supply in Central Europe


at the moment. These countries do not believe that Turkey and Greece


are capable of holding back large numbers of refugees and migrants


that are making their way northwards into Western Europe and they have


said that it is time for a line be if, in fact, those countries feel.


If individual countries to take their own measures, I suppose it is


looking ever less like unified European response to the migrant


crisis. Very much so. That is quite clear


that there are differing approaches across Europe and of course the


countries of Central Europe have long argued for a much more robust


defence of the European Union's suburban flight and in fact, the


Slovak Prime Minister said today that if there are huge numbers of


people are arriving, once again, they wanted to send hundreds of


policemen to essentially close the border between Macedonia and Greece,


to stop those flows of migrants and a mouth like that would be very


unpopular, I think, in Berlin and Brussels because it would isolate


Greece and perhaps even destabilise that country, which is already


trying to deal with the flow of migrants.


Rob Cameron, thank you very much for that. Rob Cameron in Prague.


Staying with planes, and a Virgin Atlantic flight,


carrying more than 250 people, had to abort its journey from London


to New York, after a laser beam was pointed at the cockpit.


A crew member reported a medical issue involving one of the pilots,


shortly after take-off from Heathrow.


It's the first time an airliner has had to abandon a flight


There are flashing images in this report from Sophie Long.


at JFK, not Heathrow. should have been resting


It took off without incident, but shortly after the crew contacted


air-traffic control and told them one of the pilots


We have a medical issue with one of the pilots after a laser incident


after take-off and we are going to return to Heathrow.


The pilot's union said those targeting aircraft may not know how


Initially, it is bright flashing and you can get shadows


and you are obviously distracted, because you are not expecting it.


These laser attacks are the same as being attacked with


The distraction these can cause at the critical phase of flight,


take-off and landing, could potentially lead


Virgin Atlantic said the flight was brought back to Heathrow


as a precaution, and the safety of the 252 passengers and crew


There has been a dramatic rise in the number of such incidents.


In 2006, eight laser attacks were reported to the Civil


Balpa say that 50% of the 870 pilot surveyed last year said they had


One reason for the surge is the greater availability


Internally if these are used they become far too bright,


the eyes are upset and people will look away.


So there really is not an application internally for these.


Outside, again, other than to try to deliberately blind


someone if you are targeting people, there is no real application.


It is an offence to shine a light at an aircraft


Balpa are calling for it to be made more serious.


plane is the same as possessing an offensive weapon and they want


Sophie Long, BBC News, Heathrow.


Tonight, the greats from the music world will gather in Los Angeles


for the Grammy Awards, and right now, we have our own musical treat.


Four-handed piano started as a way to take orchestral music


into smaller venues, but it has turned into an art form.


Twin sisters Hourshid and Mehrshid started playing together in Iran


and currently are in Canada, where the BBC's Sam Farzaneh


And I was playing a ballad with my sister.


We started playing piano when we were eight years old,


We started to play the classical music repertoire.


Our grandfather played the tar, which is one of the main Iranian


Our father also, he played the tar and at that time when we were young


kids, we always listened to him playing and practising.


On the other side, our mother listened to a lot of opera,


we watched ballet, and we went also to concerts.


Some people, they ask us if it is easier to play together


in terms of communication and in terms of actually


It is not perhaps a matter of being easier, sometimes we just


have some special ways of looking or slight motions of the elbow


If we don't have this fusion, then there will always be two


persons playing, whereas the whole idea should be as if it is one


person with two left hands and two right hands.


You can get in touch with me and some of the team via Twitter -


But for now, from all the team here, goodbye.


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