23/05/2016 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Karin Giannone.


Defeated by the narrowest of margins - Austria's new president won't be


With less than a percentage point in it, Alexander Van der Bellen sees


off Norbert Hofer to become Austria's head of state.


The Islamic State group says it's behind bombings in two cities


on Syria's Mediterranean coast - Government strongholds that


had previously escaped the worst of the conflict.


Also coming up - serious allegations are made about the death of Turkish


civilians at the hands of security forces.


And just not special enough - Louis Van Gaal gets the sack


from Manchester United, but guess who's


In Austria, the far-right Freedom Party candidate,


Norbert Hofer, has been narrowly defeated in the presidential


election by this man, the independent candidate Alexander


van der Bellen, the former Green Party leader.


The contest between Hofer and van der Bellen in Sunday's election had


been too close to call, and depended on postal ballots


A key campaign issue was Europe's migration crisis,


which has seen asylum-seeker numbers soar in Austria,


as our correspondent Jenny Hill reports from Vienna.


It's a decision which has divided Austria.


Alexander Van der Bellen won the presidential election - just.


He is liberal, pro-EU and wants to welcome refugees.


TRANSLATION: I will represent Austria to the outside,


I will represent us as best as I can.


And again, I will try to stress the cooperative, what connects us.


And of course I want to be an opener of doors for the economy of Austria.


Mr Van der Bellen may struggle to unite his country.


Earlier today, we found his nationalist opponent at home


Regardless of the outcome, Norbert Hofer told us,


What does it say for Austria if you do win?


If I win, I have to try to keep Austria together.


If Van der Bellen wins, he has to try to keep


They may have lost the election, but his Freedom Party has


It is anti-EU, anti-migrant and it gained momentum


No wonder the eyes of Europe are on Austria.


Right-wing parties are gaining ground elsewhere as well -


France, Germany, Denmark, and so is disillusionment


at the established political mainstream.


TRANSLATION: There is a sea change in Europe, many people can't cope


The FPO is the only party that addresses this problem.


He tells us lies and it's not true what he says and it's not good.


The presidency of Austria is a largely ceremonial role -


nevertheless these elections may yet have wide reaching consequences.


This vote has split Austria right down the middle.


It's also exposed again the divisions at the heart


Norbert Hofer came within a hair's breath of winning the presidency


and for many that raises questions not just about the future


direction of this country, but of Europe itself.


Our correspondent, Bethany Bell, is in the Austrian capital, Vienna.


In so the freedom party defeated on this occasion, but this really was


extraordinarily close, within the? Extremely close. I mean, he came as


was set there within a hair's breath of winning this election and there


are some Austrians I've been speaking to this evening here in


Vienna that said, they may have lost this presidential election, but they


are doing very well in the polls at the moment, regularly scoring over


30% and when it comes to a general election in just under two years'


time, they could even come out as a first party. In a sense, it's now up


to the Coalition Government to see whether it can address the many


concerns of the Austrians who voted for Norbert Hofer. If it can, that


is one thing, but if he cannot, we could be seeing the Freedom Party


rising to you even more power in that general election. What is being


said there about what's behind this rise of the Freedom Party? It's a


complicated picture. There are a number of things behind this. One is


the extreme weakness of the established political parties here


in Austria, the centerleft and centre-right parties which have


dominated politics here for decades. They are widely being seen as sort


of having come to a stalemate, not moving forward on key performs, not


addressing people's concerns on migrants or the economy. That is a


very key part of this. This widespread disillusionment. You out


on top of that to enormous numbers of migrants who passed through


Austria on their way to Germany this last year, the 90,000 applied for


asylum here, over the last few months. People sense of really being


overwhelmed by the migrant crisis, these things together have combined


to really come in and played into the hands of the Freedom Party. A


word about the winner, Alexander Van der Bellen, former leader of the


Green Party. Tell us a little bit about him. Alexander Van der Bellen


is a long-term player in Austrian politics, a member of the Green


Party, an economics professor, who for many on the left was seen as a


very good candidate, but for people in the centre he wasn't the obvious


choice for president either and yet another sign of the weakness of the


centrist parties. It was interesting to see the presidency, largely a


ceremonial figure, it does have the power to swear in the new


Government. Mr Van der Bellen has expressed great concern about the


prospect of swearing in any Chancellor from the far right


freedom party. So that as well is something that could come into play


in the next year or two if the freedom party does very well at the


ballot box. Thank you very much, Bethany was live in Vienna.


The Islamic State group says ITS militants carried out


the deadly attacks on two Syrian cities in President Assad's


Syrian state media says 78 people were killed -


independent monitors placed the toll higher, and around 150.


Near simultaneous explosions in the cities of Tartous -


where Russia has an airbase - and Jableh, came as a shock


to residents, in an area that has seen less of the violence


This was about as close to a safe haven as can


The city of Tartous on the Mediterranean came under


a devastating attack this morning for the first time.


TRANSLATION: People were running away.


This was at 10am and the time students were leaving for school.


The fourth explosion took place near the supermarket.


Many people were killed and many were injured.


Further up the coast in Jableh, a similar horrific scene unfolded.


In both cities the targets couldn't have been softer.


The city, like Tartous, may be seen as a stronghold


of President Assad, but it was civilians who were killed.


The relative safety of both cities has long drawn internal


They are by no means simply the Alawite minority


But they are also near military targets.


Belonging to the President's key backer Russia.


One is the Russian naval base in tatters and another,


So, those who carried out these attacks were likely sending


a message to Moscow as well as to the Syrian government.


IS was quick to say that it was responsible.


After a series of battlefield defeats in Syria, the group clearly


wants to show how hard and how deep it can still strike


It may also be hoping to shake the bedrock of support


for President Assad which has already been stretched thin


by the huge losses the community has suffered in sending its sons


As the people of Tartousand and Jableh clear away the wreckage,


Some directed at the displaced Sunnis who have taken refuge there.


But many are also calling for unity and solidarity with the victims,


whether they are Alawite, Christian or Sunni.


The Iraqi army has launched what it is calling a major assault to retake


the city from Islamic State. The militants seized


the Sunni-dominated city - 65 kilometres west of


Baghdad, two years ago. Hours after launching the offensive,


Iraq's Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, says the operation


was making better progress than expected.


President Obama has announced a total end to the US embargo


During a three-day visit to the country, he said it


would remove a lingering vestige of the cold war.


A court in the United States has found a white police officer not


guilty of the assault of Freddie Gray -


a black man from Baltimore, whose death provoked


Edward Nero has also been cleared of reckless endangerment and two


Freddie Gray died in April last year, a week after he suffered


a severe spinal cord injury while riding in a police van.


Pope Francis has held talks at the Vatican with Sunni Islam's


highest religious authority at a meeting designed to build


The Pope met Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayyib, the grand Imam of Al-Azhar


As Turkey hosts a World Humanitarian Summit,


serious allegations have been made about the death of civilians at the


The United Nations Human Rights Chief has expressed his concern


Local people have told the BBC and human rights groups that


earlier this year, Turkish security forces killed up to 160 civilians


in the mainly Kurdish town of Cizre in south-eastern Turkey.


The Government dismisses the allegations.


Our Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen reports from Cizre.


In a beautiful place, these are dark times.


War has come back to the mountains of southeastern Turkey.


The long fight between Turkey and the PKK, the armed


The 78 days from December to March, the focus was Cizre,


When the Turks lifted the curfew and pulled back,


local people went into three basements, looking for traces


of at least 100 men, women and children who sheltered there.


Only a few charred bone fragments were left -


local people believe Turkish security forces massacred them.


On the 30th of January, Kurdish MPs were on the phone,


promising ambulances and evacuation, when Turkish forces stormed


Before the troops left, they bulldozed flat the ruins


of the areas wrecked in the fighting.


No crime scene investigators were able to get to the basements


Human Rights Watch suspects a cover up.


This man took me to the site of the basements.


He says Turkey's European allies are letting it get away with murder.


Turning a blind eye to get Turkish help with the wider


TRANSLATION: Europe blatantly watched all those atrocities


I'm not bothered about Europe anymore.


What they did or didn't do, the whole world is responsible


The UN wants to send human rights investigators to this wasteland.


There is no physical trace left of the lives,


the thousands of civilians, Kurdish civilians, who lived


But this is about much more than the personal tragedies.


It is deeply involved in the war in Syria


The EU hopes that Turkey will be a big part of the solution


So instability in Turkey is a problem for Europe and it's


Violence has spread to Ankara, the capital.


In March, a PKK suicide bomber killed 37.


The Turkish Government denies any wrongdoing in Cizre.


It says the PKK are the ones that kill civilians.


What they did was they held them as human shields and they did not


While we were there, not one person complained to me


Well, Turkey would not kill its own citizens.


Turkey has never done this before, it will never do it now.


Turkey's military operations have moved on.


This is near the borders with Syria and Iraq -


the Turks say they are going to finish the PKK once and for all.


Her 20-year-old son was killed in Cizre's basements.


Politics change - heartbreak stays the same.


The head of the World Health Organisation has blamed the spread


of the Zika virus on a massive policy failure in the


WHO leader, Margaret Chan, said scientists had -


as she put it - "dropped the ball" by failing to build on the success


of mosquito eradication programmes in the early '60s.


Speaking in Geneva, she highlighted the problems that lie ahead.


Changes in the way humanity inhabits the planet have given the volatile


microbial world multiple new opportunities to exploit.


The possibility that a mosquito bite during pregnancy could be linked


to severe brain abnormalities in newborns alarms the public


Confirmation of a causal link between infection and microcephaly


has transformed the profile of Zika from a mild disease to a devastating


diagnosis for pregnant women and a significant


Venezuela is in a state of emergency - as the country's economy


Queues for basic daily necessities are growing,


as it struggles to deal with the crash in world oil prices.


The Supreme Court in Venezuela ruled that President Maduro's use


of emergency powers was legal, despite being rejected


by the parliament - which is controlled


We've never been more prepared to defend our borders, said President


Maduro as Venezuelan troops and civilian militias this week in Tempe


did operation Independence, exercises to prepare the country for


eminent invasion. Where the threats come from isn't clear but blaming


foreign governments, the US in particular, for Venezuela's economic


and political crisis is very much part of the President's rhetoric.


But this is a crisis made in Venezuela and people are suffering.


In hospitals with power cuts and acute shortages, patients told me


they could only have operations if they provide their own supplies.


Parents having to buy an ill fitting mask to keep a sick child alive. But


need a makeshift accident and emergency room runs an open sewer.


There are patients who are dying. Doctor say the system is close to


collapse. We have power cuts everyday and we haven't had basic


supplies like saline solutions for months. I often buy medicines with


my own money to treat patients. And the shortages go much than


medicines. This has become a nation of cues. Household goods are scarce,


and a country that became so dependent on oil revenues, it


couldn't cope with the price crashed. This woman needed nappies


for her child, but didn't know if she would find them. IQ every sip of


day, she tells me. These days, there are almost nothing on the shelves,


she says. President Maduro blames the chronic shortages of food and


other basic groups on business elite and foreign governments trying to


deliberately destabilise his socialist Government. Either way,


these cues are getting longer, the shortages more acute and a force --


sense of foreboding even greater. The Government says it will use the


security forces to defend the revolution at all costs. Denouncing


opposition protesters as stooges for business interests at home and


abroad. That is where let's feels primed to explode, and international


mediators have urged both starts to talk before Latin America's most


unstable nation descends further into chaos. Let's go live and speak


to our reporter. The centre of how bad things are on a day-to-day


basis, how are people able to cope? They find it very difficult, as we


saw in my piece. People queue for hours every day. A lot of people


have had to give up their jobs. There was a lot of black market


trading going as well, people queuing for cheap subsidised goods


and then selling them on the black market, but that is a product of the


economic policies of the Government. The real danger for President


Maduro's Government is many of his traditional supporters, those who


supported the revolution, had benefited from the welfare


programmes, the investment in education and housing, are also now


abandoning the Government because of the crisis in the economy here. It


is very difficult for Venezuelans to make ends meet in a cannot even get


sugar, flour, nappies for the children. This country really is in


crisis. Remember this is a country with some of the world's biggest


proven oil reserves in the world and should be a lot wealthier, a lot


more settled than it is today. How did things get so bad? Why wasn't


Venezuela better prepared for this fall in the price of oil? It put all


its eggs in one basket. They got rid of a lot of its food production,


more than 95% of Venezuela's for in earnings come from oil. When time is


good, oil is $40 a barrel, they can afford to pay for whatever they


like. It is the price of oil fell, Venezuelans had nothing to fall back


on. Other countries that suffered through falling oil revenues, like


Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Norway, they had wealth funds and they had


other industries. Venezuela has had nothing to fall back on, so when the


bottom fell out of the oil market, the whole economy basically


collapsed as well. We saw the unrest on the streets. How frightened our


people in the further descent into chaos and is anyone proposing a real


way forward? That is very real possibility, with the weekly


protests in this country, it will end up in some kind of full civil


conflict. There are negotiators in town at the moment and they


occasionally get foreign presidents, especially from the region, try to


urge both sides to come together, the opposition controlled Congress


and President Maduro's socialist Government. They are very far apart


at the moment. There was those in the dialogue am a real sense of


trying to advert this critical situation. Thank you very much. Our


reporter there. It's been the worst kept secret


in football for a few days now - but finally Manchester United has


confirmed that manager Louis van Leading the club to FA Cup glory


over the weekend was Now all eyes are on the man who's


likely to replace him - former Here's our sports correspondent


Katie Gornall. He arrived with a big reputation


and a record that boasted success, but even adding the FA Cup to that


resume was not enough This morning he arrived alone


at the club's training ground, not to plan for the future


but to discuss his departure. How different his mood


was just 36 hours earlier. Manchester United have taken


the lead in extra time Here at Wembley he celebrated


as United won their first But his fate had already been


decided. For the majority of clubs,


winning the FA Cup would be All I want to do is for


Manchester United to act in the best Personally, you know,


treat van Gaal right. I am only sorry that it has


ended this way for him. It all started to seriously unravel


for van Gaal in December when the club endured their worst


run of form in 26 years. The team struggled to score


and managed only 49 It meant they failed to qualify


for the Champions League, Now they will turn to former Chelsea


manager Jose Mourinho. Today in London he gave no hint


he was about to step into one of the biggest


jobs in modern football. He is actually a very


intelligent manager. I think tactically he is


incredibly good as well. What he manages to do is get


the very best out of Mourinho can be controversial,


but his methods bring success. This time United hope


they have a manager Another thing that Chelsea is famous


for, the annual flower show. London has come into full bloom


this week for the annual Chelsea Flower Show,


which attracts thousands The most famous guest is likely


to be Queen Elizabeth, Many of the exhibits on show this


year pay tribute to her 90th birthday, including one


of interlocking portraits made using 10,000 flowers


in purples, pinks and oranges. There's also a field of knitted red


poppies designed as a tribute Just time to return to our main


story. In Austria, the presidential elections there. The independent


candidate has narrowly won Austria's presidential election, denying his


sole rival the chance of becoming the European Union's first far right


head of state. The candidate was declared the winner by less than a


single percentage point over his rival, of the anti-immigration


Freedom Party. There was more on the election results on what this means


for Austria's political future on the BBC website. You can get in


touch with me on twitter. But for now from me and the rest


of the team goodbye. Good evening. A day of sunshine and


showers. Sunglasses one minute, probably the next. More effective


come through tomorrow, although fewer showers. Or many of us, more


the way of sunshine, mainly dry,


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