23/05/2016 World News Today


23/05/2016

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

:00:00.:00:07.

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

:00:08.:00:13.

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

:00:14.:00:18.

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

:00:19.:00:27.

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

:00:28.:00:29.

on Syria's Mediterranean coast - Government strongholds that

:00:30.:00:31.

had previously escaped the worst of the conflict.

:00:32.:00:35.

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

:00:36.:00:38.

civilians at the hands of security forces.

:00:39.:00:44.

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

:00:45.:00:47.

from Manchester United, but guess who's

:00:48.:00:49.

In Austria, the far-right Freedom Party candidate,

:00:50.:01:06.

Norbert Hofer, has been narrowly defeated in the presidential

:01:07.:01:09.

election by this man, the independent candidate Alexander

:01:10.:01:13.

van der Bellen, the former Green Party leader.

:01:14.:01:16.

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

:01:17.:01:19.

been too close to call, and depended on postal ballots

:01:20.:01:21.

A key campaign issue was Europe's migration crisis,

:01:22.:01:27.

which has seen asylum-seeker numbers soar in Austria,

:01:28.:01:30.

as our correspondent Jenny Hill reports from Vienna.

:01:31.:01:39.

It's a decision which has divided Austria.

:01:40.:01:41.

Alexander Van der Bellen won the presidential election - just.

:01:42.:01:44.

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

:01:45.:01:48.

TRANSLATION: I will represent Austria to the outside,

:01:49.:01:53.

I will represent us as best as I can.

:01:54.:02:03.

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

:02:04.:02:06.

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

:02:07.:02:16.

Mr Van der Bellen may struggle to unite his country.

:02:17.:02:21.

Earlier today, we found his nationalist opponent at home

:02:22.:02:25.

Regardless of the outcome, Norbert Hofer told us,

:02:26.:02:31.

What does it say for Austria if you do win?

:02:32.:02:37.

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

:02:38.:02:46.

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

:02:47.:02:49.

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

:02:50.:02:56.

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

:02:57.:03:02.

No wonder the eyes of Europe are on Austria.

:03:03.:03:08.

Right-wing parties are gaining ground elsewhere as well -

:03:09.:03:11.

France, Germany, Denmark, and so is disillusionment

:03:12.:03:12.

at the established political mainstream.

:03:13.:03:19.

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

:03:20.:03:22.

The FPO is the only party that addresses this problem.

:03:23.:03:28.

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

:03:29.:03:32.

The presidency of Austria is a largely ceremonial role -

:03:33.:03:42.

nevertheless these elections may yet have wide reaching consequences.

:03:43.:03:44.

This vote has split Austria right down the middle.

:03:45.:03:49.

It's also exposed again the divisions at the heart

:03:50.:03:52.

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

:03:53.:03:59.

and for many that raises questions not just about the future

:04:00.:04:01.

direction of this country, but of Europe itself.

:04:02.:04:09.

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

:04:10.:04:15.

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

:04:16.:04:22.

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

:04:23.:04:31.

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

:04:32.:04:34.

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

:04:35.:04:39.

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

:04:40.:04:43.

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

:04:44.:04:48.

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

:04:49.:04:53.

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

:04:54.:04:59.

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

:05:00.:05:04.

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

:05:05.:05:08.

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

:05:09.:05:14.

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

:05:15.:05:17.

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

:05:18.:05:24.

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

:05:25.:05:30.

the extreme weakness of the established political parties here

:05:31.:05:34.

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

:05:35.:05:38.

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

:05:39.:05:42.

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

:05:43.:05:49.

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

:05:50.:05:53.

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

:05:54.:05:59.

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

:06:00.:06:03.

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

:06:04.:06:08.

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

:06:09.:06:15.

overwhelmed by the migrant crisis, these things together have combined

:06:16.:06:21.

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

:06:22.:06:27.

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

:06:28.:06:31.

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

:06:32.:06:38.

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

:06:39.:06:44.

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

:06:45.:06:50.

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

:06:51.:06:54.

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

:06:55.:06:59.

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

:07:00.:07:05.

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

:07:06.:07:09.

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

:07:10.:07:12.

prospect of swearing in any Chancellor from the far right

:07:13.:07:17.

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

:07:18.:07:22.

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

:07:23.:07:27.

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

:07:28.:07:29.

The Islamic State group says ITS militants carried out

:07:30.:07:32.

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

:07:33.:07:34.

Syrian state media says 78 people were killed -

:07:35.:07:38.

independent monitors placed the toll higher, and around 150.

:07:39.:07:40.

Near simultaneous explosions in the cities of Tartous -

:07:41.:07:42.

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

:07:43.:07:50.

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

:07:51.:07:53.

This was about as close to a safe haven as can

:07:54.:08:02.

The city of Tartous on the Mediterranean came under

:08:03.:08:09.

a devastating attack this morning for the first time.

:08:10.:08:11.

TRANSLATION: People were running away.

:08:12.:08:12.

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

:08:13.:08:15.

The fourth explosion took place near the supermarket.

:08:16.:08:17.

Many people were killed and many were injured.

:08:18.:08:21.

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

:08:22.:08:27.

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

:08:28.:08:29.

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

:08:30.:08:41.

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

:08:42.:08:43.

The relative safety of both cities has long drawn internal

:08:44.:08:45.

They are by no means simply the Alawite minority

:08:46.:08:49.

But they are also near military targets.

:08:50.:08:52.

Belonging to the President's key backer Russia.

:08:53.:09:02.

One is the Russian naval base in tatters and another,

:09:03.:09:04.

So, those who carried out these attacks were likely sending

:09:05.:09:08.

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

:09:09.:09:10.

IS was quick to say that it was responsible.

:09:11.:09:12.

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

:09:13.:09:15.

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

:09:16.:09:18.

It may also be hoping to shake the bedrock of support

:09:19.:09:23.

for President Assad which has already been stretched thin

:09:24.:09:26.

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

:09:27.:09:28.

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

:09:29.:09:34.

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

:09:35.:09:45.

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

:09:46.:09:48.

whether they are Alawite, Christian or Sunni.

:09:49.:09:54.

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

:09:55.:10:00.

the city from Islamic State. The militants seized

:10:01.:10:08.

the Sunni-dominated city - 65 kilometres west of

:10:09.:10:10.

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

:10:11.:10:12.

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

:10:13.:10:14.

was making better progress than expected.

:10:15.:10:14.

President Obama has announced a total end to the US embargo

:10:15.:10:17.

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

:10:18.:10:22.

would remove a lingering vestige of the cold war.

:10:23.:10:24.

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

:10:25.:10:28.

guilty of the assault of Freddie Gray -

:10:29.:10:31.

a black man from Baltimore, whose death provoked

:10:32.:10:33.

Edward Nero has also been cleared of reckless endangerment and two

:10:34.:10:38.

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

:10:39.:10:43.

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

:10:44.:10:49.

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

:10:50.:10:51.

highest religious authority at a meeting designed to build

:10:52.:10:53.

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

:10:54.:11:02.

As Turkey hosts a World Humanitarian Summit,

:11:03.:11:08.

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

:11:09.:11:11.

The United Nations Human Rights Chief has expressed his concern

:11:12.:11:18.

Local people have told the BBC and human rights groups that

:11:19.:11:22.

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

:11:23.:11:25.

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

:11:26.:11:31.

The Government dismisses the allegations.

:11:32.:11:33.

Our Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen reports from Cizre.

:11:34.:11:42.

In a beautiful place, these are dark times.

:11:43.:11:45.

War has come back to the mountains of southeastern Turkey.

:11:46.:11:52.

The long fight between Turkey and the PKK, the armed

:11:53.:11:56.

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

:11:57.:12:08.

When the Turks lifted the curfew and pulled back,

:12:09.:12:16.

local people went into three basements, looking for traces

:12:17.:12:18.

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

:12:19.:12:24.

Only a few charred bone fragments were left -

:12:25.:12:31.

local people believe Turkish security forces massacred them.

:12:32.:12:36.

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

:12:37.:12:41.

promising ambulances and evacuation, when Turkish forces stormed

:12:42.:12:44.

Before the troops left, they bulldozed flat the ruins

:12:45.:13:01.

of the areas wrecked in the fighting.

:13:02.:13:05.

No crime scene investigators were able to get to the basements

:13:06.:13:12.

Human Rights Watch suspects a cover up.

:13:13.:13:21.

This man took me to the site of the basements.

:13:22.:13:25.

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

:13:26.:13:34.

Turning a blind eye to get Turkish help with the wider

:13:35.:13:36.

TRANSLATION: Europe blatantly watched all those atrocities

:13:37.:13:45.

I'm not bothered about Europe anymore.

:13:46.:13:53.

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

:13:54.:13:55.

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

:13:56.:14:05.

There is no physical trace left of the lives,

:14:06.:14:07.

the thousands of civilians, Kurdish civilians, who lived

:14:08.:14:14.

But this is about much more than the personal tragedies.

:14:15.:14:19.

It is deeply involved in the war in Syria

:14:20.:14:27.

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

:14:28.:14:36.

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

:14:37.:14:40.

Violence has spread to Ankara, the capital.

:14:41.:14:43.

In March, a PKK suicide bomber killed 37.

:14:44.:14:51.

The Turkish Government denies any wrongdoing in Cizre.

:14:52.:14:54.

It says the PKK are the ones that kill civilians.

:14:55.:14:59.

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

:15:00.:15:02.

While we were there, not one person complained to me

:15:03.:15:06.

Well, Turkey would not kill its own citizens.

:15:07.:15:15.

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

:15:16.:15:18.

Turkey's military operations have moved on.

:15:19.:15:30.

This is near the borders with Syria and Iraq -

:15:31.:15:42.

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

:15:43.:15:45.

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

:15:46.:15:58.

Politics change - heartbreak stays the same.

:15:59.:16:00.

The head of the World Health Organisation has blamed the spread

:16:01.:16:03.

of the Zika virus on a massive policy failure in the

:16:04.:16:07.

WHO leader, Margaret Chan, said scientists had -

:16:08.:16:13.

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

:16:14.:16:19.

of mosquito eradication programmes in the early '60s.

:16:20.:16:21.

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

:16:22.:16:24.

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

:16:25.:16:27.

microbial world multiple new opportunities to exploit.

:16:28.:16:30.

The possibility that a mosquito bite during pregnancy could be linked

:16:31.:16:43.

to severe brain abnormalities in newborns alarms the public

:16:44.:16:45.

Confirmation of a causal link between infection and microcephaly

:16:46.:16:55.

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

:16:56.:16:58.

diagnosis for pregnant women and a significant

:16:59.:17:00.

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

:17:01.:17:06.

Queues for basic daily necessities are growing,

:17:07.:17:09.

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

:17:10.:17:13.

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

:17:14.:17:16.

of emergency powers was legal, despite being rejected

:17:17.:17:18.

by the parliament - which is controlled

:17:19.:17:19.

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

:17:20.:17:40.

Maduro as Venezuelan troops and civilian militias this week in Tempe

:17:41.:17:45.

did operation Independence, exercises to prepare the country for

:17:46.:17:49.

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

:17:50.:17:55.

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

:17:56.:17:58.

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

:17:59.:18:05.

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

:18:06.:18:10.

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

:18:11.:18:13.

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

:18:14.:18:17.

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

:18:18.:18:22.

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

:18:23.:18:29.

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

:18:30.:18:35.

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

:18:36.:18:39.

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

:18:40.:18:46.

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

:18:47.:18:50.

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

:18:51.:18:56.

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

:18:57.:18:58.

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

:18:59.:19:05.

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

:19:06.:19:14.

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

:19:15.:19:19.

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

:19:20.:19:24.

other basic groups on business elite and foreign governments trying to

:19:25.:19:26.

deliberately destabilise his socialist Government. Either way,

:19:27.:19:30.

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

:19:31.:19:35.

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

:19:36.:19:39.

security forces to defend the revolution at all costs. Denouncing

:19:40.:19:43.

opposition protesters as stooges for business interests at home and

:19:44.:19:50.

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

:19:51.:19:54.

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

:19:55.:19:58.

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

:19:59.:20:06.

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

:20:07.:20:13.

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

:20:14.:20:17.

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

:20:18.:20:20.

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

:20:21.:20:25.

trading going as well, people queuing for cheap subsidised goods

:20:26.:20:28.

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

:20:29.:20:31.

economic policies of the Government. The real danger for President

:20:32.:20:36.

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

:20:37.:20:39.

supported the revolution, had benefited from the welfare

:20:40.:20:42.

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

:20:43.:20:45.

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

:20:46.:20:48.

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

:20:49.:20:53.

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

:20:54.:20:56.

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

:20:57.:21:01.

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

:21:02.:21:11.

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

:21:12.:21:13.

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

:21:14.:21:17.

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

:21:18.:21:24.

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

:21:25.:21:29.

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

:21:30.:21:32.

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

:21:33.:21:36.

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

:21:37.:21:42.

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

:21:43.:21:45.

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

:21:46.:21:51.

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

:21:52.:21:54.

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

:21:55.:21:58.

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

:21:59.:22:05.

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

:22:06.:22:09.

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

:22:10.:22:14.

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

:22:15.:22:18.

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

:22:19.:22:22.

urge both sides to come together, the opposition controlled Congress

:22:23.:22:25.

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

:22:26.:22:28.

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

:22:29.:22:32.

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

:22:33.:22:35.

reporter there. It's been the worst kept secret

:22:36.:22:41.

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

:22:42.:22:46.

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

:22:47.:22:51.

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

:22:52.:22:54.

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

:22:55.:22:59.

Katie Gornall. He arrived with a big reputation

:23:00.:23:03.

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

:23:04.:23:08.

resume was not enough This morning he arrived alone

:23:09.:23:11.

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

:23:12.:23:20.

but to discuss his departure. How different his mood

:23:21.:23:22.

was just 36 hours earlier. Manchester United have taken

:23:23.:23:24.

the lead in extra time Here at Wembley he celebrated

:23:25.:23:27.

as United won their first But his fate had already been

:23:28.:23:36.

decided. For the majority of clubs,

:23:37.:23:39.

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

:23:40.:23:42.

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

:23:43.:23:54.

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

:23:55.:24:00.

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

:24:01.:24:05.

for van Gaal in December when the club endured their worst

:24:06.:24:07.

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

:24:08.:24:10.

and managed only 49 It meant they failed to qualify

:24:11.:24:12.

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

:24:13.:24:16.

manager Jose Mourinho. Today in London he gave no hint

:24:17.:24:19.

he was about to step into one of the biggest

:24:20.:24:22.

jobs in modern football. He is actually a very

:24:23.:24:24.

intelligent manager. I think tactically he is

:24:25.:24:26.

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

:24:27.:24:28.

the very best out of Mourinho can be controversial,

:24:29.:24:31.

but his methods bring success. This time United hope

:24:32.:24:34.

they have a manager Another thing that Chelsea is famous

:24:35.:24:36.

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

:24:37.:24:48.

this week for the annual Chelsea Flower Show,

:24:49.:24:50.

which attracts thousands The most famous guest is likely

:24:51.:24:52.

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

:24:53.:24:55.

year pay tribute to her 90th birthday, including one

:24:56.:24:59.

of interlocking portraits made using 10,000 flowers

:25:00.:25:01.

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

:25:02.:25:09.

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

:25:10.:25:20.

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

:25:21.:25:27.

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

:25:28.:25:30.

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

:25:31.:25:36.

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

:25:37.:25:42.

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

:25:43.:25:46.

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

:25:47.:25:49.

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

:25:50.:25:51.

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

:25:52.:25:55.

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

:25:56.:26:11.

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

:26:12.:26:14.

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

:26:15.:26:18.

the way of sunshine, mainly dry,

:26:19.:26:19.

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