30/05/2016 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me Philippa Thomas.


Fierce resistance from so-called Islamic State in the battle


Government forces with American air support are moving


towards the city's suburbs, but they're facing a wave


50,000 civilians are trapped in the centre.


The first African ruler sentenced in Africa for crimes


against humanity, Chad's former president jailed for


life for his reign of terror in the 80s.


Turkey's President says Muslim families should


He says Turkish mothers have a duty to boost the country's population.


The multi-coloured wonder of the Great Barrier Reef,


and how global warming is turning it pale and sickly.


The Iraqi army is facing fierce resistance and counterattacks as it


attempts to storm the city of Falluja, to wrestle control


of it from the so-called Islamic State group.


The city lies a mere 50 kilometres west of the capital Baghdad,


and has been in the hands of Islamic State militants


An official statement by the government says that forces,


including members of the elite counter-terrorism unit,


are moving into Falluja on several fronts.


Our Middle East correspondent, Jim Muir, reports from Baghdad.


This latest phase in the offensive got under way at dawn,


exactly a week after the whole campaign to oust so-called


Islamic State from Falluja was launched.


The renewed assault was preceded by heavy artillery bombardments


Jets from the American-led coalition and the Iraqi air force also carried


out air strikes in support of the advancing ground forces,


So far, the latest phase of attack still seems to be


pressing in around Falluja, not penetrating yet into the centre


As the battle moves closer to Falluja itself, there is huge


concern for civilians trapped there, perhaps best guess


They've already been through nine months of siege,


a very tight blockade, so they will be drinking filthy


water and have very little by way of food and medicine coming in.


Some hundreds of families have managed to escape to safety.


They're being taken to camps to the south and west of Falluja,


where at least they can find shelter and food.


TRANSLATION: Thank God we were able to get away from


They let us starve and left us thirsty.


They took away our men and told us to go home, saying they would


return, but they didn't send them back, alive or dead.


Baghdad was hit by big explosions. It seemed to be an attempt by IS to


strike behind its enemy's lines to distract security forces from the


Apple for Falluja. Militia commanders in the field who are


taking part in the attack say that once the city itself is tightly


surrounded, there could be a pause before the final assault to allow us


many civilians as possible to escape.


But IS is reported to be stopping them from fleeing,


accused of using them as human shields.


Let's cross to Baghdad and speak to the BBC's Omar Abdel-Razek.


Let's talk about these civilians, they are trapped, and if they can


escape, would they be welcome as refugees in Baghdad? I don't think


so. The case of a town that was retaken by the popular mobilisation


forces and the Iraqi army shows the opposite. Actually, the fate of


nearly 15,000 civilians -- 1500 civilians, they were divided.


Members of families were separated from women, and the elderly. And the


men were subject to interrogation by the army security to establish if


they have connections with IS or nod. The other situation is the


government considered those families who are coming from areas like that


are a security risk for Baghdad. But some Sunni politicians say they are


not welcome because Baghdad, the capital, is considered a Shia


majority city and Sony are not welcome, even if they are not


representing any security risk. From the outside, this looks like a


government offensive against the so-called Islamic State, but from


where you are standing, there is obviously sectarian tensions coming


into this battle as well. Yes, of course. Even if the government talk


about the battle, it seems it is a coalition of those who are in power


and who are actually under attack from popular protesters in Baghdad


just two days before the start of the battle but when you go back to


the media, especially on TV channels, you'll find the division


is so clear. Some people accuse the government of waging an Iranians led


battle to liberate or we take Falluja. We may repeat the scenarios


that happened in remand a and Tikrit and other cities. With the promise


is coming from the government, there is no guarantee who will implement


the promises and how they will be implemented on the ground. What we


have seen two days ago, it was clear that the city was retaken by a


sectarian faction and not by the army. The slogans on the wall were


everywhere, related to supporting Iran. Even some Iranians media


outlets confirmed that the leader or commander of the Brigade of the


Revolutionary guard, he was leading the battle. The Iraqi government has


not denied this. Thank you for giving us some of the bigger and


more complex picture from Baghdad. Now a look at some of


the days other news. An appeals court in Bahrain has


increased the prison sentence of the opposition leader,


Sheikh Ali Salman, to nine years Sheikh Salman was convicted


last year on charges Sheikh Salman leads the country's


main Shia opposition bloc, Al-Wefaq. The group has condemned today's


ruling as "unacceptable and provocative," saying it


will exacerbate the political crisis Storms and torrential rain have


caused severe flooding in southern Germany,


leaving four people dead A fire-fighter died trying to rescue


a man from a flooded underground crossing,


the man he was trying And a girl was killed


by a train when she took Two bridges were swept away and mud


slides have blocked many roads. More than 100,000 people have signed


an online petition in protest at the killing of a gorilla,


who was shot after a child entered the animal's enclosure at a zoo


in the United States. The four-year-old boy crawled


through a barrier and fell He was grabbed and dragged along


by the gorilla, called Harambe, before zoo staff decided they had


to shoot the animal. And now he's been sentenced to life


for crimes against humanity. That's the verdict today


for the former president It's the first time an African Union


backed court has tried a former African ruler


for human rights abuses. This court was sitting in Senegal,


and Human Rights Watch says its decision will go down


in history as the day when a group of survivors managed to bring


a dictator to justice. Minutes after the verdict was


pronounced, the victims led out their joy. These are people who


spent years in prison, and some of them are still physically damaged by


torture. TRANSLATION: I'm very satisfied with the verdict. Life is


fine with me. I didn't expect to feels such joy but today I am very


happy. For the victims, this verdict is the conclusion of a struggle of


20 years to bring Hissene Habre to justice. They feel this is a


historical day for the country and for Africa, the day the Chadian


people put a dictator in prison. Hissene Habre was imprisoned for


life in prison for crimes against humanity. During his time in office,


it's estimated 40,000 people were killed. TRANSLATION: When we dug a


hole, we would put two bodies inside. Here, two more bodies. On


the other side, to more bodies. This man was a prisoner during his rule


and this was a mass grave. Every day for two years, he says he buried at


least six people. TRANSLATION: I don't know why people were arrested


or executed. A lot of people died. What I know is that they accused me


of being involved in politics, but this isn't true. I am just a farmer.


Thousands of files on the regime's prisoners were found and used in the


trial. Among them, 800 death certificates, including one that


says the prisoner died while being forced to reveal certain truths. It


consists in tying two sticks together around the victim's head,


inflicting brain damage. This man was a victim himself. TRANSLATION:


When I look at these drawings, it is like I am experiencing the events


again. I feed it in my bones. I remember how they climbed on my back


and shouted, "Savage, you can just I! " The victims say they will


remain scarred for life, but this verdict allows them to move forward.


TRANSLATION:, what we have suffered can never happen in Chad again. We


want stability, tranquillity and peace. This will make us happy. What


happened with Hissene Habre was enough for us. This trial is


significant for the victims. It was also a milestone for African


justice. International jurisdiction two have been criticised by African


leaders and now that a local court has shown it can try another


country's president, we may see more cases emerge in other parts of the


continent. Turkey's President Recep Erdogan has


called on Turkish women He says birth control


and family planning go It's not the first time Mr Erdogan


has made such comments, a couple of years ago he likened


birth control to treason. These most recent comments came


during a speech broadcast live TRANSLATION: And I say it clearly


that we will increase our prosperity Population planning


or birth control... No Muslim family can engage


in such a mentality. We will follow the road and advice


of my God and the profit. Joining me now from


Ankara is Sezin Oney. She's a Turkish political


commentator and academic. Why do you think the president has


raised this subject again now? Actually, he was talking about the


conquest because they were first celebrations of Istanbul's conquest


from buys anti-, so there was this historical celebration, and he


picked up the conquest issued again today. He was referring there is a


sense of being besieged, a sense of attack from the Western world. And


also the internal enemies in Turkey. So he said we should multiply. We


should multiply our numbers, our descendants. He was referring to his


supporters, of course, not just any Turkish person. What has been the


reaction amongst the women you know? Of course, the women are intimidated


in general. The women who are secular, and those who are not


really supporting him or those that are critical about him. And, of


course, he is always emphasising the women's place, in his eyes, is,


first and foremost, to be a mother. So, that kind of talk, and always


belittling of the so-called Western, and in my point to universal,


understanding of women's rights, scorn of the universal of women's


rights is repeated by Edogan. And he repeated it again with contras --


contraception. He is always repeating his messages, every other


month or so. But, in theory at least, Turkey is moving closer to


the prospect of European Union membership. How do you square that


with this kind of rhetoric? Well, he likes to use this populist


rhetorical us and them. In this way, Europe is always somehow


hypocritical Europe. It is attacking Turkey. It is actually the enemy of


Turkey. So, regardless of the relations with the EU, this talk is


always there. This is an internal matter. His audience is his


supporters in Turkey. It is detrimental for relations in the


long run, and he is of course sprinting for the full systemic


change towards presidential is. What matters to him is his local


supporters at this moment. Thank you for your time.


Republican Senators in the US have tabled a bill to send fighters


from so-called Islamic State to Guantanamo Bay.


It is the latest attempt to stop President Obama fulfilling


a campaign pledge he made, more than eight years ago,


While many detainees have been released during his time in office,


and more are expected to be transferred in the coming days


Our North America Correspondent, Aleem Maqbool, reports


Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values.


It undermines our standing in the world.


It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding


the highest standards of rule of law.


That's what President Obama's been saying for years and in his final


months in office the remaining prisoners at the sprawling complex


of Guantanamo Bay's detention centre are wondering


It is extremely dark in here because we're


looking at the prisoner through one-way glass.


It is far emptier than even a year ago when we were last here.


Many have been released in recent months.


Those left behind have been here so long they are used


They've devised ways of getting exercise through pacing around


And we saw some interacting with the guards.


The number of prisoners here now are just a 10th of what there once


was and more releases are due in the summer months.


But around 2,000 soldiers still operate the place,


If you'd been here two years ago when I got here and now,


you genuinely wouldn't see any impressionable difference.


Did you see any reason why a facility like this couldn't hold


the same detainees but on the mainland?


Under appropriate security conditions in the United States,


these detainees pose no more threat than they do here.


Even the name Guantanamo conjures up images of orange jumpsuits


and synonymous with issues around torture and force-feeding.


What the White House says is that while it is still standing,


it remains a powerful recruiting tool for militant groups


The officers running it think the prisoners


could be housed elsewhere, and it is seen by many as a smear


The answer is continued political opposition back in Washington.


Guantanamo Bay needs to be kept open not only to detain these unlawful


We will tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now pull terrorists


The right place to take them is not a federal prison in the Eastern


It is to a place where we can conduct an investigation


We were only shown detainees in the lowest security


There were parts of Guantanamo we weren't shown, which house men


deemed so dangerous America never wants them released.


But, after all the talk, what happens to them


and to the detention centre as a whole, now looks like an issue


that will be left to the next president.


Here in Britain, it's 24 days to the referendum on EU membership,


and the campaign is turning our usual politics Inside Out,


leading to the formation of unlikely alliances.


On the "Stay in Europe" side today, we saw the Conservative Prime


Minister David Cameron campaigning side by side with the New Labour


Today Cameron described Khan as a "proud Muslim",


a month ago, he accused him of appearing with extremists.


Meanwhile one of Mr Cameron's cabinet ministers, Theresa Villiers,


has been making headlines for the Vote Leave campaign.


Appearing shoulder to shoulder, two men from rival parties who only


weeks ago were engaged in a fierce political row.


A Conservative prime minister with the Labour Mayor of London.


He is the son of a bus driver, I'm the son of a stock broker.


The Remain side called this an unprecedented show of cross-party


unity for their case to stay in the EU.


We can be clear about the things we guarantee if we stay in this


If you wake up on June 24th, you know what you get


with our campaign and the outcome that we seek.


The so-called guarantee card contains five promises the Remain


campaign says will continue if Britain stays in the EU.


They include trade with other European countries,


There was no such cross-party unity a few weeks ago.


During the mayoral campaign, the Prime Minister was cheered


by Tory MPs as he said Sadiq Khan had shared platforms


But now it is Mr Cameron being attacked by some of the MPs


Two of his backbenchers suggested he must get a decisive win


in the referendum or face a confidence vote.


Vote Leave campaigners have dismissed today's pledge card,


saying it shows a vote to stay in is a vote for permanent


free movement of people from Europe to the UK.


High levels of immigration from Europe are depressing wages.


That is having a direct impact on household incomes right now,


and it's only going to get worse because we will see more economic


That means more young people seeking work here because the EU is failing


Some of the messages being pushed here today are a clear appeal


to Labour voters as the Remain side ramps up its efforts to make sure


And today's appearance of a senior Labour figure alongside


a Conservative Prime Minister, who is under pressure from some


in his own party, shows how this referendum campaign is rewriting


In Australia, scientists there are warning more


than a third of the coral in parts of the Great Barrier Reef has been


destroyed by mass bleaching caused by rising sea temperatures.


The scientists from several Australian universities blame


climate change for what they say is the most extreme bleaching


This is what the Great Barrier Reef is supposed to look like.


A vast, underwater, multicoloured wonderland.


But this is how much of it looks today.


The latest research showing that, in parts, coral bleaching has left


It happens when warmer water causes the coral to weaken and lose


the colourful algae that provide oxygen and nutrients.


It's because of global warming, it's because of the increases in


sea surface temperatures, on top of other events.


This year was a very, very dry year for the northern part


of the Great Barrier Reef, high sunlight.


All these factors came together to produce one of the most


dramatic coral bleaching events that ever occurred


on the Great Barrier Reef, or the most dramatic.


Australia is one of the world's largest per capita emitters


But the government here denies it's not done enough to protect the reef,


and cites the UN's world Heritage Committee.


The German chairman of the committee said that our management,


that's to say Australia's management, of the Great Barrier


Reef was a world-class exemplar of coral reef management.


So there is no question that we are doing a good job.


A month away from a general election, Australia's politicians


are looking to score points, announcing a $400 million plan


The opposition Labour Party accuse the government of being in denial


Even of censoring a UN report out last week, and pressuring


officials to remove references that were critical of Australia.


We see the effects of climate change, and we have a government


currently in Canberra who, despite Mr Turnbull's protestations,


We see a government who managed to censor the UNESCO report


This is a government who doesn't want to hear the problem.


They just want to stop anyone else talking about the issue.


Short-term politics, though, will not save


It will take decades to recover from the damage already done.


And many environmentalists are now warning that one of the seven


natural wonders of the world might not be around for


We want to show you incredible pictures of a man flying over the


great Wall of China. Here is the American skydiver dropping out of a


helicopter wearing a wingsuit, aiming for a target on the grateful.


Keep watching. Can he sliced through the targets just a few metres off


the ground? He did it, travelling at just under 200 kilometres per hour,


he narrowly missed the bullseye but said he was very happy to have made


what he described as a super-hard stunt. This is, in fact, the latest


in the long line of challenges for the 40-year-old. It had been


postponed because of strong winds but he did it in the end.


Iraqi government forces are pressing ahead with their campaign


to recapture the city of Fallujah, but they're facing stiff resistance


Reports of car bombs coming in and counterattacks. The Iraqi military


appears to have secured a key district, however.


But for now from me and the rest of the team goodbye.


Back to work after a long weekend could be hampered by some pretty


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