17/12/2017 World News Today


17/12/2017

The news programme for audiences who want more depth to their daily coverage. With a focus on Europe, Middle East and Africa.


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Transcript


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This is BBC World News Today.

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I'm Karin Giannone.

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Our top stories...

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President Putin says Russia has

foiled a terror attack planned

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on Saint Petersburg -

and has thanked Donald Trump for CIA

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information which helped

track down the suspects.

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Turkey's President Erdogan says he

wants to open a Turkish Embassy for

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Palestinians in East

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wants to open a Turkish Embassy for

Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

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South Africa's ruling party gets

closer to choosing its next leader.

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The two main contenders have been

formally nominated and voting is

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under way.

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And the Pentagon admits to running

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a top-secret investigation

into the existence of alien life

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Welcome to world news today.

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The White House has confirmed

that the CIA provided intelligence

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to Russian security services that

helped foil a terror attack.

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Russian agents raided a flat

allegedly used as a base to plan

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an attack on the Kazan cathedral

in St Petersburg.

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The officers seized

explosives and weapons.

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Seven people were detained

on charges of being members

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of so-called Islamic State.

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The suspects were reportedly

planning to carry out a suicide

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attack at the Kazan Cathedral in St

Petersburg on Saturday.

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President Putin has thanked

the US for its help.

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The BBC's David Willis has

more from Washington.

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He says this isn't the only recent

call between the leaders.

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It appears to be a telephone

conversation, the second

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between these two leaders

in the space of just three days,

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in which Vladimir Putin thanked

Donald Trump and asked him to convey

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Russia's thanks to the CIA

and to its intelligence officials

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for the information that was needed

to foil this attempted attack,

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or alleged attempted attack,

on St Petersburg, on the cathedral

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there, an iconic cathedral,

and other parts of the city

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which are known to be of prime

interest to tourists

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from around the world.

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What's interesting about this

is that the two leaders themselves

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really do appear to be very chummy

with each other.

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I mentioned just last week

there was a conversation

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between them as well.

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That followed Vladimir Putin's

annual press conference,

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in which he heaped praise

on Donald Trump's handling

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of the US economy.

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And they've chosen to make the fact

that they've had this

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conversation very public?

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Yes, and all this comes at a time

when there is a special prosecutor

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looking into allegations...

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Well, they're not allegations,

the claims, the agreed claims

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of the US intelligence agencies that

Russia meddled in the outcome

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of last year's presidential election

here in the United States.

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The Special Counsel also looking

into the prospect that the Trump

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campaign may have colluded

with Russia, as far

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as that is concerned,

yet we have a situation

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where Donald Trump and Vladimir

Putin seemed to be getting

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on like a house on fire.

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In stark contrast, I might add,

to the relationship that

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President Trump has had lately

with traditional American allies,

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Britain, for example.

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He's been critical of

Theresa May and, indeed,

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Germany's Angela Merkel as well.

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David Willis there talking to me

earlier and mentioning special

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counsel Robert Mueller,

who is investigating alleged links

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between Donald Trump's election

campaign and the Russian

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government.

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Well a spokesman for

Mr Mueller has been defending

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the investigation, saying

the appropriate criminal

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process is being followed

in all of the probe's dealings.

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Lawyers representing the Trump

presidential transition team accused

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Mr Mueller of unauthorised access

to tens of thousands of emails.

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip

Erdogan has announced that he wants

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to open an embassy for Palestinians

in East Jerusalem.

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The Turkish leader has been one

of the most vocal opponents

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of Donald Trump's decision

to recognise Jerusalem

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as the capital of Israel and last

week led calls for it to be

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recognised as the capital

of a Palestinian state.

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Here's President Erdogan

at a rally earlier.

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TRANSLATION:

Since Jerusalem is

currently under occupation, we can't

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go there and open our embassy. But

our Consulate general is represented

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by an ambassador. God willing, the

day is close when officially, with

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God's permission, we will open up

our embassy there.

Joining me as a

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nonresident policy analyst in

Washington. Why do you think he has

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spoken out like this?

There are a

couple of reasons. This would be a

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significant, symbolic step. We know

that Turkey has lost its clout over

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the last few weeks. Trump's blunder

on Jerusalem provided Iran an

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opportunity to redress Turkey's

relations with the Arab world. At

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least it would make a boosting image

for Erdogan and the Turkish

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government. They see this meeting

and stumble, with 57 members, as a

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success story.

He is trying to

assert himself as a global defender

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of Sunni Muslim interests?

Well,

there are many issues here. We need

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to look at the relationship between

Turkey and the United States

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specifically. In this meeting,

Erdogan used strong words against

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the Trump administration. It may be

usual to hear from Erdogan slamming

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the United States, but not

necessarily the Trump

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administration, because we know that

initially there was a major hope

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from Ankara, from the

administration. Lately, there is

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major frustration, especially with

the case in New York, the court

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case, which is also holding Turkish

banks accountable for invading Iran

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sanctions two years ago. There is a

major frustration. Erdogan Comer

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claiming it is politically

motivated. Wyatt is related, the

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question about Jerusalem, and other

issues, it is very, I think,

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important to understand the

relationship. Now Erdogan's domestic

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and international constituency would

see an outcome of the New York case

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as politically motivated, perhaps.

We haven't got much time. One last

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question, do you think this is just

rhetoric, just symbolism, or are we

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going to see them take any concrete

steps to do something about it?

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There might be concrete steps, but,

at the end, in terms of the

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relations in general, Turkey and

Israel relations have ups and downs,

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especially strained and turbulent in

the last few years, there would not

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be a major difference in terms of

the Palestinian issue. There might

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be some outcome in terms of the

Ankara and Washington relations,

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especially Erdogan's relations with

the Trump administration.

Thank you

0:08:160:08:19

very much.

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At least eight people have been

killed and dozens of others injured

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after a suicide bomb attack

on a methodist church in Pakistan.

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It happened in the city of Quetta,

which has been the scene of a number

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of attacks in the past year.

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Tom Burridge has more

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A celebration ahead of Christmas,

targeted by extremists.

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Pakistan's police and army,

firing shots in the aftermath

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as they surrounded the church.

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Earlier, the attackers' efforts

to get in and kill as many

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as they could captured on CCTV.

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Watch the man in brown,

who suddenly reveals a machine gun

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and starts to try to access

the church compound.

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His accomplice, behind him

in white, falls over.

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It takes them a long

time to climb the gate,

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but it is chilling to watch,

as the men wearing suicide

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vests exchange shots

with security guards,

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imagine the panic

in the church nearby.

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Officials say one of

the attackers was shot dead

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at the entrance to the compound.

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A second man detonated his vest

near the church door.

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The bodies of those killed,

brought to the local mortuary.

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Too much for relatives,

their loved ones killed

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a week before Christmas.

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At local hospitals, those injured

spoke of their fear as the attackers

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did all they could to get

inside the church.

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TRANSLATION:

We were all in

the church and when we heard gunfire

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we closed the doors.

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The firing continued for a while.

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Then there was an explosion

by the church door.

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The group that calls

itself Islamic State

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claimed responsibility

for the attack, which

0:10:020:10:04

Pakistan's president

described as cowardly.

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Let's take a look at some of

the other stories making the news.

0:10:110:10:15

A British government

worker has been murdered

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in the Lebanese capital Beirut.

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The body of Rebecca Dykes was found

by the side of a road

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in the city on Saturday.

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She had been working

since January as a programme

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manager for the Department

for International Development,

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based at the British embassy.

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Her family say they are

devastated by her loss.

0:10:280:10:31

Police in Ukraine have clashed

with suporters of the opposition

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leader Mikhail Saakashvili.

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They fired tear-gas

at a crowd which tried to get

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into the October Palace in Kiev,

after a rally against

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President Petro Poroshenko.

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No serious injuries

have been reported.

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Polls have closed in the final round

of Chile's residential election. The

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Conservative former President won

the first round, but pollsters say

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his only challenger this time has

narrowed the gap in second-round

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campaigning.

0:11:090:11:11

In South Africa, delegates

from the ruling ANC have started

0:11:110:11:13

voting to elect a successor

to President Jacob Zuma

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as party leader.

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We now know that the new leader

will be one of two people: deputy

0:11:190:11:23

president Cyril Ramaphosa or former

foreign minister Nkosazana

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Dlamini-Zuma, who is one

of the president's former wives.

0:11:250:11:29

The victor is likely to become

the country's next President

0:11:290:11:31

after elections in 2019.

0:11:320:11:41

The BBC's Milton Nkosi,

who's outside the ANC

0:11:410:11:43

conference in Johannesburg,

says it will be

0:11:430:11:44

a close-fought contest.

0:11:450:11:46

The infighting has been as better --

and bitter as they get. The

0:11:460:11:54

infighting had been worse than

anybody thought the ANC would be

0:11:540:11:57

suffering in postapartheid South

Africa. Everyone I have spoken to,

0:11:570:12:02

the experts, the delegates, the spin

doctors, they are telling me it is

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going to be a photo finish. I also

think that the margin will be so

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tight that it is hard to predict who

will now, as we speak, be the next

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President of the African National

Congress. Therefore, potentially,

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the next President of South Africa.

Jacob Zuma's time as President of

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South Africa has taken its toll on

the ANC. What challenges will his

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successor face?

Well, President

Jacob Zuma will have his or her work

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cut out for them. The challenges

that South Africans are facing on a

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day-to-day basis are immense. There

is high unemployment, hovering

0:12:440:12:48

around 28%. You have poverty and

inequality. Those are the

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difficulties that any President will

have to try to clear up before they

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can say they are getting a hold on

running South Africa.

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Austria's new government is due

to be sworn in on Monday,

0:13:070:13:10

after the far-right Freedom Party

agreed to join

0:13:100:13:12

a coalition government.

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It'll be the junior partner,

alongside the conservative

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People's Party, taking charge

of the foreign, interior

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and defence ministries.

0:13:170:13:20

So what does the Freedom Party

stand for and has it

0:13:200:13:22

influenced European politics?

0:13:220:13:23

Bethany Bell has more from Vienna.

0:13:230:13:28

A campaign video for the far right

Freedom party. A couple wakes up to

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discover their home has been overrun

by strangers. The video avoids

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xenophobic images, but the message

is clear. Austria, for the

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Austrians. Support for the Freedom

Party soared during the migrant

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crisis of 2015. Then strip's

Conservative Party, and a Sebastian

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Kurz, also moved to the right. But

now he has formed a coalition with

0:13:590:14:04

the far right. It is controversial.

The party, a major force in

0:14:040:14:11

politics, was founded by former

Nazis in the 1950s. Observers say

0:14:110:14:15

their policies have helped set the

agenda, not only in Austria but

0:14:150:14:20

across Europe.

Of course the Freedom

Party is traditionally a far right

0:14:200:14:25

party. However, what you have seen

in the last years is that many other

0:14:250:14:29

parties in Europe and Austria have

taken over their issue positions. In

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that sense, I think they set a

certain tone all over Europe.

This

0:14:360:14:42

Mayor is from the Freedom Party. He

says it is not an extreme right

0:14:420:14:46

movement and people should not be

scared.

TRANSLATION: We are a

0:14:460:14:52

right-wing party, it is true. We are

also a Homeland party. But we stand

0:14:520:14:57

by European values. We stand for

democracy and human rights, and I

0:14:570:15:01

can't understand where this fear

comes from.

The past still troubles

0:15:010:15:06

the party. This recently published

photo shows a Freedom Party

0:15:060:15:10

politician apparently giving a

Hitler salute. He denied the charge,

0:15:100:15:14

but also did not take up his seat in

the upper house of parliament. In

0:15:140:15:21

the year 2000 there were huge

protests against the Freedom Party

0:15:210:15:25

when it joined a previous

government. Back then, the EU even

0:15:250:15:29

imposed limited diplomatic sanctions

on Austria. There was an outcry in

0:15:290:15:34

Austria and across Europe. Today, EU

sanctions are very unlikely.

0:15:340:15:42

Austria's new leader, Sebastian

Kurz, has pledged to form a pro-EU

0:15:420:15:44

government. Austria has changed,

Europe has changed and now some

0:15:440:15:49

people are wondering if the Freedom

Party has also changed.

0:15:490:15:54

Stay with us. Coming up, as the

Pentagon admits to investigating

0:15:590:16:03

UFOs, we will ask an expert what

they might be looking for and why.

0:16:030:16:08

After eight months on the run,

Saddam Hussein has been tracked down

0:16:140:16:16

and captured by American forces.

0:16:160:16:18

Saddam Hussein is finished.

0:16:180:16:19

Because he killed our people,

our women, our children.

0:16:190:16:29

The signatures took only a few

minutes, but they brought a formal

0:16:290:16:32

end to three and a half years

of conflict, conflict that has

0:16:320:16:35

claimed more than 200,000 lives.

0:16:350:16:38

Before an audience of world leaders,

the presidents of Bosnia,

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Serbia and Croatia put their names

to the peace agreement.

0:16:400:16:45

The Romanian border

was sealed and silent today.

0:16:480:16:50

Romania has cut itself off

from the outside world in order

0:16:500:16:53

to prevent the details

of the presumed massacre

0:16:530:16:55

in Timisoara from leaking out.

0:16:550:17:01

From sex at the White House

to a trial for his political life.

0:17:010:17:04

The Lewinsky affair tonight

guaranteed Bill Clinton his race

0:17:040:17:06

in history as only the second

President ever to be impeached.

0:17:060:17:16

This is Bbc World News Today.

President Putin says that Russia has

0:17:270:17:34

foiled a terror attack and he has

thanked Donald Trump for CIA

0:17:340:17:38

information which helped.

0:17:380:17:40

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip

Erdogan says he wants to open

0:17:400:17:42

a Turkish embassy for Palestinians

in East Jerusalem.

0:17:420:17:46

Breaking news coming from the BBC.

Sir Mo Farah has just won the 2017

0:17:520:18:00

Sports Personality Of The Year

award. He saw off Jonathan Ray and

0:18:000:18:03

Johnnie Peacock, who came in second

and third place. Talking from

0:18:030:18:08

London, he said he was delighted to

have won. I am sure we will hear

0:18:080:18:12

from him in due course.

0:18:120:18:15

The US defence department has

acknowledged running a secret

0:18:150:18:17

multi-million dollar program

to investigate UFOs.

0:18:170:18:21

The New York Times says the program

was launched ten years ago

0:18:210:18:24

at the request of former

Democratic Senator Harry Reid.

0:18:240:18:28

The program is reported to have cost

the Department of Defense more

0:18:280:18:30

than $20 million.

0:18:300:18:36

Let's speak to Sarah Spellman, from

the Association

0:18:360:18:49

Of Phenomena. Are you surprised to

hear of a programme at this run by

0:18:520:18:56

the US governed?

It is an

interesting revelation we are

0:18:560:18:59

finding out about this now. I am not

entirely surprised. At the same

0:18:590:19:04

time, it is new information. It is

really an interesting announcement

0:19:040:19:07

to have come out.

Some might say

that this is using government money

0:19:070:19:12

to fuel conspiracy theories. What do

you think about the necessity or

0:19:120:19:16

otherwise of a programme like this?

That is one take on it. Sure, from

0:19:160:19:21

the government's perspective, they

are always go to be looking at

0:19:210:19:25

defence threats. Security threats,

things of that nature. What we have

0:19:250:19:30

to look at when we are getting

information from them as members of

0:19:300:19:32

the public is what were their

objectives and what can we find out

0:19:320:19:37

about it from our perspective. Yes,

it was over $22 million that was

0:19:370:19:41

spent on the programme. What we

don't know is the outcomes of that

0:19:410:19:46

yet. It has been mentioned about

remains of physical craft, alloys

0:19:460:19:52

that were studied, different metal.

Physical data coming out would be

0:19:520:19:56

really interesting to find out

eventually. Unfortunately we don't

0:19:560:19:59

have that at this point.

Do we know

anything about what they were

0:19:590:20:03

investigating precisely?

Yes, they

were investigating sightings of

0:20:030:20:10

unidentified flying objects. So,

UFOs. Saying UFO does not mean it is

0:20:100:20:15

necessarily from outside of our

solar system or anything we cannot

0:20:150:20:18

explain. At the time, it was not

explainable. So, strange things in

0:20:180:20:23

the sky. They also spoke to people

that claimed to have been in the

0:20:230:20:27

proximity of what they thought to be

non-earthly ships or aircraft. They

0:20:270:20:34

examined some of the physical

symptoms those people have. There

0:20:340:20:36

were also given, by the government,

a subcontractor programme, it was

0:20:360:20:43

run by Bigelow Aerospace and the

Pentagon allegedly gave them certain

0:20:430:20:49

materials to analyse. Unfortunately,

we haven't got data to look at.

If

0:20:490:20:54

they had found something tangible,

would they have necessarily revealed

0:20:540:20:58

that two us, the public?

Yes, that

is the question. Until the news came

0:20:580:21:03

out quite recently we were not aware

of the multi-million dollar

0:21:030:21:05

programme running from the Pentagon

from 2007 until 2012. It does pose

0:21:050:21:16

the question, if it was happening

then, what is happening now that we

0:21:160:21:19

are not aware of? It doesn't mean

there is anything, it just means

0:21:190:21:22

that we cannot say one way or

another.

We are out of time, thank

0:21:220:21:25

you very much.

0:21:250:21:28

Now the sport.

0:21:300:21:33

Jose Mourinho has vowed

that his Manchester United side

0:21:330:21:35

would "fight until the last match"

after they moved back to within 11

0:21:350:21:39

points of Premier League leaders

Manchester City courtesy of a 2-1

0:21:390:21:41

victory at West Brom.

0:21:410:21:43

Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring

for his second goal in as many games

0:21:430:21:50

before Jesse Lingard doubled

United's lead before the break.

0:21:500:21:52

The visitors appeared to be heading

for a comfortable win until Albion

0:21:520:21:55

substitute Gareth Barry poked home

from close range

0:21:550:21:57

with 13 minutes left.

0:21:570:21:59

United though holding on for the win

to go 3 points clear

0:21:590:22:02

of 3rd placed Chelsea.

0:22:020:22:08

They are really strong, they are

really aggressive, they can put

0:22:080:22:11

teams under pressure. We didn't have

problems because we had so much of

0:22:110:22:16

the ball and we had so much control

by having the ball. But we knew that

0:22:160:22:19

at any time a situation could arise.

It was that situation that woke of

0:22:190:22:26

the stadium, gave them the belief

that they didn't have until that

0:22:260:22:33

moment and put us a little bit under

pressure. But I think the

0:22:330:22:36

performance was really good.

0:22:360:22:37

Liverpool moved back

into the top four after

0:22:370:22:39

hammering Bournemouth 4-0.

0:22:390:22:40

There were goals for

Philippe Coutinho, Dejan Lovran

0:22:400:22:43

before Mo Salah got his 11th goal

in 11 games, his 20th of the season

0:22:430:22:47

to end the tie as a meaningful

contest after only 44 minutes.

0:22:470:22:49

Roberto Firmino then adding a 4th.

0:22:490:22:52

Liverpool extending

their unbeaten run in all

0:22:520:22:54

competitions to 12 matches

0:22:540:23:00

It is very important, of course, two

draws in the last few games. Both

0:23:000:23:06

games we should have won and we

didn't. We have to accept that. You

0:23:060:23:12

need to show why you really are part

of this fantastic league. Of course,

0:23:120:23:19

we are Liverpool, so we have to show

that we have to at least try with

0:23:190:23:24

everything to win.

0:23:240:23:26

Over in Spain, we're halfway

through the second half as Barcelona

0:23:260:23:28

welcome Deportivo La Coruna

to the Camp Nou.

0:23:280:23:30

The Catalan Giants on their way

to going 6 points clear of second

0:23:300:23:33

placed Atletico Madrid.

0:23:330:23:34

Two Luis Suarez goals.

0:23:340:23:38

Barcelona cruising to victory.

0:23:380:23:40

Real Madrid not in action this

weekend of course after winning

0:23:400:23:43

the FIFA Club World Cup.

0:23:430:23:44

Their next match will the hotly

anticipated Clasico on the 23rd.

0:23:440:23:48

Justin Rose continues his wonderful

run of form winning

0:23:480:23:50

the Indonesian Masters in Jakarta

by 8 strokes.

0:23:500:23:55

The world number six

sealing his third tournament

0:23:550:23:57

victory in seven weeks.

0:23:570:23:58

Rose played 30 holes on his final

day, after stormy weather continued

0:23:580:24:01

to disrupt the tournament.

0:24:010:24:03

He ended up carding

a 72-hole total of 29-under.

0:24:030:24:07

Phachara Khongwatmai,

the 18-year-old from Thailand,

0:24:070:24:09

hit 65 to finish second but Rose

picking up his first

0:24:090:24:11

Asian Tour Title with his largest

ever winning margin at a tournament.

0:24:110:24:16

Marcel Hirscher dominated the field

at Alta Badia in Italy to take

0:24:180:24:21

a record 5th straight Giant Slalom

win finishing nearly two seconds

0:24:210:24:24

ahead of his nearest challenger

Henrik Kristoffersen.

0:24:240:24:27

The six-time World Cup

winner started the day

0:24:270:24:30

tied with another great,

Italy's Alberto Tomba,

0:24:300:24:31

on four giant slalom wins.

0:24:310:24:34

And having posted the fastest

time on his first run,

0:24:340:24:37

he increased his lead on the second.

0:24:370:24:39

It's Hirscher's third

World Cup win of the season,

0:24:390:24:41

and the 48th of his career so far.

0:24:410:24:45

The Olympic Super-G champion

Anna Veith won her first World Cup

0:24:460:24:49

race since suffering a serious knee

injury more than two years ago.

0:24:490:24:53

She beat Tina Weirather

of Lichtenstein and Italy's Sofia

0:24:530:24:55

Goggia, by almost half a second

at Val d'Isere in France.

0:24:550:25:05

The 28-year-old Austrian's last win

was in the giant slalom

0:25:060:25:08

at Meribel in March 2015,

the year she won the overall

0:25:080:25:11

World Cup title for the second time

And that's all the sport for now.

0:25:110:25:15

But before we go, there is news that

Mo Farah has won the Sports

0:25:150:25:19

Personality Of The Year. He retired

from the track after the World

0:25:190:25:25

Championships in London. Our top

story, Russia's President Putin has

0:25:250:25:33

acknowledge the help of the CIA in

preventing terror attacks in St

0:25:330:25:37

Petersburg. He said he told

President Trump the information has

0:25:370:25:42

helped to track down a terrorist

group that was preparing attacks,

0:25:420:25:45

apparently on Kazan Cathedral and

other public places. It was planned

0:25:450:25:50

for this weekend on Saturday. If you

want to get in touch on Twitter,

0:25:500:25:55

please do.

0:25:550:26:00

I'm @KarinBBC.

0:26:000:26:03

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