21/01/2018 World News Today


21/01/2018

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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This is BBC World News Today.

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I'm Geeta Guru-Murthy.

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Our top stories.

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A new escalation of the war in Syria

as Turkey says its ground forces

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have crossed the border to target

Kurdish fighters there.

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The death toll in the attack

on a luxury hotel in Kabul increases

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to 18, after residents had to flee

during a 12-hour siege.

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Germany's Social Democrats vote

to open talks with Angela Merkel's

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Conservatives to form

another grand coalition.

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A second day of women's marches

around the world, including here in

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London. We bring you the latest.

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Hello and welcome

to World News Today.

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The UN Security Council is due

to discuss the worsening crisis

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in Syria, with Turkey opening up

a new front against Kurdish militia

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in the north of the country.

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The militia, the YPG,

are backed by the United States

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but viewed by Turkey

as a terrorist organisation.

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On Sunday, Turkish troops crossed

the border over the border,

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from where our correspondent,

Mark Lowen, sent this report.

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As if Syria needed more of this.

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Artillery fire from Turkey,

launching a new ground

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and air offensive.

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It's called Operation Olive Branch,

though it's anything

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but a gesture of peace.

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From the skies, Turkish F-16s struck

yesterday, their target,

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the Syrian Kurdish militia known

as the YPG.

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Turkey sees them as terrorists,

linked to the outlawed

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Kurdish militants, the PKK,

and it wants them pushed back

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from the border town of Afrin.

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Turkey's president has his own

troops fighting for their hero,

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and with elections next year,

war rallies his

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conservative supporters.

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TRANSLATION:

This is a national

struggle, and in this national

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struggle we will crush anyone

who stands against us!

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But the YPG has powerful

friends, they are trained

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and armed by the US.

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That has infuriated Turkey,

which says the Americans have chosen

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terrorists over their Nato ally.

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In the hills beside the border,

we found a further build-up,

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as the offensive shows no

sign of ending.

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Every few minutes, you hear the thud

of an artillery strike.

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Turkey has clearly committed

militarily to this operation and has

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widespread popular support here,

but if the Turks suffer losses,

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or civilian casualties

grow, that could change.

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And the risk is clear.

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This border town was hit

by a rocket, said to be

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from the YPG, killing one,

and injuring more.

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Turkey is on dangerous ground,

and a long, costly offensive

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is only just beginning.

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Mark Lowen, BBC News

on the Turkey-Syrian border.

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With me is Sebastian Usher,

our Arab Affairs Editor.

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Talking about a long and costly

offensive and we heard from the

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Turkish leader that he thinks he can

keep this limited.

Erdogan said the

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opposite and said it could be

relatively brief, but the pain he

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has said himself, rhetorically,

which she reaffirmed today is to

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crush all of Turkey's enemies and

that is the Kurds both in Syria and

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in Turkey so that is a huge game and

not just about this region. It goes

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further and that is about 50

kilometres east. And we saw the

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Turkish forces carry out an

offensive of more limited nature in

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2015 to prevent the Kurds from

bringing that to Canton is together

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into one and they backed off to some

extent. At the moment it is

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difficult to see which forced,

beside the Kurds themselves will

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stand up to them.

YPG are known for

battling against the militants,

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tough opponent. How far could the

repercussions spread and how long

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will it go on?

I think Mark is

correct that this could be a long

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campaign. The YPG is more battle

hardened than it was and it was the

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force that drove Isis out of rack.

-- Raqqa. They are well ensconced

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where they are, the Kurdish area,

where they got support from the

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local population. There are other

Kurdish forces near and other parts

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of the alliance which they lead that

could join them. Although Turkey, on

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paper, has overwhelming force, it

would be hard to use that to have a

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quick victory unless they

essentially bomb are thin to the

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extent that we saw the Russians do

when they were attacking the rebels.

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That would provoke a huge

international outcry and already

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Turkey is very isolated. Perhaps not

dangerously so because it is not as

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if the Russians or the Americans are

about to start shooting their planes

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down in the air but with the UN

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Security Council speaking tomorrow

there are bound to be strong words

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against what has happened and the

longer it goes on at the moment,

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countries calling for restraint,

they will up their rhetoric just as

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Mr Erdogan has upped his rhetoric.

How ultimately would the US react?

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We have heard that they were warned

that these aircraft would be

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launched.

The US doesn't have that

many options. It backed the YPG,

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believing they were the most

effective force against IS on the

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ground. The only practical effective

force it could use. But the history

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of the Kurds, when they have served

their purpose, after that, the

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outside forces have abandoned them

because they do not have the power

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of a state like Turkey or Iraq.

They

threaten the whole redrawing of

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this.

So in a sense the Kurds are

cynical because they know when it

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comes down to is they would be

fighting the battle themselves even

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though they will have some

international support but it does

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make the US not -- look not very

good. It makes them look as though

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they cannot call the shots or

protect their own clients in Syria.

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Very different from the way Russia

has manoeuvred into a position of

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strength.

Very complex, thank you

forces -- explaining it.

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Authorities in Afghanistan say 18

people, including 14 foreigners,

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are now confirmed dead after gunmen

attacked a luxury hotel in Kabul.

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Afghan troops fought

through the night, over more than 12

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hours, to free those trapped inside.

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The Taliban says it

carried out the attack.

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Zia Shahreyar has the story.

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EXPLOSION.

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The final moments of a fight that

had lasted all night.

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GUNFIRE.

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Gunfire and explosions,

as Afghan special forces

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battle to regain control

of the Intercontinental Hotel.

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One soldier throws a grenade.

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He moves away, then the explosion.

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EXPLOSION.

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The room is soon on fire,

evidence of the struggle

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that had taken place.

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The Afghan national flag

waving from the roof,

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proof that the building

has been retaken.

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More than 150 people were inside

yesterday evening when gunmen burst

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in and opened fire. Eyewitnesses

said they were after foreigners.

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TRANSLATION:

The attackers

were knocking on the door of each

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room, trying to reach their targets.

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They killed ordinary

people and officials,

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they were also targeting foreigners.

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These images, filmed by local TV,

show people escaping by climbing

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down bed sheets that they'd

tied to balconies.

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This telecoms engineer fell

from the sixth floor

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as he tried to get away.

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TRANSLATION:

When the sixth floor

caught fire this morning,

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my roommates told me to either

burn or escape.

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I got a bed sheet and tied

it to the balcony.

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I tried to come down,

but I was heavy, and my arms

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were not strong enough.

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I fell down, and injured

my shoulder and leg.

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This has been probably the deadliest

attack on foreign civilians

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in Kabul since the US

invasion of Afghanistan.

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We've been told that the attackers

spoke local languages,

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and shouted at Afghans to be

separated from foreign

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nationalities.

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This sustained and complex assault

will prompt urgent questions

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as to how the gunmen got through.

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Zia Shahreyar, BBC News, Kabul.

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Germany has moved a step closer

to forming a new government.

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The centre-left Social Democratic

Party has voted to enter

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into new coalition talks

with Chancellor Merkel's

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conservative bloc.

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At a party meeting in Bonn,

the SPD's Martin Schulz had urged

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many sceptical delegates to press

ahead, describing a new coalition

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as the best way to combat hard

right politics in Europe.

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Angela Merkel welcomed

the development.

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The CDU already cleared the way

for coalition talks last week

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after concluding the exploratory

talks, now we are pleased

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and welcome that the SPD did

so today at its congress.

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Today, we are preparing for this

coalition negotiation.

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Tomorrow, within the CDU

we will work together,

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and then quickly enter into joint

discussion with

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the Social Democrats.

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That's what today's

decision of the SPD allows.

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Jenny Hill in Berlin says that

with party leader, Martin Schulz,

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convincing the conference to support

the idea of a coalition,

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talks to form a government

could begin as soon as tomorrow.

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His view is that if they can pull

this off, if they go

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into Government, in his view it's

the responsible thing to do to try

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and form a government,

but that it's possible,

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in his view, to renew the party

within that coalition,

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but their task is going to be huge.

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They are very low in the polls,

they will have to distinguish

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themselves from Mrs Merkel's

Conservatives if they are to try

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and rebuild their electorate,

many of whom, of course,

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disappeared off to vote AFD,

the far right party.

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There is a lot of work to be done,

and he's going to have to do

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something to unite the party,

that is if they still want him

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as leader, because of course he has

presided over this real controversy.

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Worth just pointing out,

when it comes to coalition talks

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which will take place later this

week, if and when the two sides can

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get some kind of deal drafted,

the party base, all 440,000 members

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of the SPD will have to approve it,

via postal ballot before any actual

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coalition Government can be formed.

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So, Mrs Merkel isn't out

of the woods just yet,

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but I think today you have

seen her overcome

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a significant hurdle.

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They have taken a step towards,

I suppose, delivering

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the Government, the stability

she has promised Germany all along.

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Let's take a look at some of

the other stories making the news.

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The US Senate is resuming its debate

on funding the US government. They

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are sitting for a rare Sunday

session to try and force the opening

0:11:460:11:52

of government agencies shut down

because of the impasse over military

0:11:520:11:55

funding and health care. It was said

there would be a vote early on

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Monday.

0:11:590:12:00

Six people have been

killed during opposition

0:12:000:12:01

protests in the capital

of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Police used teargas and live

ammunition to disperse

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demonstrators in Kinshasa,

who were demanding that President

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Joseph Kabila give up power.

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Mr Kabila's term of office expired

more than a year ago.

0:12:110:12:16

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei

Lavrov has said the West's

0:12:160:12:18

"unprecedented Russiaphobia"

was worse than at the

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height of the Cold War.

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He was speaking in an interview

with the Russian daily Kommersant,

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after a two-day visit to New York.

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He said that back during

the East-West tensions of the second

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half of the last century,

there was at least "some decorum".

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Stay with us on BBC

World News, still to come.

0:12:380:12:44

Not just any visit

from the neighbours -

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a North Korean delegation heads

South to check on the

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Winter Olympic venues.

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The reaction of American servicemen

was predictable.

I am going home. I

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am going home.

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Demonstrators waiting for Mike

Gatting and his rebel cricket team

0:13:160:13:19

were attacked with tear gas and set

upon by police dogs. Anti-apartheid

0:13:190:13:23

campaigners said they would carry on

the protests throughout the tour.

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They call him the Butcher of Lyon.

He is being held on a fraud charge

0:13:270:13:31

in Bolivia but the West Germans want

to extradite him for crimes

0:13:310:13:35

committed in wartime France. There

he was the Gestapo chief.

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Millions came to bathe as close as

possible to this spot, a tide of

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humanity that was believed by

officials to have broken all

0:13:490:13:52

records.

0:13:520:13:54

This is BBC World News Today.

0:14:010:14:06

The latest headlines.

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Turkey says its forces have entered

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a Kurdish-controlled enclave

in northern Syria.

0:14:080:14:10

President Erdogan says he hopes

the incursion will be brief.

0:14:100:14:14

Afghan authorities say the death

toll has increased to 18 in

0:14:140:14:17

a militant attack on a luxury

hotel in Kabul.

0:14:170:14:21

Thousands of protesters have taken

part in a women's March as part of

0:14:280:14:32

an international campaign to combat

gender inequality.

0:14:320:14:37

It follows similar marches that took

place yesterday in the US -

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on what was the anniversary

of Donald Trump's inauguration.

0:14:400:14:43

Those marches have

entered a second day now,

0:14:430:14:45

with one of the biggest events

is planned to take place

0:14:450:14:48

in US city of Las Vegas,

Rajini Vaidyanathan is there for us.

0:14:480:14:51

The main focus is this event in Las

Vegas. It has not kicked off yet,

0:14:510:14:54

but as you can see over there,

thousands of women have packed into

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the stadium just outside the centre

of Las Vegas. The focus of the event

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is actually trying to get women to

register to vote, because it last

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year was a rallying cry, this year

is all about getting things done and

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getting more people in positions of

power and also encouraging people to

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run to office. I'm joined by two

people who have travelled from afar.

0:15:160:15:20

Emily.

Thanks to having me.

And

Katie. Thanks to having me. You are

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both sisters who have come from

Connecticut and California. Starting

0:15:290:15:32

with you, Emily, why is it so

important to come here?

As a mother

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of two little boys, raising them, we

want our attention to good values. I

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want little boys that are kind and

caring, and my boys are adopted a

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minority children that is a very

specific cause bus about being what

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is happening in our country right

now. When I sit down at the dinner

0:15:540:15:57

table with them I have a hard time

helping them seaways that they can

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emulate their president right now.

But aside from people's political

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stances, when I look at the leader

of a country, I want to look at

0:16:080:16:12

someone I can show my children I

want represented in my own home.

0:16:120:16:16

Katie, many people who support

Donald Trump say that is his style

0:16:160:16:22

and even if what Emily says might be

the case that some people, it is

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about results and the economy is

doing well.

I think we need to take

0:16:250:16:30

a look at that in a couple of years

from now and really demand more from

0:16:300:16:35

our president. I am not convinced

that the moment that we are headed

0:16:350:16:40

down right path. Becoming a new

mother has meant trying to deepen my

0:16:400:16:46

own understanding of where we are

headed as a country for her future.

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What do you think needs to change

the most? What are you agitating

0:16:500:16:55

for?

I'd like to see more women

involved in their local politics. I

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think the national stage is taking a

lot of air in the room right now and

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if we have a voice we must use it.

It is important to get engaged. I'm

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here to deepen my own understanding

of various perspectives to try and

0:17:090:17:13

take that to the polls with me and

also take that to my daily and

0:17:130:17:18

weekly routine at work and at home

and in my life in my community in

0:17:180:17:24

Berkeley, California.

I need to get

more involved. Some of the

0:17:240:17:26

supporters of the women's March in

the US.

0:17:260:17:28

France's president, Emmanuel Macron,

has told the BBC he shares

0:17:280:17:30

the outrage of African countries

about reports Donald Trump used

0:17:300:17:33

a vulgar and offensive

word to describe them.

0:17:330:17:36

Mr Trump was forced to deny

being a racist when he was accused

0:17:360:17:39

of making the comments

during an Oval Office

0:17:390:17:41

meeting on immigration.

0:17:410:17:42

He was speaking to Andrew Marr.

0:17:420:17:51

Let me ask you about another leader,

and I wondered what you thought when

0:17:510:17:55

you got up in the morning and saw

what Donald Trump had said about

0:17:550:18:01

certain African countries. He denies

using it but a lot of people said he

0:18:010:18:04

did. Among the African countries out

rays were many Francophone countries

0:18:040:18:09

in Africa and did you share their

outrage?

For sure. It is not a word

0:18:090:18:17

you can use and if we want precisely

to build peace and development in

0:18:170:18:29

these countries and respectful

relationships...

You cannot use

0:18:290:18:33

those words.

By definition. And a

lot of the issues in the Middle East

0:18:330:18:39

and Africa is due to a lot of

frustrations and due to a lot of and

0:18:390:18:50

we have -- past humiliations. We

have to respect all of these

0:18:500:18:53

countries.

I wonder what you make of

him as a person, having come across

0:18:530:18:58

him personally?

He is not a

classical politician. First of all,

0:18:580:19:05

he was elected by his own people and

he is the President of the United

0:19:050:19:09

States. And that is a great country

and a great responsibility. That is

0:19:090:19:14

where I want to work with him and I

think we can build a long and strong

0:19:140:19:18

relationship. We disagree on many

topics. I call him regularly and I

0:19:180:19:25

am direct and Frank and sometimes I

managed to convince him, and

0:19:250:19:30

sometimes I fail.

President Macron

speaking to Andrew Marr. It is worth

0:19:300:19:33

a look at the website if you want to

see that in full. Let's catch up

0:19:330:19:36

with all of the sport.

0:19:360:19:47

Cristiano Ronaldo ended a miserable

run of form with a late double

0:19:470:19:50

to help Real Madrid thump

La Coruna 7-1.

0:19:500:19:52

Ronaldo had only scored four league

goals before Sunday's clash

0:19:520:19:55

with third-from-bottom Deportivo.

0:19:550:19:56

Gareth Bale and Nacho also bagged

braces each side of half-time.

0:19:560:19:58

So Real move back above Villarreal

and into the Champions

0:19:580:20:01

League places.

0:20:010:20:02

Leaders Barcelona are playing

Real Betis right now.

0:20:020:20:04

Barca have scored three times

in quick succession

0:20:040:20:07

for a 3-0 lead.

0:20:070:20:10

Ivan Rakatic, Lionel Messi

scored the second and

0:20:100:20:12

Luis Suarez the third.

0:20:120:20:17

Over in Italy, Dries Mertens ended

a long goal drought to give Napoli

0:20:170:20:21

a 1-0 victory at Atalanta,

that saw the Serie A leaders

0:20:210:20:24

move four points clear.

0:20:240:20:29

Second-placed Juventus clash

with Genoa on Monday.

0:20:290:20:30

Harry Kane struck his 99th

Premier League goal

0:20:300:20:34

to save Tottenham with a 1-1 draw

against Southampton.

0:20:340:20:36

Kane's now just a goal away

from becoming the 27th

0:20:360:20:39

member of the '100 Club'.

0:20:390:20:43

The result moves Spurs to within two

points of fourth-placed Liverpool,

0:20:430:20:45

who have a game in hand.

0:20:450:20:47

Mauricio Pochettino wasn't happy

with the loss of two

0:20:470:20:49

vital points in the push

for a Champions League place.

0:20:490:20:52

We must give credit to the opponent

but our performance was not great

0:20:580:21:02

and I am not happy with our

performance.

What in particular?

In

0:21:020:21:08

possession we need to move the ball

quicker and create more. I think we

0:21:080:21:13

made a lot of mistaken decisions and

it's impossible to win the game when

0:21:130:21:17

you make many mistakes.

0:21:170:21:21

Watford have appointed Javi Gracia

as their new manager

0:21:210:21:24

following the sacking of Marco

Silva.

0:21:240:21:25

Silva became the eighth sacking

in this Premier League season.

0:21:250:21:27

Watford claimed Everton's

"unwarranted approach" for Silva

0:21:270:21:29

as their replacement coach

for Ronald Koeman,

0:21:290:21:31

was the "catalyst" behind

their decision to sack him.

0:21:310:21:33

The Spaniard Gracia last managed

Russian club Rubin Kazan and has

0:21:330:21:39

signed an 18-month deal.

0:21:390:21:41

It's the final of the Masters

Snooker with Kyren Wilson

0:21:410:21:43

and Mark Allen gunning for a maiden

title in London.

0:21:430:21:50

Wilson and Allen shared the opening

eight frames before Allen hit

0:21:500:21:53

the final's first century

in frame 12.

0:21:530:21:56

He leads 7-5 at the

mid-session interval.

0:21:560:21:58

The winner is first to 10 frames.

0:21:580:22:03

Tommy Fleetwood played with some

back-nine brilliance

0:22:030:22:05

to defend his Abu Dhabi golf title.

0:22:050:22:08

The European number one

finished on 22-under-par,

0:22:080:22:09

two strokes clear of Ross Fisher.

0:22:090:22:13

Four-times major winner Rory McIlroy

finished tied for third

0:22:130:22:15

alongside Matt Fitzpatrick.

0:22:150:22:19

McIlroy said Fleetwood's finish

was "obscene" as he carded six

0:22:190:22:22

birdies over the closing nine holes.

0:22:220:22:28

It was just important that we

carried on going forward and it's

0:22:280:22:33

all well and good having a great

year and it was the best year of my

0:22:330:22:37

life but we want to keep pushing and

like I say, I want to know where my

0:22:370:22:41

potential will take me but I wanted

to keep pushing and make sure that

0:22:410:22:45

we just kept improving and it was

important to do that and this week

0:22:450:22:50

feels like another step along the

way.

Playing some excellent golf at

0:22:500:22:54

the moment.

0:22:540:22:55

England captain Eoin Morgan

says their one day cricket

0:22:550:22:57

win against Australia

is probably their best

0:22:570:22:59

as a group yet.

0:22:590:23:01

England have taken an unassailable

3-0 lead in the series,

0:23:010:23:03

thanks largely to an unbeaten

century from wicketkeeper

0:23:030:23:05

Jos Buttler in Sydney.

0:23:050:23:06

He was helped by 53 not out

from all rounder Chris Woakes

0:23:060:23:09

as England posted 302-6

from their 50 overs.

0:23:090:23:11

Australia fell 16 runs

short in their reply,

0:23:110:23:13

with controversy over Steve Smith

being caught out.

0:23:130:23:19

Mark Wood picked up two wickets.

0:23:190:23:22

The final two one-dayers take place

in Adelaide on Friday

0:23:220:23:25

and Perth next Sunday.

0:23:250:23:26

And now to Priests on the Piste.

0:23:260:23:29

Yep, you heard it right.

0:23:290:23:31

The 21st annual Alpine Skiing

Championships for Clergymen took

0:23:310:23:33

place in Poland this weekend.

0:23:330:23:38

They compete for

the John Paul II cup.

0:23:380:23:40

Competitors are divided not

on their beliefs but on age.

0:23:400:23:44

They compete on the 800

metre slalom course.

0:23:440:23:49

The cassocks aren't the most

aerodynamic outfits.

0:23:490:23:55

Pretty cool pictures. Back to you.

It looks fantastic.

0:23:550:24:00

North Korean officials have been

inspecting winter olympic

0:24:000:24:01

venues in South Korea.

0:24:010:24:02

It's the first such trip

by a delegation from the North since

0:24:020:24:05

South Korean President Moon Jae-In,

took office last May.

0:24:050:24:08

Sophia Tran-Thomson reports.

0:24:080:24:09

A warning it contains

some flash photography.

0:24:090:24:12

The symbolic torch is already doing

the rounds in South Korea,

0:24:120:24:15

but with less than three weeks

until the opening ceremony

0:24:150:24:20

of Pyeongchang's winter Olympics,

there has been plenty of speculation

0:24:200:24:23

that the North wouldn't

be taking part.

0:24:230:24:25

On Sunday, a sigh of relief

for organisers and athletes

0:24:250:24:29

as a North Korean delegation crossed

the border under heavy police guard.

0:24:290:24:36

The officials, led by a North Korean

girl band star, will spend two days

0:24:360:24:39

inspecting the venues

and preparing cultural performances.

0:24:390:24:45

Boarding a train in Seoul,

the representatives avoided

0:24:450:24:47

answering questions about why

they previously postponed the visit.

0:24:470:24:53

Regardless, the trip

is somewhat of a breakthrough,

0:24:530:24:56

after a year of escalating tension

over the north's nuclear missile

0:24:560:25:00

programme and a milestone

announcement from the IOC

0:25:000:25:03

in Switzerland on Saturday,

confirming that the two nations

0:25:030:25:08

will march together at the opening

ceremony and compete under

0:25:080:25:10

a unified Korean flag.

0:25:100:25:12

The north will send 22

athletes to the Winter Games

0:25:120:25:15

and compete in three sports

and five disciplines.

0:25:150:25:20

TRANSLATION:

North Korea's

participation in the winter Olympics

0:25:200:25:24

will present the most dramatic scene

in the history of the Olympics.

0:25:240:25:29

It can be a chance to show

the value and power of sport,

0:25:290:25:32

when players from two Koreas march

together and compete

0:25:320:25:34

as a unified team.

0:25:340:25:44

Seoul and the organisers

hope that the games,

0:25:440:25:46

which they are calling

the Peace Olympics, could ease

0:25:460:25:48

tensions with their northern

neighbour, who they have never

0:25:480:25:51

officially made peace with,

since the Korean War ended

0:25:510:25:53

with Armistice in 1953.

0:25:530:25:54

Don't forget you can get

in touch with me and some

0:25:540:25:56

of the team on Twitter.

0:25:560:25:58

I'm @Geetagurumurthy.

0:25:580:26:01

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