25/02/2018 World News Today


25/02/2018

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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Transcript


LineFromTo

Nemtsov,

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This is BBC World News Today.

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Our top stories:

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A suspected chemical

attack in Syria.

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Activists say these pictures are

from a hospital in Eastern Ghouta,

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an area that's been under intense

attack for a week.

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The political crisis in

the Democratic Republic of Congo -

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security forces open fire on a rally

calling for President Kabila to go.

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China's Xi Jinping could remain as

president for many years, and

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proposed constitutional changes.

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A team from Poland trying to be

the first to conquer the world's

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second-highest peak in winter -

so why did one of the climbers

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strike out his own?

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Hello and welcome

to World News Today.

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There are reports from Syria

of a chemical attack

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in Eastern Ghouta, an enclave

on the outskirts of Damascus that

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has been under intense bombardment

from the Syrian regime

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for a week now.

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The region is the last major

rebel-held area near the capital,

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and the Assad regime is now

determined to take it back.

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These are pictures we've

just received of that

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suspected chemical attack.

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The reports come a day

after the United Nations Security

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Council demanded a Syrian

ceasefire "without delay".

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But clashes between Syrian forces

and the rebels have continued,

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as have the airstrikes.

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Russia has accused the rebels of

attacking Syrian government forces.

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Caroline Hawley reports.

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In Eastern Ghouta today,

a measure of calm after a week-long

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storm of airstrikes.

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In small numbers, people ventured

out from underground shelters

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to assess the damage.

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But there were reports of airstrikes

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continuing in some parts

of the rebel-held enclave.

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Once again, children

were among the dead.

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Today is the first day

of the ceasefire resolution.

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Still there is warplanes

in the atmosphere, still shelling,

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but it is less bad than before.

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The vote last night for a month-long

ceasefire didn't specify exactly

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when it would start or how it

would be implemented,

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and there's another problem.

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In Eastern Ghouta, it's a disparate

group of rebels fighting the regime,

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including some extremist elements

that have been linked

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to Al-Qaeda, and the ceasefire

doesn't cover them.

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Government forces are massed around

the edge of the enclave,

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with reports of clashes

as they try and advance.

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Tonight, we spoke to the most

powerful group on the ground,

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Jaysh Al Islam, which claims to have

killed and kidnapped dozens

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of government troops today.

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TRANSLATION:

When the regime is not

abiding by the UN resolution,

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I cannot stand still and watch

and not defend myself

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and our families in Ghouta.

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In one hospital in Eastern Ghouta,

victims, activists say,

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of a suspected chemical attack,

suffering symptoms of a possible use

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of chlorine gas.

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If there's one thing all sides agree

on it's that the conflict,

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and the agony of Syrian civilians,

is very far from over.

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Dr Mohamad Katoub is

the advocacy manager

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from the Syrian American Medical

Society.

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He is originally from Ghouta

but joins us live from Turkey.

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What more do you know about this

suspected attack?

Good evening.

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Today we received information from

our hospital in Eastern Ghouta, one

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of our hospital is there, that

received 16 patients with symptoms

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indicating chlorine. The doctors who

treated the patients are

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well-qualified and they experienced

chemical victims before, so they

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know what they are talking about. We

don't have any way to identify the

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agents other than the symptoms they

described. All the patients were

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treated, they came in with moderate

symptoms, so we have only one death

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between the 16. It's a child, and we

are not sure if the death is because

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of the chemical attack or because of

other injuries, because it seems

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that the missile which was loaded

with the chemical agent also caused

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some destruction in the building

where this family lived.

If it was

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chlorine, what with these people

have experienced and felt during the

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attack and afterwards?

Suffocating,

mainly. Chlorine causes respiratory

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problems. This is the main issue.

While other chemical or legends --

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chemical agents cause other

symptoms. This is how we verify it,

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in addition to the treatment we

provide to the patient. Actually,

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six children from those 16 don't

know what's happening to them, why

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they are in the hospital. The

doctors were very frustrated, that's

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not enough to explain what they

feel, because they feel like this is

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only an alarm and it will bring more

chemical attacks, because no one is

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doing anything to stop them. This is

attack number four in 2018, and

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number seven in Syria which is using

chemical agents against civilians.

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This is a chronic issue. Chemical

weapons have been used since 2012 to

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now. Almost 200 chemical attacks,

exactly 197, that have been reported

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through our medical staff, and we

are just hearing about deadlines and

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stopping this and the UN Security

Council, but this didn't happen,

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especially in this area, which has

been under siege for five years now.

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There is a shortage of medicine, no

capacity to face such attacks, no

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protection gear even for some of the

rescue team, which pulled the people

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from the attack area. Even they were

contaminated. Thank God that until

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now, only one death since the

beginning of the year by chemical

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weapons. But we expect more and more

as there is no action.

We appreciate

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you joining us,-ism Mohamad Katoub.

Thank you.

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Let's take a look at some of

the other stories making the news.

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Nigeria's government has

deployed its air force to help

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in the search for a group

of schoolgirls missing

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since an attack by Islamist

militants on a school

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in the north-east of the country.

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The information ministry says 110

girls remain unaccounted for.

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The National Rifle Association

in the United States has stressed

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that it's opposed to any gun ban,

appearing to go against

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President Trump's recent comments

that some gun controls

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should be considered.

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Following the deadly

shooting in a Florida

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school earlier this month,

Mr Trump proposed raising

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the age limit for buying

certain types of guns,

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and banning modifications that

enable semi-automatic rifles

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to shoot more rounds per minute.

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Police in Leicester have declared

a "major incident" after reports

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of an explosion this evening.

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Leicestershire Fire Service said

they were sending six fire engines

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to the scene and were treating

the incident as a search

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and rescue operation.

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There are no reports

of any casualties.

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The cause of the explosion

is not known.

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One person has been killed

and several others injured

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in the Democratic Republic of Congo,

as people have taken

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to the streets to protest

against President Joseph Kabila.

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Mr Kabila has stayed

in power despite his

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mandate expiring in 2016.

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Demonstrators defied a ban in many

parts of the country

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to protest after Sunday mass,

and were met with live

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bullets and tear gas.

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Clouds of toxic gas and a hail of

bullets. These protesters defied a

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ban on demonstrations, taking to the

streets after Sunday mass. They say

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president Kabila should have down --

stood down in 2016.

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TRANSLATION:

We are determined

because we are suffering. We will

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march even if the police stop us,

even they have to understand that

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Kabila's mandate is finished, he

must go.

Reports say police quickly

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turned to using live ammunition to

try and end the protests. The

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violence has claimed the life of at

least one person. The campaign group

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human rights watch has identified

him as this 36-year-old, a

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university lecturer turned activist.

A relative said he was shot outside

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a church in the capital, Kinshasa.

This Facebook page has been set up

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in his memory. The police done I bet

anybody has been killed in the

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protests. -- the police deny.

Our

goal was to have no threat because

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we are here to provide security for

our population, our compatriots. I

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told the police men not to shoot at

any non-civilians.

Authorities

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missed a deadline to hold national

elections last year and a new vote

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is slated for December, but

officials are already hinting that

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what they called financial and

logistical issues might get in the

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way. With opposition parties

crippled by infighting and many of

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their leaders forced into exile, the

Catholic Church has become the main

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force opposing Kabila's rule.

TRANSLATION:

As long as we don't see

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goodwill and good faith from our

leaders, we will not stop

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demonstrating. Maybe we will be able

to change the way we do it, but

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we'll stick with it.

Mr Kabila's

opponents are now focusing on

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stopping him from changing the

constitution in his favour. He wants

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to remove the presidential term

limit altogether, meaning that he

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could stay on legitimately. If he

succeeds, there could be many more

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days like this one.

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The Chinese Communist Party has

announced plans that could allow

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President Xi Jinping

to extend his role indefinitely.

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Under the current constitution,

he can only stay as President

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for two terms, until 2022.

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The party may now change that rule.

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Le'ts speak now to an author

and expert on China, Ann Lee.

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She joins me from New York.

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What do you think this is about? Do

you think it is about one man and

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his personality wanting to

consolidate power, or is it more

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about the people at the top of the

party saying that collective power

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doesn't work when you want to drive

change?

Well, it's a little

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difficult to tell. What is certain

is that this change will give him

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unprecedented power, but the real

question is is it going to be used

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for positive impact or selfish ends?

And so what we do know is that China

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right now is at a very critical

period, transitioning into an

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innovation economy, and emerging as

a world power on the international

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stage. It's a tricky situation, and

China knows that they need to have a

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very strong leadership in order to

steer this ship through these very

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uncertain, challenging, turbulent

waters. And so, it's very possible

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that they feel that they need to

rely on someone that they know and

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who has been trusted by a number of

folks, and they will be hoping Xi

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Jinping can stay the course and

provide that leadership. They

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probably worried that having

leadership changes during critical

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periods might be inviting too

much... On the other hand, having

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too much power concentrated in one

person can also bring corruption.

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And this could lead to dangerous

outcomes, as we've seen with

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Chairman Mao which led to

unnecessary deaths of civilians

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during his rule. And so there could

be negative outcomes if Xi Jinping

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does not use his power in a

benevolent and positive way. I think

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that we need to just observe and see

what happens, whether this is a

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calculated move by the Communist

leaders. They don't know in the end

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what Xi Jinping will turn out to be

in the years to come, and nobody

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will know.

Thank you very much.

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Stay with us. Plenty more still to

come, including all of the sport,

0:14:130:14:18

with the latest from the English

Premier League, including Manchester

0:14:180:14:22

United's victory over Chelsea at Old

Trafford.

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As revolutions go, this had its fair

share of bullets. A climax in the

0:14:450:14:49

night outside the gates. The label

itself symbolising one of the

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crudest regimes in modern Asia.

The

world's first clone has been

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produced of adult mammal. Scientists

produced a sheep called Dolly. The

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citizens trying to come to grips

with their new freedom. Although

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there is joy and relief, scowling is

everywhere. Not for 20 years have

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locusts been seen in such numbers

here, some swarms have been ten

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miles long. This is the last time

the public will see this Pope. Soon,

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for the sake of credibility and

authority of the next one, Benedict

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XVI will be hidden from the world

for the rest of his life.

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This is BBC World News Today.

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The latest headlines

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There are reports of a chemical

attack in Syria. Activists say these

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pictures are from a hospital in

Eastern Ghouta, an area that's been

0:15:520:15:58

under intense bombardment for a

week. Security forces in the

0:15:580:16:02

Democratic Republic of Congo opened

fire on a rally calling for

0:16:020:16:05

President Kabila to go.

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The UK's opposition party would keep

the UK in a customs union

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with the EU after the country leaves

the bloc, its party's Brexit

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spokesman has confirmed.

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Labour's Kier Starmer told the BBC

that the arrangement would be

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best for the economy,

but still respect

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the referendum result.

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The policy shift marks a clear

difference with the UK

0:16:240:16:27

Prime Minister, who is committed

to leaving both the EU's customs

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arrangement and the single market.

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With me is BBC political

correspondent Ben Wright.

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In the UK, the Labour Party is in

opposition, but they could have an

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influence on government policy,

couldn't they?

That's right, and the

0:16:490:16:53

reason is because Theresa May's

Conservative Party doesn't have an

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overall majority in the House of

Commons. Over the next year, really,

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leading up to the date of Brexit,

there will be many opportunities for

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Members of Parliament to vote on the

Brexit process so it doesn't take

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many, a handful, even, of Tory MPs,

Conservative MPs, to vote with the

0:17:120:17:16

Labour Party to defeat the

government, and the backdrop to the

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whole of Brexit over the next year

or so. Labour's policy position on

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the customs union is one of the most

significant moves we've seen for

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months. Bcentral planks of the

government Brexit strategy is to

0:17:280:17:31

take Britain out of the central

market, but also the customs union,

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sharing tariff free trade across the

EU. The Labour position has been

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evolving slowly over the last few

months and they confirmed that, were

0:17:420:17:46

they to be in power, they would want

Britain to create a new customs

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union with the European Union to

maintain tariff free trade as much

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as possible. The reason this is

dangerous for the government is that

0:17:560:18:00

there is highly likely to be a vote

in the house of parliament at some

0:18:000:18:03

point in the next weeks or months

that would allow Tory MPs who are

0:18:030:18:07

critical of their own government's

policy to join forces with the

0:18:070:18:10

Labour Party and potentially inflict

a defeat on the government and

0:18:100:18:15

potentially change the government's

preferred option on the customs

0:18:150:18:19

union, which changes the course of

Brexit. That is why these policy

0:18:190:18:22

choices that Labour is making are

significant.

Thank you.

0:18:220:18:28

A Polish expedition attempting

to become the first to conquer

0:18:300:18:32

the world's second-highest peak,

K2, in winter has confirmed that one

0:18:320:18:35

of its climbers appears to have

launched an unauthorised solo

0:18:350:18:37

attempt to reach the summit.

0:18:370:18:39

Denis Urubko struck out alone,

reportedly refusing to discuss his

0:18:390:18:42

plans with base camp on the radio.

0:18:420:18:47

We can now speak to the expedition

spokesperson, Michal Leksinski.

0:18:470:18:50

He's in Warsaw.

0:18:500:18:57

Just explain to me, why is it so bad

for somebody to strike out on their

0:18:570:19:01

own? You are all competitive

climbers, aren't you?

Well, I must

0:19:010:19:08

say...

PROBLEMS WITH SOUND.

0:19:080:19:12

Without any discussion and without

any consultation to make his

0:19:120:19:17

attempt. It's an international

expedition, 13 people have worked so

0:19:170:19:26

far for two months to establish

camps to fix the roads on the route

0:19:260:19:33

to the summit of K2, and without any

consultations Dennis attempted, or

0:19:330:19:43

is attempting for the summit push,

so this changed a bit the tactics,

0:19:430:19:50

because of the fact that he went

solo without any connectivity and

0:19:500:19:55

without any radio with himself. We

have to prepare other teams, which

0:19:550:20:02

are now currently at an altitude of

6200 metres in a camp, and 6700

0:20:020:20:08

metres in a camp also, they have to

be prepared for supporting Denis

0:20:080:20:19

Urubko, his summit attempt.

Currently, he's probably at altitude

0:20:190:20:24

of 7200 metres in camp three, from

where tomorrow probably he'll go

0:20:240:20:31

further and higher for the summit,

probably, we don't know his plans,

0:20:310:20:39

but maybe he'll try and do it in one

day, so he will try and go from 7200

0:20:390:20:45

metres to the summit.

Am I right in

thinking that you are very politely

0:20:450:20:49

trying to say he is being selfish,

and he is being dangerous?

Well,

0:20:490:20:55

this decision probably, we can't

say, but it is dangerous, because

0:20:550:21:04

when you go solo without

consulting...

0:21:040:21:05

PROBLEMS WITH SOUND.

Without any other members of the

0:21:050:21:12

team... It creates a dangerous

environment, especially all K2,

0:21:120:21:17

which is a very dangerous mountain,

however we will be assuming that

0:21:170:21:23

Dennis, being very known and

experienced climber, he will know

0:21:230:21:30

whether the weather will allow him

to go for the summit, and he will

0:21:300:21:33

judge and assess the situation in

the proper way, so he will not

0:21:330:21:41

create any dangerous environment,

both for him and also for the team

0:21:410:21:45

members.

OK, and no doubt some words

when he gets back down. Thank you

0:21:450:21:51

for joining us.

0:21:510:21:53

Now all the sport.

0:21:530:21:57

Manchester City have won their first

silverware under manager

0:21:570:21:59

Pep Guardiola with a comprehensive

3-0 win over Arsenal

0:21:590:22:02

in the League Cup final at Wembley.

0:22:020:22:04

It was a dominant performance

from City, who took the lead

0:22:040:22:07

through Sergio Aguero in the first

half - his 199th goal for City

0:22:070:22:10

in all competitions.

0:22:100:22:13

City made sure of the trophy

with two quick strikes in the second

0:22:130:22:16

half, the first from Vincent

Kompany...

0:22:160:22:18

And then another from David Silva,

as Arsenal looked in danger

0:22:180:22:21

of being overrun, but no

further goals followed.

0:22:210:22:24

Arsene Wenger's search

for a League Cup win goes on,

0:22:240:22:26

while Guardiola lifted what he hopes

will be the first of three

0:22:260:22:29

trophies this year.

0:22:290:22:34

City manager Pep Guardiola may draw

further attention from the FA

0:22:340:22:36

after he wore his trademark yellow

ribbon, which he displays in support

0:22:360:22:39

of imprisoned politicians

in his native Catalonia,

0:22:390:22:41

despite facing a charge from English

football's governing body

0:22:410:22:43

for "wearing a political message".

0:22:430:22:48

In the Premier League,

Jose Mourinho's Manchester United

0:22:480:22:50

came from a goal down to beat

Antonio Conte's Chelsea

0:22:500:22:52

2-1 at Old Trafford.

0:22:520:22:54

The win keeps United in second

place behind runaway

0:22:540:22:56

leaders Manchester City.

0:22:560:22:58

After going behind to a Willian

goal, Romelu Lukaku equalised

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for the home side five minutes

before the half-time interval.

0:23:010:23:05

The winner came from Jesse Lingard

15 minutes from the end,

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as Chelsea drop to 5th place.

0:23:080:23:12

Earlier, Tottenham beat

Crystal Palace 1-0 -

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the only goal from Harry Kane

in the 88th minute.

0:23:140:23:16

That win stretches Spurs' unbeaten

record into 15 games

0:23:160:23:19

in all competitions,

and also takes them fourth

0:23:190:23:22

after Chelsea's loss

at Manchester United.

0:23:220:23:26

In Spain, Diego Costa

and Antoine Griezmann goals

0:23:260:23:29

for Atletico Madrid see them lead

Sevilla 2-0, heading towards the end

0:23:290:23:32

of their Primera Division match.

0:23:320:23:35

The win would take them

to within seven points

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of leaders Barcelona

0:23:370:23:39

while Sevilla would drop

a place to 6th with a loss.

0:23:390:23:41

Elsewhere Villarreal held

on to a 1-0 win over Getafe ending

0:23:410:23:44

a five-match winless streak

and moving to fifth place.

0:23:440:23:46

Athletic Bilbao beat bottom side

Malaga while Valencia were 2-1

0:23:460:23:50

winners over Real Sociedad.

0:23:500:23:55

Now to golf, and Eddie Pepperell

edged out fellow Englishman Oliver

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Fisher by one shot to secure

the Qatar Masters.

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It was his first title

on the European Tour

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athough he had come close before.

0:24:020:24:04

He lost a play-off at

the Irish Open in 2015.

0:24:040:24:07

Here, he finished on 18 under par

overall and faced a nervous wait

0:24:070:24:10

but Fisher couldn't catch him.

0:24:100:24:15

Meanwhile, Jessica Korda held on to

win the LPGA event in Thailand.

0:24:150:24:20

The American led by four shots

heading into the final round and it

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stayed that way as she won her first

title since 2015 in what was also

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her first appearance this season

after recovering from jaw surgery.

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At one point, I was in the trees on

nine, and I hit this punch out into

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the bunker, and I felt like Tiger

Woods! All of these crowds coming in

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behind me. I was like, this is

really cool. It's always really fun

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playing in front of crowds like

this. I really enjoyed it.

0:24:500:24:53

Movistar cyclist Alejandro Valverde

has won the Abu Dhabi Tour

0:24:530:24:56

after claiming Sunday's final stage.

0:24:560:24:57

The Spaniard went head-to-head

with Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez

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after the pair broke clear

with four kilometres remaining.

0:24:590:25:06

It was Valverde -

who was lying in eighth place

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before the final day -

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who came out on top,

to win the stage and the overall

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race, finishing 17 seconds ahead

of Team Sunweb's Wilco Kelderman.

0:25:140:25:20

The Winter Olympics came to an end,

and our dreams of curling or

0:25:200:25:24

bobsleigh gold came to an end for

another four years.

0:25:240:25:27

And that's all the sport for now.

0:25:270:25:32

A reminder of the developing story

we are following, and reports coming

0:25:320:25:35

in to us of a suspected chemical

attack in Eastern Ghouta. This is

0:25:350:25:44

coming from the Syrian American

medical society, telling the BBC

0:25:440:25:47

that one of its hospitals has been

receiving patient Lee suffering from

0:25:470:25:53

symptoms indicating a chemical

attack, possibly chlorine.

0:25:530:25:58

Meanwhile, Russia has criticised

rebels, saying they are still

0:25:580:26:00

breaking the ceasefire.

0:26:000:26:02

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