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tv   BBC World News  PBS  December 30, 2010 12:30am-1:00am PST

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>> "bbc world news" is presented by kcet, los angeles. funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. ♪>> union bank has put its financial strength to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you?
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>> and now "bbc world news. on the brink of genocide. the words of ivory coast's ambassador as the political unrest in the west african state continues. police in denmark and sweden arrest five men on suspicion of plotting to attack the offices of a danish newspaper that published cartoons of the prophet muhammad. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting in the u.k. and around the world. i'm alistair yates. as -- also in this program, dozens of taliban fighters are released to spend the new year with their families. a special report from the swat valley. and 70 years after the blitz, london commem on -- commemorates the firestorms
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that swept through the heart of the city. ♪ >> the new ivory coast ambassador to the united nations, youssoufou bamba, says he fears the possibility of genocide in his country unless the u.n. and others help alassane outtara assume his office as president. mr. outtara is internationally recognized as having won last month's election, but the incumbent, laurent gbagbo, is refusing to step down. mr. bamba speaking after presenting his credentials at the united nations, held a press conference on how to end the tug -- dangerousing it of war between the faxes -- factions.
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>> the main concern is the violation of the human rights. as you know there is a massive violation of human rights. 172 people were killed only because they want top demonstrate, they want to speak out, they want to defend the will of the people. we think it's not acceptable. that's one of the messages i try to get across during the conversations i have conducted so far, to tell that we are on the brink of genocide and something should be done. >> meanwhile, the first attempts by the neighbors of ivory coast to attempt to end the power struggle have failed but the leaders of benin and sierra leone have vowed to try again. >> tensions are high. even united nations
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peacekeepers got into trouble when their vehicle took a wrong turn. laurent gbagbo is in office now for 10 years, but he has refused to hand over to his opponent, alassane outtara, what -- who the u.n. clearly says bon the polls. the luxury hotel is where the outtara government has taken refuge, saying they fear for their lives. the united nations protects the hotel and guards the government that the international community has recognized, but soldiers loyal to mr. gbagbo control the access roads, so the only safe way to get there is by helicopter. the government in waiting says its supporters outside the hotel are being targeted by mr. gbagbo's forces, a charge
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partially backed by the u.n. supporters. >> most of the people outside are threatened by his militia men and so on and so forth. >> a cabinet meeting of the government in waiting -- this is as much about form as substance because the truth is laurent gbagbo still holds most of the reins of power in survivor -- ivory coast. this bizarre situation that's -- has been going on for several weeks now. most of the international community, including crucially west african countries, recognize the outtara government. but they're working in an air-conditioned tent in a hotel. the u.n. says it will continue to protect the hotel and guard the government in waiting of alassane outtara, but so far the international pressure on laurent gbagbo has failed to convince him to leave power.
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this test case for african democracy is still in the balance. danish authorities say they've mgsded to stop an imminent terror back in copenhagen. the target was the "jyllands-posten" offices. this report from mike aldrich. >> this is one of the two places in the danish capital where the authorities swooped on the suspects in a plot they described as terrifying and probably the most serious terror attempt in denmark to date. >> we have been following them very closely until the arrests were made today. we believe that the situation has been under control, but we in -- also found it was necessary to intervene now to prevent a specific terrorist attack in copenhagen. >> police say the four arrested in denmark are a 44-year-old
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tunisian, a 29-year-old man born in lebanon, a 44-year-old swedish national whose country of originalin is so far unknown and an a -- an iraqi asylum seeker. three of the arrested men are said to have traveled from sweden to denmark during the night. this is where they are said to have hired a car to bross the border. and this building is said to have been the target. the office of the newspaper that published the cartoons that m muslims saw as a challenge to their faith. kurt westergaard, the cartoonist who drew the dush one of the most controversial of the images, said his thoughts and sympathies gow --
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go out to colleagues. >> obviously the cartoons have been used very efficiently by militant islamist groups worldwide in targeting denmark specifically and in trying to explain why the violent action is necessary. so denmark has become a priority target for militant middle eastern groups around the world. >> swedish police say there is no known link to the bomb blast in stockholm earlier this month but authorities believe close cooperation between the forces in the two countries has thwarted a potentially large scale attack. >> president obama has bypassed congress to name officials to six key posts that
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had been vacant for months. recess appointments cannot be blocked. the russian prime minister, vad mir putin, has ordered officials to work over the holiday to make sure the struggling airports can get back to normal. hundreds of flights were cancelled after widespread power cuts due to the icy weather. lawyers for seven opposition candidates in the presidential election in belarus say they've been charged with organizing mass disturbances on the day of the poll. they were among hundreds arrested in minsk 10 days ago. there is growing unrest in northern ireland where people
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have been without water for more than a week and we're warned the situation could continue for several more days. the executive is to hold an emergency meeting thursday amid accusations of underinvest metropolitan in the the company. >> for some this feels like a new nightly routine and a most unwelcome one. filling up and heading home. it's the only way they can be sure of having water. in thousands of home in northern ireland, turning the tap does little. >> you have to sterilize everything, like for the bottles and stuff. it's really, really hard. it's too hard. >> thungs -- things are improving, but at the peak of the current problems, around 50,000 homes were without water. in 80 towns and villigse, some haven't had a supply for 11
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days. this doctor is warning that unless something is done quickly, it could be serious for public health. >> we now have a serious public health emergency in northern ireland because so many homes have been off supply for so long. the key to good health is hand washing and cleanliness and people have not had the water supply to do this. >> the water supply is a northern ireland government company and that means the politicians are ultimately in charge. >> in scotland when you had the snow, the transport minister had to resign. do you think that's the case here? >> no. that was a completely different situation in scotland where people's lives were put in danger by failure to prepare. we're dealing with thouns -- thousands of bursts and it's impossible to know where they are at any one time. >> but someone may lose a job.
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and these are the men under pressure, the bosses of the water company, although its chief executive didn't want to talk about his future. >> my focus at the minute is getting customers back on supply. that's what i'm focused on and the only thing i'm focused on. >> all are well aware of the public anger and they know that won't go away until supplies are fully restored. >> i would say get off your back sides and do something to promote the people. >> there are problems with the that you and it's likely to be days before they have any of the water that they actually want. dozens of taliban recruits captured during fighting in the swat valley of pakistan are being released on probation. they're the first group of detainees to take part in a training program designed to
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discourage them from taking part in the insurgency. >> these men are being freed. they were all taliban recruits. but during the fighting last year they were captured by pakistani soldiers. since then they've been in an army-run rehabilitation center. they include 21-year-old aziz ahman, on the right here. today he and 45 others graduate. >> these boys, they were sort of militants who were facilitating the terrorists and all that. they were picked up. they've been put through a process, and they are now going back to the society as useful and productive members of the society. >> they may be celebrating with the former michael i tants now, but the soldiers simply can't be sure they won't rejoin the taliban once they're released.
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we meet aziz a few days later, back with his family. he's scared of being arrested again, so he's careful of what he says. he does admit his association with the taliban but won't talk about what he did with them and instead thanks the army. but he says there is one important thing that will stop men like him joining the taliban the "since i've been released, i've been doing nothing. jobs are even harder to find. if the government helps us get work, we'll all be busy and, good willing, there -- there will be peace here." so many place a -- places across swat remain destroyed. so far the money and development assistance in rebuilding has not come. officials here fear if that doesn't change soon, it could simply lead more young people to mill i tansy. stay with us. still ahead, the medieval
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belgian abbey famous for its beer and books is reduced to ashes. police in bristol are investigating the murder of jill yates and say they're looking into reports that she may have been seen leaving her flat with two people on the night she disappeared. she was last seen nearly two weeks ago and her body was discovered christmas morning. sophie hutchinson has the latest on the police inquiry. >> seen more the -- for the last time on camera, these cctv images show yates as she enters an off-license to buy some ciser. there are no sounds be -- signs of distress. eight days later her body wa found, strangled. this seems to be the end of the camera trail showing her alive and well. it's believed she then headed
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back to her flat. what happened next is still say matter for this murder inquiry, but police say they're investigating claims that jill yates' landlord may have seen her leave her flat here at 9:00 p.m. on the night she disappeared with two people. but there are conflicting accounts of what exactly was wisss -- witnessed. throughout the day, police experts continued their forensic investigation. a number of objects of investigation have been recovered from the home in this affluent part of bristol. >> yes, we're all frightened. and you are, aren't you? >> yes. >> it's given everyone a very unpleasant, nervous feeling, actually. >> and the forensic examination of the place where joanna yates' body was discovered on christmas day are still -- is
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still continuing. police are appealing for information and a 10,000 pound reward has been offered by crime strop -- stoppers for anyone helping to convict her killer. this is bbc news with the headlines again. ivory coast's new u.n. ambassador says political unrest has put the country on the brink of genocide. danish and swedish police have arrested five men on charges of plotting to attack the offices of the newspaper which published cartoons of muhammad. >> critics say -- the emergency response in the new york blizzard was inadequate. >> we take our emergency
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life-saving responsibilities very seriously, and i'm extremely dissatisfied with the way our emergency response systems pompltd and as i announced yesterday, we're going to take a look at everything we did to see if it could be done better, starting with the communications and dispatching system. we do know that on monday we received 4 -- 49,478 calls to 911. that is the sixth largest volume in 911 history, and it seems these calls overwhelmed the system northeastern australia's worst flooding in decades is continuing to cause chaos across the region. the authorities are warning that flooded communities can continue to be under water for more than a week, with the cleanup bill expected to reach billions of dollars. more flooding is expected in queensland. >> in bunderburg on the southeast coast, the north side of town was hardest hit
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overnight. some homes are completely submerged and communities have been isolated. emergency crews removed people from about 50 homes overnight but it looks like another 100 homes have been completely submerged today. at emerald, 200 people spent the night in emergency accommodation and its local river is still rising and expected to go half a meter higher than the 2008 flood which caused major damage. another 400 people are expected to be forced out of their homes tooze -- today. >> mngsed that flood in 2008. how unusual are theys floods? >> for the people in towns such as emerald, which i mentioned, it did have a major flood in 2008. these people are used to such events. but these floods are worst in 50 or even 100 years in other parts of queensland. the damage is running into the billions of you us dollars
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here, so it's a major event indeed. >> so what are people calling for in those parts then, steve? in terms of trying to prevent the damage pake -- taking place in the future. >> well, this' not much they can do. they're at the complete hands of the weather. i mentioned the word peak a number times today. we're talking about rivers 15 meters high in some parts. there's not much more people can do apart from sandbag their homes and leave and go to higher ground but even sand bags at head height are not doing the trick. these waters are in parts completely submerging houses and businesses entirely. the visa of the venezuelan ambassador to the united states has been revoked. the state department confirms it was a reciprocal action
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after venezuela rejected our new ambassador to caracas. >> we understand that the united states has revoked the visa of fernando herrera, who was caracas' man, if you like, in washington, in response to a similar but slightly different action taken by venezuela. the united states had been due to send a new ambassador down there, larry palmer, however, president hugo chavez objected to larry palmer's presence and refused to recognize him as a diplomat because of anti-chavez statements palmer made during his senate confirmation hearing. the united states had been lobbying for some time to get the venezuelan government to recognize mr. palmer, however, chavez appeared to have dug his feels in and challenged the united states to break off diplomatic relations.
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>> so where is all this going to lead then and how can it be resolved? >> it's very difficult to say. this is clearly an escalation in the situation and represents a deterioration in relations between the two countries. however, those relations are up and down so often that it's very hard to tell where they stand. clearly there was a very bad period while george wrvings bush was in the white house, between the two countries. it improved that things might improve initially under president obama. both he and president chavez had a rather cordial meeting last year. however, the rhetoric has ratcheted up in the last six months or so with president chavez calling president obama a disappointment who is carrying on the same policies as his predecessor. very unclear where this leaves us. a medieval abbey famed for
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the strong beer brewed there by the trappist monks was destroyed by a fire. but the monks say at least their beer escaped. jackie explains. >> seven centuries of history destroyed in minutes. the fire shows the abbey's ancient timmers -- timbers no mercy but despite the fire, the monks escape unharmed. their unique trappist way of life dominated by prayer, study, and brewing has barely changed over the years. generations of monks have found enlighten ment here but it maybe a more recent and proceedsache search for light that started the fire. >> the heavy snow has caused problems with the electrical supply here. the abbey has suffering power cuts so they set up a generator, and it seems that's
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where the fire started. >> the flames consume the roof and p of the interior, but firefighters managed to save the abbey's library and its collection of rare books. and for lovers of the rich, dark brureks the flames never reached the tanks where the much-prized brew is fermented, and production is scheduled to resume next week. 70 years ago during one of the second world war's worst air raids on london, st. paul's cathedral emerged intact from the smoke. it became one of the most famous photos of the tame. -- of the time. robert hall reports. >> it's one of london's most spectacular views. but op a december evening in 1940, the dome of st. paul's overlooked an inferno. >> on the evening of december 9 -- december 29, 1940, fire from
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enemy planes rained down on london. >> this evening at the exact same time, a con invoice of vehicles retraced the route which led wartime volunteers into a firestorm. among them, 16-year-old george wheeler. >> everything had gone up. so this day i have spoken to senior fire officers and they cannot imagine what it was like with those fires. >> modern equipment and communication were just a dream. today's firefighters can only imagine what their predecessors faced. >> if you can imagine one big fire, a single warehouse, radiating heat and igniting structures adjacent to it, this was going on all over the city, creating firestorms within the city of london.
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terrifying. >> as water supplies dried up, the prime minister, winston churchill, issued just one order -- save st. paul's. by dawn, the courage and tenacity of the exhausted fire crews had held back the flames. >> i was very proud to have served my country, and when the crunch kime -- came, i was there and i did my bit. >> churchill ill had been right. near disaster had created an iconic image of resiffletance and survival. robert hall, bbc news. peruvian shamans have gathered in lima to make re dick:s for the coming year. they say latin american leaders with -- will have a tough year in 2011 and that president obama will face conflict in july. that's our world news for the time being. thanks for being with us once
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again. i'm alistair yates. >> hello and welcome. >> see the news unfold, get the top stories from around the globe and click to play video reports. go to to experience the in-depth, expert reporting of "bbc world news" online. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its
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