tv BBC World News BBC America September 26, 2014 7:00am-8:01am EDT
hello, and welcome to "gmt" on "bbc world news." our top stories, britain is poised to join the military assault on islamic state extremists. a parliamentary vote in favor of air strikes in iraq is expected within hours. as british mps continue to debate a new military commitment in iraq, the americans backed by arab allies have continued to hit i.s. targets in syria. david cameron says i.s. threatens the world. >> left unchecked, we will face
a terrorist caliphate on the shores of the mediterranean and bordering a nato member with a declared and proven determination to attack our country and our people. north korea's leader kim jong un is officially suffering from discomfort. cryptic reports on state media fuel speculation about the health of the supreme leader. i'm at glen eagles for the 40th ryder cup where europe have won the first point of the morning. there are still three matches being played. and also in the program, aaron's here with all the business, including a look at crucial talks which might dictate what happens to europe's gas supplies. >> yeah, absolutely. we're asking the question, can europe avoid a gas crisis this winter? there are some tense negotiations in berlin right now between the eu, russia, and ukraine, as they try to resolve a row that threatens to leave millions without heating as the cold weather approaches.
it's 7:00 a.m. in washington, 2:00 p.m. in baghdad, midday here in london, where britain's parliament is back on familiar territory. debating the merits of another military campaign in iraq. the target this time, islamic state militants currently controlling a swath of iraqi territory. here are the latest live pictures inside the chamber of the house of commons. a vote in favor of air strikes on i.s. in iraq is a foregone conclusion. the labour opposition supporting the cameron government's call for britain to respond positively to iraq's request for military assistance. many in britain remain cautious about military action in the middle east. mindful, of course, of the fallout from the invasion of iraq in 2003. >> i want to answer this question, which is whether it is necessary specifically for
britain to take part in this international action. should we just leave it to others? i don't believe that is the right answer. the coalition needs our help, in particular with the vital work being done in terms of air strikes. britain has unique assets that no other coalition ally can contribute. the brimstone precision missile which minimizes the risk of civilian casualties and which even the united states doesn't have. we have our unique surveillance and intelligence capables. we have our highly professional force which is are well used to working with their u.s. counterparts. these are some of the reasons why president obama made clear to me that america wants britain to join the air action in iraq, which has now been under way for several weeks. but i believe, mr. speaker, it is also our duty to take part. this international operation is about protecting our people too and protecting the streets of britain should not be a task that we are prepared to entirely subcontract to other air forces of other countries, so it is right for us to act. >> now, that was david cameron
opening up the debate on whether britain should join the coalition undertaking military action in iraq. this morning, that debate continues. you can see the pictures from inside the house of commons. there will be a vote a few hours from now. we can cross live to westminster now, join our political correspondent rob watson. it's clear the main political party leaders are all backing the idea of britain joining the military coalition. what about the tone of the debate generally? what have you picked up? >> well, i think you wouldn't be surprised to hear that it's very somber, it's very serious, and very measured, and that, of course, is in part because of the shadow cast over this parliament by britain's involvement in the invasion of iraq in 2003. but i think most people watching would say rather an impressive debate, and one way you've really seen, if you like, the main arguments for and against already the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, ed
miliband saying look, this is not something we can walk away from. islamic state is not some made up threat. not only is it not made up, but it could affect not just iraq, but britain as well. and then throughout these speeches from the main leaders, they have taken interruptions from mps with concern, and those are the kind of concerns that you might expect, could britain be sucked into a wider conflict. any chance of some british troops on the ground. and i suppose if you like the catch-all opposition question, which is, well, is there really a thought-out strategy for dealing with islamic state. is there a way in which syria and iraq could ever fill the vacuum that might be left behind if there were military blows against islamic state. >> and one specific point, rob, it's clear for the moment this is only about british military operation in iraq. but do you get the sense that mps are inclined already to be looking forward and thinking about sending british war planes into action over syria as well?
>> absolutely. you wouldn't be surprised that those in favor of taking action against islamic state say well, if it makes sense to tackle it in iraq, why not in syria? what the prime minister has been saying, he was quite candid about this, quite strikingly candid, to say well, if it had been just up to him, he would have considered uk participation, but he was fully aware that there wasn't the political support for that in the house of commons and possibly not out in the country. the same way there are some mps who think if iraq, syria, too. there are some who think the reason they're not very happy about uk air strikes is because they're worried that might extend to syria, too. >> all right, rob, thanks for that. it has been a somber debate. it does continue. in a sense, it's the sort of third time in 13 years that the uk has been considering military action in iraq, and we will just drop in and join that debate for
a short while. >> like the young man from brighton whose mom says he was brainwashed. i have no idea. that's the reason, i want to see the prime minister backing here with a proper counternarrative. >> i too remember the speech made by robin cook in 2013. i remember it with great emotion, not least because he resigned from the government because of his views and he then joined the rest of us who voted against his own government in the lobby that evening. but this is not 2013. 2003, i beg your pardon. it's an entirely different set of circumstances. and an important feature of the different set of circumstances is the fact that bewould be
responding to a request made by the lawful government of syria. of iraq. i have syria on the brain and i'll come back to it in a moment. the lawful government of iraq. a government whose very existence and indeed the existence for the country for which they're responsible is undoubtedly at stake. and there is a legal basis in my view, a legal basis beyond any question that's been referred to for what we are being asked to endorse today in the house of commons. yes, i'll give way. >> given that air strikes alone will not achieve victory over isis, who has the plans and the determination to win on the ground now? >> that i hope is the product of
the alliance which the united states through president obama and also the efforts of secretary of state john kerry have been putting together. and there's an illustration of that commitment, the fact that five countries in the region have joined in in support of the air strikes which have been taken so far. i'll come back to the question, if i may, about the long term. i'm afraid i must move on. i'm very sorry. i'm afraid i must move on. i'm afraid i must move on. the point i want to make is this. that we are faced with circumstances in relation to iraq for which -- in which its very survival is at stake. and it's important that we should exercise a degree of responsibility in this matter, because, of course, although
it's not the sole cause of the circumstances in iraq at the moment, there is no doubt that the military action in which we joined with united states against saddam hussein has been a major contributor to the circumstances we now find ourselves in. let me deal with a question of syria. i'm content that were there to be a motion to the effect that we should take similar action in syria, there exists a proper and sound legal basis for that action. indeed, the very factors which justify intervention in iraq would be of equal weight in relation to syria. and these, of course, are, to put it shortly, the kind of barbarism which is being displayed. the fact that the regional stability is being heavily undermined. and just let's remind ourselves, some of that undermining of stability has an impact upon countries, for example, like
jordan. a close ally and a necessary component were there ever to be a global settlement for peace in the middle east. it's also to be recognized that those arab countries which have joined in, they have exercised a degree of responsibility in doing so. in many cases, they are taking on elements within their own countries which would otherwise be opposed. how would any other country faced with that decision feel in the event that this motion were not to be passed? and when you have, as has been suggested, that we need a united nations resolution before we could embark on anything of the kind now proposed or indeed in relation to syria, you have to accept the reality that the prospect of a united nations security council resolution is totally remote. indeed, even putting one on the
table would be a wholly pointless exercise because of the attitude undoubtedly to be taken of russia and also by china. but may i move on to a point which i think is of some -- the language which has been used so far has been about destruction. i'm not sure it's possible to destroy an ideology. i'm not sure it's possible to destroy a cult of the kind which we see now exercising such malign influence. but one thing you can most certainly do, and that is to adopt containment and deterrence, and to do that, you have to degrade the military capability. you have to create circumstances in which any return to barbarism will be met by swift and defective action and i think we would be better agreeing that wii not likely to embark upon a
successful process of destruction, but that we can have an effective doctrine of detainment, of deterrence, and containment. so there's no parallel between the iraq debate of 2003, but there is a parallel with kosovo, because when kosovo was an issue, with very similar considerations like those that we are concerned with, not least, of course, with ethnic cleansing, then the international community without a resolution find itself able to deal with that. a lot to be said about the long term. we don't have that luxury. >> allison mcgovern. >> thank you, mr. speaker. it's so easy to despair. in politics, especially, how often do we obsess about the small differences rather than the biggest challenges. >> okay, we are going to leave the debate in the house of commons. there you just heard the speech
made by the liberal democrat, part of the ruling coalition in the british government, and it's clear that all the political leaders in the parliament are backing the idea of military intervention, british military intervention in iraq, but iraq only. if you want to carry on watching that debate, you can on our website, that's on bbc.com/news. now, if britain does, as expected, vote to join air strikes on islamic state, they'll be late joiners to the anti-i.s. coalition. denmark is sending fighter jets to the coalition, supported already by several other countries. saudi arabia and the emirates sent four f-16s each in the first round of strikes against islamist militant targets in syria earlier this week. in terms of the europeans, france carried out its first attack in iraq a week ago, targeting i.s. positions near
mosul. and several other countries like australia, the netherlands and belgium are giving logistical or military support. now, let's go to erbil, currently under kurdish control in northern iraq and speak to our correspondent clive who is there. clive, first of all, do you think the debates across parliament and in capitals in the western world are being followed very closely by iraqis? do they care how many people join this coalition? >> they do very much so. they want this to be seen as an international fight. a coalition of the willing that is very broad-based, taking on not just an existential threat to the country of iraq and the kurdish region here, but to many other parts of the middle east and further beyond potentially if there are the possibility of terrorist attacks being fermented within islamic state areas and spread further afield
to europe and to america. of course, certainly as far as the uk is concerned. remember that as far as iraq is concerned, britain and the uk, they have a very close relationship with this country. helped form iraq at the end of the first world war. also, of course, british involvement in the first iraq war, 2003, 1991, and then in 2003. there's a sense that britain does have a role to play in trying to keep this place stable and trying to deal with islamic state. as a result, many people actually already believe that the uk is involved in some of those air strikes. but we will get that vote in the british parliament later on as to whether or not that will be confirmed. >> listen, what about effectiveness? you're getting reports of what's happening on the front lines, as the u.s.-led air strikes continue across those parts of iraq where i.s. is in control. does it really seem they are making a big difference to the
balance of power on the battlefield? >> reporter: they are. there's no question about that. just a few weeks ago, islamic state fighters got to within ten, 12 kilometers of the kurdish capital erbil. there was a real sense that this whole place could have been overrun and it was only the intervention of americans with their fighter jets that helped stem the tide. while that debate is going on in the uk at the moment, the fighting continues on the ground. the front line is only about 20 kilometers from our position here. and there's been heavy fighting particularly around the town of kirkuk, where the peshmerga are fighting against islamic fighters. but remember, it is a front line that stretches across an area of about 650 miles. it is huge. and so the kurds are saying look, air strikes are all well and good, and they're very, very helpful, thank you very much, but we also need heavy weaponry as well, so that we can really
take the fight towards islamic state. >> all right, clive. thank you very much for joining us from erbil. thanks a lot. now, stay with us on "bbc world news," because still to come, we are in glen eagle for all the latest on the golfing action at the ryder cup. you pay your auto insurance premium every month on the dot. you're like the poster child for paying on time. and then one day you tap the bumper of a station wagon. no big deal... until your insurance company jacks up your rates. you freak out.
now, here is an intriguing question. where is the supreme leader? in recent weeks, north korea's ruler has been supremely elusive, prompting speculation about his health. now pyongyang has acknowledged that kim jong un is suffering from discomfort, they call it. they revealed that he has an uncomfortable physical condition. our correspondent steve evans sent this report from the south
korean capital seoul. >> reporter: it's the empty chair which is significant. this is the supreme meeting of the rulers of north korea, minus the supreme ruler of them all. it's the first time since kim jong un inherited power from his father three years ago that he hasn't been present. the north korean authorities said he was feeling discomfort. it's more than three weeks since he last appeared in public with a limp. kim jong un has been a thorn in the side of the west as north korea develops nuclear weapons, and the missiles to deliver them. he rules an isolated country squeezed by sanctions. in a way, kim jong un dominates the life of the people here in south korea. he issues blood curdling threats. he's developing nuclear weapons aimed at this country and the
united states, so this place buzzes with speculation. having said all that, though, not too much to be made of that speculation. after all, he vanished from public view for two weeks last year. kim jong un is not usually a man who shuns publicity. he travels the land he rules with cameras nearby. last year, his uncle and political mentor was executed. kim jong un is a man to be feared, whether his absence means his end is nearer is unclear. steven evans, bbc news, seoul. arguably golf's greatest, most hotly contested tournament, the ryder cup is under way in gleneagles in scotland. the europeans are favorites to retain the trophy. they've beaten the americans seven times out of the last nine, so how's it been going this morning? well, we can turn to someone who
knows. what is the very latest? >> reporter: it is 1-1 at the moment. the europeans took the first point of the morning, but the americans in the last couple of minutes have levelled. after the four matches, it is tied at 1-1. justin rose and henrik stenson took the first point in their match. they went 5-4 up against bubba watson and webb simpson. huge roars around this gleneagles course for the european team to do that, but the pair that have impressed really this morning are the youngsters from america. they are the youngest american pairing in ryder cup history, and they are playing incredibly well. jordan spieth, patrick reid against ian poulter and steven gallagher. gallagher, a debutante, playing in his home of scotland. not playing very well at all. the nerves do seem to have got to him. he's playing alongside ian poulter. but they just have not delivered at all.
5-4, the americans won that as well. so that makes it 1-1 in points. in the other matches at the moment, the americans are up in one of them and the europeans are up in another. so we do expect it to probably be 2-2 by the end of this first morning of play. then we have a slightly different format this afternoon of foursomes. four balls this morning and foursomes this afternoon. a couple of the players are down there that haven't played this morning, matt kuchar and graeme mcdowell who haven't played in the matches. they're expected to be announced in the matches for later on. so we will find out who's playing in about ten minutes in the afternoon matches. >> i heard on the radio, actually, the kickoff -- wrong word. the teeoff of this tournament early this morning. it was amazing. it was like a big football match. there were crowds chanting and cheering. what's the atmosphere like now? >> reporter: it's the same sort of atmosphere. i was very lucky to be on that first tee at 7:35 the time here,
first thing this morning, the sun just rising. a beautiful view over the gleneagles course, and incredible noise. it was chanting, it was yelling, shouting at the names, lots of ols. it was incredibly like a football match. we call it a crowd here at the ryder cup, which you wouldn't normally use that phrase in golf, but it very much is a crowd situation. and the crowd following the players around the course. huge shouts and screams, and it is a very, very different type of atmosphere at this kind of golf at the ryder cup. the americans started it a few years ago and the europeans have definitely taken it on here at gleneagles. >> we can't let you go without a prediction because it's the only time "gmt" is going to touch this. who's going to win? >> the europeans are slight favorites. but everyone said do not underestimate the americans and we're seeing that already. i do think it's going to be 2-2 by the end of the four ball. down to one point between the sides. i think it will probably be the
same this time. if you really want a prediction, i will say that europe will win because they're on home soil. >> you just wrapped in time. thank you very much. stay with us because we'll have more on the golf with aaron later on. stay here on "bbc world news." ♪ [ female announcer ] we love our smartphones. and now telcos using hp big data solutions are feeling the love, too. by offering things like on-the-spot data upgrades -- an idea that reduced overcharge complaints by 98%. no matter how fast your business needs to adapt, if hp big data solutions can keep wireless customers smiling, imagine what they can do for yours. make it matter. imagine what they can do for yours. ♪ eenie. meenie. miney. go.
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welcome to "gmt" on "bbc world news." in this half-hour, britain on the brink of joining the military assault on islamic state forces in iraq. live pictures from the house of commons. mps are expected to approve air strikes on iraq, joining the u.s.-led intervention in syria has been ruled out for now. behind the politics, the people whose lives have been forever altered by islamic state were inside one of the largest refugee camps in northern iraq.
and a new take on tony blair. former british prime minister, middle east envoy, and now hailed as a gay icon. we've got our own icon in the studio. aaron's back with all of the business, including a look at the relationship between golf and big money. >> yeah. ryder cup, it's the greatest show in golf. i tell you what, gleneagles has spent 13 years and $33 million for its finest hour. we'll look at the people around the world who, yes, love to swing a club. a very warm welcome back to "gmt," and more on our top story. right now, britain's parliament is debating the merits of joining the fight against the extremist jihadi organization
islamic state. but only in terms of air strikes in iraq. these live pictures inside the chamber of the house of commons. the labour opposition is supporting the cameron government's call for britain to respond positively to iraq's request for military assistance. the united states, meanwhile, has focused most of its military effort in recent days on degrading i.s. capability in syria. in the last 24 hours, u.s.-led air strikes have hit i.s.-controlled oil refineries in the eastern syrian province of deir ezzor. the military operations of i.s. are being follow closely by the hundreds of thousands of civilians forced to leave their homes to escape the jihadi threat. many refugees say they support the air strikes. they want i.s. destroyed so they can return home. here is a report from erbil in iraq. >> reporter: this is a shelter for displaced iraqis and here you can see some of the residents have set up shops selling fruits and vegetables,
other things to eat. this man is smashing up some ice here. but if you go through the awning, this hole, here the people have divided up the space into sleeping and living areas using this canvas they've got from the u.n. to give themselves some privacy. not so long ago, this used to be a cement factory, but the kurdish authorities have taken over all kinds of buildings and converted them into temporary accommodation. that's because huge numbers of people fled from the area around mosul during the summer as islamic state militants advanced there. outside the factory, you can see how the camp has expanded on all sides. there's about 3,500 people living here now, most in rows like this. and there's a lot of support for international military action
against i.s. >> translator: for sure we want to go back. whoever it is that comes to clear our district, we just want to go back to our city and take our families back. >> war is bad. people are miserable and there's no money. all the people are miserable. if they attack i.s., it will be good for all the poor people. >> reporter: so people here are telling us they won't be able to go home unless i.s. is dealt with effectively. it's just not clear whether air strikes are going to achieve the results that they want to see, and how long this is all going to take. we are going to take you back briefly to the house of commons in london. for almost three hours now, mps have been debating wlrnt to
sanction a british involvement in military operations in iraop. >> we are in support of that effort. i think it should be marked and marked well by the country that we are in support of arab kurdish. may i endorse the point made by the honorable gentleman about the need for further and greater intelligence capability on the ground. i'm not party to these decisions. i know not exactly what we have there already, but whatever it is that we have, it's not enough. and we do need, in all these operations, to know much more than we do about the immense intricacy about the tribal structure and the way it works. the chairman of the defense select committee in his admirable speech made these points very clearly indeed.
tsz the key to all future operations of this type. i conclude only, mr. speaker, by saying that i together with every other person in this house and in the wider country wish good luck and safe return to our tornado pilots who i can assure will give a magnificent effort on our behalf. >> mr. nigel dobbs. >> the threat that is posed by the barbarism, brutality and savagery is not merely a threat to the sunni, shia, kurds, and yazidi of iraq itself. isil poses a clear and present threat to the people of the united kingdom. it is a clear and present threat to the integrity of iraq, the government of which has asked us to intervene by way of air strikes and it is a clear and present threat to regional stability, international security, and civilization in general. and for those reasons, we are in
a different place than we were a year ago when this house was last asked to consider military action that time in syria, and for those reasons, we will be supporting military action. a plea has gone out to the country, the sovereign nation of iraq faces a perilous time. it has submitted a request for assistance at this crucial juncture to assist in protecting its national integrity, and the security and safety of its people. in our history, fighting for freedom and democracy, can we as a nation turn our backs and reject such a plea. >> so a flavor of the continuing debate in the house of commons there. i think there is no doubt that the government is going to be supported in its call for military intervention. british war plane is to join the coalition forces attacking i.s.
targets inside iraq. all the main party leaders support that proposition. most of the mps we've heard speaking have also supported it. there have been reservations expressed by some, but i think when the vote comes in a few hours from now, no doubt at all that britain will be joining the military alliance against i.s. in operations inside iraq. you can, of course, continue to follow that debate on the bbc website, bbc.com. so do keep abreast of everything that's happening in the house of commons on the bbc website. now, it is time for business. aaron's here and i think you're going to kick off with a look at some very important energy discussions in europe today. >> yeah, absolutely. and some european nations perhaps a little worried about the -- well, the attention, if you will, between russia and ukraine. let me explain more. good to see you, steven, thanks very much. it is a battlefield for a new
cold war. gas politics. it's center stage right now in berlin friday as russian and european leaders meet to discuss the current crisis. you may remember russia turned off the taps to ukraine earlier this month. last month, they reduced supplies to poland after it emerged that warsaw had been supplying russian gas to ukraine. and then we go back to 2008 and 2009, millions in europe were left without heating during winter as a result of a similar row. yesterday, thursday, ukraine's prime minister called for a reform in european policy to ensure that gas can no longer be used as a political weapon. let's get more. we have an associate fellow at the royal institute of international affairs. great to have you on the program. let's start with this. correct me if i'm wrong, this matters to some in europe more than others. for example, uk, norway, don't take russian gas. but poland, germany, the baltic states and southern europe, the risks could be pretty high.
>> the risks are potentially high for the southern tier countries and those are the ones that suffered particularly in 2009 when we saw the gas cutoffs that you referred to. the situation is a little bit different now because there are improved interconnections in europe as a result of that crisis. we also have high levels of gas and storage across much of europe at the moment. so experts believe we can get through this winter even if there were a serious interruption. it's a significant amount, about 15% of european consumption. but i think we have to be careful not to be too alarmist about where these problems are heading at the moment. they're certainly very serious for ukraine. the country has depended traditionally on russian gs sas supplies. it has gas in storage and it has other mechanisms for securing additional gas over the winter, and its demand for gas, partly because of the economic crisis in the country at the moment is
going to be significantly reduced. >> john, what do you think of that statement yesterday by ukraine's prime minister who said we need reform to ensure that gas can no longer be used as a political weapon. i mean, is that even possible for europe to put a reform in place? because at the end of the day, it still really relies on russia. >> i don't really see what reform measures can be taken, political reform measures. the main instrument for managing this sort of problem is ensuring that you have diversity of supply. and there are parts of europe that need to make much greater efforts in this area. but this is, of course, a mutual dependency and the russians want to continue supplying the european market. i believe because of the large volumes of gas they have and where they're located, they will continue to do that. >> okay, john, we're going to have to leave it there. we always appreciate your time. thanks very much for joining us. let me touch on some other
business stories making headlines. computer makers around the world, they are racing to fix a bug that affects half a million computers and servers across the globe. the u.s. government has issued an international warning about a newly discovered bug, shellshock. the programming flaw could make home computers and routers vulnerable to remote cyber attacks. how about this one? blackberry's boss says the worst is behind the phone maker. the canadian group's losses narrowed to $207 million for the three months ending in june. much better certainly than the billion-dollar loss it made last year. earlier this week, it unveiled its new passport range of devices which have its characteristic key pad as well as a large square screen. just what you want. okay, it is said to be the most lucrative annual sport
event in the world. we are talking about the ryder cup. it gets under way -- or it is under way in gleneagles in scotland. do you know around 80 million people all around the world enjoy a round or two of golf. in the united states alone, the sport is a $69 billion industry. certainly generating nearly two million jobs. nigel curry is director of the consultant group. with a is it about the ryder cup? why is it considered the greatest show in golf and generates some big sums? >> i think it's just such a unique event in golf. it gives something different. golf traditionally has a series of tournaments throughout the year in america and europe, but this brings everything together and it's a completely different format and it captures the imagination like no other golf event can. >> there's some serious numbers involved not just in the ryder cup, but wider game in general. i mentioned those u.s. number hs. in europe, golf last year
contributed more than $19 billion to the european economy. where is the money from? how is it generated in golf? >> well, golf's a bit unique because it's got a series of clubs all over the world which are self-generating businesses in their own right. but it's really all about television revenue, the right fees that the television companies pay, big sponsorship fees, and huge, huge levels of attendance fees from the fans. >> nigel, we're saying the numbers are big, but i'm just wondering if there's a little bit of a worry or concern in the industry. actual golfing numbers are actually dropping. i want to know, is that a concern? why are they dropping? >> well, they have been dropping the last couple of years. golf is a huge global sport, there's no doubt about that. one of the biggest sports. but there has been a little drop-off. i think a lot of it perhaps was to do with the tiger woods effect. you can't underestimate how important he was to the sport of golf. he literally rescued it in the
early '90s and for a decade and a half he was the golf industry really. >> okay, so he rescued it and then a bit of a dent from tiger woods as well. >> you need someone new to come along. every sport needs its big personalities, its big figures that people can aspire to. and golfer has traditionally struggled. it's had a few like seve, and now it's down to rory mcilroy. he's got to do a bit more to be the sort of talisman that woods was. >> absolutely. nigel, we appreciate your input. enjoy the ryder cup. thanks very much. nigel curry joining me there. you can tweet america i'll tweet you back. you can get me @bbcaaron. i know you like a bit of golf, don't you? you must need specially made clubs. >> the long ones, you mean? >> you're like 7'9", aren't you? >> i hit the ball a long way. now let's get off the golf and tell you that you can hear in just a moment why tony blair
is being called a gay icon. what does he think about his new title? find out by staying with us on "gmt." so here's the story the year is 1890. milton hershey has a killer recipe for caramel. flash forward - milton's recipe is reimagined into buttery rich, smooth, surprisingly soft crèmes. it's lancaster. it's caramel reimagined.
welcome back to "gmt." the top stories this hour, britain's parliament is currently debating the country's role in military action in iraq. the prime minister is seeking approval for air strikes and he's warned that islamic state is a threat that must be countered. north korea has admitted that its leader kim jong un is suffering from an unspecified medical condition. he's not been seen in public for three weeks. now, attitudes towards the gay community have changed
dramatically in recent decades. "gay times" is a publication here in the uk which has tracked that transformation. today it's celebrating its 30th birthday, and to mark the occasion, it's published a list of the top gay icons of the past three decades. now, some probably won't surprise you, the likes of boy george and over here we've got barbra streisand. but one man on the list might just surprise you, and that is tony blair, the former british prime minister. now, he was known as many things during his time in office, but never i think it's fair to say a gay icon. so the obvious question is, why? and to answer it, i'm joined by benjamin butterworth from the gay times. i think you're responsible for this list. >> i am indeed. >> what's it all about? why is tony blair such a big part of it? >> we're celebrating 30 years as the world's longest running gay magazine. we looked at the people who have made huge contributions to that. you've got people like barbra streisand and boy george who
have been visible and spoken out about those issues. they're quite easy choices in some respects. but when i looked at the people that had contributed, i thought actually, who's done the tangible stuff? in britain, it was tony blair that contribute sod much. >> tangible. remind me then. >> he repealed section 28. he introduced transequality. he introduced civil partnerships. he introduced protections in the workplace. and it's easy to say that while david cameron's done lots of thing tos things, too, but when tony blair came in in 1997, it was quite international and he put himself forward to as the first prime minister to introduce this. >> i don't know if you spoke to blair to tell him he had made it into the top 30, but he has given us a bit of reaction. he says, it's something i'm very proud of. i consider it significant part of my legacy. i dislike the hypocrisy where
people had to conceal their own identity. do you think it's a bit more than that? do you think his aura appeals to the gay community? >> that's the interesting question. do gays fancy tony blair. he's a very handsome man, but i think when you look at what he did, i think a lot of people have their own opinions about tony blair. but for somebody who had their equality delivered by him while he was in government, it's hard to deny the contribution that he made. >> i'll tell you something else that strikes me. 30 years of "gay times." the magazine has seen a lot of change in britain, maybe around the world, too. how would you characterize the scale of that change? >> it's huge. i went back and looked at some of the first issues from before i was born. and the nature of things -- we used to have a media watch where we'd print headlines from the tabloids. some of the things they published were beyond shocking. >> you mean deeply prejudicial? and maybe even hate-filled. >> all of those things. >> and you still hear and see that today? >> i think it's very rare in britain.
i think there are parts of the world where that still happens, like the "rolling stone," we've seen some of the headlines they've done with out and gay people in african countries. but in this country, i think we've come an unbelievable distance. >> one more final quick question. do you think we could see in britain -- is britain ready do you think for a gay prime minister? >> you know, i interviewed david cameron and nick clegg about that a few months ago and they both said absolutely, they think we're ready, and i think we are. i think it shouldn't be an issue. it is an issue. 78% consider it normal now. and most of the people that don't are elderly. so i think we're going in the right direction and i can't wait for an openly gay prime minister. >> fascinating stuff. thanks for coming to the "gmt" studio. they say the first thing you have to do if you want to be a star is act like a star. it seems that's true not just for humans but for horses as well. at least it is at cavalier, a canadian circus troupe which features performing horses whose living standards would make many
a pop stargelous. they're now touring singapore, and we sent our reporter to meet them. >> reporter: at first glance, it may look like any other circus. but this is cavalia. and in this circus, it's the horses who steal the spotlight. 50 stallions and geldings, it takes a big team to keep these stars in line. kavalia has traveled to more than 60 countries but nowhere quite as challenging as singapore. that's because of the heat and the humidity here. we've come to meet the team and find out exactly what they do to keep their four-legged v.i.p. stars happy and comfortable. to start, the entire stable complex travels with the show and is kept at about 24 degrees celsius, a bare minimum to keep
these horses cool in the tropics. their neighbors are always the same. in fact, everything is kept to the standards the horses are familiar with. >> so, horses are herbivores, so they eat mostly plants and plant derivatives. for us, it's very important to make sure they get a lot of fiber in their diet. >> and then there's the so-called horse spa. >> we massage the horses three times a week for about 15 minutes. increased circulation, relax the muscles, create general well-being. each horse is braided, depending on how long their hair is or what they have to do in the show. washing happens every night to keep them sparkling. they really enjoy being pampered here. >> reporter: but looking and feeling good is just the beginning. >> start by a very good relationship with the horse. he can read you as much as i'm able to read him. during the show, just soft vocal cue and my body language. >> reporter: yes, big or small, sometimes the inner diva can still take over. >> there's actually some horses
that if they don't feel like they have received enough applause for the trick they are doing, they'll wait and hold the trick longer. >> reporter: exercise routines, diets, masseuses, hair stylists and personal trainers. it's a tough gig, but someone's got to do it. the show must go on, and from singapore, it travels to seoul and taipei. you can be sure that these four-legged stars will be traveling in style and enjoying every bit of the limelight. >> i'll tell you what, "gmt" presenters don't get treated like that. i'm in the wrong job, clearly. before we go, a quick reminder of our top story. the debate in the house of commons is continuing on whether britain should join military operations against islamic state inside iraq. david cameron said it was necessary, not just because of the threat to the region, but the threat posed by i.s. to the whole world. a vote will come in just a few
hours from now. it is expected to approve those british military operations inside iraq. stay with us here on "bbc world news." that's it from us. of course, whatever you need. the weekend, right? carl, send me that link. ok gary. yes!!! that's not on my script. a few more years... and i'll make junior partner. dramatic music plays as stunning car arrives..? let's go. thanks. carl? carl!!!!!!!!!! 58 seconds on the clock, what am i thinking about? foreign markets. asian debt that recognizes the shift in the global economy.
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