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tv   Ben Zand  BBC News  April 8, 2018 9:30pm-10:00pm BST

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‘s this is bbc news. the us security council is likely to meet on monday after the suspected chemical attack in syria. dozens of civilians reported to be killed and president trump wants the syrian government will have a big price to pay for the atrocity. those are staying open late in hungary's general election due to large queues of voters. is seeking a third consecutive term. justin trudeau says an entire country is in shock and mourning after 15 people are killed in a road accident involving a junior ice hockey team and a national vigil will take place later. no clear motive for the van attack on monday but they have ruled out an islamist link, two people were killed. clive will be here with the day ‘s news for you at ten. but to
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guatemala for claims of miracle healing is. cults, gangs and god. i'd made it to guatemala, the home of mayans and volcanoes. as well as having big problems with poverty, corruption and crime, it's also got one of the highest populations of protestants and evangelical christians in the whole of latin america. it's a pretty religious place. it also has these — ginormous mega churches. i'd been hearing a lot about evangelical pastors and one name kept coming up — cash luna. ask anyone here and they'll know who he is. not only does he claim to be in direct communication
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with the big man himself, but he's also a multi—millionnaire and has one of the biggest churches in the world — casa de dios, or house of god. which can hold over 11,000 people. i was on my way to visit him. that is one big church. looks like an freaking alien spaceship. there we go. let me just remind you, this isn't anfield. this is a freaking church and it's just a normal sunday ceremony, it's rammed. oh, my god, look at it. it's like a theatre or something. hello. i've been to a few churches in my life and they're usually quite solemn places, quite dark, quite old looking. this one looks more like somewhere i'd see mariah carey perform! cash luna is a superstar here, with thousands of adoring fans who come each week. he isn'tjust one of the most famous men in guatemala,
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but he's famous all over central and latin america. we're up again. and he knows how to put on a show. the church has a dedicated band and its own theme tune. during each congregation, the donation baskets come out and people give all they can in the hope a sickness will be cured or they'll get richer. this is often called
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the prosperity gospel. this message resonates well in a country where over half the population is below the national povery line and 23% live in extreme poverty. what's more impressive though is he says he has the ability to heal people through god. there was even a video playing at the congregation where they claimed a woman had been healed of hiv due to attending the church. i was amazed.
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this was a man who said to cure people of hiv through the power of god. i wanted to talk to him and as soon as the congregation finished, i got my chance. hello! hello, how's it going? nice to meet you. this is very nice. ijoin cash luna for breakfast with his family. it was amazing to see you up there, so experienced at talking to people. i try not to use religious language when i speak. so if somebody who knows nothing about what you teach, how would you explain what it is you're telling them? they are looking for options, solutions, so i have one. it is jesus. you saw the testimony of this lady with. .. she got cured of hiv. yes. by god?
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yes, we have many of them. cured of hiv? yes. a lot of people would say that isn't possible. many people... that's the amazing thing, to experience impossible things for the rest of the people. is there a limit to the things he can heal? if i broke my leg? hiv, he can do, sorted. a broken leg... you tell me. i don't know. you tell me, if he can cure the vha, he can heal your knee or your leg or... you think so? i believe, i believe so. everything can be healed. everything. why is everybody not healed of these things then? i really don't know. people say, "you don't get healed because you don't have enough faith." i don't want to say that because i don't want to condemn nobody. it's safe to say i was sceptical people had been cured of hiv due to attending casa de dios. the only evidence i'd seen seemed to be a video that played on repeat during cash's congregation. i wanted to ask about money. he's a millionaire and it seemed
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like he was preaching the prosperity gospel, telling people that if they gave his church money, god would make them rich like him. do you see yourself as a rich man? are you a rich man? not like a rich man, blessed. to be blessed is different to being rich. 0k. the bible says that god can give you riches without sadness. are you saying you're rich and really happy simultaneously? no, what i said is i am blessed with riches or without riches. are there misconceptions about you? people were telling me you have a privatejet. no, i don't. a rolex. the church has a private jet, a smalljet. oh, the church does. it's for six people. it is an incredible place. i have never seen a church like this in my life. it's amazing. yes. was this made on people's donations? yes. how much did it cost to build? millions. 45. when you got 45 million,
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did you think, maybe i could build ten hospitals? sometimes we have more people getting healed here than in hospital. so we are healing. i had seen one video online i was particularly amazed at. it showed cash luna using the power of the bible to take over people's bodies. i'd heard it got him a lot of attention, so i wanted to ask about it. there's an amazing video. you lay down a bible and there's people walking and then they... yeah, this is one of the more polemic videos. it's amazing. explain how god comes through. this is like a wall, look. if you see the video and you weren't there,
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you will not understand nothing at all. 0k! can we walk with you? yes, yes. it'd be nice to see. it was time for cash to head back on stage. it's really not hard to see why he does this. he's got thousands of adoring fans, he owns one of the biggest churches in the world. he's got a private jet. and this alljust shows you how big evangelism is here, this is just one church. my time with cash hadn't worked out like i hoped. he seemd a bit annoyed by my interview. he seemed a bit annoyed by my interview. maybe he didn't like the questions i'd asked. and he didn't want to meet again a few days later as we'd originally agreed. but cash luna isn't the only pastor like this. guatemala's full of these people. and pastors from all over are trying to follow in cash's footsteps. there was one place i'd heard of that was known around the country for not only being evangelical but also for being the spot
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of the biggest miracle of all — god had blessed it with giant carrots. yes, giant carrots. and now it was enjoying an era of prospertiy. an era of prosperity. one of the most influential and ambitious pastors in the town was pastor sanchez, an avid follower of cash luna. it's an honour to meet you, sir. gracias. i recognise this man here. this is cash luna. si. he's very famous in guatemala. oh, that's in miami. in miami, florida. wow. do you talk to him quite a lot, do you phone him? i heard a bit about your personal story with god. has god said anything to you whilst we've been filming? is he actually saying that everybody
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who watches this film will then believe in god? you're confident that's going to happen? you're not even remotely concerned that it might not? you arejust certain that will happen? there's a chance that if this gets
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viewed by enough poeple, this film could literally cure the world of everything. are you feeling god as we speak? is there any way you can display for us how on camera what god is telling you, what he's doing? so it's just gone in those few seconds that i asked that question? these are the carrots. they've got the carrots, it's our first taste of carrots. wow, they are pretty hefty carrots. muy grande. that is a pretty big carrot.
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i didn't expect it to be so big. it's bigger than my foot. wow, incredible. the story of almolonga goes like this — the people here used to believe in other gods and so they were punished. the crops were small. they had problems with alcohol, poverty and loose morals. but since they started to believe in the god of people like pastor sanchez, it all changed. they call it the transformation. why do you think that, out of all things, god decided to give almolonga really nice carrots? he could have, you know...
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money could have rained down on the city, he could have gave everyone fantastic health. these are tiny carrots. what happened to these carrots? it's a scam, it's all a lie. small! i was admittedly amazed at the size of almolonga's carrots. but something told me there was more to the story than the divine power of god. i arranged a call with a woman named yulia, who was doing a phd on the miracle of almolonga. she said she could give me more clarity on the giant carrots. hello, yulia. i've just been to almolonga and i saw some giant carrots. are they from god? the carrots are legitimately massive. i was genuinely amazed.
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why are they so big? yeah. what are the health risks? would you say that almolonga is using too many fertilisers, too many pesticides? yulia told me almolonga did have good conditions for growing vegetables, but that the overuse of chemicals was worrying. i wanted to know if the people working in almolonga's farms knew of these risks or whether the apparent presence of god made them feel protected. nicholas has been spraying agro chemicals on his crops for years
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and was happy to talk to me about almolonga's carrots. what are the names of these things? it smells very strong. i have a bit of a headache. has anybody ever told you these chemicals might have adverse side—effects? a lot of people tell me it is god that makes the carrots big, but it seems like if you didn't use the fertiliser, surely the carrots would be very small? so do you think that maybe this idea that god has made them huge maybe it's not entirely true? do you think god protects almolonga and the people here,
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so everyone will be ok? i was surprised by what i'd found. i wanted to speak to pastor sanchez about it so i headed back to meet him. it was the day of his congregation. hola, pastor sanchez. nice to see you. thank you very much. i decided to wait until after the event that evening to ask about the carrots. there was a lot he'd planned to show me and he'd invited me to his house. that's a fancy car. off—camera, pastor sanchez told me he actually ran a trucking company, transporting vegetables all over central america. so as well as being a pastor, you also work in the vegetable business. so i suppose you're very lucky then that god blessed this area and gave it big carrots?
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because i suppose you make more money from that. that's correct. ok, let's do it. look at that. looks like a rock star. yeah, it's very big garage, isn't it? you don't see much of these in almolonga. are you the only guy with a bmw? what do you think people see when you drive round the streets with your nice jacket, your bmw? what do you think the population are thinking when they see you fly by? as night time hit, i made my way to the congregation.
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i've only really got one question i want to ask him now — which is about the carrots and whether they in fact come from fertiliser and not god. i'm a little bit nervous to ask him about it. it was clear pastor sanchez was a popular man. the church was packed and even had its own tv show. but there was something very familiar about what i was seeing. then right in the middle of the ceremony, i was called on stage. the whole town had heard i was at the congregation and they had a gift for me. that is...
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it was a bag of giant carrots. this isn't a carrot, this is a small child's leg. this is awkward now, i have to ask him about the carrots in front of everybody. thank you for the carrots. this is actually ridiculous. i had one question about them. maybe it's not so much god that makes them big, but it's because people are using a lot of fertiliser? have you ever heard of that before? no. you definitely have some good land here, but i've been told
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that to get this big, people need to put quite a lot of fertiliser on that can be bad for people's health. no, no, no. these chemicals, they can increase diabetes, cancer risks, all sorts of diseases. no, no, no. people would be scared if it was true to tell people because the town would lose a lot of money, people like yourself wouldn't make as much money. so would they even want to tell people if it was true? thank you very much. thank you. i don't quite know what i was expecting pastor sanchez to say, but that was a very difficult conversation to have. religion is so important to almolonga and these carrots are so important to almolonga.
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so ijust felt like i was destroying their most famous story. there is a reason the carrots are massive but something tells me it's not because of god, but for people like pastor sanchez, the truth is bad for business. so i can't see it changing any time soon. hello there. just about all of us have had at least a little dose of springlike weather over the last few days and pretty high temperatures, and some sunny skies at times. that is how it looked for a weather watcher in cornwall on sunday. it wasn't like that everywhere, though. more cloud across norfolk with some outbreaks of rain. and this south—eastern corner looks disappointing again throughout monday. with a lot of cloud, some patchy rain could then work its way into the midlands and east wales later in the day. a scattering of heavy showers for northern ireland
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and northern scotland, but elsewhere at a few but elsewhere a few sunny spells breaking through the cloud and temperatures about where they should be at this time of year. low pressure the dominant feature of our weather through the next few days. sitting down here to the south, we have weather systems circulating around it, bringing rain from east to west from time to time. easterly winds developing, too, but whereas during the winter that easterly wind brought some of our coldest spells of weather, actually, at the moment, that easterly wind is not coming from a particularly cold place. generally pretty mild this week with the exception of north sea coasts, where the wind will be coming straight in off the cold sea making it feel chilly. some rain at times, some sunshine, too. and so it is on tuesday. heavy rain moving through northern england, northern ireland, southern scotland, some rain into the south—west later on as well. in between those areas of wet weather, we will see some sunny spells developing, and those temperatures still up into double digits.
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but there is confirmation of that cold feel for the coast of eastern scotland and north east england because of that easterly wind coming in off the north sea. high pressure to the north, then, on wednesday. low pressure to the south, still squeezing that easterly wind towards us. there will be a lot of low cloud, mist, murk, drizzle for eastern coastal areas. more general areas of rain perhaps drifting westwards at times. the best of the brightness on wednesday looks likely to be in the south. that is where we will have the highest temperatures, 17 degrees in london, giving a little bit of sunshine. given a little bit of sunshine. some uncertainty on the details but thursday could bring some more wet weather in towards the south east. we keep that easterly wind making it to chilly on north sea coast. the best of the brightness for the west lifting temperatures again up to around 15 degrees. the same weather setup takes us to the end of the week with high pressure across scandinavia. lows still spinning around down to the south. the potential for more areas of wet weather to drift from the east towards the west. generally quite a lot of cloud but some sunny breaks here and there.
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those temperatures for the most part doing quite well. but still, for the likes of aberdeen and newcastle, stuck in single digits. let's look further ahead into next weekend. and beyond. this is the jet stream, which will be just been building which will be just bimbling its way across the atlantic, really taking other systems with it. watch what happens as we get toward the end of the weekend into the following week. the jet stream develops these big kink, diving a long way southwards and then pushing a long way northwards again. that is essentially going to trap an area of low pressure out towards the west of the british isles. exactly how close that low pressure will get is open to question. it could well start to draw some very, very warm air from the south. with that low staying to the west, it looks like things are us will stay dry particularly towards next week. some sunshine around and then the potential for things turning warmer, at least for a time. some more springlike weather could be on the way. tonight at ten, there's
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widespread condemnation of an alleged chemical attack on civilians in syria, with president trump saying there'll be a price to pay. dozens are reported to have died from poison gas, with the us not ruling out a missile strike on syrian forces. i wouldn't take anything off the table. these are horrible photos. anything off the table. we are looking into the attack at this point. we'll have the very latest from the white house and the foreign office, as the un prepares for an emergency meeting. as the un prepares for syria has denied any involvement, in a chemical attack. also tonight... in a chemical attack. counting is underway after elections in hungary, with the self—styled defender of christian culture, viktor 0rban, seeking a third term as prime minister. the term as prime minister. dismount. no hesitation. it's gold for rhys mcclenaghan, and the first for northern ireland,
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