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tv   BBC News  BBC News  August 18, 2018 2:00pm-2:30pm BST

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this is bbc news. the headlines at 2pm. former united nations secretary general and nobel peace prize winner kofi annan dies aged 80 in hospital in switzerland after a short illness. made here are some forecasting more heavy rain in southern india. extensive flooding has already triggered landslides and killed nearly 200 people. indian prime minister narendra modi has met senior officials to help co—ordinate the relief effort after the area's worst monsoon rains in a century. ministers plan a new plastics tax for items such as takeaway boxes and coffee cups after the public backs tough action in record numbers. we want to see if there are smart, intelligent incentives we can create to encourage the producers of plastic to take responsibility when they are designing the materials that end up on supermarket shelves
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and ultimately in our own homes. also coming up this hour. thousands of people attended a state funeral in genoa for some of the victims of the motorway bridge collapse — at least 41 are believed to have died. and coming up in half an hour on bbc news — talking books speaks to award—winning author dame hilary mantel. good afternoon. the former secretary—general of the united nations, kofi annan, has died at the age of 80. mr annan, the son of a ghanaian chief, spent his career with the un. he led the organisation for ten years. richard galpin‘s looks back at his life in this report, which includes some flashing images. i, kofi annan, solemnly swear... to exercise in all loyalty...
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he was sworn in as head of the united nations in december 19 96. the first black african to become un secretary general and the first to be appointed from within the organisation. during his two terms in office, he used his position as one of the world's top diplomats to try to mediate in many different international crises. for him, the focus was always on the issues. leadership is not about the individual. when you have macho leaders who believe they have to shine, and it all has to be about them, forgetting what is required is a welfare of society and the people they serve. within five years of taking office, he'd been awarded the nobel peace prize for revitalising the un and for putting an emphasis on human rights. in a statement this morning, his family paid tribute to him,
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saying that wherever there had been suffering or in need, he'd reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy. he had selflessly placed others first, radiating a genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did. after ten years as secretary general, mr annan had no thoughts of stepping out of the limelight. instead taking on other global roles, including becoming un special envoy to syria, trying to end the civil war there. already there have been many tributes from around the world for a leading diplomat who will be greatly missed. kofi annan who has died at the age of 80. our correspondent imogen foulkes
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is in berne for us now. he worked first about how the news has emerged today. it came out first thing this morning, as unfortunately happens nowadays, on social media, and those of us who work at the un, it was confirmed to us by the two organisations that kofi annan was working up until his death, the kofi annan foundation, and a group of elderly statesmen and women dedicated to peace promotion and focusing on humanitarian issues, and a p pa re ntly focusing on humanitarian issues, and apparently they said after a short illness, with his wife and children by his side, and here in switzerland, particularly geneva, the whole of the un's humanitarian organisations, that is real grief. he supported the work of those organisations and never lost his
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awareness how many people on the planet are caught up in conflict, affected by climate change, caught up affected by climate change, caught up in grinding poverty, and he persistently drew attention to those issues. and that work meant that switzerland had been home for him on and off for switzerland had been home for him on and offfora switzerland had been home for him on and off for a while? that is right, he lived in geneva. even after he had left the possession of un secretary—general he left there and we saw him regularly and he took pa rt we saw him regularly and he took part in debates. he was never somebody who seemed to have actually retired, if you like. he remained dedicated to the cause of promoting the interests of the world's most vulnerable. reflection a moment ago about his work in this area, which of course brought us more to the present time and some of the most serious difficulties still going on. he was the first un special envoy
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for syria and i remember well he worked tirelessly at it. he had some very creative thinking about how that conflict could be solved. he talked about local ceasefires, and we remember he tried to get them going. very sadly, he was obviously not successful, and neither had been the two successive special envoys for syria, one of the world's most intractable conflicts. kofi annan brought all his diplomacy and enthusiasm are finding a way to peace rather than continuing the conflict in that war. sadly was u nsuccessful. conflict in that war. sadly was unsuccessful. thank you. people have been paying tribute to kofi annan. secretary—general of the united nations— ant nio guterres tweeted ‘kofi annan was a guiding force for good. ijoin the world in mourning his loss. in these turbulent and trying times, his legacy as a global champion for peace will remain a true inspiration for us all. former uk prime minister tony blair
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wrote: ‘i'm shocked and distressed to hear the news about kofi. he was a good friend whom i saw only weeks ago. kofi annan was a great diplomat, a true statesman and a wonderful colleague who was widely respected and will be greatly missed. my deepest sympathy to nane and his family. gordon brown paid tribute saying: ‘a leader of leaders, a titan amongst world statesman, a wonderful humanitarian and the most compassionate and caring of individuals. kofi annan will be sorely missed. prime minister theresa may paid tribute tweeting — ‘sad to hear of the death of kofi annan. a great leader and reformer of the un, he made a huge contribution to making the world he has left a better place than the one he was born into. my thoughts and condolences are with his family‘ one man who knew and worked alongside kofi annan for more than 20 years is alan doss, the president of the kofi annan foundation. hejoins us now from geneva. thank you forjoining us. how would
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you sum him up as an international diplomat? quite exceptional, i think. a man of several generations who reached beyond his immediate base, he was brought up in africa and very much attached to africa, but he reached far beyond africa, and he was welcomed and sought after all over the world, and just in the time since he retired, in asia, africa, latin america and europe, he was sought out because of his qualities as a statesman and the diplomat but above all as a person. a person who listened carefully, who came to the table with an open agenda. never shouted, never lost his temper. remarkably temperate in
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his temper. remarkably temperate in his approach to people, and as a result, was greatly not only appreciated but loved by many people round the world. you mentioned those different attributes and characteristics, if you like, which made him the great diplomat you describe him as. where do you think they came from? he grew up in a traditional african family, a big family, one of many in a large family. he went abroad at a fairly young age to go to higher education in the united states, and then work in europe before going back to ghana, soi in europe before going back to ghana, so i think all these elements played into his upbringing and training, his education, but at the end of the day, there was that remarkable quality about him which was unique to him, and i think all of us who knew and worked with him recognised that he was truly an
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exceptional person. great but also an immensely good person, who believed in what he said and what he did and was always open with ideas and suggestions, innovation, and was willing to listen. how tough could he be if he needed to be tough? he was tough but not in a brash way. people sometimes confuse the two. that wasn't kofi annan's style. he listened carefully and would be very determined and i was on several mediations with them and i saw how he would never give up, he would ta ke he would never give up, he would take note and circle back, always to his essential point. he would look notjust one or two but several steps ahead. he knew what his objective was. he had great patience, he recognised that sometimes to make a mediations accessible and the progress, you need time and you need patience.
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when he reflected on some of the biggest challenges he faced, particularly during his time running the united nations, what will he pointed to? i think he felt that at times the security council didn't always come together. he was disappointed at how the council acted on his proposals to bring peace to syria. he thought he had an agreement but when the council met it didn't work. he was greatly disappointed and saw the need for security council reform to make it more inclusive or representative of the world as it is today, but he was frustrated in his efforts to do that. all secretaries general faced a dilemma. i think also he was keen to make sure that the work of the
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native stations was properly known and that it wasn't just dismissed native stations was properly known and that it wasn'tjust dismissed as and that it wasn'tjust dismissed as an empty talking shop. and that is why he went out of his way to connect with circles of civil society and ngos but also international business, and he wasn't afraid of meeting and confronting them as he did when he argued with them, essentially, to get the price of drugs to deal with aids down, so that poor people around the world could also use those, get access to those drugs. so asi those, get access to those drugs. so as i say, he was a very determined and quiet but unyielding negotiator. in the role he would quite often have to deal with or meet people who he suspected were deeply unsavoury characters for a variety of different reasons. how would he cope with that? i think everybody in the united nations and beyond to has to deal with very nasty conflicts,
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conflicts that have seen terrible crimes committed, you have to work with people you do not always like, you may even dislike greatly, but he recognised that it was part of the job. he didn't excuse it, didn't exonerated, and as you know he was a great supporter of human rights but he did recognise he would have to deal sometimes with some very unpleasant people, but he was firm in doing so and didn't give them any excuses. how much did ghana continue to matter to him as he progressed through his career? greatly. he went back three or four times a year and spent several weeks and always kept a house there and consider that his home, with a great number of ghanaian friends, and he was also influential in making sure that ghana maintained a democratic track
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record, which has been very good over the last two or three decades, and as recently as the last election he was quietly working behind the scenes and what was a very fraught election, to make sure the election would run successfully and that the results were accepted by all concerned. so when you reflect on his legacy, and many are doing that today of course, what would you point to. i think his remarkable ability to bring different people together from all sides and persuasions, set them around a table, and get them to work together to come up with answers. he didn't always succeed, but in far more cases than we may know of it dead, but he was willing to take chances and innovate. he was a cautious and careful man but he didn't refuse the opportunities when they came up and then he would move ahead and he always wanted to be prepared, always prepared and ready, and in that
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sense he was the ultimate consummate diplomat, and of course global statesman. thank you for coming on. a huge rescue and relief operation is being mounted in the southern indian state of kerala, where unusually heavy monsoon rains have caused what officials are describing as the worst flooding in a century. more than 320 people have died in kerala since the rainy season began injune and more than 300,000 have been made homeless. yogita limaye is in kerala — she sent this report. there are over a0 rivers in kerala and every one of them has breached their banks. when there is no way out, people are being rescued by helicopter. the state has been hit with over a third more rainfall than usual and the effects have been devastating. more rain is forecast for the rest of the day. translation: it has been raining heavily since yesterday.
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it is not slowing down and that is why people are scared. they are scared that the water will enter their homes again. torrential rains have also caused other disasters, like here behind me. the mud up there became loose because of continuous rainfall and slipped all the way down onto this, which used to be a two—storey house. nine people were killed here. there was one family, some relatives and some neighbours as well, and that is really how difficult this rescue operation is, because it is notjust about evacuating people who are stranded in flooded areas. a large part of kerala is also hilly, so it is also about taking people who might be at risk in parts like these out of here. from an air force helicopter, india's prime minister sees for himself the extent of the disaster. narendra modi says there will be more helicopters and boats to evacuate tens of thousands of stranded people.
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hundreds of troops are already engaged in rescue and relief operations. air force transport planes have started bringing supplies to the coastal state. but hundreds of thousands of people are homeless. this is one of 1,500 emergency relief camps. they are overcrowded and somewhat under threat from rising water. yogita limaye, bbc news, in kerala. the headlines on bbc news. former united nations secretary general kofi annan dies aged 80, the un's first black african to hold the position. 300,000 people have been made homeless in southern india, where monsoons have caused the area's worst floods in a century. and a state funeral for some of the victims of the genoa bridge collapse took place today. a state funeral is taking place
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in the italian city of genoa, for some of the victims of the motorway bridge disaster. this morning, firefighters found the bodies of a couple and their nine—year—old daughter inside their crushed car, taking the death toll to 41. 0ur correspondent james reynolds is at the funeral — and sent this update. this state funeral is forjust under half the victims of the genoa bridge collapse and it is of course a chance for politicians, family members, relief workers, and also members of the public to come together and to pause. it is worth saying that many families have chosen not to take part in this ceremony — their relatives, their victims, are from other parts of the country and they have simply preferred to carry out private burials — but we do know of at least two families who say they want nothing to do with any official or state ceremonies. 0ne father in particular has said
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that his son was murdered, and therefore a state ceremony for that family was not appropriate. this is a chance for people here to stop, but it is not enough for this country to put aside the divisions and the arguments the about why the bridge collapsed. once the ceremonies are over, once the politicians have gone, those arguments will re—intensify. an official commission will now look at the causes of the bridge's collapse and the public prosecutor here in genoa will decide whether or not anybody should be held legally responsible for what happened. the number of children and young adults in england and wales with type 2 diabetes has risen by more than 40% in just four years, according to the royal college of paediatrics. council leaders described the increase as "extremely worrying" and called for a boost in public health funding. the department of health says its new childhood obesity plan will get children exercising more in schools and reduce their exposure to sugary and fatty foods. i'm joined now by marianne 0verton,
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vice chairman of the local government association. . the figures i mention presumably chime with your organisation's expedience? absolutely. we are very worried about it. type two diabetes is the sort associated with choice and lifestyle, so it is very much about food choices and also about exercise, so what we're looking at, over 70% of cases, is this is a direct factor, the obesity of children, and these children are the ones we really need to make sure we can help improve their lifestyle so we can get them back on an even keel we can get them back on an even keel. it is a life limiting disease and it is debilitating and the
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longer run and something it is really important for us to tackle. why isn't that help happening to the extent he would like at the moment? 0ne extent he would like at the moment? one of the issue is is funding, as most people already know, local government is already £7.8 billion short by 2025, so we are already struggling, so working with a very tight budgets and making difficult decisions, but to make matters worse, we have had £600 million cut from the public health budget, that councils are using, so it is the very budget we are using to help these young children that is being reduced, so we need that to be replaced. so you're clear message to government discovers that 600 million back? absolutely, and that is more than we can do. other powers to do with planning, thinking about where fast food places are positioned, and also about
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advertising. there is a host of things that we had extra powers we could also do, but certainly we do need the money to make sure that we can get the services in place targeting youngsters who need extra specialised care and also helping the bulk of young people feel get more exercise and also eat better.|j mentioned what the department of health has said. it points to the new childhood obesity plan and says it will get children exercising in schools and reduce exposure to sugary and fatty foods. in other words, they are on message? the things i have mentioned are the things i have mentioned are the things missing in the strategy and thatis things missing in the strategy and that is why we are raising them now. we are very happy with the direction and the fact that the proposal to have childhood obesity by 2030, but the problem for us it isjust have childhood obesity by 2030, but the problem for us it is just not fast enough. we need to tackle this right now because, as you can
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imagine, with young people in particular, it is an issue we have to get in advance. we need a preventative approach otherwise it will be long—term problems for us all. the sandhurst military academy is investigating claims that two officer cadets used waterboarding on a fellow recruit. according to the sun newspaper, the cadet was allegedly pinned down, and water was poured over a cloth covering his face. the ministry of defence says it is aware of an incident at sandhurst and an investigation by the royal military police has been ordered. 0ur news correspondent keith doyle is with me now — what are the allegations? this we know that the ministry of defence has confirmed that an investigation is under way into the incident that happened that the royal military academy on august seven. the sun reported that two officer cadets held down a recruit and poured water on a class covering his face to simulate drowning. that
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is an interrogation method that was used by the us military and band just under ten years ago. a statement has come from the commander of sandhurst, and he said he was aware of the allegations and has said, i have ordered an investigation by the royal military police. the army and i suspect though it might expect the highest standards of behaviour and anyone found to have fallen short is dealt with robustly including dismissal. there has been some action by civil liberty groups. liberty has supported many victims of bullying in the military and they say that allegations of serious physical assaults on army property must be investigated by civilian, not military police. they told me royal military police lacked the necessary independence and expertise to deal with an alleged crime of this severity. they go on to say, soldiers must now be unable to go to
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civilian police. what do we know about the extent of bullying in the military? that is an annual survey done every year and looks at attitudes and experiences. i2% of military personnel have reportedly have been subject to bullying, discrimination oi’ subject to bullying, discrimination or harassment. those who didn't follow it up say theyjust didn't believe anything would be done, but the rac bullying is not tolerated and tough action is taken against those who fall short of their highest standards. a former labour mp has been suspended from the party over comments apparently made online about the jewish community. jim sheridan, a former paisley and renfrewshire north mp, is said to have posted a comment on social media in which he spoke of his loss of "respect and empathy" for the community. labour hasn't commented but said all complaints of anti—semitism are fully investigated by the party. a new tax on plastics is expected to be introduced by the government — in order to curb the use of non—recyclable plastic items such
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as drinking straws, single use cutlery and black food tray. it comes after a record 162,000 responses to a government consultation on how to reduce waste and improve recycling. tom barton reports. how best to reduce the tonnes of plastic that end up in landfill... and the oceans every year. that was the question posed by the treasury in a consultation earlier this year and it received a record response. among the ideas being considered by ministers are new taxes. some of these could target the demand for disposable coffee cups and takeaway boxes, while others are likely to encouragement manufacturers to change their products. we want to see if there are smart, intelligent incentives that we can create to encourage the producers of plastic to take responsibility when they are designing the materials that end up on supermarket shelves and ultimately in our own homes, to use recycled materials whenever
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possible, not to use those materials that are very difficult to recycle, such as black carbon plastic, and of course, overall, to reduce the amount of plastic and use other materials such as cardboard, paper and foil wherever possible. ministers also say they want to encourage recycling for waste that is currently incinerated. the final details of any proposals will be revealed as part of the budget later this year. tom barton, bbc news. now it's time for a look at the weather. we can cross the newsroom to lucy. good afternoon. today looking like the better of the two days this weekend, overall a lot of close around and some outbreaks of rain where the cloud is thick enough. the
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clouds better in the west and that could produce some outbreaks of light rain and drizzle. breezy today across the board and particularly windy in the north least with the windy in the north least with the wind easing. the temperatures in the high teens, low 20s, maximum around 24 high teens, low 20s, maximum around 2a celsius with some good spells of sunshine. this evening and overnight low— pressure sunshine. this evening and overnight low—pressure into northern ireland and central and southern scotland and central and southern scotland and parts of wales. turning windy in the south—west, cooler in the north with clear spells but humid farther south. some sunny spells in the north, one or two showers in the far north. the dane will work its way east through the day but a predominately cloudy day for much of england and wales with the odd spot of rain and drizzle.
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