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tv   Witness History  BBC News  December 27, 2021 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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this is bbc news, the headlines: leaders from around the world have been paying tribute to desmond tutu — one of the heroes of the anti—apartheid movement — who's died at the age of 90. president biden praised his courage and the un secretary general, antonio guterres, called him an inspiration to generations. israel's government has approved a $300 million plan to consolidate its control of the golan heights. this area is regarded by most of the world as occupied territory. the israeli prime minister, naftali bennett, told a special cabinet meeting that the aim was to double thejewish population there within the next few years. a covid vaccine mandate for all private companies comes into force in new york city. it's the first of its kind in the united states and applies to about 184 thousand businesses. children as young as five are also required to show proof of vaccination to access certain venues.
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now on bbc news. janice long was the first woman to have her own show on radio one and she has passed away. her career spanned five decades and she was the first woman to present mac top of the pops. we look back at her life. it's with a band who have been together for a year. they come from leighton buzzard. it's their first appearance on top of the pops. it's kajagoogoo with too shy. janice long making history. the first regular female host on top of the pops. it's u2 in at number 23 and new year's day. she ended nearly 20 years of men dominating the presenting line—up. i was absolutely thrilled to bits with the fact that i was introducing u2. and that doesn't get, you know, your first top of the pops! # all is quiet... show business ran in the family. herfirst tv appearance
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was alongside her younger brother, keith chegwin, on the children's show multi—coloured swap shop. hello, and welcome to the show. a year later shejoined radio 1, the first woman to have a daily show on the pop music station. the stadium was filled with 72,000 people. as well as being a voice recognised by millions on the radio, she was one of the presenters at the live aid charity concert. of which state is edward kennedy a senator? and over the years appeared on a huge range of different tv shows. next week's hit parade with peterjames barnard powell and gary davies. she'll be remembered as a female trailblazer and as someone with an infectious passion for music. now on bbc news. witness history introduces us to some of the team's favourite films
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from the past 12 months. hello and welcome to witness history with me, here at the bbc in london. with more remarkable moments from the past as told by the people who were there. and in this episode, we present five of our most memorable recent eyewitness stories. coming up, remembering the founder of north korea. also, the forensic pioneer unearthing war crimes. why us police bombed philadelphia and afghanistan's first man in space. we start with the story of a true trailblazer who made history in 1960. she became the modern world's first female head of government when she was elected prime minister of sri lanka —
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or ceylon, as it was known. her daughter spoke to witness history. you are the first woman prime minister in the world. would this make your influence less or more strong? considerably more strong. do you think they'll be more capable than the problems than men are? that remains to be seen. my mother was incredible. she shed her reticence, her shyness, she came forward and on every political platform, she spoke. my father was prime minister first from 1956 to 59 of sri lanka, ceylon as it was known then. sadly, his enemies
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assassinated him. my mother had no intention of going into politics. her three children were fatherless and she wanted to devote all her time to bringing them up. but there was such a pressure from the party and the people in general that finally she agreed because she was convinced that it was her duty. my mother's party won the election in 1960, but right wing forces started saying the nastiest possible things, running down women. how can she lead a political party? she was utterly unruffled. she said don't worry about it. she carried on. as for us, we three felt, my god, we lost our father to politics. now, are we going
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to lose our mother now, are we going to lose our mother as well? but she never forgot that she was a mother. she took on the mantle of the world's first woman prime minister very comfortably. she took to it like a duck to water. i was quite amazed at how she became passionately of the international scene. she played a very important role there. the first woman premier- mrs bandaranaike of ceylon. i noticed in no time at all, the way she was carrying herself with the great sense of authority, walking in the cabinet meetings, she had files clutched like that in her left arm and walked with her head held high. she came across in a very strong way when she was negotiating one—to—one with leaders of other countries.
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i have never, ever seen her losing her temper. she would get angry but in a very calm, stern manner. she would say what she had to say, which was far more effective. she was very proud of her second daughter, my sister. my mother could see that she was a born leader. wearing a peacock blue sari, the new president taking - the oath of office . and all three of the countries main languages. she was overjoyed when my sister became the president of sri lanka. she saw the legacy that her husband left behind which she took on from there. the mantle fell on her daughter chandrika. the first woman prime minister sirimavo bandaranaike has died at the age of
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84. but she has been voting in the general election. being the first female prime minister was very important to her. she felt very proud that she had done it. do you hope to see more women and l politics? i certainly hope so. sirimavo bandaranaike and her remarkable mother. the next story is about another pioneer in a very different field. a forensic anthropologist from argentina who has dedicated her life to searching for the remains of missing victims of war atrocities and state violence. in her search for the truth, she exhumed remains in more than 30 countries and among them, el salvador. the scene of a brutal civil war in the 1980s. we end up exhuming the remains of close to 140 kids that were all in this very small one room house.
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we were exhuming all these little dresses and whatever they have in their pockets. those kinds of details are actually the ones that kind of, devastate you. they are very hard. yes. i started doing the forensic work on human rights cases in 1984 when democracy returned argentina after a quite brutal military government. most of us were students, we were just finishing very close to graduating. it wasn't something that we were thinking of, let's form an international organisation that will do this globally. it was more like, if we want to be consistent with what we think and what we believed, we thought we could not say no.
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in december 1981, the army entered to the area as well as another 5 hamlets that were nearby, separated children, women and men, executed them, burn their houses and everything. removing any possibility of civilian support of guerillas. at the time we arrived, you could still see human bones in different parts of the houses. this red flags indicates where we found all of the spent cartridges. this wall here was where the victims are probably lined up before being executed. we were just amazed about what we were finding. we have never worked on a case of that scale at that time.
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i see the work that we do in different parts of the world as part of a reparation process. were something horrible happened, we cannot fixed what happens, but we can provide some solace by providing information and returning the remains of people to the land and we really so important that that is. these are crimes that are often political crimes and part of a political situation. and so, you learn to wait and push as much as you can so that the evidence can be heard. it can have its day in court. but, it is a work that requires a lot of patience. often, we felt very strong feelings of frustration. this process is never—ending and so, we never
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feel completed. complete closure. rarely. the forensic anthropologist mercedes doretti. now, to a very different kind of historical mystery. the same family that have ruled north korea for over seven decades. the original great leader was kim il—sung. how exactly did he get the job? 101—year—old professor who came from the same village as he was starting out on his rise to power. translation: in north korea, he is praised as the greatest leader of all time. kim il—sung is at the heart of the kim dynasty. the origin of north korea begins with kim il—sung. over 70 years ago, when i first met kim il—sung, i was 25 years old. back then, we knew him
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by his real name. kim song—ju. after 40 years ofjapanese domination, korea makesl the start back on the road back to national independence. - translation: we were both from the same area and i had gone to the same primary school. my school seniors said that he was always the football team captain. they also said kim was a bossy child who ordered the other kids around.
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translation: kim asked our village elders to celebrate his homecoming after the war. 0ver breakfast, we asked now that korea was free from japan, what does the future hold? just like a schoolboy reporting to a teacher, he said first, japanese collaborators must be purged. all land should be nationalised. lastly, all businesses will become state owned. during the occupation, korean guerrillas fought the japanese.
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a fighter called kim il—sung led many battles. about 20 days after that breakfast meeting with song—ju, a welcoming ceremony for the famous fighter was held. those who went said instead of seeing kim il—sung, it was our old friend from the village. they went in for a closer look and it was him. some ordinary citizens were also suspicious. they expected kim il—sung to be in his 505 an experienced military veteran. this man was in his 305. some people were asking if it had all been staged? that is when i realised perhaps kim
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song—ju had been chosen by the communist while in exile to lead and take on the name of kim il—sung. kim's breakfast talk soon became a reality. this was a time of chaos. the communist party flourished. anti—communists were pushed out. by the spring of 1947, i feared i could go to jail to if i stayed any longer. that was 101—year—old professor. that was 101—year—old professor kim. you can watch witness history every month on the bbc news channel, or you can catch up on all our films, with more than a thousand radio programmes, and our online archives. search for for bbc witness history. our next eyewitness story takes us to the 1980s and hugely controversial operation by us law enforcement.
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in may 1985, police in philadelphia dropped a bomb on a residential street to end the stand—off with radical black activists. 11 people died, five were children. the former philadelphia reporter lyn washington remembers that tragic day. the siege had been under way for 36 hours when the police, where put sharpshooters on nearby rooftops, decided to bring in air power. the bomb was dropped with the aim of blowing a hole through the cult headquarters roof. as the slow—motion sequence shows, there was a devastating miscalculation. watching that fire burn the way you did and knowing that there were people in that house and children in that house, it was just an extraordinary sense of rage. you wanted to do something, but there was nothing that you could do. what happened on may
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13, 1985 is the most horrific incident that i ever covered as a news reporter. in the nearly 40 years that i have covered news, still to this day, i am not entirely sure of what they are, they have fashioned themselves as black revolutionaries who adapted environmentalism and and many times, their lifestyles were not in conformance with life in an urban area. and as result of that, there are many clashes with police. in the early '805, move as an organisation that relocated to the osage ave and as the years progressed, they began to fortify the house.
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they built a bunker on the roof, they also had a public address system on their roof and they would harangue the neighbours sometimes 24 hours a day. so the shots would've been coming from the second floor or the first floor. the police were in the houses on the other side of the street here and so, they were shooting in. so it was from here, here, gunfire coming from here too. wow. i saw the helicopter hover over the area and then there was this horrific explosion. the ground literally shook. my knees buckled. and as the fire started raging
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with more intensity, you could see the flames literallyjump across the street to the south side. and within about 90 minutes, the whole block was on fire. it was surreal. 11 people in that house perished — six adults and five children. did you hearthe big bomb? it shook the whole house up. it did. and what happened then? everybody went down and was downstairs in everybody went down and was downstairs in the garage. this incident took place during the administration of a black mayor. it was just unfathomable
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to people, and that created a distrust and a dissatisfaction that persists in many ways to this day. lyn washington in philadelphia. and finally, an uplifting story in every sense from afghanistan. back in 1988, abdul became the first afghan to go to space. he spent nine days with a russian crew on the soviet mir space station. it was a symbolic moment of the soviet war in afghanistan but as you will hear, the mission almost went tragically wrong.
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the soviet space rocket was successfully launched from central asia, heading for the mir space station. for the first time, an afghan joined the crew.
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it when the mission commander and his afghan colleague separated for the flight home that the problems began.
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90 minutes into the return flight, a computer malfunction. within the next three hours, two cosmonauts were trying to fire manually rockets that might bring them back to earth. if they fail, there could be marooned in space. the two cosmonauts have returned to earth safely after spending a day stranded in space with their oxygen running out.
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rescue teams were soon on the ground. _ they made light of their troubles. the first man from afghanistan to go to space. that's all for this addition. we'll be back next time with more first—hand accounts of amazing moments from the past. but from now, for the rest of the witness history team, goodbye. hello there. a few of us got to see
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a white christmas but, for many more, it was too mild for snow. we had a lot of mist and murk and we had some outbreaks of rain. this stripe of cloud on the satellite picture brought rain and some hill snow in the north during boxing day. there's more cloud and rain waiting in the wings down to the south—west. but the big story, i think, for this week will be this surge of very, very mild air wafting up from the south, affecting all parts of the uk as we move towards the end of 2021. it will be turning increasingly mild this week, but with some wind and rain at times. now, many of us will start off monday with some cloud, some mist and fog, some quite murky conditions again. rain into the south—west of england which will push northwards towards parts of wales, the midlands and east anglia through the day, tending to weaken as it goes. elsewhere, some of the mist and fog and cloud will tend to lift and break and we will see some spells of sunshine in the far north of england, northern ireland and scotland, albeit with some showers in the far north. temperatures ranging from 6 degrees in aberdeen to 12 in plymouth through the afternoon. and then through monday night,
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a bit more rain potentially down towards the south. another lump of wet weather starting to push into northern ireland, parts of northern england, southern scotland. the winds will start to pick up down towards the south and the west as well. very mild in the south. a little bit chilly up towards the north. and then, as we go through tuesday, this area of wet weather will spread out of northern ireland into southern scotland, northern england, parts of wales, perhaps into the midlands as well. we will see some sunny spells to the far north and to the far south but it will be really quite windy across parts of england and wales. some of these western coasts could see gusts of 40 to maybe 50 mph. quite mild in the south — 12 degrees. further north, a little bit cooler but those temperatures still quite respectable for the time of year. however, there is even milder weather on the way. as we move out of tuesday into wednesday, we see this next frontal system pushing in from the south—west, a band of rain that'll drive its way north—eastwards, some snow for a time over high ground in scotland, but this will mostly be rain because that mild air will be working its way in.
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temperatures down towards the south on wednesday afternoon up to 16, maybe 17 degrees. still a little bit chilly for some northern areas but as we move towards the end of the week and the end of the year, that mild weather spreads to all parts. there will still be some rain at times.
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welcome to bbc news — i'm david eades. our top stories: tributes and reflections pour in for archbishop desmond tutu after his death at the age of 90. he was a man of unwavering courage, of principal conviction and whose life was spent in the service of others. the israeli government approves a plan to double the number of settlers in the golan heights, regarded by much of the world as occupied territory. a covid vaccine mandate for all private companies comes into force in new york city — the first of its kind in the united states.

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