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tv   Unspun World with John Simpson  BBC News  October 30, 2022 1:30am-2:00am GMT

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this is bbc news, the headlines: at least 150 people have been killed in a crush, in the south korean capital, seoul, during halloween celebrations. emergency services say almost all the deaths occurred in one narrow alley in itaewon, a popular entertainment district. witnesses decribed chaotic scenes ahead of the incident. russia says it's suspending its participation in an agreement — brokered by the united nations — that allows grain exports from ukraine. moscow claims it's taken the decision after a drone attack on russian ships in occupied crimea. a un spokesperson said they hoped discussions would continue. british opposition parties are urging the government to look into claims that the former prime minister, liz truss, had her phone hacked while she was foreign secretary. media reports allege the hack was discovered during the conservative leadership campaign. the government has refused to comment.
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now on bbc news, unspun world withjohn simpson. and remember, the dogs have changed and it is now 1:30am. —— the clock is. hello, and welcome to unspun world, the programme where the bbc�*s experts give us clear answers about the big questions of the moment. this is westminster and this is covering the arrival of yet another british prime minister. rishi sunak is different from his predecessors. he is a first prime minister of colour in a british history. and the youngest at 42 cents william pete in 1783. but he has only
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been selected by conservative mp so he does not have the mandate a general election gives and he inherent worse and bigger problems of any prime minister since the 1970s. the outside world _ minister since the 1970s. the outside world will _ minister since the 19705. tue: outside world will look minister since the 19705. tte: outside world will look and see what decisions does he make? what is daily life like in ukraine are now the russians are targeting power supply? when you hear missiles flying, thatis when you hear missiles flying, that is obviously terrifying. the aftermath is very serious. no—one wants to spend hours and hours without electricity. and the frightening reality of global warming in norway. the people are under threat like never before. literally, the ground needs they feed melting
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away. ground needs they feed melting awa . , ~ ground needs they feed melting awa . , . ., away. ever since margaret thatcher— away. ever since margaret thatcher was _ away. ever since margaret thatcher was forced - away. ever since margaret thatcher was forced out i away. ever since margareti thatcher was forced out of power, the conservative party in britain has been in a state of incipient civil war. at the focus of it was almost always europe. in 2016, david cameron, hoping to and the civil war once and for all, held a referendum on this subject, only, local referendum, it also turned into a vote of the government? record and the remainders loss. he was succeeded by theresa may and she bite borisjohnson and he died lee's trust. each of the last three competing for the title of the shortest serving prime minister. —— liz
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outside world? the uk used to be seen as the sensible guy in the corner of the room, who, at the big summits would sit there and go, what do the brits think? that has long gone. there are so many issues they want to talk to the uk about, that the uk has something to offer, that they want to discuss with the uk, depending what the issue is. and yet there is such a fast turnover, notjust of leaders, but also of ministers. just the foreign ministers. i talk to foreign diplomats and a sort of go, you invest, you build up a relationship, you start a relationship and then suddenly they are gone. here today, gone tomorrow. so what's the point, why should i as foreign minister, a foreign diplomat invest in the uk? is that going to change now, or is this part of the churning process still? the outside world is just going to look and say, what decisions does mr sunak make? what does he do when it comes to the big decisions? for example, ukraine. if you are, i don't know, a european leader, particularly
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in eastern europe, you are looking very closely to see whether or not mr sunak will continue the policy as promoted by initially borisjohnson and then by liz truss. now, mr sunak says he will continue that policy, he will redouble and reinforce briton�*s support for ukraine. but he hasn't promised, for example, to match his predecessor's commitment to increase defence spending for the uk by a substantial amount. at the moment, the uk spends about a8, £50 billion a year on defence. if you increase that, i think the target was 2030, that takes you up to £100 billion a year on defence. a lot of that would be going to support ukraine in the long run to shore up its own security, to deter future aggression regardless of what happens to the war in the short term. now, that is less secure if the outside world doesn't know what the uk is going to be spending on defence. and when the russians look at rishi sunak, will they see a leader, a strong figure or will they say this is another of these kind of characters that we don't need to worry about too much?
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i think it will be more to the latter. the reason for that is, the uk is facing an election some time in the next two years. as i said, this is the latest in a long rotation of british prime ministers. their foreign minister, sergey lavrov has been in post since jack straw was our foreign minister. now, that is a long time for one man to be in post. so that's how measure theirforeign ministers. you know, we've just had this rotation ever since. i think the russians willjust say, no, this isjust another example of those wet, liberal democracies being unstable and unable to think long and act long term. which, i have to say, is an argument that western democracies have to address. because it is a criticism
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that is levelled against many democracies around the world, that they just simply don't sustain their decision making for a long period of time because they have repeated elections and instability. particularly if they have frequent elections and maybe unstable coalitions. and what about the united states? it might help if the president actually knew rishi sunak�*s name, i suppose? yes, when the president first was asked about this in public he got the prime minister's name, mr rashi sunook, he said. but what has been interesting is mr biden said something that other world leaders have picked up on, they all referenced his indian origin. the fact that mr sunak is a british asian and i think that is something that will cut through that is potentially something the uk could use in a sort of soft power way. because it is unusual, it is different, it cuts him out as somebody who is different from previous british prime ministers and i think that if the people in downing street were thinking about it, they would use this, notjust, i don't know just try and trade deal with india... although it will help?
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it will help, i mean, mr sunak�*s arrival has been hugely popular in india, it has been all over the press. he's been described as a son of india, of the empire and narendra modi has talked about what he called the �*living relationship�* between uk indians and indians in india that is represented by mr sunak. now mr sunak was a brexiteer right from the very start, but there is already starting to be suggestions that he might want to be closer to europe than either borisjohnson or liz truss where? or liz truss were? it is a really interesting question because we don't know the answer to that yet. he was, as you said, a committed brexiteer, and a committed brexiteer before many other people in the party there. he actually really believed it. i think he's also somebody who is not naturally antagonistic. he said during his leadership campaign that he didn't think
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a trade war with europe would be in the uk's national interests. so the hope in brussels is he's going to be a little bit more pragmatic. but, he still the leader of a party that is brexiteer, it is passionately brexiteer and that means he won't have that much room for manoeuvre over things like the northern ireland protocol, all those other loose ends from the brexit trade deal where there is a lot of stuff that still needs to be agreed. hopefully a degree of calmness can come over it, may be some progress can happen on that but it's not automatic. an important new phase in the ukraine war is starting. the ukrainian forces are closing in on kherson city in the south, which controls a part of the access to crimea. but winter is on its way and russia has been targeting ukraine's power stations, cutting electricity supplies to the population. life is suddenly becoming even harder for ukraine's civilians.
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this is a ukrainian expert from bbc monitoring. from what i am hearing and seeing when talking to ukrainians, it's not exactly working. 0bviously these power blackouts are highly disruptive, but at the same time i am hearing a lot of defiance, i'm hearing a lot of anger, sort of hatred to russian forces who have been doing that. so the whole purpose of doing it is proving to be pointless? if the plan is to sort of sow terror among ukrainian civilians, yes, it's working. because obviously when you hear missiles flying or when you hear the annoying buzzing of those iranian drones that have attacked ukrainian cities in the past few weeks, that is obviously terrifying. the aftermath is very serious because obviously no one wants to be spending hours and hours without electricity.
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but at the same time does it make ukrainians any more willing to negotiate or to make concessions? i don't think so. just to give you one example, several ukrainian activists and army support foundations have started a majorfundraising campaign which they called �*for revenge'. and within just a few days they managed to collect huge amounts of money to support the ukrainian army from ordinary people. we are talking about several million dollars. so itjust tells you itjust makes people angrier and more resilient and more willing to resist. do you think that it might be affecting the war effort though? to be honest, it doesn't really change anything on the front line. that is what we have been hearing from the ukrainian government, but also from independent military experts. it doesn't make russian forces any more likely to, i don't know, fight ukrainian forces more efficiently, especially after the set backs the russian army has suffered in places like the kharkiv region.
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what they can do however, they can badly affect the ukrainian economy. for example, one of the biggest concerns i'm hearing from the people i speak to is that it is really hard to work, to do yourjob because so many people remotely these days and even if you work ——because so many people work remotely these days and even if you work in the office there is only so much you can do when you don't have the internet and you don't have electricity. this is something we face in our bbc monitoring team in ukraine. we have staff based in ukraine obviously and for hours they might not have access to the internet or electricity. are the ukrainians making, still making advances in the kherson regions for instance? are they still pushing ahead there? there is a counter offensive going on in kherson region and we have been hearing a lot from the russian side, for example, about the evacuation of civilians from the city of kherson. 0bviously, evacuation
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is the term used by russia. in ukraine it is called deportation. but there is obviously something brewing in the city of kherson, whether or not russia is planning to withdraw is a big question right now but we do know this is going to be the main point that we are looking at in the next two weeks at least. and the ukrainian government says that the russians have mined the kherson dam and if that is blown up, that could really create havoc in the entire area, couldn't it? the ukrainian government is worried about the russians potentially potentially blowing up this dam on the dnipro river but if you listen to the russian sources they are actually accusing the ukrainian forces of planning something bad with this dam. what we do know is that up to 80 towns and villages in the region could be flooded if the dam is blown up.
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it could also severely affect water supplies to annexed crimea, which is currently controlled by russia. you come from crimea, don't you? what are you hearing from there about the situation? the situation in crimea was always contrasted with what was happening in donbas, in eastern ukraine. so the russian official narrative was that, listen, this could have been happening here in crimea near your homes, but russia came and it brought safety and security. but now crimeans don't seem to have that any more, especially after the explosion at the crimean bridge a few weeks ago. people are starting to feel that this war is coming closer to their homes. another country on a knife edge is brazil. the second and deciding round of the bitter presidential election takes place there on sunday. the left—wing former president lula
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da silva has come through the first round of this election just ahead of his rival, current president jair bolsonaro, the let—it—rip right—winger so reminiscent of donald trump. lula got 48%, bolsonaro 43%. some commentators are saying that brazil's democracy is at stake on sunday. katy watson, bbc�*s south america correspondent, spoke to me from a street in sao paulo. the brazilians have a really stark choice. they have a far—right leader, incumbentjair bolsonaro, a leftist former president with lula da silva — once the most popular politician in brazil, but then subsequently charges of corruption against him, a prison sentence. those charges were annulled. but certainly, he has a very mixed legacy and, of course, jair bolsonaro, as we've seen in the last four years, he also has a hugely
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controversial way of ruling. do you think the final result will be accepted by everybody or will we have a sort of donald trump situation? well, jair bolsonaro said, ahead of the first round, that the polls were a lie and that's something that his supporters, you know, a lot of them i spoke to at the rallies that i went to really believed that the polls were not representative and actually, at the end of the day, the polls did underestimate his support. there was an expectation that maybe lula could have won the vote in just one round, without the need for a run—off, but that was not to be. jair bolsonaro has said that there is — he's talked about the fact that the system is open to fraud with no evidence to back that up but certainly, he's sowed the seeds, if you like, of doubt in the system. i mean, it is harder to think of a kind of more stark turn in the road, isn't it? i mean, one direction leads
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to all sorts of things. if bolsonaro wins and — and if lula wins, the country could be taken in a totally different direction, couldn't it? yeah. i mean, i'vejust come back from the amazon, which i think is perhaps an example where you can think about that stark difference. i was up in the north, right on the border of venezuela, where, in the last four years, the illegal gold mining has really boomed. and that certainly has been — a lot of people put that down to jair bolsonaro, not so much supporting the illegal mining but saying that illegal mining should become legal and there should be more allowances to be able to mine on indigenous land. but lula says that if he becomes president, there'll be no illegal deforestation, no illegal mining. we could see the amazon going in a very different direction. but when it comes to brazilians voting, i think the amazon is less important. and what's important to them is poverty, economy,
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ithink, you know, it's the daily life, the cost of living that is really worrying a lot of people. and lula came to power 20 years ago promising to be a very different president. he did lift millions of people out of poverty. he managed to do that on the back of rising commodity prices. if he wins, he would be in charge of a very different brazil, a very divided brazil. we've had bolsonaro for the last four years. he ruled through the pandemic. he gave huge allowances to be able to support people through the pandemic. will those stay and support the poorest and those most in need? i think it's a challenging time, whoever wins. and what about the two men's position in world affairs — in foreign affairs? i mean, where would lula take brazil from here if he wins? one of the things that a lot of people talk about is just that dialogue, talking to the international community, having those conversations, because jair bolsonaro
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has been quite obtuse. he's been quite resistant to be able to have these conversations when it comes to the amazon, for example. speaking to lula on his campaign, he has talked about the fact that it is a brazilian problem, that is right, that the brazilians need to take ownership of preserving the amazon, but it needs to be done in collaboration with other people, other countries around the world, to be able to help brazil and help the preservation of the rainforest. so, i think that kind of dialogue with the outside world, if you like, it will be much easier to deal with with somebody like lula rather than bolsonaro. it's lovely to see that backdrop behind you of sao paulo. but i can't help thinking every single person that we're seeing in that picture is going to find that their own personal future is going to be dependent entirely on who wins on sunday. there are two huge personalities,
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lula and bolsonaro. they are massive personalities, whether you love them or hate them, and people are choosing the person, as opposed to perhaps the way forward. i think brazil, time and time again, comes back to that — the personality and the individual character of the person to lead the country. ever since the 1950s, and perhaps before, scientists have been warning that our way of life was threatening the future of the planet itself. in the late 1970s, it looked briefly as though the world might do something about it. then, ronald reagan became president of the united states and the moment passed. it's always seemed like something that would happen in the distant future - 2030, 2050, 2100. in fact, of course, it's already started. rather frighteningly so. the bbc europe correspondent
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nick beake has been to svalbard in the norwegian arctic, where global warming is happening faster than anywhere else on earth. this place serves as a warning as to what climate change is doing to our planet. and here everything is underlined. it's so clear to see. so, when we went out, we saw polar bears from our boat and there, the ice is diminishing, and so it's harderfor the polar bears to find seals. and so instead, the locals were telling us how some of the polar bears were venturing into the main settlement. they were coming into town more and more to try and find reindeer. that's an animal that normally, they wouldn't be eating, but also the people that live there, too, they're under threat like never before. literally the ground beneath their feet is melting away. and that's because of our warming planet. the risk of avalanche and landslide has increased and so, people are having to move their homes and
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it is a really precarious future. and the the warming effect is happening much faster there, isn't it, than in other places? absolutely. six times more in svalbard than the global average. and this is of real concern to the scientists who've been studying this place for years now. there's a number of factors behind it, the main one being that with all the ice that disappears, it means there's less white stuff to reflect the heat. and, of course, the more exposed ocean absorbs that heat, and so it's a vicious circle, really. and the level of warming is very alarming to the scientists we talked to, who have looked over 50 years at what's been happening. they say that maybe a four—degree rise is what they're looking at in this place, and the reason they're concerned is because they say what happens in the arctic is a sign of things to come, so all the melting of the ice there will affect sea levels in the future. so, whether that's bangladesh, other parts of the world, so all the time
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that people have been debating whether it really is happening, it always seems to be off in the future somehow, actually, it's happening really badly right where you were. it is. and you can see it with your own eyes because the glaciers there, they are diminishing at a really fast rate. so, it is a really troubling time for scientists who quite often try and talk in sober terms. they say what's happening here is a real alarm call and people should be listening to it. did you go there really wanting to change people's minds about things? we went there, john, because we thought that there were solutions being worked on which may be able to be adopted in other parts of the world. we'd heard quite a lot about how they were trying to move to a carbon—free future but i think when we got there we were slightly disappointed, to be honest, because what we found was the final mine that was on svalbard — and this was a community that for the last hundred years
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has really been built on mining, the final mine was about to close, but a couple of weeks later it turns out that the mining company has actually done a u—turn. why is this? they say that the the global dynamics, the energy crisis in europe, means that it's profitable for them to keep this mine open. and so, we're thinking to ourselves, "if the fastest "warming place on earth can't get rid of fossil "fuels completely, what hope for the rest of us?" climate campaigners are worried that these really tough decisions will be kicked into the long grass or certainly not taken soon enough if we are, as a humanity, to try and stop the rate of global warming. so, there is a kind of knock—on effect from the ukraine war, then? co—operation between russian scientists and western scientists has been suspended and that is of concern to the experts from the polar institute and other big organisations because they say this exchange of information is vital on a day—to—day basis
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and also in the long term because together, they can work on why things are happening in the arctic. and one top scientist was saying to me, "if you think "about it, half of the arctic coastline is "russian." and so despite the politics, they would hope that the co—operation can continue in the future. what sort of temperatures were you working in? pretty warm months, john — and i think that's a concern. more people are seeing this for themselves because this is another aspect to all of this — tourism in svalbard has increased. tens of thousands of people visiting every year, that adds pressure to an already fragile landscape. and so there, they've got quite a difficult, difficult balancing act because they want people to see what they're experiencing, how nature is changing, but also, they've got to think about the damage being done by the planes coming in every day, also the ships arriving, bringing hundreds of people, people spending time on this archipelago, they drive around, of course, as well,
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and so if you look at the carbon footprint per person, it's pretty high. so, lots of difficult decisions to be made. nick beake, just back from the arctic. the arrival in power of rishi sunak here in westminster should calm the frenzied political atmosphere in britain for a while. it has been pretty crazy for some time now, with borisjohnson thrown out by his parliamentary party, then replaced by liz truss, whose policies affected the pound so badly and then, afterjust a few weeks, it looked as though borisjohnson might actually be coming back. well, that hasn't happened, of course, but it's interesting to see how reluctant british politicians and journalists seem to be to link all this directly to the brexit vote back in 2016. maybe it's because brexit has been so uniquely divisive in britain. 0utside this country, though, most political observers seem to regard it as a given that these things are closely related.
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well, that's it from unspun world for another extraordinary week. thank you forjoining me. and until we meet again, goodbye. hello. saturday was a super mild day across many parts of the uk and really quite warm in the south—east in the queue garden, temperatures reached 22.9 c to be exact. really quite exceptional for this time in october and the reason for it is this warm air that's been coming in from the south for quite some time now and of course it will be mild out there through the early hours with temperatures between ten and 1a celsius, clear spells but also a few showers and
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actually write from the word go blustery winds and showers for many western parts of the uk and there could be some downpours particularly across the northern half of the country during the course of sunday. furthersouth country during the course of sunday. further south i think fewer showers and predominantly spells of sunshine but not quite as warm, 17 in the south, or like 15 on the north and you can showers continuing into sunday evening. a quick look at the weather for sunday evening. a quick look at the weatherfor monday, the weather for monday, halloween, going to be the weatherfor monday, halloween, going to be mild, predominantly white, rain later in the west. —— predominantly mild.
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