>> hello are welcome to the "journal" here on dw. >> in the next half-hour the opening ceremony for the world's biggest sporting event begins in one hour. all eyes on one and as the olympic torch relay nears its climax. >> syrian troops engage rebels as both sides reinforce their positions. >> global shares and the euro climb after leaders of france and germany pledged to defend the common currency. the world are -- the world is awaiting the opening ceremony. the crowd at london's alembics stadium is already buzzing. >> there is plenty of excitement all around the world.
more than 1 billion people are expected to watch the start of the 2012 games. >> talking 17 games of sporting heroism. thousands of athletes from over 200 countries. this is the place to win sport's ultimate prize -- olympic gold. >> first, this report on the anticipation ahead of the games' opening. >> a massive crowd has gathered outside london's olympic stadium. 80,000 will be watching the spectacle live. hundreds of millions more will watch on tv, and the flame is well on its way. the last leg of its 70-day journey was on the queen's barge on the river thames. london is more famous for pomp and circumstance than it is for sunshine, but cloudy skies had not dampened the mood. bells across britain rang out for three minutes as a reminder
the games were near. spirits were also higher at 10 downing street. >> it is very exciting. there is a huge sense of excitement and anticipation because britain is ready to welcome the greatest show on orders, and it will be an incredible few weeks for our country. >> but preparations now complete, one big question on everyone's lips is -- who will light the flame at the opening ceremony -- with preparations now complete. >> i would love to know, but unfortunately, i do not know. this is one of the best kept secrets, and we have an arrangement with the organizing committee. "it is your responsibility, and we need not know. the more people know, the bigger is the danger it will leak." >> just a few more hours. and it is let the games begin. >> although the olympic games have not officially started
south korea has already set two world records. the korean our treaty was taking part in friday's preliminary rounds to determine the seeds for the actual event a win when archer broke his own world record. south korea also set a world record 14 shooting. >> in other news, the situation in the syrian city of aleppo is tense, with armies -- army rebels bracing their positions. >> with a population of 2.5 million, aleppo is the largest city in the country as well as a strategic and commercial hub. the use of heavy weapons there has already taken its toll. >> the fight for control of aleppo has raged for nearly a week, and both sides are preparing for what could be a
decisive battle. still, demonstrators defied the danger, filling the streets to voice their hatred of the assad regime and to show their increasing disregard for the powers that be. opposition forces have reportedly seized a number of districts in the city. the rebel flag now flies over a government building, and rebel forces are preparing themselves for the battle to come. the assad regime is reportedly ready in an offensive. the u.s. state department is voicing concern fearing an all- out massacre may be imminent. >> this is another desperate attempt by a regime that is going down to try to maintain control, and we are greatly concerned about what they are capable of in aleppo. >> washington says its intelligence indicates the syrian government is using warplanes and attack helicopters to target rebel positions in aleppo.
the international red cross has pulled many of its emergency personnel out of the region. the danger is too great. and the number of refugees continues to skyrocket. 44,000 syrians have fled across the border into turkey. tens of thousands more have sought refuge in jordan, lebanon, and iraq. >> governments are negotiating an historic arms trade treaty and are finalizing a draft. >> the united nations general assembly plant last session following three weeks of intense bargaining to adopt the draft without a vote unless there is significant opposition from any of the 193 member states. >> every day weapons kill an estimated 200,000 people in conflicts around the world. human rights groups have long called for stronger controls in the arms trade something the world's biggest weapons- producing countries have resisted.
the world's leading arms exporters is the united states, followed by russia. germany is third. pchina is in sixth place. the top six countries export about 75% of the world's weapons. russia has been selling weapons to syria for years although it recently suspended sales of new weapons. previous sales included fighter jets missile systems, and attack helicopters. customers for u.s. conventional weapons include several middle east states such as saudi arabia bahrain despite concerns over the human rights situations in these countries. china has sold weapons to iran, north korea, and pakistan, among others. all told, an estimated 50 billion euros of weapons are traded internationally every year. >> the german military is considering the purchase of unmanned drone attack aircraft from the united states. >> the defense ministry in
berlin is interested in the predator b model, used extensively by the u.s. for reconnaissance and to strike targets in afghanistan. a final decision is expected in a ball at the earliest. -- in the fall at the earliest. parliament in serbia has warned in a new government coalition. >> the government is headed by a former spokesman for the serbian strongman. as first priority will be to get serbia's economy back on track. unemployment is high. industrial output is down, and there are a lot of problems with the federal budget. >> german auto maker volkswagen is probing whether its chinese partners illegally copied some of its patented car parts. a report in a german newspaper says faw wanted to use
volkswagen transmissions in vehicles destined for russia. >> the allegations as vw st 1china. china is the biggest market by sales for the volkswagen group. it sold over 2 million vehicles there last year. europe's common currency has found some more at this. to pick itself back up. the euro had been down in the doldrums against the dollar. >> but traders say a joint pledge today from the french and german leaders to save the eurozone could signal a real game change from the european central bank. >> our next report starts at the german capital where a lot of negotiating has been happening over the last few years. >> parliamentarians are on vacation. chancellor merkel is in the italian alps, and still concern is growing over the euro crisis. from her vacation retreat merkel issued a joint statement
for french president francois hollande. both pledged to do everything in their power to stop the 17- nation eurozone from breaking up but it remains unclear what their intentions are. there is growing speculation the european central bank could begin buying up the bonds of highly indebted eu economies. the french prime minister supports such a move. >> i am sure that would help calm the markets and lead to lower interest rates for spain and italy. >> but german lawmakers are not thrilled about that kind of rescue initiative. merkel's conservatives and the opposition fear the consequences. >> we stress the importance of the ecb not buying up other nations' debts on a large scale. we have no control over the ecb. it acts independently. i say it is unaccountable and
they have no requirements for the individual countries. >> the ecb board meets next thursday, and it is hoped the poutcome will bring more clarity to the overall effort to rescue the euro. >> let's check out what the markets were thinking this friday. the dax the dishing up the week -- finishing up the week on a positive note, getting close to the 7000-mark. the europe stoxx 5321, the closing number. the dow jones also trading in positive territory. the euro not back up where it was, but a three-week high. $1.2312 is the number. greece says it is close to finalizing additional spending cuts over the next two years. >> the announcement comes as a team of international inspectors from the troika assess the country's austerity program. officials from the eu, the imf
and the ecb held talks with the prime minister earlier today. he is under intense pressure to follow through with austerity commitments. the troika has warned greece that it must deliver on reforms or face losing that rescue package of loans that are keeping the country afloat. spain has entered its third straight quarter of economic contraction. the latest numbers for unemployment are the highest in the industrialized world, and they rose further in june to jus under 25%. >> the snapshot is even worse for the country's youth. 53% of them are without a job despite the start of the tourism season, which usually gives the country a bit of a boost. >> those waiting in line at the a form of office know it is tough to find work. -- those waiting in line at the employment office know it is tough to find work. the jobless are caught between a rock and a hard place. >> they should quit telling us
stories and get us out of this situation. the real problem is the banks. they were allowed to do whatever they wanted without any control and now here we are. the government is grappling with the country's highest unemployment rate in 30 years. >> we are very concerned about the unemployment rate. we have a two-pronged approach. first, we must bring the deficit under control. if we do not, there is no way out of the crisis. secondly we must enact structural reforms. >> as the number of jobless grows, so does the number of middle-class families accepting assistance in the form of food handouts. in 1.7 million households, not a single family member can find work. >> economic growth in the u.s. was 4% at the end of last year. it was halved last quarter, and
now it is at 1.5%. >> below is mostly to blame on weak consumer spending. meanwhile, u.s. officials report unemployment there remain high at 8.2%. experts say the american economy needs at least 2% growth to stop the jobless rate from rising higher. >> chinese officials have revised the death toll in flooding around the capital, beijing. 77 people are now confirmed dead. >> the government had previously refused to release an official count. the move comes after sharp criticism on one of the city's handling of the situation. >> the flooding was bastings worst disaster in decades. tens of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes. -- the flooding was beijing's worst disaster in decades. >> by now, 77 bodies have been discovered in beijing. among them, 66 victims' identities have been confirmed.
11 others are yet to be identified. >> the latest numbers came from the internet. beijing residents themselves started a search for missing people on line after the catastrophic flooding. it became more and more clear that the official figures from the government were not correct. the mayor of beijing has since resigned after sharp criticism of his crisis management. heavy rain last week and brought chaos to the chinese capital. the city's storm water drainage systems were overwhelmed collapsing in several places. some areas in the city had standing water 1 meter deep. up to 66,000 people had to be evacuated in beijing's worst weather disaster in 60 years. >> we will have more on the olympic games after a short break. >> that is right. we will be talking to our very own sports correspondent down there in london, so stay with us.
>> welcome back. facebook is not winning any new friends on the markets. shares sold to a new low after its first earnings report since going public. >> it was a loss of $157 million for the quarter. the site has an enormous user base but analysts are unsure whether the company can translate that into making money. >> shares are at a 50% loss compared to the ipo price. >> the loss was partly due to reserves the company had to set aside for stock grants. founder and ceo mark zuckerberg said facebook was pursuing a new strategy to increase ad revenues which did go up 28% compared to the same time last year but he declined to give details or prognosis for the next quarter. facebook shares debuted in may
at $38 and have fallen steadily since then. after the publication of facebook's first earnings report shares fell below $24, a new record low. for many stock analysts, the drop comes as no surprise. that it clearly indicates that facebook shares were overpriced from the beginning. a lot of the classic valuation things we looked at were being thrown out the window because people felt that facebook was somehow a special company that could grow at an enormous cut forever. no company can do that. >> despite the losses, facebook is winning in one regard -- the number of users has increased even more to 955 million. >> from those financial losses to this -- what a comeback. >> very different story. hit by a tsunami and a nuclear disaster knocked off its number one spot and not much more than a year later, toyota is backed off their -- backed up -- back up there.
toyota's sales better than general motors. but it was not just the quick answer now that affected operations. it also had to deal with a stronger yen as well as major flooding at plants in thailand. >> when thousands of hectares of some of germany's best farm land was turned over to crops for biofuel several years ago, the government hailed the move as a major victory to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. >> but researchers at a prestigious national academy of sciences said that is not the case. a study shows that the impact of biofuel on lowering greenhouse gas emissions is far less than previously thought and that energy crops worldwide are threatening global food production. >> the fields are pretty to look at and valuable. the black seeds are a major ingredient in biodiesel which makes the crop a key part of germany's efforts to cut co2
emissions, but researchers are now questioning that policy. they say biofuels do not have a big role to play in reducing greenhouse gases. >> our study comes to the conclusion that germany should not further expand its bioenergy capacity. >> the scientists say their calculations show energy crops do not lower greenhouse gas emissions as much as previously thought. they also note that a growing energy crops reduces the amount available for growing food -- that growing energy crops. that can be a problem in countries like brazil, but experts say not in germany. >> food production remains our priority. 10 years ago 12% of our land lay fallow because europe was producing too much food, it must be possible to think about using that land to grow by amass --
biomass. >> researchers say wind and solar power are a more efficient and environmentally friendly way of producing energy, and they do not affect the climate. >> back to our top story now. we are less than an hour away from the opening ceremonies of the 2012 bullet the games, and it looks like the well-kept secret will stay that way until the big moment -- opening ceremonies of the 2012 olympics games. >> if you are wondering who will be lighting that olympic flame we are all in the same boat there. 80,000 people in the stadium hundreds of millions of people around the world will find out simultaneously which athlete has been chosen for that honor. let's go now live to london and our sports correspondent who joins us from outside the olympic stadium.
the atmosphere must be absolutely electric. what has been happening? >> you are right. it is wonderful. you might not be able to tell+ from the clouds behind me, but for once, there is something other than rein in the london air. this is a diverse city, and there is a real sense of it pulling together to show its best side to the world. people are being wonderful helpful, friendly to each other in a way that sometimes gets lost in a big city. that might sound daft, but is that not what the olympics are about? not just sports, but determination and hard work. those are values which everyone can relate to. they are inspiring the city at the moment. i have no doubt that the show we are going to see behind me is really going to show the world what london is all about. >> what about getting to the olympic stadium, for example? is mitt romney right?
is london prepared for these games? >> i'm sorry but when i hear that from mitt romney, i feel sorry for the wonderful staff i have dealt with. the transport staff the police and security staff the olympic staff -- they are doing a fantastic job in demanding circumstances. this is a massive show which is not easy to put on. i feel particularly sorry for the volunteers who would take that as a bit of a slap in the face. they are a visible part of these games and have been wonderfully helpful to every single man and woman among them, and they are really a fantastic part of what the games are about and working very hard for no pay to deliver a fantastic show. i think they would give a slightly opportunistic comment from mitt romney their short shrift -- there short shrift. >> we will be seeing numerous athletes competing in various
disciplines. what are you looking forward to? >> personally, i am a cycling fans. -- cycling fan. when the road race gets under way, the public can line the streets right from the start. really, there is something for everyone. jamaican sprinter, american swimmers the brazilian footballers -- jamaican sprinters. it will be packed. >> a lot to look forward to. thank you so much. >> something completely different now -- when it comes to the west bank, we have come so used to reports of violence and occupation that it is hard to imagine the region can be a hiker's paradise. >> work assets have been neglected for so long that many forget they are even there --
world-class sites have been neglected for so long. >> it certainly lends itself to a leisurely walk. after working as a diplomat in the region, he has written a travel guide that lists the best places in the west bank to hike. he wants people to experience firsthand the tremendous natural beauty of the area. >> i wanted to do something different with a couple of friends, and we went out to the west bank to try to find the nice places. you always hear about the bad places but there are so many beautiful spots. >> his travel guide called " walking palestine" beakers 25 hikes that cover virtually the entire west bank -- features 25 hikes. this is a series of open systems that date back to ancient roman times -- open cisterns.
hiking in this region gets -- takes a little getting used to. there are occasional obstacles and sometimes the course it's difficult rather abruptly. he says these changes often happen to populated areas. >> the areas where the palestinians are in charge are very close together here, so there are going to be changes. the book also acknowledges that and warns for that, but i wanted to write it nevertheless because basically to kick the ball into the field and get people walking. >> here, a local -- the hiker's greet a local family -- the hikers greet a local family building a terrace. >> today many of us live in cities where there is no strong tradition of walking but it is
part of palestinian civilization so we are trying to get people interested in it. >> local residents are not exactly used to seeing people hiking around here, but if it will increase tourism, and so much the better -- then so much the better. >> we welcome all visitors. they make us feel proud, make the city flourished. when foreigners come, they generate income. otherwise, things are at a standstill. >> they have reached their destination. he admits that the political situation in the west bank is complicated, but he urges people to come and visit anyway. >> many things are not positive. if you walk, you see the separation wall, the problem of checkpoints, settlements etc., but you see also many beautiful things. you see that palestine is not only suffering. it is not only trouble.
it is also beautiful culture beautiful people, very hospitable, so you get people view and maybe you leave more confused than you, if you start walking, but i also think believe more educated. and he is planning another travel guide that will retrace the travels of the prophet abraham. he says hiking through this region is the best way to get to know the people and the culture. >> thanks for joining us. we will be live in our next bulletin in london. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--