tv BBC World News PBS September 15, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
>> somewhere in america, there's a doctor who can peer into the future. there's a nurse who can access in an instant every patient's past. and because the whole hospital is working together, there's a family who can breathe easy right now. somewhere in america we've already answered some of the nation's toughest health-care questions. and the over 60,000 people of siemens are ready to do it again. siemens. answers. >> and now, "bbc world news." >> africa's for brought the crisis -- millions are going hungry in niger. >> the harvest has improved, but it is clear that ongoing food insecurity has taken its toll on the people, especially the children. >> they're getting to the heart of the matter. u.s. middle east envoy george mitchell's assessment of the talks between israelis and palestinians. a senior vatican official
describes the uk as a third world country. he has pulled out of the pope's statement. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america, also run the globe. coming up later, outside, the streets ring with protests. inside, france's lower house passes the bill which will raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, and serving therapy. can riding a wave help you call for mental health problems? public service is putting in health care money to find out. hello to you. millions -- yes, millions -- of people are going hungry at this moment across central and western africa. the worst affected country is niger, a country even larger
than the united states of california and texas together, but with a population of just 15 million. the drought's amid flooding of ruined crops. help has not been enough. we go to niger for this special report. >> according to the united nations, in development terms, niger is the world's poorest nation. for the past year, the united nations has been appealing to the international community for help, and though the call has been answered to some extent, it is clear that the people in this country have been ravaged by the ongoing food insecurity. i have been to a place in the eastern part of niger on the border of nigeria to assess the situation there. a small village and one man, elderly but still sprightly, for the conventional rainstorm. has been empty for four months.
drought, erratic rain, failed harvests, and high food prices have let people you're wondering where their next meal is coming from. >> i've been told there's one woman who is willing to talk to me about her and her family. i've just got to find her now. this plate of green beans is all that this family of eight will eat for a whole day. that is clearly, obviously, not enough. her husband works with us almost like these in the nearby village. the united nations food and agricultural organization is trying to help herder's. >> the crisis has brought affected production, but it has also affected the status of the animals, and these animals are the livelihood of these herder's. without these, they will be destitute, so that is why we
need to save these animals. fao has been distributing animal feed to save these animals. >> of the harvests have improved somewhat this year, niger still faces a catastrophic hundred prices -- hunger crisis because the poor are so much norrish they simply cannot afford enough food to get strong again. this is a government-run from center that deals with children suffering from acute malnutrition. this mother has just brought her baby in to be assessed. this is the mother's third child. she is one year old. she will be admitted for attention, but the doctor said it is difficult to have to decide is accepted for treatment. >> there are places that have had to make choices between children. so far, we have not. it is difficult.
>> the mothers here walk for hours, sometimes even days, across the searing heat of the desert to get to the feeding center. the number of children coming for emergency treatment is increasing. this little boy's grandmother has brought him in. he is so underfed that he has become more prone to disease and is suffering from malaria. this baby has been left by her mother, who is too busy looking after her other children. the child is obviously in an acute state of malnutrition. the governor knows the plight of the people here is dire. >> as a poor country, we are always needing assistance. always has a poor country. in the short term and the long term. it is not easy because the situation, i think, is because
of the climb it, the change in climate. >> the people of niger have a long and proud history. i have come to the 18th century palace of the sultan to ask him how he believes his people are coping. through the traditional face mask, he tells me that their faith keeps them going, and they must simply rely on allah to see them through. the suffering, once the bread basket of niger. i have been getting a response to the situation from the prime minister of niger. >> the food situation in niger is critical. quite simply, since february, the head of state himself has considered it to be a famine, and since march, we have considered the situation to be desperate.
there has been a huge deficit in food, and the situation for animals has been extremely difficult, so we can say that the situation is extremely serious and difficult, but in terms of food for people and for animals. >> does the government of niger need more assistance from the international community now? >> we know that the situation when it comes to nutrition of children is extremely bad. right now, the level of risk for children under 5 is extremely high. it is more than 60%, over the accepted level. so the international community has been a key, and we think can be even more helpful to implement public policy is going forward, so the phenomenon of food and security does not persist. >> are you confident that the authorities, you, are doing all
you can to alleviate the suffering, the hunger of the people here? >> says the very beginning, we have taken the situation in hand with subsidized food prices, and then, with the help of our partners in the fao, we did free distribution. we have done two phases, and the third will be done soon, so we are managing the crisis. the works which have been done to restore the environment have allowed us to give people enough to subsist on. dikes have also been built to help restore the environment, and these are just some of the actions that have been taken to try to prevent food insecurity. >> that is all from me here in niger, and it is now back to the studio. >> israeli and palestinian leaders have held a second day of peace negotiations. the american middle east envoy george mitchell held a news conference in jerusalem. they are dealing with the key thorny issues head-on, and prime
minister netanyahu and president abbas both believe peace is possible. >> what i'm able to share is limited. i will say the leaders are not leaving the tough issues until the end of their discussions. they are traveling -- tackling up front and did so this evening the issues at the center of the israeli/palestinian conflict. we take this as a strong indicator of their belief that peace is possible and of their desire to conclude an agreement. >> well, they are tackling the issue, says george mitchell. our correspondent is in jerusalem. are they making any progress? >> we are being told that they are making progress, but we do not have the details to verify that ourselves. george mitchell, in the press conference, also said that the
two leaders wanted the details of their talks to remain confidential because they thought that was the best chance for success. what we do know is that the optics were good. they sat together for three hours talking in the presence of hillary clinton and george mitchell. they even had dinner together. apparently benjamin netanyahu served sushi. there is also agreement they will talk again in the coming weeks. we know that negotiators from both sides will meet next week to prepare for the next meeting at the leadership level. the talks continue. the protest continues, but there are very few details so far about the substance and what has already been discussed and what has already been agreed, if anything. >> pope benedict's state visit to britain is intended to improve strained links between catholics and anglicans, but just hours before rate of rise, one of its seniors has pulled out. cardinal kasper is pleading ill health, but it is difficult to
not suspect a connection with an interview published in the german magazine. he compares atheism to a disease spreading and compares the u.k. to a third-world country. the mcconnell kasper is an insider, fellow german and senior aide to pope benedict for a decade -- >> cardinal kasper is an insider. he was part of the pope's entourage of britain, but just hours before pope benedict's plane lands, the cardinal has made provocative comments about britain's christian identity and culture. in the german magazine "focus," cardinal caspers said england today is a secular rise, pluralistic country. when you land at heathrow airport, you sometimes think you have landed in a third-world country. when asked whether christians in england are discriminated against, he said an aggressive neo-atheism is widespread.
if you wear a cross with british airways, you are discriminated against. it is not known whether the pope has been told about the cardinal's views, but some commentators have expressed their unease. >> they do concern me never the less because some of them, such as his comments that ba discriminates against anyone who flies with a crucifix is obviously a distortion of a year that ended some time ago, so it makes me wonder what people say about britain. >> the vatican has now confirmed that the cardinal will not be joining the pope on his trip to britain, but it says it has nothing to do with his comments. it is because the cardinal is on well. vatican spokesman said that the cardinal's opinions were not intended to show any dislike of the united kingdom. the leader of the catholic church and england and wales said he could not understand why the comments were made. >> i did not believe they
reflect the views of the holy state at all. two days ago, the pope expressed his great desire to come here, his deep respect for britain, and his willingness, wanting to be here among us. that is the true voice of the pope. his own voice. that is the true view of the holy see. >> at the least, the timing will be uncomfortable for pope benedict, ahead of an already sensitive visit. people will be anxious to get on with his mission and what this episode behind. >> stay with us if you can on "bbc world news." still to come, promises to revolutionize diagnosis of a killer disease. first, though, the detention of a chinese fishing captain in japan has far more protests. activists in hong kong tried to stage a sit-in at the japanese consulate as they demanded his release. jonathan joseph's had this
report. >> where is this intense diplomatic standoff heading? it was the japanese consulate. they are demanding the release of a chinese fishing boat captain who has been held in japanese custody since september 7. this marathon sedan is to request japan to immediately release our country pose a ship captain. his fate is the subject of a decade-old tussle over an archipelago in east china sea. the group of eight islands are claimed by both japan and china. taiwan also is a claim to the territory, whose ownership has been disputed ever since japan's defeat in world war ii. the latest fight started when this caller rammed two japanese vessels near the island. 14 crew members arrived in china on monday after they were
released from custody, and early on wednesday, the vessel johnson, but the damage has already spread beyond the boat, staging council talks with tokyo over the area's oil and gas resource, which were set for last week, and now reports that the media suggested the summit for the united nations general assembly is also under threat. that is why there is a lot riding on the decision of japanese prosecutors. they have until sunday to release or charge their fishing boat captain. in hong kong, supporters handed a letter a petition to japanese consulate staff. tokyo says the case is simply being processed according to the law, but there's a lot more riding on this case than most. >> just a reminder of the latest headlines this hour -- millions of people are suffering from hunger in niger. drought and flooding destroyed crops there.
and the american middle east on boy george mitchell says israeli and palestinian leaders are tackling the issues that lie at the heart of their conflict. on the second day of direct talks. violence has spread to new areas of indian kashmir as the government in delhi holds new top spirit at least five protesters were shot dead by police. the prime minister is planning a fact-finding mission. the violence is the worst for several months. the bbc has this report. >> another day of violence in indian-administered kashmir. protesters defying curfew orders to take to the streets of the capital. they stormed security forces, who responded with tear gas and sometimes with live ammunition. as the violence spirals out of
control, it has under the indian government. we are unsure of how to approach this situation. there was little consensus at this meeting held between the country's main political parties, especially over lifting a powerful law, which gives sweeping powers to the security forces in kashmir. the prime minister thinks that he has been shocked and distressed that young men and women and even children have taken part in a protest. he called on them to give up violence. a delegation of politicians drawn from across the main parties will now visit the region to try to assess the situation and also send a message that delhi is concerned. but it is not likely to have much impact. these are the biggest anti demonstrators, and kashmiris what indians to address the big issue -- the future status of
kashmir. >> in the u.s., the robustly conservative t party movement has won several victories over mainstream republicans in primary contests ahead of november's midterm elections. in one of the biggest upsets, christina donald it's a veteran congressman for the seat in delaware. another tea party favor won the race to stand for new york appeared republican strategists feared tea party candidates may not appeal to the wider center ground electorate. japan has intervened in global currency markets, selling yen for the first time in 6.5 years to stem a persistent rise in its value. the strong yen was making japanese exports less competitive, slowing recovery. the senior american lawmaker who chairs the house ways and means committee sites that as an example of extremely predatory exchange-rate policy. pakistan is still struggling to cope with the aftermath of the monsoon floods, and for those who make their livelihood on the
river, it has also been difficult. our correspondent is traveling the length of the river this week. >> with the litter left hanging in the trees, then gives you an indication of how high the water got. it flows the length of pakistan, and a half we're following this week. six weeks ago, it was a raging torrent that destroyed so much on either side of it. i am on this boat with the owners, and they also own a house just on one of the bank's in the village, but like so many places we have already seen on our journey, that village is pretty much destroyed. the house is on this bank over here, and it has been reduced to just rubble. some buildings have just about survive, but there's has disappeared completely. what they told us was that there has been some aid in the form of food, but no money so they could
rebuild the house. he also says that he feels very lucky, especially when he considers that there are many in this village and many more we have already heard from who had no help at all. >> the lower house of the french parliament's and for reforms have included the highly contentious plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. outside, thousands of demonstrators forced their proposition -- their opposition, and two major trade organizations voiced their intention for a strike. >> nowhere in europe is the battle on pensions as divisive as it is in france. there is a long tradition in this country of defending what you have earned. benefits won are never given up without a fight. the result of the vote was always a formality. the president's ruling party have strength in numbers, but then, so do the unions.
outside, protesters were laying siege to the national assembly. scuffles and angry scenes reflected at the wider frustration in the country and also on the opposition ventures. >> we continue to have our battle. it will come back here, and we are determined to fight until the end, until the last minute. >> 3/4 of those surveyed said they supported the national day of action last week, but most also recognize that reform is now inevitable. >> i think it is a reasonable vote because it is true that we cannot stay with a retirement at 60. we all know that we live longer, and we need to work more if we want to maintain our system of pensions. >> an argument familiar to most other countries in europe. as populations get older, the burden of pension deficit is
being passed to the next generation. reforms here appear somewhat modest by comparison, but that will not stop the unions. another day of strikes is planned for the 23rd with two unions now threatening open- ended action. today's voters want, the bill now passing the senate. neither side showing any sign of being ready to back down. >> scientists in britain have devised a fast, new, ultra sensitive test which they say can diagnose all strains of tuberculosis within an hour. they believe is a breakthrough. here is our science report. >> these are tuberculosis bacteria under the microscope. it is estimated they live inside 1/3 of the people on this planet. only 5% to 10% of the people who carry this bacteria will carry the disease, but it's still kills in the millions. spotting those who carry the bacteria is tricky, and it can
last up to eight weeks, by which time the individual may have spread it to other people or even other continents. now, a test in britain might dramatically quicken the contest. it works by spotting a signature that researchers believe is common to all strains. it can offer diagnoses while you wait. >> most people are waiting for test results. to reduce that time where they can actually literally wait for an hour so and then they told the results can be given treatment. >> the test is not the only one around. a rival device has been developed by a california-based company. they say their automated machine can detect tuberculosis in two hours. these new diagnostic tools are coming at a time when tuberculosis is on the rise of the west and new tools are being developed to combat the disease as it takes before will once more, even though the number of infectious cases remains
relatively small -- just over 9000 last year. in other parts, it remains widespread and deadly. >> finally, anyone worldwide who takes to a board already knows the surfing can be a kind of therapy, even if you do not give it that name. in britain, the national health service is looking at funding it with public money for the first time. 20 young people will get six weeks in the water. >> you would never know it, but these young surfers are patient. hear, the treatment on the nhs. they're all under 25 with conditions ranging from authors and to attention deficit disorder. but nasa sought help for depression and anger management and was surprised to be offered free surfing -- vanessa sought help. >> how does it help? >> there is freedom in it.
having a bit of fun. >> are you feeling better for it? >> i do, yes, and i have felt better the last couple of weeks. >> healthier? >> yes, that, too. >> the nhs pace 250 pounds for each young person to have a course of lessons, but they reckoned that could be cheaper than drugs and more traditional treatments. it will be the most challenging to get access to what is their environment. this is a pilot scheme, but they say it is based on solid science. they say there has been research done which proves we should be making much more use of our natural environment to help us recover from all kinds of conditions. but at this hospital, not everyone was convinced that surfing was a good use of taxpayer money. >> i could certainly see lots of better ways to spend that money on.
>> i'm feeling a bit depressed myself, actually. can i put my name on the list? >> if this scheme works, expect more fresh air therapy across britain, not just in coastal areas, but cycling and rock climbing may also be prescribed. >> letting loose and maybe getting healthy. you can find more on that and all the international news online ad bbc.com/news. you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter. we're on facebook as well, of course. thanks for being with us. >> funding was made possible by -- the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, and union bank.
>> union bank has put its financial strength to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> i'm julia stiles. >> i'm kevin bacon. >> i'm kim cattrall. >> hi, i'm ken burns. >> i'm lili taylor. >> i'm henry louis gates, jr., and public broadcasting is my source for news about the world. >> for intelligent conversation. >> for election coverage you can count on. >> for conversations beyond the sound bites. >> a commitment to journalism. >> for deciding who to vote for. >> i'm kerry washington, and public broadcasting is my source for intelligent connections to my community. >> "bbc world news" was presented by kcet, los angeles. presented by kcet, los angeles.