tv BBC World News America PBS June 21, 2011 4:00pm-4:30pm PDT
washington. surviving for now. the greek prime minister wins a vote of confidence, but out on the streets, they're not happy with him or his policies. what really is happening inside syria? the bbc goes undercover to show you a side of the protests that the government doesn't want to you see and off and running as another republican joins the presidential race. we sit down with a member of one of the most famous families in politics. >> if your name were anything but bush, smith or jones, would you run then? >> no. see, that's the point. i got a cool last name.
welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and also around the globe. just moments ago, the greek parliament held a critical vote of confidence for the country's embattled prime minister and while he passed the key test, the country's economic woes are far from over. on the streets, the protests continue against austerity measures which have stoked public anger and tonight is another rallying cry. from athens, we report on the build-up to the final tally. >> while the greek mp's were debating, the crowds amassed outside. at stake, the survival of the government. to lose the vote would increase the danger of a greek default, but the people were driven here by resentment, that the government is planning further austerity cuts in exchange for new bailout funds from the eu and ima. >> we need to tell everyone that we cannot stand it anymore. we cannot stand any other
measures, any economic measures. >> some pointed laser lights at the parliament's windows shouting weeg won't sell, we won't sell! a gallows was held up. it is impressive to note despite the recent violence, people have brought young children down here. there have been older people here and it does reflect their determination to resist further austerity cuts. >> earlier, this woman told me she was sad for greece. it angered her to see state property being sold off, but there are so many grievances fueling the protests. take barbara, a 23-year-old graduate out of work. over 40% of young people are unemployed. >> i have been looking for a job since last year. i haven't been able to find anything yet, and i really need to earn some money so that i can leave the
country. >> observing the national mood, the former finance minister says the country is badly divided. >> what is at stake is the future of greece. i mean, the danger that greece is going to end up bankrupt is quite serious, and i don't see, unfortunately, a greek political system pulling itself together and doing what it has to do. >> a win tonight may calm financial markets but a further battle lies ahead over passing the austerity views. >> joining me from athens is tim wilcox. tim, they said outside in the crowds that if the prime minister passes this confidence vote, they would not be happy. how are they responding? >> they said they wouldn't be happy but deep down a lot
of people thought it would pass. it is quite a crowd, over ten thousand, and a lot of them have gone now, but now, having stood at the front gates, they are just moving to the left right around the corner and in the park to prevent the deputies from leaving the building itself. people are moving in different directions but i think this is a demonstration or protest which is going to turn necessarily violent this evening. i think the real anger is being stored up for a vote a week from today from that. >> austerity package of $28 billion euros which is really going to be tough indeed on top of what these people have been through, especially if you're working in the private sector. they are facing higher taxes on restaurants, hotels and
things like that, and also privatizeation sales and also job losses across the public sector. the public sector has already been hit quite hard but not as hard as it should be if you're from the private sector but they expect to lose maybe a fifth of the public workers over the next three to four years. >> live pictures that we're watching outside of parliament in athens where the crowd still seems to be moving and of course that critical budget vote that will come next week as the greeks face their economic future and possibly more austerity there. to syria where there were more protests and more bloodshed. government supporters an opponents clashed in several cities for months now the world has been able to watch of these scenes is grainy cell phone videos because international journalists have been banned from the country. now the bbc has sent a correspondent undercover into the syrian cover and
here is her exclusive report. >> the road to da mass us discuss -- damascus, i'm traveling to meet with the protestors. here is a dangerous place to be, particularly for those demanding a change of regime. nearly all the activists i have spoke to were in hiding from the state's secret police. >> i found a man, a 26-year-old journalist, in hiding in a friend's apartment. just released from prison after criticizing the president, he was writing his will. >> the prison experience was terrifying. after they tortured me, they put me in solitary. it was so small. i was made to stand. i couldn't sit down. they beat me with electric batons. >> syria's president is short with criticism. when bash irtook over two
years ago at age 34 he asked for advice on political reform. when some suggested introducing genuine democracy, they were promptly arrested. >> syria is belonging to the syrians. this, let's say, as a family forever should be stopped. it's enough. the syrians will never accept it anymore. >> life in syria is now dominated by the weekly friday protests. who will go? who will risk being killed by army snipers? will they survive to return home afterwards? it's thursday evening, the eve of what has become protest day here in syria. people are dashing home before the roadblocks are set up between the suburbs of damascus and the city itself. the last thing that authorities want is for people to converge on the
city recreating the da misdiscuss equivalent of -- the damascus equivalent of that hir square that here square -- hahir square. a soldier explained what was expected of him by those in command. >> they gave us the orders to fire heavily at unarmed people. we were surprised to be told to shoot randomly, no distinction between women, children, armed or unarmed men. many, many were killed, all unarmed civilians. >> this week saw the biggest protest in da misdiscuss -- in da misdiscuss -- in damascus yet people here tell you that the fear barrier has been broken. bbc news, damascus. >> a rare look inside syria
there. well, in libya, the fort city of of misurata has come under fire to forces loyal to muammar gaddafi as the rebels are slowly expanding their control after months of standoff. one of the rebels targets is the town of lichten. a rare moment of silence on the front lines outside a place called rit. some of these rebel fighters have families trapped inside the town. >> i've got nine there. >> i've got 13. >> i've got six. >> they're highly motivated but also worried about their faces being filmed. that was close. the lull is over.
the libyans barefoot volunteers, this is something like trench warfare. deadly. deadlocked. barely inching forward. >> a lot of rockets and artillery fire on the front lines. they still have 20 kilometres to go before they can liberate their town and meet their friends and family again. it is difficult for them to advance. gaddafi's artillery is so much more. >> gaddafi is pounding us with rockets. we just have light weapons. the result is a chaotic stalemate. the rebels blame nato for a half hearted air campaign
but it incites them to do much more. from our space in the nearby city of misurata, it is a struggle to get any news, but we have secured a late night call with a rebel leader in hiding there. >> hello, can you hear me? >> yes. >> it is going bad. there is nothing good. we don't have any improvements. >> so the rebels have run out of ammunition and supplies? >> yes. >> what are gaddafi's forces doing in the city? are they in complete control? >> they are in every public place. >> and so in the fields
outside of town, it is the same. a frenzy of skirmishes, no hint of a breakthrough. and another surge of casualties. bbc news, libya. >> now to afghanistan where tomorrow night president obama is scheduled to announce his plans for the u.s. mission there. among the highly anticipated details is just how many american troops will will be brought home and when. for more on what to expect, i'm joined by a senior fellow at the brookings institution. so michael, what do you expect the president to announce tomorrow night? >> well, it seems there are two broad options. either one would have probably 30,000 americans come out by the end of 2012 or early 2013, but it appears that one option, that is preferred by
military commanders, i think, and more consistent with our current campaign plan would only have a few thousand troops come out this calendar year and that's the one that secretary gates has been endorsing in his recent travels. the other would perhaps get us halfway to that 30,000 reduction next year. as you know, there are about 100,000 american personnel in afghanistan right now so we're talking about going down to 70,000 at the end of 2012 and the question is do you do a small reduction this year or go halfway towards the 70,000 number? >> michael, a pew poll today showed for the first time a majority of americans think it's time to get american forces out as soon as possible from afghanistan. is there really any political support left for this mission? >> you know, i think there is, and in an indirect way, obviously, we're sick of it here. i know brits are sick of it. we've been at it ten years. we have lost a lot of our
brave men and women in uniform and civilians, too, but president obama is in an interesting place. he can show a patience and resolve, which tends to, over the long term, often help commanders in chief. i'm not saying that people will ever be glad that we're still in this war but if he shows a steadiness and patience and then by this time next year we're in a substantially better place in afghanistan as he gears up for his re-election effort, it could make him look pretty good, so he's got to stay in for the long game or the next 12 to 15 months and not just for the immediate blip in the polls. if he would use it in those terms, there is a chance that he would come to a different conclusion than what short-term political considerations might seem to suggest. >> mike on the ground, you talk about the long-term there, and part of that long-term deal must be some sort of a political settlement with the taliban. how are talks going on that front? >> well, i don't know if the hard-core taliban is ever going to negotiate.
i'm not sure we need to negotiate with them. we can try and it's worthwhile to try, but i think that they are just acid logically committed to their concept as they have ever been, based on public comments and we can hope there is a split between them and al qaeda now that osama bin laden is dead. however, i'm not going to count on it. these peace talks may give us a boost with the local insurgents who will hear the message that we're sending to omar and realize that we're sincere about willing to do peace deals with them. i think president karzai feels the same way so if we have a united nato afghan government front that says peace talks are possible at the local level, we can splinter off a lot of insurgents here and there. >> we'll be watching that speech tomorrow night. michael, thanks so much. in other news, at least 25 people have been killed in a double bomb attack in iraq a suicide bomber blew himself
up near the governor he's home, and a few minutes later, another bomb exploded in the same area. most of the victims were security guards. two children have survived a plane crash that killed at least 44 people in northwestern are russia. six others have survived. the crash was probably due to pilot error misjudgingth runway. you're watching bbc world news. onto tonight's program, there is one more candidate to throw his hat into the republican race. jeb bush gives us his take on whether any of the contenders will follow in his father's footsteps. in australia, hundreds of flights have been disrupted are by an ash cloud formed from an erupting volcano in chile. quantas cancelled all flights in and out of sydney and some of the flights in melbourne and adelaide have been affected. we report on this pesky ash cloud over australia.
>> for the second week running flights have been disrupted across australia as the ash cloud does another lap of the planet, this time at a lower altitude. services at sydney airport, the country's busiest, were grounded from early in the afternoon. >> i've been delayed 7 hours and looking at these boards, i don't think we're going anywhere. >> i live in sydney. i'm originally from perth. >> last week, some airlines like virgin australia took to the skies by flying under the plume. this time its base is 7,000 feet closer to the ground which poses too much of a risk. >> we have about 1670 flights -- 170 flights which have been cancelled today and we will go into more now that we have decided to cancel melbourne, so we're looking well over 25,000 people that will be affected by.
this. >> at adelaide airport, the ash cloud remained above the flight path and it remained shut throughout the day. there was disruption in melbourne, the second busiest airport and international flights have also been affected with some london services leaving early before the restrictions took effect. and incoming flights diverted to brisbane. with meteorologists warning 5 disruption for another 48 hours, quantas has announced it is grounding all scheduled flights to and from sydney, melbourne and cambra wednesday. and then there were eight. that's how many candidates have officially announced they are running for the republican presidential nomination in 2012. today, jon huntsman was the latest to join the growing field. the former utah governor was
most recently served as president obama's ambassador to china. he is now hoping to unseat his former boss, but all the of the republican candidates are looking for the competitive edge, there is one famous name who is sitting this cycle out. jeb bush has quite a family tie to the white house and recently i caught up with him in florida to get his take on the political scene. for more than 30 years, the name bush has been at the center of almost every american presidential election. george h.w. was first elected vice president in 1980 before winning the oval office. his son george w. went one better. he won two terms. even 2008 was a referendum on the bush years. a schwanky swanky luncheon in a miami hotel has the air of a political fund-raiser but jeb bush insists he is not running for office again. this son and brother to american presidents is also a former successful governor
of the crucial swing state of florida. and many republicans believe he is the only conservative who can beat barack obama. >> very flattering to be asked that are regularly. i'm not running for a simple reason and that is that i have a responsibility to myself and my family to achieve some degree of financial security for my family going forward. i don't wake up each day saying, oh, he would is me, i'm not running or woe is me, i'm the cat's meow, i'm the best. i don't think that. i have enough common sense to know that there are great candidates running and my guess is one of them will be president and i will are supportive. >> but you haven't ruled out running in 2016? >> no but i haven't ruled out being on american idol either. you know, i mean, you don't rule things out in life, right? >> the current group of
republicans seeking the presidency does not include a bush and the bush policyed are not even mentioned. so far, that hasn't helped a candidate hugely. no one is very excited about this crop. >> the field is generally described as fairly uninspiring. >> this notion that somehow the field that we have is weak, i think -- i just reject out of hand. i know most of the candidates, and i find them to be people of integrity and great intellectual acumen and have leadership skills. jeb was the bush brother who should have been president, the one his parents groomed for the role, but by a quirk of political timing, his older and less serious brother got the job instead. that now makes it very hard for another bush to run, especially since george w.'s legacy is still so divisive. today, jeb bush spends his
days in florida making money. he could well be in washington running the country. does he ever wish he had another name? >> no, no. see, that's the point, i got a cool last name and i'm very proud of my brother and that's not -- that would not -- that's not a part of my calculus here. >> do you think americans are prepared to elect three presidents from the same family? it seems somehow unamerican? >> it would be different. >> you don't serve by right or by birth. that's not the way america is and i don't know how many people would reject, you know, if i was to run, would reject me out of hand because of that, but it's an argument that i would be respectful of. >> jeb bush being very candid there, and while presidential politics is already swinging into full
gear, first lady michelle obama is currently in south africa along with her daughters and her mother, mrs. obama is on a week long visit to south africa, and today included a meeting with nelson mandela. >> photographs are rarely this symbolic. michelle obama, the wife of america's first black president and the first black president of south africa, nelson mandela. mrs. obama and her daughters savored the meeting that they feared might not happen. the frail 92-year-old rarely sees visitors these days. the landmark visit by america's first lady, she got off to an inspiring start with a history lesson. nelson mandela's wife guided the obama family through mr. mandela's personal archives, photographs and writings which have inspired him through the years. south africa's struggle
against white's minority rule is a backdrop to mrs. obama's visit. the streets where police clashed with protestors, many of them young children among the places that she will visit. in the township of soweto, the church which was sang ewe airy to men and women, feared the part of party police. >> there are police everywhere. it is just chaos. they have places of refuge where they can hide because of the police. >> today the church is a living among. >> to south africa's recent past and it is here mrs. obama is expected to deliver a keynote address. soweto was the epicenter in the fight against apartheid and michelle obama will walk the same streets as nelson mandela and desmond tutu. this was their political background. as well as paying tribute to the past, this family's visit is focused on the
future, grooming new generations of african leaders. >> mrs. obama is keen to champion the rights of women. she has already met young leaders in johannesburg, an icon in her own right, she's an important role model for many here. the country with very few role models of its own. >> and a quick reminder of our top story tonight, the greek prime minister has survived a confident vote in the parliament in athens where demonstrators are still outside the building protesting those austerity measures but the greek prime minister has survived a confidence vote. that brings us to the end of today's program. you can get updates on our website. for all of us at bbc world news america, thank you so much for watching.
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