tv BBC World News America PBS December 19, 2011 4:00pm-4:30pm PST
can we do for you? >> and now, bbc world news america. >> as north korea mourns the death of its reclusive leader, the regime goes on to high alert as to what his son will bring. rage on the streets and clashes in cairo for a fourth straight day. letters for the rich, letters for the poor. a person's journey to gather a small piece of american history before it is too late. >> in many cases, the post office is the embodiment of the community. without the post office, there is nothing to bind people together. clark's luck come to our viewers on pbs in america and around the
globe. long live the dear leader's son. for two decades, king john they'll let -- led north korea, the world'is all and her radical communist state. his son has been named as his successor. >> this is the weird, reclusive figure that ran the world's most secretive country and did it as if it was his own private property. looking on was his son kim jong- un, who is about 28. nobody knows for sure. he will take over. >> the leader died on saturday. state television all the announced it today. the news has unleashed a storm
of the motion. genuine or otherwise. in north korea, you have to mourn the leader as loud as possible, especially if beat cameras are on you. if you are a member of the political elite, you may be sorry that he is gone. nobody knows what will happen to the nation now. kingdome ill -- kim jong il leaves behind a country that is a startlingly poor. in an orphanage, people are being treated for malnutrition. in the 1990's, 3 million people died of hunger. this is where the money that might be spent on a better living conditions goes. on the world's fifth largest
army, 1 million strong. with extraordinary recklessness, north korea had shelled south korean territory. they risked war by sinking a south korean naval ship. even more worryingly, north korea has developed a long-range missiles care -- capable of carrying nuclear warheads. will the death of kim jong il change this? >> we hope that it will be a turning point for north korea. we hope that their new leadership will recognize that engagement with the international community is the best prospect of improving the lives of the north korean people. >> for 17 years, kim jong il was the leader of the last and most extreme of the world's
dictatorships. sometimes he was gentle and sometimes he had rages. he was born in russia and always seemed destined to succeed his father. when the soviet union collapsed, they never -- they no longer supported north korea financially. >> someone with an iron rule, responsible for the deaths of thousands, with these personal idiosyncrasies. kodiak, beautiful women, hollywood movies, oversize sunglasses. >> in comes an inexperienced 28- year-old to control the future of north korea. promotion could
end up in a nasty power struggle with the older military elite. this in a nuclear state that seems out of control. >> for more on north korea's future, i spoke with the former governor of new mexico bill richardson. thank you very much for being with us. can i ask how much of a dangerous it situation is this moment? >> it is dangerous because of the uncertainty. in the last year, i believe that north korea had been moving in the right direction. they started to talk with south korea. they talked about rhee in gauging the six-party talks. the u.s. and north korea talked about resuming food assistance. their rhetoric was a little bit understated.
with kim jong il gone, there is uncertainty over the sun. he is an experienced. is he really going to wield power? what will the north korean military do with the succession? so far, they are accepting it. i think that is good. there are a lot of different power centers there. it is a question that we have to watch over the next few days. they are going to have the funeral on december 28. but very little will be known. it seems that the establishment is rallying behind the son. how much power will they give the son to exercise once he is formally installed as the leader? >> once he has complete power, does that open up the possibility of change? if he does not and it is in the
hands of the military commanders, does that mean more of the same? >> i have been there eight times. i cannot predict what they will do next. and they thrive on their unpredictability. they like to keep everybody guessing. the best way to engage north korea is not to isolate them. to have a dialogue. to not expect much, but when this country has 5-8 nuclear- weapons talks 1 million men at arms, hundreds of missiles, they are aggressive, it is better to bring them in and not isolate them. you have to set expectations not too high. when they are isolated and on their own, they do dangerous things like go after the south korean ships, sell nuclear
materials to syria. i think they were moving in the right direction the last few days with kim jong il. the danger is uncertainty. the obama administration and the asian countries are playing it right. calm, cool, collected. let them sort out their transition. let them grieve for their leader. expectationsany that things are going to shift dramatically for the better. this is an isolated country that lives on its unpredictability and thrives on scaring the wo rld and threatening with missiles and terrible things. it is important to keep calm and collected.
>> the question is china's role in this. beijing is against the continuity, is it not? >> gyan i can play a very important role to moderate north korea. they provide north korea with a lot of food and fuel. china does not want thousands of refugees from a failed state going to china. china can apply a gentle pressure. if anybody tries to push them, it goes in the wrong direction. south korea, japan, the united states, russia, china, south they have got to be careful. they have got to let them have their transition period, but recognize that the best thing to do is not to provoke them and find ways to engage them and
bring them out of isolation and bring them out of the situation they have had all of these years where they are hiding from the rest of the world and are armed and dangerous. >> thank you very much for your expertise on this matter. in other news from around the world, disaster agencies from the philippines have tried to provide food and medicine to the victims of yes -- the weekend's violent storms. at least 972 people died in the disaster. an arrest warrant has been issued for the sunni vice- president of iraq over alleged links to terrorist activities. political leaders have come under attack from the shi'ite dominated government in its political crisis that threatens iraq's stability.
shocking and a disgrace, but those are the words that hillary clinton used to describe the treatment of one female protester in egypt. this happened during deadly clashes that continue to rage for a fourth day. you should be warned that this report contains some very disturbing images. >> a fully veiled woman being viciously beaten and virtually stripped by a group of soldiers. the video is much worse. first they beat her, kicking her in the head. then they expos her bare flesh. that's a most vicious -- then a most viciuos kick to the chest. it is difficult to watch. especially in this most conservative of muslim countries. somebody tries to help.
today, the spot where the beating took place. we are here to demand justice. the army is supposed to protect us, not kill us. there was another funeral in tahrir square. another young martyr in egypt's revolution. in the spring, many of these same people were hailing the military as heroes for helping them bring down the mubarak regime. the mood has completely changed. these people now loath the egyptian military and accuse it of stealing the revolution. the military jintao tried -- junta try to explain the crackdown. >> it is the military's job to protect public property from
attack. >> in tahrir square, some fear that the military campaign is working. >> they do not want any more protests. i do not want to say they are uneducated. but people listened to the egyptian media, people who do not have that exposure to the internet. people who are not young will believe them. >> the hopes of january is replaced by the bitterness of december. >> shocking images in cairo. for insights, i have been speaking to a senior fellow at the u.s. institute. your view is that what we are seeing now is the real revolution. >> the first round that we saw was a military to that forced mubarak from power. we are beginning to see people turn out in the streets against
the military. this has been building for several months. the military as bill blogger the facilitator of the transition. it is the obstacle. they are making it very difficult for the new party is, even the implementation of an election law. there are those that say it is time for the military to step aside. >> many people will say, we told you so. the army has always been a guarantor of continuity and stability. it is not in their interest to back those who are protesting. >> that made people take to the streets again. this confrontation that does not look like it is going to end anytime soon. the military is showing that it is not prepared to back down.
the protesters are backed by the parties that are winning in the first two stages of the election. the islamist groups are likely to take an even stronger stance. >> how representative are the people in tahrir square of the egyptians? these are very engaging and worrying. the vast majority of the country decided to turn out and vote. many were concerned by what they saw from the people in tahrir square. >> many of those who turned out to vote are concerned about the issues in tahrir square. is there going to be a really representative government for the first time in egypt? if there is not a sense that the elected government will have control over really running the country, then this issue may actually escalate.
>> if the international community is looking at events, there is interest in the continuity. this is also a guarantor of the middle east peace process. that is potentially dangerous, is it not? >> it is pretty much the status quo over a new order. that is devolving into a new revolution, or it could anyway. how do you define a new order? when comes next? how do you define a sense of rule of law for the next government? the military wants to make sure that the religious elements do not have the ultimate say. but it does not become another islamic state. many of those turning out to vote say that we should be the ones to decide that. >> this is a quarter of the
arab world's population. egypt is always the heart and soul of the arab world. >> thank you very much. you are watching "bbc world news america caught." still to come, thousands come out to say farewell to a former czech president. a look back at his life and legacy. after a two-year trump -- struggle to stay in business, a swedish car company is filing for bankruptcy. he called it the blackest day in the history of the country. he was forced to make the move after gm, which still owns some technology licenses for saab, rejected a last-ditch plan for financing from the chinese.
>> it was just after the second world war when saab launched its first cars aimed at families in sweden, europe, and north america. it borrowed technology from jet fighters. among the top sellers was the 900. today, the company appeared to have finally run out of road. >> today i filed for bankruptcy of saab automobile. this is the blackest day in the history of my career. the blackest day in the history of saab. >> it began last year when gm sold saab. gm refused to -- refuse to
supply a parts to the chinese. there were accusations that it was gm that pulled the plug. they have to decide what will happen to 3500 direct employees in sweden. those in showrooms around the world will be waiting to hear their fate. >> in the czech republic, thousands of people have been mourning the death of their former president. the playwright and president died on sunday at the age of 75 after a long illness. his model was that truth and love will overcome lies and hatred. he is being remembered for overseeing a peaceful transition to democracy.
>> they came in the hundreds. a long cue of mourners. they stood patiently in silence to pay their respects to a man they still call president. they had transformed into a spiritual meeting place. a simple coffin stood on a bare stage. in death, as in life, he was flanked by those that work for him and protected him. among the mourners, and his wife, who was at his bedside at the country cottage that he loved so dearly where he passed away on sunday morning. his death has transcended old rivalries. tributes are pouring in from political friends and foes alike. among those offering condolences
was his successor who clashed with him in often bitter exchanges. the former was a free-market economist, the latter was a freethinking idealist. it is clear where these people's sympathies lay. >> it is a big loss. i believe the czech population can be proud to have such a president of the first republic. >> he addressed huge crowds of demonstrators in 1989. the crowds have been gathering in the thousands, leaving a sea of candles. preparations for a state funeral are gathering pace, the first in the country's modern history. his family will be allowed to say their own farewells at a
private ceremony before the former president is laid to rest. >> to an institution which has banned at the heart of american life for centuries. the u.s. postal service can trace its roots back to 1775. thousands of post offices across the country are facing closure. a fact that has a 25-year-old rushing to visit as many of them as he can. he has spent traveling across the u.s. travelling across the country collecting postmarks. >> when i graduated from university at brown in 2008, i realized that i have not explored the country. i wanted to see more of america, especially rural america. i grew up in the big city.
i took it upon myself to take a road trip that ended up lasting three months across 29 states. i began documenting some interesting experiences by going to the post offices and getting a postmark. that is a nice one. postmarks are a way of documenting a time and place. if you possess something with a postmark, you have a little piece of history. that is what was here before 1971. it has been this way since the 1600's. there is no way i could trace my whole route across the united states. postmarks help me remember where i have banned. -- been.
there are so many things -- a favorite post offices. there are the 1930's depression era post offices which are so grand. my favorite is in pennsylvania. there is a post office in the back of a bagel shop in new york. few people who live in the city know about it. the guy that sells the bagels in front also operates the post office in the back. the first reaction is, why post offices? if you take the time to look around, if you go out in the country, you will discover that there is much more to it. in many cases, the post office is the embodiment of the community. without the post office, there is nothing to buy in the
community together. if i cannot save them, i hope that i can at least preserve their history through the postmarks i obtained in person. and perhaps inspiring other people to, if not to go around to the post offices around the country, to look at their own with more appreciation. >> he is on a mission to collect as many postmarks as he can. that brings today'show to a close. you can get constant updates on our website. you can go to facebook. for all of us here at world news america, thank you for watching. we will see you tomorrow.
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