tv BBC World News PBS August 23, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT
what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news." >> hello, and welcome to "newsday" on the bbc. i'm rico in singapore. >> i'm in london. the headlines. rebel fighters seize control of colonel gaddafi's compound as the battle for tripoli continues. reports that gaddafi has made a radio address, supporters keep up their resistance. medical emergency concerns that the hospitals in tripoli are being overwhelmed. >> a draft security council resolution is put forward at the united nations. seismic shock. an earthquake rocks the north coast of north america, but there is no major damage. it is 9:00 a.m. here in singapore. >> it's 2:00 a.m. here in london, broadcasting to viewers in the u.k. and around the world. this is "newsday."
rebels are celebrating overrunning gaddafi's headquarters in tripoli, destroying the symbol of a 42-year dictatorship. he has reportedly called his exit a tactical move, but no one knows exactly where he or his sons are. members of the national transitional council are on their way to tripoli to begin forming an interim government. despite the rebels' victorious claims, a pro-gaddafi television station has broadcast what it said was a live television interview with a spokesperson, mr. ibrahim. he threatened to turn libya into a burning volcano. >> they want to destroy libya. they have already destroyed
electricity, water, houses, schools. they want to destroy libya on a platter of gold to the foreign company so that the structure will come to libya to rebuild again all these services. and they will have a piece of the big cake. but in fact, it is not a piece of cake. it will be a bump that will -- bomb that will explode in their faces. it will be for the first time -- the survival of 1,000 tribes who have gathered together now and those tribes surrounding tripoli, the volunteers will move now to tripoli and these people will fight and tripoli will be filled with people from the tribe to confront them. and i don't think that the
rebels will stand. they want to help them interfere with their actions all the time. but i think tripoli will be in two days or three days back to us. >> well, we've got a reaction to those comments from the national transitional council spokesperson, this is what he had to say. it's two things. they were sending millions to march to tripoli. now talking about thousands. that makes sense. and he is descroibing his defeat , and other parts of libya, as a tactical retreat. i call it a retreat without troops. it means more to look to it in a different way reather than
political. it gave him a chance to talk from a distance and not only from geographical, but a distance from reality. the regime is about to end and his defeat is in the ground. >> nevertheless, though, he has not been captured and you still don't know where he is. >> this is not significant. we are talking about libya as one million, 850 square kilometers. that gives him a lot of places to go and disappear.
there are many countries, which has some support for the last 32 years. please give us some time. >> he heads the media relations department at the national transitional council. nato says it will continue to bomb colonel gaddafi's forces if they keep fighting. a spokesman insisted nato has not been providing close air support to the rebels, but striking at targets which threaten civilians. there are still several pockets of the city in which gaddafi's troops are holding out. our diplomatic correspondent james robins explains. >> the battle for tripoli remains intense, as rebels try to push gaddafi's forces out of the entire capital. a major symbolic prize, of course, was the capture of colonel gaddafi's heavily fortified compound.
>> the compound being stormed is a very important moment. but it's not over yet. it's still a difficult and dangerous situation. there are still many people out there with weapons who are paid to be loyal to the gaddafi regime. >> so what is the bigger picture now of the battle for tripoli? how much do we know about who controls which parts of the capital? it seems that large and expanding parts of the capital are in rebel hands, although not necessarily entirely secure. these are just some of the areas where gaddafi has lost control since last sunday. but tonight, the big breakthrough for the rebels, of course, the storming of gaddafi's fortified compound. you can see the outer wall breeched by the rebels as they overran this key area, denying the libyan leader one more potential hiding place. in one corner of the compound, a substantial military installation hit by nato missiles weeks ago. and at the center of the compound, the area used for
scores of gaddafi rallies over the years where we've seen the rebels pulling down gaddafi's statues. the symbolism of this statue is immense, so taking it is great significance. does this mean game over for gaddafi? no, not quite. after all, he's still at large. and so is his son. the appearance of colonel gaddafi's intended successor last night was a propaganda coup. it destroyed claims by opposition rebels that they had captured him and boosted gaddafi loyalists on tripoli's streets. it damaged the prosecutor of the international criminal court, too. he denounced he would soon be in the hague facing charges of crimes against humanity. first, they have to be caught. james robins, "bbc news." >> the bbc has been witnessing the events unfold in tripoli. we were sent this account.
>> there have been extraordinary scenes here in the capital tripoli today. parts of the city literally exploded in celebrations. there were hours and hours of celebratory gunfire. some of it rather dangerous in terms of how much ordinance was landing in the neighborhoods here and in other parts of the city. people going to the green square, which has been renamed martyr square. it was a time of absolute euphoric celebration. this is a city of some two million people, where there are known to be genuine supporters of colonel gaddafi and some loyalists. so still in some streets some fighting. but today with the taking of the main compound, the compound tra translates to splendid gate, the rebels have scored a decisive victory. tomorrow we're expecting that the members of the national transitional council will come from their stronghold in the east in benghazi and begin the very, very hard work of setting
libya in its post-gaddafi era. but of course, the problem is nobody knows where colonel gaddafi is. is he in those tunnels underneath -- that released to the compound and could he be there with his family, in the stronghold somewhere in the desert? could he be in the east, in an area still known to be full of his supporters? could he have gone to another country? until they know where he is, many feel he should be put on trial, they cannot truly say that the gaddafi era is over. >> joining me now to discuss the ongoing situation in libya is the director of the center for the advancement of arab british understanding. good to have you back with us, chris. what options do you think colonel gaddafi has now? >> very limited. i think that having been seemingly forced out of tripoli, he can go to his birthplace. he had a lot of supporters there
and he could hole up there. or he could go further south. so within libya itself, i don't think he has many places to go, because frankly, his opponents control much of the country now. so he can go into hiding in libya, or he should try to get out through algeria. its government sympathetic to him for many years. and during the entirety of this conflict. now we're getting southern states saying they would perhaps be willing to have him there, including most recently nick riangold. fighting to the death is still one that he's always said he would do. but that particular proposition is now going to be tested to the full. >> how do those negotiations take place when they're discussing countries that might offer him asylum? >> not only do you have to get a
country that is not part of the statute signed up to the international criminal court, because any country that wanted to take him would face some form of censure from the security council if they were signed up to that. so he needs a way to get there. he's got to get out of libya. because quite clearly, all the people want to capture him, would like to see him in court. so that would be difficult. and there would also be a problem if he went, for example, into algeria. the algerian government would be obligated to hand him over. so actually how he would get to another country i think would now be quite interesting. there was, of course, all the stories that the south african government denies that they were party to having claims at tripoli airport to take him out. now, whether that's true or not, who knows? but it would appear that he probably wouldn't be able to get to the airport anyhow. >> we heard earlier that it will
be up to the libyan people to decide gaddafi's fate when he is captured. there is a voice of the international community that would like to see him go to the hague to face war crimes. though he could stay in libya to face court there. >> that's absolutely true. i think there would be many that would like to see that on their own territory. there is a case there to say going to the hague might create less of a security issue, because as long as muammar gaddafi is around, then he can be a focus for any dissent, for any people who feel aggrieved with what happens. any future libyan government is going to have really massive challenges. of course they're going to disappoint many people. so gaddafi and his son could still be that magnet for opposition in the future, so having him out of the country i
think actually would relieve them of some of that pressure. >> thanks for your insight. >> thank you. >> you're watching "newsday" on the bbc live from singapore and london. still to come in the program, sanctions for syria. a draft resolution is put forward and the united nations responds to the government crackdown. >> seismic earthquake cracks the east coast of north america, but there's no major damage. more now on libya. a little earlier, i was joined by abdul, the editor-in-chief of the loon don -- london based arabic newspaper, he said it's necessary for the rebels to restore law and order. >> we don't know where he is. they don't know where he's hiding. they don't know his b plan. so that's why. the priority now to impose law
and order to maintain the stability of the country. >> it's interesting, because there's still a fear factor, people are questioning whether or not they should side with the revolutionaries, because they've been used to four decades under this regime. surely, once a capture of gaddafi is made, that will change the feelings of people and their ability to raise that confidence against the forces there. >> absolutely right. what's happening now underground , exchange of places. now gaddafi is taking the rebels and the rebels are taking gaddafi. gaddafi gets rid of all the responsibilities of the state. gaddafi managed to outbox nato. he now gets rid of nato. he doesn't fear nato anymore. in the past, a few days, few months, he used to have military
bases, he used to have governmental buildings, responsibilities for electricity, water, other services. now he doesn't have this burden at all. now the burden is on the shoulders of the new government taking place. in a country which is full anarchy there. they have been offered the >> this is "newsday" in the bbc. i'm in singapore. >> i'm in london. the headlines this hour. libyan rebels have taken over colonel gaddafi's compound in tripoli after a day of heavy fighting. >> it's reported that gaddafi has made a radio address and that supporters continue their
resistance. in other news now, europe and the united states have drawn up a draft u.n. resolution calling for international sanctions against the government of syria. but russia, which has a council veto, said it was not the right time to target president assad with sanctions. >> the treats in northern syria, these unverified pictures apparently filmed on tuesday seem to show opponents of the government chanting against president assad's violent crackdown on defense. now the european members of the u.n. security council, supported by the u.s., have circulated the draft resolution, calling for sanctions. they want to freeze president assad's assets and to institute an arms embargo on syria. but russia and china have the power to veto any proposal, and thus far, moscow has opposed sanctions.
in a statement, russia's ambassador to the u.n. said we hope to see progress. we hope to see dialogue established in syria. we think we should continue to work within the scope of that unified position. a key regional player is turkey. refugees from syria have been fleeing across the border to camps on the turkish side for some time. now the prime minister has called on mr. assad to end the violence. >> i want to see the bloodshed in syria stop. one cannot achieve prosperity by cruelty. those who aim to achieve prosperity through cruelty will drown in the blood they shed. >> until now, the syrian opposition is fluid, unable to agree a unified position. but at a meeting of activists in turkey on tuesday, there were signs that may be changing. >> we agreed on shaping aspects
of syria as a civil and modern country, with a new constitution which guarantees full rights to citizens. >> last week, the president told the u.n. that all military options in his country had ceased. but continuing reports of brutality and killings would seem to contradict that. dominic cain, "bbc news." >> a 5. magnitude earthquake rocked the east coast of the united states on tuesday. the epicenter was in charlottesville and richmond in virginia, and the quake was so powerful it could be felt several hundred miles away in boston. >> the earthquake rattled nerves up and down america's east coast. it forced the automatic shutdown of two reactors at a nuclear power plant in virginia. >> this standard has protected. >> and brought about a manhattan
press conference about dominic strauss kahn to an abrupt halt. >> just thought we'd take this opportunity to show you our new -- you feel that? >> a tv commercial was being filmed close to the epicenter as the quake struck. >> what was that? >> the white house was evacuated because of the earthquake. so too was the pentagon, the capitol, and other government buildings. president obama wasn't here at the time. he's on holiday in marcia's vineyard, but this is the strongest earthquake in this part of the world in living memory, and those who were here were left pretty shaken up. thousands of office workers took to the streets after being evacuated from their buildings. >> it's kind of scary. the building shook. you can kind of actually -- i had never felt it before. you can actually feel it kind of coming. you don't know what it is until it's kind of over. and then you realize what it
was. looked out the window and saw the building behind me moving a little bit. >> everything just starts shaking, and everyone kind of looked around wondering what is going on? so a few of us knew it was an earthquake and said we need to get out of the building. yes. >> and how long did it last? >> oh, gosh, about a minute. maybe a minute and a half. >> several buildings were affected. among them, the national cathedral in washington, which suffered damage to its central tower. and there was traffic gridlock after government workers were sent home early. seismologists say the quake was shallow, hence its impact was brought over a wide area, but rarely has the earth moved this close to the seat of power. >> north korea's kim jong il is making his first trip to russia for almost 10 years. he's due to hold talks with di
meetry medvedev, where they will talk over north korea's nuclear program. for more on this visit, i spoke to our correspondent in seoul, lucy williamson. >> it was 10 years since he made his last trip to russia. north korea was very close to the soviet union as it was in the olden days. that changed after the fall of the soviet union. i think now that china has become such a key ally of north korea, but isn't quite giving north korea what it wants, perhaps not all of what it wants in terms of economic boost, it is reaching out. a crucial time also diplomatically, we've seen talks between north and south korea. we've seen talks between north korean and u.s. officials about restarting the nuclear discussions. one more reason why kim jong il may be wanting to talk to the russian president today. he's reported to be heading for a village just in siberia. that's where we believe he'll be
holding those talks. >> lucy williamson in seoul. let's now cross over back to london. an astonishing event in libya. >> it's been very fast-moving. and to discuss this a little further, the ongoing situation, i'm joined once again by chris doyle. we began the program some hour and a half ago now with those remarks from mr. ibrahim, the audio message. clearly stating that it was a tactical move on the part of colonel gaddafi to allow the rebels into tripoli. 6,000 volunteers will be alongside pro-gaddafi forces to surround the capital. how much of that is getting through to the residents of the capital we don't know. but what do you think this does to people's perception of the conflicts in the country? >> i think for a long time,
fairly san begin about statements that come from the gaddafi regime. a lot of things that were so unbelievable, it was almost comic to watch libyan state television. i'm going to miss it. such extraordinary claims. so i think people are experienced enough to know that is merely a face-saving phrase and not something that should be read into literally. and then the country will, of course, go into rack and ruin and blaming nato for everything. i think people will simply be believing more word of mouth, what their friends, what their neighbors are saying. this is typical in such countries. so what they see with their own eyes will matter far more than what they'll hear on the radio by ibrahim or any other spokesperson for gaddafi. >> nevertheless, though, we spoke to our correspondent just an hour or so ago, and she said
there was still on the streets people are worried about joining the revolutionaries in tripoli because they're used to this gaddafi regime and its brutal dictatorship. how do you think they'll be able to regain the confidence now? >> there is the issue of propaganda, and there are still snipers around there. there are still people aiming to shoot and killed. some rockets apparently have been fired. so by no means is it safe and secure. and there's been looting as well. so i think people will be conscious of that. i think there's a lot of neighborhood committees that are trying to keep their own streets and arrows of tripoli and indeed other cities safe and security. so until government comes into being, until there's an active police force that is keeping them safe, then of course people are going to take the law into their own hands and try to defend their own neighborhoods and families. but that doesn't mean they're going to believe anything that's coming out of ibrahim.
i think the other problem, though, is the m.t.c. i've been very critical of their communications and we saw that most notably with all they said about gaddafi's second son and a potential successor. that credibility has been shattered. >> we'll pick up that point with you a little later, but for now, chris, thank you very much. stay with us. you're watching "bbc news." >> you've been watching "newsday" from the bbc. >> just a reminder of our main news again this hour. guns have been shot into the air across the libyan capital tripoli to celebrate the taking of colonel gaddafi's compound by rebel fighters. rebels forced their way into the compound and pulled down a statue of colonel gaddafi. plenty more to come on that. we will be speaking once again to chris doyle in the studio a little later. for rico and myself, plenty more to come. stay with us.