tv BBC World News PBS March 12, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT
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>> and now "bbc world news". >> hello, and welcome to news day on the bbc. the headlines, president obama says the shooting of 16 afghan civilians by an american psychological is heartbreaking. the newest troop withdrawal plans won't change. >> it makes me more determined to make sure that we're getting our troops home. it's time. it's been a decade and you know frankly now that we have gotten bin laden and weakened al qaeda, we're in a stronger position. >> women and children are killed in homes and the u.n. can't agree on a way forward. >> a cease-fire has reportedly been agreed between forces in gaza after four days of violent clashes. in search of a masterpiece, could one of the greatest works
be hidden behind this photo? it's 9:00 in the morning here in singapore. >> it's 1:00 here in london. welcome to "newsday." >> president obama has described as heartbreaking the killing of 16 afghan civilians by an american psychological, but he also warned against a hurried withdrawal of u.s. troops from afghanistan. most of the victims who included nine children were killed with a single shot to the head. the psychological is in custody after giving himself up. here is our word affairs correspondent, john simpson. >> in kandahar and the rest of afghanistan there has been an uneasy silence while people see what happened to the unnamed american psychological who
carried out this massacre, shooting children in the head and beating and killing women. most afghans seem to want him handed over to afghan justice. it won't happen. >> i personally feel very sad. even i am ready to go to the side the taliban to fight against these foreigners. >> president obama knows an apology isn't enough, but from his limousine, he got straight on to president karzai to try to limit the damage. it won't be easy. the massacre came just as the protests over the burning of copies of the koran at the big american air base were starting to die down. in january, these pictures emerged of american soldiers urinating on the bodies of dead afghans, but the massacre is far worse. it's already causing nervousness in washington. >> we recognize that an incident like this is
inexplicable and will certainly cause many questions to be asked. >> one such question -- will president obama manage to get president karzai to agree about nato's role in afghanistan after the combat troops leave in 2014? if mr. obama doesn't get this soon, the danger is the nato pullout could look very much like a defeat, uncomfortably reminiscent of the solette withdrawal in afghanistan back in 1989. in previous american wars, massacres like this have had a big effect on public opinion back home, the vietnam war and others in the iraq war. before this latest massacre, american polls indicated that well over 50% of people wanted their troops pulled out quickly. tonight president obama said he shared that view. >> it makes me more determined
to make sure that we're getting our troops home. it's time. it's been a decade. frankly, now that we have gotten bin laden. now that we have weakened al qaeda, we're in a stronger position to transition than we would have been two or three years ago. >> as for britain, a poll here tonight suggests that 73% of people want to withdraw. david cameron says the british troops still have a job to do. >> we're there to train up the afghan army and the police so that that country is able to look after its own security and make sure that country isn't a haven for terrorists without having foreign troops on its soil. that's what we all dealer want. >> britain will have to taken account of whatever the americans do. but with france possibly pulling its troops out by the end of this year, the public opinion in the west hardening, withdrawal is likely sooner rather than later whether it looks like a defeat or not. john simpson, bbc news.
>> our correspondent has been following the latest developments for us from washington. steve, barack obama making it very clear that troop withdrawal will not be hurried after this latest incident? >> it's interesting. i think it's quite a nuance position by barack obama, what he doesn't want to be seen to do is suddenly pull troops out in a knee jerk response to this horrific incident, but at the same time, this is a president who will try for re-election in november. he was speaking to local television reporters speaking to the electorate, u.s. electorate in the american heartland and sending a message that he actually does want to get american troops home as soon as it is practicable. the white house has hinted at a slight time frame of this. the nato nations have signed up of having the afghans fully in
light of security by 2014. the lead combat role of american troops could end before that while keeping american troops in afghanistan. that is something the british newspapers are suggesting that prime minister david cameron might be interested in considering as well. the nuance, the interprettation is rather subtle but the headline message that we won't dash for the exits because of what happened over the weekend, that's the headline from barack obama. >> the two men, barack obama and david cameron will be discussing this at length tomorrow when they meet. david cameron is saying the key objective has always been to enable the afghan people to secure their own borders to prevent terrorist activity within it, but surely now, that objective seems a less clear one? >> well, you know, there are people here in america and certainly in britain as well and beyond saying if the objective is for the afghan security forces to in effect
look after their own country and the americans over time and the british to hand over to the afghans is the continuing presence of american troops in particular in afghanistan becoming a hindrance rather than a help at this point. and the obama administration is at great pains to say, look, this individual psychological who -- soldier who is in custody now are not like the other troops in afghanistan, they want to be seen to complete this mission, but make no mistake. this is an administration that would like to go to november's presidential election saying, look, we are starting to bring our troops home. >> steve, thank you so much for that. we'll be getting more on this in just under 10 minutes' time when i am joined by a political commentator and writes a bulldog the afghan analysis that is soon. armed robbers have attacked a gold market in iraq killing nine people and wounding at least 14 others. police say two carloads of
gunmen attacked jewelry shops in a mainly shia area in baghdad. they managed to escape after an exchange of fire with security forces. one man has been arrested. more than 200 people have been killed and hundreds more are missing in south sudan after violence. young men stormed several camps on friday. raids and revenge attacks have killed thousands of people in south sudan since independence in 2011. hundreds of mourners have paid their respects to one of the world's most celebrated war correspondents. she was killed last month in syria. the funeral was held in our hometown. now to syria and strong words from hillary clinton at the u.n. security council today.
>> that's right, the u.s. secretary of state has said that syria horrific campaign of violence had shocked the conscience of the world. mrs. clinton appealed to the international community to speak with one voice that the killing of innocent syrians must stop. meanwhile syrian opposition groups have accused government forces of killing up to 47 people in what they have called a cold-blooded massacre. our middle east editor jeremy bowen reports from the u.n. >> a year of deadly force since the syrian uprising started. this is where it began. this appears to show unarmed demonstrators running away from regime bullets. elsewhere it's become an armed insurrection against the regime. the rebels are getting more skillful attacking an armoured
vehicle, but the president's men are still much stronger. accurate journalism is difficult without being there, but this, according to reports from holmes, was the aftermafingt a massacre of civilians including children. the man filming this burning building in holmes asked if the world is watching, please save us, he says. coffeia annan is watching and was received in damascus over the weekend. the president with his open supporters and a still strong army believes he is in a fight he can win. in turkey on his way out, kofi annan expressed growing international anger and frustration. >> the killing of civilians must end now. the world must send a clear and united message that this is simply unacceptable. >> but here in new york, it's
still the disunited nations. russia and china so far are watching his diplomatic back. >> the council has failed in its responsibilities. i think that is absolutely right. it doesn't mean in any way that we have stopped trying. we have to keep talking to russia and china. >> but no change in the security council. the west supported by the arab league blames the syrian regime for the killing. the russians say that is only half true saying asaad's men are fighting not unarmed protesters but combat units including al qaeda. and the russians also say that hasty attempts at regime change in syria would make the middle east more dangerous, not less. while the asaad regime in damascus stays united and the security council here at the u.n. remains divided, nothing is going to change in a hurry. longer term, it's hard to see how the asaad regime can
survive. for now in damascus, they seem to think they have this crisis under control. jeremy bowen, bbc news, new york. >> a new cease-fire has been reached between gaza militants and israel to halt all military activities. the deal was brokered by the egyptians. the agreement is an attempt to end four days of conflict in which 25 palestinians have been killed and over 200 rockets fired by militants at israeli cities. earlier rupert sent this report from gaza. >> another day and another funeral in gaza city. this time, it's for a 65-year-old man and his 35-year-old daughter. more than 20 people have now been killed here since friday. it's now the worst violence between israel and gaza in three years. and like these two, more and more casualties are civilians. a ragged shoe and a pool of blood mark the spot where they were killed this morning caught
in an israeli counterstrike. a few minutes' drive away, the debris of another fresh bomb site. the smell of burning is still pungent in the air here. israel says it's only striking back at militants who are firing rockets out of gaza, but inevitably that isn't the way things work and last night one of the missiles hit this house in the north of gaza where 13 members of the same family were sleeping. amazingly, no one was killed in this destruction, but 25 members of that family are now in hospital including nine children. the man who owns the house didn't deny he supports the militants. one of his sons has already been killed fighting the israelis. i have another two sons, he says, and i'm ready to sacrifice them, too. this all began on friday when israeli missiles tore apart this car. inside was the leader of a gaza
militant group. israel says an attack by the group was imminent and the killing justified. since then militants in gaza have hit back sending more than 130 rockets into towns and cities in southern israel. in response, israel has rolled out its latest high-tech answer to the gaza rockets. it's called the iron dome and its job is to shoot down the rockets before it can hit israeli towns. >> israel knows today they have a defense, an active defense. it's like a shelter and the government of israel made a decision that we will actively act against those rockets. >> the missiles may make israelis feel slightly safer, but as this conflict enters his fifth day, another generation on both sides is learning to hate an enemy it has never met.
>> you're watching bbc live from singapore and london. still to come, best foot forward. we'll tell you why the shoes were hid in bridges during the 19th century. >> and in search of a masterpiece, could one of davinci's greatest works be hidden behind this frescao. here, an attacker who allegedly raped a woman in south london 25 years ago was traced through his d.n.a. he was told after the alleged attack, anthony went on to commit seven more rapes, crimes for which he was subsequently convicted. the 57-year-old denies rape and indecent assaults. a 17-year-old youth has admitted killing pen showner in west london last august. the teenager who can't be named because of his age punished the
68-year-old knocking him to the ground. he banged his head during the attack and died in hospital three days later. the m.p. who assaulted four people in a house of commons bar has resigned from the labor party. he told m.p.'s that his behavior had fallen below what was required. mr. joyce has been fined 3,000 pounds and been given a 12-month community order. >> this is news on the bbc. i'm in singapore. >> i'm in lone door. the headlines this hour. president obama has called the shooting of 16 afghan civilians by an american soldier heartbreaking and said u.s. troop withdrawal plans won't change. >> more bloodshed in syria. 47 women and children have been killed in homes. global representatives said the u.n. failed to agree on a way forward.
>> well, let's get more on our main story and the consequences of the latest violence in afghanistan. this is a political commentator and writer for the blog afghanistan analysis. he joins me now from our washington studio. welcome and thank you very much for joining us on bbc news. i just wanted to get your reaction to the comments made by barack obama within the last few hours saying that they will not be hurried into troop withdrawal from afghanistan. do you believe that sentiment can stay as he has intended it to? >> i think there is some domestic pressure on president obama in the wake of these incidents, but i think it's politically prudent for him not to make any hasty decisions for the afghan withdrawal because of the upcoming nato is summit in chicago on may 16 and because some of the plans for the withdrawal begin in 2013, mid 2013 are going to be decided at this event. also, because given the uncertain situation in afghanistan, the state of the
preparedness of the afghan army and other issues such as the strategic partnership agreement and the negotiations with the taliban are all dependent on the american presence on the ground. >> and, of course, it is, we must not forget an election year for barack obama, but how much do you believe this latest incident in afghanistan has been a tipping point for the forces there on the ground? >> we have had incidents, statements, excuse me, that says that -- including from the u.k. saying that they would stay the course and i think they have already actually accelerated their withdrawal deadlines, which already was constricted by 2014, but comments by leon panetta have actually indicated that they would even start withdrawing more forces than previously scheduled by mid 2013. so i don't know if they can logistically or even politically make that little haster and quicken the
withdrawal further. >> let's talk about the objectives. one of the key principals on the ground is they want to win the hearts and minds of the afghan people. seemingly, they appeared to have failed on that front or relations between international forces and the afghan people are clearly at a very stressful low at the moment. is there any way to change that, do you think, in the short time frame that we have got up until 2014? >> absolutely. this is the lowest it has been and i think it can even get worse if the u.s. and troops actually fail to prevent any future attacks. i don't think there is any way to actually remedy some of the damage that has been done by the kandahar killings and other unfortunate incidents such as the koran burning and the urination videos and the support killing team involving u.s. troops, but with the u.s. and the forces can do is to actually take precautionary measures to prevent any further damage between now and 2014.
>> what do you think they have achieved? >> that's a very good question. i think they have achieved a number of things including they have created a space of stability for the afghan civil society to form. we have a very vibrant women's movement. we have provided minorities with the opportunity to actually contest in elections, become part of the parliament. we have students, girls, 4 million of them are attending schools and universities now. 45% of all of the school attendees right now are girls which is virtually -- which was virtually zero under the taliban. these are some of the achievements. we had a dramatic reduction in infant mortality and maternal mortality and some of these other achievements that are credited to the troop presence and also to the international aid that has come into afghanistan. >> i wish we had more time. we have run out of time i'm afraid. thank you very much nor joining us. >> thank you. >> now to the story of folk
magic, how to ward off evil spirits. researchers in australia think they have the answer. following a six-year study, they found items in more than 100 buildings put there in the 18th and early 19th centuries. the artifacts only came to life during modern day renovations as duncan kennedy reports from sydney. >> a world famous bridge, an ancient country house, and an old convicts' prison. what links these three sites? >> the practice of magic in 19th century australia. >> the story began here in rural tasmania. it's where this historian was invited by the owner allen cooper to give his opinion on some strange discoveries. during some renovations in the attic they came across some
remarkable items, clothes, shoes, and toys dating from 1920's. for ian, it was start of a six-year investigation into the ancient practice of hiding artifacts to ward off evil spirits. >> they do their best to provide protection in the form of shoes and other objects relating to the people and which would decoy the evil spirituals from the people. >> they found hidden artifacts at more than 100 sites across australia in every conceivable kind of building. this he haven't found any in this one yet. over here it's a very different story. >> under the famous landmark, workers dug this tunnel. they made another find. >> there it is. a shoe discovered or a fragment of a shoe discovered here in
1998. >> that's a shoe of either a child or a young person. certainly not an adult and certainly not one of the workmen. >> ian believes it was put here during construction of the bridge in the 1920's, again, to fight evil spirits. here, too, at sydney's convicts prison, under these stairs, yet another revelation. >> well, this is it. a convict's shirt dating -- >> every kind of artifact hidden by all kinds of people, a practice brought by settlers from britain to australia to protect their families. >> they did not have available to them the medical practice and knowledge which exists today, for the medications so, that they lived in constant fear of the illness that would take their child away. >> immigrants in a strange land relying on familiar cultural practices to find comfort.
duncan kennedy, bbc news in sydney. >> a controversial art historian has said he has found encouraging evidence that could lead to a lost masterpiece by leonardo davinci. tiny tools are used to find the hidden painting. not everyone is convinced. >> the walls of florence's old town hall, everywhere you look, there is a masterpiece. it's claimed that the greatest work is hidden behind this awning. researchers have been inserting tiny cameras into this fresko and they discovered fragments of paint, similar to that used by davinci in the mona lisa. might this be a lost painting? >> undoubtedly having found these pigments, having found organic material as well cannot just be a coincidence. >> this image, a copy of the
picture gives an idea of what leonardo painted before he abandoned the work. at today's press conference, it was claimed he had hidden the painting behind a wall on to which he painted this fresco and added seek and you will find. it sounds like a dan brown thriller. many are unconvinced. >> i don't wish to pour water on this whole thing. if it is discovered, it's sensational, one of the biggest things of all time in the art world, but it's a bit hyped up at the moment. >> a lost painting, hidden messages, the story seems almost too good. and all this in a place that is in one room. leonardo, milk languageo, and even down to the man behind the artists contracts, machiavelli himself. >> you are watching "newsday." stay with us.
headlines are next. ♪ ♪ >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding was made possible by -- the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers use their expertise in global finance to guide you through the business strategies and opportunities of international commerce. we put our extended global network to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations.