>> hello and welcome to "the journal." >> welcome. >> our top stories this hour -- the ivory coast's and incumbent -- incumbent president, laurent gbagbo, says he is willing to negotiate. a pakistan governor is assassinated amid a mounting political crisis. in quinoline costly, floodwaters are due to peak. -- in queens when australia, floodwaters are due to peak.
african union negotiators say the incumbent leader of ivory coast, laurent gbagbo, has agreed to negotiate peaceful and the power struggle without preconditions. the regional bloc, ecowas, says he was planning to lift a blockade around the headquarters of alassane ouattara, who is widely seen as the winner of the elections. he says it is time for laurent gbagbo to go. >> as mediators wrapped up talks, there was little reason to be hopeful. he was not yielding to international pressure. but then came the message that he was ready to negotiate without pre negotiations. regional bloc, ecowas, and the african you want to avoid having to use force. >> ecowas and au, even if there is a half percent chance of resolving the problem
peacefully, they would exploit it. >> the people of ivory coast want to see a peaceful end to the stalemate as well. >> i am against the use of force as no where else in africa have we seen as working. i preferred dialogue to the use of military force. we're very happy the mediation is going oand we wanted to reach its goal so we can live in peace. that's what we are waiting for. >> mediators have said that power sharing with alassane ouattara is not an option. preparations to oust incumbents are being made in case negotiations fail. >> ahead of sunday's referendum
on a that barriers to pull this off to the for unity but said he would back an independence vote. the referendum was guaranteed in a 2005 peace deal that ended sudan's north-south civil war. at least 2000 people died in that conflict. if the south of votes for independence, the two sides of the country will have to decide issue related to oil revenues and the exact route of the border between them. a gunman has assassinated the gunman -- the mayor of the punjab state. salman taseer was shot and killed near his home. it was the most high-profile political killings in pakistan's nazir bhutto was assassinated three yearsgo. hewas e of the moderate voices in the pakistan people's party. he has spoken out against softening blasphemy laws. that has angered islamists. >> salman taseer's opposition to
blasphemy laws has cost him his life. he was apparently shot dead by one of his bodyguards and sought -- and died soon afterward. >> there were three gunshots and iran on to the street. he was lying in a pool of his own blood and security forces arrived soon after that. >> i was at home nearby and i heard some shots. i watched the governor being put into a vehicle. >> the governor of pakistan pause most populous province had often been at odds with the country's islamist parties because he supported freedom of speech. he angered many people with his support of a christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly insulting islam's profit, mohammad. iran has warned berlin not to press for release of two german journast being held for a visa violations. a foreign ministry spokesman in tehran says the iranian
judiciary would not about to pressure. they might even react negatively to it. the comments come to days after the newspaper that employs the reporters published an appeal from 100 of germany's leading cultural and sporting figures for the release. the two men who were visiting the country and tourist visas were detained in october while conducting an interview with the settlement sent to death by stoning for having committed ultery. the scandal in germany over contaminated animal feed is deepening. the european commission wants to know of any effective aids or meat have been exported to other european union nations. at the same time, they're trying to point out traces of the contaminant can be found in many foodstuffs. more than 1000 farms in germany have beeforced to suspend operations after they used supplies of the contaminated feed. >> this plat recycles use cooking f into diesel fuel an sold fatty acid to a feed
producer in germany. the recycler said they had labeled a hit as unsuitable for animal consumption. but more than 100 tons of feed on its way into the food chain. >> it is time to talk about where the buck stops, in particular regarding the responsibility and liability of the producers. and agricultural production in general. >> it was a plant in northern germy that produce the continat feed. it described its production methods as perfectly normal and said what happened was a tragic mistake. fatty acids are commonly used in animal feed, but representatives are calling for heads to roll over the scandal. >> the blame lies with the firms that produce the seed because what happened was criminal. >> officials said the eggs, pork, chicken and eggs had
higher than permitted levels of dioxin. they have looked at ways o oniting the feet were closely in the wake of the affair. >> peter has some business news, starting with a big merger in the construction sector in europe. >> is a hostile takeover that is still going on. it can be better. the spanish construction company has cleared an important hurdle to acquire a german company following a stock swap which gave it over 30% of the german builder. they can now buy shares on the open market to pursue its goal of a complete takeover. >> executives in madrid may soon be calling the shots when it comes to contracts, conditions, prices, and what to do with profits from the construction projects. the spanish construction giant has convinced many shareholders with its takeover bid. they have attended almost 2.4
million shares and now controls 40% of the company. despite heavy resistance from the workers and executives, traders believe italy and matter of time before they reach a majority stake. -- believe it is a matter of time before they reach a majority stake. >> the employees and management see major changes are in store. in germany, the company has 11,000 employees and many say cost-cutting measures will follow as soon as they have complete control. >> they were among the day's most active stocks on the index today. our correspondent has morerom the frkfurstock exchange. >> game over for germany's largest construction company. it will become spanish. people here have no doubt that acs will be successful.
people point out that in a situation like this, other large investors usually flock to the majority stake holders camp to join up. this went down because investors fear there will not be any more lucrative takeover options coming. there was an unspectacular performance of on thedax, but people are still optimistic. >> looking at several market indices, let's begin in frankfurt where we see the blue chip index 0.2% lower. the leading eurozone blue stocks were up slightly. in new york, stos ar mixed wi invtorsrying to make sense of new data showing an unexpected increase in factory orders. the dow jones industrial average
is currently up slightly. the euro is trading for $1.33. the german unemployment rate ticked higher in december, surprising many investors. the upturn was largely due to seasonal factors like the sudden cold snap. the latest figures show unemployment figures running at 7.2%. >> germany's federal labor agency was satisfied with progress. overall development had spent positive despite the slight job -- slight drop in the jobless rate. >> the increased to 3,016,000 does not based on economic conditions but on the early winter weather. >> the weather has been largely responsible for job cuts in the sectors. but plant and machinery manufacturers are reboundg
after the financial crisis. >> we had a strong economic upswing dominated by strong foreign demand. in the meantime, all the data shows this -- domestic demand has picked up significantly. that benefits the labor market overall. >> as the economy continues to improve, the labor minister expects a corresponding improvement in the job market next yea >> consumer prices are moving private -- are moving higher in the eurozone. inflation preceded the central bank's target for the first time in two years. the european union's statistics office reports prices rose 2.2% on the air. economists say the rise in inflation is due to higher fuel and food prices. the european central bank's aims to keep price growth below 2%.
analysts say they believe they will keep interest rates unchanged wellnto2011 despite higher inflation. shares for apple computer rose 2% at the start of the year, giving the technology company market value of $300 billion. apple is now one of the most voluble companies traded, talked -- top only by exxon mobil. apple's thou elation plummeted aftethe stock-market collapse in september of 2008. one month later, it was worth $89 billion. the recovery is remarkable. the aft -- apple's market cap past microsoft in may of last year and is worth $60 billion more than its main rival. >> thank you. australia's worst floods in decades are forcing more people in rural areas to evacuate. the floodwaters have inundated
territory the size of france and germany combined, bringing the biggest coal mining operations to a standstill. thousands of crops have been destroyed. authorities say the flood waters have yet to peak. >> the flood waters cover huge areas of land, completely swamping some home. the water is up to a meter deep in some places. thousands have fled and makeshift barriers have gone up in some places as homeowners and businesses do what they can to protect buildings. police have been going door-to- door to persuade residents to leave. >> some people, once reluctant, when the full circumstances are explained, they're quite willing to leave their homes. >> but many residents stayed behind to ride outhe dangers and help their neighbors. >> it is the true australians spirit. the people have rallied together and you can understand they are extremely uncomfortable and very
concerned. they are working together, helping their friends and neighbors, working cooperatively with emergency services personnel. >> residents are still bracin for the dilution. the town was hit by record flooding that destroyed many houses less than one year ago. some people had only just returned home. it's not only personal propert at risk. floodwaters have devastated flatland, the main source of livelihood for many. cotton crops, grain, fruit and veggies high -- and vegetables have all been lost. damages are estimated at $1 billion. >> firefighters were forced to stand by and watch as a revival apartment complex went up in flames. the fire broke out tuesday and spread quickly throughthe three story complex which was uninhabited. the fire chief ordered crews to abandon efforts after the situation was deemed to difficult to handle. it is unclear what started the fire. in china, 50,000 travelers have
been stranded on highways and in trains following an especially harsh out of winter weather. southwestern china has been hit hardest. all highways have been closed and thousands of people are stuck on snowy roads. hundreds of workers are clearing major routes. in another province, they're using blowtorches and chemicals to melt the ice on the rails. berlin, there is growing anger at the state of the city's public transportation system. the commuter railway is grinding to a halt with more than half of its trains out of commission due to technical problems. a number of suburban stations have been completely closed with reduced service at many others. >> chaos reigns of many parts of the suburban network. passengers are simply informed that technical difficulties are creating huge disruptions. about a million people a day
rely on the trains. but the transport breakdown has left thousands of people struggling to get from point a to point b. >> i had to take a week's holiday because there's no other way to get around. >> not even half of the city's suburban trains are running. faulty brakes and traction have been aggravated by the weather. critics have been saying they have failed to invest in repairs and maintenance. repair shop personnel have been cut to save money. their parent company, deutsche bank, as coming under fire. people want answers from the ceo. >> it is a disaster. there's been nothing like the war. and they call this the capital? >> in central berlin, replace the bus services provide an alternative, the suburbs remained cut off. the state of brandenburg also
>> welcome back. there is a mood of optimism in germany as the new year gets under way. the economy is doing well. more people are employed and decades. this is supposed to favor the incumbent government, but it has not given angela merkel a boost. the junior party would not even make it into parliament is elecons were held toy. eltion are a ways off, but no less than seven regional votes are scheduled for 20 lebanon that will serve as a barometer. we took a barometer of the political weather ahead. >> the conservative chancellor
and her deputy were hailed as a dream team, but it has not been smooth sailing for their coalition partnership. they need results this year and they face stiff competition. is that greens are riding a wave of popularity and are even becoming a threat to the opposition social democrats. the coalition lost for sure of government was marred by public spats. only now is the chance for getting back into her stride. many government policies are unpopular, especially among voters promised tax cuts. >> opinion polls show we're not very popular at the moment. it is apparent we have disappointed voters, but there are big expectations. >> the dispute around the construction of a new train station has become a symbol of public dissatisfaction. even conservative voters feel
they are being igned. this looks to cost them control. the greens are likely to pick up votes. >> they are always in favor of new rail routes, but when a new station is being built, they are against it. >> 2011 could be the greens year. they're hoping to capitalize on controversial issues like nuclear policy and social justice and winning enough votes to win the statgovement for the first time. >> we can do it. we can ensure next year's most successful in our party's history. >> she is running for mayor of berlin. and another has a chance of becoming state premier. it is a huge leap forward, making the social democrats a junior coalition partner. it is a decisive year and the party needs a new strategy simply atcking its
opnent >> you in government are doing a great job of attacking each other. it is hard to top. an opposition politician, how are they suppose to add anything to that? >> but maybe the voters will have something to add with the various regional elections taking place in the next couple of months. >> let's go now to my colleague. is this 2011 likely toe a hard ar for the chancellor? >> it is going to be a tough year. there are the seven regional alexians around the country. they're all important barometers of political opinion. in states and in cities like berlin, the march will be -- the end of march will be important because commentators say
conservatives could lose their. if they were too, this has been a bastion of conservatism for 60 years. th would lead to an intense leadership debate. she has another problem with regard to her coalition partners, the free democrats. they are badly wounded after what has been a feckless. in government. the greens, who are trying to present themselves as a party of government and not a protest party and then there is the social democrats trying to prove they are a party with a big idea. >> what are the big issues likely to be this year and which ones could work to the advantage or disadvantage of the chancellor? >> it comes down to one issue -- the economy. germany wants to make the economic recovery is enjoying sustainable. but there are questions about the extent to which the german economy is dependent on economic
growth in china and whether there'll be a huge surge in oil prices and questions about domestic consumer spending. at ds not help the economy. the big question is the crisis surrounding the euro. is it going to prove to be a solid or a wobbly currency. another important issue is her job is to persuade german voters she should get the credit for this economic surge in germany. but many voters and commentators tend to look at the small and medium-size companies and say they have done their homework and gotten themselves structured they he the ki of innovation to be competitiven global markets without much help from the government and politics. so she does not get much credit there. people look back to the former
chancellor and say look at the economic reforms he introduced. welfare reform, labor market reforms, they say that's much more than what angela merkel has done so far. >> thank y very much. the stabilit of the the euro will be one of the major challenges. the germans have never felt much affection for it. too much attachment to their beloved deutsche mark. >> it was nine years ago that i entered the everyday lives of the germans. i like it here. the germans are very careful with me. they were a bit wary at first, but now almost two-thirds have come to accept me, the euro.
>> i think it's good. i like that it can be used abroad. >> it's easier to do business using a common currency. >> most germans now want to hold on to me, but i have to confess, i don't feel truly loved. >> they told us nothing would get more expensive, but that is not how i experienced it. i think that is a negative. but i'm not joining in on the discussion of bringing back the deutsche mark. >> i did consign the deutsche mark to the history books. the germans had to give up their beloved currency for me, but i have been good for the economy. confidence has grown over the years. >> until a certain point, the beginning of this year, when greece became a problem. people's trust in the euro took
a blow and it has not recovered. >> i note it will take some time for people to regain their trust in me, which is why european leaders are trying to bring the debt-ridden economies under control. germans are worried they could end up footing the bill to keep me going. >> those in charge have to ensure money is not wasted. it could otherwise be used to help stabilize the euro. >> it is impossible to avoid the realities that european budgetary policies are no longer national policies. a free market has to be created. >> i think the situation at the moment is complicated. i follow a lot, but i'm at a loss for what to do. and i think the people here in the chancellor's office feel the same way.