tv BBC World News WHUT September 29, 2010 7:00am-7:30am EDT
foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its global expertise to work for a wide range of companies. what can we do for you? >> and now "bbc world news." >> from islands in the west to latvia in the east, workers in europe on a day of protest. the unions say the austerity cuts target their workers,
instead of the bankers and traders that caused the financial crisis. >> this is jonathan charles live in madrid. i'm reporting how the spanish strike is now really starting to bite. >> welcome to gmt. ini am george alagiah. an al-qaeda terror plot uncovered. extremists planned commando style raids. great survivors. politicians come and go. the traditional rulers still have power from the throne. >> in brussels, workers from across europe have gathered for what they say is one of the
biggest protests the city has ever seen. spain is in the grip of a strike. this wave of industrial strikes has been prompted by widespread budget cuts. unions say ordinary workers are being forced to pay for mistakes by bankers and traders. first, this report from peter. >> in madrid, soon after daybreak, supporters of the strike organized a protest intent on disrupting traffic and delaying people going to work. it is spain's first general strike since 2002. the government has approved an austerity budget. workers are facing a cut of 5% starting in june. unemployment has doubled in spain in the past three years. labor unions are hoping that 100,000 workers will join today's march in brussels.
it could be one of the biggest demonstrations in belgium in 10 years. this is a european day of action. belgium and spain are by no means the only countries likely to be affected. in italy, thousands are expected to take to the streets in rome later as the country's largest union holds a strike. protests had been called in ireland, greece, and france. >> there's a great danger that the workers will pay the price for this record speculation that took place in financial markets, especially among some of the banks. and far from being frustrated and angry about that, we are seeing now that you really have to reschedule these debts so they're not a huge burden on the next few years and caused europe to plunge into recession. >> in dublin, a cement truck painted with an eye bank slogans
drove into the irish parliament. the irish government has presented three austerity packages in the last year. another country where there is public hostility is greece. it has already experienced strikes and violence. unions handed in a petition today to the eu office in athens. across europe, and millions of jobs have been lost since the global financial crisis began two years ago. the recovery is still fragile. brussels,ross to where we are joined by christian frazier. is this protest as big as they say is? >> it is starting to look that way, george, yes. i just met with teachers from romania, miners from belgium, you name it. they're all here. the message is all the same -- no to austerity.
it is. y.rsus austerity appe it is the same sort of social injustice, this mood of frustration and the spirit that has seen big protests. >> you make it sound -- i'm sure you're right. there's this feeling across all these countries. one must remember that in germany, for example, workers have taken on the sacrifices. >> yes, very much so. they are leading the economic recovery. a handful of other countries in europe have shown some green shoots of growth. everyone on both sides of the debate recognizes how fragile the recovery is. it really depends on which side of the debate in stand.
-- debate you stand. some say we go into a double-dip recession. on the other side, in the european institutions and within some governments in europe, they say that if we do not start cutting debt and our deficit, at some point, this will loom in the future. there are the first views -- diverse views and frustration rising on the side of the public sector workers. >> thank you very much. as we have said, there have been demonstrations in spain. let's go to madrid and join my colleague, jonathan charles. >> the general strike here is proving quite effective. most of the country's steel industry has shut down, and also a lot of the car industry. it has been a difficult day for commuters. normally, this square would be full of commuters.
most of it has been kept in the garages by mass picketing. they're sending a message to the government that they really must pull back on the austerity measures and stop some of these cuts. there are a lot of police cars. the protesters are moving from building to building. there's no limit. that means they turn up and try to pose a shock for an office for a long presideeriod of time. do you think the unions can have much impact? >> it may have affected transport. also, it may affect industry, but not shops, and all the people who come to work.
this is less than a general strike than others i've seen. >> the prime minister did not say he was pulling back from the cuts. he did say you have a dialogue with them. >> the unions have stop having a general strike when they could influence policy. they have done it when the cuts were put into effect. there's a new budget coming. that budget has been decided. they're not going to affect it. it is simply that the government has no freedom to go back. the unions know this. they're pulling their punches. after all, they do not want a different government from the one the have. >> it's a show more than anything else. >> it is a show, and it is a very poor show compared to others. this is not something that has any question of tension or
violence. >> one thing everyone agrees on here is the economy. >> the economy is a mess. the measures have to be taken. the deficit is falling. the spanish economy is not growing. we have more than 20% unemployment. many more things have to be done. my impression is that even with the general strike, the government will have to do more, cut more, and change more. >> thank you very much. in the square behind the, the unions hope to rally maybe even hundreds of thousands of people. we will see how many turn up. he described this as a half a general strike. we will have to wait and see a bit later on. back to you. >> thank you very much. thank you. take a look at some of the other stories making headlines today. western intelligence agencies say they uncovered a plot by
islamic militants to carry out commando style raids in cities in britain, france, and germany. paris, the eiffel tower was evacuated for two hours after it received a bomb threat. intelligence officials say there are currently no plans to raise the terrorist threat levels. they have not made any arrests. a securityby correspondent. frank, have we seen anything like this before? >> the nearest comparison would be what is known as the airline plot, which is the intercepted plot that started in 2006 to simultaneously blow up transatlantic aircraft that would have gone between britain and the states and britain and canada, thereby hitting three countries. it's a very confusing and contradictory story. on the one hand, this appears to be very serious plot to hit
three countries simultaneously. we have a mumbai-style raid. attacking buildings in cities simultaneously and spraying gunfire as civilians. there were hostages who were murdered. they killed nearly to wonder people in 48 hours. they got the headlines that they craved -- they killed 200 people in 48 hours. this has moved from one is caught aspirational -- this has moved from one that is called aspirational. i do not think the authorities in there and the states or over your wanted the details of this to get out. it was leaked to the u.s. media somehow. people always say that it was a deliberate leak.
i do not think it was. i do not think they have tourr in of criminal evidence arrest anybody. >> thank you india has launched a biometric id scheme. it will put more than 1 billion citizens on a database. it is hoping the database will give an accurate picture of indian society. the european commission appears set to defer legal action against france over its expulsion of thousands of roma migrants. a senior european commissioner compared to events during world war ii. the u.s. senate is investigating the release of the lockerbie bombing. medical experts and state department officials will be questioned about the scottish departments decision. key witnesses from the uk have rejected requests to attend.
are scotland correspondent reports. >> it has been months since he was freed from prison to fly home to his family and libya. he was released on compassionate grounds by scottish government. >> imposed by a higher power, is rts in anyo course in a jurisdiction in any land can revoke or overruled. it is final and irrevocable. he is going to die. >> the only man convicted of blowing up pan am flight 103 -- is fueling suspicion in the
united states. there are investigations of possible links between his release and bp's exploration in libya. >> mechanical not appear before u.s. somsenate today because he says he is accountable to the scottish parliament, not the u.s. congress. >> the former bp chief executive has also declined invitations to appear before the senate's four- committee. instead, the lawyer from the u.s. state the barman and cancer experts -- instead, the u.s. state department and cancer experts. >> coming up, the new face of north korea. kim jong-un takes on two new top
jobs. is this a sign of power passed down from his father? >> the british defense secretary has warned prime minister david cameron that he will not back cuts to military spending. he says draconian cuts cannot be made while a country is at war without grave consequences. here's our defense correspondent. britain's time compa servicemen and women are on the front lines in afghanistan, he warns that a cut to a defense could seriously damage morale. the private letter lays the divisions. in his letter, he warns of the substantial impact the cuts could have on the uk's military capabilities, especially those of the navy. and to british national
security, if the reductions go on as planned. he says it is looking less and less defendable. he said it was looking more like a super comprehensive spending review, which havcould have great political consequences. he says he is extremely angry that it has been leaked and must find out who is responsible. >> an international conference on somalia has called for extra funds to double the size of the african union peacekeeping force in the country to 20,000 troops. the conference in madrid also said the extra soldiers should be paid for by european and other governments. there is an ongoing political crisis there. of course, we want to hear what you think. get in touch with us at gmt. the best way to do that is to go to our web site.
you can watch highlights from the program and look back at some of our recent interviews. >> this is gmt on "bbc world news." i am george alagiah. fighting austerity cuts, a general strike in spain and protests across europe. in western europe, the eiffel tower is evacuated. intelligence officials intercept a possible plot. now details of the european plans to crack down on countries that do not live within their means. how are they going to do that? >> big fines could be the order of the day. the european commission will unveil plans shortly to help avoid another greek style that crisis. countries will be punished to repeatedly over spent or leather
countries get out of control. -- or let their countries get out of control. finds seem to be the order of the day. we're still awaiting the press conference. what can you tell us about how they will do these fines? how much will they have to pay? >> they will be split up into two types. the first time will be the countries that consistently borrow more than 60% of their gdp. or, their national debt is more than 60% of their gdp. it will be asked to deposit 0.2% in a non-interest bearing account. if they continually have national debt above 60%, that deposit will be taken away from them and turned into a fine. i think this is more interesting. there will be another type of
fine for countries whose economies seem to be in ba mbalanced. those kind of imbalanced could be subject to a fine. that is what the european commission wants to introduce. >> thank you very much. we will talk to you as soon as we hear from the press conference, which will be shortly. the markets are up and down today. there is growing speculation that the federal reserve is likely to introduce more measures to support the u.s. economy. of course, a key market for asian exporters. fairly flat here. european markets and investors around the world want to make sure that the euro zone
economies cut their deficit. they do not want to see them giving in to the protesters. gold is still at a record high. that is suggesting that investors are still not that confident in the markets. gold is a bit of a safe haven. they've been getting into that. >> thank you very much. north korea has announced that kim jong-un, the son of the leader kim jong-il has been given two proposed. the latest will be seen as confirmation that he is lined up to take over from his father. from the south korean capital, here's our correspondent. >> the north korean government controls all newspapers. it's difficult to know if ordinary people of north korea are aware of the conference taking place in p'yongyang. it has shown the outside world
two important things, that kim jong-il is in good enough health to attend, and he has almost certainly decided who will potentially replace him as the leader of this isolated fledgling nuclear power. it's a remarkable story, even by the standards of one of the world's most totalitarian states. the details are making the front pages on this side of the border. here is the founder of north korea. here's his son, the current leader, kim jong-il. and one of the few childhood of him,exthat exists there is his son, kim jong-un. >> just hours before the conference, he was promoted to the rank of four start military general. now we learn he has been made vice chairman of the military
commission and a member of the central committee. there can now be little bill that he is the chosen successor. -- air can now be little doubt that he is the chosen successor. kim jong-il's sister is in attendance, having also just been promoted to the rank of military general. it is thought that she will guide her nephew of through the difficult power transition. the world will get its first real glimpse of a young man that has just been handed a weighty legacy. >> nigeria marks its years of independence this week with a country facing a defining presidential vote. democracy is gradually taking root in the country. a exertonal rulers is there
enormous influence. >> this is one of the most powerful traditional rulers in nigeria. he was not elected by popular vote. the race is on here as politicians seek a popular mandate. it is the backing of them that is key to success. >> away from the royal court, is election season in nigeria. the question is, how much power and influence these traditional rulers have on the electorate and the choices they make during the election. >> they are telling the truth. they will tell you something and they will do it. >> they know our problems.
>> most politicians want to tell you yes. they are very careful with that. [inaudible] >> over the year, under both military and civilian rule, the powers have eroded. how do they continue to exert so much influence? >> it is always behind the scene. i think the electorate are there to read all the signs. it is not some and that will be said or often in the media. the signs will always be there. the people will always follow through. >> the history and culture of in history.goes back histor
i asked him about what part traditional rulers play in today's nigeria. >> we do not influence people to vote for anybody. all we do is to ensure that our subjects todo abide by the rules of the election. >> nigeria has seen turbulent times throughout its half century of independence. so often, its traditional -- despite all its different cultures and religions, it is a source of unity. >> you can find more coverage of nigerias 50th birthday on our
website. there's an article asking what it means to be nigerian. you also find features and having a look at. that is almost it for this edition of gmt. i just want to take into brussels and look at some live pictures. these are the protests we have been talking about today. something like a hundred thousand union members from all over gathering they're talking about these austerity cuts. that's it for this edition of gmt. stay with "bbc world news." >> hello and welcome. >> see the news unfold, get the top stories from around the globe and click to play video reports. go to bbc.com/news to experience the in-depth, expert reporting of "bbc world news" online.
>> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its global financial strength to work for a wide range of companies. what can we do for you? >> there is one stage that is the met and carnegie hall. >> o, that this too, too solid flesh --
>> it is the kennedy center. >> check, one, two. >> and a club in austin. >> it is closer than any seat in the house, no matter where you call home. >> the top of the world, and i'm there, i'm home. >> pbs -- the great american stage that fits in every living room. your support of pbs brings the arts home. >> "bbc world news" was presented by kce