tv BBC World News America WHUT May 7, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
>> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to know your business, offering specialized solutions and capital to help you meet your growth objectives. we offer expertise and tailored solutions for small businesses and major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now "bbc world news america." >> this is "bbc world news america" reporting from washington. the cia foils a plot by al qaeda in yemen to destroy american- bound airplane. say no to austerity. the french voters choose change
with the clear message they have had enough cuts. in syria, the opposition claims it is all a sham. we are on the ground with a special report. move over disneyland. this is the newest attraction with a theme that he will not find anywhere else. welcome to our viewers on pbs and around the world. it has emerged that the cia for 10:00 al qaeda it to destroy a u.s.-bound airliner. the plan involves using a device similar to the underwear bomb that failed to detonate on board a flight to detroit in 2009. it was supposedly timed to coincide with a one-year anniversary of some of the modern's -- of osama bin
laden's death. what more do we know? >> the president was told about it last month. it seems they caught the plot about halfway through. it was not just the cia involved. the fbi issued a statement saying it was other intelligence services as well. i suspect british intelligence were involved. it seems the bomb had been designed by al qaeda's top bomb maker. they discovered it in. it was a version of the underwear pants bomb. it was upgraded. there was no metal involved. that is what worried him after the attempted attack industry. they started introducing body scanners at american airports. i think there will be more focus on that now. >> leon panetta said the incident reminds us to be
vigilant to keep america safe. it does seem to put the spotlight back on al qaeda. >> it also reminds us the most of the plots seem to come from yemen, not from afghanistan or pakistan. a lot of activity going on in yemen. one hears of individuals separate reports of the drone attack or killings by al qaeda. it is something like a civil war. it is a state of huge disruption. that is where the majority of the plots are coming from. it seems the intelligence services really have their eyes on that place. >> the political winds of change are blowing across europe tonight with french president nicolas sarkozy the biggest casualty. after winning sunday's vote, francois hollande has enjoyed his first full day as the president-elect. having promised more growth and fewer spending cuts, he now has to deliver.
gavin hewitt starts our coverage. >> francois hollande took time off from forming his government to take a brief about the wave -- balcony wave. >> i told you we were ready. now we have to prove it. >> the french people were taking and the fact that the socialist president who has promised to finish with austerity. >> i would say wait and see. i think he raised a lot of hope. >> i think i am going to leave france and maybe go to london. the socialist program is not what i expect for france. >> the thousands who waited until the early hours of this morning to see their new president heard him say he would leave europe in any direction.
you would make growth a priority above austerity. -- he would make growth of party austerity.> the germans insist cutting budgets is the best way to tackle the debt crisis. the key relationship is between france and germany. already francois hollande and angela merkel have expressed their commitment to work closely together. on the central question of how to deal with the eurozone crisis, there is no mistaking they have different priorities. in berlin today, the german chancellor insisted she would not shift on budgetary discipline in the eurozone. >> we believe it is not up for negotiation. i consider the fiscal pact binding. >> germany is set on keeping a
rigorous economic program. the french socialists wanted to change radically. >> as he prepares for power, there is a mood of uncertainty in europe over how this crucial debate over austerity and growth will be resolved. >> uncertainty is putting it lightly. for more on the election fallout, i spoke to gavin in paris a short time ago. given that this was a vote against nicolas sarkozy, and how much did the french people vote to reject the policies of austerity? >> i think many french voters have grown weary of the kind of high octane presidency of nicolas sarkozy. many of them said to us that they did not like him. some found him aggressive. some found him pandering to the
right over immigration. without doubt, this is an economy that has been stagnating. unemployment is at 10%. many people believe the policy of cutting the deficit was not working. francois hollande tapped into that. he presented himself as mr. normal, a man you could feel safe with. in the end, he came out ahead by offering that. >> looking forward, how much can he really changed france's economic and fiscal policies given that he has to try to work with the germans and within european restrictions? >> i think are huge difficulties for him. he has wanted to balance the budget within five years. at the same time, he says he will boost certain amounts of spending. how precisely will he do that? he says he wants to renegotiate
the pact to enforce greater discipline needed budgetary discipline. angela merkel made it quite clear there would be no renegotiations. he wants to set himself up as a leader of a new europe, being opposed to austerity but being in favor of growth. precisely how can he do that when so many countries still have large debt? eight out of 17 countries that use the eurozone are in recession. francois hollande has a message a lot of people find compelling when he says the current policy of cutting deficits, forcing more -- are forcing more countries into decline. >> it will be interesting to watch. thank you. french voters were not the only ones rejecting austerity. after elections increase, it is not clear who will govern. it is clear that greek voters do not want more spending cuts.
the two main parties came up the big losers with the political extreme picking up major gains. there could be fresh elections as soon as next month. from athens, matthew price reports. >> there was no sense of victory in his weary nation today. the national stockmarket plunge as the news sank in that greece had voted against the bailout keeping this country afloat. the winners here are those who say no more, those who want to tear up the bailout agreement with the european union. more sinister, the protest vote for the neo-nazi party. 7% chose them as unemployment and poverty soar. >> get illegal immigration out of my country.
>> many argue this was in brussels' doing, the austerity imposed in exchange for emergency loans pushed people to far. . two years, the people of this country have lived with the government that has imposed austerity on them. now with almost revolutionary fervor, they have said they will no longer accept cuts. there is now a big challenge coming from this country directly to brussels. will leadership of the european union decided enough is enough and change tack? today the greek president asked the conservative leader to form a government. samaras climbed to first place despite losing support for having signed the bailout deal. even his former partner said no to a new coalition. this evening, he said he had failed.
now the near impossible task falls to the second place, the anti-bailout coalition of the left. business leaders say politicians need to act quickly. >> they have to find rolutn. otherwise we will be facing exiting the euro. >> germany told greece it must stick to the bailout plan. that will infuriates the majority who voted against the agreement. greece must implement more forms by june to get further emergency funding -- greece must implement more reforms by june to get further emergency funding. can it? >> the turmoil in france and greece sent jitters through the world markets today and raised questions about the future of austerity in europe. for more on the implications, i spoke with the chairman and editor-in-chief of forbes media. thank you for joining us. it does seem voters in france and greece seemed to be saying
that the german model of austerity is not working anymore. they have a point. >> they do indeed. the policies europe has been pursuing an that japan has been pursuing for 20 years is the wrong prescription. i think it is a good thing to throttle back on the state sectors. that needs to be done. you also have to put in policies that enable the economy to grow. real tax cuts, tax breaks, having liberalized the labor market. it makes it easier increase to settle legal business so new private sector can emerge. you have to do both. you have to cut back on the public sector but also make it possible for the private sector to flourish instead of giving it a new array of taxes like has been happening in greece. >> the financial markets would hamper any country that was not
seem to make big budget cuts because that implies a lack of confidence in the country. the government had no choice. they felt they had to go ahead. now the voters as saying they do not want that anymore. >> it is one thing to have cut back on government spending, especially in countries like france and greece where you have a bloated public sector. but they have to be coupled by reducing taxes so that people have a chance to breed. the joke in greece is that they do not pay taxes because they do not get government services. the government has strangled itself. bulgaria and albania both put in 10% flat tax is pretty easy to collect. russia did the same thing a decade ago. they are experiencing growth. more real estate taxes. we did this in the early 1930's. it does not have a happy ending. >> the argument against that is it did not seem to have a credibility -- equitablility.
they're looking at taxing people if they earn over 1 million euros. the population is suffering with the cuts as well. >> the suffering comes when you do not have a vibrant private sector. public sector economics does not work. you have learned that from the soviet union among other countries. the key thing is you can have a flat tax. people note it is equitable because if you make it, you pay it. if you do not have policies that make it possible for the private sector to flourish, you will stagnate. japan now has that proportionally higher than breeze. -- greece. they have policies throttling the country. this stuff does not work. >> when you went to bed and saw there had been a big change of government in france, and the lord knows what kind of government we will end up with -- with inthi
greece, what the takeaway from that? >> i hope it is a lesson to the u.s. not to do with those countries have done. we went on a spending binge a couple of years ago. our debt is looming. government debt went up $1.3 trillion. is not sustainable. is there in effect in the u.s.? >> it means we will have slower growth. southern europe is in a deep recession. france if they follow through with this is going into recession. we are a global economy. if one part of the world gets in trouble, we all feel the effects of it. >> steve for joining me from new york, thank you very much. >> as elections have brought sweeping changes in europe, today people in syria are also going to the polls. the assad government claims
reform is underway. with violence continuing, to this -- opposition activists say it is not changing. we have this report from damascus. >> today's elections are meant to be proof syria is changing. the ruling party says it is ready to share power. he is one of the young new faces. most of the new are connected to the old. they would not be allowed to run if they were not. he says the door was open to everyone without exception. i am representing the youth and no one can win without popular support. he is not the only one that thinks that. syrians turning up here for the [unintelligible] >> the people are expressing their views.
we're optimistic the elections are going great. >> but believe in this change was short-lived for some. he dropped out of this race. she told me she wanted to run because she believed she could serve her country, but then it became clear that no real change would happen. in some parts of damascus, they never thought it would. here, it was eerily quiet. at the mosque, people did not want to talk. security forces were not far away. this man told us, i am an old man. if you want to know what is happening. the talk to the young. -- go talk to the young. people are telling us to come in further. there is a strike. there are the young people. six months ago when we came to this neighborhood, people spoke in whispers.
how is has changed. they take us on a tour of the back streets pointing to bullet holes and a feeding. many in this group are too young to vote. they would not anyway. voting would not change with is happening here. we're told this house was destroyed by government forces three days ago, killing four members of the three syrian army and people who live here. -- free syrian army and other people live here. >> today the government wanted to prove they could make room for new voices. it's real opposition is still out on the streets. bbc news in damascus. >> more violence in syria. you are watching "bbc world news america."
russia rolls out the red carpet for vladimir putin's third time as president. not everyone is enjoying the party. hundreds of roman catholic priests have been meeting in dublin to call for an end to rules on compulsory celibacy in a direct challenge to the vatican. >> this was a show of force by priests calling for reforms in the church once considered unthinkable. many want to have an end to compulsory celibacy, developments forbidden by the vatican. >> in my church, we managed to create the mother of all scandals. >> he has watched congregation's when the and the supply of priests dry up. since the abuse scandal, public support has withered away.
>> they're going down the road. the message of christ will live on, but we will not be the ones to do it. >> just as the church needs strong leadership, its head in ireland is hamstrung come under intense pressure to resign for failing to report abuse to the police. the catholic church once dominated public life in ireland. it spoke with authority and respect. increasingly desperate priests are refusing lay people and making increasing demands for fundamental reform. this meeting represents an unprecedented challenge to the vatican. traditional catholics accuse the association of catholic priests of usurping authority and betraying the church. they are defiant. >> in today's world, educated people have a right to have a voice. that voice has the right to be heard. if it leads to decisions that challenge institutions, that is what we call progress.
>> 1/4 of ireland's active priests support the new movement. they say the church in ireland must find a way of winning back public trust before it is too late. bbc news in dublin. >> in a lavish ceremony of the kremlin today, there was a sense of deja vu as vladimir putin once again returned to the top of russian politics. if he completes his six-year presidential term, he will become the longest serving russian leader since josef stalin. the fact lost on those who tried to protest at his inauguration. we have this report from moscow. >> gliding through silent moscow, vladimir putin is the president of 140 million people. this morning, the streets were deserted. no one was allowed to watch him pass as he headed for the kremlin and his third term.
the ceremony in the grand kremlin palace oozed power. the former kgb officer still appears untouchable despite the seating rivalries in russian politics. >> i shall do everything to live up to the trust of millions of our citizens. i claim service to the fatherland as the meaning of my whole life. >> all day, the police were rounding up some of those citizens, and arresting them for daring to demonstrate against the returning president without permission. the riot police are now clearing the way those protesting against vladimir putin's inauguration. for those who oppose it, this has been a difficult day. >> he has been here for many years. he wants to be here for many years more.
not everyone in the country agrees with that. >> vladimir putin faces a difficult six years, as well as the growing opposition, there is an economy in need of serious work or there could be much wider discontent. bbc news in moscow. >> live near putin, president of russia once again. summer is approaching. it is time to start planning your holiday. if you are interested in a venture, we have a hot tip. the demilitarized zone between north and south korea has a reputation as being the most heavilyplans are underway to maa prime destination for tourists. lizzie williamson has gone to look at the marketing for this korean park. >> as tourist sites coconut frontier between north and south
korea offers more than the usual souvenirs, a living piece of the cold war and guarded by 1 million soldiers and another 1 million land mines buried along the cease-fire lines. it is a glimpse into the world's last divided country. >> people who come here and are here because it is as close as the heart can get. you can get to an active militarized zone. they are curious about the adrenaline rush. >> south korea's government wants to rebound this area as a place of peace not war with the opening of a new tourism zone. the wide buffer zone along the frontier has been tightly restricted for more than 50 years. environmentalists say that has created an untouched nature reserve among the battlefields
and tunnels with thousands of species of rare cranes and korean flying squirrels. >> by turning this into an ecotourism zone, it would change the way people see this place. they've been coming here because of a cold war. we hope they will come here in the future to see the wild life. >> even past conflicts are not always easy to forget. hidden in the farmland of the motorway is a place they do not go. these are the graves of north korean and chinese soldiers killed during the korean war 60 years ago, all part of south korea's past but also part of its present because remains like these are being found here all the time. the war the soldiers fought in has never formally ended. north and south korea are bound by an uneasy truce.
along this frontier region, reminders of korea's military pastor being revised -- past are being revised like this fence built 40 years ago to keep out north korean agents. it was taken down in minutes. the military tensions are stubbornly hard to erase. lucy williamson, bbc news in seoul. >> thank you for watching. we will see you again tomorrow. >> 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.
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