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tv   BBC World News  PBS  December 12, 2011 5:00am-5:30am EST

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>> this is "bbc world news." funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own 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." >> local elections are being
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held in syria despite continuing clashes between anti-government activists and security forces. british prime minister david cameron today tells parliament why he refused to sign the eurozone rescue treaty. protests, unemployment, corruption, and poverty is the most talked about global topics in a bbc survey. welcome to "bbc world news." i'm geeta guru-murthy. also in this program -- a south korean coast guard is stabbed to death after a chinese fishing boat is prevented from fishing in illegal waters. and lots of new species, including this monkey, discovered in vietnam. >> after months of violence in syria, it looks like local elections will go ahead today.
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opposition groups have called for people to boycott the vote and continue with the general strike, which started yesterday. turnout is expected to be very low. activists say they received a reliable report of heavy fighting between the security forces and soldiers who defected to the opposition in the southern province. the bbc's jonathan head is watching this from istanbul in neighboring turkey, and he tells me no one expects many people to come to vote in these elections. >> if you think about syria's previous elections, its parliament elections, which were essentially always rigged in favor of some majority for the governing coalitions, they're pretty meaningless anyway. turnout in normal elections is something between 5% and 10% at most. you've now got local elections taking place in a country where large parts of it where being fierced contested between opposition forces and government forces, and the opposition is calling for people to boycott them. i think everyone expects the turnout to be very low, and frankly, most people on the ground say these are
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meaningless. when they were announced by president assad, he talked about them as though they were part of a reform process that he's been talking about all year, that they would be free of previous elections, although it's not exactly clear whether that's really true or not, and that they would pave the way for elections next year. but frankly, the situation on the ground makes any talk of election the quite meaningless. they're still going ahead, but people on the ground say there's no interest in them at all. people are suffering acutely from a rapidly declining economy, and in cities like homa, other people are risking their lives coming out on the streets. so frankly, nobody expects much voting to happen. >> there has been this strike over the weekend and also reports of some defections. i mean, is that likely to be a force that will build? is that something the authorities will be fearful of? >> i suspect they would be, but
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it's not clear how effective the strike has been. the opposition called the general strike, because they're aware of the fact that, you know, these growing number of arms clashes between opposition figures who've taken up arms are really dominating the headlines, and this is turning into much more of an armed conflict, which is something the main opposition groups don't want to happen. they've insisted that their campaign should remain peaceful as far as it can, and they're aware that allowing it to generate into a civil war could play into the haunds of general assad to persuade his own business groups to stay with him. so, by calling this general strike, they had hopes that there would be wide spread observation of it and that this would present a more peaceful nature of their movement. i think it was quite widely observed, although people say there were very strong threats made against shopkeepers, and some of their shops were burnt down as well. but they're hoping they can keep this idea of a general strike and keeping shops closed going for quite a long time,
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perhaps into next year, to show a broad-based movement. without journalists, it's very hard to be sure how widely observed both the general strike is and how bad the defections and the armed clashes are. they seem bad, but it seems to be just a grinding process that goes on week after week as far as those contested parts are concerned. >> jonathan head there. the king of bahrain is due to meet the british prime minister, david cameron, in london shortly as part of efforts to improve strained relations between the two countries. the visit comes amid continued protests in bahrain. the government of king hamad was accused of human rights abuses during its suppression of pro-democracy protests in february. i'm joined by the main opposition party. thanks very much for joining me. you resigned as an m.p. during the protests, but the government has offered four times the chance of peace talks. why is your party refusing to
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join in those talks? >> our opposition has interest, but reject the peace talks. i mean, we were in the talks for the dialogue, and we will come down to dialogue watch, which was initiated, initiated from the crown prince when he announced this on the 13th of march. we will come in the morning, on the same day, troops coming from saudi arabia, so everything was stopped. >> but there have subsequently been offers to try and introduce negotiations, move things forward. the king has obviously made concessions that have been internationally recognized. are you blocking progress now? >> as we said, the on the part of six, and it was just a road map toward the resolution of the problem in bahrain. i mean, the movement is ongoing
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because the people there are looking for their demand, and demand is not achieved. the main demands is democracy, and we are struggling in democracy in bahrain. >> so why don't you sit down now with the king and try to bring this about? >> well, this idea is there to sit and discuss this issue with the king or with his presenters, with the crown prince, and the opposition is still awaiting -- i didn't say the green light, they are still waiting for the time to sit with the king. we said the road map toward a solution, and the government and authority in bahrain, they accept anything from the opposition. >> is your party self-run democratically? is it transparent? some people might say that it's not. >> no, it's transparent, yes. what we are waiting for, to move from dictatorship to
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democracy, move forward from a prime minister to be empowered for 40 years to prime minister to be elected, to move forward. that's what we are looking for. that's what we are really willing now -- the prime minister of the united kingdom needs to discuss this issue with that king, his majesty king, to move toward the democracy, tighten the relation between both countries. all of us know that the u.k. relies on bahrain government. but what bahrain is looking for, to get support to move toward democracy there in bahrain. >> thanks very much indeed for joining us. well, david cameron has a busy day, because after that meeting with the king of bahrain, this morning he's then going to appear before the british parliament this afternoon to justify his decision to opt out of the eurozone rescue treaty, which was agreed in brussels on friday.
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some members of his own conservative party on the right wing euro are calling him a hero, but the deputy prime minister, nick clegg, believes a veto is bad for britain. other members say they're also taking stock of friday's agreement n. france, the opposition socialist candidate for the french presidency says if he was elected next year, he would seek to renegotiate the deal. let's get more on all this. joining me now is our correspondent, naomi grimley, who's at westminster, and hugh schofield in paris. is this a credible line? is it a popular line? how many people in france are happy with the deal that sarkozy has done? >> i think we should be careful what he's saying has got nothing to do with the british argument. he's coming from a different perspective altogether, the leader of the socialists. he's saying that what's happened is tying france's ability to sort of spend its
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way out of the crisis, like many on the left, he believes in the solution to all of this, and he thinks that the austerity that's being dug into european institutions by friday's deal will tie the hands of future government and basically it will be impossible to be left wing from now on. so he's saying that he will negotiate, renegotiate. how credible is it? well, i mean,ive to say, i think few people would say it's going to be easy, that's for sure. i mean, there's such a consensus built around this deal and how it is the last chance and how it requires countries to make sacrifices and so on, that, you know, you'll certainly find an echo on the left, but whether, you know, it's credible as a political structure i think is rather doubtful. >> just to turn to naomi at westminster, david cameron, of course, is going it alone. as we've been getting reaction over the weekend, there's been
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quite a lot of criticism. the key is not only within his own coalition government, but also from economics and business. >> yes, if you remember, david cameron's reason for walking away from the table on friday was because he wasn't getting the safeguards that he wanted to protect the financial sector in the city of london. however, some people are now arguing that by walking away, that in itself has lost britain's influence and that, in fact, the other 26 nations could just press ahead now with rules and regulations that do still affect britain, and yet britain isn't there to shape them. >> and hugh, is the perception of the french press as far as you can see that britain is now irrelevant? are they glad? are they interested in britain? are they basically still very much focused on the eurozone and what happens now? >> well, a bit of all of that. they're very much focused on the eurozone and the sort of emphasis on, will this work?
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but there's also a lot of comment about the british walkout. i wouldn't say there's jubilation, but, you know, what one action one detects in the newspapers is, well, this had to happen, and in a sense, what's happened is the correction to an imperfection in the original treaty, which left a very euro-skeptical country, britain, still at the heart of the decision making about the march towards union. it was a break, this country, and therefore, this had to happen. so even though there's no jubilation, there is, in a sense, a satisfaction that things are being clarified. >> naomi, how big a task does david cameron have this afternoon to persuade the house of commons that he has acted not in his own party's interests, but in a country's interest? >> well, i think it will be a difficult task, and he'll be hoping that those on the euro-skeptic wing of his party won't be gloating too much. remember, they told him last week to show some bulldog spirit. so they're very pleased with
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him, but it's embarrassing for david cameron if they start to gloat, because he also has to keep in sight the liberal democrats who are the most pro-european of britain's most political party. >> interesting day ahead. thanks very much indeed. let's catch up with aaron, how the markets are all reacting to this. >> the markets are a bit down. the euphoria, the light euphoria that was there at the end of last week kind of has sort of diminished already once again. all eyes will be on an italian and french bond auction today. it's the short-term money, but together they need to raise about $18 billion, so hopefully in the next half-hour, hour, we should have the results of that. there's no doubt they're going to have to pay a higher interest rate for the money. >> we've also had a very big report on the f.s.a. no penalties. >> no, look, let me give the global view as a bit of
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background. the f.s.a., financial services authority, the brittish banking watchdog, and it is a watch dog that, during the financial crisis, many will say had no bite, certainly had no bark, and certainly had no bite. this is a long-awaited report into the collapse of the royal bank of scotland, which, mind you, is 83% owned by the u.k. taxpayers. during the collapse in 2008, it needed to be bailed out to the tune of 45 billion british pounds. they're looking in particular at the purchase, the takeover that r.b.s. did of a dutch bank, a.b.n. amro. they said management was misguided, they saw too much risk, there was little due diligence. they say the regulator does take some of the blame, but says it's not negligent, and there's no blame and fingers pointing at the moment, but there are measures in place, for example, when a bank collapses, they should not be able to go on and take another role in a bank. they should put the executive salary into an escrow account
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where they can't touch it for a long time f. a bank collapses, then the regulators can access that money, all these sort of things, a lot of measures. there's a big report. we'll have more on the "world business report" in about 15 minutes. >> impossible to tell. >> is, in about a minute and a half, thanks. >> you're watching "bbc world news." still to come -- a monkey with an elvis-like hairstyle has scientists all shook up. it's a new species discovered in vietnam. >> we're talking about the financial crisis constantly, and unemployment in the u.k. is currently at its highest level in 15 years. but one area has seen massive growth recently, the so-called direct selling, either door-to-door or through party plans. but if you're thinking of the classic avon lady image, think again. >> their customers are now their friends. dave and jill ashton sell all
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sorts of protects. they also recruit other salespeople. welcome to the world of direct sales, once a supplement to their teaching salaries, now this is a full-time job, and despite the economic down turn, business is booming. >> people are wanting quality, shopping now quality products, that saves them money. and also, people are interested in making extra money so they've been able to help them do that. >> i sell avon. >> this is how direct sales used to look. >> what i need is a color to go with it. >> let's see. i can show you dozens of shades. >> but this industry is changing. it's worth two billion pounds a yeerp to the u.k. economy, and it's attracting more full-time workers, more over 50, and more men.
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>> the good news about direct selling is anybody can become a direct seller. a lot of people frightened by the world of selling. they say i'm not a sales person, but the reality is, in our company, the direct selling companies that exist in our association, one does not need to be a professional seller. you don't need sales experience. >> direct selling can take many forms. a single person going door-to-door or a team of people making profits together. but here's what makes it unique. there's no shop building, the retailers hold very little or no stock, and consequently, there are very few overhead. >> today, girls, it's all about aloe vera, so i don't know how much you know about it. >> this is how jeff and sue showcase their products. they hope these ladies will want to buy, but they'd also like them to join their team of salespeople. >> i've been doing it for 18 years. >> jeff's business went business in the 1980's recession. direct selling, he told us, has
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transformed him. >> it gave us an income that's supposed to deliver lifestyle that i never even dreamt of. where i will be now from where i was in the beginning, >> 400,000 people now work in direct sales, but we were told to really succeed here, you'll need one vital qualification -- the ability and desire to work hard. jenny hill, bbc news, wakefield. >> this is "bbc world news." i'm geeta guru-murthy. the headlines for you -- local elections are being held in syria today against the back drop of continuing violence between opposition supporters and security forces. and the british prime minister, david cameron, will tell the u.k. parliament why he refused to sign the eurozone rescue treaty. russell is here.
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a big loss for chelsea, but someone's gain in china? >> yes, i think in many ways, chelsea ought to be quite pleased that nicholas is leaving, because he's expensive, the amount of money they pay him every week, and he's 32, not part of the plans of the current manager. but a real coup, as you say, for asia, for china, for chinese super league called shanghai, who signed him on a two-year deesm a real coup for the league, which has had problems in recent years. he's a sought-after player. even though he's not stayed in one place very long, he's been very successful throughout, despite his constant moving. he scores goals. he's been with arsenal. he's been with liverpool, he's been with bolton, and more recently he's been with chelsea in the premier league. >> and from his point of view, he doesn't fancy his chances in another big european team clearly. >> well, this is the question. we'll hear from him later on, i'm sure, and he may well say,
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like one player who left europe to go play in russia for a huge salary, that he had a chance of expanding the sport to other regions. the salary, according to one of the directors, is definitely not less than the one he's being paid at chelsea at the moment. he's 32 years of age. he's played at all the big clubs. perhaps he does fancy a new challenge. great for the chinese super leagues. thanks very much indeed. this week on "bbc world news," we are looking at how unemployment is affecting young people right around the world. we start in italy, where ben thompson's traveled to advertise canny to the north, meeting young people facing an uncertain future. >> this city is dominating by factories making textiles.
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but the recession hasn't been kind to this city. in recent months, many factories like this one have been forced to close. italy, like greece, spain, and portugal, is in serious financial difficulty. during the boom years of the 198 he's, the government here spent too much money and now it has to pay that money back. and for students of the local college, that means jobs here are hard to come by. the school's head teacher says the future looks bleak. >> i'm not worried only for my students, i'm worried for the whole new generation. i'm a father, too, so i'm very worried. >> but travel south to italy's more rural areas, and the problem is much worse. this is pomp pay in the shadow of mount vesuvius. unemployment here has always been high, but over the last few years, that has jumped, and particularly among young
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people, between ages 16 and 24. the rate of unemployment is now the highest in italy, and now stands at 42%. but here, instead of protesting about the problems, they're making music. they say it gives them a voice. >> i think the economic crisis in italy is really huge, but we have a weapon against the economic crisis. it's the music. >> sometimes i do small jobs to get a bit of money for me and my parents, but it's so difficult to find a job. it's all about who you know. >> many here want to leavitt lee, but with the crisis engulfing europe, finding a job elsewhere could be just as difficult as finding one here. >> south korea says one of his coast guard officers has died after being stabbed by chinese sailors who'd been detained for suspected illegal fishing.
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a second officer was wounded during the crash in the yellow sea. beijing so far not commented on the incident. our correspondent in the south korean capital, seoul, lucy williamson, gives a very dramatic account of what's happened. >> they say that the captain of this chinese boat, whode been apprehended by two of the coast guards, broke a window and took shards of the glass and stabbed two of the coast guard with them. one of them, as you said, died of his injuries, the other, we believe, has a stomach wound. he's being treated in hospital at the port. >> and obviously there have been tensions over this area before, haven't there? >> yes, this is the water between china and the korean peninsula. it's very rich in crabs, anchovies, other kinds of fish. and south korea has complained that chinese fishing boats are illegally crossing into those waters, fishing in those waters, more and more, as you
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mentioned, there's a figure of 430 boats that have been accosted this year. and after this particular incident, which has been a particularly violent incident, the south korean government has reportedly asked china to clamp down on this kind of activity. >> a report by the conservation group, the w.w.f. for nature, says that scientists identified a new species every two days in southeast asia last year. more than 200 species were reported by scientists in 2010. among the finds are a snub-nose monk and i a female-only lizard species, which reproduces by cloning. however, the w.w.f. reports warn some new species could disappear before they're identified properly because of manmade pressures. the w.w.f. says the area needs urgent protection. >> we can assume they're probably highly threatened, like in the case of the snub
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-nosed monkey. also, the all-female cloning lizard is not genetically diverse, and therefore, very vulnerable. so these species are often found in shrinking habitats that are under pressure from rapid and unsustainable development and climate change. >> in the southern england port have started work on a $25 million restoration of nelson's flagship. it's repairs for the world's famous ship after a battle more than 200 years ago. >> this is a national icon, famous for her role during the battle of traff al far. but now it's in despite need a makeover. already her top mast and parts of the rigging has been removed. work is underway to replace rotten timbers. >> you see bad declay there. i mean, that is absolutely rotten, no good at all.
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this has all got to be replaced. anything that's going to be decayed or we think is decayed we're going to expose it, survey it, and if necessary, we'll repair it. and then we're going to do some preservation techniques as well so we don't get these problems again. >> nelson's flagship has been a popular tourist attraction since she was put in dry dock in 1922. but this wooden warship has always needed plenty of maintenance. now, 16 million pounds is being spent by the ministry of defense to guarantee her long-term future. >> norm a.m. people would say that's quite a good investment. we spend tens of millions of pounds quite properly on restoring cathedrals, so why not? >> the restoration program would involve experts in wooden ship building from around the country. the entire project will take 10 years. steve humphrey, bbc news, portsmouth. >> much more on all our news at the website. thanks for watching.
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>> make sense of international news at >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own 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? >> bbc world news was presented by kcet los angeles.
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