tv BBC World News America PBS July 16, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm EDT
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where cocaine has become the country's curse. and running for gold. how an olympian overcame the odds to compete for america. >> when i look at where i came from, i have to pinch myself. >> welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and also around the globe. tonight, the fighting in syria appears to be moving closer to the center of the capital, damascus. over the past couple days, clashes between government forces and rebel fighters have taken place in the southern suburbs of the city. now, even more worrying, syria's for ambassador to iraq, who defected last week, said that forces loyal to president saleh saad will not hesitate to use
chemical weapons. -- syria's former ambassador to iraq, who defected last week, said that forces loyal to president assad will not hesitate to use chemical weapons. >> international diplomacy is struggling to find a way out. in these pictures, activists say people are trying to flee heavy shelling in damascus. there were barricades today on the main motorway linking damascus and jordan. today, i asked syria's top defector so far the meaning of the fighting reaching damascus. >> of course, this has very big significance. the regime tried with all its power to keep the capital out of this conflict and out of the reaches of the revolution. however, the expansion of the revolution and its power and its
control in syria is increasing day by day. >> if the -- is the government going to use chemical weapons on their own people? >> there is some information -- unconfirmed information, of course, that chemical weapons have been used in homs. i have absolute conviction that if the circle of the people of syria becomes tighter on the regime, the regime will not hesitate to use chemical weapons. >> one of syria's most high- profile defectors is now in qatar. the opposition is hoping that more defections could help mean the collapse of his rule from within. the u.n. and arab league envoy kofi annan is in moscow. so far, moscow is not budging. inside syria, u.n. observers
have seen some of the worst fighting. there are details of execution- style killings. many in the opposition have lost faith in their mission. they say the kofi annan peace plan is already dead. >> for more on kofi annan's trip to moscow and what he hopes to accomplish, i am joined by a former foreign affairs correspondent. there is a lot going on. let's start with the russians and this claim of blackmail by the west to agree to the un resolutions. kofi annan will meet with vladimir putin. what can he say to vladimir putin that has not been said already? >> what kofi annan has been saying is, if russia fails to join in this international effort to get a political transition in syria a rush job will be blamed. there is evidence -- in syria, russia will be blamed.
russia is the only significant prop holding syria up. that is what sergei lavrov means when he says black male. essentially, what kofi annan wants to do -- when he says blackmail. essentially, what kofi annan wants to do is get the use of sanctions enforced -- sanctions and force. >> what are they going to get on friday? >> again, unless we get more muscle in this program, we are going to pull our mission. we just do not have enough behind it. that is the dilemma they are forcing on the russians. what kofi annan and the u.s. would like to see in the new resolution is that trigger of, let's say 10 days, if a cease- fire and movement toward the 6 points towardannan has been pushing -- 6 points that annan
has been pushing toward, then you will move to a new phase of un-supported pressure -- of u.n. -supported pressure. that is what is upsetting the russians. > attitudes towards russia's position are changing. what are you hearing? >> i hear the enormous sense in the sunni-arab world of a sense of solidarity with the opposition. bashar al-assad was never very popular with his fellow leaders. he is intensely unpopular now. the regimes across north africa, through the middle east, are united. the arab league has supported this. assad's only friends are moscow and tehran. >> what if more countries say we have had enough of you? >> russia claims it is concerned with its long-term, strategic
position. -- position in the middle east. it does not want to face the prospect of a hot style regime. secondly, the russians claim to be concerned about -- of a hostile regime. secondly, the russians claim to be concerned about a vacuum. i do the same concern expressed by the obama white house. there is a desire to have a transition that does not knock down the syrian state structure and open the way for chaos. the american argument is, look, the longer assad stays, the more chaotic that transition is. you need to get on board now, but the russians are resisting. >> we have talked about the possibility of chemical weapons. how would that change the conflict? >> the worry is not that he would use chemical weapons externally, but that he would use them in syria. it is hard to use chemical weapons. syrian chemical weapons are
bindery. you have to take two things and mix them together -- are binary. you have to take two things and mix them together in the process is complicated. this is not going to be easy for assad to do. it certainly will not be easy to steal these weapons if you are the opposition. a lot of attention in the last three or four days has been focused on the question, how would the u.s. and its allies secure these weapons so that they would be safe in a chaotic situation? >> another very worrying aspect. a couple other stories. two american tourists who had been kidnapped in egypt have been released, apparently safe and well. they had been held in the sinai region for three days after tribesmen abducted them. the tourists and their died were released after negotiations involving local tribal -- and thereguide were -- and their
guide were released after negotiations involving local tribal elders. israel banned family visits in 2007, after the islamic movement came to power. this is a new agreement to end mass hunger strikes. the olympic games kick off next week. london has had years to prepare. everyone is talking about the weather security. police were called in -- about the weather and security. police were called in after security failed to show up at some locations. the company recently told the government they could not supply all the personnel it was contracted to supply. the bbc reports. >> seven years of planning -- now the world is arriving. >> you're going to want to grab food here after you dropped your bags.
>> americans, italian, spanish, and more, bringing their dreams of olympic glory and their checked baggage. how has the jury, and most importantly, the arrival at heathrow -- has the journey, and importantly, the arrival at heathrow gone? >> very good. >> the g4s security staff did not also up. police stepped in instead. the cost is 30,000 pounds per day. >> the police officers -- we cannot not turn up for work. the people in group 4 who have presided over this debacle should have -- should hang their heads in shame. >> they have a bid to computer and management problems -- they have admitted to computer and
management problems. now they admit many of the people they have hired are not turning up for work. the home secretary called to the commons again today -- she rejected the accusation that the government knew this was coming, despite having examined the security plans closely. >> when we came into office, we did an immediate security audit. we increased the budget and revise the plans. i commissioned several -- and revised the plans. when g4s told us they would not be able to deliver on their contractual obligations last wednesday, we decided to deploy extra military personnel to fill the gap. >> it is incomprehensible that monitoring was that for that no one told her until wednesday. how on earth could the minister responsible for delivering olympic security be the only person who did not know?
>> meanwhile, some of the three and a half thousand soldiers -- the 3500 soldiers dispatched last week were arriving here. it is hurriedly being pressed into service as a billet for the troops. elsewhere, police are doing an anticipated overtime, completing security suite that must -- doing unanticipated overtime, completing security sweeps that must be done. there is some confusion for the drivers. tonight, the international occupants of the olympic village are making it home. the security worries can perhaps be put aside. >> a nato military offensive is under way in the honduras. it is called operation and
velde -- operation anvil. they have intercepted tons of cocaine. in the last month, u.s. drug enforcement agents have killed two suspected traffickers in honduras. the battle might be having some unforeseen consequences. most ego coast, the new front line in america's war on drugs -- honduras' coast, the new frontline in america's war on drugs. the honduran military does what it can. suspect boats are stopped and searched. but this is a war the traffickers have been winning. >> every day, the narco traffickers are innovating, finding new methods. we even captured a homemade submarine that was carrying tons of cocaine.
>> penetrating the drug gangs is notoriously hard. we journeyed to a remote safe house to meet one exnarco trafficker now in -- ex-narco trafficker now in hiding. how easy will it be to beat the narco traffickers? >> it will be very hard because they have to control -- they have taken control of everything. >> it has taken control of the country in an extreme way. >> the fight-back has begun. joint u.s. and honduran operations code-named anvil are targeting the traffickers' planes. u.s. agents shot dead two traffickers. this is a village where, two months ago, a joint u.s.-
honduran raid left four people, including two women, dead. hilda took a bullet in the thigh. >> we saw the helicopters turn once, then twice. as soon as i felt the shock hit me, i jumped into the water. they shot us. we are innocent. we're not involved in any trafficking. >> in the village, americans insist their forces did not do any shooting. nonetheless, it is under intense scrutiny. >> first off, this is an honduran-led operation. but as i understand it, the helicopters involved in that operation -- >> as i understand it, the helicopters involved in that operation were u.s. helicopters. >> they had a small number of
u.s. drug enforcement agency personnel on board. there were more than 100 planes coming into the country with drugs. interdictions of drug operations do happen. death and injury are not the norm. >> cocaine has become the curse of the honduras. what was a backwater is now a battleground in this seemingly never-ending war on drugs. bbc news, muskego -- mosquito coast, honduras. >> you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come, elton john talks to the abc -- bbc about how they haven't acted his life and what inspired him to write a book about it -- as they have impacted his life and what inspired him to write a book about it. in north korea, a top army official has been relieved of his post.
he has been a constant picture at the side of kim jong-un and was regarded as one of the key figures helping support the new leader after his father's death. the surprising announcement comes just days after he last appeared in the public. -- in public. >> this was, until today, one of north korea's most powerful men. as chief of the country's million-strong army, he was not only a senior military commander, but a key power broker and guardian of the country's recent accession of tim johnson. support for the new air was seen as crucial -- of kim jong-un. support for the new heir was seen as crucial. he was one of the figures tasked with keeping the power structure in place. he has been abruptly removed from power because of illness, north korea says, but that
explanation could hide a real political risk or an attempt by kim jong-un to consolidate his control. the army has grown in power. this man, regularly pictured with him on military visits, seen as the commander in chief -- this man was regularly pictured with him on military visits. being seen as the commander in chief is important. he is more relaxed and jovial than his father. last week, he surprised the world by showcasing a new female companion, smartly dressed in new western-style clothing. that was enough to spark fevered speculation on his personal life. now there are new questions about where north korea is heading politically, too. >> elton john is a global
superstar who has sold a quarter of a billion records and has one stacks of awards. he has written a new book. later this month, he will be a keynote speaker at a huge aids conference in washington, d.c. we spoke to him about why he is so committed to fighting the disease. sun gon't let the down on me ♪ >> at the age of 66, sir elton john still had a passion to perform. he has written a book about his other great passion -- raising awareness of aids. in the library of his home, he explained why. >> during the 1980's and probably a little bit before, i was a huge drug addict. i was a cocaine user and an alcoholic, marijuana. i became a self-absorbed,
completely unaware of the situation -- not unaware, but i knew that people were dying of aids because i lost so many friends, but i did not do anything. >> ♪ the circle of life ♪ [applause] >> after confronting and conquering his addiction, elton john has raised millions to help people affected by a steady around the world, hosting -- by hiv around the world, hosting events like this. at a time when there are proposals to allow same-sex marriage, the couple are in no rush to walk down the aisle. >> i do not see any need to get married in church, but it certainly is not going to ruin civilization. for the church to say it is going to run things, it is absolute nonsense. -- is going to ruin things, it is absolute nonsense. >> he is still making music, as he has been for the last five
decades. how do you suppose your career has lasted as long as it has? >> what keeps you afloat is your ability to entertain an audience and communicate with an audience. i have always been able to do that. >> and he still can, performing 100 concerts a year. rebecca jones, bbc news. >> we're turning out to the olympic games. thousands of athletes have started arriving in london. are many, it is the chance to fulfill a lifetime dream. -- for many of them, it is a chance to fulfill a lifetime compete. for this american marathon runner, he comes from eritrea. he is now aiming to improve on his silver medal performance in the 2004 games. tonight, we start a special series on adopted american athletes.
>> i think about family. i think about where i came from to begin with. i think about where i am going to go. i think about the people in the united states to help to me to get where i am. i was going bang in eritrea. there was a big war -- i was born in eritrea. there was a big war. i came to the united states on october 1, 1987, 25 years ago. i did not speak english. the only clothes we had were the clothes on our back. we did not have any money. we gave with 110%. running -- you run because the soldiers could come to get you.
the first time i ever ran was in seventh grade. the pe teacher said, if you run hard, i will give you an a or b. if you don't, i'll give you an f. i took off. welcome to my office. i run anywhere from 100 to 130 miles per week. you can recover faster. the biggest decision i have to make after college was whether to run for eritrea or the u.s. i have been in the united states since 1987. some of my family members said, yeah, go for the u.s. others wanted me to hold on to my roots. i had to make the decision for me.
going back to the 2012 olympics, it is almost a second chance. whatever happens there, it is more for my family. eight years ago, i was not married. i now have three girls. my parents and brothers and sisters are all going to london to watch me run my last olympics. there are so many things that are in your head. it is good to reflect back and believe in yourself and just to do it. i am 37 years old. sometimes, when i look at where i started and where i came from, i have to pinch myself. >> he pinches himself. i will have to pinch myself. he said he runs 100 to one of the 30 miles per week. we all just wish the -- 100 to 130 miles per week. we all just wish the best to meb
keflezighi. we will bring you more on american immigrant athletes. statement. much more on the olympians and all the -- stay tuned for more on that. much more on the libyans and more. thank you very much for watching -- much more on the olympians and more. thank you very much for watching. join us again tomorrow. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, union bank, and shell. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard