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tv   Witness  BBC News  November 25, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm GMT

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turning wintry again across higher ground in wales but also in the mountains of scotland. even where there are showers of rain, as we develop widespread frost tonight, look out for ice first thing tomorrow. particularly to the north and west of the british isles. basically, anywhere we have untreated surfaces and standing water. for sunday, subtle differences to today, perhaps slightly fewer in the way of showers. first thing on sunday, it will be wintry across the highest ground in scotland. for northern ireland, some) first ground in scotland. for northern ireland, some ) first thing. in the midlands, la showers. in other areas as well. quite scattered showers as the day goes on. the subtleties for sunday, slightly lighter wind. that should make it a touch less cold. fewer showers as the day bans opened more than we have played in central and eastern areas. as the day comes toa and eastern areas. as the day comes to a close, watch over this weather system pushing its way across scotla nd system pushing its way across scotland and northern ireland. temperature is very similar to
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today, it will feel chilly. the slightly lighter wind might make it feel perhaps not quite as raw. monday, milder weather feel perhaps not quite as raw. monday, milderweatheralone feel perhaps not quite as raw. monday, milder weather alone fax to this covering of cloud and rain. a little bit milder to get the new week under way. even by the end of the day, behind that weather system, coming into the north on monday, calder are once again. let's move the weather front away and you can see what happens to the isobars on tuesday and wednesday, opening the pipe from the arctic and flooding is with cold air and a biting northerly wind. in the next few days, the story remains one of the cold weather week. next week, sunshine around. milder that fast but the cold weather comes to dominate, along with that very, very chilly wind. a quick glance ahead to the way that maundy looks. i think we will see quite a lot of cloud to the south. elsewhere, and improving picture in terms of brightness but it will feel chilly. hello, this is bbc news. the headlines: egypt carries out air
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strikes on those they say were behind the terror attack on a mosque which left more than 300 people dead. the actress emma thompson joins a demonstration in london in support of nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe, the british—iranian woman jailed in iran. there's no clear link between suicides in prisons and overcrowding, according to an international study. now on bbc news, witness. hello and welcome to witness with me, tanya beckett.
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i'm here at the british library to guide you through another five extraordinary moments from the recent past. we'll meet the government official tasked with solving one of ethiopia's worst ever famines. the widow of a former russian spy assassinated by the kgb. and one of the showgirls from london's windmill theatre. but first we go back to the soviet union in 1957 and a stray dog called laika who was the first animal ever to orbit the earth. professor victor yazdovsky‘s father was the medical officer who looked after laika. archive: the world's first real space pioneer was a dog. a russian husky called laika. the russians sent sputnik the second into orbit around the world with laika as passenger. months of training, sometimes with a companion, prepared laika for her lonely journey.
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translation: she was a very patient dog, very affectionate, she was very easy to train. she was considered very clever, she had very expressive, dark eyes. my father wanted to take her away from the official environment of the lab and brought her home to run around with us and play. in 1957, i was nine and my father was in charge of the soviet medical programme to send animals into space. i remember that very often a car would arrive from my father's lab, it would signal, "beep, "beep," a door would open and a crowd of dogs would tumble out of it. they were full of life. they would run to us, start licking us. and then a command was given.
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they were well trained. they went back to the car and were driven back to the labs. all dogs that were launched into space had to weigh not more than 6—7kg. they were all stray dogs. they had stamina and were undemanding. they were naturally selected by their life from the streets. in order to study laika's blood pressure and monitor her pulse during the flight, my father pulled her main artery close to the surface of her skin. a transmitter was then attached to the artery. more transmitters were attached to her ribs and neck. archive: laika's elliptical orbit varies from 100 to 1,000 miles above the earth's surface, where observatories listen eagerly for the coded radio signals which tell the space scientists how laika is standing up to her
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lonely journey. whether in the years to come it will be safe for him to follow her. translation: it was the 40th anniversary of the revolution in 1957, and they needed to make a push before the festivities. that's why not everything could be thought through in this flight preparation. khrushchev was the soviet communist party leader then and he needed to show americans who was first. everyone was very concerned for laika. they knew she would not return from her journey. scientists then did not know how to return living creatures from orbit back to earth. after ten hours, she died because of the very high temperature in her capsule. the system of thermoinsulation of her capsule had not been properly developed. in memory of this remarkable flight,
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special stamps and envelopes were produced with laika's image. there were also special cigarettes and matches in the ussr called laika. the monument was unveiled in moscow in 2008. laika's flight showed that you could survive weightlessness and the door was opened for man's travel into space. professor victor yazdovsky there talking to witness in moscow. next, in the autumn of 1984, ethiopia was hit by one of the worst famines in its history. dawit giorgis was the government officer in charge of the relief effort. famine was not new in ethiopia, for centuries people had been facing recurring problems of famine,
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but the 1984 famine was different because of the magnitude of the problem. it covered almost one third of the population and it was complicated by the politics of the times. the world in the 1970s and the 1980s was a world divided into two ideologies, the capitalist world and the world of the communists, headed by the soviet union. what we now know of the cold war, ethiopia at that time was in the communist camp. i was assigned to be the chief relief and rehabilitation commission. every day there was a funeral, every day hundreds of people were dying. these were my own people, i could have been one of them. i felt the pain, their pain. the government was celebrating the 10th anniversary of the ethiopian revolution and our own government wasn't even willing to acknowledge that there was famine in ethiopia.
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they did not want to report anything negative, ten years of absolute success. the turning point with this kind of tragedy first was the footage by the bbc. my office invited them. they came of course without the knowledge of the government. archive: dawn, and as the sun breaks through the piercing chill of night on the plain outside korem, it lights up a biblical famine, now in the 20th century. this place, say workers here, is the closest thing to hell on earth. 15,000 children here now suffering, confused, lost. it took this kind of footage to mobilise the conscience of the world. it did work miracles. in london, the minister of overseas development said the prime minister, margaret thatcher, is willing
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to send the royal air force full of goods but that was a very difficult question for me because, in a country ruled by a marxist government, how can we allow the royal air force to come to ethiopia? i started talking to my government, the government said no, that pricked my conscience, i said how can we be seen to be refusing assistance when people are dying in ethiopia? i said, go ahead, you can take the royal air force. it was the first western air force that arrived in ethiopia with help. it was difficult, but the aid came. the ethiopia totaliser is absolutely staggering. it really is marvellous news and we can't say a big enough thankyou. that experience has strengthened my faith in humanity. people who just were moved by what they saw on the screen
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could respond so generously. band aid became one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in history. dawit giorgis now lives in namibia. now, in november 2006, in what seemed like a story straight from the pages of a cold war thriller, a former colonel in the russian secret service was murdered in london. alexander litvinenko had been poisoned with the highly radioactive substance polonium 210. his wife, marina, told witness why she thinks her husband was targeted. scotland yard is investigating the suspected poisoning of a russian dissident living in britain. alexander litvinenko, once a colonel in the russian security service, now he's fighting for his life. when i met him first time, i didn't
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think it's my future husband. he was very shy, he was absolutely different to what you usually think about officer of security service. i feel very safe with him. i feel loved. sasha's life belongs to serving for the country. he went to the army when he was just 17 years old. he joined the headquarters exactly at the time when the soviet union collapsed and hisjob was more against organised crime. the growth in crime also affects those who have done well out of change. a bullet—proof car with a team of bodyguards take this top banker to work. it was a crazy time. people tried to earn money in any different way. when organised crime, people from security service,
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people from government, started to co—operate together, and this is not for better future of this country, it's not better for the people, it's just for themselves. mr litvinenko spent the last decade taking on the kremlin. he first broke ranks with his old bosses in 1998 when he claimed he'd been ordered to murder the russian tycoon boris berezovsky. when he told me they were going to this press conference, i was already very very nervous and i said, are you sure you have to do this? sasha said, i have no choice, we need to be very noisy to say what we know about this crime. he said, marina, you need to travel abroad. i said why, why do i need to go? he said, you have to. he decided to go to london. we asked for political asylum. 0n the 1st november,
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he had lunch with an italian contact in a japanese restaurant in central london. 0n the same day, he met to russian contacts in a london hotel. hours later, he began to feel ill. he could hardly walk. in hospital, he said, can you check me for poisoning? they looked at us like we are crazy people, why do we need to do this? sasha explained, i'm a former officer from russia and i have very powerful enemies. and when i saw all his hair on his shoulder, on his pillow, and when ijust grabbed his head and i saw all hair in my gloves. i was shocked. he looked like after chemotherapy. for somebody to have this level of radiation, they would have to have either eaten
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it, inhaled it or taken it in through a wound. which of those it was we don't know. when sasha opened his eyes, he was looking very upset. i said don't worry, sasha, i'll be back tomorrow. suddenly he said, "marina, i love you so much." the system what was built in russia killed not only my husband, so many people were killed, because everything what happened in russia now, it's about money. he believed hisjob, it's for people. probably why i liked this about sasha, this feeling, it's not only his duty, it's his passion. even though sasha's not here, he's still part of me. marina litvinenko and her son still live in london. remember, you can watch witness
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every month on the bbc news channel, or you can catch up on all of our films, along with more than 1000 radio programmes in our online archive. just go to: we turn to 1964, when the windmill theatre in london's red light district soho closed its doors. it had become a national institution because for a long time it was one of the few places in britain it was possible to see naked women on stage. that particular blend of glamour and tattiness, sweat and eau de cologne. something seedy and yet touching and innocent... it was a national institution. there was nowhere else like it. there never can be. whatever it was, it has a great story.
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it was by accident. i was walking along archer street and i saw the sign saying ‘windmill theatre stage door‘. so i walked in, i don't know why, and i said to the stage door man, "can i have an audition please"? and so he phoned upstairs to the office and i was sent upstairs and vivian van damm didn't audition me, but he said, "i like you, i'm going to take a chance on you". what he didn't know was i was 14 and a half years old. and he signed the contracts and then realised my age and told me to go home and come back when i was 15 and a half, so i did. i didn't realise it was naughty. looking back on it, i think, yes, it was! the windmill was non—stop review.
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it was called revudeville, so it was a review theatre, with nudes. we did six shows a day. once you bought your first ticket, that was it, so the audience could sit there all day. # now when you first get up in the morning...# siren blares the proudest years of the windmill were during second world war. it allowed nothing to interfere. we were the only west end theatre open throughout the london blitz. really brave girls who stood there while the bombs landed all around them. the house manager came out onto the stage, stopped the show and asked the audience if they wanted the performance to continue. almost every time, the answer was yes. one of the most important things, and the thing the audience would come to see, is the nude posers at the back of the stage. it was the obscenity laws,
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and you were not allowed to move in the nude on a london stage or any stage in the country. it was censorship. you can't be sexy if you stand still. 0h, idunno! so the lord chamberlain's office... ..they‘d come very happily. they were very pleased to come to the shows and say, "mm, no, "that's a bit too much. "no, you can't say that." but they always tipped us off when they were on their way. 1964. by then, soho had changed a lot, with all the strip clubs. our little friend miss fifi la boom boom was three streets away. where we weren't allowed to move, she could shake it all about as much as she liked, so we lost a lot of the audience. people who perhaps wanted to see more, they could go to the clubs, whereas we were still a theatre
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and we felt it was better to close while we were still respected than to even attempt to change. and the girls wouldn't have done it. so we closed, with our heads held high. jill millard shapiro later wrote a book about her experiences at the windmill. and, finally, in 1967, construction began on a prestigious architectural project in lebanon. but the tripoli international fair, designed by legendary brazilian architect 0scar niemeyer, was never finished due to the outbreak of the lebanese civil war. architect wassim naghi spoke to witness about the modernist masterpiece. as kids, we used to climb the framework of the concrete. 0nce finished, i still remember the dome, the experimental theatre, we used to use it as a giant slide and climb it to the top. it's like an oasis,
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a concrete oasis. i could see it resembling a womb, with an unborn baby inside of it. the financial comparison of lebanon to switzerland and its role as a trading house in the middle east is a fair one. in the middle of the 20th century, all the surrounding countries, like syria and turkey and iraq, all of them had their permanent international fair. modern roads cover the country. luxury buildings and hotels have sprung up. the lebanese government, when lebanon was living its golden age, had the thought of establishing this facility as an essential economic factor. 0scar niemeyer was already famous because he was working with many international architects. he was participating in many international competitions. he was, at that time, he was a legend. the construction didn't start until 1967. the time estimated for the completion was almost like two to three years,
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maximum, yet it didn't get completed until 1974. but yet it was completed like 95%. we have the experimental theatre, which is a dome. another theatre is the open air theatre. the exhibition place, like a boomerang shape. 0ne space museum, which could function as a helipad. all these buildings are joined together with a big plate of reflective pool that should contain water of like 15 centimetres depth. that requires the construction of the water tank. in lebanon, fierce fighting has been going on in and around beirut... unfortunately, during 1975, we had the start of the civil war in lebanon and that was the sign of stopping everything and the fair was abandoned for some time.
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all these buildings, which were commissioned and ready to operate, never had the chance to operate for a single event. the fair was the target for all the militias to be occupied by the army and all these groups. many stolen pieces have been taken out, the power generators, the windows, with the floor tiles were dismantled and taken out. a lot of stories about executing people on the wall of this building, the administration building. you can still see the traces of the bullets on the wall, but it wasn't confirmed because no one had the accessibility to check to see if it was a military area. it's not far from the seaside, not more than 300 metres, which is a very aggressive climate condition for the concrete. and despite being neglected for decades during the civil war and after the civil war, these concrete structures remain
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resisting for all of the factors which should be affecting. tripoli was lucky to have this project in the heart of the city, but the project was unlucky for being in tripoli. what is the future of these monuments? what is the suitable function? what are the possibilities? if we are waiting to decide, the monuments won't be waiting. wassim naghi, speaking to witness from the niemeyer international fair site in tripoli. that's all for witness this month, from the british library, in london. join me again next month when we bring you five more accounts of extraordinary moments in history. but, for now, from me and from the rest of the witness team, bye—bye. after a very chilly day, we are in
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for a chilly night with a widespread frost developing. we have seen beautiful sunshine this afternoon. he isa beautiful sunshine this afternoon. he is a picture from yorkshire recently. a beautiful red sheringham up recently. a beautiful red sheringham up there as the sun slides down the sky. across the brackens, more cloud and showers earlier on. a covering of sunshine across the top of the higher ground. here are weather showers are sitting currently. we have been getting outbreaks of rain. you can also see there has been a lot of clear skies and sunshine. those clear skies will help temperatures fall away sharply in the next few hours. a windy night ahead. plenty of showers to come to the north and west and, with this plummeting temperatures. where we have wet surfaces, a risk of ice. possibly even this evening and overnight. there that might if you are heading out and about. as the
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sunday morning, decent sunshine across scotland, particularly to the south and east. more showers to the north and west, a strong wind and a cold start of the day. for northern ireland, more cloud around, fewer showers than this morning. showers pushing into the north west of england, the midlands, wales and the south—west, but more scattered than they have been today and dry interludes in between. a slightly lighter wind as well on sunday, still sitting in the cold air, but hopefully that's why the windfall makes it feel less biting. he was showers as well, more in the way of cloud. and then, for the evening, this area of rain will spring across northern ireland and scotland and eventually died its way all the way south across the british isles to monday morning. that will mean a frost free start to the new week, we have not had one of those for the last few weeks. but the mild weather will be short lived. cold air
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tucking in behind this area of low pressure. 0vernight monday into tuesday, once again, those isobars point directly north to south. that plunges us into the arctic air which will stay with us through the week ahead, frosty nights a chilly days, but a lot of sunshine, showers affecting mostly coastal areas. the next week, a milder start. come tuesday and wednesday, we are back into the cold air and in northerly wind, and that is likely to feel particularly raw. this is bbc news. the headlines at three... egypt carries out air strikes on those they say were behind the terror attack on a mosque which left more than 300 people dead. the actress emma thompson joins a demonstration in london in support of nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe, the british—iranian
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woman jailed in iran. this is our community. one of our community has been imprisoned without trial and separated from her child, more or less for 19 months. the situation is desperate. there's no clear link between suicides in prisons and overcrowding — according to an international study. and england reach the rugby league world cup final, but only just. ..
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