tv DW News PBS February 22, 2016 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
brent: this is "d.w. news" live from berlin. five years of conflict, hundreds of thousands dead. tonight, the pieces are in place for a cease-fire in syria. the u.s. and russia agreed to terms to halt the conflict. the truce will take effect february 27. islamic state remains the one major variable. also on the show, british prime minister david cameron tells parliament a brexit would be a great leap into the unknown but london's mayor, boris johnson, says that's not the case. and water is flowing again to
the thirsty indian capital, new delhi, after violent deadly protests highlighting the injustice of the country's caste system. it's good to have you with us. the message is optimistic, the timing is questionable. russia and the u.s. say pieces are in place for a provisional cease-fire in syria against the backdrop of islamic state suicide bombs that claimed 130 lives on sunday alone, a dark reminder that i.s. will have no reason to observe a truce even if it does take hold. >> after fresh attacks killed more than 100 people this weekend, there's finally hope for peace in the war-torn country, but despite renewed
optimism, major questions remain over the details of the truce, difficulties washington has acknowledged. >> we recognize -- i'm sure all of you do, as well -- that this will be difficult to implement. we know there are a lot of obstacles and there are sure to be setbacks. for years we have been trying to reach a diplomatic resolution to the many problems that plague that nation that has broken apart. but this is a moment of opportunity. >> the cease-fire does not apply to the so-called islamic state. the u.n. has called on all sides to accept the truce. >> it is a long-awaited signal of hope to the syrian people that after five years of conflict, there may be an end to their suffering in sight. the secretary general strongly urges the parties to abide by the terms of this agreement.
reporter: the syrian government and opposition have until friday to accept the agreement. brent: let's pull in our correspondent in washington on the story for us this evening. good evening to you. a cease-fire beginning on saturday, it seems almost too good to be true. do we know exactly how it is that all of the parties agreed so quickly? heike: well, this has been in the making. remember, munich, just recently, and it didn't work and so i guess secretary kerry and mr. lavrov of russia has been working furiously on this. apparently president obama of the united states and president putin did speak to each other on the phone today and if all sides agree on this, they call it a cessation of hostilities in syria, this could maybe happen.
mind you this happens after a very violent weekend and also they are not including any attacks against the islamic state or the al qaeda affiliate, so it remains to be seen whether they can agree on all sides. there are still a lot of differences and whether the goal can be reached of building a future for syria without a dictatorship and terrorism. brent: you mentioned that the u.s. president, russian president, spoke on the phone. that's how high up, how high ranking this affair is. what is your assessment, how realistic is it that this cease-fire will start and that it will hold? heike: well, it's really hard to say. there's always hope. the hope is very high. this conflict has been going on for more than four years. now that russia is involved in it, since last september, it has become even more difficult, as
we all know, we are not all on the same terms. russia is claiming they're fighting against the islamic state, just like the united states with all their coalition forces are, yet, in fact, the rebels or the opposition forces are saying they're hitting them. so, therefore, it's very hard to see how they can agree on this and it remains to be seen whether it will work. brent: thank you very much. in four months, great britain will face one of the most momentous choices in its modern history, whether to secure its place as part of europe or to reclaim its historic island independence from the continent. prime minister david cameron is making the case for sticking with the european union but he faces an uphill battle. reporter: david cameron job in the house of commons was no less difficult than last week's reform wrangling in brussels.
he's trying to convince euro skeptics that those reforms are reason enough to stay in the e.u. >> leaving the e.u. may briefly make us feel more sovereign but it will actually give us more power and influence? if we need the e.u., will we have the power to stop our businesses being discriminated against? no. will we have the power to insist that european countries share with us their border information so we know what terrorists and criminals are doing in europe? no we won't. will we have more information that affects the prosperity and security of citizens? no, we won't. reporter: many see boris johnson's position as not only increasing the possibility of a brexit but a calculated political maneuver for number 10 do you think -- downing street. many believe that if great
britain ditches the e.u., johnson could be prime minister. >> what i think is people will focus on the issue that really matters. that's the one that will be put to the people of this country in a few months' time and that's whether they want to remain in an institution that has become much more ambitious and vastly more influential over every area of the lives and people of this country. reporter: at the moment, polls show the campaign to stay in the e.u. is ahead but success or failure on june 23 may lie with convincing the large number of voters who say they're still undecided. brent: let's pull in our correspondent who's been on the story all day, joining me from london. good evening. what are likely to be the key arguments? what will be the decisive factors here? >> if you look at david cameron's speech today, i think
he's given away what he's going to campaign on. most importantly it's jobs, it's economic prosperity. it's a very pragmatic case he's made. it's the question, is britain better off in or out of europe and he says from his point of view, brussels is far from perfect, he is not a passionate pro-european but if you look at the bottom line, that he believes that britain is better off staying within the e.u., within a reformed e.u. and actually is at the negotiating table and can call the shots rather than being outside of the e.u. brent: birgit, what could a brexit mean for the british economy? >> we've seen credit rating agencies today, moody's, has warned. the pound has tumbled. they think a brexit could harm britain's economy. lots of city firms, big banks have come out and have said it would be negative for britain's
economy. of course, there are, also, for example, hedge funds that have complained about too much regulation from brussels and they would see a brexit as a positive thing but they're in the minority. brent: brigit, thank you very much. to some of the other stories making news around the world. indian forces have ended a three-day siege of a government building in the disputed kashmir region, leaving three militants dead. the group a convoy of soldiers before taking refuge in the building. five soldiers and a civilian were killed. the libyan army has claimed a series of victories against islamist fighters in and around benghazi, taking control of several districts and a seaport. rival governments and militias have been battling for control in libya since the ouster of
moammar gaddafi five years ago. india has destroyed fishing boats. the vessels came from the philippines, vietnam and myanmar. more than 150 boats have been destroyed as part of the government's program, causing tensions with neighboring countries. and asylum seeker baby in australia who grabbed headlines across the world has been released from the hospital, ending a 10-day standoff between the government and medical staff. the baby was due to be returned to a controversial immigration detention center on the island of niru. butundreds of protestors gathered outside the hospital in brisbane calling for the family to be allowed to remain in australia. immigration minister peter dutton said the family could stay in the country for now while authorities considered their application for asylum.
in india, the government has reached a deal to end deadly protests in the state of haryana. rail and road traffic disrupted, water supplies cut off to large parts of the capital. billions lost in productivity and 16 deaths. the violence was sparked by members of one of india's castes. reporter: what started out as peaceful demonstrations against inequality turned deadly. buildings and train stations looted, gutted with fire. trains delayed because of sit-ins on railway tracks and highways blocked to a standstill the jats, a traditionally rural community of farmers, have been leading protests. they say they're excluded from a quota system that gives more opportunities to indians from lower castes.
they want more government jobs and access to state-run universities and at a made sure demands caused problems everywhere. this is the canal in hirana state where jats are the majority caste. it supplies water to delhi. protestors shut it down, causing water shortages in delhi, forcing authorities to close schools. the army says the government has taken control of the canal. translator: the canal was damaged by protestors and repair work will have to be done. we've dispatched a team from the delhi water board to assess the damage, time and money required to repair it. reporter: the unrest has challenged the indian government's promise of more opportunity, as it tries to attract greater foreign investment and more jobs. groups like the jat caste say they're struggling, despite
india's strong economic growth. brent: tonight, with ukraine teetering on the brink of political instability, the german and french foreign ministers are in kiev pushing for less corruption and more economic reform. the government has lost its majority in parliament even as the government celebrates the protests that sparked democracy two years ago. reporter: with the plane to kiev turning for takeoff, german prime minister thomas de maizière and his french counterpart didn't waste time. they're concerned about the situation in ukraine. translator: i hope the participants in kiev, meaning the government and even more so, the parliament, realize the importance and significance of the road to reform and are able to get back on track.
reporter: the french foreign minister stressed a solution to the crisis must be found in kiev. the situation there has worsened. at the weekend, two years since the riots, hundreds of demonstrators demanding the government to step down. police say most were from the nationalistic camp. the government crisis in ukraine has become increasingly volatile. the pro-western coalition in parliament no longer has a majority. steinmeier and ayrault knows that germany has been dealing with the refugee crisis and hasn't been able to deal with the crisis in the ukraine. brent: you can get "d.w. news" on the go, download our app from google play or the apple store, giving you access from the latest news around the world as well as push notifications for breaking news. you can use the app to send us
>> one out of eight people is suffering from hunger. the world food program is fighting hunger worldwide. brent: welcome back, with "d.w. news," live from berlin. here are the top stories. if all goes well, the guns will soon go silent in syria. a provisional cease-fire negotiated by the u.s. and russia is scheduled to take effect february 27. russian president vladimir putin is calling it a real step that can stop the bloodshed. china and saudi arabia are spending more on weapons than ever before. that's a key finding by sipri, the stockholm international peace research institute. in its latest report on global
arms sales, the institute finds that beijing's arms exports have almost doubled in the past five years. reporter: as china's arms industry grows, so does the sector's exports. china is now the world's third biggest weapons exporter. and that's affecting regional politics because 3/4 of china's weapons sales are in its own backyard. three of its biggest customers are pakistan, bangladesh and myanmar. india and vietnam are also buying weapons, mainly from russia. india recently boosted its weapons spending by 90%. for vietnam, that figure is a whopping 699%. the sipri institute says countries throughout the region are bolstering their armed forces. almost half, 46%, to be exact,
of all weapons sales go to asia and the pacific rim countries. one other region of the world is also on a weapons buying spree. the middle east. there, saudi arabia and the united arab emirates buy the most. their favorite supplier, the united states. saudi weapons' imports rose by 275%. qatar boosted its purchases by 279%. the middle east remains a growth market for the arms industry. it already accounts for about one quarter of the world's weapons imports. for their study, sipri's researchers compared weapons investments over five-year periods. the report shows that many governments evidently feel a need to strengthen their armed forces with more equipment.
brent: time for business news. a lot to talk about. the end of traveling throughout europe without a passport and without border checks. reporter: right, and what does this mean, if there is an end to the schengen zone, that's the question. a study puts a price tag on the falling part of the no-control schengen deal. germany's interrier minister thomas de maizière warned that there is only two weeks to prevent the collapse of the schengen zone. there are economic and political consequences. >> signed, sealed and delivered, june 14, 1985, the historic schengen agreement opened up the majority of the e.u.'s borders to an unprecedented free flow of citizens and goods but the wax
on the deal could come unstuck as the e.u. and especially balkan countries struggle to deal with the steady flow of refugees like here at the slovenian border with croatia. the crisis may be the biggest challenge the e.u. has faced. as well as posing a devastating symbolic setback for europe, a study shows a schengen collapse would have dramatic economic consequences, including longer cross-border transit times. logistics would be prone to disruption. producers would have to store more and commuteters would suff. the study says the cost could reach $1.4 trillion euros over nine years for the e.u. germany would face losses of between 77 and 235 billion euros over the same time frame but some balkan countries have
already deployed barbed wire and soldiers at their frontiers to stem the flow of refugees and collapse is all-too-real possibility with the german government warning that only days remain to save schengen. reporter: the pound has seen its biggest drop against the u.s. deliver in seven years. the british people are set to vote on whether to leave the european union in june and odds are rising, driven by a decision made by the mayor of london himself. >> whispers of the word brexit in london's financial district were enough to send the pound falling to a seven-year low against the dollar on monday. and it reached its lowest level against the japanese yen since november 2013. after comments from london mayor boris johnson, uncertainty is spoockeds spooking the markets. >> we've seen the biggest fall in sterling for a good few months on the back of boris
johnson saying he will support leaving the e.u. and that has seen the sterling fall pretty heavily. it's really a currency story. we haven't seen big news in the equity markets but with the pound, we'll seen a big fall. reporter: bosses at britain's top 100 companies are to sign a letter in support of a campaign to stay in the e.u. they're concerned a brexit could deny them access to key european markets. perhaps some damage has been done. since the beginning of the year, the pound has already shed more than 4% of its value against the dollar and as uncertainty continues, the pound stands to drop further. reporter: we have asked our financial correspondent in frankfurt earlier on the shortfall for the pound. the question is, is the london mayor to blame? reporter: that's how it's been read, those are the comments you
hear from the forex traders. it's not a great shock to the equities market at the moment but of course one other thing should be considered. the markets could only react today to the events of the weekend, to concessions being made to the brits but concessions that many people here also see as being not really all that great, not playing that major a role in the decision in the end. so the falling pawned could -- pound could be a reaction to the fact that there will be a referendum on an exit. boris johnson an intriguing figure here. i just read an article that he wants to be on the winning side and wants to find out first before deciding which side he wants to be on, which side will win. so a bit of a surprise, this quick decision. but people here, of course, now seeing a brexit just a little bit more likely because he is so popular in britain. reporter: with thetrary attack
attack -- terror attack in istanbul this january, turkish tourism sector is worried about losing visitors. >> germany's foreign office has warned nationals to avoid large gatherings in public places and tourist attractions in turkey, certain to impact decisions regarding travel destinations. turkey is popular among german vacationers and the sector is a key component of the academy. last year, 28 billion euros were pumped into the country from tourists but since last summer, concerns about security has risen and revenue has fallen and recovery is not in sight. now the turkish prime minister has unveiled an 80 billion euro grant to bolster the tourism industry while playing down concerns about the slump.
translator: there's no decline in the sector at the moment, considering indicators, there's no need to panic. there's no change in our expectations but as a responsible government, we need to introduce preemptive measures to relieve the sector. reporter: at the beginning of the month, the world's largest tour operator said bookings to turkey have plummeted 40% and moscow has told its citizens to stay away from the country after the downing of a russian fighter jet in november. vacationers are unlikely to see crowded beaches like this footage from better days any time soon. reporter: a surge in the oil price today. the international energy agency expects u.s. shale production to fall this year and next, which could help ease the global glut which has seen prices fall to decade lows but the iea believes the cost of crude will stay low until next year. it says only a major geopolitical event could change
that. in the long term, the group says prices are likely to rise again. and that's it from the business desk. brent: thank you very much. question for you and our viewers. what do i have in common with a lady named virginia mcloren? we both have a birthday today and we were both just in washington, d.c. but that's it. with mrs. mcloren, she got to meet the obamas on sunday and úshe couldn't contain her excitement. take a look. look at that. she was invited to the white house after being honored for her work helping mentally disabled youngsters. look at that. 106 years old. this video has been viewed more than 17 million times. happy birthday, to her.
damien: hello and a very warm welcome to this week's "focus on europe," where we go behind the big headlines to give you an insight into the lives of real europeans. i am damien mcguinness. thanks very much for joining us. on the programme today -- the refugees of sweden, who are living in a ski resort. the young people of france, enlisting to fight terror. and the danish town that has a beef with pork. one of the most explosive issues here in germany right now is how to find enough accommodation for all the asylum seekers who are arriving. 1.1 million migrants and refugees came last year, and so