tv BBC World News PBS January 14, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
>> and now, "bbc world news." >> the president of tunisia has fled the country over protests over unemployment. after a state of emergency, the prime minister takes power. bp has signed a deal with russia to gain access to arctic oil gas reserves. a very warm welcome to "bbc world news." coming up later, thousands of survivors make their way to shelters in brazil bought 500 people have been killed. more trouble for the italian prime minister silvio berlusconi is being investigated over his involvement with a nightclub dancer.
>> tunisia may be best known as an orderly tourist playground or in an efficient police state. by any standards it has experienced a dramatic few hours. zine al-abidine ben ali was president for 23 years with his family spread widely in positions of power. he has fled the country and the prime minister is president. the people have been offered a democratic elections. >> despite the most brutal measures to suppress demonstrations, young people decidedoday was ahance to overthrow a corrupt government. after weeks of sickening violence by police, protests reached a crescendo.
the day started with a mass peaceful protest in front of the ministry of interior building. they had been promised concessions by the president allowing greater freedom of speech, but they used these rights to demand that he go. >> we should not let this go. we have to make it happen. >> people want change. i guess change is happening. >> security forces were ordered to show restraint. a gamble by the government was backfiring. this is a public demonstration of what the people think of what their president said last night. zine al-abidine ben ali said he would open up the democratic state. thousands of people had gathered outside the home of ministry. >> in four weeks of protests
coming dozens have been killed. the government says to -- 70 people were shot to death by riot police. tunisia's hospital is have treated many more for gunshot wounds and broken bones. events started unfolding at an alarming rate. the rally in the capital was broken up by teargas. the government -- the state of emergency was declared. then the prime minister said the president was no longer head of state. >> he had gone after 20. -- 23 years in office. there are reports he fled the country and left behind a nation in turmoil. violence has hit beach resorts
in the past 48 hours. some people witnessed the violence at first hand. >> we saw [unintelligible] two people worse -- were shot dead. >> we could hear the shots in the evening. we could hear shouting outside. >> under the state of emergency a nighttime curfew is in place. the army has extra powers to use force and no public gathering of more than three people is allowed. until a few days ago tunisia was one of the most stable nations in north africa. neighboring countries will be looking on nervously. >> there will be a lot of allies on what is happening in tunisia.
neighbors are very close by but there has been very little public comment from other arab governments. speaking a short while to our correspondent. he said what has happened in tunisia is unprecedented in the arab world. >> they don't do revolutions in the arab world. this is so much uncharted territory. that may not necessarily be signals that it will spread through the region. i think the government in egypt and morocco and algeria will be looking nervously at this. and wondering to what extent those frustrations expressed so angrily parboiling beneath the surface. to what extent they are a danger to their own futures. but they have to work out how they can put together a credible
government. i think the people will be watching closely to see whether these people who are still associated with the old regime are going to bring in their opponents. are they going to allow real freedom of speech on the state media? 80 people will trust they are in for a better future. >> we have been hearing this is a country with more police and many other in the region. the role of the military will be crucial. what are your predictions there? >> the big problem in this part of the world is the fundamentals are more than the leaders. there is a lack of any legitimate institutions. there is no rule of law but there is -- but it does not mean anything.
if a policeman shoots an unarmed civilian he/she gets tried and convicted. that is the more fundamental problem. the immediate problem s freeing up the government and establishing its credibility but also restoring law and order. that will be the big issue. >> let's drag you back to the beginning. you said these were unprecedented events. what made the difference? was it the fact at the start of the course with this young man who burned himself to death? that seems to have sent shock waves around the country. but there were protests in many part of the country at once. >> the person i spoke to maybe three days ago cents this was the end of the president's term. the reason for -- was not the
lack of freedoms. it was the reason that police shot at people. that really infuriated people. you had a situation right from the start -- the first person to die who burned himself to death. people realized they were willing to risk death. the situation was so bad they would rather die than let that continue. >> you can get all the latest news on these protests on our web site. you can find out more about what sparked the unrest and how the government has been reacting. that is at bbc.com. brazilians have started burying victims of the floods which have claimed 500 lives. this is the worst natural disaster they have seen in decades. thousands have been made
homeless and rescuers are starting to access remote areas. one location affected is one area inland from rio déjà narrow. >> -- rio de janiero. there is a massive struggle to reach the victims. so many areas are cut off. houses have been polarized and families destroyed. >> i lost my mother, daughter and my granddaughter. i don't know what to do from now on. yesterday we reported on the rescue of this woman. she hung on but lost her dog. later she spoke to reporters still traumatized. >> i really don't know how i am alive.
or how i will replace what i lost. the rain was more damaging because it fell on an area that has seen a rush of development. many people have built homes and land. this is the worst hit town. my colleague is they're seeing the devastation firsthand. >> the rain has [unintelligible] it comes and goes but the situation remainsangerous because the soil is extremely wet and unstable. the rescue operations are risky because new landslides could happen at any moment. >> the brazilian president has viewed the damage. she took office two weeks ago and this is the worst natural disaster in decades.
>> we will work with the state's government on the rescue and rebuilding efforts. we are here to guarantee the building will help prevent future disasters. >> the rainy skies, a child is buried. the final death toll is not known but long lines of graves have been dug. >> at least 27 people have died and many more are missing in the flood slides that have hit sri lanka. government agencies are still struggling to get supplies to 1 million people. people in australia have started to clear up as the flood waters begin to receive. thousands of homes and businesses have been swamped. at least 25 people have been killed over the past month.
at least 60 pilgrims died in a stampede in a southern indian state. they were returning from a shrine when they lost control and crashed. bp signed a potentially huge deal to export oil off of russia's arctic coast. it could be worth billions. >> even if you are the chief executive of bp, there are some people who keep you waiting. but this deal has been worth waiting for. the exploitation of what is hoped to be reserves of oil and gas under the arctic sea. the russian prime minister vladimir putin said the work would require billions of dollars of investments and the latest technology. >> the arctic shelf of russia
has great potential. it is in its early days. you are right about the need to develop technology centers for the arctic and the great environmental care that this work will need. >> some of the world's and exported -- unexploited oil reserves are under these seas. russia's largest known reserves are in western siberia. today's deal focuses on this sea north of that where estimates suggest there could be 5 billion tons of oil and 10 trillion cubic meters of gas. >> the arctic is considered to be a major undeveloped province. bp has got a prime position in the early stages of developing that region. if they geologists' are correct,
this could be one of the deals of the century. >> last year bp had a year to forget. the deep water horizon disaster has left it with billions of dollars of potential liability is and doors closing in its face. bp has had its problems in russia. in 2008 they experienced an orchestrated campaign of harassment after it fell out with its business partners. now russian state control will take a 5% share of bp. bp has been investing for more than two decades. two years ago that seemed to be turning sour. today's announcement appears to confirm the vital relationship with russia is back on track.
>> good to have you with us on "bbc world news." a pakistani government minister tells us he will keep on opposing the death penalty despite threats to kill him. a group of health experts is mourning breast feeding babies for six months before starting them on -- warning breast feeding babies. there is some evidence it leads to iron deficiency and allergies. this contradicts current advice from the world health organization. >> for nearly a decade mothers had been advised to give their babies breast milk until six months old. now the advice has been questioned by child health experts who say that is too long for some children.
>> by sometime between 4-6 months, content of nutrients in human milk starts to become insufficient to meet the babies requirements. it has been controversial at what point that occurs. it probably occurs at different points for different babies. >> when they reviewed recent studies, they found evidence to suggest some babies could sever ira deficiencies if mothers waited until their babies were six months old to introduce solids. research shows and events may be prone to allergies and warned parents to start their babies on a solid at six months could be limiting their opportunity to introduce [unintelligible] one study has challenged this study, driving it as a retrograde step that plays into the hands of the baby food
industry. many believe parents should be able to make their own decisions about which age to start winning their child. the team behind this report shows it should lead to more research. >> we will update you on the headlines. the president of tunisia has fled the country after protests over unemployment. the prime minister has assumed power and promised political reforms. let's get the very latest on this. we just heard the report from at and that -- report from adam. >> it is incredible. we had a president determined to
hang onto power after 23 years. what happened last night is that he would not seek reelection in 2014. that was the situation 12 hours ago. thousands of people from across tunisia went into the streets today to protest immediate change. then the government began to crack. first of all we had some sort of compromise. there would be an election for parliament. then it was announced there would be a state of emergency. dramatically less than an hour after that was declared, the president was forced to stand down. the military and other members of the political elite persuading the president that he had to go -- >> there is still a mountain to
climb. this is going to be the start of meaningful change. it means a democratic process and accountable police and military. pretty much rebuilding their society. >> there is no guarantee that will happen. these protesters have achieved a key goal. we don't know if the ruling elite will be willing to give up power. it will only be if these key bodies agreed to relinquish power and genuinely open up the country to democratic rule that the protesters will have achieved all of their goals. that is why the situation is tense. there is still a curfew in place and there are still tanks and soldiers all over the place.
there is no celebration despite the resignation of a president who has become reviled by the end. >> many thanks for that. 10 days after one of pakistani's most liberal politicians was assassinated, a government minister told us he has received death threats. he has been warned he will be be headed for challenging the legislation that imposes the death penalty on those who insult islam. >> out on the streets -- the lead bodyguard who planned -- killed the governor for opposing the blasphemy laws. in his neighborhood he is a hero to many.
>> this is an example of the kind of support he is getting. the crowd is chanting his name. the view here is that he was completely justified in doing what he did and he should not be put on trial. this is not limited to these streets. >> support is evidence a growing extremism. many say they are ready to kill if they suspect blasphemy. >>everyone [unintelligible] >> a chilling warning and since e killing of the governor many levels -- liberals have fallen silent. the pakistan minister has
continued to speak out but he has been threatened with the governors fate. >> i was told if i continue to campaign against the blasphemy law i will be assassinated. i will be be headed. but forces of violence and extremism cannot harass me, cannot divert my attention. >> you will not be silenced? >> not at all. >> but for now the assassins voice is being applauded more. this is this man singing verses in honor of the profit. the video made in police custody. this is a reception at court. a shower of rose petals brown by lawyers. some doubt if anyone can be found to prosecute him. there are growing concerns
about where pakistan is headed. >> the italian prime minister silvio berlusconi is under investigation for his dealings with a teenage nightclub dancer. this includes allegations of underage prostitution. where say the allegations are absurd. >> he is the prime minister who cannot shake off his judicial jinx. silvio berlusconi is investigated over his connection with a teenage belly dancer. magistrates say they want to question him over allegations of underage prostitution and claims he improperly called police to get them to release the woman from custody. this is heard. her stage name is rudy. last year she was 17 at a time she attended parties given by the prime minister at his home.
she claims on one occasion she received $9,000. mr. berlusconi says he knew her and asked the police to let her go but denies having sex with her. the allegations compound a bad week for the later. coming less than one day after the highest court removed his immunity from prosecution. he has yet to hear and -- if he will go back on trial. silvio berlusconi has made no secret of his dislike of judges. he spent $300 million on legal fees during his business political career. defending himself a says in the unfair courts. silvio berlusconi's lawyers say
latest claims are groundless and absurd. they come at an awkward time for the prime minister. he wants to strengthen his weak government and not have its distracted by more allegations. so far it is scandal and not success that follows him into 2011. >> pope benedict -- his predecessor at a ceremony on may 1. he has signed a document except in the authenticity of a miracle attributed to john paul. a french nun claims to have been cleared from parkinson's disease from john paul himself who was a parkinson's suffer. you will find all the international news anytime you want on bbc.com. you can get in touch with me on twitter. you can see what is coming up on facebook as well. thanks for watching.
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