tv BBC World News PBS February 2, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
>> today the mood turns, street battles in central cairo pitch egyptian against egyptian. hosni mubarak confronts protesters who want him out. >> it will be like you see now. people are fighting together. this is not good for egypt. this is not good for me. >> sporadic clashes have gone on into the night. the health ministry says three are dead. one doctor says more than 1,500 have been wounded. the strongest words yet from the white house that calls the latest violence deplorable and says political change should start now. welcome to bbc news broadcast to our viewers on pbs in america and also around the globe. coming up later for you, first chronic flooding and now this, cyclone yasi tears into the australian state of queensland, warnings of unprecedented devastation. and space, the final frontier.
nasa scientists discover 1,000 new planets. >> hello to you, the fight for the future of egypt today become a pitched battle on the street and violent clashes are still going on in cairo between supporters of president mubarak and the demonstrators who for days have been calling on him to go. at least three people have been killed, many hundreds are injured. one estimate from a doctor at the scene is 1,500. in the u.s., which contributes vast numbers of egypt each year in aid, a white house spokesman says the country's political transition should begin immediately. now means now. jeremy has been following the day's explosive events in caro. >> it is dark, dangerous, and
violent in tahrir square tonight. protesters are in the place they declare the seven of their revolution and supporters of the president are trying to drive them out. from the morning, the atmosphere was different. the president's men appeared. the first time i have seen them in any numbers in a week here. the ruling party has a very organized force and it's clear that a decision has been taken to get their people out on to the streets to support the president. it didn't feel spontaneous. many of them were bussed in and a lot of placards looked professionally made. huge changes coming and they don't like it. they face losing party privileges and the only leader many of them have ever known. >> we are egyptians. we are egyptians. we choose our leaders.
hosni mubarak is our leader. he is our leader! >> as the supporters of the president move closer to tahrir square, it got much mastier. -- nasere. they lined up on the end of the screen trading insults with the regime last friday. the pro mubarak demonstrators stretch way back there, back towards the flyover. it seems to me they have more people out there than there are in here. the tension is rising in a threatening way. and then the president's supporters broke through chanting he will not leave. at first, the protesters fell back as fast as they could. some weren't fast enough.
they collected themselves and counterattacked and volleys of stones went both ways. most of the afternoon, the clashes ebbed and flowed across the heart of egypt's capital. the army had warned the protesters to get out earlier in the morning. men on camels and horses joined the battle on the president's side. soldiers pulled out some casualties but didn't intervene. >> i'm calling the army to stand in front of their responsibilities now with the people whatever their opinion is. we don't want this! >> some of the president's people were captured by the protesters. both sides claim that their opponents are paid for what they're doing.
>> hosni mubarak. >> this is president hosni mubarak trying to reassert his authority over the center of his capital city. for a leader like him, it is a terrible humiliation to have a demonstration like this going on for so many days. dozens of casualties on the anti-government side were taken to an improvised dressing station. it overflowed out of a mosque where it was based into the street. the doctor in charge didn't have much time to talk. >> there is no rupture. >> he said many of the wounds were caused by knives as well as stones. the violence overwhelmed the morgue. the protesters thought the president's rapid departure was a done deal. >> what does he want? we trusted him and yesterday
the people were crying because he was so kind and peaceful on tv. he promised us to go peacefully and he said egyptians will get stronger after i go. i don't think so. he will destroy the whole nation before he goes. >> the regime has entrenched itself in power since the 1960's. it will not go quietly. jeremy bowen, bbc news, cairo. >> the scenes of violence were broadcast by the media, the scene has said the change has to start right away. an explanation on how the diplomatic campaign is meant to be working. >> the demonstrators have a new friend. after days of hesitation, president obama has thrown his weight behind their causation that passion and dignity was an inspiration to the world.
>> the people of egypt, particularly the young people of egypt, i want to be clear, we hear your voices. >> today's violence is a challenge to the orderly change the west wants. in london, the prime minister flanked by the u.n.'s ban ki-moon condemned it. >> if it turned out that the regime that be tolerating this violence, that would be completely and utterly unacceptable. >> that was echoed in washington where they called the violence outrageous, deploreable. >> if any of the violence was instigated by the government, it should stop immediately. >> before the trouble fled. president obama spoke to president mubarak for half a an hour. he was direct and candid and his message was the time for change is now. how soon is that? the president's press secretary had a way of putting it. now is yesterday. officials are blunt. they want mubarak to go as soon as possible.
for 30 years, the parade of american presidents have seen mubarak as an indispensable ally sending troops to the first gulf war, backing the middle east first war and now he is in the way. >> every day of delay, every week of delay, every day that it seems that there is some slight possibility that this may end with mubarak still in power, mubarak somehow shaping the next step in egyptian politics, equally unacceptable to many egyptians i think increases the risk of instability. >> the president's people says for two years he has been telling mubarak and other allies that they must change, but they wouldn't listen. now after protests in jordan, there is a new prime minister, yemen's president says he will give the job to his son. the u.s.a. will have to support democracy all over the region. >> washington has received the
message loud and clear. the support for undemocratic regimes in the middle east is unsustainable and might end up in zazi for american foreign policy. >> the immediate concern is for an end to the violence. president obama's team will be talking to the egyptian army. they are a key to the future without mubarak. >> i'll have more from egypt a little later in the program. one of the biggest storms ever to hit australia has struck the coast of queensland. they have suffered months of flooding and now expected to be battered by winds of nearly 200 miles an hour. the cyclone yasi roars across the east coast of australia. the premiere has told people to prepare for devastation unprecedented in history. >> the kentucky clone hit the coast with 199-mile-an-hour winds of fatal force.
cities and towns were in complete lockdown. the emergency services were unable to respond to calls from frightened residents asking to be evacuated because it was simply too dangerous to venture out on to the streets. >> we are now seeing winds across these areas of more than 120 kilometers per hour. we are seeing torrential rain and some serious wave activity. these are conditions in which we cannot send out emergency workers or put up a helicopter to do a rescue. all of that is now beyond the realm of possibility. >> this is a state that's just experienced the worst flooding in its history. now queenslanders were told to brace for what officials described as 24 hours of terror. fortunately, it wasn't as bad as first feared. well in advance of the cyclone's arrival on shore, residents of the cities and towns in its path were warned to leave immediately. this was a cyclone system of
immense scale, a category five storm, the most severe level. its eye was over 20 miles and its front stretched some 400 miles. some of the smaller communities along the coast have been completely evacuated while emergency relief centers were full with over 10,000 people seeking shelter. and it's not just the winds that have wreaked havoc. there is a danger, too, of storm surges bringing major flooding. for these cities who have been spared the kind of devastation earlier predicted. australia has rarely seen a storm of this intensity in an area as thickly populated, so remarkably, perhaps there have been no reports so far of any fatalities. nick ryan, bbc news, sydney. >> on the line is helen young who lives in trinity beach.
first of all, most important how are you and your family and friends? >> we all seem to be safe and well, mike. thanks for your concern. as far as we can tell, the vast majority of damage in this area is superficial. we have some trees down and a lot of vegetation damage, but at this stage, everybody seems to have gone through the night fairly well. >> you have lived there about 13 years. you have been through a number of cyclones before. how does this one compare? >> the size of this one is bigger than anything i have been through. the amount of damage that we got here isn't as bad as previous cyclones because we have had the eye cross over the top of us. back in 2000, that was the worst i had because of the wind. >> it was pretty bad, in fact you probably missed the worst of it, it's worse elsewhere?
>> some of the coastal towns have been devastated. it will be heartbreaking for them this morning, they're small, isolated and hard to get resources in to to assist them. >> thanks so much for talking to us. you take care. around the globe, president obama has signed documents approving a make nuclear arms treaty between the united states and russia. the deal will see big cuts in the two countries' nuclear arsenals and re-establishes a monitoring system. the treaty will come into force when the russia and the u.s. exchange the signed papers. russia is increasing the number of officers in the military by 70,000 and nearly doubling their pay. the defense minister says the extra officers are needed for a new aerospace defense branch of the military. numbers have been cut heavily in recent years. it's all part of efforts to streamline the military. at least 2,000 police officers in berlin have cleared a building that has been occupied by squatters for two decades.
23 activists were arrested. police evicted a mix of people, punks and militants in their 50's. the house had become a symbol of the battle. stay with us, if you can on bbc news. still to come with an apparent eye on events in egypt. yemen's president says he would stand for re-election in 2013. he spent more than three decades in power. for many egyptians, of course, the past week has been a deeply troubling sign. we have been on the streets talking to many people. >> away from the activists and slowingans, people are fearful -- slogans, people are fearful. whatever hosni mubarak has done, he brought a measure of stability. that could go. >> the people in tahrir square says president mubarak should go now straight away.
>> it is a fatal mistake. go now. like you see now, people are fighting together. this is not good for egypt. this is not good for me. i need my house to be safe. >> thank you, thank you, thank you. >> the country is now divided. so far the pro democracy activists have had the streets to themselves. it's beginning to change. it's beginning to change. >> hosni mubarak! >> 300 meters away, a pro mubarak demonstration was underway. they fear cairo could go the way of baghdad.
>> the president after a long time, it's now. iraq, saddam go out in one day, ok, destroyed. >> why are you frightened? >> long live mubarak, they shouted, drowning out any further discussion. their fervor presents a challenge to the pro democracy activists, do they want change enough to withstand this? >> latest headlines for you on become world news this hour, in kireo, at least three people are killed, hundreds injured in the protests against president hosni mubarak. the u.s. has condemned the violence and insisted that political change and transition should start now. well, the question on the lips of everyone in egypt, of
course, is whether or not president mubarak should go now or in september as he has pledged to do. some of the supporters, some of the members of the secret police are clearly not afraid to display their support. our middle east correspondent found that out when they arrested him today. he has now been released with his crew. he sends this report. >> this is the other side of cairo, the large villas and expensive apartment blocks. this is where egypt ruling elite live. i have come here to meet one of president mubarak's close advisors. anyone who thinks mr. mubarak is about to step aside should listen to what he says. >> he is a commander, military commander, military commander, i mean if they abandon their post, they are shot dead in battle. this is a battle. >> a battle in which after a
week of silence, egypt's ruling elite suddenly appears to have found its voice. out on the street, i'm immediately confronted by a group of locals with an angry message for the outside world. >> you, america -- >> britain. >> u.s., u.k. are giving a lot of weight to such people that are not educated. if you give these people the lead, then egypt is lost. this is your end, this is a real question. is this your end to lose egypt? >> within minutes of leaving that interview, our car is pulled over by the police. these are the first police we have seen in cairo in days. they are angry and suspicious to see foreign journalists in this part of cairo. we talk our way out and head on, but as we approach the presidential palace, a group of men in another car start screaming at us to pull over.
the man in red is the one who forced us off the road. at this point, we are handed over to the secret police, handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to an interrogation cell. after three hours in a police cell, we were eventually released on to a cairo back street. what we saw on wednesday shows how the authorities' attitude is hardening, both to the protesters and to us, the foreign media. egypt's ruling elite is fighting back. >> well, the protests in egypt are worrying political leaders across the middle east. in yemen, the president there said he will not extend his presidential term nor pass power on to his son, both which seemed possibilities. addressing parliament, he has been in power for more than three decades called on opposition groups to cancel street protests called for
thursday. we are in the yemeny capital. >> it was the news that the critics had wanted to hear for years. in power since 1978, he told parliament when he planned to step down. >> no extension, no recessing the clock, i call on the opposition to release all planned protests. i present these concessions in interest of the country. the interests of the country come before our personal interests. >> last month, suleiman wanted the constitution changed so he could stand for re-election in two years' time and then his opponents took to the streets. the president also had his supporters and on wednesday, some of them rallied to his defense. these young people call themselves the will of youth.
they want the president to remain in power. >> the president didn't respond to the opposition demands. his statement at the parliament here today is an attempt to diffuse any tension that could erupt in demonstrations tomorrow. the opposition though is expecting a response to his statement. the question is, how is he going to deliver his promises? a political analyst and a leading critic of the government. >> the people have gotten to a point where they expect real results and they will not settle for empty promises. i do not think that the president has in his mind any idea. >> the opposition and young yemenis took to the street on thursday and they fear they have heard this before and want more on the table. yemen has severe problems to deal with and instability is not what the poorest country in
the region needs at the moment. >> the former british foreign secretary jack straw giving evidence to the official inquiry in london of britain's involvement in the iraq war has said that overthrowing saddam hussein was never british policy. such a policy would have been illegal. he is the last witness of the inquiry that opened in 2009. it's expected to issue its report later this year. indian investigators have arrested the former telecommunications minister in connection with a multibillion dollar corruption case he manipulated the sale of a mobile phone sale more than two years ago and lost billions of dollars in lost revenue. he denies any wrongdoing. google has accused microsoft of playingarizing its intent results. it says it is chooting by using google search data on bing.
microsoft denies the charge. it says it's using information that customers are willing to share with it. it is one of the most tantalizing questions in spare exploration, are we alone? they may have found 1,000 new planets in distant solar systems and that's in addition to 500 discovered already. our science correspondent reports. >> we look, the more we find, not just stars in their billions, but orbiting around them, planets as well. new worlds emerging in the dark in far greater numbers than expected. and this is what is behind the latest wave of discoveries, the kepler space telescope aimed at one piece of sky and unearthing a new solar system with six planets circling unusually close to their star, the largest batch found in one go.
this really is as good as it gets. this to us seems like the most important find since 1995 when the first extra solar planet was discovered. >> the mission of hunting for planets is picking up speed. the telescope works by watching stars to see if planets move in front of them. if they do, the stars get very slightly dimmer, the equivalent of looking at a car headlight and seeing a flea cross it. the technique has found more than 500 planets already with another 1,235 possible, an astonishing 54 hospitable to light, not too warm and not too cold. >> three, two, engines start. >> it was nearly two years ago that the rocket blasted the kepler telescope into space. onboard an incredibly sensitive camera. its key components are made here in britain in these clean rooms at a high-tech firm.
here they specialize in making photo graphic sensors, tiny devices. this is one of them. the people are delighted at what they're finding. >> it's fantastic. it's something you can't get working in any other industry really. it's an environment where we get to see the results of our endeavors and are published in a wide community of people are excited about these discoveries. >> who knows how many more planets they'll find, all the time raising the chances of discovering an alien world where it's possible there might be life. >> the main story down here on earth, just before we leave you, briefly the battle for the future of egypt today became a pitched battle on the streets. we'll show you the pictures from tahrir square. there are some clashes going on between supporters of the president and the demonstrators who for days have been calling on him to go. at least three people have been killed. one doctor at the scene estimates 1,500 wounded, some
with knife wounds as well. >> hello and welcome. >> see the news unfold, get the top stories from around the globe and click-to-play video reports. go to bbc.com/news to experience the in-depth, expert reporting of "bbc world news" online. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its financial strength to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major