tv BBC World News America PBS March 2, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm PST
>> and mrs. "bbc world news america." the international red cross says it is being denied access to the worst hit areas. the doctor this is unacceptable that the people have not received any assistance or humanitarian aid or help in weeks now. >> voters in iran and go to the polls, president obama vows he is not bluffing when it comes to stopping the country from getting a nuclear weapon. the annual cigar festival is celebrating one of the islands finest exports.
welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. for weeks after the assault began, the un secretary general described it as atrocious. accusing the government of systematically attacking its own people. after a red cross convoy was denied access to the district. the middle east editor starts the coverage. >> and anti regime protests and just north. it was attacked. when the panic subsided, activists claimed there were 12 killed, some of them have gone to pieces. the siege is over, but the fight for the future of syria goes on. state television showed them,
unconfirmed reports of execution as the red cross was being refused access. >> is unacceptable that the people have not received any assistance or humanitarian aid or help in weeks now. the situation was difficult. it is very serious, and even worse now. >> there was a comfortable nudge when the russian president refused to say if he would stay in power. there is still confusion about what happened when it was under siege. the red dog shows 640 destroyed or damaged buildings. the yellow ones market least 950 craters on roads. this was taken on the twenty fifth of february. the shelling did not stop for
another five days. among the dead was the sunday times reporter. they have now been handed over to the red cross in damascus. >> the photographer that was within the same attack is now back in london. he told a news not what would happen if the free syria army got him out. >> and they threw us into vehicles, there were shells falling off. they got us to the escape place. half of us got out and then the government attacked and shot a lot of people on the escape route. a lot of people lost their lives, i was in the room when they started moving bodies. the people that got us out, every person in there is a hero.
but these people especially put their lives on the line. i can only say the biggest thanks to the syrian people. left behind her when i fear is going to be the next rwanda. the systematic destruction. >> the fighting has left the critics with a big challenge, they want regime change. they are not prepared to go to war to make it happen. >> will make sure that there is a day of reckoning for those that are responsible. i have a clear message for those in authority. it make a choice in turn your back on the criminal regime or face justice for the blood that is on your hands. >> at the un, the syrian ambassador said the government is being slandered.
>> and their are places for investigations, but the time for talking is over. at somebody must act. >> countries as well as western ones might prefer not to listen. they have condemned the regime's actions but they don't want to resume civil war either. >> what does the international community have left to stop the bloodshed? i discussed that with the senior fellow for american progress. in the last hour, we have the secretary general admitting that the international community has
failed, and that its failure has emboldened the syrian government in its brutal oppression of its citizens. >> they need to continue pressing for humanitarian assistance. they need to figure out the pace of defection. this will help figure out how to get the stability. he has lost his a did -- illegitimacy. the key factor there is not how we arm the rebels at this point, it is how many people are defecting because that will be the key factor that ahead -- kicks the balance. >> nobody is there to really know what is going on. >>-there are people on the ground providing communications and non-legal support. they have already said that they are going to go forward now with
opposition. >> doesn't the issue of arming the rebels come to the forefront? >> is an option in the longer run, but we need them to understand who the auction is. even though we say we want our knees, we want to look before we leave and assess to these individuals are. >> have talked about arming the rebels. isn't it a case that this is an argument for the u.s.? >> the losers here the syrian people. in the long run, the losers will be the syrian government. how do we help of the balance in favor of the syrian people? we'll look at this in the long run and it will be short-lived. >> the russians continue to arm the syrian government.
why isn't more pressure being put on russia and the form of sanctions against them? >> people are starting to talk about this and we shut watch russia very carefully. and then there may be some interesting shifts. >> the british prime minister david cameron is talking about the day of reckoning. it is only a matter of time, but the problem is, how much time? >> vicki factor is how many individuals are defecting? it is a strong armed forces. there are estimates of 20,000 already defected. and that i think that we will have a serious game plan. >> in other news, the top religious council in afghanistan has demanded that those responsible for burning copies
of the parana should be tried in public and punished. president obama and a senior nato commanders have apologized for the incident. now to iran, people have voted in the parliamentary elections. nearly three and a half thousand candidates competing for 290 seats. it is not exactly a free and fair balance. all candidates have to be approved by the authorities. leaders of the green opposition have been under house arrest. >> of the key to this election was always going to be the turn out. the government was desperate that it would seem high. with the opposition green movement of boycotting the polls, it was a battle between the top figures in government.
in this context it least, how the president of slightly more moderate. a little less confrontational to the west than the man whose power he unsuccessfully challenged a year ago. this man, the religious leader, high steaming turned out would strengthen him. elections have always been important to our country, he says. the more enthusiastic people participate, the better for our country. at the london studios of the bbc persian service, high what they're election program going out live. audience figures have doubled in three years to at least 6 million, probably more.
this was the election program with colors ringing from inside iran itself. many people were annoyed that a former president had voted after saying he wouldn't. in time, the authorities itself would try to jam the program electronically. what is at stake politically? a biographer, working for the bbc, he explains. >> is even more hardline if you like. probably, more hardline arab land. >> of the opposition is just watching this election from the sidelines. only three years ago, it looked as though a new revolution was under way. it was brutally repressed. this young woman is just one of
dozens murdered. the man accused of stealing the election was the loser today. but the winners are more extreme still. the religious leadership. >> of the of the internal politics, it is the country opposing nuclear ambitions that put the west on edge. the national correspondent for the atlantic sat down with president obama. >> that is pretty tough talk with you, saying that i don't love over the possibility of military action. who is he trying to convince? the iranians or critics and the republican party? >> the short answer is everybody. there are multiple audiences, and he toughened up the rhetoric. they say, don't build nuclear
weapons because i am serious. he held out the promise of military intervention. the main recipient of the message is the israeli prime minister, and the message is sort of the same the. don't you go try to destroy the iranian nuclear program because i take it seriously. don't do anything precipitous. if we get to that point, we will deal with that in the manner in which you think you might have to deal with it. there is also a domestic political component to this. he doesn't want to be criticized as weak. the republicans know that there is very little they can do to criticize him on foreign policy after bin laden. iran is an area where they think he has some vulnerability. he does believe that for reasons that have nothing to do with israel that this is a serious problem.
nuclear proliferation is a big issue. >> is he going to be able to convince the israelis to be patient? >> i think he has that influence. whether the prime minister is going to believe him or not, this is the crucial question. this is their ninth or tenth meeting. this is the most consequential of those meetings that might turn out to be one of the most consequential that the president has had in three years. he can think, i have to do this because when push comes to shove, he is going to go do this. they will have a bit of a tussle, and the background of a pretty contentious relationship already. it is very unclear how this is going to go, but it is a very high-stakes game. >> and haven't always seen eye to eye. >> he said that the president
acknowledges that he comes through a tradition, the home minister comes from a right-wing tradition. they have all of the diplomatic euphemisms. the frank and honest and brutal. the conversations, i asked if they were friends and the president said that we are all so busy these days. he said that we exchanged our views in a very forthright manner. there is obviously a working relationship there. and there is no particular warmth, but i think some business can get done. the big question is, how does he walk out of this meeting thinking that he is alone in this and will have to do something this spring has people are speculating? >> does the president really believe that iran will voluntarily give up the nuclear ambitions? >> let me parson this carefully,
the president believes that they respond to self-interest. the sanctions that he has put in place is hurting their economy in serious ways. the use of the german world of hurt. he believes that they could respond to this pressure by, if not completely abandoning their nuclear plants, shoving them. how it might be enough for a while. there has been debate about the possibility of containment. what was his reaction to that? gosh he said it is impossible to contain a nuclear iran and the world's most volatile oil region. he said that he knows that if iran goes nuclear, four or five other powers will try to go nuclear. an enormous the standoff and the chance for escalation. he doesn't think it is a
workable solution. >> and thank you for joining us. still to come on tonight's program, trying to prevent another crisis. leaders agreed to keep their government budgets in check. but will they really live by the rules? >> in new zealand, the christ church cathedral is going to be demolished after being badly damaged in last year's earthquake. duncan kennedy has the details. >> it was a disaster that destroyed lives and buildings. the 6.3 magnitude shaking the center of new zealand's city to its foundations. it was the collapse of the iconic cathedral that became the defining image of the devastation. assault on the very soul of christchurch.
131 years of history came to an end. that is a physical and spiritual landmark, the famous first of its sections the fall. one year on, the church has decided that it will cost too much to repair. it is described as a staggering and not an option. victoria matthews says that the only viable plan is to start again. and the cathedral will be taken down in a dignified and respectful way. >> there'll be no bulldozers or wrecking balls. this will be done with deep respect and love. >> the idea of demolishing it has appalled of many. it is a symbol of the city's resilience. the memory reference point. they say it should be preserved at any cost. >> isn't necessary at all.
this need not be done. >> i don't know if it is a full range of possible options being explored. >> in the church wants to build a new cathedral somewhere else. he city remains divided over those that want to move on and those that want to conserve. >> in brussels, the problems of the eurozone took center stage yet again. heads of government signed an agreement aimed at preventing future problems. but doesn't go far enough? >> each signature brought their economies ever closer together. each day argued would help save the euro. >> it has been drafted with speed because the crisis
requires a swift response. once the treaty enters into force, it will be deep and long- lasting. >> and david cameron was here, but not in the room. the u.k. and the czech republic were the only ones not to sign. it obliges countries to limit the amount of that they get into. institutions will have powers to oversee the spending plans of individual government. but importantly, there will be no automatic sanctions for those countries that do get into trouble. >> they hope this new pact will help avoid another debt crisis in the continent. it certainly does tighten the existing rules and there is nothing to force even a majority of those countries that signed up to date to live by those rules, to really bring the men. gosh, there is this, how to get
europe working again. the focus on efforts to improve growth. david cameron said that britain made its voice heard on those. an administration that the u.k. still has real influence in europe. >> we have the words, we need to make sure that we get the actions that follow from those words. >> they hope they can improve the way that the single market works. removing constraints during the economic downturn. the measures taken in brussels feel irrelevant. he lives in athens, unemployed and homeless. >> i am worried about the next generation. i have to be realistic and they may never find a job again. what about my daughter and her friends? >> he took us to the street where his home once was. i spent 50 years living here,
now looked at my life. he began to cry. there is little in brussels that will make any difference to him. >> tonight, the ratings agency has downgraded decreased to the lowest rating on its tail. and the economic woes to one of the finest exports, and has been 520 years since christopher columbus discovered tobacco on the island nation. >> of the tobacco fields il the precious crop. world-renowned, they have a decent living for its farmers. gosh i can't complain, he says.
it will yield results. the cuban climate is soiled, and the way it is cultivated farms the same way for generations. some things are changing. >> 520 years since europeans discovered this here. western europe is still a key market. with the economic crisis there, this island is now looking further for new markets. >> with the growing middle class, russia is one of them. they are among hundreds visiting cuba this week for the annual cigar festival. sales rose over 30% last year as a bigger market fell. >> the first brand, the second
brand is monte cristo. [inaudible] >> russians like the expensive ones. >> q. but display its finest brand, while precious jewels. china is also developing a taste for the cigars, a major factor helping to keep sales steady. >> we are enjoying the same growth. it is boosted by the emerging market, the high growth countries like china, russia, brazil, the middle east. >> they are very inventive and technologies. >> increased the number in the market. it has become a priority.
above all, this week is about celebrating something that cuba makes better than anyone. the cigar festival is one of the most glamorous events in the calendar from all over the world. even with a celebrity guest from america, like all cuban imports, they are bound under the trade embargo. >> cuba makes the best tobacco and the entire world. as a cigar smoker, this is a mecca. >> a reputation built in the island anxious to hold onto it. >> that brings today's show to a close. for all of us here at abc world news america, thank you for watching. -- bbc world news america, thank you for watching.
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