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tv   BBC World News America  PBS  September 28, 2015 3:59pm-4:29pm PDT

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>> this is "bbc world news" america." >> funding is made possible by the freedom foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all prfts to charity and pursuing the common good. cokeler foundation and mufg. >> we can do more when we work together. our banking relationships span cultures and support almost every industry across the globe.
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because success takes partnership and only with discipline and trust can we create something greater than ourselves. mufg, we build relationships that build the world. >> and now, cbs "world news america." -- "bbc world news america." >> reporting from washington, i'm jane o'brien. president obama and putin are among the world leaders who addressed the united nations today ahead of a highly anticipated meeting. we're there covering every angle. >> i'm here in new york and we'll get the view from a top white house official on negotiating with russia. >> but the common ground is we do see extremism and that can be the basis for trying to come together and reach an agreement we haven't been able to in past years. >> and scientists announced there seems to be flowing water
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on mars, fueling speculation about whether there's also life on the red planet. >> welcome to our viewers on public television in america and around the globe. it was a jam-packed day at the united nations with the leaders of china, iran, the u.s. and russia all taking to the podium. among the key topics was with what to do about the situation in syria and that's a major issue of discussion at the meeting between presidents obama and putin tonight. laura is there in new york following it all and picks up our coverage. laura: jane, quite the day of diplomatic activity here at the united nations in new york. first off the bat early this morning president obama arrived and told world leaders he was ready to work with any nation, including iran and russia to
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bring peace to syria. then he was very clear. he said that the syrian president bashar al-assad was a tyrant. quite the competing view then from syria's ally, russia's perspective vladimir putin saying it would be an enormous mistake not to work with the syrian leader. so should be an interesting meeting between those two men. our north american editor john is in new york at the united nations and that's -- has this report. >> a the u.s. president's motorcade is an exercise in the projection of power but barack obama's syrian policy has been anything but so arriving at the u.n. today, a new drive to make progress, and it's needed. in a letter last week, a government attack and another reminder of the cost of four and a half years of civil war. millions fleeing, creating the worst refugee crisis since the
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second world war and so-called islamic state fighters making big territorial gains. today delegates arriving at the u.n. would hear president obama restate that while the syrian leader was a tyrant, it was no longer realistic to demand his immediate removal at the name of progress. a ut realism also requires managed trags transition away from assad and to a new leader. >> from vladimir putin a different analysis. president assad was a valiant leader fighting terrorism. nevertheless, where both the u.s. and russia agree is on the urgency of crushing i.s. >> we must join assets to address the problem that all of us are facing and to create a
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generally broad international coalition against terrorism. similar to the anti-hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces. as part of this new reaching out, david cameron met the aaron on-- iranian president to discuss how britain and iran could work together. >> what we need is obviously an intensification of the attacks on isil. it's absolutely vital that they are driven out of iraq and syria and at the same time we need a stepped-up political process and a solution to this terrible conflict and one which sees the end of assad. >> are there grounds for optimism? a question i put to one of obowl ice most senior foreign policy advisors. >> i think the one reason that there might be a breakthrough at
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some point is because off -- all the interests are in syria. nobody is benefiting from the status quo. >> after the u.n. speeches, a toast to the u.s. from barack obama. he clinks glasses except for that man on the right of the screen. eventually president putin gives up waiting. you can bring world leaders to table but you can't force them to clink. >> the u.n. secretary general has said that five countries hold the key to resolving the conflict in syria, including russia and the united states. jeremy burns looks at the possible areas of consent which might emerge. >> the war in syria is in its fifth year. in a trip there earlier in month it was clear to me that the dynamic of war was michigan -- much more powerful than
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diplomacy. all sides are determined to fight on. more than 200,000 syrians have been killed and the war has displaced half the population. eight million inside syria have -- and four million abroad as refugees. the syrian war might well go on shedding blood and defeating diplomacy. the reason is it's so complicated. it's pulled in regional and world powers. the big players include turkey, saudi arabia and qatar, who have upported rejeemings. israel and others support the regime of al-assad. the u.s. and france are bombing the jihadist and islamic state in syria and britain might join them. any diplomatic resolution would mean all those powers and others agreeing and finding a way to
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enforce their plan. the chances are not great. the exodus of syrian refugees towards europe is one factor that has put syria at the top of the have the diplomatic agenda. it cannot be ignored. the other factor is the continued rise of the jihadist and islamic state and the threat they represent in the middle east and further away. in a country that's being destroyed by war, the regime has learned to ignore pronouncements by britain and its friends about president assad's future. western powers have almost no influence on what happens inside syria because of anywhere reluctance over more than four years to get involved. but president putin of russia is different, looking eager to use his country's military might to restore its status as a major middle eastern power. he says his army is the only
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force fighting isis effectively. he's backing syria and upstaging the west. what about the attitude of armed rebel groups? between them they control big swavepts of syria. there have -- they have no interest in talks of a political transitions thousands of miles from the battlefield in new york, in the it delivers them victory. bbc news. >> as we've reported tonight, president obama and president putin are meeting for talks. before their talks began, i spoke with the white house deputy national security advisor ben rhodes. how can the president really work with russia on syria when, as we heard president putin say today, he sees assad a solution. >> even as we've had enormous differences with russia over the last couple of years on ukraine and syria, we've been able to work with then -- them on issues
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like iran. the main case we're making is it's in your interests to pass a resolution in which assad transitions. >> how is this managed transition going to work in your view? >> you have to have elements from the opposition and laments from the regime who are willing to come together in a transitional governing structure of some form. we insist that assad leave power as a part of that process and the people of syria determine their own future leaders. >> the russians say it would be dangerous to abandon assad when he's the only military strong man. >> i think it's dangerous leaving him there. he's lost more and more of his country. assad controls much less of it today than even a year ago. that may be why russia is taking these moves. the sewn a-- sunni population is
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never going to accept assad. they need to understand that their legitimate interests can only be met if there's stability in the country through political resolution. >> based on the statements well heard from president obama and putin today where's the common ground? >> the common ground is the fight against isil. every nation can have a place. russia could play a constructive role against isil. we do see a shared threat against extremism and that could be the basis for reaching an agreement. >> president putin is proposing his own international plan. is the u.s. going to join that? >> we already have a coalition in the fight against isil. this is not about who calls the shots. it's about what is going to be the effective approach to get things done and we believe we have an approach that has a
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military and intelligence element but needs a diplomatic element as well. > isn't it true that there are potentially going to be two different coalitions that could clash militarily? >> there is what we've already seen from russia. they've been providing military support to assad for years. they've been providing advice. they're ramping that up. we've said we need to deconflict our operatings in syria. we can have those conversations to make sure there's not some type of incident that neither side wants. >> also the russians are going to be sharing intelligence with iran, iraq and syria. what are they doing sharing intelligence on the part of the islamic state when they're part of your coalition? >> i think this has been pretty overstated. the fact is russia has been sharing intelligence with iran and syria for many years.
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they announced they're going to be sharing some intelligence with iraq. we don't see that in any way as an operational risk for us. we don't see russia operating in iraq in any way, shape, or form. some of it is president putin showing he wants to be a part of this effort but the fact of the matter is the united states and our allies are invested in iraq and trying to support the iraqi government. thank you very much for joining us. >> that was the white house deputy national security advisor speaking to me earlier. wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall in that meeting between president obama and president put season i know i would. >> having said all that and the pictures and images of just how far away they are still, apparently from reaching any consensus. can there be a working relationship on syria? >> well, they started that meeting tonight with a handshake so that's pretty cordial and then they went and got down to
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business. the question really is whether the crisis in syria is now so grave and the effects it's had are so extreme, both in terms of encouraging the riles of the islamic state within syria and forming this refugee migration crisis, which is engulfing jordan, spilling over in turkey. refugees on the door stems of european countries. a tremendous thing with europe figuring out how to deal with it. everyone you talk to says there has to be a solution for seara because they're creating these areas of extremism but what the common ground is between russia and the united states is not immediately clear at this point but maybe there's a way to finesse the transition of president assad but whether he will agree to discuss a future without him when he is -- has so clearly been bedding down for
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the long haul is very unclear. but this jane, is diplomacy in action. jane: how are other nations viewing this? you're in the thick of things. what are they saying? >> it's very interestiig. the king of jordan spoke earlier today. and the jordanians are in the hot seat, both in terms of being overwhelmed with the number of refugees co--- from syria and also since jordan has joined the coalition with the united states against islamic state and remember the horrific pictures of that jordanian pilot who was burned alive. of jordan saidnt that this is a third world war. it couldn't be more serious, jane. >> jane: laura with the latest there from new york. thank you very much for joining us. other news from around the world.
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the taliban in afghanistan say they have captured the prosecute vinck intellectual government's headquarters in kunduz and the airport. the senior government officials confirmed the headquarters had fallen to militants. they railed it would capitol before dawn and broke into the central prison to free hundreds of jailed insurgents. german prosecutors have opened an investigation into the former executive of volkswagen martin winterkorn. he stemmed down last week over a scandal about the rigging of emissions tests. the investigation will focus on the sale of fraud in cars. v.w. says 2.1 million of its cars worldwide were fitted with the software that be be using told cheat emissions tests. the fifa president sepp blatter said he won't leave his post until february, despite authorities deciding to open a
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criminal investigation against him. the head of the world football governing body repeated he had done nothing wrong or improper. you're watching "bbc world news america." still to come, a month after a peace deal was signed, there's little sign of the conflict ending with swanse civilians trapped in the middle. royal dutch shell has stopped exploration off the coast of alaska after disappointing results in the key well. the company -- company has spent about $7 billion on offshore development. shell said it did not find sufficient amounts of -- of oil and gas to warrant further investigation. it's -- spleerks. it's ending exploration in alaska for the foreseeable future. >> i think this is part commercial, part political.
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their first exploration drill has not come up with any real roimble assets but i also think there's been a long and painful battle since 2005 when they first started looking at this off the coast of alaska. there have been huge battles, environmentalle -- environmental prosels -- protests, arguments with the u.s. company. they had trouble with a rig fire, supply ships. they had to cease operations for a while in 2012 after a rig fire. and even though president obama has just given the go-ahead for arctic exploration i think shell decided that politically it was becoming very, very difficult. i spoke to the chief executive of shell two weeks ago and was still saying the area had great potential and our desire is going up and up but it looks like shell has decided they're
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no longer going to be if key runner there. shell has a huge deal with a company called b.g. group, an oil and gas company. they're still trying to digest that deal and, of course, the oil price is hatch what it was just over a year ago so these very tough environments for drilling now look no longer so exciting commercially for oil companies. ♪ >> last month a peace deal was signed in sudan between the president and leader of the rebels, but since that time the situation has worseened. fighting is continuing forcing millions from their homes. the conflict started as a political dispute between the president and his former deputy. but now the violence has trapped civilians in the middle. our african correspondent
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reports from unity state. >> these abandoned farms and fields of where the rules of war were broken, where basic humanity was cast aside. survivors say children were changed -- hanged, civilians locked in their huts and burned alive. they fled here, into the floodplain of the nile. it took us two hours to reach just the nearest of those stranded to bring them a few emergency supplies. thousands of people who scaurmented into the marshes are now marooned on small islands. the only way to get to them is through these dugout palm tree noles. we're told there are 200 families, which could be over 1,000 people. >> our goal is to target children under 5 years old so we'll do a quick medical assessment -- >> diarrhea, malaria, malnutrition. this country is sick.
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millions are being forced from their homes. it took some of them weeks to make it from the marshes to this you overcrowded u.n. example where disease is rife and where well over 100,000 people seek protection and the stories they tell of atrocities against civilians qualify as war crimes. >> they took away the cattle and the livestock and the girls who were over 15 to be their wives. they killed the others. >> she flames -- blames the government sources but says she never thought they'd kill swivel yabs. >> they spared no one. neither a child, an old man or an old woman. they killed everyone. there was no one left in the village. >> this family lived in the marsh for two months before a lack of noodle finally forced them to the camp. >> the water was up to here.
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we stayed in the river all day. we pushed the children on little grass huts but still the soldiers were shooting into the mostly cloudy skies. >> the accounts of rape, killings, civilians being burned alive are repeated in a u.n. report. every day dozens of people are arriving at the example. we just met angelina and her children. she spent seven days walking to get help her. she arrived at about the same time yesterday. they're not getting any food. she and the children are all sick. not everyone is getting the attention they need as quickly as they need it. 80% of the malaria tests in the camp are positive. it's reached epidemic proportions. sickness and foot shortage means malnutrition is now also killing children. the army is split between rebels and the government.
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in nearly two years of civil war, both sides have been blamed for atrocities but these latest accusations are against the government and have been denied. people have no confidence in a peace deal while fighting goes on, as what began as a political struggle for power is unraveling society in the world's youngest country. >> well, if from is life on mars, we just got a lot closer to finding it. images of the planet taken from a nasa space craft show gullies in the terrain most likely formed by salty water, which is still running along the surface. our correspondent has the details. >> it's a dry, desolate world, but under the surface of mars is ice. new pictures show that the ice melts and bubbles up to the surface. here we see evidence of it running down a martian slope. and this is an indication of
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water flowing like small rivers, arriving in the spring and increasing through the summer. it's something that that is hay -- nasa had suspected for years. now they have the proof. >> the existence of liquid water, even if it's super salty briny water, gives the possibility that if there's life on mars that we have a way to describe how it might survive. >> the first hint of liquid water was 15 years ago when nasa discovered these dark streaks inside a crater which looked like gullies but it would be far too cold for water to flow. this thin line here depicts one of the gullies. just two years later in 2013, the gullies were shown to have grown. what caused it? now, this latest study has found evidence of different kind of salts in these channels. that's important because salt can melt ice, enabling it to
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flow. it's thought that billions of ars ago mars had a thick atmosphere and lots of running water. the new results, pub accomplished in the journal "nature geoscience" showed that small amounts still flow. >> life depend on water. so here we have a discovery which points us to the existence of liquid water on mars today and that suggests that bacteria could exist in those environments even now. >> and that possibility will whet the appetite of those planning future missions to a world that's becoming increasingly more intriguing. "bbc news." >> and to think we may one day actually land there. that brings today's show to a close but you can find much more on all the day's news at our website. nd to reach the bbc team go to
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twitter. @"bbc news" u.s. thank you very much for watching and please do tune in tomorrow. >> make sense of international news at >> funding of this presentation is made possible but the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation. giving all profits to charity and pressure suing the common good. copeler foundation, and mufg. they say the oldest trees bear the sweetest fruit. at mufg, we have believed in
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nurturing banking relationships for centuries because strong financial partnerships are best cultivated for the years to come, giving your company the resources and stability to thrive. mufg, rebuild relationships that build the world. >> "bbc world news" was presented by kcet los angeles.
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