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tv   BBC World News America  PBS  December 29, 2016 3:59pm-4:29pm PST

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>> this is "bbc world news america." funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation. newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good. kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and aruba tourism authority. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the island with warm, sunny days, cooling trade winds, and the crystal blue caribbean sea. nonstop flights are available from most major airports. more information for your vacation planning is available at aruba.com. >> and now, "bbc world news america."
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kasia: hello, i'm kasia madera with bbc world news. our top stories -- president obama orders tough measures against russia after accusing it of interfering with u.s. elections. the cease-fire agreed by the syrian government and rebel factions is due to take effect across the country now. reporter: the documents have been signed between the syrian government and the armed opposition in syria. there is a document on measures controlling areas covered by the cease-fire and an agreement on the start of peace talks. kasia: several of the main rebel factions have backed the deal, but some jihadist groups are excluded. we will bring you the latest. and china's latest dizzying feat of engineering. we take a closer look at the world's new highest bridge.
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kasia: hello, and welcome. president obama has ordered a series of retaliatory measures against russia over its attempt to influence the 2016 election by hacking the democratic national committee. the american president said the activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the russian government. mr. obama called the tough measures an appropriate response , but moscow denies the allegations, saying the sanctions are unlawful and will harm the restoration of ties between the u.s. and russia. 35 russian diplomats will be expelled, all suspected of being intelligence operatives. with their families, they will have 72 hours to leave america. 2 russian compounds with the white house -- which the white house believes were used for intelligence gathering in maryland and new york will be closed. sanctions are also being levied
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against russia's 2 leading intelligence services. 4 top russian officers will be targeted for allegedly ordering the attacks. mr. obama also announced that the u.s. will produce evidence linking the cyberattacks to computer systems used by russian intelligence. and he warned that more unspecified actions will follow. our correspondent in washington, laura bicker, gave me the reaction to these sanctions. laura: this is the strongest action yet by america against a cyber attack on american soil. president obama says he will release the report by the fbi and the department of homeland security, which will show the evidence which he has that this was russia behind this hacking into the democratic party e-mails. all who were following the u.s.
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presidential election will remember that the hacks revealed embarrassing details by hillary clinton's closest aides written to and from various senior democratic party officials, and they were released on wikileaks. now, it has been the view of the cia that russia was behind us hacking, the cyberattack, and that it was orchestrated by the highest levels of russian government. president obama back in october warned vladimir putin that there would be repercussions if he was seen to interfere with u.s. democracy. today president obama has come good on that promise. he has decided to act. he says the actions were not just for the cyber hacking but also in retaliation for what he describes as harassment against american diplomats in moscow. now, the action he is taking is expelling 35 russian officials from washington and san francisco.
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they are described as persona non grata. we are trying to figure out whether these are actually diplomats or whether they are intelligence officials. but the state department says they were seen acting in a manner which did not -- it was not consistent with their diplomatic or consular status. so they have and will be expelled. also, they are closing 2 russian compounds, one in new york, the other in maryland. these are strong actions by president obama, and the senior republican, house speaker paul ryan, has said that it is about time that these actions were taken. so with just 23 days to go before president obama leaves office, he is showing russia certainly that he will not take this cyber activity lightly. kasia: our correspondent in washington, laura bicker. democratic senator amy klobuchar is with republican senators john
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mccain and lindsey graham on a three-day tour of the baltics, georgia and ukraine, talking about cyber crimes. they said it was time for moscow to understand that enough is enough. before heading off to kiev, senator klobuchar gave her reaction from lithuania about the sanctions the united states is imposing. sen. klobuchar: well, i think this is a strong initial start. i think moore will happen. we will have hearings in congress. we finally have a public report that declassified some of the information. i am in lithuania right now with senators john mccain and lindsey graham and we are here to stand up for our allies in eastern europe and nato and to make the point that this isn't about one political party. i am a democrat, they are both republicans, one of them was the republican candidate for president. we see this not about one candidate or party but as an assault on democracy. this is something that was not just about american democracy, it is about all democracies.
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there is upcoming elections in germany and france. and for the u.s. just to roll over and let this happen with no response would have been a huge mistake. kasia: but, senator klobuchar, you have a president-elect who soon to be inaugurated, who wants to work closer with president putin. donald trump could potentially reverse this. sen. klobuchar: he could, but first of all, what president obama did was amend the 2015 order to make it easier for any president to go after any foreign entity that tries to influence american elections. that is an important tool to have in the toolbox. secondly, if he were to reverse these actual sanctions, he would be going in the face of 17 u.s. intelligence agencies who are united in their findings that russia tried to influence the american election. and also against the u.s. congress, where you have strong bipartisan support for going after russian aggression.
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if he is going to side with vladimir putin vs. the entire intelligence community in america and congress, i don't think he is going to do that. kasia: the russians have described this as the death throes of political corpses, the outgoing obama administration lashing out. is that something you agree with? sen. klobuchar: not at all. first of all, president obama has all-time popularity right now. secondly, you have the fact that john mccain and lindsey graham are here with me because they believe this isn't about one political party. as marco rubio, who ran for president, republican, said, next time it could be a republican. it is about something bigger than a single election. this is about american democracy, and are a number of republicans who will support these sanctions and even want to do more. kasia: but if donald trump, as
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he is saying, wants to work closer with president putin -- he has spoken of his admiration for president putin -- if he reverses this, what happens? sen. klobuchar: i think congress will act. we will start with hearings, and senator mccain chairs the armed services committee and he wants to have hearings in january and we would like to see them in the judiciary committee, where i serve. there will be hearings in the intelligence committee. i think there will be bipartisan support for moving forward with these sanctions. of course, that is not necessary with the sanctions president obama outlined today. only if somehow the president-elect reversed them. but i wouldn't be surprised to see congress go even further. kasia: that was senator amy klobuchar, actually talking about cyber crime with the republican senators john mccain and lindsey graham. we have much more decals on this story, developing story, on the bbc website.
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you can find up-to-the-minute information on the russian and u.s. reaction coming in so far. that is all at bbc.com/news. in other news, a cease-fire agreed by the syrian government and rebel factions is coming into effect right now. the deal was brokered by russia and turkey with the backing of other countries including iran. but the united states was not involved. the warring parties have indicated their willingness to start peace. but president putin has described the agreement as fragile. this is what we do know about the deal. the cease-fire comes into effect midnight local time, has been agreed by 13 opposition factions. there will be a halt to airstrikes and showing. ing.helle the truce excludes the islamic state group and the kurdish-led militia that turkey considers a terrorist organization. it is unclear if it includes the former al qaeda syria branch, the nusra front.
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it includes an area near damascus which had been a sticking point in negotiations. turkey and russia, which have backed opposing sides, are to act as guarantors. the cease-fire announcement was made in moscow, from where our correspondent steve rosenberg reports. steve: for nearly six years, syria has been torn apart by civil war, a country reduced to ruins, a conflict that has left more than 400,000 people dead. there have been peace initiatives before, which brought no peace. but today russia announced a breakthrough. in the kremlin, russia's defense minister handed vladimir putin a list of syrian opposition groups which have signed up to a cease-fire with president assad. 60,000 rebels, he said, would stop fighting. this is how president putin summarized the deal.
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3 documentsnputin: have been signed. the first document, between the syrian government and armed opposition, is about a cease-fire on the syrian arabic republic. the second document sets out the measures for monitoring the cease-fire. and the third is on peace talks ending the conflict. steve: the syrian government was persuaded by russia to sign today's agreement. it is with an assortment of seven syrian rebel groups. turkey's role was crucial in convincing them. not part of the deal, a so-called islamic state, or the main kurdish rebel group fighting them, the ypg. and there is confusion over whether the agreement covers a key rebel group widely seen as linked to al qaeda. sidelined is washington. with john kerry's diplomacy, the u.s. had been cosponsor with russia of previous peace efforts for syria. but today the kremlin has
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snubbed the obama administration. moscow said it hoped america would join a new round of peace talks when donald trump takes over. now it is russia and turkey in the driving seat. early this month they brokered a deal to evacuate rebel-held neighborhoods in aleppo. once that was complete, the search for a nationwide cease-fire began. today turkey's president praised his country's role. : turkey hasdogan been given every possible support in the face of the humanitarian situation in order to end the clashes since early december. we have invested a lot of our time in this. thanks to our government's diplomatic efforts, the syrians civilians in east aleppo have been evacuated. it is necessary for all sides to observe the cease-fire. steve: but will the cease-fire
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hold? today the free syrian army was cautious. >> during the talks, the russian government guaranteed to us that they will keep syrian regime forces and their allies under control. during these talks, we have not met anyone from the syrian regime. steve: meanwhile, the violence in syria continues. this amateur video purports to show the aftermath of an airstrike today in the suburbs of damascus. schoolchildren running, screaming, through the smoke and the chaos. when it begins, can the cease-fire end this war? you can understand why many syrians have low expectations. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow. kasia: andrew tabler is a senior fellow at the washington institute, where he focuses on syria. he explains the confusion around
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who is and is not included in the agreement. andrew: at the moment, the seven groups announced by moscow -- one of them, one of the largest formations in turkey -- there is a disagreement on whether it is included in this or not. they said they have not signed it. this is fairly normal in the syrian negotiation process, as different parties pressure groups on the ground and the government to get to the table. they want to wait to see who will show up. kasia: what happens with president assad? how is he going to be involved in these negotiations? can he be? andrew: i think his government is certainly going to be. this agreement is something process theo the west has been sponsoring but something closer to the iranian four-point plan, starting with
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the cease-fire, talk -- peace talks to get to a national unity government going. that means president assad stays, at least for now. we have a different process than the transition once envisioned a few years ago. kasia: we see that the ypg group is not involved in the agreement. what does this mean for the kurds? andrew: well, a couple of things. a large swath of syrian territory is outside the process. this agreement is only going to deal with western syria anyway. the other issue is the kurds are backed by the united states, which is away from the table. the u.s. is twice removed and wants to see if donald trump will get the united states back into this process or stand back and watch it happen. kasia: are you surprised this is a turkish-russian-led
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instigation rather than coming from washington and russia? andrew: no, washington retreated from a position in syria some time ago, and was unable to accomplish the results it sought earlier this year concerning aleppo and targeting terrorists. and so here we are. kasia: here we are indeed. what kind of impact do you think this will have, if any, for that matter? andrew: it potentially could bring important players to the table, but they have to agree on something. perhaps they will agree. neither one can take the whole syrian territory and it could calm things down for the moment. that could be good news for syrians on the ground who have been suffering. kasia: andrew tabler from the washington institute speaking to me earlier. do stay with us on "bbc world news." more to come, including tributes to hollywood actress and singer debbie reynolds, who died one day after her daughter, carrie
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fisher. >> tomorrow in holland we will use money we picked up in belgium. >> george harrison, the former beatle, is recovering in hospital after being stabbed in his home. a 33-year-old man is being interviewed in the verbal on suspicion -- in liverpool on suspicion of attempted murder. >> i think it was good. >> just good? >> no, fantastic. >> that's better.
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kasia: you are watching "bbc world news." i am kasia madera. our main headlines for you -- washington is expelling 35 russian diplomats amid accusations they tried to subvert the american election. russia says the syrian government and opposition fighters have agreed to a cease-fire that starts midnight local time. tributes continue to pour in for the hollywood actress debbie reynolds, who died one day after the death of her daughter, carrie fisher. let's take a look at these images from los angeles, where people have been paying their respects and leaving flowers at her star on the hollywood walk of fame. debbie reynolds, who was 84, shot to fame in the 1950's after starring in the musical "singi'' in the rain." the actress had been rushed to
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hospital with stroke. a look back at her life. >> ♪ singing in the rain just singing in the rain ♪ reporter: debbie reynolds was just 19. she had not really danced before this, but this performance made her a star. >> it was supposed to be an innocent, virginal little girl, and certainly i was that, and it was tough for poor gene to be stuck with me. it would've been far better for him to have a great answe dance. but i worked so hard that in the end, when i look at the performance of that little girl, i think i did a good job. >> ♪ all i do is dream of you the whole night through ♪ reporter: 64 years later, her death comes just a day after losing her daughter, carrie fisher. she had been planning her funeral when she was taken ill. her son todd said the stress was
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simply too much. among the tickets, bette midler, who said it was hard to comprehend. dame joan collins said she was truly heartbroken. >> you could make an album, i could produce it. reporter: the mother-daughter relationship, meryl streep and maclaine gave a taste of the ups and downs in "postcards from the edge," but it was far from the full story. debbie reynolds wanted to play the role but was told she wasn't right for the part. >> you want me to do well, just not better than you. reporter: what she was right for was old-school hollywood song and dance. the show always went on, even when she was abandoned by her husband eddie fisher for elizabeth taylor. >> my personal life is always sort of like, i think i can, i think i can -- i seem to marry very poorly, no taste in men.
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luckily for me, god was good and i have wonderful children. reporter: and here she is, carrie fisher, six years old, watching her mother on stage. the photographer said she didn't move. years later, debbie reynolds' final words, "i want to be with carrie." if you want to remember what made her special, remember her like this. kasia: the actress debbie reynolds, who has died at the age of 84, the day after her daughter, carrie fisher. now, in just three weeks time, donald trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the united states, in a ceremony on capitol hill, before moving to the white house. but in the seven weeks since his election, mr. trump has looked
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opted to stay at his home, trump tower in new york, a city which voted overwhelmingly for his opponent hillary clinton. as correspondent nick bryant explains, trump tower has become a magnet for those who cannot or will not accept the trump ascendancy. nick: christmas in new york city. hardly a season of goodwill towards all men. >> people coming out here on the streets to oppose this woman-hating, racist, fascist regime -- nick: carols drowned out by anti-trump chants. many new yorkers hate having donald trump in their midst. >> new yorkers loathe trump and always have, and that tells you a lot. this is his hometown. new yorkers hate donald trump
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and have for decades and we know him better than anyone in the country. it is despicable that a new yorker could be so egregiously against women, people of color, people of different religions. when he comes from the most beautiful melting pot of new york. it is a dagger in my heart, to be honest, as a new yorker. it makes me want to cry right now. i'm sorry. nick: protests large and small have become almost a permanent feature of life in new york city since the election of donald trump, and feelings are particularly intense in manhattan, his home, where nine out of 10 voters supported hillary clinton. some new yorkers have registered the disapproval by campaigning to have his name removed from their apartment buildings. and at this playground in brooklyn, when pro-trump graffiti appeared alongside
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swastikas, it was quickly transformed into a shrine of love. a rally shortly afterwards displayed the deep community unease that reports of hate and bias crimes in york has increased 115% since election day. >> i reject donald trump's vision of america. new york city is asking you to do the same. nick: the billionaire's name remains emblazoned on buildings and even ice rinks. this christmas, the big apple has something of a gotham city feel, with a president-elect cast by many of his fellow new yorkers as a super villain. nick bryant, bbc news, new york. kasia: china's latest dizzying feat of engineering is in use. it is the world's highest bridge and open to traffic. let's take a closer look --
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unless, of course, you don't like heights. kasia: you will not get me crossing that. thanks for watching. bye-bye.
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>> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation. newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good. kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and aruba tourism authority. >> "bbc world news" was >> "bbc world news" was presented by k
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