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tv   BBC World News America  PBS  November 23, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm PST

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>> this is "bbc world news america." funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and now, "bbc world news." christian: this is "bbc world news america." i'm christian fraser. the ritz-carlton riyadh is a princes andison for
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rich businessmen. we have an exclusive report from inside the saudi hotel where a corruption investigation is underway. lyse: the ambitious crown prince risks creating enemies and uncertainty, which could endanger stability and reform that the kingdom so badly needs. christian: the argentine navy says satellite detected an explosion on the day a submarine went missing in the south atlantic. the biggest ever photo album in the united states, reflecting the everyday life of postwar america. christian: welcome to "world news america." i'm christian fraser in london. for almost three weeks now, some of the most privileged members of saudi society have been held in the ritz-carlton hotel in riyadh and interrogated on orders of the crown prince. mohammad bin salman has presented the arrests as a
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crackdown against corruption. they would also seem to consolidate his position as the most powerful man in the kingdom. among those health is the --ntries were just investor the country's richest investor, billionaire al-waleed bin talal. very few have been allowed into the hotel, but our international correspondent lyse doucet was given rare access. lyse: we drive in under police escort just past midnight. no one enters without official permission. the world's most talked about hotel. riyadh's most palatial, most prestigious, now a gilded prison. i'm taken in by saudi officials, told don't film faces, don't film conversations. here in the early hours of the morning, there is still people in the lobby drinking coffee, as you would find in any of the five-star hotels in the capital. most of the people forced to stay here are keeping to themselves, trying to limit any
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further damage to their reputation. the mobile phones have been taken away, but there is a hotline available to them where they can call lawyers, family members, even leading members of the companies they are trying to keep running. some of the biggest saudi billionaires are under house hotel arrest. prince al-waleed bin talal, a luxury hotelier himself, at least 11 princes. the head of the elite national guard. , mohammad binin salman, is driving this spectacular dragnet, building files on alleged corruption, abuses of power, while consolidating his own power. i am taken to meet one suspect. he doesn't give me his name. he says he spent some time with his lawyer focusing on his case. i'm told not to ask about it. but i get a briefing. senior officials conducting the crackdown say it is not a formal investigation yet.
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they call it a friendly process. but it is clearly fraught. we were told that when people were brought here somewhere they were understandably angry. some thought it would just be a show and it wouldn't last. and then when they realized they were here to stay, they were furious. almost everyone here, 95% i was told, are willing to make a deal to get back what are said to be substantial sums of money in order to get out of here. and so far, seven people have walked free. i was told they proved their innocence. many saudis welcome an end to the rampant corruption in the kingdom. but there are risks, too. the ambitious crown prince risks creating enemies and uncertainty, which could endanger stability and reform the kingdom so badly needs. the crown prince hopes everyone will be checking out by the end of this year. the longer this ordeal drags on, the more questions will be asked here and abroad about what is
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going on inside. lyse doucet, bbc news, the ritz-carlton riyadh. christian: earlier on "beyond 100 days," i spoke to lyse about the latest developments. this is a big gamble for the crown prince in terms of how he is perceived at home. and how he is perceived in other kingdoms. lyse: over a week i have been in the kingdom and i walked from -- i talked to many from many walks of life, and almost to a person they welcome to the crackdown on corruption. one man who is a very wealthy real estate developer said it is as if you lost your watch and you found it, and you are so happy because your watch has been given back to you. they said that this money belongs to us. several people said to me that the bribery they have seen before in judicial and financial institutions had stopped, that everyone is scared to do anything, lest they also end up in the ritz-carlton hotel.
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having said that, there are questions to be asked. why are some people in this purge and not others? what is in those files, the so-called evidence for the last two years? is it just about corruption, or is it something about power? you ask supporters if it is a paragraph and they say he already has all the power, he is the most powerful crown prince and he will be the most powerful king when he ascends to the throne. he would not have done this if he didn't feel he had the power. christian: you have also seen, though, that there are starting to emerge these reports of torture, quite lurid stories of people being hung upside down. what do you make of those? lyse: impossible to confirm. when we went into the hotel, there were reports of people falling ill, and i asked about it -- people from the human rights society, the anticorruption commission, the prosecutor's office -- and they said, the human rights office, there were no complaints.
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whether he is telling the full story or not, it is hard to say. they said that people had diabetes or heart conditions, people are old, there is an enormous amount of stress. but there were medical teams on standby and someone told me that heart doctors had been moved in. they are clearly suffering. whether or not the so-called interrogations have to go to what the mail said, people being hung upside down, torture, it is pressure, but there is the pressure of the documents. i was told the files like this, that they have gone through all the bank statements, all the financial records, and seven people have walked free, because they looked through the files and said, "no, that is not my money, that went to somebody else." they were able to challenge the so-called evidence and they are no longer being held in the prison. so there is some -- they have an ability with their lawyers to work through the files. most, it seems, are being told and most are saying now that
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there is no way out of this hotel until they prove their innocence, go to trial -- 4% are going to go to trial, apparently -- or pay up the money. christian: when it comes to people being detained longer than they would like, one of them, we believe, it is alleged, is saad hariri -- i don't know what to call him. i guess he is still the prime minister of lebanon. talk to me about this, because lebanon said he is being held against his wishes. emmanuel macron flies in unannounced on thursday. hariri goes to paris on saturday. and then suddenly, "i'm not retiring." how has macron gone to the conference and said, you have overreached here, you need to think again? lyse: i was in the region when all of this happened, and went -- and when saad hariri announced on television that he was stepping down. i was with government ministers and senior officials and they said it does not sound like his language. he may have considered that maybe his position was not working with the unity
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government, he wasn't able to take on hezbollah. but the saudis for months in advance were worried that saad hariri could not control his unity government, and the idea was you take him out of the government and you can say he has been captured by hezbollah, which justifies pressure on lebanon -- diplomatic, trade, financial pressures. there was talk at the time of a qatar-style blockade. now they are talking differently about it. i think it has sunk in, whether it was through president macron or the lebanese themselves that if you try to weaken lebanon, lebanon will collapse. this is not the way to go about taking on the most powerful political and military player in lebanon. three weeks on, saad hariri is more popular than ever. saudi officials were saying to me, almost boasting, he has gone back, he is more popular now, and he will be in a better position to take on hezbollah.
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the second chapter, let's see how it unfolds. christian: lyse doucet speaking to me a little earlier. the navy in argentina has confirmed that a sound consistent with an explosion was detected in an area where a submarine went missing eight days ago. an international rescue operation is going on in the south atlantic close to where the submarine disappeared. there are 44 crew on board. here's jonathan beale. jonathan: it is known as the silent service, but there has been no communication from the san juan and the 44 crew for more than a week. the search had already reached a critical phase with fears that the submarine would be running out of air. now more worrying news -- scientists confirm they detected an abnormal sound in the water. in the last known location. an argentine navy spokesman said it was a short, single, violent event, consistent with an explosion. it is a bitter blow for relatives. just a few days ago, they had
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been wrongly told there may have been attempts by the submarine to make contact. now they feel betrayed. >> i feel cheated. they are swine. they manipulated us. >> we have no more saints left to pray to, no more saints to ask. jonathan: aircraft and ships from more than half a dozen nations have been involved in what is still officially a search and rescue mission, at times in heavy seas. this the view from the royal navy ship hms protector earlier this week. but so far, nothing. the san juan left to the southern tip of argentina almost two weeks ago. she was on a 2000-mile journey when she reported an electrical failure. the last communication halfway home was last wednesday, the same day they identified that
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sound like an explosion. if it was to be an explosion or implosion, more correctly, it is very likely to have come from the submarine. there is nothing else in the area that would have cost that sort of noise. jonathan: it now seems unlikely their prayers will be answered. for the families of the 44 crew, hopes of a miraculous rescue have all but disappeared. jonathan beale, bbc news. christian: let's speak to a former royal navy warfare officer and intelligence consultant. he joins me from hastings here in the u.k. great to have you with us. let's speculate for a moment that this was an explosion on board the submarine. what might have caused it? >> the usual suspects would be a weapon accident. typically -- it is not usually the warhead. normally the propulsion system of the torpedo. some of those torpedoes, particularly experimental ones,
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are powered by all kinds of a volatile chemicals, and they can mix early and you can get what is called a hot running torpedo in the tube. it is possible that it could be a weapon accident. that does not rule out some other mechanical defect on board the boat, but probably it would be a weapon accident, if the reported explosion is indeed connected with the san juan. christian: they did report before they went missing that they had a problem. if there was an explosion on board, does that mean it is the end, or could they have moved to another part of the submarine? >> as with all things to do with submarines, there are great deal of safety precautions that exist within keeping the boat safe. so yes, it is absolutely
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possible that if you have a weapon accident in the fore part, the front part of the boat, the compartments, the stern, the back of the boat, may well continue to remain pressurized. we found out with the accident some years back. so yes, it is entirely possible if it had been a weapon accident that there could be people on board still alive. christian: very quick 1 -- if they were still to be alive in the submarine, and at a position in the ocean where they can get to them, how long do they have? >> it is impossible for me to say. we have seen the estimate of the onboard systems will hold up, but perhaps they have been damaged.
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there are oxygen candles onboard some submarines that generate oxygen. you find that if there are only a few people breathing that, that will change. but i would say at this point, the 2 things are not 100% connected. we don't know that is the case. christian: no, i understand. thank you very much for being with us. good to talk to you, thank you. >> ok. christian: you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come on tonight's program, just how influential is russia's relationship with donald trump? we will be talking to the author of the new book "collusion." the dalai lama says he may never travel abroad again. he is suffering from exhaustion. in the future, officials from tibet's current government in exile will act as his emissaries. here's the details.
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christian: "collusion," the new book written by "the guardian" journalist luke harding, has the
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feel of a john le carre spy novel, except to the characters are all real. the stories of kremlin espionage , money laundering, computer hacking, are all being investigated by special counsel robert mueller, and in some cases charges have already been made. for "beyond 100 days," katty kay and i caught up with the author, luke harding, in berlin. luke harding, your book starts with a meeting you had in december 2016 with the former mi6 agent christopher steele, whose dossier, of course, began this russia investigation. why do you think the intelligence agencies put such trust in him in the beginning? luke: well, christopher steeleis a professional guy. he spent 20 years working for british intelligence. he was at moscow at the british embassy there. then he went into private business. he has a pretty good record.
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intelligence sources i've spoken to describe him as solid, as reliable. what you have to understand is the sources he used for this dossier over trump and russia worked with the same sources that have proven themselves in other areas. in other words, people who had a track record which was credible, and which held up. katty: luke, there are tons of dodgy characters, e-mails, money involved, beauty pageants, much of which has been reported before. if you had to point to the single most suspect thing that you uncovered that would put the trump campaign under the spotlight, what would it be? luke: the thing about the story is it goes a long way, and the single most important episode is summer 1987, wherein donald trump for the first time goes to moscow at the invitation of the soviet government, a to -- ostensibly to discuss building hotel in moscow. but what we know is that the trip was basically arranged by
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the soviet ambassador, and he was brought by a state travel agency. sources i spoke to said this was the kgb. i think we can say without exaggeration the kgb more or less brought donald trump to moscow. it was what you would say a classic cultivation exercise. now, i'm not saying that donald trump was a kgb spy in the 1980's, but what we can say with certainty is that there were repeated attempts in the soviet period and russian period to cultivate donald trump and get close to him and his associates and exploit him in ways that would help moscow and moscow's purposes. christian: you also pointed towards the oligarchs in russia, very powerful men, billionaires. there is probably over 100 of them or so. what you are saying is that there is no separation between them and the kremlin because they owe their allegiance to
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vladimir putin. luke: being a billionaire brings privileges, but it also brings back obligations, and we see oligarchs doing things perhaps at the behest of the kremlin and the russian state. we see one oligarch buy donald trump's mansion in florida. trump bought it for $40 million in 2004. this oligarch buys it a few years later for $95 million. which is very curious. and we also see oligarchs interacting with people in the trump campaign team, especially paul manafort. katty: luke, an alternative theory of all of this is that the trump campaign was certainly the most chaotic campaign i've ever covered in american presidential elections. people were freelancing. carter page may or may not, according to the dossier, have been meeting russian spies in moscow. but it is also quite plausible that donald trump knew nothing about that from the top down. and you have not uncovered
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evidence, have you, of a quid for the pro quo. that they promised to drop her sanctions relief if the russians gave dirt on hillary clinton. luke: there was a long-standing transactional relationship going back five or six years between trump and powerful russian state interests, and those of flow in both directions. there was information going from america to russia about russian oligarchs living in the united states. and they were politically helpful materials flowing back to trump. but you just have to look at what happened in the u.s. election, what happened with -- u.s. intelligence stole tens of thousands of democratic party e-mails, and dumped them out to help trump and seriously damage hillary clinton. what we now know thanks to the indictment by robert mueller, the special prosecutor looking at all of this, is that the trump campaign was told this as
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early as april 2016, well below -- well before hillary clinton had any idea that her server had been hacked. if you look at the story, there seems to be a degree of coordination between the two camps to maximize damage to hillary. christian: the book is "collusion." it is a fascinating read. luke harding, thank you for being with us. let's take a look at the day's other news. zimbabwe's incoming president emmerson mnangagwa is urging residents to remain patient and peaceful and not to take part in the vengeful retribution against robert mugabe. mr. mnangagwa will be sworn in as president on friday. the un's refugee agency has urged australia to find a solution to the plight of refugees and asylum-seekers at a close detention center in papua new guinea. it comes after police moved about 40 people from an australian-run center. 300 others remain and refuse to go to new transit centers. u.s. republican joe barton has apologized for an explicit nude
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photograph of him which has been circulating widely on social media, but he isn't resigning. the 60-year-old texas politician said, "i'm sorry i did not use better judgment, sorry i let my constituents down." it is the largest photograph album in the united states, and a shared window into the past. the so-called anonymous project has embarked on a mission to compile and conserve as much slide photography as they can before the colors degrade. so for the project has collected almost half a million photos from personal collections taken from the 1960's through to the digital age. we have been speaking to the founder of the project. >> we collect from like garage
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sales and attics. sometimes they are small stories , but most of the time the people we look at are anonymous people and we have no idea where they come from. it is like the hd technology of its time. it took off in america like nowhere else at that time. we are not really trying to say anything about the people themselves, but more about the experiences. there's a couple kissing, a couple sharing a meal, and the same couple three times over, and we received this amazing box. we opened it, and this box was just a box about this passionate relationship between this
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couple. it is what looks like a father and daughter embracing between 2 cars. it is like a little miniature movie. i think we have a perception of how life was in those times, but i don't think it is as different as we think it was. i think everybody wants the same things in life, whether it was in the 1940's or the 1950's and 1960's. this project wouldn't be alive if it hadn't been for the digital technology. the fact that we can now scan them, the 2 worlds collide. giving a second life to these photos is really important. christian: there you go. if you got some in the attic, the anonymous project is the
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place to go. now, today is thanksgiving, and my colleague katty kay has signed up for the annual turkey trot in washington, d.c., a five-kilometer charity run that ensures that for the rest of the day you can indulge guilt-free. i'm pleased to report she made it to the end in good time with a photo to prove it. apparently this is the 2-kilometer mark and that is katty with her lovely family. and no combat is not rocky balboa with the hat on. you might recognize him as the bbc's north america editor jon sopel. how about that? happy thanksgiving to them all, happy thanksgiving to our american viewers as well. you can find much more on our website. thanks for watching. >> with the bbc news app, our vertical videos are designed to work around your lifestyle, so you can swipe your way through the news of the day and stay up to date with the latest headlines you can trust. download now from selected app stores.
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>> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. >> "bbc world news" was presented by kcet, los angeles.
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: happy thanksgiving. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, lebanon's prime minister puts his resignation on hold, weeks after abruptly announcing he was stepping down-- a look at a key middle east country's uncertain status. then, houston's construction worker shortage-- what is causing a serious drought of qualified tradespeople in texas, as the state tries to re-build after hurricane harvey? and, on this thanksgiving day, a look at one of america's dinner staples-- why cranberry farmers are being bogged down by too much of a good thing. >> you go through the whole process of growing them, delivering them, freezing them and then 15% would then be taken out and disposed of. >> woodruff: all that and more


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