tv BBC World News PBS October 17, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT
work for corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now "bbc world news." >> israel's supreme court gives final approval for the prison exchange that could see the release of captured soldiershalite. al shabab calls on kenya to immediately withdraw its troops from somalia. >> inside syria, a special report from the city where more than a thousand protesters have been killed in recent months. and as the flooding continues in thailand, a huge industrial park is evacuated outside the capital of bangkok. it is 9:00 in the morning here in singapore. >> it's 2:00 in the morning here in london, broadcasting to viewers on pbs in america and around the world. welcome to "newsday."
>> in just a few hours, it's expected israel will begin releasing about a thousand palestinian prisoners in exchange for a single israeli soldier, gilad shalite. he has been held by hamas in gaza for more than four years. israel's supreme court rejected a last-minute appeal against the release, which has brought families killed in palestinian attacks. our correspondent dawn jonathan reports. >> a song of celebration. strong in number, and hamas supporters to the core. but the head of the household is missing. 25 years ago, omar was given four life sentences for planning
and carrying out a tax on israelis. in this photo, he's with his son, who's also in an israeli jail. omar's 18 grandchildren should meet their grandfather for the first time when he's freed today. his wife says the sadness and torture of the last 2 1/2 decades will be forgotten once omar is back home. she says her husband is only as much a terrorist as any israeli soldier. unsurprisingly, israel does not see it the same way. some of the palestinian prisoners being freed today were involved in planning suicide bomb attacks like this one on a jerusalem pizza restaurant in 2001. 15 israelis were killed. among them, malka. most israelis support the prison exchange. but for the roughs, a thousand
palestinians just for shalite is a price too high to pay. >> let's take the particular case of the woman who murdered aldora. she's charismatic, she's influential, she's now an icon, she's undoubtedly going to be carried on the shoulders of her supporters and her society. both metaphorically and physically. she's going to be an inspiration to a generation of palestinian arab and muslim children throughout the world who will be persuaded that her heroism crowned by this remarkable success of walking out with her head held high from israeli prison is worthy of emlation. what kind of emlation are we talking about? murdering children. >> but in gaza city, hamas preparing a huge rally to welcome home prisoners they regard as heroes. hamas compromised to make this deal. they backed down over the release of some of the biggest
names -- named palestinian prisoners. they wanted to boost their popularity, particularly against the palestinian president, their rival, mahmoud abbas. but a thousand prisoners for one israeli. hamas are portraying this as a huge victory. the faces of the palestinian prisoners are not instantly recognizable. the same cannot be said for shalite. today the young soldier's ordeal should be over. but israel's conflict with hamas will go on. >> the somali islammist insurgent group has called on kenya to immediately withdraw its troops from somalia in order to avoid what it called bloodyt. after the kenyan government said the group was behind a recent space of kidnappings. >> among those kidnapped in recent weeks were two spanish
health workers from this, the world's largest refugee camp on the kenyan somali border. the kenyan government blames the islammist insurgent group for the kidnappings and have sent their troops tens of kilometers into somalia in an effort to push the insurgents away from kenyan territory. but the al qaeda linked group denies responsibility and issued a stark warning to kenya. withdraw immediately or kenyan targets would be attacked. >> the denial of involvement in the kidnapping is too little too late. we know very well that kenya is not saying that they are involved in the kidnap because we are speculating, because of intelligence and because of our facts. we know what we are saying is a responsible government. >> the group also addressed the kenyan people directly, saying they should not let what it called the flames of war spill over into their country. but people on the streets of
nairobi appeared to back the government's move. >> they are good somali people. but the shabab, show them that we are serious and we are not going to let it continue. it is positive action that we lost -- this is a common enemy. it has got nothing to do with somalia alone. it's a worldwide enemy. >> al shabab has threatened kenya in the past, but this deployment of troops could prompt a serious escalation of hostilities. the group may lack the means for a conventional war, but they are seen as capable of inflicting serious damage, particularly on soft targets. the issue now is whether a tangled cross-border conflict in an area already suffering a deep humanitarian emergency can be avoided. will grant, "bbc world news."
>> a more worrying development in syria. more evidence of a violent crackdown against anti-government protesters. >> that's right. there are new reports of bloodshed in the central city of holmes. abc's investigation has found evidence of injured protesters shot dead while lying in their hospital beds. sue lloyd roberts went in undercover and this is her exclusive report. >> despite the daily death toll, the protests in syria continue. but the tactics have changed. they're held at night to minimize casualties, and back in march when they began, the protesters called for reform. today, as name of each atrocity and massacre carried out by the assad regime is called out, the crowd called for the death of the president by hanging.
these protests are taking place every night in holms now with apparently unabated enthusiasm, which is impressive, not least because they've been going on for seven months now when so little has been achieved. but this, i'm reminded, is not the point. >> i haven't seen anything like this in my life. the old, the young, women, everyone calling for freedom in syria. this revolution will win, god willing. >> the army has encircled homes and attacked every day. people tell you they have rats, but no food. water, power, and communications are cut off in the areas where demonstrations take place. i was taken to meet mohammed, one of the soldiers ordered to attack. >> we were ordered to kill everything that moved, everyone who was walking in the street. there were children. we were being ordered to kill our own people, who at the end
of the day are our own flesh and blood. >> only on friday, the protest takes place during the day after mid-day prayers. in a network of sealed hospitals, doctors prepare for the inevitable casualties. they can no longer take the injured to the government hospital. >> to our astonishment, we found that when we did that, the injured were either arrested or killed. a man would go into the hospital with a treatable injury to his hand or to his leg and his family would be summoned to collect a corpse with a shot in the head or in the chest. >> it cost them over a thousand dead. but they say they're winning. one protestor tells me, even if he has the kill every one of them. >> to thailand now where floods
are continuing to wreak havoc across much of the country. authorities have ordered the evacuation outside of the capital of bangkok. rachel harvey has flown over some of the worst affected areas to see the extent of the damage. >> we're pretty much due north of bangkok. the further we've gone, the worse it looks. as you go out of bangkok proper, you begin to see the effects just on the outskirts of the city of some flooding. we've flown over the main river. it's out here that you really get a sense of how much area has been affected by this. we're seeing the tops of the roofs of factories, the tops of the roofs of houses. some trees sticking up above the water. but otherwise, as far as the eye can see here, it is water logged. the government is saying that it reckons it's got the situation under control now, that bangkok will be safe. but all of this area is going to
be under water for many, many weeks, so people here who have lost their houses, who have had to evacuate, they're going to need help for a good, long time to come. i've been looking down and i've seen a couple people signaling up as our helicopter has gone overhead, waving cloths and umbrellas at us to try to get the attention of these pilots. now, part of their job is to survey this area to see where aid is needed, and then they're dropping aid where they can, where they think they can get it to people safely. looking around at all of this, even if the rain stops, this water is going to take a long time to recede, even if bangkok is safe for now, there is still huge humanitarian need and a big impact on the economy in thailand. and as i look out ahead, the storm clouds are gathering again. >> in other news, thousands of women have taken to the streets of the yes, ma'amny capital to
protest the death of a woman. at least eight people were killed and troops loyal to the president. the two sons of the former president have an estimated $340 million in frozen swizz bank accounts. most of the money is reportedly held by the eldest son who is being investigated for money laundering. and flooding and mud slides across central south america has forced people to abandon their homes. you're watching "newsday" on the bbc. live from singapore and london. still to come, progress in parts of libya. but still have yet to take full control of sirte. >> we have a special report from japan about the future of the
country's nuclear energy program. months after the ock pa wall street demonstrations began in the united states, similar movements are springing up in cities around the world, including madrid, athps, and -- athens, and london. >> god bless this protest. god bless the banking industry. and god bless that man there for telling me to get a job. >> the culture clash outside the cathedral. they've been here since saturday. they're planning to stay. so, who are they? well, this man for starters, he's a musician and he says he pays his taxes. >> i basically think capitalism is inherently broken. i want to work towards a system that is based on collaboration and not what i can get from you, but what i can do with you and for you. >> this may not be the usual
congregation you'd expect to find, but at least they do have their own prayer chants. the chairman has released a statement. he says while there have been some challenges, they seem to be getting along ok. worshiper, protestor and tourist coexisting happily, for now at least. what is new is the global scale of protest. they end up here outside st. paul's instead, similar demos were taking place in wall street, athens, and across europe. what isn't new is the stereotype of the protestor, particularly when thousands like tim show up to show their support. >> i'm a pacifist. i'm not proclaiming that. what i'm trying to say is there is a genuine political movement brewing. this is a middle class england. speaking up for my children's future, their generation. i don't want to see university graduates sitting here
protesting with no hope. because it's wrong. it's morally wrong. >> organizers claim tim is proof they stand for the many, not just those on the margins. >> let's bring you the headlines this hour. israel's supreme court has given permission of a prisoner swap. >> the insurgent group al shabab has called on kenya to withdraw its troops from somalia. >> let's get more on the expected prisoner exchange of hundreds of palestinians for an israeli soldier shalite. james phillips is a senior research fellow at the heritage foundation and he joins me on the line from washington. thank you very much for joining us on "bbc news."
we're just understanding about this logistical process, which will be taking place in the next few hours for that final release of shalite. a key moment in relations between israel and palestine. how do you view it at the moment? >> i see this as a transactional diplomacy, not transformational. i don't think there will be a second act that will broaden out into a more comprehensive political understanding. i think it's merely a prisoner exchange that won't have any broader implications for the peace process. i think it would benefit hamas especially, 1,027 prisoners for one israeli. and that will allow hamas to take the center stage back from the palestinian authority president abbas, who went to the
u.n. with his state hood bid. >> the deal was announced last week or so. much has been said about the timing of it. against the back drop of the instability in the arab region, how much do you think that has been a factor in this transfer process? >> i think it has been a major factor, because hamas is severely embarrassed because it is standing with the assad dictatorship against many syrians, including syrian islammists, that it otherwise would be ideologically aligned with. and hamas may be contemplating a move from syria to egypt. and in that case, this prisoner exchange could improve its relations with the egyptian government and allow it to change its base of operations outside of gaza. >> we appreciate you joining us.
thank you very much for your time. apologies if you had difficulty hearing that. now to libya, where forces of the national transitional council say they now control the center of one of the last town's loyal to colonel gaddafi. they are still struggling after days of fighting. our correspondent is there. >> in a flat, coastal city, bereft of high ground, any vant advantage point over the enemy is a bonus, even if it means lifting vehicles with big guns on to rooftops. caught out badly in recent days, attacking forces have reverted to bombing and blasting their way forward. there is now increasing evidence
that those forces loyal to the new transitional government are beginning to coordinate their attack on the center of sirte. but there still remains a solid block of about a square mile in sirte which is still being held by colonel gaddafi's loyalists. it's not subtle. that small part of the city where gaddafi's greek flag still flies. everyone has had enough. this is an interior designer from tripoli with a wife and two children. after a month on the front, he's desperate to leave, but says there's a job to finish. >> all sirte now is clear. but the sector is still fighting back. but we will take it. i hope today. all the guys, they said today. >> wishful thinking given the
amount of fighting today. these soldiers care little for gaddafi's hometown and have laid waste to too much of it. in some areas, you can see so much of the wealth and privilege for which sirte was known and envied throughout libya. this a luxury beach front complex for v.i.p. visitors. most of sirte's residents have now fled. lifelong supporters have colonel gaddafi leaving behind mementos and being picked over by the not yet victorious rebel army. >> questions are being asked of japan and its nuclear energy proposals. >> that's right. and this comes as more than 300,000 children from around the nuclear plant in japan are being given health check-ups. radiation levels outside a 20-kilometer evacuation zone are safe and leakage has been cut by
half over the past month. nonetheless, public concern continues. we have been given access to the nuclear power station. >> hi! >> this is a friendly face of japanese nuclear power, bright and reliable. an exhibition to persuade the public that getting electricity this way is safe. the people have also seen the much darker image. men struggling inside the power station for the past six months. an opinion is shifting, even inside the plant itself. none of the staff can speak to the media openly, but this engineer agreed to meet us. we've altered the video that this is what he said. for these people that think nuclear power is safe, i'd like
them to work with me for a day in the rubble. it's a disaster, and if after that they still say it's safe, they're just ignorant. most of japan's nuclear power stations like this one are now shut down. here the 2,000 staff are just keeping things ticking over. and none of the plants will reopen until they're better defended, especially from the sea. the big shock for the japanese nuclear industry was that the earthquake was stronger and the tsunami bigger than anyone expected, so they're having to take emergency measures here. they can no longer rely on this huge embankment for protection against if sea. they're going to build an 18-meter wall just the other side of it. a company video explains how this massive new sea defense will work. on a rare visit inside, we were shown how the power station is already being made more water proof.
>> it was flooding that caused the catastrophe, so here the backup systems are now installed up on the roof. officials hope the public will be reassured. >> we hope that the tsunami will not come over our embankment. we still think our nuclear power plant is safe now. >> but at the government's earthquake research center, they're worried. they've simulated in graphic detail a really huge tsunami that struck japan more than a thousand years ago and they say no one listens. according to the director, he warned that a tsunami could overwhelm them, but they put off doing anything about it. in the past, japan quietly relied on nuclear power. the question now is whether the next generation will still want it.
>> in other news, the american company has agreed to pay the oil company b.p. $4 million in a settlement over the gulf of mexico oil disaster. they were a partner in the oil well which blew out last year. it also dropped its claim for gross negligence against b.p. b.p. says the money will be put into a trust fund set up to compensate people who suffered from the spill. flights in argentina and uruguay are resuming after they were suspended for a day from further activity from a volcano in southern chile. it has been sporadicly active since june, when it caused travel chaos from argentina to australia. the united nations emergency relief valerie amos is heading to north korea. she will meet with government officials and visit the area most affected by the hunger crisis. the u.n. says there are six million people who urgently need
food. you've been watching "newsday" from the bbc. >> let's just bring you a reminder of our main news this hour. israel's supreme court has given permission for a prisoner exchange for one israeli soldier captured by hamas in 2006, shalite. the court rejected a petition. in the last half-hour, it's been reported palestinian inmates have begun leaving israeli jails. so if you want to keep updated, you can follow the logistical process online on the "bbc news" website. we will keep you up to date with all the latest developments here on "newsday." from rico and myself, thanks for watching, we'll see you again soon. stay with us.
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