tv BBC World News PBS October 29, 2011 12:30am-1:00am PDT
funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. shell. and union bank. >> union bank has put its financial strength to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news." >> and thailand's government warns people in bangkok to break -- to brace themselves for the high tides.
human-rights groups in syria say at least 37 people have been killed in protests and are calling for a no-fly zone. a 70-year-old human rights activists in paris is said to be ireland's next president. welcome to bbc world news broadcast to viewers in america and around the globe. coming up later for you -- a special report. can africa survive the answer to the world's food problem? and new york's birth they grow, the statue of liberty, turns 125. floods in thailand have devastated a large part of the country. they now threaten the entire capital of bangkok. tens of thousands fleeing their homes.
the government says they can no longer guarantee safety. across the country, close to 4 million people have been killed. as you from this satellite image, bangkok is completely surrounded by water. joining me from bangkok is hannah watson, a student who spent time volunteering at a local relief center. what are the biggest worries for people in bangkok's because of the flooding? >> there are major concerns in because we are in a city of 9 million people. it is difficult to distribute food and beverages in bangkok currently. once it hits, there will be a massive and lack of people. they sell out first thing in the morning. it is an immediate problem.
>> what is your charity doing to help people in bangkok? >> creating life jackets and rafts and also water treatment boards which to put into the water in to clean any flood water. we have been gathering volunteers by social media to get together here. it is coming to the stage where once the flood hits, [inaudible] >> there is speculation that there could be crocodiles and snakes in the water. do you know any more about that? >> absolutely. farms all around the north of bangkok. it is very likely possibility that there are thousands of crocodiles and snakes in bangkok once the water recedes. we have seen reports of snakebites throughout the country. it is a real possibility.
>> the prime minister has been orchestrating the effort to contain these floods. do you think the government has been giving people enough help? >> it has been very hard. with the severity of the situation. it is difficult to know what has been going on. they did not know how big this crisis could be until recently. that -- they have not been effective as they could have been. preparations at been delayed. >> thank you very much. we will take you to our correspondent in bangkok a little later in the program. human-rights groups in syria say at least 37 civilians were killed on friday as protesters took to the streets to demand a no-fly zone over the country. there have been reports of protests in at least three
cities. >> first, the prayers and then in the protests. it is a familiar pattern on fridays in syria. demonstrators marching in cities across the country. calling for president assad to go. unconfirmed reports suggest the syrian security forces opened fire on protesters in several cities. in its strongest statement so far, the arab league says it said -- is sent an urgent message for the violence to stop. the clashes seemed to be almost daily now. this footage shows fighting in the city earlier this week. the demonstrators refused to back down. president assad blames the violence on what he calls an armed terrorist hangs.
he has seen other arab leaders fall. so far, he remains defiant. you can count on powerful protectors triet a senior chinese on oil was in damascus on thursday calling for an end to the violence in. ruling out any tough international action against syria and. the protests will continue but the demonstrators face a leader that is determined to stay in our area and international community divided over how to respond. >> a 70-year-old human rights activists and public will be the republic of ireland's next president. it is a remarkable turnaround for a man who was running a distant second in the polls just a few years ago -- just a few days ago. >> the ninth president of ireland, michael d. higgins.
a former public and soon-to-be the irish head of state. he comfortably beat his closest rival, a tv star from ireland's version of dragons then. was the clear favorite, he lost the final tv debate. >> if he gave me an envelope, if he gave me the check was made out to the headquarters -- >> he struggled under questioning of political funding and never recovered. he still ended up third out of seven candidates. i wish presidents do not have much power. the job is a ceremonial role. the outgoing irish president used the office to forge closer links with britain.
she was much admired at home and abroad. her successor admits she will be a hard act to follow. >> it will be very strong intellectually and a very inclusive in those intellectual discussions. >> ireland is still recovering from an economic crisis. one of the tasks of the new president will be to get the country new hope. haduammar gaddafi's son has in direct contact about his possible surrender. sites if -- saif is wanted for signs against him -- for crimes against humanity. he would get a fair trial if he surrenders. authorities in bosnia say they have to arrested a gunman who how opened fire on the u.s. embassy in sarajevo and continue fire for 15 minutes.
a policeman was seriously wounded in the attack. the man was shot and wounded by police and treated in the hospital. he is a serbian citizens with links to an ultra-conservative branch of islam. an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 has struck peru. there were just devastated by an earthquake four years ago. residents ran from their homes and into the streets. no immediate reports of damage or injury. the court in morocco has sentenced a man to death for the bombing of a tourist cafe in april. 17 people died in the attack, including eight french nationals. one of his accomplices was given a life sentence. leaders at the commonwealth heads of government meeting in
western australia have vowed to increase the effort to eradicate polio. this comes amidst a rash of issues up for discussion, including whether or not to appoint a commissioner for human rights and democracy. has the world prepares to welcome its 7 billion and hair -- and have a debt, we have been looking at population growth. today we report from zambia, where we investigate private equity firms buying up vast waves of farmland. there is money to be made from buying parts of the world once seemed unprofitable. but at what price? >> it is not what we have come to extract from africa. the imagery of plenty, offering a tantalizing visions. the idea that africa might provide the answer to the world food problem. >> if you increase the yields in
africa to 80% of what the world averages are, africa would become a net exporter of food. >> this private equity company aims to maximize yields and make a profit for investors. they are modernizing farming methods and investing in better irrigation. it can mean producing 30 times more per acre than a local farmer. there is a human cost. you have farming being industrialize. people have lost their jobs. already, you have people leaving their jobs on this farm. >> the last skilled jobs -- the less skilled jobs, yes. as a result of mechanization, some of that work goes away. over time, what we are able to do is to train people to do highly skilled jobs. >> the majority of the profit is going to go abroad.
it is not going to benefit people here. >> and profit is the way in which investors are compensated for putting their capital at risk. >> directed an existing commercial farming. elsewhere, peasant farmers force being displaced by outside investors. families say they are already being moved off their farmland. collects our house is on a demarcation line. a road is supposed to pass through the area. we were forced to move on. our house has been demolished. they did not offer us any alternative land for compensation. >> at the moment, a lot of people do not know they are right to their own land. all they know is we are the owners of this land. they do not have pieces of paper or ties to the land and they are not adequately protected. >> in the capital, there are
newly elected leaders scrutinizing deals. >> are you going to be much tougher about the way land is parceled out? about the kind of deals that are done it? >> absolutely. we are going to change the way -- we are going to be far more circumspect about land issues. about land use issues. and a lot more circumspect about what happens to the dispossessed population. >> there is a genuine dilemma here. the demand for food grows and there is mounting pressure to make african land more productive. the danger is that the volatile new dynamic is created. a landless mass driven by resentment of those who wish to make a profit from feeding the world. >> this is bbc news. still ahead, formula one motor
racing arrives in india. this is a surprise for the emerging country given its massive problems. the first protesters who have been camped outside st. paul's cathedral in london have closed it for days because of possible eviction. the city of london is launching a legal action against protesters in london who have occupied the front of the cathedral for weeks. >> and four weeks, the doors of st. paul 7 clotheshorses the clamor of the world outside. about 1 million people go to the cathedral each year to warship. this afternoon, they flooded back for a special service to mark the reopening. it was a moment for reconciliation. there were prayers for the protesters and the dean use his
sermon to pledged support help in fighting social justice. only by acting to safeguard against public safety was able to reopen. protesters denied the claim. >> it is unfortunate the church closed. it was open for much of the beginning of the process and it is open today which shows that we are not really the reason why the church closed. >> concerns today that they will take legal action to evict the campaigners. working with the city council. >> it is their land and want them off their land. sadly, because of the laws of today, having invited somebody, you cannot just get rid of them when you want. >> campaigners among the congregation in claimed the church should be a movement of people committed to the court rather than buildings of brick
and stone. st. paul's is a natural shrine -- a national shrine. it reasserted that part of its role today. >> this is bbc news. the headlines -- thailand's government warns people in bangkok to brace themselves as the advancing floodwaters' come for. human rights groups in syria say at least 37 civilians were killed on friday as protesters demanded a no-fly zone over the country. let's return to our main story now. floods have demonstrated -- as devastated large parts of thailand. give us the latest picture of how these floods are affecting the capital there. >> is still a battle on two fronts. the huge volume of water that
build up in the central provinces is still moving steadily into the capital city. district by district, there are more parts of the northern suburbs which are coming under water. at the same time, we have high tides over the next couple of days. that means that the river, which is a main waterway through the city, already at a high level, that could burst its banks. it is already overflowing in some areas. if you have high tides, it makes it more difficult for the flow of water to go out to sea. you have conflicting pressure. that is the kind of battle that is going on at the moment. here in the center of the city, it is completely dry. everything is fine. the shops are running low on some essential goods like bottled water because of people stockpiling. things are still ok in the center of the city. the worry is that some of this flood water might not be able to
hold given the amount of water that is bearing down. >> there has been some criticism to the government response. what help is available to those being affected? >> there are relief efforts being set up in. more of them now in case of a larger evacuation in bangkok. the ministry was your early to help out. there have been criticisms about the kind of communication, the messages. at times over the last week, a different ministers have said different things on the same day. the prime minister is accused of being emotional. he is under huge pressure and is very inexperienced. the local media is tending to hone in on the fact that she is a woman and might be more emotional rather than a man who could stand and handle this crisis. that seems to be the implied message. the authorities have struggled to manage this crisis. the latest news we are hearing now is that where they had
originally set up their flood relief headquarters, that airport came under water a few days ago. he relief command center said it would stay there regardless. to many of us, that seems strange given that it was difficult to reach set area. we are hearing they have vowed to the inevitable and are going to have to relocate themselves. >> thank you. leaders of the commonwealth heads of government meeting in western australia have vowed to increase efforts to eradicate polio. this comes amid a rash of initiatives, including whether to appoint a commissioner for human rights and democracy. i am joined from perth by our correspondent. we heard from david cameron making a commitment to health, trying to eradicate polio. what else was there?
>> mr. cameron, the prime minister of australia, the prime minister from canada, pakistan, nigeria, all took to the stage to make a renewed commitment, along with other organizations, like the united nations. they're saying it is within their grasp to eradicate polio from the final four countries where it is still a serious problem within two years. they are saying it is a goal within their grasp but they need a final push to be able to do it. it was described as a rotten disease. a disease that leaves children paralyzed. it has been a condition that has been gradually removed from the world. there are still a few pockets left in places like nigeria, india, pakistan, afghanistan. this initiative is aimed at finishing it off by 2013. >> also whether or not to
appoint a commissioner of human rights and democracy? >> yes. this has come out of an eminent persons group report. the commonwealth looking at itself to try to update itself. one idea is to appoint the commissioner for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. it is not quite clear yet how this person would operate and what sanctions he will be able to bring. at the moment, the ultimate sanction is to expel people from the commonwealth, in the past, countries like zimbabwe and one or two other countries. the point is it is a new step forward. the whole idea of this report is to modernize the commonwealth. its leaders felt as though it was becoming irrelevant in a world dominated his by the g8, g20, united nations, nato. it was to publicize itself more as an organization.
it represents one-third of the world's population and it really wants to halt its profile. they're thinking about appointing this commissioner and making a couple of other changes to help down that road. >> thank you. hundreds of people gathered at the statue of liberty in new york to celebrate its 120th birthday it has become an enduring symbol of america. a gift from france in 1886. to celebrate, immigrants from 46 countries took the oath of allegiance beneath her feet. >> it was a landmark birthday for lady liberty. hundreds gathered to celebrate the iconic statue's 120th anniversary. it was an event to mark what many regard as america's most powerful symbol of freedom and diversity corrine >> it was very emotional. certainly coming here and my
children are first generation. my whole family is not from here. i was thinking of the people who came to the united states and what went through. it was emotional. i got a little teary-eyed. >> it was just breathtaking. from the engineering to the architecture to the symbolism, it is incredible. >> present were all hundred 25 of america's newest citizens. with the statue as their witness, they swore an oath of allegiance. >> we are a nation of diverse people. that diversity is what makes our country what it is. we are a nation rooted in every nation on earth. >> the statue came to america from france, a sign of friendship between the old world and the new. it became a beacon of hope for millions of immigrants who arrived by ship at ellis island, desperately seeking a
new start. when the celebrations draw to a close, a multimillion-dollar renovation will begin to ensure america's guardian of the poor and needy will be there for future generations. >> india gets a taste of the world's most expensive sports this weekend when it hurts its head -- when a hosts its force ever for mill one grand prix. >> the spin machine is in overdrive. formula one cars racing through the center of delhi. promoting it as the new sport for a rise in india and its burgeoning middle class is. there is a brand new track and stadium built on time and on budget. the organizers hope it will raise memories of last year's commonwealth games here in. seats are scott -- seats are selling fast but even the cheetahs are way beyond the pockets of most indians. india is in the fast lane, ready
to host the world's most expensive sport. is it a sign that india is pulling ahead or just its wealthy elite? just the other side of the track, it is a world away from the high octane glamour and speed of formula one. some have done well getting compensation from the weight -- from the race track for their farmland. they have gone on a spending spree for new cars and houses. >> everyone who has received compensation for the track, put your hands up. >> it is a lottery. those with land are doing really well and those without are getting nothing. with the land gone, this farm labor has no work. he cannot afford to send his children to school.
>> he wishes formula one had never come to india. the preparations for the multimillion-dollar race are in top gear. the owner of india's grand prix team sang country are now in the big-league. clot's i do not know why media focuses on the poor part of india. we do have poverty. why don't you focus on what india actually has? a large middle class, a growing disposable income, per-capita income, and escalating population who is very successful, and the market is large enough. >> you are watching bbc news greenhead -- you are watching bbc news. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. union bank.
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