tv BBC World News PBS December 29, 2011 12:30am-1:00am PST
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>> and now, "bbc world news." >> huge crowds in p'yongyang as north korea marked the passing of its late leader, kim jong il. sirens blare as the whole country comes to a standstill. in syria, there is no respite from the violence, despite the presence of arab league monitors. the united states warned it will not tolerate iran's aggression in the middle east. welcome to the bbc news, broadcast in america and around the globe. coming up a bit lichter, a brush with the law. orthodox priest who clashed in a cleanup at jesus' presumed earthquakes. another member of the gandhi
dynasty comes to the forefront. can't it reverse the fortunes of the congress party? welcome once again. possibly a million soldiers and civilians fill the central square in p'yongyang to take part in a national memorial service for kim jong il. his son and designated successor, kim jong un , was hailed as a new supreme leader of the state and the military. the end of the official mourning was marked by a three minutes' silence, followed by trains, factories, and ships sounding their horns across the nation. lucy williamson is in seoul. how was this memorial service covered in south korea? was it on the national
broadcaster? >> i think very few south koreans have seen the pictures we have seen. they are extraordinary. the image of this very young man, very inexperienced, unknown to most of the population, standing in front of this huge show of force, soldiers and civilians covering the main square in p'yongyang with military precision. it is now all of this that he has to preside over. part of the point of the memorial service was so that all of the senior members of the government, the military, and the political leaders could line up and pledged their support to this young man, who is so untested. >> little may be known about him. little more is known about those advising him. presumably, they will have an important role. he is not 30 years old. >> the only has a year or so to introduce himself to the people
and try to carve out a space in the government of the country. one figure that has been very prominent since before his father died is his uncle, who we are told is acting as a confidante and protector, along with a couple of other senior members of the coterie for this young successor. one of the key decisions and has to be made, presumably behind closed doors, is exactly how he is going to rule. will he ruled through the army like his father did, or through civilian politics and the party? from what we saw today, the military standing up and pledging their allegiance, whenever he orders they will do. you cannot have a clearer than that. they've lined up perhaps a million people in front of him. it gives a message that it is not just a young man we are dealing with. we are dealing with all of this. >> there is a new supreme leader
for the south to deal with, and it is an important opportunity for the government in seoul. >> some people say it is an opportunity, that the south korean government policy of not rewarding bad behavior, as they put it, from north korea, but ensuring that north korea offers sincere gestures before it gets any aid or rapprochement -- some people say that could be put aside because of the new leader in power. if you would like to wipe the slate clean, it is an opportunity. but the government is cautious, treading a fine line between tough policies toward p'yongyang and a softer approach in which it has offered condolences, or at least sympathies, to the north korean people. it has allowed a couple of prominent south korean civilians to go to north korea to express condolences. >> do we know how north koreans regard their southern counterparts? how much of the propaganda has
affected the opinions of those in the north of southerners? >> i think propaganda ran into a serious problem with south korean dvd is linking -- leaking into parts of north korea. before then, propaganda said life in the south was much worse than in the north, that people were ragged and starving, and that there was much physical repression. when south korean dvd's and soap operas and dramas began leaking into north korea, people realized the pictures they were given were not true. that is true of the news that north korea has broadcast in the past. it helped to inspire anger about the kind of treatment south korean protesters got from police and security forces. instead, north koreans were commenting on the height of students, how well fed they looked, the fact they have good clothes on. it backfired.
at the moment, it is a mixed picture in north korea, in terms of what they think. many north korean defectors we have spoken to, when it arrived in the south, said they did not really have a sense of just how developed, how built up the economy, and life here was. >> thank you very much. let's continue on this theme. in the studio is an honorary senior research fellow on modern correa at the university of leeds. you have been to north korea. not many westerners can say that. what did you make of those extraordinary pictures, the sheer number of people paying their respects as one? >> pomp and circumstance of the north koreans do very well. this is a country -- the word orwellian might seem cliche. but of all the various dictatorial, totalitarian regimes which have attempted social engineering, this went furthest and lasted longest.
it has been around 2/3 of a century. what we saw had to be honed. there was a time people did not march in step or wear badges. that has been the case at least 40 years. even in a situation where, as lucy williamson has said, the information monopoly of the state is breaking down, there are smuggled dvd's and so on, they can still put on this show for an untried 28-year-old. but there is the morning after. in the months and weeks ahead, there will be tough choices for this young man to make about how he runs the country, or for those around him, not to beg the question of who is doing it. he is not going anywhere. even if they do not give up control, which i am sure they won't for a long time, the question of economic reform and ensuring they are not still cold when they go inside their houses when this is over -- things like that. the economy has been broken for
20 years. there is a lot to be done. >> the title supreme leader is important in itself. but you would have thought this ceremony would be the ideal opportunity for him to speak to the people, for them to hear his voice. are you surprised he did not? >> not entirely. he follows his father's footsteps, rather than his grandfather, who some suggested he had plastic surgery to look like. kim il-sung, you could not stop him talking, even in parliament who come or what they called a parliament. he would interrupt and tell everybody off. kim jong il -- his voice was only heard once, saying, "long live the party and army." for whatever reason, he had his speech is read. he never had to speak. his son is playing as cautiously. it will be interesting to look
out and see if we do have his voice. i do not think we have had any works attributed to him. that will be coming up. >> do you think there is any doubt about his long-term presence as supreme leader? is there any inkling that possibly it may not be something that lasts his entire life, like it did for his grandfather and father? >> work at a betting man, and i have been wrong before, because i thought north korea would collapse in the 90's with other communisms, and it did not -- but were i a betting man, with a good 50 years of life left, i cannot think north korea has 50 years of life. the only way would be if he opened up, if he managed to pose as the person who finally brought peace and prosperity. the chinese would be delighted if he did that. you could reconstitute north korea. you could keep north korea. those who hope for reunification would be disappointed.
that would be risky. kim jong il, i thought, might have done that, had he dared. he had the skill and training. kim jong un does not. it would be a huge risk for him. >> thank you very much. let's look at other news. at least 10 people, including twa children, reported killed in syria on the second day of the arab league peace mission. the observers continue their visit to homs. the u.n. estimates the uprising has cost 5000 lives. and there are more than 70,000 detained protesters. as many as 40,000 other are still locked up. this report contains some distressing images. >> no letup in the violence, even in the presence of arab league monitors, whose mission is to stem the bloodshed. this footage is from the town of homs.
the head of the team said the situation seemed reassuring. opposition activists are determined to show the world because of their uprising. here is the body of a 5-year-old boy. it is laid on the observers' car. there has been more trouble in the town of hama. under the peace plan, peaceful protests are meant to be allowed now. but there has been little sign from the authorities of a willingness to loosen their grip. freeing political prisoners is another of the key demands of the agreement. today, in a gesture to the observers, syrian authorities say they have released 755, but that is a small fraction of the thousands being held. human rights watch says it has been told as many as 600 may have been transferred to military sites to hide them from the arab monitors. there are around 50 observers on
the ground now, led by a sudanese general who served in darfur. there is kept and schism among many that are up to the job. >> to ensure they provide protection to the syrian population, you need many, many more. they are going to need to be totally independent of syrian security. >> as the conflict escalates, hit the gunfire is coming from one side. these pictures posted on the internet are said to be defectors from the syrian army, firing at a convoy of security forces. the question is whether the arab league's unprecedented mission can really help solve serious, deepening crisis. bbc news. >> this is bbc news. still ahead, a biblical punch up in the birthplace of jesus. how did a christmas cleanup ended in violence?
-- and in violence? the judge in the trial of two men accused of murdering steven lawrence told the jury in london to put aside anger or sympathy when considering the verdict. it told the jurors there would be retiring thursday to begin deliberation, and they need to be sure of their conclusion. paul simon's reports. >> the final act of this high- profile trial, 18 years after the stabbing of stephen lawrence. his family have all been in court. the defendants were brought from prison by a van for the judges summing up. justice tracy told the jury emotions such as sympathy for the family have no part to play. equally, anger at the attack cannot guide your decisions. he set out for the jury the route they must take to reach a verdict. he said they had to be sure forensic evidence came from steven lawrence, and there had been no contamination of the
evidence while in storage bags. they had to be sure either defendant had been present and participating in the attack. to be guilty of murder, the defendant must have intended to kill steven or causing serious harm. but under the laws of a joint enterprise, if they realized another member of the group intended to kill, that would also be murder. the jury can consider manslaughter as an alternative. the judge has been summarizing the evidence, including eyewitness descriptions of the attack, and the detailed views of forensic scientists. he told the jury they had to be sure of their verdict, but also that this trial was not some sort of a detective novel where all the loose ends were tied up in the final chapter. there might be some unanswered questions once they had made their decisions. david norris and dairy dobson both deny murder. the jury will begin considering its verdict tomorrow. bbc news at the old bailey.
>> this is bbc news. these are the headlines. hundreds of thousands of north koreans have filled the main public square in the capital of p'yongyang invest commemoration of late leader kim jong-il. more deaths have been reported in syria, despite the presence of the arab league observer team. the u.s. navy has warned it will not tolerate any disruption of international shipping through the strait of hormuz at the mouth of the persian gulf. those comments follow iranian naval exercises close to the straight and statements from tehran that they could close it if the west imposed new sanctions. >> in the waters of iran, a surge of the activity. two jets passed overhead. the this is just an iranian naval drill, but it was taking place in sensitive international waters even before iran
toughened its line. the route -- the road centers on the strait of hormuz, used by a third of the world's tanker traffic. iran has threatened to close at two oil shipments in the face of u.n. sanctions. this man, said to be a rear admiral in the iranian navy, quoted by one national tv station as saying closing the street was very easy for the naval forces. but on wednesday, washington up its rhetoric. the pentagon said any attempt to close the strait of hormuz will not be tolerated. it also said no aggressive hostile action has been reported toward u.s. vessels in the area. iran is a big oil exporter, the fourth largest producer of crude in the world. it is not the first time it has sent strong warnings of closure of these vital waters. but the context has changed.
the threat of an oil embargo from the eu, u.s., and other arab states hangs over the country. iran, he just as in war exercises earlier last year, appears determined to demonstrate its regional process. bbc news. >> police say at least 15 people have been killed and 80 injured in a large explosion in burma. the blast took place in the middle of the night in a compound of warehouses in eastern rangoon. the cause is not known. witnesses said three of those killed were firemen. the warehouses contained chemicals and materials connected to construction and saw production. church leaders in nigeria say their members will defend themselves if security forces are unable to provide protection. the statement was but a coalition of pentecostal churches as tensions follow a series of attacks targeting churches across nigeria by an
islamist group. the first attack killed about 40 people, while 90,000 have fled their homes as a result of clashes between the group and police in nigeria. the president of the christian association of nigeria is in the capital. he explains that he is advising the members of his church. >> i am telling them that as christians we are law abiding. we are peaceful people. we want nigeria to stay as one. we want to work together. when we continue to be on the receiving end like we have been for so long, it looks like this thing is not going to end. we believe that enough is enough. i am saying to them, defend yourselves. if the security forces cannot help you, help yourself, and make sure nobody kills you and your family.
do whatever you have to do to keep alive. >> the main parties in bosnia have agreed to form a central government, ending a 14-month political crisis. the parties have been deadlocked over the issues since october last year. negotiations also agreed to pass a budget and implement delayed laws which will pave the way for membership in the european union. the spanish royal family has revealed details of its finances for the first time in more than 30 years, prompted by a corruption scandal involving the king's son-in-law. the decals are unlikely to shock spaniards. the king received just under $400,000 in salary and expenses. republican u.s. presidential hopefuls have been meeting supporters in iowa the week before the caucuses begin to pick a nominee. texas congressman ron paul was attacked by rivals for his view the united states should not take action against iran to
stop the nuclear weapons program. 2011 has been difficult for india's governing congress party. there have been corruption scandals, rising prices, and aging leadership. focus is shifting to the latest member of the nehru gandhi dynasty. many hope he can revive the fortunes of his party. he campaigned in a tour pradesh, india's most politically influential state. >> the came by thousands, packed into rally grounds, all eyes on one young man. raul gondi, there to one of the most powerful political dynasties. the congress government has always fought for your interest -- farmers, laborers, the poorest of the poor, he said. they have been left out of india's rapid rise.
this massive public rally is one of several he has addressed. the people have turned out in numbers as he pushes on with his campaign to try to revive his party's fortunes in these critical state elections. there are many within congress and outside of it who would expand its canvas and wish you would take on a more active role in national politics. as he heads to the next rally, they surged toward him before being pushed back by a presidential-style security. in india, the gone these are political loyalty. the urge to get up close is irresistible. the young gondi obliges, stopping 40 and a chat with locals. it is this iconic status he has always delivered, and congress wants to cash in on. >> it is a recognized family. there are very few political families today in that position.
it is a secular in value. these things give the family an advantage. >> three generations of the family have governed india, from the first prime minister, nehru, to his daughter indira and her son raunchy -- raji. indira and raji were brutally assassinated. now, he faces his toughest test -- winning over and india that is politically more complex, and with widening economic disparities. at the latest rally, it is the support of these people the young leader is thinking. >> we are hoping he can make our life better. otherwise, we will vote for someone else next time. >> some believe that a dynasty is incompatible with a modern
democracy. others see his rise to the top job as inevitable. india may well be prepared to embrace him. the question is, is he ready for it? bbc news, alter pradesh -- uttar pradesh. >> the basilica of the nativity in bethlehem has seen violence. the priests came to blows in preparation for this year's orthodox celebrations. >> cleaning up for christmas. greek and armenian orthodox priests had been preparing the church for orthodox celebrations in just over a week's time. but the rival christian denominations each control sections of the church, and fiercely guard their turf. someone overstepped the line. what started as a sweep up ended as a punch up.
the broomstick was the weapon of choice. palestinian police eventually had to intervene. remarkably, scuffles among the priesthood in bethlehem are not unusual. most years, they come to blows over territorial disputes within the church. the 1700-year-old building, one of the holiest sites in christianity, is in a bad state of repair, largely because the priests cannot agree who should pay for its upkeep. today, nobody was seriously injured, but christmas cheer was in short supply. bbc news, in the west bank. >> we will leave you with our top story again. masses of soldiers and civilians in p'yongyang, taking part in a memorial service for the late kim jong il. ♪ ♪
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