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tv   Journal  PBS  January 28, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm PST

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♪ >> hello. welcome to the "journal." i am meggin leigh with the news. >> and i am steve chaid at the business desk. >> our headlines at this hour. it remains in the grip of mass protests tonight as the government imposes a curfew and deploys the military. >> german chancellor angela merkel warrants speculator is that the bureau will be defended at all costs. >> berlin names today for german troops to start withdrawing from afghanistan. ♪ >> aged has imposed a nighttime
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curfew following the biggest day of anti-government protests since the unrest began four days ago. -- egypt has imposed a curfew. it is enforced by in cairo and other major cities until early saturday morning. this comes after security forces struggle to control huge crowds, demanding the resignation of president hosni mubarak. >> the authorities imposed a nighttime curfew throughout the country, but protests continued in in defiance of the order. the situation escalated in cairo, where demonstrators tried to storm the billings of the foreign ministry in the state tv service. clashes between police and demonstrators had continued all day. earlier, police usedememptpt toe thousands of protesters who turned out to demand an end to president mubarak's nearly 30 years in office. >> this is a corrupt regime, and we have had enough of it.
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>> the nobel peace laureate, mohamed elbaradei, joined the opposition movement. he has said he would be willing to head an interim government, but mubarara still has a grip on power at t moment. security officers are reported to have been supporters of elbaradei. the opposition figure himself is now under house arrest, but it is not clear where he is being held. the wave of anti-government protests spread throughout the country. there were clashes between demonstrators and police in many cities, including suez and alexandria. >> no one is happy with the situation anymore. there is no work here, nothing. everything is broken down. >> since before the protests began to spread, he dips police were under orders to prevent demonstrations by any means possible, including shooting at demonstrators. several hundred casualties have been reported, including some deaths.
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as the situion continued to escalate, the authorities called in the military to help deal with the protesters. but the protests appear to be gathering momentum, as more and more egyptians and demand change in the country. >> a short while ago, we got an update on the situation from our correspondent in cairo. >> what i can see right now in front of me is not very tense. there are hundreds of thousands of people in front of the streets of the state television to the police completely withdrawn. there's only military out there. three armored vehicles in front of the television building. and the young demonstrators are sitting on the tanks together with e soldiers. this is the curfew of cairo right now. they're celebrating that the army came, and the army is basically not doing anything. police completely withdrew from the area i can see here. >> having said that, what role will the army now play in this
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crisis, do you think? >> that is the interesting thing, because nobody knows who sent the army exactly. was it ill mubar, or was it a decision from the army against mubarak? i think the dynamic is interesting, because it does not look like it is the army with mubarak. because what i can see right now looks like demonstrators standing on the armored vehicles with the army and celebrating. so it does not look like this army is out in order to secure the regime. it just came out in order to push the police away. we're just trying to figure out who is in charge right now in this country. >> tell us more about communications. they seem to be all but shut down there in egypt, which is an unprecedented move. >> since midnight last night, we have no internet. since this morning, we have no telephone. the idea of the whole thing was to prevent people from coming out, but that obviously did not
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work. they came out. they turned to the critical mass they needed to be to overrun the police. when it became clear that the police cannot control the situation, the military came out on the streets and imposed a curfew, which nobody is listening to. they are basically celebrating right now, together with the military. for them, it seems to be over, t we do not really know what is happening on the political level. >> where does this leave president mubarak? >> well, there was a speech of mubarak announced on the television, but that was about three hours ago and nothing. absolute silence from mubarak. we do not know what is really going on. >> ok, thank you for that update from cairo. >> the united states is calling and egypt to restrain its security forces and embarked on immediate reforms. speaking in washington, secretary of state hillary clinton urged egyptian
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authorities to engage with protesters and respect their rights. >> these protests çunderscore the 30 grievances with an egyptian society, and the egyptian government needs to understand that violence will no make these grievances go away. >> earlier, i spoke to our washington correspondent, and he told us more about the u.s. reaction to the egyptian government crisis. >> washington is basically stuck between a rock and hard place. on the one side, the obama administration is very much for individual human rights. obama has reinforced that stands on multiplications in the last couple of weeks, including his did of the union address but on the other side, mubarak is probab thestrongest ly the u.s. has in the region. so they're trying not to choose sides.
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that is their strategy, sort of a dual strategy. on the one hand, they're urging ibarra to engage in discussion with the protesters, to enforce reforms, to grant basic freedoms. on the other side, they're asking the protesters to refrain from violence. probably this dual strategy is the best they can do at the moment. >> what are washington's fears that mububak is toppled, and what can the u.s. really do in that case? >> well, their greatest fear is that they cannot really influence events, and they do not know what is coming now. on the larger scale, with a year is that other countries might follow the tunisian and egyptian example. reduced to egypt, there are a lot of forces there. they're not as america-friendly as mubarak is. the muslim brotherhood comes in mind, which is very strong in egypt. force it like that -- if forces like that come to power after mimbar, then the balance of the
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region ships. their issues for the usb over december, on iran, and even more important, on israel, where egypt stood on the side of the united states. >> thank you for your assessment. the situation in egypt is also being watched carefully by neighboring israel. our correspondent in jerusalem told us how things were being viewed there. >> well, i think israel is very involved and very concerned with what is happening in egypt right now. my impression is that it did not really is -- expect this kind of escalation. egypt is a neighboring country that has common borders. of course, there is an interest that the country is favored. egypt in itself is a connection to the arab world. there's a peace treaty, even though you're talking about this. egypt plays a very important role in the peace process. of course, a discussion is here now, what will happen next if the regime mubarak will make you
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fall? and the concern here is actually that it might put some more power on the muslim brotherhood. that might have some consequence onhe situation in gaza. but overall, there is concern that the already very unstable situation in the whole region here would further deteriorate. and of course, there's much concern in israel about that, and they have watched very closely what will happen here in the next coming hours and days. >> that was the report from jerusalem. let's check in with steve. the german chancellor carried a strong message with certain dogs, switzerland. >> yes, a very clear message. she took center stage at the world economic forum in davos on friday evening and struck out strongly in defense of the bureau, the single currency is the euro. if it fails, europe fails. she says the eurozone debt crisis is the biggest single threat to european prosperity. >> the chancellor used hurt
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davos platform to address the eurozone debt crisis to the world's business and political elite. like french president nicolas sarkozy a day before, she delivered a passionate defense of the single currency >> and the euro is our currency. the bureau is much more than a currency. it is the europe of today. i have said this before, but if the euro fails, then europe fails, too. >> merkel pledged to protect the currency to the health. but she also said the debt crisis shows the eu needs to coordinate economic policies more closely. her message to the international community was to defend free trade. >> perhaps the biggest worry in the wake of the crisis is that we have begun see protectionism creeping in. free trade is perhaps the easiest and most just way to encourage growth around the world. that is like closing a deal in the doha round of trade talks is
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incredibly important. >> merkel then joined in discussion with the world trade organization director general. the chancellor stressed, once again, that the next round of trade liberalization should not be allowed to fail. >> the u.s. economyrew in the final three months of last year, as a stronger consumer spending added momentum to the recovery. figures released on friday by the view of economic analysis showed growth at an annualized rate of 3.2% and confirmed that last year marked a solid turnaround from 2009, when the u.s. economy shrank. but the rise was smaller than the 3.6% growth economists had been expecting, and reaction from analysts west said it after the data was released. in the background, the u.s. is still facing a huge and growing budget deficit. analysts and ratings agencies are beginning to focus more attention on that now.
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>> many americans have been hitting the stores again. in some corners, president obama's tax cuts that had something of a trickle-down effect. but the downside to that particular move is that the budget has been moving even further out of kilter. over the past few years, the budget deficit has continued to widen. by the end of last year, it had reached $1.30 trillion annually. and there is no major improvent in sight for either this year or the next. and the rich have tended to invest their tax rebates in stocks rather than goods, which is of little help to the real economy. now the international monetary fund is urging watching tend to tackle its debt problems before financial markets finally lose patience with the world's biggest economy. >> onto the market, european shares give up their gains for the week on friday, as unrest in egypt created fears of a domino effect in the region.
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and those u.s. gdp figures to come in below expectations. our correspondent sent us this summary of friday's trading from the frankfurt stock exchange. >> at the end of the week, everybody is watching the u.s. economic growth. the economy is gathering speed but less than expected. disappointing in dragging down the decks. but throughout the week, the dax performed well. disappointing numbers from u.s. companies spoil the mood, only volkswagen was on top. but demand f german cars remains high. because that the recovery in industrial countries in the ongoing boom in emerging markets. >> we will stay in frankfurt for a closer look at the numbers. the dax went into the weekend 0.7% lower at 7102. blue chips on the euro stoxx 50 finishing at 2954.
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in new york, the dow jones also down, 1.3% lower. on the currency markets, the you're trading at a value of $1.30 cents12. china says it will help boost global consumption of goods by doubling imports over the next five years. major industrialized nations, such as the united states, have urged china to help rebalance the global economy by boosting domestic consumption and cutting its reliance on exports. the pledge to increase imports was made by chinese commerce minister and the world economic forum in davos, and also said chinese companiewould be encouraged to expand abroad. that is your look at business. >> thank you for that. the suicide bombing at a supermarket and the afghan capital kabul has killed at least nine people. the blast tore through a supermarket near the british embassies in the center of the cities.
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three foreigners were among the dead. two insurgent groups of claimed responsibility for the attack. observers say violence in afghanistan is at its worst levels since the overthrow and taliban in 2001. the germ parliament has vote to eend the mandate for the bundeswehr commission in afghanistan until february 2012. it also approved a conditional withdrawal of the first of its troops in december. the passage of the bill was certain, with the support of the opposition social democrats, but the measures that less support than expected. >> a majority of rule makers voted to extend germany's mended in afghanistan by one year. for the first time, the government laid out a timetable for the withdrawal of the first german forces. they should come home by the end of the year. but that depends on the situation in afghanistan. >> irresponsible handover is
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more important than keeping deadlines. the withdrawal of our troops must be weighed against concrete steps forward on the ground in afghanistan. >> the opposition social democrats joined the majority in extending the mandate. they have been pushing government for a withdrawal date and speedy transfer over to afghan forces. that party opposes a german presence in afghanistan entirely. >> 28% of germans supported the government's policies back in 2010. today, it is only 15%. i ask you to consider to you are representing here. >> but there was agreement that civilian aid workers should remain in afghanistan for aid in the country's reconstruction, even after the last german soldier has departed. >> i will be back after a short break with more on this situation in egypt and the background to the unrest. so do not go away. ♪
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>> all eyes are on egypt as the situation intensified against president hosni mubarak. demonstrators again defied a government ban and turned up for mass demonstrations on friday, demanding his resignation. internationally, mubarak is seen as the voice of moderation in the middle east. egypt, after all, was the first arab country to sign a peace deal with israel weern leaders and view him as a key ally in the region. this is it deemed international -- this has gained international support, even though it home, his policies have not been that liberal. >> hosni mubarak is one of the longest serving leaders in the arab world. for three decades, he has ruled the middle east's most populous
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country virtually unchallenged. with almost unbridled power. in his foreign policy, mubarak has been progressive, working for peace between israel and the palestinians. egypt has had relatively positive relations with israel. after israeli forces withdrew from sinai and taba in the 1980's. >> we look forward to the days ahead with hope and optimism. we are confident that both the palestinians and the israeli people deserve to live in peace and dignity. >> mubarak was also present at the latest round of peace talks in washington. internationally, he is respected as a mediator and an ally in the battle against islamic extremism. stability in his country is seen as crucial for the entire region.
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for these reasons, governments have been reluctant to criticize him, preferring to keep him on their side. domestically, mubarak is a hard- liner. emergency laws have been in place for the whole of his presidency, making demonstrations illegal and allowing it to clamp down on political opponents. human rights activists say the police and judiciary are brutal and corrupt. it is thought there are some 10,000 political prisoners. the electoral process is a very tightly controlled. the most important opposition organization, the muslim brotherhood, is banned from open political activity. >> we're looking forward to free and fair elections, under the supervision ofhe electoral commsion and the egyian people. we guarantee that as many people as possible will be able to cast their vote. >> there was an outcry after mubarak's party won a landslide
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victory in last november's ballot, with serious doubts raised about the independence of the electoral commission. the egyptian people have become increasingly unhappy with their government. the country has high unemployment, and many people live in party, while mubarak and his inner circle live in luxury. dissatisfaction has now started to boil over. friday's protests are the biggest the government has confronted. it suggests that mubarak's iron grip on power may be slipping. >> two-thirds of the people in egypt are said to be under the age of 30. some 90% of them have no jobs and no prospects. rampant unemployment and poverty, combined with years of repression, have led to the latest anger spilling out onto thestreets. egyptians e fed up, hoping this latest action will usher in
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much desired change. >> the protesters in egypt have one central demand, down with mubarak and his regime. election-rigging, oppression of the opposition, and torture. egyptians, it appears, are no longer prepared to tolerate the government's tactics. >> we're not here to write it. we just want to express our opinion, and that is injustice must end. >> but egypt's social project -- problems are also fueling the demonstrations. the population has doubled in the past 30 years, but work is very hard to come by. even for those who are well- educated. >> there are simply no jobs. it is very difficult for graduates to find a position. many are unemployed. >> discontent is a widespread, because many egyptians are very poor. about half the population lives below the poverty line, on less
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than 1.50 euros today. >> people cannot afford to pay their way because incomes are so low. >> sometimes we just eat bread, because we can no longer afford rice. >> because inflation is rampant, a growing number of egyptians feel that living standards are under threat. >> i am a lawyer. i earn the equivalent of 60 euros a month, and my apartment costs 75. what should i do? we need change. >> a broad spectrum of the population supports the protests, which are not, as the vernment sai orchestrated by the islamist muslim brotherhood. but the brotherhood is watching the events closely. >> it will accumulate and accumulate and lead to explosion. we're facing big explosion. >> it seems the explosion has only just united bit more freedom or greater influence for the internet.
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which part egypt will take is unclear. >> let's get some more analysis on the situation. for tha i am joined by an middle east expert from the swp german institute for international and security affairs. thank you for being with us. the protests still lack a political leader. you think that mohammad el- baradei as the man to lead the transition? >> well, he could be the man to lead the transition, and that is the main difference between the situation in egypt now and tunisia sundays ago. they do have an alternative. they do have a credible alternative, and a person who is highly reputed in the international arena. and that is -- that could serve as an encouragement to the opposition in egypt. >> until now, the police have been dealing with the protests. what role do you think the army can play? >> well, the army does play a
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role behind the scenes. we have seen in tunisia that the loss of support, army support, led to the downfall of the regime. as it seems, the army still stands behind hosni mubarak, and if the situation deteriorates, it is possible that the army will intervene. as it seems right now, it is more likely that it will intervene on the side of hosni mubarak, rather than against him. >> why do you think that the main opposition group, the muslim brotherhood, has kept such a low profile during these protests? >> well, the muslim brotherhood is extremely weekend. -- is extremely weakened, d it has suffered by the government for a long time. i think the security services are now concentrating on keeping them down. secondly, of course,
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international partners of egypt fear a takeover of the muslim brotherhood. and the muslim brotherhood leadership knows that very well, and i think that is the main reason why they keep waiting. >> do you think this current situation could lead to extremists, perhaps gaining ground in egypt? >> well, that is very likely. although we do not really know how much popular support they have. elections in egypt have turned less in recent years. so we do not really know about the popular support of the muslim brotherhood, but it is at least around 20% to 30% of the voters. so if there is any direction towards democracy in the country, egypt will term more islamic, and more islamist, and possly more radicalwith regard to its relations with israel and the west.
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>> we thank you very much for your analysis. with that, we wrap up the "journal" at this hour. thanks for joining us. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- ♪
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