>> investigators in australia say one of the major wildfires ravaging the most populous state there was caused by a military training exercise. over 100 fires are still raging with 1/3 of them out of control. the prime minister of pakistan calls for an end to drone strikes. he is set to bring up that issue with brock obama at their white house meeting today. -- with barack obama at their white house meeting today. and there is hope that the political paralysis in tunisia will come to an end. thanks for joining us.
bush fires are still raging across parts of australia. there are some answers as to what started one of the major fires. investigators say it was a military training exercise gone horribly wrong. that fire started one week ago today at the defense department training area west of sydney. it is one of at least 73 fires now raging in the area. excessive heat and wind led to the outbreaks of even more flames yesterday. >> mapping out their plan of attack. firefighters prepare for another day battling bushfires in new south wales. high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds are complicating relief efforts. >> as the conditions are warming up, we are seeing an increase in fire activity. we are also seeing a number of new fires starting right across the fire-weather affected areas.
>> the high winds are making it difficult for planes to get into the air and dump much-needed water on the fires. nearly 3000 firefighters have been deployed. officials are urging residents to leave affected areas. >> pack your car. head down the mountain. enjoy time in the metropolitan area. allow the firefighters the freedom to move through the community to protect your homes. >> with the state of emergency in place for new south wales there are now concerns the fires could be inching closer to sydney. >> the bureau of meteorology have extended a severe weather warning for the greater sydney area because the winds are increasing. >> since last week, more than 200 homes have already been destroyed and over 100 more damaged in new south wales. >> in australia, there has been
much debate about the effects climate change has had in provoking those fires. the u.n. climate chief said there was absolutely a connection between the fires and rising temperatures here the prime minister, tony abbott, was quick to dismiss -- to dismiss that claim. >> fire is part of the australian experience. it has been since humans were on this continent. the aboriginal people managed landscape through various forms of fire. it took us a long time to figure out that i landscape needed to be managed and at times burned. climate change is real, as i have often said, and we should take strong action against it but these fires are certainly not a faction of fire change.
>> pakistani prime minister know we sure he -- no wash our-- nawaz sharif is sitting down with president barack obama. the drone strikes may violate international law by killing civilians. >> the u.s. and pakistan try to get back on smooth ground after years of bumpy relations. prime minister now a sheriff -- prime minister nawaz sharif's visit wednesday is the first of its kind in years. >> there is the matter of drone strikes which have deeply disturbed and agitated our people. this issue has become a rift in
our bilateral relationship. i wish an end to drone attacks. >> 409 civilians have been killed by drone attack since 2004. it may violate international laws. >> we take extraordinary care to make sure our counterterrorism actions are in accordance with all applicable domestic and international law. there must be near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured. that is the highest standard we can set. >> relations hit rock bottom between the two countries in 2007. ties were so strained that the u.s. suspended its aid to the country. the killing of 24 pakistani soldiers in a u.s. airstrike later in the year further aggravated the situation.
now they have been making moves to put the past behind them. the u.s. unlocked $1.6 billion in aid to pakistan. >> let's bring in our pakistan specialist. how much of a role will the drone strikes and these new allegations from amnesty international about the civilian death in pakistan play in the talks at the white house today? >> it is coming at the right time for nawaz sharif. this being said, i'm not quite sure the u.s. will decide [inaudible] it is true that drones started in the bush administration and the obama administration used them much more than its predecessor. it seems the number of drone attacks have gone down comparatively this year, but it is difficult to imagine that
they will simply forget about this tool for fighting against not just terrorism but the groups which are conducting attacks on the forces in afghanistan. it is one of the key issues to be discussed between prime minister sharif and president obama. one is the role of pakistan in the endgame with afghanistan with forces leaving the country by the end of 2014, but also the correlation between pakistan policy and the good old strategic paradigm defined by the pakistani army, which want to have some sort of strong influence -- i would not say control -- on the administration in the future. >> thanks for that.
a new wave of attacks have hit iraq. gunman moved -- gunmend moved in overnight. it is estimated more than 520 have been killed so far this month. more than 5200 since the beginning of the year. the tunisian prime minister says he will hold an emergency cabinet meeting today am a just hours before crucial talks aimed at solving the country's ongoing political crisis are due to begin. it is thought the prime minister will announce his government is stepping down. tell us more about what is happening there today. the protests happening. >> the protests have just gotten underway in tunis. there are thousands of people so far that -- so far and there
still seems to be people streaming in. this will put further pressure on the government to step down in the time frame which they have already declared they are sticking to. they have yet to confirm the three-week deadline. the prime minister has up -- press conference scheduled for this afternoon. nothing is confirmed. he maybe announcing their full acceptance of that timeframe. >> thank you for that. our international affairs editor -- it seems to me this will eventually happen. there seems to be a bit of squabbling over when this might happen. >> there is distrust on both sides. the secular opposition would love this prime minister to step down sooner rather than later.
if you want to look precisely at the timing. this is about a roadmap. they are structured along a road map that was launched at the initiative of civil society. what is -- we just heard about the three-week timeframe. it calls for the government to step down within the next month for a caretaker government of technocrats to take over. what will that government be doing? it will be overseeing a new constitution. we are supposed to have a new electoral law passed for the coming elections and then a timetable for those elections. this is part of what we more broadly call the democratic transition process. talking about protests in the streets today. both sides arguing over when exactly this prime minister should step down -- it is a milestone that they are talking at all. you have the birthplace of the
arab spring, this one country am aware something like this is happening for the first time. wherever else you look right now, we don't see similar processes. often just the contrary. in egypt, we have the coup of the former president. in libya, we have a government virtually on the edge of collapse and no security whatsoever. by a lot of people's standards this is progress, the fact that they are talking. the prime minister himself says that he -- he has indicated he is willing to set down and he wants to do it once a constitution is adopted. some of the people protesting in the streets would like him to step down before that constitution is adopted. it is all in the fine print. at least they are talking. >> thanks for that. let's now go to greece. one week after a little blonde girl was found living with a
roma couple claiming to be her parents, her true identity is still unknown. greece has asked interpol to help identify her. social workers at the charity in charge of her say they have received hundreds of thousands of contacts from people both in greece and abroad, hoping to find in her their lost daughter. >> more than 10,000 calls and over half a million visits to their facebook page. they are struggling to handle requests from parents and families at home and abroad. >> there are those who want to send pictures. >> authorities have asked interpol to help track down the parents and identify the five-
year-old or six-year-old blonde girl. prosecutors were ordered to go through birth records and check for matches. one prosecutor accused them of cheating the welfare system. the parents denied keeping her to make false benefit claims. >> with regard to this case, this is not a kidnapping or abduction. the biological mother gave up this child for economic reasons. >> it is illegal abduction. we will not find her parents. >> in the context of growing hostility toward roma across europe, many fear backlash. residents are having to answer all sorts of accusations. >> we do not steal children. this is a live. we have children of our own.
it is all lies. >> the girl is still in hospital undergoing tests. she will eventually move to one of the ngo's shelters. >> a resignation was taken against a bishop of bloomberg. the so-called "blaine bishop" -- "bling bishop" evoked protests after spending a large sum to renovate his -- we will review with that. stay with us here on "france 24." >> hello and welcome to the week in the middle east. coming up, held by syrian rebels for nearly a year and a half,
nine lebanese pilgrims have now been released. we will look back at one of the worst attacks on french military in recent history, the 1983 beirut bombing. after being held hostage for nearly a year and a half by syrian rebels come a nine lebanese shiite pilgrims were filled -- freed. their release was the result of intense negotiations involving syria, turkey, lebanon, and qatar. a case that highlights how the syrian conflict is affecting neighboring countries. >> a hero's welcome for the turkish pilots who spent just over two months in captivity. their prime minister is on the tarmac to greet them, as well as relatives and the crowd of journalists. i'll being held hostage the two say they never -- while being held hostage, the two say they never lost faith.
>> we will be healthy emotionally. we need to stick to these rules. >> the turkish airlines pilots were abducted outside their hotel in beirut by a group named [indiscernible] , previously unheard of. the men put pressure on them to really nice nine men -- to release nine men kidnapped on october 12. after diplomacy, all hostages were freed. it appears as though officials played a key role. >> qatar is supporting opposition to president bashar al-assad. they are supporting the opposition. supporting also turkey. because turkey had their pilots taken hostage, it was possible for qatar to discuss with the opposition and to perhaps pay a ransom or talk to them.
>> this is one of the nine lebanese kidnapped in a year and a half ago. he and the others are shiites who said they were returning from a pilgrimage in iran. the group of nine wrongly deny allegations. after being freed, they paid tribute to the leader of hezbollah. >> above all, i would like to thank and pay my respects to him. we kept our principles and our opinions thanks to him. he was our only hope during the kidnapping. >> celebrating their return to lebanon with family members some of the former hostages condemned the rebels. >> we were tortured psychologically. they did not say you will never see your loved ones again.
they would say all the time, you will leave tomorrow. then it would be the next day, the next week, then the week after. >> the nearly simultaneous release of the hostages was the result of a complex deal with some details still murky. one of the key demands of the rebels was the release of dozens of women jailed by bashar al- assad's regime. it rains unclear whether any of them have been freed. -- it remains unclear whether any of them have been freed. >> the paratroopers were killed in the building that was serving as their headquarters. that bombing remains the french army's worst single day loss since the end of the indochina war in 1954. 30 years on, we look back on what happened that day. >> 1983, lebanon in the midst of civil war. eight years into its sectarian
battle, it has spread beyond the country's borders. the palestinian's israelis, -- palestinians and israelis joining the fighting. the mission was to help the lebanese army restore the authority of the government. an event on the morning of october 23 sparked the eventual withdrawal of the international troops and left mental scars on several nations that still have not healed. just past 6:00 in the morning an explosion rocked one of the buildings which housed french paratroopers. all eight stories were wiped out . the crater in its place was 20 feet deep, leaving 73 troops buried underneath. only 15 of them made it out alive. >> i was with four other people. i was the one closest to the exit. one of my colleagues was strapped -- trapped under the
rubble. he had fallen on his torso. he kept passing out because the weight of the cement. >> they couldn't see the sunlight like me. we kept trying to reassure each other. >> the french troops were not the only ones under attack. two minutes before their barracks exploded, there was also a blast at the american encampment. 241 u.s. marines were killed. the attacks were claimed by two terrorist organizations hezbollah and the islamic jiha d. crying could be heard as the injured were pulled from the rubble. >> one of my fellow soldiers told rescuers about me after he got out. i had less chance of being found because i was deeper underground. he said, there is another soldier down there. he is not answering. he must be dead. that is why they dug deeper to
try and get to me. >> the rescue efforts continued three days. the country was in a state of shock. every year, france marks the anniversary. 30 years on, it is still the deadliest attack on its army. >> in egypt, what should have been a celebration turned to tragedy on sunday when gunmen opened fire on wedding guests outside a church in cairo killing four people including an eight-year-old girl. since mohamed morsi's ouster, attacks against christians and their churches have increased. >> more blood spilled in the suburbs of the egyptian capital. this time after gunmen sprayed billets -- bullets at a coptic church. the unidentified attackers fired indiscriminately. >> i am sad and afraid. i might not come to church now.
if it is not safe inside the church, where should i go? >> everyone knows there is a wedding every sunday inside the church. the gunman on the motorcycle started shooting and ran away. >> security was tight after the carnage that enveloped the streets of cairo's neighborhood -- of this cairo neighborhood. it is the latest attack in a series targeting egypt's christians, who make up 10% of the population. attacks have increased since president morsi was ousted. >> the crackdown and the ousting of morsi, everything that happened -- >> human rights organization amnesty international says hundreds have been attacked across the country since the army cracked down on pro-morsi supporters in august.
>> saudi women's rights activists are making their voices heard online. they posted videos and pictures of themselves driving in defiance of the country's ban. saudi arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed behind the wheel. no law explicitly prevents them from driving but authorities refused to issue driving licenses to women. an advisory body recently rejected a move to put the ban up for discussion. activists are not getting up their plan of a nationwide protest on october 26. on to yemen, where activists are pushing for a law banning child brides. the issue is quite common in the country. earls who barely reach puberty are forced to marry much older men, a decision often made by the girl's family to have fewer mouths to feed in the household. >> for she and her two young
boys, there is a respite from the more brutal life they escaped. she was married at the age of 13 so that her family could have one less person to care for. when her husband became abusive she was forced to flee. >> i told my husband that i need divorce papers. if he takes them, he does not take care of my kids. >> it is estimated that 14% of girls in yemen under the age of 15 are forced into early marriages. 52% of girls before they turn 18. frequently to much older husbands. amid yemen's internationally supported dialogue, activists are trying to bring the issue into the global spotlight. it is not the first time the issue has been raised. in 2009, a major push began to put the legal age of marriage at 17. at present, there is no lead is
-- no legislation in yemen that specifies a minimum age for marriage. the bill was blocked by ultraconservative members of parliament, who believe that underage marriage is supported by sharia law. some are confident the time is right to try again and to raise the minimum age to 18. >> this law is important. there was already a lot of movement on this front. i have spoken with the head of the house of representatives and the prime minister. i have explained the technical aspects. >> getting the law approved looks to be a challenge. >> the yemeni parliament has dropped this issue for a long time. it is busy with other tasks.
the president is the only one who is capable of settling this situation of underage marriage by issuing a national decree preventing early marriage which would be historic. >> meanwhile, she is rebuilding her life alongside her sister, who also escaped an early marriage to an abusive husband. they both now long for the things they missed when they became child brides, like finishing their education. >> i advise girls who are young to not get married and instead finish their education. >> changing the numbers on early marriage in a country that struggles with poverty and
>> jock brandis, a movie gaffer and radio engineer in wilmington, north carolina, climbs a transmission tower for routine maintenance. this is just a day job, but his thoughts are an ocean away. he first went to africa with oxfam during the horrific nigerian civil war. >> we left under a hail of gunfire, basically, and by the time we were gone, a million people were dead and there was nothing to show for it. and it kind of scared me away from doing something with that big a possibility of major failure. >> haunted by those memories jock did not return to africa until july 2000. this time, he went to fix a solar-po