tv BBC World News PBS March 8, 2012 5:00am-5:30am EST
>> this is bbc world news. funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers use their expertise in global finance to guide you through the business strategies and opportunities of international commerce. we put our extended global network 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. >> the face of defection, as syria's deputy oil minister says he's joining the revolution against president assad's government. today greece looks to conclude a deal on its debts, but will enough creditors accept a 70% cut in they're owed? also, watch out for a solar storm which could create mayhem for power grids and slathes. -- and satellites. welcome to "bbc world news." i'm david eades. also coming up in the program -- how cannabis is curing a financial headache for one small spanish village. and a high five from messi means a last eight for barcelona in the european champions league. >> hello. the syrian deputy oil minister,
abdo hussameddin, has announced his defection from the government of president bashar al-assad. in a video posted on youtube, he said he was joining the revolution of the syrian people, accusing the government of driving the country to the edge of the abyss. it comes as the u.n.'s humanitarian chief continues her visit to syria, holding further talks with officials in damascus. as she left, she gave her reaction to what she'd seen in the city of homs on wednesday. >> i was devastated by what i saw in baba amr. excuse me, please. excuse me. >> few words, but pretty key nonetheless. she's been trying to persuade authorities to grant access for aid agencies to get to civilians, in particular in the district of baba amr. >> this was the most senior defection from the syrian government since the uprising
began. >> in the name of allah, i, the engineer, abdo hussameddin, deputy syrian oil minister, announce my defection from the regime and my resignation. i am withdrawing from the arab baath party. i declare that i am joining the revolution of these dig my feud people. >> after 33 years in government, the deputy minister said he did not want to end his career serving what he called its crimes. >> you brought a year of sadness and misery to those you claim are your people and deprive them of basic needs and humanity and brought the country to the brink of disaster through your stubbornness and arrogance, while you are cut off from reality. >> as the violence continues and death toll rises, syria hides behind diplomatic cover from russia and china. china sent its own delegation this week, apparently pushing for a six-point plan for peace.
on wednesday night at the united nations security council, russia, a major supplier of arms to syria, accused libya of running training camps for syrian rebel fighters. russia's ambassador to the u.n. said he had received information that people were sent from there to attack the syrian government. he said this was completely unacceptable, according to law, but libya and many other countries continue to call for some sort of intervention, military or otherwise. the united states has not ruled it out, and senior republicans say it must be done in the right way. >> if we don't do this when we can prevent a massacre from taking place, then i think the united states will have abrogated its responsibilities. >> but none of the measures taken so far have been enough to stop scenes like this. these are apparently wounded
activists. it's just one reason why some are so keen to defect. >> now, a question that they're asking in greece, will they or won't they? private creditors will announce whether they'll accept a deal to cut greece's debt burden. the government needs a large majority of investors to go along with it, otherwise there will be fears building once again of an imminent greek default. they call it the haircut, with creditors losing up to 70% of what they're owed. that would be the lanchest debt restructure that goes through for any question ever recorded. to get some more on this and how it all works, i spoke to the bbc's mark lowen in athens. >> well, it would be over 100 billion euros of the 206 billion euro that is greece owe s to its private creditors, so it would be a major hit. in order for this to go through, the greek government wants a large majority of bond holders to accept the deal. it would be a bond swap, so the
creditors will hand in their own bonds and receive new bonds, new greek government bonds with a lower value, which would mature over a longer period. now, the greek government wants 90% to go ahead with this in order for the deal to go through. if it gets about 66% or more of the bond holders to accept the deal, then it would basically force the minority of bond holders who refuse to go with it to actually accept it through a clause called a collective action clause. the problem with that is that by forcing the majority of bond holders to accept it, it becomes no longer voluntary, and it looks like a default, which would probably trigger insurance known as credit default swaps, and they were largely responsible for the 2008 financial crisis. so eurozone leaders want to avoid them coming back into play now. >> it sounds like a no-win situation for the creditors, mark. if they say no, they might end up getting nothing. >> that's right, and that's very much the position of the
greek government. it is saying those who try to hold out to refuse to accept this deal will not get a better deal. there's no other show in town. the greek government simply can't afford to pay the original bond holders who refuse to accept the deal, so that is why the athens government is saying that it will push through this deal come what may through this clause. now, those who hold out, the smaller hedge funds who are not under a three-line -- they may then enter into a long, legal wrangling process with the greek government, which may take several years. so it's a pretty messy situation. but the whole aim is to try to lighten greece's debt mountain, try to get it over this current hurdle. but even if the debt swap goes through, then the fundamental problems, which are a lack of growth, lack of productivity of the greek economy remains, and that is why greece still may face the possibility of a default somewhere further down the line. >> there's mark lowen. maryam is here now. it's not about winners and
losers. it's all about losers in a way. but for the market, they need to know the extent of those losses, don't think? >> they do. the markets today are playing a real game of anticipation in terms behalf they want to see, either this evening when the deadline happens, or even further. the deadline is not exactly a soft one. we're seeing the european markets looking pretty strong now. they are betting their money that greece will pull off the bond swap needed. the government has said there's been a strong offer to take it up. for example, we see the market in germany and france doing very, very well. keep in mind, david, we have european central bank coming out with its decision on interest rates, and, of course, those all-important u.s. nonfarm payroll figures coming out tomorrow. >> and we've nonetheless got other parts of the world having to deal with their own problems. we know, of course, a year on from the tsunami and the earthquake, japan's had one of the most appalling 12 months to
work with. but some encouraging signs? >> yeah, absolutely. we've seen the economic growth figures coming out today, and we see the economy contracting by .2% at the end of the last quart in 2011. that's less than the .6% contraction we were expecting. we're seeing companies spending a lot more money in the economy, parting with their money, in particular in the construction or reconstruction work being carried out throughout the areas in japan, which were devastated by the earthquake. that's one of the reasons why we've seen that. we're going to be talking to the world trade organization head in "world business report" in the next few minutes, so do stay watching. there will be lots of interesting stuff to talk about. >> maryam, thank you very much indeed. there's still some people making more money than small countries. the latest "forbes" rich list has been released. the mexican magnate, carlos slim, is want to list for the
third year running. bill gates and warren buffett right behind him. >> for the third year in a row, this man is the richest in the world, according to "forbes." he has a fortune of $69 billion. the wealth of carlos slim from mexico is down $5 billion on last year. he's still ahead of his closest rival, bill gates, who's worth $61 billion. this is asia's richest man. his net worth is $25.5 billion, something to enjoy at the age of 83. one of the winners this year is facebook's mark zuckerberg, who is now worth $17.5 billion. his worth is up $4 billion from a year ago. but the biggest loser was this man of india, owner of the world's biggest steel company. his net worth dropped $10.4 billion. the russian's net worth is roughly half of what it was
last year. "forbes" says it has been an unstable time for the world's richest. >> my overall take was churn and burn. it was an amazing year of volatility. there were a net gain of 16, but it's a much more complicated story. there were 128 newcomers, 117 who dropped off, another 12 who died. >> but there are some new faces. "forbes" says there was almost as many on its list who gained wealth as there were who lost it. and in terms of countries and how they fare, the united states is still home to more billionaires than any other nation. >> the u.s. went up a little bit from 413 net to 425 billionaires. china went down a little bit, as did russia, because of the falling commodity boom. so there is a lot of churn. >> but with the world economic outlook looking gloomy, only the shrewdest in this game can
stay on top. >> right, let's catch up on the sport. sue is here. it's all about lionel messi. we keep thinking what a great player, and then you have something even more extraordinary. >> i know, just when you think he couldn't be any better, he is. even the most passionate fans must have been watching last night and just thinking, my goodness me, i've just seen something special, five goals he scored in their 7-1 win. he got a hat trick in the space of 24 minutes. that was his 17th. that's a stat that's really got me today, his 17th hat trick for barcelona, and he's already up to 50 goals for the side this season alone. so, the mind boggles in terms of what he will end up with by means of a total. in terms of the tie, aggregate score is 10-2. in anyone's language, a bit of a trashing. >> what about messi? we all do this all the time,
don't we? some people say if you're not a world cup winner, you can't really be great. but i mean, heavens, it doesn't really matter, does it? >> i spoke to people in the maradona camp, and there's the obvious campaign there, that maradona's world cup record was fantastic, and messi hasn't really done it on that stage. but your counterargument would be that's because he's playing with most of the spain team, who are head and shoulders above everybody else internationally right now. perhaps his argentine teammates not on the same level. >> the likes of alex ferguson would say the best football in any case is the top club football in europe. >> indeed. that's what people argue currently, because the champions league is so competitive. it's just a great kind of water cooler, coffee conversation, isn't it? but at the moment, he is head and shoulders above everybody. >> sue, thanks a lot. and thanks for watching. this is "bbc world news." i'm david eades. we've got a lot more still to bring you, including -- no more
money if it's not made in china. beijing may stop officials from buying foreign cars. we'll have more. an australian man has pleaded guilt toy fastening an apparent bomb around the neck of an 18-year-old girl in sydney. paul peters was extradited for breaking into a house and detaining the girl in an attempt to extort money. experts spent 10 hours trying to remove the device from the girl's neck before discovering it did not contain explosives. nicolas sarkozy has put immigration at the center of his re-election campaign. he made a series of comments on television, including a claim there were too many foreigners in france. he's currently behind his socialist rival in the polls and has to compete with the national front for the conservative vote. the head of libya's national transitional council has said he's ready to defend the country's unity by force if
necessary. he made the comments the day after tribal leaders and militia commanders declared eastern libya to be semiautonomous. you're watching "bbc world news." i'm david eades. the headlines this hour -- the face of defection, syria's deputy oil minister says he's joining the anti-government revolution. in a matter of hours' time, private creditors will have to announce whether they accept a deal to cut greece's debt burden. scientists are telling us that a powerful solar storm caused by huge flares from the surface of the sun is due to strike earth imminently. it won't be directly harmful to people, but this storm, which is the largest in five years, could, we're told, disrupt electricity grids, some types of satellite navigation systems, also plane routes. joining me here is our science
and environment reporter, matt mcgrath, who's been following the story. how big a deal is this? >> it's amazing to bring something live happening in the middle of a program, a major solar event like this. it's quite a big deal in some respects. we have a solar cycle that lasts 11 years. we're in the middle of it now, so we get these things fairly regularly. in 2002, they were happening twice a year. we haven't had one for a while. we've got a big one now. we might have quite a few in the next couple of years as we build up to the solar maximum. >> the pictures are just fantastic. >> they're great, aren't they? >> but in terms of what effect it might have on us, the sort of scommow why. >> this is a three-part process t. started on tuesday. there were solar flares that hit the earth almost immediately. we've since then been covering in solar radiation. what's happening right at this moment is what's a big bubble, a technical term, but it's like a big soap bubble, and it's expanding and hitting the earth. we don't know whether it will be hit onwards or a glancing blow. it can impact power grids and
satellites and cause impact on g.p.s. >> it's interesting. very briefly, so far, so quickly with technology, i guess there are some areas we don't know quite how it might hit. >> in 2002, when we had a very big one, we didn't have have the reliance on technology that we do now. i can tell you, it won't affect the g.p.s. in your car. but if you've got very accuracy american, it may affect that. >> i'll get home then. matt, thanks very much indeed. cannabis is a medicinal cure is one thing. as an economic cure, it's quite different. but one village in spain believes it has found the answer to mounting debt and unemployment by agreeing to rent out land for cultivating cannabis for medicinal purposes. the bbc's tom burridge reports. >> it's legal to smoke it and own small quantities of it in spain. but selling cannabis is against the law. now this village plans to lease
land so it can be grown there. >> the drug will be grown for medicinal purposes and will reduce demand for the drug on the black market. a group that campaigns for the legalization of cannabis will pay the village more than 50 euros a month to rent the land so it can grow the drug. a local authority wants to cancel out its debt of more than a million euros. >> it's a possible solution for the government to pay off debt. if it works out, then perfect. >> it reduces medicine. if that's the goal, then i welcome it. but if it's used in a at which time way, then i don't agree. >> it's unclear if growing larger quantities of cannabis in the village will be legal. but it does draw attention on an age-old debate.
some will argue that the regulated production of the drug can save money due to less policing and create revenue for the authorities. others will ask, at what social cost? tom burridge, bbc news, spain. >> this sunday, japan will be remembering the victims of the earthquake and tsunami which hit the northeast coast a year ago. 16,000 people lost their lives as towns and cities were really devastated. tens of thousands more were evacuated when the fukushima nuclear plant suffered a radiation leak. residents of fukushima still live in fear of radiation. >> anxious consumers in the city of fukushima. they've come to this store, especially to buy vegetables grown in the other end of japan. they used to buy local produce, but after the nuclear accident,
just 80 kilometers away, many worry that food from this area is no longer safe. >> we need to stop kids from eating contaminated foods. they were already exposed ex-terribly after the explosions at the nuclear power plant, and we need to prevent them from being exposed further. we cannot trust the government. >> and that sense of mistrust seems to be shared among many people here in fukushima. unlike miyagi, which was also hit by the earthquake, there's no major physical damage to any of the buildings here. but residents live in fear of radiation. and the debate over whether it's safe to live here seems to have divided the community. they are still trying to reduce the level of radiation, but the government says outside the exclusion zone, it's safe to live in fukushima, that there are no immediate health risks.
the fujita family lives 7 owe kilometers from the power plant. for generations, they've been farming here. many of his fellow farmers have quit their business, but they decided to stay. even in the winter, under a blanket of snow, the soil produces food. the consumers suspect it's contaminated. he's seen a sharp fall in sales, even though he has all his products checked regularly and no radiation has been detected at all. >> i respect people's choice not to eat products from here, but it feels like people only talk about fukushima in numbers and data these days. i want them to know there are people behind those numbers who are simply trying to recover from this disaster.
>> mr. fujita says he will recover, growing and selling his vegetables. as he washes off the dirt, he hopes public opinion will soon change. but it's a huge challenge, one year on from the disaster, the battle to regain trust has just begun. >> to china now. it may be about to issue an order that will have bureaucrats across the country quaking in their boots, or at least their luxury german-made leather seats o. friday, a public consultation ends on a proposal to stop officials spending taxpayer money on foreign cars and forces them to buy chinese models instead. john sudworth is in shanghai. >> you're to be forgiven for thinking there was a gathering of german rather than chinese politicians in the great hall of the people this week. these days in china, it's a
rare bureaucrat who doesn't drive an audi. but if president hu can seem comfortable -- well, sort of comfortable in a chinese car -- why not all officials? now for the first time, the list of cars committed to be bought with public funds contains no foreign brands at all. it will help our national industry if officials only buy chinese cars, this woman says. chinese cars are cheaper, this man adds, and officials should drive cheap cars. >> the past 10 years have seen a rise of speeding chinese officials in their foreign branded cars, busting red lights and scattering pedestrians in their wake. it's a reminder for the ordinary chinese pedestrians of the growing wealth and inequality gap. official cars cost the chinese taxpayer well over $10 billion
a year. a period of public consultation ends on friday. however, if the new rule is approved, many people believe it will be widely flouted. >> it's a culture, and we can do nothing about it, this professor tells me. officials need to keep upgrading. a car with a famous name is a symbol to show your status. however hard to enforce, the foreign car ban would still be an important signal in terms of public patience at least. china's luxury loving bureaucrats may be running out of road. john sudworth, bbc news, shanghai. >> britain's prime minister, david cameron, has revealed that stalking is to be made a specific criminal offense in england and wales. he's revealed that stalking is to be made a specific criminal offense on the basis of having met stalking victims. he'll be meeting more at number 10 in a reception to mark
international women's day. he describes stalking itself as an abhorrent crime which makes life a living hell for the victims. green elizabeth begins a tour of the u.k. today, her first stop is the english midlands, and this is just the beginning of a four-month journey around the country to celebrate her diamond jubilee. >> this is a scene that will be replicated across the u.k. over the next few months, a clear sign the queen is on her way and another jubilee tour is beginning. >> here she is again, a steady queen with a ready smile. i mean, you know, this vehicle has been on the road for 60 years, yet still seems to be running smoothly. >> the royal party's first stop will be university, where students have been designing shoes fit for a queen, a future queen. the pair catherine likes best will be made up and worn by the
duchess. there was no other potential new queen 10 years ago at the golden jubilee. then all eyes were on her majesty and the duke of edinburgh. the queen visited a mosque for the first time. her shoes exchanged for just a pair of shoe liners. she opened a waterfront regeneration project. while in wales, it was the young who came out in force. celebrations culminated in essential jubilee weekend, which brought people out in their millions. that was also the case for the queen's silver jubilee in 1977. then, at the age of 51, not only did she tour the nation, she also traveled nearly 60,000 miles around the world. this time there will be no foreign travel, but the queen
and prince phillip will be crisscrossing the country on a tour which will end in july. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers use their expertise in global finance to guide you through the business strategies and opportunities of international commerce. we put our extended global network to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you?