tv BBC World News BBC America October 7, 2014 6:00am-7:01am EDT
this is bbc america, and now live from london, "bbc world news." hello, i'm geeta guru-murthy with "bbc world news." our top stories. new fears over ebola after a spanish nurse becomes the first person outside west africa to contract the virus. as the outbreak continues, aide workers in sierra leone say they're struggling to cope. we talked to a doctor in the capital freetown. >> it can't be possible that there could be deaths. now 20,000 seems like nothing. and suddenly people are talking about worst case scenario more than a million. >> there's more fighting in kobane on the syrian-turkish
border. islamic state militants have now moved into parts of the town. the captain of a south korea passenger ferry that sank killing more than 300 people gives evidence in court. and kevin peterson talks about tension with the england team during his time on the cricket squad. hello. there are new concerns about the spread of ebola after a nurse in spain became the first person known to catch the disease outside west africa. this was the scene as a convoy of police cars and balances transferred the nurse across madrid in the early hours of this morning. what do we know about this nurse? in the last weeks of september, she treated two missionaries who
died of the disease when they returned to spain from west africa. her last involvement was when she cleaned the hospital room of one of the dead men on september 25th. a day later, she went away on holiday. we don't know where to. and she then started displaying ebola symptoms on the 30th of september. more than 7,500 people have been infected with the virus. almost half of them have died. spain's health minister has tried to reassure the public. >> translator: we are working with madrid's regional health system, the experts that are here with me now are here in order to find formulas to treat the patient in the best possible way and to avoid any type of risk to the population, and for members of the team who are treating her, that is our main objective today. >> despite these reassurances, workers at the hospital where the nurse is being treated and madrid residents have expressed doubts about whether the correct protocols are being followed.
>> translator: they have not provided any convincing information for us. i think they should give us a better explanation on what happened and what went wrong. >> translator: i don't think they did well by bringing them to spain, because although they were spanish, they had spent 20 or 30 years working there. i think the best thing would have been to leave them where they were. >> i think what we have to do is calm down society, calm down the country. don't worry. everything will be resolved. above all, we need calm. that is the most important thing. >> well, could those protocols have been broken, and what is the risk of the virus spreading in spain? i put those questions to the virologist from professor john oxford. >> the same ebola virus, as far as i can see, it hasn't changed over the last 40 years and it's not changed during this outbreak. it's come from a fruit bat and remains very similar to the fruit bat it came from nine months, nearly a year ago.
so it's not the virus that's changed. i suspect what's happened here, and i can understand it, a break down in some sort of way. i've got every sympathy from the nurse. was overtired. you can get into those situations quite easily. it could be that she was working by herself, which she shouldn't have been doing. i suspect there's a mistake. it's quite tricky to get out of the containment suit. that's the vulnerable part. it's likely there's been a piercing of the suit itself. more likely there's been spots of blood or vomit on the suit. when she was getting out of the suit, there was some sort of cross-contamination that she didn't see. if there was no one there to help her, that didn't help either. that would be my tentative explanation for this. >> do we have any information directly from the people in that hospital? have you managed to speak to anyone? >> no. i've got some colleagues there, but i've not managed to get hold of them yet, which i will try and do. what is not going to happen is this virus is not going to become imbedded in spain.
if anyone thinks it's like hiv and start spreading around in spain like wildfire, it just won't. it's not that sort of virus. you need quite close contact, bodily fluids to get it. >> but people will be very worried now in europe. and the fact that we don't know what her movements were for five days and you can't possibly track someone's movements constantly anyway. >> no. >> if she was displaying symptoms, if she was starting with a temperature, and if she touches a surface on somebody else, then touches it, whether it's a bank atm machine or a handrail in a supermarket or whatever it is, is that a way to spread infection or do you need much more serious contact with her fluids? >> you need serious contact. you have to have blood or vomit on the hands. she's a nurse. and in these countries, that does not happen in west africa because most villages there's not been any water, let alone
soap, let alone disinfectant, let alone chlorinated water. you can see straight away how a virus like that could invade its way in communities in west africa. it wouldn't stand a chance in these european countries. >> so if you pass somebody on the tube or on a train who is sweating and has ebola, if this woman was out in the public, is it possible that she will have infected other people where she was living? >> no. no. it's not like sars or mers or influenza where you can get it in passing. you don't get that with ebola. it's very much internal bleeding. so you won't get it by sitting next to someone really on the tube either. so you've got to get someone actually vomiting or spewing blood. that's how you're going to get it. so that again, you see, the virus -- we need to appreciate this virus has not spread very quickly. these 7,000 cases have built up over a period of a year. fair enough, they've reached a
critical stage at the moment and they could now begin to expand as the graph goes upwards and that's why it's important to take action now and i think what it tells me, the poor nurse, and the man from liberia in the united states, what they both tell me is that virus is not going to start spreading in either of those two countries. >> professor john oxford there speaking to me a short time ago. the bbc's global health correspondent is in the sierra leone capital freetown. she spoke to one doctor who is treating patients. >> reporter: suiting up for yet another day on the ebola front line. dr. oliver johnson has been dealing with this outbreak since it first started. but the isolation ward here at the hospital in freetown is overwhelmed as the number of cases continues to rise rapidly. >> about a month ago, the w.h.o. said there might be 20,000 dead. at the time i thought, impossible. it can't be possible that there could be this many deaths.
now 20,000 seems like nothing. and suddenly people are talking about worse case scenario more than a million deaths in west africa, which is just -- for those of us who thought at the beginning maybe this will be 100 or 200 cases, it's mind blowing. we could end up seeing more cases a day than we have seen in total in the last six months. i think what's remarkable is that a lot of patients come in and they can -- you come in in the morning and they are talking. they're a little bit weak, they're a little bit tired, but talking okay. by the evening, they're pretty confused and pretty frustrated. and by the following morning, you come in and they're dead. within 24 hours, you go from this person you started to get to know and you think might make it to this very rapid confusion and exhaustion and deterioration. it's pretty difficult i think for all of us, all the health workers here, day in, day out to be seeing so many patients who are dying. really close friend of mine was a nurse here, an amazing nurse. to put her in an balance and
clo -- ambulance and to close the door and know she's not going to survive. when you're here in the thick of it, you can -- you know, you're so busy and you're so involved, you can put this in the back of your mind. but surely, when you have those days off or go back on leave, you start to revisit it. i think for all of us, it's going to take a heavy toll. we take that very seriously as a team to make sure we're all reflecting on it and prepared for it. >> dr. oliver johnson there. later in the program, i'll be talking to the uk's international development minister about international efforts to contain ebola in west africa. we'll getting reports that the u.s.-led coalition has carried out fresh air strikes in the last hour near the syrian town of kobane. t there have been fierce street battles between the militants and kurdish fighters who are defending the town near the border with turkey. paul adams has been tweeting developments in kobane as they
happen and up loading photos like this picture of what appears to be an exploded mortar found on the turkish side of the border. turkish authorities are trying to keep people away from the area. earlier, he tweeted this picture of smoke after an air strike and says he's heard about three or four over the last several hours. the turkish parliament voted last week to allow military action against the militants, but although tanks are lined up, turkey shows no sign at all of wanting to get involved. i asked our correspondent in istanbul mark lowen whether this is down to its own self-interest with regard to the kurds. >> one of the reasons, but the prime minister of turkey now indicating that there are two conditions that he wants to be met before turkish troops were to intervene. one is that the coalition should broaden its aims to target and topple president assad from power, and the second would be
the creation of a buffer zone, a no-fly zone in order to cope with the refugee influx. but both of those still seem some way off. so it still seems that turkey will hold fire in pushing on until they are met. and that is creating a lot of anger here. there were clashes overnight between kurdish groups and police in several cities around turkey, including istanbul, petrol bombs thrown, a bus set on fire, the ghosts of the civil war between the kurds and the turkish state being reawakened by this crisis. meanwhile, we understand that air strikes are continuing this morning in kobane. reports that loud explosions are being heard and plumes of smoke billowing above the city. but perhaps it's simply too late. perhaps now islamic state have got that city surrounded. they have got the three districts already in the east. they're moving into the streets, and the kurdish fighters on the ground are facing the battle of their lives. >> mark lowen there. we're just getting live pictures
there. let me show them to you. we've just lost them. if we get them back, we'll bring them to you. on the line now is the co-leader of the syrian kurdish party the pyd. thanks for joining us. just tell us what you're hearing now about what's been going on in kobane today. >> there is a lot of fighting going on in kobane. it's all right. i am in -- the forces are assisting. and there are many, maybe hundreds of deaths. in the streets of co bekobane. >> do you know how many i.s. people there are in kobane and
how many people are left to resist them? >> we don't know the exact number. but there are more than 10,000 people inside kobane. resisting against daesh and the forces are defending. >> kobane is going to be taken over by islamic state? >> no, no. it wouldn't fall at ul. be sure of that. if there is a massacre or genocide, we can talk about kobane falling. but kobane wouldn't fall. very helpful, very useful today. >> tell us what has happened, because we've seen these reports of air strikes. in what way are they helping?
>> they are happening in many places. especially western kobane. they are useful. since last night, there are attacks around kobane, especially those tanks and armies and armored vehicles. this daesh are using them. >> what about the position then of the turkish government? we've been seeing pictures of the tear gas used there by some of the turkish authorities. what is your view of what the turkish government is doing or not doing? >> well, i talked to the officers from the united states and they promised us to be able to give the people in kobane a hand of help, just humanitarian
aid, and up in the corridor to reinforce all the kurdish forces over there. and they're still waiting. in three days, nothing happened. still waiting for them. >> how disappointed are you with that? just very briefly. >> yes. humanitarian aid opened the way for us to make it possible for our people from the other areas to support them through turkey, to support the ypg forces. >> many thanks indeed. many people there still, of course, on that border. let's catch up now with what's going on in the world of business. aaron is here looking at samsung still? >> yep, samsung pretty much off a cliff. hello, geeta. samsung has warned it's had one of its toughest quarters for years and will see profits
plunge by some 60%. now, it is the smart phone business that's being squeezed by fierce competition from apple's premium smart phones. the new ones, the biggest greens. and also undercut by chinese rivals. much cheaper, like lanovo. to combat this downturn, samsung has announced plans to invest some $15 billion into a chip-making factory, a move that samsung hopes to hold on to a lead position in that market, also to offset the decline that it's seeing at the moment. we'll have more on "gmt" coming up in just over an hour's time. how about this? the bank of japan ended its two-day meeting on a bit of a mixed note, because the board unanimously voted not to increase the country's economic stimulus package. however, the central bank delivered a cautionary line on the world's third largest economy, offering words of warning about the slowing housing market and weakening industrial output.
basically japanese factories churning out. we'll keep across this one. here's an interesting one. olive oil price increases are on their way. that's what we're hearing. a drought in spain and blight in italy have seen yields in these two countries fall and harvest prospects weaken. spain produces 45% of all olive oil around the word. italy comes in second, making 25%, and third place is greece, which produces 20% of the world's olive oil. so who's going to be most affected by the coming price rises? that's what we're going to be covering, later on on "gmt," just over an hour's time. follow me on twitter. you can tweet me @bbcaaron. geeta, back to you. >> thanks very much, see you soon. there is much more to come. stay with us, if you can. is it vladimir putin or is it hercules? the russian president gets a makeover for his birthday. teacher of the un-teachable.
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this is "bbc world news." i'm geeta guru-murthy with the latest headlines. a nurse in spain is being treated for ebola. she's the first person to contract the disease outside west africa. there's more fighting in kobane on the syrian-turkish border. islamic state militants have moved into parts of the town. well, we just want to bring you some live pictures, because these are the latest shots we're getting in from the border and it looks as though there are many people, many refugees now leaving kobane as that fighting continues. there have been air strikes, and we were hearing just a few minutes ago from one turkish -- sorry, syrian kurdish leader that he believes those air strikes have been helpful. he believes i.s. will not be able to take kobane and there
are ten 10,000 to 15,000 people in the city. it's hard to check the veracity of what he's saying, but we do know the fighting is ongoing and i.s. has made a lot of progress trying to take kobane, and the turkish troops on the border are still not taking any action, although it does look as though the americans are now focusing more on this town that has been under siege for three weeks, but these are still people coming out of the border to get out of that town. let's go to south korea, because the captain of the ferry that sank back in april has been speaking at his trial for the first time. he has been charged with manslaughter for his role in the ferry disaster, in which 300 people died, most of them school children. steve evans told me what's happened in court so far. >> reporter: he's been interrogated pretty vigorously about exactly what he was doing, what he knew, and what he said to various people on that day.
and what comes back repeatedly is i was confused, i was not in my normal state of mind. he said at one stage that he had ordered that the ship be abandoned, but that order had not been passed on, or had not been carried out. the central charge against him is that he and the senior officers around him got off that ship and told the passengers, mostly teenagers, that they needed to stay put. he is saying two things. one, i was confused. the situation was not normal in my own mind. but he also denies having done that. >> steve evans there. now, something very different, because the former england batsman kevin pierterson has been talking about his time as an international player. he said he was devastated to learn he was the subject of a twitter account written by his
teammates. >> in terms of the parody twitter account that i was led to believe from a former england player who was told by the guy who set it up that it was being run from inside my dressing room. when i got told that, i immediately had that feeling that when you think you've lost your phone or you've lost your wallet, and your heart sinks when you get that horrendous feeling in your stomach. when i was told that at the dressing room by another senior player about it, i was ruined. i mean, that absolutely ruined me. there's one thing about happening banter and bits and pieces going on inside, but when it's public humiliation, because that twitter account was gaining a lot of momentum very quickly, and i didn't like it. just want to bring you some breaking news now from madrid, because reuters are reporting that four people now have been hospitalized in madrid, in spain as well as the nurse who we know has contracted ebola. but four people also
hospitalized. we don't know whether they have actually been confirmed as having ebola or whether they are simply being monitored very closely by the hospital. this is a news conference that is just under way on this. and we believe that yes, four people in quarantine, we don't know, of course, whether they are on. we will bring you more clarification on what's going on in spain. but a lot of concern obviously now because a nurse in spain has become the first person known to catch the ebola disease outside west africa. now, exchanges of fire have continued between indian and pakistani troops in the disputed region of kashmir. a pakistani man was killed. it comes a day after nine civilians were reported dead on both sides of the line of control. india says 40 indian army posts came under attack, and they had to retaliate. as a result, pakistani and indian border troops refrained
from exchanging sweets on their muslim festival of eid as they usually do, so some tension there. the number of pro-democracy protesters blocking hong kong's streets continues to fall after student leaders and the government agreed to halt talks. only a few dozen students at the center of the demonstrations are still occupying roads in the business district, but student leaders have insisted the movement is far from defeated. they say the talks will discuss their demands regarding electoral reforms. now, what do you give the president who has everything? russia's vladimir putin turns 62, a group of his supporters has come up with an unusual solution. they're staging an art exhibition featuring president putin in a number of heroic poses very loosely modelled on ancient greek myths. he's seen as hercules holding up the world and fighting off various threats, including war planes, missiles, and there looking a ukrainian looking
bull, seen in various others. a number of poses. the 12 poses there. much more, of course, on all that and all our breaking news, of course, coming out of spain, too. we're just hearing that madrid has 22 contacts of the nurse have been identified. we're back soon. growth is gratifying. goal is to grow. gotta get greater growth. i just talked to ups. they got expert advise, special discounts, new technologies. like smart pick ups. they'll only show up when you print a label and it's automatic. we save time and money. time? money? time and money. awesome. awesome! awesome! awesome! awesome! (all) awesome! i love logistics.
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i'm geeta guru-murthy with "bbc world news." our top stories. new fears of ebola after a nurse in spain becomes the first person outside west africa to contract the virus. spanish officials say four other people have also now been hospitalized. and in one of the worst affected countries sierra leone, there's anger at the government response. >> what is the government doing for us? we are dying. people are dying. what is the government doing for us? we don't know. islamic state militants are continuing their push into the town of kobane on the
syrian-turkish border. the captain of a south korea passenger ferry that sank, killing more than 300 people, gives evidence in court. hello. there are new concerns about the spread of ebola after a nurse in spain has become the first person known to catch the disease outside west africa. in the last few minutes, spanish officials have confirmed that four other people have now been hospitalized and are being monitored for the virus. this was the scene as a convoy of police cars transferred the nurse across madrid in the early hours of this morning. what do we know about this woman? in the last weeks of september, the nurse treated two missionaries who died of the disease when they returned to
spain from west africa. her last involvement was when she cleaned the hospital room of one of the patients on september 25th after he died. a day later, she went away on holiday. we still don't know when or where exactly she was. and then she started displaying ebola symptoms on the 30th of september. overall, more than 7,400 people have been infected with the virus since the outbreak at the start of the year. almost half of them, 3,400 have died. spain's health minister has today tried to reassure the public. >> translator: we are working with madrid's regional health system. the experts that are here with me now are here in order to find formulas to treat the patient in the best possible way and to avoid any possible risk to the population, and for members of the team who are treating her. that is our main objective today. >> despite those reassurances, workers at the hospital and
residents have expressed doubts about whether the correct protocols are being followed. >> translator: they have not provided any convincing information for us. i think they should give us a better explanation on what happened and what went wrong. >> translator: i don't think they did well by bringing them to spain. because although they were spanish, they had spent 20 or 30 years working there. i think the best thing would have been to leave them where they were. >> translator: i think what we have to do is calm down society, calm down the country. don't worry, everything will be resolved. above all, we need calm. that is the most important thing. >> the bbc's global health correspondent is in the sierra leone capital freetown. she spoke to one doctor who is treating patients. >> reporter: suiting up for yet another day on the ebola front line, dr. oliver johnson has been dealing with this outbreak since it first started.
but the isolation ward here at the hospital in freetown is overwhelmed as the number of cases continues to rise rapidly. >> about a month ago, the w.h.o. said there might be 20,000 dead. at the time, i thought, impossible. it can't be possible that there could be this many deaths. now 20,000 seems like nothing. and suddenly people are talk about worst case scenario more than a million deaths in africa. for those of us at the beginning thought it would be maybe 100 or 200 cases, it's mind blowing. we could end up seeing more cases in a day than we have seen in total the last six months. i think what's remarkable is a lot of patients come in, and you come in in the morning and they are talking. they're a little bit weak, a little bit tired, but they're talking okay. by the evening, they're pretty confused and pretty frustrated. and then by the following morning, you come in and they're dead. within 24 hours, you go from this person you started to get to know and you think might make it, to this very rapid confusion, exhaustion and deterioration.
it's pretty difficult i think for all of us, all the health workers here day in, day out to be seeing so many patients who are dying. a really close friend of mine was a nurse here, been an amazing nurse at hospital. to put her in an balance and to close the door and know at that stage, there was really no chance she was going to survive, these are enormously challenging moments. i think when you're here in the thick of it, you can -- you know, you're so busy and you're so involved, you can put this in the back of your mind. it's really when you have those days off or go back on leave that you start to revisit it. i think for all of us, it's going to take a heavy toll and we take that very seriously as a team to make sure that we're all talking about it, reflecting on it and prepared for it. >> let's just remind you of those updates coming out of madrid, as well as the nurse who is being treated now, four other people have been hospitalized to be monitored for the virus. the hospital is saying that the nurse herself did not leave madrid during her holiday. we know that she took five days
off. officials also say they've identified 22 people who were in contact with her, and they are now being monitored. the nurse herself is being treated apparently by a drip using antibodies from previously infected patients. so that is some of the details coming out of that press conference in madrid. more, of course, as soon as we can bring it to you. let's move on to our other main news. we're getting reports that the u.s.-led coalition has carried out fresh air strikes in the last hour near kobane. the air attacks of targeted positions held by islamic state militants who have surrounded kobane. there have been fierce street battles near the border with turkey. the turkish parliament voted last week to allow military action against militants, but although tanks are lined up along parts of the border, turkey shows no sign of wanting to get involved. i asked our correspondent mark lowen in istanbul whether this is down to its own self-interest
with regard to the kurds. >> reporter: one of the reasons, but the prime minister of turkey now indicating that there are two conditions that he wants to be met before turkish troops were to intervene. one is that the coalition should broaden its aims to target and topple president assad from power. and the second would be the creation of a buffer zone, a no-fly zone in order to cope with the refugee influx. but both of those still seem some way off. so it still seems that turkey will hold fire in pushing on until they are met. and that is creating a lot of anger here. there were clashes overnight between kurdish groups and police in several cities around turkey, including istanbul, petrol bombs thrown, a bus set on fire, the boasts of the civil war between the kurds and the turkish state being reawakened by this crisis. meanwhile, we understand that
air strikes are continuing. reports that loud explosions are being heard and plumes of smoke billowing above the city. but perhaps it's simply too late. perhaps now islamic state have got that city surrounded. they have got the three districts in the east. they're moving into the streets and the kurdish fighters on the ground are facing the battle of their lives. >> mark lowen there. the captain of a south korean ferry that sank in april has been speaking at his trial for the first time. he has been charged with manslaughter for his role in the sewol ferry disaster, which more than 300 people died, most of them school children. the bbc's steve evans is at that court. he's told me what's happened in court so far. >> he's been interrogated pretty vigorously about exactly what he was doing and what he knew and what he said to various people on that day, april 16th. and what comes back repeatedly is "i was confused, i was not in my normal state of mind."
he said that he had ordered that the ship be abandoned, but that order had not been passed on or had not been carried out. the central charge against him is that he and the senior officers around him got off that ship and told the passengers, mostly passengers, that they needed to stay put. he is saying two things. one, "i was confused", the situation was not normal in my own mind, but he also denies having done that. >> steve evans there. now, a british-iranian woman held in a teheran prison after trying to watch a men's volleyball match has gone on hunger strike. she has been detained in one of iran's most notorious prisons for the last 100 days. it's understood the 25-year-old graduate from london was charged with spreading propaganda against the islamic system. >> she started the hunger strike
about seven days ago. and used to be mostly psychological pressure. but now in the past seven days, physical pressure has also been added to that. and obviously seven days without any solid food. i think she's in a tough condition. kind of feel that we are pressed for time and doing everything we can, as quickly as we can to have her released. >> why did she go to the volleyball match in the first place? >> everyone was excited about the match inside iran. the national team was doing really well. everyone, including my sister, everyone was excited about watching them from inside the stadium. the general feeling was that the
ban on women getting to the stadium was almost lifted, because even the president of iran was publicly lobbying for that. and it was actually something on the news the same day. and she really thought that she could get into the stadium without any troubles. and she got arrested regardless. >> what exactly happened to her? were there any other women in the stadium at all? >> no women in the stadium. i mean, all of them were denied entry. they kind of -- they gathered outside the gates, and lots of them -- i'm not sure what the exact number is, but perhaps in 40s, 40 or 50 women were arrested, but only my sister was transferred to the prison. >> what was the reason given for her separate treatment? >> to be honest, we're not really sure. she has indicated that her dual citizenship has played a role in
her arrest. when she was questioned in the police station on the same day that she was arrested, and they found out about her dual citizenship. i think things kind of changed. the attitudes kind of changed. but that's all we know really. we've been in the dark ever since from the start. so to be honest, i'm not really sure. >> obviously no one would say that trying to go to a sports game is an irascible offense, certainly not the worst, but i must just ask you. she is a law student. she's educated. wasn't it quite foolish of her to do this? >> i mean, as i said, it seemed at the time there wasn't going to be any troubles. there was an agreement between iranians and the international volleyball federation. as i mentioned, the president of iran was lobbying publicly for women to get into stadiums, and
before september 2013, women were actually allowed to go into stadiums. >> his sister is being detained in iran. the government of myanmar has pardoned more than 3,000 prisoners and says they will be released. they are being freed for the sake of peace and stability. most are thought to be criminals, but at least four are senior military officials. let's get more now from myanmar. our correspondent there is in yangon. why the sudden release? >> reporter: that's a good question. the government don't tend to release justifications as to why they're doing this. the official reason was to do with peace and stability and humanitarian reasons that were cited by the ministry of information there. but when an announcement like this is made here, 3,000 prisoners released, there are no details really given as to who those people will be. so during the course of the day,
we have to try and piece together exactly what's going on, who's being released. as you said, it just seemed that most of these people are criminals, but there are two small significant groups. one is perhaps about ten conventional political prisoners who have been detained for their political beliefs. and even more interestingly, another group of perhaps as many as ten former members of military intelligence here who fell out with the ruling leadership about ten years ago and was sentenced to a very long time in prison, the most famous of those was sentenced to 152 years in prison for a variety of different offenses. but he, brigadier general is one of these military intelligence officers who have been released today. it seems in some ways as if the government here is trying to reach out to those people, that it may have fallen out with during the course of the long military dictatorship here and achieve some sort of reconciliation among that kind of army elite group.
>> and has there been any kind of reaction to this announcement? >> not yet. from human rights groups, there have been continued calls for more political prisoners to be released. they've always said there's about 80 political prisoners still being detained here who have been convicted, and several hundred more who are in the process of being prosecuted under the laws against freedom of expression in some areas and freedom of assembly. so they would like still more to be done. i think people are perhaps a little bit surprised about the numbers today. 3,000 does appear an awful lot of prisoners to be released. and obviously, we don't know any details about the vast majority of those people. >> very interesting. jonah fisher, thanks very much indeed. stay with us here on "bbc world news." much more to come. is it vladimir putin or is it hercules? the russian president gets a birthday makeover. 24/7 it's just i'm a little reluctant to try new things. what's wrong with trying new things? feel that in your muscles? yeah... i do...
this is "bbc world news." i'm geeta guru-murthy with the latest headlines for you. a nurse in spain is being treated for ebola. she's the first person to contract the disease outside west africa. four other people have also now been hospitalized in madrid. and there's more fighting in kobane on the syrian-turkish border. islamic state militants have moved into parts of the town. yesterday, there was a brief protest in london by kurdish activists. in the last hour, we've heard reports that a group of kurds have broken through security in brussels. the group are thought to be protesting about ongoing events in kobane. chris morris, our correspondent, is in brussels for us. what's been happening there?
>> reporter: they broke into parliament here, about 60 kurds, and basically started a sit-in in one of the central plazas inside the parliament. they were shouting slogans like isis terrorists and demanding more european union support for the kurds trapped in and around kobane. they agreed voluntarily to leave. they've now left the building and gathered in a square just a little bit behind me where they are announcing they're going to start a hunger strike until the european union does more to help their kurdish brethren. we've seen similar protests in cities across europe. feelings running very high in the expatriot kurdish community. >> brussels does see a lot of campaigns and protests, but this
one getting through security, which is quite something. >> yeah, i think there will certainly be a security inquiry into parliament as to how people so apparently easily breached the security. i mean, the security is not particularly tight, and they were clearly taken by surprise. they were lucky that these were peaceful protesters. they made their political point and they're continuing to make it here behind me. but it does suggest that perhaps security in the building is not all it should be. a quick look at some other news stories for you. kenya's president has left his country to attend a hearing at the international criminal court in the hague. he's facing charges of crimes against humanity in connections with violence that follow the 2011 elections. he's the first head of state to be tried by the iec and is expected to appear before the court on wednesday. he denies the allegation. gay rights groups are
claiming a momentous step for equality. virginia, oklahoma, utah, wisconsin, and indiana. the ruling means same-sex couples can marry immediately in those five states. the intimate details of an ancient african empire are revealed in an exhibition of rare photos in washington. chief elonge was the royal photographer, and for more than half a century, he documented nigeria's transition from colonial rule to independence. julie o'brien reports from washington. >> reporter: a modern ceremony honoring the oba, or king of benine. it would have been witnessed by chief elonge. as official photographer for much of 20th century, he had intimate access to the ancient kingdom under british rule. his images offer a rare
insider's view. >> he is true to the culture and the ways of the people better. seeing them from the perspective of someone who is a participant in all the things that are going on around him, and who has some reverence for these events and activities that are going on. >> for hundreds of years, bronze and ivory carvings were used to record his history. chief elonge's photographs are seen by many as a natural progression from this traditional art form and just as african. but the chief didn't only photograph the royal court of benine. he also took pictures of ordinary africans in his commercial studio. these photographs would have been treasured possessions, displayed on walls in homes, and they also show how nigerians themselves wanted to be represented. many of these photographs were taken during nigeria's transition to independence at a time when photography was becoming increasingly popular. every town had a studio, or at
least a photographer who traveled. but many of those images have been lost, which is why chief elonge's pictures are so important. >> we really owe it to elonge himself and his family, who kept the images ordered out of the heat and humidity, and understood the significance of the images that they were holding. >> reporter: to see much of their own art and culture, nigerians must come to washington or visit other museums around the world. most of the kingdom's ancient art was destroyed or looted when the british burned benine city in 1897. but that's about to change. these photos will return to nigeria next year, the first time that the smithsonian has staged an exhibition in africa. jane o'brien, bbc news, washington. now, what do you give a president who has everything for his birthday? president putin is turning 62, and a group of his supporters has come up with a most unusual gift. they're staging an art
exhibition featuring the president in a number of heroic poses. steve rosenberg has a look. >> reporter: whenever it's vladimir putin's birthday, strange things tend to happen in russia. and what's happening behind me now is, quite frankly, very strange. it's an art exhibition comparing president putin to the greek hero hercules. and it's been organized by the so-called vladimir putin supporters group. now, hercules was the son of zeus, and so the story goes, he carried out 12 labors, 12 incredibly differently tasks, and here, those tasks have been redrawn, reinterpreted to represent vladimir putin's deeds in the kremlin. for example, instead of hercules slaying the lion, here we see vladimir putin battling terrorism, and next door, whereas hercules took on the multi-headed hydra, here we see
vladimir putin battling the european union, japan, canada, and the united states, his response to western sanctions. hercules and the bull, or rather vladimir putin annexing the crimea. >> translator: this has been part of our culture for a thousand years. a strong leader has always been at the center of society here. and we the people have trusted them. the emperors or general secretaries of the communist party. vladimir putin continues that tradition. he is a hero of the people. >> reporter: it's hard to imagine an exhibition like this in london or washington, comparing david cameron or barack obama to mythological heroes. but russia is different. and certainly over the 15 years that vladimir putin has been in power, something of a personality cult has built up around him. now, the kremlin has claimed
many times in the past that it's had nothing to do with that, it hasn't encouraged that. but kremlin critics don't believe it. what is true, though, is that despite the pressure that russia is under from western sanctions, vladimir putin has been enjoying the kind of approval ratings of late domestically that western politicians and even hercules himself could only dream of. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow. another birthday, this time for the eiffel tower in paris, which has been given a vertigo-inducing face lift, as organizers celebrate the monument's 125th anniversary. the town offers a new view of the french capital, thanks to see-through glass panels, which have been put in on its first level. the first level is only 57 meters high, but stepping on to the glass floor is definitely not for the faint-hearted. yes, pretty high, pretty high. just to remind you of our top story, the european commission has called for spain to explain
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hello. you're watching "gmt" on "bbc world news." i'm lucy hockings. our top stories, ebola in europe. three more people hospitalized in spain after a nurse there became the first person to contract the virus outside west africa. her husband is now in quarantine, and the eu is demanding an explanation as to how she contracted the virus despite all the precautions. we also report from the heart of the epidemic in sierra leone. the country there is struggling to cope. >> what is the