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tv   BBC World News  BBC America  December 18, 2014 10:00am-11:01am EST

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hello. thanks for joining us on "gmt" on "bbc world news." i'm lucy hockings. our top stories. should sony have cancelled the release of a movie about the assassination of north korea's leader? >> you are entering into the most dangerous country on earth. >> cinemas are refusing to show it after hackers warned the public against going to see it. hollywood a-listers are furious. washington blames north korea. they may only be 90 miles apart, but with the ocean of mistrust between america and cuba be overcome?
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we'll be looking at how relations can be restored after a 50-year standoff. as mourning continues in pakistan for the victims of the peshawar attack, we hear the incredible survival story of a young student who was in the school when the massacre took place. >> i saw these three gunmen coming in. one of them, he just shot at me with a pistol. aaron is here look at president putin's end of year address. it's still going on. >> he's a good talker. one of the big talki ining poin was the tumbling ruble. the economic crisis could last two years. i tell you what, it's not just a russian problem. so stay tuned, because we're going to take a look at some of the other tumbling currencies among the emerging markets around the world. welcome to "gmt."
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it's a story that could have come straight from the pages of a biting hollywood satire. sony caving into pressure from anonymous hackers and dropping plans to release a comedy about a plot to kill north korean leader kim jong un. the hackers had warned people not to watch "the interview." they even raised the threat of a ne 9/11-style attack. >> reporter: there's been speculation that north korea is behind the cyber attack on sony. it's targeted their christmas comedy, "the interview" and its controversial plot line. >> you want to go kill kim jong un? >> totally. >> reporter: it's already had a devastating impact on sony pictures with confidential data leaks. but when hackers threatened a terror attack on cinemas showing the film, even government reassurance didn't help. as soon as the threat was made, sony pictures gave cinemas the choice whether or not to run the
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film. overwhelmingly, they decided not to given the security concerns, which left sony little choice other than to bow to the hackers' demands and not release the film. the company reacted with a statement, calling the hack an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, customers and our business. cinema-goers have been shaken by the threat of violence. >> we'll be vigilant. if we see something we think is serious and credible, then we'll alert the public, but for now, my recommendation would be that people go to the movies. >> reporter: if the fbi finds a clear link to north korea, this becomes far bigger than just the cost of cancell eled movies and corporate crime. alistair leithead, bbc news in hollywood. >> this decision by sony has led to a huge discussion on social media. seth rogen and james franco don't appear to have commented,
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but other hollywood stars have gone online to voice their views. ben stiller tweeting, really hard to believe this is the response to a threat of freedom of expression here in america. rob lowe tweeted, wow, everyone caved, the hackers won, a complete victory for them. he appealed the decision to cancel the film to the former british prime minister's policy of appeasement with adolf hitler. michael moore also said, with a direct message to those responsible, you can see it here. dear, sony hackers. now that you ran hollywood, i'd also like less romantic comedies, fewer michael bay movies and no more transformers. let's talk to our entertainment correspondent who is with me here in the studio, and the bbc's steve evans who is in seoul for us. this is an extraordinary decision from sony, suspect it? >> it's absolutely unpreceden
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unprecedented. films have been cancelled for a variety of reasons. but for a film that spent tens of millions of dollars not just in making the film, but in publicity and promotion, for them to say they're not going to actually be releasing it anywhere is absolutely without exception. >> we're seeing the trailer for the movie at the moment. the fact that cinema chains said they wouldn't have screened it, in a way did this give sony an out? >> sony has had undoubtedly a difficult few weeks with some tough decisions to make. it's given them something of an out, something of a reason to genuinely say that actually, is it worth it for this movie. we're not talking about "citizen kane" here, for the kind of impact it's something negatively in so many areas. is it actually worth going through all the harassment of releasing this, so i think it did give sony a slightly easier
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way of making the decision. >> steve, is this a big victory for north korea? >> i'm sure they'll see it that way, there is no doubt, assuming it is north korea. they let it be known before the hacking attack that they were very, very unhappy about the film. they called it an act of terrorism and there would be merciless revenge. lots of circumstantial evidence, but no smoking gun. one imagines there will be satisfaction in the governments in pyongyang, and in the community. a very sophisticated computer people, coders, which north korea is known to have. so it's certainly a victory. i suppose if you look at it from some distance from pyongyang, you say well, if you want to see
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the nature of the regime, it's clear lay regime which doesn't value free speech, assuming it did it. up with other aspect, it seems very different from this part of the world than it does from europe and hollywood, and that's because sony pictures is a japanese company. it's part of sony. so it's not clear whether that decision to pull the film was taken in tokyo or in beverly hills. we know that the executives, the top executives of the sony corporation have been very concerned about itti init, beca japan's relations with north korea are pretty dire and north korea is a nuclear power, it's been testing atomic weapons. so the whole thing from tokyo would seem a lot more serious than a bit of a spat over a comedy which people might not have heard of had this thing not blown up. >> steve, we were just seeing
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pictures from yesterday from pyongyang with north korea's leader marking the anniversary of the death of his father. really showing the might of the regime there. the reality is many north korean have never even seen the internet or used the internet. tell us more about what we know about their capabilities in terms of the sophistication needed to do this kind of a hack. >> it's a weird society in that there's a lot of training on computers, but no access to the internet. but some skill eed coders are chosen and trained very highly and there's no doubt that they are as sophisticated and as clever as anybody on the planet. so the assumption has to be that the technical capability is there. but you're absolutely right. the public at large in north korea probably knew nothing about it. we've had a situation recently
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where embassies in pyongyang are being told you can't use wi-fi because there might be people outside who can listen in on your wi-fi. that's how closed off to the internet the ordinary people are there. so you've got a world closed off to the worldwide web, but with very sophisticated, technical people, very capable at coding. >> we've got some pretty serious criticisms from heavyweight hollywood a-listers here, attacking sony, saying they're taking away our freedom of expression. but i asked for some comment on twitter and one of the responses that comes through time and time again here is people are saying actually this is quite good publicity for the movie. hasn't had good advance reviews anyway. ultimately, if they release it digitally, on dvd, do you think sony could end up doing okay? >> i think they could, but i would be very surprised if they did choose to release it in any form. they seem to want to distance themselves from the movie right now. the thing that's worrying some many people is the precedent that this is setting.
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the fact that a movie, that a studio has produced it, can be pulled from all platforms, not just cinema, dvd, blu-ray, because of threats made against it and the freedom of expression issues. freedom of expression is taken very seriously in america, and that is one thing that is worrying many people. could this happen again because of the precedent that's being set that threats can halt a major hollywood movie. >> thanks for being with us. steve, thanks for being with us from seoul. let's update you on some other news. reports have emerged of a militant attack on a village in northeast nigeria. the attack has been blamed on islamists from boko haram. it happened on sunday, but the news has only just come out from survivors who managed to flee. one resident who returned after the attack said he had countered 33 bodies. prosecutors in the netherlands say the far right politician is
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being charged with inciting racial hatred. the case centers on an election rally in march when mr. wilders promised to make sure there were fewer moroccans in the nelt net- netherlands. fifa will decide whether to release a report into corruption allegations into bidding for the world cups. fifa's investigator resigned in protest. he said the findings of his 2-year-long probe had been misrepresented and that he had lost confidence in fifa's committee. he cleared qatar and russia of any wrong doing. it's been hailed as an historic deal. the decision by the united states and cuba to begin talkso. president obama said america's policy of isolating cuba was rigid and outdated.
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it was time, he said, for a new approach. while castro called for the u.s. to lift its long-standing trade embargo. that's something that's still not clear the republican-controlled congress will support. here's the reaction from havana and miami.
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>> some very different opinions there from cubans. with me in the studio is our mundo editor. thank you for being with us. firstly, let'shavana, because there were huge celebrations on the streets after this announcement was made. >> our bloggers talk about people hugging and kissing. that shows how historical the moment has been. >> was this mostly younger people in cuba? >> in cuba, there's more of a mix of people celebrating. in miami, we see a different
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picture. we see the division between the old, the hardcore, which oppose very strongly to the announcement and they call obama a traitor, saying that he's empowering the castro government without addressing the problem of human rights. and the younger generation of cubans there that see it as an opportunity to go to cuba and do business there. >> do cubans, young cubans particularly in cuba now think that their lives are going to change forever? >> i think they are more uncertain on how this will work. their measures are very direct. like increasing remittances allowed. that will change their lives. in the long-term, i think they are still waiting to see if the embargo will be lifted or not. so it's not this is the beginning of the road and i think they know that. >> do we have any idea whether there is a chance the embargo could be lifted? >> it's very difficult, to be
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honest. i think we will see a very interesting battleground between president obama and the congress. this is one measure he really needs and they have opposed very, very fiercely. yesterday, the u.s. republican senator marco rubio really said i'm not going to help with this at all, and they cannot suppress in other ways, they can make it difficult. so there are many, many small and big battles that we will see in the next months. >> thank you very much for joining us. we're going to have more on cuba in about 20 minutes time. we're going to be talking about human rights on the island and whether or not they will improve. we've got background and analysis on the timing of these talks and the thawing of relations. that's
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do stay with us on "bbc world news." still to come, we have an incredible story for you of survival from one student who was there at the school in pakistan when it was attacked by the taliban.
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in the last few minutes, the european union has imposed a ban on investment in crimea. it's the latest economic sanction against russia in response to the crisis in the east of ukraine. this comes, of course, as the russian president vladimir putin is holding his famously long annual end of the year news conference in moscow. here he is now still answering questions. last year's went for four hours. this year, president putin has been fielding questions on russia's economic crisis as well as the country's involvement in ukraine. he described the actions as a
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new berlin wall. this is what he had to say. >> translator: we were told after the berlin wall that there would be expansion to the east but it started immediately. two waves of expansion. isn't that the wall. it's a virtual wall, it has been created and the entire missile defense system next to our border borders, isn't that a wall? that's the main problem of today's international situations. our partners did not stop. they decided that there were victors in the cold war, keep pressing. >> so president putin there talking about nato. he's been going now for about three hours and 20 minutes. as i said, last year's address was four hours, so we're keeping across that. let's talk about what we heard
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today. sergei medvedev joins me now from moscow. have we heard anything new yet from president putin? >> not much, i think. it's a largely ceremonial press conference at the end of the year. i personally vice presidehaven'. the only message is there is no message. >> he seems to want to be reassuring the public, to comfort them saying everything's going to be okay, despite the problems with the economy. >> exactly. that's very much a pr act. actually, those who were expecting some radical statements on the economy, or on crimea or ukraine, as john simpson asked, the answer is no. there's no real change in policy. >> how worried are the public right now about this recession that is impending? are they worried that their daily lives are beginning to change radically? >> well, yes. in terms of consumer behavior,
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it's panic these days in moscow and russia and the shelves are being swept by consumers willing to spend, you know, whatever savings they have, because nobody knows what happens tomorrow with the ruble. but, you know, the real crisisi hasn't hit yet. we will see the real impact. >> do you think this will dent president putin's popularity? >> i doubt it. it takes several months or maybe years. he is now at a high. it's kind of a vicious circle. the harder it is for the population, the more there is a reason to say look, the west is against us. the west has dropped the ruble. the west has dropped the oil price. so let us, you know, unite further around the president and around the russian patriotism. so paradoxically, all these sanctions, they do hit russia. they do hit the oligarchs, the russian companies, of course. but the population as a result of this is still having faith in
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the president. >> so when president putin actually puts a timeframe on it, because he started off by saying this is going to last for two years, two hard years and then everything will be fine again, and the rest of the world needs our oil. russians believe that? >> no, i don't think so. i don't think so. we're not that far-sighted. people realize there is some kind of hardship and panic, but i think most importantly, putin has not realized yet what is wrong with his policy, what is wrong with russia suddenly dropping out of the process of globalization. he still thinks it's just a small period of misfortune and he will be again like a year ago on top of things. >> okay, sergei medvedev, thank you very much for joining us from momoscow. more on the website as well, including whether the russian economy is at the risk of meltdown. aaron is joining us with more on what's happening with the ruble as well, that's at let's take you to pakistan
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now, where mass funerals have been held for the victims of the peshawar school attack, as the country is still trying to come to terms with this terrible tragedy. schools, businesses and markets are still closed. they are mourning too for the victims of the massacre carried out by the taliban. 132 school children, eight teachers were killed in the attack. our pakistan correspondent shaimaa khalil is in peshawar. she has been speaking to one student who was at the school when the attack took place. >> the people have been gathering here outside the gate of the army public school throughout the day, putting flowers, paying respects, lighting candles. many of these people are students who have come here in solidarity and support of their fellow students who have been attacked by taliban militants. i'm here with one student who saw all of this happen. his name is akef. thank you so much for speaking to me. >> i am 18 years old. this is my last year.
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i'm about to graduate. >> reporter: i'm looking at your uniform. there's still a bit of blood on your jacket. >> yeah, if you can please show my shoulder. >> yeah, i can see blood. >> it's bloodstained. >> reporter: what happened? >> i came downstairs. i was having my examination, so i came downstairs and saw these three gunmen walking in. one of them just shot at me with a pistol. i ducked underneath a wall and stayed there for at least five minutes. i took refuge in a classroom. i stayed there for at least one hour and 30 minutes, kept getting injured guys from the auditorium. my brother wasn't even in the auditorium. so i didn't know what he was doing or where he was. i didn't know even if he was alive or not. >> reporter: standing here outside the gate where this happened, describe to me what you're feeling now. >> i'm steel geared up. i want to go in. i want to enter those classrooms. i want to enter the auditorium where we used to sit and study.
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we are still up. they cannot defeat us. we are still up. >> reporter: do you think that you'll come back to the school? >> definitely. that's why i'm wearing my uniform and that's why i'm here. that is why i am here. >> many, many thanks. this is a message of defiance, and it's also a message of support. many students like akef have come here in their uniforms, saying despite the school behind me being a scene of utter devastation, they are determined to go back to school. >> shaimaa khalil there in peshawar for us. just to remind you of the breaking news we've had in the past few minutes also, the european union have announced that they will impose a ban on investment in crimea. leaders had been meeting in brussels. a few more details coming in. investment in crimea will now be outlawed. europeans and eu-based companies will not be helped by real estate, finance companies, or supply any related services. he's also saying that eu operatives will be not permitted
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to offer tourism in that area as well. president putin has wrapped up his press conference, three hours and 25 minutes it went on for this year. do stay with us here on "gmt." coming up, we're going to have more on the policy change between america and cuba. we'll be looking particularly at the issue of human rights. do stay with us here on "gmt." ooh sabra... that tight end is the best. oh it's the tightest. excuse me. pass it! are we out? [ group cheering ] [ male announcer ] sabra hummus. dip life to the fullest.
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i'm lucy hockings. in this half-hour, americans and cubans are waking up to the restoration of ties between them. the two countries are now preparing to open embassies. but will cuba commit to improving human rights as well? also on the program, aaron is back, looking at the growing issue of obesity here in europe. >> and here's the question, lucy. is obesity a disability? i tell you what, according to a ruling out of european court of justice, it says in some circumstances, yes, it is.
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so stay tuned, because we're going to take a look at this crucial decision that could affect people working all across the eu. welcome to the program. for 50 years, america's policy towards cuba has been one of isolation. not anymore. a historic deal will see the full resumption of diplomatic ties for the first time since the cold war. what has not changed, though, is this long-standing trade embargo, whether or not the republican-controlled congress will support this is still unclear. but let's look back now at one of the great rivalries of the cold war era.
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let's take you to new york now. we're joined by daniel wilkinson from human rights watch. what's your feeling, is this going to be good for human rights in cuba?
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>> this is definitely good news. the policy that's been in place for more than 50 years has clearly failed. it has done nothing to improve the human rights situation in cuba, while imposing real hardship on the cuban people. if anything, it's provided the pretext for the cuban government to engage in abuses and allowed it to garner sympathy abroad by playing the role of david standing up to a bullying goliath. so rather than isolating cuba, really what it did was isolate the united states. hopefully this can change the dynamic and open a space for real change. >> what sort of human rights abuses are we seeing in cuba at the moment? >> well, cuba is a country with no free elections. no free press. no independent unions. it's a place where you can be locked up for what you say. you could be locked up for what you might say. it's a country with really orwellian laws on the books that criminalize being dangerous.
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so it's a country with very serious human rights problems. and those need to change. the policy in place by the u.s. government clearly was not achieving any real change. >> are you concerned, though, that we really haven't seen any moves by raul castro so far to address this? he's been very quiet on the issue of human rights. >> well, we're going to need to see a lot more, but there are some things. what was announced yesterday, for instance, that cuba would finally allow the international red cross to visit the country. it would allow u.n. human rights monitors to enter the country. this is very new, because for years, none of them could enter. human rights organizations, like human rights watch, we have not been allowed to enter. and it makes it much easier for the government to cover up what it's doing. so more transparency hopefully will lead the way to more change. >> what about the role of other democracies, other countries in the region now, in terms of this
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particular area? do you see them being influential and encouraging cuba to address some of the concerns about human rights? >> well, certainly we hope that they would. for years, they haven't. in large part because of that embargo policy. many of them, even if they were concerned with the human rights situation in cuba, really department want to be seen like they were siding with goliath against david. so just by changing that dyna c dynamic, when you have raul castro saying publicly in a speech to the cuban people that he respects the president of the united states, that changes the tone. it makes it much harder to continue with the narrative that the u.s. government is the goliath and the cause of all cuba's problems. >> thank you for joining us from new york. more, of course, on the website as well on this story. such a moment in history, including background and analysis on the timing and the thawing in relations. it's all there for you at
10:36 am some archive footage on the website as well. aaron is here with the business, and president putin's wrapped up for this year. three hours, 25 minutes. not as long as last year. >> i think last year was four hours. he's getting weaker. the ruble was in a little bit of stabilization, but still under a lot of pressure. let's talk about that. as you've been hearing, president putin, he kind of tried to down play the fears over the russian economy in his annual address. the president said the tumbling russian ruble would stabilize, but the economic crisis could last for two years. now, that said, mr. putin offered no concrete measures to fix a financial crisis which is expected to push russia into recession next year. we know the ruble is at the moment down around 45% against the u.s. dollar so far this year, mainly because of falling crude oil prices, which is russia's biggest revenue source. that's where it makes most of its money from. so let's just have a listen here. the president defending what the authorities have done so far.
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>> translator: as for the ban, i guess you could call it crisis. we could use any word that we want. i think that i was quite clear in saying that the central bank of the government, overall, working adequately and reacting adequately to the situation. the criticism, of course, is from the expert community. some of the measures should probably have been done sooner. >> there you go. president putin there. the ruble crisis has also, very interesting to note, had a knock-on effect on emerging economies across the globe. the turkish lira and the nigerian nira have also touched record low whilst exporters such as mexico and colombia certainly remain under pressure. lots to talk about. let's go straight to neil
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sharing, he joins us from our studio right here in central lon dochbl ne -- london. president putin says the ruble will stabilize. really? will it stabilize under the conditions, the acts that they've put in place now, or will they need to do more? >> really, the performance from putin is vintage putin. we had everything from a three and a half-hour decision on the economy, oil prices, the crisis in ukraine, geopolitics, but it really was what he said about the crisis and the fallout from that crisis that was particularly interesting. in putin's view, it's going to be short-lived. the government and central bank have policies in place that will stabilize the currency. interest rates have been raised dramatically. a range of measures to try and
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limit the fallout from banks in particular of the weaker ruble. but really, a lot of this comes down to oil, as you touched on earlier. >> sorry to sbrusinterrupt. i want to ask you that. no matter what, everything really for russia at the moment anyway and their economy relies on these oil prices, and given not too long ago today, we heard from the saudi arabia oil minister who said that it is impossible for them to cut production. that means oil prices, they aren't going to -- certainly in the near term -- return to though summer levels that we saw, right? >> i think that's right. i think this is a permanent and long-lasting fall in oil prices. we shouldn't be thinking about oil returning to 70, 80, 90, $100 a barrel any time soon. of course, societies are in a fundamentally different position to russia. it can weather a period of lower oil prices, even if it's a long period. russia needs the cash now. about 2/3 of its exports are oil
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and related products. that accounts for about half of government revenues, too. we've not yet seen the full effects of this ruble crisis i think on the real economy. it's going to be next year when this starts to bite. we're going to see inflation shoot up, interest rates are going to remain at emergency levels i think for most of next year. the banking system looks vulnerable. it's difficult to really be too certain about what this means. a big recession, 5% fall in output maybe. >> it sounds very messy. but very briefly, is it an oil price story that we're seeing the tumbling value of currencies in nigeria? where else. nigeria, brazil, even the turkish lira? >> it's an oil story, particularly for nigeria, west africa, colombia, mexico. in russia's case, all of this has been exacerbated by the crisis in ukraine and the impact of western sanctions on the country. for countries like brazil,
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turkey, the big issue is the fact that they're very dependent on foreign finance. that funding has become far more expensi expensive. lots going on at the emerging world at the home, not much of it very good or positive, i have to say. >> on that cheery note, we'll leave it there. thank you. we appreciate your input, neil. much appreciated. now, to an important legal question. is being overweight or obese a disability? today, this thursday, the european court of justice ruled in the case of this man right here, a danish child minder, who says he was sacked for being obese. the court said being obese can be a disability if it hampers if person's ability to fully take part in professional life. our business correspondent theo leggett has this report. >> this man is a danish nursery
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worker. he lost his job having been told he was made redundant, but he claims he was unlawfully dismissed because of his size and weight. it meant he wouldn't bend down to tie a child's shoelaces. a danish tribunal referred the case to luxembourg. it was asked to decide whether obesity was covered by eu rules. excess weight itself could not be considered a disability. however, it also said that if obesity caused long-term problems, which prevented an individual from taking part in professional life, then that person could be classed as disabled. and that means they would be covered by legislation designed to prevent discrimination. a finding which is likely to have wide-ranging effects for employers. >> this means that when an employer has someone who is disabled through obesity, they'll have to make adjustments to accommodate that person's obesity in the workplace and also protect that obese person from verbal harassment.
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>> reporter: the situation is still unclear. his case has been sent back to the court in denmark to decide whether or not he himself could be considered disabled. theo leggett, bbc news. >> interesting story. let me just quickly give you a flash of the markets after president putin's been speaking. we've seen the russian market up higher today, just over 14%. the ruble at 61. yes, it's come up a bit from that low earlier this week. a couple days ago at 79 to the dollar. brent crude also up slightly, but still nothing like those levels we saw in the summer. that's it with the business. follow me on twitter @bbcaaron. that is it for the business. we want to bring you up to date with some breaking news we are receiving from nigeria. we are getting reports from the northeast of the country from borno state, an area where there
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have been many attacks by boko haram in the past. but reports now of an attack on a village, possibly 33 people have been killed. but we are also hearing that 100 people have been abducted. men, women, and children have gone missing. we understand this attack happened on sunday. we're only just starting to get details now and we are going to take you live to nigeria very shortly to bring you more, so do stay with us. this is a pip.
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i'm lucy hockings. the top stories this hour. sony faces a backlash after cancelling the planned release of a film about a fictional plot to kill north korea's leader following threats by hackers. secelebrations in cuba and widespread global report after the u.s. and cuban governments
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make the first moves to normalize relations after 50 years of hostility. a reminder of the break news we've had in the past 40 minutes or so. the european union has imposed a ban on investment in crimea. this is the latest economic sanction against russia in response to the crisis in the east of ukraine. this news came as vladimir putin held his famously long annual end of year news conference in moscow. this year, it lasted for nearly three and a half hours. john simpson was there. he asked mr. putin if he thought russia's actions were leading to a new cold war. >> western countries almost universally believe that there's a new cold war and that you frankly have decided to create that. we see almost daily russian aircraft taking sometimes quite
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dangerous maneuvers towards western air space. that must be done on your orders. you're the commander in chief. it must have been your orders that sent russian troops into the territory of a sovereign country. crimea first, and then whatever it is that's going on in eastern ukraine. now you've got a big problem with the currency of russia and you're going to need help and support and understanding from outside countries, particularly from the west. so can i say to you, can i ask you now, would you care to take this opportunity to say to people from the west that you have no desire to carry on with a new cold war, and that you will do whatever you can to sort out the problems in ukraine. >> translator: as to our maneuvers, military forces, you
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said that russia has contributed to the extension that we are observing. restructure has indeed contributed, but only in a sense that it's more and more strict in protecting its national interests. we did not attack in a political sense. we did not attack anybody. we only protect our interests. this is precisely because this is what we are doing. not because we make steps that provoke tension. is anybody listening to us? is there any dialogue with us? there's no dialogue. it's not your business. every country has the right to choose. okay, then we will do the same. why should we not be able to do
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that? >> president putin there asking a question from the bbc's world affairs editor john simpson in moscow. in myanmar, a museum and bar manager and two burmese men have appeared in court. they're accused of insulting the buddhist religion. they were arrested last week after posting an image on facebook that pictured a psychedelic picture of buddha wearing large headphones to promote a drinks event. if convicted, they could face two years in prison. from yangon, here's our myanmar correspondent jonah fisher. >> reporter: this is one of the more up market neighborhoods here in yangon. until just over a week ago, this bar here was one of the newest bars. it was a tappas bar, a nightclub, but as you can see, it's now been closed town. it's all shuttered up, and the reason for that is a picture which the management posted on their own facebook page. i'm not going to show you the picture for fear of being prosecuted myself, but it's a picture of the buddha with big
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headphones on, surrounded by psychedelic colors, and he's advertising a buddha bar event involving cheap drinks. now, that picture went viral on facebook. there were lots of complaints, and then someone got in touch with the police. the management of the bar, phillip blackwood from new zealand, and two burmese colleagues were arrested. and today, forced very publicly to walk if final few hundred meters to court. for the last week, they had been held in yangon's most notorious prison. the men have been charged on two counts. firstly, insulting the buddhist religion. and secondly, maliciously insulting. each of those charges carries with it a maximum penalty of two years in prison. journalists respe s aren't allo court and are forced to listen in windows, so it later became clear that a third charge related to causing public offense had been added. its penalty, an additional six
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months. the men pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and have on facebook issued a profuse apology. that was rejected by the monks and buddhist groups outside court. >> translator: that picture insults buddhism. it barely portrays the buddha's image, but it's good the authorities took immediate action. >> reporter: buddha was a compassionate man. would he have not had forgiveness for someone who admitted they made a mistake? >> translator: we'll just wait and see. there are specific rules and regulations that will decide what they get. >> reporter: mr. blackwood and his fellow defendants were returned to prison. they'll appear in court later next week. under burmese law, this offense is so serious that there's no point even applying for bail. the u.s. is home to several thousand burmese migrants. many have settled in the american midwest. the great plains are home to around 2,000 refugees from
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myanmar, who live in south dakota. our bbc pop-up team is spending a month in the region, and i've been catching up with some of them at a turkey factory where they work, and they've spoken to residents about having neighbors from a far away land. >> actual turkeys were killed about three hours ago and they'll be coming right in here in the loading room. >> it's a processing facility in south dakota where we kill approximately 21,000 turkeys a day. 61% of our employees are corin people. i think 9% of every job in the country are held by a corin person. the corin are oppressed people that escape burma. they're leaving burma and come to the united states through a
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lottery system. >> they come to my house and me and my family, we had to run away. i live in a refugee camp five years. they approved me and sent me to the united states. >> what we do is we help them by bringing in an immigration attorney to turn their i-94s into green cards and also applications to become u.s. citizens. >> translator: my job is to help with the meats. the meats come down, you let it go. $12.05 per hour. we work there for a long time. we get used to it. we enjoy it. >> because of the karen, this is probably the most efficient
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turkey processing facility in the united states. ♪ >> they live here, but they dress from their culture. they talk from their culture. i have them for neighbors in my neighborhood and there's no communication there whatsoever. there's around 21, 22 people living in the one house next door to me. and i've actually seen them slay a hog in the backyard. >> my family is the first karen family that moved to here. my goal is to work, i guess. yeah, to have a nice job and nice career. and live here in south dakota. >> bbc pop-up team there following those new migrants, they're refugees actually, from myanmar to south dakota.
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a reminder of our breaking news story here on "gmt." we are getting reports from northeast nigeria of another attack on a small village in borno province, at the top right-hand of your screen. we're hearing that at least 33 people have been killed, but more significantly, this attack being blamed on boko haram. 100 people abducted. thanks for being with us on "gmt." ♪ ♪ risefit ♪ fallfit ♪ ballfit ♪ wallfit ♪ pingfit ♪ pongfit ♪ pingfit ♪ pongfit ♪ rowfit ♪ throwfit ♪ slowfit ♪ olliefit ♪ oopsfit ♪ otisfit ♪ thiswayfit ♪ thatwayfit ♪ daddyfit ♪ pappyfit ♪ datefit ♪ weightfit ♪ goalfit ♪ gooooooalfit ♪ stepfit ♪ stairfit ♪ smartfit ♪ heartfit ♪ spinfit ♪ bikefit ♪ hikefit ♪ yikesfit ♪ wheeeeefit ♪ wowfit ♪ whoafit ♪ findyourfit ♪ it's all fitbit
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