tv BBC World News BBC America January 23, 2015 10:00am-11:01am EST
ressive covers boats and rvs, okay? plenty of policies to go around. [ grunts ] oh, oh, i'm the bad guy? you threw a fish at us so, yeah. yeah. coverage for land and sea. now, that's progressive. hello and welcome to "gmt" on "bbc world news." i'm stephen sackur. our top stories. the most powerful crown in the middle east changes hands, as saudi arabia mourns the death of king abdullah. he ruled saudi arabia for two decades, combining cautious reform with an active role in middle east diplomacy. and these are the scenes in riyadh, as leaders arrive for the late king's funeral, which will be followed by a simple burial in the islamic tradition. saudi arabia's new king is salman, half brother of abdullah. he's already promised stability and continuity.
>> we've got assistance in strength. we will continue adhering to the correct policies, thank the establishment of the kingdom of saudi arabia. and the troubles pile up for thailand's ousted prime minister yingluck shinawatra. how will her supporters react? and archgentina's prosecutor suggest a cover-up was foul play, not suicide. aaron's here with all the business including a look at one of the big themes at this year's power fest at davos. >> yes. money makes the world go around. what they don't tell you, there'll be no money without trade. the global economy faces an uncertain future and sluggish growth. we'll be asking the big boss of the world trade organization what he thinks can be done to get things back on track.
>> a very warm welcome to gmt. it's midday in london 7:00 p.m. in bangkok, and 3:00 in the afternoon in riyadh where the middle east's most powerful monarchy is in transition. at the age of 90 after weeks of illness, king abdullah bin anbu dal zooez is about to change. he's succeeded by salman, his half brother. our world affairs correspondent mike wooldridge, has been following developments in riyadh. >> translator: the official announcement from the royal court. king abdullah was 90 and had been in hospital for several weeks, suffering from pneumonia.
before he came to power in 2005 he'd run the day-to-day affairs of the world's biggest oil exporter and producer during the previous decade after his predecessor suffered a stroke. king abdullah pushed through cautious reforms, including giving women a greater public role, against opposition from religious conservatives. in his first statement, salman bin abudulaziz talked about continuity. >> we'll never deviate from our institution, our holy book and islamic teachings. the arab nation is in dire need for continuity. >> reporter: king abdullah used his position as leader to try to
promote dialogue both religious and political. he was a driving force behind an arab peace plan which offered israel the prospect of recognition in return for its withdrawal from land occupied in 1967. the former israeli president, shimon peres, said his death was a real loss for peace in the middle east. >> he has had the courage in a very demanding period of time to stand up and continue a peace process for the middle east. not sure i could accept all the items in his peace process, but the spirit the strength and the wisdom invested in it. >> the new came has named a former intelligence chief to be the new crowned prince. and he's also moved quickly to deal with the longer term succession, by appointing a prince from a younger generation, the interior
minister muhammad bin nayef, as deputy crowned prince and second in line to rule. in abdullah's rule saudi's counterterrorism operation with the united states was key, as was his wariness of shiite iran and its influence in the region. tackling extremism, dealing with the current fluctuations and the value of oil, its source of wealth and the tensions between modernity, all continuing challenges for king abdullah's successor. mike wooldridge, bbc news. >> so saudi arabia today marking a transition in power, within the ruling family. we can bring you live pictures from riyadh. this from the imam turkey mosque in the saudi capital. at least, i believe we can. we are. you can see the dignitaries gathering there for what will be a pretty simple funeral ceremony according to the islamic tradition. many regional leaders have flown into riyadh to be at the
ceremony. there will then be a burial in an unmarked grave in a cemetery in riyadh. so that ceremony and about to begin in the saudi capital. we'll bring you more pictures from there when it does. now i'm joined by the bbc's diplomatic correspondent, james robbins, and also by the head of the think tank that specializes in middle east relations. and i'm going to standard with you, because you watch saudi arabia very carefully. and we should start by reflecting on king abdullah. tell me how you perceive and how you believe saudis perceived him? >> obviously, he ruled over one of the most important countries of the middle east at a time when events not only -- certainly within the arabian peninsula, but also throughout the region and probably and arguably, most telling and most significant events. whether it be in terms of the
shaping of the ggc, the gulf council, whether it be the arab spring in 2011 and the reaction to those events. and we had events such as syria, events in libya, relations between the arab world as well as iran and turkey on the other side. >> tumultuous times that he went through. but the question that many people are asking today is was he a man that really wanted to gradually change and modernize the kingdom, or a man who was simply trying to keep it stable? >> no it was quite well known, when he first stepped in obviously, the former king his elder brother, who had been a ruler de facto for several years, he made it clear he wanted to modernize, liberalize open up he established the very first american university which was notorious amongst the
preachers, the old guard, because they saw it as being breaking with many many. and he also made to secret of the fact that he wanted to get rid of laws that prevented women from driving. but the most important thing is how we had saudi arabia position themselves. i think that the last events in his life probably even ironically were fact that saudi arabia lost almost every single iothat of grip that it had on yemen. zblets put our focus on saudi and the international community. i know you've been monitoring reaction to the passing of king abdullah and thinking about what the international community wants and needs. >> it depends from where you're looking, but from a western perspective, temp sis today and all the very carefully crafted messages from the white house, from downing street from david cameron, from leaders throughout
europe, has been to praise king abdullah and his achievements to salute him as a friend of stability. but very aware that there are many people in western democracy who are hugely critical and fail to comprehend how a saudi system can persist at this stage in the 21st century. >> and i ask you to use the word liberalize for a description of some of what he was trying to do. and yet, we speak of a time when saudi arabia is being condemned in the international community for the punishment of a thousand lashes who happened to blog in a critical way about the nature of the regime. >> that's precisely the problem. i think a lot of people particularly in western democracies, but in the wider world, can't turn their mental clocks back through a century or several centuries, to an age when this might have seemed entirely normal, this sort of practice.
there are a lot of contradictions from outsiders, those outside the arab world, to try to comprehend. and yet this relationship between saudi arabia and the west is critically important, both strategically and in terms of energy supply. so there has always been an accommodation, with the saudi royal family and a hope that king abdullah has set the kingdom on a path of greater liberalism. a hope that king salman will continue that. >> i liked your phrase about the delicate diplomatic reaction to abdullah's death. let's talk specifically about saudi and relations with the western united states in particular. you know, it's not always been an easy relationship in recent years. and we look right now at the challenges, like islamic state, like the instability in yemen. do you think the americans are satisfied with what they are getting from the saudi monarchy right now? >> on one particular level, in terms of their access to energy
i think that that's fairly sfaskt satisfactory. although the plummeting oil prices, which many perceive as being a deliberate attempt by the saudis. but many commentators would say, over the past year particularly that particular relationship has cooled off in favor of iraq and that's why iran has so much free hand to roam around that particular region. i think that james is absolutely right in terms of every single king has this kind of fine line to tread, in terms of trying to open up to the west generally in terms of people and governments and the like. but at the same time, also appeaseing his own -- >> i'm going to stop you. we're just losing from our shot, we're coming back in is king salman as we must now call him, and obviously the saudi royal family all gathered with other dignitaries as well. we believe that the coffin is actually going to enter the mosque very soon. and of course we'll stick with
these pictures as we talk because this is an historic moment in saudi arabia. i expect in saudis knew that their king was will and perhaps his death isn't a total surprise, but nevertheless it is a very important day for the saudi ruling family as the crown makes its transition from abdullah, the late abdullah, to king salman. so we'll keep an eye on that. but james, i would like your take on saudi arabia and the region. in particular, the saudis have been very very strong in their opposition to any kind of influence. do you see that going forward as something that the saudis will continue to push? >> i think they are. we're talking now about the great schism within islam, between shia and sunni, and this is a real struggle for power in the region. and the saudis are intensely
nervous about what appears to be a potential rackbetween the u.s. and iran. they've always been acutely worried about the possibilities that iran could have a nuclear weapon, but now they're worried that iran may be politically in the ascendency. so the now king will face enormous challenges but he does come to the job with a history of being highly respected within his family something authoritarian within the family. >> is he seen as more -- either of you can tell me this. is he seen as more conservative more cautious than the late king abdullah? >> yes, he's known to be so. however, he's forgiven widely for that simply because most of the factions that happen within the royal family over the past year, which threatened both internally as well as relations with the west generally. he was the one who actually mediated, in order to repair those fractures. so he's seen as someone who is a diplomat someone who can reach
within the family itself as well as within saudi society. and to be honest he's no spring chicken. he, himself, is about 87 years old. >> he's not well. >> he's not well either. people speak about him as having early stages alzheimer's. >> so this is in no way the passing of a torch to younger generation? >> we're if the going to see a radical change of direction or radical changes in terms of policy. we may see, and this is what i personally wrote about it a few days ago, we may see that he will make attempts in order to repair whatever damage was made by the deceased king in terms of dealing with egypt, with the arab spring generally, which angered many many certificates saudi society, especially those who yearned to change themselves. so it's an end to those particular hopes. >> as you see, we are still focused there on the mosque in riyadh where we expect the coffin to come into the building
very very soon. i believe there will be koranic verses when the coffin arrives and then there will be prayers and we'll continue to follow the scene there in the imam turkey mosque. but james, i want to bring it back to you. the reason we care so much what happens in saudi arabia, it is the world's biggest oil producer and exporter. we've seen the price of oil plunge, how rattled are they by that? >> i'm not sure they are rattled. they will be the last oil producer standing, if you like as the price continues to fall. they can afford to let the price fall very substantially, because their margins remain. they have abundant supplies sitting on the world's largest reserves, it's relatively cheap to extract. so they can smile as others fall by the wayside. and let's be clear that there
are very big stakes involved in the collapse of the oil price, both for western technologyists looking for ways to have extracting oil, as well as fracking. it's going to do great damage to those who believe they can find alternatives to middle east supplies and particularly to saudi supplies. >> isn't that fascinating, that there they are, some of the key members of the saudi royal family, and in a way, they are, right now, engaged in a power play on the world oil markets, which is directly aimed, in a way, at the american shale oil producers. they want to drive them out of the market by using their enormous power. their financial reserves and their oil reserves to drive out the more expensive producers from the marketplace. you talk about the relationship between riyadh and washington but that must be one area where there's real tension? >> it's absolutely a source of tension. but it's quite hard with the united states to argue that the saudis should deliberately restrict supplies into the market in order to help et reinflate the price.
it's a complicated argument, that the americans would find it pretty difficult to sustain. but they are in a mind no doubt about that because their big, strategic view is that they need to get free of dependence on the middle east. not just saudi arabia but the middle east as a whole. and therefore, domestic energy production solves that problem. well it doesn't solve that problem if they can't afford to go ahead of it. >> now, i would like your take on yemen, actually. because, again, as we look at the family and the things -- the challenges they're facing once the mourning period is over one of the big ones is neighboring yemen, which is in chaos, where there is really no power, central power at the moment. is there anything saudi can do about it because i'm sure they're worried about it. >> one thing that comes very very clearly from saudi foreign policy over the past hundred years is the issue in yemen. there is a very famous saying within the saudi royal family. some claim it was actually told to the 35 sons by the elder
statesmen in the second phase of the saudi kingdom, and said to them that a stable prosperous yemen means an unstable nonprosperous saudi arabia. and for that reason, people say that the meddling in yemen and the control and the vying with certain political parties in yemen against others over the past century or so has been quite deliberate. and therefore, the fact that yemen now has almost all but fallen with powers of the houthis, who are backed by iran, the shiite houthis, is something i believe is the biggest challenge bar none to the coming regime. >> well, because we've yet to see the coffin i want to keep the conversation going. james, the biggest challenge, bar none but what about extremist jihadist islam inside saudi arabia? you know, post he have 9/11,
there's been deep concern about the radicalism within. has the monarchy successfully put a lid on that? >> it's a lid that can always blow off. we've been talking al about contradictions within saudi arabia. one of the central contradictions, of course is remind ourselves is that almost all the 9/11 attackers were saudi citizens, came from saudi arabia, were a product of life. they felt provoked by both the political condition and their sense that saudi arabia had got far too close to the west. by, for instance allowing so many american troops on to saudi soil. so this question of extreme itch goes to the heart, in a sense, of how saudi arabia with coexist in a modern world of global ideas. the monarchies, one of the monarchy's pucksfunctions is to maintain internal stability. but very large numbers feel they have no prospect, a very large
youth unemployment. we also think of it a super rich state. and to one extent it is. >> a lot of politics within the saudi -- >> which perhaps doesn't come across, because we always think of the powerful sheiks and the members of the royal family and we see their conspicuous wealth. >> yeah. >> let's for a moment pause and listen in as clearly prayers now -- >> these are the afternoon prayers, after which i believe they'll pray the -- prayers for the -- >> the funeral prayers. >> we'll listen in for a moment #
. >> so the late afternoon prayer, and we believe that will be followed by some funeral prayers. and as we stick with the pictures, i'll just bring you some reaction. james talks about the delicate diplomatic reaction that's been seen and heard for a variety of leaders across the world, since the announcement of the death of abdullah. let me just bring you a selection. jordan's king and egypt's president, actually they cut short their visit to davos at the world economic forum in switzerland to attend the funeral that you are seeing now. u.s. president barack obama, he hailed abdullah has a bold leader who took steps to advance the arab peace initiative. french president francois hollande, he described abdullah as a statesman whose work profoundly marks the history of his country. and a statement from tokyo, japan's prime minister shinzo
abe, said that abdullah played a large role over a long time for peace and stability in the islamic world. and the british prime minister david cameron, he said that king abdullah had contributed to strengthening important religious dialogue. now, i think it's fair to say that the leaders who have managed to make it to riyadh for the funeral and the ceremonial are largely regional. we talked about the egyptian president trying to get there from davos. but i think it's knowles gulf and regional leaders who have managed to get there in time. because it was a very quick funeral and burial isn't it. that's part of their tradition? >> that's part of the islamic tradition, burying the dead fairly quickly, as quickly as
possible. but another i think we should take note of the people that will make haste in order to attend the ceremony are people either from the gulf countries, where it's incumbent upon them. it's seen as necessary for them to make a show and everything that i can recognize and here. and those that have an interest. let's not forget that saudis suns july of 2013 june of 2013 have been injecting egyptian economy with billions of dollars every single month. and king abdullah of jordan he presides over a country that is seen as one of the poorest countries of the region and saudi help particularly in terms not only of financial help but in terms of stabilizing the region. saudi arabia has a say in syria, has a say in iraq has a say what's happening in the region and therefore it's very very important for him to say -- plus they are a branch of the family, of the descendents of the prophet. so essentially, he's seen to be one of those who must be there. >> that's an important point, actually.
you know the monarchy matters to all muslims in the sense that they are the custodians of the holiest places. >> that's exactly why, for most muslims, saudi arabia is important. very important they've really benefited much from saudi oil or revenues. the fact that mecca where tens of millions of muslims from around the world head to you, throughout the year. that's the importance and significance of saudi arabia. >> indeed. >> don't you think it's important or significant that we i mean throughout the coverage, there are a few that seem to be missing. no one's spoken of democracy yet or human rights. it's quite telling that despite the fact that we seem to be -- and we see the pictures seem to be moving into another phase, yet actually we're not. we're going to see mostly the same old, same old. >> james, is that ever going end to? i mean do you foresee any moment -- i'll tell you what with james. answer my question in a moment.
i think we should just pause from our chat for a moment and look at what is happening, where correct me if i'm wrong, but the body is now being brought. >> and according to islamic tradition, it's not put a coffin like we are accustomed to but rather wrapped in a shroud a white shroud. >> so pallbearers are bringing the shrouded body into the mosque. and then of course it will be placed and there will be funeral prayers. >> actually, the funeral prayers will be performed here in the same mosque and it's done in a different format than the afternoon prayers that we just saw and it will take just a few minutes, two to three minutes. and then it will be taken to the burial ground. >> right. and tell me a little bit about the burial itself. because i think i'm right in saying that the tradition -- that even if you have the highest of the high if you are the monarch, you are still
placed in an unmarked grave. >> absolutely. that's particular to wahabism. but many muslims around the world would follow that. it's a simple hole in the ground that's then covered. >> there you see the body of the late king has been placed and i suspect now, there'll be a moment, and then i suspect there will be prayers. we'll keep bringing you these pictures as we talk because, as i've said already -- >> this is the beginning of the prayers. >> i did say before but it's worth repeating, there is no passing of the torch to a new generation here but this is nonetheless a very important and an historic moment for the house of saud and no question the most powerful monarchy in the middle east, in the region. so this matters to an awful lot of people.
>> this may be a difficult one to answer but given that it is in essence, despite a little bit of a move toward sort of political reform it is an absolute monarchy is it possible to gauge just how popular the monarchy is today in saudi arabia? a country which is changing which has an incredibly young population profile. >> it's not that popular, particularly in saudi arabia. as james said there's widespread poverty. no one had any votes saying who will become king. that's the end of the prose, by the way. but i think the fact that most
saudis will impact if you don't back the family the repercussion will become like syria, like iraq. and most people are simply standing by and doing nothing simply because they fear the worst. >> well thanks. and we'll just return to focus on what is happening inside the mosque for a moment. because it was a dramatically short prayer. >> yes. >> and funeral prayers are no longer than three to four minutes. and all in standing pose by the way. >> and now, as we can all see, the pallbearers have lifted up the shrouded body of the late king again and they are now sort of processing out, i imagine, out of the mosque and toward the burial ground. >> yes.
>> now, i don't know if you can answer this or not, but i imagine the burial ground will be quite close to the mosque? >> not necessarily, it can be quite a drive away. one interesting thing, the cemeteries are usually quite a distance out of town. it might be quite a drive. and maybe this particular mosque was chosen because it's on the outskirts, in the direction of the cemetery just to shorten the trip. but usually it can be a trip about 15 to 20 minutes. >> and we talked a little bit about the unmarked grave, but is it literally true that you know, the late king will be placed in the ground he will be buried, and no mark whatsoever will be left and future generations will -- someone says, take me to the grave of king abdullah there will be no way of knowing exactly where it is? >> i'm pretty sure that there will be something left maybe in terms of a small brick with a
name written on it, but yes, it will be unspectacular. it will be largely unmarked. but i think, also it will be a cemetery reserved for the royal family and their descendents. so people will know generally speaking, where he lies. >> our conversation is being joined by another guest here. you work for bbc arabic, and you've obviously been following developments over the last few hours, since the official announcement of the death of king abdullah as well. and i'm sure like us you've been watching the ceremonial play itself out in riyadh. what's your take on this point we've been discussing about how saudi arabia has received the news and the place that the royal family occupancy in the country right now. >> since yesterday, since the news broke out, i was with my colleagues here, either in the tv or the local news channel. we were following this and apart
from the ceremonial and funeral, the major question now will come about the political questions. you have the yemen region where the president yesterday resigned, where they're taking over the capital, as well as a few weeks ago, jihadist have attacked the border guard of saudi arabia which make them to enhance the security measures there. at the same time the transition process, this is saudi arabia succession, going very smoothly unlike we're seeing here that. the more significant today, the news come the second line of a throne, to be named now, we are going to the next generation of the saudi arabia -- >> not the crowned prince -- >> but the second in line.
looking beyond the crowned prince, a second generation. >> what will happen when it comes to the second line. now, today, a very powerful prince, who's been tackling al qaeda threat for a long time, now there's a question that there's a smooth transition in saudi arabia which will calm many worries. however, saudis need to take very difficult questions, regarding yemen and iraq as well as syria. all of these questions will be put on table of king salman now. >> and bringing you back in james, you were talking about perceptions of king salman. do you think he will definitely be a known force in washington? >> i think they know a great deal about him. apart from anything else they've been studying this asession for a long time and they of course pore over all the intelligence material all the material gathered politically by their embassies around the world, so they have a
very clear picture of the person who's now taking part, and particularly the people around him. because we're talking about a man who is not well. we don't know frankly, how able he is so exercise this absolute power he has. he'll rely on a large number of advisers. the united states is -- tries to be, very strongly plugged into the entire saudi system because it's an ally that they have to understand. they often find it quite difficult, because the systems are so completely absolutely different. but they have a very clear understanding of many things that go on within the kingdom. so i think they'll have factored in the possibility -- they knew after all, that king abdullah hadn't long to live. so for them it's a question of now trying to encourage the new king, to physicalfollow the path they want to follow whatever path it is that washington judges increases the possibilities of security and stability for the kingdom and for the region. >> the flip side of that is that a new king may be inclined to push hard to get washington to
do some of the things the saudis want. and we haven't really talked much about syria, but i would like you to reflect a little bit on syria. for years, the saudis has been frustrated that the united states is not prepared to do much, much more to topple assad. >> indeed the big of where saud yis disagree with syria, obviously, saudi described in the last few years as ara spring engine, if you like. they supported all regimes against the arab spring apart from syria. they were very surprised. at least at the beginning, however, at the same time, the americans have changed with the rise of saudis with between iraq and syria. however, saudis don't have information, but we have indications that they supported
the armed groups inside syria, non-jihadis ones hoping to increase a force to tackle jihadism, but does it work? because jihadis, it seems, have the upper hand so far, in a certain area inside syria. and this will be ongoing between king king salman and the americans now, how it will be solved. >> i want to take the conversation out of the studio for a moment. because i think we can cross to cairo. we're going to be joined by angie zonen, if editor of the bbc monitoring operation in cairo, where bbc monitors the world's reaction for reports. give me an impression of what you're seeing on social media. what really strikes you in the reaction you're seeing to the death of abdullah? >> well now, nothing is striking. these are the trending discussions on social media this
morning, in the gulf and egypt and iraq as well. everyone is talking about it. the top five trending hashtags are all related to the death of the saudi king. the majority of saudis praying for his soul. and also expressing support for their new king. but there are some critical voices in social media. some are talking about a human rights issue. some people are talking about the regime not being very supportive of the arab resolutions. others are saying talking about tyrantsy, human rights women's rights. so the death of the saudi king has lots of discussions for and against. >> angy that's very interesting, and very much in my mind is the case of ralph badawi, the saudi blogger, when
clearly upset the authorities and ended up facing a very severe punishment which has become an international news story, with a thousand lashes imposed, of which he's only imposed 50 so far. because he was using social media. and because i know social media is now such a big deal in saudi arabia. have people been reflecting upon that, when you said some are talking about tyranny in saudi arabia. does that seem to be uppermost in people's minds? >> yes, definitely. that was one of the cases that people were linked to the hashtag about the death of the saudi king saying that there are lots to do in the saudi king regarding human rights regarding freedom of expression regarding the use of social media. it's uneven asking the new king to take a close look at the freedom and women's rights and mentioning the blogger's case, of course. but others are saying it's a policy of the kingdom, regardless of the king. so many people did not expect the optimism that it's going to
change in the near future. >> and angy i mean outside of saudi reaction are there any other countries where they seem -- within the region where it seems there's a particular sort of strong response where they care frankly, a great deal about what is happening in saudi arabia? >> well of course aside from the gulf because the families in the gulf it's all a big deal for them but i think egypt for this case to say it's particularly interested because of the known saudi support to the current egyptian regime. so the imposition against the regime within egypt will discuss this issue. and they say from the position of the saudi king being one of the main supporters of president assisi and they're talking about what the death could mean. wonder rg will it will change increase, decrease and what it will mean for the egyptian economy as well.
because as we know the united arab emirates have been the biggest donor countries to egypt in the last few months since the 30th june process. >> all right. well angy beganmanghanaman, thank you for keeping us updates on the event. we have just brought you extended coverage because we've seen the funeral service in the imam turkey mosque. the body of the late king has now been taken out of the mosque and is going to a simple burial ceremony in a cemetery in the saudi capital, riyadh. so i will thank my guests who have been here in the studio. james robbins, i thank you very much and murad, thank you both for joining me on this extended coverage here on "gmt." now, thailand's military appointed parliament has voted to impeach former prime
minister yingluck shinawatra. the move relates to her involvement in a rice subsidy scheme which opponents say cost the country billions of dollars and funneled eded money to her party's power base. she will be banned from politics for five years and she could face up to ten years in prison. miss yingluck has condemned the vote on her facebook page saying democracy has died in thailand today. along with the rule of law. jonathan head reports from bangkok. >> these die-hard supporters were enjoying the moment. they cast ballots in different-colored boxes to decide the fate of miss yingluck and two of her lieutenants. and very quickly as the votes were tallied, it was clear she was going down.
190 approved the impeachment and the ban that goes with it. the day before she'd come to parliament to make a last-minute appeal. but today, she was blocked from speaking to reporters. instead, she put a statement on her facebook page denouncing the verdict and saying it was part of a movement to destroy democracy and the rule of law. the rice subsidy scheme her government ran was extravagant and tarnished by allegations of corruption. it was also popular with the farmers who benefited. she argues that she knew nothing about corruption and that her only aim had been to help the farmers. until now, no one has been tried or convicted over the scheme, although she will now face a criminal charge. >> proponents have been saying the votes here in parliament and the charge against yingluck xinhua were never really about corruption. instead, they looked like a decisive move to destroy her
political career and end her family's influence. it's a step the military had been reluctant to take fearing turmoil. and now that it has, the consequences are hard to guess. calling out miss yingluck's red shirt supporters, and in the recent past is probably no longer an option under martial law. but they will be angry. they stayed low since the coup believing their party would rise once again when military rule eventually ends. they can no longer be so sure. jonathan head, bbc news, bangkok. now it's time for the business. aaron's here. you're not in davos, not like all the other movers. you're here in the studio. i know you're thinking about davos, and in particular the big theme of trade. >> yeah trade, obviously. money makes the world go around stephen, and trade makes that happen. hello, there.
let me explain. some of the most powerful people, you know we've been talking about it this week in the world, they've been meeting in davos this week and one subject that's been on everyone's lips growth. things aren't exactly all sunshine and rainbows for the global economy right now. many businesses are reducing their investment so they're cutting back on their spend, as they see less incentive to sell goods and services. but one way they give those figures a boost is through simpler trade rules. follow me on this one. the value of goods traded across the globe in 2013 was a massive $18.3 trillion. this is according to the wto, the world trade organization. that sounds like a lot, right? but toward the end of the last year, the wto cut their estimate for global growth in 2015 down to 4% from 5.3%. so a bit of a cut, indeed. what do they want to do to improve that number? well top of the agenda is finish something known as the
doha round. it aims for the introduction of lower trade barriers and revise trade rules. some big agreements they have been made, but there are still a large number of unresolved issues including reductions in farm subsidies and tariffs. well, certainly, tariffs are industrial goods. well, the world trade organization, let me just say, the only international agency overseeing the rules of international trade. so let's go and speak to its big boss, roberto, who joins us now from davos. great to have you on the program. i want to talk about trade, of course in a minute we've just come off the funeral pictures of the saudi king king abdullah. he of course was one of the architects of opec and saudi arabia's oil policy. i want to ask you, do you think there'll be any changes now, any change in direction from the saudis saudis? >> it's difficult to tell. i don't expect so. it's difficult to imagine that the policy that was being
followed was taken lightly. so i believe that a lot of thinking went into the process and that the saudis were very clear of mind when they decided to follow the rules that they did, in opec and oil strategy. >> well given what we're seeing with the oil prices around the world, do you think it's the wrong or right policy by the saudi? >> well, it depends on your perspective. if you were expecting prices to rise you have a completely different approach for this situation. if you are a consumer a country that is reliant on low prices of imports in terms of energy, oil, gas, et cetera then it's a different way to see things. in this situation, good news and bad news is strictly in the eye of the beholder. >> that's true indeed. let's talk about the doha round. it's the wto's big daddy.
it's had some big problems. it's been going on since 2001. you have made some agreements but there are so many hurdles still to cover. what's the problem? what's gone wrong or going wrong with the doha round? >> many things could go wrong, yet many things could go right, depend ing ofing on what we do next. i think we stop talking about the doha round in 2008 essentially. so we have six years of non-conversation. we need to resume that and figure out where we are today. clearly, we have a different world. we have a different realities in different countries. and we have to check whether the reality we have today is compatible with the kind of things we were negotiating six years ago. and from there, then we decide what to do. >> but the reality is this. what we're seeing is we're seeing bilateral trade agreements, right? we're seeing one country or region trading with another,
kind of securitying wto. you're on the sidelines. isn't that the best way to do these bilateral and trade agreements, the best way to do global business global trade? >> it's clearly not the best way, but it's one way, an important way, of doing it. and you know liberalization is contagious. i think if these agreements lead to more liberalization lead to a country opening up to trade, eventually, that kind of mood will contaminate the wto negotiations. and that's exactly what we're looking for. >> just very briefly, the euro zone. we saw the big bazooka announced yesterday. the problem with europe is it needs structural reforms. i'm wondering, do you think this trillion-euro bazooka will be good for business good for the global economy? >> growth is good. i think we have a situation now in today ease world where there are a number of bad news. if you look around the imf and
the world bank have reviewed their numbers down for economic growth in europe itself unemployment is upwards of 11%. in china, we are experiencing the lowest growth in the last 24 years. in latin america, growth is pretty much nonexistent at this point in time. russia is expected to contract by 3%. so we do need some good news and we do need some stimulus in the global economy. oil prices going down is one of them. and i hope that the actions taken by the eu will be another positive item in this sea of uncertainty. >> well, roberto, we appreciate your time. thank you very much for joining us. the big director general of the world trade organization. that is it with the business for this friday. >> never a sea of glue when you're around aaron. thank you very much indeed. do stay with us on "bbc world news," because still to come king tut.
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welcome back to "gmt." i'm stephen sackur. the top stories this hour. the funeral of king abdullah of saudi arabia has taken place in riyadh. his 79-year-old half-brother has become the new ruler of the kingdom. and thailand's former prime minister, yingluck shinawatra has been banned from office after a vote by the military-appointed parliament. now, egypt's ministry of antiquities is investigating how a visible layer of glue wound up on one of the world's greatest
archaeological treasures. that's burial mask of king tutankhamen. one media reports says the mask's beard was hastily stuck back together last year after it was apparently bashed and damaged. so our correspondent has been investigating. >> reporter: the golden burial mask of king tutankhamen, which has endured since ancient times. but now the boy king is showing some fresh wear and tear. allegedly, thanks to a botched repair job last august. this unverified photograph claims to capture the incident. workmen in t-shirts appear to be securing the blue and gold beard to the mask. and this recent image shows a telltale mark along the join. the two pieces were originally made separately and need to be fixed together. the director of the museum which houses the mask told us someone may have been
heavy-handed with the glue during routine maintenance. >> you know it can just get dry in a few seconds. so that's what maybe has happened. that they put more material and this could easy be removed. >> maybe so, but many will wonder how this could happen in a museum entrusted with egypt's pharaoh inic heritage. >> the burial mask is one of the main attractions here at the museum. it's unclear if the repair work has caused any lasting damage to the priceless artifact which has survived for more than 3,000 years, but the incident has raised serious concerns about how egypt's treasures are being treated. this archaeologist, familiar with the museum believes
tutankhamen was mishandled by amateurs. >> they're too skilled, they know what they're doing, they take care of the object especially something you know, of this immense importance. to me it sounds like some kind of accident. whether it was in cleaning or in moving another object around. >> reporter: there has been other blunders. officials are accused of mismanaging the restoration of egypt's oldest pirpd. the sands of time are not the only danger to the nation's antiquities. all right. now some great images coming up. the european space agency has released stunning new images of the comet orbited by the spacecraft. >> so alien and yet somehow strangely familiar. these look like weathered cliffs overlooking a perfectly still
ocean of rock. new pictures from the rosetta spacecraft show features on a comet that have never been seen before like this hole the size of a football pitch. next to it is a slab of material that once fitted on top, like a lid, blown out by a mighty explosion. and most surprising of all, these bumps look like sand dunes, blown in the wind. but as we know there is no wind in space. so just what has caused these incredible features? the scientists believe that ice, just under the surface, is slowly melting, creating a breeze. this blows over the rock to form the structures that look like sand dunes. but there's an even more remarkable discovery. look closely inside this hole and you'll see bumps. scientists call them goose bumps. they're all the same shape and size, and could be the building blocks from which comets and
possibly our own earth were built, piece by piece, like a lego model, billions of years ago. >> all right. well that's it from us here on earth. thanks for watching. stay with "bbc world news." ♪♪ the adventures you've been imagining. the heroes you've been admiring. the worlds you've been dreaming of. the thrills you've been craving. the moments you've been missing. the vacation you've been looking for is here. come and take it. universal orlando resort.
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