it's 75 years since japan's bombing of pearl harbor, which killed 2&00 soldiers and marines, and drew the us into world war two. dozens of ships are still searching for what remains of the russian military plane that crashed into the black sea on sunday with 92 people on board. investigators are looking for the black box flight recorder. there are unconfirmed reports that fragments of the tail section suggest the pilot tried to land on water. the world's fastest land animal, the cheetah, is said to be heading rapidly for extinction. the national academy of sciences in the us says cheetahs are increasingly in conflict with humans as they roam far beyond protected areas. there are only around 7,000 left in the wild. you're up—to—date on bbc news. coming up next, it's hardtalk. welcome to a special edition of hardtalk from saudi arabia, with me, stephen sackur.
this country was built on oil riches and is now having to cope with the oil price crash. i have come to one of the world's biggest construction projects, king abdullah economic city. it is projected to be home to 2 million people, a global city here in the kingdom of saudi arabia. my guest is the ceo of this place, fahd al—rasheed. due to the economic problems here, could his drink the about to turn to dust? —— dream be about to turn to dust? fahd al—rasheed, welcome to hardtalk. thank you for inviting me onto this extraordinary project. tell me, how do you feel every day
when you come on to what must be one of the biggest building sites in the world? i love it. there is nothing like coming toa i love it. there is nothing like coming to a construction site like this. i get a rush every time i am here. how quickly are things happening? when the visitors come, they see the big stuff. i see the small stuff, a little bit of concrete poured here, a little piece of floor. i see everything. it's important to give people a sense of the scale of this. it's a city that is going to be the same size as washington, dc. you say it will have 2 million residents. it is extraordinary to build that from scratch in the desert. absolutely. at the moment, 65% of our population is under 30. because of population migration, we have some of the fastest growing cities in the world. we need more urban centres like this. we get people to move here
by offering jobs. it seems to me that when this dream was hatched, saudi arabia was the dominant player in the oil market and the oil price was going up. there was a sense that saudi arabia could do anything it wanted. things are very different now. king abdullah economic city, when it was launched ten years ago, the idea was to prepare for a time like this when oil prices were not so high. the government needs private sector involvement across the whole economy. we are here. despite all of the economic news about oil prices and the economy of saudi arabia slowing down, we have signed up 23 new companies in 2015. when you talk about being an international hub, you have to persuade people that saudi arabia is a great place to do business. i'm not sure the world really believe that right now. it is a great place to do business.
it is more of an image. in the us, it takes six years to get the permit for a construction. here it takes three weeks, and if it takes any longer, we complain. what do you believe is the main priority right now? you have talked about a port which you believe will be one of the top ten biggest ports in the world. there is also talk of an industrial base. what is the unique selling point? the first year we will focus on global logistics and manufacturing. the port we build will be one of the largest in the world and the biggest in the red sea by the end of this year. we have 120 companies from around the world, so we know it works and it will continue to the future. we are focusing on tourism and education.
you think saudi arabia is going to be a magnet for tourists? i am confident. 0ur numbers show we will have i million people by 2020 and 3.5 million by 2025. why? an interesting question. the government intends on doubling the number in the next five years. we are already the 17th most visited in the world because of the pilgrimage. as well as saudis. you have laid out some of the vision, let's go to your office and perhaps we can challenge you a little bit more. saudi arabia is entering an age of austerity. it seems to me this extraordinary city project is about extravagance. not austerity. i think it is about fundamentals. if you see what we've built,
everything we've built is what saudi arabia or the region needs. we need a lot of logistics and transport infrastructure. we have to build 4 million housing units in the country in the next ten years. we are looking at the potential of the country. think back to when the project was conceived. it was a different era, talking about 2005. king abdullah was on the throne. it looked as though saudi arabia could be guaranteed to be the dominant oil producer in the world forever, and the world would always be reliant on saudi arabian oil. that is not true today, and it changes everything. the vision of king abdullah and the government at the time was to create a new era of development with the private sector leading the development and infrastructure. i think that the king abdullah economic city was launched for this exact moment, when the government
can do everything and the government needs to rely on the private sector. i think it's working. you can't divorce yourself from the economic picture of the country as a whole. yes, you are private sector. but if the saudi economy is going to slow down, fundamentally, because the oil price has plummeted, it doesn't look like it is going to rise anytime soon, then you have a problem. i don't mind being in the saudi economy today. we are going to grow at 4%.m we are going to grow at 496. it is also about the regional picture. you sit in the middle of a region that is full of turbulence, turmoil, war and uncertainty about the future. that is also a terrible problem. i think that people forget that the middle east have had challenges for the past few years. the war in the 1980s between iraq and iran, with the us in the 1990s. the second gulf war in 2000 and the arab spring.
we are kind of used to it. saudi arabia has been stable throughout all of it. you've been in the country, you've seen it. does this look to you like a country in turmoil? i have talked to a lot of people who talk about uncertainty and challenges facing the kingdom unlike any they have seen before. it comes back to the point about whether investors will see this as the time to get involved with a speculative venture such as this. i think what you are seeing today is a different era for saudi arabia. it will see reform, a restructuring of the economy. i think what people are most worried about is the pace of change. we are seeing a dynamic government that is willing to take the hard decisions. what used to take 12 months is taking one month to get done. i think we are just not used to this pace of change,
internally or externally. you say this is a private—sector project, but there have been several occasions, such as in 2008 with the dse and in 2011, when you have had to go to your government and plead for emergency loans because you were running out of cash. this is what is called a public—private partnership. yes, it is led by the private sector. but you cannot build a city without the government. no project of this scale can work without working with the government. if i may say so, that is exactly the point. this is a leaked memo from king salman's office. it was published in time magazine just a few weeks ago. it is marked highly confidential. it gives strict instructions for the stopping of all new projects for all public sector purchases, including new vehicles and other equipment. that is the mindset of the government today, a government
that you ultimately rely on. i think that today, if you look at the private sector, despite all of the challenges, we have signed 23 companies. 0ur residential figures are healthy. in the first ten years we developed 30 projects. our projects for the next ten years are 137. numbers prove it, it's not about... you like numbers, here is another one. the marine traffic index that i looked at for november of last year, it showed that on any given day, you have an average of three or four vessels in port, whereas the port jeter, just down the coast from us, that had 44 vessels in port with another 42 en route. then if you go to the uae, they are also much busier than your new port. these numbers don't show the potential of our port. we have a 3 million container port
today, aiming to be overfour by the end of the year. we have a number of the top shipping lines, i am very confident about the future to make this one of the top 20 ports in the world. welcome to reporters. i'm phillipa thomas, here at the bbc‘s headquarters in london. in this special edition of the programme, we're looking at some of the best reports of this year from our network of correspondents from around the world. coming up: stand—off in the skies above the south china sea. rupert wingfield—hayes flies over one of the most contested areas in the world, incurring the wrath of the chinese. you can't make no mistakes,
it cost you your life, literally. ian pannell reports from barack 0bama's former hometown and finds gun crime is out of control. and battle of the sexes. how scientists are using animals for organs. the bbc went to extraordinary lengths this year to get a rare glimpse of china's determined expansion in the south china sea, one of the most contested areas anywhere in the world. beijing is building huge artificial islands on the spratly island chain, which the americans and others insist are illegal. the area is difficult to get to, but rupert wingfield—hayes flew in a small civilian aircraft into china's self—declared security zone 200 kilometres off the coast of the philippines. this is what he found. it's just before dawn
on the philippine island of palawan. even at this hour it's hot, but there's no sign here of the trouble brewing a few hundred miles out to sea. i'm about to take off on a trip the chinese government has tried to stop. just 140 nautical miles from the philippine coast, we spot new land. this place is called mischief reef. until a year ago, there was nothing here, just a submerged atoll. now look at it. millions of tons of material have been dredged up to build this huge new island. then as we close to 12 nautical miles, this. down below we can see a pair
of chinese navy ships. 0ur pilots are nervous. they want to turn away. we're a civilian aircraft flying over international waters and yet we're being repeatedly threatened. so what we're getting is the chinese sending out that message, foreign military aircraft, unidentified military aircraft, leave the area immediately. in chinese and english, our captain replied saying we are a civilian aircraft, not a military aircraft, but it didn't make any difference, they repeated the threat to leave the area over and over again. as we fly on the full extent of the construction is revealed. the lagoon is teeming with ships.
a cement plant is visible on the new land. then for the first time a clear view of the new runway china is building here. a chinese fighter taking off from here could reach the philippine coast in nine minutes. in the last year, china has built at least seven new islands and three new runways in the south china sea. 0ne here at mischief reef, another at subi reef and the biggest of all at fiery cross. the aim is to reinforce china's claim to the whole of the south china sea. more than 40% of the world's trade passes through the waters below us. china is determined to assert its control. america and its allies say they won't let that happen. and as we have found out, it may already be too late. rupert wingfield—hayes, bbc news, in the south china sea. now to evidence of a startling rise
in gun violence the us, including in barack 0bama's hometown of chicago. killings in the city have reached a 20—year high. a deadly summer of violence brought this year's death toll to 500. most of the victims and their killers were young men. we spent a week in chicago and found a world where guns rule. in my neighbourhood, they start young. that is the edge, and they are dying from guns. very young. we have to teach children how to defend themselves. it is like, what do you do? you would rather be caught with protection than without it. i have never seen so many guns. like, we have so many guns. but i have never
seen as many as now. bo deal is a rapper from the west side, now, the most violent part of chicago. he is a member of the vice lords gang. he has been imprisoned. and even he is shocked by what has happened. it is like somebody dropped off crazy amounts of guns in the neighbourhood. i think that many guys need to die to make it better. some of these guys need to be killed and knocked off to make it a better place. sirens. more people have been killed here since 2001 than us deaths in iraq and afghanistan combined. and yet, there is almost no outcry. do you worry about your children? i do. like, to be honest, i have a son of seven and a daughter of four, and i have not taught them how to ride a bike because the environment they live
in is just not safe. i love you. i love you, dadda. i am trying to change the cycle. it is hard when you don't really have help, you know what i'm saying? we have been put in a weird position, you know what i'm saying, because... hold on. cut. this stuff don't end. with so many guns and so little control, the murders will rise. rarely solved, and barely noticed.
this may sound like the stuff of science fiction movies, but american researchers broke new ground this year by trying to grow human organs inside pigs. the research uses a pioneering technique called gene editing, which allows genes to be changed quickly. some say this may end the organ crisis. but it also may raise ethical issues. you are watching two species being mixed. humans stem cells are being injected into a one—day—old pig embryo. you can see them travelling down the tube. this biologist in california is trying to grow a human pancreas inside a pig. our hope is that this will develop normally. but the pancreas will be made up almost exclusively out of human
cells so that then that pancreas will be compatible with the patient for transplantation. the technique is known as gene editing. it uses molecular scissors to delete the dna instructions in the pig embryo to create a pancreas. the ambition is the human cells will fill the void and grow a human pancreas instead. the same technique might enable other organs to be grown for transplant. the bbc‘s panorama was allowed to film the sows filled with human embryos known as chimeras. human stem cells are taken from a patient, they could be tissue matched, reducing the risk of rejection. this research raises profound ethical concerns. crucially, just how human and the piglets developing inside this sow?
it is such a sensitive area that the chimeric embryos will not be permitted to go to term, but be removed for tissue analysis after 28 days' gestation when they are about a centimetre long. they will crucially check whether the brain develops humanlike qualities. another pioneer in this field told me this question has yet to be resolved. whatever we tried to make, whether it is a kidney, liver, a lung, we will look at what is happening in the mind. and if we find it is too humanlike, it will be ended. 0rganisations campaigning for an end to factory farming are dismayed 7000 people are on the transplant waiting list in the uk and hundreds die each year before a donor can be found. but patient trials involving gene edited pig organs are still a long way off. and that is all from this special
edition of reporters looking back at some of the best reports from this year. from me, phillipa thomas, goodbye for now. after the fairly windy spell of weather that many saw over the festive period, things are turning colder and much quieter too. here's the scene in highland scotland on monday, some snow over higher ground. some sunshine to see out boxing day too across the isle of wight. high pressure is dominating the weather for everyone as we head through the day on tuesday. the isobars fairly widely spaced for the most part, much less windy than in recent days. frost and fog patches around especially in parts of england and wales, further north, more cloud and breeze around. looking around the country at 9am, across the bulk of england and wales, a fine start to the day. pretty chilly, the coldest night
we have seen in a little while, some frost around and a few mist and fog patches. further north across northern england and northern ireland, more cloud and again a chilly start to the day, some isolated showers in the far north—west of scotland, perhaps some rain for a time towards the northern isles but that should clear then looking dry across—the—board on tuesday. a really decent day for heading out into the countryside for a walk, lots of sunshine on offer, some patchy cloud here and there and in a few places the mist and fog will be slow to clear. so colder than we've seen recently, highs between 6—8. tuesday evening looks a bit chilly but clear and dry. the main problem will be mist and fog building once again. as we head into the middle part of the week, high pressure stays with us across the country and with those light winds and relatively clear skies, i think we will wake up to scenes like this. locally some dense patches of fog around, especially on wednesday
onwards, through the rest of the week it will cause some disruption. if you have travel plans by air or road it could be a foggy picture by the time we get to wednesday, particularly across england and wales. less fog in scotland and northern ireland, more breeze and cloud around here. plenty of sunshine on offer by the afternoon. temperatures between 3—9. where the fog lingers in a few pockets it will be pretty cold and grey for much of the day on wednesday. where the fog clears, some glorious spells of sunshine. into the latter part of the week, a weather front to the far north—west of scotland, a bit breezy here and perhaps rain later on on thursday but it is high pressure dominating really. looking ahead to thursday and friday, things are mainly dry, there will be variable amounts of cloud but watch out for the potential for some mist and dense fog around too. bye for now. welcome to bbc news world news. i'm mike embley.
our top stories: bugle sounds japan's prime minister pays his respects at an american military ceremony in hawaii, 75 years after the japanese attack on pearl harbor. dozens of ships are still searching for the remains of the russian military plane that crashed into the black sea with 92 people on board. vera rubin, the pioneering astronomer whose work led to the discovery of dark matter, has died aged 88. and time's running out for the cheetah. scientists say urgent action is needed to save the world's fastest land animal from extinction.