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tv   Damming The Nile  BBC News  February 23, 2018 9:30pm-10:00pm GMT

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this is bbc world news today. our top stories: the un security council prepares to vote on a new ceasefire in syria — as government forces continue to target eastern ghouta, where hundreds have died. these are live pictures from the united nations in new york. that gates has to lying to investigators. president trump has said that arming teachers in us schools could prevent gun attacks. mr trump used a speech to conservative activists took office in teacher to carry concealed weapons. and the man who revealed the extent of doping in russia said the extent of doping in russia said the country should not be allowed to go to the closing of the winter olympics. he told the bbc that followed from his testimony had led him to hiding in fearfor his life. at ten o'clock, fiona bruce will
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have the full round—up of the news, but first, we look at the world's longest river in this special programme damming the nile. the river nile is the world's longest river. it's where the world's first war over water could be fought. the first of its two great tributaries, the white nile, flows from lake victoria, but ourjourney begins in ethiopia, following the blue nile from lake tana as it sweeps through africa's grand canyon to where a dam is being built close to the sudan border. lake tana, the source of the river, is a place of myth and legend. it's the biggest lake in ethiopia and many of its 37 islands have their own monasteries.
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it's a very sacred place for ethiopian orthodox christians. this monastery dates back to the 14th century. some of these paintings are more than 400 years old. the nile appears in the old testament and legend has it that the ark of the covenant was briefly brought here. but all is not calm on these waters. the struggle for control of this great river is dividing the three countries that shade it. —— share it. the nile is the bringer of life, from when it launches itself downstream it has the power to bring peace or bring war. this is where the blue nile begins its long journey. from here up in the ethiopian highlands it will cut
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through caverns and canyons, across plains through sudan and egypt and into a delta of the mediterranean sea. around 85% of that water comes from here and that is why a vast new dam being built in ethiopia is dividing nations. this is the grand ethiopian renaissance dam and it is driving ethiopia's ambitious plans for industrial revolution, to put its growing population to work to power the region and to tame the river, but it's also at the heart of a row that has sucked in sudan and egypt and threatens peace in this part of africa. when it's finished, this will be the largest hydroelectric power station in africa and one of the biggest dams on the continent. it will not only power this country but the surroundings
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countries as well. ethiopia didn't even ask the countries down the stream before it started building. that is the scale of this country's ambition. after just five years of work, it's almost two thirds complete. this project is a project that is being built by ethiopians and that will benefit other african brothers, sisters and other countries. the project manager says it is costing at least $4.5 billion and that is probably an underestimate. he insists that downstream countries shouldn't worry as it is not consuming any water. this is a hydroelectric project. it is a water—consuming scheme project that is only dedicated to generate electricity. this shows how the government of ethiopia, how the people of the nations, are committed themselves to eradicate our common enemy, poverty.
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the construction works are impressive. this second dam sweeps across a 5km valley, joining two mountains to create the edge of a vast reservoir. all this and a lot more will be flooded. once finished and filled, it will cover more than 1,800 square kilometres, larger than the size of greater london. it will flood the blue nile for nearly 250km upstream. if it is filled too fast, it will reduce the amount of water that flows to sudan and egypt. thousands of people have already been moved to make way for the lake. the power lines are ready and waiting for the electricity the dam will provide. 70% of ethiopia — that's 70 million people — don't have electricity. it is holding back the country's grand plans for development and it is why people support a project they are paying for. translation: if we had electricity, we would be able to get
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what the village needs. for instance, the villagers here make a living by farming. if we had electricity, we would be able to create jobs on our own, including metal and woodwork. as well as that, we would also be able to own tvs, a fridge and so many other things. modernisation is already changing life in the capital, addis ababa. this is east africa's first metro system. the amount of construction going on speaks volumes. ethiopia wants to pull as people out of poverty, to create jobs and get over its historic image of drought and famine. it's africa's fastest—growing economy right now, but with a population set to double in 30 years, it needs to grow even fasterjust fasterjust to keep up,
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hence the need for cheap renewable energy. but the cost of government ambition is human rights. freedom of speech and democracy. protests across the country are being crushed. to the government, development is everything. it is one of the most important flagship projects for ethiopia. it is a project that will transform the country, it's very important. there is money to spend and the minister says that people will pay for the dam through a lottery, contributions and taxes. he insists that despite its fears, egypt will get more rather than less water. it's not about control of the flow, it's really about providing opportunity for us to do the development. it has a lot of benefit for the downstream countries.
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construction on the dam is going on around the clock, such is the urgency to get this build and generate power, but because ethiopia didn't consult with egypt or sudan before starting starting construction work during the arab spring, talks with countries keep collapsing. a new political order is emerging and egypt doesn't like it. i've spoken to senior people in ethiopia who have said that they are afraid of a war with egypt over water. that they might bomb it down. that's the level of anger. what do you think about that? i don't think so. these kind of extreme ideas are not welcome. this will not happen in this region, i am sure. there is no record in history of war erupting because of water. the water belongs to all of us.
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we have to develop it in responsible ways, not thinking about war. but whatever he says, the blue nile can now be controlled by ethiopia and that is a big concern for egypt when so much of the water that reaches cairo comes from here. sudan, however its next top, likes the look of the cheap electricity heading its way. one of the world's biggest irrigation schemes was created here more than a century ago to grow cotton for britain's britain's industrial revolution, but now it is the gulf states who need what sudan can grow. the blue nile heads north through these vast irrigated lands to join the white nile before meandering through a desert steeped in ancient history. we are following it to ask if a row over who controls its flow could lead to war.
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it's here in khartoum that the blue nile and the white nile meet and merge and then head north to egypt. the river has travelled about a third of its way from its source to the sea and is growing and strengthening in size. so what does sudan, this vast country now emerging from years of us sanctions, think about ethiopia building this dam upstream? well, it thinks it's a great idea. land is not in short supply and with the power of the sun and the waters of the nile, sudan's agricultural potential is huge. this is alfalfa, top—quality cattle feed, and this farm can cut five —— nine harvests a year primarily for callous but also for export to the middle east. sudan has the right to take billions
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of gallons of water every year through old treaties with egypt, but claims it hasn't been using its full allocation. the suggestion it now might is a source of tension with its northern neighbour. this farm is owned by a massive private company that is everything from agriculture to mining, from cars to health care. its owner is sudan's richest man, who designed his own golf course. for sudan, it is wonderful. it is the best thing that has happened for a long time and i think the combination of energy and regular water levels is a great blessing. cheap electricity can be used for a lot more than just keeping your cows properly air—conditioned. it can bring faster development to sudan, which isjust emerging to take advantage
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from decades of crippling us sanctions and wants to take advantage of the opportunities. what do you think about the row between ethiopia and egypt about this dam? the nile is the lifeline of egypt so for them, i wouldn't say they're paranoid, but they are very concerned about anything to do with that water. and the nile is a lifeline to sudan as well. welcome to the first—ever festival of music and culture in this village. this village is about half a day's drive north of khartoum. it was abandoned 20 years ago, the mud houses left without roofs as the villagers moved away from the river banks to avoid catastrophic flooding.
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this woman remembers to huge floods from when she was a child. her father was the mayor. this is their house. translation: is an image from my life i will never forget. when the 1976 flood hit, it was hardest, some people use boards. it has lasted three weeks. the whole village left, but now a dam upstream regulate the flow of water so doesn't flow as high, meaning they can hold festivals here and people can move back to this village, especially if it is cheap electricity on the way.
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it's a time of change in khartoum. with the lifting of sanctions, there isa with the lifting of sanctions, there is a strong cafe culture where issues of the day i discussed —— are discussed. most people here are in favour of the dam. on experience shows that it is a blessing to downstrea m shows that it is a blessing to downstream countries especially if the intention is power generation. do you think there is politics between the changing fortunes of the three countries? water in general is becoming politicised not only in this region but elsewhere, but i think there will always be a political case involving the three countries, i think it will work out.
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he's diplomatic, but this is far from resolved. talks between the three countries have collapsed and tensions across the whole region are growing as a result of it. the rivalries go back to the time of the pyramids. the sudanese pediments. —— pyramids. the sudanese pediments. —— pyramids. this is more than 2000 yea rs pyramids. this is more than 2000 years old. the empire ruled egypt from here. this was their capital. powers rise and fall but all are linked by one great river. this is egypt, the next stop on our
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trip and what a way to see it. we are flying in a hot air balloon over luxor. the sun isjust coming up, it's a stunning way to see this country. the reason we're here is to understand and get an explanation of why it is egypt is so opposed to this dam that ethiopia is building way up the nile. even though egypt built the dam for its own development, it is angry with ethiopia's plan. from luxor, we will follow the river to cairo and onto the delta, the heart of the country's agriculture where water is everything. the pharaohs used to worship the river as a god. egypt,
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they said, was the gift of the nile. civilisations flourished here on the banks of the river. these temples represent thousands of years of wealth and power. the —— they are proud of the culture. the ancient egyptians considered the nile as lifeblood. it was life itself. why? because they use the nile for everything. the nile was alive and still is alive for egyptian people in egypt. and decades ago, egypt decided the best way to protect its interests was to build a dam. work on this dam began in 1960 and took ten years. it created the giant lake
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nasser, nearly three times bigger than the new ethiopian reservoir will be. it regulated the flooding of the nile, generated power and a agricultural lands to be indicated. tens of tens of thousands of people we re tens of tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes and an ancient egyptian temple had to be moved brick by brick but it was a symbol of great pride, a national project, rejecting powerfor revolutionary post—colonial egypt. it has been good for this man, who at 60 has been a fisherman on the nile for a0 years. just like his father and grandfather before him. translation: our life and livelihood depends on the nile. we as a family lived by the river. we fished, we grow lived by the river. we fished, we gi’ow crops on lived by the river. we fished, we grow crops on the islands in the nile. our cattle are fed from the
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nile. all ourfood is from nile. our cattle are fed from the nile. all our food is from the nile. our cattle are fed from the nile. all ourfood is from the nile. he has heard about the dam in the egyptian media. ethiopia wants to control the nile and its floor will be affected, but he's sceptical —— its flow. the water would be affected, but only god knows what could happen if the dam the river there will be wars and fighting. and there are even bigger concerns downstream in chaotic cairo. egypt relies on the nile for almost all its water but the population is growing fast. the united nations is warning there will be water shortages by 2025 because of wastage and pollution. but the government argues it is already recycling water, using it efficiently and importing wheat rather than using water to grow it. egypt's water minister says one big
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threat is climate change. it is unilateral action in upstream countries, it will have severe impacts downstream and this is a coordinated one. how angry are you? iam coordinated one. how angry are you? i am extremely angry because we are responsible for our nation which is 100 million. one of the key things i would mention to you, if the water coming to egypt is used by 2%, what does this mean? we lose about 200,000 acres of land. one acre at least. if one acre makes one family survive, the average family in egypt is five persons, so it means1 million will bejobless. is five persons, so it means1 million will be jobless. he says that means more migrants heading to europe and more people to be recruited by terror groups. europe and egypt are suffering from what is
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happening in syria and libya and other countries so what if egypt is added to these countries? what will happen? it is an international security issue. experts say egypt has the right to be angry. a dam was being discussed but ethiopia started building without telling egypt judging the arab spring. the impact on stream has not been properly assessed and although the renaissance dam would extract water, filling it to quickly will reduce the flow downstream and it is a trust issue. ethiopia can now control the river. it is trust issue. ethiopia can now controlthe river. it is very trust issue. ethiopia can now control the river. it is very much a game changer. now if ethiopia is combining the physical power of being upstream country that can in one way or another control the nile flow and the economic power of being able to construct the dam depending on its own domestic resources, so yeah, it's an indication, it is a
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manifestation that the power balance is changing in the region, economic way, politically and strategically as well. —— economic delhi. the last stretch of the nile is where its famous cotton is grown alongside crops like rice, a notoriously thirsty crop. irrigating fields by flooding them is one reason why so much water is wasted. the delta is silting as the dam stops being replenished. the reason the nile flood plains were so productive to begin with. it is now polluted and fish are dying and people are getting poorer. saltwater is moving gradually upstream. it is sad to see how this great river ends up. this is it, this is where the
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river nile reaches the end of its long journey. this behind me is the mediterranean sea. you can see the waves coming in, this is now saltwater. whatever egypt says it does, ethiopia is building this dam. it's not an idea or a plan, it's a thing. you can already control the flow of the river nile. egypt has was been strong enough to dominate the countries upstream but that is changing. talk of war is a foolish thing to do to solve political prices and every one we have spoken to, nobody thinks that is going to happen, but this is a really serious problem and needs to be sorted out quickly. the nile is the place were the world's first war over what can be avoided. this could even become a model of how countries can learn to share great rivers. but for now, it's up to ethiopia, sudan and egypt to navigate tensions on the world's longest river. hello. we may be about to say
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goodbye to february but there's still lots of wintry weather. a lovely weekend in terms of sunshine but it's going to be and frosty for all of us. if you don't know why, where have you been? we've been telling you about it for over a week but is due to this high pressure sitting across scandinavia. it is dragging in this cold air that originates from siberia around that high and that is why it is feeling cold out there. frost is an it
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should as well so this white on the chart is frost. the sunshine will start to nibble away at us through the day. the exception is the southwest, parts of cornwall and northern ireland will have a fair amount of cloud but generally speaking, a lovely day in terms of sunshine but not feeling very warm on those exposed east coasts. the frost returns as we go through saturday night into sunday morning, quite a widespread, hard frost because temperatures are expected to fault the lows of men as four or minus five celsius. we will even see a frost across northern ireland as we start to lose that cloud. again, the sunshine really got its work cut out to a out at that frost, but it will mist bill—mac lift through the day. a bit more cloud through the northeast of scotland. a cold day up there, particularly when you factor in the strength of the winds so the thermometer may read five celsius but it will feel below freezing.
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bitterly cold on sunday and it is going to get colder still, believe it or not. in fact, that cold extends right across europe, that cold easterly wind continues to be very much a feature and that could drag on more cloud of the north sea and the potential for a few wintry showers as well. west is best in terms of sunshine, but temperatures will continue to struggle. on monday, we're looking at a maximum of around zero to three or four mac celsius. snow showers could increase. most of the snow showers along the east coast, but we also could see an organised band of snow showers running through the channel coast, affecting the channel isles. showers will be hit and miss, some will get them, someone, but they will get them, someone, but they will be snowy and some will start to push a little further inland. highest values, sometimes in city centres, perhaps even struggling to climb above freezing by day. as we
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move into wednesday, this area of low pressure, i will come back to that in a moment, but we could see frequent snow showers developing on wednesday and with the wind is picking up, some of those will push further inland. by wednesday, there is the potential across the peaks and pennines to see as much as ten to 15 centimetres of snow. that's certainly worth bearing in mind and again, a bitterly cold day. wednesday onwards, the temperatures models start to disagree. one tomorrow takes the low pressure and keeps it across the new continent which is good news for the uk because it means a quiet spell of weather but another temperatures tomorrow wants to dry that area of low pressure further north and centre it across the uk. there is a grey deal of uncertaintyjust how far north or how far south this low is going to be sitting. the un security council struggles to agree on a ceasefire
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as bombardment continues of civilians trapped in syria. for the sixth day in a row syrian air strikes hit the rebel held enclave of eastern ghouta. dozens are reported to have been killed today, over a00 this week, with medical supplies running out. we'll bring you the latest from the security council as world leaders plea for the carnage to be stopped. also tonight.... eu leaders meet without theresa may and warn the uk can't cherry pick its terms and to think otherwise is an illusion. a review finds notjust girls but also vulnerable women
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