chancellor angela merkel has promised german support for the proposed international peace conference on syria. she emphasized that syria urgently needs a political solution. >> assyria's main opposition group has reiterated its demand that president bashar al assad step down before any further negotiations. syria announced tuesday that a to co-host a peace conference with the aim of bringing together rebel groups and the assad government. >> there was no mention of the newly proposed peace conference when president bashar al assad appeared on syrian state television with one of his few remaining allies, the iranian foreign minister. the reiterated tehran's's support for the regime in damascus and told supporters that iran would continue to help syria and its people, who he
said had so bravely defended themselves against attacks. on tuesday, syria's other main ally, russia, consulted with assad's most vocal opponent, the united states. u.s. secretary of state john kerry was in moscow to try to find common ground on syria with russian leaders, and indeed, the u.s. and russia did manage to agree on a joint diplomatic initiative. they want to get all sides together for talks to find a political solution to the pcrisis. the idea has been well received, including by germany. >> we are convinced that president assad has lost its legitimacy, but we also know that we need to organize a political protest to carry things out. that is why germany, including the foreign minister and myself as chancellor, will go to all possible efforts to support any initiative leading to talks.
>> in order to end the bloodshed in syria, the u.s. and russia say they will increase the pressure on assad. they hope their combined weight will force the syrian regime to the negotiating table. >> fighters from the kurdistan workers party have begun withdrawing from turkey. the pullout, which is part of an historic cease-fire, is the first sign that the long-running conflict between the turkish government and the pkk may be resolved. >> about 2000 rebel fighters are expected to leave turkey and make way for their safe havens in northern iraq. the conflict, which has plagued turkey for three decades, has led to the debts of 40,000 people. >> kurdish fighters are leaving after three decades of conflict. the turkish government says the separatists are making good on last month's pledge to pull out. >> beyond -- the armed groups inside turkish territory are now
leaving our borders. the pkk's governing body has its own agenda and has set its own date. >> the route they will be taking from southeastern turkey leads through rough, mountainous terrain. they are headed for the autonomous kurdish areas of northern iraq. the pkk expects the pullout to take several months to complete. but some people in turkey are skeptical that the pullout is for real. too much blood has been shed with an estimated 40,000 lives lost. >> i do not trust the withdrawal. i do not believe that they are just going to drop their weapons and leave our country. i think they are just playing with us. >> since they are making an unconditional withdrawal, it shows they are sincere about it, and i support this process. >> both sides have voiced fears that the withdrawal could trigger clashes between the two sides. so far, no incidents have been
reported. >> an italian court has upheld a tax fraud conviction imposed on former prime minister silvio berlusconi which could land him in jail for year. he's expected to appeal to italy's highest court, further delaying a trial that began seven years ago. the former leader has been embroiled in numerous scandals during his 20-year political career, including alleged sexual relations with an underage prostitutes. his center-right party has joined the fragile new governing coalition in rome. >> in germany, tax authorities expect to continue collecting record revenues despite a slight downward correction in their latest forecast. >> speaking at the end of a three-day working session, the german finance minister said the government remained on course to meet its goal of a balanced budget by 2015. he said the government is currently collecting adequate revenues and that there is no need for higher taxes,
something opposition parties are calling for in their campaign for elections coming up this fall. well, even in a wealthy country like germany, a full-time job does not always guarantee a wage you can live on. that has been made clear by new figures out this wednesday, which showed that hundreds of thousands of germans depend on welfare payments to help compensate for low earnings. >> the opposition says the solution is obvious -- a national minimum wage. it is a big issue ahead of elections this september. we take a look at a typical worker whose wages are not enough to make ends meet. >> he worked night shift as a security guard. he is full time and only earns 6.65 euros an hour, a wage solo he is entitled to an income boost from the state. >> i can live from it, but it is not a life worth living because i'm no longer part of society. >> his wife works in a job which pays 400 euros a month, but
despite subsidies, the couple still cannot afford simple things like some of visits or eating out. some 323,000 families in germany to see benefits of the they go out to work. that is an increase of 20,000 in the last four years. they were predominantly in retail, catering, and health care. germany's opposition social democrats say it is an outrage -- they want a nationwide minimum wage. >> and minimum wage of 8.5 euros should apply to everyone so that no working person is forced into poverty. >> klaus is echoing that call. the debate over introducing a minimum wage is fast becoming a hot button issue in the lead up to federal elections in september. >> for more now, let's cross over to our political correspondent. peter, can you put these figures into context of the german economy as a whole? >> the first thing to mention is that the german economy is at this point in time still pretty
robust. with unemployment running about 7%, that is pretty favorable in comparison. what we've seen in recent times is a growing wealth gap, which means those at the top of the spectrum are doing better and better, and those further down are increasingly struggling. it is estimated that currently about one in five of the workforce are in the low wage or the very low wage sector. many of them are short-term contracts. that means that so many of them are not actually earning a living wage, and the important point is this is very new for germany, which is after all a country which was until very recently so proud of having what it calls a social market economy, and inclusive model where everyone in theory at least gets a fair deal. that is clearly no longer the case. the opposition saying the answer to this is a national minimum wage. they are asking why germany's neighbors and most industrialized countries have got a minimum wage but germany does not.
>> this is all against the backdrop of the upcoming national elections. how is it going affair? >> the main opposition party, the social democrats and greens, are promising a minimum wage of 8.5 euros, just over 11 u.s. dollars. the government disagrees, but it has been wobbling in recent times. the government argues that it is a job killer, minimal wage. they say it prices people out of the market, that it actually generates unemployment. >> thank you, as always. >> on to wednesday's market action now. shares in frankfurt continued to extend their record gains. our correspondence sent us this summary of the mid-week trading session at the frankfurt stock exchange. >> another all-time high for the dax, which means no profit- taking and very few concerns among traders that what we can see at the stock market right now might be a speculative
bubble. reasons for buying stocks came from many different companies, such as the producer of shampoo and glue, reporting higher earnings, and deutsche telecom reported that finally, the exodus of mobile phone customers has stopped, especially at their u.s. subsidiary. adding to the positive mood was also positive economic data from china, and in germany, industrial production is doing much better than what economists have forecast. >> we stay in frankfurt for a closer look at wednesday's numbers. the dax -- up by more than 0.8% there at the closing bell. the euro stoxx 50 also doing pretty good. across the atlantic on wall street, the dow up just slightly at this hour but still safely over the 15,000-point level, and the euro trading at a value of
$1.3152. >> some three months after a spectacular diamond heist out of brussels airport, belgian police are saying they had made a significant breakthrough in their investigation. >> 33 suspects were arrested in early morning raids in belgium, france, and switzerland. police also reportedly seized many of the stolen diamonds. on february 18, eight masked men made their way onto the runway of brussels airport and stole diamonds worth 37 million euros. as they were being loaded onto an airplane. >> prosecutors have detained the captain of a container ship that crashed into a control tower in genoa, the lead's busiest port. >> at least seven people were killed and two are still missing. the collision occurred at night during a shift change. the technical failure is believed to have been the cause. >> the external stair case is
all that remains of the control tower after it was hit by the container ship. the 239-meter vessel was on its way out of the harbor when the accident occurred. because of the crash is still unclear. the head of genoa's port authority says there was no other ship around at the time. >> it is unbelievable that this happened because we had the best weather conditions for navigation. >> a photo of the 50-meter-high tower before the crash. the force was so great that it fell on its side and broke apart. some of the structure fell into the harbor. hope of finding more survivors is dwindling. >> we are treating relatives of the victims. as soon as we receive official word on casualties, we will give them psychological assistance.
>> authorities have seized the ship and detained captain for questioning. genoa's mayor says the city is in shock. it is italy was the second shipping disaster in as many years. 32 people died when a cruise ship ran aground last year. >> it is an end of an era as man united boss alex ferguson steps down. he is the longest serving and most successful coach in the history of british football. >> ferguson is revered as a transformational figure at manchester united, bringing the club international success and helping to bring it into one of the most valuable sporting france in the world. he has announced he will be stepping down at the end of the season. >> supporters all over the world are shocked by the news. our report has more. >> for the club's legion of fans, alex ferguson practically embodies manchester united. now after almost 27 years,
ferguson is calling it quits. at age 71, and on the club's website, he said the decision was not taking lightly -- not taken lightly. but he will be missed. >> the scotsman took the helm at united in 1986 and led the red devils to a glittering new era. ferguson sign some of the world's best players, including david beck and, -- david bec kham and cristiano renaldo. >> i think anyone who replaces him as a bit of an uphill battle. because of the expectations of the club. >> united's management pledged to name a successor quickly. real madrid and even the coach
>> welcome back. students in cheating have been holding demonstrations for two years to demand educational reforms -- students in chile. >> and lodge protests on wednesday has been largely peaceful, but police clashed with bangles that infiltrated the march. >> daniela munoz pacheca is on her way to a seminar. she wants to become a tv reporter. today, she and her classmates
are discussing how their news programs might look. she is lucky to be studying. she got a scholarship. otherwise, she would not be able to afford the fees. education here is among the least affordable in the world. the average yearly income is the equivalent of around 8400 euros, and university fees for both private and public institutions cost around 4500 euros. that puts it well out of reach for most chileans. >> lots of families have to take out loans, and the interest is horrendous. by the time you finish, you have to pay back thousands more than you paid for the course. it is an awful lot of money. >> students have been protesting against the government's education policies for years. demonstrations often turned violent, but so far, there has
been little change. >> the president has promised more scholarships and cheaper bank loans, but the conservative leader is sticking to his political guns when it comes to broad deregulation in all areas of society. researchers are studying the political developments happening in chile. in their eyes, the new liberal reforms of the education sector are questionable. >> with these reforms, education is no longer seen as a public service. it is seen as a private service. when people argue for the abolishment of student fees, the president's answer is "nothing in life is free." >> it does not matter how you define justice in this case.
in all senses of justice, the chalet and education system is quite unfair -- the chair lay an education system -- the chilean education system. the fact that something as fundamental as education cannot rely on public funding is astonishing. >> students want to continue their protests. in the year when she finishes her journalism degree, she wants to report on the problems faced by students. >> niger's president has been in berlin for talks with chancellor angela merkel. he's appealing for help for his country, which the united nations ranks as the least developed in the world. >> problems have only been made worse by the country's neighbor. it has contributed several hundred troops to the fight, costing money they cannot afford.
>> we will have an update on the situation in a moment, but first, this report on the niger's present as a visit to berlin. >> long-running drought conditions, party, and a lack of education, but meeting with and chancellor angela merkel, the crisis in mali was high on the agenda. merkel has pledged the support of berlin to try to end the fighting there.% >> the president has brought this up, and i have promised to support it. when there are elections in mali, it is vital we have territorial integrity in the whole of the country so that the process will be a successful one. germany, along with other european countries, is currently helping to train soldiers in an effort to stabilize the country. eu members are set to meet in the coming weeks to discuss further help for the african
state. >> the e u's top aide official has called on the international community to be generous. as for the donor conference next week, he is expecting the eu to contributed least 500 million euros. >> some of that will go to helping to revive the economy of mali as well as deal with persistent problems like food sanitation -- like food and water sanitation. >> our reporter travel to the country to see what has been made -- what progress has been made and see what challenges still remain. >> 40,000 refugees from the north of the country are now living in the capital. with little government assistance or chance of finding work, they face an uncertain future. the international community is concerned that their circumstances could trigger unrest and wants to enable the refugees to return home as quickly as possible. >> there is no way are around
it. we have to do everything we can to ensure lasting success here in the interest of mali in the region and our own security. >> the region borders on the european union. it is basically on our doorstep. >> 13 european countries have sent instructors to train the army so it is capable of propelling fresh attacks from the north. germany is contributing combat engineers and medics. the mali and army is both poorly trained and poorly equipped. >> all of us need help. it is like playing in a team. you can only score goals by working together. by pooling our expertise, we will be able to build a strong team. >> it is hoped presidential elections in july will begin a process of renewal.
the government is preparing to launch negotiations with rebels in the north. the biggest concern is that as long as fighters from neighboring countries could return, although they enjoyed little support among the local population. >> also in july, a multinational u.n. peacekeeping force is supposed to gradually take over from the french. their troops seem to have ousted the rebels and are now securing the north, but nobody here can say if the situation will remain peaceful. most likely, german soldiers will take part in that mission. if they do, they might be in for a rough ride. >> one of the u.s. women rescued this week after being held cash bid for a decade has celebrated a joyous homecoming. >> felice escorted gina dejesus back to her old neighborhood in cleveland, ohio. crowds of well-wishers greeted her with cheers and balloons. although she was covered by a lime-green jacket, dejesus gave a thumbs-up to the crowd.
another of the captives, amanda berry, returned to her sister's home earlier in the day. in a moment, we will be taking a look at the reopening of a major museum in munich. >> first, here's a look at some of the other news in brief. in britain, queen elizabeth has outlined the government's plans for the coming year in a traditional speech marking the opening of parliament. in " -- it includes curbing integration and welfare payments and developing infrastructure. the economy has suffered two recessions, and recovery has been sluggish. >> at the parade has been held in paris to commemorate the end of the second world war in europe. the german army surrendered to allied forces on may 8, 1945. >> the united nations says it is working to secure the immediate and safe release of four filipino peacekeepers.
a local group has claimed responsibility for their abduction. the same group kidnapped 15 peacekeepers earlier this year. >> one of munich's most celebrated galleries has got a bit of a makeover. the museum first opened in 1929. >> renovations have been going on for the past four years, so munich art lovers have been feeling deprived. now, the works are back on display with some new additions. and that is created has dubbed it were a win. at the end of the 19th century, the painter had the house built as a florentine-style villa complete with an idyllic garden.
it became a museum in 1929. in the 1950's, when artists give the museum 1000 artworks painted by herself and other members of the blue rider expressionist group. it now holds the world's biggest collection of the works. the museum's curators have always expected with newt -- experimented with new ways of presenting exhibits. exhibition rooms have feature brightly painted walls. now the works are displayed against a backdrop of japanese flittering foam while others are surrounded by black silk. >> we believe the intensity and liveliness of the colors, which themselves have a certain physicality and substance, our enhanced much more by these backdrops than they would be by painted walls. >> other highlights of the museum collection include
exhibits by classic and contemporary artists, which can often be found here side by side. thanks to an endowment, the museum has also acquired the love swings. the architect behind the expansion and renovations, norman foster, wanted to retain their original character, and he succeeded. but more conservative visitors may still find that the facade of his ultramodern extension takes some getting used to. >> big house full of wild ideas. >> pretty nice. >> do not forget, you can check out more information on our website, dw.de. >> more news for you at the top of the hour. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--