>> welcome to the journal. i am brian thomas. >> thanks for joining us. >> no end in sight. the forest fires in russia that have already destroyed thousands of hectares of land. army reneged -- germany boost ties with latin america. a sailor sets out for lisbon, the starting point of a round the world adventure. dmitry medvedev has ended his summer vacation and return to moscow to take charge of the efforts to halt wildfires ravaging forests as a new blaze
ridges next to a secret nuclear research facility. it shows no sign of abating. the president has called on the armed forces as assistance from five neighboring countries begins to arrive. >> russia has mobilized 300,000 workers to tackle the fire but that still is not enough. authorities say 300 new blazes broke out in the last 24 hours alone. prime minister vladimir putin is being blamed for setting the stage for the disaster. in 2007, he handed responsibility for forest protection from the national government to local authorities. putin has made a point of visiting hard hit regions in the south. >> i have seen you at work and i want to thank you for your efforts. but the hard work must continue. the fires must be put out. we cannot allow them to spread further.
>> as the fires continue to shrug the capital in a blanket of smoke, moscow residents are struggling with breathing problems. >> it is awful. even the subway reeks of smoke. you can hardly breathe. how are we supposed to cope? i can hardly talk. >> it is bad being in moscow. it is smoky and hard to breed. -- breves. >> the government is welcoming assistance from germany, the ukraine, an azerbaijan. >> the government has been criticized for its response to the fires. our moscow correspondent told us more. >> critics are accusing the government of shortsighted policies that have hampered firefighting. they say the consequences now are so dire because the fire control system was canceled by a
new forest code which was signed in 2007 by then-president putin. this new system -- the number of employees in fieldwork has been capped by 75%. people here are complaining that they have called firefighters several times but nothing happened. other people are complaining that when the firefighters arrived much of their equipment was broken. clearly, apart from a big disaster naturally, man made decisions seem to have made the system worse. >> she was speaking to us from the site of the fires close to moscow. in pakistan, there is growing consensus that the government is not doing enough to help the 3 million people affected by the record flooding. 2 million will be dependent on
humanitarian aid for the next six months. when help does arrive, distribution is often difficult because roads and bridges have been washed away. >> many of the displaced are in this town. they have fled the flood water, only to face an uncertain future as the wait for aid to arrive. >> everything is devastated. we lost our houses and animals and struggled to save our lives. now our children aren't struggling from sickness. -- are suffering from sickness. >> the red cross says cholera has broken out in some areas. hundreds of people are dependent on food and medicine. when it is handed out there are often scuffles. people are desperate to secure whenever they can for themselves and their families. the water is starting to
receive -- recede, but the waters are streaming south toward and has now reached one job. the southern province is also bracing for severe flooding. authorities are struggling to cope with the massive relief operation. the situation is set to get worse in coming days. >> kenyon voters appear to have overwhelmingly approved a new constitution -- kenyan voters appear to have overwhelmingly approved a new constitution. the changes are seen as key to avoid a repeat of the tribal bloodshed in two dozen 8 that killed 1300 people. the constitution addresses corruption, political patronage, land grabbing, and ethnic tensions which have plagued kenya since it gained independence from britain in 1963. the changes would strengthen parliament, limit presidential powers, and give more authority to regional governments.
in the united states, president barack obama has held the progress made in capping the oil leak in the gulf of mexico. obama says the this bill is finally close to coming to an end. -- the spill is finally close to coming to an end. it has reached a milestone in efforts to seal the record well. as part of the static till method, the wells pressure is now under control. scientists have yet to verify the bp claim. bp is just starting to get a grip on the costs associated with this bill. >> this progress with capping it means we are one step closer to getting a better estimate of the final cost. the oil leak in the gulf of mexico is apparently under control, but bp will pay cleanup costs for several years to come. bp is setting aside tens of billions of dollars in anticipation of a wave of lawsuits and punitive fines.
there is speculation those costs and a steep drop in its share price could make him vulnerable to a hostile takeover. bp still look strong enough to survive. >> no one can say how much the oil disaster will cost bp. even the amount of oil leaked is disputed. one thing is for sure -- bp will have to come up with billions to cover costs. the oil giant will have to pay up to 16 billion euros in fines alone. it will pay 15 billion euros into a compensation fund over the next four years. so far, it has spent only 3 billion in cleanup costs. that is offset by cash assets and loan guarantees worth 18 billion yen rose. such talks are expected to yield up to 23 billion euros. bp is still making money with oil and has an estimated operating profit of 17 billion
in the second quarter. so far, bp has stashed away 32 billion to manage the oil rig crisis, but ultimately the courts will have the final say. if bp is proven negligent, fines and damages could be sky high. this woman bill has prompted ceo bob deadly to hire several reputable law firms. >> 40 billionaires' in the united states have pledged to give at least half of their fortunes away to charity. they include the mayor of new york city and media mogul ted turner. their pledges follow a campaign launched in june by bill gates and warren buffett, who are still hoping to persuade hundreds of billionaires' around the world to give away substantial portions of their fortunes during their lifetime or as part of their last will and testament. the soccer world cup meant good business for german sports equipment and apparel maker
adidas. second quarter sales of profit surged, prompting the company to raise its earnings outlook from just under 500 million euros to at least 520 million. adidas, no. 2 behind nike, enjoyed and not standing first half year, driven by the world cup in south africa and the resurgence of its reebok brand in north america. it rose in late trading after a boost from stronger than expected employment data out of the united states. this summary of the wednesday trading session in frankfurt. >> strong earnings reports from many companies were received on the stock trading floor, news that pushed the dax to highest level since 2008. growth came from the united
states economy and the american services sector. volumes from the stock market in germany are relatively low at the moment, only a few investors are driving the market. that means that the trend can change quickly again. >> will stay in frankfurt for a closer look at wednesday's closing numbers. the dax index closed at 6331 points. the euro stocks 50 climbed by 0.25%. in new york, new data from the services sector, keeping traders on their toes. the dow did manage to close higher a few minutes ago at 10,680 points. euro is trading at a value of $1.3160. germany's major corporate
players have posted strong quarterly results in this earnings season. one of the best performances has come from [unintelligible] >> the world has seen its fair share of natural disasters this year. that has meant more work for disaster analysts, as well as increased costs for their employers. all the same, the company did not have to worry, because its overall numbers for the first half of the year were very good. the week euro bolstered foreign earnings and investment ending -- investment earnings soared. liability costs have been huge. the reinsurer had to make payments totaling $1 billion for the earthquake in chile alone. >> we had an unexpectedly good result from capital
investments, but we had an unexpectedly bad result on the payouts front. it could be like that in the second half, or it could turn around. we do not know. that is why we remain cautious. >> even so, they are aiming for $2 -- for 2 billion year rose in full year profits. >> that is your business update. >> will pick it up here in berlin, where guido westerwelle led his first cabinet meeting. he is standing in for the chancellor, who is on vacation in italy. germany signed agreements with nations in latin america and the caribbean. there is a new strategy to bolster relationships with 33 countries, with an emphasis on economic ties. brazil's booming economy is attracting billions in foreign investment. it will also host the next world cup in the 2016 summer olympics.
germany's new strategy seems to capitalize on line americas new mexico growth. -- latin america's banana groves. >> it is a success story. we have to become part of this. >> mexico's ambassador to germany is enthusiastic about berlin suggestion that latin america be given a greater role at the united nations. germany and mexico are trading partners with ties in the automotive industry, chemical production, and electronics. there is always room for expansion. >> i hope those ties will extend to cooperation on global energy in the near future. i could see direct investment between germany and mexico. >> germany last revamped its latin american strategy in 1995. now it faces competition from
china, who are already taking potential. >> the dutch teenager has finally set out on her quest to become the youngest person to ever single-handedly circumnavigate the globe. laura dekker and her father left for portugal, where the 14-year- old will start her adventure. she won a legal battle with dutch social services to try to prevent the trip. there are pirate infested seas. >> it is the moment laura has been waiting for, setting out to sea on an epic journey and a chance to sail into the record books. >> it is great. >> laura has always loved the sea. she was even born on a boat. the youngster is convinced she
has what it takes to sell solo along the -- around the world at the age of 14. her battle to realize her goal ended up in the courts. she finally won the battle last week. laura is not even pilots. >> there are so many of us in this water. we will sale altogether. >> time is of the essence. she wants to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. that record is currently held by jessica watson, of australia. to complete the record, laura has to complete it before her birthday -- her 17th birthday. the record attempt will begin in three weeks' time. the world will be watching her
progress closely. >> european scientists say they are one step closer to unraveling the mysteries of supernovas, colossal stars the collapse at the end of their life with a brilliant explosion. researchers are using a special camera to examine the revenants of one. the credit a 3 d image of the massive explosion, helping them understand how debris expelled by the cosmic explosion scattered. it is hoped the data will provide a better understanding of supernova explosions, as well as the elements the planet earth is made out of. coming up, the german cabinet has agreed to lower the minimum driving age to 17 at the beginning of next year. we will be taking an in-depth look at that in a few minutes' time.
>> welcome back. the german government has agreed to lower the driving age to 17 beginning next year. the decision is based on studies that show such a system would significantly lower accidents caused by beginning drivers. the current minimum driving age is 18. under the new program, teenagers would only be able to get behind the wheel as long as they are accompanied by someone age 30 or older who has had a license for at least five years. >> for many, the passion for cars starts early. marika is only 17, but she wants to drive right now. luckily, her region allows motorists to take their driving tests a year early. >> it makes sense to get your license when you are 17. i do not know if i will have time when i am studying for university exams.
it is better to do it early. >> more than 1 million german teen-ager's agree and have obtained their licenses through such projects. the system could become the norm by january 2011. >> it is great for young people. it is revolutionary. the demand is very high. i think it is a good thing that so many of them would like to drive. >> at present, germans have to be 18 years old, the legal age of adulthood, before they can get a license. the pilot schemes are an attempt to see the effect of younger drivers on road safety. beginners must be accompanied by an experienced motorists over the age of 30 until they are 18 years old. >> i do not think it is bad to have my mom next to me in the car. it means i have a partner teaching me to drive. >> the first few driving
experiences can be scary, especially for parents, but studies have shown that 17 year olds have up to 30% fewer accidents in their first three months than drivers to start at the age of a team. -- drivers who start at the age of 18. >> it probably has to do with them being able to drive alone, and sometimes there is peer pressure to take risks. things can get out of control. >> beginning drivers still make up 20% of traffic casualties. issuing driver's licenses at the age of 17, with extra training and protection, could be a step toward a safer roads for everyone. >> to make those roads safer, germany has very strict testing procedures for new drivers, who will have to navigate the audubon's, where there is often no speed limit -- autobahns,
where there is often no speed limit. in belgium, up until the late 1970's, the country stood alone in europe to not require any tests that offer their drivers. many drivers in brussels have never had any official driving instruction, nor have they been required to prove their ability behind the wheel. >> he loves getting behind the wheel, but did not have to pass a driving test. the 64 year-old feels confident in all conditions, whether on narrow village roles -- build roads or on the motorway. like many belgians, he is a self-taught driver. >> you just practice driving the car, driving out of the garage, driving backwards. >> all of it completely legal.
belgium was the last company -- the last country in europe to introduce driving tests in 1977. >> i went to the police, showed them my id, and got my license. >> many belgian drivers have developed their own style along the way. who is at fault in an accident can be the subject of long discussions. today, rhode theory and practical tests are compulsory. but you can still learn to drive anywhere you want. >> we have to get rid of the system. you can introduce speed limits, but the biggest safety issue remains people who are bad drivers. >> belgium is aware of its bad driving habits. the motrin mayhem has made it to prime time television. in this game show, the worst of
the worst is the winner. the king of the concept three years ago, and the show as been hugely popular. >> to legs, three petals, a gear stick, and a steering wheel. you do not have enough lems. >> a simple parking maneuver gone horribly wrong. the darker side is that belgian roads are among the most dangerous in the eu, with 90 traffic related deaths a year and a million inhabitants, almost twice as many in germany. years after picking up his license, he decided to take the driving test, and went on to qualify for his dream job -- driving instructor. >> much further south, in cairo, car accidents are a major concern. with millions of inhabitants and roads choked with cars, fender
benders can be a common occurrence. learning to drive their presents different challenges to the ones europeans face. the standard approach to getting a licence is not enough. drivers must master the unique traffic conditions of overcrowded roads, as well as the usual driving techniques. >> ignition, clutch, first year, and pull away. it is the same wherever you are. in egypt, drivers have to master more nuanced techniques, like how to get the most out of your home -- most out of your horn. the highway code is a law unto itself. beginners have to be prepared for all sorts of challenges. on his first lesson, he was brought to a quiet street -- quiet by cairo standards. mohammad owns a small driving school with three cars. he tries as best he can to equip
his people for life on the roads in this sprawling, frenetic city. among his top tips -- stay in the stream of traffic, keep to the right, and do not be put off by the cacophony around you. back at the school, mohammed pauli's up the lessons. he needs to complete 10 more before he can take the test. >> it took me a few days to get used to driving in all that traffic, but now it seems normal. anyone can sign up for the driving test, whether they have learned privately or with a school. >> there is a theory test and a practical. if you pass both, you get your license. but they are tough. not everyone manages. >> mohamad has his sights set on it. every day, he goes out on the roads with his dad. he says a lot of money that way.
a batch of 10 lessons costs 35 euros. there is one drawback to keeping it in the family. with no clear lerner markings on the car, people cannot tell mohammad is the beginner. the dad uses a textbook bought from the local transport office. the test is taken on computer at the local office. then it is out on the roads with an examiner. before mohammad gets his hands on one of these, he has a thing or two more to learn behind the wheel. >> that is our in-depth look at learning to drive in different parts of the world as the german government gives the go-ahead for the minimum driving age to be lowered to 17 starting next year. thanks for joining us. stay with us if you can.