♪ >> hello, and welcome to the "journal" on dw-tv. i am meggin leigh with the news. >> khosla monika jones with the business news. >> our top stories -- the german defense minister pays a christmas visit to bundeswehr serving in afghanistan. russian activists protest outside the first session of a new parliament in moscow. >> and the ecb issues almost 500 billion euros it in cheap loans to banks. are the markets reassured? not really. ♪ >> we began in afghanistan where five nato soldiers have been killed in an attack in the
eastern part of the country. their convoy was hit by roadside blast. all five of the soldiers were from poland. it is the deadliest incident involving polish troops in the 10-year mission to afghanistan. the taliban say they carried out the attack. those deaths, on the day when german defense minister thomas de maiziere paid a surprise visit to his troops in afghanistan and head of the holidays. he said germany would do more to help train afghan security forces before the drawdown of troops begins next year. the defense minister also acknowledged that security in afghanistan had shown some improvement but that conditions were still quite unstable. >> it was a brief visit kept secret to the last minute. thomas de maiziere wanted to send a message of support to troops on the ground. >> the afghanistan mission may be politically divisive, but the
achievements of the troops cannot be disputed, and they are not disputed. >> the defense minister took time to remember the bundeswehr soldiers who have fallen in the course of duty. seven died this year in fighting with insurgents. from 2014, afghan forces are said to lead this fight and are currently being trained by germans. >> it may be that we were a little late in adopting this partnering strategy, working together with the afghans and pushing the afghans. but now we're working on that very intensively. >> the troops still find time to get in a festive mood. there has been a lot of seasonal mail from back home, and of course fun activities to keep the soldiers occupy. >> of course i miss my family, my girlfriend, and my kids. but things like the choir are fun. >> but it is peaceful christmas that the troops will be hoping
for. >> the russian parliament has opened its first session since controversial elections earlier this month. but it was not without incident outside of parliament. activists who believe the december 4 elections were rigged in favor of prime minister vladimir putin continue their protests and once again called for new elections. as a gesture to the opposition, the new speaker of the lower house promised more open debate and compromise in the assembly. >> vladimir putin's united russia party garnered fewer votes than expected in national elections. but it still has a majority of seats in the duma and insist they were won really and fairly. >> this duma want to produce a legitimate. i can only say to the demonstrators that they should have got up early on election day and voted. >> the legend videos of electoral fraud are fake.
as for illegal -- irregularities in the election process, you get them in every country. >> but there is an unprecedented number of people in russia disagreed. many gathered outside parliament to protest against the results and a rerun of the elections. dozens were arrested. >> parties that are critical of the kremlin were not even allowed to take part in the election. vladimir putin change the law so much that we do not have a real choice. >> the opening of parliament came shortly after the release of anti-kremlin logger -- blogger. he spent 15 days in jail for taking part in an unsanctioned rally. he vowed to carry up and his opposition for the next big protests set for saturday. >> the russian leadership can not afford to continue ignoring doubts raised over the legitimacy -- the legitimacy of the new duma.
tens of thousands of people on the street, but they have not yet been able to offer a political alternative. they still black leaders and ideas that can unite the. >> the sick -- they still lack leaders. >> this year in opposition has asked the u.n. security council in the arab league told an emergency meeting saying that the damascus regime has massacred more than 200 people in two days. the government of president bashar al-assad accuses the opposition syrian national council of lobbying for foreign intervention and for trying to sabotage a deal to end the violence. a team of international observers from arab countries is due to arrive in syria on thursday to assess the situation there. >> these images posted online claim to show the city of homs. it is impossible to say who is shooting at him, but it is clear there are casualties. bashar assad's security forces are regrettably -- are reported to have killed nearly a 200
people in the last two days, including numerous and deserters from the syrian army. protesters are celebrating the victims as martyrs. 18 of for an monitress this task with finding out exactly what is going on -- 18 of foreign monitors has a task to find out what is going on. there will be independent eyewitnesses. >> they will have the right to freely move, freely meet with people if they have to go to prisons, hospitals. >> but images on syrian state tv of military exercises raise questions about assad's real intent. and accompanying that buick -- footage, a message to viewers that the army is ready to strike back against any aggression perpetrated by any means that the syrian state. >> let's shift to some business
news. its price cash injection for european banks. >> the money was more than welcome. the european central bank is making unprecedented three-year loans to banks. hundreds of financial institutions are taking out low- interest loans, totaling almost half a trillion euros. far more than the 300 billion euros analysts had expected. >> this lists and must -- this was a much-needed cash injection from the ecb. european banks face a seven member 25 billion euro funding crunch in 2012. -- a 725 billion euros funding crunch. banks have not been giving loans. to prevent a credit crunch and the effects and european economies, the ecb decided to intervene. more than 500 banks took advantage of the offer. >> it is a good decision to allow the banks to refinance on a long-term basis. the problem is that interbank trading has slowed and banks
have less liquidity because of the many problems they face. that is why they need money now. >> the dax jumped 2% after the ecb movant but slipped back in later trading. bank shares got a boost. many financial shares have fallen sharply in recent months. >> clearly, the markets are not that easy to please.pdorothy hoe day in frankfurt. >> a very mixed reactions here in frankfurt on the exceptional step of the ecb. the flooding with money is a sign, on one hand, for a functioning money supply, but the huge demand is seen as a very serious crisis signal. the german dax surged at first before falling back into negative territory. and the euro also lost momentum. very bad news from the german ziller industry. seller millennium filed for bankruptcy, and the shares lost more than 60%.
-- spiller millennium filed for bankruptcy. only a week ago, another solar company filed for bankruptcy. >> let's look at the numbers. beginning with the tax, ending the day down by almost 1%. euro stoxx 50 down by 0.80%. the dow jones industrials also in negative territory, down by 0.25%. the euro trading for $1.3040. fitch has warned it could downgrade 41 italian local governments as the threat of a recession is looming in italy. third quarter data shows the economy there contracting for the first time since 2009. italian gdp shrank by .2% after slight growth in the first out of the year. the debt crisis and tough austerity measures are weighing heavy on italy's economic growth. the prime minister's new government forecast that output will shrink by .4% in 2012.
but other analysts have been far more pessimistic. the european union's highest court has ruled that a new eu environmental law is valid. u.s. airlines had challenged the law which charges all airlines operating into europe for their co2 emissions. but the european court of justice has now compelled the eu directive that makes all commercial aircraft landing or taking off in europe pay for carbon emissions certificates. the u.s. airline industry said it was reviewing its legal options. but meanwhile, it would comply into a protest. and the eu's carbon trading scheme has made headlines in a 1 million euro fraud case. a frankfurt court convicted six men in what is the biggest crackdown on emissions-related tax crimes since europe launched its cabin trade system in 2005. >> four the six accused
confessed to the tax fraud using the eu emissions trading scheme. in a complex complex, they bought carbon emissions of its abroad and then resell them in germany using bogus companies. there were then resold to other eu countries. the goal was to defraud taxes on a grand scale. the carbon emissions permits were bought in other eu countries where they were not required to pay tax. they were then sold in germany with an added sales tax. but instead of paying that tax to the authorities, the company pocketed the money and disappeared. the firm that bought the permits then sold them abroad and reclaimed the tax from the german authorities as a refund. the court said the fraud cost the german tax office 300 million euros, but the men on trial only received 2 million euros. most of the money is believed to have gone to organizers of the scheme based in dubai and
london. at deutsche bank has come under scrutiny for being involved in some of the trades that -- but independent experts found no wrongdoing. >> germany's solar millennium has filed for bankruptcy. is that it cannot find partners for large projects in the u.s. and spain. the company was about to begin operating its solar power plant in spain, but a few days ago it announced that it was unable to finalize negotiations with investors. the german solar energy sector is struggling to compete with chinese rivals. last week, a berlin-based solar company went and bankrupt. >> thank you for that. the prime minister of iraq has demanded that authorities in the and autonomous kurdish region hand over the country's sunni muslim vice-president to face trial on terrorism charges. vice president tareq al-hashemi denies claims that he ran a death squad and is seeking refuge in the majority sunni
kurdish north. prime minister alabama malecki has asked for the sunni deputy prime minister to be fired. the u.s. has warned the crisis is threatening a power-sharing deal among shiite, sunni, and kurdish blocks. egypt's parliamentary election process continued today with the latest round of voting coming after five days of deadly clashes between the army and protesters. but wednesday was calm, with voting taking place in cairo and several other provinces outside the capital. elections will continue and the middle of next month, with the ruling military council pledging to hand over power to an elected president by july. a demand that the protesters is for the civilian handover to come much sooner. a report from one of germany's major charity organization's claims that poverty is threatening to divide this country. this situation is particularly acute in the country's once rich mining and industrial areas to
the west. and also come as surprisingly, right here in the capital berlin as well. poverty in these regions has remained constant over the past few years, but also growing for the government to do more to tackle the problem. >> a head lice inspection, just one of the services available at a clinic for homeless people in berlin. but the homeless are only the tip of the iceberg. one in seven people in germany live at or below the poverty line. on wednesday, an association of non-government social services providers presented its first report on poverty in germany. it says the trend is clear. >> what is striking is how the level of poverty in the last five or six years has heard the changed. we have been stuck at the record level of 14%. what is interesting is that it does not seem to move with economic developments.
>> poverty is especially widespread in berlin and in the world region of western germany. many people there live off welfare. they have jobs they do not pay enough to live off. some rely on soup kitchens to get a nifty. they are calling on the german government to come up with a master plan for combating poverty. >> large fortunes, large inheritances, and high incomes need to be taxed at a much higher rate. otherwise we will not have room to maneuver to fight poverty. otherwise the welfare state is going to hit the wall. >> schneider estimates some 20 billion euros a year are necessary to help fight poverty. >> thousands of mourners in the czech republic took part in a procession through the streets of prague to honor the late president. the leader of the velvet revolution died on sunday at the age of 75. his body is lying in state at
the. foreign leaders are expected for the state funeral on friday. havel was the president from 1989 to 1992 of checklist of what yet. and then the czech republic from 1993 to 2003. finally, a russian rocket has blasted off with a new crew for the international space station. the rocket did off from the space center in fox 10 on wednesday afternoon. the three astronauts are due to dock with the iss on friday. it will spend the next six months caring of experiments and resurging of the human body comes with being in a weightless environment. the astronauts on board are from the u.s., russia, and the netherlands. they will be in orbit until may. wouldn't we like to experiment with weightlessness? >> speak for yourself. >> stay tuned for "in depth."
more. www.dw-world.de study in germ any. for anyone interested in studying in germany. >> the international community, including the u.s. and france, has expressed concern about the unprecedented scale of violence on civilians and activists in syria. the syrian military continues to use lethal force to suppress government opposition. it defends its actions in the name of fighting terrorism. civil rights groups and activists are reporting the deadliest escalation of violence since the military crackdown began more than nine months ago. we will hear firsthand accounts from some of those opposition activists in our next report. >> we are in jordan and near the border to syria, just 15 minutes from here is the city of d.comeraa, where the syrian uprising began in march -- 15 minutes from here is the city of deraa.
we need activists. one of the activists is manaa. he wants the world to know how prettily the assad regime responded to peaceful protests. he shows us a video of the demonstration he took part in before he was arrested. >> we swear by god, christians and muslims together, to remain united and fight peacefully for freedom. long live the people. long live free syria. >> i am an engineer. i demonstrated peacefully. stevens, friends, and acquaintances someone demonstrating, and encourage them to take part also, because i had taken action. they saw that i was fighting for freedom and dignity, things more important than bread or work. >> he says he was arrested three times and tortured. the last time was so brutal that he decided to flee the country. >> the syrian secret police used
brutal physical and psychological torture to find out what people have been doing. to make them tell their secrets. after four days, i was so weak that i could hardly break a piece of bread. i had to eat with a blindfold on. i cannot control my hands. >> manaa is still traumatized by his experiences. >> suddenly i heard a voice from behind me. do you want freedom? eat, you animal. you do not want to talk? everything was black. it was an atmosphere of fear.
>> everyone we talked to tells us of violence and torture. but the refugees here in jordan got out safely. at least they have managed to survive. we go to a secret location to meet a syrian army defector. the syrian regime has always denied that soldiers had orders to shoot protesters, but this did factor tells a different story. -- but this defector tells a different story. nobody knows he escaped to jordan. to protect his family, he remain anonymous. >> the order to the snipers was shoot anything that moves. i was so relieved after it affected. i do not want to have a part in the deaths of innocent people. >> we travel to the local hospital to meet a victim of one of the snipers. the jordanian government has taken in its syrian refugees and given when did demonstrators medical care.
walid is 24 years old. he was shot in the back during a demonstration in deraa. >> we were demonstrating peacefully with all of branches. we did not have any weapons. when we got to the military security building, we saw the snipers. and bodies were on the ground. so we hid. i wanted to help it demonstrator who had been shot in the head, and then i was shot by a sniper. >> walid was first taken to a hospital in deraa. an operation saved his life.
as soon as the operation was over, activists took him to jordan. syrian security forces are looking for him. his brother has been arrested, his family home destroyed. >> i will never walk again. but i do not need to walk. depose bashar. the dictator must go. wounded and persecuted want one thing only, for the assad regime to end before more innocent people have to suffer. until their country is free, they will remain here as refugees in jordan. >> syrian officials have already agreed to allow international monitors into the country, but how much access will they actually have? we put that question to a syria
expert, who spoke to us earlier. >> there's already one official restriction to the movement of these monitors, which is they are not allowed to enter any sensitive military compound. other than that, they're supposedly allowed to visit any place they want. it will be very important that they see the protests, places like homs, hama, and deraa. if they're really able to go there and talk to protesters, to be in demonstrations, that would encourage, obviously, more people to turn out against the regime and to go to the streets. this is not in the interests of the regime. at the same time, they will listen to a lot of stories they're not supposed to hear. until now, the regime and the president denies that there is any systematic violence from the side of security forces against peaceful protesters. >> whether the consequences if syria does not comply with the
agreement -- for instance, if it does not withdraw its troops? >> the regime could withdraw its troops from the city, but the violence could still continue to this secret services or that the militias of the regime. if this mission of the observers see this, it is very dramatic. everybody talks about the humanitarian corridor, the protection zone. protection zones at the regime does not really allow these observers to work properly. this means that in the end, whoever wants to protect civilians in syria has to be ready to go there by force and against the will of the regime. this means ultimately of any kind of military intervention, which nobody really wants. >> what are the chances for a political solution? we know the arab league has been negotiating. is there anything the international community can do? >> we already witnessed that the
syrian crisis gets more and more international. we see that the arab league, for example, if it fails with its own initiative, they will hand over syrian fire to the united nations security council. russia itself has now brought in its own resolution in the united nations security council. from my opinion, it will be really russia who plays a crucial role, because russia is the only country that still has contacts to all relevant partners. it can talk to the regime, to the opposition, to western partners. it would be the russians to moderate any kind of negotiations between the opposition and the regime. they would have to pressure the regime so that there could be a transfer of power of any kind. but until now, unfortunately we do not have any sign that the syrian regime itself is ready to hand over power, so political and diplomatic solution is right now not very probable. >> thank you very much for joining us.