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tv   RT News  PBS  September 2, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT

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>> german intelligence reportedly concludes the assad government was behind last month's alleged chemical attack, this as obama is struggling to convince congress to support a military strike on syria. meanwhile in the u.k. -- >> allegations that a british company was granted a license to explore potential nerve gas agents to syria has left the government facing tough questions as to how that was allowed to happen. >> 1,000 days in confinement. house arrest. time spent in a london prison, and now limbo in the ecuadorian
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embassy. the battle for transparency. and radiation at japan's fukushima plant has spiked to lethal levels, reportedly enough to kill in just four hours of exposure. >> live from our studios here in moscow, where it's just turned 1:00 a.m. on a tuesday morning, this is "r.t." german intelligence has reportedly laid the blame on the attack in syria on the assad government. the news website has just broken the story, so let's get all the details now from r.t.'s pete oliver in berlin. peter, what does this german intelligence report actually tell us? tell us more about it.
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>> what we've seen reported is that the head of the german security services held a meeting with top brass. the main political move is to talk about what intelligence germany had regarding chemical attacks on syria. now, a lot of what's come out from this is stuff that we have heard before from other revelations, from other countries, particularly the united states. now, this regards facts like -- according to this information -- only assad could have carried out these attacks due to the fact that only assad has the equipment and the training in order to have his soldiers carry out such attacks. also, they say that it was a nerve gas. they based this on interceptions made on doctors who have treated patients and they cite that the symptoms that those patients had were similar to those that you would
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find of somebody who had been the victim of a sarin gas attack. also, they placed the number of dead from this chemical attack in syria around 19,400 mark. all of those type of -- 1,400 mark. all of those types of things we've heard before. what is imentsing is the information that's come out regarding an intercepted telephone call reportedly between one head hezbollah figure and somebody at the iranian embassy. according to the intercept it says that the hezbollah official said that assad had lost his nerve and made a huge mistake by ordering this attack. now, of course all we have to go on on this is what's been coming out from the website, reporting what apparently has been given to the german government. that's something, of course, we'll be looking into further in the future. what it does seem, though, is that from the information that the germans are putting forward, they say that they're
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pretty sure that assad is behind this. however, they're holding back and not making any concrete statement yet. >> why has it taken so long for this intelligence report to be made public, peter? >> well, the german government and by proxy the german intelligence operatives are playing really a game of real -- a real balancing act at the moment. the politicians want to keep their american allies happy. they want to keep showing support for the united states. however, they also want to keep the people here in germany happy. there has been huge unrest and unhappiness about any possibility of germany getting involved in any kind of military intervention in syria. germany, for their part, have said they would only take part in a military intervention if there was a nato -- this balancing act is something that the german government haven't played all too well on every occasion. just last week we saw the
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foreign minister, who issued a statement through the foreign ministry in english saying germany will be among those calling for action to be taken. well, that statement lasted one hour before a retraction was given. they cited the fact that it was muddled in translation and a far more watered-down version of germany's stance was given, in which they said consequences would only be considered in the right type of scenario. angela merkel is playing a very interesting balancing game between keeping her allies happy and keeping the german electorate happy, of course, ahead of the general election in just a few weeks time. >> peter, thanks very much indeed for that update. well, nato has again said it is not going to take part in any possible military action against the syrian government, adding that if allies individually opt for intervention they will need to win wide public support first.
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meanwhile america's navy is continuing to step up its presence in the region ahead of the congressional vote on the issue. five u.s. destroyers loaded with missiles along with an amphibious assault ship have been joined by a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. it's now in the red sea to support the attack on syria if ordered. now the super carrier, the u.s.s. nimitz, is one of the largest warships in the world. it's more than 300 meters long and powered by nuclear reactors and it has the capacity of carrying up to 90 planes and helicopters. and it's accompanied by five smaller warships armed with tomahawk cruise missiles. in a letter to the u.n. syria has asked the world body to prevent american aggression. how is the threat of intervention in the country affecting syrians? >> tomorrow, next week, next month? syria's wondering if or when america's missiles will strike and what the aftermath will be.
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but for many people here, it doesn't pay to linger on what tomorrow will bring, because there is already a war today. >> we've been at war for two years with bombs falling in our heads just a few kilometers from here. >> every day, every hour, every minute we endure bombardment. we have bombs and terror attacks, shelling. it's not very hard to face america after dealing with the jihadists for so long. >> whalid, not his real name, has a nice apartment in the area of damascus. a year ago he moved into the hotel he's running for safety reasons after a family member was kidnapped by what he says were members of an al qaeda-linked group. >> we don't feel safe, of course, not because of the strike, or throwing these
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things against us here, civilians, and that's very bad. >> he is considered to be one of the most successful and agressive opposition forces, proclaiming the end of the assad regime. they are believed to hold several districts around damascus, where they engage in almost daily battles with government troops. both the u.n. and the u.s. among others consider it a terrorist organization. >> actually, i think that america should side with us, because we are fighting terrorism. >> america doesn't agree. >> i have decided that the united states should take military action against syrian regime targets. >> that's just another entry on a long list of daily concerns which already includes terror attacks, mappingings and killings. those living in residential areas of damascus say several days ago they started receiving letters like this one advising them to clear their basements in preparation.
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for now no one i spoke to looked like they would follow the advice. syrians may vote with their feet when the bombs start to fall. but for now they have plenty of other things to worry about. reporting from damascus in syria. >> for more updates follow twitter. attempting to find out how other countries in the region would respond to a u.s. strike on syria. >> to be in the know, follow us online. >> it's been revealed that british firms approve the sale of chemicals to syria, which can be used to make the sarin nerve agent. that was the substance allegedly used during last months's attack near damascus. licenses to sell the chemicals were granted to a u.k. company, although they were never actually delivered. well, here's what the department of business skills
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and innovation told us about this. they claim the company which ordered these chemicals proved to them they were only going to be used to make window frames and aluminum showers. it's not clear who exactly was to receive these shipments nor the name of the company which was set to provide the compound. our correspondent has the details -- >> this is certainly going to be facing some tough questions over these revelations that the british government granted export licenses to an unyet named british company. it was to be sent to syria and for two substances, potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride, they can both be used in the manufacture of nerve gas. those export licenses granted by the department for business innovation and skills supports
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that in january, the 17 and 18, that license valid for six months in 2012 when the civil war in syria was already raging. there's a huge concern anyway about the suspected chemical weapons. a map of some of the suspected sites. huge concern about what the syrian government could potentially be doing with those chemical weapons. but also, some of the chemicals could fall into the wrong hands. but there are going to be questions tabled in parliament to really run through and scrutinize exactly how these licenses or chemical agents could be used in the type of weapons, the syrian government could be used. zang us robertson is a scottish national party m.p. who was among those who took an interest in examining the case.
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he told us what questions he would like to see answered. >> i would comment on the fact that u.k. rescinded the export licenses when the european union told the u.k. to do it. thank goodness for the european nion intervening. frankly the problem is that the u.k. was prepared to grant an export license in the first place. of course, the u.k. is prepared to sell military hardware and other things that can be used for the production of weapons, and in this case chemicals which could in circumstances be used to produce chemical weapons. and we do have to ask ourselves, don't we, why, with the situation having already deteriorated so badly, that the u.k. was even prepared to grant an export license, where these chemicals do have the potential dual use for manufacturing purposes, but also for the production of chemical weapons.
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>> moscow is out of the u.s. for its appropriate game of secrecy over the alleged chemical attack in damascus. refusing to reveal the full evidence it claims topo test. meanwhile russian lawmakers have suggested launching a dialogue with their counterparts. more on the reaction of the russian leadership. >> it seems that russia is proactively trying to get involved in coming up with a global solution on the problem of syria. in fact, putin agrees to send lawmakers to the united states to meet with congress to discuss the situation on the ground in syria and saying that only through open dialogue and communication between these two countries, where there has been pretty much a stalemate at the u.n. security council, they can come up with a solution that is agreeable to both the united states and to russia. and, of course, to syria as well. now, this comes after sergey lavrov and students at the
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university of foreign relations, today being the first day of class, he started off with some broad general statements about the western position on the middle east, saying that the policies are inconsistent and that there are double standards that exist. but specifically speaking to the idea of the united states having evidence, saying that it was the assad regime that used chemical weapons inside syria. he said that it just does not pan out. in fact, he said there's no concrete evidence, no locations were given, no names were given, no specifics of any kind. and listen to his own words about what he had to say. >> we've seen these papers and there is no evidence. it's just accusations. if you have really any super secret data, well, you need to remove these secrets, because we are talking about war and peace. >> now, the big news also is that lavrov talked about the situation in march back in aleppo where russia believed that it was the syrian rebels that used chemical weapons, pointing to evidence that
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russian experts have looked at saying that the ordinates that were used were not manufactured by any professional company. the gas that was used was also not done on a professional grade, suggesting that it was the rebels that used chemical weapons at that point in time. then russia wanted a u.n. investigation, but it seemed when what he said his western partners on the u.n. security council didn't seem interested in investigating back then in march, but now lavrov reiterated russia's position and strongly is against intervention. and putin now saying that perhaps as congress goes through a debate in the next coming weeks and the vote goes to congress, russian lawmakers will be in part of that conversation as well. >> you can find out more on the events in syria at rt.com. right now we're reporting that german intelligence allegedly has information about the syrian government using chemical weapons. now, that echoes similar claims from their french colleagues from just a few hours ago.
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keep checking rt.com for more developments. >> coming up later in the program for you, lethal within hours of exposure. latest inspections show radiation levels at the devastated fukushima nuclear plant in japan are 18 times higher than just over a week ago. also still to come -- we report on why financial concerns are forcing officials in the city of love to start teaching its notoriously weed workers the rules of tourist etiquette. that is after the break.
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>> house arrest, a short spell in a london jail and trapped in the u.k.'s ecuadorian embassy.t 1,000 days. he's having to avoid extradition to sweden where he's wanted on sex crime allegations. if he leaves the embassy and steps foot on british soil he'll most likely be arrested immediately. there are also fears that assange could face espionage charges in the u.s. because his site revealed so much damning information about how the country operates. our correspondent told us that the outcome of a recent high-profile whistleblower trial has them worried about assange's fate. >> it is quite obvious if you read through the transcript of the trial against chelsea manning and see what kind of arguments were raised there and how often wikileaks was mentioned in the trial that there is a very strong possibility that the next
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target is assange. and there might also already be an indictment against him and others in our organization. we see as well the escalating war against those who commit the act of journalism. and this is escalating from month to month. the argument is this -- manning was the first whistleblower in u.s. history who has been prosecuted and found guilty on the basis of espionage. journalists will come next. it could possibly be wikileaks. and all the media organizations. it's a real possibility and we know about the ongoing investigation in the u.s. into wikileaks which has now been going on for three years and probably costs quite a sum of money, because it has been associated as one of the biggest criminal investigations in modern times in the u.s. so it is a very worrying situation. >> just to remind you, if you
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miss something on air here on screen, you can get the full picture on our website. here's some of what's is lined up there for you at the moment. getting high, but falling low. a new report says the u.k. has become the addict of europe with sobering statistics of alcohol and drug consumption among the british. you can get the full picture right now on the website. these people are seeing red in celebration of the color of their hair. you can watch this fiery display in full on our video agency page, ruptly.tv. radiation at japan's devastated fukesheem ma nuclear plants is 18 times higher than just over a week ago. it's believed to be enough to kill anyone exposed in just four hours. new equipment on-site detected the dangerous radiation levels around tanks which store toxic water. the plant's operator has come over a wave of criticism for its handling of the cleanup
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damaged by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in march, 2011. authorities said a massive amount of radioactive water may have leaked into the ocean. they also claim up to 300 tons of contaminated water is seeping into the pacific from fukushima every day. japan's prime minister has promised the government would aid them in managing the buildup of huge amounts of radioactive waters used to cool down melted fuel from the damaged reactors. independent nuclear consultants believe that the situation at the facility is far from being under control. >> except for themselves, probably no one has the full picture. so, again, it is very complex and with spent fuel in the ports, they probably don't have enough workers on site. the workers undoubtedly are not being told about it. and going forward this is a problem that's only going to
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get worse. the amount on site, to give you a sense, is there's three times as much as was released by the chernobyl accident and is currently sitting in the trenches and in the tappings at the fukushima site. >> time now for other news making headlines around the world. first, to mexico. clashes have broken out during protests against the president in the capital there. hundreds fought for seven days in mass demonstrations across the country. he is only one year into his presidential term but has angered the public by proposing to privatize the country's oil production. three insurgents have died in an assault in eastern afghanistan. prior to the attack they torched several nato trucks but failed to enter the base after a gun battle broke out. no american or afghan soldiers were injured but it cast
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further doubt on the country's stability as nato troops plan their 2014 pullout. it may be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world but the infamous attitude of the french could be doing the country's tourism trade harm. so much so that in these dire economic times a drive has been launched to get locals to smile and encourage travelers to spend more. our correspondent reports -- >> welcome to paris! >> smiling faces and a troubled economy. 3.28 million in july for the 27th month in a row and a budget deficit the government can barely reign in. france has been walking on eggshells since europe's economic crisis hit. but there is a small respite. visiting the streets in paris is a must for any tourist. france has clinched the title of world's top destination in 2012 with 83 million visitors
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and 33 million in paris alone. but the numbers may not be enough, as the reality is not always up to par with the dream. the city of light known as much for its beauty as its unfriendliness. the extreme end of it a few years ago dozens of japanese tourists were reported to have been struck with the so-called paris syndrome. they were so badly affected by rude encounters that they had to be repatrioted back to japan in a state of shock. >> paris is beautiful, it's wonderful. but the parisians are arrogant and they have to change this, because they rely on revenue from tourism. >> i heard from other people that they're rude, but i haven't had any rude encounters myself. >> i'm shocked at the behavior of some people who are supposed to be tourism professionals. i won't get into details, but really, i'm shocked at the attitude they've given me. >> with tourism making up more than 7% of the french gross domestic product, tourist officials in the country's
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capital decided to attempt what the naysayers claim is impossible, getting those who work in the service industry to be more pleasant. a campaign was launched this summer in paris called "do you speak tourist?" a guide for restaurant tours, taxi drivers and shopkeepers on how to behave towards their city's guests and what is expected from them. >> we acknowledge it is important for everyone involved in paris' economy to treat tourists berardless of their nationality in order to make them want to come back and to spend more. >> and that's precisely where france lags behind the competition. despite being the number-one destination, the u.n. world tourism organization found out that visitors to the u.s. spent twice as much as those who traveled to france, and that's despite fewer people making the journey to the states. that loss of revenue is proving twice as costly, as europe
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continues to struggle with the debt crisis that's seriously endangering the french economy. this paris taxi driver insists, though, that while the "do you speak tourist?" is a good idea, creating a positive experience is not a one-way street. >> first of all, for us taxi drivers, there are passengers who are very -- excuse me for saying so -- annoying. >> something they may simply have to accept with a smile if they want to hold on to one of its economic aces. but it's important to remember good manners cost nothing, but as france is learning, bad manners may be very pricey indeed. rt, paris. >> the news continues. reigniting the g.m. debate in the latest edition of her interview show. that's after the short break.
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captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> many gay bars are start together refuse to sell russian vodka. boycotts are a great way to put pressure on people. but are they putting pressure on the right people? not only is it racist to assume that hurting the vodka notice will deal a massive blow to the russian economy, but any vodka with a russian-sounding name is assumed to be russian. anti-gay proo testers were pouring stohli vodka on to the ground. if the bartenders would look at the labels, they would see that exported stohli is produced in
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latvia, not in rushia. also according to the n.p.d. group beverage alcohol report those popular vodkas in america with a russian sounding name is smirnoff, which is bottled in various countries around the globe, including the u.s.a. itself. way to support the american worker. people left a panic over the hip and trendy scandal of the month. but everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that homosexuality itself is legal in russia and is punishable in many other countries, including a death sentence in some of them. yet russia gets all the attention. if people really wanted to effectively boycott any country with any laws, even that hint against homosexuality, they would have to hit them where it hurts and stop getting natural resources imported from saudi arabia, venezuela and iran and so on and so on. that is a vastly more difficult proposition than pouring american-made vodka on to the sidewalk. but that's just my opinion.
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hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's tuesday, september 3rd. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. japan's leaders have drawn up a plan to address the crisis at the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant. they've watched as workers have tried to deal with the buildup of radioactive water. they're earmarking about

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