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tv   BBC World News  PBS  March 30, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT

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>> and now, "bbc world news >> libya's foreign minister flees to britain amid reports he is severing his links to the gadhafi regime. rebels are retreating in the face of military advance by government forces. >> we now have to join the rebel forces. they managed to go a short distance up the road before they and we came under fire. >> the white house refuses to comment on reports that president obama approved covert american support for libya's rebels. the united nations imposed sanctions for refusing to step down as head of state in ivory coast. welcome to bbc world news broadcast on pbs and around the
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world. coming up, india's cricket fan celebrates as their team beat pakistan, its biggest sporting rival, to reach the finals of the cricket world cup. hello there. welcome. the libyan foreign minister who was regarded as one of colnel gadhafi's closest allies arrived in britain. a statement issued said he is resigning and is no longer prepared to represent the libyan government. libyan officials say he flew there under his free will on what is believed to be a british military plane. the libyan government said he is merely visiting britain as part of his official duties.
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>> we know very few details about the circumstances that led to him travel to britain. the foreign office released a very short statement. they said he had traveled to the u.k. and arrived at an airport in england hours ago. we were told he traveled there under his free will but was no longer willing to represent colnel gadhafi on the world stage. now we understand the bbc tonight that he is being debriefed, probably by intelligence officials but not yet met the foreign secretary or the prime minister, david cameron. the statement from the foreign office says he is a senior figure in the gadhafi government and britain urges other senior figure to abandon their leader and to allow the libyan people a transition to a
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democracy. we are waiting for more details to emerge. we haven't seen the word defection used but there is no doubt that it is a senior figure from the gadhafi regime turning his back on colnel gadhafi. >> the bbc's john simpson is in tripoli and says that gadhafi is not go to be moved with the news of his defection. >> you have to remember colnel gadhafi has lost ministers before. he is now a senior figure. there have been others as well. my guess is that they will shrug it off. and whether he will be really such a gain to you must remember some people have been
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accusing him of involvement of the bombing and he was head of intelligence. nevertheless of course there will be people around colnel gadhafi who'll be thinking about their futures carefully. but this is a one-horse government. it is all about colnel gadhafi and the people that are loyal to him. my guess is that they will feel their future are entirely bound up with him. >> rebels in libya are retreating in the face of a military advance by government forces. hundreds of fighters fled. they have already abandoned several coastal towns in the past 24 hours. >> beginners lessons in using a
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rocket propelled grenade but there is more guess work than guarantees. the rebels want more weapons and the international community is suggesting that they might get them. but what is really missing is training and leadership. >> if we have new weapons maybe we can do something to brush them back. >> who is in charge here now? >> he is. no commander here. all together. we talk together and we make the plan together. we didn't see anyone. but maybe he is with us. i don't know what it looks like. i don't know. >> you just heard names of leaders? >> some generals defected to
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the rebels but are not leading to the front. instead of command and control we saw confusion and in-fighting. something they didn't want us to film. >> well the rebels are moving out. they have been reloading their weapons and reorganized on the side of the road. there has been a lot of singing and chanting and praying but you do not get the sense that there has been much planning. there is no sign of anyone giving orders of anyone being in charge. >> they pushed forward but straight into a trap. gadhafi's forces were waiting to ambush them. the tactics are all on their side. with incoming fire it was time to move.
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we now have to join the rebel forces. they managed to go a short distance up the road before they and we came under incoming fire. rounds landed very close to the car on either side and the firing is continuing now. >> it was a long retreat. the rebels losing more and more ground. a pattern that keeps being repeated, left to themselves, the pro democracy fighters are being easily out maneuvered. >> it is being reported in the u.s. that president obama signed a secret presidential order in the past three weeks authorizing covert support for opposition forces who have been trying to topple colnel gadhafi. news coming amid a debate of arming the forces opposed to
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colnel gadhafi. >> the details are fairly sketchy to be honest. we have had confirmation tonight that over the past two or three weeks president obama signed what is called a presidential finding, essentially a directive that paves the way for covert military operations to take place in libya by american forces aiding the rebel forces. there are reports in the "new york times" saying c.i.a. is already in libya, which i don't think some will find too surprising. but so far the white house and c.i.a., as you would expect, refused to comment. >> interesting to point out that we are being told that government sources confirming that barack obama signed this operation some two or three weeks ago, which is interesting because we heard from him last night talking about arming rebels in the country themselves. >> there is a big debate raging
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about whether or not the u.s. military should arm the rebel forces. there is a lot of concern about who the rebels really are and whether the decision could come back to bite in that respect for the united states. there is a lot of concern, really, about whether arming the rebels would be the right decision. >> we heard the foreign office here in the u.k. confirming the libyan foreign minister arrived in london defecting from the libyan regime there. any comment from the white house? >> strangely the white house has been really quiet on this issue so far. given the fact that it is potentially a propaganda for forces, it is surprising. no comment from the white house. going back to the issue of whether or not the united states will arm rebel forces. they say they are not ruling it out or not ruling it in.
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the balm administration is fairly tight-lipped on this option of whether they should arm the rebel forces. it is worth pointing out the directive does not necessarily mean that the arming has already taken place. all that it will happen immediately but it does pave the way potentially for u.s. forces to arm the rebels further down the line. >> stay with us. we will have more analysis on libya in about five minutes time. the u.n. council ordered sanctions, the internationally winner of the country's election -- since started the elections, violence in the country increased with forces making heavy gains in recent weeks. the bbc's john james reports. >> this was once called the paris of west africa. but it is increasingly chaotic as forces loyal to the two
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claimants battle for control. the northern district is now a no-go area for the security forces. instead they resulted to shelling from the distance calling deaths. outside the main city they are losing several hundred kilometers of territory a day. this is their final destination. already understand hundreds of thousands have fled the city. west african migrants are being repeatedly targeted by gangs. several thousand gathered outside the embassy to get help getting out. diplomatic pressure is growing. an audience at the vatican the pope appealed for dialogue and said he would send a top vatican official to the
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country. after four fruitless months of talks nothing but military action will persuade him to leave. john james, bbc news. >> what exactly do the u.n. sanctions entail? our correspondent explains from the united nations in new york. >> while theym posed targeted sanctions on him, his wife and three members of his close circle, any financial assets they have that are held abroad will be frozen and they also cannot travel outside of the country. similar to european union sanctions which were imposed in december. the u.s. peacekeepers have been called upon by the security council to prevent the use of heavy weapons against civilians. they have been criticized for not doing more. west african states asked to have a tougher mandate but there was division in the council over that. >> he issued a cease-fire but
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forces loyal to him are very much trying to gain the strategic positions within the country. >> that's right. the french ambassador to the u.s. said the situation is changing hour-by-hour. worsening hour-by-hour. the question is really what impact this strong statement by the u.n. security council, slapping sanctions in the hope of increasing the pressure on him so he can step down. the impact, what will it effect on the ground? >> still ahead syria's president accuses his country's enemies of organizing a conspiracy against national unity. at least 15 people have been killed in heavy flooding in
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southern thailand. government says nearly a million have been affected by a week of heavy rains, tens of thousands of tourists are stranded on thailands islands. >> southern thailand has been battered by more than a week of heavy rain. coast lashed by a ferocious sea. it led to fatal floods in eight southern provinces. there are dozens of people still missing. there also have been lucky escapes. these men were fortunate to be pulled to safety. the damage has been widespread. the prime minister has been to see it for himself. he ordered the evacuation of residents in the worst affected areas. landslides have been responsible for some of the deaths. with many villages cut off there are fears the number of deaths will rise. transport and other infrastructure such as
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electricity and phone lines have been badly affected, roads blocked, train services counciled and flights repeatedly delayed. they go to the ship from the small island. with supplies cut to many remote parts of the country the thai navy has been distributing aid. you can get some idea of how widespread the flooding is. with more rain forecast in the coming days, the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. jonathan joseph, bbc news. >> if you need to see more visit the bbc news website.
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you are watching bbc news, the headlines. libya's foreign minister flees to britain amid speculation that he is severing his links. we will stay with the situation in libya and now live to washington. judith, welcome to bbc news. i just want to touch upon the number of significant developments in the last few hours or so. given the fact we heard reports that president obama authorized covert operations in libya, are you surprised by that news? >> no. i am not surprised by it. i am sure that the intelligence agencies of the u.s., britain, france, perhaps egypt have been active in libya from the very beginning of this conflict.
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it is the natural next step. >> the very close aid to colnel gadhafi has defected to the u.k.? >> i think that could be very significant. he is representing his interest when he travels to the world and meets with others in others countries. once the british foreign office has a chance to debrief him to see what he knows and what his ideas are about how this conflict could be ended, how the gadhafi regime could be ousted, it could be a really, really significant, important and positive breakthrough in a conflict that is getting more and more confusing and difficult every day. >> how did you read the
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situation in terms of the time scale of this conflict? do you see this being perhaps the catalyst for further defections and ultimately the fall of gadhafi himself? >> i suspect there are a few lesser officials who are being helpful to the coalition forces, but it is clear that gadhafi is not going to give in and he is not going to backdown and he is not going to leave. this entire conflict depends on the demise or departure of the single person and that is very, very difficult. after all the world has been searching for bin laden since 9/11. gadhafi is in his own country. he is within a defined geographic area but it is a
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vast country, he has a lot of tribal and family support. he is perfectly capable of using extraordinary means, car bombs, assassinations, low cost, low level violence that can cause tremendous casualties and damage and really set the rebellion back. it is a huge problem. >> the situation politically is also confusing as the military operation there. i just wanted to gather your thoughts in terms of humanitarian corridor opening up of gadhafi going into exile? >> he can certainly be offered exile but i cannot see any circumstances that he would accept it. his options for exile are extremely limited. and i think it is very unlikely
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that he will accept it. leaders like gadhafi do not really believe that their end is coming, if you look at the example of saddam hussein, he also had the chance to leave his country and yet he seemed to believe that he could survive an american attack, which of course he did for a little while but ultimately he was hanged. so, i don't see him going into exile. the question is how do you get to him and imprison him or somebody takes him out. >> very grateful for your time judith. thank you for your time. now to syria where the president dashed hopes of an end to the civil war. and an end to -- with more, here is this report. >> he delighted his allies in
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syria's parliament. he talked about change as he has done before. but he disappointed reformers who hoped for a big gesture, like the end of the emergency law that powered syria's police state since 1963. instead a foreign plot was one reason for the protests, something they opposed. >> the syrian people are peaceful and lovable people. we have never stopped from defending ourselves and our causes. those who want to take us on, they are welcome to do so. >> we reached a dissident inside syria who spent more than eight years in jail. >> all he speak is --
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>> he always says he would like to be a reformer. do you believe him? >> i don't believe the regime at all. not now, not before. always i said this is bad regime. they ruled the country, put the people in jail. >> around 60 people died in anti-government protests in syria. >> i don't think that there is any regime that is immune to the democratic violence that is mutating in the region. there is a great awakening taking place in the arab world. syria is an extension of what is happening in the arab world. >> syria is strategicly at the center of the middle east. its neighbors are turkey, lebanon, palestinian, jordan and iraq. syria is a linchpin of the
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resistance alliance. close allies with iran. in recent years the president has been courted by western countries, seen as a key to peace or war in the middle east. >> many like him, but he is facing the worst crisis of his presidency and seems to be calculating that strength, not concessions will get him through it. >> more than a million people have been glued to their television screens watching this exciting match >> the desperation to get in, a gate for the police did have a plan. at times they seemed part of the problem. the authorities promised a
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prompt security and we are seeing it in operation here. the queue over here are lucky ones, fans with tickets have been funneled through these metal passages to an area where they can be searched and where their tickets can be checked. somehow patience prevailed. the world cup forced india and pakistan together in a way many fans were trying to embrace. >> we are very comfortable. people are so loving here. we were not expecting such a response from the people. but the people are really nice. >> nobel thoughts but security was everywhere. the reason, politicians. prime ministers of both countries were here to watch and to talk. the stage in itself a venue for dialogue which stalled after the mum by attacks. cricket's diplomacy but in a semi-final, one side must win.
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judgment and some luck, he built an inning. he took five wickets. india got to 260. they you watched, living it on tv like so many others, hopeful but one of pakistan's bats man needed to impose himself illuminating the evening briefly but could only make 29. his big hitting fell into save indian hands. they kept it going but pakistan fell well short. 231 all out. this was a match deep in significance, just wait until the next one. india will now play a world cup final on home soil.
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>> see the news unfold, get the top stories from around the globe and click-to-play video reports. go to bbc.com/news to experience the in-depth, expert reporting of "bbc world news" online. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its global expertise to work for a
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wide range of companies. what can we do for you? >> "bbc world news america" was presented by kcet los presented by kcet los angeles.
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