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tv   BBC World News  PBS  February 14, 2012 12:30am-1:00am PST

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>> this is "bbc world news." funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to understand the industry you operate in, working to nurture new ventures and help provide capital for key, strategic decisions. we offer expertise and tailored solutions in a wide range of industries. what can we do for you?
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>> and now "bbc world news." >> hello and welcome. >> the headlines. >> several countries have their credit rating downgraded. a radical muslim cleric accused of being a mel -- being a leading member of the al qaeda is released in the u.k. >> launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians. the man widely picked to be china's next leader begins a five-day trip to the u.s. it is 12:00 noon in singapore. >> broadcasting on pbs in america and around the world, welcome to "news de." -- "newsday."
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>> one of the major international credit agencies has placed the united kingdom, france, and austria in-out looks. italy, portugal, and spain also had their ratings downgraded. moody's said the changes reflect the weak economic prospects and the uncertainty over whether resources will be made available to tackle the debt crisis. >> if you needed a reminder of the impact of the turbulent events in europe in recent months, this was it. economic uncertainty not only increase, but also across the whole continent has been reflected on the financial market. moody's has not altered the triple-a rating of france, united kingdom, and austria, but said it might in the months to come. it has downgraded the outlook in
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all three to-. it has downgraded the ratings of italy, portugal, spain, slovenia, and malta. spain, the country in the western europe with the highest unemployment rate, feared worse. it was downgraded two notches. responding to the ratings, the british finance minister said, "this is proof that in the current global situation, britain cannot waiver from dealing with its debt." the opposition labour party was quick to blame the government. the finance minister said, we have consistently argued that the chancellor's gamble, raising taxes, and cutting spending too far and too fast would backfire. both sides are all too aware of the potential costs of a downgrade. so our governments in france and austria, who last month were stripped of their triple-a status by another rating agency, standard and poor's. in practice, this means there is
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extra pressure on countries to find ways to ensure sustainable growth, which come in times of cuts, wages, jobs, and pensions, is the hardest part of all. bbc news. >> the economic correspondent gave this assessment of the implications to the u.k. economy. >> i think it shows you that you can have problems surrounding what used to shadow hanging over your aaa rating, even if you are committed to cutting the deficit if your economy is not growing faster. that is one of the things moody's has highlight. i should say it is not a downgrade. they have not put the sun-watch, which would be assigned there really was a better than 50% chance the u.k. would lose its triple-day in the fairly near future. it is a negative outlook, and roughly one in three chance of losing the triple-day in the next 18 months. france has had the same treatment tonight.
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nine countries moody's has reassessed in terms of sovereign credit rating. austria, the u.k., and france are triple-a. other countries have actually been downgraded. we have not been singled out. it is interesting that we have been included in that group. in the past, when other agencies have taken a look at the eurozone countries, they have not thought the ratings would be directly affected. >> we have been looking at how the asian markets have been reacting to this over the last few hours and initially, they opened down. have they picked up any more since then? >> if you take a look at one market right now, japan, it picked up a bit earlier. now it is up by 10 points. it has been fired by the valentine's day spirit. if you look at hong kong, south
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korea, and australia, a sales entrenched in negative territory. many investors hope there'll be some inspiration on valentine's day. traders say that the fall is being contained because of the eurozone ratings. they have already been downgraded in the past and investors are starting to discount all of the downgrades. if you add some of the negative sentiment, whether or not greece will deliver on reforms after proving measures, that is still casting a cloud on sentiments here in the region. you have the emerging asian currencies a touch weaker in midday asian trades after the ratings downgrade. >> i knew you had to get the mention of valentines in there somewhere. not a lot of love for european countries at the moment. we should put this in context. the negative outlook for some of these countries does not
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necessarily mean it will ultimately lead to a downgrade. >> not at all. all these economies have to do, they have to get their economic house in order according to the likes of moody's and s&p. they basically have to fix their fiscal and structural reform programs. they have to improve on their macroeconomic prospects. they have to implement their respective domestic prosperity programs. if these initiatives are put in place and we see improved economic numbers over the next 18 to 24 months, we will not see downgrades. we may even see upgrades from moody's and s&p. >> ok. thank you very much. for now, thank you. radical muslim cleric, abu qatada, accused of being a
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leading member of al qaeda, has been released on -- released from prison on bail. he has been held in britain for more than six years, despite attempts to deport him to jordan. the european court of human rights blocked the move. >> described by a senior british judge as a truly dangerous individual at the center of al qaeda terrorism in the u.k., there'll be in credulity that the government has been obliged to release abu qatada from his prison cell. shortly after 9:00 tonight, he was driven from long lartin, much to the frustration of senior parliamentarians, who believe he poses a significant threat to u.k. national security. >> being credulity of the media -- the incredulity of the media is entirely justified. we have to find a way of making
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him leave. there are legal ways of achieving that. it is just a pity it was not done before. >> he leaves prison subject to strict conditions. he must maintain a 22-hour guard ricky -- curfew. no one but his close family will be allowed inside his home. he is not allowed a mobile phone or access to the internet and cannot attend any mosque. despite links to al qaeda terrorists, the government has been unable to produce evidence for a trial against him here. they have been attempting to deport him to jordan, where he has already been convicted in his absence of terrorist offenses. he has argued his return would breach human rights legislation because evidence obtained by torture might be used at his trial. >> it cannot be right that a sovereign nation has someone who they think is an extremely dangerous individual who cannot
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possibly be allowed to stay in this country just because of the risk of his human rights. what about the human rights of our citizens? >> in 2008, the appeal court in london said he could not be deported because of human rights law. the next year, the british law lords overruled that decision and said he could be deported. last month, the european court said he could not. >> he should not be sent back to jordan. jordan practiced torture as routine. if we send him back to jordan on any terms, we are being complicitous with that. >> the current government finds itself frustrated by the long- running affair. "we will take whatever ness -- measures necessary to protect the public," a spokesman said today. they're determined to deport qatada. one option not being rolled out is that the british parliament might support him without agreement from the european court and accept the consequences.
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a home office delegation is going to jordan this week in the hope of getting assurances that would satisfy the human rights judges. bbc news. >> a plane carrying the body of the american pop singer whitney houston has arrived in her home state of new jersey. her funeral is expected to take place later this week. the singer died on saturday after being found unconscious at a hotel in beverly hills. police in california may -- gave more details about her death and said the singer was underwater and unconscious when she was found in the hotel bathtub over the weekend. investigation is still underway to confirm the cause of death. >> on saturday, the 11th, at approximately 3:30 p.m., ms. huston was apparently discovered in her bathtub by a member of her personal staff. this information was relayed to the first responders that came onto the scene. prior to the fire department personnel and hotel security
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arriving on scene, ms. houston's body was pulled from the bathtub. when the first responders arrived, she was unconscious. first aid and cpr measures were performed it in an attempt to revive her. they were unsuccessful. at approximately 3:55 p.m. on saturday, whitney houston was pronounced dead at the beverly hills hotel. >> the united nations human rights chief has accused the security council of emboldening the syrian government to launch an all-out assault to crush the opposition. she told the general assembly the recent failure of the security council to pass a resolution on syria had encouraged the authorities to attack the city of homs. our middle east editor reports now from cairo. >> as more evidence of the killing of civilians by regime forces emerges, this was homs
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today. people around the world want to stop it and cannot. regime in damascus insists that the force it is using is a legitimate response to terrorists directed by foreign conspirators. at the u.n. in new york, diplomacy stalled in the security council after russia and china vetoed a resolution backing a call by the arab league. the syrian president to step down. the general assembly is trying. >> the failure of the security council to agree on firm collective action appears to have emboldened the syrian government to launch an all-out assault in an effort to crush defense. >> the ambassador kept to the line that they are battling a conspiracy by foreign extremists. >> we are sad, but we lay this
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at the doors of those attempting to use syrian blood as currency. >> year in cairo over the weekend, the arab league ask the security council to set a peacekeeping mission to syria. they don't seem to of thought the proposal for when the russians would most likely veto it. britain's foreign secretary in south africa made it a cautious welcome. for western countries like britain that want change, arab pressure matches. >> i do not see this as being western boots on the ground in any form, including in a peacekeeping form. of course, if something can be made viable, we will be reporting -- we will be approving it in usual ways. >> the diplomatic caravan has left town, heading for tunis
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next week for the formation of a friend's of syria group. stopping syria's slide into civil war is the biggest challenge facing international diplomacy today. so far, there have been a lot of words, but very little in the way of results. the longer that goes on, the more likely it is that syria's future will be settled. bbc news, cairo. >> live from singapore and london. what do we know about the man who is slated to be china's next leader? >> may him in mexico. how the war on drugs is topping the agenda. it will be an election year. look at some of the stories that are making the headlines around the world today. here in the u.k., the front page
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talking about our top story, the downgrading by the moody's rating agency. britain could be stripped of its triple-a status this year. there was a conversation of the downgrade of those other three european countries. facing more hurdles and delays before the second bailout. the newspaper says germany wants more information on how the budget cuts will actually work. another front page looks at the conflict in syria while the arab league has been calling for a peacekeeping force. reports say some have been directly aiding the rebels. to get chocolate and flowers, gold is the way to the heart.
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>> latest news from the bbc. >> the headlines. one of the main international credit agencies has downgraded its rating for six european countries, including in -- italy, portugal, and spain. >> the radical cleric abu qatada has been released on bail from a british prison after serving six and a half years. the man expected to become china's next leader, xi jinping , arrived in washington. he has criticism of america's plan to bulk up its influence in the pacific ocean. we have more on the man in the spotlight. >> they are the men in black, all that powerful in china. soon, they are expected to elevate xi jinping to the top of the communist party.
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on the left, he is called a princeling. that makes him communist-ruled. his father was purged by chairman mao and later rehabilitated. xi jinping spent his formative years out here, china's poor interior. he was sent to labor as a teenager. villagers stopped us filming outside his homer felt -- former home. digging too deep into the past of the man who might be president is not welcome. it might be sensitive, but for xi jinping, the time he spent here matters for his image. the communist party wants to paint him as someone who has experienced a life of china's poorest. he has claimed the hardships he faced here have given him the will power to take on any challenge. one of the toughest will be tackling china's huge and growing inequality. some families still live in a
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cave and get no vote to choose china's next president. what they think of him still matters. >> xi jinping lived here. he knew this place. if he becomes leader, it will be good for us. >> living in caves may have hardened xi. he has little time for china's critics. these are some of the only unguarded comments he has made. >> some have nothing better to do them. fingers at us. we do not cause trouble for them. what else do you want? >> what the communist party wants is to keep the economy going. this is the most business-minded place in china. he made his career running these coastal cities, overseeing the economic engine of the country. exports and growth are slowing. finding ways of giving new
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impetus to the economy might be his biggest challenge. >> he knows the flaws in our economy. i think he will make more economic reforms. maybe political ones as well to build a strong and prosperous china. >> this is his temple for safeguarding the nation. xi jinping's trip to america will test if he is ready to represent china on the world stage. his task then will be to convince his people to keep faith with the communist party and its rule. bbc news. >> we are in beijing with more on what the chinese vice president hopes to achieve by this five-day visit to the u.s. >> i think this visit is all about cementing xi jinping's status as a global statesman. he is expected to start taking the reins apart here in china
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and is expected to lead the country for the next decade. i think beijing and washington will be hoping that this trip sets the tone for future relations between the two countries. >> we have a key european union- china summit starting today in beijing. you have the lights -- likes of european council president's meeting with president hu jintao. what do the europeans want from the chinese in this meeting? >> the backdrop to this meeting is the continued economic crisis in europe. the latest bailout package has yet to be agreed to for greece. european leaders are looking to beijing to invest in new bailout fund that will become operational at this -- operational this summer. speaking last month, it was
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suggested that china might be involved in that. on the eve of the summit, the head of china's sovereign wealth funds effectively ruled out investing in bonds. he said that china was more interested in investing in infrastructure. i think european leaders will certainly have a tough challenge trying to persuade the chinese to invest in europe. china, like many countries around the world, says that europe needs to do more in order to get its own house in order. >> if the chinese invest more in europe, will there be strings attached? will there be conditions for these investments? what do the chinese want from the europeans? >> it is a big if. if they do decide to invest in europe, certainly, they have not made any firm commitment on the issue of bonds. they have told generally about
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investing through the international monetary fund. the chinese have also talked about investing in infrastructure. we saw one of the chinese sovereign wealth funds bought stakes in a company in london. china is sensitive about criticism in europe, accusing it of buying europe up. it is also sensitive about criticism closer to home. china's leaders don't want to be seen bailing out countries that, relatively speaking, are ok on the rhone. is notco's war on drugs working. >> the government launched a war against drug cartels. results have been catastrophic. it is an election year. security is the biggest concern. our correspondent has more.
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>> the mexican army has been fighting for five years. the mexican people are paying the price. 50,000 have been killed in the government's war against the cartels. many mexicans are asking if the prices too high. -- price is too high. watfch this. since pressing calderon launched his assault on the gains, numbers have spiked dramatically. from traditional trouble spots around the country, it increases. this woman says it is all too real. she was hounded out by the drug gangs. shoe is accused of keeping a journalist who wrote an article they did not like. she does not want to show her
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face. >> mexico is currently one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. this story is one of many. ordinary people caught up in the fighting through no fault of their own. is it time for a new approach? i ask the man responsible for the security strategy whether the time had come to try to negotiate with the cartels. what do you think this would mean for the families of the people of lost their lives because of the actions of these cartels? >> the only way in which the levels of violence will come down, the only way in which people will still -- will feel safe and free, particularly in those areas where violence has gone up, is when we make sure that every single criminal who commits the crime is being tried fairly in a court, and is
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paying his price. that is when the levels of violence will go down. that is when the levels of safety and freedom will be significantly enhanced. >> this is an important election year in mexico with dick -- with voters due to choose the next president in july. there are fears that drug organizations may try to influence the votes through intimidation and violence. at the moment, security is still the number one in -- issue. the challenge ahead for the main candidates is to persuade ordinary people that they can get the spiraling violence under control. bbc news, mexico city. >> you've been watching "news day" from the bbc. >> one of the main international credit agencies has downgraded its ratings for six european countries, including italy, portugal, and spain.
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happy valentine's day. we will see you again soon. >> make sense of international news. bbc.com/news. >> funding was made possible by -- the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu newman's own foundation and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to understand the industry you operate in, working to nurture new ventures and help provide capital for key, strategic decisions. we offer expertise and tailored solutions in a wide range of industries.
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what can we do for you? >> "bbc world news" was presented by kcet los angeles. 
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