tv BBC World News PBS May 31, 2012 5:00am-5:30am EDT
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>> israel has handed over the remains of three palestinians killed carrying out militant attacks. syria's rebels urge kofi annan to admit his seven-week-old cease-fire plan has failed. spotlight on britain's culture secretary, an inquiry in lone done. he's facing tough questions on how he handled rupert murdoch's multibillion dollar bid for bskyb. india posted the weakest growth in almost a decade as the global slowdown bites. and how touch-first video game technology is being used to save lives. >> hello.
thanks very much for joining us. in syria, senior rebel commanders are urging kofi annan to declare formally his cease-fire plan has failed, allowing them then to resume military operations against the government. that's how they're spelling it out. the free syrian army claimed that rebel forces have so far honored their commitment to the plan, but that president assad has not. all this as western leaders scramble to find a way to stem the violence. the united states, for example, has imposed new economic sanctions against syria and raised the pressure on russia to withdraw its support for the assad regime. let's go over to beirut now. jim muir is our correspondent in lebanon. jim, perhaps you can just explain for us where the free syrian army lies at the moment in its approach. we had talk of laying down an ultimatum. we've had words of that not being the case. what is the situation? >> well, the free syrian army
is very fragmented, and they're on the ground inside syria. it's quite localized in different areas, and then there is voices between people inside and people outside. that seems to be shown up right now, because late on wednesday, we had word from a colonel, who is the commander of the f.s.a. in central syria and has overall command inside the country, him saying that they were setting a 48-hour deadline expiring midday and friday local time for the syrian government to implement kofi annan's plan, especially calling for it to pull troops. but now the overall commander of the f.s.a., who's in turkey, is saying that that's not the case, there is no deadline, and that the f.s.a. is committed to the cease-fire and to kofi annan's peace plan.
so, discord ant voices there, not surprising, given the fragmented nature of the organization. but certainly, in a sense, both are saying that they are committed to the cease-fire, but one voice saying, well, if the government doesn't help, we will get on with the job, as it were. but now that is being denied by the outside command. >> the one thing they both agree on is they are observing the cease-fire. how far can we go to verify that that is the case? >> well, frankly, it's a very relative business. i mean, we've been attacked and attacks carried out by the f.s.a., which essentially had nothing to do with protecting civilians, but basically a campaign against government forces. yesterday, wednesday, the government staged 25 funerals of military people killed in combat. the previous day, 21 killed, or 21 military funerals carried over from the deaths of the
previous day. so, official security forces are being killed in quite large numbers by rebel fighters, presumably linked to the f.s.a., the free syrian army, so there's a lot of hostilities going on in different parts of the country. the f.s.a. is clearly engaged in them. >> jim, thanks very much for that clarification of the situation regarding the free syrian army. we'll cross that through the course of the day. our correspondent, paul wood, has actually been working undercover over the course of the last few weeks. he's back in beirut now. a short time ago, he spoke to me about what he's seen over those weeks. >> well, the general impression, david, is one of the activists in the rebel forces under tremendous pressure and only just barely surviving. we worked for 3 1/2 weeks about 10 miles from houla, the site of the massacre, on the outskirts of homs on syria's border with lebanon. we had about three days of
filming, three weeks of hiding, because there were so troops out, so much movement by the syrian forces, and activists and rebel fighters felt under constant pressure. having said that, in places they are hanging on and managed to remove the last official government check point from that place about a couple of weeks ago. the other general impression i have is that this is a place absolutely just a hair's breath away from all-out civil war. it's been going to that part of syria on these covert trips since november, and every time i by, is there going to be a sectarian civil war? people always say, well, that is not the tradition that we have here. we don't have this aminas, there might be individual acts of revenge, but there won't be any all-out civil war. this time i got a very different answer. one activist that i spoke to has always said there won't be a civil war, now said people
will look back at may and say this was the month the civil war started. >> paul wood, who's just out of syria after several weeks undercover there. the remains of more than 90 palestinians killed carrying out attacks against israel have been handed over to the palestinian authority by the government. now, they include suicide bombers and militants killed in operations which go back as far as 1975. israeli officials have portrayed this as a confidence-building gesture. joining me from ramallah is the bbc's john done i son. the handover was done in a very ceremonial way. >> that's right, the transfer began soon after dawn this morning, the bodies brought in from israel. they soon arrived at the presidential compound in ramallah. that's the compound of president mahmoud abbas, fairly simple wooden coffins being draped with the palestinian
flag. we're expecting a ceremony there in two or three hours' time. it's a very emotional issue for palestinians. i've just been listening to relatives. some of those bodies have been returned to them, they say it gives them a chance to grieve, a chance to visit a gravesite. of course, in israel, a very different view. israel regards these people as terrorists responsible for the deaths of scores of israelis. >> part of a deal to end the hunger strike of palestinian prisoners, john, but in what sense is this as it's described, a confidence-building measure? >> well, look, confidence from both sides is in pretty short supply. when you speak to israeli and palestinian officials privately, not many are very optimistic about there being any sort of progress in peace talks. over decades of middle east conflicts, not just in israel, with the plins, but also in conflict with lebanon, etc.
the repatriation of bodies has been a very sensitive but important issue. the truth is they are often used as bargaining trips in terms of a broader deal. if you suggest this is what happened, this is part of the deal, israeli officials saying this is aimed at building confidence, saying they are ready to return to the negotiating table without any preconditions, but i don't think that's going to happen. you know, palestinian officials, they are still saying they will not return to negotiations until there is a jewish settlement expansion in the west bank in east jerusalem, and i don't see that happening. >> john, thank you very much indeed. voting is underway in ireland. it's a referendum there on the european fiscal treaty, which calls for tighter spending limits from all eurozone countries. now, should the irish voters choose to reject the pact, it would prevent the country from accessing any more emergency e.u. funding when the existing
bailout agreement expires. that's next year. ireland is the only e.u. member state which is putting the fiscal treaty to a vote. obviously european issues, aaron, among those that you're worrying about, no doubt, in the markets. but let's have a look at india, because that is a real worry, isn't it, one of the power houses for growth, and it's not quite falling off a cliff, but little a bit of a stumble. >> absolutely. we're talking about india's economic growth, measured g.d.p., gross domestic product, really hit the skids, if you will, the first three months of this year, 5.3%. that's what they got. everybody was expecting a figure of more than 6%, but now we're looking at one of the slowest growth rates in nine years. we haven't seen this since 2003. it really marks a dramatic slides in fortunes for a country that was used to growing at 9% or more. it was a country that had really combig ambitions to
challenge china always the top economy t. is asia's third largest economy, but it's been dogged by high inflation and a weak currency. in fact, the rupee since july of last year has fallen 27%. in terms of value, that's against the u.s. dollar, and that's the problem. it's a very dangerous mix. you've got high inflation, a weak currency. together, that makes themselves very, very expensive in the country. that's also part of the problem, because india's economy is largely reliant on domestic demand, things bought and sold and spent within the country. so huge, huge worries there indeed. also, i'll have a lot more on the world business report and also take a look at the markets. some big comments coming from the e.c.b. boss, as well as some other big e.u. leaders. but we'll do that in 20 minutes' time. >> time for a gargle in between. >> yeah, i'll do that. >> aaron, thanks very much. now, canada is in the grip of a really gruesome he today. a nationwide manhunt underway
as human body parts have been sent to two political parties. 29-year-old luka rocco magnotta has been named by police in montreal as their main suspect. one of the blood-soaked packages containing a human foot, was sent to the offices of canada's governing conservative party. lee carter reports from toronto. >> luka rocco magnotta has a long and controversial profile on the internet under several different guises, as a porn star, model, and blogger. videos of sadism and animal cruelty have also been attributed to him. it was in this blood-stained apartment in montreal that the murder and dismemberment of a man took place, a man who the authorities say was known as a killer. montreal's police chief says his officers have been shocked at what they found. >> tell you one thing, for most of the officers who've been there, this is the kind of crime scene they've never seen in their life. so, yes, i consider that as a
horrible crime. >> it was behind the apartment building that the victim's torso was found in a pile of rubbish on tuesday. around the same time, a horrified receptionist at the conservative party's headquarters in ottawa began opening a soaked package. inside was the victim's foot. a second package containing a severed hand was intercepted at a nearby post depot. that was addressed to the liberal party. >> i'm troubled that someone decided that a political party was a worthy target for that particular body part. i mean, who knows where the other body parts were intended or sent or if there are others out there. >> police say that parcels containing the victim's other limbs are likely to have been posted to other offices across the country. canada has dealt with other grisly murder cases before, but
perhaps nothing quite as bizarre as this one. lee carter, bbc news, toronto. >> you're watching "bbc world news" with me, david eades. coming up in a moment -- we go on an adventure, look through a rare collection of tintin memorabilias which is going under the hammer. >> this weekend, millions of people in britain and around the world will be celebrating queen elizabeth's diamond jubilee. in sunday's river pageant, the queen is going to sail down the thames in a royal barge, accompanied by a flotilla of 1,000 boats. how do you transfer the dry land to that vessel? >> she traveled more than a million miles over 44 years. from state visits to family holidays, the royal yacht held a special place in the queen's heart. her decommissioning in 1997 was keenly felt.
fitting that a role in the jubilee pageant awaits. although it won't be the royal yacht herself taking part, she's now mortered in edinburgh and is a very popular tourist attraction. they'll be transported from the banks of the river thames to the flotilla on this, britain i can't's very own royal barge. where britainia went, so her barge went too. the queen will be standing here. what's going to be going through your mind when you're in control of this boat taking her on the beginning of the jubilee pageant? >> nice, steady movement on the boat. i hope the queen doesn't fall over or sit down or that respect, yes, nice and steady there, make it an enjoyable part. pageant for her. >> former crew members of the royal yacht are known as yachties, and each year they return to swap stories and reminisce. when you come back on board,
what's it feel like? >> oh, brilliant. change the world. >> want the first tears to be shed over britainia, and with her barge being prepared for one final voyage, they're unlikely to be the last. >> this is "bbc world news." i'm david eades. these are the headlines -- israel hands over the remains of around 90 palestinians killed in militant attacks since the occupation of the west bank back in 1967. syria's rebels urge kofi annan to admit his seven-week-old cease-fire plan has failed. >> coming up in "sport today" with me in half an hour, a new manager for liverpool football club. they're set to name a new one. ahead of the european
championship, spain's fernando torres scores in international for the first time in a year. and a breakaway goal in overtime gives the kings a -1 win over the devils in game one of the stanley cup final. >> the british culture secretary, jeremy hunt, is giving evidence that britain's inquiry into the press standards, questioning the start. here he is now. we're going to dip in as he deals with questions, in particular about his relationship with rupert murdoch's news corporation. >> this time it was rebekah brooks. can you recall whether the bskyb business was successful on that occasion? >> yes, it was. >> was mr. smith present on that occasion? >> i believe he was. >> can you remember anything about the content of the discussion? >> as i remember, i think they
expressed some concern that they weren't getting a sympathetic hearing from this cable, but not much more than that. >> and what response, if any, did you give to that concern? >> i would have said that my own view, broadly speaking, i didn't think it was an issue, so i would have probably expressed some surprise that, you know, that they may have thought it was more. >> how much did you know mr. michelle by that point in 2010? >> well, i knew -- i mean, i didn't know mr. michelle particularly well full stop. you know, i probably had a few coffees with him in my time in opposition, because as i would have represented all media companies when i was culture secretary, i caught them a
little bit better because of the fact that that year we both had children born coincidencely in the same hospital on pretty much the same night, and by chance we bumped into each other in the maternity ward. but our families never socialized together. we never socialized together. >> thank you. if i can move forward in time to october. we know that on the seventh of october, 2010, this is in the second of the supplement air bundle, i'm afraid, >> sorryment which bundle is this? >> second supplement air bundle. -- second supplementary bundle.
>> if i don't need to see it, i'm happy to carry on. >> you have the documents in front of you. >> if you don't mind -- i think the supplementary two. >> you'll find the tab, ss a, it's the first document under that tab. >> no. sorry, would it obtain screen now? >> yes. >> right. i can see it. >> we can see that you know exactly what you sent to turn over the page, but i'm sure you would get what i say about this. there was a briefly document, addressed to you, which relates, i think, to the plurality aspect of the bid we
know it was sent by mr. michelle to mr. smith, and than it was sent to you. mr. smith's observation was obviously strictly confidential, but very interesting, and your comment is to be very powerful actually. so it follows saying you consider this document and express a positive view about it. is that fair? >> yes, i think the document government confirmed views i didn't have that ink there was a major plurality issue with this acquisition. >> did you know at the time that mr. smith obtained this from mr. michelle? >> i knew that he obtained it from newscorp. i don't know that i knew it came from mr. michelle. >> did you deduce he probably obtained it from mr. michelle? >> i was -- i would think that would be an intelligent guess to have been made if i'd been interested in who the precise
person was. i mean, part of his role was liaison with external interest groups and stakeholders, and so he would have stole information from lots of different people, but it wouldn't have been a surprise to me. >> but from within news corporation, the main point of contact from mr. smith's perspective is mr. michelle's. it was not a massive deduction, is it, to to say this must have been mr. michelle. >> did anyone have a -- know that you received it? >> i don't believe so. nor do i think i would have made a secret of it. >> we know some other material went to your personal email account. is anything to be infered from that? >> no, that is the only email
account i use. >> so you don't have an email account within the department, is that correct? >> no, my departmental email gets looked after by my private office, and if there's anything they need to show me, they show me. but the only email account i use is my personal one. >> so most of the contact we have -- that's all of it -- is from mr. smith by email, obviously to your personal email account, is that the correct position? >> there's also some text messages about this time. if you go to the section of this same file called t.t. and look to -- it's 1925 since the
second of november, 2010. this is mr. michelle to you. these are digital numbers. can you assist us as to what that might relate? >> well, the second part, as you can hear there, with me to just work through some of this is naomi grimley, our political correspondent. this is pretty convoluted stuff and very detailed, naomi, nonetheless, critical in terms of what role jeremy hunt indeed did have with news corporation and to what extent he was a compromise. >> that's right. the inquiry is very interested about the murdoch bid for bskyb. this was a multimillion dollar, $12 billion billion, in fact, for the bid for the bskyb. basically they're trying to probe to see whether the cabinet minister involved,
jeremy hunt, got too close to news corporation in the course of that bid when he should have been keeping them at arm's length. and the inquiry has unearthed all this email traffic, text messages from mr. hunt's advisor to a lobbyist at news corporation. now, at the moment, mr. hunt is just saying, well, i didn't know about that, that was my advisor, and i wasn't responsible at the time. obviously they're probing to see if he knows morn he's let on. >> he's under lots of pressure to resign. he was very keen to get in earlier, wasn't he, to clear his name. that's not as easy as it might seem. i guess for david cameron, for the prime minister, he's going to have to do some weighing up as to whether this is a casualty he can perhaps sort of afford to lose. >> that's right. david cameron was forced to call this inquiry a year ago, and it was both to really purge all the worries about phone hacking and the powers that the
murdoches had over british politics, but the danger for david cameron is it's just unearthing all this sort of informal machinery of government. it shows that they were quite chummy emails and text messages between news corporation on the one hand and government ministers. now, dade cameron would say, well, what matters at the end of the day is did ministers act right or wrongly. the danger, of course, in politics is the perception of it, and is the perception that a cabinet minister just got too close to this very powerful corporation? >> well, questions are still going on and the answers are coming with, and we'll keep across that. thanks very much for that. i should say that this is a complex case. the inquiry has been running week after week after week, and we've got a backup for you on all of that on the website, bbc.com/news, so that you can peruse at your leisure to get a sense as to where the inquiry seems to be heading. of course, we'll keep on it
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