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January 30, 2007

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Headline News of January 30, 2007

Shia man wounded in suspected sectarian attack in Baghdad
More than 30 Iraqi Shia Muslims are killed in separate bombings at the climax of the Ashura religious festival.

African leaders consider requests to contribute to a peacekeeping force for Somalia at the AU summit.
Microsoft launches Windows Vista, with more than 100m PCs expected to use it within 12 months.

N Korea nuclear talks to resume

BBC news transcript with photos
Transcript in the news of January 30, 2007

This is BBC World.  Words but not enough action as African union countries hold back on a peacekeeping force for Somalia. This is bbc world. A very warm welcome from me, David Eades. Also on this programmed, bill gates launches vista. Is this new operating system all it's cracked up to be? The first super-casino i tackling the problem of gambling. 45BF419F.JPG

>> Thanks very much indeed for joining us. Well, police in Iraq say that bomb attacks have killed more than 20 pilgrims celebrating the ashura festival. That figure possibly going to rise yet further. 11 died in a suicide bombing at a mosque in the town of mandali. It's believed many children were among the casualties there. A bomb blast also hit a procession of pilgrims in khanaqin. 11 died there. Another 33 were hurt. There's tight security in the shia holy city of Karbala where police say about 1.5 million pilgrims have gathered. Ashura is one of the most sacred festivals in shia Islam. Let's cross over to Baghdad. Mike, a number of attacks here. The situation getting steadily worse. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised on this of all days. 45BF41D1.JPG

>> No indeed. Tensions high and perhaps even particularly higher this year than it has been in previous years with ashura here because of the sectarian violence. There's been a wave of it really across so much particularly of the central and northern areas of the country since the bombing of the important shia shrine last February. So for that reason particularly in and around Karbala itself, but also in other areas, the police and Iraqi army, as well, certainly have been on extra alert. What I should say is that just in the last few minutes the casualty figures in that mandali bombing, which is a suicide bombing, have risen further. We'vece are now 16 dead and 57 injured in that one bombing alone. Apparently it was a suicide bomber wearing a belt of explosives who went into a mosque inside a market in a district of the town while the ashura commemorations were going on and the police saying that many of the casualties are children. 45BF4212.JPG

>> And, of course, when we look at the tight security in Karbala, no surprise there, of course, symbolically right athe at least 10,00 also army, as well to, create in effect a cordon around the city, a perimeter in which only emergency vehicles and buses carrying pim grams would be allowed to move. Aside from that people would have to walk in, and tradition has it that they do so, of course, what has sometimes happened is that even the checkpoints around that perimeter have proved to be vulnerable to attack. But the police tell us this morning that they believe there's been something like 3 million, up to 3.5 million programme, not only from Iraq but alzheimer's from outside Iran, coming to the city, and no reports at all of violence there so far. 45BF424F.JPG

>> Mike, thanks very much indeed for that.It celebration which the rest of the Muslim world is also taking part in. Seems to be running smoothly in most places. We'll have more on that later in the programme. Stay with be holding also in Gaza after four days of fierce fighting between the Palestinian factions hamas and fatah. More than 30 people killed in this control of the Palestinian territories. Another 100 people have been wounded. Israeli aircraft bombed a tunnel leading from the north of the Gaza strip into Israel claiming it was going to be used to mount attacks. Our correspondent in Gaza, Alan Johnson. 45BF427D.JPG

>> The ceasefire deal was announced by the hamas foreign minister. Flanged by fatah representatives and also present were the Egyptian diplomatic mediators who have brokered the truce. Withdrawal of all militants from the streets and the return of all the military groups to its origin. Agretart after two hours. And lastly, we are calling both movementat fulfill the previous agreement. -Roadblocks that have sprung up across Gaza will be removed, and o all hostages seeds by the

but it failed to halt the bloodshed. This agreement may well have a better chance of sticking. The clashes have been less intense over the past 48 hours andmajoty an end to the violence in their streets. At the same time, international pressure for a ceasefire has been rising. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has described the tarnishing the Palestinian cause. Alan Johnston, bbc news, Gaza. 45BF42DF.JPG

>>China just claimed that the six-party talks dismantling North Korea's nuclear programme are to resume in Beijing on February 8th. The latest round ended in December. No breakthrough there. Well, this announcement comes as the U.S., Nororrass all ine tooney laundering by Pyongyang. North Korea says there can be no progress on the nuclear issue unless the financial issue is resolved first. Turkeyas reported that police have staged raids across the country arresting at least 40 people with alleged links to Al Qaeda. 40 -- four years ago bombs there killed 58 people. Restoring devolution to northern Ireland will be in the forefront of Tony Blair's mind today. The British prime minister is meeting Bertie Ahern. They'll want to build on Sunday's landmark decision of the political wing of the I.R.A., Sinn fein to, recognise the police and the criminal justice system in northern Ireland. An urgent plea for a stronger peacekeeping force in Somalia is being made to the African union summit in its final day. It's taking place in Ethiopia. The organisation wants to send nearly 8,000 soigers to Somalia to replace Ethiopian troops whose intervention led to the toppling of the Islamic courts forces loss last month. Adam Mynott is at the summit in Addis Ababa. He told me about the recent diplomatic pressure for manufacture African union presence in the country. 45BF4340.JPG

>> This has been a fairly lengthy diplomatic process it's been going on for three weeks. Attempts led by the Kenyan government to try to get African governments to commit troops to the peacekeeping operation, the stabilization force that's required in Somalia. As you say, they're looking for forces numbering around 8,000. So far they say they've had firm commitments from just two countries. That's Uganda and Nigeria, and less firm commits from three or four others. So far a troop complement of somewhere just short of 4,000, which frankly is inadequate. You're right, not much progress has been made here.

>> It's extraordinary, isn't it, how quickly things can change. There were clarion calls around the world a couple weeks ago to make sure that this time security and peace was brought into Somalia. 45BF436F.JPG

>> You're right. It's a country that's had no proper government for 15, 16 years now. So the need for some stability there could not be stronger. I think the problem is that Somalia remains very insecure, and it think countries are reluctant to commit troops to a theatre which is really relatively dangerous, and the other, of course, big issue is the cost. African countries have been asked to neat cost of these troons themselves, and I think few feel they're in a position to do that. We're even talking about the big countries. South Africa has said it's not prepared to put troops into Somalia. So there's a lot of ground to be done. While this isn't as it were official item on the agenda here at the African union, these talks are going on in the corridors and back passages here in Addis Ababa consistently. 45BF43A1.JPG

>> Adam Mynott there. We have some news for you, surprise news really. We've just heard that Manchester in the northwest of England has been chosen as the new site for Britain's first super-casino. The favourite had been either London or black pool. It's gone Manchester. This new casino will be the size of a football pitch. It will have more than 1,000 slot machines to boot. Well, supporters of big casinos argue they're good for job creation and tackling social deprivation. Opponents say a Las Vegas-style development will lead to more problem gambling. Later in the bulletin we'll have a look at the gambling industry in Russia and see the effect there. First, though, Tanya's here with... 45BF43CE.JPG

>> Another gamble. It's the first time in five years that something this big has happened to Microsoft. Today's launch of the new vista operating system is a very big deal for the company. It's been five years, as I say, millions of dollars in the making, $6 million to be exact. It goes on sale in close to 40,000 stores around the world, but will it really be the success the software giant is hoping for? We've been finding out.

>> For more than two decades the windows symbol has greeted the vast majority of computer users each day, and the operating system has been the platform on which Microsoft has built a global powerhouse. Now after much delay and huge investment, windows vista goes on sale to consumers. It's packed with user friendly features. It's designed to turn the computer into an entertainment machine and it's supposed to be more secure than its predecessors. Microsoft founder bill gates says it's the most important version of windows his firm has ever launched, and it will be the last before he steps down to run his charity. But will consumers really want it? As many as a billion P.C.s around the world are run on the windows operating system, but many of them just don't have the capacity to be upgraded to vista. So an entire industry is now hoping that the new operating system will bring a surge in computer sales. 45BF4424.JPGMicrosoft's rival, apple, will launch leopard, its new operating system, later this year, and claims that its software has always been one step ahead of windows. The fact is that most computer users will have little choice but to upgrade to vista at some stage, but in the long term, windows' dominance could be coming to an end.

>> The world will change away from having a single, all-encompassing operating system and a single all-encompassing application on your computer. The problem might not be that other operating systems take over. It might be the world of computers changes.

>> Vista is being launched in different versions at different prices, and computer hackers will be examining all of them to see if they're quite as secure from attack as Microsoft claims. Bbc news. 45BF4456.JPG

>> And hot demand for flat-screen televisions meanwhile, and digital cameras is giving japans' sonny hopes that a good year lies ahead. The disappointment for last year. The electronics giant says profits slipped it a was hit by a delay of play station and a massive recall of computer batteries. Net profit dipped last year despite the week yen which helped make Japanese products as a whole more price competitive. More on all of that shortly when we bring you world business report.

>> You've had your plug. Thanks very much. Stay with us here on bbc world. We have plenty more for you including President Hu Jintao of China on another visit to Africa. We take a look at the growing importance of Beijing's relationship with the continent. Well, first it was Ireland. Then Spain did it. Soon it could be all 27 member states of the European union. It's believed the European commission is looking at a total ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. A discussion paper is to be announced in just, well, an hour from now. 45BF449F.JPG

>> All across Europe people are being urged to stub it out. Country after country has introduced new laws stopping people from smoking in offices, bars and restaurants. This week it's France. Thousands of police officers have been told to enforce new laws on smoking in public. But some fear what may be good for your health is not so good for the economy.

>>"We are losing morning and evening," said this cafe owner, "already e100 a day. We have no customers in the morning and afternoon because they can't come in and smoke," but the E.U. Commission believes something must be done. Cigarettes are a major killer with nearly 80,000 people a year dying because of other people's smoke. Some say tackling tobacco is a complicated business. 45BF44D9.JPG

>> The ban on smokes is not a magic wand to just bring about significant reductions in tobacco addiction. There's more to it than that.

>> A discussion paper is expected on Tuesday. More E.U. Countries will introduce partial or total bans in the coming months. Tim Alman, bbc news.

>> A Spanish judge has ordered a suspected member of the Basque separatist group eta for allegedly conspiring to commit an attack during the America's cup yacht race. He was carrying e800 in his shoes. Authorities claim he was on his way to have a -- Valencia to plan the attack. This is bbc world. The main news: At least 30 killed in a series of attacks on pilgrims celebrating the ashura festival in Iraq. Everywhere in the Muslim world the festival of ashura is well under way. Pilgrims are mourning the death of the profit Muhammad's grandson who died in battle 1300 years ago near the Iraqi city of Karbala. 45BF4529.JPG

>> It's a dramatic and vivid demonstration of faith. Shiite pilgrims beating themselves and drawing blood to remember the death of the imam Hussein at the hands of Sunni Muslims. His martyrdom 1300 years ago a key moment for Shiite Muslims, reflecting the divide between the Shia and Sunni branches of Islam that is still deadly relevant in Iraq today. The annual festival of mourning is focused on the Iraqi town of Karbala where this year an estimated 2 million pilgrims have gathered. Previous festivals have been targeted by bombers. More than 100 died in a series of attacks in 2004. Shia communities outside Iraq are also marking Ashura. In southern bay route the stronghold of Hezbollah, crowds have taken to the streets in huge numbers. This might be a religious festival, but here it is also a highly political event. Speakers have condemned the government, led mostly by Sunnis. In other Muslim countries like Bangladesh, the shia community is very much in the minority. The festival is marked here, too. And in Pakistan, there's a strong security presence around the city of Quetta. Once again authorities are worried that sectarian violence in Iraq is feeding divisions between Sunni and shia in Pakistan. A rocket attack and a suicide bomber have already claimed the lives of Shiites here. But the main focus remains on 45BF4593.JPGthe millions gathered at Karbala in Iraq with sectarian violence on the rise, no one can afford for this festival to be marked by the kind of mass killing that has been seen in the past. Dominic Hughes, bbc news.

>> China's president, Hu Jintao, is on a tour of Africa today. Daniel Griffiths has been taking a look at the growing importance of Beijing's relationship with the continent.

>> At the Bentley showroom in Beijing, business is booming. The company sells one-fifth of its cars in Asia, most of them in china, but it's not just the country's high rollers who are splashing out. More wealth means more cars on the streets, and they all need fuel. China imports billions of dollars of oil every year, much of it from Africa. 45BF45D0.JPG

>> ( Translated ): Fuel prices are getting more and more expensive. There is a limit to the resources we have, so prices are going up. If we can get cheaper oil elsewhere in the world, then we should import it."

>> Eager to get hold of the continent's oil and mineral, china's been rolling out the red carpet for African leaders. Last year welcoming more than 40 to a summit in Beijing. Including some of Africa's most controversial politicians, like Sudan's Omar al-basher.

>> ( Translated ): We are opposed to united nations action, and we are pleased that china understands and supports our position.

>> Sudan's a major oil supplier for china. Critics say Beijing's support is helping Khartoum block efforts to resolve the Darfur crisis. China denies that, saying it's just doing business. But make no mistake, the world will be watching president hu's visit closely. For china this relation citizenship makes perfect sense. It gets the oil and natural resources it feeds for its economy, new business opportunities and growing diplomatic influence, as well. There may be some international criticism, but make no mistake, china's friendship with Africa is only going to get stronger in the years ahead. Daniel Griffiths, bbc news, Beijing. 45BF4626.JPG

>> And stay with bbc world. Still to come, as Britain is set to build its first super-casino in Manchester, we look at how gambling addiction has caused problems in Russia. After a break of just six months, bird flu has returned to Europe. A second suspected outbreak has been reported in rung ray, the announcement coming as tests confirm that dead geese found on a farm in Hungary died from the lethal h5n1 strain.

>> Workers at this poultry farm in southeast Hungary feared the worst after discovering an unusually large number of dead geese last week. As a precautionary measure, all 9,500 birds were culled. Hungarian authorities are now monitoring all birds within 10 kilometers of the farm. Samples were sent to the European union's central bird flu laboratory in Britain. Results confirmed this was a deadly outbreak of the h5n1 virus. 45BF4666.JPG

>> Now that winter has arrived in Europe. We're at a period of higher risk. The commission has asked all member states to step up their vigilance and to reassess their risk assessment in light of these latest developments.

>> It's hard for humans to catch the virus, but scientists fear it could mutate into a much deadlier form, threatening millions of lives worldwide. So far the h5n1 strain has killed about 160 people. The vast majority of deaths have been in Asia. Europe has seen only limited exposure to the virus, which is probably spread by migrating birds. The race is now on around the globe to develop effective bird flu vaccines. Scientists in Taiwan announced this week that initial animal tests of a new vaccine have proved encouraging. The next step is to obtain government approval for human trials. Michael Voss, bbc news. -Forest rangers in Thailand have been forced to close a main road after a series of robberies carried out by a herd of wild elephants. The elephants have been attacking trucks and making off with their contents. Animals have been getting hurt. Three of them have been killed in a recent incident. The location for Britain's first super-casino has just been announced. It's going to be in Manchester. Much to everyone's surprise. Thought it might be in the city of Blackpool or indeed London. 45BF46BF.JPGThe new giant-sized gaming hall is odds on certainly to be a hit with the punters, but the government is being warned it could fuel gambling addiction. That's been the experience in Russia, certainly where the Kremlin is banning casinos from its major cities. Here's our Moscow correspondent, Richard galpiN.

>> By night the brash neon lights of casinos and fruit machine arcades dominate the city streets. Banned in soviet times, their growth exponential since term '90s. Now the wheel of fortune has turned again. Thousands of gaming centres like this are to be closed as part of a major government clampdown. By 2009, gambling will only be allowed inside a few special zones. British businessman Michael Bircher runs one of Russia's biggest casino chains. He says the law is pure folly. 45BF46F9.JPG

>> It will put 500,000 people out of work, take $6 billion out of the real economy and push it underground. There will be no question in my mind there will be illegal casinos, as there are in London and new York and Paris and Rome.

>> The industry is convinced this new law will not work because the four special gambling zones being set up by the government are not located in the cities. It's taken us an hour and a half by train and then another two hours by car to reach one of the proposed sites here in southern Russia. And as you can see, it's literally in the middle of nowhere. And work to transform these distant, empty fields into a Russian version of las vegas has not yet begun, even though the deadline is just two years away. But pushing the casinos out here in the wilderness ask the wish of the country's top leaders who insist it must be done to protect the population. This is why. At this special addiction clinic run by the church in Moscow, more and more of those seeking help are addicted to gambling. They lose everything, can't support their families and often consider suicide. 45BF474A.JPG

>> ( Translated ): Two years ago the estimated number of addicts was 2.5 million people. Now it's gone up to about 5 million. And worst of all, this addiction has spread to the villages, where old people lose their pensions on gambling.

>> So Russia's experiment with unbridled gambling looks like it could be at an end. Both church and government believe it's had a disastrous impact on the population. Richard galpin, bbc news, Moscow.

>> More gloom and doom to come Manchester's way it would seem. You can get more detail about the news you've seen in this programme on our web site, bbcnews.Com. The Gaza ceasefire still holding so far. We'll also give you a quick guided tour around windows vista, bill gates new operating system being launched today by Microsoft. That's <

* Caution:  This transcript is intended to be an aid to listening as well as a record of spoken news.  But because this coarse transcript is not always identical with spoken news, one should refer to the news on video-on-demand at this site when quoting any sentences.



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