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February 16, 2007
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Headline News of February 16, 2007
David Hicks
The US military releases details of its case against David Hicks, an Australian held at Guantanamo Bay.

North Korea celebrates Kim Jong-il's 65th birthday, amid recent progress over plans for nuclear disarmament.

BBC news transcript with photos
Transcript in the news of February 16, 2007


>> Genocide in slow motion. The U.N. warns Darfur crisis is spreading to neighboring Chad. Israeli police on guard at the al-Aqsa mosque. We're live in Jerusalem. A warning that tropical mountain ranges are shrinking as they react to slowly climate change. This is bbc world. Also in this program, one of our planet's most beautiful and most baffling slights. NASA's next mission investigates the Northern lights. A paraglider caught by a freak storm survives to tell her tale.

>> The U.N. Refugee agency says violence against civilians in Chad is a genocide in slow motion which could become another Rwanda. Hundreds are being killed and 110,000 people have been displaced in attacks by so-called Janjaweed on camel. There are already close to 250,000 refugees from across the border in Darfur. Orla Guerin is now back in the capital after visiting some of the worst-affected areas in the country's east. I asked her how serious the problem is. 45D5AB47.JPG

>> U.N. Officials are telling us there is evidence that these Janjaweed militia are harmed. There is a clear program behind these attacks. They're trying to push people back from the border area. That began almost a year ago with Janjaweed coming in from Sudan. The change in the last few months is that local Arabs are sosmd we're seeing a situation of neighbor killing neighbor. That's a great concern to the U.N. Refugee agency. They say that we see the ingredients here that we saw in Rwanda. Obviously of a smaller degree, flu is a great concern here that if this problem is not treated now, then it will escalate and have a very serious situation. The U.N. is pressing for an international protection force to get here as quickly as possible to try to provide some security for the Chadians, more than 100,000 of whom are now displaced in camps in their own country. 45D5AB80.JPG

>> Orla Guerin reporting there. We'll have more from Orla later in the program.

>> Heightened security around the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Last Friday Palestinians and police were wounded in clashes at the compound. It's a holy site for both Muslims and Jews. These are the latest live pictures from the scene in Jerusalem. Let's talk to our correspondent who is in Jerusalem. Stephanie, first of all, tell us where you are.

>> I'm on the mount of olives. Behind me is the al-Aqsa mosque compound where Friday's prayers have just drawn to a close. Just over my shoulder here we can see the worshippers streaming out of the Lion's Gate, leaving the mosque in a quiet and orderly fashion. That's according to Israeli police. They told us that 6,000 worshippers attended prayers today. There were severe age restrictions. Normally it's Israeli Arabs with a Jerusalem I.D. over the age of 45 who are allowed in here. Today it was only people over the aiming -- age of 50. A number of this -- people in this very row that we're looking at now who weren't allowed into the mosque were praying on the street. A number of other people further away have been shouting their protests. 45D5ABD9.JPG

>> I gather about 3,000 policemen and border guards were deployed around the old city.

>> Yes. There's still a very tight security force here in place at the moment. In fact, a little bit earlier on we see a water cannon driving by. At the moment the Israeli police have told us the situation is stable and calm and people are very much on the alert because it was this time last week that we saw the clashes between the Israeli security forces and people worshipping... the worshippers leaving Friday prayers.

>> Thank you. The Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniya and his entire cabinet have resigned to pave the way for a new coalition government. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, immediately asked the hamas leader to form a national unity government comprising hamas and fatah ministers. The news comes a week after the two sides reached an agreement towed their power struggle. Democratic party leaders in the United States' congress have issued a warning to President Bush that he doesn't have the authority to go to war with Iran. The President has consistently said he wants a diplomatic solution. Tehran is in dispute with the international community over its nuclear program. Senior American officials have also accused it of supplying weapons to Shia insurgents in Iraq. 45D5AC2D.JPGOfficial festivities are under way in North Korea to mark the 65th birthday of the country's leader, Kim Jong Il. Celebrations are being held after a breakthrough deal on Pyongyang's nuclear program was reached on Tuesday in Beijing. North Korea agreed to shut down its main nuclear reactor and allow U.N. inspectors back into the country. Charles Scanlon is in Seoul in South Korea with the latest.

>> These are set piece events. It's a big public holiday. It happens every year. The North Koreans still have this capability of mobilizing the entire population for these sort of events. It's a very big show. And people pretty much do what they're told on occasions like this.

>> How are people in Seoul viewing this?

>> They're pretty blase. They don't take that much interest in South Korea on events like this. It won't be given that much coverage in the media. But clearly the nuclear agreement that was reached earlier this week has sparked a lot of interest and a lot of debate here in South Korea. The government is seeing it as something of a breakthrough. They're talking about this is a potential turning point. But there are many others, critics of the deal who are saying the United States is basically caved in, there's move here to get rid of the nuclear weapons that North Korea already has. It's just a containment exercise to stop the one nuclear reactor.

>> Are they confident that Pyongyang will stick to the new deal? 45D5AC87.JPG

>> Not really, no. I think there is an understanding here that every step of the way is going to be haggled over. The negotiations are probably going to go on for years to come. It's very hard to find someone who is confident that North Korea will actually give up that residual nuclear deterrent that it's already developed and which it's spent so many years developing.

>> Charles Scanlon reporting there. A man on trial in Turkey for card plating several devastating suicide bombings in Istanbul four years ago has made a final statement before the court delivers its verdict. The defendant who is Syrian recited Koran verses and said he was on trial because he was part of the resistance against the United States and Israel. Sarah rainsford is on the line outside the court in Istanbul. Sarah, what has the defendant been saying? 45D5ACBB.JPG

>> This is the defendant who the prosecutor here in Turkey has described as a high-level al Qaeda operative, a man who is implicated in the wave of suicide bombings here in Istanbul in 2003 that targeted hsbc bank, the British consulate and two synagogues. 58 people died then. Now, this man is accused of channeling funds to an extremist Islamic cell in Turkey, channeling funds from al Qaeda and also charged with organizing the attack under direct instructions from Osama bin laden. He's refused to recognize this court saying Turkey is a secular regime and he doesn't recognize a non-Islamic court. Today he made a very short speech. He recited verses from the Koran. He talked about the freedom fight, the holy war, a jihad that was being waged around the world, and he said it should continue. He called on his mujahideen brothers, as he called them, to continue the fight. And he vowed he'd be out of jail soon and he'd be back to join them. 45D5AD00.JPG

>> What's he alleged to have done?

>> He's alleged to have helped fund the bombing attacks, the wave of devastating truck bombs here in Istanbul three years ago. He's also supposed to be very close to al Qaeda. He's a man who claims himself that he led the resistance to the American troops in Iraq in Fallujah for many months. He says himself in his previous statements to police that he was responsible for around 150 executions of Americans and those who cooperated with the Americans in Iraq. So he's a pretty big fish in terms of the al Qaeda organization. He's here on trial because of his links to the Istanbul bombings. He's also on trial because he was plotting to bomb an Israeli cruise liner off the South coast of Turkey, but he denies any involvement in the Istanbul bombings. He says, though, that he does hold up his hands to the plot to blow up the Israeli cruise liner. He was found with the explosives in the house that he was staying with, so the evidence against him in that case is pretty conclusive. 45D5AD39.JPG

>> Sarah rainsford in Istanbul, thank you. All of a sudden climate change seems to be at the heart of a debate in the United States. In San Francisco researchers have just released what they say is the clearest evidence yet of climate change. Many glaciers and tropical mountain ranges are shrinking at an alarming rate. At a separate deal in Washington, a key deal was struck at tackling climate change. Representatives in the industrialized countries along with China, Brazil, India and South Africa agreed to cap emissions.

>> Climate change is happening and it's happening now. He's the message from leading politicians meeting in Washington. While these days the suggestion that glaciers are melting is hardly controversial, what is unusual is an acknowledgement that developing, as well as richer countries, will also have to join in the international effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Until now, any suggestion that countries like China, experiencing phenomenal growth, will also have to set caps on emissions, is political hair fragile territory. The agreement comes just as the man who has long beaten the climate change drum, the former U.S. Vice President al gore, announced a series of worldwide concerts in July under the banner "Save Ourselves." 45D5AD8D.JPG

>> The S.O.S. call, save ourselves, is the designed to alert people to the fact that this crisis is under way, a response is needed, and then we're going to ask them to answer the call. And as they do, we're going to give them the information they need.

>> The news that one glacier in Peru could lose half its mass in the next 12 months and disappear entirely in five years is helping concentrate minds. Governments are treading carefully, but they do appear finally to be making their way to a much-needed replacement for the Kyoto protocol which expires if five years' time. Fiona Wood, bbc news.

>> We'd like to get your view on how climate change has affected you wherever you are in the world. You can tell us your experiences by logging on the bbcnews.Com/haveyoursay. Now Aaron is here with good news for investors around the world. 45D5ADC4.JPG

>> Absolutely. First of all we'll start with Japan because Japan is reportedly going to join the U.S. to take action against China at the world trade organization. Washington complained this month that unfair industrial subsidies in China are hurting American firms. China is Japans' largest trade partner and Tokyo is expected to make a similar claim against Beijing. Well, the way mays pay for some thing that costs around $1 may be changing. On Thursday the U.S. Mint issued a new dollar coin. Previous attempts to phase out the $1 bill in 1979 and 2000 failed. Americans claim the paper greenback is lighter and easier to carry, but the U.S. authorities are keen to switch in longer lasting currency in a bid to save on printing costs. I'll talk about the markets later on in the business report.

>> Stay with bbc world. Still to come on this program, one of our planet's most beautiful and most baffling sights. NASAl's next mission investigates the Northern lights. It's a rare sight in London's residential area, but armed police officers have been on patrol in parts of the country's capital after a series of shootings in South London that left three teenagers dead in just two weeks. Senior British politicians and police officers are meeting today to discuss the killings. Questions are now being asked about the spread of guns, drugs and gang violence. Tim Alman has this report.

>> For a worried community, an attempt to reassure. Highly visible policing in South London. Outside the home of Billy Cox, the youngsters and the flowers gather. Disbelief at the killing of a 15-year-old boy, shot dead in his own bed. Murder is not exactly unheard of in London, but this has been a grim period in a relatively small area. On February 3rd, Jams Andre smart ford was shot at Stratham ice arena. Three days later Michael Disamu was killed at home in peckham, and then on Wednesday Billy Cox killed at his home in clapham North. These deaths raise questions about the spread of guns, drugs and gangs. Why are young people becoming the victims or possibly even the culprits of serious crime?

>> They may not be in school, breakdown of family values. They don't have a structured environment.  So, all of a sudden, what do you have left? You only have your name and you as a individual. Respect is the only thing you have left. If someone disrespects you, that's the one thing you have to protect.

>> Government figures say gun crime is actually going down, and the murder rate in London is lower than in any other major cities around the world. But, people are worried, concerned about their children's future. Tim Alman, bbc news.

>> This is bbc world. The main news: A genocide in slow motion. The U.N. says the Sudanese Darfur crisis is spreading to neighboring Chad. A warning that glaciers in tropical mountain ranges are shrinking as a agreement is reached to slow climate change. More now on developments in Chad,. One of the biggest problems is providing clean water as orla Guerin reports from eastern Chad.

>> We're in a camp in the Southeast of Chad. About 10,000 people have gathered here over the past two months, and there are new arrivals still coming here. These are people who either fled their villages when the Janjaweed attacked or ran beforehand in here, worried that they would be next. Now, one of the greatest problems is to try to provide a water supply for this growing population. With me is niki bennet of the international aid agency oxfam. Niki, you're trying to provide the water supply here. How big a problem is it?

>> It's a very big problem because it's really one of the hardest places on earth to find water here in the dry parts of Chad, especially during the dry season, which we are in right now. So the camp you see now has four shallow traditional wells that traditionally would serve a small village and not 10,000 people. The water is very scarce indeed. People are having to share out very small quantities and also a very low quantity of water as it draws down on the water table.

>> Now, what we see here is the women who have made their way in the early morning to pick up these supplies. Are they having to come a long way?

>> Yes. As you can see, women are walking from around the camp. Several kilometers to come to these very few wells, and it is still quite dangerous for them, as well, to walk, besides the fact they have to come several times to make sure they have enough water for food to wash their children, to wash their clothes, to keep their houses clean. But also they're telling us they feel unsafe. Many people fled their villages quite recently, but here in the camp, we had some attacks quite recently, only two weeks ago. Two of the displaced people were attacked by militia on horseback on the outskirts of the camp and killed. So people are telling us they still feel very unsafe. And they don't need just water but also security.

>> How will you grow coping with this growing population because the camps are getting larger all the time?

>> It's very difficult. At the moment we would like the make sure people get 15 litres of water per person per day as an international standard, but with these four well, people are getting closer to four or five litres, which you can imagine is very it will until you want to dink as well as use it. So we're trying to find some more water. We've got the drilling team here at the moment. They're doing surveys. So we're looking for water, but it is very hard.

>> We're heading into the dry season, which, of course, will make things even more difficult. Thank you for joining us here. Now back to you in London. 45D5AF41.JPG

>> Orla Guerin there in eastern Chad. The U.S. Military has released details about the high-profile terror suspect going held at Guantanamo bay. Allegations against David hicks, the Australian, at a web site. He was captured in Afghanistan where he's accused of fighting with the Taliban against U.S. Forces. The timing of the new details may have a political dimension because the U.S. Vice President, Dick Cheney, arrived in Australia next week. NASA launches a unique space mission race today to study the phenomenon known as the Northern lights. The project will put five identical space probes into orbit on one rocket. Scientists are keen the find out more about those intense lights and get a clearer picture of conditions in space. We have this report from California. 45D5AF79.JPG

>> The dancing lights of the aurora are a magical sight, but these shimmering curtains hide a scientific mystery. What triggers the most intense and colorful displays? The unique space mission is set to find out. Not one spacecraft but five in orbit together. They'll work in tandem to pin down the precise origins of the most intense aurora.

>> The first thing will identify the start where the occurrence first occurs in the earth's magnetic field. The other spacecraft will be used to determine how quickly the disturbance spreads to other locations.

>> This is mission control. The five spacecraft will be monitored around the clock from here. In fact, the scientists only actually need four spacecrafts. The fifth one is being taken along as a spare in case one of them breaks down. Auroras start with a violent explosion on the sun, sending particles hurtling into the earth's magnetic field. They collide with air molecules creating those distinctive, glowing lights. But they can also cause serious disreturn shun on the ground and in space -- disruption on the ground and in Spence.

>> During a very intense aroar remarks -- aurora, there could be disruptions on the ground, causing blackouts. It's important to be able to predict when these things happen.

>> The mission should provide new insights into a phenomenon that's baffled scientists for decades. BBC news in California.

>> Stay with bbc world. Still to come on this program, a German paraglider's miraculous survival story. Japan has taken action against Iran's nuclear ambitions. It's frozen assets and banned supplies which could help Iran develop nuclear or missile programs. Meanwhile, U.S. Defense secretary Robert Gates expressed frustration with the continued media focus on Iran. 45D5AFF8.JPG

>> You know, for theump teeth time, we are not looking for an execution to go to war with Iran. We are not planning a war with Iran. What we're drying is inside Iraq disrupt the networks that put these weapons in the hands of those who kill our troops.

>> A premature baby has made a miraculous recovery after being given an antI-impotent drug vying a ramp

>> Tiny Lewis goodfellow may not be the target patient for vying a remark but it seems the little blue pill may have saved his life. Born premature at just 24 weeks last August, he weighed just one pound, eight ounces. His chance of survival was slim and maybe even -- made even worse by heart defect and a collapsed lung. His parents had all but given up hope when as a last resort doctors in Newcastle administered the drug which opened up his tiny blood vessels, allowing oxygen to move around his body. 45D5B038.JPG

>> The viagra was suggested when the doctors had run out of ideas. He couldn't be given oxygen. There was nothing else which is when they asked us if they could try this. They explain that was experimental -- they explained that it was experimental and it may not have any effect but basically it was last resort.

>> Doctors have only just started using the drug on babies to help circulation. While Lewis still need constant oxygen, he's making good progress. His parents say a miracle drug has saved their miracle baby. Keith Doyle, bbc news.

>> She was encased in ice, sucked up by a tornado-like thunderstorm and carried to a height greater than Mt. Everest, but a member of the German paragliding team survived the freak Australian storm to tell the tale. Charlotte Hume reports. 45D5B078.JPG

>> Her only injury is frostbite to her face and a bruised leg. Yet Ava has survived being sucked up enter a powerful thunderstorm 30,000 feet in the sky. Ava was preparing for the world paragliding championships in eastern Australia when she hit the path of a storm. In just 15 minutes she soared from 2,500 feet to 30,000 feet, the height of Everest.

>> I was climbing and climbing and starting to freeze in my sunglasses and everything. And then it was dark and I could hear some lightnings in front of me, behind, around me, and no, I'm in the middle of the thunderstorm.

>> Ava radioed he support team on the ground. They tracked her ordeal using global positioning equipment. No one expected her to survive at that altitude. Temperatures of minus 50 degrees Celsius. Then she lost consciousness.

>> After a moment, I didn't know how long, I woke up, and I wanted to fly, but then I realized I don't have this. I could see the air.

>> The same storm killed a fellow paraflieder from China. Now, despite her ordeal, Ava plans to go ahead and compete in the world championships. Charlotte Hume, bbc news.

>> Amazing. Now take a look at this. A four-time polo-playing elephant has gone on a rampage at a tournament in Gall in Southern Sri Lanka. A vet was eventually brought in with a tranquilizer gun to calm things down. Let me just tell you some news that's coming in. A judge in Milan has ordered 26 U.S. Intelligence agents and five Italians to stand trial over the alleged kidnapping of the Egyptian Imam in 2003. We'll have more of that in half an hour. You can get more detail about the news stories in his program by logging on to our web site, bbcnews.Com.

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