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February 24, 2007
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Headline News of February 24, 2007
Mohamed ElBaradei (file picture)
The head of the UN nuclear agency says North Korea has invited him for talks on its nuclear programme.

Thousands turn out in the Afghan capital Kabul to voice support for a controversial proposed war crimes amnesty.
US Vice-President Dick Cheney voices concern at China's growing military power, on a visit to Australia.

BBC news transcript with photos
Transcript in the news of February 24, 2007

>>> Now, the head of the U.N. Nuclear agency Mr. Mohamed Elbaradei is going to North Korea for talks on implementing on agreement to freeze nuclear facilities. At a news conference, to General Ban Ki-moon Mr. Elbaradei said north Korea told him it wanted to establish a working relationship with the agency and it hoped to become a member again.

>>> The United States has rejected an international call to ban the use of cluster bombs saying that they have a place in armed conflicts as long as countries follow proper rules of engagement. Earlier a declaration calling for a treaty to ban such weapons by next year.

>> A court has dropped charges against eight south Africans charged with planning a coup. Accused of leading the aborted attempt in 2004. Lawyers argued that South Africa had tacitly backed the plan which the country denies. 45DF9DE1.JPG

>> Let's go to Alastair in London.

>> It is potentially embarrassing and explosive. American troops first detained and then released the son of Iraq's most power full Shiite politician. He was held as he returned to the country from Iran.

>>> I'm sorry about the arrest. We don't know the circumstances for the arrest, and we are investigating, and we -- we do not mean any disrespect to him or to his family, but he is being released, and we will investigate the circumstances.

>> Meanwhile, an inquiry is underway into a fierce gun battle in Ramadi between U.S.. Military and insurgents to see weather civilians including two children were killed. The fighting ended with U.S. Air strikes destroying several buildings. 45DF9E24.JPG

>> Pakistan has tested a ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometres and capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The  test was described as an important mile stone in Pakistan's quest to maintain a strategic balance.

>> A fire has killed at least 26 people. The blaze swept through the home in western Latvia in the early hours of the morning. Firemen rescuesed about 60 people before the roof collapsed.

>> Police m Estonia have broken up -- the side of a controversial war monument. Russia says the statue is a memorial for those who fought fascism in the second word war, but to many it is a reminder of soviet occupation.

>> Olympic committee have completed their visit to the Russian city. They have been there to assess the bid of the 2014 winter games. 45DF9E64.JPG

>> Reporter: Russia has an impressive record in the winter Olympics, but the chance to host the games is a prize which has never been theirs. That may change. Officials from the international Olympic committee have been here to have a look. This might not seem like the obvious choice. It is the warmest city in a famously cold country. The bid to host the 2014 games stretches the attractive location, a sea side resort within easy reach of snow-covered mountains. President Putin was on the slopes earlier this week to show his support. That personal pledge seems to have been a factor which impressed the visitors. But the news conference they warned of other things which might not count in their favour. 45DF9E9A.JPG

>> There are so many -- to be built in the future, and should you get the games here, you have only seven years to go, and so a time factor could be rather pressing and to coordinate all of this work may be a challenge.

>> Reporter: They are looking to the winter Olympics to regenerate the entire region that is styling itself the Russian Riviera. Now the city will have to wait until the summer to find out whether this is a winning combination. Bbc news.

>>> Do stay with bbc world, because still to come on the programme. She has French charm, but does she have enough French votes? We're on the campaign trail with the woman who would be madam president. 45DF9ED8.JPG

>>> First things first. All of the business news with darshini from New York.

>> Thanks very much. Well, Warren Buffett gets involved in a row over ethical investing, and it has been a subdued day for markets.

>>> The world's second richest man, billion air warren Buffett has been forced to spend is -- the investment is at the centre of an ethical row. He is resisting calls to sell his stake in petrol china following concerns that the oil company is too closely linked in genocide in Sudan. Several universities including Harvard and Yale have sold their stakes in the country. Selling the shares -- meanwhile, Volkswagen is the latest car maker to say it isn't interested in buying Chrysler. The parent company of the struggling U.S. Car maker Daimler Chrysler is reportedly close to finishing a deal with potential buyers. Chrysler lost $1.48 billion last year and it is currently in the process of cutting 30,000 jobs. 45DF9F23.JPG

>> BP is off the hook nor a while. It has settled claims by two workers injured in a Texas refinery explosion back in 2005. BP's chief executive was due to personally be interviewed on Friday by a U.S. Lawyer gathering evidence for a U.S.. Trial. Bp has set aeyed $1.6 billion to settle numerous claims relating to that explosion. .

>>> Talksing of oil and oil companies, the oil price kicks back up again this Friday. That was bad news on the whole for the stock march. They're concerned about inflation. So, that met a down finish for the dow. It also met it was the worst week for the dow in about six months. Nevertheless not quite as bad a picture over in Europe. 45DF9F56.JPG

>>> This is bbc world. The main news. Defending Afghanistan, Britain has to send -- is to send more soldiers following clashes with the Taliban. "Son of star wars" gathers momentum. Three nations vow to host the system.

>> She wants to be France's first ever woman president, but the election campaign of royal is in trouble. The candidate has been accused of being a light white and an old fashioned left-winger by her critiques. She is also trailing in the polls but insists she can turn it around. We have been on the road with the woman who would be madam president.

>> She has charm, style, and a faltering campaign. She is back on home territory in Normandy where she began her political car rear. Socialists hope she will save France from the -- we're going to win, they chant, optimism in the face of poor opinion polls. 45DF9F95.JPG

>> I see you all here, crushed into this hall, gathered here, and I really believe there is a wind of change blowing through our country, but there is only two months to convince everyone else.


>> Reporter: Down the road she tors a research company at the cutting edge of microchip technology. The whole pitch is about the future, but many say her manifesto smells of the past. Among her promises the minimum wage to raise more than 100 pounds. The unemployed to get 90% of the pay of their last job. Young people will be given the right to a first job, and she doesn't spell out how much it will cost. People like this man thinks he would end up paying. He imports and -- tennis balls from china and ships them all over Europe. He can't stand the 35 hour week, but although he has not decided how to vote, he is not impressed with madam royal. 45DF9FCE.JPG

>> As a boss I don't see how companies like mine can be expected to cough up for all of the promises she's making. If we do what see wants, we will crash into a brick wall.

>> Trailed every inch of the way by the media, several mistakes on foreign affairs spotted and her economic advisor just resigned. The audience would dismiss -- she is bringing in real heavyweights. France has been ignited -- as you can see, quite obviously in this village hall, it is probably too early to say that the wheels have come off this campaign, but it has been a difficult start and now segolene royal has to pull out all of the stops.

>>> Now, then, stem cell research in the United States is facing an uncertain future after the restrictions imposed by president Bush. Many universities are now banned from using certain equipment and research projects have been stalled. I have been to Boston to stalk to the scientists and the politicians leading the debate. 45DFA019.JPG

>> Reporter: Stem cells, the very building blocks of human life. They can be made -- what they can be made to grow into is the most compelling question of modern medical science, and where you take them from the biggest controversy. The biotech lab at Harvard university, the cuss p of stem cell research, a messy place, the stray olive oil bolt, the plastic lobster. This is the weird and wonderful world of this professor. His mission is scientific and personal. Both of his children suffer from type one diabetes, one of several diseases that stem cells could cure.

>> I would liken them to something like the discovery of the transistor. When the transistor was found, I don't think anyone predicted we would have bipod's, cell phones, personal computers, but they call came interest that discovery. 45DFA057.JPG

>> As little as two years before the first cure, but the president has slammed on the brakes by outlawing government funds for stem cells. The stickers tell the story.

>> We had to buy a new machine, this one approved for all human embryonic stem cell research. We had purchased this one with federal funds and we can't now use these on this machine. It is a waste of funds, you could say.

>> Harvard University, this ground zero in the scientific battle of stem cell research. This is described as the most important medical development of the 21st century. The science is complicated enough, but then there is also the politics.

>> And there is plenty of it. The president last summer using his veto for the very first time, the purpose to block government money for stem cells, including those harvested from embryos already discarded by fertility clinics. And these are the people who cheered him on.  Evangelical Christians who begin that human lives begin at conception, not at birth. Tens of thousands marched on Washington in the so called march for life. This man doesn't agree with everything the president has said on stem cell research, but he does salute him for drawing a line. 45DFA0AB.JPG

>> I might have an interest in stem cell research, it might help me to walk, but if I were to have to make a choice between living in a society where some cure is given to me versus a society where is so trapped in aleth thicks that my son grows up in a jungle, I would refuse the cord.

>> Also in a wheelchair, he is leading new legislation to revive stem cell funding.

>> Once we realize the full potential, it offers the possibility for cures, for spinal cord injuries, and Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's de sees, juvenile diabetes, cancer, and so many other challenging conditions.

>> Stem cells harvested from amniotic fluid in the mother's womb may eventually provide the same potential. It is a matter of ethics. 45DFA0ED.JPG

>> The stem cell debate, a complicated one but also very important I think. Stay with bbc world because still to come on this programme, Hollywood gathers for the Oscars. Will "the queen" be celebrating?

>>> Exiled Chechens are commemorating the -- but campaigners say that world chechian day is also designed to show how they still face a major struggle these days.

>> This is the toll taken by years of war. The chechian capital left in pieces after fighting that spread right into the city centre. Barely a single building escaped damage, and it is estimated that half of the people of the city, who numbered a million in 1991, either died or fled. That survived memories of the deportation of the entire Chechen population during the second word war. Many were deported in February of 1944. It was a tactic used by Joseph stalling against a number of groups expected of collaborating against the Nazis. It is reported more than half died and many believe it is still relevant here today. 45DFA141.JPG

>> They suffered the most in terms of relative losses, and numbers, there were large casualties during the process of deportation, and I think it is that trauma that made the Chechens to seek independence in 1990, and it is that development which goes towards explaining what is happening there now.

>> Chechen rebel groups have been hit hard over the past year. In July, this rebel leader was killed when a massive truck bomb exploded. He had been the most-wanted land in Russia after claiming to organize the best siege in 2004. Now a new man is running, and he has clamped down on activity. The streets may now be more peaceful, but the history still carries echoes today. 45DFA17B.JPG

>>> Now, then, hairdressers and dress makers are fussing, yes, you guessed it, preparation underway for the 79th academy awards, and it is an anxious wait over the next 48 hours for the nominees. We report from Los Angeles, the British stars are being tipped for the top honours.

>> She is this year's equivalent of Oscar's royalty. Hollywood knows that Sunday will mark dame Helen's core on nation of best actress. All that remains, she told me, is who to thank in her speech.

>> I feel a big responsibility, because I have a responsibility to the film and the film makers and my cast, I have a responsibility to the monarchy and the queen herself, and via responsibility to my country that I am representing, and to sort of try and say the right thing in 45 seconds and try and get all of that in is an impossibility. 45DFA1BB.JPG

>> Reporter: Of course, some have seen it all before countless times. It is 45 years since peter o'toole was first up for an Oscar, eight nominations later, how does it feel?

>> Not unfamiliar.

>> What do you make of all of this?

>> I love it. I am having a ball.

>> Reporter: It is this film "the queen" which represents Britain's best hope at the academy awards. It is nominated for a total of six Oscars.

>> We have kind of gotten used to it, haven't we? The red carpet rolls out everywhere we go.

>> The film's producers are settling into the Hollywood life-style nicely. It is exciting, but also a little surreal. 45DFA1EF.JPG

>> This is the town, it doesn't get bigger or better than the Oscars. It has been an extraordinary few days. So --.

>> That's --.

>> I have really enjoyed the two days. All of that will end when the curtain comes down on Sunday, but never mind.

>> We said it all before that the British are coming, but never have so many of them stood such a good chance of winning. .

>> It looks like something out of the Old Testament. Mexican authorities are battling a plague of locusts. They have been growing since the start of the year, consuming nearly 2,000 acres of crops in the state of Yucatan. A fast food restaurant in new York city has been closed down after a rat infestation was captured on video. Images were shown of about a dozen rats running around, and health officials cited the restaurant for rodent problems but the owners call it an isolated incident. 45DFA23F.JPG

>> Britain is planning to send more troops to Afghanistan after failing to persuade other NATO countries to provide reinforcements. The extra soldiers will be sent to the south of the con tri where NATO forces have been ting Taliban guerrillas. That is all we have time for. <

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