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February 26, 2007
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Headline News of February 26, 2007
Bosnian protesters at The Hague
The UN's top court clears Serbia of genocide in the 1990s Bosnia war but says it failed to prevent the Srebrenica massacre.

The US is ready to end a row with North Korea over a Macau bank which threatened nuclear talks, officials say.
Martin Scorsese's mob drama wins four Oscars while Dame Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker also win awards.

BBC news transcript with photos
Transcript in the news of February 26, 2007


>> In the last hour, the international court of justice at the Hague has ruled that the massacre of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica during the 1990s does qualify as genocide. But the court is continuing to pronounce that those are live pictures from the Hague where chief judge Rosalind Higgins is about to decide whether Serbia, the country Serbia as a whole, can be said to be guilty of genocide for the massacre of 200,000 Bosnians during the Balkans war. It's a very difficult and contentious issue before the court. Let's get the latest now from our correspondent, Geraldine Cokklin. When are we likely to find out whether the judge thinks Serbia is guilty of genocide.

>> We're expecting this some time in the next hour. You can see the chief judge is continuing to read out this lengthy state. Srebrenica survivors and their supporters are still protesting outside the court. Up to now the court has ruled that the killings at Srebrenica in Bosnia in 1995 did constitute genocide, but it said in other mass killings of Bosnian Muslims in other parts of Bosnia the court wasn't convinced that there was the intent to commit genocide there. The court's also said so far that Serbia was making military and financial support available to the Bosnian Serbs, and we're waiting to hear whether the court is thinking the state was responsible to genocide. 45E2DA7F.JPG

>> This is really new territory, isn't it, for an international court to judge if a country can be responsible for genocide.

>> It's a historic case because it is the first time the world court that's been in existence for 60 years is handling a genocide case. As you say, it's whether or not it can be regarded as a state policy of genocide against an ethnic group. What the international experts are really interested in here today is will we see a change in the definition of genocide in international law, and will it be able to be applied to individuals, or a state, as well, from now on.

>> Geraldine from the Hague, thanks so much. Of course we'll go straight back to Geraldine as soon as we hear whether the chief judge Higgins, has decided on the key question of Serbia's guilt or not on the issue of genocide. Now one of Iraq's vice presidents has escaped what appears to be an assassination attempting bomb attending a conference. It was a government building. He was taken to hospital suffering bruises. Media sources say the blast in an up-market area of west Baghdad killed at least test from Baghdad a little later in the programme. A radical Muslim cleric has lost his appeal against deportation from Britain. The case of the Jordanian national who came to Britain in 1993 is seen as a key test of rtations to countries accused of torture by securing special agreements that deportees will not be ill treated. The man has spent most of the past five years in prison where he's been held under 45E2DAF3.JPGanti-terrorism laws. Six countries trying to get Iran to hold its -- to halt its nuclear programme are meeting in London. The U.S. is hoping for tougher sanctions after Iran failed to meet a deadline for stopping its uranium enrichment programme. It's thought Russia and china will be resisting anything other than token measures. The meeting is seen as a first step towards getting Iran back to the negotiating table. Israeli military operations are continuing in the west bank city Nablus a day after Israeli forces launched their largest incurtion in the area for months. Several people have been wounded. Israeli troops is been conducting house-to-house searches. They say they found two explosives laboratories. There have been a number of arrests, too. The governor of Nablus says the incursion is an unjustified aggression. Supporters of the president of Senegal say he's won the west African presidential election. His campaign manager said partial results gave him 57% of the vote. Opposition candidates, however, say that no contender could gain the 50% of the vote required to avoid a run-off contest without electoral fraud. In Bangladesh, at least three people have been killed and dozens injured in a fire that's blazing through a multistor building in the capit. Oftims died of burn injuries in hospital while ie after leaping from 45E2DB4F.JPGthe sixth floor of the building to escape the flames. More than 100 people have already been rescuany are feared to be trapped inside building. It houses two TV channels and a newspaper, as well as other commercial offices. There you can see the military helicopters that were drafted in to rescue so many of the people in there. The operations are ongoing. And Tanya's here now to tell us what's what in the world of business.

>> There was a buyout, leverage buyout is a deal that requires a lot of debt instead of there being takeover, which is 20% or 30% debt. It's probably 80% debt. It involves a lot of risk. That's why people get excited because risk is exciting. The largest level buyout in history is poised to take place, guess, where merkel. Texas power company T.X.U. has agreed to be acquired for about $44 billion. The deal could mark a turning point for the image of private equity firms in a move to appease environmentalists. The perspective buyer says it will cancel plans to build most of T.X.U.'s 11 coal-fired plants under development. And the private equity firm Texas pacific is also involved in attempts to buy out Australian airline Qantas. It's way has been partly cleared. John Howard announced today he will not step in to block the $8.8 billion takeover of the national carrier. Howard said he will ensure the 45E2DBB1.JPGdeal abides by current laws on foreign ownership but no further conditions would be imposed. Canada's onux and mcsquarery bank are also interested in Qantas. And battle over booze. It's about new security measures that ban liquids being brought on to plane. Australia says the sale of duty-free goods are falling and plans to retaliate. We have more from Brussels.

>> Since last November Europe has some of the strictest rules for carrying liquids on board aircraft. Any liquids including wine, perfume and even some types of cheese need to be clearly displayed with proof it was bought at the airport.

>> So I have my nice bottle of wine in its see-through, tamper-proof plastic bag. I can take it anywhere I want now, but it would be confiscated if I bought it in a non-you you country and was transited on to a third country elsewhere in Europe. What's the point of buying wine or Europe in Montréal, Dubai or Sydney if you know you're going to lose it on the way to your destination? And European airports are seizing goods in vast numbers. 20 tons of liquids are confiscated every week and an estimated 1500 litres every day in Amsterdam. Overall duty-free sales are down 40% since the new rules came in, and now Australia wants to retaliate by banning E.U. goods arriving at their airport from next month. Other major destinations from Europe like Canada and new 45E2DC1A.JPGZealand are considering consumer measures. That's annoyed consumer groups and now E.U. politicians.

>> This is chaos over the global airspace because it doesn't need to arrive. It's each country doing its own thing. We should have compatibility. I believe we can. We've had it in similar circumstances in the past. In the interest of security and in the interest of the public.

>> The matter will be discussed this week by the U.N. Watchdog, the international civil aviation organization. It will need to find a solution soon before Europe's strict security measures creates a global stink. Bbc news, Brussels.

>> I'll be back joining you with world business report in 20 minutes' time. Do join me for that, bye-bye. 45E2DC46.JPG

>> We look forward to it. Thanks so much, Tonya. Let's get the latest now from Iraq. Remember I was telling you about an Iraqi vice president who appears to have been the victim of an assassination attempt. Let's get the latest from Jane peel live in Baghdad. What can you tell us, Jane?

>> Well, this was a bomb at the ministry of public works where one of Iraq's vice presidents was having a meeting with the minister of public works. We thought at first that it may have been a car parked in the garage close to the building or maybe a roadside bomb, but police have just confirmed to us that the bomb was actually inside the building. We know that at east five people have been killed... at least five people have been killed and more than 30 injured. Initial reports suggested the vice president was unhurt, but there are now some reports that he may have suffered injuries, and there's no confirmation on the condition of the minister who he was with. Whether this was an assassination attempt specifically against one or the two members of the government is unclear, but it would seem more likely now we know the bomb was inside the building rather than outside. 45E2DC8D.JPG

>> Jane, from Baghdad, thanks so much. Our correspondent Jane peel there. Do stay with us on bbc world. Here's what's coming up: We'll take a closer look at the international court ruling. What would it mean if Serbia was to be found guilty of genocide in Bosnia? The Indonesian authorities are investigating how a damaged ferry being in themed bir safety officials sank killing one person. A group of 16 inspectors and journalists had gone on board following a fire on the vessel last week in which 42 people were killed, but then the vessel, which was moored off the coast of Jakarta, sank, killing a TV cameraman. Search and rescue teams were also looking for three other missing people. This report from Louis Williamson in Jakarta. 45E2DCC3.JPG

>> This is a ship that's been marked by disaster. It looked blackened and charred by the time it sank. Fire had been raging aboard the ship for several hours on Thursday, and it seems at least to be pretty unstable by the time it went down. Investigators and journalists had only been aboard the ship for a short time when it sank, really very quickly. Eyewitnesses describe seeing it go suddenly over on the its side and sink bethrow waves in a matter of seconds. A marine police official who was close by at the time said he had seen up to 20 people on the upper deck of the ferry and had issued a warning to them via a megaphone saying the ship was about to sink. He said that he saw several people jump off into the water to be picked up by boats and taken back to shore, but the problem is that many people rescued are in a bad condition. Some in a critical condition. Of course, there may be other people on the lower deck of the ferry went it went down who has yet to be accounted for. This ferry has already claimed more than 40 lives. The fire that engumped it on Thursday lasted for several hours forcing the hundreds of passengers aboard to jump into the sea, but the naval boats and other boats sent to pick them up took some time to arrive. More than 40 people didn't survive that experience. In fact, there may be many more who died as a result of the disaster because the ferry was believed to have been carrying 45E2DD17.JPGmany more people than it was officially listed as carrying.

>> This is bbc world. A reminder of the main news: A U.N. court at the Hague has ruled the Srebrenica massacre does qualify as genocide, but Serbia was not responsible for carrying it out. The court is continuing to pronounce. Let's get some comment now from our Balkans analyst Tim judo, author of "the Serb's history myth and the destruction of Yugoslavia." Thanks so much for joining us. Tell us about how you see the significance of what's going on at the Hague and this ruling they're in the process of making.

>> Well, it's very interesting that they've talked about Srebrenica, but in legal terms, we already knew that Srebrenica was genocide because across the road at the Hague, so to speak, is the tribunal, the U.N.'s international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in which individuals have already been convicted of genocide for Srebrenica. Now, of course, as we've just heard, Serbia's not been linked as a state to Srebrenica, but we're talking about a whole war from 1992 to 1995. So we're going to have to wait until the end of the judgment to see exactly what it means. But what's important about this judgment apart from the fact that it's of interest to sort of lawyers and for future cases, is its reifications within Bosnia, within Bosnian politics. 45E2DD78.JPG

>> What are the repercussions if indeed Serbia were to be found guilty or if indeed the court were to clear them of this very momentous charge? What repercussions would there be in Bosnia hearse dpoaf itself -- Herzegovina itself?

>> There could be tremendous repercussions. Bosnia Herzegovina launched this case in 1993. The problem is this judgment is coming almost 14 years too late. What it would do or what it is already doing is fanning the flames within Bosnia politically speaking. It's increasing political tensions. People are again coming to the question of what was this war all about? If in f Serbia is convicted, so to speak, if the state is imikted, the ramification within Bosnia are tremendous because it means the leaders of Bosnia's Muslim community will say to the Serb part of Bosnia, the so-called republic of Srebrenica, a part of this federal state, founded on genocide, therefore should be abolished. 45E2DDB7.JPG

>> Tim, I'm going to interrupt you there and tell our viewers that there appears to be confirmation that the U.N. court has cleared Serbia of legal responsibility for genocide and complicity in genocide in Bosnia. Your reaction, please.

>> Well, no one's going to be happy, and if that is, of course, the case, then Bosnia's Muslim community, its leaders will be extremely angry. They will believe there's been some form of conspiracy. Indeed, the papers in Sarajevo have been saying over the last few weeks that if this is what happened, if this is what's going to happen that Serbia's been cleared, then, in fact, the court has been lent on by the powers that be and this is all related to Kosovo and Serbia is being give an clean bill of health because it wants to smooth... the international community wants to smooth the pain of Serbia perhaps losing Kosovo this year, whether of course that's the case or not, who can say. It's probably unlikely to be the case, but that's the way that many people will read it in Sarajevo and in Bosnia today. 45E2DDF9.JPG 

>> Tim, thanks so much for giving us your immediate reaction to that breaking news. It appears that the international court has ruled that Serbia is not guilty of genocide. Now, news from Pakistan. U.S. Vice president dick Cheney made an unexpected trip there and held talks with President Musharraf. It wasn't announced for security reasons. The talks focused on the progress of the campaign against the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan. Washington has been alarmed by what it cease as the growing strength of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Let's get the latest now from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Here's the bbc's Barbara met. So more American pressure on President Musharraf to tackle this. 45E2DE2B.JPG

>> Yes. We didn't get very much information about the content of Dick Cheney's visit. What we're told is that as expected he expressed U.S. fears about what's happening in Pakistan's tribal areas near the border. He expressed apprehension about the possibility that al Qaeda was regrouping there, and he expressed serious U.S. concerns about an expected surge of Taliban fighting this spring and the support the Taliban were allegedly getting from sanctuaries within the tribal areas. But he also said that President Musharraf was playing a pivotal role in the fight against terrorism and these are the kinds of views we hear regularly expressed from Washington. On the one hand, public recognition of President Musharraf, important as an ally in what the U.S. Calls its war on terror. On the other hand, real concern among Americans on what the actual situation is on the ground in tribal areas. 45E2DE66.JPG

>> Briefly, Barbara, anything been said unofficially about the new York times report that perhaps the U.S. is threatening to cut aid to Pakistan unless it complies?

>> No, nothing here has led to that report to which you referred, that perhaps the newly democratic congress might push to cut aid against aid for Pakistan if it doesn't take more aggressive actions against the militants here. Certainly what we hear from Pakistanis is that's not what they're being told in meetings with officials, however, in the American press, you do get quite a lot of pressure about Pakistan's actions or lack of actions with regard to the Taliban and al Qaeda.

>> Barbara from Islamabad, thanks so much. Barbara plett report, for us. It may have take an while, but martin Scorsese finally triumphs at this year's Oscars. Now, we've been hearing a lot, haven't we, about polar bears being threatened by global warming, but inside Sweden's arctic circle, it's the reindeer herds which are under threat from exceptionally cold weather which has frozen access to their food. 45E2DEB4.JPG

>> Everyone expects Scandinavia to be freezing cold at this time of year, but for the indigenous reindeer herders of northern Sweden, this winter is proving potentially disastrous. The early snow falls were heavy and wet. Now rapidly falling temperatures have seen it turn to ice, so thick that the reindeer can't dig down to the lichand they need to survive.

>> ( Translated ): It's extreme. The last similar winter was in 1966, but none of us can remember anything this bad. If we don't do something, many reindeer will die.

>> After a recent visit to Lapland by Sweden's minister of agriculture, the government has announced a rescue package for the Sami people whose arctic existence is heavily dependent on reindeer. More than $5 million has been set aside to pay for winter fodder and high-protein foods. The difficulty is getting it to them. 45E2DEF7.JPG

>> ( Translated ): It's hard work feeding them like this, but satisfying knowing they'll survive. When reindeer can't get under the snow to food, they tend to spread out over vast areas and many end up starving to death.

>> There's almost 250,000 reindeer raised in Sweden alone. The meat is considered a delicacy across in orderric countries while the skins and horns are used for clothes and handicrafts. Without them the ancient Sami lifestyle and culture will find it hard to survive. Michael Voss, bbc news.

>> It was an emotional night at this year's Oscar ceremony in Hollywood. Martin Scorsese, who has been overlooked several times previously, finally triumphed, scooping the best picture and the best director awards for "the departed." 45E2DF3A.JPG

>> It may be the most glamourous night of the year for America's film industry, but this red carpet had a distinctly international feel to it. Spain, Mexico and Japan. This year's nominations reflected the globalisation of Hollywood. And in a year in which many awards seemed foregone conclusions, some of the nominees seemed remarkably relaxed.

>> It's great to have been here once before because it's quite intimidating and scary if you've never done it before. Now actually I enjoy it. It's the bit I almost enjoy the most, the parade. It's lovely.

>> And Dame Helen Mirren was just one of around 20 British nominees, a fact acknowledged by this year's host, Ellen degeneracy. 45E2DF6B.JPG

>> You don't really know who is going to win unless you're British, and then you know you have a pretty good shot.

>> And the evening did in many ways follow the predictions.

>> Oh, my god. I have to take this moment in. I cannot believe this.

>> Jennifer Hudson provided the tears as she won best supporting actress for her role in "dreamgirls." And in the year the Oscars said it had gone green, al gore's film about global warming, "an inconvenient truth," won best documentary.

>> I'm going to take this opportunity right here and now to...

>> (Wrap-up music starts).

>> The awards had a royal flavour, Forrest Whitaker winning for the best king of Scotland, and dame Helen mirren dedicating her Oscar to the woman she played, the queen. 45E2DF9F.JPG

>> I salute her courage and her consistency and I thank her because if it wasn't for her, I most certainly would not be here. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the queen.

>> Martin Scorsese's road to the Oscars began in 1956.

>> But for those who thought it wasn't an Oscars without a disappointment for Martin Scorsese, well, this time, on his sixth nomination, he did finally get his Oscar for best director and also best film, "the departed."

>> Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Please. Please. Thank you. Thank you. Could you double check the envelope. ( Laughter ). 45E2DFD5.JPG

>> David Threslettoe, bbc news, Hollywood.

>> The hero of the night couldn't believe he'd finally done it and won not just one by two Oscars, two of those little golden men at the big Hollywood ceremony. You can find out more about who got what and find out exactly what they said. We've got all of the speeches of the winners on our web site, bbcnews.Com. More seriously, on the breaking news coming through from the Hague, a U.N. Court has ruled that Serbia was not directly responsible for genocide during the Balkans wars in the 1990s. The ruling still going on. It will move very controversial. <

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