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February 8, 2007

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Headline News of February 8, 2007

Japanese chief negotiator Kenichiro Sasae, Beijing 8/2/07
Six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programme resume in Beijing amid hopes of some progress.

A former separatist rebel is sworn in as the first directly elected governor of Indonesia's Aceh province.
The head of the Asian Development Bank warns of a widening poverty gap in Asia's fast growing economies.


BBC news transcript with photos
Transcript in the news of February 8, 2007 


>> A raid on the Health Ministry in Baghdad. The Deputy Health Minister is arrested. Promises of progress at six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programme. NATO ministers meet in Spain. Will they come up with enough troops to fight off a Taliban swing offensive? This is bbc world. Welcome. Also in the programme, protests in Jerusalem as Israel restarts excavations at Al-Sadr mosque. And the stage is shared with a sport once considered a symbol of British oppression. Amili is a senior member of the group loyal to moqtada al-sadr. He's been accused of being a central figure in infiltrating militias into the ministry. The bbc's Jane Peel is in the Iraqi capital with more details. 45CB1F35.JPG

>> This happened around 9:30 local time.   We're told by spokesman for the Ministry of Health that both American and Iraqi forces were involved in the raid. It's said they broke down doors to get into the ministry building in central Bagdad.  As you say, he's closely connected with this political group linked to moqtada Al-sadr, the anti-American Shiite cleric. Involved in helping the mehdi army, the militia which is also connected with Al-Sadr and that specifically he arranged to transport weapons that he was arrested  on those grounds.

>> Just shows, doesn't it, All of this just as the new U.S. Commander gets his feet on the ground there.

>> That's right. General David Petraeus arrives in Bagdad today.  He doesn't officially take over the commander until Saturday, but his job is to quell the violence by which the Iraqis are suffering so much. One of the aims when they bring in these new American and Iraqi forces is to tackle the militias and the death squads in a successfully in the past. That's said to have the support of the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al Maliki. Perhaps he has been seen in the past as giving some protection to the Shiite militias. There are many supporters of the militia in the governing coalition. This time, it's said, they are going to be targeted. So it will be very interesting to see what happens when this new security surge finally gets under way with some 21,500 American troops and many thousands more Iraqi troops 45CB1FAC.JPGbrought into Baghdad to try to quell this violence.

>> Jane Peel. Well, staying in Iraq, three bombs have exploded, killing at east 28 people. Separate devices going off in Baghdad, 40 kilometres south of the capital and a further 40 kilometres south. Police say all the explosions were roadside bombs with up to 70 people also injured. The military chief of NATO is expected to urge its member states to commit yet more troops to Afghanistan. 2,000 extra troops are needed to defeat the expected spring offensive by the Taliban in the coming weeks. Well, general Karadzic is attending that meeting of NATO defence ministers. It's being held in the Spanish city of see seville. NATO commanders want to deploy the troops on the border with Pakistan and in the south where fighting is heavier. Now, you end your hostilities towards us and we'll consider an end to our nuclear programme. That seems to be North Korea's message. Six-party talks have begun in Beijing. Christopher Hill, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, defied report that a deal between Washington and Pyongyang was actually signed during a meeting with his North Korean counterpart in Berlin last month. Our correspondent in Beijing is James Reynolds. He told me there really is great pressure on both sides to ensure some sort of positive result. 45CB200F.JPG  

>> Both on the American side and on the North Korean side, they're using exactly the same phrase. Their talking about first steps or first stages. I think that gives you an indication of exactly where these talks are. They've been going on, on and off, for more than three years, but so far they have not achieved anything tangible, anything lasting. Almost now they're starting right from the beginning looking at the very first steps towards North Korea's disarmament. At least from the American side, there is a very real question mark as to whether or not North Korea really does want to disarm. At the end of the last round of six-party talks in December, Christopher Hill said he doubted the north Koreans had come negotiate in good faith. This next round of talks, I think the Americans will be looking closely to see if the north Koreans are willing to make any kind of concessions.

>> Presumably they're not using that language now about raising questions as to whether the North Koreans are there in good faith?

>> No. Christopher Hill has said that America should be cautious. He's looking at first steps. He's looking at trying to reemployment an old agreement which was signed but never implemented about a year and a half ago. The North Korean negotiator who is here has said that he's neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but he says in public he wants the United States to stop any kind of hostile policy towards north Korea. So I think there will be some pretty sharp exchanges, perhaps in private at the talks, but fundamentally they go back to this problem of this: These talks began to try to stop north Korea from developing nuclear weapons, but north Korea has done so. It has developed nuclear weapons. It has carried out a nuclear test. It believes it is a full nuclear power. And so really the task facing negotiators now is almost harder than it was at the beginning when they started several years ago. 45CB2082.JPG

>> James Reynolds there. Aaron's here with more bad news for B.P. It's a company learning it takes a long time to build up a reputation, no time at all to knock it down.

>> Absolutely. A lot of work in front of them. Hello, everybody. Europe's second biggest oil producer faces yet another probe into its operations, this time in Alaska. B.P.'s own watchdog is investigating claims that workers cut corners in the maintenance of its pipe fliens pruhdoe bay. The group was forced to stop pumping oil from America's biggest oil field just last year following a serious oil spill there. The field produce around 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Hutchison telecom is cape cod. 45CB20B0.JPG

He is formally asking for its bidders to submit bids by tomorrow, that's Friday. They're expected to bid according to the "business standard newspaper." Hutchison telecoms of Hong Kong is currently in control. Australia's flagship carrier, kwan tax is reporting a stronger bottom line. The airline says that cost custs and strong demand have helped boost profits to $280 million. A buyout group held by Macquarie bank is building $8.7 billion for the airline. Shareholders are being advised to accept the offer, and the Australian government says it will scrutinize the offer to make sure Qantas stays in Australian hands. South Korea has decide to hold the bar and crosses steady, keeping interest rates at 4.5%. They're trying to ensure that Asia's third largest economy continues to grow. South Korea is heavily dependent on its exports. Later this year Koreans will be electing a new president and analysts say there's likely to be no change in rates before then. And here in Europe, major job cuts for the world's top car parts maker as the German group is to cut more than 1,200 jobs at its factory in Stuttgart. It's blamed the loss to the large Volkswagen contract to supply diesel fuel pumps. A tough time for B.P. And the carmakers. 45CB210E.JPG

>> Very cold out there for them. Aaron, thanks for that. Stay with us on bbc world. Still to come, anger in the Muslim world at Israel's decision to start another archaeological dig at Jerusalem's holiest mosque. Here in Britain, one of the men arrested over an alleged plot to kidnap a British Muslim soldier has been talking about the seven days he spent in a police sell. Abu Baka who works for the buck shop targeted in the antic-terror records in Birmingham was one of nine men arrested. He and one other man have been released without charge.

>> Abu Baku was arrested in raids in four different areas of Birmingham last Wednesday. He was taken to a high-security police station in coventry. He was subjected to hours of what he called random questioning and described it as bewildering and a charade.

>> Why was I detained in the first place? I wasn't even told what did I do. What are the allegations against me? Why has my family suffered? Why have I suffered? For seven days, having your life disrupted. My father said to me and my mother that we have aged ten years in this last week. Now, who is going to replace that?

>> He accused the police of fishing around to find something to charge him with. He questioned the reliability of the intelligence and said the investigation was amateurish and its name "operation gamble" was laughable. Magistrates have given the police another three days to question the remaining seven about the alleged plot. Bbc news.

>> An author with a fear of open spaces has won a major prize for her first book which is set in the land of open spaces, Canada, even though she's never been there. She won Britain's book of the year award for her first novel set in ontear owe in the 1860s. The reward is worth $50,000. She developed agoraphobia after she left youth. All the research was done in the British library in London. You're watching bbc world. The main news: The deputy health minister of Iraq and supporter of moqtada al-sadr has been arrested in a raid by U.S. And Iraqi forces on his ministry. China hosts another attempt to resolve the dispute over North Korea's nuclear programme. Six-party talks have started with some hopes of progress. There's growing criticism in the Muslim world of Israel's decision to start a new phase of excavations near Al-aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Palestinians have reacted with anger. Their prime minister, ismail haniya, is calling for people to rise up to protect the mocks. Chris Morris has this from Jerusalem.

>> Scuffles on the streets of Jerusalem. Palestinians, Muslims are angry. Among those arrested, the leader of the Islamic movement in Israel. This is the focus of their anger, construction work and archaeological excavations close to the Al-aqsa mosque compound, a site holy to both Muslims and Jews. The Palestinians are convinced that the mosque is in danger. The Israelis emphatically deny it.

>> As you can see by your own eye, it is completely outside the area of the temple mow. It does not create any damage to the walls of the temple mount. It's a routine work.

>> They don't think so. There have been calls for big demonstrations. Israel says passions are being deliberately inflamed. But it doesn't really matter what the Israelis say. When it comes to Al-aqsa, the Palestinians simply don't believe them. It's too symbolic, too important. You've got religion, politics and dispossession all rolled into one. It makes for an explosive mix, and it's not just the Palestinians. There has been criticism for leaders across the region. In Jordan King Abdullah described the action as a blatant violation not acceptable under any pretext. King Mohammed of Morocco said Israel was distorting the hallmark and symbols of Islamic civilization. There have been similar 45CB2224.JPGrefraction Egypt, Saudi Arabia and beyond. In the back of everyone's mind, events have called trouble before. Ariel Sharon's visit seven years ago sparked the second intifada. So the number of police in Jerusalem this week has been doubled. The site is closely guarded. But even some Israelis say the construction work is needlessly provocative. You don't have to dig very deep here at the most sensitive place in the Holy Land to unearth all the bitterness and mistrust of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Chris Morris, bbc news, Jerusalem.

>> All right. Day two of crisis talks in Mecca between leaders of Fatah and Hamas. They're trying to resolve the differences which have brought them very close to civil war. The meeting, which is carrying on now, is focusing on the platform of a unity government which would have to honour past agreements with Israel, an agreement could also end an international blockade of Hamas. Factional fighting has killed more than 90 Palestinians since December. Alan Johnson, our correspondent in Gaza, is following the talks. He joins us now by phone. Alan, in terms of specifics, is there any sign of much progress?

>> We know they talked until about 3:00 a.M. This morning and resumed again midmorning. A lot of hard talking clearly going on. It breaks down into two areas, the composition of the cabinet, which parties will get which, and then the really key issue of what the new government's political platform may be, and if you just take a step back for a moment and remember the current Hamas-controlled government has been shunned economically by the west and Israel, economic sanctions imposed, the question is, when they form this coalition government, drawing Hamas and Fatah into a new government, will that government platform be more moderate in terms of its approach to Israel? That's the question. Will hamas have shifted enough on this recognition issue? The West will be looking at the wording that comes out of that new government platform, political agenda.

>> Yeah, a lot to gain, a lot to lose for both of these rival group, Alan. In terms of a time frame, though, I know they've said they're going to stay until they've done it. Time has to be an issue, doesn't it?

>> It does. They can't simply talk forever. We hear that they talk in terms of it taking three days to arrive at an agreement, but it is really possible that it could go on longer than that. But they have to have an eye on the situation here on the ground where there are simmering tensions and the deal does have to be struck. Both sides say that.

>> Alan, for now, thanks very much. And the mayor of the U.S.. City of los Angeles has called for international efforts to deal with gang crime. He was speaking at a meeting between central and north American police chiefs in Los Angeles. A three-day conference it is aimed at improving cooperation and intelligence-sharing to stop cross-border gang crime. The bbc's peter Bose is in Los Angeles. 45CB22E7.JPG

>> This is a response to a dramatic increase in crime levels internationally, especially in central American countries, El Salvador, Guatemala. There have been officials at this conference from Mexico, as well, and also Canada, where they say crime levels directly linked to gang, gangs with roots in this city of Los Angeles, is in a sense spiralling out of control. Here in los Angeles the crimes figures linked to gangs up 14% over the last 12 months. And, of course, this is a city where gang culture has existed for a long time. You can take it back to the 1940s when the Mexican mafia was certainly very strong in certain parts of the city. Then you have the African-american gang, the crypts and the bloods, which came along later. Today there's the M.F. 13 gang, which has huge numbers, 80 to 100,000 it's estimated, and many more overseas. And this is a problem that the police chiefs from the different cities want to try to get a grip on by working together. Resources are short, and they say if they can pool those resources in terms of communication, especially try to get handle on how the different gang members talk to each other in different international cities, how they organize themselves, they may go some way towards controlling the problem. The police chief of Los Angeles, officer Bratten, said they don't aim to eradicate it, but at least bring it under control so it stops dominating, it stops 45CB2345.JPGhaving such a serious impact on communities where gangs exist.

>> Peter Bose there. We have a development on the violence in Italy over the football last week. Reports say a 17-year-old youth is under an investigation by prosecutors over the death of a policemen during a clash between football supporters. It was pretty heavy stuff as you can see from the pictures. It was last Friday and it resulted in the suspension of all Italian professional football at the weekend. Stay with bbc world. Still to come, tradition gives way in Ireland at the home of Gaelic football as it prepares to welcome international sport. Now, it's not just Los Angeles that's been suffering from gang warfare. There's been a fresh wave of violence in brazil's commercial capital, sao Paulo, intel. In the latest incident, gangs set light to buses and shot at police. Several people have died in fighting in the course of the last week. Human rights groups are accusing the police of running their own paramilitary group. We have this report.

>> Passengers on this bus were ordered off at gunpoint and then it was set alight. Not far away, gang members open fired on police.

>> ( Translated ): We couldn't even find our dies to leave. We were a -- find our keys to leave. We were afraid something would happen.

>> Four suspects arrested by the police, just one more incident on the troubled streets of brazil's biggest cities. It's believed the violence is being organized from behind bars, prisoners using mobile phones. The violence has grown and authorities fear an explosion. Similar attacks last may left around 200 dead. How far to police go to combat this violence? There are accusations officers are running their own paramilitary groups, fighting out of uniform in shantytowns. A senior official was suspended last month. And this amateur video shows officers kicking and hitting suspects arrested in an anti-drug operation. Officials say these images may lead to suspension or dismissal. State police say they're on high alert.

>> Now, some fairly grim pictures here. 11 people have been killed in three separate road accidents in various parts of Russia on Tuesday. Police have been saying five people were killed, more than 20 injured after a truck collided with a bus. According to Russian traffic police, this year is likely to see a record number of deaths on the road. They believe the poor state of the infrastructure will be a determining factor. Ireland is a country proud of its traditions, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the nation's sporting heritage. In fact, one of the biggest stadiums in Dublin is normally reserved for Irish games only like hurling and Gaelic football. In major break with history, though, it's now going to be playing host to international rugby, prompting some mixed feelings. 45CB2404.JPG

>> A Gaelic football training session at croak park. It's fast and it's skillful, and along with the other Irish sport of hurling, it's hugely popular. Soon for the first time Ireland's rugby and soccer stars will also get to play on this hallowed turf. There's enormous excitement according to the Irish prime minister, who comes from the area and is an avid sports fan.

>> It is good for sport. It's good for the country. I think it's great for the Gaelic association because I think when people in so many countries would see the facility, they I think will be pleasantly surprised about the standards that is Croak Park today.

>> This is where the players will walk out for the first-ever rugby match here at Croak Park. Not only is it a sporting venue with a rich and checkered history, but it's also one of the most impressive, modern grounds in the world. Croak Park is the revered home to amateur sports which are played right across this country and which have a special place in Irish consciousness. The stadium's museum shows why. In 1920, prior to Irish independence, British forces fired into the crowd during a match here. 14 people were killed. Rugby's arrival at Croak Park is being heavily promoted, opening up to what were once referred to as foreign sport produced much debate over tradition. Some worry the Gaelic games are now competing with the richer professional sports to attract young players. 45CB2468.JPGBut nearby the St. Vincent's club is that riesmg each week more than 600 young people come here to play the Gaelic games. This is the women's version of hurling, and the coach is Ireland's best-known sportswriter.

>> The numbers are still coming. They want to play in croak park. That's their dream. That's why there are mixed feelings when croak park opens up because it has been special for kids who grow up with this sense of place and sense of culture, that the games give them.

>> This legendary Irish sportsman favored the change and sees it as a boost for all sports.

>> We're competing against drugs and drink in this country. They're our enemies, not other sports. I want to see the profile of Croak Park and Gaelic games and rugby and soccer lifted throughout this country.

>> Final preparations for the new tenants with stadium steeped in history and for a new era in Irish sport. James Helm, bbc news, Dublin.

>> A couple other stories here. There has been an exchange of fire to be border between Israel and Lebanon. This is a picture from the area. Now the Israeli army say that Lebanese troops fired on Israeli forces as they searched for explosives. The Lebanese version is an Israeli army bull doadz across the border. This is the first shooting across the border since the end of the war last summer. Former separatist guerrilla leader irwandi yusuf has been sworn in as the first separatist governor of Aceh. It came after a peace agreement between the government and a free Aceh movement. Its first focus will be the economy, still battling to cope with the aftermath of the tsunami in 2004 which killed 170,000 people in ache province alone. For more detail about the new stories you've seen in this programme, go to our web site, bbcnews.Com, more stories, as well, analysis and background, as well. The main picture there focusing on the north Korea talks, but also on the top Iraqi official being held in a raid and a tour de France story for you there. Plenty more sports stories to go with it. You can also have a chance to have your say if you log on to the web site. Bbcnews.Com. <

* This transcription on this site is occasionally not without minor errors.



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