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March 27, 2007
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Headline News of March 27, 2007
David Hicks - file photo
Australian David Hicks, the first Guantanamo terror suspect to face a new trial system, is charged.

Japan's PM Shinzo Abe apologises over WWII sex slaves, after earlier raising doubts they were forced.
The wife of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is charged with tax evasion in a court in Bangkok.

BBC news transcript with photos
Transcript in the news of March 27, 2007



>> The Australian detainee who pleads guilty to supporting terrorism. His prime minister questions why it's taken so long.

>> MR. Speaker, it has always been our view that hicks should face justice, but we have been very concerned about the time that it has taken.


>> To show off their new capital, Burma's military leaders give us a rare glimpse of their country. Prides Russian energy assets are up for sale as the remains of yukos go under the hammer. Also if this programme, 200 years on since Britain abolished its slave trade, we're live in Ghana, and to boldly build what no man has built before, it's home sweet home far British trekie. The Australian detainee at Guantanamo bay, David hicks, has appeared before an American military tribunal and pleaded guilty to supporting terrorism. He was accused of fight for al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. 460907A5.JPG

>> David hick, once a kangaroo skinner in the Australian outback, now the first Guantanamo b to pleadagib Muslim con has gwnroviding mateal support to al Qaeda but denied a second of helping prepare or carry out acts of terrorism. 31-year-old Australian allegedly trained lling to Afghanistan to fight alongside li mr. Hickt five years in the guant detention centre after being captured by American forces. Ire militar tribunals which rlad us system ruled unlawful. The special courts have been criticized by human rights campaigners as unfair, though strongly defended by the U.S.

>> We think the military commissions act of 2006 creates a framework for a fair trial, and I think if you compare our rules to any other rules, any other international tribunal, our rules stack up at least equally if not better than any other system on the planet. 460907ED.JPG

>> But David hicks' case has become a cause celeb in Australia. Public pressure led for calls to speed up his trial. Wile he could face life in prison, a much shorter sentence is likely that could be served back home in Australia. James Westhead, bbc news, Washington.

>> The prime minister of straicialg john Howard, told his parliament that he wasn't happy it had taken more than five years for Mr. Hicks to appear before a tribunal, he did welcome the guilty plea and he said he'd be discussing plans for Mr. Hicks to serve any prison sentence in Australia.

>> I note that should the military commission impose a custodial sentence, Australia and the united states have an arrangement in place under which Mr. Hicks can apply to serve the remainder of any sentence in Australia subject to the agreement of all parties. 46090825.JPG

>> We move on the Burma now. The military government there has hit out at crit whoix have accused it of abuse and says the country is making progress towards democracy. The government has allowed the foreign media into its secretive new capital naypyidaw. In all around 50 journalists were there. Around 15,000 troops took part in the parade. Among them is the bbc's Jonathan head. He's there looking around the new capital.

>> They've kept this place under wraps for the last year and a half since they moved here. But we were allowed to arrive the day before armed forces day and move around this part of it. This is a civilian part I'm in now, pretty much freely. The military part where that parade took part is... Took place is strictly off limits. It's an incredible complex, but it is an extraordinary city. They've built it on the most enormous scam. It covers several hundred square kilometres. Much of it is a work in progress. There's building going on all over the place and brand-new spanking ministries popping up like mirages through the tropical scrub. A bizarre sight. 4609086D.JPG

>> A signal in itself, I suppose, isn't it? What's been the military message of the day?

>> They don't change their message, particularly because the message today was given by than shwe, the leading general. He tends to sort of hark back to old messages about crushing destructive elements, by that they mean any opposition. There are always references to the cruelties of colonialism, the past, and the fact that western powers are still trying the ensave Burma. It's strange language that gives no sense the military might ease its grip on power. There was a lot of talk about the army being essential to keep the country together. Behind the scenes people say than shwe would like to sighsey a gradual civilianization, but no one expects that to happen any time soon. 460908A2.JPG

>> More stories for you. Tamil tiger rebels in sri lanka have carried it a suicide bombing at an army camp killing at least seven people, form ofthilians. It happened in the eastern district of bat cola. Rebels in the ivory coast said their leader will be named prime minister shortly. The rebels made the statement on their web site. Mr. Sorro and the president laurent bagbo signed a deal earlier this month. The standoff over the capture of British naval personnel will enter a different phase if diplomatic efforts fail to secure their release. Iran says they're interrogating th m allegedly entering Iranian waters. The bbc's learned the sailors are being held in Tehran by the Iranian revolutionary guard. The authorities in Egypt say 75.9% of voters have approved the controversial amendment for the constitution in Monday's referendum. They also say turnout was 27.1%, a statement contradicted by say tht between 6% and 9%. Our correspondent in Cairo says that the government was happy enough with the turnout. 460908F9.JPG

>> The ruling party here says that it was aiming for a 25% turnout, so on these terms they would consider 27% a success. Of course, the opposition has called for a boycott and probably more importantly in Egypt voter apathy played a bigger role in the fact that people did fought go to the polls. They were being asked to vote yes or no to 34 mentales offered as a -- 34 amendments offered as a package. Many people did not understand and many people believe their vote does not count because we've had so many rigged elections in the past.

>> For the opposition and the activists, what was their prime concern about these amendments?

>> Well, the two main concerns, one is that they would water down judicial supervision of elections and if the past few elections the judges here have emerged as a partial guarantee of the integrity of elections because often they dare to speak out when rigging took place. That's one concern. The other concern is that the amendments pave the way for the adoption of an anti-terrorism law, and the amendments say that when this law is drafted, it would be possible to ignore some of the provisions of the constitution protecting basic rights. 4609094E.JPG

>> The American secretary of state, Condoleezza rice, says that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have agreed a pat of cooperation to create two states living side by side in peace and security. She announced the Palestinian president, bass bats bass, along with Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, will hold meetings every two weeks with discussions focusing initially on security issues.

>> The parties will also begin to discuss the development of a political horizon, consistent with the establishment of a Palestinian state in accordance with the road map. As have noted before, we're not yet at final status negotiations. These are initial discussions to build confidence between the parties. Palestinians must know that their state will be viable. Israelis must know that a future state of Palestine will be a source of security, not a threat to it. Both sides must have confidence that economic and trade relations between them will promote the welfare of their population. The efforts in which they engage will help to build confidence and therefore ease the path to negotiations to establish two states living side by side in peace and security. 46090998.JPG

>> Well, to Gaza, and it's been more than two weeks now since the bbc's correspondent there Alan Johnston went missing. It's believed he was kidnapped. On Monday international journalists joined bbc employees around the world to mark the moment he was last seen and to call once again for his safe return. Tanya's here. Now yukos was a name we've got to equate with huge success of the ole gar.

>> Now brurption, of course.

-- Now bankrupt, of course. This will unravel over next few months and people will be interested to see what assets will end up in Russian state hands. Assets of yukos are being sold off at auction on Tuesday. The first deal has been struck, and it puts more ownership of Russia's oil sector back into state hands. The state auctioned off yukos facilities at the end of 2004. It's now owned by the government. Yukos was once the biggest oil no pro-deucer in Russia. The company was driven into bankruptcy after the imprisonment of its head. Hu jintao and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir putting, talk business today. President Hu arrived in Moscow amid great fanfare on Monday. Trade between the two ct sharply last year. Russia is a major energy producer, china a major consumer. So the two have much to discuss. And we'll be keeping you up to date with those talks as they progress. 460909FA.JPG

>> On the, yeah thanks very much indeed. Stay with us here on bbc world. Still to come, we are with the U.N. On patrol in Lebanon. Fall eight months now after the war.

-- A full eight months now after the war. Did you ever see the film "midnight express"? Well, Turkish prisons have been associated with torture ever since then, for decades, but turkey is working to change that reputation.

>> It is a far cry from "midnight express," the film that portrayed horrific conditions in a Turkish jail. And this newly revamped real-life prison, inmates are busy now, the time one of two facilities overhauled with funds from the e.U., This prison is part of a project to modernise and reform the system here. Staff have been trained, too, in international standards of conduct. 46090A3A.JPG

>> Turkish prisons do Mott have a very, very good reputation sometimes, but what I can say is that aftorked on that project, I can say that a lot is being achieved.

>> Human rights groups agree this project is a success. They now want turkey to turn its attention to conditions in high-security jails. This left-wing lawyer was on hunger strike for almost ten months to protest against conditions there. Almost 70 activists like him have starved themselves to death demanding an end to what they call an end to the damaging isolation of inmates. Prison officials argue it's for security. European consultants say prisoners spend too little time outside their selves, but staff claim discipline their problems have already dropped since the revamp. There are more of 300 prisoning a revamp here. Only then will turkey finally throw off its "midnight express" image for good. Sarah rainsford, bbc news. 46090A88.JPG

>> This is bbc world. Let me remind you of the main news. Australia's only Guantanamo bay detainee, that's David hicks, pleads guilty to supporting terrorism at a U.S. Military tribunal. Burma's military leaders give us a rare glimpse of their new capital, naypyidaw. Now, in just under an hour's time, a service will be held at Westminster abbey in London to mark the 200th ab -- anniversary to abolish the trafficking of slaves. It will include a sermon by the head of the church of England, archbishop of Canterbury, which benefitted from slavery. Ghana was a major port for the slave trade. We're at cape coast on the west coast of Ghana and joins us now. If ever you needed a reminder, you've got it there, haven't you?

>> This is a very stark reminder of the horrors of the slave trade in the 1700s at the height of the slave trade, many, many Ghanaians were brought through this castle. This was really the headquarters of the British side of the slave trade. There are dungeons below me. I had a walk around one of them. Very, very dark. Hardly any lighted coming in at all. Up to 1,500 slaves would be kept in these dark dub johns at any one time and kept perhaps for weeks or months. They were taking out through what's known as the door of nolarwn a tunnel and taken out to the large slave ships which were moored off the coast here. To even get to this slave port, the your any was sometimes weeks or months of walking and some report that as many as half the shaves captured inland died on the way even reaching here. 46090AF5.JPG

>> A brutal trade certainly. A lot of talk about the need for apologies, for reparations, as well, and the church of England has to deal with that is. That something being pursued from Ghana?

>> Not on any great level, no. There has been some call for reparation, but really the Ghanaian view is it's 200 years later. We'd like help with trade and human resources to build the country, but the apology has been welcomed, the apologies that have come. The people are not hankering for this full apology which has caused controversy elsewhere in the world. Ghanaians are looking to move only.

>> A pivotal date in our history. We'll bring special coverage on "world news today" in about 45 minutes from now. Hope you'll stay with us for news. The Arab league is meeting in Riyadh tomorrow to discuss the future of Lebanon. The country's already-unstable environment was woshsenned considerably by last summer's filing by Israel and Hezbollah. Paul Adams is in Lebanon looking at how the U.N. Has been keeping the peace ever since. 46090B42.JPG

>> We're coming to you from the headquarters here just south of Lebanese city on the shores of the Mediterranean. Last summer's fighting, this multinational fours was hugely expanded, as I think you can see by the flags lined up behind me. There are almost 13,000 personnel here now from 13 countries. The dispute between Israel and Lebanon is one of many conflicts in the volatile middle East. It's a tiny country, but Lebanon has known more than its fair share of war. The mane focus of last summer's fighting was this border area south of thely -- la tawny river. The U.N.'S headquarters citizen just north of the blue line marking the border with Israel. Most of the daily business is done on the ground. The Indonesian battalion, 850 strong, mounts patrols like this every day, as troops make their way through villages they do their best to make contact. The units -- unit's one Arabic speaker has an easier time than most, but this is all about maintaining a visible presence and reassuring people that the south is for now secure. For the first time in 40 years, the Lebanese army is back in the south in significant numbers. They're extremely camera shy, but the fact that they're here at all is an achievement. Unifill's newly expand mandate covers the sea too. It's the first time a U.N. Peacekeeping mission has ever included a maritime element. It's run by the Germans and includes ships from seven unifill members. 46090BB4.JPGToday the frigate brandonberg is being refuelled by a Turkish tanker. A Lebanese officer is on board while the U.N.'S big ship pass troll up to 50 miles out the sea. Lebanon's tiny navy plies the in-shore waters. It's designed to make sure no one smuggles weapons into the country. The only contraband discovered so far, cigarettes and money. We've been invited to take a rare look at southern Lebanon from the air. Our route takes us east along the litiani river marking the northern limit of the U.N.'S operations. Just to the north, Hezbollah is said to be reorganizing and reequipping. Splashes of white on the landscape show the presence of U.N. Bases and outposts. Riewns mark the spot ruins mark the spot four U.N. observers died lust rum duri a and still unexplained Israeli attack. These villages saw the heaviest fighting last summer. The U.N. Battalion pilots do their own regular patrols, watching as an uneasy peace reigns below. A snapshot there of this very multinational force. Well, that's it for now, but I hope you'll stay wit throughout the day as we examine the U.N.'S role, t to some of the key players including unifill's Italian commander and hear from the Lebanese what they think of the U.N.'S for now, back to you. 46090C11.JPG

>> Paul Adams there. Stay with us here on bbc world. Plenty more still to come, including this starship enterprise that's going nowhere. We'll take a break at a British house converted into a "star trek" dream. How many times have you heard the expression about modern art is a led of old rubbish? That's how one German artist describes his own work as Michael Voss now explains.

>> Rome's neo classical piazza has been transformed into a centre of modern art. 1,000 life-size figures line the square, all made of compacted waste, everything from cans to computers. The exhibition of trash people is by germanrtist h.A. Shult who calls his work a warning to a wasteful society.

>> We produce garbage, and sometimes we use the garbage. These sculptures are the mirror of ourselves. We are living on planet of garbage. This world is a garbage world, and we have to change it. 46090C55.JPG

>> He first started making these trash people a decade ago. It took 30 assistants to help clean the rubbish to remove the smells before glues the figures together. Rome is just the latest stop. They've already been exhibited on the great wall of china, by the pyramids in Egypt and Moscow's red square. So what do visitors hire make of them?

>> ( Translated ): This is a very important and strong message. It represents the decay of our society, a technological society that reduced humans to mass heap of garbage.

>> ( Translated ): It's a massive exhibition. I'm not an expert, but I think the message is the same of pop art, so it's nothing very new.

>> From here the exhibition heads to Barcelona and then new York. Michael Voss, bbc news. 46090C89.JPG

>> And north and south Korean families separated for more than half a century have been reunited via video links. The video reunions were broken off last year following the north's nuclear tests. They have, however, been resumed and very emotional they are, too. To Peru now with where a new bridge near match chew picchu is causing controversy. There are concerns about the impact on the ancient site.

>> 20 kilometres greatest tourist attraction lies a now-completed bridge. It was built illegally, but on Saturday villagers turned out in their thousands for its inauguration. For them it means a vital route to transport their produce to the regional capital rather than a 15-hour drive along a mountain road froan landslides. Judges in lima may have prohibited its construction, but haitz the full backing of the regional government.

>> ( Translated ): We don't want to damage ma chew picchU. We have a right to be connected.

>> Some fear the new route opened up by the bridge fear it will bring thousands more tourists. Until now the only route has been a more expensive train ride or a three-day trek. The world heritage site already pulls in hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Unesco has warned it could be placed on an endanger ird list. Meanwhile, the ongoing multimedia campaign to promote ma chew picchu as one of the new seven wonders of the world is only likely to attract more visitors to this once-lost city.

>> Lovely pictures there. Now, what dawes "star trek" fan do when he finds himself single again? When Tony built -- Tony separated from his wife, he built himself a bachelor pad with a difference. 46090D13.JPG

>> Trekies are known for their decade, but this is something else. Once a normal studio flat in lestershire, this home has been completely transformed into the starship enterprise. Meet the captain, Tony Allen. Computer, lights a 100%.

>> His friends think he's mad. I can't think why.

>> Most people thought I was balmy. I mean, you can, you could go spend a lot of time down the pub or in a nightclub or whatever drinking. I decided to live in a spaceship.

>> It's got all the mod cons, this place. One thing is missing, a bed room. Tony decide to build a transporter room, instead. Beam me up, Scotty. 46090D46.JPG

>> I think bed space is overrated. You have a bed that's six foot wide, four foot. Two-thirds of your life is spent sleeping?

>> After ten years of living here, Tony think it's time for a new captain.

>> I started in 1997. You can only go so far. The last two years it's been refitted to starship voyager speck. It's gone the distance.

>> The flat's up for sale on eBay this month. If you're interested, they say it's going from 100,000.

>> He's on a different planet, he? Bbcnews.Com for more.

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