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tv   Reclaiming the Rock  BBC News  December 22, 2018 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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a partial shutdown of us government isjust hours away after lawmakers failed to end the i’ow after lawmakers failed to end the row over funding for the promised border war with mexico. democrats are opposed to the plan that could cost over $5,000,000,000. fears of a federal shutdown led to sharp falls on the stockmarket, with the benchmark dowjones index finishing its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. flights at gatwick airport near london have resumed again after being suspended for a second time over a drone sighting. the airport reopened on friday following a 36—hour closure which stranded 100,000 passengers. thousands of demonstrators have returned to the streets of the hungarian capital budapest to protest against controversial new labour laws which nearly double the amount of overtime workers can be asked to do. this year many train passengers have had to endure delays, cancellations and changing timetables. but spare a thought for the inhabitants
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of 0rmskirk and preston. figures obtained by bbc news show that northern rail has cancelled more than 2,000 services since may on the one line between the two towns. the boss of northern has told us the situation for all its passengers will improve in the new year. 0ur transport correspondent, tom burridge, reports. is this the worst rail line in britain? it's been for a year now, a year ofjust not knowing when it's going to turn up. people are worried about theirjobs. when you're always late and it's not yourfault. and there are people who had written warnings. in one week last month, not a single train ran. for us passengers, we feel kind of abandoned, forgotten, and generally treated as second—class passengers by this rail company. the fact that i've got to tell work that i'm going to be late for work,
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or i'm not going to be able to make it that day, and because i get paid hourly, i lose those hours. the line, run by northern, links 0rmskirk to preston, two large towns in the north west of england, with places in between. this is the main way out of the village, the lifeline of the village. 0ur figures show that a third of all services on this line simply didn't run in the last six months. it's symptomatic of how rail passengers in the north of england have been badly let down. i know that the service we offered in parts of 2018 has just not been acceptable. myself and the team are fully committed to getting that right, and we are seeing that incremental improvement. the improvement hasn't come in the last few months, has it? it's coming now, and we're starting to see a stabilisation of the timetable. are you fit to run this franchise? northern are absolutely fit, and i'm absolutely committed to delivering the franchise and the commitments we've got. next year, we're starting to see more capacity, new trains being introduced on the system. the mayor of greater manchester isn't so sure. i think they should be
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given a clear notice. things have to improve, certainly by the very latest at the may timetable change next year. and if they don't, they should be stripped of the franchise. back in 0rmskirk, a familiar story. it's gotten even better — 15 minutes late. for some, this isn't just about trains. if you haven't got a good public transport system and a good rail system in the area, people will not bring money in to invest in the area, to expand. they'll move somewhere else. northern rail says trains were damaged by autumn leaves and so services were moved off this line elsewhere. the government says it's reviewing the performance of rail companies in the north of england. if there has been a breach of any franchise agreement, measures will be taken. tom burridge, bbc news, in west lancashire. for decades, australia's anangu people have been asking tourists not to climb uluru, also known as ayers rock. from the end of 2019, the chain that makes the climb
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possible will finally be removed and as rebecca henschke reports, it is a vital step for the anangu people in reclaiming the rock. it's considered one of the great natural wonders of the world. and is a deeply sacred place for australia's indigenous anangu people. one of the oldest civilisations on earth. this rock means everything to anangu. uluru, also known as ayers rock, a sandstone monolith in the heart of northern territory‘s red centre, dates back more than 500 million years. tourists from all over the world visit the site every year. for decades, there's been a bitter
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row over the controversial practice of climbing the rock. have you guys heard that the aboriginal people don't want people to climb? yes, i do. and i understand that. but i'm going to do it anyway. yeah. there are signs here at the base of the climb clearly saying, "please don't climb". "it's against traditional law". translated into six languages. but still, every day we've been here there has been a steady stream of climbers. indigenous communities have long campaigned for the behaviour, which they consider deeply offensive, to end. now, the time for talking is over. from november next year, the climb will close. i'm here in the spiritual heart of australia, where i was born, to find out why it's taken so long, and how the anangu people feel about the multi—million dollar
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tourism operation that's been built around their sacred site. uluru is steeped in ancient stories about the creation time. the anangu people believe that in the beginning, the world was unformed and featureless. from this void, ancestral beings emerged and travelled across the land, creating all living species. uluru is the physical evidence of feats performed during the creation period. they have walked this land for over 50,000 years. the anangu believe they are the direct descendants of the ancestral beings that created uluru, and are responsible for the protection of these ancestral lands. ladies and gentlemen...
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pamela taylor is one of the rock's traditional owners, a painter, and holder of the sacred stories enshrined in it. the rock has a lot of stories, some of them i can't tell you, they are too sacred. what would happen? i would be in trouble! individual stories passed down orally as precious inheritance through families. some shared with outsiders like me in the hope that they will understand their significance. pamela's family holds the story of lungkata, a greedy and dishonest blue—tongue lizard ancestral being who came to uluru from the north, and stole meat from the emu and went back up to his cave. the foundation of anangu life and society is known as tjukurpa —
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a huge word that encompasses many things. it's religion and culture, but it's also law, with clear punishments for breaking it, explains auntie alison, another western desert elder. everything is taught privately through the elders. i sat down as a kid, learning and listening with my elders. so you can have that and pass that to your girls. and through that process of listening to your elders, hearing the stories, do you get a sense of what's right and what's wrong? yes. all that is taught to us, the protocol, what is right and what is wrong. and how to behave. how to respect other people
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over the boundaries. over here, overthere, overthere. we get taught all that, to respect other people's country. and tjukurpa. these creation stories are the anangu's spiritual compass. they say the caves, marks and rock formations all live and breathe with them. senior traditional owner sammy wilson's family holds the story of kuniya, the python woman at uluru. sammy tells me that she fought liru, the poisonous snake here at uluru, and signs of that ferocious battle are all around this water hole. for ii—year—old tilly, going to uluru and into the caves,
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where there are rock art tens of thousands of years old, is a deeply spiritual experience. i felt like my nana was right beside me, and my grandpa, my great—great—grandpa. and ifelt sad, because it was a very long time ago, when he passed, when he did that painting. and is that place a very special place for you? yeah, because we're not really allowed to go in the rock, because we will get sick, and on that rock, when you step on the rock, you will get sick because you are stepping on your culture and your dreaming. stepping on the dreaming is what hundreds of thousands
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of tourists around the world have done. including princess diana and prince charles, when they visited. the indigenous owners have asked us not to show footage of the climb, which is why we're not doing it. they climbed up with their hard shoes on. scraping the rock. it wasn't supposed to be like that. when the first known white australian explorers came to the area in 1873, they named the rock ayers rock, after the premier of south australia, henry ayers. ayers arrived in australia with his wife, ann potts, from england in 1840. he gained wealth and power through mining, before entering politics. over the next three decades in parliament, he exercised significant influence over
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the shaping of modern australia. voiceover: this is the goal: ayers rock looms up like a giant mound from ten miles away... by the 19505, increasing numbers of nonindigenous australians were flocking to ayers rock. the radio mast goes up to confound the spirits of the primitive men who made the rock for untold ages the focal point of their legends and ceremony. and the anangu people were displaced. they might not look it, but they are nearly civilised. then to climb the rock itself. no easy task, as the climb steepens to an angle of 60 degrees. and the surface is flaky and treacherous. the big climb became the white australian's sacred duty. it's almost like a rite of passage. they have heard from their parents and often their parents' parents that you have to come out
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here and climb. australians like to conquer things, and i think that's probably one of the reasons, but it's notjust australians — we get lots of europeans, a lot of people from asia particularly, that do want to climb. many of the climbers i meet at the base of the rock have come to do it before it closes. it's always been my dream, and ifinally made it. yeah, i like to do challenges. i'll see how far we get in the morning. have you guys heard that the aboriginal people don't want people to climb? yes, i do. and i understand that. but i'm going to do it anyway. yeah. because this will be the last chance, because they're closing it off next year, and next year i will be too old. so you don't feel at all kind of uneasy about that, if they say this is like a sacred site for them, like climbing notre dame or a sacred church? i hadn't thought of that aspect of it.
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no, me neither. i think we need to work with them and understand their culture and things like that. in years to come, they might change their minds and say, "all right, let's open it again". or they might open it for a certain period of a time each year or something like that. i came here with some girlfriends specifically to climb it before they closed it, we just wanted to get the full experience of uluru. and you know why the climb is closing, don't you? that the anangu people don't like it, they feel like it's trampling on one of their sacred sites. did you not feel at all bad doing it? idid. i did, and after climbing it, i'm glad that i climbed it and had the opportunity to climb it, but i respect is why they don't want people to climb it. because it's very sacred and very important to them. so when you were climbing, you didn't feel at all bad?
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idid. there were parts of me that did. but the experience of wanting to get the full experience of the rock, i suppose... pushed that aside, to... i don't know, get the overall experience of it. it wasn't until 1985 that the anangu people, after being recognised as traditional owners, were presented with the freehold title deeds for the uluru national park area. an event known as the handback. the 2,000 invited guests were there to enjoy a happy occasion, and it was. just before sunset, they handed over the title to uluru national park — 1,300 square kilometres of land, including ayers rock and mount 0lga. in 2011, the indigenous land council bought the ayers rock resort, with a promise to employ and train aboriginal people forjobs in the tourism sector.
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as well as being blown away by the natural beauty of this area, equally impressive is the tourism machine that's been built around it. buses bringing in hundreds of people each day into this very isolated area. 300,000 visiting each year. bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars into the australian economy. the threat of losing the tourist dollar if they push for the climb to be closed was enormous pressure for the indigenous owners. you said it felt like a gun was held to your head. and talk they did.
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in an historic vote, the board of 12 people, including eight anangu elders, decided to shut the climb down last year. i was there on the day, and there were tears in people's eyes. not just anangu, but from staff who have been here for many, many years. everyone was just so excited that finally the decision had been made. why did it take so long, though? well, anangu are very mindful, particularly for tourism, that there are many people who do want to climb uluru, and that's why you have the lead time of two years for the decision to be implemented. again, they've done things the right way, there's been lots of consultation and the tourism ministry is fully supportive of the decision. sammy wilson has set up his own tourism company to try and get some of those visitors to see the land through their eyes. he's referring to the 35
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people who have died attempting to climb uluru. we actually say to people, it's the equivalent of you clambering over notre dame. once you explain it that way, people are horrified, and they realise, but if you say it's culturally significant and it's really important to traditional owners, that doesn't resonate. when we actually explain what you have done is sacrilege, they are taken aback and they understand. later in the day, pamela, who was planning to climb uluru in the morning, catches up with me at a different part of the rock, and she's very keen to talk again. my true reason for climbing is my ego, because i've just turned 70, i've got two replacement knees, and i want to see if i could challenge myself to get as far as i can. and you've been thinking about that since we saw you last? i have been thinking about it
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since i saw you last. and yes. it's the ego? it's the ego, definitely ego. almost 200 years since the british invasion, australia remains the only commonwealth country to have never signed a treaty with its indigenous people. last year, around 300 indigenous leaders came together at uluru, demanding real legal and political recognition and power as the first nation people of australia. it is important to us. you know, it is important. governments and people should respect and recognise that. i grew up on anangu land, in an area european settlers called
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new england, because with its cool climate and rolling hills, it reminded them of home. where's the ham ? but my family on my father's side were amongst the first settlers to come from europe to south australia. what you think, rebecca? do you like prawns? yes! while i was working on this story, i realised i had a much closer connection to uluru, or ayers rock, then i had realised. with the arrogance of invaders and the ignorance of outsiders, they gave the rock the name ayers rock after my great—great—great uncle, henry ayers, who was a senior politician in australia at the time. a connection i've only recently realised, and i'm not sure
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how i feel about it. i spent the day thinking about this connection. after years living away from australia, this trip has made me realise how dislocated nonindigenous australians are to the stories of the land we live in. i tell sammy that henry ayers is my great—great—great—great uncle. the person that, the first white person to come here named this rock after. it's something ifeel a little uncomfortable about. i want to say sorry for the disrespectful way and brutal way that families like mine treated aboriginal people in the past. his reaction surprises me. he's excited, because he says his great—great grandfather met explorer william goss. do you think it was weird
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that they came up with that name, ayers rock, that they wanted to call it something different? later that afternoon, i tell alison. i speak five languages. and english is my fifth. with alison's language skills, she works as a bridge between the elders, the government and the tourism operators. today is dancing in a welcome ceremony for visitors here for a cultural festival. on stage is tilly,
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with her all—female schoolgirls drumming group. it's an event that showcases indigenous culture from across australia, for a mixed audience. renowned australian indigenous country music renowned australian indigenous country music singer troy cassar—daley is a regular performer here. what it does is bring people from the outside and helps immerse them in some cultural things they'll never see in sydney, black and white people should all come here and carry a bit of the spirit home. i mean, touch your foot over there near uluru and take a bit of that feeling with you, it's not hard to feel it, it's a great place. and then, as night falls, a new way of stories being told is revealed. indigenous australian fashion brands using material with the paintings that tell the ancient stories
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of the creation time. led by australia's leading indigenous model. indigenous art work is on canvas and things like that, but i think it's really great that now it's being put into fashion, it also has lots of meaning behind it, there is a story behind it, it's notjust a normal dress you would buy in a shop. it's special. elder auntie alison, who helped organise this festival, says she wants to see more of this kind of tourism at uluru. a sharing of stories, rather than conquering the rock. i want the world to see, i want australia to see the culture is alive and well here today. do you think there's enough of this kind of talking? no, i would like to see more about this kind of talking. when the parks close, there will be opportunities to sit down and talk more. when the climb closes, you mean?
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yeah, because there will be time for elders to teach. the sharing of our shared australian history in order to heal and create a new, more inclusive, modern narrative on this ancient land. hello there. the weekend is upon us now it's looking like being a tale of two halves. saturday is expected to be the drier day of the two, with many places staying dry, with sunshine. a few showers in the north. for sunday, another weather system moving in. it will bring rain and more
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of a breeze for many areas. early on saturday, lots of showers around. these tending to become more confined to western scotland, northern ireland and north—west england by around dawn, with some clear skies for the south and east. now, it will be a mild start to the day across the south. one or two chilly spots for the north—east of scotland — subzero values and one or two spots of frost. for saturday, this is the ridge of high pressure which should bring most of us some fine weather. this is the area of low pressure i was talking about which will bring sunday the wetter and breezier weather. so this morning starts up dry for many. lots of sunshine across the south and the east. after that chilly start, temperatures will rise. there will be though a few showers pushing through western scotland, northern ireland and north—west england and that light to moderate west to north—west breeze. it'll be fairly cool here. temperatures pretty typical for the time of year. further south it's going to be fairly mild again for the time of year, with 11—12 degrees. this next weather system moves in for sunday, brings outbreaks of rain initially to northern ireland, then in towards parts
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of england and wales. some of the rain is going to be heavy, quite slow moving as well, through the northern ireland, into parts of wales, the midlands and northern england. it will eventually become confined to the eastern side of england, inot the afternoon. into the afternoon. meanwhile, much of scotland will have a dry but quite a chilly day. temperatures in mid—single digits. further south, though, it's going to be mild again — 12—13 celsius across southern england and south wales. this weather front lingers on across southern parts of the country as we head into monday, of course, that's christmas eve, but with a big area of high pressure expected to establish itself over the country, it will tend to squeeze that weather front out so conditions will become dry here later on christmas eve. so we could see some cloud and rain across the far south of england, eventually becoming confined to the far south—west. devon and cornwall will hold on to the milder air — 12 or 13 celsius. further north, drier, brighter, with some sunny spells but cooler and certainly much cooler across scotland. for christmas day, or for the christmas period, that's into boxing day as well, with high pressure nearby, it looks like it will be dry for most.
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the morning starts off quite chilly, particularly across northern areas. andwe should see a little bit of sunshine, but there will be quite and we should see a little bit of sunshine, but there will be quite a bit of cloud too. so this is christmas day's weather. quite a chilly start, north—east scotland, maybe north—east england, a touch of frost. 0therwise most places will be dry through the day, with quite a bit of cloud around. and those temperatures close to the seasonal normal, even fairly mild in the far south. hello and welcome to bbc news — i'm sharanjit leyl. in breaking news, the us house of representatives has adjourned without approving a revised version of a spending bill, which means a partial government shutdown will go ahead in the next few hours. the bill has been opposed because it includes money for president trump's planned mexican border wall. if the legislation isn't passed, several key agencies will lose theirfunding, leaving hundreds of thousands of employees without a christmas pay cheque. let's go live to the bbc‘s david willis,
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who's been following the developments.
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