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tv   Reclaiming the Rock  BBC News  December 28, 2018 11:30am-12:00pm GMT

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official figures show officers took possesion of more than 7,600 blades during the 12 months to september. it comes as knife crime in england and wales reaches an eight year high. a fisherman who fell overboard off the cornish coast clung onto his nets forfive miles before being rescued. the alarm was raised when the fishing boat crashed into the south pier in newlyn yesterday afternoon. the solo skipper was rescued by lifeboat and taken to hospital with severe hypothermia. coastguards say he had fallen overboard whilst repositioning nets some five miles offshore but was able to hang on to netting over the side as his boat steamed along on automatic pilot. the man is now recovering at home. police in new york have sought to reassure residents after a bright blue light illuminated the night sky over the city. officials have explained the glow was not an otherworldly phenomenon but was caused by a transformer explosion, as rhodri davies reports. alien, the almighty, or apocalyptic?
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new yorkers were asking the question when the night sky turned blue on friday. it was freaky. it was like independence day, the movie, where you just look up and a weird blue colour that you haven't seen, lighting up the clouds in the sky. it looked like something was above the clouds. it stunned residents. on social media, one person spoke of a vibrating noise. another said she was shocked to the core. another suggested the presence of ghostbusters, or extraterrestrial beings. the answer was far more down to earth. a hot electrical fire in the city's largest borough of queens in fact caused the cool blue shade that cut through the sky and disrupted some residents‘ plans. a surge at a local electric power plant set off the small fire and the blue sparks. it could've been, since
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it was an electrical fire, that it caused arcing — a flash of power, so to speak. and that might have been what caused that large light. there were local outages. some city trains were stalled and flights at one of new york's majorairports, laguardia, were stopped for about half an hour. but there were no injuries and the city police department was intent on allaying any further fears, saying that the incident was the result of a transformer explosion and there was no evidence of extraterrestrial activity. they will hope that that will be enough to put all suspicions to rest. rhodri davies, bbc news. strange blue skies over new york. what about the weather closer to home? i have some blue it is not as not as
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dramatic as those in new york. we have clear skies giving sunshine in perth and kinross and sunny spells in most of scotland and northern ireland this afternoon. elsewhere, brightness across england and wales, but mostly cloudy here. still some mist in places. it will feel fairly pleasant, especially with the sunshine further north. tonight, some clear spells but wind will increase across scotland and northern ireland with that rain which will seem heavy for a time in scotland, moving into northern england. a frost free night. over the weekend, cloudy. some brightness towards eastern parts of england and eastern scotland. staying mild. hello.
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this is bbc news. the headlines. three men have been found guilty of the murder of five people who died after an explosion in a shop in leicester in february. the music and film retailer hmv is on the brink of collapse, putting more than 2,000 jobs at risk. after a surge in the number of migrants crossing from france, calls to step up patrols in the english channel. now on bbc news — for decades, the people of central australia have been asking visitors not to climb uluru, also known as ayers rock. from october, the chain that makes the climb possible will be removed. in a special programme we look at the issue in reclaiming the rock. it's considered one of the great natural wonders of the world. and is a deeply sacred
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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 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".
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translated into six languages. but still, every day we've been here, there's 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 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
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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've 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... pamela taylor is one of the rock's traditional owners, a painter, and holder of the ancient, sacred stories that are enshrined in it. the rock has got a lot of stories, some of them i can't tell you, they're too sacred.
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what would happen? i'd 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—tongued lizard ancestral being, who came to uluru from the north and stole meat and went back up to his cave. the foundation of anangu life and society is known as tjukurpa — 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. and through that process
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of listening to your elders, hearing those stories, do you get a sense of what's right and what's wrong? these creation stories are the anangu's spiritual compass. they say the caves, marks, and rock formations all live
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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, where there is 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'll get sick, and on that rock, when you step on that rock, you'll get sick, because you're stepping
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on your culture and your dreaming. stepping on the dreaming is what hundreds of thousands 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. 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.
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over the next three decades in parliament, he exercised significant influence over the shaping of modern australia. voiceover: this is the goal - ayers rock looms up like a giant mound from ten miles away. by the 1950s, increasing numbers of non—indigenous australians were flocking to ayers rock. the radio mast goes up to confound the spirits of the primitive men who've made the rock, for untold ages, the focal point of their legends and ceremony. and the anangu people were displaced. they mightn‘t look it, but they're nearly civilised. newsreel: then to climb the rock itself. no easy task, as the side steepens to an angle of 60 degrees, and the surface is flaky and treacherous.
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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 here and climb. and australians like to conquer things, and i think that's probably one of the reasons, but it's notjust australians — we get a lot 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'll be too old. so you don't feel at all kind of uneasy about that, if they say that this is like a sacred site for them, like climbing notre dame or a sacred church?
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i hadn't thought of that aspect of it. no. no, me neither. i think we need to work with them, and understand their culture and things like that. and, in years to come, they might change their minds and say, "all right, let's open it again," or something like that. 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‘s 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 why they don't want people to climb it,
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because it's very sacred and very important to them. so when you were climbing, you didn't feel at all bad? idid. there's parts of me that did. but the experience, 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 — 1300 square kilometres of land, including ayers rock and mount olga. in 2011, the indigenous land council bought the ayers rock resort,
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with a promise to employ and train aboriginal people forjobs in the tourism sector. 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. the threat of losing the tourist dollar if they pushed for the climb to be closed was enormous pressure for the indigenous owners. you said it felt like a gun was held at 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 when the decision happened, 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 has it taken 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. so again, they've done things the right way, there's been a lot 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 people who have died attempting to climb uluru. 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've done is sacrilege, they really — they‘ re ta ken 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
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can 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 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. i grew up on anaiwan land in armidale, in an area european
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settlers called 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 do 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.
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a connection i've only recently realised, and i'm not sure 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 non—indigenous 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 do 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
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great—great—grandfather met explorer william goss. what did they talk about? do you think it was weird that they came up with that name, ayers rock, that they wanted to call it something different? yeah, sorry about that. later that afternoon, i tell alison. 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
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here for a cultural festival called tjungu. on stage is tilly, 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 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, never see in sydney. black, 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,
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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 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. do you think there's enough of this kind of talking? the sharing of our shared
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australian history in order to heal and create a new, more inclusive, modern narrative on this ancient land. australia has had high temperatures. brighter skies across central areas across england. on the whole across england and wales, it is mostly cloudy with a lot of dry weather around this afternoon. and it is mild, with temperatures up to 9—12. through this evening there will be clear spells but the wind will pick
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up clear spells but the wind will pick up across clear spells but the wind will pick up across scotland and northern ireland and with that rain moving across northern ireland. moving into northern parts of england. temperatures overnight staying up 3-7. the temperatures overnight staying up 3—7. the weekend starting frost free and afairamount 3—7. the weekend starting frost free and a fair amount of cloud over the weekend with some sunny spells, particularly towards eastern parts of the higher ground across eastern scotla nd of the higher ground across eastern scotland and eastern areas of northern ireland. temperatures in double figures. this is bbc news — i'm simon mccoy. the headlines at 12: three men have been found guilty of the murder of five people who died after an explosion in a shop in leicester in february. the music retailer hmv is about to go into administration putting more than 2,000 jobs at risk. after a surge in the number of migrants crossing from france — calls to step up patrols in the english channel. a lucky escape for the cornish fisherman who fell overboard and survived after clinging to his boat's nets forfive miles. and coming up — thousands more prisoners are to get phones
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in their cells under plans to tackle violence and re—offending. ministers say the measure will help inmates to maintain family ties and reduce tension on wings. and manhattan mystery — we find out why the sky over new york turned neon blue last night.
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