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tv   Our World  BBC News  June 12, 2022 9:30pm-10:01pm BST

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gains for the left wing alliance in the first round of france's parliamentary election. the family of former british soldierjordan gatley say he's been killed fighting for the ukrainian armed forces. disability campaigners are taking legal action against the government for not backing a recommendation from the grenfell tower inquiry, to give vulnerable residents of high—rise buildings personal fire evacuation plans. now on bbc news... our world. for decades temples across cambodia were looted and their treasures stolen, smuggled and sold abroad. but now the cambodian government wants them back. temples across cambodia have been looted, their ancient treasures torn away. wow, 0k. i've got exclusive access
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to the sites they were stolen from, and speak to the temple raiders who did the looting. this one? for many cambodians, these sculptures are much more than just stone objects. now cambodia is fighting back, demanding that some of the biggest museums in the world return their antiquities. these museums and these individuals are in receipt of stolen property, and the stolen property needs to come back. angkor wat is the beating
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heart of cambodia. this temple has been in continuous use for over 900 years. cambodia is one of the poorest countries in asia, but many will spend what little they have to come here. everyone, it's believed, has to make the journey to this complex at least once. but even though angkor wat is central to this population's identity, many of its greatest treasures are gone. so, this is a contrast you will see repeated over and over again in cambodia's most famous temple. here's a carving dating back to the 12th century in perfect
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condition, but, just one pillar over, this carving's been completely removed by looters and we simply don't know where it's gone. i mean, look at these bits. the head's been taken off, a hands been taken off, the fingers are gone. on this one, i mean, it's just been lopped off right at the top. i mean, you canjust imagine a looter would cut that, take it, smuggle it across a border, probably into thailand, and then on into some auction house. we simply don't know where this has gone. the same thing has happened in thousands of temples, including this one, 100km to the east of angkor wat. for many cambodians, the missing statues are thought to have souls. they're notjust stone, are they, or bronze? they are definitely not just the stone for us. we never think this
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is only the statue, but the spirit of ancestor. sopheap meas is an archaeologist with the cambodian ministry of culture. when you saw the statue that's broken into pieces, how did you feel physically when you see something like that? ifeel pain, ifeel sad. ijust...sometimes ijust don't want to see it, too much to tolerate in the feeling, you know? i just don't want to see something like that. itjust comes...it hurts me a lot. sometimes i heard people talk how they destroyed the temple. ijust feel like, oh, my god, that is so painful to hear. this is very beautiful male statue. he have four arms. sopheap is trying to make
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things right again. she's part of a cambodian government investigative team that's working to reclaim stolen statues. it's a mammoth task. they're tracing the histories of objects across hundreds of museums and private collections, from sydney to san francisco. leading the team is american lawyer brad gordon. we're tracking about 100 museums, and so we've compiled, based on publicly available information, we've compiled lots of information about cambodian pieces that are out there, so there's a couple of thousand pieces we are tracking. we know that these statues were taken out of the ground, and we know the cambodian government didn't give permission, so we're now asking the museums and private collectors, "prove to us that you have a right to have these pieces." we're doing targeted excavations, so the excavations are coming up with remarkable finds, like arms and legs and pedestals, which, in some cases, using modern technology, we know that it's
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most likely a perfect match. you know, like a foot matches a piece that's in a major museum. that's exactly what happened with these huge warrior statues, the team's biggest success to date. the tops of the statues were once on display in the us, but it was the perfect match of their feet left behind in cambodia that proved they'd been stolen. they're now reunited, the pride of cambodia's national museum. the cambodian authorities are now on the hunt for more treasure. they're tracing the looters who originally dug up the antiquities. we have a whole network of informants who we're working with, and we are going site to site, where we understand they came from, and interviewing people in that area, and then collecting
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all that information. the former looters who've become government witnesses have all been given code names to try to protect their identities. right now, we're on our way to see a woman they call the �*iron princess'. the iron princess doesn't want to be identified because she fears other looters may come after her for revealing crimes committed decades ago.
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the temple the iron princess looted stood for almost 1,000 years before being systematically dismantled in the 1990s. the iron princess looted during the aftermath of a dark period in cambodian history. for centuries, angkor wat was a monument to the culture of the khmer people of cambodia, but, now abandoned, it's a signpost to khmer atrocities. the khmer rouge government claimed the lives of up to 2 million of its own people between 1975 and 1979. even after they lost power, their influence was felt
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in the country for another 20 years. when it comes to these objects, this, for me, is one of the strongest arguments — this is a time of conflict. you can argue that they're war crimes, that these objects were taken out during war, and the world made several attempts over the last couple of decades to stop this kind of practice. this former looter, codenamed �*red horse', was a child soldier forced to fight under the khmer rouge. he's working with the cambodian team, revealing sites he used to pillage. we're searching for one of them, an abandoned temple. god, this is it. look, you can see the stone
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right there, the stone wall. it's right in the middle of this vegetation. so, this is it. wow, 0k. this temple is 800 years old. it's now been reclaimed by nature. 0w. these dead vines are covered in really sharp thorns. it's not easy to walk through here. oh, and there are hornets, too. so, this was one of the top ten spots where the looters pillaged, really, up until the late �*90s. they hid here, this was a khmer rouge hiding spot. red horse shows me where he says he unearthed a statue in the 1970s. so, what exactly did you find and how did you get it out?
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i show red horse photos of objects from the british museum's collection. this thing, this is what you... ..took it from inside there? the investigative team has carefully traced the statue�*s likelyjourney. they're confident the one red horse identifies matches the artefact seen here on the british museum website. it's a cambodian priority to get it back. in response, the british museum told the bbc...
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i also showed the iron princess a selection of antiquities that are currently held in london. 0k, these are items in the victoria and albert museum. standing ganesha. 0h, 0k, first one. now, this is beautiful. it's a shiva statue, bronze, completely intact. i mean, how much would you have sold this for, do you know? 17,000 thai baht. that's around us$500. iron princess says she sold a statue that looks like this one in the v&a, but the team is yet to make a direct match.
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now, looters like the iron princess want to help fix what they've done. the v&a told the bbc... and would welcome the opportunity... questions about cambodia's illicit antiquities trade have led investigators to some strange places. bangkok, 2010 — the latchford classic. the entire contest is named after this man, douglas latchford.
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he was also a high—profile art dealer, believed to be at the very centre of the trade in stolen antiquities. latchford agreed to a rare interview in the 2014 documentary the stolen warriors. the filmmakers asked latchford about a civil complaint filed by the united states attorney's office in 2012. in the court files, they speak of smuggling networks, and you being a part of a smuggling network. what do you feel when you read it? um...their imagination has gone wild. they've seen too many indiana jones films. as far as i know, there is no such thing as a smuggling network, and i certainly don't belong to any smuggling network. despite latchford's denials, us prosecutors closed in.
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in 2019, latchford was indicted for art trafficking. he died a year later, before going to trial. this book, co—authored by douglas latchford, has become a valuable source of information for investigators. it contains many of the masterpieces that were taken out of cambodia, things that most cambodians will never dream of seeing in person. and it's been used as proof that these items were at least known to latchford and his circle.
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investigators are still unravelling latchford's connections to objects that were auctioned off decades ago. we have a special report on the worldwide trade of illicitly exported art treasures. back in 1988, the bbc was asking questions about objects on the auction block. wesley kerr reports. at sotheby's biggest ever sale of the highly prized art of south—east asia, this four—armed vishnu sold for £209,000. but were the statues originally stolen? the cambodian royal family tried to stop the sale, but failed. now, brad is in london. the cambodian authorities are writing to major museums and the british government for help. i showed him the newsnight story from 1988. what was your gut reaction to it? amazing that the bbc had picked up on this in �*88. we need to find this. this needs to come home. it's very important. so, we have the archival photographs from 1936, when the french inventoried it, and it was taken to the conservatory. the conservatory is a secret warehouse just outside angkor wat where statues are still stored for safekeeping today. that's just incredible. i mean, we've got an elephant, we've got a lion dog, we've got lintus from angkor.
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we've got lintels from angkor. no—one�*s been granted access to see this complex in decades. brad thinks the four—armed vishnu was stolen from here and sold on. so, where is the statue now? the latest information we have is that we've been going through the files of materials handed over to us by the latchford family and we found a photograph, and the photograph is an image that is identical to the statue that featured in the programme back in 1988, and so, we looked at that photograph and it actually had a label on it. latchford's photo is labelled with the name of one of his old customers. brad thinks this customer or the customer's family might still have the statue. we're not sure yet if they have it or not, but hopefully, in the next couple of weeks,
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we will find out. what chance do you have of getting that statue back? i think we have a very good chance, and especially now that we understand a lot more of the history, i think we should get a good result. the cambodian authorities believe douglas latchford's personal collection contained more than 100 pieces. so far, five major works and some smaller ones have been returned to cambodia. now, the cambodian government is eager to recover the rest. douglas latchford's daughter, julia, told us in a statement:
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when i obtained control of it. there were more items on sale at sotheby�*s back in 1988. this khmer sculpture of a five—headed shiva broke all records when it fetched a total of £319,000. brad and his team have tracked down the five—headed shiva. it was sold at sotheby�*s to a private collector. in 1993, it was donated to the met museum in new york, where it's on display today. what would you like the met to do? we would love it to come back next week, you know. i think it's an important piece for the cambodians and it needs to come home. a spokesperson for the met told us:
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retrieving the statues would look good politically for the cambodian government ahead of an election year in 2023. prime minister hun sen has been in power for three decades. most of his rivals are in prison or in exile. i sat down with the cambodian minister of culture and fine arts. this week, she wrote to the uk government to demand their assistance. minister, some people will say your country has problems with corruption. it has a worsening human rights record. why should the uk authorities cooperate with cambodia? i think that every country has a problem about corruption, even in europe, in us, in asia. it's not... tell me one country
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don't have any corruption. i don't defend that. but don't confuse the corruption with something else. our own rights. this statue belongs to us, belong to cambodian people. we are driving to a village that lies in the shadows of the scene of industrial scale looting. up here is the way that go to the market in the... satia was born here and comes from a family of looters who struggled to survive under the khmer rouge. my older generation, my grandfather, my father, they already did that, they don't have choice. at that time, it's a civil war in cambodia. like, if you are starving, then finding some statues to sell for them so you could have money to feed your family, and i think that's what my father think, and that's why he did that. satia now works as a key member in the cambodian
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investigative team, fighting for the return of the country's antiquities. i grew up in this village next to the temple. some of the older generation, theyjust to see the gods in the temple, so i want them to see that again. i want them to see the beautiful temple with the god, with the statue. so, i think it is my obligation as a younger generation to bring those gods back home. in cambodia's capital, phnom penh, this dance was created to welcome some beloved statues that were returned last year. these dancers are hoping they'll have good reason to perform again. the statue for here,
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for this environment, for this temple, for these people. i think it's important that the statues are coming back to our country, our people, because people need to...to pray. they pray. it's a living culture, it's a living god. hello. big variations in our weather story across the uk this week. what you get will depend very much on where you are. take cambridge for an example of the sort of weather we are going to see in the south and the south—east of the uk.
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heat building, 32 degrees looking likely by friday. the only question mark is just how long the heat will last. whereas further north and west, temperatures never really climb out of the teens here for belfast, with a lot of cloud, some rain at times, but not all the time. the reason for those cooler and cloudier conditions in the north—west of the uk is that that is where we'll always be closest to areas of low pressure, whereas high pressure will be building to the south, giving rise to those dry, mostly settled and increasingly warm conditions. so for monday, england and wales see patchy cloud and sunny spells, but most places will be dry. a bit more cloud for northern ireland, certainly more cloud for scotland with rain at times, especially in the far north. temperatures in stornoway up to 1a degrees, 21 in london. as we move through monday night and into the early hours of tuesday, we will see largely dry conditions with clear skies across england and wales, allowing it to get a bit chilly forsome, particularly down towards the south, whereas northern ireland and scotland will always see more in the way of cloud and some splashes
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of rain at times because here we will still have a frontal system working through, still quite breezy across the far north—west as well, whereas to the south this area of high pressure increasingly takes charge of our weather. so that will again give plenty of sunshine through the day on tuesday, just a little patchy cloud here and there. northern ireland and scotland seeing greyer skies and some rain at times, but not all the time. temperatures, well, quite a range for tuesday. 17 degrees at this stage in belfast and glasgow, maybe up to 25 in london, and it will turn even warmer across a good part of england and wales on wednesday, maybe the odd shower in the west, certainly some showers at times for northern ireland and for scotland, especially western parts of scotland, where those temperatures... well, you can see where you have got the deep orange colours developing for east wales and the midlands, parts of eastern england, widely up to the middle 20s celsius, 27 in london. but that is nothing compared with the temperatures we will be seeing in the south—west of europe over the next few days — maybe for a time 44 degrees in southern spain. and let's move towards the end of the week and this area of high pressure shifts eastwards.
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well, that will start to bring us a southerly wind and will mean we will tap into some of that continental heat, particularly in south—eastern areas, not so into the north—west, closer to an area of low pressure. so on thursday, cloud, some rain into northern ireland and scotland, that rain could actually turn quite heavy and persistent through the afternoon. england and wales seeing the best of the sunshine and temperatures 26, maybe 28 degrees. but the warmth or the heat will be felt quite widely, as it will be across england and wales on friday. this is likely to be the hottest day. frontal systems pushing from the north—west, introducing outbreaks of rain and some cooler conditions, but the highest values in the south—east corner 31, maybe somewhere to the west or the north of london getting up to around 32 degrees. now, for the weekend, it looks like we will see cooler, fresher conditions spreading across most parts of the uk, but there is uncertainty about just how persistent the heat will be towards the south and east.
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it may cling on for part of the weekend and with that there is also the potential for rain at times, perhaps heavy, thundery downpours in places. we will keep you posted on that. in the meantime, temperatures for some will be climbing.
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the huge hike in the cost of petrol and diesel — ministers order a review into whether a 5 pence cut in fuel duty is being passed on to drivers. the temporary reduction in fuel duty was introduced in march, but there are questions over whether motorists are getting the full benefit. it's horrendous, i don't know how a few are going to survive. i rely on my car all the time, and it's a huge cost to everybody. it comes at the start of a big week for the government, with legislation tomorrow to change parts of the post—brexit trade deal with the eu. also tonight... a former british soldier, jordan gatley, is reported to have been killed while fighting in ukraine. a former elite acrobatic gymnast speaks out ahead of the publication of an independent review into abuse in the sport.
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i loved gymnastics when i started.

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