tv BBC World News PBS August 4, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
>> and now "bbc world news." >> and a lot of history in kenya -- and vote on diffusing the tribal tensions which have led to more than 1000 deaths. america's worst environmental crisis is nearly over. that is from the president himself. russia's president wields the ax. military officials are blamed for failing to stop devastating wildfires. welcome to "bbc world news", broadcasting our view is on pbs in america, also on the globe. coming up later for you, a super model, a state dinner, and a diamond. any bank in south africa is at the center of a war crimes trial -- and even in south africa. and if the first lady of arabic to pop. we meet the british palestinian woman using rap to carry a political message.
hello to you. history is in the making according to kenya's president. he's been urging the country's citizens to go to the polls in a referendum to change the constitution. it could transform the way east africa's largest economy is not uncommon devolving power from the capital after years of disputed and violent elections. the last one left 1300 dead. polls have now closed, but the long queues to vote suggests that many kenyans do see this as a very big moment indeed. >> canyons know this referendum is historic -- kenyans know. thousands lined up before dawn outside polling stations across the country. at times, accused stretched for hundreds of meters, a measure of just what this means to the nation. to its supporters, the document
will transform the way it kenya is governed and read of farmland, the single most contentious issue here. if the constitution is passed, the power concentrated in his office will be disbursed, an important strategy for diffusing tribal tensions. another conspicuous voter was the prime minister, the cheerleader in chief for the new constitution. >> it should be all over the country, so that kenyans can peacefully decide their future. >> the document was born out of the bloodshed that for kenya apart the last time the country tried to hold an election. back then, more than 1000 people died as rival groups fought over the spoils of government. now, though, the political temperature is far cooler.
the new independent electoral commission introduce new technology to counter complaints of irregularities, at least with the voter rolls, and transparent ballot boxes discourage votes stuffing. at least so far, boating here has been going remarkably smoothly, and that is in sharp contrast to previous elections that have been characterized by widespread allegations of fraud and violence. that is what the conduct of this election is as important as its outcome. for the first time here, the electoral commission took its boxes imprisoned. this inmate helping to make this the most inclusive poll in kenya's history. so far so good. the historical violence that has tended to erupt during the count and in a falling out at all, we do not know the outcome, much less how the losers will respond. still, as electoral processes go, this has been a very good start.
>> seems an end is in sight. the oil disaster in the gulf of mexico, according to president obama. what has abies is now believe most of the oil has either been cleared up or broken down in the sea. the white house has pledged communities on the gulf coast will not be forgotten. james reynolds reports now on the environmental crisis that became so intensely political. am i the explosion in april let everyone with one question -- how bad is this going to be? at first, bp's chief executive, tony hebert, suggested that the environmental impact of this bill would end up being very modest. but the oil kept coming. in june, president obama called this the worst environmental disaster that america has ever faced. now, the president has an update. it turns out that most of the oil in the sea has gone. >> the vast majority of the spilled oil has been disbursed
or removed from the water, so the long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally close to coming to an end. and we are very pleased with that. [applause] >> this is what is stopping the oil at the moment. over the last 24 hours, engineers have come heavy drilling mud into the blown out well, a process known as static killed. after the heavy drilling may come a round of cement. is to be conned in during the next few days. finally in mid-august, but an estimate will be pumped in from a release well -- mud and cement. that should and results were good. this afternoon, the white house celebrated the success of static kill and wound itself answer is simple question -- was 20 k worth the one who got it right about the scale of the disaster? -- was 20 hayward -- was tony hayward the one who got it right?
>> nobody owes him an apology. bp has obligations as the responsible party in this instance. >> president obama came to office with one lesson in mind -- if you do not lose if you prepare for the worst, and the white house members this -- president bush failed when he underreacted to hurricane katrina five years ago. in american politics, treaty every disaster as critical is a good way of making sure you are not kicked out of office. the oil may be going, but problems for the president and for bp are not yet over. the oil company still has to pay billions in compensation, and the president has to persuade voters in the gulf that he will stick with them longer than the oil states in the sea -- sticks in teh sea. >> and the food standards agency says meat from a second offspring of a client count has ended the food chain. has been confirmed that two bullets from embryos of the
california con in the u.s. or brought to inform in the scottish highlands and meat from one sold to consumers. the italian government has survived a no-confidence motion against one of its ministers in parliament. the vote was seen as a test of the government's authority. the key ally of the prime minister and around 30 members of parliament defected from the governing coalition last week. protesters in bolivia clashed with police and blocked a road leading to the mining city. hundreds of workers are demanding the government stepped in to and the border dispute between departments. russia's president has sacked several top military officials for failing to stop the wildfires destroying unable base outside the capital. he has also reprimanded the head of the navy.
>> with the situation getting worse by the day, president medvedev cut short his holiday to meet members of his national security council. announcing he was sacking several senior navy offices for failing to save an important military base. there is still no sign of the wild fires in central and western russia being brought under control. instead, more and more villages are being devoured in flames. this is the kind of destruction of these fires. it is really quite incredible. can you imagine that this was one part of a village, really not that far from the russian capital. it seems burned to the ground. 12 houses here absolutely destroyed. you can see the degree of people's homes just flying around. >> so far, the capital moscow
has been spent on the fires, but it is suffering from a sick like a of small things from the surrounding regions -- thick blanket of smog. people here are being told to stay indoors, particularly in the mornings when it is at its worst. >> firstly, it is high. secondly, there is smoke. it was especially bad last night. of course, we are all very tired from it. it is particularly difficult for children and elderly people. >> it is not good being in moscow. very smoky, very hard to breathe. it is very bad. >> inside the kremlin, the problems for the country's leaders pile up, and now even include nuclear reactors under threat from the flames. >> people are facing life-
threatening shortages. pakistan's worst monsoon floods in 80 years have led many still on rooftops. many others offscouring what is left of towns for food. so far, are on 1400 men, women, and children have died. in all, at least 3 million are affected. >> water has become the enemy here. a terrifying not foe, which has a valid land and crops and destroyed communities. more rescue boats reached some of those in need today, but many are still waiting for a helping hand. we've found a group of them here in the stricken town. a local person had come with a few supplies and was mobbed. flood victims sat out this makeshift camps themselves, cobbling together a few tense and hoping they would follow, but it seems no one has noticed.
can current -- tempers were flaring, stoked by blazing heat and by hunger. one man was chased away by the crowd, but the greatest anger here was reserved for the absent president. they roundly condemned their leader, who went ahead with his visit to britain, though his country is gripped by disaster. he sneaks away like a thief, one man said. how could he leave his people now, they asked. we have been here for just a few minutes, and as soon as we arrived, this crowd of people came to greet us. there is a lot frustration here, a lot of anxiety. people have been asking us if we know when help is going to come. there are a lot of children here his parents say they are already ill, and the longer they stay here, the worst they will get. the children like this two-year-
old boy -- he has been ill for seven days. his uncle took me to see where he and his relatives are living. their home is a tent. the flood brought them of all the half. he says the children here have nothing to eat, as biscuits and water. he says they could start. relatives do what they can 40 boy and his baby brother, but there is no escape from the searing temperatures. in spite of all the international concerns and all the aid that has been promised, one week on, no one has reached him, and he is growing visibly weaker. >> just briefly for you, we mentioned this story 24 hours ago. israel says it is continuing to upper trees along its border with lebanon. on tuesday, and class with the lebanese army let four people dead -- a clash with the
lebanese army. that is when this started to crack down a tree both sides claim was in a territory. confirmation that the israelis were indeed on the israeli side of the border. stay with us if you can. still to come, american billionaires who pledged to give most of their wealth away. first, though, a dispute has broken out in poland over a wooden cross intended to honor victims of the plane crash in april that killed the president and many other political and military leaders. several hundred protesters have top officials moving across from outside the presidential palace in warsaw, a compromise plan to transfer to a nearby church has now been put to one side. >> quite extraordinary scenes outside warsaw's presidential palace. on one side of the barricades, protesters chanting in defense
of the cross. on the other, scouts and priests are right to move it to a nearby church. as tensions rose, scuffles broke out, and some protesters tried to break through the barriers. amid the standoff, officials decided to call off the transfer. scouting troops erected across days after the plane crash in russia in april which killed the president and dozens of senior officials. but this religious symbol became part of the political battle, and plans were announced to move it. politicians from the late president's camp said the cross should stay and urged people to be vented. some, motivated by their faith and allegiance to the late president, are taking part in a round-the-clock watch to guard the cross. >> we will be having an honor vigil like we have every night until now.
we receive a declaration, written or oral, from a competent person that a proper commemoration of this catastrophe will replace the cross, then we will go home. and a political and religious leaders are now working on a new compromise to try to defuse the standoff. >> latest headlines on "bbc world news" this hour. polls have closed in kenya. people voting on in the constitution intended to devolve power away from the capital but avoid a repeat of ethnic violence. three-quarters of the oil from the gulf of mexico still seems to have dispersed, according to the white house. was it an assassination attempt or not? this circumstance is unclear, but what ever happened, a source in president ahmadinejad's office says he is unharmed after the incident.
it appears a homemade device exploded as he traveled in a convoy from the local airport to give a speech in a sports arena. >> whatever precisely happened today, one thing is clear. president ahmadinejad survived unscathed and apparently unperturbed. he is seen here speaking to the crowd shortly after the possible assassination attempt. one of his regular trips to the provinces with a well-tried message. still the interest from earlier in the day showed the crowds greeting a president after he arrived at the airport. as often with mr. ahmadinejad, it is a fairly chaotic scene was krauts pressing in on his convoy. at some stage, it seems there may have been an explosion. first reports indicated a homemade grenade or explosive device, but later, officials suggested it was just a bang, possibly some of firecracker. two days ago, ahmadinejad said
that scientists had planned to try to assassinate him, but the plan is greeted with skepticism -- that zionists had planned to try to assassinate him. is that americans have been plotting to kidnap him. little evidence was produced, and there was derision in some quarters. even became an issue in the election campaign. during the campaign, joined the president on one of his rallies. it is certainly not the level of security that surrounds western leaders. a scene unthinkable around an american president, for example. the president is in there somewhere. the chaos has been like that brought the name -- throughout the afternoon. it is like this wherever he goes. mr. ahmadinejad has always been keen to approach -- to promote his image as approachable. the outcome of the election has let iran bitterly divided. mr. ahmadinejad certainly has plenty of enemies, as well as some fervent supporters, but so far, there is no clear evidence
that today's confused events included a serious assassination attempt. >> super model naomi campbell is about to give evidence to the special court for sierra leone in a war crimes trial of former liberian president. the trial hopes to approve that more than a decade ago, she accepted a blood diamond from the former president, the product and years of civil war. she denies it. >> 11 years have passed, but the peculiar horrors of sierra leone's war are not easily forgotten. the mutilated victims of a rebel army. he was 16 when they came for him. >> they can to stop my right arm off. >> do you forgive the man who did this? and a very difficult.
it is very difficult to do. >> this man, the former president of neighboring liberia, stands accused of orchestrating those horrors, abusing so-called blood diamonds to fuel the war. charles taylor is on trial. this week, his case takes a curious twist. super model naomi campbell have been called to give evidence for the prosecution regarding this dinner she attended with mr. taylor and hosted by nelson mandela. >> after the dinner party, she was visited by a man who gave her diamonds and said that the diamonds came from mr. charles taylor. we believe that is important because it shows his possession of the diamonds close in time to the bringing into sierra leone of arms and ammunition. >> today, sierra leone is on the mend, and more blood, but plenty
of diamonds. doug out by hand by men who still remember what the stones did to their country. that is used to kill people, to buy ammunition, which generations and has caught. >> africa's mineral wealth has fueled plenty of confidence, but the issue has rarely ended up in court. now, though, the british civil model has a chance to play a small but perhaps significant role in detail in one specific link between diamonds and conflict. the sierra leone's victims, the child sends out one simple but vital message -- never again. >> it is very important, and
this will solve -- serve to order people who want to do these things, the same thing tomorrow, they will say that they will be helped responsible for what they did. >> but just as alone is not enough. and i am living on the street begging before i am able to get something to my family. how can i forget? maybe i can forgive, but i cannot forget. >> this man is what the trial is really about -- not diamonds and supermodels, but the nation's long search for justice and reconciliation. >> filmmaker george lucas and new york mayor michael bloomberg are among 40 american billionaires' who signed up to give the least half their wealth to charity in response to a campaign by warren buffett and microsoft's bill gates.
matthew price reports from new york. amity billionaires' were handpicked by this man, warren buffett. the investor who had already promised to give 99% of his wealth to charity. now over dinner, he explained he wanted others to do the same. carnegie hall is perhaps one of the better known monument to american deland derby, a tradition that extends back many years and across many of this country's super rich families. organizers of this new initiative hope in these economic hard times that it will inspire plenty of others to start giving away their cash. >> movie maker george lucas has pledged to give up at least $1.5 billion. media mogul ted turner promises around $900 million. new york mayor michael bloomberg, $9 billion. and what they have no reason to be worried about their future, and i think it is great that they are willing to do that. >> those charities that are
going to be the beneficiaries or recipients of that money -- they do good work. >> many, of course, have given much to charity before, but this is a concerted effort and perhaps a recognition by some that they can help others on and massive scale and still leave their children and richer than they ever need to be. >> since its birth, 30-odd years ago, had pop has become truly global phenomenon, but a rarity, a woman who wraps in arabic. now, the british palestinian wrapper is visiting the west bank, and our correspondent went to meet her. >> known by some as the first lady of arabic hip-hop, possibly the only lady of arabic hip-hop. brought up in south london, the british palestinian is now on tour in the west bank.
the audience, perhaps a little young, but captain nevertheless. her first language is english, but unusually, it is in arabic that she chooses to perform. >> it is the language of poetry, a very rich language, and classical language. if it is used in the right way, in hip-hop, then i think that it could reach more audiences. >> and she mixes poetry with politics. many of her videos underlaid with images from decades of middle east conflict. >> with my anger, it is my anger coming out. also, is resistance, but resistance through art. it is nonviolent resistance through art.
>> while in the west bank, she is spreading that message through a series of workshops with young palestinian matters here in hebron, over the years, often the scene of israeli- palestinian violence. and to actually be here in a flash and cnn and the face-to- face and work with them on a one-to-one basis -- what i do deals more real than ever. it is a musical uprising. i really do believe that it is probably the strongest and the last call that we have. >> finally, some unbearable cuteness for you, a little -- litter of rare white tigers, as has made its first public appearance at a zoo in germany. the 2.5-legal costs are said to be in good condition. in a while, they rarely reach maturity because their call or
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