tv BBC World News WHUT January 13, 2012 7:00am-7:30am EST
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>> and now, "bbc world news." asburma's next jump forward, the government releases senior political figures from jail. 650 detainees are freed as burma offers a further sign of its readiness to change. >> welcome to gmt. i am david eades. also coming up in the program, it is me or the general. pakistan's prime minister calls on parliament for help. the chinese launch of apple's iphone 4s is not quite as smart or smooth as they had hoped. it is midday in london, 7:00 a.m. in washington, and 6 above
30 in the evening in burma, where the government has responded to international calls of the release of more political prisoners. 650 detainees released. among those allowed out our leaders of the student uprising in 1988 and monks who led protests in 2007. also, the leader of the ethnic minority group. our southeast asia correspondent, rachel harvey, has been following this story from bangkok. >> snapshots of freedom. a gallery of dissidents and activists in prison for their beliefs. among the recent releases, min ko naing, prominent leader of the failed 1988 student uprising.
outside burma's prisons, the crowds and the expectations grew. former inmates struggling to wakmake their way through. there has been amnesty before, but none as far reaching as this. some of those released today have spent more than a decade behind bars. among those set free, monks who took part in these street demonstrations in 2007. and some of the video journalists who shot the pictures. and a man who once stood on the other side. former prime minister and intelligence chief, khun tun. now he and most of those who served under him are free. also, members of burma's ethnic minority group, including one of the most senior shan political leaders.
he called on the government to reach agreements with all of the people of burma. if you cannot make peace with one and fight with another. these scenes repeated outside prisons. they represent a major concession on the part of the government and a major step towards meeting a key demands of western nations. will it be enough to warrant? rachel harvey, bbc news, bangkok. >> it feels like a fast-moving story. if you want more on burma's decision to release these dissidents, had to our web site -- head to our website, bbc.com/news. now to some of the other stories making headlines around the world. it may seem odd for the parliament of a democratic country to hold a vote
supporting the democratic system, but that the tactic adopted by pakistan's prime minister yousuf raza gilani as his government battles with the military to maintain control of the reins of power. the motion amounts to a vote of confidence. has publicly criticized the army chief and sect the defense minister, who he thought was too close to the generals bbc.com/new -- the generals. what lies behind this unusual tactic? >> the government feels it is cornered at the moment. it has the army on one side. it has the supreme court, which can also bring this government down with the decision having to do with corruption charges against president asif ali zardari. it also has opposition politicians, as well. the calculation yousuf raza gilani has made is that he will
portray anyone who brings this government down as an enemy of the democratic process. the one thing he controls is this vote in parliament. he is saying to opposition politicians, put up or shut up. he has done this in a clever way. if you want to get rid of me, you're setting back the democratic process. basically, vote on whether you want democracy or dictatorship. that's what will happen on monday, if he wins the vote, which he is likely to, he will pay that as a success. >> plenty of talk of a military coup in the offing again. does this remove or dilute the possibility? >> it's a complicated situation, but this has been escalating for two or three months. it does feel like it has been at a crisis point. the government, the portland,
the supreme court could all carry out a move that -- the government, the parliament, the supreme court could all carry out a move. it does not appear the military ones that at the moment, unless the government tries to sack the army chief. his calculation is to say whether opposition politicians, the army, or the supreme court brings the government down -- then they are an enemy of the state. he is hoping that will be enough to avert any kind of thoughts that the army does have to take over. >> if it is either or -- what role does the supreme court plea in this? >> i think they have the most
crucial role. they could most possibly bring down this government. this is all to do with the government defining rulings the supreme court made a couple of years ago. there's a lot of attention on what happens in the next week in the supreme court. >> aleem, thank you very much. japan's prime minister has reshuffled its cabinet to break a parliamentary deadlock. he has appointed a former foreign minister as his deputy with responsibility for pushing through a controversial plans to double the country's by% sales tax. the united states has warned of a terrorist threat in bangkok. it is urging u.s. citizens to exercise caution. the thai government says
security has been set up. the meeting between ahmadinejad and fidel castro. they talked for two hours after. ahmadinejad describes castro as it and healthy. one week ago, president ben ali came the first to be ousted. since then, there have been elections and a new interim government is in place. joblessness remains a pressing issue. >> to news said today, the shackles of oppression, and people in the streets with smiles on their faces, no longer having to whisper.
on the surface, at least, this is a much changed country. it's a far cry from a year ago. the dictatorship that ruled for 20 years was overthrown. a discussion about politics and the press. >> [speaking foreign language] >> not from a radio station based in exile, but one that's relocated in the capital of tunisia. progress is slow, but things are moving in the right direction. >> you have the new regime. on the other side, you have the old regime coexisting at the same time together.
>> one year on and many things have improved for the people of tunisian. the freedom of speech, the ability to criticize political leaders. this was as much about economics as it was politics. there are still thousands of educated young people out there without jobs. long lines at job centers. the harsh reality. for many tunisians, some things have not improved. >> economic situation is getting worse. it is harder to get the jobs. i am 28 years old. i graduated university. i am still jobless. >> tourism drives the economy.
the streets and beaches are empty. the number of tourists are down by 40%. tunisia was that the boundarvand of the arab spring. the revolution is still on course. >> a company launching a new product would love it to be an instant hit, but it seems as if too much success could also hurt sometimes. apple, for example, has stopped the sale of the new iphone model from stores in china after fans caused trouble outside an official outlet. this report from beijing. >> apple products are as popular in china as they are elsewhere in the world. today, the company was due to launch the newest model, the iphone 4s. unfortunately, most customers have not been able to get their hands on them. this flexion store in beijing
never even put them on sale. that is because so many people turned up overnight in freezing conditions to be first in line to buy the phone. when people heard they would not be able to get their hands on the latest iphone, they were quite angry. there was a lot of pushing and shoving. as you can see now, the police are outside the apple store in beijing. the shops are closed and the sign on the door says the iphone 4s will not be put on sale at the moment. apple said it had no choice but to close its doors. so many people turned up. it feared for the safety of customers and for its staff inside this shop. it has also decided to postpone the sales of all new iphones. for some customers, they want an apology for waiting up so long. >> still to come on gmt -- how
iwan's relationship with china is keen. we will have more for you. aaron is with me now. we are going to have a look at the business news, i believe. we have two areas to look at. the first of those is the eurozone. the ecb with loads of money for banks to borrow and they are doing it in droves. >> absolutely. that's a very important story. the european banking situation. we have just seen italy go to the money markets once again. a big test for italy. they went to the money markets to try to raise about $6 billion. they raised that $6 billion. the yield that they pay -- last
time, they paid 5.6%. today, investors only demanded 4.8%. the expectations were huge. yesterday, spain went to the money markets for exactly the same type of short-term three- year bond debt sale. spain was very successful. the expectation of italy was that it would basically do the same. because there was such a difference between spain and italy, i ask an expert earlier -- as this investors judging italy against spain? >> we have to consider the differences between spain and italy, because the political situation is different. despite the fact that spain has an even worse situation than italy at the economic level, the political situation is more stable. there is a clear government. that will allow for the
following years. in italy, the political situation remains unstable. >> a big test on january 30. they go to the markets for long- term debt. that's a different story altogether, david. >> this is gmt from "bbc world news." i am david eades. these are the headlines. burma has begun releasing more prisoners, including several prominent dissidents. pakistan's prime minister, yousuf raza gilani, has described a parliamentary vote of confidence as a choice between democracy and dictatorship. as the united states slowly winds down its military operations in afghanistan, it seems the taliban could be benefiting from a boom in the opium supply. a big increase in the price compared to 2010 and the poppy
cultivation has also increased. >> in the united nations says there has been a dramatic increase in the price and production of afghan opium. the latest report by the u.n. of this on drugs and crime says opium farmers in afghanistan probably earned more than $1.4 billion in 2011. that is equivalent to 9% of afghanistan's gdp. the u.n. also says there has been a big increase in opium production. prices began rising in 2010 after much of the poppy crop was wiped out. as a result, higher prices were predicted in 2011, but the u.n. says it has exceeded expectations. many farmers say they want to
plant more opium poppies because of the high prices. the u.n. officials say opium is now a significant part of the afghan economy, which funds the insurgency and fuels corruption. opium 90% of the world's comes from afghanistan. it has claimed tens of thousands of lives every year. >> haitians marking the second anniversary of the earthquake that struck the country in 2010. there have been church services and memorial ceremonies and a national day of remembrance. the government has said the disaster killed more than 300,000 people with 1.5 million displaced from their homes. nigerian trade unions are suspending their protests for two days against the government's decision to scrap fuel subsidies. the move will have no impact on a separate action by oil workers. they have threatened to shut down crude production by the weakened if the government does
not reinstate subsidies. mark lobel is in lagos, where he has been speaking to a banker. >> we have been off work. i have been at home. today, on the streets to make our voices heard. we are tired of injustice. [inaudible] no lights, no water, no electricity. i'm tired. i even wanted to have a job. many people are out there unemployed. >> is this about other things than the fuel subsidy?
>> yes. we are tired of non-transparency in government. i went out to vote. they are responsible to me. this is our money. >> tensions rising high. voters in taiwan will be going to the polls on saturday. the last government rally in the capital, taipei. the president is running for reelection, trying to rally every last vote on what is his last opportunity to swing what they expect will be a very close race. the outcome itself could change taiwan's relationship with china. 2012 is seen as a major year of political change. 60 years on from the civil war, both based leadership changes with china to see its
communist party swept a new generation of leaders behind closed doors. folks in taiwan having elections this weekend. many people in china are also watching. >> soaring above taipei, the second largest building in the world, built to put taiwan on the map. today, the observatory is full of chinese tourists, curious about this island their country claims. today, they see this. a noisy campaign. democracy happening in the chinese world, just 100 miles from china's shore. >> i have seen many banners and flags. it looks very interesting. we do not have anything like this in china. >> taiwan has only just begun to welcoming chinese tourists. two million came last year.
>> dior is building its biggest store in the world here. taiwans president says has to open its doors to china. he has made ending decades of hostility his priority. >> what is the importance of that, of building closer relations to china? >> peace, he says, and prosperity, but at what price? >> it raises some very difficult questions for taiwan. does this island have any choice but to pitch its economic future to its giant neighbor? will it threatened the island's hard-won freedom? the opposition feels china could threaten its democracy. >> china is a source of
uncertainty for the region. >> since the civil war, the two have taken different paths. china insists it will take taiwan by force, if necessary. in china, the political system remains frozen. make way for a new communist leader to be chosen by the party in secret, but can taiwan influence china? he says yes. >> i have been hearing this so much from the chinese tourists who say, when will they come for us so that we can choose our own leader? >> the communist party says china is not ready or suited for democracy. taiwan hopes its example can prove otherwise.
many fear the independence they now enjoy could be crushed if china rises. sure you could tell me that processed foods are not good for your health. a familiar message, but it is being rammed home in a new study. researchers in sweden suggest people who eat the equivalent of three sausages per day increase their risk of pancreatic cancer by 50% for the risk of getting this type of cancer remains relatively low. here is our health correspondent. >> researchers have discovered a link between bowel cancer and eating too much processed meats. scientists now say there could be a link with pancreatic cancer. it is a report that experts think you should take seriously. >> about 8,000 people get this type of cancer every year in the u.k. it does tend to have lower
survival than other types of cancer. if we can find out what affects the risk, it would be really good. >> on the face of it, this report sounds alarming. around 60 grams of processed meats, two russians of bacon, if need in everyday, could increase -- two rations of bacon, if he did every day, could increase your risk by 50%. >> pancreatic cancer is rare, but often deadly. craig wood died just 10 weeks after being diagnosed. his wife says the illness can strike with frightening speed. >> it takes hold of you very quickly. before you know it, you are diagnosed and it is too late. it just goes fast antics of rear body. -- fast and takes over your body.
>> the researchers say it is such a deadly disease, anything that increases the risk needs further study. >> here is a daring way to make your point. the tourism minister of zambia has braved a bungee jump off victoria falls bridge. he was trying to prove that bungee jumping is still safe. the accident on new year's eve, you may recall, in which an australian jumper -- her rope snapped. the 22-year-old was not injured. he said he wanted to restore people's faith in the adventure pastime. he said it was a thrilling experience. a reminder of our top story on gmt. burma has released many of the country's leading distance -- in dissidents. 650 people have been released, including buddhist monks who led
a wave of protests in 2007. that is in for the moment. stay with us on "bbc world news." >> make sense of international news. bbc.com/news. >> funding for this presentation is made possible by -- the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu newman's own foundation and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to know your business, offering specialized solutions in capital to help you meet your growth objectives. we offer expertise and tailored solutions for small businesses
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