tv BBC World News America PBS October 26, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm EDT
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network to work for a wide range of companies from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, bbc "world news" america. >> this is bbc "world news" america. reporting from washington. a dramatic new chapter in the life of italy's former prime minister, silvio berlusconi, who was handed a prison sentence for fax fraud. there is cease-fire, and a massive bomb blast rocks the capital. you recognize these characters. we finds out what's drawing cartoonists to the presidential campaign.
>> welcome to our viewers on public television in america and also around the globe. colorful, controversial and new convicted and sent to prison. silvio berlusconi has been found guilty of tax fraud. he said the conviction was a political judgment that he found to be incredible and intolerable. however, the multi-millionaire businessman may never sleep in a prison bed. gavin hewitt reports. >> for 17 years silvio berlusconi served as italy's prime minister. today he was sentenced to prison for tax fraud, a four-year sentence which was reduced to one year. a further moment of shame for a man whose premiership came to be dominated by scandal. the judge said there had been a significant amount of tax evasion and that mr. berlusconi showed a natural capacity for crime. he was banned from holding
public office for five years. a small crowd toasted the further disgrace of the 76-year-old billionaire who for so long dominated italian public life. silvio berlusconi phoned one of his tv stations and called the verdict a political conviction that was incredible and intolerable. >> he has lost his grip on the judicial system. it's his crusade against the italian judicial system and it's possibly over. >> for much of his political career berlusconi has faced charges and court cases. he is currently accused of having paid for sex with an under-aged girl and in the role of a publication of an illegally obtained wiretap and today he was convicted of tax evasion in a case involving one of his tv companies. >> silvio berlusconi's last months in office were overshadowed by the fact that
there were allegations that he had sex with an underaged girl called ruby. his so-called parties undermined his credibility. >> just two days ago the former prime minister said he would not be a candidate in next year's elections. almost a year ago crowds celebrated as he stood down as prime minister. he is expected to appeal a lengthy process in italy and it's most unlikely he'll actually go to prison. today's sentence will further undermine his political influence. gavin huth, bbc news. >> a cease-fire has been shattered within showers of coming into force. there have been multiple violations. the worst in damascus, the capital, where a car bomb has killed at least five people and wounded more than 30 others. paul has the latest. >> cease-fire.
what cease-fire? this was damascus today, a car bomb. the regime said this was a terrorist attack on housing for police families. they said it was a bomb outside one of their mosques. >> we saw what the u.n. is up against when we visited aleppo last month. since then the rebels say they've gained two key neighborhoods, a decisive battle is being fought for this, syria's largest city. cease-fire or not, neither side wants to give up the advantage. >> the military situation is excellent, this rebel commander told me. the government is bombing civilians, but god is generous to us and we're gaining ground. we won't stop until the whole of aleppo is liberated. the rebels are taking
prisoners. he once command add units of the feared paramilitary ghosts. now he's in jail. he tells me that a colonel in syrian intelligence ordered his men to kidnap female activists and subject them to gang rape. >> we raped four girls he tells me matter of factly. students informers told. they were raped on the bus. there's so much bitterness it's hard to see how the two sides can sit down together and move into a political process. that was the slim hope which rested on the u.n. attempt to get a cease-fire. instead blood was spilled across syria today with bomb attacks in the capital, damascus, shelling at homes and fighting in aleppo in the north.
>> business as usual, then. the northern town and the government shelling today. every previous attempt of a cease-fire in syria has collapsed. there was no reason to think that this time would be any different. paul wood, bbc news. >> afghanistan has also been rocked by deadly violence today. the suicide bomber attacked a mosque in the north of the country, killing 41 people and wounding more than 50. many of the casualties were policemen. they thought the bomber himself may have been wearing a police uniform. in other news hurricane sandy is heading towards the u.s., where it's threatening to merge with another storm early next week. sandy is now known to have killed more than 30 people as it passed through the caribbean. it caused widespread damage in the bahamas, cuba, haight tee and jamaica. sandy's trajectory shows it moving toward the eastern coast of the united states. the threat from hurricane sandy has put both u.s. presidential
candidates on high alert. mitt romney's already cancelled a rally scheduled for sunday evening in virginia beach. with only 11 days until polling day, both barack obama and mitt romney have been importanting over the latest economic data. figures show the u.s. economy grew 2% in the last three months. the white house says the economy is moving in the right direction. the republicans say the figures are discouraging news. our north american editor, mark, has been with mr. romney on the campaign trail. >> if it's friday it must be iowa and ohio. for hit romney this is a relentless race from state to state, stage to stage, squeezing out every last vote with a new message underlying what a difference four years makes. he says president obama stands for the status quo. he is the candidate of hope and change. >> if you're ready for that kind of change, if you want this to be a turning point in america's course, join paul
ryan and me. get your friends and family to do the same. and vote now for the kind of leadership that these times demand. >> and some americans can vote now. the president has offered his own frantic 48-hour tour and wound up in chicago last night and took advantage of early voting. >> i can't tell you who i voted for. >> one four-letter word has hung over this election -- jobs. mitt evolved from a clumsy candidate into a confident one with a big vision. this is his plan to revitalize america. he says it creates 12 million new jobs in four years. it cut taxes by 20% for everyone, even the very rich. it cut government spending back to 20% of the nation's income. >> you want real big change in this country? well, you're going to get it. on november 6 we're going to get america on track again.
>> these events were actually called victory reast. he really is on his way to the white house. supporters are desperate to know he's right but it's far from in the bag. the polls are incredibly tight and he's fractionally behind here. >> people that are working every day to feed their families are really bad. it's very bad here. and we need a change now, and mitt romney's the man to do it. we cannot afford four more years of this. >> in a cincinnati park the veteran democratic senator, sharrod brown, is fighting for his political life, just like the president. today's figures showing stronger growth are a relief. >> it's clear the economy is going in the right direction. and my opponent and governor romney want to go back to more tax cuts for the rich and trickle-down economics. the unemployment rate in this state has dropped from over 10.5% to 7% now. >> mitt romney's claim is that
america can do much better and the promise of hope and change can work wonders in elections. bbc news, ohio. >> let's get more now on the state of the u.s. economy. she's the senior economic analyst from bloomberg. she joins me now. aknee ta, thanks for coming in. >> absolutely. >> so all the analysts, like yourself, are confounded. the u.s. economy grew at 2%. what's going on? >> there are three main things that were driving growth this quarter. one, consumer spending was up. more confidence with lower gas prices. two, we saw housing starts go up. there's more residential construction. and, three, the federal government got into the game. defense spending skyrocketed in the third quarter. that was the unexpected piece to this puzzle. >> very interesting. so consumers are feeling more confident. >> yes. >> how about companies? how are they feeling? >> oh, that is the weakest part of the g.d.p. numbers. the companies' investment is very, very weak.
it has been unchanged. the companies seem to be sitting on their hands. with all the uncertainty with europe, the presidential election and the fiscal automatic tax cuts and spending cuts -- tax hikes and spending cuts coming forward, companies are afraid to make any real investments, and that's slowing their contribution to the g.d.p. >> how about unemployment? that remains stubbornly high, doesn't it, here in the u.s. but now we have this economic growth of 2%. is that enough? >> it's not nearly enough. we need much higher growth. we need companies to invest again, and we need them to hire. and with the u.s. corporate earnings coming out this quarter, what we saw more than hiring projections were layoff projections. that does not bode well to the employment situation going forward. >> you talked a bit about this fiscal clip, that's what's happening here in the u.s. in january, when there was supposed to be these automatic budget cuts and tax hikes, how is that making everybody feel as we look towards the end of the year and this cliff in january?
>> this is a deal that nobody wants to happen. so everyone is looking at it with apprehension from companies to government agencies who may feel the effects. so hopefully whoever gets into that white house come november will be a dealmaker and a problem solver and we can fix our fiscal situation before these cuts become a reality. >> and overall is the u.s. doing well in the face of all these headwinds from europe, or is it performing disappointingly? >> it's stagnating. it's treading water because essentially companies are afraid to make decisions under uncertainty. until global demand comes back from europe, china or the emerging markets, companies will not invest. >> thank you very much for joining us. and from a footnote from spain, unemployment there has risen to above 25% in the past three months. more than 5.7 million people are out of work. spain's economy has been hit by recession just as it struggled to recover from a property
bubble that burst. now china has dismissed as a smear a "new york times" report which claims that a family there has become rich during his term in office. a newspaper says it's been blocked in china following public indication of the story. meanwhile the country's disgraced former political star has been expelled from parliament. martin reports. >> he was one of china's most powerful and charismatic politicians. but now stripped of immunity from prosecution, he faces the prospect of jail. chinese state tv announced that he's been expelled from particlement, paving the way for charges. ite' a remarkable fall from grace for a man who had been tagged as one of the future political leaders. the applies chief at the u.s. consulate in february told
american diplomats that his wife had murdered the british businessman, neil haywood. he was later convicted of the killing. for months there was no words of his fate. but now he's likely to face several charges, including for corruption. china's premier has been unspoken on this issue. he's warned that corruption is the greatest threat to the rule of the communist party. but "the new york times" has alleged the premier's own relatives have amassed huge fortunes while he's been in power. the newspapers' websites are now blocked in china but the allegations are likely to damage a leader who's cultivated an image as a man of the people. china will start installing new leaders in just two weeks. it was supposed to be a smooth process. but instead it's been marred by scandal and damaging revelations continue to emerge.
bbc news, beijing. >> you're watching bbc "world news" america. still to come on tonight's program -- what do all your google searches tell us about the u.s.'s presidential campaign? we'll speak to someone who's been looking at them. >> searching for a new aircraft landing site in antarctica, because the current runway is melting due to global warming. only a fraction of the planned flights have been able to land at the multimillion-dollar facility which is there to supply scientific bases. >> fasten your seatbelts it's going to be an icy landing, but not, it seems, icy enough. the $46 million landing runway in antarctica needs to be frozen more still. global warming has made the strip melt.
the runway was built four years ago but already the flight schedule has been decimated. in the 2009-2010 season 20 flights were planned but only 14 landed. a year later 20 more flights were planned but only two managed to touch down. last year the landing program was slashed to just four flights, all of which landed. >> in the last two seasons it has been warmer than we would like. what we're doing is investigations about the feasibility and environmental impact of a gravel runway and we're doing investigations at dover station this year. >> with the runway unreliable, they're having to turn to ships. but australia's main vessel is currently stuck. they needed ice breakers to help supply those living in ant arc ca. >> what we hope is this is the first of many visits by the chinese program through the
tasmanian gateway to ant architect ca. >> the temperatures have gone up roughly triple the global temperature rise in the past 0 years. but the airport at the -- 50 years. but the airport at the bottom of the world may not need to be measured in hours or days, but seasons. >> what is it about the u.s. presidential election that really interests you? is it the economic policies of barack obama and mitt romney or is it the clothes their wives wear? millions of google searches you make every day in different cities and in different states paint a revealing portrait of the electorate. we've been analyzing just what you've been searching. he's a doctoral candidate at harvard university and joins us tonight from new york. thanks very much for being with us. tell us, what are people
googling most about republican paul ryan? is it his policies or his physique? >> his physique seems to be a lot more interest to the american public than his policies. paul ryan shirtless is googled nine times more o than paul ryan budget, for example. >> do you have any other he cans of google searches like that? i mean, are people looking for the superficial or the substantial? >> they're definitely looking for the superficial rather than substantial in comparison to what they tell pollsters. they're very interested in mitt romney's underwear, for example. people are curious whether he's wearing temple garments, as you said with the spouses, they tend to comment about their appearance, their dresses, fashion, et cetera. >> so what makes your study of google searches more revealing than an opinion poll? >> people lie to surveys. people tell pollsters what they think pollsters want to hear, not their actual thoughts and
potential behaviors. so, for example, 70% of people who won't vote will tell pollsters that they are certain to vote. people do not want to admit things like that they don't vote. on google people have been shown to be very, very honest and by analyzing google data we can often get a more revealing picture of the electorate. >> and how do you analyze all this data? >> computers, statistics, maps, etc., and plug it in there and see what happens. >> now, you made a link between google searches and votes actually cast for barack obama in 2008. >> yeah. one the places google searches actually are most useful, i think, is in predicting turnouts. people don't like to admit that they have no intention to vote, but people will type in google how to vote, where to vote, voting locations. this turns out to be a more accurate predictor of where turnout is going to be high or low. in 2008 we could get a strong
predictor of where turnout was going to be high, and some places, for example, where african turnout was very, very high and it really, really helped obama, that would have been clear on googm. >> you found out something interesting about where votes were low for barack obama, didn't you? what was that? >> there are a couple of things i found. one is the effect of racism in the 2008 election. obama did a lot worse than expected in places in which racist searches were very high. and there also seems to have been an effect of rumors at the last minute. if you look at searches for obama muslims and you kind of crunch the numbers, there's evidence within the last couple of days he might have lost one or two percentage points in many states from these rumors. >> so based on what you're doing, who's going to win, do you think? >> i don't know if i can say who's going to win to any great degree of certainty.
the turnout looks good thus far for obama. there is some concern that african-american turnout will go down to 2004 levels rather than the 2008 levels. the google search data thus far says the composition of the electorate will look pretty much like the 2008 electorate, which was favorable to obama. >> and do you think both campaigns are studying google searches in the swing state markets right now, and if not, should they be? >> they definitely should be. there's a lot of information -- powerful information in this data set. they could potentially have at every town and every city in every swing state they could be mapping interest in voting -- interest in voting behavior. they could use this to allocate their voter mobilization efforts. they could see where stories are catching on and use that to maximize advertising effects. so there's definitely tons of stuff they can use this data for. >> and i'll bet they are listening to you right now. thanks very much indeed. >> thanks so much for having
me, laura. >> now the u.s. presidential race is gold for the nation's cartoonists. whether the candidates are talking about big bird or big tax cuts. the race for the white house is generating a wealth of material for those who deal in caricature. two cartoonists have been busy sketching barack obama and mitt romney during the campaign. we sat down with them for a lesson on political lampooning. ♪ >> we just love this. he's got that perfectly coifed hair. >> my name is ted bagley and i'm the editorial tar:ist for the "tribune." i've been cartoons for the paper for 32 years. doing cartoons in utah is the easiest job in the world because there's just so much material.
♪ >> we've got about 2r50 billion of them. >> mitt romney is a favorite son of utah. he helped the olympic games there and he's mormon and the state is about half -- 50% mormon. so he's kinds of my guy. >> i think i understand mitt romney and i understand something about why he is so stiff. >> when i'm thinking about doing the cartoon, i listen to the radio in the morning and i read the newspaper. i mull things over until i -- i choose the thing that most outrages me at that moment and then i kind of work it over and i think, what's it like and how can i approach it. people ask me all the time, where do you get your ideas? and i can't explain where they come from. ♪
>> obama has got kind of a wide nose a little bit. i'm nick anderson, the editorial cartoonist for "the houston chronicle." he's not wide-eyed. he has his eyes half closed most of the time. ♪ >> i went out and bought a book on cartooning when i was in fifth grade and my family thought i was a little nutty. i just wanted to do something different. i wanted -- i had a unique or a creative streak
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