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tv   Witness History  BBC News  January 25, 2020 8:30pm-9:01pm GMT

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hello, this is bbc news. going to take referrals in england the headlines: and wales where we have the greatest the death toll from risks of safety, if you like, the coronavirus rises to 41, with authorities in china struggling to contain the outbreak, as millions for the near future. travel for the lunar new year. all new referrals will now be redirected to the nhs. benita mehra, a newly—appointed member of the grenfell tower inquiry in a statement, the nhs said panel, resigns after being linked to the charitable arm providing the best care for veterans of the firm which supplied is its number one priority, but veterans ministerjohnny mercer the tower block's cladding. said he would hold an urgent meeting with combat stress to discuss the situation. chi chi izundu, bbc news. donald trump's lawyers have begun their defence of the president in his impeachment trial in the senate — they say he's done nothing wrong. the search for survivors continues after a powerful earthquake hit turkey. let's get a look at the weather. at least 22 people have been killed the sun will reappear tomorrow after and more than 1,200 injured. it has been quite some time. it comes it has been quite some time. it co m es after it has been quite some time. it comes after a spell of rain and that now on bbc news, witness history. will overnight push into northern ireland and western scotland. ahead of that plenty of cloud and some patchy light rain. the wind is picking up across the uk, there hello and welcome to witness history isn't any frost going into the
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with me, razia iqbal, here at the royal academy in london. morning. this rain courtesy of a front with cold air following. it today, we will hear from five people who have lived will clear away for northern ireland through an incredible in the morning, push across moments in history. scotland, through wales than across coming up — the woman who defied the salvadoran government over england, not reaching the far east the murder of six priests. until later. there will be brighter skies following behind, more the town that was poisoned by asbestos. especially to northern ireland and and the agricultural scotland. a few showers on the hills scientist who helped of scotland. as it turns colder, save a billion lives. but, first, of all of enhanced by a stronger wind, a the revelutions that swept across eastern europe blustery day tomorrow. temperatures are coming down as the rain clears just over 30 years ago, the overthrow of the nicolae away. further wintry showers in 00:01:36,646 --> 4294966103:13:29,430 places sunday night into monday. ceausescu and his wife elena in romania was the bloodiest. the uprising began in the western city of timisoara where a local pastor, laszlo tokes, took a stand against the authorities. the unrest started in timisoara in transylvania following the arrest of pastor laszlo tokes. laszlo tokes, who was an outspoken
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critic of the government, refused to leave when the secret police came to arrest him. several hundred churchgoers gathered to stop them. i did not want to become a revolutionary. but step by step my attitude was radicalised because we had to speak out. he was a stalinist—type dictator. the romanian system became more and more cruel. we were under total control by the securitate, the romanian secret service. the church became a centre of peaceful opposition. i did not make politics. i only tried to express that we must obey god rather than men. it wasn't just that he was a gifted preacher. he was the first man they had ever known who was prepared to stand up and challenge the ceausescu dictatorship and its
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deadly security network. people began to gather around my church. looking out through my windows onto the large crowd, sincerely to say, i was frightened of the probable consequences of that brave demonstration. i remember people began to sing patriotic songs to shout against the regime. down with nicolae ceausescu!" "liberty, liberty! the army was very cruel, very violent. about 50 people were killed in a day. that was the bloodiest day in timisoara. in very short time, the demonstrations enlarged
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into the neighbouring cities. nicolae ceausescu is fighting for his political life in the only way he knows how — the violent suppression of any kind of protest. in the morning of the 17th of december, we were taken by the securitate in a very brutal way. it was clear for us that we are to be executed or imprisoned. my wife was pregnant with our second child, which later on was born, i think was our angel in that time and protected us when we were prepared for the worst. romanians went on anti—ceausescu rampage as the army joined the revolution. thanks to god, we had a little radio apparatus and were informed that the ceausescu couple were on the run.
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translation: romanian brothers, we come here to the romanian broadcast company to tell you that the dictator has fallen! to let you know that the country is free! with an angry rooftop mob closing in on them, the ceausescus panicked and made their escape by helicopter. it was a wonder, and we considered it a gift from god on christmas for the people. that was the most joyful day in our full life. laszlo tokes on the romanian revolution of 1989. next, a story of identity, loyalty, and betrayal. in the 1950s and ‘60s,
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the french colony in algeria in north africa was battling for independence. but some algerian chose to fight on the side of france — they were called the harkis. when france lost the war in 1962, it abandoned its former colony. in post—independent algeria, thousands of harkis faced brutal prosecution for siding with the former colonial ruler. surge carol was one, and he has been telling witness history about his ordeal. translation: the harki were local forces on the side of the french army in algeria's independence war. we gave everything for france but what we didn't know was that
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france would abandon us. newsreel: as tensions rise in french north africa, france arms her algerian supporters for defence against rebel raids. the prefect of this province personally hands out weapons to recruits where hundreds are being enrolled daily. translation: i was about 17 and a half, 18 years old at the time. you had to choose between france and the rebels. my father had been in the french army and fought in world war i. my brothers were also in the french army. so i chose france. i was proud of what we did.
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proud of serving france. we were always sent out in front of the french troops. if there was an attack, the harki would be the first to die. we had to get rid of the fighters who were terrorising the population. we always knew at that one day algeria would gain its independence. what general de gaulle should have done was take all the harki and their families to safety in france. but when independence was declared in 1962, they french disarmed the harki and left us defenseless. the fln took advantage of this and rounded us all up.
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they took me to a barracks where there were 50 other harki prisoners. there was blood everywhere. they stripped me naked and started torturing me with electric shocks. each time a new group of soldiers came on shift, they began again. the same thing every day. the fln even made as did our own graves. some people were thrown in alive, some were thrown into the river and the jackals did the rest. i was arrested onjuly the 8th 1962. and i escaped on september the 10th 1962. it took me a long time to feel
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welcome here in france. i decided to change my name and convert to catholicism. i wanted to make a fresh start. i could say that i was born under a lucky star and that i am lucky. but not all of them were so lucky. and that is the fault of france. surge carol, and algerian muslim who fought on the side of the colonial power france in the war for algerian independence. now to australia and a tail of environmental devastation. the town of wittenoom in western australia emerged in the 1940s and ‘50s around a profitable blue asbestos mine.
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asbestos, a natural fire retardant was in high demand. but in wittenoom, people were unaware that raw asbestos could be lethal. thousands died and the town is now almost completely abandoned. bronwyn duke grew up there. people were warned but they did not take it seriously until people started to die. i lost both parents, both grandparents, my brother, three uncles, about four cousins that i can think of, and that is just the immediate family in my world. i was born in 1958 in the far north of western australia in a little town called wittenoom. the blue asbestos mine was the genesis of the town. asbestos is a naturalfibre that is encased in rocks. they would extract the asbestos out of the mine and the mill would actually then bag
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it ready for shipment and it was sent to places around the world for the various things that they use asbestos for. newsreel: this is fire insulating product known as asbestos. it is a piece of rock. the practical uses are very numerous. at least 18,000 articles are made of it, ranging from steam engines to bulkheads for aeroplanes. there were a lot of immigrants that came to australia after the second world war. a lot of them were looking forjobs and there were jobs to be had in wittenoom. my dad was one of them. he was the jack of all trades, he drove the bus to take the people from town to the mine every day. my mum and sisters all met their husbands there. they had all the elements of a normal country town.
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they had race days and social activities that everyone was involved in. but my parents were not aware of the dangers. i don't think a lot of the people in town were aware of the dangers. asbestos fibres get into the lungs and those fibres can cause asbestos or mesothelioma. it encases the lung in cancer and prevents it from breathing. in wittenoom, asbestos was not confined to the mines. asbestos was used on driveways and gardens, on the roads as well. it was literally everywhere. if you went out to play, as all children do, you were playing in asbestos. one of the flying doctors flew into town and said as soon as he got there, we have to close this, this has to stop. the mine was very profitable, so it was decided that that was not the case.
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it was 1966 before they actually closed the mine. people had started to die. we left when my dad got sick. we now know that he had asbestosis. it's almost like an asthma attack where you can't breathe and you're fighting to catch your breath. my mum and my brother died from mesothelioma. hundreds of people that i know of have died. everyone in this photo is gone. there is no compensation for taking away your parents. 0ryourfamily. there is nojustice at all, nothing. money does not bring them back. money doesn't compensate for their death, or what you miss.
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bronwyn duke on the devastating legacy of asbestos and one western australian town. remember that you can watch witness history every month on the bbc news channel or you can catch up on all films along with over a thousand radio programmes on act online programmes. search online for bbc witness history. now, the civil war in el salvador. throughout the 1980s, rebels were fighting the us backed government. 1989, the government soldiers dragged six jesuit priests from their beds and murdered them. it changed the course of the war. the salvadoran government blamed for killings
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on rebels. a brave woman stood up to the authorities providing important testimony that contradicted the official version. she told her story to witness history. the funeral took place at the university. they were leading intellectuals. thousands came to mourn not just for the bad man, thousands came to mourn. translation: the priests were always on the side of the poor. it still hurts to remember them and to remember what happened. i will keep telling the story until my dying days. i can never forget it. the government are fighting the biggest guerilla offensive
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since 1981. translation: there were rebels and soldiers shooting all over the place. we couldn't go out and food and water were running low. i was very nervous. i worked as a cleaner at the jesuit university. i called one of the priests and ask if we could come and shelter with my husband and daughter. he said yes of course, come. it all happened just after midnight. we were woken up by the sound of gunfire near the entrance to the university. i got up and went to an open window to look out. i could see the shadows of men,
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near the entrance to the room they were soldiers. i heard one of the priests it was an injustice, a disgrace. then i heard shouting and more shooting. after that there was just silence. the killing that has caused the most outrage is the killing of six priests shot yesterday morning. translation: the government said it was the guerrillas that killed them. i said no it was the army i had seen the soldiers. they did not like me saying that. after that, i was taken with my husband and daughter to the airport and put on a plane. thejesuits said they could not protect me in el salvador. i guess that i was there for a reason that night. another person might have kept quiet and not spoken out.
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but as god says, you have to do something in this life and i did something. lucia on speaking out against the salvadoran government. 0urfinal story is about a man his work is said to help us save a billion people from hunger and famine. in 1970 the american scientist norman borlog was awarded nobel peace prize for his pioneering work developing disease resistant crops. at the time, famine and malnutrition were claiming millions of lives the world. his work meant countries like india were able to become self—sufficient. witness history hears from his friend. the man who fed the world.
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norman borlog praised saving more lives than anyone in history. we were in the field hard at work and looked up and saw a car. he said whoa that looks like margaret. margaret was his wife, she says, norman, you won the nobel prize. he didn't believe that, he comes back and we go back to work. obviously, lam personally honoured beyond all dreams. but the obligations in post not are far greater
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he started his work in mexico in the 1960s, developing high—yielding disease resistant wheat that boosted harvest and became known as the green revolution. he was trained as a plant pathologist. he was trying to protect plants from diseases and specifically, to do something about the rust disease that was wiping out the crop in mexico. what is rust disease? it's a fungus, it's carried in the wind. it is the worst plant disease in the world, so he set about to develop rust resistant wheat varieties. they say food is not the problem, i say it will be a continuing problem.
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india was a special concern,. india didn't have a chance of filling their population. tens of billions of people were dying from hunger and malnutrition so it was considered at the time i hopeless situation. the green revolution essentially eliminated famine. this did not necessarily solve all of the problems of hunger but it gave india a chance. his techniques did attract critics. the plants, it was said, we re critics. the plants, it was said, were too reliable —— too reliable chemicals, too intense. butjust imagine what would have happened in the absence of this green revolution. an environmental disaster and hungry people. the figure that was always used was that
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dr borlaug saved a million lives, andl dr borlaug saved a million lives, and i think it was probably true.- borlaug and his revolutionary work to create new grains. that is all from us this week. we will be back next month with more first—hand accou nts next month with more first—hand a ccou nts of next month with more first—hand accounts of extraordinary moments in history. but now, from me, goodbye. the sun will come after a spell of rain and it will turn colder but a lot of the cloud we have had
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recently will be out of the way. the cloud is with us tonight but high pressure is beginning to move away, as we get a big change, dominated by low pressure. this weather front which is bringing that change will push its rain towards northern ireland in western scotland overnight, and ahead of that plenty of cloud, few breaks in the cloud here and there but also outbreaks of mostly light rain or drizzle. no frost in the morning. this weather front will take rain further east across the uk during sunday. it is a cold front, the leading edge of colder air is moving in behind the rain tomorrow. in that colder air, there will be sunshine coming back but also some showers, some of those turning wintree. tomorrow, the rain is quickly out of the way. it pushes across scotland and wales and england. but not reaching the far east —— far south—east until later in the day. it will brighten up
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tomorrow but it will turn colder. that feel will be enhanced by a brisk wind, the temperatures will drop once the rain has moved on. it will feel different by monday morning. coming into the cold air, will be an area of showers moving right across the uk on sunday night, but focusing on northern ireland, northern ireland and northern scotland, low levels in scotland, if centimetres of snow in places and icy conditions for some of us as well on monday morning on untreated surfaces so don't get caught out by that. on monday, there will be further showers around, medically to the south and west, wintree on the hills of northern britain, some pushing further east, may be emerging to give longer spells of rain in the south coast. it will be a chilly feel two things as well but they will also be some sunshine. there could be helen thunder in there as well. if we take a look at there as well. if we take a look at the extended forecast, there is a
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colder feel two things with sunshine and showers, some wintree to start the week and although it will be wet and windy at the end of the week it will be much milder by then.
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this is bbc world news today. our top stories: china orders a ban on organised tour groups, as a deadly new strain of coronavirus continues to spread. the police have told us that you can drive in but we can't drive out, so it seems that this whole province where the corona virus first broke out is now going to be locked down. the fightback begins for president trump — his lawyers set out the case for the defence at his impeachment trial. they are asking you to do something that no senate has ever done. and they are asking you to do it with no evidence. pulled alive from the rubble — but the search for survivors continues, after a powerful earthquake in turkey. and — after five months in the dark kashmir gets limited internet
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