tv BBC World News America PBS April 30, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm PDT
>> this is "bbc world news america." >> 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 understand the industry you operate in, working to nurture new ventures and help provide capital for key, strategic decisions. we offer expertise and tailor solutions in a wide range of industries. what can we do for you? now, "bbc world news
america." >> this is "bbc world news america," reporting from washington. i am katty kay. in bahrain, pro-democracy activists get a retrial. the small victory does not stop protests. our correspondent is caught in the middle. >> go for it, go for it, go for it. >> and international headache -- after a blind chinese lawyer escapes' house arrest, the u.s. is left with the difficult -- diplomatic and dilemma. is it art or science? when you talk about leonardo da vinci, it can be both. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and also around the globe.
fwe small islands are strategically -- afew small islands are as strategically important as bahrain, to the u.s. navy's fifth fleet. the island is tense after retrials were ordered for prominent under striker -- a prominent hong younger striker 0 others. >> support for bahrain's jailed activists. abdulhadi al-khawaja has been on hunger strike since february. he will remain in custody of his case is reviewed by a civil court. his wife told me she hoped he would be freed. >> he told me that, "my hunger strike is not for negotiation. i am not going to stop until i am free, either by debt or by coming out of jail. i am not coming -- either by death or by coming out of jail.
i am not coming out." i think the government is assassinating my husband. >> is given access 24 hours a day to the best -- he is given access 24 hours a day to the best medical anttention. he is visited regularly. >> may sharply condemned the anti-government protests which have turned -- many sharply condemned the anti-government protests which have turned violent. >> [unintelligible] there are other prisoners in other parts of the world and no one cares about them. why should we care? >> large numbers from the shia majority want more rights from the [unintelligible] al-khawaja wants them gone altogether.
he has a following here. >> he is speaking for human rights. we will fight for him as he is fighting them. >> this is one of the regular, anti-government protests held every week in bahrain. [unintelligible] police respond with teargas and buckshot. driving away, we witnessed the beginnings of that exact escalation. go for it, go for it, go for it. the footage appears to show the mass bombing of activists. >> you could go around this island and find trouble. no one has denied that. the vast majority is peaceful. most people know that.
>> in much of the country, life and business go on. until issues of human rights and sharing power are resolved, sporadic and violence will continue to plague the island. bbc news, bahrain. >> i spoke more with the washington director of human rights. tom, you just came back from bahrain. what was the island like? >> it was ceding -- seething. there is growing polarization on both sides. in particular in the shia communities, the majority shia communities, there is deep frustration at the royal family, the government is not implementing the reforms -- that the royal family, the government is not implementing the reforms. >> how easy it with you to -- how easy is it for someone like
you to operate in the country? >> to go while to get -- it took a while to get the visa. they only let us in for five days. they did not want us there on fridays when the demonstrations happened. we met with senior government officials to talk about the experience. it was an interesting trip. it convinced me that the situation is still salvageable, but we do not have a lot of time. the anger is building on both sides. >> the american naval fleet is still stationed on the island. what extent should washington be concerned about what you found? >> american military presence in bahrain is very important to u.s. security in the persian gulf. i am not sure it is sustainable if the situation does unravel in bahrain, and i think it's still my. i do not think the u.s. could
keep the fifth fleet there if the violence builds to proportion that we're seeing in syria. what we have seen throughout the middle east is, what legitimate demands -- when legitimate demands for reform are denied, people do not give up. they get more angry and more radical. >> the bahrain government has said it will allow for the retrial of some of these activists. will that satisfy people who were demonstrating when you were there? >> i do not think it will satisfy them soon enough. the retrials will take months. these political leaders who were imprisoned were imprisoned for things like calling for a republic, not a monarchy, for participating in meetings. for something that constituted nothing more than the exercise of the freedom of speech. they should not be imprisoned at all. the kings commission recommended that they be released. i think a lot of people are not want to understand why you need
a months-long process in the judiciary to establish what we know, that they should not be in prison. >> thank you so much for coming in. a quick look at other news from around the world. at least nine people have been killed and as many as 100 injured in explosions in the syrian city of idlib. three large bombs went off, two of them targeting security service buildings. opposition activists say the dead included security personnel and civilians. the state news agency said the blasts were the work of suicide bombers. president obama's terrorist adviser has given the most detailed explanation yet of america's use of drone attacks to kill suspected terrorists. john brennan said the strikes by unmanned aircraft were helping to win the war against al qaeda. he described the tactic used in the the region as a legal, -- as legal, ethical, and necessary.
he also acknowledged civilians are sometimes killed. the blind chinese lawyer pulled off remarkable feat and fled his house arrest. he is believed -- pulled off the remarkable feat and led his house arrest. he is believed to be under u.s. protection. >> ever since the line activists fled, there has been growing concern about the fate of his family members -- the blind activist fled, there has been growing concern about the fate of his family members. when we attempted to go into the village, they stopped us. one of them said, "go away, go away." we ask the family members of the activists were still inside the village -- we asked if family members of the activist still inside the village. he said, "i don't know.
go away. -- go away." according to his friend, he is under the protection of american officials at the u.s. embassy in beijing. how china and america contestant -- decide to handle this case could seriously affect relations between the two countries. >> for more on the fallout, i am joined by a guest from the carnegie endowment for international peace. we do not know where the lawyer is. how sensitive is this? >> this is a major embarrassment for china. it is a no-win situation for america. it is a major embarrassment because it comes so soon after the boesky like -- bo xilai affair, whre bo xilai's chief security person took refuge in the american embassy. it is a no-win for america,
because it will reinforce the view among many chinese conspiracists who think america wants to destabilize china. >> so much so that the state department spokesperson did not even say the man's name. mr. obama tried to sidestep questions about this. washington seemed to be as embarrassed as beijing potentially is. >> secretary clinton and secretary geithner are set to arrive in beijing on wednesday. you have two days at most for them to try to resolve this in a sensible way from both sides. if they do not, it is likely to dominate these highly sensitive discussions or the next couple of days. -- these highly-sensitive discussions for the next couple of days. >> we have no word from the chinese government officials. what do you think their reaction is?
>> beijing would like nothing better than to go on with business as usual, focus on the economic, security, and foreign- policy issues as part of this dialogue. they do not want this distraction. they realize the issue will not go round -- go away easily. both sides are stouck on this point. >> is there a way for washington and beijing to save face and get out of this in a short time? >> there are some historic precedenc andts. -- precedents. he does not want to leave china. he is worried about his family. he has not committed any crime. he does not call himself a political dissident against the state. he grows and sells the civil rights advocate. he would prefer -- he calls himself a civil rights advocate. he would prefer to stay in
china. >> thank you very much for coming in. can democratically-elected governments impose the kind of austerity being demanded in europe and hope to stay in power? elections in greece this weekend may hold the answer. with the country in dire financial straits, the two main parties in the governing coalition may be booted out. we have been exploring the mood of the country. >> the peloponnesus, where the gods of greek myth and legend once played, and where we found this man, desperately hoping for better times after five years of recession and continuing government cuts. do you think greece should carry on cutting in the way brussels is asking? " thethey have to stop," he
tells me. "there will be trouble. people do not have anything more to give." a large number of people are expected to vote on parties that want to turn their back on the brussels-imposed austerity. if that happens, there are those who fear this country could be charting a very different course, one that takes it out of the euro, with all the massive implications for this continent that that would bring. wind your way around this country and you find exhaustion. greece is defeated, crumbling. that is changing politics. the same old faces have governed here for decades. in the local council, they know the two main parties who pushed through the cuts are now losing support. the new mayor, an independent, does not believe anyone has the vision to save his country.
>> the plan is to win the election. it is the plan for 15 days. we want a plan for the next 15 years and we do not have anything. >> what they need is growth, but the orange groves are about the only place you'll find that right now. for some voters, the only option is for the next government to renegotiate greece's bailout with europe's leaders. >> we do not have the money to pay. i think they will understand. but if they don't believe us, i think we have to leave the euro. >> which direction will greece take? like much of europe, there is a growing sense that the austerity is making things worse. there might not be calm for much longer. bbc news in the peloponnesus.
>> playing politics with washington mired in gridlock -- we talked to two pros who wore it is worse than it looks -- warn it is worse than it looks. if misery loves company, athens and madrid are sharing quite a bond. figures show spain is back in recession for the second time in three years, compounding the country's troubles. our chief economic correspondent has the details. >> spain is officially back in recession, confirmed today. hardly a surprise to demonstrators on the street of madrid yesterday. they were protesting against government spending cuts at a time when unemployment has jumped to 1 in 4 in the work force. the economy seems as that and as
the airport -- as stagnant as this airport, which has never been used. >> we are looking to shrink the economy by about 1.5% this year. given the very difficult measures the government is putting in place, structural reforms, deficit reduction, it is really a question of how deep and how prolonged the recession will be. >> the spanish bank has seen a downgrade today. there was a downgrade of the spanish government debt at the end of last week. the health of banks and public- sector finances is seen as closely linked. spain falls into the same category. greece is on a downward path. italy is also in recession.
so, too, the netherlands. experts predict a contraction across the eurozone this year. we might learn more in the french elections this week. >> washington is broken. it is the mantra heard across this country. for many political waters, the situation is worse now than ever. the approval -- for many political watchers, the situation is worse now than ever. the approval rating of congress is at a new low. i have an author joining me now. i wish you could have come up with a more optimistic title. >> i should have said, "it is better than it sounds."
>> people used to to be able to get along. is it worse than it used to be? >> it certainly is. in our 40-plus years of watching congress and american politics, writing about it, teaching about it, we have never seen anything quite like this. if you go back in american history, pre-civil war period, that was pretty dysfunctional. let's hope we do not have to use that as the standard for judging congress today. >> hold on a second. why? why is it a lot worse? >> it is not as if we have had rosy periods. the process is built around clashes and partisan division. regionally, america has transformed in the last 40 years. as it has, we moved from parties that have liberal and conservative wings, to where
major parts of the parties have disappeared. the republicans lost their moderates and liberals and moved right. we a parliamentary-type party is that exist in a system that does not accommodate that. >> is this the price of democracy? they express their different views on different, opinionated airwaves. such is the purpose. >> in a parliamentary system, they can express those views, the public makes a decision, either a majority party or coalition. they form the government and they put in place the program on which they ran. then four or five years later, the public can make a decision about what has happened. that is not how our system works. we empower minorities to keep the government from achieving
anything. and we have, through filibusters in the senate, midterm elections, two years after the first, before programs go into effect. typically, the majority program loses its standing. gridlock is ensured. >> all of the big thing that needs to happen on not happening -- and the reform, education reform -- happen are not happening, energy reform, education reform. how do we get out of this? >> there is no easy way. it is not going to resolve itself. we are not going to have an election -- there is a broad center that is left out of this process. the extremes have dominated. there are reforms we can do. it would be nice if we could have the australian system of mandatory attendance at the polls so that voters in the middle would play more of a role and politicians would speak to
them more. it would be nice if we could have filibuster reform, but there is no panacea. it will take a prop -- it will take awhile to leach these problems out of the system. one of our parties, the republican party, has become an insurgent out lawyer -- outlier. they are ideologically extreme and contentious -- contemptuous of compromise. our political system is structured to have party differences. some degree of acceptance of legitimacy of the other and a willingness to work together to get something done. right now, the republican party has gone so far to the right in both ideological and process terms, prepared to take down the full faith and credit of the country in order to get their way. if you are against collaboration and against congress, you cannot make this system work.
i think we need the reforms before that -- reforms. before that, the public will have to rein in that ideological outlier. give us someone in the middle who is willing to work with congress. not just -- >> if you look at attitudes of republicans as a whole, they have not matched what the people who vote in the primaries, a sliver of the party, desire and want. if you take a candidate like mitt romney, who might otherwise appeal to that brought center, and the nominating -- broad center, the nominating party has pushed him off to the edge in areas like immigration, where he does not reflect the broader views. >> thank you very much. the book is "even worse than it looks."
thanks so much. to one of the world's most renowned artists, from the mona lisa to the last supper, leonardo da vinci's the work speaks for itself. -- leonardo de vinci's work speaks for itself. we have a preview. >> the artist as anatomist. leonardo da vinci depicts the human body in the astonishing detail. three-dimensional structures are revealed with extraordinary clarity. it is the biggest ever exhibition of its kind. is it art or science? >> they are scientific papers. they may seem beautiful, but they are not works of art. we find them beautiful. we find them moving and fascinating and so on.
they are expressions of the human spirit that match art, but it is not art, it is science. >> da vinci injected wax into the brain so that he could draw it more accurately. he created a model of the aortic valve. these drugs were made following his dissection of a 100 -- these drawings were made following his dissection of a 100-year-old man. the museum in london contains thousands of anatomy specimens collected during the 18th century. leonardo's drawings were still unpublished and would remain so for another 100 years. even today, anatomists say some of the studies, such as this hand, using lasers to build up
the bone, muscle, and tendons, are as accurate as -- layers to build up the bone, muscle, and tendons, are as accurate as any modern depiction. >> ghe pre -- he predated and anticipated what we're doing 500 years later. >> leonardo produced the first accurate depiction of the spine. again, compare it with a modern- day medical image. he was a genius far ahead of his time in anatomy, showing his thirst for knowledge and a mastery of art and science. >> is there anything that man could not do? the inevitable leonardo da vinci. that brings our show to a close. you can get updates any time at our website. find me on twitter. from all of us here at "bbc world news america," thanks for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow.
>> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding was 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 woruse their expertise in global finance to guide you through the business strategies and opportunities of international commerce. we put our extended, global network to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> "bbc world news america" was