tv BBC World News America PBS April 30, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm PDT
"bbc world news america," reporting from washington. i am katty kay. in bahrain, pro-democracy activists to the retrial, but this small victory does not stop protests. our correspondent is caught in the middle. >> go for it, go for it. >> international headache after a blind chinese lawyer escapes house arrest. the u.s. is not with the diplomatic dilemma -- is left with a diplomatic dilemma. is it art or science? when you're talking about leonardo da vinci, it could be both. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and also around the globe. a few small islands are as
strategically important as bahrain. it is in the middle of the persian gulf, a gateway for a ran past -- for iran's oil exports, and home to merica's fifth naval fleet. >> reports of talks today for iran's jailed activist. abdulhadi al-khawaja was jailed last week, sentence by a military tribunal. he has been on hunger strike since february. today's ruling means he will remain in custody until his sentence is reviewed by the court. >> he told me that, "my hunger strike is not for negotiation. i'm not going to stop until i am free, either by death by coming out of jail. i am not going to stop." think the government is
assassinating -- i think the government is assassinating my husband in a very slow and painful way. >> the allegation that the government means any harm to al- khawaja is untrue. we regularly report on his health. he is visited regularly by the danish ambassador and his family. >> at weekly prayer is in this sunni mosque, the chancellor condemned the anti-government protests that have turned violent. >> let him strike until he dies. why do i care? there are other prisoners in other parts of the world who are hungry. no one cares about them. why should we care about him? >> large numbers from the shia majority want more rights for -- from the city monarchy. al-khawja wants them gone altogether. in these districts, he has a following.
>> he is speaking for human- rights. we will fight for him as he is fighting them. >> this is one of the anti- government protests in bahrain. the problem starts when activists come out on the streets and clash with police, who respond with teargas and box shots. driving away, we witnessed the beginnings of exactly that escalation. go for it, go fo r it. this footage recent, the pa, rey published, appears to show a mass bombing. >> the vast majority of the island is peaceful. most people know that.
>> in much of the country, life goes on. until the issues of human rights and sharing power are resolved, sporadic violence will continue to plague this island. abc news, bahrain -- bbc news, bahrain. >> i spoke to the washington director of human rights watch. you just came back from bahrain. what was the island like that you found there? >> it was seating. there is a growing polarization on both sides of the divide in bahrain right now, particularly in the shi'ite community, the majority shia community -- there is deep frustration at the royal family, the government is not implementing the reforms that were recommended by the king's commission. >> how easy was it for someone like you, a human rights observer, to operate in the
country? >> it took a while to get a visa. they only let us in for friday's -- for five days. they did not want us there on friday when the demonstrations happen. had the opportunity to meet with senior government officials to talk about the experience. it was an interesting trip. it did convince me that the situation there is still salvageable. we do not have a lot of time. the anger is building on both sides. >> the fifth fleet is still stationed on the island. to what extent does washington need to be concerned about the seething anger that you found? >> america's military presence in bahrain is obviously very important to u.s. security in the persian gulf, but i am not sure it is sustainable if the situation really does unravel in bahrain. and i think it still might. i do not think the u.s. could
keep the fifth fleet there if the violence built to proportion that we're seeing in syria. what we are seeing throughout the middle east is one legitimate demands for reform are denied, people do not go home or give up. they just get more angry and more radical. and then it is too late. >> the bahraini government says it has offered something by allowing for the retrials of these activists. will that satisfy the people who are demonstrating on the streets? >> i do not think it will satisfy them soon enough. the retrials will take months. remember, these political leaders who were imprisoned were imprisoned for things like calling for republic in bahrain, not a minority, for participating in meetings -- for offenses that constitute nothing more than the exercise of the freedom of speech. they should not be in prison at all. the king's commission recommended that they be released. i think a lot of people are not going to understand why you need a months-long process of the
judiciary to establish what we know, that they should not be in prison. >> as you say, time is short. thank you so much. 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. reports say three large bombs went off, two of them targetting 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. terrorismobama's top adviser has said that the use of drone attacks to kill suspected terrorists is helping to win the war against al-qaeda. he described the task as legal, ethical -- the tactic as legal, ethical, and necessary. his speech was interrupted by a protester who spoke up on what she said were -- on behalf of what she said were the innocent victims of the attacks. it is the great escape making
headlines and headaches in u.s.- chinese relations. last week, the blind chinese lawyer, chen guangcheng, pulled off a remarkable feat and led his house arrest. he is believed to be under u.s. protection in beijing. the circumstances surrounding his escape are still not clear. >> ever since the blind activist fled, there has been growing concern about the fate of his family members and friends. what we tried to enter the village, we were stopped by a group of men. we ask why we could not go into the village. one of them said, "go away." we asked if family members were still inside the village. he said, "i don't know. go away." the village remains heavily guarded. this case comes at a hugely sensitive time for america and china. the two countries are set to hold high-level talks. hillary clinton is expected to
attend. according to mr. chen's friend, he is apparently under the protection of american officials at the u.s. embassy in beijing. how china and america choose to handle this case could hugely 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. -- consulate. it is still reverberating
throughout the system. it is a no-win for america, because it will reinforce the view among many chinese conspiracists who think america wants to destabilize china. they will think this is yet another incident that is contributing to that. both sides would somehow like to get by this incident. >> 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 -- 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 stuck 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 precedents. china has offered the option of traveling to the united states for medical purposes. this has occurred in the past with some famous dissidents. the problem is that 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 would prefer -- he calls himself a civil rights advocate. he would prefer to stay in china. this is going to be extremely difficult to do under the
circumstances. >> 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? "they have to stop," he tells me. "there will be trouble. people do not have anything more to give."
despite the very obvious beauty here, there are storm clouds on the horizon. 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.
>> you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come -- >> playing politics with washington mired in gridlock -- we talked to two pros who wore warn it is worse than it looks. today, one world trade center, the building replacing the 10 -- the twin towers, claimed the title of new york boss tallest skyscraper. york's tallest skyscraper. >> eyes are drawn upward. you cannot miss the towering skyscrapers. al qaeda destroyed the twin towers that stood here, killing nearly 3000 people in the 9/11 @ baks. -- 9/11 attack. seeing the new structure is a source of pride.
>> it is bittersweet. it is a horrible reason you have to put it up, because the others came down the way they did. >> we can resurrect. we are moving forward as a whole. >> with that steel column, one world trade center overtakes the empire state building as the tallest skyscraper in new york. 10 years after the 9/11 attack, once again, manhattan is home to the tallest building in the city. as a milestone was reached, praise for those who toiled to make this rise from the rubble. >> this is more than a job for this team. building this incredible power. it has been an act of passion and patriotic duty. firefighters brother was killed on 9/11. there is symbolism in the timing of this. >> it is interesting that it is
coming close to the anniversary of bin laden's death. it is poetic justice. >> the empire state building remains iconic, but the title of tallest building has been reclaimed by a skyscraper soaring over downtown, symbolizing the renaissance at ground zero. news,trevelyan, thbbc new york. >> washington and -- washington is broken. it is the mantra heard across this country. for many political waters, the situation is worse now thanthe 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. a number of things have happened. 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. they were conservative. the democrats have moved somewhat left. the republicans lost their moderates and liberals and moved right. we a parliamentary-type party ies that exist in a system that does not accommodate that. the media has become partisan. >> is this the price of -- the process 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 -- party loses its standing. gridlock is ensured. >> all of the big thing that needs to happen on not happening reform -- happen are not happening, energy reform, education reform. all of these major decisions that need plurality of some sort. 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 thing we can do in the short run -- one of our parties, the republican party, has become an insurgent out lawyer -- outlier. they are ideologically extreme and contentious -- contemptuous of compromise. >> hold on a second. don't they just reflect their voters? >> no. in fact, 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. electoral and institutional. before that, the public will have to rein in that ideological outlier. give us someone in the middle who is willing to work with one another. 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 and the nominating -- broad center, the nominating party has -- the nominating process, not even his own 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."
next time around, you are writing a positive book. thanks so much. to one of the world's most renowned artists, from the mona lisa to the last supper, leonardo da vinci's thework speaks for itself. the painter was also a pioneer in the study of anatomy. later this week, the largest exhibition of the drawings of the human body will go on display at buckingham palace. >> the artist as anatomist. across nearly 90 drawings, leonardo da vinci depicts the human body in the astonishing detail. using his skill as an architect and engineer, three-dimensional structures are revealed with extraordinary clarity. it is the biggest ever exhibition of its kind. but is it art or science? >> they are scientific papers. they may seem beautiful, but they are not works of art.
leonardo did not see them as 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. that way he could experiment how blood flowed through the heart. >> his dissection of a 100 -- these drawings were made following his dissection of a 100-year-old man. they contain the earliest descriptions of the narrowing of the arteries and cirrhosis of the liver. the museum in london contains thousands of anatomy specimens collected during the 18th century. by this stage, leonardo's drawings were still unpublished and would remain so for another 100 years. -- 200 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. >> this idea of looking in layers is what we can now do with modern ct and mr, magnetic- resonance scanning. >> 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. in anatomy as in so many fields, he was a genius far ahead of his time, showing his thirst for knowledge and a mastery of art and science. >> was there anything been she could not do? that brings to a's show to a close -- was there anything in the then she could not d-- anytd
not do? that brings today's show to a close. >> 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 use 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" was
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