tv BBC World News PBS August 13, 2009 5:30pm-6:00pm EDT
>> bbc world news is presented by kcet, los angeles. funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. the newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its financial strength 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. >> the possible release from jail for the man convicted of the lockerbie bombing. >> you don't allow someone who has murdered 270 innocent people and let them walk away. >> iran appeals for help as they battle the typhoon. -- taiwan appeals for help as they battled the typhoon. france and germany pull out of the recession. welcome to the bbc world news. coming up later, iraqi kurdistan looks towards a bright future.
however, will their peace be threatened? we have a rare interview with a former member [inaudible] hello. the u.s. government is making its opinions very clear. the man serving a life sentence in a scottish jail for the bombing 21 years ago of a pan am jet should not be released. abdelbaset ali al-megrahi has terminal prostate cancer and he could be freed on compassionate grounds. >> will whole sky just lit up and then it would fire started to rain down. >> there was a terrific mushroom
of flames. >> my brother and lot and my sister-in-law were lost. >> one hour into the flight to new york, pan am flight 103 a sellout of the sky. the biggest murder in british history. abdelbaset ali al-megrahi was sentenced for planting the bomb and now he is said to be released on compassionate grounds because he has a terminal prostate cancer. state turn to this town into international nonotoriety did not invite. it's people carried what happened that night with them. walking through the streets was unforgettable. there was aviation fuel in the air and it was mixed with the black smoke from the fire. you had to step over a chaotic jumble of fire hoses sneaking
off in every direction. you could only watch as the people moved through the darkness nonspeaking, silenced by the shock of it. 259 passengers and crew died. many of them are going home to spend christmas with their family. eleven people were killed on the ground. abdelbaset ali al-megrahi served prison time for each of the dead. this man lost his daughter and he wants al-megrahi to be released. >> i don't believe he is guilty as charged. there are other people have doubts about this. it would be cruel to keep the man in prison to die away from his family and his country. >> the families of many of the american relatives have reacted very differently. >> you don't allow someone who has murdered -- you know,
premeditated murder of over 200 people, you let them walk away. that is not just and not fair. >> pan am flight 103 was on route from london to new york. the bomb toward it apart 5 miles above lockerbie. after years of resistance, libya agreed to release some suspects for trial. a court was convened in the netherlands. three judges found al-megrahi guilty. his co accused was acquitted. as the law stands, a prisoner transfer cannot take place while the legal process is ongoing. the appeal is still going on. release on compassionate grounds would allow him to continue his appeal. the scottish justice minister visited al-megrahi in jail last week. matters of justice are talked
about in the parliament in scotland. >> we will have representation of the americans, the families. i now have to reflect over this as speedily as possible. there are other factors but i have made no decision has yet. >> lockerbie is synonymous with an act of terror that was singularly shocking and ash the time of unprecedented. it is still on the trans- atlantic pass. >> you heard something of it there, even 21 years after the disaster, many questions remain about who exactly was responsible. there has long been concerned that abdelbaset ali al-megrahi was a scapegoat and the real perpetrators are still at large. this report from our bbc security correspondent.
>> it is the story that will not go away. britain's worst ever terror attack still has some unanswered questions. the verdict left on uncomfortable taste in the mouth. one man convicted for all of those deaths. people are questioning whether more senior people from libya should have stood trial. some might have taken the fall for an atrocity done by others. was justice done in the trial of the bombings? the trial looked at a vast amount of evidence. pan am flight 103 was painstakingly rebuilt from the wreckage. this is a forensic investigation conducted to high standards. back in 1988, libya was not the only country with a grudge against america. five months before lockerbie, this warship shot down an iran
air airbus over the gulf killing all of the passengers. the u.s. navy said that its radar mistook it for a warplane. blowing up a u.s. airliner in revenge would have had a symmetry. >> he is a victim of a gross miscarriage of justice. i am very glad that they are going to grant him a release on compassionate grounds. >> one result of the trial, libya has been largely rehabilitated. after the bombing, the leader of libya was an international pariah. he offered up the two suspects for trial and they paid reparations. britain and america will both reestablish relations. >> the outside world has been
grudging in its acceptance of libya. libya has been grudging the world in giving it what it wants. >> what will happen next? this was a welcome home given to the other libyan suspect who was acquitted 8 years ago. when al-megrahi comes home, he will likely get the same. britons think that a line has been drawn over lockerbie, but others have been not so sure. >> we have a timeline of the bombing and more information on bbc.com. at least 20 people have been killed, more than 30 injured in two suicide bomb attacks in northern iraq the attack targeted two cafes in the region
of mosul. north korea has released a south korean engineer for hyundai. he had been detained since march for allegedly insulting the north's communist leadership. there is no sign of the vessel that has disappeared from the north sea. it is believed it has been hijacked. russia has sent up to five navy ships in the search for the hell out -- in the search for the ship. 300 people are missing in just one taiwan village. latest official figures is growing public anger and there are plans to put more effort into the operation. 4000 troops will join the search team. we now have a report from one of the worst hit areas.
>> it is a battle to keep moral high but the search goes on. even more soldiers joined the rescue effort. the water levels are still high and hundreds of people are still stranded. difficult to spot from the air. now troops are out on the ground, more are being found and air lifted to safety. these from one of the worst hit villages. people are being rescued however possible -- ropes, wires reaching into canyons. hear, a newborn baby is brought to safety. the conditions are treacherous but moving fast is essential. it is incredible, the impact that the flood waters have had
on the infrastructure. this is one of the worst affected in southern taiwan. the roads and bridges have been completely swept away. the weather has improved, the operation has been gathering steam but there are still hundreds of people trapped in the mountains. even here, it took an hour to bring one man across. progress is slow and clearly many have perished. >> the damage is huge with many casualties. many injured but even more dead people. >> taiwan now asks for international help. one and a half thousand body bags have been brought in for the worst-case scenario. many may never be found. >> after a year of negative growth, two of europe's biggest economies have pulled out of
recession. the output of france and germany group in the second quarter of this year despite forecast that they will just carry on shrinking. our chief economics correspondent has more. >> there are one or two bright spots in the world economy and a surprisingly we learned today that two of them are right in the heart of continental europe. france and germany both recorded growth of 0.3%. german companies are on the move again, they have had a terrible time over the last year with the slump in world trade but in recent months things have been picking up. this firm, which makes plastic components, has seen in increase in orders. >> our turnover has increased by over 15%. we are opening a new factory and developing new products for the car industry.
>> so-called car scrapped rich schemes have helped to boost the auto industry. consumers have been encouraged to trade in old vehicles for new ones. france has benefited from government investment aid, consumer spending has picked up. shoppers that we spoke to seem confident about their prospects. >> i'm spending a little more. >> i am half optimistic. >> i think that the economy is stronger than it used to be. >> with growth returning, france and germany can say that they are out of recession. it is not the same story and other leading european economies. here in the u.k., there was a decline in output of 0.8%. why is britain lagging behind? the fallout from the financial crisis is lacking over the
economy. >> because of the financial sector, it is taking longer to recover than the other countries which did not have the meltdown in the financial sector. >> germany and france will hope that this is not a flash in the pan with a temporary boost from government spending followed by a temporary dip. >> stay with us. a renowned geologist is murdered in kenya. his son tells us what happened. mexican authorities have freed 20 prisoners convicted more than a decade ago of a massacre. the prosecutors have fabricated evidence according to the supreme court. >> 12 years after the massacre,
it is still a deeply divided issues. relatives and supporters came to the supreme court in mexico city. the judgment they were about to hear is something that they dreaded. the court ruled that evidence against those convicted had been at best tampered with and at worst concocted. some of the men were serving 26 year jail sentences and they are to be freed immediately. some will face a retrial. some will face disappointment. >> what they are doing is helping the criminals. today, they're giving freedom to those responsible for the massacre. >today, i bring clear proof of what happened. >> the massacre, which took
place at the time of an indigenous rebellion, rupture to the tiny hamlet. not only did the villagers have to deal with the scale of their loss but also the fact that they were from the same ethnic group of the victims and to the murders. now the freed men go back to their communities but there's a risk of renewed violence. >> just briefly, a british woman with a prosthetic arm has been awarded $15,000 in a tribunal ruling against abercrombie and fitch. and she feels that she had been harassed and wrongfully dismissed. the latest headlines for you, the west has said they are firmly opposed to the early release from jail of the man convicted of the 1988 lockerbie bombing. authorities in taiwan say that 300 people are still missing
from a village. the united nations security council has released a statement condemning burma for the sentence handed down on the leading opposition figure. this week, the court imposed another 18 months in detention. she was convicted of breaking the terms of her house arrest by allowing an american man in to her home even though he came over and invited. this is what the british ambassador had to say. >> members of the security council expressed serious concerns over the conventioconvd the political impact. we note the decision of the government of myanmar to reduce her sentence and urge the government to take further measures to create the necessary conditions for a genuine dialogue and all concerned
parties and ethnic groups in order to in chief and inclusive national reconciliation. -- in order to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation. >> one group of people have been crucial in keeping president ahmadinejad and power. the militia roared through crowds of demonstrators on motorbikes. they are accused of beating up and torturing protesters. who are they? one of the reporters who was expelled by authorities explains. >> opposition demonstrators are on the streets of tehran. suddenly shots ring out from a rooftop. a shadowy figure has opened fire on the crowd. these are the government
militiamen and they are president ahmadinejad's the chief enforcement -- president ahmadinejad's enforcement unit. we have obtained rare footage of the militia being trained and indoctrinated. they are drilled to except on questions service to the regime and to god. they do seem remarkably idealistic. >> our goal is to move the whole world towards greater spurge well be. we want to change the world, to save the world and is people from tyranny. -- our goal is to move the world towards greater spirituality. >> the old colleagues have adapted to their new role with enthusiasm.
>> if there is no need to tell them what to do when they are given guns and batons, it is obvious what they're meant to do. it is like letting the wolf out amongst the sheep. >> this man has identified former colleagues. he said that some of them have complained about what he has been doing. also some have expressed doubt about what they're being asked to do themselves. >> some of them have become disillusioned. i am sure that many are not happy about what is happening. others are standing firm. some are taking up arms and oppressing people. >> the commanders, they have problems with their home life. they ask why did you kill people.
>> there are plenty of these militiamen who share no doubt at all. somwatched this man as he takes out two pistols and takes aim into the crowd. the crowd and chases him down. despite the casualties, the iranians are losing their fear. perhaps it is time for the government to start running scared. >> as american forces prepare to leave iraq, attention has been rising between the kurdish autonomous region and the rest of iraq. land, oil and power are some of the disputes that could prove explosive. >> these are the kurdish armed forces. the kurds see them as the ultimate protectors of their autonomy.
there is no iraqi army here. since this is largely peaceful, there is no need for the americans to station troops inside of kurdistan either. >>they have come a long ways frm the old days when they were essentially the regular guerrillas. now they are part of and regular army completely separate from the iraqi army which chasetakes its orders from baghdad. now they are prospering. you will not see sights like this anywhere else in iraq at the moment. it makes kurdistan that different from the rest of the country. quayle adds another element to the explosive mixture. -- oil adds another element to
the explosive mixture. there has been a breach with baghdad over this issue. >> before the americans withdraw, the differences must be settled, especially over the disputed territories. we have to solve our problems in the spirit of brotherhood and in line with the constitution. >> there will never be any bargaining with our rights. >> the kurds have been alarmed by signs that the prime minister maliki might be emerging as something of a strong man in baghdad favoring centralized government. for them, this has echoes of saddam hussein. >> all of these problems are covered by the constitution and as long as everyone abides by this, that will settle the issue. some have no choice but to deal
with each other. we are not afraid of each other. >> kurdish leaders say they have no intention of going on the offensive they say they're ready to defend themselves and their gains at any moment. >> a british geologist and gemstone expert has been killed by an armed gang in kenya. he owns several mines. it was thought that he was involved in a dispute over illegal miners. his son told us that they had left their vehicles because the road had been blocked with trees and then they were ambushed. >> we stopped about 20 meters before the trees and we got out so that we could pass. at this point, 8 men came
running down the road armed with spears, machetes, knives, clubs, bows and arrows. they said that they had come to kill us. one man lunged at my father with a spear. when that happened, i saw another person run up with a knife and stabbed my father. >> one of the most influential figures in the development of rock music, les paul, has died. in his most significant contribution was creating a solid body electric guitar and with it one of the distinctive
sounds of electrified music. many more details on that and all of the international news on bbc.com. thank you for being with us on bbc world news. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. the newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its financial strength to work for a wide range of companies from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> i'm julia stiles. >> i'm kevin bacon. >> i'm kim cattrall. >> hi, i'm ken burns. >> i'm lili taylor. >> i'm henry louis gates jr.,
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