tv BBC World News PBS April 5, 2012 5:00am-5:30am EDT
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>> and now, bbc world news. >> protesters clash with riot police in athens after a pensioner shot himself dead outside parliament over his pension. a rebel group in mali says its ending its military operations after capturing all the lands it claims. the number of people fleeing to turkey sees a huge rise in just 24 hours after violence erupts again. welcome to "bbc world news." i'm geeta guru-murthy. also in this program -- a special report from restricted areas in burma, why despite recent democratic developments, the captured people say they still face persecution. and do it yourself teaching, why competitive parents in new york have decided to make their own schools for their children to go to.
>> protesters have clashed with riot police in athens hours after a pensioner shot himself dead outside the greek parliament. in a suicide note, the man accused of government of reducing his pension to nothing. his death has shocked the country and prompted demonstrators back on to the streets. >> yet again, passions burned on the streets of athens. again, protesters unleashed their anger at the government, throwing molotov cocktails and stones. there was little the police could do to calm nerves. nearby, quiet reflection for what sparked the protest. the suicide earlier in the day of a pensioner in the very center of the city, right outside parliament. the 77-year-old man had shot himself in broad daylight, the
latest casualty of the economic hard times and one quickly mourned. its message reads, who will be the next victim? the pensioner, a retired pharmacist, did have a family. his despair echoed that of many greeks. his suicide note read, "the government has annihilated any hope for my survival the and i could not get any justice. i cannot find any other form of struggle except a dignified end before i have to start scrounging for food from the rubbish." officials say in the first few moss of last year, greece's suicide rate rose by 40%. last month the government secured its bailout, but only by agreeing to savage cuts and tax rises, for which many feel they're being unfairly punished. >> as a greek, i am truly shocked. i am shocked because i see that the government is destroying my dignity. they mock me as a person, and the only things they care about
are bank accounts. they don't care about anything else. >> and it's unlikely to get any easier for many greeks any time soon. one in five are unemployed. nearly half of those under 25 are out of work. that's why, for some, life here is too much to bear. >> the been will be's mark lowen -- the bbc's mark lowen is in athens and gave me the mood on the street. >> among the nation, there is a sense of despairing, suffering greatly. the social fabric breaking down here. suicides rates here in greece used to be, before the financial crisis, the lowest in europe, 2.8 per 100,000 people. it's now estimated to have doubled. so it really has gone up. of course, there is another side. there are the greeks who are continuing to persevere, to go out.
greeks are trying to plow on. but a large section of this population is suffering and feeling intense pain as greece suffers its worst financial crisis in its modern history. >> and for this pensioner who took his own life, do we know any more about his own personal story, whether his fight is something that is really shared by others? i mean, the fact that he says he couldn't even afford to buy food. >> all we know is he was a pharmacist and he was struggling with pension cuts. now, his family is trying to stay away from the media spotlight for the time being. there's likely to be some kind of intense scrutiny on his wife and children in the coming days. as you walk around athens and other cities here, you do see people rummaging in trash cans, some of them immigrants, some are greeks. i spoke to several greeks in the past few months who are now depending on municipal soup kitchens. such is the level of financial crisis that many here are suffering. and so we'll have to see really what the government response is. there has already been sympathy
from party leaders here, anxious to try to sympathize with ordinary greeks. and remember, greece is facing possible early elections in five or six weeks' time. there's likely to be a wave of social discontent against the main parties here who have supported the austerity measures, supported the bailout, and the smaller parties are against these cuts and are likely to do pretty well here. greece is suffering. this is a deeply troubled nation. we'll have to see whether there's any light at the end of the tunnel in the months ahead. >> a rebel group in northern mali has announced the end of its military operations after capturing all the territory it claims. the national liberation movement says it has declared a unilateral cease-fire. meanwhile, the military has postponed a national convention due to be held today after all political groups refused to attend. the bbc's martin vogel joins me from mali's capital. just what's happening in the
north? where does this leave the country? is it likely to end as the government tries to fight back? >> i think the government is very unlikely to try and fight back for the moment, because basically here in burma, i think they're in turmoil with its military guns, the regional body has put sanctions on mali. for the moment, the country is effectively divided, and the rebels -- there's a cease-fire. there's another group that's demanding for sharia law to be brought in northern mali, and they now control all three regional capitals in the north of mali. >> and yet, other african nations have absolutely rejected the idea of the mali seceding and great fear around the islamist element in this. >> yeah, there's regional neighbors in the regional body, ecowas, threatening to intervene militarily in mali.
they put on the standby force, which is about 3,000 ports. it's unclear whether how long or whether that at all will become reality, because troops fighting in the desert is very, very -- is very, very -- but others are worried about this islamist element to the rebellion, especially because one of the leaders and a few of the people involved in the islamist faction have links to an al qaeda-linked group that operates in northern mali. >> ok, martin vogl, thanks very much indeed. from the mali capital on the phone there in bamako. a judge in the united states has handed lengthy prison sentences to four former police officers for shooting six unarmed residents in the hurricane katrina aftermath in new orleans in 2005. the former police officers were jailed for terms ranging from 38 to 65 years. a colleague who helped them
hide evidence was also jailed. charges have been filed against the owners of a cargo ship that ran aground on a new zealand reef, causing what's been described as the country's worst maritime disaster. six months ago, the rena spilled 400,000 tons of oil, killing sea birds. in january, the ship split in two. ai weiwei has been ordered to shut down web cameras at his home. the artist, who designed china's olympic national stadium, told the bbc he installed cameras to encourage transparency, allowing his supporters and the chinese supporters to go online and see what he was up to. aaron is here. there was market turmoil yesterday, wasn't there? >> there certainly was. >> dramatic numbers. >> i have to say, many european
economists saying it's back, meaning contagion and the worry of contagion for the eurozone. the eurozone problems sort of come in waves, and i think we had another wave hitting us again yesterday. let's just look at the markets at the moment. the european markets, any dead cat bounce that we saw earlier this morning, certainly in the european markets, has evaporated. let me get over to the european markets. you can see it's fairly flat again, and this is off the back of spain going to the bond market yesterday to raise some money. there was a lack of interest in picking up -- in raising the money and on top of that, of course, the yield, the interest rate they had to pay also increased, and it's increasing not only in spain, it's increasing in portugal, increasing in italy as well. so that is a worry. but a lot going on with the eurozone. you've got president sarkozy announcing he's an economic manifest owe later on today, and in italy, we've got the labor reforms -- he made some
concessions, so they're being decided upon by the unions for their reaction. i'll have the business news in the "world business report." >> you'll have more time. >> i'll have more time. >> more time than these guys give me anyway. >> thanks a lot. now, israeli security officials say a rocket has hit the southern city of eilat, causing no damage or injuries. it's believed it was launched from egypt's peninsula, hitting a construction site close to a residential area. the blast happened as thousands of people congregated in the resort town for the jewish holiday of passover. you're watching "bbc world news." still to come -- the people of burma say they are still facing persecution, despite recent democratic developments in the country. a major cancer charity in britain says the number of women has increased by more than 40% over the past decade. cancer cases increase may be caused by a rise in obesity
levels. >> cancer of the womb remains a relatively rare disease in the u.k., but over the past decade, more and more women have been affected. since the late 1990's, the number of women diagnosed with womb cancer in the u.k. has risen by more than 40%. alongside that rise, the number of deaths from the disease has also increased. in 2000, fewer than 1,500 women died from womb cancer. now the figure is more like 1,900 deaths per year, with rising obesity levels an important factor. >> to reduce the risk of womb cancer, you can do that by keeping a healthy body weight. also, it's very important to stop the signs. disease as early as possible, particularly after menopause, look out for unexplained bleeding, any pain after sex, and just get along to your doctor. >> even though the number of women who are dying has increased, so too is the number who are surviving. they say care and treatment mean more than 3/4 of women now survive for five years or more.
cancer research says maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the best ways to protect against the disease. dominic hughes, bbc news. >> the clock is ticking for two pandas that are due in scottland who have just a few hours left to mate. female pandas have just 36 hours in a year. they have failed to mate and they've opened a tunnel between the two as a last attempt to encourage them to get together. they've met a few times in the last few days, but have failed to actually get down to business. now, prince william and the duchess of cambridge are now a model royal couple. this is them at madam toussad. >> this is "bbc world news." i'm geeta guru-murthy. protesters and police clash in athens after a pensioner shot
himself dead outside parliament over his reduced pension. rebels in mali announce a cease-fire after they say they've made the territorial gains they wanted. now, the number of syrian refugees fleeing across the border to turkey has increased dramatically in the last 24 hours. according to turkish officials, the authorities say around 1,000 people arrived in the border town in a single day. it's believed there are now about 21,000 syrian refugees living in several camps across turkey. the fresh arrivals come as clashes erupt between government forces and rebels in northern syria and near the capital, damascus. for more on the refugee situation in turkey, the bbc's jonathan head joins me from istanbul. do we know where these people have come from, why this sudden surge? >> i think we do. don't forget, there have been surges like this before. about a month ago, we saw similar surges of over 800 or
900 people a day coming. it's when syrian government forces increase their attacks on villages and on the number of villages too. we've talked about a scorched earth policy before. it seems from what witnesses are saying, there is a policy of literally going from village to village, bombarding them, perhaps populations deciding to leave. so i don't think anybody's surprised by it. obviously the -- obviously it raises the spectrum of hour the government is willing to go. they became clear if the flow became unmanageable, then it would consider using its army to carve out a safe buffer zone. but they'd need bigger numbers before they consider that. they're now moving -- a lot of the refugees who come over, the other camps, they've got six camps in cathay province. they're moving into much bigger camps to where they can manage them better. so, at the moment, they can cope, but that number of refugees does tell you how bad the violence must go. >> and it apparently makes a
mockery of the diplomatic effort. kofi annan obviously pushing things forward today on that and urging president assad to try to end the bloodshed, but it does seem as though -- >> well, he's given a deadline, which is significant. there's a date, and there was april 10. it's not surprising his forces are trying to maximize the most crude methods for use of armed force and hope that they inflict as much damage as they can on the free syrian army before they have to start that withdrawal. now, when that withdraw is supposed to start, the 10th of april, we'll see whether they're sincere. it's going to be a difficult job for the u.n. monitoring team, which is currently being negotiated. but it's not a great surprise they're doing it now. i think the violence will probably be very intense right up to that point. and then we'll see whether finally president assad is willing to go along with the kofi annan plan. >> what is the mood in turkey? i know you've been talking for a long time about no-fly zones,
but what is the public reaction to seeing more people across the border? >> well, emotionally, you know, it's very, very strong. people feel very sense of comradeship with the people coming over the border. it's right on the border, and some of the communities are finding it a stretch to have such large refugee camps. but in general, the turkish prime minister is visibly frustrated of the inability of the international community to do more. he said that on many, many occasions. he would like to do a lot more, but at the same time, his own generals, his own government, they make it clear they will not do anything drastic like sending their forces over the border unless they have international backing. that means from the united nations security council, the approval of the americans. and i think everyone accepts that would not happen unless the flow of refuses gee became a lot more dramatic than it is now. >> jonathan head there in istanbul, thanks very much. more now on burma, where in spite of a move toward greater democracy, there are continuing allegations of serious abuses
against the kachin people, one of the ethnic groups who live on the eastern border. human rights watch has urged the international community not to become complacent about the situation. journalists are not allowed into the kachin-held areas, so we had to enter the area illegally. >> the promise of freedom and democracy in burma are a long way from the parade ground where recruits to the kachin independent army have had their training cut from three to two months to get them to the front lines in a hurry. >> again, burmese army soldiers came into our village. they were firing their guns, shooting at the old people. they raped five women, stole our livestock, and set fire to our homes. i'm old. i'm 42. but that's why i joined up. >> the burmese army advance has
left dozens of burned out villages from where those who fled with their lives left many behind. >> everyone was running, but my mother didn't, and they shot her. i went back and found her body. there was a deep hole at the dug at a pit. it took 10 of us to get the body out. and then i buried her. >> the survivors, tens of thousands of them, are crowded into make-shift camps, where there aren't enough basics like food or water and no shelter for the rainy season. we've grown accustomed to hearing reports of brutality about the military dictatorship that rules burma for 50 years, but all these stories of atrocities have taken place
within the last few months, even though the allegedly reforming government held elections over a year ago and promised change. both sides blame the other for starting the fighting in june last year with the burmese army using artillery and mortars against the kachin armed with ak-47's and other weapons. the two front lines are just a few hundred meters apart. we can see the burmese provision on the hill opposite. and no one knows where they'll attack next. delegates returning from the latest round of peace talks held across the border in china say they failed because the burmese army refuses to withdraw and consider kachin demands. >> what the kachin want is equal rights. if they were to offer genuine
democratic union, then this conflict could be solved. >> until the conflict is solved, the situation here in the camps get worse. in this, the ration is down to one cup of rice per day per child and two for an adult. international aid has been pledged, but the government is restricting it. those among the mainly christian kachin, who've been here since june, say they're praying to go back home. but more immediately, they're praying the food doesn't run out before they do. >> that's a special report there. now, in the united states, the man accused of a mass shooting at a christian college in
california has been formally charged with murder and attempted murder. one goh is accused of shooting dead seven people and injuring three more. he's said to have dropped out of classes last year and has been demanding a refund of his tuition fees. judges in the hague have again asked libya to hand over the son of the country's former leader, muammar gaddafi. the son remains in custody of the military camp southwest of tripoli. he's wanted by the i.c.c. for crimes against humanity, but libyan authorities want to try him at home. argentina's president has condemned the violence outside the british embassy in the capital, buenos aires, earlier this week. protesters threw petro bombs to mark the anniversary of argentina's invasion of the falklands islands. now, for many parents, getting their children into a preschool can be a stressful and sometimes costly exercise. well, no more so than in new
york. 1/3 of children don't receive state-funded preschool at all. in response to this educational rat race, some parents are opting to set up their own underground schools. the bbc's laura trevelyan reports from brooklyn. >> it's dropoff time for preschoolers in brook brooklyn, but this is no ordinary school. it's a co-opt run by the parents. there are 10 more such schools in this neighborhood alone. >> i put out on our family list serve, anybody interested in a co-op school with a dedicated space? within a week, i had 75 responses. >> jennifer and her parent colleagues have designed a curriculum for these 3-year-olds and hired a teacher. so what drove them to make all this effort? >> there's not space in the public system for them, and the private systems were never created to hold mass amounts.
they were created for a more elite, you know, group of people. >> and so, is this the answer? >> maybe. it's a grass-roots thing. it's people taking what really matters into their own hands. >> publicly funded preschools are at a premium. a co-op costs less than a private preschool, and parents find the process less stressful. >> the preschool market in new york city is very competitive and very expensive. this was a very low-key way to introduce our family into the entire experience. >> with a baby boom underway in brooklyn, the demand for early education is only increasing. there's immense pressure on school plays. there are more children applying for public and private preschool programs than there are places available, and the
competition is intense. this being new york, there's an added tension, says the director of this early care center. >> it's a tape-a town. it is. so, yes, i would say new york is more intense about it and parents are more driven because it's kind of who they are, and they want the best for their children. >> pushy or not, many parents would like the city to expand its preschool provision, but education isn't compulsory until age 6. >> extending it costs a significant amount of money, which is an investment that is worthy of debate in this country, but not one that we come to agree that driving down mandatory education, the education age to 4 or even 3 is something we would do. >> parents at this co-op active school have already decided early education is worth the investment. they're shaping their children's future.
laura trevelyan, bbc news, new york. >> before we go, one story to tell you about. the russian orthodox church has had to apologize for altering a photograph of its leader, because in the picture he does not appear to be wearing a wristwatch. but a reflection clearly shows of a watch which is around $30,000. he has said it was a gift. he's been previously photographed wearing very expensive watches. the church says the employee who doctored the photo made a mistake and will be severely punished. we will try and bring you that photo for next time. a reminder of our top stories, all, of course, at the website, bbc.com/news. greece erupting into protest again after the sue identified a pensioner. you can find out what happened. he was upset about his lack of pension. this is, of course, a very difficult time for greece and the entire eurozone. the markets very precarious last night, too. much more at the website.
this is "bbc world news." >> 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. union bank. and shell. >> this is kim - about to feel one of his favorite sensations. at shell, were developing more efficient fuels in countries like malaysia that can help us get the most from our energy resources. lets use energy more efficiently. lets go.