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February 22, 2007
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Headline News of February 22, 2007
 
Romano Prodi
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano begins crisis talks after the resignation of Prime Minister Romano Prodi.

 
An Egyptian court jails an internet blogger for four years for insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak.
Prince Harry's Blues and Royals regiment will be deployed to Iraq, the UK Ministry of Defence confirms.

 
BBC news transcript with photos
Transcript in the news of February 22, 2007

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>> Picking up the pieces. Can Italy's coalition partners reform their government after the prime minister resigns? At least 15 dead in an Indonesian ferry fire. Rescuers pull survivors from the sea. A conflict fit for a prince. Will Britain's third in line to the throne prince Harry be sent to Iraq? This is bbc world. Also in this program, a special report on life in Zimbabwe as president Mugabe celebrates his 83rd birthday. And game, set and match. An historic moment for women's tennis at Wimbledon.

>> Thanks for joining us. It rather looks like one of the bad old days of Italian politics. A thin-spread coalition government forced into resignation, throwing the country into crisis. Well, Romano Prodi has quit as Italy's prime minister for the second time in his career after the senate lost a vote on foreign policy, this after he'd been office.  45DD943A.JPG

>> This had seemed at the outset a vote of no particular consequence. Yes, there had been major disagreements within Mr. Prodi's coalition on Afghanistan and foreign policy, but nothing to suggest this day would end with the prime minister's resignation, still, given the number of parties in the coalition, nine in all, Mr. Prodi has found it hard to get agreement on anything. By the time the votes were counted, it was clear some of his senators deserted him and he'd lost. The reaction of the opposition "resign," they shouted, "resign." In the end that what he did. He spent a short time with the Italian president, Jeremy Napolitano, who was forced to election, Italian politics is in crisis again. There's always a chance the president will call new election, something the irrepressible 70-year-old silvio a pacemaker and faces fresh corruption charges. The most likely scenario is Romano prod mark two, a reshuffle, a new cabinet and a center left coalition. The question is, with so many parties, so many disagreement, so many power, how long would Mr. Prodi realistically be able to survive? Was chen frazier, bbc news, Rome. 45DD9492.JPG

>> An Indonesian ferry carrying around 250 people has caught fire off the coast of java killing 15 of them. The ship was heading towards Sumatra when the fire broke out. Several major vessels are still at the scene. Some passengers have been rescued from the sea itself. Our correspondent in Indonesia, Lucy Williamson, has been following this fire. He says the cause is still unknown.

>> The battle to put out the fire is still going on. Meanwhile, the investigation team has been looking into what might have caused this blaze. They say that the ship had just come out of its routine maintenance check this month, although they didn't know how old the ship was, but it certainly has been checked for technical problems fairly recently. One theory that's going around at the moment is there was a truck on the lower deck carrying some kind of chemical substance which may have played a role in the fire, but until the blaze is actually out, it's early to say. 45DD94CB.JPG

>> A lot of ferries are going around the seas like this. Is there any suggestion they all need to be overhauled or checked?

>> I think good many of them do need to be. One of the problems here in Indonesia is not so much getting the laws in place to say what safety regulations there ought to be, but it's actually enforcing them. Several years ago large parts of the transport industry here were opened up to the private sector, and there's a real... There's been a real mushrooming of small companies operating many, many different routes, particularly in the sea sector. Ferry is one of the cheaper ways of traveling around Indonesia. They're often overcrowd. They're often poorly maintained. Trying keep tabs on every operator in a country this size has proved difficult. 45DD94FA.JPG

>> In other news, protest against American vice presdent during his v t have clashed with police. Urity guards attempted to prevent the protesters getting down one of the main streets. Mr. Cheney has come to Australia to thank the government for offering more troops for Iraq and Afghanistan. American defense officials say they're increasingly concerned by recent attacks in Iraq involving poisonous chlorine gas. A truckload with chlorine cylinders exploded in Bagdad on Thursday. Chlorine burns if skin on contact and can be fatal after just a few breaths. The Russian government is discussing life expectancy. They're expected to approve a five-fold increase in funding to fight diseases. The average life expectancy for men is now less than 60. Seems pretty much certain now that the next deployment of British troops to Iraq, which will be announced shortly, will include the blues and royals. Now, that's the regiment of prince Harry, second son of princess Dianna and prince Charles. He'd be the first member to serve since prince Andrew went to the fall cannes in 1982. Here's Nicholas Witchel. 45DD9559.JPG

>> He's said to have made it clear soon after he finished his officers training that he would sooner leave the army than be left behind if his regiment were sent to a war zone. The fact is that second lieutenant Harry Wales is now a fully fledged troop commander in the household cavalry, trained to lead a reconnaissance squad ron of light vehicles. So as Britain announces plans to reduce the size of its military garrison in Iraq, the third in line to the British throne is getting ready to join other members of his regiment in the next scheduled redeployment to Iraq in the spring. The dangers of serving there are all too apparent. More than 130 members of Britain's armed forces have lost their lives since the invasion of 2003. Many of them have been caught by roadside bombs to which the likely armored British military land rovers are particularly vulnerable. 45DD9593.JPG

>> His role almost certainly be patrolling the border in Iran, stopping them bringing weaponry through from Iran, I.E.D.S and explosive devices which are used to blow up trucks. So it will be a very important role, but less dangerous, but nevertheless, he'll be in harm's way.

>> Harry is said to be keen to do what he's been trained to, do though he's well aware of the dangers. In going to Iraq alongside other members of Britain's armed forces, he's following his family's tradition and putting duty first. Nicholas Witchel, bbc news.

>> Evo morales has announced new measures to deal with the severe flooding which has affected large parts of the country. For months there has been very heavy rain. It's left at least 35 people dead, tens of thousands homeless. Mr. Morales has created a national council of ministers and the armed forces to try to help alleve the crisis. Police in India have arrested three people in connection with the bomb attack that killed at least 68 on a train travelling from Delhi to Lahore. Two men and a women were detained after a tip-off. Sudan and Chad have agreed to stop insurgents operating from their territories and to end propaganda against each other. Chad has repeatedly accused Sudan of supporting rebels launching cross-border attacks from Sudan's Darfur region. Now, we've got news on B.A.E. 45DD95F3.JPG

>> They've been in the headline for all sorts of reasons. Any conflict is good for defense firms because they sell more equipment. That's what B.A. has been doing. Strong demand from American forces in Iraq helped profits triple last year to over $3 billion. They also had a one-off $3.5 billion gain from a sale of its holding in airbus to its parent group. The company's been at the center of controversy in recent months after last December they decided to drop its investigation into the alleged bribery of Saudi Arabian officials by the company. Shares hit a seven-year high on news of the results. And the world's biggest food group, necessary -- nestle made $7.5 billion in profits last year, up almost 14%. Strong sales of its major brands helped boost earnings. The company's chief executive told us more about how he plans to keep up this impressive performance. 45DD9635.JPG

>> The way we're going to do it is the same way we have done in the past, by strengthening on the one hand the brand. We have been investing last year substantially into our brand. We have increased marketing spending last year. We'll further increase spending this year. We have a pipeline of new products coming out which is very, very strong. We're continuously working on our cost base.

>> On the, yeah thank you very much indeed. Stay with bbc world. Still to come in this program, the crackdown in Zimbabwe. President Mugabe stamps out protesters as he prepares to celebrate his 81st birthday. More than 40 countries and the international red cross are meeting in Norway to discuss the banning of cluster bombs. The Norwegian government is hoping it can start a worldwide movement against those bombs much like the one that led to the banning of anti-personnel mines. So far the united states, Russia and china may hold the large largest -- they hold the largest stockpiles, are not taking part. 45DD967A.JPG

>> This is family in mourning. They're grieving for their son, another victim of a cluster bomb in Lebanon. He died when he failed to spot one of the small bombs hidden in a mine. Just one of hundreds of thousands of cluster bombs scattered across Lebanon after Israel launched attacks on Hezbollah fighters last year. The campaign to ban cluster bombs has been growing in strength. The term "cluster bomb" covers a variety of weapons that can disperse up to several hundred small bomblets. They're dropped from aircraft or fired from artillery shells or missiles and can cover a huge area, but up to a quarter of the bomblets fail to explode, posing a danger to civilians long after the conflict is over. Campaigners say over the last decade, at least 11,000 civilians have died as a result. And it's young people who are paying the highest price. One third of the casualties in Lebanon are thought to be children, so campaigners are hoping the summit of more than 40 countries in Norway will boost the drive to ban the weapons, working within existing treaties has so far failed to produce results. In Lebanon it's pain-staying work, detecting and clearing the bombs. But NATO forces have also used cluster bombs in Afghanistan and Serbia, and U.S. Forces have used them in Iraq. Those countries that do still deploy cluster bombs say there are already international guidelines that cover their use. 45DD96D4.JPGWithout the agreement of the largest stockpiles, the U.S., Russia and china, any ban will be hard to achieve. Dominic Hughes, bbc news.  

>> This is bbc world. The main news. Crisis talks are under way in Italy after the resignation of the prime minister, Romano prod. That's after he and his government lost a senate vote. An Indonesian ferry carrying around 250 people has caught fire off the coast of Java. At least 15 people are dead. We're going to go to Zimbabwe now. The president, Robert Mugabe, has marked his 83rd birthday by saying he's got no intention of stepping down labish party being planned this week comes against a back drop of a society in chaos. The country has one of the world's lowest life expectancy. That's just 34 for women, 37 for men. Inflation is running at 1,600%. Here's our Africa correspondent, orla Guerin. 45DD9714.JPG

>> As president Mugabe enjoys another birthday in office, here's a look inside his regime. These rare images were obtained by the bbc. This was the police crackdown last Saturday when the opposition tried to demonstrate. Opposition leaders claimed the president is panicking and moving towards a state of emergency. Zimbabwe is place of growing unrest with desperate cues for the basics like sugar. Even bread's getting hard to find. Those who still run cars struggle to find petrol. There's 80% unemployment and official inflation is staggering, close to 1,600%.  Hospitals are another casualty. Drugs have been short for years, but now the wards are empty and the doctors are gone. They're on strike together with some nurses and teachers, all demanding a well-living wage. Zimbabwe is wasting away. 45DD975A.JPG

>> You can see right now.

>> Out in the countryside, hunger has closed in. This child will survive thanks to the local pastor, but others here have died. These people were made homeless by the regime, victims of last year's operation called "clean out the filth."

>> The government doesn't love their own people. They don't care whether they live or die. They don't care about their accommodations, whether they sleep in the open. They don't care.

>> But the president thinks there's something to celebrate. He's having a birthday party on Saturday. It will cost a fortune, just like last year. Robert Mugabe will be feasting while many of his people can barely afford to eat. Orla Guerin, bbc news, Johannesburg. 45DD978E.JPG

>> Five years to the day since the ceasefire was signed by the sri Lankan government and the Tamil tiger rebels. Well, that is still in place. On paper, at least, the violence is escalating again. More than 3,500 people were kill. Our sri lank correspondent reports now.

>> Sri lank should have left all this behind, but these are new camps, built for people who fled the continuing war. B.J. Roger is five years old, born as the ceasefire was signed. But instead of growing up in a country at peace, he's a refugee. "We couldn't stay at home because of the shell," says his mother. "We traveled by river and through the jungle for three days before we finally got here." The people living in this camp hope to be able to return home soon, but a lasting peace is as elusive now as it has been for decades. On the ground, the ceasefire is dead, and sri lank has been sliding back towards a full-scale war. Last April a suicide bomber targeted sri lanka's army chief in Colombo. He narrowly survived. Eight others did not. Then in June more than 60 people were killed in a mine attack on a bus. That was also blamed on the tigers. In recent months sri lanka's armed forces have driven the rebels from much of the east of the country, areas they'd 45DD97FD.JPGcontrolled for more than a decade. This man is from the Tamil national alliance.

>> We do have a feeling, even today they are having a feeling they can eliminate the fight through violence and military means and then this will be over. It's not like that.

>> Some would like the government to be tougher. Buddhist monks are amongst political force in sri lank. These men were holding a sit-in to try to persuade the president the abandon the ceasefire agreement altogether. But analysts still hope peace will return.

>> The year before the ceasefire agreement was signed, we could not have believed that for four years we would enjoy a ceasefire of the sort we had. This is what makes me hopeful that there can be sudden changes, that we can end this. 45DD9834.JPG

>> This family are getting on with life as best they can. Every day B.J. Leaves the refugee camp to go to school. Few expect the coming months to bring anything but more fighting. Peace seems a long way off. Roland buerk, bbc news.

>> Stay with us hire on bbc world. Still to come in this program, free and fair elections before the year is out, so says the Thai prime minister. But what's he got to show for his leadership after last year's coup? Well, here in the U.K., Baroness Thatcher has become the first living prime minister to be honored with a statue in the houses of parliament. She described her likeness which has been set up opposite Winston Churchill in the members' lobby in the house of commons as fine and imposing. Our political correspondent mark Saunders watched the unveiling. 45DD986D.JPG

>> It's lady Thatcher at her most imposing, leaning forward and jabbing her finger to make a point. Even now that she divides opinion, but she secures her place in history. She clearly liked what she saw.

>> The house has done me a great honor by commissioning this fine and imposing statue. I might have preferred iron, but bronze will do. ( Laughter ).

>> From the drawing board to the blimp, it's been a pain-staying four-year process. Lady Thatcher played an active role, sitting three times for the sculptor and offering advice on her speaking style and mannerism.

>> I thought it was important to consult her and to find out what it felt like from her point of view to be baroness Thatcher. She demonstrated hand gestures, how she held herself. 45DD98AF.JPG

>> David Cameron's been accused from distance himself from lady Thatcher's legacy, but he knows the draw she still has for the party faithful. Bbc news, Westminster.

>> The French Nazi collaborator has been interred in his family vault east of Paris along with the medal that he lost the right the wear after his conviction in 1998. He spent three years of a ten-year sentence for crimes against humanity after he was found guilty of signing deportation orders for sending 1,500 French Jews to a Nazi death camp. He died last weekend. Thailand's prime minister has told the bbc he thinks that free and fair elections will be held by the end of the year. General Shinawatra took office after a coup unseated taksin shinawatra's government last September. Much of the hope invested in the general when he took over has turned to some disappoint. Our correspondent Jonathan head spoke -- exclusively with the prime minister in his first wide-ranging interview with the foreign media. 45DD98F2.JPG

>> He was one of his country's most outstanding military commanders, a man admired for his incorruptibility. So when general surayad chulanont was chosen as prime minister after last year's coup, the appointment was widely welcomed, but after four months in office, his popularity has plunged. He's accused of weak and hesitant leadership, a charge he says is unfair.

>> We are trying to solve the political problems. We are trying solve the injustice. We are trying to create a new government, a new constitution, and I believe that we will be able to have a free and fair election by the end of this year.

>> But a series of bombs in Bangkok on new year's eve made him look weak on security and a series of badly-thought-through economic policies have panicked foreign investors and shaken the stock market. Even in the Muslim south, a courageous attempt by the general shinawatra to offer an olive branch to the insurgents has yet to bear fruit. The violence there has actually escalated. 45DD993B.JPG

>> It will not be very easy to stop all the violence within the four-month period. It will take a long time trying to convince people that this is not the correct way to solve the problem. If they want to solve the problem, they should come and talk.

>> No one questions the general's integrity and dedication, but amidst the confused and political bitter climate in Thailand right now, there are doubts over whether he's the right man for the job.

>> I know that the task ahead of me is monumental.

>> Do you know it's going to be this hard, you're going to face this much criticism?

>> I already set up my mind. I have to face all of this. I think a lot of them... I think it's my duty, my duty as a man who is trying to solve this crisis. Otherwise who will be able to do it? 45DD9983.JPG

>> That's Thailand's prime minister, general chulanont speaking exclusively to Jonathan Head. A bit of sports news for you. The organizers of the Wimbledon tennis tournament have announced for the very first time they're going to award equal prize money to men and women at every stage of this year's championship, that includes the final. The women's tennis association has been lobbying for years for that particular change. It's going to bring Wimbledon in line now with the united states and Australia opens. In the past Wimbledon argued the men deserved more money because they play up to five sets per match rather than the three played by the women. And that meant that amelie mauresmo won $60,000 left than roger federer last year. 45DD99B6.JPG

>> The main reasons for the judgment, obviously it is good news for the women players. It recognizes their major contribution to Wimbledon, and we also believe it will serve as positive encouragement for women in sport in general, but in tennis in particular. Secondly, we think this is excellent news for the very international game of tennis, and it will provide the game with a boost in the crowded sporting landscape.

>> It took a long time coming. Now, to finish off, have a look at this. New Zealand fishermen picked this up. It's a colossal squid, the most colossal of them all, absolutely huge, 450 kilos in weight, something like ten meters long, as well. The fishermen took it on board and took it back home, not literally, but for scientific examination. An absolute whopper for you. You can get more on that if you go to our web site, bbcnews.Com. <



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