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February 1, 2007

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Headline News of February 1, 2007

US wounded in Baghdad
The US issues a further warning to Iran, telling Tehran to stop helping Iraqi militants make lethal bombs.

Prosecutors look into allegations babies in a Yekaterinburg hospital had their mouths taped shut.
Clinical trials of a new microbicide gel designed to help prevent women contracting HIV are stopped.


BBC news transcript with photos
Transcript in the news of February 1, 2007


>> America's words of warning to Iran: You must stop helping insurgents in Iraq. A major U.K. Terror operation goes on over an alleged plot to kidnap and kill a British Muslim soldier. France's turn to ban smoking in public places. This is bbc world. Welcome from me David Eades. Also in the program, the shocking allegations that a Russian hospital has been gagging orphaned babies. And a major reboot for computer maker dell as company founder Michael dell returns.

>> The united states undersecretary of state, Nicholas burns, has warned Iran to stop supplying Iraqi insurgents with weapons technology which he says is then used to kill American troops. In a bbc interview, Mr. Burns said the U.S. Has been tracking Iranian involvement in Iraqi insurgent attacks for the last two years. 45C1E4AF.JPG

>> Washington's impatience with Iran's role in Iraq is growing by the day. There's a deep suspicion in the bush administration that the Iranians are adding to the fire by passing on expertise in weapons that use it to kill American and British troops.

>> We spent the better part of the last year and a half warning the Iranians privately not give Shia insurgent groups the explosive technology that has led to the deaths of American and British soldiers, and we've told the Iranian, you should try to be a peaceful, benevolent partner to the Iraqi government and try to unite that country.

>> Tehran denies the accusations, but there's little love lost between Washington and President Ahmadinejad. The white house initially played down speculation that Iran had a role in an attack in the town of Karbala nearly two weeks ago which left five U.S. Soldiers dead. But an investigation is now under way. Relations had already worsened after the Americans detained five Iranian diplomats in northern Iraq, accusing them of being members of paramilitary forces. 45C1E4F6.JPG

>> These are not Iranian business people in Iraq that we've detained. These are operatives of the Quds force, paramilitary forces of the Iranian government and intelligence forces. These are not people trying bring Iraq together. They're people engaged in sectarian warfare.

>> The rhetoric against Iran appears to have stepped up since the Iraq study group, which recommended talking to Tehran and to Syria to help stop the violence was all but ignored by British. A planned increase in American troops together with the detention of the Iranians points to a much harder line.

>> Here in Britain, police are continuing to search homes and businesses in their hunt for evidence in the alleged plot to kidnap and kill a Muslim soldier. Nine men have been arrested, most of them in raids in the city of Birmingham, they've been under surveillance for six months by police and the British security service mI5. 45C1E536.JPG

>> The nine suspected terrorists seized in and around Birmingham are now being held at a number of police station in the west midlands. They can be questioned without charge for another 27 days. Those arrested are said to include a shopkeeper, a teacher and a takeaway manager. Special forensic office centers black suits continue to search for clues at eight houses and four businesses in eastern Birmingham which include a grocery and a book shop.

>> The search operation of all the premises continues and will take in some case several days to complete. Can I just say that we understand this does cause some disruption to people living in the area, and can I just say we do understand that and we will do everything to minimize it? The plot was allegedly to kidnap and behead at least one British Muslim soldier and post images on the internet. The raids come after a six-month investigation. It's reported two unnamed soldiers had been identified as potential targets. They've now been moved to a safe location and given security protection. Some members of the Muslim community in Birmingham have been shocked at the scale of the police presence associated with the operation. 45C1E57A.JPG

>> People are very, very worried about what's going on here. We want to get behind the police in their job, but they're very self, which has fueled a lot of speculation. The facts themselves are they stand this morning are that nine people have been arrested. They still have not been charged, yet since last night we've heard details about what possibly the charges may be. Our fear is these images will be the ones that stick in people's minds.

>> But the police have praised the local Muslim community for their understanding and support.

>> Let's bring you some other stories now. The Pakistani president has been meeting the Malaysian prime minister on a trip to Malaysia. General Pervez Musharraf has been pushing for support for his idea for Muslim nations to come up with a new middle east peace initiative, this after his surprise visit to Indonesia on Wednesday. The Hong Kong chief executive done yald stand said he will seek a second term in office. He said he favored a democratic system. Police investigating after a security scare in Boston. Suspicious packages sparked a day of chaos. The device turned out to be part of marketing campaign far late-night cartoon show. Lithuania's government is paying compensation to hundreds of thousands who lost their life savings back in 1991. When the country became independent, more than a million people lost money held in a Russian bank. The lit wantian government has 45C1E5E7.JPGsold state assets to help pay the compensation. Europe seems to be edging closer to becoming a smoke-free zone. A French ban has come into force. People lighting up in airports, railway station, office, hospitals, schools, you name it, they'll face fines from now on. Bars and restaurants have until the end of the year to comply, although many of them are expected to introduce the ban straight away. From Paris, Caroline Wyatt.

>> Paris will never be the same again. This popular Paris restaurant has been counting down the days until its customers stub out their last cigarette its owner said the only smoke she wants to smell from now on is what's cooking on the kitchen grill. 45C1E611.JPG

>> ( Translated ): More and more people complain about cigarette smoking and the waiters say they want to give up, too. For me smoking in the restaurant has been a knew sawns.

>> But what do French smokers say? Will they simply abandon the sitting-rhett free zones for the more traditional?

>> It's not real lay problem because I know that people besides me don't like smoking.

>> I think it's a good idea for public places like offices or bars and restaurants also because it's hard for restaurants.

>> Cafe, bars and restaurants can choose whether to ban smoking now or whether to wait until December, but everywhere else, hospitals, schools, offices and railway stations, smoking is now illegal. And the smoking police have the power to fine people caught flouting the ban. Almost half of all young people in France smoke, a habit the country's health minister is determined to stub out. He's on a mission to explain the ban, but does he really believe the unruly French are ready to obey it? 45C1E654.JPG

>> ( Translated ): 66,000 people die each year in France from smoking. We have to face up to that. What we really hope is that the ban stops young people smoking and that the downest kids won't even try that first cigarette -- the youngest kids won't even try the first cigarette.

>> Will people take notice?

>> Yes, I think it's a good idea. I smoke but I don't want to pollute people who don't smoke.

>> Soon this museum may be the only place to see how smoking was once synonymous with French history and culture because at least last it seems it's time to say adieu to the French love affair with the cigarette. Caroline Wyatt, bbc news, Paris.

>> What would he have done without a cigarette? Now four people have been killed after an oil refinery caught fire in western India. 18 people are thought to have been injured in the incident. The fire broke out in the Essar refinery in the Jamnagar district of Qujarat where workers were carrying out welding near a pipeline. One suspected militant has been killed from the M.I.L.S. They've arrested another in a raid near the capital manila. They say the splinter faction was plotting bomb attacks. The M.I.L.S. Is in peace talks at the moment with the government. It's distanced themselves from the men targeted in this raid. The first murder trial in 150 years on the remote former south pacific Norfolk island. The man is charged with murdering a restaurant manager 45C1E6BA.JPGin march 2002. Tanya is here with news of huge profits.

>> High oil prices are coming down, but not fast enough to affect the profits of shell. The Anglo-Dutch firm has announced another year of massive profits from $25.3 billion for the full year. Analysts are wondering how long those good times can last. Environmental campaigners are calling for the company to use the money to clean up environmental damage at the facilities in Nigeria and elsewhere around the world. Couple that, of course, with the impact of lower oil prices that we're seeing no, and difficulties with investments in Russia, 2007 could be a trickier year. The task of recovering dell has moved up a gear as the man who founded the company stepped back in to run it. The U.S. Computer maker lost its number one slot to rival Hewlett Packard last year as sales in its home market in the U.S. Dropped 17%. Michael dell owns one-tenth of the company he set up, and news of his return lifted the shares 5%. The bush administration hopes to slash U.S. Farm spending by $10 billion over the next five years. The overhaul to the payout system would reduce the prices farmers could expect for their produce and link subsidies to the size of the farm. The cuts could help smooth the way for renewed world trade talks. The large payout to farmers in industrialized countries had 45C1E70F.JPGbeen a major summabling block in the doha trade round. And from the field to the open road, workers at Harley Davidson have voted to strike. Nearly 3,000 staff at the motorcycle maker's biggest plant rejected the latest pay offer from Harley bosses later on Wednesday. It's called burning rubber.

>> Thanks very much.

>> Well, stay with bbc world because still to come, the shocking allegations that a Russian hospital has been gagging orphaned babies. Now, they do say don't get mad, get even, and that's precisely what silvio Berlusconi's wife has done in response to the former Italian prime minister's rather flirtatious ways. After remarks he made at an awards dinner to some female M.P.S, his wife wrote to a national paper demanding a public apology. 45C1E74A.JPG

>> Veronic was never the typical first lady. When husband silvio was in power, she liked to keep herself out of the limelight. This was an extremely rare appearance at the visit of president bush last June. This week she's burst into the headlines in quite spectacular style. Her anger was sparked bay speech Mr.. Berlusconi had given to a group of women at a TV awards dinner last week. In his speech he suggested if he'd not been married he might well have run off with one or two of the audience. Veronic was furious. In an open letter to the left-leaning daily "la republica" she asked him for an apology in private but he refused so she decided to go public. Many political leaders fight hard against such apology, but within several hours Mr.. Berlusconi had given in. Here I am saying I'm sorry, he said in his press statement, challenged in public, the temptation to give in to you is strong. I can't resist, so I beg you, forgive me and accept this public display of a private pride that gives in to your rage as an act of love, just one of many. And so what price machismo. Mr. Berlusconi, one of the richest men in the world, known for his self-indulgent vanity is humbled publicly by his wife. Christian Frazier, bbc news, Rome. 45C1E79D.JPG

>> Now, an opera is being sued for pulling out of a Australian group. She watched a D.V.D. Of one of his shows and was rather concerned that fans threw their knickers at him. You're watching bbc world. The main news for you: The united states warns Iran to stop helping insurgents in Iraq with bomb-making technology. Police in Britain continue to search for evidence on the alleged stir city to kidnap and kill a British Muslim soldier. Let's get more on that story. I spoke to the crisis management consultant peter power who advises parts of the British government on terrorism. He says such an alleged kidnapping should have been expected at some time.

>> We shouldn't be too surprised because we're moving away from what we used to call and some still do weapons of mass destruction. We're now into weapons of mass affect. From a terrorist point of view, a video cassette is probably more valuable than a bomb. Why kidnapping? There are probably three reasons. One is to get data, information from the victim. The third is money, ransom, sorry the second. The third is to draw attention to your cause. But it's comparatively easy for terrorists because the evidence involved that police are desperate to find, what does it involve, a knife, a camcorder? 45C1E7FF.JPG

>> A Muslim soldier representing the British forces, you can see the power that would have, the similar symbolism that could have.

>> Yes, it can, but it begs the question, where do you go from here? Muslim soldiers occupy something like 0.2% of the British army, but they're critical, they really, are because we're all in this together. That's the message. Where do we go? We're looking at Muslim -British police officers, Muslim civil servants? They're all part of the government machine. We're talking about this, but we don't know what we're dealing with. We're barely used to the idea of kidnapping say a bank manager, but kidnapping the manager of a nuclear power station, well, different outcome. 45C1E82B.JPG

>> Different outcome.

>> Do you have any sense... we've heard about this, they're in the foothills of their investigation here. There is a vast amount of work going on to try to get to the bottom of this.

>> The most senior police officer in charge at least in terms of the camera, David Shaw, I understand the police operation is code named gamble and it's been going on for quite a long time, but the police aren't out there in the orthodox way people think. They're trying to prove or disprove the intelligence. It's very fickle. So when people see some of the people arrested being released without charge, the perception is failure. Others will say it's a success because they've disproved the intelligence. But the fear is we'll see more of these events rather than less, and certainly events in Moscow at the 2002 theater siege in beslan in 2004 and in Israel with two soldiers kidnapped and they actually went to war with Lebanon. I think there is a lot of interest out there now. 45C1E86A.JPG

>> That's peter power talking to me a short time ago. Russian prosecutors have launched an investigation into claims of extreme cruelty towards orphaned children. In a case which has left the nation in shock really, there are allegations that staff at a hospital in the southern city of yekaterinburg deliberately gagged orphaned babies because they didn't want to hear them crying. Richard galpin has this report. Some of you may find some of the pictures disturbing.

>> The pictures that have caused such dismay and disbelief across Russia. Orphans with their mouths taped up, some just a few months old. It was a patient who used a mobile phone to document what was happening in this hospital after hearing muffled cries. 45C1E89E.JPG

>>>> ( Translated ): I heard a baby mumbling in a nearby room. When I looked in, I saw the baby was plastered over his mouse. I couldn't cry or anything. I asked the nurse why she taped the baby's mouth. She said it wasn't my business. I asked her to take the plasters off. At first she refused but then she took them off.

>> It's alleged there was too few staff working in the hospital for the number of children. The nurse accused of gagging those in her care no longer works here, but a full investigation is under way.

>> ( Translated ): We were carrying out checks on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and as a result of it, a criminal case was opened on January 29th and has already been moved to an investigative procedure. 45C1E8CD.JPG

>> There have been plenty of scandals in Russian hospitals before, but nothing which has touched such a raw nerve as this. Richard Galpin, bbc news, Moscow.

>> Well, do stay with us here on bbc world. Still to come, could the SunnI-Shia divide tip the middle east over into a crisis of instability? We have a special report for you. Thousands of airline passengers taking flight from the U.K. Are going to have to pay extra taxes before they're even allowed to board their flight because air passenger duty is doubling from now, even for those who booked their flights before the increase was announced back in December.

>> Passengers flying on British airways are amongst the few who won't have to pay the additional duty. B.A. Is absorbing the increase for anyone who booked before the 7th of December, costing it up to ?1 million. Budget airlines take a different view, saying their profit margins would be wiped out if they swallowed the cost themselves. 45C1E90D.JPG

>> Put it in perspective. We make about ?.32 profit per seat. This is an extra ? per passenger. We aren't prepared to weather it.

>> In other words, customers will have to pay the extra air passenger duty. On short-haul flights, the tax is doubling to ?0, on long-haul flights it's doubling to ?0. Many passengers don't mind a green tax, but they do want the proceeds spent on the environment.

>> Is it going to the chancellor for green issues, or is it just going to go into a general pot?

>> If it's just disappearing into the coffers at ten downing street, I don't think I would agree with it.

>> Passengers who booked on the internet should already have been told how the pay the extra. Brian Milligan, bbc news. 45C1E93F.JPG

>>>> Now, a sign saying "Jesus loves Osama" posted out various stretches in Australia has drawn strong criticism, although they did concede the message was probably true. Several Sydney churches displayed the sign during a predictably anti-Islam response from some sections of society. The bottom of the message, a line quoting from the bible, "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." So that's the church's response there to Osama. Much of the violence was causing misery in Iraq and across the middle east is between two types of islands, the Shias and Sunnis. What are the roots of the hatred and how much of a threat is it to the stability of the whole region? Jeremy Bowen has this from Beirut. 45C1E97F.JPG

>> These men, Shia Muslims, are mourning the death of their hero 14 centuries ago. He was Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, and the story of how he was killed hurts them as if it happened last week. This was the holiest Shia festival, ashura, here in the southern suburbs of Beirut. This is not a detail of history. Hussein's death at the hands of fellow Muslims split Islam into two main branch, Shia and Sunni. The original dispute was about who would succeed the prophet Muhammad. These days it's about identity and power. We're going to hear a lot more about sectarianism, not just in Lebanon, but across the middle east in the next ten years. The region is unstable and it's changing and the competition for power between Shia and Sunni is one of the big forces that's going to shape what happens next. Beirut is full of talk of civil war and rumors about factions arming themselves. State security forces patrol this Sunni district. The government doesn't want any more trouble. Last week yards from here, four people were killed in sectarian clashes. The owner of this takeaway is Shia, very nervous about the future, too scared to talk on camera. His customers are Sunnis. 45C1E9DB.JPG

>> ( Translated ): I hope there won't be a civil war, but if it's imposed on us, we have to defend ourselves.

>> War between Shias and Sunnis is already happening in Iraq. At least 36 Iraqi Shias were killed as they marked ashura this week. Thousands of others from both sides have died. Their war could spread. Shia Iran used to face Saddam Hussein, a Sunni strongman, in Iraq, but now the Iraqi government is run by Shia Muslims, Iran's natural allies. The Americans believe a strengthened Iran is meddling in Iraq and across the middle East. In response, the U.S.. Seems to want a united front of the Sunni rulers of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia with Israel's tacit support. The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan nasrallah, condemned the Americans at the Shia rally this week. Hezbollah says the U.S. Is pushing Shias and Sunnis to fight, to create a crisis that will destroy anyone who stands in America's way. Since December the center of Beirut has been paralyzed by Hezbollah and its allies. This is about who runs Lebanon, but it's also an early skirmish in the bigger battle between the U.S. And Iran, Sunnis and Shias. So down there on the other side of the wire, a demonstration organized main biwott Hezbollah, a Shia group backed by Iran. They say they're not going to budget until they bring down the government. Up there a Sunni prime minister in the government building supported by the Americans, by 45C1EA3C.JPGthe European union and by Saudi Arabia. The Sunni-Shia split feeds directly into the main streams of conflict in the middle east which is as dangerous as it's been in 60 years. Jeremy Bowen, bbc news, Beirut.

>> We're getting some news in here of reports from the police that the British prime minister, Tony Blair, was questioned for a second time, this is last Friday in fact, on the loans for peerages affair, a scandal suggesting that some senior businessmen were prepared to make loans to the labour party possibly in return for a peerage. The news we have is coming from our political editor that Mr.. Blair was questioned for less than an hour, in fact, by officers. The contents of conversation have not been released. No surprise there. Police also wanted a blackout of that for the time being. That was last Friday. It's not clear if he would face further questions, as well. That's the latest on what is very much an ongoing saga for Tony Blair and the labour party. <

* Caution:  This transcript is intended to be an aid to listening as well as a record of spoken news.  But because this coarse transcript is not always identical with spoken news, one should refer to the news on video-on-demand at this site when quoting any sentences.



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