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February 15, 2007
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Headline News of February 15, 2007
Negotiators for the six-party talks in Beijing on 13 February 2007
N and S Korea agree to resume ministerial talks, a day after a nuclear disarmament deal was reached.

Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is sworn in as Turkmenistan's new president, after winning Sunday's poll.
US commanders originally thought only 5,000 troops would be in Iraq by the end of 2006, documents show.

BBC news transcript with photos
Transcript in the news of February 15, 2007


>> Almost three years after the Madrid train bombing, 29 men go on trial. This is the theme inside the courthouse. One defendant's already denied he was involved. They reached a deal last weeks but now Palestinian talks run into further problems. This is bbc world. Welcome. Also in the program, the Darfur crisis spills over into Chad amid new warnings of a humanitarian crisis. We'll be reporting from one remote refugee camp. And from catwalks to sidewalk, why models in Manhattan are switching to the property business. In Madrid the trial of 29 people in connection with one of Europe's worst terrorist attacks in recent years is now underway. One of the four alleged masterminds has denied all charges and said he'll refuse no give evidence. 45D459B4.JPG

>> The explosions happened on placed on four trained explode almost simultaneously. Seven suspects are charged with murder and belonging to a terrorist organization. With a terrorist organization. Altogether 650 witnesses and 98 experts will be called.

>> Let's go live now not bbc's Danny Wood who is joining us from outside the courthouse in Madrid.  "Danny, What is the preceding so far?"

>> Well, we've seen one of the prime sentence here, RabeI Osman has already declared within ten or 15 minutes of court session starting.  RabeI Osman said he was not going to answer any questions and he knew nothing about the accusations, and we're expecting the session to resume in a few minutes.  

>> Danny, there is a whole range of offenses in terms of... suspects, some at the very serious end of the spectrum and some more in terms of connections to terrorism. 45D459FC.JPG

>> That's right. There are 29 suspect, but it's the top seven suspects who are getting multiple life sentences, although all they'll end up with here if they're convicted is 40 years. Yes, ... as material to the attacks, three others intellectual authors, prosecutors want thousands of years in prison with them. They'll probably end up with 40 if they're charged at all. At the other end of the spectrum, people connected with the transport of the explosives, they're on lesser sentences, but the top suspects on tough sentence relating to charges of murder, attempted murder and membership of a terrorist group.

>> Danny, for now, thanks very much. That's Danny wood covering the legal proceedings now under way this Madrid. We'll keep you updated on any more that we hear from the courts. An adviser to the Iraqi prime minister has said that the Shia leader al-sadr is in Iran. The comments confirm statements that he was in Iran. The cleric's close advisers have insisted that moqtada al-sadr is still in Iraq. North Korea and South Korea have agreed to restart ministerial talks. Talks were last held eight months ago before North Korea tested ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. More recruits with criminal records are being allowed to join the U.S.. Military due to a shortfall in recruiting caused by the Iraq war. Data obtained from the pentagon shows the number of waivers 45D45A61.JPGgranted last year to groups with criminal backgrounds was 65% higher than in 2003. The Palestinian president, mahmoud abbas, has postponed an address to the Palestinian people today because negotiations to form a new government of national unity have run into difficulty. The fatah movement and hamas, which forms the current administration, have been unable to agree on a number of key appointments despite a deal reached in Mecca last week. Let's join Alan Johnston. There seemed to be so much determination surrounding the talks in Mecca, yet we're not at the position of having this government formed.

>> That's right. This power-sharing deal is tremendously important. The idea is to bring fatah and hamas into a coalition and head off what seems to be the dangers of all-out civil war about a fortnight ago, but the deal struck in Mecca last week was arrived at and signed really very quickly and a number of important details were left for further discussion. As the two sides have attempted to resolve those issues, they've run into trouble. The most important issue surrounds the fate of a security force set up by hamas with about 5,000 of its fighters. Hamas is determined to see that force kept as one unit, but fatah is clearly keen to see it broken up and spread across the security structure. At the same time, the two parties have had some dispute it seems over the past few days over appointments to some key 45D45AC5.JPGcabinet posts in the incoming coalition government.

>> Alan, so not an easy process, but surely there's pressure to finally thrash this out. The Palestinian leaders are under so much pressure from their own people on this.

>> There really is no option other than to make this work, I would say absolutely, as you say. The vast majority of ordinary Palestinians were delighted to see agreements struck in Mecca. They very much want to see it put into force, and both parties will be bearing that in mind as we go into these discussions on these outstanding issues as the same time there's international pressure. I'm sure if the talks were to go badly and these remaining issues couldn't be resolved, you might well see the Saudis who brokered the deal in Mecca stepping in and trying to force some kind of resolution. And both parties are saying that they do believe that these outstanding issues can indeed be resolved at negotiations which are due the happen today. 45D45B03.JPG

>> Alan, for now, thanks so much indeed. That's Alan Johnston, our correspondent in Gaza. A Japanese whaling ship is in trouble in Antarctica. There are fears of an oil spill. Most of the crew was evacuated while some colleagues stayed behind to fight the flames. Two-thirds of the world's population won't have enough water within 20 years according to a Warner from the united nations. Ers says water usage has expanded at twice the rate of population growth and that over 1 billion people already lack access to sufficient clean water. Canadian opposition parties have pushed through legislation forcing the minority conservative government to meet its greenhouse gas emission targets under the key crow toe protocol. The new bill gives the government 60 days to table a detailed plan reducing Canada's emissions levels. After sustained criticism of the United States for not doing more to help Iraq's refugee crisis, the bush administration has announced an increase in the number it's prepared to take. This year 7,000 Iraqis will be allowed into the U.S., More than ten times the total number admitted since the invasion in 2003. It won't go far towards addressing the issue. Overall at least 50,000 Iraqis are fleeing their country every month. 45D45B55.JPG

>> Baghdad's passport office overrun like every day with people trying the leave the country. So far 2 million have fled the bombs and violence, many piling onto buses. By some estimates it's the biggest movement of refugees in the world at the moment. Most end up across the boarder in Syria or Jordan, but they're struggling to cope with few resources and little outside help. Entire neighborhoods of refugees have sprung up, putting huge pressure on Iraq's neighbors. Now the U.N. is demanding the United States do more to help with the crisis partly of its making.

>> It's a gigantic financial and gigantic resources problem needed to cope with it. Let's hope that the situation doesn't worsen. Let's hope sooner rather than later these people will be able to be back and rebill their lives. 45D45B8D.JPG

>> The United States has been criticized for hardly taking any refugees, even translators like this Iraqi who risked their lives helping coalition troops.

>> If I go home, they kidnap me and kill me. Maybe they kill my family, too.

>> The committee will focus its attention on the current refugee crises.

>> After congress questioned why the U.S. had done so little, now the administration has pledged $18 million to help the refugees and offered to take in 7,000 of those at the greatest risk.

>> Those that are under threat, whether it's a small number or not and their lives are endangered, we take that very seriously. That's a very significant issue.

>>>> Only most vulnerable Iraqis will end up here in the United States. The U.S. Government is worried about opening the floodgates and further destabilizing Iraq, but the U.N. Warns unless more is done to help Iraq's neighbors, a refugee problem will turn into a humanitarian crisis. James Westhead, bbc news in Washington. 45D45BCD.JPG

>> We just want to mention some news we're just receiving from Iraq. British and Iraqi forces have cut off the southern Iraqi city of Basra and closed several border crossings. This is all part of the new scrutiny plan that the Iraqi government has outlined for the country. The bbc's just been able to confirm this, that in the south British and Iraqi forces have cut off Basra and closed several border crossings. We'll bring you more on those details, the implementation of the security plan just as soon as we have them. Now then, let's check on our business news.

>> , That Michelle. We're focusing on the Japanese today who have been out spending their hard-earned cash. That's boosted the G.D.P. To the greatest rate in six years. It rose by a stronger-than-expected 4.8% on the year. Hot sellers include flat screen televisions and mobile phones while consumers helped the economy with their appetite with everything from gadgets to travel Japanese business has pumped more money into investments, too. With such strong economic performance, experts believe there is reason for the Bank of Japan to increase borrowing costs as early as next week. 45D45C14.JPG

>> We had figures out recently which still show very anemic price inflation of around 1.1%. This is probably further ammunition they can now raise rates, that the economy is growing robustly. If it's been monitoring conditions already, they'll probably feel more confident about putting rates up next week or next month.

>> The view on Japan. Switzerland's biggest insurer has just unveiled a 41% rise in profits. It made a net profit of $4.5 billion last year. It's better than expected. The group has kicked off the year with a spending spree. Yesterday it became the biggest foreign insurer in Russia after it snapped up another company there. It's taken control of NAFTA for an undisclosed sum. We asked the chief executive about that purchase. 45D45C49.JPG

>> There are 140 million people in that market. We'll be, as you point out, the largest foreign insurer. We've created a very strong European platform to support our business, and we'll be able to leverage that platform in terms of underwriting motor claims, but more importantly, to drive our distribution growth.


>> Thanks very much indeed. You're watching bbc world. Coming up we'll have the latest international sport and...

>> I'll orla guerin. Join me here in eastern Chad where we'll be reporting from the remote camps that are home to almost 250,000 Darfur refugees.

>> It's believed the French police may have been acting on a tip-off when they arrested 11 people in what's being called a major anti-terrorist operation. Two people were detained at the airport in the capital. Nine others were picked up elsewhere in Paris and in Toulouse. They're suspected of having ties to al Qaeda and are alleged with being involved in recruiting fighters for the insurgency in Iraq. 45D45C8F.JPG

>> The police operation began on Tuesday night, two people arrested at the airport. It's believed they had been sent back from Syria after allegedly trying to enter Iraq. In the following hours, a series of arrests in Paris and around Toulouse. Nine more people in custody, including a cup whole lived in this house in lalan. Few signs of life say for some luggage and some prayer mattes. Police say the suspects are linked to al Qaeda, a surprise for some. "They were praying five times a day," said this neighbor. "We could see they were really religious. They were obliging, nice people, ready to help any time." In a rare statement on a specific case, the interior minister, Nicholas sarkozy, welcomed the arrests and said they followed a long investigation by French security forces. The allegation, this was a group linked to al Qaeda trying to recruit fighters to enter Iraq. Their aim helping the insurgency against U.S. and Iraqi forces. No weapons were found, but the suspects remain in custody. The investigation continues. Tim alman, bbc news.

>> Here in Britain, the metropolitan police commissioner has called an urgent meeting of senior officers after the third fatal shooting of a teenager in south London in less than a fortnight. The latest victim was a 15-year-old boy found dead at his home on Wednesday. This is bbc world. Let's bring you up to date now with the main international stories. A trial is under way in Madrid of 29 suspects accused of masterminding the train boltings that killed 191 people. These are the live pictures we're getting from inside the courthouse. And divisions remain between Palestinian politicians despite last week's agreement in Mecca. Now, our special report from eastern Chad where almost 250,000 refugees from Darfur are languishing in remote refugee camps. Now the Darfur conflict has followed them with janjaweed-style attacks taking place within Chad's borders. Aid workers say the Darfur refugees can not go home because the situation there is worse than ever. Our Africa correspondent orla guerin has managed to reach one camp in eastern Chad. 45D45D25.JPG

>> We're in a camp which is home to 26,000 refugees from Darfur. Food distribution is going on now. It happens once a month. You'll notice it's mainly the women and children who come in to pick up the supplies. In fact, you don't see very many men in this camp. Aid workers say some were killed back in Darfur. Others are still there, either tending livestock or getting involved in the fighting. Now the supplies that are being given out here today are quite basic. You'll see over here some of the sacks of grain that people have been picking up. There's also oils. They get some sugar and they get some soap, but these really are the bear essentials for survival. The refugees here are totally dependent on the aid because looking around us there are some of the most inhospitable the reign on earth. Next to nothing grows here. There is no grazing for animals and there's only a single water supply. That's an artificial lake and the fear is it could run dry in the next few months. Now, this camp is also close to the border with Darfur. That's just about four kilometers away in that direction, and the border is wide open. So aid workers are concerned that that makes this camp quite unstable. They say all in all this is the last place in the world that you'd want to put a refugee camp. 45D45D77.JPGThey would like the move these people but there is simply nowhere else for them to go. Now, this camp is one of 12 stretched along the border and there's a total population of almost 250,000 refugees. The longer the crisis in Darfur drags on, the longer people are left here, the more the U.N. is concerned that they are becoming a forgotten people.

>> That report is from our Africa correspondent orla guerin in eastern Chad. Now, as if global warming and a general lack of snow isn't enough, the top Austrian ski resort now appears to be in danger of driving big-spending Russian tourists away. In what appears to be a communications mix-up, tourist officials had called for a limit to the number of Russians in the resort, but now they appear to be backing down in the face of controversy. 45D45DA8.JPG

>> Take traditional ski ingredients of chocolate box scenery, log chalets and mulled wine and the Austrian resort may well spring to mind, but all, it appears, is not well in paradise. The town found itself at the center of a media storm when a story emerged that Russian tourists were being given the cold shoulder by local hotels. Austrian switchboards were jammed with phone calls from angry Russians following remarks by a local official.

>> ( Translated ): We have this internal recommendation not to give more than 10% of the rooms to Russian travel operators.

>> The comment appears to have stemmed from rumors of party-loving, unruly Russian tourists. The problem is that party-loving or not, when the Russians takes to the slopes, they spend more money than anyone else, prompting the tourist office into hasty denial of quotas, official or unofficial. The resort welcomes every guest, regardless of his or her nationality. We've always emphasized a broad variety of international tourists and aim to do so in the future. And there was a terse but diplomatic reaction from the Russians. 45D45DFD.JPG

>> ( Translated ): For us this conflict is over. For us the reaction of official Austria was very important. Therefore we do not feel offended.

>> These are not the best of times for the town. Lack of snow across the ams means low-lying reports like this one -- low-lying resorts like this one has suffered. The famous ski race held there had to be cancelled last month. The Austrians say they welcome the Russian, but global warming may mean they're less keen to come.

>> Stay with us here on bbc world. In a few moments' time, a career after the catwalk. We report on the rosy job prospects for former models in New York's real estate market. British hopes of global deal to combat climate change at the conference in Washington look in jeopardy because Germany's delegates say the plans are not radical enough. The Americans remain unpersuaded, too, claiming the proposals are not realistic, and as we report from Washington, the group is expected to publish recommendation on climate change later today. 45D45E48.JPG

>> It's our pollution scientists say that's almost certainly crank up the global temperature. Transport emissions are a real problem. So what's the Blair solution? What he wants today's meeting to recommend that G8 leaders agree to hold the world temperature rise to the equivalent of three Celsius at maximum. That would be a major change for industry, but it would be achievable, his advisers believe. But the Blair plans run into serious opposition from the German leaders of the G8.

>> I think the British plan is in a sense a compromise between the desirable and what people think, politicians think is achievable, but in the end it means what we compromise, which is gambling with the fate of this planet. 45D45E7C.JPG

>> The world's ice sheets could start a major meltdown at 3 Celsius. Most coral reefs could be wiped out, the Germans say. Even the mighty Amazon rainforest might be lost if world leaders can't do better than the Blair plan. But the British delegation thinks that almost any deal is worth having.

>> If Germans... I admire them for this, but we really need a deal. If we have a lower limit and we have a deal, that means we've made a step forward. Let's get that step forward rather than throwing it away and keeping the moral high ground.

>> China with its rising pollution is another key factor in these talks. The relative lily lax British emissions target is less threatening to them. 45D45EB0.JPG

>> You're watching bbc world. In the competitive world of the New York property market, you need to marshal every resource. For one property magnate, that's turning to fashion models to help sell his luxury properties. Many say the skills gained on the catwalk are an advantage to selling bricks and mortar. We have this report.

>> Having graced 1,000 fashion photo shoots and magazine covers, supermodel Angela Ever Hart has found a new challenge in new York neighborhoods like soho. She's just taken her exams to qualify as a New York property dealer, selling multimillion dollar apartments.

>> I know a lot of very wealthy people, and I know people all over the world, and people are constantly looking for places to live. If I can network my friends into buildings such as the building that we're in, it's a great way for me to make some extra money. 45D45EEC.JPG

>> You all have seen the new issue with Mr. Trump on the cover.

>> Merging modeling and high-end profit is the idea of Italian entrepreneur pow lou zampoli, a friend of the New York tycoon Donald trump. Several of his top models have a foot many both camps.

>> But they're really not that different actually because for both professions you need to have incredible networking skills. So that's the basis for modeling, as well as for real estate. So if you combine the two industries, you're left with the same rolodex. You just go through your rolodex and sell houses that way.

>> It's more attractive to me because you get to meet a lot of people and it's more consistent. 45D45F1B.JPG

>> Less precarious?

>> Yes, yes.

>> Go down the block and wait.

>> There's a deluxe idea.

>> The market in New York is still very strong. We call it a buyer market. The buyer has more time to decide what he wants to buy.

>> Do the models want to do this?

>> You know, modeling is a very competitive business. These young girls, they start when they're 14, 16, traveling around the world, competing with thousands of other girls to make the cover, that page in the magazine, that campaign. So they're used to really competing, almost like a New York real estate broker.

>> Next door to the zampoli real estate office is his modeling agency. Never short of eager recruits. As a new generation seeks fame and fortune, they're discovering there's beauty in bricks and mortar. Brian baron, bbc news, New York. 45D45F67.JPG

>> Not the best weather for the fork property market at the moment. There are massive snowstorms hitting the eastern United States. They are now closing airports and schools and cutting off power. They've also made roads across a wide region treacherously icy in this incident caught on a dashboard mounted camera in a polis car. A FedEx truck slammed into a family before ramming t. No one was killed or seriously injured.

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